1. muckzulo
    Offline

    muckzulo Member

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2015
    Messages:
    21
    Likes Received:
    1

    World with no Electricity?

    Discussion in 'Setting Development' started by muckzulo, Jan 14, 2016.

    This is a 3 Part question. My world doesn't have electricity.

    1. What are some things that would not exist without electricity?
    2. If there is no electricity, What else can things run on? I know Gas is one.
    3. If i have a character in this world with no electricity that can manipulate the weather, which can allow the character to summon lightning, is the character still able to use lightning with no electricity? (Might be a stupid question lol)
     
  2. BayView
    Offline

    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2014
    Messages:
    5,667
    Likes Received:
    5,159
    Like, you're world doesn't have electricity, or no one in your world has learned how to harness electricity?

    I can't really imagine how you'd go about explaining a world that doesn't have it at all, so... your lightning thing should be fine, as long as she's using it for fairly crude things, like zapping somebody or something. She wouldn't be able to use it to light a lightbulb, though!

    If it's a case of no-one in your world having figured out how to harness it, you're going to have to look a bit more broadly at what other discoveries they wouldn't have made because they couldn't figure out this one thing (which is fairly basic by today's standards). Electricity was harnessed for broad-based use in the late 19th century, so every discovery that's been made since then has come with a background of electricity. It's not just a question of what actively uses electricity, but also what it makes sense for people to have been able to discover if they couldn't even figure out the fairly basic ideas behind electricity.

    To be safe, you could go back to mid-19th century technology - with the caveat that people were certainly aware of and experimenting with electricity well before this point, they just didn't have a solid enough idea of it to use it in most applications.
     
  3. Shadowfax
    Offline

    Shadowfax Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2014
    Messages:
    2,529
    Likes Received:
    1,356
    Without/before the discovery of the principles of electrical generation, you're talking a basically steampunk scenario...steam engines providing the power, and supplementing such renewable sources as wind- and water-mills. This gives you railways, airships, steamships (and refrigerators!). All this without even using gas, just coal or even charcoal or wood.

    Also, check out the Stirling engine as a more efficient (but low power-to-weight) alternative to traditional steam power.
     
    Tesoro likes this.
  4. SethLoki
    Offline

    SethLoki Unemployed Autodidact Contributor

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2011
    Messages:
    597
    Likes Received:
    483
    Location:
    Manchester UK
    What they've said ^ +

    For 1. I'm assuming you mean your 'muggles' have no ability to harness electricity? As without it there'd be no life nor universe for them (nerves are wires for a start and early universe particles initially clump to make planets and stars using electrostatic (so I've read)).

    For 2. We're in a world of devices born of wind, water, fire (+ explosions). Biological work: donkey wheels, dog sleds, slaves, pigeon post..., light: mirrors and lenses can be used for comms and making fire. Oh, then there's air pressure as-well, both positive and negative: air-cannons, tubes for transportation, bellows, even air-bladders for big ticket levers.

    For 3. If you're to have a wizard of sorts that can muck about with the weather I'd not make a point of there being no lightning as (mentioned in 1.) electricity is a fundamental requisite, whether harnessed or not, for any realm one could imagine.
     
  5. maskedhero
    Offline

    maskedhero Active Member

    Joined:
    May 4, 2013
    Messages:
    365
    Likes Received:
    32
    Location:
    America
    Unless your world lacks a biology we use, the lack of electricity is a problem. If you mean we don't 'use' electricity, then that is fine. Animals and people would do the work, like they did for the vast majority of human existence.

    Prosperity would be limited, and humans would not have grand, elaborate things like giant buildings. Steam simply wasn't powerful enough to get all of that stuff done before the advent of better uses of electricity.
     
  6. Misusawa
    Offline

    Misusawa New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2016
    Messages:
    13
    Likes Received:
    11
    Without the benefit of electricity (or steam as that would lead to the discovery of harnessable electricity) the only other options left to power anything are wind and water.

    Having windmills dotted about the landscape is somethign that was done in our past for grinding flour or taking the water out of land. they are purely mechanical.

    Watermills tend to be similar in the way they work, but run on flowing water instead, so in times of drought for example or a severe winter they may not work.
     
  7. Mumble Bee
    Offline

    Mumble Bee The writer formerly known as Chained. Contributor

    Joined:
    May 18, 2015
    Messages:
    799
    Likes Received:
    1,314
    So you're not saying the world just hasn't discovered how to generate electricity, you're saying that electrical current isn't a thing?
    In that case, we're all dead. I'm no biologist but i'm pretty sure the nervous system runs off of electrical current.

    Of course you could just say that people run off of steam or something...
     
  8. BayView
    Offline

    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2014
    Messages:
    5,667
    Likes Received:
    5,159
    Well, a lot of pretty big buildings were created before the use of electricity - pyramids, palaces, cathedrals, great walls, etc. - Human power is pretty useful, really.
     
  9. newjerseyrunner
    Offline

    newjerseyrunner Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2016
    Messages:
    304
    Likes Received:
    231
    I would think the civilization would go through cycles where they grow very slowly for long periods of time, then dramatically collapse very rapidly. Large cities will grow up around areas that produce a lot of energy, but almost no one will live anywhere else with the exceptions of farmers and hunters. Eventually, the city would max itself out in terms of how much energy it could use because steam is fairly inefficient. The population will continue to grow, but the power would not, so they'd become slums, and people would disperse. Without an electrical grid, communications is limited to the speed of a car, which would not be fast enough to make a global civilization. The most powerful militaries would reach the power of The British Empire circa the late 1800s, but not much beyond that. Weapons might improve, but without communications, modern warfare would be impossible. No satellites or space program at all, rockets are too complicated to do without electricity and too violent to be mechanical.
     

Share This Page