Fears for after the Fall

16 posts / 0 new
Last post
SEÑOR FASE SEÑOR FASE's picture
Fears for after the Fall

Hiyas!

Noobie GM here, trying to get into the "settings mindset."
I'd say to understand EP's idiosincracies let's start with what t-hummies fear.
Before the Fall, humanity's main fear was dying (or not knowing what's beyond, etc.), right?
With that technically "gone" what would you say the new fears are now?

I'll start w/some of my ideas (that may be mistaken, after all I'm trying to wrap my head round this peculiar setting):

:Isolation (everything's pervasive with the Mesh)?

:Loss of identity (People not knowing you - you got forked/cloned/copied)?

:Slavery?

Anything else (thoughts, suggestions, corrections, ideas) from the community would be of great-grand-grandest help.

Thanks!
SF

JMobius JMobius's picture
Re: Fears for after the Fall

I don't think even transhumans are entirely unafraid of death; even with resurrection, there are still self-preservation instincts that take effort to override. This is why there are stress checks involved for facing likely or certain death, and Sunward remarks somewhere that even Firewall veterans tend to get a bit apprehensive to participate in suicide missions. I have had some *very* interesting games where characters knew they'd be restored from backup, but were still struggling against all odds to survive (especially fun when there's no hope of stack retrieval, and the PCs have learned something important).

That said, the rest of your suggestions are good too! Isolation is a particular favorite of mine; isolated habs and ships can make interesting settings, cut off from connectivity with the larger world.

sinhound sinhound's picture
Re: Fears for after the Fall

Admittedly, I'm stealing from After Hours, but they do make a good point: With immortality, your chances of being completely immobilized at some point in time increase to 100%. Now, that could mean you're on a ship that gets its engines destroyed and sent hurdling into space for all time (Even if you have a backup, the you on that ship is going to remain on that ship for a very long time - longer if you're in a synth). It could also mean being crushed by falling debris, and if you did survive then you'd be trapped there for a long time as well.

>_> Granted, that might just be my main fear projecting itself onto the game.



Herbo Herbo's picture
Re: Fears for after the Fall

:Ego Imprisonment -or- Alpha Fork Disappearance -- You could be framed up, convicted of a crime, uploaded to a VR simulspace prison and serve out a 500year sentence for something you didn't even do. Or you could just simply get forknapped forgotten and never seen in the Mesh again. Just you and your thoughts forever

:Insanity -or- Corrupted Ego -or- Ego Modification -- Living forever takes on a different connotation when you realize you could be doing it as a head case, partial or corrupted ego fork, or simply have your life memories erased on a whim and re-written to be anything.

The existence of these two possibilities can be a huge goad to get people to behave even when the occurences are extremely minimal.

"No way man, I'm not sticking my f---ing neck out for you. Next thing I know I'm calling myself Tracy the pleasurepod grinding out the next 200 years in New Shanghai with dreams of being an XP star. You want someone to give you corp credentials? My advice would be to get a freakin' job like the rest of us did. What do you think you're going to find in there anyway man? If the spooks wanted your monkey gal-pal realdead, she's probably been iCanned by now. See this is why I pay extra to have two backup insurance providers. Now if we're done here I have to get myself logged in for work."

bakho bakho's picture
Re: Fears for after the Fall

More ideas:

TITAN threat - since not long has passed since the Fall, I think the most pervasive fear is a new TITAN attack. This is a general theme of the Inner System folks and Firewall - limiting hardware so it can't host seed AI, mistrusting AGIs and AI of any sort in general, isolating Earth with the popular opinion being that H+ has to turn its multifaceted eye to Mars and new frontiers.

AI-phobia - an extension of the TITAN threat. Fear of any sophisticated software because it could be the seed (pun intended) of a new seed AI. This goes as far as tolerating indentured infomorphs doing the dirty surveillance and IT jobs, just to avoid using AIs. This also includes fear of any AI or self-improving software research. In short, AI is the AF's Frankenstein monster.

Spread of anarchism - I'd say that inner system propaganda is pretty ramped up with spreading the meme that anarchism is bad for H+ future. With the threat of war with the TITANs still pretty alive in all of transhumanity, the PC propaganda machine could easily spread the idea that if the inner system would fall to anarchism, a new seed-AI spread would follow (and who knows, they might even be right?). It's the typical totalitarian bent even today's democracies face when faced with an external threat; why not the Planetary Consortium?

Boredom - I think that for the uber-wealthy and/or long lived transhumans, immortality blues could be classified as a fear and thus a big motivating force. How to entertain your apparent immortality; this fear could feed on itself and lead to insanity or suicide. A pretty fearsome thing indeed.

Factors - something unknown is an alien concept to transhumanity. And Factors are basically completely unknown. I would guess that countless conspiracy theories surround them, and could feed the basic fear a thoroughly meshed person of 10 AF would have - the fear of unknown. In a time when you can find about everything about anything in a couple of minutes, something completely unknown is a fearsome thing.

Solipsism - this is another twist to the isolation fear. In a world with AR and VR, who can say what reality is? Imagine a gamer kid who spends his days in some VR roleplaying game, and when he gets out, he isn't sure if reality is really real anymore. Are people real or just figments of his imagination? Another spiral down the insanity road...

Photobucket

The only principle t

SEÑOR FASE SEÑOR FASE's picture
Re: Fears for after the Fall

Hiyas!

I also thought about the TITANbogeyAIs' as a fear factor... But couldn't this be (more or less), equivalent to the fear of the rise of a new Reich post WW2, or a rogue State utilising atomics now?

I was fishing for more ingrained, primal fears. Like fear of death.

Sorry if I misled!

SF

bakho bakho's picture
Re: Fears for after the Fall

Dunno. If you're a re-instated or a Fall evacuee (or just live on Luna and see Earth from your living room window everyday), the fear of TITANs is pretty real and ingrained into the collective consciousness of H+.

Photobucket

The only principle t

SEÑOR FASE SEÑOR FASE's picture
Re: Fears for after the Fall

bakho wrote:
Dunno. If you're a re-instated or a Fall evacuee (or just live on Luna and see Earth from your living room window everyday), the fear of TITANs is pretty real and ingrained into the collective consciousness of H+.

Depends on how many (% of t-humanity) of these lifeforms (re-instated/fall evacuees, etc.) are around...

If this was a "true fear of all t-hummies" wouldn't it make Firewall's secrecy redundant then?
SF

Arenamontanus Arenamontanus's picture
Re: Fears for after the Fall

I think fear of madness is common. A sizeable fraction of transhumanity are on therapy and medication just to cope with the wrenching fact of the Fall, not to mention to pressures of a posthuman lifestyle. While they might hold together they are aware that their minds are not as strong as they wish they were. And with an infinite future stretching out ahead of them, filled with even more strange and horrific things than they have seen so far, it is not implausible to fear madness.

Death can be fixed with a backup insurance. But what if you gradually go nuts? Psychosurgery might not be able to stop your personality from drifting, your old values eroding and your sense of self mutating into something you currently find abominable. You can constantly monitor yourself, but that just makes things worse. You can tell yourself you worry needlessly, but that is just admitting hypochondria. You can try to train or enhance yourself to have a strong mind and identity, but how do you know that will not introduce deep pathologies further along the line?

Extropian

Re-Laborat Re-Laborat's picture
Re: Fears for after the Fall

To follow up on AM's comment, there's also fear of the madman down the hall. That guy in your habitat who nobody seems to get along with.

The one who works in life support.

What if something is really wrong with him?

He works in life support...

(Inject whatever variations you like. Where there's a limited physical shell keeping the harsh environment of wherever away from you, where you can't just step outside and breathe the air and live your life, where you have to depend on what others do to NOT be something that will destroy your tiny little fragile sphere of existence, suddenly paranoia about other people looks downright reasonable.)

jackgraham jackgraham's picture
Re: Fears for after the Fall

Before the Fall, transhumanity was afraid of fuck alll.

Pre-fall H+ thought it had just embarked upon a permanent golden age. There was nothing -- NOTHING -- they couldn't achieve. And up to that point, they'd yet to be wrong.

Post-fall H+ has to deal with the reality of their prior, pre-Fall vision not turning out right.

J A C K   G R A H A M :: Hooray for Earth!
  http://eclipsephase.com :: twitter @jackgraham @faketsr :: Google+Jack Graham

SEÑOR FASE SEÑOR FASE's picture
Re: Fears for after the Fall

So, "Fear of the Future"? What about "futureshock"?

SF

jackgraham jackgraham's picture
Re: Fears for after the Fall

SEÑOR FASE wrote:
So, "Fear of the Future"? What about "futureshock"?

I think they've already been through that. The most radical changes to human lifestyles -- microfacturing, morphological experimentation, childbirth through exowombs, ubiquitous AR -- were already a done deal when the Fall happened.

J A C K   G R A H A M :: Hooray for Earth!
  http://eclipsephase.com :: twitter @jackgraham @faketsr :: Google+Jack Graham

Covariant Covariant's picture
Re: Fears for after the Fall

The fears of insanity, isolation, and agony have always been the fate worse than death that humanity fears. The only difference after the Fall is the sweet mercy of death is no longer available as an escape from these things. Now the transhuman has to wait until their mind fractures into small enough parts that they can no longer identify as sentient.

base3numeral base3numeral's picture
Missed the Rapture

I'm betting there are some folks post Fall who think the TITAN's were basically the instrument of the rapture. They would be afraid they missed it. Their neighbors would be afraid they are trying to get in touch with the TITAN's to be "saved".
Though I guess most so afflicted would just find the nearest quarantine zone and see a headhunter or exsurgent about getting picked up.

Strength in depth...

The Fleet

Lurkingdaemon Lurkingdaemon's picture
Everyday fears and faction memes

One of the things that helps with the setting are the diverse and differing opinions of the main ‘factions’ in the solar system. Many of these factions, of course, have differing views on various points, which vary based on their social situation and motivations.

Then of course, certain technologies, lifestyles and mindsets all have their own inherent drawbacks, which can be preyed upon, or played up to ratchet up the fear of those with similar flaws or vices - and therefore more likely to be preyed upon. Whether or not such concerns are fear-mongering or legitimate are up to individual interpretation.

General fears

  • Loss of free will: This is a big one for everybody - from the average indenture to Firewall at large. Free will and self-determination are huge issues to infringe upon, anywhere - and many problems arise between the factions as to what the exact limits of one's free will are, especially in relation to the free will of others. The Firewall sourcebook explicitly points out that a scenario where Transhumanity could theoretically survive in it’s current form, but lacks the ability to self-determine, is neither ideal nor acceptable.
  • Hacking/Being hacked: For Synthmorphs and those equipped with Cyberbrains, hacking is even bigger and more dangerous than ever, as theoretically anyone with the skill and will to do so could do severe and lasting harm to an ego, and their morph, without repercussion. Not only are Synths and Pods at risk, but others could be at risk by proximity - as a hacker could just as easily subvert, and puppeteer, a cyberbrain-equipped body to do harm, while the ego within would be helpless.
  • Bioconservatism: This one stands out among most of transhumanity because of the completely incompatible ideals bioconservatism carries as compared to the generally accepted views of transhumanity. To most, the mind is separate from the body, and a body is little more than hardware - while bioconservatives assert differently. A major concern for those who delve into such debates is that the bioconservatives could be right - and transhumanity is living a golden lie, just waiting for the rug of their very existence to be torn out from under them.
  • The TITANs: As mentioned by others, the TITANs returning is a major fear of every political power in the system, for the simple reason: The TITANs were winning the Fall - and most other theaters they were operating in. The human nations of Earth were just as divided and fractious as the current factions of the solar system - should the TITANs return, there is little question, by any reliable expert on the subject, that transhumanity would be at the mercy of their rogue creations.

Other fears stem from the ideological views of the major factions, their manifestos and general propaganda. Some nations might not even regard their neighbours as threats - while said neighbours meanwhile tout them as the first and foremost threat to their entire way of life. While not straight up fears these factions embody (to me) particular themes that they fight viciously to protect (or assert) in the current times of the setting - which influences their major points of concern, and ideological fears and paranoias that could arise from such differences in view.

  • Planetary Consortium/Morningstar Constellation - Control: While money always talks, the means to have and manage that money is paramount within the hypercorps - whether an indenture or an oligarch. Control means being able to self-determine without interference, or make that interference suffer commensurate to however much one feels they should. Control means upgrading from a crappy Case to something more fleshy, without having to pay ridiculous fees, or work another day in your life. Control means keeping your customers coming back for their routine maintenance and service packs. Any threats to that control, that prove how out of control, and chaotic reality is, or roadblocks to its advancement are things to be demonized and destroyed.

    Likewise, the overbearing and controlling nature is something other nations fear - for if they are under someone else's control, they aren’t making their own choices. The Planetary Consortium are rather upfront about their ambitions for controlling the rest of the Solar System, something the Autonomists revile and fear, and have rejected in the most clear and straightforward ways possible.

  • Autonomist Alliance/Extropians/Scum/Exhumans - Freedom: There is no shortage of ways to express oneself, and Autonomists embrace all of them. There isn’t a point to surviving if one doesn’t live, and screw anyone who tries to tell you different. Freedom is succeeding and failing on your own merits, settling things your way, and blazing your own trail - or following someone else's, if that’s what you want. Freedom is knowing that you are only responsible for you, and the other guy has to make do with what he’s got - and the ability to help out the other guy with nobody to tell you different, if you think he’s worth it. Naturally freedom comes with the pitfalls of coexisting, and the occasional ‘issues’ that come up when one person's freedom interferes with another's.

    Naturally such unchecked freedoms are uncomfortable for the hypercorps - as there is no easy way to leverage control over them. Likewise bioconservatives might have (not entirely unfounded) fears that such limitless freedoms could lead to yet more disasters somehow worse than the fall. These fears are embodied, if not compounded, by the Exhumans, who take such freedoms to logical (and illogical), and horrifying extremes.

  • Jovian Republic - Purity: Touting themselves the last bastion of Humanity, the Jovians stand out from their neighbours by upholding the ideals of nationalism as well as physical, moral and spiritual purity. To give up one's humanity as blissfully as the rest of the system speaks of a terrible ignorance and lackadaisical approach to identity that borders on willful species-treachery (a view that many bioconservative extremists take to a very severe level). They have the worry that science still cannot explain certain aspects of existence - particularly those addressed by religion - and are unwilling to blindly leap to what might be the doom of their species. Instead they fight to preserve the species against such pernicious and frivolous uses of technology, while, at the same time, protecting themselves from those who would use transhuman technology against them. Notably, such purity does not reject things like understanding of how to use or make transhuman technologies, but rejects their faults, and precludes their use in any way that does interfere with maintaining the purity the Republic stands for.

    Such views, and the sheer vehemence of the Republic's willingness to defend them are off putting even to their closest neighbours, while transhumanity at large demonizes them as backwards fanatics.

  • Brinkers/Titanian Commonwealth - Community: While a part of the Autonomist Alliance, and ostensibly sharing in the freedoms of their neighbours, the Titanian Commonwealth invests more into the community that has been fostered under it, since before the Fall. With the democratic government, direct representation and a large cultural influence from the first settlers, the Commonwealth embraces the ideas of equality and community, rather than elevating one person above others. Brinker collectives and communities likewise generally (but not always) share these ideals of community - as with their tight knit groups, if one part of the community is alienated, or falls out of line, the entire community could collapse. Larger groups, such as the Commonwealth itself, often concern themselves with the wellbeing of other communities - reasoning that all of transhumanity should have the same prosperity and opportunities within their own communities.

    Valuing the freedoms of their community, and others, these groups stand vehemently opposed to the rampant control-mongering of the hypercorps, but at the same time oppose the unchecked freedoms that would destabilize and endanger the community.