Welcome to The Big Smoke

Welcome to The Big Smoke

It is the late 19th century and technological revolution is sweeping through Great Britain. Sparked by Mycroft Holmes' creation of the Cogitation Engine, the nation's capital is caught in a wave of invention and discovery and thrums to the sound of gigantic and increasingly elaborate machines.

The traditional power structure of London is in turmoil. Long established institutions are on the brink of collapse and while they flounder in the wake of change upstarts rise to power, embracing the new age, creating ever more incredible tools, machinery, intelligence-gathering methods and weapons.

In the city's underbelly the downtrodden, forgotten and abused working-class grow angry. Opportunistic rabble-rousers, crime-lords, kingpins and undesirables gather support in the annexed areas of the city, all hungry for a piece of the pie.

This ain't the London you know!

This ain't the London you know!

"I’ll wager there’s a load more towers and chimney stacks dotting the skyline than you remember. More seem to leap up every week. No pretty vistas in London no more. Just thousands of huge factories pumping who knows what filth into the air from those sooty stacks. Bad enough down ‘ere, God 'elp the poor workers who builds their little 'omes in and about the machinery and burners."

Sally Magraw - Self-appointed Chief Guide to The City of London

Technological marvels

Technological marvels

The world of Infamy: Welcome to The Big Smoke is packed with new and increasingly wild technological marvels. The workshops and factories across London churn out amazing creations, made possible by the sudden advancements in knowledge and technology. 

From left to right:

- A Gun Balloon. These floating mini-gunships give support to the notorious sky pirates, the Lost Boys.

- Nikola Tesla's prototype Quaker can send out varying frequencies of sonic waves. At low power it can knock a man off his feet. At full power it can smash down walls and liquefy organs.

- The Suppressor is another Tesla invention. A mass-produced, walking tank for the Bobbies. It offers the pilot protection and the potential to deal high-damage in riot suppression situations.

- The Mk 1 Defence Bot is a foreign import, from the United States. Despite the country's lesser technology it has been modified since its journey overseas and is now a devastatingly efficient killing machine.

Nikola Tesla in his workshop

Nikola Tesla in his workshop

"It feels like every engineer with an adventurous spirit, wherever in the world they come from, is sneakin’ about London after dark. Do they have blueprints for clattering mechanical gimcracks in their hands? Plans for world domination in their heads? Who knows. If they do I don’t see how it can be much worse than the present meself."

Sally Magraw - Self-appointed Chief Guide to The City of London

Explosive chaos across the city

Explosive chaos across the city

"You can see the tower of Big Ben from here if you squint through the fog. See? Notice anything? That scaffold’s been there since some cove thought to emulate Guy Fawkes about eighteen months ago.

Parliament meets at Guildford nowadays - safer I guess. But they got their claws in, no doubt. Hidden agents and spies keeping an eye on the gangs, trying to influence the outcome of the turf spats and resource rumbles so as to speed the return of civilisation.

They best keep their heads down though... let it get out that you’re a pawn of the state and you’ll be taken for an airborne jig up at Tyburn."

Sally Magraw - Self-appointed Chief Guide to The City of London

It may be chaos, but there's always time for a cuppa

It may be chaos, but there's always time for a cuppa

The technology has expanded to all levels of society, from vending machines to automobiles, from the railway to mass-production. It is through these rapid advances that Great Britain's 'Golden Age' has begun. But, whilst it might serve those at the top, the less fortunate lower classes suffer in the most populated areas of the country. Nowhere is this more apparent than the capital, which is constantly wreathed in smog and has been torn apart by civil unrest.

But, there's one thing that can always be counted on, the refreshing, fortifying qualities of a good cuppa!

Anarchy and violence

Anarchy and violence

"How’d it all come about? Well stories differ. I was told rot set in shortly after death of Queen Caroline. Plenty of people were plenty pissed off at the royals and the Tories after that malarkey. Riots all the way up old Oxford Street. Turned it into one long avenue of looted shops and smashed glass. All the toffs were in a panic. The Bobby Peelers wasn’t around at the time, see? Big mess. They sent the household guard in to clean it up. They sent in the goons.

And when you see the mob rout the goons you know what you got don’t you?

Anarchy.

So what did the toffs do? Not like they’re gonna abandon London is it? Well, turns out they were happy to abandon most of it, all the shitty parts at least.

You’ll see the barricades drawn up round Kensington and Chelsea, and ain’t no way the great unwashed are getting their filthy paws on Hampstead or Greenwich. But you get a map of the city and mark the area between such places and you’ll know where the mob has its rule."

Sally Magraw - Self-appointed Chief Guide to The City of London

The Suppressor

The Suppressor

Suppressors are mostly utilised at the borders between the annexed areas of the city, where the rich and well-to-do barricade themselves into safe-zones, away from the most dangerous parts of London.

These clanking, walking, one-person tanks are the Peelers' main defensive asset, used when the gangs grow organised and further uprisings begin as they attempt to expand their territory.

The forces of order

The forces of order

"You've seen the Bobby Peelers send in patrols to drag people to the Clink as they feel. 'Ell, we ain't seen Malkey since that last scrap and all 'e did was smack a few of 'em up around their 'eads. No murderin' or naffin.

Those filthy toffs throw their parties and parades to let us know they stake their claim to these streets every so often... But it’s a farce an' you know it. These are my streets Brock... Our streets! Ain't nobody gonna tell me any different. 

We have the power 'ere and I intend to use it, regardless of 'ow many skinny Peelers 'ave to get splatted in the process!"

The Toad

The downtrodden and the slums

The downtrodden and the slums

"Last archbishop got himself a conscience, actually paid some attention to the stuff Jesus spouted in the gospels. Called St Paul’s 'a vulgar testament to pride' and decreed that any homeless urchin could doss there and be afforded rights of sanctuary and all. Place is a slum now, the tykes inside nick all manner of wood and scaffold and are packed in there like a nest of rats."

Sally Magraw - Self-appointed Chief Guide to The City of London

The Little Parliament

The Little Parliament

Even the lowliest of street urchins have big dreams and ambitions in the world of Infamy: Welcome to The Big Smoke.

Gangs of children rob, scrap, stab and mug their way through life and crafty individuals such as Dodge (right) have become celebrity figures to many of the youngsters.

It is under the leadership of an enigmatic man known as Mr Dodgson (centre), that hordes of urchins have really started to organise themselves, calling their growing gathering the 'Little Parliament'.

They have even begun to create their own technological marvels. Made from collections of parts, ransacked from wherever they could be found, these 'Big Brothers' (left) act as sentries, protecting the urchins while they rest in their shanty towns, camps and underground dens. How the ramshackle machines work remains a mystery - after the capture of one of the wild creations its function was declared 'an impossibility' by none other than engineer extraordinaire Isambard Kingdom Brunel.

The streets of London

The streets of London

"Watch where you’re puttin’ your feet. There might be a good few steam charabancs on the streets now but lots of folks, specially the crims, still find a use for horse drawn carts and you almost got a right mess over those fine shoes you're wearin'."

Sally Magraw - Self-appointed Chief Guide to The City of London

The beasts

The beasts

As if the city and its human residents weren't dangerous enough, there are many other threats on the streets. The area around Regent's Park is the domain of Uncle John's Animal Circus. Packs of his modified chimps, gorillas and monkeys roam the city, hunting for poor unfortunates or, as they see them, 'spare parts'.

Any that they capture are dragged back to the zoo's former head vet - Uncle John - a senile old man with no real comprehension for the damage he is doing. All that John wants is to keep his animal chums in a state of good repair, but this comes at the cost of many innocent lives.

March madness

March madness

The March family have made this part of the docklands their home. After fleeing from the United States, they now live in a fortified (and stolen) paddle steamer, defending their new home with a vast array of firepower that is stored in the hold.

Pa March's smooth-tongued talks and religious rhetoric have gained him and his daughters quite a following. The navvies and thugs who have seen their jobs taken away by the new automatons in the city are all too eager to follow Pa's extremist views on the evils of the technological revolution.

The March family

The March family

“Tonight we strike a blow for our Lord against those who would seek to outstrip him in his mightiness. Not the boffins talking Darwin in the Museum. Not the proud engineer with his lightning generators. Not the chemist in the asylum nor the flying harlot in the sky, though I swear by this holy bible that their day will come soon.

We take this fight to the man who would seek to make a present of understanding to the ostrich. The man who would make the horse fear the grasshopper. The man who would command the hawk and throw a yoke about the shoulders of behemoth. The vet. The kook in the zoo with his army of apes.

The madman in the zoo! Bestial pervert of flesh! Abductor of children! Servant of the evil one! Tonight we bring him some fire and brimstone of our own...

In God’s name!"

Pa March

The maniacs have taken over the asylum

The maniacs have taken over the asylum

Dangers lurk in the pea-soup shrouded streets of Whitechapel. This is where Doctor Henrietta Jekyll and her frightening gang reside. Once a respected chemist, Henrietta is now one of the most feared Kingpins in the city, with a crew of chemically altered beasts at her beck and call.

Few are foolish enough to head through the alleys and gunnels of the Tower Hamlet slums at night, for fear of bumping into Henrietta or her brutal, bloated, muscle-bound bodyguard, Frank.

More to come...

More to come...

There are over 20,000 words of short stories written about the world of Infamy: Welcome to The Big Smoke. In addition, over 40 named characters have been created with rich backgrounds and there are various locales for them to do battle over.

Of course, there's loads of art to feast your eyes on too, and the high-quality Infamy miniatures you'd expect!

Hopefully, you're ready to start exploring The Big Smoke!