My campaign's party is situated on an habitable oceanic world (specifically Droplet), but away from civilisation. They have a Nautiloid variant, with the usual internal nanofabricator and an unusual inclusion of an antimatter-powered reactor (so energy is plentiful, for now). They also currently have a few synths suited for deep aquatic operation.

Their goal is to establish either a small outpost or a mobile base with self-sufficiency in terms of both energy and fabrication, since at some point they need to give away the reactor and the fabricator.

The planet gives very easy access to an abundance of CHON, and to a lesser extent to a few other like Si, Na or Cl, but other elements require either setting up high-throughput filtration systems, or finding and mining sources of abundance.

Given the above situation, it seems like CHON will be the main feedstock for any large-scale fabrication during the near future. On one hand, even just the carbon tubes alone are likely to be a very versatile material. On the other, it's been mentioned in the lore that at times fabrication is limited due to lack of less common elements, e.g. perhaps some things cannot be made without use of metals in construction.

Heart of the Question

I would like to know what things are likely to be impossible to fabricate out of CHON alone, and what elements or sorts of elements are likely to be necessary for those things.

Items of particular interest to me are:

  • Electronics (including cyberbrains, sensors and comms, servers etc.);
  • Room-temperature superconductors (of special interest for rechargeable batteries);
  • 'Nuclear batteries'/RTGs (in addition to the the radioisotopes themselves, that is, which of course need to be prospected and mined);
  • Deuterium fusion power plants (as per Rimward page 196);
  • Heavy water separators (to feed those plants);
  • Healing vats, ego bridges and other 'biomanipulative' gear;
  • Equipment for producing, storing and using entangled particle pairs;
  • Equipment for producing and storing stabilised metallic hydrogen;
  • Equipment for storing (not producing) antimatter, and possibly even AM reactors themselves;
  • Finally, full-fledged fabricators / cornucopia machines.
  • \$\begingroup\$ Does your Lore tag indicate that you are looking mostly/only for answers supported by the game/supplements? \$\endgroup\$ – Novak May 27 '19 at 20:56
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @Novak Primarily, i.e. book sources are best. Plausible, science-respecting extrapolations based the lore are a secondary option, of course sticking to Good Subjective/Show Your Work/etc. principles to keep the answers Stack-appropriate. The former is better, but the latter is still much better than nothing. \$\endgroup\$ – vicky_molokh- unsilence Monica May 27 '19 at 21:03

On page 179 of Transhuman, in the section describing feedstock used for nanofabrication, it says: "Modern equipment relies on material from across the periodic table." This suggests that standard blueprints for most of the things on your list would include elements beyond the CHON basics.

But it's pretty likely that characters who knew in advance what they were getting into could acquire blueprints with alternative designs focused on the resources you have in abundance, and avoiding or minimizing use of rarer elements. Such blueprints might be more complex or harder to come by than usual or have quirks that your characters might need to work around (e.g. the all-carbon printed diamond optical server that you made to run your habitat security AI keeps crashing due to the neutrinos occasionally emitted by your antimatter reactor, does anybody know how to make extra shielding for it?). But most gear should mostly work like normal.

The Eclipse Phase rules often avoid getting into all the details on this sort of thing, letting the GM decide what's useful to limit or restrict based on the narrative needs of their game. Would it be an interesting adventure for the characters to go set up an automated Thorium mine on that high-grade ore deposit they detected on the sea bed? If so, then make that element important for some key piece of their new habitat. If not, let them do without it.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks to pointing out the statement in Transhuman, and for drawing attention to potential drawbacks of alternative blueprints. However, I am the GM, and narrative needs are significantly influenced by what is most in line with the setting lore and general science. \$\endgroup\$ – vicky_molokh- unsilence Monica May 27 '19 at 10:46

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