A Bridge To The Quiet Planet: Technology

(This column is posted at www.StevenSavage.com and Steve’s Tumblr.  Find out more at my newsletter.)

Let’s get to know more about the setting of my upcoming novel, A Bridge To The Quiet Planet.


The humans of the worlds of Avenoth find the division between Technology and magic to be very clear.  This is probably why some people talk about it too much.

Magic is defined as that requiring direct human involvement to exist, calling upon the magic in the world.  Items created using magic (enchantment or alchemy) are also considered magical if they rely on magical sources or power or magic to channel power.

Technology is defined as that which does not require a human to invoke and rely on the magic in the world or magic to power an item.  If magic doesn’t touch it it’s probably technology.

Of course, this area leads to assorted debates.  Is piece of equipment incorporating an enchanted component magic (most say no).  Is something manufactued via magic as many things are magical (most say no).  Does it mess up other enchantments or screw up hard-cast spells (it better not).

Thus the debates continue, though the larger population probably doesn’t care, and wishes the debates would slow down.

Magic and Technology are unavoidably intertwined.  Much technology originated by scholars studying items created or altered by magic.  Technology has helped created testing devices and training tools for magic.  Enchanted components are common in exotic technologies – or in some cases cheaper.

The supposed separation remains an area of debate.

The Involvement Of Magic And Manufacturing

Magic has been involved in manufacturing for centuries or perhaps aeons.  Trained mages can easily shape stone or metal, lift objects, and stoke fires.  There are mages and magical practices that focus only on practical applications – mages that do this often practice only a single element, and are often called “Fab mages.”

Over time, manufacturing has become more and more automated and less and less magical.  Science has figured out how to duplicate magical creations – without the issues of creating enchantments sensitive mages may feel.  This has accelerated in the last century or two, and is producing disruptions in both the manufacturing and magical communities.

Magic is still very prominent in construction, where Lithomancers shape and mold stone and stone derivatives like concrete.  They can very quickly raise buildings with the help of others.  Such shaped stone is called magestone.  The guild Crimson Cornerstone is the largest Guild of construction mages.

More exotic technologies may use enchanted or specialized mage-manufactured components, such as unusual weapons or special slate components.

Common Technologies

Aerobarges – Extremely large Flyers relying on anti-gravity technology – large, aerial platforms akin to ships of the air.  They are slower than Flyers, but their stability, safety, capacity for cargo, and ability to offer a less confined experience.

Autocoaches – Powered vehicles for transport – what we would call cars, trucks, and buses.  The term is used for  any powered human transport, but terms like “bus” or “hauler” may also be used.

Bridges – Bridges are teleporation devices used to travel between planets, large platforms powered by techno-magical creations to instantly send people and cargo between worlds.  This requires two Bridges to syncronize – and between orbits, timing, breakdowns, and planetary rotations, schedules can be notoriously unreliable or strange.  Bridges are run by an organization called The Bridgers, a non-religious but very philosophical organization that takes their job as serious as any creed.

Clackers – Flashminds bonded to mechanical bodies, usually used in combat during the War and at times for executions.  Clackers are, like AI, forbidden technology.  As many were designed for hardships, however, they can last for centuries – and recovering them is a sure insight into past technologies if one doesn’t accidentally reactivate one . . .

Flashminds – Artificial intelligence, often ones made by magically copying a human mind. All AI is forbidden on Telvaren due to past experiences and disasters.  Attempting to use or create them is met with stiff penalties – often fatal (if unproveably fatal)

Flyers – Aerial transport devices – what we would consider airplanes.  Many use anti-gravity technology for takeoffs, landings, and stabilizing the passenger.

Slates – Slates are portable, flat screen devices used to access the Network.  They are used most commonly for email, video calls, and research.  They are similar to cell phones and tablets in our world.

The Network – The Network is a world(s) spanning communication tool for transmission of information.  It had existed in several incarnations, and is now on version 3 – the former versions having fallen to magical problems and strange technical problems like Flashminds.  It is usually used for email, video calls, and visiting “sites” of information.  It’s obviously similar to the internet, though the heavy need for security and caution over technology mean it tends to be used more practically and cautiously.

Variable Weapon – A term for customized weaponry, often weaponry that transforms between multiple states, at times in ways that seem to violate the laws of physics.  This functionality is due to magical components that many contain – or components based upon magically created templates.  Variable weapons are carried by technics, members of Warrior Lodges, and some military specialists – but are looked down on as flashy and hard to maintain by many Constables and members of the Military.


The god of technology and engineers is Xomanthu, who is the arguable head of a large gaggle of gods and goddesses involved in the spheres of technology.  He is not the oldest of the gods, but seems to be the most forward thinking and social of his company of deities.  He’s usally portrayed as male or gender-ambiguous, with multiple arms – “Xomanthu’s many hands” is a common invocation, oath, or curse.  Xomanthu likes to be involved in people’s lives, though at times his involvement can be complicating.

– Steve