The island nation known as the Bright Republic is an anomaly in the realm. It alone of all the heritor nations has been able to maintain sophisticated technological resources in the wake of the Shattering. Jealously-guarded etheric energy nodes route power to Republican devices and industry while reinforcing the celestial engines that allow the operation of these advanced devices. Without the nearby influence of these building-sized nodes, their magnetic rifles, electric cars, and advanced telecommunications devices are so much intricate scrap.
Most Republic technology is roughly on par with modern First World Earth, albeit with etherically-derived magnetic and electrical forces replacing internal combustion. Some prototypes are capable of much more, though these usually require customized magical support and cannot be mass-produced. A few items are even enchanted to function off the island, though these are prohibitively expensive treasures reserved for the wealthy elite.
The natives of the Bright Republic are keenly aware of the limits of their fifty-odd etheric nodes. Immigration is ruthlessly restricted to the wealthy or the well-connected, though criminal organizations are known to be able to get people past the shore monitoring stations for an exorbitant price. Most foreigners crave a place, as even the most impoverished Republic citizen enjoys a lifestyle on par with the modern First World inhabitant, with advanced plumbing, potent pharmaceuticals, cheap televisions, and an island-wide computing network.
Unfortunately, the etheric nodes are decaying. Much of the Republic’s enormous industrial base is dedicated to manufacturing the rapidly-consumed spare parts for the nodes, and the demand is only increasing. Great sums of precision-tooled parts and goods are sold to the traders of other nations in exchange for vital raw materials that cannot be found on the island, but more and more of this bounty is being burnt up or consumed just to keep the nodes in operation. The Republic’s theotechnicians cannot replace these nodes should they fail or be destroyed by sabotage.
The Republic’s government is unequal to the situation. The current president is a puppet for bureaucratic interests, and the various departments of the government struggle over control of the several hundred regional councilors elected to the island’s Grand Council. Each is concerned with gaining more influence and power, and in the shadow of their conflict several powerful criminal organizations and amoral business concerns are seeking their own advantage. Beneath the rosy facade of republican democracy and dutiful public service, almost anything can be bought or permitted if the right functionaries are paid off. It’s tacitly understood that senior bureaucrats are above the law unless they manage to anger a sufficient number of their peers.
The public only dimly understands their danger, and worries about the nodes are dismissed as crankishness. Most citizens are concerned chiefly with a new car, a new television show, a new dance club, or a new profit opportunity. Those who do know the truth are divided between the idealistic upholders of the nation and the ruthless souls who mean only to profit by the coming disaster. A few even look to the Godbound for salvation from their impending downfall.