Gigacrawler: Known Features of the Gigastructure
So we're gonna make Gigacrawler. The RPG where the whole universe is a dungeon.
This is a page where anyone can write in any kind of feature of the Gigastructure that would go in a "worldbook"--monsters, races, societies, technological wonders, places, etc. Entries should be short and only include mechanics if they are in some way unexpected. Like if you say there are turtle-men then there's no need to provide stats unless they have special rules for shell-penetration.
(Click the link above if you need to know how mechanics work or need a more detailed description of what's in the setting so far.)
Remember: resources are scarce, there's no common currency, barter is the norm, and communication is difficult. It's like a 3D multidimensional postapocalypse.
Here are a few examples:
-Lacuna: These are small gaps--the size of a planet or less--of open space in the Gigastructure. It can take months to find a way around them but many are home to shuttlemen who will ferry travellers across the lacuna in battered starships for trade.
-Oorlagox: This is a species of sentient computer virus. They will be grateful to anyone who introduces them into a computer system utilizing a technology that they can successfully infect, and will trade data they find for physical transportation through the Gigastructure (many computers in the same area are made of noncompatible alien technologies). 3 hours after an Oorlagox infects an ordinary system it will be rendered useless. They speak in an Edwardian dialect, and are universally praised for their generous wit and good manners.
-Archaeox: This is a small demon (2-3 inches tall) that eats lies. Since you can walk for weeks through the Gigastructure without meeting any sentient lifeforms, they fear starvation. An Archaeox will generally hide in a creature's equipment or ingratiate itself by performing simple tasks for a creature. In its original form it resembles a rolling grey sphere with thumb-tip like extrusion all around. For each lie told in its presence, it grows more mostrous, and slightly larger.
Here's one migelito already gave us in fairly finished form so I'll just post it here now:
-Star Chambers - Massive cavities in the gigastructure built around stars. In most cases the surrounding structure is dedicated to cyclopean power conversion infrastructure. These serve as the main source of energy within the whole of the GS. Most star chambers are strictly controlled by a group or organisation, with various levels of understanding regarding their operation/maintenance, and are often the nexus of power struggles and military operations.
Baudot sent this one in but it was too long to fit in the comments:
Faction: The All
"We are The All, my child. Do not be troubled. Your dream of a time before is a trick. Your memories of a place outside this, a cruel deception. Let them go and know the peace of the monastery. You have been touched by The Deceiver, and soon his touch will wash away. Come back to us. This is where you have always been, and this is where you will ever be. Return to your place with us. There is so much work to be done."
The All is a self-brainwashing cooperative that spreads throughout the gigaplex, seeding pockets of itself by hops and leaps wherever it can gain a foothold. Its goals are virulent and expansionist, desiring to spread until its boast is true: That there is no thing outside itself and no time outside its time.
The All commonly targets isolated pockets of the gigaplex near areas of civilzation for seeding with new enclaves. It uses these corners of the 'plex to gather strength without discovery before overwhelming and converting the neighbors.
The All converts by a cult-like induction process, tuned and franchised to operate at city scales. Over a matter of weeks, the 'front' of All Reality washes over an enclave in a dreamlike wave. First nanobots, nanohexes, or nanomemes prepare the area, adding secret passageways and triggers for miracles to one corner of the city. Then the Brethren of The All move in, welcoming their converts as lost souls, and reminding them of the simple truths they had for a time forgotten: That there is only The All, and labor for The All by The All is the highest of goods. These new converts are ushered back to the Temple at the heart of The All tumor. Loyal brethren of The All roll forward, advancing the front.
"Of course I know Thomas. This is his shop. I only mind it for him while he is at Pilgrimage."
A visitor from another part of town would find all the buildings different than he remembered, and his friends replaced by quiet cultists. All the old residents are said to be "At Pilgrimage" and visitors are assured they will return soon. Visitors are treated civilly, and allowed to come and go freely, for a time.
Conversion to The All happens first in The Maze: Before expanding into a city from their beachhead, the Allformers will build a maze of tunnels between the beachhead and the city. These tunnels are filled with scenes waiting to be acted out, leading the individual lost within through a series of lessons where they learn by repeated suffering that they are alone without The All, and that all comfort, warmth, and nourishment comes from working with their brothers. Time within The Maze is perceived to flow differently than time outside, with people inside The Maze believing weeks to have passed while in reality only hours have gone by. The potential convert experiences months of indoctrination in only a few days of real time, jumping from scene to scene with gaps in their memory as they slide in and out of consciousness from suffering hunger, thirst, and loneliness in their time outside The All.
The Maze grows as The All converts more and more of a city. As any time, hundreds, thousands, millions, or billions of people may be wandering its halls, stumbling ever closer to The Temple at the heart of The All infection, and their final conversion.
Opponents Presented by The All:
Adversary: Brother Peacekeeper (All Cultist)
Brother Peacekeepers are basic thugs for The All. They are armed with whatever weapons are abundant in the local region, and fight as such.
Brother Peacekeepers have four disconcerting tactical advantages:
a) They blend in with the peaceful members of All society near perfectly until activated. An entire battalion of Peacekeepers could move in among a crowd without giving outward sign that The All is preparing to defend itself. Indeed, Peacekeepers are peaceful members of The All who have been tapped for an extra duty, and go about their jobs as civilian cultists until they receive the signal to activate and defend The All.
b) They communicate silently, seemingly telepathically, striking from surprise in perfect unison.
c) As with all All cultists, they show a level of teamwork that armies envy to the highest degree. If two squad mates can achieve more by working in unison, they will. If a squad mate must be rescued, the other squad members will be absolutely selfless is doing so. If it is better to sacrifice a teammate, the entire team will do so without a moment's hesitation, including the one being sacrificed.
d) They are prepared for the miracles the Allformers have seeded for them to work with. If The All has time to prepare for a fight and steer the enemies to ground of its choosing, the Allformers will have seeded the area with one powerful miracle. This is in addition to the usual maze of secret passages present in All territory, and any All Cultist's ability to control illumination and weather in All Territory telepathically. The squad members fight with full knowledge of the miracle that is prepared and how to best take advantage of it.
Adversary: Sister Silencer (All Cultist)
The Sisters of Silence are assassins of The All. Their appointed labor for The All is "To Silence the darkest deceived before their deception can spread." Sisters of Silence may operate alone or in groups, as tasks demand and resources allow.
Sisters of Silence operate like Peacekeeper brethren, except that their preparation is specialized to the craft of killing first - they have the best equipment the local All can muster, and combat training built on tireless self sacrificing devotion and focus. They have few weaknesses and no mercy.
Adversary: Shaher (All Priest)
The Shaher are the priests of The All. Taken off their home turf, they are weak, and readily offer themselves as tactical sacrifices, when it serves the greater good. When fighting within an All Temple complex, Shaher are the masterminds directing the automated defenses of the Temple.
Adversary: Maze Phantom
The Maze that The All uses to convert outsiders to itself is filled with lessons and phantasmal menaces. These menaces are designed to hunt and threaten, and only rarely to actually harm, when a convert must be crippled before they can be reborn as a member of The All. The trick with Maze Phantoms is that there are legions of them, each designed to ignore a certain type of attack. A person confronted with the Maze Phantom that The All has chosen to educate them will be powerless, while an outsider bursting into the scene may find the phantom as easy to pop as a balloon.
Adversary: Allformer (Nanobot, Nanohex, or Nanomeme)
The Allformers seed the way for The All. These are built on whatever power the local All cult uses - tech, magic, or psychic might.
Allformers have two major defenses: First, their nanoscale makes them prone to being overlooked, invisible as they operate.
Second, they have a reflexive counter-attack if anyone attempts to disable or control them. The counter attack does two things simultaneously. The first is that it attempts to deceive/charm/mind-control the attacker into believing that their attack is on the verge of succeeding, if they just stick with it longer. Second, the Allformer swarm Cuts Loose.
Cutting Loose: The Allformers normally move in careful, slow, controlled patterns as they convert terrain and people into The All. In times of crisis, the Allformers may move into a higher gear, converting anything nearby into rich elemental goop that holds no threat to The All and can be harvested as a resource later. Even priests of The All fear this reaction like a primitive priest fears the wrath of the gods, for the Allformers are none too intelligent in their targeting. They are prone to lash out and digest anything that seems energy rich, fast moving, or highly contagious. Anything that might possibly be a threat is digested. All priests and cultists know to walk away calmly and divest themselves of power should the Allformers cut loose, and to wait for the defense reaction to be complete.
Once per round of combat, the Allformers target the most threatening seeming person in the area. The typical way to defend against digestion is to first perceive the attack coming, then, if not taken by surprise, to make an agility check to flee the area the Allformers are swarming. Whatever region the Allformers strike is digested in a single round, occupant within it, if they did not successfully escape.
Exceptionally high-tech/high-magic/high-psy armors may keep the Allformers at bay if they are designed for environmental containment: Armor that is within 2 tech/magic levels of the Allformer swarm takes 2d6 rounds to be digested, while the Allformers figure out a way around its defenses. The final digestion is sudden, taking only a single round once the weakness in the defense is found. The armor's occupant is digested the round after. A character cannot escape by shedding armor being digested - the Allformer swarm senses the breach and rushes in, liquifying the victim within their suit.
Higher tech/magic armors can hold out an Allformer swarm indefinitely.
Defeating an Allformer swarm requires special approaches: EMP pulses, counter-nanobots, or the equivalent in magic or psychic attacks. Once such attacks are deployed, the surviving Allformers will fall back outside of attack range. They will continue to test their enemies defenses continuously on a microscopic scale so long as the enemies remain inside the cloud, attacking with instant ferocity whenever a new weakness is found. (GM's discretion, but every 3d6 hours by default.)
Storytelling The All:
The All works by isolating its converts in The Maze, away from old friends who might keep them anchored to a reality other than its own. Gamemasters should jump back to the isolated character for quick "cut-to" scenes between scenes of the rest of the party, using these scenes to build the tension and need to rescue the lost party member as The All breaks down their identity.
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> Replay, Final Transmission, Dr. Johannes Berger
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I now believe my previous research was in error. The All is not a single entity, acting at the direction of a single mastermind or council. Rather, it is a primordial meme that powerful controller entities can latch onto, and harvest wherever it has spread. Thus it is in the interest of any of a billion beings to spread The All and re-seed it anywhere they desire.
I believe The All pocket I am currently studying - sector Ched Seven Omtet Four - is the subject of a turf war between no less than three Jocab-class controllers. My research base is located within a section that serves an entity known as "Mother Prime" within the local tongue, who identifies at least two faces of The Deceiver within All mythology - apparently rival controllers operating in this same All Enclave. Mother Prime's territory can be recognized by the drooping wax sense that all the buildings evoke. Spinwards the buildings become angular and metallic, and the code phrases spoken by the All cultists are different. I was nearly captured during my last expedition there when I used Mother Prime's cultists call-and-response codes. I plan to observe these cultists over the next week and attempt another foray into their territory using the data gleaned.
Relations between Mother Prime's followers and the spinwards cult are outwardly civil, with both sides along the border believing themselves secret inquisitors and double agents working to contain a conspiracy by The Deceiver. How long this has been going on I do not yet know, though written records among the local cult indicate it predates this generation.
Hubwards of my current base is the base of a third controller nested within the Cult. Geometry in this sector is a Beusch-varient space, with 387 degrees to the circle and that permits hyper-crystalline formation. Ice is the primary building material here, although the 'unworthy' cultists are permitted to encase it in chitin, wood, and furs for insulation against th###
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Broadcast Interrupted - Record Ends.
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This page is only for things that are NOT available to PCs during character generation--if you include:
character alterations (mutations, alien adaptations, or cyborg parts)
here, make sure they are things you wouldn't want PCs to have when they start out. If something looks good for that, we may port it over to the appropriate page when that page goes up later in the week.