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Space Opera: Occult Methods of Faster-Than-Light Travel

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  • Space Opera: Occult Methods of Faster-Than-Light Travel

    I'm trying to write a crossover fanfic between Mass Effect and the CofD, and I really like the idea of one of the major differences in the rules of the universe being that Mass Relays are not the only form of FTL. It's just that it's the only one anyone wants anything to do with, because messing with magic of any kind is...unpredictable. This doesn't stop the alien races from having their own occult lore or supernatural templates (because having humanity have all the fun reeks of power fantasies, and usually provincial ones at that-besides, quarians who know how to mathematically command Sekhem for their works of machinery and to merge with their vessels are freaking awesome), but nobody is generally insane or desperate enough to think diving into the skies of the Underworld to travel a few parsecs is a good plan.

    Humanity did not have the option for good plans for around five generations of desperate flight (spiced with occasional raiding for supplies and to free the thralls whose ancestors weren't so lucky to support their numbers) and from the demonic invaders of their homeworld, who made a habit of denying them use of Mass Relays. So, instead, they relied on the mystical lore of the cross-template alliance who created the ships the future Coalition of Exiles fled to Shanxi and other worlds fled on to begin with.

    This is a thread from brainstorming ways the various supernatural denizens of Earth would accomplish FTL:

    Mage: Take one Mastigos. Give Mastigos amplification artifact. Close eyes. Presto, now we're at Alpha Centauri, check for any surprises Paradox left us.

    Werewolf: "We'll decorate the entire ship with gospel praising the Sun if you make an exception in the speed limit and relativistic physics for us for just a month, Mr. Light Spirit..."

    Changeling: 108K kilometers a second? Not if this Contract dictating when this message is due to arrive at any given True Fae's Reticulan holdings when using this postal service has anything to say about it. Now if you'll excuse us, we'll just drop off the back of the world-beetle about 3/4 of the way there and find our own way. No really, thanks.

    Vampire: The Crone is the Goddess of the Primordial Void as well. By drinking from the fabric of space, we puncture a hole in its veins to reveal the Void flowing through it, and we catch a ride on the heartbeats. Oh, we suppose you can hide in the shrine and away from the revelations we will see there...wuss...
    Last edited by Leliel; 08-20-2018, 10:03 AM.



  • #2
    Werewolf and many splats of their "worlds" set up wouldn't use a real space FTL method, even one that's spirit powered. Instead, they would use one that in essence uses the near empties of the Immaterial to its advantage. Their ships would essentially have something akin to a "Node Drive" from Sword of the Stars, substituting Node Space with the Shadow. Shadow Drives of course can be used to transport the whole ship into the Shadow.
    Distances in the Shadow might be much shorter than they are in real space or perhaps acceleration and planar distances can be subjective based on the route you're taking.

    The downside to this drive system is that you get many hitch hikers. Or occasionally you hit something you didn't want.

    I find that this alternative drive system would actually be more in keeping with their "torn between two different worlds" aspect. In that everywhere they go, they will always be able to travel to the two planes of existence.

    Last edited by Almarck; 08-20-2018, 02:34 AM.


    Mechs: Because even the Chronicles of Darkness needs robot fights.
    DarkFrame: Crossover setting that puts Chronicles of Darkness in the far future that is Warframe.
    Monarch: The Endless You are an alien ruler, charged with maintaining a people who you shape to suit your needs.

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    • #3
      Demons: Gadgets, gadgets, gadgets...and maybe some form powers. Seriously, the kind of stuff you can create with Four Minutes Ago, Rip The Gates, Stop or Newton’s Nightmares is frankly kind of mind blowing in the setting. For some examples, Living Shadow to turn your ship into a shadow that can travel the dark gaps between focused light aka stars and planetary bodies; Rip The Gates to create temporary Stygian Gates in space, allowing you to travel to any known Stygian Gate from any other point (or potentially letting something else out of Between Space); Newton’s Nightmares to allow for a ship to accelerate faster and faster, until it’s faster than light itself (and then when you shut it off the ship comes to a standstill). Granted, some of these are better for short range, intersystem rather than interstellar travel, but the possibilities are only as limited as the aether would allow for such a gadget to be sustained...though you could potentially go green with an embeded lambda, if you were smart about it.

      If you were willing to allow a bit of other crossover (or Demons taking ideas from fiction in-universe), Stargates are actually rather plausible to make as embeded lambdas (or a Rip The Gates exploited gadget). Take the embeds Remote Linkup and Momentum; have Remote Linkup bring the effet of linking up two different gates so long as you dialed the right area, and Momentum to convert various sources of energy into the energy needed to fuel the gate. Now restrict it so that the connection is one way, you need an outside control unit and an outside means of powering the lambda in the first place, and voila; you’ve got a robust object that can create a wormhole from one planet to another for extremely fast travel and you don’t trigger any powers that detect aether...unless you fuel the lambda with aether to give it a massive power source. I’m pondering on an Agency actually discretely creating and setting up these stargates on various worlds, to allow them secret trade lines and communication arrays. Better yet, you could even set up a Stargate on a suitably sized ship, provided the power supply could last it and the weight of the gate didn’t affect it too much.

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      • #4
        Oooh, I've been working on these for awhile...

        Summary (because: phone)

        Werewolf: Shadow transition and exploiting the relative emptiness of space's Shadow (note "relative" - running into a Void Leviathan is going to cut your trip real short).

        Mage: Ground Eater + Velocity Control + (other Space, Forces, and Time magic) = shoving relativity into the box until you want to let it out. Big problem is personnel - there aren't enough Mages and Sleepwalkers to do decent colonization, so you are going to need to bring some Sleepers, who will decay your spells... unless you've Treknobabbled them into thinking this is plausible and non-magical ("and please don't look into the black boxes, sir").

        Changeling: Hedge-Space. Going to need a dang good navigator at the helm, but you'd be amazed at the distances you can cover. Just, uh, try not to leave the established routes. And avoid the patrols/pirates from the Arcadian Empire (which isn't actually an empire, yes, but we like the imagery).

        Geist: Sub-space (because Under and World, but IN SPAAACE!). Please steer clear of Ghost ships though. And avoid the Currents, even if they look faster, unless you pay the Wayfarers Union's price.

        Mummy: Sekhem drives can pull you closer to the stars. Well, a star, chosen upon activation, and please remember to keep the safety engaged so you drop out without being too close. All powered by the conveniently arrayed Heka Web. (Please remember that all Relics and Vestiges are Contraband and will be confiscated by your local patrolling Tomb-Ship)

        Beast: Always remember to tip/bribe your Beast Travel Guide as you make use of their pan-stellar Chambers for travel. Many kin risked their lives to ensure new planets and cultures were scared sufficiently excretion-less so that these networks could be formed.

        Promethean: Something, something, Alchemy and let's see what diving into this spatial Firestorm does.
        Last edited by Vent0; 08-20-2018, 08:46 AM.


        Malkydel: "And the Machine dictated; let there be adequate illumination."
        Yossarian: "And lo, it was optimal."

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        • #5
          Maybe it's something you've taken away in this setting/shard, but if not mages would just use Sympathetic magic and Co-Location/Teleportation between colonised planets. FTL travel, but not FTL velocities.


          Bloodline: The Stygians
          Ordo Dracul Mysteries: Mystery of Smoke, Revised Mystery of Živa
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          • #6
            Originally posted by Tessie View Post
            Maybe it's something you've taken away in this setting/shard, but if not mages would just use Sympathetic magic and Co-Location/Teleportation between colonised planets. FTL travel, but not FTL velocities.
            Yeah. But they'ed have to get the Sympathetic Connections to those places first. So someone/something is going to have to make the first slow/conventional trip.


            Malkydel: "And the Machine dictated; let there be adequate illumination."
            Yossarian: "And lo, it was optimal."

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            • #7
              The Mirros shard had them use otherworld jumpgates. I remember them using huge Underworld portals as a kind of hyperspace, claiming that this was the 'above ground' section.


              Thoughts ripple out, birthing others

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              • #8
                Originally posted by FallenEco View Post
                The Mirros shard had them use otherworld jumpgates. I remember them using huge Underworld portals as a kind of hyperspace, claiming that this was the 'above ground' section.

                That is what the original idea was, yes; I have it that since this is mining ideas for a Mass Effect cross, it's possible to dive into Dark Sea (aka, my term for the skies of the Underworld to fit with the nautical theming of the 2E Underworld) without a Stygian Gate, because you need FTL to get anywhere inside the galaxy, and given Relays there would be literally no reason to use a slower, more mind-scarring gate network. Besides, knowing what I do about physics makes it so that it's honestly easier to fly to Andromeda than Alpha Centauri using Stygian Gates with the RAW, and that is...a bit strange.
                Last edited by Leliel; 08-20-2018, 10:35 PM.


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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Leliel View Post


                  That is what the original idea was, yes; I have it that since this is mining ideas for a Mass Effect cross, it's possible to dive into Dark Sea (aka, my term for the skies of the Underworld to fit with the nautical theming of the 2E Underworld) without a Stygian Gate, because you need FTL to get anywhere inside the galaxy, and given Relays there would be literally no reason to use a slower, more mind-scarring gate network. Besides, knowing what I do about physics makes it so that it's honestly easier to fly to Andromeda than Alpha Centauri using Stygian Gates with the RAW, and that is...a bit strange.
                  Well, there is the advantage of not being dependent on the Relay network after its possible destruction by Shepard, as well as it being much harder to track, given that they're probably not so tightly-regulated like the Mass Relays are.

                  It's also handy if you want to avoid having to purchase the sometimes-costly Element Zero required to use Mass Relays.

                  There are also some people that really just don't trust the Relay system (and they're pretty justified, given their true purpose).


                  Genius: the Transgression 2E is a thing that's being worked on.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Leliel View Post
                    Besides, knowing what I do about physics makes it so that it's honestly easier to fly to Andromeda than Alpha Centauri using Stygian Gates with the RAW, and that is...a bit strange.
                    Unpack this?


                    Resident Lore-Hound
                    Currently Consuming: Hunter: the Vigil 1e

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Satchel View Post
                      Unpack this?
                      Well, a better term would be "simpler", but it leads to a similar problem of scope and scale.

                      One of the conceits of Stygian Gates, by RAW, is that it's impossible to enter or exit FTL without one. While most systems have one, if it doesn't, that system is off limits. There is no way to get to that system that does not involve generation ships, or mages. Besides that there is no guarantee Alpha Centauri has one, the travel times are literally "your ship moves at lowest speed, you go 100,000 parsecs in about five hours" That makes it borderline impossible to not overshoot your way towards a nearby system, leading to the rather ridiculous situation where you have to travel to another stop if you want to hop over a system unless you're on a cosmic tugboat and your pilot has pitch-perfect timing. By contrast, Andromeda is about 780,000 parsecs away from Earth-at max speed, that's not even enough time for the Void to start becoming hazardous (it starts draining Willpower at 9 hours, it takes 7.8 hours at Speed 5 to get to Andromeda from Earth). Assuming autopilot that can exit the Void with drained crew is a thing, it becomes even worse, since the time limit is not critical and the Gates are cool with blood payments if everyone is pooped. So yeah, kind of awkward timescales there, especially if you want to stay in one galaxy.

                      EDIT: Remembered my metric. Kilo is 1000, not 1000000.
                      Last edited by Leliel; 08-21-2018, 09:38 AM.


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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by malonkey1 View Post

                        Well, there is the advantage of not being dependent on the Relay network after its possible destruction by Shepard, as well as it being much harder to track, given that they're probably not so tightly-regulated like the Mass Relays are.

                        It's also handy if you want to avoid having to purchase the sometimes-costly Element Zero required to use Mass Relays.

                        There are also some people that really just don't trust the Relay system (and they're pretty justified, given their true purpose).

                        True enough, which is why people use them. It's just that most people, choosing between instant transport and literally anything else that is slower and usually comes with "unpredictability" and "but" attached to it, will chose instant transport. Besides, this is before the Relays are possibly blown up.


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                        • #13
                          @Leliel: Are you going to use or adapt the rules from here? https://wiki.rpg.net/index.php/Mass:_the_Effecting


                          Malkydel: "And the Machine dictated; let there be adequate illumination."
                          Yossarian: "And lo, it was optimal."

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Vent0 View Post
                            @Leliel: Are you going to use or adapt the rules from here? https://wiki.rpg.net/index.php/Mass:_the_Effecting

                            I was not aware that was a thing. I'll get back to you on that.


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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Leliel View Post


                              I was not aware that was a thing. I'll get back to you on that.
                              Okay. From what I read, it was 1E, so some conversion may be necessary (but not hard).


                              Malkydel: "And the Machine dictated; let there be adequate illumination."
                              Yossarian: "And lo, it was optimal."

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