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 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 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:

Dev Notes 3 – Alternative History as Social Justice

Regardless of genre, role-playing is ultimately an exercise in fantasy. We want to imagine that we are knights, or wizards, or vampires, or space marines. There is a cathartic release that comes from pretending to be something we are not, in a world unlike ours. That world may have drawbacks as well as advantages, but even the drawbacks are things that we enjoy imagining. We are intrigued by how different they are from the challenges of our own daily lives, and we rest in the knowledge that those drawbacks will disappear as soon as we step away from the table (or out of character, in the case of a LARP).

Teaser 5 - History of the Plains Tribal Federation

This teaser provides a sample of what is the largest portion of the Steamscapes: North America book: the alternative history. Most alternative historical fiction begins with a single premise that can normally be summarized by the question, "What would happen if...?"  The rest of the setting and its key events are then extrapolated as cascading effects of that initial change. Our key changes happen beginning in 1773, and we describe in detail all of the events that result over the next century. We focus on four nations - the American Consolidated Union, the Confederation of Texas, the Plains Tribal Federation, and the Rocky Mountain Republic. We also briefly cover the other major North American territories.

This sample is from the last section of the history of the Plains Tribal Federation.


Teaser 2 - Map of North America

Our second teaser gives a sense of how the Steamscapes alternative history has reshaped the continent of North America. Our historical background focuses on four primary nations, with some small space given to the other nations and territories. This map was created by Robert Altbauer of fantasy-map.net.


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