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Ghosts of the 3rdNet

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The net went down, it went down hard. People got hurt, people died.

The Golden Age

The 3rdNet was unlimited, without walls, boundaries, or borders. It was free. But that freedom came at a price. Political dissidents, terrorists, and criminals were able to easily function within the system. They created their own gated realms where their law was the law, and all the darkest pleasures could be bought and sold. But in than a cycle, it all came crashing down, a precision implosion orchestrated by the M12.

The 4th iteration, The CogNet was born, but it would never be as free, as open, or as powerful as the 3rdNet, because it had walls, police programs, defensive patrols, and countermeasures. It is still relatively free, but nothing on the scale of the majesty of the 3rdNet.

What Happened?

Being a construct of arcanotechnology, the outcomes of the system are nebulous and often undefinable. The 3rdNet created unchecked gateways to the Dreamlands, and soon hundreds of thousands of people were visiting the 3rdNet/Dreamlands composite realm. For a long time, this went unnoticed, an ant bed on a golf course, the sheer size of the net was miniscule compared to the true expanse of the Dreamlands. But eventually the 'net was noticed.

The Larvae of the Outer Gods were drawn to the 3rdNet, and this mindless divine dandruff ended up being grabbed, manifesting in the technological realm, where the ephemera was written into code, mindless potential given purpose and information. These formatted larvae metamorphized in the net. They became the Viral Intelligences, alien matter woven into familiar patterns. The larvae revealed their predatory nature as they started consuming, and then, replicating.

The Larvae/Virals quickly started devouring large swaths of the technological realm, causing server failures, corrupting the daemons and other programs, and even started spilling out of the 3rdNet into the real world. The virals infested hardware, contaminated droid cortices, and even infected a number of professional cybernauts. These people when they unplugged were completely new individuals, with shattered memories, missing motor skills and abilities, and demonstrating alien language, and often parapsychic abilities.

The M12 determined that the threat to the global system was severe. The O2 Towers could be damaged, the arcos could suffer catastrophic failure, and several pieces of military hardware had to be put down when they became self aware. The AISCs deliberately caused the 3rdNet to crash, doing so in a very thorough and precise manner, to cause as much virtual damage as possible. This was done with the intent of destroying as many infected zones as possible, as well as wiping as much hardware as possible to sanitize the system. The resultant chaos that followed was determined to be the lesser of the two evils.

Larvae and Machine Intelligence

Robots become sentient when a sufficiently sophisticated cortex is activated and there is a larvae in the vicinity. If the larvae is caught in the aura of the cortex powering up, there is a chance that it will become patterned into the machine as it activates. This destroys the larvae, and transfers its potential to the machine, rendering it intelligent.

This is why seibertronians, sentient droids, and such are rare, and cannot be reliably created.

The Ruins of the 3rdNet

Having been a hyperdimensional construct, the implosion of the 3rdNet didn't completely wipe it all out. There are many data vaults, archives, data dumps, hidden realms, and such that survived. It only takes time, patience, and knowing what you are looking for (and a bit of luck) to find virtual ruins. Much like old school dungeon delving, the ruins retain archaic security systems, and can still contain lurking larvae/virals, and more than one ruin hunting cybernaut has come back as a different type of biological organism. Some find things horrible enough that they simply die. Others come back with lostech, pulling buried treasure out of the ruins. High risk, high pay.



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Random Idea Seed View All Idea Seeds

       By: Monument

THE COVEN
When the characters approach a clearing in the forest, they will see 4 ogres who are guarding, and preventing from escape, 4 human males, and 3 human females. The ogres will see the party and leap to attack. The females will scream "OUR SAVIORS!!" and run screaming straight across the currently forming battlefield, in between ogres and party members, to hide behind the rearmost party members. They will be safe there. The males will try to skirt the battle to the north side to join the women.

To the south, giants will be hiding in the thick underbrush until the party has engaged the ogres and then attack the most opportune target EXCEPT the ones that the females are next to.

It should be noted that the female commoners are not female commoners at all, nor are the male commoners actually male commoners. The female commoners are the hags, who have polymorphed themselves as the commoners in their stewpot to escape detection. The males skirting the battle are actually MORE ogres, the hags were in the process of polymorphing ALL the ogres into regular humans for ambush purposes. The REAL commoners are already dead, having found their way into the coven's cauldron for dinner.

The hags (the women) will position themselves near to any spellcasters in the rear first, and then near anyone else in the back of the fight. The ogres (the men) will wait until the hags shift form, and then attack first the rear folks, then shift into the melee.

It is possible that the characters, as they approach the ogres, will notice the giants in the bush, and be able to warn the others of the ambush.

GAME NOTES: If you sell the screaming women correctly, they will not even be suspected until it is too late. Therein lay the problem. This encounter is ESPECIALLY deadly to the rear eschelon of the party. It is entirely possible that the hags will finish off half the party before they even realize they have been duped. Caution is required if the game master wishes to avoid a TPK(total party kill).

Encounter  ( Forest/ Jungle ) | July 14, 2005 | View | UpVote 2xp


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