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nothri 12-14-2013 11:55 PM

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!

Blind Mapmaker 12-15-2013 12:53 AM

Re: New Reality Seeds
 
I absolutely adored those little blurbs. Weren't there some in Who's Who also? I think your first two are very interesting, but now I'd better get back to preparing today's game instead of reading cool long forum posts ^^; Hopefully, there'll be more in the evening. If not, I'll see if I can't add a few.

nothri 12-15-2013 10:37 AM

Re: New Reality Seeds
 
There are indeed a lot of good ideas in Who's Who. I was inspired in part by some of the information found in those volumes as well as timelines and some of the other GURPS supplements. I do like to think I've expanded enough on the concepts to be useful and unique all on my own, however :) I'll let ya'll be the judge.

Anyone else have worlds to share?

Blind Mapmaker 12-15-2013 12:25 PM

Re: New Reality Seeds
 
Okay, back for more. I really like your ideas one to four, but think the last two are a bit too fantastic.

Constantinople, 787 AD doesn't work for me, because I think that Charlemagne's Empire was basically doomed to fail without his extraordinary personality and the web of leaders loyal to him as a person. There were just too many disparate entities in one empire for it to be stable. The eventual outcome might differ, but I really think nobody could keep Aquitanians and Saxons in the same empire and keep the borders safe against Iberian muslims, Viking raiders, Hungarians and so on. Having a greek foreigner at the head wouldn't help. Even with the power of the Roman Empire, which was hard pressed by the Arabs, to back him up, the infrastructure just wasn't there to maintain it.

The Hague, 1650 AD seems a bit too optimistic as far Cromwell's success and French inaction is concerned. A Netherlands close to England wasn't quite as dangerous to France as the opposite, but it can be safely assumed that the French would be tempted to stir up trouble and look for allies. Spain wasn't quite the mess at the time it was after Charles II's reign also. Not to mention that there was considerable European interest in restoring the monarchy in England.

I'm not saying a band of plucky heroes or ISWAT members couldn't swing those the way you describe them, but they are just a tad too unlikely for me as a campaign backdrop.

Rebellion of the Seven States, 154 BC is very interesting and seems to combine some of the ideas from Lebow's Unmaking the West, which is a very fascinating book if you look at things from a historian's (and not a novelist's or a GM's) perspective. But I really don't know that much about ancient Chinese history to comment, but good stuff nevertheless.

But you asked for more historical vignettes, not detailed criticism, so I give you two rough sketches.

Berlin/Jerusalem 1916: The German and Ottoman Empires are hard-pressed to hold the line against the Entente Powers. To pre-empt a British attempt to garner Jewish support (what happened in OTL with the Balfour Declaration) German diplomats convince the German and Ottoman governments including a reluctant Wilhelm II (who didn't care for his Jewish subjects very much, but didn't mind Zionism as an easy way to be rid of them) to sponsor a "National home for the Jewish in Palestine". While the leading Zionists in the Entente Powers wisely decline to comment on this development, it earns much interest in Germany, Austria-Hungary and occupied Russian territory. It also turns Jewish opinion in the US in favour of Germany. This combined with the wise decision not to resume unrestricted submarine warfare kept the Americans out of the war (but still friendly to the Entente). The eventual German collapse is just as complete as in OTL, but when the British Empire reluctantly takes up the Zionist cause afterwards the Germans still get all the praise for taking the first step. With Jewish charities in America setting up donations to help starving German children and invalids, anti-semitism has much less appeal in the immediate post-war situation and leads to a minor Austrian corporal in German service to return in disgust to his Austrian native soil. Anti-semitism still plays some role in German politics, but it doesn't form an important platform in any of the major parties. Without a strong NSDAP the Weimar coalition of Zentrum, DVP and SPD manages to weather the storm of the World Economic Crisis and Germany manages to avoid another dictatorship.

Yekaterinburg 1918: The Czechoslovak Legion frees tsar Nicholas II from Bolshevik Imprisonment. The tsar goes on to become a popular figurehead for the White forces and manages to arrange a united front against the Bolsheviks. Despite intial successes the Russian heartlands cannot be held, but Entente interventions and the ongoing war against Poland convince the communist leaders to agree to a ceasefire that grants Siberia to the Whites. With a safe haven in the east, many political opponents emigrate over the urals swelling the White ranks and at the same time tempering Soviet policies. An uneasy truce exists between the two Russias that continues at least until the end of the 1920s - not in the least because of obvious western support for the Siberians. This may change when Japanese expansionists have to decide whether to go after China in earnest or grab Siberian lands.

For extra fun, combine the two seeds. Hope you find them at least somewhat plausible.

Frost 12-15-2013 02:07 PM

Re: New Reality Seeds
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Blind Mapmaker (Post 1695663)
The Hague, 1650 AD seems a bit too optimistic as far Cromwell's success and French inaction is concerned. A Netherlands close to England wasn't quite as dangerous to France as the opposite, but it can be safely assumed that the French would be tempted to stir up trouble and look for allies. Spain wasn't quite the mess at the time it was after Charles II's reign also. Not to mention that there was considerable European interest in restoring the monarchy in England.

Not to mention that amongst other dubious achievements Cromwell had, by the time he died, alienated enough of his own allies that there was a fair degree of interest in England in restoring the monarchy. Added to which given the lack of a suitable successor to Cromwell I would think that the Anglo-Dutch empire probably won't be a republic for very long.

nothri 12-16-2013 09:58 AM

Re: New Reality Seeds
 
On the Dutch timeline, some comments:

That's part of the point, really. The Lord's Protector, the monarch-in-all-but-name title that Cromwell eventually adopted for himself, was not an altogether alien concept to the Dutch. Their own Stadtholder had served more or less the same function in their society. My thinking is, if we merge the two societies, then disgust with Cromwell could follow the pattern that disgust for William the Second did in the Netherlands- e.g. a series of reforms aimed at putting power into the hands of a counsel of representatives of the major republics in the region (in this case to include representatives from Ireland, England, and Scotland...oh yeah, and Wales. I always forget about Wales...). And when people get tired of that chronically sluggish institution accomplishing literally nothing and calling that lack of progress a virture, William the 3rd can throw his hat in the ring as Lord's Protector just in time for this world's version of the Glorious Revolution.

At for France, at this point in history Louis had not yet begun to consider the Dutch or the English as a bigger threat than Spain. The Dutch grew more hostile towards France after Louis invaded the Spanish Netherlands (regions the Dutch had long considered theirs to liberate, and were no more welcoming of French control over than they were of Spain). The Dutch in turn made alliances with Spain against France, which Louis considered a kind of betrayal. If Cromwell invades the region first while France is still hostile towards Spain, the French might be persuaded to remain neutral regarding the whole affair. In addition, Louis was reluctant to immediately dive into a war with the Dutch, who at the time were allied with Britain and Sweden (a rising power at this stage). Louis worked to end the alliance between England and the Netherlands as a prelude to open conflict with the Dutch, something he succeeded at in our history. An Anglo-Dutch Empire more firmly united could present a big enough hornet's nest than Louis wants to kick, especially if neither Empire has a reason to ally with Spain. Louis was never a firm ally of the Ottomans, though he would support them readily enough when doing so undermined his enemies. Pushing into Egypt would invite Ottoman wrath (even though I believe it was controlled by the Mamelukes at this point in history) but it would also win allies in the East Holy Roman Empire and Russia (a good counterbalance to the Dutch-Swedish alliance). War can't be postponed forever, but I do think Louis is less likely to start wars against opponents that seem powerful than he is to build an empire along promising trade routes in regions who are showing signs of instability. Besides, I'm a fan of injecting some amount of high strangeness into my parallels just to give them that "not in Kansas anymore" vibe, and a French speaking Sultanate (perhaps brought about when the monarchy is forced to flee to colonial holdings during their version of the French Revolution?) certainly qualifies.

I don't know so much about WW1 history, but your ideas certainly sound interesting. I especially like the "Siberian Csar" scenario. If there's a Hitler in this timeline, it certainly begs the question as to which Russia he will seek an alliance with.

nothri 03-06-2014 02:04 PM

Re: New Reality Seeds
 
More reality seeds, fresh off the grittle:

Gujarat, 1572: The Portugese sent diplomats to negotiate with the Akbar the Great, arguably the greatest king ever to rule the Mughal Empire. Had he convinced the Portugese to form a closer alliance with the empire than was crafted, there would have been great benefits for both empires. In his time Akbar united most of what we think of as India under the Muslim banner. One can only assume his conquests would have been all the greater backed by a steady line of trade in spice and other merchandise in exchange for European firearms and permission to establish a fleet to defends his holdings. Establish a strong enough alliance (along the lines of Dutch and Japanese) and the Portugese might find their Empire lasting longer while the expansion of the trade imperiums of the other European nations is delayed. If Akbar lives long enough his legacy might include a more successful implementation of Din-i-llahi, a religious polyglot of systems found throughout the Mughal Empire, including Islam, Christianity, and hinduism. Greater expansion could reasonably see Buddhism added to that list. Should the Mughals become a great power in their own right, the Emperor of the Peacock throne might come to serve as the voice of the most prominent faiths of the Earth.

Moscow, 1610: Russia was still reeling from the rule of Ivan the terrible and the subsequent Time of Troubles was well underway. Numerous contenders for the title of Tsar were battling a bloody civil war. Amongst these was Wladyslaw Vasa, son of the king of Poland-Lithuania Sigismund. Wladyslaw was in fact elected Tsar by the Russia nobility, but his father ruined this career in its infancy by attemtping to conqueror the throne for himself. Had Sigismund listened to reason, the two nations could have united their forces to reclaim the throne of Sweden (Sigismund's original intent in attacking Russia to begin with). With this success, Sigismund would have his crown and Wladyslaw could inherit the three throne of Sweden, Poland-Lithuania, and Russia- forming the largest empire in the world and perhaps avoiding the bloodshed of the Great Northern War. Given that both Russia and Sweden were soon to come into their own golden ages, this event could serve as an excellent way to make Poland into a great power in ages to come.

London, 1605: The fifth of November may be a day that shall never be forgot, but the Gunpowder Plot that inspired that rhyme was foiled. Had the event taken place, the world we know might well be very different from the one we live in. Despite Guy Fawkes intentions, the most likely result of the destruction of King and Parliament (and perhaps the subsequent burning of London itself- Fawkes was using a LOT of gunpowder, and the city was assuredly as much a matchstick ready to be lit as it was at the time of the Great Fire of 1666) would have been a harsh crack down on Catholicism across the nation and a much more strongly devoted Protestant majority. Such an event would shock the minds of the entire world and could inspire radical movements that failed on our Earth. The Diggers and the Levellers beaten down by Cromwell could instead rise earlier and create a true Democratic or pseudo-Socialist regime in the heart of England some 300 odd years early. Or new radical governments could be spawned off the words of John Locke, Rousseau, and other enlightenment thinkers.

Paris, 1421: Henry V was a strong English king whose ambitions and achievements amounted to nothing in the face of dysentry and the crusade of a French peasant girl. Had he lived beyond his 36 years, Henry might have swept away the armies of Joan of Arc and cemented his claim to the French throne. With France and England united behind him, Henry's next goal was the conquest of Israel in a modern crusade. Such a happening could provide a stay of execution for Constantinople, otherwise destined to fall in a few short decades. A longer life for the king would also see the smoother transition of power from father to son, an event that might just prevent the mounting tensions and rivalries that would eventually explode into the War of the Roses.

Shanghai Pass, 1644: The end of the Ming Dynasty was neigh. The people were starving, and a peasant army had arisen under the guidance of former imperial soldier Li Zencheng. Beijing had fallen to the rebellion, and the last Emperor of the Ming had taken his own life. The Shun Dynasty had begun. Yet along the Shanghai Pass the former Ming loyalist Wu Sangui had a fateful decision to make- accept the new regime or throws his lot in with the invading Manchus. On our earth he opened the gate in the Great Wall, allowing the foreign invaders into China and ultimately initiating the rise of the Qing Dynasty that would rule until the advent of Communism. Had he hesitated, there is a good possibility that the new Emperor could have rallied and armed his armies into a force to the Manchus back to the steppes. If their king survives, the Manchus might then turn their ambitions elsewhere, perhaps conquering and uniting rival khannates in Upper Asia after the fashion of the Mongols they much admired. At best, this could prove a major hindrance in Russia's ability to expand and hold onto Eastern territories. At worst, we might see a line of Tsars descending from the Manchus and additional forays into the heart of Europe. In China proper, the Shun might have an easier time of rule than their Manchu counterparts. There is an argument to be made that the conservatism of the Qing was forced upon them by necessity- their foreign nature meant they had to strive all the more carefully to appear traditional and respectful of Chinese tradition. Lacking that need, the Shun might have continued the advances of the Ming and allowed China to keep pace with their counterparts in the West by the time of the industrial revolution.

ericthered 03-06-2014 02:47 PM

Re: New Reality Seeds
 
China, 1862

The Taiping Rebellion in china was the second bloodiest civil war in history, outranked only by a communist civil war in the same country. estimates of the death vary, but 20 million is a commonly cited figure. The war raged in southern China from 1850 to 1864, with the fighting heaviest between the rebel capital Nanjing and the port of Shanghai. The Taipings practiced an extremely unorthodox form of Christianity and promoted large social, religious, and economic reform. In our history, the war was ended largely by a european led group of soldiers who tipped the scales in favour of the Qing. This this timeline, rather committing against the Taiping in the seige of Shanghai, Westerners (led by the famed Chinese Gordan) took over the city and both declared and enforced its neutrality. Both sides fought on, but without Shanghai, the Qing dynasty was forced to leave southern China to the 'heavenly kingdom'.

From there, history can go many directions, to a proper European conquest of china, To a state capable of standing up the European powers taking over much sooner, to a completely fractured china, to a china split between two powers.

martin_rook 03-06-2014 07:28 PM

Re: New Reality Seeds
 
Brandywine Creek, Pennsylvania, 1777: Major Patrick Ferguson was a Scottish officer in the British Army. He had invented the Ferguson rifle which could fire 4 rounds a minute at a target 300 yards away while weighing almost half of what the army's standard rifle weighed. During the Revolutionary War, he was sent to America to form a small force of sharpshooters armed with his experimental weapon. On September 11th, 1777, they were scouting the Brandywine Creek at the eve of battle with American forces when he encountered two horsemen. One was dressed as a Hussar in a distinctive outfit, while the other wore the uniform of a senior American officer with a large cocked hat. Ferguson stepped out and ordered them to halt. They turned and galloped off. Ferguson, who could have fired at them half a dozen times before they escaped, declined to shoot them in the back. The Hussar was Count de Pulaski, serving as an Aide-de Camp to the other rider, General George Washington. Had Ferguson decided to shoot at the enemy riders… Well, you can take the resulting timeline into a myriad of different directions.

patchwork 03-08-2014 11:10 PM

Re: New Reality Seeds
 
Most of you probably already know this, but there's a huge and well-run website full of these, www.alternatehistory.com.

To add a few that don't appear there:

Istanbul, 1640: Caliph Murad IV, on his deathbed, ordered the execution of his brother and successor, Ibrahim. This order was not carried out. Ibrahim had major developmental disabilities, and Murad felt that it would be blasphemous for people to call his brother Commander of the Faithful while viziers usurped power for themselves and bred the man to some poor women; he felt that a civil war, in which Allah could make his will clear to the world, would be preferable to making a continuing mockery of the office. Which, in some opinions, is exactly what happened. But suppose someone decided that the Caliph must be obeyed, no matter how terrible his orders, and ended the House of Osman with a bang instead of a whimper?

Moscow, 1610: Sigismund III of Poland has entered Moscow in triumph with grand (completely unrealistic) visions of converting the nation to Catholicism and appending it to a Polish Vasa Empire. Historically, Russia was simply too big and intransigent for the Polish army to sit on for any length of time, and a few years later he wound up withdrawing having accomplished very little. The boyars asked that his eldest (17 year old) son Wladislaw convert to Russian Orthodoxy and be acknowledged as Tsar; Sigismund had other sons who could become Kings of Poland in time. Sigismund would not allow his son to convert away from the true church. Suppose he relented, trusting God to judge his son fairly, both bringing Russia's Time of Troubles to an early end and giving it much closer ties to the west in the process?

Israel, 1973: The Yom Kippur War escalates into a limited nuclear exchange between the USA and the Soviet Union. This is an interesting time for it precisely because Federal authority is at such a nadir in the USA; the Vietnam War is dragging to a close having become incredibly unpopular, President Nixon has just resigned, Agnew is convicted and Ford is an unelected (and very new) President. While the actual damage is likely to be minimal, this is the period where Americans are most likely to resist orders from soldiers with violence or ignore directives from the White House as a nest of crooks and usurpers. The USA may well break apart despite the damage being light.

Razi, 1189: Fakhr al-Din al-Razi's many worlds hypothesis is upheld, and becomes an article of the Sunni faith. How does Infinity react to a world that presumably isn't anywhere near advanced enough to build a conveyor, but in which Many Worlds are accepted as real by every adherent of a major faith?

Constantinople, 326: Constantine makes it back to his capital several days early, decides the charges against his son Crispus are a plot by his wife, and executes her instead. How does Rome fare with a competent Christian Emperor this early?

Danzig, 1438: one of Burgundy's privateers slips though the blockade and sacks a major east Hanseatic port. As a result, the eastern half of the Hanseatic League decides to send money and troops against Burgundy after all. They sack Burgundy, exact tribute and dismantle its shipbuilding industry. With a continuing monopoly on shipbuilding in the north and a history of successful large-scale military cooperation, can the League resist when Russia tries to throw it out in the 1470s, and then go on to greater things, perhaps even in the New World?

Bill Cameron 03-09-2014 02:02 PM

Re: New Reality Seeds
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by martin_rook (Post 1734066)
Brandywine Creek, Pennsylvania, 1777: Major Patrick Ferguson...

This one has been shot down so many times Snopes should do page on it.

First, while his rifle was very good, it wasn't the revolutionary advance well meaning but misinformed myth makers claim it to be.

Second, Ferguson and Washington never got within a dozen miles of each during the Brandywine campaign. In fact, a ball in his arm sent Ferguson well to the rear for medical attention hours before Washington approached the ford.

Third, Ferguson never claimed to have had Washington in his sites and died very soon afterwards at Kings Mountain where the irregular colonial forces treated his corpse rather badly. The whole "I could have George" was made up after Ferguson died and by someone other than Ferguson.

I'd like to second patchwork's suggestion about alternatehistory.com. If you're truly interested in the subject and want to explore turning points instead of making stuff up, it's well worth a visit.

Astromancer 03-09-2014 02:29 PM

Re: New Reality Seeds
 
Black Sea 704AD Justinian II's ship is caught in a storm. In our history Justinian II regains his throne and soaks the Byzantine Empire in blood. He was also a second rate emperor as well. His subjects revolted again and killed him in 711. Meanwhile Tiberius III droped the wasted effort to regain lost territories in the west and focused on defense against Eastern foes. Had his life been longer Byzantium would have been much stronger.

If Justinian II were to drown in the Black Sea and Tiberius III were to rule longer (and as Tiberius seems to have been far less brutal and vastly more tactful than Justinian) and less destructively, you might get a stronger Byzantine Empire for centuries longer.

PTTG 03-09-2014 04:31 PM

Re: New Reality Seeds
 
Washington D.C., 2000:

The Supreme Court, after much debate, finds that cutting the Florida recount short would be pantamount to dictating the result of the election, and instead allows them to continue. After an extended lame-duck presidency by Clinton, Al Gore enters office, to loud comparisons to Nixon.

Gore's presidency is unremarkable; of minor note is continuance of Clinton-era antiterrorism efforts that result in the capture of several Muslim extremists in late 2001. Gore's more well-known efforts revolve around a campaign to advance solar power, and as a result, when he leaves office in 2004, he's mainly remembered as the Geek President.

The republican president that followed him ran on a campaign of lowering military spending for a more efficient government, and reducing illegal immigration. An economic crisis and housing bubble in 2006 is blamed largely on Democratic housing policy.

Between then and now, the United States and other nations view terrorism as a police matter rather than a military one, and the US in particular grows somewhat isolationist.

David Johnston2 03-10-2014 02:50 AM

Re: New Reality Seeds
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Bill Cameron (Post 1735211)
This one has been shot down so many times Snopes should do page on it.

First, while his rifle was very good, it wasn't the revolutionary advance well meaning but misinformed myth makers claim it to be.

Second, Ferguson and Washington never got within a dozen miles of each during the Brandywine campaign. In fact, a ball in his arm sent Ferguson well to the rear for medical attention hours before Washington approached the ford.

Third, Ferguson never claimed to have had Washington in his sites and died very soon afterwards at Kings Mountain where the irregular colonial forces treated his corpse rather badly. The whole "I could have George" was made up after Ferguson died and by someone other than Ferguson.
.

Does it matter precisely who shoots Washington?

Flyndaran 03-10-2014 03:05 AM

Re: New Reality Seeds
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by David Johnston2 (Post 1735386)
Does it matter precisely who shoots Washington?

Name dropping is part of the fun of alternate histories.

scc 03-10-2014 04:23 AM

Re: New Reality Seeds
 
A couple of suggestions that likely result in Britannica timelines.

1) The British win the 100 Years War. My favorite way of doing this involves the fact that the French savior was a woman, but the whole thing got started over weather or not the line of succession could pass through a women, the French side said it could not.

2) Pr-American War of Independence. The British Crown uses Parliaments mismanagement of the colonies to reassert it's primacy, the War of Independence either doesn't happen or happens later

Astromancer 03-10-2014 06:10 AM

Re: New Reality Seeds
 
Having recently read The Russian Origins of the First World War I'd suggest this reality seed. Durring their build up to the first World War, which they needed in order to keep their Black Sea fleet from being made obsolete, the Russians realises they'll need to switch their priorities around. So they ignore their main goals in Europe to throw two-thirds of their force directly against Berlin and the other third is sent to Eastern Anatolia.

The Germans, having sent all their troops to France, and unable to turn them around, find the Russians have taken Berlin. (The token forces sent by Russia to threaten Berlin were easily handled in our world, in this world the attack is much sooner and vastly stronger.) In Eastern Anatolia, the Russians, allied with the Kurds and the Armenians, as they were in real history, march toward the Borphorus with little significant opposition. The Czars become the clear winners of WWI.

Bill Cameron 03-11-2014 11:00 PM

Re: New Reality Seeds
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by David Johnston2 (Post 1735386)
Does it matter precisely who shoots Washington?

It doesn't matter, which it makes it all the more surprising that every time Washington gets shot it's always Ferguson and His Magic Rifle. The myth always gets trotted out when even a cursory examination of Washington's military career would reveal dozens of actual dangerous situations in which the man was under fire.

Hell, during the Seven Years War alone Washington could have been killed several times. There was the Jumonville ambush, his defeat and capture at Fort Necessity, the disastrous Braddock expedition, and more. During Forbes advance across Pennsylvania towards Fort Duquesne Washington was involved in a friendly fire incident in which about four dozen men were killed or wounded.

All the real incidents during the Seven Years War, all the real incidents during the American Revolutionary War, and all anyone can ever suggest is Forbes invented the Thirty-Ought-Six and could have potted Washington while he was chopping down a cherry tree but didn't because he was a gentleman.

Flyndaran 03-12-2014 12:46 AM

Re: New Reality Seeds
 
Killing famous people early seems overdone. I like the killed early people living longer for alternate histories.
Like Alexander of Macedon, for example.
Or Hitler escaping and possibly going to trial. That might make the whole war trials more obviously the kangaroo courts they were. Could give neo Nazis more recruiting ammunition.

Astromancer 03-12-2014 06:24 AM

Re: New Reality Seeds
 
Try this idea, place a millitary genius in the family of a key supporter of Louis Napoleon (in our world the kid dies in infancy). The French still start the Franco-Prussian war outnumbered and outguned, but with a general of genius. Bismark finds the Prussian army fought to a standstill. Deals are made. France keeps Alsance and Lorraine and no reprerations are paid. Louis stays on the throne, the Prince Imperial stays in Paris and becomes Napoleon the IV. France is reactionary but has strong generals for the next century.

Germany and France stalemate each other and the British Empire survives into the 21st century as the dominant power on the planet. The USA becomes the home of democratic socialism and progressive thought .

Astromancer 03-13-2014 06:11 AM

Re: New Reality Seeds
 
Try this one. Robert fulton offered the steamship to Napoleon in about 1804 or 1805. At least in our history he did this. Napoleon rejected the steamship as an absurd and silly idea. However, imagine a world where Napoleon understood what Fulton offered and what it could do for him. In 1807, a fleet of armored French troop transport craft leave port for southern England moving against the wind and tides. The Brits are caught flat footed.

Now Napoleon's Empire was built on archaic financial structures, finance by plunder mainly. French banks were way behind the times and didn't fully catch up to best practises until decades later in our world. So, in this world, although Napoleon has conquered the United Kingdom, and changed it into the Anglican, Caladonian, Cambrian, and Hiberian Republics, his Empire still falls. Only it falls apart in 1857.

It's now 1865, all Europe is at war. The monarchists allied with the churches (the historic norm) and the Republicans allied with the Urban masses (again the historic norm). This would be a wild setting for steampunk swashbuckling.

fwcain 03-13-2014 10:23 AM

Re: New Reality Seeds
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Astromancer (Post 1736682)
(Napoleon accepts Robert Fulton's steamship, conquers UK...Napoleon not defeated until 1857...)

It's now 1865 -- all of Europe is at war.
(Astromancer's timing synchs up with American Civil War...)

The monarchists allied with the churches (the historic norm), and the Republicans allied with the Urban masses (again, the historic norm). This would be a wild setting for steam-punk swashbuckling.

(scribbles notes for future use)

Excellent... >;-D
Franklin

Gedrin 03-13-2014 10:44 AM

Re: New Reality Seeds
 
In our timeline, in 1896 a cloudy day leads Henri Becquerel to set aside his phosphorescence experiment, leaving potassium uranyl sulphate crystals, unexposed to sunlight, next to a photo plate in a closed drawer. For reasons unknown, he chooses to examine the supposedly unexposed plate. The resulting imprint of the plate shows the exposure shadow from the radioactive crystals, leading to the discovery of radioactivity and numerous cascading advances.

In an alternate timeline, the day is sunny, and a similar insight does not come about until 1904. While there's little reason to believe overall advancement would be stalled or slowed, the timing and personalities of those involved would be changed.

tshiggins 03-13-2014 06:39 PM

Re: New Reality Seeds
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by fwcain (Post 1736772)
(scribbles notes for future use)

Excellent... >;-D
Franklin

Yep. Swiped.

ericthered 03-14-2014 09:39 AM

Re: New Reality Seeds
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by abe ray (Post 1736763)
not sure of the time frame, but here goes, Joan of ark helps win the war!
not sure of the implications though.

You are aware Joan gets far more credit for winning the 100 years war than anyone else? The only other factor that gets near as much credit is the french adopting firearms...

Frost 03-14-2014 03:24 PM

Re: New Reality Seeds
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Astromancer (Post 1736187)
Try this idea, place a millitary genius in the family of a key supporter of Louis Napoleon (in our world the kid dies in infancy). The French still start the Franco-Prussian war outnumbered and outguned, but with a general of genius. Bismark finds the Prussian army fought to a standstill.

I would be tempted to make this putative military genius a logistic specialist rather than rather than the classic choice of a military commander. French performance in 1871, at least in the opening stages of the war was an artefact of haphazard mobilisation.

If the French were able to mobilise and deploy more effectively they might have been in a position to exploit the fairly significant weaknesses in the Prussian deployment. From the Prussian point of view a stalemate would be the least of their problems outright defeat would be a significant possibility.

Astromancer 03-17-2014 03:28 PM

Re: New Reality Seeds
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Frost (Post 1737295)
I would be tempted to make this putative military genius a logistic specialist rather than rather than the classic choice of a military commander. French performance in 1871, at least in the opening stages of the war was an artefact of haphazard mobilisation.

If the French were able to mobilise and deploy more effectively they might have been in a position to exploit the fairly significant weaknesses in the Prussian deployment. From the Prussian point of view a stalemate would be the least of their problems outright defeat would be a significant possibility.

Good point, much of the advantage the Germans had in the Franco-Prussian war and for that matter the Union in the ACW was logistics.

Astromancer 03-17-2014 03:41 PM

Re: New Reality Seeds
 
Try this reality seed Henri, Count of Chambord swallows his pride and gets a clue. He accepts the Throne of France in the 1870's and is polite about it. In the next few years, working with reactionaries and others, he successfully allies with the Versailles Parliament (the government of the 3rd Republic stayed out out of Paris for a decade) and France moves in a reactionary direction. Most of France's major scientists and artists leave the nation. France becomes a minor European power.

In the 1890's Germany successfully gets Great Britain to agree to an Anglo-Germman defence pact (as a means of controlling and counter-ballancing Russian expanionism). When the WWI comes, Germany takes down a weak and degenerate France easily. Britain and Germany then take Russia on in Poland and Anatolia. Both the Crazist state and the Bourbon state fall. Unstable republics replace both. anarchists, communists, fascists, and others, suggle violently in the streets of Paris fighting to create a new France.

You can use this as a Pulp Primpernell setting, fight commies in 20's Paris, fight for socialism, or simply swashbuckle.

Astromancer 03-18-2014 05:46 AM

Re: New Reality Seeds
 
Further thoughts on the Chambord as King of France setting. WWI is much less traumatic and disruptive as well as being much shorter. America is never involved in the struggle. Thus the delegitimation of the old order never occurs in Europe while, absent the Palmerson raids or the drive to promote American entry into the War, Socialism and Social-Democratic ideas continue to flourish. Wilson's ill health isn't ignored and he's made to resign soon after his second election.

Thus you have an America which is the great magnet pulling all the progressives out of Europe. Europe 1920 is, except for the technology and the cultural changes in Britain, more like Europe 1890 than not. Monarchies go blithely on, imperialism is unquestioned, and France is given as the reason one votes Conservative. America is politely ignored (or cursed under the breath) and the Whole masquerade goes on.

Astromancer 03-21-2014 05:39 AM

Re: New Reality Seeds
 
Try this idea, give Kara Mustafa Pasha a younger brother who is both a talented millitary man (nothing incredible, just a throughly credible Ottoman millitary man) and has his bother's ear and the ability to get him to see things his way on millitary tactics and the like. The main reason Kara Mustafa Pasha failed to take Vienna was his amazing millitary imcompetence and his inability to listen to skilled commanders. with the addition of this younger brother Vienna falls and the Polish and Bavarrian armies are stoped at key river fords.

Move ahead fourty-five years, the Ottoman state controlls most of southern Germany and has a border with France. Italy is also under Ottoman rule and the Pope lives in Barcelona. However, European technology is still moving forward, the English, French, and Dutch, all can trade with the Far East more cheaply by sailing around Africa. The ecconomic base of the Ottoman state is fading away.

Meanwhile, the Trukish invasion of Germany has caused a massive upsurge in the numbers of Germans settling in the King of England's American realms. The population is already about three million people (in our history that number wasn't achieved until seventy years later). The American colonies are as much a place of self-government and religious freedom in this world as in ours, which attracts the attention of the Sublime Porte. This leads the Sultan to ask, "If a new Christian power grows up in the west, how will we ever complete the conquest of the world for Islam?"

Thus you have a cold/hot war setting Swashers and Arabian Nights mixture with frequient trips to the Carribean and the American colonies with trukish pirates trying to size up the Americas and perhaps attack them if they can. Complex multipolar politics would be slid into this.

patchwork 03-21-2014 05:43 PM

Re: New Reality Seeds
 
On Chambord: rather than do a complete brain transplant on Henri late in life, surely it's a bit more realistic to give him a wife and young son? when 1870 rolls around, the Third Republic ignores the crotchety old fossil and offers the throne to the young prince (most likely named Charles). This is a quibble, and the overall idea is good.

On Kara Mustafa: conquest of Vienna does not get you Italy, nor does it make the rest of the HRE collapse in dysfunction. A lot of promise here, but also a lot of work still needing to be done.

Astromancer 03-22-2014 12:42 PM

Re: New Reality Seeds
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by patchwork (Post 1740145)
On Chambord: rather than do a complete brain transplant on Henri late in life, surely it's a bit more realistic to give him a wife and young son? when 1870 rolls around, the Third Republic ignores the crotchety old fossil and offers the throne to the young prince (most likely named Charles). This is a quibble, and the overall idea is good.

Good point. A charismatic (or said to be so) young prince would have been very attractive in many quarters of 1870's France.

Quote:

On Kara Mustafa: conquest of Vienna does not get you Italy, nor does it make the rest of the HRE collapse in dysfunction. A lot of promise here, but also a lot of work still needing to be done.
Agreed, but the Ottoman state was very powerful in the late 17th and early 18th centuries. Civil strife completely absorbed all that power, with a successful prince an Ottoman "Indian Summer" would be possible.

johndallman 03-22-2014 12:58 PM

Re: New Reality Seeds
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Astromancer (Post 1738444)
In the 1890's Germany successfully gets Great Britain to agree to an Anglo-Germman defence pact (as a means of controlling and counter-balancing Russian expansionism).

A vital element of this would be limiting the Imperial German Navy so that it could not threaten the dominance of the Royal Navy. The easy way to do that is to let Wilhelm II play with the RN enough that he doesn't feel the need for one of his own.

Astromancer 03-22-2014 01:05 PM

Re: New Reality Seeds
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by johndallman (Post 1740476)
A vital element of this would be limiting the Imperial German Navy so that it could not threaten the dominance of the Royal Navy. The easy way to do that is to let Wilhelm II play with the RN enough that he doesn't feel the need for one of his own.

That's one way. I'm certain other folks will have different ideas.

Astromancer 03-22-2014 01:07 PM

Re: New Reality Seeds
 
Robert Guiscard offers and interesting possiblity. Let the man live to be seventy-five or eighty.

More later time's up.

Guiscard nearly united the thrones of Byzantium and Sicily. Only his sudden death from illness stoped him. Unifying those thrones and perhaps the Holy Roman crown of the Western Empire as well (he nearly got both crowns), Guiscadr could have created a neo-Roman empire. The possibilities for adventure run so many directions from there.

Astromancer 03-26-2014 06:13 AM

Re: New Reality Seeds
 
Enrico Dandolo would be an interesting person to work a reality seed around (yes I'm reading a history of Venice. Why do you ask?) The sacking of Byzantium in 1205 is largely his doing. Everyone else would have let the Emperor pay them off, Dandolo wanted revenge!

Preventing the sack of Byzantium would have vast knockon effects. First, most scholars say, that of the 90% of Greco-roman classical literature, knowledge, history, ect., lost between the fall of Rome and the invention of the Printing Press, two-thirds was lost in the sack of Byzantium. Given some of the recent discoveries about what the Greeks knew, this means that if the sack is prevented, the world after the invention of the printing press changes vastly. If nothing more than the recently rediscovered text by Archimedes, which seems to have him inventing calculus, were brough to light in the 1400's, the TL might advance a few decades earlier. Try the idea of a TL5 Elizabethan England, or a TL8 Victorian England?

Secondly, an unsacked Byzantium would be able to resist the Turks for a somewhat longer time, maybe a generation or two. This would radically rework the history Eastern Europe.

ericthered 03-26-2014 08:29 AM

Re: New Reality Seeds
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Astromancer (Post 1740484)
Robert Guiscard offers and interesting possiblity. Let the man live to be seventy-five or eighty.

More later time's up.

Guiscard nearly united the thrones of Byzantium and Sicily. Only his sudden death from illness stoped him. Unifying those thrones and perhaps the Holy Roman crown of the Western Empire as well (he nearly got both crowns), Guiscadr could have created a neo-Roman empire. The possibilities for adventure run so many directions from there.

To say he almost 'united' Sicily with anything is to understate. The man built the kingdom of the two Sicilys from scratch.

I don't know that he could have ruled the byzantines though. He lived during the point of no return in the east-west schism and was a hated enemy of the Byzantines. The Byzantines are famous for their court intrigue, and no line of rulers stretches more than four generations. his son Bohemond's presence on the crusades is credited for the byzantine non-involvement by some authors (though that may have been Bohemond's status as former aspirant to the crown).

He may have been able to end the east-west schism by absolute conquest though. THAT would have a massive ripple effect, though I don't think the early death of Byzantium would have helped Europe in the long run at all. A strong and major state in Italy and Greece might though.

Prince Charon 03-26-2014 11:58 AM

Re: New Reality Seeds
 
One that I used on AlternateHistory.com (in the form of a Double-Blind What-If, meaning the participants pretend to be characters in the universe created by the divergence) was that the Tunguska meteor hit Paris, instead of Tunguska, and the knock-on effects of that, such as the formation of an International Asteroid Tracking Service, an early craze for 'scientifiction', and a retreat from Metropolitan France to the colonies.

Astromancer 03-27-2014 06:05 AM

Re: New Reality Seeds
 
For a festival of cool reality seeds read the book I'm reading. It's The History of Venice by John Julius Norwich. It's a great read and it's full of possiblities.

Astromancer 03-31-2014 06:09 AM

Re: New Reality Seeds
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by ericthered (Post 1742145)
To say he almost 'united' Sicily with anything is to understate. The man built the kingdom of the two Sicilys from scratch.

Giving a guy like that ten more years and a semi-competent heir is a sure way to radically change history.

Astromancer 04-01-2014 03:08 PM

Re: New Reality Seeds
 
Has anyone thought about simply introducing paper from China to the West more quickly? It doesn't give anything like the bang you get from the paper/printing combo, but it would probably multiply the supply of books ten fold. Instead of 90% of Greco-Roman classical writting being lost you'd probably only lose 40% to 60%. Allow the right survivals and you could justify a clockpunk Elizabethan setting that would be vast fun.

Frost 04-02-2014 04:31 AM

Re: New Reality Seeds
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Astromancer (Post 1744808)
Has anyone thought about simply introducing paper from China to the West more quickly? It doesn't give anything like the bang you get from the paper/printing combo, but it would probably multiply the supply of books ten fold.

Introducing paper early enough possibly gets you a home grown printing industry in the west at a very early date.

The Romans appear to have been aware of printing (or at least stamping) as a way of decorating cloth. Given a relatively cheap medium to print onto I can easily see the same processes being modified in order to duplicate written texts.

The knock on effects of this are incalculable, aside from simply more texts surviving you potentially obtain a wider selection of surviving texts than ever existed in our history.

Unless there is some facet of Roman culture I am overlooking maturing print and paper making technologies are likely to have produced effects similar to maturing print technology in the 16th and 17th centuries. Historically this led to a significant rise in literacy and a corresponding increase in the distribution of ideas (at least amongst the middle classes) and a wider degree of public discourse on a number of subjects (ditto).

Randyman 04-02-2014 05:20 AM

Re: New Reality Seeds
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Frost (Post 1744945)
Introducing paper early enough possibly gets you a home grown printing industry in the west at a very early date.

The Romans appear to have been aware of printing (or at least stamping) as a way of decorating cloth. Given a relatively cheap medium to print onto I can easily see the same processes being modified in order to duplicate written texts.

The knock on effects of this are incalculable, aside from simply more texts surviving you potentially obtain a wider selection of surviving texts than ever existed in our history.

Unless there is some facet of Roman culture I am overlooking maturing print and paper making technologies are likely to have produced effects similar to maturing print technology in the 16th and 17th centuries. Historically this led to a significant rise in literacy and a corresponding increase in the distribution of ideas (at least amongst the middle classes) and a wider degree of public discourse on a number of subjects (ditto).

This would also very likely address/prevent questions about the authenticity of "certain" Roman-era texts. ;)

Astromancer 04-02-2014 05:46 AM

Re: New Reality Seeds
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Frost (Post 1744945)
Introducing paper early enough possibly gets you a home grown printing industry in the west at a very early date.

The Romans appear to have been aware of printing (or at least stamping) as a way of decorating cloth. Given a relatively cheap medium to print onto I can easily see the same processes being modified in order to duplicate written texts.

That would be a great deal like what the Chinese did in the same period. Although the Roman alphabet would make moving to moble type far easier.

Quote:

The knock on effects of this are incalculable, aside from simply more texts surviving you potentially obtain a wider selection of surviving texts than ever existed in our history.

Unless there is some facet of Roman culture I am overlooking maturing print and paper making technologies are likely to have produced effects similar to maturing print technology in the 16th and 17th centuries. Historically this led to a significant rise in literacy and a corresponding increase in the distribution of ideas (at least amongst the middle classes) and a wider degree of public discourse on a number of subjects (ditto).
Pretty much my thoughts too.

Astromancer 04-08-2014 06:04 AM

Re: New Reality Seeds
 
Try this what might have been Reality seed Zebulon Pike Western Explorer and War Hero. He died durring the War of 1812.

If you alter history and Pike lives, he's a good possibility to be a US president in the 1840s or 50's. From their you can go many directions. If, as many conspiracy theorists suggest, he was in league with Burr and Wilkinson, then you can place a traitor in the Oval Office. Or maybe he's just blackmailed by a European power. New research suggests that Pike was basically a nationalist dertermined to win glory for himself. That could work out many different ways. Since Burr was profoundly anti-slavery (his best trait in my eyes) perhaps he had a positive influence on Pike. Maybe Pike would have been an Anti-Slavery President. This could trigger an early American Civil War with a radically different outcome.

Astromancer 04-09-2014 05:50 AM

Re: New Reality Seeds
 
Last evening (4/8/14) I heard about the Holocene Impact Working Group. This leads to several interesting ideas. Example: Remove the 535AD Event. The events or event (it's a big mystery) changed things on all inhabited continents. Remove those changes and the world looks radically different.

Another way to go is to introduce cometary impacts at key points in history. Smash Western Europe with a dozen comets in 1750AD. The Americas go off in their own way (the Anglophone settlements had the population and technical skills and would be way ahead). Asian developements would probably be slow or stagnation. PCs could be Americans exploring the ruins of Europe, Jihadists seeking to find and conquer "the Golden Apple," or Europeans trying to rebuild their lands or escape to the Americas.

Ken Hite created Lucifer-5 a parallel Earth that divereges when the Tunguska Event happens over St. Petersburg, instead in the wilds of Siberia. Even without the Space Opera goodies collapsing Russia in 1908 creating a Kaiserine Empire streaching from the Rhine to the Pacific would create a grand Kalter Kreig campaign.

Astromancer 04-12-2014 01:07 PM

Re: New Reality Seeds
 
Try this idea, have a Turkish Peter the Great. Or at least a guy who could convince the Madhhab of the value of Printing. The Ottomans could have chosen to keep up with Europe technologically, they didn't. This was mainly a matter of the type of government the Sublime Porte ran. However, if the Turks, aided by Renegados (European converts to Islam in the pre-1800 period), were to embrace at least oceanic navigation and the printing press, the Ottoman state might easily have done as well as the Russians.

Place your great European reformer about a century ahead of Peter Romanov. If the defeat of the Spanish Armada and the Dutch Revolts caught the man's attention, and he got the power to lead the Ottoman state by the mid-17th century, the Turks might have enough lead time on Russia to take control of the Black Sea, the Caspian Sea, and Persia, before the Russians are fully in the game.

From here you can go several ways. Any of which creates lovely complex power politics for your game world.

Gedrin 04-12-2014 04:30 PM

Re: New Reality Seeds
 
WWII Variant: Isolationists win a bigger presence in the US, enough to derail entry into the European war, but not enough to derail lend-lease. The Brits, retain all of their MAUD (Military Application of Uranium Detonation) research, and use Canada as their primary research base. First nuclear detonation is an act of desperation during the 1946 cross channel invasion of England, annihilating the Nazi beachead.

Flyndaran 04-12-2014 04:37 PM

Re: New Reality Seeds
 
What if one of the two WWII bombs fizzled? Prototype nukes weren't idiot proof.
Or if the Enola Gay was caught in the blast for whatever reason?

Could that have affected American policy and degree of surrender demands for Japan?

johndallman 04-12-2014 04:56 PM

Re: New Reality Seeds
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Flyndaran (Post 1748798)
What if one of the two WWII bombs fizzled? Prototype nukes weren't idiot proof.

Little Boy was close to foolproof: they were happy to use it without a test of the design. The easy way for the bomber to get caught is a parachute failure, giving it far less time to get away before the radar altimeter on the bomb sets it off. However, this would not have much effect on the larger issues, since there were other B-29s in the area to observe, and the cause of the failure would be obvious.

A failure of the Fat Man bomb was much more plausible, which was why the Trinity test was done to validate the design.

The demand for unconditional surrender dated from early 1943, and had been repeated in July 1945. The US was making preparations to invade Japan, and would almost certainly have succeeded, although at a very high cost in lives on both sides. They weren't betting on the atomic bomb to end the war; it was too secret for that.

Flyndaran 04-12-2014 06:11 PM

Re: New Reality Seeds
 
I was afraid my ignorance of such details would make me looks silly when wondering "out loud".

dcarson 04-12-2014 06:21 PM

Re: New Reality Seeds
 
Losing the bomber with a successful drop wouldn't matter. The 1000 plane raids they were using in Europe expected to lose a little less then 1% from collisions forming up.

If both bombs had failed they might have gone with a invasion but would still have had multiple bombs per month with a month or so. So the invasion would have had serious beach defense clearing ability. I'd expect surrender would not have required conquering the whole country.

If they hadn't had the bombs at all the combination of destruction of transport infrastructure from tactical air support and a much larger occupation force to feed would have meant wide spread starvation and famine in Japan for a year or more. There was some anyway but we had the shipping to get supplies there and a mostly working rail and road system to distribute them. This might also mean that with japan is such bad shape getting them reindustrialized to support UN forces in Korea wouldn't make sense so they would be much slower to recover.

Drifter 04-12-2014 11:37 PM

Re: New Reality Seeds
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Flyndaran (Post 1748819)
I was afraid my ignorance of such details would make me looks silly when wondering "out loud".

Its worth asking. It leads to questioning what would have made the Japanese theater of the war different. Why was unconditional surrender the only option America gave them? What could make it different?

Szilard-1 Either due to slightly different physics or a slightly different Leo Szilard nuclear physics got off on the wrong foot. Weaponization was delayed for decades. WWII goes off on schedule, but without a coherent Manhattan Project as there was no corresponding Nazi Uranpojekt. The Americans go ahead with Operation Downfall, the invasion of the Japanese Home Islands, with conventional weapons and manpower.

The Soviets had been playing both sides, agreeing to help the American invasion while at the same time advising the Japanese. Without the horror of atomic weapons to basically guarantee a quick Japanese collapse the Soviets renege on their agreements with the US and do not help with invasion, instead appearing to play the role of mediator. Facing the prospect of a prolonged and ruinous invasion the Kyujo Incident perpetrators are more motivated. A military coup places the Emperor under house arrest, kills Admiral Suzuki and places Minister Anami in charge.

Japan becomes a meat-grinder for American troops, eating US men and materials for years. US forces enter the fire bombed ruins of Tokyo in 1950, while Soviet forces occupy all of Berlin, move as far south as Egypt and Italy 'elects' a pro-Soviet government. A significantly scaled down Marshal Plan isn't near enough to keep war wear Europe from succumbing to Soviet promises of peace, prosperity and stability. By 1960 the Iron Curtain is at the Pyrenees as Spain and the British Isles are the only major areas not under Soviet control in Europe.

The Red Scare in the US is scarier with a much more powerful USSR and weaker homeland economy. Without widespread television ownership Nixon wins the 1960 election, and Tricky Dick is much more 'trickier' in this timeline.

Instead of proxie wars in Korea and Vietnam the US and USSR face off in the Balkans, Turkey and Mid-East.

Adventures in Szilard-1 could be dodging FBI agents who think nothing of torturing prisoners and secret trials, much like their KGB counter-parts in France or Denmark. US backed Turkish troops fighting in Greece, or Soviet troops in Iran. The Australian-Japanese-California Trade Triangle is beginning to give the US the economic boost it missed in the 50s, but Soviet submarine wolfpacks harass the shipping; diesel powered Filippino zeppelins patrol the west Pacific.

Then again, I'm sure this one has been done somewhere already.

johndallman 04-13-2014 02:39 AM

Re: New Reality Seeds
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Drifter (Post 1748899)
WWII goes off on schedule, but without a coherent Manhattan Project as there was no corresponding Nazi Uranpojekt.

The existence of the Manhattan project doesn't depend on the details of the German project. Almost nothing was known to the Allies about that project until close to the end of the war, apart from their interest in the Norwegian heavy water project.

The Manhattan project was started on the basis of the potential of the German scientists, and of the potential power of the weapons. In fact, the Germans
failed to organise a coherent project and never made much progress.

Apart from that, excellent stuff!

scc 04-13-2014 02:49 AM

Re: New Reality Seeds
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by johndallman (Post 1748923)
The existence of the Manhattan project doesn't depend on the details of the German project. Almost nothing was known to the Allies about that project until close to the end of the war, apart from their interest in the Norwegian heavy water project.

The Manhattan project was started on the basis of the potential of the German scientists, and of the potential power of the weapons. In fact, the Germans
failed to organise a coherent project and never made much progress.

Apart from that, excellent stuff!

Apart from the fact that you got his argument backwards, excellent reply. He said that the German Project was caused by the Manhattan Project, not the other war around.

johndallman 04-13-2014 04:56 AM

Re: New Reality Seeds
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by scc (Post 1748925)
Apart from the fact that you got his argument backwards, excellent reply. He said that the German Project was caused by the Manhattan Project, not the other war around.

We appear to be reading different dialects of English. I'd agree with you if the "as" in "without a coherent Manhattan Project as there was no corresponding Nazi Uranpojekt" wasn't there.

Also, the second German project started before the Manhattan project, AFAICS.

scc 04-13-2014 05:17 AM

Re: New Reality Seeds
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by johndallman (Post 1748940)
We appear to be reading different dialects of English. I'd agree with you if the "as" in "without a coherent Manhattan Project as there was no corresponding Nazi Uranpojekt" wasn't there.

Also, the second German project started before the Manhattan project, AFAICS.

Whoops, sorry

johndallman 04-13-2014 05:19 AM

Re: New Reality Seeds
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by scc (Post 1748944)
Whoops, sorry

No problem.

Drifter 04-13-2014 09:53 AM

Re: New Reality Seeds
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by johndallman (Post 1748923)
The existence of the Manhattan project doesn't depend on the details of the German project. Almost nothing was known to the Allies about that project until close to the end of the war, apart from their interest in the Norwegian heavy water project.

The Manhattan project was started on the basis of the potential of the German scientists, and of the potential power of the weapons. In fact, the Germans
failed to organise a coherent project and never made much progress.

Apart from that, excellent stuff!

I was just trying to gloss over the (hard to justify) fact that early 20th century scientists did not take atomic weapons seriously. If the Germans didn't think nukes were viable, Einstein doesn't write his famous letter. Nazis chase after the Grail instead of funding their nuke project. Maybe Szilard-2 is a mana world, no nukes but Nazi occultism works, just not as effectively. You get the US vs USSR setting with a Harry Potter-ish twist.

I didn't realize I had made a diesel punk setting until I got to the rebuilding of Japan.

Thank you for the compliment - goes to show what not having anything to do on a Saturday night will get you :)

johndallman 04-13-2014 10:27 AM

Re: New Reality Seeds
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Drifter (Post 1748982)
I was just trying to gloss over the (hard to justify) fact that early 20th century scientists did not take atomic weapons seriously.

They didn't immediately jump to atomic bombs as a conclusion, but the idea of a powerful energy source was interesting, and the atmosphere of the time made people think of military applications. And bombs were a fairly obvious possibility. It's notable that just about every competent nuclear physicist of the time reached the same conclusions fairly quickly after hearing about fission caused by neutrons. The atomic bomb was never a secret on that level, although the knowledge of precisely how to do it was worth keeping secret. Note that every nation that has tried to test an atom bomb appears to have succeeded on the first try.
Quote:

If the Germans didn't think nukes were viable, Einstein doesn't write his famous letter. Nazis chase after the Grail instead of funding their nuke project.
The letter was based on the possibility of atomic power, Germany's good supply of physicists, and the German reputation for high technology, more than any knowledge of a German project.

Astromancer 04-13-2014 01:34 PM

Re: New Reality Seeds
 
Try this idea, Franz Joseph trips down the stairs in May of 1914. He spends the summer slowly withering away. The Arch-Duke never goes to the parade. The Russians fearful of Austria getting a rational pro-British leader decide to explain to the Brits that they are terrified of the Truks getting Dreadnoughs (the fear of the Truks getting a better Black Sea fleet push the Russians to mobilise in the Summer of 1914). The Brits cancel the sales of the Dreadnoughts to the Turks by damaging both ships and blaming the Germans. The Germans make a case to the Ottomans and the whole thing fizzles, but not Russian greed for territorial expanion. The war comes later....

From there it's just a matter of what tech level you want to put together with La Belle Epoch social cultural norms. Myself I'd wait the war until the 1950s and mix TL7+1 and TL7+2 goodies in a fight to control the Moon! But go with your own tastes for a delayed WWI.

patchwork 04-13-2014 05:17 PM

Re: New Reality Seeds
 
William Dudley Pelley gets a useful second wife around 1925 who can keep him focused on practical matters and prevailing hygiene standards, and he convinces another man from Asheville, NC - Senator Robert R. Reynolds - to throw his hat in the ring for President in 1932 (with Pelley as campaign manager, of course). Since the ticket must obviously consist of a New Yorker and a Southerner, Reynolds convinces Garner to endorse him at the convention in exchange for a cabinet post, takes FDR as VP, and easily wins the general election. Pelley is, of course, the President's Chief of Staff, and begins handling all too much of the administrative business of the Democratic Party 1933-40 while keeping the administration loudly isolationist and quietly pro-Nazi.

The British, French and Soviets take down the Nazis anyway, but it takes longer and the price is greater. The USA's banking collapses again as its loans to Germany, Italy and Japan are defaulted on by the victors. The result is a Soviet Union, a grimly socialist and desperately poor Western Europe, and a USA that's an international pariah - Americans are routinely denied entry visas to the rest of the 'civilized' world, and largely cut out of international trade. The British Empire, the world's sole nuclear power for the moment, imposes harsh trade penalties on the USA for its financial support of fascism. When the USA and Soviets get the bomb in the 50s, the USA turns inward altogether, becoming something like North Korea on a massive scale.

This is an attempt to recreate the "American Bund" timeline from Cowboy Angels. There are two obvious holes - the Dear Leader and Family who lead postwar America are never named and I don't have too many good candidates. I don't even have a good transitional president to follow Reynolds picked out. The other is America's land borders - is paranoia and misinformation really enough to keep poor and terrified Americans from fleeing to the neighboring countries? Perhaps we can throw in an invasion of Mexico that Britain et al intervene on the Mexican side, resulting in a Great Wall on the southern border, but any such event with Canada seems implausible (if only because not even America's crazy leaders could convince themselves that the international community would leave Canada to twist in the wind).

oldgringo2001 04-15-2014 02:32 PM

Re: New Reality Seeds
 
Rasputin

Rasputin may have been a con man, but he did give the Romanovs exactly the right advice on the biggest issue of their lives: Don't go to war with Germany. What if they'd taken his advice?

This isn't as flashy a way of stopping or delaying the Great War as saving Franz Ferdinand, but it has a better chance of delaying the blowup longer. Serbia is going to keep on provoking Austria-Hungary, so a Third Balkan War is going to happen. What turns it into the Great War is Russian support for Serbia. If the Tsar won't extend this support as far as war, the Third Balkan War happens in the Teens or the Twenties.

Other possible features of Reality Rasputin:
  • Troubles in Ireland: There actually was an incipient uprising in Ireland by protestants in protest of the new Home Rule bill. Without the Great War, Ireland gets a different version of its civil war.
  • Mussolini stays pacifist and Socialist.
  • Hitler decides to give America a try, and ends up as one of Disney's top animators.
  • Lenin stays in Zurich long enough to get shot by a mistress he didn't get to in our history.
  • Igor Sikorsky remains in Russia, and develops working helicopters by the early Thirties.
  • With no cheap surplus Jennies available from WWI production, there is no barnstorming era in the US. Charles Lindbergh and James Doolittle both become famous race car drivers. (Eddie Rickenbacker was already a famous race car driver.)

Astromancer 04-17-2014 09:53 AM

Re: New Reality Seeds
 
Any way you slice it. Delaying WWI by two or three decades gets you an interesting Espionage and/or war game setting. And oldgringo2001 is right to focus on Russia as the key to delaying the war.

Curmudgeon 04-18-2014 03:36 AM

Re: New Reality Seeds
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Patchwork
The British, French and Soviets take down the Nazis anyway, but it takes longer and the price is greater. The USA's banking collapses again as its loans to Germany, Italy and Japan are defaulted on by the victors. The result is a Soviet Union, a grimly socialist and desperately poor Western Europe, and a USA that's an international pariah - Americans are routinely denied entry visas to the rest of the 'civilized' world, and largely cut out of international trade. The British Empire, the world's sole nuclear power for the moment, imposes harsh trade penalties on the USA for its financial support of fascism. When the USA and Soviets get the bomb in the 50s, the USA turns inward altogether, becoming something like North Korea on a massive scale.

This is an attempt to recreate the "American Bund" timeline from Cowboy Angels. There are two obvious holes - the Dear Leader and Family who lead postwar America are never named and I don't have too many good candidates. I don't even have a good transitional president to follow Reynolds picked out. The other is America's land borders - is paranoia and misinformation really enough to keep poor and terrified Americans from fleeing to the neighboring countries? Perhaps we can throw in an invasion of Mexico that Britain et al intervene on the Mexican side, resulting in a Great Wall on the southern border, but any such event with Canada seems implausible (if only because not even America's crazy leaders could convince themselves that the international community would leave Canada to twist in the wind).

Following Reynolds is President Charles Lindbergh and his Vice-President and good friend, Henry Ford. The twenty-second amendment is never proposed and Lindbergh serves from 1940-1964, being succeeded by his son, Jon Lindbergh. Henry Ford dies in office on V-E Day, 7 April, 1947.

The Supreme Court rules that Sen. John E. Rankin having received the next highest total of electoral votes in the 1944 election is Lindbergh's new Vice-President.

WWII officially continues in the Pacific until V-J Day, 27 Jun, 1954. China continues to fight to expel the Japanese until 1956. Hong Kong and Macau were liberated as part of the V-J surrender terms.

The isolationist U.S. has very few friends in the world. It tries starting a 'Good Neighbour' policy with Latin America but is too closely identified with the United Fruit Growers Company to achieve much success. Mexico and Argentina as nations with pro-Nazi regimes do draw closer to the U.S.

The U.S. is very nervous at the war's end. The world's longest undefended border has been fortified since 1943 and Canada has a formidable military machine which has yet to disband. (IRL Canada ended the war with the world's third large navy and fourth largest air force, in this timeline they each move up a spot). While the Free French performed creditably, the war's most formidable victors are the Soviet Union, the UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand (Canada and ANZ can't get together without disputing their relative ranking at some point. Generally, Canada gets listed first for the European theatre and ANZ gets listed first for the Pacific.)

Canada and the UK bought up most of the Belgian Congo's uranium supply and Canada refused to sell the US any of its Great Bear Lake uranium, so the US never got the bomb.

With 90% of the world's nickel supply, Canada also refused to sell that to the Americans. Consequently, stainless steel is rare in the US. Lack of nickel also inhibited the development of the alloys required for jet engines.

Hollywood has a very limited foreign market, so it hasn't had the big budgets to develop special effects that are seen in the films of the UK, France, the Soviet Union, India and the nascent Canadian film industries.

Operation Paperclip didn't happen for the U.S. German rocket scientists captured by the allies, such as Werner Braun, work at the British space centre at Montego Bay, Jamaica.

Castro's uprising against the Batista still came off on schedule but he was not called back home from his victory tour in this timeline. He was welcomed and feted at Montreal, Toronto, Winnipeg and Vancouver. Canada rather than the Soviet Union financially supported him, not that the Americans claimed there was much difference between the two.

Tim Buck, leader of the Communist Party of Canada was rehabilitated to a greater degree than in our own timeline as he had a longer period to support the war effort. US isolationism coupled with Canada's anger over American support of the Nazis leads Prime Minister Louis St. Laurent to not invite American union organizers to set up in Canada as opposition to Tim Buck's communist unions. All Canadian unions are communist and by 1959 only Canadian farmers and the civil service are not unionized.

Americans with Canadian relatives can sometimes get work permits in Canada. Those whose parents moved south during the Great Depression can claim Canadian citizenship though the process can take two or three years.

The US largely finds itself on a cash basis with the rest of the world and is slowly drawing down Fort Knox to pay for its wants and needs.

The US never gets a pirate copy of Lord of the Rings, so Frank L. Baum's Oz stories remain the pinnacle of American fantasy.

Jack Shuster leaves the US during WWII and is sponsored for Canadian citizenship by his cousin Frank. Jack brings Superman with him and from 1944 on two rival Supermen are published, one by DC comics in the US and another by Bell Comics in Canada. Oddly, both characters have an evil identical twin.

Jon Lindbergh is not looking forward to the 1968 party nomination as his leading rival is Jack T. Chick and Lindbergh doesn't particularly want him as his Vice-President.

Prince Charon 04-19-2014 04:41 AM

Re: New Reality Seeds
 
There's an old Pyramid article (well, it's old enough that the full text is available on the sjgames.com website), called Time On Your Hands?, by Thomas Devine, that has a few interesting jumping off points. It's written for Timepiece/Stopwatch games, but it could easily be adapted for IW games, and events similar to those suggested could have happened without outside intervention.

Here's one that I find particularly interesting:

Quote:

Extend Franklin Delano Roosevelt's Life to Cover the Negotiations at the End of World War II

Franklin Delano Roosevelt's (F.D.R.) final illness caused America to be represented by a dying man at Yalta and an inexperienced man at Potsdam. In spite of Truman's many virtues, the only advisor he trusted in foreign policy, a field Truman didn't know, was a military man who saw the world in only military terms. Joseph Stalin easily had the upper hand diplomatically.

But if you could get a TL8 doctor into the White House, FDR becomes a vital force at both key conferences. Stalin, faced by an energetic FDR, who might have let himself see more of Stalin's very real evil, would have had to make a few more concessions. Eastern Europe's history would have been far less brutal, and some nations, especially Czechoslovakia, might have stayed democracies in the same way Finland did. FDR would still have left the presidency to Truman. It is known that he wanted to retire for reasons of health. The Truman presidency would have had FDR's advice to aid the transition.
Even without a TL8 doctor, it's possible for FDR to just have taken longer to decline, so that he has another couple of years left. Then, you get about the same effect, and an interesting divergence.

patchwork 04-19-2014 01:27 PM

Re: New Reality Seeds
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Curmudgeon (Post 1751080)
Following Reynolds is President Charles Lindbergh and his Vice-President and good friend, Henry Ford. The twenty-second amendment is never proposed and Lindbergh serves from 1940-1964, being succeeded by his son, Jon Lindbergh. Henry Ford dies in office on V-E Day, 7 April, 1947.

WWII officially continues in the Pacific until V-J Day, 27 Jun, 1954. China continues to fight to expel the Japanese until 1956. Hong Kong and Macau were liberated as part of the V-J surrender terms.

The isolationist U.S. has very few friends in the world. It tries starting a 'Good Neighbour' policy with Latin America but is too closely identified with the United Fruit Growers Company to achieve much success. Mexico and Argentina as nations with pro-Nazi regimes do draw closer to the U.S.

The U.S. is very nervous at the war's end. The world's longest undefended border has been fortified since 1943 and Canada has a formidable military machine which has yet to disband. (IRL Canada ended the war with the world's third large navy and fourth largest air force, in this timeline they each move up a spot). While the Free French performed creditably, the war's most formidable victors are the Soviet Union, the UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand (Canada and ANZ can't get together without disputing their relative ranking at some point. Generally, Canada gets listed first for the European theatre and ANZ gets listed first for the Pacific.)

Canada and the UK bought up most of the Belgian Congo's uranium supply and Canada refused to sell the US any of its Great Bear Lake uranium, so the US never got the bomb.

With 90% of the world's nickel supply, Canada also refused to sell that to the Americans. Consequently, stainless steel is rare in the US. Lack of nickel also inhibited the development of the alloys required for jet engines.

Operation Paperclip didn't happen for the U.S. German rocket scientists captured by the allies, such as Werner Braun, work at the British space centre at Montego Bay, Jamaica.

A number of good ideas in your post; Lindbergh really wasn't the level of evil I was going for, but he makes a good transitional (I fully expect him to step down in '48, he backed a loser and will catch the blame for the new depression). I think I've found our guy though: David Curtiss Stephenson. Never goes to prison here, wins election in '48, takes credit for the US nuclear program (there's enough uranium in Arizona and New Mexico that it can't really be prevented), and stays in office until his death in '66, at which point the sons he didn't have IRL take over.

Would there be a Paperclip with a longer war without American leadership? I fully expect von Braun and his colleagues to be in an unmarked grave in Germany.

Astromancer 04-19-2014 01:50 PM

Re: New Reality Seeds
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Prince Charon (Post 1751517)
There's an old Pyramid article (well, it's old enough that the full text is available on the sjgames.com website), called Time On Your Hands?, by Thomas Devine, that has a few interesting jumping off points. It's written for Timepiece/Stopwatch games, but it could easily be adapted for IW games, and events similar to those suggested could have happened without outside intervention.

Here's one that I find particularly interesting:



Even without a TL8 doctor, it's possible for FDR to just have taken longer to decline, so that he has another couple of years left. Then, you get about the same effect, and an interesting divergence.

Thanks for the complement to my old article.

Curmudgeon 04-19-2014 09:32 PM

Re: New Reality Seeds
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Patchwork
...Lindbergh really wasn't the level of evil I was going for, but he makes a good transitional (I fully expect him to step down in '48, he backed a loser and will catch the blame for the new depression). I think I've found our guy though: David Curtiss Stephenson. Never goes to prison here, wins election in '48, takes credit for the US nuclear program (there's enough uranium in Arizona and New Mexico that it can't really be prevented), and stays in office until his death in '66, at which point the sons he didn't have IRL take over.

Would there be a Paperclip with a longer war without American leadership? I fully expect von Braun and his colleagues to be in an unmarked grave in Germany.

Lindbergh wasn't chosen for his level of evil but because a) he was a popular figure who promoted isolationism (and liked most of what he saw of Germany's development) and b) because you can easily find the names of Dear Leader's descendants down to today (and he actually has descendants today) online. Still, picking someone else is no big.

Thinking about it, Lindbergh might not be too crazy about J. Edgar Hoover as Director of the FBI. President Lindbergh might have pushed for Hoover's removal early on. An FBI with Melvin Purvis as Director and Elliot Ness as Assistant Director, or vice versa?

In the 1950s, the US will probably make the effort to locate uranium in Arizona and New Mexico. Before then, the only uranium available amounts to about 180 tons, a little more than half the quantity the Manhattan Project used. Unless someone remembers the big, lovely pile of uranium oxide purchased from the Belgian Congo in 1939 that's still sitting on the docks at Staten Island.

It probably won't be called Operation Paperclip but the Commonwealth are almost certainly going to want von Braun and company alive and working for them. Especially since an extended war will likely see the deployment of the V-3 and maybe even a V-4. The space race is going to start off with boosted tech in all likelihood.

Militarily, the US is going to look rather different. Never having entered the war, the US doesn't feel a need to create a commando force (the U.S. Rangers), Underwater Demolition Teams (UDTs, forerunners of SEALs), never has a combined US-Canadian Special Forces unit which develops a counter-insurgency mission in occupied Germany vs. a possible Soviet occupation (leading to the Green Berets and indirectly to Delta Force). It doesn't develop paratroopers after seeing some disastrous deployments (Crete, in particular). The US Marine Corps is the US' only elite fighting force.

The US hasn't experienced the disastrous in-fighting among the service intelligence agencies yet, so it doesn't see a need for a CIA to co-ordinate. 'Wild Bill' Donovan gravitates to the counter-intelligence desk at the FBI instead.

Radar was a closely guarded secret throughout WWII. Most US technical information on the subject comes from Germany which convinces the US that "radar shorter than 10 cm is an impossibility."

William Stephenson sets up a spy ring in the US which successfully steals the secrets of ENIAC and UNIAC from IBM.

The US remains comfortable in its own little bubble during the war. Chaffee and his friends play with their armoured cars, but as Patton bully-rags Congress, "Soldiers, real soldiers, ride into battle on horses, damn it! Our problem right now is that people aren't taking the current shortage of horses seriously. Within the next five years, if this Congress fails to act, we'll be like the damn Soviets. Trotting along, slapping our backsides, with a 2x4 marked 'horse' between our legs."

Meanwhile, Soviet, Axis and Commonwealth military equipment begin to converge in terms of design. Everyone adopts the Nazi J- and P-barrel extensions that let rifles shoot around corners. Assault rifles and SMGs become the norm for personal weapons, though officers continue to use pistols. The Commonwealth abandons the revolver for the automatic pistol. Everyone has a 'potato masher'-style grenade.

Liz Taylor, Roddy McDowell and Angela Lansbury never come to the US becoming 'Home Children' in Canada during the war. Liz Taylor's breakthrough role was in 1944's Beautiful Joe.

The US is much longer adopting TV after the 1932 decision to only issue experimental, non-commercial licenses. The CBC adopts 560i/PAL as its broadcast system while the US adopts NCTS, resulting in mutually unwatchable programming. The CBC supplements its own broadcasting with imports from Europe, reducing the similarities in culture.

Disney invests no money in the UK during the war and therefore doesn't get caught in the currency restrictions of the postwar years which prevented him from bringing the money home IRL. Disney doesn't branch out into live action films and doesn't bring Sean Connery (Darby O'Gill and the Little People], Julie Andrews [Mary Poppins], David Tomlinson [Mary Poppins; Bedknobs and Broomsticks] or Patrick McGoohan [Doctor Syn] to American attention.

When US TV does take off, it runs very heavily to westerns. Lon Chaney, Jr. plays Tonto to Clayton Moore's Lone Ranger.

Jay Silverheels appears as Chingach**** [the filter has a problem with Wikipedia's spelling of the name] with Lorne Greene as Hawkeye in The Pathfinder a TV series adaptation of James Fenimore Cooper's novel, produced in Ontario from 1957-1960.

Curmudgeon 04-20-2014 08:06 AM

Re: New Reality Seeds
 
More as an amusing afterthought than because it has any real chance of flying, even in game:

Someone at External Affairs presents the argument that the Navajo and Apache are Dene and all the other Dene peoples live in Canada, therefore the Apache and Navajo are really two lost tribes of Canadian Indians who wandered really far south. As Canadian Indians, their reserves really belong to Canada and should be administered by Indian Affairs.

It won't fly but if it did it would cut off U.S. access to uranium in both Arizona and New Mexico.

On a more serious note, the Navajo will probably face worse working conditions in the mines than they did in real life.

Alaska is still a territory prior to 1959. Lying smack between the Soviet Union and Canada, the U.S. sees it as a liability that attracts covetous attention from both powers. The U.S. sells it to Canada for $10 million dollars, figuring it has done well out of the deal, having gotten all the significant gold out during the Klondike Gold Rush of 1898 and made an $8,000,000 profit over what Seward originally paid for it.

During the war, the St. Lawrence River was closed to U.S. shipping and foreign shipping aimed at the U.S (game event only). Initially, this didn't have much effect since shipping could only travel upriver as far as Montreal. During the war, Canada built an extensive canal and locks system along the St. Lawrence which deepened the river and built the New Welland Canal to replace the old, the new again being significantly wider and deeper. Canada's stated attention with the new system was "to allow ships the size of the Queen Mary to sail directly as far as Lake of the Woods while leaving room for expansion when newer, larger ships are available."

The U.S. insisted that Canada abide by the Rush-Bagot Treaty of 1818 throughout WWII (essentially what happened IRL until the US entered the war), so Canadian warships built on the Great Lakes sailed with their firing pins removed until they reached the St. Laurence. The U.S. regards the Canadian expansion as provocative and worries that Canada means to arm the Great Lakes after the war ends. Given current Canadian military shipbuilding in the area, the U.S. finds itself in a quandary. If it were to pre-emptively start building military ships in the Great Lakes area, Canada might see that as a provocation, especially given U.S. insistence that Canada abide by Rush-Bagot. Canada is certainly in a position to arm its ships and destroy any American shipbuilding facility with relative impunity. OTOH, not doing military shipbuilding at this time leaves Canada with a free hand to rearm the Great Lakes.

In a North Korea moment, Dear Leader has Yousuf Karsh kidnapped from his home in Ottawa on 3 Dec, 1959 to take Dear Leader's portrait. A tense week follows with the Royal Canadian Navy advancing towards Washington, D.C. to retrieve Karsh against Dear Leader's 'ring of steel' thrown up by the U.S. Navy. Karsh is returned by the State Department but no official apology is ever made. (Yes, Karsh did take the portrait. He considered the picture among his very best for revealing 'the inner man.' Dear Leader tore it up sand had the negative destroyed.)

Astromancer 04-21-2014 06:04 AM

Re: New Reality Seeds
 
Given that we're setting up worlds for Infinate Worlds, a setting were interdimensional travel to different happentracks is the norm, why not a world were someone is working to change history and has the power to do it?

Picture a Cabal mage who has over time, and without his doing anything to achieve it, has lost his contacts in the Cabal and is presumed lost and dead. He enjoys the freedom and goes off to fulfil a dream. This man comes from a late 21st century were the USA is a broken and dispised nation. He wants to go to a world were he can shape America's identity and have that America achieve what he sees as America's true destiny.

When the I-Cops find this parrallel they find a world where US tanks in WWII were FAR BETTER than the German ones and Paris was taken by the Allies on June 30th 1944 and Berlin fell to the Yanks on Dec 1st of the same year. Were the Allies were flying American jets (which seems suspiciously like Migs) in 1943! Were America launched the first artificial satilite in 1947! And satillite comunications are becoming the norm in 1952.

The I-Cops notice that large numbers of key American conservatives, including figures that won't be important for decades seem to have died either in accidents or sudden illnesses. And Jim Crow is being dismantled in the early 1950's.

They know someone or something that likes technology (and has brought the world almost to TL8) and hates right-wing politics (having moved America in a social democratic direction) is active here, how do they figure out what that is?

Curmudgeon 04-21-2014 01:46 PM

Re: New Reality Seeds
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Astromancer
They know someone or something that likes technology (and has brought the world almost to TL8) and hates right-wing politics (having moved America in a social democratic direction) is active here, how do they figure out what that is?

The I-Cops will start out with basic intelligence gathering. This shouldn't attract attention as they'll initially be looking at open source information. They'll be looking for specifics that will tell them a lot about 'our man.' Making heavier tanks with thicker armour and bigger guns says one thing; getting better guns on tanks mounting reactive armour and replacing diesel engines with gas turbine engines says an altogether different thing.

Getting to Paris in a little over three weeks from D-Day implies not just better tanks but different tactics. Getting to Berlin by 1 Dec. implies much better logistics.

Flying jets, of any sort, implies that 'our man' has gotten not just access to, but the willing ears of, very powerful figures among those responsible for defense and procurement and further that he's convinced them that this needs to be tooled up at a time when the U.S. is still pursuing an isolationist policy.

He has to work carefully enough that the U.S. doesn't decide to enter the war while it's still leaning towards the Axis. [IRL, jet aircraft were flown experimentally before WWII, but the war put a hold on their further development in favour of tried and proven technologies.]

Dismantling the Jim Crow laws is going to require a number of changes to enable it. "Our man' has to develop a plan that allows the returning soldiers to integrate back into the economy with minimal disruption [returning G.I.'s were largely pressured to not take up their old jobs when they returned home and housing was a problem in some states such as California]. Additionally, he needs to have found a way to minimize the impact that having women work during the war had. If he can overcome the social disruption caused by those two events, he has a fighting chance at dismantling the Jim Crow laws.

'Our man' needed to decide how he could affect America's attitudes at the grassroots level, so that politicians weren't running the risk of being tarred and feathered and run out of town on a rail if they supported equality.

Once the I-Cops have located the actual changes made, they'll start looking for one or more new figures who show up in the background at Washington society parties (whether through guest lists or photographs) and they'll have an idea of when they should be seeing his first appearance.

If he was being subtle, they may not find him in the immediate circle of the movers and shakers. Then, the I-Cops move out and start examining the circle of acquaintances of the advisors to the movers and shakers. If 'our man' was really, really careful, they'll move out to the acquaintances of the acquaintances and see who shows up in multiple circles. (If this sounds like six degrees of separation, it is. Mind you, 'our man' is unlikely to have more than two intermediaries between himself and the real movers and shakers otherwise his message is likely to get lost in the background noise.)

Getting satellites built may not be a huge technological problem but getting a rocket to launch successfully is. This adds another ring of figures where 'our man' is going to turn up.

OTOH, he may not being hiding at all. He may have decided early on that subtlety isn't going to produce what he needs, so he's now the President. Maybe he's even arranged matters so that everyone is of the opinion that he is 'just the frontman' for the real mastermind and the I-Cops waste time looking for 'the man behind the curtain.'

Drifter 04-21-2014 02:56 PM

Re: New Reality Seeds
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Curmudgeon (Post 1752474)
The I-Cops will start out with basic intelligence gathering. This shouldn't attract attention as they'll initially be looking at open source information. They'll be looking for specifics that will tell them a lot about 'our man.' Making heavier tanks with thicker armour and bigger guns says one thing; getting better guns on tanks mounting reactive armour and replacing diesel engines with gas turbine engines says an altogether different thing.

Getting to Paris in a little over three weeks from D-Day implies not just better tanks but different tactics. Getting to Berlin by 1 Dec. implies much better logistics.

Flying jets, of any sort, implies that 'our man' has gotten not just access to, but the willing ears of, very powerful figures among those responsible for defense and procurement and further that he's convinced them that this needs to be tooled up at a time when the U.S. is still pursuing an isolationist policy.

He has to work carefully enough that the U.S. doesn't decide to enter the war while it's still leaning towards the Axis. [IRL, jet aircraft were flown experimentally before WWII, but the war put a hold on their further development in favour of tried and proven technologies.]

Dismantling the Jim Crow laws is going to require a number of changes to enable it. "Our man' has to develop a plan that allows the returning soldiers to integrate back into the economy with minimal disruption [returning G.I.'s were largely pressured to not take up their old jobs when they returned home and housing was a problem in some states such as California]. Additionally, he needs to have found a way to minimize the impact that having women work during the war had. If he can overcome the social disruption caused by those two events, he has a fighting chance at dismantling the Jim Crow laws.

'Our man' needed to decide how he could affect America's attitudes at the grassroots level, so that politicians weren't running the risk of being tarred and feathered and run out of town on a rail if they supported equality.

Once the I-Cops have located the actual changes made, they'll start looking for one or more new figures who show up in the background at Washington society parties (whether through guest lists or photographs) and they'll have an idea of when they should be seeing his first appearance.

If he was being subtle, they may not find him in the immediate circle of the movers and shakers. Then, the I-Cops move out and start examining the circle of acquaintances of the advisors to the movers and shakers. If 'our man' was really, really careful, they'll move out to the acquaintances of the acquaintances and see who shows up in multiple circles. (If this sounds like six degrees of separation, it is. Mind you, 'our man' is unlikely to have more than two intermediaries between himself and the real movers and shakers otherwise his message is likely to get lost in the background noise.)

Getting satellites built may not be a huge technological problem but getting a rocket to launch successfully is. This adds another ring of figures where 'our man' is going to turn up.

OTOH, he may not being hiding at all. He may have decided early on that subtlety isn't going to produce what he needs, so he's now the President. Maybe he's even arranged matters so that everyone is of the opinion that he is 'just the frontman' for the real mastermind and the I-Cops waste time looking for 'the man behind the curtain.'

If 'our man' is, or was, in the Cabal, wouldn't this all be an onion-layered monster hunt? You wouldn't necessarily be able to find just one man making a lot of influential conversations and decisions - if he is a very high powered Adept he might just be a reclusive millionaire living somewhere in the D.C. area. He is using his powers of magic and psi to influence key people, maybe with only meeting them once or not at all.

He could be doing this from a network of tunnels and chambers beneath Washington, built by monsterous minions of course, to get close enough to the Rich and Powerful while keeping his own hand out of direct actions.

He mind-controls some, gives bad or insight dreams to others, sending out the occasional 'monster' to carry out more direct actions (Joseph McCarthy dies in a 'freak accident' in basic training in 1941 for example, Truman desegregating the military at the start of the war after a vivid dream). The I-Cops will be able to track these changes back only as far as an area of D.C.

Finding the warrens under D.C and the ley lines linking the various landmarks in the Masonic layout of the Capital Mall is just the start of the endgame for ferreting out this guy.

And who knows? Maybe the warrens are there, but the main section is under the White House and President X is down there.

Frost 04-21-2014 03:41 PM

Re: New Reality Seeds
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Gedrin (Post 1748795)
WWII Variant: Isolationists win a bigger presence in the US, enough to derail entry into the European war, but not enough to derail lend-lease. The Brits, retain all of their MAUD (Military Application of Uranium Detonation) research, and use Canada as their primary research base. First nuclear detonation is an act of desperation during the 1946 cross channel invasion of England, annihilating the Nazi beachead.

I think that this strikes me as bit of non-starter, shifting the first successful nuclear weapons program to the UK is potentially interesting as is a world without direct US participation in the war but I don't think that the second half of this scenario would fly.

Even without a formal US entry into the war, operation Sea Lion (assuming that it was ever credible) or any possible successor is likely to be out of the question after mid 1941. Once the Germans switch their emphasis to the Soviet Union without further divergences they will rapidly become overextended and bogged down and will probably remain that way for a significant period of time.

Depending upon the course of the war after this you are going to see a variety of possible scenarios but (assuming Allied strategy in Europe follows a similar course to actual history, probably over a longer timescale and that there is no Pacific theatre to worry about) I would be willing to bet that the deployment of the MAUD devices possibly in combination with gas would likely be in an offensive role, either neutralising a potential counter attack against commonwealth forces in southern Europe or as an attempt to prevent a prolonged stalemate on a German defensive line.

Depending upon how things play out I could also see MAUD deployment, post war perhaps c1965 or even later as part of a Commonwealth/ Soviet cold war scenario possibly during a proxy conflict in Burma or northern India.

One interesting point to this scenario would be how the British come to address their manpower shortages (which are not particularly big, although certainly are not trivial either) without US troops. This may well have major effects on the post war evolution of the Empire and Commonwealth.

scc 04-21-2014 05:03 PM

Re: New Reality Seeds
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by oldgringo2001 (Post 1749976)
Rasputin

Rasputin may have been a con man, but he did give the Romanovs exactly the right advice on the biggest issue of their lives: Don't go to war with Germany. What if they'd taken his advice?

This isn't as flashy a way of stopping or delaying the Great War as saving Franz Ferdinand, but it has a better chance of delaying the blowup longer. Serbia is going to keep on provoking Austria-Hungary, so a Third Balkan War is going to happen. What turns it into the Great War is Russian support for Serbia. If the Tsar won't extend this support as far as war, the Third Balkan War happens in the Teens or the Twenties.

Other possible features of Reality Rasputin:
  • Troubles in Ireland: There actually was an incipient uprising in Ireland by protestants in protest of the new Home Rule bill. Without the Great War, Ireland gets a different version of its civil war.
  • Mussolini stays pacifist and Socialist.
  • Hitler decides to give America a try, and ends up as one of Disney's top animators.
  • Lenin stays in Zurich long enough to get shot by a mistress he didn't get to in our history.
  • Igor Sikorsky remains in Russia, and develops working helicopters by the early Thirties.
  • With no cheap surplus Jennies available from WWI production, there is no barnstorming era in the US. Charles Lindbergh and James Doolittle both become famous race car drivers. (Eddie Rickenbacker was already a famous race car driver.)

I think a big effect of this would be that as Russia never enters WWI and the Germans make more inroads into France because they have the forces free, this also means that the Germans don't need to release Lenin (I think) to stir up trouble in Russia to get those forces free. The German lines stop a lot closer to Paris, meaning the French Government has to borrow more money to pay for the war. Net result is that France is forced to sue for peace as a result of it's mounting debt and isn't able to loot Germany to pay off said debt. Hitler's Time Travel Exemption Act results in a France turning Facist and well, things probably go down hill from there.

The above come from a Shadowrun campaign idea I had: History's Greatest Shadowrun

Curmudgeon 04-21-2014 06:01 PM

Re: New Reality Seeds
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by oldgringo2001
Rasputin may have been a con man, but he did give the Romanovs exactly the right advice on the biggest issue of their lives: Don't go to war with Germany. What if they'd taken his advice?

After carefully re-reading that quote: absolutely nothing happens any differently. Now if Rasputin had advised them to never go to war with Austria-Hungary...

Quote:

Originally Posted by ssc
I think a big effect of this would be that as Russia never enters WWI and the Germans make more inroads into France because they have the forces free, this also means that the Germans don't need to release Lenin (I think) to stir up trouble in Russia to get those forces free.

The really big effect, if Russia doesn't enter WWI, is that there is no WWI. The war essentially started as a squabble between Russia and Austria-Hungary over Serbia's fate after Archduke Ferdinand was assassinated. If Russia doesn't push hard enough to turn the squabble into war, Germany doesn't declare war on Russia in accordance with its alliance with Austria-Hungary; France doesn't declare war on Austria-Hungary and Germany in accordance with its entente with Russia; and the UK and Italy don't enter, reluctantly, as the final members on their side. WWI just goes away.

Or not. The general consensus among historians is that something would have kicked off a general conflict in Europe sometime in this broad time period. But a WWI with a different cause might have run very differently depending on where the flashpoint is and who the two initial opponents are.

dcarson 04-22-2014 12:02 AM

Re: New Reality Seeds
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Curmudgeon (Post 1752474)
Getting to Paris in a little over three weeks from D-Day implies not just better tanks but different tactics. Getting to Berlin by 1 Dec. implies much better logistics.

I had a idea one time for a noncombat AU. Containerized shipping is invented as part of the logistics requirements for the planning of WW II. So the standard army truck fits a small (8' x 8' x 8' or so) container and a Liberty ships version is designed for containers. After the war instead of the interstate highway system being so big some of that money goes into the rail system and intermodal points to move containers from rail to truck and vice versa.

Since they aren't going to send most containers back to the beachhead lots of "free" containers that the troops and locals will repurpose for local storage, housing, etc.

With truck bodies designed to have a standard container attached probably lots of other things designed to attach, ambulance, command post, cook shack, etc.

scc 04-22-2014 12:20 AM

Re: New Reality Seeds
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by dcarson (Post 1752648)
I had a idea one time for a noncombat AU. Containerized shipping is invented as part of the logistics requirements for the planning of WW II. So the standard army truck fits a small (8' x 8' x 8' or so) container and a Liberty ships version is designed for containers. After the war instead of the interstate highway system being so big some of that money goes into the rail system and intermodal points to move containers from rail to truck and vice versa.

Since they aren't going to send most containers back to the beachhead lots of "free" containers that the troops and locals will repurpose for local storage, housing, etc.

With truck bodies designed to have a standard container attached probably lots of other things designed to attach, ambulance, command post, cook shack, etc.

That depends upon how they unload it, if they don't take it off they truck it has to return with an empty crate. This is quite possible in such a rapid advance, you only unload what you need, [IE: today's rations] the truck would be left with an empty box and probably no get rid of it. And this is cribbed from David Weber Like a Mighty Army, but each unit will likely have it's own supply truck (Or several, a minimum of two, one each for solids [Food, ammo] and another for fuel, is likely) that pull back to main supply point when they get empty/run low.

Additionally given that different types of units consume different supplies (caliber of ammo) and at different rates and those rates may change re-boxing will occur at some point. Plus weren't double-b trailers invented in WW2?

robkelk 04-22-2014 07:43 AM

Re: New Reality Seeds
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by dcarson (Post 1752648)
With truck bodies designed to have a standard container attached probably lots of other things designed to attach, ambulance, command post, cook shack, etc.

The last time I was at the museum at Canada Forces Base Kingston, they had on display a WWII communications module for exactly this sort of truck-mounted deployment. So this AU is feasible... but somebody's going to have to make some decisions that weren't made or were made differently in our timeline.


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