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Old 09-03-2020, 10:03 PM   #771
ronwit
 
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Default Re: Five Earths, All in a Row

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Originally Posted by Prince Charon View Post
Ray Weapon Designations on Dieselpunk/Atompunk Earth

Disintegration Ray: A ray gun designed to rapidly reduce the target, or a significant portion thereof, to small particles (whether ash & dust, molecules, atoms, or subatomic particles), without a noticeable explosion. Usually a type of Death Ray, though some disintegrators do not effect living matter.


Thoughts?
And the ever popular Disintegrating Ray, which disintegrates when the trigger is pulled.

Duck Dodgers: Ha-ha! Got the drop on you with my disintegrating pistol! And brother, when it disintegrates, it disintegrates!

(Dodgers pulls trigger, pistol crumbles into dust.)

Duck Dodgers: Heh, well, what do you know... it disintegrated.
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Old 09-04-2020, 03:54 PM   #772
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Originally Posted by ronwit View Post
And the ever popular Disintegrating Ray, which disintegrates when the trigger is pulled.

Duck Dodgers: Ha-ha! Got the drop on you with my disintegrating pistol! And brother, when it disintegrates, it disintegrates!

(Dodgers pulls trigger, pistol crumbles into dust.)

Duck Dodgers: Heh, well, what do you know... it disintegrated.
It's a completely plausible result of a critical failure, though generally the failure would be on the part of the builder or the last person to repair or maintain the weapon, rather than the firer.
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Five Earths, All in a Row. Updated 9/28/2020: On Torture article has been posted.
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Old 09-20-2020, 09:23 PM   #773
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Default Re: Five Earths, All in a Row

Due to the character limit, I'm posting the FAQ (now that it's written) here, and hoping that I can add a link to it in the OP.

Frequently Asked Questions

I should have done this sooner. Like, years ago.

* What is this?
A story setting (and also a game setting, mainly GURPS), in which five Earths from five different timelines became able to see and communicate with each other, and to travel to each other though space. Each one has psi abilities that serve as the 'magic' of the setting, though it's newer on some than on others. Some of these Earths have characters and situations that resemble various other fictional settings on them, but not any specific published form of those settings. Some of those characters, especially the ones on the modern earth, are astral entities (spirits, thoughtforms) that have been made, or remade themselves, in the images of those characters.


* Is there a wiki?
There's an entry on the GURPS wiki that leads to more pages. Very helpful. Most of it seems to have been done by Maximara, at the monent.


* When will it update?
When the update is ready. I don't usually write fast, and have difficulty predicting when I'll have a new post ready. Also, some of what gets posted is written by other people who have their own update schedules that I have even less ability to predict.


* Can I contribute to this?
Yes. I'd prefer if you post your contributions in the main discussion & development thread on SB.com first so that I can review it and make suggestions, especially if you want your work to be canon for the setting, instead of marked Apocrypha (or left unmarked). That's also the thread I use for beta reading my own stuff, since I might miss things (like spelling, or research that I did might be off due to wiki edits, or things that I said earlier and forgot, or whatever). If you want to contribute something that's specifically gaming-focused (generally GURPS), I suggest using the thread on the SJGames forum. For other forums: If you're not a member of SB.com and don't want to wait (new members get their posts moderated before they can be posted, IIRC, because spammers), or don't want to join, there's a mostly dead parallel thread on SV.com than you could use. If you can't post on either, we'll work something out.


* Power Levels of spirits and living characters
In general, most beings are vaguely 'street level,' or not much above (and yes, 'street level' is an intentionally vague term; please don't get hung up on point costs, those of you reading this who play RPGs). Assume that anyone so powerful that they would consider 'a dozen or so well-trained soldiers who are used to working together' to be a non-threat are very, very rare, though the number who would have a chance of soloing such a group is much higher. Spirits and other beings that are modeled on more powerful fictional beings exist, but in many cases may be slightly nerfed to very nerfed. There are no absolute defences or undefeatable attacks, though there are plenty of bad matchups between individuals or groups.


* Power Levels of the Gods, and what they are
'Gods' are spirits or other beings that are of such power that human minds (including mine) cannot categorize or quantify how powerful they are relative to each other. At best, scholars can vaguely compare different degrees of power within the same pantheon, but not between pantheons (e.g. Zeus is more powerful than Hermes, but no mortal can say who is of greater power between Thor and Herakles). In short, spirits (including the servitors and avatars that some gods might manifest to interact with the mortal world) may get character sheets, but the gods themselves will not. Also, pantheons prefer not to go against each other directly, for reasons that humans generally don't get told, save in vague terms about 'unimaginable consequences that no-one sane wants.' (If it were possible to quantify the powers of gods, or if War In Heaven were allowed, that would put the threads at risk of having endless unresolvable arguments about why X faith hasn't completely destroyed Y faith, and other 'my dadgod can beat your dadgod' nonsense. I don't want that, so we're not having it. Full stop.)

In general, any gods that will appear in this setting started out as spirits, became connected with some story or set of stories, and through various methods (fame of the stories is only one of many, but it's one of the more easily-comprehended methods), grew in power to the point that they trancended mortal comprehension of their true selves. Some of these beings were the ghosts of famous or infamous mortals whose tales outlived them, others began as thoughtforms shaped by specific myths, and still others shaped themselves to resemble new stories, perhaps merging with or absorbing other spirits that had been born of those tales. Some of the myths did happen on one or more of these Earths, though most of the ones that did certainly didn't happen exactly as they did in any specific myth (because oral traditions tend to vary quite widely), others really didn't. It can be quite difficult to determone which is which.


* Why isn't <insert story/setting here> appearing at all, appearing more, et cetra?
Because I have limited time, and don't want to expand timeline entries or what writing I do beyond all reason, some things are going to be left out. In some cases, other writers might make up for this, and in others, they don't. I'll give you a few examples of settings that will have minimal influence:

My Little Pony
I have no interest in MLP, either the original or FiM, and hate the way it was getting into everything for a while. I have no problem with bronies in general, but I am not one, and have no interest in expending my limited time to find out whether I will or won't like it if I try it. The show exists in setting, some spirits or items might get a vague mention, but that's all.

Worm (and other Wildbow things)
Worm is a very interesting setting for fanfics, but it was a very depressing story even before Wildbow started retconning it to fit with the depressing sequel, Ward (and let's not get into the arguments about whether it is or isn't grimderp, please). Also, Worm's cosmology does not fit this setting, so while there might be spirits or empowered people on the Modern Earth (Earth-1, aka Infopunk Earth or Inp-Earth), the Shards and such won't otherwise be appearing. As far as I can tell, Wildbow's stuff in general tends to be too depressing for me to be inclined to read, so don't expect me to. Spirits and characters with abilities modeled on such from Pact, Pale, Twig, et cetra might appear, though.

Touhou Project
An interesting setting, but it appears to be a bit too powerful for what I'm doing. Again, spirits based on the characters, or people channeling their abilities, might appear, and there are probably realms in the astral plane that resemble it, but Gensokyo as a 'real' place is not part of this setting.
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Five Earths, All in a Row. Updated 9/28/2020: On Torture article has been posted.
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Old 09-21-2020, 10:58 AM   #774
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* Power Levels of the Gods, and what they are
'Gods' are spirits or other beings that are of such power that human minds (including mine) cannot categorize or quantify how powerful they are relative to each other. At best, scholars can vaguely compare different degrees of power within the same pantheon, but not between pantheons (e.g. Zeus is more powerful than Hermes, but no mortal can say who is of greater power between Thor and Herakles). In short, spirits (including the servitors and avatars that some gods might manifest to interact with the mortal world) may get character sheets, but the gods themselves will not. Also, pantheons prefer not to go against each other directly, for reasons that humans generally don't get told, save in vague terms about 'unimaginable consequences that no-one sane wants.' (If it were possible to quantify the powers of gods, or if War In Heaven were allowed, that would put the threads at risk of having endless unresolvable arguments about why X faith hasn't completely destroyed Y faith, and other 'my dadgod can beat your dadgod' nonsense. I don't want that, so we're not having it. Full stop.)

In general, any gods that will appear in this setting started out as spirits, became connected with some story or set of stories, and through various methods (fame of the stories is only one of many, but it's one of the more easily-comprehended methods), grew in power to the point that they trancended mortal comprehension of their true selves. Some of these beings were the ghosts of famous or infamous mortals whose tales outlived them, others began as thoughtforms shaped by specific myths, and still others shaped themselves to resemble new stories, perhaps merging with or absorbing other spirits that had been born of those tales. Some of the myths did happen on one or more of these Earths, though most of the ones that did certainly didn't happen exactly as they did in any specific myth (because oral traditions tend to vary quite widely), others really didn't. It can be quite difficult to determone which is which.
I should point out that gods (or at least their physical avatars) are "buildable" in GURPS. Angels and Demons can be surprisingly cheap, Tiamat (the Babylonian one) is 1,200 and a Lovecraft inspired Ancient One is just north of 1,300 points.

Give you consider that lesser versions of beings so powerful that they would be considered "gods" are running around: Sailor Moon (her crystal or Sailor Saturn reshaped the entire solar system), the various Lantern Corps (Parallax Hal nuked the DC multiverse and tried to remake it), the Incubator (helped create a demon that turned the galaxy if not the universe in a Labyrinth), and the Wiseman/Time Trapper thing (As Wiseman is was a servant of Chaos who the big bad behind every foe the Scouts face. As the Time Trapper it created a duplicate of the main universe and then pruned the crap out of it wiping out Darkseid, Highfather, the Green Lantern Corps, and all supernatural forces) there has to be an upper limit to what the spirits can pull from what amounts to 'semiotic ghosts' ala The Gernsback Continuum.

Mechanics-wise it is very close to the "Everything" answer to the question "What Deities Get From Their Followers?" in GURPS Religion. It how the gods of Terry Pratchett's Diskworld operate (this is why there is a god of hangovers or a Death for rats and how the events in Hogfather went down the way they did)

It is when you get to actual religions that things get messy. Does Thor have a mixture of his Marvel and Norse elements or are there at least two Thors running around? And what of something as complex as Christianity which has a different version of God that varies with the denomination?

Normally I would say that players should be mature enough to handle this without turning it into a 'my deity can beat up your deity' but given this is the Internet that idea is effectively DOA. :-(
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Old 09-21-2020, 11:35 AM   #775
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I should point out that gods (or at least their physical avatars) are "buildable" in GURPS. Angels and Demons can be surprisingly cheap, Tiamat (the Babylonian one) is 1,200 and a Lovecraft inspired Ancient One is just north of 1,300 points.
Their physical avatars are buildable, the gods themselves (in this setting) are not.
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Old 09-21-2020, 06:48 PM   #776
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Their physical avatars are buildable, the gods themselves (in this setting) are not.
Well considering how powerful Unkillable 3 and the Cosmic Power/modifier are that isn't much. Those are so powerful on their own that what constitutes a 'god' is out the window.

Of course the elephant in the room is the very idea you could stat a god started with TSR's 1980 Deities and Demigods. And if that wasn't enough of a bad idea the Queen of the Demonweb Pits (Q1) added the worse idea that you could kill a god in their home plane permanently.

Setting asside just how absurd that was, the very idea that a AD&D party of 10–14 could even meet Lolth without being turned into bloody smears was ludicrous enough but the idea they could kill her permanently? That was (and is) just jaw dropping insane. And yet despite how bad these ideas this were they kept happening with each new addition of D&D.

And the video game series God of War just continued this bad idea with Kratos effectively killing nearly all of the Greek pantheon. Yes, Kratos is a demigod but he should not be able to kill actual Olympian gods.

Facing even the avatar of a god shouldn't be a case of 'I have a chance of winning' but rather a case of 'I'm tired of living/existing, please kill/destroy me now' and facing their divine form should amount to 'Please help me win a Darwin Award.'
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Old 09-21-2020, 10:51 PM   #777
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Facing even the avatar of a god shouldn't be a case of 'I have a chance of winning' but rather a case of 'I'm tired of living/existing, please kill/destroy me now' and facing their divine form should amount to 'Please help me win a Darwin Award.'
Generally speaking, how powerful/durable an avatar is depends on what the god creating it wants it for, and how much they care about what happens to it. Sometimes, letting a (specific) mortal win (or seem to win) is the point, because it furthers some plan the deity is working on.
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Old 09-22-2020, 06:51 AM   #778
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Generally speaking, how powerful/durable an avatar is depends on what the god creating it wants it for, and how much they care about what happens to it. Sometimes, letting a (specific) mortal win (or seem to win) is the point, because it furthers some plan the deity is working on.
True. There are stores of where a god allows their aviator to be killed so that the mortals get a gift. In one religion there is this story of where the burial ritual results in the avatar becoming a key food crop (maize IIRC)
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Old 09-28-2020, 12:20 PM   #779
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On Torture

Given the subsettings within this setting, it's a given that torture happens, so I might as well say something about it (though note that this is not about BDSM, which is a very different concept, and outside the scope of this article). This may be disturbing or triggering for some readers, so please read responsibly.


There are three problems with torture, but not everyone cares about all of them, and some really don't care about any of them:

* First, there's the moral/ethical issue. Torture is clearly wrong by most of the systems of morals and ethics that I'm aware of, but there's no way to explain why without people going into whataboutism, or saying 'some people just deserve it for <insert bad justification here>.' Also, some people reading this might not care, being evil, or sociopaths, or fetishizing Hard Men Making Hard Decisions While Hard. So, let's look at the practical reasons, both mainly related to using torture in interrogation.

* The second reason to not use torture is that it isn't a way to make people tell the truth, it's just a way to make them talk. Someone who has been tortured for long enough (too long) will say or sign anything to make it stop, but they'll be saying what they think the torturer wants to hear, regardless of how much or little truth there is to it. If you're evil and all you want is a confession so that you can move on to torturing the next victim, or you're hurting them because you hate them (or hate their ethnicity/religion/sex/whatever), or just like hurting people, that doesn't matter, because you don't care about the truth. If however you are genuinely trying to get to the truth of the matter, it's really the wrong way to go, and is often slower, not faster, than the more ethical interrogation methods that modern police forces actually use (so even if you're a sociopath, you still wouldn't want to use torture if you're trying to get to the truth, especially if you need it quickly).

* Third, prolonged torture can cause memory problems and make it difficult to tell the difference between reality and fantasy, so you end up with people believing what you've told them to believe. In-setting, this also means that torture makes accurate mind reading more difficult, even if your telepath is not also a reflexive empath; likewise, if you have the ability to perceive the truth or prevent lying, that will only be what the victim currently believes to be the truth. If you're evil and trying to brainwash them, then this is useful, but again, if you're trying to get to the truth, then it's directly counterproductive.

In conclusion, torture is both evil and impractical. It may still happen in-story, because some of the characters are evil and/or vicious idiots, but I don't intend to depict it as right or good to do so, and in case it needs to be said, I don't want other authors in this setting to do that, either.
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Five Earths, All in a Row. Updated 9/28/2020: On Torture article has been posted.
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Old 09-28-2020, 10:12 PM   #780
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Default Re: Five Earths, All in a Row

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Originally Posted by Prince Charon View Post
On Torture

(SNIP)
Okay, as an occasional contributor to this setting, it amazes me that this needed to be said, at all.

Most people who know anything about this topic simply accept these statements as givens.

While I hope this subject hasn't arisen often enough to make this a necessary post, the fact that you had to say it, at all, is kinda disconcerting, I must say.

If it has been a perniciously recurring notion, then I don't think I really want any details. The InterWebs has too much stupidity, already.

Thanks for sticking with it, though. I look forward to every update, in this thread.
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