Here's the initial setting, as written by the Geomancer:
Based on history up to 19th century and diverged at that point.
Charles Babbage was sponsored by
By replacing some mechanical linkages with steam based pneumatic linkages, the analytical engine was adapted to solve many harmonic type equations. (This created, among other advances, steam techno music.) This actually produced analytical engines capable of calculations impossible to digital technology of our benighted modern era.
The analytical engine solved Maxwell’s equations, resulting in early discovery of high velocity solutions (special relativity: E=Mc2 etc), black body radiation (quantum mechanics) and accelerated solutions (general relativity: black holes etc.). Out of this, steam driven mechanickal anti-gravity devices were developed. (Flying super dreadnaughts, space travel etc.) Simultaneous solutions for general relativity and quantum mechanics were calculated, resulting in perfection of quantum string theory, and practical harnessing of zero point energy. (Mechanickal generators both tiny and huge, with virtually unlimited power—limitations only that the device had to be large enough not to be melted or vapourized by its high power output.) Zero point generators in the middle of boilers yield both tiny and huge steam driven machines of unlimited power. Zero point generators in the middle of furnace brick yield heaters, while inside of high temperature ceramics yield light sources, no electricity required thank-you.
Detectors of brain waves were developed and analyzed, again by use of analytical engines. It turns out brain waves are so analogous to zero point energy waves that by proper biofeedback training, meditative techniques could harness zero point energy. The difficulty is avoiding frying your brain with the energy. (This is “magick”.) Analytical engines also analyzed life auras based on Yin-Yang models of eastern origin, calculating
Curious feed back loops in analytical engines were always present, indicating that opposites always occur together. Political stability must always be accompanied by instability. Thus the global telegraphic net which united the Empire always attracts hackers who periodically bring it down, thereby invigorating it (steam-punks especially!) The only way to deal with end of the world fanatics (an inevitable consequence of harnessing zero point energy is that some people become these fanatics) is through rivalry and limited conflict (steam cold war) with other states. Society must be both utopian and dystopian. Privilege and under privilege must accompany each other. Social equality must always come in an unequal society. Techs and anti-techs go together. Nobility and street punks coexist.
Strangely, certain calculations always break an analytical engine. Calculating the existence or attributes of God, for example. Humans trained in zero point control (magick) can perform these, but if they begin as atheists, the calculation maddens them, and if they begin religious, they remain religious. Nobody outside of their religion will trust their calculations.
Occupations include: noble, steam punk, fanatic, scientific dabbler, mechanickal artificer, mechanickal operator, magick user, military person, spy, analytical engine operator (like programmer), telegrapher (all communications, and input and output of analytical engines are by telegraph), engineer (two kinds—civil and steam engine operator), cleric, rail-road/shipping baron, detective (schooled in the Sherlock Holmes detective agency), herbalist, medicinist, surgeon, military person (various ranks), navigator (sail the oceans, or skies or space), captain, scrap recycler.