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Old 08-17-2018, 01:28 AM   #201
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Default Re: [ATE] Farming example

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Originally Posted by Luke Bunyip View Post
Creeping Wood Sorrel (Oxalis corniculata), or some more edible domesticated variety?

To be honest, I just know this as a weed who's rhizomes galahs seem to like digging for in autumn and winter.
Oxalis tuberosa. There are four varieties of oxalis that I know of that have tubers, one of which is farmed in NZ (out of something like 750 varieties). I came across many references to new world varieties being eaten. I don't know much about the rest of the world though. There are varieties that have leaves that are poisonous in large quantities.

There are three avenues that a location like the Pyramid could have got hold of edible Oxalis, decorative varieties, weeds and through live tubers sold as a variety of yams.

[Edit] some 40 varieties of oxalis tuberosa exist. NZ yields of commercial grade tubers are up to 18 tonnes per hectare.
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Old 08-17-2018, 06:48 PM   #202
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Default Re: [ATE] Farming example

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Originally Posted by Daigoro View Post
I'm curious about dwarves- I'm sure they wouldn't just live on cave mushrooms.
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Originally Posted by tshiggins View Post
[SNIP]
Cloud cities on floating platforms exist in a place where there is no ground, no earth, but portals exist that allow brief, intermittent access to Manhattan.
[SNIP]
Ok a couple of questions
- Does it rain where the cloud cities exist?
- How long have the cities been there (or how well developed are they)

With regards to the Dwarves my first thoughts are
- Mixed subterranean and surface agriculture with the surface farming happening at altitude in secluded/defensive valleys.
- High infrastructure.
- low to no magic if possible.
- Given a choice any given resource will be sourced from underground.
If there is anything there that doesn't fit let me know,
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Old 08-18-2018, 12:05 AM   #203
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Default Re: [ATE] Farming example

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Ok a couple of questions
- Does it rain where the cloud cities exist?
- How long have the cities been there (or how well developed are they)

(SNIP)
The three I listed get a fair amount of rain. The one located in the lee of a Fountain of Life cloud-column gets as much as, say, Vancouver. The others get half to two-thirds of that.

Generally, the biggest cloud-cities (the ones that actually qualify as "cities") lie close to portals to Manhattans. I've begun to randomly generate the "topography/meteorology" of the area in which the party will find itself, and while most of them don't lie quite so nicely as the 1919 portal, they all have fountains fairly close by.

Generally speaking, the two primary determinants of air currents are the interaction between gateways from the Elemental Plane of Air, and the cloud columns. Air from the Elemental Plan howls in from the gateway at hurricane force, and is both dry and bitterly cold.

Those gateways have a "cylindrical" shape, so the air blows out horizontally, but not so much "up and down" as it would with a sphere-shaped gateway (this just makes my mapping easier...). If it's at a layer with warmer, moister air, the outflow from the elemental plane triggers clouds, mists, rain and some storms where it slows down and starts to mingle with the local air, rather than just booming it out.

By contrast, the heat in the Fountains of Life draw air towards them and upwards, and the turbulence is so great at the center of the cloud-columns that most dirigibles that venture too deeply get torn to shreds in short order.

This turbulence is key to the life-cycles of most of the floating plant-life. Plants get pulled into the clouds, get torn apart, the seeds get pushed up the center "chimney" of heat and then eventually get kicked out the top. They drift on thistle downwards until they reach a suitably rich layer, with enough water vapor, nutrients and light.

The thistle -- which is actually the feathery root-structure -- begins to absorb water and nutrients, the seed sprouts leaves and then a helium bubble, and flips upside down. This puts the roots downwards, and the leaves and flotation bubble up.

As a tree grows, it eventually flattens out "sideways" and the "trunk" has a curtain of feathery roots that extend downwards along its "length" and a canopy of leaves and flotation bladders opposite. A fully mature "integral tree" is a slowly rotating structure the size of a sequoia lying on its side, with a "forest" of branches extending upwards.

http://www.keepbusy.net/pics/pic-dump-23-6.jpg

Lash two or three of them together, and you get a decent place for a small settlement, amongst the branches.

Of course, you have to dislodge the current residents, first, and that can be either poultry for the stew-pot or a battle for survival. The latter is especially true, if the would-be settlement lies in a large "integral tree" forest that stretches 150 miles or more across., with hundreds or thousands of living boles.

Most of the integral trees are reasonably analgous to those that would lie at similar temperature and rain levels. They'll more closely resemble evergreens at higher, colder altitudes, and jungles down where it's warmer, denser and more humid, with similar avian and insect life -- although, there are some fantastical extremes (rocs....).

Which brings me to the "phytoplankton." In addition to the twinned algae, there's all the yeast, fungi and bacteria normally associated with it; plus lots of herbivore insects that feed on all of the above, and then the larger predator bugs that feed on those, and then filter-feeder avians (related to ducks and flamingoes, etc.) of all sizes that feed on everything.

Some of those can be pretty huge, which float with the assistance of helium bladders and sweep filtering bills back and forth through the cloud-soup.

To call them "cloud-whales" is really misleading, because they have avian physiology and not that of aquatic mammals; their bulk mostly comes from flotation bladders; and while the flesh has triglyceride fats as energy storage, it's pretty minimal as compared to mammals.

Blubber is absolutely counterproductive for avians, but I'd think the triglycerides would be highly prized, as would the helium and hydrogen bladders.

The age of the cities depends entirely on how long it's been since the Manhattan through the portal has had a local version of the Erie Canal. Once the canal exists, that means industrialization is well under way; Manhattan should soon become a vast (and vastly wealthy) center of finance, manufacturing and trade; and airships and skyscrapers will appear within a couple of generations.

So, the TL 8 floating city (Nieuw Amsterdam) is nearly 200 years old and highly developed (it has a 4000 yard diameter tensegrity sphere). New Wollaston is about a century old and comes from a place with a slightly altered tech path, but may not be as developed as it could be (the politics in that world are... difficult), while Nieuw Haarlem is about 60 years old and comes from a place where technology is about a generation (20-30) years behind where we were in the 19-teens. It's a large outpost, really, because the leaders, there, don't have allies in charge of the area of Manhattan directly beneath the portal opening.

There are many, many other cities, but those are the main ones, for now. The Orbital Realm of Jupiter is vast beyond comprehension, and the portals to Assiah (while numerous) are pretty widely dispersed.
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Old 08-18-2018, 02:51 AM   #204
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Default Re: [ATE] Farming example

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Originally Posted by (E) View Post
With regards to the Dwarves my first thoughts are
- Mixed subterranean and surface agriculture with the surface farming happening at altitude in secluded/defensive valleys.
- High infrastructure.
- low to no magic if possible.
- Given a choice any given resource will be sourced from underground.
If there is anything there that doesn't fit let me know,
1) Yeah, I was thinking about Tibetan highlanders as a source of inspiration. And that'd include surface farming, though it'd have to be in a form which doesn't break the "image" of a stereotypical dwarf too much, in that they're not often seen as farmers. (Ok, slightly paradoxical, but I hope you get what I mean.)

2) Yep, perhaps with irrigated terraces on steep mountain sides.

3) Indeed, magic would make most of the problems moot, and we'd need to define the magical premises sufficiently to start with. I guess we could handwave sufficiently advanced dwarf-punk technology as being products of magic without going into detail, such as giant sun mirrors for illuminating a shaded valley or underground grow-house, or high-performance water pumps.

4) Yes, though there might be some trade for unavailable resources. I guess the goal is to describe a mostly self-sufficient underground settlement though, or at least a settlement in a self-sufficient network of dwarven settlements that trade with each other for various specialised goods.
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Old 08-27-2018, 06:22 PM   #205
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Default Re: [ATE] Farming example

Dwarven agriculture


Heat exchanger

Central to a dwarven cities habitability is a heat exchanger. This feat of civil engineering serves to both cool the depths of the city itself and extend the growing season of the alpine farms. In essence its it's just a rather deep hole in the ground that's filled with water. Water is typically sourced from a mountain glacier and is channeled to a deep central shaft. The fresh cooler water sinks then warms as a result of contact with the comparatively hot rock of the depths. This warmer water rises to the surface and as it is displaced by the incoming water it overflows into the irrigation and warming system for the alpine crops and farms.
The waste warmth is further used to assist in the movement of air throughout the city and its associated mines. The hot air that is the byproduct of this process is used to disrupt the pockets of still air that cause frosts. This system will require a considerable amount more complexity than has been suggested here. Additionally there may be shafts and tunnels at lower levels allowing for incoming air or outgoing water. The water may have additional uses as a power source and defensive measure.

The surface microclimate generated by a dwarven city is not enough to defeat winter but it is enough to extend the growing season by several weeks, effectively lowering the altitude.

Systems

Heated terraces
Amaranth, field peas, cowpeas, beets and turnips
These have been built in a similar manner to the terraced fields seen in the high mountains of South America, Nepal or Tibet(?). The dwarves have added some refinements though. The retaining walls are obviously partially made with darker stone to absorb more heat from the sun. Less visible are the internal channels in the base of the walls that distribute the warmer water from the city.
Terrace like structures are also used for mineral extraction, salt would be purified this way if no deposits of sufficient purity exist. But any water soluble compounds could be processed this way leading to a situation where minerals might be harvested from a field.
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maras,_Peru

Valley
While humans have been developing wheat that yields more grain the dwarves have been concentrating on strains of wheat that are more frost resistant and otherwise more suited to high altitude conditions. Winter wheat plantings are most likely which has two effects, a 20% increase in yield as well as increased protein in the resulting flour, meaning harder bread. Dwarven wheat may be bred to have a high protein content in general as it allows the resulting flour to be augmented with puffball based flour. How ever wheat is never going to be as altitude tolerant as pseudo cereals and is planted in the lower valleys along with other crops like barley, oats, brassica and beans.

Behind glass
It is unlikely that the dwarves would have the materials required to produce large amounts of clear glass. But if they did double glazed glass fronted structures heated with the waste air from the city would dominate. Traditional greenhouses would be unlikely due to the extremes of snowfall. The heat from the city may even be sufficient to grow high altitude tropical plants, Dwarven coffee to help recover from last night's dwarven ale?
One benefit to having even a small area under glass is that plants can be started inside while it is too cool outside stretching the available growing season.

Variations in crop types
Growing crops at extreme altitudes means farming in conditions that are too extreme for traditional cereal crops. Pseudo cereals are a likely replacement for the role filled by more usual cereals at lower altitudes. Pseudo cereals are simply put non grasses that yield an edible seed like cereals. Given the presumed age of a dwarven civilization it is likely that they have bred plants for consumption like various human cultures have done in the past. Amaranth is a group of pseudo cereals that was bred for the conditions in the Andes. While this is a new world plant variety it is a reasonable assumption that the dwarves developed a similar plant.

Animals
Sheep are a likely mainstay of Dwarven animal husbandry. Seasonally moved between low valleys/animal sheds, quality pasture, high altitude pasture and fallow or harvested fields and terraces. Providing wool, dairy and meat. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roquefort . If high altitude forests are nearby then cattle may have the advantage. Cattle are used for deliberate nutrient migration in some high altitude areas. The animals are grazed on undeveloped land and then moved so their manure fertilizes the fields. If the dwarves shed the animals for winter smaller breeds may dominate if they do not the inverse may be true.

Crop rotation
At very high altitudes conditions can be harsh enough to significantly reduce the number of pests that can damage plants. The use of livestock to migrate nutrients and the dwarves’ access to subterranean sources of plant nutrients means soil requires less “resting”. As such crop rotation is of less importance. Fields only need to spend at most 1 year in 4 fallow.

Fungi
The dwarves will have been farming fungi for quite some time and as result by human metrics they are advanced in the area. As there are nitrogen inputs from bat guano and livestock the biggest bottleneck for mycoculture will be access to a bulk growing medium for the various fungi.

Wood based
A byproduct of the cities consumption of wood is sawdust and wood chip. There are numerous varieties of wood mushrooms that can grow rapidly in a such a medium.
Plant based
The amaranth is presumably not a modern semi-dwarf variety, as such it will produce a lot of waste matter that can be used for mushroom production while it composts.
Other - insect
There are several edible and medicinal fungi species that grow on other mediums. These are harder to source than wood or basic plant matter so they would be used for high value products such as medicines and delicacies. One of these is the Caterpillar fungus
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ophiocordyceps_sinensis

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ophi...ceps_robertsii

These or similar fungi may also be propagated for use as biological pesticides in crops.
Two main fungal based systems would probably develop, a house garden equivalent where food is grown fresh by each family and a more labour efficient system where many different varieties are produced by professionals.
Varieties
Bioluminescent, these may be propagated in situ.
Edible, varieties to be consumed fresh would be more common in the household gardens while species that are later processed or are difficult to cultivate would be more common in the professional gardens. This may include puffballs for flour additives, various preserved varieties and other species with more industrial applications.

Orchards
Likely species Cherries, Pears, Plums, Apples, Black Walnuts, Butternuts, Pine Nuts.

Potatoes
If the dwarves have access to potatoes it would provide huge benefits as they do well at altitude.

Seed drill

Dwarves that have a mechanical inclination may have developed the seed drill earlier than humans did in history. If so increase yields of grain crops by 10-15%

Dwarven vs Human agriculture
Water
Slight improvement in irrigation ability and irrigation infrastructure is more widely developed. Drainage generally excellent.
Food/nutrients
Poor base levels in mountain soils but improved soil composition through management and resources such as composted mushroom growing medium.
Health
High altitude and knowledge of fungi have a good effect, reduced somewhat by the more intense rotation used.
Management
Well developed infrastructure balanced against difficult terrain. Faster rotation increased total yields.
Climate
Very hard climate offset partially by infrastructure and breeding.
Genetics
Typical to the TL in most areas, improved availability of high altitude crops, mycoculture well developed.

Knurlkyth
This is an older and larger dwarven city located higher in the mountains than humans care to live. The bulk of the city is in a column shaped area that extends down from one of the high valleys in the mountain range. This area is cooled by six dwarf made shafts that are continually filled with glacial meltwater. On the surface the upper gates to the city are surrounded by many acres of terraced fields made from dark coloured stone, an unseasonal mist hangs in the air.

This one got away from me a bit, crunch will follow.
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Old 08-27-2018, 07:41 PM   #206
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Dwarven agriculture


Heat exchanger
Sigh. And now it's time to redesign my megadungeon...
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Old 08-27-2018, 07:52 PM   #207
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Knurlkyth

... On the surface the upper gates to the city are surrounded by many acres of terraced fields made from dark coloured stone, an unseasonal mist hangs in the air.
Might want to stick the abattoirs and tanneries either above ground or near the surface. The smell mightn't mix well with underground living. Also, sheep in tunnels Y/N/?
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Old 08-27-2018, 08:50 PM   #208
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Sigh. And now it's time to redesign my megadungeon...
While I was planning it out I had the idea that 4-6ish cooling lakes surrounding a city might have a benefit of acting as partial defensive measure against tunneling foes. It also may be more effective in keeping the area within the lakes cool for less water usage.

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Might want to stick the abattoirs and tanneries either above ground or near the surface. The smell mightn't mix well with underground living. Also, sheep in tunnels Y/N/?
Sheep can go underground and through tunnels*. Though there might be an issue with non-porous floors combined with poor ventilation resulting in ammonia build up. So I would think time limited shelter for sheep, weeks not months.

*[Edit] Its all down to the lighting according to my reading of Temple Grandin
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Old 08-28-2018, 12:20 AM   #209
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Default Re: [ATE] Farming example

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This one got away from me a bit, crunch will follow.
Been looking forward to this, and the wait was worthwhile.

A few idle questions:
Heat exchangers: Would piped hot air do the same trick? There's more thermal mass in water, of course, but building hot air flues might be easier to do across a large area, and could be retrofitted inside existing tunnels.

Sheep and wheat: I was expecting to see goats. Why are sheep preferable here? And likewise, that article on Tibetan agriculture suggested barley is best at higher altitudes. Not that I've read any further than that, but is it because barley is more suited to wide-open plateau growth? Barley, of course, lends itself to "dwarven" products such as ales and hard breads.

Caterpillar fungus: From the Wikipedia article you linked- "The fungus germinates in the living larva, kills and mummifies it, and then a dark brown stalk-like fruiting body which is a few centimeters long emerges from the corpse and stands upright." This suggests to me an interesting new macabre form of dwarven burial. Perhaps the burial cavern is where the corpses are naturally mummified by the fungus, which is then harvested for its medicinal uses. Fungal infection into live dwarves is something to be strongly avoided and protected against though.

One other thing-
Bats: Can they possibly be bred large enough to be milked?

ETA:
Reading further on the caterpillar fungi, two interesting points came up. It's the main source of income in rural Tibet and is 40% of income for rural local households. This could be an unexpected mainstay of dwarven exports. Also, the NZ version is used by Maoris to make tattoo ink, leading toward the Warhammer-like image of heavily tattooed dwarves.
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Old 08-28-2018, 01:24 AM   #210
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Default Re: [ATE] Farming example

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Been looking forward to this, and the wait was worthwhile.

A few idle questions:
Heat exchangers: Would piped hot air do the same trick? There's more thermal mass in water, of course, but building hot air flues might be easier to do across a large area, and could be retrofitted inside existing tunnels.
The thermal mass and the ability to use gravity to get the water to the lowest and hottest points was why I focused on the water, but both air and water would likely be used in conjunction. Someone with more knowledge of thermodynamics is free to build off the idea. Having the source of cold water above the cities means that there doesn't have to be large vents lower down which suits my image of dwarven settlements. I was reading about how lakes affected the ground temperature when the idea was formed so using water has some measure of validity. Also the process may take many years to cool a large volume of rock. My personal take on it was several shafts filled with water that are drained at maybe one a year for maintenance and expansion. It also explains the lake at the mines of moria by the back door.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Daigoro View Post

Sheep and wheat: I was expecting to see goats. Why are sheep preferable here? And likewise, that article on Tibetan agriculture suggested barley is best at higher altitudes. Not that I've read any further than that, but is it because barley is more suited to wide-open plateau growth? Barley, of course, lends itself to "dwarven" products such as ales and hard breads.
Sheep and goats are very similar, some breeds of one species are for all intents and purposes closer to the other species. The main differences are dietary, sheep graze (pasture) better than goats while goats browse (trees) better than sheep and fat storage. There is no overwhelming advantage to having sheep but they have small benefits in the ability to be housed, rapid condition gain and reproduction in cold conditions. They have also been domesticated for slightly longer. If there is enough area to support two breeds then having both sheep and goats is likely.
With regards to wheat over barley, barley will dominate. Its just that wheat ended up with the lions share of the words devoted to it. I worked off 5000m of altitude for the terraced species and 3000m-4000m for the "Valleys".

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Originally Posted by Daigoro View Post
One other thing-
Bats: Can they possibly be bred large enough to be milked?

SNIP
Most animals that are milked by humans are over about 40kgs. The largest bat is 1.2 kgs so using chicken breeding as a baseline (1600% improvement in desired characteristics over 40 years (at TL 7 and 8)) 160-800 years of selective breeding while maintaining a population of 100,000+ animals. Or Magic.
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