In preparation for an upcoming Numenera campaign set to run alternate weeks from the Eclipse Phase game, I’ll be developing a few things here on the blog. The players have expressed interest in the idea of having to settle and build up an aldeia of their own, so I’ll be assembling things related to that. Today, it’ll be the stationary artifacts and/or remnant effects of the prior worlds that settlements can be built around.
The first is a structure almost completely buried in the hillside, with only a trio of slender metal rods jutting out of the dark earth and a slow fluctuation in the gravity around the hill. The artifact is a level 5 singularity projector, which, if cleared and modified by someone trained in dealing with the numenera, is capable of projecting an unstable microscopic black hole up to 10 kilometers from the device, where it detonates and inflicts 50 point of radiation damage to everything in long range. It takes an hour to recharge, and can only be fired 5 times per day.
Second is a structure of blue metal and reflective synth that rises up out of a shallow pond; clear water cascades from thin air at the upper edge of the structure, splashing down in the pool in an endless fountain. Anyone who drinks from the pond or bathes in the water has a +1 on all Recovery rolls for the next 28 hours. The fountain counts as a level 6 artifact.
Third is a complex of free-floating rings, slowly spinning in place with an eerie hum. The rings themselves are interesting, but not important; growing on them is a golden fungus, which drinks in the strange energies of the device and converts them into more of the dense, nutritious fungus. If given more space to grow on, the fungus can potentially provide food for a modest-sized aldeia, or feed a modest military force in the field. Unfortunately, it tastes incredibly bland to human senses. This counts as a level 5 artifact.
Fourth is a deposit of synth, buried under the violet dirt of the eastern hills, which is slightly self-luminous and lightweight without sacrificing any strength. It can be mined from a variety of purposes, from utilitarian light sources to lightweight and durable weapons and armor. Additionally, ultraterrestrials take a point of damage from contact with it, as it leeches their otherworldly energy and converts it into light. The deposit counts as a level 4 artifact.
Fifth is a broken hexagonal structure that still hums with power despite the damage visible. It can be scavenged, and the area around it carefully mined, to produce a few cyphers per week, mostly in the form of detonation and shielding devices. Occasionally, the structure produces strange emanations that can provoke a powerful sense of unease in living creatures near it. It counts as a level 4 artifact.
Sixth is an area with a soft, almost subsonic hum that quickly gets tuned out by most people (Difficulty 1 Intellect check) and a small synth disc. Stepping on the disc causes the world to bend strangely before finding oneself standing at the edge of a massive synth platform nearly three kilometers across, with an ancient city rising from it. Once cleared out, the site is ideal to move diretly into, although the nature of the spatial warp makes bringing goods in or out difficult. The site counts as a Level 6 artifact.
Lastly, the seventh artifact is a tree of strange metal that grows bands of synth that can be wrapped around the wrist (1d6-1 such bands per week). Each such band is a one-use cypher that can teleport the wearer back to the base of the tree, although the transfer seems somewhat inimical to human life, moving users one step down the damage track. The bands work up to 100 kilometers away for each level of the cypher (1d6+1), and the tree itself is a Level 5 artifact.
Each of these sites has additional uses; the first could be tapped to recharge other artifacts at a cost of reducing the power or frequency of the singularity projections, the third could have the outermost ring’s kinetic energy tapped to drive any number of devices, and the fifth might be able to be repaired enough to provide power for a settlement.
Next time we visit, I’ll take a look at the terrain of the Amethyst Hills, and the challenges inherent to trying to settle the unsettled lands of the Ninth World.