Rules of engagement.

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GregH GregH's picture
Rules of engagement.

Given the situation, access to advanced manufacturing technology, no central overall controlling power, and strong divisions among the factions that do exist.. what keeps people from launching massive assualts on habitats they don't agree with, ship captains (or the ship itself for that matter) from packing heavy firepower, and habitats from mounting equally devestating "deterrents". Or is the answer simply "nothing...". Or is policing space kind of like the prohibition of using nukes in "Battletech"... you COULD press the button but it'll get EVERYONE worked up and they'll all get together to make an example of you.
I imagine a shoot-out or two does occur now and then (and with a reputation-based economy in many places there is a lot to lose doing such) but I want to know what's ramping down the kind of massive conflicts that could create serious population losses... aside from the leaders of said conflicts possibly getting a visit from Firewall agents.

JARO JARO's picture
I was actually thinking along

I was actually thinking along the same lines as what you say at the very end of your comment, about Firewall stepping in to "resolve" conflicts between various factions of transhumans. It's not clear to me how much of the public (if any) even knows that Firewall exists, but it seems very reasonable that adventures in eclipse phase could be centered around the team of Firewall agents going to various places where conflicts between transhumans are going on and trying to settle things down. Firewall's purpose is to protect transhumanity from "existential threats" and with viruses and Titan machinery to contend with, the last thing transhumanity needs is to flirt with self-destruction. If Firewall is a secret organization, then I suppose it can't be the threat of their intervention that keeps people from starting wars, but it could be one of Firewall's responsibilities to prevent as much inter-transhuman conflict as possible.

On a different note though, I imagine reputation would be a major factor preventing wars from breaking out. Who wants to do a favor for the bully that keeps picking fights?

Furthermore, let's say you kill a city full of transhumans... if you haven't erased or destroyed their backed-up egos, then all you've really done is create a city's worth of transhumans who will resleeve and come back after you.

GregH GregH's picture
Good point about Rep... that

Good point about Rep... that may be a HUGE governing factor for factions as well as individuals. Maybe Firewall then serves as sort of like The Culture's "Special Circumstances" to deal with the rare "tinpot dictator" that pops up to threaten the otherwise self-balancing system...

doctorbadwolf doctorbadwolf's picture
This topic makes me wonder if

This topic makes me wonder if the designers have read Heinlein's The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress.

In that book, society governs itself based upon unspoken rules, and the severe consequences for breaking them. For instance, the ratio of women to men is about 1 to 10, or something similar. It may be even more unbalanced than that. Anyway, any man who pushes his attentions on a woman who is uninterested can literally get thrown out of an air lock, by whatever community members happen to be around, or hear about it later. Less severe actions for less severe crimes include trade blacklisting, constant social pressure to reform, etc.

In this setting such pressures could easily be even more severe by their very nature, due in part to a reputation economy, and in part to the fact that anyone you kill could very easily be backed up, and bring an entire community against you. Killing an entire community, or starting a war, would cause every other community you interact with to be reluctant to interact with you, because you represent an unstable danger factor.

In such a setting, it would take extreme circumstances to lead anyone who isn't literally insane to start a war.

GregH GregH's picture
I'm thinking more and more

I'm thinking more and more along that line as well. The designers may have not read "The Moon is a Harsh Mistress" (and if not, shame SHAME on them for not reading Heinlein:)... some of them have worked on "Battletech" in which similar rules of engagement occured. In the "Battletech" universe there were certain rules that one did NOT cross (use of nukes, destruction of FTL capable vessels), there was no set in stone agreement per sea... but if one were to do it EVERYONE ELSE would turn on them to make them an example, the kind of example that helped to dissuade others from repeating this bad behaviour.

HappyDaze HappyDaze's picture
Re: I'm thinking more and more

There is also the possibility that with transhuman levels of cognition, intution, and savvy along with near infinte room to expand and greatly reduced numbers mankind has matured enough that violent/destructve behaviors are truly aberrant. Of course, most people playing in an RPG setting don't want to hear that noise...

GregH GregH's picture
Re: I'm thinking more and more

Or it's more on a personal level... if you want to duke it out on a section of the habitat fine... just don't toss nukes at the habitat. From what I've seen in the rulebook so far it looks like a habitat can be fairly easy to defend anyway with fighters or robots, etc.

Cosimo Il Vecchio Cosimo Il Vecchio's picture
Re: I'm thinking more and more

Mutually Assured Destruction is no longer just for nation states. There's nothing stopping anyone with the manufacturing capacity from preparing an automated (potentially sentient) doomsday weapon. The irradiated wreckage crawling with grey goo left behind by the Fall is a sharp reminder to anyone with an itchy trigger finger.

MAD would also operate at the personal scale. Even a relatively poor barsoomian could have something worse than nuclear weapons hidden somewhere.