To Infinity

Go a Bit Too Far

More recently there has been a third line of inquiry on teleporting star ships opening up. It has been noted that you can’t really build anything physical in the astral plane, and magickal constructions seem to attract spiritual pests and parasites. So they have been building self teleporting ships and sending them out into the astral to see what happens when they teleport there.

It is true that the probes are unmanned, but at the same time they do have an intelligence that can be creative. Also note that their intelligence is in no way artificial, but is rather the natural result of how they are designed and operate. As a result there are those who can’t be considered mentally stable. But those seem to be those most capable traveling through the astral at amount to fantastic rates of speed.

The Farthest Probe

At last report there was one probe able to travel to the end of the universe and beyond. According to his report the reality next to ours would appear to be a Cthulhoid Teletubbies universe. Then again, he is known for his hallucinations, and he seems to be having trouble describing how he achieved his feat. Some critics say he’s just making crap up.

Still, a few probes have made it out to some 20 million light years, while one presented a reliable report of reaching 1 billion light years. Said a researcher at Warden University, “This is just too much information, could you please slow down?”

Back on Urth

Lady Computer is keeping tabs on matters, offering advice, and has put together a team that hopes to soon start producing probes themselves

They’ve also tried to have a manned ship teleport in the astral plane, only to learn that organics get really screwed up thanks to the event. There are conflicting ideas as to why, and experiments are now under way to see what materials could be used to prevent the effect. 

The most promising appears to be a mixture of hard and soft woods, constructed much as the old sailing vessels of Urth were back in the day. Indeed, there are some regions of Urth that still build such ships, and so Lady Computer has recruited shipwrights and marine architects to build her new class of starships. One way has even proposed building the new wooden starships in the form of old sailing vessels, in as much as people do have to use a magickal simulation of gravity when centrifugal isn’t possible.

And Lady Computer

The effect this all has had on Urth’s Lady Computer is going to take another post, for the tale is a long one.All I can say for now is that the launch of The Warden has had a profound impact on her, her world, and the people who live on her world.

Final Note

And it has occurred to me that the launch of The Warden amounts to a singularity. An event seemingly small which has profound and widening consequences occurring as a result. And something made possible by previous singularities. 

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Consequences

Background

In Mythus Magick the author, E. Gary Gygax, let it be known that he really didn’t like the term “psionics”. He pointed out that the man who coined the term, John Campbell, had meant it to refer to psychic electronics, or electronic devices designed to amplify psychic abilities.

Seeing as the word “psychic” was being used as the name of a Spiritual Category, Gary decided he needed a term for psychic abilities, and in as much as such abilities are born of the mind he came up with the term “psychogenics”. It works for me, so I’m going to keep using it.

On Brain Net

Then I learn about Brain Net from MIT. Brain Net is an electronic device using a computer to connect mind to mind. Since thoughts can be considered as psychic, or psychogenic, and Brain Net is designed to amplify thoughts to make it easier for them to be shared between people, that makes Brain Net a psionic device. What it comes down to is, psionics are possible, and indeed we already have one.

But enough of this digression, on to the post proper.

Consequences

The events leading up to the launch of the Warden, and those following after, meant changes in the Urth’s Solar System. First, it meant that the Builders realized just how much power they held in the Solar System, and that they were in effect the most powerful agency in existence. Naturally Lady Computer on Urth didn’t much care for this, but being a wise woman she decided to just let things slide, and to use her resources to keep on eye on the Builders as she worked on a solution to straighten out matters.

The powers that be (PTBs) on Venuz, Marz, and Luna also realized that matters had changed, though not always exactly how. Along with Urth they all started work on starships of their own, and at present all but Luna have ships exploring what of the galaxy they can reach with the technology they have available.

At the present the Builders have the most advanced ships, with their technology allowing for an effective speed of one light year a day. There are rumors of ships going 2 light years a day, and even talk of one light year an hour or even one a minute. Though it should be noted that at those velocities there appear to be signs of mental strain among the ship’s crew, and in a few cases a craft traveling at a speed of just one light year every 8 hours has seen those crew with higher Mental Traits showing bleeding from the eyes and ears. In addition, those with a high Spiritual Trait, especially those with a high Psychic Category, are having hallucinations, suffering delusions, and in one case being stolen away by a power or entity previously unknown.

The Khj

Then you have the matter of Tellus and Selene. Both resemble Urth and Luna to some extent, and are thought to have come about as much as the Urth/Luna system need, only many AU out past the orbit of Pluto. Tellus was also thought to be lifeless, until The Warden made a visit there and discovered life. Including an octopoid race known as the Khj. In fact on her second visit just a year later the crew of The Warden made contact with a Khj scientist name of Mrk. Didn’t take long to talk her into joining the crew, and she is now head of xenoboiology at Warden University. There is more to be said about Mrk and the Khj, but that gets to wait for a later post.

Present Day

At present The Warden is holding position at Urth’s L5 point, some 60° ahead of the Urth in Urth’s orbit. A number of samples of Urth’s trojan satellites have been collected, one weighing a 1,000 pounds according to the last divination cast on it. In addition evidence of pre Luna life has been found in the samples which appear to have used different amino acids than does modern Urth life, and arranged in quadruple helixes as well. Stories of life having survived out there long enough to evolve sapience are discounted by most scientists and savants, though one deity in a small Polynesian pantheon has proven rather cagey on the matter.

Luna’s robots are working on the problem of just why they can’t “power” a starship, The Builders and Lady Computer are cooperating on a few ventures (while at the same time spying on and conspiring against the other), and the Khj appear to be up to something, but nobody really has any idea as to what exactly.

Prospects

And then you have the experiments being done at a number of locations on the matter of teleportation. Currently the problem appears to be with the size of the object to be teleported and it’s weight. But it appears that work being done in the arcane math specialty may soon have an answer for that.

And then you have a physics lab at a college at MIT (one of Lady Computer’s pet projects) exploring technology that would have a starship teleport itself for short distances, and do this often enough to simulate what starships are now doing on the astral plane.

But This Ain’t the End

For much like Kate Elliot with her Crown of Stars, it is becoming apparent to me that there is more to say on this matter. Which means a 4th part to this series. So back to composing I go.

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Have You Thought?

Prelude

Before we get to the post itself, I thought it best to tell you something as to why I see things the way I do.

First, I’m creative, and that means I’m ready and willing to work outside the box.

Second, I grew up on Scientific American and Analog. In short, I like science and I’m willing to use it in most anything. Well, at least what I understand as science. With that in mind we’ll go on to the post.

You Ever Think?

With the starships heading out into the galaxy close by, and the effects of gravity becoming more and more apparent, a member of the Builders (a computer nicknamed Coyote) asked a question. A question dealing with why they were building the Warden. Everybody knew they were supposed to launch the ship when she was completed, but the official orders had never come. So now what?

They didn’t need the Warden anymore, what with FTL ships flying around. And the plan to build a Dyson Sphere around the Solar System was proving to be a bad idea. What to do?

So Coyote made a suggestion, launch the Warden without orders.

Changes

Things had changed after all, and the old governments and institutions had vanished. The Builders were simply on their own with nobody to tell them what to do. Simply put, they were an independent agency and The Warden was their responsibility.

So the Builders as a whole discussed the matter at some length until they came to an agreement. The fact they were able to do this surprised them all, and changed how they saw themselves. But abbreviating a lengthy narrative, they agreed to launch The Warden.

But not before they added faster than light capability, at which point it became apparent to them that sending the ship off into the galaxy wasn’t really cost effective.

Thus The Warden was repurposed, becoming a space going university. Warden University as suggested by a human adolescent in a contest at her school. At present The Warden travels around the Solar System visiting the various worlds and holding classes. On two occasions she had traveled to Alpha Centauri where research has been done, though that work has yet to really settle any disputes.

Finally

Part three will deal with matters changed or caused by previous events.

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To Go Boldly

Some Background

James M. Ward has decided to do a new version of Metamorphosis Alpha. This means that the starship Warden will soon be traveling though space again on her long journey to another star and the planets she may find there.

Back in 1994 E. Gary Gygax presented the adventure guide Changeling in Mythic Masters Magazine. Set in a Solar System that had seen a few unexpected changes, one feature was a starship under construction, the Warden. But the Builders never got the order to launch.

Having “inherited” Changeling from Gary I did some thinking and decided that the Builders, having no orders to launch or even stop construction, decided to keep building until the Warden grew to engulf the Solar System and thus form what amounted to a Dyson Sphere.

Modern Times: Curse You Physics

But lately I got to thinking about this and I remembered that objects of a certain mass will form a sphere no matter how strong the material it’s made of is. In my Changeling the Builders aren’t stupid, and I figured that they would figure this out and stop adding to the Warden. But now what?

Rethinking the Problem

It did take awhile, a couple of centuries in fact, and in that time the Builders discovered that they had a problem. It seems that a Dyson Sphere around their Sun would require more material than the Solar System could provide. To get the stuff to build they had to find other planetary systems. But the only thing they had to go out to other Stars was the Warden, and they didn’t have the orders to launch. Some hard thinking was required, or computation in the case of the computer Builders.

Now keep in mind that Urth’s reality has a speed limit, nothing with a mass greater than a photon can travel at 1C, much less greater than that. But keep in mind that as with the other guides in Dangerous Journeys Changeling is not limited to just the physical. There are other planes of existence that may just allow for faster than light travel.

Taking a Detour

Fortunately for the Builders knowledge of the Changeling Universe had grown to the point there was enough information available that a library search could find the information necessary. (The Builders do have one of the largest in the Solar System, just after the one owned by Lady Computer back on Urth.)

Well, after about a year of work the Builders decided on the Astral Plane as being the most likely candidate. (People had been travelling the Astral for awhile by this time, though never for any great distance really.) Using DJ mechanics it appears that for every point in Mental Trait a person can travel one thousand miles every second, and this is cumulative with the number of people aboard the craft. Which means that with a crew of ten, each with a Mental Trait of 100, the ship can attain a speed faster than light.

Though not everyone has an MTrait of 100, but still a Trait of 50 can still take you places.

Shipping

Let it be noted that this all meant the people involved (the crew if you like) do need to cooperate, and that means a ship of some sort. A starship if you would. So that’s what the Builders set out to do, build a starship and put together a crew to man it. This first ship (The Discovery) took about a year to build, and it took another year to train the crew. Other starships would follow and in time there would be many ferrying construction material to the Solar System from other planetary systems. What it amounts to is, the Warden was now redundant.

But seeing as the Warden was to be the keystone in a Dyson Sphere (the gravity problem had not yet reared it’s crushing head), construction proceeded apace and the Builders were happy.

Unfortunately for their peace of mind one of their own was about to rattle a few cages and deny some souls their comfort zones. However that will have to wait for the next installment.

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Progress

I am making progress on my rewrite of the Persona chapter. The speed bump in the matter is the section of SEC, and that is asking for a lot.

Descriptions of the classes for one, including their relationships and the matter of social mobility. So expect it to take awhile.

On Personae

In a sense that is. Here I present the outline for the Personae chapter of Dangerous Journeys. It shows my recommended course to follow when creating an HP, but keep in mind that I may be adding more as I think of it.

Mythus Persona

  1. Persona
    1. Gender
    2. Birth Date
    3. Age
    4. Birth Rank
    5. SEC
      1. Birth
      2. Vocation
    6. Species
    7. Race
      1. Birth Place
        1. Information
          1. Nationality
          2. Residence
    8. Joss
    9. APs
    10. Religion
    11. Personality
    12. Background
    13. Appearance
      1. Hair
      2. Eyes
      3. Skin
        1. Complexion
      4. Height
      5. Weight
        1. Build
      6. Attractiveness
        1. Inner Ugliness/Beauty
      1. Description
  2. Statistics
    1. Trait
    2. Category
    3. Attribute
  3. Resources

We start with gender, because that makes sense to me. Matters such as species and Vocation follow Social Class because what Species and Vocations are available depend on SEC (Socio-Economic Class).

And as an example of Species and SEC, consider the uplifted Sasquatch of Abyss, who are limited to the lower lower class for the most part, though a few extraordinary individuals have attained as high as lower middle class.

Anyway, I’ve got a chapter to write, and that will take awhile.

Why I Changed my Mind

I’ve gotten rid of a load of crap, mostly because those who provided it have no idea how to organize a blank page. Either too much information—TMI—or not enough information—NEI—and in either case with the organization you get from a t-ball game. So I’ll be putting things that aren’t posts into pages, and doing up one book for each page.

That’s gonna be work.

So it’s off to Word for Windows to compose the tomes, and when each is done they will get published. I’ll keep you informed.

Even Gods can be Wrong

I wrote the following essay ten years ago (2008). I reprint it here without edit or revision. The first time I ever mentioned the phrase “santa vaca” in conjunction with D&D. Dungeo…

Source: Ten Years Ago: Santa Vaca & Game Balance – John Wick Presents

Please note that the essay linked to above is about ten years old and I would expect that Mr. Wick has changed some thinking in the decade since. But in case he hasn’t…

An adventure guide such as D&D is not and cannot be a story or a game.

1st, What is a story?

When you get right down to it, a story is an account of events which have happened. In as much as the events in an adventure guide are occurring it thus can’t be a story.

What are they then?

The best answer I can come up with is, an imitation of life. Playing in an AG cannot be real life, but it can be an imitation of life, with all the confoundments – yes, it’s a neologism. I’m an American, it’s a tradition – there of.

2nd. What is a Game?

The best description I can think of for “game” is, “An organized enterprise with simple rules giving the participant(s) a series of challenges towards achieving a goal.”

Now I see this in poker and chess, But not in D&D. I see where a guide – DM if you prefer – could give his players challenges and goals, but they are not really essential to play. The players could just socialize during an adventure, but where’s the game in that?

As for simple rules, I just don’t see it. When you have a hundred pages of rules – some quite detailed – some individual rules may be simple, but en mass they can be a mess.

In short, I don’t see where anyone has yet to design and publish a role playing game. I’ve seen and read and played a number of what I would call adventure guides, but no RPGs. As to John Wick’s advice to add some role playing – damn it – to play, I agree. With the added stipulation that one forget all that malarky about “game” and “story” and go ahead and have an adventure.

So it’s make believe. I see nothing wrong with make believe.