So the first question some of you may ask is why didn’t we just go for “Steampunk” and be done with it? I would never to presume to define what Steampunk really is. I know there is still plenty of heated debate about what it does stand for and I would therefore never claim to be an authority on the subject.
But I would like to share in the roughest sense what it means to us and why we chose “Neo-Victorian” instead.
So with the foreworded apology to all those who define it differently: Steam and Punk to us represents:
Steam: The backbone of society. The power of Steam as a determinant of all aspects of society from public health to transportation to the modes of industry and beyond.
Punk: The counterculture as a byproduct of all the ills of a society that has arisen from heavy industrialization. The pushback against the ruling classes that prosper off of the profits that the machines create, the putrid cities and the foul air choking it’s residents. The forceful march of industrialization both embraced and rebelled against by the oppressed who find a common voice in their fight against the whole of society.
In short, Steampunk is a dystopia filled with the echoes of the anguished.
The world of Empyre is a different world. A younger Steam-driven world. Maybe even a Steampunk world in it’s infancy. There are many similarities. It too chased Steam technology and initially enjoyed a level of prosperity. The wheels of industry turned with new and exciting technologies coming to life.
The inhabitants of Empyre were living in a City of the Future driven by Steam. And that is what made it “Neo-Victorian” (New Victorian). Had the flood never come and upended civilization, Empyre most likely would have progressed from a Golden Steam Age downwards to a Steampunk dystopia. But it never got that far.
The people who live in the city now can still remember that Golden Age and wait for the waters to leave so they can return to that Age. There is hope and anticipation in the residents of the city. They have been spared the hopelessness and despair of a soot and smoke filled world by the oceans themselves.
Maybe it’s best to call it a Broken Utopia rather than an Unsalvageable Dystopia. A Broken Utopia whose needed fix is apparent to all: the receding of the waters and a resumption of the old upward spiral to Greatness.
For all Empyre: Lords of the Sea Gates discussion that does not fit elsewhere, suggestions, feedback, etc. No spoilers allowed.
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