We're still hard at work on the Third Edition of Victoriana, a favourite with gamers and Cubicle 7 staffers alike. We've again dragged Victoriana Line Developer Walt Ciechanowski away from his keyboard to answer some more questions.
Hi Again Walt!
So in Victoriana 3rd Edition each section is referred to as a book. We’re going to take a look at the first of these “books” from The Victoriana corebook: The Encyclopaedia Victoriana.
What can we find within The Encyclopaedia Victoriana?
This book is an overview of the Victoriana world. It’s written from the point of view of a denizen of that world, the Countess Lyonnesse, who has compiled various articles and notes about the world. Included are articles on technology and magic (and their relationship to each other), encyclopaedia entries on the major religions (and demons!), and society. We’ve also included a pocket gazetteer of the world circa 1856, which has several divergences from our own.
So it’s a kind of gazetteer to the Victoriana world? Interesting decision to put that right at the front of the book?
Exactly. As with previous editions of Victoriana, we wanted to tell prospective Gamesmasters and players right up front what the world is about, so that by the time you get to the mechanics of the game you have a good grounding of the unique elements of Victoriana’s world. There are no secrets embedded, we’d hope that all players at a gaming table can get familiar enough with the world to decide what type of campaign they wish to play (and choose an appropriate Association).
We assumed that the Gamesmaster is familiar with real Victorian history (or can easily surf that up) so we’ve highlighted the things that make Victoriana unique. With the third edition, we took a holistic view; we broke down all of the bits and pieces of Victoriana and made sure they worked well together. We’ve tweaked the cosmology and highlighted how magic and science interact as well as their relationship to the social classes.
Whilst Victoriana is based in something close to our world, and our history what are some of the key differences?
This time around we took the conceit that the various ‘fantastical’ elements of Victoriana tended to cancel each other out so that history basically follows the course we know (so that Gamesmasters can do research more easily) but there are some changes. In our world, the Crimean War was wrapped up in the early months of 1856. In Victoriana, the war has been going in Russia’s favour and shows no sign of ending. Across the Pond America is more divided, with the Republic of Texas never joining the United States and a powerful Comancheria roaming the Great Plains. In the East Indies the British and Dutch East India Companies are far more powerful and in the midst of an unofficial corporate war with each other.
There’s a lot more; we hope that Gamesmasters reading the gazetteer get lots of inspiration for adventures!
Tell us about religion in the world of Victoriana - how does it differ to our world?
Religion can be a touchy subject, especially in a world where angels physically answer prayers and old gods still walk the earth. Victoriana has always used fictional religions that better fit its cosmology, but the analogues are familiar enough that they seamlessly replace real world religions. Ultimately, Victoriana is a world that struggles between Entropy and Order (the former supported by magic and the latter by science) and its religions reflect that.
So we know Victorian society was highly divided by class. Is that reflected in Victoriana, and how does that feed into gaming opportunities?
Victoriana’s struggle between Entropy and Order filters neatly into the social classes. The aristocracy, bound by tradition that is remembered by the long-living Eldren, thrives on magical convenience while the upstart bourgeoisie, the middle class, is enamoured with the steam-driven marvels that they believe puts them on a more equal footing with their betters. The lower class, unfortunately, merely traded servitude on farms for the aristocracy to long hard hours in dirty factories for the bourgeoisie. In Victoriana, one should have little trouble determining a stranger’s social class even from across the street.
While previous editions highlighted the tension between classes, Third Edition goes a couple steps further. Reputation is further developed and class-dependent, while Associations guide the adventurers to particular social classes. We’ve also shifted around the adventurer creation steps so that a player’s decisions regarding her decisions about her adventurer’s background determine her social class rather than the other way around.
Thanks again for this insight into the new edition of Victoriana!
Thank you again for the opportunity to speak about it a bit more! We’re really looking forward to its release!
We'll be back with more questions, and a more in-depth look at what we can expect to see in the new edition in the very near future!