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Forbidden Science of the Second Imperium

Ok, this started over at the T5 Cybernetics thread, but rather than hijack it I'm moving stuff over here. I'm just curious what y'all think of a Forbidden Science Mystery Archeology Campaign for Traveller.


Originally posted by Flynn:
A number of the DGP products speak about the role of cyborgs in society, attaching a heavy social stigma to cybernetics modifications. It is noted that on some worlds, even one cybernetic prosthesis can make one become defined as a machine, and therefore property.

-Flynn
You know, that really sounds like a Vilani thing to me. "You have served Naasirka well Haamarin, and we mourn the sacrifce you have made for us: your family will be honored. As set out in the book of Agaanshaga, the loss of your limbs and their replacement by profane metal equals a loss of your soul. You are now and forever the property of Naasirka. But do not despair, we shall treat you well 74-B-90032."

In general I like to think that most of the prohibitions and prejudices against certain forms of tech are Vilani in origin. Not just because they are a little insular and traditional, but because they genuinely know better. I like to think that the Second Imperium is littered with stories of Solomani disregarding Vilani prohibitions on genetic engineering, bio-tech, cybernetics, etc, and then paying a horrible, horrible price for it. But then again, I may just be looking for a way to adapt 'Tomb of the Cybermen' into a Traveller adventure.
 
Truthfully, I did submit a Tomb of the Novomani seed to Flynn for the 76 Ethical Patrons contest. But I really think it could be bigger than that. See the way I figure it, the Rule of Man could be a great source of Forbidden Science Sci-Fi pulpy horror adventures. For every 5 super-bright Vilani scientists intent on maintaining tradition and preventing the Solomani from dabbling in 'things humaniti was not meant to know' there had to be 1 scientist who thought otherwise. Maybe they saw the Rule of Man as an oppertunity to finally work on their Forbidden Projects. Maybe they had just lost the plot.

Added into this mix, of course, were greedy Terran corporations and their own blindly ambitious scientists who were eager to use Vilani discoveries (regardless if they had a big 'Danger, this will backfire' label on them). Further you've got to keep in mind that twenty year-old ensigns were becoming Planetary Governers ('You were Vice-President Social at your high school?' Great, you get to rule _____'). I'm thinking that many of them may not have been that hard to push around and get to greenlight some very questionable experiments. What's more, they would probably be pretty quick to cover up the horrific results of 2nd Imperium science gone horribly wrong.

'Yes, your lordship, the creatures have been contained. Yes, I suppose you will have to report this to your superiors. Yes, I believe this will be the end of your career. Although... if I may be so bold Lieutant, we could continue the inderdict on the world and claim it was an outbreak of that Terran plague...what's it called...measles. That would also provide an explaination of the, ahhh, reduction in population. Surely it would be better than for you to waste the rest of your life as a disgraced civilian, or worse, a penal colony unjustly covicted of gross negligence? And really, it's not as though there are enough survivors to dispute our story...'

Anyrate, what I'm getting at is there could be tons of bad combinations of Solomani adventuresness and Vilani knowhow hidden throughout the Imperium. I'm thinking it would be cool to develop a Warren Ellis' Planetary style Mystery Archeology campaign revolving around discovering them. The party could have the obligatory mysterious patrons, rivals in the form of other mystery hunters, antagonists in the guise of Imperial Naval Intelligence and a secret society bent on preventing the PCs from uncovering stuff, and, of course, the monsters, plauges and maddness they excavate. Really you could toss in a pinch of Dr. Who, a touch of HP Lovecraft, and healthy dose of Paranoid Pulp and you're off to the races.
 
Oooh, the real reasons behind the lack of nanotech and genetic augmentation...

why AIs were used by the Terrans during the Interstellar wars and then written out of history...

how did the Droyne remain hidden in plain sight...

what really became of the early psionic research institutes...

untold numbers of zombie cyborgs (I know I'm repeating myself with that one, but you can never have enough zombie cyborgs IMHO
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)...

bio-ships hiding in the dark places...

secret bases hidden in jumpspace (crewed by you know what ;) )...

I love it
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that is indeed a font of ideas. a bit difficult to access after two thousand years, but still a tremendous potential.

thanks.
 
Flynn, I hope you are recording all this...

Not to mention, hidden labs that have opened up a portal into jumpspace for FTL communications but in the process allowing something from the abyss (remember Nietzsche's quote about looking into the abyss) to lurk back in N-Space.

Civilizations, long thought dead, spring back to life through new forms - the more aggressive Vargrs in T20.

Space hulks that dwarf the largest of the 3I dreadnoughts that have been abandoned in an empty quarter of space.

An incredibly beautiful women encased in a low berth of unknown construction anatomically seems human enough save she no blood, yet she Lives accounting to scans.

A piece of space derby that seems to have almost a geletinous texture and seems alive. When the players are are sleeping tendrils reaching into the nearest computer conducts.
 
Originally posted by kafka47:

A piece of space derby that seems to have almost a geletinous texture and seems alive. When the players are are sleeping tendrils reaching into the nearest computer conducts.
Are you talking about the TNE Virus or about something more similar to this?
 
Just two more quick thoughts.

Maybe an offshoot/weird branch of the Imperial Scout Service would be a suitable patron for parties interested in this kind of adventuring. I'm thinking the scout service because: 1) this is exploration of a kind, 2) they probably do have access to all sorts of historical documents and have a killer archive, 3) It's a paramilitary force that reports to the Imperal governing apparatus. I could see an Emperor feel a bit more comfortable trusting the scout service than Naval intelligence. Oh, and 4) scouts can go anywhere without raising too much suspicion.

My second thought is that if someone were to write this concept up, you could easily transplant it to any milieu. Personally I was originally thinking 993 (maybe the Rim War had led to an old archive with info on some of these experiments being uncovered). However, Year 0 would also make sense, the Rebellion era (every faction was looking for superweapons by the end), and even 1248 (who knows what a curious Viral entity might have uncovered in an old digital archive and become interested in tracking down. Or maybe the campaign begins with the party trying to track down what they think is a jumpstart cache).

Oh and Sigg. Cyber-Zombies. Everywhere. Maybe there was a mad Terran admiral who was looking to use his carefully hidden caches of ruthless genetically enhanced, psychologically conditioned and cybernetically altered troops to over throw a 2nd Imperium Emporer. The coup attempt was nipped in the bud, but the zealous Novomani shock troops are still in stasis in concealed pockets scattered across the Imperium. Thousands of them sitting in low berth chambers. Just waiting...
 
Originally posted by Cad Lad:
Oh and Sigg. Cyber-Zombies. Everywhere. Maybe there was a mad Terran admiral who was looking to use his carefully hidden caches of ruthless genetically enhanced, psychologically conditioned and cybernetically altered troops to over throw a 2nd Imperium Emporer. The coup attempt was nipped in the bud, but the zealous Novomani shock troops are still in stasis in concealed pockets scattered across the Imperium. Thousands of them sitting in low berth chambers. Just waiting...
They are there...

in the dark, forgotten places...

waiting...
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Originally posted by Cad Lad:
Just two more quick thoughts.

Maybe an offshoot/weird branch of the Imperial Scout Service would be a suitable patron for parties interested in this kind of adventuring.
<snip>
I agree, the IISS would make excellent patrons for this kind of campaign, although a viral entity patron behind the scenes adds to the complexity - I like it

Or maybe the campaign begins with the party trying to track down what they think is a jumpstart cache.
What a nicely twisted idea...
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Isn't it though the Navy that is in charge of the registering of "Antiquities". Thanks for the above link, Jean Valjean (employee 2-4601). I will have to take my time to go through go it. Actually, my inspiration was taken from the adventure that I was running right here on the boards.
 
Originally posted by kafka47:
Isn't it though the Navy that is in charge of the registering of "Antiquities".
All the more reason for the IISS to let the Navy keep tracking down "the Ancients", while the Scouts go after the real truth... ;)
 
By Sigg Oddra
...untold numbers of zombie cyborgs (I know I'm repeating myself with that one, but you can never have enough zombie cyborgs IMHO )...
If they were powered by nuclear decay batteries and were genetically modified they would be atomic mutant zombie cyborgs! YES! :D
<scribble scribble>
 
Seriously, (as if zombies were not serious enough)
The Imperium could have an enormous archive of this forbidden technology stored someplace for safekeeping or destruction. The facility could be located in a supposedly empty hex right in the middle of a high population region of space. The Heritage Project or some other euphemistic name could be attached to it and they could be in need of some off the record help.
 
Originally posted by kafka47:
Thanks for the above link, Jean Valjean (employee 2-4601).
The link leads to a fan-fiction project based on the System Shock computer game series; these stories deal with the games' quite evil (or atleast, megalomaniac mad scientist) rogue AI transfaring herself (in small pods containing her brain, they'll probably be TL16-17 in Traveller terms) to other universes by using System Shock 2's Jump Drive equivalent (which is basically the same as in Event Horizon - it "folds space" by extensive artificial gravity). So, if one of these pods emerges in the Traveller universe, imagine an Imperial ship picking it up, poking at it (as it's high TL, and if you're in the Golden Age period, beyond Imperial TL) and eventuallt setting SHODAN (the AI) loose on their ship. And then you'll have all the Cyborg Zombies (and mutants) you want!
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Originally posted by Parmasson:
Seriously, (as if zombies were not serious enough)
The Imperium could have an enormous archive of this forbidden technology stored someplace for safekeeping or destruction. The facility could be located in a supposedly empty hex right in the middle of a high population region of space. The Heritage Project or some other euphemistic name could be attached to it and they could be in need of some off the record help.
I wonder what the Imperium really does with the bodies of all those people who fail their survival rolls when in service? ;)
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... And with eons' passing, even death may die!
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(We need a Cthulhu smilie and we need it now!)
 
Originally posted by Sigg Oddra:
They are there...

in the dark, forgotten places...

waiting...
file_23.gif
Reminds me of one of G'kar's speeches in Babylon 5, season 2; He was speaking about things (the Shadows) moving in "dead worlds where nothing should move" and his wording (can't recall the exact speech, I watched it 6 years ago IIRC), combined with the background music was VERY creepy.
 
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