South Sea Bubble
Description: When they began to seek out new territory, European governments handed over control and funding of colonial expeditions to investors in the late 16th century. A century later, they have largely replaced the govenrments and have opened vast amounts of Indies territory to colonization. The world that they are settling, however, is not our own. It is a place of traveller's tales and nightmares, inhabited by men with the faces of dogs, or of horses, or no faces at all, and by even stranger beings: manticores and Rukhs and ants that war with cyclopes and griffons for gold. Into this come colonists and conquerors, missionaries and fugitives, rogues and explorers, all seeking their myriad fortunes.
Society driven by the interactions of a small collection of mutually exclusive but geographically unbounded power structures. "I'm a worker of the Arasaka corporation"
The society believes itself to be in a Boom, but it isn't sustainable or stable. Ex: 1920s, mid-1980s
The power structures which govern the core society have reduced influence in the primary region of the setting.
Gunpowder, printing press, fully-rigged ships, hot air balloons, black-powder musket, cannon, sailing warship
Renaissance/Colonial (TL 4)
Travel, Do-gooding, searching for wealth and excitement
Heroic characters in a high-action world
Intelligent inhuman beings: Mass-mind Ant People, sentient boulders, etc.