2nd Ed Muses

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Nefasine Nefasine's picture
2nd Ed Muses

Been reading through the new book and I cant seem to find any actual game information on Muses.

Page 250 is where most of the information concerning them is but is not clear on anything specific.
there are some rules for ALIs, namely guidelines on what their aptitudes and skills range from but I assume you do not make them as normal characters; further more the paragraph introducing Muses on the same page indicates that they have more programing then normal ALIs.

On the next page on a subheading called "what your muse can do for you", it indicates that Muses can act as your PAN's system defender, but gives no statistics on that in this section, nor the section indicated (Page 260). it then explicitly states that the muse can assist in certain tasks (Im assuming at least Infosec going by the last sentence) but doesn't give any mechanical indication of what those tasks are.

Next is a list that indicates that Muses can make research tests to find information for you, but doesn't give any research skill rating.

There is a page reference for Sample ALIs (Page 326), this is a small paragraph which does give us their wound threshold, durability and death rating for mesh combat but only provides a brief sentence or 2 on each ALI and their Complexity/GP but no statistics or skill ratings.

Finally the other mention I have found is in Psycosurgery care where it states that muses possess the "Medicine:Psycosurgery" skill but doesn't give a rating.

Muses are in important asset for character and setting alike, in a softer system I would just assume that they are GM fiat for how they help, but my experience from 1e and what I've read of 2e it would seem that they should have more set mechanics.

If anyone has found anything else, or if I am just missing a page in the 400+ page book, let us know

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Nefasine Nefasine's picture
Statistics Found

After some more searching I have found their statistics, they are included in the character sheet at the end of the book (I will not list them here). However there is one issues, though minor; the muse has Knowledge: Psychology but not Medicine Psycosurgery

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MAD Crab MAD Crab's picture
That might be intentional -

That might be intentional - why would you go to a doctor if your muse has it? Would you even want an LSI to be doing (effectively)brain surgery on you?

kindalas kindalas's picture
Nefasine wrote:After some

Nefasine wrote:
After some more searching I have found their statistics, they are included in the character sheet at the end of the book (I will not list them here). However there is one issues, though minor; the muse has Knowledge: Psychology but not Medicine Psycosurgery

I think it was a conscious choice to not give muses Psychosurgery.

Conventional therapy is covered by Psychology.

Psychosurgery is dangerous and probably regulated in many habitats.

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DivineWrath DivineWrath's picture
MAD Crab wrote:That might be

MAD Crab wrote:
That might be intentional - why would you go to a doctor if your muse has it? Would you even want an LSI to be doing (effectively)brain surgery on you?

LSI? I think you mean ALI.

MAD Crab MAD Crab's picture
I did. Ah, typos.

I did. Ah, typos.

Erithtotl Erithtotl's picture
Full Muse Stats are on page

Full Muse Stats are on page 327 under AIs and Muses.

DivineWrath DivineWrath's picture
I don't think there are any

I don't think there are any drawbacks to psychotherapy. Failure does not add any stress. Having a muse or any other ALI do psychotherapy on people doesn't sound like a bad idea.

Skills that are secondary for ALIs tend to be rated 30. Therefore, I think you would get best results by taking extra time (2.5 hours total) to increase the odds by +60 (90 total).

Nefasine Nefasine's picture
Erithtotl wrote:Full Muse

Erithtotl wrote:
Full Muse Stats are on page 327 under AIs and Muses.

Ahh there we go, next page down the bottom from where the book led (the woes of PDF over physical book), thanks.

the question on knowledge or medicine for the muse actually isnt an issue for me, only the discrepancy with the text on page 223 which does state they possess the skill; either option makes sense

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Urthdigger Urthdigger's picture
While there may be a

While there may be a difference between invasive psychosurgery and regular psychotherapy via psychology, the rules as they're currently written seem to insist that any and all psychotherapy uses psychosurgery. If there is supposed to be a difference between the two in terms of skills required, that should probably be corrected.

Moon-Hawk Moon-Hawk's picture
How active vs passive to treat them?

Muses are definitely something I struggled with as a GM in first edition. I get their stats (mechanical ineffectiveness of psychotherapy in 2nd edition notwithstanding), and conceptually I really like them, but I struggle with how actively involved they should be, vs more in the background, and both me and my players sometimes struggled to remember to include them, with everything else going on.

For example, ALIs are capable of suffering mental stress and trauma (EP2 pg 250), so should they be taking strain right alongside the PCs every time? If yes, that means muses are going to spend a lot of time freaking out and/or being replaced with backups during a mission, because they're relatively fragile. If not, then what are the things that stress a muse? Am I maybe overestimating how much awareness a muse has of what's happening around the character?

Also, how actively should they be involved in combat? Should they be rolling initiative right alongside the entire party and attempting cyberwarfare attacks. I'm not really looking to double the participants in a combat, but if there's something, anything useful for them to do, it seems like a waste not to use them. Or maybe not, because they're forbidden from participating because of their built-in limitations? Is there some clear, useful default behavior that they're doing in combat that's using up their actions, like spamming perception tests, or should we just assume they're holding their action until asked to do something specific?

What balance have you found, there?

(edit: This is partially addressed on EP2 pg 362-3, which I have just found, oops. There's possibly still some room to discuss different approaches.)

DivineWrath DivineWrath's picture
I did some more looking and

I did some more looking and it seems that Muses should have the skill Medicine: Psychosurgery. Its just not listed on p. 327. I think this should be fixed.

Muses suffering stress? Good question. I know that they are things that can get stressed, but I'm hoping they get stressed by fewer things than egos, otherwise they'll probably crack before the player.

Muses and combat? I don't think so. I don't think they have the skills to be useful in combat. However, a Kaos AI has an infosec of 60, so it might be a good idea to have one for hacking. A sentry AI has guns at 60. I wouldn't use an AI for actions the player is probably better at... unless there is a good reason the players can't act. I think a muse should be doing research tests while taking extra time to boost odds of success, or something like that.

Decivre Decivre's picture
DivineWrath wrote:I did some

DivineWrath wrote:
I did some more looking and it seems that Muses should have the skill Medicine: Psychosurgery. Its just not listed on p. 327. I think this should be fixed.

Agreed. They even make reference to muses doing minor psychosurgery on page 112 under the heading "Therapeutics".

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arokha arokha's picture
Muses and Stress

Muses are like my favorite thing in transhuman settings, so I think about them fairly often (which is weird but shaddup).

I think they would probably get stressed by other things that (trans)humans aren't stressed by. Seeing tons of gore and violence and unexplainable x-risks probably doesn't bother them (assuming the x-risks aren't like hacking them or something), because they don't have any innate desire to comprehend everything and probably have a very foreign 'mind makeup' than humans given they are an ALI, not an AGI with 'emulated brain' stuff (or people with cyberbrains, etc).

Like, from the standpoint of "What stresses humans, and why? How does stress apply to Muses in a similar way?", well, a lot of things stress humans.

  • Things they can't explain that might hurt them.
  • Things that seem to indicate they are not performing well (being cast out of social groups, not getting along with friends, getting into fights).
  • Seeing things that don't fit their preconceived notions of how reality is supposed to work and needing to change their minds about things.

... but why? Well, the easy answer is "because it's favorable from an evolutionary standpoint to make a human 'feel bad' when encountering potential danger so they try to avoid it" for some, and "because from a memetics standpoint, memes 'want' to continue existing so the ones that make people avoid stress from having the meme challenged survive better because humans are stress-avoidant" for others. That's a gross simplification but you probably get the idea.

What I mean is, basically, humans get stressed for evolutionary and memetic reasons.

But Muses are programmed and designed, and why they'd have stress at all is a mystery to me but let's just assume it's a requirement, either because they don't seem empathetic without it, or it's unavoidable in ALI development, or other reasons. The book definitely says they can receive stress, so they can. We know that much.

But over what? Well, what's dangerous to a muse? What memetics do they have that are firmly rooted and a designer would want them to avoid changing their mind over?

Well you wouldn't want a Muse to stop liking their 'owner' so they might get stressed at ideas that cause them to think that their 'owner' is not the best or that they will be unable to help them or that they maybe should act against them. Harm to their 'owner' could also stress them, because a Muse designer would want them to avoid harm to their owner, so like a human avoiding harmful situations themselves because it's stressful, a Muse might try to walk their owner out of harmful situations because it's stressful to them that their owner is in a harmful situation.

Just *muse*-ing, anyway. Nyuk nyuk.

ubik2 ubik2's picture
Moon-Hawk mentioned page 362,

Moon-Hawk mentioned page 362, and it does talk about these issues. For example, a vehicular ALI doesn't care when someone is being tortured, but it experiences stress when it crashes and the occupants are harmed.

arokha arokha's picture
1.1

The v1.1 PDF just released adds psychosurgery to the muse box on character sheets.

chaos_forge chaos_forge's picture
Having your muse take stress

Having your muse take stress every time you get shot seems like it won't make them last much longer either.

If we take the approach that stress indicates behaviors that should be avoided, I don't think having your muse take stress for things it can't control makes much sense. This is also supported by the example of the vehicle ALI. So no stress from the PC getting into a gunfight.

Given that muses are meant to be personal assistants, I think what makes the most sense is for them to take stress when they're "failing" to do their job. So they should take stress if their owner is hostile towards them, or if they commit some sort of faux-pas (like misreading an email or misinterpreting a command) that causes their owner social/emotional/financial harm, or that sort of stuff.

arokha arokha's picture
chaos_forge wrote:like

chaos_forge wrote:
like misreading an email or misinterpreting a command

CAN muses misinterpret you? They appear to be able to read your mind for most practical purposes... so I'm curious if that's actually a thing.

ICU2 ICU2's picture
Or if the muse causes a loss

Or if the muse causes a loss of wealth and/or rep for their owner since their job is to manage such.

chaos_forge chaos_forge's picture
arokha wrote:chaos_forge

arokha wrote:
chaos_forge wrote:
like misreading an email or misinterpreting a command

CAN muses misinterpret you? They appear to be able to read your mind for most practical purposes... so I'm curious if that's actually a thing.

I believe you communicate mentally with them, but they can't read your mind. They only know what you choose to tell them (and what they perceive of the world around them).

Also, IIRC all ALIs have the "Real World Naivete" trait so they're definitely capable of misinterpreting things.

EDIT: Thinking about it, I'd say your muse probably wouldn't misinterpret you because it knows you so well. But I'd definitely say that misinterpreting other people is possible, especially if they have very different social norms from your own.