51

The Holy Order of Engineers You can take this more or less literal (keep the religious aspect or divorce this answer from it), but either way it works. Due to an internal power struggle long ago (that possibly developed into a civil war that was stamped out), the Powers That Be determined that equipping the masses with the understanding of how to build or ...


48

Their toolset became more and more sophisticated. Their universities and trade schools paid lip service to starting from first principles, but that got more and more perfunctory. For a comparison, take modern software development. Many programmers can do java, or javascript, but people who can really write machine code are a tiny minority. I've met young ...


36

Consider how far removed, for example, Shakespearean English is from the English we speak today. That's a mere 400 years of linguistic evolution. Now imagine that Shakespeare wrote a technical manual. The language of the forebearers has fallen out of use. No one alive today speaks the ancient tongue. The forebearers left detailed instructions on how to ...


22

Firearms were adopted primarily because they could be effectively used by relatively unskilled people with little training against warriors who had been trained for a lifetime. They were actually adopted at the tail end of what is sometimes called the Infantry Revolution because using simple to use weapons and tactics allowed you to raise large armies ...


20

It's a coastal city with lots of sunshine in a modern setting. You have everything you need and more. All you have to do is desalinate the water and it's done. Took less than a minute research. OK, you have to scale it a little better than in the link. Channel the seawater to shallow fields, coated with water resistant foil to prevent seeping it to the ...


20

So, the simplest answer is a confluence of two factors. First: A technological 'plateau'. Your society reached a point where further refinement of the basic fundamentals of their technology came to a halt due to diminishing returns on development. A good example of this is the widespread stagnation of military technology during the interwar periods prior ...


20

Would this underwater civilization be possible during the Bronze Age? No. First thing off: They use sand to desalinate the water to drink. Sand might be good at filtering out particles suspended in water. But salt is present in water as a solution, sand does nothing to it. Else every beach would be as good as a fresh water lake. They build ...


18

Forget it. To make a helicopter fly, you need a relatively high power-to-weight ratio. Early helicopters used piston engines, but most modern designs use gas turbines. Still, they have problems getting their payload airborne, especially in hot and high conditions. With anything remotely like the renaissance, your power plants will have insufficient power-...


16

Qanats. https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1506 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Qanat A qanat or kariz is a gently sloping underground channel to transport water from an aquifer or water well to surface for irrigation and drinking, acting as an underground aqueduct. This is an old system of water supply from a deep well with a series of vertical access ...


15

TLDR: It’s deliberate. Because magic exists, and these are the only relatively safe way of deploying firearms that even apprentice wizards can’t utterly (and spectacularly) foul up. Consider an early muzzle loading rifle. A rifleman would have to carry around a case filled with powder to reload with. All it takes is one enemy combatant to flick an easy to ...


15

The "death" of AI rulers. Their civilization built powerful artificial minds, for thousands of years those mostly benevolent Minds controlled their civilization, ran their factories, invented their medicines, built their spaceships and designed their devices. They built things to last and built everything with a lot of failsafes and fallbacks. But ...


14

Because they are too reliable there is no need to manufacture new things and thus no incentive to remember how to manufacture them. If the technology is reliable enough it might be inevitable… Your great-great-great-great-grandfather was a fantastic engineer and built all these fantastical devices; star-ships for killing enemies, auto-docs to heal wounds, ...


12

An extreme possibility, which requires some suspension of belief: This town lives in a small plain surrounded by mountains. Local winds bring heavy fog 24/7 which is trapped in large collector/condensers.


11

I'd call a bit of frame challenge. It is actually disputable, how much males are better than females in hand-to-hand combat. Besides, we are speaking about melee using weapons here, not about a straight up brawling match. Despite what people may think, mass is less if an advantage in a fight with weapons than in hand-to-hand. Even muscle-powered weapons are ...


11

Secrecy If your technology is a trade secret, then only a few select people are allowed to know exactly how it's done. In fact, it may be complex enough that some people know how to make some parts of the whole, but no one person knows all the secrets necessary to get from raw ingredients to finished product. The formula for Coca-Cola is an example. ...


9

The limits for wings are pretty straightforward, given that you're trying for some degree of realism. Anything human-sized, with the mass of a human plus however much the wings add, is pushing the limits of flight. I won't call it impossible to fly, not when even larger pterosaurs have done it, but wings big enough to allow more than gliding for a humanoid ...


9

They have almost no metal. Your orcs have a little bit of copper, which is used more for decoration in the manner of gold. There is no tin and iron is very rare, what there is being meteoric in origin. Knives, cutting tools and weapons are made from a variety of stones, in the style of the Aztecs, also an advanced empire with Stone Age technology. ...


9

Actual solutions used in the coast of the Atacama desert: Fog collection. The wind from the sea does bring some water, which you can collect, but it's limited, not very scalable. Update: limitations of fog collection include the maximum water content of fog (saturation) and fog collector efficiency (which depends on wind speed). Also, according to the OAS: ...


8

Wouldn't it make more sense if they just migrated to a tunnel network that was underground but had sea access. As in tunnels that terminate at caves and those caves have pools in them with flooded tunnels leading out to the sea. Then perhaps your people could develop something like a breathing helmet made of leather sealed with pitch or resin or similar ...


7

You should read "The Amazons" by Adrienne Mayor. This book is about how the Amazon legends seem to be based on the horse nomad tribes of the Eurasian steppe. In many of those tribes the women would get on horseback & fight alongside the men or even in all woman bands. I think the reason woman warriors were more common there is that being small is ...


7

The island is mostly built like southern England. High cliffs with limited areas where you can land and get inland. This allows the Amazons to defend it more easily. Even with minimal fortification above the landing site(s) the Amazons would have a tremendous advantage over any attackers. If they put effort into building fortifications to safeguard these ...


7

You should look into the lore of Warhammer 40k; which has a similar premise. The natural progression to "faith based engineering" is more of an inevitability. As technology becomes more advanced, there is a bigger body of knowledge that goes into making it (metallurgy, side effect mitigation strategies, cost/performance/reliability optimizations, some ...


6

I'll assume that the amazons are greatly outnumbered. However, I don't see from the question how being an all-female force actually matters. Unless we go into psychological stuff, how man hardwired to protect woman and so on. Or state that they are physically weaker, smaller, etc. Some parts of my answer are invalidated by the edits in the question. I'll ...


6

One, as mentioned in L.Dutch's answer, research cost resources and time. Without pressing needs, they won't invest into it when there is no practical return. It costs a lot in many areas. New weapons need to be manufactured and maintained. Troops constantly retrained with them, strategies, tactics revised. Trouble shooting unforseen problems, decomissioning ...


6

Consider it from the opposite direction. The goal isn't to detect the fainter meteors (although that's an okay side benefit). The goal is to detect the bright ones from further away, so that you can find them first. Clearly ownership of the meteor('s profits) doesn't belong to the person whose property it lands on. If it did, you wouldn't need to detect ...


6

1) The Fallen Empire Once upon a long time ago, the whole planet spanned numerous grand, technologically advanced nations (or one Super-duper Empire). For unknown reasons, they declined, their grandiose technology forgotten. Only the most backwater university city and its surrounding cities managed to retain most of their technology. Fearing that history ...


6

One possible solution is having a wide spread very basic technology that suddenly isn't viable anymore. Say, for instance, this alien society had discovered a room temperature superconductor. It would be used for all wiring in everything, because the ability to not lose power to heat from resistance. But if some fungus/organism developed that could eat or ...


6

As noted, steam engines are fare too heavy (or have a low power to weight ratio), particularly if you are trying to "invent" one in the 1500's. Alternatives like Stirling engines would be somewhat better (since they don't have the mass of the water and boiler to go with them), but not by enough. Relatively high power to weight ratio Stirling engines had to ...


5

Inventions come from necessity. Upgrading anything takes effort and resources. One does it only when needed, in other words, when the present situation is no longer effective. Some real world examples: If one has surface coal available, there is no need to invent underground mining If one can enjoy warm weather all year round, there is no need to invent ...


5

In short, it's a tough engineering problem, but it's not a physically impossible one. 500 degrees Celsius might sounds like a lot, but it's really not that bad. Aluminum melts at 659 C, and steel at 1371. That means we can use heat pumps to concentrate the heat from the habitat and raise it to a temperature higher than the 500 degree exterior, which means ...


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