Powers, Skills and Magic
Our World’s Timeline
Steamway is a version of the RPG Everway, set in 1899. However this is not the 1899 of our world, but rather one where certain people were born at different times, and whose ideas were received in some cases differently. This creates a vastly changed landscape and political climate. Players take on the roles of ambassadors, magicians, spies, inventors, engineers, pilots, sailors and soldiers in a bid to usher in the 1900’s with their Empire in control. How they achieve this, either by subterfuge, political wrangling, scientific achievement, warmongering, or simply by stopping the agents of opposing Empires is up to the controlling players, but they had better be quick, for the end of the century is nigh.
For those wondering where the Spherewalking is, there isn't any. At least not at first. My aim was always to wait until March before any gate travel would take place, giving the PC's time to adjust to the setting and their characters. In February the Russian Alliance would start constructing a giant Tesla Coil. This was a round metal cylinder, with dynamos strapped on. Lightening would strike it, the cylinder would turn and electricity would be created. It temporarily increases the power available to the Alliance. In March Crowley would cast a worldwide spell, designed to disrupt the flow of the terrestrial stationary waves in a bid to nullify the Russian threat to Asia. However the Tesla Coil affect the spell, being a focus for the stationary waves, and in this device the three powers merge, electrical, mechanical and magical. Suddenly many such Coils appear around the world, in every city in every country, and some in more remote locations. They become portals that those more attuned to the stationary waves can use, to quickly travel from one to another. It doesn't take long for all 3 factions to learn how to alter the destination, by adjusting the resistance in the dynamos. Suddenly the war has changed, now crack teams can enter enemy territory bypassing the front lines. Ambassadors can quickly move from one negotiating table to another. Spies have greater freedom of movement and ease of reporting than ever before. Engineers can get to where they're needed quickly, indeed it is rumoured the Empire mounts a coil on the Great Western, their flagship. And of course, in a shock co-incidence all the PC's are discovered to be able to 'Coil-warp'. It could be possible that after the current conflict the scope of these Coils could be tested, maybe Tesla's dream of his technology allowing humans to leave the Earth may be realised.
Brittania rules the waves… and the lands, thanks in mostly to the many steam driven contraptions at its control. However in 1899 many in the higher echelons dread the coming of 1900, for the Empire is on the wane. It has been beaten back by the Russian Alliance, and its superior technology. It was only when the Alliance overreached their electricity broadcast range that the Empire could fight back, and must now find some way of defending against the Russian air ships before they solve their technical difficulties and set about liberating Europe again.
Not only that but having the most impressive steel hulled ships that bristle with weaponry is not doing the Empire much good when it comes to retaking Australia from Aleister Crowley. First the countries disappeared, and now they’ve reappeared Britain can’t get near them due to an impregnable barrier set up by the century old magician. And now he’s set up the same sort of barrier around China. It seems the Wiccan Nation is being formed.
The Golden Age of the Empire may be over, but surely Brittania has enough skilled people to bring it back, or has it driven them away to Russia and Australia, that is up to you to decide.
The following lists show the countries for each of the 3 empires on January 1st 1899. Countries not listed are independents, or in the case of Slovakia, Hungary and Bosnia are contested ground.
24 Siren class Steam Driven submarines.
57 Screwdriver class Steam driven wooden hulled ships.
74 Kingdom class Iron hulled frigates, steam driven
7 Invincible class Steel hulled frigate, largest ships in the world. Steam driven.
27 Zeppelins Steam powered air transports based on a balloon.
68 Tanks Steel locomotives that don’t use tracks and armed with cannons.
34 Untracked locomotives Iron armoured troop and supply transports.
124 Tracked locomotives Iron-clad steam driven vehicles that run on tracks.
Channel Tunnel Tunnel that goes from Dover to Calais. This is tracked for locomotives.
Radio Allows communication over vast distances with out wires.
Wardenclyffe laboratory Beams electricity and radio signals throughout the alliance. Aimed to do so throughout the world.
Hydroelectric plant Source of electricity for the Alliance
58 Faraday class Dubbed UFO’s by the British these are flying wings powered by electricity. Very fast and armed with explosive ‘missiles’.
37 Parsons class Iron skinned ground vehicles. These are faster than locomotives and tanks. Armed with machine guns.
Machine guns Every soldier is armed with one of these.
Crowley has no technology, only magic and a few salvaged vessels.
Extract from a report by Sir James Masterson, spymaster to Queen Victoria, November 16th 1898.
…. and they are still at a loss to explain why they cannot make landfall. If I had not experienced the same myself I am sure I would dismiss it as drunken ramblings as well, however I can assure my lady that the phenomena exists. The agent returned by way of the China colonies, and has expressed that he felt something was amiss there. However knowing how important his mission was to you personally majesty he merely passed through, but I should be able to arrange another agent into household service of the Governor within 2 months. Hopefully then we will discover what is wrong.
As for the fleet that still reigns supreme, by your majesty’s grace of course. Some intercepted communiqués suggest the Alliance is developing ships of its own, but since they so rarely send messages by hand it is hard to get many details. I am attempting to get an agent into the Russian government, but so far have met with limited success.
Whilst not wishing to disobey the rulings of her majesty and her forbears many in her majesty’s armed forces express a wish to control these ‘machine guns’ for themselves, to put them on an even footing with the Russian soldiers. However I have sent instructions to the officers that as per your wishes any troop seen using such a device is to be shot as a traitor to the crown.
I still have heard nothing from Livingstone in the Dark Continent. I have sent another agent, Stanley to find him. However I still doubt this plan to find magic’s to counter Crowley there, despite the rumours. And even if so, if I beg your pardon my lady, a gentleman should never stoop to such low levels.
Finally I must regretfully inform you that your suspicions about Lord Winterbourne were substantiated. His new aide reported back to me that he has discovered a strange contraption, the likes of which he has never seen. From his description it appears to be a radio. If I may beg her majesties patience in this matter, rather than deal with this traitorous slime straight away I believe we can use him to aid us if we deal with him correctly.
Ever your servant
The mood in the Russian Alliance is generally one of jubilation. They know that as soon as Wardenclyffe is running at full capacity they will be safe, however they are also working on ships and defences of their own. Their latest project is towers that will literally summon lightening, which is quite deadly to the metal tanks and locomotives of the British. However at their rate of expansion they will soon need at least one more hydroelectric plant. Also they worry that if Wardenclyffe succeeds, other nations will start using the power for their own ends. Finally the situation in China is too close to their border to not merit investigation.
The Wiccan Nation is a curious thing, built on the edicts of the Book of the Law. To the casual observer this seems to result in lots of drug taking and perverse sexual acts. However the Book is more subtle than that, reinforcing old religious ideas, which a slight change in emphasis. That, plus the demonstrations of Crowley’s abilities convert many to the Nation. Not all who join Crowley are capable of magic. Many become servants and aides, and there are even stories that he is recruiting an army and navy. Those that exhibit the ability to do magic are highly venerated, and quickly trained in basic mystical arts. Once trained to a usable degree these are used for a variety of purposes from clouding minds to reinforcing the barriers. Some even try and develop new arts to further the cause of enlightenment, and other try to contact their own Guardian Angels, in the hope they can be of assistance.
Only Crowley truly knows the plans for the Wiccan Nation, but it is believed that he hopes to liberate Asia into an enlightened continent, as he has done with Australasia.