Negative Space Wedgie
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Basic Information

The Negative Space Wedgie is the equivalent of the Monster of the Week for space-based science fiction settings. This trope includes actual monsters, but also astronomical phenomena, weird energy fields, and other problems that can't be solved by simply shooting it.

Related Tropes:

Lost Technology of the Precursors
Monster of the Week
Mysterious glowing cloud
Planet of Hats
Sufficiently Advanced Aliens
Swirly Energy Thingy
Unknown Phenomenon

See also:

Dark Matter
Exotic Matter
Interstellar Terrain
Stellar Megastructure



Game and Story Use

  • An ill-conceived space wedgie might end up crossing into Space Does Not Work That Way, but a well-crafted wedgie can make for an exciting plot.
  • What kind of Negative Space Wedgies you have in your game will largely depend on where you fall on Mohs scale of sci fi hardness.
    • Softer sci fi should probably stick to mostly things that can be solved with charisma or firepower. If you're playing fast and loose with science, there's not much for player-character scientists to manipulate.
      • You may hand wave past this hurdle, by making Reverse the Polarity a standard action with reasonably intuitive results, or by just abstracting the solutions down to die rolls and resource allocation.
    • Harder science has more tools for player character scientists and astronauts to use in solving science-related problems. At the same time, getting the facts straight requires some research from the GM, and then a way to make sure the PCs, their players, and the GM are all on the same page.
      • In a game this arcanist ran recently, I tried out a tool I'd come up with to make the science-related plotlines work more smoothly without a really ugly info dump disrupting the role-playing. You can read about it on my blog.
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