14 May 2014

Book Review - GURPS Alternate Earths 2

(image from Amazon.com)

This is another great GURPS book. A sequel to GURPS Alternate Earths. It introduces six new timelines and lots of other crunchy bits.

The British keep the French from interfering with the American Revolution. The revolution fails. In the early 19th century Tecumseh forms a confederation that is recognized as a subject nation of the Empire. Changes continue over the decades.

By 1983 the British Empire spans the Cape Colony, St. Louis (this timeline's name for Australia), and large portions of North America, along with scattered islands. They are by far the most powerful nation on Earth. The Russian Empire is doing well for itself as well, having kept Alaska and adding Manchuria and Japan to its territories.

All is not well. Without a successful American Revolution representative government never spread. The various empires and kingdoms spend much time crushing revolutions and their technology is a little behind the OTL in 1983.

The Chinese treasure fleets are never disbanded. The Chinese continue to explore and expand their influence across the seas. Violent encounters with the Portuguese required a demonstration of imperial power. By 1519 one of their fleets arrives in Lisbon, Portugal to deliver an ultimatum.

Growth of the Chinese territory continues. By 1859 well over half the world is controlled by them. All of eastern Asia, all of Australia, eastern and southern Africa, most of Europe (except for Russia), Central America as well as the west coasts of both North and South America.

In 860 the Vikings successfully raid Constantinople. The vast wealth and new technologies they gain allow them to continue expanding their culture across the world. Numerous Viking nations are established as they have the resources to expand and develop colonies in Vinland.

The spread of knowledge of the new world allows others to cross the Atlantic. By the early 12th century Moslems settle in what in our world is Cuba. Within a few hundred years they add much of northern South America to a new Caliphate.

The Mongol invasion of Viking lands in 1237 are not as successful as in the OTL. In fact by the late 14th century the Golden Horde is finally destroyed.

By 1412 the world is a much different place than it is here. A very interesting world to adventure in.

Technological advancement begins earlier in the Middle-East. By the ninth and tenth centuries the Abbasid caliphs have a scientific revolution. Oil replaces coal as a source of power and technology really begins to advance.

By the 13th century Islam is dominating much of the world. A global war between various states is fought in the early 14th century. All throughout this time technological progress marches on. Before the Spanish discovered the Americas in our timeline this one had a man landing on the moon!

Earth develops its first interstellar colony by 1568 and will contact alien life less than a century after that. By 1683 technology has advanced so far a visitor from our world would believe they had been transported to the far future.

William of Orange fails to take the English throne in 1688. The world continues to be controlled by squabbling monarchs. The concepts of liberty and democracy are never popularized until some writings in 1906.

In 1939 a republican uprising in Austria overthrows the Habsburgs (they flee to take control of Russia) and numerous small republics form. They form the Republican Alliance and are at war with Habsburg Russia. The weird bit is that the Republicans then invent combat aircraft, skipping propeller driven craft and going straight to primitive jets.

An even more successful domination of the world by England. By 1902 there is an atomic war and much of the royal family is killed. Succession wars and rebellions send the world into chaos.

After the chaos died down a group called Centrum begins to restore order to the shattered world. With the discover of the ability to travel to alternate worlds they expand their mandate to bring order to other worlds as well.

In 2007 they are involved in what they call the Dimension War with a group calling itself Infinity. This world is a look a the home of the 'bad guys' from the Infinite Worlds setting in GURPS Time Travel. It's nice to have more details on the world they came from.

Another great GURPS supplement. I only wish that there was an Alternate Earths 3 (and 4 and 5 etc.). Some creative worlds with some details for basing a role-playing game around. Each of the Earths has notes on integrating and crossing over other GURPS products to expand and customize the campaigns.

Of course because of my bias in my love of RPGs and having run a GURPS alternate world campaign for three years I have to give this book 5 out of 5 stars.

If you ran an alternate world RPG campaign and used this book in the game please leave some details about it in the comments section. Thanks!

GURPS Alternate Earths 2 was published by Steve Jackson Games
Page Count: 128
Authors: Kenneth Hite, Craig Neumeier, and Michael S. Schiffer
Year Published: 1999
ISBN: 1-55634-399-X

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