For the past few months, I've been writing Secrets of Aetherium, the Weird Science sourcebook for Ravaged Earth.
Secrets of Aetherium is unlike anything else I've written. Focusing specifically on scientific developments in the early 20th Century after mankind discovers the Martian Metal known as Aetherium, the book chronicles technological developments as they might have been. Creating alternate history is fun, if not challenging. You have to plan where your altered timeline deviates from the actual one, and develop any after-effects caused by monkeying around with history.
What would have happened if, after the War of the Worlds, the world's governments found an extraterrestrial element capable of almost miraculous feats? Our technological development would rocket lightyears ahead. Coupled with the futuristic vision of early 20th Century dreamers (when futurism wasn't a whimsical fantasy of anticipating ahead), technology would bequeath the 1930s orbital rockets, rayguns and levitating cars.
Dieselpunk, in all its oily, rivet-covered glory, would be ours.
This is the world of Ravaged Earth; a grimy, yet optimistic world of dashing sky pirates in massive airships, jetpacks and clunky robots, all anchored by the sensibilities of the 1930s.
Secrets of Aetherium will explore the social and ethical ramifications of exploiting the New Science. As scientists and inventors push the boundaries of what can be done, how far is too far? With these boundless vistas ahead, where mankind is limited only by imagination and resources, what's stopping a megalomaniac from creating death rays or a squadron of killer robots?
The answer is, the heroes.
Though I don't like discussing specifics of a product while in development, I can say Secrets of Aetherium will contain everything you need to play a pulpy scientist and inventor. Plumb the depths of Aetherium in your own private lab, or join the Institute for Modern Scientific Research, a consortium of like-minded, altruistic gadgeteers. Be one of three new races (Hybrid-Martian, Robot or Super Simian). Select from new Edges and Hindrances, vehicles and over 40 Weird Science gadgets and gizmos. The book also has rules for constructing robots and rocket ships, and a Plot-Point campaign.
Needless to say, it's an abundant amount of material to create and edit. My ultimate goal is to have the book completely written before summer's end, say in August. Most likely, writing will be placed on a temporary hiatus while I move in late July. Once I finally settle into my new digs, I'll continue working on Secrets of Aetherium.
Other Ravaged Earth news: I completed work on four one-sheet adventures which are winging their way through the editing process. There's also a New York City guidebook and Ravaged Tale also going through edits.