Yesterday I ran a role-playing game for the first time this century.
As promised, it's a steampunk game run using the Forgotten Futures rules, with some modifications. I'm calling it Steam Elephants, because that was an appellation applied to a number of early steam engines, and it's a nice image. Jules Verne thought so too. There's a literal steam elephant in The Steam House, although I'm happy - in a slightly shame-faced way - to say that I was ignorant of that until I went looking for illustrations.
Steam Elephants as the title was a recent decision, but may have been lurking in my subconscious waiting to pounce (can elephants do that?) since I first came across the term some time ago. In fact, the invitation to play that went out a few weeks ago still referred to Chariots of Salvation, the working title I've been using for maybe the last couple of years. Chariots of Salvation came from looking up "chariots" in a Biblical concordance, which turned up only one vaguely usable quotation, from the Book of Habakkuk (Chapter 3, Verse 8). I liked the idea of using a Biblical reference as being fairly appropriate to the period, but in truth any allusion to steam power would have been pretty loose and metaphorical, as you can see for yourself:
Was the LORD displeased against the rivers? was thine anger against the rivers? was thy wrath against the sea, that thou didst ride upon thine horses and thy chariots of salvation?
...and given that previous successful games within the extended player group have had major religious themes that I didn't see as being particularly relevant to a setting of scientific romance, in the end I was more than happy to dump poor old Habakkuk as establishing the wrong sort of tone.