An Out of Body Experience

Disembodied Sentiences

With the exponential increase in data storage and processing speed, the possibility of people being able to upload their consciousness into a digital form.  There are any number of philosophical issues that arise with this possibility.  Would the copy be only a copy?  Would the original still experience death?  Would anyone ever even know?  I’m reminded of the end of the Prestige and all the questions it raised.

An entire campaign could revolve around those questions, depending on how deep you wanted to delve into them.  But even a more high level, light hearted campaign can feature a consciousness that no longer occupies its original corporeal form (besides ghosts, of course.)

And a campaign does not even have to be rooted in technology or science fiction for such characters to be a possibility.  The reverse of the old “sufficiently advanced technology is magic” rule is that magic can be substituted for any sufficiently advanced technology.

For example, instead of electrical impulses stored on…well, whatever modern storage devices use for material…a wizard could have his consciousness transferred into a magical book, gem, weapon, or even just his demesne.  Sort of like a Liche’s phylactery without necessarily all the evil associated with it.  And this sort of transfer could make for an interesting twist on the usual ghost story.  Perhaps the creepy old haunted mansion isn’t haunted in the traditional sense at all.  Instead of the spirit inhabiting it being a tormented soul who does not know it is dead, it is a completely rational soul who chose to transition to a more durable form than his frail body who simply does not appreciate uninvited guests.

Many of the philosophical issues become less prominent in this sort of campaign since the question of whether or not a being has a soul can be definitively answered and this soul is what is transferred into the storage object, leaving the corporeal body an empty husk in most cases.

Playing a truly disembodied sentience would be something of a challenge for any player.  While in most cases, the character should have some way to communicate with those around him, they would have no other way of interacting with the physical world.  It would take a really talented and dedicated player to take a role that was nothing more than advising the other characters.  Though, in a science fiction setting, they could potentially affect a network as a hacker.

 

A disembodied sentience would make an excellent NPC advisor to a party, however.  With an assortment of knowledge based skills, they would be able to provide information to the players and could be an excellent deus ex machina (semi-literally) for the DM to provide plot points and story guidance for the party.

 

Dr. Theopolis from Buck Rogers in the 25th Century would be a good example of this sort of disembodied sentience.  In fact, the way the good doctor was carried around by Twiki is an excellent way for an NPC disembodied sentience to be carried around.  Whether or not the Twiki character would also be an NPC or a PC would be up to the players.

 

But this futuristic setting is not necessary.  A magical device could of similar design could be used to replicate the result.

 

Another option is for the disembodied sentience to have one or more physical forms that it can fuse with and animate.

 

Here are a few rules to run a Disembodied Sentience in a Savage Worlds campaign as well as a few edges that they can take.

Agility: NA Smarts: d12 Spirit: d10 Strength: NA  Vigor: NA

Skills: Knowledge (Varies): 1 at d12 +2, 1 at d12+1, 1 at d12, 2 at d10, 4 at d8,

Pace: NA Parry: NA Toughness: 12(4)

Special Abilities:

 

Bodiless: This Disembodied Sentience does not have a physical form beyond a head sized piece of equipment, whether high-tech or high-magic.  It has no way of interacting with the physical world so it has no Agility, Strength of Vigor score.

 

Tiny: As the Disembodied Sentience is the size of a human head, any attackers take a -2 when attempting to hit it.

 

Durable: This Disembodied Sentience is made of a rather sturdy material and, as such, has 4 points of armor.

 

Edges:

 

Modular Knowledge

Requirements: Disembodied Sentience

 

Whether miniature drives or knowledge crystals that can be slotted into a port, you are able to upload and utilize data that you don’t inherently know.  Each information source provides a Knowledge skill at d12, but only as long as it is slotted.  Once it is removed, that skill is no longer available (or is only available at its normal level, if it is a skill the player already possesses.)  Where and how these data sources are available is up to the GM.

 

This Edge can be taken multiple times.  Each time it is taken, another port is available, allowing the character to access another source of information at the same time.

 

Chassis

 

Requirements: Disembodied Sentience

 

You have a dedicated body that can carry around the mechanism housing your sentience.  This can vary from a simple framework robot, to a skeleton that can be animated to a near flesh form.  Of course, this body is not as adept as your former corporeal form (if you had one) and starts with only the following stats:

Agility: d6 Smarts: NA Spirit: NA Strength: d6  Vigor: d6

Skills: NA

Pace: 6 Parry: NA Toughness: 7

Special Abilities:

 

Framework: This is only a shell used to carry around a disembodied sentience and allow it to interact with the world.  It has the Smarts, Spirit and Skills of the Sentience it is hosting.  Parry is derived from the fighting skill of the Sentience.

 

Construct:  +2 Toughness, +2 to recover from being shaken.  Does not need to eat, drink or breathe.  Immune to Poison and Disease.  Takes no extra damage from called shots.

 

This Chassis has 3 wounds if the sentience utilizing it is a wildcard or 1 if it is an extra.  It can be upgraded through normal advancement by the sentience that utilizes it.

 

Multi body.

 

Requirements:  Disembodied Sentience, Chassis

 

Whether through encoded carrier beams or arcane resonance crystals, you are able to control more than one body at a time.  You are able to see and hear through each one as though you were actually inhabiting them and control them as normal, though you receive the normal multi-action penalty if more than one of them acts at a time.

All Chassis will use the below stats:

 

Agility: d6 Smarts: NA Spirit: NA Strength: d6  Vigor: d6

Skills: NA

Pace: 6 Parry: NA Toughness: 7

Special Abilities:

 

Framework: This is only a shell used to carry around a disembodied sentience and allow it to interact with the world.  It has the Smarts, Spirit and Skills of the Sentience it is hosting.  Parry is derived from the fighting skill of the Sentience.

 

Construct:  +2 Toughness, +2 to recover from being shaken.  Does not need to eat, drink or breathe.  Immune to Poison and Disease.  Takes no extra damage from called shots.

 

Note that one Chassis will be the primary.  It will have 3 wounds if the sentience utilizing it is a wildcard or 1 if it is an extra.  All other Chassis will have a single wound.  Each Chassis can be upgraded through normal advancement by the sentience that utilizes it but advances applied to one will not apply to any of the others.

 

Each additional purchase of this edge adds another Chassis that can be utilized.

 

Diffused Consciousness

 

Requirements: Disembodied Sentience

 

Through practice or design, you are better able to control multiple Chassis or systems at the same time.  Each time you take this Edge, you reduce the multi-action penalty incurred by using multiple Chassis or systems at the same time by 2.  This has no effect on multiple actions taken by a single Chassis

 

Central Intelligence Agent

 

Requirements: Disembodied Sentience

 

You are able to control many of the automated systems of a ship, building or other structure, whether in a high tech or fantasy setting.  Exactly what is automated in the vessel or structure depends on the object itself.  This could be anything from the piloting and navigation to weapons systems to automated repair functions and doors.  In any case, you can utilize one of your skills to perform a task.

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