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In Diaspora, the slipknots that connect the systems of the cluster aren't really explained. What the text tells us is:

  • There are two slipknots in each system, 5 AU north and south of the barycentre of the system.
  • The slipknots connect the system to between one and four other systems.

How do the slipknots map to system connections? Can you just use the most convenient slipknot to head for any connected system, or do you have to use the right slipknot for your destination system? Which slipknot do you come through on arrival in a system?

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Cam looking for an rpg question involving a band... left disappointed –  DForck42 Oct 8 '11 at 6:50
    
@DForck42 Rock Band Fiasco! –  SevenSidedDie Oct 8 '11 at 7:29
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@DForck42 Starchildren: Velvet Generation is explicitly about alien rock bands in an era where music is outlawed. GWAR the RPG is by and about GWAR the band. –  aramis Oct 9 '11 at 9:59
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2 Answers

up vote 5 down vote accepted
+100

Simple answer

In whichever manner the table decides they do.

More complex answer

There isn't an explicit relationship in the rules. Therefore, there are several approaches to pick from.

  • Entry and linkage options:
    • drive programming determines which route
    • direction of entry determines which route
    • direction picked upon transition
  • Links to slipknots
    • all links hit both
    • all links hit any slipnot in range that isn't blocked by the system
    • Links randomly hit far end slipknots, from but work from either
    • links stably hit one or both, determined at cluster creation

I'll note that Brad has commented on BGG that he visualizes the slipknot itself as a black sphere that sparkles when in use. He's avoided clear answers on many elements of slipknots, leaving such decisions to the table.

Note that this question was also asked on RPGGeek; the default is, as stated by Brad, the designer, both slipknots connect to all slipstreams connecting to the system, and he again implies your choice of which one in the destination system. He also explicitly calls it an area to be creative.

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My table's answer

Your very precise momentum vector determines where you will end up, since that is distorted by the multiple moving masses in the system, the safest place to control that is the point where all the system's gravity distortion cancels out. (That's why advanced T3 Nav computers can handle a slip a bit further away from the actual zero point, and it is possible to slip arbitrarily with T4, thanks to advanced AI or quantum computers) You can initiate the slip from anywhere but you will probably end up in the middle of nowhere(literally) with no hope of calculating a route back. Even if you managed to end up somewhere useful, that slip would be impossible to replicate because the planets and other mass in the origin system will have moved and changed the original vector. That's why the slipknots are used. They are reliable and consistent.

So it is possible to go to any system from any slipknot, and we say you may pick your destination slipknot by taking double time for your calculation, or just accept to appear at a random knot at the destination. We also used the formula; Roll 4dF, 0:Your choice, +1-3: Zenith knot, -1-3: Nadir knot, ±4: Somewhere else in the system.

Some extra effects

Because the systems and galaxies are moving in relation to each other, the systems in a cluster get disconnected, and other systems may link up from time to time. This is a slow process, and it is a rare occurrence. Generations pass within a stable cluster, with legends about a "lost" system that was the home of the ancients once upon a time, or the news of strange explorers arriving from a newly linked system.

There are probably many other systems theoretically reachable through a slipknot, but the entry vector required is impractical or even impossible with available reaction engines. Or the heat buildup is so severe that the trip is not survivable.

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Re rant: the book doesn't explain the position of the slipknots as having anything to do with gravity, and does note that station keeping at the slipknots would require constant boosting, so that's not a rant at the book so much as your group's own answer. ;) Aside from that, this is a novel take on the connections I hadn't considered. Thanks! –  SevenSidedDie Oct 8 '11 at 22:30
    
I had always assumed that such constant boosting would require a lot of force but a quick calculation at Wolfram Alpha showed that a station would need to maintain an acceleration of 0.000025g to hover at the knot, which is minuscule. So it seems doable, even with solar sails. Maybe that should become the explanation, that the gravitational pull of the system bodies are really negligible out there. –  edgerunner Oct 8 '11 at 23:04
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Decided to remove the rant, seems it was pointless all along. Thanks for urging me for actually making that calculation. –  edgerunner Oct 8 '11 at 23:14
    
Will the downvoter be kind enough to explain why? –  edgerunner Oct 9 '11 at 18:57
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