Contributor Spotlight: Marvels of Science and Steampunk

Victoriana Line Developer Walter Ciechanowski:
Marvels of Science and Steampunk
is Victoriana’s guide to the wonders of the steam age. I’ve been looking forward to this book for quite some time and I was extremely fortunate and gratified to have two authors of Victoriana’s first edition, Chad Bowser and Scott Rhymer, return to add new depth to this fascinating world.


To celebrate its release I’ve asked Chad and Scott a few questions about the game and their work on this book.

Tell us a little bit about your background and your gaming experience?

Chad: I've been roleplaying since I bought a copy of the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 2nd Editon Player's Handbook in 1989. Like a lot of players, D&D served as my gateway game. Everything changed when I played Pendragon in 1991 and discovered historical gaming. Since then, my preferred genre of gaming has been historical gaming. If I can mix horror in with my historical gaming, I'm even happier.

My first published work was a Call of Cthulhu scenario that appeared in Demonground. It was a scenario I'd written several years back and play tested the heck out of. Not long after that was accepted I started working on material for the first edition of Victoriana.

Scott: I've been gaming since around 1980. I tend toward science fiction and modern espionage games, but in 1989, Space: 1889 came out and I become a massive Victorian-period fan. Enough so I took a PhD in history, specializing in the era. I've written for a few companies here and there -- mostly doing Victorian-period games like Victoriana.

How did you first become involved with Victoriana?

Chad: How's that for a segue? As a fan of historical gaming, I kept my eyes open for games sent in a historical or pseudo-historical earth. I saw a listing for Victoriana on Amazon and did a quick web search for the publisher. I ordered a copy and enjoyed what I read. Not long after, I pitched an idea to the publisher and he accepted.  That quickly led to several other Victoriana related projects.

Scott: I had been corresponding with John Tuckey in the early days of Victoriana's development. He read my novel Cawnpore (available on any e-reader market!) and he took me on, first as the interstitial material writer, then as lead writer for The Smoke.


Did you follow Victoriana into the second edition?
Chad: I did follow Victoriana into the second edition. Not only was I glad that the game wasn't just going to disappear into the annals of gaming history, but I was very pleased to see that the second edition built upon the first edition and improved the game in many ways.  While the rules might have changed I felt the details that made Victoriana unique were preserved nicely.

Scott: Originally, I had not -- I had lost touch with the game during the Heresy-to-Cubicle 7 transition, but when Walt dropped me a line to ask if I wanted to work for the title again, I jumped at the chance.


What attracted you to writing for Marvels?
Chad: I've been a fan of steam punk since before steam punk was cool. 😉 I was incorporating steam punk elements into my D&D game back in the late 80s, even though I didn't know it was called steam punk at the time. It wasn't until I read Castle Falkenstein that I knew what my strange obsession with Victorian era machinery that didn't quite exist was called. Couple that with an interest in the history of science and the offer to write for Marvels of Science and Steampunk was too good to pass up.

Scott: I liked that we were finally bringing the steam and clockwork into the setting. I felt the game needed a more speculative fiction feel over the magic and monsters of the first edition.


What did you enjoy writing about most in Marvels?
Chad: If I could only pick one, I would have to go with the chapter on the automata; especially the guidelines allowing characters to build their own.  But that would leave out a lot of the creepy melding of magic and machinery that happens in a later chapter. OK, I admit it; the entire book is full of great ideas for both players and GMs.

Scott: I got to work on new mechanics for inventions and vehicles. I love a good car chase.


Any parting thoughts?

Chad: I just want to thank everybody who's bought, read, played, or commented on the various Victoriana books. Without you, there would be no game to write for!

Scott: Just to enjoy the game!


Thank you, Chad and Scott! Marvels of Science and Steampunk is set for release in April.


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