Dungeon Fantasy: Frontiers
Game Technology Level – the Age of Reason
(from Fantasycraft v1)
This is an era of incredible growth and discovery, of far- reaching exploration and conquest. New technologies and modes of travel bring wildly disparate cultures together for the first time, making it a turbulent and wondrous time to be alive. Reason encompasses our Renaissance period through our Age of Enlightenment.
The primary political and social units of the era are nations — autonomous, clearly defined countries with a distinct cultures and national identities. Not all nations are physically large but all maintain seasoned militaries and strong sets of values.
Culture is defined by curiosity and humanism, which is a far cry from the stricture and willful ignorance of the feudal era. Education, literacy, and knowledge are widely available to the masses for the first time, thanks to printing, philosophers, and national leaders. The inexorable advance of science and technology paves the way for amazing discoveries, freeing the common man to engage in professional and intellectual pursuits. Star-charting, refined mapping, and other navigation advances help explorers travel beyond and between continents, and languages spread through extensive trade, learning, and military networks.
Hereditary and military leadership are still most common but individuals also rise to power by accumulating wealth, gaining popular support, and simple, underhanded scheming. Nations may be led by a wider array of characters, including merchant princes and great philosophers. Warfare remains a vital facet of international relations and it’s bloodier than ever, though diplomatic and economic alliances are on the rise. ‘Warrior’ is a profession rather than a social caste.
Science impacts nearly every aspect of life. Gunpowder changes warfare forever, prompting armorers to shift away from heavy plate to light and flexible suits that encourage mobility (read: dodging). As an added benefit, these suits can also be worn socially, which helps to integrate warriors more fundamentally into other circles. Machinery is available and often mastered by common folk. Transport includes grand wagons and great ships (some even floating on air), and medicine becomes available to the masses through chemists and professional healers.
The advancement of science also has a great impact on religion and magic. As people gain new options for their ills, they start to rely less on their faiths, at least for healing. Technology continues to displace magic, forcing mages to specialize and cloister, though some embrace and change with the times. These few, and their divine counterparts, use their power in new and exciting ways, experimenting as much as the great thinkers of the time.