Dennis Nuel

Dennis Nuel

Physicist on the Zievatronics Project / Master of Practice

From David Brin's novel "The Practice Effect". This describes Dennis after he has spent time consciously mastering the "practice" powers that are active in the world he explores.

  • 40 PSY
  • -10 STR Superior
  • 5 END
  • 5 WAR

50 Eidolon Initiate

Dennis can use The Practice Effect to evoke perfection in use of any human artifact, using his creativity to combine pieces into new forms and functions. "Eidolon Initiate" presumes he has learned to use this effect to some extent on himself as well as objects.

1 The Zievatron

1 Open Door
The Zievatron is a machine which creates doors to other worlds. Mostly it opens on hostile or useless environments, but with luck, found the world of The Practice Effect. The base unit is a bulky electricity hog. A fragile remote unit maintains the return link back to home.

5 Krenegee Beast

A creature ally sometimes helpful to Dennis.

  • 1 Connected to Eidolon. Represents affinity with Practice.
  • 1 Mold Gossamer Matter. Represents affinity with Practice.
  • 1 Mobility (represents gliding)
  • 1 Intelligent (does not use language, but is clever and curious)
  • 1 Good Stuff

    Early on, Dennis makes friends with a curious, mischievous little animal that pops up from time to time to watch what he's up to and occasionally use its powers. The creature was able to play with and "practice up" one of the exploration robots used by the Zievatronics Survey.

    A Krenegee Beast superficially resembles a cross between a furry, flat-nosed piglet and a flying squirrel, having gliding membranes between its legs. Curious and sociable, some of them make friends with humans. Its paws are manipulative enough that it can use tools, but mostly its attitude is one of playfulness more than purpose. Dennis named the first one he saw a "pixolet" for its piglet-like shape and apparent expression of mischievous humor. It has a close connection to the forces of Practice that turn attentive use into an infusion of Eidolon into the world, slowly improving objects with use.

1 The World of the Practice Effect

1 Personal Domain

  • Eidolon: Used intuitively by natives, but focused on tools.
  • Umbra: Significant mostly as a force by which Eidolon leaks away.
  • Magic: Rare to unknown in practice, but rumored and feared.
  • Technology: Low, but not limited by world circumstances.

    Central to the human civilization of this world is that "practice" is how the human-created environment is established. Tools, clothing, buildings, and transport are created in the crudest possible way by specialty guilds out of sticks, rocks, fiber, and skins. These crude starters are then "practiced" into existence by using them with intention. As long as the item is a little bit good at doing some job, the act of practice builds the item up to be better and better at what it's used for until it becomes ideally suited for its job. Even things like roads are subject to Practice. Wagon ruts become slick tracks for the runners of the wheel-less carts practiced into efficient transport. Stone axes become beautifully sharp, wonderfully balanced instruments.

    The Practice Effect causes the economy to be based on human attention. Servants "practice" their masters' clothing so it never goes unused. Treasures must be displayed before envious eyes or they lose their beauty. For the downside of the Practice Effect is that neglected items lose all their practice and revert to sticks and stones. Dennis brings in a backpack full of ordinary camping gear that is immune to neglect because it's all "essence" -- it has no practice in it to leak away. This gets him into trouble because the locals assume that such advanced items -- strong, lightweight, fit to purpose -- must be highly practiced. They assume Dennis is a witch who has used black magic to lock a vast amount of practice into his equipment.

    As a native of a practice-less world and an experimental physicist, Dennis has a great amount of practical knowledge about building things and putting them together that the local residents have never dreamed of. With his natural creativity and an outsider's perspective, Dennis becomes combines his physical and mechanical knowledge with an aptitude for "practicing" items into things the locals have never imagined. His success is not untroubled, though, upsetting a number of local applecarts among the guilds and the lords.

3 Good Stuff