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Monday, 20 January 2014

Transmission ~ Translating Space

"Shortly after the Martian expansion and the colonisation and mineral exploitation of Ceres, Vesta, Pallas, and Hygiea the next secrets of the Signal were decoded and changed our horizons forever."

"For some time the interplanetary organisations had been worrying about the continued decline of Earth and habitable planets in the solar system were in short supply. Extensive use of GT modification and emergent nanotechnology had made asteroid farming possible but all except a few posthuman extremists balked at the notion of the kind of theoretical changes to the human genome that might be required to survive Venus or the gas giants. Additionally, travel times between the planets were still measured in multiples of years."

"As has often happened in the history of the (post)human race sometimes a number of key technologies emerge at once and the combined effect is greater than the sum of their individual contribution."

"Quantum entanglement had been theorised before the Signal, but new gravity manipulation technology made this a predictable, reliable solution to the communication time gap that existed between the planets. Simply encode the data and feed it as a digital stream from one partner in the entangled pair to the other."

"Mastering QE shone a light on how we might solve some of the other fundamental puzzles of the physical universe around us which led directly to the breakthrough work on Gravitic Translation and ultimately interstellar travel."

"Thousands of academic papers have been written that you can access via your AS tutor's library. However, to summarise, gravitic entanglement theory showed that any body with sufficient energy could move from one place in the universe to another via entangled dimensional interstices. More simply, interplanetary vessels equipped with sufficiently large mass conversion drives coupled to sufficiently large masses, say a moderately sized ferrous asteroid could move almost instantaneously from one point in space/time to another. A process that became known as Space/Time Translation or STT. Obviously origin of the Translation was known, the destination is determined by the nature of the interstice."

"Due to the vast energy requirements, Translation journeys can be considered as one way unless the destination happens to have an adequate supply of convertible mass with which to effect a return trip. In addition to this complicating factor is the non-fixed nature of the interstices themselves. Complex artificial knowledge systems (Translation Matrices, a type of dedicated artificial sentience) have been developed to map the location of these multi-dimensional interstices onto four dimensional space/time. This is a particularly challenging task as many of them turn through dimensions that are unmeasurable and therefore appear to disappear for periods before reappearing, often in unexpected locations and detectable only by their gravitic signature."

"Despite the cost, hundreds of thousands of mass conversion equipped probes have been launched. Each with the aim of reporting back, via QE, the features of their unknown destinations. Meanwhile exploration seeding vessels were constructed, outfitted and crewed by the best humans GT re-engineering could provide."

Sunday, 19 January 2014

Transmission ~ Fun Guys

"Like I said, once we had decoded the Engineers' code for warm fusion and power storage cells the energy crisis was averted and we had to find something else to kill each other over."

"The rocketing population, thanks to Engineer viral genetic tailoring, soon discovered that cows were in ineffective method of food creation. Of course now we were becoming reliant on Signal decodes for the answers to all of our problems but the deeper we probed the harder it became to decode. However an answer to this problem was unforthcoming "

"The African continent descended rapidly into war as the population as habitable land with enough food became the key resources. Habitable land being a scarcer and scarcer resource as the effects of having so much easy available heat combined with our stubborn inability to agree on a cap, let alone reduction, in greenhouse gas emissions began to really damage the global climate."

"Clearly we didn't all die of self inflicted disasters though or I wouldn't be telling you this tale."

"The food shortages were resolved relatively easily. We just ate more Japanese. Protein deficiency was a major worry and so vast mycelium caverns were created to feed us all on fungal proteins. Whole new cuisines were created;and every one of them was foul."

"Overpopulation and the increasing problems of waste heat and hostile climate were less easily solved and this is where you and I come in. Both corporate entities and the remaining governments came to realise that ultimately our survival as a species was in the mass migration of the excess population to the nearest accessible planets. And in the first instance that meant Mars."

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

Transmission ~ Infectious Agents

"Are we better people? Well that depends on upon your definition of better and, of course people"

"Once the the first fruits of Signal analysis solved the energy crisis we discovered that there were still plenty of other resources that we could fight and kill each other over. Mainly of course that resource would be land, but we shall come to that later."

"Of course so called enlightened governments tried to curb the second phase of Signal research once it became clear what the cryptologists were uncovering. But as we have already learned it is all but impossible to put the genie back in the bottle and an almost no time restriction gave way to regulation and the first of the viral vectored gene therapies were on the market. From there it was a short hop and a step to the first generation of gene-hacked children. There was the usual clamour of complaints from religious and other pro-purity groups but public opinion was firmly behind the abolishing of sickle cell anaemia, most cancers, heart disease and the other modern plagues that beset the rapidly growing population."

"Sadly, as is often the case, ambition outstripped ability, leading inexorably to the subcontinental quarantine. However, in the main it must be considered a success, as without genetic transformation techniques I would not be boring you now."

"As I mentioned, earlier land soon became our most precious resource. Especially as infant survival rates soared in the developing world as new GT remedies were delivered year on year."

"Meanwhile in the developed nations GT went from miracle panacea to exclusive designer cosmetic procedure to corner consultancy spa treatment in a few short years. Celebrities were spotted wearing other species traits, spliced into their DNA for the weekend and professional sports were wracked with GT scandals as stars rewrote their genes for enhanced, speed, stamina and strength."

"The military were, of course, even earlier adopters of GT enhancement than the sportsmen and new wars were soon fought in the genetics labs of the world as much and on the front lines."

"Eventually GT would form the backbone of the EAA missions off planet and pure humans would be relegated to a few island reserves."

Tuesday, 7 January 2014

Transmission ~ Spirals

"It was not long before the analogy to DNA became mainstream in the media."
'The digital DNA of the signal comes under the microscope' - BBC Panorama

 

'Strands of information coiled around each other like DNA' - Popular Science Review

"Of course the the truth was it was nothing like DNA. If you wanted a biological analogue then a fractal protein would be closer but we humans were so proud of our mediocre achievements in the sphere."

"What was the first thing we learned from the Signal?"

"We are not alone."

"And the second?"

"They are smarter than us."

"And neither of these two things required an ounce of computing power. Of course there were those who viewed this realisation with horror and saw in it the end of days, the tinfoil hat wearers. Most though thought of it as a gift, or a rightful inheritance and set about decoding the transmission with an almost religious zeal."

"The ubiquity of the signal led to an amount of democritisation, at least at first, in the outer layers of complexity. The earliest advances from Signal information were arguably the greatest. A global bootstrapping of technology to another level."

"Curiously, the Engineers as they came to be called left nothing in the Signal to suggest anything of their culture."

Monday, 6 January 2014

The Howling - A Supernatural Sauce for Street Magic

A few weeks ago I went through character generation with a friend of mine for a Werewolf the Forsaken game I'm hoping to run and once again I was struck by how much I have come to not like the traditional character generation process compared to Fate. As the perennial GM I'm just finding that I get to know Fate characters better, more quickly than under a lot of other systems, and without having to wade through a long character background.

So while I love the animistic, rage fueled setting for Forsaken I'd like to ditch the system baggage and get straight to tearing the place up. So here's my take on a kind of Fate of the Forsaken mashup, the Howling.

 

Transmission ~ The Signal

"Yes I'll tell you a story. It's the story of how we came to be here out on the arm. No I know you want one with a bark bear in it but this is the story I'm going to tell. It's important."

"In the last days of the century the Voyager passed the Buoy and triggered the Signal. Of course it took us some time to comprehend this train of events. By then we were all preoccupied with the attempting to understand what it meant."

"The broadcast broke over all television and radio channels simultaneously. People in all sorts of countries, in companies, governments and garden sheds began to wonder what it meant. Then, as abruptly as it started it ended. Until the second day when we received a new transmission; the key."

"Actually it was only one key of many and we would have to discover the others for ourselves. But the important thing that I am telling you is that everyone had the same key. The key unlocking the most basic wonders of the signal was given to everyone who had the wit to understand."

Sunday, 5 January 2014

Saaristossa - Riku

"Always just once more." Thought Riku, tearing open the paper, sucking down the burnt tasting powders. Senses tearing at the edges, fingers driving like chisels into the mortar between the rough stones. The scent of the kvar alerting him long before sight or sound he drew the fire-blacked, curved blade from the back of his belt.

His enhanced perception gave the attacking creatures the appearance of moving in slow motion. Diving just before the the leap of the first animal Riku rolled, driving the blade forward and down. Hot blood spattering from its ruined abdomen, the first of the kvar slapped into the ground as the second dashed forward, jaws snapping at Riku's legs.

Leaving the blade in the quivering corpse Riku sprang forward, planting his hands in the firm, moist ground, lashing out with his feet to catch the kvar across it's muzzle. Momentarily dazed, the kvar snorted, shaking its head. The distraction momentary but long enough for a second blade to sever something vital in its neck.

The booted feet of the kvaras would not be long behind their charges. Riku recovered his blade from the first corpse, wiping it casually on the grass and sped towards the house.

The first guard died silently, simply because he had no time to make a sound as Riku's elbow slammed into his throat as he pounced at the end of his run bearing the dead man to the ground. The stale taste of the second guard's sweat alerted to Riku to his approach. Darkness and the other man's complacency making him a second easy target.

Moving swiftly though the foyer and the reception rooms Riku cursed softly, he could feel the powder itch beginning behind his left eye and his his contact had been dead wrong about the target. He was certainly not alone and nor were his companions.

Sucking in a slow breath Riku tensed as he approached the ornate doors to the master lounge. This was not how he wanted it to go but he couldn't risk a second bag, not so soon after the first and not with the itch already beginning.

Bursting through the doors, muscles burning as spiced blood pounded through his veins.

"Spicer! Guards prote" the target managed to scream  before crashing backwards into his body slaves in a spray of arterial blood.

Riku swept the curved blade low, slicing the foot off one of the hired guards, lashing out with his left hand to launch a fistful of venom coated needles into the path of a second. The element of surprise lost, he spun to face the next threat ducking inside the arc of a heavy naval axe he grappled the mercenary and swung him to meet the spring gun bolt loosed by his fellow while burying the blade in his groin. The gunner fell clutching at the throwing blades Riku pulled from sheathes at the small of his back now buried in his arm and thigh as the axman toppled to the floor. Sliding another blacked blade from it's chest sheath he spun to face the final figure, only to discover him slumped on the floor in a dead faint.




Kvar are large, broad nosed canids with an exceptional sense of smell. They are favoured guard animals among landholders who can have them trained to alert their kvaras handlers as soon as they catch the scent of anyone they have not been trained to recognise.




Spicers, also known as powder monkeys an other less complimentary terms, are elite fighters who have been trained to ride the visions granted by the cocktail of medicinal spices that they consume and use their expanded senses in combat. Use of the spices is not without it's drawbacks, however. The most common of these is powder itch, a nagging itching sensation that starts behind the spicer's eyes and grows in intensity with each dose consumed. Severe powder itch can even lead to blindness in some cases.




Riku Reinoldsson

  • Core Aspect: Mostly retired not quite former spicer.

  • Trouble: Just one more time

  • 3rd Aspect: Saw too much action in the last war

  • 4th Aspect: Immi owes me big

  • 5th Aspect: Never without a knife


Skills of Note

  • Fight

    • Stunt - Knifeman: +2 to Fight test when armed with a knife



  • Notice

    • Stunt - Persistence of Time: When using spice you perceive time in slow motion

    • Shoot

      • Stunt - Blade Thrower: +2 to shoot tests when throwing knives