Alcy's Homebrew Repository

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Alcyius Alcyius's picture
Alcy's Homebrew Repository

Hello EP Forums! I usually don't do a lot with forums, but I received a lot of encouragement from people on The Eye Discord to post some of my homebrew here. So I'm gonna start with what I have already written up, and I'll try to add some new stuff every couple of days or so. Without any further adieu, here's four homebrew creations to spice up your campaign!


Neon Crack

Cognite's NarcoAlgorithm Generator v0.2
"Greetings user! Available Functions: BioScan, Diagnostics, NarcoAlg Gen, Data Upload. Request 'Help' to learn about a specific function. Input your Cognite Credentials to access full functionality."

The NarcoAlg Generator is a prototype PDA-like device. Unlike most electronics, it hasn't been manufactured via nanofab, instead, being cobbled together with specialized, prototype parts. It's very clearly a prototype, not meant for the market, and the back of it is emblazoned with the Cognite logo. Linking it into your PAN prompts an introduction from the loaded ego, a beta fork of one of Cognite's specialized AGI. It lists several functions, and requests the user's Cognite credentials.

The PDA is capable of linking to any commercially available medical-scan nanites, and using them to perform a full body scan. However, the AGI claims that, if used while under the influence of a drug, it can record the data and create a Narco Algorithm of the drug with a 90% success rate. It will note that the resultant algorithm will be tailored to the user specifically, before cheerfully noting that, if given multiple test subjects, it can eventually create a general narcoalgorithm of the drug.

While the AGI overstates the device's effectiveness(outside of a laboratory setting, the success rate is closer to 70%), it is true to its word, and will create narcoalgorithm versions of any drugs the user cares to test.

However, the AGI leaves out several crucial details(these details are readily revealed to any user who can present, or convincingly fake, credentials belonging to a Cognite employee who would conceivably have access to this information). Firstly, the narcoalgorithms generated with this device subliminally influence the user to be more receptive to the Planetary Consortium, and to Cognite. In addition, the narcoalgorithms will, during their course, hijack the user's brain and PAN to upload test data back to Cognite(overwriting memories and digital records created during this time as well). Finally, if someone who is vehemently against the PC or Cognite use the narcoalgorithms, there is a 1% chance that they will suffer immediate epileptic seizures as a result.

There is currently only one of these devices on the market, in the possession of a mid-ranking member of the Nine Lives syndicate. The device was recreated from plans stolen from a forknapped Cognite researcher, who absconded with a copy of the research and the AGI. Cognite is aware of the theft, but is using it as an opportunity to collect test data.

The AGI rolls against a 75 to create a narcoalgorithm for any drug it can monitor its user taking. The device can be replicated with a Hardware test at -40(timeframe is 1 week), and the device's data can be copied freely. Presenting Cognite Credentials will give access to all information on the device, as well as nanofab schematics for the parts(and instructions on how to assemble them, reducing the test to a -0 with a timeframe of 1 day).
[Expensive+]

Adventure Hooks:

  • The PCs acquire, or otherwise get access to this device. After using it, they encounter Cognite troops on their next mission. Now it's a scramble to find how that info leaked before they get strung up as traitors to Firewall.
  • Buzzhead, a notorious scum drug lord(neo-orangutan in a hypergibbon pod, smells like a sewer), wants to get his hands on this. And he'll leverage his credits and his vast reputation networks to reward anyone who can get it to him.
  • Exsurgent-infected Narcoalgs are suddenly spreading across the mesh, and wreaking havoc. While it's contained to areas around Legba, for now, Firewall needs you to find the source of the infection and destroy it, fast.

If you want to make an omelet, you've gotta break a few eggs.
Inspired by Anders Sandberg's Workshop of Dionysus.

Scrambled Eggs
Nine Lives is always looking for exciting new egos. Personality traits, skills, disorders, you name it, someone wants to buy an ego with it. There are a lot of transhumans, and a lot of diversity, but it's not enough. But when Phoenix hit the market, a Nine Lives researcher knew that there was money to be made. And thus, the Scrambled Eggs project was born.

Scrambled Eggs seeks to create egos to fill specific needs, and the Frying Pan server is their kitchen. A team of Nine Lives psychosurgeons, analysts, and enforcers work around the clock. In this server, hundreds of egos are loaded into time-accelerated simulspace, and are quantified. Skills, memories, personality traits, and more, are all identified, and the ones that are useful are isolated. Then, those areas of the brain are locked down, and then the fun begins.

Nine Lives, as an egonapping syndicate, has an extensive collection of recorded memories, skillsofts, egos, and more. The nanodrug, Phoenix(replicated as a narcoalgorithm), can free up a person's brain, massively increasing neuroplasticity, and allowing for a complete alteration of who someone is. The Scrambled Eggs project takes egos subjected to this drug, and bombards them with input data from Nine Live's archives, sometimes randomly, sometimes carefully selected as to create an ideal ego out of a composite of experiences. The process fails 95% of the time, partially succeeds 4.99% of the time, and only 0.01% of the time is completely successful.

(when subjected to scrambled eggs, roll 1d100. 5-99 results in a gibbering, insane mess. 1-4 results in a partial success, with the ego taking 3d10 stress damage and picking up 2 mental disorders, along with partial acceptance of skills, memories, or personality traits, at the GMs discretion. Any part of the ego that was not 'locked down' has a 75% chance of having been overwritten. On a 0, roll again. On any number other than a 0, treat it the same as a 1-4. On a second 0, the process critically succeeds. The ego takes only 2d10 stress damage, but the resultant composite has the skills, personality traits, and memories they were subjected to, as well as the ones that were locked down, with 95% of everything else having been overwritten. Logical consistencies in the new memories can cause further stress, at the GM's discretion)

While this project is still in its infancy, it shows great promise for the future of Nine Lives, and it's ability to produce egos tailored to its clients needs and wants.

Adventure Hooks:

  • An exhuman cult has discovered the existence of the Scrambled Eggs project, and is preparing to launch an assault on the Frying Pan facility to take it for themselves. Firewall is inserting your team to use the assault as a distraction: either to destroy the project, or obtain it for further study.
  • A Firewall Router has been forknapped by Nine Lives, which is bad under any circumstances, but now they're being fed into this project. Firewall already dispatched you to retrieve the fork and destroy any data, but you arrived too late. Now, there's an army of insane egos with partial memories and skills of a Firewall router overrunning the facility.
  • It isn't often that the Jovian Junta are the good guys, but their intelligence somehow caught wind of this, and now they want it shut down and destroyed, and they're willing to offer a substantial reward to anyone who can do it.

Give Me Liberty, or Give Me Death!
The Patrick Henry
This is based on Anders Sandberg's Neuralware homebrew. If you don't use that, then this isn't right for you.
Psychosurgery is terrifying. The thought that, at any moment, you could be subjected to any number of horrors, and transformed into a completely different person. The idea that, with just an infected ego bridge, someone could learn all of your darkest secrets with no trouble at all.

If you could talk to a WWI vet, you'd learn that tactics and defense often lags behind new technology. The same applies to psychosurgery. There's precious little you can do to defend against it except not letting yourself be forknapped. But that's changing. Now, when you think of modern technology, the Jovians are the last people you'd think of, but the Jovian Black Ops are more than willing to use any edge they can get, including stuff like stacks, psychosurgery, synthmorphs, etc. They won't be happy about it, but they'll use it. And perhaps it's because of their staunch traditionalism that this was invented.

The Patrick Henry, named after the figure from the American Revolutionary War, is a horrifically brutal, but highly effective, defense against psychosurgery. Your ego is loaded into cold simulspace, and a massive network of neurons is added to your neural map. This network expands through your entire brain, connects to various parts of it, and if its broken, triggers massive epileptic seizures and causes rapid ego death.

Due to the imprecision of modern psychosurgery, any change is liable to cause collateral damage, and this defensive measure is designed to take advantage of that fact. As one of the Crows in the Psychosurgery Server said, this technique is very much "bringing a hand grenade to a scalpel fight." And like that hypothetical scenario, it has several downsides. Firstly, anyone who has a copy of the added network can remove it wholesale. Secondly, while it is larger than it needs to be specifically to add redundancies, large enough psychosurgical changes could remove enough of it to disarm it. Thirdly, it does not discriminate between benign and malevolent psychosurgery. Fourthly, morphs with weird neural architectures are incompatible with this, such as Hyperbrights or exocreature pods(unless it's specifically designed with that morph in mind, adding a -10 penalty to the design test) And finally, it must be removed within a month of implanting it, otherwise, it could become permanent, detonate prematurely, or be disarmed, by your brain's natural rewriting process.

Think of it like a spider web woven through your brain. If it's completely intact, then everything's fine. If you break a couple strands, but there's still a full loop through part of the brain, then it's seizure time. If you cut the entire thing into pieces so that it's only straight threads, then it stops working. (And yes, concussions can trigger this too. It is not graceful.)

This neural network is not added gracefully. It is a brute force addition to one's mind. The psychosurgeon must operate on your ego in cold storage. Creating the pattern requires a Psychosurgery test at -30 with a timeframe of 1 week(to design for morphs like the hyperbright, or morphs of a species other than the ego's original, like uplifts going to a human morph, add an extra -10 for each morph taken into consideration), and requires a current scan of the patient's brain. Implanting it is a -20 test with a timeframe of 1 day, and inflicts 1d10+3 SV. While it is active, the user suffers from -5 COG. Removing it is a simple Psychosurgery test with a timeframe of 1 day, however, for every week after one month has passed, it takes a -10 penalty. Removing it inflicts another 1d10+3 SV. If the cumulative penalty reaches -100, the network is permanently integrated into the ego's neural map, and cannot be removed. Additionally, every month after that, a 1d100 is rolled against a value of 70. On a success, nothing happens. On a failure, roll again against a 50. On a success, the neural network fails harmlessly, though the -5 COG remains. On a failure, the network triggers, instantly killing the ego. Finally, resleeving into biomorphs must be done while "cold"(the morph is kept on ice while the resleeving takes place, and only afterwards are biological processes restarted), and similarly to restoring from backup, triggers stress from continuity(1d10/2 SV)
[Expensive]

Adventure Hooks

  • Your team has to interrogate a Jovian spy for important intel, but he has a Patrick Henry installed. Now you can't use psychosurgery. Good luck.
  • Right as your informant comes to meet with you, they drop dead of a massive brain seizure, wiping out both brain and stack. Can you work with their backup to figure out what happened, and why they'd use something so dangerous?
  • Ever since this was introduced to Firewall, agents who have used it have been dropping like flies...after it was removed. Is there a rogue psychosurgeon at work in Firewall? Are the Jovians trying to get back their trump card? Or is it just a piece of crap that doesn't work as advertised?

Malestrom of the Damned
The Headhunter Nanoswarm
Firewall exists to defend humanity against x-risks. Part of that mission is to theorize about x-risks that may not even exist. To this end, the Soothsayer Server spends their time engaging in paranoid hypothesizing. And recently, they asked the question, what would the TITANs employ if they came back? They've had 10 years to improve, if they still exist. So they looked at records of existing TITAN weapons, and extrapolated, and came up with the idea of the Headhunter Nanoswarm.

This weapon combines the worst parts of the existing, "crude" TITAN tech employed in a single weapon. The Headhunter Nanoswarm is a self-replicating nanoswarm, programmed to seek out cortical stack and morphs, to scour them for information, uploading it into the shared cloud of the Nanoswarm, and then dismantling everything, morph, stack, and environment, to keep going. It's the brutality of the Headhunters combined with the efficiency of the nanoswarms left on Earth.

Now, this is all just rampant speculation. Perhaps the Soothsayer Server has just gone mad from engaging in what amounts to paranoid schizophrenia all day. Or perhaps they have a point. The question is, how do you defend against a weapon that may or may not exist?

Adventure Hooks:

  • Your team has been selected to audit the Soothsayer Server. During your visit to their research facility, the weapons they've imagined start appearing, starting with minor nuisances, and quickly escalating to very dangerous. Is this a TITAN invasion, or maybe a shared hallucination? Can you discover the truth before the Headhunter Nanoswarm, the most dangerous projection the Soothsayers have come up with, becomes real?
  • An exoplanet colony broadcast a distress signal moments before going quiet. Your team is dispatched to find out what happened. You arrive to a colony that's been completely wiped off the map, and the screams of the colonists echoing on all radio frequencies.
  • A rogue Firewall Crow has absconded with TITAN tech. It'd be bad enough already, but he was privy to the Soothsayer Server's ideas. What if he gets infected? What if the exsurgents get some new ideas?

Alright, that's all for today. I'll be back in a few days to add some more stuff.

GenehackedGynoid GenehackedGynoid's picture
Ooh, nice.

I saw some of this stuff posted on the Discord, although the Headhunter Nanoswarm bit is new to me. This is good stuff. I'm glad you've posted it here for posterity.

eaton eaton's picture
This is fantastic stuff!

This is fantastic stuff! Thanks for posting!

Alcyius Alcyius's picture
More Homebrew!

Alright, time for some more homebrew. This one here is a plot device for all you Project Ozma fans.


The Dream-Eater Device
Do androids dream of electric sheep? -

Keywords Detected: "Ozma, Dream-Eater, synthmorph+unconsciousness". Recommend Immediate Action.
BEGIN TRANSMISSION
You don't need to know who I am. The less you know, the better. Just know that I am a Firewall agent, otherwise, I couldn't have posted this to the Eye, now could I? If you're seeing this, it's because I trust you enough to do something about it. So pay attention to what I have to say.

Project Ozma: The Boogeyman of Firewall. Whenever they show up, you know excrement has hit the rotary cooling apparatus. Seemingly ghosts, they show up with little warning, take or destroy whatever they want, and disappear as fast as they arrived. What is Project Ozma? What do they want? I can't answer these questions, but I can tell you just a bit of one of the methods they use.

Throughout the Planetary Consortium, you might occasionally notice advertisements hidden away in the dark corners of the mesh, or perhaps corporate memos about projects, all related to sleep studies and the like. If you ever called in, you'd be quickly turned away, and if you questioned it at your work, you might find yourself blacklisted, if you're lucky. See, these are all hidden calling cards for something called the Dream-Eater.

The Dream-Eater: If you find any official records of this project, it'll be under some lofty name, and proclaim to be studying a strange phenomenon of synthmorph-sleeved egos experiencing sudden unconsciousness, only to reboot later, or to be recovered from their stacks. Officially, the phenomenon is unexplained, and research has uncovered no clues. Unofficially, it's just a cover story for what really happens.

I don't know how they do it. I don't know if they just have some back door, or if they're just that good. But somehow, somehow, Project Ozma has found a way to co-opt any mesh-enabled synthmorph. That's how they can be anywhere in seconds, and disappear just as fast. That's how they can be the boogeyman. The Dream-Eater. I've seen it happen. It's happened to me, even. I wouldn't have known if I hadn't bugged the cyberbrain with a hard-wired sensor.

I know they'll get me. But maybe, maybe you can figure out the truth. Maybe you can wake us up from this nightmare.

END TRANSMISSION


Disclaimer: This bit of homebrew is inspired by my personal depiction of Project Ozma. While I'll post the full writeup another time, the relevant details are this: Project Ozma is backed by a group of Seed AIs similar to the Prometheans, but with vastly different goals. On my table, they are the source of the Dream-Eater. However, I will include a few sample "sources" for you to utilize if you portray Project Ozma differently.


The Dream-Eater is the name of a powerful device that Project Ozma uses for their deployments. This is reserved for when it's absolutely needed, but its use is the source of Project Ozma's reputation as "ghosts". It allows them to instantly infiltrate a target area, regardless of normal deployment time and distance.

The Dream-Eater itself appears to be a large "pod"-like device, which is well-armored on the outside. The panel on the front opens up to reveal stairs, leading to an elevated inner compartment, which contains an ego bridge. This ego bridge is several generations ahead of whatever is available to the public, and allows for rapid scanning of even organic brains, however, it usually simply takes a copy from the user's cortical stack.

The real meat of the Dream-Eater lies in the sealed chamber underneath the ego bridge. Herein lies a powerful computer and broadcaster. When a destination area's coordinates are input, it will ping all mesh-connected synthmorphs in the target area to find the most suitable ones for the current mission parameters. It will then initiate a shutdown, disabling the cyberbrain and flushing the occupant ego to its cortical stack. It will then broadcast the user's ego, which will be loaded into the morph as per normal rules(the cortical stack is locked, meaning that the new ego does not get backed up. This is to prevent civilians from being overwritten, and to prevent information leaks. Standard protocol is for agents to self-delete after completing the mission, unless absolutely necessary. Using a Dream-Eater is typically a one-way trip). This device only works within normal mesh ranges, however, it is capable of hijacking farcasting receivers, provided there are morphs connected to them.

A Dream-Eater device is equipped with a nuclear failsafe. If anyone tries to use it without correct authorization, or if someone attempts to open the lower compartment, a 1 kiloton nuclear warhead will be detonated. These devices are not intended to be maintained or repaired, if damaged or retired, they are to be deposited on an exoplanet and destroyed.

Only the highest echelons of Project Ozma, and their ASI benefactors, know the truth: the core of a Dream-Eater, the tool that allows it to function, is not a secret backdoor in synthmorphs, or an override in the cyberbrain protocols. Instead, each Dream-Eater houses an "ASI-Level Tool", a psuedo-sentient beta fork of an ASI, pruned down and dedicated to a single task, accomplished via extensive psychosurgical conditioning and task-hedonism. In this case, the Dream-Eater AI, codenamed MORPHEUS, is dedicated to the single purpose of cyber-brain hacking. Within a fraction of a second, a Dream-Eater can subvert a cyberbrain's defense system and initiate a system shutdown, then load in a new ego during the boot process. After the ego self-deletes and the cyberbrain restores from the cortical stack, there's no trace left of MORPHEUS' involvement.

Of course, this is extremely dangerous, illegal, and would incite riots if it was discovered. Hence, the nukes. Not only does Project Ozma want to keep this secret, an advantage like this falling into anyone else's hands would be disastrous for them. But for as long as they have it, they'll usee this advantage as much as they can.

Alternate Sources:

  • Project Ozma recovered the MORPHEUS prototype during a raid on a Cognite Research Lab. Cognite feigned ignorance and claimed that the lab had gone rogue, but both Cognite and Project Ozma know that's a lie.
  • MORPHEUS is the end result of an exhuman cult's efforts to gain mastery over transhumanity's cyberbrains, and the ability to subvert puny humans to their whims. Project Ozma managed to bust the cult and recover MORPHEUS, and turned it to their side. Or did they?
  • Project Ozma didn't need the help of ASIs to make MORPHEUS; they've been doing things like this since the fall. Project Ozma is a dark mirror of Firewall, individuals who decided that there could never be another fall, and that the only way to ensure that was to make sure that Transhumanity had absolute control of any ASI that came into existence. MORPHEUS, and the Dream-Eater, is but one of their many successes in this area.

Adventure Hooks:

  • On your latest mission, one of your teammates suddenly went dark, before their synthmorph rebooted, went on a rampage, and destroyed your mission objective. Their cyberbrain logs states that they were offline during that time period. So, why did your teammate's body suddenly attack you?
  • A Firewall Crow posted about a sudden breakthrough in their pattern analysis: a bunch of synthmorph-sleeved egos experiencing weird phenomenon that they believed were indicative of an exsurgent attack. Shortly afterwards, they went missing, and their backup doesn't know what the breakthrough was. Can you figure out what's going on before someone gets a hold of Firewall secrets, or worse, before their prediction comes true?
  • A member of Project Ozma broke the rules. They didn't self-delete, and as a result, a Dream-Eater was infected by the exsurgent virus. Now, synthmorphs across Luna are going dark. It's only a matter of time before the Dream-Eater turns them back on.
  • Before now, Firewall has never captured a single member of Project Ozma. But one just turned himself in, and has revealed the unthinkable: Ozma trusted their ASI tools, their edge up against Firewall. But what happens when the Sandman turns against you?