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Antag - Body Snatchers?
#1
After watching some movies and playing Carrion recently, I've got this idea in my head about a new antag.

It has some similar concepts to Changeling, so maybe it's not a fully realized idea yet, but let's see if we can go somewhere with it.


BODY SNATCHERS

The concept of the body snatcher-type monster has been around for about 70 years,  spanning novels, films, games, and more. The idea is that there is some kind of alien race that "duplicates" people, usually consuming the original person in the process to produce a perfect copy replication of the original, with knowledge of memories and past events, but still sort of "wrong": they don't act right or talk right, or they act cold or odd in ways they normally wouldn't act.

Depending on the work, the duplication process changes, but generally there's some kind of condition the person has to be in (asleep is the original one) and they generally gestate in a pod of some kind. Commonly, the Body Snatchers are shown to be based on some kind of plant-based life, and the pods are leafy or green.

In some works, the Body Snatchers have strange abilities that let them work together as a group.


PUTTING IT INTO SS13 TERMS

The concept that I am coming up with is a biomass based antagonist (sort of like the player creature in Carrion). The antag has to eat carbon based stuff (so basically any food) to build up a biomass core that they can then regurgitate into a locker or crate to build a cocoon or chrysalis. This pod functions sort of like the borg-prison artifact, in that the person throw into the locker is slowly dissolved and then rebuilt back into themselves as a Body Snatcher.

I did a quick sprite of what the basic locker "pod" might look like. I did a planty version and a meaty version.

[Image: cjSzVJF.gif][Image: 6Rs1Twx.gif]

Once a pod is created and used, it enters a remissive state where more biomass has to be added into the pod to grow another person. Once a pod is used, it can only make copies of the first person that got put in there. There is a cooldown per pod, but any dead pod players can keep respawning in a functional and stocked pod as long as the pod is functional.


BODY SNATCHER PROPERTIES

I would imagine the copied body snatcher players should have a lower total HP pool in order to make up for their mass numbers. The theme of a sort of station infection comes to mind: they are essentially cloning rapidly and need to be pushed back and their nests destroyed.

In medbay, body snatchers that have a pod ready to regurgitate have a "foreign object" detected within them. Weed killer splashed on a body snatcher eventually causes them to vomit writhing, planty vomit as parts of their weird alien systems die off.

Snatchers have a screech that lets them mark out a specific target for all body snatchers to see (this might need some work, but I feel a screech of some kind should  be beneficial.

I think, as the pod people grow in number and start to become numerous, they should be able to spread some kind of biomass infection into machines like the cloning pod, gene pods, and vehicles to further expand their abilities. Sort of like claiming buildings to gain new abilities or further their spread.

I created some sprites a long time ago about growing people as a clone substitute concept for botany that I think could be useful here, despite this becoming an antag concept.

[Image: PpEW2uC.gif][Image: eXgKgnj.png]

Thoughts? Ideas?
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#2
I like the idea and the little green fellas.
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#3
Using random lockers seems like a good idea! Would be interesting if they can get exposed as their real form somehow (sonic weakness?) and go from regular human to weird and freaky.
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#4
This and Maskedman2's ideas for reworking Changeling sound like they'd roll together really well
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#5
so do the people who get their body taken come back as a pod person?
also, if these guys dont make it in as a full-blown antagonist, i hope they become a gene/spacebux race.
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#6
So far it seems to be a mix between kudzu and changeling. Could work...but we need a clearer picture.

Also - what is this mass in numbers? Will every podded player become a pod person?
Will there be NPC pod-people too?
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#7
Yes, the people who are podded come back as a pod person.

Im imagining that the first time a pod is used, it converts to "(name)'s Pod". Any more pod people that come out of the pod are copies of the first person. Converting a different person maybe changes the name of the pod?

I would imagine that new players wouldn't spawn as a pod person. 

Perhaps pod people can travel between pods? Not in an actual teleport method, but essentially they dissolve in one location and reform in a different pod. This would encourage Snatchers to spawn many pods.
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#8
And they come back until every pod is destroyed? Automatically after death at the nearest pod?

But what about NPC pod people?
The strength in numbers is only a given after having killed like half the station; so for the first half of the round you are nearly on your own with lower health - your ability is group based and gives you away - and you can only respawn if you got a pod up that has biomatter in it,...

Couldn't that lead to the antag being killed in the first 10 minutes because he is alone?
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#9
(09-20-2020, 09:06 PM)GORE Wrote: And they come back until every pod is destroyed? Automatically after death at the nearest pod?

But what about NPC pod people?
The strength in numbers is only a given after having killed like half the station; so for the first half of the round you are nearly on your own with lower health - your ability is group based and gives you away - and you can only respawn if you got a pod up that has biomatter in it,...

Couldn't that lead to the antag being killed in the first 10 minutes because he is alone?

I would imagine yes, they could continue to respawn, possibly at a pod of their own choosing, nearest, or random. NPCs contribute to biomatter but do not spawn Snatchers.

Perhaps you're right about strength in numbers. It might be that any ghost could be an antag spawn. This would need some play testing to eyeball the respawn rate, etc.

These problems could be an issue, to be sure, but the same can be said of all antags.

Some possible ideas might be solved via the interconnected pods idea I had earlier. If pods share a biomass pool, then the starting antag can nest several spots on the station and dump viscerite, monkeys, food and produce into the pods to build a powerful stock.
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#10
Oi!
What really sounds fun about it - is the wave-based attack of the BODY SNATCHERS, in combination to a slow invasion that makes this type of antag so interesting.

For a start - SECURITY - needs a counter. Could be a chemical that needs to be produced or crafted...chem perhaps? To expose them; or something?
Not just a hud feature feature...but integrating it in the core gameplay playing as the lad trying to stop the invasion.

- - -

BODY SNATCHERS as really weak players...are still players and could probably blow up a lot of the station to achieve their goals.

Since absorbed humans like in the movie tend to still follow their ordinary day routine; there should be an incentive to not fuck over their newly aquired living space.
A hivemind like telepathic connection between all players part of it - could improve team-communication; especially great for RP.

Think this antag has a great RP potential.
Early slow start - potential for great escalation, once the humans have aquired the perhaps slow to produce counter against them BODY SNATCHERS.

BODY SNATCHERS for a slow start should probably be able to hide their pods inside objects...making it harder to notice; like blending in without being immediately called out on by the AI.

Special googles like in the movie "They Live" (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g4XiKChyK7A - short scene of it).

The pods could be placed in a locker and not just pump out NPC creatures...they could just be used for absorbtion and only other members of the BODY SNATCHERS could be able to visually see the changed state of the locker; without special equipment like chem smoke (NEW CHEM) to expose it forever and taint it or glasses to just being able to see this.
One science and one sec approach to discovering this perhaps. Could be fun.

Their hives might need a central structure to funtion for the following aspects I am going to throw into the room,...

BODY SNATCHERS could be weaker in the sense of lower HP, yes. Perhaps also lower stamina to make it harder to run, overall straight up a human downgrade that requires the collection of infestation wide - hive biopoints; and the communication of the whole team.
The BODY SNATCHERS could vote on upgrades to their global upgrades if they so choose.

Biopoints could be used for [1. Respawning] - [2. Upgrading the WHOLE invasion].

Offering several choices like:
- Body upgrades or extra strength for huge amounts of Biopoints.
- Spawning in a wave of protective NPC critters around each hive.
- The ability to upgrade every pod to be able to offer a character customisation option for every pod; permanently.
- Strange alien abilities like the squreeching you mentioned: to mark a human, so that every BODY SNATCHER member receives a ping about the location of said crewmember - to call other BODY SNATCHERS for help.

Just a few thoughts...spit-balling here.
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#11
(09-21-2020, 04:26 AM)GORE Wrote: Oi!
What really sounds fun about it - is the wave-based attack of the BODY SNATCHERS, in combination to a slow invasion that makes this type of antag so interesting.

For a start - SECURITY - needs a counter. Could be a chemical that needs to be produced or crafted...chem perhaps? To expose them; or something?
Not just a hud feature feature...but integrating it in the core gameplay playing as the lad trying to stop the invasion.

- - -

BODY SNATCHERS as really weak players...are still players and could probably blow up a lot of the station to achieve their goals.

Since absorbed humans like in the movie tend to still follow their ordinary day routine; there should be an incentive to not fuck over their newly aquired living space.
A hivemind like telepathic connection between all players part of it - could improve team-communication; especially great for RP.

Think this antag has a great RP potential.
Early slow start - potential for great escalation, once the humans have aquired the perhaps slow to produce counter against them BODY SNATCHERS.

BODY SNATCHERS for a slow start should probably be able to hide their pods inside objects...making it harder to notice; like blending in without being immediately called out on by the AI.

Special googles like in the movie "They Live" (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g4XiKChyK7A - short scene of it).

The pods could be placed in a locker and not just pump out NPC creatures...they could just be used for absorbtion and only other members of the BODY SNATCHERS could be able to visually see the changed state of the locker; without special equipment like chem smoke (NEW CHEM) to expose it forever and taint it or glasses to just being able to see this.
One science and one sec approach to discovering this perhaps. Could be fun.

Their hives might need a central structure to funtion for the following aspects I am going to throw into the room,...

BODY SNATCHERS could be weaker in the sense of lower HP, yes. Perhaps also lower stamina to make it harder to run, overall straight up a human downgrade that requires the collection of infestation wide - hive biopoints; and the communication of the whole team.
The BODY SNATCHERS could vote on upgrades to their global upgrades if they so choose.

Biopoints could be used for [1. Respawning] - [2. Upgrading the WHOLE invasion].

Offering several choices like:
- Body upgrades or extra strength for huge amounts of Biopoints.
- Spawning in a wave of protective NPC critters around each hive.
- The ability to upgrade every pod to be able to offer a character customisation option for every pod; permanently.
- Strange alien abilities like the squreeching you mentioned: to mark a human, so that every BODY SNATCHER member receives a ping about the location of said crewmember - to call other BODY SNATCHERS for help.

Just a few thoughts...spit-balling here.

I like a lot of these ideas. Some kind of mental connection like changeling might be or interesting, but perhaps a bit more crude since they aren't sharing the same body. Like perhaps it's a simple ping system. 

"You feel John Smith has reached out to you mentally... " 

The screech, being far less subtle, might provide more context. 

"You feel a rush through your body. Mary Sue has marked a target in Northern Maintenance!" 

I don't think there should be a special requirement for seeing the Snatcher pod, but I like the idea of having some kind of special glasses to help see them. It's kind of like how botany can grow garlic to process into holy water. Perhaps a certain material from mining? Make lenses in the nanofab from... I dunno, clarentine?
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#12
I like the idea of strength in numbers. Could go with this by making the body snatchers more equal in power level instead of the big difference between Vampire and Thralls. However, I still think the original antag player should have extra strength/powers because they rolled being an antag. They are the "Host Body Snatcher" or similar.

Their true form would remain hidden unless they used certain abilities or it can be force revealed in some way.
Body Snatchers could travel via converted lockers, they are reabsorbed then reconstructed at their destination.

An alternative to lockers just absorbing people is that they could transport you to a different off station location like the Wizard Shuttle. This would be a small-medium size snatcher base. There's a lot of complications from this but if you want to have machinery and a more involved kidnapping/conversion process it would allow for it. Could be quite interesting for the crew to attempt to assault, perhaps the snatchers are stronger there.
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#13
So for the crew to eliminate the BODY SNATCHERS they would have to travel off-station to their space-hive?
Sounds skitz. Yeah.
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#14
Two issues that come to mind.

I think having an off station infestation is fine.. But I don't think it should interact with other z levels. It seems like too much to have resources travel so easily between z levels.

In that same vein, are pods becoming too much for just a single object?

Consider, right now, a single investment of a pod creates...

-A conversion spot.
-A cloner.
-A teleporter.

But it makes sense in context. If this is the case, perhaps a pod can only do one task at a time, with a cool down on that pod. This, again, encourages pod people to create a lot of pods and spread out in the station.

We might also be neglecting the concept infesting other objects, like infesting an apc to draw biopoints from the electrical grid somehow, or infesting manufacturers to spawn small critter defenders.

Infesting buildings should be a core mechanism that body snatchers should be doing constantly to build power.
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#15
(09-19-2020, 07:19 PM)Frank_Stein Wrote: This and Maskedman2's ideas for reworking Changeling sound like they'd roll together really well

Yeah I've been thinking about something along those lines. Some like, "egg pod" thing with lings that they spawn shit out of. Big thing is balence. There's gotta be some downside to cranking out lings. Like the mass-produced ones are missing a bunch of powers or something.
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