So, steampunk. It’s a loose, poorly fitting excuse for a genre. The Wikipedia entry reveals that pretty definitely. You got your computer parables, you got your obsession with steam, you got your fantasy tropes. You do not got decades of cheap adventure novels defining the genre. We make do with what we have, thusly.
Let us assume that the class warfare aspect of steampunk does not appeal to our prospective player as a primary focus of the campaign. I’m keeping the steam-powered automata-driven London, cause come on, how cool is that? The task at hand becomes finding a premise that makes good use of the setting. Doing Scotland Yard operatives is easy but then the setting is just background, rather than integral.
I have never been adverse to layering a touch of the horrific into my settings.
Let’s say that the gears of the difference engines, when layered as closely together as they must be in order to achieve the necessary efficiencies, attract visitors. Angelic and demonic alike? That’s sort of cool. Actually, that’s really cool, since nothing says angels are going to approve of the Queen.
I’m almost lifting from Dark Inheritance here, but it’s a cool setting. I can pull the Brotherhood of the Iron Rose, the Eight Heavenly Dragons, the International Geographic Society, and the Promethean Order wholesale, so I will. Drop the godgenes, drop the titans.
I believe that this consequence is not widely known. In fact, the Engines are only just now getting big enough. Characters should be people who have some sort of relation to the Engines — whether people who live nearby, mechanists, members of the House of Engineers? (Our third legislative body, occupying an uncomfortable slot between the House of Lords and the House of Commons.)
Huh. Sure. Angels/demons manifest as mechanicals, a la the Turk. But with … well, I’ll save that.