by Max Barry

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by The yukons. . 65 reads.

Technology Guide

Legacy of the Yukons uses an eclectic mixture of Past Tech. This guide will help members of the region maintain consistency when describing their technology.

The technological progress of the region was deliberately stifled by the Yukon Empire during its long period of supremacy. Technologies seen as disruptive were suppressed and their inventors eliminated. Outside their own territory, the Yukons used their overwhelming military force to interfere in the technological development of client states and independent nations. No nation in the region was permitted to have technology which equaled or surpassed that of the Yukon Empire.

When the Fall occurred, it not only shattered the Yukon Empire but also plunged the region into a long winter. The failure of agriculture led to a collapse of civilization in many areas, with a corresponding loss of technological knowledge. This time is known by the successors to the Yukon Empire, such as Parina and Atlantian Dominions, as the False Tribulation. It would be half a century before these nations could reasonably claim to have achieved a return to the level of the pre-Fall industrial and technological base. The conservative or decentralized nature of the Yukon successor states, and the immense deficit which hobbled other competitors now free of Yukon interference, has meant that technological progress has tended toward improvements in existing orthodoxy, rather than radical innovation.


Electricity is generated by coal power plants, hydro-electric dynamos, and windmills.

Steam engines have been improved and refined. When steam engines reached their peak, the Stirling cycle engine was developed. The Stirling cycle engine is an external-combustion engine where the pistons are driven by the regenerative heating and cooling of a gas in a closed cycle, most often by air. They are commonly known as “air engines.” Air engines are easier to manufacture and maintain than real world internal combustion engines, but slightly less powerful. They are also relatively silent and use any source of heat, from the sun to kerosene. They also give off far fewer fumes, even when using petroleum as a heat source.


Ground transportation is provided by draft animals, steam locomotive trains, and Stirling-cycle motor vehicles.

Motor cars and trucks are still mechanically unreliable, especially on rough terrain. Motor car use is confined to wealthy people who have travel on paved roads. Militaries are beginning to experiment with armored cars, but they are prone to breakdowns. Military transportation in the field is still performed by draft animals in almost all cases.

Express trains, pulled by articulated steam engines powered by coal, can travel up to seventy miles per hour. Most nations will have some sort of railroad network, either built by their own government or funded by foreign investors.

The science of animal breeding and husbandry has seen continual improvement since the recovery from the Fall and the False Tribulation. Draft horses and other animals of burden exist which are comparable to modern equivalents. Travel in rural areas is usually done entirely by horse or other animal.

Sea transportation is provided by both sailing ships and steam-powered ships.

The Yukon Empire suppressed efforts to construct metal-hulled ships in order to maintain naval superiority over the region. This lack of familiarity with the process, and the disruptions of the Fall and the False Tribulation, meant that wooden-hulled ships remained viable for some time and are still common. In some places metal hulls remain reserved exclusively for warships.

Advances in the understanding of hydrodynamics meant that highly sophisticated sailing ships, including high-speed clipper ships, remain competitive for commercial transportation and private travel. Steam-powered ships are common, especially among navies.

Air transportation is provided by hydrogen-filled airships powered by Stirling-cycle engines.

Hydrogen is generally very safe, thanks to decades of advances in proper procedures and techniques for reducing risk of catastrophic fire. Airships are used to transport cargo and people and are somewhat rare outside the most developed nations. Airplanes are still in very early infancy, but some nations are beginning to experiment with biplane design prototypes. Aerial warfare is the stuff of speculative novels.


Medicine before the Fall was advanced but its availability was highly unequal. The Yukon Empire used disease as a means of undermining rivals, allowing the spread of devastating infectious diseases and withholding lifesaving medicines from nations unwilling to submit to Yukon hegemony. During the Fall and the False Tribulation, plagues decimated populations around the region.

Medical knowledge has returned to pre-Fall levels and improved. Malaria and yellow fever are well understood, and cures for both exist (in fact a malaria cure exists which is more advanced than those available in the real world). However, these cures remain unevenly available: few nations, if any, have any sort of concerted vaccination campaign and urban slums remain hotbeds of disease. Sanitation in cities is also improving.


Long-distance communication is performed via telegraph. Wireless telegraphy exists but is not widely available. Most nations restrict wireless telegraphy to use on warships and other military purposes. Underwater telegraph cables, laid by the Yukon Empire but then destroyed during the Fall and the False Tribulation, have been restored and permit communication across the Central Ocean.

Cinematographs – silent moving pictures – have started to become popular in large cities. Phonographs are also becoming common outside the homes of the wealthy, allowing middle class and even lower class people to experience recorded music.

Military Technology

The area of least innovation under the Yukon Empire was in the realm of military and weapons technology. The Yukons saw little need to improve their own military capabilities since no serious opponent existed. The weapons being used by the Yukons in the time immediately prior to the Fall were nearly identical to those that had been used a century earlier. The Fall and the False Tribulation led to a collapse in organized society, and further stunted technological advancements.

The average foot soldier is armed with a bolt-action, magazine-fed rifle firing rimmed smokeless powder cartridges. Single-shot rifles and black powder cartridges are still common in less developed areas.

Artillery consists of field guns, siege artillery, and rockets. Field guns fire brass cartridges which hold both the shell and the powder charge, but lack the recoil management mechanisms of quick-firing guns. Siege artillery consists of heavy cannons and mortars which are used to bombard cities, fortresses, or other fortified positions. Rockets are unguided, and their inaccuracy and unreliability mean they are normally used as psychological weapons against less advanced enemies. All artillery is moved primarily by draft animals such as horses or oxen. Machine guns are bulky and still seen as artillery pieces. They are usually only deployed as defensive weapons in fortifications or on gunboats.

Cavalry is used both in the charge with saber and lance and as mounted infantry firing carbine rifles.

Navies use dreadnought battleships mounting heavy guns in central-line turrets fore and aft of the superstructure. These ships are powered by coal-fed steam turbines, making the acquisition of coaling stations a necessity for any nation with a desire to have a region-wide naval presence. Torpedo technology was suppressed by the Yukon Empire in order to maintain the dominance of ships of the line, though naval mines are in use. In addition to dreadnoughts, most navies maintain battlecruisers for long-distance and independent operations, and various types of river monitor, coastal defense ship, and gunboat for use in shore and riverine operations. These ships are also generally built with steel hulls and mount smaller-caliber guns.

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