I've been brainstorming recently to create the MacGuffin for a campaign I'll be running soon. The text below will be put in spoiler tags for the benefit of any of my future players who might be trawling the forums for information. Just in case, the campaign is titled, "Surrender Yourself to Madness" (SYTM). If you're one of my future players (You know who you are), you've been spoiler-warned. For everybody else, feel free to pitch in or partake in the ideas, musings, and general ramblings from this post.
Spoiler: Highlight to view
TITAN Artifact Thought Bomb A device with the sole purpose of converting meatspace into energy and/or data to compute for the answer to a specific question. Why A Thought Bomb? Create a computational space as quickly as possible using "redundant" mass (as defined by an incomprehensible post-singularity intelligence). Descriptors: 1.) It would at least look spherical when observed within three dimensional space. 2.) It would be composed of the following components: a.) a processor b.) initial memory c.) initial state instructions to begin sequence and computation (i.e. the question). d.) Payload; essentially the seed material which will end up converting meatspace into energy / data Inspiration: 1.) Accelerando: When Stross describes how humanity has converted much of the solar system's mass into infospace. 2.) Know Evil: Specifically, when the team discover a gestalt mind simulation during the Somatek Arc. Questions: 1.) In what way would such a device violate fundamental laws of reality as we know them currently? How would its existence circumvent those violations? How would it adhere to said fundamental laws of reality? (Laws of Conservation keep getting brought up when people talk about TITAN Tech and I assume most of the issues will stem from that side of the discussion. It would be nice to hear from stringent GMs how they would go about implementing such a device without simply relying on suspension of disbelief. Limitations breed Creativity and all that jazz) 2.) Is such a device significant enough to be the "final-leg" MacGuffin or are there other ways anyone can think of to "pump up the volume"? Application Thoughts: 1.) Information about the device can be discovered by the players in bits and pieces throughout the campaign (e.g. Discovery of prototype copies of the device being tested by Hypercorp / Ozma black budget research groups, discovery of experimental time-trials for a rapid nanofabricator, etc.) 2.) The device could be a TITAN prototype for a more efficient method of uploading transhuman consciousness. Rather than relying on headhunter bots, the TITANs may be thinking of new ways to efficiently harness transhuman minds. 3.) The purpose of harnessing transhuman minds can be left to anyone who wishes to run the device as part of their game. For the purposes of SYTM, I'm laying it down that the TITANs themselves encountered a singularity speed bump and such a device could re-invigorate their growth. 4.) The question is purposefully left blank as it can be assumed to have been thought up by a higher intelligence. I think it adds a nice bit of horror flavor when the device makes sense externally for a purpose that can never be fully understood by the main characters.