Alien/Xeno-tech

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Prophet710 Prophet710's picture
Alien/Xeno-tech

Just looking for alien technology or reverse engineered technologies that people have homebrewed. There are some great resources in adventure vignettes and other threads but I could not find something dedicated.

I have a few, similar to kinetic barrier generators and psi-amps. What all do you guys have?

"And yet, across the gulf of space, minds immeasurably superior to ours regarded this Earth with envious eyes. And slowly, and surely, they drew their plans against us."

Arenamontanus Arenamontanus's picture
It all depends on what you

It all depends on what you want to do. Something useful, something incomprehensible, something driving the plot?

For example, in my Gate War campaign the PCs came across what looked like a biotech/nanotech environment filled with a cloudy nitrogen atmosphere. There were racks containing *something*, beams of ultrasound, and little shining light nodules everywhere. Something looking like a bloated stomach with a few tentacles (or perhaps flying central nervous system) drifted by to investigate, itself covered with the light nodules. It was very tenacious, even following them back through the gate. In the back of my mind I decided they had encountered an alien counterpart to Iapetus, a gigantic world of processing run by alien maintenance systems. There was absolutely nothing useful there, just creepy otherness... but it worked very well. Had they investigated the remnants of the sack-thing after killing it, they would have gained some very valuable new nanotech ideas.

Perhaps the most useful thing they found in that campaign was gigantic geothermal power plants using thermal superconductors: fullerene tubes that transmit phonons in such a way that they can efficiently convert geothermal energy into electricity without moving parts. Perhaps more important as a way of improving habitat and reactor cooling than as an energy source for transhumanity, but still quite valuable.

One plot gimmick might be the Draupnir gate: a self-replicating gate! It looks almost like a standard gate, but slowly small gates drip off it! Maybe found in a place where Bracewell probes are made, probably extreme and dangerous like Penrose. However, the small gates have a few problems: first, they are small - how to command them to grow is unknown. Second, when removed they also turn into Draupnir gates. In fact, they might cause a "trouble with tribbles" situation where more and more gatelets show up. Third, they seem to be "active": they open spontaneously to different places, sometimes letting things through. Or crawling away when nobody is looking. Or eating into the hull, almost as if they were feeding...

Extropian

Chase-san Chase-san's picture
Well there is always the

Well there is always the forbearers to currently known alien technology.

Some kind of device that does what the fixors do, but with a slightly more transhuman understandable mechanical/nanobot/material structure. But these would be mere toys compared to the actual fixors. Only able to support a handful of pounds, or the like. If scaled up however...

Perhaps a large and very ancient version of the scour rings found on a small planetoid. To large to move easily, and far to large to fit through a gate, it none the less can dissolve materials just as easily as the smaller versions. However it seems to power on at random and seems to have no obvious control mechanisms. But if you crawl inside you might be able to determine what makes it tick...

Of course there is the ship engines used by the factors, and there is all kinds of special materials and how to produce them that could fetch pretty nice prizes. Like a superlight but super strong composite material used in the Dyson Shell. As well as materials that may limit, block or enhance psi abilities.

NewtonPulsifer NewtonPulsifer's picture
On a tangent, the scour ring

On a tangent, the scour ring could be used as a limitless power source.

Disassemble water into hydrogen and oxgen, then burn the hydrogen and oxygen for power.

Loop the system.

"I fear all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant and fill him with a terrible resolve."- Isoroku Yamamoto

Arenamontanus Arenamontanus's picture
NewtonPulsifer wrote:On a

NewtonPulsifer wrote:
On a tangent, the scour ring could be used as a limitless power source.

Disassemble water into hydrogen and oxgen, then burn the hydrogen and oxygen for power.

Loop the system.

So where does the power actually come from? One novel I encountered had a nifty teleportation system with huge but hidden energy demands. It just took energy from Earth's rotation. It got popular, and *then* bad things started to happen as the rotation change caused the crust to melt...

So maybe the scour rings are like small wormholes, and once enough mass-energy equivalent to the wormhole exotic matter framework has been converted they implode into black holes.

Extropian

Jay Dugger Jay Dugger's picture
Arenamontanus wrote

Arenamontanus wrote:
NewtonPulsifer wrote:
On a tangent, the scour ring could be used as a limitless power source.

Disassemble water into hydrogen and oxgen, then burn the hydrogen and oxygen for power.

Loop the system.

So where does the power actually come from? One novel I encountered had a nifty teleportation system with huge but hidden energy demands. It just took energy from Earth's rotation. It got popular, and *then* bad things started to happen as the rotation change caused the crust to melt...

So maybe the scour rings are like small wormholes, and once enough mass-energy equivalent to the wormhole exotic matter framework has been converted they implode into black holes.

Eric S. Nylund's Signal to Noise and his A Signal Shattered? I remember reading those two, and thinking they weren't First Contact stories as much as they were Faustian bargain tales. Very nasty first contact quickly turning into human extinction a la Greg Bear's The Forge of God. I don't remember whether or not the nervous system changes the humans bought from the aliens elided away their survivor's guilt...

Sometimes the delete key serves best.

revengespc revengespc's picture
Weird trinkets

Right now I'm trying to come up with a host of weird alien trinkets for my players to encounter, because I want to build up some sort of affinity for the Factors as early as possible (without actually meeting one).

I've got two so far:
A device that looks and feels exactly like a rock. When a biomorph touches it, a cavity opens up, large enough to put your hand in, and when you do so, it pricks your fingers and interfaces with your nervous system, and serves as a radiation detector that pipes its data in through your senses of touch, taste, and hearing.
A device that's a fist-sized grey sphere. When placed on your neck or back, it extends a bunch of nanotech tendrils around your torso and head - if your body takes too much damage, these tendrils immediately expand to encase your torso and head, giving you 12/12 armor but severing your limbs. I'm imagining it as some other species' version of a cortical stack.

Arenamontanus Arenamontanus's picture
Sounds a bit like the

Sounds a bit like the Pentapods in 2300AD: they sold more or less useful organic technology to humans. One device was a living rebreather mask looking like a facehugger, another was living earplugs, a third was a life support cocoon. One failure was heavy shell with green slime indicating north - it was not a success, so they changed it into a creature that attracted flies and other pests and then ate them. Some devices were simple and sensible biotech for frontier worlds like plants producing fruits filled with packing materials, others were cute like the biosamplers - pets that could test whether alien food was edible to humans. Great fun, especially when they got creepy with implant technology: http://www.aleph.se/Nada/Game/2300AD/Your%20Delicious%20Future.pdf

Some other Factor tech:

Something that looks like a gelatinous starfish. When slapped onto a surface it attaches itself and forms connections to the underside: removing an attached one is very hard. This is a device that can then be combined with horn-like beams that act as building material, allowing both makeshift and more permanent constructions. When injected with a particular kind of goo it becomes an interface, allowing it to connect to human-type electronics (other goo is useful for connecting to other kinds of systems).

Small spikes of chitin-like substance, brightly colored in complex patterns. These are Factor "books", devices that can exude sequences of memory molecules and spores. To activate, just insert an appendage in the hole at the end.

Nudibranch-like scavengers, sucking up and removing excess organic material. Although they look and behave organically they contain advanced nanotech to break down nearly anything. Some have waving fronds on their backs to handle excess spores in water or air. They tend to show up when non-Factor material (looks "dead" to them) builds up. In Factor habitats some species/models of scavengers fill the walls of ventilation/convection tunnels, filtering the contents and pumping it around with peristaltic motions.

Big lumps of opaque matter, apparently encasing organisms and devices. These are Factor fabbers: by signalling to the lump what to grow, it grows it - either from scratch or from internal parts. This includes not just "hard" objects but also more organic structures. In fact, they can probably be used as healing vats... assuming the Factor running it knows anything about human anatomy. Otherwise they are a very good way of attaching random quasi-living stuff into humans.

Small, chameleonic bladders housing Factor toxins. Essentially chemical landmines, except that these one can detonate based on sight, sound or any other sense. Some can also move and reproduce.

Extropian

Prophet710 Prophet710's picture
Nice stuff Arena

I wasn't fishing for plot hooks or anything, just making a post where we could all drop our random xeno-gadgets and share.

"And yet, across the gulf of space, minds immeasurably superior to ours regarded this Earth with envious eyes. And slowly, and surely, they drew their plans against us."

The Doctor The Doctor's picture
Hmmmm...

Hmmmm...

In the EP core book, something similar to the green boxes in Delta Green were mentioned in passing. Perhaps it is time to start a "What is in the green box?" thread.



Lilith Lilith's picture
Oh man, I had so much fun

Oh man, I had so much fun with the old Green Box generator. <3

Arenamontanus Arenamontanus's picture
Another fun source of ideas

Another fun source of ideas are the artefacts and phenomena found in the novel "Roadside Picnic" by the Strugatsky brothers (turned into the film Stalker later on). See
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roadside_Picnic#Artifacts_left_by_Visitors_in_the_Zones

Extropian

The Doctor The Doctor's picture
Lilith wrote:Oh man, I had so

Lilith wrote:
Oh man, I had so much fun with the old Green Box generator. <3

It is back up, you know.



Lilith Lilith's picture
The Doctor wrote:It is back

The Doctor wrote:
It is back up, you know.

Yup, I know! Used it to great effect while running the "Lover in the Ice" DG scenario for my group. :D

kowalzcky kowalzcky's picture
Arenamontanus wrote:

Arenamontanus wrote:

Small spikes of chitin-like substance, brightly colored in complex patterns. These are Factor "books", devices that can exude sequences of memory molecules and spores. To activate, just insert an appendage in the hole at the end.

I've seen enough Hentai to know where this is going!!

Sorry for the joke I could not avoid to make it XDD

Great ideas anyways, here is my little contribution

A 20cm literally perfect sphere, composed of an unknown crystaline like material with moving marble like paterns inside its translucid surface. It was found in an no named exoplanet by a group of gatehoppers; the sphere emits a pale blue light similar in apaerance to Cherenkov radiation, that increases a little when a living being touchs it. If someone using a biomorph(pods not included) stares at it for a time, the subjet start to suffer from some kind of synesthesic effect, and the moving patterns inside the spehere become audible for the subject literally described as "its like song from heaven" or "the most perfect melody I´ve ever touched" uncarefull users can become enthralled by the music and need some external stimulus to stop(strong noises, hunger or thrist, even their own muse can alert them) the "music" is extremely plesaurable to see/hear/touch, some subjets had compared it to the best trip of petals or other recreational drugs. If two or more subjets stare at the sphere at the same time all of them will suffer the effect, but none of them agree about the exact details of the experience, just about the beauty and the perfection of the sound.

There is not know way to record or reproduce this effect, XP playbacks of the subjects just dont record any kind of sound or music.

Asyncs are affected in half of the time of non async subjets in average.

This objet first apeared in the exo colony of Portal, a very disturbed gatehopper gave it to the gatecrasher guild for free before jumping again to a previously unkown location; without more explanations. The researcher of the guild made some extensive research but in adition of the previous details nothing more has been discovered.

The current location of the sphere is unkown, but its suspected that an hypercorp spy infiltrated in the research team, stole it, and brought it back to the Sol system.

Aditional details from a firewall secret report:

[....Yes we covered all the incident, seems that some of the scientifics studying the sphere went bonkers about it; two of them became really obsessed with it after a time and finally after a fight one of them stole it.

Our team in Portal just managed to get in charge of the investigation and covered the incident as some kind of hypercorp espionage, but the truth is that the sphere did some kind of basilisk hack to the two over exposed scientists, they just spent more and more time staring at the sphere and bossesing with it and its music.

In the personal rooms of those to scientists, they found alot of bizarre drawings of fractal motives and a recurrent drawings of crude representations of rotations in 4-dimensional Euclidean space of diferent polyhedra, and even some handwritten babbling about angels and some divine presence. Both of the scientifics manged to keep all of this in secret for a long time. Before the fight each other and one of them managed to escape to the Sol system with the sphere.

Our concern now is the possible basilisk hack that the sphere induces on people; so please keep an eye on it....]

Ok end of my rant hehehe....It was quite hard to translate to english the mathematical babble but I hope it makes sense

tygertyger tygertyger's picture
Arenamontanus wrote:Small

Arenamontanus wrote:
Small spikes of chitin-like substance, brightly colored in complex patterns. These are Factor "books", devices that can exude sequences of memory molecules and spores. [snip]Nudibranch-like scavengers, sucking up and removing excess organic material. [snip]Small, chameleonic bladders housing Factor toxins. Essentially chemical landmines.

I love these ideas; Factor biotech is both cool and gross. I imagine that most Factor nanotech consists of microbial bionano, too... which begs the question of whether or not Earthborn biosystems can be "infected" with it.

"If your principles don't inconvenience you from time to time, you don't really have any."

Arenamontanus Arenamontanus's picture
tygertyger wrote:which begs

tygertyger wrote:
which begs the question of whether or not Earthborn biosystems can be "infected" with it.

There could of course be accidents... and deliberate action. Imagine Factors sneaking some weird infective technology into a human habitat. And when confronted saying it was an accident, and besides if you use medichines that cannot handle infectious devices you obviously don't care, and besides it was for the greater good - after all, it was a limegrass feedback action. So there!

Factors can likely get away with a lot just by playing up their alienness. While smugly thinking "If it ain't nailed down, it is ours!"

Extropian