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Old 12-31-2018, 09:53 AM   #81
ericthered
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Default Re: Alternate Versions of Inifinite Worlds

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Originally Posted by malloyd View Post
There is absolutely a lot of adventure potential in the first few years after the discovery of parachronics, and it could go in all sorts of directions. The problem with using the Infinity setting there is that if you move back that far (or move of the discovery to quite recently) you don't have most of the background

Yep, there is a LOT of adventure potential there. I just don't know if I'd use centrum as the main villains: part of the advantage in such a setup is that your foes are unknown. I'd be just as likely to use Siaku-mon.
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Old 12-31-2018, 10:06 AM   #82
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Default Re: Alternate Versions of Inifinite Worlds

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I think the biggest gain for the smallest change would be to ditch the mobile conveyers - every transfer requires a fixed projector that must be located on Homeline.
Personally I'd probably make it so you can't para-travel just any old place on Earth: only certain special areas will the devices allow for crossing timelines. This has an advantage that it doesn't matter if the wrong hands get a conveyor if you've got all the sites mapped and protected. Further, invasion is incredibly difficult for obvious tactical reasons.

EDIT: But that's just throwing out random personal preferences.
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Old 01-12-2019, 08:07 PM   #83
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Default Re: Alternate Versions of Inifinite Worlds

Infinite Worlds Alternative

What are the primary traits that define the IW meta setting, especially when compared to other multiworld fiction?

1) Travel is common and relatively cheap.

2) The world is recognizable and modern (ish).

3) The world is mostly stable.

4) Infinity runs the show.

Of these four traits the one that people always want to mess with is the last one. Doing so ends up invariably messing with three and two. I want to mess with four, but I'm also married to three. Two is more of a mistress on the side.

I can do that with the addition of one simple superscience technology: "parachronic force fields." Conveyors work like this: you punch in some co-ordinates, and then the you appear on another world. If the corresponding location on another world is covered in one of those forcefields, then you don't go there. You try to go there and get bounced back. From an outside view nothing happens. Because I'm smarmy I'm going to call this technology the a butterfly net.

This tech solves the biggest problem people here have brought up with turning Homeline into a multipolar world where interesting things can happen: nukapalooza. You pop off onto another world, and position a conveyor at a specific point on that world. You load up a nuke. Then you punch in Homeline's co-ordinates. The conveyor disappears, nuke in tow, and explodes at its destination. Its untraceable. You can't prepare for it. Everyone dies. Not a great time.

Another technology that I'd add is a way of detecting incoming conveyors. Maybe even track when a one leaves a world, and goes to a different one you happen to not be on. Crosstime radar.

With the first technology in place, Infinity no longer serves the setting essential purpose of monopolizing parachronic technology so the world doesn't blow up. It also removes the central mystery of what van Zandt said to the UN to give Infinity unlimited power. Maybe he outlined nukeapalooza above. Maybe he said something about soul eating elder gods. Doesn't matter. On this world they could very well have laughed him out of the room.

The butterfly nets also mean that you can only leave and enter a world from specific, controlled points. If you're fond of poetry you might call them temporal ports leading to the sea of oz. If you aren't then they're airports, but with more extensive security. Outtime plagues are scary man.

I want to add another thing to the setting. Geography. Standard IW does parachronic distance. That's what the quanta are. I want more. I want distance within quanta. Early conveyors were pretty terrible. They could only to adjacent worlds, and you had to let them rest between uses, and so on. It sucked. But they inched forward and set up supply chains across the worlds. Eventually they landed on a world with a very curious material. It is rare. This might be the only world reachable by Homeline that has it. And it doesn't have much of it. Anyway, it lets internal quantum geography be ignored. It is also used to make projectors.

Wait. Wait. What? I just introduced a thing only to make it entirely useless. Why?

I did that because this is way of limiting access to good conveyors. Most organizations use better versions of those old terrible ones. They're way cheaper. Geography, for most, is maintained. Having most people still use those limits extensive imperialism to worlds near Homeline. If you're going further out, there's got to be a good reason for it.

That brings me back to that material. I want some scarcity too. Something for people to really fight over. There's precedent for this on Orichalcum. I want more of it.

I also want to address the "Many Worlds and Starships" thing. I don't have the book handy, so I can't provide the page number, but its essentially the argument in the book that the two genres don't mesh well. Fair enough. But if you want them too they can. And they can do so while keeping Earth special. Because Earth is special. Conveyors don't work on the Moon. They don't work on Mars or in the Asteroid Belt. They do work in Earth orbit, but only if you aren't too far from Earth. New Geocentrism.

Even if you don't want to mix the genres this solves a problem. Earth's moving. So is the Sun. And everything else. But when you pop onto another world, you don't end up in the fundamentally uncheerful void. You end up where you were. Just on a different world. You always move relative to your position on Earth. This gets weird with certain parallels - Yrth, or a world that's bigger or smaller or flat or whatever - but it works well enough. This also opens up different kinds of weird parallels. The Solo worlds are Earth's that got ejected from the solar system. All but one of these are cold, dark, hells. Solo-18 however has a medium (normal, but for Homeline normal is no mana) mana shell, that along with other things, keeps it warmed. The "chronolithic" peoples that settled there eventually carved out a nice TL2 + Magic civilization there. Other, more grounded, worlds are possible if you let the Earth move a bit.

Moving to Centrum:
There's two services that have access to parachronics on Centrum - Interworld and Military. The Military service does most of what it does on Q8. What they do is war. They conquer and try to assimilate nearby lower tech worlds as an extension of their conquest of Centrum's world. One world, many universes, one Centrum. Interworld's much the same, but they have a different approach. They sneak, they spy, and they manipulate. Both services have success stories. Both groups hate each other - way beyond regular departmental rivalry. Because both have access to a resource base independent of Centrum and each other they don't have to play nice. They both want their camp to be the power on Centrum. They aren't at open war, but they don't communicate often and will sabotage the other if it serve's their interest.

Last edited by sinleqiunnini; 01-12-2019 at 08:58 PM. Reason: Every time I find I typo I click to edit. And then I can't find it again. I think I might actually be illiterate.
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Old 01-12-2019, 08:08 PM   #84
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Default Re: Alternate Versions of Inifinite Worlds

So that's what I changed. The results these changes are intended to produce are as follows:
1) Infinity doesn't run the show. It might be a contractor for the US or other western governments. The major geopolitical powers of Homeline all engage in parachronic imperialism. For the most part they try to avoid worlds with people. If the people are low tech then you still basically have to rebuild all the infrastructure and you get the bad press that comes with being a colonialist. Or genocidal monster, as the case may be. If the low tech world is nearby, then private ventures and humanitarian organizations are sometimes running roughshod all over them. Especially if they were discovered early. Some of the latter ones have their access points covered with butterfly nets. There, of course, political factions that are super pro-Prime Directive, and they put the pressure on for that. If Homeline and the other world are of near equivalent tech then they're both a potential market and a potential threat. You do business with them, but all the powers have a generally understood do not sell agreement when it comes to the unobtainium needed for really good crossworld travel. The high tech worlds are terrifying. Thankfully, all the known ones are far away - not even on Q5.

2) Centrum's doing the same stuff Centrum does. By default Centrum's already culturally contaminating like no one's business. They haven't stopped. The difference is now they're competing over tangible stuff in the Q6-7. Interworld's running the time game, while the Military service has found a nice little world that's on that's on Q7 and Q4.

3) Back on Homeline, thing's are great if you're one of the parachronic club. If you lived in an economy that was dependent on resource extraction and export, thing's are terrible. Foreign investment gradually shifted over to other worlds, and the price of most conventional resources collapsed. To make matters worse, of the few things the parachronic powers agree on is that you don't get the resources to build advanced parachronic equipment. There are some smuggling rings to help you out, but that does little to help the situation.

Cultural looting isn't that profitable either. For a while you could make a mint off of the fourth and fifth seasons of Star Trek, brand new Da Vincis and Can Goughs, or fifteen different complete versions of Gilgamesh. Most people don't care anymore. Homeline art is all about the experience of being a Homeliner. First it was it was all existential and about how you react to knowing you probably aren't the best version of yourself. Then the people born after parachronics started being artists and it shifted to the absolute certainty of knowing that you are unique in the multiverse. Even dumb action movies deal with Homeline specific issues in someway. Even if its just because they're about terrorists threatening to blow up some Homeline specific institution or whatever. Maybe there will be shift that makes artistic looting really profitable again, but for know it isn't.

Also, zoos are way cooler in the rich, imperialist countries on Homeline. Like, they import small dinosaurs, and ice age fauna. Not to mention creatures that never evolved on Homeline. Or creatures that did but were never discovered. On some of the colonies where its easier to smuggle things in, you might have actual magical creatures. Regardless of the specifics, zoos went back to there roots as symbols of imperial might.


___________________________

At this point I want to mention I hadn't read the last page or two of the thread when I typed this up, and didn't see that anti-jump shields and parachronic detectors were already mentioned. I'm going to leave my descriptions of them unaltered, mostly because I like really like the smarmy name I gave the jump shield.

Butterfly net: You step on a butterfly, you change history. Butterfly net is alternatehistory.com vernacular for a handwave that lets you ignore those changed. It also works in this context.

Solo worlds
: This name makes me so happy.
Solo-18: The moon came along with this one. Because it blocks the stars and doesn't glow, it was turned into a very nasty part of most local religions. It also isn't important enough to merit a footnote, but here I am.
Chronolithic Peoples: This name is dumb but refers to "low tech" people that can for whatever reasons migrate between worlds.

Last edited by sinleqiunnini; 01-12-2019 at 08:56 PM. Reason: I fixed a typo. There are likely hundreds more.
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Old 01-13-2019, 02:19 AM   #85
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Default Re: Alternate Versions of Inifinite Worlds

Not the most original idea I know but I've been thinking about it a lot lately. This is a version that tries to merge Space with Infinite Worlds.

UNIC = United Federation of Planets
Infinity Patrol = Starfleet
ISWAT = Section 31
Centrum = Romulan Empire

Timeline
The exact timeline is still up in the air. I don't know what but something happened between 2020 and 2070 that effectively made the UN the world government in all but name. When Van Zandt gave them conveyor tech it was a small step to have UNIC become like the Federation.

Homeline and Centrum current year is 2100 but dimensional travel was still discovered 30 years ago. They are TL8 with TL9^ shiftships. One year ago the interdimensional cold war turned hot when Centrum launched a massive sneak attack. Now fleets of the Patrol and Interworld duke it out in Hyperspace. Fighters and missiles are useful but are not the ultimate weapons. Infinity Unlimited doesn’t exist, all the corporation parts are handled by White Star Trading. This version of Homeline doesn’t have the same fear of psionics because early on they made contact with a peaceful parallel of near human psis (basically Vulcans).

Conveyor Module
When activating a Conveyor Module the shiftship vanishes from the world and reappears in Hyperspace. Hyperspace is a (mostly) empty void dimension that connects every world on a given Quantum. Getting to another timeline requires flying through Hyperspace to get to the correct hyperspace window then activating the Conveyor again. Traveling to different Quantums still requires a Projector.

Projector
A Projector is a large ring shaped station built in hyperspace that allows travel to another Quantum level. When charged it opens a portal. After a shiftship enters the portal it is surrounded a swirling bubble of energy. The portal closes behind it and the shiftship vanishes from that Quantum. Travel while inside this bubble takes time. I havn't nailed down how much time but for now changing one Quantum takes two weeks. Changing two Quantum takes four weeks. During the duration of the trip the shiftship is cut off from the rest of the multiverse. Being retrieved by a Projector works in a similar way. A shiftship waits at the coordinates and at the appointed time a portal opens. So far Projectors only function inside the hyperspace windows of Homeline and Centrum.

Hyperspace Window
Each world has a corresponding region in hyperspace where ships can enter and exit. Most have an average size with few larger or smaller. Homeline, and presumably Centrum, have an exceptionally large hyperspace window. Large enough to build many stations and Projectors inside them. Some worlds have tiny windows that makes getting to or from them like threading a needle.

Superscience
Homeline and Centrum are (mostly) Safetech cultures. Ships have force screens, artificial gravity, fusion power, the usual scifi weapons, and limited AI.

There isn’t any FTL radio. EM communications work within short range but beyond that they are distorted and lost in the unique geometry of hyperspace. Fleets communicate with each other through fast courier ships.

There are no transporters or replicators.

Other Powers
Transhuman is the Q3 timeline that replaces Shikaku-Mon as the current year world Homeline is afraid Projectors might function on. Caliph doesn’t have FTL travel but is building a machine beyond Neptune that looks like a Projector.

The Cabal is still neutral and aloof.

Reich-5 travels through dimensional airways instead of highways which are similar but located in the sky (like the bermuda triangle cloud tunnel). They have a unique gravity control technology. Their vehicles are all flying saucer or bell shaped. They are so far unaware of the war and Homeline desperately doesn’t wish to open a new front.

Non-human shiftships exist but are limited to the same Quantum. Some are neutral or friendly. Some are hostile. Due to their difficulty in interacting with humans most are restricted in which worlds they can visit.

Crossover (thanks David_Johnston2) is a group of supers that have some way to reach hyperspace and survive the vacuum. Could be Jumper, a power ring, a magic spell, or maybe a surfboard. Their base of operations is a giant shiftship called The Carrier. Crossovers main goal is to protect I.S.T. from outtime threats. So far they have not taken a side in the war.

Anomalous Hyperspace Region
These are areas where hyperspace behaves differently. Most crewmen call them nebula because they resemble false color images of nebula. Unlike the rest of hyperspace they have a Normal mana level or higher. Once inside them the anomalous effects impair ship system in various ways. Some possible effects are:
  • Sensors jammed
  • Shields inoperable
  • Engine slowed
  • Weapons backfire
The most common effects are Sensors Jammed and Shields Inoperable.

In most nebula spelljammers of the Cabal operate. Here their ships are on a level playing field with Patrol ships.

Most nebula contain hyperspace windows that lead to fantasy worlds.

A few nebula have a quantum sargasso effect. A shiftship that enters them has an almost impossible time leaving. The nebula that contains Yrth is an example of this.

Living creatures as big as shiftships make their home in some nebula. Usually referred to as beasts, very little is known about them and they appear docile but there have been a few incidents where patrol ships were attacked.

Campaign Frames
There are multiple layers to the war.
  1. The Hyperspace War. The fleets of the Infinity Patrol and Interworld Service do battle across Quantum 6 and 7. There are multiple fronts as each level is harder to access for one side or the other. Ton for ton, Patrol shiftships are more powerful than their Centrum counterparts. However, due to Centrum cloaking technology they are able to choose the time and place of engagements. So far the Patrol has not been able to draw Centrum into a large scale battle. At this layer it would be appropriate to have multiple specialist characters. You might have one character who is a member of the bridge crew and another that goes on away missions. This is also the level that ISWAT operates at. 300+ points.
  2. The Time War. On Historical Echoes agents from both factions seek to manipulate the timeline in order to shift the unfolding of events. When a tipping point is reached the world will change to a different Quantum level. Centrum seems to understand the process better than Homeline but is hampered by a lack of language skills. Their translator programs are little better than google. Characters at this layer would be members of the Penetration Service or civilian specialists. 250 points.
  3. The Technology War. Both sides are pouring tremendous amounts of resources into research and development. Shiftships are at the forefront of this effort but anything that could give a technological edge is being sought. Simultaneously, field agents are scavenging worlds for devices that could be reverse engineered into something useful. These are called Black Box Hunters or Boxxers. Espionage is also being pursued heavily. Characters could be members of Paralabs, Patrol Intelligence, or Boxxers. 200 points.
  4. The Homefront. Worlds on Quantum level 3, 4, and 5 are not directly threatened by the war. As long as the world has been classified as Open then citizens are free to visit them. Miracle Workers, Crosstime Bounty Hunters, Time Tours Ltd, and Nexus Cops operate at this level. 150 points.

Edit: One thing I forgot to mention about the Boxxers. They are not spies but sci-fi treasure hunters. Homeline has found a disturbing amount of timelines where humans have gone extinct in the 21st century. With the exception of Homeline, Centrum, and Transhuman there are no worlds where humans survive past the year 2075. Many of these now Hell Parallels were quite advanced before they burned out. It is in these dangerous ruins that Boxxers ply their trade of robbing dead worlds of whatever secrets they can.

Last edited by Starship777; 01-13-2019 at 02:44 AM. Reason: additional details
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Old 01-13-2019, 07:21 AM   #86
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Default Re: Alternate Versions of Inifinite Worlds

Huh, is it just me, or do a lot of people want to keep as much of the original IW setting as they can?
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Old 01-13-2019, 07:43 AM   #87
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Default Re: Alternate Versions of Inifinite Worlds

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Originally Posted by SilvercatMoonpaw View Post
Huh, is it just me, or do a lot of people want to keep as much of the original IW setting as they can?
There's a lot of useful and entertaining detail. It's flexibly enough designed that you can change a lot of the crunch without the fluff becoming implausible.
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Old 01-13-2019, 12:50 PM   #88
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Default Re: Alternate Versions of Inifinite Worlds

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Originally Posted by SilvercatMoonpaw View Post
Huh, is it just me, or do a lot of people want to keep as much of the original IW setting as they can?
How can you create an alternate version of IW without keeping large amounts of IW?
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Old 01-13-2019, 01:09 PM   #89
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Default Re: Alternate Versions of Inifinite Worlds

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How can you create an alternate version of IW without keeping large amounts of IW?
But they only seem to change a few things like the existence of certain techs. Often the same kind of blocking tech.

Whereas if you read any of mine I do things like do away with parachronic tech altogether or dramatically alter the social structure.

I thought the core concept of Infinite Worlds was all the different timelines/weird worlds, not Homeline.
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Old 01-13-2019, 01:59 PM   #90
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Default Re: Alternate Versions of Inifinite Worlds

I guess that's really an issue of what one considers the foundation of the setting and what are the secondary features. Those judgments would naturally vary.
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