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Technology

From ThornsWiki

Introduction

Vita's technology has developed largely on par with Earth technology in the mid-to-late Victorian era (roughly speaking, the 19th century). There are, however, minor exceptions; some technology (e.g. the gun and locomotive engine) has developed more slowly, while other technology (e.g. the aeroship) has developed at an advanced rate. Other technology, such as the seerstone and the phosphor lantern, is entirely different from Earth technology.

If you're not sure about something that isn't mentioned on this page, check to see if it was invented on Earth pre-1890, or ask a moderator.

Household Conveniences

Lighting

A phosphor lantern is a lamp lit with Vitan phosphor, which collects light during the day and glows at night. A particularly potent strain of phosphor is abundant in the mines of Anaxas, so these lanterns are very popular - they do not need to be relit, only lose their potency after several generations of use, and turn themselves on automatically when it grows dark. They give off a very pleasant blue, red, golden or orange glow (depending on the strain). Due to the rarity and expense of Vitan phosphor, these lamps are luxuries. Most humans and wicks use oil lamps, and some older galdori homes have oil lamps installed. There are many who prefer the kind of light one can get from a flame. Currently, electric lighting is not available.

Plumbing

The sewer and plumbing system in Anaxas is on par with mid-1800s technology on Earth. Some homes in Vita still do not have running water, but a growing sector of the population is fortunate enough to have indoor plumbing. This is especially common in galdori homes such as those in Brunnhold and Vienda. Flush toilets do exist and are very common, as are baths (showers much less so). Sinks (or lavatories) are not generally found in Anaxi bathrooms; instead, a washbasin is filled each morning from a pump or a running water faucet inside the house.

For those not lucky enough to afford a house with indoor plumbing, there are communal outdoor pumps, wells, and fountains. Bedpans are used in lieu of toilets among the poor. In Vienda and Brunnhold, there are large aqueducts that feed an underground system of lead pipes; in addition to supplying water to those houses with indoor plumbing, these aqueducts can be accessed from above ground in certain areas.

Entertainment

Recorded music has only recently become a technological possibility. Phonographs were the first inventions to record sound, and were in wide use among the galdori despite a few drawbacks in convenience. They were soon overtaken by gramophone records, which use spinning discs rather than cylinders. Gramophones are still very new and exciting, and only the very rich have them. Wicks have become particularly fond of recording performances on phonograph cylinders, and often go to great lengths to obtain old phonographs.

The motion picture device was recently invented by Harper Moore, who is among other things a camera spectra hobbyist. He has applied for a patent. The device is still rudimentary, and currently very few people see any potential in it (aside from its use in recording ghost movements). Needless to say, it is not publicly available yet.

Refrigeration

Iceboxes can be found in galdori homes and most businesses; ice is purchased and used to cool the contents of the icebox. Compression refrigeration machines do exist, but are very rare and expensive; they are typically reserved for businesses that need to keep food and drink cold, or in factories. Ice-making machines are more common, and there are shops that sell large blocks of ice for use in iceboxes.

Electricity

Electricity is not widely used in any practical manner outside of the sciences, but the incandescent bulb has been invented, and is used mainly in industrial settings.

Aeroship Travel

An aeroship is a vessel supported in the air, by both magical interference and one more more balloons. Magic is generally used to manipulate the controls, many of which are hidden from view and can only be operated by a galdor who is trained in the process; some aeroships have been "scalped", meaning the controls are visible, and modified to allow a secular user to control the ship.

Construction and Function

Aeroship balloons are filled with a gas known as artevium. This gas is highly buoyant and can lift heavy objects easily; it is tempered and controlled by several means, both mechanical and magical. The gas' unique properties actually repel the ship away from Vita's magnetic core, and it is regulated by an interior gas control system. It is compressed and decompressed with pneumatic pumps to make the aeroship go up and down. The gas is flammable, which is why proper regulation and control is so important on an aeroship, and pirate aeroships are said to be "running hot".

The balloon itself has a hard outer chainmail shell, and the balloon beneath it is made of watertight leather. It's semi-solid, so if it gets hit it can bounce and then reshape itself. Propellers and rudders aid in steering, making aeroships maneuverable and capable of a sustained hover.

Use and Economics of Aeroships

Although aeroships are not sufficiently advanced enough to be much faster than other means of travel, it is much more convenient to have a direct path to your destination, so taking an aeroship means a net gain in time saved. Aeroships are particularly useful in cross-country travel, for they can pass over mountains and other natural obstacles easily. This makes them the preferred method of travel for the upper-class.

Because of their enormous cost and the preparatory spells that must be cast to protect them, aeroships are indicative of great wealth. Ambassadors, politicians and explorers are among the only people to own private aeroships. There is a booming business for commercial aeroship travel - companies buy or construct aeroships and ferry people back and forth between cities for a fee.

Flying Hot

Rogue aeroships (ships flying without the protection of conversation) are rare, and are usually owned by wealthy pirates, who sometimes accost a legitimate aeroship in mid-air and rob it. Rogue aeroships are incredibly dangerous because they often employ volatile gases to stay aloft, and usually carry gunpowder or other explosive materials on board to threaten legitimate airships and discourage aerial combat. (This is generally indicated by a large graphic image of a poppy flower on the balloon or the flag, which has become the aerial equivalent of a skull and crossbones.) As they tend to be owned by humans or wicks, these rogue aeroships do not have magic on board that is strong enough to repair a hypothetical leak in their balloons, regulate the gas main, or control the steering column in an emergency. A rogue aeroship is said to be "flying hot."

Other Forms of Travel

Locomotive Engine

The locomotive engine was recently patented by Brent Locksme, and there are plans to implement a new railway system in Anaxas and eventually elsewhere, to unite the entire world. Land travel has downsides compared to aeroship travel, but Locksme sees it as a way to allow the secular population to travel cheaply and efficiently. Unlike aeroships, locomotive travel would be widely available to everyone.

Carriages, Cabs and Cycles

Commercial cab companies are on the rise, especially in large cities; cabbies will ferry galdori and civilians back and forth for a small fee. Rickshaw runners are still quite popular in the city, especially among galdori.

There are many carriage companies that rent medium-sized or large carriages for cross-country transport, usually with a professional driver at the helm.

Bicycles are common throughout the nation; the penny-farthing bicycle (called the penny-bird, in reference to underworld currency) has recently been going out of style in favor of the safety bicycle.

Animals

Animal-powered travel is still popular among the secular races. Horses and kensers are the most widely used mounts. Moa and chroven are used as mounts by galdori, though only in certain settings; chroven are almost exclusively ridden by The Seventen, while moa serve the purpose that fancy horses do in our world (i.e., less practical than recreational).

Ships

Travel by steamboat has been steadily increasing in the last fifty years. It is now common to take a steamboat to another city, and many companies exist for this purpose. Steamboats have revolutionized trade and greatly improved the availability of travel to the civilian races. Sailing ships are used more on the open sea.

Ironclad steamships are being developed for use in warfare, but are still not common.

Warfare and Combat

Guns

The pistol was developed by humans, primarily for humans. It has the ability to counter offensive magic with a well-placed bullet, and has been instrumental in the human resistance, as it gives humans some sort of defense against the galdori.

Pistols are illegal in Anaxas. Because their development has been so stifled by the galdori government, gun technology lags behind the rest of Vitan technology. Until very recently, the best pistol available was a muzzle-loaded flintlock pistol. Due to their illegality and how costly and risky it is to produce them, all guns are very rare and expensive.

The revolving flintlock pistol was recently developed by the human resistance, along with other variations that shoot weaponized morphine instead of bullets. This type of gun has a revolving barrel and six pre-loaded shots. It is not yet public knowledge or available to anyone for use.

Other Weapons of War

Modern war-weapons include a lot of steam-powered or pneumatic technology. Pressurized cannons and catapults, pneumatic crossbows with gas barrels and various chemical bombs are being developed during the lull of peace in the early twenty-eighth century.

War-time Vehicles

Steamtanks will soon be used in modern warfare. These ironclad vehicles are tracked and armored to protect against physical onslaught, and powered by the newly patented locomotive engine; a large cannon or crossbow is mounted in the front.

Printing

Text

Movable type printing has been around in Vita for many centuries; steam-powered rotary presses are the current preferred method for mass-producing texts. Personal typewriters are common among the humans as well as the galdori.

All grimoires are written in Monite, and the most successful ones are mass-produced by means of lithography. Not surprisingly given the complexity of the language, Monite "typewriters" are incredibly rare. There are only two in the entire land of Anaxas, in Brunnhold and Vienda. They are enormous, impressive machines the size of whole rooms. Most galdori consider it a kind of sacrilege to print Monite, considering how many thousands of symbols there are and how many variables go into transcribing the language. Indeed, these printers are far from useful or practical when it comes to more complex spells and spell notation.

Images

The camera spectra is a picture-taking machine that operates via a combination of magic and technology. It was developed only 20 years ago, but already it has revitalized journalism and historical documentation. Pictures produced by camera spectra are known as spectragrams (or "specs") and it has become a popular, though expensive, hobby. These machines rely on a burst of magically-produced light to capture their images onto plates. They have a steep learning curve, and can only be used by a magic-user (galdor or wick).

With the invention of the camera spectra, it is now possible to capture images for use in journalism; these images are reproduced by means of lithography.

Inventing Technology

You might ask, "Can my character invent new technology that doesn't seem to exist in Vita?"

The answer: talk to a moderator. If the technology is not listed on this page, but was invented before 1890, it may already exist in the Thorniverse. If it does not exist, it's probably for a good reason. Some aspects of Vitan technology are lagging behind, typically due to political or social dynamics that didn't exist in our world in the Victorian era.

If the technology you want to invent is something that was invented post-1890 (or if you want to create something that would become a de facto replacement for that thing, through magic or some other means), the answer will probably be no. We want to keep our timeline secure against radical developments that would alter society in a huge way. You, as the player, obviously have access to technological or scientific knowledge that Vitans would not have. The trick is to play the game as though you were not privy to this information. It would be unfair if players could use their modern knowledge, which was hard-won by generations of very intelligent people, to invent things that shouldn't exist yet.

Advancements and improvements upon current Vitan technology may be acceptable, but only if there is a good reason for it; talk to a moderator before pursuing a plotline in which your character significantly advances technology, especially if would essentially change the world.