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Sebastian Yorke

Semi-sentient (almost heretical), low gothic speaking Machine Spirit

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So, the group is currently trying to salvage a long lost Repulsive class grand cruiser.

 

This one is left uncorrupted and since the design is considered "cursed" anyway, in addition to the problematic resonances that interfere with the gellar field, I've added a semi-sentient, almost heretical Machine Spirit that is able to talk through the main cogitator and into the ship's vox casters in Low Gothic.

 

They rolled random on the Machine Spirit oddity table and got a "Stoic" ship, so I am interpreting it "Lord General Castor" (from DOW2)/Downton Abbey style, but a little bit more impatient and not absurdly bright (often refering to the Lord Captain - Roth from Lure of the Expanse- as "that unpolite, old and senile sir").

 

What do you think? Too heretical in a fluff sense?

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I would think it'd be excellent if, instead of full conversations, the ship's cogitators just 'happened' to say those things at opportune moments while other characters were talking. It would give the same sense, without being outright heretical.

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It does exactly that Remi. As it has fought Xenos and Chaos alike for a VERY long time, it will often reprehend people speaking in xeno languages aboard the ship (the xenographer was speaking to a fellow scholar in Eldar when the vox casters came online and said "HEY I CAN HEAR THAT - Watch yer language or I will shove a blast door up yer arse when you least expect my lord.").

 

I have already decided that the cogitator has already grown into being fully self-sentient. The ship's Explorator seems to really like the ship though and won't act against it. I just have to figure out how he can hide away from the other AdMechs when such finally come aboard, things like the ship having an opinion on stuff, or actually becoming offended at something or coming to like some specific people and etc...

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It does exactly that Remi. As it has fought Xenos and Chaos alike for a VERY long time, it will often reprehend people speaking in xeno languages aboard the ship (the xenographer was speaking to a fellow scholar in Eldar when the vox casters came online and said "HEY I CAN HEAR THAT - Watch yer language or I will shove a blast door up yer arse when you least expect my lord.").

 

I have already decided that the cogitator has already grown into being fully self-sentient. The ship's Explorator seems to really like the ship though and won't act against it. I just have to figure out how he can hide away from the other AdMechs when such finally come aboard, things like the ship having an opinion on stuff, or actually becoming offended at something or coming to like some specific people and etc...

What if the ship's cogitator is really a very old Magos who built him into the ship long ago, and now no one really knows about it.  Not heretical yet very cool.

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I got the Explorator to roll an Easy Logic test to get to the conclusion the Cogitator has grown into a full sentient being (after it expressed its opinion on several matters).

 

He likes Terra's personality too much though, specially due to the fact it saved the whole crew (including the explorator himself) from certain death in the hands of a Chaos Incursion. So he has already decided to hide Terra's awaken personality - after explaining the reasons to him - and not allow anyone but his most trusted (and radical) Tech Priests into the chambers of the Main Cogitator.

 

They have even taken upon themselves to exact a mini-crusade against Roth and his battle-servitors - since he knows Terra is sentient and has shutdown it multiple times.

Edited by Sebastian Yorke

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I hate to tell you, but that's not "almost" heretical.

nope that seems full on normal for a high ranking magos...lol

 

I'm pretty sure he meant the fully sentient Machine Spirit and not the Magos turned cogitator. I really like the idea of a Magos permanently integrating his brain into a ship, I should figure out a way to give my Explorator players one in their next game. Maybe a Conquest Class Star Galleon, they're my favorite.

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Talking and having opinions, and responding to queries with anything other than stock responses, is heresy.

 

Machine spirits are self-aware but aren't sentient. A War Titan's machine spirit (which is about as sophisticated as they get) is closer to a feral animal than a human mind. Machine spirits doing things instinctively is fine. Adaptive, creative intelligence isn't.

 

Machine spirits aren't star-trek style computers that you can all but have a conversation with, and any genuinely sentient intelligence that's not based on organic life (hence the tendancy for servitors and brain-in-jar based systems) violates the Sixteen Universal Laws.

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Talking and having opinions, and responding to queries with anything other than stock responses, is heresy.

 

Machine spirits are self-aware but aren't sentient. A War Titan's machine spirit (which is about as sophisticated as they get) is closer to a feral animal than a human mind. Machine spirits doing things instinctively is fine. Adaptive, creative intelligence isn't.

 

Machine spirits aren't star-trek style computers that you can all but have a conversation with, and any genuinely sentient intelligence that's not based on organic life (hence the tendancy for servitors and brain-in-jar based systems) violates the Sixteen Universal Laws.

ummm... did you get that backwards?   

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Talking and having opinions, and responding to queries with anything other than stock responses, is heresy.

 

Machine spirits are self-aware but aren't sentient. A War Titan's machine spirit (which is about as sophisticated as they get) is closer to a feral animal than a human mind. Machine spirits doing things instinctively is fine. Adaptive, creative intelligence isn't.

 

Machine spirits aren't star-trek style computers that you can all but have a conversation with, and any genuinely sentient intelligence that's not based on organic life (hence the tendancy for servitors and brain-in-jar based systems) violates the Sixteen Universal Laws.

I'd like to point out that "Machine Spirits" aren't as clear-cut as you make it out to be here - the idea of 'machine spirits' range from simple automated systems and emergency programs in all kinds of things such as lasguns or tanks, to advanced cogitator systems aboard ships capable of independent action, advanced calculations or flat-out battlefield command advice.

Some are capable of "learning", leading to long-term changes in gear or equipment behaviour, and even "simple" devices such as weaponry can have extremely advanced programming by our standards, and the exact nature of "machine spirits" have always been kept very... ambiguous.

And some can definitely be interacted with, Star Trek-style, although for obvious reasons, such systems likely has the resident Tech-Priest set off warning bells everywhere, suspecting it's an Abominable Intelligence; and some are even Abominable Intelligences, but they never figured it out because at some point, their vox-casting capabilities were disabled, so while they are entirely self-aware, they might just not be able to interact or connect on that level, or may even realize that it's probably not in their best interest to do so. How would the AdMech interpret such a system? Boom! It must be a very strong Machine Spirit, of course!

What Yorke describes in his second post is, though, as Magellan says, just straight-up heresy, though. I can't see this thing happening without virtually all the non-heretical tech-priests throwing a complete bitchfit.

 

How is this heretical? it's a Machine Spirit it does every thing short of taking on a daily bases.

It violates the Sixteen Universal Laws.

 

The Mysteries:

  • 01. Life is directed motion.
  • 02. The spirit is the spark of life.
  • 03. Sentience is the ability to learn the value of knowledge.
  • 04. Intellect is the understanding of knowledge.
  • 05. Sentience is the basest form of Intellect.
  • 06. Understanding is the True Path to Comprehension.
  • 07. Comprehension is the key to all things.
  • 08. The Omnissiah knows all, comprehends all.
The Warnings:
  • 09. The alien mechanism is a perversion of the True Path.
  • 10. The soul is the conscience of sentience.
  • 11. A soul can be bestowed only by the Omnissiah.
  • 12. The Soulless sentience is the enemy of all life.
  • 13. The knowledge of the ancients stands beyond question.
  • 14. The Machine Spirit guards the knowledge of the Ancients.
  • 15. Flesh is fallible, but ritual honours the Machine Spirit.
  • 16. To break with ritual is to break with faith.
It doesn't mean that it's automatically heresy to break against one or more of these, because the Galaxy is a Big Place, and there's Magi that can sanction this and that, there's the Inquisition that can basically do as they want as long as no other Inquisitor objects, there's different kinds of interpretations, etc, etc, etc - for example, there's one organization that exclusively studies xenos artifacts and xenos "machine spirits", even in spite of the first warning, and even if alien mechanics are considered to have tortured machine spirits forced into service by godless xenos.

There's also organizations within the AdMech that studies Abominable Intelligences, and some - hereteks, argued by many, most likely - even try to create new Abominable Intelligences; under the rationale of learning more about them so they can be defeated, no doubt, but it's a very touchy subject.

The ban on Abominable Intelligences (AI) goes all the way back to pre-Imperium times, because of the "Men of Iron"-uprising(s) during the Dark Age of Technology, which resulted in a Galaxy-wide conflict between humans and their robotic, AI servants. The Iron Men have been encountered several times since, and are along with the Necrons (depending on which timeframe we're talking about) chief AI threats.

They're strong, relentless, self-replicating, and incredibly intelligent. Artificial sentience is one of those really, really, really big no-no's of the Cult Mechanicus.

Just stick a lobotomised brain or two in the machine instead and it's fine.

Edited by Fgdsfg
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Talking and having opinions, and responding to queries with anything other than stock responses, is heresy.

 

Machine spirits are self-aware but aren't sentient. A War Titan's machine spirit (which is about as sophisticated as they get) is closer to a feral animal than a human mind. Machine spirits doing things instinctively is fine. Adaptive, creative intelligence isn't.

 

Machine spirits aren't star-trek style computers that you can all but have a conversation with, and any genuinely sentient intelligence that's not based on organic life (hence the tendancy for servitors and brain-in-jar based systems) violates the Sixteen Universal Laws.

I'd like to point out that "Machine Spirits" aren't as clear-cut as you make it out to be here - the idea of 'machine spirits' range from simple automated systems and emergency programs in all kinds of things such as lasguns or tanks, to advanced cogitator systems aboard ships capable of independent action, advanced calculations or flat-out battlefield command advice.

Some are capable of "learning", leading to long-term changes in gear or equipment behaviour, and even "simple" devices such as weaponry can have extremely advanced programming by our standards, and the exact nature of "machine spirits" have always been kept very... ambiguous.

And some can definitely be interacted with, Star Trek-style, although for obvious reasons, such systems likely has the resident Tech-Priest set off warning bells everywhere, suspecting it's an Abominable Intelligence; and some are even Abominable Intelligences, but they never figured it out because at some point, their vox-casting capabilities were disabled, so while they are entirely self-aware, they might just not be able to interact or connect on that level, or may even realize that it's probably not in their best interest to do so. How would the AdMech interpret such a system? Boom! It must be a very strong Machine Spirit, of course!

What Yorke describes in his second post is, though, as Magellan says, just straight-up heresy, though. I can't see this thing happening without virtually all the non-heretical tech-priests throwing a complete bitchfit.

 

How is this heretical? it's a Machine Spirit it does every thing short of taking on a daily bases.

It violates the Sixteen Universal Laws.

 

The Mysteries:

  • 01. Life is directed motion.
  • 02. The spirit is the spark of life.
  • 03. Sentience is the ability to learn the value of knowledge.
  • 04. Intellect is the understanding of knowledge.
  • 05. Sentience is the basest form of Intellect.
  • 06. Understanding is the True Path to Comprehension.
  • 07. Comprehension is the key to all things.
  • 08. The Omnissiah knows all, comprehends all.
The Warnings:
  • 09. The alien mechanism is a perversion of the True Path.
  • 10. The soul is the conscience of sentience.
  • 11. A soul can be bestowed only by the Omnissiah.
  • 12. The Soulless sentience is the enemy of all life.
  • 13. The knowledge of the ancients stands beyond question.
  • 14. The Machine Spirit guards the knowledge of the Ancients.
  • 15. Flesh is fallible, but ritual honours the Machine Spirit.
  • 16. To break with ritual is to break with faith.
It doesn't mean that it's automatically heresy to break against one or more of these, because the Galaxy is a Big Place, and there's Magi that can sanction this and that, there's the Inquisition that can basically do as they want as long as no other Inquisitor objects, there's different kinds of interpretations, etc, etc, etc - for example, there's one organization that exclusively studies xenos artifacts and xenos "machine spirits", even in spite of the first warning, and even if alien mechanics are considered to have tortured machine spirits forced into service by godless xenos.

There's also organizations within the AdMech that studies Abominable Intelligences, and some - hereteks, argued by many, most likely - even try to create new Abominable Intelligences; under the rationale of learning more about them so they can be defeated, no doubt, but it's a very touchy subject.

The ban on Abominable Intelligences (AI) goes all the way back to pre-Imperium times, because of the "Men of Iron"-uprising(s) during the Dark Age of Technology, which resulted in a Galaxy-wide conflict between humans and their robotic, AI servants. The Iron Men have been encountered several times since, and are along with the Necrons (depending on which timeframe we're talking about) chief AI threats.

They're strong, relentless, self-replicating, and incredibly intelligent. Artificial sentience is one of those really, really, really big no-no's of the Cult Mechanicus.

Just stick a lobotomised brain or two in the machine instead and it's fine.

 

never heard about the 16 laws before but the op said it's a Machine Spirit not an AI so the admech on board should be awestruck by this holy relic speaking openly to them.   

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never heard about the 16 laws before but the op said it's a Machine Spirit not an AI so the admech on board should be awestruck by this holy relic speaking openly to them.

[...]

 

I have already decided that the cogitator has already grown into being fully self-sentient. The ship's Explorator seems to really like the ship though and won't act against it. I just have to figure out how he can hide away from the other AdMechs when such finally come aboard, things like the ship having an opinion on stuff, or actually becoming offended at something or coming to like some specific people and etc...

Yeah, the AdMech might be struck, but if they are, it sure as hell won't be with awe.

Edited by Fgdsfg

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never heard about the 16 laws before but the op said it's a Machine Spirit not an AI so the admech on board should be awestruck by this holy relic speaking openly to them.

[...]

 

I have already decided that the cogitator has already grown into being fully self-sentient. The ship's Explorator seems to really like the ship though and won't act against it. I just have to figure out how he can hide away from the other AdMechs when such finally come aboard, things like the ship having an opinion on stuff, or actually becoming offended at something or coming to like some specific people and etc...

Yeah, the AdMech might be struck, but if they are, it sure as hell won't be with awe.

 

 Look the admech uses human brains in Machine Spirits because humans have souls, that's how they get around the no AI rule. If a high ranking Magos wires himself into the ship and is the one actually doing this would it still be heresy?   

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Look the admech uses human brains in Machine Spirits because humans have souls, that's how they get around the no AI rule. If a high ranking Magos wires himself into the ship and is the one actually doing this would it still be heresy?

Hilariously enough, no. If you strap a brain onto it somewhere, it's suddenly not-heresy. There's a certain logic to this, because in the end it specifically avoids the issues with artificial intelligences.

But I would think that all kinds of warning bells would still be set off if it occurred, but strictly speaking, if the AdMech knew about it or the Magos-Brain-Ship-Cogitator flat-out told the tech-priests about the circumstances, it probably wouldn't be considered heresy by most, no.

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Look the admech uses human brains in Machine Spirits because humans have souls, that's how they get around the no AI rule. If a high ranking Magos wires himself into the ship and is the one actually doing this would it still be heresy?

Hilariously enough, no. If you strap a brain onto it somewhere, it's suddenly not-heresy. There's a certain logic to this, because in the end it specifically avoids the issues with artificial intelligences.

But I would think that all kinds of warning bells would still be set off if it occurred, but strictly speaking, if the AdMech knew about it or the Magos-Brain-Ship-Cogitator flat-out told the tech-priests about the circumstances, it probably wouldn't be considered heresy by most, no.

 

Well i think this debate is over, you've made some valid points that i agree with and i think i've done the same. :)

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To the OP:  by all means, play the type of game that you want.  However, if your players' ship truly has a self-aware, decision-making, talking, opinionated AI, then I am afraid that you probably don't understand the setting.  While Rogue Traders are given exceptional leeway by the Imperium, harboring a true AI *is* the height of heresy.  No ifs, ands, or buts about it.  Such a ship would be hunted at every turn by all the force that the Imperium could muster.

 

Frankly, I doubt that a captain would even be able to find crew willing to man it.

 

But interestingly, I'm also considering a story arc where my players lose their current ship but are ultimately rewarded with an ancient, mothballed, unwanted Repulsive class grand cruiser.  The ship's character will be such that it seems to act mysteriously on its own- such as initiating evasive maneuvers on its own a second or two before the crew reacts to a threat, or initiating a sensor sweep of a seemingly empty asteroid field without crew input, thus forcing a hidden enemy to trigger his ambush prematurely.  Sometimes viewscreens and holotanks throughout the ship might display unintelligible streams of calculations being performed for hours on end for no discernible reason.  Yet these effects are ultimately harmless and even sometimes beneficial for the crew.  But for all this, the ship is not alive.  It is not aware.  It does not talk to the crew any more than your computer "talks" to you.  It is a machine, even if the crew might sometimes feel that it is more than that.

 

Anyway, that's my take on the "Ancient and Wise Starship" scenario.  

 

As a final note, my players will learn that the Repulsives were originally called the Repulse class- and that their ship is no less than the class leader herself.

Edited by Cavgunner
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