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  1. #1
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    Default Need Help/Input/Comments

    I've been kicking around the idea of a Steampunk(ish?) setting, but the options are swamping me every time I sit down to work on it. I need a little help culling them out.

    Note: Some of them have "names"--don't pay too much attention to them; they're just tags to make it easier to identify them when my wife sees the odd look on my face and asks which one I'm thinking about.

    Option 1: "Pulpy" steampunk - To the general public things are exactly as the were in the history books, to a select few technology is running rampant. Think the Secret Adventures of Jules Verne or League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. Some magic, some mysticism, lots of low-tech "high-tech" - This one is actually the quiet one.

    Option 2: Alternate Fantasy - Some key failure in the past doesn't fail and technology takes a huge leap forward sooner then it did in our history. A la Stirling/Gibson's The Difference Engine - but probably not Babbage's Engine: too passe. No Magic, interesting flying machines, Lighter-than-air Aircraft carriers, politics, intrigue and maybe a very, very ugly war. - This one is noisy but I don't think it's sure whether it wants to be a game or a book.

    Option 3: "Steammage" - Magic starts working again in the mid-17th Century; Newton says the hell with Calculus and looks for the Philosophers Stone. Opposing "Major" traditions (Alchemy and Thaumaturgy) draw lines based upon nationality, minor traditions (Runecasters, shaman and "witches") have to step carefully or run afoul of the (Reformed and Reunited?) Church, and straight science is tangled up in the middle of it all. Incredible advances in some areas of technology others are never investigated. Humans only (at least initially), lifting a few ideas of Iron Kingdoms. - This one has been very, very noisy.

    And Option 4 (Not steampunk but it insists on being part of the list anyway): The Dresden Files meets Monster Hunter International (a wonderful book by Larry Correia MHI: The Novel Monster Hunter Nation ) Think Call of Cthulhu "Lite" with a Dresden-esque magic system (or maybe more like Ars Magica ... I dunno). - Not so noisy but sulks loudly if I don't stroke it occasionally.

    As you can see, there are some very noisey ideas bouncing around the inside of my head ... Any ideas? Comments? Votes? Recommendations of seeking profession help?

    Thanks
    E*
    Abusus non tollit usum
    "Abuse is no argument against proper use"

  2. #2
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    I say the first one, less real work and you can use Cthulhu by gaslight stuff easy enough. A secret organization of inventors and adventurers gather together to keep technology from going wrong. Perhaps after the Martian Invasion is secretly thwarted they have to cross cross the globe to ensure it doesnt fall in the wrong hands.

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    How about this:

    The Martians invaded 30 years ago. At first they defeated and enslaved mankind but then they grew sick and died. New and old empires rose from the ashes and began to exploit the Martian technology left behind. Now Victorian engineers and scientists have created hybrid machines that humans can operate.

    In the Near East the great Russian steam tripods threaten the Crimea while Western powers stand against them with their death-ray carrying airships. In the Far East the Japanese Empire seeks to overbear the heroic resistance of the Chinese Nationalists while in the Americas the United States seeks to rebuild itself after a catastrophic civil war fought with barely understood Martian technology. In the Jungles of the Amazon an old religion stirs a new empire and in Antarctica an altogether darker force is waking...

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    Default go with Dresdin - that the sweet spot

    think about it a dresdin world type but with annita blake vampires in the open magic is real but it all 1800.

    ever read Alvin Maker by scott Card < i think that it>
    or go with Shadow run precepts we turn a corner in the galaxy one day and magic returns !
    along with atlantis- Avolan-lumeria -Mu and people start changing into thier orginal speacies -
    1 is the old physic laws still in play?
    2 what laws and goverments would survive?
    3 what if pyshic laws are incomplete and now magic is back thing are really diffrent!
    sorry I had to through my own ideals in there , i know you just asked us about yours, I like yours but really flesh them out more and see witch one come alive and witch one die on the table?

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    Quote Originally Posted by PK Games View Post
    I say the first one, less real work and you can use Cthulhu by gaslight stuff easy enough. A secret organization of inventors and adventurers gather together to keep technology from going wrong. Perhaps after the Martian Invasion is secretly thwarted they have to cross cross the globe to ensure it doesnt fall in the wrong hands.
    It also gives the PC an incredible amount of resources available to the players; something I try to avoid as it takes a lot of the challenge away from any problem.

    I dunno ... it just seems more of a Victorian Supers than a Steampunk setting; which is probably why it's quieter than the others.

    Good food for thought
    Thanks
    Abusus non tollit usum
    "Abuse is no argument against proper use"

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    Quote Originally Posted by Camillus View Post
    How about this:

    The Martians invaded 30 years ago. At first they defeated and enslaved mankind but then they grew sick and died. New and old empires rose from the ashes and began to exploit the Martian technology left behind. Now Victorian engineers and scientists have created hybrid machines that humans can operate.
    Awwww man ... here I am looking to thin out the herd of ideas and you come along and drop fresh material into the gene pool

    Is an interesting concept with lots of potential. Strangely enough, I never made it all the way through War of the Worlds (kept falling asleep -- something about Wells' writing style, I guess); which I would have to do to have the fodder to pull this one together.

    Hmmm ... I'm getting whispering of rolling in Space:1889 and counter-invasions of Mars ... Yikes!
    Abusus non tollit usum
    "Abuse is no argument against proper use"

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    Christopher,

    I'm not familiar with Blake ... and really don't want to add to the vampire genre; too emo for my taste -- I led a Jesuit Strike Team when Vampire LARPing was getting started in town, just so the goths could have something real to complain about (and the help the GM get a grip on the game that was out-of-control)

    The Big problem with the Dresden-esque option is the magic system - the combination of spontaneous casting (Evoking as Butcher calls it), with "major" (Needs a lab) and "minor" (Chalk circle on the sidewalk) rituals keeps tripping me up.

    There's a similar problem with the "Steammage" option: Trying to make 4-5 distinct styles of magic, keep some level of balance between them and then try to figure out ways to derive technology or enhancements to technology from them.

    As to your questions about physics, law and government -- I have to ask, in which option?
    Abusus non tollit usum
    "Abuse is no argument against proper use"

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    Default No sorcery and or diffrent styles of magic are not. ..

    that hard <see BRP CONAN entry on diffrent magic styles>

    oh I was not suggesty in the ittsy bitsy manner of EMO Vampires < my the Gods save us from WoD and Anne Rice!
    not let talk last man standing< bruce wellis> meets I am legend with DRACULA thrown in for Victorian flavor, now set it during the American I am a new nation and little of Colonist mentality - well any way

    as for witch setting all baby all !
    other iwse start working on the loadest ones and see if they produce , who know you make end up merging all of them and form a cool world setting!

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    Default Physics & Government

    I'll try to keep this short ... might be a bit choppy though so bear with me.

    "Pulpy" Steampunk - hybrid physics model (Newtonian + some Alchemical/Wells-ian additions like Carmot, Cavorite, Heavy Elements, etc.) maybe some elements from Quantum physics thrown if if they make things interesting. Not seeing any major shakeups in politics of any "Major" nations ... some of them might be using more technology that their citizens think they are; maybe a few "free nations" actually being surveillance states, secret national police forces ... whatever it takes to get the dystopian atmosphere.

    Alternate Fantasy - no big changes to natural laws (okay maybe relaxing a few a smidgen), just an alternate timeline as far as scientific development goes; maybe a little leveraging of hindsight to make a few key developments "take" a little better than they did. As an example, the significance of in-cylinder compression for internal combuston engines is recognised earlier (Carnot said compression was necessary for a heat engine in 1824, the first recorded suggestion of in-cylinder compression was in 1838 by William Barnet, but wasn't widely used until Nikolaus Otto developed his engine 25 years later). Still working out the politics ... assuming the technology break-through is prior to Babbage, it's probably that the tolerance issues that troubled the development of the Difference and Analytical Engines would be eliminated, thus some level of computer technology will exist. I'm seeing governments using this for various means of tracking "dissidents" (Anarchists, Communists and other "dangers to the state") and surveillance.

    As you can see, my vision of Steampunk isn't too far removed from Cyberpunk -- the "Utopia of Technology" is a thin coat of paint over dysfunctional, dystopian societies.

    Need to head to the store for a few things and this is getting long enough for one post. I'll grind out some thoughts on Steammage and Hunters and post them later today.
    Abusus non tollit usum
    "Abuse is no argument against proper use"

  10. #10
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    While all of them sound good, I'd take something like the Option 4. Here is the thing though: With any setting, you need to find something that has not been done -- or at least not been done all in the same package -- and avoid what has been done.

    For example, I'd frankly stay away from Faerie or even alternate races with the Steam-mage concept. And if you do, Go where Castle Falkenstein didn't: Efreeti are a natural with steam, go with the Arabian style all out. Heck, there is a huge amount of space largely under-developed there as a starting point.

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