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The Wave and Dystopian Colonies


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The current view of the Wave's Effects, as of August 30, 2022:

Post event analysis produces the following curve fit (see note 1)

Wave Effects on Population of Firena, circa 644 (Imperial)
Life StageYearsMortalityInsanity 1Insanity 2Total Mortality
0 Infant0-186%13%96%90%
1 Child2-972%20%73%80%
2 Teen10-1761%24%63%70%
3 YA18-2540%25%43%60%
4 Adult26-3327%21%29%50%
5 Peak34-4115%15%18%40%
6 Midlife42-498%9%9%30%
7 Senior50-573%3%3%20%
8 Elder58-65nilnilnil10%
9 Retirement66-74nilnilnil10%

Insanity 1. Percentage of total population rendered permanently insane.

Insanity 2. Percentage of surviving population rendered permanently insane.

General Note. Psionic Potential decreases linearly with age. Psi in psionically trained individuals generally does not decrease: their results most likely resemble Life Stages 0 or 1.

Total Mortality (average 50% overall). Includes expected collateral effect deaths from the failure of society in general over the course of the decade following the Wave (includes Directly Induced Wave Mortality).

[1] For any individual, generate personal Psionic Potential with 2D+3 minus age in Life Stages. Roll 2D: if 8 or less, the individual escapes Death; roll 2D again: if 8 or less, the individual escapes permanent Insanity.

  1. The Wave awakens latent psionic strength, potentially in everyone, but more effectively in younger survivors.
  2. The Wave effectively re-rolls psionic strength, without penalty, in trained psions. A trained psion could increase his or her PSI.
  3. Mortality, insanity, and psionic power are not correlated.
  4. The odds of a PC to survive the Wave with his sanity is about 50%.
  5. Society fails in general in the decade after the Wave passes through a system, and half its population dies.

#5 is why Wave-hopping is dangerous but a valid tactic for the desperate, and potentially lucrative for the scavenger.

This is just me thinking, but #5 sounds like the way to expand the "wilds" from Hard Times to much of Charted Space.


So how do you survive the Wave? You can sit on the world and hope for the best -- which is a gamble, but you actually have a chance of surviving. Comparable to the chance of surviving (three?) low berth trips.

Otherwise, people will move themselves in many different ways. The Wave moves slowly and with extreme predictability, so you can budget and plan your move based on your current needs. Moreover, you only need to move out of its way for the remainder of your life. Remember, the OTU axioms include a fairly normal lifespan, though significantly healthier than today. At any rate, in typical cases, your children will probably move themselves when the time is right.

In short, the flight from the Wave is actually many flights of small groups of people in relatively short distances, and within the empire as much as possible, potentially over centuries.

This flight might even be extended to the edge of the Orion Arm, one generation at a time, a dozen or two parsecs at a time, leading the Wave by a few decades. All the while, a percentage jump back over into the remains of Charted Space and establish themselves there -- probably more over time do this than continually run, since at some point a few hundred years on you run out of civilization.

Condottiere made this concise and helpful comment:
Considering there are trillions of citizens, selected individuals with access to complete archives will be placed in a variety of arks, hoping that one or more can survive, more or less in tact, the Wave rolling over them, and then kickstart human civilization.
Wave hopping has been proposed before, and the numbers don't work out. Except in one probable use case:

It just might work on some Law Level C+ worlds. You'd need unrestricted invasion of privacy at least. It would also have a chance with a dictator-based Government (A+). The high-population worlds are more likely to be dictatorially ruled, so this bodes well for a dystopian colonization.
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The wave is only a serious threat to a psionic society - ay least that was the original intention as detailed by Dave Nilsen.

roll (to be determined)Non -psionsPsions
no changeno change
no changedevelopment of expanded or new psionic powers, initially difficult to understand or control
no changepsionic powers damaged or burned out by “power surge”
development of psionic powerskilled outright by “power surge”
development of psionic powers with communication with supraspace intellectVarious of above plus “possession” by supraspace intellect
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Thanks for that reminder Mike. I've updated the OP with the painful details.
I'm curious if the Wave's effects decrease in strength/intensity as it proceeds outward from the Galactic Core. Was the effect stronger historically 1-2 kiloparsecs coreward, and will it become gradually less intense as it works its way rimward?
Stasis In Place.

You basically trade your insanity risk for a low berth stasis resuscitation risk to ride out the wave as it washes through a system. You "popsicle" the younger generations, while leaving the seniors attempt to "hold on" without resorting to stasis (since their low berth risk factor would be higher than taking the wave "on the chin" so to speak).

The biggest challenge is to preserve the youngest generation(s) so the world can "reboot" after the wave has passed.

Which can "work" for a population (up to a certain size) ... but with the way that the wave has been described as making the entire ecosystem go haywire too (gee ... thanks!), you run the risk of saving the people only for the environment to completely fail on them in just a few years. Potentially less of a problem for artificial habitats (such as space stations), but terrestrial biomes are likely to suffer extreme disruption and be much harder to "reboot" from stockpiled reserves.

But realistically, for a large segment of the life forms, the best option is simply being put in stasis while the wave passes.
The "move" solution requires someplace to move to.

It is unlikely any planet will survive the wave. Loss of 50% of the population is not really sustainable.

That said, if the wave is not FTL, then migrating 2 sectors behind the wave you'll find yourself arriving at a planet thats had a generation to recover. But now they have to deal potentially with an influx of refugees.

Be curious what Imperial policy will be since they control the space between the stars, rather than the systems themselves, if and when systems start putting themselves under quarantine in order to refuse entry to refugees.
I say again, the wave is simply not that dangerous unless you are already psionic.
Perhaps, but it depends on what portion of the population is psionic, notably latent or untrained psionics.

Quickly losing (dead or disabled) 10-20% of population (thin air numbers) can have a devastating impact on a society.
To be honest, a 30 day interruption to food supplies is unsustainable - 50% starvation seems low. It's hard to restock when insane. It's potentially hard to recognise food while insane (depending on form) or to organise cooking when your power supply is gone and you live in a city and you are mentally incapable. And hard to restart a stalled food-supply system when half those involved are dead. Missing the planting of cereals by 30 days is potentially catastrophic. Missing Harvest by 30 days is bad.

The wave is the type of existential threat that is impossible to hide, and which would be planned for for decades before it arrives. If not by central authorities, then by individual and local group action. Any central authority without a plan has no longevity (before, during or after).
Water and dehydrated stores.

Recent developments indicate that redundancy tends to get sacrificed on the altar of efficiency, however that's defined.

I believe they are ongoing experimental archaeology in living out these apocalyptical scenarios, though apparently most assume a large part of the survivors become zombified, mindless or otherwise.
Perhaps, but it depends on what portion of the population is psionic, notably latent or untrained psionics.
With a few species exceptions and the rare nulls, that's *everyone* at age 18 or its equivalent. The psionic potential roll isn't just for PCs, or even just sophonts, or animals.
Psion in TNE refers to those with trained psionic abilities, not just unrealised potential. So the vast majority of the Imperium has nothing to worry about, and neither do Zhodani proles - except for the breakdown of their society due to the panic amongst the psionic castes.
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Only if you've aged out of your potential. It's why the table in the OP is so heavily age weighted. Proles over 50 are going to be pretty safe as they will have almost entirely aged out. Only the relative handful who were *that close* (Psi 8) to becoming Intendants will still have a shadow of Potential left by 50.
The Nobles, who all get training, are going to take the Wave on the chin regardless of age.
Rob's death rates are... excessive.

You have to be a trained psion to have any risk of death.

If you retcon it to psi potential then we have an issue - what is the psi potential of a child? We know your maximum is at age 18, but what is it at 14, 10, 6? Are babies born with their full psi potential - unlike every other characteristic.

It would be nice to be able to edit my own posts to update them like Rob does.
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If you're not a subscriber, the edit window is 30 minutes after initial posting.
I'm not sure it's much longer than that if you do subscribe. Might be a mod/former mod thing. Might come came back and check(ed) in half an hour or so?

20-odd minutes, editable.

Nominal 30 minutes ("30 minutes ago") editable. Shows post time as "31 minutes ago"

Nominal 43 minutes editable.

Nominal 1 hr 12 min: editable.

I don't know whether editing resets the edit window. If it does, this could mean nothing....

1 hr 53 minutes.

About 2:30.

3 hr, 3 min.

4 hr 10 min.
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Rob's death rates are... excessive.

You have to be a trained psion to have any risk of death.

If you retcon it to psi potential then we have an issue - what is the psi potential of a child? We know your maximum is at age 18, but what is it at 14, 10, 6? Are babies born with their full psi potential - unlike every other characteristic.

It would be nice to be able to edit my own posts to update them like Rob does.
There is an ethnicity of Vargr, the Roth Thokken who are born psionic. So the question is valid. Born blind and born psionic, one has to ask what is the potential CP Psionic characteristic for a newborn, an infant, a toddler, a cub Roth Thokken Vargr? From there, we can ask the same of Nakagun and Akumgeda Vargr who are not born psionic but are culturally psionic, they accept psionics as valid option.

My two solutions to the Wave:
1. Hopping the Wave to a relatively stable world-system and braving what's left on transplanted sane flora and fauna.
2. Vaulting away in heavily psi-shielded arks, in cryosleep "low berth" capsules while wearing psi-shield helmets (nested protection).

All other solutions are either suicidal, insane, or delaying the inevitable. Within each ark is jumpstart data, weapons to deal with bad revives, and preserves to survive if the world outside is still insane.

In one of my solo-play campaigns, it is the Roth Thokken who go fishing for the Wavefront leading edge. Once detected, measured for velocity, and vector learned, the Vargr ethnicity sent out alarms to all other Vargr that would listen to a bunch of blind Psions born psionic, trained psionic, culturally psionic, and quite masters of psionics. The first ethnicity to take the Roth Thokken seriously were the Suedzuk who in turn warned the Julians.

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