OFRPG Statement of Technology
For me to accurately predict the advancements, discoveries, inventions, etc, for hundreds of years... and which advancements lead to which device, weapon, etc... would be unfeasible. Doing thus would be akin to someone in the 11th century attempting to predict and explain the concept and function of a computer, or describe the medical advancements leading up to modern genetic science. It's extremely improbable. Suffice it to say that the technology of the OFRPG Universe works... but nobody in our century can fully describe how it works. The tech that is common in OFRPG is much beyond current advancements and concepts. While I try to stick to hardcore physics as much as possible, some may consider the technology in this Universe so-called “Handwavium”, as in “pay no attention to the man behind the curtain...” and I’m fine with that.
As Gene Roddenberry noted, in a police TV show, a policeman does not explain to the viewers how the primer of the bullet ignites the main charge propelling the lead slug down the barrel every time he shoots his handgun.
OFRPG should be character driven. The technology is mostly a roleplay prop. Don't dissect and overanalyze the technology described in OFRPG too much. In a sci-fi fantasy game like OFRPG, technology is an important part of roleplay, but over-scrutinizing it can bog down the story.
* Aerodyne Deflection: (ADF) Shaped fields that artificially create a nearly 100% aerodynamic profile for vehicles. Allows a ship to whip through an atmosphere at phenomenal velocity without friction damage.
* Artificial Gravity: Gravmatrices set into the hulls of ships, starbases, etc, mimic the effects of gravity in a localized area while in the zero G environment of space.
* Artificial Intelligence: Computers that think like a living being have been around for a long time. The debate over actual sentience and any rights due still rages.
* Capital ships: Generally, a ship is designated "Capital Scale" when it is too massive to be able to safely enter an atmosphere. This is usually considered to be vessels around a million tons or more in net displacement.
* Cloaking Devices: Due to the energy required to operate a cloaking system, most ships cannot fire energy weapons, use energy shielding, or go to translight while cloaked. (Vessels traveling at translight are nigh impossible to detect directly anyway. The ‘bow shock’ of a vessel passing by at translight is very detectable, however.) Smaller vessel are unlikely to be able to use a cloak.
* Comm: Nearly everyone has a "comm"(commwatch, wristcom, etc) that acts as a personal computer w/ omniweb link, satellite linked tachcom, trivid (TV), and Universal Credit () transactor.
* Computers: Computers are considerably more advanced & sophisticated than modern ones. In the 20th or 21st Centuries, computers used binary language to perform all of their operations. This was based on the presence of, or absence of a positive charge to billions of little individual bits. In OFRPG, computers use a similar principle, but rather than electrons, stabilized quarks are the basis. Rather than 2 states, a charge or no charge, quarks have 12 states. This is called 'dodecanery language' or 'Quantum code' (Q-code) and provides for a level of sophisticated operation far beyond what was possible with binary. Q-Coded computers are the most common, but not the only type in usage.
* Countergravitics: Simply put... floating stuff; defying gravity. Used in gravcars, gravcycles, gravboards, grav etc... Countergrav tech is very common. "Skimmer" tech is a variance on countergrav. The difference being, there is a set float height on skimmers, and less power usage. Skimmers are not truly anti-gravitic, but repel a surface in a similar manner to magnetic levitation. Faster speed is possible with skimmers than with comparable wheeled vehicles. (Wheeled vehicles are still around, as well.)
* Defensive Shielding: Most larger vessels have shields of some kind. These protect against most forms of attack. Some are better at defending against one type of attack over another. It is uncommon to find shields on anything smaller than a starship. The smaller the vessel, the less likely it is and more expensive it is (by ratio) to have shielding.
* Electronic Warfare: Jamming/counter jamming/counter-counter jamming etc. etc. ad nauseum have pretty much negated each other into oblivion, but the vehicle without it is easy prey to those vehicles that do. Most vehicle-to-vehicle combat comes down to pilot skill.
* EMP: I've had a few people ask me about using electromagnetic pulse against some of the mechanical systems or robots or vehicles in OFRPG. Let me clarify; EMP is an annoyance, but not as debilitating in the current time as it had been in the past. A strong EMP might make simpler systems like someone's comm or a child's electronic toy wink out momentarily, but then they usually come right back online with all data & systems intact. Larger, more sophisticated systems will barely register that an EMP has occurred. Systems’ UPR conversion actually benefit from EMP. A dodecanery computer barely notices an EMP occurrence.
* Faster-Than-Light Propulsion (FTL): Also called 'translight drive' (TLD). Through various methods (Space warp, grav-displacement, hyperspace, dimension fold, stargates, etc) ships are propelled at superluminal velocities or otherwise cross vast spatial distances in a relatively short time. The commonly seen relativistic speed of a human-built superluminal capable starship is typically around 1 LPH (Light-Year per Hour). Other races are faster or slower than this. More advanced races (Artek, Kafori, etc) are known to have FTL drives that can be twice (or more) as fast as a Human ship. The enigmatic so-called 'grandfather' races are known to have FTL systems that make the 'normal' races, even the Artek and Kafori, look primitive and slow by comparison. Some of these mysterious races are rumored to be using tachyon drives for propelling their starships at unbelievable velocities. The Phantiaden, for example, are said to be able to make the 100,000 light-year trans-galactic trip in a week. The inscrutable Reeshi (Sometimes referred to as ‘Grays’) are said to be capable of doing it in eight hours.
Gravitic Displacement is commonly called Gravity drive or Grav drive. This is the most commonly used form of Translight propulsion in the Galaxy. As a general rule of physics, the faster you go, the more your mass increases. As you approach the speed of light, your mass begins to increase so much that virtually infinite levels of energy would be required to keep you accelerating. Without getting around this fact, the fastest a vehicle can safely and realistically get up to is about 0.6c (c = Light Speed) before mass begins to increase and power requirements begin to skyrocket to impossible levels. While bound by normal physics, an object with physical mass cannot go faster than the speed of light.
When the graviton (sometimes called the higgs boson or ‘god particle’) was finally isolated, measured and eventually manipulated, a new world opened. Grav drive involves an apparent altering of the mass of the matter that makes up the ship, through manipulation of gravitons. You are not changing the vessel's actual mass, but you alter the way universal physics "sees" the mass. You can take the "apparent mass" to zero or even negative values. A field surrounding the craft redirects external gravitons and begins to alter the ship’s perceptible mass. As you alter the apparent mass to close to zero, you can approach the speed of light. Once the vessel apparently weighs a negative mass number you can travel at faster than light speed. The more negative a value you can achieve for your apparent mass, the faster you go.
Going faster-than-light is common, but not to be undertaken casually:
· Translight requires tremendous amounts of power, more than is produced by standard BASE power converters. Generally, antimatter or more exotic power sources are required for translight.
· Normal communications, sensors and energy weapons are virtually impossible at translight.
· You cannot change course once you enter translight. You’d need to drop to sublight speeds before making any course corrections.
· The launching of smaller ships, torpedoes or missiles is impossible at translight, as the launched vessel or object is instantly atomized as it crosses the threshold into normal space if it has no translight propulsion of its own. Even if the launched vessel has its own translight, it's a risky proposition at best.
· Depending on the distance desired, it can take several minutes to several hours of calculation, preparation and acceleration before a ship jumps to superluminal velocity. “Going to light speed ain’t like dusting crops, boy!” (Time is dependent on the ship’s navigation programs and the skill of the navigator.)
· It is practically unheard of for smaller ships and vehicles (grav-cars, fighters, shuttles, etc.) to even have FTL capability.
· There is a visible effect of blurring and other sensory disassociation as a ship jumps to and decelerates out of superluminal. This can cause disorientation, hallucinations or nausea among those unused to it. In some cases, subjects have been known to have heart attacks, go insane, fall comatose, or fall into epileptic fits.
· It is practically impossible to detect a vessel traveling at superluminal velocity. When it passes you, your sensors will detect its “translight bowshock”, giving an indication of general direction and general tonnage of the vessel. When you drop out of translight, your bowshock keeps going ahead of you. There is currently no way of masking translight bowshock.
· Translight is sensitive to external gravitic resistance. Your potential velocity is affected by your current proximity to a stellar body. The further you get from a planet or star, the faster your potential velocity. Only rarely does a ship drop out of translight exactly where it wishes. The faster you have been going, the less accurate your intended arrival coordinates. Generally, ships try to egress from translight far from a stellar body’s gravity well, and then go in at sublight velocity.
* Holovid: A 3 dimensional non-tactile interactive holograph. Provides an infinitely portable screen for images or computer input/output. Often built into a comm.
* Medical: Tissue menders that use shaped micro-fields to knit together flesh, sinew and bone are common in most first aid kits. These are no good for regenerating lost limbs or complex organs, however, so selective cloning of damaged parts is done for those not desiring cybernetic replacement. Its common for someone to have a temporary cybernetic replacement while a cloned part can be grown. Depending on the race, and the part needed, it can take several weeks or even months to grow.
* Megathium: A synthetic quasimetallic alloy, engineered at the atomic level to be stronger than titanium and harder than diamond yet lighter than beryllium, as well as a poor conductor of heat and electricity.
* Money: The Free Trade Consortium's Universal Credit () is the most accepted form of currency in advanced areas of the Galaxy. There is no "hard" form to the ; no coins, no paper bills; it's all kept track of in the Consortium's vast money exchange computer network called the "Galactic Bank". The does not exchange 100% accurately into modern 21st century forms of currency. Centuries of changes in the values people put on things makes it difficult to gauge accurately what the 'dollar value' of is. Many races have their own 'real cash' as it's called, in the form of bills, coin, polished stones, cut gems, etc... There is an unsecured storage disc called a 'cred chit' that allows for storage of outside of the tracking of the Consortium's bank. A cred chit is about the diameter of a poker chip, and thinner than a credit card. It is constructed of crysteel, so it is very light, flexible and sturdy. It is a translucent disk, with a holovid window in the center for checking the amount held within. The chit can store any amount of creds as transacted from a comm. It cannot transact without a comm, however, and remember, the chit is unsecured and hard to trace, unlike a comm. Before being allowed a account, applicants must submit a DNA sample and a full body scan to WroGrath record keeping. The capital system is all electronic, being kept track of in local systems on a person’s comm which links to powerful Consortium operated supercomputers, that update constantly with the mainframe back on the WroGrath homeworld near the Galactic core. Due to this, it is nigh impossible to rob someone directly of their creds. Creds can be downloaded to ‘chits’ however, for untracable transfer. These chits can easily be pilfered. Yearly, there are thousands of purported attepts by hackers to breach the WroGrath Galactic Bank. None have ever been successful. The WroGrath comonly send enforcers to deal with those identified in such attempts, but often, they do not bother wasting resources. Fear of having one’s accounts wiped and bannning from future use of the system is usually deterrent enough.
* Omninet: Like the modern internet on steroids. Searching information from computers on other worlds is still subject to the speed of the information carrier wave. (See Tachyon tranception)
* Power systems: Broad -source power reception is the norm. This means that no internal power source is necessary to run most minor machines and devices. Once catalyzed at the factory, the converters in devices react to and use power from whatever natural sources are the most plentiful, usually neutrinos, natural radio waves or muonic activity. Even the magnetic field of a planetary body can be used. The best thing about these systems is that, just like windmills and water wheels, as long as there is some kind of source, they are self perpetuating, and 100% pollution free. Storage batteries, solar, and several other methods, including fusion and antimatter power production, are also present. High powered systems like faster-than-light drives, cloaking and high powered weapons require fusion or antimatter power plants.
* Robotics & Cybernetics: Very advanced, nearly organic looking systems are the norm. The meshing of organic and inorganic is commonplace. The common person who loses a limb will get a cybernetic prosthesis only until he can get a cloned replacement grown. Cyborgs are an oddity, but are not uncommon. Cyborgs are mainly found in bounty hunting circles, law enforcement, and in gladiatorial fighting circles. Robots are everywhere you turn. They handle most of the menial or dangerous tasks that would be undesirable to organic beings. The robots listed here are of the non-sentient variety, doing only what their programming dictates. They may seem to have personality or to even think like a living being, but for most robots, it's only sophisticated algorithms and driver programs.
* Sensors: multifaceted, multi-source imaging is common. More advanced sensors use manipulated bosons and neutrinos to get detailed images of the internals of objects and people scanned. Hand-held sensors are expensive, but not uncommon. Potent standard, neutrino, and long range tachyon sensors on starships are required for planetary surveys, star mapping, weapons targeting and navigation.
* Sensory Simulation: Provides believable simulated sensory stimulus for training or entertainment purposes. Renting a "Sim Chamber" for a few hours is a popular pastime. This is also a preference in power armor and some vehicle control interfaces. ("I am the ship!") This has had many condemning reports that it can be addictive, and may have lead to psychotic breakdown in rare cases.
* Space Fold: instantaneously "jumping" of a starship from one place to another, often dozens or even hundreds of light-years is rare in the OFRPG Universe. Some "grandfather races” and the Hytroch utilize this.
* Sublight Propulsion: Many methods of pushing or pulling oneself from point 'A' to point 'B' are present. Gravimpellers can redirect gravity around the vehicle, shunting the natural graviton flow to cause you to 'fall forward'. This means, on a planet with the same gravity and atmosphere as Earth, you would travel at 32 feet per sec². A non aerodynamic gravimpelled vehicle would hit terminal velocity, and do roughly 120mph maximum. Once you start factoring in aerodynamics and ADF, you can move much quicker. For better acceleration than what a gravimpeller provides, standard UPR powered wind turbines are common for gravimpelled vehicles. Various types of UPR impellers, ion propulsion and fusion drives are common for space. Gravity drives are the least detectable forms of sublight propulsion.
* Synthesis: Synthesizing of materials has been around for centuries, but synthesizing on a quantum level is a newer technology than some, and is growing in popularity. "Synthed" foods and drink are virtually indistinguishable in taste from the real thing in the better synthesizers, though the texture is often considered "not quite right".
* Tachyon tranception: This is the only technological means of communicating over long spatial distances. Remember, radio wave and laser communication still only occurs at the speed of light. Trying to send a message to your mama on Earth, from Keta, would take 575 years, one way, by laser or radio. Used primarily in sensor and communication tech. Provides rapid contact over vast spacial distances. A tachyon travels at somewhere between 1200 LPH. This means that a communication from Keta to Earth still takes about a half hour one way. A large amount of energy is needed to generate a tachyon wave, pulse, or beam. Sending a message via tachcom is not cheap. The going rate for a single, brief message or data packet to be sent is 50.
* Temporal Displacement: “Make your calculations for a time jump...” intentional technological time travel is virtually non-existent in the OFRPG universe. In the past, during the infancy of FTL travel, accidental time jumps were not uncommon. During the Human/R’Jiri War, it was a very real concern every time a ship accelerated to superluminal velocity.
* Transmatter: “Beam me up...” technological teleportation from one place to another is virtually non-existent in the OFRPG universe except for some "grandfather races".
* Transparisteel: (Also called “Crysteel”) Normal metal alloys molecularly engineered to retain their strength, but be as clear as glass. Transparent megathium has not yet been developed.
* Weaponry: Gauss acceleration, energy weapons, and enhanced melee weapons are the norm. The concepts listed here are advanced beyond 21st century concepts. Comparing an OFRPG laser to a modern laser is like comparing a high tech semiautomatic firearm to a late 14th century harquebus, or comparing a cruise missile to an early siege cannon. You can still commonly find gunpowder or other chemically accelerated weapons, and these are generally cheaper than gauss or energy weapons. The efficiency of a gauss weapon vs. a chemical propellant weapon comes to issue with a firearm that has a barrel of around 6 to 8 inches in length. Short barreled gauss guns are less effective than a chemical propellant weapon with the same barrel length.