Upsidaisium: A GURPS Steampunk Setting

Upsidaisium, the mineral


Jekyll-Hyde Syndrome


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