Game Idea 7-28-2017 "A Good Time Stamp to Die"

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Game Idea 7-28-2017 "A Good Time Stamp to Die"

Post by jayphailey » Tue Nov 13, 2018 9:30 pm

Game Idea 7-28-2017 "A Good Time Stamp to Die"

Planet Mokkoman is odd in Federation territory. They use droids. Artificial Lifeforms. They are friendly with the Federation, but the Federation is ambivalent. Are these creatures people or robots? Most of the "droids" on Mokkoman fall right into the gray area where it's hard to tell.

The Organic people of Mokkoman culturally consider these creatures to be objects/property and treat them as such.

They come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes. They use a variation on positronic brains technology they developed themselves. They'd build and sell as many as Starfleet wanted to carry away for a nominal fee, but Starfleet frowns on this.

Compared to Data and the EMH most of the "droids" would chimpanzees or monkeys compared to humans.

But this makes it harder to parse the ethical issues involved in owning these creatures and what rights they should have.

The PCs ship gets a distress call from Mokkoman.

Droids have started destroying themselves. It has become an epidemic.

Why? What's going on? Is there a way to tell beforehand? Is it an outside force? hacking? a design flaw? Are the Droids waking up enough to perceive their true place in Mokkoman culture and suffering despair?

If too many droids self-destruct, the Mokkoman economy would be crippled. If most of the droids self-destruct then the people of Mokkoman might not be able to feed themselves.

The Mokkoman positronic brain is a neural network computer that learns as it goes. When the droids are turned on they have a set of pre-loaded skills, instructions and scripts for dealing with things. As they go along, they learn more and more and their brains develop complex self-programming which add to their skill and competency but also leads to them developing personalities.

The Positronic brain design doesn't mesh well with standard modern computer technology. So it would be difficult to back up a Mokkoman PosBrain state and reload it into a fresh unit. Each unit processes its input in its own way, so they can't be combined into more powerful units.

The range in sizes from small (Cat sized) to Large (Human Sized) the capacity and capability of each brain depends on its size.

A Mokkoman owner of such a droid can have his units Memory wiped. This deletes all previous learning and experience and has the brain starting over as a blank slate. Some owners with used droids do this because they don't like the previous personalities their used droids develop.

For me, the primary goal would be to call into question "What makes a person a person?" and let the players discuss and argue this for a while.

Note - This is actually a deep philosophical question we don't have good answers for yet. Most people THINK they know, but in reality, this is a "feeling" and not a definition. So if the discussion bogs down or becomes combatative, be prepared to have pirates show-up and start shooting to break this up.

I don't know what is causing the Droids to self-destruct.

On the one hand, I'd say make up your mind before the PCs got there, so all the clues they discovered would be internally consistent.

On the other hand, we all know the players would come up with something better with their own conjectures and speculations, so you'd want to leave space to reroute into a better idea if the Players gave you one.

In Jay Trek, there would be these things in play.

The Ferengi would have a mission there to buy droids in bulk. Laborers you don't have to pay? Ka-Ching! If they can license or steal the technology, so much the better.

Orions would be sniffing around for a complex reason. They like having organic slaves for cultural and personal reasons. They actually have access to all Federation technology, so droids would be sort of superfluous if they put all that to work. They don't because the way the Federation is set up is too egalitarian for them. It's the natural order that some be rich and powerful and the many are poor and destitute. If you didn't have poverty and hardship as a river, you wouldn't find the most competent conquerors and warlords as they struggled to escape poverty and hardship.

BUT, the Orions have a customer.

The Romulan Star Empie is running into a problem. They can't make enough Romulans. As Imperial space expands the need for trained Romulans goes up by the same factor cubed. They barely have enough Romulans to keep their Star Navy up to strength and to properly manage their subject worlds.

If the loyalty of these droids could be guaranteed they could be wonderful leverage for the Romulans of the Star Empire.

So the Romulans have asked a few semi-friendly Orions to look into the technology for them.

The Orions would be *really* intent on keeping this knowledge out of Starfleet's hands, because they hate Starfleet and their Romulan Customers would ghost them if they actually let Starfleet know what they were doing.

So Starfleet PCs asking around why the Orions were sniffing around Mokkoman would get a variety of made-up answers, ranging from reasonable and believable to whimsically and insultingly false.

For added humor, one might have a Federation Group like "People for the Ethical Treatment of Artificial Lifeforms" - a group of people who think that the Mokkoman relationship with their droids is built on a problematic basis. PETAL would be holding demonstrations and doing their best to persuade the people of Mokkoman to reconsider their culture.

Personally, I agree with them, but in this case, playing the fuzzy headed hippy card for humor might be fun.
Last edited by jayphailey on Mon Jul 15, 2019 9:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Game Idea 7-28-2017 "A Good Time Stmo to Die"

Post by Innkeeper » Tue Dec 25, 2018 8:24 am

I do have the group the Society for the Protection of Sentient Rights. It can have fuzzy headed hippies.

A grimmer possibility would be that a flaw in the positronic brains themselves. They reach an X level of complexity or percentage of functionality and break down. "Memory error, fall over dead."

A touch of existential horror for the Droids that are aware, they have a time limit.
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Re: Game Idea 7-28-2017 "A Good Time Stamp to Die"

Post by Innkeeper » Fri Nov 01, 2019 6:02 am

jayphailey wrote:
Tue Nov 13, 2018 9:30 pm
Game Idea 7-28-2017 "A Good Time Stamp to Die"
I'm quoting this so you get a notification, as to the above.
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Re: Game Idea 7-28-2017 "A Good Time Stamp to Die"

Post by jayphailey » Sat Nov 02, 2019 6:59 pm

I don't have a good reply here.

I post these ideas here to save them in case I want to find them later - and the share with you for your enjoyment.

If someone can use these ideas with or without modification, I have no kick about that. Change it however suits you to make it work!

The fact of the matter is that if someone HAD a trek RPG group, and the the GM found my ideas fun or useful, I could keep him going for years at this point.

If I ever get a Trek RPG group that has not read these I will totally strip mine them

But, you know, the group and the the group dynamic has to be adjusted to. If Characters have cool back stories that could tie in. It might be that someone reviewing game logs of the group might recognize similarities, but never the original idea write up.
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Re: Game Idea 7-28-2017 "A Good Time Stamp to Die"

Post by jayphailey » Sat Nov 02, 2019 7:03 pm

As for too much detail - most of the BG would not be shared with the players unless they asked. Usually specific answers for specific questions.

The fundamental rule of bullshitting is GET YOUR STORY STRAIGHT

So the huge background is mostly for me so when things start happening with in sight of the PCs I know whats going on in the back ground and I can keep the story straight.


My worst fails as a GM have been when I didn't have enough time/energy to figure out what was going on, and I painted myself into a corner.

Once the game starts, once we're at the table

EVERYTHING s up in the air. EVERYTHING is subject to change. On the fly. As need be. Or even if it sounds cools.

I just need to lay down a lot of details so I can sound like I know what I am talking about,.
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Re: Game Idea 7-28-2017 "A Good Time Stamp to Die"

Post by Innkeeper » Sun Nov 03, 2019 6:19 am

jayphailey wrote:
Sat Nov 02, 2019 7:03 pm
As for too much detail - most of the BG would not be shared with the players unless they asked. Usually specific answers for specific questions.

The fundamental rule of bullshitting is GET YOUR STORY STRAIGHT

So the huge background is mostly for me so when things start happening with in sight of the PCs I know whats going on in the back ground and I can keep the story straight.


My worst fails as a GM have been when I didn't have enough time/energy to figure out what was going on, and I painted myself into a corner.

Once the game starts, once we're at the table

EVERYTHING s up in the air. EVERYTHING is subject to change. On the fly. As need be. Or even if it sounds cools.

I just need to lay down a lot of details so I can sound like I know what I am talking about,.
Thinking about this. It needs to be a murder mystery. Simply having androids drop dead of existential horrors gives the PCs no decision to make.

Ergo, person or person's unknown are shooting androids with Tailoron rays that start the breakdown in 1d4 days. The clue being that the condition Q of the postironic brains thought to be a by product of the failure is the cause.

Reason could be anything fro a Luddite that considers aware AI evil to a completing product that needs leverage.
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Re: Game Idea 7-28-2017 "A Good Time Stamp to Die"

Post by jayphailey » Sun Nov 03, 2019 6:21 am

Innkeeper wrote:
Sun Nov 03, 2019 6:19 am
Thinking about this. It needs to be a murder mystery. Simply having androids drop dead of existential horrors gives the PCs no decision to make.
Good catch there!

The hardest thing is always aiming towards a question to ask the PCs.
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