Welcome to Space 1889: Red Sands, a game of pulp exploration and adventure in an alternate late-Victorian era. In this setting, intrepid adventurers wander the untamed lands not only of Earth but also the moon, Mercury, Venus, and Mars. These heroes brave hostile creatures, elements and threats to protect innocents and save civilizations from destruction.
Every world has secrets. Some can dramatically tip the balance of strength between nations, some can destroy that balance altogether. Individuals and organizations lusting for the ultimate authority have found their best route to
be filling the vacuums they plan to create. Some are revolutionaries, like the Fenians desiring independence for the Irish. Others, anarchists who staunchly believe the best government is no government at all. Then there are radical
Martians, such as the Ground Cleansers, who are unwavering proponents of the extermination of every Earthman on Mars.
India may be the jewel of Queen Victoria’s English Empire on Earth, but other precious stones shine brighter. The finest of these is Mars. First visited by Thomas Edison and Jack Armstrong in 1870, Mars inflamed the imaginations of Earthmen and lit the torch of exploration to the other planets.
Two decades have only touched the shell of the various worlds. Dry Mars, while smaller than Earth, has almost equal surface land to probe. Moreover, Mars has wonders galore! Its canals make the Suez Canal of Earth seem a city sewer drain. The pumps, locks, and water movers are so far advanced that after almost twenty years the finest engineers of Earth have yet to decipher their mechanisms.
But they will. After all, Earthmen have invented machines that record and play voices, light without a flame, engines that consume liquid fuel rather than wood or coal, even vehicles that transport people and goods between planets. This is the last decade before a new century and everyone wants a place in history.
Widespread commercial electricity is just being adopted on Earth. Almost without exception, industry is powered by coal-fired steam boilers. Transportation of the era is notable for its general lack of single-person conveyances, in favor of trains and horse-drawn carriages. Sailing and steam vessels ply the worlds’ oceans. Aerial flyers coast upon the skies of Mars. Alexander Graham Bell’s telephone is in use in urban centers, and British orbital heliograph stations transmit flashes of light—much like Morse Code—almost instantaneously between Earth and Mars.
By 1889, the waning 19th century is popularly acknowledged as an age of wonder. Earth’s nations have expanded among the planets, planting colonies, guiding people they see as savage heathens on the path toward what they consider to be true civilization, and introducing European justice and security to all lands.
There will be a few simple mods and setting rules borrowed from Deadlands and possibly Rippers. This setting is not “steampunk” however I will be adding such elements in. There will be some combat however don’t go overboard because there will be intrigue, investigation and exploration sessions as well. I would like to see backstories, try to keep them limited to no more than a page and a half. I will give more information as those interested ask more specific questions.