(Also in my blog http://minimrpg.com)
It feels like a merry coincidence, Greg has just released EABA Verne, a steampunkish suplement for his generic role-playing game: EABA. I am not going to compare his efforts to mine; he’s in the major league and EABA Verne shows it. Neither, I am going to claim compatibility: the very reason I decided to go ahead and make my own game was that most, if not all, generic role-playing game rules are not adequate to play heroic children.
Not withstanding the rule system you love, EABA Verne offers a great setting and/or ideas that could be inserted in any steampunkish setting; and improve it. For that alone, it is well worth the price.
As you can imagine, EABA Verne takes inspiration in the works of the French writer; but also from other classic Scifi masters and then integrates them into a coherent world. Every effort has been made to creat a millieu that is fun to play, dream-able, and yet solid and reasonable enough to look plausible to a 40 years old, like me. The publisher prides himself in attention to detail, and I can bear witness to it. I was expecting some vague reference to armour in a world dominated by rifles, but the book speaks of such unknown items as Korean cotton armour, and the somehow better known American Civil War experiments.
This might be the hightide of European domination, but the book does not forget minor powers (like Spain), South America, the Asian nations: notably China and Japan, even Africa receives a section worthy of that name. Mars, Venus, an empty core Earth with morlocks and possibly dinosaurs are all there for the gamemaster to include in his games, or not. There are secret societies, conspiracies and spies; some could have been a rival for Sherlock Holmes.
Steampunk, it’s there, with flying machines and interplanetary vessels, and yet they are rare enough to keep a Victorian world, well Victorian. No super-submarine is going to sink the Royal Navy, unless the gamemaster decides to let loose a Nemo; no airship fleet will bomb London, though one or two might challenge the skies. Mars would remain wild and enigmatic for decades.
Greg has nailed it this time. Well done, master.
[5 of 5 Stars!]