Steampunk and Industrial Fantasy
Just because something's a fantasy story doesn't mean it has to be medieval. Technology in fantasy can be somewhat normal or perhaps an industrial revolution could be powered by magic. I say we fuck Tolkien's bubolic landscapes and go industrialize.
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Jave Harron
The point of this thread is to expand your creativity. The idea is to develop a world with both magic/thaumaturgy and steampunk technology, as well as any combination therefore of. Before we start, I'd like to set up a few rules to ensure that standard cliches are not used.

I. ORIGINAL fantasy races are fine, though Tolkien ones are banned. Banned races include orcs, dwarves, and elves. Especially elves.

II. Undead are also fine, though vampires are NOT allowed, with a few exceptions. If they are any of the following, they are banned: Dracula, emo kids, Anne Rice vampires (whiny, b*** self centered types), and the like. Lawyers are fine.

III. Having a cultural flavor based on an Earth culture is fine, but there are plenty of other nations than America, Britain, and Japan. Likewise, mad scientists and evil overlords should not have solely German or Russian names.

IV. I expect nations to have logical economic and political systems. A lower tech level (save Iron Age/Medieval) can work, provided it realistically reflects this. For instance, a "Merry Olde England" type Arthurian nation would lack modern inventions such as: Democracy, liberation of the genders, equality of all ethnic and racial groups, trial by jury, running water, modern medicine, and hygiene. Unless everyone knows magic spells for cleansing themselves.

V. People from "our earth" do not appear. Use some more originally than just "English-speaking kids stranded in fantasy world." Even if you write it extremely well, it is a premise so overused, I have absolutely no interest whatsoever in it.

VI. Communism sucks, as it goes against all we know on human nature. However, the only way it will work is on a small scale or in a fantasy world.

2/3/2007 #1
Jave Harron
Here's the template for a nation:

Name: What is the name of the nation?

Summary: Summarize the nation's culture, economy, and what makes it unique.

Politics: What sort of political system? Democracy? Monarchy? Theocracy? Dictatorship? A combination (IE a technocratic theocracy where technology is worshipped as religion and engineers are clergy figures).

Economy: What are their chief industries, imports, and exports? Who or what controls the wealth, if anyone?

Geography: What sort of environments and area does the nation comprise? A continent? An island? A plain of desert? A sliver of land floating in between dimensions?

Technology: What sort of magic or technology do they use? Steampunk? Magic? Thaumechanics? Biological manipulation of organisms instead of conventional technology?

Military: What sort of military force does the nation possess? A village might only have a small town guard, while a superpower might have massive fleets of airships and battlecruisers. Any notable units?

Lifestyle: How do different classes citizens live? Who comprises each class or faction of society? Please avoid cliches of oppressed lower classes and generic evil overlords. There's wide range of socio-economic structures throughout history to draw inspiration from, as well as new ones from fiction.

2/4/2007 #2
Jave Harron
Sample Nation:

Name: Stalburg

Summary: "It is said humanity has a choice between the possible and the impossible. I chose the impossible." -Andrew Galt, Founder

Andrew Galt, once the head of a successful guild, was tired of the feudal system that kept people in their place. Also looking down on democratic states, he decried what he perceived as the 'tyranny of the majority.' So, over the course of several years, he traveled the world, getting in contact with the greatest minds, the best artists, most innovative inventors, and the most radical businesspeople. Together, they built a city on an isolated, barren island far away from any shipping route. Galt's city has people from all over the world living there, as he does consider racism barbaric. The city is arguably the most technologically advanced one in the world, being made of metal, steel buildings (think an Art Deco style), and paved streets, rather than the muddy hovels of most of the world.

Politics: Minarchist meritocratic republican oligarchy. The elected government is organized around laissare-faire principles, giving the wealthy plenty of room to rise or fall. The only real taxes are on inheritances, as people are not seen to be deserving of anything due to birthright: They have to earn it.

Economy: Stalburg is a technologically advanced island city-state that isolated itself from the outside world, save to those that are deemed worthy examples of humanity to enter. The city uses the currents around its shores as both a means of defense and electric power generation. This, coupled with ocean floor mines offshore, allows it self-sufficiency, a key social virtue here. Likewise, theoretically infinite resources can be summoned by thaumaturges.

Geography: Stalburg was set up on a remote, rocky island in the northern ocean. Few ships travel near there, and those that do tend to stay away from the currents near the island. The environment is rich in materials, prompting lots of environmental engineering.

Technology: Technology and industrial magic is the primary force in this nation. Individuals can use either to achieve the much-vaulted self-sufficiency of the city. A technologist might build automata to take care of his affairs. A mage can summon creatures or enchant objects. Something who learns both can do both. Firearms are common, and there are no limits to what firearms an individual can build or possess. While gun crime is an issue, many wise individuals often display their arms openly, as to deter robbery. Of course, the effects of such escalation in the long term have not been considered.

Military: The military is one of the few institutions that requires public funding and taxes. Military service is voluntary, and often purchases the most high-tech weapons on the market. Often times, this is not the advantage it seems. To weapons designers, they often advertise their weapons as "required to win the next war." Since the city has never experienced an invasion (save some skirmishes between corporate security forces), there is no way to tell for sure. Private military contractors and mercenaries are often hired by corporations.

Lifestyle: Despite being an oligarchy with few constraints on the rich, most citizens enjoy an unparalleled standard of living. A few private "charity" organizations exist for those who fall too far, who often employ them as "indentured servants" for an unspecified amount of time. Despite this, they still are given rooms and food. "Greed is good" is the mantra of the island, and the freedom of speech is also unparalleled in most parts of the world. Unless, of course, one says something their boss does not lot. Smear campaigns and lawsuits can be used to ruin lives just as guns and bullets can.

2/11/2007 #3
Lord Monbodo

Name: Terantos

Summary: The nation Terantos was once a collection of city-states which were unified three hundred years ago by the prophet warrior Leonidas. He claimed he was sent by God to cleanse this world of the sinful, and his fanatic armies crushed all opposition. At the time the city-states were going through a terrible depression, the rich got richer while the poor got poorer. Once his homeland was unified he had his mind uploaded to a clockwork computer so he could forever guide his flock.

Politics: They are a totalitarian theocracy ruled by their messiah-computer Leonidas. The Priest Kings govern for him but he retains power. The automatons are programed to obey him above all else.

Economy: Trade was a major income but the current regime has forbidden trade with "impure" nations. The puritanical lifestyle that is enforced helps offset the money loss. The material needs of the country come from within its own borders or from pillage.

Geography: Terantos has settlements on a peninsula and the islands around it. The climate is mediterranean.

Technology: While steam-powered and clockwork devices are used, they are the same machines used 300 years ago. Innovation and invention are 'discouraged' by the theocracy.

Military: The main tactic of Terantos is to send 'suicide bombers' to break the enemy formation; and then exploit the confusion with steam tanks, automaton reapers, and riflemen. Holy Thaumaturgists (if I may use the word) also play a major part in war.

Lifestyle: Religious doctrine enforces a puritanical existence, people live simply and with little free time. There is only one form of public entertainment, the execution of prisoners in the arena.

3/20/2010 #4
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