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Author Topic: I need some Steam Punk (ish) tech for Sulos  (Read 1421 times)
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« on: March 24, 2006, 08:47:49 PM »

While I know the very concept of Steam Punk turns some peoples stomachs, let me cast this in a different light. My campaign setting Sulos is entering an age closer to the tech level of the mid to late 1800s of our world. It was an exciting period in history. The old west was in it's crazy wild era of shoot-outs, badits, and train-jackings. The Czarist era of Russia was coming to an end, and their feudal society began to crumble, and social reformist movements began to sweep through the nation. Western Europe was a manufacturing center covered in soot, grime, and factories with horrible working conditions. World wide trade was finally possible, and ships from the Americas and Europe travelled the world over from Japan to India, Africa, and beyond. The world was nearing the point when most frontiers were explored and little remained in terms of conquest, or expansion.

I have taken the elements I love so much from this period and embraced them in Sulos. However I have yet to really explore what kind of options I might have for technological advancement. Sulos has magic and psionics, so many of the simpler technological advances pale in comparison to the limitations of science. Doctors seem just plain silly, when you've got divine priests who cure any ailment, and even bring people back from death. However there are things that neither magic and psionics cannot do effectively (without extremely powerful wizards and psions), that make advances in the sciences seem not only realistic, but necessary.

I have introduced trains which can move passengers and cargo far more effectively than any spells ever could. I've made the principle source of fuel for the colder northern realms coal, which is both more abundant and less expensive than wood for stoves and furnaces. I have added cannons and fireaerms to mosre advanced mercantile nations which help them control the seas with decisive advantages in firepower.

What else seems to make sense in this kind of blended world of magic, psionics, and tech?
I have considered clockwork golems which can be built without magic, and are more like mindless war machines (or tanks) and may even effectively replace the arcane equivilents (like iron golems), if they can be mass produced in factories. I am also considering zeplins which could be the swiftest and most expensive means of travel, only of course remotely affordable by the affluent and privilaged of society. Do these seem like good ideas to any of you?

What else can you come up with, that might help me develop the setting of Sulos?

-Nasty-
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« Reply #1 on: March 24, 2006, 09:00:49 PM »

i think 'chainsaws' are an important technilogical improvement of the era. (... no clue when the chainsaw as invented btw.. just making this up)..

plus they are bad-ass to attach to the hands of giant mechanical undead hill giants.  (just ask my players ;) ).

but really...   some of the smaller tech things could make massive improvements.
ideas:
    clockwork stuff *steam-monsters *a rudimentary computer, built with magic & gear-level tech. *jackhammer

all for now ...
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« Reply #2 on: March 24, 2006, 09:08:21 PM »

I'm not to keen on the power tools...they kind scare me a bit in the kind of applications clever PCs might find for them. I did mention clockwork (golems in particular) as a distinct possibility though. They'd still have a fantasy feel too, which is nice.

The magitech computer seems totally out of synche with my setting though. That's well beyond what I was hoping for. Too advanced in my opinion for a fantasy setting.

Thanks for the reply though.

-Nasty-
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« Reply #3 on: March 24, 2006, 09:18:52 PM »

i imagined the magic-computer to be something that maybe 1 wizard in a far off place has.

and its really a sentient being that answers questions for him .. or something.

- i dont think youre players can out-clever you with power tools though..    i mean, everything you give them, you give to the whole world.
so if they start toting around jackhammers and power drills, you would just run them into situations where they dont really help...  (say... they fall off a boat.... with their jack-hammer strapped to their back.)

i mean, everything obviously has a disadvantage.   chainsaws can break easily, considered they are designed for cutting wood, not dragon scales.

i really dont know anything about steam punk, but chances are the stats on 'power tools as weapons' is probably not too good.

say they take the jackhammer to the side of a fort they are trying to break into...  well, first off they're making a SHITload of noise.  (so they cast 'silence') .. well, the walls are shaking, and rumbling beyond the silenced area, and its probably going to take them 5 days to get a decent hole made.  (it seems to take road workers weeks to repair a manhole... so i doubt a jackhammer is going to be game-breaking by any means.)

...  but ill try to think of better stuff.
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« Reply #4 on: March 24, 2006, 09:30:17 PM »

Those suggestions are just too advanced, and not really fantasy enhancers. Steam Punk is tricky to get it right. Think more like FFVII, Full Metal Alchemist, Far and Away, Steam Boy, and things like that...not dump trucks, and jack-hammers.

This takes place in the past, but with some advancements that add flavor, rather than modern elements. Chasing down a runaway train on horseback is cool, robot golem computers is not.

Hopefully that helps. I know I'm being really picky...but this is much more challenging than it seems.

-Peace-
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« Reply #5 on: March 24, 2006, 09:37:07 PM »

Quote

a rudimentary computer, built with magic & gear-level tech.

babbages man. you know, basically really complicated abacusses. something to maybe have standing around as dungeon dressing. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Difference_engine

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« Reply #6 on: March 24, 2006, 09:42:50 PM »

I'd be more inclined to impliment some sort of atrological device like from the dark crystal (anyone remember that thing?)

Babbages are getting much closer however to what I'm feeling around in the dark for...good suggestion
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« Reply #7 on: March 24, 2006, 09:43:51 PM »

the movie with the gelflings? that movie rocked.
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« Reply #8 on: March 24, 2006, 09:44:36 PM »

yeah what was that thing called?

EDIT: *flash of insight* an Orrery (that was really bugging me)
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« Reply #9 on: March 24, 2006, 10:15:26 PM »

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USS_Monitor

every steampunk world should have monitors. cuz they're cool. and TERRIFYING if you're on a wooden ship.
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« Reply #10 on: March 24, 2006, 10:25:27 PM »

I thought about steam powered ships too. They could make a great addition, but they wouldn't yet really serve a purpose.

Are you familiar with my setting yet Brainface? Only L'Landra really has advanced sailing vessels, so they wouldn't need these kind of weapons yet...yet.

They could be conceptually designed, and waiting in the wings, but until the need arises, they wouldn't be a practical economic investment. L'Landra's already cornered the market on cannons and pistols, so they've got a huge advantage in naval comabt already.

These suggestions are helping though. You've got me thinking Wiki search...I'm wondering about the possibility of bringing some of Da Vinci's creations to life...I'll have to look some up.

Think more fantastic and less advanced. Clockwork golems was a fine example of primitive tech taken to fantastic levels.

-I've got the gears churning now-
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« Reply #11 on: March 25, 2006, 03:15:29 AM »

da vinci invented cool tools, including hydraulic drills and pile drivers .. ;-)

also, how do they build the massive machines in your world w/o good tools?    how can you have 'mass production in factories'  without machines and tools to 'mass produce'.

not trying to be a jerk or anything, but it just doesnt make sense to me.    
tools must be around / invented before you can have products that require tools to make. (is that right?).
 
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« Reply #12 on: March 25, 2006, 03:44:54 AM »

ok, found some good links for you.
http://inventors.about.com/library/inventors/bl_history_of_transportation.htm

http://answers.google.com/answers/threadview?id=552306  (how did engine parts get made pre indust rev.)
apparently it takes 10 months to build a locamotive by hand.
even with sand-molding (which allows iron and brass molds to be mass produced at low cost).

http://www.laputanlogic.com/articles/2002/10/20-83388235.html  (mention of a clockwork computer from greek days .. not relivant, just thought it was neat)   heres the wikipedia link.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antikythera_mechanism

http://www.world-mysteries.com/sar_11.htm   ancient battery.
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« Reply #13 on: March 25, 2006, 04:01:55 AM »

myself


tools must be around / invented before you can have products that require tools to make. (is that right?).

the answer is 'no' ...  so, nm.
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« Reply #14 on: March 25, 2006, 04:15:50 AM »

daggerhart


da vinci invented cool tools, including hydraulic drills and pile drivers .. ;-)

also, how do they build the massive machines in your world w/o good tools?    how can you have 'mass production in factories'  without machines and tools to 'mass produce'.

not trying to be a jerk or anything, but it just doesnt make sense to me.    
tools must be around / invented before you can have products that require tools to make. (is that right?).
 



Tools are quite different than power tools. Mass production involves assembly lines and factory workers with long hours. Not power tools. There were factories before there was eeven elctical lines and generators to power machinery. The very concept of steam based tech predates all modern tools. I don't want modern era tools.

here are some examples of basic technology that would be around in the time period: printing press (and by extension, more libraries and newspapers), zeppelins, electric/gas lamps, better plumbing, improved mining (air pumps, water pumps, better steel tools, etc.), large scale factories (combination of constructs and machinery), telescopes, accurate clocks, bicycles, barometers (more accurate weather prediction), mechanical water pumps (irrigation improvements for more efficient farming), better locks, etc.

These are basic things that would be prevelent. Notice that all these things are very simple technologies, produced by hand with normal tools, hammers, hand drills, screws, bolts, nothing very complex. But if you load up assembly lines with unskilled laborers, and set them to perform monotonous repetative tasks you can mass produce things.

Factories, are like big steel foundries. Coal furnaces heat up and melt ores, and liquid metal is poured from huge pots into molds to make things like nuts, bolts, iron grids, etc. It's all man power, teamwork, and lots of labor.

Steam punk takes these tools and the available technology (like simple pumps, clockworkds, steam engines) and makes things that are beyond what was previously considered in our civilization. Steam powered golems, war machines, etc.

My problem is the fantastic ideas are very hard to come up with within the limitations of the technology.
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