December 31, 2010
The thing that makes a lot of things possible in Avbaroy is, according to arcanophysics, the energetic substance of Incarnum. It’s known among many as being the thing that differentiates different planes (via planar shells composed of Incarnum), for being the substance that composes the living soul and for being what is fundamentally responsible for creating magic in the multiverse at large.
Well, in my rather bored moments without a laptop to distract my attention and fill my tired waking moments, I’ve recently figured out two other things about it, and if you’re anything like me and enjoy unravelling puzzles and figuring things out, you’ll certainly enjoy hearing this.
So first on the list is perhaps ones of the more basic things you realise as you travel between planes, which is “why do some planes have faster or slower time than others?”.
The solution to this question is in the planar shell itself.
See, in the universe we know here on Earth, time cannot go backwards in any natural fashion according to relativity and the laws of physics which describe it. And everything moves forward through time because of energy resonating through everything from the first pinprick moment of the universe, when it was little more than a superdense atom of energy. Time here in our Earth world can only slow down due to relativity and especially due to gravity.
But we’re not talking about things inside the universe, we’re talking about time relative to different universes (planes) around it. And the thing that came to me as I concentrated on this topic is where Incarnum comes into play: The planar shell.
Every plane has a shell, and each plane’s shell has a very specific frequency of Incarnum (Described colloquially as heavy or soft Incarnum, but extending across a vast spectrum) which joins the shell together and keeps the planes from colliding and destroying eachother because like-frequencies of Incarnum resonate together away from unlike-frequencies.
Another fundamental rule of Incarnum is that, like gases, it tries to fill in as much space as it can. Heavy Incarnum tries to engulf anything of lower-frequency, eventually spreading itself out so far it becomes soft Incarnum. But this isn’t simply a case of gas molecules spreading out away from eachother, it’s a case of energy from a substance resonating at high frequency emanating away until it eventually runs out.
So, heavy Incarnum beats out energy at a very high frequency compared to soft Incarnum. Planar shells are made of Incarnum. Where am I going here? Well…
We assume so far that each planar shell has a reasonably similar frequency of Incarnum. But what if a plane had a higher frequency than others? Or a lower frequency?
Or, more specifically, what if from the point of view of the planar shell, the events unfolding within the plane itself are transpiring like a stop-motion film?
Here’s my thinking: In the initial days of the plane, it’s a tiny dense ball of Incarnum with a hollow dot in it’s centre, very dense but not necessarily high-frequency, and it expands out and out and out to form the grand plane mages and adventurers travel in and out of. The energy radiated from that planar shell initially is used up in it’s rapid expansion and the generation of matter within, but the planar shell keeps sending out waves of energy into the matter inside of itself. Acting like a clock pulse in a computer then, the planar shell is acting like the metronome of a piano player, setting how fast and how slow time passes (Because all the matter in the plane is moving along as it receives energy, stop motion or flip-book animation).
So, time moves faster or slower inside of a plane based on how fast or slow the resonant waves of energy that the planar shell containing it are released through the plane itself. Planes with distinctly different passages of time like this are likely to be either higher-frequency or lower-frequency relative to the plane you start on (remembering of course that time is relative, never static).
Now, the second thing, and perhaps the more interesting of the things I’ve viciously cogitated this past evening as my brain muddles through Christmas dinner, is a very very simple question indeed:
Why is Incarnum inside of planes in the first place?
Especially as souls, Incarnum occurs remarkably commonly in planes despite its unwilling nature to exist with “native” matter. It also occurs in massive welts on landscape referred to as “bastions of souls”. Generally speaking, because of this behaviour it is widely believed that Incarnum originates outside of planes, whether this be in the space inbetween them or in a specific plane referred to as the Plane of Incarnum (opinions are divided academically), but either way it must be getting drawn into planes by some force existing in mundane (nonmagical) fashion.
Well, let’s think for a moment what in these planes interacts with Incarnum. Answer? Spellcaster brains.
We know that Incarnum + Native matter = Raw magic, and we also know that Incarnum + Mage brain = Useful magic, so we can see then that something in the wizard brain is able to impact upon the flow of Incarnum. What is special about the thinking brain amongst the various mechanics and matter of the universe at large is that it uses electrical impulses in very complex pathways and patterns.
We know from experiments to have a robotic arm feed a marshmallow to monkeys that brain electrical impulses in regards to certain emotions or thoughts are always arranged and assorted in similar ways each time, and that you need to be well-taught or have a genetic knack to properly conjure magic effects, so we know that the electrical activity in the brain is able to affect Incarnum.
But it can’t be just electricity, because nature has plenty of that itself. Lightning storms are an excellent example, but they don’t attract Incarnum and they certainly aren’t soul-bearing creatures. My theory then is that it’s a mixture of electrical activity in complex patterns (the patterns themselves may be irrelevant, it could simply be the cell-by-cell level of activity) and chemical composition in the brain cells themselves.
As an example, humans have Incarnum souls which allow them to use magic and generate it in the surrounding environment, but flying landfish don’t (And politically they’re quite touchy about souls being propaganda against them). This could well be due to the chemical differences between the neurons of the two species, but this is just regarding the attraction of Incarnum, it may well be possible that some landfish are able to use magic provided there’s an Incarnum source nearby to generate it.
So that explains souls, but what about bastions? Well, anything that occurs in biology can, to some degree, occur in nature. Perhaps there was a bundle of chemicals geologically placed in a cave somewhere, and all it took was the pounding of a lightning strike to charge the paths and tear a huge scar in the planar landscape, drawing Incarnum to the site like iron to an electromagnet.
Phew, so that’s two of the things I’ve just recently figured out for arcanophysics and how the multiverse in Remember works. I hope you enjoyed it this New Years Eve, and whilst I can’t give you precision numbers I hope the concepts are sound enough for you all to get the same “squee” factor as I do from figuring it out.