Doubts about transhuman tech.


General Discussion


I guess fans of sci-fi know the concept of transhumanism, but I am not here to talk about this as philosophy, but more about "transhumanist technology", this is about mind-transfer, the digital immortality (have you seen the teleserie "Altered Carbone", or the comic "Rogue Trooper"?) and transgenic engineering. Maybe somebody knows the RPG Eclipse Phase by Posthuman Studios.

In a space-fantasy the medicine should be so advanced not only ectogenesis (this is other matter) is possible, but also the secret of eternal youth, by means of the regeneration of the telomeres in the extremes of DNA chains.

If in Starfinder the canon allows the gender bender... why not to change to another race who lives are longer? If you are an human, wouldn't you like to be an elf? In D&D 3rd Ed Savage Species there was a way to change the race, and the example was an ogre who became an elf. Somebody even would want to use transgenic technology to become a dragon.

Other matter is about the metagame effects of allowing the mind-transfer technology. Why not if druid 4th level spell reincarnate is possible?

Would you allow this in your games, totally banned, open doors or any limits?


Guided reincarnation sounds like a 6th level spell with an expensive material component (or a straight up wish spell), so I'd price mind transfer tech and creating a new body as just a bit more expensive than that.

Transferring into an NPC race would be limited for game balance purposes. If it was something my players were looking to do, I'd let it happen as a capstone just before/after the campaign ends.


Guided Reincarnation, 15th level Mystic Ephiphany option wrote:

Once per day, you can cast reincarnate as a spell-like ability by spending all your remaining Resolve Points (minimum one-quarter your total Resolve Points). Instead of rolling to determine what type of creature the target returns as, the target returns as the race, gender, sex, and physical appearance of their choice. Rather than be a conscious choice of the target, this decision tends to reflect the innermost dreams and desires of the target’s soul, and so the reincarnation can be either identical to their previous

form or a drastic departure, depending upon the individual.
Unlike the spell reincarnate, this ability does not require a monument as part of the casting. Instead, both you and your target gain 2 permanent negative levels (as described by the spell). The target returns to life as an infant of their race, growing from infancy to young adulthood over the course of 1 hour. The target has memories of their original life, but also
of a new life that could have existed if they had lived in their new form. In addition to having a new race, the character can be rewritten as if they had used a mnemonic editor.
Guided Rebirth, 18th level Mystic Xenodruid connection power wrote:

As long as you have at least 1 Resolve Point remaining, you can spend all your remaining Resolve Points as a full action to surround yourself with an organic cocoon. While enclosed in the cocoon, you are considered helpless. Eight hours later, you emerge having changed your type to animal, humanoid (of any subtype), or your original type, gaining superficial physical characteristics as appropriate. This change does not alter your ability scores, Hit Points, Stamina Points, saving throws, skill points, class skills, or proficiencies. Each time you make this transformation, you are cleansed of all poisons and diseases, are restored to full Hit Points and Stamina Points, and heal

all ability damage. You must select a type other than your current type every time you make the transformation. You can use this ability once per day. Once you use this ability, you can’t regain Resolve Points until you rest for 8 hours, even if you have another means to do so.

Given that souls exist in Starfinder I'm comfortable limiting the combination of soul and mind being rewritten into a permanent new form to high level mystic powers.


The concept of a universe where people didn't die from old age either didn't occur to the writers or would change the system enough to take the focus off of adventure!


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CRB P.41 wrote:
The maximum age listed includes an element of randomness to reflect the capriciousness of death, and it is the assumption for the race’s longevity without magical or technological intervention — with the right life-extension technology, individuals of all races can become nearly immortal.

From Core, talking about vital statistics and 'maximum' age specifically. Existing content may or may not make much use of that last line, but there's more than enough openness that a GM could say extreme life extension is commonplace. If there aren't enough people with extremely extended lives around to make that feel comfortable, just remember that the Starfinder setting has a nasty little habit of routinely producing potential catastrophes that could have massive body counts, as evidenced by basically all of the APs.


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I suppose we should assume that life extension technology is expensive enough to be out of reach of the vast majority of the population (or at the very least becomes exponentially more expensive each time someone undergoes it).

Even so, we should have some rich corporate bosses who have lived several times the maximum age for their species -- and I do not recall any such individuals being mentioned.


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I mean, Zo! is right there. An entire planet has mastered eternal life.

Not that they are necessarily happy about it.


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But undead have "lifespan: indefinite" without additional technology -- and of course they are not technically alive.


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Ok, going out on a limb here and risking the dreaded modwrath, I think that the setting might make immortality less vital to people.

See, in the real world people do not know as a matter of fact that a or any god or gods exist no matter how loudly they proclaim their faith, how many times a day they pray or how often they use their belief in their god as an excuse to force their views on others by any and all possible means.

We do not know if there are any gods, or if there really are souls or if there is any sort of actual afterlife, hereafter, etc. Anyone who claims to know for certain is probably a victim of childhood indoctrination or simply refuses to consider things that cast doubt on his views.

I mean death may be THE END for us, no afterlife, nothing.

Or it may not be.Even as a scientist I know that quantum theory and some proven and verified experiments prove there is something very special about consciousness and awareness at the fundamental level of reality. Much of what we consider to be reality is actually dependent on an observer, i.e. a sentient, aware, conscious observer or at least the possibility of one. So consciousness, awareness, etc, seem to be part of the basic physical laws of the universe that have been scientifically discovered and verified. Does that make consciousness part of the universe at a fundamental level and therefore possibly something that goes beyond the physical body? Maybe. Or maybe not.

Now in the starfinder universe gods, souls and afterlives are a certainty, a matter of solid fact, proven beyond all doubt.

So, in SF, you know that death is not just a big black final end with nothing beyond it. That's a fact in the starfinder universe. You have a soul and it does go on after your body stops holding onto it.

So, in such a universe maybe the drive for physical immortality isn't s urgent as it is in our world.

If a lot of people today knew there were afterlives, that death of the boy was not THE END ,that there were different afterlives for different people, I wonder how many people wouldn't eventually have enough of this life and decide to go on ahead and see what the next level had to offer.

So maybe physical immortality might be possible thru technology or magic but maybe not in as much demand as you might imagine it would be. The starfinder world isn't our world and the people in it would live under very different situations than we do. They would have some very fundamental differences in their views than we do as they're shaped by a totally different reality, you need to remember that.

I hope this post doesn't get smited for getting into real religious issues as I was just trying to point out why physical immortality in the starfinder world might not be as big a deal as it would be in ours but with my luck someone will make the effort to take offense or someone will smite in just in case it might possibly offend someone somewhere.


David knott 242 wrote:


But undead have "lifespan: indefinite" without additional technology -- and of course they are not technically alive.

I am wounded, sir. We call them "necromantically enhanced citizens," thank you very much.

You have to be alive before you can be undead.it's not like you have ghoul staplers or zombie golf carts.


Nice find, didn't see that in the book


Dracomicron wrote:
David knott 242 wrote:


But undead have "lifespan: indefinite" without additional technology -- and of course they are not technically alive.

I am wounded, sir. We call them "necromantically enhanced citizens," thank you very much.

You have to be alive before you can be undead.it's not like you have ghoul staplers or zombie golf carts.

For the low low cost of your soul you too can live forever!


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

This is a world in which common species might have lifespans *far* longer than human-normal, just as a thing. Honestly, I take the lack of aging modifiers and lifespan limits as a soft editorial stance: its the sci-fi future, these things don't matter so much. How long does a Lashunta live, or a Human for that matter? Answer: depends on where they live, and how much money they have, and whether they can avoid getting eaten by the numerous monstery things. There is no one standard baseline answer.

For my own game, I follow these guidelines:

1. Nobody suffers aging penalties if they have access to even the most basic medical standard of care. Its on the order of vaccines and physicals, you *can* lack access, but it requires notable levels of poverty and deprivation.

2. Life extension is available, but pricey. If you can get your gender or species changed, or regrow entire body parts in a day, youth restoration or perpetuation should be similarly available. Its expensive, but only ordinary pricey hospital care expensive, not "buy your own moon" expensive.

3. Not everyone actually spends the money on eternal youth, even in places where its affordable, for the religious reasons mentioned in the prior post. Unless you know you are doomed to one of the really nasty afterlives, then you might want to do anything possible to avoid it ( said willingness might be *why* you are so doomed. . . )

4. Getting prolonged life is not viewed as especially weird, when you have species like dwarves and elves ( and presumably others ) who live centuries or millenia naturally, and you have other species like anacites and barathu ( and undead! ) who live forever or near to it.

5. And none of this necessarily matters a huge amount demographically, because life is dangerous in the Pact Worlds. Even if you never age, eventually something else will get you. . . and that something might have tentacles.


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Also I think it matters that people know there literally IS an afterlife and have visible verifiable proof of that. Unless you are pretty sure your lifestyle is leading you to a really bad outcome I don't see people being as so frantic to avoid death knowing there is something that comes after.


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kaid wrote:
Also I think it matters that people know there literally IS an afterlife and have visible verifiable proof of that. Unless you are pretty sure your lifestyle is leading you to a really bad outcome I don't see people being as so frantic to avoid death knowing there is something that comes after.

The process of the afterlife pretty much strips your entire identity and replaces you with something made from your life force. It's actually pretty terrifying and something everyone should be afraid of.

Unless your deity loves you enough to turn you directly into an outsider with your memory intact.


Claxon wrote:
kaid wrote:
Also I think it matters that people know there literally IS an afterlife and have visible verifiable proof of that. Unless you are pretty sure your lifestyle is leading you to a really bad outcome I don't see people being as so frantic to avoid death knowing there is something that comes after.

The process of the afterlife pretty much strips your entire identity and replaces you with something made from your life force. It's actually pretty terrifying and something everyone should be afraid of.

Unless your deity loves you enough to turn you directly into an outsider with your memory intact.

Deities aren't outright required for that to happen.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I should point out that we know some psychopomps take a very dim view of life extension magic or tech, and so people that take advantage of such things might end up becoming targets. That being said, I too choose to assume that most people extend their lifespan at least a little...until they get eaten by aforementioned space-bugs.

Dark Archive

Now I get idea of some rich corrupt business guy secretly extending their life immorally throughout the gap and when gap ended they ended up forgetting they were like 900 years old and died few decades later from not extending their life further secretly :p


Rysky the Dark Solarion wrote:
Claxon wrote:
kaid wrote:
Also I think it matters that people know there literally IS an afterlife and have visible verifiable proof of that. Unless you are pretty sure your lifestyle is leading you to a really bad outcome I don't see people being as so frantic to avoid death knowing there is something that comes after.

The process of the afterlife pretty much strips your entire identity and replaces you with something made from your life force. It's actually pretty terrifying and something everyone should be afraid of.

Unless your deity loves you enough to turn you directly into an outsider with your memory intact.

Deities aren't outright required for that to happen.

That's fair. You can be such a badass that you're like "Nah, I'm not going away".

But most people can't.


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

See, my own read has always been that the loss of memory/identity as a petitioner has *far* more to do with the simple vastness of time than any kind of specific memory erasure or whatnot. The typical petitioner doesn't remember much about their mortal life for the same reason the typical adult doesn't remember much about their life as a three year old: it was a long time ago and they were a very different individual at the time. 50-100 years of adult life might seem long, but for a five thousand year old petitioner, that's still only a tiny fraction of their existence. What's more. . . even to the extent that they don't remember their mortal lives, they are still a being whose motives and choices are defined by what they learned and experienced as a mortal. You might not remember all the experiences that shaped you into you, but you still think and act and choose in the manner that you were so shaped.


In my setting the petitioners always remember their lives as mortals, and the ultimate fate isn't to become bricks in the golden road toward Oz nor pieces or atrezzo in the planes, but the ascension to the true Heaven, or sent to the ultimate Hell.

When you know there is a reward in the afterlife for the just men, then you don't worry about immortality in the mortal plane, but to be remembered with honor or a positive legacy. Even you are too tired, you haven't to wait the death or some medicine, but you go to some zone like "Valinor", a demiplane very closed to celestial planes. Something like the planar version of a home for elderly.

Other trick to live more time could be "colonies" in the ethereal plane, (where nobody gets old) even penal colonies for criminals whose lives are too short for centuries of punishment. This maybe a bless and a curse. Let's imagine somebody with lot of doubts and then to pay he has to work in factories created in the ethereal realm. Even a punishment could be a forced reincarnation into a construct body, or reanimated as half-golem to work in some factory.

Or a criminal could use a clone, or a "forked" (a new body with all the memory by the original) to be used as decoy. The copy would be punished but the true criminal would free with a new identity.

Other matter about mind-transfer and digital immortality is a penal colony, where prisoners are condemned for the crimens, but really they are innocent people with altered memories, they are really political prisoners.


Metaphysician wrote:
See, my own read has always been that the loss of memory/identity as a petitioner has *far* more to do with the simple vastness of time than any kind of specific memory erasure or whatnot. The typical petitioner doesn't remember much about their mortal life for the same reason the typical adult doesn't remember much about their life as a three year old: it was a long time ago and they were a very different individual at the time. 50-100 years of adult life might seem long, but for a five thousand year old petitioner, that's still only a tiny fraction of their existence. What's more. . . even to the extent that they don't remember their mortal lives, they are still a being whose motives and choices are defined by what they learned and experienced as a mortal. You might not remember all the experiences that shaped you into you, but you still think and act and choose in the manner that you were so shaped.

The only problem I have with that theory, is even if you died yesterday, the petitioner that arose from your soul still (by the information I've seen) only remembers glimpses of their past existence.


LuisCarlos17Fe wrote:
Or a criminal could use a clone, or a "forked" (a new body with all the memory by the original) to be used as decoy. The copy would be punished but the true criminal would free with a new identity.

This was pretty much the origin for Shabti in Pathfinder, don't know if they've been transferred yet.


Claxon wrote:
Metaphysician wrote:
See, my own read has always been that the loss of memory/identity as a petitioner has *far* more to do with the simple vastness of time than any kind of specific memory erasure or whatnot. The typical petitioner doesn't remember much about their mortal life for the same reason the typical adult doesn't remember much about their life as a three year old: it was a long time ago and they were a very different individual at the time. 50-100 years of adult life might seem long, but for a five thousand year old petitioner, that's still only a tiny fraction of their existence. What's more. . . even to the extent that they don't remember their mortal lives, they are still a being whose motives and choices are defined by what they learned and experienced as a mortal. You might not remember all the experiences that shaped you into you, but you still think and act and choose in the manner that you were so shaped.
The only problem I have with that theory, is even if you died yesterday, the petitioner that arose from your soul still (by the information I've seen) only remembers glimpses of their past existence.

Dead souls also take some nebulous amount of time (months to decades) to get to the boneyard before they ever get turned into a petitioner.


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Garretmander wrote:
Claxon wrote:
Metaphysician wrote:
See, my own read has always been that the loss of memory/identity as a petitioner has *far* more to do with the simple vastness of time than any kind of specific memory erasure or whatnot. The typical petitioner doesn't remember much about their mortal life for the same reason the typical adult doesn't remember much about their life as a three year old: it was a long time ago and they were a very different individual at the time. 50-100 years of adult life might seem long, but for a five thousand year old petitioner, that's still only a tiny fraction of their existence. What's more. . . even to the extent that they don't remember their mortal lives, they are still a being whose motives and choices are defined by what they learned and experienced as a mortal. You might not remember all the experiences that shaped you into you, but you still think and act and choose in the manner that you were so shaped.
The only problem I have with that theory, is even if you died yesterday, the petitioner that arose from your soul still (by the information I've seen) only remembers glimpses of their past existence.
Dead souls also take some nebulous amount of time (months to decades) to get to the boneyard before they ever get turned into a petitioner.

Exactly, which is what I use to fit my interpretation into "Just barely within the bounds of the canonical". A "new" petitioner is almost certainly not newly dead, they've had a lot to occupy their mind for quite a while between their mortal death and their new life as a planar being. And, generally speaking, the more "typical" a person's life, the more likely they get the standard ten year line wait rather than getting bumped into a special case line.


I don't remember the canon. And all souls should remember the past. If forget your past then you also your own individuality. Even the doomed souls in the infernal planes should remember why they are unished for all the eternity.

Other matter is if outsiders can breed (this is the origin of tielflings or aasimars) then the souls have the right to meet their acenstors, families and bloodlines.

* I had forgotten a movie played by Kevin Costner, Criminal, about an agent is killed in action of service and then his memory is downloaded to the main character, a prisoner with a dark past, but he starts to change.

Don't forget what hapened to Arnold Schwarzenegger in "Total Recall"?


LuisCarlos17Fe wrote:


Don't forget what hapened to Arnold Schwarzenegger in "Total Recall"?

He forgot he was just a construction worker and wound up with his brain fried, drooling in a chair?


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BigNorseWolf wrote:
LuisCarlos17Fe wrote:


Don't forget what hapened to Arnold Schwarzenegger in "Total Recall"?

He forgot he was just a construction worker and wound up with his brain fried, drooling in a chair?

I know its a popular interpretation, but if it was the way the movie was meant to be? The movie cheated. During the initial visit to Recall, there is an entire scene that happens which is erased from his memory ( or occurs while he is unconscious! ), that Arnie never remembers. And which, unlike other "exposition" scenes ( ie, the Big Bad talking with his minions ), doesn't even deliver information that is effectively "known" to all the characters Arnie interacts with. Its a scene that would only make sense as "part of the story" if Arnie were to actually experience/remember it, but he doesn't, and so it means nothing to anyone but the audience.

Basically, either:

1. That scene really happened, Arnie really was a sleeper agent, etc.

2. That scene only exists as part of the implanted story, only its not actually part of that story at all, and only exists to break the fourth wall. Bad form.

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