It is impossible to pin the technology in the Chronicles of Aereth down to a specific timeline from the real world. In general, if it existed prior to the 5th or 6th centuries CE, then it is reasonably safe to state it exists on Gaia. Different cultures may be slightly ahead or behind one another, but there are no huge technological discrepancies. One country does not have nuclear weapons while the other is dealing in stone knives and bearskins. Also, cultures from other eras had equally impressive technologies. A good example would be the Minoans who had very elaborate plumbing and sewage systems.
Gaia is a fantasy world. We have characters that can use magic and technologies based in magic. If we need something to make writing the stories smoother, we’ll find a reason for it to exist.
The exception is firearms of any type. We are not planning to add any type of gun to the Chronicles of Aereth. This is a swords and sorcery fantasy realm not a swords, sorcery and 44 magnum fantasy realm.
This document will remain fluid and will be considered an ongoing work in progress as information develops.
The People and Technology
A majority of the people on Gaia live in relative comfort. Although they live on a world that stops the creation and use of hard technology, they are neither stupid nor primitive. In fact, they have a sophisticated understanding of their world. Almost everything they need to make their lives better can be found within the natural realm of Gaia.
Where Did the Knowledge Come From?
In most fantasy realms, the knowledge and information simply exists and no one is overly concerned about how it developed. To some extent, we’ll follow that premise in the Chronicles of Aereth.
If, however, inquiring minds want to know…
Gaia has seen the rise and fall of tremendously advanced civilizations over and over in her timeless existence. In addition, when the cylchs arose on Gaia several millennia ago, Travelers from other realms arrived and had to integrate into Gaia’s societies. Information, knowledge, myths and legends would have filtered down from various sources. Some of it would have jump started learning and advancements in some technology.
What Gaia or the GMs Allow
Gaia is our planet, our earth. It is a world steeped in magic and mystery. Earth’s entire existence is but a drop in the time bucket for Gaia.
We allow a limited amount of organic material to come through the portals onto Gaia. The materials must be all natural and compatible with the current technology level on Gaia. That’s right…no cell phones, firearms, or computers may transition with Travelers. Clothing needs to be cotton, linen, silk, wool, etc. Polyester would evaporate the second they got dumped onto Gaia. Likewise, Travelers’ technical knowledge won’t go far on Gaia as putting it to use would be limited by the technological level of the world and by the fact that, through arcane means, there are things Gaia just does not allow!
Right now, we are not allowing explosive devices of any kind. Arguably, the ingredients exist in nature on Gaia, but we will assume this is one of the technologies that Gaia herself does not allow.
Adding New Tech
Anyone can suggest new technology. Just use the contact form or write it up in a GDoc and notify the GMs to look it over.
Bladed weapon technology is more advanced than that of a similar era on Earth. Likewise, bows, crossbows and other such weapons are somewhat more advanced than would be found on Earth in a similar time period. Repeating crossbows are in use, composite bows, longbows and the short, deadly recurve bows are all prevalent on Gaia. Siege machines such as the trebuchet exist and it is likely some form of Greek Fire exists.
Another weapon technology in use is the atlatl or spear-thrower. The atlatl is a tool that uses leverage to achieve greater velocity in dart-throwing, and includes a bearing surface which allows the user to store energy during the throw.
It may consist of a shaft with a cup or a spur at the end that supports and propels the butt of the dart. The spear-thrower is held in one hand, gripped near the end farthest from the cup. The dart is thrown by the action of the upper arm and wrist. The throwing arm together with the atlatl acts as a lever. The spear-thrower is a low-mass, fast-moving extension of the throwing arm, increasing the length of the lever. This extra length allows the thrower to impart force to the dart over a longer distance, thus imparting more energy and ultimately higher speeds.
Through the arrival of Travelers and knowledge that filtered down from previous highly advanced civilizations, Gaia has a fairly sophisticated level of medical knowledge although the actual hardware tech is limited. While they do not refer to them as germs, bacteria or viruses, it is known that certain unseen elements cause illness, infections, etc. There is an understanding that certain herbs and plant extracts combined with other ingredients will weaken the illness or infection causing elements and, along with the body’s ability to fend off these things, will allow a person to recover. Most healers understand the basics of respiration, the nervous system, etc.
The fact that hygiene is related to disease is also well known as is the need to sterilize medical tools, wounds, etc. The healers of Gaia know certain plants that have antiseptic properties and are natural antibiotics, such as honey and garlic. Another potential medical solution would be colloidal silver although the colloidal solution itself would be limited to natural elements, but it is likely we have a plant for that!
Another source of medicinal aid are the various mineral springs and natural mud pots. Some of the mud has healing properties such as reduction of swelling or drawing poisons and infections from wounds.
Basic medical equipment that can be fashioned from the natural elements of Gaia may exist or we might allow a Traveler to aid in inventing them. One such item might be a stethoscope where the listening end is made from a finely wrought glass cup (glass is a good conductor) and the tubes are made from a naturally occurring rubber (rubber tree sap or bush).
The Romans invented many surgical tools and pioneered the use of the cesarean section, but their most valuable contributions to medicine came on the battlefield. Under the leadership of Augustus, they established a military medical corps that was one of the first dedicated field surgery units. These specially trained medics saved countless lives through the use of Roman medical innovations like hemostatic tourniquets and arterial surgical clamps to curb blood loss. Roman field doctors also performed physicals on new recruits and helped stem the spread of disease by overseeing sanitation in military camps. They were even known to disinfect instruments in hot water before use, pioneering a form of antiseptic surgery that was not fully embraced until the 19th century. Roman military medicine proved so advanced at treating wounds and promoting wellness that soldiers tended to live longer than the average citizen despite constantly facing the hazards of combat.
The above listed article gives a good overview of other technologies that can be found on Gaia and expanded on to some extent in our story’s realm.
The majority of continents and islands on Gaia are highly geologically active and the denizens of the world retain the knowledge of how to use it. Many towns, cities and private homes, holds, keeps, etc., are built on or near natural underground or surface hot springs which provide an unending source of hot water and even heating via underfloor hypocaust systems.
There are all the usual lighting methods from comparable eras such as oil lamps, torches, etc. However, on Gaia there are a couple of other common lighting technologies.
Light Troughs: Many homes have stone troughs built into the walls that are line with a reflective material and filled with light oils, sometimes scented, and then set alight.
Byd Golau (Light Globe, aka Moonglobes)
Grisial golau is the name given to the rough crystals. It literally means light crystal.
In the distant past on Atlantis, there was a nondescript crystal. Most were a pale milky white or a pale blue. The crystals have a unique property. They absorb and emit light like a non-electric light bulb. The Chimera mined, smelted and polished these crystals to be used as a light source. Quite a number of years after migrating to Aereth and then expanding into what is now Cymeria, new sources of this crystal were found in the smaller independent mountain chains south of Harkania.
The marches of Coedwig, Lothia, Torrenth and Kothis all have deposits with the largest being in Kothis.
As stated, Byd Golau have an unique property, it absorbs and emits light, but it has to be processed and polished correctly after being mined or it will soon lose this ability. First the crystals have to be extracted from the earth by mining and quarrying. From the mines, they go in two directions. A portion of the raw crystals are sold to trading partners outside Cymeria. The remaining rough crystals are sold within Cymeria to merchants and smelters.
The crystals have to be smelted and formed into globes much like blowing glass. If done properly, the interior forms webs and strands and it is these that absorb sunlight, providing the steady glow the crystals emit. In order to be used as a light source, however, the blown crystals must be carefully polished.
Extremely skilled smelters can blend in colored glass to make incredibly beautiful globes. The blue crystals, while beautiful, do not emit light as strongly and take longer to recharge. Most smelters form a small, thick loop at the top of the medium to small globes to make it easier to hang them by wire, chain, or rope. The very large ones are often positioned on pedestals.
Sizes vary from globes that will fit in the palm of a hand to much larger globes. A standard large light globe is about thirty inches in circumference. Despite their delicate appearance, they are quite dense and can withstand being dropped from a height of more than five feet.
The globes do burn out eventually and will no longer absorb and emit light. Perfectly clear or white ones that have had no color added can often be smelted again and repolished. This reduces their size, but they will provide another year or two of light. The lifespan of the average Byd Golau is about three years.
It is rumored there is a similar crystal mined in Stygia. Like the country, however, they tend to be dark and emit a flickering and sullen light.
Most races retain or have developed at least a rudimentary knowledge of medicine, geology, geography, natural history, and astronomy. With few exceptions, people on the planet of Gaia do not attribute things they do not understand to the acts of gods and goddesses. Most often, things they do not understand are simply that, things and events not yet understood and real world explanations are then sought.
Does this mean there are no superstitions and myths surrounding events and phenomena that is not understood? Absolutely not! Most races do have creation myths and legends. The main difference between these and the ones known in ancient times on Earth is that those on Gaia recognize them as just that…stories to explain something that is not yet scientifically proven or understood.
The various scientific disciplines have not come into existence as of yet. Almost all persons that dedicate themselves to learning (scientific, historical, etc.) are termed scholars. Scholar Fred might be an expert in Cymerian history while Scholar Betty may be devoting her life to studying fish when she’s not actively engaged in working on her family’s fishing boat. Few people have the luxury to do nothing other than study whatever field interests them. Most scholars have evolved from necessity, such as having to learn how animal husbandry works in order to maintain the health of their farm animals.
It is likely that the basic understanding that Gaia is a world that occupies a place in the universe and her relationship to her sun, moons, and other planets is one of the many leftover fragments of knowledge that has become intrinsic to the various races of man now residing on her surface. The waxing and waning of Marnwr’s Rings, the effects of Sealgair’s phases on the tides, Gaia’s relationship to The Great Maker (sun) in regard to seasonal changes, would all be things easily observed and likely recorded.
As stated, there is, at the very least, a rudimentary understanding of the world’s natural history and phenomena. It has been observed that the land masses have changed over time leading to it being surmised that the land is not completely stationary. The term plate tectonics does not exist nor does the exact knowledge of what makes the great continents and lesser islands grow, shrink, and drift over vast periods of time. It is understood that volcanoes exist and erupt and that volcanic features are driven by great heat held within Gaia herself. This very basic understanding leads many to situate their great holds, forts, and settlements near known hot springs and geysers where they utilize these geothermal features for such things as underfloor heating, running hot water, etc.
Likewise, there is a basic understanding of earthquakes being linked to where land masses seem to join together and split apart.
With few exceptions, one of the root concepts amongst the various races living on Gaia is the need for balance. This extends to the natural world. They understand that to take from nature means one must give back to nature to maintain the balance. Even mining for natural resources (be it metals or byd golau) is tightly controlled by the Guilds.
Flora and Fauna
The flora and fauna of Gaia is an ongoing learning and documentation process. Gaians know that there have been many plants and animals that no longer exist because they have found fossils. Through animal husbandry, farming, and pharmacology, basic botany is also understood and used.
There are arcanely created creatures dwelling on Gaia, but they are not in abundance and the creation of them is limited to Game Manager oversight
Since the ability to see beneath the surface of the deeper bodies of water is not a technology that exists on Gaia, there is only very basic knowledge in regard to the world’s watery regions. The ability to take soundings is evolving, allowing for some rough mapping of the sea, lake and river floors. Most sea captains keep detailed maps and logs of their observations, thus a library of knowledge, is growing.
Transfer portals are being included here although they are an arcane technology used by the Cymry and not hard tech. They are, however, also how Travelers wind up trapped on Gaia. Ancient Cymry archadepts used portals to open doors to other realms. Most of these were abandoned, partially destroyed or otherwise damaged. When the cylchs arose on Aereth, many of them arose in the locations previously occupied by portals. However, not all Travelers arrive in a cylch. There are malfunctioning portals all over the world although the majority are associated with a mysterious place, either natural or manmade.
The portals are for point to point transfer. There must be an active functioning portal on each end and the person using it must both know and be able to use the arcane energy keys that operate them. Even the most powerful Cymry archadept can only take four to six people with him or her through a portal. They cannot transport livestock and they are not large enough for entire armies to come through.
Transfer portals were added to our arcane arsenal to allow us to travel to point to point quickly so that we do not have our heroes and heroines spending years upon years simply traveling. If we need to construct a portal, we will, but it is exhausting for the Cymry that does it.
There are many materials in use for the creation of various items from steel for swords to concrete based on that in use by the Roman Empire.
Obsidian is a hard, dark, glasslike volcanic rock formed by the rapid solidification of lava without crystallization. It has been used for everything from pottery to weapons in the real world for millennia. There are, in fact, medical blades made of obsidian in modern times which some surgeons claim to be far superior to surgical stainless steel.
For the Chronicles of Aereth, obsidian is also used for surgical tools and for other precision cutting implements. Its widespread use for larger weapons is not feasible, however, due to its rarity and the skill it takes to knap obsidian. Even in modern times, it is stated that an obsidian scalpel is only good for about twenty uses before needing replaced. So, while it does take and hold a far sharper edge that makes cleaner cuts and incisions, it is not practical for larger items such as swords and daggers.