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The Art of the Game Master / Re: The omniscient holodeck
« Last post by David Roomes on April 04, 2018, 07:46:53 PM »
Regarding the Star Trek holodeck, the trek universe has always been a bit vague when it comes to the holodeck. I've seen every Next Generation episode and they refer to "holo-matter" and such. They imply that the creations on the holodeck are not just holograms (i.e. not just photons), but are, in fact, a mix of photons and energy and matter (utilizing a little bit of transporter technology).

This explains why the holodeck is able to do some weird things. For instance, in the episode "A Matter of Perspective", they create a holographic recreation of a converter device which actually ends up converting energy pulses into Kreiger radiation. In other words, the holodeck recreation functioned just as the real thing would in the real universe. Essentially the converter was just a complex series of mirrors and reflective coils, but they were "real" enough for the physics to work. So, clearly, the holodeck actually does create matter, in some fashion. But you're right, you can't take this "holomatter" off of the holodeck. Almost like it's energy and matter held in a certain shape by the holodeck emitters. It acts just like real matter as long as its in the holodeck.

But they've never been absolutely clear on what holomatter is... at least not in Next Gen. Maybe they clarified it in a later series or book.

Interesting if a low tech society had a magical version of a holodeck... I could see all kinds of story ideas with that.
 
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The Art of the Game Master / Re: Metaphysical sidenote: space and time
« Last post by David Roomes on April 04, 2018, 07:36:47 PM »
Agreed. Our concept of time is mainly our own artificial construction. We do that with a lot of things. I recently saw something similar on TV the other night... the idea that we "made up" numbers, but then "discovered" the realm of mathematics (i.e. relations between numbers).

Heinlein's book "The Number of the Beast" had a similar idea about time... that moving sideways in time is really just going to a parallel dimension at the same point of time.

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The Art of the Game Master / The omniscient holodeck
« Last post by Drul Morbok on April 02, 2018, 01:22:09 PM »
For my game world I also integrated an idea based on Star Trek's holodeck - which I assume to be known enough not to explain.

I came up with the conclusion that the holodeck could not be used to find out something unknown to its creator/programmer
 I could enter the holodeck and say "build a particle accelerator", or I might go to some console and specify. Then I might conduct experiments and measure results.
But I might as well look into source code of holodeck software.
The result of an experiment within the holodeck should have a deterministic outcome based on its algorithm and the data I enter.

So a society that builds a holodeck can not gain knowledge from it.
At least that's the way I see it, but I might be wrong...in any case, I wanted to build a story around a holodeck without this limitation.

In some other thread I wrote about a religion claiming science as its faith, and they revere a God that provides the holodeck (of course its not really a holodeck in my game world) with all the knowledge he has about the world...well, only scientific knowledge, its not an oracle, its more like a simulator to create laboratory conditions. A perfect science lab, not limited by issues like energy consumption, able to provide 100% pure elements and shutting of all external influence like gravitation and background radiation.
But as with the original holodeck, you can not take anything out of it, so the society would feature a huge gsp between knowledge and synthesis. They might know the theory of mass defect and about the speed of light, but not use electricity or the steam engine in their daily live.

So for me the whole thing has two purposes:
Thinking about how such a society might develop...and which roleplaying stories might arise from.it.
And creating alternative physics...I mentioned the mass defect as an example, but that does not mean my gamecworld mechanics will use the atom model.
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Gaming Tales / Re: Players at wordbuilding
« Last post by Drul Morbok on April 02, 2018, 08:07:01 AM »
For what I mean, I just came up with the term "Schroedinger campaign" where the state of the game world is undefined until the players look at it.
But I do not mean improvising a campaign, making up things as we go. More like retroactive wordbuilding.
Let's call it applying Ockham's Razor to Khoras until a minimal game world remains, putting all other great Khoras ideas on a Schroedinger stack to get back at them as needed, but making no assumption about it until you need it.

If the players do not seem to like the idea of searching the artefact for too long, I might decide that is was build by a crazed loner who had the geniality to build it, but lacked any ambition or creativity to see its potential, so it spent its whole time in a chest in an unknown laboratory only a few days travel away from War Vale.
In this case, there would be no need that there ever was the Great War, so "suddenly" there never was one. At least not until it might come in handy at a different point....as long as there is no need to know whether the Great War ever happened, the question of whether it happened is in Schroedinger state. Same about Aggradar and Qeshir.

Since I'm a big fan of the Sarthak, I might take away Duthelm and replace it by the Trosolli Dominion. But this would be a surprise for my players. All they knew was that there was a huge area full of Goblyns whose raids used to be a constant borderland nuisance until they stopped a year ago. Nobody knows why. And as might have been guessed, the "why" is in Schroedinger state ;-)
The campaign might get really interested by an organized large-scale invasion by abominations from the Trosolli Dominion. Will the players take the chance for separation, knowing that Rukemenia would not want to fight a two-front-war - at the risk of dooming first Rukemenia and than War Vale to be invaded by an overwhelmingly powerful enemy, which would have been defeated by joint forces?
But maybe the players will come up with the idea of making Rukemenia invade the Goblyn wildland in the first place - in this case I might decide that there never were any Sarthak.

And so on...
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The Art of the Game Master / Re: Metaphysical sidenote: space and time
« Last post by Drul Morbok on April 02, 2018, 06:38:45 AM »
You know, the more I think about it, one axis of temporal dimension also is pretty heady ;-)

And also kind of a cultural issue:
Of course a stick in the ground can make for a primitive sundial, by mapping measure of time to measure of length (I.e. quantify time by the distance the shadow "moves").
But the idea of time as a linear dimension is a lot more sophisticated...a bit like the difference between counting apples, and postulating the Peano Axioms, even though both is about natural numbers.

I think that thea idea of a time scale is not " natural", but became a necessity with the concept of interest and compound interest.
If lending is about "I give you ten gold pieces if you give me eleven gold pieces next spring", a rudimentary circular time concept would be enough, only defined by the change of sessions.
Only if it starts with "I lend money at 10% interest per year...so what if I lend money for 9 months?"  there comes the need for linear time measure.

So in some way, the saying "time is money" might have a deeper truth than what is commonly meant by saying it ;-)

In any case, my main motivation is playing with the idea that if culture was different, the concept of time also would be different, and that the idea of one time axis is a model among many, but it does not mean that time IS like this.
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The Art of the Game Master / Re: Metaphysical sidenote: space and time
« Last post by David Roomes on April 01, 2018, 09:32:20 PM »
Two axis temporal dimensions. Sounds like pretty heady stuff. Or maybe a little bit like string theory. Doesn't string theory predict 10 dimensions? Or 13 or something like that? Also, string theory has some interesting things to say about space-time. Might be worth a look.

Anyway, are you planning on using this multi-dimensional time line to create some kind of interesting story? Like maybe the characters get a hold of a magic item that lets them move around in time, but they accidentally end up in a parallel dimension? Ok, now you're just giving me ideas... :)
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Gaming Tales / Re: Players at wordbuilding
« Last post by David Roomes on April 01, 2018, 09:28:26 PM »
Sounds like you've got a good start on the story. Lots of political intrigue and power struggle between kingdoms. That's ripe for adventure.

Also, regarding players knowing the nature of the campaign before they roll up characters... it works both ways. I've had campaigns where the players knew something about the storyline and had the opportunity to make characters that would be particularly useful in that kind of adventure (rangers in wilderness hunts, thieves in all city campaigns, etc). But it's usually minor and subtle. Didn't seem to make a whole lot of difference. Then again, that might just be my players.

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Gaming Tales / Players at wordbuilding
« Last post by Drul Morbok on March 31, 2018, 07:17:52 AM »
Unfortunately I plan a lot more than I actually play, so most of what I write here about ideas and settings still waits to be met by actual players. But here's a new idea I already found interested potential players for:

It seems to me that in many settings, players are expected to react rather than act: If the players do not step in, someone else will reach his goal (or sometimes not reach it), and this would be bad for the game world.
I want the players to be the initiators: If they do not step in, things will go on as they are, but they do have an ambition to change it.

Maybe an example would do best:
I might ask my friends "Hey, what about a campaign where the protagonists get access to an artefakt that gives total control over a race of shapeshifters created by said artefact?" (I guess the source of inspiration is obvious  ;))
One of them might say "Why, yeah. This sounds like a perfect tool for someone who wants to take over rulership in his kingdom, realm, whatever"
Another one might say "Yes, but maybe not take over rulership, just control the current rulership because we think ist is weak. We are loyal to our nation, including whatever current authority, but we dream of restoring former glory. Less petty struggles"
Than I might say "Well, in this case, I already thought of something called the War Vale. Wanna hear?"
[...http://www.khoras.net/Khoras/Civil/Nations/War%20Vale/Warvale.htm...]
The might say "yes, this would be a cool campaign: Using this artefact to somehow unite the War Vale. Not becoming rulers of it, more like a paramilitary secret service...never seen, but able to install a nation-wide legal system and military, getting people to get their identification from being citizens of War Vale and not of their duchies."
I might say "Wait, wait, the Rukemian Empire might get nervous about a unified military. Come to think of, it, they might prefer the current state and already be actively working on keeping it that way."
They might say "OK, in this case out goal is independence from Rukemenia"
I might say "Well, I can't promise success, but you DO have a powerful artefact, and it sounds like something that someone in the game world might try, and if we stretch the campaign over decades of ingame time, inserting time lapse periods,...and you know, even failure could make for an interesting story. Let's do it.
Oh, by the way, did I say that you DO have a powerful artefact? Well, that's not quite true. You DO have pretty certain indications of where to find it, but doing so would be the first part of the campaign.
So now let's talk about what group of characters might secretely come together to plan and conduct all of it."
[...]

And so on. In any case, much of was planned before could be changed sooner or later thereby deviating from Khoras canon. The fact that I used some Khoras names above is to (somehow) properly credit my source of inspiration, and because it comes with a lot of information I'd otherwise would have to first invent and than write in my post.
Ocean travel might seem too much, so I (or rather *we*) might do away with all geography, history and so on that comes from Khoras. A whole race of shapeshifters might be too much, so we might change it to an artefact that can create and keep alive a small number of shapeshifters at a time.

And of course the players might make different decisions in the first place. Maybe they want to use the artefact to incite a "savage" race to an uprising, centering the campaign around the Mandalar.

In any case, I'm looking forward to trying such a (at least for me) new approach, since my former approaches were more like first creating the world and the strory hook, an than presenting it to players who made their characters without knowing much about what awaited them.
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The Art of the Game Master / Metaphysical sidenote: space and time
« Last post by Drul Morbok on March 31, 2018, 05:12:13 AM »
I just wanted to mention something I came up with for my game world:

Within it, people believe in a 5-dimensional world. Or, as they'd say, there are five directions, three of wich can be walked either way, and two that can only be walked one way.
The first three are spatial (up/down, forward/backward, left/right), the latter two are temporal (earlier, later).

So past and future are independent dimensions, rather than forward and backward on the same axis.
This effectively removes all kind of time travel paradoxa - if you first "travel" one minute into the future, and than one minute into the past, you do not end where (or rather "when") you started, but sqrt(2) minutes away from it (by the theorem of Pythagoras).
There is no such idea as to "turn back time" - time only turns forward, either into the past or into the future.

This might be hard to imagine for someone used to think of time as one axis, but someone used to think of it as two axes and never coming up with the idea of one axis could live consistently in this worldview, at least in a fantays word. And he would in turn find theidea of one axis rather strange.
And to be honest...I'm not even sure if modern real-world science could easily prove the idea of two time axes wrong (there even might already be such a theory of two axes, but if so I do not remember it).
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Gaming Tales / Re: The Prismate Story idea
« Last post by Drul Morbok on March 30, 2018, 10:38:35 AM »
I edited a less short version of the creation into my last post. Now for what it has to do with the Prismate:

Wortklaubers work with the primal echo of the rune words. So their powers are older than the Gods, and people are more afraid of Wortklaubers then they are of the Gods. Also the goals of a Wortklauber are more alien to mortals then the goals of the Gods.

One rune word is carried only by one Wortklauber at a time.
There is a prophecy that one say, there will be the Word War, where all Wortklaubers will fight each other until only one remains. This will be the end of the world as it is known.

In the campaign I intend, people will see the characters' encounter with the Prismate as a sign that the Word War has started.
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