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Radio In Fantasy: A Homebrew exercise

DrakeRunnerDrakeRunner Registered User
edited December 2008 in Critical Failures
So I'm working on my latest setting(Low magic but high fantasy), /tg/, and I'm wanting to throw a bit of technology into the mess (I'm told the flavor I'm looking for is dieselpunk) and so my latest work has come to thinking about radio.

IMMEADIATE "REALISM" DISCLAIMER: Its not actually radio, its merely an excercise of a fictional set of physics, elements, and dimensional interactions that functions very similarly to radio. No telegraph, no TV, no reverse engineering, no electricity. This is an exercise in the introduction of radio, not of everything radio related.

I've handwaved it so that the radios are powered by a cheaply obtained/growable crystal. Transmitter power can be boosted by chaining together multiple crystals, but only up to a certain point before the transmitter blows, or worse. Operating a transmitter requires someone with specialized knowledge, and constant attention. In certain areas, improper operation of a radio can result in attacks from radio creatures, even.

Normally, "radio space" is full of Radio Elementals, which can normally only be observed by the static they create. A radio transmitter drives off Radio Elementals, which then allows clear and open space for transmissions. However, several things can draw Radio Elementals back into the "clear zone", such as combat and active magic, causing more static.

Also part of the "radio space" are Radio Eaters. Most normally viewed partially manifesting into our space via the appearance of will-o-wisp type phenomena near large broadcast antennas, the "domestic" Radio Eaters feed off of transmissions. While the domestic kind offer no danger, they may cause degredation in signal if they are not periodically removed. Far more dangerous are the radio eaters in outlying areas and areas without steady radio broadcasting, for these have a far less steady diet. Affected by hunter, rapid on/offing of a transmitter will cause them to manifest strongly and attack everything nearby. Their threat ranges, from significant in areas recently devoid of radio chatter, to weak in areas that rarely ever get any. Thus, radio outside of constant operation is generally a risky endeavor.

Due to the interference of radio elementals, this also makes it unweildly for military concerns. However, the adventuring community has found ample reason to utilize these devices. In addition to being able to have constant contact with a "base camp", there are a few magical devices that increase the utility of the communication. Charms that provide the surface with a view of whats going on, with upgrades that add magical enhancements, such as Darkvision, Detect Secret Doors, and other similar divinations. Also the Sensory Rod, which when wielded by a radio operator, transmits a plethora of data about where its being pointed (material, thickness, age, etc) to a set of runes which must then be deciphered to gain the knowledge

I was planning on 4 different classes of transmitter.
Large transmission station, the size of a large building with antenna tower, with an approximate range of about 30 miles. Found in cities and otherwise major locations.
Small transmission station, the size of a small building with antenna tower, with an approximate range of 15 miles. Found in towns and forts.
Wagon mounted model, with a portable antenna tower, broadcasting to a range of about 10 miles.
And then a backpack mounted model, like the first pic, with a range of 3-5 miles.

Transmitters more powerful than the 30-mile one are generally not made, as even temporarily boosting the power of the large ones tends to cause a breech, summoning radio-creatures into the world. Radio creatures are vague and insubstantial, looking like vaguely creature-shaped masses of visual static, producing sonic attacks constantly as they seem to go insane. Rumors abound of a transmission tower in the mountains that attempted to run at double power, but no one has been able to verify it.

Thats about all I've got without getting into crunch. What do you guys think so far?

Two cannibals are eating a clown. One turns to the other and says "This taste funny to you?"
DrakeRunner on


  • delrolanddelroland Registered User regular
    edited December 2008
    Sounds cool.

    The only concern I would bring up is if one of your players expresses interest in playing a "Radiomancer". Would this be a feat? A prestige class or paragon path? What kinds of powers would a Radiomancer have, that would both make sense within the context of the campaign and be fun to play?

    delroland on
    EVE: Online - the most fun you will ever have not playing a game.
    "Go up, thou bald head." -2 Kings 2:23
  • delrolanddelroland Registered User regular
    edited December 2008
    Oh, and you should design a "Plane of Radio" that high level adventurers might travel to/get sucked into. You could do some sort of static mechanic where the radio equipment creates a sort of safe-zone depending on its power in which the PC's must remain, else they suffer some ill effect.

    (Similar to the lantern in Final Fantasy: Crystal Chronicles.)

    delroland on
    EVE: Online - the most fun you will ever have not playing a game.
    "Go up, thou bald head." -2 Kings 2:23
  • DrakeRunnerDrakeRunner Registered User
    edited December 2008
    Well, I'm not sure if I'd go D&D with it. As I said, low magic, high fantasy. I've got a few ideas for a Radio Operator PrC though, but nothing that spectacular. As for the "Plane of Radio", I definitely want to keep it as a place that can only be interacted with at specific times, sort of like a 2-d plane compared to ours.

    DrakeRunner on
    Two cannibals are eating a clown. One turns to the other and says "This taste funny to you?"
  • KrataLightbladeKrataLightblade Registered User
    edited December 2008
    Personally I think the idea is fascinating and might make for some very interesting games.

    I can even see White-Noise style horror games being perfect for this setting.

    Please, keep us updated, I am looking forward to seeing more of this!

    KrataLightblade on
  • ExarchExarch Registered User regular
    edited December 2008
    Very cool. Sounds like you've got all your bases covered really, I don't see any glaring flaws or anything.

    I'm picturing now adventures based on espionage and sabotage. Dealing with an enemy adventuring organization would be tons of fun in that sort of setting. Catching brief snippets of enemy communications, hunting for clues to the great treasure so you can get to it before them, that sort of thing.

    Exarch on
    No gods or kings, only man.
    LoL: BunyipAristocrat
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