Technology

Kalyr has a confusing mix of technologies. While the basic technology available to much of the general population is roughly equivalent to that available on Earth in the late middle ages or early renaissance, some much higher technologies are available to the elites through that powerful and secretive guild, the Academy of Knowledge.

There are at least three important graduations in technology. The lowest level is the common items made by the craft guilds, weapons and tools such as swords, knives and axes, wagons drawn by draft animals, which are affordable to anyone with adequate means.

More sophisticated things are available, at a price, from the Academy of Knowledge. Firearms, powered vehicles, electric lighting are typical examples. Finally there are many things which were manufactured in the past, but are no longer commonly available. This may be because the secret of their making has been lost, or they could have been deliberately withdrawn for reasons unknown.

The skills and knowledge of the Academy falls far short of that of the Golden Empire, but artefacts from that time still survive long after the ability to make them has been lost.

Materials

Metals including steel are comparatively rare and expensive. This means that few things are made out of metal when any other more readily available material can be used instead. Many tools and even some cheaper weapons are made from wood or ceramics. A ceramic knife or spear head has a pretty sharp edge, even though it will eventually shatter. There is also the substance known as Vyrn.

Vyrn

Vyrn is not quite stone, not quite glass, not quite metal, and not quite plastic. It is rare and expensive, even more so than steel, but is still used for many things in place of metal, particularly for weapons and armour. It normally has a dull, greyish appearance, and does not rust or tarnish. Vyrn items can last indefinitely.

It is made from a mixture of resin from the vyr plant, and a rare mineral called mulinium. This mixture is heated to a very high temperature to produce a material which can be worked like steel, but can be made tougher and more durable. The higher the temperature, the harder the resulting vyrn. Various grades of vyrn can be made, depending on the ratio of mineral to resin, and the temperature, A high proportion of resin gives a softer, more flexible material, whereas a high proportion of mineral makes it harder but more brittle.

The supply of vyrn is limited by the growth of the vyr plants, which only grow in the warmer climes around Vohrleyn, and by supplies of mulinium, which is mostly found in the far north around Kelbers. In addition, the few furnaces which can produce high enough temperatures for the chemical reactions for making vyrn are owned the The Academy of Knowledge. It is possible, however, to melt down scrap vyrn to make new things, although this is not as good as fresh vyrn.

Vyrn is about the same density as steel, so hand weapons made from vyrn weigh the same as equivalent steel weapons, although they keep a better edge, and are less likely to break. Since vyrn is much tougher than steel, vyrn plate mail can be made a third the weight of equivalent steel armour of the same strength, or three times the strength for the same weight. Nobody makes vyrn chainmail. Some ancient suits of armour were made with vyrn foam, which is even better. The art of making this has long since been lost. The ancient kandar used vyrn for just about everything, and most ancient kandar items are made from it.

Power Sources

Electrical power is relatively commonplace, used for lighting (but generally not heating), and for vehicle propulsion. Many buildings have solar panels mounted on the roof. Windmills and watermills are less common but not completely unknown. The other common means of producing power are “sources”, sealed units that last for many years without apparently requiring any fuel. The Academy of Knowledge remains very tight-lipped about how they work or how they are made. Sources tend to be built into buildings or vehicles. Smaller portable gadgets and energy weapons use capacitors which must be recharged from an available source. Some vehicles also use capacitors banks in addition to a source, giving a higher power for short periods.

Steam or internal combustion engines are unknown.

Defining Gadgets

It’s impossible for this chapter to cover every weapon, tool or gadgets that might be available in Kalyr, and the following sections aren’t an exhaustive list. As a general rule of thumb:

  • Any device based entirely upon technologies from before the industrial revolution on Earth is likely to be relatively commonplace.

  • Any device incorporating technologies from the Victorian or early 20th Century era is technically feasible, but rare. Some specific technologies are deliberately suppressed. Note that things might have the same rough capabilities as historical Earth items, but might work on completely different principles. The shortage of raw materials and the lack of a large-scale industrial base rules out things like tanks and dreadnoughts, though.

  • Anything relying on modern-day or science-fiction technologies are very rare, and generally not available to ordinary people.

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