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Valdar
08-24-2008, 11:19 PM
Another thread got me thinking- what technologies or social institutions exist in your world? And, what is implied by their presence or absence? Have these things been replaced by magic instead? Here's a list of innovations that might appear in a vaguely-medieval fantasy world- Which ones would you include? Which ones would seem out of place? Feel free to add your own- or better yet, tell us about how a technology's presence or absence affected your game's story...

Steel
Plate Armor
Cannon
Portable guns
Naval guns
Germ Theory
Banking
Steam Power
Coal
Electricity
Citizen Militia
Democracy
Three-field crop rotation
Moldboard plow
Horseshoe
Stirrup
Couched lance
Horse collar
Irrigation
Fertilizer
State orphanages
Birth control
Distillation of alcohol
Open-ocean navigation
Compass
Telescope
Paper
Paper money
Line-of-sight communication (heliograph, signal fire, smoke signal)
Water wheel
Windmill
Abolition of slavery
Plumbing/ underground sewers
Tunnel mining
Mathematics with zero
Feudalism
Aqueduct
Lighter-than-air flight

Bearfoot_Adam
08-25-2008, 07:07 PM
Well right now the game I"m planning to run is mostly a late iron age setting with some anachronisms. so here goes

Power sources:
Wind /water mills
Animal power

Transportation:
Canal locks
no stirrups

Arms/Armor:
Longsword
Chainmail
leather

Medicine:
Herbal remedies
surgery

Misc.
Glass blowing

Thats all I can think of

DMMike
08-25-2008, 09:58 PM
Good question (what techonology is in your world?). I aim for a "the black plague just destroyed us all" type of world, but where my shots lands are probably spread out a bit.

I like to use:
Full plate armor
Herbalism
Spectacles and glass
Sewers in cities
Clockwork (in cities)
Feudalism
Longbows
Catapults
Cargo/cruising ships

But don't like:
Common literacy
Printing
Human(oid) rights
Steam engines
Paper
Free markets
Science
Dinnerware
Armies in plate mail
Peace

Throw in some magical stuff like:
Golems (robots)
Wizards (intelligence agencies)
Curses
Dragons (extinction events)
Real fortune telling
Clerics (holy holy men)

And things get complicated real fast.

Kalanth
08-26-2008, 08:22 AM
A lot in that list I never thought about before, and when I take a real serious look at the list I noticed that almost everything in the list exists in some way on my world. Some of the things, such as Open Ocean Travel do not exsist because of extensive supernatural and superstitious events in the past of the world. Other things, such as Portable Guns (Muskets) exsisted at one point but went out of major production mostly due to player complaints. Thankfully I was able to coincide the reduction in such things with the destruction of the Gnomish nation thanks to a 4E update to the world.

Steel
Plate Armor
Cannon (One of the gun related things that I insisted stay in production)
Portable guns (My players don't think guns and fantasy mix, so I eliminated them)
Banking
Steam Power
Coal
Citizen Militia
Democracy (Only two nations use it, but its there)
Three-field crop rotation
Moldboard plow
Horseshoe
Stirrup
Couched lance
Horse collar
Irrigation
Distillation of alcohol
Compass
Telescope
Paper
Water wheel
Windmill
Abolition of slavery (Players brought this change during a campaign)
Tunnel mining
Mathematics with zero
Feudalism
Aqueduct
Lighter-than-air flight

tesral
08-26-2008, 12:09 PM
Another thread got me thinking- what technologies or social institutions exist in your world? And, what is implied by their presence or absence? Have these things been replaced by magic instead? Here's a list of innovations that might appear in a vaguely-medieval fantasy world- Which ones would you include? Which ones would seem out of place? Feel free to add your own- or better yet, tell us about how a technology's presence or absence affected your game's story...


It's covered in my first chapter (http://phoenixinn.iwarp.com/fantasy/fantpdf/01_Manual_Culture.pdf). A light overview to be sure, but covered.

The world is not of a piece. Technology be it mechanical or magical is not evenly distributed over the whole world.

Nor does technology move in even steps from one thing to the next. The Antikythera mechanism (http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2006/11/061129-ancient-greece.html) is a clockwork computer built 1000 years before pendulum clocks. Heron of Alexandra (http://www.mlahanas.de/Greeks/HeronAlexandria.htm) was another genius what was doing analog computer work with automata, invented the world's first steam engine, the vending machine, and a number of other things in the first century AD that the "non mechanical ancients" were not known for. It is thanks to Arabic translations of his writings that we even know he existed.

The Chinese were doing block prints long before Gutenberg, it was his durable movable type that was different.

Egyptian medical texts had effective treatments for wounds and disease, among the less effective magical charms.

A lack of steam power and electrical power are not indicative of a lack of brain power and inventiveness. I find one of the most inventive acts of history was the guy that decided that riding a horse was better than eating one. One idea that changed the world forever. Large animal domestication is the main difference between the cultures of Europe and Asia and the Americas.

Even without such beasts of burden the Americans developed ideas. The Mayan calender is highly accurate. They had a mechanical calender at one temple that when manually turned would advance the calender stone one day at a time. All the more amazing because they worked without metal tools or animal power. The stunning Pyramid of the Sun (http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://www.richard-seaman.com/Travel/Mexico/Teotihuacan/PyramidOfTheMoonFromPyramidOfTheSun.jpg&imgrefurl=http://www.richard-seaman.com/Travel/Mexico/Teotihuacan/index.html&h=664&w=980&sz=117&tbnid=7oaoiUfVq4YJ::&tbnh=101&tbnw=149&prev=/images%3Fq%3DPyramid%2Bof%2Bthe%2BSun&hl=en&sa=X&oi=image_result&resnum=1&ct=image&cd=1) was made by people hauling earth and stones one basket full at a time.

Man has been man for at least 50,000 years give or take. Our brains have not changed much in that time. Cro-Magnon (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cro-Magnon) man was us. The only things we have they they lacked are accumulated knowledge and the accompanying technology. Grab a Cro-Magnon baby and raise them up and no one would know the difference.

The point of all the rambling is that technological development is not an unbroken line in which one thing must follow another and this must be invented before that. Technology has come in fits and starts. Sometimes circumstance has favored it, sometimes it has not. When it is favored, an invention sticks. Safety pins (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Safety_pin) for example. Invented by Walter Hunt 1849, but it wasn't, examples have been found as old as the 14th century BC.

Kalanth
08-26-2008, 07:33 PM
That was well written and thought out, Tesral, but I am not sure just what it has to do with what forms of technology are used on your campaign world and how they have affected your games. Course, I could just be missing your point, which is not something new at all.

tesral
08-26-2008, 10:57 PM
That was well written and thought out, Tesral, but I am not sure just what it has to do with what forms of technology are used on your campaign world and how they have affected your games. Course, I could just be missing your point, which is not something new at all.

One can have Y technology without X technology first I suppose. What technologies appear in my game like I said, first chapter.

In each case I look at what the base technology is and then alter for magic. From Renaissance to Late Iron age depending on where you are. Gunpowder is used only on the sea as the ranges a of canon are usually greater than magic. On land some 3rd level Whatsit with a destroy gunpowder spell can put your entire siege train out of action. So cannon never got a grip with land armies. Too easy to disable. War technology comes down to the items that magic cannot disable from a distance.

Magic is seen in day to day lives. Street lighting, making sure the crops some in, preventing plagues and like activities.

Riftwalker
08-27-2008, 08:09 AM
Even without such beasts of burden the Americans developed ideas. The Mayan calender is highly accurate. They had a mechanical calender at one temple that when manually turned would advance the calender stone one day at a time. All the more amazing because they worked without metal tools or animal power. The stunning Pyramid of the Sun (http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://www.richard-seaman.com/Travel/Mexico/Teotihuacan/PyramidOfTheMoonFromPyramidOfTheSun.jpg&imgrefurl=http://www.richard-seaman.com/Travel/Mexico/Teotihuacan/index.html&h=664&w=980&sz=117&tbnid=7oaoiUfVq4YJ::&tbnh=101&tbnw=149&prev=/images%3Fq%3DPyramid%2Bof%2Bthe%2BSun&hl=en&sa=X&oi=image_result&resnum=1&ct=image&cd=1) was made by people hauling earth and stones one basket full at a time.


This line of thinking stems from Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond. I very highly recommend it to someone interesting in fleshing out a rich tapestry of varying technology levels across multiple cultures in their game, either with or without magical influence.

I also highly recommend the book in general.

And if you order it from Amazon, I think Farcaster makes a buck.

http://www.amazon.com/Guns-Germs-Steel-Fates-Societies/dp/0393317552

Valdar
08-27-2008, 01:54 PM
This line of thinking stems from Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond.


That is truly an excellent book. I'd also recommend 1491 (http://www.amazon.com/1491-Revelations-Americas-Before-Columbus/dp/1400032059/).

DMMike
08-27-2008, 10:58 PM
I'd call it phenomenal. But maybe it's just because I hadn't read up on much anthropology before.

I'll recommend Diamond's the Third Chimpanzee. Lots of roleplaying uses. And anti-ignorance uses. Helped me a lot :)

upidstay
08-31-2008, 08:03 PM
I always did a mix of technology and magic, with a fair amount of overlap. My old campaign, back from 1st edition, had a level of magic use among commoners equal to 20th century America's technology level, with a few exceptions. They had stones which gave of heat at a command word, to heat homes, cook, etc. Magically created fresh water, clerical healing was commonplace. Levitation worked like our heavy building equipment. Sailing ships used magical winds for propulsion. They still used horses and draft animals for travel and conveyance, but magic horseshoes and fantasy creatures (picture an 8 legged cow the size of small truck. Very docile, carried enormous loads, gave huge quantities of milk, meat was tough but nourishing). I had a sort of highway system, where the road way was virtually frictionless surface, and wind powered sleds sped along them at great speeds.

nijineko
08-31-2008, 08:35 PM
may i suggest the book "he walked the americas (http://search.barnesandnoble.com/He-Walked-The-Americas/L-Taylor-Hansen/e/9780964499706/?itm=1)". aside from it's intended purpose as written by the author, it is a rich treasure trove of glimpses into what the native americans have handed down of their civilizations and beliefs before the general genocide they suffered, that they seldom share with outsiders. fascinating for the hints of technologies and cultures long lost and forgotten by all but a handful of shamens and cheifs.