Friday, March 30, 2012

RPG Brainstorming: Radioactive Skeletons

A lot of fringe-ish and anomalous phenomena focused web-sites continue to circulate and propagate the meme of radioactive skeletons found at places like Mohenjo Daro or Harappa that somehow 'prove' prehistoric nuclear weapons.

One of the more well thought-out and skeptical dissections of this particular recurring internet-meme can be found at Twitscope. The comments alone are quite interesting, but they do get heated fairly quickly and it wouldn't do to get too caught-up in the political, religious or other debates surrounding this stuff. What we're looking for is something interesting to mess around with in a story or a game, so we're neither advocating nor debunking any of this stuff. We just like the idea and want to see what we can do with it in a fictional and/or gaming context. So Caveat Emptor, make sure you're carrying some (or a lot of) salt, and please don't believe everything just because it's on the internet.

'Evidence' for Ancient Nuclear Wars
So did something nuclear happen way back when? Who really knows? But take a step back from it all and take a good look at this stuff from the perspective of 'What If?'

Six Quick Scenario-Ideas
  1. An archaeological expedition uncovered an ancient ruined civilization where the ruins really are filled with radioactive skeletons...
  2. Some adventurers discovered a series of caverns that opened up into a complex of tombs and temples filled with radioactive skeletons. Does the usual curative magic work on radiation poisoning? Can radioactive skeletons be reanimated?
  3. Intrepid Interplanetary Explorers uncover a shaft leading deep below the blasted crust of a dead world only to find themselves confronted with a vast underground arcology littered with the radioactive skeletons of some previously undiscovered xenomorph species. 
  4. Some enterprising alchemist discovers that by grinding up the remains of the so-called 'smoldering mummies' from the arid regions of some notorious hinterland they can be used to give his otherwise unspectacular concoctions a real bit of oomph, except that a week or so later everyone who experienced such a miraculous cure seem to be wasting away.
  5. A cadre of ultra-secret government operatives gain access to a tunnel revealed in an old prospector's diary. The tunnel runs under the Andes mountains and beyond, possibly linking into some sort of synchronized tunnel network that spans multiple worlds or timelines. The first major chamber they find is a massive catacomb-system where each niche is heaped with distorted, radioactive skeletons of things that might not have been wholly human.
  6. The tripodal mucoids were not all destroyed in their disastrous invasion of Earth. A secret cabal of survivors went underground, deep below Olympus Mons, and worked for decades on a vengeance weapon that would redeem their defeat by simple microbes. There, in hermetically-sealed bunkers, the mucoids have been perfecting the means of animating the skeletons their agents have been stealing in order to saturate them with high levels of ionizing radiation and releasing them upon an unsuspecting populace of colonists as terror weapons.
Any other ideas?

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Singularity & Company: Save The SciFi Project

Just clicked into this as I was doing some research on completely other stuff. This is what appears to be a legitimate effort to rescue the orphaned and forgotten books left languishing due to vagaries in Copyright law, reversion of rights, lapses in judgement (taste?), and so on. They respect the rights of the authors, which is a huge step forward for most of the internet (or publishing). I think it's an interesting project and it might make things a bit more interesting if we start seeing some of the 'lost' scifi of yesteryear begin to re-surface once more. It could spark a lot of new ideas, revive some alternatives no one's really thinking about any more and help (maybe) break down some of the franchise-thinking that passes for scifi now. Or not. But at least it is worth making the attempt...
I'm hoping for the best.
You can find out more at the Singularity & co. Kickstarter page.