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 Post subject: Low Tech Worlds
PostPosted: Fri Feb 12, 2021 4:29 pm 
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After working on Stellagama's Sword of Cepheus - a fantasy version of Traveller if you will - I have really started thinking about Low Tech worlds (TL0-3) and what they might look like on non-Garden worlds with and without interstellar contact.

Right now I am focusing on human societies. Think worlds after the Long Night. Sunk back into barbarism, little or no memory of their starfaring ancestors and origins.

Fantasy games give a lot of attention to the Medieval period (TL3), but I'm not necessarily looking at magic etc.

More like some of Poul Anderson's work during the Long Night after the fall of the Terran Empire - think The Night Face.

Also, I am looking at non-Earthlike worlds - like the moon of a gas giant which is tidally locked to the planet - really long days (like weeks) but never total darkness since when the sun is down, the gas giant will be close to full... Eclipsing time makes for an interesting period of their "day" too, if it happens.

What about a society in caves beneath the surface of a vacuum world? As long as they are totally sealed, the society wouldn't have to be all the tech savvy - to me, that's where the "Feudal Technocracy" comes in - there is a small group of people that know how to fix the air machines but only do it be rote memorization etc. without understanding of how it actually works. That isn't a long-term solution; but could last for many generations...

Anyway, just interested in your thoughts.

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 Post subject: Re: Low Tech Worlds
PostPosted: Wed Feb 17, 2021 1:03 pm 
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I suppose they could also have Cargo Cult religions, waiting for the day the Beloved Ancestors return with all the wondrous tech of old...

Sealed in a bunker societies have a carrying capacity problem - there will be an upper limit to population size before everything goes pear shaped. Pear shaped might be a variety of things. Exceed the physical space carrying capacity, then everyone is crammed together like the tube at rush hour.

Exceed the safe limit of how much of your recycled biomass can be in the form of human beings, then said biomass can't take the form of livestock, pets, crops or the bacteria that break down sewage, or whatever. For instance, if 'normally' there is 1000 tonnes of humans plus 100,000 tons of animals, crops and recycling bugs/plants, then when population growth pushes human biomass to 1200 t, then that 200 t has to come out of the other allocations, like crops. Suddenly people are going hungry, until they kill off 200 tonnes of dogs and cats. Pets are extinct now. Then if the growth is not checked, the new biomass comes out of vital stuff and the whole system collapses.


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 Post subject: Re: Low Tech Worlds
PostPosted: Fri Feb 19, 2021 1:05 am 
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I'd love to have more bronze-age worlds in the mix. I've lately been looking for books on the Minoans for this.

Also, I'd think that worlds that have hostile environments, such as vacuum worlds or exotic/corrosive atmosphere worlds, would be less likely to become truly low tech - they'd either do their best to not lose too much tech to survive or, failing that, would die out. So, to me, worlds that lose more technology than that would need to have an atmosphere that either could support human life, or that humans could adapt to living on, even if they're closer to (for example) Mars-like.

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 Post subject: Re: Low Tech Worlds
PostPosted: Fri Feb 19, 2021 5:59 pm 
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Jame Rowe wrote:
I'd love to have more bronze-age worlds in the mix. I've lately been looking for books on the Minoans for this.

Also, I'd think that worlds that have hostile environments, such as vacuum worlds or exotic/corrosive atmosphere worlds, would be less likely to become truly low tech - they'd either do their best to not lose too much tech to survive or, failing that, would die out. So, to me, worlds that lose more technology than that would need to have an atmosphere that either could support human life, or that humans could adapt to living on, even if they're closer to (for example) Mars-like.


According to some interpretations of TL, it refers more to the technological infrastructure and know-how. So they might still have the machines that keep their life support going, possibly a pile of spare parts, plus keeping the repair/maintenance skills up through learning by rote, but once the parts are gone they´ll be dead.

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 Post subject: Re: Low Tech Worlds
PostPosted: Thu Feb 25, 2021 11:20 pm 
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Sir Chaos wrote:
Jame Rowe wrote:
I'd love to have more bronze-age worlds in the mix. I've lately been looking for books on the Minoans for this.

Also, I'd think that worlds that have hostile environments, such as vacuum worlds or exotic/corrosive atmosphere worlds, would be less likely to become truly low tech - they'd either do their best to not lose too much tech to survive or, failing that, would die out. So, to me, worlds that lose more technology than that would need to have an atmosphere that either could support human life, or that humans could adapt to living on, even if they're closer to (for example) Mars-like.


According to some interpretations of TL, it refers more to the technological infrastructure and know-how. So they might still have the machines that keep their life support going, possibly a pile of spare parts, plus keeping the repair/maintenance skills up through learning by rote, but once the parts are gone they´ll be dead.


This is my interpretation of why the really hostile worlds would be listed as higher-tech IMTU than in the OTU.

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 Post subject: Re: Low Tech Worlds
PostPosted: Sat Feb 27, 2021 7:43 pm 
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Cyborg IM1 wrote:
What about a society in caves beneath the surface of a vacuum world? As long as they are totally sealed, the society wouldn't have to be all the tech savvy - to me, that's where the "Feudal Technocracy" comes in - there is a small group of people that know how to fix the air machines but only do it be rote memorization etc. without understanding of how it actually works. That isn't a long-term solution; but could last for many generations...

I rather like Eric Van Lustbader's bunker society in Sunset Warrior ...

Image

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 Post subject: Re: Low Tech Worlds
PostPosted: Mon Mar 01, 2021 10:08 pm 
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Thanks all. I think your ideas match my own. I tried coming up with a Low Tech society trapped in a series of caves below the surface of a vacuum world. I couldn't come up with a way to keep them alive. Sure, there could be bio-luminescence and mushrooms for food. Almost constant temperature might eliminate the need for fires, but still, it's going to be tough getting your tech back without fire - how do you make gunpowder? What happens to the byproducts of combustion? How do you get steam power without fire? etc.

I ended up giving up and concentrating on worlds with ATM 4-9 - I can figure out pretty low-tech solutions to most taints; especially if you consider they started out higher tech and as the TL dropped, the locals had to figure out solutions that they could sustain.

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 Post subject: Re: Low Tech Worlds
PostPosted: Wed Mar 03, 2021 1:11 pm 
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I suppose you could have photosynthesis and farming under domes if the domes were a legacy from Before.

Or — I don’t know how compatible this is with Traveller tech set — maybe hydroponics or food synthesising machines powered by a legacy fusion plant?


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 Post subject: Re: Low Tech Worlds
PostPosted: Wed Mar 03, 2021 1:57 pm 
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There´s also geothermal energy (and just plain geyers) for relatively modest energy demands, as well as for heating and hot water. Most power plants these days are just fancy ways to get a turbine to spin in order to produce electricity - I wonder how much it would take to jury-rig a primitive turbine to be driven by a natural steam vent.

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Space isn't remote at all. It's only an hour's drive away if your car could go straight upwards. Sir Frederick Hoyle
Earth is the cradle of humanity, but one cannot live in a cradle forever. Konstantin Tsiolkovsky
Man has earned the right to hold this planet against all comers, by virtue of occasionally producing someone completely bat**** insane. xkcd #556
Just like people, stars can be very important without being terribly bright. Phil Plait, "Bad Astronomy"


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 Post subject: Re: Low Tech Worlds
PostPosted: Wed Mar 03, 2021 3:14 pm 
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Both good ideas. My concern with geothermal power was ground instability. If you have an unstable region, how can your caves maintain air integrity? Especially long-term. I figured quakes would cause cracks and eventually the cave system would lose its air - at least over hundreds or thousands of years.

Ancient fusion tech and hydroponics supported by a Cargo Cult (Think GOV 5 in Traveller terms) might work though...

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