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Cell Phone Network of the Damned

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  • Cell Phone Network of the Damned

    The world of Wraith tends to be insulated against the march of progress. The nature of relics means its usually only old things that make it through the Shroud, and even then in a small trickle that is mostly teddy bears.

    But Wraith ended in 1999, before cell phones became a major thing.* In the intervening years cell phones have changed western society, becoming the main gateway to the rest of the world for many people. Uncountable phones have been in circulation (here are more subscriptions than people in the world, and that's not counting prepaid phones). If even 1 in 100,000 cell phones gets enough emotional energy to become a relic when it breaks, that's millions of relic cell phones entering the Underworld, and more with every year.

    Now, I can't find my copy of Buried Secrets and I can't remember what the Pathos costs and limitations of that kind of relic are, but it seems unlikely that Wraiths wouldn't find a way to make use of this flood of relics. So what does this do to Wraith society? What hurdles would they have to overcome to make widespread use work? Artifact Cell Towers?

    *Translation: Before I had one. I'm shamelessly generalizing from the self.


    Mage: The Ice-ension: An Epic Game of Reality on the Rink

  • #2
    A very interesting question... I'd love to see what the book says about things like this.

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    • #3
      Who needs cell phones when you have the Harbinger Postal Service.

      Although, yeah, Artificiers need a major overhaul with all the IT stuff happening in the last 20 years.

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      • #4
        There are a lot of applications for which instant communication, even if it had a high Pathos cost, would be far superior to a messenger service.

        I can just about imagine the lengths it would take to adapt a cell tower to receive and broadcast signals within the Shadowlands, Probably the cannibalization of a drone or two would be involved.


        Mage: The Ice-ension: An Epic Game of Reality on the Rink

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        • #5
          IIRC (The Book of Legion about hte Skeletal Lord "Computer" project), there is no electricity in the Shadowland, meaning a cellphone would be pretty useless. Things work with pathos, meaning that a cellphone, or any computer for that matter, would have a pretty high price in energy consumption. And there is no network in the Shadowland. Let's imagine Artificer Inhabitting celltower to destroy them to bring them on the other side... that will occur all kind of unwanted attention from the Hierarchy. And the Pathos cost. So, well, Inhabit for using the "Quick" way should still be the best solution.

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          • #6
            My musings on the subject, which may or may not be insightful:

            Personally speaking, I tend to keep my mobile devices until they become laughably out of date (e.g. I had a phone that said ‘Altel’ two years after that company ceased being a thing). I doubt I’m the only person who does that, so I think it’s not unreasonable for mobile devices invested with enough Pathos to – if destroyed along with the owner – make it across the Shroud.

            Because it’s essentially a strong memory of a thing, I don’t think a wraith could reprogram a phone or add new numbers. Maybe Artificers could, but that might call for some disassembly and reassembly as an Artifact (which may increase whatever cost it has or may not even be possible, depending on STs judgement and/or whim).

            While wraiths with relic phones could give out their numbers to other wraiths with phones they couldn’t add new numbers (as per the above limitation) so they’d have to remember them. Unless Masquers have a flourishing a Moliated-phone-book trade going on.

            The cost would vary depending on the stories you want to tell, but I’d be inclined to use something along these lines:
            • One Pathos for one Scene of power within the same level of the Underworld, except the Tempest (Shadowlands, Skinlands, Labyrinth, Stygia, Dis, etc.).
            • One Pathos for one minute of power in the Tempest.
            • One Pathos for one turn of power to call a “living” phone line ('cuz the Twilight Zone episode “Night Call.”)
            Obligatory YMMV.


            This is what happens when an Abyssal Exalted ends up in H.o.L.
            (Also known as "Derpwraith" and "PretentiousFontsGuy
            ").

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Nazfool View Post
              My musings on the subject, which may or may not be insightful:

              The cost would vary depending on the stories you want to tell, but I’d be inclined to use something along these lines:
              • One Pathos for one Scene of power within the same level of the Underworld, except the Tempest (Shadowlands, Skinlands, Labyrinth, Stygia, Dis, etc.).
              • One Pathos for one minute of power in the Tempest.
              • One Pathos for one turn of power to call a “living” phone line ('cuz the Twilight Zone episode “Night Call.”)
              Obligatory YMMV.
              I quite like this system. I'm not sure the phones would work without being turned into Artifacts first, however. But once that's done, then I'd roll with it. I could see tempered Arcanoi (Lifeweb and Inhabit) creating a kind of mobile phone network of the dead, activated with Pathos. The problem would be: do both parties have to have their phones powered with Pathos at the same time to call each other? Or does only one need to do so? I'm guessing the handset needs to be invested with its own Pathos supply, and once this charge runs out, you need to plug it in, as it were. A handset goes into standby mode and uses very little energy at that point, so it might even be possible that one Pathos could keep the phone charged for a day on standby, or one minute's talktime (whichever comes first).

              Of course, it opens up the possibility of a Hive-Mind network for computers and mobile phones. Literally, a 'dark net'. Also, would spectres be able to hack the phones of wraiths, and vice versa? That could get interesting.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by adambeyoncelowe View Post

                Of course, it opens up the possibility of a Hive-Mind network for computers and mobile phones. Literally, a 'dark net'. Also, would spectres be able to hack the phones of wraiths, and vice versa? That could get interesting.
                Strictly speaking, Spectres already have the tools to do this the blunt way. A Wraith's shadow hears anything he does, and some shadows can play with the Psyche's perceptions, which could cause anything from bad orders to apparently dropped calls. The reverse? Probably not, but certain Wraith organizations have already figured out how to tap into the Hive Mind, although the method is horrifying (Doomslayers really is a fantastic supplement).


                Mage: The Ice-ension: An Epic Game of Reality on the Rink

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Nazfool View Post
                  [FONT=courier new]I doubt I’m the only person who does that, so I think it’s not unreasonable for mobile devices invested with enough Pathos to – if destroyed along with the owner – make it across the Shroud.
                  By the way, I've seen this idea several times recently, and I don't know if they changed things but it wasn't the rule in 2nd ed. I checked my copy over the weekend and objects don't have to be destroyed with the owner to become relics. Sometimes they don't appear until the owner dies, but the only real requirements are the emotional investment and the destruction of the object.

                  So I think even more cell phones are making it over than we are estimating.




                  Mage: The Ice-ension: An Epic Game of Reality on the Rink

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