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Old 06-24-2021, 03:51 PM   #11
Sam Baughn
 
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Default Re: Closest real-world matches for Yrth cultures?

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Early cannons and guns were just as likely to blow up as to fire their projectiles and were more a psychological weapon - something a mage can do and they far less likely to blow up and take out the men around them.
Mages are relatively rare though, and competent ones several orders of magnitude rarer than that. An incompetent mage can be just as unreliable and even more hazardous than a primitive cannon.
EDIT: however, magic doesn't need to outperform gunpowder, so long as it can set fires at a distance. That makes using gunpowder very hazardous.
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Old 06-24-2021, 04:15 PM   #12
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Default Re: Closest real-world matches for Yrth cultures?

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As far as industrial revolution goes James Burke's Connections and Jean Gimpel's The Medieval Machine: The Industrial Revolution of the Middle Ages show that the Middle Ages did have their own Industrial Revolution. Heck, the assembly line was known by the Roman Empire.

Ytarria is the only known continent on Yrth but as GURPS Banestorm states there are others. I have always assumed that the continent where Caravan to Ein Arris takes place was on Yrth.

More over it is heavily implied that Yrth is as large as Earth so its actual land area is unknown. There easily could be a gunpowder using continent that is just getting its ships strong enough to survive the rough and dangerous (powerful currents, wild storms, monsters, and supernatural strangeness) seas.
Someone did an "Africa-Themed" continent for Yrth called Ubantu. But in terms of development, the important thing is the size of the network the Megalian Continent is part of. The more resources and environments and thinkers and tinkerers you can draw upon, the more likely you are to stumble upon ways to replace muscle with machines. Yrth has only 35 million humanoids which is 1/2 to 1/3 the population of Song China or the early Roman Empire which are the examples historians usually point to when they ask "why an industrial revolution in 18th century England but not there?" And so it lacks the markets for even some of the kinds of mass production which the Roman Empire or late medieval Italy was good at.

The Dragons and the Djin and the Knights Templar can be scheming too and creating PLOTS AND PERIL for adventurers to get tangled up in, but development is much more complicated than "knowing that a thing can be done."
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Old 06-24-2021, 07:37 PM   #13
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Default Re: Closest real-world matches for Yrth cultures?

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Originally Posted by Sam Baughn View Post
Mages are relatively rare though, and competent ones several orders of magnitude rarer than that. An incompetent mage can be just as unreliable and even more hazardous than a primitive cannon.
EDIT: however, magic doesn't need to outperform gunpowder, so long as it can set fires at a distance. That makes using gunpowder very hazardous.
Using gunpowder in quantity already is, and most fire magic has ranges short enough that without modern repeating firearms you're going to shoot once and then switch to melee weapons anyway.

Personally I think the major reason for the high buy-in to the No Gunpowder! regime is that the aristocracies of all the nations have been taught enough of Earth's history to know that gunpowder empowers kings. That it ultimately empowers peasants is of less concern (it's generations down the road) and more of a bother to kings than barons.
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Old 06-24-2021, 09:51 PM   #14
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Default Re: Closest real-world matches for Yrth cultures?

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I
More over it is heavily implied that Yrth is as large as Earth
Since 4e declares Yrth to be part of the Infinite Worlds setting and actually an alternate Earth altered by bombardment of magical asteroids long ago that changed the shape of the continents, the size of Yrth is probably more than heavily implied. It has an identical Moon and Solar/Lunar cycles too.

That it has a similar amount of dry land would be my theory number one but I wouldn't be certain of it.
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Old 06-25-2021, 02:23 AM   #15
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Default Re: Closest real-world matches for Yrth cultures?

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Someone did an "Africa-Themed" continent for Yrth called Ubantu. But in terms of development, the important thing is the size of the network the Megalian Continent is part of. The more resources and environments and thinkers and tinkerers you can draw upon, the more likely you are to stumble upon ways to replace muscle with machines.
I would recommend reading/watching Connections - it gets away from the Great man thinking the above involves.

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Yrth has only 35 million humanoids which is 1/2 to 1/3 the population of Song China or the early Roman Empire which are the examples historians usually point to when they ask "why an industrial revolution in 18th century England but not there?"
Correction the continent Ytarria has at least 44.3 million (Banestorm p. 84) and we have no idea what the Southwestern Wilderness population is but odds are it is small perhaps 1 million.

I should point out that c 1000 Europe's population was 56.4 million and that was when large swaths of it were isolated. It wasn't until the beginning of the Crusades (population 68.0 million) that there was something resembling efficient communication and even that in many areas was spotty as blazes.

In fact from an anthropological POV (something I have a masters in) there is something seriously off about Ytarria's population given what arrived there c 1000 CE (perhaps a 1 million humans at best)

As for China its problem was it was too bureaucratic and the opportunity to get ahead was effectively non existent. Development was top-bottom rather than Europe which was largely bottom (or middle)-top a problem that exists today ( https://hbr.org/2014/03/why-china-cant-innovate )

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And so it lacks the markets for even some of the kinds of mass production which the Roman Empire or late medieval Italy was good at.

The Dragons and the Djin and the Knights Templar can be scheming too and creating PLOTS AND PERIL for adventurers to get tangled up in, but development is much more complicated than "knowing that a thing can be done."
James Burke pointed the our triggers for progress (which also show up in Infinite Worlds) - religion, war, accident, environment, deliberate search (it will make you money), progress in one field triggers progress in another, deliberate search with unexpected but useful results.

The examples given are in the same order: Clock, improved mapmaking, static electricity, the chimney flue, food in cans, Huntsman's steel, water wheel cams resulting in the punch cards used in the Jacquard loom, artificial dye.

It is akin to the how the Greeks saw events - events being threads in a giant tapestry.
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Old 06-25-2021, 12:42 PM   #16
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Default Re: Closest real-world matches for Yrth cultures?

If looking at Yrth you always should consider the impact of magic, on the one hand it enables faste communication higher crop harvest and much more which gives much more people the possibilty to do something els instead of farming. The rate in early medieval times of 10 farmer producing so few extra food that 1 noble / priest or otherwise non farming occupation could live from the surplus, is a bit low if magic works. A lot of earth or weather spells help in farming and give much more surplus, maybe a 4 to 1 rate like before introducing fertilizers, pestizides and steam powered machines to farming is more likely. This enables a lot of folks to have spare time in which they can think to make live better or innovate otherwise, or just send the kids to a basic school.

That was the pro, but here is also a disadvantage of magery. historically there was always more work than workers, the pressing demand of labor, forced people to innovate, if magic makes that obsolete there may be no need to invent machines or a better understanding of nature. Also the mages, which would be in a powerful position wouldn´t like to compete with the technological invention, and they are in a good position to shoot this down.

In the extrem you may get a society in which everything is resolved by magic and a bit of work, but is very staid technological, maybe folks live after millennia still at a medieval tech level and are happy about it, like countless generations before.
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Old 06-28-2021, 05:04 AM   #17
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Default Re: Closest real-world matches for Yrth cultures?

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If looking at Yrth you always should consider the impact of magic, on the one hand it enables faste communication higher crop harvest and much more which gives much more people the possibilty to do something els instead of farming. The rate in early medieval times of 10 farmer producing so few extra food that 1 noble / priest or otherwise non farming occupation could live from the surplus, is a bit low if magic works. A lot of earth or weather spells help in farming and give much more surplus, maybe a 4 to 1 rate like before introducing fertilizers, pestizides and steam powered machines to farming is more likely. This enables a lot of folks to have spare time in which they can think to make live better or innovate otherwise, or just send the kids to a basic school.

That was the pro, but here is also a disadvantage of magery. historically there was always more work than workers, the pressing demand of labor, forced people to innovate, if magic makes that obsolete there may be no need to invent machines or a better understanding of nature. Also the mages, which would be in a powerful position wouldn´t like to compete with the technological invention, and they are in a good position to shoot this down.

In the extrem you may get a society in which everything is resolved by magic and a bit of work, but is very staid technological, maybe folks live after millennia still at a medieval tech level and are happy about it, like countless generations before.
The one flaw in this argument is Equivalent TL which is effectively Niven's Law (Any sufficiently advanced magic is indistinguishable from technology)

Even if everything was done by magic that doesn't mean the actually TL is going to stand still and the ETL sure won't. While many of these are due to different physical laws they do illustrate the issue:

Azoth-1 TL(4+3)^ ETL9; Manned interplanetary spaceflight
Azoth-7 TL(4+2)^ ETL12; Faster "interstellar" space flight
Britannica-5 TL(5+1)^ ETL10; Antimatter bombs
Etheria TL(5+1),(etheric spacecraft, TL5^) ETL9; Manned interplanetary spaceflight
Futura TL(5+1)^ ETL7: Manned spaceflight
Igor-1 TL(6+1)^ ETL9 with some inventions
Roma Universalis TL3^ ETL9; Manned interplanetary spaceflight

D&D's Starjammer definitely has ETL9 (Manned interplanetary spaceflight) even if it is puttering around TL(4+1)-TL(4+2).
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