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Greg H
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Joined: Mon 15 Aug 2016, 05:56

Now we're playing with Portals!

Wed 17 Aug 2016, 06:12

So, a few questions about the Portals.

... I noticed "solar corona" mentioned a lot in discussions involving portals. Are they situated near the star then?

...can more than one ship pass through a Portal, or is it one at a time?

...when a ship passes through a Portal is it detectable? Or can one stealthily enter a system?

...and do all Portals exist in systems with planets that can/once support terrestrial life? Or are there cases of Portals exiting in lifeless systems or even in the depths of space?

...it seems to be suggested that entering a Portal without going into suspended animation results in a pretty bad experience... can you elaborate a bit more on that? It sounds like the region of space-time that ships are traversing into is not quite conducive to human sanity...

...on a similar note, I saw mention that traveling into a Portal can produce darkness points, is this every time or only under specific circumstances?
“He who does not travel does not know the value of men.” – Moorish proverb
 
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Zapp
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Re: Now we're playing with Portals!

Wed 17 Aug 2016, 11:01

All of this is answered by the game.

In short: The mysterious "portal building" aliens built portals always close by a star (presumably because they're solar powered somehow). There seems to be a distance factor, so you only "port" one solar system at a time - each portal only has one destination. (Think "hyperlanes". So yes, a world in a "four-way intersection" would have four portals circling its star). So some portals lead to barren systems with little or no human activity (can't be a fun assignment to be the portal operator there...!)  while others have multiple fertile worlds and dozens of outposts on moons and in space stations.

More than one ship can port at one go. In fact, it's even possible to "sneak jump" in the "wake" of a bigger ship - without paying the entrance fee! Each portal is manned by hypernavigators - each individual jump must be carefully calculated, sometimes meaning days-long waits. Jumping "cold" - that is without any calibration - means a truckload of bad dice will be rolled! ;)

The actual jump is instantaneous and therefore detection isn't a practical issue. (There's no way to send messages across other than somebody or something making the jump). I guess an armada could shoot any guard posts dead on either side to avoid any undue attention (if they brought their own astrogation experts); but wartime scenarios like that isn't explored by the rules.

Nobody knows what happens during the actual moment of passage, or where you go. It's by trial and error it was found that cryo-sleep was the best defense against the "darkness beyond the stars". But there are stories of whole crews that awoke from their stasis and promptly went insane, so portal travel is still far from routine, even with all precautions taken and prayers made. Ship crews tend to become very superstitious...
 
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Vainamoinen
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Re: Now we're playing with Portals!

Wed 17 Aug 2016, 11:46

Nobody knows what happens during the actual moment of passage, or where you go. It's by trial and error it was found that cryo-sleep was the best defense against the "darkness beyond the stars". But there are stories of whole crews that awoke from their stasis and promptly went insane, so portal travel is still far from routine, even with all precautions taken and prayers made.
That all sounds very reasonable. Players should be aware that every jump still poses a risk, I wouldn't want them back-and-forthing too much (like: "Damn, didn't buy fancy weapon in the last system. Well, let's make a short detour now that I have the money"). It makes the vast space too small.
 
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Greg H
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Re: Now we're playing with Portals!

Wed 17 Aug 2016, 17:28

Interesting, so do is there a sort of Guild of these Hypernavigators? Presumably supported by the fee for using the Portal? I'm guessing that they are a branch of the overall Council?

Hmm, I wonder if you can get pre paid Portal passage tickets or something like that? It would be an easy reward for a group of space-faring characters in a side venture...
“He who does not travel does not know the value of men.” – Moorish proverb
 
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Greg H
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Re: Now we're playing with Portals!

Wed 17 Aug 2016, 19:12

No FTL communications either? That explains the Oryx courier ship. Hmm, wonder if their is a sort of "Pony Express" network where characters are professional mail couriers. That could nicely keep them moving about with side opportunities for adventure.

Zapp, thanks for the extensive heads-up btw!
“He who does not travel does not know the value of men.” – Moorish proverb
 
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Greg H
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Re: Now we're playing with Portals!

Wed 17 Aug 2016, 20:12

Last questions... are all the Portals considered accounted for, or do new ones occasionally get discovered? And when there's a mishap going through a Portal has a vessel occasionally "jumped the tracks" and exited through an entirely different Portal than planned? Say you just wanted to get to Algol and suddenly you're exiting near Hamurabi with the blockade fleet closing in...
“He who does not travel does not know the value of men.” – Moorish proverb
 
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Zapp
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Joined: Sat 09 Apr 2011, 17:45

Re: Now we're playing with Portals!

Wed 17 Aug 2016, 22:18

No FTL! Operating a Pony Express delivery company is a very appropriate backdrop for an adventure party. :)

The vibe of the Third Horizon is of a closed setting, with all communication to horizons #1 and #2 being irrevocably cut off a long time ago, making the Third Horizon sink into stagnation and introspection only upset by the relatively recent arrival of Zenith, the generation ship originating in the mythical First Horizon.  

There is definitely a theme of exploration - but one geared towards the existing 30+ systems. There are a lot of moons and asteroids and lost mining colonies and jungle continents and icy ancient derelicts to be visited, some of which might never have seen humans before! Some worlds circle companion stars that aren't served by portals, making voyages there take many months.

There is a mention of a "lost" portal at "the end of the Horizon"... only the Icons know where it might lead... :)
 
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Kosta
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Re: Now we're playing with Portals!

Wed 17 Aug 2016, 22:21

Last questions... are all the Portals considered accounted for, or do new ones occasionally get discovered? And when there's a mishap going through a Portal has a vessel occasionally "jumped the tracks" and exited through an entirely different Portal than planned? Say you just wanted to get to Algol and suddenly you're exiting near Hamurabi with the blockade fleet closing in...
If new portals were to be found, that would be huge news - maybe a Fourth horizon... Or the factions might suppress such info? There is actually a mishap table for portal jumps. You might end up in other systems, get delayed or even end up in other times :)
Fria Ligan
 
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Greg H
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Re: Now we're playing with Portals!

Wed 17 Aug 2016, 23:27

Last questions... are all the Portals considered accounted for, or do new ones occasionally get discovered? And when there's a mishap going through a Portal has a vessel occasionally "jumped the tracks" and exited through an entirely different Portal than planned? Say you just wanted to get to Algol and suddenly you're exiting near Hamurabi with the blockade fleet closing in...
If new portals were to be found, that would be huge news - maybe a Fourth horizon... Or the factions might suppress such info? There is actually a mishap table for portal jumps. You might end up in other systems, get delayed or even end up in other times :)
Yeah... I've heard about the time mishap. I gotta re-read the "Hostile Takeover" Trilogy by S Andrew Swann. As I recall he handled the matter of a time-displaced character quite well. Come to think of it Peter Hamilton's "Fallen Dragon" touches on a similar subject...
“He who does not travel does not know the value of men.” – Moorish proverb
 
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Kosta
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Re: Now we're playing with Portals!

Thu 18 Aug 2016, 08:24

Last questions... are all the Portals considered accounted for, or do new ones occasionally get discovered? And when there's a mishap going through a Portal has a vessel occasionally "jumped the tracks" and exited through an entirely different Portal than planned? Say you just wanted to get to Algol and suddenly you're exiting near Hamurabi with the blockade fleet closing in...
If new portals were to be found, that would be huge news - maybe a Fourth horizon... Or the factions might suppress such info? There is actually a mishap table for portal jumps. You might end up in other systems, get delayed or even end up in other times :)
Yeah... I've heard about the time mishap. I gotta re-read the "Hostile Takeover" Trilogy by S Andrew Swann. As I recall he handled the matter of a time-displaced character quite well. Come to think of it Peter Hamilton's "Fallen Dragon" touches on a similar subject...
True :) We added a paragraph about it being wise to let the time displacement go forward in time, unless the GM wants to complicate things ;)
Fria Ligan
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