Monday, February 19, 2024

12 Random Doo-Dads from the wall of a Spaceship

I always hate how cool Sci-Fi art, video game levels, assets, etc. always skip over the granular detail of the worlds they live in. With Faster-Then-Light travel and highly advanced spaceships, the art and description of these always seem to show this extremely detailed and textureful spaceship interiors, with lots of buttons, screens, weird pipes, and other do-hickeys hanging and built into the walls of your highly advanced spacecraft. But they never actually go into detail of what they do, or even more rarely do you ever get a chance to interact with them. I love these little gribbles, but what are you supposed to say if a player or reader randomly wants to interact with one of them? What will they find?

Roll on this list to find out! Conveniently; if you don't like psychic stuff in your sci-fi, you can just roll a d10 instead.

12 Spaceship Wall Doo-Dads
Moisture Condensers. Black tubes feed your breath and shed skin oils back into the ship's recycler for water and nitrogen content. Everyone knows where the organic mass for your food replicator comes from, you still don't talk about it.

[2] Wall Capacitor. Usually a slightly raised panel with a bunch of buttons on it. Critical ship systems require a constant and uninterrupted flow of power; these act as extra energy batteries all across the ship. You can press the buttons to cut off or redirect the power held in this unit to somewhere else, especially useful for emergency situations.

[3] Gravity Shocks. These are shock absorbers, which look like long metal tubes or sticks along the side of a ship. Filled with compressive rubber cubes or discs. Whenever the ship hits a powerful g-force or gravity distortion, these absorb most of the shock so it doesn't crush the crew or anything else inside the ship. You can get away with a lot less of these then most people have, but it makes the ride more "turbulent". 

[4] Ship Patch Slot. Very thin door or material strip is pulled aside to reveal a tall but thin hole leading much deeper into the hull then you'd think. Only wide enough to put a hand inside. Within are several long, very thin plastic sheets used to patch small holes in the ship- the sheet is placed over the breach and a simple utility laser or low-powered energy weapon can melt the plastic to the wall to make it stick. Used until you can get real repair back in a stardock.

[5] Life Support Unit. Station dedicated to life support systems; oxygen and an appropriate temperature radiate from these to the rest of the room or area in the ship. Thermostat style controls including all breathable gasses, humidity levels, and PH balance. Ship Captains are notoriously strict about other people messing with THEIR preferred life-support settings. "I don't care how much methane your species needs to breathe, do you have any idea how much that's going to increase the fuel cost!?"

[6] Manual Lightswitch. Controls all the little LEDs that go up and down the hallways and flash red when the emergency systems are on. Sounds really dumb but people are used to hundreds of years of automatic doors and the AI dimming and changing the lights for them whenever they enter or leave so this seems like a really primitive, hands-on kind of failsafe.

[7] Charging Cabinet. Gentle, "hands off" method of recharging various atomic batteries and small appliances. Replacing the fuel cell on whatever gadget or tool you have is much faster, but you can use these cabinets as a way to store and also charge up whatever object. Charges about 1% of the items' battery per day, so really slow, but these mean whenever you bring out some ancient gadget or special tool it won't be out of energy from just sitting in a closet somewhere for multiple years.

[8] Hologram Anchor. Filled with mirrored discs and little pendulums to know which way is up- really important piece of equipment to stabilize and act as a reference point for any holograms or visual projections you beam inside the ship. If you don't have one of these the holograms will just be like clipping through the floor and their voices will sound like they're coming from the wrong room because the computer doesn't know where to put them otherwise.

[9] Binding Crank. Most ships use a semi-flexible membrane lattice and rubberized supports to let the vessel have some sway and ability to bend so it is not to brittle. These cranks let you tighten or loosen these supports. Despite clearing being made to be used by the crew- the torque required to turn one of these is so ridiculous that you basically can only get a robot to do it.

[10] Computer Junk-Data Sinks. Thin plastic bars with built in handles shoved into consoles along the wall; these are where routine computer check-sums, unrecoverable RAM, quarantined viruses and glitches are all stored. Often neglected because of how little it effects the overall ship AI's performance and because cleaning them is easy; you just run water on them in the sink. Everyone who got to the future by cryogenic freezing is extremely confused.

[11] Psychic Decoy. Electronic devices that look a bit like a clump of tinfoil. They emit false delta and theta brain signals to make it hard to track how many people are inside the ship and what they are thinking about. However, any psychic worth their crystal are going to notice a bunch of comatose people stacked up along the walls of the ship many times over any reasonable ship of that size would have. It was a bit of a fad back in the day, any old beater or "hand me down" spaceship is probably going to have a bunch of these.

[12] Anomaly Sensor. Looks like a plastic medal hanging on a lanyard. Experienced ship captains hoard these things and hang them everywhere like magic talismans. This is because these sensors have the almost miraculous ability to detect when things are just slightly "off" from normal, letting out a shrill electric beep and flashing a small light with its color based on the danger level- green for benign, yellow for caution, and red for danger. From time distortions, memory-voids, invisible energy viruses infecting your systems, or space madness- all things a computer or robot can't help you with. Nobody really knows how they work, but if you break one open and study its core you'll find a tiny amount of human neural tissue locked inside its circuits.

1 comment:

  1. I can see a magic version of #11 being incredibly useful for a Spelljammer campaign.