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 Post subject: Technology on Weyrth
PostPosted: Mon Feb 04, 2008 1:44 pm 
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Something that I would like to resolve early on is what maximum level of technology is availabel in the West of Weyrth and which nation is the technologically most advanced one in the various areas. This is very important for weapons, but even more so for transportation (what kind of sailing ships), architecture (what do cutting edge fortifications look like) and also for day to day living. We have to decide how common glass is, if mechanical clocks are available, if gems can already by cut or still only polished, how common seaborn trade over large distances is (and thus how available spices and other luxury goods), if clear mercury mirrors have been invented (they could be a Xanarian secret, just as they really were a Venetian secret), if glass can be shaped into lenses and thus telescopes and glasses, and if the compass is known. And then ther is of course the question if blackpowder has already been invented, and if so, if there are cannons and bombards in use, and if there are already early muskets.

Much of this has a major impact on the societies we are going to describe, and it should really be laid down early on, as well as who is how advanced. It is also important to be aware that the differences in technology may realistically not be too big. For the sake of plausibility I make a huge plead for ruling out any technological lag of Savaxen or Angharad of more than two centuries at the very most behind nearby nations like the Seat of the Xanarian Empire or Gelure.

After this preamble, I do immediately sate my case: Western Europe 1400 all through the board.

This would mean:
Hand-and-a-half swords are freely availyble, but no purely twohanded swords. Cut-and-thrust blades, rapiers and fencing weapons are not yet in use (though a point could be made for cut-and-thrust).
Best armours are plate, but not yet with fully interlocking and articulated joints. Chain is still the norm and widely used in even the most sophisticated armies.
Blackpowder is invented and bombards are just becoming known, but only for sieges, not on the battle field. There are as yet no hand-held blackpowder weapons.
The most modern ships are galleys, cogs and early carracks and caravels, though not yet with a rigging developed as fully as to allow the great voyages of the later 15th century on Earth. The compass is widely known.
Mechanical clocks are still a rarity, though not gaped at in awe anymore. The same is true for glasses as an aid in reading. Telescopes are completely unherad of.

What is the opinions of others? What shall be the most advanced technology that is to be known in the West of Weyrth?

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 Post subject: Re: Technology on Weyrth
PostPosted: Mon Feb 04, 2008 9:05 pm 
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For Rochegrande/Taveruun, my intent is late 14th century Lyon/France with anomalies. Certain anomalies have to exist due to the reality of magic. Also, cool factor.

In Taveruun I intend that they have hot air balloons. They are tethered -- they don't fly, as the method for heating the air in sufficient volumes is on the ground not in the balloon. The major cities of Taveruun have one each. There will be other anomalies, particularly in terms of how those who build fortifications deal with the possibility of magic.

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 Post subject: Re: Technology on Weyrth
PostPosted: Mon Feb 04, 2008 10:00 pm 
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With Taveruun being probably a well developed country, considering its long and close links with the Xanarian Empire, this would fit my notion of a maximum "tech level" of around 1400 very well.

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 Post subject: Re: Technology on Weyrth
PostPosted: Tue Feb 05, 2008 12:46 am 
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I have always found that to maximise 'cool' factor as well as player familiarity that my games are usually set with a benchmark of 1450.

What I mean by this is, Gelurian militaries utulise cut and thrust weapons, and are becoming commonplace. Oustenrich and Stahl have Pike and Dopplehander formations, but Handgunnes are something only the wealthiest Ouestenrichen noble can field. Full Plate is available in the developed nations, but only for the really rich, otherwise, its plate and with mail joints. The Greatsword isn't completly out of favor yet, and the Bastard sword is just now earning its reputation. Rapier and its children are not options, though some of the other more specialized cut and thrust swords are.

And as you said, I usually run Savaxen and Angarahd about 150 years behind that, and it hasn't led to any problems for my games yet.

That time period seems to be the most comfortable with players, from my experiance, and also the most fun to play in, making it suitable for a 'baseline.'

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 Post subject: Re: Technology on Weyrth
PostPosted: Tue Feb 05, 2008 12:57 am 
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stuh42l wrote:
I have always found that to maximise 'cool' factor as well as player familiarity that my games are usually set with a benchmark of 1450.


Handguns as exotic rarities in Taveruun -- no problem. Some canon in the field is OK (Edward III had them, more for fear and less for damage). Alchemists should certainly be capable of producing black powder. The effect of magic on technology needs to be discussed.

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 Post subject: Re: Technology on Weyrth
PostPosted: Tue Feb 05, 2008 5:28 am 
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The effect of magic on technology needs to be discussed.


I suppose the real question is weather the people capable of magic also study science, and if they do, do their works make it to other, mundane, members of science.

I wonder if most sorcerer's research never leaves that individual, or if it does, it is summarily destroyed. However, a sorcerer with influence could certainly circulate his works as if he were someone else, making them available to the scientific masses.

Of course, in kingdoms like Gelure, and to a lesser extent, Ahr, I would suspect any magical/scientific breakthroughs would be state sanctioned, and might lead to massive discoveries.

On the other hand, we have the chruch... and I have a feeling it is going to do its damndest to make sure no one learns anything from a sorcerer.

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 Post subject: Re: Technology on Weyrth
PostPosted: Tue Feb 05, 2008 5:48 am 
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stuh42l wrote:
On the other hand, we have the chruch... and I have a feeling it is going to do its damndest to make sure no one learns anything from a sorcerer.


I'm not intending heading down that path with Taveruun.

Amongst real world medieval western-European ecclesiastics there were two predominant views on magic. In one view, God hid ("occluded" from which we get occult) certain knowledge, knowledge that had no moral implication of itself, which was there for mankind to discover and benefit from. This, for want of a better phrase, was High Magic and covered divination in many forms. The Augustinian view expressed in his Two Cities treatise stated that all magic was supernaturally powered, that man was incapable of commanding angelic forces to perform such acts, and therefore all magic was infernally powered (and motivated as the practitioner never really commanded the infernal powers).

The issue here is that magic is demonstrable and repeatable. So how would that influence either of these real-world "models"?

To my mind it sits more easily with the first model, resulting in a church that would condone High Magic (divining the past, present, and future to allow people of influence to better make decisions affecting the populace) while condemning Low Magic (those forms of magic that seek to directly influence or manipulate the real world or its inhabitants).

Anyway, I want to think on this further before i commit to any view. I will say that I am a little tired of antagonistic church v magic views -- it is too much like transplanting the real world mediaval view without taking into account the affect on theological thinking if magic is obviously real.

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 Post subject: Re: Technology on Weyrth
PostPosted: Tue Feb 05, 2008 6:19 am 
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Quote:
Anyway, I want to think on this further before i commit to any view. I will say that I am a little tired of antagonistic church v magic views -- it is too much like transplanting the real world mediaval view without taking into account the affect on theological thinking if magic is obviously real.


Yes, while to the average person in Weyerth, Magic may or may not be real, to the church, it is a fundamental part of its history and formation. To believe in the church, you must believe in magic. This will require some digestion.

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 Post subject: Re: Technology on Weyrth
PostPosted: Tue Feb 05, 2008 7:55 am 
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stuh42l wrote:
I have always found that to maximise 'cool' factor as well as player familiarity that my games are usually set with a benchmark of 1450.


What’s “cool” is obviously a matter of taste. Personally, I feel that the middle ages become ever uncooler with every passing year after the coronation of Charlemagne. But that’s not the issue.

I feel that 1450 is the very latest that makes sense at all. For blackpowder weapons, this is already becoming critical. By 1470, advanced European armies had whole regiments of handgunners, and mobile, cart-drawn field artillery with a surprisingly fast rate of fire was around by 1430/40. Having a country at a development stage of 1450 with will blackpowder weapons less than “rare”.
It is also a bit problematic for sailing ships. By 1430, riggings were sufficiently advanced to start the age of discovery. A timeline of 1450 would make the world considerably smaller due to better maritime travel – which can be a good thing, one should simply decide on it consciously.
And then there is the advent of the printing press in 1445, of course.

I would very much like to tone it down from 1450, to about 1425. If advanced weaponry is desired, no problem, one can always say that the development of metallurgy is some 25 years ahead of everything else.

stuh42l wrote:
What I mean by this is, Gelurian militaries utulise cut and thrust weapons, and are becoming commonplace.


Should this be to imply that Gelure is the technologically most advanced nation, I find this notion highly alarming for several reasons. For one, I see economical power and military might in the core book, but not necessarily technological advancement. Then I think that the remains of the old Xanarian Empire should logically be still the technologically most advanced country.

But my main concern is this: So Gelure is rich, has an effiective centralistic government, a huge army, a lot of magic users (versus none with other nations) and is technologically most advanced – why hasn’t it yet steamrolled the entire West? Let’s make Gelure a very advanced nation, but the single most advanced one. This sits much better with the high culture and education of the Xanarian Empire.

By the way, as a footnote, I am intending to make the production of absolutely clear glass without any blemishes a secret known exclusively to the Empire, and in extension also the production of mercury-based mirrors. Only the Imperials know how to fabricate mirrors like we are used to today, everybody else can only fashion them from sheets of polished metal.

Ian.Plumb wrote:
The issue here is that magic is demonstrable and repeatable. So how would that influence either of these real-world "models"?


In theory, I am completely with you on this. Much too little thought is usually given to the impact of real magic on a pseudo-medieval society. But unfortunately we have this statement of Jake on magic in the worldview of Xanarism (core book p. 188):

Quote:
Magic is the tool of the Dark Betrayer, used to destroy the souls of all those that come into contact with it.


This makes it clear that official Xanarism holds the stance of St. Augustine. The fact that magic exists on Weyrth and is repeatable is nowhere at odds with this. For one, magical talent is too rare to be commonplace, to be really studied as a phenomenon, and then it most obviously has a corrupting influence on its practitioners – most of them are gnarled individuals, warped in body by powers they do not fully understand. It is clear that the magic is detrimental to their bodily health; how infinitely more detrimental must it be to the weelbeing of their soul? The Dark Betrayer’s tool, indeed.

While it doesn’t seem a problem to deviate from Jake’s “official line” for a single country and assume that a school of thought has recently arisen in Taveruun that condones beneficial magic as being a divine gift to enlightened humanity, but I feel that it is very problematic to head down this path all the way. It is not what people are used from Weyrth, it deprives Uglub of Gelure of some of his strength and it will more likely than not clash violently with the ideas of other people wanting to design material for Weyrth.

stuh42l wrote:
I suppose the real question is weather the people capable of magic also study science, and if they do, do their works make it to other, mundane, members of science.


I see no reason at all why somebody who studies magic should not also study science. In the real middle ages, scholars studied “knowledge”, whatever form it had; it was a time of universal scholars. So even without possessing the Gift, I feel that most scholars should feel the wish to at least intellectually penetrate the workings of magic; those very few with the Gift should embrace magic wholeheartedly, unless shrinking back from it for religious reasons. Nothing at all does hint at an antagonism between one type of knowledge and another.

But then of course magic shouldn’t be taught at cathedral schools…

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 Post subject: Re: Technology on Weyrth
PostPosted: Tue Feb 05, 2008 9:31 am 
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I see no reason at all why somebody who studies magic should not also study science. In the real middle ages, scholars studied “knowledge”, whatever form it had; it was a time of universal scholars. So even without possessing the Gift, I feel that most scholars should feel the wish to at least intellectually penetrate the workings of magic; those very few with the Gift should embrace magic wholeheartedly, unless shrinking back from it for religious reasons. Nothing at all does hint at an antagonism between one type of knowledge and another.


As a quick point, there is absolutely no rule or even assumption that magic in Weyrth be learned via tomes and practised in any form of hermetical sense. In the games I run, many gifted do not even know how to read.

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 Post subject: Re: Technology on Weyrth
PostPosted: Tue Feb 05, 2008 10:21 am 
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stuh42l wrote:
As a quick point, there is absolutely no rule or even assumption that magic in Weyrth be learned via tomes and practised in any form of hermetical sense. In the games I run, many gifted do not even know how to read.


Absolutely. But your original question was if people practising magic would also practise science. As I don't see your average hedge wizard in any position to even know, much less comprehend the most basic principles of science, the whole speculation pertains only to the educated elites. If you want to asssume that magic is purely visceral and anti-intellectual, your own assumption about it and its practitioners already answers your question: No, they would not practice science, not necessarily out of philosophical reasons, but for a very practical one - they are much too uneducated.

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 Post subject: Re: Technology on Weyrth
PostPosted: Tue Feb 05, 2008 10:54 am 
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Grettir wrote:
I feel that 1450 is the very latest that makes sense at all. For blackpowder weapons, this is already becoming critical. By 1470, advanced European armies had whole regiments of handgunners, and mobile, cart-drawn field artillery with a surprisingly fast rate of fire was around by 1430/40. Having a country at a development stage of 1450 with will blackpowder weapons less than “rare”.
It is also a bit problematic for sailing ships. By 1430, riggings were sufficiently advanced to start the age of discovery. A timeline of 1450 would make the world considerably smaller due to better maritime travel – which can be a good thing, one should simply decide on it consciously.

And then there is the advent of the printing press in 1445, of course.


Oooh, my bad -- I'd thought the 1450 bit was just military technology. Taveruun will be 1350 from all sorts of societal points of view -- the law, how the territory is administered, how the military is organized, taxation, inheritance, marriage, gads it goes on and on. In terms of shipping as long as Taveruun has the advantage over the eastern countries I'm content -- even if those ships are largely sourced from Xanar.

Grettir wrote:
I would very much like to tone it down from 1450, to about 1425. If advanced weaponry is desired, no problem, one can always say that the development of metallurgy is some 25 years ahead of everything else.


That would suit me better, end of the 100 Years War and thus fits better with my knowledge. But I don't really mind, as long as Taveruun isn't an anachronism at 1350 - 1370 France.

Grettir wrote:
This sits much better with the high culture and education of the Xanarian Empire.


I'm no expert on Weyrth but this was how I saw it myself.

Grettir wrote:
By the way, as a footnote, I am intending to make the production of absolutely clear glass without any blemishes a secret known exclusively to the Empire, and in extension also the production of mercury-based mirrors. Only the Imperials know how to fabricate mirrors like we are used to today, everybody else can only fashion them from sheets of polished metal.


How does this sit with stained glass windows in cathedrals? Does Taveruun import the glass from Xanar?

Ian.Plumb wrote:
The issue here is that magic is demonstrable and repeatable. So how would that influence either of these real-world "models"?


Grettir wrote:
In theory, I am completely with you on this. Much too little thought is usually given to the impact of real magic on a pseudo-medieval society. But unfortunately we have this statement of Jake on magic in the worldview of Xanarism (core book p. 188):


Quote:
Magic is the tool of the Dark Betrayer, used to destroy the souls of all those that come into contact with it.


Is schism a possibility between Xanar and Taveruun over the issue? Actually, I'm happy to run with both models. The Augustinian view is the official, doctrinal view. However, there is an undercurrent of ecclesiastical though that supports the second model. Thus we have tension, just as there was in the day over the issue.

Grettir wrote:
While it doesn’t seem a problem to deviate from Jake’s “official line” for a single country and assume that a school of thought has recently arisen in Taveruun that condones beneficial magic as being a divine gift to enlightened humanity, but I feel that it is very problematic to head down this path all the way. It is not what people are used from Weyrth, it deprives Uglub of Gelure of some of his strength and it will more likely than not clash violently with the ideas of other people wanting to design material for Weyrth.


To some extent even with the non-Augustinian model there was clear differentiation between those who sought to understand God's will through astrology and similar forms of divination -- and those who sought to use magic to manipulate people or the world directly. As such the vast bulk of magic would still be reprobate under both models. Gelure would maintain its advantage.

Grettir wrote:
But then of course magic shouldn’t be taught at cathedral schools…


Well, not until midnight at least...

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 Post subject: Re: Technology on Weyrth
PostPosted: Tue Feb 05, 2008 11:48 am 
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Hi all,

Should the Seat of the Xanarium Republic have advanced technology, maybe only in weapons? but definitely in Rapiers and even Cases of Rapiers.

How does this affect other local countries? I believe that this affects Farrenshire and the like.

This is from the MRB, I think?

Simon Burling

P.S. If I am wrong, then please tell me and disregard this post.


Last edited by simon burling on Tue Feb 05, 2008 11:53 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Technology on Weyrth
PostPosted: Tue Feb 05, 2008 11:49 am 
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Ian.Plumb wrote:
Grettir wrote:
I would very much like to tone it down from 1450, to about 1425. If advanced weaponry is desired, no problem, one can always say that the development of metallurgy is some 25 years ahead of everything else.


That would suit me better, end of the 100 Years War and thus fits better with my knowledge. But I don't really mind, as long as Taveruun isn't an anachronism at 1350 - 1370 France.


Might we then agree on the most advanced technology available in the West being equal to Europe around 1425, with all weapon technology save gunpowder technology about 25 years ahead of the rest? What do you say, stuh42l?

We might say that the Seat of the Xanarian Empire has the cutting edge in technology, with Gelure threatening to catch and the other countries around the Sea of Fallen Gods lagging behind a bit more, if this pleases you.

Ian.Plumb wrote:
Grettir wrote:
By the way, as a footnote, I am intending to make the production of absolutely clear glass without any blemishes a secret known exclusively to the Empire, and in extension also the production of mercury-based mirrors.


How does this sit with stained glass windows in cathedrals? Does Taveruun import the glass from Xanar?


Either that, or we decree that Xanar’s monopoly stretches only to fine glassware, luxury items like pitchers, glasses, fine mirrors and maybe simple optical instruments like magnifying glasses. Either way is fine for me; what would you like better?

Ian.Plumb wrote:
Quote:
Magic is the tool of the Dark Betrayer, used to destroy the souls of all those that come into contact with it.


Is schism a possibility between Xanar and Taveruun over the issue?


I would like that very much. Let’s say it is a new train of thought recently arisen in Taveruun and embraced by most of the local church officials, but strictly denied by the heads of the church in the Seat of the Xanarian Empire.

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 Post subject: Re: Technology on Weyrth
PostPosted: Tue Feb 05, 2008 11:55 am 
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simon burling wrote:
Should the Xanarium Republic, wrong name I know, have advanced technology, maybe only in weapons, but definitely in Rapiers and even Cases of Rapiers?
How does this affect other local countries?
This is from the MRB, I think?


Yes, you are absolutely right, Simon. But there is just the problem that the introduction of rapiers and even lighter blades does constitute a major anachronism and huge problem if combined with the rest of the development of weaponry and society on Weyrth. In view of this dilemma I would therefore very much like to discard them fully. In their stead, we could have cut-and-thrust swords; those have a very similar flavour, but without the problems raised by rapiers.

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