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  • #16
    Originally posted by Blaque View Post
    snip
    The incontrovertible fact is, though, that is the intention of the authors. Exalted 2e, and First Age especially, was a reaction against the ridiculous idea of "lol medieval stasis" and that all high fantasy had to follow that. Exalted 2e's view in terms of lore, especially in relation to the First Age is futuristic and positive because those are major themes.

    I won't deny that there was some "science = engineering" thinking, but that was mostly because the players need actual things. There is a lot of "thinking about thinking" and science that is abstracted into the system.

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    • #17
      Originally posted by NewK View Post
      Quick question--what book was this in? I don't remember it.
      It's a goremaul in Arms of the Chosen known as Asphodel. What Fire Has Wrought has a shield that functions similarly. Both are 3E books.

      Dreams has a city the size of and made from a bonzai tree that is surrounded by space warping magic such that anyone approaching it got smaller until it was large enough to act as a city for them.


      Originally posted by Silicarbonator View Post
      The incontrovertible fact is, though, that is the intention of the authors. Exalted 2e, and First Age especially, was a reaction against the ridiculous idea of "lol medieval stasis" and that all high fantasy had to follow that. Exalted 2e's view in terms of lore, especially in relation to the First Age is futuristic and positive because those are major themes.

      I won't deny that there was some "science = engineering" thinking, but that was mostly because the players need actual things. There is a lot of "thinking about thinking" and science that is abstracted into the system.

      The first age presented in Dreams wasn't especially futuristic or positive. It was a slightly near future version of our modern world with a few fantastical elements to the point you can spot one-to-one analogs of things like credit cards, tablet pcs, the internet, etc. It was a cynical, jaded, bored society defined by massive disparities in wealth and power not only between mortals and Exalted but also among the Exalted to the point there were ongoing projects to replace the DB. Systemic corruption and dysfunction in government had disenfranchised all non-Solars and effectively done so for younger Solars as well. Some mortals were required to undergo spiritually damaging procedures to feed the industry of the age.

      If I might offer a contrasting vision that isn't "lol medieval stasis" consider the original Foundation books. The First Foundation were masters of science and engineering, exceeding the heights of the galactic empire that proceeded them. The Second Foundation were masters of mentalics, a discipline that included elements of neurobiology but also psychology. The unique thoughts and aptitudes of individuals were fundamental to the operation of this science.
      Last edited by Exthalion; 11-19-2021, 09:57 PM.

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      • #18
        I meant positive in terms of the idea that Exalts, and even mortals, were meant to be able to overcome major threats and problems. In terms of what I read from the big First Age setting books, there was definitely more of a "mortals being able to do things" tone during that setting. Again, this is all based on me reading through the First Age setting books; maybe someone else has access to a bunch of splatbooks and meta-lore I don't have, but that is what I saw.

        I honestly feel the "mortals are useless" notion is more of a product of minmaxers out of game than it is in lore.

        To get back on point, does anybody have more ideas for how to develop the science and magitech of Creation for further possibilities?

        Again, I have no problem with rejiggering the metaphysics a little bit, as long as it allows us to further develop concepts in things like Heaven's Reach and Modern Exalted (and OG Exalted) among other creations.

        EDIT: Incidentally, you oversimplify quite a bit. The "internet", for example, is literally a super AI that anyone with access can connect to, among other things.
        Last edited by Silicarbonator; 11-19-2021, 04:30 PM.

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        • #19
          Originally posted by Silicarbonator View Post

          To get back on point, does anybody have more ideas for how to develop the science and magitech of Creation for further possibilities?
          If it's a matter of how to portray the setting happening around the players, I'd say one could focus more on the setting's savants, with the idea that their experimental methods are becoming more rigorous, they have the resources to set aside, and there's correspondence between them.

          Like, if you want a lens through which to view the setting as written and what its future could be, rather than fully changing its makeup.


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

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          • #20
            Originally posted by NewK View Post

            Quick question--what book was this in? I don't remember it.
            Thats an artifact from Arms of the Chosen.

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            • #21
              Originally posted by Isator Levi View Post

              If it's a matter of how to portray the setting happening around the players, I'd say one could focus more on the setting's savants, with the idea that their experimental methods are becoming more rigorous, they have the resources to set aside, and there's correspondence between them.

              Like, if you want a lens through which to view the setting as written and what its future could be, rather than fully changing its makeup.

              Previously on this thread, I've seen some concrete info that can be used as part of a base. I think I could develop on those concepts further.

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              • #22
                Originally posted by Silicarbonator View Post
                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.
                For me I'm just unable to suspend my disbelief that far. It's like asking me to believe that with all the superhumanly brilliant tacticians in Creation's history nobody has invented the flanking maneuver, or a feint up until this point.

                Originally posted by Exthalion View Post
                The first age presented in Dreams wasn't especially futuristic or positive. It was a slightly near future version of our modern world with a few fantastical elements to the point you can spot one-to-one analogs of things like credit cards, tablet pcs, the internet, etc.
                If I were going to do it I think I'd go more of a route of epic scale and strange pervasive magics. Like a step pyramid towering above a forest, where people ascend and descent via sorcerously bound updrafts that cling to their billowly clothing and either raise them up or arrest their fall depending on how you move your arms.

                It's marvelous, and a sign of how high the first age was that even everyday citizens could fly about their city/temple home, but they're not pulling out iPads and watching YouTube on them.
                Originally posted by Silicarbonator View Post
                Again, I have no problem with rejiggering the metaphysics a little bit, as long as it allows us to further develop concepts in things like Heaven's Reach and Modern Exalted (and OG Exalted) among other creations.
                So do you want Exalted Modern in baseline Creation? Or are you looking for stuff to put into Exalted Modern.

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                • #23
                  Originally posted by Silicarbonator View Post


                  Previously on this thread, I've seen some concrete info that can be used as part of a base. I think I could develop on those concepts further.

                  I forgot in my post before to draw a comparison to what it looked like when scientific inquiry and collaboration was conducted by the likes of Newton or Keppler or Boyle. Progress is being made, important discoveries are found, and there's an intelligentsia that can process the published information and give rise to further figures that can elaborate on it. But it's as yet a highly exclusive domain in terms of who has the educational base to make sense of it and then the means to develop further, both in terms of free time and materials and space. Like, it helped to make major discoveries about how the motion of the planets operated when you had a huge estate on which to assemble gigantic telescopes.

                  That said, your major departure from Creation as written isn't in the form of scientific inquiry. Modern science is inextricably bound with engineering and capital; the matter of how discovered principles are practically applied and the sequence of resources around them (both in terms of what funds them and what profit can be derived from them). In the real world, historically that wasn't the context that science took place in. Robert Boyle made some of the most important discoveries about chemistry in history, a foundation for all modern understanding of matter, but those discoveries weren't immediately applied to functions of manufacturing. They wouldn't be for centuries. Boyle was an aristocratic man, manufacturing was several social levels beneath his notice, and the types of people involved in it would have lacked the necessary literacy to incorporate what he had found into refining their processes in a more systematic fashion.

                  For people like Boyle, science was a function of liberal arts; exercises of intelligence that were becoming of a liberated gentleman, and were themselves part of the process of liberation, of enlightenment. You made a systematic and rational study of the world as part of a process of deeper appreciation for it, or to fulfil the pursuit of understanding for the sake of satisfying curiosity.

                  It wasn't totally unbound from practical application in all times and places; ancient Greek natural philosophers and mathematicians made discoveries that could find their way into the manuals of engineers and architects, but there have to be particular circumstances before it becomes a consistent thing that can consistently build upon itself (although once it does, the momentum of that can be astonishing).

                  You can have people conducting real science in Creation, but if you want anything resembling modern science it also needs to have made significant progress in its models of finance, education, the structure and priorities of society.

                  That consideration does lead me to a notion that it could be just about plausible to have a Creation that has as yet unharnessed physical principles, because whatever the intelligence of the Exalted might have been*, if their process for how to inquire into the world was more focused on the Essence side (the mythic and wondrous manifestations, and the more mystical approach to understanding and harnessing it), I could see things being overlooked.

                  * I for one don't really care for a portrayal of them as superhumanly intelligent, and I think the rules can remain consistent with that (especially when we've dropped the idea that Essence above a certain level lets you break stat caps). For Solars, I would think of things like relevant Lore Charms more in terms of a highly focused and disciplined intelligence than a superhuman one. Your leaps of reasoning are efficient and reliable, but not ultimately vastly beyond what other people are capable of on their best days.


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

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                  • #24
                    Originally posted by Silicarbonator View Post
                    Previously on this thread, I've seen some concrete info that can be used as part of a base. I think I could develop on those concepts further.
                    One area of potential is first age alloys/materials mentioned in the descriptions of some artifacts. They are superior enough to mundane materials that things made with them can potentially survive ramming other vessels.

                    Jadesteel might be an example of such materials. Feathersteel might be another which is either aluminum, iron from the north with a lot of air essence in it, or some regular metal touched by the Wyld. Yet a third is Chiaroscuro glass which may be adamant+glass in the same way jadesteel is jade+steel.

                    If some of these are naturally ocuring it may be possible to artificially recreate the conditions that produce them them either through geomantic engineering, specialized artifacts, or thaumaturgy.
                    Another possibility is that they might be synthesized via using demesne tokens or other occult tokens in otherwise mundane forging procedures.

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                    • #25
                      on the question of Magitech, the new sorcerous workings in 3E really change a lot of the assumptions. Which is to say, We need fertilizers to make a field grow, and in some of the snippets of the first age, they did something like that, only with magic moving the water.

                      But you could get the same effect out of a terrestrial working. So much of the "infrastructure" of the first age is probably going to look weirder and less technical.

                      One of the things that they did mention in several places in 2e, that I think would be interesting to play with is the idea that the shogunate, not having the immense power of the solar, used stuff that looked more mechanical, not because it was more advanced, but because it was less advanced, but still within their grasp. To use one of the examples in this thread--teh first age had people floating on gusts of wind up and down a pyramid--the shogunate uses an elevator, which is now the best they can do. But it's vastly more clunky and prone to problems.

                      The big question however would be: okay, what does Autocthon look like then? Iln 2e he was THE industrial being, but how does this change him?

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                      • #26
                        Originally posted by NewK View Post
                        on the question of Magitech, the new sorcerous workings in 3E really change a lot of the assumptions. Which is to say, We need fertilizers to make a field grow, and in some of the snippets of the first age, they did something like that, only with magic moving the water.

                        But you could get the same effect out of a terrestrial working. So much of the "infrastructure" of the first age is probably going to look weirder and less technical.

                        One of the things that they did mention in several places in 2e, that I think would be interesting to play with is the idea that the shogunate, not having the immense power of the solar, used stuff that looked more mechanical, not because it was more advanced, but because it was less advanced, but still within their grasp. To use one of the examples in this thread--teh first age had people floating on gusts of wind up and down a pyramid--the shogunate uses an elevator, which is now the best they can do. But it's vastly more clunky and prone to problems.

                        The big question however would be: okay, what does Autocthon look like then? Iln 2e he was THE industrial being, but how does this change him?
                        That is a 1Eism. In 2E magitech was catigoricaly better than "solid state" artifacts of similar dot ratings in performance but (usually) suffered from maintenance costs. Solars had a charm to get all the benefits of magitech without maintenance so the High to Low First Age transition would have been aesthetically similar just lesser in quantity and quality. There is an interesting section on the "phases" that reality engine design went through with an intermediate mechanical/clockwork stage that was eventually replaced with the final/mature stage where they could look like anything because the art of their making was so highly advanced. I will see if I can't find it.

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                        • #27
                          Originally posted by Silicarbonator View Post
                          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.
                          Cells existing makes sense to me, because otherwise I don't see how mortal creatures would resemble real ones so closely. But I'm surprised ATP is canon.
                          What's the difference between plant and animal cells? I'd say that one is composed mostly of Wood, and the other isn't. But what living tissues count as wood? Lignin for sure, but I assume all plant celluloses and equivalent structural molecules in algae. What about mushroom chitin, do fungi count as plants in Exalted?

                          What about bones? Dead bone is the Underworld element that corresponds to Wood, but living bone is, well, alive. Is it made of Wood? Or is it made of Earth because it's mineralized? Is shell made of Earth? Are biological creatures all actually 75% Water? I assume they must be made of Water if ATP and cellular transport are things.

                          Edit: Humans and rats and roaches* from Autochthonia are presumably made of the same stuff, but creatures truly native to Autochthon, including Alchemicals, are presumably made from the native elements there instead. Things from the Wyld are made of whatever they want to be made of, or else acquire Creation elements at the same time as shape. Or they're a silly mixture of gossamer, Creation elements, and nonsensical materials like poetry and spite.**

                          * Animals have po souls. If Autochthonia has a po shortage, why haven't vermin gone extinct yet? Shouldn't Autochthon eat their souls before eating the humans who need to worship and maintain him?

                          ** I'm sure that some Exalt, at some point, has figured out how to turn things like poetry and spite into raw materials for crafting, but I would guess they're Essence constructs, not... self-created narrative ideals that resist comprehension.

                          Malfeas has no Creation elements, so its creatures are made of ... imitations, I guess. Chrysogona and Szorenyi wood probably isn't genuine Wood, for example.

                          Originally posted by Silicarbonator View Post
                          Do forces like gravity exist? Why the heck is "wood" an element when it seems Earth would cover it better?
                          Wood is the living, growing, consuming, creating element.
                          Gravity? I'd say no. The Creators made Up and Down into metaphysical principles, almost on par with Center. Things fall Down.

                          Originally posted by Silicarbonator View Post
                          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.
                          I don't see this as such a problem, perhaps because I come from the Werewolf fandom which is equally animistic. In Werewolf everything has an indwelling spirit, a spiritual life force, but they're usually dormant unless awakened with magic. Your spear or cell-phone or laptop is just a piece of hardware until you do a ritual to awaken it. The awakened spirit will be intelligent and willful. So in Exalted, I assume least gods are the spiritual equivalent of bacteria, or amoebas. They're there, and perhaps they facilitate the material object's interaction with fate and/or Essence, but they aren't active or spying on everything around them. Headcanon: To awaken them you'd have to endow them to raise their permanent Essence, and promote them to be the god of something more important. Which requires their object to already be more important than it used to be, such as an artifact. And they might still be as smart as a dog or monkey.

                          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).

                          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.
                          I don't know if your version of Creation is based on Modern or 'regular' Exalted, but the Realm would probably use radio if they could. It would be hugely useful for the military. I remember a quote of Grabowski responding to a fan's suggestion that the Realm would suppress printing press technology. He answered that they have block printing and they absolutely do print the Immaculate Texts. But I think he confirmed they don't encourage peasant literacy and reading in general. Crud, I can't check, the website is down.

                          Anything that helps the military would be embraced if possible. I don't understand the financial systems Isator Levi is familiar with, but I imagine that a militaristic engine of relentless conquest and colonization would find some way to fund military equipment. Not, however, to make it easy for rebellious soldiers or peasants to get any edge over their Exalted betters. Vaccines or the equivalent may be developed, if possible, to deal with diseases so severe that they severely impact agricultural output or other labor. But to some extent, does the Realm just accept preventable peasant deaths?

                          One thing I think they would suppress is any labor-saving device. Even if the Dynasty could reduce the slave and peasant labor they require, they wouldn't. They don't want to give peasants a bunch of leisure time in which to think up 'subversive' ideas, much like Autochthonian rulers.

                          Originally posted by Exthalion View Post
                          That is a 1Eism. In 2E magitech was catigoricaly better than "solid state" artifacts of similar dot ratings in performance but (usually) suffered from maintenance costs. Solars had a charm to get all the benefits of magitech without maintenance so the High to Low First Age transition would have been aesthetically similar just lesser in quantity and quality. There is an interesting section on the "phases" that reality engine design went through with an intermediate mechanical/clockwork stage that was eventually replaced with the final/mature stage where they could look like anything because the art of their making was so highly advanced. I will see if I can't find it.
                          That's in the Compass to the Wyld, p. 28-29.

                          "Only Solar Exalted can create reality engines, and only Celestial Exalted can repair badly damaged ones." Requirements are then listed in terms of Abilities, not Charms or Sorcery.
                          "The Solars built these devices to run with little or no maintenance." "Reality engines were all build [sic] during the First Age, and they do not wear out or break down." Despite some looking like magitech.
                          "Reality engines made earlier in the First Age appear considerably more complex [than later models] and often resemble the intricate magitech of the Shogunate."
                          "The most powerful reality engines were made during the height of the First Age. These are smooth and elegant geometric forms of clear, faintly glowing crystal, inlaid and shot through with filigre of moonsilver and orichalcum, and set with nuggets of jade. A typical Old Realm engine might consist of an icosahedron twice the height of a man, balancing on one point and orbited by a dozen melon-sized tetrahedra, cubes and spheres."
                          "Reality engines made during the last days of the First Age were the most exotic. They often take the form of portrait busts or even statues of their creators or other then-famous Solar or Lunar Exalted, with concealed panels that open to reveal miniature versions of the clockwork and crystals found in the earlier models."
                          Last edited by Erinys; 11-20-2021, 10:37 PM.


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                          My point of view may be different from yours but is equally valid.
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                          • #28
                            Originally posted by Isator Levi View Post
                            snip
                            On this, a thing to note is that the attitude of First Age Creation (fro what I read from the setting book, I may not be aware of other lore apart from that) is that it seems to be both progress for knowledge and as a means of "engineering and capital" but more in terms of being "grand architects" (a theme of the setting) and the like than profit (which Exalts had in abundance). A lot of what you say is covered pretty clearly in lore.

                            Based on what I have seen on this thread so far, one idea could be that the elements exist in their pure forms, but have different "states" of matter that each govern. Like, wood governs cells, both animal and plant, and also governs the atoms and molecules concerning them, fire governs heat energy in cellular processes, etc. etc.

                            PS: On the digressions, it's not "suspension of disbelief" if it actually happened multiple times. Also, on the Shogunate, I would think their tech is a lot more based on grounded, industrial processes than the highly Essence based stuff of the First Age. It's definitely a more pre-war Fallout USA vibe to the First Age's post-scarcity utopia vibe. Radio is not focused on because it can basically be used as a tool of subversion even more than printing presses could-- and the repressive dictatorship of the Realm would rather just have an Exalt managing all comms than distribute it.

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                            • #29
                              Originally posted by Isator Levi View Post
                              * I for one don't really care for a portrayal of them as superhumanly intelligent, and I think the rules can remain consistent with that (especially when we've dropped the idea that Essence above a certain level lets you break stat caps). For Solars, I would think of things like relevant Lore Charms more in terms of a highly focused and disciplined intelligence than a superhuman one. Your leaps of reasoning are efficient and reliable, but not ultimately vastly beyond what other people are capable of on their best days.
                              I don’t really think that is how they’re portrayed in the default setting, although you’re free to make your Creation yours.
                              Originally posted by Silicarbonator View Post
                              PS: On the digressions, it's not "suspension of disbelief" if it actually happened multiple times. Also, on the Shogunate, I would think their tech is a lot more based on grounded, industrial processes than the highly Essence based stuff of the First Age. It's definitely a more pre-war Fallout USA vibe to the First Age's post-scarcity utopia vibe. Radio is not focused on because it can basically be used as a tool of subversion even more than printing presses could-- and the repressive dictatorship of the Realm would rather just have an Exalt managing all comms than distribute it.
                              Why wouldn’t the Lunars or Gold Faction Sidereals use them in that case? Their whole deal is arming the downtrodden of the Realm with the tools to overthrow their oppressors. Or Lookshy, who gives their mortal soldiers Gunzosha power armour. Raksi is possibly the greatest living savant in Creation, and has been alive since the First Age of Creation. Not just radio either, steam, sterling or internal combustion engines, firearms, rocket motors, electricity in general, etc.

                              To be clear, not entirely against the idea of science existing, like if you ran an ANOVA test in Creation that should work 100%. Innovation and discovery absolutely should be things, I just think that trying to figure out how Creation works using real world physics, and extrapolating back from that that real world physics will allow certain things to exist in Creation, is a fool’s errand.


                              Like Feathersteel, for example, it’s not aluminum. In addition to being called out as a form of iron, the only reason you’d ever make an aluminum sword or armour is because you’re trying to sabotage the person you’re giving it to, going up against iron or bronze weapons certainly. The Hislanti airboats themselves even, they’re apparently able to be propellor driven by their crew, and use a “clever system of sails and fins” to tack against the wind like a sailboat. So, a human on a pedal system is about 1/4 of a horsepower, so with a crew of 70, say 60 pedal that’s 15HP. The Hindenburg, passengers and crew 90, was powered by 4 Diesel engines, each over 1,000HP. Orders of magnitude off. The tacking against the wind on the other hand isn’t just wrong in scale, it’s nearly complete nonsense. You tack in a sailboat by using water resistance and redirecting wind to basically ramp up against the wind, it doesn’t work without water to resist against.

                              I don’t think it’s a fools errand to say “what if Creation had real world physics, what would it look like?” that could be fun, like the sun browning out on the horizon, the air boats not being able to sail, fire dust propellant, stuff like that. Or even better, asking “since feathersteel is a thing what other awesome stuff could you do?” that’s more than fun, that’s awesome! Off the top of my head imagine a delicate shining metal building on spindly legs high up in the air, only possible because the legs are as strong as steel but as light as cardboard. Or since you can apparently sail the air as easily as the sea, what about a mesa archipelago, a cluster of flat topped mountains with steep sides that act just like an island chain, sailing between them on the air, except that instead of sea beneath them it’s harsh, untamed jungle or shattered obsidian plains.

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                              • #30
                                There are different ways you can do a world "without stasis" (i.e. without "40,000 years of the same damn thing, one after another"). I'll give at least a couple.

                                One of these is you can assume a linear, progressive world where things generally get better, and knowledge and capacities are rarely lost because they can be easily passed on, communicated, replicated.

                                The other is that technological and "scientific" history lurches around; it's all very personalistic and "craft" like, knowledge is frequently lost or not replicable because the art and craft of it can't be alienated from a master craftsman and made into a replicable body of knowledge that is separable from a particular person.

                                In both of these modes there's no "stasis", but the latter is perhaps more like a dynamic fluctuation around a point in a multi-dimensional space, not a clear vector along a path.

                                The latter of these is common in fantasy literature, and the mode in particular in Jack Vance's Dying Earth books, a great Exalted inspiration.

                                It is probably the better suited mode of these to Exalted, because in Exalted characters have such great capacity to accelerate "technological" progress that if you assume the former, you get inevitable magi-tech singularity, and the setting history and themes (including the singular importance of individual heroes) would rapidly cease to make any sort of sense if you apply a linear progressive mode.

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