Saturday, March 2, 2019

Alter Time rune and Epoch Engine

The world of Runehack has got two runes that mirror each other in an interesting way - Detection and Illusion. For every visual illusion such as a chair, there is some rune to detect it. For every sound produced by a rune, there is also a rune to detect it. This goes for all senses. But... does this work for the time too? How would that look? After all, time depends heavily on how you sense it. Time seems to flow super slow while in a doctor's waiting room, and super fast when you're having a blast. Time itself doesn't change though, your perception does. And you can definitely set up a rune to activate when the detection rune detects that five minutes have passed since activation.

Alter Time

Illusions of time are about as complicated to fully comprehend as the majority of uses for Encryption rune. What would that even mean? Could you travel in time? Well yes, but actually not really. The truth is, all of us are time travelers, traveling through time at the rate of 1 sps, one second per second.

The rune scheme called "Alter Time" lets us change this rate. At its simplest form, you need to spend one hour in drawing this complex rune. Doing so will seemingly slow everything around you down to go two times slower for one minute. Your rate of traveling through time is 2 sps. The rune can also be drawn in an exactly opposite way, letting you experience 0.5 sps, seemingly making everything around you two times as fast.

As soon as the spell stops working, your body reacts to being forced to move at the speed unusual to you as your muscles stiffen. In D&D terms, think of this as a reduction to the Dexterity score.

Question is - can we cast this spell so that we get higher or lower rates? Of course we can! But that also comes at a cost. For every added second (or smaller fraction), the length of time needed to draw this rune is multiplied by 10. So for 3 sps (or 1/3 sps), you need 10 hours, 100 hours for 4 sps, 1000 hours for 5 sps. As you can imagine, slowing time beyond 8 sps is not humanly possible (though let's admit it, it would be really cool). Especially since these runes have to be drawn continuously - you can't take breaks from magic. But... humanity is crafty, it keeps coming up with ways to break the world at all times.

Epoch Engine

Cabal Neuron, one of the organizations that rule the world of Runehack, and the largest producer of autonomous devices such as driverless vehicles and runebots, also creates special runebots named Epoch Engine. When an Epoch Engine unit is built, the first task it gets is to move into a specific area within the building and start drawing a rune of time illusion. This rune is drawn for anywhere from 3 days to even as much as 114 years.

May or may not come preprogrammed with the 3 Laws of Asimov? Actually, they'd be detrimental to their job, so probably not.
Robot Head 112417, by Aaron de Leon

The Epoch Engine units are afterward rented out to important people when they are about to find themselves in extremely important or dangerous situations where they can't afford a failure. The price depends on the size of its inscribed time rune. When something goes awry, an Epoch Engine unit will activate its spell, and do everything it can within the next minute to protect the person it was hired to protect. Due to it perceiving time at 5-8 sps, it is much faster and much more capable of preventing threats, and thus it makes for an effective bodyguard. Sure the attackers who put this important person in danger could expect that, but the VIP can always just rent more of these robots. Once its job is done, it is moved back to the Cabal Neuron facility, where it rests, and draws the time rune once more to be ready for the future.

Runehack now has robots that can be hired to protect a person by slowing their perception of outside time. That's pretty cool. I wonder what'll come next. Thank you for reading, and have a nice day!

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