Victorian Steampunk Gaslight and Gears

Game Masters

Game Information
  • Created Aug 26 '10
  • Last Post Sep 12 '10 at 5:54am
  • Status Complete
  • System Serenity

Game Description

Game Description
The Age of Steam and Mechanical Computing is in full swing, and there seems to be no limit to what mankind can accomplish. The hope is to attract a large sandboxy game involving multiple plots with potential crossover, rather than a single party plot, but if it ends up a single party game, I'm comfortable running that, too.

We'll be using the Serenity Cortex rules system because it's a very robust and flexible classless system. It has solid mechanics for dealing with vehicles, invented skills and abilities, and combat.

For those who own the Serenity RPG book, it's virtually identical, it's just a setting-neutral version of the rules with some simplifications. For those who do not have either book, you're free to post an app, and we'll talk through it.

-Serenity ranks all attributes (strength, intelligence, etc. . .) and skills in even numbers between 2 and 12. These represent sides of dice.
-All skill checks are a combination of an attribute and a skill (for instance, strength/melee weapons). You roll those two dice, and try to beat the target number.

That's it. It really is that simple. The complicated stuff is just the fluff.


Gaslight and Gears is the world of 1898 had history taken a different path. Charles Babbage secured funding and finished his Analytical Engine, leading to a major breakthrough in miniaturization of mechanical computers over the next 60 years. It wasn't until the North used Programmable Analytical Engines to direct artillery strikes and win the Civil War in just one year that the technology was taken seriously in the United States. But afterwards, the advantage of mechanical computing catapulted business and industry forward in the United States, the British Empire, France, and the newly formed German Empire.

Sir Goldworthy Gurney's steam car service wasn't killed by scheming politicians, giving the British an early lead on automobile manufacturing. It was deemed infeasible for use in the United States due to the large distances these inefficient vehicles needed to travel, and their fuel requirements, but the cultural elite tended to own imports anyway. Instead, the United States led the way in resonance-electric motor development after Westinghouse and Tesla won the War of the Currents.

At the 1893 World's Fair in Chicago, Tesla, in partnership with

Charles' son
Henry Babbage and (in her final public appearance before her
The actual Ada Lovelace died in 1852. This supposes she survived.
death) Ada Lovelace, unveiled the world's first android automaton. It had no complex behaviors; it was able only to wave, shake hands, and replay a phonograph recording of a greeting. However it could correctly choose which of these actions to perform based upon the actions of people in its immediate vicinity. Its unveiling sparked a riot, and the defamed Edison worked tirelessly to discredit Tesla by claiming it was only a "midget in knight's armor," but despite luddite resistance, the floodgate had been opened.

As the 19th Century comes to a close, the titans of industry battle for dominance over shipping methods. Joseph Spiess in France created the first rigid airship, and has taken over passenger and freight shipping in Europe. In 1895, he completed his first trans-Atlantic airship flight in the
France Dirigeable Aéronautique
. The use of airships has caused an explosion in trade and tourism between Great Britain and its colonies. Meanwhile, in the United States, heavy rail remains dominant thanks to the efforts of Cornelius Vanderbilt.

The German Empire has been experimenting with rocket propulsion, and sketches of flying machines supposedly capable of reaching Earth's Moon have appeared in some newspapers extolling the superiority of the Empire's scientists.

Ground Rules for Conduct
1) Be respectful: Should be self-explanatory, but in short, it means honor the boundaries of others' privacy, property, and preferences. Your desires end where theirs start.

2) Be honest with the rules: I'm not going to make an exhaustive list of what you can/can't do. Serenity is much harder to munchkin than 3.5, but it doesn't mean it's impossible. I extend a lot of trust to my players in terms of what knowledge they bring to the table, and what knowledge I offer. You're on your honor not to metagame plots you're not involved in and simply enjoy sating your curiosity.

3) Keep conflict IC: I don't tolerate OOC flaming. Period. The Internet is a beautiful medium for sharing ideas, and the fastest way to have those ideas misunderstood. Most arguments don't need resolution, they just need cooldown time.

4) Don't complain; Earn it: If you are upset about someone else's shiny new toy, don't complain about it. Earn your own. Don't send me PMs whining that you deserve it more, use your sidebar to make a proposal for what your character is going to do to get their own new toy.

Character Generation
Make an application here.

Or here.

Or here.

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