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A cosmic Intruder of alien will has descended upon our plane of reality...and is running into an eldritch corner in fear and attempting to submerge into reality itself to escape. Unfortunately, this intrusion inadvertently entails hostile mind control of Critters, acute brain damage, hearing voices, and insanity to humans, and other Lovecraftian, The Color Out of Space-esque shenanigans.
What Was Planned
Copied and pasted from a forum thread created by Cirrial, who brainstormed this antagonist and coded some parts of it.
Well I've been working on this slowly by myself in secret ("secret"), but after discussion in IRC I feel I should probably bring this idea to the fine people of the Ideas & Suggestions subforum.
TL;DR - RTS-style antagonist where you build structures, control critters like RTS units, start out weak and need to hide and eventually become some sort of horrific storm upon the station of vengeful animals and unnatural effects.
The stars are right, or the planes have aligned, or someone poked into dimensions of reality they shouldn't have (yet again, you'd think people would learn but they never doooo)
Something has been awoken, or at least made aware of a strange new reality it never noticed before, and for no adequately explained reason it has surfaced near to a certain Nanotrasen research facility. Weird telescience artifacts? Plasma concentrations? Ancient Martian burial orbit?
However, unlike your typical eldritch presence from beyond the stars, this presence finds this alien reality incredibly difficult to adjust to. It is filled with strange alien thoughts and confusing concepts, both overstimulating and tantalising, and decides that what it wants to do the most, what it really, really wants, is to submerge itself deeper into this universe.
The only issue with this is it is existentially hostile to humanity, and upon fully entering our space will likely end up causing some horrible incomprehensible psychic apocalypse like an ocean claiming a sinking ship. What a tragedy!
The Actual Game Idea That Matters
The Critter Overmind (note: please, please recommend a better name than this, christ) is, much like the blob overmind, an intangible phantom presence that roams the station and its space. Unlike the blob overmind, though, its actual "corporeal" presence lies in/might actually be another dimension. The Overmind is itself a mere component of its greater consciousness, and its destruction is nothing but a minor setback.
Human minds are beyond its comprehension to control, but the wills of lesser organic creatures can be bent to its whim. After spending some time, depending on the will of the targeted critter, the critter will obey the Overmind's instructions.
The Overmind, however, cannot understand the workings of mechanical minds, nor those of other strange extradimensional things like spooky ghosts and the like. These are forever beyond its reach.
The Overmind's goal is to establish and manifest its presence and to avoid being evicted from this reality. It does this by controlling critters and situational approaches.
The Overmind will have three modes of operation - Silence, Hum and Clamour. It begins in Silence.
The three modes have vast sweeping effects on all aspects of the Overmind's powers, structures, and critters in its thrall.
- Silence - Critters are more slow to respond to orders, structures function more slowly or less powerfully but are far more hidden (transparent, perhaps even completely invisible without special eyegear), and the Overmind is fairly invisible and undetectable. Overmind speech causes strange barely audible whispering to be heard by humans.
- Hum - Critters are responsive and mildly boosted. Structures function at normal rate, but will make the odd quiet sound or effect happen in their vague vicinity. Lingering, eavesdropping Overminds will cause strange experiences to any living brains nearby, including cyborgs. Overmind speech can be heard by humans, but terribly garbled and almost impossible to understand.
- Clamour - Critters are incredibly fucking obviously possessed. With higher Presence, they become visibly unnatural and glowy and crackly, etc. Structures function at ridiculous doubled rates but are annoying beacons and klaxons that scream their position to all and sundry. The Overmind's presence causes unnatural phenomena that it has no capacity to change as a direct consequence of its alien existence. Overmind speech is a roaring scream into the minds of all crew, impossible to ignore regardless of distance, but still garbled.
Critters and Controls
The Overmind has one ability, and this is to begin asserting its will over a creature. When the critter is under the Overmind's control, it can be sent to different locations and to attack humans and other critters if required.
SHIFT + right-click will bring up some form of popup menu (design and UI TBD) to allow for setting the critter to guard mode (stay on alert near a point) or patrol mode (stay on alert near a path).
[This is not super well defined -- need to come back to this later, probably]
Presence and Structures
The Overmind's primary resource is Presence, representative of how "deep" it has come to fully entering this reality. Unlike wraiths or blobs, this resource does not accumulate by itself.
The Overmind begins with 0 Presence, and can get [TBD] Presence by placing its first and most important structure, the Manifesting Spire. This structure represents the primary anchor binding this extradimensional presence to this plane of existence, and, if destroyed, will prevent the Overmind from finding this reality ever again (or, well, for a good few dozen human generations, anyway).
As the Overmind grows in Presence, weaker modes of operation such as Silence or Hum become unavailable. Terrible violence is surely inevitable.
Here are the structures that the Overmind can expend Presence to manifest:
[note: have not decided on numeric values for any of this yet]
- Manifesting Spire - [-TBD Presence] - The only available structure to begin with. The weak point of the Overmind. A bit like the blob nucleus, except without the ability to have several. Defend it well.
- Silence - At low Presence, invisible. At higher Presence, transparent.
- Hum - Visible, with the odd strange message to people nearby. Regenerates health slowly.
- Clamour - Sparks/glows/noisemakes. Higher Presence makes the effect larger in radius. Creates unnatural phenomena around
- Crystalline Conduit - [TBD Presence] - All structures must be linked to the Spire orthogonally due to extradimensional geometry something or other. As this puts some incredible restrictions on what can be built, the Conduit can extend the range of what can be built. As long as a structure is connected to the Spire by a series of orthogonally-aligned Conduits, it will function, else it will stand idle. As an added bonus, any critters near the Conduit will be converted more quickly.
- Silence - Completely invisible. Not invulnerable, however, as explosions will still damage them.
- Hum - Transparent.
- Clamour - Visible, some sparking effects around them in the directions of anything that the Conduit connects to.
- Presence Collector - [TBD Presence] - This is the means of gathering Presence. In the presence of living minds, this manifestation collects and processes the experiences and perspectives of creatures native to this reality. Controlled critters do not contribute to this, as their experiences and perceptions are being warped by an alien presence.
- Silence - Low collection (+??? Presence per living thing per tick), invisible.
- Hum - Transparent, middling collection (+??? Presence per living thing per tick), strange messages towards people, some minor stamina decreases for humans very close to the Collector.
- Clamour - Bright and glowy, works at incredibly higher efficiency, causes stuns and stamina loss to anything trying to destroy it directly. (+??? Presence per living thing per tick)
- Whisper Formation - [TBD Presence] - Slowly converts critters nearby automatically without need to directly do so.
- Silence - Very rare hint messages to non-critters, and rare messages about strange behaviour and discomfort of nearby critters, and an incredibly slow conversion rate.
- Hum - As with Silence, but tells are more frequent and conversion rate is faster.
- Clamour - Sounds and effects and critters that are affected are clearly marked.
- Memetic Block - [TBD Presence] - Hides other structures nearby.
- Silence - Visible, small radius of effect.
- Hum - Visible, larger radius of effect.
- Clamour - Other structures are transparent instead of invisible, and the Block sparks and crackles and makes weird sounds.
- Patient Siren - [TBD Presence] - Anything human that passes by the Siren alerts all critters in patrol range to the intrusion and sends them to the area to defend it.
- Silence - Invisible (silent alarm activated!)
- Hum - Invisible until activated, long time until it deactivates and becomes invisible again.
- Clamour - Visible, and goes off like a damn car alarm when triggered.
This is still TBD, but the general idea is fancy damage effects in a field, such as eldritch lightning arcing around the place, weird colour shifts that deal mild brain damage, weird fluids seeping in from the cracks in reality, or even critters that shouldn't be around finding themselves teleported onto the station, confused and enraged. Basically, this is a giant TODO. Suggestions incredibly welcome.
I'm aware there's probably a lot of things I've overlooked, and any suggestions to make this fit into Goonstation better are strongly, strongly requested.
Thoughts? Comments? Questions? "ur idea is dum"? Please post away!
What We Got
This spooky-looking fella.
The spooky-looking fella's spire.
What Final Horror
After a few test rounds, Cirrial found the critter AI code too simple for the things they planned. He abandoned the project and slowwwly continued their work on Martian Mode. Some of these AI grievances would later influence the design of Flockmind's Flockdrone AI.
Finding its inhabitants too simple-minded to merge with, the Intruder eventually left our plane and found another reality to merge with. It even found another Significant Other Entity for itself! Don't bother looking for it in the 2016 public release, for it came in 2017.