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Ian Watson

Adventure! RPG - Z-rays

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The following comes from my own thoughts regarding Adventure!'s Z-rays, based on conversations with various people involved with the creation of the series.

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Z-rays do not exist as a discrete energy in and of themselves, but are a phenomenon generated by the interaction of quantum and subquantum energies. The discovery of subquantum is still several centuries away, and even then its interaction with quantum is not well understood. Perhaps with the the arrival of new "daredevils" following the Venezuelan Phenomenon, investigation into this mysterious realm can finally get underway.

For the purposes of this dissertation, and in the interest of brevity, Z-rays will be treated here as a separate energy.

In quantum mechanics, we learn that particles of matter do not exist in a solid sense like a billiard ball, but in a probability cloud. Heisenberg pointed out that the more precisely a particle's position is known, the less precisely one can know its velocity, and vice versa.

Even more bizarrely, Richard Feynman discovered that particles don't have a single history, but rather have all histories. If a particle is at point A, and later at point B, it can be shown to have travelled every conceivable path between A and B. However, once again, one can measure each path's probability to determine the most likely path taken by the particle.

In plain English, if you are attempting to determine the position of a pendulum, the position distribution can be shown as a bell curve; it's therefore most probable at any given time that the pendulum will be in the middle position.

This situation doesn't just apply to particles, but on a large scale as well. The most probable path for an object on the large scale exactly conforms to predictions made by Newtonian physics.

Also, as can be shown in the double-slit light experiment. The "Shroedinger's Cat" thought experiment demonstrates that an object's state rests in a state of limbo, with a 50/50 chance of either probability, until observation "locks" it into one of those probabilities.

Now here's where things get hinky.

The quantum forces dictate how particles interact with each other, while subquantum forces deal with information. On the scales normally employed by psions and novas, quantum and subquantum interfere with each other to a large degree, but at fairly low scales, they can actually work together. Combining the control of matter with the control of information results in the ability to affect probability.

Places

The uncontrolled explosion of Z-rays in the 1920s had an unforeseen effect on the world: they temporarily adjusted the history probabilities for certain places. These are places which had only received the most cursory of observation, if any, and thus Z-rays didn't have much observation to "fight against."

This resulted in areas far from civilization - the foggy wilds of Transylvania, the deep swamps of the southern US, caverns extending deep underground, and so on - instantly getting new histories written for them, despite the improbability of dinosaurs in the modern day. These alternate histories seemed to be based more on imagination rather than simple observation.

As time goes on, and Z-rays begin to dissipate, these locations begin to reassert the "correct" history, returning to the most probable outcome.

By the Trinity era, Earth has largely been investigated and catalogued to such an extent that the Venezuelan Phenomenon, amplified though it was, didn't have sufficient momentum to overcome the known world as observed, and thus no "newly discovered" ancient civilizations or the like were found.

People

Some people hit by the initial Hammersmith explosion - and the later Venezuelan Phenomenon - got affected by it. It may have been a certain frame of mind they were in, a material they were handling, or perhaps a genetic quirk. The scientists of the Trinity Universe may never find out why.

In any case, once affected, they become sort of encased in a bubble of personal spacetime. This bubble functions largely like normal spacetime, except the prevalence of Z-rays within the bubble. The Z-rays respond to the unconscious desires of their owner to a certain extent, affecting the probabilities of the world around them. Traffic congestion and traffic lights function in a way to impede any followers, the individual just happens to make perfectly-aimed attacks, and what seemed to be a killing strike is rendered a glancing blow.

These bubbles affect the probabilities of the outside world only slightly (no instant armies of ninjas at your beck and call), so they're generally strong enough to survive the duration of an individual's life, or several decades at least.

It should be noted that, like electron shells on an atom, daredevils have at least one additional "energy level." The common expression of daredevil manifestation is as described above, the unconscious manipulation of probability, or perpendicular time.

The higher energy level, much less common, is the conscious manipulation of linear time. Instead of merely manipulating the quantum histories of the world around them, they are able to consciously manipulate their own personal history and its place in larger spacetime. The only known example of this manifestation achieved the higher energy level by being directly present at the initial Hammersmith explosion. While events of this type are exceedingly rare, it is not recommended for anyone to attempt to repeat this themselves, just as it's not recommended for aspiring novas to place themselves in mortal danger in the hopes of awakening a dormant M-R node.

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Very well done.

I think that might just be convincing enough to settle an argument between my TT ST and myself about the supposed 'pulpyness' that the Trinity era might have been looking at.

I argued that it was unique to the Hammersmith incident, he insisted that the VP would take from the imaginations of current planet residents and encompass more of the cheesy sci-fi movies than it did the pulp.

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Glad everyone's enjoying it so far. (:

Very well done.

I think that might just be convincing enough to settle an argument between my TT ST and myself about the supposed 'pulpyness' that the Trinity era might have been looking at.

I argued that it was unique to the Hammersmith incident, he insisted that the VP would take from the imaginations of current planet residents and encompass more of the cheesy sci-fi movies than it did the pulp.

There's certainly room for it if you want to go that way. Hell, if the VP extends beyond Earth, there's nothing saying that weirdness can't happen on Luna or Mars or elsewhere in the galaxy. But I wouldn't say that such regions exist in an official sense, no.

However, with sufficient Inspired science, it might be possible to maintain a bubble of altered reality, and perhaps to create new ones. I can think of one person in the Adventure! rulebook who may have done just this.

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Every now and again someone brings up the Inspired issue and how Adventure! can relate to Trinity. To be honest, nine times out of ten the person raising this issue is either Ian Watson or myself... and this time is no different! ::biggrin

As some of you may be aware, I've been working on a Trinity supplement incorporating Inspired into the 2120's. Trinity: Awaiting Inspiration has been a labour of love, and in an interesting piece irony, inspired by an argument/difference of opinion a number of years ago with Ian Watson. Back then I actually lost the argument, but it got me thinking, along fairly similar lines (incidentally, Ian, some nice work here. I like it).

I present here the most recent draft of Trinity: AI. It's a lot more polished in format from the last one I put on the forums, with some new rules systems inspired by recent game lines. The fluff and flavour of the background hasn;t changed hugely, I've simply refined it a bit more. However, from reading Ian's stuff on here, I can see that the is more that can be added. I've pushed this project about as far as I can on my own, so some refining of the noetic/quantum/telluric fluff, the rules, the layout, the missing sections (dramatis personae, finishing off the Super Science section), would be very much appreciated from any of the veteran people here such as Ian Watson, Sprocket, Skylion, Forge, Alex Green and any others interested.

JC

TrinityAIDraft.pdf

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I present here the most recent draft of Trinity: AI. It's a lot more polished in format from the last one I put on the forums, with some new rules systems inspired by recent game lines. The fluff and flavour of the background hasn;t changed hugely, I've simply refined it a bit more. However, from reading Ian's stuff on here, I can see that the is more that can be added. I've pushed this project about as far as I can on my own, so some refining of the noetic/quantum/telluric fluff, the rules, the layout, the missing sections (dramatis personae, finishing off the Super Science section), would be very much appreciated from any of the veteran people here such as Ian Watson, Sprocket, Skylion, Forge, Alex Green and any others interested.

Re: Trinity: AI-

I'm currently still hip-deep in work for Chapter 1 of AB:TNF, & am likely to remain so for at least another month or two- after the biotech material is finally done, I've got to try & finish Chapter 2 (Combat). That said, I'll look over your work and give commentary if needed.

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Every now and again someone brings up the Inspired issue and how Adventure! can relate to Trinity. To be honest, nine times out of ten the person raising this issue is either Ian Watson or myself... and this time is no different! ::biggrin

What can I say? I think a lot about the nitty-gritty of the Trinity Universe. (:

As some of you may be aware, I've been working on a Trinity supplement incorporating Inspired into the 2120's. Trinity: Awaiting Inspiration has been a labour of love, and in an interesting piece irony, inspired by an argument/difference of opinion a number of years ago with Ian Watson. Back then I actually lost the argument, but it got me thinking, along fairly similar lines (incidentally, Ian, some nice work here. I like it).

Thanks! I was aware that you were working on AI, but I had no idea it had anything to do with me. ::blink What were we arguing about?

I present here the most recent draft of Trinity: AI. It's a lot more polished in format from the last one I put on the forums, with some new rules systems inspired by recent game lines. The fluff and flavour of the background hasn't changed hugely, I've simply refined it a bit more. However, from reading Ian's stuff on here, I can see that the is more that can be added. I've pushed this project about as far as I can on my own, so some refining of the noetic/quantum/telluric fluff, the rules, the layout, the missing sections (dramatis personae, finishing off the Super Science section), would be very much appreciated from any of the veteran people here such as Ian Watson, Sprocket, Skylion, Forge, Alex Green and any others interested.

On a quick skim, it looks very good, although it's more of a rules update than fluff. I like the new Knacks. I was going to include a similar section in the Trinity ST Handbook.

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Re: Trinity:AI-

Agreed w/Ian that it's got a lot of good rules for integrating Adventure!-level characters into Trinity. Aside from noting that "Achilles' Heel" is misspelled in the PDF, further details AFA the possibilities of stalwarts becoming novas & mesmerists becoming psiads might be a good idea. Of course, that's assuming such is even possible for the 22nd Century Inspired, given the stated "new fluidity" between Inspiration categories.

AFA fluff, adding some in would help give a quick overview of how 22nd Century Earth is reacting to having the Inspired around, with focus given to Aeon, the Psi Orders, Aberrants, Eden etc.

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Re: Ian Watson

Hello, I've enjoy'd your stuff!

The Z-rays you describe don't jive well with canon for me, tho. Telluric energy, etc. is decribed like the luminiferous aether; all around us, focused in 'ley lines', rising and falling in cycles.

See, Quantum energy is just described as energy that can manipulate the basic quantum forces. It is not described at existing universally or even easily, but Inspiration is. So is the Noetic totality, so the two must interact or are related.

"The quantum forces dictate how particles interact with each other, while subquantum forces deal with information."

While this is true I don't think that this statement is a contradiction; the information of the subquantum medium would be inherently connected to the interactions of the quantum forces. I think it's confusion between quantum forces (Strong, Weak, EM, Gravity) and Quantum (bends reality).

My take on that opposition is that psion particles are 'programmed' to 'hack' the noetic fields involved, Quantum and Taint distort reality such that the basic functions of the subquantum medium are garbled; psion particles can also partially 'restore' the subquantum medium like a 'patch'.

Re: Jackson Creed

Hello, very slick pdf work, I did enjoy it.

My concern is the metaphorical description of Psi/Inspiration/Quantum. I just doesn't make sense from my point of view. Psi is ubiquitous as the subquantum medium; Inspiration is also universal, concentrates at some points/people, but waxes and wanes; Quantum is is the cracklin' cosmic power of the gods.

So, Psi would be an ocean, Inspiration would be a swampy landmass, but Quantum would be a space-elevator.

I like the 'universe as a computer network' metaphor: Subquantum medium is the software, quantum medium is the hardware. Psi is like hacking with your own computer. Quantum is like completely changing hardware and wiring. Inspiration is like getting access to a terminal that can be used for information (Intuitive), hacking (Reflexive), or hardware(Destructive).

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