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Qadira

So I am leafing through the Bestiary 2 PDF, and I notice the monsters "Shantak", a sort of space horse that allows you to ride on it's back from planet to planet. supposedly, he is moving with "an incredible speed" - which allows it to cross distances between planets in the same Solar System in 3d20 hours...

So yeah, anyone who knows anything about actual distances between planets realises the the speeds mentioned are literally incredible - they can't possibly be true.
For example, the distance between Earth and Mars is never less than ~55 milliom killometers. in three travel days, that's a little more than 15 million killometers a day, which is roughly 600,000 killometers per hour. So Yeah.

Now, I know I can simply ignore this and say that it takes WWWAAAAYYYY longer than 3 days to travel between planets (the other option, saying "screw physics, that the horse CAN do the distance in 3 days or less, is unacceptable for me).

What I am actualy wondering about is what does this fact imply on the way real life science works in Pathfinder. Sure, you can cast magical fireballs at your enemies, but there is no actual scientific reason why "magic" is impossible, and so I assumed it exists in Golarion in addition to the actul laws of the universe as we know them. After all, humans still need to breathe, graity is certainly around, there are tides and currents and sunlight and all around the world works like we know it.

Is that true officialy? is that how most people play their game?


I typically imagine that at human-scale, things pretty much work as we're used to them, but out of human-scale, all bets are off. Atoms, as modern humans know them? Probably not. Speed of light? Could be instantaneous. The stars? Might be jewels set in a firmament. Modern science need not apply.


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The horse is magical, and magic allows those who use it to laugh in the face of science.

Qadira

TheWarriorPoet519 wrote:
The horse is magical, and magic allows those who use it to laugh in the face of science.

What I mean is, if gravity works even remotley like it does around here, than any 2 planets are going to be so far away that the speeds you will need to make such fast travel work are too absurdly great to be beliveable, even when there's magic around.

So are the planets very close in the golarion solar system? does gravity works diffently?


The horse is doing a mere 0.056% of the speed of light.

Sczarni

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber

Thats roughly the speed of teleport if you had enough wizards in the party to continually cast them...


So perhaps it moves by spamming teleports?


Bearded Ben wrote:
So perhaps it moves by spamming teleports?

Looking for a "why" is kindof a zero-sum game, I think. This is one of those things that works under the justification of "It just works, because it's magic. Physics is irrelevant where magic is concerned."

If you don't like that, it's probably easier to just not have it exist in your game, rather than try to bend your brain into a pretzel justifying how it scientifically functions.


It has a form of warp travel that is organic and magical.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

So there is a magical horse that lets you ride between planets and your complaint that it is not realistic because said horse is going way to fast?

Where exactly does Physics enter into this at all, the whole thing is so incredibly preposterous it is either excepted or not excepted. There is no way to justify it in the real world at all, do not bother trying.


TheWarriorPoet519 wrote:
Bearded Ben wrote:
So perhaps it moves by spamming teleports?
Looking for a "why" is kind of a zero-sum game, I think.

But a fun game for a SF geek.

TheWarriorPoet519 wrote:

This is one of those things that works under the justification of "It just works, because it's magic. Physics is irrelevant where magic is concerned."

If you don't like that, it's probably easier to just not have it exist in your game, rather than try to bend your brain into a pretzel justifying how it scientifically functions.

I concur.

Silver Crusade

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Tales Subscriber

Interplanetary Teleport allows instantaneous travel between planets. I am willing to accept the power of magic space horsey. Otherwise Dragons couldn't fly (look how much they weigh). Science and magic all take a backseat to an even greater power: the rules.


Shantak is creation of H. P. Lovercraft. While I don't recall if it could fly between planets in HPL works it certainly was ascribed such ability in later works (similar to Elder Things, Mi-Go, Byakhee and many other Mythos entities, of which at least some had such ability when appearing in HPL's original works).

We are speaking about entities whose existence works according to physics of higher order than mundane Terran or Golarion, many of which can bend time and space and have powerful innate magical or quasi-magical abilities.

Lord Snow wrote:
What I am actualy wondering about is what does this fact imply on the way real life science works in Pathfinder. Sure, you can cast magical fireballs at your enemies, but there is no actual scientific reason why "magic" is impossible, and so I assumed it exists in Golarion in addition to the actul laws of the universe as we know them. After all, humans still need to breathe, graity is certainly around, there are tides and currents and sunlight and all around the world works like we know it.

Eh. You admit that you accept magic working, so why such reaction in the earlier paragraphs? Starflight is explicitly magical ability after all.


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DM_aka_Dudemeister wrote:
Science and magic all take a backseat to an even greater power: the rules.

But the rules take a backseat to an even greater power: the GM.

Sczarni

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Wait, there is a horse that you can ride on through space and you are questioning the speed it travels at? The fact that can survive in space without protection isn't the big question?

Contributor

Basically physics works until magic needs it to fly out the window.

Dragons, even if they did not collapse of their own mass, would not be able to fly with their relatively dinky wings due to the square-cube law. However, we need dragons to fly anyway, so they do.

The magic horse that flies between planets? It works because we want it to work. On its flight, it might pass some little prince who's holding onto a bunch of birds tied to ribbons which is another established literary way to fly to other planets, or Dr. Doolitttle flying on a giant moon moth.

Do giant moon moths with interplanetary flying capabilities exist in Golarion? Not so far as I know, but if they did, it wouldn't be that surprising. There are giant spiders, so you might as well have giant moths, and letting them fly to the moon? It makes as much sense as anything.


Lord Snow wrote:


What I am actualy wondering about is what does this fact imply on the way real life science works in Pathfinder. Sure, you can cast magical fireballs at your enemies, but there is no actual scientific reason why "magic" is impossible, and so I assumed it exists in Golarion in addition to the actul laws of the universe as we know them. After all, humans still need to breathe, graity is certainly around, there are tides and currents and sunlight and all around the world works like we know it.

Is that true officialy? is that how most people play their game?

Just because everything looks mundane doesn't mean it is mundane. I run a homebrew. Up and down are fixed directions. The world is flat. You can fall off the edge. The stars are huge lamps on the inside of the heavenly shell surrounding the world (it keeps the air in). The planets are huge structures containing interplanar portals moving acrosss the inside of the heavenly shell. Everything is composed of the classic 4 elements along with Spirit in different proportions. People breathe because they need to replace the element of air in their bodies as it leaks out. Tides and currents exist due to the influence of the elemental planes, elemental creatures and the magic influence of the moon. Sunlight is given off by the palace of the Sun God as it transits around the shell of the heavans opposite the moon.

And it all looks quite normal on the surface and seems to function on a mundane mechanical level much like "real life". Until you look under the hood :)

Physics may "work" in Golarion, but there are obvious exceptions and a lot of variation for magic, etc. As others have pointed out Dragons shouldn't fly, for that matter, magic should't work etc. (the Laws of Physics preclude a lot of it). I purposfully took modern science out of my game. And it hasn't hurt one bit. Helps explain the peculiarities of D&D / PF physics and magic for that matter. Even if science is under the hood in Golarion that doesn't limit it with magic also in the mix.

If you want "realistic" physics and scientific, or pseudo scientififc, explanations for everything, try a science fiction RPG. I'd suggest Traveller, but I'm pretty old school :)


First of all -- SCIENCE!!

Secondly, I will hold my ire and contempt for this thread in long enough to just point out that nobody asks for details about how Jon Carter really gets to Mars, or whether men in giant bullets can be fired out of cannons to get to the moon, etc. Pseudo-scientific conceits abound in fantasy and its myriad bastard children, so I'm asking you nicely - seriously, do not make me tell you what I really think about this thread, or how I would like to shove my exploding head under your shirt before it detonates - to accept it and let it die, or just move on to a heavy science Sci-Fi game, and leave the actual fun to the rest of us.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

First of all -- SCIENCE!!
(Related: hail the Spoony one!)

Me, I always* figured that Carter used a poor-man's version of this spell, which, is alchemical in nature instead**, and only allows travel between two places on the same plane instead of two places on two different planes.

Reference men-in-bullets, it could always be a good ol' inertial compensator at work.

After all... science (fiction)?

* Not actually "always". Specifically only since I noticed D&D.
** Eh... well, that one only came about since the PF PG2.

Bruunwald!:
(Er, Bruunwald, in case it's unclear, because we've had problems communicating in the past, I'm actually agreeing with you, simply elaborating on your points. Effectively: yeah, this stuff is goofy, and so is that stuff, so, to MST3K it up in hear "It's just a show; I should really just relax." :D)

The point is, really, that yes it's more-than-kind of ridiculous that a magic "horsey" (which really doesn't look all that much like a horse) can travel excessively "fast".

For me and how I handle it, I simply take that as a fallacy of language, rather than an actual description. I'd suggest something like the Star Trek warp-style technology, or Star Wars hyper-drive style, similar to the use of the ethereal or shadow or astral planes: effectively, entering a different state of reality, albeit one that is more closely connected to local material reality than the ethereal, shadow, or the astral planes, and thus giving the appearance of shifting at unreasonable speeds (and thus generating unsustainable amounts of energy) but really not doing so.

Honestly, though, there's no bigger problem as far as this goes, than Time Stop. The reason is that, as described, Time Stop doesn't simply allow a person to take 2-5 times as many actions (which would still be ludicrous, but at least somewhat comprehensible, supposing it speeds up human mental process speeds), but actually speeds up the recipient so fast that time appears to be standing still, until you've had an amount of apparent time pass equal to what it would take for 2-5 times as many actions. That leads to completely insane ideas (although it fits with the idea of our really slow process time, as I noted above); plus, you know, you can't actually do something to harm other creatures or objects which also makes no sense in that theory.

Personally, reference Time Stop, I rule a couple of different ways, depending on the game, the world, or the situation: 1) that part of the problem with acting during that apparent time is simply that it's difficult to comprehend exactly what's going on, and that, being a mind-altering state that it is, it prohibits targeting creatures with effects (this is different from being a mind-affecting effect - it is mind-altering, not mind-affecting); or 2) that it actually does set you in an altered state and a slight, if mobile, side-pocket to reality where time is, for all intents and purposes, stopped, except for you, and thus can't be directly interacted with (and all your biological needs are sustained by the spell itself, which simply teleports gaseous atoms which would otherwise hinder or oppose you around you, as if you had moved through them. Either way explains why two Time Stops go off in succession (if, say, two mages cast it within the same time round) instead of all-at-once. (Although it could be a pretty epic duel if, for example, two mages both cast time stop, and were thrown into the altered state together.)

Anyway, I kind of rule on the Shantak that something similar is occurring - basically that it's in a constant, free-flowing Time Stop-like state, inhibiting all but move actions.

Aaaaaaaaand that's way too much talking to say: a lot of other people here have made great point already. :)

Qadira

CalebTGordan wrote:
Wait, there is a horse that you can ride on through space and you are questioning the speed it travels at? The fact that can survive in space without protection isn't the big question?

the text mentiones that the horse does have a magical protection that allows it to travel outer space (the text dosen't mention all of the hazards involved in that affair like radiation or pressure difference with vaccum, but that's just being nitpicky). That's cool. To all you people out there saying that dragons can fly even though they shouldn't be (it is also mentioned about dragons that their flight is powerd by magic and not aerodynamics - for reference see the seprentine, wingless true dragons from Tian Xia).

What bothered me about the magic horse from out space is that it's movement, while described as "incredibly fast", is still withing the laws of regular travel and it does not ivolve teleportation or anything like it - and the fact that the distance between planets should be too great to aloow that is simply shrugged off.

I know I can interpret the text anyway I'd like, and just rule that either it takes MUCH more time to cross the distance or the horse is using teleportation, but this is not about how I can fix the problem in my own game - it's about trying to understand where the "official" Golarion stands about the matter. Does gravity work diffrently? other than the existance of magic (which I can accept doing anything, really), are the laws of that universe fundamentaly similar to ours?

[qoute=Bruunwald said]
I will hold my ire and contempt for this thread in long enough to just point out that nobody asks for details about how Jon Carter really gets to Mars, or whether men in giant bullets can be fired out of cannons to get to the moon, etc. Pseudo-scientific conceits abound in fantasy and its myriad bastard children, so I'm asking you nicely - seriously, do not make me tell you what I really think about this thread, or how I would like to shove my exploding head under your shirt before it detonates - to accept it and let it die, or just move on to a heavy science Sci-Fi game, and leave the actual fun to the rest of us.[/qoute]

Hey, pal, not trying to offand you or anything, drop the aggresive attitude please. Just so happens that certain details that I find important are not important to you (or even annoy you). When I am introduced to a new world I like to figure out how it works, and I am currently confused about Golarion. I can't honetsly justify falling damage in my games or honetsly disallow flying, if I have no clue what the laws of physics are supposed to be. I get that you disagree, that is a matter of opinion and style. No reason to fuss.

Paizo Employee Editor

One of my favorite editing moments was fact-checking a claim that while you're invisible, lasers can't affect you. I went a little cross-eyed listening to a physicist friend's explanation, but he ruled it legit. Science IS magical!

Paizo Employee Senior Editor/Fiction Editor

Actually, there was a big discussion over the shantak and similar space-traveling creatures presented in Distant Worlds. As somebody who adores science in gaming, I really wanted interstellar travel to take a long time. Yet some other folks felt that anything approaching realistic timeframes--even magicked-up ones--would make adventuring on other worlds too difficult and prevent people from feeling like they could use other worlds in their game. (After all, most parties don't want to follow the bad guy to another planet if it means all their friends will be old or dead when they return, etc.)

Ultimately, we decided that fun and utility were more important than indulging our love of armchair physics. But if your group is down with making those interplanetary travel times more realistic, I highly encourage it!


Sooo... Where did I put that acceleration to travel times table...

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber
Lord Snow wrote:

So I am leafing through the Bestiary 2 PDF, and I notice the monsters "Shantak", a sort of space horse that allows you to ride on it's back from planet to planet. supposedly, he is moving with "an incredible speed" - which allows it to cross distances between planets in the same Solar System in 3d20 hours...

So yeah, anyone who knows anything about actual distances between planets realises the the speeds mentioned are literally incredible - they can't possibly be true.
For example, the distance between Earth and Mars is never less than ~55 milliom killometers. in three travel days, that's a little more than 15 million killometers a day, which is roughly 600,000 killometers per hour. So Yeah.

Now, I know I can simply ignore this and say that it takes WWWAAAAYYYY longer than 3 days to travel between planets (the other option, saying "screw physics, that the horse CAN do the distance in 3 days or less, is unacceptable for me).

What I am actualy wondering about is what does this fact imply on the way real life science works in Pathfinder. Sure, you can cast magical fireballs at your enemies, but there is no actual scientific reason why "magic" is impossible, and so I assumed it exists in Golarion in addition to the actul laws of the universe as we know them. After all, humans still need to breathe, graity is certainly around, there are tides and currents and sunlight and all around the world works like we know it.

Is that true officialy? is that how most people play their game?

Most people who play the game recognise that this is a FANTASY game. In the real world, creatures as big as Dragons can't fly, the Tarrasque would cave in on itself, and so on and so on. So you're going to say that you have absolutely no problem with these things and magic spells but are throwing a conniption fit over the speed of a space horse?

Let me tell you a big secret. Most so-called science fiction shows and RPGs play loose with real distances just as much. You'd realize that Star Trek's Warp Factors make absolutely no sense if you took their context literally. But this is fantasy and so the game uses fantasy motifs, not scientific ones, because they fit with the flavor of the game.

You probably enjoyed Star Wars when you first went to see it. Maybe it's because unknowingly, you took Issac Asimov's advice. "Park the science brain outside and enjoy the movie."

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber
Judy Bauer wrote:
One of my favorite editing moments was fact-checking a claim that while you're invisible, lasers can't affect you. I went a little cross-eyed listening to a physicist friend's explanation, but he ruled it legit. Science IS magical!

Depends on the nature of invisibility, if you're literally bending light around then yes, you're immune to lasers... (unless they're strong enough to resist your light bending field)

However if your invisibility is that of the Shadow's, you'd have a problem but no one would be aiming at you anyway. :)

Qadira

LazarX wrote:
Lord Snow wrote:

So I am leafing through the Bestiary 2 PDF, and I notice the monsters "Shantak", a sort of space horse that allows you to ride on it's back from planet to planet. supposedly, he is moving with "an incredible speed" - which allows it to cross distances between planets in the same Solar System in 3d20 hours...

So yeah, anyone who knows anything about actual distances between planets realises the the speeds mentioned are literally incredible - they can't possibly be true.
For example, the distance between Earth and Mars is never less than ~55 milliom killometers. in three travel days, that's a little more than 15 million killometers a day, which is roughly 600,000 killometers per hour. So Yeah.

Now, I know I can simply ignore this and say that it takes WWWAAAAYYYY longer than 3 days to travel between planets (the other option, saying "screw physics, that the horse CAN do the distance in 3 days or less, is unacceptable for me).

What I am actualy wondering about is what does this fact imply on the way real life science works in Pathfinder. Sure, you can cast magical fireballs at your enemies, but there is no actual scientific reason why "magic" is impossible, and so I assumed it exists in Golarion in addition to the actul laws of the universe as we know them. After all, humans still need to breathe, graity is certainly around, there are tides and currents and sunlight and all around the world works like we know it.

Is that true officialy? is that how most people play their game?

Most people who play the game recognise that this is a FANTASY game. In the real world, creatures as big as Dragons can't fly, the Tarrasque would cave in on itself, and so on and so on. So you're going to say that you have absolutely no problem with these things and magic spells but are throwing a conniption fit over the speed of a space horse?

Let me tell you a big secret. Most so-called science fiction shows and RPGs play loose with real distances just as much. You'd realize...

This is where I point you to my previous post in this thread (just scroll up until you see another post by me) where I explain in some more detial why I care about the scientific aspect of the game. The geist of it though: for me, fantasy is about changing something (like adding magic) to our reality and seeing how it affects humans. That means that most other things have to stay the same to make it more "real" for me.

Also, for like the 10th time in this thread, dragons fly with MAGIC, not their WINGS. I can accept that magic allows people to do things they normaly couldn't, what botherred me here was that no magic was involved with how absurdly fast the space horses have to be in order to actualy travel between stars.


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Lord Snow wrote:
what botherred me here was that no magic was involved with how absurdly fast the space horses have to be in order to actualy travel between stars.

...

Did you bothered to read the creature's description before you started this thread? Because the whole premise of this thread is false: Shantak's Starflight is supernatural ability.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber
Lord Snow wrote:
This is where I point you to my previous post in this thread (just scroll up until you see another post by me) where I explain in some more detial why I care about the scientific aspect of the game. The geist of it though: for me, fantasy is about changing something (like adding magic) to our reality and seeing how it affects humans. That means that most other things have to stay the same to make it more "real" for me.

That's not really how fantasy worlds are built. They're not real worlds plus a bit of magic "extra" They are worlds built from fantasy and/or midieval concepts of the world works save that the latter are true. The world can indeed be flat, and/or perched on four elephants riding a giant turtle. You might have 10 worlds in a solar system and they are ALL within the habitable range for humans.

If you want the best example of how the world is described in terms of such, pick up and read Ars Magica.


the shantak probably travels by fast mounting and dismounting over a row of its kin using ride skill checks. The reason why it does not arrive instantly is that every now and then it fails a check slowing it down by a move action.

Andoran

As mentioned before, Shantaks belong to Lovecraft and his circle, who imagined all sort of creatures capable of "flying" across the vast distances between stars. These were based on the kind of vague science ("Aetherial Winds", or somesuch) that probably didn't even make sense in the early 20th century, but which pulp magazine readers of the time were willing to accept. It really comes down to how far your suspension of disbelief can stretch.

Qadira

Drejk wrote:
Lord Snow wrote:
what botherred me here was that no magic was involved with how absurdly fast the space horses have to be in order to actualy travel between stars.

...

Did you bothered to read the creature's description before you started this thread? Because the whole premise of this thread is false: Shantak's Starflight is supernatural ability.

Well, duh. Do you know how many supernatural things have to open to allow any creature to navigate outer space? it needs to be able to push itself somehow and change direction even when there's no solid surface around, it needs to resist incredible amounts of radiation, pressure, and near 0 kelvin temperature, and that's before we even ask how in god's name can it reach escape velocity and pull out from a planet's gravity field. I can accept that it does all those things because it is magical.

My problem is very, VERY specific - the issue of distance between stars. Since you'll have to really stretch your imagination to interpret the text as written to mean that the horse can move hundreds of thousands of killometers per hour, it is implied that the distance between stars is very small.

let me put that in bold: I am not troubled that the horse can fly, I am troubled that the traveling time of it's travel between planets means that planets are very very close, in a way that just wouldn't be allowed by the laws of gravity

Qadira

James Sutter wrote:

Actually, there was a big discussion over the shantak and similar space-traveling creatures presented in Distant Worlds. As somebody who adores science in gaming, I really wanted interstellar travel to take a long time. Yet some other folks felt that anything approaching realistic timeframes--even magicked-up ones--would make adventuring on other worlds too difficult and prevent people from feeling like they could use other worlds in their game. (After all, most parties don't want to follow the bad guy to another planet if it means all their friends will be old or dead when they return, etc.)

Ultimately, we decided that fun and utility were more important than indulging our love of armchair physics. But if your group is down with making those interplanetary travel times more realistic, I highly encourage it!

ah, somehow missed this before. Thanks for the comment, Mr. Sutter! I take what you said to mean that officialy, planets in Golarion ARE absurdly close... but as you said, I intend to change that in my home campign (if that ever comes up :P). I suppose that the fact that you people were awere that you were ignoring something in order to make the game better makes it easier for me to accept the entire thing.

Ah well.


I take what he said to mean that officially, the Shantak IS that fast. It's like the Enterprise - sub-light inside a star system, high warp in interstellar space, Einstein be d---'d, we travel at the speed of plot.


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Lord Snow wrote:


let me put that in bold: I am not troubled that the horse can fly, I am troubled that the traveling time of it's travel between planets means that planets are very very close, in a way that just wouldn't be allowed by the laws of gravity

So, assume the Shantak's interplanetary / interstellar speed is the result of it travelling in a dimension where the universe is smaller. He takes off, pops into his alternate dimension, travels the shorter distance, pops out at the congruent point of his destination and lands. Hyperdrive for horses. Who knew? :D

Science fiction explanation for a fantasy power.


And why do people keep forgetting that in a world like Golarion, magic itself is technically a field of science in and of itself?

Our rules need not apply to whatever planet you are in, you poor uneducated aliens. Hopefully you'll learn this sooner than later.


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Lord Snow wrote:
let me put that in bold: I am not troubled that the horse can fly, I am troubled that the traveling time of it's travel between planets means that planets are very very close, in a way that just wouldn't be allowed by the laws of gravity

Which law of gravity exactly is violated in your opinion? Have you gone through the numbers?

Let's see:

Assumption: shantak's magical starflight allows it to reach significant fraction of light speed during interplanetary flights (interstellar flight times require exceeding light of speed by many orders of magnitude).

It takes 3d20 hours of travel for shantak to reach other planets - a random roll probably used to avoid keeping track of planets' mutual positions (it.s not Traveller after all) and changes of the flight course and not a sign that the shantak's speed is highly variable.

1 AU is about eight light minutes. Which means that during one hour light passes ca. 7.5 AU. Farthest described object in Distant Worlds is Aucturn with 500 years orbital period, which is close to Sol's own Eris with 560 year orbital period. Eris has aphelion of ca. 98 AU (twice the aphelion of Pluto). Light needs whole 13-1/3 hour to travel from Sun to that dwarf planet when it is far away from Sun. When it is at it's closest it's less than six hours.

If shantak reaches an average speed of 0.33 c (a safe speed where relativistic effects are minor) it's maximum flight time of 60 hours means traveling up to 20 light hours. Enough to traverse between outer planets in Solar system, even when they are at opposite sides of the Sun.

So no 'law of gravity' was harmed during the creation of this monster.

Spoiler:
Also, recent astronomical discoveries show us planetary systems that appear to be much more dense closer to the primary star than Solar system. Obviously planets so close to the star are not suitable for Earth-like life but it clearly shows that 'laws of gravity' do not prevent existence of closely places planets.

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber

I don't think I could have watched "Second Earth" with any of you lot. You'd all be screaming at the impossibility of the physics while ignoring the fact that it was a deliberate and neccessary choice for the mood of the story.

You'd have all trashed a thoughtful, soulful, and original movie for the most petty of reasons.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

re: the Lovecraftian origins of the beastie, recall that several Cthulhu mythos stories involve spatial distortion of some manner (The Dreams in the Witch House, The Hounds of Tindalos).

I'd assume the Shantak is warping space, myself. Which is functionally identical to just being really fast.

Paizo Employee Senior Editor/Fiction Editor

Bearded Ben wrote:
I take what he said to mean that officially, the Shantak IS that fast. It's like the Enterprise - sub-light inside a star system, high warp in interstellar space, Einstein be d---'d, we travel at the speed of plot.

Ben is right--the planets in the solar system are set up in as much accordance with physics as we were able to muster, and should be pretty close to feasible. So they are indeed very far apart--it's the shantak that's moving very quickly.

Qadira

James Sutter wrote:
Bearded Ben wrote:
I take what he said to mean that officially, the Shantak IS that fast. It's like the Enterprise - sub-light inside a star system, high warp in interstellar space, Einstein be d---'d, we travel at the speed of plot.
Ben is right--the planets in the solar system are set up in as much accordance with physics as we were able to muster, and should be pretty close to feasible. So they are indeed very far apart--it's the shantak that's moving very quickly.

As was demonstrated in Drejk's post above, that speed will have to be a noteable fraction of the speed of light.... say, 100 killometers per SECOND. That is very, very fast. sep. given that the creature's normal flight speed is 70 ft. per 6 seconds... which is like not moving at all compared to the speed of it's interplantery movment.

But alas, this will suffice, I will take "The Shantak is unimaginably fast" as an answear and will multiplay it's travel times in my campaign by a factor of 10 :)

Taldor

Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Tales Subscriber

Screw science, Art!

Now stop arguing, grab your vorpal sword and help me take down this hydra!


Lord Snow wrote:
James Sutter wrote:
Bearded Ben wrote:
I take what he said to mean that officially, the Shantak IS that fast. It's like the Enterprise - sub-light inside a star system, high warp in interstellar space, Einstein be d---'d, we travel at the speed of plot.
Ben is right--the planets in the solar system are set up in as much accordance with physics as we were able to muster, and should be pretty close to feasible. So they are indeed very far apart--it's the shantak that's moving very quickly.

As was demonstrated in Drejk's post above, that speed will have to be a noteable fraction of the speed of light.... say, 100 killometers per SECOND. That is very, very fast. sep. given that the creature's normal flight speed is 70 ft. per 6 seconds... which is like not moving at all compared to the speed of it's interplantery movment.

But alas, this will suffice, I will take "The Shantak is unimaginably fast" as an answear and will multiplay it's travel times in my campaign by a factor of 10 :)

It's a different mode of movement. To compare it to the Enterprise again, its fly speed is its impulse drive, while its interplanetary travel ability is its warp drive. It doesn't just fly a lot faster but actually moves with a different principle.


Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

The magic space horse has an organ, thought to be a mutation of the adrenal gland found in normal mammals, that allows it to alter subspace, traveling at incredible speeds via a technique that will one day be known as asymmetrical peristaltic field manipulation. The field it generates covers the magic space horse as well as any passengers. An interesting, but little understood, by-product of subspace field manipulation is the conversion of carbon dioxide into oxygen and little sticks of charcoal...which magical space horse passengers find useful when filling out crosswords in the in-flight magazine. Problem solved.
M

Edit: Obviously this is tongue-in-cheek. Really? You have a problem with a magical space horse traveling at pretty fast but technologically achievable speeds but not with the fact that magic as presented in Pathfinder rolls up the laws of thermodynamics into a tight spill and uses it to light on fire a house-sized pile textbooks on everything from biology to economics? :)

Silver Crusade

Perhaps the horse just moves between dimensions.


This strikes me as an example of where you realize that the world modeled by the rules does not genereally hold up to close examination from a scientific / naturalist examination and you can't use real world physics or principles to extrapolate how things will behave in the game world. It can break you sense of disbelief depending on how cognizant you are of the subject in question, but it's one of the things you have to deal with when reading fantasy literature - most writers just give lip-service to the how and hope you don't notice the contradictions, if they are even aware of them themselves.

For a good example of this, take a look at how most fantasy and sci-fi deal with distances or the size of planets. For many, a planet is basically just one city, and populations are frequently of sizes that don't work when you consider how things work in the real world.

So, basically what I'm saying is that for the super-fast space horse, you might want to house-rule a "how" if it bothers you and your palyers and allow them to interact with the house rule where appropriate.

Otherwise, if you start trying to apply real-world physics to the game, you run into the situation where mage's hand can be used to stop blood flow or be used to break necks.

Silver Crusade

Caedwyr wrote:

This strikes me as an example of where you realize that the world modeled by the rules does not genereally hold up to close examination from a scientific / naturalist examination and you can't use real world physics or principles to extrapolate how things will behave in the game world. It can break you sense of disbelief depending on how cognizant you are of the subject in question, but it's one of the things you have to deal with when reading fantasy literature - most writers just give lip-service to the how and hope you don't notice the contradictions, if they are even aware of them themselves.

For a good example of this, take a look at how most fantasy and sci-fi deal with distances or the size of planets. For many, a planet is basically just one city, and populations are frequently of sizes that don't work when you consider how things work in the real world.

So, basically what I'm saying is that for the super-fast space horse, you might want to house-rule a "how" if it bothers you and your palyers and allow them to interact with the house rule where appropriate.

Otherwise, if you start trying to apply real-world physics to the game, you run into the situation where mage's hand can be used to stop blood flow or be used to break necks.

Which is something I don't know how to deal with the backlash once a Player decides to use mage hand to break necks.

Contributor

With the super-fast space horse, it should be noted that people flying it don't suffer from explosive decompression, freezing to death in the cold of the void, or all sorts of other unpleasant things that would happen in real space. You then assume that either the horse has some magical ability that keeps it from suffering explosive decompression and it extends this benefit to its passenger (nice horsey!) or else you go with the alternate assumption that space in Golarion is not like space in reality, and instead of inhospitable freezing vacuum, there's instead nice friendly ether suitable for sustaining life in little princes hitching a ride with birds, giant moon moths, and interstellar space horseys.

As for mage hand, just apply basic logic and metaphysics. It's an invisible hand which is fairly weak and can lift an object weighing five pounds or less. It could conceivably snap a neck assuming you've got an incredibly weak neck, but with most necks, no. Stopping blood flow? Why not? If someone is bleeding and placing five pounds of pressure on the wound can stop the blood flow, it should stop the blood flow. You don't get to manifest the hand internally unless you have a way to put a hand in. Consider the size and shape of the mage hand to be identical to the mage's own hand and the tasks it can do similarly identical with a few notable benefits. A mage hand can pick up a live coal without being burned. A mage hand can remove a small object from a pool of acid likewise without being burned. A mage hand can swat a fly without becoming infected with whatever unspeakable cooties the fly is carrying.

Taldor

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Verisimilitude is important to me. I'd go with the wormhole/subspace option as well. It keeps the horse unique and prevents the PCs from creating a ship that travels as fast as a space horse. It's not a question of "how fast" but "where" the horse travels.

One other thing - if you want just make it fast, nobody says speed or acceleration have to be linear. Maybe it spends the first week and a half accelerating and it doesn't cover much distance. Then, when it hits top speed and - ZOOM - it crosses interplanetary distances in seconds, and then it takes a few days to decelerate again. Or maybe its super speed only works outside the gravity of planets, again, keeping anyone for using it for short distances. Either of these would keep short distances within normal scale of travel time, but "infinite" distances would be crossable.

Air in space is fine if you want a boats-in-space Treasure Planet feel. But if you want vacuum, drop the part about the horse creating an air field and make the PCs cast spells or research a magic item to not explode in space.


The point I was making with Mage Hand, is that if you think hard you can do all sorts of horribly broken things with it (applying 5 lbs of pressure to the external carotid artery, apply 5 lbs of pressure at just the right point on someone's neck, give them an extra push to unblance them and cause them to topple off a cliff or down a flight of stairs, apply 5 lbs of pressure to a target's eyes, etc.) Once you go down that path of having real-world physics interact with the game you'll quickly realize that the similarity between the game-rule physics (the rules by which things happen and interact in the world) and real-world physics is almost entirely coincidental and that real-world considerations only apply on a superficial level.

I'm sure that if you looked at how most areas of the rules work, with some knowledge of how the field the rules are meant to model works in the real-world, you could come up with all sorts of other problems.

Contributor

Caedwyr wrote:

The point I was making with Mage Hand, is that if you think hard you can do all sorts of horribly broken things with it (applying 5 lbs of pressure to the external carotid artery, apply 5 lbs of pressure at just the right point on someone's neck, give them an extra push to unblance them and cause them to topple off a cliff or down a flight of stairs, apply 5 lbs of pressure to a target's eyes, etc.) Once you go down that path of having real-world physics interact with the game you'll quickly realize that the similarity between the game-rule physics (the rules by which things happen and interact in the world) and real-world physics is almost entirely coincidental and that real-world considerations only apply on a superficial level.

I'm sure that if you looked at how most areas of the rules work, with some knowledge of how the field the rules are meant to model works in the real-world, you could come up with all sorts of other problems.

Well, part of the trouble is that the game rules don't model real world physics very well when you start thinking about it. There aren't really mechanics for called shots, even though, reasonably, if you forgot about mage hand entirely and just had the wizard walk up invisible and push someone down the stairs or poke two fingers in their eyes Three Stooges style, it should be able to to happen. The question is, can it? The wizard's opponent can't see him so so the wizard should be able to walk over, position his splayed fingers mere inches from the opponent's eyes, then jab them in. Of course, if he can stick a finger in someone's eye like that, why not a dagger? And if the wizard can do that invisibly, why not do the same thing with an invisible hand too?

Or the same scenario with darkness and darkvision. The wizard is stumbling around in the dark. Why can't the drow priestess walk up to the effectively blind guy and poke a finger in his eye? It's not like his eyes are helping at the moment anyway.

Once you answer those questions, it's easier to figure out what mage hand can and can't do.

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