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Wussypillow

Long-term freezing in carbonite?

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I've been mulling an idea about my PCs finding someone from a prior era--at least many decades, if not perhaps longer--who has been frozen in carbonite. Anyone find this plausible? What exactly do we know about carbonite as a means of long-term suspended animation? Would a person age at the normal rate? Is there any extant EU lore about this?

In the end, I may just handwave it ("It's an advanced, alternative form of the technology, rarely seen in the galaxy at large...").

I ask this because I want my characters to be able to get access to a source of knowledge about certain hidden star systems that were known (at least, known to the Jedi) before the Empire but which the Empire itself has carefully erased any mention of. Or perhaps these systems were never widely known and *even* the Empire doesn't know about them. I figure this would be a more-interesting idea than just "you find an old computer/disk/holocron/etc..."

(EDIT: It'd be something like the PCs finding a *very* old, wrecked space ship adrift with minimal, flickering power and/or life signs. Aboard they find a still-active carbonite block with active life readings. Could be either someone who was taken captive and frozen (i.e. to neutralize either a Jedi or a Sith prisoner) or maybe the ship was damaged and the person froze *themselves* as a last-ditch means of staying alive while they awaited rescue, which ended up taking way longer than they expected ("So, what's my cousin, Nomi Sunrider up to these days? What? Why are you all looking at me that way?")

Edited by Wussypillow

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I think they did this in SWTOR (The Old Republic video game) with a certain storyline NPC.    I can't recall exactly, but I know for a fact one plot involved someone being in carbonite, and you unfreezing him.  My vague impression was that it was at least a decade or so.   

There also was another storyline of "The last of his kind" species being revived after I think centuries of hybernation, though they didn't use carbonite IIRC.  

Bottom line, you are the GM, if you want to have someone be able to stay alive that long, it will happen.   You don't have to justify it via canon (especially since all that lore is not canon anymore anyway).

But I see no reason, if the carbonite freezing was done properly, and the slab was kept in a safe situation and not damaged, that it would fail.   Scifi has always been a fertile breeding ground for stasis technology, to allow "A person out of time" type of story, and Star Wars is no different. 

Knock yourself out with it.

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1 minute ago, KungFuFerret said:

But I see no reason, if the carbonite freezing was done properly, and the slab was kept in a safe situation and not damaged, that it would fail.   Scifi has always been a fertile breeding ground for stasis technology, to allow "A person out of time" type of story, and Star Wars is no different. 

Knock yourself out with it.

 

Okay, fair enough. Here's an alternative situation to consider though: What if a PC wanted to play someone from a prior era who'd been frozen for decades/centuries? I can thinki of it being an interesting, dramatic background but would there be any game-breaking problems I'd need to consider? I'm thinking specifically of any 'hidden knowledge' this person might have. ("Oh you guys don't know the coordinates to Korriban? In *my* time, it was common knowledge...")

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10 minutes ago, Wussypillow said:

I've been mulling an idea about my PCs finding someone from a prior era--at least many decades, if not perhaps longer--who has been frozen in carbonite. Anyone find this plausible? What exactly do we know about carbonite as a means of long-term suspended animation? Would a person age at the normal rate? Is there any extant EU lore about this?

We know very little about the details honestly.  And I would take anything in the EU with a huge grain of salt, as one writer is likely to contradict another on what is/isn't possible.

As to would someone age, I would say no, that's the whole point of the suspended animation.   If you want them to age at least some, then have it be at a fraction of the normal metabolic rate of aging, due to the carbonite freezing.    Otherwise, let them retain their age at freezing.

Now what would the long term effects of such an extended freezing do?  That we have at least a little to go off from the films.  Han was frozen for, I would assume at least several months, given the time it likely took them to track him down to Jabba, and then devise a plan to free him.  And in that time, he had the shakes (from being cold), and extended blindness.   

Extrapolating from that, I think it would be feasible to say someone would have severe problems with motor control, and would suffer penalties to any athletic/coordination checks after thawing, perhaps for life, depending on how harsh you want to be.  But I would have it be for at least a few weeks/months, if we're talking about being frozen for decades/centuries.

And blindness, long term blindness.  This could clear up as the body heals, or could be permannet.  Again, not that big a deal in a world with cybernetics, but it could be a problem for the short term at least.

I would also give them some mental/emotional issues, as they try and wrap their brain around the gap in time, between their memories of "yesterday" (literally for them), and decades/centuries of time after.

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6 minutes ago, Wussypillow said:

 

Okay, fair enough. Here's an alternative situation to consider though: What if a PC wanted to play someone from a prior era who'd been frozen for decades/centuries? I can thinki of it being an interesting, dramatic background but would there be any game-breaking problems I'd need to consider? I'm thinking specifically of any 'hidden knowledge' this person might have. ("Oh you guys don't know the coordinates to Korriban? In *my* time, it was common knowledge...")

If a PC wants to pull the "Person out of Time" background I'm fine with it.  Again, with Star Wars, the level of technology borders on the magical, so it's entirely plausible, at least at my table.  

I would talk with the PC though, about some hybernation sickness effects that they would operate under for a while of my choosing.  

"Ok, so you were a popsicle for 400 years, your body isn't used to being mobile again.  You will suffer 2 setback die on any physical action, such as Coordination or Athletics, and any combat actions too, from the fact that your body just simply isn't reacting like it was pre-freeze.   This will fade with time, but I'm not going to let it be quick, this will be a significant issue for you for a while, just be aware of that."

If you go that route, I would probably have the blindness wear off fairly quickly, unless the character decides to go down the "Blind Swordsman" trope route, which is absolutely something they can do with some of the most recently published Force powers.    If they don't want to do that, then just have the blindness last for like a week or something.   Table time, have it be like 1-2 sessions at most, give the player a little bit of a bad day suffering from the blindness penalties, and then have them fade like they did with Han.   The idea isn't to permanently hobble the player, but to have there be at least some consequences for their choice of background.

Eventually though, with some basic medical care (perhaps some really good medicine checks by a fellow PC, or a visit to a bacta tank or something), and proper diet, etc, they could make a full recovery, and operate as normal.

I would probably phase out the setback one at a time, to illustrate the slow improvement of the body.   If a medic/healer spec PC succeeds at say, a 4-5 difficulty medicine check (trying to fix someone who was frozen for centuries is tricky), they could speed it up, or perhaps even remove the penalties entirely.   And this would give the healer spec PC a chance to show their stuff, and possibly have a really awesome result.  "Awh yeah, I had a patient that was an ice cube for 400 years, and was a species I'd never seen before, but I still was able to give him a full recovery!"  *medical high five!*

As to any "secret knowledge" he might have, that's no different from any other secret a PC might have based on background.  Their knowledge would just be several years out of date.   Are you asking for a way to give mechanics to them having knowledge that others would find hard to locate?

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If you are looking for a dice mechanic to represent the PC's different knowledge set, I would probably keep it really simple.  

Any Knowledge checks for current things, they would have a huge penalty on, for obvious reasons.   I'd upgrade any check difficulty, and probably slap a setback die on it too.

For any Knowledge checks for things around their time of being alive, especially Lore checks, I would give them a significant boost.  I'd upgrade their Knowledge pool, and add a boost.   For them, that information was possibly common knowledge, but for the modern players, it's "details lost to the dusts of time."   

Now the player can take efforts to educate themselves on modern events, and I would probably handle this by having them simply buy a new rank in the Knowledge skill in question.   This would reflect them sitting down and diving into a datapad, to update themselves on current events.   I'd remove the difficulty upgrade, but I might have the setback die hang around for a bit longer, if only for my own amusement to make things weird.  Scenes from the various Captain America appearances where pop culture stuff comes up would be my main inspiration for this.    Eventually though, I'd remove that too.

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There's one way that always gets overlooked - don't hibernate, dilate! A starship fleeing a space battle takes a shot to the hyperdrive just as they make the jump to light speed. Instead of entering hyperspace proper, they leave the system at the speed of light. By the time they figure out something is wrong, fix the controls enough that they can drop back to realspace, X amount of time has passed. Inside the ship? half an hour. Outside the ship? Thousands of years, all thanks to relativity!

Or you could do what they did at the season climax of Doctor Who last year. A thousand mile long ship almost but not quite fell into a Black Hole. The engines were able to stop the ship's crash, but it was still dangerously close to the event horizon. The front end of the ship, time moved MUCH slower than the back end, thanks to the immense gravity. That made for some interesting moments when the Doctor and his companion got separated at each end of the ship. . . . .

Edited by Desslok

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For a mechanical effect, you could have it be an "Obligation", which they are required to buy down/have replaced by something else.   You could treat it as an addiction (1-3 blacks unless appropriate "wake-up" meds are taken).

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5 hours ago, Edgookin said:

For a mechanical effect, you could have it be an "Obligation", which they are required to buy down/have replaced by something else.   You could treat it as an addiction (1-3 blacks unless appropriate "wake-up" meds are taken).

True, but I personally would want the effects to be more immediate, and an Obligation can only come up if you happen to roll it at the start of a session.   Which doesn't happen that often in my experience.   Whereas a dice penalty would definitely show up and have an impact from day one.

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2 hours ago, KungFuFerret said:

True, but I personally would want the effects to be more immediate, and an Obligation can only come up if you happen to roll it at the start of a session.   Which doesn't happen that often in my experience.   Whereas a dice penalty would definitely show up and have an impact from day one.

Addiction would apply from the beginning, at least until he gets his meds to counter hibernation sickness.  Just like a Deathstick junkie would receive penalties without his deathsticks.

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On 10/23/2017 at 10:45 AM, Wussypillow said:

Okay, fair enough. Here's an alternative situation to consider though: What if a PC wanted to play someone from a prior era who'd been frozen for decades/centuries? I can thinki of it being an interesting, dramatic background but would there be any game-breaking problems I'd need to consider? I'm thinking specifically of any 'hidden knowledge' this person might have. ("Oh you guys don't know the coordinates to Korriban? In *my* time, it was common knowledge...")

As others have said this PC would know a lot of common and maybe uncommon knowledge about their specific time but nothing about what happened after so checks for ancient knowledge would be at a bonus and current at a significant setback. If it were me I'd give them a new Skill called Ancient Knowledge with  a free Rank in it and give a permanent Setback to Lore, Core, and Outer Rim. Any Lore checks from outside the time they were frozen would be Ancient Knowledge.

Also, as for the location of places like Korriban keep in mind stars in the galaxy move at a prodigious rate and are affected by gravitational anomalies (black holes, other star systems) so you could easily lose a system in a few hundred or thousand years if you're not keeping track of it. To them the whole galaxy is going to be different so the PC would likely have a bonus finding it but wouldn't just know where it is.

Edited by FuriousGreg

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On ‎10‎/‎23‎/‎2017 at 8:42 AM, KungFuFerret said:

I think they did this in SWTOR (The Old Republic video game) with a certain storyline NPC.    I can't recall exactly, but I know for a fact one plot involved someone being in carbonite, and you unfreezing him.  My vague impression was that it was at least a decade or so.   

There also was another storyline of "The last of his kind" species being revived after I think centuries of hybernation, though they didn't use carbonite IIRC.  

Bottom line, you are the GM, if you want to have someone be able to stay alive that long, it will happen.   You don't have to justify it via canon (especially since all that lore is not canon anymore anyway).

But I see no reason, if the carbonite freezing was done properly, and the slab was kept in a safe situation and not damaged, that it would fail.   Scifi has always been a fertile breeding ground for stasis technology, to allow "A person out of time" type of story, and Star Wars is no different. 

Knock yourself out with it.

 

Having played that mission if memory serves the term 'stasis' was used because a baddie was using something from said NPC while that NPC was manipulating the baddie. From my understanding of carbonite once you froze, you froze. If we're talking about the same NPC (and it's possible we're not at this point) he was in stasis for ~300 years. 

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22 minutes ago, ASCI Blue said:

 

Having played that mission if memory serves the term 'stasis' was used because a baddie was using something from said NPC while that NPC was manipulating the baddie. From my understanding of carbonite once you froze, you froze. If we're talking about the same NPC (and it's possible we're not at this point) he was in stasis for ~300 years. 

There were two stories that I can recall that involved someone in stasis of some kind, either carbonite, or some other form of technology.

One was the Smuggler Companion storyline about that woman you find on your ship.  I forget her name, but she basically ends up being

The daughter of a "King of Crime", thus making her a Princess...thus making the OT fanservicing of the Smuggler complete

:P    But her dad was the one that was in carbonite, and I think it was for at least a decade, if not longer.



The second one was on that prison planet, IIRC.  It might have been a Consular specific quest, or perhaps a planet specific one, I can't remember.

There was apparently some alien race that was indigenous to the planet?  They kind of looked like Mon Calamari, mixed with that alien from Last Starfighter.  The one that was the hunter/assassin, sent to Earth to kill the Starfighter.   Anyway, I think most of them were dead, if not all of them, but there was one representative of the species still alive, and it was centuries ago that he was suspended, if not longer. [/b]



I might be mis-remembering that second one a lot, as it's been a while, and I found it fairly forgettable, but basically they were both examples of someone being put into suspended animation for an extended period of time, and they both came out ok.  

Now, personally, I don't really care to require canon justification for anything.  As the GM, the level of insane technology that Star Wars has is more than enough to justify pretty much any crazy Magic Science result someone could want, and I wouldn't bat an eyelash at it really.

But some people feel they have to show their work with these things, perhaps to quell the Pedantic Rules Lawyering Lore-Keeper that is frequently at the table.  Who gets unnatural physical pleasure from being able to say "Well Actually/Technically, that didn't happen that way. Because in *insert pointless and irrelevant bit of EU/Legacy crap* they clearly established *blah blah*"  You all know this scenario :D   

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3 minutes ago, ASCI Blue said:
  • I see, neither of those was the one I was thinking of. ^_^ Mine involved
  Hide contents

Revan at the Foundry. 

Are you talking about KOTOR or the online game The Old Republic?   I don't recall that in the online game, but if it was a Dark Side thing, I didn't really play that side much at all.

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1 hour ago, ASCI Blue said:

SWTOR the online game. May be Jedi classes only. Light side does the freeing, dark side does the fighting. I want to say it's one of the Flash Point missions but I could be wrong about that.

Ah, could be, I didn't do a lot of the flashpoints while I played.

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