Bohemia is in open revolt against the Holy Roman Empire. The Bohemian nobility is in turmoil, facing the combined might of the Catholic nations, and not knowing who they can trust. Emissaries from the Turks have made promises of alliance with Bohemia, but everyone fears that may just be a ploy to make inroads into Western Europe. The Catholic League is marching to suppress the revolt, despite problems of bankruptcy and unrest in many of the member nations, and religious intolerance and violence is the order of the day.
Magic is being pushed back into the shadows after the openness and acceptance of the reign of Rudolf II. Some supernatural power groups have decided to fight back, unwilling to retreat from the freedom they have known, and some are taking the opportunity presented by the chaos of war to settle old scores and claim new territory. The Queens of Faerie have taken their Courts away from the mortal world, closing many of the Ways through their realms, to prevent the chaos from spreading to the Mittlemarch. The more feral creatures, including werewolves, ghouls, and the forces of Muspelheim, glory in the destruction in the countryside, giving vent to their basest natures. The White Council is wracked with dissension, and cannot come to a consensus on any unified action to take to keep mortals safe; indeed, the religious intolerance extends to the Council, and many members secretly pursue their own agendas in the strife that grips the mortal world.