"Prone to disaster"

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Decimator Decimator's picture
"Prone to disaster"

The "Custom grown or designed morphs" section in the main rulebook speaks of doom when you try to greatly alter an existing morph. But what sort of issues would arise that merit the word "disaster" during such a process? I have a player whose character would be able to perform this procedure, so this isn't just idle questioning.

Yerameyahu Yerameyahu's picture
Re: "Prone to disaster"

Everyone seems to have such a character, shock. :) Presumably, it's vague on purpose, but 'disaster' means it fails, and badly, in a costly, ruinous manner.

The premise is that you're altering a running system with "metamorphing nanoviruses"… what could go wrong? :D … Everything.

Arenamontanus Arenamontanus's picture
Re: "Prone to disaster"

I can see all sorts of fun possibilities. First of all, is the physiology balanced? Your current brain for example runs at about 20 Watts of heat, while the venous blood through it can transport away about 25 Watts (if my calculations were right). So you might boost your brain, and suddenly have it overheat with internal heatstroke in unexpected situations. Similarly for blood volume and pressure: does the different greatly altered body systems play well with each other, or do you get sudden fainting attacks or going into shock when your muscle volume suddenly expands when you engage your ultra-strength? What about pressure shocks from rapid motion getting the carotid sinus to signal the brainstem to change blood pressure, leading to overcompensation? If you boost the body size, have you checked that all ligaments and conenctive tissues can handle the new strains and their distribution - or will they tend to come loose? In fact, that collagen might turn out to be less stable than expected in new conditions...

What about the biochemistry? Is the immune system able to cope with all the weird new proteins and surfaces it sees, or will it go into an autoimmune attack? If you err on the other side, are you now vulnerable to every little virus? Can the liver and kidneys handle the waste from fast regeneration, poison or drug glands, or will they suddenly pack in? Is the blood pH and oxygen levels going to remain steady when you switch on the gills, or will you get a surprise acidosis with a side order of hypocapnia? Have you checked that there is no interaction between the special hemoglobin used in the low pressure adaptation and the clever iron metabolism hack used in the toughness enhancement, so that you don't get rabid blood clotting?

Bodies are "organic wholes" - a lot of things subtly depend on each other. They are not properly modular, and this means that switching things around will have complicated side effects. Ideally you balance these out by other adjustments, but this takes BIG simulations and lots of experimental testing - guess where the morph hypercorps are spending their money? When a single tinkerer tries to change things they will have to make educated guesses and hope for the best:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=36lSzUMBJnc

Extropian

Yerameyahu Yerameyahu's picture
Re: "Prone to disaster"

And, that's all assuming the horrific viruses work 100% as expected in the first place. :)

Herbo Herbo's picture
Re: "Prone to disaster"

I thought of a couple things, but I'm not sure I've captured "disaster" per se:

  • Freaky future cancers (Everything from super tumors to mutating into the hulk )

  • Morph system disorders (ie a frustrating drawback that seems to inexorably balance the cool new advantage)

  • Standard implant or mod incompatibilities (not insurmountable but something as basic as mesh inserts or biomods may have some very peculiar programming, design, fabbing and implantation requirements which is just another whole set of things that can go horribly wrong on a bad roll or if conditions do not warrant the custom creation of replacements on the fly)

  • Unforseen ego or sleeving complications (nothing I'd hate more than loading up a brand new gene-hacked-to-hell-n-back sleeve to discover that I've suddenly gone quite insane and require more braaaaains)

  • Or there is the cruel yet simple "your fancy morph seems to have become quite dead/inert. do not pass go."
  • Then again you could also just have these possibilities dangling over a player like the sword of damocles and then have no intention of ever making anything bad or nasty happen to them (other than making them supremely paranoid any time their fancy new custom morph gets the flu or is partially hacked).

    Afterall...this whole "Customizing Morphs is Uber Dangerous" thing is simply hypercorp memetic warfare man...just ask those freakazoids in the Carnival of the Goat ;)