Jan. 28th, 2017


Jan. 28th, 2017 12:47 am
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
This was in the supermarket dvd section, and I remembered vaguely intending to watch it for a couple of seasons now, and I've been reading Merlin fanfic and oh look it's him, so, I started watching.

It's about synthetic humanoids, androids, again. And some of them are concious, but they get bought and sold just like the others. And some of them are on the run.

So far I've watched two episodes, and it struck me as very British. But then it turns out to be a remake of something that didn't happen to be in English, so I guess it's not British. But what I meant was it's intelligent, thoughtful, with layered and nuanced characters, and a slow sort of plot. Or, as I felt, from certain angles, a whole lot of fuck all happens, and I got bored.

Which is embarrassing, obviously, because if you asked me what I want from my science fiction I'd probably say something about the social impact of robot replacements would be just the thing, but as it turns out I want tidy slices of problem presented and solved once an hour, preferably involving blowing stuff up.


But it's not just boredom, I was uncomfortable watching it. It was trying to make me feel uncomfortable. Because it's very little about the singularity and advanced technology and suchlike, and a whole lot about the shit humans do to each other, specifically how they/we treat low wage workers. Or there was a whole section about the NHS sending a carer robot in and it deciding it was the boss and make him take meds and decide what food and it could restrain a dude and stop him getting out of bed at night. So it's about how people treat people they've stopped thinking of as people, but as a cog in a transaction, or a faulty part. Disability and class.

From a science fiction point of view it's not doing anything new with that yet, but it's only episode two. It has taken a plenty creepy enough tour of the crappy ways people will treat human looking people who don't fight back, or to their mind don't have the right to.

Don't know as I'm looking forward to watching any more. Might go back to superheroics instead.
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
Today I started writing but it was just not coming alive
and I realised I hadn't figured the game mechanics or the in world economics well enough to know what actually happened.
So I've read a bunch of GURPS rules to come up with my preferred flavour of arbitrary numbers, and now I know how magic hospital works.
It involves a very specific reading of how one optional spell from Thaumatology works, and how Ceremonial Magic can maintain a spell forever, and how that means you can bank energy for later as long as enough people keep a dance going.
I have to handwave prerequisites or set up new ones, but there's rules for systematically ignoring the rules, so they'll have that covered. It's mostly about keeping the number the same, so that's straightforward, just say any 14 spells in addition to Lend Energy... simples!
... this world is not simples.

But once I've applied my imaginary numbers I work out that getting Alter Body done costs a maximum of two weeks working for the hospital, donating your FP to heal or Alter other people.
And then I know why my character is walking out alone
and roughly what they've been doing and for how long
and why the story was grinding gears.
Two weeks knowledge of the city due to helping out in hospital is going to get you a different knowledge base than a new arrival would have.

Also the other character in an earlier scene has prepaid, so they have two weeks apart to be all anxious about things.

And since you can see all the major locations of the City around the central plaza, either hospital has no outward facing windows, or my character has already spent down time staring at the other buildings and the great big building site.

So, I need to start somewhere else and write a different thing
because the arbitrary rules I pick and mixed say so.

... I actually find this fun, and also a great excuse to read instead of making word count.
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
I found a GURPS spell for Alter Gender
Alter Gender (Pyramid 3/28: Thaumatology II, p. 14), Prerequisite: Androgyny
Duration: One hour unless made permanent. May be removed by Alter Gender or Remove Curse.
Cost: 7 to cast, 5 to maintain. May be made permanent, as an enchantment, for an energy cost of 175.
Time to cast: 2 minutes
Same costs and time for Androgyny, which just makes you look sort of neutral for the game mechanics, doesn't change organs.

But it's a weird, weird little set of spells meant for goblins
(the color text is Jareth)
and its prereq chain is basically these weird goblin spells
so it can't fit in to other GURPS magic.

The costs imply it's simpler than Alter Body, and the text specifically says if it is made permanent they can get pregnant. So I think this means GURPS considers reproductive organs to be simple, like horns and tails, rather than complex, like prehensile tails or working eyeballs. Which is quirky but makes sense in game mechanic terms. Alter Body can make you look like a specific person and is waaaaay more versatile, it's how to be Mystique, not how to transition. That bit about non functioning organs had me looking at the levelled up version instead, but that one can make you a whole different sentient species, if you want, so it is again a teensy bit more powerful in game terms.

So now I have in game costs for a world changer of a spell.

But it has some weird assumptions around it and a bit of random transphobia in the story seeds suggestions - "A long-time ally of the heroes is hiding a secret: “She” isn’t female at all, but a secret practitioner of Yellow Goblin
Magic disguising her (his) true form via Alter Gender. So many lies..."

... no, no, and also no. If someone says they're a she then lo, they are a she, whether or not they've transitioned, by magic or other means.

Why put that in? I know the game mechanic description is all about how you can usefully hide by changing your whole appearance in two minutes, but that's not why people would want it. Alter Visage is quicker to cast and easier to learn, and substantially more versatile. People who specifically and only want to change their gender have a whole different motivation than this spell write up assumes.

So, not best pleased with this particular article.

But I'll take the cost and time suggestions and put them into the ordinary Body Control College instead.
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
I have realised that feeling guilty about not doing more is just feeling guilty about being disabled.
Bad things can get bigger, but my capacity to cope does not.
I'm just going to have to be kind to myself about that.


beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)

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