You Get a Fantasy Nation! Are you SURE Advancing Technology is best?

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You Get a Fantasy Nation! Are you SURE Advancing Technology is best?

Post by Crossroads Inc. » 2018-08-22 11:19pm

So...

One of the golden standards of the fantasy forum, is the perennial “You get to control Generic Fantasy Kingdom-X what do you do? RAR”
Now for so many of us, especially given the make-up of most users here, the predominant reaction typical goes along the lines of “Kick start the industrial revolution and advance technology as fast as possible!”

Now this is a tempting route for many reasons. Let us be honest, technology is GOOD for a civilization, and more importantly, good for the long term survivability of a species. But… I find myself considering the history of advancements in our own civilization. The industrial revolution caused a great many benefits, but initially, it also led to the rise of a lot of bad things. Robber barons and oligarchs, children labor in factories, Tyrannical companies that sought to control every aspect of an employee’s life. Once again there were of course lots of good that happened, but it often happened as a side effect of the rise of industry in the world rather than as any sort of direct benevolent actions.

Industrialization has been going strong and triggering advances in civilization for the past 300 years or so, however much of the greatest social and progressive changes have only recently happened within the last 100 years or so. Ending slavery, women’s rights, black rights, the environmental movement, and growing acceptance of LGBTQ people are all fairly recent and many of them still an ongoing struggle. Not to mention numerous forces still working against any sort of social progress, chiefly religious based entities or states preaching hate and intolerance.
The long and short of it is advancing technology in general does not directly result in some sort of utopia.

So, I come to my own personal take on the “You get to control Generic Fantasy Kingdom-X what do you do? RAR”
What if someone, (in possession of “modern thinking” as well as certain resources to utilize), focused specifically on ‘advancing’ culture instead of technology? Begin printing books that question certain social norms in regards to Feminism and racism. Work to start spreading ideas about Humanism and Socialism, working toward a collective good and try to undermine the political power of Religious institutions.
In essence, instead of kick starting the Industrial Revolution, attempt to kick off a social revolution.

Now of course change such as that in a way is much more difficult and will meet against a great deal of resistance. But it is tantalizing to think of how the world could be changed if social and humanist changes were introduced hundreds of years earlier than they were on our own planet. Imagine being able to “short circuit” some of the institutions that have waged war against progressive ideals on every front, that, when the time comes that industrialization DOES begin to take off, it happens in a world that focuses much more on equality and Human welfare.

What sayeth the rest of you?
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Re: You Get a Fantasy Nation! Are you SURE Advancing Technology is best?

Post by Tribble » 2018-08-23 12:50am

Well, I guess my first goal while in charge of Generic Fantasy kingdom X would be to head towards a Constitutional Monarchy based on Rule of Law vs the absolute monarchies these kingdoms tend to be portrayed as.
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Re: You Get a Fantasy Nation! Are you SURE Advancing Technology is best?

Post by Zixinus » 2018-08-23 10:29am

The idea that you can start the industrial revolution in one lifetime is somewhat hubris. It's not simply a matter of the right circumstances (easily available coal or substitute, metalworking, etc.) spontaneously making it happen, it will also take a certain level of prosperity, genuine and sustained intellectual interest, sustained funding (perhaps the most important) and utility from creating those people that make an industrial revolution happen (engineers, phsycisists, chemists, etc.), advances in agriculture that allow the feeding of large workforces, infrastructure, etc. Remember that the discovery of America and the wealth looted gained from it helped create the Renaissance, which itself laid the groundwork for the industrial revolution.
So, I come to my own personal take on the “You get to control Generic Fantasy Kingdom-X what do you do? RAR”
What if someone, (in possession of “modern thinking” as well as certain resources to utilize), focused specifically on ‘advancing’ culture instead of technology? Begin printing books that question certain social norms in regards to Feminism and racism. Work to start spreading ideas about Humanism and Socialism, working toward a collective good and try to undermine the political power of Religious institutions.
In essence, instead of kick starting the Industrial Revolution, attempt to kick off a social revolution.

Now of course change such as that in a way is much more difficult and will meet against a great deal of resistance. But it is tantalizing to think of how the world could be changed if social and humanist changes were introduced hundreds of years earlier than they were on our own planet. Imagine being able to “short circuit” some of the institutions that have waged war against progressive ideals on every front, that, when the time comes that industrialization DOES begin to take off, it happens in a world that focuses much more on equality and Human welfare.

What sayeth the rest of you
It is fallacious, because you conflate the industrial revolution with cultural revolution. Or that it is a choice between one or the other, that they are somehow equitable and exchangable. But perhaps most of all, is that you consider everything non-industrialized the same, homogeneous mess that are "advanced" by "revolutions". You are heavily enforcing a modern progressivist's perspective on all human history without realizing how relative that is. The ancient world did not have as problematic view on (for example) homosexuality, in fact homophobia is a strongly Western (perhaps Abrahamic) idea.

Your books and ideas would perhaps receive attention but the idea that you will create the same liberal culture of the modern world in an extensively pre-industrial, if not outright alien (who knows how much magic changes how societies work), is just laughable. Most people reading your works will have a massive outside context problem because these ideologies are likely to be simply be irrelevant to them. You might already have a society that has no problem with hmosexuals and can culturally accept various outliers of the LQBT spectrum, so your own ideas might come across as confused or actually make things worse. Remember that philosophies and ideologies require certain context to make sense. You are likely to be seen as mad, especially if you own ideologies conflict with those that have been established for centuries if not for millennia.

There is a strong argument that the industrial revolution and subsequent changes in technology is what created, or strongly influenced, the social changes. Advanced healthcare and later, contraception are fundamental elements of the sexual and gender change. It allowed women to not require have several births to have few children as well as allowed control of how and when to have children. To ignore these as key to the roots of feminism and other affected issues is impossible. Industrial machines (and processes, look up sugar) that could replace slave labor were fundamental in both abolition of slavery and also the equality of women, as sheer physical strength was no longer a key factor to mayor areas of work.

Finally, you would be an irresponsible ruler because you are entertaining your own notions rather than focus on the genuine problems of your fantasy kingdom. Do you think they are none? Do you think that your kingdom does not have cultural, societal, economic, etc. problems of its own that require your attention? Running a kingdom is one of the hardest things in the world. Fantasy is full of good kings falling to great dangers and such. You will have your work cut out for you just to survive being on the throne.
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Re: You Get a Fantasy Nation! Are you SURE Advancing Technology is best?

Post by Majin Gojira » 2018-08-23 10:39am

This thread deeply reminds me of the manga Jin about a neurosurgeon who travels back to the Tokugawa era, and after using some of his carried tech and skills to save the life of a nobleman, alters history and pretty much goes: "Ah, fuck it, I'm a doctor, I'm going to lives!" and proceeds to slowly introduce modern medicinal practices to that era.

Including a way to cultivate penicillin using that era's technology because one of his friends was a big nerd and did that as a thought experiment.

That is the best outcome from that sort of scenario.
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Re: You Get a Fantasy Nation! Are you SURE Advancing Technology is best?

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2018-08-23 01:17pm

While there are potentially catastrophic consequences, and the final outcome is impossible to predict, given a choice between developing modern technology or remaining in Medieval Stasis, I'd pick the former. For space travel (and long-term security of life) and the lowered rate of infant mortality/mothers dying in childbirth, if nothing else.

However, an important question in a fantasy kingdom is the extent to which they can duplicate with magic what we do with technology, and whether that magic has any negative prices (human sacrifice, sold souls, etc.) attached to it.

Beyond that... screw monarchy. Or at least, screw hereditary and absolute monarchy. I can see some benefits to having a non-elected figurehead in terms of diplomacy and national unity, but I abhor any system which puts some people over others on the basis or heredity.
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Re: You Get a Fantasy Nation! Are you SURE Advancing Technology is best?

Post by K. A. Pital » 2018-08-23 04:27pm

If it happens, let us not fall into idealism.

Material conditions define thinking. I can be the Spartacus of that era. I could be the Johan de Witt... And die like them.

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Re: You Get a Fantasy Nation! Are you SURE Advancing Technology is best?

Post by Zor » 2018-08-23 07:49pm

Frankly there are some worse stages of industrialization which could be sidestepped with some care and a lack of assholery (White Phospherous Matches for one).

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Re: You Get a Fantasy Nation! Are you SURE Advancing Technology is best?

Post by Elheru Aran » 2018-08-23 08:00pm

Zor wrote:
2018-08-23 07:49pm
Frankly there are some worse stages of industrialization which could be sidestepped with some care and a lack of assholery (White Phospherous Matches for one).

Zor
On the other hand, white phosphorus was used for matches because it worked well in that application. It took knowledge of the health hazards for them to work seriously to find an alternative. If there's no alternative available, what are you going to do, not have matches? Not that matches are terribly important but extend the analogy as you like.

Which isn't to say that certain conditions and circumstances shouldn't be avoided if you have the foreknowledge to do so. Basic medical hygiene and sterility, for example, would save a ridiculous number of lives and is pretty easy to do.

I can't quite get into it at this time though but I'll try to write a longer post tomorrow (and address the topic while I'm at it).
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Re: You Get a Fantasy Nation! Are you SURE Advancing Technology is best?

Post by K. A. Pital » 2018-08-24 01:16am

If you cannot make steel pipes, but have to work with lead pipe infrastructure which is of Roman quality, you'd know it's a health hazard. But what could you do?
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Re: You Get a Fantasy Nation! Are you SURE Advancing Technology is best?

Post by madd0ct0r » 2018-08-24 07:31am

K. A. Pital wrote:
2018-08-24 01:16am
If you cannot make steel pipes, but have to work with lead pipe infrastructure which is of Roman quality, you'd know it's a health hazard. But what could you do?
terracota and brick egg sewers.
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Re: You Get a Fantasy Nation! Are you SURE Advancing Technology is best?

Post by Crossroads Inc. » 2018-08-24 11:42am

Just to be clear, the idea isn't an "Either-Or"
Its not, culture or Industry...
The idea is basically setting up more progressive inclusive humanist ideals about things BEFORE Industry starts.
And yes, in the same way that it would be extreme hubris to think any one person could set off the Industrial revolution.
I know one person could not install a truly "Modern" progressive mindset, but, you can set things in motion as it were.

Additionally, I am also not implying ANY advancement is bad. Again, things like improving health, sanitation, medicine, farming and such.
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Re: You Get a Fantasy Nation! Are you SURE Advancing Technology is best?

Post by Jub » 2018-08-24 01:02pm

Assuming you're actually the most powerful voice in the nation and the other voices don't cancel yours out, a rarity in most medieval settings, you could issue laws about worker safety, sanitation, etc. People might think you're crazy at first but if you survive the assassins for long enough and keep enforcement up they'll see the benefits. Of course, all of that is easier said than done.

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Re: You Get a Fantasy Nation! Are you SURE Advancing Technology is best?

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2018-08-24 01:39pm

I'd need to know a lot of specifics about the nation in question, particularly:

-What is the population?

-What resources do I have access to?

-What internal or external enemies do I have to deal with?

-What is the overall social atmosphere/culture?

-How much power do I have, and how does succession work?

-What sort of magic is present, and how does it work?

-What is the existing tech. level?

All that will effect what I should change, and what I can.
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Re: You Get a Fantasy Nation! Are you SURE Advancing Technology is best?

Post by Elheru Aran » 2018-08-24 02:44pm

Yeah, you do what you can with what you've got. Terracotta would be a reasonable alternative to lead pipes, though maintaining watertight joints over a long run might be problematic. Of course in a medieval economy that's probably less of an issue, people made stuff last longer back in the day.

Anyway, to address the OP:

All of what I'm about to write are long term plans. I'm not going to plop my ass in the first throne I see and start issuing all these as edicts effective immediately. That's just not going to fly; these are things you have to work up to. Think a few decades, at least. I mean, unless I'm in some kind of tiny city-state. Since I don't really know any specifics about the setting I'm in, these are all pretty general, obviously. Is there a Dark Lord we have to fight/oppose? Are there actual Gods in this setting? is magic a thing? Do I have a powerful feudal nobility to deal with? Or am I a powerful, centralized monarch with all the nobles submitting to me? Am I fifth-C-CE tech level, or 15th-C? Etc... so don't go pointing out 'lol you can't do this' because this is all pretty vague and subject to change to a large degree depending on the specifics of the situation. And I'm basically assuming that as King, I have unlimited funds (contingent upon carefully maintained taxation, good trading relations with the rest of the world, and the occasional bit of fiat money).

My priorities would probably be:

--Peace: don't start any wars, but if I find myself in any, wind them up quickly via either victory or treaty. To do so, have a professional core of soldiers, well equipped and paid, and a mandatory militia training for all able-bodied men maybe twice annually with local drill sessions once a month or so. Establish positive trade relations with neighboring countries; send missions/expeditions to further away countries for rarer resources/material. Set a policy of religious tolerance in my country; all religions welcome as long as they don't abuse people or animals and can manage to get along with each other. No state religion. No racism, and since this is a fantasy scenario, no speciesism either unless we're talking about some kind of eternally-depraved, slave-to-the-Dark-Lord orc/troll type guys. If such a Dark Lord exists, work on establishing mutual defence alliances with neighboring countries. In particular, if there are any powerful non-human kingdoms, make friends with them. They'll be less invested in human affairs, but they'll happily trade if I have resources they want, and could be useful as military allies. If there are powerful magicians, make nice as well, and get their favor.

--Dominion: Take a note from the Sun King and create something like Versailles to keep the nobility under my eye, if not always my thumb. If they don't want to come to my version of Versailles, fine, they lose their property. Once they're at Versailles, I can watch them. They'll probably connive-- they always do-- but if I can manage to keep my head above the waters, they'll be too busy trying to one-up each other and jockey for position to achieve anything significant. Tax the nobles heavily, but not so heavily that they rise up, and give them responsibilities such as overseeing their lands' public health and whatnot to keep them busy. LOTS and lots of paperwork, and require a personal signature with a seal so they can't just delegate. Bureaucracy is a wonderful thing when you're the guy at the top of the pecking order. If this is a setting with Dwarves and Elves and such coexisting with Humans in my kingdom, have representatives at my court, and send some to theirs. If there are magically-powered nobles in this setting, hire some magicians of my own to level the playing field. I should have representatives of the magical side of society anyway. Court magicians can be useful to help keep an eye on the nobility and prevent any subversive uses of magic such as charms to influence people's minds.

--Law, Justice and Equality: Establish the basis for a preliminary constitution, at the very least a Bill of Rights. All species will be treated equally. All people will be treated equally, male and female alike, noble and commoner. Death penalty reserved for the most extreme crimes. Set up a sort of assembly, probably parliamentarian, though I'll reserve veto rights and the power to dissolve the assembly. A national judiciary and police force, though this doesn't need to be excessive; a central supreme court, a court with seated judges in each city, traveling judges to settle local disputes, sheriffs to enforce local laws. Nobility cannot ignore laws and/or be the law in their own lands. Ditto wizards and such. Any non-human who commits injustice to a human receives human justice, and vice versa (put that into writing). As noted above, people can practice whatever religion they want, as long as it doesn't abuse people or animals. The only exception might be if Evil is a tangible force in this setting and is offered worship, no shrines to Morgoth in my country thank you very much. Likewise any deities which are actively inimical to people; no Chaos Gods in my kingdom either.

--Hygiene and public health: Use rotating shifts of volunteers, well paid, to create a sewer system in the cities at least. Establish terracotta kilns and potters for pipe-works and tile roofs (fireproofing). Make public latrines a thing, so people aren't pissing on walls or shitting in alleys. Perhaps open Roman-style bath-houses. In fact, all this pretty much derives from the Roman model. Build public hospitals or offer incentives for existing institutions to establish such. Set official guidelines and a licensing process in place for the medical profession, making sure to include local small-scale herb-sellers and midwives. Said guidelines should include, as a minimum, hand-washing and instrument sterilization. Paying local distillers for high-proof alcohol for sanitation purposes might not be a bad idea. Setting up a soap manufacturer would also be nice. If magic is available, take advantage of it wherever I can, unless it's one of those settings where it's expensive/costly/difficult. Speaking of magic, I might as well address it...

--Magic: If this exists in the setting I'm in, beyond low-key religious stuff like the Mass and basic shamanism... hoo boy. As a mundane, I need to look after the rights of other mundanes, but I also need to protect the rights of the magical people. Ask them to police themselves to a certain extent-- can they pretty please not abuse the mundanes or each other, can they not exploit resources useful to mundanes, can they not do any dangerous magic unless permitted or requested, etcetera. Any wizard/witch who harms a mundane is subject to mundane justice, and vice versa. If this is a setting where anybody can learn magic with or without talent, perhaps ask for them to consider openings for students unless they already do so.

--Education: Set up a public university in the capital to start with. For the first few years, if you can pass a basic entrance examination, you're in, without regard to social class--later on perhaps make the exam a little more stringent as public education grows. Students receive a stipend until they graduate to cover living costs, dependent upon grades. Focus upon medicine/health, engineering, and education, with a strong lean towards practical experience in the process. An education in magic will be up to the magical classes, but will be politely requested of them to be made available to some degree (if magic is a learn-able thing in this setting anyway). Offer every graduating student the option to either become professionals or teachers. If there are teachers, they need schools; a branch of the university in each city will do, and it can have a free primary/secondary school attached. Mandate that at least one child from each family attends the public school, preferably more. This ties into the following:

--Technology and Labor: Is there a guild system in place? Potentially useful, but keep your eye on it if it exists and if it looks like it's oppressing apprentices/journeymen, have a word with the leadership. Have a small incentive in place for entrepreneurs in the form of a start-up loan; if they succeed, they can pay it back with interest; if not... they can pay it back at a rate negotiable with the state. Have said public university explore new technology and directions of advancement; offer prizes for legit discoveries by anybody. Invent a new process for making carbon steel for tools and weapons? Prize. Demonstrate better stabling for domestic animals? Prize. And so forth. Set a legal minimum wage for businesses. Set up a proto-OSHA and regulate the use and manufacture of dangerous substances. While I'm at it, ask the magicians (politely) to do any... interesting... magic well outside of city limits. Better to have a few cows turned into scary magical creatures than flatten a few city blocks and the people within.

That will do as a start. The last two points (Education and Technology/Labor) will lead to the Industrial Revolution eventually; the rest will help social conditions in general.

Ambitious? Hell yes. Expensive? Probably, but I'm not expecting to run in the black anyway, that's not how countries work. Long term? God yes. Twenty, thirty years easy. That's if I survive the inevitable coup/assassination attempts/wars/plagues. But if I can pull even some of this off, and leave a lot of writing on the subject to posterity, it can probably serve as a decent foundation for my successors and the future.
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Re: You Get a Fantasy Nation! Are you SURE Advancing Technology is best?

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2018-08-24 03:22pm

Barring further details from the OP, I will assume a "generic fantasy kingdom", which I will define as:

-Mid-sized kingdom, let's say about the size and geography/climate of Britain but with the population density of the Dark Ages. Not a full-blown Empire.

-Population is mostly human, but with occasional visitors/raiders/merchants from non-human neighbors. There are a few large walled towns and castles, surrounded by smaller villages and farmlands and tracts of wilderness mountains/forest. I have good supplies of agricultural land, timber, fish, stone, and some metals, but other rarer goods, such as certain metals/minerals, fabrics, or spices must be imported.

-The usual non-human archetypes: Immortal woodland elves, cave-dwelling dwarvish miners/craftsmen, halflings, barbarian orc/goblin/troll tribes, undead such as vampires and zombies and ghosts and such, and various beasts such as dragons and werewolves roaming the wilderness.

-I am an absolute hereditary monarch, with a council of advisors and military captains and such. My people generally accept my rule.

-I am surrounded by several neighboring kingdoms of roughly equal size and power, some human and some non-human, who are mostly at peace with me. Piracy and brigands are a fairly common problem, at least away from towns and the most frequently traveled roads.

-Evil exists as a verifiable force in the setting, and there is an immortal sorcerer-type Dark Lord, or possibly more than one.

-Tech. level is mostly High Medieval, save for a lack of gunpowder/firearms. Literacy and public health/life expectancy is a bit better than IRL, as well.

-My army consists of a core of mounted knights in plate armor and some professional infantry/guardsmen, totaling a few thousand men. This is supplemented by a somewhat larger force of more lightly-armed and armored militia, mostly archers and spearmen.

-Magic exists, is not inherently dark or malevolent, but there are some spells that are (possession, mind-control, necromancy, etc.). Mostly manifests in more subtle forms such as telepathic magic and healing magic, though you have mages who can toss a fireball or such. Only the most powerful mages can solo an army, though. Prophecies exist, but are very vague and open to interpretation.

-There is a pantheon of deities representing different forces in nature, but no single supreme Omnipotent Capital-G God.

-No slavery (though some neighboring realms have it, as do the Dark Lords), but most of the population are peasants/subsistence farmers. The culture would perhaps best be described as "moderately patriarchal and xenophobic". Various religions are practiced, though there is some tension and occasional conflict between them.

Given that set-up, I think the main priority would be to build a larger and more technically capable professional military, while trying to increase the level of education for the peasants and subtly introduce ideas of feminism and universal equality (if the society still practices forced marriages, spousal rape, or lacks a decent age of consent in any way, fixing that is among my first priorities). I'd also try to introduce a Bill of Rights and certain checks on my own power, maybe lay the ground work for a parliament. Do away with trial by combat if that's a thing, etc. Magic may be able to take the place of technology for some military and medical purposes, but should be more under the regulation to the state, to ensure that there is a strong central military and that all people have equal access to health care. Establishing a Crown-funded magic school, open to all (possibly even requiring mages to train their to be accredited to practice in my realm) sounds like a good idea, provided that its a setting where magic is learned rather than inborn.

One point I think the OP somewhat misses though is that social progress and technological (or magical, I suppose) progress can and often do (and arguably must, to some extent) go hand-in-hand. Ideas of equality for women will gain more traction if most women don't have to have ten babies to ensure that one or two of them make it to adult-hood. Improvements in agriculture will mean that fewer people have to labour on farms to support the populace. New ideas in general will propagate faster through high literacy and mass media. A more united world, greater trade, greater freedom of movement can all stem from better infrastructure and navigation capabilities. And so on.
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Re: You Get a Fantasy Nation! Are you SURE Advancing Technology is best?

Post by K. A. Pital » 2018-08-27 03:11pm

TRR, are you saying equality of childbearing women is not achievable? I agree with your general argument, but the details seem... shaky.
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Re: You Get a Fantasy Nation! Are you SURE Advancing Technology is best?

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2018-08-27 08:12pm

K. A. Pital wrote:
2018-08-27 03:11pm
TRR, are you saying equality of childbearing women is not achievable? I agree with your general argument, but the details seem... shaky.
No, of course not. I am saying that while there is no excuse for the history of misogyny humanity has suffered, a lack of advanced technology creates additional obstacles for equality. More women will have to have children, and have them more often, in order to ensure some make it to adulthood. They will lack the resources available to support mothers in the twenty first century. More women will die in childbirth. Technology will create more opportunities for women to achieve equality, and not be seen merely as baby factories/sexual property. Its not as simple as "technology equals feminism", of course. But I do think there is a connection.
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Re: You Get a Fantasy Nation! Are you SURE Advancing Technology is best?

Post by LaCroix » 2018-08-28 07:32am

Kind of the best you could do is to "invent" the printing press and lead-cast movable type.

Pretty much all modern technology, scientific progress, and most cultural progress towards modern "enlightened" democracy can be traced back on affordable books and the spread of literacy and ideas.
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Re: You Get a Fantasy Nation! Are you SURE Advancing Technology is best?

Post by Jub » 2018-08-28 08:15am

LaCroix wrote:
2018-08-28 07:32am
Kind of the best you could do is to "invent" the printing press and lead-cast movable type.

Pretty much all modern technology, scientific progress, and most cultural progress towards modern "enlightened" democracy can be traced back on affordable books and the spread of literacy and ideas.
I think you could probably introduce things like basic sanitation (sewage, food prep, hospitals, as well as personal hygiene) could easily be proven to have health benefits even if you only get a fraction of people willing to try your crazy ideas. Just using alcohol as a means to make surgery less deadly is a pretty big deal. Introducing canned goods will help ease famines even if it does increase the outbreaks of food poisoning.

The more chemistry minded among us could probably get small-scale gunpowder or even dynamite construction up and running. Basic electrical generators and motors, as well as simple combustion or even steam engines, though they might have to start off as novelties, could see some industrial or commercial use. Bicycles would take a skilled craftsman to make but even the idea of a hobby horse or adult-sized tricycle could help people get around cities at a speed between walking and riding a horse or carriage.

This doesn't apply to a fantasy world, but knowledge of the globe, even fairly general knowledge, would give any pre-age of exploration nation an edge if they had the ships to do anything with it. Speaking of ships, making sure people know what the underlying causes of certain serious disease are and enforcing that no ship leave port without a supply of vitamin-C rich food or drink would be huge for your navy. Speaking of navy trying to urge a more professional military, police force, fire brigade would also likely lead to some advantages even if there's pushback at first.

Depending on how far behind us the nation is simple mathematical stuff might be a leap forward.

Our bombardment with and relatively advanced knowledge of advertising could be really useful for selling people on our ideas.

I don't think the average member of this board needs to have deep knowledge to make a difference. You mainly need to be able to get enough people to buy into your ideas and then enforce them. All while not getting killed by the other guys all gunning for your throne.

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Re: You Get a Fantasy Nation! Are you SURE Advancing Technology is best?

Post by LaCroix » 2018-08-28 10:26am

And how do you disperse this knowledge without the printed word? :D

All these infodumps are impossible unless you have print media, and a widespread ability to read. Because the people you dump your info onto will only retain/understand some of it, and repeat it to the next ones, who will repeat it to the next, etc.

Any idea you want to spread - maths, sanitation, nutrition, etc - will hinge on your ability to convince the people, and your ability to get your knowledge to them without distortion or misinterpretation. Only books can do so. Rich people might follow your lead because it's fashionable. A peasant will not start to bathe daily, remove the animals from his home, wash his stuff more often or anything else that comes with a lot of work just because you say so. Especially since fetching water was lots of work and a huge number of accidental deaths in medieval times was due drowning while fetching water/washing stuff/crossing streams.

Getting people to invest huge sums into a sewer system (A HUGE project without excavation machinery), on just your say-so that their whole medical knowledge about plagues is wrong is a hard sale. Just the scale of industry necessary to build pipes is mind-boggling. Then you have the problem that most settlements are not easily converted for slope reasons, then you need to build a main sewer and redirect a big enough stream underneath the town, etc. Without proper planning, you could create more harm than good by such projects, just by the increased likelyhood of a stream surge washing away the town via the sewer.

Telling doctors that all they know is bullshit and useless, and they should do THAT instead will also not go down well. You are trying to telll the intellectual elite that you know better. With nothing to back your claim but more claims that are new to them and fly in the face of their experience and studies.

You first need to convince them of your capabilties by giving them practical stuff before they will believe in your theoretical concepts. Telling them that fleas cause the plague will be hard to believe, but if you show them a better plow or a hay baler, etc., something that really does something tangible and useful, you might, over time, earn enough credibility that they might start believe that you really know what you talk about after a while.

Still, general literacy will take some time to evolve. But printing a IKEA build manual style cataloge with plans for bicicles, harvesters, better looms, etc. and distributing it will help spreading the knowledge, if you are able to break the process down step by step and part by part, and get the masters carved to print the plans from. But remember - you need to build a working model with the available tech, first, in order to promote any technology.
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Re: You Get a Fantasy Nation! Are you SURE Advancing Technology is best?

Post by Jub » 2018-08-28 05:22pm

LaCroix wrote:
2018-08-28 10:26am
And how do you disperse this knowledge without the printed word? :D

All these infodumps are impossible unless you have print media, and a widespread ability to read. Because the people you dump your info onto will only retain/understand some of it, and repeat it to the next ones, who will repeat it to the next, etc.
My assumption is that you'll have at least one city within your kingdom and a scribe within your court. Set up a technical school and pay people to go there and absorb your ideas. The ones that test well at the end get a salary to spread these teachings to others. As books become more common add literacy to your course as well and set up more schools, slowly stop paying people to attend once these schools become established.

Plus, in a fantasy nation, depending on what magic is like. You could the lesser mages spend some time playing the equivalent of educational videos for people. You could have priests ask their gods if your new method is objectively better than the current ones. You could even hope to get lucky and be able to ask a god that aligns with your values the best way to improve your kingdom and follow that.

I snipped the lines below this but you'll start with the city and work outward. You won't allow unwashed nobles and merchants to your court. You don't start trying to push huge changes right from the start. Heck, you might just leave your knowledge for future generations and still have an impact if not so swiftly as you wanted.
Getting people to invest huge sums into a sewer system (A HUGE project without excavation machinery), on just your say-so that their whole medical knowledge about plagues is wrong is a hard sale. Just the scale of industry necessary to build pipes is mind-boggling. Then you have the problem that most settlements are not easily converted for slope reasons, then you need to build a main sewer and redirect a big enough stream underneath the town, etc. Without proper planning, you could create more harm than good by such projects, just by the increased likelyhood of a stream surge washing away the town via the sewer.
You may be able to purchase spells or constructs to do the worst of the work for you in a high fantasy kingdom. In a low fantasy kingdom, you could start with a simple series of ditches lined with brick that leads to more concentrated cesspools downstream from the cities drinking water. You can't get perfection but it's possible you could get a test sewer dug in an area where you already have some influence and let the results speak for you.
Telling doctors that all they know is bullshit and useless, and they should do THAT instead will also not go down well. You are trying to telll the intellectual elite that you know better. With nothing to back your claim but more claims that are new to them and fly in the face of their experience and studies.
You don't just start going in and yelling at doctors to change their practice overnight but maybe you start treating people with your methods. Even going so far as to train people that have never been doctors before in your methods and and showing how they save more people than the traditional methods. Or maybe you try to get more priests with the basic ability to remove or ease diseases and injuries if that's how healthcare in your kingdom works.
Still, general literacy will take some time to evolve. But printing a IKEA build manual style cataloge with plans for bicicles, harvesters, better looms, etc. and distributing it will help spreading the knowledge, if you are able to break the process down step by step and part by part, and get the masters carved to print the plans from. But remember - you need to build a working model with the available tech, first, in order to promote any technology.
I never state how I would go about teaching people in my initial post, I just suggest knowledge that would be good to share. Assuming I'd just barge in and tell people to do things my way is a pretty ungenerous assumption.

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Re: You Get a Fantasy Nation! Are you SURE Advancing Technology is best?

Post by madd0ct0r » 2018-08-28 05:49pm

In a world with magic, knowledge really can be viral...

this inspired me enough to look into real world examples.

The ionian enlightenment flowered on the back of the wealth of sea trade and the literal backs of slavery. That seperation of labour and thinking owners allowed it, but then over generations it shifted the culture away from experimentation and into the Socratatic navel gazing stagnation.

The mandarin 'ahem' mandarin system led to an organised empire of competent officials that tamed the red river floods and estalibished a system of exams and stabalising philosophy that led to the system reproducing itself, that ceased to even care who was at the top. It even became too good at perfect reproduction, and largely stagnated until a more viral religion backed up by the drug dealing battleship toting mob overwhelmed it.

The potlatch communties of the Native American north west had self guards against capital accumulation, but I don't know if they generated the egalitarean ideals the OP wants, or even how to try and harness that big-meet-and-feast drive of nomads to work in a large eurolandia kingdom.

Bhuddism, as annihlation of the self should work, but always seems to result in very rich temples supported by the grovelling poor.

---


I still want to work technologically first, and work my way up Maslov's heirarchy. Fix food supplies by building decent roads and communication networks to allow flood to 'naturally' flow to where the prices rise. Spread ideas about insualtion and effcient stove design and make shelter something that people can rely on. Try and tame the flooding rivers, the raging storms and the heavy snows (With magic!). That will free people and resources up (real freedom, as they can act on it)

but. no tech. just memes. grr.

So, things to encourage cooperation.

1)Polyarmory, and make the herb to prevent pregnancies dosen't get orgied out of existence (damn romans).

2) limiting deceit (magically enforced truth speaking? contracts?), wide communication (literal world wide web, or the Pratchett semaphore tower system).

3) Make sure game thoery is taught, as is reading and writing (knoweldge transmitted via infectious curses?, State sanctioned teachers, or make it neccesary for polite society to be recieved at court ala samuri sipping tea and writing poetry?)

4) Relief valves - spare children can't inherit the farm, so state sanctioned soldiers, explorers, traders, alchemists ect? spread the meme of open proffesionalisim before the guilds fuck it all up.

5) levelling mechanisim - something like the law of Jante, reinforced by memes of team sports, line dancing and, um, the example of the fasces. Oh dear. Not too much of this. need some sort of limiter on the limiter :)
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Re: You Get a Fantasy Nation! Are you SURE Advancing Technology is best?

Post by Crossroads Inc. » 2018-08-29 01:24am

Wow you guys...

You know I was mostly joking about the "RAR" part and had intended this as more philosophical discussion on this...
I should have guess certain peeps amongst you would launch into an actual RAR set up with only the most vaguest of details given...

I guess I need to actually establish some rules and such if people are going at this full bore... Well...

PHYSICAL SETTING: Because I always liked Discworld, lets go for a discworld "Like" setting. (please don't assume all things are being copied, there isn't narrativium, or Gods or such, Im just going with a similar physical setting with a flat Disc world.) Also to keep things different, Lets invert the biome. Its cold along the Rim (which is encased by a circle of towering mountains) and hot in the center, so biomes radiate outwards from that. To go along with R-Republic, sure why not, lets go with the generic Wet-Temperate English setting. About the same size, but a part of a large continent in the 'middle' part of the discworld.

FANTASY ASPECTS: You know, I rather like to try and buck certain fantasy tropes as it were. In terms of species make up, Lets swap out "Woodland Elves" for "Woodland Satyrs" they don't get much use in fantasy much except as token characters it feels like. And for some of the others, maybe a more "beast people" setting (no not 'Furries' but more anime types) Wolf and Cat people, and maybe some snake people for good measure. Magic is kept mostly in check but Wizard circles who adopt a "The best use of magic is NOT using it" as there has been past histories of Wizard Wars, and no one wants that again. For the most part magic is something expensive and considered not for "normal folk"

TECH SETTING: I always felt just saying "Medieval Age" was a bit overly vague, so perhaps early Renaissance? Perhaps a time period when ridged social organizations like knights and such are becoming more antiquated. Kings are spending less money on castles everywhere and on expensive armies. Such systems are still firmly entranced of course, but certain people are starting to do things like going "I wonder what happens if I mix these two chemicals together?" The world has resources that would of course allow for certain advancements. Many of course haven't really been utilized as there has not been a need for them.

NATIONAL SET UP: One thing that may make a difference... Lets say to make certain things easier, You are not the King, but "The power behind the throne" Lets be honest, being king is a pain, everyone is always out to assonate you, steal the Throne, or make a name for themselves and challenge you. SO lets say you can play the part of a trusted advisor who is able to pretty much get whatever King may be on the throne at the time to obey. And hey as time goes on, it may go form King, to Patrcian to Prime Minster, who knows...
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Re: You Get a Fantasy Nation! Are you SURE Advancing Technology is best?

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2018-08-29 04:31pm

Crossroads Inc. wrote:
2018-08-29 01:24am
Wow you guys...

You know I was mostly joking about the "RAR" part and had intended this as more philosophical discussion on this...
I should have guess certain peeps amongst you would launch into an actual RAR set up with only the most vaguest of details given...

I guess I need to actually establish some rules and such if people are going at this full bore... Well...

PHYSICAL SETTING: Because I always liked Discworld, lets go for a discworld "Like" setting. (please don't assume all things are being copied, there isn't narrativium, or Gods or such, Im just going with a similar physical setting with a flat Disc world.) Also to keep things different, Lets invert the biome. Its cold along the Rim (which is encased by a circle of towering mountains) and hot in the center, so biomes radiate outwards from that. To go along with R-Republic, sure why not, lets go with the generic Wet-Temperate English setting. About the same size, but a part of a large continent in the 'middle' part of the discworld.

FANTASY ASPECTS: You know, I rather like to try and buck certain fantasy tropes as it were. In terms of species make up, Lets swap out "Woodland Elves" for "Woodland Satyrs" they don't get much use in fantasy much except as token characters it feels like. And for some of the others, maybe a more "beast people" setting (no not 'Furries' but more anime types) Wolf and Cat people, and maybe some snake people for good measure. Magic is kept mostly in check but Wizard circles who adopt a "The best use of magic is NOT using it" as there has been past histories of Wizard Wars, and no one wants that again. For the most part magic is something expensive and considered not for "normal folk"

TECH SETTING: I always felt just saying "Medieval Age" was a bit overly vague, so perhaps early Renaissance? Perhaps a time period when ridged social organizations like knights and such are becoming more antiquated. Kings are spending less money on castles everywhere and on expensive armies. Such systems are still firmly entranced of course, but certain people are starting to do things like going "I wonder what happens if I mix these two chemicals together?" The world has resources that would of course allow for certain advancements. Many of course haven't really been utilized as there has not been a need for them.

NATIONAL SET UP: One thing that may make a difference... Lets say to make certain things easier, You are not the King, but "The power behind the throne" Lets be honest, being king is a pain, everyone is always out to assonate you, steal the Throne, or make a name for themselves and challenge you. SO lets say you can play the part of a trusted advisor who is able to pretty much get whatever King may be on the throne at the time to obey. And hey as time goes on, it may go form King, to Patrcian to Prime Minster, who knows...
In that case, everything depends on my personal rapport with His/Her Majesty, and how much power/support they have to act on my advice. I'm not going to be trying for a coup unless they're an under bastard or my back is to the wall.

Beyond that, relative lack of magic creates a greater impetus for tech. advancement, although if its possible to loosen the social/political restrictions on magic, that might have a similar effect. It doesn't sound from what you say like magic is inherently more dangerous/corrupting/evil than, say, nuclear power... this world just had some bad experiences leading to a political backlash.

I'm not sure how a Discworld-style geography would affect certain scientific realities on which technological progress is largely based, though.
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Re: You Get a Fantasy Nation! Are you SURE Advancing Technology is best?

Post by Elheru Aran » 2018-08-29 05:55pm

The Romulan Republic wrote:
2018-08-29 04:31pm

I'm not sure how a Discworld-style geography would affect certain scientific realities on which technological progress is largely based, though.
No reason to assume it will. Stuff works on the Disc largely as it does on Roundworld, because the basic physical laws are, quite literally, magically the same. Other than things like the speed of light, but presumably the substance of 'light' in the Disc is a different animal than, for example, visual light, otherwise the 'Moving Pictures' films wouldn't have worked. I don't think electricity would be a great issue on the Disc either, as Igors make use of it IIRC, and lightning does exist there.

Being the power behind the throne is certainly a little safer than being on the throne itself. It also has the advantage of being approachable; it's easier to speak to the Hand of the King than it is the King himself, for example. Perhaps not for commoners (though one could set up a day or a week of the month when petitioners might present their case), but certainly nobility could approach and be approached with greater ease than the King/Queen.

The tech setting is also helpful; it's a lot easier to go to Modern, or Enlightenment/Early Modern anyway, from Renaissance than it is from Dark Ages or Roman or even Hyborian Age. The Renaissance era is right on the brink of a number of significant discoveries and should already have made a few of its own; the main thing to do is give it a few nudges in the right direction and bring the right ideas together. Movable type, as noted, should be a splendid help; widespread literacy will do a LOT for uplifting people.

Renaissance era, politically, is seeing a shift from feudalism (a lot of small lordlings, with absolute control over the people in their realm) to a more conventional centralized monarchy, where you still have a lot of nobles, but they're more beholden to the Crown, and the people are subjects of the Crown rather than their feudal lord (more or less, will vary, the Germans for example maintained a lot of feudal institutions for a long time). As such it should be easier for the King to tell the nobles what to do, rather than having to pander to them. Of course you have to temper this with a bit of wisdom, you can't be pushing them around too much...
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