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Old 11-13-2016, 12:32 PM   #21
tshiggins
 
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Default Re: [Game] Work Up a Steampunk Setting

Answer to Q18

(I started to answer this, but then TGLS slipped his answer in ahead of mine. I'll change mine around a bit, but also post it since we largely agree.)

No, there is no superscience, in the setting, and the tech level is best described as early TL 5+1.

However, it does follow the alternate path toward ever-more powerful expansion steam engines suggested on p69 of G: Steampunk. The world has firmly moved to sextuple-expansion steam engines for use in most advanced processes, including naval vessels and factory power.

Stirling engines efficiently (but slowly) power most dirigibles, as well as small shops in the remoter parts of the world, but the most advanced navies of the world have begun to experiment with something that strongly resembles Stoddard engines for use in airships:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stoddard_engine

The research is highly classified in the advanced nations pursuing the technology, and a primary target for espionage.

Electricity sees widespread use for telegraphy and to power factories in close proximity to sources of hydroelectricity. Some have experimented with the use of geothermal electrical generation, but that remains in its infancy.

Only a few locations have electrical lights, and those are primarily seen as a novelty, since the infrastructure to allow for widespread adoption simply doesn't exist. However, much of the modern world has keen interest in Nikola Tesla's wireless power transmission technology, as it would allow for greater use of electricity without the need to build an expensive distribution infrastructure.

The increasing use of dirigibles has generated considerable interest in the conditions of the upper atmosphere, and many national air services sponsor ultra-high-altitude balloon experiments, and a few odd fellows have begun to talk about the use of rockets or large cannons to put instruments in orbit -- especially the French. However, many officials who serve in the governments of the other major world powers view the work with considerable skepticism, although each nation has groups of scientists who pursue the matter enthusiastically, on their own.

Question 21
When did slavery end in North America and Brazil, and what is the status of First Nation peoples in the New World?


Technological Marvel No. 1: The massive Niagara Gorge Hydroelectric Authority (NGHA) provides motive power for the vast belt of factories that lie on either side. Built as a joint project between the Louisiana Confederacy and the British Canadian province of Ontario (with help from the UK government), a generation ago, it made the rather backward northern Confederacy territory into an industrial powerhouse. In addition, it boosted development efforts in southeast Ontario, which had struggled for many years to recover from the war with French-Canadian Quebec.

The factories powered by the Authority employ nearly a million workers, divided roughly evenly between Ontario and New York. The knock-on ripple effects result in nearly 4 million additional jobs.

The careful planning, as well as the clean nature of hydroelectric power (as compared to the shrouded factory towns of England and France, or the miasmic industry barrios of Sao Paolo), has resulted in a fairly high quality of life for industrial workers in the Niagara area.

The urban planning of the cities in the region also gave rise to "New City - New Man" theories of social development. While the influence on older industrial regions is limited by constraints of redevelopment efforts, the NC-NM concept of "orderly environments create orderly minds" has deeply impacted ongoing efforts by France and Germany to develop the Ruhr Valley.

Most surprisingly, the tremendous changes to the Niagara Gorge managed to keep the dramatic scenery of the Niagara River Falls intact, as the series of dams that drive the turbines were built further downriver. The process of taming the gorge also resulted in the creation of three stepped reservoirs used for water recreation of all sorts, although the areas immediately below each dam remain highly hazardous due to the tremendous flow-rates as the water emerges from the massive turbines.
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Old 11-13-2016, 11:18 PM   #22
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Default Re: [Game] Work Up a Steampunk Setting

Technological Marvel No. 2: The Panama Canal was started in 1881 by the French as a way to cut transit time between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, but ran into funding issues in 1894.

In 1899 a coalition of Brazil, Great Britain, California Republic, Louisiana Confederacy, and Republic of Texas all joined in to take over the project, completing it in 1908 (6 years sooner than OTL). All five nations share in the profits from the Canal, with the majority of the funds going to upkeep and future expansion.

The Panama Canal that was carved across the Isthmus of Panama is 200 feet wide with locks 1,500 feet long and 75 feet deep (significantly larger than OTL).

There have been a few disturbances in the area, which are quickly and violently suppressed by the Panama Canal Authority which controls a corridor of land out to 20 miles on both sides of the Canal. The disturbances are thought to be sponsored by Chile due to the huge hit in commerce they took when the majority of the traffic that used to stop in their ports started to go through the canal.

Great Britain maintains a large naval presence in the area to ensure the security of the canal, while Republic of Texas provides most of the troops and workforce for the area. The other three nations, mostly provide monetary support for the operation.
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Old 11-14-2016, 03:54 AM   #23
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Default Re: [Game] Work Up a Steampunk Setting

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Originally Posted by tshiggins View Post
Question 21
When did slavery end in North America and Brazil, and what is the status of First Nation peoples in the New World?
Strictly speaking slavery has yet to end in either the Confederacy or Brazil. Although chattel slavery was finally abolished in both countries by 1890 (having been disposed of on a state by state basis) most states did so through the use of perminent or compulsory indentures, as a result many 'former' slaves and their children remain tied to their masters. The good news (acording to advocates of the policy at least) is that the numbers of indentures are steadily declining and should have completely died out by the early 1930's. Other opinions are less favourable and immediate abolition is still aggressively championed by freedmen's groups and white progressives.

The position of native groups is similarly abigious, what has happened depends on the group. Groups that historically made early efforts to reach accommodations with settlers tend to have faired better than they did in our history either retaining meaningful autonomy like the Cherokee or undergoing (partial) integration on favourable terms, the route persued by the Iroquois. Other groups suffered treatment similar to (if not worse than) what they received in our history.

Ironically the Cherokee Autonomous district was the last confederate territory to outlaw slavery the law coming into effect on the 30th of November 1889, almost a full month after abolition in fellow holdouts Alabama and Mississippi.

Question 22
What are the up and coming social and political movements of the era? Is revolutionary socialism as important as in our history and if so how does it differ?

Last edited by Frost; 11-14-2016 at 05:25 AM.
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Old 11-14-2016, 08:39 AM   #24
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Question 22
What are the up and coming social and political movements of the era? Is revolutionary socialism as important as in our history and if so how does it differ?
There are several social movements that have arisen in the last few decades.

Nationalism has erupted onto the global stage as different nation-states vie for control of land, new technologies, and resources. Unlike in the OTL, racism is not combined under the umbrella of nationalism, as governments wish to entice the subjects of other governments to join their cause, thus an air of inclusion based on national loyalty rather than national ethnicity exists.

The laborious nature of mining the "Fuel of Society" has lead to a largely underground movement that would be considered Marxist in the OTL. Small groups of workers meet in secret whispering the words, "Power to the workers," and "Worker's Government." Little has come of these grassroots ideas, yet, but it is only a matter of time before real organization awakens the sleeping giant that is the working class of all nations.

The extreme advances in technology has led to a political and social movement based around the continued advancement of technology at all costs. Proponents of the "Technologist Society" put forth that the advancement of technology can only benefit humanity as a whole. Their opponents retort that they would stop at nothing to advance technology, accusing them of an "the end justifies the means," outlook.

Question 23

What kinds of medical advances have been achieved, and how has this affected society?

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Old 11-14-2016, 09:44 AM   #25
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Default Re: [Game] Work Up a Steampunk Setting

Technological Marvel No.3: Otto and Wilhelm

Otto and Wilhelm and are two giant steam powered bucket-wheel excavators that are mining the tar coal depots in the Rhineland.

Both are more than 1,000 ft long and weight more than 20.000 metric tons. They move on large tracks, and their bucket wheels are more than 25 metres in diameter. They move slowly, usually less than a kilometre per day, but they are unstoppable. Whatever they encounter, they simply grind it up and tear it down. Many villages and some small towns fell victim to them, their inhabitants became refugees in their own land. Some of them tried to stop the Behemoths by force or in court, but in both cases the owners, the Royal Prussian Tar Coal Society (Otto) and the Allied Tar Coal Mines (Wilhelm), were to powerful.

Cloaked in dense smoke and poisonous stench of hydrogen sulfide gas, these machines are truly the hell on wheels. And they are followed by hundreds of damned souls who try to make a living, be it by scraping through the overburden or stealing some of the tar corals from the excavators.

It looks like Otto and Wilhelm will meet in the next few months - both companies claiming the same "claim" west of Cologne. Neither will back down, and it could be possible that Otto and Wilhelm will meet in a titanic struggle there.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bucket-wheel_excavator

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bagger_288
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Old 11-14-2016, 10:18 AM   #26
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Default Re: [Game] Work Up a Steampunk Setting

Technological Marvel No. 4: The Undersea Tunnels.
In 1882, following a period of reconciliation between the French and English, their respective parliaments began requesting designs for a proposed rail link between their homelands "across the English Channel, presumably at Dover and Calais." A number of designs were considered, but the design that was most likely to be approved was the undersea tunnel designed by Calvin, Scott, & Co. The project ended up failing due to disagreements on where to the border security would be placed and on whether British or French steel would be used in the construction.


Calvin, Scott, & Co. were not yet finished with the idea, and toured the world with their idea. In 1887, the Dominion of Newfoundland ordered the construction of an undersea tunnel across the Northumberland Strait. Construction proceeded quickly, and by 1892 the first undersea tunnel in the world was constructed.


Buoyed by their success, they moved on to more projects building tunnels across the Golden Gate in San Francisco in 1894-1897 (a bridge had been considered unsightly and a deterrent to maritime commerce), the Tsugaru Strait in 1895-1899, a complex system linking Germany to Sweden via Denmark in 1897-1907, Stranraer to Belfast in 1899-1906, Helsinki to Tallinn in 1902-1913 (est.). A tunnel between Korea and Japan is currently in the study phase.


Current Question List:
Question 20
How are the governments of the world powers organized?
Question 23
What kinds of medical advances have been achieved, and how has this affected society?
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Old 11-14-2016, 10:28 AM   #27
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Default Re: [Game] Work Up a Steampunk Setting

I'm just doing a rundown of the geopolitical situation for the sake of sanity:

Historic Wars:
  • Hapsburg Crisis (1762-1771)
  • German Wars of Unification (1793-1817)
  • Recent wars ganging up on Russia (late 19th century)

These wars line up fairly well timing wise with the seven years war and Napoleonic/ french revolutionary wars.

Europe:
  • France and Germany are allied powers against England (and trans atlantic powers)
  • Napoleon (as a prime minister) was key in using (70 year premature) German unification wars to knock Russia out of great power status
  • Russia still collapsing today, but its an internal collapse, as they still hold Siberia.
  • Poland, Finland, and Manchuria are Russian Splinter states.
  • Spain still nominally holds some of south America.

The Americas*:
  • Brazil, the Louisiana confederacy, and California Republic have great power status.
  • Spain holds some of south america, but that's in active/periodic revolt**
  • A Texan/Mexican alliance controls the american west and central america, but without great power status.
  • California seems to be isolationist at the moment

Africa
  • Disease still makes conquest difficult
  • The default place to fight wars at the moment
  • Swahili Coast: Belgian
  • South Africa: Boer + British forts+modernizing Zulu
  • Congo Basin: France

Asia:
  • Manchuria is a post-russian state
  • Japan owns Phillipeens and indo-china

We have a lot covered, but the old "gunpowder empires" of Asia haven't been talked about at all.

* there are some inherent conflicts on what's been said about north america: California both "gain's inflence over the western half of north america" and is a great power while Mexas*** controls from panama to Nevada. More digging should be done here. emphatically NOT an official question.

** The americas seems very crowded to me at the moment: it has three great powers plus Mexas and Spanish holdings in active revolt. but its interesting, I suppose.

*** not an official name not even established as a united country, just an "alliance"
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Old 11-14-2016, 10:39 AM   #28
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Default Re: [Game] Work Up a Steampunk Setting

Quote:
Originally Posted by TGLS View Post
Current Question List:
Question 20
How are the governments of the world powers organized?
Question 23
What kinds of medical advances have been achieved, and how has this affected society?
I'm working on something for Japan for q20, but we can leave it as an standing question to cover other countries as people please.

Also, I don't think it's much of a problem now if we have a few questions open at once. So, if you make a post, feel free to add to the open questions pool, and feel welcome to answer as many questions as you wish from the pool.

Therefore, in addition to qns 20 & 23 above, my contributions to the pool are-

Question 24
In 1911, there's this really freaking big ship being built in the Southampton dockyards, almost ready to be launched. What does it look like, and what is its purpose?

Question 25
North America is split between the California Republic, the Louisiana Confederacy, and the Republic of Texas. Is there a Canada there as well? And what are the relations between these states?
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Old 11-14-2016, 11:29 AM   #29
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Default Re: [Game] Work Up a Steampunk Setting

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Originally Posted by Daigoro View Post

(SNIP)

Question 25
North America is split between the California Republic, the Louisiana Confederacy, and the Republic of Texas. Is there a Canada there as well? And what are the relations between these states?

Answer to Q25


The Candian war that drove the British south to settle Louisiana resulted in the division of territory into two distinct entities. The wealthiest, by far, is the independent French-Canadian Quebec. Napoleon opened the front in 1807 as an opportunistic means to district Britain from his efforts on the continent, and the history of decent treatment by the French, and mutually beneficial trading alliances between the Acadian settlers and the Indians, paid off in a big way.

(France still owned the Colony of New France after French trappers and their First Nation allies wholly defeated British colonial raiders and bandits during the Seven Years' War, in the mid-1700s.)

While the flow of arms and supplies from France to Quebec, and thence to the hands of First Nation warriors and trapper guerrillas, remained slow and irregular, it provided enough of an edge to allow Quebec colonial militias to inflict a series of hard-fought losses in battles throughout Ontario.

As the war neared its end and the imminent loss became apparent to all, many of the "Ontarries" fled down the Mississippi and took over territories around the port city of New Orleans. The desperate Ontarries wrested the city from French control, and it formed the basis of the Louisiana Confederacy.

While the Allied Powers eventually defeated Napoleon in Europe, that took several more long and bloody years, which allowed the Quebecois to consolidate their victory. As part of the Treaty of Paris, which marked the end of the Napoleonic Wars, the independence of Quebec was recognized as a fait accompli.

Quebec's domination of Canada's Atlantic trade allowed them to ascend quickly, and a series of punitive tariffs and other forms of quasi-legal impositions interfered with the ability of British Ontario to do the same. British Ontario struggled to develop until the 1880s, when work was completed on the Niagara Gorge Hydroelectric Authority, and the southeast Ontario began to rapidly industrialize.

Ontario now enjoys close relations with its cousins in Louisiana Confederacy, and the handsome return on the Niagara Gorge investment has caused the United Kingdom to pay far closer attention to its heretofore hard-luck eastern Canadian colonies. Expansion across the Alberta plains has begun again, after stalling for decades, but remains problematic.

Many of the First Nations indigenous to the area know the French have always treated the Indians better than the British have, and in many cases have violently resisted the arrival of settlers. Tacit support for First Nation violence by Quebec, through clandestine distribution of arms, money and other resources, is something the British settlers widely believe, but thus far little evidence exists to support that contention.

That said, the governments of the British Empire and the Louisiana Confederacy, as well as deeply interested parties in Ontario and British Columbia, have begun earnest discussions about the possible construction of a transcontinental railroad from the Niagara Gorge to the Pacific port of Vancouver, BC., with spurs to multiple ports on the shores of the Great Lakes. The Louisiana Ontarries are keen supporters, as they plan to use additional railways to connect the navigable waterways of the Mississippi River Basin to ports on the southern shores of the lakes.

This would create what the Louisianans refer to as the Greater North America Transportation System, wholly under the control of current and former British colonials, in partnership with His Majesty's government.

Question 26
China's throat currently lies under the boot heels of a number of different external powers. Which powers control what sections of China, and how does conflict between those interest play out in the Chinese mainland and offshore territories?
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Old 11-14-2016, 12:45 PM   #30
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Question 26
China's throat currently lies under the boot heels of a number of different external powers. Which powers control what sections of China, and how does conflict between those interest play out in the Chinese mainland and offshore territories?

Answer to Q26
Japan owns the biggest chunk of what we would consider China, with Taiwan, a protectorate in Manchuria and a quarter of Shanghai. Germany, Britain, and California own the other three quarters of Shanghai. Brazil bought out Portugal's lease a few decades ago. Germany conquered Hong Kong and Guangzhou during the 19th century. Britain is de facto suzerain of Tibet.

Germany has designs on larger parts of Southern China, while Japan has had China in its sights for a long time now. Recently, Germany and Japan have stopped their military posturing, to the relief of all the great powers. However, they are currently working on a secret agreement establishing spheres of influence in China, in case a situation would arise where war with China was probable.

Brazil and California are partial to maintaining the current situation in China; free flow of commerce through Shanghai and Macau. Often, they are in conflict with the Germans and Japan who are inclined to take a more direct rule of China. Britain prefers the status quo, but they would also prefer that Japan not align themselves closely with the Double Entente of France and Germany. The French have no real interest in China, apart from concessions the Germans allow in Hong Kong. Usually, they interfere in China to disrupt the Britain's relations with its allies.

Question 27
Let’s get down to brass tacks. Why is California a great power and not Texas?

Last edited by TGLS; 11-14-2016 at 12:45 PM. Reason: White Space
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