Tame Nanosprite : Artifact

Published September 25, 2013 by


Nanosprites are physical manifestations of some kind of strong AI program that runs on the nanospirits dispersed all throughout the environment. In general, they are split into two categories, ‘wild’ and ‘tame’.

The more common type, ‘wild’ nanosprites, while still uncommon, tend to be found bound to various strange locations and facilities, though they can sometimes be found roaming the land. These sprites have a wide array of personalites and motives (usually acting as information providers for the locations they were made for), but they share similar characteristics. For instance, they’re all very small, ranging from about 6 to 20cm tall, and while they can take on many different forms, they’re all very cute, colorful, cartoonish and caricatured in appearance. Some seem to be caricatures of animals from eons past, while others are caricatured humanoids that seem like they might be anthropomorphic versions of objects, concepts or animals.

‘Tame’ nanosprites are nanosprites who are bound to a user, these nanosprites almost always have a large array of general support functions that provide the user with many conveniences. These nanosprites are extremely rare and virtually every example of ‘tame’ nanosprites come from a special microscopic implants. Each implant is housed inside an injection device that makes the implantation process quick and painless.

Since nanosprites are mystical in function and have strong characteristic personalities they are considered be valuable any numerical price, often sought-after by extremely rich individuals looking for unique and interesting partners, servants, or pets.


Injection device: A small cylindrical device with soft padded tip that fits in the hand and has a large trigger or button opposite the pad. Nanosprite: A random caricature of an ancient animal or antropomorphised concept, object or ancient animal.
Injection Device: Single Use. Nanosprite: 16 hours of active time per day (resets with user's 10 hour rest) - Reduce this active time by 0.5/1/1.5/2/3/4 hours when the nanosprite attempts difficulty 1/2/3/4/5/6 tasks respectively, regardless of outcome.

To enable this artifact the implant must be injected, using the injection device, directly into the nape of the user. While this might seem daunting to some users the actual injection process is completely painless. Once the device is implanted it can only be removed through a painful and dangerous surgery that always results in the destruction of the implant.

Shortly after injection a seemingly random tattoo-like symbol appears, covering the injection site, and the artifact activates. Immediately after this a nanosprite coalesces in front of the user and starts to address the user in some ancient tongue that no one seems to understand. The nanosprite that appears can have a range of appearances, but virtually all of them would be foreign to the user (animals or other entities from ages past). All personal nanosprites have a very friendly and cartoonish reprisentation though their voices can vary quite dramatically.

After a certain period of time exposed to audible language (1d6 days or GM’s discretion, consider how often the nanosprite is exposed to the language) the nanosprite’s can learn to speak a language. However the nanosprite can only speak and understand one language at a time, so any previous language is overwritten.

While the personality of the nanosprite (determined by the GM) is random, nanosprites will almost always be cooperative with the user. Nanosprites have great initiative and tend to offer their (sometimes trivial) knowledge and help, or at least the possibility that they might be able to help, without being asked for it.

Examples of common functions (difficulty 0) of nanosprites:

  • Informing the user of the current days expected weather (as determined by natural or preexisting forces), usual offered to the user shortly after waking up.
    • “Would you like to know the weather for today? It is expected to rain, so you should take a coat with you.”
  • Providing the user with very basic information on the area, the town, or its people.
    • “There seems to be a festival on the main street. Doesn’t it sound fun? Can’t we go see?”
  • Offering basic (non-analytic) opinions and observations.
    • “Did you see? He had a big scar on his shoulder too”
  • Taking basic memos for you.
  • Conversing with anyone who shares the nanosprite’s configured language
    • “My favourite color is purple, what’s yours?”
  • Monitoring basic body and health states of the user
    • “You seem tired, are you resting enough?”
  • Carrying or pushing a very small sized very light weighted object.
  • Basic interfacing with compatible (ruled by GM) machines or numenera, such as reading public data.
    • “The door said you can’t get in without a passcode”
  • Hovering, flying and freely moving through uninhabited space in close vacinity to the user (‘Tame’ nanosprites cannot exist further than a ‘short’ distance from the user)

For more complex, difficult, or quantifiably beneficial tasks the difficulty is to be determined by the GM. This difficulty level should be set within the context of a nanosprite rather than a human.

Complex function examples:

  • Predicting the weather (as determined by natural or preexisting forces) more than a day, but not more than a fortnight, ahead of time. [1-4 difficulty depending on the time frame]
    • “In a year from now!? I’m sorry but that is beyond my capabilities, s-sorry…”
  • Running a check against the nanosprite’s personal information database [1-6, depending on the obscurity of the information]
    • “Hnn? You don’t know?? A check against my records indicate that is powder is most likely an explosive. I did well, didn’t I?”
  • Surveying the local datasphere or digitally communicating with other nanosprites in the area (wild or tame)  to find information relating to hearsay, rumors, and other goings on, as well as directions to specific locations and warnings. [1-6, depending on the obscurity of the information]
  • Perceiving things which would take a difficulty check [1-6, depending on the difficulty of perception].
    • “Hey, hey, there seem to be some footsteps coming from behind”
  • Scanning the users body for diseases, poisons or other serious issues [1-6, depending on the obscurity of the complication].
  • Carrying or pushing anything of not-insignificant size or weight [1-6, depending on the size and weight of the object. As an example: 6kg or  6 liters volume = difficuly 6]
  • Complex interfacing with compatible (ruled by GM) machines or numenera, such as any kind of hacking or difficulty information related task.

Interaction, Combat and Use:

The GM controls the nanosprite’s interactions with the user, like an NPC. But any command the user gives to the nanosprite that requires a roll should be rolled by the player. Generally, nanosprites will ask the user if they should take a complex action before taking it (“Do you want me to look up this material in my database?”). However the GM may have the nanosprite take initiative and offer up information that would usually take a complex check (“You should know that my preliminary scans show that this city town is very dangerous and on the brink of all out violence”), in this case do not subtract anything from the nanosprite’s available active time.

For purposes of combat, Nanosprites have 1 health,  take defensive actions as level 3, cannot take offensive actions, cannot inflict damage. Upon ‘death’ the nanosprite disappears and deactivates, taking 1d6 days to return. Nanosprites cannot be trained in anything, cannot use effort and cannot be assisted or possess assets. Therefore they automatically fail any check for any task whose level is higher than 6. Treat any attempt on such tasks as level 6 for determining depletion time (see depletion rules).

  • cjcrashoveride

    Used this is my campaign as the first artifact discovered. My player loves it!

  • FantasyBound77

    I see a very well thought out and well described artifact, it also can lead to very interesting story bits.
    I would really like to see an upgraded version, like maybe a tame nano sprite 2.0.
    one that could interact with the enviroment more and be more characteristic, adding possibly
    the feature to roll for behaviour and trait characteristics.
    If you will read this, i would personally, if you dont mind, enjoy creating a nano sprite 2.0.
    i just feel like it could use a little upgraded version.
    does any one agree?