Saturday, August 20, 2011

Battletech, fantasy and the technological arms race

One thing I find interesting with Battletech, is that there are different levels of technology in the setting, and they all fight over technology as much as for power for its own sake. Sometime an influx of new tech shakes things up a bit, and it influences the capabilities of the other states and factions involved in the conflicts. Why aren't we seeing this in the fantasy worlds of roleplaying?

Imagine a country, which have invented gunpowder or the printing press. They invade another country and suddenly that country is filled with guys with primitive guns. Later on another country creates the telegraph and suddenly the game world have "instant" communication in some parts.

Imagine how cool that could be. Imagine your characters in the midst of it.

I think that part of Battletech could be imported successfully into your fantasy campaign!


  1. Some of us have done that, haven't we? :)

  2. Please for Christ sake help this poor boy from Haiti.

  3. Some of us have done that, haven't we? :)

    Some have indeed? Sounds interesting. :)

  4. Majid Ali,

    I'm not sure I understand that comment.

  5. The arms race metaphor may be a problem, because players are not going to want to be on the wrong end of the tech curve.

    I think it would be awesome to see evolving technologies in play, but it is going to be an interesting balancing act. How much do you allow the PCs to have? How much of an advantage does it give the enemy? Can technology be easily acquired and adapted by the other side?

  6. Arms race might be problematic metaphor, yes.

    I expect it to be quite a balancing act, yes. But I think it will be something that happens on the strategic level first and foremost, then it will trickle down. How much you allow the PCs to have will have to be influenced on what level they play, I gather.

  7. Nah Arm's races are very interesting. When the Myceneans turned up in my world of Zama, they and their bronze weapons ran up against Tuathan's with iron swords and iron chainmail. Very quickly the Myceneans learned to make iron weapons of their own, but stuck to the old style bronze hoplite armour that better suited the climate. Likewise, when the Skythians and their stirrups ran into the Tuathans, the Tuathans very quickly went from using chariots to using actual cavalry.

    It's easier to run an arms race than you think. Just beware. PC's will try to make a profit out of it. Happens every time.

  8. Hey, then it sounds like you are doing something right! :)


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