Steve Jackson Games - Site Navigation
Home General Info Follow Us Search Illuminator Store Forums What's New Other Games Ogre GURPS Munchkin Our Games: Home

Go Back   Steve Jackson Games Forums > Roleplaying > GURPS

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 11-01-2014, 11:53 AM   #1
Fred Brackin
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Default (IW) Details of Lucifer-5

To me at least, Lucifer-5 is one of the more appealing alternates in the IW but it also happens to have one of the briefer write-ups. I thought I would post some of my own thoughts and perhaps get some ideas form others to flesh things out.

The point of divergence (in hum an history at least) is 1908 (30 years before campaign date of 1938) when a meteor hits St Petersburg Russia, killing the Czar and his family and bringing large quantities of previously unknown superscience radioactive elements (Astronium and Petrinium) to earth. Afterwards these same elements were discovered in other meteor craters.

The capacity of Astronium to make powerful bombs is said to freeze the Great Power situation in place while Germany expands into Russia. I take this to mean no WWI or at most a short and relatively unimportant one.

So Germany would still have a Kaiser and there's probably a puppet Romanov on the Russian throne. Shickelgruber would be a house painter, Lenin's health would have failed him in some Bohemian basement in 1924 and one could hope that Trotsky and Stalin had offed each other.

Italy is described as Fascist so we probably get to keep Benny the Moose.

Japan is still apparently expansionist and much of the history of that part of the world might have proceeded in much the same manner at least until Japan came into conflict with one of the Western Astronium powers and presumably stopped then.

Those powers would appear to be Germany, England, France, Italy and the US. Plus Japan of course. All of those nations appear to have harnessed Astronium and Petrinium to build reactionless drive torch ships and staked out part of the Solar System which is far more habitable than the Real World's.

Petrinium doesn't explode but can be used to generate electric power for extremely low costs.

There is a mention of (apparently managable) stock market panics in 1929 and 30 but without a Great War and the disruptions that followed it I'm not sure there would be a Great Depression.

Cheap power is generally good for economies as a whole and there ought to be transcontinental rocket planes (also probably needed to drop those Astronium bombs) to further boost international commerce.

Mars is described as "canalled" and also Low Mana (Earth is a NMZ). Venus has "soda water oceans" and normal Mana. Britain dominates Mars and France exploits Venus.

Mars could be either the home of an extinct race or an alien race. Venus probably has primitives to use that Mana but that is just a guess.

An uninhabited Mars gives more room for colonization but one with a dying or at least sedentary alien race offers chances to sneak some ultra tech into the setting. Astronium isn't going to help you make space suits and the thought of thousands of construction workers in realistic TL6 space suits is painful.

There are other technological issues concerned with space flight such as life support and radiation protection. Lucifer-5's rocket jockeys seem to sport "cosmic ray tans" which is in genre but not congruent with even what was known about cosmic rays in the 30s.

I'd use inscrutable alien Martians with very high bio-tech to supply Terran spacers with symbiotic bacteria version of the Carcinophage and DNA Repair nano from bio-tech. The humans would probably call these "The Martian Inoculations" not really grasping how unlikely it is to cure cancer and radiation poisoning with "vaccines".

Venusians can be swamp-dwelling, voodoo practicing frog men or something like that. For a pulp-ier feel I'd sue Path/Book Magic rather than standard.

Venus is probably closer to human habitable than "soda water oceans" would imply.

I've got more but it will have to wait til later. I'm eager to hear if anyone else has some ideads for this Retrotech-ish pulp=-y setting.
__________________
Fred Brackin
Fred Brackin is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 11-01-2014, 12:30 PM   #2
Tyneras
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Mountain View, CA
Default Re: (IW) Details of Lucifer-5

Venus might work as an Africa analog, with various swamps and dense jungles and maybe a few inland savannas. Instead of just once race, why not multiple frog and reptile tribes/species that the humans play against one another. Plus who knows what horrible beasts lurking in the shadows.

A pulp mars has several possibilities, but I favor the almost extinct martians and your "Martian Inoculation" idea. If it's a self reproducing symbiotic bacteria spys would only need to steal it once for everyone to get it.

If the Martians are treated more like "wise old foreign elders" rather than someone to be conquered I can just imagine the tales those martians might spin of old treasures and technology lost under the advancing sands. Plus the last of the Martian cities might just be too heavily armed and armored to bother with considering there's a whole planet to explore.
Tyneras is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-01-2014, 02:35 PM   #3
Astromancer
 
Astromancer's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: West Virginia
Default Re: (IW) Details of Lucifer-5

Much of the fiction for the 'canals and deserts" or Lowellian Mars drew upon the imagery of the Thousand and One Arabian Nights (Lieut. Gullivar got to Mars on a Magic Carpet), British adventure stories about India (particularly the Northwest Frontier), stories and speculations about Tibet, and romances about Ancient Egypt. The whole genre of Eastern Adventure/fantasy was very important. If you plan to make Venus Space Africa then make Mars Space Asia.

Jupiter's Moons could draw from the imagery of Early Modern Europe, Mercury (use the Twilight habitable area trope) could be MesoAmerica, and the Asteriods could use South Seas imagery.
__________________
Per Ardua Per Astra!


Ancora Imparo
Astromancer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-01-2014, 05:39 PM   #4
Fred Brackin
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Default Re: (IW) Details of Lucifer-5

Quote:
Originally Posted by Astromancer View Post
Jupiter's Moons could draw from the imagery of Early Modern Europe, Mercury (use the Twilight habitable area trope) could be MesoAmerica, and the Asteriods could use South Seas imagery.
I'm don't think you can go quite this far and stick to canon. Mercury may be tidelocked instead of in a 3-2 resonance but the Italians are mining the boiling metals found on the dayside.

Jupiter's moons are probably not quite as unfriendly as ours because the Italians are mining Io too. There's a German shipyard on Callisto too so it might not be an ice moon. There may not be huge radiation belts around Jupiter. Those weren't discovered until the 60s or 70s.

Ceres hosts a Royal Space Force base.

In short, while the Solar System is retro-pulp I don't think you can go full on Planetary Romance and stick with canon.
__________________
Fred Brackin
Fred Brackin is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 11-02-2014, 07:52 AM   #5
thrash
 
thrash's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: traveller
Default Re: (IW) Details of Lucifer-5

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fred Brackin View Post
To me at least, Lucifer-5 is one of the more appealing alternates in the IW but it also happens to have one of the briefer write-ups. I thought I would post some of my own thoughts and perhaps get some ideas form others to flesh things out.
Not wanting to spoil the thread, but still: couldn't you fairly easily adapt GURPS Tales of the Solar Patrol to cover this alternate? The background is different, of course, but the narrative intent (pulpy retro-space) is identical.
thrash is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-02-2014, 08:57 AM   #6
Fred Brackin
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Default Re: (IW) Details of Lucifer-5

Quote:
Originally Posted by thrash View Post
Not wanting to spoil the thread, but still: couldn't you fairly easily adapt GURPS Tales of the Solar Patrol to cover this alternate? The background is different, of course, but the narrative intent (pulpy retro-space) is identical.
At first blush I'd say not. You'd have to jettison either Lucifer-5's or Solar Patrol's history, Solar system and weapons/equipment lists. After that, I'm not sure what you're using.

Also, I may be drawing intent more finely than you but Lucifer-5 is Emergent Superscience Pulp and Solar Patrol is all-out Retro-tech Space Opera.

Also, Lucifer-5 draws from earlier source material. Astronium and Petrinium most closely resemble the X metal from the Skylark series though they aren't; as fully science-bending. Solar Patrol looks 40s and 50s to me with a Tom Corbet/Rocky Jones feel.

I'd nominate David Pulver's Red Mercury article from Pyramid 46 (Weird Science) as the most relevant published material to borrow from.
__________________
Fred Brackin
Fred Brackin is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 11-02-2014, 05:44 PM   #7
patchwork
 
patchwork's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2011
Default Re: (IW) Details of Lucifer-5

Without Lenin, Stalin isn't dead. He might politely be described as "ideologically flexible" but his organizational skills and his complete lack of scruples, coupled with the sudden disarray at the top of Russia, make his path obvious; he runs a smuggling and extortion racket on a scale that would make Al Capone's jaw drop. "Uncle Joe wants to see you. He's gonna make you an offer. You won't be able to refuse." Who else do you buy black-market astronium from?
patchwork is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-02-2014, 11:11 PM   #8
woodchuck
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Default Re: (IW) Details of Lucifer-5

Stalin was a seminary student and it's possible that the destruction of Saint Petersburg might lead him into the priesthood. Hitler also once considered the priesthood.
__________________
Sapor similis pullo.
woodchuck is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 11-03-2014, 01:31 AM   #9
VulpesFulva
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Default Re: (IW) Details of Lucifer-5

Herr Toothbrush-Moustache as a priest who doesn't like anti-Semitism due to a positive encounter with an ecumenical Rabbi visiting his seminary could be a major WTF moment for the players...
VulpesFulva is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-03-2014, 01:46 AM   #10
warellis
 
Join Date: Jan 2014
Default Re: (IW) Details of Lucifer-5

Quote:
Originally Posted by VulpesFulva View Post
Herr Toothbrush-Moustache as a priest who doesn't like anti-Semitism due to a positive encounter with an ecumenical Rabbi visiting his seminary could be a major WTF moment for the players...
Didn't Hitler only really become an anti-semite after WW1? I remember reading on Wikipedia, admittedly not the greatest of sources, where it says "several sources provide strong evidence" that he had Jewish friends while living in Vienna.
warellis is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
infinite worlds, lucifer-5

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Fnords are Off
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -6. The time now is 11:34 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.9
Copyright ©2000 - 2020, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.