Inscrit le: 19 Sep 2009
Sam 17 Oct - 13:49 (2009)
Photon Splitting Field
Under the influence of very high magnetic fields electromagnetic radiation “splits,” one photon turning into two lower-energy ones. In game terms, this is a defense for physical combat, rated at Stringtech 6.
Tech Level: Stringtech 6
The top 50 nanometers of this surface consists solely of custom-designed electric fields, allowing it to mimic any natural element — and some “pseudoelements” that can only be created through this process! Programmable surfaces can be made frictionless, scratch-proof, perfectly light-absorbant or reflecting, glowing or patterned, warm to the touch, and more. Different regions of the surface can take on different properties, allowing (for instance) a touch-screen on one side and solar panels on the other. Below the surface is a complex network of nanowires and computers. Programmable surfaces need electrical power at all times, though not very much of it. Since they can easily become solar panels, this typically isn’t a problem. One of the major goals of nanoscience is to create programmable matter, not just surfaces. See also Pseudomaterials and Pseudosurfaces, below.
Tech Level: Nanotech 8
These are the logical successors of pseudosurfaces: materials constructed entirely of cleverly engineered nanostructures. Pseudomaterials have properties that far exceed those of regular materials, such as being invisible, unbreakable, perfectly insulating, totally nonreactive or overly reactive, utterly unreflective, or having other such useful functions. Much like pseudosurfaces, these materials are not programmable — they have a single function when created, which cannot be changed.
Tech Level: Nanotech 10
The precursors of programmable surfaces, pseudosurfaces have carefully designed nanostructures covering them entirely, allowing them to act like something they’re not. Everything that programmable surfaces can do, pseudosurfaces can also do, with the exception of changing their function. Once built, a pseudosurface has a single job to do.
Tech Level: Nanotech 7
Psychohistory is the art and science of predicting the course of humanity’s future. Whereas memetics is concerned with individuals and resonant ideas, psychohistory is concerned with whole populations. Psychohistorical predictions on groups of less than a million people are somewhat unreliable. On groups as large as an entire civilization, however, they are very accurate. All advanced civilizations use Psychohistory to predict the actions of their foes and better prepare themselves for their actions.
Tech Level: Metatech 8
This methodology takes advantage of commonalities in the human mind, allowing those who know it to understand and transmit the most basic information more effectively. Characters who know this method of analysis can read basic signs in other civilizations without the need for a translation guide, and are capable of making signs and gestures that will convey simple information (danger, safety, “stay out”, food & lodging, and so on.) to almost any human being alive. Only Heterolinguists cannot benefit from this methodology.
Tech Level: Metatech 4
Remotes are robotic drones, primarily used by the Stored to interact with the analog world. They can be nearly any shape or size, though most are small. Even a flea-sized remote could hold hundreds of useful nano-scale devices. The Stored don’t actually transmit their digital selves into these devices; they just receive information from them. Some remotes are built to be sturdier, or can affect objects in the analog world. They can even be human-shaped. There are remotes capable of winged flight, remotes built with wheels or spider-like legs, remotes bristling with weapons. Most are just highly sophisticated mobile cameras.
A few Stored build Biotech-based remotes, using meshes to control the organism’s movements and collect data from its sensory organs. Though it is considered an abomination, some even use cloned human bodies as remotes, made from their own DNA. It’s as close as they can get to being made flesh again without being printed out.
Remotes used under extreme conditions can occasionally lose contact with the infosphere, due to electromagnetic interference or simple antenna failure. In these cases the user’s link is severed, and the remote might sit, helpless and useless, until someone retrieves it. Because of this, most remotes have built-in data ghosts (q.v.) that can take over when the link is severed, driving the remote back into infosphere contact.
Tech Level: Nanotech 3+
< ENCADRE >
Starships for Stardwellers
There’s nothing quite like having your very own, personal starship. While most ships in this game are settings rather than equipment (that is, you live in them rather than using them for a particular job), some relatively well-off characters from the Illustrious Stardwelling Armada could actually possess their very own starship. Here’s how to handle that.
Characters who own ships will need a good reason for it. High standing in the Stardweller government or defensive forces (represented by various Themes) or being a member of High Society are both good places to start.
Each ship will have its own ratings in every Capability except (typically) Biotech. Stringtech and Nanotech could theoretically be as low as 4, but are rarely below 6. Stardweller AIs tend to be relatively bright, with Cognitech scores of 4-8 and Metatech scores of 2-5. The few “grown” ships typically have a Biotech rating of 8-10. The onboard AIs are programmed with the Spacer Profession, with a minimum of 3 and a maximum of around 10. Each of these Capabilities and Professions should have its own Reserve rating. Since a starship’s Capabilities are effectively as useful as the character’s, use the higher of the character’s Capabilities and the ship’s Capabilities (except Biotech) for the purpose of determining the character’s Import level (see page 75).
All ships have some degree of AI, which allows them to be piloted by a single individual and to maintain themselves to a large extent. Stardweller ships also tend to have strong personalities, crafted so as to mesh well with the personality of the owner and/or pilot.
Minor self-repair systems are customary. Scratches and electrical blowouts can be handled via onboard replicators, but severe damage will require repairs. Costs can range from moderate to expensive (see page 131), with higher Capability levels requiring correspondingly skilled technicians to repair. Effecting your own repairs is possible, and reduces the cost by one level. It requires a level of 5 or higher in the Nanotech Engineer, Stringtech Engineer, Spacer, and Programmer Professions, not all of which need to come from the same person. Major repairs usually take about a week.
Starships rated at Stringtech 7 or higher are capable of converting matter to antimatter, and are usually fueled in this way. Those of Stringtech 8 will be fitted with wormhole generators to allow interstellar travel. The cost of using the wormhole is entirely offset by the antimatter generator, but after transit it can take hours or days to build up a sufficient charge to reactivate the wormhole.
Battles between starships should be quite rare. Almost all of these vessels are the equivalents of limousines, sports cars, or private yachts — expensive and vulnerable. Almost none of them are built for war, regardless of the weapons and countermeasures they may employ. Imagine hanging out the top of a flashy convertible with a rocket launcher aimed at someone’s limo, and you have roughly the right image. Those built as warships will find that they are not welcome in the majority of star systems, regardless of the owner’s legal standing — the possibility for property damage is simply too high. If a fight does break out, use the standard conflict rules, with Nanotech for offense, Stringtech for defense and escape, and using the Spacer Profession on all rolls. The timescale is typically seconds, though long-distance fights can take longer.
< /ENCADRE >
< ENCADRE >
Most Spacer ships are exceptionally large, carrying tens of thousands of individuals. However, some characters might have a shuttle of their own. These are typically rated at Nanotech 6, Strintech 6. They are never fitted with wormhole generators, and usually have AIs with substantially less “personality” than the Stardweller ships have.
< /ENCADRE >
Common devices in almost every civilization, replicators “scan in” matter of any type on the atomic level, destroying it in the process. They can then “print out” any number of copies, assuming they have sufficient raw materials and money. Most replicators are small, with the controls built to require two hands to use (thus preventing ordinary people from accidentally “scanning” their hands off). Public replicators are typically “write only,” incapable of scanning. Industrial replicators can create multi-ton objects in a single sweep.
All replicators have intellectual property protection circuits built in to prevent free duplication of non-freeware objects and designs. They typically interface with their users’ dermal microbots to arrange for an exchange of funds during a sale. There are thousands of different replicator brand names.
Replicators have sufficient resolution and fidelity to create living beings, from virii and microbes up to humans and other mammals. Players who attempt to replicate their characters should give their character sheet to the GM. The original character is dead, and you are not allowed to play clones — they are new people, with their own lives, and even though they remember being their original, they are not that original. The Replicants take a different view of things; notice that Replicants who keep killing themselves off every few days to “print out a fresh copy” are not playable characters. However, a loophole exists: see the “Send In the Clones” sidebar on page 37.
Tech Level: Nanotech 6
“Rest Easy” Lens
A very tricky lens, designed for workaholics. This program stores its users’ mental state and immediate concerns just before they go to sleep, and then suppresses them. They stop thinking about work and can catch some z’s without their work life keeping them awake. In the morning, the suppression ends and the users’ minds are returned to work concerns, with some of the anxiety “scrubbed out.” This was a tough lens to create, because half the purpose of sleep is to change your mental state — imposing the old one is counterproductive and potentially dangerous.
Tech Level: Cognitech 7
Riot Control Techniques
Even in relatively “enlightened” civilizations, there are occasionally riots. When dealing with groups as highly enhanced as the Mechanicans or Masqueraders, it becomes important to break up these riots quickly, before serious injury or massive devastation result. This technology represents a bag of tricks that can be used to break up mobs or, preferably, disband riots before they really get going. The larger the group, the better these techniques work, dealing an extra 1-3 points of Reserve in a Metatech Assault conflict against the group.
Tech Level: Metatech 4
Cost: Typically Low, some are free.
Self-Maintaining Civic Works
Most structures in high-tech civilizations are built with a good amount of self-maintenance capability. Self-repairing roads don’t need constant patching, and windows built with these methods clean themselves. Tiny microbots that live in part of the surface walk across the structure, find the cracks and holes in it, and fill it with nearby material. They can also be programmed to remove unwanted materials, such as dirt that might collect on an otherwise clear window. The sunlight absorbed by the materials (or nearby structures) easily powers the microbots. Major damage, such as holes or missing chunks, still requires outside assistance.
Tech Level: Nanotech 5
Cost: depends on structure size