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Traveller: The New Era Discussion on Traveller: The New Era

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Old February 28th, 2006, 06:43 PM
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Question

In reading the boards here on CotI, I've noticed there's a trend for people to simply despise the Virus in every way, shape, and form. The entire MegaTraveller board seems to revolve around a "Virusless universe" and even the supplements for TNE stress that Virus AIs shouldn't be common. Indeed, the Virus seems to fulfill the role usually filled by dragons in fantasy RPGs and GMs are cautioned from using them like orcs.

For a long time, I went along with that view of the Virus, it's better to have very little of it, but it's always bothered me for some reason but I couldn't say why, until recently.

I was thinking of a direction for a new Traveller game and I've decided to set it in TNE universe, but the thought occured to me, "instead of rejecting the Virus, what would happen if I instead embraced it?"

My idea was that the idea of machine intelligences (so-called "artificial" intelligences) and the implications of it are one of the bigger threads in modern science-fiction. The exploration of AI as a legitimate life-form is something that even TNE has mostly avoided really dealing with. But what if the opposite track was taken? The universe would be populated with the children of the Virus, blooming into sentience, an entire new order of life-forms trying to find their place in the universe, not in the comfortable role of the "sentient starship" or the "frankstein robot" but something else entirely? Entire societies of machine lifeforms.

I'll drop in more ideas as they come to me, but I was curious if anyone else has ever taken this track instead of the "usual" Traveller view on the Virus? Perhaps a game like that wouldn't be the Traveller that people were playing in the 1980s, but is that necessarily a bad thing?
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