This is a work of fiction created for the Twilight 2000 Role Playing Game. Original material © Dave Ross

This is a work of fiction created for the Twilight 2000 Role Playing Game

Introduction

Geography

Commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Great Britain), the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is located off the north-western coast of continental Europe. The total area of the United Kingdom is approximately 243,610 square kilometres (94,060 sq mi), (making it slightly smaller than the US State of Oregon). The country occupies the major part of the British Isles archipelago and includes the island of Great Britain, the north-eastern part of the island of Ireland and some smaller surrounding islands. It lies between the North Atlantic Ocean and the North Sea with the south-east coast coming within 35 kilometres (22 mi) of the coast of northern France, from which it is separated by the English Channel. As of 1993 10% of the UK was forested, 46% used for pastures and 25% used for agriculture.

The coastline of Great Britain is 17,820 kilometres (11,073 mi) long. It is connected to continental Europe by the Channel Tunnel, which at 50 kilometres (31 mi) (38 kilometres (24 mi) underwater) is the longest underwater tunnel in the world. Northern Ireland is the only part of the UK has a land border with another sovereign state, sharing a 360-kilometre (224 mi) boundary with the Republic of Ireland.

England accounts for just over half of the total area of the UK, covering 130,395 square kilometres (50,350 sq mi). Most of the country consists of lowland terrain, with mountainous terrain north-west of the Tees-Exe line; including the Cumbrian Mountains of the Lake District, the Pennines and limestone hills of the Peak District, Exmoor and Dartmoor. The main rivers and estuaries are the Thames, Severn and the Humber. England's highest mountain is Scafell Pike (978 metres (3,209 ft)) in the Lake District. Its principal rivers are the Severn, Thames, Humber, Tees, Tyne, Tweed, Avon, Exe and Mersey.

Scotland accounts for just under a third of the total area of the UK, covering 78,772 square kilometres (30,410 sq mi) and including nearly eight hundred islands predominantly west and north of the mainland; notably the Hebrides, Orkney Islands and Shetland Islands. The topography of Scotland is distinguished by the Highland Boundary Fault—a geological rock fracture—which traverses Scotland from the Isle of Arran in the west to Stonehaven in the east. The fault line separates two distinctively different regions; namely the Highlands to the north and west and the lowlands to the south and east. The more rugged Highland region contains the majority of Scotland's mountainous land, including Ben Nevis which at 1,343 metres (4,406 ft) is the highest point in the British Isles.Lowland areas, especially the narrow waist of land between the Firth of Clyde and the Firth of Forth known as the Central Belt, are flatter and home to most of the population including Glasgow, Scotland's largest city, and Edinburgh, its capital and political centre.

Wales accounts for less than a tenth of the total area of the UK, covering 20,779 square kilometres (8,020 sq mi). Wales is mostly mountainous, though South Wales is less mountainous than North and mid Wales. The main population and industrial areas are in South Wales, consisting of the coastal cities of Cardiff, Swansea and Newport, and the South Wales Valleys to their north. The highest mountains in Wales are in Snowdonia and include Snowdon (Welsh: Yr Wyddfa) which, at 1,085 metres (3,560 ft), is the highest peak in Wales The 14, or possibly 15, Welsh mountains over 3,000 feet (914 m) high are known collectively as the Welsh 3000s. Wales has over 1,200 kilometres (746 miles) of coastline. There are several islands off the Welsh mainland, the largest of which is Anglesey (Ynys Môn) in the northwest.

Northern Ireland accounts for just 14,160 square kilometres (5,470 sq mi) and is mostly hilly. It includes Lough Neagh which, at 388 square kilometres (150 sq mi), is the largest lake in the British Isles by area. The highest peak in Northern Ireland is Slieve Donard in the Mourne Mountains at 852 metres (2,795 ft).



Climate


The United Kingdom has a temperate climate, with plentiful rainfall all year round. The temperature varies with the seasons seldom dropping below −11 °C (12 °F) or rising above 35 °C (95 °F). The prevailing wind is from the south-west and bears frequent spells of mild and wet weather from the Atlantic Ocean, although the eastern parts are mostly sheltered from this wind—as the majority of the rain falls over the western regions the eastern parts are therefore the driest. Atlantic currents, warmed by the Gulf Stream, bring mild winters; especially in the west where winters are wet and even more so over high ground. Summers are warmest in the south-east of England, being closest to the European mainland, and coolest in the north. Heavy snowfall can occur in winter and early spring on high ground, and occasionally settles to great depth away from the hills.




Language

The primary language of 95% of the British population is English. Before the War there were some half a million Welsh speakers, concentrated in North and West Wales, making Welsh the second most spoken language in the UK. Scotland was home to a small number of Scots Gaelic speakers (just over 50,000, or approximately 1% of Scotland’s population, and concentrated mainly on the islands of the Inner and Outer Hebrides), whilst there were approximately 100,000 speakers of Irish Gaelic in Northern Ireland (the two forms of Gaelic are closely related to each other, sharing many similar words and phrases, allowing speakers of the two languages to rapidly develop mutual intelligibility. Closely related to Welsh, Cornish was spoken by approximately 3,500 people in Cornwall, whilst immigrants have brought their own languages to the UK, particularly from the Indian sub Continent.



Government

The UK is a Parliamentary Democracy; Parliament is bicameral. The upper house is known as the House of Lords and the lower house is known as the House of Commons. The House of Lords includes two different types of members: the Lords Spiritual (the senior bishops of the Church of England) and the Lords Temporal (members of the Peerage) whose members are not elected. Peers include Hereditary Peers, whose titles have been passed down through generations, and Life Peers, who are appointed by the Sovereign, usually on the advice of the Prime Minister, and whose title dies with them.  At the start of the Twilight War there were over seven hundred Hereditary Peers  and approximately three hundred and fifty Life Peers. Members of the House of Commons are known as Members of Parliament (MP) and are directly elected by the population in a General Election. At the start of the War there were six hundred and fifty nine MP's, the vast majority of whom belonged to three main Political Parties - the Conservatives, Labour (also known as New Labour), and the Liberal Democrats.

Central Government is known as His (or Her when the Sovereign is female) Majesty's Government, or HM Government for short. The Government is led by the Prime Minister, who selects all the remaining Ministers. The Prime Minister and the other most senior Ministers belong to the supreme decision-making committee, known as the Cabinet.

The Sovereign remains Head of State for the UK, but takes little direct part in government, and remains strictly neutral in political affairs. However, the legal authority known as the Crown remains the source of the executive power used by the Government. These powers are known as Royal Prerogative and can be used for a vast number of things. The powers are delegated from the Monarch personally, in the name of the Crown, and can be handed to various ministers, or other Officers of the Crown, and can if necessary be used to purposely bypass the consent of Parliament.