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Old 01-13-2021, 02:31 AM   #1
AlexanderHowl
 
Join Date: Feb 2016
Default Corrupted Longevity [Horror]

Humans are not really meant to live much past 110 years and, while a few people push beyond that barrier, they often end up regretting it as they outliving their family and friends. However, there are new technologies on the horizon that offer increased longevity, though the long term cost of living beyond the maximum human lifespan. It is in the long term costs of longevity that horror might be found.

In essence, humans are no more psychological prepared to love beyond their alloted years than they are physiologically capable. While technology might be able to deal with the diseases of the body, it is less capable of dealing with the disorders of the mind. Since mind and body are one in humans, the transformation of the human mind to a computer program probably removes its anchors to reality (though it will be a while before we can test that hypothesis).

If the above is true in a setting, the real horror in longevity then comes in the form of a decaying mind rather than a decaying body. After their first century of life, humans would start to accumulate (Age in years/100, rounded down) points of Corruption every month that can only be removed through weekly psychotherapy or conversion into mental disadvantages. Mind emulations have it even worse, as they would gain (Existence as Emulation in years/25, rounded up) points of Corruption every week that can only be removed through daily psychotherapy or conversion into mental disadvatages.

What type of consequences do you think would occur due to Corruption coming from longevity? What impact would it have in your settings or games? Would you ever want to introduce the idea as a horror angle for a science fiction setting?
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Old 01-13-2021, 03:46 AM   #2
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Default Re: Corrupted Longevity [Horror]

If humans (and not f.ex. AI) rules the world then inevitably you'll end up with something like:

A rotten old ruler and his rotten court of benefactors. They'll sit there accumulating "corruption" and proclaim that they are "above" the limitations of regular people. At some point they'll get too unstable and start killing each other off, but to keep revolution at bay, much like a Mafia, they'd only bring other unscrupulous bastards into high positions. Last thing you want is getting selfless people with strong morals getting into the mix.

I think it would basically end up similar to real-world corrupted nations and companies. A bunch of narcissists and sociopaths claw their way to the top and kick down to keep better people away. Except unlike the real-life problem with narcissists, sociopaths, and their enablers, these people will get more and more terribly deranged over time. Even "normal people" useful enough to survive will end up deranged over time, perhaps resulting in manic behaviour, or eventually getting killed when they develop a depression and stop being productive.

Either way, it seems like a pretty decent basis for a horror setting. Almost anyone in some position of relative power will be deranged, but there will be lots and lots of young people since loss of human life will get pretty common when the military commanders sit around with stuff like Bloodlust and Megalomania, while the chief of police has Sadism, and again, Bloodlust.

If anything I'd be concerned about it being a bit too corrupt and grimdark. Just about every large company and government agency would skeletons in the closest, perhaps literally messy catacombs in the basement. A number of them would probably not even hide it.

Only if the setting is well aware of the mental corruption and it has high presence in press and media would you get something other than a crapsack world. In that case you'd see a lot of forced therapy and therapy AI monitoring people. Which could get pretty dystopic as well depending on how well this works.
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Last edited by RedMattis; 01-13-2021 at 03:52 AM.
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Old 01-13-2021, 06:12 AM   #3
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Default Re: Corrupted Longevity [Horror]

Partial amnesia is an obvious potential mental disadvantage, and possibly a way to escape worse ones.

In Robinson Mars trilogy you have a chilling passage when a character, after a couple (?) century of longevity, come across the picture of a long dead character who once was extremely important to him, and remark "look nice. Who is she ?"
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Old 01-13-2021, 09:04 AM   #4
AlexanderHowl
 
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Default Re: Corrupted Longevity [Horror]

Partial Amnesia would likely only be the beginning, as it would occur after 250 points of corruption (21 years for untreated biological intelligences and 5 years for untreated digital intelligences). After that point, Partial Amnesia would no longer be a refuge from insanity, as the derangements would only grow worse, and anything with Eidetic Memory or Photographic Memory likely could not experience Partial Amnesia as a buffer (so most digital intelligences are out of luck). Without continuous monitoring and treatment, most biological intelligences would be barking mad by their third century of life (most digital intelligences by their sixth decade of existence).

In a science fiction setting with magic, this could be why societies banned the practice of magic and tried to destroy any instructions on its actual practice. In a previous era, immortality could have been easily acquired, but the consequences of its acquisition was inevitable insanity which, combined with magical power, was usually a bad thing. Of course, innately immortal entities did not necessarily go insane due to their immortality, but that would be presumably because they had evolved (been created) to deal with the rigors of immortality.

Even genetic engineering would not necessarily avoid the issue because the foundation would still be human (though no one would know that there were still any problems until a century out). Even if it was possible to deal with the issue through genetic engineering though, the 100+ year lag between birth and symptoms would make it nearly impossible to develop resistance/immunity to the effect, especially since most of the lead scientists would likely be suffering from the effects and would not realize that anything was wrong. How could they address a problem if they are incapable of detecting that it is an issue in the first place?

One of the most interesting horror elements would be the fact that the people suffering from the corruption would likely not realize that anything was wrong because of the slow onset. The insanity of digital intelligences would likely be seen as an error in programming, not a foundational hardware issue, and it would likely result in digital intelligences being banned until the issue could be worked out. The insanity in biological intelligences would progress so slowly though that people would likely perceive it as a change in perspective brought on by experience, and they would likely rationalize their changes in behavior as a reaction to the naivety of the young. For example, an individual who developed progressively worsening levels of Bully, Lecherousness, Sadism, and Xenophilia would be an equal opportunity abuser who would travel the world to meet new people in order to violate them, but their change in behavior would seem rational to them because it would have take a century to manifest.
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Old 01-13-2021, 09:29 AM   #5
RedMattis
 
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Default Re: Corrupted Longevity [Horror]

Unless there is a very solid system in place to prevent it I think the real issue is society on large corrupting. If everyone turns dysfunctional and many people straight up dangerous then the 'powerful' individuals will want to do everything they can to keep themselves safe. Which sounds like a recipe for tyranny.

It also sounds like a good recipe for total societal collapse with or without nukes and the like. When a ton of important people eventually have Impulsive, Overconfidence, Megalomania, etc. there is little stopping biological/chemical weapons or straight up full nuclear exchanges.

You've seen how outrageous the world can get recently, now imagine if everyone involved had an extra 15 points of "mental corruption" disadvantages or more.
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Old 01-13-2021, 11:50 AM   #6
AlexanderHowl
 
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Default Re: Corrupted Longevity [Horror]

Or an extra 150 CP. It might get to the point where any form of longevity becomes suspect unless accompanied by proof of psychological stability. While there would still be those who seek immortality, they would be considered lunatics because most people would be reluctant to sacrifice their psychological stability for physical immortality. After all, would an extra two centuries of life be worthwhile if it accompanied an extra 150 CP (50 CP for the second century of life and 100 CP for the third century of life).

Of course, an interesting addition would be to have biological intelligences develop 1 CP of psionic abilities for every 1 CP in mental disadvantages that they gain from Corruption caused by longevity. In that case, their divergent thinking and long life allows them to awaken the unrealized potential of the human brain. Of course, this would not necessarily make people feel better about the situation, as having insane psychics running around would be quite dangerous.

Last edited by AlexanderHowl; 01-13-2021 at 11:53 AM.
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Old 01-13-2021, 03:19 PM   #7
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Default Re: Corrupted Longevity [Horror]

Virtually no one wants to live forever if you ask them. But virtually no one wants to die today. And what's 1 year if not just 365 todays?

People are perfectly fine doing rather self-destructive things now as long as even certain damage is far enough in the future.

"I'm a good person. I can live just a little longer to help others." someone says this month, next month, and until they're not quite so good starting to feel they deserve to live longer.
"Look at how much good I still do. Aren't I still kinder than most people?"
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Old 01-13-2021, 05:00 PM   #8
Plane
 
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Default Re: Corrupted Longevity [Horror]

complication in applying point penalty stuff like corrupting or Costs Fatigue is how often the intervals are for a 'use', since applying it on a 'per minute' basis is massively prohibitive
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Old 01-13-2021, 06:32 PM   #9
AlexanderHowl
 
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Default Re: Corrupted Longevity [Horror]

Not the Corrupting modifier. It is that the state of living beyond a certain duration is innately corrupting.
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Old 01-14-2021, 12:09 AM   #10
ajardoor
 
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Default Re: Corrupted Longevity [Horror]

How much does it cost? Because if only the poor are safe from this corruption, this changes the dynamic of class a bit. (Reminds me of Arasaka's "Secure Your Soul" plot in Cyberpunk 2077.)
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