Whatif is a recursion of “what ifs”. That is, it is based on fictional leakage from various alternative history themes. What if there was no mass extinction event that killed the dinosaurs? What if the Nazis won world war 2, the South the civil war, etc. The recursion comprises the original thirteen British colonies in North America and around six hundred miles of ocean including the island of Bermuda. North of the colonies lies a large glacial mass that rises up into an impenetrable wall. The melting of the glacier turns into Niagara falls. There are no great lakes and the Western side of the recursion rises up into a large mountain chain higher then the Appalachians. The mountain range and valleys are home to many Indian tribes that don’t welcome visitors to their territory. The mountains fall off into the Strange. Indian shamans take sprit journeys to the mountain tops meditating on the fractal patterns of the Strange. South, where Florida would begin lies a vast impenetrable swamp inhabited by prehistoric super crocodiles and poisonous reptiles. Several hundred miles out in the Atlantic rest a huge permanent storm. Ships attempting the storm get turned around or come back in tatters or usually, not at all. Many of the inhabitants look East waiting for the storm to lift so that their various empires might come to their aid, but that day will never come. The region of the colonies has a population and wilderness levels consistent with the time period of the American Revolution. However, the technology level is akin to that of the middle ages. Gunpowder does not function. Mad science works and the recursion has many genius inventors such as Ben Franklin and Thomas Jefferson turning out amazing items from their work shops and laboratories. Magic works, but is uncommon. Magic tends to be more common with the Native American tribes, but voodoo practitioners, evil Nazi wizards, and even King George Washington keeps a court wizard.
Wildlife- The wildlife of Whatif is similar to the Americas at the time. The forests are filled with game such as deer and boar with large flocks of migrating geese flying overhead. However, in this recursion, there were no mass extinction events. Mammoths roam the glacial North, dire wolves and Irish elk stalk the dark forests. The mountains that border the region are inhabited by giant cave bears while Pterosaurs roost in the cliffs. The dinosaurs of Whatif are migratory spending their winters in the warmer Caliphate around the Southern swamp traveling North in the summer as far as Northern Prussia (Pennsylvania). The oceans and bays are filled with vast schools of fish, dolphins, and whales as well as Mosasaurs, Megalodons, and Plesiosaurs pursue schools of fish up the Chesapeake Bay. Non natural world creatures are rare with only one Wendigo (The Strange Bestiary pg 140) sighting being reported and then there are the Salem witches (The Strange Bestiary pg 143) though their existence is a secret.
Famous people and culture- Well known figures from history occur in this recursion. Many figures from the American Revolutionary period, the Confederate states, Pirates, and Nazis might live here. Famous figures from history must have been born in one of the original thirteen colonies are in Europe before traveling here. The real world president of the Confederate States, Jefferson Davis was born in Kentucky and therefore doesn’t exist in this recursion. Historical personages don’t age and cannot die. If killed, they miraculously recover, their wounds being less severe then originally believed. Culturally, the recursion is a weird mix of middle age feudalism and the time periods in which the narrative takes place. Boston contains a medieval stronghold surrounded by colonial style architectural houses. A lady of Carolingia appears as a civil war era Southern belle while her gentleman friend wears a Confederate dress uniform at balls, but plate armor in battle.
The British Colonies- (Rhode Island, Vermont, and Massachusetts which includes Maine) pop 600,000 (slavery abolished). The British are ruled by Lord Cornwallis, acting Governor of the Colonies. Cornwallis still owes allegiance to King George III and waits endlessly for the storm to lift so he can send for reinforcements to defeat the Nazis and United Triumvirate. The British knights are the match for any army in the land and when backed up with a regiment of Welsh longbow men and Scottish highlanders, they are almost unstoppable. British knights wear long flowing red capes and cries of “The red cloaks are coming” precede them when they ride to battle. The British also control the largest fleet in the recursion. Giant crossbows and mini catapults have replaced cannon on their ships. Massachusetts is still a hotbed of discontent with nearly a third of the population sympathizing with a growing liberty movement that could one day lead to a second revolution. More sinister are the nine beautiful mistresses of the highest ranking officers and knights in the British Colonies. Their beauty and grace are the talk of Boston though many noblewomen turn their noses up at the nines’ fondness for weird pets such as black cats, owls, a ferret, and even one snake. The nine are the Salem Witches, the result of another “what if”. The witches have the spark and seek total domination of the entire recursion. Their evil whispers into the ears of their lovers are the reason for this Colonies high taxes and harsh punishments for crimes
Novus Roma (Northern New Jersey, Long Island, Manhattan, and Connecticut) pop 850,000 (20% slaves mostly whites sold into slavery to pay off debts). From a “what if” in which the Roman empire never fell, but even discovered America. The Romans still use old style legions and they’ve been surprisingly effective against the feudal armies and Indians of the surrounding regions. These Romans are surprisingly non militaristic using their legions only for defense and threat during trade negotiations. The city of Novus Roma rests on the island of Manhattan which the Romans bought from the Iroquois. The city is massive with a population of half a million. It is a city of marble columns and monuments with a large library and coliseum. Both the Novus Tiber and the East River are filled with ships waiting to dock at this busy port. New Rome is a city of decedent rulers, traders, slums, spies, and intrigue. Citizens from all over the recursion travel here to make trade agreements or peace treaties. Only citizens of the Caliphate are not welcome here as their narrative is too different from the Roman one. The Romans believe the Muslims are liars and the Muslims believe that this Rome was founded by Romans fleeing the destruction of their city by Carthage. Roman triremes attack the Caliphate’s galleys on sight and vice versa. Also of note is that once every five years an Olympics is held in the Roman Coliseum and Hippodrome. All warfare is suspended for the month long celebration of the recursion’s finest athletes and knights. The Olympics is a mixture of a feudal tourney and ancient sports competitions. Even the Caliphate’s finest are allowed into the city for that one 30 day period though any Roman to lose a competition to a Muslim is either executed or sold into slavery in the gladiator school.
Iroquois League of the Six Nations (New York and New Hampshire)- pop 100,000. The native population of the Americas never succumbed to disease and the Iroquois were able to thrive. Their numbers were great enough that the British never challenged them, signing a treaty recognizing the League as a sovereign nation.
The Indians use of guerilla warfare and their powerful shamans have served to keep them safe from outside armies.
National Socialist Prussia (Pennsylvania and Southern New Jersey)- pop 320,000 (no institutionalized slavery, but 10% of the population lives in labor camps) A flotilla of black galleys appeared on the horizon one day, their single sails huge swastikas. The ships landed in Southern New Jersey, black knights mounted a huge black destriers storming ashore overwhelming and decimating the Roman legion that awaited them. The Americas were not used to the new Nazi tactic of Blitzkrieg. The invasion stormed Westward, never stopping to consolidate their gains until all of Pennsylvania (then part of Washington’s kingdom) fell to their rule. National Socialist Prussia is ruled by the Fuhrer, Klaus Barbie called the butcher of Trenton for his mass executions Trenton’s citizens in an attempt to get Philadelphia to surrender unconditionally. It worked and many other Pennsylvania cities followed suit. Today Nazi Prussia is a police state filled with spies and secret police. A surprisingly small percentage of it’s citizens are discontent as the Nazi youth programs and reeducation camps have been quite effective. Many citizens also think the Nazis are the only ones that can keep them safe from Pontiac in the West. Deep in the catacombs beneath the capitol of New Fredericksburg (Philadelphia), an imprisoned Benjamin Franklin has harnessed the power of electricity into a fearsome weapon known as the lightning lance. The Nazi heavy cavalry, the Teutonic Knights all wield lightning lances releasing bolts of lightning as they charge into battle. Nazi Heavy foot and archers are also some of the best in the land. The Nazis have made good use of the dinosaur population to. They use armored Triceratops as a shock force to break enemy lines much as elephants were used in ancient warfare. The Triceratops have not been that effective as they are unruly, their numbers are few and they are difficult to move from one part of the state to another. More effective are the Nazi trained Pterosaurs. Unable to carry much weight, the Nazis begin recruiting small women into their Dinosaur Luftwaffe. The women are armed with bows though they aren’t overly effective in assaults, but they are excellent scouts and messengers. They’ve been so effective that George I has begun his own dinosaur air force to counter them. Western Prussia is depopulated and has not yet recovered from Pontiac’s rebellion. Pontiac leads an alliance of more then a dozen tribes from Niagara Falls to Western Maryland. The one city in Western Prussia not a smoking ruin, is Hindenburg (Pittsburgh). The city is a well armed fortress as it’s steel works provide the full plate armor and swords of the Teutonic Knights.
The United Triumvirate of States (Virginia, Maryland, and Delaware)- pop 800,000 (½ slaves) After fighting the British army to a draw, then having the Carolinas rebel over states rights, and losing Pennsylvania to the Nazis, the triumvirate is all that is left of the original colonies. George Washington was able to maintain control of Virginia, Maryland, and Delaware by accepting the kingship of the colonies and ruling with a firm hand. King George the first rules from his palace in Richmond. Slavery is a big debate now in the triumvirate with many in the population arguing that slaves are necessary to maintain the economy and others arguing that freed slaves could be trained and given weapons strengthening the armies of the three states. Slaves escaping the Confederacy are given immediate freedom. Currently they have relative peace with the Confederacy though knights often conduct border raids. Larger hostilities exist with the Pennsylvania Deutsch of Nazi Prussia.
The Carolingian Confederacy (The Carolinas)- pop 600,000 (1/3 slaves) The Confederacy is the result of a “what if” in which the South won the American civil war though in this recursion, the Carolinas revolted against the tyranny of King George Washington. The Confederacy is ruled by King Braxton Bragg. The Confederacy maintains a strong army, but it is constantly being pressed from all sides. A truce exists with the UTS, but they still must maintain a large force guarding the Northern border. To the West, hostile Cherokees under chief Little Turkey raid from their mountain valleys. Most armed conflict occurs with the Caliphate and this is largely do to the reverse racism of the two sides. Underground railroads exist going both ways between the Carolingians and the Caliphate and one more difficult path leads to freedom in the Triumvirate of States. Many fleeing slaves take the more difficult path as the Caliphate demands conversion to Islam and most of the slaves are faithful Christians or practitioners of voodoo.
Bermuda- The “what if” for Bermuda is unknown, but the island is home to several thriving pirate communities and led by some famous pirate notables such as Blackbeard, Stede Bonnet, and Mary Read. The pirates are independent, but often gather to vote on joint targets to raid.
The Caliphate of Suleiman (Georgia)- pop 90,000 (2/3 African-Arab, 1/3 white slaves) The Caliphate derives from a “what if” in which Carthage was never defeated and grew to be the dominant empire in the world after destroying Rome. In the Caliphate, those of Arabic and African decent are the dominant races while the white savages of Europe were enslaved to serve as menial laborers. The Muslims of the Caliphate exist on a level with the Saracens at the time of the crusades. Their fast moving light Calvary, armed with scimitars and bows are a force to be reckoned with in the Americas. The Caliphate has one of the highest cultural levels in the recursion with libraries and hospitals in every city. South is an impassable swamp filled with poisonous snakes, dinosaurs, massive prehistoric crocodiles, and a hostile Seminole Indian tribe.
Form: Standard wooden heavy lance with copper wires running down to the tip and a metal plug in the hilt.
Effect: The lightning lance is a special weapon used by Teutonic Knights in New Prussia. It was created by Benjamin Franklin, Master of Electricity. A lightning lance appears as a standard lance, but with a button near the grip. Depressing the button releases a lightning bolt that shoots out ten feet from the lance and does 4 damage (6 damage to a metal armored knight). The lances can only hold one charge. They can be recharged, but only by the giant battery Franklin created in his laboratory/dungeon beneath old Philadelphia. The battery is to big to be moved. It appears as a giant mushroom, with slots all over it for the lances. It’s affectionately called “the porcupine” after all the spikeds sticking out of it when fully loaded with charging lances.