The background to my Great Game is a merging of S.M. Stirling’s world from the Peshawar Lancers coupled with elements from the timeline described in Wessex Games Aeronef Rules. The countries left to play the Great Game are those that I felt provided an interesting combination of Aeronefs, Land Ironclads and ground forces. I am therefore planning on using the British Empire; the Empire of the French; Germany; Russia and finally, the Japanese Empire. This makes it a five-sided conflict. Perhaps at some point in the future I’ll consider adding Mars or some other æther -based opponent to the group above.
Well, the timeline, such as it is, is a combination of Stirling’s tale and the timeline presented in the Aeronef rules. Within Peshawar, there was a cataclysmic event (the Event) in the past, sometime during the 19th Century. It is appealing to have that event the collision of a comet with the Earth during the reign of Victoria and sometime briefly after the Franco-Prussian War – between 1870 and 1900. As a result of the comet’s collision, Europe has become almost uninhabitable with long, cold winters and a very short growing season. This has resulted in the movement of the Great Powers from Europe to elsewhere. A further result of the Event, North America was also weakened and in a brief war with Japan, was defeated and subsumed into the Japanese Empire.
Before the Event, the timeline was similar to that presented in the Aeronef rules, with powers growing and expanding and attempting to carve empires for themselves in Africa, South America and through Asia. In the mid 19th Century, dirigibles were invented and used for lifting objects, such as gondolas, from the ground. These were coupled with the steam engine in 1852 and the electric motor in 1883 for propulsion. In 1886 Professor Hartley Rennick separated energy into positive and negative energy. This leads him to identifying the likely location of Repulsive material – or Repulsive Gravitrons.
In 1887 the æther is identified by American scientists to be followed in 1889 by the discovery of the conversion technique to convert ordinary matter to R-Matter – matter that is repulsive. This enables the lifting and movement of larger flying machines (Aeronefs) and results in a second round of rapid expansion of the areas under the control of the Great Powers as they seek material to convert to R-Matter.
Other inventions in this period also included fixed wing aircraft which have since been employed flying from various Aeronef and the alternating current motor.
Then the Event occurred.
As a result of the Event, there was a period of almost anarchy and realignment as the Great Powers attempted to preserve their domain and their position at a time when their populations were starving and where many areas of Europe and North America were reduced to wastelands. As life started to return a little more towards normal the Great Powers have set themselves in the following areas:
- Britain (and the Empire – India, Australia and South Africa) is centred on India. Canada was lost to the Japanese in the Great Northern Invasion.
- France (and her holdings) are now located in North Africa and attempting to build an empire again.
- Germany absorbed the crowns of Italy and Austro-Hungary around the time of the event and located itself in Central and Western Africa.
- Russia found that Moscow and St Petersburg was uninhabitable with the extreme cold that came after the event and so moved the centre of the Empire to Almaty in Central Asia, bringing that centre closer to the British.
- Japan took advantage of the confusion after the event to overrun areas of China and South-East Asia, being held by the British Empire on the Peninsula north of Penang. The Japanese also fought a war with America initially over the suzerainty of the Philippines, eventually invading North America and bringing the Americans into the Japanese Empire.
These then are the basic empires that make up the world of Peshawar.