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Old 08-07-2017, 09:35 AM   #1
DataPacRat
 
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Default Brainstorming: The anti-ROBbery squad

R.O.B. is short for "Random Omnipotent Bastard".

Seeking outside perspectives, such as ideas about further implications.

A few descriptive quotes:

"I don't like the term. Sure, they can usually apply any superpower you care to name, transform whole populations, edit societies, and rewrite history, but they're generally not /omni/potent."

"We're dealing with an infinite multiverse, with the sort of infinity where anything you can imagine, if you look hard and long enough, you can eventually find it. The trouble is, I can imagine somebody with both the power and motivation to permanently wipe out all alternity of sapience. On the plus side, I can also imagine that there's some way to stop such beings from doing that; the trick is going to be finding the latter before the former get the opportunity to kill us all."

"Some of the simpler sorts of missions for trainees like us will be dealing with what are now called Worms. Some ROB will pick a random person in a random universe, give them a super-power or reality-editing widget, tweak their minds to make sure they'll use it, and generally to use it in a specific theme, then sit back and watch the 'fun'. Fortunately, while such Worms may have abilities that seem pretty omnipotent, the mental nudges generally mean they focus on whatever they're doing instead of taking basic precautions. A lot of would-be Emperors of the World-Harem can be taken out with a single bullet. Mostly, the sponsoring ROBs don't object or interfere - watching mere mortals try to scramble and clean up after a half-finished worldwide rewrite seems to satisfy their urges about as well as watching it go off without a hitch."

"There are some problems which can best be solved by sending Superman in his full, ridiculously over-powered Silver Age self in. And for those problems, we send him. But only a certain percentage of universes support the particular quirk of exotic physics which Kryptonian cells take advantage of to metabolize yellow-sun radiation. In universes which support, say, probability-manipulating magic instead, he's not only no better than any other unpowered humanoid, most of his hard-won instincts no longer apply. Similarly, uber-powerful psis sent to universes with a planet Krypton but without telepathy are easily squished. Where we come in is that with very few exceptions - stick around long enough and you'll find out that all rules have exceptions - almost every universe in which humans can exist at all, we're still the same. We only depend on baseline physics, which gives us the chance to become more versatile than the big guns. That may change - you might get caught in a rewrite and turned into some kind of over-endowed catgirl that needs narrative-based physics just to be able to stand up, or you may find you've got a talent for one field or another of exotic physics, power yourself up, and get reassigned - so enjoy your humanity while it lasts."

"Given the stakes we're playing for, I hope you can handle moral ambiguity. We work with a few God-Emperors with humanity-wide harems, and also with strategic assets of some kind. If it comes down to it, if the choice is between letting a tyranny like that survive or all sapience dying off, I'm going to try to help the tyranny. Fortunately for my conscience, very few tyrannies are even in the running to be competent enough to be useful, let alone have better odds of being the last shard of humanity standing than more rights-respecting regimes. But if you're not willing to consider making a bargain with the devil to keep heaven from being destroyed, we can drop you back off home while the rest of us do the important work keeping your world safe."

"Of course we're not telling you everything. Or even much of anything important. You haven't even learned how to constantly do multiplication in your head to keep low-powered telepaths out yet."
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Last edited by DataPacRat; 08-07-2017 at 10:59 AM.
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Old 08-07-2017, 02:44 PM   #2
sir_pudding
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Default Re: Brainstorming: The anti-ROBbery squad

So your enemy is actually your GM? There's really nothing that the PCs can do without pataphysical powers of their own.
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Old 08-07-2017, 05:44 PM   #3
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Default Re: Brainstorming: The anti-ROBbery squad

Quote:
Originally Posted by sir_pudding View Post
So your enemy is actually your GM?
Eh, (wiggles fingers) no more so than any other boss-monster. The ROBs are in-multiverse beings; in GURPS terms, you could think of them as characters with umpteen-thousand points of abilities, many with a Cosmic enhancement that lets those abilities function in universes that normally disallow that source of powers.

(Given the existence of time travel, it's also plausible that at least a few ROBs are the same being at different stages. It's even possible that some are future versions of one or more PCs.)

Quote:
There's really nothing that the PCs can do without pataphysical powers of their own.
When facing a ROB directly, probably not. (Though it's possible that some given PC would turn out to be relevant to whatever motivation lies behind a ROB's apparently random actions.) Fortunately, it seems likely that most ROBs are paying attention to those entities who are capable of interfering in their various plans - other ROBs - leaving our non-omnipotent mortals to be generally ignored, save for getting incidentally caught in the wake of things.

It seems likely that at least one MacGuffin for the multiverse-saving plan is going to be found in a world where no paraphysical powers are able to operate, meaning a team of regular humans will have to be sent in to get it. Say, something like a couple of handwritten notes containing a formula, tucked behind the local equivalents of both the American and Russian nuclear launch codes - now /there's/ a fetch-quest I'd like to see. :)
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Old 08-07-2017, 05:52 PM   #4
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Default Re: Brainstorming: The anti-ROBbery squad

I said pataphysical, not paraphysical. You are fighting a meta-entity that seems like a pretty transparent GM insert into the world of the story. You need to be able to confront him directly, like Animal Man confronting Grant Morrison, and to do that you need your characters to be able to break the 4th wall themselves.
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Old 08-07-2017, 06:09 PM   #5
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Default Re: Brainstorming: The anti-ROBbery squad

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Originally Posted by sir_pudding View Post
I said pataphysical, not paraphysical.
If you're going to ding me for not immediately recognizing the term as not being a misspelling, then I feel I can ding you for not including the initial apostrophe. (ahem) Moving on...

Quote:
You are fighting a meta-entity that seems like a pretty transparent GM insert into the world of the story. You need to be able to confront him directly, like Animal Man confronting Grant Morrison, and to do that you need your characters to be able to break the 4th wall themselves.
Well, that might be one way to resolve everything, but I was thinking on a different approach. More along the lines of taking the Entities from Worm, giving (most of) them human-ish brains, and having more than just one active one. Sort of a similar approach to that one video game where every monster you fought was a boss-monster, just with a further dose of massive OPness. Or, continuing the Worm metaphor, "What if things escalated even /further/ beyond Golden Morning?". All dealable in-multiverse, with a sufficiently clever and resourceful collection of humanity working on the problem, and a certain amount of luck.

If you disagree, then I'd appreciate any advice on how to nudge matters so that the setting falls into the range of "ridiculously OPed but non-'pataphysical".
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