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Old 11-18-2021, 10:56 PM   #1
Prince Charon
 
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Default [Ice Age] TL0 Gadgeteers and Civilization-Building

Imagine, if you will, a band of Neanderthals in Ice Age Europe, around 38,000 BCE (early in the Upper Paleolithic); among the last of their race, the previous generation of the band (a few of whom still remain) encountered a strange glowing object that gave them visions. All children born to them after this close encounter have been Gadgeteers of various types. This mutation is hereditary, so whether they or their descendants interbreed with the few other Neanderthalen, or Cro-Magnons, Denisovans, or other closely-related hominids, the children are likely to also be Gadgeteers.

The concept is a possibly-generational game (so, a few sessions with one group of characters, then some with their children, and then grandchildren, et cetra) of pushing technology forward, inventing civilization, and building from there. The PCs are (probably) the Gadgeteers, though the players might go with a broader game of each player running a band, and then running parts of a tribe or city, and then perhaps larger groups.

Mechanically, the PCs may be regular Gadgeteers, Quick Gadgeteers, or limited Gadgeteers (e.g. Accessibility limitations, Focused on a skill or group of skills, et cetra), and probably have a few Gizmos. They start out as TL0 Neanderthals, possibly using the template from Pizard's Ape pages, or possibly something more official.

The question of whether TL^ inventions are available is going to be important, but I'd say it is dictated by the type of game you want to run; some versions might have no TL^ items at all, some might have a small list of 'the edge of believable' items, and others might have various degrees of weirdness, up to 'anything that you can explain well enough to the GM.'

I suggest that no 'magic' system should exist, but if you include TL^, inventing a magic system or systems is not that much more ridiculous than some of the other stuff you can do with unrestricted TL^ gadgeteering (this is basically the theorized origin of the various powers available in the A More Scientific Golden Age setting).


Thoughts?
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Old 11-19-2021, 06:55 AM   #2
Gold & Appel Inc
 
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Default Re: [Ice Age] TL0 Gadgeteers and Civilization-Building

What does a TL 0^ invention even look like?
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Old 11-19-2021, 07:23 AM   #3
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Default Re: [Ice Age] TL0 Gadgeteers and Civilization-Building

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Originally Posted by Gold & Appel Inc View Post
What does a TL 0^ invention even look like?
It looks like this: https://img.ifunny.co/images/0042b03...5336f90e_1.jpg

Posted twice in as many days!
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Old 11-19-2021, 07:26 AM   #4
JulianLW
 
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Default Re: [Ice Age] TL0 Gadgeteers and Civilization-Building

Taking a look at B512....

How about sails that can harness sunshine or astral winds?

Herbs with healing powers or curative smoke?

Memory techniques for advanced teaching and learning and information storage? Specialized runes that have magic-like effects on viewers (a la Madness Dossier)?

Learning the languages of animals for super-domestication, advanced hunting, reconnaisance, and tracking? Or specialized songs that speed or modify plant growth?

Weaving techniques to make super-strong textiles for advanced building/armor?

Smelting techniques that produce hardened or psychokinetic bronze?

How about a "rifled" arrow with an armor divisor?

How did they make the great pyramids?
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Old 11-19-2021, 08:32 AM   #5
Fred Brackin
 
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Default Re: [Ice Age] TL0 Gadgeteers and Civilization-Building

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What does a TL 0^ invention even look like?
A rock, a stick, a bone or some combination of the above. What it _does_ is the superscience part.

If they invent metal or ceramics they've raised TL rather than adding superscience to TL0.
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Old 11-19-2021, 10:03 AM   #6
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Default Re: [Ice Age] TL0 Gadgeteers and Civilization-Building

Jim Kjelgaard wrote a novel about a young man in the Paleolithic cast out of his tribe (he ended up with a young woman who wasn't able to travel and was left behind when the tribe moved)—Fire-Hunter. His character wasn't a Neanderthal, but he clearly fit into this genre: if I recall correctly, in the course of the novel he went from spears to woomeras to bows and arrows. There's a source of inspiration.

There was also Johannes V. Jensen's Fire and Ice, written even earlier, which has one character who masters fire and another who learns to live in an arctic environment. Jensen isn't well known in the United States but he won the 1944 Literature Nobel Prize.

Anyway, in addition to the things Fred mentions, there is fire, a profoundly important technology. There are all sorts of things you can do with it that still count as TL0: making ceramics, smoking meat for storage, burning off woodland and raking the ashes onto a central patch to manufacture high-fertility soil.

I would also mention string; Elizabeth Wayland Barber argues that its invention was profoundly important, for everything from hunting to courtship (the string skirt could be taken as giving a +1 bonus to Sex Appeal).
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Old 11-19-2021, 12:08 PM   #7
Fred Brackin
 
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Default Re: [Ice Age] TL0 Gadgeteers and Civilization-Building

Meanwhile, back at the TL0^ stuff, Grarg the Cro-Magnon has already used precision rock-banging to produce Super Fine stone weapons which do +2 damage and have a (2) armor divisor.

Now he's discovered an amazing material that's 2x as dense as flint (hematite at 5.3 v. flint at 2.7 or so) and he's working on making _Hyperdense_ stone weapons.

So that's what TL 0^ looks like. You take the cutting edge (pun intended) technobabble of the period and extend it beyond what's possible in reality. It's not a particularly good way to predict the future since you won't be able to anticipate things like the actual uses of hematite (iron ore).
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Old 11-19-2021, 12:41 PM   #8
David Johnston2
 
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Default Re: [Ice Age] TL0 Gadgeteers and Civilization-Building

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Originally Posted by Gold & Appel Inc View Post
What does a TL 0^ invention even look like?
1. Imagine a circle of standing stones that, if you stand in the center of it at the right times of the years, moves you to an identical circle of standing stones moves you to another such circle at the equivalent time (so the time to move is linked to the time for the sun to move to the next circle.

2. Imagine a sledge that has certain special stones imbedded into it's bottom that grant the sledge neutral buoyancy as long as you don't overload it. Thus you can tow it along in the air.

3. Imagine a special herbal paste that grants those who wear it DR.

4. Imagine a musical instrument carved from bone that when blown into attracts certain kinds of animals.

5. Imagine an herbal concoction that, when burned in a bowl produces hallucinogenic smoke that gives those who inhale it visions of the future.

6. Alternatively imagine a circle of standing stones that at certain times of the year can move you into the far future (ie. the present) or back.

7. Imagine a jewel that when chipped just the right way and held up to the sunlight in a suitably crafted holder will produce a burning ray that does 1d6 damage per second. (actually it will do that even without the holder, but I hope you weren't overly attached to having hands.

8. Imagine knowing exactly where to drill a hole into someone's skull to inflict Slave Mentality.

9. Imagine being able to take a certain cut of a fresh human brain, eat it, and gain the memories of the deceased.

Last edited by David Johnston2; 11-19-2021 at 05:29 PM.
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Old 11-19-2021, 01:08 PM   #9
Anders
 
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Default Re: [Ice Age] TL0 Gadgeteers and Civilization-Building

Ayla from the Children of Earth series is a gadgeteer. She invents the spear thrower, animal taming and flint sparking.
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Old 11-19-2021, 02:19 PM   #10
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Default Re: [Ice Age] TL0 Gadgeteers and Civilization-Building

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Originally Posted by whswhs View Post
. . .Anyway, in addition to the things Fred mentions, there is fire, a profoundly important technology. There are all sorts of things you can do with it that still count as TL0: making ceramics, smoking meat for storage, burning off woodland and raking the ashes onto a central patch to manufacture high-fertility soil.
Key element -- remember that originally the human species was in the middle of the food chain -- our ancestors were basically snacks for cats. Fire changes this -- the Lion King doesn't like being burned and keeps his distance. [Actually the Lion Queen -- males don't hunt.] So build a fire, stay by it at night == and you will live longer in the Paleolithic.
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