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Victoria, the Gothic Steampunk Reality

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Victoria is — as the name may have suggested — my Victorian Reality, or Gothic Steampunk. It's a pastiche of a lot of elements from Victorian-era fiction and retro-fiction (as steampunk usually is).


This is the map of Victoria in "Storm Knights", as of Day 14 of the War. The location may look somewhat familiar:




Despite the map, Victoria isn't Orrorsh, the horror Reality. However, many of the elements of the cosm are the same (as both are Victorian and Gothic). In particular, Victorian monsters — such as vampires and werewolves — do exist. Again, these are monsters, not Horrors. No Perseverance DN, no restrictions on playing for the Critical Moment, and so forth. Just monsters.


There is a special option available, though: people who want to use material from "Storm Knights", but don't like Universal Orrorsh, can transplant UO's World Laws onto Victoria, and get a cosm very much like oTorg's Orrorsh. It's a little bit of backwards-compatible design (like the Living Land posts I recently made).


In the interests of providing baked-in secrets, and in the interest of lying to players to do so, Victoria is something of a fake-out. Players familiar with oTorg will assume it is Orrorsh, under a different name, and smile at your cleverness in hiding the horror Reality in plain sight.


Little do they know, that Universal Orrorsh invades everywhere. Including Victoria, yes, but also Aysle, the Cyberpapacy, the Nile, and... Orrorsh is everywhere.


I'll be posting more information on the background of Victoria, once I finish the cosm writeup.

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Singapore in Victoria


One of the things I failed to mention, when discussing Victoria — why Singapore?


Each invading realm has an culturally iconic city that's sort of a refuge for Core Earthers, a launching-off point for adventures.


Paris, London, LA, New York, Tokyo, etc.


Victoria is a revamp of Gaea, without the Orrorshan elements. It's a Victoriana reality, Steampunk + Gothic monsters + Spiritualism, and more.


Because it's a revamp of Gaea, I'm having it invade where the Victorians did in the canon, so people can use their existing campaign background (such as the jungles of Borneo), for the various modules and mini-modules.


In that area, though, the primary sanctuary city is... Djakarta. Hardly an iconic town on par with Paris and London.


But Singapore...


Singapore is an iconic town, especially in context of Victoriana. The modern city of Singapore was actually founded by the British in 1819, and was a linchpin of the India and China trade. It was the gateway to the mysterious Orient, the port city through which spices and tea flowed to the rest of the Empire.


It's hard to get more iconic than that.


After the initial invasion (in the map linked to from the earlier message), the Victorians will expand into Borneo, Indonesia, and other familiar places. But the invasion began — had to begin — in a highly populated area, that nonetheless had an iconic city.


Singapore, in the Realm, is a bifurcated city. There is a pretty hefty hardpoint nearby, but outside of that, the Reality Storms were unusually intense. Rather than transforming about 10% of the city (a more usual figure), they transformed about 90%. Singapore has mostly returned to the architecture of 1899, save for the parts in the Core Earth zone and a few buildings, streets, bridges and so forth scattered here and there.


New Singapore — as people in the Realm are calling the transformed areas — is the headquarters of the Victorian Expedition, the New Worlds Mercantile Company. The company is running the Realm on Core Earth, opening markets and buying trade goods for resale back home.


Honestly, I still need to do a lot of research on Victoriana before I get a grip on the Reality. I bought Jess Nevins' "Encyclopedia of Fantasic Victoriana", which covers just about everything from the period (including fiction from foreign countries) and I hope to continue my research Real Soon Now.


I will share this:


I am not using the (silly, IMHO) origin of "Victoria" from the Orrorsh Sourcebook. In my Gaea, Caesar recruited armies of soldiers from the island, to fight off a massive incursion. Their bravery and effectiveness in the campaign earned them the name of Victorians, the conquerors. Brittania, which became the home of the British in our timeline, was renamed Victoria, which eventually became the home of the Victorians.


The central history of the cosm after that was fairly close to ours, at least until the early 1800's, when steam-tech was first invented. (The island was seeing a Gothic Revival movement, so much of the architecture and "feel" of the devices, such as massive airships, were a meld of steampunk's Victorian aesthetic and Gothic influences. "Battlefleet Gothic" and "Dead Space" hint at what this might look like.)


As with all the various pieces of "Storm Knights", work on Victoria is ongoing, as time and health and inspiration allow.

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If you look at the posted map of Victoria (here: http://goo.gl/maps/7GA5k ) you'll notice something strange: all my other maelstrom bridges are convenient to roads and crossroads, so as to enable rapid troop transport. But the Victorian maelstrom bridge is located smack dab in the middle of an airport. Why?


Because this was an aerial invasion.


The maelstrom bridge opened up in midair, about a quarter of a mile above the ground, and disgorged several massive steamtech airships. (Think of the SHEILD helicarrier, but in the Gothic steampunk style described below.) These airships carried the invading forces, and they spread out from there. (Aided by ornithopters and other flying forces.)


A few days later, after the triangle was pacified and the invasion spreading out from there, many more airships floated through the bridge, pulling behind them pieces of a flying city. New London, the capitol of the Victorian Realm, is a city floating high above Singapore, clearly visible from the modern city, the old flying over the new (and ruling it).


Smaller airships travel between the quarters (and the ground), carrying passengers and cargo. The headquarters of the New Worlds Mercantile Consortium is located in the largest of the "quarters" (as this is their town, a company town), and from their the company men govern their Realm. Workers, recruited from the natives (not brought over from Gaea), work in their factories and serve in their homes. This is very much a colonization effort, as much as an invasion.


Those of you familiar with "Britannia Mechanika" may notice that this setup is pretty much entirely new. That is the result of a deliberate choice. Glen's comments (of a few months ago) forced me to rethink my approach. This new Victoria is a better fit for Torg.


Victoria is the Gothic Steampunk reality. It is, as I once described it, a great "glorious Victorian pastiche" — the world as depicted in Victorian stories and novels.


Steamtech. Exploration and scientific advancement. Hidden magick and superstition. Ancient curses, spiritualism, and ghosts. Werewolves, vampires, and other monstrosities. And a Gothic steampunk aesthetic — negative space and exposed gears, rusted iron and polished brass, leather aprons, corsets, and long, beautiful gowns. All this and more, mixed together and spit out on the page.


To make it more Torg-appropriate, I've borrowed elements from Gaea. In fact, Victoria is much like Gaea might have been, had not Orrorsh invaded. (Ch'in, Gallia, Rumostria, and Nihon, but no Horrors, in other words.) Britain is called Victoria, though for different reasons.


Back before Rome had an emperor, Caesar fought the people of Britannia. Afterwards, many of them joined his forces as auxiliaries. Because of their effectiveness, ferocity, and courage in battle, they became an important part of his forces. After they proved key in a spectacular victory, he named them the Victorians. ("Victory" in Roman.)


This name adhered to the island, which became Victoria instead of Britannia. Ever after the natives were called the Victorians. After the fall of Rome and the rise of the monarchy, the kings and queens of the isle were known as King Victoria and Queen Victoria. Thus a title, not a name.


The rest of their history roughly parallels Earths (though with differences), at least until the 1800's, when steamtech was invented. About then, the High Lord of the Reality emerged, and began cosm raiding.


In any case, those are the core themes of Victoria: steamtech, Gothic stylings, Victorian culture, and Gothic mysticism. I need to keep developing it, but the core nails exactly what the Reality should be. (IMHO.)

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Jasyn, do you have Axioms and World Laws written up for this reality?


Not finished. I was reading the Encyclopedia of Fantastic Victoriana, to immerse myself in the time period, and got a lot of good notes and material, but I haven't finished the World Laws. "Storm Knights" is huge, and I've been doing work on all kinds of things lately — Tharkoldu technomagic (and many other related concepts), "Casablanca" LA, and on and on. (Posting over on the List, for the curious.)


I will be getting back to Victoria, I just don't know when.

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