What's lost in merging?

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babayaga babayaga's picture
What's lost in merging?
When forks A and B perform a merge after a long time apart (or if the merge is not completely successful), do both of them lose memories, or only one? For example, if Alice attempts to reintegrate a two-week-old beta fork of herself, does she have to worry about losing only some of the fork's memories, or also "her own"? A related question: what happens when integrating two forks that have now different statistics (moxie points, skill scores etc.)?
CodeBreaker CodeBreaker's picture
Re: What's lost in merging?
Congratulations, you have found one of the many gray areas of the Eclipse Phase ruleset! *grins*. I have a big long post about how the Merging table is worded that suggests certain things about memories during merging that I am unsure if I like. I am going to stick it in a spoiler box because, as I say, I am unsure about it. This is really a topic that either as a GM you have to work out for yourself, at least for the moment.
Spoiler: Highlight to view
On Memories - It seems to depend on both the time scale of the fork and how well you roll. Looks at the Merging table on page 275. A success on one under one hour results in memories from both Forks seamlessly merging together. To me that suggests that any changes that have happened to the Fork in that time should be applied to the resultant Ego. So any stress damage both forks have accumulated should be added together, if one fork has somehow picked up a new skillset in that time the resultant fork also has that skill. That sort of thing. How in one hour a character is going to be able to raise a skill rating is beyond me but it might happen (TITAN Mind Mesh tech perhaps). However on any merge longer than 1 hour the “intact from both” text is not there. This could be on purpose. If it is it suggests to me that one of the two forks becomes the dominant mind and everything else from the other is just deleted or hidden away in the subconscious. As such any changes from the “secondary” fork (the one that goes squish during the merge) should probably not be applied to the “primary” fork (the one that does not go squish). Interestingly enough nowhere in the book does it say that when a merge occurs the memories from both forks are accessible to the resultant Ego. As far as I can find it is only even suggested in the Pax Familae entry (where re-assimilation of forks is used to keep each Ego aware of the activities of each other Claudia). This however is a gray area in the game rules. Something that should be discussed with your GM before you decide to fork yourself to oblivion and accidentally take so much stress damage that your brain turns into gray goo.
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Decivre Decivre's picture
Re: What's lost in merging?
There are other large discrepancies with the way that merging mechanics are laid out. Let me give you an example right now. One man lives out two lives as forks A and B. Forks A and B go decades without merging, A becoming a renown psychosurgeon, and B becoming a soldier. One day, they decide to merge. This is the means by which they do it. Both forks create a fork of themselves which will be the actual forks merged during the process, and we shall call these forks A[sup]1[/sup] and B[sup]1[/sup]. They make one more fork of A to oversee the merging, which we will call A[sup]2[/sup]. A[sup]2[/sup] then begins to merge A[sup]1[/sup] and B[sup]1[/sup], causing stress and severe memory loss (for the sake of the experiment, we'll assume failure with minimal stress). We now have fork C, who has a poorly merged mind created from A[sup]1[/sup] and B[sup]1[/sup]. A[sup]1[/sup] and B[sup]1[/sup] are deleted in the process. However, we still have A and B. The time difference between C and either of these two forks should be minimal (the process is very quick so long as everyone is in infomorph form), and should mean that C is capable of merging into either of them with relative ease. A[sup]2[/sup] can then proceed to merge them into C, and it should theoretically be treated as the lowest length of time before merging, allowing for a seamless merge with both egos. The process would result in a brand new ego that has all of the memories (and potentially skills and talents) of both A and B, while costing quite a bit in potential stress. The benefits would probably outweigh the risks, however. On a secondary note, however... why does memory loss occur? Furthermore, if a person is in infomorph or synthmorph form when merging occurs, shouldn't mnemonic enhancements and digitally stored memories make memory loss nonexistent?
Transhumans will one day be the Luddites of the posthuman age. [url=http://bit.ly/2p3wk7c]Help me get my gaming fix, if you want.[/url]
OneTrikPony OneTrikPony's picture
Re: What's lost in merging?
I have a theory on the memory loss question. An infomorph is probably run on a software model of a human brain. This is also probably what a cyberbrain is. To have a working human mind you need a working human brain which I suspect entails a map of every connection of every neuron and it's relative strength. In addition to that you need to model all of the chemistry that happens to make a brain work to produce thoughts, emotions, senses, and the plasticity that is necessary for the neuronal modeling that is learning and memory. The chemistry and hormonal soup that is the human mind has to be modeled with a very high degree of accuracy and resolution. Divergence happens due to the processes that rearrange this neural map. As time and experience progresses for each fork their plastic brains are physically rearranged. Because learning and memory are not a simple process of overwriting blank space on a hard drive or just adding more neurons, but the contextual modification of existing neurons and their connections to other existing neurons. So, the two neural maps of the same fork become so differentiated that they can no longer overlay each other with out drastic cuts splices and modifications that would damage or even annihilate the core personality. In the case of the soldier fork and the surgeon fork merging may have become impossible at the point where the personalities diverged enough to choose two very different careers. By the time each had learned their respective trades you have two completely different people. Regardless of their initial commonality merging is certainly impossible with out destroying both personalities. And, how/what do you build in their place?

Mea Culpa: My mode of speech can make others feel uninvited to argue or participate. This is the EXACT opposite of what I intend when I post.

CodeBreaker CodeBreaker's picture
Re: What's lost in merging?
That was my understanding of the process. The human brain is extremely malleable, and over the period of hours, days or months that a fork exists its particular brain state changes to such a degree that if overlaid onto the original anomalies and false connections would begin to form. This manifests in the form of stress damage, memory loss and potential derangement/disorder/s. I do sometimes wish that the Merge Table had been extended to define when a fork is considered an entirely different Ego for the sake of merging. For example, if after one month an fork has remained separate from its parent Ego it becomes impossible to merge back into a stable whole, just like it is impossible for one Ego to merge into someone elses without the result being batshit crazy. Such a defined edge would easily cut off any example such as Decivres', as A1 and B1 would not be able to merge to create C in the first place. From the setting material I honestly believe that this is the intention of the rules. However it does raise queries about how exactly the Pax Familae have not all been driven mad by constant forking/merging. Hopefully Hotfix may contain more information about merging for us to play with.
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Demonseed Elite Demonseed Elite's picture
Re: What's lost in merging?
CodeBreaker wrote:
From the setting material I honestly believe that this is the intention of the rules. However it does raise queries about how exactly the Pax Familae have not all been driven mad by constant forking/merging. Hopefully Hotfix may contain more information about merging for us to play with.
It's possible Pax Familae doesn't merge forks that are too divergent. The description of them does say some fork re-assimilation is done, but it also says that XP updates are used to keep forks in the loop. So maybe the XP updates are used for forks that are too diverged to be safely merged back in. I also think that forking and merging is an aspect of EP that needs a lot more depth and detail. Especially with how much I'm seeing it used by players.
"It's a poor sort of memory that only works backwards." --The White Queen, [i]Through The Looking-Glass[/i] [img]https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/_zGgz13n3uzE/TWWPdvGig-I/AAAAAAAACI8/y...