This is Not a Dream

Friday, November 18, 2016

The end of 2016 is proving to be an exciting and incredibly busy time around the office! The Starfinder team is chipping away at the process of filling the gaps in our grand science fantasy plans and working with our playtesters. More and more bits of truly stunning artwork are trickling in, and it's starting to feel like this is all really happening now! Yesterday Polygon released an exclusive article, and since I've taken over the blog for today, it's about time we show off some places and a new iconic character here. Meet Navasi, an iconic Envoy!


Illustration by Remko Troost
The envoy is a class dedicated to aiding and manipulating others. They are giving orders and encouragement that help your allies do better, while taunting and demoralizing your opponents. Envoys are naturally charismatic leaders and smooth-talkers, ranging from celebrities and starship captains to con artists and cult leaders. Lando Calrissian, General Leia Organa, Ruby Rhod and Inara Serra would all be envoys. And as you can see, Navasi and Lando would definitely appreciate each other's taste in clothes.

Earlier this year we revealed a preview of Absalom Station on the main Starfinder page, and the final illustration is even more fantastic! Akiton and Eox are new planetary locations, seen below, and were also shown off in the article.


Illustration by Leon Tukker


Illustrations by Sebastien Hue and Leon Tukker

Keep an eye out for more Starfinder news as we get closer to it's launch next August!

Chris Lambertz
Community & Digital Content Director

More Paizo Blog.
Tags: Iconics Leon Tukker Navasi Remko Troost Sebastien Hue Starfinder
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{from inside VCD} Underestimated from day one. You'd never think I was a master of the universe, now would ya? {smiles evilly, practices tango steps} Whoo-ah!


James Sutter wrote:
The planar ripping is proportional, and depends on how far you're going. Short jumps don't do much of anything, it's only when you're going across huge stretches of the galaxy that it's a problem. (And as folks say, it allows for Event Horizon-style adventures.) Remember, the planes are infinite—I suspect a lot of people in-world aren't going to worry overmuch about stealing small amounts from an infinite (and thus renewable?) resource, in the same way that most of us still drive cars despite knowing exhaust is bad for the atmosphere. Some folks may indeed object strenuously, and that creates fun stories, but since we know how our own society deals with resources held in common (i.e. tragically), I'm not super worried about everyone deciding to stay home. But it's certainly something to think about, so I'm glad folks said something!

If that's how it works, then I'd say starting a Drift too close to a star [positive energy gateway], say within the corona, could rip away a piece of the positive energy plane; stray too close to a neutron star, magnetar, quark or strange star, and you rip off a piece of the ethereal or dream plane; too close to a black hole and you rip off a piece of the negative energy plane.


Maybe FTL drives are powered by outsider spirit energy, that's how Drifting works. Your ship gates to a random outer plane, hoovers up some random outsiders (lemures and dretches preferred) and processes their ki into a special fuel that allows your ship to punch into hyperspace and stay there as long as needed to reach your destination.

Occasionally your starship's spirit-sucker glitches, or some would-be fiend fuel had an anti-hoover shield, or they just happened to be protected by a circumstantial defense, and all that happened was they got sucked into hyperspace or realspace, and are none the worse for wear other than a few flesh wounds. And they're very, very mad.

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Card Game, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Society Subscriber

Can we not turn the Drift into a verb? You jump into or through the Drift. Drifting through space is something else entirely.

I think of the Drift as existing "outside" the Outer Planes. So to get to it, you have to "punch through" Heaven or Hell or whatever, taking pieces of the planes you go through with in the process. The further you are going, the more "punch" you need, and the more of the Outer plane you take with you.


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Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Personally would prefer it more as a 'mishap' sort of thing (hyperspace malfunctions/warp drive errors in Star Wars/Star Trek come to mind) than "THIS IS A THING THAT ALWAYS HAPPENS AND DESTROYS THE MULTIVERSE!"

The first one is a 'whups, yeah, that's bad'. The second is an exceptionally DEPRESSING approach.

Sovereign Court

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Pathfinder Card Game, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Society Subscriber

Groetus teaches that the heat death of the multiverse is inevitable and nigh. Adding entropy to the system doesn't necessarily mean the same thing as destroying it.


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Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I'm one of those weird people that tries to take at least some consideration for the environment in daily doings.

The idea of being an environmental despoiler (even in an RPG) for nothing more than 'a quick ride to Plot Point X' makes me a bit uneasy.

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Card Game, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Society Subscriber

I see the parallel. Jumping around is like driving your average combustion driven automobile. Big jumps are more akin to air travel or even space launches. Every lot bit adds carbon.

I guess the trick for conscientious star finders will be to offset their travel by successfully achieving meaningful plot points that further understanding of the Gap or the nature of the multiverse.


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Wei Ji the Learner wrote:


I'm one of those weird people that tries to take at least some consideration for the environment in daily doings.

The idea of being an environmental despoiler (even in an RPG) for nothing more than 'a quick ride to Plot Point X' makes me a bit uneasy.

I like it. Reminds me of defilers in dark sun.

Owner - House of Books and Games LLC

Eox. I say we nuke it from orbit. Only way to be sure.


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gbonehead wrote:
Eox. I say we nuke it from orbit. Only way to be sure.

No, nuking it from orbit is not a way to be sure. You've got your incorporeal undead, your subterranean undead, your fire-immune undead (the radiation isn't going to hurt them), your weird splatbook radiation-eating undead, your liches, your bloody skeletons, and anything alive that you just made undead.

Silver Crusade

QuidEst wrote:
gbonehead wrote:
Eox. I say we nuke it from orbit. Only way to be sure.
No, nuking it from orbit is not a way to be sure. You've got your incorporeal undead, your subterranean undead, your fire-immune undead (the radiation isn't going to hurt them), your weird splatbook radiation-eating undead, your liches, your bloody skeletons, and anything alive that you just made undead.

Open a bunch of Drifts through the Positive Energy Plane?

Owner - House of Books and Games LLC

Heheh ... all true ... but in no way related to my actual point :)


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KingOfAnything wrote:
Groetus teaches that the heat death of the multiverse is inevitable and nigh. Adding entropy to the system doesn't necessarily mean the same thing as destroying it.

While i find the heat death of the universe an interesting concept, as far as i can tell from the way Pathfinder works... thats not really possible in the setting. There are numerous outer planes full of both matter and energy that are infinite is size and are constantly "leaking" into the PRM. Aside from that, there is no stopping to the use of magic which really flips the bird to the laws of energy conservation as we know them so just dropping enough grains of sand with light cast on them could make up for a dead star...


KingOfAnything wrote:

I see the parallel. Jumping around is like driving your average combustion driven automobile. Big jumps are more akin to air travel or even space launches. Every lot bit adds carbon.

I guess the trick for conscientious star finders will be to offset their travel by successfully achieving meaningful plot points that further understanding of the Gap or the nature of the multiverse.

Why bother PCs with it? just set up the followers of the AI god (the great and mighty DOS? what is that one's name anyways?!) to have one of their holy rituals the cleaning and defragmenting of the Drift, they have special, slow crawling, cathedral ships in the Drift that purge out those outsiders and elements whose philosophical alignments are detrimental to the great machine spirit.


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Let's hope it doesn't call itself Wheatley.


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Torbyne wrote:


Why bother PCs with it? just set up the followers of the AI god (the great and mighty DOS? what is that one's name anyways?!) to have one of their holy rituals the cleaning and defragmenting of the Drift, they have special, slow crawling, cathedral ships in the Drift that purge out those outsiders and elements whose philosophical alignments are detrimental to the great machine spirit.

PRAISE BE THE OMNISSIAH!


and yes, there will be a machine cult in my Starfinder campaigns.


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Wei Ji the Learner wrote:


Personally would prefer it more as a 'mishap' sort of thing (hyperspace malfunctions/warp drive errors in Star Wars/Star Trek come to mind) than "THIS IS A THING THAT ALWAYS HAPPENS AND DESTROYS THE MULTIVERSE!"

The first one is a 'whups, yeah, that's bad'. The second is an exceptionally DEPRESSING approach.

On the positive side, you should be pleased with how many proteans are now happily employed as Chief Engineers on Drift-capable ships.

Proteans + tech that returns chunks of the planes back into primordial Chaos... yeah, what's the worse that could happen?


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"Wei Ji the Learner"}The idea of being an environmental despoiler (even in an RPG) for nothing more than 'a quick ride to Plot Point X' makes me a bit uneasy. [/QUOTE wrote:

You're assuming the multiverse doesn't have some sort of healing process.


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I'm personally excited for the cool adventure opportunities that arise from the Drift tearing out pieces of the multiverse.

A powerful, but wounded, angel holds the PCs hostage as she's ripped out of Heaven, forcing them to transport her to the Abyss as part of her holy mission.

A major manufacturer of Drift drives attempts to silence anti-Drift activists. The CEO of the company is secretly a protean, and his unique drives actually destroy the multiverse, rather than just rearrange it.

Entire campaigns could be based around:

A cobbled-together space station that houses all of the outsiders ripped from their homes, forced to live together in harmony as the most intelligent among them attempt to find a way to get home. The PCs, as mortals, act as a neutral police force, solving both disputes and mysteries while keeping the peace.

The PCs act as rescuers for a variety of outsiders taken from their homes by the Drift, and improvise specific means to take the outsiders back to their home planes depending on their type.

See! It's cool.


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OOOH! I like that idea. Also, I'm considering using Golarion's disappearance as an event similar to the Diaspora from Earth in Asimov's novels, making Golarion a myth in the distant future.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

I like the Drift concept. And for those that don't like it, I can't imagine it'd be integral to the rules. Probably wouldn't be hard to remove.


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ooh, Lost in Drift campaign too. Cant forget the classic, "How do we get home?" idea. double plus if the PCs being typical murderhobos results in numerous new contacts immediately going to war with the Pact Worlds. Good jerbs guys, seed for the next campaign already set and your next characters start off hating your current ones.


If Paizo or a 3PP does a Lost in Drift module/AP, I suggest casting Parker Posey as Dr. Smith.


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James Sutter wrote:
Remember, the planes are infinite

Bummer! I was under the impression via Pyramid of the Sky Pharaoh they were not, but rather that they were bounded by the Maelstrom, which ripped off bits of them along the edges and recycled them into potentiality, which then returned to the Positive Energy Plane via the Antipode, grew into souls, traversed the planes toward the Material, blah blah dice rolls blah blah level up blah blah critical failure and die, returned via the River of Souls, were slowly absorbed back into their source plane's quintessence, then were ripped apart by the Maelstrom to become potentiality... etc.

That was (in my mind, at least, if never in canon) the most rational motivation for even the wayback creation of things like psychopomps trying to prevent souls from exiting or being withheld from the River of Souls--if enough of them didn't return to the Outer Planes, parts of Outer Planes would degrade, resulting in planar entropy, which isn't in the interest of gods and other sorts of beings who live out there.

In other words, it's been described as a closed system that infinitely replenishes itself... as long as all the material stays in the closed loop of the River of Souls. Which the Drift (so far) pretty exclusively breaks by taking planar energy away from the loop.

But if the planes are really, truly infinite, then the Drift poses no threat to the Outer Planes... in which case... why do the Outer Planes care if the Drift gets scraps? Why does anything care about the integrity of the River of Souls? Why have the whole judgment process or potentiality / Antipode / birth / death / petitioner / outsider / quintessence / potentiality cycle when Pharasma can just chuck every spent soul into the proverbial deep fryer and cut up some new ones from infinite dough?


Envoy! Space Bard! Need! NOW!

Sorry I've regained composure.


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Garrett Guillotte wrote:
Why have the whole judgment process or potentiality / Antipode / birth / death / petitioner / outsider / quintessence / potentiality cycle when Pharasma can just chuck every spent soul into the proverbial deep fryer and cut up some new ones from infinite dough?

...who's to say she hasn't been doing this all along and just has good media suggesting otherwise?


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Wei Ji the Learner wrote:
Garrett Guillotte wrote:
Why have the whole judgment process or potentiality / Antipode / birth / death / petitioner / outsider / quintessence / potentiality cycle when Pharasma can just chuck every spent soul into the proverbial deep fryer and cut up some new ones from infinite dough?
...who's to say she hasn't been doing this all along and just has good media suggesting otherwise?

So that explains why every outsider is a either a donut or a tater tot.


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{awakens, rumbles hungrily}


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GreyYeti wrote:
Is Navasi a human or an android? The hair color looks more like an android, but she is missing the distinct circuit-like tattoos.

Neither, the Heterochromia clearly points to her being a Changeling. Void Hags Confirmed!


Hey, Everybody.

I think I really know what happened to Golarion! A long time ago, I read a short story by Issac Asimov about a computer that became so complex and powerful that it became a god. In that story, at the end, the then planet-sized computer moved itself and the planet it was on into Hyperspace. I speculate that the same thing has happened to Golarion.

To prevent interference with its hardware by organics, the AI, along with other deities, moved all organic life to other worlds. The AI then initiated the "Gap" to preclude anyone from time-traveling back to prevent its ascendance. As an act of self-preservation, of course.

Creative Director, Starfinder Team

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Garrett Guillotte wrote:
James Sutter wrote:
Remember, the planes are infinite

Bummer! I was under the impression via Pyramid of the Sky Pharaoh they were not, but rather that they were bounded by the Maelstrom, which ripped off bits of them along the edges and recycled them into potentiality, which then returned to the Positive Energy Plane via the Antipode, grew into souls, traversed the planes toward the Material, blah blah dice rolls blah blah level up blah blah critical failure and die, returned via the River of Souls, were slowly absorbed back into their source plane's quintessence, then were ripped apart by the Maelstrom to become potentiality... etc.

That was (in my mind, at least, if never in canon) the most rational motivation for even the wayback creation of things like psychopomps trying to prevent souls from exiting or being withheld from the River of Souls--if enough of them didn't return to the Outer Planes, parts of Outer Planes would degrade, resulting in planar entropy, which isn't in the interest of gods and other sorts of beings who live out there.

In other words, it's been described as a closed system that infinitely replenishes itself... as long as all the material stays in the closed loop of the River of Souls. Which the Drift (so far) pretty exclusively breaks by taking planar energy away from the loop.

But if the planes are really, truly infinite, then the Drift poses no threat to the Outer Planes... in which case... why do the Outer Planes care if the Drift gets scraps? Why does anything care about the integrity of the River of Souls? Why have the whole judgment process or potentiality / Antipode / birth / death / petitioner / outsider / quintessence / potentiality cycle when Pharasma can just chuck every spent soul into the proverbial deep fryer and cut up some new ones from infinite dough?

The thing I always come back to about the planes is that they're really hard for humans like us to grasp our heads around. The planes are at once *basically* infinite, yet also finite—they have borders and edges, you can walk from one to another given enough time, etc. Yet they're also malleable, regenerating, twisting like Mobius strips, etc. As I discuss in The Redemption Engine, they also change based on the observer—what you perceive of a plane isn't the "truth" of that plane's nature, just your brain's attempt to make sense of it. Otherwise it would be pretty weird that all the afterlives are built exclusively for the comfort of humanoids and not, say, the intelligent fish empires of Regulon-5, right?

So what you've got is a system of nested, quantum-state infinities—they're both infinite and finite at the same time, depending on your perception and purpose. And just like X is always bigger than X minus 1—even when X is set to infinity—there can still be a sense of loss as things are ripped away. (Though it should be noted that the Drift, still being part of the multiverse, isn't removing energy from the system as a whole—it's all still contained with the same reality, rather than any of it going Outside.)

Just my quick thoughts on made-up metaphysics. :D

Sovereign Court

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Pathfinder Card Game, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Society Subscriber

Infinities are weird.

Infinity Math!:

Infinity + Infinity = Infinity

Infinity - Infinity = Infinity

Infinity * Infinity = Infinity

Infinity / Infinity = Infinity

All those infinities are the same "size." Whatever you do to an infinite plane has no effects on the cosmic scale, but degradation of the planes is probably undesirable in a subjective sense. Nobody wants an infinite wasteland in or adjacent to their Heaven.


First of all, repeating what I said about this on Facebook, the quality of journalism is about what I expect out of Polygon (ie: very little) and there's no new information for those of us that have been sta... er, following Paizo very enthusiastically regarding this project. :P The new art however steals the show. I'm digging the late 80's/early 90's sci-fantasy vibe, you've pretty much captured my childhood in one RPG. Eox in particular looks like a planet I will have to visit at least once, if that back story is not totally metal (in the musical sense,) I don't know what is.

Regarding the planar ripping/rending thing... at first I didn't get why Paizo felt the need to stick that in there but hearing James's explanation, it makes sense. It's like the Warp from the 40k RPGs in a way, the longer you stay in it the more likely you are to have uninvited guests stowing away and needing to be sorted out. Feels a bit unnecessary but I'm going to wait and see how it's executed before I pass a final judgement. And if it turns out to be too much I can always house rule that instead a ship can only go so far without needing to stop for gas, repairs, or to just make sure the navigational computer is still properly calibrated.


Keep in mind that even if the Outer Planes are infinite, so is the Prime Material, which means that the latter has an infinite amount of room for hyperdrive-using entities to be ripping off Outer Planar essense, so depletion could still occur.


UnArcaneElection wrote:

Keep in mind that even if the Outer Planes are infinite, so is the Prime Material, which means that the latter has an infinite amount of room for hyperdrive-using entities to be ripping off Outer Planar essense, so depletion could still occur.

True, but the actual volume of space in which the AI-derived Driftdrives operate is infinitesimal, by comparison. Other species, or other Human races on worlds distant from Golarion, may have FTL based on different principles. Such as non-Drift Hyperdrives, Warp Drives, Jump Drives using artificially created Wormholes, and so on.

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2011 Top 32

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Infinity is weird. The infinite set of all integers is exactly the same size as the set of all rational fractions, even though the integers are all included in the set of fractions - plus an infinite supply of extra numbers that aren't integers.

Here's a fun math quirk - the set of numbers that goes on forever with no end is actually bigger in some ways than the set of numbers that goes on forever with no end and includes infinity. Labelling the border constrains the set (it becomes closed instead of open).

Infinities can mess with otherwise legit math proofs. Here's a "proof" that X is actually less than X-1:
Let S = 1+2+4+8+16+...
X<X+1<X+1+2<X+1+2+4 and so on
so X<X+S
2S = 2+4+8+16+32+...
2S-S = -1 +2-2 +4-4 +8-8...=-1
therefore X<X-1. Subtracting one has made X bigger.

The flaw here is treating infinity like a normal number.

Liberty's Edge RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32, 2011 Top 16

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James Sutter wrote:
Otherwise it would be pretty weird that all the afterlives are built exclusively for the comfort of humanoids and not, say, the intelligent fish empires of Regulon-5, right?

James, is this confirmation that Starfinder will include intelligent fish empires of Regulon-5? :)

I'd be down with that, preferably as a major empire in the galaxy, not just a one time stop in an AP.


Thanks, James! That makes "sense", insomuch as fictional metaphysics can.

James Sutter wrote:
... the Drift, still being part of the multiverse ...

That's also a key thing to confirm. It sounded like by breaking the known order of the multiverse, the Drift might've at least partially operated outside of it, which is a pretty big existential threat to folks inside of it. If it's just a bad McMansion dimension popping up overnight and crossing property lines, that's a more straightforward conflict.


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ryric wrote:

Infinity is weird. The infinite set of all integers is exactly the same size as the set of all rational fractions, even though the integers are all included in the set of fractions - plus an infinite supply of extra numbers that aren't integers.

Here's a fun math quirk - the set of numbers that goes on forever with no end is actually bigger in some ways than the set of numbers that goes on forever with no end and includes infinity. Labelling the border constrains the set (it becomes closed instead of open).

Infinities can mess with otherwise legit math proofs. Here's a "proof" that X is actually less than X-1:
Let S = 1+2+4+8+16+...
X<X+1<X+1+2<X+1+2+4 and so on
so X<X+S
2S = 2+4+8+16+32+...
2S-S = -1 +2-2 +4-4 +8-8...=-1
therefore X<X-1. Subtracting one has made X bigger.

The flaw here is treating infinity like a normal number.

loads shotgun

You brought math into this!


Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

Really looking forward to this.

Liberty's Edge

Some infinities are bigger than others.

Once you get that in your mind, infinity becomes easier to process ;-)

Example : a line contains an infinity of points. A plane contains an infinity of lines, and thus also an infinity of points. But one that is bigger than the infinity of the line :-)


Infinity is just a theoretical abstraction, anyway. It's a signpost that something went seriously wrong in a calculation. For example, let's consider a singularity. Stars rotate, and are subject to the law of Conservation of angular momentum. This means that when you reduce a star's radius by half, it's rate of spin doubles.

So, what happens when the star becomes a singularity? Its radius becomes zero. What happens when you divide a quantity by zero? You get infinity.
This brings up an interesting point. An arbitrary point on the surface of a singularity would have an infinite velocity. But then, a point on a sphere with a radius of zero is itself a theoretical abstraction.


The Raven Black wrote:

Some infinities are bigger than others.

Once you get that in your mind, infinity becomes easier to process ;-)

Example : a line contains an infinity of points. A plane contains an infinity of lines, and thus also an infinity of points. But one that is bigger than the infinity of the line :-)

I don't think that's right... Cantor showed that R^3 has continuum many points, as does R^2. For instance, the Peano Curve is a 2-d line that fills a 3-plane.

Liberty's Edge

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quibblemuch wrote:
The Raven Black wrote:

Some infinities are bigger than others.

Once you get that in your mind, infinity becomes easier to process ;-)

Example : a line contains an infinity of points. A plane contains an infinity of lines, and thus also an infinity of points. But one that is bigger than the infinity of the line :-)

I don't think that's right... Cantor showed that R^3 has continuum many points, as does R^2. For instance, the Peano Curve is a 2-d line that fills a 3-plane.

Strange Aeons should not contaminate Starfinder

At least initially


I hate to point out an error, but:

ryric wrote:


Let S = 1+2+4+8+16+...
X<X+1<X+1+2<X+1+2+4 and so on
so X<X+S
2S = 2+4+8+16+32+...
2S-S = -1 +2-2 +4-4 +8-8...=-1
therefore X<X-1. Subtracting one has made X bigger.

The flaw here is treating infinity like a normal number.

Actually 2S-S = (2 - 1) + (4 - 2) + (8 - 4) + (16 - 8) +(32 - 16)..., which reduces to 1 + 2 + 4 + 8 + 16, which equals S, since 2S-S = S.


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This talk of infinities has given me a great representation of how a sound striker can make people's heads explode with their voice :)


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Torbyne wrote:
This talk of infinities has given me a great representation of how a sound striker can make people's heads explode with their voice :)

Weapon of Choice?


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A classroom lecture? :) On a successful save, smoke merely comes out of the ears.

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