Inscrit le: 19 Sep 2009
Sam 10 Oct - 16:14 (2009)
This weapon fires tiny pellets of antimatter in miniature magnetic traps. When the pellets hit an object (or slow down enough), the magnetic field decays, and the antimatter escapes, causing a devastating explosion of gamma rays. The possibility of early containment failure means that very few people use these weapons. When a gunpowder weapon blows up in your face, you could lose an eye. When antimatter blows up in your face, you lose your entire body and the surrounding ten meters of terrain. Antimatter guns deal damage rated at Stringtech 10, and deal an extra two points of Reserve damage because of the explosion.
Tech Level: Stringtech 7 for weapons that generate their own antimatter. Weapons can be built at Stringtech 5 that carry pre-loaded antimatter, but these are tantamount to suicide.
Descriptors: Once the bullet hits, the damage is Energy.
The creation of gravity wells without a large nearby mass is possible, though rare. It’s very energy-intensive, and generally considered somewhat wasteful — the sort of thing Stardwellers do when entertaining groundlings. Most such wells are kept very small, both to keep energy costs down and to avoid problems with one’s neighbors. Very few starships are built with artificial gravity. All Spacer vessels spin, creating a gravity-like centrifugal force that lets them walk around on board.
Tech Level: Stringtech 6
Minor AIs, with fragmentary personalities and specialized mental processes, are exceptionally common. They inhabit nearly every piece of modern technology and make it all easier to use — in fact, in many cases, they’re what makes it possible to use!
For information on more powerful artificial intelligences, see the Aia on page 63. Rumor has it that all major new AIs are “liberated” by the Aia within hours. Familiars (see page 139) are another common form of AI, much less powerful and more comprehensible.
Tech Level: n/a
Descriptors: Dataform, some are Auxons
This lens works in conjunction with a meshbased alarm clock. Just set your lens to wake you up whenever you desire. The lens modifies your REM sleep patterns to ensure a maximally restful sleep and avoid interrupting REM when waking. It also eases you awake cleanly, without the stress of an auditory alarm clock or other irritant. As an added option, the lens can remind you of whatever you need to do that morning.
Tech Level: Cognitech 5
Cost: Low, often public domain
Descriptors: Dataform. People with sufficient Cognitech training can do this without a lens, making this a Procedure.
This is a catch-all term for various “orbital elevators” that take cargo from ground level to planetary orbit relatively slowly. Civilizations without access to wormholes use these to launch satellites, passengers, and cargo more efficiently and comfortably than with chemical rockets. Beanstalks are typically constructed from nanofiber and reinforced electromagnetically. Beanstalks that are poorly maintained or sabotaged will fail catastrophically.
Tech Level: Stringtech 5+ and Nanotech 4+
A general suite of genetic enhancements, this allows conscious control over normally subconscious faculties. Those with these enhancements can hold their breath longer, turn off their senses (including your pain sense), or even enter a state of hibernation. Characters with a Biotech Capability of 5 or higher almost always have this suite built in.
Tech Level: Biotech 5
Cost: Low to your children, Moderate for you.
Descriptors: Inheritable, Internal
Actually several dozen different varieties of microscopic robot, these “builders” take care of most modern construction projects. Each type of building material is carried into place by a different species of microbot, with other species bonding materials together or “supervising” the project. Human overseers are still needed, but the physical work is done by billions of tiny robots.
The time required increases with the size of the object. Something fist-sized might be completed in half an hour, while a building might take several squads of microbots all week to finish. The higher the Nanotech level the bots have, the faster they can work.
Tech Level: At least Nanotech 5
Descriptors: Microscopic, Auxon
These Cognitech devices are designed to protect characters from dataform onslaughts. The cost includes a subscription to an service that updates the firewall with the latest techniques in mesh-hacking defense; without these services the firewall’s effectiveness will degrade over time. Everyone with a mesh will have some basic level of these; the paranoid or those who store important data in their brains will have improved models that give +1 or +2 on defensive rolls against Mesh-Hacking.
Tech Level: At least Cognitech 5
Cost: Low to Expensive
Descriptors: Internal, Dataform
From the basics of city planning — traffic patterns, garbage pickup, zoning regulations and more — to the intricacies of creating a new civilization, this procedure improves the way that people work together. A community created with the aid of such procedures gives those seeking to defend it from various hazards two extra points of Reserve.
Tech Level: Metatech 3 for cities, 6 for societies, 9 for civilizations
Cost: Low, Expensive, or Exorbitant, respectively.
Competence Lenses are a boon to many people, allowing them to benefit from what others have learned in an immediate and direct manner. These lenses effectively give you the accumulated knowledge and experience (and, to a lesser extent, the viewpoint) of a professional in a particular field. They include fast access to hierarchically structured databases and compact mental schema that are used by experts in that field, as well as the feeling that all of this is a natural and normal thing for the lens user — there is no period of disorientation, no learning curve.
Purely mental activities that rely primarily on cognitive horsepower and familiarity with a field are the easiest to encode. The more physical activity or creativity a particular profession requires, the less effective a Competence Lens can be. These Lenses cannot give you physical grace or “muscle memory,” nor do they improve any of your more general physical or mental faculties. They merely give you some of the abilities of an expert. Truly high-level experience is difficult to simulate, as it often requires a degree of creativity not seen in novice work. One can be a good computer programmer through brute mental force; to be a great programmer requires inspiration. Other cognitech techniques can and do provide that, but not these Lenses.
The following table shows what level Competence Lens can be created for a particular Profession:
5 Crisis Control, Explorer, Farmer, Financial, Legal, Locality, Programmer, Researcher, and Teacher
4 Courtesan, Criminal, Engineer, Media, Medical, Police, Political, Religious, and Soldier 3 Artist, Spacer, and Spy
2 Athlete and Outdoorsman
Competence Lenses of any level can be created at Cognitech 6 or higher, but treat their Capability rating as 5 + level for the purpose of writing them (as per the invention rules on page 154).
The drawback of a Competence Lens is that people with actual experience in a particular field have seen many different Competence Lenses before, and each one acts in the same way on every person — in other words, they’re predictable. This is no drawback when the lens user is working alone, but repetitive actions are a major problem when it comes to a confrontation. Like most pieces of technology, Competence Lenses come with no build-in Reseve.
Tech Level: Cognitech 6
Cost: Moderate to Expensive, though many civs make a level 3 Crisis Control lens available for free.
Descriptors: Near-c, Energy
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Patent Office Inspectors have a generous paycheck, and can afford Low-cost items without really being concerned about it, but still have to save up for Moderate items. Inspectors can often requisition devices that are necessary for their missions, but they should have a backup plan in case their requests are denied.
In general the Office prefers to send its operatives into the field without massive world-breaking weapons. Not only is it good for interciv relations, it also improves Inspector success rates. Blasting away at the first person you suspect is often a major mistake. Trying to requisition a half-kilogram of antimatter will probably get you fired. Perhaps a Theme like Plot Immunity (Fast Requisition) would help out.
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Digital Overlay Schizophrenic Disorder
Especially common in Tao space, but visible in nearly every Mesh-using culture, is Digital Overlay Schizophrenic Disorder (DOSD). Certain individuals, primarily those whose unaugmented minds are underdeveloped (such as children and the mentally or emotionally ill), construct or obtain digital worlds for themselves that they find far more compelling than their everyday lives. The stereotypical example is that of the Tao “hero Lens”, wherein the wearer perceives others’ reactions to him to be far more favorable than they actually are, as well as perceiving his own actions to be highly effective and competent. Other examples abound in digital game worlds and daydream interactives.
It is the nature of most of these Lenses to allow some interaction with the analog world. For instance, a young student may use a Lens to perceive vector calculus as a battle against a terrible monster, allowing the memory centers of her mind to retain the formulas and concepts necessary while stimulating her interest with the story. When a teacher asks her a question, her mesh translates it into a deadly sword blow; when she responds with a shield and counterstrike, her mesh translates and allows her to speak an answer.
In most cases, individuals retain the ability to tell fantasy from reality, which leads to periods of reduced Lens use and an eventual return to reality. However, in some cases, individuals find their imposed mental state and perceptions to be so much more favorable that they effectively “leave reality behind.” Some of these individuals retreat to a catatonic state, but the majority still interact with the world in some fashion, which can actually be more harmful to their psyche.
Used in a specific context, such Lenses are powerful tools. Used constantly, the wearer’s mind retreats farther and farther into the fantasy world, ignoring alarms set to return them to a normal perceptual state. The mesh, left to its own devices, tasks the wearer’s brain for what responses he or she might give to situations occuring in real life. A dichotomous mental state then arises, with two psyches in the same body, using the mesh’s processing power to run at full speed. The newer personality is often shallow and unresponsive, which is one way to detect DOSD in its intermediate stages.
In the worst cases, DOSD becomes an interative, layered disorder, with the new shell personality becoming a victim of the syndrome as well. Soon the third, fourth, fifth, etc. psyches emerge to handle real-life events. This eventually results in either total mental overload (an aneurism), or in catatonia.
Recovery is difficult at best, since many of these cases are discovered only in the very late stages when the original psyche has been lost entirely.
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