Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Nuts & Bolts #110 - RPG Blog Carnival - Out in the Dark

Once again the circus ... err, carnival, is in town! This month's topic is "Things in the Dark" which is pretty awesome in both its breadth of scope and possibilities for getting just about any RPG and genre involved. You can read the kick-off post here.

The Dark. Sometimes it's literal, sometimes it's figurative, and sometimes it falls between the two and straddles that line. In space operas and science fiction the latter is often the case. The literal dark of space combined with the figurative dark of the unknown. The realms of space beyond our solar system, or humanity's empire, or even the galaxy. The Dark, at the edge of all we know, an abyss that holds seemingly limitless potential and danger.

True darkness in space is difficult however. The universe is a vast place but it is also full of galaxies and stars and the light of these islands of matter can, and does, travel throughout the cosmos. There's not many places where one can go in space and truly find darkness. Unless one risks the most powerful and destructive objects that we know of: Black holes.

Nobody knows what happens past the event horizon of a black hole. Does matter simply collapse into infinite density, being ripped into atoms in the process by tidal gravity difference due to the exponential relation between the strength of gravity and distance from it's center? Do objects continue to exist in a surreal world where even light cannot escape and space is warped into an infinite curve before they eventually fall into the singularity at the center? Or are black holes just the opening of a wormhole in space-time leading to some other where, when, or even another universe?

Or maybe something stranger? Depending on how rigorous you want your science to be there's probably other theories you could mine for ideas, and if you are leaning toward something a little more "science fantasy" you can do whatever you want.

The fact that light and electromagnetism cannot pierce the event horizon of a black hole may mean something different if you are using magic or psionics. A Spelljammer type setting may find that black holes are also massive anti-magic disruptions. Does the Force bend around a black hole, or pass through it? Alternately maybe black holes are transformers, converting matter and energy into magic or aether, or even providing some kind of baseline field of the Force that Jedi manipulate.

But what's inside? Again this would depend on the rigor of your science and the specifics of your setting. If black holes are massive magical batteries fueled by the matter and energy they consume does that make them gods? Could black holes be aware and intelligent? More horrifying, if they are what happens if you make them unhappy?

What the heck is the RPG Blog Carnival? Check out Johnn Four's header page for the circus here.