nyarlathotep: (Default)
The Completely Disorderly Guy Who Doesn't Walk ([personal profile] nyarlathotep) wrote in [community profile] fen_at_sea2009-05-22 07:20 pm

My Stuff: Steampunk Nusantara

So, okay. I’m gonna share a bit of the stuff that I’ve made, and I like. I’m calling it “My Stuff”. I wanna see what else some of you may have put up: fic, comics, wacky worldbuilding stuff (or efforts thereof) or whatever. Anyway, here’s mine:

In my earlier post I mentioned something about a steampunk setting that [personal profile] horusporus decided to call “Steampunk Nusantara”. The thing is, I initially got it from an idea that I got from Mage: The Ascension — specifically a section discussing alternate settings, pages 167 – 168 (I’ve got a copy of it, but I’m really leery of transcribing it, since it’s © White Wolf).

Some background.

I actually floated this initial idea up in alt.games.whitewolf in this post. We had a blast discussing this, the denizens of agww. Ahh, those were the days.

In case you don’t know much about the M:tA setting: You were supposed to be playing a Mage, someone who had Awakened to the existence of the truth: that belief shaped reality, and that a secret conspiracy called the Technocracy had hardened reality up to the point where only dull, hard science could exist without inviting Terrible Consequences.

Enter the Sons of Ether

One of the factions of the Good Guys were called the Sons of the Ether, and had come to existence thanks to a mysterious book called The Book of the Ether (in Arabic: Kitab al-Alacir, although I have no idea how accurate that translation is). One of their basic tenets is that Science is never static, and that exotic theories that did not necessarily follow the Consensus would still be possible thanks to Scientific Inspiration!

Or something like that. In essence it allowed you to have characters from Mad Scientists to Crank Inventors whose inventions would seriously work and to Two-Fisted Men of Action to Weird and Kooky Scientific Mavericks Whose Ideas Come From Their Intuitions!

In any case, the alternate setting that I had floated essentially asked this question: What would have happened had the Kitab been mass-produced before the Bad Guys managed to solidify reality?

So what are we looking at?

Well, in essence, what I’m looking for here is… I don’t know, a setting that can be used for anything, really: gaming, fic, art, comics, whatever. As you can see from the really extensive thread that we had in agww, we tried to define everything, and we failed, mainly because:

  1. Most of the setting was written from a White Western perspective. It was as if one miserable event in the Western Hemisphere could make all of these changes. Now I’m a big fan of the Butterfly Effect myself, but one event, based on what one white guy did at some point the 15th century? Come on.
  2. I don’t know enough. I mean, my knowledge of regional history at that point is remarkably poor, apart from bits and pieces about what happened in my country. What would have happened in Indonesia had the Portuguese not come? And if the Magellan expedition had changed in nature, what then? How would the Philippines have changed? I don’t know. And it gets worse when I think about continents I know next to nothing about, like Africa. What then?
  3. Besides, I’ve learned better. I mean, writing a setting and trying to hammer down canon, especially for RPGs, just makes people a lot of people unhappy. Some people like tailoring their own setting to their own needs. Besides, not everyone needs to remember which Italian (or Javanese) scholar wrote down which poem in 1785 — if you need to worry about that, just make up something on the spot or something.

The End Result

So, the end result of all of this would be some kind of kit to generate your own setting — a meta-setting, if you will. What that means is that in the end there’d be a whole bunch of common threads — kinds of conspiracies, important inventions, what certain places would look like, the names of groups, who’d make good protagonists and antagonists and the like.

And I’d like to hear more conversations like this. This is cool. I even had a convo with [personal profile] horusporus on this earlier this week: that was cool too. Can I post that up, [personal profile] horusporus? Or do you wanna?

jolantru: (sing to the dawn)

[personal profile] jolantru 2009-05-22 11:32 am (UTC)(link)
Meta-settings sound good - I like the idea of having a kit to generate settings. More lee-way and creativity for players and game-masters.

What kind of inventions are you/we looking at? I am a sucker for places. What kind of architecture are we designing?
jolantru: (sing to the dawn)

[personal profile] jolantru 2009-05-22 02:01 pm (UTC)(link)
Ah, interesting! :)

It will be intriguing to see Eugenicists and Scientific Racists as character classes.

And the Ramayana will come (literally) alive. That is so cool!
horusporus: A small WALL--E robot by a blurry window. (Default)

[personal profile] horusporus 2009-05-22 12:39 pm (UTC)(link)
*skims post*

carry on. re:c&p convo.

*goes back to reading the post proper as she knits*
horusporus: A small WALL--E robot by a blurry window. (Default)

[personal profile] horusporus 2009-05-22 01:00 pm (UTC)(link)
ok, read. i'll wait till the convo's up, because one-handed typing ain't conducive to rehashing points.
horusporus: A small WALL--E robot by a blurry window. (Default)

I said I was knitting lah, syaitan

[personal profile] horusporus 2009-05-22 03:11 pm (UTC)(link)
That's because you picked the bit where I was distracted! Summarise the part with all the discussion about steampunk nusantara then mebbe we're on to something. but that can wait for another post. I like this as an intro.
delfinnium: (Default)

Re: SO BRAINLESS. HERE IS PROPER CONTINUATION OF CONVERSATION: ACTUAL CONVERSATION, MIND.

[personal profile] delfinnium 2009-05-22 04:07 pm (UTC)(link)
woah, you guys scary... :P

But I think if there were speculative fiction based on THIS. This would be INTERESTING WOT.
delfinnium: (Default)

Re: SO BRAINLESS. HERE IS PROPER CONTINUATION OF CONVERSATION: ACTUAL CONVERSATION, MIND.

[personal profile] delfinnium 2009-05-22 04:29 pm (UTC)(link)
heee.

STAY UP TILL 4AM AND THEN TELL ME SLEEPY.

>.>

But yeah. I dunno, I kinda got overwhelmed by the whole thingy, but what does this mean, really? is this a sort of setting PLZ WRITE FICTION IN THIS?

Cause. Um. I'd need someone to write a setting and more if I wanna write in it. >.>
delfinnium: (Default)

Re: SO BRAINLESS. HERE IS PROPER CONTINUATION OF CONVERSATION: ACTUAL CONVERSATION, MIND.

[personal profile] delfinnium 2009-05-23 02:14 am (UTC)(link)
heh. Well, i've never QUITE played RPGs like this before... only on lj-communities (And THAT crashed and burned like um.)

But it's an interesting premise! :D
horusporus: A small WALL--E robot by a blurry window. (Default)

Re: I said I was knitting lah, syaitan

[personal profile] horusporus 2009-05-22 04:06 pm (UTC)(link)
no lah, it's because this particular idea u have the ownership of. Even if I were to post about it it'd not do justice (me not knowing the parlance being among the concerns). And burying the meat in chatlogs in comments is not so nice lah. :P

anyway, the post I'm thinking of making myself is as u kno, homegrown sff.
yifu: (katara)

[personal profile] yifu 2009-05-23 04:13 am (UTC)(link)
What would have happened in Indonesia had the Portuguese not come?

We...would have learned food-frying from someone else? IDK either.

This post makes me wish I remember my primary school history better.