From New Babbage Department of Records and Archives
Falun, a mining town to the north, is the gateway town of the northern mining villages. The train brings ore from Falun to New Babbage for refining. Other villages to the north are Topperwick/Underwick, Terra Fosca, and Bump. There is a high incidence of natural and artificial dwarfism in the region due to rickets and a childhood illness known as bone fever which permanently stunts the growth of survivors. Local legend tells of a race of dwarves in the distant past from which the who taught the men of Falun the secrets hidden in the Earth, although there is no archeological evidence to support this tale.
"Babbage, far from the center of the Empire, was spared the worst associated with the Fall. Sitting on the Eastern edge of the Empire, Babbage had served as a strong garrison over the boarder lands. Its focus was eastward, receiving goods from the Empires neighbors and funneling the fair of the empire to far flung customers. A large garrison supported its defense as well as ensured stable flow of natural resources. As the center of the Empire became threatened with pretender's armies and breakaway city-states, the garrison at Babbage was whittled down, the neighboring lands left to self defense.
"Odnar's kin (several of the names for the town fit really well), were forced to fend for them selves. Raiders and local warlords, hoping to control the resources of the town, decimated the top side population. Babbage, dependent on the fuel and sturdy tools of the town, provided what protection it could but it was still a dangerous time to be in control of such valuable resources. Generations had worked the mines, when endangered, the population withdrew underground. Clever rumors, eventually shrouded the town with the effective protection of legend and superstition. The population continued to exists, even thrive underground, developing a subterranean city within the vaulted ceilings left from mining. They densely packed layered dwellings and business perhaps three to four "streets" high, interlaced with swaying bridges and service carts interconnecting the higher homes.
"Relative stability in the region returned caused in part by the rise of Babbage as a self defended city state. A cultural shift from the superstitious to the scientific lead slowly opened the population to contact with its neighbors, particularly its only true trading partner. Trade and its exchange of culture and populations commenced in earnest. The town even began to resettle its topside with more than shacks that served as look out and strong points to defend the undercity. Life is difficult but sustainable."
In recent years, Falun has been diversely populated with poor immigrant workers from all over the world seeking their fortunes in the fabled Mines of Falun, which makes for interesting hotbeds of mixed culture, politics and religion, not to mention attempted involvement of unions.
"With all these elements thrown in the mix, it is no wonder that brawls and riots were commonplace amongst it's citizens. I'm sure such towns were just rampant with obscene language, gambling, drinking and a multitude of other "improprieties". This town would obviously be extremely unattractive to any true gentlefolk."
"The waste produced by any mining operation might introduce various illnesses (i.e. black lung) or could possibly cause genetic mutations in those exposed."
The name was chosen from a story by E.T.A. Hoffman, The Mines of Falun, about a sailor who lured from the sea by a mysterious stranger to meet his doom in the mines.