How do you keep a fantasy setting from a technological explosion?


Pathfinder First Edition General Discussion

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Drahliana Moonrunner wrote:

Which means they only know what the knowledge skills can give them, limited on how much effort they put into learning those skills. And a limit by the knowledge itself. 20 ranks in Heal won't give you 21st century knowledge. 20 ranks in Knowledge Nature/Geography won't give you what Landsaat gives NASA and the Geological Survey.

That's a far far cry from omniscience.

Never said omniscience, but mages would know a hell of a lot in the subjects they chose to max out (further augmented by the divination spells they can possess). If you decide that there are magical limits on knowledge in your setting then that is a houserule.


Milo v3 wrote:
Drahliana Moonrunner wrote:

Which means they only know what the knowledge skills can give them, limited on how much effort they put into learning those skills. And a limit by the knowledge itself. 20 ranks in Heal won't give you 21st century knowledge. 20 ranks in Knowledge Nature/Geography won't give you what Landsaat gives NASA and the Geological Survey.

That's a far far cry from omniscience.

Never said omniscience, but mages would know a hell of a lot in the subjects they chose to max out (further augmented by the divination spells they can possess). If you decide that there are magical limits on knowledge in your setting then that is a houserule.

Setting DCs isn't a houserule. Outside of monster DCs very little is specified. If you want to make DCs for "modern" knowledge out of reach, that's well with the rules.


thejeff wrote:
Setting DCs isn't a houserule. Outside of monster DCs very little is specified. If you want to make DCs for "modern" knowledge out of reach, that's well with the rules.

Again, never said anything about modern levels of knowledge. But collective of super geniuses above anything that has been in history, with more knowledge ranks than anyone in history, with magic that can just give them answers.... They'd be able to know about things like germs. I mean hell, if it's necessary, clerics can Literally ask gods how diseases (any anything else) works.

The common person, might think a disease is simply a curse or a spirit infesting their body (and in some settings that may be true), since they have no ranks in Knowledge (Nature) or Heal. But once you reach mid-levels, the skills ranks and magic are high enough that you can know things above that of an average medieval individual.


UnArcaneElection wrote:

2. Specific to technology using fire: The planet's atmosphere is denser than that of Earth, but does not have proportionally more oxygen, so fires are harder to start and burn with less heat, thus impairing both metallurgy and heat engine efficiency. Conveniently, the denser atmosphere also helps larger creatures fly.

Except campfires and cooking fires burn normally.

I do like the idea for an alternate world expedition, though--throw them into a world with a very high atmospheric pressure but only a normal partial pressure of oxygen. They'll find breathing a bit labored but not seriously so--but non-magical fire will be simply impossible.


Loren Pechtel wrote:
UnArcaneElection wrote:

2. Specific to technology using fire: The planet's atmosphere is denser than that of Earth, but does not have proportionally more oxygen, so fires are harder to start and burn with less heat, thus impairing both metallurgy and heat engine efficiency. Conveniently, the denser atmosphere also helps larger creatures fly.

Except campfires and cooking fires burn normally.

I do like the idea for an alternate world expedition, though--throw them into a world with a very high atmospheric pressure but only a normal partial pressure of oxygen. They'll find breathing a bit labored but not seriously so--but non-magical fire will be simply impossible.

In Jacque Cousteaus deep sea habitat Conshelf Three. The atmosphere was 10x normal pressure being a mix of 2 percent oxygen an 98 percent helium. As it turns out any heavier neutral gas would have been a bad choice. This did mean of course that the crew spent a month sounding like Donald Duck... in French.


Loren Pechtel wrote:
UnArcaneElection wrote:

2. Specific to technology using fire: The planet's atmosphere is denser than that of Earth, but does not have proportionally more oxygen, so fires are harder to start and burn with less heat, thus impairing both metallurgy and heat engine efficiency. Conveniently, the denser atmosphere also helps larger creatures fly.

Except campfires and cooking fires burn normally.

I do like the idea for an alternate world expedition, though--throw them into a world with a very high atmospheric pressure but only a normal partial pressure of oxygen. They'll find breathing a bit labored but not seriously so--but non-magical fire will be simply impossible.

This would have to be tweaked so that campfires and cooking fires would still be usable to an extent that might be difficult by our standards, but that people could get used (have to get the wood extra dry and pick the more flammable types, for example), while making Earth fire-based technology more expensive (does not have to be impossible).

Limiting oxygen concentration is a start, although unfortunately the tables there are missing a lot of stuff we are interested in (can probably find better ones elsewhere online, but not tonight).


I don't like messing with the laws of nature to prevent magic from taking over, to be honest. But as mentioned, if certain technologies aren't dug up, who knows what won't happen? And 'they didn't think of it' IS a valid explanation. How long did it take for the West to figure out the whole 'zero' thing, anyway?

Multiclassing in the system is usually described as a character getting interested in the new class and doing stuff to get there. Samantha the Barbarian is hacking away, but after hitting 4th level she decides to read the spellbook from the squishy casty she gutted instead of selling it off, and now she's Barb 3 / Wiz 1 (and kind'a weird). All a GM needs to do is enforce that idea. 'Ed the Commoner isn't really getting access to all those spellbooks. And he's earning maybe 1 XP every other week. Yeah, we're not going to be seeing Ed getting to Commoner 1 / Wiz 1 anytime soon.'


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Let wizards try, all you do is make an organization that believes this is bad business for the masses, having one group able to corner markets in such a way. At that point assassinations start happening to the Wizards, Psion's or any other that group that wants it all for themselves. Actually it could be an excellent Adventure Path if done right.


Yeah, changing the laws of physics and chemistry directly results in a whole hell of a lot of changes. Think about it this way - increase temperature only three degrees worldwide, and spike the percent of oxygen by five or ten percent, and you get ... dinosaurs ruling. There's all sorts of bad things that can happen if you start setting your 'core rulebook' on its head. Going with 'the very presence of magic turns certain elements of science unreliable, and requires a counterbalance' is by far the cleanest, easiest way of doing it ...


Keep in mind that changing the laws of nature (such as making mixtures of saltpetre, sulfur, and coal dust inert because chemistry has changed or doesn't even exist -- this doesn't fit in our universe, and things from one universe wouldn't even be able to live in the other) is not the same as changing the physical parameters (atmospheric pressure and percent oxygen are different from Earth -- this fits just fine in our universe, and is even survivable for Earth creatures, within limits of noticeable breadth).


UnArcaneElection wrote:

Keep in mind that changing the laws of nature (such as making mixtures of saltpetre, sulfur, and coal dust inert because chemistry has changed or doesn't even exist -- this doesn't fit in our universe, and things from one universe wouldn't even be able to live in the other) is not the same as changing the physical parameters (atmospheric pressure and percent oxygen are different from Earth -- this fits just fine in our universe, and is even survivable for Earth creatures, within limits of noticeable breadth).

Actually, you don't know this. There's a common assumption among astrophysicists that the laws of nature are unchanging across space (and it's supported by one of the Noetherian symmetries, but I forget which one), but there was equally an assumption that the laws of nature are unchanging across mirror reversal until this assumption was proven incorrect in 1956.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16

having magic act against 'non-natural' elements is the easiest way of doing things.

i.e. if it isn't made naturally, or through person-attended alchemical or magical processes, magic fights it, degrades and disrupts it.

Very quickly the artificial substances upon which a tech system is based go away, without any impact on the natural order at all.

this can be VERY discriminatory. For instance, acetaminophen (aspirin) exists naturally in some plants. But we take it in condensed pills. Those pills would fall apart and dissolve. But the 'herbal remedy' would still work fine, and could be alchemically condensed (at significantly greater time/cost then chemistry) to provide the same effect.

Etc.

==Aelryinth


I don't have time to read through this whole thread right now, so I apologise if I'm repeating something that's been said/debunked here.

Basically most of human technological innovation has come from a NEED for something. We made technology to do something that we couldn't do otherwise.
The short version is that magic can do it all, so there's not a lot of people putting effort into technology.
(Full Metal Alchemist is a good example of this, they live in a parallel world to ours where Alchemy works, so they developed that as their big tool/weapon instead of physics)

The railroad (and by extension cars etc) were only invented because we had no form of mass transit.
Telephones were invented because we had no form of instant, long distance communication.
Flight ... why bother with all that aerodynamics stuff when you can already fly?

It's also worth noting that these things were often opposed by the ruling classes (railroad, for example, was only allowed when the ruling classes realised how much money they'd make from it ... according to Horrible Histories anyway).
Wizards being as powerful as they are would DEFINITELY be a part of the ruling classes (whether openly or behind the throne), and a railroad might actually take away from their livelyhoods.

And lastly, most of the really smart people (people with high INT scores) who would be likely to invent some of those machines are more likely to end up in some wizard college practicing magic.

None of this is to say that they wouldn't invent combustion engines, but it probably would take longer just because no-one's pushing the boundaries in this direction. They'd get there, but they'd want to invent teleport circles before the car.

Caveat Extra-Planar Travel:
Extra-Planar travel would mean that some of those wizards would come to our plane of existance. That would mean that they'd take back knowledge of our machines to their plane, and that would speed things up. Basically, if you know someone else has done something, then you know it's possible. You might never have thought of it before, but now that you know it's possible you'll get it done.

I think they'd be a bit behind us technologically, but they wouldn't be stuck in the medieval era forever.


MrCharisma wrote:
I think they'd be a bit behind us technologically, but they wouldn't be stuck in the medieval era forever.

Sorry that was a really long waffley post. The quick version is: "They won't put as many resources towards developing something if they can already achieve it with magic".

Much shorter =P


Orfamay Quest wrote:
UnArcaneElection wrote:

Keep in mind that changing the laws of nature (such as making mixtures of saltpetre, sulfur, and coal dust inert because chemistry has changed or doesn't even exist -- this doesn't fit in our universe, and things from one universe wouldn't even be able to live in the other) is not the same as changing the physical parameters (atmospheric pressure and percent oxygen are different from Earth -- this fits just fine in our universe, and is even survivable for Earth creatures, within limits of noticeable breadth).

Actually, you don't know this. There's a common assumption among astrophysicists that the laws of nature are unchanging across space (and it's supported by one of the Noetherian symmetries, but I forget which one), but there was equally an assumption that the laws of nature are unchanging across mirror reversal until this assumption was proven incorrect in 1956.

Okay, let me rephrase that: Within our observable universe, to the extent that we can observe, altered laws of physics do not fit, with possible exceptions for extremely subtle changes at very long distances/times to the Fine Structure Constant (not sure if the jury is still out on that) and possibly to whatever is causing the expansion of the universe to accelerate, and with possible further exceptions in extreme environments such as neutron star cores and black holes, where life as we know it and Earth laboratory instrumentation cannot survive.


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Aelryinth wrote:

having magic act against 'non-natural' elements is the easiest way of doing things.

i.e. if it isn't made naturally, or through person-attended alchemical or magical processes, magic fights it, degrades and disrupts it.

Very quickly the artificial substances upon which a tech system is based go away, without any impact on the natural order at all.

this can be VERY discriminatory. For instance, acetaminophen (aspirin) exists naturally in some plants. But we take it in condensed pills. Those pills would fall apart and dissolve. But the 'herbal remedy' would still work fine, and could be alchemically condensed (at significantly greater time/cost then chemistry) to provide the same effect.

Etc.

==Aelryinth

And how does the world define what "natural" is? I mean, a herbal remedy can be a plant that was cut into tiny pieces and mixed with sugar. That should work, right? Suppose you also put the plant under a press to squeeze the aspirin out. Would that work? What if you tried to purify what you got after squeezing?

IRL there is no real distinction between "natural" and "not natural", so you would have to come up with your own rules for that.


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MrCharisma wrote:

I don't have time to read through this whole thread right now, so I apologise if I'm repeating something that's been said/debunked here.

Basically most of human technological innovation has come from a NEED for something. We made technology to do something that we couldn't do otherwise.
The short version is that magic can do it all, so there's not a lot of people putting effort into technology.
(Full Metal Alchemist is a good example of this, they live in a parallel world to ours where Alchemy works, so they developed that as their big tool/weapon instead of physics)

The railroad (and by extension cars etc) were only invented because we had no form of mass transit.
Telephones were invented because we had no form of instant, long distance communication.
Flight ... why bother with all that aerodynamics stuff when you can already fly?

This is oversimplified to the point of being wrong, I'm afraid. Inventions don't occur from "need," as much as simple desire, and in many cases, just good, old-fashioned Dumb Luck. If "need" were the driving factor, people would still be driving Model A Fords, taking wood-burning locomotives for long-haul travel, and hunting animals with black-powder smoothbores.

The advantage of technology is that it can be used by anyone, but there's always an advantage to the next generation -- it can be used more efficiently or more cheaply, for example.

So, yes, there's no "need" in Golarion to invent gas-powered street lights (or electrical ones, for that matter), because for a low, low price of only 75 gp, you can put a continual flame spell on any street corner you like.

Except that 75 gp is the rough equivalent of about $7,500. That's a hell of a lot of money, and it would be really nice if there were something cheaper. If it happens to be something that can be built and maintained by an ordinary (cheap) Muggle instead of a wizard, that's even better. Maybe if we, I don't know, used burning coal gas instead.....


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Need does matter, but it is not the only thing that does. Another thing is being able to fully understand something to want it. How many know how a true motor works, never mind trying to dream that up.

Religion was a true force against progression in the dark ages here, in a medieval setting why would that not be the case. The other thing about tech is it equalizes many more things then fantasy does. Would those in power want to give that up?


Klara Meison wrote:
Aelryinth wrote:

having magic act against 'non-natural' elements is the easiest way of doing things.

i.e. if it isn't made naturally, or through person-attended alchemical or magical processes, magic fights it, degrades and disrupts it.

Very quickly the artificial substances upon which a tech system is based go away, without any impact on the natural order at all.

this can be VERY discriminatory. For instance, acetaminophen (aspirin) exists naturally in some plants. But we take it in condensed pills. Those pills would fall apart and dissolve. But the 'herbal remedy' would still work fine, and could be alchemically condensed (at significantly greater time/cost then chemistry) to provide the same effect.

Etc.

==Aelryinth

And how does the world define what "natural" is? I mean, a herbal remedy can be a plant that was cut into tiny pieces and mixed with sugar. That should work, right? Suppose you also put the plant under a press to squeeze the aspirin out. Would that work? What if you tried to purify what you got after squeezing?

IRL there is no real distinction between "natural" and "not natural", so you would have to come up with your own rules for that.

Exactly the issue. Even worse, I'm imagining a technological process that tends to not interfere with magic at all in this setting. After all, what's so natural about steel?


Qaianna wrote:
Klara Meison wrote:
Aelryinth wrote:

having magic act against 'non-natural' elements is the easiest way of doing things.

i.e. if it isn't made naturally, or through person-attended alchemical or magical processes, magic fights it, degrades and disrupts it.

Very quickly the artificial substances upon which a tech system is based go away, without any impact on the natural order at all.

this can be VERY discriminatory. For instance, acetaminophen (aspirin) exists naturally in some plants. But we take it in condensed pills. Those pills would fall apart and dissolve. But the 'herbal remedy' would still work fine, and could be alchemically condensed (at significantly greater time/cost then chemistry) to provide the same effect.

Etc.

==Aelryinth

And how does the world define what "natural" is? I mean, a herbal remedy can be a plant that was cut into tiny pieces and mixed with sugar. That should work, right? Suppose you also put the plant under a press to squeeze the aspirin out. Would that work? What if you tried to purify what you got after squeezing?

IRL there is no real distinction between "natural" and "not natural", so you would have to come up with your own rules for that.

Exactly the issue. Even worse, I'm imagining a technological process that tends to not interfere with magic at all in this setting. After all, what's so natural about steel?

Make that all of metallurgy. That magical sword you wanted? Sorry, can't do, not natural enough.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16

The forge/furnace has runes that resist fire, so it can be heated while the stuff inside melts, and help channel the elemental power of the flames into the metal.

Those melting the steel murmur words of appeasement to the gods of the forge/spirits of fire/the Land/entities of creation/for the enlightenment of the steel.
The flames that heat it are arranged in an arcane pattern. Certain herbs are mixed with the coal for alchemical synergy.

Etc etc etc. 'little somethings' are added to the process.

If you want steel for a magical sword, you better be paying respects to SOME entity of magic as you work the metal...or have an anvil that energizes the metal's potential as you beat on it.

Same thing with the aspirin. The press is old and lovingly carved with seals and symbols of power to channel and keep the natural energy of the plant in the resulting oil. You have to add a personal touch somewhere along the way.

Little things, but they keep the magic part of the process. They require maintenance and skill to keep up, and keep 'living things' part of the process, so 'mass production' doesn't work as soullessly efficiently as it does in our world. In fact, without soul, it doesn't work at all.

And that's how you do it.
=======
Teleportation circles are nice, but are huge security risks, and have a problem...they don't reach everyone IN BETWEEN the circles.
A Teleport circle can effectively turn two distant locations into ONE location with a single passage between them.
A Railroad linking every single settlement in between them, which is far more valuable from a trade standpoint. A line of teleport circles for each location would be hugely expensive (8th level spell x 15th level caster + cost of permanency...ugh!)

as for railroads in a magical world, they already did that with Eberron's lightning train, so it can be done, and easily. It's also a convenient way to travel without worrying about bandits on the road.

==Aelryinth


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I'd like to highlight 2 things here:

1. Development as a step by step process, defined by time.
Technology is progressive and non constant. Discoveries are made due to time invested or chance. It happens at different paces in different places of the world. The knowledge on one thing does not necessarily lead to the knowledge of another, unless very tightly connected, and even then it requires understanding which comes in time invested to study and chance (reconstructing, reproducing a process). Magic skips time and therefore...

2. Magic circumvents step-by-step knowledge of technology.
Magic is magic, sure there is understanding that comes from it but it is not molecular biology, chemistry, physics...it is abstract as defined in Pathfinder and often linked to mathematics or some research. Divine magic is even less related to the understanding of a process and just mumbojumboin' to your god that you want dem nonbelievers smited yo (thank the gods this doesnt exist).

Case study: Glass and the world
The chinese were for a while the most advanced civilisation for quite a while but didnt have good glass manufacture, despite how useful we know glass to be. At the beginning of the glass process its properties and uses were very unknown and limited, unlike developed glass which has allowed us to advance as a civilisation.
The chinese had porcelain, by all means a much better material than glass for the uses they had at the time, so they stuck with that, since there was "no point" to developing the glass industry as much. This is a very interesting topic with much written on it, I am generalising.

Relevancy: Magic is porcelain, technology is glass
If you were to bring magic, something that is more advanced than something else, why would you bother developing the worse option? So technology would be a side project at best in a fantasy world.

Similarly, because you can create iron out of the arcane ley-line harry club smoking discontinuum, you would not need to develop ore refineries or such stuff. Therefore, your advancement relies solely on magical power.

-supply, demand, and more real worlds in here----

Add the fact that 10 wizards will probably go and monopolise the markets and make everyone else obsolete. This will create and environment where 1 nation/group/person doesnt have access to wizard iron defecation, and will look for an alternative because reasons/prices/revenge/loveinterests. Without the access to magic these guys either discover magic or start a step by step process of SCIENCE, B%+#%ES.

-Locke Lamora is hiding from these guys----

The magic people have limited ways to respond to this. Crush the opposition, anyone trying to do magic in the world besides you, making the step by step process miss a few steps and perhaps something not be discovered at all. Perhaps if we had never found how to make fossil fuels go boom we would've made something else and be much much farther ahead in technology than we are now and fossil fuels was our magic. Or perhaps we would all still wear funny hats and monocles instead, whatever.

If magic is unavailable for research/discovery, again the Harrys have the option to either let nations develop technology or to scorching ray their asses, in which case...yeah same thing.

--------------------------TLDR--------------------------

A world with technology together with magic would probably look extremely different from our non-magic counter part world, so you can never assume "hey why dont they have chain-assembly factories by now?" actually even makes sense as a question.

Technology takes time and is a chain in which you can skip steps. However those steps may have lead to something awesome. But you skipped it, keep drinking tea in porcelain while I look at dying stars.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber
Aelryinth wrote:

The forge/furnace has runes that resist fire, so it can be heated while the stuff inside melts, and help channel the elemental power of the flames into the metal.

Those melting the steel murmur words of appeasement to the gods of the forge/spirits of fire/the Land/entities of creation/for the enlightenment of the steel.
The flames that heat it are arranged in an arcane pattern. Certain herbs are mixed with the coal for alchemical synergy.

Etc etc etc. 'little somethings' are added to the process.

If you want steel for a magical sword, you better be paying respects to SOME entity of magic as you work the metal...or have an anvil that energizes the metal's potential as you beat on it.

Same thing with the aspirin. The press is old and lovingly carved with seals and symbols of power to channel and keep the natural energy of the plant in the resulting oil. You have to add a personal touch somewhere along the way.

Little things, but they keep the magic part of the process. They require maintenance and skill to keep up, and keep 'living things' part of the process, so 'mass production' doesn't work as soullessly efficiently as it does in our world. In fact, without soul, it doesn't work at all.

Of course...that just leads to a high magitek setting, which might also be undesired if you want to keep the ramification of high tech down.


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The really important question is: Why would the wizard even be interested in a industrial revolution.

Whatever the machines can do, he can do it better....with magic.

Also: If he creates a machine that does his job, the broad population has no need of him any longer.

But really, the essential part was what was mentioned before: whats the point in using industry, workforce, and scientific advancement if you can simply research spells?

You created a construct that plows the field tirelessly? - I create food from thin air.

You created weaponry that shoots metal pellets at people? - I fireball them while invisible.

You created a huge metal bird to move you through the sky? - Overland Flight.

If anything, people ENVIOUS of wizards powers would aim to create industrial elements duplicating their godlike powers. But then, those who are intellectually capable of doing so, are smart enough to become wizards themselves.
Which then comes down to: Why try and duplicate it, when you can easily go for the real thing that is proven to work?

IMHO you'd actually need a great reason WHY there would be any kind of scientific progress in a world with powerful and widespread magic.


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Goddity wrote:
You're trying to apply reason to magic. That never ends well. Just remember, it's magic. It doesn't have to make sense.

But the best part is that it does make sense.

For a very short answer to the "hampered technology" matter: different factors make for different results. We should stop assuming that the course our world took is the obvious and only course for any other world. Especially for worlds which have about a billion factors that don't even exist in this one.


Astral Wanderer wrote:
Goddity wrote:
You're trying to apply reason to magic. That never ends well. Just remember, it's magic. It doesn't have to make sense.

But the best part is that it does make sense.

For a very short answer to the "hampered technology" matter: different factors make for different results. We should stop assuming that the course our world took is the obvious and only course for any other world. Especially for worlds which have about a billion factors that don't even exist in this one.

Which is nice because we can't easily predict and say "This setup means we get this result".

In other words, you can pick what you want your world to look like and run with it. Don't worry to much about how it shouldn't have turned out that way.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Klara Meison wrote:

A friend of mine asked me this question a couple of days ago, and so far, I don't have a good answer.

Wikipedia tells us that, in real life, industrial revolution "included going from hand production methods to machines, new chemical manufacturing and iron production processes, improved efficiency of water power, the increasing use of steam power, the development of machine tools and the rise of the factory system."

Now, suppose you are a 14-th century England with no magic, and you suddenly got a bunch of wizards(let's say 10 of them, each at lv 12). Just your ordinary wizards without any particularily unusual spells in their spellbooks. What can they do to initiate their own industrial revolution?

Well, for starters, they can just make pure iron. Wall of Iron spell makes a 5ft sq/level , 1/4 inch/level thick wall of, well, iron. That is 16.7 metric tons(5*5 square=25 square feet=2.32sq meters; 3 inch=0.0762 meters;density of iron=7.87 tons/cubic meter; 2.32*0.0762*12*7870=16.7 metric tons) of iron for your average 12 lv wizard, per one cast of the spell. And they can cast 2 of those per day(3 with a high INT score), which brings them to 33.4 tons per day minimum. Internet tells me that british iron production in 1700 was 12,000 metric tonnes a year, or 32 tons per day, so 10 wizards can outproduce a country without even trying much.

Wall of iron don't produce pure iron:

PRD wrote:
Iron created by this spell is not suitable for use in the creation of other objects and cannot be sold.

The simplest interpretation for that is that it is very impure iron and that to be used for crafting something it need to be purified, like raw ore.

Klara Meison wrote:


Secondly, they can eschew machine tools. Who needs machine tools when you have Fabricate? Transmute all that iron you just made into whatever is made of iron. Pots, nails, I-beams...Sky is the limit, really. And it only takes a minute to turn all that iron you produced with your wall of iron into finished products.

Again, the spell text stop you:

PRD wrote:
You convert material of one sort into a product that is of the same material.

Quite limited. You can transform steel into steel beams, but you can't transform coal and pure iron into steel as you would be transforming material of 2 sorts into a different material that is made combining the two.

Even disregarding that:

PRD wrote:
You must make an appropriate Craft check to fabricate articles requiring a high degree of craftsmanship.

What is the Craft (blacksmith) check needed to make steel beams? AFAIK they have never been produced in a forge by a blacksmith, they require the use of heavy machinery. so what is the check based on medieval technology? 40? 50? More?

Most industrial technology age materials have the same problem. Even a screw require the use of precision tools or a very expert smith. As you are making your check withouts tools it is extremely hard.

Klara Meison wrote:


Next, why don't we ruin agricultural sector while we are at it? For example, we can make a tractor. Be it a construct, an actual vehicle with a Wondrous Item for an engine or something else, point is, Wizard can make it happen. And it probably wouldn't cost a stupendous ammount of money to do so. Now your agriculture is incredibly efficient, and you don't even have to waste money on gas.

Don't cost a stupendous amount of money? The purchasing power of 1 gold piece is between 30 and 50 euro by my playing group estimates.

Cost to craft a medium animated object: 2,250 gp, so between 66,000 and 110,000 euro. Sell price is twice that.
For most farmers that is a stupendous amount of money as you need to have the cash to make the animated object. You can't purchase it by installments as the crafter need the money to make it.

Requirements to craft it 3 feats. If you are a wizard you can be able to craft it at level 5. Other spellcasting classes without bonus feats at level 7.

Apparently magical items are immune to wear and tear, but there is no hard rule saying so. Rule wise some they simply have exceptional resistance to damage, getting saving throw against when non magical items don't get them, and, for some item, getting extra hardness and/or hit points.

Klara Meison wrote:


Did I already mention a Wondrous item in place of the engine? I am pretty sure that there are a thousand ways to make Perpetuum Mobile with magic for less than 10000 gold. Make a permanent shocking grasp spell to get a perfect electricity generator for example, it will cost you ~1k gold. Same with more "mechanical" powersources.

You can't make instantaneous effects permanent.

Klara Meison wrote:


I might well be missing some other potential exploits, but the general idea is clear-if you just add Wizards into a medievil setting, things aren't going to stay the same for long. Something is going to change radically, to the point where you won't be able to recognise the world.

Now, suppose you wanted to keep the tech level stable, AND have wizards. For that, you would need some counterbalance to magic, something that would slow down the progress of society back to normal levels. What do you think that might be?

The level of the casters needed against the average level of the population;

the kind of schooling needed to train enough spellcasters;
some indication in Golarion lore that the magical energy is a finite resource (see Mana Wastes);
in built limitations to most spells;
that there are several civilizations that that did know how to craft something and never made much of it. Romans and Greeks had a (inefficient) steam engine, the Aeolipile. There was even some suggestion to use it to move material while building a temple. The Roman emperor of the time gave the a prize to the person suggesting that for his inventiveness but said: "I have to give work to Rome population, I don't want riots because a machine did replace them."

Grand Lodge

I think the Mana Wastes is the best example of where tech can go, Magic is none existent there and they have pushed tech to much higher levels.

They basically have a free pass to be free from magic because of the blatant abuse of magic in that area. I like the idea of Finite magic and that could be the reason that empires fall, they just suck the last of the magic from the world and it has to basically come back over time.


Aelryinth wrote:

{. . .}

Little things, but they keep the magic part of the process. They require maintenance and skill to keep up, and keep 'living things' part of the process, so 'mass production' doesn't work as soullessly efficiently as it does in our world. In fact, without soul, it doesn't work at all.
{. . .}

One problem: Rahadoum has been around for quite a while, and despite the fervent wishes of some, it hasn't collapsed from a plague of materials failures.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16

Rahadoum would be TEXTBOOK example of how to do this.

They switched to massive reliance on arcane magic and alchemy, after all. No more praying over their goods, not us!

Very bad example on your part. When I say 'soul', it has nothing to do with the divine. It means that a living force of some kind be involved in the process. Pure machinery/mechanization won't do the job.

==Aelryinth


"Soul" does imply a divine connection . . . But here's a better example: Various caverns exist on Golarion without needing magic to keep them from collapsing (although arguably the really titanic ones do need magic -- but caverns that big would need magic sufficiently advanced technology here too).


UnArcaneElection wrote:

"Soul" does imply a divine connection . . . But here's a better example: Various caverns exist on Golarion without needing magic to keep them from collapsing (although arguably the really titanic ones do need magic -- but caverns that big would need magic sufficiently advanced technology here too).

Soul is more a psychic thing than a divine thing in Pathfinder.


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You roll up a newspaper and smack it on the nose. "NO! BAD SETTING! NO DEVIATING!"


SilvercatMoonpaw wrote:
You roll up a newspaper and smack it on the nose. "NO! BAD SETTING! NO DEVIATING!"

Sometimes this works. Sometimes it doesn't. It depends on how much pull the one with the newspaper has over whoever's writing for the setting.

I also wonder how much narrative pressure there can be from people who need certain things to happen. Or just take certain things for granted and forget some of the conveniences of technology.

There's one other thing I'm now pondering, and whether it's a factor is a question: how many scientists can you get working? Someone earlier mentioned the twin factors of education ('I don't need fancy figuring to make a plow!') and time ('Who has time to learn about this "zero" thing and arithmetic when I have to tend the fields?'). And can they get in touch with each other?

I'm now thinking back to Golarion, and some of its less-explored places.


Generous dosages of GM fiat and hand-waving... With a side of helpful players and agreement on setting preference.


Keep mass communication out of the picture, and anyone but arcane casters might not even recognize a difference between magic and technology

I'd also point out that technological innovation does happen quickly when it happens, but not so quickly that it that it would effect gameplay at the table; I doubt your PCs would come back to their home village to find that all the butter churns had been replaced with eggbeaters just through the steady course of progress.

You could also draw up a timeline for your campaign world, decide when the technological explosion takes place, and set your campaign in a period long before hand. Any player efforts to craft high tech items could end up as your setting historical curiosities like the Baghdad Battery.

Grand Lodge

What would people say that Alkenstar's tech level is at? I know they have a standing Militia with fire arms but what other tech have they advanced? Steam power?


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I'd expect the biggest obstacles to a technological revolution to be just how dangerous Golarion is.

Sandpoint's a "safe" area, and it has stuff like multiple goblin tribes, ghoul packs, and the Sandpoint Devil (a CR 8 outsider with 114 HP, fire & fear immunity, DR 5/cold iron, SR 19, a 10d6 breath weapon with a curse rider, dimension door, phantasmal killer, and a 300 ft. radius AoE fear attack) in its environs.

The Sandpoint Devil could kill most of Sandpoint by itself if it tried.

And that's pretty mundane for Golarion. Go to any of the regions with hags or linnorms or pissed off fey or rampaging demons or free-roaming devils and things can get so much worse.

In a sense, this is like asking why we couldn't have an industrial revolution while the Mongol Horde was invading =P

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Raltus wrote:
What would people say that Alkenstar's tech level is at? I know they have a standing Militia with fire arms but what other tech have they advanced? Steam power?

It's probably 1900'ish, with steam power instead of electrical power.

===Aelryinth

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16

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Zhangar wrote:

I'd expect the biggest obstacles to a technological revolution to be just how dangerous Golarion is.

Sandpoint's a "safe" area, and it has stuff like multiple goblin tribes, ghoul packs, and the Sandpoint Devil (a CR 8 outsider with 114 HP, fire & fear immunity, DR 5/cold iron, SR 19, a 10d6 breath weapon with a curse rider, dimension door, phantasmal killer, and a 300 ft. radius AoE fear attack) in its environs.

The Sandpoint Devil could kill most of Sandpoint by itself if it tried.

And that's pretty mundane for Golarion. Go to any of the regions with hags or linnorms or pissed off fey or rampaging demons or free-roaming devils and things can get so much worse.

In a sense, this is like asking why we couldn't have an industrial revolution while the Mongol Horde was invading =P

You mean it's hard to develop a broad, wide low-level advanced infrastructure when you're under constant threat of death/invasion/being mealtime?

Bah, I say you.

==Aelryinth


Aelryinth wrote:
Raltus wrote:
What would people say that Alkenstar's tech level is at? I know they have a standing Militia with fire arms but what other tech have they advanced? Steam power?

It's probably 1900'ish, with steam power instead of electrical power.

===Aelryinth

Wouldn't that just be 1800'ish? ;P

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16

Nope. They have fairly advanced RIFLES, revolvers, and fairly sophisticated steam power with marginal mass production facilities. Note that most of the 'old west' takes place in the 1860-s to 1880's, and that's about where this is gun-wise (no Gatlings yet, however).

1900 isn't all that much better then 1870, mind you. The big difference was cars were starting to come online, and that was driving the oil and chemical industries to new heights. That's not going to be a factor here.

==Aelryinth


I'll echo some other comments...don't do this to yourself. The deeper you look and more informed you become, the less sense things will make, until eventually you can't ignore the blatantly schizophrenic nature of the implied setting. You'll be much happier if you just hand-wave magic and move on.

If, however, you're determined, I'd say the single biggest thing driving the industrial revolution is access to lots and lots of cheap power.


Hey man, I didn't write the CRB. I'm not the one who decided to include "always round down," but now that it's there, it counts for centuries just like fractions and decimals!

Speaking seriously, if we're dealing with Golarion (or any other published setting for that matter) then avoiding a technological explosion is the Paizo (or whoever) creative team's business, not any individual GM's. So long as every campaign starts simultaneously (not that they have to) it isn't even an issue.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16

Yeah, the industrial revolution started with water power. The first harbingers of it were mills that ran on water wheels. Then steam power and coal-fired became a thing to drive the engines, slowly improving over time.

And then someone realized all the wonderful things electricity could do if you had turbines and a lot of wiring all over the place, and things REALLY took off.

So, water->coal->electricity was the development. Alkenstar might be at the coal stage, but nobody is really at the electrical stage, except oddballs up in Numeria.

==Aelryinth

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16

Orfamay Quest wrote:


So, yes, there's no "need" in Golarion to invent gas-powered street lights (or electrical ones, for that matter), because for a low, low price of only 75 gp, you can put a continual flame spell on any street corner you like.

You mean, for the Low, Low Price of Calling in a Torch Archon to help you bring light to the world, you can COntinual Light up a city for nothing. (SLA for Torch Archons).

==Aelryinth


Aelryinth wrote:

Yeah, the industrial revolution started with water power. The first harbingers of it were mills that ran on water wheels. Then steam power and coal-fired became a thing to drive the engines, slowly improving over time.

And then someone realized all the wonderful things electricity could do if you had turbines and a lot of wiring all over the place, and things REALLY took off.

So, water->coal->electricity was the development. Alkenstar might be at the coal stage, but nobody is really at the electrical stage, except oddballs up in Numeria.

Of course, water wheels date to Classical times, so you've got a pretty long period in between "water driven mill" and "industrial revolution".


Hitdice wrote:
Any player efforts to craft high tech items could end up as your setting historical curiosities like the Baghdad Battery.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baghdad_Battery

Don't condemn me for using wikipedia, they use sources..
Battery, Electroplating, Bitumen as insulator or storage vessels for scrolls

those are the four hypotheses about "a ceramic pot, a tube of one metal, and a rod of another."
and
"The current interpretation of their purpose is as a storage vessel for sacred scrolls from nearby Seleucia on the Tigris."

If you're going to reference smth, check if it's still true.


thejeff wrote:

Of course, water wheels date to Classical times, so you've got a pretty long period in between "water driven mill" and "industrial revolution".

I think it comes down to producing power easily and cheaply -- which means a chemical (or later, nuclear) reaction -- rather than relying on potential energy, which is situational, location specific and not really scaleable.

Then again, I'm no physicist; maybe it isn't that clear-cut.


Aelryinth wrote:
Orfamay Quest wrote:

So, yes, there's no "need" in Golarion to invent gas-powered street lights (or electrical ones, for that matter), because for a low, low price of only 75 gp, you can put a continual flame spell on any street corner you like.

You mean, for the Low, Low Price of Calling in a Torch Archon to help you bring light to the world, you can COntinual Light up a city for nothing. (SLA for Torch Archons).

==Aelryinth

Though

PRD CRB Magic wrote:
When the spell that summoned a creature ends and the creature disappears, all the spells it has cast expire. A summoned creature cannot use any innate summoning abilities it may have.

So you must do a lesser planar ally (2,000 gp to the archon for borrowing it from Heaven for a few days) or lesser planar binding spell (costing whatever the wizard abducting a lantern archon wants to charge you, expected minimum of 1,080 gp for casting the three spells it takes to actually abduct a lantern archon) to get it done for realsies.

And either way, you need a 9th level caster, which may be a hurdle for most small settlements.

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