My players' second choice for a campaign style has become my first choice for a location to develop. A few wanted to play in a steampunk setting with Sci-Fi elements. The writings of H.G. Wells and Jules Verne immediately jumped to mind, having been written in that particular era. So, while the locals probably call their world Earth (hence the "lka" abbreviation below, meaning "locally known as"), the Odyssey Teams will likely call it by the nickname "Verne". Here's a brief overview of Verne:
Verne, lka Earth (72, 55, 48, 28, -7, 0): Standard gravity; Standard atmosphere; Wet world; Population 1,516,025,314 (99%+ human); Balkanized government; Pre-stellar technology; Futuristic, Victorian, Steampunk.
The Earth variant known as Verne shares much in common with the Victorian Era of our Earth, with two primary exceptions. First, their Earth is being invaded by the inhabitants of their Mars. Second, much of the advanced technology possessed by the locals is based on an unusual mixture of steam power and alien technology. At the point of Odyssey Prime's first contact with Verne, the Martians have already established their initial beachhead on the Earth's surface, and the people of Verne have managed to fight them to a standstill using technology reverse-engineered from captured Martian tech and powered by steam.
In order to generate the coordinates, I've written a small script that will generate a string of five numbers that represent a range from -100 to 100, followed by a final number that ranges from -5 to 5. This final number determines the basic quantum level of the dimension, and can impact the difficulty of properly aiming a portal safely to that dimension. The rest, actually, is just window dressing, but helps to give flavor to the setting. In game, they reference the first five dimensions of some esoteric parallel universe theory, probably called the Kuroyoshi Many-Worlds Variant, from which the Sherman Ring automatically extrapolates to determine the final coordinates. The quantum level determines a more substantial resonance level, which the techs call a dimension's quantum level. This number could number into the same range as the first five values in theory, but practically, no one has ever returned from anything beyond five values higher or lower than the baseline that is our universe.
For the record, the coordinates of our universe are (0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0). Of course, that's an artificial designation for a specific setting within the Sherman Ring. Other portals, including Sherman Rings found elsewhere, will not be base-lined to the same point of origin as our own. Extreme caution should be taken when initiating a window between worlds from a portal device that is not of our own construction.
Verne has the distinction of being the first destination that the player-characters will visit. It offers all the usual stuff that a first adventure should: fun and excitement, strong campaign flavor, and at least three different options for adventuring in the future. In addition, at least two of the big villains from the Hall of Infamy will be referenced in a meaningful way. And yes, the characters should find the gate map over the course of that first adventure. The map gives them potential locations and destinations, which gives them opportunities to just explore the wilderness, if that's their choice.
Before I can really get too deep into campaign development, I really think I need to figure out the basic Hall of Infamy. Who are my major bad guys, and what are their goals within the context of the campaign setting? That will be the focus of my next post or two.