Re: [dglist] Somewhat ObDG and references to fun novels/authors; no, really!
- Jesper Anderson wrote:
> Between 50 to 200 billion synapses in a human brain, depending on whoTry trillion. You're thinking of neurons, not synapses.
> does the estimate.
> The brain ain't that big a bin.In a narrow sense, that's absolutely right, but it doesn't mean you can
take that data (which neurons connect to which) and 3D-print out a
consciousness close enough to the original to please the family or the
ego (and thereby plausibly motivate the invention). For many cognitive
science purposes, the brain can and must be simplified in this way, but
its true physical complexity still determines its function. Synapses
vary by strength, there's all sorts of relevant damage etc. To get a
decent snapshot of the individual brain you would therefore need to take
into account vastly more than the bare essentials of what connects to
what on a cellular level.
> What kinds of result will such an insanity bring?That depends on the "instincts" of the thing. Does it have any capacity
to perceive its own vulnerability as such, or any way or reason to care?
Why would it? If not, not a whole lot's going to happen. We should be
more worried about it running mathematical operations inherently
attractive to something ugly from the next dimension.
- Aplin Alexander T wrote:
> That was rather the point - the concept could be quite interesting ifHere's a quick attempt:
There are several ways into this scenario:
* The PCs are following up leads on the Fate, listening to rumors,
trying to get a picture of the organization. They may hear of Abe van
Keuren, one of the men who once killed Stephen Alzis.
* Alzis himself wants to tempt the PCs, or is already grateful and tries
to show them a good time, ensuring their continued loyalty.
* An item has disappeared from the D stacks. It was probably the exact
item the PCs are looking for, or one that Dr. Jensen Wu wants back. The
doctor fingers Jennie Cline, a postgraduate student who seemed
unnaturally eager to browse through the collection a week earlier, and
whose key card has been used to access the museum on the night of the theft.
* DG suspects supernatural involvement in the recent death of one
Jessica Annesley of Minnesota, 11, missing for one year prior to her
body being found in a rented cabin on Long Island. An ocean of evidence
points to easily intimidated NYC broker Emanuel Closson, 32, who is
indeed guilty, though not a known criminal. He was far too drunk to make
a clean break from the scene after the best weekend of his life, and
filmed several minutes of the action on his phone. Apart from the
incredibly degrading nature of the crimes commited in the cabin, the
only suspicious aspect is the total lack of evidence pointing to a
struggle. The autopsy showed no drugs in Annesley's system, nor is there
any apparent reason why she didn't even try to get up and leave while
she still had the limbs.
There is a new escort service in New York. Très exclusif. They call it
Siren. It's run by a Lord of the Network named Elsa Raymer, also known
as the Lord of Loneliness. Siren is a new business idea of hers. It's
experimental, but the possibilities are endless. Through long assocation
with a European cult, Raymer, 41, has learned an inverse variant of the
Siren's Song spell (CoC6, p242). She has taught this version of Siren's
Song to prostitutes hand-picked from the Fate's other operations.
“Marie” was born Margo Shinkaryova in Estonia, and is the most requested
girl at the moment. She is 19, svelte, with bleached blond hair and
expressive brown eyes. “Lisa” was born Jane van Keuren in upstate New
York, the granddaughter of one Abe van Keuren, who ran over Alzis a very
long time ago. Lisa is almost 15 and a little plump, with a distinctive
mole by her right ear and a fake ID (18-year-old “Amanda Jones”, a real
but unrelated missing person). Jessica Annesley used to be the third
girl, and was abducted for this purpose.
The business of Siren also requires a very non-magical concierge, Bill
Kiersted, 33, who screens wealthy tricks with the aid of the Network and
arranges meetings in private locations. Elsa then brings either Marie or
Lisa (or both) to the client at that location, usually without meeting
the client herself. After a private song, the prostitute genuinely
acquires whatever persona the client subconsciously wishes and hopes for
her to have, down to every nuance of the accent.
The process is far from perfect, but it is reliable. Clients have
brought their girls to a variety of social events with few
embarrassments. It's even possible that old man van Keuren has seen his
granddaughter in a picture from one of those events, on the arm of some
identifiable asshole. In any event, after about 48 hours, the effects
wear off and the artificial personality evaporates. It is not replaced,
as whatever identity the girl had before it has been overwritten. It
takes a small dose of cocaine and recently drawn blood to sharpen a
girl's senses sufficiently for each meeting with a new client. Lacking
this, she will have no will to speak of.
The girls spend their days locked in a one-room apartment, masturbating,
watching TV and eating a variety of crisp breads from Kiersted's
father's store. They enjoy the process of getting a personality, as the
world is gray without one. Depending on the source of their latest
persona, they also enjoy what they do, and have done to them, as often
as not. As sanity dwindles, desire or horror left over from a previous
encounter may result in self-mutilation.
In her more lucid moments, Marie has toyed with the possibility of
somehow using her magic to get out. She usually drops the idea when she
realizes this would require her to meet somebody who wouldn't secretly
want to use her, but she holds onto hope by sometimes chewing on her
fingers, reminding herself that biting down for pain and a few drops of
blood might provide the energy she needs to sing.
Siren does not always accept mere money. PhD candidate Jennie Cline is a
typical Siren client, except for her sex. No other service can provide
precisely what she wants, which is love, among other things. Like most
patrons, Cline is always begging Kiersted and Raymer to expand the
service: more girls, cuter dresses, and longer engagements. By day, she
works at the American Museum of Natural History, where she sees Dr.
Jensen Wu about once a week. Raymer has personally demanded a
circumspect favor from her, hence the missing object.
Cline roughly understands the significance of the eerie song each girl
croons like an alien lullaby. She has asked Lisa to sing this song again
towards the end of an engagement, but the girl does not remember it. It
is the one thing that always returns at the end of the spell, and only
then. As Cline herself does not have the skill, nor the ability to
memorize it, because she blanks out when her mind is being read, she's
had no luck so far. One day though, through sheer force of will or a
kidnapping until the 48 hours run out, she may steal an ideal girl from
the Fate, and would treat her better than most.
For combat purposes, Raymer is a pushover. She is aware of the other
potential pitfalls in her operation, which is why she's keeping it small
and personal. The Fate will not approve if there's another uncontained
mishap like Jessica Annesley, but if the spell can be refined, there
will be a revolution in the world's oldest occupation.