Can you use fabricate in order to make modern materials? If so how high DC?


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Can you use fabricate in order to make carbon nanofiber?

Can you use fabricate to make Plastics?

How about kevlar?

If so what would the craft DCs be?

Liberty's Edge

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You can use fabricate to craft anything that has a DC to craft or that the DM sets a DC to craft, so long as it's within the volume limit.

But there aren't any DCs for modern materials that I'm aware of, so any such DC-setting would be entirely homebrew.


Could you make Numeria technology or materials with fabricate?


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The argument can be made that you can not create materials that you do not know exist.


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

To use fabricate you need the materials you will be making an item out of as material components.

Ie you couldn't just make modern materials.

But fabricate could. With the right craft check make an item out of "raw" modern materials

As a GM as I've noted in other threads I would change Fabricate in two ways

1) require the GP value of the final object in raw materials not the crafting requirement in raw materials (which is typically 1/3 of the final value)

2) consider the craft check for fabricate to be an "accelerated" one so it would be at +10 to the DC

With these changes Fabricate is still far faster than crafting. And still useful for crude purposes but doesn't break economies.


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Dot. But, uh...

StabbittyDoom wrote:

You can use fabricate to craft anything that has a DC to craft or that the DM sets a DC to craft, so long as it's within the volume limit.

But there aren't any DCs for modern materials that I'm aware of, so any such DC-setting would be entirely homebrew.

... this is correct.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber
Nohwear wrote:
The argument can be made that you can not create materials that you do not know exist.

This.


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If you want to make stuff that you as a player have knowledge of but that your PC have no way of knowing about like carbon nanofiber or inflatable girlfriends your are in the process of what is popularly called metagaming.
If you are the GM and you want your players to have All the modern equipment they can find on the internet, and think that enhances the story. Then the answer is yes and the DC can be as low as you want.
If you are a player you should stop your self metagaming.


Numeria provides access to that knowledge. It'd take a whole heck of a lot of time spent there to really get it though.


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Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

But you need more than knowledge of a material.

Fabricate does not make materials. It makes goods FROM materials that you provide as part of the spell's casting. To make a sword you need to start with the metal. To make a wooden door you need wood etc. For modern items you need modern raw materials and a craft skill for crafting modern items.

Fabricate makes things out of stuff. It doesn't create that raw stuff in the first place.


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Rycaut wrote:

But you need more than knowledge of a material.

Fabricate does not make materials. It makes goods FROM materials that you provide as part of the spell's casting. To make a sword you need to start with the metal. To make a wooden door you need wood etc. For modern items you need modern raw materials and a craft skill for crafting modern items.

Fabricate makes things out of stuff. It doesn't create that raw stuff in the first place.

At worst, you're suggesting that we might need to drop a point in a new craft skill (not hard) and use multiple Fabricates for any intermittent materials (also not hard). When you break things down enough, there's no such thing as a "modern raw material". Anything we make has its roots in the natural world's resources.

The knowledge of what to mix is the real trick. Once that happens the rest is easy.

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber
kestral287 wrote:
Numeria provides access to that knowledge. It'd take a whole heck of a lot of time spent there to really get it though.

Numeria doesn't HAVE that knowledge. They're the essentially the equivalent of ancient savages having a Cadilac fall on top of them. They've managed to monkey through some of the tech, and at times it's literally blown up in their faces.

Spoiler:
I'm pretty sure if any of the Androffan crew of Destiny were still alive, they'd be appalled at the risks the Technic League takes on a daily basis.

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Sure. What you care about in Numeria is the tech, not the people. If you really spent the time and effort, you could break down each piece to its base components and work things out from there.

Would that take a hell of a lot of trial and error and probably most of an elf's lifetime? Sure. Is it doable? Sure.


Nohwear wrote:
The argument can be made that you can not create materials that you do not know exist.

That argument seems 100% valid to me.

And if you think about the implications for a minute, no sane GM will allow it.

Sarin Gas and Botulism Toxin make Pathfinder poisons look nutritious and delicious.

Then there is plutonium, neutronium, anti-matter... Oops destroyed the campaign world.


kestral287 wrote:

Sure. What you care about in Numeria is the tech, not the people. If you really spent the time and effort, you could break down each piece to its base components and work things out from there.

Would that take a hell of a lot of trial and error and probably most of an elf's lifetime? Sure. Is it doable? Sure.

No. You really can't. Without the technological and knowledge base, you can't just take a piece of plastic or carbon nanofiber or a bit of solid state electronics apart and figure out what raw materials go into it and how to duplicate it.

I doubt you could even reverse engineer something as old tech as an alloy like bronze without knowing at least something of its manufacture. Or duplicating the original process of discovery.

You're talking cargo cult science here. Trying to duplicate an artifact's form and crude appearance without knowing how it's made or what it's made from.

Now, in theory, magic could supply some of those answers, but that doesn't seem to be how magic normally works in PF. There's no indication that scientific/technological discoveries were gained through magic.


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The concerns of whether the knowledge of modern tech can be answered according to the skill Knowledge (Engineering) or (if you want to be picky), Knowledge (Technology).
Science is historically non-linear in development, so the knowledge base is fiat at best. Kevlar is (putting it in layman's terms) just multi-fiber armor. Gunpowder is (in the same terms) a powder that explodes when exposed to heat. Everything after the base principle comes easy.

Thejeff wrote:
No. You really can't. Without the technological and knowledge base, you can't just take a piece of plastic or carbon nanofiber or a bit of solid state electronics apart and figure out what raw materials go into it and how to duplicate it.

If talking in abstract terms, we may actually be able to. Properties of carbon were known by metallurgists for centuries. Essentially, all known science is just a couple of successful Knowledge checks.

Abstract yes--unrealistic, maybe, but RAW.

So, here's an answer in my assessment:

1- Put a rank in Knowledge (Engineering).
2- Use the [Answer a Question] aspect of Knowledge rolls to learn about 'refine tar or petroleum to create Plastic'.

Knowledge (Engineering) wrote:
Answering a question within your field of study has a DC of 10 (for really easy questions), 15 (for basic questions), or 20 to 30 (for really tough questions).

Really touch questions around the field of engineering (or metallurgy if you're picky) can identify methods of refining materials. Fluff-wise, you may be drawing from comparative texts or making your own theory.

3- Determine the DC of said 'modern tech'. Count the DC as either 20 or 30.

4- Cast Fabricate.

Of course, there is always step zero.

0- Convince the DM.


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Uh, actually, Tech Guide has set the precedent that you need to take a feat (Technologist) before you can make knowledge checks against technology. Without it they're all the equivalent of untrained skill checks (no ranks, can't do a knowledge DC above 10).

I'm not sure I agree (because it completely locks out certain stuff arbitrarily) but the precedent exists.

As for the question at hand, I think that was answered in the second post? Short answer, not unless you have a DC (so ask the GM nicely).

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16

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Fabricate is a craft check, not a knowledge check.
Fabricate duplicates the process of crafting.
If you don't know the process of crafting, Fabricate cannot duplicate it for you.
Having the raw materials for a tech item and not knowing how it all goes together means that Fabricate will not help you in this circumstance.

There's also the problem that high tech devices are the results of 3-5 different crafting skills. You have to make the computerized parts, you have to make the battery, you have to make the energy focus/control mechanisms, and you have to make the shell they all fit in, with add-on optics for a scope or the like optional.

Ask ANY engineer...those are all five very different disciplines.
That is what high technology is...the synthesis of many different trades coming together to form something bigger then the sum of their parts.

Fabricate only allows you to make ONE Craft check, not 5. It would be totally unable to duplicate much modern technology.

Most modern technology also requires a purity of raw materials that was actually 'part of' simpler tech. The blacksmith worked and changed the alloy of the metal while he worked on something. You don't do that with an integrated circuit. You have to have 99.9999999999% pure silicon and galladium before you start making a chip, and that's an entirely different process and discipline to make the check off of.

So, no, you can't do this.

In addition to the problems above, and of needing to know the process to do this in the first step, high technology is multi-process, multi-discipline, and at the very least you'd need to make multiple Fabricates to move from raw materials to refined materials to constructed portions, and then a last Fabricate to integrate all the different parts.

If you knew what you were doing. And you don't.

==Aelryinth


Bobx3 has a point. If it's technology, the DM might as well require the feat.

@Aelryinth w/Knowledge (Engineering):
That was response to whether a character would know about technology, since a character cannot make what they don't know about.
The answer is 'they reasonably might' with a good knowledge check. If they could answer the 'very difficult' question related to their studies, as determined by the GM, they might reasonably know what they're doing, per RAW.
A craft check would follow, as you said.

Quote:
Fabricate only allows you to make ONE Craft check, not 5. It would be totally unable to duplicate much modern technology.

That's also right. This arbitration and division of checks would mostly fall under the DM's purview, naturally.


Arrius wrote:

Bobx3 has a point. If it's technology, the DM might as well require the feat.

@Aelryinth w/Knowledge (Engineering):
That was response to whether a character would know about technology, since a character cannot make what they don't know about.
The answer is 'they reasonably might' with a good knowledge check. If they could answer the 'very difficult' question related to their studies, as determined by the GM, they might reasonably know what they're doing, per RAW.
A craft check would follow, as you said.

Quote:
Fabricate only allows you to make ONE Craft check, not 5. It would be totally unable to duplicate much modern technology.
That's also right. This arbitration and division of checks would mostly fall under the DM's purview, naturally.

I'd say "develop entirely unknown technology, skipping multiple steps in the process" goes well beyond "answer a very difficult question".


Quote:
I'd say "develop entirely unknown technology, skipping multiple steps in the process" goes well beyond "answer a very difficult question".

That's a good point, but it assumes too much. The steps of technological process are dictated by the setting or DM.

Say you wish to create a laser gun. What would that entail?
You'll need a few things:

A: A source of energy to power the machine
B: A trigger
C: The ability to convert energy to a beam
D: The mechanism to shoot the concentrated beam of energy.

Steps:
A: Make a knowledge check to learn how to create energy by chemical reactions (to take a example). Learn that when copper and zinc are connected and touch a muscle, a current runs through it. That's a Fabricate check.

Observable and simple. Develop this idea further with people who have 20+ intellect and 6+ ranks in Knowledge, and you have the foundations of batteries. Craft (Alchemy) covers basic chemistry--and galvanic cells are not that complicated when you have at least +20 on the check at level 10.

B: Craft a carrier for the energy source and the beam mechanism. That can be done by Fabricate. Make a good check for the 'craftsmanship' clause in the spell.

C + D: Here comes the difficult part. However, if you have the elementary basics of energy creation, the next part might not be far behind--especially with an astronomical bonus on Knowledge (Technology) or even Knowledge (Alchemy).
You can figure that adding rods that channel X and adding doodads that channel Y that a hot blast of light is how Z discharges. Use Fabricate to make a lens or medium.

Probably three Fabricate checks, and a little over four Knowledge checks.
Granted, that is the most abstract and simplistic way possible to get the job done, but every step is pretty much legal.


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

The technology guide has established that the RAW approach to tech is that to do much with it at all requires a feat (technologist) and/or specific class (archetype) features. Without them or without being a specific race (android) you can't repair or make technology or even figure it out all that well.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16

Arrius wrote:
Quote:
I'd say "develop entirely unknown technology, skipping multiple steps in the process" goes well beyond "answer a very difficult question".

That's a good point, but it assumes too much. The steps of technological process are dictated by the setting or DM.

Say you wish to create a laser gun. What would that entail?
You'll need a few things:

A: A source of energy to power the machine
B: A trigger
C: The ability to convert energy to a beam
D: The mechanism to shoot the concentrated beam of energy.

Steps:
A: Make a knowledge check to learn how to create energy by chemical reactions (to take a example). Learn that when copper and zinc are connected and touch a muscle, a current runs through it. That's a Fabricate check.

Observable and simple. Develop this idea further with people who have 20+ intellect and 6+ ranks in Knowledge, and you have the foundations of batteries. Craft (Alchemy) covers basic chemistry--and galvanic cells are not that complicated when you have at least +20 on the check at level 10.

B: Craft a carrier for the energy source and the beam mechanism. That can be done by Fabricate. Make a good check for the 'craftsmanship' clause in the spell.

C + D: Here comes the difficult part. However, if you have the elementary basics of energy creation, the next part might not be far behind--especially with an astronomical bonus on Knowledge (Technology) or even Knowledge (Alchemy).
You can figure that adding rods that channel X and adding doodads that channel Y that a hot blast of light is how Z discharges. Use Fabricate to make a lens or medium.

Probably three Fabricate checks, and a little over four Knowledge checks.
Granted, that is the most abstract and simplistic way possible to get the job done, but every step is pretty much legal.

A) Spend years and years of research trying to figure out how to make a chemical reaction transmitting energy equal to a lightning bolt. Spend centuries figuring out the process of miniaturizing it to something you can carry in your hand.

You know, like technological research.

B) Spend more decades and centuries figuring out a compound that can conduct, focus and control a light beam of that intensity without being destroyed.

C+D) start with nothing, and invent the entire art of programming to control the processes of your weapon. Oh, and invent the entire technology of miniaturized electronic computer components from nothing. That only took the entire world about 500 years from its mechanical roots?

Once you've done this, you will know the process by which they were made, and you can now make Craft checks to duplicate those processes and make your laser gun.

I'll see you in about 500 years.

Keep in mind that the Technic League, a bunch of technology obsessed wizards, has been conducting highly unethical and unlimited research into this very topic, and still doesn't know squat about actually making tech from scratch. Basically, all they know is how to WORK with technology to make items the technology itself knows how to make.

The processes themselves? They know zip.

==Aelryinth

Shadow Lodge

Aelryinth wrote:
Keep in mind that the Technic League, a bunch of technology obsessed wizards, has been conducting highly unethical and unlimited research into this very topic, and still doesn't know squat about actually making tech from scratch. Basically, all they know is how to WORK with technology to make items the technology itself knows how to make.

And they aren't exactly brilliant at doing that.


I mean, you can make it work that way if you want to. Biggest problem with it for me is "Why hasn't anyone done it before?"

Not necessarily a laser in particular, but all the massive technological advances that somehow all these "people who have 20+ intellect and 6+ ranks in Knowledge" haven't made over the centuries.

Basically, if it was that easy, it would have been done. All over the place and for lots of things.

Plus, for all of that "Basic batteries are simple", we still don't really have batteries that can power laser pistols. You can't run those off the "foundations of batteries". Maybe building sized batteries. It doesn't make sense to me to jump all the intermediate steps.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16

Progress is seldom made in leaps. It's made in little bitty steps. And the more minds and hands you have working on something, able to access the information that's been discovered, the more of those little bits get noticed and something done about it.

And it's not about the brightest or the best. Most improvements in existing tech come from average joe the well-trained guy noticing something and having an idea and putting it into force, not ubermensch the genius realizing everything and getting it absolutely right and better the first time.

THe problem with mages and alchemists investigating tech is they are always magic focused. Coming at problems from a totally non-magical point of view is very, very hard, often because tech would seem so incredibly inefficient compared to magic in so many respects. WHY even develop this, if its so much cheaper and faster to do it magically? That tech never gets invented, and all the tech that could be developed off of it don't get invented.

I mean, light bulbs. They drove the whole process of electrical engineering on a massive scale. That tech will never be invented because one Torch Archon could light up the whole world faster and cheaper.

Why use machines to generate mechanical power from water when you can just chain down a lightning elemental, and don't have to build massive dams and invent water turbines?

Etc etc. It's not that wizards aren't geniuses and can't figure the stuff out, it's that they don't have the need, drive, or desire necessary for someone who knows there IS no magic to discover all the stuff, and keep working at it across decades and centuries and millions of minds and hands to improve it.

Technology started tens of thousands of years ago. It wasn't until a hundred years ago that we started really harnessing electricity, and the modern age really started taking off. The power of petroleum wasn't noticed until the late 1800's. THe periodic table wasn't even mostly complete until after WW 2...and how crazy that would be if there were magical elements that didn't correspond!

If the only way you can improve is with tech, that's what you do. If faster, easier, better ways are present, you use those. And that means those millions of minds and hands you need to really make progress just aren't there.

So, wizards make lousy technos.

==Aelryinth


Aelryinth wrote:
I'll see you in about 500 years.

So within the lifespan of a single Elf.

Kestral wrote:
Would that take a hell of a lot of trial and error and probably most of an elf's lifetime? Sure. Is it doable? Sure.

Called it!


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A few things.
1. Golarion's plot holes and bad tech mechanics don't have much to do with core Pathfinder and what you could potentially do in core already. Golarion material already has a lot of stuff that doesn't make a lot of sense (that's okay, it's just silly fun).

2. Advancements are made by tiny steps in our reality where people are in the realm of normalcy. Where an expert in a field has probably a +5 or so at best in their Knowledge check because they're still only 1st level and a new advancement only comes along when either a really elite individual or a team of researchers collaborate to hit that DC 30 Knowledge check (and you explicitly cannot try again to answer the same question).

3. The inability to casually repeat knowledge checks until success puts a stifle on it, meaning you now need another somebody who could hit a DC 30 check to try and succeed instead. But in the realm of normal people, someone who can hit a DC 30 at all are rare enough.

4. D&D heroes are not in the realm of normalcy. Given that upper-leveled mages can have an Int score of +10-13 before factoring in things like magic items, aid another, masterwork tools, and simple skill ranks (and Knowledge skills are class skills for wizards), answering questions that most people would find very hard to answer would be routine.


Ashiel wrote:

A few things.

1. Golarion's plot holes and bad tech mechanics don't have much to do with core Pathfinder and what you could potentially do in core already. Golarion material already has a lot of stuff that doesn't make a lot of sense (that's okay, it's just silly fun).

2. Advancements are made by tiny steps in our reality where people are in the realm of normalcy. Where an expert in a field has probably a +5 or so at best in their Knowledge check because they're still only 1st level and a new advancement only comes along when either a really elite individual or a team of researchers collaborate to hit that DC 30 Knowledge check (and you explicitly cannot try again to answer the same question).

3. The inability to casually repeat knowledge checks until success puts a stifle on it, meaning you now need another somebody who could hit a DC 30 check to try and succeed instead. But in the realm of normal people, someone who can hit a DC 30 at all are rare enough.

4. D&D heroes are not in the realm of normalcy. Given that upper-leveled mages can have an Int score of +10-13 before factoring in things like magic items, aid another, masterwork tools, and simple skill ranks (and Knowledge skills are class skills for wizards), answering questions that most people would find very hard to answer would be routine.

Except it doesn't work that way. Or it all would have been done already. Or at least be advancing much faster than it seems to be.

And it's not just Golarion. It's pretty much every D&D world. With the possible exception of Eberron, though I doubt even that. If all it took was someone with a high knowledge check to make giant leaps in technology, all the D&D worlds would be in Singularity tech very quickly. That doesn't happen - so figure out why.


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Arrius wrote:
Say you wish to create a laser gun. What would that entail?

Laser Pistol is 5,000 gp worth of parts and a DC 23 Craft (mechanical) check, Laser Rifle is 10,000 gp and DC 27. You also need Craft Technological Arms and Armor (so Technologist, 7 ranks of Craft (mechanical), and 7 ranks of Knowledge (engineering) as well) and a military lab with either enough batteries or a generator (or some combination thereof) to supply 100 units of power per day of crafting. Crafting rate of speed is otherwise identical to crafting magic items (so 8 hours per 1,000 gp of base price, accelerate by adding 5 to the DC, etc.).

Look, the rules question was answered, the rest of this is veering off topic pretty fast. Start up something in general discussion if you want to continue.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber
kestral287 wrote:

Sure. What you care about in Numeria is the tech, not the people. If you really spent the time and effort, you could break down each piece to its base components and work things out from there.

I would challenge you with your present day knowledge to go back in time and try to duplicate modern materials that go into a smartphone.

The problem is... you can't. High technology is based on a high tech infrastructure, rare earth minerals, and precision high tech manufacture. It's not something that exists on itself. It took all the resources of Androffa to create Destiny and it's tech. No primitive on some backwater world is going to duplicate that feat in any imaginable period of time.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16

Bob Bob Bob wrote:
Arrius wrote:
Say you wish to create a laser gun. What would that entail?

Laser Pistol is 5,000 gp worth of parts and a DC 23 Craft (mechanical) check, Laser Rifle is 10,000 gp and DC 27. You also need Craft Technological Arms and Armor (so Technologist, 7 ranks of Craft (mechanical), and 7 ranks of Knowledge (engineering) as well) and a military lab with either enough batteries or a generator (or some combination thereof) to supply 100 units of power per day of crafting. Crafting rate of speed is otherwise identical to crafting magic items (so 8 hours per 1,000 gp of base price, accelerate by adding 5 to the DC, etc.).

Look, the rules question was answered, the rest of this is veering off topic pretty fast. Start up something in general discussion if you want to continue.

"5,000 gp in parts" in this context means "5,000 gp in existing technological components that can be used in a laser pistol/rifle."

Not from raw materials.

==Aelryinth


The whole problem boils down to the open-ended nature of the Fabricate spell description. There's no RAW answer because there's nothing in RAW about how this spell works in specifics, simply in abstract. It's also terribly open to abuse. By the way the spell's written, you can purchase raw gold and fabricate it into triple the value in gold coins. Or purchase diamonds and do the same.

The best you can do is reach a gentleman's agreement with the DM about how they feel the spell is best used. Is the DM happy to have the party running around in kevlar vests with AK-47 assault rifles? If yes, that's fine. But arguing there's nothing preventing you from using the spell to create these when the DM doesn't want it in their game is the same as the DM saying there's nothing preventing an ancient red dragon from deciding it's going to enslave you and force you to spend the rest of your life fabricating it's horde bigger.


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Carbon fiber / Flexible PVC - DC 100
Kevlar - DC 80


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LazarX wrote:
kestral287 wrote:

Sure. What you care about in Numeria is the tech, not the people. If you really spent the time and effort, you could break down each piece to its base components and work things out from there.

I would challenge you with your present day knowledge to go back in time and try to duplicate modern materials that go into a smartphone.

The problem is... you can't. High technology is based on a high tech infrastructure, rare earth minerals, and precision high tech manufacture. It's not something that exists on itself. It took all the resources of Androffa to create Destiny and it's tech. No primitive on some backwater world is going to duplicate that feat in any imaginable period of time.

The appropriate engineers could recreate modern tech from virgin earth in a much shorter timeframe, given the appropriate access to metal ores and petroleum. (Ie, available in the earth, not wrapped in bows)

The most difficult thing to keep alive would be knowledge of binary programming and assembly machine code for the 2-3 generations it took to lay ground work.

Access to magic (and high magic at that) would speed that process along greatly.


LazarX wrote:
kestral287 wrote:

Sure. What you care about in Numeria is the tech, not the people. If you really spent the time and effort, you could break down each piece to its base components and work things out from there.

I would challenge you with your present day knowledge to go back in time and try to duplicate modern materials that go into a smartphone.

The problem is... you can't. High technology is based on a high tech infrastructure, rare earth minerals, and precision high tech manufacture. It's not something that exists on itself. It took all the resources of Androffa to create Destiny and it's tech. No primitive on some backwater world is going to duplicate that feat in any imaginable period of time.

*Shrug* I couldn't even tell you what those materials are.

Now, if you give me an elf's lifetime to study everything about a smartphone, I'd take that challenge (but not really, since if I actually lived that long I'd have much better things to do-- but what would science be, without a few centuries of obsession).


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thejeff wrote:
Ashiel wrote:

A few things.

1. Golarion's plot holes and bad tech mechanics don't have much to do with core Pathfinder and what you could potentially do in core already. Golarion material already has a lot of stuff that doesn't make a lot of sense (that's okay, it's just silly fun).

2. Advancements are made by tiny steps in our reality where people are in the realm of normalcy. Where an expert in a field has probably a +5 or so at best in their Knowledge check because they're still only 1st level and a new advancement only comes along when either a really elite individual or a team of researchers collaborate to hit that DC 30 Knowledge check (and you explicitly cannot try again to answer the same question).

3. The inability to casually repeat knowledge checks until success puts a stifle on it, meaning you now need another somebody who could hit a DC 30 check to try and succeed instead. But in the realm of normal people, someone who can hit a DC 30 at all are rare enough.

4. D&D heroes are not in the realm of normalcy. Given that upper-leveled mages can have an Int score of +10-13 before factoring in things like magic items, aid another, masterwork tools, and simple skill ranks (and Knowledge skills are class skills for wizards), answering questions that most people would find very hard to answer would be routine.

Except it doesn't work that way. Or it all would have been done already. Or at least be advancing much faster than it seems to be.

And it's not just Golarion. It's pretty much every D&D world. With the possible exception of Eberron, though I doubt even that. If all it took was someone with a high knowledge check to make giant leaps in technology, all the D&D worlds would be in Singularity tech very quickly. That doesn't happen - so figure out why.

Because we want to play with knights and dragons on horses. There is no other reason other than because we just don't want to.

When you can literally cast a spell and ask God how the universe works, you're already leaps and bounds beyond what anyone in reality can do. But let's look at the technological singularity as it progresses currently.

We, mere mortals, none of which even compare to someone on Intelligence let alone skill ranks of a high level "intellectual" in D&D/Pathfinder, have made massive leaps and bounds in technology, growing ever faster, and what we consider "modern" is in all reality not really that modern at all.

Albert Einstein got his work published in 1905 which was the basis for Nuclear technology. Keep in mind that cavalry is still in use at this time (dragoons) in the United States and most modern countries of the world and didn't die out until about 35 years later. Around the time of World War II, Einstein sends a letter to President Roosevelt urging the United States to begin exploring Nuclear technology to counter German nuclear development. The Manhattan Project begins in 1939. In 1945, the United States devastates Japan by dropping nuclear bombs on Nagasaki and Hiroshima, resulting in more or less immediate surrender.

In less time that most of our parents have been alive (or even a lot of the people on this forum), we went from "Hey, this could be a thing" to "I am become death, destroyer of worlds". Let me say this again so no one misunderstands. In 40 years, normal people without access to magic supertech went from "Hey here's some math theories that support this" to "I wiped out a city with an atomic bomb" in 40 years.

If you hooked even a theoretical engineer up with a low-level wizard you'd have crazy super science on your hands. The energy problem is solved and has been solved for centuries in most D&D worlds. Let me put this as plainly as I can.

A 3rd level wizard uses technology that would make electricity essentially free, and he uses it to keep rats and unwanted thieves out of his library.

A 3rd level adept in Pathfinder can create a CL 5 shocking grasp trap that produces roughly 1/2 the energy of a bolt of lightning limitlessly. That's roughly 2.2 billion jules of energy produced every 6 seconds that the device remains active. Creating this device isn't even a big deal. It costs 2,500 gp.

Animate dead + assembly lines = mass production on a whole new economic level. All these executed prisoners? Put 'em to work. Screw child labor laws, we have undead!

Now take a wizard who casually solves the energy problem for virtually any task, who can commune with gods, who makes Einstein look a dunce, and can literally shape reality to his or her whims to the point that he or she can make entirely new planes of existence, and you'll have someone who days after theorizing an atomic bomb could build and employ one.

Atomic energy is inefficient compared to magic is probably the best argument as to why nobody really cares. It's very likely that wizards may already be aware of atomic energy (or at least have theorized it) but have no interest in it as it's inefficient as a power source for their studies and has too many negative side effects for them to bother weaponizing it (especially since they can already murder entire cities of at their whims).


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kestral287 wrote:
Now, if you give me an elf's lifetime to study everything about a smartphone, I'd take that challenge (but not really, since if I actually lived that long I'd have much better things to do-- but what would science be, without a few centuries of obsession).

As I pointed out, we went from "I have an idea" to "Hiroshima-what?" in 40 years. In less than an elf's lifetime in D&D, we have gone from Thomas Edison's incandescent lightbulb in 1980 to everything that we have today in 135 years. To further put this into perspective, the Wright brothers got their test-plane into the air in 1903. Two years later, Einstein's theories began the nuclear age. 40 years later, Nagasaki and Hiroshima were wiped off the map instantly by nuclear bombs dropped by military aircraft. 14 years later, we were on the moon. Only 5 after that, the SR-71 Blackbird, the fasted manned aircraft is in use (it's also the preferred vehicle of the Uncanny X-Men because Charles Xavier is sexy).


Ashiel wrote:
thejeff wrote:
Ashiel wrote:

A few things.

1. Golarion's plot holes and bad tech mechanics don't have much to do with core Pathfinder and what you could potentially do in core already. Golarion material already has a lot of stuff that doesn't make a lot of sense (that's okay, it's just silly fun).

2. Advancements are made by tiny steps in our reality where people are in the realm of normalcy. Where an expert in a field has probably a +5 or so at best in their Knowledge check because they're still only 1st level and a new advancement only comes along when either a really elite individual or a team of researchers collaborate to hit that DC 30 Knowledge check (and you explicitly cannot try again to answer the same question).

3. The inability to casually repeat knowledge checks until success puts a stifle on it, meaning you now need another somebody who could hit a DC 30 check to try and succeed instead. But in the realm of normal people, someone who can hit a DC 30 at all are rare enough.

4. D&D heroes are not in the realm of normalcy. Given that upper-leveled mages can have an Int score of +10-13 before factoring in things like magic items, aid another, masterwork tools, and simple skill ranks (and Knowledge skills are class skills for wizards), answering questions that most people would find very hard to answer would be routine.

Except it doesn't work that way. Or it all would have been done already. Or at least be advancing much faster than it seems to be.

And it's not just Golarion. It's pretty much every D&D world. With the possible exception of Eberron, though I doubt even that. If all it took was someone with a high knowledge check to make giant leaps in technology, all the D&D worlds would be in Singularity tech very quickly. That doesn't happen - so figure out why.

Because we want to play with knights and dragons on horses. There is no other reason other than because we just don't want to.

When you can literally cast a spell and ask God how the universe...

Sure.

There are I think 3 approaches you can take to this:
1) That's the way the world works and it has obviously quickly become this weird techno-magical place. Ditch all the traditional fantasy tropes and run with the weirdness.(Or the Tippyverse. Or whatever direction you think the rules force you to go.)

2) Complain about how it doesn't make any sense and you should get singularity tech in a couple generations, but stick with traditional fantasy anyway - except when you want a particular PC to invent modern tech.

3) Accept that the rules are an abstraction focused on adventuring and don't actually handle the stuff outside that very well, because that's not what they're for. Assume there are reasons why all the hacks don't work.


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thejeff wrote:

Sure.

There are I think 3 approaches you can take to this:
1) That's the way the world works and it has obviously quickly become this weird techno-magical place. Ditch all the traditional fantasy tropes and run with the weirdness.(Or the Tippyverse. Or whatever direction you think the rules force you to go.)

2) Complain about how it doesn't make any sense and you should get singularity tech in a couple generations, but stick with traditional fantasy anyway - except when you want a particular PC to invent modern tech.

3) Accept that the rules are an abstraction focused on adventuring and don't actually handle the stuff outside that very well, because that's not what they're for. Assume there are reasons why all the hacks don't work.

A few other options that work pretty well that I've found are...

4) Ignore tech if your group isn't into it (no complaining needed). This is what most do. "Tech" in this case includes most anything simply deemed inappropriate for the campaign by the GM, such as guns or hot-air balloons (but damnit, hot airships are cool dude).

5) Incorporate higher end technology into your campaign with some changes. Changes might include...
5-A) Technology research advanced in a different direction because of inset reasons (such as magic).
5-B) Technology is totally a thing but it's an ancient thing that was lost because insert appropriately epic reason (such as warfare or gods got pissed or something).
5-C) Technology actually IS emerging and emerging really damn fast because of how incredibly rapid the advancements are you don't have time to throw the fantasy out of the tech. Suddenly you have mounted Samurai flying through the air cutting tanks in half while your Ranger shoots missiles out of the air with his bow because with magic, these archaic weapons are actually able to keep up with this craziness. The technical term for this is "Too Awesome for Words".


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Something that's pretty funny though, while we're on the topic is...
Tanks in Pathfinder. Now ignoring how hilariously awful this writeup is (seriously, it takes roughly 100 direct hits from a tank's cannon to severely damage and/or destroy another tank; and a commoner can trip a tank 10% of the time), this thing wouldn't be able to stand up to a party of adventurers. Not even close. Hell, if it were crewed by normal people (6 1st level warriors or somesuch), even from the safety of the tank (which grants Improved Cover), a single fireball from a 5th level wizard and that's the GG.


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Who says magic isn't sufficiently advanced technology? ;)


thejeff wrote:
And it's not just Golarion. It's pretty much every D&D world. With the possible exception of Eberron, though I doubt even that. If all it took was someone with a high knowledge check to make giant leaps in technology, all the D&D worlds would be in Singularity tech very quickly. That doesn't happen - so figure out why.

Ashiel is right on this. Why isn't technology in D&D already past ours?

Here's why: The campaign designers didn't design the game to be centered around technology. That's why most questions regarding the distribution of technology basically falls to fiat or 'they're not popular yet'. The world is stagnant, and despite it being illogical, we have no problem with it.
We want sword-fighting in Golarion. Golarion also allows for people to develop steam technology and laser-guns. This makes no sense, you say?

Just repeat to yourself: it's just a game. You should really just relax.

Logically and rules-wise it flies. If you're really intent on taking technological advancement step-by-step, get a wizard to create a timeless demiplane without magic. Pop in every few days and see what they made.


Arrius wrote:
thejeff wrote:
And it's not just Golarion. It's pretty much every D&D world. With the possible exception of Eberron, though I doubt even that. If all it took was someone with a high knowledge check to make giant leaps in technology, all the D&D worlds would be in Singularity tech very quickly. That doesn't happen - so figure out why.

Ashiel is right on this. Why isn't technology in D&D already past ours?

Here's why: The campaign designers didn't design the game to be centered around technology. That's why most questions regarding the distribution of technology basically falls to fiat or 'they're not popular yet'. The world is stagnant, and despite it being illogical, we have no problem with it.
We want sword-fighting in Golarion. Golarion also allows for people to develop steam technology and laser-guns. This makes no sense, you say?

Just repeat to yourself: it's just a game. You should really just relax.

Logically and rules-wise it flies. If you're really intent on taking technological advancement step-by-step, get a wizard to create a timeless demiplane without magic. Pop in every few days and see what they made.

In my home campaign, technology isn't prevelant because the movers and shakers are magic users. It is a difficult trade to learn (or rarely an innate gift) while technology is the great equalizer. Those people want to stay in power and the random upstart guy who starts making breakthroughs gets offed or woven in to the fold.

Access to magic is restrictable via education, access to technology is not.


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Avianfoo wrote:
Who says magic isn't sufficiently advanced technology? ;)

I surely don't. In my campaign which I'm running for Aratrok and some friends of mine, they are currently exploring an old "ruin" that they assembled some strange keys to enter.

A little about this ruin.
1. It's one of many like its kind.
2. It's actually a massive city inside a metal enclosure.
3. It's primarily made out of magically reinforced adamantine.
4. It and others of its kind orbited the planet during a time where magic was abundant.
5. Due to magic essentially being free energy, many if not all of the infrastructure is still intact. This means that there are places where food is created, it has running water facilities, waste management, etc. So despite the fact it's been sealed off from the world due to being mostly buried in the earth and its gates barred it's surprisingly active inside.
6. The walls block teleportation magics (a defense against invaders of the city in its age) and are too hard to punch through the old fashioned way.

There are major inhabitants within.
1. It currently acts as a prison for a Marilith that was trapped inside of it when it plummeted to the earth. Thanks to the outer shell of the orbital city being as it is, she's been pretty well stuck in the place for a few centuries. However, for reasons unknown to the party, she has made the best of it and declared herself a goddess over what survivors were left after it fell from orbit. She is currently ruling from the central district of the city and has been breeding an army of fiend-blooded servitors with her harem of concubines, and rumors within the city suggest that she has a massive clutch if eggs in the most demon-infested area of the city.
2. Survivors and/or descendants of survivors from the fall ages ago. More than 90% of these are of elven descent (as the city was an elven city). The impact wiped out most everyone but over several centuries their populations have fought back against extinction. However, most of the elves have been tainted by a mixture of inbreeding and demonic blood over the course of the years by the marilith and her servants, leading to most of the elves (even the ones more elf than fiend) having strange features that betray their fiendish ancestry.
3. Constructs. Lots and lots of constructs. Most of the constructs are still operational relics that worked in the city. Most serve the ruler of the city (in this case the Marilith) though there are a few more independent models. These include security droids, maintenance workers, public relations workers, and military droids.

There are several major factions within.
1. The marilith's dominion which includes the marilith godhead, her inner circle of priests and priestesses (mostly those whom she has infused with her own blood and bred as her loyal sons and daughters), their followers who are at least passively devoted to her reign over them. Many of the inhabitants don't know of a time when she was not the goddess of their world (a small world to be sure).
2. The resistance and its sympathizers who refuse to be assimilated into the marilith's horde. Mostly remnants of old elves who remember the world before and passed on this knowledge to those who would listen, their children, and some resistance sympathizers who while having no issue with their demonic goddess likewise have no issues with the resistance and supply them with resources as they try to hold on to old traditions.
3. Unaffiliated citizens and mutants who make their way in the city without really caring who rules their world or why as long as they aren't peeing in their cereal each morning. Most are still touched by demon blood or some other forms of magic due to arcane contamination in certain areas (frequently producing aberrant magical powers in the form of sorcerers) but hold no racial alliances. A number of people scraping by a living on the fringes and tinkerers also fall into this catch-all faction.

Currently the party seems strange and alien to these people but have already proved their prowess when they were confronted by a number of priestesses and sentry droids looking for a wanted rebel (a new PC). The party thrashed the fiend-blooded priestesses and their sentry droids. Sentry droids really don't stand up too well against adamantine arrows, magical powers, and an angry Paladin with a divine sword.


BigDTBone wrote:

In my home campaign, technology isn't prevelant because the movers and shakers are magic users. It is a difficult trade to learn (or rarely an innate gift) while technology is the great equalizer. Those people want to stay in power and the random upstart guy who starts making breakthroughs gets offed or woven in to the fold.

Access to magic is restrictable via education, access to technology is not.

Making technology a monopoly (alongside with magic) is a historically accurate way to put a lid on standard progress.

Waving brilliant minds into fold is also a good way of keeping access restricted--as anyone who is qualified to innovate would probably rather join with the elite of society.
Since magic and technology are both equalizers, having them both on the 'same team' allows for a reasonable way to hide the knowledge.

You can make a good revolutionary tale from that--a wizard and a tinker spurn the 'establishment' and seek to raise the standards of living world-wide.


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Arrius wrote:
BigDTBone wrote:

In my home campaign, technology isn't prevelant because the movers and shakers are magic users. It is a difficult trade to learn (or rarely an innate gift) while technology is the great equalizer. Those people want to stay in power and the random upstart guy who starts making breakthroughs gets offed or woven in to the fold.

Access to magic is restrictable via education, access to technology is not.

Making technology a monopoly (alongside with magic) is a historically accurate way to put a lid on standard progress.

Waving brilliant minds into fold is also a good way of keeping access restricted--as anyone who is qualified to innovate would probably rather join with the elite of society.
Since magic and technology are both equalizers, having them both on the 'same team' allows for a reasonable way to hide the knowledge.

You can make a good revolutionary tale from that--a wizard and a tinker spurn the 'establishment' and seek to raise the standards of living world-wide.

By "tech is more accessable than magic," what I mean is; to activate a wand is a DC20 UMD check, while infants can (AND DO) use iPads.

Shadow Lodge

Scientific progress is largely driven by need, or at least perceived need. With magic readily available, that need is met WITHOUT decades of research and hard work.

In short, magic retards progress and knowledge.


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

But take the iPad example - an infant may be able to use it when it is charged, not locked, has something for the infant to use installed and likely set inside of an infant safe protective casing.

However after a few hours of use by that infant when the iPad is out of battery, or when the security system locks the screen, or if the infant drops the iPad a few too many times it won't be so usable and the infant is unlikely to be able to unlock the iPad, know how to plug it in to charge or how to repair it if the screen is cracked.

And on the end of that power cable the iPad requires a whole system of power distribution or creation.

And that software on the iPad requires a way to connect to the network (which itself requires power and more infrastructure) and the related systems to pay for content etc.

in short while an infant can, briefly, use the iPad soon he or she won't be able to do much at all with it.

likewise in a fantasy setting introducing a few pieces of technology doesn't mean that anyone, even the smartest of wizards, will be able to make and keep the technology working - it was typically designed in an environment that assumed a lot of shared technology resources (power, materials etc)

In a high magic setting I can well imagine that a precocious infant keeps itself endless entertained with innate magical abilities (consider a Gnome infant - not sure if they get their spell like abilities on birth - but imagine a child with the ability to speak with animals, create ghost sounds or dancing lights or the infinite abilities of prestidigitation - I can well imagine endless curiosity and play.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16

Kthulhu wrote:

Scientific progress is largely driven by need, or at least perceived need. With magic readily available, that need is met WITHOUT decades of research and hard work.

In short, magic retards progress and knowledge.

This.

Technology, usable by everyone, benefits the masses.
Magic, usable by the individual, benefits the one, especially the talented one.

Technology is advanced by mass applications of many minds and many hands coming together, many ideas percolating to achieve something. You need many ideas, a lot of labor, and in particular, an ever-evolving array of updated tools and processes to update and experiment with.

One brilliant mind isn't going to change anything radically. He doesn't have the time to do all the experiments, make all the tools, update and revise and keep on going. Even knowing what is possible doesn't mean he can do what is required to get there, as the Tech League in Golarion shows...the entities they speak with don't know much more about high end technology then they do, and trying to convey what is possible and then HOW TO GET THERE is beyond the limits of divination spells.

GURPS fantasy worlds has magic actively fighting against higher tech, especially the development of firearms. Every time gunpowder weapons raise their head, they are quickly fireballed into extinction.

I personally have magic have deleterious side effects on technology that are subtle yet powerful.

1) That which is most combustible, combusts.
This means that incredibly volatile chemical mixtures and fuels, like gunpowder and refined gasoline, spontaneously combust. The only way to make them is to make the things actively fire resistant or develop them in anti-magic shells.

2) Electricity doesn't always follow the path of least resistance.
Electricity is chaotic, and sometimes doesn't take the easy path. Which means it inevitably slags anything not using magic to control it.

3) That which is unnatural is unmade by the natural.
Many modern chemicals, plastics and polymers don't exist in nature, and if they are made by chemical procresses, degrade quickly and sometimes acidically or explosively, which shuts down a lot of chemical development and biochemistry that doesn't also involve alchemy, keeping the 'natural balance' to the core materials intact.

In combination, these three effects made sure that any advancement in technology only comes with the involvement of magic.
Without a major investment by those capable of using magic, technomagic effects don't come around. And that investment isn't all that likely.

And a shocking grasp doesn't generate half the power of a lightning bolt. It generates half the residual power of a natural bolt of lightning to one person. Keep in mind that a natural bolt of lightning would do that damage to thousands of people lined up in a row, extending all the way up into the sky. Remember that a thunderstorm can have the potential energy of a nuclear bomb.

Probably more accurate to say that a Shocking Grasp duplicates the effect of completing a circuit in your home wiring system...or touching a live power cable.

==Aelryinth

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