How many "they" can research magic items, compared to how many "they"
can research technological items?
In even the most high magic TSR worlds spellcasters are a
minority of the population, in Cerillia this is even more clear.
Last month I finally got a good enough computer to play the
Birthright computer game, and am having fun with the Transport realm
spell, which can do things railroads can't ... but I would be
surprised if 20 people on the continent could cast Transport.

Some of the 99.99% of the population that can't cast magic would be
interested in non-magical transportation improvement.

Non-wizard regents for instance would be interested in any
improvements that lessened their dependence on wizard lieutenants ...
or that freed their wizard(s) for other tasks. Or both.

I do thoroughly agree that it would take a LOT of research actions to
make a successful railroad. If I had interested players I'd check out
a few railroad history books and could probably come up with a hundred
items in an afternoon. Pressure release valves so the boilers don't
blow up as much. Getting the seams on the steam engine tight enough
so it doesn't leak under high pressure. Brakes. Dozens of
metallurgical improvements to get tracks that can take a punishment.
(I don't see Cerillia as having the metal production for metal rails
soon. Would wood do? Stone? Would things be easier on the tracks if
the trains had wooden wheels? The "railroad" might be more like a
Roman road ... which I saw described as "Take a wall. Bury all but
the top six inches." Trains could run in concrete tracks, or on
wheels between high curbs. And watch out for that cow in the way!)
Since it took a centuries more technological advanced society
(19th century earth), with a higher population, decades to work out
details, this is a looooong process.

If they start now I think they can have interesting "toys" that
impress the peasants and barbarians, like Hero's steam engine used for
opening doors, the Byzantine emperor's throne that would rise in the
air (like a barber's chair, but with more gold trim), etc. Their
children could see promising lab models, that broke down in
interesting ways in the field and generated adventure ideas. Their
grandchildren, especially if these are dwarven generations would be in
position to say "See! Told you it'd work!"


On Tue, 15 Sep 1998 02:11:28 -0700, Gary wrote:

>Part of my thing about technology, however, is... well, would they even bother
>doing this? I mean, wouldn't it make more sense for them to research how to
>create magical portals that would instantly transport things from one place to
>another? Or a magical vehicle that would do the same as a train? There are
>already the magical equivalents of early planes (flying carpets, brooms, etc.) in
>the game. The same with submarines (that Apparatus of Whoever thingie) and
>telephones (Dream and other spells.) Wouldn't the research be more likely to take
>that form rather than non-magical forms?