Ok, Michael and I had a conversation answering the majority of the questions he posed in his post, so I thought I'd post it until I get a chance to write up real posts addressing these issues.
21:08:37 [Alec_Shadowkin] Ok, I'll just go right down your post
21:09:25 [Alec_Shadowkin] With the landscape, social systems and current conflicts: I'm working on them. I simply haven't gotten them to the point where I can make a coherent post about them
21:10:33 [Alec_Shadowkin] The elves would welcome the humans, for example, because the humans would have goods and skills that the elves don't have, like hunting and trapping. The humans would supply furs and meat to the city dwelling elves, who would be mostly farmers
21:11:10 [Michael_Jotne_Slayer] are the elves mostly farmers?
21:13:05 [Alec_Shadowkin] Yes, they're city dwellers, so moving to follow herds of animals or whatnot isn't feasible
21:14:12 [Michael_Jotne_Slayer] Are your elves highly sophisticated? If so, I cant quite imagine them as farmers
21:14:27 [Michael_Jotne_Slayer] why dont they simply use humans for this?
21:14:42 [Michael_Jotne_Slayer] If they are of a higher race that is...
21:15:22 [Alec_Shadowkin] Imagine them in the role that humans are usually in. In Terescence, its the elves who are the city-dwellers, farmers, the common people in general. Elves are more populous in my world than humans are
21:16:52 [Michael_Jotne_Slayer] that(for me at leats) takes away all that is elvish about elves
21:17:11 [Michael_Jotne_Slayer] I cant envision a elf working the fields
21:18:09 [Alec_Shadowkin] Yeah, but I was talking to Captain Penguin a few days ago, and he suggested I try to break the racial stereotypes, like the elves who live in the forests, hate all non-elves and cast lots of magic
21:18:59 [Alec_Shadowkin] So, I decided to make the elves more common and human stereotype-like
21:20:41 [Alec_Shadowkin] Ok, About the tech in everyday lives
21:21:28 [Alec_Shadowkin] None of the relics that are left are functioning, at least not in the cities. There are some random things that still work off in mountain caverns and stuff where they haven't been disturbed, but the rest is derelict
21:22:06 [Alec_Shadowkin] What's left of the buildings and stuff have been added onto with medieval architecture, so these antilian leftovers are just architectural wonders
21:23:02 [Michael_Jotne_Slayer] so they have been fully explored? And are they used as mere lodgings?
21:23:24 [Alec_Shadowkin] In the cities, yeah
21:24:07 [Alec_Shadowkin] The ones out in the wilderness are mostly left alone, except by the occasional adventurer. Most normal people aren't too interested in delving into an ancient ruin and potentially being killed
21:25:35 [Alec_Shadowkin] The idea of a farmer or someone accidentaly activating a war machine or something is always there, but generally as a plot hook or random bit of information. The players walk into an inn and hear about how poor Joseph the farmer got eaten by a strange machine that's now rampaging the woods outside of town
21:27:56 [Michael_Jotne_Slayer] If the machines in the cities are derelict and those in the wilderness could be functional, why? Is it because those in the cities has been tampered with?
21:28:54 [Alec_Shadowkin] For the most part, yes. The cities would have almost always been populated, even if just by a few people.
21:29:13 [Alec_Shadowkin] Those people will have naturally used whatever machines they could
21:29:31 [Michael_Jotne_Slayer] that brings me to the question, what is the fuel, and what starts them up?
21:29:38 [Alec_Shadowkin] Don't forget that there aren't any people who know how most of these work
21:29:44 [Michael_Jotne_Slayer] aha, so machines are in use???
21:30:12 [Michael_Jotne_Slayer] do they understand their full potential and how do they use them?
21:30:19 [Alec_Shadowkin] If a random merchant stumbled across, say, a telegraph sending station, he'd have no knowledge of how to use it, or even of what it is
21:30:50 [Alec_Shadowkin] There is a school that spends it's time trying to rebuild and discover how to use Antilian tech
21:31:05 [Michael_Jotne_Slayer] ok
21:31:21 [Alec_Shadowkin] they have a small steam engine working that they use for small amounts of electricity for lights and things, but that's pretty much it
21:31:43 [Alec_Shadowkin] Beyond that, its a lot of half-working machines that they don't understand
21:32:59 [Alec_Shadowkin] Fuel: the steam engines use water and wood or coal as fuel, though it is speculated that the antilians must have had a way of manufacturing some type of combustible in order to not use up all the coal or wood they could get
21:33:45 [Alec_Shadowkin] In reality, they did. They mixed a couple minerals to make a substance similar to napalm, which burned for extremely long periods of time without being used up
21:36:22 [Alec_Shadowkin] There are unknown numbers of myths surrounding the disappearence of the Antilians:
21:36:52 [Alec_Shadowkin] They got too powerful for their own good and caused their own destruction somehow
21:37:19 [Alec_Shadowkin] They gained enough power that they tried to challenge the gods themselves and were destroyed for their arrogance and stupidity
21:37:44 [Alec_Shadowkin] They became knowledgable enough that they decided to leave the plane of Terescence and go somewhere else, never to return
21:37:50 [Alec_Shadowkin] On and on and on...
21:39:37 [Michael_Jotne_Slayer] and...?
21:39:59 [Alec_Shadowkin] What really happened?
21:40:42 [Michael_Jotne_Slayer] mhm.
21:40:55 [Alec_Shadowkin] Actually, I haven't decided yet
21:41:18 [Alec_Shadowkin] Though I'm leaning toward the "left the plane of their own free will" idea
21:42:23 [Michael_Jotne_Slayer] hehe, thats kinda funny, they simply left and all these fantastic myths arround them leavin are spun
21:42:53 [Alec_Shadowkin] Well, if they just decided to leave, they wouldn't have really worried about what they were leaving behind, or what later people thought
21:43:18 [Alec_Shadowkin] Maybe they left for somewhere else, evolved, and will come back as part of a campaign arc or something, I don't know
21:43:48 [Alec_Shadowkin] Since the mystery about them disappearing is the important part, I sort of want to leave it somewhat open for me to do with as I please later on
21:44:01 [Michael_Jotne_Slayer] I see
21:44:25 [Michael_Jotne_Slayer] The search for these elders is the ultimate question in your world though
21:44:35 [Michael_Jotne_Slayer] And it would also be the ultimate campaign
21:44:45 [Alec_Shadowkin] Certainly one of them, yes
21:48:18 [Alec_Shadowkin] Ok, moving on
21:48:45 [Alec_Shadowkin] About kingdoms or whatever trying to reactivate war-engines or whatnot for their own use: the only people with even basic knowledge of how these things work are at the School, and they are by nature inactive with politics, so that they can go anywhere to gather parts or explore ruins or whatever
21:49:50 [Michael_Jotne_Slayer] but then there could be spies within the school to try to get info
21:51:23 [Alec_Shadowkin] If, say, an orc tribe put together a war-engine to try and take over the nearest city, it would most likely explode or breakdown or something before they managed to pull it off, simply because they wouldn't know what they were doing
21:51:57 [Alec_Shadowkin] Yeah, but even if a spy got information to someone, it wouldn't do them much good, because they wouldn't have the expertise needed to repair the machines
21:53:07 [Alec_Shadowkin] And besides, the School doesn't bother much with war equipment. They try to work with things like trains and steam engines, stuff that would be useful to society in general
21:56:38 [Alec_Shadowkin] Next question:
21:56:51 [Alec_Shadowkin] Do they have higher level tech than us? Simple answer: No
21:57:22 [Alec_Shadowkin] Picture the tech level of the 17th and 18th centuries
21:57:39 [Alec_Shadowkin] trains, telegraphs, small amounts of electricity and chemistry
21:57:55 [Alec_Shadowkin] nothing atomic or futuristic
21:58:17 [Michael_Jotne_Slayer] what drives the Jo cars(flying machines) then?
21:59:49 [Alec_Shadowkin] Well, they aren't cars, but more like small planes. Toward the end of the Antilian culture, they developed engines that could run on electrik batteries, and they used these to power small one or two person flying machines called ornithopters or sky-buckas
22:02:31 [Alec_Shadowkin] They didn't look like cars or airplanes or anything, but more like wooden birds
22:03:05 [Alec_Shadowkin] They had large wings that would flap a little to give some initial lift, and once it was in the air, they would mostly just glide
22:04:07 [Alec_Shadowkin] Does that answer everything about the flying machines?
22:04:42 [Michael_Jotne_Slayer] yup
22:05:21 [Alec_Shadowkin] Ok, was there anything else?
22:06:19 [Michael_Jotne_Slayer] just that you should post these things and give a thourough explanation on how it all works
22:06:46 [Alec_Shadowkin] I think I might just post our conversation, at least for now, and modify it as I add more to the thread
22:07:17 [Michael_Jotne_Slayer] ok