Here we have some more answers for our resident mad scientists experiments…
Fractional Barrier Experiment: This simply involves making a toroidal barrier with it’s symbol length designed to work with one mage and the other half designed for another in a multiplier 2 barrier. Each gets one full line of symbols. This type of barrier should require two full sets of symbols, so one set will be resonating with one practice and the other another. The lines are to be joined into one continuous string of symbols as if they were just the normal two copies this type of barrier requires. I will make sure that the two sets and inscriptions share no symbols.
Assuming that I am right on how this works, the two lines should each resonate and a barrier should still form requiring less work than coordinating the two practitioners on the same task.
This will partially work: the barrier will form. Unfortunately, it will have a flaw: the differing energy levels of the standing waves where the two strings meet will be reflected in astral space as a flaw between the two hemispheres of the barrier. This is a vulnerable point and the resulting energy-leakage notably weakens the barrier. Expanding the experiment with
Refined Resonance Language Experiment: Take two spells which can be cast by the same mage and write down the barrier symbols for each – albeit not as a viable circle. Then attempt to alter them to better resonate with the spell they are designed to resonate with and resonate less with the other spell. Keep going until they two sequences are entirely separate. Repeat with other spells and spell combination and document changes and refinements. To accelerate this process test with a pin display that can raise and lower pins by computer control to display the current symbol that is being tested. Hopefully this will result in a more exact symbolic language and allow for more uses.
Unfortunately, the symbols resonate in astral space because they represent ideas. Multiple symbols may represent the same idea, and thus be interchangeable – but the exact physical details of the symbol don’t matter as much as the idea behind it. The various traditions – pretty much by definition – have equally traditional sets of symbols, ideas about what they represent, and concepts of how magic works. The usual derivation of those ideas is from popular beliefs about symbols and the mind of the person working with them.
Now, there may be inherent meaning to some symbols – some sort of universal symbol-set from which other symbols and meanings are derived – but that would say some pretty profound things about the nature and structure of astral space and the universe at large. It’s also going to be a pretty enormous project to work on; you’d want to run comparisons of many many symbol sets looking for common features related to particular ideas.
Cheap spirit type finding research: 1 – get permission to do some research at the portal. 2 – summon a force 1 spirit capable of going through the portal. 3 – send it through. 4 – examine new spirit to see if it is of a known type. 5 – if of unknown or of a type that we have yet to get a symbolic language for, capture it with a astral ivy net or bio-fiber box with help of a force 4 or higher spirit. 6 – repeat steps 1 to 5 a very large number of times.
Well, this will work, at least as far as getting unusual spirits goes. Finding languages for them may be difficult, but should be possible in theory as long as they’re not truly totally alien.
All of these experiments use high-force bio-fiber because the results might be dependent on its force; it’s possible that lower force bio-fiber leaks magic more than higher force biofiber. Most of these experiments will be tried with astral wards as well.
The Magic Pump Experiment: This basically involves something like an air pump lined with biofiber, and output hose lined with biofiber, and both a source and a storage area lined with biofiber. The idea is to artificially inflate the magic level in the storage area by pumping magic into it, just like it was air. The experiment will be carried out inside a toroidal barrier in case of reaching dangerous magic levels, the insides of the ssource and storage areas will be equipped with magic level detectors, and both the source and storage areas will openable and big enough for a mage to get inside and check the system before the experiment begins.
This does indeed show the expected results. Unfortunately, while mana does act something like a gas (and something like a fluid as well), it is quite difficult to confine with biofiber; the stuff seems to “leak” no matter how high it’s force, probably because it’s a cellular structure full of microscopic gaps. Wards work somewhat better, the primary leaks there tend to be around the seals, valves, and moving parts – which suffices to establish that “mana particles” are at the least very very small. Achieving tremendously high or low magic levels this way seems to be somewhat impractical, although relatively minor alterations work just fine. Oddly, it works a lot better if the inside of the storage and/or source area is thematically decorated.
The Magical Airlock Experiment: This is similar to the Magic Pump experiment save for being modeled on a airlock instead of a pump. It consists of a room sealed by biofiber until it is “magic tight” with a door that shuts to another much smaller sealed room with another door leading outside. how tight this has to be is part of the experiment. The idea is simply to lower the internal magic levels by casting spells and using it up. This can be tested outside a barrier as long as the internal magic is simply being used up by spellcasting. This can also be used to try to calibrate magic level detectors for below current magic levels and to study how magic moves without conscious manipulation by making larger or smaller holes and timing where and when the magic returns to normal levels.
While this is subject to the same limitations as the “magic pump” experiments, it will indeed work – with the same caveat: the interior decorating has a major impact. As does what spells are cast, what the magician is thinking about, and what the room was previously used for.
The Magic Battery Experiment: The magic batteries will be bio-fiber balls that have been sealed up in a high magic zone. To “activate” them you simply open small hole. In this case, they’ll be used in an attempt to “power” a torodial barrier off of them.
Unfortunately, there is no result here: the “batteries” don’t work for long anyway, and can’t hold that big a potential – but even while they do, the symbols of the barrier setup don’t seem to respond. Unpatterned mana does not seem to resonate.
The Mana Sensor Experiments: These all use magic-level sensors – built exploiting the variations in nuclear decay rates at various magic levels – to detect magic level variations. Since there’s no calibration system yet, at the moment they will simply be used to get raw data on a continuing basis from around an algae factory that uses concentrated algae like the Renraku systems, and from around the arcology and the professor’s metaplanar portal. Drone-mounted sensors might prove easiest to move around to map changes.
This will just have to be considered “underway” for the moment, if only because practical sensor designs are still being experimented with.
Metaplanar Bomb Experiment #1: This is an attempt to replicate the Mitsuhama “explosion” using spirits left in a room with machines that place the circles while inside a cleared test site. Both toroids are to be joined into one solid piece that can be quickly lowered (or slammed) into place. For more standardized results – and possibly some spirit witnesses as to what happens – this will start off with high-force spirits in flat circles and the Toroids will be designed to resonate off of the waste energy of the flat circles.
The test site will be completely cleared of people. The summoners will order the spirits to stay put and wait while they (the summoners) flee to a safe location. Other living things are to be moved away from the site if at all possible – possibly including full sterilization of the area. Detectors will be set up to record the magic level at various distances from the “bomb”. Walls with various symbols will be set up in front of oricalcum sheets near the center. Ray and particle detectors will be set up as well, along with masses of pure materials that might be turned into radicals. If possible, the setup will also check for dual-natured particles and photons by putting detectors behind astral barriers next to unshielded detectors at the same distance. It will be necessary to have forces on hand to deal with astral incursions. If possible, these should include some ghost-buster equipped drones and “spirit chopper” helicopters using the circles on blades trick.
We’ll have to deal with this during the session; it will require dice rolling again, and possibly more details.
Mana Camera Research:
- Experiment MC1 – try to make a magic camera by using biofiber and films of oricalcum. Biofiber used to make “dark” places to use as the baseline. design to read by astral sight.
- Experiment MC2 – try to design a spell to convert magic to light that is simple and attempt to implant it in a block of oricalcum to create a window to the astral plane.
- Ecperiment MC3 – try to search for some of the radicals that react to magic by glowing and determine some properties.
MC1 suffers from a basic problem: no lens, hence no image. The old “pinhole” trick might work, but makes for very dim images – probably too dim to get anywhere with without some special measures. If, however, you can pick up a thin sheet of one of the old crystals that glows in the presence of magic, you might be able to use that in conjunction with regular film.
MC2 is quite doable, although – at current magic levels – orichalcum probably won’t be enough to do it; a sustained, locked, or quickened spell will be required.
MC3 is possible: in fact, you already know one way: a combination of appropriate radioactive materials and florescent crystals will handle this