Magical Industrial Revolution's PDF just hit Kickstarter backers, and as a fan of wizards, philosophy, society, and their combinatorial shenanigans, I couldn't help but partake. Glancing over the file, I find plenty of useful tidbits (which I can easily season with gonzo to my personal tastes), but none more so than the Innovations section about 20 pages in.
Here, I think Skerples hits the nail on the head for one of the most exciting core narratives for an RPG campaign can be: Revolution. Change.
Change, not so much in the way History has traditionally viewed it: with the rise and fall of Big People, with grand wars and grand empires, with technology emerging from the minds of great men like Athena from Zeus's skull and then suddenly just, like... being everywhere... But with how it alters and affects every day people, how they view and interact with the world. How it gradually and subtly worms its ways into our collective perceptions of Life.
How, for instance, the railroad revolutionized our notions of space and time, or how A.I. revolutionizes are notions of personhood.
True to its namesake, Magical Industrial Revolution attempts to capture how technology drastically alters society, bringing it to the foreground of the stage (rather than say, the backdrop, or completely ignoring it). It offers incremental escalations and adventures related to various world-changing magics, such as Polymorph, Teleportation, Flight, Scrying, and Extra-dimensional Space.
As presented in the book, each of these technologies goes through a complete evolutionary cycle. It begins obscure and unrecognized for its true potential, then the Powers That Be dig in their claws and it multiplies by the capacities of modernity and capitalism, and then eventually it forms the collapse of society. Scrying, for instance, starts as some guy being very naughty and unethical, then the state police get ahold of it to monitor crime, and then they make the Panopticon, and then everything is predictably horrible.
And most importantly, the book suggests that the players insert themselves into this process. It provides NPCs and quests and new things to play with at every stage in each technology's evolution. And I love it. A society changing on the ground is the perfect environment for the traditional shenanigans of an RPG campaign. It has been said before: a stagnant setting cannot be exploited. Nobody goes questing where everything is fine and dandy forever.
M.I.R. doesn't take its magic nor its society for granted, and neither should your campaign!