We’re back, and we’re plunging once more into the abyss of despair and madness that is R’lyeh Roulette. In case you didn’t listen to our first round, back in episode 37, this is where we let the dice select random entries from Matt’s sanity-blasting spreadsheet of every spell from official Chaosium Call of Cthulhu publications. We then brainstorm scenario ideas around the results. This episode, we bolstered our creativity by having some inadvisably large White Russians beforehand, rendering us somewhat more boisterous than usual. At least this means we actually have an excuse for rambling!
As part of our opening discussion of non-euclidean geometry (we’re educational!), we promise a glimpse of Matt’s Euclid tie. Well, look up, and admire how the two (not-quite) parallel lines of its construction never meet. You can also see Matt modelling a non-euclidean tie below.
This episode also features Matt’s quick overview of Gen Con 2015 (short version: too crowded, too hot, but still fun). This includes mention of the Podcast-a-Ganza lovefest organised by our good friends at the Plot Points podcast. Matt acted as our ambassador. So far, we have received no declarations of war from other podcasts, so we declare him a success.
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Oh all right then.
Euclidean geometry deals with “flat” space. The sum of the internal angles of a triangle is always 180 degrees. In two-dimensional space, two straight lines either meet at a single point, or are parallel and never meet at all. If you follow a square course (go five miles, turn right 90 degrees, do the same thing three more times) you end up where you started. The area of a circle is pi times the radius squared.
In a non-Euclidean space these things may not be true. Consider a sphere with two points ninety degrees apart on the equator, and one more on the pole. (Rough illustration at https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/1/1d/Spherical_trigonometry_basic_triangle.svg/200px-Spherical_trigonometry_basic_triangle.svg.png .) Within the surface of the sphere, they make up a triangle: but each corner has a ninety degree angle at it, and the sum of all angles is 270 degrees. And similarly, you can walk along the edge, turn right ninety degrees, and get back to your starting place after only two passes. Two straight lines might meet at two different points.
A sphere’s surface is an example of a two-dimensional positively curved space. If you wrapped a paper disc over it, it would go into pleats round the edges. (A negatively curved space is something like a saddle shape. A paper disc wrapped onto it would tear round the edges.)
There is every reason to assume that curvature applies to three- dimensional space too, and is closely tied to gravity. This largely comes out of general relativity, which was cutting-edge stuff when Lovecraft was writing.
Thanks, Roger! That makes things much clearer.
The link to the distortion of space by gravity hadn’t occurred to me, and I can definitely see that as an interesting take on what’s going on in R’lyeh.
Is there any chance of getting a tentacle on a copy of this infamous spreadsheet?
Unfortunately it’s not ours to share, as it contains a lot of copyrighted material from Chaosium. I’ve heard rumours that it may form the basis of a print publication some time next year, however.
I just listened to the episode and noticed that you missed the enchanted painting in the scenario “Fade to Grey” that appears in ‘Tales of the Miskatonic Valley’ this is the classic ‘Dorian Grey’ style image that absorbs damage inflicted on the person painted (It requires regular sacrifices to retain this ability…). Strangely the spell to create it is not described in the scenario and none of the characters are indicated as having the means to do so.
Oh, I nearly forgot, if you are looking for some exotic dice, the following has a pair of hot D6’s
Sadly at the time these were made (1950s), they hadn’t thought of D100s
Oh, wow! I’m glad no one had a pair of those in the days when we used a glass-topped table for our games. 🙂
Thanks, Graham! To my shame, I have yet to read or play any of the scenarios from that collection. In fact, I am embarrassingly ill-versed in published scenarios, which is probably not a good thing.