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Strangefinder Modern: Alterniversal Frequencies

Strangefinder Modern are modern ideas for a strange urban fantasy world that could be played using the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game and Anachronistic Adventures.

Alterniversal Frequencies.

There are thousands of alternate realities, with each is own total universe. These “Alterniverses” often have different physical and metaphysical rules that govern them. But they aren’t in different places, they just operate at different quantum frequencies. At the sub-quantum level, Alterniverse N is just vibrating at a very slightly frequency than Alterniverse A.

How slightly different? Slightly enough that sometimes, they bleed into each other. It’s like when you manually tune a radio, and briefly you get two shows at the same time.

Except, you know, with entire realities.

So sometimes an Alterniverse bleeds over just a tiny amount. Just enough that a reality that is 99.999999% like ours but 6 seconds in the future becomes visible to someone in our reality. We call that precognition, but it’s just experiencing a fluctuation in perception between two extremely similar Alterniverses.

In fact, some Alterniverses are so similar they aren’t really separate. Each overlaps with the other by a huge percentage, and only tiny fluctuations make them different. So if one person is from the Alterniverse where the beloved childhood characters are the “Berenstein Bears,” and then absorbs just enough quantum energy to instead be in the Alterniverse where the are the “Berenstain Bears,” that isn’t a shift to a whole new Alterniverse. Just a slight frequency shift. An adjustment from Alteniverse N.00001 to N.00002.

Most people don’t even notice such a small shift. A few do, and create conspiracy websites. (Because, seriously — Berenstain?”)

The important thing to grasp is that for people who either shift slightly from one Alterniverse to another, there is not, cannot be, any proof, or even evidence, of the thing they remember. Consciousnesses (the tiny spark of self that prevents the actions of advanced living creatures like humans, and even gerbils, from being able to be perfectly predicted by an advanced enough understanding of physics) can shift from Alterniverse to Alterniverse, because it exists outside the physical framework, even at the quantum level, of any set universe. But physical matter always, eventually, returns to the rules of its dominant Alterniverse.

This is much more important with bigger shift. Like when a Gug shifts from Alterniverse O to our Alterniverse N. Anyone can see the Gug that encounters it. It can kill. It can affect Alterniverse N with powers and relics and runes that could not exist natively. It can be killed. Its consciousness then leaves.

At that point, everyone who saw or dealt with directly remembers it. But the actual physical universe of Alterniverse N slowly changes every aspect of every physical change in that Alterniverse to things that can be fully explained by Alterniverse N. Quantum corrections are generally subtle things. The Gug body becomes that of a prehistoric dire bear. Any DNA traces it left behind become mundane (though not necessarily matching). Digital tapes and recordings generally degrade, while true film spoils, or the images change to those that can’t be conclusively identified.

In the end, there is no proof.

Just people who know they must actively seek out threats our reality is literally not designed to handle. To become Strangefinders.

Strangefinder Modern: Oracular Vending

Strangefinder Modern are modern ideas for a strange urban fantasy world that could be played using the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game and Anachronistic Adventures.

Oracular Vending

In ancient times the spirits of water would whisper occult secrets into the ears of oracles who purified themselves with rituals in the spirits’ water, such as when the Oracle of Delphi purified herself in the spring waters of Castalia.

No one bothers with that anymore. And water spirits, like everyone else, have come to love carbonation, high fructose corn syrup, and artificial flavors.

In short, the water spirits are in soda cans now.

Oracular Vending is a method of contacting a water spirit housed in a soda can within a vending machine. It is a Minor Ritual any character with one or more ranks of Knowledge (arcana), Knowledge (planes) or Knowledge (religion) may attempt once at each character level. The character must find a vending machine old enough it doesn’t accept credit cards (newer machines lack the character to attract a water spirit to their cans). Then a question no longer than 12 words is written on a scrap of paper (the inside of a paper candy wrapper is often used), and wrapped around a coin. The coin must be antique, worth at least 1 gp (General Product equivalent). The coin is then inserted in the machine as odes to Joseph Priestly and Johann Jacob Schweppe are recited. Then the oldest brand of soda in the machine is selected.

If the ritual is successful, the soda can received appears to have a contest printing on the can. The small print of the contest’s rules actually give information about the question asked. The coin and question disappear as sacrifices to the spirits invoked.

At the base level of success, the character performing the ritual makes a Knowledge (arcana), Knowledge (planes) or Knowledge (religion) check and uses that result as if it as a skill check with the appropriate Knowledge skill to answer the question wrapped around the coin. If the coin used was worth at least 300 gp, and the Knowledge check hits a DC of 25 or higher, the character performing the ritual may also gain information about the question as if he had cast a divination at caster level 7.

Rumors persist of a mystic soda vending machine able to grant awsers as if a commune had been cast.