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Nature of the Archipelago - The Rules

Discussion in 'Mythic Archipelago' started by Telcontar, Aug 22, 2012.

  1. Telcontar

    Telcontar Staff Moderator

    Nature of the Archipelago (“The Rules”)

    By nature, this project will be very loose, and I do not aim to gather many hard-and-fast rules here. However, there do need to be a few. Find them below. Discussion of the rules is welcome if you have questions or concerns.

    Humans Only
    Orcs, elves, any sort of <animal>-people, and your brilliantly researched sentient fungi species do not belong here. Sorry. In order to cut down on the amount of reading a person needs to do to “get into” the Project, we can't have every island inhabited by its own species. Creating cool monsters and stuff is fine, but the only building, thinking, writing, sailing, scheming, warring race in the Archipelago is good old homo sapiens.

    Low Magic
    Magic exists in the islands, but it is rare, mysterious, and often dangerous. It is not harnessed for war, nor do magicians sit alone in wilderness towers conjuring up demons. When it is around, it must be heavily limited. For instance, a group of people on my own island live in caves. Some of them spend a long, long time underground in the deepest caverns, and those people acquire the Shine — a change in their sight that allows them to see in the dark, but makes them so hypersensitive to light that they cannot bear to go to the surface, as even moonlight hurts their eyes. Thus the magic is self-limiting.

    Classical Technology
    While the technology level varies from culture to culture, the limit as a whole is going to be the historical Western Roman Empire. It may be more useful, though, to point out what is not allowed (this list may grow):
    • Advanced Gunpowder/Personal Firearms: (clunky, cumbersome, unwieldy cannons can be okay)
    • Printing Press: It almost single-handedly led to the modern age. For some reason, the Archipelagans haven't thought of it.
    • Formalized steam power: No steam engines, no trains, etc. Maybe someday we'll create a successor project called the Steampunk Archipelago, but not yet.
    • Other Complex Machinery: No matter what the power source. Waterwheels and windmills and some other basic stuff are fine, as are anything else widely in use in antiquity. Exceptions can be discussed with the group.

    Note: If you have something concerning magic or technology you would like to discuss with the group, start a thread and prefix it with [Magic] or [Tech] as appropriate so we can decide together whether or not it fits the settings. If you want some parts of it to remain a mystery to the group at large, PM me (Telcontar) and I'll give you my thoughts.

    Religion and Deities:
    Unprovable. No deities raining down brimstone on a wicked city (though a nearby volcanic eruption might be the instrument of a god's wrath — who can say?). Chances are that many, many different religions will sprout up in the course of the project, as will many different deities. No matter what you intend as the ultimate truth behind these religions and gods, their nature in the Archipelago will remain as it is in our own world: unknown and unknowable.
    S.T. Ockenner likes this.
  2. Reggie

    Reggie New Member

    Hello, I have question. My Island is suppose to be one of the least understood and technically advanced island. So I was think that I could have a form of very primitive gun? It would be heavy and large, about 2KG, and would fire small cannon balls. Just a thought. Or maybe I could stick with being a stereotype Archipelago Island.
    S.T. Ockenner likes this.
  3. Telcontar

    Telcontar Staff Moderator

    As the rule states "Clunky, cumbersome, and unwieldy cannons can be okay."

    Tech and Magic cannot be made too powerful in the Archipelago, or people will start asking why this-or-that island doesn't control everything. Thus everything needs to be more or less on par with everything else. So cannons are fine, but exaggerate the weaknesses of early cannon - dangerous, unreliable, slow to fire, expensive to maintain, etc etc.
    S.T. Ockenner likes this.
  4. Ravana

    Ravana Istar

    Plus massive bronze casting (it took a very long time before the technology managed to produce iron cannons that would reliably not burst: bronze was still in use up to the 19th century), short barrels (usually), no rifling, etc. More what we'd call "bombards" today. Which, among other things, means that moving them about is a major undertaking, re-aiming them is a process of hours rather than seconds, and so on… in other words, on par with other massive weapons such as trebuchets. (Okay, they're a little easier to re-aim than trebuchets… but not much.) Stick with this and you have a weapon that is essentially good for sieges only: it can't be used from the deck of a ship, and is all but useless in field battles, unless perhaps being fired from a well-established defensive position.

    A review of the Fall of Constantinople is instructive, in terms of what early cannon could—and could not—do:

    Fall of Constantinople - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    While the cannon did heavy damage to the walls, they were so slow to reload and re-aim, and so imprecise, that the defenders could make sufficient repairs between shots to essentially negate its effect. (The largest and most effective, nicknamed "Basilica" for whatever reason, took three hours to reload, and required 60 oxen to move.) The city was finally taken by storm, not through any damaged walls, but by the more traditional methods of scaling ladders and siege towers, and through a postern that was left open and undefended.

    It's worth noting that both sides in this siege had cannon—and that the Byzantine ones, though smaller than most of those of the Ottomans (and far smaller than the "Basilica"), nonetheless tended to damage the walls with their own recoil.

    And that was in 1453. There were, of course, "guns" of many different sizes even then, but they remained uncommon, and even the smaller ones tended to be used only from fixed positions. To give an idea of how long it took for the technology to evolve: more than a century later, in the naval Battle of Lepanto, the average ship had four or five guns—usually one or two large forward-facing pieces, to be used as you charged in to board, plus smaller ones that might fire at threats approaching from the sides; the new Venetian innovation of galleasses—of which there were a grand total of six—proved devastating to enemy ships because they possessed actual broadsides of around 15 guns. Even then, the majority of the battle was conducted through boarding actions. Rams were still in evidence, though now they were above waterline, designed to drive into the decks of an enemy vessel and pin it for boarding.

    All in all, I'd prefer that we avoid gunpowder-like tech altogether. That's just my opinion, however.
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2012
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  5. bluedude21

    bluedude21 New Member

    I was wondering since early humans did kind of have necromancy is that allowed? We're not talking unleashing armies or skeleton and undead more like curses and hexes a few odd resurrections of dead bodies, maybe blood ritual, some can backfire leaving the magic user screaming in agony to his death, those that succeed can usually be dealt with using fire or a lucky sword hit.

    Would flintlocks and the blunderbuss count as accurate firearms? I mean the first one can't work the second it rains and the other can't hit a barn if its too far away.
    S.T. Ockenner likes this.

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