High Tech in The Hollow World?

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High Tech in The Hollow World?

Postby Angel Tarragon » Mon Feb 27, 2017 8:17 pm

How expansive is high technology and high technological inventions in The Hollow World? How is the interaction of tech and magic defined?
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Re: High Tech in The Hollow World?

Postby Havard » Mon Feb 27, 2017 8:45 pm

Angel Tarragon wrote:How expansive is high technology and high technological inventions in The Hollow World? How is the interaction of tech and magic defined?


The only High Technological devices I can think of are the tools and vehicles used by the Blacklore Elves. However, those inventions have been altered and now run on magic rather than pure technology. That also means they do not function outside the Blacklore Valley.

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Re: High Tech in The Hollow World?

Postby ripvanwormer » Mon Feb 27, 2017 9:47 pm

The Spell of Preservation keeps every culture frozen at the technological level it was at when the Immortals originally preserved it. The Azcans are limited to obsidian weapons and the Nithians to bronze weapons, while the Merry Pirates are a mixed culture with more of an Age of Discovery technological level (no gunpowder canonically, but if any Hollow World culture has gunpowder it should be them; if you use the 2nd edition RED STEEL setting it might make sense to allow gunpowder among the Merry Pirates). Individual PCs can learn to use the inventions of other cultures, but cultures as a whole are stuck at the level the Immortals allow for them.

The Merry Pirates are something of an exception to the normal rule that cultures are preserved as they were on the Outer World since they're a new culture made from a blending of different Outer World piratical types. Basically, Ka the Preserver said, "We should use this hollow world to preserve cultures that would otherwise die out" and Korotiku was like, "We should add more pirates, pirates are awesome!" Ka asked, "Okay, what pirates specifically?" and Korotiku screamed "All pirates! All pirates from throughout time will hang out and party together!" Ka demurred, "That's not really what the Hollow World is for..." but Korotiku kept shouting "Piiiirraaaates!" over and over until the other Immortals gave in and let him have a pirate realm.

The Blacklore Elves are kind of (at least in my interpretation) a cyberpunk culture, though as Havard said the Immortals decided that the actual technology of the late Blackmoor era was too dangerous to preserve. As a result, the Blacklore culture uses magical simulacra of Blackmoor tech. Unlike the ancestors whose culture they mimic, they don't really understand their technology, can't replicate it, and it stops functioning outside of their valley. So it resembles technology without actually being technology.

There's been discussion before about how the Spell of Preservation does a good job explaining why the Hollow World setting is the way it is but that it stops being useful once you've actually begun a campaign. The HWA modules were, in Allen Varney's original pitch, supposed to end with the Spell of Preservation broken and the peoples of the Hollow World free to determine their own fate, but the decision was made not to upset the setting's status quo so early. With the HWA modules the only Hollow World adventures ever published, though, they probably should have gone with Allen Varney's idea.
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Re: High Tech in The Hollow World?

Postby Angel Tarragon » Mon Feb 27, 2017 10:21 pm

ripvanwormer wrote:The Blacklore Elves are kind of (at least in my interpretation) a cyberpunk culture, though as Havard said the Immortals decided that the actual technology of the late Blackmoor era was too dangerous to preserve. As a result, the Blacklore culture uses magical simulacra of Blackmoor tech. Unlike the ancestors whose culture they mimic, they don't really understand their technology, can't replicate it, and it stops functioning outside of their valley. So it resembles technology without actually being technology.
This really irks me. I want tech that is tech. I have been open to Mystara, but find it extremely difficult. I suppose what I really want is to get to know the Blacklore Elf culture at its height.
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Re: High Tech in The Hollow World?

Postby Havard » Mon Feb 27, 2017 10:27 pm

Angel Tarragon wrote:
ripvanwormer wrote:The Blacklore Elves are kind of (at least in my interpretation) a cyberpunk culture, though as Havard said the Immortals decided that the actual technology of the late Blackmoor era was too dangerous to preserve. As a result, the Blacklore culture uses magical simulacra of Blackmoor tech. Unlike the ancestors whose culture they mimic, they don't really understand their technology, can't replicate it, and it stops functioning outside of their valley. So it resembles technology without actually being technology.
This really irks me. I want tech that is tech. I have been open to Mystara, but find it extremely difficult. I suppose what I really want is to get to know the Blacklore Elf culture at its height.


The Spell of Preservation can be annoying, but it depends on how you approach it. The way I see it, it does not prevent individuals from using items outside their culture/techology, it only works on larger groups. Entire cultures cannot be changed.

If you want technological artifacts to be found in the Hollow World, I think there is also the possibility of Blackmoor Era exploration teams having discovered the Hollow World and left behind technological relics in the Hollow World. There are also the Gnomes of Oostdok.

Why is it so important for you to have high technology on Mystara? And why the Hollow World in particular?

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Re: High Tech in The Hollow World?

Postby Angel Tarragon » Mon Feb 27, 2017 10:31 pm

Havard wrote:Why is it so important for you to have high technology on Mystara? And why the Hollow World in particular?
It is not important to me to have high technology on Mystara. What is important to me is to find sources in rpgs (dnd/d20/ogl worlds) where tech is tech so that I can take inspiration for my own uses. While I am looking forward to Starfinder, it is a level of Magitech outside of what I'd like to use in a planetlocked setting.
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Re: High Tech in The Hollow World?

Postby Havard » Mon Feb 27, 2017 10:45 pm

Angel Tarragon wrote:
Havard wrote:Why is it so important for you to have high technology on Mystara? And why the Hollow World in particular?
It is not important to me to have high technology on Mystara. What is important to me is to find sources in rpgs (dnd/d20/ogl worlds) where tech is tech so that I can take inspiration for my own uses. While I am looking forward to Starfinder, it is a level of Magitech outside of what I'd like to use in a planetlocked setting.


Ah okay. In that case I think the Blacklore Civilization is something you would want to read up on. The main official source on them is the HW boxed set. They also appear briefly in one of the HW modules in a dream sequence.

-Havard

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Re: High Tech in The Hollow World?

Postby Chimpman » Mon Feb 27, 2017 11:17 pm

Angel Tarragon wrote:
Havard wrote:Why is it so important for you to have high technology on Mystara? And why the Hollow World in particular?
It is not important to me to have high technology on Mystara. What is important to me is to find sources in rpgs (dnd/d20/ogl worlds) where tech is tech so that I can take inspiration for my own uses. While I am looking forward to Starfinder, it is a level of Magitech outside of what I'd like to use in a planetlocked setting.

As Havard said, you can get a sense of what the Blackloor technology level was like at its height from reading about the Blackloor elves in the Hollow World... however don't look for that entry to give you game mechanics/explanations for how their original technology worked. It's just not there.

However... having said that, I would suggest some other Mystaran sources to mine for "technology/technomancy" ideas.
  • The Book of Wondrous Inventions has several examples of items that could be considered "technomantic" in nature. At the very least folks post Blackmoor may have been trying to reproduce Blackmoorian technology of old.
  • The Flying City of Serriane (PC2 Top Ballista) is definitely a technomagical construct cobbled together from ancient Blackmoorian artifacts. You might be able to pull some inspiration from that.
  • Oostdok from the Hollow World, is a gnomish culture that uses zeppelins... not high technology, but still something.
  • CM4 Earthshaker! is a module that deals with ancient Blackmoorian technology (the Earthshaker in particular, a giant mechanical war machine recently refurbished by a clan of gnomes).
  • The Snartan gnomes of the Vulcanian Peninsula (on the outer world) are IIRC an expansion of ideas in CM4. Those aren't technically canon (but are close enough, having been developed at least in part by Bruce Heard).
  • Oh yeah... the DA series modules may also have some inspiration for you, especially City of the Gods, where PCs are meant to explore an old crashed space craft.
  • EDIT: Gaz 3 and Gaz 13, both describe mechanics for using the Radiance, which might also be of interest.

There are probably references I'm missing, but those are the ones that come to the top of my head. There are other fanon examples - if you're interested in those I could list a few more. Hope that helps.
Last edited by Chimpman on Mon Feb 27, 2017 11:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: High Tech in The Hollow World?

Postby Chimpman » Mon Feb 27, 2017 11:26 pm

Angel Tarragon wrote:
ripvanwormer wrote:The Blacklore Elves are kind of (at least in my interpretation) a cyberpunk culture, though as Havard said the Immortals decided that the actual technology of the late Blackmoor era was too dangerous to preserve. As a result, the Blacklore culture uses magical simulacra of Blackmoor tech. Unlike the ancestors whose culture they mimic, they don't really understand their technology, can't replicate it, and it stops functioning outside of their valley. So it resembles technology without actually being technology.
This really irks me. I want tech that is tech. I have been open to Mystara, but find it extremely difficult. I suppose what I really want is to get to know the Blacklore Elf culture at its height.

I just wanted to comment a little bit on the tone and feeling of Mystara... one thing that you will see over and over again (in multiple Mystaran resources) is that Blackmoor destroyed the world! That was almost 4000 years from present era Mystara, however there are a group of Immortal beings watching over the planet that want to make sure it NEVER happens again. So while Mystara may have myths and legends about technologically advanced civilizations, as a setting it was never really designed to describe these things.

Having said that, many fans of the setting (myself included) have been drawn to these ideas over the years, so there is a plethora of fan material expanding on those ideas on the Vaults of Pandius. Probably much more fandom material than canon material.
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