Physical Description: A number of shiny metallic spheres, one centimeter in wideth and varying in color from whitish silver to colbalt blue, arranged in various geometric figures.
Borel was an industrial colony that experienced a nightmarish robotic mishap: the patented MagSpheres that were used to attach to and recycle metals had their AI corrupted, their self-replicating subroutine taking top programming priority. As a result, Borel collapsed under a swarm of little metal balls. A recovery operation successfully shut down the AI with a virus, leaving the MagSpheres able only to repair themselves when damaged rather than reproduce in endless number. Researchers also found the AI had learned to modify itself, essentially becoming a self-aware organism.
Borellian MagSpheres gradually found their way off world by collectors, and PetDex made a significant investment in a collection of several billion. They are essentially a colony organism, the MagSpheres attaching to one another to form geometric figures, typically cubes but they can relign their magnetic poles to create any closed geometric figure. MagSpheres are intelligent and can respond to commands, and can sense the world around them with internal sensors and recording devices. They are mostly enjoyed by collectors as decorative curios, a reminder of AI gone awry, but they can be useful in spacecraft as diagnostic tools, able to clink down narrow passageways with their tiny bodies and rearrangeable formats. MagSpheres self-soothe when bored or frightened by slowly arranging themselves and rearranging into favored arrangements. Go to Comment
Sort of feels like the setup of one of those cerebral Twilight Zone episodes that stay in a single shot until the final scene when something crazy happens. I'm curious as to how they all ended up in jail, particularly the clergy (harboring criminals in sanctuary? religion persecuted?). Go to Comment
43. Kidnapped by rivals
44. Converted to a different faith
45. Became patron of scientific works
46. Married a political rival's relative
47. Banished significant ethnic group from territory
48. Scandalized by false accusations
49. Foiled assassination attempted
50. Divorced from spouse
51. Produced illegitimate children
52. Crushed popular rebellion
53. Seized control of rival territory Go to Comment
I like pairing these various elements of fascism, alien invasion, and post-human cognition. It reminds me of a number of various books I've read before, but none putting together quite this combination of ideas. It's delightfully complex. Go to Comment
I think I disagree with you. As the article suggests, the number of intelligences who are aware of the alien threat are limited to tiny handful. That group, while having a hand in some of the events of the Era, doesn't appear to have direct or total control. And given that they're superintelligent AIs, most of the events in the Cosmic Era happened before their existence. Thus the chaotic and existential portions of the Cosmic Era existed without the interference of the intelligences that were aware of the extraterrestrials. All they do is nudge things a bit. I think to suggest they're the entire architects of global affairs in the Cosmic Era is equating them to the Machines of the Matrix, when they're more akin to a super CIA/KGB in the Cold War: moving things behind the scenes while humanity takes its course. Go to Comment
I like the details outlining the high barons. The somewhat imperious title of "Dragon" is pretty rad too - I like the implications of not only a bodyguard, but a personal assistant and killer. You've left some to the imagination with that position, but I like the ambiguity and the implications it has.
Your comment makes me think of the game roguelike game Dwarf Fortress. The game populates the world with thousands of individuals, each who have names, parents, lovers, lives, and deaths. When you come across a camp of bandits or goblins, they're not nameless nobodies, and when they are killed, you can go back and look at their personal histories to see who exactly they were.
Conversely, there's a glitch that will sometimes randomly spawn a castle with no name, populated by dozens of nameless opponents who have no skills, weapons, or equipment. They just randomly attack you and they fall by the wayside meaninglessly.
More of the former and less of the latter should be a rule of thumb. Go to Comment
My (completely unsolicited!) advice on sub editing:
Read the comments and weigh them against your own thoughts. If you both agree and think it relevant, edit. If you don't, don't. Take everyone's opinions in the highest respect, but don't let other's comments dictate what you post.
These may seem common sense on the outset, but as it's said, common sense is increasingly uncommon. It's an important reminder in fleshing game worlds to make them more tangible and real.
You hit the application of these common sense ideas well. I especially like the idea of having PCs be the NPCs. I can see where it could indeed go disastrous, given a bad role-player or a spiteful one trying to game the system. But it's also a great exercise in character building, even if that character won't last two rounds with the PCs.
A very nice first post, Gossamer. Hope to see more from you. Go to Comment
The mythology bit about Imsir's creation and the writing of the Book of Knowledge was quite interesting.
It seems Farons have no weakness. Is this true? If they're totally invincible with their Runix armor, have an army with fantastic weapons, and know everything there is to know about anything - how are they to be interacted with? What could possibly defeat them, or even gain anything of use from them? Go to Comment
As you travel through the thick growth of a forest, a great shadow suddenly moves over you. You raise your head fast, but whatever it was, it was faster. However you try, you don't see anything, and nothing approaches you. Maybe it is better so.