GURPS Alternate Earths
is (as you may have guessed) a GURPS
sourcebook (well, rather two books, but they're both covered here) about Alternate History
— or rather, alternate timelines which the characters may visit in one campaign, or live in from the start. Describes twelve timelines (six in each book) in loving detail.
The scenario "Centrum" inspired Max Sinister
's Chaos Timeline
- Allohistorical Allusion
- Alternate History Wank: The only thing changing is who (or what) is wanked high.
- In Spite of a Nail
- Richard Nixon the Used Car Salesman: Malcolm Little (Malcolm X) as VP of the rest-US in a world where the CSA successfully seceded. David Duke as POTUS in a world where The Nazis win World War II and the US become their fascist satellite. Jabir ibn Hayyan as a Roman chemist inventing mustard gas in 767. Swedish king Charles XII invading Britain. Roman emperor Heraclius founding a new empire in Africa after Constantinople falls. And Adolf Hitler ending up in an insane asylum painting more watercolors.
- The sequel had some more of these. Alissa Rosenbaum writing novels about heroic rail builders in Nationalist Republican Russia. Japanese admiral Hiyoshimaru fighting European pirates for the Ming emperors. St. Bernhard of Clairvaux and St. Dominic de Guzman converting still-pagan Scandinavia to a somewhat different Christianity. Ibn Sina inventing calculus in 1006. Jan Masaryk elected Archon of an Austrian empire turned republic. And finally, Otakar Przemysl kicking out the Mongolian oppressors from the Holy Roman Empire in Centrum.
- Spiritual Successor: Gurps Infinite Worlds.
Starts to diverge when filibusters take over Nicaragua and help the CSA become independent. Later, they will take over most of Mexico and Central America. The US (which took much of Canada) is allied with Germany and help them win World War One
Diverges with the assassination of Franklin D. Roosevelt
. During the terms of Charles Lindbergh and the not-that-competent John Nance Garner and Henry Wallace, the US become politically split and polarized. Meanwhile, the Nazis and Japanese conquer half the world in the 1940s, and then finish the job with the aid of subversion from William Dudley Pelley's fascist Union Party.
Instead of the sinister Tiberius, a surviving Drusus takes over Rome after Augustus' death. During the following two millennia, Rome will expand, fall apart twice and reunite again and expand further. Their technology also develops, albeit not as fast as in our world.
John Trastamara survives, hence no united Habsburg empire. The way history develops is... odd: Charles II and Louis XVI prevent revolutions which otherwise would have lead to more democracy and the creation of republics, and at the end, the whole democratic phase is somehow skipped, since the world transforms into a typical cyberpunkish society where nothing else counts but how rich you are.
- Alternate History Wank: Japan, oh so much. Also, Sweden, France and Brazil which are the other three superpowers.
- Balkanize Me: North America, (still) Germany
- Cyber Punk
- Japanese Christian: In this reality Japan is almost entirely Christian, having converted in the 16th century.
- Christianity is Catholic: In great part thanks to above and Japan also being by far the world's most powerful nation, almost 50% of total world population are Catholic - rising to 90% with the elites.
- Japan Takes Over the World: More successful than ever. They manage to reign over two thirds of the world population!
- Nuke 'em: Synarchist Sweden nukes four British cities when their pawns don't win the Civil War. As a result, 60% of Britain's population dies or emigrates.
- Space-Filling Empire: Japan, of course. How much? The eastern half of Asia (incl. India), the Pacific islands and Madagascar, and the western bit of North America.
- World War One: The Pyrrhic War occurred for much the same reasons as World War One did historically (a Gambit Pileup of secret alliances that finally blew out), but it began in 1927 and ended in a stalemate that precluded any chance of a World War II.
The Carthaginians discover America, so the Old World diseases hit America two millennia earlier. The Roman Empire falls apart after Nero's been killed, and the various barbarians make sure Europe never recovers. Then the Aztecs start the Industrial Revolution.
- Alternate History Wank: Mongols, Aztecs and Iroquois.
- Balkanize Me: Western and Southern Europe, which were smashed too many times by barbarian hordes and part of the Mongol Empire for a long time.
- For Want of a Nail: The reason Rome falls apart: Since the west European provinces have had access to New World staple crops for a long time, they're no longer dependent on Egyptian grain, so the economy and politics disintegrate fast.
- In Spite of a Nail: Most egregious example. The Aztec people still exists although history diverged more than two thousand years before them.
- Made a Slave: Many Europeans who're sold to the Mongols and Aztecs then.
- Space-Filling Empire: The Mongol Empire, which still holds most of Eurasia.
- Steam Punk
marries the daughter of J.P. Morgan, gains financial support to take out Edison, and can realize all his cool inventions.
- Alternate History Wank: Science!
- Civil Rights Movement: Set back a few decades due to the lack of World War II and the Holocaust, which in our world discredited the concepts of eugenics and scientific racism. Women's rights have also been set back; they have the vote in the US, but haven't gotten past the 1920s.
- Cool Train: blitzbahnen
- The Fifties: Even about twenty years later, the world is still much like this. (World War II was avoided, the war which brought down the Soviet Union was shorter and more one-sided, thus less upsetting for the world.)
- Fictional United Nations: Played with. The League of Nations was real, but even more toothless than the UN is today, and didn't last very long. Here...see United Nations Is a Superpower.
- For Science!
- I Want My Jetpack: And here, you get it!
- League of Nations Is a Superpower: Due to the power of the World Science Council (established with the aid of JP Morgan's money and Nikola Tesla's inventions), and the war against Stalin's Soviet Union, the League is rapidly developing into a world government.
- Mad Scientist: They're very fitting for this world.
- Minovsky Physics: It is hinted that the laws of physics might differ a bit in this timeline.
- Nikola Tesla
- Omnidisciplinary Scientist: A characteristic of scientists in this world is that they can have the Science! skill, an ability that allows them to know about scientific discoveries in any field. The concept was later generalized into "wildcard skills" in Fourth Edition, and the exclamation point became a generic marker for wildcard skills instead of particularly distinguishing Science! from vanilla science.
- Punk Punk: Diesel Punk overlapping with Atom Punk.
- Technology Porn
- Vestigial Empire: Socialist France is one of the six Great Powers of the League of Nations and a ruling colonial power, in theory. In practice, it's barely even a major power in Europe, and its colonial empire is nothing but an albatross around its neck.
- Zeppelins from Another World
Turgot manages to reform France, which prevents The French Revolution
- and The American Revolution
as well, since he won't support republicans against one fellow king. Only two centuries later, one great power (Russia) becomes the republican Dominate.
- Alternate History Wank: For the great European monarchies.
- Balkanize Me: Germany except for Prussia and Austria
- Cool Train: The trains of Russia which impress less with speed and more with size.
- Space-Filling Empire: Britain and Spain (which kept their empires) and Russia (which includes Finland, Manchuria, Korea, Japan and Alaska - and was even bigger in the past)
Ming China never scraps its fleet and starts to expand - first into Vietnam, later into Europe when their pirates attack... and there's no end, it seems...
The Vikings manage to take Constantinople and capture the secret of Greek Fire. They manage to extend their rule over half of Europe, North America, Russia and Siberia.
An eccentric Muslim scholar refutes the pagan Greek philosophers using rationalism. In combination with an Arab printing press, the Muslims take over the world and also develop science and technology way faster.
"The Divine wind" never happens, so Britain stays under the Stuarts and gradually becomes Catholic again.
United States of Lizardia:
The K-T extinction event never happens - leading, 65 million years later, to an almost exact equivalent of the modern world, except populated by lizard-men.
- Everything's Better with Dinosaurs
- Joke Level: This world is mainly there to make it clear that alternate universes don't have to make sense, and nobody on Homeline is even going to try explaining just how the hell this world came about. The consensus is that the gods think it's funny.
A more successful Angevin (Anglo-French) empire gradually takes over all the world. When the empire falls apart, a meritocracy centered on Terraustralis (Australia) rebuilds the empire. And then, they start discovering and conquering other timelines...
- Alternate History Wank: The Angevins, and the British Empire in general...until 1902, then it becomes a completely new society.
- The Rival: Centrum for Homeline