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  • Science/Magitech in Creation

    So I was inspired to make this post after reading up on the First Age and my copy of Dreams of the First Age.

    I think we can all agree that 2e First Age Exalted was absolutely heavily based on magitech, and the general “genre” of the setting was high sci-fi with the Exalted twists. Coming from this, I want to take a closer look at the science behind magitech, and the First Age.

    A critical idea to keep in mind is that science is not some concrete “thing”, it is a methodology that is used to analyze the world, and magitech and related things are absolutely based off of science, according to lore and logic.

    Thus, I would like to try to discuss what science looks like in Creation. This is also for inspiration for my own settings with alternate physics that are not identical to real life.

    So what do we have? Any constructive information is welcomed. I would like the discussion to be focused on expanding possibilities and opportunities.

    For sake of simplicity, let’s keep the discussion focused on Creation (though there is probably some field of in-verse science that deals with alternative physics of not-Creation areas).
    Last edited by Silicarbonator; 11-13-2021, 12:26 PM.

  • #2
    WARNING: Everything that follows is just top-of-the-head opinion, and lacks anything like rigorous follow-through.

    I think that there would be a lot of parallels between science as we know it Exalted’s “everything is caused by a god, somewhere” paradigm. There’s no reason why surgeons wouldn’t wash thoroughly and disinfect wounds with alcohol, whether due to modern germ theory, or appeasing the infection spirits who do the disease gods’ dirty work. Similarly, techniques like flame tests and acid/base reactivity should work as well in Creation as they do here. The Scientific Method should work just as well there, though there are a lot more factors that can fuck up your results.

    Basic metallurgy and medicinal research in Creation seem like they could have evolved fairly similarly to the way they did on pre-industrial earth, though probably with a lot more prayers and spirit-world diplomatic negotiations thrown in.

    But there are also some unavoidable fundamental differences: The 5 elemental poles make things very tricky, given that there are paradigm-perfect manifestations of each element, and how Creation in general gets more influenced by each element the closer you get to each pole. Thermodynamics jumps out as another huge difference, given that cold in Creation isn’t just a lack of heat, but a force unto itself.

    As for purely supernatural things like Essence, there would have to have been an entirely separate branch of science to tackle it, motonic theory or no. Imagine quantum science, but broader, infinitely more varied, and waay more in your face. And all of that is before you get to Creation’s Settings (Thaumaturgy) and Creation’s Source Code (Sorcery). Throw in animate intelligences vs spirits, crazy alternative sciences that can create things like Wyld-Shaping Engines, and the Theanoan mathematics required to properly model and administrate Fate, and you’re far better off just trying to envision the basic sciences of Creation so that your head doesn’t catch fire.

    Finally, if late-era advances like the creation of Icemind represent the pinnacle of “missing Empress-era” Creation’s scientific prowess, then there is clearly more solid scientific foundation than I’m assuming here. But I’m more likely to chalk that up to a moment of miraculous inspiration than I am to see it as the logical culmination of scientific advances in multiple fields.

    Comment


    • #3
      This makes some sense. I think we should focus on the basic sciences for now, ie the things a child is likely to learn in high school/middle school.

      For example, basic biology. Do cells exist in creation? Are plant cells different from non-plant cells? What about non-natives to Creation? How does Essence interact? I mean, if you look closely enough at things you are bound to see something.

      And what about basic physics and chemistry? How would the elements change things? Do forces like gravity exist? Why the heck is "wood" an element when it seems Earth would cover it better? What about molecules and atoms? IIRC, there was a section in Wonders of the First Age that detailed how there was outright basically a periodic table for how the magical metals interacted.

      For some personal notes, on the topic of "everything has a god," I feel like that is an aspect most writers always tend to downplay because it makes things so complicated otherwise, because suddenly struggling to use the spear lying around isn't much fun.

      "Motonic physics" was a thing and First Age Exalts absolutely codified and scienced this stuff.

      Icemind was a freak accident. I AM, however, was the culmination of some serious science and engineering.
      Last edited by Silicarbonator; 11-15-2021, 01:00 PM.

      Comment


      • #4
        I think a lot of this can be informed by what doesn’t exist considering that the exalted are super humanly, in some cases even impossibly, intelligent.

        Does electromagnetism exist? Well there no radios, and no electric motors, so basically, no. You can make an AM receiver out of a pencil, a razor blade, and a bit of copper wire. There’s no fallen lost first age tech that would stop the Realm for fielding radio officers in their legions if radio existed.

        Which chains into a whole hell of a lot, because electromagnetism is the basis for all chemistry.

        Gravity is also likely not a thing, because Creation is flat. You could work out how thick/dense a sheet you’d need to simulate earth like gravity, but unless your dirt has a natural angle of repose of 90 degrees it’d collapse into a ball pretty fast.

        Cells might exist, but as far as I know no vaccines do, so maybe the immune system doesn’t work the same. Chakras, on the other hand, DO exist, and if they’re out of alignment it makes you sick. So even if there is an immune system, there’s also an Essence flow through the Essence lines in your body as well.

        Science as a methodology I assume still works, but there are many complicating factors. The loom of fate woven by pattern spiders can tear and twist, causing all kinds of weird things to happen, you’d need to take that kind of thing into account.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by DrLoveMonkey View Post
          I think a lot of this can be informed by what doesn’t exist considering that the exalted are super humanly, in some cases even impossibly, intelligent.

          Does electromagnetism exist? Well there no radios, and no electric motors, so basically, no. You can make an AM receiver out of a pencil, a razor blade, and a bit of copper wire. There’s no fallen lost first age tech that would stop the Realm for fielding radio officers in their legions if radio existed.

          Which chains into a whole hell of a lot, because electromagnetism is the basis for all chemistry.
          Yet analogues certainly do exist in Creation, and even more science is hinted to exist. I think Essence and study of Essence would be the analogue to much of this. The reason for the Realm not having/distributing [xyz] is basically because the Realm is a repressive military dictatorship that is also a political nest of vipers that also does not have development and progress basically by intentional design (Terrestrial Exalts are incidentally not "geniuses" by default, and the concentration of Exalts/exceptional people in Creation is often way overestimated).

          In terms of biology and cells, if vaccines/antibiotics don't exist, I think some analogue taking Creation's physics into account would, such as (total guess) a small infusion of essence/materials which harness essence in such a way which interacts with the body's systems to bolster against the malevolent materials.

          Gravity in terms of "things fall down" most definitely exists but the nitty gritty would need more looking at.

          What about light, and vision as well? What about atoms and molecules?

          The fact is that science is, among other concepts, a methodology of discovering things, and the civilization of the First Age absolutely required science.

          In any case, in terms of worldbuilding, one will have to assume that science in all its forms can exist and be utilized, while taking into account and incorporating the aspects of Creation. Otherwise, things would simply be incomprehensible to what we can see as fact in gameplay and lore, and science would be impossible.

          EDIT: Some of the inspiration for this post came from my experience of Modern Exalted, and me wanting to develop the ideas there more thoroughly.
          Last edited by Silicarbonator; 11-16-2021, 09:57 AM.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Silicarbonator View Post

            Yet analogues certainly do exist in Creation, and even more science is hinted to exist. I think Essence and study of Essence would be the analogue to much of this. The reason for the Realm not having/distributing [xyz] is basically because the Realm is a repressive military dictatorship that is also a political nest of vipers that also does not have development and progress basically by intentional design (Terrestrial Exalts are incidentally not "geniuses" by default, and the concentration of Exalts/exceptional people in Creation is often way overestimated).
            I don’t think that can reasonably explain the lack of some extremely useful and easy to make technology. It’s an abstraction, but it’s all we really have to approximate what we’re working with: the greatest ever mortal has 11 to their specialty area of lore/craft, a solar beats that with 3 intelligence and 3 lore using nothing but the excellency, and a DB matches it with 3 int, 3 lore and a specialty in their field. A slightly above average exalt rivals Issac Newton or Nikola Tesla with nothing more than the excellency, and they’ve got more than the excellency for sure.

            Compound that with the fact that it’s the second age, and there’s the fallen first age to work with. Exalted like Chejop and Leviathan actually remember the height of the first age, and the Dragonblooded have plenty of relics from then, you wouldn’t even need to invent radio from scratch, you’d know it existed and what you were looking for, you’d just have to find it.

            There are alternatives, of course, but none as good as radio. A sorcerer can send a magical messenger to warn of an incoming army, but you can’t have 200 sorcerers all guarding the perimeter of your kingdom 24/7, and even if you could what a colossal waste of 600 Wizards. Whereas radio stations all able to be operated by mortals dotted everywhere are relatively cheap, compared to 600 sorcerers, and even more effective. And that’s just radio, there’s also no gunpowder, or steam rail engines either. There are even massive steam cannons, so people have definitely had the idea to use steam to push things, but for some unexplained reason it only works at a large scale.


            Originally posted by Silicarbonator View Post
            In terms of biology and cells, if vaccines/antibiotics don't exist, I think some analogue taking Creation's physics into account would, such as (total guess) a small infusion of essence/materials which harness essence in such a way which interacts with the body's systems to bolster against the malevolent materials.
            That’s probably true I think, maybe your body becomes accustomed to the imbalance in humours and when it happens again the same way you’re ready for it.

            Originally posted by Silicarbonator View Post
            Gravity in terms of "things fall down" most definitely exists but the nitty gritty would need more looking at.
            Arguably no longer gravity at that point? I guess it still is, it’s probably what people in Creation call it, but it’s a very different force. It’s not the force that two objects with mass assert on eachother, it’s thing’s tendency to be sucked to the ground.

            Originally posted by Silicarbonator View Post
            What about light, and vision as well? What about atoms and molecules?
            Light and vision definitely don’t work the same way, imagine, if you will, the sunset as seen in the east. The sun low on the horizon is being viewed through thousands of kilometres of air, not to mention any weather system present anywhere along the line between you and the furthest reaches of the west where the sun is. There is no sunset in the east, as gets closer to the horizon it fades out into a dull red glow and then fades.

            Or, rather, it doesn’t, if you live in the East you get a sunset, because optics in Creation doesn’t function like it does on Earth.

            Originally posted by Silicarbonator View Post
            In any case, in terms of worldbuilding, one will have to assume that science in all its forms can exist and be utilized, while taking into account and incorporating the aspects of Creation. Otherwise, things would simply be incomprehensible to what we can see as fact in gameplay and lore, and science would be impossible.

            EDIT: Most of the inspiration for this post came from my experience of Modern Exalted, and me wanting to develop the ideas there more thoroughly.
            I’m not quite sure what you mean by this, like if optics in Creation doesn’t work like it does on Earth then Creation becomes incomprehensible?

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            • #7
              Also to he clear I’m not trying to shut down anyone from making a radio or a steam engine in their game if they want to, I’m just saying that if you try to rig up a laser in Creation because you know how to make one in real life then that’s probably going to be more an exception to the natural laws of Creation, rather than a consequence of them.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by DrLoveMonkey View Post
                I don’t think that can reasonably explain the lack of some extremely useful and easy to make technology. It’s an abstraction, but it’s all we really have to approximate what we’re working with: the greatest ever mortal has 11 to their specialty area of lore/craft, a solar beats that with 3 intelligence and 3 lore using nothing but the excellency, and a DB matches it with 3 int, 3 lore and a specialty in their field. A slightly above average exalt rivals Issac Newton or Nikola Tesla with nothing more than the excellency, and they’ve got more than the excellency for sure.





                I’m not quite sure what you mean by this, like if optics in Creation doesn’t work like it does on Earth then Creation becomes incomprehensible?
                This "problem" isn't at all limited to this; I can think of hundreds of times that [xyz] character could have done [x] but never did and blundered horribly. Creation has a ton of PIS going around, and I don't think this is much of an exception.

                More specifically, part of my inspiration for this is from trying to flesh out the Modern Exalted/Heaven's Reach setting, and I am trying to find ways to do it. I have no problem with rejiggering the metaphysics of Creation since I don't think the writers themselves put much thought into it.

                What I am trying to do is find some neat ways to integrate parts of Creation's "feel"/metaphysics into the setting's science, rather than list everything as an exception since at a certain point everything we see in the OG setting is going to be "an exception". Because science is a methodology among other definitions and can thus be applied to anything basically.

                IIRC, incidentally the writers themselves were saying that 1st Age Creation was supposed to be a reaction against "lol medieval stasis", and having the metaphysics get in the way of that is counter to the spirit of the game.
                Last edited by Silicarbonator; 11-16-2021, 12:53 PM.

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                • #9
                  You mention that you were inspired by 2E, but 1E has some interesting information in regards to this topic.

                  One of the Aspect Books has a section of in-universe text describing the operation of certain charms/essence on biological processes. It indicates that the ATP molecule exists "the three sugar", that motes don't just slot into the molecule but their motion does influence it, and thus presumably cells exist as well.

                  Perhaps the most important different between real and Creation physics is that consciousness/intentional/will is a metaphysically basic part of the universe. Conventional chemistry doesn't exist because alchemy does, and various sources indicate that things like steel production are alchemical in nature.


                  If you will permit me to leaven this with idle speculation, it might be that the smallest unit of an Creational element is something like an atom which assemble to form molecules on up. Wood might be a close analog to carbon in such a system, given to forming long chains like the fibers in plants or the strings of muscle, and having a degree of flexible strength that allows iron to become steel.

                  I also consider things like least gods to be better understood not as tiny, sleeping humans curled up in everything, but rather the spiritual component of things and not much more conscious than bacteria in most cases anyway. The gods of Chaya are nanomachines made out of godly essence by a FA Twilight, which only really attain sapience in vast numbers. I don't think it would be inconsistent to assume that "real" gods only attain awareness when their purview grows sufficiently large or important to provide them with similarly copious amounts of godly essence, perhaps condensed from the source materials.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Silicarbonator View Post
                    So I was inspired to make this post after reading up on the First Age and my copy of Dreams of the First Age.

                    I think we can all agree that 2e First Age Exalted was absolutely heavily based on magitech, and the general “genre” of the setting was high sci-fi with the Exalted twists. Coming from this, I want to take a closer look at the science behind magitech, and the First Age.

                    A critical idea to keep in mind is that science is not some concrete “thing”, it is a methodology that is used to analyze the world, and magitech and related things are absolutely based off of science, according to lore and logic.

                    Thus, I would like to try to discuss what science looks like in Creation. This is also for inspiration for my own settings with alternate physics that are not identical to real life.

                    So what do we have? Any constructive information is welcomed. I would like the discussion to be focused on expanding possibilities and opportunities.

                    For sake of simplicity, let’s keep the discussion focused on Creation (though there is probably some field of in-verse science that deals with alternative physics of not-Creation areas).
                    One of the things I liked from 2e was the idea of creating artificial realities of varying scope and complexity. There was the sorcerous experiment that resulted in a sort of pocket world that was bigger on the inside of the jewel it was contained in-and the ghost preserved within as it's ruler. There was the Unshaped caged by Autochthon's artifice in the Realm Defence Grid as a test subject. There were the Vault of Woven Dreams, and the Protoshinmaic Vortex. Judging by the relevant artifact ratings there seems to have been a gradient of complexity and abstraction-where the Solars moved away from purely mechanistic processes and strove to eventually sculpt worlds from pure essence and enlightenment applied to the Wyld.

                    In a way, it's kinda like comparing the heavily stagnated, industrialised technology of Dune's empire to the highly advanced bioengineering that can potentially give rise to the Kwisatz Haderach. One of the fun things I liked about 2e was the emergent discovery that YOU, as a Solar, were yourself being innovated and advanced by the process of scientific discovery.

                    Also the Hand of the Maker seems to imply there's an amplifying reaction from combining Solar and Primordial Essence. I imagine you could create some rather impressive supersoldiers by doing something similar with something touched directly by Gaia's power.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Exthalion View Post
                      You mention that you were inspired by 2E, but 1E has some interesting information in regards to this topic.

                      One of the Aspect Books has a section of in-universe text describing the operation of certain charms/essence on biological processes. It indicates that the ATP molecule exists "the three sugar", that motes don't just slot into the molecule but their motion does influence it, and thus presumably cells exist as well.

                      Perhaps the most important different between real and Creation physics is that consciousness/intentional/will is a metaphysically basic part of the universe. Conventional chemistry doesn't exist because alchemy does, and various sources indicate that things like steel production are alchemical in nature.


                      If you will permit me to leaven this with idle speculation, it might be that the smallest unit of an Creational element is something like an atom which assemble to form molecules on up. Wood might be a close analog to carbon in such a system, given to forming long chains like the fibers in plants or the strings of muscle, and having a degree of flexible strength that allows iron to become steel.

                      I also consider things like least gods to be better understood not as tiny, sleeping humans curled up in everything, but rather the spiritual component of things and not much more conscious than bacteria in most cases anyway. The gods of Chaya are nanomachines made out of godly essence by a FA Twilight, which only really attain sapience in vast numbers. I don't think it would be inconsistent to assume that "real" gods only attain awareness when their purview grows sufficiently large or important to provide them with similarly copious amounts of godly essence, perhaps condensed from the source materials.

                      This is definitely interesting and useful. I think this could work as a base for further creation.

                      The general theme of discovery and advancement that is greatly enhanced by power and has infinite possibilities is extremely interesting for me to create.

                      Last edited by Silicarbonator; 11-18-2021, 11:11 AM.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Silicarbonator View Post


                        This is definitely interesting and useful. I think this could work as a base for further creation.

                        The general theme of discovery and advancement that is enhanced by power and has infinite possibilities is extremely interesting for me to create.

                        EDIT: Incidentally, which Aspect book(s) was that?

                        Wood: (I don't have it on my phone, these quotes are from elsewhere on the forum) From memory, the second is about Lunars using Deadly Beastman Transformation
                        Aspect Book: Wood p71 said:
                        ...Key to understanding the specifics of Essence’s effect on cellular transport is the fact that at no point do actual Essence interference effects take place. One of the most common misapprehensions of the beginning student is that, in order to enhance activity, Essence motes will be bound into the cellular transport chain at some point, usually during three-sugar synthesis, in the place of bound sugars.
                        Aspect Book: Wood p71 said:
                        During the war-transformation, the Exaltation cycles Essence internally, with the effect of increasing the energy released by the disunion of three-sugar transport modules, but not altering the mechanism — in this as in many other mechanisms, Essence follows the path of least resistance, performing the most subtle miracles possible under the constraints.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Silicarbonator View Post
                          ...

                          A critical idea to keep in mind is that science is not some concrete “thing”, it is a methodology that is used to analyze the world, and magitech and related things are absolutely based off of science, according to lore and logic.

                          ...
                          So putting on my philosophy PhD hat while I rant on some things for a bit.

                          So something to keep in mind that while 2e had a worldd which was built on a science, it is not necessarily the science we use today. And that even on Earth, what we consdier science today is not the only form of analytical inquiry that was useful for past cultures. I think something at times that Exalted 2e especially kind of got lost in the weeds about is the concept of episteme versus techne to use the Greek there. A lot of the emphasis of 2e was not just that htere were folks understanding the world, but that understanding equated to manipulation. I actually see this IRL a bit too. That something is only "real" if you can actually manipulate or make a machine out of it. And I think that to a large extent, Exalted 2e focused on an idea that science = engineering, and that "It's real because I can confirm it with machines" sort of positivist thinking.

                          It kind of to some extent assumed I would say a pretty modern view that is very successful and I woudl say while better for our world which as far as we can tell is entirely material and secular, is not what Creation is and not what folks in the past thought. So a good place to look for ideas on Creation I think is some pre-Newtonian stuff like Ptolomey, Mozi, Xuangzi, Heroditus, Bacon, and Aristotle with a healthy dose of skepticism about anything relating to race, sex, or gender. Stuff pre-Hobbes, Hume, Newton, Descartes etc.

                          This is kind of important since I think that a lot of 2e stuff approached science and technology in Exalted with a kind of "Civilizaiton Tech Tree" mindset. Where it's inevitable we would just get some techs in a certain order, and that it all progressed to some idealized "better" progressive technology due to replication, consistency, and raw material input and output we should expect from our world but shouldn't expect for a world which doesn't have ot abide by our rules of consistency or which might have higher bounds for simple variance. It also kind of a bit where I think that the way we generally look at science is just different than historical figures who were not like, dumb. They just had a different fundemental view of what the world was before you went in. So an alchemist didn't just have to do X Y and Z chemical stuff, but also his own internal refinement and who he was affected his research. And there's also some elements which we don't care about like elegance or argument which like...don't matter as much for our mdoern science or philosphical discourse.

                          Good article on this is this one here. It doesn't talk about Creation directly obvioulsy, but I think some of the things in it might help in trying ot think how Creation as a kind of alternative world with an alternative set of values or even rules of input and output, might affect how science evolves there.

                          https://bigthink.com/thinking/aristo...odern-science/


                          And stuff.
                          My DeviantArt Page // My tumblr // Exalted 3e Houserules

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by DrLoveMonkey View Post

                            Gravity is also likely not a thing, because Creation is flat. You could work out how thick/dense a sheet you’d need to simulate earth like gravity, but unless your dirt has a natural angle of repose of 90 degrees it’d collapse into a ball pretty fast.
                            Maybe gravity at the cosmological level isn't going to be in operation, but if things fall with measurable consistency then people can form models for predicting rates of descent and assign values of weight.

                            Scientific inquiry of any kind can be applied if the subject has consistent properties that change depending on their physical interactions with other things in consistent ways. The intervention of Essence might alter that, so you can get things like flames that are iconic representations of the form rather than being how energy transfers in combustion of fuel take place, but many things in the setting are going to take place without that intervention; most fire is happening with the interaction of heat, air, and fuel.


                            I have approximate knowledge of many things.
                            Write up as I play Xenoblade Chronicles.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Organ Boy View Post

                              One of the things I liked from 2e was the idea of creating artificial realities of varying scope and complexity. There was the sorcerous experiment that resulted in a sort of pocket world that was bigger on the inside of the jewel it was contained in-and the ghost preserved within as it's ruler. There was the Unshaped caged by Autochthon's artifice in the Realm Defence Grid as a test subject. There were the Vault of Woven Dreams, and the Protoshinmaic Vortex. Judging by the relevant artifact ratings there seems to have been a gradient of complexity and abstraction-where the Solars moved away from purely mechanistic processes and strove to eventually sculpt worlds from pure essence and enlightenment applied to the Wyld.
                              Quick question--what book was this in? I don't remember it.

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