Developer's Blog #1: Welcome!

Discussion on the 1879 roleplaying game.
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Developer's Blog #1: Welcome!

Postby TarlimanJoppos » Wed Oct 23, 2013 3:07 pm

Welcome to 1879!
My name is Andrew Ragland, and I'm the line developer for this new property. I'll be using this blog to talk about the game line, show you a bit of the creative process behind it, and give you a few sneak peeks at what we have forthcoming. There's a miniatures wargame, and a roleplaying game, and we're talking about other options for the product line. Let's start off with the game world.

Like any steampunk-genre game, we're using an alternate history, a timeline that diverges from our own at key points so that things go a bit differently. In 1879, Prince Albert survived the coach crash and the subsequent infections, thanks to a massive assemblage of medical and scientific expertise by a Queen determined not to lose her beloved consort. Confined to a wheelchair, Prince Albert continued pushing forward the science and technology that had saved his life, resulting in a Silver Exhibition, 25 years after the famous Crystal Exhibition.

At the Silver Exhibition, a scientist named Oswald Grosvenor put on a demonstration. Nobody was quite sure what he was about, but he'd done such amazing things before that people were willing to let him set up a bewildering array of equipment on faith. Whatever he was trying to do, when the storm hit, his equipment opened a portal from Earth to another world. The British Empire suddenly had a considerable amount of new land to exploit.

After a year or so of exploration, and sowing the first few colonies partly by clearing out the workhouses and orphanages and debtors' prisons, the British discovered they weren't alone in the Grosvenor Land, or the Gruv as it was quickly nicknamed. Saurids, reptilian bipeds with multiple tribe-based cultures, occupied the far west of the peninsula. (Given that the peninsula was easily the size of Great Britain, 300 miles north-south and 800 east-west, it took a bit to figure out that it wasn't a continent, but just a bit sticking off). Trying to cross the land bridge to the main continent, the British ran into the Samsut, and that's where things got sticky. The Samsut have a weird science technology that lets them field zombies and skeletons as infantry / sword fodder. The British now carry miasma masks (to protect them against the stench and possible disease) and Chinese dragons (hand-pumped flamethrowers).

Meanwhile, on either side of the Rabbit Hole (as the portal became known), a new malady sprang up: Looking Glass Fever. People who caught it, and nobody knew how it was transmitted, went through a week or more of wracking pain, fever, and physical changes. Those that survived found themselves with new forms. Elves, dwarves, snarks, and trolls entered the world, known collectively as Boojums. Along with LGF came an increase in the effectiveness of ancient rituals. Secret societies found their studies finally paying off, granting them power well beyond what anyone had imagined. Her Majesty's government, once it was demonstrated that someone with the right training could in fact call down lightning, formed departments to protect the Royals from magical attack, and to study military use of these abilities. The Order of Britannia Victorious arose, gathering those military men and women who showed magical potential, and bringing them together for study and to focus their powers against the Empire's enemies.

Technology likewise advanced. Clockwork, electricity, micro-steam, all contributed to amazing new devices. Giffard airships took to the skies. Analytical Engines, the dubious gift of "Old Chuck" Babbage, the infamous crank, churned through information more quickly than an entire building full of clarks. The Prussians sent their troops out with blitzgewehren, lightning guns that throw bolts of electricity. A new criminal class arose, the Dodgers, using advanced technology and magic to profit from illegal actions. The firms pursuing the highly lucrative contracts for exploiting the Gruv, and supplying the military, found themselves hiring Dodger teams to impair each others' business operations and steal manufacturing secrets.

Gender parity came about for different reasons in each nation, but the end result was the same. Whether due to regularizing Zulu colonial auxiliaries with their women warriors, a lack of hands to run the factories in the war-exhausted Union and Confederacy, or tanzimat cultural reforms in the Ottoman Empire, women took their places as the equals of men across the globe. Another generation and nobody will think anything of a female officer leading a cavalry charge, a woman commanding an airship, or a lady of high birth holding an endowed chair at a prestigious university.

In the midst of all this change, with society turned on its head, the economy running wild, new forms of humanity walking the streets, an entirely non-human race having been met, and an entire new world to explore, your characters must find their way. Times like this need heroes. Are you ready?
Andrew Ragland
Line Developer, 1879

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