Where Do We Go From Here?
So we’ve covered the things that make Gunpowder Fantasy similar to traditional Epic Fantasy, and we’ve covered the Gunpowder aspect of Gunpowder Fantasy, but Gunpowder weapons didn’t develop in a vacuum. Other technologies developed alongside rifles and today we’ll discuss a few of them.
When using Steam in a Gunpowder Fantasy, you’ll want to be careful not to take it too far and wander into Steampunk territory. This would include things like fantastical creations, airships and flying machines.
Steam in a Gunpowder Fantasy will be limited to rail travel. Different levels of advancement in steam power will determine the exact details of your railway, but it’s hard to argue that having railroads won’t have a major impact on how your story develops.
With railroads available to the characters of your world, travel across large distances will be cut down to a fraction of what it would be without steam power and the ability to transport large numbers of soldiers or goods from one side of your world to another will impact the course of your world.
When I was building Zaria, as I had mentioned before, I had initially decided on a much smaller world. But when I decided to use steam power, I realized that in order to keep the extended timeline that I wanted to maintain, I had to make my world much larger.
Steam power on the sea is another element that can have a major impact on your world, if you are so inclined. Steam propulsion led to faster travel over the sea and, eventually, to ironclad ships. If you’ve built a world where the sea is a major part of the story or plot, this can change things significantly.
Where Steam power will allow your characters to travel much faster than in a traditional fantasy, Telegraphy will allow your characters to communicate quicker. The advantages of telegraphy, however, are not without their limitations. Telegraph lines can be cut or, perhaps worse, hijacked to provide false information.
For the nation of Ansgar, having instant communications across the entire nation was actually something that I wanted to limit, so I decided that their telegraph network would be built in independent sections. Riders are needed to carry messages from one network to the other, allowing me to build in a small communication lag that I use later for plot devices.