New Futuristic Patch Uses Breakthrough Nanotech To "Turn Down" Pain
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February 3, 2020: Article, which is designed to look like a news article, but is actually more of an advertisement, discusses a new pain "medication" called Kailo. It's a rectangular clear plastic strip a few inches wide and a maybe 6 inches long, with a tan-colored vaguely hexagonal pattern set into it. According to the ads, the patterns are embedded nanocapacitors. This nanotech supposedly works as a biological antenna to somehow block pain transmissions in the body. If you put it over an injured area, or between the spine and a source of localized pain, it's supposed to nullify or greatly reduce that pain. It's not a drug, it doesn't take batteries, it is reusable, and the only side effect listed in the ads is that it heats up just slightly while it's intercepting your pain. It sounds too good to be true, so maybe it's a scam. On the other hand, maybe it's the hot new tech we'll all be using before the year is out. I'm not sure which… (but luckily, for gaming purposes, we don't care if it's legit or not, as long as the idea is cool, which it definitely is.)



Game and Story Use

  • This tech, or the next generation beyond it, could well be the ubiquitous healing potion analog for your sci-fi game.
    • Perhaps it doesn't actually heal you, but it cancels the pain so well you can ignore anything that isn't a critical hit.
      • Or maybe it restores some percentage of the hit points lost from a wound.
      • Or it just cancels penalties caused by injuries.
      • Tweak it to match whatever sounds useful and fun for the game system you're playing.
    • If built into a smart bandage, it might become as simple as "gunshot wound? slap a patch on it". This tech eliminates the pain, while the connected smart bandage deploys clotting factors and antibiotics as needed.
    • Would be super useful equipment for a combat medic or paramedic/EMT trying to evacuate the wounded from a dangerous area. Stick a patch on them to instantly dull the pain enough to get them limping out of the danger zone.
  • Could be built into the entire inner surface of power armor so the soldier of the future constantly feels no pain at all while suited up.
    • That would be immensely helpful on the battlefield, but would it dehumanize the soldiers by making war and destruction painless? Does this protect them from fear, psychology rules, or PTSD, as well as physical pain? Does it undercut their ability to feel empathy?
    • Possibly lead to soldiers dying from relatively trivial wounds as they didn't stop to get them patched and so bled out - or, if not lethal, at least lead to wounds being aggravated and taking the soldier offline for a lot longer.
  • Something like this could be a modern spin on any number of old con games or snake oil gimmicks. Someone's selling a piece of technology that, if it works, would be immensely helpful. It cost more than the existing old-school alternative, but it's still shockingly affordable if it does all they say it does.
    • This does get into some weird space in gaming. Players generally take equipment lists at face value, and assume that if they are spending their hard-earned space credits on something that say it instantly heals 2d8 HP, it's obviously going to do what the stat line indicates. Making them have to risk an initial purchase and take it on faith until they get to test it in combat would boost verisimilitude, but might also frustrate players who feel the GM cheated them.
    • More interesting (and weirdly more palatable to most gamers) would be the magic bandage that does exactly what it said it would and healed the 2d8 HP, but also has some sinister secret that develops over time. Perhaps the bio-antennae makes you more susceptible to mind control. Maybe the patch can be overloaded by microwave weapon technology and increase damage if you get shot while already wearing one. Perhaps those nanoparticles are tiny eggs of a predatory alien swarm, waiting to hatch inside your injuries. While any of these is also a bait-and-switch on the GMs part, and a worse vulnerability than just not working, these particular traps are entertaining. That makes them probably less objectionable to players than "I paid a 100 credits a piece, and now you're telling me it doesn't actually heal 2d8?"
    • Temporary HP might be a thing - the bandage grants you a temporary buffer to keep you going, but if you don't get a real heal before the clock runs out, you'll drop hard.
  • Seems like a fun piece of kit to be stocked by the early adopter, or any character with a bit of wealth and an open (or gullible?) mind.
  • Could also see it being abused to work people beyond their limits and let them take the consequences once they are off the clock.
  • Anyone see the potential for one of these things being … reversed? If it can detect and block pain signals, surely the same tech has a reasonable chance of being able to artificially stimulate the same pathways…
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