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Tabletop Game / GURPS Steampunk Setting: The Broken Clockwork World

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There are two worlds that once were entirely separate. One is ours (or very like it), and the other blends fantasy and steampunk elements. Now, they’ve come into dangerous contact.
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The Broken Clockwork World is a short (10 page) setting book for GURPS by Phil Masters, published in 2020, originally as part of a Steve Jackson Games Kickstarter-based project involving the launch of a large number of short GURPS supplements. It depicts a dual-world setup; the "Unbroken World" is our own, or looks like it, except that recently, gates and portals began opening to the "Broken World", a steampunk fantasy setting of numerous city-states where reality itself is seemingly breaking down.

The book is sold in PDF form; the publishers have a Web page for it here.


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Tropes Known in These Two Worlds:

  • After the End: The situation in the Broken World is distinctly post-apocalyptic.
  • Alien Sky: The most obvious sign that the Broken World is strange and alien is that the sky is full of phantom cogwheels and gears.
  • Cool Gate: Portals link the two worlds; some are stable, others are temporary or erratic. They’re more the result of damage to reality than deliberate creations.
  • Crapsack World: A borderline case. The Broken World may be on the brink of final collapse, with millions of people at risk of annihilation — for reasons that nobody really understands. However, it’s not impossible for people to be decent to one another, and some are working to fix things.
  • God is Dead: The gods of the Broken World were once fairly definitely real and active. Now, well, if they're not actually dead, they're inaccessible.
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  • Have You Seen My God?: It’s not clear what has happened to the gods of the Broken World; their priests can’t contact them any more (though some priestly powers still work), and there seems to be a consensus that they are either dead or as good as dead. However, it’s possible that they are just missing, and some people would doubtless clutch at that straw.
  • Land of One City: The Broken World used to be patchwork of city-states. Now, the patchwork has been torn up and rearranged at random.
  • The Men in Black: Played with; many governments in the Unbroken World know about the portals to the Broken World, and intelligence services are working to handle the situation, keeping it as secret as possible — but these men in black really aren't as all-powerful as they'd like to look, as they don't know much more than anyone else.
  • Patchwork Map: A rationalised trope here, in that the geography of the Broken World has been shattered, making what was once presumably a sensible sort of map into a patchwork.
  • Points of Light Setting: The Broken World used to be a reasonably orderly, peaceful world of city states. Then the Breaking happened. Many of the old cities still stand, for now, but the points of light are flickering.
  • Portal Fantasy: The set-up here is explicitly designed to support portal fantasy games, though the "other world" involved is flavored as much with steampunk as with conventional fantasy.
  • Steampunk: The Broken World runs on specifically steampunk-style tech.


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