In 1827, sensing that mankind was entering a new era, the brilliant inventor Charles Babbage created the Mechanical Brotherhood. Britain would get a major technological advantage from the centralization of such great brains.
As early as 1830, the first automatons were affected to the most painful tasks usually performed by workers. The latter, dispossessed of their jobs, grumbled at the news. But automatons demanded a lot of care and money and were actually not very reliable. They were thrown out of the factories when zombies appeared in 1840. This was a severe blow for the Brotherhood, whose members were utterly mortified. So they decided to study very closely the energy that animates the living dead. Two years later they took advantage of the anti-zombies riots to experiment their theories in the utmost secrecy. The scientists finally discovered the properties of the Ether and forged the fundamentals of Etheromancy.
Their rational explanation of Necromancy efficiently soothed the fears about this “diabolical” art – too much, maybe. The British society now believed that science could control magic…Therefore it was no longer possible to burn a sorcerer or any such magician, as their practices were no longer considered unholy.
Confirmed into their Promethean role, the Brothers threw caution to the winds and came up with the most daring devices, such as the protoplasmic capacitor. It was meant to prove once and for all the superiority of Science over Necromancy. When it exploded in 1851, dozens of ectoplasms were released into London and haunted the city for years. Only sorcerers would be able to get rid of them; the machines made by the scientists were costly and inefficient, sometimes even dangerous…Despite the Mechanical Brotherhood’s suspicions that the Cult may well have sabotaged the machine, the House of Lords decided to proscribe meetings of more than 3 scientists in a public area or workshop.
As a consequence, the Mechazylum was founded in the greatest secret in 1852. It bears the name that its members gave to their private labs. The scientists thought that society had sunk into a new age of darkness where Fairies and superstition were absolute rulers. They swore to bring progress to mankind, even if they had to go against mankind itself. The Mechazylum could not be kept secret for a very long time because of the money that scientists needed for their works. But because each political group in London thought they could take advantage of their discoveries, nobody proceeded to take actions against this organisation.
The prestigious rank of Steamlord is bestowed on a scientist by the Queen, if his research has contributed to the wealth of the British Empire. But he could never confess that he worked with other scientists, members of his own secret society. This royal gambit is a means to divide and rule, for a Steamlord can use the Royal Treasury funds. This is a very meaningful advantage in the race for knowledge and every member of the Mechazylum is interested in it. This has contributed to the sectarianism of this organisation, and more and more scientists think that Science is for the élite, not for common people.