The (M)Age of Steam

Submitted by Mapache on Sat, 2004-05-15 00:00

So, two recent threads on the Technocracy have combined in my head with wishful thinking regarding Victorian Age Mage and my current reading of Castle Falkenstein to produce a total trainwreck of a setting idea: Alternate universe steampunk Mage, with the Technocracy as actual good guys.

At the beginning of the 19th century, a growing division within the Order of Reason came to a head. On one side were the radicals, who wanted to codify and label all things, and who began to value progress and advancement over all else, no matter the cost to the Sleeper masses. On the other side were the moderates, who valued science and logic, but not at the cost of losing sight of their Order's initial goals—to protect and nurture humanity into a brighter future. The two groups devolved into open warfare, battling for the fate of reality itself.

Though the radicals possessed more advanced Technomagick, much of it relied upon the newly discovered principle of electricity. The moderates mounted a public-relations campaign, spearheaded by the newly convened Thermodyne Engineers, to convince the masses that the fearsome force behind lightning and static charges that some scientists were experimenting with was too unpredictable and dangerous to ever be tamed, and that reliable steam was the way to go. It succeeded, and shattered the radicals' powerbase in a backlash of Paradox.

The threat defeated, the Conventions were free to blossom into a new golden age of discovery and creation, turning out wonder after wonder. Their creativity and reverence of the undiscovered was nowhere more present than in the three newest Conventions, the afore-mentioned Thermodyne Engineers with their mad constructs, the Difference Engineers with their explorations into information processing, and the Symphonic Conductors, a splinter group of the Seers of Chronos, who based their magical paradigm upon musical theory and drove public interest in new styles of music based around heavy beats and mechanical accompaniment to the human players.

So, the basic idea is Victorian-Era Steampunk Mage with electricity discredited. Neither of the Conventions that defected to the Traditions will do so in this universe, as there is no incentive to do so. I had to rename the Electrodyne Engineers, for obvious reasons. I figure having giant steam organs turning out industrial music is a nice crazy touch, so I threw in a new Convention.

For a true period feel, the Fae should probably be fairly active in this setting. I'm not at all familiar with Changeling, but you could do something along the lines of the Order of Reason actually having cut a deal with the Seelie, gaining influence over the masses in exchange for making sure to leave a space for them in this new age's Paradigm of wonder and hope. In that case, someone should be conspiring with the Unseelie, either the defeated remnants of the radicals or Tradition rebels, particularly the Order of Hermes, who want to regain their former free and easy power over the nature of reality, and will stop at nothing to get it.