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Old 11-11-2016, 08:53 AM   #1
Daigoro
 
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Default [Game] Work Up a Steampunk Setting

It might be a little soon since the last one of these, but I thought I'd put it out there to see how it flies.

The objective is to build some kind of steampunk setting, suitable I guess for a variety of campaign types- adventure, military, espionage, intrigue, whatever. We'll see what comes out of the blender.

The rules of the game, as per the established method, are:
- answer the preceding question
- add a new question, delving more into details of the setting
- obviously, try not to contradict any details that have gone before
- and, to help keep things organised, number all questions and answers along the lines of-
Question 6
Answer to Q6

- we'll start with one question per post, but can open that up later when we get into more detail

And here's a rundown of some previous efforts-
Spoiler:  

And therewith, what-ho, pip-pip and all that..
Question 1
What's the setting for this setting, i.e. where is it and when is it?

Addendum: A mirror of this thread is posted on here for organised reference.
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World Wikis:
Cyberpunk: Duopoly Nation
Fantasy: Dominion Cross
Space Opera: Behind the King's Eclipse
Steampunk: Colonial Steam

Last edited by Daigoro; 02-17-2017 at 09:41 AM.
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Old 11-11-2016, 10:00 AM   #2
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Default Re: [Game] Work Up a Steampunk Setting

Question 1
What's the setting for this setting, i.e. where is it and when is it?

Answer to Q1
It's on an alternative earth, current year 1911. It diverged about 100-200 years ago.

Question 2
Why is steamtech dominant?
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Old 11-11-2016, 11:05 AM   #3
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Default Re: [Game] Work Up a Steampunk Setting

Quote:
Originally Posted by TGLS View Post
Question 1
What's the setting for this setting, i.e. where is it and when is it?

Answer to Q1
It's on an alternative earth, current year 1911. It diverged about 100-200 years ago.

Question 2
Why is steamtech dominant?
Answer to Q2

A fluke of local evolution resulted in a family of invertebrates that thrives in liquid fossil fuels. The various subspecies actually feed on the suspended sulfur, rather than the hydrocarbons themselves, but form intricate arrays of interconnected polyps that absorb the liquid fuels in small hollows, thus creating very dense, solid "reefs." As a byproduct, the polyps produce hydrogen sulfide, which makes mining dangerous and horribly malodorous, but (with careful planning) also provides a source of gaseous fuel.

As such, liquid fossil fuels can't be drilled and pumped, but hydrocarbon reefs can be mined, and form a source of reasonably clean, high-value, solid fuel, as well as quantities of hydrogen sulfide gas large enough to be economically valuable. Coal remains just as useful as in our world, and actually tends to be a bit cleaner, as a subspecies of "reef" invertebrates that leaches some of the sulfur lives in the water that permeates many coal seams.

"Gawd! What's that awful smell?!"
"Money!"


While coal gasification and other chemical matters can make hydrocarbon fuel available in different forms for certain needs, the effort and expense required to convert massive amounts into liquid form renders internal combustion unable to compete, economically.

Question 3

What is the distribution of hydrocarbon reefs? Is the high-value fuel reasonably available everywhere, or does it appear in irregular concentrations?
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Last edited by tshiggins; 11-11-2016 at 11:26 AM.
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Old 11-11-2016, 12:19 PM   #4
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Default Re: [Game] Work Up a Steampunk Setting

Answer to Q3

They are EVERYWHERE! Whereas under normal circumstance it requires special circumstance to cause the 'giant lump of decay->oil' scenario, the 'fuel coral' can spawn up basically anywhere there is a massive amount of biomatter. So any tar pit, swamp, or otherwise is teeming with these guys.


Setting question 4

What does the oil coral have that make it more suitable for some sort of steam-tech revolution that coal does not offer?
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Old 11-11-2016, 12:32 PM   #5
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Default Re: [Game] Work Up a Steampunk Setting

Answer to Q4

Availability has already been mentioned, Another note is the consistent quality of the fuel: its a biological product, not a geological one. That means it burns hotter and requires less management.

Setting Question 5

How did the scramble for Africa turn out? same as our timeline? One power took all? Africa is still open for the taking? Different powers conquered? Independent but still european controlled nations?

EDIT: Wait, Combat Medic was the first to do this game on this forum, before I showed up? I had no idea. Thanks for the links!
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Old 11-11-2016, 01:35 PM   #6
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Default Re: [Game] Work Up a Steampunk Setting

Quote:
Originally Posted by ericthered View Post
Answer to Q4

Availability has already been mentioned, Another note is the consistent quality of the fuel: its a biological product, not a geological one. That means it burns hotter and requires less management.

Setting Question 5

How did the scramble for Africa turn out? same as our timeline? One power took all? Africa is still open for the taking? Different powers conquered? Independent but still european controlled nations?

EDIT: Wait, Combat Medic was the first to do this game on this forum, before I showed up? I had no idea. Thanks for the links!
Answer to Q5

Conflict is good in any RPG setting, so the fight for Africa is even more violent and it remains ongoing.

The key area of concern is the Congo basin, as the presence of petrol reefs in close proximity to a large, navigable waterway makes it, and not South Africa, the crowning prize of the continent.

However, it's a poisonous jewel. The rampant diseases in the area bring death to Europeans and their horses and cattle, so colonial powers send in small groups of special operatives to work through local tribal proxies to fight vicious little wars throughout the thick, steaming jungle and across winding, intertwined waterways plied by armed and armored steamboats.

Tiny Belgium never had a chance, here, and shifted its attention to the Swahili Coast, where it remained true to form. Belgian colonial officials work through comprador-class soldiers to keep their boots on the throats of locals forced to grow coffee and tea, and hunt elephants for valuable ivory. Bloody uprisings, and even more brutal suppression, are the mark of Belgian rule.

In South Africa, British distraction in the Congo basin leaves the Boers to impose a brutal apartheid society dependent upon what is effectively slave labor in the diamond fields and gold mines. The British have seized the cape as a vital refueling station, just as they did in our world, but haven't pushed hard into the interior

The British cape faces a constant threat of Boer raids, armed and funded by gold and diamonds shipped out via freight dirigible from Johannesburg. Meanwhile the Zulu, who have benefited from the butterfly flaps, realize the impis, armed with shield and iklwa, cannot prevail, and work with anyone willing to provide them with modern arms and training. They pay in cattle, women, and stolen diamonds and gold, and the rare dirigible smuggler willing to brave the crags of the Drakensburgs with a cargo of breech-loading rifles or powder can make a killing -- at least, as long as he or she manages to avoid British navy patrols and merciless Boer kommando raiders.

The fuse is long, but that explosion will rock the world if it's allowed to burn.

In the Congo basin, itself, France supplanted the Portuguese 250 years ago, and now the empire fights desperately against British and German opportunistic efforts to pry the prize away.

None of that matters much to the men in the jungle, though. Alliances shift as often as river channels in the rainy season and, regardless of the side to which a neighbor may have formally pledged, money rules all. The knife across one's throat may come from someone who called himself a comrade, a month ago.

(NOTE: I had originally meant the reefs to have evolved to take advantage of petroleum produced by natural geological processes, but I really like how that idea morphed. It makes jungles, marshes and moors into gold mines that reek of rotten eggs, once the digging starts, and that's in addition to the regular deposits of petroleum, which also appear in reefs. Bravo!)

Question 6

In addition to Britain, France and Germany, who are the major industrial powers of this world and how did they achieve that status?
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Old 11-11-2016, 09:47 PM   #7
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Default Re: [Game] Work Up a Steampunk Setting

Quote:
Originally Posted by ericthered View Post
EDIT: Wait, Combat Medic was the first to do this game on this forum, before I showed up? I had no idea. Thanks for the links!
Actually, yours might've been the first explicit "Ask a question" version, but there have also been various other make-a-setting exercises.

PS- I added in the Vote Up a Setting threads I could find too.

PPS- A couple of pertinent Wikipedia pages for alternate technology and discovery timelines-
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeli...ventions#1800s
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeli...n#20th_century
__________________
World Wikis:
Cyberpunk: Duopoly Nation
Fantasy: Dominion Cross
Space Opera: Behind the King's Eclipse
Steampunk: Colonial Steam

Last edited by Daigoro; 11-11-2016 at 09:57 PM.
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