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09-15-1998, 03:17 AM #1Brian StonerGuest
The topic of gunpowder comes up with some regularity on this list.
However, gunpowder was more or less discovered by accident (trying to
find a medicinal elixer ironically..similar to the discovery of
dynamite). On the other hand, steam power was figured out through the
use of reason. In fact, an ancient Greek by the name of Heron (sp?) had
a working, though primitive, steam engine. When he took the idea to the
Emperor of Rome (who was in charge at the time) the Emperor was
interested at first, but upon hearing all the different things that
could be done with it, declined to help..wondering what they would do
with all the slaves.
Now, seeing as how steam power is relatively simple, has anyone
considered how this may effect a land like Cerilia? Imagine if the
Romans had gone ahead and developed the technology. Three primary uses
come to mind, locomotives, steam ships, and mills. Within a few decades
to a century, the Empire would have become much more powerful than it
already was...which was emmense by any reckoning. The ability to move
troops quickly would have helped in shoring up defenses abroad and at
home. The increased reliability of trade and travel would have had a
great deal of power in strengthening the economy. And with few other
nations to oppose, the Empire would have pushed it's borders much
farther. Imagine an industrial revolution way back then. All this
It is weird to think of Roman legions riding the trains out to the
front, armed with the same short swords and spears. Or steam ships
flying the Roman standard hauling cargo from Alexandria to London in a
matter of days.
I'm not necissarily advocating the introduction of steam engines to a
campaign, just imagining the possiblities.
09-15-1998, 03:45 AM #2Simon GraindorgeGuest
>Now, seeing as how steam power is relatively simple, has anyone
>considered how this may effect a land like Cerilia? Imagine if the
>Romans had gone ahead and developed the technology. Three primary uses
>come to mind, locomotives, steam ships, and mills.
in my campaigns, I usually have the dwarves already possessing steam
technology, though they don't use it for particularly military purposes. It
is more for things such as manufacture/milling/production/digging
tools/mining/etc. I can't envisage the dwarves coming up with steam ships,
but locomotives would be interesting.
>The ability to move
>troops quickly would have helped in shoring up defenses abroad and at
>home. The increased reliability of trade and travel would have had a
>great deal of power in strengthening the economy. And with few other
>nations to oppose, the Empire would have pushed it's borders much
>farther. Imagine an industrial revolution way back then. All this
remember that everywhere a train/locomotive goes, the track must lead the
way. Building tracks was a monumental proposition for any nation (witness
the chain gangs in the USA), especially if terrain is rugged. Locomotives
are generally limited in how steep a slope they can ascend/descend (about 12
degrees from the horizontal if I remember right), so their use is pretty
much confined to open areas (like most of the Anuirean plains). But, one of
the main disadvantages of rail is that it is VERY open to sabotage. All you
have to do is break the track at some point (not a hard thing with magic, or
just plain elbow grease and a lot of time), and the whole line goes down.
After all, you can't station troops over the entire length of the track.
However, steam ships is something different - they don't need tracks. The
original ones were very bulky and slow, and I'm pretty sure that sailing
ships of the day would have run rings around them (any history buffs care to
correct my educated guesses?). But they would have withstood a lot more
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