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  • First Age Technology

    While the developers want to get away from the idea of First Age magical technology, what about having First Age scientific technology? While I am unsure about the particulars of electricity in Creation, I know that combustion exists within Creation, so it would have been quite simple for the Solar Exalted of the First Age to have figured out the secrets of Victorian Era technology and, after they got bored with it, passed the information to their mortal servants to see if they could improve productivity. Even if the Solar Exalted of the First Age had been too obsessed with magic to bother with science, I imagine that the Dragon Kings, Heroic Mortals, Mountain Folk, Terrestrial Exalted, etc would have explored science in order to make themselves more effective and more efficient. Once you have the science, everything else is a matter of engineering, and I imagine that the First Age (and the Shogunate Era) would have possessed Exalted Magic and Victorian Technology.

    So, what would that mean? Well, it would mean that the reason why the majority of the technology of the First Age (and the Shogunate Era) has disappeared would be because of the corrosive effects of time rather than the rarity of artifacts. While the majority of the magical infrastructure of the First Age was maintained by the Solar Exalted, the scientific infrastructure of the First Age would have not been lost and would have allowed the Shogunate Era to maintain large mortal populations. However, when the Contagion and the Crusade killed 99% of the mortal population of Creation, the mortal population would have been insufficient to maintain the scientific infrastructure inherited from the First Age.

    Now, what does that mean for the Second Age? First, mortal savants and Terrestrial Exalted scholars would probably have access to the science behind the Victorian Technology. While the population density of Creation, at approximately two people per square mile by my calculations, is insufficient to justify railroads and the like, I see no reason why steam power would not be accessible in large cities that have sufficient access to the organic fuels that are used for combustion. In addition, I do not see any reason why gunpowder firearms should not exist, though they would be handmade rather than mass produced because of the low population density.

  • #2
    1: Industrial Revolution is not the design theme of Exalted, and thus doesn't really fit into the gameworld. If for that reason alone, it'd be nixxed. It's the same reason that D&D has been stuck at the same tech-level for a very long time...despite having all the parts needed to rocket forward into a more modern era...it's not in the spirit of the setting.

    2: Guns don't work because Firedust doesn't work that way and gunpowder doesn't exist. 'Firewands' are more like compact single-shot flamethrowers than a gun. Basically, when you are in Creation, chuck the Periodic Table out the window...it's useless to you here. Creation doesn't work that way. In the same way, don't expect to be able to refine gasoline or its like in Creation.

    3: Solars can do stuff FAR more impressive than Victorian-era steam-powered technology and while they may have poked it a time or two...would have gleefully blown past it in the pursuit of Artifice, which can do so much more than "We boil water and spin the thing with steam."

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    • #3
      Not just that, but the cost of labor is and has always been insanely low which destroys the profit motive for innovation. Terrestrials could have bound demons wind giant springs to power the not-railroads rather than the steam engine because demons are easy for exalts to summon and control and a steam engine would require all that nasty infrastructure to transport coal and water and all the other things a steam engine needs. In fact labor is so cheap summoning demons to just carry things is probably what smart important people are going to do instead of inventing a railroad thing analog in the first place.

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      • #4
        For anyone curious, back on RPG.net last year, the author of the South chapter in Scavenger Sons hopped on and pointed out that apparently firewands were meant to effect the image of dragon's breath shotgun rounds.

        Video example here:
        https://youtu.be/RP4FjODPDFA?t=4m22s

        And stuff.


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        • #5
          Originally posted by Aya Tari View Post
          While the developers want to get away from the idea of First Age magical technology, what about having First Age scientific technology?
          ...
          This assumes a few things.

          First, that scientific development equates technological advancement. Scientific understanding doesn't equate to engineering capaiblity and vice versa. Mesoamerica had very complex agricultural, mathematical and bureaucratic systems but didn't have the wheel or metalworking. China had advanced chemical development that led to gunpowder, but didn't result in other advancements like in metlurgy. Japan invented steel by accident and West Africa had iron working without ever entering a real Bronze Age.

          Solars were as we understand it in the First Age rather good at understanding the principles of magic that Creation is built upon. This can even have been scientific. But it assumes that the world works on certain prinicples that our world does which isn't so much the case, such as the universality of phenomena or the deterministic behavior of matter and energy. This will complicate any scientific advancements in Creation because rules will simply be different and lead to different results.

          Originally posted by Aya Tari View Post
          ... While I am unsure about the particulars of electricity in Creation, ...
          It likely doesn't exist as we understand it. Simple as that.

          Originally posted by Aya Tari View Post
          ... I know that combustion exists within Creation, so it would have been quite simple for the Solar Exalted of the First Age to have figured out the secrets of Victorian Era technology and, after they got bored with it, passed the information to their mortal servants to see if they could improve productivity. ...
          Can you cite where we have combustion in a sensible way? Firedust isn't gunpowder, it's napalm. And while steam cannons exist in 2e, it is not clear those will show up or if they are something which is effecient enough for Victorian industrialization. We're not even clear that coal exists in Creation or that it is the same thing.

          You also somewhat imply in this statement hat Victorian technology is some benchmark that any society with the right parts together will achieve. This is false. China, India and Dar al-Islam for instance, had a lot of the necessary elements for a potential industrail revolution. Europe's was a result of weird accidents of capitalist culture and English geology more than anything to do with Victorian Age being something you unlock on a tech tree and move on from when it doens't seem cute anymore.

          Originally posted by Aya Tari View Post
          ... Even if the Solar Exalted of the First Age had been too obsessed with magic to bother with science, ...
          You are begging the question in this by assuming that pursuit of the concepts of one is not the same as the other.

          Originally posted by Aya Tari View Post
          ... I imagine that the Dragon Kings, Heroic Mortals, Mountain Folk, Terrestrial Exalted, etc would have explored science in order to make themselves more effective and more efficient. ...
          You again assume science is 1) Inevitable, 2) Some teleological thing that just sort of goes to engineering improvements and 3) Something folks go out and do to fix things. Science is a means by which humans understand the world. Engineering and intervention is something different. And the ability to do science in a way that looks like the way Earth works is based on the world working how Earth does, which for Creation appears to be the case in the humaniteis, but not at all the case in the physical sciences.

          Originally posted by Aya Tari View Post
          ... Once you have the science, everything else is a matter of engineering, and I imagine that the First Age (and the Shogunate Era) would have possessed Exalted Magic and Victorian Technology.
          Victorian technology is not some benchmark of a tech tree. It is a particular set of engineering innovations based upon manipulations of the world as it exists in our universe. For Creation, understanding of magic is understanding of its sciences. It just so happens that the rules of Creation are often those of occult and sympathy, not as much mechanistic motion. Then again, our world isn't as much as that either at times save in ways humans tend to try to make sense of it.

          Originally posted by Aya Tari View Post
          So, what would that mean? Well, it would mean that the reason why the majority of the technology of the First Age (and the Shogunate Era) has disappeared would be because of the corrosive effects of time rather than the rarity of artifacts. While the majority of the magical infrastructure of the First Age was maintained by the Solar Exalted, the scientific infrastructure of the First Age would have not been lost and would have allowed the Shogunate Era to maintain large mortal populations. However, when the Contagion and the Crusade killed 99% of the mortal population of Creation, the mortal population would have been insufficient to maintain the scientific infrastructure inherited from the First Age.
          What does "scientific infrastrucutre" mean here? Again, it appears the First Age was built on magical things which are simply alien to us on Earth and likely not based on rules so repeatable as to be able to be put in a steam engine. Cities weren't running on fantasy coal plants, they were running on bound Third Circle Demons or holes in the world formed in a land where an Ishvarra was slain. You also assume that the rules of Creation, even if they work like our world, invariably lead to a world that looks like ours. It took humans ten millennia after the invention of agriculture to make a workable steam engine. More time exists between Pharaoh Kufu's pyramid and Cleopatra than her and us. Even with Solars about, it is not clear that achievements will build in a clean linear fashion, nor will it do so in a way that folks can pick up what they're doing and replicate it. Engineering often isn't this and a world ran by magical demigods likely won't have to run like this at all.

          Originally posted by Aya Tari View Post
          Now, what does that mean for the Second Age? First, mortal savants and Terrestrial Exalted scholars would probably have access to the science behind the Victorian Technology. ...
          Again, "Victorian Technology" is vague here, and also presumes that it isn't a particular historical accident, not some benchmark on a 4X technology tree.

          Originally posted by Aya Tari View Post
          ... While the population density of Creation, at approximately two people per square mile by my calculations, is insufficient to justify railroads and the like, I see no reason why steam power would not be accessible in large cities that have sufficient access to the organic fuels that are used for combustion. In addition, I do not see any reason why gunpowder firearms should not exist, though they would be handmade rather than mass produced because of the low population density.
          We don't know if the world even has coal. And we do know that the chemistry of Creation likely doesn't have gunpowder. This is a genre conceit. The world is such to support as it is today. And so since there isn't much industrailization more advanced than water wheels and there isn't such thing as gunpowder now, they likely aren't possible. Simple as that.

          And stuff.


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          • #6
            Basic chemistry exists in Creation, food cooks and medicines are compounded, so gunpowder could exist because the components exist in Creation, and just chucking out the periodic table is not possible when you have products of the periodic table in Creation (copper and tin for bronze, carbon and iron for steel, hydrogen and oxygen for water, etc). Firedust is a found product in the South, but it is vastly inferior to gunpowder, so there would be a demand for gunpowder as soon as it is discovered. While there is no reason for STs to allow Victorian technology if they do not want to, there is no particular reason for STs to not allow mortal savants to produce Victorian technology.

            While labor may be cheap for Terrestrial Exalted, Victorian technology was created by mortals on Earth, so it could be created by mortals in Creation. Mortals will need watermills and windmills for agriculture and industry and, while fuel is always a limiting factor, the Guild would be very interested in steam technology. In fact, the Haslanti League has already achieved Victorian technology with their airships, so the idea of supremacy of medieval technology has already been violated. Without magical technology, scientific technology is the only rational explanation for the heights of the First Age.

            Even if an ST allowed Victorian technology, I doubt that the technology would exceed that level because of the lack of available energy resources. Without fossil fuels, the fuel for technology is limited to biofuels, meaning that the development of electricity would be unlikely beyond a laboratory curiosity. Since there seems to be no evidence of radioactive elements, such as uranium, there would be no fission. Without any examples of fusion, the TUS does not operate by proton-proton fusion, there would be no reason to pursue fusion. With rare exceptions, the technology of Creation would be limited to Victorian technology. Either way, no one has to use Victorian technology on their games, I just think that it would just fill in a lot of the conceptual holes in Exalted. I would just like to know if anyone has used Victorian technology in Exalted and if they would be willing to share their experiences?

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            • #7
              No, the same chemical elements aren't present. The elements are earth, air, wood, fire, and water. Air isn't made of N and CO2 and O2 and Ar, it's a fundamental element. Food cooks because fire acts upon wood. Firedust burns because the Wyld does weird shit to sand in the South. There is no gravity, up is up and down is down because the Primordials invented and defined those concepts in reference to the flat world they built. There is no electricity, lightning is a type of air that exists in air, not in metal.* Creation looks somewhat like our world because it's a genre based on myths and legends from a time when people (in our world) didn't have scientific knowledge, and explained our real world in nonscientific ways.

              The chemical and physical technologies we have here are not all achievable in Creation, just as Essence manipulation isn't possible in ours. Plus the historical events and cultural traits that led to industrialization aren't present in Creation.

              But a steampunk version of Creation could totally be a Shard (alternate setting). There is an industrialized Exalted Modern Shard.


              *For example, why does lightning come to metal lightning rods? Maybe in Creation it doesn't. Or maybe there are air spirits (gods or elementals) who are jealous of (or angry at, or in love with) earth spirits who they find in refined metallic earth, which they try to attack (or kiss, or merge with).
              Last edited by Erinys; 05-09-2016, 03:57 PM.


              I am extremely literal-minded and always write very literally. If I don't say something explicitly, please never assume I implied it. The only exception is if I try to joke.
              Exalted name-generators, Infernal and 1E-2.5E homebrew from many authors

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Erinys View Post
                No, the same chemical elements aren't present. The elements are earth, air, wood, fire, and water. Air isn't made of N and CO2 and O2 and Ar, it's a fundamental element. Food cooks because fire acts upon wood. Firedust burns because the Wyld does weird shit to sand in the South. There is no gravity, up is up and down is down because the Primordials invented and defined those concepts in reference to the flat world they built. There is no electricity, lightning is a type of air that exists in air, not in metal. Creation looks somewhat like our world because it's a genre based on myths and legends from a time when people (in our world) didn't have scientific knowledge, and explained our real world in nonscientific ways.

                The chemical and physical technologies we have here are not all achievable in Creation, just as Essence manipulation isn't possible in ours. Plus the historical events and cultural traits that led to industrialization aren't present in Creation.

                But a steampunk version of Creation could totally be a Shard (alternate setting). There is an industrialized Exalted Modern Shard.
                Well, I actually think there is a difference between material wood and spiritual wood, and steel is still iron and carbon, no matter the handwavium. An Exalted Western would be fun though .

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Aya Tari View Post
                  Basic chemistry exists in Creation, food cooks and medicines are compounded, so gunpowder could exist because the components exist in Creation, and just chucking out the periodic table is not possible when you have products of the periodic table in Creation (copper and tin for bronze, carbon and iron for steel, hydrogen and oxygen for water, etc). ...
                  You could, actually. Because Creation's periodic table is a wu-xing pentagram of the interactsion fo air, earth, fire, water and wood. It can use what parts of chemistry on Earth work or don't for purposes of narrative. Creation isn't Earth plus some magic physics. It is a world with its own prinicples that happens to look like Earth as need be for narrative consistency. As such, spicy food is spicy, bronze is tin and copper and so on. At the same time, water is an irreduceble element and "air" is just...air, which includes coldness as a separate attribute of existnace ins thead fo the absence of ehat and which is not reduceble to nitrogen, oxygen, carbon dioxide and trace things. It's just air.

                  Tell me, why is it not possible to toss out gunpowder without tossing out bronze? Since it is trivially easy to describe tin and copper in ways that aren't elemental for Earth purposes. I mean, we did that here on Earth for most of human history. Until the Renaissance it was thought that all metals were a mixture of I belive sulfur and mercury. Turns out all you get here is cinnibar, but Creation isn't Earth, so it need not be such that those metals are elements, nor that they be made of mercury and sulfur for that matter.

                  Originally posted by Aya Tari View Post
                  ...Firedust is a found product in the South, but it is vastly inferior to gunpowder, so there would be a demand for gunpowder as soon as it is discovered. While there is no reason for STs to allow Victorian technology if they do not want to, there is no particular reason for STs to not allow mortal savants to produce Victorian technology.
                  Sure, but if youw ant to know why it's not the cae in Creation, it's because the rules of the world are such that it isn't the ase. And this reinforces the thematics of teh game as it is. What you do at your table is indeed up to you. But the world doesn't work as yous eem to imply by default. For instnace, again, most of human history didn't have gunpowder. And this is a history where humans aren't really any smarter ow in the Information Age than they were at the beginning of the Holocene.

                  And again, what is Victorian technology here, and why is it so special/important/such a benchmark? And why is it assumed, as you are doing, to just fall out of enough time and smartness when it took us 10,000 years to do it and with a lot of stops, starts and specific economci pressures?

                  Originally posted by Aya Tari View Post
                  While labor may be cheap for Terrestrial Exalted, Victorian technology was created by mortals on Earth, so it could be created by mortals in Creation. ...
                  Depending on whether they are creatable. And it only happened on Earth due to a speccific confluence of events where, in part, English workers were too expensive not to automate their labor more. Again, certain technologies arise out of need, some teloelogical thrust of humans and technology.

                  Originally posted by Aya Tari View Post
                  ... Mortals will need watermills and windmills for agriculture and industry and, while fuel is always a limiting factor, the Guild would be very interested in steam technology. ...
                  Sure. Again, this assumes it works. Which is what you're presuming to be the case, baed on your initial post's premise that somehow the way the world works in Creation is like that of Earth. You bring up a good alternative world to Creation to think about, but remember that you are presuming much on history and technology that isn't really founded in how you seem ot think Creation should be.

                  Originally posted by Aya Tari View Post
                  ... In fact, the Haslanti League has already achieved Victorian technology with their airships, so the idea of supremacy of medieval technology has already been violated. ...
                  Their airships are fancy hot-air ballons, made out of not-aluminum scavenger from the remains of a sorcerer's empire, burning whale oil to keep in the air and being moved by humans using bicycle petals. It is more advanced than the medeival or classical era, sure. But it is so for the fact that airboats look cool, not to show how the world's technology should be as a whole.

                  Originally posted by Aya Tari View Post
                  ... Without magical technology, scientific technology is the only rational explanation for the heights of the First Age.
                  You again haven't really defined "scientific technology" save "Works like Earth." You also haven't really argued why the First Age couldn't you know, been an age of wonders and miracles built on Solar artifice on scales of years and infrastrucutre simply not existance in later eras.

                  Originally posted by Aya Tari View Post
                  Even if an ST allowed Victorian technology, I doubt that the technology would exceed that level because of the lack of available energy resources. Without fossil fuels, the fuel for technology is limited to biofuels, meaning that the development of electricity would be unlikely beyond a laboratory curiosity. ...
                  Electricty doesn't develop in Creation because electromagnetisim doens't exist in Creation like it does on Earth. Curiousity or no.

                  Originally posted by Aya Tari View Post
                  ... Since there seems to be no evidence of radioactive elements, such as uranium, there would be no fission. Without any examples of fusion, the TUS does not operate by proton-proton fusion, there would be no reason to pursue fusion. With rare exceptions, the technology of Creation would be limited to Victorian technology. Either way, no one has to use Victorian technology on their games, I just think that it would just fill in a lot of the conceptual holes in Exalted. I would just like to know if anyone has used Victorian technology in Exalted and if they would be willing to share their experiences?
                  You again beg the question that there are holes Victorian technology answers and things that First Age artifice does that "scientific technology" needs to be around to explain. You also are not clear about this upfront, thus drawing the criticism of your discussion. As a tip, don't just layout the "This is how things should be, whatcha think?" and then try to back off into something else. It annoys people who actually want to spend time talking on things.

                  For me, I haven't really used anything Gaslight-themed. Mainly since I think folks who like Victorian age and steampunk stuff tend to like an era that I find culturally repugnant.

                  And stuff.


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                  • #10
                    I think Victorian technology is being used as a stand in for steam power which allows the big iron machines associated with the industrial revolution prior to the development of electricity though which still exist in more refined forms today. (With less cast iron and horrible maiming) This rests on the assumption that steam power relies on what seem to be fairly simple mechanics which have to work or else Creation stops resembling the real world too much. (Though who says hot gasses expand in Creation rather than just gain an upward tendency? Though you might still be able to use that to pump a piston)

                    As has been pointed out the engineering behind a steam engine was known to the Romans meaning a clever player can probably make a reasonable argument for why they could invent one.


                    That said, I do not think steam is the answer. Mostly because it isn't actually necessary. Bind a fire elemental into your forge and make it heat up, slap a few dozen demons (or a river) to a wheel and voila you have sufficiently hot furnaces without coal and the necessary energy to move machines without steam.


                    Ultimately the problem is that everyone already knows the answer when the problem is something steam technology could fix. Its magic. Need purer water? Pray to the river god or send your daughters to the local sorcerer. Want more food? Sacrifice to the harvest god and if you are lucky someone with a Bureaucracy excellency will design you a better irrigation system. Need a lot of swords? Either throw a lot of money at the rare and highly trained artisans who can actually make them or buy them off the Guild who already pays people to make them in the closest to bulk that exists.

                    Very visible examples of how to solve problems without more advanced technology already exist and so the drive will be to use those methods rather than finding new ones. People do not reinvent the wheel as a general principle and the ones who have the dicepools to do real invention are also the ones who already have their hands on the existing methods of getting things done.

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                    • #11
                      Aesthetically I want Exalted to have ancient world style technology and maybe a bit more advanced in places but nothing beyond that. And by that I include the non-presence of actually advanced things in the ancient world that don't fit the aesthetic

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                      • #12
                        The opening post made so many confusing leaps of logic that I failed to even get through it. My Likes go to Blaque for not only reading and replying coherently, but for doing so more than once.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Exthalion View Post
                          As has been pointed out the engineering behind a steam engine was known to the Romans meaning a clever player can probably make a reasonable argument for why they could invent one.
                          They also had no way to extract useable work out of it, which is why they never did anything with their steam "engine."


                          I am extremely literal-minded and always write very literally. If I don't say something explicitly, please never assume I implied it. The only exception is if I try to joke.
                          Exalted name-generators, Infernal and 1E-2.5E homebrew from many authors

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                          • #14
                            That is a big thing with steam power. You need a means to contorl the flow of steam or you can't move much with the energy created. You need a good seal, whcih in theory could be done with rubber or some forms of laquer for the Romans, but overall wasn't really something they had. Rubber is apparently a chief component.

                            Which you know, took human civilization thousnads of years to put 1 and 2 together and the weirdness of a globalized economy. And assuming that rubber is good enough or can be made better. And that high pressure steam in Creation acts like it does on Earth.

                            I don't doubt mechanical motion isn't often teh same superficially, but it's worth noting that in Creation, not even gravity really works like in our universe and there's really no subatomic forces as we know them. So beyond applications of basic classical tools, a lot of assumptions about chemistry, metulurgy and thermodynamics need to be assumed to get anything like the Industrial Age of Earth. It's notable that the part of Creation that does pull it off runs on being inside a machine-god.

                            And stuff.


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                            • #15
                              Creation's underlying principles do not allow for modern technological innovation for the same reason that the Yozis cannot get free. Both are rather obvious storylines whose gravitational pull will suck your entire story inside themselves, and we don't want How We Industrialized Creation to be the default midgame state of every Exalted campaign, just like we don't want every game to default to Drop Everything, The Yozis Are Loose And Nothing Else Matters.

                              That said, you certainly can run a story about industrializing Creation if you want! No canon ninjas will break into your house and rearrange your character sheets if you do. But you'll have to do the heavy lifting yourself.


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