A must have for steampunk enthusiasts, Steamfunk (http://www.untoldthegame.com/store/steamfunk-untold-mini-campaign-setting) is an original rpg setting that is a mix of traditional steampunk elements stirred up with the trappings of horror, adventure and more. Techno-steam fantasy may be a better descriptor for this genre. The setting was built with the Untold CBRPG™ in mind, but it can be easily adapted to almost any rpg system, as the pdf content provides much more setting fluff than mechanical play. Steamfunk is simple and elegant in its presentation. However, further delving into the content shows that it is a complex setting with lots of potential for different styles of play without changing the setting. Industrial espionage, horror, and exploration all have a place in play with this game.
Steamfunk takes place on the world of Daedalus, a once amazing world enlivened by the technological creations of the industrial giants known as Titans. The advancements in many scientific and engineering disciplines resulted in the creation of the Civilization Engines – the massive motors that run the great cities. But now, after centuries of turmoil and strife among the Titans themselves and the stratified society, the secrets of the Civilization Engines have been lost to time and they are beginning to fail. Add to this the politics of those living above and below the plate the plate that separates the ‘haves’ and the ‘have nots’ (a tried and true steampunk trope) there is the perfect mix of friction and mystery in which to adventure.
Steamfunk provides a complete role playing setting without being tedious in the details. Starting points for the core player races, world geography and background are provided, but there is plenty of room for personal development for GMs that like to shape their own campaigns and story arcs. The GM secrets section gives plenty of food for thought for multiple and diverse play styles. The book also provides a lot of helpful information as you read along, such as additional tasty little tidbits about the setting or potential plot hooks as starting points for play. Steampunk fans will appreciate the descriptions of the great cities and the corporations as quintessential steampunk fodder, but with enough original ideas to keep the setting interesting for exploration and discovery (can anyone say cannon shot travel to the moon?).
The book assumes that the setting races are the core Untold CBRPG™ races re-imagined for the flavor setting, but almost any rules system that supports humans, constructs and animorphs will work. The core races work well in a steampunk theme, as they provide a range of humans, constructs and animorphs that fit steampunk societal stereotypes very well. There are also diverse environs in which to adventure and explore. The great cities and Daedalus’ moon are described in the most detail, but there are plenty of references to other geographic areas of opportunity for play, including the depths of the planet beneath the cities and the wastelands that lie between them. These areas are overlayered by the in-depth descriptions of the major corporations that dominate Daedalus’ economy and their effects on the world.
Mechanically, the book is very user friendly for both players and GMs. The book’s sections are clearly divided and logically presented. These include an explanation of the setting, the world and its history, the main races, and the mighty cities that are powered by the great Civilization Engines. The section on GM Secrets is identified so players know where to leave off (if they want to experience the fun of exploring the world without spoiling the surprises). The one drawback, IMO, is that the page border is too busy and intense - the publisher could have gotten the same amount of text into a lesser page count, but given the price, this does not seem to have had a big impact.
The setting makes great use of the existing card decks, allowing players of Untold CBRPG™ to get more out of their game. For those players of the Untold CBRPG™, there is a section on how to use your existing decks for this setting by re-imagining their trappings. For example, Primal Powers of the Apoc Churl race from the Splintered Serenity base setting of Untold CBRPG™ become the effects on Tradesmen from their long term exposure to the depths of the planet (and maybe something more sinister!). There are also plenty of suggestions on how to incorporate the contents of other Untold decks that provide a lot of ideas on how to make this world an original gaming locale.
Steamfunk has a lot to offer to rpg GMs and players alike and is not limited in appeal to steampunk fans. The creative themes and content presented in this book alone make it worth the price. A worthwhile addition to anyone’s rpg library.