World with a technology level above or equal to present day but where the means is lower. Where Dr. Frankenstein who uses a lab to artificlally generate a human being. The creation of the human is not posible today but the lab is primitive. Often considered as Science Fiction anno 1920.
Alot of the steampunk worlds are considered to have a magical aspect build in to them. Often with a repulsive effect on eachother. If you are technological you have a bad magical afinity, and vice versus. As it is in the world of Arcanum: Of Steamworks and Magick Obscura. In Iron Kingdoms is it the other way arround, steam tech and magical abilities is combined to make powerfull weapons and giant steam jacks
What Makes Steampunk
The smokey streets, in the evenings where the world is lid pourly from either gas lamps or oil burning to keep the streets lit up. The streets are full of people walking, riding or driving with stage coaches. In some worlds even bicycles are populating the metropols. The center of transportation is the train. And the harbour is fill with sailboats beacuse in most cases the steamengines isn't developed enough to support long travels.
Most items are made of brass, glimmering golden in the black-brown bricks covering buidings colored by the new developed industry. Steam engines running the mills and the cloth factories. But as soon as you get out from the towns the farms is still running the old fashioned way where the plow is pulled by bulls.
Most of the culture in steampunk is set to the norms of our own world anno 1890-1910. Where steam was the main means of transportation, the industrial development was in it's high course.
That means that the clothes people are wearing and the behaviour of people, originates from the same age. People are polite. The gentle man still exist. Open doors, and ladies bow with their tall hats and wide skirts.
Beside fantastic elements in a steam era world there is often added a bit of fantasy to complement the magical effect. That means the races that you usually see in fantasy genres allso appears in steampunk games.
Classic steampunk outfit. The man in west and the woman in a skirt. With hats, and flyer goggles. In this case a bit western inspired.
The steampunk dress code is distinct, because it shows sign of civilisation, compared to fantasy roleplay. It got a bit of leftovers from the Renaissance. But adds the aspect from the 1920 in to it. The style we all have seen from the old Sherlock Homes movies.
In Times Of War
In times of war the most common weapon is still the Sword and other primitive steel weapons. Even though the Blackpoweder Weapons i getting somewhat developed, they are still low on power. Which still makes the medieval armors effective.
At parties or major events men dresses up in suits or tuxedo, wearing formal clothing. Woman wear large silk or satin dresses, with tight corsets and liftet buts. The general dressing style is victorian. Dependend on the setting the ornaments changes, but the genral clothing is inspired from the 1700-1800.
Feel free to participate.
Because of the advancement of technology and the beginning of firearms, medival armor is about to be deprecated, though some still hang on to plate armor because of the expensive gunpowder, and the long reload time, sword is more effective (if the gunner misses). Leather is due to it's roughness and cheap aqusition have been extreamly popular. That include woman. Who have an tendency to wear corset, most roleplay systems supports females wears corset either per default, or by selecting an additional feat or skill, (some incudes negative stamina due to the lowered ability to breath).
Steampunk have developed in alot of ways, some people thought the world of steam was a bit too low tech. And added a bit more aspect to it. So called Diesel punk, where the world is moved forward from steam engines to combustion. Makes it posible to add aspects such as flying machines and cars in to the picture. It is often set in the 1920's.
Though where steampunk have won everyones heart, dieselpunk never won through to the people. Neither have it been rejected.
Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow - Movie from 2004.
Crimson Skies: High Road to Revenge - Computer game 2003.
MTV. Steampunk article An interesting article from MTV with some rational point of view about steampunk.
Steampunkworkshop An amazing website about how to make present day technology romatic by making appear in the late 1800 beginning 1900 looks.
Other examples of Steampunk
Steampunk have shown it self in alot of places. Here is a list of some places where steampunk can be found, either in total or in small parts.
Wild Wild West - The huge mechanical spider.
The golden compas - Flying ships, technoligical transportation.
League of Extraordinary Gentlemen - Alot of aspects from old stories, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Nemos submarine.
The Time Machine - Well ... a primitive time machine.
Frankenstein - Animation of a crafted human body.
Stardust - The Airship and General clothing, along with magic in a victorian world.
Arcanum: Of Steamworks and Magic Obscura
Rise of Legends