Disclaimer: This map is based on the Girl Genius-inspired map of North America by Ephraim Ben Raphael (and made with his permission), depicting Europe in the same universe.
In summary, on December 21, 2012, one in every 10,000 people become mad scientists, or “sparks”, similar to those in the Girl Genius webcomic. Hilarity (and nastiness) ensues.
Thank you for your attention. We will now proceed with the tour:
The year is 2020, eight years after the “Great Breakthrough” that caused so much havoc on the world. Now, most of those areas that can still be classed as civilised are ruled by mad scientists.
In the ensuing anarchy following the emergence of the spark, it was those same sparks who were best positioned to capitalise on the chaos, and create the new world order. The ordinary people generally submitted to them because anything – literally anything – would be better than the world falling around them constantly.
Though the emergence of the sparks was largely random, for some reason no one’s ever convincingly explained, many old noble and royal houses have quite strong ones amongst their number. But that could just be chance. Sparkiness does seem to run in families, though, so there is likely to be some genetic component to it.
Fortunately, no-one’s figured out how to destroy the world yet. Not through want of trying, though – planets are really hard to blow up.
Britain is one of the very few global powers left in the world, in as much as that term can be said to be valid anymore. It is certainly one of the few European countries to have benefited overall from the events of December 2012, if purely by chance. Prince William turned out to be one of the most powerful and charismatic sparks in Europe; following the death of both Prince Charles and the Queen, he secured control of most of the country quite quickly. Fortunately, he managed to convince enough minor and middling sparks to submit to him to allow this – in exchange, he ennobled the lot of them, and granted a few dozen of the most powerful/loyal of them various satrapies and seats in the (now far more powerful) House of Lords. Since then, he has declared himself Emperor, with the establishment of the “New British Empire”.
Though there are still local elections (but the councils have to work with the sparky satraps), the various parliaments and assemblies are largely talking shops. However, despite being the most politically powerful British monarch since Henry VIII, the Emperor at least allows a modicum of democracy to remain, which is more than can be said for other countries in Europe.
Britain has territory in Canada and the Caribbean and elsewhere around the world; including holdings in Europe. Apart from Gibraltar, the New British Empire includes Malta, Calais, Dunkirk as well as Normandy (which includes the Channel Islands), which the Emperor rules as duke. The various minor Irish states agreed to give him the cursory title of High King of Ireland in July 2015, recognising William as their overlord in exchange for his assistance in maintaining order. Britain also has various allies and protectorates on the continent – Flanders, Brittany, Alençon, Gascony, Cyprus, Bergen, and a few petty states in the Mediterranean.
His Britannic Majesty is not without opposition, however – apart from the odd minor spark that gets the wrong idea (i.e. that the King-Emperor shouldn’t be in charge), there are more organised groups, such as a revived and spark-boosted IRA (which operates throughout Ireland) and others that oppose his rule elsewhere.
On the plus side, British industry is booming again…
France is…interesting…to say the least. There are two claimant French Republics, one based at Amiens, the other at Toulouse. The three pretender lines (Legitimist, Orleanist and Bonapartists) each have their own state; there are two Third French Kingdoms, and the Third French Empire. The Îsle-de-France is ruled by a despot, the so-called “Master of Paris”, who has so far declined the mantle of a third claimant Republic. Apart from the British protectorates and holdings in the north and west, there is also the Kingdom of Burgundy, and an episcopal state at Avignon, more on which later. Unfortunately, the Massif Central is a wasteland, populated by ravening monsters and deranged robots, remains of the devastating war between the sparks of Limoges and Auvergne – the survivors defend themselves with whatever they can scavenge that doesn’t blow up in their faces.
Iberia isn’t much better off. The rump Kingdom of Spain is ruled by a sparky Junta in the name of King Philip VI (son of Juan Carlos). The other major states include the nominally socialist Catalonia and the Kingdom of Valencia (ruled by a Carlist claimant). Portugal has broken into three pieces; the northern portion is ruled by someone who claims to be related to the last king, Manuel II.
The previous president-for-life of Andalucía learned the hard way why you do not f**k with the New British Empire. After attempting to invade Gibraltar in 2016, his palace was destroyed by kinetic bombardment from the flying battleship HMS Illustrious, while the invading army was forced to flee from the engineered creatures of the Chimera Regiment. Seville subsequently declared its independence, and continues to be pro-British; Murcia and Albacete fell into Valencia’s orbit; while Algeciras and Malaga were turned into British protectorates. The current ruler is naturally rather more…pragmatic…when it comes to dealing with the great powers of Europe.
Extremadura and some of the surrounding area is also wasteland, similar to France’s, while the Balearics are divided between Valencia, Catalonia and the New British Empire.
The sparks of Italy have decided to refer to Leonardo da Vinci a lot, especially with the clockpunky stuff some of them have turned out. Apart from the restored Savoyard Kingdom of Italy and the colonialist Serene Venetian Republic in the north, and the Kingdom of Naples in the south (not ruled by the Bourbons, though), there are a number of small republics squashed in between. However, they are too powerful to warrant the bigger states trying to annex them again (again).
Apart from the minor holdings of Naples and the NBE, Sicily is mostly ruled by spark-assisted Mafia. Unfortunately, one of them tried to use Mount Etna as a doomsday weapon, which failed miserably; apart from really colourful ash fields, the only other things there are whatever’s escaped from his labs – some of which have started to breed…
There are a lot of rival Papacies – Rome, Avignon, Santiago de Compostela, Ravenna, Krakow and Augsburg. Each of these has a number of different states recognising them as the “true Pope” (usually states that are nearby).
Switzerland is split between Bern and Zurich, both of which have taken to clockpunkyness as much as the Florentines have (which is a lot). Some bits have been nibbled off the edges by bordering powers, though.
You’ll notice the area around Geneva is a wasteland. One of the few cases of coordination between the major spark powers (and that took some doing, let me tell you) – they carpet-bombed CERN rather than let the local Joker-crazy spark turn the LHC into THE ULTIMATE WEAPON!!!. Fortunately, he hadn’t finished modifying it. Unfortunately, the stuff he had modified reacted badly to the stuff in the weapons (just goes to show, huh). Nowadays, the neighbouring countries have heavily fortified their border with the Geneva wastes – trust me, you do not want to go in there unless you have (a) an army, and (b) a strong stomach. There’s even a massive electrified net stretched across Lake Geneva – the bordering countries have agreed to joint naval patrols.
The Balkans are home to three major European powers, all of them fairly decent places to live in as long as you (a) aren’t too fond of voting rights and criticizing the establishment, and (b) generally behave yourself. The first is the Habsburg Empire, ruled by a grandson of Otto von Habsburg (RIP). So far, they’ve not only expanded Austria’s borders a bit, but carved out a nice sphere of influence around them; the Habsburg puppets all acknowledge the Archduke as Emperor – the title is more than just a courtesy one. They contest influence in Pannonia with the Grand Principality of Transylvania. The Transylvanians are big on electrical-based stuff – there are Tesla coils strapped to everything when it comes to the royal army; but whatever you do, if you’re in Cluj, don’t go near the castle unannounced, unless you want to be turned into spare parts. The other Balkan power is the Third Bulgarian Empire. The rest of the Balkans is, well, balkanised. There are six Greek states, two Serbian ones, two Croatian (and a large Venetian province), three out of Bosnia, and an enlarged Albania and Montenegro.
Germany is just as chopped up as the rest of the continent. The royal houses of Baden, Saxony, Hanover and Bavaria have re-established themselves, and carved out states roughly corresponding to their ancestral domains. Apart from the two Danish protectorates and the vast wasteland between Magdeburg and Posen (the sparks in and around the Lander of Brandenburg were totally nuts), there are the republic of Swabia and the Augsburg Papacy.
Many people thought that the European Union couldn’t survive the emergence of the spark. They were wrong. Grand Duke Henri showed them (showed them all), by seizing Brussels and Strasbourg, and going on to take control over large parts of the Low Countries, France and Germany. The Pax Luxembourgia, also known as the United Empire of Europa, also dominates several minor states, who aren’t quite willing to join the union fully just yet. The Grand Duke rules his empire with an iron fist in a velvet glove, mostly operating on the policy of “don’t make me come over there!” – and when you make him come over there, he kicks your arse without remorse. Many an uppity sparky vassal has come to a sticky end thanks to the Grand Ducal robotic army.
The remaining independent part of the Netherlands has detached itself from the rest of by flooding parts of the canal network, as well as all of Flevoland. The western bank of the new Lek Straits is one of the most heavily militarised waterways in the world. Make all the clogs and windmill jokes you want – Holland is an island fortress that would make the Burmese Junta proud.
Poland is also in bits, which feud with each other constantly. The Tsardom of Galicia is the most powerful of these, having annexed a good chunk of the Ukraine thanks to judicious use of biological weapons; you do not want to mess with this guy, or he’ll strap you to one of his…machines. They don’t call him the Prince of Nightmares for nothing…
Lithuania has also expanded. The self-proclaimed Grand Duke may be a nicer guy than the aforesaid Tsar of Galicia, but that’s like saying being branded with a red-hot poker is better than with a white-hot one. Anyway, he’s more of a death-through-energy-weapons sort of chap.
Following the obliteration of Stockholm (that spark might have been swapping notes with the guy in Haiti), Sweden fell apart completely. By now, there are three self-proclaimed kingdoms of Sweden (the house of Bernadotte hasn’t fared well at all). Norway has also splintered, following the devastation wrought on Oslo and the surrounding countryside; the Republic of Bergen only survives thanks to backing from the New British Empire, while the Kingdom of Norway is now based out of Lillehammer. Most of the north has descended into petty feudalism, under the so-called Polar Ice Lords. Denmark annexed a good portion of the Swedish coastline, and established a puppet government on Gotland.
Turkey is in several bits. There is the restored Ottoman Empire in the west, the Republic of Turkey based at Ankara, and the Islamic Republic of Turkey based at Konya, all of which claim to be the “true Turkey”. Meanwhile, the Technocratic State of Trebizond and the Republic of Cappadocia try to stay out of their way.
Eastern Europe is a complete mess. Russia fell apart completely following the devastation of Moscow and St. Petersburg; the shattered remains of Kiev are at the southern end of the Pripyat Wasteland – lots of bug-like beasts roam around there.
The self-proclaimed Hetman of the Crimea rules the most liberal of the post-Ukrainian states, and has lots of cool boats. He’s currently getting Transylvania and Bulgaria to haggle for his friendship.
Meanwhile, the Romanovs are back with a vengeance. Based out of Volgograd, now restored to its old name of Tsaritsyn, the cyborg bear cavalry and mutant Cossacks ensure that the Emperor’s word is law. Fortunately, the current Tsar is firm but fair (though a believer in Authority Equals Arsekicking), rather than the total nutcase that controls the “Russian Republic” who sees the likes of Ivan the Terrible or Vlad the Impaler as role-models, if a bit soft.
 Mad scientists manage to be much better for MAD than nukes, mostly because they are 100% (un)natural and organic (most of the time).
 Possibly ever. After all, his ancestors didn’t have huge armies of robots and mutants backing them up…
 See previous map for details.
 This is AH.com, after all. There’s got to be a Kingdom of Burgundy.
 Part lion, unicorn and dragon – representing England, Scotland and Wales respectively – with a bit of cybernetic enhancement thrown in for good measure.
 Though they are administered more like colonies.
 The self-proclaimed Doge has a taste for body modification. Don’t mess with him if you want to stay looking noticeably human. You have been warned…
 Sometimes, these things just work out…
 *dramatic thunderstorm sounds*
 Now a rather more accurate term for the Kingdom of the Netherlands.
 Albeit one financed by Denmark, the northern French states and especially the New British Empire.
Link to map - [link]