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Old 12-14-2013, 11:55 PM   #1
nothri
 
Join Date: Sep 2012
Default New Reality Seeds

Hi guys. One of my favorite sections of the old Alternate Earths sourcebook(s) was the little blurb about additional reality seeds (e.g.- little points in history that have potential for significant divergence, some of which were later fleshed out into full fledged worldlines). I have a few ideas of my own in this area, all of which I eventually hope to write up into chapter length alternate worlds in the style of the original sourcebooks and such supplements as Britannica-6. In the meantime, I thought I'd try to share them as Reality Seeds, and hopefully kickstart a thread in which you guys share your own ideas about what worlds Infinity might encounter out there in the setting.

Washington DC, 1800 AD: Aaron Burr is mostly remembered as the man who killed Alexander Hamilton and to a lesser extent for plotting an (allegedly) treasonous adventure in the Western frontier. Fewer people know he came a hair's breadth away from being elected president over Thomas Jefferson in 1800 AD. Such an ambitious man given the reigns of power will have profound effects on the US, as will the survival of Hamilton. A more ardent ally might give Napoleon the edge he needs to triumph at Tralafagar, perhaps eventually overwhelming the British and installing his own regime in England complete with the puppet Prime Minister Lord Byron. In such a case Burr would have free reign to conqueror British Canada and Spanish Mexico (on the verge of their own revolution). On the flip side the writings of Alexander Hamilton originally founded the Federalist Party, and might be able to preserve it if he lives past 1804. Given the vagaries of that party, westward expansion might be curtailed or at least prolonged for many more decades than in our world.

Konstanz, 1415 AD: The pivotal Council of Constance had several important impacts on our history, from ending the Catholic Schism to the election of Sigismund as Holy Roman Emperor to the execution of Jan Huss and the resultant decades of bloody Hussite Wars. Should that Council fail, the effect would be a continuing erosion of Papal authority and survival of a major proto-Protestant martyr. Such a scenario could be used to strengthen the marginal cause of Conciliarism, a movement growing within the Catholic Church aimed at placing the authority of the Ecumenical Council over the power of the Pope...in essence making Catholicism more like Orthodox Christianity. Such a system might make the Catholic Schism and the multitude of popal claimants irrelevant, and may even allow for a reunion and fusion between Catholics and Eastern Orthodoxy. If the Hussites Wars never occur, Germany might possess the manpower to answer the calls for crusade from the doomed Byzantine Empire. On the other hand, if Jan Huss reconciles with the church, the cause of the Protestants might come early to history or be doomed forever.

Thebes, 1361 BC: Prince Thutmose of Egypt had been groomed to assume the throne of Pharaoh all his life. His sudden death shifted the throne to his inexperienced brother, the man soon to call himself Akhenaten, a reign remembered for his aggressive promotion of monotheistic Atenism and by the loss of power for the nascent Egyptian Empire in their conquests to the east. Should Thutmose survive to the throne of Egypt, he would most likely have continued the work of his father and grandfather in defending Egypt's ally the Mitanni and perhaps even conquering the rising power of the Hittites in the name of the Two Lands. His brother would be free to compose praises for the Aten and dream of his sun god to his heart's content, providing the ground work the fledgling cult would need to stand up against the powerful rival cults of Egypt such as Amun-Ra. His son Tutankamun (Tutankaten in this world) might be raised with both the military genius of Thutmose and the religious devotion of his father. Used correctly, Atenism could be the glue that binds Egypt more closely to the territories it has conquered, consolidating power and Egyptianizing the locals after the fashion of the Nubians. A more powerful Egyptian Empire can weather the attacks of the Sea Peoples and the Bronze Age collapse, making it the dominant power in an era known for the fall of classical civilizations across the Western World. Should Egypt annex some of these cultures while they are still so vulnerable it might be Egypt rather than Alexander's Hellenism that the world looks to as a model of for future civilizations. Atenism can then work as a kind of displacement for monotheism, serving perhaps to unite the German tribes (as Christianity did) or the Arabian tribes (as Islam did) into a new Dynasty or successor state that allows the Pharaohs to survive into the modern age.

Rebellion of the Seven States, 154 BC: Many have speculated that an ancient divided Chinese Empire could follow the path of Western History and form independent states that compete and colonize as the centuries mount. Perhaps the last chance for this to be truly feasible is in 154 BC, when the princes of the Chinese states rebelled against Han rule. Had the northern tribes of the Xiongnu honored their word and provided their own forces for the battles, the princes might have been able to assert their own control over the emperor. Such a happening could see a return to the Spring and Autumn period in terms of philosophy and technical growth, with the political system of China resembling more the loosely defined kingdoms of the Holy Roman Empire ostensibly governed by a single Emperor but largely independent of one another. This could be played as an acceleration of technology and science, perhaps with a revival of Mohist thought as the catalyst. For instance, gunpowder might be discovered in the next decade (the scholar Wei Boyang did find a formula for black powder around this time, but apparently never realized the full implications of the mixture...it would be hundreds more years before the alchemy was found again). In the West, a united Xiongnu might cause the Huns to rise earlier, or never to form at all. Either way such an event probably won't save Rome or prevent the migrations of tribes to the West, but it WILL have a dramatic impact on migration patterns and exactly when and how Rome will collapse. Back to China, the immediate successor to the (now weakened) position of Emperor will be Wu, one of the most interesting and long lived figures in contemporary Chinese History. His interest in the legendary western island of the immortals might see the conquest of Taiwan or Japan, especially if his military ambitions are blunted in other directions by the victorious Hegemonies. Such an interest in Western exploration, combined with decades to indulge himself, could lead to an early discovery of the Americas. An exchange of goods and ideas with the empires of the Maya and Olmecs could have unimaginable results for history.

Constantinople, 787 AD: Speaking of displaced geopolitics, the idea of using Chinese history to preserve the life of Rome was used to great effect in the Roma Aterna setting. But that was not the only great empire that might have been preserved under such a model. In 781 the daughter of Charlemagne was engaged to be married to Constantine VI, heir to the throne of the Byzantine Empire. Had his mother not broken off the engagement in 787 AD for her own political purposes, they would have united the immense territories of the Carolingian Empire to the throne of the Eastern Roman Empire. Byzantine models of society, architecture and engineering (including the all important building of roads!) might have bound the untamed wilds of Germany more tightly together, making it feasible to keep the continent united long enough to become a single massive nation-state.

The Hague, 1650 AD: Considered the height of the Dutch Republic's power and influence, the Stadtholderless period was nonetheless marked by major wars with Britain and France, the ultimate result of which was the loss of world power status for the Netherlands. The First Anglo-Dutch war came about when efforts by Lord Protector Cromwell to unite the republics with his nascent commonwealth were rebuffed by the Hague. Had the Orangists been more aggressive in protecting the position of future Stadtholder William III (at the time a new born), the region would have likely fallen to civil war. Cromwell might have then invaded the Netherlands and entered Holland as a liberator and a hero, receiving a more receptive audience to his talk of unification. Had he secured the Dutch as part of the Commonwealth, Cromwell's next order of business was the conquest of Hispanola and then the rest of the Spanish holdings in America. A united British-Dutch fleet would have made short work of the Spain's faltering defenses. The reforms that followed the death of William the second could be delayed in this timeline until the death of Cromwell, preventing the chaos that followed the collapse of the Commonwealth and allowing England, Scotland and Ireland to be integrated and organized into their own republics as part of the Dutch system. The inevitable clash between the Anglo-Dutch Empire and France could be delayed if Louis can be convinced to seek expansion in Egypt (as certain diplomats attempted to do in our history), perhaps leading to a conquest of the Ottomans and even the French Crown converting to Islam? Given a freerier hand in colonial affairs, the combined English/Dutch East India Trading Company could become a power unto itself, perhaps eventually grabbing power as a corporate state during the turbulent outbreak of republicanism due to come in the next century.

Those are the concepts I am currently working on. Feel free to ask me questions or share your own ideas. I'd love to know what people think so far!

Last edited by nothri; 12-15-2013 at 10:34 AM.
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