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Fields for the Technocracy, Reloaded

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  • Fields for the Technocracy, Reloaded

    This is a reboot of an earlier thread I set up, Fields for the Technocracy. Sadly, I lost my focus on the original thread and it derailed. I am attempting here a more modest proposal.

    The idea is that the Technocracy doesn't use the same Spheres that the Traditions do. This is because the Order of Reason predates the Traditions. Mind you, there are many similarities; these come from the fact that the order of reason was originally founded by the Craftmasons and other factions that had descended from the same group of mages that eventually became the Order of Hermes. But the two systems are not identical.

    I'm basing this on the variant technocratic spheres that are described in M20, although what I'm presenting here involves more extensive changes then what the Sphere variants provide. I'm calling them Fields instead of Spheres in reference to their somewhat different organizational structure, but in practice they use the same rules as Spheres do. The only thing that really differs is which ones you need to perform a given Effect: for example, there are things that fall under the Field of Time but wouldn't be covered by the Sphere of Time that the Traditions use. I've tried to keep the names distinct to minimize confusion; but it wasn't always reasonable to do so.

    The nine Fields of Enlightened Science are:

    Energy (Force Dynamics)
    Matter (Material Science)
    Life (Biological Science)

    Space (Void Correspondence)
    Time (Temporal Mechanics)
    Void (Dimensional Science)

    Data (Information Science)
    Mind (Enlightened Psychology)
    Utility (Primal Utility)

    They often have more elaborate names, especially when a Scientist is discussing a specialty of a Field; but per the principle of Huffman Encoding, the names that get used most often tend to contract in length the more they're used; so while I'm including long-winded alternate names for each, I expect that the short names will tend to be used in practice.

    Here's how the Spheres map to the Fields:

    Correspondence Effects get split between Data and Space, with Data getting the Digital Web stuff and the stuff about Sympathetic Connections, while Space gets the measuring and control of spatial relationships. Each gets its own version of the Correspondence Range table, with Data's table being based on the one first introduced in the Revised NWO Convention Book while Space's table is based on the one that first appeared in the Revised Void Engineers Convention Book.

    Entropy Effects get split between Data and Time, with Data getting those dealing with order and chaos — “fate” and “luck” — while Time gets those that deal with decay, but rephrased In terms of aging.

    Forces Effects mostly go to Energy; but the ones having to do with motion and gravity go instead to Space.

    Life Effects go to Life. It's possible that some Effects move to different levels in the transition (Shapeshifting isn't something that Technocrats are into; but they're arguably more capable with inflicting and curing diseases); but other than some internal rearrangement, they essentially cover the same ground.

    Matter Effects likewise go to Material Science. Much like Biological Science is less about shapeshifting and more about manipulating health, Material Science is less about transmutation and more about manipulation of mechanisms.

    Mind Effects go directly to Enlightened Psychology as is, though the Technocracy has gone further than the Traditions both in terms of teaching techniques and in terms of altering the Consensus. There are also some Mind-like Effects added to Information Science, such as sensor spoofing (manipulation of perceptions) and memory alteration.

    Prime Effects get split between Void and Utility, with Void getting the concept of Primal Energy (e.g., blades made of Primal Energy) and most forms of Tass, while Utility gets everything that Primal Utility gets in M20 (such as Primal Ventures). Utility also holds the secrets of the Technocracy's ability to set up mass production lines for Devices and Principiae.

    Spirit Effects go to Dimensional Science (or “Void”) as per M20.

    Time Effects go to Temporal Mechanics.

    Turning this around:

    Energy gets most of the Forces Effects, except for the ones involving gravity and motion.

    Matter gets all of the Matter Effects, but rearranges some of them to emphasize mechanics over alchemy.

    Life gets all of the Life Effects, but rearranges some of them to emphasize vitality over shapeshifting.

    Space gets geometric manipulation from Correspondence (including teleportation) plus gravity manipulation and conveyance Effects from Forces.

    Time gets all of the Time Effects, plus Entropy Effects pertaining to decay and death (rephrased as “age control”).

    Void gets everything from Spirit (but with summoning, binding and warding de-emphasized in favor of Gauntlet manipulation), plus aspects of Prime that deal with things made of Prime. In particular, where summoning something ex-nihilo would require two dots of the Prime Sphere, it requires two dots of Void (to extract the necessary “zero-point energy” from the Quantum Vacuum).

    Data draws Digital Web access and Sympathetic Connections from Correspondence, and manipulation of order and chaos from Entropy; it also gets effects for dealing with the manipulation of sensors and digital records that echo Mind Effects, and effects for summoning, binding and warding digital entities that echo Spirit Effects. It also gets the “spatial manipulation” stuff from Correspondence, but only in the context of the Digital Web: that is, it can teleport, create gateways, co-locate, etc., just like Correspondence can, but only in the Digital Web. This is different from the Data Sphere variant described in M20, drastically limiting its Correspondence-related capabilities, and is the reason why I'm okay with it having so many other capabilities derived from Entropy, Mind, and Spirit.

    Mind gets all of the Mind Effects (except possibly language manipulation, which may be ported over to Data) and a few new Effects that are unique to the Technocracy.

    Utility gets the bulk of the Prime Effects, excepting only the ones that involve some sort of tangible manifestation of Primal Energy. It also skews the results toward Wonder crafting and tapping into sources of Quintessence that Prime doesn't even consider.

    That's the basics.

    I was tempted to transfer the “tangible manifestations of Quintessence” to Energy instead of Void to help offset the loss of Forces' gravity and motion Effects; but I stuck to Void because I think it's conceptually a better for there.

    The added functionality that Mind and Utility get are there to help explain the Union's current dominance: the former has given them an edge with the Consensus, and the latter explains the Requisitions Background.

    The intended changes to Matter and Life are to bring those two Fields in line with how the Technocracy tends to use them.

    Space and Data are set up the way they are to reflect the very different perspectives on Correspondence found in the NWO and VEs respectively.

    The Fields don't have an Entropy equivalent because Enlightened Science doesn't really work that way. Manipulation of order and chaos went to Data by thinking of them as identifying and manipulating small-p patterns, while the death and decay stuff went to Time mainly to bolster it; but thinking of it in terms of age manipulation works reasonably well.

    Most if not all of these Fields have parallels to branches of science: Energy, Space, and Time together represent physics; Matter covers chemistry and mechanics; Life covers most of the Life Sciences (though ecology might require some Data to deal with the intricate networks of interactions between different lifeforms). Data is all about the formal sciences: logic, mathematics, computer science, linguistics, etc. Mind is all about the bulk of the social sciences, save only for economics which is handled by Utility.

    Void is the only Field that doesn't correlate with a modern branch of science; instead, it deals with those phenomena that the Technocracy is attempting to excise from the Consensus: spirits, ghosts, alternate realities, mystical energies, etc.

    Thoughts? Suggestions?
    Last edited by Dataweaver; 09-30-2020, 12:33 AM.

  • #2
    I love the idea of breaking up Space and Data by letting Data eat Entropy (with the decay stuff being moved to Time). That makes perfect sense.

    I’m a bit shakier on how the ex nihlo Prime energy stuff fits with Void. Also does this require Iteration X device inventors to delve into the Syndicate’s Utility paradigm? Wouldn’t they deal with Prime as generatable energy rather than abstract utility value?

    Check out my expansion to the Realm of Brass and Shadow


    • #3
      A couple of possibilities to consider:

      1. I had originally been thinking of doing something like the Machine Sphere, originally conceived for the Sons of Ether as a variant of Matter that would let them use their Primary Sphere to make the bulk of their Wonders. I have some concerns that this might undermine Utility too much and/or overpower the Field of Material Science, which is why I didn't include it here; but maybe I'm wrong?

      One of the notions here is that with a “Machine Sphere”, just like the Utility Sphere, the Quintessence that's used to make Wonders doesn't actually represent “Primal Energy”; it would have to be an appropriate kind of Tass: an “unobtanium” special material which is defined as having the necessary exotic properties to make the Wonder work. The Quintessence rating of the Tass would be an abstract measure of how well the substance facilitates the Wonder's intended function. In effect, how much utility does the Tass provide to the Wonder? (Utility doesn't have to be economic utility.)

      2. I've been going back and forth as to whether the “tangible Prime stuff” should go in Void or Energy. If I put it in Energy, I could also see putting Primal Energy there as well. That would certainly make up for the Energy Field's loss of motion and gravity as purviews; but I'm worried that it might go too far the other way. I also tend to think that the whole “Primal Energy” thing isn't really a Technocratic thing, and was put into earlier Technocracy books due mainly to a lack of any better ideas; it was, at the time, the “least bad” translation of the concept of Quintessence into the Technocratic paradigm. The ideas behind Primal Utility are arguably better. But again, I may be wrong.


      • #4
        I think I'm going to stick to the notion of folding those elements of Prime that don't fit Utility into Void. The Doylean rationale is that I don't want Energy to be the Field used for ex nihilo Effects, mainly because Energy is one of three Fields that gets paired up with another Field of you want to make something out of nothing (the other two being the counterparts to Life and Matter).

        The Watsonian rationale is that the Conventions see Void (or Dimensional Science) as a Field that deals with the fundamental structure of reality, with all the business about the Gauntlet and the Umbrae being a case of pockets of reality that are sectioned off from the primary reality of Conventional Space. In that view of things, Ephemera and Primal Energy are variations on a common theme: Primal Energy is to Conventional Space as Ephemera are to the Umbrae, and Ephemera is what Primal Energy becomes when it's cut off from the material world for too long.

        So in that regard, Void deals not just with the discarded realities of the Umbrae, but also with the primary reality of the physical world. It is in the context of “dealing with the fundamental structure of the physical world” that the stuff ported in from Prime comes into play.

        Last edited by Dataweaver; 05-16-2020, 04:55 PM.