Saturday, September 14, 2013

Stay Alive!: Gaslight Edition

Years ago I experimented a bit with the 'Savage Worlds' system. Overall, I thought it was an OK game, but it ended up not being totally my cuppa tea. The campaign I played around with in Savage Worlds was the 'Rippers' game, where players were members of a secret organization that fought against monsters that were just rumored to exist.

The basic concept is nothing unique. Television shows like X-Files, Supernatural, and Grimm all had the same basic premise. I did a large amount of work on the background of the campaign I developed, separate from the Rippers campaign.

As I work my way to completion of my Stay Alive! Lite Edition, I included a short section on different types of campaign seeds. I am bringing back all that work I did and calling it Stay Alive!: Gaslight.

Here is the original character creation idea I had when my group was creating their characters for the game. I will implement this in some way into my future Gaslight Edition. My campaign was taking place in 1890's America, so the timeline below is definitely biased towards that angle.

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You can earn some bonus experience by completing a short background on your character. The basic idea here is that in some way, you have had contact with something that goes bump in the night.

Maybe your sister was kidnapped and found dead with some puncture wounds in the neck.

Maybe your parents were killed by an unknown animal attack.

Maybe you yourself encountered something that the authorities dismiss as your active imagination.

Think of something, but keep in mind we are dealing with the early 1890's. As a frame of reference, here is a historical timeline for you to review.

1857 - George Pullman invents the Pullman Sleeping Car for train travel.
1860 - Pony Express begins.
1861 - Confederate States of America (the Confederacy) established in Montgomery, Alabama.
1862 - Richard Gatling patents the machine gun.
1863 - Battle of Gettysburg
1865 - Robert E. Lee surrenders on April 9. The Civil War ends.
1866 - Alfred Nobel invents dynamite.
1867 - Alaska Purchase from Russia
1869 - Golden spike nailed in, completing the First Transcontinental Railroad (North America)
1871 - Great Chicago Fire
1876 - Alexander Graham Bell patents the telephone.
1877 - Thomas Edison invents the cylinder phonograph or tin foil phonograph.
1879 - Thomas Edison invents light bulb.
1885 - Harim Maxim invents the machine gun.
1888 - Nikola Tesla invents the AC motor and transformer.
1890 - Wounded Knee Massacre
1892 - General Electric Company founded
1893 - The Columbian Exposition - Chicago Worlds Fair


  1. While I am picturing the perfect cover for "Stay Alive: The Gaslight Edition," I wonder if there isn't a better name. Alluding to the Gilded Age will also get you past 1900.

    1. Though the other use of the word "gaslighting" (to make someone think that they're crazy) is an awesome and grim allusion to the investigations.

      "Here's a Gaslight case for you Sean." The Chief Inspector says, "We've got two folks up in Bellevue and will have to hold them there for at least a week before they'll stop believing their own eyes."

  2. I am just a bit fascinated with that era after reading 'Devil in the White City' about the 1893 Worlds Fair.

    1. I know the serial killer of which you speak. Definitely one evil mother there.