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Astromancer 04-26-2015 12:36 PM

Re: New Reality Seeds
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Prince Charon (Post 1894445)
I actually meant 'the Crusaders don't end up in Venice due to something possibly related to the new Doge; instead, they end up in another Italian city, and this changes the direction of the Fourth Crusade.'

So, if the Crusaders chartered ships in Genoa, but still ended up in debt, how might the Genoese have handled it?

"Death to Venice!!!" would be the theme. It's all Genoa ever wanted.

PTTG 04-26-2015 06:14 PM

Re: New Reality Seeds
 
Alternate history is that NASA chooses a slightly different research path and starts EM propulsion research in 2003. By 2006 the effect has been confirmed and engineering begins in earnest.

In early 2008, a major recession hits the world economy, but it's small news to the first (unmanned) launch of a "reactionless" vehicle. Given the simplicity of the device (a gimbal-rotating propulsion system that otherwise posesses no moving parts, and an array of solar panels or fuel cells for power), it's possible to assemble test vessels quickly.

By 2011, NASA has landed a new probe on every inner-system body and, what's more, gets a constant torrent of money from EM-drive licensing. Civilian spaceflight is growing very active because the low returns drove investment in the exciting new field, and the first civilian drone vehicles to reached the moon and asteroids.

Elon Musk was killed when his vessel depressurized, but he is the first person interred intact on the moon...

Of course, this all assumes that the Cannae stuff is serious, but it at least seams more realistic than those "faster than light" communications a while ago...

johndallman 04-27-2015 01:04 AM

Re: New Reality Seeds
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by PTTG (Post 1894790)
Of course, this all assumes that the Cannae stuff is serious, but it at least seams more realistic than those "faster than light" communications a while ago...

The people who were reported as "claiming faster than light communication" never actually did so. They were sure they had a mistake somewhere, but could not find it. A while after they published, it was found.

Astromancer 04-27-2015 10:57 AM

Re: New Reality Seeds
 
I think the best path to an earlier sustained presence in Space is twofold. First, keep the Russian Space Program in tact and focused on the Moon shot for a longer period. Perhaps even let the Soviets get to the Moon first. Second, replace Nixon with Humprey. Nixon saw space purely in terms of PR, Humprey saw it as a commitment to the future of humanity. The 1968 election was close, several things could have thrown it to Humprey. Expose Nixon's sabotage of the Peace talks in August or September by having a reporter unfriendly to Johnson and Humprey discover Nixon's plans and expose them.

With Humprey needing to prove American staying power even though we'd left Vietnam, putting more money into the Space Program would be safe and logical. The early end to the Vietnam war would leave the more strident groups in the American left drifting. Meanwhile, Humprey would be pushing anti-poverty programs and Union rights and thus strengthening the hand of the mainstream left. Space Exploration, which was associated with the New Frontier and progressive programs back then, would likely remain so. Greater investment, with an eye to sustained activity, would put the 2015 Space Program well ahead.

Astromancer 04-30-2015 08:33 AM

Re: New Reality Seeds
 
I'm reading The European Nobility in the Eighteenth Century which is a series of essays on the major European noblities as they existed in the 1700's. Hopefully I can turn something up interesting. The distinctions between those who have privilage and those who have power is interesting. I think GURPS needs a book on the fine points of status, something between Social Engineering and Power-ups.

Still, minor tinkering with the meaning of noble status could have major effects on a society. This would make an interesting set of variations.

ericthered 04-30-2015 04:57 PM

Re: New Reality Seeds
 
As a general thought, what type of divergences will completely kill off europe's rise to power? I'm not talking about bringing someone else to power, just not having europe's dominance come up.

tshiggins 04-30-2015 08:28 PM

Re: New Reality Seeds
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by ericthered (Post 1896148)
As a general thought, what type of divergences will completely kill off europe's rise to power? I'm not talking about bringing someone else to power, just not having europe's dominance come up.

That's a tough one. You'd have to make either China more outward-looking, or make one of the Silk Road empires achieve lasting stability.

Alternatively, you could nuke Europe in the 18th Century, before industrialization really got going. Drop meteors on it, or have everybody die of a disease, or have the Yellowstone Caldera erupt and trigger a winter that lasts for three years, or something.

Rysith 04-30-2015 08:29 PM

Re: New Reality Seeds
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by ericthered (Post 1896148)
As a general thought, what type of divergences will completely kill off europe's rise to power? I'm not talking about bringing someone else to power, just not having europe's dominance come up.

Define "Europe". Barring some sort of major, long-term catastrophe people will move in / conquer it because it's got farmland and natural resources. The culture and so on might be completely different, but there will still be 'people in Europe doing things', even if they are more culturally similar to other areas.

As long as you're willing to accept divergence points that don't involve rending Europe uninhabitable, I can think of a few events (with no justification as to /why/, since I'm not actually that familiar with the history)

- Icelandic volcanos erupt, causing widespread famine and general distress in Europe. You'd likely want to choose a point a generation or two from when you wanted to use the world so that Europe was still recovering but not still filled with the starving.
- For whatever reason, the disease exchange with the New World goes the other way - Columbus or one of his crew are Patients Zero for something with a long incubation period, high eventual lethality, and enough of a mutation rate that it doesn't just sweep the continent once and go away. Maybe there is a new world equivalent of cow/chickenpox that gives resistance, or it's something like malaria/sickle-cell and the Europeans don't have the right genes. This not only causes depopulation, but it also prevents the exploitation and colonization of the New World, significantly limiting the countries that ended up as colonial powers.
- Related to the above, the black plague displays increased lethality, causing additional disruption and depopulation. Wikipedia says that it took 150 years for the population to recover, imagine something that killed off enough people that it would take more on the order of 6-800 years and Europe isn't going to rise as a world power.
- For a version that doesn't involve killing everyone in Europe through natural causes, some quirk of geology causes Europe to be metal-poor, especially in iron. You can allow tin (for Bronze) if you want pre-iron civilization to be similar, but without iron you're looking at copper / bronze tools and weapons, which will not provide the same sort of industrial and military boost that iron smelting did. You might need to extend the iron-poor area to prevent someone else figuring iron out and conquering everyone, but it should prevent Europe from growing much beyond a local power.

As mentioned, those all just keep Europe down, they don't do much to prevent someone else nearby from moving in and setting up in the same land area. Different time periods would have different groups setting up, but if all you do is keep Europe down it seems likely that someone else, likely either from North Africa or the near east, would end up taking over culturally if not officially.

Astromancer 05-01-2015 08:53 AM

Re: New Reality Seeds
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by ericthered (Post 1896148)
As a general thought, what type of divergences will completely kill off europe's rise to power? I'm not talking about bringing someone else to power, just not having europe's dominance come up.

Europe's advantages are pretty good, it would take a great deal to knock it down forever. A harsher Little Ice Age that started sooner and lasted longer combined with changes in Catholic Theology that made all math beyond arithmatic sinful might make a start. If all pre-Christian and Non-Christian writtings were held to be diabolic in inspiration and only Bishops and higher ups were allowed to read the Bible, or perhaps, like the Yazidis only the highest riligous authority was allowed to read sacred texts, you might limit literacy enough to stop Europe's rise.

More likely you'd simply get an Islamic conquest, an Islamic European Reformation, and European forms of Islam bitterly attacked by Near Eastern Moslems the same way the Orthodox Christians slam Western Christianity. Europe's geography and resources both promote civilisation and thwart a Universal Imperidum.

Astromancer 05-01-2015 09:08 AM

Re: New Reality Seeds
 
If you really want to prevent the rise of Europe, you probably really need someone else to rise first. Example, have the Gulf of Sidra extend all the way to lake Chad, or in this parallel the Bay of Chad. Sub-Saharan Africa would have been part of the classical world, West Africa would have risen at least as quickly as Europe and African diseases would have kept kocking Europe back. Africa would have done Oceanic exploration first, because they'd be aware of the profits to be had. Our world's Africa was brutally isolated and didn't have a good reason to start exploring.


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