Thursday, July 5, 2012

On Timelines and Gunpowder

I talked to Darryl today for like an hour and a half or more and we worked out my key issues with the Timeline for Human migrations and with whether or not gunpowder works on Garnia World.

First, the issues with the Timeline and the advancement of technology- This is the Fairy Realm, the realm of the Sidhe, time moves slower here than it does on Earth. I haven't figured out an exact ratio yet, but this is going to cause me to rewrite some of the stuff I wrote earlier on this blog, like my last post about Al-Khalid's war being 600 years ago in Garnian terms. I am thinking now that it is going to have to have been much more recent.

This does solve a number of problems for me though in terms of technological advancement; even if magic retarded technological advancement, the excuse usually given in fantasy worlds, at the 1:1 time ratio we had going before the Garnians were still lagging behind Earth by a minimum of seven centuries, more in many areas. Darryl made a compelling argument that Wizards, like Scientists, would always be seeking to advance the state of the art and expand their knowledge, and so would metal workers, stone masons, and every other professional; so technology should have kept pace somewhat with Earth.

Fairy stories though are rife with accounts of people who enter the Fairy Realm for one night of partying and return home years later, having not aged. If we work it something like this and time runs much slower in Garnia World than on Earth, the lack of technological advancement makes sense. We can have an Iron Age Roman Empire in a world with a vast group of Celtic Iron Age Kingdoms, with some Dark Ages peoples lurking on the fringes and some even later Medieval people even more fringe. We have 13th century Mongols and 15th century Aztecs and 16th century Iroquois.

Curious note, I always intended that the Celt would be the first Humans in Garnia World, that is, in fact, not the case, the Egyptians were there first (circa 2500BC), then the Kushites (circa 1000BC), then the Celts (starting circa 100BC), then the Romans (hard dated to 79AD, with maybe a few others brought in earlier by the Sidhe as allies against the Celts), then the Chinese (circa 250AD).

Later Garnia campaigns might feature Scots, Bretons, Welsh or Irish from as late as the present, since the Celts are the only ones that figured out how to work the portals on their own, and the only still working portals are mostly in Britain, Ireland and Brittany in France, although Darryl and I talked about how the ritual is probably harder and harder to complete because the magic of Earth is so nearly completely gone. This means you might be able to get one or two people through, not a tank or a helicopter, the portal will only stay open for a couple of seconds at most and will be small, man sized.

On to gunpowder in Garnia World- It works like a charm until you run out. Garnia world has very little elemental Sulfur, and thus, gunpowder is rare and expensive. Sulfur is also an important spell component, so you are competing with Wizards for it's use. There are probably other industrial applications I haven't considered yet, but limiting the amount of elemental Sulfur was the easiest way to make the physics stay real and limit the use of gunpowder from any culture or people that come to the world with gunpowder. Escaping Clansmen in the aftermath of the '45 are going to have the playing field leveled for them because they have muskets and pistols and good steel swords and lochaber axes. Their priests will figure out in a hurry that their prayers (Cleric Spells) work here, and the hedge witches too; but their magic will be infantile compared to the Garnians and even the Steppe Clans, much less the Frodians; their firearms are their salvation until they can find a niche and fit in.

Presumably, they would feel most comfortable with their Gaelic speaking brothers in the Mistlands, but there are still Gaelic speaking parts of Garnia too. Maybe they go all "This is my boom stick" on the locals and raise a horde to conquer Garnia and set themselves up as a new dynasty, the recurring theme of Garnian history, but this time with guns too.

Anyway, that settles most of my problems with the Human migration Timeline, and the gunpowder issue.  


  1. excellent summary of our work today

    1. I am glad you like the result. I was a little worried that there may have been important details I was leaving out, it's not like I was taking notes while we were on the phone.