Obsidian

by David Meadows 12. January 2019 01:12

The rules I defined for magic in Atlantean times explain that you can;t cast magic spells while in contact with cold iron. This means that sorcerers who used weapons needed to make them out of bronze or silvered steel. But in casting (no pun intended) for alternatives to these, I decided that the most rare and prized magic-friendly weapons would be made of obsidian. I just liked the idea of evil (i.e. black) magicians using black daggers. I had no idea how you would make such a weapon, or how you would make it strong enough to survive actual use. We'll have to assume that magic is used in the creation of the weapons.

Then the other day I came across this. Somebody has worked out how to cast a knife out of molten obsidian. You can actually do it in the real world!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CA3lIuN_zVE 

Hmm. Ok, not a perfect process. I guess the Atlanteans must use magic for it after all.

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Omnipotent Beings

by David Meadows 1. January 2019 22:52

You shouldn't read this unless you have read Strikeforce chapter 26.

 

I always felt that my universe needed a class of higher cosmic beings. The Marvel Universe had beings like Eternity and the Inbetweener, cosmic enigmas that were so powerful the regular characters couldn't interact with them in any realistic way. They would show up and exhibit reality-altering powers, but always following their own cryptic agendas, not villains, not allies, just... higher beings. I always thought the concept was cool, so I wanted something similar.

I came up with the Golden Guardian, and his sidekick the Silver Sentinel. Back in those early days, my cosmology was still pretty sketchy, so I wasn't entirely sure what they were or how to use them, but obviously I had to use them somehow, so having them rescue Strikeforce from an unresolvable paradox seemed like a good idea at the time.

Because Strikeforce were never supposed to "win" the whole back to the future scenario. They were supposed to have fun exploring this alternate future, win some fights, make some tough decisions, but ultimately they were stuck in a paradox that I had carelessly forgotten to put a get-out clause into. They might have surprised me and found a way out, but it would have been a real surprise, because I didn't have a clue how to resolve it.

So, the only way to fix an unwinnable scenario without ending the entire game was to have an omnipotent being show up, wave his hands, and magically fix everything.

This is basically a Very Bad Idea. Literally, it's the worst thing you can do in fiction. And it's even worse in an interactive game. First, you've made the end very unsatisfactory for players, as they don't feel like they're earned a victory, and worse: they feel like they never had any chance to earn the victory. They're not interacting with the game, they're watching you wave your hands and fix the plot the way you want to. It's just a really bad way to run a game.

Worse, you've now introduced a "get out of jail free" card. If you've saved them all with an omnipotent being once, why wouldn't you do it again? You've removed any challenge from the game.

So I was very careful about how I portrayed the intervention. Made it obvious that this wouldn't happen every time they screwed up and got themselves killed, but that it was a specific response to the time travel paradox. It still wasn't satisfactory, as if you kick the concept too hard more questions fall out: why didn't the Silver Sentinel stop their initial time travel? 

It's just a mess, to be honest. Omnipotent beings are just a bad idea in general. And I almost regret introducing the whole concept.

Almost.

Because, on the plus side: Now I have a set of omnipotent beings. Ho ho ho.

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About this blog

The Heroes Universe is an ongoing work of fiction, conceived and chiefly plotted by David Meadows, with help from a group of friends, over a 30-year period.

I am slowly documenting the Universe on this web site.

This blog is a behind-the-scenes look at the creation of that history.

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