- An interview with one of the Darkzone residents - Rab Burdonne - about the life of another, quite elusive warrior - Pelopidas.
- Weapon recommendations for the discerning fighter.
- Essential reading for the Steempunk fan.
- How To: guides on going Steampunk IRL
- Steampunk music
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This interview was one of the most unusual we have ever undertaken, as we talked to one member of the Darkzone about another shadowy figure, Pelopidas. What we will learn is a little about each individual, as Rab supplies answers about the shadowy Pelopidas.
Interviewer: First off, as we don't have a sketch of Pelopidas to show our readers, could you describe him?
Rab: Even to most inhabitants of the Darkzone, Pelopidas is just a shadow, a figment of their imagination, a half-imagined chance glance and gone again. I’ve seen him around a few times, but I couldn’t really describe him to you, sorry.
Interviewer: Then let us begin with the name - can you explain it to our readers?
Rab: His name is Pelopidas. He gets called “Pelo” (meaning “mud”, or “dirt”) for short.
Interviewer: Is he an Adventurer, or an Aristocrat?
Rab: Pelo is an Adventurer, like his mother was before him.
Interviewer: And how did he become an Adventurer?
Rab: Pelopidas is an Adventurer by reason of birth. He was born in a makeshift shack in the poorest area of the Darkzone, surrounded by cutthroats, thieves, and assassins.
Interviewer: Because of his situation, did he lead a life of hardship or privilege then?
Rab: Are you kidding? Pelo has had a life of privilege, at least compared to most people living in the Darkzone. Being fatherless from a young age, Pelo is accepted, (or tolerated at least), by even the worst of scoundrels. He can walk in safety anywhere in the Darkzone without fear. Mostly he just gets ignored, which suits him just fine.
Interviewer: What does Pelo do for fun?
Rab: Pelopidas spends most of his time alone, skulking in the shadows in the Darkzone. Whatever he does for fun is none of your business, and you probably wouldn’t enjoy it yourself, anyway.
Interviewer: What is his favourite ice cream flavour?
Rab: Oh come on! Again with the silly questions? Where do you think Pelo is going to find ice cream in the ghettos of the Darkzone?
Interviewer: Does he have a favourite book?
Rab: What is a book? Life in the ghettos below ground isn’t a tea party. Any paper that is found, whether loose or bound, will end up getting burned for warmth, for cooking, or to help reignite the fireboxes after the boilers have been cleaned and serviced.
Interviewer: Does he have any siblings?
Rab: Pelo is the only child of his mother, but without knowing who his father is, who knows how many half-siblings he may have?
Interviewer: Do you know whether he has any allergies? Or annoying habits?
Rab: Even his own mother hasn’t spent enough time with him continuously to know much about him, let alone to be able to discern any character flaws. Sure, he may well have annoying habits, but nobody is close enough to him personally to be able to identify them. He is a loner, living in a part of Steemopolis where minding your own business can mean the difference between life and death.
Interviewer: Does Pelo have a special talent, do you know?
Rab: Pelo has a special knack for being unseen and ignored. He is of nondescript appearance, and if he is ever spotted, no two witnesses could ever agree on what he looks like, even down to the simplest of facts such as his hair colour, which is a kind of browny-reddy-black, mud-coloured hue.
Interviewer: How often does Pelo train? And what is his routine?
Rab: Pelo doesn’t need to train. His entire meagre existence is training enough. If you can survive the harsh realities of life in the Darkzone, then you can survive anywhere. He practices his parkour daily, just to get from place to place stealthily anywhere within Ground Zero and the Darkzone. He seldom visits Midcity or Skyground.
Interviewer: What would he eat for breakfast before a big battle?
Rab: Scraps of food are often left out for Pelo in a communal area by several well-meaning individuals of the underground community. We take care of him as best we can, as one of our own.
Interviewer: What is his favourite weapon?
Rab: Pelo uses whatever is to hand at the time, preferably something sharp and stabby, or an old piece of wire will suffice. He has even killed a fully-armed Skygrounder soldier, with nothing but a blast of steam from a pipe. Okay, it was pressurised well beyond the standard 139 bar rating for the fittings, and it was rigged to a tripwire.
Interviewer: What advice do you think Pelo would give to new fighters?
Rab: Check those dark corners!
Interviewer: What do you imagine he thinks of UltimaCorp?
Rab: Pelopidas doesn’t know much about UltimaCorp, except that the Skygrounder soldier he killed a few years ago was wearing an UltimaCorp uniform. Why the soldier was hiding out in the recesses of the Darkzone is a mystery, but Pelo was not going to pass up an opportunity for some easy loot from a mark who was clearly out of his depth, wandering aimlessly where he didn’t belong. Most of the loot was subsequently fenced years ago, but I think Pelo may have kept hold of one or two items from the soldier.
Interviewer: What colour do you think Pelo would want the Clockwork Arena to be painted?
Rab: Paint it all earthen, dull, mud-toned hues so that Pelo can hide better in the shadows and launch attacks without being seen or noticed. He’d appreciate that.
Interviewer: Does he have a motto or a battle cry, to psych out his opponents?
Rab: A stealthy assassin never alerts his victim of their impending demise. A ‘battle cry’ would be counterproductive to Pelo.
Interviewer: Where does he keep his weapons?
Rab: You’re a nosey one then, aren’t you? As a proficient tinker, Pelo can craft weapons out of pretty much anything. He lives by his wits, and doesn’t really have a space to call his own, that I know of. His few meagre possessions are carried with him, but are kept close and tight, so as not to jingle and jangle around.
Interviewer: Does Pelo have any pets?
Rab: Yes, at least once a week, normally on Sundays. They supplement the baked rats and stoats that constitute most of Pelo’s meagre diet.
Interviewer: What snacks would he pack for a battle?
Rab: A dried bit of dog jerky staves off the hunger pangs.
Interviewer: If Pelo was allowed into the laboratory, what do you think he would create?
Rab: Pelopidas is adept at making all manner of contraptions to kill stealthily. His “laboratory” is the junk yards of Ground Zero, where he scavenges bits and bobs to turn into crude weaponry.
Interviewer: Do you know what his dreams for the future are?
Rab: Pelo never knew his father. He often fantisizes about what he would say or do if he ever met his progenitor. The one time he dared to ask his mother about this, she turned away, abashed, and never spoke to Pelo again, from what I heard.
Interviewer: Is there anything you wish to add, for our readers?
Rab: These answers were collected in absentia during the failed census of the Darkzone of 2275. They were related by one Rab Burdonne (me), a petty criminal and suspected hacker, who attests to know this Pelopidas personally. The claims within this record are unsubstantiated at best, and likely falsified by the informant, as many such tales were during the 2275 census, when the Steempunk-Net Consortium interfered with the running of the census by offering a crypto-reward for information on any unregistered citizens, in an effort to gain more fighters for the Clockwork Arena.
[We would like to thank both Rab, and the absent Pelopidas, for taking the time to share with us a little about what life is like for those less fortunate than most of us here in the SPN world.]
Here is an excerpt from his book, regarding the Scrap Revolver:
Some of our readers may be wondering just what defines a story as being 'steampunk', so we have included this definition for your edification.
(Information gathered from Goodreads.)
by Eoin Colfer
In the 1890s Conor and his family live on the sovereign Saltee Islands, off the Irish coast. Conor spends his days studying the science of flight with his tutor and exploring the castle with the king’s daughter, Princess Isabella. But the boy’s idyllic life changes forever the day he discovers a deadly conspiracy against the king. When Conor tries to intervene, he is branded a traitor and thrown into jail on the prison island of Little Saltee. There, he has to fight for his life, as he and the other prisoners are forced to mine for diamonds in inhumane conditions.
There is only one way to escape Little Saltee, and that is to fly. So Conor passes the solitary months by scratching drawings of flying machines on the prison walls. The months turn into years; but eventually the day comes when Conor must find the courage to trust his revolutionary designs and take to the air.
by Philip Reeve
"It was a dark, blustery afternoon in spring, and the city of London was chasing a small mining town across the dried-out bed of the old North Sea."
The great traction city London has been skulking in the hills to avoid the bigger, faster, hungrier cities loose in the Great Hunting Ground. But now, the sinister plans of Lord Mayor Mangus Crome can finally unfold.
Thaddeus Valentine, London's Head Historian and adored famous archaeologist, and his lovely daughter, Katherine, are down in The Gut when the young assassin with the black scarf strikes toward his heart, saved by the quick intervention of Tom, a lowly third-class apprentice. Racing after the fleeing girl, Tom suddenly glimpses her hideous face: scarred from forehead to jaw, nose a smashed stump, a single eye glaring back at him. "Look at what your Valentine did to me!" she screams. "Ask him! Ask him what he did to Hester Shaw!" And with that she jumps down the waste chute to her death. Minutes later Tom finds himself tumbling down the same chute and stranded in the Out-Country, a sea of mud scored by the huge caterpillar tracks of cities like the one now steaming off over the horizon.
by Catherine Fisher
Incarceron -- a futuristic prison, sealed from view, where the descendants of the original prisoners live in a dark world torn by rivalry and savagery. It is a terrifying mix of high technology -- a living building which pervades the novel as an ever-watchful, ever-vengeful character, and a typical medieval torture chamber -- chains, great halls, dungeons. A young prisoner, Finn, has haunting visions of an earlier life, and cannot believe he was born here and has always been here. In the outer world, Claudia, daughter of the Warden of Incarceron, is trapped in her own form of prison -- a futuristic world constructed beautifully to look like a past era, an imminent marriage she dreads. She knows nothing of Incarceron, except that it exists. But there comes a moment when Finn, inside Incarceron, and Claudia, outside, simultaneously find a device -- a crystal key, through which they can talk to each other. And so the plan for Finn's escape is born ...
Steampunk your house!
Impress your friends and random visitors with some innovative ideas.
Check out this video for a nifty, inexpensive, and easy way to start off your steampunk decor:
In this edition we have chosen Littmus Steampunk Band's catchy Say Goodby To Steampunk. They hail from Townsville, in Australia.
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You can battle your friends, or find new opponents to annihilate in the Clockwork Arena.
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