The Ameth Chronicle
safe human territories
Hawaii: The stronghold of the Summer Court is still standing. Before the Abyss War there was a Great Disappearance of most of the world’s population. The Summer Court of changelings saw this as an omen of impending doom, and worked to secure a stronghold against the oncoming darkness.
The unobjectionable part of the plan led to the creation of a small pacific empire reaching from Hawaii to the Aleutians, using the salvaged navy from Pearl Harbor as a starting force. The part of the plan the other seasonal courts objected to was using stolen Fae secrets to convert humans into changelings. Much infighting ensued.When shit really hit the fan decades later, the Ascended didn’t care that much.
They locked down reality around the island and left the changelings to hold it against lesser threats.The upshot is that if you were a human on a Hawaiian island, there wasn’t a safer place on Earth from the Abathoth. Unfortunately, for humans with the appropriate temperament, the mandatory draft for military service often ended in promotion for special training, which was pretty much the same durance you’d go through in faerie.
So getting snatched from here might initially bring a sense of confusion, as the experience of getting brought into Arcadia would line up pretty well with the rumors you heard about what your military government is up to.
The Family: In the forests of what used to be Pennsylvania long ago, there was a secret lab dedicated to studying the supernatural. That lab made more progress in untapping psychic potential than anyone in Ameth has yet achieved. The lab also had a series of unnatural artifacts it had acquired over the years, including a thinking machine from the more mechanical realms of Arcadia. After the Great Disappearance, through a series of mistakes, the thinking machine had managed to capture and incapacitate a number of former psychic experiment subjects who had moved out into the local area. Through them, it was able to build a small team of normal humans which it modified to make more docile.
Eventually the Fae machine drew the attention of a force mage, who disabled it. This left the complex under the control of the incapacitated psychics, who were essentially brains-in-a-jar hooked into the computer network. While they initially swore off treating other people like they’d been treated, circumstances intervened. It started with offering surgery to people they found in need. As more people moved closer to this benevolent source of technology and healing, it tried enhancements and life-extensions. Turns out brain-in-a-jar lasts a lot longer than the whole body with a good nutrient mix, but only psychics can handle it.
The nutshell: a dynasty of cyborg psychics preside over and protect an increasingly mechanized and brain-radio-connected population using a vault of the old-world government’s supernatural acquisitions. They’re good enough at it that they’ve been granted a reality lock, and are holding back the more mundane Abathoth advances.
Being taken from the Family is going to exceptionally traumatic as the Fae partially dissected you and removed your mechanical components as part of your durance. Losing your inbuilt connection to the Family is an extra blow that got dropped on you.
The Domes: The Abathoths seem to have a blind spot for humans living on or under the ocean. To take advantage of this, the Ascended both put a reality lock on a section the Ocean Floor and assembled a non-magical biodome ecosystem before withdrawing to avoid attracting attention. Later they demanded the use of a submarine (what does god need with a ship? now you know) to transport a population to the relative safety and isolation of the Domes, where they had an insular society that makes Ameth look like it has open borders..
If you get taken from the Domes, your eventual escape into Ameth is probably going to have an element of the overwhelming, as you’ve never seen that many humans before.
Ocean Nomads: More Abathoth fly than swim, so life as an ocean nomad isn’t as secure as the Domes, but it’s still safer than on land. You are a member of one of many groups that try to stay out to sea as much as possible. The only contact you have with the supernatural is the aftermath of Abathoth activity and the reality disruptions. There are areas where boats that seem to travelling together are really travelling miles apart, or where the ocean looks normal but the air burns flesh, or zones where people simply die when they enter, or other weirder things besides.
Ocean nomads subsist primarily on fish, with large tarps they unfold both to collect dew/rainfall and to camouflage their boats if a flyer is spotted. Sometimes hiding even works. As the nomads are a worldwide phenomenon, the types of boats vary greatly by what shipbuilding knowledge is locally available, and is often shared when nomads meet. Voyages to shore are always tense, and are usually preceded by a scouting mission where the nomads make sure their caches are still intact and nothing lies in wait. It’s bad when the scouts don’t come back. It’s worse when they come back as something else.
Nomads get taken by the fae as well. A door on a ship can be a portal to the hedge as easily as any other door. A seemingly empty repair site might be the hunting grounds of the Gentry’s privateers (changelings who serve the fey). A nomad taken by the fae may feel initally relieved, as he discovered his captors are faeries rather than Abathoth. The relief rarely lasts.
The Herd: After the Great Disappearance which preceded the Abyss War, kindred were the dominant power for several decades as they stepped into the power vacuum of collapsing civilization. A few of them have managed to hang onto power tenaciously enough that the Ascendent have blessed their strongholds with reality locks. These vampires know a good deal when they hear one, but it also makes them nervous, since they have gained the attention of beings far more powerful than themselves who have an interest in protecting humanity, which many of the kindred see as food. This dynamic leads most of the ruling vampires to position themselves as fellow protectors of humanity, to make sure the Ascendant still see them on the same team. There’s always a tax for national security, this one just gets paid in blood.
In the possible time periods your characters were taken, there were notable vampire holdings in the jungles of the Yucatan and Southeast Asia, mountainous regions of the northern Rocky Mountains and the Eastern Himalayas, and a particularly odd community on an natural gas drilling platform off the coast of Norway.
If you were taken by the Fae from the herd of one of the vampires, you probably exit thinking the vampires had given you damn good deal in comparison.
Survivalists: They can’t get everybody. Even with reality fracturing around you and walking across an imaginary line onto a barren expanse of rocks causing your brother to launch into orbit, monsters hunting you, and no one to fall back on, you still survived.
Loners in the wilderness don’t have the best survival ratio, but they’re out there. Sometimes they even find others and have families. If they don’t keep moving, they’re generally found and killed/captured for a fate worse than death. Even if they keep moving, it’s not a lifestyle that would merit an affordable life insurance quote. But there’s a scattering of them all over the world.
Their reaction to an escape from Arcadia into Ameth would be similar to people from the Dome, only survivalists would be surprised not only by the number of people in civilization, but civilization itself.