Inspirational Nonsense = Victorian Post-Apocalyptic RPG

I was checking out Yesterday’s Papers today and they had several scans from American comic weeklies – essentially illustrated newspapers. This particular image caught my eye:

A nice mash-up of Victoriana and Medieval armor and weapons. Perhaps we’re looking at a Victorian Post-Apocalypse in New York City – Escape from New York meets Gangs of New York meets The Age of Innocence (Lord, now I sound like a Hollywood producer pitching a movie).

What would be the foundation of a Victorian Apocalypse? Perhaps an early ice age? Or better yet – an invasion from Mars (i.e. H.G. Wells’ martians from War of the Worlds)! Yes – I can see it now. The Invaders come, deliver terrible destruction, and then mostly die off, leaving the world in tatters. Food supplies are choked off by the Martian weed (the same stuff they lived on on Barsoom until the coming of the Invaders to that planet and the final destruction of the native Barsoomian civilizations), and now people live like barbarians amid the shattered remnants of the Gilded Age.

Imagine – Steam-driven privateers in NY harbor, gang leaders and Tammany Hall fight over control of the buroughs and seek out the canisters of Black Smoke left by the Invaders, occultists (from demon summoning Golden Dawn-ers to golem-making esoteric rabbis to your run-of-the-mill fortune tellers) as powers behind the throne, people mutated by the Martian weaponry and the strange radiations they brought with them (since it’s the 19th century, maybe we’ll call them freaks instead of mutants), Tesla cobbling together wonders from scavenged Martian technology (this could be an era where the surviving Victorians go straight from steam to atomic power – locomotives to the space age in one giant leap), etc.

I could also profile such heroes of the age as cowboy Teddy Roosevelt, adventuress Nellie Bly and inventor Nicola Tesla (and Lord, what kind of secret empire would Edison control?).

I’ll slate this project for a late 2013 release. Should be fun!

13 thoughts on “Inspirational Nonsense = Victorian Post-Apocalyptic RPG

  1. Fun! Could also have a “super science” bent with Nemo, the natilus and other steam age scifi.

    There is a book by SM Sterling that has a comet hit the Earth during the late 1800s, and then takes up the action in the 21st century. The UK anticipated the coming mini-ice age, and shipped everything possible to India. Called the Peshawar Lancers. Not great, but it might help with some possible technologies and ideas.

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  2. Trey, damn good idea. One could make great use of hoops, badders, and porkers from Gamma world.

    All, I recommend Peshawar Lancers. It was a very need premise, and definitely should be in a Victorian post-apoc Appendix N.

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  3. Superb idea.

    Back in the noughties, Ian Edginton wrote a trilogy of graphic novels published by Dark Horse along similar lines. They were not published in sequence but the first one (actually published last) was a very faithful adaptation of The War of the Worlds, although contains some characters and references to the next two.

    The second, Scarlet Traces, is set about 10 years after the failed invasion and in it the British Empire has come to dominate the world through its unlocking of the technological secrets of the Martian invaders. It's very Cthulhu By Gaslight in flavour and the British have a very, very dark secret lying at the centre of their power.

    The third, The Great Game, advances the timeline another thirty years to the late 1930s and deals with the British counter-invasion of Mars.

    Seriously, these are the best War of the Worlds sequels I have ever read.

    Anyway, you can read all about it here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scarlet_Traces

    And see some sample pages here: http://www.darkhorse.com/Books/Previews/12-426?page=0

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  4. You might want to check out Forgotten Futures, a series of games/supplements of Victorian and Edwardian science fiction games. One volume is “GOODBYE PICCADILLY…” and contains a variety of London destroyed stories.

    Also, “Tsar Wars”, while a bit more of a Buck Rodgersish future, has similar elements.

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  5. Love the idea, though of course I'm more happy with the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen version in which the Barsoomians drove the Invaders off of Mars. Then you might get some cross-pollination with Barsoomian stuff in this post apoc setting. Best of both (two?) worlds!

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