Summery; Twenty Minutes into the Future
(tech's a little better than it is now, but most improvements were in making it last longer) there's a huge disaster caused by a number of factors (economic meltdown, a few wars, climate change displacing some people) that causes large chunks of the world (including huge cities, etc) to be abandoned, with humans resettling in recently colonised areas (due to being previously uninhabitable) like deserts, the sea floor, underground cities, etc. While a lot of technology was lost, most of the knowledge was preserved. A few thousand years later, most of the technology has been rebuilt but in a roundabout way; since the records were damaged (and because of confusion) no one knows what was fiction and what was reality. The result is a mishmash of various aesthetics and mechanisms, with the technology someone uses being down to personal choice. For example some people have tried their best to build Steampunk
technology (believing it was an actual predecessor to 21st century tech) on the grounds it would be "easier", others have tried to replicate fictional tech (either because they think it was real or they assume all science fiction was hard science fiction) and so on (with technology levels varying from roughly renaissance to 50's era technology). In addition many people use "SalvEque"; technology made from recovered artifacts that have been bodged together and combined with whatever local tech they need to make up the difference.
The main character(s) will be Adventure Archeologist
types who are investigating the mid-21st century ruins.
Other quirks include; English and French have displaced Latin and Greek as scholarly languages (complete with pretentious mottos written in them with bad grammar), driving questions as to whether humanity ever colonised other words (or even there being a "lost tribe" on the moon), explorer-lawyers (who make their living tracking down and enforcing ancient ownership documents).
The problems I've got are;
- How should I have people treat records of "magic"?
- How would an economy in a world like this work (where the best technology has to be bodged together with whatever can be found)?
- What should the new world's government be like?
- How can I justify some of the older adventure tropes like traps and monsters in 21st century ruins?