Friday, October 18, 2013

291: Blind Tigers

ENTRY 291: Blind Tigers

"They say it is all in our heads. Of course it is. The universe is in our heads, the shadows on the wall of the cave..."
- Dzen Stephanopolous, Sight Beyond Sight

One of the peculiarities that became apparent once resleeving took hold in transhumanity is that for a significant part of the population physical injuries and disabilities coincide with or led to related psychological damage which was carried with the ego to the new morph. These conditions appear to be distinct from forms of neural damage (such as cortical blindness) that become inherent to the ego, but the effects are largely similar - an individual who had some physical limitation in an old morph such as blindness, deafness, limited mobility in a limb, partial paralysis, etc. carries some of their physical handicap or disability forward into the new morph as a mental handicap. Unlike neural damage, psychosurgery and therapy has often proven effective in treating individuals facing these mental disabilities.

Some individuals facing these conditions do not respond well to therapy, or choose not to undergo it. Instead, they embrace their disability in their lifestyle. Popularly called "blind tigers" (or deaf tigers, crippled tigers, etc. as appropriate), these transhumans are the leading edge of the population working to accomodate habitats and services for transhumans with disabilities, by coding alternative sensory input into Mesh sites and channels, working braille translations next to written instructions, designing systems designed for mobility-challenged morphs, giving alternate-sense skill training classes, etc. A large part of their efforts are simply providing a community of like-disabled individuals to provide continued encouragement and opportunity for both the community of disable transhumans and individuals.

Using the Blind Tigers

If a character in Eclipse Phase suddenly goes blind, one of their first instincts is probably to hack the nearest camera (or even ghost another character's visuals) and so regain their sight that way. If the blindness is a purely physical phenomenon ("Aargh, the laser got my eyes!") this is fine; kudos to the player. For other characters who have blindness as a result of mental derangement or neural damage however, this will not work. This isn't meant to be a way of screwing over the player character and gamemasters shouldn't inflict psychological disabilities willy-nilly, but the basic concept of being an inherent trait of the ego instead of the morph is that the disadvantage is completely removed from physical capability - it is a psychological block on the ego's ability to perceive certain information or utilize certain abilities, not a a matter of having defective parts. A character with Mental Disorder (Blindness) just can't process visual information, a character with Mental Disorder (No Left Arm) cannot use their left arm (or equivalent limb), etc.

Again, the point of this is not to screw over PCs ("Ha ha, sucks to be you."), it's an optional limitation for players and gamemasters to consider to promote roleplaying - how would you get around if you were blind and simply swapping out cybereyes wasn't an option? How would you make the universe a better place for other blind characters? In most cases, these disadvantages are not completely unsurmountable by any means - muses can act as go-between translating speach or visual stimulus into a form that the blind tiger character can interpret; sonar, radar, lidar, and other augmented senses can easily make up for vision in many (though not all) instances; the Mesh alone generally has options available to accomodate any number of disabilities, and so on and so forth. Blind tiger characters who work to integrate the solutions of their disabilities into their lifestyles are not working to deny their disadvantages as much as embracing them as key aspects of their character.

A particularly appropriate occasion to pick up a Mental Disorder of this form is when mental stress from resleeving, where a physical limitation or bit of damage from the old morph is carried over as a Mental Disorder of the ego. Again, this isn't intended to be a death sentence for the character, and the disorder can be dealt with via psychosurgery or therapy as normal.


  • The player characters arrive on Pallwyn, a "dark habitat" where the primary sense is sonar, not normal transhuman vision. As a consequence, the PCs will have to find their way through a habitat full of "blind" morphs, where all the signs are in a sonar-reflection language and concepts like color are not in general use compared to terms for texture, jitter, delay, echo spread, etc. The habitat is currently suffering a series of murders, but some of the key clues are being left in visual media that the investigators are of the local blind tigers approach the PCs and ask them to find the killer, whom they are afraid is another one of the blind tigers. Of course, as strangers with full visual faculties, the authorities might grow suspicious of the PCs if they get involved.


  1. Take your backups copy of how you see. Copy and paste.... problem solved you see again. This does not work or make sense.
    Phantom Limb Syndrome

    1. That assumes that a) you have a pre-injury fork, and b) you're willing to trade your pre-injury capabilities for your post-injury experiences.

    2. If you don't then your in trouble because it would have had to have been years. Backup Servers keep you backup but don't restore you from it unless you pay the monthly cost. Meaning if you don't pay this month then they don't create a new copy or bring you back until you pay the difference since your last payment

      You can hack in the senses without overriding your experience

    3. That would mean extensive and possibly dangerous psychosurgery. Merging forks is dangerous enough as it is, trying to pick and choose perception mechanisms only is an untested and untried procedure for as far as I'm aware. Don't overestimate the capabilities of ego surgeons; once you start prying into the inner workings of the transhuman mind there is no simple copy paste.