Sunday, November 30, 2008

Inspiration - Laputa

J. Over at "Victoria's Boys in Red" recently added a great feature to his site - an index of imagi-nations. This is basically a listing of imaginary nations people have concocted for gaming. This is a pretty common thing, I've noticed, and has a lot of appeal, even when playing historical games.

By making up a location, you have the ability to make it fit the games you want to play by creating terrain, cultures, hazards and other setting details that are customized to your needs. It also allows more culturally sensitive players to relieve some of the angst about bashing on a real-world culture, but this really is more of a byproduct than anything else.

This whole idea is one I've used in the past but J's posting inspired me to consider doing a full-on VSF nation of my own, but I didn't want to do something that everyone has done before. I thought of obscure European nations or even revisiting the long-ignored United States, but those didn't sit well with me. The Near and Far East also left me flat for ideas. Then my mind turned to one of my favorite imaginary places - Laputa.

Now, I'm aware that the Laputa story dates back to before the Victorian Age, but the myth fits in well with many of the themes of VSF. A lost kingdom of advanced sciences and pseudo-scientific pursuits. It's also in the air, so it fits with airships, fliers and the preoccupation with flight. Laputa also has other lands subordinate to it in a sort of imperial manner. These are other, earth-bound islands that associate with and are ruled over by Laputa. All of this sets up for some sort of VSF kingdom or power.

The big chore was going through and cutting through all the "goofy" sociopolitical commentary that was written into the original stories about Laputa and coming up with something that works for a gaming setting. Some of this I borrowed from Hayao Miyazaki's version of Laputa, but without his fallen kingdom angle. Another way of handling this was to reduce some of the literary details to their more elemental level and reinterpret them as real-world details - sort of like trying to make history out of the Iliad. So this is what I set out to do.

So, this is my new project for a VSF army. I'll be posting more about it later, perhaps even giving it it's own blog later. I plan to put the project into full gear in the New Year, buying new minis and getting them painted and posted. My hope is that I will have a new digital camera in the new year as well. Keep an eye out and see what mysteries the Laputian Empire has to offer.




  1. Its getting to be a regular inspirational give-and-take between us, isn't it? But that's a good thing.

    Which nationality of Napoleonics were you thinking of using for the Imperial Laputan Army (or whatever its official designation is)?

    I think Laputa is going to be a very interesting place. It will certainly get added to the Imagi-nation Atlas as soon as you are ready.

  2. The High Army of Laputa is likely to be made up fo various troops that I pck up from various Napoleonic armies. This shouldn't be too much of a proble, I would imagine, as so many of the uniforms shared similar stylings.

    Mainly it comes down to figuring out the type of headgear that I like as that is what stands out the most on the Nappies.

  3. BTW, I am completely open to suggestions/recommendations for which nationalities to use. I have to admit that pretyt much all Nappie look the same to me except for the colors.

  4. Why could they not be an advanced race of pacific islanders? Flashy uniforms are not always a requirement for advaned technologies. The uniforms could be a drab mexican army style as most of the money can be allocated to the production of equipment. Plus the uniforms were often very hot as they were made of wool during the Napoleonic era.

  5. An intriguing prospect there, sir. How do you mean a rough Mexican style uniform? The flashy uniforms and displays were drawn from the source literature on Laputa where it had been undone by it's own ponpasity and self-involvement.

    I had not considered going the "lost world" rought with the floating city being something akin to a polynesian Atlantis or some such.


  6. The Pancho Villa era uniforms were white shirt and pants peasant uniforms with sombreros. The uniform was made for the hot climate of the Mexican Desert.

  7. Ah cool. I may go this route for some of the more poorly equipped troops. The main island from the ficticious chain where Laputa comes from is quite poverty stricken in the source literature.

    I'd love to hear your thoughts on them being a race of advanced race of pacific islanders?

    Feel free to mail me off the blog if you wish.



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