Upsidaisium: A GURPS Steampunk
Upsidaisium, the mineral
Weapons and Clockwork Energy Banks
To summarize: America lost the revolutionary war. As such, England
(New Britain) controls most everything east of the Mississippi.
The rebels (and most everyone else), overwhelmed by the British
armada, were given the option (at the behest of France) to resettle
in the west. The Louisiana purchase didn't take place until 1820,
at the beginning of the gold rush; but by then, France was beginning
to see some value in this whole "America" thing and retained
control over about 25% of the territory (the price was around $8
million; France kept what is now LA, AR, most of MO, and about half
of IL). The war of 1812 and the Spanish-American war never happened;
Spain controls Puerto Rico, Guam, and Cuba.
The Mexican war took place in 1805 (instead of 1845). About halfway
through, the U.S. negotiated with France to pay Mexico for the land
(about $3.5 million for the Texas, Utah, California, and New Mexico
territories; the U.S. paid off that debt by 1840). Mexico
accepted. The border between the U.S. and Mexico looks much like
it does today, with the exception of the land within the Gadsden
Purchase still belonging to Mexico.
Other notes: Transylvania kept its independence and never had its
princes replaced by Austrian governors. When a large deposit of
still-ground-bound-Upsidaisium was found there in the 1850s, the
nation enjoyed a new era of prosperity. Oh, and there's this mineral
with negative weight... big chunks of it were dislodged and fell
into the sky in the 1500s, so there are some really big islands
floating above Europe. If you lumped all of the ones in Europe together,
they'd be about one-and-a-half times the size of Portugal. More
info on Upsidaisium the mineral, here.
All the other Steampunk fair is there too; Babbage Engines, Automatons
("clanks"), Steam carriages ("gurneys"), etc.
Other miscellaneous notes about the setting:
- Australian mines and caves are plagued by "goblins,"
green-skinned, scrawny, hairless, evil little creatures.
- Vampirism is a real disease, but only grants superior night
vision and is transmitted by blood transfusion. Victims become
physically weaker, lose pigment in their skin, and develop an
intense weakness to ultraviolet light (i.e. sunlight). Additionally,
they have a much higher daily requirement of iron in their diet
(they're more susceptible to developing Iron Deficiency Anemia,
but this is easly circumvented with nutritional supplements).
For some unknown reason, the virus is not present in children
born to vampiric mothers. At various times in history, in certain
European countries, it has been fashionable for those in the
aristocracy to deliberately infect themselves with vampirism.
It is also commonly called Renfield's Anemia, though this is
a slight misnomer.
- Some seaweed in the Sagasso Sea is actually dense and buoyant
enough to walk--and even build--on. A small settlement, predominantly
Spanish, has been established on one of the larger "floating
islands" (Lirio del Mar; a roughly 8 miles long,
3 miles wide patch of sargassum superior).
"The result justifies the deed." Ovid