Nyxheim is a young world, hungering for progress and innovation, where the winds of change sweep over the stale old civilisations, and give rise to completely new ones.
But change has its price. Not everyone is willing to sacrifice the traditional values, the pillars which upheld the Old and Elder Worlds.
Different civilisations in Nyxheim have different attitudes towards these fateful winds of change. The three which embrace them most readily are the humans, the undead, and the dark elves. The ones who resist them most vigorously are the elves and the fae. Other, lesser nations cannot avoid the influence of the great powers, and some begin to slowly and unnoticeably modernise, while others struggle to preserve their way of life.
The humans and the undead are considered to be the leading powers when it comes to technology, and are currently in the middle of an arms race against eachother. Dark elven machinery is, in fact, even more sophisticated, but is poorly understood by other races and thus not popular outside of Malekith.
OOC: The current state of technology for both humans and undead is loosely comparable to Europe, ca 1915. Of course, that's not taking into account all of the steampunk and cybergoth elements that saturate it. Dark elven tech is not really comparable to anything.
Humans were the first to discover electricity, and they have numerous ways of producing it. Fossil-fuel power plants running on coal or oil were the earliest reliable method, and are still the most widely used, having replaced the considerably less effective wind- and watermills. Supplementary methods include storing the energy absorbed by lightning conductors. "Canned lightning" is sold at convenience stores, and is popular to help power various housekeeping devices.
The political situation surrounding energy is not uncomplicated. As the machines around the city become more powerful and hungry for fuel, the need for an equally effective extraction and power industry becomes apparent. This is a big problem particularly in Howldon. Coal is mostly found in the mountains, and in the mountains live elves, and elves are prone to killing humans. Similarly, oil is abundant in the Nightmare Marsh, but there live demons, who are not very friendly either. Some political factions are of the opinion that more environmentally-friendly ways will help make peace with the elves and thus ensure a stable future for the human industry, but the majority refuses to sacrifice production efficiency for the sake of barbarian demands. This debate has yet to reach the boiling point, but its resolution will surely have a big impact on the global attitude towards new technology.
The human economy has become reliant on mass-production. Machines powered either by electricity from the power plants, or directry by fossil fuel, have proved to work much faster than any human ever could. Since the first factories were built, the price of any consumer goods that could be made there has dropped dramatically, forcing craftsmen of all sorts to abandon their personal businesses and seek employ at the factories instead. The societal impact of this was massive, and happened rapidly. The freshly formed proletariat has gained a strong political standing, forming labor unions and demanding constant improvements of their wages and working conditions, bringing the winds of democracy into the formerly conservative human politics. However, the increasing abundance of engines, both at work and at home, has given rise to pollution problems. A blanket of unhealthy fumes covers the cities, and the nature around them withers and deforms due to the huge amounts of factory waste being dumped onto it.
Since the recent invention of the combustion engine, automobiles have become very popular, and have largely replaced horses for traveling in cities; same with tractors for plowing the fields. Motorbikes and walking vehicles are common in Caelin but less so in Howldon. Seeing as the fuel prices are on the rise, bicycles have become a viable, cheaper alternative. Most modern vehicles run on petrol, but since coal is cheaper, the somewhat outdated coal-driven automobiles have not yet fallen out of use.
The human alliance of Howldon and Caelin has a larger and more powerful navy than the rest of the world put together. High-capacity, steam-powered cargo ships have revolutionised the trade logistics between the two human metropoli, and are a making a large contribution to the alliance's economy. Wooden ships-of-the-line have been replaced by metal battleships, with engines allowing them to move independently of the wind. Humans exercise naval supremacy both in Kyrheim and Ariaheim. Caelin is known as the greater naval power among the human cities, with vessels that are both more numerous and sophisticated than those of Howldon, as well as a rich maritime culture that dates back to the Old World.
Airplanes are a recent invention, also made by humans. Howldon and Caelin have each an expanding passenger airport, and are steadily adopting the new form of travel into their infrastructure. Plane tickets are expensive, and traveling by air is considered a luxury. Traditional, masted skyships have undergone a modernisation, now using engines and hot air ballons instead of sails. They are used alongside maritime vessels for cargo transport. Militarily, airplanes meet with mixed success. They fly quite slowly and at low altitude, which makes them vulnerable to attacks from the ground. However, they do offer an additional combat dimension to the otherwise wingless human army, and are expected to grow in importance as the technology develops.
Humans where the ones to invent cars, and they were also the ones to first employ tanks. The first tank was essentially nothing more than a rolling metal box with firing embrasures for the riflemen inside. Still, it has proven suprisingly devastating against the elves, whose arrows and combat spells were unable to put a scratch on it. Tanks have developed since then, and now sport thicker armor, more powerful engines, and a heavier armament of cannons and machineguns. The tank has become an icon of the human military might in Kyrheim, and a serious obstacle for any pre-industrial enemy. The tanks run on petroleum engines, and are somewhat prone to malfunction and getting stuck in uneven terrain. Projects for lighter armored vehicles, such as armored cars, have been scrapped because the thin plating is not enough to keep out the sting of elven longbows.
Human armies are quipped with firearms, including repeating rifles and revolvers, as well as portable explosives such as grenades. Machineguns are also used, but they are too heavy to be carried around and are usually attached to static emplacements or vehicles. Artillery has become more powerful and accurate, now capable of indirect fire over long ranges. New tactical gadgets are being put to use, including barbed wire fences and minefields. Caelin has adopted specialised weaponry to deal with its undead foes, such as silver bullets, which for unknown reasons cause violent ruptures when they draw undead blood, and flamethrowers.
Humans were long the leading race when it came to cutting-edge weaponry, but they have recently fallen behind the dark elves and the Church in this area. While there is an insurmountable lethality gap between the human armies and their pre-industrial foes, they no longer have such an advantage over their darker rivals, who seem to be investing in weapons more intensely than ever.
As opposed to their living cousins, the Ecclesiastic cities do not suffer from energy crisis due to their discovery and use of nuclear power. Due to the non-explosive nature of the used chemicals, nuclear cell batteries are the primary, and in many cases only, source of power for the undead. The radiation they emit is highly toxic, but seems to slow the decay of ghouls, which was another reason to make them stick the batteries in everything from table lamps to factory machines. Vehicles such as cars, DCC and airships also use nuclear power cells, as do some of the heavy weapons in the Ecclesiastic military. The abundance of energy provided by the nuclear power plants means that Obisidian is never short on electricity, and even the most run-down areas are illuminated very generously.
All civilian and light military production is covered by Volche, one of the two major Ecclesiastic manufacturing facilities.
The Church has begun its industrialisation using human-designed steam machines. Even after nuclear power was discovered, the principles of mass-production have remained the same. However, since undead workers need less rest than human ones, they can have longer workdays Thus, production output in the Ecclesiarchy is larger than in human cities, even though the manufacturing technology is not very different.
This is a branch of technology unique to the undead. Ghouls and wights are created by binding a soul to an object, which also serves as the creature's body. Since this object can be virtually anything, a world of possibilities lies open before you. Metallic limb replacements are becoming more and more common. A fully mechanical body is, although vastly expensive, not impossible to obtain. Different "body shops" are opening all around Obsidian, allowing people to customise themselves in various ways. It is even possible to have a completely non-humanoid body - a soul can be bound to a car, for example. Non-organic bodies are resistant to decay and have many other advantages, so it is believed that they will completely replace flesh and blood at some point in the future.
Most of the undead transportation needs are covered by the DCC (see Obsidian), but Volche also offers cars of flamboyant design, some of which are reserved for those with good taste, though most of them are simply reserved for those with above average income. While outwardly similar in appearance to their foreign counterparts, these machines use nuclear fission for propulsion, as opposed to a petrol engine. Naturally, not many of the above have a market beyond the Ecclesiastic borders due to the danger of nuclear fuel leakage, which is lethal to all things alive. However, they can be made quite workable in a living environment by replacing the nuclear-powered electrical engine with a steam or petrol engine.
The undead have aquired their coastal terriroties quite recently, and have not yet developed a proper navy. A modest number of cargo vessels and lighter warships was been build using copied Caelinite blueprints, but with the steam and petrol engines replaced by nuclear batteries. Said batteries are dumped right into the water after use, causing massive coastal pollution. The existing Ecclesiastic navy is only suitable for coastal patrol and cargo transport, and has never been deployed in hostile waters. There are currently no plans on trying to challenge the human supremacy over the seas.
Elegant, although very noisy biplanes are also available for civilian use, and are common as taxis across mountain regions. Walking vehicles are unpopular in the cities due to their slow speed, but people who live in rougher areas tend to favor them. The Church has a basic military air force; it is outdated compared to the human counterpart, but still quite effective against the Wildcats. Currently, a new model of aircraft is in development: a vast floating fortress that could move an entire army across the sky. The prototype is already in construction, but considerable investments in both technological and magical research will be required to complete it. The prototype is called the Holy Arc.
Foremostly, the Church uses wheeled and tracked armored vehicles that are similar in appearance and fuction to those in human employ, but have a wider operational range because they seldom need to refuel. Most vehicles are engineered to transport and support infantry rather than as a combat force of their own. While many of the Ecclesiastic machines rely on conventional mechanics for operation, some are designed to be possessed, as explained above. These machines often feature legs, claws and other limb-like appendages that would be impossible or impractical to operate by technology alone. Worth noting that these metallic giants are technically nothing more than ghouls with fancy bodies. Besides war, they are procured and employed by Xerxes Inc as deforesters in the Harrowoods.
Ecclesiastic guns, both light and heavy, are somewhat more advanced than their human counterparts, using more powerful and reliable mechanisms. Because the Church has easy access to the raw materials and means needed to manufacture them, they are widely available throughout all of Nyxheim. Common small arms are produced by Volche; the most well-known weapons include their bolt-action rifle, which is standard-issue for Church infantry; and their semi-automatic pistol, which has made its way to the criminal layers Nyxheim in large numbers. Unlike humans, the undead have kept their use of metal cuirasses and large metal riot shields. Although they will rarely stop a normal bullet, they effectively repel the softer silver bullets, which are main weapon humans use against the undead.
The Church also makes extensive use of radiological weapons. The unrestrained spread of radiation from the Obsidian power plants has inflicted grievous harm on the local flora and fauna, and the Church leadership was quick to weaponise the concept, leading to the development of "fallout shells" and "fallout grenades" that release a large cloud of radioactive aerosol on detonation. Inhaling even a tiny done of these particles is lethal. Radiological weapons have only been used on the Wildcats so far, and have proven to be more effective than standard high-explosive shells. Since the radioactive particles are too small to be stopped by gas mask filters, this type of weapon is anticipated to be a success against humans as well.
See Soul Essence
Pre-Industrial Technology GroupsEdit
There is a large gap in production efficiency and economical growth between industrial and pre-industrial societies, and this gap continues to increase rapidly. It is unclear what future holds for the latter civilisations. Will they persist, will they be overtaken ruthlessly by the more developed powers, or will they simply collapse?
The region of Evergreen in Kyrheim (Riv Amar, Altamira, Asrai and Neferdrim) are part of what can be called the "elven tech group", as these cities essentially share one technological culture. This tech group is stiffly resistant to industrialisation and upholds the traditions of the Old World. They are quite scientifically advanced in the areas of physics, architecture, biology and medicine, but refute all notion of using any human- or Church-invented devices; the most notable examples of these include steam, petrol and nuclear engines, electricity and firearms. The elven tech group relies more on magic than on science.
While geographically scattered, most efferus tribes have a similar level of technological development. They are overall less advanced than the elven coalition, both scientifically and magically. The efferii are prone to using natural environments or simple mooden constructions for their habitat, and their production is focused on self-subsistence rather than on economical growth. They are, however, more open to influence from the industrial powers. The Ice Bears and the Wings of Night in particular are slowly beginning to modernise.
Demons are the least developed of all sapient races. They have the simplest methods of production and do not make regular use of any sophisticated devices, mechanical or otherwise. Those at the top of the demon hierarchy may be an exception to this, but the majority of demons are very primitive.-- Royal Seal 18:08, October 15, 2013 (UTC)