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Old 06-28-2019, 12:48 PM   #1
Moe Lane
 
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Default Neutron (Quantum 6)

Neutron (Quantum 6)

This alternate timeline is unique in that both Homeline and Centrum were firmly convinced that in 1936 the other had intervened in Neutron’s General War, via the sudden and strategic use of neutron bombs against the Frankish Empire. Certainly both sides had some reason to think so; the crippling of the Franks gave the English-speaking British Empire and the USNA more power in the postwar period (which would please Centrum), while ending a fairly nasty regime that seemed determined to reduce Eurasia to a series of slave states (which would please Homeline). However, a recent operation managed to prove to both organizations that neither of them can take ‘credit’ for the intervention.

Which leads to the question: then who did?


Neutron, 1958 AD

Current Affairs
Eurasia continues to put itself back together while Homeline and Centrum try to work out who broke it in the first place.

Divergence Point
1832 AD: Napoleon II survives bout of pneumonia, avoids tuberculous.

Major Civilizations
Western (Diffuse), Japanese (Empire), Orthodox (Empire)

Great Powers
British Empire (representative democracy, CR 4), United States of North America (representative democracy, CR 3), Russian Empire (dictatorship, CR 5), Japanese Co-Prosperity Sphere (oligarchy, CR 5)

Worldline Data
TL: 7
Quantum: 6
Mana Level: None
Centrum Zone: Red
Infinity Level: Z1 until this is figured out.

Please note: Napoleon II (1811-1872) was not in any way an awful human being. Neither was his cousin and crony Prince Louis-Napoléon of France (1808-1876); under their supervision, the Second French Empire soon dominated Continental Europe, defeating the Austrians in 1859 and the Prussians in 1870. From Paris the French ruled over lands on four continents, and might have managed five if poor Prince Maxmilian had managed to hold onto Mexico. Still, it was a golden age for the French, and when Napoleon II died suddenly in 1872 the entire country sincerely mourned him.

Under different circumstances -- such as a worthy heir -- Europe might have avoided a lot of trouble for the next century. Unfortunately, Napoleon II’s son Napoleon III (1840-1913) was harsh, often cruel, and had a taste for power that was only matched by his ability to govern. It was long rumored that Napoleon III had his own father and uncle poisoned in order to first rule, and then to rule solely; and during his reign the French Empire ruthlessly conquered Italy and Germany. Ironically, Napoleon III ultimately grew heavily reliant on the Prussians that his father had defeated, to the point of renaming his realm the Frankish Empire in 1905.

When Napoleon III died in 1913 (of natural causes) he left to his own heir Napoleon IV (1862-1936) an increasingly regimented and warlike state that soon clashed with the Austro-Hungarian Empire. The Frankish-Austrian War took place between 1915-1917, and ended with the Franks conquering Austro-Hungary outright; the Ottomans then made the fatal mistake of attempting to take advantage of the chaos, only to be dismembered between the Franks and Imperial Russia from 1918 to 1920.

There was no lasting peace, of course: in 1933 the Frankish Empire declared war on all of the remaining continental countries in Western Europe, conquering the Low Countries and Scandinavia in alarmingly fast campaigns, then forcing the Spanish and Portuguese into humiliating treaties in 1934. War with the Russians naturally followed in 1935, with Frankish armies deep in Ukraine by 1936. The war ground slowly, but inexorably in the Franks’ favor, and the reorganization of the conquered territories was both horrible and efficient; the end of the war was a foregone conclusion.

Or at least it was up until February 6th, 1936, when the heart of the Frankish Empire was suddenly cut out of it. Homeline, based on the evidence it could find a decade later, determined that the explosives used were mid-level neutron bombs, set for airbursts and at a time to maximize the chances for a governmental decapitation strike. The civilian targets were Versailles, Lyons, Marseilles, Berlin, Graz, Prague, Vienna, Cologne, Hamburg, and Budapest; and while two of the most forward elements of the Frankish armies were struck, the majority of the neutron bombs used on military targets hit rear supply areas, guaranteeing utter chaos on the front (which collapsed within a week anyway).

The civil war that followed was remarkably brutal, at levels not seen since the Thirty Years’ War, but most of the formerly-conquered states were able to at least secure their own borders again (typically with either British or Russian ‘help’). The core areas of the Frankish Empire themselves quickly broke down into a stereotypical crazy quilt of kingdoms, revolutionary republics, grand duchies, and other pocket realms that still persist, twenty years later. There is constant conflict, but mostly at a level that mercenary companies find optimal.

Geopolitically, the British and the Russians are still functional empires (note that Britain was not gutted by continental wars in this timeline); the Japanese have a very free hand in East Asia and the USNA (which conquered Mexico in 1915, after one too many Frankish schemes to use that country as a cat’s-paw) more or less dominate the Americas. On the bright side, there’s no equivalent of World War II brewing. On the dark side, large parts of Eurasia are still unpleasant places to live, even though the war’s been over for twenty years.

Oh, and every Great Power has neutron bombs now. They don’t know who dropped the original ones, but they’ve all made sure to have independently worked out how to make their own. Which is probably another reason why there’s not been another major war.


Outworld Involvement

Centrum discovered Neutron in 1945 (about six months after Homeline did), and both sides promptly assumed that the other one had had some sort of highly embarrassing screwup that led to mass murder and an internal coverup. It was a reasonable assumption, particularly if one thinks that your enemy are particularly horrible human beings anyway; and, truth be told, there have been incidents where out-time nukes have been used to secure a timeline. Nobody’s hands are perfectly clean.

However, in local year 1957 it came out (as part of a Homeline mole hunt) that Centrum legitimately had no role in dropping the 1936 neutron bombs. Centrum later discovered the same about Infinity (that mole hunt had been called for a reason), and the situation was deemed fraught enough to justify a rare field summit meeting between Infinity and Interworld. Since then, there’s been a tacit truce on Neutron.

Why? Because if Homeline didn’t do it, and Centrum didn’t do it, and the locals sure as heck didn’t do it, then somebody else from another dimension must have done it. Apparently randomly, because there’s no sign of a third out-time organization working on Neutron -- but that needs to be checked, and right quickly, too. Which means, no shenanigans with the other side. Share information, and share resources, and keep things civil.

For the record: both Homeline and Centrum are following this reasonably well. Also for the record: both sides are assuming that the other is cheating, as much as they can. Can’t imagine how that lack of trust is going to hinder joint operations, though.

PDF at

http://moelane.com/2019/06/28/neutro...um-6-gurps-4e/
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Last edited by Moe Lane; 06-28-2019 at 12:48 PM. Reason: Adding link
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Old 06-29-2019, 01:48 AM   #2
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Default Re: Neutron (Quantum 6)

So, the other usual suspects:

The Cabal probably wouldn't resort to advanced technological means such as a neutron bomb unless it was part of a scheme to raise the mana level via the instant deaths of millions. Presumably there is no evidence to indicate a rise in mana; furthermore I can't think of any magical artifact they'd need from there that couldn't just be stolen from a museum or tomb.

Reich-5 is probably the best contender, assuming the Chronobahn crosses quantum levels (not sure if it does or not); they'd use neutron bombs, but the lack of the rise of the National Socialist party in the German states seems to indicate that if they had a hand in it they're not gaining the foothold they want. They are also not moving in to take over in the chaos, so that's another strike against them being the culprit.
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Old 06-29-2019, 05:29 AM   #3
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Default Re: Neutron (Quantum 6)

Hypothesis: this is the time line where they discover time travel is possible and the bombs came back from an even nastier future.

The investigating outworlders realise this when they discover a neutron bomb that went astray and didn't go off.

As a matter of idle curiosity, what do the natives of Neutron think caused the devastation?
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Old 06-29-2019, 08:22 AM   #4
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Default Re: Neutron (Quantum 6)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Phantasm View Post
So, the other usual suspects:

The Cabal probably wouldn't resort to advanced technological means such as a neutron bomb unless it was part of a scheme to raise the mana level via the instant deaths of millions. Presumably there is no evidence to indicate a rise in mana; furthermore I can't think of any magical artifact they'd need from there that couldn't just be stolen from a museum or tomb.

Reich-5 is probably the best contender, assuming the Chronobahn crosses quantum levels (not sure if it does or not); they'd use neutron bombs, but the lack of the rise of the National Socialist party in the German states seems to indicate that if they had a hand in it they're not gaining the foothold they want. They are also not moving in to take over in the chaos, so that's another strike against them being the culprit.
The Chronobahn seems to be limited to Quantum 3 but as the canonal Red Moon shows Reich-5 has gotten out of its Quantum 3 zone but Red Moon is a real oddball reality that breaks the rules with Infinity and Centrum operating in a Quantum 5 reality with neither seem to be aware of this fact (Reich-5 operates in secret playing the long game).

The Occam's Razor solution is that Red Moon is a Quantum Anomaly akin to Möbius that somehow coexists in Q3 and somewhere in the Q6-7 band as well as its native Q5.

Alternatively, Reich-5's actions could have caused a quantum shift. In canon, Centrum's first attempt at an intentional quantum shift was not with an echo but with Krypton-1 which was a close parallel.

Supplemental information suggests that this shift triggered a domino effect which only the nuking of London in unnamed echo in its 1903 stopped. Based on the blessing by Bob Schroeck gave to the idea combined with the idea Krypton-1 and Krypton-2 are now Quantum twins Centrum's efforts to shift Krypton-1 back to Quantum 6 (where they found it) spectacularly blew up in their face and it landed in Quantum 3.

So there is a president, in canon, for a four quantum shift in a reality. Such a shift would, obviously, eliminate any future tampering with the reality by Reich-5 with any of their agents in the reality when things went sideways cut off from their support network. The Nazi party was a product of a complex social political dynamic which given how long ago the world diverged and how things fell apart simply didn't exist.

Last edited by maximara; 06-29-2019 at 09:07 AM.
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Old 06-29-2019, 08:02 PM   #5
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Default Re: Neutron (Quantum 6)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Cule View Post
Hypothesis: this is the time line where they discover time travel is possible and the bombs came back from an even nastier future.

The investigating outworlders realise this when they discover a neutron bomb that went astray and didn't go off.

As a matter of idle curiosity, what do the natives of Neutron think caused the devastation?
Oh, good: I tried to write it so that time travel could be an answer, if such a thing is possible in the particular campaign.

As to the Neutronites (Neutronians?), they were approaching nukes anyway, so they were able to figure out what happened, if not who. Officially, the Frankish Empire did it to themselves as part of a failed coup. Unofficially, each Great Power thinks that one of the other ones did it.
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Old 06-29-2019, 08:09 PM   #6
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Default Re: Neutron (Quantum 6)

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Originally Posted by maximara View Post
...So there is a president, in canon, for a four quantum shift in a reality. Such a shift would, obviously, eliminate any future tampering with the reality by Reich-5 with any of their agents in the reality when things went sideways cut off from their support network. The Nazi party was a product of a complex social political dynamic which given how long ago the world diverged and how things fell apart simply didn't exist.
I hadn't contemplated a quantum shift when originally writing this, but I don't mind. :) I do suggest that such a shift could come from a faction trying to escape Reich-5, and not necessarily for virtuous motives (although even those inclined to virtue in Reich-5 can be reflexively awful). Twenty years is enough time for a new generation of youths ready for a 'stabbed in the back,' Pan-Frankish movement. Or they tried that, only it didn't work right because totalitarians are generally idiots. :)
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Old 06-30-2019, 06:25 AM   #7
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Default Re: Neutron (Quantum 6)

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Originally Posted by Moe Lane View Post
I hadn't contemplated a quantum shift when originally writing this, but I don't mind. :) I do suggest that such a shift could come from a faction trying to escape Reich-5, and not necessarily for virtuous motives (although even those inclined to virtue in Reich-5 can be reflexively awful). Twenty years is enough time for a new generation of youths ready for a 'stabbed in the back,' Pan-Frankish movement. Or they tried that, only it didn't work right because totalitarians are generally idiots. :)
The problem with it being the action of a group trying to escape is Reich-5's knowledge of quantum shifts is very limited. At best they "know":

1) Quantum shifts happen to realities in Quantum 6; but they are in Quantum 3
2) Quantum shifts are (supposedly) limited to worlds that echo Homeline's history. Parallels whose history diverged long ago don't seem to shift.
3) Some organization called Interworld from a reality called Centrum has knowledge on how to intentionally shift a reality's quantum. Homeline at best has a vague understanding on how to shift them back.
4) Centrum is so far away that Homeline can't reach them and Reich-5 is just on the edge of Homeline's range in the opposite direction so they aren't getting information from any possible Centrum agents.

It would be more likely that any quantum shift was an accident.

As for the rest remember that Nazism was just one of many political organizations in what was still a largely intact Germany. Based on the description there aren't many (if any) intact nations in Europe. This means there isn't the national/cultural identify needed for something like Naziism to come into being.

Nazism was such a gonzo blending of the left and the right that it is a wonder it got any traction at all.
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Old 06-30-2019, 09:55 AM   #8
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Default Re: Neutron (Quantum 6)

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Originally Posted by maximara View Post
It would be more likely that any quantum shift was an accident.

As for the rest remember that Nazism was just one of many political organizations in what was still a largely intact Germany. Based on the description there aren't many (if any) intact nations in Europe. This means there isn't the national/cultural identify needed for something like Naziism to come into being.

Nazism was such a gonzo blending of the left and the right that it is a wonder it got any traction at all.
I'm not so sure a quantum shift would be needed in this case anyway. We just need a few culprits for a neutron bombing of a major power's capital city, with reasons why they'd be culprits and a few arguments against them. That Reich-5 is unable to reach them lends credence to them not being involved.

Any other major cross-universe players in Infinite Worlds who could pull off the bombings?


(Also, politically the spectrum is more of a square than a line, with a 'libertarian-authoritarian' civil liberties axis and a 'state controlled economy-free market economy' economic axis, with fascism and Nazism strong in the authoritarian axis but near the center of the economic axis, though leaning toward the state-controlled economy side but not as far as communism goes. Lumping everything as "left or right" is an oversimplification that breaks down fast, IMO; political theory is much more nuanced and complex than those used to two-party "us or them" systems expect.)
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Old 06-30-2019, 11:29 AM   #9
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Default Re: Neutron (Quantum 6)

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Originally Posted by Moe Lane View Post
There was no lasting peace, of course: in 1933 the Frankish Empire declared war on all of the remaining continental countries in Western Europe, conquering the Low Countries and Scandinavia in alarmingly fast campaigns, then forcing the Spanish and Portuguese into humiliating treaties in 1934. War with the Russians naturally followed in 1935, with Frankish armies deep in Ukraine by 1936. The war ground slowly, but inexorably in the Franks’ favor, and the reorganization of the conquered territories was both horrible and efficient; the end of the war was a foregone conclusion.

Or at least it was up until February 6th, 1936, when the heart of the Frankish Empire was suddenly cut out of it. Homeline, based on the evidence it could find a decade later, determined that the explosives used were mid-level neutron bombs, set for airbursts and at a time to maximize the chances for a governmental decapitation strike.
Well, if they had the technology, I'd strongly suspect Neutron's British Empire. Letting a European empire get as far as the Frankish did is very bad policy for the British; letting them conquer all of Europe is right out, because they can then readily build the necessary fleet to conquer Great Britain.

So if I were an out-timer trying to figure out what had happened, I'd start by carefully checking on British ability to deliver those neutron bombs, and if they had it, start digging into where they might have got them from.
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Old 06-30-2019, 03:33 PM   #10
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Default Re: Neutron (Quantum 6)

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Any other major cross-universe players in Infinite Worlds who could pull off the bombings?
Merlin has neo-Stalinist elements that would have the theoretical capacity and inclination if they found out about alternate timelines, although the no-mana issue would be a problem. Hrm. If they got around it somehow, they might totally decide to seed Central Europe with magic-generating Hellstorms and then move in, only to be shocked when it doesn't work. Or change the mana level because it *did* work, and now there are secret Commies infiltrating the former Frankish Empire.

The only other one that comes to mind as even a possible would be Shikaku-mon, but they don't know about parachronics. Unless that changed recently and I haven't bought that supplement yet.
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