All manner of fun places for innerwalkers to be duking it out, even if their home timeline is long gone...
Junctures are rated for their AV modifiers for Magic, Arcanowave technology, Supernatural Creatures, and Technological Abominations. These are all AV modifiers, which means that the values are reversed relative to the table of Arcanowave Modifiers in Feng Shui.
The most familiar era to our characters.
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All the fun of the modern world. The Secret War is in full swing, and you can even throw in an X-Files element along with the Unknown Armies factions.
The era of Kung Fu and the Bionic Man, big hair and bell bottoms.
The Pill, LSD, and acid rock. Buddhism and eastern mysticism are on the rise in the occult underground.
“The monorails, the undersea cities, the moon colony. Where’s my future? ... Where are the rocket packs, the home helicopters, and food pills?” —The Ghost, from The Flash TV series.
Here they are. Check out the Gernsback Federation and the Gernsback world from GURPS Alternate Earths.
Beatniks, McCarthyism, the Red Scare, flying saucers, tailfins, and James Bond. X-Com UFO Defense can be great inspiration here; just be careful about the tech you hand out. (Non-recoverable charges are very handy for alien technology!) Atomic power is your friend.
To get that James Bond feel, dole out a temporary, expendable Fortune point for each droll witticism a player character delivers at an appropriate time.
Who can turn down a chance to kick Nazi ass? And just what caused World War II? Was there a schism in the Lodge caused by the strain between peace-loving herbivores, capitalist omnivores, and autocratic carnivores? Was it a lateral reincarnation of a struggle between the Four Monarchs (with the Nazis being laterally reincarnated minions of the Thunder Pagoda)? Or did the Architects get access to the 1930’s juncture at some point? (Jackbooted fascist thugs, mad scientists... all you need is a quiet racist faction of the Architects, probably led by Homo Omega...)
“Nazis! I hate these guys!” —Indiana Jones, in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.
The 1930’s, as the Nazis rise to power and Indiana Jones is on the scene.
Speakeasies, bathtub gin, Art Deco, Al Capone, and cthulhoid horrors abound while intrepid explorers seek the treasure of Ancient Egypt.
The turbulent ’teens. What struggles in the Secret War disrupted the chi of Europe so?
At least the languages won’t be too different. Alan Moore’s League of Extraordinary Gentlemen should be inspirational.
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The era of Sherlock Holmes and more. Miriam Rozian, on the Feng Shui mailing list, provided an excellent batch of ideas for fleshing out 1850:
For UK and USA scenarios in 1850, you could have utopian or agrarian communes (e.g. the Oneida Perfectionists, run out of town for practicing group marriage, or the communitarian Fourierists). See http://18.104.22.168/ynhti/curriculum/units/1989/1/89.01.04.x.html. Perfect FS sites. This period also marks the birth of the American Conservation Movement, http://lcweb2.loc.gov/ammem/amrvhtml/cnchron1.html, another fine front for the preservation and acquisition of Feng Shui sites.
This is also the period of Henry David Thoreau’s Walden Farm (another potential FS site), Walt Whitman’s “Leaves of Grass”, and a community of writers that included Nathaniel Hawthorne [a confidante and biographer of then U.S. President Franklin Pierce], Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Dante Gabriel Rosetti, Herman Melville [Moby Dick was published in 1851], and Thomas Carlyle. See http://www.kirjasto.sci.fi/hawthorn.htm and associated links, as well as http://eldred.ne.mediaone.net/nh/nhd.html#1840 and http://eldred.ne.mediaone.net/nh/nhe.html. Try http://eldred.ne.mediaone.net/nh/oldmanse.html as an FS site.
Financial and agricultural co-ops got their start around this time. In the UK, you’ve got “permanent building societies”, starting in 1848, which were lending co-operatives that would terminate when all members had purchased homes. In Germany, industrial credit co-ops were starting. See http://www.ex.ac.uk/~RDavies/arian/amser/chrono11.html. This is a potential organizational manuever for Tranimals to gain property and FS sites...
Throughout Western Europe, you’ve got a massive labor uprising in progress. See http://humanities.uwe.ac.uk/corehistorians/1848/coredocs/biogs.htm for some of the key players and a few potential FS sites (newspaper offices, small businesses, etc.). Hungary sends a mission to the United States asking for assistance and protection in its struggle for independence from the Austrian Hapsburg monarchy. http://www2.h-net.msu.edu/~habsweb/sourcetexts/kosslett.html
In France, see http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1850-csf/index.htm, Karl Marx’ history of the suppression of French labor unions. (It’s a wretched translation, loaded with contemporaneous polemical language, but it’s also rich with political possibilities and “flavor text”...). It’s hard to characterize this explicitly as Lotus or Guiding Hand vs. Ascended, but the possibilities are there. Karl Marx as an Ascended tool?
Then you’ve got Bakunin and the “bomb-throwing” anarchists, in Europe and Russia. http://www.mynetcentral.com/historyweb/bakunin.html Is Bakunin a proto-Jammer, a Dragon, a tool of the Lotus? “Property as an inheritable possession, was, for Bakunin, both illogical and wrong. Bakunin believed that the land was the common property of society but that what the land produces was the property of those who cultivated it. ‘The land is the common property of society. But its fruits and use shall be open only to those who cultivate it by their labor.’ ”
At the same time, the Australia, New Zealand, California and Alaska “gold fever” migrations are reaching a peak. Why couldn’t a gold-dust filled streambed be a Feng Shui site? A bunch of failed revolutionaries from France, Germany, Italy and England escaped to Australia in 1850-51 with the gold-rushers. Refugees from the Irish Potato Famine (somebody mucked with Ireland’s FS sites?) wound up all over the place. http://www.people.Virginia.EDU/~eas5e/Irish/Famine.html
Also in the USA, 1850, you’ve got well-organized abolitionist movements with underground activity, both violent and non-violent. There’s some pretty rich territory here; see http://www.innercity.org/holt/chron_1830_end.html. 1850 was the year of the Fugitive Slave Law, with bounty hunters, forced returns of escaped slaves from “free” territory, prison terms for those helping slaves escape, and so on. An “Underground Railroad” to/through the Netherworld, perhaps? Harriet Tubman as a Dragon? Some escaped slaves and freedmen set up agricultural communities in the “free” territories, but were driven out and harassed by their neighbors or rounded up by slave-takers. More potential FS sites.
In conjunction with the U.S. abolition movements, you had the birth of the American women’s rights and suffrage movement, starting at Seneca Falls, NY in 1848 (a fine FS site if you’ve ever seen the territory), and the graduation of the first U.S. female physician, Elizabeth Blackwell, in 1849. In Britain, there was a parallel women’s rights convention in Worcester in 1850.
The U.S. had completed a land-grab of about 1/2 of the former territory of Mexico, forming Texas, New Mexico, California [Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo, following Mex-Am War]. In Latin America, the British tried and failed to blockade Argentina [1848-1850], Brazil had an emperor... http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Forum/9061/latin/latam.html
In Europe and particularly Germany, “psychophysics” and a variety of studies on the nature of human perception got applied to education, architecture, astronomy, etc. A basic Western foundation for geomancy and chi perception? See http://www.sciam.com/0697issue/0697connections.html
Then, in England, you’ve got the foundation of the Cambridge Ghost Society in 1850-51 and the Hermes Clubs --- one of which later became the Order of the Golden Dawn. http://watch.pair.com/occult.html The Lotus sorcerors try to infiltrate the British Empire?
In China, there’s the Taiping Rebellion, which could be regarded as the point at which the Lotus falls from power, and the Guiding Hand steps into the breach. http://www.wsu.edu/~dee/CHING/TAIPING.HTM, http://www.emayzine.com/lectures/notes%20china%201850-1900.htm , http://www.watson.org/rivendell/historyeasttaiping.html [No, I haven’t read “Blood of the Valiant”, which probably covers this turf pretty well.]
Thailand gained a new monarch in 1851, King Rama IV, who also opened the country to foreign trade; Britain concludes the Sikh Wars in India and annexes the Punjab. http://www.camelotintl.com/world/03asia.html. The Tokugawa Shogunate in Japan is starting to have trouble with intrusive Westerners.
Egypt also gained a new monarch, with the succession of Abbas Pasha, who opened trade with the British and ended his grandfather’s attempts to make Egypt self-sufficient. http://www.arab.net/egypt/history/et_pasha.html. The period also marked the withdrawal and gradual collapse of the Ottoman Empire, with most of the former imperial territory colonized by the Turks, British, and French. The British Empire is almost certainly controlled by Ascended at this point.
Additional web-based resources:
This can be anything from a faithful post-Civil War Wild West to the Wild Wild West.
This is where we steal from Deadlands and the Werewolf Wild Wyld West. Magic is loose in the world, being wielded by shamans, gamblers, and scientists using the horrifying power of ghost rock.
The world of The Difference Engine with clockwork automata and lots and lots of steam!
Check out Forgotten Futures for inspiration!
Victorian scientists and adventuresses encountering supernatural forces. Think League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, throw in the War of the Worlds, all the Theosophical musings on lost civilizations...
Based on Kim Newman’s book of the same name— Van Helsing failed, Dracula went on to marry Queen Victoria, and the trendy thing in Victorian London is to get yourself made a member of the undead! Probably caused by strife between the usually allied Camarilla and Ascended. Could easily be halfway around the globe from the Weird West.
Using a setting from GURPS Alternate Earths, Roma Aeterna is a possible consequence of messing around in Imperial Rome.
Anything before the nineteenth century and after the founding of the Roman Empire. Going into the past can be tricky: the languages change, and well-fed modern characters will stand out like giants in many eras.
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Pirates on the Caribbean, complete with voodoo and goodies borrowed from Tim Powers’s On Stranger Tides.
Sixteenth century Japan. Steal from Legend of the Five Rings and others...
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Knights in shining armor the way it never was!
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Steal from Mage: the Sorcerer’s Crusade.
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Steal from Ars Magica and Vampire: the Dark Ages.
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The Romans are busy laying down the roads that will channel the feng shui of outlying provinces into the heart of their empire.
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It’s 69 CE and China is a very interesting place in which to live.
Going into the distant past is problematic because it’s hard for modern characters to adapt; getting referents for the language is difficult. Still, if you’re feeling tempted, junctures can open and shut easily...
A great time for flying saucers and general weirdness. The ancient past can always be rewritten, and of course no archaeologist would publish their findings of modern-day items aged for thousands of years in a sealed tomb, lest they be laughed out of the profession...
Often a dystopian place. Trips to the future should make characters think about how they’re contributing to the world and what they want it to develop into. When the timeline of the Four Monarchs was undermined, the Ascended controlled the modern juncture, but became decadent and were replaced by the Buro. If the Ascended gain the upper hand in the modern juncture and are revitalized by the conflict with their opponents, a critical shift to Cyperpunk 2020 could occur— where the future Ascended might attempt to cement their control of the world by shipping back cybernetic troops to help battle in the modern world. On the other hand, the Wasteland may result if the squabbling factions allow their struggle to get out of control... or if too many feng shui sites are burned at a given time!
An interesting Ascended juncture is hinted at in Seeds of the New Flesh: “Everything’s completely, totally ruled by the switch-backs... It’s the Cult of the Jackal. It’s the Wild Hunt...” A global exposé of the Ascended might result in their showing their actual mastery of the world economy, toppling governments and flexing their muscles.
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The Buro’s future, where global control over feng shui sites gives the regime power over all humanity.
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Chrome is cheap. Really cheap. So cheap that even street gangs can afford cyberware. Magic is nearly nonexistent; the vampires and transformed animals are happy and the Technocracy has devolved into a bunch of high-tech corporations that dominate the global economy.
(This is not a side effect of profit-based decisions made by soulless corporate zombies. It is a direct effect of a policy set by the Ascended to make non-corporate feng shui sites less effective by filling the streets with clutter and grunge. Cyberware has the price set extremely low to make it easier for people to get it to disturb their own chi, limiting the potential of becoming an innerwalker.)
To match the wired speeds of the future, game masters may allow all folks with a Fu score to spend it for extra shots of action on a one-for-one basis. The Lunge of the Snake power, under such a regime, gives a +6 Initiative bonus instead of a +3 one for the same 3 Chi, and Contract of the Fox only costs 4 Chi instead of 8.
In 2020, the situation is an every-being-for-itself scramble to survive under the oppressive thumb of the megacorps. Several years later, a cabal of artificial intelligences determine that all current projections of behavior result in disaster for humanity, and use nanotechnology to create the Carbon Plague. The self-replicating nanomachines spread out over the planet, killing 10% of adults that are infected... and transforming 40% of children, giving them unusual powers. In 2027, when underage yogangs rebel against the materialist views of their cyberpunk parents, this Cybergeneration is growing in vast numbers, led in their CyberRevolution by a group of retired edgerunners, seeking to overthrow the megacorporate regime...
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(Stolen from David Brin’s Earth, though I stole the name from a really bad movie.) The polar caps have shed far too much of their burden of water, and coastal lands have sunk beneath several meters of water. Florida is an island chain. Only advanced-technology dikes prevent Silicon Valley from being flooded. Most wetlands are devastated, caught between rising seas and human-built dikes. Low-lying countries such as Bangladesh, Indonesia, the Maldives, and Egypt are disaster areas. Washington, D.C. and Manhattan are flooded. Water supplies are contaminated by pollutants washing off nearby sites on the land, and tropical parasites spread north. This idea can mix with other junctures— consider a Venice-like Megatokyo with amphibious street gangs and jet skis.
If you want a 260-foot rise in sea levels, check out the Impact of Global Warming. PBS has what’s up with the weather as a good site, mentioning that if the West Antarctic sheet melts, sea levels go up by 20 feet... and if the East one melts (not likely any time soon), they go up by about 200.
(Stolen from Fallen Angels, by Niven, Pournelle, and Flynn.) It turns out that the greenhouse effect was the only thing keeping off another natural ice age. Only after civilization has completely retooled to use nonpolluting technology does mankind catch its breath and notice the glaciers moving south. Canada is almost completely covered in ice, and ice sheets reach as far south as southern Illinois. Global warming may even lead to an ice age; melting glacier at the end of the last Ice Age could have cooled the atmosphere for hundreds of years. This is another notion that can mix with other junctures— the full ’borg conversions don’t feel the cold and gangs travel on chain bikes and make hideouts in ice caverns...
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The world has been laid waste, by radioactive contamination, plague, supernatural manifestation, or an asteroid strike. Few human beings survive; life conforms to Hobbes’ phrase: “Nasty, brutish, and short.” Sometimes there are enclaves of human beings left over.
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This is the Deadlands: Hell on Earth 2096 future juncture. This is a Wasteland with magic and space travel. Magical disasters like atomic bombs made from irradiated ghost rock don’t just leave people dying of radiation sickness: people wind up possessed, mutated, and otherwise warped by the fallout.
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One of the more friendly futures. The world is either farmland or massive towering cities with flying cars, vertical express trains, and fog down at the bottom. The Federation is a representative democracy, and people are living fairly well, though there’s still lots of urban grunge. Lots and lots of gratuitously big guns. Magic is subtle, but present: style has power, and it manifests as extra Fortune points, synchronicity, and mythic timing. Healing and resurrection are within the grasp of technology as long as you don’t get too dead; little details like being frozen solid aren’t a problem.
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Magic is blatant: sorcerers and chromed-up cyborgs are rare, but they make their mark on society, and everyone knows they’re there. Speed is even more powerful in Shadowrun than CP2020: each +2+1D6 of initiative translates to +4 Initiative, and people with the right ’ware can be running around at +12 or even more. Game masters may wish to add 50% or double the effects of Fu acceleration as above.
(Giant Robo.) A brave new world of the future! Earth has gone through its third energy revolution, and now all power is based on the Shizuma Drive, a complete recyclable and pollution-free energy system that powers everything from cigarette lighters to trucks to dirigibles. Art Deco has returned to prominence. Magic is present, though people with mystic power are rare. But global peace and security are threatened by Big Fire, an organization seeking to conquer the world with thousands of faceless agents and numerous giant robots...
Perhaps the Virtual Adepts gain control of enough sites, or the Technocracy adopts appropriate ideas. Humanity may have decided to upload themselves collectively as escapism, or they may have been forcibly dragged in by evil AIs seeking to use their gray matter as extra parallel processing. (It might even have started as a welfare system— if you can’t contribute to society, we stick you in VR until you demonstrate that you have useful skills.) Steal from movies like The Matrix and critical-shift those PC’s into VR, then let them bust out to start affecting feng shui sites enough that they can have their lives back.
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1990’s psychedelic trance/rave culture takes over the world, with some help from the Cult of Ecstacy, the Virtual Adepts, the Akashic Brotherhood, the Celestial Chorus, the Dragons, and a big push from the Wyld. Due to an early 21st-century popularization of the notion that all religions are a path to the Transcendent and that no finite religion can encompass infinite divine reality, bitter disagreements over theology are extremely rare; Joseph Campbell’s works and especially their popularizations are best-sellers. Religious philosophy, mythology, and meditation are a strong part of every schoolchild’s education, and everyone is encouraged to seek an understanding with the transcendent aspect of reality. The further future on this timeline has a living band of plants growing in geosynchronous orbit around the Earth, soaking up sunlight and sinking roots into carbonaceous chondrite asteroids maneuvered into position by lightsails. Technobuddhist geneticists have managed to create alternatives to most foods that grow on plants or in vats. Mind-altering drugs are common, though a substantial fraction of the populace does not indulge. Magic is common, but requires considerable amounts of focusing to invoke— only the best wizards don’t use the crutch of rituals. Arcanowave technology is also common, but is used carefully to avoid warping people in unpleasant ways.
Borrowing from Sid Meier’s Alpha Centauri, society is usually divided up into Workers, Talents, and Drones. Workers are relatively unskilled labor— people doing things that they can learn on the job over the course of a few weeks, which means a lot of service industry. Talents require large amounts of education to do their work. Drones live on the general amount of wealth in society and seldom produce anything; think of most of populace in Iain M. Banks’ tales of the Culture, without as much experience in coping with idleness or the interference of helpful godlike intelligences. This culture has a lot of Talents, due to encouragement of even shreds of curiosity and interest in subjects, and a lot of Drones, due to the general emphasis on the pursuit of the transcendental but impractical. Many Drones are called Burnouts— people who have permanently damaged their ability to produce anything in society due to excessive indulgence in worldly pleasures and powerful drugs. (Some Burnouts are considered “psychonauts,” intrepid explorers of vast interior continents, and are considered oracular in nature— stolen from Alan Moore’s Miracleman.)
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The world of Walter Jon Williams’ Metropolitan and City On Fire. The world is covered in cities that are laid out to soak up all available geomantic energy. Magic is available in the form of plasm, an energy that can be conducted over wires and used by trained wizards. Plasm has been used to genetically alter many folk, whose descendents are known as the twisted.