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Episode 1975: The Big Bang Dreary


You need to be really careful giving your players technology (or magic) that can instantly kill them if something goes wrong. Because you just know what will happen at the first opportunity.

Commentary by Keybounce (who has not seen the movie)

So what is "something in the way" for hyperdrive, anyways? Is something on your windshield "in the way"? Or does that count as "part of the ship"? Where is the limit of the object "Ship"? There is nothing but atoms, and different degrees of bonds.

Can you say "The type of bond used by metals, that makes them 'one object', is different than the type of bond that non-metals use, because they are different"? Not really. Protein shapes can hook and hold really tightly. Or loosely. Or both at the same time - look at how a spider web will stretch and still stay intact. It's a bunch of small proteins that bond, not by molecular bonds or covalent bonds, but by mechanical shapes and special properties of small objects.

Is a gecko using those tiny pads to be attached to something part of that something? Or are these all the same wrong questions?

If there are no actual atoms, if everything is just a waveform entangled with other waveforms, then where does a waveform end and another waveform begin?

This isn't a trivial question. It was used in Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality as a way to work around the seemingly broken Transfiguration spell. After all, if you can transfigure a small part of something, you can ruin any form of security; if you can transfigure a pin that holds a door hinge, you can remove the door. So for HP:MoR, the idea was that you had to do the entire object; since "the castle" was a big object, no one could transfigure a small part of it. No one could, for example, transfigure a hole in the wall of Azkaban and get out because they'd have to do all of Azkaban.

And then, Rational Harry decides to try to use waveform theory as a way of viewing the world, and determines that it's all a matter of how the spellcaster perceives the world - and brings up the question, where does the ship end, if the electrons in the ship can be out where the pebbles are, if the waveform of the ship continues out to your destination?

Let me get a hot cup of tea as I try to figure out just how probable or improbable this idea is. :-)

Commentary by memnarch (who has not seen the movie)

Hah, retroactive fun killing! If the physics, or at least all available technology, don't allow the hyperdrive to cause impacts of any kind, then there's no reason to worry about constantly attempting the jump if the equipment can handle it. However, this does handily explain why there aren't any relativistic or hyperdrive based weapons in movie-Star Wars. Cool space dogfights wouldn't be a reasonable way for combat anymore if ships are shooting projectiles with that level of energy from extreme distances. That also sounds exactly like the kind of weaponry Pete would eventually end up creating as a no-risk or doomsday weapon of some kind, so now the GM has a convenient out there as well.

Hmmm. On the other hand though, the experimental hyperdrive modulator has to do something different than a regular modulator right? Perhaps it's a specialized device that tricks the hyperdrive into thinking there's no obstructions, or expands the volume that the ship "grabs" for moving with a hyperdrive jump so having a rathtar chewing on the outside won't affect the hyperdrive. Or maybe it's a wormhole-generating-like device that lets the ship enter hyperspace without needing the normal space or acceleration for the jump. Star Wars' hyperspace jumps/dimension always felt less defined than Star Trek's warp drives, so I never got the idea of how it was supposed to work and maybe none of these ideas are actually plausible.


Rey: Leave this to me.
GM: A rathtar leaps onto the cockpit window, attempting to chew its way through!
[SFX]: Slam!
Rathtar: RAAARRHH!!
Yanni: We need to get that thing off.
[SFX]: Slurp!
Yanni: Hold on! We’re jumping straight to lightspeed!
Chewbacca: That’s not even possible!
[SFX]: Gnaw!
Yanni: I never think about that until after I’ve done it!
Chewbacca: Hyperdrives can only work if there are no solid obstructions. It’s fundamental to their operation.
Rey: Is that right?
GM: Yes.
Rey: But when we were escaping the Peace Moon blast at Jedha—
GM: K-2SO found a clear forward vector. If there had been so much as a pebble in the way, the hyperdrive would have failed.
Rey: So there was actually no risk of us dying in a spectacular explosion?
GM: Right.
Rey: Wow, you just took all the fun out of it.

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Published: Sunday, 28 March, 2021; 02:11:09 PDT.
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