Category Archives: Transmissions

These are simulations of communications being sent back to Earth from The Artifact. They show some game ideas that GMs can use to seed adventures.

The Warp Investigation – Final Report

Report by: Major Jacob Kibler

Position: 4th Special Sciences Division Commander

Assigned Objective: Investigate Space Time Warp

Purpose of Mission: Evaluate the connection between Array structures and space time distortions

Progress Report: My team believes we have been successful in our objective. Our investigation of the phenomena we have come to refer colloquially to the warp, is complete.

Our resident expert Dr. Evan Larrs has a working theory on how the warps came to be. We believe that the builders of this planetoid have developed a technology based on the emergent nature of gravity and gravitational waves.

Dr. Larrs feels that the technology in the arrays creates gravitational waves that alters spacial or dimensional fields. This effect is not limited to physical space and time, but also forces like the electromagnetic field which could be described as tightly bound dimensions.

As it is understood that black holes warp space and time, this technology uses constellations of microscopic black holes that orbit each other to create sharp gravitational waves. These waves and their intensity create distortions in space that alters how it behaves.

We have calculated that the black holes are truly microscopic and evaporate almost immediately.

Dr. Larrs has demonstrated that larger black holes can produce more complex patterns since they last longer than comparatively less massive black holes. We assume that the entire mass of the planet was intended to be used as reaction mass to create a large constellation of black holes some of which would evaporate and others that would absorb each other and eventually create a black hole that would exist for approximately ten minutes and then evaporate from zero point Hawkings radiation.

It is assumed that this energy being released is intended to be altered by the dimensional warps the black holes created. We have intended to model the intended end result, but have been unable to produce a model that can predict the behavior of even simple warps.

We are confidant that this information fits the historical record and the facts established in our investigations.

This represents a significant technological achievement as it utilizes a fundamental force in a technology that we are not able to replicate at this time. Furthermore, this planetoid represents a fully mature version of this technology, meaning the builders of The Artifact are as far ahead of our technological advancement as a society that is in the iron age encountering a society that has fully developed electrical technology. Alternatively the technological disparity could be compared to the invention of the nuclear bomb vs. an enemy that had not yet built or even imagined such a device.

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One more chapter, eight to go.

Once I got past the last chapter, it’s much easier to push on.

Chapter 16 – Catching a Shadow

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New Chapter In The Novel

I’ve been working on The Imbalance for a very long time. Ever since 2011 I’ve been stuck on the 15th chapter titled Calling on the Memory of a Friend. I couldn’t write it in a way that satisfied me at all. Since then I’ve played a game that started to explore the places Onix would have to go. I think I may be moving too fast in the chapter, but the overall feel is right.

Chapter 15 – Calling On The Memory of A Friend

 

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How Did We Get Here?

When I was a little boy, I watched a show called Starblazers. I was four and the series blew my mind. It was the coolest thing I’d ever seen, which isn’t saying much, I was four.

We didn’t even call it by the title because we couldn’t read. I think we called it “Our Star” because that’s how the theme song started. The details are fuzzy by the time I was nine, the series had come to an end and Robotech started up.

Robotech was even better than Starblazers and I think the two adapted series firmly planted in my mind that all starships should have a main cannon. Besides, giant robots.

Through the next decade of my life I looked for cartoons that would do for me what these two shows did for me. They set up an ongoing story that dazzled my young mind with a dangerous world and a reasonably well thought out consistency.* Shows like Transformers delivered giant robots but with bizarre and often staggering inconsistency.

Star Trek was also a favorite. My father is a fan of Trek so that helped out. He also liked Star Wars which, I wonder if the dangerous world presented there, seeded my mind to look for that kind of story. I enjoyed Trek, but it never felt like “my” show even though I still identify strongly with it.

Starblazers and Robotech always felt like they were “mine”. It didn’t matter that few people knew what Robotech was and no one I knew had ever seen Starblazers.

I think the next cartoon I enjoyed was the nineties Batman series. It was written far better than almost any other animated show of the time. I’m still not really interested in Batman per se, but the art direction and writing was head and shoulders above anything else.

In the nineties I had an opportunity to watch Starblazers. I managed to locate some VHS tapes of the series and I bought them all. The tragedy was that the show was terrible. I got a few episodes in and had to stop lest I destroy my childhood memories. I can’t hold the show up to the pinnacle that I once did. I wonder if the original Japanese title would be more watchable?# Robotech held up considerably better.

During the nineties we also got to play a lot of Palladium’s Robotech. The movie Stargate also came out and showed me that you don’t need starships to make a good Sci-Fi movie. It was in this atmosphere that The Artifact was born. Seeded by an amalgam of Cybertron, Robotech, a hint of Starblazers and Stargate. I fed it a diet of Science news that I was reading and let it grow.

Over the course of playing The Artifact, it’s taken on it’s own life and it’s branched out in strange ways that filled in the gaps. One of the first questions that I had to answer was, what’s inside this thing? A question I don’t think any other BDO** fiction has. The answers ended up far more structured and less wild than I had originally envisioned.

The next question was how do the people fit into this landscape and how do they live? This has been the most interesting of the story’s answers. It’s down to the point where I can tell you how a Scimrahn brushes her teeth. I realize that it’s silly that we’ve gone that far but that kind of world building happens over 19 years of play.

So that’s what got us here. I hope that makes sense to somebody.

*The adaptations did not always deliver this but the consistency of the original world did show through.

#I just got a copy of the 2010 movie Space Battleship Yamato which is not bad for it’s tiny 12 million dollar budget.

**Big Dumb Object

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The Tomb

Voice recognition – Starting

Sound Database – Starting

Austin Avery 79% – We found it Hank, the Rantaa’ tomb! This is insane! The whole thing fills the hex. There are walls set up in geometric patterns. Huge walls fifty meters tall, covered in Kelrath writing. There’s a huge structure over a kilometer tall at the center of the hex. We can’t figure out what you’d use such a huge building for in a tomb. Erik is translating some of the wall’s text and Jason is trying to use the E-Suit to open one of circular plugs in the wall. The writing seems to say that thats where the Rantaa’ are entombed. The Kelrath would be furious if they saw us here.

Sound – Fuel Detonation 120 db 65%

Austin Avery 82% –  (shout) What happened? What happened?

Erik Magnusson 64% – The plug was trapped. Jason. Jason do you read me? Jason, come in.

Unknown Voice – I’m okay. Uh, the suit’s shields took most of it but I still felt that. I’m just checking the damage.

Erik Magnusson 68% – Typical, the Kelrath always have defenses. The plug was probably a fake tomb or it belonged to a minor official. It’s doubtful they’d detonate a grave of anyone important. That means that only a fraction of the plugs might have anything in them.

Austin Avery 78% –  That’s not good. It also means we’ll probably run into more Kerdi after that noise.

Unknown Voice – The damage doesn’t look ba. . . (sound quality below threshold)

Austin Avery 78% –  Dicky, start scanning the radio for more Kerdi. They’ll probably come from above. Whatever, I don’t want to hang out here, let’s move into the center and see what else we can find. We have to find out what’s with that center structure. Keep alert and let’s move.

Recording – Paused

Shutdown command given

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Not Worried

Lesser Seed“Why are we camped here? I brought this up before! You said you weren’t worried about it. I said that this was not a defensible position and you said you could fortify it! I don’t see any fortifications Andre! All I see is a hole you cut into the wall. A hole that is useless as an escape route because it goes nowhere! We are about to be overrun and you start maintenance on the teleporter! Are you insane?” Jackson lit into the engineer.

“I’m not worried.” Was all that Andre answered.

“That’s it? If I somehow survive this, and I have no idea how, I am going to see you court martialed posthumously! Because I’ll kill you if those hounds don’t.” Jackson was nearly frothing, his face turning three shades of red.

“Calm down, it’s not a problem.” Andre sighed.

“Not a. . .  There are at least ten thousand hounds advancing on our position according to the scouts! Last I heard, that’s at least 500 times as many men as we have. I’d say that’s a problem Andre! We need to teleport out of here in the next fifteen minutes or they’ll be slicing us to ribbons.”

“And we will teleport out. Tomorrow. It’s all  taken care of.” Andre mumbled. He turned to Fasal. “Okay, pack it up.”

Fasal, one of the other engineers signaled to have the teleporter dismantled. “Okay, pack it up.”

“What are you doing? You’re disassembling our only escape?” Jackson’s jaw was on the ground.

“Of course, wouldn’t want anything to happen to it. Then we couldn’t teleport out tomorrow.” Andre answered cooly.

“I’m going to find the biggest gun in this camp and then I’m going to kill you with it.” Jackson said.

“I wouldn’t do that if I were you. There’s at least ten thousand hounds out there, just climbing in that hole we blasted in the wall isn’t going to be enough to protect yourself.” Andre replied. “Speaking of which, you need to get all the men into the hole or they’re going to get hurt. Or dead. Fasal, spread the word to get up in the tunnel.”

“Yessir!” Fasal answered and went off to get the platoon together.

“That’s it I’m done talking. You have us backed up against the wall of a Reservoir Hex with no avenue of retreat. These men’s lives are on your head Andre.” Jackson threw his hands up in the air.

“It’s okay, really. I’m not worried.” Andre answered, he packed up his tools and joined the men climbing up to the tunnel they had blasted into the wall. The men were nervous but Andre had never let them down before.

“They’ve just come into visual range. Looks like they know exactly where we are because they’re moving straight toward us.” one of the scouts reported.

“Let me know when the main force is within five hundred meters.” Andre replied.

“Should we engage them? You know, send the E-Suits out and launch rockets into them?” they asked.

“Definitely not.” was all he said.

They waited silently for another few minutes. “Five hundred meters!” a scout called out.

“It’s time Fasal. Open the lid and then let the big one go.” he directed.

A moment later the wall they were all sitting inside shook ever so slightly. Then the sound of thunder rumbled above. Then another quake, much stronger than the first. From one of the doorways of the Reservoir Hex came a deafening roar that at first sounded like an explosion but quickly took on a different kind of rumble. Even the hounds knew something was wrong because they stopped and began running.

“One hundred and thirty million tons of water.” Andre whispered to himself.

With a hole in the top of the hex to let in air and one to let it out, the water came. For six hours, a torrent poured from the door next to them with the force of Niagara Falls and scoured the plain in front of them with relentless fury. A Reservoir Hex unleashed. When it was over, there was not a single sign of the hounds. The dirt basins near the mouth of the torrent had been scoured of their soil. Now the basins formed lakes of water that had frothed brown but slowly cleared until from up on the wall, they could see all the way to the bottom of them. The drainage system was overwhelmed and then plugged by mud and sludge. Water filled the water system for the hexes all around and trickled down through cracks between the hexes.

“Ok Fasal, let’s teleport out.” he finally said with a smile.

 

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Scout

Scout

It’s been two days but we still haven’t found the real entrance to the safehouse. Jahre has searched every nook and crevice in a kilometer of where the map says the entrance should be. He’s saved us a lot of effort by tagging each tunnel that he’s already looked in. He says the his sonar imager would sometimes show entrances that have been covered over but so far it hasn’t given us any real leads. We’ll have to return for ground penetrating radar.

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Report by: Warrant Officer Robert Smith

Position: Field Scientist, Juliet Company

Assigned Objective: Observation of Scimrahn to Kelrath negotiations

Purpose of Mission: Provide documentation and observe Kelrath business and cross cultural relations.

Progress Report: The Raid that we had observed earlier was on a vessel owned by a Kelrath that the tribe had not worked with before.  The vessel’s records say that it is owned by a Kaloord named Hessik Rannil of the city Gethilsichk. Two representatives from the tribe and myself will travel to the city and make contact with Hessik Rannil.

Chiah-boch and Feraw will represent the tribe in the negotiation. They have contacted a Kelrath merchant that they have worked with before. We will remain hidden in cargo containers that the merchant will bring to Gethilsichk to trade.

Skiff

Update: We were successfully smuggled into the city where we had the opportunity to observe the Rantaa’ addressing the city.

There seems to be a good deal of unrest in the city. Although the Rantaa’ has the confidence of the Kaloord, the Geetin and the Gijorn class are unhappy about treatment they’ve received at the hands of the Kaloord. Apparently the Gijorn generals felt they could put some pressure on the Rantaa’ and get some relief. I was not able to follow the whole speech but Feraw tells me it does not look like the Rantaa’ is going to bow to pressure. The speech was to give the Kelrath new authority to discipline the lower castes.

The way things normally work is that the Kaloord have Geetin on loan from the Rantaa’ and if any die, they have to justify the loss to the Rantaa’. The new disciplinary measures allow the Kelrath to loose up to ten Geetin a year without having to report to the Rantaa’.

Kelrath

Chiah-boch and Feraw have decided to back out of trying to negotiate in this city. We will leave tomorrow. This choice is not made lightly, the Kelrath that brought us here has been paid very well for smuggling us in here.

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Foraging

Sponge

Today Ahach took us to his foraging and hunting ground. He says he’s hunted here his whole life. This is a thermosynthetic biosphere, everything is fed off the heat from a plasma main. This main may be set to rupture at some point since the temperatures are much hotter than normal. The mains can be thought of like volcanos, they’ve been here since the planet being built, by some accounts five thousand years. One can be ready to blow at any time but that could be in any time frame from a minute to a century. The chance of it going while we’re visiting is slim but not zero.

The biodiversity here is staggering, unlike any flora or fauna we’ve seen. The majority of it is what Ahach calls “Fera”. They’re something like tall sea sponges on dry ground. They start sparsely and about ankle high where it’s cooler, and as the temperature rises, they get taller and taller until they were well over our heads.

Ahach says that when he was younger the sponge used to grow all the way up the plasma main but as the containment has broken down, the temperatures have gotten too high for the sponge and they died off.

There are zah and nicoe here by the hundreds. There’s some other flying creatures that I’ve never seen before. We heard some ekchok a few hundred meters away but Ahach said they wouldn’t bother us since there was so much food available to them. There were seeter and gunthar tracks but not as many as I would have expected.

Something big was moving around in the sponge but it stayed out of sight. I would have loved to have gone and seen what it was but Ahach said to leave it alone.

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Hacker

Dex Web There is no computer I cannot hack, no network that I cannot infiltrate. That is what I used to tell myself. I had heard of the prime addresses. I thought it was just a story spread by cut rate operators.

I chained every computer in a thousand kilometers in a botnet to pummel the prime addresses into submission. I built an exquisite tool for carving into systems. Any network on Earth would have quickly fell to my tools.

Faster than I could react, my botnet fell. It was cleansed from the ether faster than I could rebuild it. My attack had no effect whatsoever aside from angering someone.

Now they are after me. They found me and they are hunting me down. They don’t care about soldiers or even Scimrahn. They pass them by. They only want me.

I thought for a brief moment that this meant I had done some damage, that I had broken through. No, I am like a mosquito that has caused the slightest of irritation to a man. I merely angered them.

I did this picture for the rules section under the description of the Dexterity attribute. I liked the roughness of it. It feels a bit more raw.

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