Tuesday, 25 December 2007

Hive, Queen and Country

After seeing this Yahoo group advertised sat TMP, I went to check it out. These guys are developing a VSF setting for wargaming and RPG and these are some of their fascinating background notes:

Hive, Queen and Country

In 1891 the Sun never sets upon the British Empire. It is an empire that spans four worlds; an empire won by accident as much as by design, its expansion founded upon faith in the ideals of a nation. With the latest innovations of technology the British flag and imperial way of life have been established on all the continents of Earth, the craters of Luna, Canals of Mars and the seas and islands of Venus. Imperialism has been propelled forward (but also sometimes reined in) by the forceful personalities of powerful men and women. In scientific, social, and political thought, mercantile and technological achievement The Empire is the most advanced human organization in the solar system. In the spring of 1891 it is to meet another society, one that doesn’t have the engineering skills of Babbage and Brunel, the writings of Tennyson or Byron or the social philosophies of Gladstone. The Hive has but one thing. The Hive has hunger.


The Focus of the Campaign

Hive Queen and Country Campaign sourcebook primarily centers on the military efforts of the First Hive War. The efforts of the Imperial forces to contain and then destroy the Hive, an alien race of terrible ferocity and hunger, take place between the early spring of 1891 and the late summer of 1892. The Hive is an alien super-organism, a group of creatures like a colony of ants or termites magnified uncounted millions of times. Introduced from off-world into Victorian England the Hive is genetically programmed to feed, eating any bio-mass it encounters, and use that bio-mass to breed more hive members. Each successive generation is better able to thrive in local conditions. The Hive will feast and grow until it becomes large enough to make additional hives, undergoing fission like a single celled. The process will begin all over. The aliens will cover the entire Earth unless they are stopped. The only remnant of earthly flora and fauna will be those species the invaders have chosen to raise in their gardens, like the fungi grown by leafcutter ants. The desperate military actions of HM forces are set against the larger background of a Victorian Era in which space travel is far more common then it is in our current era. The Great Powers, which competed so stiffly against each other for rule of Earth have all the inner planets on which to shoulder the White Man’s Burden. Before the rediscovery of Aerolyth, the contra-gravitational mineral, the Victorian era was one of rapid technological advances. Giving Victorian engineers the challenges of designing for vehicles first for aerial navigation and then space flight and the rigors of interplanetary travel was like throwing rocket fuel on a bonfire. A period of amazing growth has pushed forward the limits of human knowledge and engineering ability at an unprecedented rate.


Worlds of Hive Queen and Country

The Victorian period is one of immense progress in all fields of human endeavor; strides were made in every science, the value of human life validated as never before. Entire regions of the planet were explored, mapped, and exploited. Yet for all that was done there was much that was nearly done or left unfinished. The tradition of speculative fiction, both hard science fiction and what we now call techno-thrillers began in the Victorian Era as people rode a wave of change that made them look even farther into the future. Hive, Queen and Country takes place in a world where many of those “might have beens” became everyday realities. Where not only do great ocean liners ply the seas and vast airships cruise the sky but huge astral liners the airless darkness between the planets. It is a world, or worlds, that have the bright stamp of a human race that is vigorous, powerful, and above all hopeful for the future. It also has ancient races that are steeped in darkness and filled with hatred and envy of the Earthmen and what they represent. It is this evil, this fear, and hatred that will challenge the British Empire as never before. The worlds of Hive, Queen and Country diverges from our history in several places, firstly in 1830 when Babbage’s Difference Engine becomes a working reality and forever changes the way that mathematical data is developed, handled and stored. Next comes John Lubbock’s accidental rediscovery of Aerolyth in 1865 on the Salisbury Plain, which allowed conquest of the air ocean above the Earth’s surface. These two events lead directly to the colonization of the solar system by the Great Powers. After reaching the limits of the atmosphere the great powers looked to the vast reaches of interplanetary space for new realms to conquer. They found them in Earth’s nearest celestial neighbors, Luna, Venus, and Mars. The rockets of Hale and Mendeleyev-Konstantino and then the Etheric Engines of Ewing-Stuart gave them the tools they needed. By 1891 colonies of Earthmen stood on the Moon, Venus and Mars. Everywhere they went they found marvels and surprises. The new worlds were jewels in the crown of empire, Mars a dazzling ruby, Venus a vast opal. The moon is a dull lump of coal, but no less valuable for its lack of beauty. The race for the new worlds had begun in earnest in 1873. By 1880 men and women were living, working, and dieing on all three of the other planets. Each had their own treasures, but each also had its own ways of killing. http://games.groups.yahoo.com/group/Hivequeen/

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An exploration of debauchery, vice and other reasons to be a man!

An exploration of debauchery, vice and other reasons to be a man!