For a well developed high-tech country in a fantasy world, which substance has the highest possibility to be the backbone of their technology?

I mean a physical substance, for example:

  • A substance which provides something like nuclear energy.
  • A special metal (like in Black panther).
  • A herb which cure all diseases?

For my country, trading with another countries is not possible, so I guess something that makes them financially richer has no effect in this circumstance. Also please avoid ideas about something provide immortality. Also I wish to avoid magic in my story as much as possible. Thank you.


closed as primarily opinion-based by John, 011358 smell, Frostfyre, jdunlop, EDL Aug 1 at 19:16

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  • $\begingroup$ Did you mean substance as being a kind of fuel, a material, or a technology? Wakanda's Vibranium is a great plot-convenient device as it apparently stores energy, has stored energy, is as flexible as it is rigid, is unbreakable but also easy to mine, and more. In real life, we have oil that can both fuel our machines and can be used to create complex carbon-based structures, like plastic and nanotubes. $\endgroup$ – cyber101 Aug 1 at 7:21
  • $\begingroup$ by substance, you mean something that is present in our world, ready to be collected? or would synthetic stuff be ok? $\endgroup$ – Kepotx Aug 1 at 7:38
  • $\begingroup$ @Kepotx A synthetic stuff is ok , if and only if a rare natural element is a most wanted ingredient in its production. $\endgroup$ – Sangeetha Aug 1 at 7:51
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @cyber101: Such a versatile metal, but they used it to make a frisbee. $\endgroup$ – Joe Bloggs Aug 1 at 7:56
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ In Larry Riven's ring world, the technological backbone of the ring world creators was a special kind of metal that was a superconductor at room temperature (and thus integrated in everything and everything was dependent on it). He invented some kind of metal mold that 'ate' the superconductor material and thus destroyed civilization (because the ppl realized too late that they needed to switch their power harvester technology to other superconductors, and thus lost their power before they could switch their technology everywhere else. Ergo: they went back to technological dark ages...) $\endgroup$ – subrunner Aug 1 at 12:24

Creating a special metal as mentioned in one of the comments, and your hunch about Vibranium-like substances is probably the best way to go. I'll elaborate.

A substance which provides something like nuclear energy. This can be categorized as a special metal as well, so having a special metal with any properties that you desire to generate an economy as well as being common enough to be used in everyday usage(or for the majority) is a good start. There can be civil wars and the plot can be created around such a powerful omnipresent material.

A special metal (like in Black panther). This is a good solution. A metal with the properties of Vibranium can serve as the primary basis of a high technology country. A high tech company can harness the properties of said metal and augment the usage. For example, Vibranium was used to augment shoes, suits, make shields. There are uses in the everyday as well as in all technology. Yes, creating a special material is the best idea.

A herb which cures all diseases ? Definitely not this one. A herb that cares all diseases is priceless, and because there is no trading, I'm assuming in a monetary way, this is useless.


which substance has the higher possibility to be the spinal cord of their technology?

In our world such a substance is oil, because it allowed us to have cheap and widely available energy.

In your fantasy world it can be whatever substance is at the base of their technology: it can be oil, it can be fantasium, you define it when you shape their technology.


That depends on your definition of high-tech. Do you consider 21st-century technology high-tech, or do you need something fancier? Or something low-tech, compared to 21st-century, but high-tech compared to high-medieval technology?

I'm going to focus on fuel

Two most obvious candidates, in my opinion, would be coal and oil, as they form(ed) a backbone of our real-life technology for quite some time.

If you want something fancier, then you can have fusion-powered anything and the most important substance would be fusion fuel - probably hydrogen.

If you wanna go even fancier route than some kind of unobtainium, which can have any properties you can think of.


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