SCP You Are Not Cleared For That

The question was “what I thought about a game set in the SCP world“.

Honestly, the SCP world is more than a bit incoherent. That’s only to be expected; it’s a shared world and the setting is purposefully vague. There’s a mysterious Foundation with tremendous resources which is dedicated to Securing, Containing, and Protecting bizarre things that seem to violate the laws of nature. The Foundation is rather ruthless, has considerable resources, and acts to protect humanity from extinction – or possibly against the complete disruption of their world.

Beyond that… the stories and “item files” have a lot of similarities, but little actual consistency. The Foundation is sometimes helpless in the face of events leading inevitably to the destruction of the universe, sometimes it is firmly in control, sometimes its agents have superhuman powers, sometimes they’re virtually helpless. Sometimes anomalies are trivial and amusing and allowed to wander about, other times they are mysterious horrors. Often they are related to one or another religion.

Really, the only game setting thought that came to me was “Call of Cthulhu” with a lot of “silly” mixed in with the eldritch horror and some organized backing for the investigators. The various anomalies break rules at random anyway, so you don’t need any rules for them – and so pretty much any modern-setting, low-to-mid power role-playing game will do. Just pick one that fits the style you want and start sending the characters in with insufficient information and semi-random equipment.

What ACTUALLY came to mind was this…

Item #: SCP-Variable

Object Class: Euclid

Special Containment Procedures: Warning. The “pathological science” file displayed below is an undeletable cognitohazard that appears at random during Foundation file searches. It is known to cause Foundation Agents to behave irrationally and may be able to induce anomalous abilities. 2.4% of those reading it have proved vulnerable, with the infection rate rising unpredictably to an apparent maximum of 4% with eight or more readings. If you have not intentionally accessed this file report an instance of this SCP and its apparent file address immediately. Unless you are already up to eight readings or are being actively monitored and have been explicitly directed to read some further portion of this file do not read beyond this point.

Description: This SCP is a simple textual document, normally seen as a computer file. It retains its effects when encountered in print or as an audio file or recording, but reports of spontaneous manifestations are almost exclusively computer files since [REDACTED]. Physical printouts or audio recordings should be placed in reinforced long-term storage envelopes, clearly labeled with the containment procedures and description, securely closed, and placed into the secure storage lockers for passive cognitohazard works. Then make sure that this is noted in the records. Instances appear to be stable once located, and are easily contained, but continue to appear in Foundation bases; this SCP is semi-contained at best.

Pathological Science is a memetic effect sometimes induced in individuals in the population by loop-structure errors made when utilizing class two or higher informational technology effects. Fortunately, this is very rare, keeping afflicted individuals rare in the general population. While the possibility of Pathological Science being contagious cannot be ruled out entirely, no cases of person-to-person transmission have ever been confirmed. Despite this, the condition is self-reinforcing when victims encounter each other, growing in strength and serving as a social bonding agent – resulting in its memetic classification. Once large groups of victims band together they become almost totally detached from reality, resulting in a wide variety of undesirable and psychopathic behaviors both within the group and directed at outsiders.

Victims display a near-complete inability to comprehend, perceive information about, or observe the effects of, informational science – the alteration of physical structures through the manipulation of the informational substructure that defines them. Limited exceptions exist in all observed cases; if external they will be regarded as “anomalies” to be acquired, feared, and concealed. Personal abilities will be regarded with great suspicion and may lead to victims who have retained or developed some informational manipulation techniques being classified by other victims as anomalies themselves. Groups of affected individuals will quickly arrive at a general consensus as to the nature of reality and as to what “anomalies” exist, but careful comparisons of their individual accounts will reveal that they will disagree on the nature, operation, history, and even on the number and identification of “anomalies” within the overall consensual worldview. Sadly, recognition of this fact by victims generally results in the development of further paranoid delusions along the lines of “most of the others don’t know what I know” rather than in recovery.

Victims will also commonly find Science – the systematic exploration of reality and development of theories to cover any and all observable occurrences – both vital and somehow threatened by events, items, and creatures which they do not currently understand (even if the modern informational theory that they ignore explains them throughly), rather than seeing such events, items, and creatures as opportunities to advance humanities understanding of the universe.

New victims are easily detected through their inability to perceive common uses of informationaly-based effects in society, such as bringing rain, removing crop pests, increasing yields, and similar results. Those infected will attribute the blatant operation of such techniques to the use of physical technologies such as “irrigation”, “pesticides”, and “fertilizers” – techniques which do exist, but which are generally more expensive than comparable informational techniques and which commonly have undesirable environmental side effects.

While victims do tend to endanger themselves with irrational actions or blind meddling with troublesome informational effects, it is possible to cure the Pathological Science memetic condition. The most effective known treatment calls for gradual, semi-random, exposure to the truth about the condition, allowing a gradual accumulation of doubts about the assumptions underlying the disorder. While many victims will never recover, the effort involved in inserting such reminders into their environment is very small (it can be handled by minor informational constructs which victims will refuse to consciously perceive), hence even the modest recovery rate is worth pursuing.

As an aid in understanding this material, it is recommended that readers occasionally reread this document, show it to friends, and discuss its contents with them. Such activities both help in treatment and can provide limited protection against developing the condition.

Foundation Addendum: Do NOT do this!

How does this file keep getting reinserted into our databases? It’s been deleted at least twenty times so far and it just reappears in the system each time and no one has been able to figure out how yet. -Dr. Corbell

This SCP is a confirmed cognitohazard in any case; a fair number of agents have deserted and / or vanished after encounters with it. Perhaps it has a secondary anomalous property of reappearing every time it’s deleted? -[REDACTED]

It’s now well established that deleting it doesn’t work. It just pops up again at random during searches. I’m going to slap a warning header on the file, leave it, and record the identities of agents who access it. If some disappear anyway, maybe we can find out where they’re going. If the file keeps popping up in new places anyway we can always go back to deleting it. -Prof. Dallyn

What if it’s true? -Agent R. Simpson

Agent R. Simpson was placed under observation, but vanished as of [REDACTED]. If any agent who vanished after reading this file is located, they should be captured and returned for psychological testing and interrogation as to their means of escape; it is possible that this file can induce anomalous abilities in exposed personnel. -Prof. Dallyn

2 Responses

  1. I always thought of the SCP “world” as akin to what it would be like if you were an “agent” in the X-Files universe (e.g. you worked for, though possibly a few levels removed from, the Smoking Man), since that show had its fair share of comedy episodes amidst a more serious – and somewhat incoherent – background.

    • That seems pretty reasonable – although I never really watched the X-Files. I found the incoherence, the pairing of two supposedly trained investigative agents who both ignore the evidence in their own ways, and the notion that what had to be thousands to hundreds of thousands of bizarre events, all over the world, every year, throughout history, were all being more or less successfully covered up, just too annoying. Once the cover-up conspiracy needs to be big enough to involve the majority of the human race, why bother?

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