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Old 04-12-2008, 05:51 PM   #121
Pip Boy
 
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Default Re: Yrth technology

Magic defies physics.
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Old 04-12-2008, 07:55 PM   #122
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Default Re: Yrth technology

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Originally Posted by Kromm
Yep. Me agreeing publicly that some GURPS rule or even entire book isn't perfect isn't a dig against Steve or the authors of the rule/book, and isn't a hint that I'm seeking proposals or discussion pertinent to a revision. It's just, you know, an opinion. I'm allowed to have those. Steve is a great boss that way. GURPS is a corpus that spans hundreds of volumes for four major editions, written by dozens of authors over a period of 22 years; it's unlikely that any two of those involved will ever agree on everything.
Oh... understood. I was not attempting to suggest anything like a dig on Mr. Jackson or discontent or anything. Just that a fresh, new, semi-official Fantasy Setting might be something worth considering.

Then again... given the limited resources of SJGames... I am sure many other things take a higher priority to the point of making such a project a non-starter.

Wht SJGames/GURPS needs is an official company that SJGames trusts enough to allow them to publish GURPS <insert name of book here> without taking up their resources, just providing them with some.

It could work. But SJ/SJGames would *really* need to trust that organizaton.
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Old 04-13-2008, 02:32 AM   #123
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Default Re: Yrth technology

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pip Boy
Magic defies physics.
That depends on how you define magic and what actually constitutes a magical effect. "Fairy tale" magic most certainly does so, but a lot of other magic in the sword-and-sorcery genre can be "explained" if you apply enough scientific mumbojumbium to it...anything from Thomas Bearden's applied psychotronic theories to Roger Highfield's books The Science of Harry Potter and The Physics of Christmas to Olog-hai's The Science of Middle-Earth articles on greenbooks.theonering.net.

Such "justifications" work adequately for my gaming purposes, anyway.*

Back on thread-track..

I still think that things like Franklin stoves and hurricane-style oil lanterns would be pretty nifty ideas. They are not threats to the MoS, and so would probably pass under the radar.

Old-fashioned "boneshaker" bicycles seem to be doable, too...and although they would probably raise more than a few eyebrows at first with the MoS, they seem innocuous enough. I doubt that the MoS would be able to predict the kind of transportation/logistical revolution that reliable bicycles could spawn.

I also really like the idea of the multi-shot crossbows from the old Popular Mechanics article. With that in mind, I'm still holding out for woodcuts of carefully-selected magazine articles...just because the idea is so cool (to me, anyway).


* I have been told in the past that I don't know anything about this particular subject, so that's all I really have to say regarding it.
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Old 04-13-2008, 05:11 AM   #124
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Default Re: Yrth technology

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Originally Posted by Kromm
If you assume some transnational brotherhood of religious ruling-class string-pullers who all have a vested interest in not just their country but every country staying medieval and not becoming technological, because they somehow know that technology will usurp them, it might work. If you assume that countries other than Megalos are powerless and incompetent, it might work. If you assume the Megalos has already won, and the secret masters keep "borders" around for ineffable reasons, it might work.
Banestorm; page 89; box-out.

We weren't actually completely stupid, you know.
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Old 04-13-2008, 06:36 AM   #125
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Default Re: Yrth technology

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Originally Posted by Fred Brackin
Fuel-air mixtures are actually very tricky to optimize (you know, get that full REF 5 effect?). That's why it's mostly a demonstration device rather than a field weapon.

Lower yield thermobaric weapons (a still impressive REF 2) do appear to have reached a practical stage but it's not exactly a place you get to from flour explosions.
I'd be worried about a decent napalm formulation + gunpowder actually. That gives good scattering of the napalm (a problem with earlier flame weapons) and being fireproof doesn't help with deoxygenation of the surrounding atmosphere. Solutions mean more spells up at once, or more magic items, neither of which is a universal solution).

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Also, trying to look at things from a practical viewpoint, after I determine that a lb of black powder (6D) is largely ineffective at killing people at 2 yards distance (2 pts damage) with concussion alone I don't think anyone (sensible) with enough magic to make blind Teleport Object schemes is going to scale up to hundred lb lots.
I think you've got you distance loss rate wrong. 6D averages 21 damage, and you divide by distance x 3, so at 2 yards it's an average of 3.5 damage - not that that's a whole lot either unless the mage is trying to cast at the time and thus takes an annoying penalty to his roll. A bigger concern would be the extra effects given in HT - deafness and flash-blindness.

Quote:
A hundred lbs of usable black powder really isn't that easy to make with medieval technology. Historically, you don't get industrial quantities of explosives until after you get industrial chemistry.
And yet early bombards used large quantities and were fed the stuff, though they were very expensive to operate.
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Old 04-13-2008, 06:39 AM   #126
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Default Re: Yrth technology

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Originally Posted by Anthony
I seem to recall long ago D&D sessions in which we calculated the volume of a fireball, compared it to the volume of the dungeon, and discovered there really wasn't any way to avoid fireballing ourselves, along with everything else in the dungeon.
I upset a GM of the 'sneaky kobolds are really scary' variety like that once.. He had the kobolds using these 4' diameter tunnels so we couldn't fight in them easily, so we settled for forcing our way in as far as possible, drinking potions of fire resistance and then my magic user dropped a fireball on the floor. At 33,500 cubic feet you get a lot of tunnel when they're only 4' round. :)
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Old 04-13-2008, 08:32 AM   #127
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Default Re: Yrth technology

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Originally Posted by Rupert
I
And yet early bombards used large quantities and were fed the stuff, though they were very expensive to operate.
It was generally meal powder mixed on the spot though and didn't travel or keep well.

By the time of the Spanish Armada you do get ships carrying hundreds of lbs of the stuff but that's well into TL4 and after 100 years of usable firearms and 200 years of messing about with the stuff.

That's a significant accumulation of art. It's also a lot of money and support structure. Even knowing the optimum formula and maybe some more TL-related stuff I wouldn't want to be the one trying to mix 100 lbs of black powder in somebody's barn.
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Old 04-13-2008, 09:43 AM   #128
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Default Re: Yrth technology

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rupert
I upset a GM of the 'sneaky kobolds are really scary' variety like that once.. He had the kobolds using these 4' diameter tunnels so we couldn't fight in them easily, so we settled for forcing our way in as far as possible, drinking potions of fire resistance and then my magic user dropped a fireball on the floor. At 33,500 cubic feet you get a lot of tunnel when they're only 4' round. :)
My kobolds like to have their little tunnels interconnected with a network of larger natural chambers. The chambers gave them living space and room to farm, the narrow corridors were just right for them. Coincidently one decent-sized chamber with even 20' to 25' ceilings would also act as a nice "fireball sink," and those 4' round corridors were perfect for messing with the big-bad-raiders.
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Old 04-13-2008, 10:32 AM   #129
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Default Re: Yrth technology

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Originally Posted by combatmedic
Welll, you have to have mages to cast those spells. Mages are people with a special, inborn talent. Not just anyone can learn and cast spells [unless you are in a high mana zone]. How many mages will spend all their time doing mundane sorts of work? Also, factor in single college mages, illiteracy among the general populace limiting educational propsects,etc. Magic is not technology.

That being said, I think some modifications to the standard GURPS Magic system might be in order.
Banestorm itself admits (p. 31) that it's not an entirely plausible setting. Certainly, it's a good, coherent setting for adventures, but one wonders why magic has not transformed the setting and why the secrets for some really useful inventions (steam engines, electrical lights, etc.) haven't gotten out and been accepted--certainly Megalos could use them.

I've got three explanations for this...

First, the deal with magic...while the number of mages (about 2% at Magery 0 and about 0.2% at Magery 1 or better) is canonical (p. 23), the influence on magic on society can be greatly reduced by assuming that most mages are still only average or above average characters (i.e., 75 points or less). Most mages will only know a few spells, and will probably focus on the ones likely to help their village (plant spells, weather control spells, healing spells, etc.) The few who do specialize in Earth spells might get rich by spending their days as living factories of essential metal, but there are not enough of them to really change the basic economy of the world.

And the number of characters who are both mages and heroic characters (150 points or more) will be very, very low. Again, high enough to change the course of individual adventures, but not high enough to change the course of history very often.

Second, since Yrth is a world with magic, there is no reason not to believe that Other Forces might be shaping the world as well. Perhaps Yrth, as a world, has a DESTINY, and the Fates themselves work to keep it eternally as a strange, pseudo-medieval playground for heroes and villains. And so the Banestorm never brings the people who could make a difference, or brings them, but they get caught and their memories erased, or if they don't get caught and are able to get a workshop put together something else happens and their inventions never quite work or...there is a fire or...you get the picture.

This might also affect some mages...maybe the Fates just keep most mages from thinking "outside the box," so they stay in their villages and learn the plants spells, etc. And the ones who "break the fourth wall" and start to churn out tons of essential metal, etc. Get Noticed, which means they will either fade into the background or die in some horrible accident or become important to an adventure or something. But the Fates won't let them actually break the world.

If you read Witches Abroad, by Terry Prachett, there's a wonderful idea of worlds where narrative causality works--things don't have to really make sense as long as they make good stories. Maybe Yrth works that way, a little, too.

For some reason, I'm also thinking of the Star Trek episode "Day of the Dove." The one where the entity traps humans and klingons on the Enterprise, gives them swords, tries to keep them fighting, etc.

Three, maybe there IS a conspiracy. At the very least, there would be strong influences trying to keep technology out of human hands. Dragons would certainly benefit from humans having limited dragon-killing capabilities (e.g., machine guns). With their enormous wealth, magical abilities, and cunning, and the luxury (granted by near immortality) to employ very subtle, very long range plans, they might be working to keep technology out of human hands. Elves would feel the same way, although their motivation wouldn't be so much self-defense as defending forests--it would probably take elves about five minutes to figure out that a world with factories, skyscrapers, highways, etc. is a world where forests are in danger.

Anyway, that's my take on it.

Mark
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Old 04-13-2008, 11:08 AM   #130
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Default Re: Yrth technology

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rupert
I upset a GM of the 'sneaky kobolds are really scary' variety like that once.. He had the kobolds using these 4' diameter tunnels so we couldn't fight in them easily, so we settled for forcing our way in as far as possible, drinking potions of fire resistance and then my magic user dropped a fireball on the floor. At 33,500 cubic feet you get a lot of tunnel when they're only 4' round. :)
Not to mention that damage from an explosion shouldn't just spread like water through any available tunnel openings, but should instead expend itself upon the nearest rock walls, reflecting back upon itself, elevating the temperatures and burning out all the available oxygen where it gets dropped.

So even if those PCs didn't charbroil themselves and all their equipment, they should still asphyxiate due to lack of breathable air.



BTW, does drinking a potion of fire resistance somehow make all your clothes and equipment also heat proof somehow?

I suppose it'd be amusing to end up with a naked party of fire proofed PCs who had all their stuff blown away.
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