Technology in Elstern
The level and variety of technology present in Elstern is slightly different from standard “high fantasy” milieus. It roughly corresponds with mid-to-late 15th century central Europe, but there are some significant exceptions.
Weapons and armorAdvances in technology significantly alter the options available to characters interested in warfare.
- Heavy armor is beginning to decline
- The development of high-powered crossbows is the main culprit (as in the real world)
- Full-plate armor can still be seen on armored cavalry, and of course, knights.
- Lighter armor favors the use of agile two-handed weapons
- Most swordsmen are trending towards the use of the greatsword
- Commoners who receive Army training often become proficient with the halberd
Black powderIn the past 15 years, gnome alchemists have perfected several recipes for black powder for different applications. However, since the devices that use them are notoriously unreliable, their use has not significantly spread outside their race. Black powder weapons and equipment currently in gnomish use are:
- Matchlock pistols
- Long guns
The rediscovery of the process for making Vaynorian steel has had a profound effect on industry and technology in Elstern. With the reincorporation of Free City of the College of Smiths, steel-making has resumed there in earnest; the main consumer of the City’s wares is the Imperial Army.
To finance the war effort, the Empire has made some changes to the way money is used.
Coins made from precious metals (gold, silver, platinum, etc.) are no longer legal tender; they are often used for private trade but are not accepted in payment of taxes (including the war tax) nor are they used to pay soldiers in the Army. Private ownership and trade of bullion is illegal.
Trade in paper money has appeared in the free cities but is generally restricted to each city’s local economy. Some landed nobles now allow their promissory notes to be used as tender; this is the preferred method to transport and deal with large amounts of money.