Victorian Sci-Fi Setting help needed

Hello Choice of Games forums!
I’ve been reading interactive novels for quite some time now. Each story is unique and well written, and enjoyable to most. Yesterday, I had a realization. I could use these stories as a way to starch an item off the bucket list: publish a book of some kind. Nothing spectacular, just a small personal project. Perhaps it could take off, perhaps not, but that doesn’t matter if it never sees the light of day.

I have a premise, a Victorian-style Sci-fi novel, but I haven’t a world in which the story can take place. So, I turn to the community for guidance. However, I have a few fundamental rules. Namely, they are:

  1. No Magical/spiritual-powered weapons or items; Only science!
  2. While the novel will be sci-fi, space travel does not exist.
  3. Nations cannot share names with real counties, but can have names similar in theme (i.e Tsaria for a Russian themed nation)
  4. No aliens,orcs,trolls,or monsters of any sort. Only humans as far as races go,

With that, I have no more restrictions. Start pitching idea at you leisure.


Hey! Nice idea, first of all.

What exactly are you looking for, though? Do you need world building as in landmarks and countries, politics, history? Or are you more looking for sci-fi aspects that you can use in your story that, while not going as far as space travel, still go beyond our current technology? So far it sounds a bit like you are looking for a steampunk-esque setting.

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Sounds like steampunk to me, that’s awesome, I want to see more of that!

It seems like you’ve got a good start, with a pretty specific idea of the rules of the world already. I wonder, like @Cirrocumulus, what aspects exactly you are you looking for help with?

I need help with the history, landmarks, countries, etc.

Also, to explain the Sci-fi aspect, most of the technology in this universe would be comparable to steampunk, except for the fact that it’s not powered by steam. Rather, all of the technology is powered by some kind of crystals, with examples of advance technology being a laser musket. I haven’t worked out all the details, but my thinking is that when these crystals are electrified, or put through some sort of process, they allow airships to float.

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Ahh, that sounds really cool actually. If you have crystals that power the technology, you could, perhaps, have a religion based on those crystals. Maybe they are a gift from their God(s), and the common folk tends to handle their technology with very religious care.

You could also have the government be very careful in how they distribute the power of their crystals. Perhaps they want to keep the country at large in a state of only certain technological advancement and thus keep the true power of the crystals hidden.

The whole crystal idea reminds me just the slightest bit of Final Fantasy: Crystal Chronicles. Of course, the premise is completely different, but it gives me this warm fuzzy feeling.


Maybe the crystal energy source is slowly being depleted and a power struggle surrounds control over the dwindling resource?

I like the crystals idea. And I love the idea of a religion sprouting out of their discovery and use.

If the crystals are inherently sensitive to electricity, it could be cool if they interfered with the natural electrical activity in the brain, causing hallucinatory effects. That would open up several possibilities: maybe it becomes a plague of sorts, where people go crazy, and no one really understands that the crystals powering their every day appliances, and all the machinery around them (like the water system) are affecting their brain functions. Maybe it’s only people who are exposed to the crystals long term (miners, scientists, inventors etc) who are affected - makes me think of Marie Curie who was ultimately killed by the radioactivity she was researching. Maybe the crystals get crushed and prepared as drugs for pain medication, and then falls into the hands of the underground drug dealing business.

Do you have a story in mind already, or just the premise? What kind of a scale are you thinking of for the world-building? Will the story be confined to one city for instance, or will it span several different places and countries maybe? That’s important to know because if it’s just one city, then the world building takes on a different aspect, i.e. we focus on gangs or the stuggle between a count and his subjects etc. If it’s a bigger scale, then other countries and their wars may be more relevant than small conflicts. I sense from your posts you’re thinking of something more large scale, with political tensions between nations, is that right?


Alright, I’m back, had to go AFK.

Cirrocumulus, your idea is excellent. The early peoples who discovered the crystals would believe them a gift from the gods, and governments would hide their true power. The religion surrounding the crystals in definitely going to be incorporated,

MD0292, war will be a major part of the novel, don’t you worry about that, but your reason for the war will be taken into consideration.

Sithwist, I will have to think a bit about the plague/radiation-like effects, perhaps as a minor part of the story. Also, I really think I should clarify about my ideas for a plot, but you are right about the story focusing on larger scale matters.

In addition, I’d like to show you all two pictures to illustrate my idea of what war is like in this universe. Not exactly what going through my head, but a good representation.

oh hey clockwork empires cool
so what class of society will we be playing as upper or lower(I vote upper because we can affect the world more plus decadence yay)
I suggest the noble class have Mechs in place of cavalry ( cant have those illiterate peasants have the cool toys)
maybe the whole thing takes place in a Pangea like super continent surrounded by thousands of islands?
judging by the picture this is during pseudo Napoleonic era/industrial revolution

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Lower class i would vote for because we have no say and it would be cool going through the struggles and trying get the opportunity to have the possession of an Crystal. It could be like elysuim how the lower class live without the other stuff that elysuim has. By the way this looks so tough and why not have it were you could do higher or lower depending what path you wabt to take.

either way I think the upper class should be rich decadent 20 course meals fancy gold lined suits marry for money/alliance have harem or concubines for love or lust you know decadence

and the poor should be poor slavery serfdom sweatshops in full swing literacy rare whos main hope for a better life is the army in hopes of surviving the meat grinder of mechs experimental weaponry lightning cannons hellfire artillery rounds crystal mutated war-beasts and the mass of poor shmucks on the other side with the same plan as them and getting to the looting phase of the battle.

as you can see I like grimdark :smiling_imp:

Both your points will be taken into consideration. I’ll have details on possible plot points out tomorrow.

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so about those plot points…

Yeah, I was busy yesterday, but I can post them right now.

What I’ve gotten to far is that the MC is the Son/Daughter of a wealthy merchant. They are raised in a life of luxury until their nation enters a cold war with an opposing empire, wherein the most lucrative shipping lanes are cut of by a blockade. This spirals the MC’s family into bankruptcy. Looking for ways to either A. Help their family, or B. fund their own selfish desires (play choice), the MC joins the navy under a lieutenant’s commission. Of course, since this is a steampunk-ish story, this is a navy comprised of airships. After two chapter’s worth of training, your enemies declare war on your nation, and your sent off for deployment. anything after that may spoil the story. In between all that you’ll get to befriend a drunken scott, preform in a training exercise, meet a female love interest, and attend a large party where things may get hairy. I might also add that as you progress through the story you’ll get promoted and eventually captain your own vessel.
Your thoughts?

overall it sounds like a solid backbone for a story going off to war to find riches is a oldie buy goody.
questions : so is it a Scottish expy or is it a actual Scotsman?
how many love interest choices?
what kind of airship armed blimp thing or some sort of antigravity golden age of sail shtick?
please tell me keel hauling is still a punishment in this world.

The soctt is sadly expy, but he’ll be a close to reality as I can bring him.
I’ve had it in my mind to allow for at least 4-5 romance options, homo and hetero, but need to sharpen my knowledge on good romantic writing.

These ships are essentially modified dreadnought-era and ww1 ships, but some vessels do take advantage of helium balloons, like light scouting craft and some larger vessels that require more than anti-gravity crystals to get off the ground, and all use propellers to accelerate and rudders to change direction.
And to answer your final question… yes, keel hauling IS a punishment in this world, though it isn’t common on airships are there isn’t a whole lot of debris on the hulls of flying vessels, but I’d imagine these ships would make water landings to repair major damage or simply to restock fuel and supplies near naval ports.

Anyway, care if I touch up on the two main factions in this world, along with a few minor ones?

Ok, I need some opinions here.

Alright, after a day of brain storming (and a little help for name gens and Greek dictionaries), I’ve finally come up with some names for the Crystals in the story.

My top picks are: Aerthril, Magnithril, Mithinite, Dillthirium, Defrumanite, Craonyx, Lecriytrium (really like this one), and Posnalt.

Now I need your opinions. Which one is your favorite, or which one could you stand to hear over 1000 time?
I will be making a separate post to see what others think about this. Thank you and have a great day.

Aerthril and Magnithril make me think of names of elves or metal armor in a Tolkienesque setting, so not great for crystals imo. The ones that end in “-ite” or “-ium” bring the crystal idea across better I think.

I like “Defrumanite” best because it’s reminiscent of the Latin word “fumus” which means smoke (Latin based languages still have this root for the word smoke, such as the French “fumée” and Italian “fumo”). And with the “de” in front, it gives the impression of “de-smoked” (i.e. the crystals removed the smoke spewed by machinery when they replaced coal as a fuel source). It’s kinda perfect for a steampunk-like setting, without all the steam, and it tells the story of the crystals in one word. Though I would get rid of the “r” in the word: “Defumanite” (“de-smoke-ite”).

I agree, that does work perfectly! I’ll take that into account. Thank you Sithwist, that helps a lot. Also, I’ve decided the method of how the crystals allow ships to fly. When energized with electricity at varying voltages, the crystals conform to the planet’s magnetic fields. Depending on the voltage, the magnetic strength of crystal increases and decreases, changing altitude. Does that sound reasonable?

No problem, I like it when the names of things have an actual meaning behind them, adds a little realism imo.

I’m no scientific expert, someone else can probably advise you better on how the crystals could allow the airships to float. I think the magnetic field idea has potential, but then the question is where does the electricity come from, how is it generated? Also, I wonder if the magnetic properties of the crystals will mess with the electrical systems because of electromagnetic induction, causing surges that make the airships unpredictable and uncontrollable. But again, I don’t really know what I’m talking about here.

It really depends how scientifically accurate you want to be, and how much of that you want to describe in your game. I’m willing to suspend disbelief if you don’t attempt to explain the phenomenon in detail, and just say something vague like you just did. It would make sense that a navy officer MC wouldn’t know or care how it works exactly, as long as it works. A character like that might not even try to understand the inventor/mechanic’s jargon, and you could safely throw in some terms and gloss over it.