Discussion Questions: The Shift

on December 23, 2011 in MU Blog

Hey, folks! This is the place to suggest questions or sub-topics of discussion for the next Hart & Hall Hootenanny of Hknowledge, which concerns the Shift, also known as Khazarus, the God-Scar, and the World-Wound.

Basic overview: the Shift is an area of the world known for having thin (in some cases missing) dimensional walls. It is viewed as being a stronghold for the forces of chaos and a natural entry point into the world for them and invaders from other realms. Politically, the Shift is made up of a series of kingdoms of wildly varying sizes… the chaotic nature of the place prevents any kind of unified political entity or central control, though factions within the Shift do occasionally band together. The so-called Chaos Wars were a series of conflicts between forces originating from within the Shift and the world outside. Due to a combination of isolation from the rest of the world and comparatively easy dimensional travel, the Shift has its own particular kind of cultural diversity… many of the kingdoms are anachronistic or fantastic in some fashion. Natural shapeshifters are common, which has led to the false etymology that it’s called the Shift because “shifters” live there.

There’s no ETA on this particular story yetI have not yet decided when to write and post the discussion chapter… I’m thinking of writing it as an OT so I can use a neutral point of view, or at least a non-Mackenzie one.

Edited because I feel some people are being led astray as to the point of this post, which is contained in the opening paragraph.

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35 Responses to “Discussion Questions: The Shift”

  1. Zathras IX says:

    Whenever you’re ready, dear. We have world enough and time.

    Best wishes to you and yours from me and mine for this holiday season and the coming New Year!

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    • Zukira Phaera says:

      Heartily agree and second the elocution.

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  2. Burnsidhe says:

    “Theories and myths on how the Shift came to be.”
    “Famous adventuring expeditions and what they found there.”
    “Lore of the Shift; what to do if you get pulled in.”
    “Facts about the shift; Things we know and have documented.”

    Current score: 0
  3. Gabe says:

    Fantastic for the MUverse? Would that mean that they’d be more akin to our world (i.e. Science works)? Whatever the case, I’m eagerly await its release, but take all the time you need.

    Merry holidays and a happy New Year!

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  4. Dashel says:

    So, where you looking for some support, some ideas, or just informing your readership and building momentum like something out of the entertainment industry?

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  5. Jennifer says:

    Is it true that the Gods won’t enter the Shift? (If so, why?)

    Is there anything known in history, or in stories, about the Gods entering the Shift?

    What is the deepest anyone has gone into the Shift, and still come back out to tell about it?

    Can you give a general overview of the history of the Chaos Wars?

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  6. Froish says:

    What are the impacts of the weakened dimensional barriers on both internal political boundaries and how those boundaries are represented/viewed by those outside the shift?

    A brief history of war in the area, along the lines of how often have the different countries (if that is the right word or would communities be better?) fought amongst themselves and if that’s common why would they unite for the chaos wars?

    How do current countries/empires keep tabs on the area so that there isn’t another chaos war?

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  7. Zergonapal says:

    Might have been caused by blowback from when the gateway network collapsed in the 40K universe giving rise to the rift known as the Eye of Terror. There was probably a minor gate that collapsed into the warp.

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  8. HollowGolem says:

    Besides the more recent Chaos Wars, are there any other well-documented tales/historical records of times when Khazarus heavily impacted the goings-on of the major empires (human and otherwise), a la other wars or extensive trade?

    Is it just a linguistic anomaly that it is “Khazarus” and not “Kazarus?” Does the use of the divine “Kh” have anything to do with its apparent anathema status to godly beings?

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    • Burnsidhe says:

      “Kh” is not anathema to divine beings. “Kh” denotes a link TO divinity, or at least to one particular god.

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  9. Luc says:

    Some possible suggestions for questions:

    “How exactly did the Chaos Wars stop, anyway? ”
    “This is slightly tangential, but what are the procedures for dealing with a fresh corpse in the Shift? To, uh, prevent it from coming back at you, I mean. In the absence of a threat of, uh, a Necromancer.”
    “What constitutes the Shift proper? I’ve heard a least a dozen references to the “Shift Proper”, but never any explanation of what that is.”
    “Is there any truth to the claims that the Undead prefer or abhor the Shift? I’ve heard it both ways, which seems fairly odd.”

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  10. brandon says:

    Roughly how many kingdoms are in the shift and are there literal boundries between kingdoms in the shift also does climate flucuate much in the shift

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  11. Kevin Brown says:

    If one attempts to map the shift does it’s geography change just to keep people on their toes?

    Is it’s title of God-Scar and the reason the Gods avoid it at all related to Callahan?

    Has some faction of the shift ever had a working class revolt, what about ethnic cleansing? This question is related to the similarities between the shift and IRL Eastern Europe and how far they go and I really don’t see a way to answer it in story.

    Edit: Also, do vampires originate in the shift? Dunno why I figure they would but it just seems like the place for vampires to originate.

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  12. Antongarou says:

    “Volatile areas in the Shift and the way they influenced the borderland with it”

    “trade routes through the Shift:permanent, semi-permanent and temporary”

    “Famous rulers and legendary beasts that originated from the Shift”

    “Does any dragon claim territory in the Shift?If so is it considered good or bad territory, value-wise?”

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  13. Person A says:

    What sort of races live in the shift?

    Do the weakened dimensional walls result in more Fae activity?

    Where is the shift in relation to The Mother Isles?

    If you (Hart or Hall) could go on a holiday there, which part would you go to?

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  14. Froish says:

    One other question
    What race or races originate from the shift?

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  15. N'ville says:

    I am asking this because you mention the idea as being a separate OT rather than incorporating it into the main Mackenzie thing.

    Could we possibly imagine some normal human coming out of the shift into the MUworld who is totally immune to magic, who in fact has zero magical abilities, and is complete with an aura surrounding them that nothing magical can work within it. Yet is an incredibly skilled engineer and can actually create working motorcycles, or other mechanical gadgetry from the basic raw materials.
    (Well OK I am describing myself perhaps, but you know what I mean)
    Could make an interesting side story perhaps.

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    • Why, yes, I would be happy to change my class discussion chapter into a wish-fulfillment fantasy glorifying an idealized version of you inserted into the story world for no other reason than that.

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      • Burnsidhe says:

        At least N’ville is fascinated enough to wish to be in the story. 🙂

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        • Keith says:

          What about someone whose sole ambition is to consume more raw honeycomb than any other living being in history? Also, they code in Java and wear nothing but untanned goatskins. Hypothetically speaking, that is.

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    • Readaholic says:

      Make your own fan-fic, or pay the author enough to do a private , non-canon piece. You may wind up eaten by the vice-chancellor, though.

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  16. Author_Unknown says:

    How does the shift effect enchantments.
    How does enchanting, and general channeling/meddling with the elements differ in the shift.

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  17. Nemo says:

    Name origins might be nice. I mean, like, there’s a pretty obvious chance “The World Wound” and the like just refer to it being this huge, inhospitable hellhole but “Khazarus” is sort of interesting at the very least.

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  18. wg says:

    I think it’d be interesting to see the Shift actually be a source for mechanical objects/devices/concepts (a la the Mecknights, or the scientist people we saw Amaranth involved with waaaaaay back at the beginning of the story) that bleed out into the world at large…or perhaps there are stories about places within the Shift where Newtonian physics reign (and yes, I’m completely making an assumption that they don’t in the MUniverse).

    Alternatively….most of what we’ve had about the Shift comes with a distinctly human flavor. What about a perspective from some of the other races we’ve seen on-screen (I’m thinking specifically of Dee here, actually), or perhaps a reverse perspective of the rest of the MUniverse from a race/races within the Shift itself?

    Or, perhaps, fallout from Leda’s death, as a perspective completely within the Shift. Perhaps her death at the hands of one of the mer-folk wasn’t as well-concealed as one might hope for, and her people actually do/did figure out exactly what happened to her….

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    • Burnsidhe says:

      Newtonian or classical physics certainly do work in the MU universe. Newton’s laws of motion still appear to hold. Magic represents an “outside force” that is often anti-entropic, or at least can introduce more energy than was originally present, on a local scale.

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      • zeel says:

        This is something I have been wondering about.

        It seems like Mechans are ~= to Wiccans, people who actually believe in certain fantasy elements. Which would make it seem as if there beliefs are less than reliable. However as a reader it is hard to imagine a world where Newtonian physics do not work at all. Thus it seems like the Mechans are right, and that Mackenzie (and most of the world!) are wrong.

        A definitive answer to:

        “Do the physics of the real world work in the MU world (or anywhere in the MU multiverse?) or are all the similarities explained entirely by magic?”


        “Is the Moon in that world a disk, or a sphere?” (cause it’s important!) And if a disk, how do tides work?

        And if real world technology was to be brought to that world, would it function? (Motorcycle, laptop, iPod, etc) assuming a power source is also brought with them (batteries, gas).

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        • Burnsidhe says:

          Consider this: When you have access to magic, and magic can be taught in a systemic way, and most of the world’s smartest people are studying it, who is left to study physics and chemistry as we know them?

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    • Kevin Brown says:

      I remember reading an article theorizing that Newton was wrong and gravity was simply the result of magnetic fields in combination with centrifugal force. Dunno if anything came of it but I kind of like the idea of Newton’s laws being more of “Guidelines” than “Rules” if you get what I mean.

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      • Burnsidhe says:

        Agatha Heterodyne: “Any magic sufficiently analyzed is indistinguishable from technology.” ~Girl Genius, by Kaja and Phil Foglio.

        The MU universe approaches magic in a more organized, almost scientific way. It’s not that there aren’t inexplicable parts to it, there are. But they have the ‘engineering’ of magic down pretty well; the design classes are fascinating for that aspect.

        Current score: 0
  19. prospero says:

    so, what sort of alliance led to the Chaos Wars, what sort of political entity from what kind of plane instigated the unification of the shift realms and the subsequent conquest? feel free to phrase that though in a way that doesn’t seem entirely ignorant; I would imagine that the players would be largely well known as a matter basic history or else entirely unknown.

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  20. Brenda says:

    What was that fish-thing that messed up everyone’s mind?

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  21. Jon says:

    Why would entities, specifically giants, want access to our world? Especially since this world is not made to suit them.

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  22. Mickey Phoenix says:

    AE has been very clear in the past that science, the scientific method, etc. simply don’t work reliably in the world of MU. Do an experiment 10 times, and you won’t just get 10 different results. You’ll get a pissed-off universe and the most distressing, confusing, or embarrassing results possible.

    It’s not that simple machines like levers don’t work. It’s that trying to generalize and standardize your interactions with the universe doesn’t work, whether you are trying to do so with spells or machines.

    Think of it this way. Instead of Laws of Nature–instead of nature having laws–nature has whims. Nature has a personality. Nature has bad days and good days. Nature has a soft spot for effort, and a profound dislike for smartasses.

    Science doesn’t fail because the Ideal Gas Law fails. Science fails because the scientific method fails. Magic isn’t science with more newt livers. Magic is a respectful dialog with the universe in which you persuade it to give you the results you are working towards.

    Current score: 0