“The Lazarus Device” ~

What is the Lazarus Device? The plot thickens, yet we still have 20 more weeks until the true investigation begins . . . HOWEVER, for those attending Teslacon next weekend (December 1st to 3rd, 2023) in Madison, Wisconsin, you will be able to get a head start on the investigation. Please be sure to drop the Chicago Steampunk Exposition table to get your FREE Steam & Sorcery character registration (see character sheet below) and participate in a preliminary investigation (Saturday, December 2nd, 2023) to discover the truth about the mysterious Lazarus Device.

The Steam & Sorcery character sheet is designed to be folded three times to make a mini-booklet about the size of a playing card. The “Steam & Sorcery” panel is the front cover that will feature the character name at the bottom, and the characters faction stamped inside the cog. There are five options for faction affiliation: Clubs, Diamonds, Hearts, Spades, and Ronin (aka no affiliation). The Stamina panel is the back of the booklet and tracks your character’s physical and mental health in the game should points of damage occur.

The Attributes panel measure a character’s Body, Mind, and Spirit; you have nine points to divide among these with a minimum of one (not recommended) and a maximum of five. Archetypes are like occupations (or classes) that come with skill sets; characters start with two archetypes. Both of these panels appear upside down when the sheet is open, but will be right way up when the booklet is folded.

Characters with a Spirit score of four or more have access to different types of magic and can collect Spells. The Weapons and Items panels are for equipment that the character acquires during the adventure. Equipment information comes on e-cards that players can easily save on their phones, but registration of the item requires a Fixer (head of a faction) or an Arbiter (game referee) to stamp the circle next to the weapon or item for it to be a legitimate in game piece of equipment purchased with Brass (the in game currency). Characters start with some brass on credit to purchase initial weapons, items, or spells, and then earn more brass from completing missions. Spells also have a purchase value to register them.

The Experience panel tracks experience points (XP), earned for various missions and challenge, with faction Fixer (or Arbiter) stamps on the XP cogs; there are also XP Cards that can be given to a Fixer or Arbiter in exchange for a stamp. Ten experience points will “level up” the character by increasing the skill level in one archetype, or by adding a new archetype to the character’s list. Leveled up characters may require a fresh character sheet if they have any injuries to physical or mental stamina; leveling up restores all health.

This is just a preview of the character sheet, but over the course of this week we shall release new web pages to this site that contain all the basic rules needed to get started in the game, ready in time to run a small adventure this coming weekend at Teslacon. It’s going to be fun, and we look forward to meeting our pioneer players very soon!

Back to “The Lazarus Device”

Last month we started a series of clues that will be revealed each week as we draw closer to the “1893 Exposition & the Shadow of Nosferatu.” Collect these clue cards (click on the card to enlarge) for bonus leads in solving the weekend’s vampiric mystery.

These clues cards can be used in our immersive live action role-playing game (LARP) Steam & Sorcery; see below for details of the game. Click HERE for the previous clue cards.

Program Updates

This week we continued adding details of our presentations, panels, workshops, and other activities to the Program Page . . .

We are still looking for more speakers with knowledge of: Gothic Horror, Steampunk, Victoriana, costuming, maker arts, history, etc.

Chicago Steampunk Exposition is able offer Presenters a full weekend badge in exchange for two or more presentations (or relative equivalent).

Most sessions are required to be about 45 minutes in length; gaming sessions and certain workshops may require more time. If your session requires more time, please make a note in “Additional” box at the bottom of the form below to let us know.

If you would like to be part of the 2024 program and give a presentation, please CLICK HERE for our Presenter Application Form.

Exhibitor Updates

We continue to announce the latest artists, exhibitors, and vendors joining us in April 2024.

To see our full lists of confirmed Exhibitors, please visit . . .
Exhibitor applications are now open! Click Here to apply today!

There are many different room types available:

  • King or Double – $129/night (plus tax & fees)
  • Junior Suite – $159/night (plus tax & fees)
  • Executive Suite – $179/night (plus tax & fees)
  • 1 Bedroom VIP Suite – $209/night (plus tax & fees)
  • 2 Bedroom VIP Suite – $329/night (plus tax & fees)

There are three specific blocks from which to choose. Click on block type to book your room.

Anyone wishing to host a room party should book their room in the Noise Friendly Block – CLICK HERE for more details about room parties on “The Row”

Artists, Authors, Exhibitors, & Vendors, please note that there is a separate block for you to which a booking link will be sent out to all successful applicants.

The 1893 Exposition premiered many new advancements in technology, and that year the world’s innovators were engaged in a race to harness electricity to provide power for humanity.  In the lead were Nikola Tesla and Thomas Edison, with Tesla’s alternating current (A/C) concept going up against Edison’s direct current (D/C) system in what is known as the “Battle of the Currents;” a battle that came to a head in Chicago when Tesla was chosen over Edison.

Some speculate that Edison made an alliance with Count Graf Orlock to exact revenge upon Tesla. Others argue that it was the invention of the light bulb that drew the attention of the vampire councils. Whatever the reason, July 1893 secretly witnessed a dark cloud of Victorian Gothic horrors, Penny Dreadfuls come to life, and the looming presence of the Dark Prince fall upon the “White City.”

Tesla quickly realized that it would take more than just his alternating current electricity to protect the Exposition from Nosferatu’s army of darkness; Tesla needed an army of his own. Working hurriedly with Ferris, Professor Truelove, and Ada Lovelace, they managed to open a time and space portal to the year 2024, seeking the help of the most imaginative minds and creative souls who would beckon the call. Many social rebels and analog dreamers, so called “Steampunks,” responded to the plea and came to Tesla’s aid . . . but they were not the only ones to pass through the portal.

April 2024, will you align yourself with Tesla’s fight to protect the Exposition from this nightmare? Or will you join Edison’s alliance of darkness and be one of the creatures that lurk in the shadow of Nosferatu?

PLEASE NOTE that ALL costuming is welcome and does not have to be related to the theme, and you don’t even have to come in costume; 21st Century “Time Tumblers” are welcome to 1893 as well 🙂

The Exposition invites you to immerse yourself into the weekend’s story arc as we solve the Nosferatu mysteries with our Live Action Role Play game Steam & Sorcery.

PLEASE NOTE we are currently working the Second Edition of Steam & Sorcery which will be more streamlined than the previous edition. We hope to have the updated version available at the start of 2024.

Our team of “Fixers” has already begun work on the “Shadow of Nosferatu” script and other preparations for April 2024. In addition to solving the mystery of Nosferatu, there will be active competition between the four factions: the Knight Clubs, the Diamond Dogs, the Tarts with Hearts, and the Shadow Spades. Additionally, starting for April 2024 the LARP has joined forces with Chicago’s Otherworld Theatre troupe. In 2019, Otherworld Theatre participated in the first ever Chicago Steampunk Exposition with their Dungeons & Dragons improv show, and for 2024 they will play major parts in our live action role playing game. The recent Exposition offered a preview of the Steam & Sorcery LARP game, and in April 2024 we will bring to you the full immersive version. We are super excited to see what the combined talents and experience of the Exposition LARP Troupe and Otherworld Theatre working together will bring for players in our 2024 immersive game.

Assemble your team of Smog Runners, get a mission from your Fixer, and run weekend long espionage and investigations into the four Robber Baronies that rule over Chicago in this 1893 timeline. You’ll need a QR code reader on your smartphone, a handful of coins, and your wits.

Join the Exposition Crew!

The Exposition is dedicated to providing Steampunk Fans a fun and safe weekend of entertainment, and to do so we need a dedicated Crew of fine volunteers.

If you would like to be part of the Exposition Crew, please fill out our Volunteer Application Form HERE and we will send you an invite to the next Crew Meeting.

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On the Horizon . . .
  • The Chicago Steampunk Exposition Film Festival
  • The Goblin King’s Masquerade
  • The Exposition Tea Parlor
  • . . . and more!

Chicago Steampunk Exposition