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Old 06-29-2017, 02:49 PM   #11
sir_pudding
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Default Re: Horror Scenario: Babies without souls

This is essentially the p-zombie thought experiment, yes? So it might range from a zero point feature (which presumably makes you susceptible to some supernatural effects and immune to others) to full on Automaton.

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Old 06-29-2017, 02:51 PM   #12
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Default Re: Horror Scenario: Babies without souls

To explorer this I think we have to first understand what a soul is in GURPS terms, it's not something I really understand... all I can figure is maybe GURPS Spirits in 3e or Thaumatology deal with it?

Things of relevance...

>B32 Mental advantages originate from your mind, or perhaps even your soul
>B120 Mental disadvantages originate from your mind or soul.
>B157 In some places and times, people will assume that you have no soul!
>B252 does not have the “soul,” mental traits, IQ-based skills, or memories
of the living person
>M49 (Soul Rider) can see through the subject’s eyes, hear through his ears (perhaps those without souls would have the benefit of being immune to this or the inability to use it?)
>M71 (Soul Stone) By transferring his life force to a Soul Stone, a sorcerer becomes immortal
>M89 (Final Rest) It is usually assumed that this spell functions by sending the soul of the deceased from the mortal plane into the presence of their deity
>M146 Necromantic spells affecting the mind or soul
>M154 (Soul Jar) Traps the subject’s soul in some object
>M155 if your soul is in a jar, anything that destroys the jar will kill you permanently – beyond hope of resurrection – even if your body is
unharmed.

This makes me wonder... can you even exist as anything but a zombie if you lack a soul? Soul Jar makes it seem like lacking a soul is death.
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Old 06-29-2017, 02:56 PM   #13
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Default Re: Horror Scenario: Babies without souls

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Originally Posted by Hellboy View Post
To explorer this I think we have to first understand what a soul is in GURPS terms, it's not something I really understand... all I can figure is maybe GURPS Spirits in 3e or Thaumatology deal with it?
There is no baked in dualism in GURPS. Cherry picking your examples from magic systems as you did isn't very valid. I could easily use examples from Transhuman Space and Reign of Steel to demonstrate that GURPS is wholly materialist.

Souls, and the existence, nonexistence, and nature thereof, are setting dependent.
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Old 06-29-2017, 03:02 PM   #14
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Default Re: Horror Scenario: Babies without souls

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It is not known yet, but a human cannot survive without a soul. Since a soulless has no soul of its own, it needs to feed regularly on the souls of the people around him.

As a baby, it feeds on the soul of its parents. Later it feeds on his class-mates and friends. People who are fed upon don't die immediately but look less lively and more depressive. Parents of soulless look very tired (No one noticed that, because parents of babies often look tired.). Later they feed on several people at the same time so that the effect is less notable. You don't find anything wrong with a soulless itself. It's just that the people around him look tired and faded. They also often switch in their social environments and don't have long-lasting friendships or relationships.

Feeding on souls often works better when people are emotional. Causing Pain, anger, lust is a second nature to them. When you investigate their career paths you see that they always work at places where these emotions are exploited. In the end they have big conspiracies to cause more raw emotion in the world (Pick you favourite negative influence and let them be the ones behind it.)
You could go with the Gaudivore from Horror, which Afflicts Chronic Depression and Links it to Leech. Put this together with Draining (p. B1329) and you get someone who will lose HP unless they use their power. A less extreme gaudivore could simply make people feel down in the dumps - a quirk. Maybe long-term effects include Chronic Depression. Lifebane is another possibility.
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Old 06-29-2017, 04:13 PM   #15
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Default Re: Horror Scenario: Babies without souls

Just as interesting to me is why? Obviously, this is a sinister conspiracy by some secretive cabal, but what are their goals? Are they purely demonic in nature or is this wizardly action intended to breed an army of easily controlled thralls? Does the universe spin out means to undo this? Can a freed soul be grafted upon one of the Soulless and create a whole person or does this only exacerbate the problem?
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Old 06-29-2017, 05:14 PM   #16
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Default Re: Horror Scenario: Babies without souls

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What if they had no soul? What effects do you think this would have on them, apart from "non-viable" (which is boring). This naturally assumes that there are such things as souls and that they perform some function.
Obviously, that depends on what function souls perform. Unless the effects are either very subtle or very slow (15+ years), a big result is that IVF is never approved for general medical use (looks like the FDA moved IVF equipment from 'premarket' to 'special controls' in 1998) and the number of IVF babies remains quite small.

Well, unless children born by IVF are clearly better than other children. But that's its own rather special variety of horror.
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Old 06-29-2017, 05:48 PM   #17
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Default Re: Horror Scenario: Babies without souls

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Originally Posted by Rigil_Kent View Post
Just as interesting to me is why? Obviously, this is a sinister conspiracy by some secretive cabal, but what are their goals? Are they purely demonic in nature or is this wizardly action intended to breed an army of easily controlled thralls? Does the universe spin out means to undo this? Can a freed soul be grafted upon one of the Soulless and create a whole person or does this only exacerbate the problem?
Soulless children can be soul-jarred by those with the know how, transferring the consciousness of a recently freed soul into the infant body. This is the new method of immortality. Its reasonably traumatic, and there's the whole "make this new body obey me" thing, but hey, its immortality. You didn't think it would be easy, did you?
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Old 06-29-2017, 06:11 PM   #18
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Default Re: Horror Scenario: Babies without souls

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Soulless children can be soul-jarred by those with the know how, transferring the consciousness of a recently freed soul into the infant body. This is the new method of immortality.
Ooh, that's a good one. It explains both why no-one has noticed anything distinctive about IVF children, and why the secretive cabal started up the IVF thing in the first place. Plus it's super-creepy.
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Old 06-29-2017, 06:43 PM   #19
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Default Re: Horror Scenario: Babies without souls

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Ooh, that's a good one. It explains both why no-one has noticed anything distinctive about IVF children, and why the secretive cabal started up the IVF thing in the first place. Plus it's super-creepy.
Though if the only thing something does is protect you from possession, calling it a 'soul' seems like a stretch (really, anything other than full-up dualism seems problematic for calling it a soul, meaning the soulless would probably lack free will and a sense of self).
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Old 06-29-2017, 06:53 PM   #20
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Default Re: Horror Scenario: Babies without souls

There was a neat version of the "soulless" in a book called The Flicker Men. A protagonist found some people who could not collapse the waveform by observing the photons passing through a slit in the double-slit experiment. Apparently, according to the universe the soulless didn't count as observers...

That's incredibly deep when you think about it. You could use it to build more of a cosmic science rather than religious atmosphere.

The soulless in the book were sort of running on autopilot, mimicking humanity. Stimulus-response on a very complex algorithm, but they didn't have real free will. They were the mooks in reality. Animals, not humans. Space-fillers for the souls around them. Maybe sociopaths. Anyway, eventually the protagonists developed a detector based upon the double-slit experiment. Then the book sort of goes off the rails, frankly. The first half is the most interesting.

Also, at some point some smartguy gets the idea to insert the detector into pregnant wombs to figure out when souls "attach" to a fetus, but the book doesn't explore this (deeply disturbing) aspect of the plot.

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