In the earliest days of exploration the first nations of man were founded, nations that to this day struggle to remain at peace with one another. Once people began to understand the true power of dextrocite the great "Coal Rush" began, with dozens of corporations and thousands of independent families migrating to the fertile land known as the New West. Vast quantities of the ore were claimed from the land and this fueled the first international industrial revolution.
Eventually the easily accessible ore deposits dried up with much of the New West transformed into a barren land in the process. It became known as the Old West, with much of the population deciding to leave in search of fortune elsewhere.
For decades the outward spread of mankind halted and the focus on growth turned inwards. The larger nations were developing rich histories, their cultures becoming more individual and separatist.
It was the invention of high-pressure steam power that triggered the start of the second industrial revolution which continues to this day. Mankind has taken to the skies in steam-powered sky ships and a new age of exploration is upon us.
It is the development of the sciences which has given mankind the edge: Mathematics, Engineering, Alchemy. The deeper the understanding of the world, the more there seems to be to understood.
People's appearance varies widely, with each nation in the world having different ranges of skin, hair and eye colour. Different nations have different fashions, with individuals also choosing how flamboyantly to dress. The nations of Europa generally have class systems with the working class citizens unlikely to have access to the more expensive fabrics. In the Far East the same rule applies more or less. In the Old West dress sense doesn't indicate class as much as it indicates wealth.
Pirates tend to dress sensibly because life at sea or at sky is easier when dressing functionally rather than fashionably. Vests and jackets, pants and boots are the norm. Plenty of sea- and skyfarers still add flourishes to their clothes.
Men and Women
Men are traditionally seen as the breadwinners and dominant gender. But since the coal rush in the Old West, women have been able to break free from tradional roles. It is still unusual to see a female sky ship captain , but not so unusual that each female on board a ship is treated differently from male sailors and officers. There are still fewer female sailors in the national fleets of Brittania than on commercial ships and pirate ships.
Naming conventions also vary by nation. Plenty of pirates are Brittish or from Brittish colonies and so will have Brittish names. But as pirates can be of any nation, every naming style is represented. Plenty of sky pirates are known instead by nicknames that they have come up with themselves, or have become infamous enough to have been given a suitably scary nickname by the masses.