Allowing heroes to train their replacements in Gamemasters Corner, Adventures & Plots
SanChristo Jun 14 2018, 17:16 Group: Heroes, Level 9 Quote Post
Author (cobalt_phoenix @ Jun 14 2018, 16:34)
On a side note: ah, I love talking about duplicates.

Good thing because I'm going to keep pressing you on this stuff. alienwink.gif

So, what if one day you're approached by a person who looks and acts just like you. He? She? I don't actually know your gender, Cobalt. The person says, "Hey, I'm a duplicate of you that was created five years ago but was held in captivity. I finally got out, and now I need to kill you so that I can take your life."

How do you feel about that?
cobalt_phoenix Jun 14 2018, 17:45 Group: Heroes, Beyond Level 20 Quote Post
Author

So, what if one day you're approached by a person who looks and acts just like you. He? She? I don't actually know your gender, Cobalt. The person says, "Hey, I'm a duplicate of you that was created five years ago but was held in captivity. I finally got out, and now I need to kill you so that I can take your life."

How do you feel about that?


Well first let me say that my first name is John, so that should give you some clues.

Second, I wouldn't do that. Not my style. Which means that said duplicate isn't me any more, so it wouldn't make much sense for him to try to take over my life.

Also, if I was going to do that, I wouldn't tell myself first. I happen to be a really good shot at long range, and Uncle Sam's Misguided Children taught me to get the job done with a minimum of effort.

On another note, this could touch on the grandfather paradox for time travel. Yes, the being in your cross hairs is you (in terms of memories, ambitions, personality, etc, at least up to a point), so could you pull the trigger? With that first hypothetical, one of you was going to die anyway after the procedure, so leaving the original to suffer seems morally evil when you are replacing them anyway. But this question is far different, since the two can exist for the long term, but their knowledge and experience began to diverge years before meeting.

Are they both actually the same person now?

Can the duplicate actually take over your life?

If you were him, would you want to take over the original's life, given the time that's past?

The funny response is "hell yes, just view it as exercising your demons!"

In truth, it probably won't happen.
SanChristo Jun 14 2018, 21:14 Group: Heroes, Level 9 Quote Post
Good answers all around. Thanks for the conversation, John.

You don't happen to be a Doctor Who fan, are you?
cobalt_phoenix Jun 15 2018, 00:03 Group: Heroes, Beyond Level 20 Quote Post
No, I never got into Doctor Who.
SanChristo Jun 15 2018, 11:17 Group: Heroes, Level 9 Quote Post
Author (cobalt_phoenix @ Jun 15 2018, 00:03)
No, I never got into Doctor Who.

Oh, man, there's so much good material there; however, there's no easy access point.
cobalt_phoenix Jun 15 2018, 16:05 Group: Heroes, Beyond Level 20 Quote Post
Author
Oh, man, there's so much good material there; however, there's no easy access point.


Oh, I don't really doubt that, but I was never able to watch more than about 10 minutes before I got massive headaches. As far as the access point is concerned, it is called "episode #1".


Actually, you mentioning the good Doctor brings up a good point in this overall topic: what are the ramifications?

See, I don't get into Doctor Who because I usually hate time travel. Pretty much, you can always assume that whatever issues the characters are trying to deal with are likely caused (a probability in excess of 95%) by their own travels through time, which means that any attempts to change the time line are probably going to cause more damage than they are worth.

I mentioned to you in that PM about the Novikov self-consistency principle. While it really hasn't caught on in real physics, I personally think it is a must for any time travel fiction. The reason why is that it puts limits on what the tech can do, what the characters are going to do with it, and ensures the GM doesn't have to retcon a bunch of changes because a group of kids and their damn dog screwed with time.

That is what I mean by ramifications. Turning that onto the idea of mind uploading, what are the ramifications of this? I can see a few, right now:

1.) The characters are effectively immortal (if you make it wireless, they are entirely immortal, but if you use the idea of an implant, they are far more vulnerable and real death is possible).

2.) AI's exist, but they are actually human minds running on computers. Unfortunately, once you can download a human mind, you should be able to run it on a computer, too, though this could require massive installations and power plants to pull off.

3.) If you have Alternity cybertech, you have mind uploading. Since most of Alternity's cybernetic systems require the use of a nanocomputer, which is capable of reading signals straight from the human brain (one reason I really don't like it), that means you have direct access to human thought via a computer. That means you can download a human mind, and then upload it into a computer or a new cybernetically hooked up body. Now it may take a very long time (probably weeks if not months) to download and upload, but it is doable while staying within the core Alternity rules.

4.) Your population can now literally explode. That is one of the flaws with assumed immortality or life extension technology, that the human drive to procreate (and the drive for physical pleasure) runs head-long into the capacity to have children not for a couple of decades but for a century or more. Yes, you can try to introduce a 1-child policy or social conditioning to discourage the behavior, but that has never worked out in all of human history (I can't emphasis that enough). Just look at the issues in China over the last decade, and remember that their 1-child policy was only in effect for about 40 years. Such programs are also never going to work at such a large scale, either (tens or hundreds of billions, or about one or two orders of magnitude larger than China's current population).

5.) The social ramifications also need to be considered. Go take a look at Altered Carbon for that. The rich are viewed as "divine" (their wealth only increases, they are immortal, and they have the resources and influence to do damn near anything they want; a god by any other name), people treat their bodies as finite and inconsequential (they are called "sleeves", and most people don't really care what happens to theirs since they can get a new one anyway), and crimes are punished by keeping criminals in storage (no bodies, just their "stacks") for the entire time of their sentence (so yes, you can wake up and it will be 250 years after your trial, and the world has totally changed; did I mention that you also have no control over what body you get?).


Shockingly, time travel and mind uploading are not the only two areas where the ramifications of the tech can be extreme. Gravity manipulation means you can build any megastructure you want (orbital rings, space elevators, or even just massive 50-kilometer-tall buildings) with normal materials (steel and concrete, not carbon nanotubes or graphene) because you can negate enough of the mass so that it remains under the structural limits of the object.

So, yes, think long and hard before you go adding new tech to a setting. That's why I personally favor more limited applications of any major technology. In the case of time travel, if it doesn't follow self-consistency, I would never introduce it.
derek_holland Jun 17 2018, 14:30 Group: Heroes, Master of Mutant Creation Quote Post
Okay, getting back to training replacements, Glen Cook's Darkwar trilogy has a minor mention that I thought was useful for this thread- the main character is a psion that can use her powers (in the 3rd book) to travel between the stars. Her species uses secondary psions to assist in travel to act as a source of power as well as knowledge (older ones have traveled many times).

The key idea is that when a powerful psion travels, she not only trains new assistants, she alters their brains and makes them more powerful and grants more stamina. In other words, she uses the Train broad skill and helps them advance quicker and possibly spends achievement points to give them additional PEPs.
SanChristo Jun 17 2018, 14:52 Group: Heroes, Level 9 Quote Post
Author (cobalt_phoenix @ Jun 15 2018, 16:05)

Oh, I don't really doubt that, but I was never able to watch more than about 10 minutes before I got massive headaches. As far as the access point is concerned, it is called "episode #1".



Yeah, but the first episode came out fifty years ago and is damn near unwatchable. Even the reboot with Christopher Eccleston slogs on for a few seasons before it gets great. Basically, new viewers have to either suffer through arduous years or jump into the middle of things or some combination of both.

I understand the ramifications you're outlining, which is one of the reasons I'm running a near future campaign (2050) where technology has largely stagnated. I've been introducing snippets of new tech here and there and have a compelling story as to why technology hasn't really developed for the public in the past three decades.

As far as sleeves and stacks go, one of the things that strikes me is the whole concept of self and what it means. I think it's a far more fluid thing than we usually account for, so fluid that it's almost meaningless. What we consider our self is utterly defined by our context, so if we radically change our context, I'm not sure what self carries over.
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