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Old 05-27-2015, 10:49 AM   #1111
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Could anyone fill me in on what the climate must have been like in Latin America durring the COLD SNAP? It would be important to the setting. Especially as I assume hoards of European refugees flee there.
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Old 05-27-2015, 04:51 PM   #1112
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Could anyone fill me in on what the climate must have been like in Latin America durring the COLD SNAP? It would be important to the setting. Especially as I assume hoards of European refugees flee there.
What usually happens during global ice ages is that Argentina freezes solid, with Patagonia becoming tundra, while the Amazon basin dries out and the vegetation thins out to the point of becoming savannah. Not sure this will be severe or long enough to get the full effect, but that's the direction. So Brazil becomes a good destination, even if its sugar crop is disrupted.
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Old 05-27-2015, 08:05 PM   #1113
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Actually world population in 1938 was less than 2 billion, I'm suggesting a great deal of sagnation and constant chronic food issues in most of the world.
If population pressures are so severe that you have near zero growth over two generations, I can't see a tech boom like the 20th century. Agricultural plenty is a key precondition for societies to specialize and have the leeway to experiment. Even if people don't die like flies (and I'd say several hundred million do, particularly given the wars), you've still got 2/3's the brains by the end of the century. Early TL7 assumes that the top idea producing populations are relatively intact, and the missing brains largely come from other places.

I suppose you can go with "mass starvation, climate disruption and the collapse of the international system leads to tech boom" but it doesn't seem reasonable. Then again, maybe you have a Galt's Gulch or Tomorrowland scenario, but I think that requires available resources.
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Old 05-28-2015, 08:12 AM   #1114
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What usually happens during global ice ages is that Argentina freezes solid, with Patagonia becoming tundra, while the Amazon basin dries out and the vegetation thins out to the point of becoming savannah. Not sure this will be severe or long enough to get the full effect, but that's the direction. So Brazil becomes a good destination, even if its sugar crop is disrupted.
Thanks, Brazil would be a serious power durring the COLD SNAP and like Australia, would be falling apart as the climate returns to normal. Useful stuff Patchwork.
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Old 05-28-2015, 08:17 AM   #1115
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If population pressures are so severe that you have near zero growth over two generations, I can't see a tech boom like the 20th century. Agricultural plenty is a key precondition for societies to specialize and have the leeway to experiment. Even if people don't die like flies (and I'd say several hundred million do, particularly given the wars), you've still got 2/3's the brains by the end of the century. Early TL7 assumes that the top idea producing populations are relatively intact, and the missing brains largely come from other places.

I suppose you can go with "mass starvation, climate disruption and the collapse of the international system leads to tech boom" but it doesn't seem reasonable. Then again, maybe you have a Galt's Gulch or Tomorrowland scenario, but I think that requires available resources.
I think I'll have Cabalist smuggling tech in to build an industrial empire for themselves. If the rest of the world is barely holding on to TL7 and the nation they've got their hooks into is at almost TL8, the Cabalists will be sitting pretty. They'll simply hint they'd like favors and folks will rush to give them.

This also gives the US a major problem, Cabalists with too much power. And gives both Centrum and Homeline reasons to interfere in this parallel. Keep the Cabal from gaining to much power over a high tech world.
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Old 05-29-2015, 12:37 AM   #1116
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Have you considered setting Thaw's precipitating event (hah) about a decade earlier, in, say, 1928? I think avoiding a Nazi state (or modifying it into unrecognizability) along with providing a very obvious explanation for the collapse of the global economy, so that nobody seriously re-examines New School economics in favor of Keynes, gives you a more exciting, creaky, dieselpunky sort of world to adventure in (the lack of economic understanding makes some homeliners worry - they're pretty sure the recolonizing efforts are going to go badly, and without the cautionary tale of the Nazis, there are certain very nasty failure possibilities in Thaw's short-term future...)
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Old 05-29-2015, 01:03 AM   #1117
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Been a while since I did one of these:

The Missouri Compromise, dividing the free North from the slave-holding South, was a hard fought political battle. In this timeline it turned out differently, with the conservative, pro-slavery faction winning the upper hand; as each new state is admitted they get to decide if they want to be slave or free, instead of based north or south of an arbitrary line.

This win gives the slave states a slight edge, that John C Calhoun is able to parlay into the Presidency in 1824. Along with his friend Daniel Webster and a very conservative coalition, Calhoun's government abandons tariffs, allowing Britain to flood the market with manufactured goods. They also get rid of paper currency, moving strictly to coinage. Resultant price swings and economic chaos causes the occasional price spike in slaves - bounty hunters seeking "runaway" slaves would raid Northern states for African-Americans. The problem became so bad that several states used their militias to deter the process. President Calhoun sends the Army into Pennsylvania and New York in 1827, igniting the Civil War.

This Civil War has neither side prepared economically or militarily, so both are relatively weak; the bloodbath lasts until 1833. The North is able to beat back the invaders, and technically "win", but a Confederate Union (South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama and Mississippi) secede from the war weary United States. Britain, seeking retribution for supposed American support of the French during the Napoleonic Wars as well as dominance in North America, strongly support various Indian nations, eventually helping them drive American settlers out of much of the Louisiana Purchase lands, as well as Florida. Louisiana itself becomes an independent republic, a buffer state between the CU and the rapidly disintegrating Mexican Empire.

With little American settlement Texas and California eventually break away from Mexico to form their own nations. Coahuilatejas (Texas, New Mexico and most of NE Mexico), and the Empire of California (California, most of Nevada, Arizona, Baja and most of western Mexico) are initially both restive and agricultural. British settlements in Oregon and trade in San Fransisco eventually transform California into an economic powerhouse. Coahuilatejas follows suite, becoming the gateway between North and South America.

Current year is 1912. In Germany Kaiser Waldemar is carefully moving his Empire into position to conquer the rest of Europe. North America is split into the powerful nation-states listed above, as well as British Oregon and Canada, Deseret (Mormon Utah with a little Nevada and Idaho) and a dozen Indian States between the Mississippi River and the Rockies.

New Orleans is much like classic Singapore, nearly lawless but vitally important to American and European merchant firms, lead by its French patrons. Deseret funnels money and weapons to fighters, Indian, French, Anglo and Freedman, in the endless Indian Wars that serve as proxy battles between the various American powers.

Not really steampunk this can be easily made into such a setting with the old standby Babbage somehow profiting from the American situation - maybe his time in Cambridge is better spent with most of his detractors occupied by Oregon settlement? But I see it more as a mainstream, ordinary early WWI era tech level, too early for dieselpunk - maybe Edisonpunk, or Teslapunk if you prefer, with radio, electrification, telephones and power plants all becoming the Big Thing.

WWI era military adventures, with poison gas and trench warfare and early tanks and prop-planes, are common across Europe and the Plains States. Slavery is illegal in the CU, at least in name, so smuggling non-Anglos out to Muscogee Florida or into New Orleans can be spiritually rewarding, if not monetarily. New Orleans itself is a vortex of money, power, greed and high weirdness - if vampires, voodoo, communist fugitives, mad inventors, exiled Chinese empresses or the like exist in this world, they are in New Orleans.
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Old 05-29-2015, 07:17 AM   #1118
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Been a while since I did one of these:

(SNIP)

WWI era military adventures, with poison gas and trench warfare and early tanks and prop-planes, are common across Europe and the Plains States. Slavery is illegal in the CU, at least in name, so smuggling non-Anglos out to Muscogee Florida or into New Orleans can be spiritually rewarding, if not monetarily. New Orleans itself is a vortex of money, power, greed and high weirdness - if vampires, voodoo, communist fugitives, mad inventors, exiled Chinese empresses or the like exist in this world, they are in New Orleans.
This is a depressing setting, although it doesn't quite qualify as crap-sack. However, a GM could do some good things with it, and I might play in it were he or she to skew it in a fun and adventurous direction.

Maybe have everybody play black New Orleans adventurers, who frequently smuggle contraband into the religiously-reactionary Confederacy, and smuggle slaves back out again? That would give the opportunity to go a little Django Unchained on evil bigots, and that could be fun. :)

I'd never, ever GM a campaign in this setting, though.
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Old 05-29-2015, 09:35 AM   #1119
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This is a depressing setting, although it doesn't quite qualify as crap-sack. However, a GM could do some good things with it, and I might play in it were he or she to skew it in a fun and adventurous direction.

Maybe have everybody play black New Orleans adventurers, who frequently smuggle contraband into the religiously-reactionary Confederacy, and smuggle slaves back out again? That would give the opportunity to go a little Django Unchained on evil bigots, and that could be fun. :)

I'd never, ever GM a campaign in this setting, though.
I didn't see this as all that depressing. The southern US is/was only slightly less oppressive in Homeline than the CU. I just saw this setting as a more "interesting" America, as in "may you live in interesting times".

But really I just followed a natural flow of events. My daughter's history teacher gave his class a short assignment on alternate history, and this was one example - what if the Missouri Compromise never happened? He also had them watch that Futurama episode where Fry messes up the Revolution. I thought that was a pretty cool lesson idea, then again I'm probably biased.
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Old 05-29-2015, 10:15 AM   #1120
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I didn't see this as all that depressing. The southern US is/was only slightly less oppressive in Homeline than the CU. I just saw this setting as a more "interesting" America, as in "may you live in interesting times".

(SNIP)
Oh, it's definitely a personal bias, on my part. Any alt.history setting in which the Confederacy remains intact after about 1870 is pretty depressing, as far as I'm concerned (and increasingly unrealistic, given how much industrialization changes a society).

Of course, I'm also of the opinion that the 90-plus years of post Civil War racial oppression constitutes a terrible crime, and the best that could've happened would have been to destroy the plantation system, in the south, by redistribution of land to the freedmen (and summary execution of any former slave-owner who dared to object).

Better to have 10-15 years of continued insurgency that the military could have dealt with through the focused application of professional violence, than nearly a century of racial oppression backed by terrorism.

But, that's just me. YMMV.
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