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Old 05-10-2019, 09:08 PM   #1
CraigR
 
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Default Magically protected interpaths

So, I've been thinking of path- or roadways that have been enchanted to allow safe travel between one location and another. The idea is an interpath with the following attributes:
  • The interpath would provide easy travel along it, like a smoothly paved road
  • The distance between the connected locations is the same as travel off the interpath (some special interpaths could cut the distance to some extent, but this is uncommon)
  • It is only possible to enter the interpath at the endpoints (or other designated entryways). Although it is possible to leave the interpath at any point along the way, returning to it is not a simple matter.
  • People off the interpath cannot see or detect it or those on it an any fashion, except through the entry points.
  • Travelers on the interpath can see and hear things off the path, although the interpath protects them from blinding or deafening effects, or effects that could lure them off it against their will (a siren's song, for example)
  • Travelers on the interpath cannot physically interact with those off it, and vice versa. They are completely insubstantial to each other. Travelers can interact with each other normally
  • As an extension of the previous points, the interpath also protects travelers from severe weather and life-threatening environmental conditions
There are a number of uses for interpaths of various sizes:
  • Two allied cities on opposite sides of a hostile territory (impassible terrain, enemy nation, dangerous wildlands) could maintain an interpath for trade and communication purposes
  • A royal family has an interpath set up between their castle and the castle of neighboring king, for a mutual escape route in the event of a coup
  • A pony-express-style messenger/courier service known for secure, guaranteed delivery runs a secret network of interpaths between their offices in major cities
  • An interpath network (with additional security at the ends) connecting the leaders of major nations to a neutral location for diplomatic purposes
It's late, and I'll add more ideas and a couple adventure seeds that have been running around in my head tomorrow.

What are your thoughts?
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Old 05-11-2019, 09:21 AM   #2
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Default Re: Magically protected interpaths

The potential for espionage seems tremendous.
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Old 05-11-2019, 02:01 PM   #3
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Default Re: Magically protected interpaths

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Originally Posted by RogerBW View Post
The potential for espionage seems tremendous.
That's anywhere with roads.

Oh, are you talking about the path between A and C passing undetectably through the private chambers of the king of B? If interpaths are known, there would be defenses for that sort of thing.
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Old 05-11-2019, 02:12 PM   #4
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Default Re: Magically protected interpaths

Interpath, sci-fi version
A group of star systems, each of which are deep in intergalactic space and unreachable by conventional FTL tech (taking centuries to reach at maximum speed), isolated even from each other except by the expressway. Travel along it multiplies FTL speeds by thousands to millions, making trips between them quite quick. It would be possible to leave mid-path into a galaxy the path cuts through, but getting back on the path or back to the remote systems would be almost impossible.
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Old 05-11-2019, 02:31 PM   #5
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Default Re: Magically protected interpaths

Possible drawbacks
  • Maybe the interpaths are fragile/sharply delineated. For example, the path is a woven-string footpath that you must maintain contact with to stay on the path: running or even hopping is enough to leave the path, and a horse's hooves could break the string, destabilizing the path.
  • On a less physical but similarly limiting weakness, the path could have a set limit to how much can be on it at one time. This limitation does not have to apply to weight: It could be heartbeats, or intelligence (too many mages try to travel the path at once, and the path starts dropping random smart folks out of it).
More suggestions welcome!
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Old 05-11-2019, 04:10 PM   #6
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Default Re: Magically protected interpaths

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Originally Posted by CraigR View Post
Interpath, sci-fi version
A group of star systems, each of which are deep in intergalactic space and unreachable by conventional FTL tech (taking centuries to reach at maximum speed), isolated even from each other except by the expressway. Travel along it multiplies FTL speeds by thousands to millions, making trips between them quite quick. It would be possible to leave mid-path into a galaxy the path cuts through, but getting back on the path or back to the remote systems would be almost impossible.
That's similar to the relays in Mass Effect - a ship enters at one end of the relay, and is conveyed via mass-effect corridor to a designated arrival point. Any given relay can connect to more than one destination - for instance, we know that the relay in Sol system connects at least to Arcturus and New Eden. Both launch and arrival relays must be active in order for this to work; fortunately (or unfortunately) for humanity, there was a relay out around Pluto way, so when we discovered Element Zero and the mass-effect drive, we could get to more than just the nearest four or five systems. (The ME drive is FTL, but can take anywhere from days to years to cross between systems, while the relays are nearly instantaneous.)

The difference is that since ME relay is near-instant, there's no way to leave the relay path once you've launched. If you hit the Pluto relay headed for Systems Alliance HQ at Arcturus, you're going to Arcturus, not another star along the path.

A fantasy version would, I suppose, involve a magical gateway at each end of the path, which causes the trip from one end to the other to be no longer than, say, a day or so. To get from King's Rest to Far Harbor takes three weeks by conventional caravan, but the King's Men can travel between the points in three hours and arrive as fresh as when they left.
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Old 05-11-2019, 04:48 PM   #7
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Default Re: Magically protected interpaths

So like video games where you won't face any, or at least far fewer, random monsters when on the road? Or like fairy trods with magical unseen travel?
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Old 05-11-2019, 05:09 PM   #8
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Default Re: Magically protected interpaths

Can creators of interpaths control where that path goes in between the endpoints? Or is that dictated by the metaphysics that powers them? (That is, can you deliberately choose to build an interpath through the king's chambers, or do you just get to specify "connect here to there", and the path goes where it will or must?)
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Old 05-11-2019, 09:12 PM   #9
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Default Re: Magically protected interpaths

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Originally Posted by Anaraxes View Post
Can creators of interpaths control where that path goes in between the endpoints? Or is that dictated by the metaphysics that powers them? (That is, can you deliberately choose to build an interpath through the king's chambers, or do you just get to specify "connect here to there", and the path goes where it will or must?)
I visualized them as generally keeping to open air and avoiding passing through solids as much as possible, but this can be adjusted when it's set up.

For some interpaths, someone off the path who crosses it would seem to disappear from one side (to travelers on the path) and reappear on the other side, as if the path had no width to those not on it. Similarly, a privacy enchantment erected by those who suspect an interpath issue would find when they walk through one wall into a protected room would cross out the opposite wall as if the room did not exist.
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Old 05-16-2019, 10:13 AM   #10
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Default Re: Magically protected interpaths

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The potential for espionage seems tremendous.
Never mind that, the potential for invasion is tremendous.
You might have a path to a place that you thought was friendly, and you might find that useful for, say, trade across a fiercely inhospitable region, say tall trackless mountains with wolves and constant bad weather. Now the enemies of your trade partners over there have conquered and taken over that place. Normally the inhospitable region would help protect you from invasion, but... have a look down that corridor for me, please, will you? Nobody's coming along, right?
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