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Old 11-12-2016, 07:34 AM   #11
Daigoro
 
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Default Re: [Game] Work Up a Steampunk Setting

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Question 9
Where are the great unexplored corners of the world that explorers seek out to plant the flags of their nations?
Answer to Q9
Actually, the Age of Sail and the Age of Exploration came to a close some 30-50 years earlier than OTL, due to three innovations in particular.

There were the Napoleonic steamers, based on the Niepce Brothers' Pyréolophore, fleets of which quickly pushed to every corner of the globe and mapped out every last remaining coastline.

(Incidentally, photography is significantly retarded compared to OTL, as Napoleon forced Nicéphore Niépce to continue work on high-speed steamers, and thus his OTL discoveries in photography never occurred.)

By no means did Napoleonic France dominate this exploration, but they set the pace for other powers to keep up with.

Terrestrial discovery, exploring the inlands of Australia, crossing the Andes, etc, was greatly accelerated by the use of Crimean Crawlers, great Magalhães-Watt steam wagons mounted on dreadnaught wheels and later caterpillar tracks. The surplus of power meant they could be equipped with circular saws on articulators, to make crossing heavily wooded terrain much easier.

Finally, the frontiers of Arctic and Antarctic exploration were conquered in the 1890's with the aid of Enthermalised Holland Walkers, all-encompassing environmental dress containing a miniature power plant to circulate heated air around the wearer. Produced at the Cork Brassworks, in the Celtic Federacy, by John Phillip Holland, similar Enfridgerated Holland Walkers are a common sight amongst European explorers and merchants venturing into hot tropical or desert areas.

What remains for exploration lies more in the vertical realm. Bathyphilic Holland Walkers and Fenian Diving Yachts are being deployed by many world powers, in a race to colonise useful deep sea territories. High altitude mountain ranges also pose a final frontier for exploration, but teams of Holland Walker equipped explorers, accompanied by Celtic engineers who keep these machines running, are on the verge of conquering this realm as well.

Question 10:
What are the physical properties of the tar coral? i.e. How does it burn? Does it need to be refined? Can it be used as explosive or as an alternative to gunpowder?
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Steampunk: Colonial Steam

Last edited by Daigoro; 11-12-2016 at 07:47 AM.
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Old 11-12-2016, 12:19 PM   #12
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Default Re: [Game] Work Up a Steampunk Setting

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Answer to Q9
Question 10:
What are the physical properties of the tar coral? i.e. How does it burn? Does it need to be refined? Can it be used as explosive or as an alternative to gunpowder?
Answer: It depends. Various kinds of tar coral exist, and their properties depend on the species of the coral, the place they lived, their age and so on. The leading authority on tar corals, Professor Dr. Dr. Wilhelm Ferdinand von Schneckenberg (University of Heidelberg), described in his "Natural History of the Tar Coral" (Heidelberg, 1892) at least 136 various subspecies.

"Raw" corals can simply be burned, but it is more effective to wash them, dry them and grind them to a fine powder. "Coral flour", as it is called, can be stored easier, and modern steam machines have a system of tanks and pipes that deliver just the right amount of dust that is needed.

To use it for other purposes, coral dust can be prepared with numerous chemical and biological products. and it looks like the 20th century will see an incredible variety of tar coral products we can not even dream of.

Question 11: Which country is the leading cultural nation, be it music, theatre, fashion or visual arts?
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Old 11-12-2016, 01:41 PM   #13
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Default Re: [Game] Work Up a Steampunk Setting

Answer to Q11:

The sprawling expanse of the British Empire makes London the center of culture for most of the world, as it reflects the wide diversity of the people who live under the suzerainty of His Imperial Highness, Edward VII who, despite great efforts to act discretely, is widely understood to have been a libertine playboy for most of his life.

Women wear attire that closely matches what was seen at the turn of the century in our own history. Frilly blouses over long, narrow, skirts that emphasize slender waistlines, topped by ubiquitous flowered hats for all occasions. For outings, a long jacket and kid gloves are mandatory, as are tinted goggles with frames in a variety of amusing shapes and colors, for motorized escapades.

However, female attire does make a bit of a deeper nod toward practicality, in that it features sturdy belts and boots, and most jackets and skirts actually have practical pockets.

When it comes to evening wear, London's primary rival, Paris, rules the night as it always has. Gowns of flowing cotton and/or silk lace or, alternatively fine pleats, appear at every dinner party, with skirts long enough to drag along polished floors.

The most startling difference appears in the wider variety of bright colors commonly selected. Brazil's ascendance as a world power not only brought the scandalous samba and forró to the clubs of Whitechapel, it also made bright, birdlike colors especially popular in ladies' wear.

This has proven somewhat challenging, as colors that look so gorgeous on the café au lait complexions of Brazil's greatest beauties can prove rather challenging for women of quality who strive to achieve Europe's alabaster ideal. Seek a color consultant of good reputation for help, when selecting that next fabulous frock!

Question 12:

In our history, the United Kingdom sought alliances with Portugal to counter its rival, Spain; alliances with Germany to counter its rival, France; and alliances with Japan to counter its rival, Russia.

For their part, Spain worked with the Dutch, and France (and even Ireland) to some extent, to counter the United Kingdom; France sought help from Russia to counter the rising strength of Germany; and Russia supported the Austria-Hungarian Empire to help it against Germany and the Scandinavian countries.

Germany, once it had coalesced under Otto von Bismarck, reached out Austria's historical existential foe, the Ottoman Empire, to counter Austria which, in turn, did its best to retain control of the Magyars and Italians for much-needed manpower.

However, in this timeline, the alliances are all different, and the most notable missing player is Russia.

So, what caused Russia's collapse as a world power, and does anyone control the vast petrol reefs in Western Siberia and the Caspian Sea?
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Last edited by tshiggins; 11-12-2016 at 01:50 PM.
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Old 11-12-2016, 03:41 PM   #14
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Question 12: (trimmed)
So, what caused Russia's collapse as a world power, and does anyone control the vast petrol reefs in Western Siberia and the Caspian Sea?

Answer to Q12
The immediate cause of the current crises Russia faces are British actions in Central Asia and Japanese actions in Kamchatka, coupled with negative relations with France and Germany. The underlying cause of the ongoing collapse of Russia is a matter of great dispute to historians and political scientists.

Many argue that that main problem that Russia faces is its inability to industrialize on the scale of the other great powers of the 19th century. Many point to its political and social structures being incapable of supporting an industrial economy with no real demand for goods from the population. Others point to poor relations with the other industrial powers made it difficult for the empire to get the industrial materials necessary to build factories locally in the first place. Others argue that the country did not have a sufficent level of literacy to allow for a large industrial working class. Others argue that the urban centres where industry would reside are far from the supplies of tar coral necessary for industrialization.

The other main argument is that the majority of Russia problems are political. After their loss during the Second War of German Unification (1799-1801), after the surprise intervention of France (PM Napoleon signed a secret treaty with growing republic), Russia turned inward on itself. Later, after their defeat by the British in the Greek War (the British were brought into the war in exchange for a concession to build the Suez Canal), Russia faced a coup attempt from a coalition of intellectuals and nobility. In the late 19th century, military adventures into Manchuria, Poland and Finland drew international response and the formation of the Grand Coalition (All great powers except for isolationist California). The coalition moved quickly, securing the independence of Finland and establishing protectorates in Manchuria and Poland. Faced with these defeats, other nationalist movements are organizing across the Russian Empire, as well as the Sorelian Party under Lenin.

Question 13:
How do people get about?
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Old 11-12-2016, 06:13 PM   #15
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Answer to Question 13:

Most people use Henry Ford's Model S steam-car for short distance travel. Steam cars have been around for awhile, but this is the first affordable steam car. Gas stations haven't become common enough yet to allow for long distance travel. Lack of highways is an obstacle for long distance air car travel even for those willing to sort out the logistics of refueling.

Train networks and steamships are the primary means for long distance travel.

Dirigibles are an emerging technology that is popular among eccentric inventors and explorers. Smugglers also love dirigibles because law enforcement has yet to find effective countermeasures to a dirigible in flight.

Question 14

What forms of communication are used?
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Old 11-12-2016, 07:36 PM   #16
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Question 14

What forms of communication are used?
Letters written on paper are the most common means of communication. But in places where insulated steam pipes have become common, engineers have started tapping on the pipes and even hooking up steam powered engines that vibrate the pipes producing wax cylinders for playing in a Victrola-like device. Unfortunately, this only works over distances short enough for sounds to travel in the pipes, and is not in mainstream use (only hobbiest steam engineers use it currently).
Extra edit: Steam whistles for broadcasting emergency or time notices, of course!
Question 15
Is the Hydrogen Sulfide smell pervasive around steam engines?
If so, how do people deal with it?

Last edited by Culture20; 11-12-2016 at 08:05 PM.
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Old 11-12-2016, 09:12 PM   #17
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Question 15
Is the Hydrogen Sulfide smell pervasive around steam engines?
If so, how do people deal with it?

Answer to Q15
Hydrogen Sulfide is unused in most steam engines, most of the time the gas escapes or is collected at the mine. So the smell isn't that important in the cities. At the mines, Hydrogen Sulfide engines are common and they smell horrible! Masking the smell is discouraged because when you mask the smell you could walk into a gas pocket without knowing and die. Gas masks with air tanks are popular in safety conscious mines, and are catching on because it can improve output.

Question 16
What happened to Spain and its colonial empire?
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Old 11-13-2016, 12:53 AM   #18
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Default Re: [Game] Work Up a Steampunk Setting

Question 16
What happened to Spain and its colonial empire?

Answer to 16
Spain is a shell of its former self. Constantly trying to play catch up to everyone else.

Losing the Phillipines to Japan and Mexico's bid for independence were the final nails in the coffin for Spain's colonial empire. They are constantly fighting to keep what they have against rebellion but its a losing battle. Especially with the other powers aiding the rebels.

Mexico joined up with Texas to form an alliance between the native population growing sick of their distant overlords and Texan stubbornness to give into French influence to the east. The Republic of Texas extends from Nevada in the west to Texas in the east, including Oklahoma, going all the way south to the Panama Canal. They might not be a world player yet, but they are on the rise as an interloper state in global politics.

Question 17
What is the "standard" warship of the era?
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Old 11-13-2016, 09:19 AM   #19
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Question 17
What is the "standard" warship of the era?
While every navy has a different strategy, the British and Japanese fleets tend to follow a cruiser-based paradigm, fielding larger numbers of faster, smaller ships, compared to the hulking battleships favoured by other navies.

Newly deployed in 1905 but widely used, the Camperdown-class cruiser, or Kuroda-gata in Japan, is built on a steel trimaran hull with a tumblehome profile (where the hull slopes inward from the waterline). The trimaran is more stable with a shallower beam, but can have trouble turning. However, the broader deck provides room for dirigible operations at sea. The hull is 12,000 tons displacement, 400 foot long, and can cruise at 30 knots (35mph).

Armament includes 2 turreted 10-inch guns forward, with 20 single turret 6 inch guns around the perimeter. Crew is 600 hands.


Question 18
Are there any supersciences in the setting? What forms do they take? And therefore, what is the TL?

And to keep things moving a little...
Standing Question 19
What are the Seven Technological Wonders of the World?
I'll leave this as a standing question until we have at least 7 ideas, and we'll start with one idea per poster.
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World Wikis:
Cyberpunk: Duopoly Nation
Fantasy: Dominion Cross
Space Opera: Behind the King's Eclipse
Steampunk: Colonial Steam
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Old 11-13-2016, 11:18 AM   #20
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Question 18
Are there any supersciences in the setting? What forms do they take? And therefore, what is the TL?

Answer to Q18
There is a concerted effort by a large group of scientists around the world to categorize and study the source of supernatural powers. Most are ostracized from the scientific community and have much difficulty in finding subjects to research. Less ethical scientists have taken to kidnapping subjects for experimentation. Advances has been slow, but many are confident that a breakthrough will occur this century.

Otherwise, superscience isn't really a thing in this setting. It mostly takes the form of limited superscience, i.e. steam-driven mechanical computers that could compete with electromechanical designs, or more efficient boilers that could compete with electrical power systems.

The TL is broadly 5+1. Nuclear physics is still of interest only to physicists. Electricity is primarily used for street lights in blocks rich enough to have their own DC generator. Indoor lighting has is marred by a lack of a practical filaments. Medicine is basically TL6. Agronomy is experimenting with nitrogen fertilizers. Of little industrial influence, there have been experiments in producing tar coral in labs. Astronautics is being spurred onwards by the French Academy of Sciences, mostly because its president, Séverine Paquet, is a big fan of Verne. The French space cannon has had little success so far though.

Question 20
How are the governments of the world powers organized?

Last edited by TGLS; 11-13-2016 at 03:56 PM. Reason: Numbering error, Apostrophe error
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