Monday, January 10, 2011

A Few More Thoughts on Philip K. Dick-Marlowe

The good news is that my wife seemed intrigued by the idea of role playing a detective. With Swords and Wizardry in the past, she had some problems knowing exactly what to do - with this idea we both quickly saw how an investigation implies logical courses of action. Her exact words were "I needed more direction" and I think she'd get it with this by explicitly having a mystery to solve. It flies in the face of the gaming style I prefer, but I can see how a somewhat railroady game might suit her better as a beginner. Hell, maybe I’ll even redo Murder on the Orient Express as a high speed underground rail-line between San Francisco and Tokyo. She'll be on-board security (with a backup body or two in storage). Instead of a snow storm, I'll have a power failure (sabotage?) occur somewhere under the Pacific Ocean.

Adrian's comment in the last post has me thinking of ways in which I could raise the subjects of free will, insanity, and ethics in the game. Maybe robots are only allowed to graduate to full citizenship by providing valuable services - they’re capable of full independence and free will, but this capability is only slowly turned on (or awakened) by the robot proving that they can handle difficult ethical decisions. Of course not all robots necessarily have to be detectives to go through this process, just our protagonist player. Some robots resent the requirements and seek to hack their own programming restrictions (usually after having been subjected to a virus by another robot or by a member of the anarchistic AI-rights activists). Full citizenship might involve the loss of access to cloud data (no more replacement bodies with memories intact) as well as the eventual addition of organic body parts as rewards and incentive.

The downside is that I can see a lot more preparation being necessary to do all of this right - something I have a hard time doing with my current S&W game.


Porky said...

It's just struck me how much extra pressure there is on a DM / GM to work up a mystery that is the adventure and not just a part of it. That's a challenge.

I'm glad you want to do justice to the ethics of the subject too. We're getting to the point - and may be there for all we know - at which the issue has to be dealt with.

ze bulette said...

Yep, I'd be very tempted to translate existing novels or convert CoC adventures somehow. I'm no mystery writer.

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