Megaplex 2012: Turning Back the Gears

What is Steampunk?

Some say Steampunk is simply "when geeks do goth", but understandably that does not tell you very much.  A more precise definition is that Steampunk is a fantasy genre where stories, characterizations, and roleplay are built around three common threads:

  • Use of elements from the Victorian period (the mid-to-late 1800's)
  • Use of anachronistic technology (modern technology used in a time frame before it was invented)
  • Exploration of alternate timelines (e.g. a world where the South won the Civil War)

From these threads we get the common tropes of Steampunk: Victorian clothing shapes and styles, corsets and bustles (for women), Victorian hats and goggles, boots (lace-up especially), unique anachronistic gadgets, air ships, and colonialism.

If you want to create a Steampunk character or adapt one of your existing personas to be more Steampunk, a good place to start is with a well defined Steampunk occupation for the character.  Common Steampunk occupations include professor, tinker, doctor, musician, busker, etc., but any Victorian era job can be a good basis for a Steampunk occupation. Many Steampunk occupations are actually a cross between a real Victorian occupation and some form of fantasy, such as jobs relating to building and running Air Ships.

Once you've picked your occupation, come up with an outfit for your character that fits the occupation and utilizes Victorian clothing shapes and styles.  Steampunk is not about replicating Victorian clothing exactly, but coming up with new designs based on those shapes and styles.  Don't forget about unique gadgets that your character might utilize - the more unique the better. Steampunk characters usually have a large collection of gadgets that they carry with them since a common theme in Steampunk characters is self-reliance.

If you need ideas, there are lots of Steampunk resources available on the web.  Here are a couple of links that should be especially helpful: