Thursday, September 23, 2021
Saturday, September 18, 2021
I was also thinking about how cybernetics was explored in the tabletop RPG Tenra Bansho Zero, a game that does something similar for Buddhism in Japan, Shintoism, and Japanese Mythology, as what I'm doing with MRD, and was one of my inspirations for the Karma system in MRD in the first place. In TBZ, and actually to some extent in some other Japanese cyberpunk settings like Ghost in the Shell, cybernetics tends to be a form of body horror and often is also explored as being a more existential threat to one's concept of self and soul.
While I think that kind of exploration of cybernetics, philosophy, and psychology makes sense and is done well in those source materials and some others, I don't necessarily think at this point there's anything more I could meaningfully contribute to that commentary, and to attempt to do so without some really evocative idea in mind would be kind of trite. Instead, I wanted to think about how I could invert these ideas.
Cybernetics is etymologically based on the Greek Kubernetes, to govern, or to steer. It's an interdisciplinary field involved in the application and design of control systems, feedback loops, and interfaces. It requires the ability to model input and output signals, modulate based on those signals (feedback), and this requires encapsulation in terms of interfaces, in multiple regards, including brain-computer interfacing, program interfaces, and interfacing with the real world itself (the input signals). Specifically, it's in the application of these control systems and interfaces towards the re-implementation or enhancement of sensorimotor functions.
So within the context of Buddhism or at least the very specific and idiosyncratic interpretation of Buddhism I've conceived for MRD, what would it mean to invert this? To me, this means, a detachment from the Material World, divestment of the need for sensorimotor interfacing, and instead co-opting these psychophysical systems for the development of control systems, feedback mechanisms, and interfaces towards a higher metaphysical plane, towards Awakening. While I've avoided too much explicit reference to Dharma in MRD, many of the concepts in MRD that I wrap up under the umbrella of Karma are actually Dharma, Samsara, The Three Marks of Existence, etc., as I discuss in that link above. So I could just call this Karmatics <-> the Karma equivalent to Cybernetics <-> (Kubernetes <-> Control Systems), but I do think in this case Dharma is a better term. It's the phenomenology of Buddhism (the term also gets used in Hinduism and Jainism), and broadly encompasses the idea of pure reality, one beyond the subjectivity of Conditioned Things, almost like Plato's Platonic Ideal of Forms, or Greek Logos. So, Dharmatics.
From a strictly narrative/aesthetic perspective, I really want to avoid having Dharmatics just be Cybernetics by another name. I can live with the game mechanics just being cybernetics by another name, maybe, but it at least needs to be conceptually different, or else I'm just needlessly complicating things for the sake of false profundity. The most obvious thing I can think of is to give Dharmatics a unique and evocative aesthetic. Dharmatics are decidedly not metal, plastic, silicon, and electronic. They're psychedelia, pareidolia, holography, psychophysical illusion, and applied art and color theory, somewhat along the lines of things I've discussed before such as with my Concept of the Positive and Negative Planes.
Wednesday, September 8, 2021
Monday, August 30, 2021
"The efficacy of The System is absolute proof that You Are Not Special, but nowhere else will you feel as Special as you do within The System."
Rough Setting Concept: The Warriors but Corporate
Free the System
Monday, August 23, 2021
- Glass Maiden Pixie
- Chrono Canary Lost in the Time Mines
- Cave Monster Hoarding Pyrite (as an Ashura)
- Bloody Fingers on the Run
- Mobius Hustler
- Bottom of the Bottle Alchemist (Semiurge)
- Restless Slumbering Heart Engine (Local Cryptid)
- Unending Jaw, Hungry Maw (Local Cryptid)
- Moonlit Walk of the Hound (Local Cryptid)
- Wild Gaze of Feral Mind (Local Cryptid)
- Innocent Eyes, Bleached White (Local Cryptid)
- Liminal Wonderlander
- Tip of the Tongue Wizard
- Supernova Vampire at Sunrise
- Rusting Glitter Fractal
- Keene-Eyes Homicidal Maniac
- VR Hunter in Distortion
- Masochist Beyond Spacetime
- Angel like a Devil like an Angel
- <Danger Message>
Sunday, August 15, 2021
* Note(Max): He is referring to Demon-Bone Sarcophagus
Note(Max): I believe he has since gone on to do at least one more, but it took a little while before publishing this post, and I'm not sure which all that he's referring to have themselves been published yet.
NOTE(Max): I would have been very interested in unpacking that last sentence, but I felt it would have derailed the conversation too much so chose to move on.
Thinking about semi-scientific and science fictional concepts is pretty normal for me, it's more that I don't know why it isn't normal for everyone else.I have lost much sleep over this myself!
the triangular nature of the dungeon is new I think - it was created partly as triangles are a symbol for fireI love little touches like this- small bits of symbolism or subtext, that end up bringing about all of these other dynamics in how they interrelate with other aspects of a work.
Wednesday, August 4, 2021
PR 12: Corporate Restructuring and the Short-Sell
PR 13: The Trial of the Pipes
PR 14: Excuse-Me-Sir!
PR 15: Goblins!
Layout of this floor:
Open floor plan with a mini kitchen / hangout area in the center, and four corner offices.
Narrow corridors of various sized rooms like labs, filming rooms, supply closets, etc.
Semi-translucent glass windowed conference rooms.
Cubicle farm. The walls of the cubicles obscure the fact that the cubicles are not neat rows, but more of a maze-like configuration.
This floor was under reconstruction before the explosion; full of holes in the floor and wall, dangerous equipment lying around, exposed wires.
Commercial floor of restaurants, shops, a cafeteria, seating areas, viewing areas, game room, bar/cafe, etc.
Moon Marine is rescuing people. Will offer to help the Team out, will be suspicious if they turn her down, or if she sees them doing Recurser stuff.
An experimental cyborg created by the Orange Goblin company, part of Project Blackcap: Binata sa Punso (think robocop).
The Team sees an exit off to the distance, but as they move towards it, it gets further away, leading them towards a group of Orange Goblins while another group flanks them. The floor is unstable but the Mirage Goblins are ok with dying to complete the job.
A chattering noise floods the floor, causing panic, disabling WIS abilities / Saves, and dealing Wd4. The Panic Goblins are little machines hiding in the walls.
A monstrous cyborg arm punctures the window, swiping at the Team and grabs one PC randomly. The Genocide Goblin (think... I dunno, Attack on Titan?) climbing up the side of the building spans the length of ~2.5 floors.
The entire floor is being converted into a Ru Goblin, a fleshy mash reconfiguring itself into the structure. The assembly of the Ru Goblin is the only thing keeping the floor sustained, but it is actively undermining the Team.
Norman Rockatansky will at first feign impotence but will pull some superspy moves if desperate.
One of Nazli Kaplan’s other hustles is a pharmaceutical internship. She is on this floor and needs help escaping. She is also an amateur boxer.
Through IoT and Comms, Black Sheep Shepherd reaches out to the party to help.
KAO: An intern will offer you a Tote Bag of Holding if you help them escape. The intern secretly has a gun in the Tote Bag, which they may use if put under pressure, but they have no gun training and are likely to hit a PC, themselves, or something important by accident (WIS 5 for the gun Save).
KAO: A small child on “visit your parent’s work day” offers the Team his Magic Macro-Man Action Figure to save him. His parents are somewhere on the next floor. Being a child, they will require careful supervision.
KAO: The famous TV chef, “Momma Tastemaker”, will offer you a DS Nightcrawler if you rescue her and help her find her lucky spatula. Momma Tastemaker is competent and resourceful, but definitely out of her element. Also, she is livestreaming the events (WIS Save for Team to notice). The team will have to do PRO Conflict (5 HP) or in some other way convince her not to livestream, or barring that, they will take Pd6 if they refuse to help her because she’s livestreaming, or fail to rescue her and/or the spatula while live.
PR 16: Treasure Trove of Cave Monster Hoarding Pyrite
- The NY Real Estate Warlord has become an Ashura: Cave Monster Hoarding Pyrite*.
Destroying or displacing the “treasure” littering the penthouse will deal Pd6.
If its venom breath gets on its treasure or on itself, also deals Pd6.
The Cave Monster is lazy, stupid, and easily distractable.
If the Team evades the Cave Monster, some Toadies** might timidly attack them.
The penthouse is two floors connected via a spiral staircase, and various lowered and elevated sections of the penthouse give it the feel of separate mini-rooms.
Bedroom with a 60s-style rotating love bed and a conspicuous pole.
Surrounded by a water curtain of an acrid yellow liquid (Nd4).
On the bed is a briefcase filled with a large quantity of single dollar bills.
Piano Bar with robot server and robot pianist.
Spicy (bartender; chameleon with camouflage) and Punchinello (pianist; stout giggly horned toad with big fists).
The bar contains several extremely valuable bottles of liquor, but is mostly overpriced junk booze.
The curator is The Worcestershire with a pencil-drawn pencil moustache.
Full of “priceless” art (all fake).
Hanging just behind the desk is an “authentic” Samurai Bustah Sword with the Ninpo Stones Poison, Magic Counter.
An expensive, massive, Susie Suburb “Dreamhouse” comes to life as a robot contraption to eat The Team if they try to steal the sword.
Ancient goddess figurine originally stolen by the Dutch East India Company.
The Team can steal it to damage the Cave Monster, but if the Team destroys the figurine or it gets destroyed by Toadies or the Cave Monster inadvertently, they take Pd6 (I decided to make this a Karmic Attachment instead).
Framed, signed photo with an A-List celebrity who was recently “cancelled” for having done something absolutely heinous.
Norman Rockatansky is already attempting to steal it.
Old-Timey looking but actually state of the art vault containing the Fool’s Gold.
The reward is Fool’s Gold; it’s valueless except to the extent that people believe it to be valuable.