Timekeepers

Note: This is part of the setting of the world that our Steampunk personas come from, which is also content for the game we are working on. 

In the old days time was divined by the stars. Astronomers had clocks in their keep that were consistently kept on time. Patrons of the city would pay to have their own clocks adjusted to the time on the Astronomers Clock. Often, Timekeepers (apprentices of the Astronomers)  would travel with a small Astronomers Clock around the city, providing a clock attuning delivery service at a higher price.

Now a days, you seldom see the stars because of the Mists and Aether dominating the sky. We now have Time Masters who make regular trips in Aeroplanes or hot air balloons into the higher skies to attune a small Astronomers Clock to the stars. These Time Masters must have knowledge of Astronomy, Aeronautics, and know how to use an Oxygen Tank since the air is very thin the higher up you travel. These Time Masters, like in the old days, have Timekeepers who apprentice under them and deliver time keeping services to paying patrons.

Do you have the time?

Copperbolt & Citizenship

Note: This is part of the setting of the world that our Steampunk personas come from, which is also content for the game we are working on. 

Being born in Copperbolt doesn’t give you citizenship. Resources are too precious to squander. Food and water are precious commodities and it’s overcrowded on the Rocks as is. On the Rocks, Copperbolt and other Rocks,  you have to work for your Citizenship.  I would say that earning Citizenship is easy, but that really depends on who you are, your gender, age, and how you earn it. If you happen to be the son of a Barren, you can enlist as an Officer in the Military. No need to start at the bottom and do a Soldier’s hard work like the less fortunate men. If Military isn’t your cup of tea, or you’re too old enough to join, you can work in the Coal mines or other hard labors. A Barren would never put his son in danger of developing black lung in the mines, so his son would be working in supplies or management (which yields little to no sweat).

Now if you are the daughter of a Barren, you’ve got it made! No Barren’s daughter would have their purity and dignity compromised in a brothel or risk Steam Burns in a Steam House. A Barren’s daughter would work in less crass forms of servitude, such as a Tea Hostess or Secretary. You might see a rare maid or gardener, but its doubtful. Girls have a much wider range of services they can apply for to gain citizenship. Both genders can begin working toward citizenship as early as 14 years of age.

Immigrating parents can work extra time to have their children included with citizenship, but they if they don’t earn it before the child turns 16 years of age, the child will have to earn their own citizenship. If their parents are just too old, too weak, or otherwise comprised so that they can’t earn citizenship themselves, then their child can put in the extra time to earn it for them. Luckily, it’s two parents for the price of one. Of course, their daughter or son will need to earn their own citizenship first, and then they can work on earning it for family members. Just remember that you can’t help everyone you love unless you are willing to serve the rest of your life.

Having Citizenship has its benefits. You are ensured a certain amount of clean water and food. You get first pick on most commodities and discounts on Zeppelin Ferries. There are Citizen Only establishments, sales, and events. You can attend college if you can afford it. You have the right to vote, own land or a home, and to bare children. Did I mention that having children is illegal for non-citizens?

If you live on the rock without citizenship and have children, one of two things will happen – deportation to the outer rocks or servitude. It really depends on who catches you. They may exile you to the outer rocks, enlist you into the military, put you to work in the coal mines, or force you into other forms servitude. What kind of servitude is also dependant upon the tastes of the person in charge of your punishment, and your gender of course. Most men end up in the military or mines, while many women end up in brothels. It’s not pleasant being forced into servitude, even if you are lucky enough to be just a janitor or a hand maid to a Barren.

Being exiled is often debated as the worst of the punishments. You loose everything you had other than the clothes on your back and, if you are lucky, a few necessities and/or personal items. The Outer Rocks are often uninhabitable and those that are habitable are small, barely have any resources, and often solitary. It’s debate-able on whether being dropped off on a Rock that has other people residing there is lucky or not… depends on if they have enough resources and whether they are kind or ruthless. It really is a game of roulette.

Both parents have to serve this time for baring a child. Although the punishments are all things non-criminals can do to earn citizenship, this time of servitude does not go towards an inevitable citizenship. If you want citizenship, you have to serve the time for your crimes and then put in the extra time required for citizenship. The time of sentence is until your illegal child (or children) is of age 16, or until they apply for citizenship which is as early as 14 years of age.

Honestly, if you really want children, you should just earn your citizenship… or apply for citizenship on an Airship. Citizenship on an Airship is far less harsh. All you need is a job and the blessing of the Captain. If there’s an opening and you interview well with the Captain, you’re in! You’re expected to pull your weight though. Even children get small jobs on the ship to pull their weight. As for stow aways, they usually get left on the nearest Rock.

If Copperbolt and Airship life isn’t right for you, consider looking for an Inner Rock with a smaller population and governing style you can live with. If you can’t find the right place to have a family… then maybe family isn’t the right choice for you. These are hard times and rules are in place to make life easier for those who are willing to put in the time and hard work.

Aircrafts

Note: This is part of the setting of the world that our Steampunk personas come from, which is also content for the game we are working on. 

When the Aether Explosion first happened, there were rocks that were ruined to the point of being unable to sustain proper life. Despite the many people killed in the explosion, there were not enough habitable rocks to accommodate the amount of survivors. Families had to resort to living on their own airships. Families who didn’t have an airship typically found refuge on their friends’ airships. Some airships took on families they didn’t know simply because those families had nowhere else to go. These airships grew over time, and as generations brought more families, these airships expanded in physical size to become large colonies. These ships are known as Colonial Airships and they are governed by the Ships’ Captain.

Colonial Airship Captains are often seen as a political status within society. They are akin to City leaders, and though they have final say on all things regarding the ship, the people are often friends and family… and out number the Captain. Life on a Colonial Airship is a lot like life on the Rocks, except that every member of able age has a job in order to remain on board. Although the Captain’s view on what constitutes as an acceptable job is what really matters. Airship Colonies are often closer than Colonies on the Rocks due to the difference in how their colonies were established and how the Captain’s run their ships. Anyone knows that messing with one’s Colonial Ship Mate will harbor ill will from nearly (if not all) of the community on board. Smaller Rocks are sometimes tethered to Colonial Airships to provide counter balance and support the weight of the people; however, this makes them slower and more vulnerable to Pirate attacks, so you don’t see these types very often.

Other Zeppelin’s are Private Airships owned by individuals or business groups that are not colonial grade ships. There are also Zeppelin Ferries that solely function to carry passengers between the Rocks (the floating land masses).  Other smaller Zeppelin’s and Aeroplanes are often used within a city for mundane purposes, such as sky advertisements, city announcements, and often times just for entertainment during festivals.

Aside from the Airships and Zeppelins, there are also many Aeroplanes that travel the skies. A majority of Aeroplanes are owned or rented by private parties, or by small businesses that cannot afford the expenses of the elaborate Airships and Zeppelins. Most explorers and adventurers prefer the small quaintness and controlability of Aeroplanes. Before the Aether Explosion, Aeroplanes were a primary source of travel along side of trains. Today they are still very common, but they are no longer the primary mode of transportation and are fairly outdated in the technology industry (despite still having there place in this world).

Barons & Politics

Note: This is part of the setting of the world that our Steampunk personas come from, which is also content for the game we are working on. 

There are three forms of primary government, and two types of politics. There is the Colonial Airship Governance commanded by the Captain (as mentioned in “Aircrafts” – a later article). There is Inner Rock Governance headed by the peoples choice of Mayor and City representatives. There is Inner Rock Governance headed by the an Monarch or Matriarch that descended from the survivors who lead the Rocks back when the Explosion first happened, and never moved to a democratic system. Then there are the Outer Rocks who still struggle with leadership and don’t have well established Governances.

At the face of politics, you have the Governances, where everyone has the same recognized form of currency, trade agreements, and general politics. The second type of politics involves the Barons. The Barons are the men and women who run the mining rocks. They have the means and resources to move mining rocks and employ the man power to extract the coal needed for steampower. The Barons are some of the wealthiest and most political people on the rocks. They run the behind-the-scenes politics. Though they have no official role in politics, they are the true movers and shakers in the world. What they have control over is priceless.

Their are only a few types of Barons… the Coal Barons who provide the majority of the coal needed for Steampower; the Water Barons who always seem to know where the water sources are located; the Land Barons who acquire habitable land for crowded colonies, farming, and live stock raising; and then there’s the Aether Barons who deal in the Black Market. Aether Barons are the most disliked and dirty of the political scene, and yet the most powerful of the Barons.

The Aether Barons (well, any Barons really) want to know how Diesel works and how to make it. They offer value to anyone who can give them information or… bring them a Pirate. Yeah right! No one in their right mind is going to capture a Pirate, right?

Right?

Dieselpunk Pirates

Note: This is part of the setting of the world that our Steampunk personas come from, which is also content for the game we are working on. 

Very little is known about diesel; but what is well known, is the sound of the diesel combustion engine that signals the approach of sky pirates. The smell of fuel and smog that fills the sky is an ominous sign of danger. No decent person of good standing would ever consider the use of diesel… a form of energy used solely by the vile underclass of thieves and murderers. This minority is a dangerous one, with spider like airships that attach to the underside of floating rocks, waiting silently for an unsuspecting Zeppelin or Airship. When they attach to the underside of a passing vessel, the sound of the diesel engine gives only a short window of opportunity to act before the pirates board the ship.

Just as fowl as their ships, are their weapons – chainsaws and buzzsaws that tear through metal. They leave a wake of misery and a mess of mangled parts behind them. One visit from a pirate crew can decimate an airship – even as far as to fall from the sky, plummeting to what is left of the hollow earth below.

The least dangerous encounter of a pirate is on land. They ride diesel motor vehicles that can outrun most steam powered locomotives. In fact, they can run at par with most steam engine trains… of which they will typically loot cargo from. Pirates can still be a devastating encounter on land, especially if trains are derailed or people loose lives for getting in their way.

So, always beware of the sound of the combustion engine, because it will save your life some day.

The Rocks

Note: This is part of the setting of the world that our Steampunk personas come from, which is also content for the game we are working on. 

Inner Rocks and Outer Rocks are not designated by where they are located. They are designated by its people and the governing body. Inner Rocks have well established colonies with a strong governing body, an established monetary system, and stable trading. The Inner Rocks have different government styles and different laws.

The Outer Rocks are often uninhabitable. Those that are habitable, may be used for farming, mining, or privately owned. Other Outer Rocks have colonies of people without a form of government, or perhaps an unfavorable or unstable form of leadership. They may be struggling for food and water, or plagued with disease. Some Outer Rocks may be hot spots for Diesel Pirates (more to come on that topic) and other forms of hostility. The Outer Rocks are simply undesirables, uninhabitable, privately owned, or just unclaimed.

Perhaps there are some Outer Rocks worth finding and converting to an Inner Rock; but they are hard to find and often fought over.

The Mists (Aether Skies Setting)

Note: This is part of the setting of the world that our Steampunk personas come from, which is also content for the game we are working on.

Down below the floating rocks, there is a thick mist of water and Aether vapors. Anyone who has traveled into mists has not come back. Sometimes, the mists move, but only a glimpse of smaller chunks of land can be spied from a distance. These “rockbergs”  are hidden within the mists and can easily sink any Airship that can’t see them. This is the primary reason no one ever tries to go beyond the mists. There is mystery and wonder within the mists that hold up the rocks. Are there remnants of Hollow Earth down there? Is there life or another civilization down there? Perhaps more inhabitable rocks, or mining rocks? Perhaps there is an ocean, or just a big bubble of Aether at the center of the earth, or perhaps nothing at all. Curiosity is there, but so is the danger.