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Old 03-01-2017, 11:11 AM   #31
Anthony
 
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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
That, it seems to me, is a jump to conclusions based on metagame classification of the trait.
No, it's mostly based on mechanical means -- things that give an unusual ability to influence other people are often regulated, as long as regulation as viable.
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Old 03-01-2017, 11:18 AM   #32
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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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Whoa, that's . . . borderline dystopian-sounding. You need licensing for casually talking!
What's he trying to casually talk people into _doing_?

Note that it will be the "doing" that's the basis for post-action repercussions be they civil or criminal. On the other hand it's unlikely that they will ever issue licenses for using Fast Talk for fraudulent purposes.
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Old 03-01-2017, 06:03 PM   #33
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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
That, it seems to me, is a jump to conclusions based on metagame classification of the trait.
If you could get a gaggle of qualified expert witnesses saying "this stuff causes measurable, significant changes in brain chemistry and function", I think you could get it banned easily enough. Heck, you could probably get a conviction under any number of extant 20th century laws with no changes whatsoever. Nothing to do with game mechanics.

You're administering a neurochemistry-modifying chemical agent with a view to alrering somebody's behaviour. That's exactly equivalent to slipping them a roofie.

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Some people maybe will wear them, but I think most will consider it a paranoid, antisocial/asocial kind of behaviour, similar to how people like me refuse to use Facebook.
For daily wear in casual conversations, maybe. For decision support purposes when spending significant amounts of money - you could sell it very easily as "a smart best friend in your pocket".

Heck, that's how I assume a lot of wearable NAIs and LAIs are used in the TS setting as written.

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And again, you're using the already-negative 'drugs' for the scent-things, but the already-positive 'smoothtalk' for using language to hotwire/hack a person's decisionmaking parts of the brain.
(a) In what sense are they not "drugs"?

(b) The English language lacks a term for purely verbal persuasion methods that subvert the capacity for free will. Chiefly because, rightly or wrongly, few people believe that those exist. However, "smooth talking" is hardly an unambiguously positive term; it carries connotations of skill and elegance, but also of dishonesty and deception. Saying that someone is a smooth talker is a back-handed compliment at best.

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It's kinda weird to read this coming from someone who was involved in the making of Madness Dossier, BTW.
I didn't have more than a playtest credit on that book, actually. It's one of Ken's little masterpieces. But in any case, it sounds like you missed that Madness Dossier is a horror setting, because it raises the horrible possibility that free will is largely an illusion that can be entirely subverted by simple (if obscure) methods. Though even there, Project Sandman also uses drugs and implant brain chips, and is aware that the mass of the public would not handle the truth well.

In a setting like TS, I'd anticipate that people would prefer to retain the assumption of free will, rightly or wrongly. Saying it can be subverted by mind-altering drugs is one thing - the proof is left to your local bar at closing time. Saying that mere speech can entirely annihilate the ability to resist is likely to be a much harder sell.
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Old 03-02-2017, 03:44 AM   #34
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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
What's he trying to casually talk people into _doing_?

Note that it will be the "doing" that's the basis for post-action repercussions be they civil or criminal. On the other hand it's unlikely that they will ever issue licenses for using Fast Talk for fraudulent purposes.
Things that can plausibly be done with sufficiently high Influence skills (such as Fast-Talk or Diplomacy or others):
  • Selling a famous painting at a cost notably higher than the target would pay for of one's free will.
  • Making a successful marriage proposal despite a rather short courting. Against the target's better judgement.
  • Convincing a partner to stay in bed for some fun despite resulting in said partner getting late to work (which the partner wouldn't do if the partner's decisionmaking weren't subverted).
  • Dating above one's Status, even though normally the higher-Status wouldn't go for it.
These are all the things that happen in real life with some frequency. They're also the sort of things that Charisma 4 (Scent-Based) would help with. Having skill 20 instead of skill 12 would of course make the feats more drastic, success more reliable etc.
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Old 03-02-2017, 04:36 AM   #35
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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 Phil Masters View Post
If you could get a gaggle of qualified expert witnesses saying "this stuff causes measurable, significant changes in brain chemistry and function", I think you could get it banned easily enough. Heck, you could probably get a conviction under any number of extant 20th century laws with no changes whatsoever. Nothing to do with game mechanics.

You're administering a neurochemistry-modifying chemical agent with a view to alrering somebody's behaviour. That's exactly equivalent to slipping them a roofie.
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(a) In what sense are they not "drugs"?
Again, this is why I said that the word 'pheromones' is an unfortunate choice that locks the setting in a very specific way of achieving a result.

Consider:
There is a percentage of people who find the afterscent of chocolate-flavoured shower gel to be highly seductive and arousing. In effect, it afflicts a quirk-level lecherousness and/or provides reaction bonus worth about 1-2 reaction levels (let's say that's +4). That's an example that works (I've seen people with such reactions to such a scent), and it's definitely not a drug, even though surely such a big change in behaviour involves changes in brain chemistry caused by this chemical. There are also currently perfumes which are advertised as 'having pheromones'; obviously they are not classed as drugs; less obviously, there's apparently likewise a small percentage of people for whom they produce a similar effect.

Now consider: as TL grows, perfume-makers learn how to expand the percentage of people by those scents. The mechanism of changing the brain remains as indirect as in the modern example.

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Originally Posted by Phil Masters View Post
I didn't have more than a playtest credit on that book, actually. It's one of Ken's little masterpieces. But in any case, it sounds like you missed that Madness Dossier is a horror setting, because it raises the horrible possibility that free will is largely an illusion that can be entirely subverted by simple (if obscure) methods. Though even there, Project Sandman also uses drugs and implant brain chips, and is aware that the mass of the public would not handle the truth well.

In a setting like TS, I'd anticipate that people would prefer to retain the assumption of free will, rightly or wrongly. Saying it can be subverted by mind-altering drugs is one thing - the proof is left to your local bar at closing time. Saying that mere speech can entirely annihilate the ability to resist is likely to be a much harder sell.
Earlier, you talk of measurable effects. The whole invention of Memetics seems to be such a proof that talking can indeed circumvent, subvert, hack or otherwise modify a person's decisionmaking processes. It was MD that borrowed Memetics from THS and not the other way around, correct?
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Old 03-02-2017, 05:06 AM   #36
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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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Again, this is why I said that the word 'pheromones' is an unfortunate choice that locks the setting in a very specific way of achieving a result.
No, it really isn't. If it works to a level that's measurable in game mechanics, it's a psychoactive chemical.
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There are also currently perfumes which are advertised as 'having pheromones'; obviously they are not classed as drugs
That's because they are generally held to be ineffective.
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Now consider: as TL grows, perfume-makers learn how to expand the percentage of people by those scents.
And lawmakers learn to recognize perfume makers attempting to do that, and make it illegal.
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Originally Posted by vicky_molokh View Post
Earlier, you talk of measurable effects. The whole invention of Memetics seems to be such a proof that talking can indeed circumvent, subvert, hack or otherwise modify a person's decisionmaking processes. It was MD that borrowed Memetics from THS and not the other way around, correct?
MD? In any case, plenty of societies have made particular types of memetics illegal, though usually under names such as 'sedition'.
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Old 03-02-2017, 05:18 AM   #37
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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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No, it really isn't. If it works to a level that's measurable in game mechanics, it's a psychoactive chemical.
Appearance works to a level that's measurable in game mechanics, but we don't class beautiful people (whether naturally or artificially) as walking psychoactive brain hacks.

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That's because they are generally held to be ineffective.

And lawmakers learn to recognize perfume makers attempting to do that, and make it illegal.
I specifically brought up examples that are effective, but only against a minority of people. (You cut out that part of the argument. A meaning of an argument can change and/or deteriorate drastically when such necessary parts are left out.) The mechanism does not change (a sensory one), the level of effectiveness does not change (e.g. a +4ish worth of Reaction Modifiers), only the percentage against such effectiveness applies changes.

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MD? In any case, plenty of societies have made particular types of memetics illegal, though usually under names such as 'sedition'.
MD = Madness Dossier, mentioned above.

Anyway, sedition is a specific kind of meme that is illegal to spread regardless of your skill level and regardless of whether it uses text, audiospeech or whatever, so it's not very applicable.
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Old 03-02-2017, 05:27 AM   #38
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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
Appearance works to a level that's measurable in game mechanics, but we don't class beautiful people (whether naturally or artificially) as walking psychoactive brain hacks.
True, but we often distinguish between obvious and subtle means of persuasion, and are more tolerant of the obvious.
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I specifically brought up examples that are effective, but only against a minority of people.
Most such examples are net neutral, because they also cause bad reactions from other people. On the other hand, regulations on things like restaurants emitting food scents (which do have identifiable persuasive effects) do exist.
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Anyway, sedition is a specific kind of meme that is illegal to spread regardless of your skill level and regardless of whether it uses text, audiospeech or whatever, so it's not very applicable.
True. A better example might be memetic techniques that are regulated or forbidden, such as threats, lies, omission of key information, and bribery.
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Old 03-02-2017, 06:11 AM   #39
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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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True, but we often distinguish between obvious and subtle means of persuasion, and are more tolerant of the obvious.
There's always Charisma for the non-obvious one (which also happens to have a game-mechanical effect worth mentioning). Voice is probably not quite obvious too (it's probably easy to notice that a voice is 'not bad', but it's much harder to identify when it's good enough for a +2 bonus in everyday speech as opposed to singing).

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Most such examples are net neutral, because they also cause bad reactions from other people. On the other hand, regulations on things like restaurants emitting food scents (which do have identifiable persuasive effects) do exist.
Food scents seem to belong to the 'obvious' group. So if they're regulated because of their persuasive effects (I'm not an FDA legislator/lawyer/etc.), that at least seems to cast doubt on the hypothesis that the obviousness-vs-subtlety is the major factor here.
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Old 03-02-2017, 10:40 AM   #40
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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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So if pheromones did get lawyered out of existence the GRA would be hunting down anyone offering such a template and adults found with such glands would probably be forced get a nanosurgeon-powered glandectomy.
Isn't this essentially the case?
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Not the sort of thing I would spend time on to design templates that would end up that way
Presumably the TSA thought they were going to win the war, or at least they were trying to win. The Guardian was intended by its designers to be the ruling caste in a society of Helots.
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