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Old 02-27-2017, 08:06 AM   #11
Fred Brackin
 
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Default Re: Parahumans: What types do you think the canon needs, what type would you like to

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Originally Posted by vicky_molokh View Post
  1. Pheromones add the same thing to the setting as memetics: they highlight how many ways there are to affect minds.
Some of us aren't very fond of memetics either. It looks to me like more Bad Science in the service of dubious roleplaying. The fact that some people would use Dominance Pheromones to make money in addition to getting laid doesn't really diversify things.

It's not that game settings don't need bad guys. It's that they need ones that the PCs are allowed to kill or otherwise decisively defeat.
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Old 02-27-2017, 08:52 AM   #12
vicky_molokh
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Default Re: Parahumans: What types do you think the canon needs, what type would you like to

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Originally Posted by Fred Brackin View Post
Some of us aren't very fond of memetics either. It looks to me like more Bad Science in the service of dubious roleplaying. The fact that some people would use Dominance Pheromones to make money in addition to getting laid doesn't really diversify things.

It's not that game settings don't need bad guys. It's that they need ones that the PCs are allowed to kill or otherwise decisively defeat.
Shrug. Socially-savvy people are using their Charisma and Appearance and Voice and diplomacy to get laid and earn money all the time.

I think the value of memetics and pheromones and similar things is that they're more obvious reminders that social interaction is fundamentally an attempt to subvert and 'hotwire' another mind using the tools one has in the pursuit of one's goals. People easily forget that when talking about diplomacy, almost as easily when talking about looks and charisma and voice, but not as easily when talking about smells and mathematical/psychosoftware tricks. Saying "Look, all infuences are a form of software tricks!" shatters the illusion, somewhat unpleasantly, it seems.
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Old 02-27-2017, 09:11 AM   #13
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Default Re: Parahumans: What types do you think the canon needs, what type would you like to

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Shrug. Socially-savvy people are using their Charisma and Appearance and Voice and diplomacy to get laid and earn money all the time.
.
They tend to make poor opponents in rpgs. You usually can't stop them. Especially in ways that let the PCs walk away afterwards.
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Old 02-27-2017, 11:43 AM   #14
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Default Re: Parahumans: What types do you think the canon needs, what type would you like to

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Originally Posted by Fred Brackin View Post
Some of us aren't very fond of memetics either. It looks to me like more Bad Science in the service of dubious roleplaying. The fact that some people would use Dominance Pheromones to make money in addition to getting laid doesn't really diversify things.

It's not that game settings don't need bad guys. It's that they need ones that the PCs are allowed to kill or otherwise decisively defeat.
Humans don't have functional vomeronasal organs through which such pheromones could work. It's not even dubious science, but flat out wrong for baseline humans.

The actual rules for memetics are anemic enough to just work as slightly more effective propaganda despite all the fluff dialogue implying creepy mind control. Most people really are easily manipulated in specific ways. It's a drawback of being social creatures.
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Old 02-27-2017, 03:44 PM   #15
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Default Re: Parahumans: What types do you think the canon needs, what type would you like to

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Humans don't have functional vomeronasal organs through which such pheromones could work. It's not even dubious science, but flat out wrong for baseline humans.
The whole VNO thing may be a a red herring.

Imagine a TL5 world which has fiction with energy sources which seem to be holding more energy than chemical bonds can possibly hold. Then by the end of TL5 or beginning of TL6 of the world, people start decrying this fiction because obviously the Etheric Shockwave Theory has been conclusively proven to be wrong. Of course they never imagine that Nuclear Physics, not Etheric Shock Theory, are the path to achieving results similar to those in their fiction.

THS biochemistry is TL10, as are their memetics; the fact that the word 'pheromones' has been chosen instead of something more generic like 'aerosol influence supplement', because it forces a setting to conform to a specific way of achieving a result.

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The actual rules for memetics are anemic enough to just work as slightly more effective propaganda despite all the fluff dialogue implying creepy mind control. Most people really are easily manipulated in specific ways. It's a drawback of being social creatures.
Shrug. As if everyday social interactions aren't creepy mind control. I thought you had creepy stories about your brother's charisma as just one example.
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Old 02-27-2017, 03:57 PM   #16
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Default Re: Parahumans: What types do you think the canon needs, what type would you like to

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...
Shrug. As if everyday social interactions aren't creepy mind control. I thought you had creepy stories about your brother's charisma as just one example.
That's I meant to write. That memetics as written isn't much different than normal human interaction. Even just being nice to get on someone's good side is itself a form of social manipulation.

As to the previous issue, I wouldn't call mind controlling toxic gases completely alien to normal human biology pheromones. I suppose those in setting may use it as a shorthand, but I think it muddies the topic for many modern players that may not know the difference.
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Old 02-28-2017, 01:35 AM   #17
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Default Re: Parahumans: What types do you think the canon needs, what type would you like to

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That's I meant to write. That memetics as written isn't much different than normal human interaction. Even just being nice to get on someone's good side is itself a form of social manipulation.

As to the previous issue, I wouldn't call mind controlling toxic gases completely alien to normal human biology pheromones. I suppose those in setting may use it as a shorthand, but I think it muddies the topic for many modern players that may not know the difference.
Perhaps I should clarify too. Memetics is implied to be creepy mind control not because of its effectiveness, but rather because it takes all the creepiness in social influence and lays it bare. Compare: people know they're made of meat and are okay with it in the abstract, but are often creeped out by images/videos of skinless humans or visible internal organs.

Also, 'mind-controlling toxic gases' is both a loaded term and, if I understand what you mean correctly, just one of the possibilities. One other idea I'm thinking of is a way to use scent to trigger the effect of certain emotions by a purely sensory-hack method, in a way similar to how certain images and sounds produce visual or audial illusions: an exploit of a flaw in the human perception, of a neural pathway that is not triggered under normal circumstances etc.
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Old 02-28-2017, 11:37 AM   #18
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Default Re: Parahumans: What types do you think the canon needs, what type would you like to

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Perhaps I should clarify too. Memetics is implied to be creepy mind control not because of its effectiveness, but rather because it takes all the creepiness in social influence and lays it bare.

Also, 'mind-controlling toxic gases' is both a loaded term and, if I understand what you mean correctly, just one of the possibilities.
I suspect they're creepy for similar reasons, they expose the belief that there exists a "you" that feels your emotions and makes your decisions for the delusion that it is. Anything that challenges free will tends to make lots of people unhappy, just look at the philosophical contortions it motivates.

It actually might not be totally dissimilar to the issues around the being made of meat (and hence just another animal) one.
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Old 02-28-2017, 11:48 AM   #19
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Default Re: Parahumans: What types do you think the canon needs, what type would you like to

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The whole VNO thing may be a a red herring.
Not really. In the end, things that are important get significant resources assigned to them, so our relatively small olfactory cortex indicates that smell isn't very important and thus has limited ability to influence our behavior.
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Old 02-28-2017, 11:55 AM   #20
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Default Re: Parahumans: What types do you think the canon needs, what type would you like to

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Pheromones only increase the potential for sexual harassment and would probably be lawyered out of existence even if they were possible.
Why would that matter to Mara Omikage and the Bioweapons Directorate?
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