May 11th, 2008


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Discussion (34)¬

  1. Richard says:

    The perfect keepers of incuriosities!

  2. NigaiAmai Yume says:

    “Heh heh heh.”
    Anyone here read Narbonic? If not, get thee to http://www.narbonic.com now! The storyline is completed, satisfying, archived, and as a special bonus rerunning with author’s commentary.
    Heh, heh, heh.

  3. EveryZig says:

    THANK YOU, DIGGER! I’ve always thought that artifacts of doom should be encased in several layers of metal and other necessary protective substances rather than just lying in some treasure heap somewhere.

  4. Mediakill says:

    Or in the Miskatonic University Library… Never know what might try to get at it in there.

  5. BunnyRock says:

    Ah, the inevitable Lovecraft references eventually found with every webcomic. Well done Mediakill.

    I personally would go for the foundations of an aqueduct, or a major river dam. failing that the locks on a major canal. No-one is going to let some idiot treasure hunter dig up a major public work that could flood their town or mess up tier water supply if they start poking around. Plus running water may provide some element of protection, moth against the undead according to several belief systems, or against anyone else if it’s running deep and bloody fast enough, or is at high enough pressure and held back only by a load-bearing box of never-to-be-opened-ness.

  6. WJS says:

    Or, if you want the *really* long term, ensure it’s properly weighted and sink it into an ocean trench or similar. How many thousand years does your average dam last for?

  7. Mark Antony says:

    The problem with sinking it into the ocean, however, is that you cannot keep an eye on it, which means you just know that some idiot is going to end up poking around down there and find it. And of course a block of concrete would stand out a bit sitting on the bottom of the ocean, which is pretty bare, so of course the fool will bring it to the surface and drill it open. If you put it in the base of a dam, even if the dam collapses it’ll just end up in a pile of rubble somewhere underground. There’s plenty of things that look like a block of concrete underground, especially if the dam’s made of the things. Good luck ever finding it, suckers.

  8. TekServer says:

    Yeah, all the preparations are great ideas. The problem is that most of the time, no one knows that the artifact in question is a Great Object of Doom until it’s far too late to do anything about it except go on quests and other such unlikely adventures.


  9. BunnyRock says:

    Well, the predicted lifespan of the hoover dam is often sites at five thousands years. Having not seen the specs, i couldn’t say, but speaking as an archaeologist roman non-reinforced concrete is a lot weaker and erodes a lot faster than 1930’s steel reinforced concrete, and the Pantheon is still standing, albeit under a lot less stress, nearly two-thousand years later, so its not the materials that are going to decide if the hoover dam lasts that long, concrete can easily last a few thousand years, its maintenance and design that determine the building lifespan. Who knows?

    I think Digger is right on the Genre savvy money with this one; the best thing to do with a McGuffin of this nature would be to build it into something BIG as a load bearing element; shoot it into the sun, and within a measly hundred years it’ll fall from the sky and thus become worshiped by whatever tribe finds it. Ocean trench? Your boat wouldn’t even get half way back to its home port before R’lyeh rose up with Cthulhu standing atop his dread temple, holding it aloft in a dread pseudopod and complaining that he doesn’t come and dump his unwanted plot devices in your living room.

  10. Hunter says:

    Oh, I get what he’s doing.

  11. Mark Antony says:

    …at which point a wombat will probably walk up to Cthulhu, take one glance at the hideous, monolith-crowned citidel of abnormal, non-Euclidean, and loathsomely redolent of spheres and dimensions apart from ours, and complain that it makes no sense to buttress a non-Euclidean wall with a Euclidean counterfort and that Cthulhu’s lucky R’lyeh hasn’t all come down around his gills.

  12. Lee says:

    I like the idea of putting it in a crate that looks just like every other crate in a giant warehouse full of crates, with no identification except a number on the outside. And then destroy the index to the numbers, and the database of what’s in the warehouse. (Why yes, I thought the ending of Raiders of the Lost Ark got it right. Where do you hide a grain of sand? On the beach.)

  13. Cameoflage says:

    Personally, I’d ask why it should never be opened. A grisly description of the consequences would go a long way towards both satisfying my curiosity and convincing me that it would be a Very Bad Thing if somebody were to open the box. And it’d help to know what we were in for if, despite all our countermeasures, some idiot did get it open.

    I mean, I trust Trader Manuel’s judgment, but it would be much easier to grok if I knew what would happen specifically rather than just being assured that it would be bad.

  14. TekServer says:

    What, you want him to bypass all the hints, innuendos, and Nasty Surprises and just tell you all the details about the Very Bad Thing? Where do you get off!? ;)

    And I for one don’t (necessarily) trust Trader Manuel’s judgment. We only just met him, after all …


  15. Tindi says:

    Win, Mark. Win. That is EXACTLY what Digger would do. xD

  16. magenta says:

    After covering it in lead and then concrete, I would go with a toxic waste symbol, and then put it in the foundation of a highly sentimental monument. I mean seriously when are we going to move the Washington Monument. That thing is compact and it tapers it could probably withstand at least a 7.1 earthquake. It’ll probably still be cool in 3000 years.

  17. Murasaki says:

    Give a girl a box, tell her should never be opened. She lasts…a few hours, days, whatever.
    Give it to a wombat…it ends up in the foundation of some public works.

  18. jaynee says:

    Remind me again of just what *is* buried in the cornerstone of the Washington Monument?

  19. capnq says:

    http://www.snopes.com/politics/religion/monument.asp has a long list of items packed in the Washington Monument cornerstone. It’s mostly books and papers.

  20. BunnyRock says:

    @Camouflage. There is a grain of truth in the ending of Raiders of the lost arc: I’ve been in museum storerooms and university archaeology departments like that where there was ALWAYS one old archaeologist who got board of the old, complex, hard to use indexing system and decided to re-index everything and destroy the records of the old index and they ALWAYS die before they can finish the new ones. It’s the one think in archaeology that REALY seems to have an actual curse on it. Desecrate tombs? Fine. Ethically dodgy now a days but no supernatural risk involved, just lawsuits. Steal idols? Nope, no supernatural retaliation. Try to catalogue something? *WHAM* you’re a gonner. May I also bring up, as to the problems of just putting warning sighs/symbols on it and burying it, what happens when the warning is too old to be seen as such? After all, This Is Not A Place Of Honour.


  21. lduke says:

    We could always stick it in a Someone Else’s Problem field the dimensions of which match the outside of the box, and then stick it in a store room somewhere.

  22. EveryZig says:

    If you know the effects of the box, you could always put more explicit depictions of the dangers on the box. Also, now that I think about it it would be important to check to see if the box does anything such as, say, exert an aura of evil that turns everyone around it into zombies. Or also if it can take over the structure it is in and turn it into a giant golem, or something like that.

  23. Elkian says:


  24. Tetrominon says:

    What is it about these short, hairy, earthy types that make them so adept at handling and trafficking artifacts of unspeakable doom? I’m looking at you, John Ronald.

  25. JET73L says:

    I agree with Cameoflage, and apparently Digger. Knowing the conditions of the box’s contents being hidden is absolutely necessary. If it needs to be watched, put it in a quartz-and-glass container full of a dreadful poison. If it doesn’t need to be watched, put it in the foundations of a canal with a pictogram of someone opening the box and.dying (with tick marks to limit the possibility of someone reading it the wrong way around and thinking it’s a.resurrection artifact). If it need not be accessed and can handle high temperatures, put it in a big nugget of lead coated with cadmium coated with more lead and the same pictogram. If it is prized by RPG adventurers, put it in a false-bottomed biscuit tin and tell a hag to watch it for you. What you do depends on why it needs to be hidden. Of course, you also need to guard it from you opening it before it gets put away, and /that/ is the difficult part once you know a few tasty details.

  26. Zelith says:

    Yay, I get to pull one of my other favorite authors into this. Pratchett already gets enough love. ^_^ You might want to consider picking up The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss BR. The library at the university is currently subject to atleast 7 diffrent indexing methodologies, none of which where ever finished. They are infact the subject on an almost holywars level infighting between the more dedicated scribes, who go and mess up competing sections, steal key titles to reshelve under their methodology, and ocasionaly hide things out of spite.

    My mother was a college librarian specializing in the updating and digitizing of the old card cataloug, all my 3X5 cards for schoolwork where yellow and had holes in the bottom with the back covered in text… and not always english either. None of this strikes me as particularly far fetched…

  27. smjjames says:

    Sounds like he might be talking about radioactive waste or at least highly radioactive materials. Digger seems to be of the same mindset as well.

  28. The Procrastinator says:

    A tangential warning: if you take up NigiAmai Yume’s suggestion of reading Narbonic, be prepared to lose a significant amount of your time. It’s well worth it, but there’s a good 5 1/2 years’ worth of daily strips, and a comments section nearly as good as this one.

  29. Cameoflage says:

    JET73L, have you considered working for the SCP Foundation? You’d be a natural. (http://scp-wiki.wikidot.com/)

  30. Dan D says:

    Lead, sure, concrete sure. Building, not so much. Bury it in a subduction zone. Sure you’ve got to keep an eye on it for a thousand years or so, but after that it’s gone for as close to good as is possible short of launching into a star.

  31. WJS says:

    BunnyRock: Well, the Hoover Dam (which IIRC is mass concrete not reinforced) is a special case by virtue of it’s sheer mass. Most dams are a lot smaller and thus more susceptible to damage (The Hoover dam is bigger than the Great Pyramid. If you have the tech though, shoot it into the sun and it will most definitely not be coming back. Nor will it if you shoot it into deep space. That’s just the laws of physics.

  32. BunnyRock says:

    @Cameoflage: Given some keter’s can kill you if you LOOK at them, I’d not favour the transparent safe method for anything above Euclid, but it’s still a good Idea to let the foundation deal with this: Everyone should get some SCP training if they’re going to play with this stuff.
    By the way, I case of unauthorised people reading this, I’ve embedded a memetic-kill-vehicle (Motif of Physical Harm) into the text as part of my clean-sweep purge protocols. Clicking on the link at the end of the page remove any witnesses by sucking them into a hideous netherworld from which there is no escape.


  33. westrider says:

    On Roman vs. 1930s concrete: I read an article recently about a study that found that Roman concrete is actually better at surviving gradual environmental damage. Modern reinforced concrete will take an earthquake or something better, but the Roman stuff is superior against things like erosion from running water or acid rain.

  34. Mental Mouse says:

    A relevant question is whether whatever’s inside the box is trying to get out….