a dark urban, high-fantasy, steampunk Campaign Setting
fromInspirations for this Campaign Setting:
The tome that you now in your hands, dearest reader, is an agglomeration of many other fine works. Indeed, this is a pastiche in the truest sense, a literary medley with ingredients gathered from far and wide. As the title suggests, Arcanum is a setting of dark urban intrigue, high-fantasy exploration and magic, as well as forray into the grease-smeared, gear- powered world of Steampunk. Let us explore the inspirations for each of these elements below.
The first and most obvious foundation for this setting is the PC game of the same name. Those who booted up their Babbage Engines and played Arcanum will most certainly recognize a great deal of material herein. However, the author has taken many artistic liberties, and much of the information below is new or altered. Therefore, those who have played Arcanum the game are highly encouraged to read Arcanum the campaign setting in order to familiarize themselves with the world presented herein.
One of the most delightful aspects of Steampunk, in this author's opinion, is the atmosphere of gloomy, repressive, urban nightmare. The original Arcanum failed to provide this. Another series of steampunk games—the Thief series—presented this element in masterfully crafted form. The Urban areas in this campaign setting are all highly reminiscent of "The City" of the Thief series. Further, all of the factions and organizations found within those games appear in this setting, including the Pagans, the Order of the Hammer (aka: the Hammerites), and The Keepers.
Another source of the Dark Urban flavor is the Neverwhere franchise by a Mr. Neil Gaiman. Players who have read the novel, the picture periodicals, or who have seen the original moving picture will recognize familiar territory here. That is to say, within the Great Cities of the world of Arcanum, one may delve down deep and discover entire subterranean cities and civilizations undreamed of above.