Monday, May 26, 2014

Conservators

I want to suggest that something -- a new social organ, a new institution -- which for a time I shall call World Encyclopaedia, is the means whereby we can solve the problem of that jigsaw puzzle and bring all the scattered and ineffective mental wealth of our world into something like a common understanding, and into effective reaction upon our vulgar everyday political, social and economic life. [...] I am sketching what is really a scheme for the reorganization and reorientation of education and information throughout the world. No less.
by H. G. Wells


Conservator
No. Enc.: 1d4
Alignment: N
Movement: 120' (40')
Armor Class: 6
Hit Dice: 4+
Attacks: 1
Damage:
Save: F2
Morale: 8

Cerebral beings, given to abstract thought and the perpetual sorting and organizing of all knowledge which they filter through their dangling appendages much like how a shark keeps water flowing through their gills. At any given moment a Conservator is sifting through thousands of streams of raw unprocessed data and must make a Save in order to interact with anyone outside of self-defense. They suffer a permanent -2 penalty to Initiative due to be so caught-up in the information flow.

Conservators have the following innate spell-like abilities: Clairvoyance, ESP, Levitate, Read Languages, Read Magic, Telekinesis, Telepathy, and Ventriloquism. They also can create a Force Field once per day that absorbs 100 hit points of damage per HD. Their telekinesis can manipulate fine objects with the equivalent of a DEX 17, however they can affect no more than ten pounds at any time.

Conservators advance as Magic Users, but at twice the normal XP cost, mostly due to their continually being distracted. They never modify their spells and acquire them by scavenging about in obscure texts and caches of ancient papyri or the like. Anything less than a few hundred years old is generally seen as being too new to trust.

Conservators seek to occupy abandoned libraries, disused archives, and other such places as their lairs. It is a primary goal of all Conservators to gain access to the Hexagonal Galleries. They attack Thysanurians on sight.



No one would have believed [...] that this world was being watched keenly and closely by intelligences greater than man's and yet as mortal as his own; that as men busied themselves about their various concerns they were scrutinized and studied, perhaps almost as narrowly as a man with a microscope might scrutinize the transient creatures that swarm and multiply in a drop of water...
The War of the Worlds
H. G. Wells


Inspiration: These things are not just an outgrowth of Mr. Well's World Brain, they are also kith and kin to the Mucoids and have ties to certain of the Utopian Sects who continue to meddle with the world despite the horrific losses they sustained in their 500+ year long war with the Morlocks...

4 comments:

  1. So in terms of how this creature actually reads text, are the "gills" reading some kind of data exhaust which texts written/printed on paper give off? Or are the gills covered with eyes?

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    Replies
    1. Good questions. My usual response has always been 'Let's play and find out.' But that isn't always an option these days, so I'll expand on the entry details a little bit.

      Conservators employ a type of psychometry that allows them to visualize and acquire information in their surroundings. They radiate a modulated series of impulses that echo off of information-structures, allowing them to interpret the 'ping-back' in a manner reminiscent of sonar or radar or how a bat uses echolocation. The dangling-bits are very similar to gills and are their primary means of sifting through incoming impressions and sensory signals. Their eyes are somewhat vestigial, but do get used for dealing with encrypted, corrupted or enciphered items, as well as keeping tabs on the local surroundings in an off-hand manner, such as a guard sitting before a bank of monitors. They get easily bored with visual-only stimulus.

      Any signal the Conservators receive originates with them and is not an intrinsic property of the items/objects/structures they are examining. They will avail themselves of such signals and stimuli, of course, but do not expect them necessarily.

      The gills are covered with pits and almost sucker-like structures, as well as subtle nodules, all of which are specialized for handling a vast spectrum of information and sensory impressions. A Conservator will do practically anything to avoid trauma to these ultra-sensitive bits. No one has had the chance to study a Conservator cadaver in enough detail to confirm whether or not they have any sort of eye-spots along those gill-masses, though a few comparative crypto-anatomists have standing wagers either way. The smart money is on them having eye-spots.

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  2. Fascinating! I dug the Borges reference too!

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    Replies
    1. I've become a big Borges fan the more of his work I get to read. Zoe introduced me to his work a few years back and there are several of his stories that have been incorporated into the Vermiform Appendix, speaking of which, I really ought to post that one of these days...

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