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    Default Re: Vespuccia [Alt-America, Circa 1750]

    Quote Originally Posted by Admiral Squish View Post
    As for fey vs. outsider. I like outsider more than fey, honestly. The racial HD are much more powerful, more fitting to what I think of when I think of the power of spirits.
    Yeahhhhh... Fey have such a weak HD. Blah.
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    Default Re: Vespuccia [Alt-America, Circa 1750]

    We'll just put meteoric iron on the backburner.

    I've been working on and off on the Shaman and Zealot base classes. So far, they're both essentially gish-warlocks, using the Druid and Cleric spell lists, respectively, as the basis for their invocations. I'm trying to come up with ways of making them more unique, playable classes.

    Firstly: Do we NEED a zealot class? I originally was making it to fix the weakness of the paladin class, but now that I've gone looking, the pathfinder paladin is much more usable than the 3.5 version. There are still some things I'd like to change, but I don't know if it's strictly necessary anymore, you know?

    As for other issues of class, I think that, perhaps instead of making a list of acceptable classes, we instead make a list of unacceptable classes. Things too divergent from the setting we're making to fit properly. Some get replacements, others become just forbidden outright.
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    Default Re: Vespuccia [Alt-America, Circa 1750]

    Quote Originally Posted by Admiral Squish View Post
    As for other issues of class, I think that, perhaps instead of making a list of acceptable classes, we instead make a list of unacceptable classes. Things too divergent from the setting we're making to fit properly. Some get replacements, others become just forbidden outright.
    The problem with making a list only of unacceptable classes is that you might end up with weird splatbook classes that people can legitimately claim are allowed. That might be less of a problem with Pathfinder, though.

    Of course, if we make a list of the only allowed classes, we're theoretically banning setting-appropriate homebrew, but people would already be homebrewing and could just use common sense and insert their new class onto the list for use in their own campaign (essentially, homebrew-alter the list slightly).
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    Default Re: Vespuccia [Alt-America, Circa 1750]

    Quote Originally Posted by Frathe View Post
    The problem with making a list only of unacceptable classes is that you might end up with weird splatbook classes that people can legitimately claim are allowed. That might be less of a problem with Pathfinder, though.

    Of course, if we make a list of the only allowed classes, we're theoretically banning setting-appropriate homebrew, but people would already be homebrewing and could just use common sense and insert their new class onto the list for use in their own campaign (essentially, homebrew-alter the list slightly).
    You have a point.

    We could cobble together a list and say that these are, essentially, the 'core classes' of this world.
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    Default Re: Vespuccia [Alt-America, Circa 1750]

    Quote Originally Posted by Admiral Squish View Post
    You have a point.

    We could cobble together a list and say that these are, essentially, the 'core classes' of this world.
    I would hazard against going any farther than that. Leave the rest do DM discretion.
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    Default Re: Vespuccia [Alt-America, Circa 1750]

    Quote Originally Posted by BRC View Post
    I would hazard against going any farther than that. Leave the rest do DM discretion.
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    Default Re: Vespuccia [Alt-America, Circa 1750]

    I think that a list of accepted core classes would be better than a list of forbidden ones. We want to get players and DMs thinking about how much fun they're going to have in Vespuccia, not what they aren't allowed to do, just because we said so.

    For the record, I'd like to see zabbarot's Medicine Man class on the list of core classes, even if the list of rituals is still incomplete. The stats are good, they just need their powers sorted out. Besides, we can hardly have a North America-style setting without medicine men (and women), and I'm not sure that simply reflavoring Shamans will suffice. Though Shamans are certainly appropriate to the setting, especially in Tuniitaq.

    ...And while we're on the subject, I'd also like to ask about prestige classes. Someone mentioned a coureur de bois PrC earlier, and I think that's a great idea. If I may, I'd also like to suggest that the Iroquois False Face Society be a PrC, too. It might not hurt to have PrCs for Her Radiant Majesty's Imperial Guard, her Whisperers Guild, and her Assassins' Fraternity as well.

    One of my friends actually drafted a PrC called Méiyǒu Míngchēng, "The Nameless Ones": they're a group of Imperial assassins who give up their names and "die" upon joining the order (they get mourned by their families and everything), because a dead person can't really "do" anything, and hence can't get bad karma for it. Essentially, they're Chinese-style ninja assassins, who know for a fact that they won't go to Diyu for their actions, no matter how heinous they may be, because they were already dead to begin with.

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    Default Re: Vespuccia [Alt-America, Circa 1750]

    Quote Originally Posted by SuperDave View Post
    ...a PrC called Méiyǒu Míngchēng, "The Nameless Ones": they're a group of Imperial assassins who give up their names and "die" upon joining the order (they get mourned by their families and everything), because a dead person can't really "do" anything, and hence can't get bad karma for it. Essentially, they're Chinese-style ninja assassins, who know for a fact that they won't go to Diyu for their actions, no matter how heinous they may be, because they were already dead to begin with.
    This seems like they would be UnDead, in DnD terms.
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    Default Re: Vespuccia [Alt-America, Circa 1750]

    Quote Originally Posted by SuperDave View Post
    For the record, I'd like to see zabbarot's Medicine Man class on the list of core classes, even if the list of rituals is still incomplete. The stats are good, they just need their powers sorted out. Besides, we can hardly have a North America-style setting without medicine men (and women), and I'm not sure that simply reflavoring Shamans will suffice. Though Shamans are certainly appropriate to the setting, especially in Tuniitaq.

    ...And while we're on the subject, I'd also like to ask about prestige classes. Someone mentioned a coureur de bois PrC earlier, and I think that's a great idea.
    Haha, I guess I should finish that... And I think it was me that mentioned the courier de bois when I was rambling about culture being a good prc prerequisite.

    Edit: For the list of recommended classes would it make sense to give some base classes culture prerequisites?
    Last edited by zabbarot; 2013-03-18 at 11:00 AM.

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    Default Re: Vespuccia [Alt-America, Circa 1750]

    Quote Originally Posted by zabbarot View Post
    Haha, I guess I should finish that... And I think it was me that mentioned the courier de bois when I was rambling about culture being a good prc prerequisite.

    Edit: For the list of recommended classes would it make sense to give some base classes culture prerequisites?
    You should definitely finish that class, because I REALLY wanna use it, but I can't until it's finished...

    Hmm. I dunno, the idea I'd had for culture was more specific than that. I suppose I could divide the cultures up into regions, too.

    I could just make a set of 'core classes' that apply to every region, then include a set of more-specific classes in each area's post. Like, put Swordsage and Wu Jen into Fusang's post.
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    Default Re: Vespuccia [Alt-America, Circa 1750]

    Quote Originally Posted by Admiral Squish View Post
    You should definitely finish that class, because I REALLY wanna use it, but I can't until it's finished...

    Hmm. I dunno, the idea I'd had for culture was more specific than that. I suppose I could divide the cultures up into regions, too.

    I could just make a set of 'core classes' that apply to every region, then include a set of more-specific classes in each area's post. Like, put Swordsage and Wu Jen into Fusang's post.
    I stepped back from the Medicine Man for a bit to read through all the Pathfinder classes. I haven't actually played Pathfinder, but I realized I really like the Pathfinder Sorcerer Bloodlines. Also I realize I was aiming really low with power level, since like 5 of the bloodlines give you the ability to cast wish once a day for free.

    Actually before we move on to Atzatlan can we really nail down the Spirit world? That info would really help me finish up.

    I didn't mean that it should be the only thing culture did, just another little thing. It adds a bit of flavor. Like what you suggested with the Swordsage.

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    Default Re: Vespuccia [Alt-America, Circa 1750]

    Quote Originally Posted by zabbarot View Post
    I stepped back from the Medicine Man for a bit to read through all the Pathfinder classes. I haven't actually played Pathfinder, but I realized I really like the Pathfinder Sorcerer Bloodlines. Also I realize I was aiming really low with power level, since like 5 of the bloodlines give you the ability to cast wish once a day for free.

    Actually before we move on to Atzatlan can we really nail down the Spirit world? That info would really help me finish up.

    I didn't mean that it should be the only thing culture did, just another little thing. It adds a bit of flavor. Like what you suggested with the Swordsage.
    Woah, really? I was not aware of that. I really need to look into this thing.

    Actually, I think our next step was agreed to be Tuniitaq. But then, that was before we had the spirit world as a whole option of it's own.

    Okay, I think we probably have enough on the native lands and the plains in general to move along to the next area. I'll double-check, to make sure we haven't missed anything, but I think it's about time we have a proper vote on where to go next. It's been suggested we go to Tuniitaq, since it's the first chronological change, but the spirit world's also important to every area we would work on. I leave the choice to you fine folks.
    Last edited by Admiral Squish; 2013-03-18 at 11:13 PM.
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    Default Re: Vespuccia [Alt-America, Circa 1750]

    I heartily vote for the spirit world.
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    Default Re: Vespuccia [Alt-America, Circa 1750]

    Technically, the existence of the Spirit World would be the very first chronological change in our setting, and the most fundamental. As much as I have burning questions about Tuniitaq, the Spirit World touches on literally everything else we do. I vote we nail down the Spirit World first, then proceed chronologically through Tuniitaq, Aztlan, Fúsāng, and finally The Colonies.

    Though I would like to know where South Vespuccia fits into our plans for the setting. North and South America apparently had little to no contact with one another prior to the European colonization, according to 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus (which is an amazing and fascinating book, BTW), so whatever we do there won't hugely affect the lives of the Native Vespuccians. However, since it was South American silver, cotton, sugarcane, and other goods that filled the coffers of the Spanish and Portuguese Empires, what we do in South Vespuccia will have a large impact on the balance of power in Europe by 1750.

    Plus, that means that when the American Revolution rolls around in about 25 years, the Colonists might not be able to appeal to Spain for money to help fund the revolution. What's more, without the Louisiana Territory and their lucrative trading posts in Canada/Tuniitaq, France might not have any money to spare either. So where does that leave the United States?

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    Default Re: Vespuccia [Alt-America, Circa 1750]

    I have recently discovered an awesome tabletop wargame called Going Native: Warpath, by Paymaster Games. In their own words:
    Going Native: Warpath is a Native American themed table top strategy wargame that explores the real life cultures of the Americas and the Pacific. [snip] We also differ from other historical style games by giving the player the option to bring the mythical creatures of the Americas and the Pacific into the game as members of their War Party. These mythical creatures, called Spirit Beasts in the game, are compelled to join the battle on the side of the player’s War Party by the spirits, a deity, or by an offering of some kind to help the tribe in its time of need.
    Not only does this mean that we can find some sweet artwork and ideas for awesome monsters, this means that players and DMs who want to play in Vespuccia will be able to find setting-appropriate minis! How cool is that?

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    Default Re: Vespuccia [Alt-America, Circa 1750]

    Quote Originally Posted by SuperDave View Post
    Though I would like to know where South Vespuccia fits into our plans for the setting. North and South America apparently had little to no contact with one another prior to the European colonization, according to 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus (which is an amazing and fascinating book, BTW),
    You have that book too! I thought I was the only one! Have you read 1493 yet?!
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    Default Re: Vespuccia [Alt-America, Circa 1750]

    I also vote for the Spirit world, though I brought it up so that was probably assumed >.>

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    Default Re: Vespuccia [Alt-America, Circa 1750]

    Strong support for the spirit world thus far. I'll close the vote tomorrow around midday.
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    Default Re: Vespuccia [Alt-America, Circa 1750]

    I'm good with whatever, actually.
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    Default Re: Vespuccia [Alt-America, Circa 1750]

    Popping in to say that I vote for Spirit World.
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    Default Re: Vespuccia [Alt-America, Circa 1750]

    I was actually hoping for Tuniitaq, but that seems to be against the zeitgeist.

    While the Spirit World will affect everything else, I'm more interested in the world cultures, which are what the players will be interacting with more.
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    Default Re: Vespuccia [Alt-America, Circa 1750]

    Well, it looks like the spirit world won the vote! We're gonna go there next.

    I don't have a lot of time to post, unfortunately. But I'm gonna try to compile everything we've written up about the native lands so far and put it in the first posts. In the meantime, just start posting any thoughts you have about the spirit world and we'll start up a proper discussion.
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    Default Re: Vespuccia [Alt-America, Circa 1750]

    So, I've gotten the impression so far that the Spirit World is going to look a lot like the normal world, and the beings in it will be similar to real-world creatures. The questions I have so far:

    What does it look like? Like the normal world, or is it generically silvery and shimmery, or something else altogether?

    What are the creatures like? Are all of them just like Spirit versions of real animals, or are there weirder and more interesting things going on? Any mythological creatures? Any gods or deity-like beings? Any just flat-out weird things?

    How does it work? Specifically, how do its geometry and geography function? I remember someone saying earlier that it might not work like the real world, where what should be two paths to the same place might lead to two different places. Are there going to be continents cognate to real-world continents, or will it bear no (specific) resemblance? Will this be a mappable world, or will it be illogical and/or constantly shifting?

    Is this its own plane? We could probably mostly use the rules for the Ethereal Plane.
    Last edited by Frathe; 2013-03-20 at 03:19 PM.
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    Default Re: Vespuccia [Alt-America, Circa 1750]

    I suggest we should avoid being too thorough in our description of the Spiritworld. To keep it something of a mystery, something arcane and otherwordly. If different cultures have different explanations then all the better.

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    Default Re: Vespuccia [Alt-America, Circa 1750]

    good set o' questions.

    I think it should look, for the most part, like the real world, but it's shaped by those within it, and things are less... defined. A lodge can be bigger on the inside than the outside. You walk down a path starting with the left foot, you end up a different place than starting with the right. The rules are much less... defined.

    Creatures. This is a good question. I think most spirits are going to be the lingering souls of passed-on beings, too stubborn to move along to the Next World. Their existence as spirits slowly changes them. They grow more powerful the older they are and sometimes they take on elemental traits. And, of course, we will have the First Spirits. They live on the spirit world, naturally, but they're strong enough that they can transfer to the mortal world with relative ease. I don't know about gods or deities. I'm not sure we want to confirm or deny any religions, you know...
    On the other hand, I have the vague idea that maybe the beings we call 'gods' are spirits from the Next World, so incredibly powerful that they can cross the barrier and walk the Spirit world, albeit very rarely.

    I think geography should be similar to the real world, in the broad strokes. Like, if you walk to the spirit world in a forest, it'll still be a forest. If you walk to the spirit world on the beach, it'll still be a beach. But the details are different, because the rules of space and distance don't work the same.

    I think it should be it's own plane. I'll try to draw up the planar traits of it sometime.
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    Default Re: Vespuccia [Alt-America, Circa 1750]

    Quote Originally Posted by Admiral Squish View Post
    I think it should look, for the most part, like the real world, but it's shaped by those within it, and things are less... defined. A lodge can be bigger on the inside than the outside. You walk down a path starting with the left foot, you end up a different place than starting with the right. The rules are much less... defined.
    The Spirit World definitely shouldn't be mapable. You can't draw a map of a religion, or of a culture, or of a person's journey toward spiritual awakening. A spirit-guide could show you the way, and you could describe your journey in general terms ("I followed the Hare for what seemed like three days and three nights, through a dense and swampy forest, until I came at last to the yawning mouth of a deep cavern..."), but terms like "distance" mean nothing when you're talking about a world of abstracts.

    Quote Originally Posted by Admiral Squish View Post
    I'm not sure we want to confirm or deny any religions, you know...
    I don't think that including a particular god necessarily denies any particular religion. For example: Islam does state pretty explicitly that "there is no god but God, and Mohammed is his Prophet", but any peasant in Arabia can tell you that there are more things in Heaven and Earth than just angels, djinn, and men. Just because the thing you're talking to tells you that it's a god, that doesn't mean that everyone in the party is going to believe what it says.

    Clerics from a Judeo-Christian background would definitely see pagan deities and their servants as "devils", and the clerics' Smite Evil spells might even work against them. But the same might be said of the clerics of Native Vespuccian deities upon encountering a glowing, golden man with white wings, or especially upon encountering some of the weirder types of angels. It all depends on your viewpoint.

    That said, since we're dealing with real religions that real, living people (and potentially some of the DMs or players who want to use our setting) might actually follow, we should probably keep the subject at arm's length. Holy men meet with angels, white buffalo, wayob, shen, manitous, and other powerful beings all the time, but actually meeting your own god face-to-face would be an honor reserved for only the holiest of holies. In fact, directly contacting the Divine might be too much for the human soul to withstand: it would be like staring into the fiery hearts of a billion burning suns.

    Quote Originally Posted by Admiral Squish View Post
    On the other hand, I have the vague idea that maybe the beings we call 'gods' are spirits from the Next World, so incredibly powerful that they can cross the barrier and walk the Spirit world, albeit very rarely.
    By "Next World", I assume that you're referring to the plane that souls pass on to after leaving the Spirit World, right?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Admiral Squish View Post
    I think it should look, for the most part, like the real world, but it's shaped by those within it, and things are less... defined. A lodge can be bigger on the inside than the outside. You walk down a path starting with the left foot, you end up a different place than starting with the right. The rules are much less... defined.
    Quote Originally Posted by SuperDave View Post
    The Spirit World definitely shouldn't be mapable. You can't draw a map of a religion, or of a culture, or of a person's journey toward spiritual awakening. A spirit-guide could show you the way, and you could describe your journey in general terms ("I followed the Hare for what seemed like three days and three nights, through a dense and swampy forest, until I came at last to the yawning mouth of a deep cavern..."), but terms like "distance" mean nothing when you're talking about a world of abstracts.
    Thirded

    Quote Originally Posted by SuperDave View Post
    I don't think that including a particular god necessarily denies any particular religion. For example: Islam does state pretty explicitly that "there is no god but God, and Mohammed is his Prophet", but any peasant in Arabia can tell you that there are more things in Heaven and Earth than just angels, djinn, and men. Just because the thing you're talking to tells you that it's a god, that doesn't mean that everyone in the party is going to believe what it says.

    Clerics from a Judeo-Christian background would definitely see pagan deities and their servants as "devils", and the clerics' Smite Evil spells might even work against them. But the same might be said of the clerics of Native Vespuccian deities upon encountering a glowing, golden man with white wings, or especially upon encountering some of the weirder types of angels. It all depends on your viewpoint.
    Eventually we'll have to deal with real religions, it's too much part of the flavor of historical campaigns. It's part of the appeal for me at least. I feel like we should just embrace it. So uh, how about this,
    • We agree not to try to confirm or deny any particular religion.
    • We agree that using a real thing in fiction does not reduce it to fiction.

    I feel that should cover it enough eh?

    Personally I love the stories in the Old Testament and Jewish Apocrypha. Like the explanation for giants and monsters in the Book of Enoch. These are things we can probably use.

    Also, this is probably important, at no point in the Old Testament does it say that there is only one god. In fact it heavily implies there are others. Mostly it says not to worship the others. In fact it says this over and over and over. So uh, I think we can get away with it.

    Quote Originally Posted by SuperDave View Post
    In fact, directly contacting the Divine might be too much for the human soul to withstand: it would be like staring into the fiery hearts of a billion burning suns.
    Somewhere it says that the Metatron speaks to people on the God of Abraham's behalf because you could not handle Him speaking to you directly.

    Also, if it matters, I'm an atheist, but religions are fun.

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    Default Re: Vespuccia [Alt-America, Circa 1750]

    Well, it's good we all agree on at least one aspect of the spirit world.

    As for the details of religions, I think we can get away with it if we say the actual Gods themselves never actually show up in person, though they have messengers with great power that can walk from the spirit world to the Next World. The gods, from their position on the Next World, can still see what's going on on the material and spirit worlds and relay orders to their powerful servants. These powerful servants, such as the White Buffalo Woman and Metatron, have stats comparable to gods in normal D&D.
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    Default Re: Vespuccia [Alt-America, Circa 1750]

    Research and Inspirational Materials for Crossroads: The New World

    Art


    Cinema


    Games


    Maps


    Misc. Online


    Music


    Nonfiction


    Novels
    • American Gods, by Neil Gaiman - It might not be entirely set in the right historical period, but it's still one of the best works of American fantasy-fiction ever written, even if the author is a Brit. Highly recommended, especially for campaigns which deal with spirits and/or deities.
    • Call of the Wild, by Jack London
    • Roots: The Saga of an American Family, by Alex Haley - A sprawling (and true!) epic of an American family, from enslavement to emancipation and beyond.
    • The Song of Hiawatha, by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow - Excellent Cahokian League adventure material here; not to mention ideas for some wicked villains and awesome equipment.
    • Waterlily, by Ella Cara Deloria - A rare glimpse into the realities of precontact tribal life. This book is made even more unusual by the fact that it is told from a woman's perspective, making it a rare tale indeed.


    Short Stories
    • The Cremation of Sam McGee, by Robert W. Service - The archetypal Arctic ghost-story. The driving, relentless meter of this short narrative poem will leave it etched into your memory.
    • The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, by Washington Irving
    • To Build a Fire, by Jack London
    • The Wendigo, by Algernon Blackwood - Some of the racism is a little shocking, but the way the author slowly ratchets up the spook-factor while denying us any true knowledge of the beast is masterfully done. DMs with interest in Tuniitaq should read this.


    Webcomics and Graphic Novels
    • In the Hall of the Octopus, by Jonathan Dalton - Just a quick little adventure-story in the Pacific Northwest. Short, but very well written and completely self-contained.
    • Lords of Death and Life, by Jonathan Dalton - Tragically short but exquisitely illustrated, with top-notch worldbuilding.
    • Northlanders, by Brian Wood - Not a single horned helmet to be found here. It's vikings, but finally done right!
    • The Sandman: The Dream Hunters, by Neil Gaiman and P. Craig Russell - Though it's set in old Japan, not China, this Sandman spinoff provides a very lucid glimpse into the psychology of the Huli Jing fox-spirits.
    • Snow by Night: A Tale of Colonial Fantasy, by Eric Menge, et al.


    I thought I'd post a few of the resources I've discovered lately. I've been keeping a document with hyperlinks to various movies, books, video games, etc., which I feel would help to flesh-out the world of Vespuccia, and/or provide inspiration for world-building and character creation. This is by no means an exhaustive list, nor is it anything official - I just feel that these properties are entertaining and pertinent to the setting.

    I've tried to include only stories set within 100 years of 1750, but some are just too perfect the setting to pass up, just because they're about the wrong year. I've tried to only include properties I've read/seen/played myself; or that are very famous/popular; or have won some kind of award (such as an Oscar or a Caldecott Medal). Wherever possible, I've included links to a preview or sample, to allow the reader to make their own decision about whether they want to read/watch/play the whole thing.

    I hope you enjoy reading and watching these resources as much as I have!
    Last edited by SuperDave; 2014-05-08 at 11:35 PM.

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    Default Re: Vespuccia [Alt-America, Circa 1750]

    Quote Originally Posted by SuperDave View Post
    I just want to point out that Jared Diamond has been found fabricating quotes.
    Quote Originally Posted by Doxkid View Post
    You have created an abomination the likes of which this world was not prepared for.

    What have you DONE?!

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