Take this Concept to the Next Stage

edited March 2009 in Story Games
I have an idea that might make for a neat one-shot, setting, what have you. I'd like to see what people would do with it, or what would need to be added to it to take it to the Next Stage.

Caveat: This analogy requires a little bit of tech knowledge.

Imagine you've just bought a WiFi card and are installing it in your computer. Everything is loaded correctly, and you're detecting a network. Except, you don't own a router, and are in a place where there shouldn't already be a network.

Or, more precisely, say you installed your WiFi card in the 1960s. And, ignoring the other problems with a computer not being compatible back then, you find a network waiting for you.


Imagine if scientists make a breakthrough in using a new, heretofore unknown and unused force of nature to act as a medium for a Matrix or cyberpunk style 'net where everything is connected no matter the distance. For this example, call it the Higgs Network.

So, they develop a way of making our computers be able to use this new format - and there are already other entities on the network.

And they're not local.

[End of Concept]

These could be aliens, they could be spirits, they could be Earth's intelligence.

This could be a way of monitoring a species' development/maturity, heaven, or a mind of a sleeping god.

So, take this concept to the next stage ...


  • Whoever hosts the network hates to share bandwidth and locates the source and terminates it. Very CoCy!
  • edited March 2009
    Maybe you were already implying this, but I think the rules shouldn't define who these entities are, or even how they behave. Neither should there be any attempt to defined this stuff before starting the game. I think it should all emerge during/from play itself, and preferably all the players should have a hand in it. I think that would increase the sense of mystery and discovery.
  • edited March 2009
    Yes, I like Tim's idea.

    The medium for the network sounds like Ether, which was a 19th-century hypothetical medium that light supposedly travelled in.

    So what I'd do is shift the whole thing back to Victorian times, with 19th Century scientists tapping into the Ether and finding strange entities. It's very H G Wells, slightly cyberpunk, with a touch of horror.

  • I'm totally digging this. I can see the press release interview now:

    "Well, the good news is we've perfected a totally immersive wireless virtual realty world. The bad news? Um, something, or more accurately some things are already in there. They were there before we even turned the server on."

    "Are these things dangerous?"

    "Dangerous? Well, no I wouldn't call them that. They do seem eager to meet us thought. Very eager."
  • There's some of this in Charlie Stross' work, with his galaxy-spanning packet networks humans bumble into more or less by accident, encountering the intergalactic equivalent of predatory 419 scammers as first contact.
  • Very cool. Dig into Internet carrier politics for ideas: network neutrality, spammers, virus protection, addressing schemes, bandwidth and lag problems, domain name squatters, top level domain creation...
  • Posted By: Jason MorningstarThere's some of this in Charlie Stross' work, with his galaxy-spanning packet networks humans bumble into more or less by accident, encountering the intergalactic equivalent of predatory 419 scammers as first contact.

    "I can give you the cure for cancer, but it is locked in a vault in a different star system with the rest of my fortune. I don't have the fuel to run my jump drives. If you could loan us a hundred tons of uranium, we could go to the star system, unlock the vault, give you the cancer cure, and pay you back for the uranium..."
  • Now that the thoughts are flowing, one of the ideas I had was similar to the ...

    X-Files Spoiler
    Aliens' methodology in X-Files where you'd convert another race instead of physically moving to another planet. Thus, just wait for a species advanced enough to reach the Higgs Network and boom! Infect them, convert them, have a great day!
  • This is very similar to a J. Gregory Keyes' series of books called The Age of Unreason:

    Set in the 18th century, scientists use Ether to communicate and to do all sorts crazy stuff all because Issac Newton discovered this thing called Philosophers Mercury. Communication is limited to two end points (using two shards of a broken crystal which resonate through the ether), but Ben Franklin discovers a way to "scan" the ether for transmissions using something analogous to a transistor radio. But he also ends up contacting things living in the ether...

    Amazon US page

    It's an entertaining series, in a pulpy sort of way.
  • I've read the series, but hadn't made the connection. Thanks, Aaron!
  • The things in the Higgs network begins to experiment on us to see if we are intelligent.
  • Experimenting on us? Like Solaris does?
  • There are multiple groups on the other end of the connection - some friendly, some not. All groups offer new technologies, but at a price. "Sure, we can give you the cure for cancer. In fact, we can cure *everyone's* cancer...but it involves culturing a dna sequence we send you and releasing it into the ocean. We assure you, it's perfectly safe." Or the network itself could be swarming with nasty sentient computer viruses. Stuff like that.
  • Scientists were more alarmed to discover that the other entities were actually humanity at different points in the past or in other dimensions.
  • Ya know, it sounds to me like this concept could be the basis of the world in GHOST/ECHO.
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