I’m a huge fan of Steampunk and I decided that after I did my update of Wrath of Zombie Survival Horror RPG v3 I would take a crack at creating a steampunk setting.
If you’ve been following the development of my Vornheim campaign you may remember that I mentioned that I wanted a dirty steampunk game. I wanted to focus on the “punk” and the dystopian aspects of the genre rather than the shiny “enlightenment” part of it.
So I’ve been putzing around with ideas and etc for a couple weeks. Here is my rough notes on the setting:
World Name– Hubris: An Adventure into Cogs, Sex, and Steam.
World– Dystopian feel. Religion, government, and nobility crushing the masses.
Inspiration– French Revolution.
Races– Human and Beastmen of the north.
Races have been at work for years with no real victor until Steamtech was invented. Human government then slaughtered many of the beastmen and displaced the tribes throughout the highlands. The humans didn’t want the tribes to regain their strength so they slash burned much of the trees, or took them as material for their own resources.
The beastmen are now little more than indentured servants in the human lands. They work mines, farms, factories, etc. Very few make any sort of solid living and hardly any become citizens.
Magic and Technology– Through the miracles of science extraordinary achievements have been made. The tireless work of Sprocket Jockey’s (Weird Scientists) have created Coggers (mechanized creatures that create a labor and armed force), firearms, airships, cog armor, cog appendages to replace those lost in battle, among other amazing things.
There are two types of magic in Hubris: Divine and the Witch.
Divine magic comes from the blessings of the God or Goddess above or the Heathen below. This power is only gained by humans, which has lead to many arguments that the Beastmen are evil creatures. Spells are cast by praying to the God or Goddess for help or the Heathen below.
The Heathen below exacts a price on those calling upon his favor. Eventually a person may be consumed by his corruption.
Those who show outward signs of corruption are put to the flame before it overtakes them completely.
The Witch uses their own life energies to cast spells. This practice originally was discovered by the Beastmen and was their main strength against the human armies. Eventually humans living in the north with the Beastmen were taught the ways of the Witch and the knowledge has spread over the years.
Generally Witches are mistrusted in the human lands and in some territories the practice is out right illegal.
Originally I was planning on doing this in Savage Worlds (and I’ve already done some work for that- see below), but then I thought it might be cool to do it for Castles and Crusades (although the work involved does make me weep a little). If I have time I may do for both.
The way I’m trying to approach this book is by only giving very light setting descriptions. Enough for the GM and Players to get a feel of the world and what’s going on, but make up everything else. I really am tired of campaign settings that are tomes (that is just my preference).
So what setting would you choose: Castles and Crusades or Savage Worlds?
Here is some of what I’ve done using Savage Worlds Deluxe:
Humans start as described on page 21 of SWDX.
- Large: A Beastman is roughly 8 feet tall. They receive +1 to their Size.
- Way of the Beast: A Beastman can tap into their bestial side and become fearsome opponents. When a Beastman calls upon this power they must make a Vigor Trait test at the end, failure means they take one level of Fatigue. A roll of 1 on the Vigor die, regardless of the Wild Die means that the Beastman is exhausted and cannot call upon this power for 24 hour and have gotten rest. Way of the Beast duration is 1 plus half character’s Spirit. This can be ended prematurely if so desired.
When a Beastman brings forth the Way of the Beast their features become more feral and their muscles more taunt. Claws protrude out of their hands (Str+d6 damage) and they receive +1 to Notice Rolls for sight, smell, and hearing.
- All Muscle: Beastmen are lean and muscular. They start with a d6 instead of a d4 in Strength.
- Not Human: There is still much distrust and dislike for the Beastmen of the North. Most humans treat them as something beneath them and as such, life for a Beastman in human lands is full of hardship. A Beastman has the Outsider Hindrance.
- Just Don’t Touch That: Beastmen are not familiar with the ways of technology. They are learning slowly, but it is a constant uphill battle. A Beastman has the All Thumbs Hindrance.
Arcane Skill– Miracles
Starting Power Points: NA
Starting Powers: 3 + *Void Summons.
The Divine call upon the powers of the God and Goddess Above or the Heathen Below to grant them amazing powers that they utilize for protection, attack, or healing. However if Deities feel you are unworthy of their blessing you may end up paying more than you bargained for.
The power of the Divine is only gained by humans, which has lead to many arguments that the Beastmen are evil creatures created by the Heathen. Spells are cast by praying to the God or Goddess for help or the Heathen below.
The Divine can use all SWDX Powers even if it is above their rank. They must pray to one of the Deities of Hubris to grant them their powers. A Divine caster must make a successful Divine Skill Roll with an attached negative modifier depending on the Spells Rank; -2 Novice, -4 Seasoned, -6 Veteran, -8 Heroic, -10 Legendary.
The Divine can cast all but the following spells: Drain Power Points, Fly, and Grow/Shrink.
Depending on which spell the Divine desires to cast determines which of the three Deities of Hubris they pray to and the cost that will be extracted should they displease the Deity. Some powers are under multiple Deities, this is to represent the way in which the power could be wielded and also to show that not everything is black and white.
The God (Knowledge, Protection, and Healing)– Armor, Barrier, Boost/Lower Trait, Deflection, Detect/Conceal Aura, Disguise, Dispel, Divination, Fear, Greater Healing, Healing, Intangibility, Invisibility, Mind Reading, Speak Languages, Stun, Succor, Summon Ally, and Warrior’s Gift.
The Goddess (Vengeance, Bravery, and Nature)– Beast Friend, Blast, Blind, Bolt, Burrow, Burst, Damage Field, Elemental Manipulation, Entangle, Environmental Protection, Havoc, Pummel, Shape Change, Smite, Summon Ally, and Wall Walker.
The Heathen (Lust, Control, and Death)– Banish, Blind, Boost/Lower Trait, Confusion, Darksight, Detect/Conceal Aura, Divination, Entangle, Fear, Invisibility, Light/Obscure, Mind Reading, Puppet, Quickness, Shape Change, Slow, Slumber, Speed, Summon Ally, Telekinesis, Teleport, and Zombie.
Divinity Rolls operate the same as the rules lined out on page 94, save for the Backlash rule.
When a Divine is casting, the player specifies whether they are praying to the God, Goddess, or Heathen. If a one is rolled on the Divine die, regardless of wild die the following effects happen.
The God– The god gives knowledge and protection and he also takes it away. Angering the God means the Divine goes down one die level in Smarts and is unable to pray for any spells that the God resides over for one day. If the Divine ever falls below a d4 smarts they are reduced to a mumbling vegetable permanently.
The Goddess– The Goddesses wrath that follows her displeasure is frightening. A golden light will surround the Divine who has angered her and on the next round explode out causing 3d6 to the caster and 2d6 damage to all in a large burst template.
The Heathen– The Heathen below exacts a price on those calling upon his favor. Eventually a person may be consumed by his corruption. Those who show outward signs of corruption are put to the flame before it overtakes them completely. Each time the Heathen is displeased a Divine’s Spirit is reduced by one die type, however they are also given a “gift” so as to entice them to continue to rely on the Heathen. When the character’s Spirit goes below d4 they are lost and have become corrupted; a twisted and mutated monster that serves the Heathen Below.
Roll on the following table:
1) Raise Strength one die type.
2) Raise Agility one die type.
3) Character eyes turn to that of a cat. They can now see in the dark.
4) Character gains the Very Attractive Edge even if they do not meet prerequisite.
5) Character gains the Berserk Edge.
6) Character gains the No Mercy Edge even if they do not meet prerequisite.
7) Raise Smarts one die type.
8 ) Raise Vigor one die type.
Arcane Skill– Pacts
Starting Power Points: NA
Starting Powers: 3 + *Void Summons.
Witches uses their own life energies to cast spells. This practice originally was discovered by the Beastmen and was their main strength against the human armies. Eventually humans living in the north with the Beastmen were taught the ways of the Witch and the knowledge has spread over the years. Generally Witches are mistrusted in the human lands and in some territories the practice is out right illegal.
To cast spells a Witch will roll a pact check and follow the rules of No Power Points outlined on page 95. The effects of Success and Raise are as normal (however if no additional effect is stated in the spell, the Witch can make an extra attack or movement without suffering the -2 multi-action penalty). Failure means that the Witch takes one wound. A roll of 1 on Pacts skill die, regardless of wild die, the Witch takes two wounds.
Witches can cast all SWDX spells except Drain Power Points.
Note: Witches cannot heal themselves. They are able to cast heal on others but the Pacts and channeling of their own life force makes it impossible to heal themselves.
Sprocket Jockey (Weird Scientists)–
Arcane Skill: Steamtech
Starting Power Points: 10
Starting Powers: 1
Thanks to the tireless efforts of Sprocket Jockeys many new discoveries and inventions have been created in this new age of man. Coggers (mechanized creatures that create a labor and armed force), firearms, explosives, mechanized weapons, airships, cog armor, cog appendages to replace those lost in battle, among other amazing things have all lead to what some are calling the “Golden Age.” Others fear what these new inventions will do to people and the world of Hubris.
Sprocket Jockey functions exactly as Weird Scientists of SWDX on page 104-105.
Dampen Magic (replaces Drain Power Points)
Power Points: 3
Trappings: Prayers, Gust of Wind surrounds target, an electric field.
This spell allows the caster to halt another from casting spells or calling upon their god for aid. The caster and the target make an opposed roll (Miracles VS Pact). If the caster is successful the target cannot cast a spell for one round. On a Raise the target cannot cast a spell for two rounds.
Dampen Magic and Sprocket Jockeys- The Divine and Witches cannot use Dampen Magic against Sprocket Jockeys, however Sprocket Jockey’s can use Dampen Magic against the Divine, Witches, and other Sprocket Jockeys.