Saturday, April 7, 2012

Blood and Diesel

Better late than never... =3


It is an age of vastness.

This is the age of the zeppelin, the ocean-liner, the continental railway, and the skyscraper. It is the age of multinational corporations, mass political movements, and wars that span the world. Man is dwarfed by his creations, and the once-solid things of daily life are subsumed into abstractions.

The year is 1939, but not the one that you know.

It has been over two decades since the devastating end of the Great War. An entire generation was lost to tanks, machine-guns, poison gas, warstriders, bombs, and flame-projectors. In Europe, in Asia, in Africa, the war raged. Only the Americas were left untouched by battle, though it still cost the young nation many tens of thousands of lives. Germany and its Central Powers were crushed beneath the weight of debt and remuneration, while a new era of peace and prosperity was supposed to dawn for the Allied Powers.

The expected peace came at a high price, and the prosperity it bought was limited at best. Weary from war and battle, nations turned their eyes inward and devoted their resources to self-improvement. These selfish impulses ultimately led to the Great Collapse of 1929, when the world’s economy—as delicately linked as its political alliances, but not as obviously—came crashing down. Millions are unemployed worldwide, whole nations are impoverished, and radical political elements are gaining greater traction among the disaffected populace.

Nature itself rebels against the wounded nation—in the American West, over-farming and high-industry radium growth techniques have stripped the soil from the ground and sent it flying into the atmosphere. Terrible radioactive dust storms sweep the Midwest, driving towns and communities before it to avoid the killing winds, the cancer-ridden dirt, and the monsters that rise up from the few survivors of the storms. Diesel trucks have become the lifeblood of the refugees, moving from camp to camp and town to town, looking for whatever work they can find.

Life in the big cities has become an urban hell, where the strong and the rich prey on the weak and the poor. The elite live in buildings that reach up to scrape the sky, while the poor live in overcrowded, crumbling tenements within a stone’s throw of brass-gilded zeppelin stations and moving-picture theaters. Gangs begin to fill the poverty-stricken neighborhoods, looking to find ways to survive cheek-and-jowl with real bad guys: bootleggers, white slavers, bank robbers, and the leg-breakers of organized crime.

For a decade, the world’s people have languished in poverty while their governments increasingly stockpile weapons for a great second world war that may never come. Though the German sabers have rattled menacingly since the ascension of the People’s Socialist Party in 1933, the “Nazis” have yet to expand beyond their borders—though those borders are now far more secure than any time in the last thirty years. Germany has made prosperity its watchword as it rebuilds its cities, invites in wealthy foreign tourists… and quietly “cleanses” the country of its “impure elements.”

This is a world where the zeppelin is the king of the air, the train rules the long, empty spaces between the American coasts, and the diesel engine rules the road. Atomic power has been harnessed but promises only mutually assured destruction. The promises of science have turned to ashes in the mouths of those that spoke them, and the price of freedom may wind up being too high for any nation to pay.

This is the world of Blood and Diesel, an alternate-history dieselpunk game.

1 comment:

Sean B said...

Now THAT'S a setting pitch!