Saturday, March 1, 2014

Blood and Diesel: Horizon

Virgil Reichhardt is a German-American from Texas, an industrialist and oil baron worth millions. Once a member of the KKK, he considered them to have lost their will and spirit in the sixty years since the Civil War. Reichhardt started his own American fascist movement, the Black Legion, comprised of like-minded racists and bigots. The Legion planned to overthrow the United States government and install a new one with Virgil as dictator, but a series of investigations and crackdowns led Reichhardt to flee with his most devoted followers. Rumors arose that he had begun taking funds from Germany and Japan, known fascist governments—and those rumors were proven true when Reichhardt finally resurfaced.

His city is called Horizon, and it is a wonder and marvel of modern engineering. Constructed as a mobile oil drilling platform, refinery, and industrial center, Horizon is home to many thousands of Germans, Japanese, Italians, Russians, and Americans, all working toward Reichhardt’s dream of a fascist world government. Hundreds of ships are docked at Horizon, as well as dozens of German U-boats. America looks at Horizon with a wary eye, knowing that it would be used as a major staging ground in case of war, as well as being responsible for funneling millions of gallons of fuel into the hands of foreign powers.



A believer in technological innovation as well as racial superiority, Reichhardt has also turned Horizon into a haven for the worst sort of unethical scientists. Many of Horizon’s population possess surgical or mechanical “enhancements” to their bodies, whether as test subjects or as volunteers. These invasive procedures can produce amazing benefits—as well as crippling or maddening side effects. The most common and stable such augmentation is known as an Armature, an implant that can increase the wielder’s strength as well as allowing the use of Horizon’s extensive twinrail transport system.

In addition to Armatures, not a small number of Horizon’s inhabitants possess Bleeds, a genetically-instilled ability to “bleed off” residual energy from the background noise of the universe and expel it from their bodies in a variety of forms. Some Bleeders can control light, others gravity, and some can project devastating blasts of fire or cold. A tiny few have learned how to perform multiple Bleeds, though often as significant cost to their health and mental well-being.

Horizon is a hotbed of political intrigue in the mid-Atlantic, frequently on the move. America and its allies have eyes and ears inside Horizon, but they always need more. Will you descend into the vipers’ den to protect the free world from the shadow of fascism?

***

Horizon is one of the unique locations in the Blood and Diesel setting, a floating city of fascists supported by the Axis powers and used as a mobile base for spying, submarine reconnaissance, and resource collection. Its founder is an American, and the American ideals of industry and growth are very much on display in Horizon, side by side with the worst aspects of 1930s fascism.

In a display of dramatic irony, Reichhardt is forced to work cheek-and-jowl with the "racial degenerates" he hates so much in order to keep his city functioning. Japanese scientists and Chinese workers from Manchuria represent a significant chunk of the city's population, as well as American expatriates looking to live in a "more perfect union"--most of which aren't members of the "pure Aryan race." Not a small number of Germans and Italians live in Horizon, as well as fascist supporters from Mexico, Greece, and Russia, all of whom lack the racial motivations of Reichhardt and his closest supporters even if they share political ideology.

Perhaps most dangerously, Horizon's scientists are experimenting with mechanical augmentation, genetic engineering, and nuclear power--all of which are feared by most civilized nations. Horizon's "successes" with its unholy experiments may well inspire other nations to attempt the same, likely with disastrous results.

If you're interested in learning more about Horizon, and the rest of the world of 1939, keep an eye out for Blood and Diesel, hopefully coming to a Kickstarter near you... sometime!

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