Wednesday, 13 April 2016

A Mote In The Oort Cloud

Issue 2 of A Random Encounter is almost ready, but that's not what I want to talk about today!

What do I want to talk about? I suppose the clearest way to put it is words, words and terms. I'm picking up the threads of Into The Oort to take it further, hopefully towards a playtest bundle that people can try in the next month or so. In my day job, one of the workshops I deliver has a bit about the words that people use, how using certain words influences how people think about the topic at hand. The session is about exam preparation, and very often people frame discussion of the exam as "surviving" it - which reinforces negative associations with the event.

One of the last posts that I wrote about Into The Oort was on hexes and distances. When you run the calculations, the region of space that Into The Oort takes place in has around 500 billion hexes, each of which is a vast volume that could comfortably fit the inner solar system in it. Don't worry: Into The Oort is not going to come with a 500 billion hex campaign document! Despite the incredible size of things, these hexes are themselves tiny compared to the total volume of the Oort Cloud...

A word that I've had in mind for a while is the word mote, and as Google helpfully points out this means "a tiny piece of substance; a speck". That's what a hex in the Oort Cloud is, it's a speck, a tiny thing in the vast cosmic perspective.

While I expect that players and GMs will refer to them as hexes, and while I will have hex-shaped divisions on maps in the playtest and in the book, my thought for now is that I will refer to them as motes throughout the book. Because that's what the people living in the Oort Cloud call them, a permanent reminder that they are utterly tiny against the backdrop of the universe.

This isn't the only example I have in mind, but it is the one that I'm closest to a decision on. Aside from posts about A Random Encounter in the near future, I'll try and make some of my thoughts about Into The Oort more concrete by posting them here. If you've got any questions about it then drop me a line and I'll see if I can answer them!

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