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Thread: Fictional culture and technology

  1. #21
    Community Leader Facebook Connected delgondahntelius's Avatar
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    ooooo... I Love this topic... A L O T.

    Technology/Magic and Culture Advancement Rate = The relative Number of major outside influences.

    All of these things will advance to a certain degree, because sentient beings (like humans) push themselves to delve into the next great mystery and move things forward to better their way of life. Barring any outside influences, the relative rate and level of achievement will usually progress in a forward manner with sporadic 'Leaps' forward. (by leaps, I mean when someone, somewhere hits on that Eureka Idea and moves their field forward... hint: E=MC˛)

    Outside Influences however, happen and are usually detrimental to a societies progress. The biggest one of these is probably war and being conquered. Many civilizations have met the end of their days simply by being subdued into the history books (Aztecs come to mind). Then of course.... Plagues, Massive Crop failures, Draughts, Earthquakes, Volcanoes, Cats and Dogs..... you get the picture. So, that is what you can apply from real world perspective.

    Add in the bit about fantasy and well, the equation is no longer an equation but more or less a gigantic web of possiblities.

    Religion is a big one in a fantasy world I think. Especially in a place where the Gods do walk among mortals and have direct influence on events that shape the world. Beings of Supreme power and unlimited resources (some anyways) can have a direct bearing on culture and technology.

    Its hard to think what kind of legends and myths you could have in a world chocked full of dragons, wyverns, dire toads and leprechauns. Simply the word Legend and Myth become synonymous with fact.

    I actually had a point when I started, but I've had to many errands in between writing this post, so I think I'll quit while I'm ahead
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  2. #22
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    Post Good points Del!

    Good points, Del. And... just to return the favor, I see your sitting at 99 rep, soooo... I bonk you with my +4 bonker! Now you've got another green pip! Congrats.

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  3. #23
    Community Leader Facebook Connected delgondahntelius's Avatar
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    OUCH!! and THANK YOU!! .... I was sooooo close to that double green tiles I was about to burst... thinking of what new information I could post up to garner that small bit of rep lol.... now.... only 97 away from triple buttons..

    I'm also glad someone was able to to make sense of that last post....
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  4. #24
      NeonKnight is offline
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    Quote Originally Posted by jfrazierjr View Post
    Even that is not a 100% accurate statement. As an example, take Incan/Mayan/Aztec ruins. Many of these are overgrown so much as to appear as hills to the untrained even while you are standing on them. Many such structures have been found, and I am sure there are hundreds if not thousands left to be found. These sorts of things are impossible to find normal photo satellites. Ground imaging radar/sonar type stuff has a much better shot, but unless you know what you look for, you can still miss it.

    My point here is that people tend to see something they are looking for and ignore anything which does not attract attention as being different. Camoflage is a great justification for many things like you speak. Of course, this also neglects other fantasy(D&D anyway) staple concepts such as underground passages connecting various parts of the world. Many in such underground passages, most people still think in standard two dimensions, so it is easy to miss something like the fact that a deep trench having either side or bottom openings which then allow much further movement, after changing the z dimension. Likewise, home many people in a cave with a semi high ceilling miss a man size hole in the "roof", which could very well lead to another whole level.

    And as Torstan pointed out... it's pretty darn hard to empirically prove a negative.
    Actually they are almost exclusively using Satelites to locate Meso-American ruins now because of the difficulty of overgrowth:

    http://www.unexplained-mysteries.com....php?id=137115

    Another example I saw them detail on TV a while back was using the imagry of the Satelite and noting specific differences from the Canopies of the forest:

    http://www.thepanamanews.com/pn/v_12...cience_06.html

    http://www.nasa.gov/centers/marshall...tos06-018.html
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  5. #25
      jfrazierjr is offline
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    Quote Originally Posted by NeonKnight View Post
    Actually they are almost exclusively using Satelites to locate Meso-American ruins now because of the difficulty of overgrowth:

    http://www.unexplained-mysteries.com....php?id=137115

    Another example I saw them detail on TV a while back was using the imagry of the Satelite and noting specific differences from the Canopies of the forest:

    http://www.thepanamanews.com/pn/v_12...cience_06.html

    http://www.nasa.gov/centers/marshall...tos06-018.html
    Thanks for the find. I had no idea that something like this was even possible.
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  6. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by delgondahntelius View Post
    ooooo... I Love this topic... A L O T.

    Technology/Magic and Culture Advancement Rate = The relative Number of major outside influences.

    All of these things will advance to a certain degree, because sentient beings (like humans) push themselves to delve into the next great mystery and move things forward to better their way of life. Barring any outside influences, the relative rate and level of achievement will usually progress in a forward manner with sporadic 'Leaps' forward. (by leaps, I mean when someone, somewhere hits on that Eureka Idea and moves their field forward... hint: E=MC˛)

    Outside Influences however, happen and are usually detrimental to a societies progress. The biggest one of these is probably war and being conquered. Many civilizations have met the end of their days simply by being subdued into the history books (Aztecs come to mind). Then of course.... Plagues, Massive Crop failures, Draughts, Earthquakes, Volcanoes, Cats and Dogs..... you get the picture. So, that is what you can apply from real world perspective.

    Add in the bit about fantasy and well, the equation is no longer an equation but more or less a gigantic web of possiblities.

    Religion is a big one in a fantasy world I think. Especially in a place where the Gods do walk among mortals and have direct influence on events that shape the world. Beings of Supreme power and unlimited resources (some anyways) can have a direct bearing on culture and technology.

    Its hard to think what kind of legends and myths you could have in a world chocked full of dragons, wyverns, dire toads and leprechauns. Simply the word Legend and Myth become synonymous with fact.

    I actually had a point when I started, but I've had to many errands in between writing this post, so I think I'll quit while I'm ahead
    Thanks. These are very good points, I believe.

    I had considered the fact that after a civilization ages a bit technological developments are bound to increase unless there is some outside factor that stalls this technological development, and I think the same would hold true with magical developments.

    Certainly plagues and natural disasters and barbarian invasions can have this sort of negative effect on development. Although I think in actuality, War has a means of improving upon technology as well... it's just that the technologies that improve are typically military in nature, but these often have a way of spinning off technologies that improve other aspects of life. Of course, this is not completely true (as per the aforementioned Barbarian Invasions). Those cultures that are conquered will have their technological innovations either stifled or appropriated. But when conquered by "Barbarians", the innovation is likely to be lost as the Barbarians lack the expertise to co-opt and utelize the technologies of their enemies. (I think this is essentially what happened to the Roman Empire, more-or-less.)

    The bit about myths, though, is one area that I'm still exploring... What if in a given world things like, say, leprechauns were real but dragons were not, yet there were still legends and myths of dragons?

    That was the idea behind the haunted forest question: whether or not there was something real in the forest that was dangerous to people, the locals believed that there was something dangerous in the forest. At what point of technological (and magical) and cultural (and religious) development do the people stop believing the forest is haunted if, in fact, it is not haunted? (If it is haunted... then I gather at no point would they necessarily stop believing it, as the facts will prove it out.)
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  7. #27
      jfrazierjr is offline
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    Quote Originally Posted by Karro View Post
    That was the idea behind the haunted forest question: whether or not there was something real in the forest that was dangerous to people, the locals believed that there was something dangerous in the forest. At what point of technological (and magical) and cultural (and religious) development do the people stop believing the forest is haunted if, in fact, it is not haunted? (If it is haunted... then I gather at no point would they necessarily stop believing it, as the facts will prove it out.)
    That's the thing, you can't answer this question. There are many places where people have a somewhat modern level of technology and yet they may still believe in one of more mythical creatures or haunted places. Likewise, you can culturally have some people who are 5, 10, 100 miles apart and one group may believe in something entirely, while the other may reject it out of hand as being totally false.

    While technology may have a hand in helping dispel belief in a myth for some, for many no amount of mumbo jumbo("proof") will change their mind(I liken this to political divisions.) You can provide some people with the most intelligent and sound arguement and never convince them of the true. One good example is try to explain to a color blind person that something is green(which they tyipically see as brown IIRC). No amount of argument will change the fact that the other person is not wrong, it's just that their perception only sees what you are pointing at as being brown. End result, if they don't know they are colorblind, then either you just argee the point non stop or one of your gives up and says "ok, you win" so they can get you to shut up(or you get into a fight about it!).
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  8. #28
      Karro is offline
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    Quote Originally Posted by jfrazierjr View Post
    That's the thing, you can't answer this question. There are many places where people have a somewhat modern level of technology and yet they may still believe in one of more mythical creatures or haunted places. Likewise, you can culturally have some people who are 5, 10, 100 miles apart and one group may believe in something entirely, while the other may reject it out of hand as being totally false.
    I guess you're right there, as was pointed out by you and Torstan earlier... proving a negative is difficult.

    Though something along those lines was the original impetus of the post, I think I've gotten a lot of good thoughts to mull around with since then, and I'm developing some decent and hopefully logical explanations for some of the factors I want, and changing some things around in my head, with regard to my own setting.
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      NeonKnight is offline
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    I need to find the case, so I will do the search, but there was a case only a few years back in Budapest I believe where family members broke into a recently deceased relatives grave and cut their head off because they honestly believed the person to be a vampire.
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  10. #30
      jfrazierjr is offline
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    Quote Originally Posted by NeonKnight View Post
    I need to find the case, so I will do the search, but there was a case only a few years back in Budapest I believe where family members broke into a recently deceased relatives grave and cut their head off because they honestly believed the person to be a vampire.

    Did they fill the mouth with Garlic and put it into running water?
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