Notices


The British Isles in the World of Darkness

   
The British Isles in the World of Darkness

The World of Darkness

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There are demon-haunted worlds, regions of utter darkness. Whoever in life denies the Spirit falls into that darkness of death.


Isa Upanishad

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The World of Darkness is not our world. This is easy to forget, as upon the surface, it is much the same. It has the same culture, the same history, the same geography (mostly). Superficially, most people in this fictional world live the same lives we do. They eat the same food; wear the same clothes, and waste time watching the same stupid TV shows. And yet, in the World of Darkness, shadows are deeper, nights are darker, fog is thicker. If, in our world, a neighborhood has a rundown house that gives people the creeps, in the World of Darkness, that house emits strange sighs on certain nights of the year, and seems to have a human face when seen from the corner of one’s eye. Or so some neighbors say. In our world, there are urban legends. In the World of Darkness, there are urban legends whispered into the ears of autistic children by invisible spiders.

But to say that the World of Darkness is our world with added werewolves and vampires is to simplify matters too much. Because remember how I said it had the same culture, the same history, the same geography… mostly?

It has the same culture, but not quite. The World of Darkness is a world where Murphy’s Law runs rampant. Everything is just a little… bit… worse. Poverty wears down on the soul more strongly, there are more disappearances in the night, and fewer are solved. No one wants to speak up, for fear of sounding foolish or mad, when they see the man with the too-wide grin waiting outside in the rain, night after night. The World of Darkness is a world where the darkness is more present, and more tolerated.

It has the same history, but also not quite. Historians in our world know that so much of what we think we know about history is in fact a series of conjectures and educated guesses. In the World of Darkness, to add to human error one has malice, and the efforts of a hundred generations of creatures in the shadows working to falsify the past. Perhaps the facts are right, but the reasons are wrong. Why did the French execute King Louis XVI? Or one may turn to the true mysteries. What caused the Tunguska Event? A meteor? Or something more outré, some summoning gone awry, or the first test of Nikola Tesla’s death ray? The World of Darkness is a world which has a secret history.

It has the same geography, but with changes. Isolation comes more cheaply in the World of Darkness, where people don’t look past their own fences for fear of what might be on the other side. There are old houses long abandoned, deep tunnels carved into the earth, forgotten moors and missing islands, concealed by… what? By the callousness of man, by some quirk of the unnatural world, by the diligent effort of those selfsame Masquers. The World of Darkness is a world with dark and hidden places.

The Cosmology and Bestiary of the World of Darkness

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Time and again, foul things attack me,
lurking and stalking, but I lashed out,
gave as good as I got with my sword.
My flesh was not for feasting on,
there would be no monsters gnawing and gloating
over their banquet at the bottom of the sea


Beowul, translated by Seamus Heaney

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