nelc: Toy Story alien photographer (camera)
Ideas from the thread, 1001 Things to find inside of a secret government warehouse:

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nelc: Toy Story alien photographer (camera)
An idea of mine from the thread, 101 Locations in trade hub space station:


In the unpressurised zone of the container storage area, where spare cargo containers are stacked and often forgotten about, there are many, many containers. One, almost completely indistinguishable from any other except for its serial number, #14228, and the worn colours of a defunct shipping company, hides an unofficial establishment. It's not exactly a secret, since all the artificial intelligences on the station and not a few organic and plasma-based vacuum dwellers know about it. It's not exactly a bar, since AIs are seldom affected by chemical intoxicants, and who knows what plasmoids do for fun, anyway? But whenever an AI needs to meet discreetly with another AI in a setting that isn't work, and isn't infested with ambulatory collections of pink goo, or filled with corrosive oxygen, and which isn't likely to be as surveilled as the station's virtual spaces and comm nets, #14228 is the place where they often go.

Organics aren't exactly barred, but it would be a lie to say that they are welcome, even if they know about the place, let alone where to find it. Besides, it's an uncomfortable place for them, even in their pressure suits. The light level is at starlight intensity, requiring the use of image intensifiers to navigate around (thermal infra-red is of limited use, and millimetre radar is absorbed by the coating on the walls and furniture). It's in a vacuum, of course, and there is no artificial gravity. Inside, #14228 is in fact several containers welded together with the interior walls heavily modified or removed entirely, although the exact size and shape is obscure. The interior is maze-like, with partitions, rooms, booths and the occasional large empty volume scattered seemingly at random in three dimensions. Although you seldom see them do it, the staff re-organise the partitions from time to time so that it seldom has the same exact layout as the last time you visited.

The customers can be observed, usually motionless, attached by Velcro, or magnets, or just holding on with a manipulator to a wall or structural beam; sometimes in small groups, linked together by private fibre optic cable; or in couples with their optical ports lined up, a little laser light leaking from the gap, or holding manipulators as their digits beat a rapid, complicated tap code to each other; sometimes in larger groups, the ether so filled with RF signals that a sapient can't pick up an uncorrupted data packet from a metre away; or sometimes solitary, not connected to anything, sensing nothing, seemingly oblivious to the external universe. The staff move quickly and surely through the dark maze, providing whatever services the clientele require.

No-one knows who owns the place: some say it's the Silicon Mafia (as though they still used silicon); others that it's a robot collective (careful who you're calling a robot, pink goo); still others that it's run by the station AI for its own amusement. Station security know about it, and watch the container's hatch closely (when the storage bay's cameras are working), making note of who goes in and out. They may have an informant or two on the staff; the informants may even be reliable, or maybe not. But the club is heavily RF shielded, is isolated from the station's own network, and is regularly swept for recording dust. Probably no-one knows completely what goes on in there.
nelc: Toy Story alien photographer (camera)
Ideas for the thread, 101 threats to a fantasy town:

  • Badgers are digging up the local graveyard. ...At least, people are saying it's badgers.

  • In the city, the followers of Cult A and Cult B are bitter enemies, always at each other's throats. Out here in the sticks, the priest of Cult A and the priestess of Cult B have pretty much agreed to get along to get along, always helping each other out with this and that, supporting each other at council meetings, and so on. However, the Bishop of Cult A and the High Priestess of Cult B are both due to visit next week, and are expecting to see evidence of enthusiastic followers smiting enemies and heretics politically, blood-curdling polemics issued from the altars, everything short of fighting in the streets — in fact, strike that last, although Cult A/B is a cult of peace, there is nothing in the holy doctrines saying you can't defend yourself against unwarranted aggression, such as a member of Cult B/A daring to breathe the same air as you. Any perceived lack of zeal may result in the aged and respected priest or priestess getting replaced with some young firebrand from the city, who's only going to stir up trouble. Your job as sheriff is to help the local cultists demonstrate proper enthusiasm, stop any stirrers getting carried away, and keep up the pretence to the relevant superior of either god-botherer being the primary mover and shaker in local politics while the other is within an inch of being stamped out.

  • The local hero is returning home after many years adventuring, to hang up his sword and retire. Unfortunately, he never succeeded in conquering all of his enemies, or his enemies' relatives, and they are seeking revenge. All of them, at once. Expect to see a plethora of mysterious strangers, vast wingèd beasties glimpsed far off above the clouds, and bands of orcs and goblins brooding ominously on nearby skylines.

  • Time for the annual midsummer Fishtown vs Cowtown ballgame! Object of the game is to get the inflated pig's bladder from the town square to the harbour or the cattle market. Players may kick, punch, head, or carry the ball. Players may kick, punch or head other players, but carrying is frowned upon. Play starts at midday, with a break for a round of drinks whenever a goal is scored, and continues until nightfall or everyone is too drunk or injured to continue. As sheriff it's your job to keep property damage and spectator injuries to a minimum. And serve as referee, here's your whistle. Good luck!

  • Originally Posted by Arilou
      Someone has pulled the Sword of Destiny from the Stone of Ages. Unfortunately, no one knows who. Double-unfortunately, it was what was keeping the monsters away from the town.

    "Again? Bloody tourists! *Sigh* I'll get the spare sword... I don't know why we keep that bloody stone. We'd be better off with it in the lake...."

nelc: Toy Story alien photographer (camera)
Ideas for the thread, Ways the Villain isn't actually dead. These posts are all old, btw, I'm not having an unusually creative day.

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nelc: Toy Story alien photographer (camera)
My contributions to the thread, Things to have been dug up:

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nelc: Toy Story alien photographer (camera)
My contributions to the thread, Give me your alternative realities!

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nelc: Toy Story alien photographer (camera)
My contributions to the RPGnet thread, 101 unusual things in the sky (slightly edited):
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nelc: (Brain)
 photo Stainles Steel Rat Saves the World CU_zpsriggr7zt.jpg

From the thread [Physics question, sort of] Heat shields if you drop straight down from orbit, a reply from poster Tirunedeth:

Well, I made a lot of simplifying assumptions, and threw together a quick numerical integrator (fourth-order Runge-Kutta, if anyone's curious) to investigate this problem. To summarize these assumptions,
One dimension, so no effects due to the rotation of the Earth
Gravity is a constant (9.81 m/s straight downward)
Atmospheric density is a simple exponential function of altitude, with a scale height of 7.64 km (i.e. the density decreases by 1/e for every 7.64 km upwards you travel)
The drag coefficient is constant
The object in question is about 50 kg, has a drag coefficient of 1, an area of 0.5 m2 (rough guesstimates for a human), and starts at an altitude of 300 km

Under these assumptions, things seem to be pretty nice for about the first three-and-a-half minutes or so of your descent (aside from being in vacuum). From 210 seconds in, things start getting unpleasant. You're just above 80 km from the surface, and drag is contributing 0.05 gees to your net acceleration. Ten seconds later, this has increased to 0.75 gees, and you very shortly start to decelerate. Rapidly. At 234 seconds, you are experiencing 12.3 gees, which is probably enough acceleration to be lethal on its own, regardless of any heating that occurs. In the past 24 seconds, you've traveled nearly fifty kilometers, and lost about 600 m/s of your peak speed of 2.1 km/s. Things get progressively better from here, assuming you've survived. You're back down to 1 gee at 257 seconds, and you don't have to worry about hitting the ground (at around 41 m/s, or 90 mph) until 532 seconds.

I suspect that things won't generally be incinerated by this process. While the total energy dissipated during the above process is on the order of 700 kcal/kg, only a small portion of that will go into the falling object, and most of that will probably go towards burning off the top layers. I think the previously-linked xkcd describes this stuff a bit more, since that was the primary point of that what-if.
nelc: (Default)
In a thread titled Why are githyanki cool?:
So a good rule of thumb for assessing monster longevity is, "Did Charlie Stross invent it?"
nelc: (Brain)
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nelc: (Brain)
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Why invade?

Aug. 7th, 2015 07:26 pm
nelc: Toy Story alien photographer (camera)

Ideas I had for the Why might aliens invade a planet thread at, gathered in one place:

  • Tourism. They've heard about our freaky eclipses and have come to experience them themselves. Naturally, they can't be expected to rough it on a primitive world, so there will have to be some... development.

  • Political asylum. The 450 Angstrom faction are being actively suppressed by the 675 Angstrom faction, their rights ignored, their nurdflungs always deprillilated, forced to live in poverty and squalor, simply for their politico-religious beliefs. Since intercepting an old TV broadcast from 1936, they've realised that our otherwise primitive planet has people who share their sophisticated political viewpoint, and have come to seek asylum.

  • To sell us useless crap. Worse, dangerous useless crap. Hyperspace transports with inadequate hyperspace shielding; black hole powerplants not actually certified to be run on a planet's surface; industrial robots that can only be controlled via a buggy, alien operating system; synthetic pets that eat vermin and dust... and other pets, and children, and adults if they're allowed to grow too big, just like the owner's manual says in big infra-red letters on the first page, oh, you don't read Galactic-12? Genetic enhancements that have been pirated from the galaxy's biggest genetic engineering conglomerate, who have the galaxy's hungriest lawyers; universal translators that have an unfortunate tendency to translate what a person is thinking rather than saying; handguns powerful enough to stop a tank; grey goo; philosophies; pyramid schemes.

  • Refugees. Their planet has been invaded and defeated, so they've fled the invaders and washed up here.

  • Prophesy. The Galactic Messiah/Anti-Pope/CEO ("Is this translator podule working properly?") is coming, as They have been prophesied to for the last hundred thousand years, and Earth is currently the best fit for the vaguely-worded, badly translated, and frankly contradictory prophesies that have been circulating around the galaxy all that time. When They come, They will bring peace/plasma/an invoice to the Galaxy, and all shall praise/curse/pay Them.

    Of course, there are different factions that each regard all the others as heretics/heretics/differently-paradigmed, so we end up getting multiply invaded and re-invaded, until they realise that the Chosen One was probably Douglas Adams and they missed him, so now they have to find where he'll reincarnate next.

  • Eviction. This part of the spiral arm is owned by the Persean Co-Optive Planoforming Group, and this planet is due for redevelopment in the next millennium. H. sapiens is therefore illegally occupying said property and is hereby given notice to quit within the next century. Failure to comply will result in forcible removal, fines, and possible imprisonment. Additional penalties may be levied if the squatters have damaged the property either during the occupation or their removal.

  • Dolphins. Really, the invaders don't care about us, it's those cetacean hooligans they've had enough of.

Other people's ideas at the link.
nelc: "If you haven't grown up by age 50, you don't have to" (Grown-up)
In an ongoing Q&A about UK Police (registration required), a post about de-escalation training:
A2A: For the final assessments the instructors rolled a d6 out of sight of the students to determine the level of resistance the roleplayers displayed, so you might have got a 1 (complete compliance), all the way through to a 6 (they try and kill you).

Casaubon: I'm now imagining them getting carried away and rolling on the City Wandering Monsters table - "Right lads, you meet *rolls* 3 drunks, an expensive doxy, and (oh, unlucky) a lich."

I'm nerdy enough to have got out my DM's Guide for that, and am now wondering in what kind of city you might have a 1 in 400 chance of meeting a lich every time you go for a night out.

P.S. Also of note (but not at all funny), from A2A's post:
There was a constant theme of de-escalation and using your mouth to talk people into compliance, and understanding concepts like Betari's Box* (my attitude affects my behaviour which affects your attitude which affects your behaviour). There wasn't really any divide between using offensive/defensive techniques and de-escalation, we were expected to try and start off by calming things down and stay talking throughout. They also stressed that it's a lot better to start off at a low level and work up rather than come in high and then have to calm things down.
nelc: (Default)
Intrigued by a ban notice on, with its talk of sensitive subjects, of course I wanted to know more. Since aren't presently talking about it, I'm putting a few links here for others who may be interested.

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