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Krastvin's Spatiodynamic Compass



This compass is a more detailed version of the one appearing on my map of the Krastvin Reach. It has two dials. The large dial simply displays the orientation of the device relative to the Silver Arrow (the local variant of the Pole Star, albeit so bright it's even faintly visible in broad daylight). 

The smaller hand is used for something far more complicated, but very important in this world. You should know, before the invention of this device, it was virtually impossible to accurately map the world on any meaningful scale. Many attempts have been made, but all seemed to strand on one strange but very real property in the Breistyn universe: a phenomenon scholars have started to call the Spatiodynamic Field. It is a field that expands and contracts space in such a way that travel times are almost impossible to estimate accurately. It's not just winds slowing you down, the actual distance measured between any two points - however accurately - differs between two measurements. And sometimes by a lot.

Not much is known about the forces causing these field changes, but it's clear that they are generally much stronger on the open sea than they are on land, where it's barely perceptible at all, even during major field surges. Scholars have however developed a device that helps them measure the local field strength quite accurately, which should then help travelers (merchants as well as warriors) to better estimate the time it will take them to travel from A to B. To calibrate the spatiodynamic sensors, a measuring station was erected in the heartland of the southern continent, as far away from any large body of water as possible. the field still fluctuates here, but so minutely that for most practical applications it can be considered constant. This constant is then used as the base value in sensors, and is set to 36. The scale is logarithmic: every 18 point increase reflects a doubling of the travel distance. So the formula would be 2^((SD-36)/18 = distance multiplier.

This particular compass was developed by the Krastvinian navy for its conquests. The inner ring displays the current value of the spatiodynamic field (expressed in "dyn" units). It shows a field distortion of 31.4 dyn, which indicates a distance contraction of 0.83 compared to when the field would be neutral (or absent). 

in practice this double-use compass tells you the direction you're travelling in, as well as a rough estimate of the distance distortion you're currently undergoing. As long as the small hand stays in the left half of the compass, you're winning time compared to the average. As soon as it tilts over to the right, distance starts getting longer. The largest distortions ever measured caused a distance dilation of over 300%. In those cases it would be wise to stay put and wait for the surge to die down (or flip in the other direction), since trying to keep traveling anyway would take you vast amounts of time with no significant movement as a result.

Stories are told of ships caught in a bubble of massive dilation, swerving over seas that seem endlessly vast from their perspective, even though they might - discounting the field distortions for a second - actually be fairly close to land. Other stories, and these ones often confirmed, tell of sea voyages that should take weeks, being contracted to mere days, with captains afterward recounting how the needles of their devices actually went beyond zero, or simply shattered under the stress.

Much has still to be discovered about the effects of the spatiodynamic field, but scholars are beginning to understand some of its properties, and it's clear this device will play an important role in their exploration of the weird world that surrounds them. 
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SirInkman's avatar
This looks great. I like alternate compasses.
You don't see them near as often as you should with all these fantasy locations. :)