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Author Topic: Does anyone here actually PLAY eclipse phase?  (Read 10493 times)

robertliguori

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Re: Does anyone here actually PLAY eclipse phase?
« Reply #285 on: May 06, 2021, 07:30:42 AM »
I can imagine a sanity-like mechanic would be useful for handling the consequences as the PCs get progressively more disconnected in time, probably while loading up on all sorts of enhancements based on poorly-understood tech looted from fringe human factions or alien tombs.
EP has a sanity system, and going insane is one of the only ways to have your character permanently die (if all of the backups are corrupted too). Sure, therapy is very effective in the game, and psychosurgery can overcome many traumas, but the list of things that can cause mental stress is pretty big (including inflicting or even witnessing excessive violence) and your sanity can die the death of 1000 paper cuts if you don't make your character with a fairly strong willpower. You can also start out hardened against certain types of traumas, but doing so is basically mental scar tissue that gives permanent penalties to all sorts of social actions, so there is a cost to it. Keep in mind too that witnessing asynch (psionic) powers will also sap your sanity, and this category cannot be hardened against, so a group with an asynch is already hurting themselves (yes, the sanity hit includes the user of the powers too).
Again, this is why it's so important to keep regular backups.  Have a fight that goes poorly where you survive, but lose a bunch of sanity? Revert to the you of 5 minutes ago and play through a lite simulation of what happened in time accelerated space! Then, afterwords, when you've got time to spare, just fork up a dozen copies of yourself, play the unedited sense-inputs, keep the ones that crit-succeed all their SAN saves, and overwrite your own traumatized self with that luckier version of you.  Bam, subjective continuity of experience into the best of all possible versions of you!

When you actually are data, the Alpha Centauri Hive quote becomes horrifyingly true.

Ghostmaker

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Re: Does anyone here actually PLAY eclipse phase?
« Reply #286 on: May 06, 2021, 08:05:08 AM »
I like the 'time-skipping' game concept. Might be worth a bit of thought for constructing a campaign around.

BoxCrayonTales

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Re: Does anyone here actually PLAY eclipse phase?
« Reply #287 on: May 06, 2021, 08:51:56 AM »
I can imagine a sanity-like mechanic would be useful for handling the consequences as the PCs get progressively more disconnected in time, probably while loading up on all sorts of enhancements based on poorly-understood tech looted from fringe human factions or alien tombs.
EP has a sanity system, and going insane is one of the only ways to have your character permanently die (if all of the backups are corrupted too). Sure, therapy is very effective in the game, and psychosurgery can overcome many traumas, but the list of things that can cause mental stress is pretty big (including inflicting or even witnessing excessive violence) and your sanity can die the death of 1000 paper cuts if you don't make your character with a fairly strong willpower. You can also start out hardened against certain types of traumas, but doing so is basically mental scar tissue that gives permanent penalties to all sorts of social actions, so there is a cost to it. Keep in mind too that witnessing asynch (psionic) powers will also sap your sanity, and this category cannot be hardened against, so a group with an asynch is already hurting themselves (yes, the sanity hit includes the user of the powers too).
Again, this is why it's so important to keep regular backups.  Have a fight that goes poorly where you survive, but lose a bunch of sanity? Revert to the you of 5 minutes ago and play through a lite simulation of what happened in time accelerated space! Then, afterwords, when you've got time to spare, just fork up a dozen copies of yourself, play the unedited sense-inputs, keep the ones that crit-succeed all their SAN saves, and overwrite your own traumatized self with that luckier version of you.  Bam, subjective continuity of experience into the best of all possible versions of you!

When you actually are data, the Alpha Centauri Hive quote becomes horrifyingly true.
Were these rules written by munchkins?

HappyDaze

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Re: Does anyone here actually PLAY eclipse phase?
« Reply #288 on: May 06, 2021, 09:46:09 AM »
I can imagine a sanity-like mechanic would be useful for handling the consequences as the PCs get progressively more disconnected in time, probably while loading up on all sorts of enhancements based on poorly-understood tech looted from fringe human factions or alien tombs.
EP has a sanity system, and going insane is one of the only ways to have your character permanently die (if all of the backups are corrupted too). Sure, therapy is very effective in the game, and psychosurgery can overcome many traumas, but the list of things that can cause mental stress is pretty big (including inflicting or even witnessing excessive violence) and your sanity can die the death of 1000 paper cuts if you don't make your character with a fairly strong willpower. You can also start out hardened against certain types of traumas, but doing so is basically mental scar tissue that gives permanent penalties to all sorts of social actions, so there is a cost to it. Keep in mind too that witnessing asynch (psionic) powers will also sap your sanity, and this category cannot be hardened against, so a group with an asynch is already hurting themselves (yes, the sanity hit includes the user of the powers too).
Again, this is why it's so important to keep regular backups.  Have a fight that goes poorly where you survive, but lose a bunch of sanity? Revert to the you of 5 minutes ago and play through a lite simulation of what happened in time accelerated space! Then, afterwords, when you've got time to spare, just fork up a dozen copies of yourself, play the unedited sense-inputs, keep the ones that crit-succeed all their SAN saves, and overwrite your own traumatized self with that luckier version of you.  Bam, subjective continuity of experience into the best of all possible versions of you!

When you actually are data, the Alpha Centauri Hive quote becomes horrifyingly true.
Were these rules written by munchkins?
They were written by the people that wrote Shadowrun 4e.

HappyDaze

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Re: Does anyone here actually PLAY eclipse phase?
« Reply #289 on: May 06, 2021, 09:54:13 AM »
I can imagine a sanity-like mechanic would be useful for handling the consequences as the PCs get progressively more disconnected in time, probably while loading up on all sorts of enhancements based on poorly-understood tech looted from fringe human factions or alien tombs.
EP has a sanity system, and going insane is one of the only ways to have your character permanently die (if all of the backups are corrupted too). Sure, therapy is very effective in the game, and psychosurgery can overcome many traumas, but the list of things that can cause mental stress is pretty big (including inflicting or even witnessing excessive violence) and your sanity can die the death of 1000 paper cuts if you don't make your character with a fairly strong willpower. You can also start out hardened against certain types of traumas, but doing so is basically mental scar tissue that gives permanent penalties to all sorts of social actions, so there is a cost to it. Keep in mind too that witnessing asynch (psionic) powers will also sap your sanity, and this category cannot be hardened against, so a group with an asynch is already hurting themselves (yes, the sanity hit includes the user of the powers too).
Again, this is why it's so important to keep regular backups.  Have a fight that goes poorly where you survive, but lose a bunch of sanity? Revert to the you of 5 minutes ago and play through a lite simulation of what happened in time accelerated space! Then, afterwords, when you've got time to spare, just fork up a dozen copies of yourself, play the unedited sense-inputs, keep the ones that crit-succeed all their SAN saves, and overwrite your own traumatized self with that luckier version of you.  Bam, subjective continuity of experience into the best of all possible versions of you!

When you actually are data, the Alpha Centauri Hive quote becomes horrifyingly true.
Most people (including most PCs) don't have those options at all times. You have offline backups that you update monthly or maybe weekly, not every 5 minutes. Also, systems that allow time compression are a scarce resource, either costing you big money or rep to gain access, and that assumes the owners don't object to the illegal/unethical/forbidden practice of running multiple forks. Lastly, reintegration those forks may or may not be without risk depending on how long ago the divergence happened and how significant it was. So, just because some characters in EP might be able to do what you suggest, doesn't mean it's practical to do so (nor is it even remotely common).

Shrieking Banshee

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Re: Does anyone here actually PLAY eclipse phase?
« Reply #290 on: May 06, 2021, 10:22:12 AM »
So, just because some characters in EP might be able to do what you suggest, doesn't mean it's practical to do so (nor is it even remotely common).

That sort of limitation exists as setting fiat, not because it makes any sense. As I stated before, this is a setting well on its way to conquest by a forker hivemind, even if the Titans never come back. If you take the setting as it stands, it's extremely exploitable.

jeff37923

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Re: Does anyone here actually PLAY eclipse phase?
« Reply #291 on: May 06, 2021, 10:27:02 AM »
I like the 'time-skipping' game concept. Might be worth a bit of thought for constructing a campaign around.

I'm telling 'ya, go read House of Suns by Alastair Reynolds. I think that the book describes what you are looking for.

HappyDaze

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Re: Does anyone here actually PLAY eclipse phase?
« Reply #292 on: May 06, 2021, 10:59:26 AM »
So, just because some characters in EP might be able to do what you suggest, doesn't mean it's practical to do so (nor is it even remotely common).

That sort of limitation exists as setting fiat, not because it makes any sense. As I stated before, this is a setting well on its way to conquest by a forker hivemind, even if the Titans never come back. If you take the setting as it stands, it's extremely exploitable.
The options existing are setting fiat too, so it's fine to have the same setting the limits. If you can accept that these things are possible, then you should be able to accept that the (smarter than us) transhumans have been able to anticipate them and set measures to counter them too.

Shrieking Banshee

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Re: Does anyone here actually PLAY eclipse phase?
« Reply #293 on: May 06, 2021, 11:22:27 AM »
The options existing are setting fiat too, so it's fine to have the same setting the limits. If you can accept that these things are possible, then you should be able to accept that the (smarter than us) transhumans have been able to anticipate them and set measures to counter them too.

Isn’t the fact that they don’t also the core conceit of the game? And if its an a appeal to abstract “smarterism” can be used to shut down or enable any conflict arbitrarily.

robertliguori

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Re: Does anyone here actually PLAY eclipse phase?
« Reply #294 on: May 06, 2021, 11:40:56 AM »
I can imagine a sanity-like mechanic would be useful for handling the consequences as the PCs get progressively more disconnected in time, probably while loading up on all sorts of enhancements based on poorly-understood tech looted from fringe human factions or alien tombs.
EP has a sanity system, and going insane is one of the only ways to have your character permanently die (if all of the backups are corrupted too). Sure, therapy is very effective in the game, and psychosurgery can overcome many traumas, but the list of things that can cause mental stress is pretty big (including inflicting or even witnessing excessive violence) and your sanity can die the death of 1000 paper cuts if you don't make your character with a fairly strong willpower. You can also start out hardened against certain types of traumas, but doing so is basically mental scar tissue that gives permanent penalties to all sorts of social actions, so there is a cost to it. Keep in mind too that witnessing asynch (psionic) powers will also sap your sanity, and this category cannot be hardened against, so a group with an asynch is already hurting themselves (yes, the sanity hit includes the user of the powers too).
Again, this is why it's so important to keep regular backups.  Have a fight that goes poorly where you survive, but lose a bunch of sanity? Revert to the you of 5 minutes ago and play through a lite simulation of what happened in time accelerated space! Then, afterwords, when you've got time to spare, just fork up a dozen copies of yourself, play the unedited sense-inputs, keep the ones that crit-succeed all their SAN saves, and overwrite your own traumatized self with that luckier version of you.  Bam, subjective continuity of experience into the best of all possible versions of you!

When you actually are data, the Alpha Centauri Hive quote becomes horrifyingly true.
Most people (including most PCs) don't have those options at all times. You have offline backups that you update monthly or maybe weekly, not every 5 minutes. Also, systems that allow time compression are a scarce resource, either costing you big money or rep to gain access, and that assumes the owners don't object to the illegal/unethical/forbidden practice of running multiple forks. Lastly, reintegration those forks may or may not be without risk depending on how long ago the divergence happened and how significant it was. So, just because some characters in EP might be able to do what you suggest, doesn't mean it's practical to do so (nor is it even remotely common).

It is common to update your off-site backup less frequently.  But stacks update multiple times a second.  Copying and writing a mind-state is not something which takes significant time with Eclipse Phase basic consumer-grade electronics.  I'm not sure what changed in 2E, but in 1E, you can run minds in basic PC-owned PCs just fine, and one more time, there is no risk to reintegration, because you can note "Whoops, lost some sanity there.", wipe yourself, and run the reintegration again and again until you get it right.  And really, you don't particularly need to reintegrate with a divergent fork; you can just rip out their cogitation with psychosurgery, play back their memories to a fork of yourself, then stack merges of those forks until reintegration is just barely possible with a critical success, then spam attempts.

And finally, the stops on going horribly posthuman are not strong at all.  Many habitats are fairly anarchist and are not set up to deal with a tragedy-of-the-commons repeated-forking intelligence copying themselves everywhere and absorbing every available-to-all computing resource.  The more capitalist habitats run into the problem that a horribly optimized posthuman is a much better economic resource to allocate into your scarce supply of bodies than an economic infogee, and the habitats which try to enforce their objections with force run into the problem that it's really, really hard to kill a sentient program which can steal every robotic body they can get physical access to and plug a copy of their hot-swapped cortical stack into.

The options existing are setting fiat too, so it's fine to have the same setting the limits. If you can accept that these things are possible, then you should be able to accept that the (smarter than us) transhumans have been able to anticipate them and set measures to counter them too.

If you want to go down that road, then you should accept that the smarter-than-transhuman horrible posthuman collective intelligences should be able to counter the countermeasures, since they are not constrained by ethics and can run themselves in parallel, after psychosurgering themself to think of nothing but solving the problem, then wipe themselves and just take their plans and conclusions to implement.

But even if we posit equal intelligence between posthuman and transhuman factions, then there is a massive asymmetry in ability.  Going forkswarm is like, in our world, being a smart visual-symptomless zombie virus that can also spread themself via spam emails.  It doesn't matter how smart your smartest opponents are.  It matters how many people you can quietly compromise before zerg-rushing those very clever transhuman opposition agents.

---

Also, since people seem to be interested in this topic beyond just the game-state of Eclipse Phase, I can recommend the book Age of Em, by Robin Hanson.

HappyDaze

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Re: Does anyone here actually PLAY eclipse phase?
« Reply #295 on: May 06, 2021, 11:41:07 AM »
The options existing are setting fiat too, so it's fine to have the same setting the limits. If you can accept that these things are possible, then you should be able to accept that the (smarter than us) transhumans have been able to anticipate them and set measures to counter them too.

Isn’t the fact that they don’t also the core conceit of the game? And if its an a appeal to abstract “smarterism” can be used to shut down or enable any conflict arbitrarily.
They don't what? The game describes what you aim at as being an extreme outlier that all of the sane groups agree is basically "exhuman" and a danger. Everyone that isn't an x-threat works to stop such things.

Shrieking Banshee

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Re: Does anyone here actually PLAY eclipse phase?
« Reply #296 on: May 06, 2021, 01:07:17 PM »
They don't what? The game describes what you aim at as being an extreme outlier that all of the sane groups agree is basically "exhuman" and a danger. Everyone that isn't an x-threat works to stop such things.

They don’t actually take the extreme authoritarian measures required to stop such people.

As Robert put it, this is a invisible zombie plague in the making. Stopping it would just be basically impossible.

Valatar

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Re: Does anyone here actually PLAY eclipse phase?
« Reply #297 on: May 06, 2021, 01:49:50 PM »
It leads to pretty meaty philosophical questions.  Like, if Bubba is found to be the smartest and best person of everyone, why not overwrite everyone or alter everyone to be Bubba?  Or at least copy and paste whatever things make Bubba exceptional and spread them to others?  From both a cynical capitalist perspective and an optimization-fixated perspective it makes sense, why have Jack and Judy working for you if Bubba is simply better than them?  But if you go all-in on that kind of narrow focus, you lose out on diversity; if everyone approaches every problem the Bubba way, you miss any opportunity to find out if Jack or Judy may have found a better alternative.  For all you know, Jack was one toilet injury away from inventing the flux capacitor, but now it'll never happen since you tossed him in the recycle bin to make room for another Bubba clone.

That sort of commoditization of your very mind and personality should be at the very least uncomfortable and quite likely horrifying, but again, Eclipse Phase hardly touches on it.  They touch on stuff like the exsurgent virus infecting your brain and making you into an AI slave, but that's low-level horror movie stuff, when the really freaky shit is that sort of thing becoming commonplace.  Like the manager from Office Space wandering up to you at your desk and saying, "Yeeeahhhh, we've got a new policy rolling out, gonna need you to overwrite your memories of your kid's birthday parties with the new report format, that'd be greeaaaat, thanks."  Shadowrun and Cyberpunk make noise about the problems of having your body replaced with metal, just imagine parts of your very mind getting shuffled around for some corporation's bottom line.

Pat

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Re: Does anyone here actually PLAY eclipse phase?
« Reply #298 on: May 06, 2021, 02:15:14 PM »
It leads to pretty meaty philosophical questions.  Like, if Bubba is found to be the smartest and best person of everyone, why not overwrite everyone or alter everyone to be Bubba?  Or at least copy and paste whatever things make Bubba exceptional and spread them to others?  From both a cynical capitalist perspective and an optimization-fixated perspective it makes sense, why have Jack and Judy working for you if Bubba is simply better than them?  But if you go all-in on that kind of narrow focus, you lose out on diversity; if everyone approaches every problem the Bubba way, you miss any opportunity to find out if Jack or Judy may have found a better alternative.  For all you know, Jack was one toilet injury away from inventing the flux capacitor, but now it'll never happen since you tossed him in the recycle bin to make room for another Bubba clone.

That sort of commoditization of your very mind and personality should be at the very least uncomfortable and quite likely horrifying, but again, Eclipse Phase hardly touches on it.  They touch on stuff like the exsurgent virus infecting your brain and making you into an AI slave, but that's low-level horror movie stuff, when the really freaky shit is that sort of thing becoming commonplace.  Like the manager from Office Space wandering up to you at your desk and saying, "Yeeeahhhh, we've got a new policy rolling out, gonna need you to overwrite your memories of your kid's birthday parties with the new report format, that'd be greeaaaat, thanks."  Shadowrun and Cyberpunk make noise about the problems of having your body replaced with metal, just imagine parts of your very mind getting shuffled around for some corporation's bottom line.
Something like that already happens to genomes, during the process of sexual selection. You take a male and female, splice their genes together to create a new person, and then throw that new person into the wilds to compete with other new persons. It's a sieve selecting for the best characteristics out of the entire population's gene pool, and leads to things like the small percentage of neanderthal DNA in some modern humans (most neanderthal genes seem to be strongly selected against).

It's not commoditization, it's selection. And when brains can be parsed and edited, and the taboos around identity have weakened, something like it is bound to happen. Though the exact mechanism is hard to predict.

A better analogy might be lateral gene transfer among bacteria. Which means future brains won't form a simple family tree of parents and children like the post-eurkaryote tree of life, but a web of mutual exchanges, where highly vital characteristics can be spread through the population incredibly quickly. One consequence of this is aging, death, and replacement may become moot. If genetic changes only manifest in offspring, there needs to be a continual succession of new organisms replacing the old, in order for evolution to occur. But if existing brains are infinitely malleable and can adapt and change to different conditions, that's no longer necessary. Children may vanish. If the population has the opportunity to grow due to new resources, the new environments may be populated by copies. The 100 billion human beings throughout the history of the species may never increase again, in the fundamental way of creating a new being with no direct continuity with the previous identity, but may instead be ever-morphing but continuous branches of a relatively small set of identities.

Shrieking Banshee

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Re: Does anyone here actually PLAY eclipse phase?
« Reply #299 on: May 06, 2021, 02:29:17 PM »
"Yeeeahhhh, we've got a new policy rolling out, gonna need you to overwrite your memories of your kid's birthday parties with the new report format, that'd be greeaaaat, thanks."
'And we know, this might seem unfair, but it won't after some mandetory psychotherapy, free on our part because we are such good bosses.'

It's not commoditization, it's selection. And when brains can be parsed and edited, and the taboos around identity have weakened, something like it is bound to happen. Though the exact mechanism is hard to predict.

Once that sort of technology became commonplace as it was in EP, I would wish with all my heart that I was on earth, being killed instead of transforming into some, genderless, familyless, loveless, sexless, driveless ant-hive mind.