Monday, July 20, 2009

The Six Spheres of Lubanjawi

Under the present understanding of quantum physics (or at least my understanding of the present understanding) the minimal unit of distance is Planck's Length (~1.6 × 10−35 meters) and the minimal unit of time is Planck's Time (~5.4 × 10−44 seconds). These are not arbitrarily short units of measurement, they are natural units representing the physical limits of the universe. Literally nothing can be measured at smaller than one Planck's Length and nothing can happen at shorter than than one Planck's Time. The concept of the infinitesimally small unit of length or an instantaneous event are erroneous. The universe is chunkier than that.

Not so in the campaign world encompassing Asteroid 1618 and the World of Cinder. Scales smaller than 1.6 × 10−35 meters and quicker than 5.4 × 10−44 seconds is where anything becomes possible. Junior gods often pick a small piece of the quantum foam for their early experiments in universe creation. You can fit a lot of cosmos into a Planck's Length, as long as you only allow it to exist for less than a Planck's Time. Most of these universes are completely useless or utterly deadly to the average adventurer, even if you could locate one. But at least one god-made yocto-verse is worth the effort, providing you can get there: the Six Spheres of Lubanjawi.

To an outside observer the Six Spheres are nothing more than a single molecule of benzene, good ol' C6H6. This particular molecule is slightly out of ordinary in that one of the carbon atoms is the isotope Carbon-13, possessing one more neutron than the other members of the benzene ring. But if you can shrink down below the scale of absolute smallness and travel through time to the exactingly right miniscule fraction of a second, you can visit the worlds of Lubanjawi.

At this impossible scale, during this impossible time, the carbon atoms are like unto planets, each with its own hydrogen atom sun. Looking up into the sky, the other worlds hang heavy above, even the most distant carbon atom on the ring appearing larger than the sun or moon appears in our own sky. Thus each of the six spheres has five suns and five moons. The stars in the sky are the other molecules floating in the solution that contains the Six Spheres, they dance in the ever-twilight following the principles of Brownian motion.

One can travel to the other Spheres by means of the Electron Bridges that occasionally arc between the worlds or between a world and its closest sun. Catching a ride on an Electron Bridge is a quick way to eat a buncha d6's in lightning damage, but some wizards know secret spells to enjoy a safe passage between the worlds.

And why would an adventurer want to visit the sub-microscopic flash-in-a-pan universe of Lubanjawi? Because some say that unlike so many other such teeny worlds, Lubanjawi was not a one-off experiment by a fledgling deity. In the whispers between the winds it is sometimes heard that aeons ago a long dead god hid The Most Fabulous Object in the World on one of the atom-planets of Lubanjawi.


  1. That's awesome! I've always wanted to have a megadungeon set on a benzene molecule.

    Well, not really. But after reading this I've retroactively always wanted to have a megadungeon set on a benzene molecule. I think the giggling of my inner 13-year-old chemistry geek is going to prevent me from getting any more work done this afternoon...

  2. yocto-verse

    Neologism of the day! And setting idea of the month (possibly the year)!

    Sifu Jeff strikes again.

  3. Yeah, I always liked The Micronauts, too. :)

  4. Dude, you just blew my mind. It's like The Girl in the Golden Atom as written by Jack Vance. Science is kewl!

  5. Mind, blown.

    It may have taken a slew of new yocto-verses with it.

  6. Jeff,

    Anybody who can take the central conceit of the Micronauts, stir in the MacGuffin from Time Bandits, and then describe the resultant location in a way that makes me want to roll '3d6 in order' and get adventuring is allright in my book.

    I've been reading you for a couple of months now, but this post has to be one of the best of the year.

  7. Anonymous9:58 PM

    Ok, I work with Planck lengths and things IRL, and that is just still totally awesome.

  8. I was listening to "You're My Drug" by The Dukes of Stratosphere while reading this blog entry. It was appropriate.

    I have nothing else to add.

  9. How did you know I'd picked up a copy of Nanoscale for weekend work reading and have been giggling maniacally? ;3

    WV: poring -- yes, exactly so.

  10. That's a very awesome idea for a science fantasy game. Or maybe a pulp game via Savage World.

    Very cool.

    WV: reswrabl

  11. Anonymous9:06 AM

    Very, very good. Reading the other blogs was making me tired and this picked me right up.

    - Calithena