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A particular culture inhabiting a continent defined by tumbling wastelands, rough soil and bumpy highways is fixated with chariots. Ain’t nothing more lovely than riding and parading on them for these folk. However, as you can tell, the terrain will cause them some inconveniences, that could get quite lethal. Being an ingenious people, they should work around that, but I’m not entirely sure of how could that work.

Is there a way that chariots could be made to traverse rocky terrain, specially in military ocasions, as the flower of the warrior caste of these people ride into battle in magnificent golden chariots?

Assume up to renaissance technology

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    $\begingroup$ I honestly don't think there would be a way around that. Military chariots require large open fields otherwise they are useless. Now maybe you can create special rocky climbing mounts that would make it useful. A cross between a horse and a monkey or that sort of thing. Or you can have your leaders use the chariots for show but the actual fighting is done in the most beneficial and efficient way. That's what all warrior cultures and actual powers did in history. You can keep honor guards or traditions. But once it comes to actual combat, either be efficient or suffer. $\endgroup$ – Seallussus Jun 21 '20 at 2:22
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    $\begingroup$ Whegs instead of wheels? Would a rough, ride though and tiring for the horse. $\endgroup$ – DKNguyen Jun 21 '20 at 3:19
  • $\begingroup$ @DKNguyen -- I think you should work that into an answer! $\endgroup$ – elemtilas Jun 21 '20 at 3:46
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    $\begingroup$ Depending on the size of the rocks, it might not be all that good for the horses, either. $\endgroup$ – jamesqf Jun 21 '20 at 4:29
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    $\begingroup$ Well, they'll ride into battle in magnificent golden chariots until they run up against an opponent wielding the high-tech device known as "the shovel" used to create the intricate and complicated defensive structure known as "the ditch". $\endgroup$ – Keith Morrison Jun 21 '20 at 7:31
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Whegs instead of wheels? Would a rough, ride though and tiring for the horse.

The more spokes you have, the less the center of mass moves vertically which makes it easier on the horse, but the more you approach a wheel. There are many variations so I won't post any due to all the references involved but you can Google images.

Or a setup with wheels at the end of passively articulated legs such as a rocker-bogey configuration used on the Mars Rovers. There are other configurations other than rocker-bogey but they all involve wheels at the end of articulated legs to allow rolling while minimizing the vertical movement of the center of mass and to keep the main body from tilting too much in order to alleviate the center of mass movement the poor horse has to put up with. Unlike a Mars Rover all the wheel are idlers rather than driven which makes things a lot simpler.

Or horse driven equivalent of a "litter"? I guess like a howdah but carried by multiple horses instead of one elephant. Screw chariots. You want a Metal Gear equivalent.

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    $\begingroup$ horse litter $\endgroup$ – Li Jun Jun 21 '20 at 4:22
  • $\begingroup$ @LiJun Yeah that. I wasn't sure they existed and couldn't find an example online. $\endgroup$ – DKNguyen Jun 21 '20 at 4:23
  • $\begingroup$ Sounds great, thanks! $\endgroup$ – Jedboo Jun 21 '20 at 16:59
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Put the entire chariot on top of a sufficiently large mount, such as an elephant.

enter image description here

Pictured above (from the aforelinked Wikipedia entry) is an 18th-century Indian force including elephant troops. As you can see, there's plenty of room on the elephant's back for multiple people and all the pageantry and panoply of a chariot, while being much better at handling uneven ground. (And trampling people.)

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  • $\begingroup$ It's called a Howdah. $\endgroup$ – DKNguyen Jun 21 '20 at 4:08
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Tradition and agreed-upon rules on the field of honor: Chariots are a hard sell, but if there are strong cultural reasons for upper-class warriors to be obsessed with chariots, I think the accepted rules of war amongst this society would cause them to adopt traditions allowing chariots to still be used.

They will only fight over flattened terrain. The chariot riders all want to fight each other, and so they will always fight in the places chariots will work. This could go as far as states deliberately preparing battlefields between countries where the land is carefully leveled and cleared of stones, allowing for what will end up to be rather ritualized combat. Rather than having mass-army battles (which still might sometimes happen) the charioteers will be more like duelists, representing the honor of their region and fighting in relatively small numbers according to predetermined rules. The prepared fields will end up being useful for other reasons (good farmland, control of valuable roads, etc) so they won't be completely symbolic. I could even imagine two rival kingdoms having to built a battlefield, delaying war while they furiously collaborate over construction of a field of honor.

Sound far-fetched? Maybe, but people have ritualized war and followed strict acceptable rules before. The Spartans were the best hoplite warriors in the world, until their enemies started messing with the traditions to gain an advantage. There would be a logic to limiting fights only to those wealthy enough to having fields of honor and expensive chariots - the rich & powerful do the fighting, and the commoners aren't slaughtered. You would still need to be able to fight outside enemies with old-fashioned wars (some people have no manners, after all...)

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  • $\begingroup$ Great answer, and with a tad of social worldbuilding in it as an extra, thanks dude $\endgroup$ – Jedboo Jun 21 '20 at 17:01
  • $\begingroup$ In fact, Greek chariots were very lightweight vehicles, to the extent that the could not even be left standing on their own wheels overnight, because the weight of the chariot would permanently deform the wheels from being round. They were "parked" upside down to avoid that problem. A heavier horse-drawn chariot loses out on speed and acceleration, which makes it a less effective fighting platform. $\endgroup$ – alephzero Jun 21 '20 at 17:26
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Up to and including the Renaissance, wheeled vehicles were simply not worth it on many terrains. This included roads, where deep ruts, heavy mud, overgrowth by plants, and other obstacles meant, in many places, that merchants would use pack animals rather than carts because it was a more effective means to travel.

Off the road? They could not manage.

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    $\begingroup$ Yes my dude, I know, but I’m really looking for ideas not descriptions of the problem $\endgroup$ – Jedboo Jun 21 '20 at 16:56
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Flatten sections of the terrain, and pave roads. That's how most people throughout history have solved this very dilemma.

and it wouldn't take much.

just carve out where you want your road, then pave as you want it.

of course this would only solve getting to the location.

of course, you can have tracked versions of chariots. there were if i could recall where chariots had more than two wheels.

enter image description here

you only need to give it a suspension of some kind, then add a leather or rope band linking the wheels, and have wood or metal plates mounted to the band to form the treads of the tracked chariot.

but there would already be locations present in this continent where it would to suitable for chariots: Rural areas such as farmland. this place sounds just like Greece in terms of geography.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geography_of_Greece

Most Greek city states fought each other for farmland, and these fields were where they fought. A field is flat, so a chariot would have no trouble there

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  • $\begingroup$ of course what most would fight over on such locations would likely be farmland like it was in ancient Greece, so the fields would likely be the places battle between chariots would take place. as this continent sounds similar the Greece. it is said over 80% of Greece is mountainous. and there, it was areas like open fields where battles between Greek city states took place. $\endgroup$ – Mr. Anderson Jun 21 '20 at 4:33
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Maybe a stretch with your technology, but if your chariot is supported by a hot air balloon, with the propulsion provided by towing by horses, it can go over any terrain the horses could manage.,

And you'd get a good view and it would look terrific.

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  • $\begingroup$ A creative answer, thanks mate! $\endgroup$ – Jedboo Jun 22 '20 at 20:01

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