There are researchers who argue that designating this timeline as being part of the Craft series of worlds where organized secret conspiracies wield esoteric power is a mistake; on this Quantum 4 alternate, there are no secret conspiracies. The Illuminated rule openly, and have abandoned subtle machinations for all-out war. Craft-3 is a headache for Infinity in other ways, as it is one of the Restricted alternates that have caught the interest of Homeline’s popular culture. The similarity between Craft-3’s current war and one of Homeline’s is simply too blatantly obvious to miss.
A world-wide war with a troubling resemblance to Homeline keeps both researchers and camera crews hopping.
845 AD: The kingdom of Khazaria does not suffer from an internal revolt from the Kabar, thus permitting it to survive the war against the Novogod Rus a century later – and rediscovering the laws of ritual magic three centuries after that.
Western (Empire with rivals), Islamic (empire), Chinese (Empire)
Kingdom of Briton (ogliarchy, CR3), Kingdom of Washington (representative democracy, CR2), Great Bavaria (dictatorship, CR6), France-over-the-Sea (Dictatorship, CR 3), Khazaria (theocracy, CR 3), Union of Salvation (oligarchy, CR4), Ottoman Empire (dictatorship, CR3), Chi’in (feudal, CR3-5), Empire of Korea (dictatorship, CR 5)
Mana Level: normal
Centrum Zone: Inaccessible
Infinity Level: Z6
The survival of the (on this timeline, at least) Jewish kingdom of Khazaria might not seem to be a particularly significant event; and, in terms of Western Europe until the 18th Century, it was not. But the later looting of Atil by the Mongols included certain esoteric texts later abandoned at the siege of Vienna; and when they were finally “discovered” and translated a century later they sparked a revolution in Western occultism. The word “revolution” was meant literally. Masonic revolutions produced an Enlightened Constitutional Monarchy in the American colonies (named after George Washington, its Great Martyr) and – eventually – the Philosopher-King Bonaparte. The path to power for British Freemasons was subtler, and resided in their ability to keep George III sane, Prime Minister Pitt healthy – and both secure in their rule.
Meanwhile, events in Central Europe proceeded more harshly. In the year 1773, a new professor of canon law named Adam Weishaupt came across Latin translations of the Atil scrolls while looking for something entirely different in confiscated Jesuit archives. His subsequent initiation into the Mysteries of the True Knowledge drove him to first create the Ancient and Illuminated Seers of Bavaria in 1776, then take effective control in Bavaria in 1784 (retaining Elector Charles Theodore as a figurehead). From there until his death in 1811 he was ruler of Germany’s First Werk in all but name, avoiding war with France only by the judicious use of magical power. His successors in the Illuminati were less far-sighted, or perhaps merely too eager for esoteric battle: the resulting War of 1814 ended up engulfing the continent, shattering the Hapsburg domains once and for all, wrecking the First Werk, and fatally weakening both the Ottoman and Russian Empires (the latter falling to the radical republican Union of Salvation in the Glorious Decembrist Revolution of 1816). It was a fairly savage conflict, mostly fought with mundane weaponry, but the increasing willingness of governments to pervert magic to war was some concern. King-Emeritus Thomas Jefferson’s 1820 call for a Great Work of Time was widely hoped to be the centerpiece of a new era of peace.
Perhaps Bonaparte hubris and viciousness was what doomed Bavaria’s Second Werk: it is certain that the Germans considered the limitations on their acquisition of magic knowledge draconian. Perhaps it was that the Great Work of Time was itself flawed. Or possibly it was just that the discovery of the Philosopher’s Stone in 1829 destroyed every gold-based economy on the planet. However it went, in 1833 the AISB went looking for a new Anointed Leader – and their astrological charts led them to a very young Otto von Bismarck, who seemed to fit their bill perfectly. By the time that the Seers realized that their puppet was anything but, he had already taken both mundane and esoteric control of first Bavaria, then the other Germanic countries left over from the breakup of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, then the other non-Germanic countries…
The Second War erupted in 1839, and is dementedly familiar to someone from Homeline: Great Bavaria is the master of mainland Europe and portions of North Africa. The homeland of the Kingdom of France has been overrun, but its King (who has abandoned the Bonaparte family name in favor of a simple “of France”) fights on with his Britonic allies from the mystical stronghold of Egypt. Other Royal families of Europe have likewise fled across the seas and are now mostly under the protection of Briton, or its new ally Washington. Briton itself has only recently weathered all out aerial assault by Bavarian zeppelin fleets (as preface for invasion); if not for both the leadership of the former 6th Duke of Marlborough (who has cast aside his rank to serve as Prime Minister), and the influx of Washingtonian militias (under Representative John M Patton), things would be grim for the Alliance. As it stands, the Union of Salvation is throwing everything it has to lift the siege of St. Petersburg, the Papal Lands are restive and reluctant allies of Bavarian expansionism, and grim rumors are spreading over what methods the Third Werk is using to glean esoteric knowledge from those parts of Khazaria that it has already overrun.
And in the East, the Empire of Korea remains ignored, as it pursues its own ruthless expansion. The West is indifferent; what matter China, Japan, and the Hawaiian islands, when the civilized world is at war?
Magic in Craft-3
At the moment, most nations of Craft-3 have public knowledge of the spells found in the Basic Set, with the spells of GURPS Magic being both actively researched, and highly classified. The full range of alchemical potions is available, however. Craft-3’s magic is highly ritualized; those with GURPS Cabal may wish to consider using the deccan modifiers found there.
Lastly, the Union of Salvation is notoriously mistrustful of magic, and has been experimenting with mesmerism and animal magnetism instead. Permitting their adepts to have certain amount of psionic power could prove interesting.
Infinity hates dealing with Craft-3, given that it’s blatantly some sort of myth parallel which exists for no other purposes other than to give the Cabal a place to play in, idiotic tour groups and researchers to get in trouble at, and generally threaten the Secret every time a new spell is discovered. Unfortunately, they just can’t pretend to lose the coordinates (and, yes, fairly solid rumor has it that there’s at least one alternate out there where Infinity decided to do exactly that), so they have to deal with the place.
Fortunately or unfortunately, Craft-3 seems to have a high degree of warped inertia, or perhaps it’s the Platonic Form of the commedia dell’Arte school of timelines. Events are transpiring more or less as they sort of would in Homeline history, a century later. More or less: the population is much smaller in Craft-3, and while many individuals from Homeline’s World War II have recognizable analogues there’s one place where the comparison falls down (the Pacific theater). Some researchers for Infinity suspect that this is a hint that the timeline is sufficiently unstable as to be courting a severe reality quake in the very near future: they even think that they know the likely date (August 6th to 9th, 1845). What Infinity should actually do about that (besides cancel all tours for that week) is yet to be determined. Until that point, a grudging amount of research (and a smaller amount of tourism) is permitted.
And, of course, Infinity is keeping a close eye out for Reich-5. The occult-obsessed SS of that timeline would probably consider a young, ambitious, and occult-trained Bismarck to be an excellent stopgap Fuehrer until they can track down the One True Hitler.
Infinity reserves the “Craft” designation for timelines that combine organized worldwide conspiracies with organized magical or psionic knowledge. Craft-1 (Q7, current year 1850 AD) is a normal-mana world where the planet is smugly divided up between three versions of Western Freemasonry, but perhaps not as stably as any of those versions might expect. Craft-2 (Q3, current year 1260 AD) is a high-mana world where the Knights Templar are warrior-mages defending the remnants of the Byzantine Empire from the Mongols.
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