Tabletop Game: Wolsung Steam Pulp Fantasy
Wolsung: Steam Pulp Fantasy
is a Steampunk Tabletop RPG
, set in a fictional world of Urda, inhabited by the typical fantasy races. Since it's all about the Gentleman Adventurers
of the Victorian period, most of the action takes place in Vanadia, the equivalent of Europe still trying to recover after the horrors of The Great War, when a group of Wotanian extremists led by the necromancer ven Rier
attempted to take over the world. Apart from that, there's The League of Free Counties
of Vinland, the wild and mysterious Lemuria
, the even more mysterious Atlantis
and the islands of Purgatory
. Oh, and the Eastern land of Sunnir
, home of the Orcs.
Since we've mentioned steampunk and necromancers, another important element of the world of Wolsung
is magic: conventional magic rituals, 19th century occultism and Magitek
are canon forms of magic, along with some more exotic forms like works of art with magical properties (enchanted paintings, musical compositions as a form of spellcasting, etc.) or chaotic “wild talents”. Magitek even plays an important role in the world's technological advancement, with all sorts of devices being powered either by steam or mana batteries.
- Action Girl - a good portion of the heroines. The setting justifies this by the main religion being basically Wiccan Christianity, with Goddess and God.
- Artificial Limbs: the Dwarven specialty. Some of them take it too far, ending up as the insane mechanical monstrosities called uhrwerk.
- Butt Monkey: the country of Slavia, being the fantasy equivalent of Poland, has literally been cursed by Ash, the dragon slain by king Piastun. Nothing is ever going to work right in Slavia, which is also true for its enemies trying to take it over. As opposed to Poland, Slavia never suffered the partitions and century-long occupation, mostly because Wotania, Nordia and Morgovia couldn't agree on how to do it.
- Capital City: Lyonesse, Pearl of Cities!
- Cosmetic Award: Wolsung has achievements - when you succeed spectacularly at something (defeat an opponent, bluff your way through bodyguards, seduce a femme fatale), you can choose an achievement. They're not just Cosmetic - they actually influence number of dice you roll, and you get a nice bonus for trying to repeat your achievement.
- Crystal Dragon Jesus: King Justus is a mash-up of King Arthur, Charlemagne and Jesus himself. The son of Ormian prophet al-Ber'Un and Titania, the queen of Alfheim, Justus first took control of Alfheim, defeating the Twelve Kings who exiled his mother to the island of Avalon, and then left it in control of his trusted knights called the Paladins while away to conquer the Empire of Res. Once he did that, he nominated his mother as the governor of Alfheim. And then he was betrayed by a traitor known only as The Eternal Wanderernote . His throne, sword and the poisoned chalice he was given are three lost artifacts, the sword and the chalice being held and then lost by The Orders: The Order of the Flaming Sword and The Order of Chalice.
- Elves VS Dwarves: totally averted. People identify more with their country than their race. Alfheim is elf-dominated mostly because it's very traditionalist, while the Germanic Wotany is more dwarf-dominated which helped them to develop heavy industry, but it's entirely possible to be an elven Wotanian patriot.
- Fantasy Counterpart Culture: Loads, mostly to 19th to 20th century Earth.
- Fantasy Kitchen Sink: well, we have the typical fantasy races, and steampunk, and Wild West, and even a mention of secret bases of the Undead Reich in Atlantean jungle.
- Ghostapo: The Undead Reich, a group of Wotanian necromancers.
- Haunted Technology: when Magitek goes wrong, you get this. Examples from the lore include a difference engine reportedly possessed by a reincarnated goddess.
- Half-Human Hybrid: There are some racial mixtures, including half-elves (getting very long life and surprisingly short youth), morlocks (half-dwarves), alvars (elf-trolls), kobolds (dwarf-trolls) and leprechauns (troll-halflings).
- The Lost Woods: The Silent Forest in Southern Wotania. Due to an unspecified magical accident during The Great War it actively fights anyone who gets too close.
- Lovecraft Country: what eastern Vinland looks like.
- Mad Scientist: as you could expect from a steampunk setting, those guys are very common. One of those is the Player Character archetype of Technomancer.
- Magical Native American: the Vindian orcs.
- Magitek: most of the Schizo Tech like golems, difference engines and Artificial Limbs is powered by magical sources like mana batteries and generators. Technomancers are able to temporarily duplicate magical powers and spells with inventions of their own, like jetpacks, electromagnets and ray guns.
- Mithril: Creidnallen, or elven silver is this... initially. Word of God claims it's supposed to be more fantastic version of aluminum.
- Names to Run Away From Really Fast: Purgatory? It's the Death World stereotype of Australia cranked Up to Eleven.
- A Nazi by Any Other Name: ven Rier and his goons, even considering that it's a supposedly Victorian world. They're part Nazi, part Prussian imperialists.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: king Piastun. Defeating a dragon? Par for the course. But killing it? Congratulations, dumbass, you just cursed your country for eternity. Also a case of Too Dumb to Live.
- Our Monsters Are Different: Well, not quite. For starters, gnomes are still crazy tinkerers (their racial advantages give them bonuses to technical skills) and halflings are very social, with the (very extended) family being most important, and combined with their roguish streak serves as a good explanation for The Scylla, a large-scale crime syndicate.
- Humans Are Special: They are. That is, they're never average, and humans tend to be explorers, adventurers, sailors and fighters - but even then there are exceptions. Their racial traits are being able to fit in everywhere or show off their experiences.
- All Trolls Are Different: when trolls of Wolsung get old, they turn bestial. Before that, they're freakin' Vikings. Young trolls are little more than animals... with some very surprising moments of intelligence and magical spells.
- Our Dragons Are Different: they're Magnificent Bastards capable of powerful magic and the only thing that stops them from rampaging willy-nilly are the ancient Contracts they agreed upon with Vanadian heroes who later became the rulers of particular countries. Well, aside from the Slavian king Piastun, who slew the dragon Ash and ended up with his whole country cursed instead. Also, Garwitnir, the dragon of Alfheim, transferred his soul into a mechanical body after being mortally wounded in The Great War. Further East, the Dragon Emperor of Shang-In slumbers, leaving the Empire to his Empress Dowagers, and the island nation of Ozumu still has to battle the savage Genbaku.
- Our Dwarves Are All the Same: yes they are. Aside from their weird eyes and an allergy to sunlight, dwarves are miners and industrialists. They're also more prone to Cybernetics Eat Your Soul than any other race.
- Our Elves Are Better: mostly at fencing. Elves are long-lived and their racial advantages are based on their charisma and Implausible Fencing Powers. Since they live for a long time they can gather wealth, and are aristocracy in many countries. Since they're sensitive to Cold Iron, they have literally Blue Blood.
- Our Gnomes Are Weirder: They're still great technomancers, but they're isolationist and often discriminated against.
- Our Liches Are Different: they are powerful mages who commit ritual suicide to become undead Walking Wasteland. The most notable ones are a medieval bishop who rose during The Plague, a Mayincatec priest-king later tricked by a leader of conquistadors into revealing the secret of his transformation (thus outliving his usefulness), that same leader of conquistadors who later disappeared on his way back to Vanadia, and the four leaders of the Undead Reich. Koshchei, the enigmatic Man Behind the Man for the Morgovian czar might be one too, considering the Morgovian fondness for using zombies as cheap labor in the equivalent of Siberia.
- Our Ogres Are Hungrier: actually not. Ogres are Single Gender Species of very strong (if not very bright) guys whose racial advantages include what we could call Our Ogres Are Hunkier.
- Our Orcs Are Different: they are usually Noble Savage archetypes or civilized, but odd and mysterious Yellow Peril. Their racial advantages allow them to see what dead people saw last or get possessed by an ancestor spirit.
- The settings has also goblins, who are very stereotypical Roma people. As in, "thieving Gypsies and shady fortune tellers" stereotypical.
- Our Vampires Are Different: aside from standard "aristocratic" vampires, there are also savage blood-drinking humanoids called the Lampyriae.
- Ruritania: The Trimonarchy. Ostria is Austria proper, Nordia is the Czech, and Sudria is Hungary. And, of course, it borders Überwald.
- Schizo Tech: this supposedly Victorian world already has machine guns, steam-powered cars and motorcycles, airplanes (called wyverns), zeppelins and Magitek-powered golems (robots) and difference engines (computers). Oh, also, Powered Armor.
- Sword Cane: Every gentleman's best friend.
- Toros y Flamenco: Coriola. Played so straight there's no Portugal at all.
- Überwald: Silvanegro. It's got vampires, and werewolves, and very black forests (Exactly What It Says on the Tin with a dash of Bilingual Bonus for the English edition).
- Wretched Hive: Ys - a cross between... well, Ys from Celtic mythology and Freestate Amsterdam. Also Lyonesse.