Category Archives: Setting Seeds

Zombie Steampunk Cthulhu

Zombie Steampunk Cthulhu

  • Everything’s better with steampunk.
  • Everything’s better with zombies.
  • Everything’s better with Cthulhu.

Therefore, we need a setting where the use of Babbage’s Analytical Engine allowed cultists to correctly calculate when the Stars Would Be Right, allowing them to summon back the Great Old Ones, which in turn unleashed a plague of the walking dead upon the world!

Well, I’ve done the hard part.. coming up with the idea. Someone else can do the easy part of writing a 256 page full-color hardcover sourcebook with full art and playtested game mechanics and getting it published by GenCon, and give me half the money.

(You, erm, might detect some slight sarcasm in that last paragraph… )

The Grand Hall Of The Aetheric Society

The Aetheric Society Library, 1899

The Aetheric Society Library, 1899


The Grand Hall Of The Aetheric Society, 1899

The Aetheric Society had outgrown its original meeting hall by the late 1880s, but it took five years of construction before the new hall opened (not to the public, of course!) in 1896. At the time, the space reserved for the library was mockingly derided for being larger than could ever be filled, destined “to be as empty of books as the aether itself is empty of matter”, but the laughter rapidly died as collection after collection of works on art, science, engineering, and every other academic subject were purchased… or in some cases, purloined… from around the world.

In the foreground stands the Great Indexer, a customized Lovelace-Tesla Model LX. At the heart is a matrix of tens of thousands of micro-cards, each no larger than a snowflake, which can be fed through the system in response to criteria entered into the machine by the Master Archivist, upon request by a patron of suitable standing. This will locate any and all works in the library which fit the requested pattern, producing a small ribbon imprinted with the necessary codes.

Stretching down the center of the hall are globes of all the worlds where Mankind has trod, with locations of all colonies, friendly and hostile natives, and major aether-ports clearly marked. These globes are not fixed and static displays, but are designed so that changing borders, new discoveries, and so on can be placed rapidly, so that they are never more than a week out of date.


Setting Seed: Bone Wars


So, I occasionally have little burbling ideas that, erm, burble to the top of my brain. They get jotted down on random scraps of electrons, often in the midst of other data.

Let’s see… the initialization routine is being called, but it’s being passed a null pointer, except, it shouldn’t be null, it wasn’t null at the call point, so something else is happening here…

Idea: Downton Abbey+Gormenghast+Rogue Trader

Maybe something further up the hierarchy is overriding the value.

That’s what my OneNote pages for “Work Notes” look like. (When I was working, I had two monitors, and usually had OneNote open on the second, to dash off any thoughts I might have, regardless of their relevance.)

Anyway, I have decided to try putting some of my random setting or theme notes up — not fully developed, not really intended to someone to use directly, just “Things I’m working on”.

Setting Seed: Bone Wars

This came to me while playing the Jurassic Park cow-clicker on my iPad, because I wanted to look up some of the dinosaurs, and that got me clicking links, and I remembered what I’d read about the “bone wars” of the 19th century.

What if they’re not hunting dinosaurs, but the bones of titans and demigods, in a vast wasteland still charged with wild magic from whatever cosmic battle destroyed said entities?

Perhaps this region, the size of a small continent, has been abandoned and neglected since the Big To-Do, but now, a discovery has been made. Maybe alchemists can extract tremendous power from the bones, leading to a gold rush atmosphere. Or, cults have discovered how to partially re-animate the bones, so rival factions seek to assemble a complete skeleton. In the meanwhile, there’s all sorts of locals who dislike the outsiders, shady businessmen setting up boom towns, and warped mystic effects throwing things into chaos.

(I can actually see this is a boardgame/cardgame concept, where players compete to complete a skeleton and sabotage other player’s activities.)