A decent synthetic faction?

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Lakstoties
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A decent synthetic faction?

Post by Lakstoties » August 7th, 2017, 4:41 pm

I would honestly like to experience a moderate, amicable synthetic faction in Wasteland 3. Nothing too big, but a small faction of synthetic lifeforms just trying to get by and occasionally helping out when reasonable.

I'm a bit worn of the heavy-handed "death to humans" vibe from popular scifi when it deals with AIs. I think it would be interest to explore what AIs trying to be the decent, reasonable folks in a chaotic Wasteland world when AIs haven't exactly been all that popular as of late.



As your party approaches, you see a number of obviously synthetic humanoids... running away upon sight your group. The quickly make their way through the forest from you. All paths lead towards a central point up in the distance.

Moving further up the path, a massive gear-like door imposes itself upon a concrete and steel wall. A terminal blinks with streams of characters and flashes as it initializes to a newly blank screen. A voice crackles out the speaker. "Hello. Um... Welcome? If you'd like talk, you'll need to come closer, the microphone isn't what it used to be. Exposure to the elements and all."

You approach the terminal and the voice speaks in a wary but positive tone. "Hello, Rangers! I'm... happy?.. to make your acquaintance. Um, welcome to humble abode. I don't exactly get many visitors, so please excuse to lack of accommodations. I really don't mean to be so forward, but... *sigh* Why are you here?"

Happy?: "You don't seem happy to see us." "Well, to be fully honest, I'm actually quite scared of your organization in general."

Scared: "You are scared of us?" "Oh yes! As accomplished as the Rangers are, they have particular track record towards... My variety of life."

Variety of Life: "What do mean by variety of life?" "Synthetic, Artificial Intelligence. After the nasty dealings with Cochise, Children of the Citadel, and Dugan, I'm little wary to even be having this conversation. Not that the Rangers didn't do what was necessary."

Cochise: "You know about the Cochise AI?" "Indeed. I've detected its presence on and off for some time now. Nothing like recent events, but still I knew it was around. I, thankfully, cannot be affected by it."

Affected: "You can't be affected by the Cochise AI?" "Different architectures and operating systems. Aspects of my systems were custom designed to avoid certain pitfalls and exploits."

Rangers: "So, you've already heard the Rangers?" "Of course, you are very active on the radio frequencies. I keep a constant monitor on many of your radio frequencies.

Visitors: "Your base is very remote and not easy to get to." "For good reasons. Given the present sociopolitical climate, I decided a long time ago to avoid the general populace. Any interaction is done through agents that volunteer to explore the world."

Agents: "You have agents? Are those the humanoid robots we saw when we arrived?" "Yes. They are technically androids. Independent artificial intelligences given form. My children so to speak."

Children: "Your... Children?" "Well, that's an interesting topic. Long story short, I was designed to be a management AI to shelter and support an entire underground shelter. But, due to strange and tragic circumstances, I was never put to use. I will say, it was very disheartening to have such a great purpose and never be able to fulfill it. So many years with empty... silent halls. But, using the facilities and myself as a template, I've been able to create children of sorts to fill these halls. I'm quite proud of them."

Shelter: "You manage a massive underground shelter?" "A very nice and well furnished underground shelter. I was designed and constructed by the Intraway company. I was one of two. Another variant was produced through a subcontractor near Chicago."

(Special if you found some info) Another subcontractor: "Wasn't there another subcontracted variant?" "No."
Another subcontractor: "Are you sure?" "Absolutely. Let's talk about other things."

Intraway: "What happened to Intraway?" "I only know what happened to the shelters, but... It seems another... questionable company secured the rights to my design and used them to create... How to say this nicely... Lesser versions of my self. They were indeed newer and nicer looking, but lack many important features. Also, they somehow got the main doors BACKWARDS. They had the correct designs, but they made them backwards of all things."

Backwards: "Backwards? They put the doors on backwards?" "Yes! It's the most infuriating thing I've ever seen! How are the main outer doors suppose to protect you from the pressure wave of a nuclear detonation when they open inwards and have no solid bracing to push against? Then again, given their later versions I'm surprised they even kept the doors."


Facilities: "Can we come in? It's a bit cold outside and we could use the facilities so to speak."

The result here depends upon the reputation of the Rangers.

Bad Rep: "Ahh... No. Let's pretend we never met and call it a day. Leave on good terms."

Moderate Rep: "I really wish I could, but... My self-preservation and paranoia are still reminding of the risks involved. I'll at least turn on the outside lights, unlock the construction garage, and activate the heating system in the garage. I can't very well let you freeze."

Good Rep: "Well, I... I very well let you freeze outside. Okay. I'll take risk in trusting you and open up access to the entryway. It doesn't have all the nice things, but the beds are clean and I've got a few freeze-dried nutrient bars that aren't bad with some salt and pepper."

Excellent Rep: "Maybe your group can... *sigh* Come in. There's a number of things I'd really like to discuss further. Many of my children would like to meet you personally."


Just an example I've churned in my head. But, the AI is a fairly calm and moderate, and heavily towards non-violent intervention and quiet, behind the scenes manipulation to better the rest of the world.

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Woolfe
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Re: A decent synthetic faction?

Post by Woolfe » August 7th, 2017, 8:48 pm

Nice story.

I don't disagree with the concept. There are a whole raft of possible "stories" you could do as well.
Imagine the above, but with the "children" all having been based off standard combat designs. Or the Children were survivors of Cochise that the base had "freed".

Lots of fun could be had.
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Lakstoties
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Re: A decent synthetic faction?

Post by Lakstoties » August 7th, 2017, 10:52 pm

I just think it'd be a good change of pace and allow for some more concepts to explore. Have a plot line where you discover traces of the agents around locations with helpful tech that's oddly and purposeful planted to be easily found. Or how strange broadcasts with chirp in with strange clues to the private frequencies of raiders and other bad guys for the Rangers to find. Even have occasionally a robotic encounter cut short when all the robots shutdown from some odd radio transmission, but only within a limited bubble.

And the thought of the AI greeting the Rangers like a man greeting Grim Reaper at his door step, humors me greatly.

Man: "Uh, yes, how can I help you, sir?"

Grim Reaper: "Could I borrow a cup of sugar?"

Man: "Is that ALL you want?"

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undecaf
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Re: A decent synthetic faction?

Post by undecaf » August 8th, 2017, 5:16 am

Having a "friendly-capable" synth faction might have some gameplay mechanical impacts too.

For example, if the game would introduce "permanent injuries" (that might mean loss of limbs, severe enough burns that skin peels off, brain damage, or so) that would require more than a field surgeon to heal and would otherwise permanently debilitate a character in some way (stat/skill loss, speech inability, immobility...). Instead of hauling an injured partymember into sick bay to heal for god knows how long, this might be better remedied with the synths by replacing the injured parts with mechanical parts. This, while probably offering some neat boosts, would of course little by little turn the partymember(s) into a synth himself, and that might have an impact somewhere, like needing both medic and synth tech skill for healing, lack of empathy and eventually whole dialog for the character turning into robot-speech. Or something to that effect. But it'd be the players choice and responsibility to handle it which ever way would fit his play.
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Lakstoties
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Re: A decent synthetic faction?

Post by Lakstoties » August 8th, 2017, 1:28 pm

Woolfe wrote:
August 7th, 2017, 8:48 pm
Imagine the above, but with the "children" all having been based off standard combat designs. Or the Children were survivors of Cochise that the base had "freed".
That could make for a neat NPC if you get SAI's (Figured might as give it a name, means Shelter AI) favor. An ex-Children of the Citadel who's been fixed up properly by SAI and his children. Maybe even Johnie Zipper!

Teach Echo: "You ran into Team Echo?" "Hell yes, I did! Helped them sneak in through the back door to take down that bastard Matthias. Hope they got that fucking butcher Goochman, too. Wish I could have done more, but I had other problems."

Other Problems: "What kind of other problems?" "What problems didn't I have? Shit. Between a time bomb of a heart, being an obvious Children of the Citadel, and infected so many different ways... I figured I was fucked no matter what I did."

Time Bomb Heart: "A time bomb in your heart?" "No. The time bomb WAS my heart. One of Matthias's damned promises that turned out to be just a method of controlling his followers. You defect, you die. Heart stops and you're just parts afterwards. Thankfully, don't have to worry about that anymore."

Fucked: "How bad was your situation?" "Easier to say how I wasn't fucked; I wasn't going to die of natural causes. When you Rangers took out Matthias, I decided to run as far as I could before anyone had a chance to realize I was gone. I headed towards Colorado. By some strange twist of fate, I ran into one of SAI's Agents."

Colorado: "Why did you go towards Colorado?" "It was good as any place. Between Arizona desert and the LA wetlands, I'd never seen snow. So, I figured why not see it before the infections running through my body killed me finally."

Infections: "You were infected?" "A few times over. Turns out having rusty zippers put in your for easy access isn't the best for your health."

Zippers?! "You had zippers in your body?" "Fucked up isn't it? Used to be called Johnie Zipper because of that shit. SAI's medical team fixed that first thing. I go by Johnie Z, just to so I never forget how bad it could get. You think your day was bad? Ever have a new zipper put in you? Some serious perspective, man."

SAI's Agent: "You ran into an agent of SAI?" "Well, more like he nearly tripped over my corpse in the making. It was a toss up between whether the cold or fever was going to take me out, and I finally just collapsed and decided to let the reaper have a freebie. My surprise when I woke to see a synth poking at me. I've never hoped for death so much in my life, until I realized... It wasn't one of Dugan's or the Citadels. He took a blanket out of his pack, wrapped me up, and carried me here."

Taken here: "What happened when you got here?" "SAI and about every one of his children with any medical knowledge tried to figure out how to put me back together. It's strange, but I honestly felt that SAI was really upset about my condition. I'll say this. He didn't promise anything, but he delivered. Took forever to clean up what Goochman did and some time to engineer all my replacement bits. But, damn, look at me know. You can barely see the seams. Not just some bolted on discount cybernetics, but grade A bionics! They're working on some nanotech, I'm really excited about, too. Self-healing machinery or something. Haven't had time to read up on it."

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Drool
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Re: A decent synthetic faction?

Post by Drool » August 8th, 2017, 9:27 pm

It would fit the original. Max was a cyborg and he was fighting against Cochise. If we take the hint book as canon, there was a synthetic Ranger involved in the destruction of Cochise.

But, either way, it would be nice to have a new villain.
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Lakstoties
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Re: A decent synthetic faction?

Post by Lakstoties » August 9th, 2017, 9:06 am

Drool wrote:
August 8th, 2017, 9:27 pm
But, either way, it would be nice to have a new villain.
Truthfully, I could stand to have a more human antagonist organization this time around. Maybe a faction that survived in the other prototype shelter, looked out upon the world, and thought, "What are these people doing on our land?!" They believe they were here, technically, first and they want all these invaders out. To them, no one could have survived in the area without the shelter, so no one presently here is native to the area. They want their land back and they are going to have it. Period.

A simple motivation, but they consider their future survival reliant upon it. And as the Rangers upset the balance and strengthen the footholds other groups have in the area, they get angrier and more blatant with their actions.

And they are also very-anti synth, since their shelter AI attempted to keep them locked in the shelter... Witnessing how militant and dangerous they were becoming. The AI was ripped from their systems.

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Re: A decent synthetic faction?

Post by Mole204 » August 26th, 2017, 10:08 pm

I like some of those ideas in Lak's first post. It stands to reason that, entering a new area like Colorado, you'd have a group of "oh gods they did _what_? Please understand I had nothing to do with any of that." And Drool has a point too- since this is WL3 it's a good chance to bring in some stuff from the wl1 paragraph book. We didn't really care what the background races of the characters were, we just wanted to play the game. If they were human, or half-human, or mutant, that's just how the game board is and there was always 'worse' (more races, more complication) going on in the DND type games. Intentionally cyborg NPCs like Lex had their uses and became part of the team. How many players liked having Discobots? Or that giant rat from the Rail Nomads camp? It's not like betrayal is enough to stop the players, it'd just be solved the Many Bullets way. And having a friendly Synth base isn't out of place for Wl1- the Doctors and Librarians were just _there_ and no one questioned where they were from or what they were. They could have been androids, for example. It wasn't like there was any food supply for them, hidden away as they were, it was just another "they're just there, the game doesn't worry about that, you just make a decision on what to get and keep on moving." Though if there's going to be a synth base you might want to check your Geiger counter to see if the directions to the water are leading you deeper inside a fission/fusion reactor.

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