Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Sins of the Flesh

Recently, I've been reading Altered Carbon, by Richard K. Morgan. It's an okay read. There's parts of the world I like, there's parts of the world I don't like. Ya see, in it they've figured out a way to digitize the human mind. Folks walk around with a chunk of computer embedded into their brainpan, backing up their mind as they go about their day. This has, naturally, lead to several advancements: Travel between worlds is easier, casual travel across the globe is much easier, and murder victims can be used to testify against their would be murders. Life doesn't have to be bound to a mere eighty some years.

On the other side, it's also used as a form of punishment. Thems that are found guilty of a crime have their mind placed on storage for a few decades or so, and then released into a new society. This seems weird to me, as the transfer from one body to the next, despite the intervening years, is experienced instantaneously. There's no exact penalty there. Sure, you've a new body to get use to, but you've learned nothing. One minute you're being gunned down by cops for robbing a bank, the next it's three hundred odd years later and you're being decanted out of a skin vat. Why not try again?

This gets even stranger to me as they also have the ability to keep the mind active, via software, and able to experience months in a manner of minutes. So why not keep the meat on ice a few days, while the mind serves a sentence? Give them actual time to reflect, perhaps come to regret their crime. Then, pop them back in the same body and send them on their reformed way. No fuss, no confusion of identity.

Either way, once over the initial existential dread of the though, my old boiler got a bubbling.

A notion is floating around my thick skull to jamble up and run a game, one where the physical stats don't matter all as much, as you can just rent up the body you need for the occasion. Bioware, cyberware. All the favorites. Really focus on the player characters as minds inhabiting interchangeable bodies.

Though, undoubtedly, this generates some immediate obstacles to over come. What consequences can be offered when death, in itself, is meaningless? Legal actions, perchance. What incentives to motivate the small bindle of murder hobos I take as players. Easy: cold hard cash. Still, some more thinkering is needed before anything solid.

I'll probably call it something pretentious like "Sins of the Flesh" and run it through a Shadowrun mod for Fate. Maybe I'll use it as an excuse to finally read the Cypher system. Either way, I'll probably add in a little flavor from the Hardwire series. I'll almost certainly force it upon the monthly gaming group.
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