OSR: More Magical Industrial Revolution Tidbits

The book I'm working on, Magical Industrial Revolution, will contain a number of Innovations. You can see the draft of one in this post.

Each Innovation has 6 Stages:

1. Initial Innovation
2. Public Introduction
3. Widespread Adoption
4. Scope Alteration
5. Height of Ambition
6. Terminal Events

Before each session*, the GM will roll 1d6 for each Innovation they wish to include in the campaign (which could be all of them). If the number rolled is equal to or higher than the current Stage, the Innovation advances to the next Stage.

E.g. The Innovation is at Stage 2. The DM rolls a 6; the Innovation advances to Stage 3. 

*or possibly at the start of The Season. I'm still working on downtime rules.

The Age of Power and Wonder


The sum of all the Stages in the game is equal to the Tempo. 
0-10: Tempo 1
11-24: Tempo 2

25+: Tempo 3

Numbers subject to adjustment during testing, of course. There will be a one-page printable tracking sheet.

Tempo is the general pace of life in the city of Endon, the general low-level magical chaos. It's not  tied to any one Innovation, but to all the minor, not-directly-apocalyptic changes to the city that take place as magical industry advances. It will affect the Random Encounter tables, locations, the price of goods and services, etc.

Example Location

1. The River Burl  
[   ] Brown, broad. Raw sewage reek. 3d10 muck-picking Urchins (pg. ##) in any given section. 
[   ] [   ] Slicks of glittering octarine dust. Urchins wear stilts or have leprous, mutated legs. 
[   ] [   ] [   ] All the reeds are dead. Thaumovoric Eels (pg. ##) glide at night, seeking concentrated magic.
Montgomery Thackeray, eel-seller and smuggler, phlemy voice, has a small boat. 
Grey Alice, fortune-teller and muck-raker fence. Sells dredged goods. Knows every recent corpse in the river by description, if not by name.

The [ ] are check boxes for the Tempo. I really want people to write all over this book. Check things off, draw lines, scrawl marginalia. Hopefully copies will be cheap enough, or I'll put on multiple editions, so that collectors can keep a pristine copy for reading and a "working" copy for games.

There will be 50 locations in this format; a convenient number for rolling at random.

Travis Chapman

Example Creature

There will also be a bestiary. Stats will use the same format as my other modules (most recently, The Mysterious Menagerie).

Thaumovoric Eel
In: the River Burl (pg. ##) [Tempo 3], the Curiosity Garden (pg. ##) [Tempo 2]. 

HD: 0 (3 HP)
Appearance: an iridescent slimy eel floating through air like water. Glass teeth.
Wants: to bite magical items and drain their power.
Armour: as leather.
Move: normal (flying)
Morale: 6
Damage: 1d4 bite
The eels will target magic items first, small children and pets second. On a hit, there's a 50% chance the eel drains a magic item of all magical properties and devour the spell inside. Roll a d6. On a 5, the spell is cast on the eel (adjust effects appropriately). On a 6, the eel simply explodes. Their flesh heals 1d6 HP.
Vladimir Malakhovskiy

So... isn't this just Eberron?

From a first glance, it might look like I'm reinventing the wheel. Magitech has been done, sure, but I'm not so sure it's been done like this.

Most settings are fixed, stable things. Institutions are sturdy. Technology is stagnant or predictable. Cities don’t change. A book lists the members of the council, the chief of police, the crime lords; a fixed portrait gallery.

This book isn’t about a setting’s end-point. It’s about a process. It’s the transition between two eras; a late renaissance world of castles, fields, and farmers, and an industrialized world of factories, cities, and power. Progress from one era to another will not be smooth, easy, or linear. The whole thing might explode, collapse, or veer towards madness. I'm trying to make every element of the book play into that sense of change, of turmoil, of things moving towards a tipping point.

So the book is about neither the start or the end of the process. It's about the chaotic change in the middle. It's not a setting. It's a... settling. Or maybe an unsettling.

(That might be a bit too trite, even for me.)


  1. "Unsettling" is nice, I'd go with that!

  2. I think what sets this setting apart is that it has an imminent future, that tipping point that it will actively plummet over with or without the players. That being said, will there be a provision for the players attempting or managing to avert the Apocalypse? Or is the magical Apocalypse no longer a main focus?