Teaser 19 - The Battle of Portersville

Steamscapes: North America has three sample scenarios available for GMs and players to use to begin to explore the Steamscapes world. Two of them will be used as preview events at GenCon and a few local Chicago events this summer. (Keep watching our events page.) The third is written as a mass battle scenario, an abstract warfare system described in Savage Worlds Deluxe that allows for larger conflicts to be played through more quickly, while still allowing individual player characters to have a significant effect on the outcome. This scenario, "The Battle of Portersville," marks the first skirmish in what will become an ongoing conflict between the Plains Tribal Federation and the American Consolidated Union over control of the Illinois and Wisconsin territories. Here is the background as presented in the book:

Teaser 18 - History of the Rocky Mountain Republic

By the mid 1800s, most of the American Colonies and even parts of Texas had become relatively cultured and civilized. But for those who craved the wilderness, there was still one more frontier to pursue. California was not a destination for the faint of heart, and the promise of instant wealth was far from universal. A few individuals, however, were able to make their riches from the people in much the same way those people made their riches from the land. This passage examines two such men and the impact they had on the territory that would later become the Rocky Mountain Republic.

Teaser 17 - The Gearsmith Edge Tree

In creating a profession that comes with a "built-in" companion, so to speak, we wanted to be careful not to make it too powerful. Unlike other systems, the way that Savage Worlds tends to scale up in difficulty is by adding more enemies. This means that adding more allies would seem to make everything easier. We needed to restrict the Gearsmith so that it would not feel like one player was somehow able to have two powerful characters. We did this by creating two key restrictions on the Gearsmith:

Teaser 16 - The Tuskegee Institute

In the Steamscapes world, we have fast-forwarded one of the more transformative events of the 19th century: the founding of the Tuskegee Normal Institute. In real history, this institution was founded by Booker T. Washington and was enormously important in the advancement of African-American education. However, since the school is being founded twelve years earlier than its real-life founding date of 1881, Mr. Washington is still a youth of 13. George Washington Carver, who would later head the Agriculture department at Tuskegee, is only 5. In our alternate history we needed a different impetus for the creation of such a school. As is often the case, the force that drives this social and educational innovation is a military need. And so it is Ulysses S. Grant, the first president of the American Consolidated Union, who develops the idea as part of his sweeping military reforms. As you can see, this also results in the creation of the Tuskegee Airmen seventy years early. From the book:

Teaser 15 - The Automaton

We realized very early on in the development process that by creating a society where mechanical people were nearly ubiquitous we were likely enticing players to play as those mechanical people. Of course we would have the Gearsmith profession, and this would enable players to control an automaton, but we were intentionally asking moral and philosophical questions about the personhood of these constructs. Certainly we had to allow players to explore those questions from within. And so we have the Automaton not merely as a companion to the Gearsmith, but as a full racial template for creating new characters.

Teaser 14 - The History of the Confederation of Texas

In real history, one of the key reasons that the Republic of Texas was unable to remain an independent nation was its lack of a strong economic base. By resolving that problem, our alternative history was able to keep Texas sovereign, thus making it the oldest of the four primary nations we explore in Steamscapes: North America. Of all the nations on the continent, it is second in age only to the country from which it won its independence, Mexico. However, even without crippling debt, Texas still experiences growing pains:

Teaser 13 - Gyroscopic Parallel Synchrometer

Travel is very prevalent in the Steamscapes world, and only a portion of it is done along the predictable paths of rails and roadways. Aviators and sailors alike are looking for the most advanced technology available for helping them navigate. This device combines all of the tools necessary for determining one's location anywhere on the Earth.

Dev Notes 5 - Why Savage Worlds?

When creating a new roleplaying setting, there is a moment of freedom when anything is possible. The game exists solely as an idea - an image in the mind of players happily describing how their characters interact with your deeply constructed, richly detailed world. Then from that image arises a question - what are those players actually doing? Are they rolling dice? What sort of dice? A moment of panic: will I try to create a whole new system from scratch? No, of course not. Focus on the story. Use mechanics that already exist. Just choose a generic system. But...which one? 


Teaser 12 - Songs Without Words

Steve Townshend wrote the amazing short fiction that graces our pages, entitled "Songs Without Words." It is quite a substantial story, and (we think) worth getting all by itself. Here is a brief look to give you a taste.


Teaser 11 - The Steamhand

Keeping all of North America's steam-powered machinery in good working order requires a great deal of manpower. They are also the drivers of the vehicles they maintain, from railroad engines to steam carts. Steamhands are the skilled laborers that keep the mechanical age moving.


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