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RnD Tech Tree Part 3: Xenoarchaeology Overhaul


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Overview

This is the third part of my proposed RnD overhaul. Because it’s detached from the original documents it can be accepted or rejected without harming the cohesion of the other suggestions, found here.

Spoiler

 

 

Justification.

The xenoarchaeology/anomalist job has been suffering from staffing issues for years. It is also completely detached from the operation of the station as a whole, and the more important consequence of being inconsequential to its own department. The results are also repetitive, with the jobs not being satisfying in long-term play. That is why I have split them into 2 separate, 1-slot jobs.

New Xenoarchaeologist Job Basics

These scientists’ and sociologists spawn with artifacts already present in their lab. These artifacts were discovered by field teams from “the previous shift.” Using their specialized skills and cooperating with other departments they must find out as much information as they can to uncover if the artifact is mundane or extraordinary. Artifacts, even mundane ones, can carry great importance to other cultures. How far will you go for science?

Xenoarchaeologist Mechanics

Artifacts have five aspects. The xenoarchaeologist interacts with the artifact and chooses one of the following, filling in the answer from a drop-down list. Before completion artifacts are given randomly chosen descriptors. (A weird bowl ; a grooved staff ; a bold blade; etc)

  • Its origin species.
    • A list of playable species.
  • Its age
    • 200,000y, 10,000,y, 5,000y, 3,000y, 2,000y, 1,000y, 500y.
  • Its purpose.
    • War, recreation, ceremony, politics, religion.
  • Its nature as mundane or extraordinary.
  • The optional True Name.
    • Provides additional benefits to its value.

Aspects are discovered when five Evidence Fragments have been discovered. These are found in the following ways.

  • Special “Old Books” in the library spawn on the shelves. They do not have text like traditional books, but when ‘read’ describes an artifact used for [purpose]. The rest of the book is illegible due to damage.
    • If a Librarian is present, the Librarian can interact with the book to “restore” it, revealing the additional [era of creation] immediately.
  • Up to five crew of the relevant [species] are randomly given knowledge of the artifact when they spawn, available in their notes tab. 
    • “You have heard rumors that [descriptor] made by your people was recently brought to the Aurora. It’s of great cultural value to your people. It's possibly [age] old.”
    • If no crew of the type are available, and none spawn after 10 minutes, two Old Book Fragments spawns in maintenance with only the [age] and cannot be repaired.
  • Its [nature] is determined by a chaplain or by an anomalist.
    • A chaplain can examine the object and ‘inspect’ it for 20 seconds. After this is complete the chaplain learns its [true name] and [nature].
    • The artifact can be placed on a stable rift. After 15 seconds its [age] will be revealed by its interaction with non-causality.

Mundane artifacts can be:

  • Shipped to NT to be sold to the highest bidder.
    • Unnamed: 100 ~ 400 credits
    • True Named: 500 ~ 1000
  • Shipped to a factional embassy chosen from a list. 
    • This provides no mechanical benefits. It is for roleplaying colonialism or anti-colonialism. 

Extraordinary artifacts can be:

  • Shipped to NT to sell to the highest bidder.
    • Unnamed: 1000 ~ 2000
    • True Named 3000 ~ 4000
  • Used to accelerate research by being put in the destructive analyzer. 
  • Within the overhauled RnD, this would add 2 points to the Xenoarch topic. This stacks.
  • Used to stabilize rifts.
  • Weaponized.
Edited by Marlon P.
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Another good suggestion thread for research, and even more delightful disruption to an otherwise dull field.

5 hours ago, Marlon P. said:

Up to five crew of the relevant [species] are randomly given knowledge of the artifact when they spawn, available in their notes tab.

This is very interesting to me. It rewards a diversity and collaboration across species, and gives both antags and non-antags a lead to interact with the xenoarcheologist in a whole new way. More than anything, I think the detachment from the rest of the station is the greatest enemy of the xenoarcheologist as it is.

Overall I am already dreaming of the delicious roleplay that this can create, even if it seems a complicated affair to program. It does seem strange to me that

5 hours ago, Marlon P. said:

A list of playable species.

needs to be playable, isn't it conceivable that many of the artifacts we find stem from non-playable species?

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If this gets a pass I may just make a Science Main.

9 hours ago, Marlon P. said:

Aspects are discovered when five Evidence Fragments have been discovered. These are found in the following ways.

  • Special “Old Books” in the library spawn on the shelves. They do not have text like traditional books, but when ‘read’ describes an artifact used for [purpose]. The rest of the book is illegible due to damage.
    • If a Librarian is present, the Librarian can interact with the book to “restore” it, revealing the additional [era of creation] immediately.
  • Up to five crew of the relevant [species] are randomly given knowledge of the artifact when they spawn, available in their notes tab. 
    • “You have heard rumors that [descriptor] made by your people was recently brought to the Aurora. It’s of great cultural value to your people. It's possibly [age] old.”
    • If no crew of the type are available, and none spawn after 10 minutes, two Old Book Fragments spawns in maintenance with only the [age] and cannot be repaired.
  • Its [nature] is determined by a chaplain or by an anomalist.
    • A chaplain can examine the object and ‘inspect’ it for 20 seconds. After this is complete the chaplain learns its [true name] and [nature].
    • The artifact can be placed on a stable rift. After 15 seconds its [age] will be revealed by its interaction with non-causality.

 

This, is what sold me. This is a bleeding-edge idea that allows Science to collaborate with two of the most niche jobs of the server that are often ignored.
I absolutely adore this. And with the NBT coming up, a chunk of Science being overhauled is going to be massive improvement.
A thousand of +1.

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As someone who used to just sit in the Anomalist lab with nothing but whispering random items and old bowls of never ending cyanide for some reason

 

I'd very much find this appreciated, the better ideas have already been outlined above so I'm not adding anything else except how much I'd appreciate something like this. All your ideas have been pretty stellar so far and would probably fit into the NBT really well!

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8 hours ago, Myphicbowser said:

As someone who used to just sit in the Anomalist lab with nothing but whispering random items and old bowls of never ending cyanide for some reason

While that's extraordinarily funny, the novelty drains pretty fast. 

15 hours ago, NerdyVampire said:

needs to be playable, isn't it conceivable that many of the artifacts we find stem from non-playable species?

It's possible. What are your thoughts on how a non-playable race's evidence fragments could be gathered in the case that the race is established as being the ones needed to identify it? Do we call them, or is it a mcguffin? If it's a mcguffin, how can we ensure Xenoarch cannot also use the mcguffin on playable races' artifacts and automating out some of the collaboration?

These are the questions I asked myself, and I personally couldn't find an answer to them so I compromised on having artifacts come exclusively from alien races.

However, thinking about it literally as I'm writing this sentence, I suppose existing artifacts don't have to be deleted and can keep being dredged up?

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On 24/11/2021 at 01:55, Marlon P. said:

These are the questions I asked myself, and I personally couldn't find an answer to them so I compromised on having artifacts come exclusively from alien races.

I don't have an answer, but it just seems strange that we'll likely be going into unknown space in NBT and we don't find something from other civilizations? Maybe it could simply have a unified category called 'unknown'.

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