An ASFR Shared Fiction Story

Traps / Perils as of  02-Apr-99:

Added a section on the Subway from the messageboard,
Added a new description of the NIM unit

From dmuk

From Fool
From cmq

From Cobalt Jade

From dmuk

From Fool
  • Orgasmic Stimulator Ray.   A new mind control device. . .   Rest assured, the device will look and behave appropriately crudely (dangling wires, large knobs, quivering antennae, the works).  The ray will generate an ecstatic experience which is intended by Xort to render a subject completely pliable to suggestion.  But the Stimulator, as will be shown, is just too powerful . . . the subject's mind gets blown, and she slips into a catatonic state.

  • Medusatron.  Instant petrifying ray.  [Note, there is only a passing reference here, need more detail of what it looks & sounds like]


    Handy Bits of Technology

    The Subway from Hell  

    (or, more properly, *to* Hell)

    One of the more visually striking and useful bits of technology on Xog’s world is the Subway.   The lands and mountains are filled with tunnels and it is possible to get nearly anywhere on the planet rather quickly.  However, only the natives know how to voice-activate it.  Attempts by the players can and do produce unpredictable (and occasionally dire) results.  The system was originally put in place under King Ramon’s reign and has been not maintained since; this is another source of uncertainty in the system.

    Trains are made up of a number of 2-person “compartments” which attach to other compartments with intercoms (when the system is working).  Thus it is possible to accommodate almost any number or travelers and route them individually to different destinations (true to 50’s future style it is a bit overdone and not really practical).  The individual compartments resemble 7’ diameter bubbles with the bottom 1/3 blacked out.  the top and a section of the side pivot up to admit passengers.  When in motion it is not possible to open the compatment (shy of breaking the unbreakable Lexan).  While three people can squeeze into a compartment, it is cozy.  Four cannot unless they are all Xort’s size.  Compartments or trains are guides on a system of three rails, two just about even with floor level when boarding and the third which rests on the top of the compartment when the train is moving.  Viewed from the direction of travel the rails are spaced about 120 degrees apart.  Whatever holds the cars together and switches their paths is not part of the adventure.  Luckily there is no obvious fare system, so they don’t have to contend with money, either.

    The subway compartments are summoned by talking into a circular grille at each station.  There is a plaque of intricate instructions in an incomprehensible language.  Guide, Ramon, Glacia, etc. know how to work it but few other NPCs do.  What is supposed to happen is they tell the controller how many people are going to what destination and a train (set of compartments) is assembled and sent to the station.  Everyone gets on and then are whisked to the destination.  It’s possible to tell the train to change routing once started, but this takes more verbal instructions.  There are no visible buttons, displays, keyboards, etc. to override control.

    When adventurers talk to the controller it cannot understand them but in true machine fashion tries to.  Trains with too few (or too many) compartments arrive and end up going to random destinations.  Once started on a trip, compartments will split off without (seeming) reason or join other groups.  Trains will arrive in a station and just stop, refusing to go further (until someone gets off, but the players don’t know that first off).  Consider using a hyper-annoying musical tone to announce arrival and departure (if you’ve ever been to the new Denver airport in RL you know what I mean).  Occasionally they will stop in a storage yard and go dormant (hint, it can get cold in there at night) or head directly to the emperor’s palace, putting some groups in early danger.

    While Guide can control the subway properly, sometimes she does not appear to; this is part of her shady nature.  The players do not know what she is telling the controller.  Eventually the smarter players may figure out how to control it (by sounding words phonetically) but they never ever get it exactly right.

    Between stops, the subway hauls ass, creating dizziness as the lights in the tunnels zip past.  Occcasionally the train will go into a ‘deep dark place’ for a few minutes or appear aboveground so the occupants can behold strikingly beautiful vistas.  Due to the speed, turns are banked and sometimes this creates a roller-coaster feel to the ride as the occupants are pressed into their seats (no belts; OSHA does not exist here).

    Thus the subway is a good-news, bad-news proposition; take it and you (sometimes) get where you’re going and sometimes not; avoid it and you can run into more perils along the way or even dead-ends.

    Xog, and his Xenchmen have figured out that they can set up traps in some of the stations to ‘collect’ the unwary.  Some NPCs and players may fall into this snare and turn up later frozen or enslaved.

    Neural Impule Modulator (NIM) Unit  

    Borrowed blatantly from a favorite Wonder Woman episode ('The Fine Art of Crime'), this gimmick has been extended to serve a couple of different purposes in the dreampark.  Both deal with control and appearance while in the scenarios.

    Each player in the adventure (and some NPCs) must wear the Neural Impulse Modulator while inside the dreampark.  The device appears as two metallic buttons, each about the size of a coughdrop, that contact the player's head or hair.  Usually the NIM is hidden inside some prop appropriate to the adventure; in this case a helmet, Flexia's tiara, or cosmetic earrings.  The device is self-powered and maintains constant communication with the gamemasters at The Bridge.  By intercepting and modifying brain wave patterns (thoughts) the NIM is able to create a variety of useful physical effects that would be difficult to achieve otherwise.  Besides, it's a cool McGuffin!

    The primary function of the NIM is to monitor and augment the player's visual information stream, allowing the controllers to mask out certain portions of the field of view (think of it as a variably-shaped 'blind spot') to hide wires/stagehands from being seen by the player.  It can also allow nonexistant objects to be inserted into what they are seeing.  This provides a seamless 'Virtual Reality' without the rather clumsy present-day headsets/goggles.  Tactile data can also be synthesized, but that technology is not fully developed yet and such objects feel a little 'odd' to the player.  This aspect of the NIM is thus used very rarely within the game but can be used to create 'force-fields' and other evanescent matter.

    It is the NIM's secondary function that really gets a workout in this game:  By mainipulating the impulses sent to the brain, the unit can induce a state of partial or complete suspended animation in the wearer.  At maximum setting the player can literally be turned stiff as a board while remaining fully conscious; the NIM can also induce sleep as well as complete unconsciousness (an artificial coma).  Careful safeguards are required to prevent immobilization in situations where the player could be injured.

    Combining the functions allows the players to effectively be transformed into any object (such as a gold statue) or creature (bird, maybe?) that the story requires.  To the players being affected the illusion also is perfect; the can see themselves transforming at the same time they become unable to move.

    One would hope that the full potential of this device will be exploited during the adventure!!

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