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The Explanation Thread (FAQs?)

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The Explanation Thread (FAQs?)

Postby Xah » Mon Dec 03, 2018 9:07 am

This is a thread used to explain and elaborate on some of the aspects of the Nexus, it's theme and setting, and to clarify IC laws, physics and happenings. If you have a query, question, request for clarification or the like, message me, Xah, either here, in our Discord server or via telegram within NS. I'll give you a direct answer, but also post the reply in this thread for posterity.

If I get enough of the same questions, I'll rearrange it into a FAQ-style post and sticky it at the top.
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Re: The Explanation Thread (FAQs?)

Postby Xah » Mon Dec 03, 2018 9:45 am

Hard or Soft science?

I'm not going to lie, I like my SF hard, I like realistic engines, no artificial gravity and absolutely no faster-than-light travel. You look at things like the Expanse, the Martian, Firefly... you can see where I'm going. However, that removes a lot of the excitement from SF; we want to zoom around the universe without having to worry about calcium deficiency in our bones, or time dilation and relativity messing with the order of things. So because of that, the technology in the Nexus is basically whatever works to let your theme work. The two main guides are the Rule of Cool and the Law of Unintended Consequences

So long as you can justify your technologies with suitably sounding technobabble, and acknowledge unintended consequences, I'm probably going to be okay with it. Some examples:

Want to have your ships travel instantly across your universe, sure thing! Wormholes, warp space, Jump gates, whatever you think works best for you, go for it. Just don't say 'mah ships can teleport' - there has to be some justification for your technological abilities. Handwavium lets you get away with breaking the laws of physics, but it won't let you do it without some explanation.

If your ships can accelerate to a hundred times the speed of light, how do you stop bad guys (or even just disgruntled spaceship captains) using that as an unstoppable weapon to destroy planets?

Can your teleporters become replicators? And if so, how do you stop the end of your economy?

Want to have cloaking devices that render your spaceships invisible to all detectors? Sure thing, as long as you can explain how, if all sensors fail to see you, how are you seeing out? To be able to see out, means transfer of information across the thing hiding you. If you can see out, it's plausible, even if difficult, for others to see in. Cloaking devices are cool, so that's okay, but they have consequences, so be aware of that.

Heat. We all make it, and in space, it needs to go someplace. Less-than-magic ships will have radiators and other Law of Thermodynamics respecting devices. A Clarke's Third Law ship will dump that heat into another dimension or something. Point is, it's gotta go someplace.

If I'm not happy with a certain technology I feel might affect the core theme of the Nexus, then I'll either outright say 'no, you can't have it' and you'll just have to suck it up, or, and more likely, you can have it, but it doesn't work outside your own universe. As soon as you come through the Gate, it stops working.

You're allowed to be Cool, so long as you accept the Consequences.
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Re: The Explanation Thread (FAQs?)

Postby Xah » Mon Dec 03, 2018 10:43 am

Clients: Rights and Privileges

So, you're a Client. What does this mean? What do I get, and what can I do?

You get access to the Nexus. As the officially accepted Client of the Nexus, you're entitled to travel anywhere within the Nexus that isn't a Restricted Zone or another Client's Enclave (unless you have their permission). You are free to communicate, trade and interact with any other Client willing to do so. Unless officially sanctioned by the Owners, no one can stop you accessing the Nexus through the Gate allocated to your universe. The Gate, and a region of up to 5 kilometres in diameter around it within the Nexus, are your sovereign territory and no one else is allowed in without your permission (with exception of the Owners).

The size of the Gate can be altered, up to about 1 kilometre across and it can be moved around in your universe. You want it on the planet? Sure thing. You want it in orbit around your home world? Not a problem. You want it on the furthest edges of your galaxy. That's a bit weird, but okay. The Owners will move it, if asked, but only occasionally. They've got better things to do than move your Gate around and it's quite a complicated process. Just remember, Gates lay flat against the surface of the Nexus. If you want it upright on the surface of a planet, like a giant doorway, you'll walk through it one way, then be coming 'up' through it once in the Nexus. Perspective gets very strange.

No other Clients can force you, or any aspect of your universe to conform, change, be handed over or altered in any way, without your express and continued permission. Likewise, you cannot force another Client either. The only exception to this is if such terms are agreed to as penalty for losing an officially sanctioned and pre-arranged Conflict. If you want to act like a idiot within your universe, go for it. Other Clients can moan, but they can't do anything.

On the flip side, no other Client is obliged to offer assistance or resources in any activity that you undertake within your own universe. If you wish assistance from other Clients, then you may request it, but there is no obligation. The Owners will never interfere with Client activities that do not break the Law of the Nexus, even if asked, so don't.

You may request from the Owners access to Gates that do not access other Client's universes. Such access may or may not be exclusive, so you may have to share, and will never be to a universe that contains other sentient species. Exploitation of this universe will be monitored for gross negligence and discovery of a sentient species must be notified to the Nexus Survey Board as soon as possible. If you don't, and they find out, you're in trouble. A lot of trouble.

However!

If you lose access to the Gate from within your own universe due to a change in controlling faction, then Client rights are transferred to the new faction. Any agreements in place with other Clients may or may not still be valid, depending on the Clients involved, but, as stated before, the new Client now has full and unequivocal rights as a Client, and this includes stopping your allies getting to you.
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Re: The Explanation Thread (FAQs?)

Postby Xah » Mon Dec 03, 2018 1:01 pm

The Opening of Gates

If you want to include in your Client's history about the process involved in being contacted by the Nexus, or if your Client has only recently been contacted by the Nexus, this is typically how things are done, but each one if different. If you think your Client would've reacted weirdly, let me know and we'll figure it out.

1. A test gate is opened. Typically only a few micrometres in diameter, this is the first foray of the Nexus into this universe. It will open for a millisecond and then shut. This tests a few things, namely the environment around the potential Gate, making sure it's not the middle of a star, or the bottom of an ocean. A reading will also have been taken of any atmosphere present. Only civilisations with advanced technologies and who are looking in the right place would notice this. In all the history of the Nexus, a test Gate has never been detected at first opening.

2. At this point, the Gate exact position within the target universe can be tweaked. Further microgates will be opened, each time moving the opening location to a more amenable location if, for example, the gate opens deep underground, or near enough a star system to detect worlds.

3. If the location around the Gate is not hostile, another test gate will open. This one will be a few centimetres across and allow the passage of cloaked recon drones into the world and then close again. The recon drones will analyse the surrounding area and return to the Gate which will open after a set period to receive them back. This will tell the Nexus if the Gate has potential, either as a resource universe or has potential Clients. Occasionally, when Gates are opened in built-up areas of an advanced civilisation, the potential Client can become aware of its brief existence, but that is all.

4. After consultation, if the Nexus decides the Gate is worthwhile, a full Gate will be opened to the universe. Typically about 2 meters in diameter, this is done with a bit of pomp and ceremony within the Way and a shielded and monitored Gate is created.

5. If the universe has potential Clients, an Advocate will be formulated and assigned at this point and the Gate will remain until contact is made from the other side. What form this contact takes is variable, but as soon as the local species becomes aware of the Gate, the Advocate will make itself known.

6. If the universe is designated an uninhabited resource, then an appropriate existing Client will be assigned as its steward and given trading rights over its resources.
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Re: The Explanation Thread (FAQs?)

Postby Xah » Mon Dec 03, 2018 2:35 pm

The Nexus Council

The Nexus Council is an IC body that moderates Clients and Client/Client interactions and is a debating chamber for issues affecting such things. It has limited but real authority in the Nexus over communal assets like Foci and is responsible for moderating and designating Conflicts. The Owners reserve ultimate veto over any Council action, but rarely do so, unless such actions threaten the stability of the operation of the Nexus.

Every Client has the right to representation on the Council with between 1 and 5 'votes', the number of 'votes' on said body being determined by a mixture of your technology level, length of time as a Client, and population size. How Clients represent this influence is varied; some Clients have one representative for each vote allowed, with the representatives selected democratically, or otherwise. Some Clients just have one representative, who casts all their votes in one block. It's entirely at the discretion of the Client.

So how many votes do I get?

Each of the determining factors has a coefficient, simply multiply the coefficients together, rounding up to the nearest whole number.
Client population (based on Client census of distinct individuals and ratified by Advocate)
<1 million : 1
1 - 10 million : 1.1
10 - 100 million : 1.2
100 million - 1 billion : 1.3
1 - 10 billion : 1.4
10 - 100 billion : 1.5
100 billion - 1 trillion : 1.6
>1 trillion : 1.7

Client tech level
P : 1
I : 1.2
E : 1.4
A : 1.6

Length of Client status (in Nexus years)
< 10 : 1
10-100 : 1.2
100-200 : 1.4
200-500 : 1.6
500-1000 : 1.8
>1000 : 2

Examples:
E tech level, with 750 million inhabitants, Client for 160 years - 3 votes
P tech level, with 10 million inhabitants, Client for > 1000 years - 3 votes
A tech level, with 430 billion inhabitants, Client for 5 months - 3 votes


Sessions are held regularly in Hub, with Clients expected to have their representatives available at all times. Sessions are broadcast throughout the Nexus and even into most Client universes where possible. With over a thousand active Clients, and an average of 3 representatives per Client, Council Sessions can appear to be loud, chaotic and disorganised. However, the Speaker exercises careful control of the Sessions and only important information is communicated to representatives.




If you have an issue with another Client, aren't happy with your technology rating or access to other Gates, want to join a Focus or start a new one, or even just want to affect a change in Council policy, then this is the place to bring it. Follow the procedure and, who knows? It might get enacted.

So how do you get something debated in the Council?

First, approach your Advocate; your Advocate may be able to resolve the issue by itself or know who to contact to resolve it without using the Council (as the Council can be quite bureaucratic at times). If not, the Advocate will relay your issue to the Council Secretary, an Owner responsible for determining if it is an issue suitable for the Council. If it is, then it will be proposed in the next free session by the Council Speaker, the Owner who chairs and manages Council sessions. The Speaker will seek a Proponent Client for the measure (typically the Client who proposed it) and seek volunteers for an Opponent, if there is no volunteer, then a Client will be randomly selected.

Each issue is discussed for five sessions, with a vote to be called at the end of the fifth session. If the measure obtains a simple majority, it becomes a Council Action. If it is within the remit of the Council to enact, it is passed to the relevant parties, if not, it is passed onto the Owners for their consideration. The Owners reserve the right to ignore or veto any action given to them.
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Re: The Explanation Thread (FAQs?)

Postby Xah » Wed Dec 05, 2018 12:07 pm

FtL; The yeas, nays and maybes

Is there faster-than-light (FtL) travel allowed in this RP?

This is an interesting question, not least because in a multiversal RP setting, it would seem that 'anything goes' is a good place to start. People like to RP giant space empires, with huge fleets battling it out in the furthest reaches of space against greedy pirates and evil empires.

However, from an OOC perspective, FtL makes the Nexus less important. After all, if you can travel the length and breadth of your own galaxy, and have thousands of planets at your disposal, why bother with the seemingly limited access allowed through the Nexus? It's a curious thing, for sure, and definitely one for the explorers and scholars, but not much point in trading with weird aliens from another universe, when your own is so big and ripe for the taking.

So, I've limited FtL. It's still there, but restrictive. I want the Nexus to be the first port of call when it comes to trading with distant civilisations, seeking out new lifeforms, and going boldly. If you want a giant space Empire, then a few solar systems, with long and slow communication lines is more than enough. Want more? Come talk to people in the Nexus. Be good and nice and the Owners will let you have access to other systems, in other universes instead.

So here's the low down on FtL, who can have it, and how fast you can go:

P1 to E4 - Forget it. It's a pipe dream. Towards the upper end of E3 and E4 you'll probably have some presence in space, even making your first steps into colonising other planets in your solar system, but it's still a wild frontier out there.

A1 - Still no FtL, however engines and space technology has progressed to the point where travelling through space is fast, safe and relatively easy. You've probably got ships that can get up to a significant percentage of light speed, about 25% perhaps, so those nearest systems are definitely reachable, just don't expect to get there quickly. Years and decades are the timescale here, even with relativity making it seem quicker for the people on board.

A2 - You've done it. FtL is yours. It's way faster than subluminal travel, probably dangerous and expensive, but it's there. At this stage, it's going to be a 'warp bubble' type drive. Creating a field that negates some of the physics that makes FtL so tricky. Alcubierre Drives, Warp Drive, Slipstreaming, call it what you like, but you can get to about 5 or 10 times the speed of light now. Travel between the stars is still slow, but for the nearest stars, in the order of months, not years. Like things were in the Good Old Age of Sail. Before that new fangled telegraph made things easy. It might be difficult to control those far flung colonies, but it's possible

A3 - Ah, now we're talking. You can access higher dimensions now, places where the rules laugh at physics and make things much different. Warp Space, Hyperspace, whatever you call it, your ships can access it and travel up to 100 times the speed of light. Wow! Those nearby systems are yours fully. Getting there in a matter of weeks, maybe even days. Communication is still a pain, got to actually get there to talk to people, but it's much faster. You've probably even sent probes much further. The Galaxy is yours for the (very slow) taking!

A4 - Want to be A4? Have your ships jump between systems in a relative blink of an eye? Open up wormholes or stargates and just pop through to the other side like going into the next room? Well, sorry, but this classification is restricted. The Owners have this power, and they're a bit tetchy about letting others with equal power into their little club. Perhaps, one day, a Client will get this far, but not yet.
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Re: The Explanation Thread (FAQs?)

Postby Xah » Thu Dec 06, 2018 10:18 am

Maps?

(this information is on the website, but I'll put it here for completeness)

Although the Nexus is infinitely long, the Owners cannot possibly hope to control of that length, even with its incredible resources. At the present moment, the Owners have set its limits of control at 1 million kilometres down the Nexus in either direction from Hub. With potential Gates to be found about every 2 kilometres, both along its length and around its circumference, this gives plenty of scope for the Owners to deal with. Most Gates are explored and tagged, those left unopened are typically covered with whatever the local ground stuff is to allow for habitation and use of the area.

With such a huge area, it is important that locations are properly assigned coordinates to allow Clients and Nexus agents to find Gates and Foci. The Nexus referencing system is relatively simple.

  • Hub represents the ‘centre’ of the Nexus and all points are marked from there.
  • From Hub, the Nexus is divided into thousand kilometre long ‘Sections’ running ‘North’ and ‘South’.
  • The 500 kilometres in either direction from Hub is Section 0.
  • Sections north of this are sequentially numbered from 1 to 1000, sections south are numbered -1 to -1000.
  • A line is taken along the surface of Nexus to represent 0 degrees. This is the ‘Top line’
  • Within a Section, a simple grid system is used using the number of whole degrees from the ‘Top line’ and the number of kilometres from the ‘north’ end of the Section

An example reference would be -453,68,832. This represents a location 453,000 km ‘south’ from Hub, 68° from the ‘Top line’ and 832 km from the north of the Section.
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