Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Savage Odyssey Prime: The Sherman Ring...

Good Afternoon, All:

It occurs to me that I should put in some time thinking about Builder technology as a part of my Savage Odyssey Prime campaign development. Much of it can be derived from the usual Sci-Fi sources, such as energy weapons, personal shields, advanced power sources and advanced medical devices. The core rulebook specifically mentions stun grenades and fade suits. However, the element of Builder technology that serves as the primary focus of the campaign is the portal device, which is known on Earth as the Sherman Ring.

The Builder Portal Device (aka the Sherman Ring)

Within the context of the Odyssey Prime setting, a portal device allows practical, rapid travel between two distant locations in the space-time continuum, including locations existing in separate dimensions. Dimensions separated by quantum levels require a significant amount of precision in order to properly connect the two locations.

Portal devices based on the Sherman Ring artifact measure twenty feet across, and resemble a tall trapezoid archway. When charging up, electricity will crackle within and over the face of the archway. Five lights over the top indicate it's progress. When the fifth and final light is activated, lightning courses within the archway to form a blue glimmering curtain of energy.

Stepping through the portal takes the traveler into the Sherman Tunnel, an unusual phenomenon where one walks through a transparent "cosmic tube" through space and time connecting one circle of bright light to another circle of light over a perceivable distance of about thirty yards. Outside the tunnel, it seems like the universe is passing by, with suns and comets and stars galore. Once the traveler emerge from the opposite circle of light, they have reached their destination.

Once triggered, a portal typically stays open for five minutes. (A very uncontrolled portal formation may lead to other durations, but those are rarely duplicable.) During that time, a team can return to their destination. Otherwise, once the portal closes, they are not likely to see another gateway form for another week, as it takes seven days for a portal device to recharge sufficiently to punch a hole between universes. This is why Odyssey Teams typically spend a week in the destination dimension before a new portal can open to bring them home. (While it is possible to use a portal device to travel through the dimension of time, such calculations are very difficult and so are rarely attempted except in the most dire of circumstances.)

As an aside, gateways can be opened outside the portal device itself. Poorly controlled portals often open gateways in locations separated from their intended destination point, both in terms of space and time. Off-target portals can create gateways hundreds or thousands of miles away from the intended destination, or even entire planets away. Poorly targeted gateways can even open at points in the past or future. Extreme portal errors can include explosions, portals that do not close (or close, but only after being open far too long), uncontrolled entry gateways (i.e. not within the Sherman Ring that created them), and other bizarre events.

The ability to properly control portal formation relies on half-understood physics, and typically requires a computer to handle the extremely complicated details involved. Having a "guide marker", such as a detailed start chart or gate map, helps with the operation of a portal device. Having two or more portal devices within 500 miles of one another in operation at the same time severely strains the fabric of reality, making it harder to properly control portal formation.

Portal Monitors
Odyssey Teams have access to two different types of portal monitors. The first, called a Command Unit, appears to be roughly the size of a large backpack, and contains all the equipment necessary to track and operate a portal device remotely. The computer built into the device is dedicated to two things only: accessing a nearby portal device in order to operate it, and tracking the location of a portal device or open gateway through the monitoring of distinct radiation signatures associated with such phenomenon. The interface to this device is a panel unit that fits on a forearm, and which contains a screen display and keyboard for input and output purposes. The computer's memory of dimensional coordinates also allows it to act as a "guide marker" for proper portal operation. It has an effective range of 2 miles for tracking portal devices and open gateways (10 miles with the deployment of a small dish array), and can control portal devices within 15 feet (100 feet with the dish array deployed).

The second type of portal monitor is a Wrist Unit, which is worn on the wrist and is about twice the size of your typical wristwatch. It can only track portal devices and open gateways within 500 feet, and can control portal devices within 15 feet.

This pretty much sums up all the basic information found in the core rulebook on portal devices such as the Sherman Ring. The rest of the fun stuff that comes up in the game will build on this as a foundation, but honestly, it will be completely of my own fabrication.

Hope This Helps,

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