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Author Topic: Rave about your steampunk characters/personas!  (Read 1548 times)
annevpreussen
Gunner
**
United States United States


Captain Annemarie of the Eagle's Arrow Airship


« on: June 06, 2017, 05:38:56 am »

Let's admit it: we all love our beautiful steampunk characters, whether personas, roleplay characters, drawings in a notebook, or literary OCs, more than is probably healthy. I made this thread so we can all be unhealthily in love with our own creations together! I know it's similar to the Persona Names thread (and should this maybe be in Textual?), but let's go deeper and really get to know each other's steampunk fictional friends.

Talk about anything! Share weird factoids about your characters. Tell us what kind of clothes they wear, and what their favorite color is. Heck, tell us what color shoelaces they wear most often; if you're obsessed as I am, you probably know. Here are some basic questions to get us started...

First of all, who is your character? What's their name? Do they have a title? Where do they come from?

When did you come up with them, and how?

What do you use them for (writing, roleplay, cosplay, ridiculously in-depth imaginary universe daydreams, art, etc.)

Do they come from a past version of this world, an alternate history, the future, or a different planet/dimension altogether? What makes this world (or the part of it you're concerned with) steampunk?

Do they fall into any steampunk character type (the captain/aviator, the mad scientist, the aristocrat, the military commander, the inventor/engineer, etc.)?

How have they changed over time, whether in-world character development or in-creator's-head concept changes?

What do they look like? What kind of clothes do they usually wear? What gadgets do they carry around with them, and what kind of weapons do they use?

How would you describe your character in a single sentence?

What are some of your character's quirks?

How does your character interact with others? How would they respond to the characters already introduced in this thread?

Are they similar to you, or completely different?


Obviously you don't have to answer any of these if you don't want to. But rant and rave and talk about how odd and cool your OCs are!
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I wear goggles so you can't see when I'm staring at you.
J. Wilhelm
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« Reply #1 on: June 06, 2017, 11:08:53 am »

I think I'm the one who has ranted the most about one of my two personas lately (at least if anyone was paying attention to the Playing Dressup Thread or if someone stuck their nose in the QueerGeer and read the development of the character between the years 2014-16 or so... I'll hold the presentation of mine for later in the thread as I don't want to rant and saturate the thread with recent info that most people already know...

And warning that many Steampunks either live Steampunk as a matter of lifestyle, or are makers, for example, and hence *do not* have a specific persona, you might actually get a couple of "harrumphs" and  "bah-humbugs" in this thread. But don't be discouraged Frau Preussen!

Therefore, having stated that, I'd relay your query and would love to see other Brassgoggles Steampunks who do have a character(s) or persona(s) do a presentation.

This is your time to rant and imagine aloud!
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Dr Fidelius
Zeppelin Admiral
******
United States United States


Professor of Applied Paleontology, Miskatonic U.


« Reply #2 on: June 06, 2017, 02:10:14 pm »

My persona as "Dr. Fidelius" is myself, dressed a little better and with a more interesting job. I have neither the energy nor the imagination to maintain an alternate character.
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The opinions expressed here are my own, and do not represent any other persons, organizations, spirits, thinking machines, hive minds or other sentient beings on this world or any adjacent dimensions in the multiverse.
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« Reply #3 on: June 06, 2017, 08:33:51 pm »

Interestingly, creating a persona is what I did when I was tired at night and didn't have the energy to do anything else  Grin

Truth be told the characters came out of my love for researching history and ranting in this forum  Grin
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annevpreussen
Gunner
**
United States United States


Captain Annemarie of the Eagle's Arrow Airship


« Reply #4 on: June 06, 2017, 10:20:24 pm »

My persona as "Dr. Fidelius" is myself, dressed a little better and with a more interesting job. I have neither the energy nor the imagination to maintain an alternate character.
Oh, what interesting job? Is he a medical doctor, or a scientist or professor of some sort?

Interestingly, creating a persona is what I did when I was tired at night and didn't have the energy to do anything else  Grin

Truth be told the characters came out of my love for researching history and ranting in this forum  Grin
It was the opposite for me; creating a cast of steampunk characters forced me to research, which led to a fondness for the turn-of-the-century. I never thought I'd become a history nut, but here I am!
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« Reply #5 on: June 07, 2017, 12:12:18 am »

 I always had the inclination toward history, but my brain was more wired for engineering.

When I was a little kid I used to love airplanes, rockets and anything which flew. Then a freak accident left me with an eye injury and it put a stop to my desire to fly. But I was a tinkerer from the start and that explains why I'm a maker. When the I saw the first flight of the shuttle  (81, 82?), I made up my mind to become an engineer.

Among my tastes was heraldry and history, and so it's no surprise that I'd also end up an anachronist. As to why I'm not a historian, I found out in college how different it is to use analytical thinking in the humanities.

To begin with in science "all roads lead to a single solution" dictated my mother nature. Even of it's a for an airplane design, you can come with very different aircraft designs, but in the end the performance specifications are the same ruled by Newton's physics. You can solve a fluid physics problem with 5 very different methods, but in the end all of the individual solutions must come close to the "one truth" dictated by fluid physics.

In the humanities, you get good grades by challenging the hypothesis of your masters, that is, you provide multiple solutions to a single question. Only then are you considered smart enough to get good grades. Regurgitating your professor's lecture will at most get you a 70% grade ("C" in America). I found out the hard way  Grin
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chicar
Rogue Ætherlord
*
Canada Canada


Student in Techno-Shamanism and Lyncanthrope

Chicar556
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« Reply #6 on: June 08, 2017, 01:21:44 am »

I don't have a persona but i do have a common setting for my daydreams. Not a single world mind you but a whole multiverse held together by a common dark comedic steam meet stone meet cyber meet bio meet solar canon based on my ''deistic prehistoric techno-shamanic'' beliefs ( who himself is based on the Gaia Hypothesis and Michael Witzel's book '' The Origin of The World Mythology'').
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The word pagan came from paganus , who mean peasant . Its was a way to significate than christianism was the religion of the elite and paganism the one of the savage worker class.

''Trickster shows us how we trick OURSELVES. Her rampant curiosity backfires, but, then, something NEW is discovered (though usually not what She expected)! This is where creativity comes from—experiment, do something different, maybe even something forbidden, and voila! A breakthrough occurs! Ha! Ha! We are released! The world is created anew! Do something backwards, break your own traditions, the barrier breaks; destroy the world as you know it, let the new in.''
Extract of the Dreamflesh article ''Path of The Sacred Clown''
annevpreussen
Gunner
**
United States United States


Captain Annemarie of the Eagle's Arrow Airship


« Reply #7 on: June 08, 2017, 04:21:21 am »

In the humanities, you get good grades by challenging the hypothesis of your masters, that is, you provide multiple solutions to a single question. Only then are you considered smart enough to get good grades. Regurgitating your professor's lecture will at most get you a 70% grade ("C" in America). I found out the hard way  Grin
I've found that teachers in the humanities are either really wonderful or really horrible with little in-between. Either they encourage creative ways of thinking about a topic, alternate possibilities, and curiousity, or they punish it.

I don't have a persona but i do have a common setting for my daydreams. Not a single world mind you but a whole multiverse held together by a common dark comedic steam meet stone meet cyber meet bio meet solar canon based on my ''deistic prehistoric techno-shamanic'' beliefs ( who himself is based on the Gaia Hypothesis and Michael Witzel's book '' The Origin of The World Mythology'').
That world (or, rather, worlds) sounds interesting and beautiful. Is it a series of interconnected dimensions, each with one -punk characteristic, like steampunk in one world, cyberpunk in the next? Or is it more mixed together across worlds? I like worldbuilding just as much as the next person, but I don't think I could handle building more than one!  Grin
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Cmdr. Storm
Officer
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United States United States


« Reply #8 on: June 08, 2017, 08:44:57 am »

i came up with Cmdr. Storm because of my Interest in History,Adventure,and Also because some of the Names of Charcaters in Books,Movies. Games.etc. seem to have Such Formal &Commanding Names! I also thought that Having a name like Comdr. Storm might such Proper and Powerful. hope this Doesn't sound Too Nutty.
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annevpreussen
Gunner
**
United States United States


Captain Annemarie of the Eagle's Arrow Airship


« Reply #9 on: June 08, 2017, 03:36:51 pm »

i came up with Cmdr. Storm because of my Interest in History,Adventure,and Also because some of the Names of Charcaters in Books,Movies. Games.etc. seem to have Such Formal &Commanding Names! I also thought that Having a name like Comdr. Storm might such Proper and Powerful. hope this Doesn't sound Too Nutty.

Not at all! I've noticed a lot of people give their steampunk characters/personas formal titles. I certainly have, and made my girl a captain without really thinking (only later did I give her a ship!). It's a fun way to make a character even more extravagant, and may lead to an interesting backstory about how they got that title. How did Commander Storm become a commander?
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chicar
Rogue Ætherlord
*
Canada Canada


Student in Techno-Shamanism and Lyncanthrope

Chicar556
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« Reply #10 on: June 09, 2017, 12:18:59 am »



That world (or, rather, worlds) sounds interesting and beautiful. Is it a series of interconnected dimensions, each with one -punk characteristic, like steampunk in one world, cyberpunk in the next? Or is it more mixed together across worlds?

The second, it is a steamstonecyberbiosolarpunk multiverse or as i love to call it: techno shamanic steampunk.

Ask yourself how the 19th century would have looked like if a animistic form of the laurasian mythology was the dominant religion and humanity was at the verge to evolving toward transhumanity and you would have a good idea of my multiverse.
« Last Edit: June 09, 2017, 12:31:35 am by chicar » Logged
annevpreussen
Gunner
**
United States United States


Captain Annemarie of the Eagle's Arrow Airship


« Reply #11 on: June 09, 2017, 02:35:08 am »

Ask yourself how the 19th century would have looked like if a animistic form of the laurasian mythology was the dominant religion and humanity was at the verge to evolving toward transhumanity and you would have a good idea of my multiverse.
Okay, that sounds even cooler now! I really like it when creators take religion and culture into account as they make their worlds.
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Miranda.T
Zeppelin Captain
*****
United Kingdom United Kingdom



« Reply #12 on: June 10, 2017, 12:50:51 pm »

For a little publication I contribute to I write a series of stories based around alternative histories/parallel universes. I have a 'working model' Steampunk universe in which a few key events were different to ours, principally that there was no First World War; this is a result of a more rapid technical advancement than really happened (particularly air power in the form of airships and mega warships constructed from pykrete) resulting in the European powers feeling unable to go to war due to the ensuing utter destruction - MAD without the nuclear weapons if you will. As a result of this, the Russian Revolution does not occur and the Tsarist rule continues (although under Tsar Rasputin...)

This gives a scenario that carries forward the Edwardian society of the 1900s into the late 1910s/early 1920s in an environment of the European powers competing for ascendency not via armies but by intrigue and espionage. Into this I have a character called 'Lady Henrietta'. She is ridiculously patriotic (possibly even to the point of psychosis) with a brilliantly inventive mind, and puts these traits to use in defending the Empire wherever she sees it under threat, with the implicit support of her 'friends in high places' including the First Lord of the Admiralty, one Winston Churchill.

She tends to use the Edwardian's nasty habit of the underestimation of the capabilities of women to gain an advantage over her adversaries, often wearing veiled hats to avoid recognition until the appropriate moment. To help with this she employs a series of bizarre inventions. She has a mechanism with which to inflate helium bags (hydrogen being a bit dangerous...) under her voluminous skirts, and this added to spring heeled boots and a parchute-like behaviour of the aforementioned skits allows her to fall quite long distances without injury (it also makes her very light on her feet on the dance floor). Within the hoops of her skirts are coiled lengths of high-tensile wire with small grabbing hooks, useful for scaling walls or creating trip-wires. Her corset is of course armour plated and can withstand, albeit with the possibility of a broken rib, small-arms fire at relatively close range.

There's also been a slightly worrying (in terms of my own always loose grip on reality) blending of my actual creations and her fictional ones. The various necklaces and rings she wears often hold some sort of useful chemical such as a sleeping draft (http://brassgoggles.co.uk/forum/index.php/topic,47242.msg978524.html#msg978524), she makes use of an illuminator necklace (http://brassgoggles.co.uk/forum/index.php/topic,43842.msg915497.html#msg915497) and she uses a version of the bustle bag (http://brassgoggles.co.uk/forum/index.php/topic,43644.msg966745.html#msg966745) to conceal some of her special equipment. Another trait she shares with her creator is she like to wear really over the top frocks...  Roll Eyes

So far she has faced a foreign power's attempting to blow up Queen Victoria (still alive via the use of steam-powered life support in her bath chair) and most of the government via explosives packed into an abandoned tube station, headless reanimated corpses, an attack on the ISS (International Sky Station, an interlinked complex of airships providing a high-altitude scientific research facility) and the dangers of time travel (courtesy of a friend of one Herbert Wells).

Yours,
Miranda.
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annevpreussen
Gunner
**
United States United States


Captain Annemarie of the Eagle's Arrow Airship


« Reply #13 on: June 10, 2017, 11:10:03 pm »

For a little publication I contribute to I write a series of stories based around alternative histories/parallel universes. I have a 'working model' Steampunk universe in which a few key events were different to ours, principally that there was no First World War; this is a result of a more rapid technical advancement than really happened (particularly air power in the form of airships and mega warships constructed from pykrete) resulting in the European powers feeling unable to go to war due to the ensuing utter destruction - MAD without the nuclear weapons if you will. As a result of this, the Russian Revolution does not occur and the Tsarist rule continues (although under Tsar Rasputin...)

This gives a scenario that carries forward the Edwardian society of the 1900s into the late 1910s/early 1920s in an environment of the European powers competing for ascendency not via armies but by intrigue and espionage. Into this I have a character called 'Lady Henrietta'. She is ridiculously patriotic (possibly even to the point of psychosis) with a brilliantly inventive mind, and puts these traits to use in defending the Empire wherever she sees it under threat, with the implicit support of her 'friends in high places' including the First Lord of the Admiralty, one Winston Churchill.

She tends to use the Edwardian's nasty habit of the underestimation of the capabilities of women to gain an advantage over her adversaries, often wearing veiled hats to avoid recognition until the appropriate moment. To help with this she employs a series of bizarre inventions. She has a mechanism with which to inflate helium bags (hydrogen being a bit dangerous...) under her voluminous skirts, and this added to spring heeled boots and a parchute-like behaviour of the aforementioned skits allows her to fall quite long distances without injury (it also makes her very light on her feet on the dance floor). Within the hoops of her skirts are coiled lengths of high-tensile wire with small grabbing hooks, useful for scaling walls or creating trip-wires. Her corset is of course armour plated and can withstand, albeit with the possibility of a broken rib, small-arms fire at relatively close range.

There's also been a slightly worrying (in terms of my own always loose grip on reality) blending of my actual creations and her fictional ones. The various necklaces and rings she wears often hold some sort of useful chemical such as a sleeping draft (http://brassgoggles.co.uk/forum/index.php/topic,47242.msg978524.html#msg978524), she makes use of an illuminator necklace (http://brassgoggles.co.uk/forum/index.php/topic,43842.msg915497.html#msg915497) and she uses a version of the bustle bag (http://brassgoggles.co.uk/forum/index.php/topic,43644.msg966745.html#msg966745) to conceal some of her special equipment. Another trait she shares with her creator is she like to wear really over the top frocks...  Roll Eyes

So far she has faced a foreign power's attempting to blow up Queen Victoria (still alive via the use of steam-powered life support in her bath chair) and most of the government via explosives packed into an abandoned tube station, headless reanimated corpses, an attack on the ISS (International Sky Station, an interlinked complex of airships providing a high-altitude scientific research facility) and the dangers of time travel (courtesy of a friend of one Herbert Wells).

Yours,
Miranda.


I think that when a creator really plans out their world and gets to know every nook and cranny like you did, it results in a much better final product! One of the things I love about alternate history is how it forces writers (and readers) to think through all the possibilities of what may have happened if even one small thing was different (although no WWI isn't really a "small" thing, haha). And I always love spy stories! Lady Henrietta seems like the kind of person who always has seventeen backup plans and a trick up her sleeve-- er, skirt. Her adventures sound marvelous! Do you have them posted here on BG?

Yours,
Annemarie

(Lol, your formal send-off at the end of all your posts always makes me feel like you're writing a letter from some far-off place, so I'm going to copy you this time Grin)
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J. Wilhelm
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« Reply #14 on: June 11, 2017, 07:34:46 am »


*snip*

I think that when a creator really plans out their world and gets to know every nook and cranny like you did, it results in a much better final product! One of the things I love about alternate history is how it forces writers (and readers) to think through all the possibilities of what may have happened if even one small thing was different (although no WWI isn't really a "small" thing, haha). And I always love spy stories! Lady Henrietta seems like the kind of person who always has seventeen backup plans and a trick up her sleeve-- er, skirt. Her adventures sound marvelous! Do you have them posted here on BG?

Yours,
Annemarie

(Lol, your formal send-off at the end of all your posts always makes me feel like you're writing a letter from some far-off place, so I'm going to copy you this time Grin)

Alright. So if I understand correctly at the start fo the thread we were talking about personas. Alter Egos which take our place in a book, a blog or some other setting.

But in reality (So here comes the question), how much of your character(s) is YOU?  How far do you get away from yourself? I suspect there are some Steampunks who are always coming up with characters, but the character is a completely escapist construct. A lord, a lady, a baron, a professor, a monster, who knows?

On the opposite end, as I alluded above we have people with zero persona, and the Steampunk character is the same as the creator in every way, in name, timeline, thought and dress, i.e. those who don't see a difference between Steampunk and reality, because they take it as a daily lifestyle - Neo-Victorians if you will.


~ ~ ~

Do you invent characters to reflect who you are in some measure? Do you just come up with fantastic characters who have no relation to you? Or are you the character him/her/them self?

~ ~ ~

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Miranda.T
Zeppelin Captain
*****
United Kingdom United Kingdom



« Reply #15 on: June 11, 2017, 12:57:53 pm »

(snip)

I think that when a creator really plans out their world and gets to know every nook and cranny like you did, it results in a much better final product! One of the things I love about alternate history is how it forces writers (and readers) to think through all the possibilities of what may have happened if even one small thing was different (although no WWI isn't really a "small" thing, haha). And I always love spy stories! Lady Henrietta seems like the kind of person who always has seventeen backup plans and a trick up her sleeve-- er, skirt. Her adventures sound marvelous! Do you have them posted here on BG?

Yours,
Annemarie

(Lol, your formal send-off at the end of all your posts always makes me feel like you're writing a letter from some far-off place, so I'm going to copy you this time Grin)

Unfortunately nothing posted up here on BrassGoggles as they'd be a bit long for this medium, although thinking about it I might write a Gothic tinged mini-episode for Halloween  Roll Eyes As to the formal sign-offs, well, back in my youth the only way the average person communicated in writing was paper letter (internet and email back then was limited to business or academic use and no texting, or mobiles, for that matter...) So back in the day I was writing paper letters and those always had a specified way of signing off - 'Yours faithfully' if you didn't know the name of the person you were writing to, 'Yours sincerely' if you did but it was a formal letter, and 'Yours' if it was a more informal letter, so I guess all of that has stuck with me over the years.


Alright. So if I understand correctly at the start fo the thread we were talking about personas. Alter Egos which take our place in a book, a blog or some other setting.

But in reality (So here comes the question), how much of your character(s) is YOU?  How far do you get away from yourself? I suspect there are some Steampunks who are always coming up with characters, but the character is a completely escapist construct. A lord, a lady, a baron, a professor, a monster, who knows?

On the opposite end, as I alluded above we have people with zero persona, and the Steampunk character is the same as the creator in every way, in name, timeline, thought and dress, i.e. those who don't see a difference between Steampunk and reality, because they take it as a daily lifestyle - Neo-Victorians if you will.


~ ~ ~

Do you invent characters to reflect who you are in some measure? Do you just come up with fantastic characters who have no relation to you? Or are you the character him/her/them self?

~ ~ ~



One piece of advice you often hear about in writing is to write about things you know, so I think naturally your characters end up being based on aspects of your personality or those of people you know. Also, to a large extent I think these things can end up being a little bit wish-fullfilment; yes, I would like a full-blown Marie Antoinette style dress but really haven't got the time (or material) to make one at the moment, so the next best thing is to have your character wearing one (I did say the most recent story was a time-travelling one...)

Yours,
Miranda.
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J. Wilhelm
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« Reply #16 on: June 12, 2017, 01:07:37 pm »

*snip*
One piece of advice you often hear about in writing is to write about things you know, so I think naturally your characters end up being based on aspects of your personality or those of people you know. Also, to a large extent I think these things can end up being a little bit wish-fullfilment; yes, I would like a full-blown Marie Antoinette style dress but really haven't got the time (or material) to make one at the moment, so the next best thing is to have your character wearing one (I did say the most recent story was a time-travelling one...)

Yours,
Miranda.

For me my characters have always been an instrument of self expression.

At the beginning, when I came into Brassgoggles in 2009, I liked the character of an old Admiral in the last decade of the 19th. C, having fought battles in the past and somehow related to aeronautic endeavours. That was a no brainer for me, because I am and I will ever be an aeronaut in my heart, as I wrote above. My 7th birthday cake was in the shape of a jet airplane, for God's sake!  Cheesy Though I may be chained to the ground by mundane concerns, I dedicated a large chink of my life toward achieving the next best goal, which was to learn how those flying machines were made!

The military aspect of Admiral Wilhelm was more consequential to my involvement in Steampunk, but rather non-important to my personal life. So I had to make him a semi-retired veteran of the Trans Atlantic World War who had turned his ship into an atmospheric research laboratory. I loved history and aeronautics and everybody here loves to play the soldier in one way or another - so it's almost natural if Johannes Wilhelm emerged from nothingness as a military officer. But then I bent him into a scientific role in his latter age, I needed to hammer him into at least a scientificv role since that is closer to who I am.

Early concept of Admiral Wilhelm in his latter years ca. 1900


Johann Wilhelm's Backround

The idea is that a young captain Wilhelm commandeered the Confederate Airship Alamo, née Austria's Kaiserliches Schlachtschiff Walküre (Imperial Airship Valkyrie), during the Franco-American Aerial battle over the Desert of Sonora, and eventually that would become the United States Airship Orca. The USAS Orca would still see action in the following battles during the Trans Atlantic Global War, and later in peacetime it'd double as a scientific vessel and the airborne Office of Atmospheric Research well past 1890. So I guess the USAS Orca is Abraham Lincoln's semi-retirement gift to Admiral Wilhelm for his gallant service in the war.

Once I justified his existence, he needed a background history. Welp... Civil War and Texas Independence are two historical points that had to be folded in, with a young Wilhelm being born in Bavaria, and emigrating as a child to a newly independent Texas Republic. As the character (and airship) developed, I began to incorporate more elements from my own surroundings. I am not German (more French), yet I live in an ethnically German region of the States - so it'd make sense that Admiral Wilhelm would have a similar background. It just fits, historically, and you're surrounded by real world history pertaining to the subject.

To be honest, I didn’t see much future for Wilhelm in the Confederate States, so I got him out of the before the outbreak of the Civil War (and by mere chance it works out) such that as a young cadet Wilhelm would have been the right age to end up in the United States Military Academy at West Point. So he ended up staying on the Union side.

Odd thing is, and I just realised this a few days ago,  that by absolute necessity in the timeline Wilhelm would have had to be a contemporary of a wild cadet by the name of George Armstrong Custer. No I'm not kidding. It would have been impossible for Johannes Wilhelm to be at West point, being the age he needed to be as a Cadet at the start of the Civil War to have come out into service without knowing Custer, especially because due to recurring misconduct, Custer was well known to everybody as the cadet with the largest number of demerits in the history of the academy!  Cheesy

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Armstrong_Custer

So now I'm forced to make an entry for Brevet Major General Custer into my story! Grin Perhaps the former clownish classmate of a certain Union Captain in the Aerial Battle for Sonora...  We'll have to see some competition for rank between a Brevet General and a Rear Admiral Roll Eyes

Brevet Major General George Armstrong Custer

So you see, sometimes stories write themselves.

Now why was Wilhelm a Bavarian? Well that's something I came up later by necessity in the last three years at Brassgoggles. The idea is that Wilhelm arrived in Texas as a Catholic child, knowing how to speak German, and that is a key to attaching him to another character, namely Lieutenant General Julin Wodinaz Bahlmann.
« Last Edit: June 12, 2017, 01:57:11 pm by J. Wilhelm » Logged
J. Wilhelm
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« Reply #17 on: June 12, 2017, 01:51:20 pm »

The origin of Julin Wodinaz Bahlmann

The concept of Bahlmann began with a very personal journey of mine, actually. The best way to describe General Bahlmann in appearence, is as a type of "Tyrolean Engineer Elf." Except that ze is not from Tyrol, but rather from Austria, and Bahlmann is very much a human not an elf. The character was christened by our own Ms. Nephele from the Brassgoggles forum - I guess that makes her Julin Bahlmann's "godmother" Grin Lt. Gen. Julin W. Bahlmann is an amalgam of myself, a JRR Tolien-style Elf, and Dio Eraclea, an androgynous genetically engineered human character I once saw on a Dieselpunk/Steampunk Anime series called "Last Exile."

Lt. Gen. Julin W. Bahlmann

Dio Eraclea

Without going into many details, Last Exile focuses heavily on retrofuturistic flying machines, and has a heavily Germanic-stylized ambiance inspired by 1920s 1930s Art Deco as designed by the illustrator Renji "Range" Murata. Dio Eraclea, one of the main characters in Last Exile has a very androgynous appearance - without being presented as gay - and is very much tied to flight technology.

Designs from Last Exile





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Why the androgyny? And elves? And that Dio dude?

You see, about 3-4 years ago I was in the middle of an intensely personal and painful period in my life. I had just stabilized myself from (one of several) financial free falls I had in the last 10 years after bankruptcy (some of which other people in Brassgoggles have witnessed – I owe some of the members in this forum a great deal). I was still dealing with an end of life situation with my grandfather, and being pressured to the limit, I was in a "What the hell? I can be dead next month" mentality. Brassgoggles has been since 2009 my mental refuge.

While I had come out to family and a few friends many years back, to be honest I had never done so in public, save a few trusted people like my medical doctors and psychologist when I became depressed 12 years ago. So around 2012 I started toying with the idea of allowing myself to come out in public as a gender fluid person (although I did not call myself that at the time that's just contemporary classification jargon). That's when I decided to transform my outward appearance, to shift it to more closely match the way I felt inside. Being lonely, I reasoned that even if I liked women, I couldn't be honest to any woman I ever hoped to got close to while hiding (and thus lying) about that part of me. Naturally the Queer Geer was the place to deal with such issues. So about 5 years ago I started spending some time at The Queer Geer (around page 64 of the first Queer Geer thread).

Two of the subjects that I discussed at Queer Geer were the gender-role evolution in the sense of how women began to break the gender stereotypes, and be more honest about homosexuality, consequentially breaking the gender binary, specifically during the 1920s Flapper Era. The boyish flapper look, I pointed out, was an intentionally gender bending look. The other subject that arose, was gender bending in modern pop culture.

Along those lines, I also discussed the Dieselpunk anime Last Exile. It seemed to me that so much about the humanoids of The Guild was inspired by 1920 Flapper fashions. Dio Eraclea, I argued, was basically a male Flapper – various LGBQT BG members weighed in my opinions Cheesy


Dio Eraclea




Louise Brooks, Silent Movie Actor and 1920s Flapper


Then, being the eternal historian, I tied the libertine lifestyle of Weimar Era Berlin to a reaction against Prussian anti-sodomy laws passed in the 19th. C (I mean this is a Steampunk forum, right, you know you're going back to the 19th C somehow Cheesy ). There is quite some literature about the historical oxymoron of social progressivism and persecution of LGBQT people in Germany. I referred to German history, and used the movie Cabaret (1972, Michael York, Liza Minelli), as an example. I pegged the change in gender norms and libertine lifestyle as a long-delayed reaction to 19th. C Protestant sponsored anti-sodomy laws in the different German Federations.

Cabaret - "Mein Herr" - Liza Minnelli


Slowly, I began to formulate a new Steampunk character for myself. I had already adopted the Flapper “Shingle Bob” as my new hairsyle Grin , and the hair needed a character. With the help of one of our old time BG members, Mr. Vagabond Gentleman, I formulated a background history of a mythical race of Germanic people, the Engelfolk, as a type of "Two Spirit" or "3rd Gender" people. I postulated that the Engelfolk were tolerated by the Catholic Church under very specific restrictions (non marriage between Engelfolk and normal-gendered people), a practice dating back to the Imperial Roman times, when Germanic tribes were being folded into the Western Roman Empire.

Early concept for 19th C Engelfolk

As I read more Germanic history and mythology, I began to get inspired.

The Engelfolk shared certain traits in common with the Roman Era / Early Medieval concept of the Alfar (Elves), in German mythology, as femininity and androgyny were traditionally viewed with suspicion. Femininity, scholars argue, was typically associated with "magical powers" among various Europeans since the Stone Age. Other than that some Christian concepts such as heaven and hell had leaked into German mythology and thus coloured the conceptual form of elves.

That is why modern elves such as JRR Tolkien's elves look the way they do. Not only were they supposed to be either fair or dark, as in Snorri Sturlton's Prose Edda, but according to medieval literature there was little difference between males and females, other than the most obvious necessary for sexual reproduction. You could almost say that light and dark elves were somewhat androgynous angels and demons.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/D%C3%B6kk%C3%A1lfar_and_Lj%C3%B3s%C3%A1lfar

While Germanic societies were highly patriarchal (as opposed to Celtic societies), femininity had a strong place in the non-human mythical world, like for example with Loki's gender/sex transmutations, and the angel-like Valkyries. So while androgyny may be looked down among mere humans in the German tribes, perhaps it could exist and indeed, revered, in a very specific context of magical beings from myth and religion among the same tribes. There is no reason this could not translate to real human beings with magical powers.

Thus, I further postulated, there could be a type of “two spirit” German people, and the Catholic Church could "bend" the local mythology into service of the church, much in the same way that the Aztec Day of the Dead, and the Celtic Samhain (eventually Halloween) were bent into the service of the church (All Saints Day All / Souls Day).

Sometimes it's best not to burn them at the stake, and instead you turn them into loyal followers... So I argued, the elven "Angel People," the "Engelfolk" were recognized during the Early Christian Era.

But more than 1500 years later, a Protestant Prussia, however, would have none of that Catholic nonsense in a 19th. C German Empire. With the Holy Roman Empire gone, the Prussians set out to kick Catholic influences out, and they were willing to kick Austria-Hungary out as well. Now I could tie in those 19th. C. Anti-sodomy laws into the story. As Prussia fought to wrestle political and intellectual control away from Austria, the Engelfolk would become a persecuted “race” in the northern German states.

Military service was the escape route for the Engelfolk. Oddly the conflicts between Prussia and Austria in the 1860s would offer a safe passage from Bavaria into Switzerland and Austria. The invention of the rigid airship before the war would require loyal service maintenance crews who were small in stature and flexible like women, yet strong like men, and unafraid of great heights and cold. But more importantly, a crew who kept to themselves were a valuable asset in the cramped conditions of military airships.

The Engelfolk, now know as Luftschiffengel (Airship Angels), would become ubiquitous in Austrian military ships. So now I tie it all back to a young Wilhelm's story.

The American Civil War breaks out in 1861. In their (real world history) ambitious bid to create a "Confederate State of Arizona" the Confederates lose the Battle of Glorietta Pass in 1862, and with that loss all hope for Confederate access to the California coast and access to Colorado Gold is gone as well.


By 1863 the Confederates were in full retreat from the Trans Mississippi theatre of operations (American Southwest), and they were desperate for a solution. I need to have the Union be a bit more threatening and the Confederates more cavalier in my Steampunkk story: They'd sign a deal with the devil himself if they had to. The Steampunk divergence happens when the Confederate States give up on the American Southwest. They ask for help from Emperor Maximilian in Mexico, offering Mexico and the French some of the American West territory the Confederates now can't hope to capture militarily without help.

The recent invasion by the French in Mexico and the establishment of Maximilian in 1863 (real word history) proves too tempting for the Confederates in my Steampunk story, and the Confederates are desperate enough to abandon their aspirations for a “coast to coast” confederacy. France wanted a Mexican vassal state. Mexican nobles wanted their Mexican Empire and territory back. Prince Maximilian of Austria was invited to be the Emperor of Mexico, since he came from the house of Hapsburg, claimants to the crown of the Mexican Empire and the Viceroyalty of the New Spain since the 1500s (all 3 events happened in real in history).

Emperor Maximilian I of Mexico / Prince Ferdinand Maximilian Joseph of Austria

Maximilian needed to legitimize his throne in Mexico . But in my alternate timeline Emperor Franz Joseph of Austria did not disown his brother Ferdinand Maximilian as it happened in real life, and instead, he had sent with Prince Maximilian a fleet high altitude airships, the like of which the Americans had never seen before. The airships could skirt the Stratosphere (unknown at the time in real life) and navigate mysterious "High Westerly" currents at speeds up to 132 knots- even with no engine power, at 30 000 ft over the Pacific Ocean (Tropical Jet Stream), allowing the ships to travel 2/3 of the circumference of the Earth in only 5 days (as fast as a WWII bomber in real life). Perhaps the Confederate States could cut a deal with Mexico and France for access to the California coast.

The US Civil War becomes a global war, when Prussia joins the United States against the Austrians and the French. With help from the Prussians, the Americans counter the "Axis" alliance of Mexico/Austria/France - just in the nick if time. Captain Wilhelm captures the CSAA Alamo over the Desert of Sonora, and what does he find? A crew of Confederate and Austrian crew, among them a contingent of "genderless" Austrian "Elves," the Luftschiffengel.

Being a Catholic, Wilhelm recognizes the Engelfolk from childhood memories. He can talk to them. He knows about the Engelfolk Diaspora. In any case, Wilhelm hated the Prussians, and would much rather work with the Austrians than the Prussians in the battlefield. Faced with the obligation to send the Luftschiffengel to Union prisoner camps, and thus a certain death, Wilhelm deviced a scheme. Finding an opportunity, as he would get to meet President Lincoln, he proposes that the Engelfolk be kept in service aboard the captured Austrian Airships. A very risky proposition, but one justified in the fact that the Austrian airship technology was at the time beyond the capacity of American engineers, Union or Confederate.

Someone needed to maintain and operate the airships if they were to be reused, he argued. And those Luftschiffengel who were engineers, would be the only ones who could transfer the technology to Union engineers, as the Prussains were far more protective of their technology. Captain Wilhelm would at great risk to his career vouch, and prove to his superiors that the Austrian Engelfolk prisoners could be trusted, if they were granted citizenship and a chance to escape persecution in Europe. It was the "fastest way to appropriate the Austrian high altitude airship technology" - Wilhelm argued. "The new technology will help turn the tide against the Austrian and French forces."

Wilhelm convinced President Lincoln that the Engelfolk could not refuse. Those who were too proud to switch sides, would be sent to Union camps and would either die of starvation or could face eventual deportation to a potentially Prussian controlled German Empire should the Austrians lose, which meant certain death. This was a win-win proposition for the Union and the Engelfolk. The stakes were high for the little elven crew members.
 
United States President Abraham Lincoln

Wir lassen Sie leben, wenn Sie Treue wechseln. Werde ein Amerikaner oder stirbst auf dem Boden.

“We are letting you live if you switch allegiance. Become an American, or die on the ground," was the ultimatum set forth by Wilhelm in German. Captain Wilhelm would personally become responsible for the experiment. A gamble which would pay tenfold later in his career, and have profound consequences in the far future of mankind, many centuries later... Admiral Wilhelm would take the chief engineer, Julin Wodinaz Bahlmann and re-organize the engineering an maintenance crew of the Alamo. The term "Airship Angel" was coined and a new set of uniforms appropriate for the Austrian crew were commissioned. Wilhelm wanted to put the best face the fledgling US Airship Command could present to the top brass.

But Bahlmann himself had something to gain from the deal. You see, Bahlmann had left zis parents in Mexico City, and while the Engelfolk are meant to separate themselves from regular gendered people, Bahlmann had fallen in love with a young Bavarian woman he met in the Austrian consulate whom he longed to see again. Ze knew the days of the French occupation in Mexico were numbered. And Austria was now facing tremendous opposition from Prussia across the Atlantic. Austria could not fight a global war in two fronts across the Atlantic.

And Great Britain had ultimately silenced it's pro Confederate supporters and decided to join the United States along with Prussia. The reasoning behind this change of heart was simple: the English could not trade with the French. While the Confederate States could trade cotton with Britain, a Confederate-French alliance would not. And thus in the new Franco Austrian-Confederate alliance Britain would be completely left out of the American Cotton market. At least with the Americans they could keep the status quo, even without slavery. Queen Victoria made sure the pro-Confederate factions would be silenced.

As powerful as the Franco-Austrian offensive had been in the Trans-Mississippi (Southwestern US) theatre of operations, there was no support back in France and Austria for the war. Prussia had everything to gain from defeating Austria, and worse they could attack at home on Greater Germany. Austrian emperor Francis Joseph would absolutely have to pull his forces out from Mexico and abandon his brother Maximilian as Emperor of Mexico. The Prussian could stay fighting on the Union side, but it'd be fruitless if Austria was back at home; the Prussians would just disengage from the the battle and leave the Union instead, to get back to the business of kicking the Austrians out of a German Empire back home (as it happened in real life).

Mexico itself was never a threat to the Union, and in fact, the exiled Republican government of President Benito Juarez, hiding in Northern Mexico enjoyed the support of the Mexican people and the support from President Lincoln. Only the Mexican nobles supported Maximilian, so the minute the French pulled out, it would be the end for Maximilian (as it happened in real life), leaving only Imperial Mexico against Republican Mexico and the United States. Even with the help from the Confederates, if the US pressed on, the end was obvious.

Mexican President Benito Juarez


Bahlmann set the goal to find his parents and beloved, and take them to a safe place until the war ended. He figured that Captain Wilhelm could do that for him. He knew the Imperialist Mexican people would keep them safe. But this is the word what worried Bahlmann the most: "Imperialist." They'd be safe as long as they were not seen as dangerous foreign invaders by the Republican Mexicans. So perhaps with the influence of Captain Wilhelm over President Benito Juarez he could send them to a safe place in Mexico to wait for the end of the war.[/spoiler]

~ ~ ~

So  I guess I used General Bahlmann as a crutch of sorts, for my own personal development.  Grin In that sense Gen. Bahlmann presents a much more intimate picture of myself, being both an actual aeronautical engineer and someone (at least as I am very subtly) between the traditional genders. But Admiral Wilhelm, the "Old Walrus" as he is known by his subordinates is also me - though in a more ethereal, more cisgender older version of myself (probably the way I'll end up in real life myself)
« Last Edit: June 14, 2017, 09:07:26 am by J. Wilhelm » Logged
Cora Courcelle
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England England



« Reply #18 on: June 13, 2017, 07:58:06 pm »

I was going to tell you about my character but when I started thinking about it I realised that there are a lot of nebulous, grey areas to her; so I'm going to go away and think seriously about who she is.  This could be an interesting exercise or could drive me crazy (crazier!), guess we'll have to wait and see.
I will return ......
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You have to tread a fine line between avant-garde surrealism and getting yourself sectioned...
von Corax
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Prof. Darwin Prætorius von Corax


« Reply #19 on: June 13, 2017, 10:25:35 pm »

Professor von Corax is simply myself, only moreso.
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By the power of caffeine do I set my mind in motion
By the Beans of Life do my thoughts acquire speed
My hands acquire a shaking
The shaking becomes a warning
By the power of caffeine do I set my mind in motion
The Leverkusen Institute of Paleocybernetics is 5838 km from Reading
J. Wilhelm
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Sentisne fortunatum punkus? Veni. Diem meum comple


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« Reply #20 on: June 14, 2017, 08:42:22 am »

Professor von Corax is simply myself, only moreso.

Indeed, but, if I may ask, what is the Steampunk appearance of Prof. Von Corax?
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J. Wilhelm
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Sentisne fortunatum punkus? Veni. Diem meum comple


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« Reply #21 on: June 14, 2017, 09:14:09 am »

I was going to tell you about my character but when I started thinking about it I realised that there are a lot of nebulous, grey areas to her; so I'm going to go away and think seriously about who she is.  This could be an interesting exercise or could drive me crazy (crazier!), guess we'll have to wait and see.
I will return ......

Indeed, please do return. We look forward to hearing about her. Perhaps what she needs to so is misbehave a little, then come back freshly inspired?  Roll Eyes  What better place to rant about one's complexities?  Grin
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annevpreussen
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Captain Annemarie of the Eagle's Arrow Airship


« Reply #22 on: June 14, 2017, 06:42:10 pm »

So  I guess I used General Bahlmann as a crutch of sorts, for my own personal development.  Grin In that sense Gen. Bahlmann presents a much more intimate picture of myself, being both an actual aeronautical engineer and someone (at least as I am very subtly) between the traditional genders. But Admiral Wilhelm, the "Old Walrus" as he is known by his subordinates is also me - though in a more ethereal, more cisgender older version of myself (probably the way I'll end up in real life myself)
I'm only quoting the last bit because if I quoted all of it, I think it might be longer than my comment!  Grin But I did read your replies fully, and honestly, I'm impressed! The amount of research you must have put into these characters is stunning. Do you know all of this off the top of your head, or do you have a binder full of history and character information tucked away somewhere?

I think it's really wonderful that you were able to use these characters to get through some tough times and express yourself when you couldn't as much in the real world. From what I've found, creating fictional people tells us more about ourselves.

I was going to tell you about my character but when I started thinking about it I realised that there are a lot of nebulous, grey areas to her; so I'm going to go away and think seriously about who she is.  This could be an interesting exercise or could drive me crazy (crazier!), guess we'll have to wait and see.
I will return ......
Looking forward to see what you discover about her!

Professor von Corax is simply myself, only moreso.
Like you but steamier? Or you as you wish you could be?

Also, your signature is fantastic (please tell me it's called the mantra of the Mochantat or something, lol).
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von Corax
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Canada Canada

Prof. Darwin Prætorius von Corax


« Reply #23 on: June 14, 2017, 08:42:45 pm »

Professor von Corax is simply myself, only moreso.
Like you but steamier? Or you as you wish you could be?
A little from column A, a little from column B... I fear, however, that the good Professor also exhibits a slight tendency toward psychopathy which I (hopefully) do not: more than one of his experimental journals end with the lines, "Results inconclusive. No survivors found." There is also the following entry in the yet-unpublished Journals of the Harbinger Expeditions:

Quote
Credit for the discovery of Pseudoshoggoth hardwyckii rightly belongs to Lt. Basil Hardwycke, RMC 8th Science Platoon, who encountered it while investigating what he believed to be a petroleum seep. While it is the custom for new species to be named for the expedition leader, this singular creature would have escaped detection entirely had not Lt. Hardwycke's exclamation of amazement drawn it to our attention, and so I have chosen to name the beast in his memory.

Also, your signature is fantastic (please tell me it's called the mantra of the Mochantat or something, lol).
While I would like to take credit, sadly the origin of the Mantra is lost to the mists of Time.

As an aside, the line about Reading references the CBC Radio program As It Happens.
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annevpreussen
Gunner
**
United States United States


Captain Annemarie of the Eagle's Arrow Airship


« Reply #24 on: June 14, 2017, 11:27:15 pm »

Professor von Corax is simply myself, only moreso.
Like you but steamier? Or you as you wish you could be?
A little from column A, a little from column B... I fear, however, that the good Professor also exhibits a slight tendency toward psychopathy which I (hopefully) do not: more than one of his experimental journals end with the lines, "Results inconclusive. No survivors found." There is also the following entry in the yet-unpublished Journals of the Harbinger Expeditions:

Quote
Credit for the discovery of Pseudoshoggoth hardwyckii rightly belongs to Lt. Basil Hardwycke, RMC 8th Science Platoon, who encountered it while investigating what he believed to be a petroleum seep. While it is the custom for new species to be named for the expedition leader, this singular creature would have escaped detection entirely had not Lt. Hardwycke's exclamation of amazement drawn it to our attention, and so I have chosen to name the beast in his memory.

Also, your signature is fantastic (please tell me it's called the mantra of the Mochantat or something, lol).
While I would like to take credit, sadly the origin of the Mantra is lost to the mists of Time.

As an aside, the line about Reading references the CBC Radio program As It Happens.
I find a bit of psychopathy always livens up a story! Do you ever plan on publishing?
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