RPG: The Gas-Lamp World

This is an extract from the supplement, The Gas-Lamp World, for the Gas-Lamp Fantasy Role-Playing Game.

The supplement details all of the nations and geopolitical entities of the world of my gaslamp novels. Not that this is a counter-factual world, and that history is different: in this world the French won the Franco-Prussian War; and the American Civil War ended in an exhausted stalemate, after some eighteen years.

I have tried to do a page or more for each nation, and the book covers everything from Great Britain to Bowditch Island, featured below.


Bowditch Island


Bowditch Island became a British Protectorate in 1889. It is named after an American navigator and explorer, Nathaniel Bowditch, who was one of the first white people to see it. The name was given by the ethnologist Horatio Hale in 1841.

It is located at 171° 15′ West, 9° 25′ South. The island is an atoll, of only about one square mile in total land area. There are a couple of other atolls close by.

When the people on the island were first discovered it was reported that they had no knowledge of fire. There are only about 500 natives on Bowditch Island.

The only export is a little copra.

History: The United States of America originally claimed ownership of Bowditch Island, in 1856. However, due to the long American Civil War it has not been able to follow that claim up. Great Britain claimed the island as a protectorate in 1889.

The London Missionary Society arrived on Bowditch in 1858 and began to convert the islanders to Christianity.

Religion: The natives used to worship a god called Tui Tokelau; there is a coral slab on the island which is supposed to symbolise him. Most islanders are now Christian.

Magick: The current governor of Bowditch Island, Edward Legion, is a hedge wizard of sorts, and practices Magick in his spare time. None of the other Europeans on the island have any mystical affinity; and none of the natives appear to use Magick.

Languages: The official language is English.

Adventures on Bowditch Island: Respect for the Past: A new priest at the mission does not like the coral slab which is supposed to represent Tui Tokelau. He wants it destroyed, as it is supposed to be a Christian land. But the natives are nit keen on this – they think that respect should be shown for the old ways. Meanwhile the governor simply wants this problem resolved – and peacefully.



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