Steampunk Heroes 2:

Phileas Fogg -- International Man of Mystery

by CJ Beiting

"[Phileas Fogg] was an enigmatic figure about whom nothing was known, except that he was a thorough gentleman and one of the most handsome figures in the whole of high society . . . Although clearly British, Mr. Fogg might not have been a Londoner. He had never been spotted in the Stock Exchange, the Bank, or the City. The basins and docks of London had never berthed a ship for an owner called Phileas Fogg. This gentleman was not on any board of directors. His name had never rung out in a barrister's chambers . . . He was not engaged in industry, business, commerce, or agriculture . . . he was not a member of any of the associations that breed so prolifically in the capital of the United Kingdom, from the Harmonic Union to the Entomological Society . . .

"Was this Phileas Fogg well off? Without any doubt. But how he had made his fortune, even the best informed could not say. And Mr. Fogg was the last person one would have approached to find out . . . In short, the least communicative of men. He spoke as little as possible, and so seemed all the more difficult to fathom. His life was transparent, but what he did was always so mathematically the same, that one's imagination, disturbed, tried to look beyond."
--Around the World in Eighty Days, Chapter 1

Who is Phileas Fogg? British Society knows him as a gentleman of means and of fixed habit . . . and nothing more beyond that. He has no job. He has no family. He has no friends. Apart from a substantial bank account at Baring's and a membership in London's famous Reform Club, he has nothing to connect him to human society at all. Fogg is the prototypical "international man of mystery." Clearly he has a secret, but no one knows what it is. Even his surname suggests obscurity, and as for his forename, well, it's certainly not British. What could be behind those mathematically precise habits of his? Who is he, really? And what causes such a man to drop everything and gallivant around the world on the spur of the moment? In this article, we will look as several different interpretations of the mysterious Mr. Fogg from the mundane to the outré, as we, "disturbed, [try] to look beyond."


"You are French and are called John?"

"Jean, if sir pleases-Jean Passepartout, a nickname that has stuck with me and was first applied due to my natural ability to get out of scrapes. I consider myself an honest fellow, sir, but if truth be told, I have had several occupations."
--Around the World in Eighty Days, Chapter 1

Jean Passepartout

156 Points

Male; Age 33; 6'0''; 165 lbs.; muscular build, round facial features, ruddy complexion, brown hair (always a bit mussed), blue eyes, slightly protruding lips.

ST 13 [30]; DX 14 [45]; IQ 9 [-10]; HT 13 [30].

Speed 6.75; Move 6.
Dodge 6; Parry 8.

Advantages: Ally (Phileas Fogg) (151 to 200, 15 or less) [45]; Double-Jointed [5]; Sanctity [5]. Disadvantages: Duty (15 or less) [-15]; Impulsiveness [-10]; Poverty (Struggling) [-10]; Sense of Duty (Phileas Fogg) [-5]; Status -1 [-5]; Weak Will -1 [-8] (Will: 8).

Quirks: Can't work for an employer he doesn't respect; Confirmed bachelor; Doesn't get sea sick; Garrulous; Prized possession: ornate pocket watch (a family heirloom). [-5].

Skills: Acrobatics-14 [4]; Acting-10 [4]; Aerial Acrobatics-15 [4]; Area Knowledge (England)-10 [2]; Area Knowledge (Paris)-10 [2]; Black Powder Weapons (Pistol)/TL5-10 [0]; Boxing-13 [1] (Parry: 8); Climbing-15 [1/2]; Cooking-10 [2]; Disguise-10 [4]; English-10 [4]; Equestrian Acrobatics-13 [2]; French (native)-11 [2]; Gymnastics-15 [1]; Professional Skill (Fireman)-12 [8]; Riding (Horse)-13 [1]; Savoir-Faire (Servant)-14 [10]; Singing-12 [1/2]; Teaching-12 [8]; Team Acrobatics-14 [0]; Tightrope Walking-15 [4]; Tumbling-14 [0].

We begin our examination of the mysterious Mr. Fogg with his decidedly un-mysterious manservant. Jean "Passepartout" (French slang for a skeleton key or a thing that "goes anywhere") led an extremely varied life before coming into Mr. Fogg's service. A Parisian born and bred, he began life as a wandering singer, and then joined a circus where he served as a trick rider, a trapeze artist, and a tightrope walker. He later taught gymnastics and served as a sergeant in the Paris Fire Brigade. Tiring of his wandering life, he left France in 1867 to seek his fortune as a manservant in England, hoping to settle down. However, he has high standards and was incapable of working for a gentleman whom he could not respect; as a result, he served in a total of 10 households before coming to Mr. Fogg in October of 1872. Initially, it seemed to Passepartout as a perfect match: Mr. Fogg was a man of mathematically regular habits, and Passepartout believed he could settle down to the quiet life at last.

Of course, he was sadly mistaken . . .

Passepartout is an interesting character. Due to his varied background, he has a wide variety of skills and very strong primary attributes; as such, he is very competent, and much more skilled than the average Victorian servant, so he counts as an Ally rather than a Dependant. He is strong, honest, and personable, and is usually well-liked by the people he meets. His only flaws are a tendency to impulsiveness and a bit of a short temper. Over the course of the novel, he begins by considering his employer a hopeless eccentric, but rapidly develops a strong Sense of Duty towards him. He and Fogg are polar opposites -- Fogg is mental, methodical, reserved, and stereotypically British; Passepartout physical, impulsive, gregarious, and stereotypically French -- but they work well together.

GMs who use GURPS Martial Arts might wish to replace Passepartout's Boxing skill with Savate and its maneuvers. Passepartout is by no means an accomplished martial artist, but is surprisingly good in a fistfight.

The Phileas Fogg Template

"Phileas Fogg was one of those mathematically precise people, never in a hurry but always prepared, economical with his steps and movements. He never took a pace too far and invariable found the shortest path. He never wasted glances at the ceiling. He allowed himself no unnecessary gestures. Nobody had ever seen him aroused or troubled. He was the least rushed man in the world, but always came on time."
--Around the World in Eighty Days, Chapter 2

Phileas Fogg

189-1/2 Points

Male; Age 40; 6'; 187 lbs.; pale complexion, fair hair worn in moustache and sideburns, splendid teeth.

ST 10 [0]; DX 10 [0]; IQ 11 [10]; HT 12 [20].

Speed 5.50; Move 5.
Dodge 5; Parry 4.

Advantages: Ally (Passepartout) (101 to 150, 15 or less) [30]; Appearance (Very Handsome) [25]; Independent Income 1 [0]; Mathematical Ability [10]; Reputation +1 (Gentleman, England) [1]; Single-Minded [5]; Status 3 [10]; Unfazeable [20]; Wealth (Filthy Rich) [50].

Disadvantages: Code of Honor (Gentleman's) [-10]; Compulsive Behavior (Mathematical regularity) [-10]; Compulsive Gambling (Whist) [-5]; Compulsive Generosity [-5]; Low Empathy [-15]; Secret [-10].

Quirks: Laconic; Never hurries; Prefers to let his servants sight-see for him; Spartan tastes; Uncongenial. [-5]

Skills: Accounting-13 [1/2]; Area Knowledge (World) (Travel)-14/20 [8]; Black Powder Weapons (Pistol)/TL5-6 [0]; English (native)-14 [3]; Games (Whist)-17 [12]; Knife-10 [1] (Parry: 4); Mathematics-12 [1]; Merchant-11 [8]; Meteorology/TL5-12 [4]; Musical Notation-11 [1]; Navigation/TL5-12 [6]; Sailor/TL5-14 [8]; Savoir-Faire-15 [10]; Seamanship/TL5-14 [6].

Over the course of the novel, his template will change. Midway through his journey, add the following disadvantages to his template: Dependent (Aouda) (Average, 15 or less, Friend) [-36]; Enemy (Fix) [-10] (Individual, 12 or less); Reputation -3 (Eccentric or Thief, Britain) [-5]; Sense of Duty (Aouda and Passepartout) [-5]. All of these lowers his character cost to 133-1/2 points. At the end of the novel, add the following advantages and disadvantages to his template: Reputation +3 (He did it!, Britain) [5]; Dependent (Aouda) (Average, 15 or less, Loved One) [-72]; Sense of Duty (Aouda and Passepartout) [-5]. These lowers his character cost to 117-1/2 points. It is also possible that his Compulsive Behaviors might lessen, and he may have bought off his Low Empathy; this is at the GM's discretion.

Some elements of the Phileas Fogg template require special explanations:

On first glance, there appears to be little to Mr. Phileas Fogg. All he seems to do with his life is read newspapers at the Reform Club and play whist there with a select group of fellow enthusiasts. He spends very little time at home, a fine but Spartan house at No. 7, Savile Row. Every aspect of his personal life is mathematically regulated: The times of day in which he acts are specified, the clothes in his wardrobe are numbered, and even the number of steps he takes appear to be calculated. Apart from a manservant, he interacts with no one outside his Club. His routine and life are precise and unvarying, and Society knows that he has not left London in at least five years.

These factors combined made the events of the evening of Wednesday, October 2nd, 1872 all the more surprising. Over a game of whist at the Reform Club, Mr. Fogg not only maintained that a person could travel around the world in eighty days, but also accepted a wager to do so, and left that very evening, with no advanced planning or forethought . . . indeed, with nothing but his manservant, a small valise, and a large pile of banknotes.

All Britain was stunned by his plan, and he was a media darling in the newspapers for a short time until news of the robbery of the Bank of England came to light; public opinion made Fogg out to be the culprit, and Police Inspector Fix set out to apprehend him. Fogg's journey was in a number of stages: first, from London to Suez by train, passing through Paris, Turin, and Brindisi, and then via the steamship Mongolia to Suez. After that, by steamship to Bombay, with the intention of traveling the Great Peninsular Railway across India to Calcutta. Uncompleted track line near Bundelkhand forced him to travel (by elephant!) to the next stage of the line, rescuing the Parsee widow Aouda on the way. After reaching Calcutta by train, he traveled via the steamship Rangoon to Singapore and then Hong Kong, where storms delayed his expected connection to Japan. Interference on the part of police Inspector Fix sent Passepartout ahead to Yokohama alone via the steamship Carnatic; Fogg and Aouda attempted to make the journey by chartering the yacht Tankadère, but bad weather routed them back to Shanghai, where they were luckily able to rendezvous early with the steamship General Grant, connecting with Yokohama for San Francisco. Collecting Passepartout in Yokohama, Fogg took the General Grant to San Francisco, and set off on the Pacific Railroad for New York. An ambush by Sioux Indians forced a stop at Kearney, Nebraska, and Fogg had to catch up with the train by traveling via ice schooner to Omaha, traveling from there via train to New York.

Again missing his connection, he again chartered a ship, the steamer Henrietta, scheduled to go to Bordeaux. A swift mutiny engineered by Fogg's fortune redirected the steamer to Liverpool, but a shortage of fuel forced the crew to burn the wood fittings and decks of the Henrietta to get them as far as Queenstown, Ireland. A fast ferry took Fogg from Queenstown to Liverpool, where an attempt to clear his name in court caused him to miss his train to London in time to make his bet. Silently dejected, he returned home, penniless. The sudden decision to marry Aouda and find a parson to perform the ceremony at once caused him to realize that by traveling east and crossing the International Date Line he had actually gained a calendar day, so that his 81-day journey only took 80 days; thus the day was December 21st, and not December 22nd, as he thought. He won his wager, which merely replaced but did not add to his fortune, leaving him with nothing to show for his troubles but the fame of his exploits and a beautiful new wife.

Fogg's journey certainly has its mysterious elements. Why would a man of unvarying habit suddenly attempt such a rash course of action with no planning? Furthermore, why would he make such a journey at the beginning of winter, when bad weather was certain to slow him down at points (as, indeed, it did)? Can his actions have signified something more? It is odd that both in the Old World and the New, his journey is nearly ended by attacks by Indians. Furthermore, it is very clear that Fogg himself changes as a result of his journey: he moves from being willing to abandon Passepartout in Bombay to possible jail time for profaning a Hindu temple, to risking his journey and his life recapturing Passepartout from a Sioux war band in Nebraska. Aouda also effects great change in him; in her company, he stops to see the cities he heretofore ignored, and it is very clear that she inspires in him a quality he previously did not display-spontaneity. On one level, Fogg's journey is not a journey at all; it is an awakening. But of what sort?

What Fogg's secret is, what his identity really is, and what the true significance of his journey is depends on the degree of fabulousness one looks at him through. Let us take a look at Mr. Fogg, through a number of different lenses.

Option 1: Victorian Fogg

"And that was how Phileas Fogg commanded in place of Captain Speedy, locked into his cabin, and why the Henrietta was at last heading for Liverpool. It was obvious, on seeing Mr. Fogg maneuver, that he had been a sailor before."
--Around the World in Eighty Days, Chapter 33

Victorian Fogg has a terrible secret: he is not a gentleman at all, and is living an elaborate lie. He is, in fact, a sailor who somehow struck it rich, changed his identity, and retired to London to live the life of a gentleman. The details of Fogg's nautical career and source of wealth are up to the GM: Fogg may have made his fortune through the still somewhat socially-unacceptable (for a gentleman, anyway) venue of maritime trade, he may have found some buried treasure during a nautical voyage, or he may have engaged in something more sinister. Fogg's mathematical precision of life is an elaborate attempt to maintain his charade: by keeping a regular life and avoiding contact with people as much as possible, his chances of discovery are greatly minimized. Victorian Fogg is the "default" version of the Fogg template, and provides a ready explanation for the events of Verne's novel. His journey is not a mysterious one at all: it is a sincere wager on the part of an experienced traveler to prove a point. In practical effect, the journey around the world causes the normally rigid Fogg to relax and become more human, discovering compassion for his fellow man (in the person of Passepartout) and the pleasures of married love; indeed, it ends with the marital bliss of the honeymoon bedchamber. Fogg gains nothing financially, but ends up with "a lovely wife who -- however unlikely it may seem -- made him the happiest of men!"

Using Victorian Fogg in A Campaign

Victorian Fogg is one of the easiest and hardest lenses to use: easy because he is simple, hard because he is so connected to his journey and his own self-awakening. On one level, he can be used as a cameo for a Victorian-era game, to amuse and interest the players as he passes through. Alternatively, players in dire straits in foreign lands in a Victorian game may join his entourage; as his journey goes on, Fogg is quite willing to help other travelers in distress and bring them along with him, usually free of charge. GMs who want to have players travel with Fogg have a chance to use an interesting variety of historical GURPS supplements: for England, GURPS Steampunk or Horror; for India, the forthcoming GURPS India; for Singapore and Hong Kong, GURPS China; for Yokohama, GURPS Japan; and for America, GURPS Old West. In using this lens, GMs should remember that although Mr. Fogg and his people are quite willing to fight when necessary, they do not have much in the way of combat skills, and tend to survive their battles in the novel via luck and being in the company of more experienced fighters.

Option 2: Espionage Fogg

"Do you know, Mr. Passepartout, that this so-called journey in 80 days might easily be the cover for some secret assignment . . . a diplomatic mission, for example?"
--Around the World in Eighty Days, Chapter 9

Espionage Fogg has a terrible secret: he is actually a spy. What kind of spy depends on the GM. His carefully controlled life is a cover for his activities. If Fogg is working for a foreign power, he is actually probably working in intelligence gathering. Careful, regular perusal of a nation's daily newspapers is a valuable espionage method even today, and more so in 1872, however unexciting such a life might seem to the modern reader. In addition, by keeping quiet and listening, Fogg doubtless overhears a lot of the conversations that go on in the Reform Club, which can give his Foreign Masters valuable intelligence about the state of British politics. If Fogg is working as an agent for the Crown, his constant readings may be intelligence analysis as well. In either case, his trip around the world is not spontaneous: it is carefully planned in advance (why else would he happen to have £20,000 pounds in cash lying about the house?). He may travel to relay information to his Foreign Masters (isn't it interesting that the on the very day he takes on a French "servant" he leaves for France?), in whatever country they work in or have agents in. He also may be traveling to accomplish a mission; in Philip José Farmer's retelling of the story, Fogg and Passepartout are secret agents who, among other things, are traveling to rescue a fellow operative (Aouda); Mr. Fix is an agent from a rival power trying to neutralize them.

If using Espionage Fogg, modify the Phileas Fogg template as follows: Add an Alternate Identity and Patron (Agency) advantages. Add the Duty (Agency) disadvantage, and raise his Secret to [-20]. Add the skills Acting, Intelligence Analysis, Research, and an alternate Native Language if necessary.

Using Espionage Fogg in A Campaign

Espionage Fogg is a good option for a wilder GURPS Steampunk campaign. He is particularly well suited for a GURPS Castle Falkenstein campaign; simply choose any one of the numerous factions in that world, and plug him right in. Fogg does not display much evidence of magic in the novel, though, so it is unwise to give him any. For the GM who is willing to take more liberties with the characters, the television series The Secret Adventures of Jules Verne can provide valuable inspiration.

Note that a specialized version of Espionage Fogg is Time Travel Fogg. In this version, Fogg is not so much a spy as a field historian, carefully examining a variety of valuable primary source documents (newspapers) that are presumably unavailable in his far future era. His compulsive mathematical regularity of behavior is an attempt to avoid the problems of plastic time (see GURPS Time Travel, p. 40) -- Fogg tries to avoid changing his future history by interacting with the Victorian era and Victorian people as little as possible, barring a few games of whist and some largely anonymous charitable donations of the money he can't take back with him anyway. Why Time Travel Fogg would break routine to travel around the world is up to the GM to decide. Perhaps it is an attempt to send a signal to his superiors in the future: for a time, his name appeared in all of the London newspapers, and by changing Victorian history Time Travel Fogg might alter the fragmentary historical records that survive in his future era. This might possibly be a message, a warning, or a retrieval request. Explaining his new wife Aouda to his superiors might take some doing, although Fogg might argue that since she was supposed to die in Bundelkhand in October of 1872 there is no risk of damage to the timeline . . . as long as she travels up-time with him, of course!

For this version of Fogg, add Eidetic Memory 2 (since he shows no evidence of any high-tech recording devices in his house), and the skills of Anthropology, Research, and History (specialization, Victorian, of course), plus whatever high-tech skills from his own time he needs.

Option 3: Screampunk Fogg

"He was said to look like Byron. . .but a mustachioed and bewhiskered Byron, one who might have lived for a thousand years without ever growing old."
--Around the World in Eighty Days, Chapter 1

In 181-, a man of mystery descended upon London Society. He was clearly a gentleman and man of means, but no one knew where he came from. In appearance he was very handsome, with Byronic looks, pale skin, and fine teeth. He was compulsively generous, and gave large sums of money to people. He also played cards obsessively. In personality he was curiously restrained, and had a closed, even diffident manner that some people found attractive rather than off-putting. Later, he left London abruptly and went on a long journey to the Continent and points east.

His name was Lord Ruthven, and he was a vampyre.

Not content with being alone in his immortal state, Ruthven eventually sought a companion. Aubrey, his first traveling companion, proved unsuitable for the gift of immortality, but in his journeys he later found a sailor who seemed admirable for his purposes . . .

Screampunk Fogg has a terrible secret: he is one of the undead, the spawn of the infamous vampyre Lord Ruthven. Ruthven sired him with the intention of creating a partner for his debaucheries, and in that, he was singularly unsuccessful. Although both men were very similar in temperament, Fogg held on to more of his humanity than did Ruthven. So while Ruthven gave out lavish charity to the unstable in order to ruin them, Fogg gives it sincerely to the needy to help them. While Ruthven plays cards (faro, in his case) to bankrupt people, Fogg plays for simple enjoyment of the game. While Ruthven was a notorious seducer and ruiner of women, Fogg avoids the company of women, and, indeed, of most people, entirely. He feeds infrequently and discretely, and otherwise carries on an entirely normal death-in-life.

Using Screampunk Fogg in A Campaign

To use screampunk Fogg, add the following overlay to the Phileas Fogg template:

Vampyre package: ST +10 [110]; HT +5 [60]; Bite [30]; Single-minded [5]; Unaging [15]; Unfazeable [20]; Vampiric Resurrection (Limitation: needs moonlight, -30%) [105]; Compulsive Behavior [-10]; Dependency (blood, monthly) [-10]; Frightens Animals [-5]; Low Empathy [-15]; No Body Heat [-1]; Pallor [-5]; Secret [-30]; Social Stigma (dead) [-20]; Sterile [-3]; Uncongenial [-1]. Total package cost is 245; 266 if applied to the Fogg template, above.

Phileas Fogg is dead. That point should be stressed above all else. Whatever else he was before, by 1872 he is a shadow of a living being. The dead vampyre mind requires something to keep it functioning, or it falls into ghostlike state of automatic habits and behavior patterns; a series of compulsive behaviors that are a kind of death for the undead. This compulsive nature is why vampires in folklore are sometimes described as being compelled to count seeds that are scattered in their path or untie knots in a piece of string left behind by a fleeing victim. Ruthven kept away the mental stagnation by following a never-ending course of malice and seduction; Fogg has too many principles for this, and has begun to stagnate. His trip around the world might be an attempt to shake off the mental lethargy. Alternatively, it might be a cover for a globetrotting attempt to hunt down and slay his vicious sire. A generous GM might assume that rescuing Aouda might constitute a Noble Deed that would restore Fogg's humanity. A sadistic one might have Fogg turn her into a vampyre bride, with Passepartout as their ghoul servant.

Players who want to do the events of the novel Dracula a generation early might have to hunt down a Fogg grown increasingly evil, either in London or elsewhere in the world. Or, should Fogg decide to move elsewhere in the world for safety, the situation of Dracula's events could be reversed, as, perhaps, a group of Eastern European noblemen have to fight off the invasion of a foreign (English) vampire. Players interested in a situation with a longer frame might assume that Fogg is in fact Ruthven, but much calmed from his days in 181- (in this case, add Magery and the innate spells of Charm and Geas at least to the Vampyre template).

The Ruthven/Fogg type of vampyre is likely to throw players for a loop because it does not feature many of the characteristics modern people "know" vampires possess. This type of vampyre is in no way bothered by daylight, can eat food just fine, and needs little in the way of blood. Thus, the vampyre has little trouble fitting into society. However, the vampyre is much weaker than might be expected, and is capable of being "killed" by anything that would kill a human. He will resurrect when exposed to the first rays of moonlight after death, though. Players should also note that even in the 1870s, a generation before Stoker, the vampiric legend is common, thanks largely to John Polidori's 1819 short story and the infamous French theatre des vampires that flourished in its wake in the 1820s and onward (see GURPS Blood Types pages 31-32). Europeans may be more aware of the nature and limitations of vampires than players suspect.

Aouda is in for a big shock on her honeymoon . . .

Option 4: Steampunk Fogg

After two hours' march, the guide stopped the elephant and gave him an hours' rest . . . Sir Francis Cromarty was not sorry for this halt as he was a broken man. Mr. Fogg seemed as fresh as if straight out of bed.

"'He's made of iron!' said the Brigadier-General, looking at him with admiration.

"'Wrought iron,' answered Passepartout, as he prepared a simple lunch."
--Around the World in Eighty Days, Chapter 12

"During the first few days of the crossing, Mrs. Aouda started to get to know Phileas Fogg better. She showed him deep gratitude at all times. The phlegmatic gentleman listened to her, apparently with great coldness, without a single intonation or gesture betraying the least emotion . . . At fixed times each day, he would come, if not to talk at least to listen to her. He was unfailingly polite, but with the grace and spontaneity of an automaton, whose movements could have been contrived for such a purpose."
--Around the World in Eighty Days, Chapter 16

Phileas never knew the man he called Father. He only knew that Father had two ambitions: to liberate men from servile, dangerous work, and in so doing to enable all men to live the leisured life of a gentleman. Father told Phileas this time and again, as he worked on him, and Phileas was somewhat puzzled by Father's expectation that he would be the one to do all this. Father had made his fortune at sea, and it was the dangerous skills of the sailor that he taught Phileas. In the evenings, Father would play whist with Phileas, play him music, or read him the newspaper, and Phileas adopted as many of Father's ideas and mannerisms as he could.

Then one day, Father lay still and cold, and did not respond to Phileas. There were no more games, no more music, no more readings . . . and Phileas did not know what to do. Father had said that the greatest goal in life was to be a gentleman, so Phileas took the last of Father's money, left the laboratory, and made his way to London. Money silences many questions, even in the late 1860s, and Phileas settled down into the leisured life of the London gentleman, as best he understood it.

After all, it was what Father would have wanted . . .

Steampunk Fogg has a terrible secret: he is nothing more than a clockwork automaton, a unique steampunk creation. For Steampunk Fogg, use the following template:

Phileas-Model Automaton

87 Points

Age ?; 6'; 212.1 lbs; 3.0 cf; $240,491.80.

ST 10 [0]; DX 10 [0]; IQ 8 [-15]; HT 11/6 [10].

Speed 5.8; Move 5.
Dodge 5.

Advantages: Absolute Timing [5]; Appearance (Very Handsome) [25] (Reaction: +2/+6); Unfazeable [20]; Single-Minded [5]; Doesn't Sleep [20]; DR2, PD2 [25]; Eidetic Memory 2 [60]; Endurance [10]; High Pain Threshold [10]; Immunity to Disease [10]; Lightning Calculator [5]; Mathematical Ability [10].

Disadvantages: Cannot Float [-5]; Code of Honor (Gentleman's) [-10]; Color Blindness [-10]; Compulsive Behavior (Mathematical regularity) [-10]; Eunuch [-5]; Low Empathy [-15]; No Natural Healing [-20]; No Sense of Humor [-10]; No Sense of Smell/Taste [-5]; Reprogram able Duty [-25].

Skills: Accounting-12 [1/2]; Area Knowledge (World)-12 [2]; English-12 [21/2]; Games (Whist)-12 [2]; Mathematics-12 [11/2]; Merchant-10 [31/2]; Meteorology/TL5-12 [21/2]; Musical Notation-11 [11/2]; Navigation/TL5-12 [3]; Sailor/TL5-12 [21/2]; Savoir-Faire-12 [31/2]; Seamanship/TL5-12 [2].

This is the basic "model template" of the Phileas Automaton. After moving to London, he adds the following advantages and disadvantages from the basic Phileas Fogg template: Ally (Passepartout) [30]; Independent Income 1 [0]; Reputation +1 (Gentleman) [1]; Status 3 [10]; Wealth (Filthy Rich) [50] Compulsive Gambling (Whist) [-5]; Compulsive Generosity [-5]; and all Quirks [-5]. Raise his Secret to [-20] and add Social Stigma (Machine) [-15] for a grand total of 128 character points.

Steampunk Fogg is an utterly cinematic creation, although built mostly at TL (5+2) levels. His power source and brain are definitely TL (5+n), however. He is powered by a cinematic arrangement of gears and springs that draw power from etheric science and motion (treat as a Mana Engine). His brain is unique, and is based on a more advanced version of the Advanced Mechanical Brain in GURPS Steam-Tech (page 76). This type of brain is raised to Complexity 5, incorporating primitive forms of the Genius and Neural Net options (GURPS Robots, page 10). Steampunk Fogg is not quite sentient, but he is close.

Using Steampunk Fogg in A Campaign

Many times throughout the novel, Phileas Fogg is described in terms that make him out to be a machine, and this version of Fogg takes these literally. Steampunk Fogg is an automaton, a being on the cusp of humanity. It is possible that the spontaneous desire to abandon a mechanical life of routine and travel around the world in eighty days represents the first steps the rise to sentience described on page 87 of GURPS Steampunk. If so, the Complexity of his brain will rise to 6, with the attendant raise in DX and IQ. The GM will have to decide just how far Steampunk Fogg will travel on the road to humanity, and at which points many of his robotic-style disadvantages will disappear.

The Fogg automaton is one of the most revolutionary inventions of a steampunk world, and is likely to be fought over by a number of parties, the player characters included. With his increasing sentience comes increasing resourcefulness, and the players might find out that a machine who could cross the world in eighty days is more than capable of outrunning and out-thinking them. In some respects, Steampunk Fogg actually works better in the gadget-filled Castle Falkenstein setting, where elaborate automata are rare, but not unknown.

Aouda is in for a really big shock on the honeymoon. It might be lessened if Fogg's creator saw fit to include in his design a certain gentleman's mechanical implant (which raises the model cost to $240,891.80, and replaces Eunuch [-5] with the Sterile [-3] disadvantage . . . although given the fact that this is the Victorian era, such may not be the case . . .)

Appendix 1: Aouda

"She was an Indian of celebrated beauty, of the Parsee race, the daughter of rich Bombay merchants. She had received a thoroughly British education in that town, and from her manners and education, one would have thought her a European. Her name was Aouda."
--Around the World in Eighty Days, Chapter 13


47 Points

Female; Age 21; 5'6''; 125 lbs.; Slim but curvy build, long dark hair worn parted in the middle, beautiful dark eyes with long lashes, small hands and feet, very fair complexion

ST 9 [-10]; DX 9 [-10]; IQ 11 [10]; HT 10 [0].

Speed 4.75; Move 4.
Dodge 4.

Advantages: Appearance (Very Beautiful) [25]; Claim to Hospitality (extended family) [2]; Cool [1]; Patron (Phileas Fogg) (15 or less) [30]; Reputation +2 (Celebrated Beauty, Western India, all the time) [3]; Strong Will +1 [4] (Will: 12); Unusual Background (British education) [10].

Disadvantages: Enemy (Thuggee cult, 6 or less) [-15]; Sense of Duty (Fogg) [-5]; Poverty (Dead broke) [-25]; Social Stigma 1 (Female) [-5]; Status -1 (vaishya caste and female) [-5].

Quirks: Doesn't get seasick; Likes the strong, silent type; Parsee. [-3].

Skills: Area Knowledge (Bombay)-11 [1]; Artist-11 [4]; Black Powder Weapons (Pistol)/TL5-5 [0]; Botany/TL5-10 [2]; Dancing-10 [4]; English-13 [6]; Games (Whist)-14 [6]; Hindi-11 [2]; History-10 [2]; Literature-10 [2]; Marathi (native)-14 [3]; Mathematics-10 [2]; Merchant-10 [1]; Musical Instrument-10 [2]; Savoir-Faire-14 [2]; Writing-10 [1].

Aouda was born in Bombay into the vaishya caste, the only child of well-to-do merchant parents from the prestigious Jeejeebhoy family (a distant relative, Jamsetjee Jeejeebhoy [1783-1859], was the first Indian to receive a British knighthood). They obtained for her a fine British education, and her future looked bright. Unfortunately, her parents died, and Aouda was left a penniless orphan. Such was the reputation of her beauty that one of the independent rajahs of the state of Bundelkhand (located in the northwestern part of what is now the modern Indian state of Madhaya Pradesh) sought her out and forced her to marry him, against her will. He died three months later, leaving Aouda a widow. She fled from the ceremonial sati in which she would have been burned along with the rajah on his funeral pure, but was recaptured. Fogg and his companions rescued her, and she fell in love with the silent and withdrawn, but strong and principled, Phileas Fogg.

Aouda would appear to have many limitations as a character. She is a Parsee (an Indian form of Zoroastrianism), a distinct religious minority in India (or anywhere else, for that matter). She is a woman, a second-class citizen in India (or anywhere else in the Victorian world, for that matter). Finally, she is a widow, doomed to a contemptible life of poverty at best, or sati at worst. However, although she appears limited by modern standards, consider her by Victorian ones. She is strong-willed enough to defy Hindu custom by fleeing her sati, and the only way her husband's relatives are able to bring her back to it is to keep her drugged to the gills on opium and hashish. In America, she shows no hesitation about using a revolver to protect a train from a marauding band of Sioux Indians. And in the end, it is she who proposes marriage to Phileas Fogg, in a daring violation of Victorian convention! Despite her low point total, Aouda is a woman of some substance. In the end, it is her love that helps make any version of Phileas Fogg more human, and helps him to win his wager.

Using Aouda in A Campaign

Note that although she will probably settle down as Mrs. Fogg (depending on which version of Fogg she wound up with), things might not be quite so rosy for her. Not only has she fled the sati of her ex-husband the rajah of Bundelkhand, leaving her disgraced according to Indian custom, her in-laws are members of the savage Thuggee cult, which is now looking for her to finish the job. For her own safety Aouda can thus never return to India. GMs interested in a continuing adventure may want to dust off the hoary Cliffhangers plot of "bride being kidnapped to India by savage Thuggee cultists to be subjected to unspeakable rites," as a distraught Phileas Fogg gathers a band of bold heroes to travel to the savage jungles of India to rescue his beloved wife . . .

Appendix 2: Sources

The Novel: Jules Verne, Around the World in Eighty Days (Paris, 1872)

Many different editions and translations of this work exist, of varying degrees of quality (a free downloadable copy is available from Project Gutenberg), but the best current translation in English is by William Butcher, in the Oxford World Classics series, 1995. In addition to being the best extant translation, it is a critical edition with a full set of footnotes and scholarly apparatus, which, barring Butcher's annoyingly Freudian interpretation of Verne and his work, are very useful. All of the above quotations are from this edition.


The book has been filmed twice in English. The most famous version, done by Michael Todd in 1956, is the more lavish of the two, although it is not always terribly faithful to the story. It features David Niven as Fogg, Canteflas as Passepartout, Shirley MacLean as Aouda, and cameos from just about every singe actor in Hollywood at the time. It is recommended for scenery and for playing, "Say, isn't that . . . ?"

More recently, Around the World in 80 Days was filmed as a miniseries by Buzz Kulik in 1989, with Pierce Brosnan as Fogg, Eric Idle as Passepartout, and Julia Nickson as Aouda. Although not as lavish as its predecessor, it is more faithful to the book, and in this writer's opinion, "the beautiful Pierce Brosnan and the beautiful Julia Nickson" (Idle's own words!) make a much better Fogg and Aouda.


Most recently, The Secret Adventures of Jules Verne has been syndicated, featuring Phileas Fogg and Passepartout as recurring characters. Although it takes terrible liberties with the characters (Fogg is much too emotional), it a good treatment of the idea of Espionage Fogg. The show also has a lot of steampunk teach and attitude present, and is worth a look for that alone. It has the distinction of being the first TV series shot in HDTV format, so even when the stories are bad, they look good . . .

There was also a short-running children's cartoon show of Australian origin, Around the World in 80 Days, that ran from 1972-1973, which recast the story in the form of Phileas Fogg going on his round-the-world trip to win the hand of a disapproving aristocrat's daughter. It is perhaps best forgotten.

Other Works

Philip José's Farmer's The Other Log of Phileas Fogg (DAW, 1973; rpt. TOR, 1993) retells Verne's story meticulously with all of the principal characters as human agents for warring alien factions. The idea is interesting, but some of the execution is a bit forced.

For more information on the Screampunk Fogg option, a copy of John Polidori's "The Vampyre" may be found online at

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(Special thanks to William Stoddard for steampunk and Victoriana advice.)

Article publication date: January 3, 2003

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