Inland Empire

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Terra Nova cover image

Inland Empire is a rather original take on steampunk, published as an RPG on /tg/. It features Vikings in zeppelins and telegraph hacking. It could be considered one of /tg/'s homebrews.

The core rulebook was made in 2007, using Legends & Lairs' Sorcery & Steam. Anons seemed to like it, but complained that the fluff hinted at within the text wasn't enough to run the setting. In response to this, Terra Nova, a 34-page fluff book of vignettes surrounding the world's first atomic detonation, was posted on /tg/ in January 2008.

Both books can be downloaded here.


The nations of Terra Nova

The setting

The basic premise of the setting is that the pagan Vikings remained a strong naval power, eventually founding colonies along the eastern coast of the New World. Others followed, and the Renaissance bloomed in Terra Nova instead of Europa.



Nations

There are six major nations on the continent. Five of them (Texas, the Inland Empire, Anglica, Vinlandia, and New Amsterdam) were highlighted in Terra Nova.

  • The Inland Empire was founded by Renaissance thinkers of Old Europa seeking refuge from the authority of the Church. Their government is a patriarchal meritocracy.
  • Anglica was once a colony of England, and is the primary rival of the Empire. They are a slave-owning society, and overseen by a hereditary monarchy.
  • Vinlandia was the first nation of Europeans in Terra Nova. They take slaves of all races. Their government is a principality.
  • New Amsterdam was founded by the Dutch that accompanied the first Vikings to Terra Nova. Their technical prowess matches the Empire's. The tiny nation is ruled by a council of guilds in name, but the council is dominated by Vinlandian interests.
  • Texas' formation is shrouded in tall tales, but their government is a democracy of landed males. The country has managed to remain mostly neutral, but they are increasingly at odds with Cortezica.
  • Cortezica was founded by the Church as they colonised the hot southern lands. The Skraelings of Cortezica have been slaves since the first caravelas landed on the white shores.

Other nations

Little has been said about the state of the world outside of Terra Nova. Old Europa is said to be 'backward continent' and plagued by a never-ending war between the Church and the Caliphate.


Technology

The general technology level is roughly equal to the 1860s-1890s of our world, with some exceptions.

  • Firearms are not as developed; most guns must be manually reloaded after each shot.
  • No manner of radio or wireless mechanical communication is known. The closest analogue is the barometric array, a device that measures changes across a variety of spectrums.
  • Most communication between large cities is done through signal lines (what we would call telegraphs), but pigeons, balloons, heliographs and lamp signals are all used in places where signal lines have not yet been built.
  • Aeroships. No other type of vehicle is as widespread as the aeroship (or 'zeppelin'). The gondola is usually reserved for instruments and machinery; goods and passengers are carried inside the inflated shell.
  • Analytical engines. These enormous mathematical engines sometimes take up whole buildings. They are strung together with signal lines, and store all the records of the modern world- criminal profiles, banking statements, and lists of opera ticket holders. Most citizens carry punch cards --hard paper cards with patterns of holes in them-- as identification. The cards are fed into analytical engines that verify the information.
  • Mobens (or 'mobile engines') are human-sized walking automata. Whether or not they are truly aware is a matter of fierce contention. They can perform many tasks, but their expense limits their use to the upper classes.

Conflicts

Aside from the growing conflict between the Empire and the other nations, internal struggles are also taking place:

  • A number of women within the Empire are working towards suffrage under the banner of an individual named Josephine. Whether this is her real name (or if she even exists) is unknown.
  • The Skraelings (the original inhabitants of Terra Nova) have been treated as slaves, cannon fodder, or worse since the Europans came; they are increasingly turning to guerrilla tactics to preserve their way of life.