Kalawan Technologies

The Kingdom of Kalawa developed some 500 years ago but only unified all the neighboring islands in the area under one banner 200 hundred years ago. The technology listed below represents the most notable technology which they pioneered and developed themselves. This list doesn’t include all the technological achievements they have access to.

Technology by age (oldest to newest)

Sea Farms: Due to the unique tides of the world there is an incredibly long intertidal zone along the coastlines of the islands. The long tidal periods mean that there are hours in which creatures and plants can be harvested from the intertidal zone. These areas have been carefully maintained for generations to maximize their productivity a mixture of volcanic ash, bone meal, and fermented algae have been spread across them.

Salt Screens: Salt screens are one of the earliest inventions of the Islanders. A set of three or more wooden frames roughly the height of a man are set at a slight angle to the coast. These frames have a fine cloth stretched across them when stretched the cloth becomes taught and semitransparent. These screens are set in a stone wall which has a trench sloping back away from the front of the screens which runs under them. When sea air passes through these screens the water is caught in the screen. Each screen catches progressively less moisture from the wind. As the day passes the water either evaporates ur drips from the screen to the trench below. This process leaves behind layers of caked on salt. After a few days when a sufficient amount of salt has been collected the front screen is removed and the salt is scraped clean from it. The remaining screens are moved forward and a new screen is placed in the back. In this way, salt is separated from the ocean air and fresh water is collected along the coast and fed into gardens and irrigation tanks. Several pounds of salt can be collected from a single set of screens each week. seawall.jpg

Drag Nets: a common fishing implement, nets were used for generations by the Islanders. Dragnets greatly improved the number of fish caught by fisherfolk. A net as pulled between two fishing boats, the bottom edge was once weighted with stones but now metal weights are used. This greatly increased the number of fish which could be caught by as few as four people. This in combination with the development of Salt Screens greatly increased the amount of food available as well as the ability to store it.

Floating Gardens: The coasts of many of the islands are a marshy freshwater zone. Often just behind a sand bar or rocky beach, these marshes once provided some small number of snakes and other creature which could be hunted by the Tagata. However, they were also difficult to travel and dangerous because of the prey in them. The floating gardens developed as people learned to better cultivate marshes. A Floating Garden does not truly float but is rather a bed built within the marsh. First, a rectangle of bamboo stakes is hammered into the mud. These are 100 ft long and 50 ft wide. Then the second rectangle of stakes is hammered into the mud creating a smaller concentric rectangle. The gap between the two sets of stakes is filled with mud, clay, sand, plant materials, and stones. Once this layer is filled it is topped with earth and trees are planted along the edges of this border. The center is then drained and filled first with a bed of stones of varying sizes which create a base. On top of this is poured volcanic ash, then a woven mat of branches, and lastly the rest of the area is filled with earth. This structure allows water to flow through the lower parts of the newly raised bed and helps irrigate each bed. The roots of the trees planted around the border stabilize the beds and prevent them from collapsing over time. These beds can be farmed and may produce as many as 6 full harvests in a good year, and rarely produce less than 4. They also help to absorb storm surges and prevent flooding of the interior. Stabilizing coastlines and preventing devastating effects of most storms. floating_garden.jpg

Triangular gillnets: A more advanced form of net compared to a simple dragnet. The Triangular gillnet can be anchored with one point down and the other two floating at the surface. This setup allows the nets to be left in the sea overnight. The net is pulled up the next morning and any fish that have swum into the net will have been caught by the fine line as it gets stuck in their gills. This invention allowed a single fisherman to set as many as a dozen nets by himself and then collect them the next day. This dramatically increased the effectiveness of a single fisherman. Later improvements of these nets added a small wooden grate which would prevent sea creatures of a specific size from escaping the nets while allowing smaller sea creatures to pass through freely. This reduced the number of unwanted creatures caught significantly, both preventing overfishing of some creatures and increased catches.

Vertical Windmills: The earliest versions of these windmills were simple. A central rod allowed to spin with several wooden “blades” attached to catch the wind. Originally these were built along some of the islands rocky or cliff lines. Meant to cut the wind and make it possible to build along the cliffs in these strategic positions, they changed over time. First, they were repurposed to help grind grain into flour or meal. With other advances in technology, they were refitted with sails made of seal or whale skin. These sails caught the wind better and generated more power. This lead to them being used to power simple mechanisms. This adaptation allowed them to be built along most coastlines providing a twofold benefit. First, they allowed for power generation in almost any part of the island leading to the reclamation of large portions of the ocean as they were used to power water wheels and screws which were used to drain water from an area.

Ocean Dikes: With the advancements in the Vertical Windmills and the use of water wheels there was now a need for retaining walls in order to claim the land. The same method used to create the Floating Gardens, a preliminary wall of bamboo stakes are driven into the ground to create a retaining wall. Then the foundations for the Ocean Dikes are dug behind that and built out of basalt. The top of the wall is wide some 20 ft across, a 10 ft wide trench is set in the top of the wall, and filled with volcanic ash and rich earth. Below the trench is a layer of loose rocks and openings are set in the outer wall which allows sea water to enter the central trench. The trench is then planted with salt mangroves. Other Ocean Dikes are simply mounted with rows of Vertical Windmills which power water wheels on the landward side. Sometimes both designs are incorporated.

Typhoon Foundaries: The volcanic flows found through the islands bring a large number of metal ores to the surface. This makes it relatively easy to mine high-quality ores. However, refining these ores is a different matter. Centuries ago smelters were built along cliff sides and high coastal hills in order to refine the metal ores. These smelters used the strong trade winds to power them and raising their temperatures to many times what they would have been able to achieve conventionally. This advanced the metalworking knowledge of the Tagatan people rapidly and is credited with their advancements in that field to this day. Current smelters are built along the coast and utilize a combination of architecture to funnel the high winds into furnace chutes as well as Vertical Windmills to drive bellows. This combination produces superior iron and steel on a large scale.

Segmented Hulls: The traditional shipbuilding construction techniques took inspiration from the bamboo that the first Tagatan built their rafts out of. This lead to the construction of built-in bulkheads. This advancement gave their ships superior seaworthiness and allowed them to make long deep water voyages in smaller ships. This advancement also gave the ships greater staying power in naval engagements.

Unified Ship Construction: Shortly before unification, the first king of Zamiatin created the Samitian Drydocks. This complex of wharves, dry docks, and shipyards are built in a circle. At the center is an island which houses a large tower which serves now as both a cultural landmark and the home of the Admiralty. It was here that traditional Tagatan shipbuilding and advancements in production were combined. This protected harbor complex is now home to warehouses, workshops, armorers, shipwrights, sailmakers and rope makers. The harbor itself can hold some 200 ships in dry dock. Each slip can store a warship ready to sail. It is said that due to the standardization of parts and design the Samitian Drydocks can build and outfit a warship in a single day. The standardized construction also allows for many ships to be refitted or repaired quickly.

Semi-flexible glass: The process by which glass is made semi-flexible is a closely guarded secret. It somehow involves the rolling of sheets of glass between two heated iron rods. This somehow tempers the glass while allowing it a certain amount of flexibility. This played a significant role in the last century architectural revolution which swept across the islands. The glass is bent over wrought iron frames to form a barrel vaults and glass domes which top many of the buildings within Kalawan cities. It is being experimented with for other applications but thus far has only been successfully used in signal mirrors and optics.

Refracted Signal Mirrors: The advances in glass making and optics lead to one of the most current and radical technological transformations of the Tagatan golden age. Refracted Signal Mirrors have recently replaced most if not all the old lighthouses in the islands. They are constructed of a finely polished set of lenses which can be adjusted to catch the light during the day and used to send messages over great distances. As well as to signal incoming ships. During the night and the “False Dusk” these mirrors are lit during these times with shuttered lamps which allows the mirrors to focus and reflect the light. The face of the lenses is shuttered with wooden slats that can be used to control the light exposure for sending messages. There are stories of a similar device being used as a weapon in the past when the Eramii first arrived. The story goes that they had come to conquer the islands and these mirrors were used as a weapon which set the ships of the Eramii Empire ablaze as they entered the harbor. Recent attempts to recreate such an effect have all failed.

Collapsible Mast: Some inventions are more exciting than others, the appearance of Collapsible Masts as a part of everyday shipbuilding was one such advancement. A series of counterweights and pins allow the mast to be lowered so that it lays flat against the deck of the ship. This offers several advantages, seagoing vessels can travel under bridges and be kept in relatively low ceilinged dry docks. This also greatly reduces the overall profile of the ship and has been used to great avail when trying to run a blockade or evade detection. The relative speed with which the mast can be raised or lowered can also help sailors avoid the sudden gales of an oncoming storm.

Lateen Cutter: Modeled after older Eramii ships, much like the ones who first began trade with the Kalawan Kingdom and it’s neighboring islands, the changes made to these designs have created the Lateen Cutter. These ships make up the majority of the vessels built in Kalawa. These ships are ideal for both inter-island travel as well as longer deep sea voyages. The combination of Lateen sails, Collapsible Masts, and Segmented Hulls make these ships versatile and fast attack ships or great cargo runners when converted. Kalawan Lateen Cutters, have low decks and deep-hulls, slightly raised stern deck and prow shaped like a fish hook. They also have two outrigger hulls; these act much like the second hull of a catamaran providing increased stability. These hulls are submerged fully when the ship is loaded for bear. Otherwise, the hull cuts just above the surface of the water giving these sailing ships a noticeable arrowhead w wake. Two masts make this ship both incredibly fast and relatively agile, the lateen sails allow for tacking into the wind allowing for travel in any direction. The most recent addition of daggerboards, and a rudder which can be raised or lowered means that the newest design is incredibly stable and maneuverable, allowing these ships to outmaneuver more conventional ships and perform surprisingly tight turns. Tagatan captains have preferred to travel against the wind for generations, in this way if something goes wrong, they can quickly return home. An overall length of 40 meters makes these ships about the size of a large caravel or small carrack. The two-deck construction allows for rowers if the captain desires. They can carry some 150 soldiers in addition to a crew of 20(60 with oarsmen) in coastal waters. However, on longer sea voyages this number is cut to 60 crew and 100 soldiers. The construction of the decks being relatively low allows for two serious advantages. First, there is very little chance of these ships capsizing in storms, there was a problem with the vessel swamping in high seas and great waves, but clever engineering and a slightly stepped profile to the deck solved this problem generations ago. Second; due to the decks sitting below those of a more massive ship such as a carrack it makes it difficult for more massive weaponry such as ballistas and onagers to target the deck; This design does, however, leave the deck vulnerable to archers and boarding actions. The Tagatans counteract this by placing marines and sharpshooters in the masts and rigging where they can effectively fire back at enemy archers. When fully loaded for bear and crewed for battle these ships are deadly. Preferring to engage enemy ships in a quick hit and run tack tics before either boarding the ship or escaping into the distance Lateen Cutters are well equipped to handle most enemies. The prows of are equipped with a steel ram designed to quickly puncture a ships hull before withdrawing to allow water to pour into the gap. The Outrigger hulls prevent unwary ships from getting close enough to just drop planks onto the lower deck for boarding requiring that most boarding actions use ropes, exposing the boarders to sharpshooters. The outriggers themselves are topped with a steel blade designed to split the joints in the hull of ships which ride up against them; these often do little more than scar the hull of an enemy ship and function mainly to force enemies to keep their distance. The top deck is loaded with ballista which is either equipped with heavy steel bolts designed to damage rudders and rudder chains, or pots filled with oil, pitch, or molten copper. In some cases, if a ship is faster or must be captured, the ballistas are loaded with heavy bolts designed like harpoons meant to punch through the hull of an enemy ship and get lodged. Attached to the end of these is an extended length of chain or heavy rope linked to an anchor. When fired the anchor will be pulled off the deck as the two vessels move past each other. [image:cutter.jpg]?

Railroad: Though it is entirely possible the Kalawan were not the first to create railroads they have certainly pioneered them. The use of railroads has become something of a common occurrence in Kalawa. Railroads are springing up all across the islands, they facilitate the transport of both goods and people. The main roads and cities had all been built along the coast until the development of steam engines and trains, now they facilitate the only practical means of moving from the coast to the inland cities. Without the advancement of railroads, it is entirely likely that the Tagatan would never have moved inland to build cities.

Deep Sea Steam Ship: Cultural bias amongst the people of Kalawa favors low fast sailing ships, however, Railroads brought another advancement that many found too practical to ignore. If steam engines could be used to propel a train on a track why not a ship on the ocean? The first Deep Sea Steam Ship was completed nearly a decade ago, a massive ship by Tagatan standards, the Loto Fei is the first steam sail hybrid ship built in Kalawa. 60 meters long, double-masted and propelled with a huge steam-driven paddle wheel the Loto Fei is one of the largest seagoing vessels in the islands and was the pride of the fleet until the completion of a newer Deep Sea Steam Ship later this year. There are several advantages to this style of ship. First, they can never become becalmed and are always able to travel, the combination of sails and steam engine makes them powerful ships. The steam engine also allows the ship to be much larger and have a deeper hull allowing it to carry both more passengers and cargo without sacrificing much speed. Kalawa now boasts of having 5 of these ships in service, two outfitted as military ships the other three as deep sea whalers. There are also smaller skiffs which are meant strictly for ship to shore transport that use only steam engines. [image:skiff.jpg]?