So I was talking with my daughter (18) the other day about a panel she had sat in on at the last ComicCon that featured among others Brandon Mull, Brandon Sanderson, Margaret Weis, and Tracy Hickman. The panel talked about world building and specifically about magical effects. The point the panel was making was that you need to think really hard about giving your characters (whether in a story or a game) a specific power or ability to allow them to solve a situation. You have to consider the ramifications of introducing that power or ability into the world. Because if they have it, you can pretty much be sure the bad guys have it too. And as she pointed it, the bad guys are probably better with it or have a more powerful version.
This got us on to the general topic of ramifications of powers or technology in a setting and we started talking about artificial gravity and how often the ramifications of such technology isn’t always thought out. I’m not going to go into that here, that’s possibly a post for another day. What I do want to talk about is the great little artificial gravity trap/defensive measure she dreamed up.
If you want to keep someone out of an area (or trapped inside an area) and have technology that can create artificial gravity, just dial it up in the area by the entrance, say to 100g or higher. Anyone or anything entering that area will be squished flat. It creates an instant “no cross” zone.
This could be an anteroom that serves as the entrance to a high security area. Present the correct credentials, the gravity is reduced to normal. Otherwise entering the room is instant death. A variation on this is to have the room normal until some sort of alarm goes off and then have the gravity dialed up. If you only want to trap people and don’t want to absolutely prevent entrance no matter what or who, just set the gravity to 5 or 6 times normal. They’ll collapse to the floor but probably won’t die. You could get around this by blasting your way through walls but that kind of gives your intentions away.
This could also be used as a general perimeter defense as well. Set of a ring of the gravity generating system around your complex and crank up the power. Put as much or little warning information as you want. Any wildlife will quickly learn to avoid the area (you might have some messy cleanups the first few weeks) and any intruders, be they on foot or in vehicles, will be stuck. (You’ll have to use higher gravities to stop the vehicles themselves but the occupants won’t make it.) Plus no one will get out.
If you have a setting with artificial gravity, what’s preventing this type of system from being used. Do you understand your setting well enough to explain why or why not? Have you even thought about it? What other technologies or powers are in your game that could be used in ways you haven’t considered?
Categorised as: World Building