Friday, July 24, 2015

SCIENCE! OR: Where Are My Rocket Pack and Death Ray?!

Welcome back to Fridays in AEthrem, intrepid explorers of the unknown! Today, we'll be talking about the engine that powers human society in AEthrem - science and technology.

While not the most technologically-advanced species to ever inhabit the world, humans in AEthrem have advanced quickly from their primitive beginnings. In just over 1,500 years, they've gone from using stone weapons to constructing airplanes. New advancements are made every day, and lauded in research journals and newsreel footage alike.

For most of human history, the Peloric Church was the driving force behind research and innovation. Established to support the followers of Pelorus the Crafter and study the divine workings of the world, the Church has sponsored countless researchers and engineers throughout the years. World leaders wanting the latest advancements for their grand works have long been forced to pay lip service to the church and make sometimes exorbitant donations to its priesthood - all serving to slowly push other faiths to the fringes of human society.

Today, the Church is well-established, with Cathedrals in most major cities and smaller houses of the faith in virtually every significant settlement. In addition to functioning as centers of worship, anyone can come to their local church for a variety of services - repairs and maintenance of machinery are provided by the members of the Order of Priest-Technician for the price of a small donation, as are telegraphing services. Those needing more complex assistance can employ those belonging to the Order of Priest-Engineer, who undertake the design of new devices and most larger public works projects, such as bridges, dams, and power generators.

In spite of its central role in society, the Peloric Church has been falling behind the cutting edge in technology in recent years. Private businesses have taken the lead by offering greater creative and personal freedoms for prospective inventors over the church, and edging into areas that the church has traditionally avoided becoming too involved with - such as weaponry. Inventors guilds and modern industries are experiencing a boom as a result, with all the expected infighting and backstabbing. While some push for a lead by hiring away their rivals' best and brightest, others aren't above resulting to more nefarious practices - such as mudslinging or corporate espionage and sabotage.

Transportation, entertainment, and communication are all undergoing huge changes in the modern day. Trade and travel has been facilitated by the rigid airship, with any community of note providing a dock for the vessels, while the airplane has caught the world's imagination - a machine controlled by courageous explorers, daring racers, and steel-willed combatants alike. The film industry is in full swing, and nightly radio broadcasts provide entertainment at home - both industries are home to a whole sky of rising stars, some willing to risk anything to make their name. While the Church's telegraphs can still reach almost every corner of the globe, the telephone has been implemented for a few decades, providing service to all but the most rural areas - although air mail can provide contact for even those in the deepest wildernesses.

Even these advances are not enough for some - those with the imagination and drive for it work tirelessly to design entirely new creations - personal rocket packs for flying through the air, electrical death rays for revolutionizing the military, even robots - tireless mechanical persons capable of carrying out simple tasks. Actually implementing these inventions on a wide scale is a huge challenge for industry - many are still not reliable or affordable enough for the mass market.

Until they become publicly available, fringe scientists and engineers construct and test prototypes of their latest inventions. Just building a device can be a huge undertaking, sometimes requiring rare and exotic components from across the globe. Reliability for these unproven inventions is also a huge concern - more than one wild-eyed young researcher has perished when their creation detonated in a huge fireball and a cloud of shrapnel, and even somewhat reliable devices require regular care, maintenance, and re-calibration to keep in working order.

So, yes, of course you can build a rocket pack and a death ray. It just might require a trip to the deepest jungle in search of rare gems and some tropical tree resin. Try not to explode, if you can help it.

COPYRIGHT NOTICE

Venture! Thrilling Adventures in the World of AEthrem and its associated characters are the property of Weird Science Games, LLC, Copyright 2015.

West End Games, OpenD6, and The D6 system are trademarks and properties of Purgatory Publishing Inc.