Back to the main page

Mailing List Logs for ShadowRN

From: The Deb Decker <RJR96326@****.UTULSA.EDU>
Subject: Here they are
Date: Fri, 23 Jul 1993 14:18:38 -0500

There have been many reports of areas referred to as "Dead
Zones", where technology purportedly does not work. Their existence
has been theorized since shortly after the Awakening (Lowe, 2025) and
an abundance of theorists, ranging from respected Mage-scientists to
vociferous neo-mages have contributed to the information, both true
and false, collected on these areas. We have endeavored to field-test
all the data used in the support of our theory, to eliminate ignorance
and shed an authorituve light on the subject.

There have been many conflicting reports on just what does and
does not work in a dead zone (DZ). In some cases, no piece of technology
invented after c. 1300 would operate: gunpowder, electricity, or
cyberware. The "rule of thumb" was that only nature's rules prevailed;
any manipulation thereof would fail. But these reports contain contradictions
in themselves; electricity is a force of nature, not humanity; and gunpowder,
while an invention of the human race, is a natural reaction between natural
The problem is that almost every theory is based on some arbitrary
cut-off point: nothing invented after 1800, 1200, 2000 would work. This
means that devices used the same or similar natural processes would not
work even if invented within 10 years of each other. Furthermore, all
technology is based on a manipulation of a natural force; even the Matrix
is generated on the manipulation of the flow of photons and electrons;
cyberware is simply the control of electricity and mechanical parts.
We ask that you cast aside the urban myths of "no-cyberware"
zones, or regions where the telegraph will operate but not the trid.
Forget the myth that steam engines are used in the northern NAN beacuse
maglev and internal combustion don't work. We believe we have put
together a solid theory on the origin of Dead Zones and their consequences.

Much of today's magic and its effects are echoes of our myths and
legends. Trolls, Orks, Elves, and Dwarves all have neo-historical
counterparts in folktales and popular fiction. Tales of wizards scouring
the countryside, of mystic shamans and priests battling spirits; all of
these modern realities have a basis in the myriad cultures of the world.
One myth that has not been explored by any but a few dedicated
magicians and theologians is the Atlantis myth and similar tales of a
pre-historical advanced society. These "Ancients" have the following
elements in common, whether mentioned in Homeian epics or legends of
the Zuni: Large populations with a high leisure rate; exotic powers
and abilities; the manipulation of vast amounts of power. Putting these
into modern terms, we can find analogs in:
The Corporate Middle Class
Cybernetic modification and Mages
Fusion, Fission, and the energy infrastructure

This is not to say that this pre-historical society was exactly
like ours. As we have yet to find solid evidence of their existence, we
freely admit this hypothesis could be wrong. But it does fit the facts
at hand and help explain the DZs. For those interested in more details
about this hypothetical society, we suggest Pembroke's EarthDawn: the
Fourth World. It is by far the most scientific of the texts we
discovered regarding the subject.
Another theory which corroborates ours is the Rising Mana theory.
The stipulation is that the Awakening was merely the begining, and that
the level of magical energy in the world is rising and has yet to peak. Like
a person who awakens, it takes a little while for an alert and aware status
to be attained; it will be some time before Mana reaches its full potential.
If this pre-historical society had existed for some time prior to the
emergence of the 5th world, then it is safe to assume that the Mana level
had peaked and was higher than ours currently is.
If the magical level was higher, then mages would have been capable
of instigating proportionately higher manifestations of magical power.
Completely new and different types of wards, sustained and quickened area effect
spells, and magical effects of an as-yet unimagined nature may very well have
been as normal as Heal and Treat are in today's hospitals.
We postulate that the Dead Zones are leftovers of this archaic
age, areas which were affected by ancient wizards with powerful spells
that have now Awakened as the Mana level rises. The Zones may have been
so affected to deny or discourage entry of certain types of people, to
prevent the use or operation of certain device, or as a whim on the part
of the mage. The power of the magic used to create the DZs is strong
enought to have survived the low Mana levels of the 5th world, and
is now bringing the effects back into the existence with the Awakening
of magic.
This easily accounts for the variety in type and magnitude of
effect found from zone to zone. Different magicians would have found
different needs for their areas and so would have used different effects
to discourage visitors. It may also account for the rather specific nature
of certain zones, as well as the general nature of others. Depending on
the reason for a zone's existence, a magician could have been as specific
or general as desired in the formation of a Dead Zone.
Dead Zones are likely to appear more often and more frequently
as the Mana level rises. Existing Zones will likely see their effects
increase. We will continue to study them in order to understand them and
make adapting to their existence easier for society.

A small zone in the northern part of Nova Scotia, UCAS, this zone
is approximately 5000 square meters on the surface. It is perpetually summer
there; it never snows, nor does the temperature drop below the June mean
temperature for the area. This is apparently the only direct effect of the
The indirect effects are numerous. Obviously, the trees can't be
in summer mode all the time, or their annual life cycle would be disrupted.
They still grow new leaves, but at a rate that they quickly assume summer
coloration. Birds flock around the area, their biological clocks apparently
not telling them to fly south, though they do reproduce. Animals that
stumble into this zone find good hunting relative to winter conditions,
but they may or may not stay, depending on the real season outside the
A large pasture in the NAN, this 50,000 square foot area apparently
extends upwards in a hemisphere center on the field. Apparently, nothing can
fly here except something vehicles using direct thrust. Planes and
birds will not fly. Rockets work because their thrust is applied directly
against gravity constantly. Birds can fly only if they maintain their thrust by
beating their wings. The result is: no gliding, and no lift is provided by
wings, no matter what speed a vehicle is at.
The focus seems to be air pressure. A balloon rises because the
air within is lighter than the air without. Wings function by lowering the
pressure above, allowing the pressure below to push the plane up. Birds
can fly by by constantly beating their wings to provide thrust; they are
pushing against the air, rather than getting the air to push them up.
Rockets work because they push the rocket up, not just as a reaction
against the air.
Interesting because this single building does not allow
Illusion spells to work. That is the only effect. We include it as an
example that DZs can alter paranatural laws as well as others.
It is interesting because the temple is said to be a place of
truth and beauty, where one can go to see reality in meditation.

This brief case-studies list is by no means inclusive. There are
zones where no vegetation will grow, where people can walk on walls,
and where smokeless powder will not function (though Black Powder will).
Zones are very complicated and have physicists struggling to discover just
which laws are being broken (the Montana site is one such area, where they
are still deciding which rules are affected). But Zones are not easily
defined in the clear-cut sense that urban myth allows (no cyberware,
no guns, etc).


These messages were posted a long time ago on a mailing list far, far away. The copyright to their contents probably lies with the original authors of the individual messages, but since they were published in an electronic forum that anyone could subscribe to, and the logs were available to subscribers and most likely non-subscribers as well, it's felt that re-publishing them here is a kind of public service.