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Steampunk RPG recommendation


Other RPGs

Grand Lodge

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber, Modules Subscriber

Hey all, I would like to ask the community here if they have any recommendation for a steampunk RPG. I've done some research of my own and have a list of RPGs. What I'm looking for is feedback by those who played any steampunk. Any pro/con comments would be helpful.

Much appreciated.

Dark Archive

The best done version of that I thought was Iron Kingdoms. Not perfect but IMHO the best over all.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber, Modules Subscriber
Dark_Mistress wrote:
The best done version of that I thought was Iron Kingdoms. Not perfect but IMHO the best over all.

That is on the top of my list to check out. Anything in particular that makes it better? How flexible is it to use with another campaign world?

Dark Archive

The writing, and innovation. It is really well written and more different than most other such books covering the topic. Just was a new take on things.

Most books have steam tech and magic, with some cross over between them. In IK it is pretty much all magical steam tech mixed. Like take Warmachines or what ever those mech things are called. They are magical and controlled by a war caster(special type of wizard), but they also need coal to make steam to function. It is a nice blend of everything being part tech and part magic and very little pure tech or pure magic.

The Exchange

It is COMPLETELY different from Iron Kingdoms, but I like Goodman Games's Dragonmech. It has a much less gritty, down to earth feel than Iron Kingdoms and instead is much more along the lines of high-fantasy with steam tech and steam mechs in it. I love the setting.


I have both Iron Kingdoms and Dragonmach.

I only own the first basic book of Dragonmech, but I have almost everything of Iron Kingdoms.

Iron Kingdoms is, in and of itself, a complete world. This is not to say it can't be shipped over into Golarion et all, just that it's flavor is meant to 'Stand Alone'. Since, as I have said, I only own the one book of Dragonmech, I am unsure as to how 'unique' its reality is.

Note, there are some small problems with Iron Kingdoms and its rules for making its own mechaika devices. With almost two different rules sets around. The first being the very 'skeletal' basic rules first printed and then a later "Liber Mechanika" which went ingot greatr detail, but seems to be rather hurried and 'botched'. So perhaps look to the internet for better fixes.

Sorry for the ramble. Assuming money is no option, then Iron Kingdoms PDF's from Paizo are the way to go, with supplemental things from web searches.

There are some interesting things in Dragonmech, but it strikes me as a more "BattleTech" take on steam punkin' fantasy.

YMMV

Cheers!

The Exchange

, wrote:

There are some interesting things in Dragonmech, but it strikes me as a more "BattleTech" take on steam punkin' fantasy.

YMMV

Cheers!

Yeah, Dragonmech has much more of a anime-esque feel to it, what with 1000 foot tall steam mechs and the like.

IK is also awesome, and I do like how "gritty" it is. Between the fact that actual magic weapons are incredibly rare (most of the time it is mechanika), how restricted healing is (do too much healing and your god will strike you down for wasting their gifts) and how permanent death can be (try and get a cheap resurrection; go ahead, I'll wait), it does have a more street-level-ish feel to it than Dragonmech which has a prestige class designed around being a typically sized person and taking out one of those aforementioned 1000 foot tall mechs.

VERY different flavors.


*nods* Indeed, though that hasn't stopped me from trying to integrate certain things of Dragonmech into my Iron Kingdoms games...;)

As for healing? Well there are certain mitigating things. The armored greatcoat is a beautiful piece of equipment. ;)

Plus Alchemists (The iron Kingdoms home grown variety, not the Paizo grown variety) come into their own with healing potions. Of course, they don't heal a whole lot of hit points in one go, but they are cheaper...and generally taste far worse!

Got to love a game where you drink a healing potion, then have to make a Fort save or puke. =)

Also, with the evil kingdom of Cyrix, death is not a problem.....you might not be waiting long for the dead to return. Though they may not be so nice when they do come back...heh, heh, heh...


Castle Falkenstein (engine: native - uses playing cards, genre: Victorian fantasy).

RunePunk (engine: Savage Worlds, genre: dark fantasy, closest lookalike: Perdido Street Station).

Regards,
Ruemere

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber, Modules Subscriber
ruemere wrote:

Castle Falkenstein (engine: native - uses playing cards, genre: Victorian fantasy).

RunePunk (engine: Savage Worlds, genre: dark fantasy, closest lookalike: Perdido Street Station).

Regards,
Ruemere

I'll check these out. I'm hoping not to buy a lot just to play. For RunePunk I get the feeling RunePunk is a campaign setting and I'll need to buy the Savage Worlds core book?

IK seems like a self-contained campaign/rule set. Am I right about that?

Castle Falkenstein sounds interesting. I'm looking for Victorian Fantasy. I'll see if my local store has it.


For very Victorian Era steam punk, then yes, definitely you'll want to check out Castle Falkenstien. Though, when it first came out, it didn't seem too well supported.

I have no idea how much Falkenstein stuff there is out there though.

Cheers!

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber, Modules Subscriber
, wrote:

I have both Iron Kingdoms and Dragonmach.

I only own the first basic book of Dragonmech, but I have almost everything of Iron Kingdoms.

Iron Kingdoms is, in and of itself, a complete world. This is not to say it can't be shipped over into Golarion et all, just that it's flavor is meant to 'Stand Alone'.

YMMV

Cheers!

Not looking to integrate it with Golarion. I'm looking to integrate it with Catalyst Lab Games' Leviathians. Instead of just ship battles I'd like to create a roleplay campaign where the ship battles are an extension of the RPG sessions.

If you haven't seen Leviathans I suggest taking a look. I had a chance to play a demo at NeonCon 2009. Very fun. I'd get bored with constant ship fights. Building a campaign with an existing steampunk RPG would keep it fresh. Perhaps a campaign with small ship skirmishes from time to time that leads up to the big battle.

If this sounds interesting to anyone I'd like to exchange ideas and notes. Perhaps it could lead to a table or two at a convention.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber, Modules Subscriber
Dark_Mistress wrote:

The writing, and innovation. It is really well written and more different than most other such books covering the topic. Just was a new take on things.

Most books have steam tech and magic, with some cross over between them. In IK it is pretty much all magical steam tech mixed. Like take Warmachines or what ever those mech things are called. They are magical and controlled by a war caster(special type of wizard), but they also need coal to make steam to function. It is a nice blend of everything being part tech and part magic and very little pure tech or pure magic.

This was helpful. Thank you.

The Exchange

Rene Ayala wrote:


I'll check these out. I'm hoping not to buy a lot just to play. For RunePunk I get the feeling RunePunk is a campaign setting and I'll need to buy the Savage Worlds core book?

Savage World core book is 10 bucks. Seriously.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber, Modules Subscriber
AlanM wrote:
Rene Ayala wrote:


I'll check these out. I'm hoping not to buy a lot just to play. For RunePunk I get the feeling RunePunk is a campaign setting and I'll need to buy the Savage Worlds core book?
Savage World core book is 10 bucks. Seriously.

Yep. Saw that. Cost isn't the factor. It's having to reference or have on hand many texts. If I only have to look at one book (e.g. the Pathfinder Core book to play Pathfinder Society) it'll make it easier for me.


I have just finished watching "Last Exile" on hulu. It really sparked some interest in the genre. Up to now, the only RPG I have ever seen that even came close to this theme was Space:1889.

I read the original poster has a list made up of steampunk flavored RPG's. Is it possible to post that list so the community could rank and comment on them in this thread?

It is nice for people to post thier faves, but sometimes thier third favorites may be more suited to my or annother's playing style.

Anyway, I will be following this thread, since my knowledge of steampunk is VERY VERY limited.

Greg

PS It was curious to me that having just discovered a steampunk anime, I just finished an episode of Castle that also featured steampunk, "punked".

Contributor

2 people marked this as a favorite.

I wrote this post a couple of years back, but it is a pretty good list of great resources, some of which are from some not-so obvious sources. Some of it may repeat other poster's recommendations above:

I've got a pretty comprehensive steampunk rpg library, and I've listed a lot of it here (not exhaustive -I DO love Space: 1889, though, and GOOD LUCK finding cheap Iron Kingdoms stuff, as good as it is!): =-)

I have to say right off, Masque of the Red Death is at the top of the list. There is a 3.5 hardcover out that isn't too much on eBay. GREAT Victorian/Steampunk flavored base and prestige classes and a toned-down magic system (it mostly relies on increased casting times, but ultimately the DM is responsible for cutting the spell list if you don't want explosions!). Personally, I think the magic classes should be restricted to the DMG adept class -that does the trick for me and limits the top attainable spell level.

Great Gadgets & Gizmos -d20 and Otherwise

Van Richten's Arsenal (d20): Incredible resource for nifty gadgets and alchemical items, plus some great prestige classes to go along with the MoRD sourcebook. Cheap on eBay, too!

GURPS Steamtech (non d20): the BEST of the bunch here, although in the GURPS system. GREAT fluff, awesome histories, fun read and tons of fun stuff to convert. Hard to find -very rare and $$, but the pdf is cheap.

Deadlands -Smith & Robard's (non-d20): AWESOME steam-powered doodads and geegaws, plus armored steam cars, neat inventions, etc. Great source for Artificier inspiration (like most of this list!)

Castle Falkenstein -Steam Age (non d20): this one and the one above are both set up like "Sears & Roebuck" catalogs, and are fun reads, they look great, and have killer material. Worth it!

Iron Kingdoms -Liber Mechanika: more great stuff, HUGE price tag. Any books here are well worth it, but this one has the best flavor.

Setting, Flavor & Fluff (d20 only)

Steam & Steel -core book, + supplements (pdf only): the core book pdf is only 5 bucks on RPGNow, and the supplements are only 2 bucks each here on Paizo. They are good -especially the prosthetic rules. The Prosthetic supplement looks like great Artificier material, and the Disease supplement is for prosthetic and technological diseases. Awesome! And CHEAP!

Imperial Age: This book is incredible(60 bucks! Ouch!) but you can break it down to easier to swallow pdfs that the uncombined-chapters -they inspired me to take the plunge on this well-constructed material.

Open Design -Zobeck Gazetteer: of course Wolgang delivered with some great clockwork monsters and an awesome selection of clockwork spells -still available! Love these spells!!!

OGL Steampunk: pretty decent, generic OGL source. Not up to the level of the much better sculpted MoRD book, however.

Sorcery & Steam: a very redundant book to OGL listed above, but with better spells and art. I like the armor and some of the items listed here. Not up to MoRD standards, but great spells!

Etherscope: Have to mention this, although they went a little too modern for my tastes -really a cross between the Matrix and Steampunk, leaning more heavily on the modern cyberpunk stuff. I prefer the d20 Dark Matter for some of the same material. Award winning, but just a little too much crammed into one setting -they tried to have it both ways, I think. I think Paizo has the core book for just a few dollars, too!

Dragonmech: some great steam-powered armor and prosthetic rules here. It might go a little overboard on the steam-powered mechs, which turns some people off, but that might be PERFECT for what you need. Cheap on eBay, too.

Deadlands d20: Steampunk-inspired Wild West. Great stuff here.

Have also picked up pdfs for Arneson's Clock & Steam, the True 20 Gearcraft, Mechamancy, Steamworks and Fantastic Science, and they all have great stuff, but you have enough suggestions already!

NON d20 But Great Nonetheless:

Castle Falkenstein: ANYTHING. These books are awesome works of fiction, and fun to read in their own right -you hardly realize they've hidden rules in there!!! I highly recommend Comme Il Faut -the sourcebook on behavior, customs and manners in a steampunk setting. Very cool -get it cheap and hand it to players to learn how to act in your new setting.

Cthulhu by Gaslight: one of the seminal books on the subject, covers 1890's London. Expensive.

GURPS Steampunk: Some of the best in the flavor/fluff lot. Rules are so strange to my D&D mindset, but still great material to inspire your mind!

Broken Gears (FREE pdf): A free steampunk game system on RPGNow -get it!

Victoriana: I've got it, but never cracked it open. Once day...

And, when Jaye Sonia gets it ready for the public, Rhune will be way, way up there on this list. Check out the Cracked Monocle website for another great indie steampunk game, too.

Wow -did I FORGET anything? Hahaha...one of my favorite subjects, so I'm happy to share my personal sources of inspiration on the subject -wanna hear how this goes!!!

Brandon


Brandon Hodge wrote:
...Great stuff, exactly the kind of info I was looking for...

Wow, this is exactly the sort of thinkg I was looking for. I especially like that you gave an idea of pricing. With the "new" economy, I find that my food budget is taking up more of my funds then my fun budget, so unfortunately, price also determines what I play.

I can't wait to read up on all of these suggestions though.

Thanks,

Greg

The Exchange

Etherscope and Imperial Age are my two personal favorites. If you are looking for stand alone I'd go with Etherscope. If you want something to go with your d20 Modern books I'd get d20 past and the Imperial Age books. The pdfs were $1 @ rpgnow, but that's probably overwith.


Well, so far I have downloaded Rhune and Broken Gears. Haven't had much chance to read either yet. It was pleasent to see that Rhune used pathfinder rules and that it included APG material.

Greg


I'm going to weigh in agaain for the Iron Kingdoms. I'd recommend using the Pathfinder rules. This may require some minor tweaks to the new base classes in the Iron Kingdoms Character Guide, but that's about it. I ran a 2-3 year long campaign there and loved it. FYI, the Hordes and Warmachine books are good supplemental material, and the Mk1 books (running the prior edition of Hordes/warmachine rules) are for sale dirt cheap ($5 each!) on the Privateer Press website. I recommend those for the background material. I wrote a blog post on lovin' the IK:

http://growingupgamers.blogspot.com/2010/12/my-favorite-campaign-setting-ir on.html

Anyway, it is a great setting. Have fun gaming!

-Randy

The Exchange

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Brandon Hodge wrote:
And, when Jaye Sonia gets it ready for the public, Rhune will be way, way up there on this list.

Brandon, thanks for the call out! The character primer for Rhune: Dawn of Twilight is out. The revised edition - complete with new art and errata - is much sharper than the copy I had at Gen Con. I'm pretty happy with it. The full version is scheduled for GenCon 2012 and it's going to be a massive tome if all goes as planned....

I've got to mirror everything that's been said about the IK. It's an amazing (and inspiring) take on Steam Punk (but don't let them hear you call it anything but Full Metal Fantasy. I ran several IK campaigns in the early 2000s when I lived in New Orleans. It was just a fun setting.

Van Richten's Arsenal is a fun book if you can get your hands on it.

Mechamancy by EnWorld Publishing is a good book, too.

If you can get your hands on it, The Zobeck Gazeteer is filled with Clockwork/Steampunk goodness, too.

Ciao,
Jaye

PS... Greg, thanks for pointing out this thread.


You are quite welcome, Jaye. After reading the downloads of your world, I have to say I REALLY appreciate the time and effort you have put into it. It is VERY good quality.

Greg

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Brandon Hodge wrote:


I have to say right off, Masque of the Red Death is at the top of the list. There is a 3.5 hardcover out that isn't too much on eBay.

Castle Falkenstein -Steam Age (non d20): this one and the one above are both set up like "Sears & Roebuck" catalogs, and are fun reads, they look great, and have killer material. Worth it!

Awesome review of the area Brendon. I would just like to add that Castle Falkenstein is a great game and designed from the ground up for the Steam Punk feel. The use of cards rather than dice is nice and works very well.

As for Masque of the Red Death - the 2nd edition AD&D version I find to be superior to the 3.5e edition version. Just my opinion of course.

Happy gaming,
Stefan.

PS: You may want to check out Lady Mechanika.


Brandon Hodge wrote:
Wow -did I FORGET anything? Hahaha...one of my favorite subjects, so I'm happy to share my personal sources of inspiration on the subject -wanna hear how this goes!!!

There's Ave Molech, which is Post-Apocalyptic Steampunk for d20, and Unhallowed Metropolis (non-d20), which is setting and system. UM has some great art and material in it, Ave Molech is available in PDF from DrivethruRPG for like $10.

I haven't gotten to flip through much of it yet, but at first glance, "Great and Terrible Oz" looked steampunkish. I need more time in the FLGS to see, though.

-Ben.


Bookmarking due to the awesome resource that is this thread. =)

The Exchange

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Urizen wrote:
Bookmarking due to the awesome resource that is this thread. =)

I did the same thing!!

If they weren't mentioned before, I recently discovered three additional PDFs that I've been looking through and enjoying. Mechamancy: The Clockwork Magic by Robert Sullivan, Mechamancy 2: Living Machines by Robert Sullivan, and Steam and Steel by Christopher Allen. All three of them are available on RPG Drivethru.


Savage Worlds: Space 1889 Red Sands
Savage Worlds: Runepunk
Savage Worlds: Rippers
Savage Worlds: Deadlands

OGL Steam Punk

Steam & Brass

Iron Kingdoms

None of which fit perfectly with the Leviathan setting, but that's where you just grab Savage Worlds and convert.

=D

Sovereign Court

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Cards, Companion, Maps, Modules, Pawns, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber
Xaaon of Korvosa wrote:
Steam & Brass

I'd give my left ... leg ... to get a hold of this one.

Baur's first patronage project. Limited enrollment with a promise to never make it available to anyone other than the patrons. I ran across it about a week after patronage closed. Grrrrr!


Mosaic wrote:
Xaaon of Korvosa wrote:
Steam & Brass

I'd give my left ... leg ... to get a hold of this one.

Baur's first patronage project. Limited enrollment with a promise to never make it available to anyone other than the patrons. I ran across it about a week after patronage closed. Grrrrr!

Agreed, I did not get it either. Wish I had.

Oh that reminds me though, Zobeck!

Sovereign Court

Victoriana has well written sourcebooks, but I'm not keen on either ruleset. I prefer their FATE based line for rules. Working my way through the books at the moment after the PDF sale prices got my interest. Not so keen on obvious fantasy races, considering a more hidden bloodline background. Spirit of the Century requires little change as a ruleset unless you want more magic, in which case check out the Legends of Anglerre FATE rules for fantasy.
Also like the sound of Kerberos Club, but that's more Victorian superheros style.
You can adjust FATE to be more or less cinematic by changing the number of stress points, SotC has 5 by default, Dresden Files goes grittier by having only 2.
I love GURPS, but FATE looks like the fast play version (in a good way).
I've got the Savage Worlds Pulp Adventures but intend to run them using SotC rules as the conversion doc. is free and one adventure is dual statted.
Imperial Age is nice for background but d20 based. I want rules more story based so that's a negative point for me but may be a positive for you.
A lot of the above have sample PDF's (at RPGnow) or SRD's for free so you can try before you buy.


The original Space:1889 is still avaialble out there for download, I believe. The system is clunky, but the setting material is definately worth a read.


Rene Ayala wrote:
, wrote:

I have both Iron Kingdoms and Dragonmach.

I only own the first basic book of Dragonmech, but I have almost everything of Iron Kingdoms.

Iron Kingdoms is, in and of itself, a complete world. This is not to say it can't be shipped over into Golarion et all, just that it's flavor is meant to 'Stand Alone'.

YMMV

Cheers!

Not looking to integrate it with Golarion. I'm looking to integrate it with Catalyst Lab Games' Leviathians. Instead of just ship battles I'd like to create a roleplay campaign where the ship battles are an extension of the RPG sessions.

If you haven't seen Leviathans I suggest taking a look. I had a chance to play a demo at NeonCon 2009. Very fun. I'd get bored with constant ship fights. Building a campaign with an existing steampunk RPG would keep it fresh. Perhaps a campaign with small ship skirmishes from time to time that leads up to the big battle.

If this sounds interesting to anyone I'd like to exchange ideas and notes. Perhaps it could lead to a table or two at a convention.

Are the battles airborne? Last Exile style?

Scarab Sages

Abney Park’s Airship Pirates looks interesting

Cakebread and Walton.

Cubicle 7. Scroll down.


Horus wrote:

Abney Park’s Airship Pirates looks interesting

Cakebread and Walton.

Cubicle 7. Scroll down.

Haha the buildings(on the cover) with the air-balloon made me laugh


@stroVal wrote:
Horus wrote:

Abney Park’s Airship Pirates looks interesting

Cakebread and Walton.

Cubicle 7. Scroll down.

Haha the buildings(on the cover) with the air-balloon made me laugh

Played this at a con recently. even ending up buying the book


Speaking as the person who translated Castle Falkenstein from Print to PDF, I think you should definitely check out Falk. The sheer amount of research done on Victorian-Era (Both Old and New-World) society and behavior will blow you away, as will the very successful integration of Faery mythos into a coal-and-iron powered world. Plus, Dragons.

Go forth! Get you some Falkenstein!

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