Wednesday, November 25, 2015

The High End of Backward

One of the features I truly like about this tech system I'm writing is that it isn't based on a European metric.  This means the trials and benefits of civilization can potentially exist anywhere that a smaller bordered region is heavily populated - say, India, Burma or Arabia, despite the usual thinking of these places being backwards.  The key is in the size of the territory - a smaller territory will almost certainly mean a higher density, for someone at some time in history felt that this tiny region was as large as it needed to be.

This lets me paint such areas as 'islands' of technological development in an otherwise less established outland.  For an example I haven't published yet, the territory of Agra - where the Taj Mahal has been more or less completed in my world, with some minor work still ongoing - has a tech level of 17.  It only occupies 4.4 hexes.  This, however, makes the region perfectly suited for a highly civilized Indian campaign.  Nearby Hindustan, 14 million people and 187 hexes, has a tech level of 14 . . . which I find quite acceptable, even enjoying the fact that a significant portion of India is far more advanced than parts of Spain, France or Germany recognized for their technical contributions.

That's because the system I'm developing isn't based on military glory or technological supremacy, but upon culture and interpersonal associations.  Hindustan in the 17th century was absolutely unconquerable by the West; most of the people did read and write, were well-versed in their social responsibilities and completely content with their roles.  It would be more comfortable for you or I to dwell in 17th century Delhi than in 17th century Florence, also a tech 14 region.

High Tech
Naturally, there's a certain preconception that would have to be overcome with players, steadfastly seeing everything not quintessentially American or British as perceptually appalling.  That's comes from our perception of India having been based on a 19th & 20th century colony of England, where laws were passed that denied the population control and 'immoral' behaviour that had kept India stable for centuries.  Admittedly, part of that population control did include a number of massacres, that I remember reading extensively on when I was researching the kingdom to make my map.  But hey, massacres happened in Europe too, remember?

It isn't like any of the world at this time was peaceful and light.  Heck, absolute monarchy wasn't intellectually challenged until 1690.

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