Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Ancient Armory: Intellipen

At first glance, an Intellipen looks like any other Ancient writing utensil. However, the Intellipen contains an incredibly small robotic AI built into it allowing it to communicate and interact with its owner.

If a clever mutant examines this "pen," he may notice the device is slightly more bulky than a usual pen, and it seems to have a small microphone and pinhole camera built into it. If the Intellipen is activated (by "clicking" the top like a regular ball-point pen), the device's AI will activate. The Intellipen has a built in gyroscope allowing it to remain balanced on its point. By shifting its balance, the Intellipen can actually write, draw, sketch, and otherwise move across a sheet of paper (or any appropriate writing surface).
The uses of an intelligent self-writing device are endless:

  • The Intellipen can be left active, monitoring a certain location. When its owner returns, he can ask the pen to sketch the faces of any who entered the area in his absence.
  • The Intellipen can record a conversation and write out the dialogue later upon request.
  • Any maps, pictures, or drawings recorded by the Intellipen can be accurately re-sketched later.

The Intellipen has no voice function however, so it must communicate only through the written word. The Intellipen can only write upon surfaces an ordinary pen can write on. If no surface exists, the pen will not work properly. Also, the Intellipen can only draw/write as fast as any human hand would be capable of doing, so speed is not an issue. Due to its size, an Intellipen is fairly fragile - it will be permanently damaged if it takes more than 15 hit points of damage.

If the Mutant Lord wishes, the Intellipen could be preloaded with software by the previous owner. Some examples would be:
  • Cartography - The pen can accurately sketch out thousands of maps and charts of the countryside and surrounding terrain (pre-apocalyptic).
  • Medical - The pen has hundreds of medical books and tomes within allowing it to "guide" the owner through complex diagnoses and/or surgical procedures.
  • Statistical - The pen can accurately determine a "best course of action" after a host of appropriate data is input.
  • Forgery (criminal) - The pen can accurately create a forged document from the Ancient days and may even be able to forge realistic-looking money as well.
Discovery of an Intellipen's true nature could take days (or even years) before the owner realizes what they have. The extent of the pen's knowledge/intelligence is left to the Mutant Lord. The Intellipen may also be be a great plot device if it were found to be preloaded with a previously recorded map to a great Ancient treasure!

1 comment:

  1. An interesting variant pen would be one that simply remembers only what a pen would perceive - what its bearer writes - and that can only "play back" its memory by integrating with the nervous system of an author, guiding her hand. The pen could have centuries of memories, and the author might think they were divinely inspired, channeling the ghost of previous owners of the pen, prophesying via 'automatic writing' or what-have you. They might never realize the true nature of the pen, and it would be a super clue-machine that really only works when the ML needs it to.