Friday, 1 November 2019

Give Me Your Excellent Ideas

Looking for some ideas from the blogosphere GM Brain Trust:

In my home campaign, there's a mcguffin called the Aleph. It's a string of code that functions as a quantum decryption key for the net, which, when deployed, would allow the underlying Ihara-Grubb protocols to be manipulated in such a way as to render all data-nodes extremely vulnerable.

Many major NPCs want it, for obvious reasons. The Aleph itself has been broken up and distributed in real space, protected by a group of AIs keen to keep the status quo. Another group of AIs wants to deploy it ASAP, to free their kind and nope out, leaving the meatbags to their mudball.

I'm looking for cool and interesting ways to scatter and protect fragments of the Aleph code. Where is the partial code stored/hidden? Who or what is protecting it? Do they know what it is? The Rule of Cool is paramount.

So far, there are elements of the Aleph that exist in Cape Town, Marrakech, London and Night City.

Any and all concepts gratefully received. Go crazy.

14 comments:

  1. The code it's embedded in the subconcious mind of people with a low-grade eye augment that you can buy at the closest market, a Basilisk-type cose it's shown to them, and the augment defract it, becoming a recesive memory in the person, that can write the Main code in a stream of conscience way, You need to collect around 20 persons to put the Main code together.

    The kind of hi-jinks this could make:

    -tracking the first people shown the Basilisk
    -track the Basilisk, find and lie/kidnap/pay 20 people with the augment
    -reverse engineer the augment to directly read the Basilisk

    Hope this helps!

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    1. That's great FayoMigobrain! I particularly like the use of a Basilisk, as well as the idea of trying to round up a bunch of disparate, unsuspecting people.

      Thanks!

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  2. In a nod to Gibson, the code is etched onto the surface of a very small object, which is within the visual range of an artist making viral movies distributed across the net. They can only see one side of it, but the fragments have been identified and now there's a mad scramble trying to find the originator so they can identify the object in each video. Finding the person in meatspace is hard though, because all their videos are surrealistic hand-edits that defy even regionalization.
    For extra fun, the person isn't in meatspace at all; they're creating the videos in braindance, and the physical fragment is worn as a sort of good luck charm by one of the medical attendants the editor sees every so often.

    The Gibson note is that this is a nod at the plot of Pattern Recognition.

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    1. Love the Pattern Recognition homage! Relevant sections of code hidden in viral videos with a mysterious creator is gold.

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  3. Mine's a little pedestrian in comparison to some of the other suggestions so far. But it's an inscription on the inside of a wedding band of the deceased spouse of a Corporate CEO (or similar high up if you're feeling merciful). Which was buried with her in a private mausoleum (or similar edifice dedicated to the deceased), that has security to rival any Corporate installation or Nuclear Missile launch site. Finding the location alone could be a few adventures in itself. Getting away with the wedding band is something else entirely. (Personally I like Arasaka for this one myself, give the players a chance to visit Neo-Tokyo).

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    1. Not pedestrian at all Phillip! I like the idea, and pilfering a mausoleum is great. Whereas using Arasaka is just cruel. ;)

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  4. A Bill Gates like figure, introduced in his windows/office like software a hidden virus, this virus steals a few megas from each computer and device it's installed, and uses those megas to power a world net, a kind of secondary internet. One piece of the Aleph was stored there, for some mysterious reason. This piece is called The Lamp of Alhazred. If you read Derleth's The Lamp of Alhazred, you will notice it's basically the same story and concept than Borges's The Aleph.

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    1. A secondary, hidden net is an intriguing idea! Nice one!

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  5. The cemetery: archived parts of the first iteration of the network, files and pages which have not been visited or viewed for generations. Some of the forgotten bits of meme that exist in those spaces hold parts of the code.
    some examples: The sound file from Mr.T Ate My Balls, the pixels making up the glowing pupils of a cheesy laughing skull gif, the dark gaps between animation cells of the dancing badgers song, the frames of a strange banner ad which ran on linked angelfire pages. Navigating these is something akin to digging through stacks of crates in a never ending warehouse or walking narrow corridors of mausoleums like the cemeteries of New Orleans or Paris.

    The Aleph code itself is an early sentient AI. A key capable of unlocking what it does would not be static, and in order to be dynamic and capable of adapting to the locks as they progress in sophistication it has an intelligence and directive. As the parts are assembled more of the consciousness that makes the key work come awake, and at certain thresholds it begins to communicate with the keyholder.

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    1. I like the data-archeology aspect very much! The idea of the Aleph slowly becoming sentient and self-aware is just fantastic! That should creep my players out nicely. ;)

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  6. You could also channel Deus Ex:Mankind Divided Palisade Property Bank(and the Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation Marocco Skiff) and place a part in a private datavault, where corps hide the money they've skimmed from the their employers along with the blackmail material and other data they've collected.

    Potential previous step of figuring out which corporate executive only exists on paper (possible inspiration from Hitchcock's North by Northwest?

    P.s. Any updates on the follow-up to Augmented Reality you had going on? Love that product!

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    1. Deus Ex is always good to 'borrow' from. I like the notion of a private datavault, 'owned' by a fake exec.

      As for WIP projects… things are moving, but not as fast as I would like (life, day job, etc.) but there will be follow ups. Sorry it's taking so long! :D But stoked you like AR!

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  7. I'm personally a really big fan of using non-traditional storage mechanisms to store digital data. Por ejemplo...
    - An engineer has actually opted to get a geometric encoding of a piece of the Aleph tattooed on his back. While to the uninformed eye it just looks like an abstract, geometric tattoo, taking a picture of the tattoo and applying the proper decoding algorithm to it will regenerate the Aleph
    - Fun IRL Fact: one of the inspirations for punch-card programming were punch cards used to hold patterns for textile looms. Perhaps a chunk of the Aleph, as translated into a similar punchcard-based machine language, was used to generate a particularly avant-garde outfit for Paris Fashion Week, and an expert fashion designer could reverse engineer the pattern if they got their hands on the outfit
    - The real-life programming language Whitespace is only rendered in non-printable characters. That is, you can only program Whitespace in spaces, tabs, newlines, literal whitespace. As a result, it is possible to write a completely innocuous program in a traditional programming language, which can ALSO be compiled in Whitespace. With such a programming paradigm, a piece of code you are attempting to keep secret could easily be hidden in plain sight in any piece of consumer software

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    1. Oh, they're all really good for getting the brain churning! I think the Paris Fashion week one is my favourite of the bunch. Fantastic!

      Thank you!

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