"The Persistence of Memory" - Past Castaways in a Brave New World

11 posts / 0 new
Last post
Blue Screen of Death Blue Screen of Death's picture
"The Persistence of Memory" - Past Castaways in a Brave New World

"A person's memory is everything, really. Memory is identity. It's you."

Stephen King, Duma Key

"You are what you do. A man is defined by his actions, not his memory."

Kuato, Total Recall (1990)

Hello, I'm the Blue Screen of Death and I'm late to the party. I can't believe I have missed this fantastic RPG for three years.

There are many reasons I love this game, some of them are:

  • Eclipse Phase is perhaps the most realistic future RPG out there, almost every other science-fiction RPG imagines that Mankind will transform whole universes but never Man himself.

  • These futurists have such faith in an evolved, reputation-based economy they offer the game for free hoping you will pay for it.

  • I was so impressed I bought the dead-tree core book and am amazed at its sheer physical quality (very Luddite for a future Transhuman :-) ).

But the main reason I love this game is that Eclipse Phase is really all about identity. I believe that all stories are really about identity, even the stories we call campaigns and tell with rules and dice.

I'm so inspired, I would love to run a game for my 'real world' players (who are EP newbies like myself) and then use the same material to run a PbP for y'all that are interested. Unfortunately, I don't have the time right now to do a game justice. What I do have time for is to slowly develop a campaign and I will put my notes on this board for anyone to use. If you let me pick your brains, I figure the end result can only be improved.

So here's the High Concept of my campaign; tentatively called "The Persistence of Memory":

The best way to introduce modern players to the future of Eclipse Phase is to introduce modern characters to the future world of EP. In other words, the player characters are from the year 2012 (or earlier) or at least, they believe that they are. They are suddenly thrust into the brave new world of Eclipse Phase.

So how do we get such a conceit to work without straining the game setting? I can think of about four ways offhand:

  1. The characters are not from the past but from an agrarian commune that existed peacefully on Earth before the Fall. The commune perished indirectly from a distant attack from the TITANS but were found by human survivors quickly and their egos were scanned and uploaded and stored for eventual integration into futuristic space-dwelling society (AMISH...IN SPACEEEEEEEEEE!!!!). Strictly speaking, these are not characters from the distant past but from a past way of life.

  2. The characters died in the past but their corpses were preserved in such a way that a very advanced ego bridge could salvage their memories. This could be due to cryogenic suspension or due to a death that somehow froze the brain in an unlikely particular way (a la Captain America). Very Buck Rogers but I'm willing to stretch a little (OK, a lot) for this campaign.

  3. The character is an unknowing infomorph, raised believing they 'lived' in a different past time. The infomorph can be a virtual recreation of a historical character or a character from historical fiction. Why would a such a deluded and backwards infomorph be of any use to anyone? The best answer I have so far: The AI the character is based on is so popular that years of fanboy cloud tinkering have given the character a skillset no hypercorp lab can match, even given the archaic outlook of the character.

  4. The characters are from an alternate or rival project to the Futura experiment. It was believed that force-growing children in virtual-reality was stressful enough without adding the identity-bending aspects of sleeving, forking and other experiences needed to understand the post-Fall age. The best 'year' to grow the subjects to was guessed to be 2012 (at which point, the subjects would be carefully weaned from accellerated, virtual 2012 to real, current AF10). Things went badly, the 'Misplaced' may or may not have the same psi/barking mad complications of the Lost but still, something went wrong and the rejects were uploaded into cold storage.

These are all the ways I can think of to get 'retro' characters into the game. I welcome your ideas. In any case, the game starts with Mysterious Forces collecting all of these antique egos in storage for equally Mysterious Reasons. But outrageous fortune happens and the characters awake accidently in what they believe to be their real bodies (actually carefully created flats) ahead of the Evil Plan's execution. What happens after that is up to the players.

Let me know what you think. Thanks for your time. :-)

Coming up: Historical Morphs (sport some classic DNA). P.S. should I make this a separate thread or keep all campaign notes in this thread?

nezumi.hebereke nezumi.hebereke's picture
Welcome aboard! Glad to have

Welcome aboard! Glad to have more excited GMs :)

This topic has come up a few times. There have been some very good ideas. I like the idea someone had of playing through the Fall. Another possibility, if you're not married to having a character from the past specifically, is bring in a luddite character and cycle through through progressively more futuristic missions. I'm thinking especially of Jovians, whose tech and background should be common fodder for anyone familiar with Cyberpunk or Shadowrun.

Kayne0X1 Kayne0X1's picture
A suggestion

I was (and still may) run a campaign with a similar idea - slowly introducing the concepts of the setting to early 21C players/characters. The central idea was similar to concept 3: an AI needed to generate a set of egos with a particular set of skills, however the only material it had available to it was a cache of data from the present Internet (e.g., blog posts, Twitter, MMOG play sessions). Using these as a starting point, the AI recreated the egos from their digital footprints, extropolating their personalities and then training them up to transhuman levels of skill through time in accelerated simulspaces.

The players were to uncover this through interesting gaps in their memories, having imposisble skills (an ego who was a 21C hacker being able to hack the Mesh, despite it being so far ahead of the Internet they would have dealt with), and hints that they weren't the first egos generated this way.

Blue Screen of Death Blue Screen of Death's picture
Thanks for the replies

nezumi.hebereke,

I didn't know this idea had been brought up before. Thanks for telling me. I will try and track down those old threads. The reason I suggested the past rather than the restricted (such as the Jovians) is that being from the past (in my opinion) might be more overwhelming.

A modern North Korean peasant suddenly thrust into Times Square would still handle the situation with less awe than a New Yorker from 1812 in modern-day Times Square.

But I'm open to Jovian characters if players prefer.

Kayne0X1,

What a charming idea. It reminds me of the best of the Matrix trilogy. I encourage you to develop it further. And if you do decide to run it online, please let me know. It would be nice to simply play in such a cool game rather than have to run it. :-)

nezumi.hebereke nezumi.hebereke's picture
That's true. If you're going

That's true. If you're going for shock and awe with your characters, I'd pull them from the past (or alternatively, they're basic personality programs behind mobs on an MMORPG who are dumped into morphs and sent on their way. Nothing as hilarious as Gandalf and Bilbo Baggins who, yesterday, were handing out quests and magical items, getting rudely crammed into a giant robotic crab morph and forced to find an Ozma hacker hiding somewhere in the middle of the Carnival of the Goat.)

Blue Screen of Death Blue Screen of Death's picture
I couldn't have said it

I couldn't have said it better myself. :-)

But maybe this guy could?

(with apologies to the Good Professor...)

Quote:
"Frodo scuttled along as best he could. Not for the last time, he wished for the simplicity of only two legs and two arms. "Gandalf", he chittered, "Do you truly believe this wizard can return us to the Shire and our true forms?"

[Gandalf: In truth, I know not, Frodo. I have never before known of the wizard, Ozma the Emerald, oft called Zardoz, but that may speak of her power to remain hidden from the dark lord Sauron. Indeed, there is an epic song of the Great and Powerful Ozma. {SONG REMOVED BY READER REQUESTS}]

Frodo listened the voice in his head, moving his pincers impatiently. "But why would she meet us here, I have yet to see a single goat at this carnival. Although there are many strange beings here I have never heard of even in Biblo's stories."1

Before Gandalf could answer, a strange being emerged from the Wall of Flesh. In form, it resembled a octupus, much larger than was ever fished from the shores of the Shire. Strange pieces of metal were merged with its flesh which changed hue with an expressiveness now denied the newly-crustacean Frodo. The loins of every creature and sex were interspersed amongst the tentacles, each hinting at terrible peril.

"Ai!", clacked Frodo, "Shelob, or her spawn! Well, you shall not drain my blood or obtain the Ring!" "Uh," said the strange beast in a feminine voice, "It's a little early to be talking second date, let alone marriage. I was just thinking that I have a pheremone-enhanced this which would go perfectly with your very cute that. And with that, like an arrow into dragon hide, a seductive tentacle wrapped around Frodo's exoskeleton, just so.

All of Frodo's limbs, pincers to legs, went from a defensive posture to a shuddering bagpipe of ecstasy. The heretofore confirmed bachelor sighed the only context he had. "Better than pipeweed."
Gandalf screamed as much a muse could: [Gandalf: No, Frodo! Don't not be beguiled. Tell the creature it shall not pass!]

But Gandalf's queries went unacknowledged. Frodo was lost to the strange siren's spell. The two multipeds began to writhe in octadecimal passion. The night would begin with the loss of the One Ring and could only end in inky regret..."


1. Frodo is referring to one of Biblo's earlier adventures in which--Oh, forget it. Listen, I'm a captive informorph held by Nine Lives in an eternal Middle-Earth simulation forced to write this tripe. I've been here long enough to actually read the original trilogy. Come and rescue me. I've got epic poetry and simulspace elf porn! I'm not taking much of a chance as no one ever reads Tolkien's footnot--[LOSS OF SIGNAL]

From Reboot of the King by J.R.R. Tolkienbot v5.4 (unlicensed copy) AF 11

On a more serious note, hobbits will make an appearance in my campaign. And by hobbits, I mean a variation of my upcoming Homo Floresiensis morph.

Arenamontanus Arenamontanus's picture
Applause!

Applause!

Extropian

Erenthia Erenthia's picture
I had a similar idea. I was

I had a similar idea. I was going to have my players be friends in a bioconservative brinker hab that stabilized it's culture at late the late 20th century. They all grew up watching Seinfield and other 90s TV. Then one of their friends whom they believed died came back to get them and tell me about how amazing wider human society has become.

When your ready to run a pbp game, let me know.

The end really is coming. What comes after that is anyone's guess.

Blue Screen of Death Blue Screen of Death's picture
Legacy Morphs (morphs with historic DNA)
Blue Screen of Death Blue Screen of Death's picture
Thanks, Arenamontanus, it was

Thanks, Arenamontanus, it was fun to write.

Erenthia, I will put a post on this forum when the game is ready. You are very welcome to apply. And let me know if you ever want to run your game. :-)

Erenthia Erenthia's picture
Assuming I'm not forced away

Assuming I'm not forced away from online activities at the time, I'll be among the first to apply. And after I get accustomed to the pbp format, I'll probably want to run a game. (Actually I've done pbp games, but only when all players are gathered online, so i'll be interested in new ways to run games)

*goes off to examine the legacy morphs section*

The end really is coming. What comes after that is anyone's guess.