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Old 11-10-2016, 09:30 AM   #11
RyanW
 
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There are two basic approaches to creating divergent technologies. The first is to take away away something we had. A resource, a breakthrough, a need. The second is to give something we never had, frequently some kind of super science since it's difficult to imagine major breakthroughs that could have happened but did not.
A third is to give a breakthrough early.

A pump is used to move fluid against the pressure flow. If you allow a pressure flow to push a pump backwards, you have an engine. Imagine a world where Ctesibius beat Watt to the patent office by about 2 millennia.
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Old 11-10-2016, 09:53 AM   #12
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List of things to give
  • A domesticated spider, bred for size and silk production
  • A ruminant that sheds its skin seasonally
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Old 11-10-2016, 04:55 PM   #13
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  • A domesticated spider, bred for size and silk production
  • A ruminant that sheds its skin seasonally
Some caecilians, legless amphibians, shed their skin to feed young. It's fattier than normal skin, but at least proves the principle.

Imagine a spider mutant that wraps egg cases with super strong guide wire silk rather than the basic whatever they normally use kind. Breed for that, then excessive egg laying, and bam, cash crop.
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Old 11-10-2016, 05:10 PM   #14
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An interesting possibility might be significantly improved elastic materials, springs, or other types of mechanical battery. People historically did a lot of pretty interesting things with clockwork, but you just can't store enough energy in springs to keep running for any significant duration.
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Old 11-10-2016, 08:51 PM   #15
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An interesting possibility might be significantly improved elastic materials, springs, or other types of mechanical battery. People historically did a lot of pretty interesting things with clockwork, but you just can't store enough energy in springs to keep running for any significant duration.
Free Wrench plays with this some, with a miraculous alloy called trith that's borderline-indestructible and can be used to store prodigious quantities of energy as a spring. The book series' emphasis is more on airships and steamtech than clockwork, however.

It also has two interesting fuel sources - the Calderans actually use the heat of the volcanoes they live on (Caldera being a series of nearby volcanic islands) to power their massive steamworks, while the rest of the world uses another miracle material, nicknamed burn-slow (its a slow-burning but high-energy fuel), to power their boilers.
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Old 11-10-2016, 09:13 PM   #16
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It would be higher than TL 8. But don't take it too literally. I only meant that it would be some method of producing heat that could go at least for years without requiring any more fuel. A fuel that was consumed extremely slowly would do the trick.
The problem with that is that you're adding energy to a closed system. That's the "reason" for the conservation or energy law.
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Old 11-10-2016, 09:16 PM   #17
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The problem with that is that you're adding energy to a closed system. That's the "reason" for the conservation or energy law.
Not if I am using the aforementioned slow burning super fuel. Nor for that matter if I am using let's say an "ether furnace" that "burns" ambient dark matter. And even if I am...so what?
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Old 11-10-2016, 10:03 PM   #18
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Free Wrench plays with this some, with a miraculous alloy called trith that's borderline-indestructible and can be used to store prodigious quantities of energy as a spring. The book series' emphasis is more on airships and steamtech than clockwork, however.
As a basic plot point, trith is only found in the Caldera volcano, and Caldera has no trade with the rest of the world. So the non-Calderan tech base doesn't have access to super-springs, and nearly all of the story is set there...
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It also has two interesting fuel sources - the Calderans actually use the heat of the volcanoes they live on (Caldera being a series of nearby volcanic islands) to power their massive steamworks, while the rest of the world uses another miracle material, nicknamed burn-slow (its a slow-burning but high-energy fuel), to power their boilers.
Technically, slow-burn is (even more miraculously) a fuel additive - you use it in addition to coal, not instead.
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Old 11-10-2016, 10:06 PM   #19
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Reliable contact fuse grenades edging out the musket.

Hyper accurate parachutes preventing the drop being replaced by the heliocopter(on one occasion in Vietnam a general ordered a drop because he was desperate to get a lot of men in the AO on time even at the risk of scatter; accurate chutes would make that less of a tricky decision).

Wire fences in the Middle Ages. Wire springs in hollow bows(like a Kernmantle rope). Allowing Sedentarists to gain an edge over Steppemen much sooner then they did.

Medieval Multitool knives.
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Old 11-11-2016, 04:45 AM   #20
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Medicine could do a lot. The study of how the body works doesn't really need to be tied to many other TLs.

TL8 with TL3 medicine would be interesting (and would probably involve a very fatalistic world-view). In contrast, TL 6 medicine might fit into TL 2 with a bit of a shove.

Likewise, food production and transport (and, therefore, population density) might control the average speed of technological advancement, but it could be tweaked. The classic Roman Potato Scenario falls under this category.

Political structures could also be adjusted. One could handwave feudalism into a modernesque setting, if you like. Or put federations and corporations into a very early civilization.
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