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From: Eric Tomasi
Subject: Re: [GREYTALK] Zip and ...Tudor?
At 05:21 PM 9/18/97 CST, you wrote:
>On a not entirely unrelated matter, Gary Gygax mentioned earlier
>today that he envisioned the architecture of Greyhawk City as
>resembling the styles from our world's 15th-17th centuries. With
>indoor plumbing no less! I was shocked. This is in relation to a
>game where characters are routinely denied compasses and firearms
>that were around in the 13th century. I just can't deal with that
>much variation from our world's technological progress. In fact, I
>had just recently been thinking that my 15th century focus for
>GREYHAWK was too far-fetched and I had better tone it down to the
>Scott “Volstagg” Casper
I think you might be too tied into european architectual and technological process. You have to understand, most of the limited progress of technology during the middle ages could be attributed to the presence of a monolithic religion which did in no way encourage that sort of thing. Greyhawk doesn't have that.
Also, you can model greyhawk in some ways as a european/mediterranean model.
1. The Invoked Devastation as a the Fall of the Roman Empire.
2. The rise & fall of the great Kingdom as middle ages
3. before and after the Greytalk wars and the early rennaissance.
Of course this is overly simplistic because other cultures were not drastically effected by the invoked devastation (ie, demihumans). Also because the world has Magi, some things are simply irrevalent. Wizards can do most things by magic so why develop the technology.
But I digress....
Architecture styles aren't necessarily dependent upon technological progress, mearly upon cultural influences. Also, remember that Greeks and Romans had indoor plumbing. The early version of the pump, the archimedes screw, was developed in greece around ~1500BCE (I think, don't quote me on this). Because this was lost to europeans does not mean it was lost during the invoked devastation. It is just so expensive that only the wealthiest have it.
Firearms are a special case. I think it takes some of the “magic” out of the game when firearms are added. It may be irrational, but that's the way I feel. I suppose you could justify it by saying that only wizards would discover smoke powder, and they would have no interest in promoting its use. Quite the opposite actually.
“It's ok to make a deal with the Devil...as long as you work freelance.”