Inscrit le: 19 Sep 2009
Sam 17 Oct - 14:54 (2009)
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Some of the technologies listed in this book are self-replicating, and there are plenty more that we haven’t listed yet. “Auxon” is the general term; “autotroph” can be used for a piece of self-replicating biotech, while “self-assembler” is the term for nanotech.
Self-replicating technology is a difficult area for the Patent Office to control. Putting a cost on the initial auxon is pointless — the device itself simply makes more, and its initial owner trades the duplicates to his or her friends, and the next thing you know, the stuff’s everywhere. Charging for each instance of the auxon is the most obvious solution, but there’s often no good way to keep track of all the instances. A human-scale robot designed to build other human-scale robots is easy to enumerate, and can inform the infosphere when it multiplies. Building a counter into nanobots, however, would increase their weight significantly (often compromising the original intent of the ‘bots), and things get even worse with biotech.
The issue isn’t just control of hazardous auxons, either. That’s not the Patent Office’s job (though it must be said that Inspectors are sent to deal with dangerous ones more often than benign ones). Their job is to make sure that the original inventor of the replicant gets the money they deserve, for as long as the intellectual property rights stand. Local governments already have regulations in place as to how long an artificial auxon is allowed to persist, so as to prevent the possibility of “grey goo” syndrome or a bloom event. Non-artificial auxons, such as all naturally evolved living organisms, are usually exempt from these laws.
At this time, the Patent Office relies primarily on information gathered obliquely through the infosphere for enforcement. Replicator records let them charge the bulk of a fee for the first generation of an auxon, and they levy a smaller fee as subsequent generations are noticed or reported. It’s possible to go “off the grid” via wormhole and do all sorts of experiments with auxons that someone else created... but as soon as the news gets out, the Patent Office will be knocking at your door asking for their money. It’s not a perfect solution, but it works in most cases.
Metatech auxons are totally impossible to keep track of (unless you have a mesh and enjoy constant surveillance). The Patent Office levies fees for the initial download of one, and they’re typically pretty steep.
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What do I need?
A common question in the playtests was, “What equipment do I need for my job?” The answer is typically, “Nothing.” Your character’s Capability scores give you access to equipment rated at its level, for both offense and defense. Someone trained up to Metatech 10 can be assumed to know every technique here and be able to apply it, though they might have to pay money to do so. Someone with Stringtech 9 could have an inversion beam built in. This chapter is intended to let players talk about what their characters already have, and to give GMs a view of the world, not to act as a “shopping list.”
Most of the equipment up to your Capability level is built into your character’s body. You can always specify that there are certain things you don’t have; for instance, if you prefer to avoid building offensive technology into your body, that’s easy enough to arrange. Certain items or procedures will be too large for your body to contain; most of these are self-evident. Genetic modification techniques, terraforming, self-maintaining civic works, and so forth, are beyond the realm of what a single person can carry or accomplish, though they might benefit from them nonetheless.
And how do I get it?
A replicator, generally. The Patent Office will not pay for any unauthorized expenses, so for new or dangerous items you’ll have to either ask your superiors or provide your own account number. Also, many replicators, especially those available to the public, are restricted in what they can create. In those civilizations that give them a measure of law-enforcement power, Patent Inspectors have override codes, allowing them to use any replicator to create any device. Beyond those limitations, any device you like can be created from any replicator large enough. If you need something larger, you may be able to create it in parts and assemble it.
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In this author’s opinion, the “shopping trip” is one of the most damaging elements of any science-fiction RPG. One of the major design goals of Sufficiently Advanced was to do away with shopping trips.
Shopping trips go like this: the team determines that they have to go kick some ass. They then spend the next hour of real- world time buying the most hideous weapons and stalwart armor they can afford. It takes forever, and it’s incredibly boring for whomever isn’t looking at the price sheets at the time. Typically it ends up not mattering, because the plan falls apart the second the team makes contact with the enemy.
In this game, 90% of what you need is built into your character, and 90% of everything else can be easily replicated under most circumstances. If you really need something unbearably expensive, like a starship, you just phone home to the Patent Office and they either arrange it for you, or tell you to find another way.
In addition, you’ll find few items that have a substantial bonus beyond their TL rating and some descriptors. The technology list is to let you know what’s around in the setting, not to give you things to write down on your character sheet. Don’t worry about every little thing you’re carrying; just jump in and have fun.
Some Inspectors will still insist on carrying weaponry with them, even those with high Stringtech scores, because some weapons (like antimatter guns) are particularly effective. The thought of the average “man on the street” is this: Why would someone openly carry something that dangerous when they could just replicate one in a minute or two if they needed it? Answer: they must be about to use it. Time to call the cops and run.
When you end up having to spend a Twist just to get folks to talk to you, it’s better to walk around unarmed.
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