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  1. - Top - End - #61
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    Default Sci-fi frog

    So Iíve figured out what my scientist is researching. Heís discovered a frog on an Outer Rim planet that secretes a substance that the scientist wants to extract because it has special properties that give the users a beneficial enhancement. I just need to figure out what this secretion can do. It cannot

    -Heal a disease or wound or injury

    -Get you high like on marijuana

    -Put you to sleep, wake you up or eliminate sleep, induce lucid dreams or semi-hemispheric sleep

    -Help you lose weight.

    -Increase one of your five senses or give you a sixth sense.

    -Anything to do with Midi-chlorians or the Force.

    -Subsitute for Food or nourishment.

    -Give you superpowers (e.g. Super strength, Super speed, Super intelligence)

    What can this secretion do? Hard science ideas are highly welcomed and recommended.

  2. - Top - End - #62
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    Default Re: Sci-fi frog

    Surely there must be a more efficient way to crowdsource a fanfic.
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  3. - Top - End - #63
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    Default Re: Sci-fi frog

    If what the scientist is working on is integral to your story, then your story plan will cover what he/she/it is working on and you don't need to ask us (unless you are trying to get us to generate the plot of your story). I will do you the courtesy of assuming that this is not the case.

    In the other case you have a story in which the scientist is a character - either background or significant. In this case going in to too much detail on what the scientist is working is a mistake.
    Actually, this being space opera helps, in that people will be more willing to overlook science that doesn't work, however you still run the risk that anything that goes against established canon will draw a negative reaction.
    For example, a reference to a scientist working "on genetics" gets accepted and ignored, except as relevant to the story; a reference to a scientist working on "genetic compatability of different alien races" will get debate about how the races can have compatible genetics; and a refence to a scientist working on "blending the DNA from humans with a DNA from a known species of living rocks" will get complaints that rocks are silicon based life forms and cannot have DNA.
    In short, the more specific you get, the more likely people are to find holes in what you write (even if you are actually correct) and complain about it. People who like science fiction are likely to pick up a reasonable amount of knowledge about sicience (admitedly a lot of it may be wrong) and they will notice and react to things that don't fit their existing knowledge.
    The same phenomenon occurs in crime fiction where the readers "learn" a lot about legal proceedings from the stories they follow and then notice when the writers of another work get it "wrong" (again, the writers may or may not be correct, but people go with what they think they know).

    There are always niche cases where the true experts complain (the friend I was watching the first Jurasic Park film with in the cinema turned to me and complained that "there's a lot more too it than that" when they talked about extracting the dinosaur DNA from the mosquito gut blood - but then she was doing her PhD on that sort of thing at the time - thinking about it I could see most of what they had skipped past, but not being an expert it hadn't bothered me) but those are rare and only really matter to said experts.

    Edit: so what the frog does is "something" - don't go into specifics.
    Last edited by Khedrac; 2019-02-10 at 03:37 PM.

  4. - Top - End - #64
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    Default Re: What could a scientist in my Star Wars fan fic be working on?

    Great Modthulu: This doesnt need a separate thread since it's still the same topic.

    @OP: Why not give us a list of potential options to comment on, instead of listing negatives and asking us to guess between the blanks? Your ban list has basically ruled out every possible beneficial result a biological substance can have.
    Last edited by The Glyphstone; 2019-02-10 at 04:21 PM.
    Quote Originally Posted by Red Fel, on quest rewards
    "Is a stack of ten pancakes too many pancakes to give to the party, even if most of them fell on the floor and one or two were stepped on? I wanted to give my party pancakes as a reward but I'm unsure if it's too much. The pancakes are also laced with blowfish poison so the party would have to get an antitoxin before they could eat the ones which weren't pulverized by shoes."

    I don't think anyone would want those pancakes even if you paid them to eat them.

  5. - Top - End - #65
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    Default Re: What could a scientist in my Star Wars fan fic be working on?

    If you want to figure out what the frog's secretion do for the user, think how it might benefit the frog.
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    Default Re: Sci-fi frog

    Quote Originally Posted by Maximum77 View Post
    So Iíve figured out what my scientist is researching. Heís discovered a frog on an Outer Rim planet that secretes a substance that the scientist wants to extract because it has special properties that give the users a beneficial enhancement. I just need to figure out what this secretion can do. It cannot

    -Heal a disease or wound or injury

    -Get you high like on marijuana

    -Put you to sleep, wake you up or eliminate sleep, induce lucid dreams or semi-hemispheric sleep

    -Help you lose weight.

    -Increase one of your five senses or give you a sixth sense.

    -Anything to do with Midi-chlorians or the Force.

    -Subsitute for Food or nourishment.

    -Give you superpowers (e.g. Super strength, Super speed, Super intelligence)

    What can this secretion do? Hard science ideas are highly welcomed and recommended.
    Well, an obvious option is that it's a highly efficient poison.

    Another option is that the frog consumes something with a lot of a certain element. The excretion is a concentration of this. The element is very useful in the creation of something relatively mundane, but important... maybe its a useful catalyst in droid brains or hyperdrives. This frog isn't NECESSARY for these things, but it would provide a new source or avenue of gathering it.
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  7. - Top - End - #67
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    Default Re: What could a scientist in my Star Wars fan fic be working on?

    It is a source for a perfume, along the lines of musk or ambergris.

    If that does not seem scientific enough, how about a perfume that makes Hutts smell pleasing to Humans, an otherwise difficult task.

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    Default Re: Sci-fi frog

    Quote Originally Posted by Maximum77 View Post
    So Iíve figured out what my scientist is researching. Heís discovered a frog on an Outer Rim planet that secretes a substance that the scientist wants to extract because it has special properties that give the users a beneficial enhancement. I just need to figure out what this secretion can do.
    Can he not just be researching the pseudo-frog* because it's unique and interesting? Science isn't always about putting frogs in blenders and turning them into a marketable product. Chances are, what with differences in biology from planet to planet, the substance doesn't do anything to humans, and might only be interesting due to how it relates to other lifeforms in that biosphere. Perhaps it works on the creature's primary predator as an appetite suppressor, so only one will get eaten at a time; that would certainly be a novel type of poison.

    (*) If it's not from Earth, it's not a frog, even it if fills roughly the same niche and looks similar due to convergent evolution. I dislike the way sci-fi authors throw around words like "reptile" or "bird" when those don't make any sense for alien life.
    Last edited by Excession; 2019-02-11 at 04:18 PM.

  9. - Top - End - #69
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    Default Re: What could a scientist in my Star Wars fan fic be working on?

    Quote Originally Posted by Prehysterical View Post
    On top of that, you have to have a minimum of around 22% oxygen make-up in the atmosphere. Again, this is operating under the idea that atmospheric chemistry is consistent across most of the Star Wars species.
    Just curious, where did you get that threshold? IIRC, somewhere around the Jurassic period we had substantially higher oxygen concentrations, meaning that larger creatures with comparatively inefficient vascular systems (i.e., giant arthropods) thrived that could not survive under current conditions. In terms of biology, I don't see why species couldn't evolve that could survive in lower oxygen conditions, particularly since we have (admittedly, not very complex) extremophiles that do precisely that.

    Is there something about having <22% oxygen that has some unavoidable and catastrophic effect on atmospheric chemistry?

    Now, I know that this all ultimately falls to it being a long-standing trope of science fiction to have these exotic worlds that are nothing like Earth, but it just baffles me to see Star Wars continuing to write worlds in this style without throwing in at least a few worlds that display more than two colors. In the old canon, we had Panspermia to fall back upon, but who knows if that's still true?
    In their defense, the non-movie media (both Legends and currently canon stuff) is a bit better about that sort of thing. As for the movies, with limited budgets it's probably not worth the extra cost to toss in Zhang Yimou style scenery porn showing that Hoth actually has a brief rainy season in regions closer to the equator.

    Edit: Then again, I suppose they could have done it at the end of RotJ when they were showing all that other scenery porn.
    Last edited by Xyril; 2019-02-11 at 07:55 PM.

  10. - Top - End - #70
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    Default Re: What could a scientist in my Star Wars fan fic be working on?

    Quote Originally Posted by The Glyphstone View Post
    Great Modthulu: This doesnt need a separate thread since it's still the same topic.

    @OP: Why not give us a list of potential options to comment on, instead of listing negatives and asking us to guess between the blanks? Your ban list has basically ruled out every possible beneficial result a biological substance can have.
    I second this, though as OP has stated he's well aware that this is a valid criticism of all of his threads ever.

    These threads are pretty much always OP listing a bunch of stuff he doesn't want, then noting all of the suggestions that aren't what he's looking for, without ever really putting any effort into trying to articulate why something doesn't work or what kind of thing he's looking for.

    Maximum, what is it that you're trying to avoid? Sci-fi cliches and tired tropes? Technologies that are too powerful? (i.e., if your main character is working on cloaking technology, it's not plausible that he'd be a relative unknown because everyone in the Empire and the Rebellion would be going after any scientist making a potential breakthrough in cloaking.) Technologies that are so irrelevant that it doesn't make sense that your protagonist would have enough steady work to feel secure taking time of to go gallivanting around the galaxy? Do you want something that would reflect on his personality but otherwise have zero impact on the plot? Alternatively, do you need something for the plot?

    Is the premise of this plot all a lie, and you're actually just trying to crowd source ideas for your new startup?

  11. - Top - End - #71
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    Default Re: What could a scientist in my Star Wars fan fic be working on?

    Quote Originally Posted by Xyril View Post
    I second this, though as OP has stated he's well aware that this is a valid criticism of all of his threads ever.

    These threads are pretty much always OP listing a bunch of stuff he doesn't want, then noting all of the suggestions that aren't what he's looking for, without ever really putting any effort into trying to articulate why something doesn't work or what kind of thing he's looking for.

    Maximum, what is it that you're trying to avoid? Sci-fi cliches and tired tropes? Technologies that are too powerful? (i.e., if your main character is working on cloaking technology, it's not plausible that he'd be a relative unknown because everyone in the Empire and the Rebellion would be going after any scientist making a potential breakthrough in cloaking.) Technologies that are so irrelevant that it doesn't make sense that your protagonist would have enough steady work to feel secure taking time of to go gallivanting around the galaxy? Do you want something that would reflect on his personality but otherwise have zero impact on the plot? Alternatively, do you need something for the plot?

    Is the premise of this plot all a lie, and you're actually just trying to crowd source ideas for your new startup?
    Never fear. Iím far too dumb to make a startup with a science idea. I donít even know how to drive.

    Definitely avoiding cliches and tropes and definitely avoiding anything too powerful. Just something for him to be working on that is cool but possibly in a niche. It can reflect his personality if need be and can be irrelevant to the wider galaxy
    Basically just science

  12. - Top - End - #72
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    Default Re: What could a scientist in my Star Wars fan fic be working on?

    Quote Originally Posted by Maximum77 View Post
    Never fear. Iím far too dumb to make a startup with a science idea. I donít even know how to drive.

    Definitely avoiding cliches and tropes and definitely avoiding anything too powerful. Just something for him to be working on that is cool but possibly in a niche. It can reflect his personality if need be and can be irrelevant to the wider galaxy
    Basically just science
    Cool, thanks for the clarification.

    Any clue as to what that personality might be? Just as an example, the EU gave (young) Jacen Solo an affinity for animals that was supposed to underscore a more intuitive, emotive personality, while his sister's aptitude for machines reflected her more analytical thinking and direct personality.

    For example, do you think your character will be a big picture guy, or very detail oriented? A traditionalist, or an iconoclast? Cautious and risk-averse, or reckless and impulsive? For example, how did he discover the frog? Was he just some recent graduate with a zoology background, backpacking around the galaxy trying to find himself when he stumbled upon something cool, or was he already working, trying to study some particular trait, when he heard rumors about some primitive tribe of humanoids in the Outer Rim who displayed crazy amounts of that trait?

    For example, for the free-spirited wanderer, I think something in the vein of introspection or spiritual development would fit the theme well. Keeping in mind your restrictions on the Force, affecting sleep, or "getting high," maybe something that temporarily altered your mental state in a beneficial way. For example, there's the argument that experience can put a limit on creativity. As you get older, you learn to think a certain way: You learn what works, so you often unconsciously use that as a starting point for new solutions, and you learn what doesn't work, so you might be quick to dismiss stupid ideas that are too similar to stuff that previously failed. Maybe the secretions help suppress those blocks, helping the local tribe to become some of the most creative artists and innovators in the known galaxy.

    Or maybe it suppresses that part of our mind that tries to protect us from hard truths about ourselves. Using the frogs, people are able to take an honest look at themselves, learn to either accept or correct their flaws, and grow as people, but maybe there are some major drawbacks. Perhaps there are negative side-effects, or perhaps the secretions work too well, and users often end up emotionally paralyzed by the hard truths about themselves. Our scientist could be trying to figure out how the substance work in order to help people without pushing them too hard.
    Last edited by Xyril; 2019-02-11 at 10:27 PM.

  13. - Top - End - #73
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    Default Re: What could a scientist in my Star Wars fan fic be working on?

    The frog's slimy secretion makes you invisible, but only as long as you aren't observed. It's a quantum effect.

    Its actual value is in its use as a coating for premyzaline. Premyzaline is a medicine for cats, life saving. It combats a type of worm that unchecked can eat the cat whole from the inside out. But the medicine is incredibly bitter, not to mention nasty and foul to boot. Cat's won't eat it. But you can trick them into eating it by coating the stuff in the frog's secretion and administering it to them while they're inside a box that also contains a vial of poison kept closed by a single molecule of a radioactive isotope. That way they can't see how bad it tastes.

    At least, that's the theory. The medicine doesn't seem to work very well on worms that are both alive and dead. But we might be able to fix that by making them exactly the right amount of alive and dead, so the quantum resonance can cancel out the quantum interference.
    Last edited by Lvl 2 Expert; 2019-02-12 at 02:22 PM.

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    Default Re: What could a scientist in my Star Wars fan fic be working on?

    Quote Originally Posted by Xyril View Post
    Just curious, where did you get that threshold? IIRC, somewhere around the Jurassic period we had substantially higher oxygen concentrations, meaning that larger creatures with comparatively inefficient vascular systems (i.e., giant arthropods) thrived that could not survive under current conditions. In terms of biology, I don't see why species couldn't evolve that could survive in lower oxygen conditions, particularly since we have (admittedly, not very complex) extremophiles that do precisely that.

    Is there something about having <22% oxygen that has some unavoidable and catastrophic effect on atmospheric chemistry?
    I was just talking about our own atmospheric composition, which is roughly 78% nitrogen and 22% oxygen with other gases thrown in. We're operating under the assumption that since most species in the Star Wars universe can intermingle in the same room without needing any sort of breathing apparatus, most of these life forms are used to the same atmospheric chemistry.

    You're perfectly right that life could evolve in much lower oxygen conditions, but we never see any evidence of life forms with higher oxygen requirements (like us) needing supplemental oxygen whenever we visit those planets. We could also experience planets with a much higher oxygen content, but the inhabitants of those worlds would need their own atmospheric devices when visiting worlds that would fit comfortably within human atmospheric requirements.

    The 22% oxygen is not a hard and fast atmospheric threshold for life in general, but terrestrial life only became possible on Earth after the atmosphere was pumped with oxygen as a byproduct of the rampant development of photosynthesis as a means of acquiring energy. A lower oxygen content in the atmosphere would severely inhibit life above sea level, since getting oxygen is so much harder out of water. If the oxygen make-up in our own atmosphere ever dropped below 19.5%, human respiratory systems would begin to fail. There would still be oxygen, but not enough to support our needs and doubtless the needs of a great many terrestrial animals.

    As PairO'Dice Lost pointed out, these problems arise from world-building a galaxy full of beings that have very similar requirements for existence despite coming from very different planets and ecosystems.

  15. - Top - End - #75
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    Default Re: What could a scientist in my Star Wars fan fic be working on?

    Quote Originally Posted by Prehysterical View Post
    I was just talking about our own atmospheric composition, which is roughly 78% nitrogen and 22% oxygen with other gases thrown in. We're operating under the assumption that since most species in the Star Wars universe can intermingle in the same room without needing any sort of breathing apparatus, most of these life forms are used to the same atmospheric chemistry.
    That's a big and not entirely justified assumption. Sticking to the movie continuity, half of our major examples of settings are military ships and installations run by a human-centric, xenophobic authoritarian regime that has conformity so intrinsic to its DNA that its military began with literal clones. In the scenes where the movies did go out of their way to show a diverse array of species, many individuals did in fact have their faces (and presumed breathing holes) covered.

    In other media, where depicting this sort of thing isn't as costly, you see this sort of thing a bit more often.

    You're perfectly right that life could evolve in much lower oxygen conditions, but we never see any evidence of life forms with higher oxygen requirements (like us) needing supplemental oxygen whenever we visit those planets. We could also experience planets with a much higher oxygen content, but the inhabitants of those worlds would need their own atmospheric devices when visiting worlds that would fit comfortably within human atmospheric requirements.

    T
    We do in fact see plenty of folks (of unknown species) wearing what look like respirators or pressure suits, and let's keep in mind that in the movies, we've only really visited a handful of sorta lazily designed planets. In both the currently canon and old Legends expanded materials, you actually do see humans using supplemental oxygen or other breathing apparatuses sometimes.

    Also, a population with lower oxygen requirements than typical humans won't necessarily get in trouble in "normal" oxygen atmosphere. Just as a real life example, the average human on Earth will noticeably struggle at high altitudes, while the indigenous peoples (Tibetans, Andean natives for example) who have acclimated for generations do just fine. The converse isn't true--when these folks descend to sea level, where the air pressure and oxygen concentrations are higher, they don't generally suffer from any ill effects in our overly thick air. (At least, on the short term with respect to immediate and obvious deficits: I have no idea whether anyone's done studies to see if Tibetans moving to the coast suffer higher risks of anything due to the chronic exposure.)

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    Default Re: What could a scientist in my Star Wars fan fic be working on?

    Frog juice:
    - permanently makes your eyes turn an iridescent purple colour
    - is a powerful aphrodisiac
    - makes you temporarily immune to all narcotics
    - causes your scalp to secrete an effective and pleasant smelling hair gel
    - is a powerful laxative
    - reconfigures your fingerprints and/or retinal and/or iris patterns
    - all of the above

    Come on, it's not that hard to come up with these.
    "None of us likes to be hated, none of us likes to be shunned. A natural result of these conditions is, that we consciously or unconsciously pay more attention to tuning our opinions to our neighborís pitch and preserving his approval than we do to examining the opinions searchingly and seeing to it that they are right and sound." - Mark Twain

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    Default Re: What could a scientist in my Star Wars fan fic be working on?

    Quote Originally Posted by veti View Post
    Frog juice:
    - permanently makes your eyes turn an iridescent purple colour
    - is a powerful aphrodisiac
    - makes you temporarily immune to all narcotics
    - causes your scalp to secrete an effective and pleasant smelling hair gel
    - is a powerful laxative
    - reconfigures your fingerprints and/or retinal and/or iris patterns
    - all of the above

    Come on, it's not that hard to come up with these.
    The laxative idea is really good. Thanks!!!

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    Default Re: What could a scientist in my Star Wars fan fic be working on?

    He's developing a precursor to Bacta.

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    Default Re: What could a scientist in my Star Wars fan fic be working on?

    Quote Originally Posted by Leewei View Post
    He's developing a precursor to Bacta.
    So it's a frog from Manaan?
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    Default Re: What could a scientist in my Star Wars fan fic be working on?

    Iím shifting gears. Iím trying to look for something that was never researched until the era of the New Republic like kyber crystals werenít until the Empire used them for a superlaser and even then, they had been used in weapons formation in the past. Iím looking for something that presumably hasnít been thought of in the 25,000 years of time where almost everything has already been done.

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    Default Re: What could a scientist in my Star Wars fan fic be working on?

    Quote Originally Posted by Maximum77 View Post
    Iím shifting gears. Iím trying to look for something that was never researched until the era of the New Republic like kyber crystals werenít until the Empire used them for a superlaser and even then, they had been used in weapons formation in the past. Iím looking for something that presumably hasnít been thought of in the 25,000 years of time where almost everything has already been done.

    IIRC, scientific kyber crystal research wasn't something that "hadn't been thought of," it was something that had been actively discouraged by the extremely influential Jedi Order. If you're looking for something else like kyber crystals, then you need to figure out something else that has been tangentially mentioned already and subject to a similar taboo, or alternatively, look to all the stuff mentioned during or before the KotOR era and see what hasn't really been mentioned since--in practice, it probably means it was something that the KotOR authors thought of after most of the modern era EU stuff was published and nobody could figure out how to reconcile the two, but you can take advantage of that and just call it "lost science."

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    Default Re: What could a scientist in my Star Wars fan fic be working on?

    Quote Originally Posted by Maximum77 View Post
    Iím shifting gears. Iím trying to look for something that was never researched until the era of the New Republic like kyber crystals werenít until the Empire used them for a superlaser and even then, they had been used in weapons formation in the past. Iím looking for something that presumably hasnít been thought of in the 25,000 years of time where almost everything has already been done.
    This is a detail, right? It's such a tiny detail of the setting that it's not relevant to the actual story in any way, which is why it can be anything. Honest advice: stop looking for the perfect detail, just write the friggin story.

    There are two kinds of writers: those who finish their books and those who never get that perfect first sentence down.
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    Default Re: What could a scientist in my Star Wars fan fic be working on?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lvl 2 Expert View Post
    This is a detail, right? It's such a tiny detail of the setting that it's not relevant to the actual story in any way, which is why it can be anything. Honest advice: stop looking for the perfect detail, just write the friggin story.

    There are two kinds of writers: those who finish their books and those who never get that perfect first sentence down.
    Iím definitely the latter. However the way my dumb brain works is that I need a prompt before I can start writing.

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    Default Re: What could a scientist in my Star Wars fan fic be working on?

    Quote Originally Posted by Maximum77 View Post
    Iím shifting gears. Iím trying to look for something that was never researched until the era of the New Republic like kyber crystals werenít until the Empire used them for a superlaser and even then, they had been used in weapons formation in the past. Iím looking for something that presumably hasnít been thought of in the 25,000 years of time where almost everything has already been done.
    The lost art of making paper, with an eventual eye toward recreating the exotic data-storage medium known as 'books'.

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    Default Re: What could a scientist in my Star Wars fan fic be working on?

    Quote Originally Posted by tyckspoon View Post
    The lost art of making paper, with an eventual eye toward recreating the exotic data-storage medium known as 'books'.
    Flimsiplast, or flimsi for short, was more widespread than paper, but paper was still used. Both were uncommon to rare, though.
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    Latveria
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: What could a scientist in my Star Wars fan fic be working on?

    How about this: may frogs (ok, many 4 limbed amphibians) secrete a whole apothecary of toxic substances for self defence , but this one has a symbiotic relation with a microorganism that has a similar effects to those of the terran Toxoplasma gondii. This organism has evolved to alter brain chemistries of its planet's macrobiota, specifically those which trigger predatory or aggressive behaviour towards other infected organisms. (Its effects are a bit like futurama's brain slug.) The empire wish to weaponise this by creating compliance as plague.

    It's hardly a new idea, but it could work.. and probably has room for a twist or three. (The scientist herself is certainly already infected, and subconsciously working to spread the pure strain.)

  27. - Top - End - #87
    Barbarian in the Playground
    Join Date
    Apr 2015

    Default Re: What could a scientist in my Star Wars fan fic be working on?

    Quote Originally Posted by Maximum77 View Post
    Iím definitely the latter. However the way my dumb brain works is that I need a prompt before I can start writing.
    Wait, you don't have some sort of story idea in mind already? So your last few threads have basically been crowdsourcing other folks' creativity until you find an idea that you want to build an entire story around?

    That's impressive. Reminds me of improv on a massive scale.

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