Thought to Eberron's theory of everything?

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tetrasodium
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Thought to Eberron's theory of everything?

Post by tetrasodium » Sun Jan 27, 2019 7:46 pm

Around 300BC, Euclid wrote a series of books called "The Elements" & those set out the foundations for basically all of our advanced math either directly or indirectly by people trying to (dis)prove parts of it. Here is a rather fascinating series on that process 1 , 2, 3, 4, 5. Because the 5 postulates were the basics of geometry & how the world can be modeled, the 5th unprovable postulate led to the development of Cartesian Coordinates, Newton's, & Einstein's work along with many more from attempts to (dis)prove either the fifth postulate or one of the many problems exposed in the universe from people trying to work out the nature of our universe.

The five postulates are:
1. A straight line segment can be drawn joining any two points.

2. Any straight line segment can be extended indefinitely in a straight line.

3. Given any straight line segment, a circle can be drawn having the segment as radius and one endpoint as center.

4. All right angles are congruent.

5. If two lines are drawn which intersect a third in such a way that the sum of the inner angles on one side is less than two right angles, then the two lines inevitably must intersect each other on that side if extended far enough. This postulate is equivalent to what is known as the parallel postulate.

Euclid's fifth postulate cannot be proven as a theorem, although this was attempted by many people. Euclid himself used only the first four postulates ("absolute geometry") for the first 28 propositions of the Elements, but was forced to invoke the parallel postulate on the 29th. In 1823, Janos Bolyai and Nicolai Lobachevsky independently realized that entirely self-consistent "non-Euclidean geometries" could be created in which the parallel postulate did not hold. (Gauss had also discovered but suppressed the existence of non-Euclidean geometries.)
Over time it became increasingly apparent that we live in a non-Euclidean universe & that makes it easy to apply Euclid's work to d&d where magic can not only tell physics to bend over but to twist it into a pretzel while doing so. & that gets into how light seems to do the same on top of always moving at the speed of light. This series 1, 3, 4, 5,6 does a great job of delving into some of those mysteries & really starts to get complicated, but some of the theories are rather simple in what the complex math later tries to prove.... This one for example says "light as a disturbance caused by rippling in the higher dimension just beyond human perception, similar to how fish in a pond can only see shadows of ripples across the surface of the water caused by raindrops.[2] While not detectable, it would indirectly imply a connection between seemingly unrelated forces." and we built the Large Hadron Collider trying to gather evidence for it (among other things it is trying to gather evidence for).

That simple explanation of light being the ripple from a higher dimension opens up an easy door for the d&d universe/"Shared multiverse" to step through if you simply say "The effects of magic are the result of disturbance caused by rippling in higher dimensions or planes just beyond human perception. Much like how a fish can make ripples by swimming at the surface or even leaping across the surface of a pond, humans are able to do influence these higher dimensions through traditional arcane & divine means of spellcasting." Conveniently, I believe that applies to every setting and explains things like faerun's spellplague or Athas' broken state simply by saying that a slightly different arrangement of those dimensions causes those difficulties. In Spelljammer, when visiting a sphere where the caster's deity has no influence, something still answers up to a point allowing the casting of low level spells (up to 3 iirc?) & you could easily explain the something by saying that it is not until you start reaching higher levels of divine spells that the arrangement of those dimensions being different starts adding up beyond what will still work.
That divine magic spelljammer effect seems like it would justify manifest zones too and by extension Ravenloft. If you say that ravenloft has a very unusual arrangement that affects the prime within its sphere then it explains much of it

In settings like forgotten realms/greyhawk/etc you might have the eleminster types who privately have a very high level understanding of the way all that works, but there are really only a couple settings where that knowledge might be known by more than one or two people. most of them are protected by plot armor or the mists of time. The halfling empire of athas almost certainly had a deep understanding of it before they fell & Athas became the wasteland it is known for being causing their knowledge to be lost. "Arcane", the maker of spelljammer ships likely has a firm enough grasp on it in order for them to make spelljammer ships. "The mind flayer empire" that seems to have no remains also undoubtedly had an extremely deep understanding of it. And then you have eberron where a number of things set it apart from all of those others. Eberron is separate from the other spheres in having its own planes. Given Athas' lack of undestroyed planes, it is entirely possible that it too once had its own planes like eberron. Aside from Eberron, the other advanced groups all share the same planes on the great wheel putting them on a spot where a "good enough" understanding is all that might be needed.

With Eberron, the very fabric of how magic works might be different once you cross into/out of those other spheres & as a result its inhabitants have a way to experiment & test their theories about the nature of reality in a version of reality that is both entirely different, capable of supporting life, and most importantly someone else has already worked out a lot of the basic elementary building blocks of how magic works there. Nobody can find evidence of the mind flayer empire, nobody knows where Arcane is from & they don't teach outsiders, Athas is a hellhole nobody wants to visit where archaeological research into the fallen halfling culture is deadly & difficult under the best of conditions. Eberron along with all of those civilizations seem to have roots in their own non/not quite-great wheel starting point. Faerun might once have had a different arrangement, but that arrangement was lost when the new one shifted into being to deprive them of joining the cool kids club of civilizations able to step into a reality with different rules of the universe for expanding their understanding.

Back to Eberron though & there are several groups who would have had knowledge into that deep understanding of the universe. The Dragons, the Giant empire of Xendriik the Dhakaani,the Gatekeepers each of the Dragonmarked Houses, Korrenberg, and the Arcanix seem to be the big players. I'm hoping for some sanity checking on this next bit but had to get through rolling out the foundations above first.
  • The Dragons are unquestionably have one of the most (if not the most) advanced understanding of the whole thing, the prophecy might even be the result of that understanding. they probably don't need much more than that since we are crunchy & taste good with ketchup. Their laser focus on The Prophecy might limit their understanding of how the universe works to good enough even though that good enough is still far beyond everyone else aside from Khyber Eberron & Siberyis.
  • The Giant empire of Xendriik: We know that The Dragons taught them tthe secrets of what they themselves knew. The giants later used it to move DalQuor in desperation leaving The Dragons to destroy them in horror. Not wanting to risk someone digging up an old spellshard with teachings from Ourelonastrix that the could not be trusted in the hands of lesser races, they went a step further & put cursed the entire continent of Xendriik so anyone rediscovering too much would destroy themselves somehow.
  • The Dhakaani: We know that they were far more advanced than khorvaire today in some ways (metallurgy/a wildly different grasp on magic/etc). Vvaraak might have given them limited understanding into parts of what was taught to the giants. The same might have happened when she was teaching the Gatekeepers. Needless to say, the Dhakaani used this knowledge to great advancements thanks to their eusocial bond. That Eusocial bond might even be part of why so much of that knowledge was so completely lost... the dragons no doubt helped it along after the Gatekeepers solved the Daelkyr problem.
  • The Gatekeepers: we know that the various druidic traditions split off from the gatekeepers, possibly even starting due to disagreements on how far is too far during the daelkyr invasion. We know for a fact that the Gatekeeprs were trained by the dragon Vvaraak & the magic they used to imprison the Daelkyr in khyber does not exactly scream "standard druidic spell list magic". It seems reasonable & almost certain that Vvaraak Taught the gatekeepers a sizable chunk of what Ourelonastrix taught the giants of Xendriik to at least some limited number of individual students who might have later gone on to teach others a small fraction of that knowledge. Either way, at least some of the most powerful Gatekeepers seem likely to have understanding of the very knowledge that caused the Dragons to destroy Xendriik. The Gatekeeper focus on keeping out the blighted energies & influences of beings & energies from other planes might very easily fit a role specifically designed to help protect the prophecy. That protection being given knowingly or not is irrelevant to the fact that it might be enough to keep the Dragons from pulling a Xendriik on the Gatekeepers
  • The Dragonmarked Houses: The dragonmarks themselves might simply be a hereditary way of influencing some of those higher dimensions in the ways we all know. That explanation conveniently explains why dragonmark focus items only work for dragonmarked heirs & why they are so much more powerful than non-dragonmark focus items usable by anyone. It's not simply a matter of being tied to a genetic lock with a different power source as a matter of being able to skip a big chunk of the arcane manipulation of those higher planes simply by doing something like channeling energies of the device through a dragonmark. The individual houses all made great advancements during the last war & no doubt have unraveled quite a bit of how the universe works, but have done so within their own individual area of expertise leaving them still far behind the Dragons but catching up to the Dhakaani/giants in some areas or simply standing on their shoulders to advance further in other areas that make the Dragons concerned enough to be watching Khorvaire closely.
  • The Twelve: No doubt that the houseshave conferences between their theoretical physicist equivalents to share knowledge & gain a better understanding of the shortcomings & alternate solutions in their own models.
  • The Library of Korrenberg: They want knowledge & might even sponsor some of those events that the Twelve attend in order to justify their own researchers being involved. We know that the Gnomes stole some of the elemental binding techniques from Xendriik so they might even be further along than the Twelve simply by looting the knowledge from the ruins of Xendriik in a manner that slips through a loophole in the curse. The gnome (lets call him Allen) passing the knowledge via sending stone to khorvaire hasn't the foggiest hint of understanding & the gnome on the other end(Bob) is outside the curse's effect. Even if the curse stomps Allen into goo before he can leave, Bob is still free to share the knowledge he too does not understand with the researchers from the library paying him. It doesn't matter if the curse wipes out Allen's notes because Bob has at least a sizable chunk of them.
  • The Arcanix: I think they would operate similar to the library of Korrenberg in hosting their own scholarly conferences in addition to being a prime source of training researchers up to what is known. With their overlord adjacent location, the Arcanix likely makes occasional breakthroughs in understanding it or putting it to use making it into an important player in that understanding.
  • Mordain: He was part of house Phiarlin & dabbled in forbidden Daelkyr magic, it seems plausible that he was a researcher into this kinda fabric of the universe stuff & made one or more discoveries that opened some very dark doors later papered over by his peers by saying "nope! Daelkyr magic & insanity lies that way". Interestingly enough is the fact that some considered solutions to the 5th postulate in that same kind of lovecraftianesque box.
  • Lady Erandis Vol: Vol sits in an utterly unique position among all of the players & might even be beyond the level of understanding that the dragons have. She's half dragon & at least began getting an education from both elves & dragon(s) until her dragonmark manifested. Her father did not simply abandon her though & went on to create the Emerald Claw to help protect/serve her so it's entirely possible that he could have taught her all of what the Dragons know. Having once had the ability to use thew mark of death, she also had the ability to directly influence those higher dimensions/planes without needing to resort to normal arcane means. While she can't test her theories involving the dragonmark given her status as a lich, she can use those memories to further the foundation that her father might have taught her. With both the need to hide and a father who might have told her what lines not to cross, she could even have the ability to step far beyond those lines along with the wisdom to know it would be suicide to do so & as a result focuses on trying to restore her mortality in order to take some infinity gauntlet power level step denied to her as a lich. Restoring her dragonmark might just be a secondary benefit that she can overtly pursue on the down low without the Dragons stomping her out of existence. The Blood of Vol seekers who perform research into preserving their divine spark might even be unwitting well meaning folks who are a useful source of inspiration & advancement for her.

present day Khorvaire probably has not yet discovered a way to travel the spheres in a way that would allow them to advance their understanding in the presence of a similar but different dimensional arrangement. If they have, the unlucky folks who crossed over might have found themselves stuck. Imagine an airship crossing into Athas (or worse) & immediately falling out of the sky as the elementals were unbound or lost control. With nobody on athas or the airship itself in a position to undo the damage & get home, a researcher at Cannith/Lyrander makes a note that the experiment failed with the airship vanishing in an untraceable manner. For whatever the reason that Khorvaire has not managed to cross into other spheres, the lack of multiverse spanning colonial trade empire forming or existing is good evidence that something has kept it from happening. Eberron's "magic as a science" foundation would allow them to expand that empire to an alarming degree with extreme speed.



Thoughts?

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Beoric
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Re: Thought to Eberron's theory of everything?

Post by Beoric » Thu Jan 31, 2019 6:16 am

Would that I had the time to unpack all of that and comment on it intelligently.

One thing that occurred to me as I was reading your post is that the nature of reality changes in fundamental ways from plane to plane within the Eberron cosmology. For instance, while the premise of Eberron proper is that it is a place where magic follows rational rules that can be learned and its effects reproduced, the functioning of Thelanis appears to be based entirely on story logic, which is neither necessarily logical nor consistent; and Xoriat is flat out irrational. What does that do to the likelihood of that nature of Eberron's universe being ultimately knowable?

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Re: Thought to Eberron's theory of everything?

Post by Big Mac » Fri Feb 01, 2019 12:40 pm

I do like the idea of looking back to old theories and philosophical concepts (even disproved ones) to get inspiration for fantasy worlds, but it does take a bit of work to read up on some of ideas and see how they could be used (without overcomplicating games).

I think that Euclid's ideas about straight lines break down a bit, when it comes to things that are large enough to be affected by the curvature of a planet (either our one or Eberron).

How would you want to use Euclid's ideas?

Would you see them as early theories of sages?

Would you use them exclusively for other planes in the Eberron cosmology?

Would you want to use Euclidian geometry for the shapes of manifest zones?

Would you use these theories for the movements of the moons...or the planes in the Eberron cosmology?

How do you see making this cool...without it turning into a bunch of paperwork?
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tetrasodium
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Re: Thought to Eberron's theory of everything?

Post by tetrasodium » Fri Feb 01, 2019 5:20 pm

Thanks for both of your replies. When I first started with this tangent, it was just kind of a persistent ear/brain worm I filed under "interesting, but I'm not a theoretical physicist". It wasn't until an offhand comment about non-euclidean geometry was made by a player as treknobabble to wave away "yea unknowable stuff ok" made me later look up what that actually is when I came upon that extra history series explaining it pretty well at a vague conceptual level through history that things started to click into a useful form.
One thing that occurred to me as I was reading your post is that the nature of reality changes in fundamental ways from plane to plane within the Eberron cosmology. For instance, while the premise of Eberron proper is that it is a place where magic follows rational rules that can be learned and its effects reproduced, the functioning of Thelanis appears to be based entirely on story logic, which is neither necessarily logical nor consistent; and Xoriat is flat out irrational. What does that do to the likelihood of that nature of Eberron's universe being ultimately knowable?
I don't have a solid explanation for how to explain reality on the planes & might not be able to do more than haphazard a guess even after the eventual supplement from Keith on the planes, but one easy possibility is to use the moons & take notes from spelljammer where only most of the crystal spheres are heliocentric(I think). It's already established that the individual moons are tied/influenced by the individual planes themselves. It's also established that stuff like fernian dust/risian ice might be valid spell components & that planar shards are a thing in addition to dragonshards. The concentration of certain elements/just thin borders between one or more of those higher dimensions causes ripples similar to the effects of magic to manifest naturally into the standard dimensions visitors to those planes might exist on. There are probably a few ways to factor in why spells like teleport & others have "on the same plane as the caster" type wording. They might not understand exactly why spells need to compensate for that influence regardless of theories on it & that is not too outlandish given how much we don't understand but can still measure and/or create to extremely precise degrees (gravity/light/magnetic fields/etc).

Traveling to a different plane under that possibility might still have the same arrangement of higher level dimensions & that might remain the case until you travel to a different crystal sphere
I do like the idea of looking back to old theories and philosophical concepts (even disproved ones) to get inspiration for fantasy worlds, but it does take a bit of work to read up on some of ideas and see how they could be used (without overcomplicating games).

I think that Euclid's ideas about straight lines break down a bit, when it comes to things that are large enough to be affected by the curvature of a planet (either our one or Eberron).

How would you want to use Euclid's ideas?

Would you see them as early theories of sages?

Would you use them exclusively for other planes in the Eberron cosmology?

Would you want to use Euclidian geometry for the shapes of manifest zones?

Would you use these theories for the movements of the moons...or the planes in the Eberron cosmology?

How do you see making this cool...without it turning into a bunch of paperwork?
Euclid's ideas are simple & well enough taught that only a very small percentage of d&d players (very young kids) have not had some level of exposure to geometry/algebra & that part doesn't really matter since the world in d&d is still largely compatible with ours on a physical level where objects fall down, water is wet, fire is hot, etc until magic comes into play. Euclid's work might have even had the same five postulates in a world like eberron (or nearly any d&d world), but had several additional ones that were added initially (or by others) over the centuries to explain various aspects of magic & how magic influences the world. The specific details& numbers of those are probably classified in the same bin as the specifics of somatic & verbal components where they exist & understanding them is a large part of why being a wizard/artificer/sorcerer takes more than just buying a sword.

Euclid's works being an early theory works well since it's an early theory of ours here on earth too. The nifty part is that eberron is at a technological time period similar to ours when Einstein & others started to hammer out the early bits on stuff like general/special relativity & quantum mechanics that we are still not much further along at understanding despite boatloads of experiments & research. That makes it easy to translate those early & more recent discoveries to eberron where you have large powerful groups with good reason to be interested in researching the the mysteries of applied plebotinum & how it relates to the way that reality itself works. Players might know well & interact casually in day to day life with some of those powerful groups (ie the dragonmarked houses). The details behind exactly what theories they are researching & how those theories work there are less important than the fact that various even more powerful individuals & groups (ie Erandis Vol/ The Lords of Dust/The Dragons/etc) might have a vested interest in making sure that they figure things out, (never)prove, (never) disprove, (never )understand things in accordance with "The Prophecy". It doesn't matter what is being discussed/researched to know that Erandis, The Chamber, & a Lord of Dust have hired/sent groups A, B, & C (one of which is the players!) to help protect/disrupt/perform/etc that lecture/debate/experiment or whatever.

On top of those powers that be, there is also the potential of one Douse wanting the players to interfere/steal/hide research from another House because they are afraid it will cut into their own revenue stream. The house doing the research may or may not know that it is likely to result in something that would interfere with another house's revenue, those kinds of cool corporate espionage & sabotage are well understood & easily implemented by drawing from any number of fictional or real world examples.

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Re: Thought to Eberron's theory of everything?

Post by Beoric » Thu Feb 28, 2019 3:24 am

tetrasodium wrote:
Fri Feb 01, 2019 5:20 pm

It's already established that the individual moons are tied/influenced by the individual planes themselves.
Established but never developed in any way that was satisfactory to me, and I have never been able to divine a pattern of correspondences. I would be curious as to your theories.

It's also established that stuff like fernian dust/risian ice might be valid spell components & that planar shards are a thing in addition to dragonshards.
I don't remember seeing either of these, can you point me to them?

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Re: Thought to Eberron's theory of everything?

Post by tetrasodium » Fri Mar 01, 2019 6:25 pm

Beoric wrote:
Thu Feb 28, 2019 3:24 am
tetrasodium wrote:
Fri Feb 01, 2019 5:20 pm

It's already established that the individual moons are tied/influenced by the individual planes themselves.
Established but never developed in any way that was satisfactory to me, and I have never been able to divine a pattern of correspondences. I would be curious as to your theories.

It's also established that stuff like fernian dust/risian ice might be valid spell components & that planar shards are a thing in addition to dragonshards.
I don't remember seeing either of these, can you point me to them?
I honestly don't know on the moons being tied to planes & feel like we are going to need to wait for Keith to write his eventual planar sourcebook for more.

edit I spoke too soon. He talks about both here http://keith-baker.com/dragonmarks-planar-qa/

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