Eclipse Phase: Duality episode 16

rimwardp166Aspen the async uplift returns to the investigation! She quickly thinks up a scheme to steal the data from the Ultimates. It involves kidnapping, body switching, and powerful drugs. There’s also the small matter of alien hybrid morphs being built and sold to wealthy clients. In a place where money buys power and protection, can a small group of determined sentinels overcome the incredibly wealthy Ultimates and their elusive ally, Loren Kristol?

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  1. Nice use of occultation Ross. Makes me wonder if a Firewall Spy Techniques book would be useful, with a section for “How to perceive a spaceship / celestial body without advanced optics.”

    I like Aaron’s idea of using poker chips to represent credits in Libertarian Paradise. Every time a player encounters a micro-tort, throw a few chips in the pile. It’s a good way to capture the uniqueness (annoyance) of the area and ratchet up the tension.

  2. Ross is having so much fun with Extropia and I love it!

    Aaron continues to implement a real-life version of the befuddlement algorithm, having seen Calebs face (in the No Soul Left Behind video) I can imagine his expression at some of the decisions.

  3. I really love it when EP parodies real life. it took me a while to realize that the Transhuman guys actually are a bunch of utopian anarcho-socialists (or whatever) and that the game is at least partly a futurist political tract.

  4. I’ve never considered EP a political tract so much as trying to realize a moneyless system in game, because economic games in space suck just as much as games where tracking gold pieces is a thing.

  5. The forums are filled with people complaining about the politics of the creators. As I sympathize with the same, I find it less odious but if you’re into Libertarianism, then the game paints the anarchists as “fluffy space-elves who can do no wrong.” Apparently.

  6. I love the creators’ politics! in a world full of political apathy and despair (I mean, ours, not EP’s), a little hyperliberal optimism in the face of an apocalypse (I mean, EP’s, not ours) is nice. but I’m not surprised blustering internet Libertarians can’t handle it. but, like, I think upsetting those people is a win?

    is there a writeup on how the credit economy actually works somewhere? how’s the money supply work? I assume the PC runs it somehow?

  7. Caleb continues to top himself in the psychic spycraft department. It’s a very entertaining and unique game dynamic, when he comes up with a plan and tells neither the GM nor his fellow players what it is until he’s executing it. That’s really hard to pull off, but everyone works together to make it happen.

    Can’t wait to find out what the next step is, now that he’s stolen the Green Spartan morph.

  8. A bounty hunter that skyhooks people? Waitaminute! Is that the one from way back in … episode four who snatched up that water miner and was going after the pirates?

    (I did a quick re-listen: Cassandra Datsyk (sp?), licensed out of Extropia. Coupled with the weird MO I’m kind of inclined to buy into the possibility.)

  9. Author

    Pretend this is a Firewall briefing on stealth in space:

    This is how I learned about occluding stars, etc.

    Also, anarchists are portrayed sympathetically, but they are hardly Mary Sues in EP. There are multiple systemic flaws in their communities, which are pointed out in the EP book. One thing I think EP does well is every politically minded person who reads the book reads what they want in it, rather than what is in the book.

  10. I personally feel like every faction gets its fair shake, and negative things are merely emphasized more in the Inner System because it is familiar to us, while Outer System groups are already alienating so their negative sides aren’t emphasized as strongly. But people on the forums are going to complain regardless I imagine.

  11. So far, life on Extropia has seemed pretty nice to me, relative to a lot of the other places in EP and here on 21st century Earth. Some people live in poverty, but I’ve gotten the feeling that it’s a lot smaller percent of the population than in the hypercorps or the Jovian Republic. There are some pretty strong incentives for Extropians to be nice to each other – sure, someone with incredible wealth can afford to slag a whole block and pay for resleeves, but there are only going to be so many people who can live that way and stay rich. For everyone else, networking is an incredibly important part of doing good business. And social mobility seems pretty good, despite the ability of the wealthy to buy smarter and healthier morphs.

    Extropia has a huge advantage over real-world capitalist societies. There are basically no negative externalities. There’s no environment for the microcorps to destroy. I’m guessing that polluting the habitat atmosphere is probably prevented by mass microtorts. Resleeving means that if someone loses a limb due to unsafe business practices, they don’t lose their earning potential for the rest of their life – and if they signed a decent contract, which is probably something Extropians learn in grade school, they probably get a new one for free. Microtorts mean that advertisement and aggressive sales techniques can’t be too harmful.

  12. ehhh. that’s one interpretation of Extropia. one of the recent Game Designer’s Workshops on Red Markets mentioned that an enclave was going to teach its kids “Christian science” because their textbooks were the cheapest. Extropia is that raised to the power of infinite information–not infinite information re: validity, but re: price.

    if you think Extropia is reasonable, you’re extrapolating from a non-formalized view of the politics it espouses and parodies. the guys who write EP are nnnot fans of Extropian-style politics. it’s like when I asked in a comment back on Jovian tier if maybe Jovians “look bad relative to transhumans, but good relative to our modern society.” the answer was basically…no. they’re just awful.

  13. The cheapest way for Extropian parents to educate their kids would be to fork themselves and have one set of forks become infomorphs who give the kids full-time homeschooling. Since having kids means having the money to purchase biomorphs for them to grow up in (or biomorphs capable of reproducing and the ability to suffer the side effects), any Extropian with kids has some kind of skillset that the rest of society deems really useful, and if nothing else they can pass that on to their kids. It might not be the equivalent of a triple-major college education, but learning one really useful profession is a lot better education than most people ever get (and more than a lot of the people I went to college with ever learned there). In general, though, wealthy Extropians don’t seem to go for the least expensive solution. Just the opposite. Really good teachers on Extropia probably make way more money than ones in real life, especially since they can use accelerated simulspace time to teach a one-hour class in one minute, relax with a round of simulspace golf and some temporary-effect narcoalgorithm drinks before the next one, and by the end of an eight hour workday educate half the habitat.

    Extropia and Red Markets are set in wildly different environments. In Extropia, most resources are basically unlimited and there’s enough technology that you really can fix almost any problem with enough money. In Red Markets, resources are scarce and technology is limited. This kind of thing makes a difference. If you look for examples of socialism working really well and being really stable in actual history, the Inuits come to mind, who had to develop a fundamentally socialist culture in order to survive very harsh and resource-poor conditions.

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