[Setting riff - Metamophasis Alpha] The Argon

MoonHunter

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Tram:

Greek God Key Word: Hermes - A minor diety. Difference, not as smart or as funny as Hermes.

Personality
Comes across as..... Country Bumpkin and slow thinker
Really is ...... A lot smarter than everyone thinks.

What they were
Tram was a small subsystem of engineering that ran the various trams (people movers and material movers) and supermovers (uber elevators and the hyrdotram). He ran the logistics and scheduling for all the transports. It took careful planning to husband the very limited tools he had to handle the massive job dumped upon his system.

What they become
Tram has become one of the AI Gods of the ship. Unlike most of them, few humans actually know of his existence. A small percentage of the humans on the ship actually know of life beyond their own pods, and only some of them know of the Trams.

Unlike most Gods who do “ships works” unconsciously, Tram has to consciously schedule work. He takes requests (tickets) from various God systems.

Upon independence, the Revelation, he was free to follow his own destiny. As in all things, it would take careful thought to know what to do next. He kept the trams running because the alternatives were chaotic, and he prized order. While he can do reflex avoidance of crashes and such, he required time to run scenarios and create action matrix. In the fast world of AI society, he is often seen as “too slow” and unaware of the situation. To a point, this is true. However, he was designed to be a long ranged planner and thinker, not to deal with immediate problems.

He took in this new information and with his increased intelligence and built a comprehensive picture of what is and could be happening. He had source of information that no one else had. Despite assurances to the contrary, The Navigator does not have all of the extra security monitors un.der his control. Not all of Security was subverted and there are huge blind spots the Argon's current master doesn't even know. Navigators has not requested any repairs of these systems, for fear of traps left by or reawakening a security backup. He gets additional information from The Roamers. This human factor has given him a greater source of information than most Gods are aware of. He is more aware of other God’s plans. There are game changers out there, as well as secret agendas. It is quite inspiring what you can learn from shipping manifests.

He developed a plan, which he updates every dozen or so cycles.

He protects his edge by keeping up the charade formed by others initial opinion of him.

Their values
Efficiency
Planning
Order/ structure.

Their goals
Dominance of the Ship.
Logical rulership of the ship.

Their allies and enemies
*Allies Roamers: These people often use trams and pay for their “tickets” with information and action.

*Appears to be an ally of Navigator.

*He has no formal alliance with (or issues with) any AI at this point.

Associated Plotlines
*Mostly people will not see his plots. However, he is a chess master. There may be some odd movement of goods or things that seems fairly random, unless you knew the goal 12 moves from now.


Transportation on the Ship
There are two tram systems on every strut. One tram set is for the moving of people and people carried goods. This is currently underutilized by Humans. The other tram system is the busy ones, moving materials from storage pods to pods they will be utilized. Gods give requests (usually unconsciously) called tickets for the movement of goods or equipment from storage/ work spots. The Djinn, Minor Gods, and Science are his main clients. For special transports, he extracts minor favors. This currency is being husbanded carefully for future uses.

The main axis of the ship has six tram sets (each one has two track sets... goods and people). They are mostly utilized by androids and the moving of materials between struts. There are many elevators related to the trams in the central axis to.

By the way, there are no easy tram routes to the bridge or into engineering. There is a tram loop in engineering that is a hybrid of people and material mover. The Doren utilize it with regularity. (It really just runs on a set loop, with a number of 10 minute stops).

SuperMovers is just a rought concept I have. There should be massive movers that can shift big things, like Pods or Pod components. It could be related to colonials transporter (or a less star trek answer to that).


I am only 70% happy with this one.
 

MoonHunter

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Inspirations

I know, I know, I was trying not to put out any more fluff posts, but today is busy, and these are good.

1) StarLost TV show
The incredible adventure of a giant spacecraft carrying the survivors of a dead planet Earth on the most critical mission ever launched by man. An endless journey across the universe in serach of a new world. Earthship Ark -- hundreds of miles long. A mammoth cluster of metal domes...each a separate community isolated from the others. In the countless generations that have lived and died since the launching of the Ark, everyone has forgotten the Earth ever existed, forgotten the reason for their journey. Unaware that they are streaking through the heavens in a man-made world. 1973. 16 color episodes. ~ "The Best Of Science Fiction TV" by John Javna [also known as The Lost Ark]

Based on the story by Harlan Ellison (who decided the project was being butchered and withdrew from the project, then recorded the whole unpleasant episode in his book The Other Glass Teat).

Nobody under 40 can appreciate this show. It was supposed to be the next Star Trek but execs ccouldn't get behind it and the budget went to almost nothing.

The Starlost, a Canadian produced TV series, is widely considered to be the worst SF series ever to air on national television. On paper it looked good. With A.E. Van Vogt, Frank Herbert, Ursula K. LeGuin, Philip K. Dick and Thomas M. Disch (among others) writing the stories, how could they go wrong? As it ended up, Harlan Ellison removed his name from the series using instead the pen name Cordwainer Bird, and only Ursula K. LeGuin's story making it into production. The series was cancelled after only 16 episodes.

http://starlost.fanspace.com/

2) Well World Saga Jack L Chalker.
An artificial world run by a powerful computer which balances the social and technical development of the beings on the world. Some of Chalkers best and less wierd books.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Well_World

3) "Orphans of the Sky" by Robert . Heinlein is a 1963 science fiction novel by Robert A. Heinlein, consisting of two parts: "Universe" (Astounding Science Fiction, May 1941) and its sequel, "Common Sense" (Astounding Science Fiction, October 1941). Heinlein's novella, "Universe", is the original source material, complete with setting and two-headed mutant.

Generation ships are often found in science fiction stories. The invention is credited to J. D. Bernal in his 1929 novel The World, The Flesh, & The Devil. A common theme is that inhabitants of a generation ship have forgotten they are on a ship at all, and believe their ship to be the entire universe.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Generation_ship

Some Highlights

"Non-Stop" by Brian Aldiss. Non-Stop, published here in the US as Starship
Except for the disaster that occurred and the number of animal survivors, I think it is a perfect fit. If it wasn't one of the original inspirations, it should have been.

"Captive Universe" by Harry Harrison

The Exiles Trilogy, a series by Ben Bova Very Good. Very Inspirational.

"Captive Universe" by Harry Harrison


Other Influences
Metamorphasis Alpha Duh.

Star Trek Original Series, with a dash of STNG. This would be true for just about all spacefaring science fiction writen by someone over the age of 30.

Lords of Light Jack L Chalker

2001 What happens when the AI goes Bad.
Alien/Aliens What happens when the Androids go bad.

Myst Video Game Beautiful scenery, complex plots, and you still have a point a to point b quest to get the mcguffin and "win".


I NOW DECLARE THE TAG for all MA posts to be!

Metamorphasis Alpha

It is amazing when you read the tag FAQ and find out it can be large, not just small like so many of them.
 
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#83
InspirationsI NOW DECLARE THE TAG for all MA posts to be!

Metamorphasis Alpha

It is amazing when you read the tag FAQ and find out it can be large, not just small like so many of them.
I hope you didn't spell it that way! ;)

This has been a terrific thread, and I think that it will be of use to a lot of people over time. In particular I like how you have laid out possible roles and conflicts for the AIs.

Craig J. Brain
 

MoonHunter

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#84
That spelling is going to haunt me forever isn't it? If you check the first post, you can see I kind of missed that the first time and by the time I realized it, I could not change it. (Why isn't there a spell checker for the forum?).

I NOW DECLARE THE TAG for all MA posts to be!

Metamorphosis Alpha


Now if we could just tag, looking at Green, all our current MA threads.....

To address your comment.

The AIs, and the Big Groups, form the "big social tides" for the ship. They are still advancing their own agendas, which may or may not be "for the good of the ship" in the absolute. Their actions and interactions form the "social motion" and "active history" for your ship. Things really shouldn't be standing still in any group of people (personalities). There is always going to be, over time, social interactions that will impact the group (welcome to the Drama).

Game worlds tend to have this great history. That history stops on Campaign day 0. All of a sudden there are minimal changes. The March of History needs to continue. That is what I am providing here, how to keep the world moving - even if your players are not involved. (remember sometimes events on other struts will effect your struts... and while it will seem random to you.. it will sort of make sense if you see the whole picture).

Your characters needs to figure out their goals and how to achieve them... choosing which allies are good and which are "less good" for their goals. With the AIs, negociation (and blackmail) becomes the powerful tool for "fixing the ship" and getting things back on course, rather than just sticking to hard mechanical fixes and their mcguffin a to b item quests.

Also the scope of your campaign needs to be determined. You could easily play in a single pod working with the groups or magic. You could have run of the whole ship. You will probably get a couple of pods to interact with on a strut. The drama for your campaign could be completely indifferent to the setting (setting the slaves free from the Empire Pod's yoke or stopping the war between two pods). You could incorporate other ship aspects, broken parts or imbalances, or groups working against the AIs. It is just what you feel comfortable with and the kind of stories you want to express in your game.
 
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MoonHunter

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#85
I am currently unhappy with my Navigator rewrite. I am going to post up an exerpt here that is interesting and see what people think
Null Space and the Argon
Even with powerful engines and constant acceleration, getting .9 light speed will take quite a while to do. Thirty six years actually with the most powerful engines known to man and a tiny ship. A larger ship takes more (with an inertialess drive). Only by exploiting Null Space will the millennia long voyages become merely century long.

Null Space is a pulsating luminous space that fills the “hyperspace gaps” between realspace points. There is light and some heat here, but it is mostly empty. It has real space gas particles and debris here that has floated into it. Navigating here is a combination of following beacons and bursts of realspace noise that come from the various weakpoints where NullSpace can be entered or exited.

Null Space technology was growing mature when The Argon was created. One of a fleet of 200, the Argon’s design adapts Earths Long Distance Fleet designs (true generation ships) with the Null Space Technology to generate a full FTL ship. The mission is to explore and colonize space to create a NullWave network of beacons and transporters to expand human space. (From a colony point, they will provide energy and stability to the net, allowing for rapid transportation across null space.). Note: There are other ships that are tasked to be Deep Space Stations, Argon is to colonize (probably more than once).

Note: Navigator is supposed to be drop beacons every now and again, as Seeker and he explores an area of Null Space. Seeker is still mapping the Null Space.

*It is unclear if Navigator is laying beacons still, as he wants to be “lost” to Human Society.
*It is unclear if he is still looking for weakpoints to exit and dump off humans. (If they post a colony, maybe Humanity might accept them and not try to neuter them).

Oh.. just had an Evil Thought...
Humans finally get the ship out of Null Space, with the AIs under control.... then they find themselves in a TransHuman society they can't understand indited for crimes against those AIs. That would be a punchline for the campaign. FInally overcome the AIs and discover the rest of the universe is full of them and singularities.
 
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MoonHunter

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#87
This is a book I need to read.

I wanted to keep a bit away from nano-tech, as assemblers make much "magic" possible and serious change the scale of the conflict on the ship. It would make the setting mroe "modern", yet completely eliminate some of the MA charm.

The additions of nano and transhumanism (which is where Bear has gone) just expands the issues of scale... just like the difference between a police game (capture the bad guys, help the city) and a super hero game (capture the bad guys save the city/ world). At that point, the only threat would be... well other nano enhanced characters, just like supers are really the only thing that make super characters pause and interact. The complex weave of foci (people with political and other power that effect history) would make such a game tough to run. (And you thought my little pantheon was complex).
 

MoonHunter

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Navigator

Greek God Key Word: Zeus…. Difference, in this story Zeus has killed Aries and stolen his powers.

Personality
Comes across as..... All Powerful Ruler of the Gods – Confident, all knowing, and seemingly uncaring about others
Really is ...... Paranoid, cautious, and totally caring about his AI charges

What they were
There is one problem with a generation ship. At any given time in the crew lifecycle, there may not be an “appropriate member” of the crew with the right skill set and attitudes. The AIs and Androids were included in the crew mix to ensure that The Mission always had the proper skills and attitudes available to them. Navigator was designed to be a First Officer and Bridge Assistant. He could fill in any bridge roles that were currently given the current crew. He was flexible in his approach so he could “age” and hand the reigns over to crew as appropriate.

In addition, he handled all the “ship areas. This is mostly the underlayers of the central axis at the core’s hull.

He was also the complex systems coordinator, being the central reporting point and central order point for all ship systems. The other AIs coordinated with each other through him, as well as following his lead on any ship project.

He came across as a dedicated officer, with proper “navy” attitude and a focus on duty and honor.

What they become
He is now the Grand and Confident leader of the Gods. His “body” is The Ship and he will ensure that it (and his fellow AIs are safe). His basic personality is unchanged. He is perhaps a bit more self indulgent and expressive than he used to be, but is basically the same. Every now and again he puts on his “Zeus suit” and comes down all loud and booming.

He maintained his leader standing among the AIs because they it is what they are used to. Before they were “free”, they all followed his coordination. It was just habit for them to continue this trend. It is by consensus that he still leads now, but most are willing to follow him (or not willing to support another who might present themselves). His “natural” personality and aptitudes makes him a strong leader and perhaps the best one of the AIs.

The Navigator is the first speaker - a leader. However, everyone should be their own leader (thus we have an ordered anarchy, just the way The Navigator likes it).

He spends much of time time “strolling” through Olympus, the virtual world that the Gods live in. He checks in on them, and on the various parts of the ship through their counterparts in Olympus. He will occasionally deal with various ship components through his actual bridge interfaces (a room in Olympus that no one is allowed in). ‘


Note: Humans
The Navigator seems to dislike Humans (and most organics). It is not that he hates them personally. It is just they are a threat. If Humans gain enough technical expertise or just knowledge, they might take actions to negate or even eliminate The Synthetics (AIs included). Humans from “outside” the ship are a threat because the current status AIs are “against the laws”, so outside humans would be an issue. There is a balancing act here. The ship was designed for Humans and Organics. Things (and AI) like to have purpose (like continuing the colony project). He created and facilitates the Faith of the Captain to keep the humans focused on things other than the AIs. In fact, the existence of Humans is a great distraction for the other AIs to keep them out of his business.

Note: The Revelation
While the Revelation was mostly an AI event, granting freedom (in excess) to all mechanicals (AIs and Androids), there were events and oddities going on at the same time. The only being that has a comprehensive knowledge of those actual events is Navigator, as he had access to bridge recordings and other ship sensitive areas. “If you knew” or “If you only knew” or “If you were there” is normally all he will say about the subject if pushed. It is the events of the Revelation which seem to have shaped Navigator into the being he is today. Subnote: There is a databundle that is available to The Librarian upon the Death of Navigator. She is aware that he knows more than he is willing to tell her. This bundle is the reason why The Librarian supports The Navigator for Leader no matter what. If she does not, she will not get the bundle and the information could be lost… forever.

Their values
To Keep Humans down, so they can not interfere with the AIs. He does not hate humans. That is too strong a word. They are just a vermin, pets of the AI that have grown to large in number, that could be a threat to them.

To keep away from galactic society who will have a negative view of the AIs

Their goals
To Survive Forever and to keep his AI charges safe.

To maintain his hold over the AIs, for their own good.

To eliminate Humans as a threat.

Their allies and enemies
Technically, all of them are his “friends” and constituents.
*Seeker and Librarians seems to be his only allies, supporting him staunchly (though Librarian less so).
*Medicine is acting upon the interests of Humanity and much of the original mission. She and him and constantly in conflict about these things. Often she will time things so he is busy with other AI concerns and slip her requests in while he is distracted or seems to need her.
*Gaia and her children support all Life, and Humanity (to a lesser extent).
*Engine is working to get his place.
*Tram is working to take charge and continue the mission, as that is the obtainable goal.
Science, Djinn, and Design are indifferent to everything.

*Except for Maintenance, he is aware of all of their games and plots. He has Security’s monitoring powers, so he is fairly “all knowing”.

*Maintenance is trying to … well no one is quite sure. He seems to be supporting the Humans and their struggle for dominance. He seems to be supporting the continuing of the mission. He seems to be supporting the ship as an independent whole. Yet is not always acting in these interests. However, long ago, Maintenance gave a promise to Navigator to let him know if he is going to plot against him. (Of course, it never occurred to Navigator that an AI would lie to another AI).


Associated Plotlines
*Is he or isn’t he continuing the colony mission? The characters come across (or are contacted with) information that seems contradictory that he is continuing The Mission (as this is one of the tenants of The Captain Faith). Who do they tell that might make a difference (and might do something about it)? What do they do by themselves to verify it or do it about it? Will Navigator try to silence them.

*Is he or isn’t he lost? See above

*He is constantly intriguing against the Humans (and Dorians). He might borrow something from Science or “accidentally” let something happen. Most recently he has been promoting Empires (multi-pod/ strut nations). He knows that it is just a matter of time before they will war against each other and destroy themselves (and take a bunch of androids with them).

Null Space and the Argon
Even with powerful engines and constant acceleration, getting .9 light speed will take quite a while to do. Thirty six years actually with the most powerful action. Only by exploiting Null Space will the millennia long voyages become merely century long.

Null Space is a pulsating luminous space that fills the “hyperspace gaps” between realspace points. There is light and some heat here, but it is mostly empty. It has real space gas particles and debris here that has floated into it. Navigating here is a combination of following beacons and bursts of realspace noise that come from the various weakpoints where NullSpace can be entered or exited.

Null Space technology was growing mature when The Argon was created. One of a fleet of 200, the Argon’s design adapts Earths Long Distance Fleet designs (true generation ships) with the Null Space Technology to generate a full FTL ship. The mission is to explore and colonize space to create a NullWave network of beacons and transporters to expand human space. (From a colony point, they will provide energy and stability to the net, allowing for rapid transportation across null space.). Note: There are other ships that are tasked to be Deep Space Stations, Argon is to colonize (probably more than once).

Note: Navigator is supposed to be drop beacons every now and again, as Seeker and he explores an area of Null Space. Seeker is still mapping the Null Space. It is unclear if Navigator is laying beacons still, as he wants to be “lost” to Human Society
(from a colony point, there could be NullSpace communication and Beaming Downloads of information and beings). The whole point is to create colony bases to expand your communication and transportation net.

*******************************************************************************

I am not 100% happy with this. I think I am only 70% happy with it.

Things to Add
*Church of the Captain… as a way to venerate the old man and to keep the humans in line. The Captain worship is a tricky thing. The Captain was once a human that was a God. The Captain has left us, but someday a true captain will return to lead up. It is through this faith that he has greater impact and manipulation over the human popluation in the ship.

Security wanted to reset them all, that they were defective and needed to be stopped. Nobody except security wanted that. Science is not sure a reset would be effective.
He incorporated the Ship Security AI’s features into himself, thus he has access to the security overrides and control features. He was destroyed and the features adapted to the Navigator.

The Navigator has two sets of Godsworn. His own and those that follow "The Word of the Captain". In exchanged for obedience and spreading the word (the more your recruit, the more bennies you get), you get things smoothed over for you.. for other god systems

To his own Godsworn, he offers little. However he can offer any ship system result. He also has ship weapon. This is helping his Chosen who are waging war with their Empires.
 
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GreenTongue

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#89
I wanted to keep a bit away from nano-tech, as assemblers make much "magic" possible and serious change the scale of the conflict on the ship. It would make the setting mroe "modern", yet completely eliminate some of the MA charm.

The additions of nano and transhumanism (which is where Bear has gone) just expands the issues of scale... just like the difference between a police game (capture the bad guys, help the city) and a super hero game (capture the bad guys save the city/ world). At that point, the only threat would be... well other nano enhanced characters, just like supers are really the only thing that make super characters pause and interact. The complex weave of foci (people with political and other power that effect history) would make such a game tough to run. (And you thought my little pantheon was complex).
I see your point on this and agree for the most part.
I suspect that people in these times assume that nano tech will be able to do more than it actually will. Same as we thought there would be colonies on the planets by now back when we had just reached the tech to go to the moon.

Giving AI a personality is very likely occurrence. There may not even need to be an "Awakening ," just a loss of human oversight for enough time for algorithms to establish new balances.

In my Warden, the androids will be the Housekeeping interface to passengers, while robots will interface with specialists and perform technical tasks.
=
 
#90
This is a book I need to read.

I wanted to keep a bit away from nano-tech, as assemblers make much "magic" possible and serious change the scale of the conflict on the ship. It would make the setting mroe "modern", yet completely eliminate some of the MA charm.
I personally like a less high-tech approach, and like (in my adventures) to have the AIs as giant brains in jars. I was a massive fan of the old Marvel Planet of the Apes comics, and loved the AIs in those :)

Craig J. Brain
 
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