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Dismantling, studying, and reproducing Archeotech.


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#1 Lady Kataline Jianwei

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Posted 16 June 2014 - 05:55 PM

Me again folks. I just had an entertaining conversation with my sister. She plays our RT group's Senechal and is our go to anything Int related person. And she asked the following; What's stopping her from taking apart our Teleportarium and figuring out how it works so she can make more of them?

 

She has Tech Use and Forbidden Lore (Archeotech) as it is and apart from the Admech (maybe? (we're pretty tight with them)) freaking out I honesty had no good answer for her.

 

From my stand point, if she could figure out how a piece of archeotech worked and could duplicate it, I think she'd be a big goddamn hero. Especially if she gave the blue prints to the Admech. Granted it would probably be really hard to do and risky on top of that as archeotech is rare and not easy to come by.

 

Thoughts?


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#2 Errant

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Posted 16 June 2014 - 07:10 PM

Same thing that stops her from studying how sand works and building a computer, really. Even if she had the technical base to understand how the teleportarium works, she shouldn't have the technical understanding to actually comprehend it. Even amongst the highest adepts of the Mechanicus, Forbidden Lore (Archeotech) is essentially "If you do this, that happens." They know that if the proper rites are not observed when entering coordinates, the Teleportarium will reject the Holy Unit of Capacitance violently, causing it to rupture. They know this not because they understand the underlying mechanism (That the adept just tried to send an energy spike through the teleportarium's primary buffer matrix and it blew a redundant capacitor to prevent a leak of warp-energy), but because they have the scripture equivalent of a Teleportarium for Dummies.

 

A lot of fluff indicates that teleportaria (and most archeotech components, really) aren't made, they're found.The manufacturing base to create them, short of finding an STC, doesn't exist. Whether that means that a critical component requires a rare material that the mechanicus can't manufacture, or it's simply lost knowledge of how to refine the metals that make up the floor-pads and the Mechanicus are in a schism about whether another method would be acceptable, or you just can't entangle quarks the way you used to, it just isn't done.

 

tl;dr You don't manufacture Archeotech. At best, you maintain it.


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#3 Marwynn

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Posted 16 June 2014 - 07:36 PM

Admantium also is a bit if an obstacle. It's mentioned that most of the oldest, most arcane pieces of archeotech are made from a single piece of that metal. Opening it up inevitably destroys the mechanisms inside.

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#4 BaronIveagh

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Posted 16 June 2014 - 07:36 PM

Actually again this is a murky area in fluff.  It's implied in many sources that the AdMech does, in fact, have the capability to build archeotech, but this is limited to the very highest echelons of the order.  It's not that they don't understand the underlaying mechanism, it's because that understanding is hoarded by a select few. 

 

Remember that one can become a heretek by simply knowing something that one is not supposed to know.  While I disagree, and think it possible that your man might actually learn how one works, he would almost certainly be immediately branded a heretek if he built one.


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#5 Erathia

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Posted 16 June 2014 - 08:58 PM

Tech-Use is pretty much that: The ability to know how to say prayers and turn on technology. You may be able to repair damaged equipment, but if the Imperium could reliably rebuild technology things would not be as bad as they are.

 

Archeotech devices are likely built and programmed, and while the Imperium must analogue that somehow into a machine spirit, that's not something anyone can just reproduce.

 

It's always up to the GM, but the setting is 10,000 years old, so never assume you're anywhere near the first to think of something, which means 99.9999% of all attempts end in failure.


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#6 WeedyGrot

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Posted 16 June 2014 - 09:07 PM

I agree with Errant on this one. In my mind the whole concept of 40k is that humanity is on the downward slide to oblivion. Much of its former glories have been lost forever and even the best and brightest that remain can’t comprehend the wonders of a bygone age… at least not completely. In keeping with how I perceive that setting I just don’t see it as being possible for any human no matter how advanced to reverse that gradual decay. They can slow it down but it wouldn’t be 40k (to me) if it didn’t have that hopeless vibe running through everything.

 

I envisage that Humanity and The Eldar are in decline while the Tau and the Tyrinids are the growing powers in the galaxy. Orks (for want of a better word) are somewhat stable while Necrons are not really on the rise as they aren’t developing or growing but they can’t really be said to be in decline either.

 

Additionally the rules define Forbidden Lore (Archeotech) as: Knowledge of the great, lost tech devices of past times and clues to their mysterious functions and purposes.

 

To me that sounds similar to the skill of driving. A modern day person may know how to drive a car and even perform maintenance on a car but wouldn’t be able to build a car if called on to do so.

 

I think to keep with the setting of 40K skills that might be able to elevate humanity back to its former glory have been purposefully left out of the game. Still if you’re the GM you may want to invent new skills to cover that and have your players go nuts.

 

Also it seems I agree with Erathia whose post appeared just before mine.


Edited by WeedyGrot, 16 June 2014 - 09:11 PM.

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#7 Magellan

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Posted 16 June 2014 - 11:01 PM

Personally, I've always been of the opinion that the endless armies of augmented super-geniuses that is the Mechanicus do in fact understand the vast majority of their tech. The best and the brightest can create such wonders as flawless plasma weapons, cranial implants that don't lobotomize you, and bionics that are virtually invisible. But archeotech is where I draw the line.

 

Personally, I think that making the setting literally hopeless kills the entire point. How can there be despair and fear if there is no hope and you might as well lie down and die? I don't believe the [insert whatever faction you **** over here] should be undefeatable, and I don't believe the technological stagnation of mankind should be irreversible. If they understood those technologies once, they can theoretically do so again.

 

That does not mean a single tinkerer in some backwater sump hole can just take out his screwdriver, take apart one of the most advanced pieces of technology in the history of mankind on his hours off, and magically understand the underlying scientific principles of its construction. For a real-world analogue, get your hands on an entire robotics factory, try to take the whole thing apart yourself and figure out how everything works, then manually build an entire new factory. And when I say manually, I mean constructing everything from raw materials, since I'm pretty sure the Imperium doesn't have most of the parts for a teleportarium lying around.

 

I actually did make rules for reverse-engineering archeotech stuff once. A couple of percent's chance of success (at the very best), and an overwhelming risk of destroying the item. I figured you may well be able to reverse-engineer a super-tractor you find several thousand of, but there's a very much finite amount of teleportariums to go around.

 

Although mechanically speaking, you can of course buy tons of them if you have the PF.


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#8 Erathia

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Posted 16 June 2014 - 11:34 PM

Personally, I've always been of the opinion that the endless armies of augmented super-geniuses that is the Mechanicus do in fact understand the vast majority of their tech. The best and the brightest can create such wonders as flawless plasma weapons, cranial implants that don't lobotomize you, and bionics that are virtually invisible. But archeotech is where I draw the line.

 

Personally, I think that making the setting literally hopeless kills the entire point. How can there be despair and fear if there is no hope and you might as well lie down and die? I don't believe the [insert whatever faction you **** over here] should be undefeatable, and I don't believe the technological stagnation of mankind should be irreversible. If they understood those technologies once, they can theoretically do so again

 

Although it seems like most of what I'm doing is glaring at people and saying the setting contradicts what they're thinking, I actually share this viewpoint. I think players should feel like the setting is weighing against them because to me it seems like it is. Mankind is stagnant, but you can still lead an amazing life as a Rogue Trader because you are in the impossibly highest percentile of privilege inside of the Imperium. If you want sweeping reforms, or even seemingly moderate ones like rebuilding technology, the momentum of history is currently against you.

 

So you may need to destroy a hundred teleportariums before you manage to build one from scratch that works once, which would drive the AdMech into fits. There's no way to reverse stagnation right now without suffering and sacrifice, but I feel if a player really commits to failing a LOT before succeeding, then they should have that glimmer of hope* at accomplishing something. 

 

*Disclaimer: Glimmers of hope can very easily be the glimmer of an Ordo Hereticus flamer.


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#9 Lady Kataline Jianwei

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Posted 17 June 2014 - 09:35 AM

Thanks for all the replies. As mentioned, buying archeotech is a thing we can do. However the OP question came about as something that she thought she could do in her spare time ie Warp journeys etc. Reproduction was the ultimate goal but now she's scaled back to just taking something apart and drawing blue prints. Maybe.

 

Her other idea is to use a bunch of psykers as a means of making a much shorter ranged teleporter. Somehow I feel that will end poorly. Because A: Pyskers. and B: it would be new tech and as discussed in a previous thread, new technology is heresy.


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#10 Erathia

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Posted 17 June 2014 - 10:27 AM

She wanted to mess around with a device that opens hopes in reality to send creatures through the Warp, while inside the Warp? That's something that probably shouldn't have ended disastrously...

Though it also might not have revealed anything since hopefully your Geller field was on.

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#11 Magellan

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Posted 17 June 2014 - 11:02 AM

Well, the gellar field doesn't prevent the functions of psychic powers or the warp drive (or anything other than the Phase trait, as far as I've read), so presumably the teleporarium would likewise be mostly unaffected.

 

I still think this is a wildly unrealistic plan, however.


Edited by Magellan, 17 June 2014 - 11:03 AM.

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#12 Radwraith

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Posted 17 June 2014 - 11:03 AM

Have to throw in with BaronLveigh here. Archeotech is in fact still produced in certain parts of the Imperium. It is just incredibly RARE! For the facilities that do produce it. There are undoubtedly logistical and material factors as well as technical understanding involved. For example: If you are an engineer at a nuclear power plant, you may understand exactly how it's put together and the theory behind it's use. You may even be able to oversee it's safe operation if you are qualified! That said however, there would be serious risks involved in trying to dismantle it to reverse engineer it! (Trust me; Radiation sickness is a BAD way to go!) In the case of our teleportarium; similar risks probably apply! Dismantling it is not something that can be done in your spare time or even while the ship is underway! Further, any attempt to do so would probably damage it beyond repair! Finally: Unless you are an orc mekboy, a teleportarium is not something you build in your back yard with a few buckets of scrap! You would need specific VERY rare materials and highly advanced manufacturing processes that just simply do not grow on trees!

 

On a side note: I might let an explorator attempt this in a ground based lab setting as a Grand endeavor. Recovering an STC for a piece of archeotech is certainly possible! But it won't be easy!


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#13 Errant Knight

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Posted 17 June 2014 - 12:58 PM

Disclaimer:  Just my opinions.

 

Archeotech is still produced, inasmuch as there are machines out there that still produce it.  That's machines that produce stuff, not people.  The superstitious people speak their secret formulas, push the button, and the machine makes yet another machine.  What would happen if those people pushed the button without first saying their super-secret prayers?  Exactly the same thing, but don't let the peasants know that.

 

Yeah, I don't think anybody understands anything in-depth.  They understand that Part A goes into Part B if you insert Part Y into Hole Z.  There's a legend out there that if you instead insert Part X into Hole Z you get a whole different configuration but the last guy that did that mysteriously blew up.

 

Some space marines like to make their own power swords or other equipment.  Seriously, these guys spend a lot of time learning how to kill things.  If they are also tech-artisans, how hard can being a tech-artisan be?  I know there will be a lot of disagreement over this last statement ("but they live hundreds of years!" "they don't spend ALL their time killing!" etc., etc.), but I don't see many people trying to learn HOW the universe functions, just how pieces of it function independently from the big picture.  Lots of people in the world can repair a sewing machine.  Few of them understand electricity.

 

It's Aasimov's Foundation Trilogy all over again, and Humaniti is in a backslide.  Tune in 40k years from now and who knows?  They may understand everything all over again...if they still exist.



#14 Lady Kataline Jianwei

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Posted 17 June 2014 - 01:30 PM

She wanted to mess around with a device that opens hopes in reality to send creatures through the Warp, while inside the Warp? That's something that probably shouldn't have ended disastrously...

Though it also might not have revealed anything since hopefully your Geller field was on.

 

No. Pyskers have a teleportation power it seems, (I'm not sure having never played one) and she wants to harness that somehow. For science. Or out of boredom. Or to live up to the party motto of  "This is stupid." I'm not sure which.

 

It's not that we can't afford to get more teleportaria but rather something for her character to do. Her previous pass time of getting live Xenos and studying them has been severely curtailed what with us having Death Watch Marine onboard now.


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#15 Erathia

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Posted 17 June 2014 - 02:12 PM

Some space marines like to make their own power swords or other equipment.  Seriously, these guys spend a lot of time learning how to kill things.  If they are also tech-artisans, how hard can being a tech-artisan be?  I know there will be a lot of disagreement over this last statement ("but they live hundreds of years!" "they don't spend ALL their time killing!" etc., etc.), but I don't see many people trying to learn HOW the universe functions, just how pieces of it function independently from the big picture. 

 

Space Marines also have their "human" personalities erased and huge amounts of combat indoctrination downloaded directly into their brains, so they're not so much learning as having their minds imprinted with someone who once understood how to do something. Also the Adeptus Mechanicus actually does consider anyone other than them trying to understand how something works is a heresy, and I don't think routine experimentation is going to protect your crew from their wrath.

 

 

It's not that we can't afford to get more teleportaria but rather something for her character to do. Her previous pass time of getting live Xenos and studying them has been severely curtailed what with us having Death Watch Marine onboard now.

 

 

See this is why I have teleportariums be extremely rare to prevent a Rogue Trader from approaching it with the air of "Boy, we really should go down to Costco and order up another dozen or so."

 

Also clearly the Death Watch Marine should become her next subject for experimentation. If she likes tinkering with things, why not arrange for certain components to "malfunction" as the Space Marine is walking by and measure his reaction time. Turn the entire ship into an elaborate maze that contains not-quite-lethal death traps, and if confronted act surprised that the Space Marine doesn't appreciate her keeping his reaction time sharp.


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#16 Amazing Larry

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Posted 17 June 2014 - 02:19 PM

Every mechanic knows more or less how a spark plug works but if all the spark plug factories and manufacturing drawings/specs dissapeard into thin air tomarrow there would still be at least half a year of time where no new spark plugs were being made because it would take at least that long to re-invent the things and the machine tools that make them. Archeotech is a far more extreme problem because most of it is based on schools of mathematics and physics that have been effectively forgotten by mankind. A great deal of it was lost before the Emporor took power, humanity reached it's technological peak sometime around the twenty-fifth millenium.

 

The Eldar would probably be having exactly the same problem if it wasn't for the fact that if they want to know something long dead members of their race knew they can just ask them.


Edited by Amazing Larry, 17 June 2014 - 02:21 PM.


#17 Magellan

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Posted 17 June 2014 - 02:22 PM

Aside from the fact that I disagree with nearly everything you just wrote:

 

Some space marines like to make their own power swords or other equipment.

Since when? I'm not saying I've read every piece of Wardian wankfiction out there, but I don't remember anything about this. I mean, other than tech-marines and whatever.


Edited by Magellan, 17 June 2014 - 02:24 PM.

I am the latest model of a Fabricator-General
My body isn't nearly as much animal as mineral
My learnedness is legend; my accomplishments historical
For hereteks and aliens my hatred's categorical


#18 AtoMaki

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Posted 17 June 2014 - 02:24 PM

Archeotech is still produced, inasmuch as there are machines out there that still produce it.  That's machines that produce stuff, not people.

 

Just one thing to add to this: people also produce archeotech by copy-pasting it to the last bolt. For example, plasma reactors are produced this way. So I think replicating archeotech is a valid idea, but it will take enormous amount of time (centuries if not millenniums) and resources (Mars-tier tech facilities) to complete even a single archeotech device. 



#19 BaronIveagh

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Posted 17 June 2014 - 05:39 PM

Aside from the fact that I disagree with nearly everything you just wrote:

 

Some space marines like to make their own power swords or other equipment.

Since when? I'm not saying I've read every piece of Wardian wankfiction out there, but I don't remember anything about this. I mean, other than tech-marines and whatever.

 

Yes, Space Marines, produce their own gear, and many chapters do not like to share with the mechanicus, on top that.  They do, in fact, build their own starships (this has been canon since BattleFleet Gothic) and have their own shipyards.  The Dark Angels have whole classes of starships they only produce for themselves, though the hull patterns are slowly being disseminated among other chapters.  (Nova class frigates)

 

They also produce a wide variety of Strike Cruiser configurations, many chapters with unique designs and oddball one offs.  (the battlebarge Seditio Opprimere and the strike cruiser Vae Victus being Ultrasmurf examples of this.)

 

Further, yes, Space Marines do in fact, make their own wargear, save when a chapter is newly founded.  The Ultramarines in particular produce a great deal of their own war material either personally or have their chapter serfs do it.  Uriel Ventris in the Ultamarines novels creates his own powersword, and it's quality even impresses a Grey Knight.



#20 venkelos

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Posted 17 June 2014 - 05:49 PM

I like to think that telling Mr. Scott to dismantle the transporter, so you can see how it goes together, will end poorly. So she is smart. So she is clever. Look in that casing, and tell me what that piece is, Miss? She won't necessarily know. Take it out, and look at it. Can you just plug that bit into power, and see what it does, without the rest of the apparatus? I don't know. It might do nothing, it might explode, due to the lack of a surge protector you have unwittingly taken out of circuit. Is it still usable? Do you even know how to reattach it? How many other teleportariums do you have access to to compare the mechanisms? I'm not telling the Captain you broke his beam box. If you use it now, will I live? Come out as Brundle/Fly? As Nicholas Cage? (shivers) You want to duplicate the parts? Do you know what they do? What they're made of? What gases were in them that you just let out? It's so much work, and so likely to fail.

 

See, I'm a dimwit. If I took the housing off of my computer tower, I wouldn't know what most of the bits inside there are. If I had a book to tell me, but I don't. Also, the AdMech is protective of their devices, along with their knowledge. If I were one, I'd stop her from dismantling my TP-tarium; like all faith, it's not a question of how it works, but that it works, and to try and fiddle with it MIGHT offend the Omnissiah.

 

Ah, I'm done babbling now.






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