London at a Glance

Population: 10 Million

Climate: Largely unpredictable due to global warming. Generally warm and wet, prone to storms and flash-flooding although droughts and snaps of arctic cold also occur from time to time.

Flooding: Throughout the years following the new millennium, London's situation began to worsen. Pollution grew worse and worse every day until the Thames caught light. Homelessness became rife, as did disease, and public services grew worse and worse. Global warming meant that the city's weather became erratic, and in 2010, the Thames Barrier gave way, swamping the city. Now, many buildings around the river are lost entirely and the only dry way of crossing the river is by using Tower Bridge. Many of the city's poorest citizens live in homes flooded by anything from a couple of inches to three feet of filthy water. The sewers are flooded and mostly unusable. Disease is rife, and crime grows worse with every day. What's more, the flooding is only going to get worse, and with frequent cold snaps bringing hypothermia, and the subsequent thaws bringing disease, things are looking dark for the city.

Monarchy: The once great British Royal Family are now barely even mentioned in day to day life. Long before the flooding, the Monarchy had become nothing but a puppet to the government, and soon, that same government they had handed the reins of power to, was cutting their spending. Unable to maintain their home at Buckingham Palace, the building fell into disrepair, and eventually, as the state of the city grew worse and worse, the monarchy withdrew to their ancestral home at Windsor Castle. Now the Palace lies abandoned, and the monarchy are nothing but a distant echo of the past at best, or a joke at worst, to the average denizen of the city.

Business: Business has grown to be huge in London. Companies invest and run the Health Care, the Fire Brigade and even the Police. They then cut as may corners as they can to save costs, and charge as much as they can for their services, in order to maximise profits. Business is kept the not-so-secret guiding force behind city politics by the constant stream of cash that greases the wheels of government from the lowliest MP all the way to the top. The world of London citizens is all about business, and the largest of the meta-corporations, Megadon, is slowly closing in on the last of the public services, and purchasing them for its own gain.

Police: London's Police force is a privately-funded shambles. Under-funded, corrupt and massively understaffed, the police refuse to patrol the more unpleasant areas of the city and are often slow to respond to call-outs, if they respond at all. Even when they do arrive, they are unilaterally swayed by bribes which means much of the city is left in the hands of the gangs.

Health Care: One of the first things to be sold off to fund tax cuts was the country's National Health Service. The hospitals are now privately run by mega-corporations, and the divide between the rich and the poor is mind-boggling, with the poorest citizens often used as guinea pigs for new drugs without either their knowledge nor their consent. The one exception to the rule is the Metcalf Clinic based in what remains of Hammersmith Hospital in the north of the city, which provides health care for all.

Fire: The fire service has only recently been sold off in order to fund the most recent bout of tax cuts, and as a result, it is both severely under-funded, and still true to it's original purpose. Though many expect that the fire service will soon begin to respond only to calls from citizens who have paid the corresponding protection premium, returning to the days when standards were displayed on the sides of houses to show the fire brigade which ones to put out when a whole street caught fire. People suggesting that, with the current spate of cutbacks in building materials, this may mean another fire like the one that near destroyed the city in 1666, are currently being ignored. For the time being however, the fire brigade respond to all those who need them, although their equipment has certainly seen far better days, and it often takes them hours to put out even the smaller house fires they attend to.

Local Media: London has several newspapers, although the largest of them is the New London Times, formerly just 'The Times', which is run out of offices on the north of the city. It is known to be sympathetic to both the government, and the big businesses behind it, and suspicions that the money greasing the wheels of parliament is also at work here and growing more and more widespread. The city is also home to several television channels, including seven run under the guise of the BBC, which, although still technically publicly funded, show more and more of a definite bias as the days pass. The other television channels contain various degrees of advertising with various degrees of bias, but with so many sources saying so many different things, it is often impossible to get anywhere near the truth portrayed in the news without actually being there when the events occur.

Culture: Despite the current state of the city, the arts still draw a welcome reception from city-dwellers. A number of exclusive nightclubs exist north of the river, far from the filth and the flooding, which are regularly frequented by the city's high society. As the flooding began to take effect around 2005 and crime began to worsen, people turned to the arts in order to forget about the state of the world they were living in, and government was only to happy to pour cash into the arts to help them. London boasts both the Royal Ballet and the Royal Opera, working out of the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden, which, although it has seen better days, is still a grand, dusty beauty to behold. The Royal Albert Hall and several of the larger art galleries such as the Tate and the National Portrait Gallery have also survived, although they have done so at the expense of their poorly funded brethren, and most smaller, private theatres have long gone out of business.

Scene: Aside from the velvet-rope clubs frequented by the high society, London has everything from run down restaurants and American-style diners to extreme fetish nightclubs, and places where you're more likely to get a broken nose than a drink. The most infamous of London's clubs are Club Headon, a club for the rich and famous which sits in Notting Hill, not far north of Buckingham Palace; Redemption, a relatively safe club set into an old church and with a decidedly Christian feel to even the heaviest music; and the Slaughterhouse, a dangerous club in the East End decked-out like an abattoir where only the most brave and stupid of the population dare to step.

Traveling to and Around London

Road Travel: London is accessible by almost every major road in the United Kingdom. Many of the England's largest roads cross the country and lead directly to the capital city. Many of these roads have their origins in Roman times, and even before. Eventually, these roads connect to the M25, a large motorway that forms a ring about the capital. Poorly maintained in recent years, and given to bouts of incomprehensible traffic that can snarl everything to a halt for hours on end, the M25 is still by far the best way of reaching a required destination within London, without reverting to the city's labyrinthine back-roads.

Air Travel: London is serviced by three major airports; Heathrow, Stansted and Luton. In recent years, Heathrow has become neglected. The flooding cuts very close to the airport, and it's mostly fallen out of use as a result. However, the other two airports remain active, and planes leave them for locations right across the world on a regular basis. With the closure of major parts of Heathrow, Stansted has developed quickly, having several runways added in recent years, and becoming the city's primary destination for air travel.

Rail Travel: Just as many of the major roads in the United Kingdom lead inexorably to London, such is the case with the countries' major railway lines. London has a massive underground or subway system that serves the inner city, with large stations such as Victoria, Euston, Clapham Junction and London Bridge serving as junctions between underground and overground services which stretch out like the legs of a giant spider across the entire country and into Wales and Scotland.

Getting Around London

Busses and Trains: London has an extensive system of busses as well as trains, with both the older-style red double-decker busses, and newer, single-deck coaches in use across the city. In addition to this, the underground system forms a tight web across the city, and you are never more than a few hundred meters from a tube station, operating on one or more of a dozen separate lines. The underground lines used most often are the Circle, District and Northern lines, which between them cover most of the inner city. However, since the flooding in 2010, much of the underground train network has become utterly unusable by the Quick. This, combined with the tube system's immunity from the Maelstrom means that it is often the most popular haven for Restless of all three factions. With the Midnight Express missing and presumed lost, St Dismas Station South is almost entirely abandoned even by the dead, and even the Confederacy's Midnight Express-style Marble Court does not call at the abandoned station any more. To the Quick, the busses and what remains of the underground system are the most dangerous ways of crossing the city, with gangs and violence commonplace throughout both services. Because of this, most of London's citizens use cars or cabs, or cross the city by foot, rather than risk the under-funded and rickety busses and trains inside the city limits.

Cars and Taxis: Although London's roads are poorly maintained to the extreme, and deregulation of the city's taxis means drastic differences in fares and safety, the roads are the transportation of choice for many of London's citizens. The roads surrounding the river are mostly flooded, and the only dry way across the water is to use Tower Bridge, which, with greater elevation and some maintenance, has managed to survive more or less intact. Other roads are either partially or totally flooded, pot-holed or in bad need of resurfacing. The traffic on the streets in beyond belief, and hijacking by gangs of thugs is not utterly unheard of in the city's less-protected areas. Still, the roads are the safest and easiest way of getting around London, especially for those who know all the shortcuts and back roads.