The Free City of Laurentia, commonly known as Laurentia, was an independent city-state in the far northwest of the sole continent of the world of Meropis. Laurentia consisted of the eight Districts of the City of Laurentia and the surrounding area, including the Antharian Strait and parts of the Altrean Mountains. Laurentia's sole land border was with the Hamartican Commonwealth, of which it was a largely autonomous province until the city-state's declaration of independence in 2022.
The land that is now Laurentia was sparsely inhabited by nomadic aboriginal peoples until the early nineteenth century, when land speculation and the discovery of silver in the mountains of Windfall Ridge drew waves of pioneers from eastern Hamartica who claimed the land and established settlements, primarily in modern-day Silver City and Cimmeria. On April 10, 1860, several such settlements joined to become the modern-day districts of the unified City of Laurentia. At the foundation of the Hamartican Commonwealth in the Korista Conference of 1905, Laurentian representatives were present to join their city to the new union as the capital of the Regional District of Laurentia, though as the most far-flung of Hamartican Regional Districts it enjoyed considerable autonomy. In the twenty-first century, the involvement of the Hamartican Commonwealth in global institutions and conflicts from which Laurentians preferred to abstain led the city-state to declare independence from its mother country on January 1, 2022, forming the Free City of Laurentia.
Laurentia was a unitary parliamentary constitutional technocracy. The official center of governance was the Laurentian Parliament on King's Island, but much of the management of the city was managed by technical experts organized as the Office of City Administration and headed by City Administrator Albert Kojima. Laurentia was the most ethnically diverse and multicultural nation on Meropis, owing its origin to waves of immigration from nearly every other part of the world.
Laurentia was a developed nation and enjoyed one of the highest standards of living and largest per-capita GDP of any nation on Meropis. Laurentia ranked highly in international measurements of civil liberties, quality of life, life expectancy and education. Despite its role as a global center of finance, commerce and culture, Laurentia abstained from participation in many international and intergovernmental institutions, most notably the Global Federation.
As of 2027, Meropis has ended in global nuclear war. Laurentia has been pulled into the Planes of the Nexus and forms the mortal plane of Valhalla, the closest counterpart to our world. Characters that enter the Nexus will first arrive in Laurentia and must travel from there to reach other worlds.
Laurentia and the world of Meropis from which it came was formed under the guidance of Baraas, the angelic Elder Power of Society and Cooperation, whose influence can be seen and felt in many aspects of the city, both large and small. Despite its angelic origins, characters in Laurentia retain their free will and may choose to become Angels, Demons, or join the ranks of the Transcended who have made Laurentia their home base.
Laurentia was geographically isolated from the rest of Meropis, and was founded in a small pocket of arable land between the Panthalassic Ocean and the southwestern spur of the Altrean Mountains. The Inner Harbor of Laurentia was one of the best natural harbors on Meropis and served the city well as a deep-water port. The city is framed to the south by the Picard River and to the north by the Inner Harbor and several Altrean rivers that fed it and provided much of the city with hydroelectric power.
Laurentia is divided into eight Districts:
The city is connected by a network of Ferries. Each District contains a single Ferry Terminal, which can be used to travel to any of the other districts for one Action Point. As a part of the Nexus, Laurentia is now also linked to other Planes by magical Portals that have their own unique costs in Action Points, Magic Points or Hit Points.
Characters may also travel around Laurentia by way of the city's formerly sealed sewer system, which - while winding and difficult to navigate - offers some good places to hide and provides shelter from the sun's wrath for Revenants.
The site of modern-day Laurentia was geographically isolated from the rest of the continent of Meropis by the Altrean Mountains, and remained undiscovered until 1825, when explorers aboard the frigate Orpheon charted the Laurentian coastline and - after shipwrecking in the Antharian Strait - inadvertantly completed the first documented west-to-east crossing of the Altrean Mountains. Their account of the lands of Laurentia drew an expedition of Hamartican settlers who followed the explorers' path in reverse. Though the identity of many of these pioneers has been lost to history, they claimed the land of Laurentia, wiped out the native population and discovered rich silver veins nearby, leading the settlers to name their new colony Silver City. The discovery of silver and arable land drew further waves of settlement, most notably by famed mercenary, privateer and adventurer Lucien Moreau, who led his family and around a hundred other settlers to found the agrarian colony of Cimmeria in the Moreau Expedition of 1836. A third, yet largely undocumented, wave of migration formed the farming town of Wolverton.
Due in large part to a political movement led by Lucien's son Jacques Moreau, the separate communities of Laurentia unified in 1860 to form the City of Laurentia, governed by the House of Assembly in Silver City. The newly unified city grew in size, population and economic diversity throughout the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, expanding from its traditional economic bases of mining and agriculture to become an economic powerhouse in finance, shipping and trade. The founding of Cimmerian University in 1957 marked Laurentia's emergence as a worldwide center of research and education and laid the groundwork for the later global dominance of electronics and biotechnology by Laurentian firms.
By the twenty-first century, the wealthy and largely autonomous city-state hosted a growing political movement calling for Laurentian independence from the Hamartican Commonwealth. Spurred in large part by dissent against its mother country's involvement in the 2010 formation (and subsequent 2018 dissolution) of the far-reaching international central government of the Global Federation, many Laurentians argued that their city did not need to be enmeshed in projects and conflicts in which it did not wish to be invested. These arguments gained traction in Laurentia as Hamartica and the remainder of the Global Federation became involved in conflicts with dissenting nations that formed the seperatist Coalition. Dissatisfied with their mother country's involvement in these wars, Laurentia split away in 2022 to form the Free City of Laurentia.
The newly independent city-state resisted invitations from both the Federation and the Coalition and shortly became the only significant nation to dissent from taking a side in the global conflict. As a neutral port willing to trade with both sides, Laurentia's economy continued to thrive in the midst of global conflict, though the city's resources were strained by a flood of refugees from warring nations. Some Laurentian officials attempted to act in a peacemaking capacity between both sides, most notably in March of 2027 when City Administrator Albert Kojima hosted unsuccessful peace talks in the Olympic Tower. Nevertheless, by October 2027 the war had worsened to the point that Laurentia closed its land, sea and air borders and enacted strict curfews, especially in the de facto refugee camp of Sunrise.
In November of 2027, the conflict had worsened to the point that reports of chemical, biological and nuclear weapons being used at the front caused civil unrest, rioting and looting in Laurentia. Clashes between citizens and the city's police and gendarmerie strained Laurentian law enforcement and medical resources to the limit over the course of six days of conflict.
On November 8, 2027, as nuclear weapons were exchanged across Meropis, a missile submarine of unknown origin surfaced off the Laurentian coast and fired six nuclear warheads into the night sky over Laurentia. Before the weapons could detonate, Baraas, the Elder Power of Society and Cooperation, pulled Laurentia from its dying world on the stroke of midnight. Chosen for its faithful - if often flawed - adherence to Baraas' ideals, the city entered the Nexus and became Valhalla, the battleground of the Struggle for the right to shape the next world.
Government and Politics
Laurentia was officially governed by the Laurentian Parliament, which was based on King's Island. The Laurentian Parliament inherited and built upon institutions developed throughout Laurentian history by the Laurentian House of Assembly and the government of the Regional District of Laurentia. Parliament managed customs and national defense (through the newly formed Civil Guard of Laurentia), foreign policy, trade and economic policy.
In practice, management of most government functions except for national defense and foreign policy were handled by the Office of City Administration, an appointed body of technical experts that grew out of - and ultimately replaced - the office of the Laurentian city council. Based in the Olympic Tower in Silver City, the OCA managed Laurentia as a "smart city" that used artificial intelligence and vast networks of information to manage transportation, economic development, law enforcement and infrastructure in an optimal manner.
The people and institutions that governed Laurentia in its mortal days were largely not brought into the Nexus. However, characters who wish to devote themselves to the defense and well-being of Laurentia (and in turn reject the conflicts of Factions and the Elder Powers) may pledge loyalty to the city by joining the Adamant Kinship guild. Adamant Kinship members receive bonuses to damage and soak while in Laurentia (which includes the Underground) and will always respawn in Laurentia regardless of their Class. Since they have renounced loyalty to the Powers and their proxy wars, Adamant Kinship members may not join Factions.
Since its pioneer days, Laurentians distinguished themselves as merchants and entrepreneurs, and in the twenty-first century the city had become a center of operations for major corporations and financial institutions from throughout Meropis. By the time of its independence, Laurentia also led Meropis in research and development, especially in biotechnology and electronics. Laurentian firms led the world in cutting-edge bionic augmentations to repair and improve human capabilities, as well as numerous other medical breakthroughs. The natural beauty of the Altrean Mountains and Laurentians' sound management of ecological resources helped foster a thriving tourist sector, which from the mid-20th century onward grew to replace the traditional reliance on mining and other resource extraction industries in Windfall Ridge and other outlying areas of the city-state.
Through both its citizens' legendary entrepreneurship and its lucky acquisition of an exceptional natural harbor, Laurentia was a leading port city from the 1990s onward, with a thriving manufacturing base and an expansive merchant marine. By the 2020s, the Port of Laurentia handled the third largest amount of cargo by volume of any port on Meropis.
While the absorption of Laurentia into the Nexus has put a stop to most conventional economic activity, characters involved in the Struggle may put the city's material and cultural wealth to use to arm and train themselves by visiting a wide range of Resource Buildings:
- Factories can be used for Crafting of weapons and armor, and contain many supplies useful for both crafting and Alchemy.
- Junkyards can be searched for a greater chance of finding Crafting Components, but cannot be used for Crafting as Factories can.
- Libraries can be searched for Books, which provide a steady supply of Experience Points without needing to fight others. Aspiring mages may also search Libraries for Spellgems.
- Gun Stores can be searched for guns and allow characters to repair their firearms, though their chances of finding Ammunition are not as good as Police Stations.
- Police Stations can be searched for Ammunition and have a decent chance of finding guns, though not as good as that of Gun Stores. As the centers of the Laurentian gendarmerie, they can be used for Gunsmithing.
- Sporting Goods Stores are an excellent place for Archery-based combatants to find bows and Ammunition with which to fight.
- Museums no longer educate visitors on the history of Laurentia, but still contain a wide range of Swords and other weapons useful to Melee Combat-based combatants.
- Hospitals can be used by healers and surgeons to gather healing supplies with which to tend to the wounded.
- Pharmacies are a source of healing supplies (though not as good of one as Hospitals) and also contain a range of medications with other uses in combat. Alchemy may also be performed in Pharmacies.
Laurentia was densely inhabited and had a degree of ethnic diversity unparalleled elsewhere in the world, having been populated by nearly two centuries of immigration from nearly every other nation on Meropis. While the souls of most of its population entered the void when Laurentia became the plane of Valhalla, their bodies can be inhabited by Nexus characters and provide some measure of the wide range of cultures, languages and social groups that existed in the city-state. The Districts of Laurentia showed marked class divisions, with concentrations of established wealth in Sunset and poverty in Sunrise. Most middle-class Laurentians lived and worked in Silver City or Wolverton, which were the most highly populated Districts until a refugee crisis unexpectedly passed that distinction to Sunrise in 2027.
As Laurentia has become the mortal plane of Valhalla, all Mortals begin their journey in the Nexus in Laurentia and will always Respawn there if killed, unless they Ascend to become Angels, Descend to become Demons, or become Transcended. Angels, Demons and Transcends retain a two-third chance to respawn in Laurentia at Tier 2 and a one-third chance to do so at Tier 3.
While it traces its origin to the Angelic guidance of Baraas, Laurentia is the plane that presently embodies much of the concept of Humanity, and thus Guild shrines belonging to the Unaligned Elder Powers can be found within the borders of Laurentia. Sorcerers and Myrmidons make use of Laurentian technology as a vector for their superhuman powers, a fact reflected in their Aspects.
Laurentia was a broadly multicultural society with influences from all over the world. As a nation formed in recent memory by immigrants, the common experience of traveling to Laurentia was a cultural thread that united many citizens. As a result, the city's foundation by pioneers had a constant presence in Laurentian art, music, literature and advertising, which both celebrated the stories of literal Laurentian pioneers and promoted the notion of the Pioneer as a heroic ideal to be achieved in oneself.
Laurentians were a highly literary culture from the very beginning of the city, and historians have recorded an extensive body of correspondence that dates back to the events of the city's founding. Printers and publishers set up shop in Silver City almost as soon as it was founded, and the first bookstore in Laurentia, Graham's Booksellers (which later formed the foundation of the Laurentian public library system as the Graham Library) was established in Sunrise Town in 1843. Laurentian authors penned a vast number of influential works in every imaginable genre, which can still be found in abundance in the Libraries that the city brought with it when it entered the Nexus. While electronic media had radically transformed Laurentian journalism in the twenty-first century, several Newspapers, including the venerable and conservative Laurentia Sun, the similarly well-established (yet anti-establishment) Laurentian Observer, and more, continued to thrive in 2027.
Laurentians were a socially conscious people who placed great emphasis on healthy lifestyles, self-improvement and environmental stewardship. Many Laurentians frequently visited Windfall Ridge and the wider Altrean Mountains to hike, fish, hunt and sightsee. Laurentians were famously vocal and politically active and supported causes ranging from social justice to environmental protection to free speech - albeit only at a local level.
Laurentian national symbols were largely figures from Laurentian history who citizens and culture celebrated as inspiring role models. Several such figures included fabled Laurentian founding figures Lucien and Jacques Moreau, whose birthdays were both celebrated by civic festivals and parades held early in the year. While those involved left fewer traces of their deeds, the shipwrecked voyage of the Orpheon crew in 1825 also captured the Laurentian national imagination, and many citizens commemmorated the expedition's fateful landing on May 20th (Pioneer Day) by hiking and re-tracing the first few miles of the explorers' journey from west to east. The Unity 8 mission that carried two Laurentians (Samantha Tatham and Sean Owens) into space on December 1st, 1957 was also widely commemmorated, usually with all-night stargazing and celebrations on the grounds of Cimmerian University.
The Laurentian national flag consists of a tricolor pattern with three trees, modeled loosely on a pioneer flag once carried by Lucien Moreau, for whom the three trees were said to represent his three daughters. In modern Laurentia, the three trees represented pivotal points in the city's history - its founding as Silver City in 1832, its unification as the City of Laurentia in 1860, and its independence as the Free City of Laurentia in 2022.