Alien Concept

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Adaptive Radiation Adaptive Radiation's picture
Alien Concept

Hello, community. First post. Love the game and love the setting.

I was thinking of creating a new exoplanet that has recently been discovered and is similar in its environment to Echo IV (or could just be Echo IV if I'm lazy). The twist being that some of the explorers have disappeared due to being discovered by primitive alien culture that attacked and ate them. The concept of this species was inspired by this artwork: http://img.gawkerassets.com/img/18dycrwt0l3nhjpg/ku-xlarge.jpg

The aliens use a hunting technique similar to the mimic octopus where they use their malleable bodies and chromatophores to take on a wide variety of forms that are utilized to infiltrate prey groups, pick out a target and paralyze it with a neurotoxin analogous to jellyfish toxin or to hide from predators. While the aliens can pass for human at a distance or in low light conditions, the limits of their impersonation are apparent to anyone paying attention. However, the imitations were enough to lure small exploration teams that were not expecting to see a human into ambushes with other mimics disguised as plants.

Being that this is my first homebrewed creation in Eclipse Phase, I'd like to how appropriate this would be to the setting of the game and to know possible ways that this concept can become expanded into a campaign.

Lorsa Lorsa's picture
The best thing with EP is

The best thing with EP is that almost anything is appropriate. There are a few mentions of aliens and all of them are "weird". So these seem entirely plausible to me! Go wild and make it fun!

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Armoured Armoured's picture
Greetings!

Greetings!

My thoughts on this:

  • Echo IV is special, as its oddly close to Earth biology, but there still might be chemical differences. Can the aliens even eat the humans they kill? If they can't, do they do it anyway?

  • Any transhuman explorer team is going to include a synthmorph or three. They probably aren't edible at all, and might not be humanoid. What do the aliens do to them?

  • Exactly how good at mimicing are they? In Peter Watts' Blindsight an alien race is encountered that might not be sentient- maybe just copying people well enough that they can fake it.(especially good if the aliens have psi powers)

  • Is it a natural organism, or a alien species leftover, a TITAN experiment, or a hypercorp test? Or is it just pretending to be one?

The basic idea is good though. It really depends whether you want to use them as a monster of the week, a horror encounter, or the start of a conspiracy investigation. For instance, maybe the Shaper morph's DNA comes from them. Maybe they are even better than shapers! Maybe their boss has been replaced by one already! Maybe they have been replaced as well...

I don't know how you want to play them, but remember; your players won't either. These could drive them crazy looking for the secrets.

nezumi.hebereke nezumi.hebereke's picture
I'm not OP, but I'm happy to

I'm not OP, but I'm happy to jump in anyways, because I really like myself and everything I write.

Armoured wrote:

Echo IV is special, as its oddly close to Earth biology, but there still might be chemical differences. Can the aliens even eat the humans they kill? If they can't, do they do it anyway?

As you pointed out, even if a creature can't eat something, it may still try. Alligators will happily eat marshmallows (and license plates) but get no nutritional benefit from it.

Alternatively, even if you can't get all of the valuable proteins from it, aliens may benefit from the minerals there. Iron, zinc, water, etc. may be uncommon on this planet, and those are pretty universal.

Also remember we now have psy. So you could be devouring the mental resources.

Quote:
Any transhuman explorer team is going to include a synthmorph or three. They probably aren't edible at all, and might not be humanoid. What do the aliens do to them?

Ravens leave walnuts out on the road for cars to run over and crack the shell. A smart critter may be able to figure out a way to 'crack' a synthmorph (or just bury underground to see if it benefits from a little aging). Either one is equally hilarious to GMs. Bear in mind though that for these poor synthmorphs (as well as biomorphs being slowly digested over a thousand years), the brain will continue to be functional for a nice long while and possibly even able to call out.

Man, now I'm thinking of all of the great things crows do to rocks and nuts and imagining giant rocs doing that to synthmorphs. Did you know that Siberian crows drop rocks from high up to break ice so they can drink from the water?

Quote:
Exactly how good at mimicing are they? In Peter Watts' Blindsight an alien race is encountered that might not be sentient- maybe just copying people well enough that they can fake it.(especially good if the aliens have psi powers)

I love the idea of a conspiracy theory. I did a game (in a paranormal setting) where shapeshifting animals were trying to integrate with human society. THey weren't trying to break anything, just ... live with them. Still, made for a great game.

DivineWrath DivineWrath's picture
I think that transhumans

I think that transhumans aught to get suspicious when they can't contact these "people" by the mesh. Most morphs run around with mesh inserts, so they can communicate by electronic communication. It would likely be easier than trying to run up to a person and saying to say hi.

There also would be mission logs left behind, unless the gatecrashing team were fools. Its typical protocol to help rescue figure out what has happened after a disaster by leaving behind logs. Some (relatively) intelligent species might be able to make off with technological objects (maybe because they look different or they saw intelligent creatures handle them). However, gear like satellites (Satnet-in-a-can), Motes (a collection of really small devices to create a ad-hoc mesh network), certain kinds of flying robots (might be hard for "natives" to reach), big vehicles (hard to move), nanoswarms (hard to notice they are there), etc might be really hard for "natives" to move or eliminate so there aught be some records be left behind.

Armoured Armoured's picture
DivineWrath wrote:I think

DivineWrath wrote:
I think that transhumans aught to get suspicious when they can't contact these "people" by the mesh. Most morphs run around with mesh inserts, so they can communicate by electronic communication. It would likely be easier than trying to run up to a person and saying to say hi.

There also would be mission logs left behind, unless the gatecrashing team were fools. Its typical protocol to help rescue figure out what has happened after a disaster by leaving behind logs. Some (relatively) intelligent species might be able to make off with technological objects (maybe because they look different or they saw intelligent creatures handle them). However, gear like satellites (Satnet-in-a-can), Motes (a collection of really small devices to create a ad-hoc mesh network), certain kinds of flying robots (might be hard for "natives" to reach), big vehicles (hard to move), nanoswarms (hard to notice they are there), etc might be really hard for "natives" to move or eliminate so there aught be some records be left behind.

Mesh signals can be disrupted, and inserts can be damaged. In some situations you want your inserts turned off anyway, as there might be ETI/TITAN signals around that could try to basilisk hack you.

I think the most scary things are things you don't plan for, or even expect. Consider Alien 1 and 2, where the characters do everything right (well, less so in Alien) but the Xenomorphs beat them anyway, by being terrifyingly better than expected in every way. Despite your technology, the unexpected can still kill you.

I'm not saying your ideas will or even should be ignored. Realistically, gatecrashing teams and xenologists are paranoid, careful and thorough. The Fall has focused people's survival instincts quite well. What will really freak players out is if they know that, and something got the previous team anyway...

Adaptive Radiation Adaptive Radiation's picture
OP here.

OP here.

By mimicry, I mean physical shape and behavior of the creature they are imitating and while this technique works well for moving up on non-sapient prey animals, an attentive human will not fall for the disguise. In order to keep the creature more realistic, the disguise comes from changing its color, body shape, and behavior to mimic its prey, similar to the mimic octopus. Here is a video of the artwork that inspired the alien that may better demonstrate what I'm talking about: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-KVzsqvk4Eg The thing is that it probably wouldn't be very good at imitating human facial movement, lacks structures like teeth, and ,since I imagine that they would communicate with their own species through color change, have no method of vocalization. Actually it would be easier for them to mimic a synthmorph since that's two of the three problems that are eliminated. I would imagine that they would attack a group by picking them off one by one, causing the group to act irrationally as they lost more and more members.

Thanks for mentioning psi as I could question why this contact becomes more of a problem. The first human devoured could be an async and cause the alien to come in contact with the dormant Watts-McLeod nano-virus and become infected. The infected creature gains an insight into human brain function and psychology that further grows as it devours more human brains. After a couple more victims since the initial infection, the creature gains enough insight into the human brain that it can even form basilisk hacks with its chromatophores, leading to more panic from the gatecrasher teams as the biomorphs are either picked off and eaten or go insane from the hacks while the egos in synths are pushed to the brink of insanity by the tactics of the infected alien. In terms of understanding, the infected alien doesn't have much more understanding of human psychology or neuroscience beyond it being another way for it to get food. I suppose there is also the possibility that the infected creature becomes so different from the other members of its species that it is later seen as a sort of outcast or monster, but that seems like a difficult route of thought to go down because of how different the species's psychology and primitive society is bound to be.

savanah savanah's picture
Why do I keep thinking in

Why do I keep thinking in "The Thing" maybe the alien could use his asinc abilities to look completely human as he slowly replaces the crew for more of it's species

fafromnice fafromnice's picture
did the factor take the

did the factor take the apperance of a Transhuman in one of the short story of Gatecrashing

could be much more easy to use the factor

"primitive" people have a tendancy to be easy to kil by "intelligent" people

What do you mean a butterfly cause this ? How a butterfly can cause an enviromental system overload on the other side of a 10 000 egos habitat ?