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not sure if this goes here: the possibility of a new dark age

Ulzgoroth

Mad Scientist
Validated User
Gasoline would run out quickly (stored gasoline is only good for 2-3 years, then it breaks down), but we already have electric vehicles, and new vehicles would be adapted.
The batteries have a limitedl lifespan, and are probably harder to manufacture after a technological collapse than biofuels.
 

wryfool

Registered User
Validated User
The batteries have a limitedl lifespan, and are probably harder to manufacture after a technological collapse than biofuels.
True, but they would last longer than the gas would, and there might be a surplus of them, especially if electric vehicles were strictly used to transport goods, and not for recreation. And all you need them for is to bridge the gap between the time where a temporary collapse happens and the rebuilding process.
 

Ulzgoroth

Mad Scientist
Validated User
True, but they would last longer than the gas would, and there might be a surplus of them, especially if electric vehicles were strictly used to transport goods, and not for recreation. And all you need them for is to bridge the gap between the time where a temporary collapse happens and the rebuilding process.
Fair, if that's where you're going.

Though one question is whether you ever actually run out of gas, considering there's a significant amount of refineries in the US.
 

Marc17

Registered User
Validated User
Ya, we had this problem when playing Twilight 2000. It's simply too easy to bootstrap back up to fairly recent tech (say civil war tech). The more people you kill, the more leftover supplies, tools, and resources are left to be used. The utility of having a diesel generator to be run on vegetable oil to make electricity even if only for a few hours a week or month, is worth it to especailly a small community to keep that knowledge alive. Water powered would be even easier and work year round. If you want a great loss of tech, kill almost everybody, more than 99.9% through nuclear war or meteor strike, societial collapse, and the following year-round winter that drops into an icebox earth for the next one or two hundred years. Then, you might have the sort of setting you want realistically.

I mean, a Mad Max style baronial world is possible. Little trade, small areas of organization, but functioning cars and guns are expensive but fairly prevenlant items. Still, industrialization and alliances are a thing, and even if the NPCs don't start a reconquest of the former world with general increase in tech, the PCs will.
 

E.T.Smith

A Most Sincere Poseur
Validated User
A major limit on vehicles is rubber, or more specifically tires. Unmaintained roads are going to chew up tires fast, with no means to produce replacements (either the agriculture and transit network to produce real rubber or the industry to make synthetics). Substitutions might be used (textiles, leather) but won't be as good at buffering obstacles as rubber, which means vehicles will wear down faster. Which highlights another factor: building high velocity vehicles isn't just a matter of power source, it also requires a frame that can tolerate the added stress of high speed. Even a bicycle requires a lot of sophisticated metallurgy.
 
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Heavy Arms

Registered User
Validated User
It seems like it would be rather easy to overcome by reverting to how things worked before rubber was readily available: metal wheels.

Agriculture doesn't require high velocity, and while studded metal wheels are inferior to pneumatic tires, they were common place for quite some time. They're durable and reliable, even if less efficient or comfortable. This is, again, not a lost bit of know-how either. Between religious groups (similar to the Amish, but the Amish don't use tractors), and vintage hobbyist, these are still produced in small batches.

Higher speed transit would have to go back to trains and other centralized forms of transport. Trains still run on metal wheels, and keeping railways clear over longer distances is much easier than keeping modern road systems operating.
 

Q99

Genderpunk
Staff member
Moderator
RPGnet Member
Validated User
That's OK. The original premise is flawed. It's racist, among other things.

Moderator Text:

A one-line post saying a premise is flawed and racist with zero explanation doesn't add anything to the thread. You can disagree with a point, but without elaboration it's just threadcrapping.
 

mindstalk

Does the math.
Validated User
There's a huge range between modern capabilities and dark age tech. Going slower would probably spare tires. Might not always save on gasoline, there are optimal speeds for internal combustion engines, but would definitely help electric range. Might see IC vehicles converted to serial hybrids, with the engine running at one speed as a generator. And if your steel wheeled lead acid electric car is going slow to avoid bumpiness and save energy... it can still be going a lot faster than walking while transporting more stuff.
 

E.T.Smith

A Most Sincere Poseur
Validated User
Farm machinery doesn't require high velocity, but distribution does, and that's the main thing mitigating famine, the ability to cover shortages by shipping in surpluses from other regions before they rot. I agree that trains would probably make a comeback, since there's an existing abandoned rail infrastructure that could be refurbished (with the especially hard work of tunnels and grades already done), and even a crude steam boiler offers an advantage in speed. But that still requires centralization, and most existing farm land is widely dispersed.

Wild notion: leapfrogging directly to aircraft over land vehicles. A wood-and-canvas airframe can be built in any barn, and doesn't require a big engine. While it wouldn't be enough for distribution, it would widely extend communication lines.
 
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