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Old 04-02-2021, 04:27 PM   #1
Prince Charon
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Default [Supers] A More Scientific Golden Age

Pulp-7, 1938

Current Affairs
As Mystery Men & Women and other strange phenomenal grow more and more common, the League of Nations attempts to coordinate a defence against the Second Martian Invasion, predicted to land in late October, 1938. This has delayed the German Third Reich's plans to gain more living space at the expense of their neighbors (though not their plans against certain minorities among their own people).

Divergence Point
Unknown, likely far in the past but with relatively high historical inertia until recently.

Major Civilizations
Western (multipolar); Orthodox (empire with rivals); Islamic (multipolar); Chinese (empire); Japanese (unitary); Indic (empire).

Great Powers
United States of America (representative democracy with oligarchic tendencies, CR3 for whites, CR4 for non-whites in the North, CR5 for non-whites in the South); United Kingdom (representative democracy with oligarchic tendencies, CR3); French Third Republic (representative democracy, CR3); Nazi Germany (dictatorship, CR6); Soviet Union (dictatorship, CR6); Japan (oligarchic dictatorship, CR5); Italy (dictatorship, CR5).

Worldline Data
TL: late TL6^ with experimental TL(6+1)^; Mana level: Mostly none
Quantum: 6; Infinity Class: Z3; Centrum Zone: Red

It is the year 1938 on this largely no mana (but otherwise fairly fantastic) Earth, a somewhat Wold Newtonish worldline, at least thematically: While some characters and groups that are fictional on Homeline exist here, others that are frequently seen in Wold Newton-like worldlines do not; some have no counterpart at all, others are replaced by beings or groups with similar abilities and usually-similar morals and ethics, but different origins, motivations, and names. For example, Holmes and Watson existed and Doc Savage lives, but while there is no Superman on this Earth outside of the comics (which depending on how late in the year it is, may not have been published yet), there is a flying, psychokinetic hero called the Artchetype, who claims to be from a lost city, not an alien planet. There's no Flash or Whizzer, but there's a speedster martial artist called the Human Bullet, and the chemist Professor Gibberne did exist. The nearest equivalent to the Ultra-Humanite or Lex Luthor is the Hyperintellect, a mad scientist with a deep hatred of the Archetype. The Bat-Man is at best a character being planned, though there are a few existing pulp heroes that serve as inspirations for him, primarily the Bat and the Shadow, each of whom worked with the Whisperer before he basically retired. Militarily and politically, the most important recent event was a series of flashes observed on Mars in late 1937, indicating a Second Martian Invasion which should reach Earth in October, 1938.

This Earth has both 'aliens' (referring to life that evolved or was engineered 'out there' before coming here, most of them sapient), and 'cryptids' (meaning beings that evolved or were engineered on Earth, most of them not-so-sapient, and a few groups that clearly do think; these include living things, spirits & undead, and even some strange robots). Some aliens and altered Earth life from the 1895 Martain Invasion (War of the Worlds) survive in hiding or in laboratories (the templates from GURPS Horror pp158-161 may be useful, here, though any Martian that survives on Earth by this point is either a mutant with a functional immune system, or is being kept in a sterile environment). This worldline experienced a gradual increase in strangeness during the 19th century, with a jump in power levels since 1929; they have also seen an increase in alien visitors, since the Zarkov Expedition thwarted Emperor Ming I of Mongo, called 'the Merciless,' in 1933 (shortly after Infinity discovered this worldline), and in appearances of cryptids since Dracula's visit to London in the early 1890s. People on average are less skeptical of the extraordinary than many on other worldlines in this era, though the Mystery Men and Mystery Women are still often believed (by those who haven't encountered them, or seen significant evidence of them) to be fictional or greatly exaggerated. Sure, people living in Chicago for long enough are no-longer likely to mistake the Archetype for a bird or a plane, but until he appeared in decent-quality newsreels, few outside of the city believed that a man could fly (under his own power).

Airships are significantly more common than on Homeline of this era, to the point that they are predicted to become directly competitive with sea-going vessels 'soon' (though predictions differ on how soon). Already, companies such as White Star Lines (not to be confused with White Star Trading) have begun diversifying into luxury airship travel. Rockets are also more common, with suborbital express-mail delivery having been started by Dr. Goddard in 1924, while the first communication satellite was launched by the British Interplanetary Society in 1930 (more details below). Walking machines based on Martian tech have become quite common in environments where wheels are less effective, mostly by the military and by explorers. They were first used militarily in breaking trench warfare in 1915-16, as trenches could either be walked over, or if they were too wide, the machine could step in and climb out again. Most human-built walkers have even numbers of legs; some have arms & hands, while few have the complex grasping tentacles favored by the Martians. Computer technology is a complicated field, including mechanical, fluidic, and electrical & electronic systems; due to Gadgeteering and the study of Martian technology, one should not assume that a given computer's Complexity will match a normal TL5, 6, or 7 machine of the same weight. Martian heat rays (MASERs) have been studied and duplicated by Earth's scientists, though production designs are highly power intensive; few are useful unless mounted on a vehicle equipped with an atomic matter pile or Superscience ultracapacitors.

Satellites designed to last longer than it would take their batteries to run out are generally powered by mercury boilers, though the first demonstration model in 1930 was made of cheaper (and less toxic) materials, and burned up on re-entry after only a few hours. Cavorite is often mistakenly mentioned by news services - no real equivalent to it exists, though there are a variety of Superscience materials and devices (some very expensive) which make air and space travel easier and safer. Space stations have existed since 1933, with the crews often being employed to maintain and repair satellites. Moon landings have been planned for the early 1940s by the Great Powers (the NACA, BIS, and SS-Raumabschnitt are each aiming for a manned landing before the end of 1940, the Soviet Rocket Forces and French Ministry of Space were expecting landings in either 1941 or '42, and Japan and Italy are planning to arrive 'no later than 1943'); with the approaching Martians, there is some debate as to whether preparations should be delayed, or should be accelerated and (in the cases of civilian missions) adapted for military purposes.

(I originally started working on this as a place for some characters that I've been working on to exist in, but it seems like a world that could be fun to game in. I suggest aiming more for a Pulp setting than a Supers setting, as the really high-level supers are rare. Typical Mystery Men/Women are in the 200-300 point range, or only a little higher; very small numbers of beings in the 500+ point range do exist, and some are being statted, but I suggest that they should usually be NPCs.)

Warning, I have the Distractible and Imaginative quirks in real life.

"The more corrupt a government, the more it legislates."
-- Tacitus

Five Earths, All in a Row. Updated 12/17/2022: Apocrypha: Bridges out of Time, Part I has been posted.

Last edited by Prince Charon; 05-28-2021 at 01:01 AM.
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martial arts, psi, pulp, supers

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