Partly, this was inspired by Urko Crust, a minor character of Steven Erikson´s Malazan series, who also solved most problems with a fist in the face, usually the face of his superiors.
Mostly, though, I just wanted to experiment with a more Pratchettesque style of writing, mixing quite sophisticated philosophy with understated humor, in the British comedy tradition. It´s actually harder than it looks, too much humor and it turns into slapstick, too little and the humor just seems lost, sad and out of place, instead of becoming a medium in which to address serious philosophical matters. Used right, humor is such a powerful tool.
There are a few true masters out there: Pratchett, Douglas Adams and Iain M. Banks, for example. Guess there is a reason why so few can do what they do..
This is a fascinating concept; not likely under the rules which my steampunk world operates on - magic itself is too inherently dangerous and the degree of energy involved would give good odds of both drawing every Whisp for miles and provoking a severe case of thaumic fallout every time it was produced.
However, given the somewhat different rules in operation here, it's awesome. I particularly like the way it gives things coated in it a misshapen, lumpy, and organic appearance, even if the underlying object is a thing of angles and planes.
And I am glad you appreciate the term tossed out to describe this kind of thing - thaumatech just sounds better than 'magictech' or 'technomancy' in the sense of a steampunk feel, don't you think? Go to Comment
Applied correctly, I could see it having quite a few uses above and beyond what is described above; a bit of Aphex matter, bound around, say, a vial of Chaosmark's True Ether, could make for one hell of an effective bomb. An antigravitic effect might be possible as well, if you sealed something in it; I doubt you'd really want to fly anything with this property, because the moment the effect destabilizes you'd drop like a stone, but it could be used for some truly gargantuan devices.
I like the notion of a true vacuum letting it be stable; perhaps the city could stockpile it in a specially-designed storage space, halfway out of existence, where the normal environmental effects don't apply, and where perhaps, not being exposed to these radiations, it remains a semi-fluid. Maybe exposure to normal radiations is what makes it set, kind of like cement curing, rather than the heat radiating away from it. Go to Comment
One would suggest this though: Aphex matter, in a true vacuum, could be stable. However, under normal conditions, it is constantly exposed to the thermodynamics of the local environment, is is pulled upon by the gravity of the world, etc, etc.
You have noted the refrigerant qualities, perhaps correctly applied, it could bring forth antigravity effects as well, even with its high density. Go to Comment
Now this is some seriously exotic stuff, I like how it's just so not of this world and constantly reminds you that it is. The frictionless surface with the lumpy melted look, and the way it can just decide to stop 'being' Go to Comment
Likewise, my steampunk ideas (what few I've done) have been inspired by your setting and work. It's an infinite loop! Arrrgh!
Edit: The thought occurs to me that a steampunk/thaumatech quest would be interesting, but not get anywhere near the level of response that most quests get (and even those can be all across the board with the number of submissions). Go to Comment
Now you're talking! I like gods that are unusual as this one.
Why would people follow these teachings (note that I'm not talking about worship)? Because this is the truth, this is how the world works, they say. And they are straight at the source of adversity. Besides making them better prepared, they just may happen to learn of the challenges when they come.
I would also say the psychological boost can be the most important advantage a religion can bring. It is true: too often reduced to a list of spells, it loses much of its edge.
Well, without intention of annoying any religious people out there, you could say he is a bit like the Christian God, Allah and Jehovah in that way.. dont really give anything tangible back to his worshippers.
As an atheist myself, I can only speculate what real-world religious people get out of their religion, but I can assume that the benefit is mostly psychological, rather than the standard-fantasy benefits of divine spells and suchlike?
Think Roman Catolicism in the 15th century - thats what i based this on: harsh, unyielding and uncompromising...
Again, I dont write this to flame against religion. I find religion as a psychological motivator fascinating - and if you want to write believable fiction, you have to get your motivators down pat.. Go to Comment
A casual remark by one of the party about something met on a previous adventure leads to a summons to and grilling by the Mages' Guild (or equivalent), probably resulting in an expedition back to that area to recover the things for 'study' by the Guild. The party's presence will be 'requested' for this expedition.