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Old 06-16-2022, 09:03 PM   #861
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You could possibly see the past or future by psionic means, though, and perhaps even astral-project to it.

The difficulty of shapeshifting has a small practical implication for those vampires you mentioned earlier, by the way. Either they don't have the gargoyle-face thing as in the TV series the thoughtforms are copying, or one or the other appearance is an illusion. This might mean that their real appearance (which might be the human one or the gargoyle one, but presumably the fangs have to be real) was visible in camera footage. (Not that they aren't fairly easy to spot with modern technology anyway, what with not having reflections and showing up cold on thermal cameras).
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Old 06-17-2022, 04:33 AM   #862
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Originally Posted by Prince Charon View Post
Bag of holding would involve warping space in some way, and is available, but requires more effort. Shapeshifting is much harder than in a lot of other settings, but can be done fast with a very large effort via space warping, or much more slowly though biokinetic changes to the body (alternatively, shapeshifting can be faked with illusions, or for a body larger than the subject, by forming an ectoplasmic 'suit' over the subject).

Generally speaking, things are only unavailable if they can't be plausibly explained as psi abilities. The only one that I can think of right this minute (while I'm tired and have a headache and am only posting so that I won't forget to post it later) is real time travel that doesn't involve traveling to a worldline that has an earlier or later 'present.' There are probably others, but I'm blanking on examples.

EDIT: Also, there are things that are hard to really do, but easier to fake, as noted re: shapeshifting.
Mostly I was thinking about bottomless magazine style magic that allows magazines to carry more ammo.

For example, modern tank main gun ammunition keeps on increasing in size and lowering the number of rounds able to be physically stored.

But perhaps psi magic could allow for some dimensional shenanigans to cram in more ammo and increase the amount stowed.
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Old 06-17-2022, 02:22 PM   #863
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Just FYI, my computer is down and the tablet I am using is painful and annoying. So, I will not get much work done for a while.
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Old 06-17-2022, 09:53 PM   #864
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The only one that I can think of right this minute (while I'm tired and have a headache and am only posting so that I won't forget to post it later) is real time travel that doesn't involve traveling to a worldline that has an earlier or later 'present.'
Surely you could just accelerate up to relativistic speeds and travel into the future at a faster rate than normal. And if they have access to exotic matter (i.e. negative mass) you might be able to construct a Tipler cylinder.

Though if you're allowing things like teleportation without time travel, you're probably busting relativity enough to declare that neither of the previous things work either.
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Old 10-19-2022, 07:35 PM   #865
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October, 2014 (1942 on Earth-2, 1880 on Earth-3, 1557 on Earth-4, and 516 CE/1269 AUC on Earth-5)

October 1: On Earth-1, DARPA produces a working 1::100 scale model of a hypothetical battleplate, being ten metres on a side, and 2 metres thick. It is estimated that the full-sized spacecraft would take twenty years to build, and cost more per unit than 100 Gerald R. Ford-class aircraft carriers using current technology, technurgy, and construction methods. On the bright side, all of those are progressing over time.

Oct. 3: Jean-Claude 'Bebe Dok' Duvalier, with the assistance of most of Haiti's empowered vodounists and a number of other powered people, begins openly campaigning to remove the current governmet of Haiti from power, to replace it with 'one more obediant to the will of the Haitian People' (and lead by him). He always seems to disappear before the police can show up to arrest him.

Oct. 4: Copies of the 1839 German edition of Unaussprechlichen Kulten, by Friedrich Wilhelm von Junzt are transmitted via radiofacsimile machine from Earths Two and Three to Earth One, for comparison purposes. It should be noted that the version from Earth-3 is regarded as fiction (and the author's name is known to be a pseudonym), and the forward includes a quote from Lucian of Samosata on that matter, while the book on Earth-2 is not and does not. Apart from having different forwards and afterwards, the two books are nearly identical, though the one from Earth-3 contains slightly more spelling and grammar errors.

Oct. 5: Inp-US Army Major Andrew Kurita, a fourth-generation Japanese-American from Earth-1, and veteran of Iraq and Afganistan, is assigned as Military Advisor and liaison to the now-forming 442nd Regimental Combat Team.

Oct. 7: In Clp-London, the Seamarks Act is passed nine years early, as part of a series of Acts (such as the Public Health Act 1557 from March 5, 2014) that will be known as the Safety and Infrastructure Acts.

Oct. 10: In Clp-London, the Peculiars begin investigating the deaths of certain 'upstanding gentlemen' who seem to have all been murdered with the same weapon and method, and all while seeking the company of 'a certain sort of woman' (prostitutes) in Southwark.

Oct. 13: On Earth-3, the Hale T-13 Flying Ambulance is designated 'M-1' by order of Queen Victoria, who finds the Army's intention of using 'H' just to annoy the Navy to be most childish - indeed, she informs them that her youngest children are better behaved. On Earth-1, in the countryside near Great Finborough, Suffolk, a huge dog is photographed. The beast is believed by the photographer to be Black Shuck.

Oct. 15: First flight of the Focke-Wulf Fw 500 'Kugelblitz' single seat heavy fighter. The vehicle is able to avoid crashing only due to the slightly-precognitive pilot, and the Cytherean avionics, but it is shown to be highly manoeuverable. In Dsp-London, the public becomes aware that the prisoners and records of Auschwitz (see July 18, 2014) were evacuated to Dsp-Switzerland, and from there to various Allied or neutral territories.

Oct. 17: All contact is lost with Inp-Palmyra Island.

Oct. 21: Lina Lewis interviews Her Majesty, Queen Luciana of Borgonia. In Dsp-UK, the Bolton Paul Reliant Mark 2 enters testing (see Aug. 3, 2014, for the Mark 1). The modification removes the turret, replacing it with a sensor/navigation/engineer station, which due to the domed canopy, Earth-1 observers refer to as the 'astromech seat.'

Oct. 23: (War Beneath the Ice) Battle of Fort Ross occurs, an allied victory with three Soviet submarines sank, and one captured; the lack of German submarines is noted by the Office of Naval Intelligence.

Oct. 26: On Earth-5, the Arthurian expedition to Fa-America (see Aug. 14, 2014) reaches a Proto-Iroquois port at roughly the location that Newburyport is on Earths One, Two, and Three. Peaceful contact is made through the medium of exchanging gifts, though communication is difficult.

Oct. 28: Incident at Houska Castle begins on Earth-2, as a survivor of their occult experiments broke out, rampaged around killing the scientists, and took over the base.

Oct. 31: The final ritual to manifest Kemmler (see June 13, 2014) is interrupted; the failure of this ritual is noted as 'energetic' by those able to sense such things.


Thoughts?
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Five Earths, All in a Row. Updated 12/17/2022: Apocrypha: Bridges out of Time, Part I has been posted.
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Old 12-17-2022, 10:48 AM   #866
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The first thread for this setting started on December 17, 2012, and to my surprise, I do have something here for the tenth anniversary:

Apocrypha: An Alternate Five Earths setting: Bridges out of Time, Part I

One of the possible alternates of the Five Earths setting (that is to say, a set of ideas that I mostly didn't use) involves the Earths being connected by all having portals to a few interconnected pocket dimensions (newly discovered or newly appearing on the Modern Earth), and running into each other that way. This version of the setting would have had more of a slow start, since there wouldn't have been anything obvious like new Earths appearing in the sky, just unexpected creatures and people appearing out of caves and such (if the 2013-German police (or GSG 9) encountered a group of armed men dressed as Waffen-SS troops, they wouldn't be immediately inclined to believe that these Nazis were from another dimension, after all). One of the portals/bridging dimensions might have been between instances of Earth's Moon, though, and I plan on using that idea in a later part of this AU, when I get there.

The 'magic' of the setting functions pretty much like canon for Five Earths, being various uses of psi abilities, either directly or through astral entities, with Path/Book Magic being a common way to focus the mind, and the usual way to get astral entities to work with you. The portals, especially the weirder ones, leading to and from the bridging dimensions are much like the ones leading between the various Earths in the main setting, being somewhere between powerful psychic magic and sufficiently advanced technology that is indistinguishable from magic to us. The more complex the portal, the more likely it is to have some sort of strange, inhuman intelligence attached to it. (Gamewise, if you think you've found a way to paradox a portal, be aware that it only works if the GM agrees, and if they don't agree, this line is license for the GM to have something strange and annoying happen if you try.)

I've decided to do a bit with this occasionally, as sort of a mental palate cleanser.

These Earths would have differed in various ways from the 'canon' Earths of this setting:

*The narrative purposes of the Fantasy Earth are served by several of the bridging dimesions, collectively, and to a lesser degree, by Clockpunk Earth.

*Clockpunk Earth is a few decades earlier, circa 1534 (Anne Boleyn has given Henry VIII a son, and thus will keep her head), but should otherwise be pretty similar.

*Steampunk Earth, circa 1876: Had an earlier and more mysterious point of divergeance - no Haversham's, just people developing abilities that were rare or non-existant previously, starting around 1795. Charles Babbage built an early Difference Engine in 1807, and sold a Mechanical Tabulator to the Royal Artillery in 1809. An early clank was presented to Emperor Napoleon I in 1812. Clanks grew sufficiently widespread that by the 1850s, it was generally agreed that slavery was economically unsustainable, and the constitutional amendment that ended it was passed in 1860, with slavery becoming illegal in all US states and territories by 1869.

*Dieselpunk Earth, circa 1938: This world was much like the Dieselpunk Earth that is canon to the Five Earths setting, until the 1920s, when the American Meritocratic and Technocratic Party (colloquially just 'the Meritocrats') came into existance. The party gained enough power after the Great Depression began that the men who in our timeline were accused of the Business Plot (and on canon Dieselpunk Earth were serious about it) chose instead to co-opt the Meritocrats. Over the course of the 1930s, the Meritocratic Party effectively absorbed the dixiecrats, and was gradually shifted by the Plotters and dixiecrats to become a fascist party in all but name (while still spouting a lot of rhetoric in favor of meritocracy, and some in favor of technocracy). Due to so much of the party's power being held by the 'Solid South,' the Meritocrats are also sometimes called 'the Confederacy.' The Republicans and Northern Democrats made an agreement, inevitably called 'the Union', to support each other where possible against the Meritocrats. This America has not fallen to another civil war yet, but there is a risk that it might, especially as the Republican-Northern Democrat Union's foreign policy is an armed neutrality, slightly supportive of the Allies, while the Meritocrats are strongly supportive of the Axis Powers, though they fall a bit short of calling to join the Axis... for now. This Earth has fewer superheroes and supervillains than canon Dieselpunk Earth, and less magitech, but has more Pulp heroes and villains, and roughly as many psychics and magic-users in general.

*Infopunk Earth, circa 2012: It would have started out the same, but evolved differently after the portals became accessible (much less money and other resources spent on space travel, for example, due to much-reduced perceived need). There would probably still have been some superheroes and 'magic' showing up, though.

*Cyberpunk Earth, circa 2027: This Earth is a partially After the End sort of setting, where WWIII occurred in late 1962 (the Cuban Missle Crisis went rather worse for everyone), but only destroyed civilization in a few areas. Elements of GURPS Cyberworld would likely be included, and aspects of Cthulhupunk might have been (partly due to the effects of radiation in a setting where psionic potential is partially genetic). Battlesuits and small (SM+1 to SM+3) mecha are fairly common in areas that can afford them. For those who follow GURPS Infinite Worlds, the current date on Cyp-Earth is the same as on Homeline and Centrum.

continued next post...
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Five Earths, All in a Row. Updated 12/17/2022: Apocrypha: Bridges out of Time, Part I has been posted.
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Old 12-17-2022, 10:50 AM   #867
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Bridging dimensions:

* 'Big Lizzie' pocket: Similar to the version in the book GURPS Big Lizzie, but not identical, thus being one of the smaller pockets. The beings that created it are unknown, and no-one who has encountered them will appear.

Father Eamond MacDermod is a missionary from Clockpunk Earth, who has befriended a tribe of Aztec exiles who converted to Catholicism; he has no control over the pocket dimension, beyond helping build a guardpost in the cave that leads to it from Clp-Earth. If you want to use the map from the book, the bit labeled '17 Link Point' is where the connection to Clp-Earth is. On Clp-Earth, it's a largish cave, about seventeen feet wide and a bit under eight feet tall for a lot of its length, a few miles west of the exiles' village, within what on our earth would later be Arizona (the exiles traveled pretty far).

On Steampunk Earth, the portal is in the Arizona Territory, some distance south of the small town of Nobles. The portal appears to be a hole in the ground, where the desert slopes downwards and leads through a cave (the outlaws who accidentally discovered it were in a hurry, and since they could see sunlight ahead of them, they pressed on, not realizing that there was a problem until they were in the water); the cave is fairly tall by the time you hit the portal, enough that a man on a horse would be unable to brush the ceiling with his fingers, and is wide enough for three men on horses to ride abreast without crowding. On the pocket dimension's side, the portal is on a very small island/islet, and opens into the sea (at the point labeled '1 In the Ocean' on the map).

On Infopunk Earth, the portal is in a cave between Bagdad, AZ, and the Upper Burro Creek Wilderness. The cave is fairly large, enough for some dinosaurs to get through, but has water up to three feet deep in places. Within the bridging dimension, the cave opens into a bend in the river upstream of '9 Lizzie.' For those who don't have the book, '1' and '17' are at opposite ends of the main 'lost world' island, but '9' is in the middle of it.

The island is a fairly large one, enough to have multiple typs of terrain, and has a variety of species that are extinct on the other Earths, including Neanderthals and a range of dinosaurs, like a Classic Hollywood 'Lost World' movie... save that the dinosaurs are often feathered, as we now know them to be.

The pocket has a few other islands with prehistoric flora and fauna, but seems to be bounded by some form of space-warp, as if you travel too far in any direction, you tend to come out at another point in the same pocket. Father MacDermod suspects that one of the larger islands is fairly cold, and has a number of mammoths, as he caught and trained one that was clinging to a large log and apparently got lost in a storm. He does not know which island it came from, and is now wondering if it may have come through another portal; he also suspects that 'his' mammoth may have already been trained by someone else.


* Skull Island pocket: An island nearly the size of Madagascar, surrounded by mist a few miles out from the shore (far enough that from the main island, the mist is barely visible on the horizon), with a few smaller islands nearby. Megafauna abounds on the island, including not only extinct species from Earth's fossil record (though the dinosaurs are scaled, rather than feathered), but also creatures that seem never to have existed on at least the Modern Earth, such as the giant apes which can grow to as much as twenty-four feet tall when standing upright (their limbs are proportionally thicker compared to their bodies than any other living ape species). At the edge of the mist are two pairs of small islands which serve as portals; later, a third pair appears. Sailing or flying (or swimming) into the mist at points other than between the island pairs will simply lead back into the pocket. Sailing between a pair of islands leads to the world that pair is matched with, as does walking/driving along the shore on the inner side of either of the pair.

On the 'Earth' sides, going between them in one direction will lead to entering the pocket, while going through in the other simply leads to the other side of the islands on the same Earth. If flying, one must fly through the mist, below the level of the islands' peaks, to enter the portal; it is not possible to partially enter the portal, you either pass through or you don't, thus preventing aircraft from losing parts while flying through. Submarines can also pass through the portals. The pair of islands connecting the Dsp-South Pacific with the pocket are on the southeast side of the main island, near the main native village and the huge wall that protects the natives from the megafauna that control most of the island (the southern part of the island, a little bigger than Northern Ireland in area, has a lot of farms and fishing villages). Those connecting to the Inp-South Pacific are on the northwest side, near a small, abandoned fishing village. A connection to the Cyp-South Pacific opens later, to the southwest of the main island.

The natives have a late-Neolithic culture, with small amounts of metal for decoration, and a pictographic proto-writing system. Domesticated dodo birds fill the role of the chicken in the islanders' food and material culture, while the roles of cows, pigs, and goats are filled by ground sloths and a sort of pygmy mammoth. There is some evidence (including a few bronze weapons, and other tools) that their ancestors were more advanced, or that they replaced a more advanced culture that died or disappeared before they arrived. Their language has roots in both Polynesian and Australian Aboriginal tongues, but is not mutually intelligible with any of the known languages. Some of them do speak English and French, however, having learned it from previous expeditions from Dsp-Earth. All villages have shamans of some description who practice herb-lore and ritual magic, though few do anything that is obviously magical (sure, the people are healthier and longer-lived than they should be, but if you didn't know what was going on, you could mistake that for good luck or good genes).

How similar this Skull Island pocket is to the one linked to Earth-2 in 'canon' is as yet undecided.


* Underdark pocket: A vast cave complex, with a total two-dimensional area about the size of Scotland, but having a wide range of levels, and thus having more habitable area than that description would imply. It also has some apparent 'surface' regions, seeming to be valleys or platues, largely ruled by elves and related beings. Other 'native' sophont races include dwarves, kobolds (GURPS type), goblins, hobgoblins, drow, driders (some are spirits, the rest are drow on 'magical' walker vehicles), dragons (mostly spirits, especially the big ones), et cetra. Some creatures, such as balrogs, are mentioned in legend but have not been seen in living memory. Most of these races have their own city-states and petty kingdoms within the pocket, though the dragons do not (they and the drider-spirits are solitary or semi-solitary), and the kobolds & hobgoblins often live in settlements built by other races. Humans are known on the surface, but are uncommon, and even more rare in the depths of the Underdark. Vampires and other human-derived undead are less rare (but still not common), as are spirit-touched humans like some formed of aasimar, tieflings, and living elementals.

Subsapient and nonsapient D&D-esque cave fauna also exist, as do strange plants and fungi; the surface likewise has some 'magical' (psychic) flora and fauna. Far below even the deepest dwarven mines, nameless things gnaw upon the world, but those few who have walked there will bring no report of them to darken the light of day.

Local languages include a Basque-like tongue (mutually comprehensible with an accent) which serves as the 'common' or 'trade' dialect, and others that resemble constructed languages from Inp-Earth and Dsp-Earth. The 'surface' races largely speak dialects that closely resemble either Proto-Indo-European, or a form of Neo-Sindarin, if not both, though many of them also speak the 'undercommon' tongue as a second or third lagnuage. The dwarves likewise speak what one might call Neo-Khuzdul (Tolkien's Khuzdul with a larger vocabulary and grammatical elements that he hadn't had time to develop). Most notably, the native languages of the drow and some goblinoids seem to be variants of the tongue Tolkien called the Black Speech of Mordor. When pronounced correctly, what appears to be the 'original' or 'pure' form (the 'Dark Tongue,' which is almost exclusively used for religious and magical rituals) tends to make outsiders (meaning anyone who isn't a native speaker of one of the derivative languages) feel quite uncomfortable, often causing them dizzyness, nausea, or even hallucinations or unconsciousness; they can kill a goat by telling it to die. Much of the native magic of this pocket involves 'sacred' languages and symbol-drawing, along with natural magical materials.

continued next post...
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Five Earths, All in a Row. Updated 12/17/2022: Apocrypha: Bridges out of Time, Part I has been posted.

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Old 12-17-2022, 10:51 AM   #868
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(Game-mechanically, knowing the Dark Tongue does not grant an Innate Attack or Affliction, any more than knowing how to mix poisons or throw a punch does. Growing up speaking a derivative or the original dialect (or being an infant too young to have a language) instead grants Immunity or Resistance to its effects: 'Immunity (Dark Tongue) [5]' for most, 'Resistant (Dark Tongue) +8 [2]' for a few distant languages, and 'Resistant (Dark Tongue) +3 [1] for early exposure without being a native speaker, or for a very distant related language. This is often paid for by disadvantages or quirks that are considered unpleasant or anti-social by outsiders, including but not limited to Bully, Callous, Intolerance, Sadism, or a Sense of Duty to Morgoth or another 'unholy' spirit/god. Goats and similar creatures have an odd Susceptibility to the Dark Tongue.)

This pocket connects Dsp-Germany & Inp-Germany (in both cases through what appear to be caves in the Jura Mountains, on the German side near the Swiss border), and various others that will be revealed later. Some portals are buried or lost, others have yet to open. The two known portals are fairly close to each other within the pocket, but distant from areas that are controlled by the various 'native' sophonts; the nearest major native polities (that can be reached without making new tunnels) are a drow city called Vrexiarruen, and the great dwarven city of Khazad-dm. A bit further away, there are a few goblin towns.


Vague timeline:

Infopunk 2012; also Dieselpunk 1938, Steampunk 1876, Clockpunk 1534, and Cyberpunk 2027

December, 2012: Dec. 21: Though nothing is noticed at the time beyond odd magnetic anomalies and minor seismographic readings, gateways to several pocket dimensions open on Modern Earth. Some atmospheric exchange occurs, spirits begin to explore, but not much else. Dec. 23: Satellites over Infopunk Earth find a new pair of small islands with a misty channel between them, in the South Pacific (the portal to the Skull Island pocket). The location is close to the epicentre of some of the seismographic readings from December 21. Dec. 27: Archeopterix filmed in Arizona on Infopunk Earth; it is widely believed to be a hoax.


Infopunk 2013; also Dieselpunk 1939, Steampunk 1877, Clockpunk 1535, and Cyberpunk 2028

January, 2013: A 'mutant chicken' is captured in Arizona on Infopunk Earth, and found to be a velociraptor; the dinosaur's tracks are followed back to the cave that contains the portal (worryingly, larger tracks are also noted). Infopunk Earth expedition begins exploring 'the Lost World' ('Big Lizzie' pocket); an annex of the University of Arizona is to be opened nearby, including a physics lab. Inp-Australian expedition to Skull Island pocket begins. In various places on Inp-Earth, reports of psychic or otherwise 'spooky' phenomena gradually increase, though it will be quite some time before this becomes big enough to have a meaningful effect on society. Dsp-Germans encounter various strange creatures, which are eventually traced to an undiscovered cave on the German side of the Jura Mountains near the Swiss border.

February, 2013: Inp-Australian expedition to Skull Island pocket photographs an apparent giant ape. Events of the 'GURPS Big Lizzie' adventure begin on Steampunk Earth. The NSDAP Office of Astrology determines that the mysterious caves are important enough that Hitler sends Waffen-SS troops to explore them; later in the month, they find a cave opening (actually a portal to modern Germany, a few miles away geographically), partially covered by rubble. Due to what might be called 'magically-assisted dead reckoning,' they believe that they should have come out on the Swiss side of the border. After clearing the rubble, spies dressed as hikers are sent to scout the area, but the information that they bring back is much stranger than expected; if they hadn't also brought back examples of local technology and books, they would not have been believed. First contact between Infopunk and Steampunk Earths occurs in the 'Big Lizzie' pocket. 'Big Lizzie' adventure concludes. Two vampires enter the Underdark pocket, and follow the scent trail of the Dsp-Germans to Inp-Earth.

March, 2013: Preparations begin for a Dsp-German invasion of Inp-Germany; Dsp-German High Command delays the invasion of Poland by a year, arrogantly believing that it will take about that long to conquer and sufficiently integrate the forces and technology of what they see as a 'decadent and weak' Future Germany. In the 'Big Lizzie' pocket, docks are built on the 'south' tip of the main island, and on the islet that the Steampunk Earth portal is on, along with a small desalinization plant from Inp-Earth. Construction of a bridge between the two is planned, once enough people with money believe that it's real. On the Steampunk Earth side, a small outpost is constructed around the portal by folks from Nobles, Arizona. In the Underdark pocket, the path between the Dsp-German and Inp-German portals is believed to be fully secured, and a forward base is constructed in the caverns just before the Inp-German portal. Unknown to the Nazis, some of the native sophonts of the pocket are observing them. Dsp-German spies & saboteurs enter Inp-Germany, equipped with 'magic' ID cards (psychic paper) and other strange items; due to the high priority and difficulty of the mission, many are psychics or magicians, as well (though not powerful ones).


Done. Thoughts?
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Five Earths, All in a Row. Updated 12/17/2022: Apocrypha: Bridges out of Time, Part I has been posted.
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Old 12-17-2022, 09:43 PM   #869
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The cavern alternative is fun, and considerably more "pulpy," but I like the original concept, better. It's just a lot more original, IMO.
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Old 12-18-2022, 12:41 PM   #870
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tshiggins View Post
The cavern alternative is fun, and considerably more "pulpy," but I like the original concept, better. It's just a lot more original, IMO.
Well, I agree, which is why I went with it, but the false starts have some virtue, and some others may also be appearing as apocrypha.
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