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Tags:Dungeons and Dragons, architecture, engineering, lindybeige, pedantry
Submitted:Albuquerque Halsey
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Comment count is 35
SteamPoweredKleenex - 2014-11-16
"This is a setting of impossible things like magic, monsters, and races capable of unimaginable feats. Now let me tell you why all this impossible stuff wouldn't work in real life."

Does he have one where he gripes that even though magical fire exists, nobody has ever made a wizard-powered steam turbine?
EvilHomer - 2014-11-16
You shut your face. Your dungeon is bad and you should feel bad.

And no, I don't think Lloyd has done a gripe like that, but interestingly enough, one of the OTHER channels I was watching did do a gripe like that.

EvilHomer - 2014-11-16
More to the point, magic is magic; it is MEANT to be fantastical and other-worldly. That does not mean *everything* in a D&D game is allowed to not make sense; mundane things, like the way an orc chieftain constructed his underground chamber of horrors, should conform as closely to real-world logic as the DM is capable of understanding. Unless your dungeon was specifically built from magic and/or some super-heavy load-bearing material, like ultra-adamantium, then Lloyd raises a valid point: your ceilings should be arched, or at least prone to collapse.

Binro the Heretic - 2014-11-16
There were simple steam engines as far back as the days of ancient Greece, but they were used for entertainment and novelties. Nobody ever thought to use them to make labor-saving devices because they already had those. They were called slaves.

If you have a wizard who can do magic, why would you need a steam engine? What could it do that the wizard can't? In fact, it's a huge hassle to get a steam engine running. The wizard could probably do anything you needed in the blink of an eye.

Albuquerque Halsey - 2014-11-16
People will believe the impossible, but not the implausible.

Hazelnut - 2014-11-17
Binro: you've got the right idea, but to be clear there's a HUGE distance between toy stream engines and useful ones -- about the distance from a home model rocket to Sputnik. Ancient Greece / Rome didn't have anything like the metallurgy, the population density, the coal infrastructure to make steam anything remotely viable. It would also be wrong to say that slavery prevented engineering from advancing, because it did advance enormously over the years. The Romans, who were the biggest enslavers of the bunch, made big strides in using animal labor, early windmills, and more efficient shipping.

But if you say that slavery _dampened_ investment in labour-saving technology, I bet you're right. In fact I bet that still happens here and there: there'd probably be more automation of American farm work, for instance, if there wasn't a ready availability of nastily exploited migrant labor.

So, how much would magic dampen future technological progress? Depends on how much magic you have available. Unless the dungeon in question was absolutely saturated in the stuff (say, the Hogwarts basement), I can't imagine it worth wasting magic on making the ceilings flat.

I do like the idea that this is why D&D-type worlds are so short on gunpowder: it's less of a worthwhile innovation if you have old men throwing fireballs.

EvilHomer - 2014-11-17
Re: magical steam-engines: you forget that wizards are a privileged class. Regular people rely upon wizards to do things that they cannot do themselves. Why would a gainfully employed wizard endanger his position in society by creating a machine that could replace him? As Hazelnut points out (in a roundabout fashion), machines are typically considered desirable so long as they screw over the livelihoods of somebody else, preferably somebody poor and vulnerable like a foreign worker (who deserves his job just as much the white guys do). Machines will not be made to replace engineers, college professors, business executives, or any other individual that the technocracy sees as one of its own.

There's also an element of institutional racism, at least in traditional D&D campaign settings. Machines are the domain of gnomes and LN outerplanars. What self-respecting elf, or Thayan, would stoop to behaving like a God-damn gnome?

EvilHomer - 2014-11-17
Also, I think it's worth pointing out that magical fire doesn't last very long, and for engineering purposes, has no real advantage over mundane sources of fire. A wizard cannot memorize enough fire-based spells per day to keep a cistern of water boiling, and if you've got a source of fuel to keep the fire burning, why throw a Fireball at it when you could just light the fuel with a torch? Evokers, Illusionists, Abjurers, their skills are all pretty much useless. Conjurers and Transmuters might be able to use their magic to help craft a practical steam engine - such as by transmuting fuel, or summoning fire elementals, or even forsaking steam and using an Endless Water effect to create a waterfall capable of turning a hydroelectric turbine - and I guess it's possible that Necromancy could be used to fleshcraft some biomechanical constructs towards similar ends. But creative Necromancers have a short lifespan, due to constantly being hunted down by adventuring parties, and who ever plays as a Conjurer or a Transmuter?

EvilHomer - 2014-11-17
Actually, that could probably make for a cool adventure! Like your party is contacted by the Regulatory Board of the Wizard-Industrial Complex and asked to deal with some "eccentric wizards" who have gone rouge and are now trying to create free-energy machines. You get to play economic hitmen: busting up their labs, bribing them, arresting them for petty industrial or civil infractions, slandering and discrediting them in the media, even quietly disappearing them, if it comes to that. There'd be many approaches, something for every class to do, and best of all would be the rewards, as Big Wizard pays obscenely well!

Binro the Heretic - 2014-11-16

Did he film the intro in an elementary school hallway?
cognitivedissonance - 2014-11-16
You apparently must be new Lindybeige. He is brilliant.

Old_Zircon - 2014-11-16
"pedantry" tag? Bu in a nice way.
Sanest Man Alive - 2014-11-17
If the video already has a "lindybeige" tag, is that one even necessary?

Old_Zircon - 2014-11-17
I actually have a "pedantry" collection in my Youtube subscriptions that only has sword nerds. I just heard Matt Easton of Schola Gladiatoria unironically say "sheeple."

baleen - 2014-11-16
Actually, you're wrong. It actually depends on the material it's being made of, which you failed to talk about.

Case in point:

The world's first and most complex real-to-life D&D dungeon: Tabor City.

http://www.taborcz.eu/en/vismo/o_utvar.asp?id_org=101216&id_u= 1493

It took four hundred years for the population to build this. Napoleon could not take it, because there were so many traps in the tunnels. Much of the cultural history and the calendar festivals took place in the solid bedrock that it was carved out of. It was not made of domes, or even bricks, but solid stone, as you might imagine a deep dungeon to be made of.

When the Soviet puppet state took over, they (ironically) used the enormous central fest hall, a huge auditorium sized hollow, to build the foundation of a SHOPPING MALL.

You used to be able to access dozens of houses by personal tunnels. I believe Tabor to be one of the unsung wonders of the world.
EvilHomer - 2014-11-17
Ummm, baleen, you did look at the pictures, right? The ceilings are arched, exactly like Lindybeige says they would be!

Lloyd is not saying that all dungeons must be made of brick or all dungeons must be capped with elaborate Roman domes. What he is saying is that the ceilings should have an arched design, a point which your Tabor tunnel complex neatly demonstrates.

Now, it is *possible* to have underground ceilings without arches, but you'd need a lot of support - from columns, say, or from elaborate retaining structures such as you might find in a mine. Long, small tunnels can be dug with fairly flat roofs, provided they are very compact (like the tunnels you see in pyramids). Or, perhaps the ceilings of your dungeon could be artificial; like a layer of floor dividing the main part of the tunnel from the arch above it. But you can't just have square rooms and flat ceilings placed haphazardly all over the place. The less archy you make the ceiling, the more prone it will be to collapse.

SolRo - 2014-11-17
This pedant; "Can't have large underground rooms with flat ceilings"

"Oh yeah?" - Egypt

SolRo - 2014-11-17
-Abu Simbel
-Tomb of the Kings
-Valley of the Kings
-Valley of the Queens

and those are just the ones cut into rock.

EvilHomer - 2014-11-17
SolRo, see my posts both above yours and below. You've got some funny ideas, but I never pegged you for a Flat-Ceilinger.

baleen - 2014-11-18
There were plenty of unarched ceilings in Tabor. I've been there.

However, I'm not doubting that arches help support ceilings.

I am objecting to LB's dungeon master pedantry.
There's a reason why there's "low fantasy" and "high fantasy."

And yes, SUPPORT COLUMNS are all over the place. Dungeoneer's Survival Guide anyone??

SolRo - 2014-11-17
I look forward to seeing his videos about other subjects that he has no understanding of.

He's ripe for a "Moon landing is fake because (commonly misunderstood phenomenon)" video one of these days.
EvilHomer - 2014-11-17
What did he get wrong?

SolRo - 2014-11-17
his thesis.

'cant have flat walls under heavy load'


EvilHomer - 2014-11-17
His thesis is that you can't have flat *CEILINGS* under heavy load, not walls, and assuming that was a typo on your part and not what you actually meant to argue, then the issue posed by your picture has already been addressed. The chambers in some ancient buildings, particularly pre-Roman buildings such as certain parts of Petra, tend to be very small, very squat, and supported by pillars (we can see all of this at work in the picture you posted). There is a reason why the few surviving ruins of this type tend to have very little in the way of subterranean features! Certainly not the complex, multi-layered chambers of your average D&D dungeon.

It should also be noted that even within the Petra complex itself, flat ceilings are hardly the norm! For example:

http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-UuCxk986vDQ/URUYLy2agDI/AAAAAAAATQM/ u0oyfJv8gS4/s1600/IMG_0477.JPG

Arches are not something Lloyd just "made up"; there is real science behind them, and they are critical subject for archeologists - like Lloyd himself (I admit that he has a habit of making bold pronouncements on subjects he knows very little about, but archeology *is* the subject he's qualified on, both academically and professionally). If you doubt science, if think arches are a hoax, then you need to do more than post a single picture you failed to understand, like "a FLAT CEILING in Petra", or "a picture of the moon landing with FAKE SHADOWS".

You can learn more about arches here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arch

SolRo - 2014-11-17
...Paris catacombs, etc, etc.

there are tons of examples of decent sized flat-ceiling rooms underground.

No argument is being made that the rooms are huge, just that flat ceilings are unpossible because...he saw some arches.

Even the childish example he uses is perfectly doable.

And is your argument that because Petra has arches in some of its rooms that makes the rooms with flat ceilings not exist?

Hazelnut - 2014-11-17
I love the sheer pedantry of lindybeige discussions; I have to think he would approve. I would add here that the kind of rock you're boring through makes a huge difference -- or for that matter if your underground chamber was even built that way, the other way to do it is excavate a big hole and then roof it over. By way of contrast, I'd suggest that goblin tunnels should be created by the horrifying "fire-setting" methods used in antique and medieval mining; tunnels should be narrow, rough, flaky, and unstable.

Hazelnut - 2014-11-17
I should add that for the kinds of dungeons DESCRIBED BY LINDYBEIGE, which can be quite wide, have multiple vertical levels, and apparently lack pillars (see around 1:50 and 3:45), I'd think the arched roofing would be especially necessary.

SolRo - 2014-11-17
The walls subdividing the floors into rooms would be the pillars as long as they're aligned between floors

EvilHomer - 2014-11-17
>> Parisian catacombs

http://s192.photobucket.com/user/dweeb_03/media/ss22of27.jpg.h tml

Oh what a surprise.

I acknowledged Egypitan architecture already; in fact, I brought it up before you did! Flat-ceilinged roofs do sometimes exist, but surviving examples are rare, and are found in small chambers, where the ceiling is low and the walls are close enough together to act as pillars, or else they are coupled with pillars. "Decent-sized" flat-ceilinged chambers do *not* exist, not without pillars, many, MANY pillars, and even then such chambers can only be made medium-sizeish due to the limitations of non-arched load-bearing roofs. Perfect example - consider the Egyptian pyramids. Here is a cross-section of the Great Pyramid at Giza:

http://etc.usf.edu/clipart/58900/58995/58995_giza_pyramid_lg.g if

Note that for all the massive size of the damn thing, there are only a handful of passages within it, and these passages are tiny, cramped, almost catastrophic. What's more, many of these passages actually have rough-hewn arches, to wit:


...or else they are built with the sort of triangular, tapered pseudo-arch common to many surviving Egyptian buildings:


Disbelieve all you want, but you cannot escape Science.

Anyway, Hazelnut makes some good observations and brings up some great ideas, and at this point, I'd ask you to refer to Mr Nut's second post.

Robin Kestrel - 2014-11-17
This was a missed opportunity to use the word "groin".
SolRo - 2014-11-17
I think his brain has rotted from the pedantry, because even his examples don't dictate a flat ceiling.

He seems to have combined two separate examples (side view and top-down squares) into cubic rooms, while either one could have arched ceilings without looking different in 2D views.
Mother_Puncher - 2014-11-17
Oh man this dude got some of you nerds riled.
Hazelnut - 2014-11-18
That's what he's for. Now, after some further thinking I propose we can compromise as follows:

HUMANS: Arched ceilings for rooms of any significant size, with exceptions for eccentric wizards or where local rock conditions (rarely) make a flat design cost-efficient at reasonable safety
DWARVES: Well-arched ceilings with iron supports, because craftsmanship
DRAGONS: Very high arched ceilings to accommodate size and breath weapons
ELVES: Arched ceilings with Gothic decor. Usually only small keeps, prisons, treasuries.
DROW: Arched ceilings with Goth decor. Huge cavern cities.
GOBLINS & KOBOLDS: Narrow, flaking, unsupported, primitive mine tunnels, connecting where possible to natural caverns
UMBER HULKS: Circular-bore tunnels that tend to eventually collapse in on themselves unless found and reinforced by other races (Druegar, Drow, Goblinoids)
MIND FLAYERS: Strange non-Euclidian arches, their angled sides shouldn't hold up the weight but do
GIANT ANTS: Like ant tunnels but more bigger

Albuquerque Halsey - 2014-11-17
Oh god what have I done.
Jet Bin Fever - 2014-11-22
You monster.

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