Basic Shield Types

Instructor: Andy_Hock
Date: September 23, 2003 (Tuesday)

<Aphanas> Hi, Rain, Andy.

<Andy_Hock> Well, I was planning an actual lesson, but if this is our group, we’ll probably do more of a discussion on our shielding experiences and preferences.

<RainTurtle> Newbies are conspicuous by their absence

<Andy_Hock> Newbies only want to learn advanced stuff, usually . . . .

<Aphanas> If you had offered a psionic teleportation lesson, they’d be here in droves…

<RainTurtle> Quite so

<Andy_Hock> Or . . . phasing! That’d set an attendance record!

<RainTurtle> Yep, that’d test the limits of chatroom population

* Palamedes has joined #PSC_Annex

<RainTurtle> hi, Spot

<Raven> hi spot

* Andy_Hock waves to Palamedes.

<Jael> Hello, Palamedes

<Andy_Hock> Ground rules: We will be logging (which is a bit obvious) . . .

<Andy_Hock> I don’t think I need to threaten bans with this group . . . .

<Andy_Hock> Basically, a shield is a construct with programming used as a barrier of some sort.

<Andy_Hock> (That was expected to take about 10 minutes to develop, but I think we all know it.)


* Kid_Energy has joined #PSC_Annex

<RainTurtle> wb

<Kid_Energy> thanks

<Kid_Energy> froze up

<Andy_Hock> Hey, kid, what’s a shield?

<Kid_Energy> something used to defend against something else

<Andy_Hock> Okay . . . that’s a start.

<Andy_Hock> First of all, a shield is a construct.

<Andy_Hock> As such, it’s not all that different from other kinds of constructs.

<Andy_Hock> The main difference is its use: as a barrier.

<Andy_Hock> Not necessarily defensive, though. A ‘path will use thought and emotion shields just to block out “noise”, even if it has no malicious intent.

<Andy_Hock> . . . but a shield IS a barrier.

<Andy_Hock> This difference gives rise to other differences. Some of the programming in a shield might be the same as in other constructs, but other programming is different.

<Andy_Hock> Any questions on this basic concept?

<Aphanas> None so far…

<Kid_Energy> none here

<Jael> All makes sense to me.

<Jael> (so far)

<Raven> nope

<RainTurtle> no

<Andy_Hock> Creating a shield is no different that creating any other construct, except that it is hollow and surrounds you. You can make it all in one piece, like a hollow psiball, or you can build it from pieces like Dan’s “stone tower” shield.

<Andy_Hock> It should be programmed to remain, either indefinitely or for a fixed duration.

<Andy_Hock> It should also have some sort of programmed trigger to drop it.

<Andy_Hock> There should also be some sort of defensive programming in it. What is it meant to stop, from what direction, and what will it do with what it stops.

<Andy_Hock> What types of things might one make a shield to stop?

<RainTurtle> the approach of mosquitoes

<Andy_Hock> Could be, Rain.

<Aphanas> Random thoughts & emotions… deliberate attacks, and raccoons….

<Kid_Energy> psionic attacks

<Jael> My emotions from going more than two feet away from me.

<Aphanas> Paintballs too (real ones), though that would probably get into force bubbling…

<RainTurtle> assorted forms of ‘geisting

<Andy_Hock> That’s a good variety there.

<RainTurtle> true, but force-bubbles are a species of Shield

<Andy_Hock> I think force bubbles are outside the scope of tonight, though, other than to mention them.

<Andy_Hock> It IS good to know they exist, though.

<Andy_Hock> But a force bubble takes substantial PK ability as well as construct ability.

<Andy_Hock> At some point, our master force-bubbler will probably do a class on them ::points to Rain::

<RainTurtle> The possibility exists

<Andy_Hock> Okay, so now we need to decide what our shield will do with what it stops.

<RainTurtle> Turn it into psi-bunnies?

<RainTurtle> Absorb it, after neutralising the signal?

<RainTurtle> grounding it out?

<Andy_Hock> Those are three basic options.

<Andy_Hock> A fourth would be to reflect it.

* Jael raises her hand.

<Andy_Hock> Yes, Jael?

<Jael> Is it possible for the shield to not do what you want it to with what it stops…ie, can it not deconstruct properly?

<Andy_Hock> Well, all shields are vulnerable to someone with more skill . . .

<Andy_Hock> Or the programming can be done wrong.

<Andy_Hock> Is that what you meant?

<Jael> That’s more my concern…that I’ll be expecting my shield to do more than I know how to correctly program it to do.

<Andy_Hock> Two ways to guard against that are to start simple, and to get someone to test the shield.

<Jael> Okay. Thanks.

<Andy_Hock> Rain’s psi-bunny idea is quite flashy, for example, but is probably more complex than someone would want to start with.

* Aphanas raises hand…

<Andy_Hock> Yes, Aphanas?

<Aphanas> How would basic shield testing work? if you think that it’s constructed correctly, but it’s not immediately obvious (you aren’t under immediate attack, or you’re not shielding someone else so that you can watch their reaction to the shield going up)?

<Andy_Hock> You could have someone attack you under controlled conditions, starting with weal attacks and moving up. Not really sparring, just testing.

<Andy_Hock> weaK attacks and . . .

<Andy_Hock> For a shield to stop constructs, have them throw a few psiballs at it, then maybe a few harder constructs.

<Andy_Hock> Not really wanting to get into the nature of even simple combat constructs in the log, but that would be the idea.

<Aphanas> OK, makes sense. Thanks.

<Andy_Hock> For an emotional shield, you’d need someone to empathically project at you to test it.

<Andy_Hock> I’d tend to think that almost all basic type shields would fall in one of those four classes mentioned earlier: Reflectors, Absorbers, Grounders, and Converters.

<Andy_Hock> (Just for info, a shield with an inner reflecting surface is almost always a BAD idea . . . )


<Aphanas> Heh…

<Kid_Energy> ok

<Andy_Hock> Inner absorbers and grounders, on the other hand, can be useful in the type of situation Jael mentioned.

<Andy_Hock> I.e. keeping YOUR thoughts and emotions from getting out.

<Andy_Hock> Converters, like the psi-bunny converter, are considered rather advanced.

<Andy_Hock> Another converter-type would be one that changed one form of attack into another and then sent it back.

<Andy_Hock> But most beginning-type shields are reflectors or grounders, with absorbers being a BIT more advanced, but not that much.

<Andy_Hock> (Strength of absorbers is that you can use the energy from the attack on you. Weakness is that you might not WANT that particular energy, especially without depatterning it.)

<Andy_Hock> Any questions here?

<RainTurtle> *shakes head*

<Kid_Energy> nope

<Jael> None here.

<Aphanas> None here.

<Raven> nope

<Andy_Hock> Shields are also generally either of a hard or soft variety.

<Andy_Hock> The hard shield is designed to stop something on contact and reflect, ground or absorb it.

<Andy_Hock> The soft type allows some penetration, and relies on its feeling of density to slow and stop the incoming.

<Andy_Hock> I’ve found soft shields make great depatterner/absorbers.

<Andy_Hock> Stuff gets “stuck” in them, alowing the shield to do its thing.

<Andy_Hock> It is also possible to make shields in layers.

<Andy_Hock> Layers of the same kind of shield can back each other up, so that if one fails, the others are still there.

* Aphanas raises hand…

<Andy_Hock> Layers of different kinds keep one shield from having too much (possibly conflicting) programming.

<Andy_Hock> Yes, Apahnas?

<Aphanas> It seems possible to “clone” shield layers, by adding psi to the new layer while telling it to use the same programming as a previous layer (I’ve been playing with this a bit recently). Is this a “less effective” way of building shield layers than doing each one manually?

<Andy_Hock> I don’t know. I’ve never tried that. Does anyone else have experience there?

<RainTurtle> IT is effective, but has a decided risk

<RainTurtle> Ever hear the story of “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice”?

<Aphanas> Heh… yes.

<RainTurtle> That fable had its roots in reality

<Aphanas> You mean, they may multiply out of control?

<RainTurtle> Can, and often do, especially when cast by less-experienced psionicists

<Aphanas> Ahh… OK. I was actually thinking about building each layer deliberately, but referencing the program set from the previous layer. Would that be OK?

<RainTurtle> As an added risk, the most common error in them is neglecting to include self-destruct programming….which tends to mutate after a few generations of “cloning” in any event

<RainTurtle> That’s fine, using the same programming for sunsequent layers, otherwise constructed separately

<Aphanas> OK, good (I haven’t been doing something stupid then…

<Aphanas> Thanks.


<Andy_Hock> Speaking of doing somethig stupid, the last thing I wanted to mention was that it is important to plan layers effectively. You wouldn’t want a reflector as your innermost layer, for example, because it would send anything that got through to it back through your other layers, causing more damage to them . . .

<Raven> *raises hand for comment*

<Andy_Hock> Yes, Raven?

<Raven> and hedge shields does very little good if it’s not the topmost shield.

<Andy_Hock> Very true!

<Andy_Hock> Everyone know what a “hedge shield” is?

<Aphanas> Heh… thanks Raven. I was just wondering that…

<Aphanas> Yep.

<Andy_Hock> For the record (and the log), it’s a shield designed to keep whatever is within it from being noticed.

<Kid_Energy> yea

<Andy_Hock> Any final questions?

<RainTurtle> *raises hand*

<Andy_Hock> Yes, Rain?

<RainTurtle> Not so much a question as a comment.

<Andy_Hock> Okay.

<RainTurtle> Was pointed (correctly) out by Raven that making the programming of each layer slightly different, it is more difficult for someone else to hack it

<RainTurtle> (same idea as not using your dog’s name as your password for everything)

<Jael> *raises hand*

<Andy_Hock> Very true. We didn’t have time to get into hacking and defenses against it tonight. But it’s a good point.

<Andy_Hock> Yes, Jael?

<Jael> Is it best for each layer to have only one purpose or program, until you are experienced?

<Andy_Hock> One, or a few related.

<Andy_Hock> Keeping out thoughts AND emotions is logical to combine, for example.

<Andy_Hock> But, as Rain just reminded me, a shield can have one purpose, but cannot really have one program.

<Andy_Hock> There are programs to maintain it, to drop it, etc.

* Aphanas just had his followup question answered…

<Jael> Ah. Okay. I like to combine things…I wasn’t sure how stupid this was at this point.

<Andy_Hock> See how it works for you, Jael.

* Aphanas has another followup question…

<Andy_Hock> Yes, Aphanas?

<Aphanas> Could the basic programming for each shield layer be categorized as: Primary effect, duration, dismissal trigger, & warning system? Or am I missing a piece?

<RainTurtle> shape, thickness, format

<Andy_Hock> Also maintenance, if it’s long-term.

<RainTurtle> And, if it is likely to be hacked, anti-hacking devices

<Andy_Hock> Where does it replenish itself? From you? From absorbed energy?

<Andy_Hock> Combat shields can be quite complex.

<Andy_Hock> . . . or they can be expendable layers.

<Aphanas> Oops… was assuming shape and power sources as part of the shield layer type… probably shouldn’t do that…

<Andy_Hock> Everything is a program.

<Andy_Hock> Anything else?

<Kid_Energy> nope

<Raven> *shakes head*

<Aphanas> Nope, that does it for me at the moment. Thanks very much for the class, Andy.

<RainTurtle> One point of linguistics for future reference

<Andy_Hock> Yes, Rain?

<RainTurtle> The “hedge” shield is a local slang derived from a comic book called the Tick. “We are a hedge. Move along, Sir. Nothing to see, here. We are a hedge” Just in case someone else reads the archive and wonders about that

<Andy_Hock> Ahhh . . .


<Andy_Hock> Well, thanks for coming.

<RainTurtle> Thanks for the class, Andy. Well done

<Jael> Thanks for the class!

<Raven> good class, thanks.

<Aphanas> Thanks again.

<Kid_Energy> thank you

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