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Old 12-23-2015, 09:44 PM   #11
starslayer
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Default Re: Technological development without fire.

Quote:
Originally Posted by On the concept of the inability to write an herbal being the limiting factor in the development of herbalisim - malloyd View Post


Actually, I don't think you can get that far. Artificial drying and hot water extraction are both pretty important steps for lots of herbal preparations.
Good point, no boiling or drying and you are basically limited to wet poultice and edible leaves that have medicinal effect- you don't even get to simple painkillers like ASA (which needs to be boiled out of the bark).
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Old 12-24-2015, 03:48 AM   #12
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Default Re: Technological development without fire.

The seed idea for this race is wood elves taken to the nth degree.

The reason for the aversion to fire is part of the back story. Elves are alien to this particular fantasy world and after arriving here discover that their fertility rates plummeted. To combat this each elven faction adopts a philosophy to help with their birth rates.

The wood elves(just a short hand name) choose to get closer to nature hence the aversion to fire. They also stick to one region a "great Forrest" which is for all intents and purposes a garden for them. They have no trouble surviving.

The elven racial package includes unaging and a modular ability package akin to timbrimi adaptation if anyone remembers gurps uplift. Basically the elves adapt physiologically to the local environment. Taking about 48 hours to adapt.
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Old 12-24-2015, 04:52 AM   #13
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Default Re: Technological development without fire.

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Originally Posted by mr beer View Post
...
This is pretty huge, I mean humans are evolved to eat cooked food for example,.
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Originally Posted by evileeyore View Post
Eh? When did this happen?.
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Originally Posted by malloyd View Post
Between 0.4 and 1.7 million years ago, depending on whose evidence you prefer. Though changes in dentation that imply an actual *dependence* on cooking for a substantial part of hominid diet aren't unambiguously present until later, say 0.2 MYA. In any case, fire is something Homo erectus used regularly, we really wouldn't be the same species without it.
Changes in dentition are due to changes in behaviour (reduction in mandible size and processes being a classic example aka the modern overbite) but not indicative of any dependence. Well not until the changes are great enough to make one behaviour impossible (eating raw food) making us dependent on the other (eating cooked food).

Not sure I'd call that evolution in any meaningful way, unless your going to argue that people who eat a higher proportion of raw food have evolved in any meaningful away from people who's diet's included only cooked or processed food.

That said I certainly agree that fire is hugely involved in our development of technology and society (and that will have a knock on physiological effects).

Hmm I guess maybe you could call that ongoing evolution, but then that would then include everything we do (which actually I guess isn't an unfair point)!

Last edited by Tomsdad; 12-24-2015 at 06:53 AM.
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Old 12-24-2015, 05:13 AM   #14
Aldric
 
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Default Re: Technological development without fire.

So, unaging, adapted to the environment (which I assume means some level of temperature tolerance) and living in a garden (again I assume food and water are easy to come by, and food grows naturally), no enemies, no real challenges to overcome... why would they develop any kind of technology ? With their only problem being low birth rate (not so bad for an unaging race, actually the opposite would be a problem) they can stick to TL0, and keep training in Erotic Arts I guess...

In any other case... how willig are yoi to explore magical biotech ?
Sure you don't want to cast spells for everything, but what about enchanted plants ? Hey could provide all sort of things...
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Old 12-24-2015, 05:42 AM   #15
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Default Re: Technological development without fire.

The enchanted plant thing works. I am just feeling out the idea. Looks like an alternate TL3 would work. Other races boil glue to laminate bows to get a compound bow. These guys enchant the tree directly maybe grafting live wood to create the laminate for the bow stave.

Trying to have an alien feel in this game world while still using the somewhat stereotypical fantasy standards.
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Old 12-24-2015, 05:50 AM   #16
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Default Re: Technological development without fire.

If you want the alien feel, you can go all the way with biogadgets.
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Old 12-24-2015, 10:09 AM   #17
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Default Re: Technological development without fire.

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Originally Posted by Tomsdad View Post
Changes in dentition are due to changes in behaviour (reduction in mandible size and processes being a classic example aka the modern overbite) but not indicative of any dependence. Well not until the changes are great enough to make one behaviour impossible (eating raw food) making us dependent on the other (eating cooked food).

Not sure I'd call that evolution in any meaningful way, unless your going to argue that people who eat a higher proportion of raw food have evolved in any meaningful away from people who's diet's included only cooked or processed food.

That said I certainly agree that fire is hugely involved in our development of technology and society (and that will have a knock on physiological effects).

Hmm I guess maybe you could call that ongoing evolution, but then that would then include everything we do (which actually I guess isn't an unfair point)!
There's been an idea kicking around in the anthropological/archaeological/human paleontological world now for a few years that control of fire was a necessary precondition for the development of big brains. The basic concept is that cooked food is easier to digest than uncooked food, so that by cooking our food we can reduce the size of our guts and still extract more nutrients for less energy than if eating uncooked food. Reduced gut size and less effort spent on digestion frees up more resources to develop our big brains, which then allows us to develop complex tools, complicated languages, elaborate societies, and all that jazz. I'm not an expert in the field, so I can only report what I've seen actual experts and researchers in the field say, but it seems plausible, at least.

So, these fire-less wood elves would need big guts like our ape relatives and have less energy to devote to big brains (like our ape relatives).

Luke

EDIT: unless they had another way to make the food easier to digest. Like fermentation or some such. They might be like leaf-cutter ants, gathering leaves and sticks and putting them in in a big underground chamber to rot with specialized domesticated funguses, Or catching squirrels and deer, shredding them up, and letting them steep for a few days in specialized yeasts that produce pre-digestive enzymes to soften up the meat. One of the aliens in a science fiction setting I've been developing does this instead of cooking, just to give them an even more alien feel.

MORE EDITS: You might be able to go quite a ways with domesticating bacteria and yeasts and funguses and stuff. I have posted elsewhere about the potential for domesticating metal reducing bacteria such as shewanella and others, potentially allowing you to reduce bare metal from ores and form it into useful shapes by having your bacteria excrete it layer by layer.

Last edited by lwcamp; 12-24-2015 at 10:35 AM.
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Old 12-24-2015, 11:09 AM   #18
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Default Re: Technological development without fire.

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Originally Posted by Tomsdad View Post

Hmm I guess maybe you could call that ongoing evolution, but then that would then include everything we do (which actually I guess isn't an unfair point)!
Yeah, all changes count as evolution. It's not about large scale changes. Just changes in frequency of alleles in the population counts as evolution, certainly any change that becomes effectively universal in a population does, no matter how "insignificant" somebody might choose to label it.

There are essentially never any large changes when you look at it on a really detailed level, though expecting there to be is one of the more common misunderstandings of the process. It's an illusion brought on by the incredible incompleteness of the record.
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Old 12-24-2015, 11:20 AM   #19
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Default Re: Technological development without fire.

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Originally Posted by lwcamp View Post
There's been an idea kicking around in the anthropological/archaeological/human paleontological world now for a few years that control of fire was a necessary precondition for the development of big brains. The basic concept is that cooked food is easier to digest than uncooked food, so that by cooking our food we can reduce the size of our guts and still extract more nutrients for less energy than if eating uncooked food. Reduced gut size and less effort spent on digestion frees up more resources to develop our big brains, which then allows us to develop complex tools, complicated languages, elaborate societies, and all that jazz. I'm not an expert in the field, so I can only report what I've seen actual experts and researchers in the field say, but it seems plausible, at least.

...
True but if so its the latest in a long line of "X was a pre-re for developing big brains". Of course you also get the issue of was X a pre re for big brains, or was big brains a pre-req for X in some cases.

X has also been moving into the plains, walking upright etc, etc To be fair none of these are ever cited as the one thing that did it, it's more likely that a culmination of different things came together over a period of time. (and so see malloyd's point).



I do take the point about freeing up nutrition though.


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Originally Posted by malloyd View Post
Yeah, all changes count as evolution. It's not about large scale changes. Just changes in frequency of alleles in the population counts as evolution, certainly any change that becomes effectively universal in a population does, no matter how "insignificant" somebody might choose to label it.

There are essentially never any large changes when you look at it on a really detailed level, though expecting there to be is one of the more common misunderstandings of the process. It's an illusion brought on by the incredible incompleteness of the record.
No your right, I was basically arguing myself round to your point as I typed!

Last edited by Tomsdad; 12-24-2015 at 12:11 PM.
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Old 12-24-2015, 11:39 AM   #20
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Default Re: Technological development without fire.

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Originally Posted by (E) View Post
Trying to have an alien feel in this game world while still using the somewhat stereotypical fantasy standards.
If that is the case, leave them as TL0 but have the Elves convinced they are inherently superior. Maybe give them the magic to justify some or all of that sense of superiority. Their relatively simple lifestyle works because of their natural hardiness and whatever magics they use. Likely they modify themselves to more resemble whatever they decide represents "nature"...

...which brings us to the point that they are ignoring that fire is natural. >.>
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