Aesthetics Wiki

Dieselpunk is a genre similar to steampunk that combines the Tier 2 Industrial technology and aesthetics of the diesel-based technology of the interwar period of the 1910s to 1940s with retro-futuristic technology that doesn't actually need to include diesel despite the name, postmodern sensibilities and explorations of political ideas or even philosophical ideas using the setting of The Interwar Period as a framing device.


Dieselpunk fashion is, in a lot of ways, similar to Steampunk fashion, but with a darker color palette to choose from. Popular items within Dieselpunk circles include waistcoats, arm covers, hosiery, bomber jackets, zoot suits, wristwatches, goggles, overalls; basically, anything that would've been worn during the interwar period that Dieselpunk is designed to emulate.

Dieselpunk Fashion[]

Fiction and Literature[]

Dieselpunk literature takes place during the 1910s and 1940s. The aesthetic is; nowadays; primarily utilized in books, like David Bishop's Fiends of the Eastern Front, Kevin Cooney's Tales of the First Occult War, George Orwell's 1984, Larry Correia's Hard Magic: Book 1 of the Grimnoir Chronicles and Richard Kadrey's The Grand Dark, but there are plenty of movies that utilize the Dieselpunk aesthtetic, such as Brazil, Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow, The Rocketeer (with The Grimnoir Chronicles, Sky Captain and The Rocketeer falling under decopunk), Iron Sky, and even Captain America: The First Avenger could be considered Dieselpunk cinema and it originated from film during the late 1920s with Metropolis and was sent worldwide in the late 1930s with Things to Come.


Video Games[]

Dieselpunk is even adopted into video games like BioShock (which is not related to Decopunk as both have incredibly differing sensibilities with Decopunk acting as the Ottensian form of Dieselpunk), Iron Order 1919, HighFleet, post-Final Fantasy VI, Skullgirls and Wolfenstein: The New Order.

Tabletop Role-Playing Games[]

The Dieselpunk aesthetic is also a part of many pen and paper role-playing games.

One which invented the term is called Children of the Sun. However, the game has been described as "pretty firmly steampunk"[1] and bearing little resemblance to modern dieselpunk. Wikipedia describes the game as "part of a generation of dieselpunk settings that appeared beginning in the late 1990s."[2] Predecessors to the genre appeared during the 1990s, such as rules within the FATE Core predecessor FUDGE,[3] and RPGs vastly different in concept but part of this aesthetic in retrospect existed at the same time as Children of the Sun.[4]

Arguably the first true dieselpunk setting is Iron in GURPS Steampunk, credited as one of the main inspirations for Children of the Sun.[5]

This site lists the following Dieselpunk RPGs (among others):

  • Warbirds (a game of high-flying Dieselpunk adventures in an alternate universe where the Caribbean was transported to another world)
  • The Day After Ragnarok (another alternate history game where the Nazis tried to bring about Ragnarok, and America stopped it with nuclear weapons, leaving a radically different Dieselpunk setting)
  • Age of Steel (a completely different world with Dieselpunk mecha)
  • Hollow Earth Expedition (another alternate history that imagines "what if there was a secret world hidden inside the Earth's crust?")


Dieselpunk music tends to draw heavily from the era, so there is a lot of jazz, blues, ragtime, cabaret, big band, swing, and bluegrass from the time, but two modern genres have grown to evoke the Dieselpunk aesthetic: Electro Swing and Neo-Swing. Electro Swing is a combination of Electronica music with swing music made popular by groups such as Caravan Palace, Good Co, and Tape Five. Neo-Swing, however, were bands that were designed to be throwbacks to the era of Big Band that started becoming really popular in the late 90's thanks to acts like the Cherry Poppin' Daddies, Lee Press-on and the Nails, Squirrel Nut Zippers, the Brian Setzer Orchestra, Big Rude Jake, and RPM Orchestra. However, thanks to Dieselpunk, these bands have enjoyed some continued success even after fading away from the mainstream eye.

Directions of Dieselpunk[]

Dieselpunk has various directions depending on which time period is focused on or oriented around.

Dieselpunk variations[]

  • World War One-focused: Tends to include more crude machinery and is comparably closer to Steampunk, also a form of Piecraftian Dieselpunk.
  • Decopunk: A form of Dieselpunk that is inherently Utopian and in contrast to the themes and ideas of Dieselpunk, also known as Ottensian Dieselpunk. It's like Raygun Gothic against Atompunk or Solarpunk against Cyberpunk. Both Dieselpunk and Decopunk are punk in their own ways as both were created with different mindsets, one to go back to the old days before WW2 and one to go against the rampant utopianism they thought was plaguing the world. Both are countercultural.
  • World War Two-focused: Shows more perfected machinery with welding lines instead of rivets, also a form of Piecraftian Dieselpunk.


External links to help get a better understanding of this aesthetic.

Iron of GURPS Steampunk


  1. Lowell Francis (Dec 5, 2013). History of Steampunk & Victoriana RPGs (Part Two 1997-2003). RPGGeek. Retrieved May 13, 2024. Archived.
  2. Children of the Sun (role-playing game)
  3. Ross Smith (July 7, 1993). FUDGE: Freeform, Universal, Donated Gaming Engine (Vehicle Rules). (mirrored on Retrieved May 13, 2024. Archived.
  4. Dieselpunk Chronology
  5. Misguided Games’ Lewis Pollak, on Children