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Month Index: February, 1995

From:     Skreyn@???.com
Date:     Mon, 27 Feb 1995 01:52:54 -0500
Subject:  Re: Jeremy's Questions
     I thought I'd throw my opinions into the ring on this stuff....

Jeremy "The Bender" Pemberton wrote:
> What I mean is why are there always dwarves, elves, humans, gnomes, etc in
> general?

     I'd say it's because of the gods - the human, dwarf, elf, etc, gods are
pretty powerful, with a lot of influence, and naturally they'd look to
create beings in their image in as many spheres as possible.  In my sphere
map I have large areas of space considered "elven space," "dwarven space,"
etc., for a majority of the spheres in that area are dominated by that race.
However, I also have an illithid region, beholderkin region, scalykind
region, etc.  In these spheres, either the elven/human/whatever gods got
their late or not at all, resulting in the elves/humans/whatever being
exterminated or enslaved.

> Why in all the worlds do the races develop the same weapons?

     Weapons evolve based on available materials, armor, and technology.
When you have your tribesmen guys start wearing thick furs, other guys are
going to start working on sharper spears.  When they figure out how to make
chain mail, their opponents are going to work on bludgeoning weapons.  And
so on, ans so on.  Basically, under certain conditions, certain weapons and
armors are going to evolve, and those initial conditions are pretty
non-specific.  And, as the others mentioned, minor variances among weapon
types doesn't prevent long narrow-bladed sharp things from being classified
as longswords, spiked balls on chains from being called morningstars, etc....

> Furthermore how come so many worlds develop spelljamming without the aid
> of dropping in/passer-by spelljammers?

     Wel, the other guys pretty much covered this ... it really doesn't
happen very often without space-side intervention.

> Why is it the same spells develop in the different worlds and even worlds
> out of the same sphere?!

     Maybe because the laws of magic follow certain rules that cause the
powers of magic to fall into certain configurations most easily - perhaps it
is easiest to make a third level spell that produces a ball of flame of 20
feet radius at up to 10 yards + 10 yards/level away; perhaps creating a
variant that has a blast radius of 25 feet always ends up as a fourth-order
spell.  If you've studied chemistry or biology, and learned about reaction
paths, you know what I'm talking about.  For those who haven't, consider

     A pass between two tall mountains.  A traveller wishing to pass between
the mountains has an infinite number of paths to take - along the bottom of
the pass, thirty feet up the side of one mountain, 100 feet up the side of
the other, etc.  These possible paths represent the statistics of the spell
(in the above example, the variants in range, radius, etc.).  The easiest
path, of course, is the one along the bottom of the pass (which represents
the 3rd level/20' radius/10+10 per level range variant of Fireball).  The
more difficult paths (along the higher points of the mountain) require more
energy (which represents higher spell level, longer casting time, more
expensive material components, etc.).  Thus, while some places (planets,
spheres, whatever) may have the more-difficult variants of the spell, most
researchers will have discovered the easy path, and that is the most
well-know or common version of the spell available.
     [Lecture mode off ... too much subbing, folks; sorry!]

     Now, for the person who said that this is just a game (sorry, I deleted
that mail aready, so I can't attribute it), I agree: it is a game.  However,
a little thought and creativity (with help from a background in analytical
science and a habit of not letting a problem drop until it is solved) can
usually come up with a decent workable explanation for most questions, even
in a fantasy world whose laws are mostly arbitrary (I can't recall if I
heard it on the list or in a newsgroup, but one DM's players were physicists
who loved the idea of SJ, and realized, "Hey, you'd only have to change one
fundamental contant for gravity to work this way!" - to them I say: Bravo!).

Sean K Reynolds      |   "We hug and we kiss, We sit and make lists
a.k.a. Veggie Boy    |   "We drink and I bandage your wrists."
skreyn@??????.com    |   'Everything Old Is New Again'
skreyn@???.com       |   - BareNaked Ladies

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