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In the summer of 1886 the snowstorms began. Crops failed, people starved. Millions fled south. They met only destruction, famine, and death.

In the farthest reaches of resource-rich north, the British Empire began construction of massive heat-radiating Generators, These grand engines would allow a chosen few to survive the frigid global winter, safe from the chaos of crumbling civilization.

They ran out of time.

An apocalyptic ice storm came from the south, devouring all in its path. People fled in panic. Some managed to cross the seas and reach the site of a Generator, only to find it frozen solid.

The Generator was designed to power a City capable of weathering the end of the world...

It falls to us to build it.

~ 'Frostpunk Demo'

The events of Frostpunk take place in an alternate AD 1886. It is yet unclear precisely when the game's timeline diverged from our own, but, given the technology, notable people, and events derived from the snippets of lore presented in game, it may be speculated that the divergence began as early as the year 1822.


Frostpunk's Timeline[edit | edit source]

BGF: Before the Great Frost

AGF: After the Great Frost

1822 (63 BGF) – The Triumph of Charles Babbage[edit | edit source]

In 1822, the British mathematician Charles Babbage conceives of a steam-driven calculating machine that would be able to compute tables of numbers. The project, funded by the British government, was a failure in our timeline, but in world of Frostpunk Babbage succeed in building his Difference Engine, an automatic mechanical calculator designed to tabulate polynomial functions. With the success of Difference Engine, the British government increased Babbage's funding and help from his fellow mathematician, friend, and correspondent Ada Lovelace allowing him to build the successor to Difference Engine, the Analytical Engine. The latter was a mechanical "general purpose computer" and the world's first computer in the World of Frostpunk.

Over the decades, Charles Babbage’s Analytical Engine continued to be improved and made smaller with each generation by other scientists and engineers, until a new type of Computational Engine was invented that is capable of following orders and performing complex tasks.

1822–1886 (63 BGF – Year 0) – Inventing the Steam Core[edit | edit source]

Somewhere between 1822 and 1886, the Steam Core was invented by Professor Hawkins. The invention of Steam Cores became a massive boon for the British Empire and the technology was adopted by other countries, such as the United States.

However, all knowledge regarding the manufacture of Steam Cores was lost during the Great Frost and in the ensuing chaos of civilizations' collapse. Most tragically was the loss of Professor Hawkins, who attempted to escape the Fall of London by crossing the Channel with his belongings, including all the blueprints and other documentation about Steam Cores, onboard an experimental Steam Core powered aeroplane. Only a Model of the Steam Core Prototype inside a waterproof chest was found afloat by a corvette searching for Professor Hawkins.

The few intact Steam Cores available to the residents of the Last Cities must be salvaged from buildings or derelicts dotting the Frostlands.

1822–1886 (63 BGF – Year 0) - Birth of the Automatons[edit | edit source]

Concurrent with the invention of Steam Cores, and doubtless building upon the success of Babbage's project, sometime between 1822 and 1886 the giant steam-powered robots known as Automatons were invented. These metal behemoths were born through the combination of complex clockwork mechanisms, the advanced computational engine, and the application of the Steam Core device. These huge machines, towering over people and structures, were the pinnacle of human engineering before the Great Frost and a massive boon to the British economy which propelled it to become the world’s first Superpower in the modern sense. Many other countries tried to make their own Automatons independently and even attempted to reverse-engineer them with mixed results, while others simply bought Automatons from the British.

1886 (Year 0) – The Arrival of the Great Frost[edit | edit source]

In the summer of 1886 the Great Frost began. Initially it presented as a chain of strange weather patterns, frost during summer, killer snowstorms in the northern countries, never-ending rain storms in the Sahara and an ever increasing drop in temperatures worldwide. The United Kingdom and several other countries sent out expeditions to the North to conduct research into the origin of the incipient changes in climate. Many of these British research outposts were equipped with Heat Generator Towers to enable prolonged study of these phenomena.

Meanwhile in Britain and in the rest of Europe, the general atmosphere continued to deteriorate. As even the hardiest crops began to fail, starvation had set in among the public. As days became months, millions of desperate people fled south in search of warmer weather and sources of food. They were met with chaos, famine, and death. Many southern countries had neither the inclination, nor the resources, nor even the infrastructure to handle a massive influx of refugees. Many governments tried to calm their people or turn a blind eye to this problem until it was too great to ignore, and anarchy erupted as man turned against man in a struggle over the few remaining resources, civilization slowly crumbled under the growing weight of snow and ice.

In an attempt to save the Empire and its people, the British Government arrived at two solutions. The first involved sending multiple naval vessels with refugees to their colonial holdings in South America, East and South Africa, India, and Australia where it was warmer. The other plan would involve sending icebreakers and purpose-built Land Dreadnoughts with refugees to the farthest reaches of the resource-rich North, where members of the British Science Expeditions have finished the construction of heat-producing Generators, and where a chosen few could survive the environmental catastrophe and the consequent socioeconomic collapse.

However, the strategy of the British Government was thwarted by Mother Nature herself. An ice storm of apocalyptic proportions came from the south, devouring all in its path, and severing all communication and travel between Britain and rest of its Empire. Robbed of options, the British Government begun putting into motion the complete evacuation of London and rest of the country.

1886 (Year 0) – The Last Autumn[edit | edit source]

With the ever-lasting cold bringing about famine, starvation and bread riots all throughout Britain and with its colonial empire having been destroyed by an apocalyptic ice storm, the British Government, robbed of any other options, begun mobilizing all available resources to carry out a complete evacuation of the British Isles, with the intent of evacuating as many people as possible to the coal-rich north to save what still could be saved of the British Empire. Ships were built or seized in order to transport both workers and resources to the far North. The Imperial Exploration Company was tasked with the goal of navigating to the sites of the British Science Expeditions' research outposts, construct Heat Generator Towers, and thus create safe havens for the people of Britain to survive through the approaching cold and eventually re-establish both the empire and civilization. All of the generator sites and cities that the player can play as are products of this evacuation protocol.

One such generator site was Site 113, or New Liverpool, set up by the Imperial Exploration Company to build a Generator to house the people of Liverpool.

The British Empire was not the only great power seeking refuge in the far north, however. The French (most likely the French Third Republic) were also sending explorers, workers and resources to the north with seemingly similar intentions of building safe havens for their people.

1886 (Year 0) – An End to the Old World[edit | edit source]

Once the Great Frost arrived in force and consumed the northern hemisphere, civilization collapsed. It is not known exactly what happened but the results speak for themselves. Just as the Great Frost begun to approach Britain, the British Government, financially exhausted teetering and on the brink of bankruptcy, ordered the complete evacuation of the British Isles. Boats, sips, Land dreadnoughts any other viable forms of transportation were mobilized (and seized) and outfitted to transport a many citizens to the generator sites, with a seeming priority on the wealthy upper class.

This would ultimately turn out to be the last act of the British Empire as by the end of 1886, the United Kingdom, the United States and the British dominions had been reduced to little more than scattered groups of survivors and refugees, desperately trying to make their way north to the generator sites. Many died in the harsh, icy and cold conditions while others became lost and trapped out in the Frostlands but some groups of survivors succeeded in reaching the safety of the Generator site and begun gathering resources to found cities to enable their own survival and to locate and save those that became trapped in the frostlands.

1886–1887 (Year 0 – 1 AGF) – Fall of Winterhome[edit | edit source]

Winterhome was a settlement of survivors not unlike New London, which started out as one of the British generator sites but fell under military governance. By the time of the Fall of London, Winterhome had become a small city. It had access to a number of advanced technologies and plenty of manpower and resources, which allowed them to construct numerous Automatons, several Research Outposts, an Observatory, and even a Steel Bridge over a deep, wide ravine.

When the news of London's destruction and arrival of massive amounts of refugees caused major strife within Winterhome, a riot broke out over food shortages and increasingly harsh rule by an Army captain before the Generator exploded from lack of oversight. Most of the city's denizens perished from either the explosion itself or the resulting chaos. Some left the fallen city and established ad-hoc encampments across the region; all those that remained in Winterhome succumbed first to cannibalism, and then to exposure.

Some of the survivors that survived the destruction of Winterhome were found and possibly saved by Scouts from the nearby New London.

1886–1887 (Year 0 – 1 AGF) – The Rise and Fall of Tesla City[edit | edit source]

Tesla City was a settlement founded by survivors of an American Expedition under the leadership of Nikola Tesla. They too were sent north to study strange weather patterns in the advent of the Great Frost. Using his great intelligence and keen technical knowledge, Nikola Tesla founded both his namesake city and Tesla Manufacturing, an engineering and manufacture concern that could very well be the largest contemporary production facility in the world.

Tesla Manufacturing had a complete monopoly over the City, holding ownership of every single building, and had the capability to produce highly advanced pieces of technology, which included Prosthetics and Steam Cores. Ostensibly to ensure humanity's survival in the frozen wasteland, Nikola Tesla grew to rule the city with an iron fist; those who could not work efficiently enough were either exiled or abandoned. Consequently, his utilitarian principles of Progress and Efficiency were viewed as dehumanizing by the people in his charge, who saw themselves as mere cogs in a soulless machine.

At some unknown point, Nikola Tesla attempted to implement an electricity field designed to shield his City against the encroaching snow. He succeeded in creating a dome of electrical energy which kept the ice and snow from engulfing the city proper. However, the field was either flawed at its inception, eventually developed a critical malfunction, or was somehow altered to electrocute humans within its radius. When a Scout Team from New London arrived at Tesla City, the city was completely intact, with the exception of the blackened and scorched corpses laying in the streets, and some notably minor damage to buildings from the field's discharge.

Even in its desolation, Tesla City is a veritable treasure trove of advanced technologies. The city appears to be the only location in the region that has the facilities capable of manufacturing Steam Cores, should an Outpost be constructed and manned in its vicinity.

1887 (1 AGF) – New London[edit | edit source]

New London was a settlement founded by a group of survivors fleeing London. It may be the last refuge of human civilization against the bitter cold, as the nearby cities of Winterhome and Tesla City have fallen.

The City of New London is located inside a massive, roughly cylindrical hole in the middle of a glacier, also known as The Pit. It appears that the glacier has naturally formed as the massive amounts of ice and snow descended from the grey clouds above. Additionally, there is the presence of disused Outpost Depot-like elevator structure which previously allowed people entrance to the Crater. It is possible that either the crater formed naturally around the perimeter of the Heat Generator's thermal radiation, or was perhaps excavated by unknown means to provide a stable surface for the former. At one time, New London’s Heat Generator Tower was surrounded by a massive forest, the majority thereof now frozen within the icy walls of the glacier.

Since the Heat Generator Tower was not covered by massive amounts of snow and ice upon its discovery by the refugees, it is believed that the members of British Science Expeditions used up all of their coal resources to keep the site ice-free for the refugees before they were forced to abandon the research post. The site of the generator is littered with discarded wooden containers and metal debris which potentially came from the two currently defunct shaft elevators.

Lost and Scattered, but Not Defeated[edit | edit source]

After weeks, even months of traveling, the Land Dreadnought from London finally ran out of coal and gave up the ghost. With little choice left the London Survivors left their Land Dreadnought to make the long trek to the Generator site. The journey towards the site was long and grueling, and many died due to exhaustion, hunger or bitter cold. Misfortune struck when the Convoy of London Survivors was separated during a blizzard. Of the Convoy of several hundred survivors, only small a group of 80 people under the leadership of the Captain was able reach the site, only to find the Generator stone cold and abandoned.

After they scavenged and salvaged enough resources from the wreckage and debris littered across the Crater they began setting up camp around the reactivated Generator. As days passed, the small camp of survivors became a small settlement with a Medical Post, Cookhouse, several Hunters’ Huts and full functional Workshop. However many were still worried about the missing members of the Convoy and their loved ones, and some wanted to go out and find them. However, due the harsh weather and lack of identifiable landmarks, it was nearly impossible for anyone to find their way to the city.

So the Engineers came up with the idea for a strange contraption which they called the Beacon. The best way to describe what this strange contraption is a tethered hot air balloon with a light beacon and lookout post attached underneath it, which function as both watchtower and lighthouse. Using the Beacon, they were able to survey the frozen wastes and find several sites of interest, one of which appeared to be a large group of people camped in the snow.

Journey to Winterhome[edit | edit source]

Tragedy of Winterhome (find and scout Winterhome)[edit | edit source]
Survivor from Winterhome (not scout Winterhome after set time limit)[edit | edit source]

A City Divided: New Londoners Vs. Londoners (Chose: Order or Faith)[edit | edit source]

New Londoners’ Exodus (Worst/Bad Ending)[edit | edit source]
A City United (Golden Ending)[edit | edit source]

The Oncoming Storm[edit | edit source]

The New Order (Order Ending)[edit | edit source]
The New Faith (Faith Ending)[edit | edit source]
Didn't Cross the Line (Golden Ending)[edit | edit source]

1887 (1 AGF) – Legacy and New Manchester[edit | edit source]

The City of Legacy and the Seedling Arks[edit | edit source]

The City of Legacy, also known as Legacy Ark, is a settlement founded by academics from Cambridge and Oxford, who were sent to preserve the last vestiges of plant life on Earth. While having the smallest population compared with New London and Sanctuary, the city is an industrial powerhouse. Heavily industrialized and automated, with its mechanized army of towering Automatons work day and night to keep the furnace of the City’s Generator fed and keep the life-support system of the Seedling Arks going. Unlike the circular crater in New London, the city of Legacy is located in an eye-shaped crater with significantly more frozen trees but no suitable place for an Outpost Depot. Most of its natural resources like frozen trees, coal deposits, iron deposits and the cracks in the wall are all concentrated on the southwestern end of the crater while the northeastern end of it only contains a few frozen trees.

During the early days of the missions it was tough for the people of Legacy; the Expedition had reached the safety of the Generator site and stored Seeds and Seedling within the Seedling Arks, but not without cost. They had lost the blueprints for the Factory when their Land Dreadnought had given up the ghost, and one of the two Automatons they had had broken down during the long walk to the site and they were forced to leave it behind. They organized a Scout Team to retrieve the blueprints and salvage any valuables from the Land Dreadnought. During the journey back to the Land Dreadnought the Scout Team found the broken Automaton; they succeeded in repairing it and programming it to go to the city.

After the blueprints were successfully retrieved, the construction of a Factory and expansion of the industrial base began. However, early on the Engineers of Legacy ran into a snag. Their small supply of Steam Cores was depleted quickly. Lacking both the facilities and technical know-how to make their own Steam Cores, the Scientists of Legacy were forced to continue scouting the surrounding region in search of more Steam Cores to increase their industry and the number of Automatons . With some research into experimental technology, the scientists figured out how to turn an Automaton into a Mechanized Scout Unit, allowing them to increase their number of scout units, in order to find and salvage more vital resources for their small settlement as the devastating snow storm slowly approached.

With much of the city’s industry fully automated by Automatons, the people of Legacy began to prepare themselves to weather the oncoming storm, when suddenly a lonely man, who was almost half frozen to death, came stumbling out of the frozen wasteland.

The Plight of New Manchester[edit | edit source]

New Manchester is a settlement founded by refugees from Manchester. Due to bad fortune their Land Dreadnought ended being trapped by collapsing ice sheets. Forced to abandon their vehicle and most of their supplies, the Manchester survivors arrived at their Generator and founded the City of New Manchester. However, due to poor leadership and the lack of skilled labor they could not develop their city any further since most of them were all working class.

With resources running low and a devastating snowstorm slowly approaching, the leadership of New Manchester began to send Scout Teams out into the Frostlands in search for help or any sites with the resources they needed. Many of these Scout Teams died; only a sole survivor from one of these teams stumbled into the sheltered canyon where a small community of scientists and engineers had founded the City of Legacy.

The survivor pleaded for help and the People of Legacy sent out one of their Scout Teams to find New Manchester and determine the situation. When Legacy’s Scouts arrived at New Manchester, things looked really grim. New Manchester looked more like a slum than a city: tents and ramshackle huts surrounded the barely functioning Heat Generator Tower, and the people managed to scrape just enough food and coal for each day to survive. There was no chance that the city would survive the storm without some kind of outside intervention.

The people of Legacy were faced with a difficult choice: would they help New Manchester and risk compromising their mission, or keep focusing on their mission and leave the people of New Manchester to their fate?

A City Saved, But A Green Future Destroyed (Bad Ending)[edit | edit source]
The Price for a Green Future (Bad Ending)[edit | edit source]
Legacy’s Relieve Effort for New Manchester (Golden Ending)[edit | edit source]

1887 (1 AGF) – City of Sanctuary[edit | edit source]

1887 (1 AGF) – The Great Storm[edit | edit source]

Some time after the founding of New London and the resolution of the Londoner crisis, a group of frantic and terrified survivors reached the city, bringing terrible news. They spoke of a massive weather anomaly that was following after them, a vast, crushing cold storm approaching that would annihilate anything in its wake.

Sometime after that, a vast, dark, looming bank of dense storm clouds begun to appear on the horizon, drawing closer to the city of New London each day, covering everything. Seemingly a giant blizzard, this storm was devastatingly cold and violent, with any Scout and Outpost teams caught in it perishing instantly. Even before the storm reached the city, its sheer size was enough to terrify people and stir up trouble, with panic, unrest and disorder erupting all about, leading to work stoppages, resource thefts, riots and general disorder.

Once the storm reached the city itself (no more than 43 days after the founding of New London), it unleashed a blizzard far worse than anything else ever imagined before. Described as a "howling gale bursting upon the city, with the generator creaking and groaning under weight of the crushing cold rattling windows and words of prayer uttered by trembling lips", the storm represented the absolute pinnacle of the Great Frost, with all communications with the outside world being cut off completely, the city descending into darkness and the temperature outside becoming freezing cold even next to the generator, overdrive on or not.

The crushing cold became so severe that hunting became completely impossible, the soil in hothouses would freeze and anyone caught outside would get get severe frostbite and become gravely ill within seconds. Not having a proper house (with heavy insulation) to live was a veritable death sentence and even with all that in place, staying alive was a constant struggle of life and death. As if seemingly the wrath of Mother Nature herself had been unleashed upon humanity, at the height of the storm, the outside temperature was recorded at a record-shattering -150°C. In the face of such hellish cold, even the most optimistic of citizens begun to lose hope and descend into panic or despair. How could the previously so hospitable Earth turn into such a freezing hell so quickly?

Late 1887 (1 AGF) – Beyond the Great Storm[edit | edit source]

However, despite its hellish intensity, the storm did eventually come to an end, almost as quickly as it had arrived, with the storm dissipating and the temperature skyrocketing back up to an almost mockingly normal -20°C, with a eerie silence left in its wake. The surviving citizens of New London, seemingly the only survivors of the Great Storm, could celebrate their monumental achievement of surviving through a cold 6,5 times worse than what they started with more than a month earlier. In addition to that, the Great Storm had also unearthed an abandoned warehouse left over from the days of the northward evacuations, possibly full of supplies needed to expand the city and rebuild the fallen British Empire and mankind out of its frozen tomb. An expedition was launched to set up camp and establish an outpost at the warehouse.

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