<Cinnabar> What about a white mask that molds onto your face when you put it on, but then gets bored of it and modifies itself, doing the same to your face?
<Cinnabar> And that, with time, grows, and spreads, going under the chin, around the head, and then the neck…
<Cinnabar> One of the test logs would be with a D-class staying as long as he can with the mask on..
<Cinnabar> Which results in the mask spreading onto his arms and torso, and subsequent loss of control of said parts of the body. The arms, head and torso now can be altered much like the mask did initially.
<Cinnabar> The covered parts were of solid, smooth, white clay, and were broken with a hammer. They shattered, except for the initial mask stage.
<Cinnabar> The mask can be taken off as long as it's physically possible. While it's still only on your face, you can easily take it off.
<Cinnabar> Yessir, though your face will remain altered for some time.
<Cinnabar> The mask makes it so the only thing the changes cause you are pinches of pain.
<Cinnabar> In some time, one that was altered with the mask will regain its appearance.
<Cinnabar> The concept is that the mask was once stronger, causing permanent changes to wearers.
<Cinnabar> Evidence that it was stronger is in the place where it was found, a chamber sculpted into the wall of a ravine, filled with horribly altered skeletons.
<Cinnabar> So, any ideas on improving it?
<Cinnabar> It's essentially a white shell of smooth, white clay. imagine a mask that has nothing on it, just a smooth concave surface.
<ophite> Yeah. I think there are potential ways to add texture.
<ophite> Okay, so, remember, you want to engage theory-formation. You want the audience to believe that there is a reason this object exists, but that they don't know it.
<ophite> So, let's graph out your elements.
<ophite> You've got mask that changes your face.
<ophite> The mask does this because it's board.
<ophite> Er. Bored.
<ophite> You've got a whole bunch of skeletons, implying danger.
<ophite> You've got a ravine. So let's do a couple things here.
<Cinnabar> Waaait… You checked the Sandbox file out.
<Cinnabar> didn't you?
<ophite> I was there for the conversation last night.
<ophite> Did you change it since then?
<Cinnabar> No, i didn't change it yet.
<ophite> Am I missing something obvious?
<ophite> I am occasionally dense.
<Cinnabar> No, i just didnt remember you there yesterday.
<Cinnabar> I just didn't describe the chamber today, so i asked if you had read it.
<Cinnabar> Well, moving on from that, what were you going to say?
<ophite> So, okay. Let's just fill in some texture. So, let's start with the mask, because this is where the money shot has to be.
<ophite> What's it trying to do?
<Cinnabar> The mask was worn by the one supposed to serve as vector for a deity.
<ophite> But it doesn't work anymore.
<ophite> What's this deity like? What is he associated with?
<ophite> Maybe it never worked.
<Cinnabar> Hm, that's ONE of the explanations i came um with.
<Cinnabar> It could be what the guys in the chamber THOUGHT it did..
<ophite> Well, okay. No, this is good. And it gives you a hook to hang some texture on.
<ophite> Have you heard of Living Buddhas?
<ophite> I suppose that's imprecise.
<Cinnabar> Hm. I remember hearing something like that.
<Cinnabar> give me a second
<ophite> So, we already have a successful one.
<ophite> Let's go the other way: an important religious rite that inevitably fails, ending in death.
<Cinnabar> Understood.
<ophite> I mean, we've got the mask, its attempts to change its wearer into … something … and a religious aspect.
<ophite> And the artifact is already basically safe, so we can safely imply that — whatever it's trying to change humans into — humans just aren't a suitable host.
<Cinnabar> Oh, they aren't?
<ophite> Well, this is your SCP. That's just a suggestion.
<ophite> That leaves an uncomfortable theory-formation question: what, exactly, was this mask intended to transform, if not humans?
<ophite> There's no answer to that question. But it's a concrete enough question to get some creepy theory-formation going.
<Cinnabar> Or…
<Cinnabar> What exactly was this mask intended to transform humans INTO?
<Cinnabar> Remember the test log i thought of?
<ophite> And why doesn't it work?
<Cinnabar> The D-XXXX going in and being told to stay with the mask for the longest time possible.
<ophite> And we include some burnt remains of something unclear at the recovery site, implying that it was successful at least once, but the thing that transformed was rapidly disposed of.
<Cinnabar> Score.
<ophite> So, sealed chamber, anomalous remains which we can't reconstruct, mask is trying to transform people and failing.
<ophite> Possibly include some pseudoscience indicating that this thing's battery is running down — a declining radioactive signature or something similar.
<Cinnabar> In the sandbox, i put in something like that.
<ophite> And we can brick the chamber shut from the _inside_, implying that the people on the interior of the chamber wanted to be trapped inside with whatever the transformation resulted in, but for some reason changed their minds and lit the goddamn thing on fire.
<Cinnabar> Aha. I like that.
<ophite> So, okay. I mean, essentially, what you had sounded like a shitty idea because you could go directly from A —> B.
<ophite> "Dangerous mask, do not put on, someone puts it on, it's not as dangerous as it seems."
<Cinnabar> Well, it can be removed easily NOW
<Cinnabar> Though after some time, when it's covered more of the body, it has to be broken with a hammer, though the initial mask part stays unchanged.
<Cinnabar> How do you know it was that easy to remove back then?
<ophite> Well, I mean, right. We don't. In fact, we should assume that it isn't.
<Cinnabar> We're heading on a good track here.
<Cinnabar> Sure, the person's appearance slowly goes back to what it normally looked like now…
<ophite> I think I've taught you as much as I can teach you. Although I could point you at one of my SCPs and we can reverse-engineer what I did to come up with it, if you like.
<Cinnabar> But we have weird skeletons.
<Cinnabar> Yessir, it would help a lot.
<ophite> So, okay. This is the one of mine that's on the 'highest rated SCPs' list.
<ophite> I'll give you a minute to read it, then answer any questions you have, then explain what I did here.
<Cinnabar> Alright.
<Cinnabar> Hm, it's sorta hard to understand.
<Cinnabar> I mean, not to understand, but to picture.
<ophite> The arm itself?
<Cinnabar> Could you try describing it a bit off the tone so i have a better picture?
<ophite> Oh. Right. It's an extraordinarily long arm which apparently goes to the core of the earth, though we can't follow it that far.
<ophite> Also, it has a telephone. Which it didn't bring with it and install on the surface. It was installed from above.
<Cinnabar> Oh.
<Cinnabar> That's nothing short of odd..
<Cinnabar> But now i get it.
<ophite> That's right. So, right there, you have two questions:
<ophite> The first question is, "What the fuck?"
<ophite> The second question is, "Who the fuck understood this well enough to install a telephone for it? It certainly wasn't us."
<Cinnabar> What exactly is the discernings of 1193-01/02?
<Cinnabar> are*
<ophite> Discernings? Not quite sure what you mean.
<ophite> Oh.
<ophite> For related SCPs, they're all numbered off of the main article.
<Cinnabar> I know, but what's the difference between 1193-01 and 02.
<Cinnabar> Is it the phone?
<ophite> Oh. 02 is the phone.
<ophite> 01 is the arm.
<Cinnabar> What tangled my head a bit was because SCP1193-02 is mentioned before it is defined in the main article.
<ophite> Ah. Yeah. That happens, due to formatting issues.
<Cinnabar> Alright.
<ophite> The reason the articles are structured the way they are is essentially to throw you headlong into the mystery: we tell you how to contain the thing before we even tell you what it is.
<Cinnabar> I don't mean reading the containment log first.
<Cinnabar> I meant we have "Communication via SCP-1193-02, especially about[…]"
<ophite> Huh. I might go back and change that. It got such a uniformly positive response that I haven't done much alteration to it since it went up, but I think you're right.
<Cinnabar> Before we have SCP-1193-02 is a GPO 746 telephone
<ophite> Well, I did that on purpose, but maybe I shouldn't have done that on purpose. The reason I did that was to unexpectedly convey, "Wait … we're _talking_ to whatever that thing is?"
<Cinnabar> So i went and skimmed up for 1193-02, but didn't find it, so i asked
<Cinnabar> I can understand why the containment instructions come before.
<ophite> Right. Basically, that whole article is a mass of theory-formation dead ends.
<ophite> Every potentially valid theory about it has a substantial amount of contradictory information.
<ophite> It is huge. Is it dangerous? No. It doesn't appear to be.
<Cinnabar> Wait, maybe…
<Cinnabar> Oh, no, that can't be, so what..
<Cinnabar> Oh, then maybe it's…. No, that doesn't fit either.
<Cinnabar> That's the theory forming process for it.
<ophite> It seems horrifyingly abnormal. Yet it claims to be perfectly normal. Why is it doing that? Is it lying? No. Probably not. It's not dangerous. Is it deluded? Why might a 71-kilometer arm be deluded into believing it is a human being.
<ophite> Is this a perfectly normal sort of thing that happens in the center of the earth? It claims to have a cousin. It's not alone, then, I suppose. But what kind of world do we live in if its claims not to be extraordinary are true.
<ophite> And hopefully, at the end, the reader considers: but wait, what if _I'm_ crazy here, and the arm is a perfectly normal sort of thing I don't understand. That's why the arm's communications are so relentlessly normal, but also subtly contemptuous.
<ophite> It is implying that there is something simple about it that the readers do not understand.
<ophite> This is, of course, just a trick. I have no more idea what it is than you do. But there's a lot of information that is _suggestive of an impossible theory_.
<Cinnabar> It's one of the SCP's that isn't scary, it's just interesting and messes with your thinking process.
<ophite> Yeah, exactly.
<Cinnabar> An SCP i'd suppose to be scary would be…
<ophite> And, going back, that's what I meant about providing 'texture.' In this case, 'texture' is just theory-formation dead-ends.
<ophite> For a scary example of the same phenomenon, this log is the best example.
<Cinnabar> One i remember thinking was creepy was..
<Cinnabar> Yes, 087
<ophite> 087 is very well-done horror.
<ophite> Well-done horror SCPs follow essentially the same rules about theory-formation, and one additional rule:
<ophite> The SCP must violate known categories of 'frightening entity or object.'
<Cinnabar> Wow. 603 is… well done.
<ophite> SCP-603 is very well done. It's my favorite SCP that isn't a general favorite.
<Cinnabar> I see.
<Cinnabar> Hm.
<Cinnabar> Another viable question would be…
<Cinnabar> "What is the mask?"
<Cinnabar> "Is it sentient, or just a shapeshifting mechanism?"
<Cinnabar> "Is the complete transformation always the same?
<ophite> Right. So, I mean, when you're thinking about new SCPs in the future, it might be productive to think backward from potential dead-end questions.
<ophite> Rather than forward from 'it would be scary if…'
<Cinnabar> SCP's don't have to be scary.
<Cinnabar> They aren't creepypastas.
<Cinnabar> Fr'instance, 682 is… well, just interesting.
<ophite> Yeah, exactly. I mean, I think scary ones are generally better-regarded.
<Cinnabar> It's hard to make an SCP truly scary, and because of that, when you do, it'll be golden.
<Cinnabar> You know, maybe…
<Cinnabar> Its batteries are running out, because it hasn't tried to change people in soooo loooong.
<ophite> Was I helpful at all?
<Cinnabar> Of course.
<Cinnabar> And, if given more people for changing…
<Cinnabar> Maybe it'll come back to its original potential!
<Cinnabar> And maybe… that full transformation we thought of that was burnt down, am i feeling SCP-xxxx-02?
<ophite> I think it's better if you leave it sort of suggested.
<Cinnabar> I'm just opening the floodgate of ideas here, feel free to rate them, or strike them down.
<Cinnabar> Maybe time being exposed to SCP-XXXX takes a toll on whoever is being exposed to it.
<Cinnabar> And that's what "fills the battery".
<Cinnabar> ye there?

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