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USH'S MATRIX GAME- The first Campaign Journey (Philosophy Path)- revealed!
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Ushgarak
Paladin

Gender: Male
Location: Chelmsford, Essex, UK

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USH'S MATRIX GAME- The first Campaign Journey (Philosophy Path)- revealed!

Well, kinda. If you want total answers you are going to be disappointed.

When the Matrix game was first defined as having a 'Philosophy Path', no-one knew quite what to expect. Which is nice, as it meant a surprise could be sprung, but a lot of effort still had to go into explaining what it was not.

It was not a philosophy class. It was absolutely nothing at all like the Philosophy subforum of the GDF (God forbid! It didn't ctually exist at the time for me to make such a compartison, though). And I definitely wanted to get away from the idea of it being the boring option.

Here are some facts on the concept of the Philosophy path:


1. It is not non-violent. Aside from the fact that the two Paths often interact, it is central to the Matrix that violence and set-piece fights occur. The difference is that in the Combat path your entire objective, success/fail, will depend on victory in certain key fights, and the result in each fight will affect the background of the next. The Philosophy path success/fail will depend on something else. Get killed in a fight and you are still dead though, success or fail. And you still have major opponents to fight.

(Indeed, the most central of all fighting opponents in the first game, Captain Jericho, turned up as a Philosophy foe, not for the Combat path. There was good reason for that)



2. It is not sitting in a classroom or auditorium blabbing on about the meaining of life with a small crowd. There iS a certain element of information provided upon which you have to make choices (choice, as ever, central to the Matrix experience), but that is integrated into the expeirence of the game



3. It is not directly educational or didactic. This was VERY important. The trouble with RPing a philosophy section is that everyone's ideas differ greatly, and it would be very easy to be too judgmental- indeed, even with the effort not to be like this, certain aspects of the Philosophy path caused heavy argument. So in the end, it has to be accepted that information you are given is provided by in-game characters and events, and you should play within that spirit. Nonetheless, every effort is made to keep the Philosophy path neutral and open to all views. The final resolution was NOT baed on a right or wrong answer, it was based upon the construction of a logical argument in turn based upon information received. So long as a player made the effort for the choice to make sense, it passed.



4. It was NOT a trick. It is importamt people understand this, thinking that if they make the 'right' choice they will be rewarded regardless of the circumstances of the choice. The choice is real. To quickly summarise, one of the options in the Philosophy path before was self-termination, an option a player might take if he or she concluded during the Path that he/she did not exist and was therefore hampeiring someone who did.

A very brave choice, BUT the logic would be followed through., Self-terminate and you stop playing the game- indeed, it would have been a declaration that you never really were in the game in the first place. Dramatic, yes... but the assumption was made that players would like to hold onto their characters rather than bin them. I think some felt that they might die and come back again with someone saying "Well done, you made the right choice." Nah- a choice is a choice, and if you die, you die. Not everyone has Neo around to ressurrect them, either.



5. It happens in the films! It is very much part of the Matrix experience. In Reloaded, Morpheus and Trinity are on the Combat Path. Their objective is to fight to keep the Keymaker alive.

But Neo is on the Philosophy Path, He does fight, but only to get him to the next section of plot, where he constantly runs into people- the Oracle, the Merovingian, the Architect- who hit him with beliefs and philosophical points. And for him, it all comes down to a final choice.


So, all that in mind... what WAS going on in the Philosophy path in the first game? I shall complete this thread over the next hour or so.

First, though, a recap of the set-up.


__________________



"We've got maybe seconds before Darth Rosenberg grinds everybody into Jawa burgers and not one of you buds has the midi-chlorians to stop her!"

"You've never had any TINY bit of sex, have you?"

BtVS

Last edited by Ushgarak on Jun 2nd, 2006 at 10:49 AM

Old Post Jun 1st, 2006 12:32 PM
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Ushgarak
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Location: Chelmsford, Essex, UK

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The first Matrix game started with an important mission. Zion is attempting to crack the System's codes. In the real world, they are unbreakable. But the System often issues orders to its Agents in the Matrix, and due to their own rules about keeping the simulation accurate, they are forced to use period technology within. Zion CAN crack the System's codes within, if the cipher key can be found.

The players are tasked with stealing the code without making it look like it was stolen.

Imagine the player's surprise, then, when the mission turns into a total bust because they bump into ANOTHER team from Zion doing the same thing. The confusion cocks up the stealth aspect and Agents move in. The escape is chaotic.

Surprise is heightened when, after the mission, it turns out the other crew is from the Bounty, a ship lost to a Sentinel ambush on a test run a few months ago, all hands dead. Captain Jericho was one of the most senior Zion Captains, the head of their strategic planning.

What is not known by many- though is known by Dallas, the Captain of the main game ship- is that Jericho was about to be fired, because he had conluded that Zion cannot win and that destruction was to come within a year

(Worth noting that this was written before Reloaded/Revolutions. At the time of writing, the plot was meant to be that Jericho was unlucky to have concluded all this before the One was found. But in retrospect, it fits perfectly into the film plotline anyway).

Aside form the general mystery of the crew being alive, Zion is suspicious enough about Jericho's motivations to send in the players to work out just what is going on there. The player's first hint comes from the Oracle. She tells the players where to look first.

The Oracle does also have some perspective to give:

-----

The Oracle, after Heph answers her question about identifying the fruit she just pulled out her shopping bag:


"But have I, Heph? Have I really? Or do I just think I have? Truth is, I've never seen an apple in my entire life. At least, I have never seen what you would call an apple, grown on a tree or, where you come from, in hydroponics bays. I call this an apple because that is what I am used to calling it. But it's just a programme. To me, it's not really any different from this table. Still," she says, pulling out another and taking a bite. "I DO like the taste..."

"That looks like an apple but it isn't. That's deception, it's all around us. And deception is at the heart of all this. See, I can only tell you one of two things. Either the Bounty was destroyed and Jericho is dead, just as you heard. In which case, those people you saw at the airport are a deception. Either that, or Jericho and his crew didn't die. In which case, something you thought you knew about the situation is a deception. And that could be anything. Even the destruction of the Bounty. One way or another, you have to accept that something you thought was so, is not.

"So, you want to know what part was lie, and which part was truth, yes? And so then there would be no more 'supposed' about it, I suppose..."

-----

But, the Oracle refuses to answer direct questions about Jericho, saying that that is not what the players have cone to her for (even when they protest that, actually, yes it was).

-----

The Oracle, on why she will not say what happened:


"I can tell you what happened, like you are asking," she says. "But that's not what you want to know. You want to know why. A what is not much good to you without a why. Why... is at the heart of this. And once you have the Why, you will have all you need about the what. So me telling you what... won't help you at all.

"You need to know WHY, Hephaestus. And there is only one person who can tell you that. I think we both know who that is, yes?"


-----

The answer is Jericho. Only he can say why what happened happened. And to get to Jericho, the players must follow the path Jericho took. Only some are destined to do that (those on the Philosophy path, of course). And so her advice about where to go next is not the location of Jericho- it is the start of that path.

The Oracle's final piece of advice is to remind players that they always have a choice.


__________________



"We've got maybe seconds before Darth Rosenberg grinds everybody into Jawa burgers and not one of you buds has the midi-chlorians to stop her!"

"You've never had any TINY bit of sex, have you?"

BtVS

Last edited by Ushgarak on Jun 2nd, 2006 at 10:49 AM

Old Post Jun 1st, 2006 12:48 PM
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Ushgarak
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Location: Chelmsford, Essex, UK

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And so the players engage with the main plot, and there is a lot of fighting and destruction along the way.

The players eventually discover that Jericho was a mercenary agent in the Matrix- and that he had a main employer, a man named Melitus.

The players proceed to Melitus' base at an old abandoned factory. However, the top floor of this dilapidated factory looks instead like the interior of a well-maintained mansion (similar to the Merovingian, who again did not exist when this was written... grr...)

Walking through a door of particular significance, the players- not knowing it- are no longer visible to their Operators. They then have to go through a disinfecting process, before meeting Melitus himself.

Melitus is a very unusual being. Every single person inside the door that works for him is wearing a mask, from his musicians to the surgical team attending to him as the players enter.

Melitus himself cannot move. He is inside a large, bulky iron lung, an old piece of medical equipment used to keep TB or Polio sufferers alive, those without the muscle power to operate their own lungs. Melitus, stuck forever facing upwards, sees the players only through the use of mirrors.

Melitus' talking is continually punctuated by long silences as the machine breaths for him- his main charactistic being interrupted sentences.

Melitus is formal and refined- and unlike the Merovingian, exceedingly polite.

Melitus plays quite innocent, making himself out as an old cripple who simply employs a mercenary for criminal ends. He discusses his own choice- either betray Jericho's position, and aggravate Jericho, or not, and aggravate the people now with him. As the players represent the more immediate danger, he decides to betray Jericho, and hope the players kill Jericho before Jericho kills him. He does this on one condition- that the players return afterwards and tell him what happened.

Melitus does indeed give the place where to find Jericho- the Circe Computer Corporation.

But there is a bit of a twist for the players when they try to leave the Matrix to plan the next move. They find that they can no longer use the hardlines- they are trapped within the Matrix.


__________________



"We've got maybe seconds before Darth Rosenberg grinds everybody into Jawa burgers and not one of you buds has the midi-chlorians to stop her!"

"You've never had any TINY bit of sex, have you?"

BtVS

Last edited by Ushgarak on Jun 2nd, 2006 at 12:20 PM

Old Post Jun 1st, 2006 01:04 PM
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Ushgarak
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Confused- and suspicious- the players push ahead to the CCC.

This is where the Paths split. The CCC is an ambush- Jericho has left a 'spammer' there. Spammers are an old trick once used by Rebels to distract the System; coded devices that cause disruption with the Matrix system, which instantly brings Agents running, They used to be used to cause diversions, but the System wised up to them a long while ago. However, having not been used in a while, the System certainly reacts when one goes off at CCC, and the Agents move in.

The players split in the confusion, into the two Paths.

The Philosophy Path are rescued by Bounty crew member Medea, who explains to them what has happened. Jericho, deciding Zion was doomed, has fled to a place of refuge- the Matrix. It is Melitus, whom Jericho met long ago and had often talked with, who gave him the option.

Jericho, at length, convinced his crew to go along with him. They faked the destruction of their ship using bits from previously destroyed ships, and then flew a long, long way away from Zion. Melitus had given them the real world co-ordinates for a broadcasting point that neither Zion or the System knew about. There, they landed, and entered the Matrix.

Medea explains that Melitus seems to have some influence over the system- machines are supplying power to the Bounty and feeding its crew as they remain hooked in.

Medea is having second thoughts about the whole thing- especially now since the incident with the codebreaking, where they now seem to be actively hampering Zion. But Jericho (and his psychotic first officer Khali) has complete control over the hardline they can use to leave the Matrix, and she cannot cross him as he could simply kill her in the real world (she is providing this help in secret).

She does not know what Melitus is.

-----

A peeved Philosophy path, makes their way back to the factory to get some answers. Dallas has told them that the Combat Path are dead. This is one of Dallas' little flashes of brilliance- Melitus and Jericho will believe the characters, because they themselves believe it.

Melitus does not attempt to hide what he did. He did indeed alter the coding of the players (during 'decontamination') so they cannot leave the Matrix, and he did indeed tell Jericho that they were coming. He does point out that the players had said they wanted to meet Jericho, and he did warn them that Jericho might not take kindly to that, but the players are still none too happy, of course.

He does come clean on being more than just some guy in an ancient piec eof medical equipment though- admitting he recoded the players was a hint. Thge players threatened to kill Melitus at the previous meeting, so he points out that such insurance was justified. Only he can remove the coding, and they will inevitably die if they stay trapped in the Matrix (their ship will have to leave sometime!), so now they depend on him.

(Observant players at this point might have noted that Melitus' breathing interruptions stopped)


-----

Melitus, when asked if the iron lung is a fake

"You seem pitiably unable to grasp this simple concept. EVERYTHING is a charade in the Matrix. You cannot distinguish between two imaginary types of 'fake'. It is either real or it is not, and in the way your primitive brains understand real, it is not, just like everything your brain is telling you you can see in this room. That is all there is to it, and so your other related questions are irrelevant."

-----

It is actually Dexx's character who cuts through the anger and gets to the point- Melitus has them at his mercy, what does he want?

-----

Melitus, on what choice the players are coming to:

"That is not a decision you can reasonably understand or take until you appreciate the full situation. You need to understand what has happened until this point. What you think has been going on, and that you have been doing, is a fake- an artifice, an affectation, an illusion, like everything in this world."

-----

Melitus reveals that no mistakes have been made- he delivberately sent Jericho to take the code the same time as the players specifically so they would bump into each other, and so bring the players to him. He knew the Oracle would send them. More disturbingly, Melitus seems to know the futures of the players, as the Oracle does. It is also clear that he has only contempt for the Oracle and the blind faith the players put in her. He also makes comment that he understands concepts such as faith.

It also transpired that Melitus is indestructible. Cutting his head off did not appear to concern him- Fire tried.

-----

Melitus, when accused of being incapable of understanding human emotion

"That shows how ignorant you are about Machines," says Melitus. "AI is a complicated process but it brings true sentience. There is nothing a Human can feel that a Machine cannot also feel unless specifically designed not to. You tell me that hope would bind you to the hopeless Zion cause. I accept that an an answer. I understand why you feel that way. I think you are wrong to do so, but then so would lots of humans just the same, so that says nothing about my mind. There is no depth to Human emotion that I do not understand.

"What I can offer you, is survival. But you do not understand the full reasons Jericho had for his decision, and that is a problem."


-----

And herein is the issue. Melitus wishes to make the players an offer- the same he made to Jericho.

But first, they must know what Jericho did, to have his experiences. They must complete his Journey.

Those that wish to do so (basically all those on the Philosophy path) must now drink from the wine Melitus now offers. Those that do not have basically abandoned the Path.

Those that drink fall unconscious.

Whilst the Combat path engage in a Heist battle with Jericho's crew (which does not go as planned), the next story was the central part of the Philosophy path.


__________________



"We've got maybe seconds before Darth Rosenberg grinds everybody into Jawa burgers and not one of you buds has the midi-chlorians to stop her!"

"You've never had any TINY bit of sex, have you?"

BtVS

Last edited by Ushgarak on Jun 2nd, 2006 at 12:24 PM

Old Post Jun 1st, 2006 01:28 PM
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Ushgarak
Paladin

Gender: Male
Location: Chelmsford, Essex, UK

Co-Admin

The true part of the Philosophy path is a series of rooms designed to illustrate concepts. At the end is a choice. Justify the choice taken and you win. Success or failure is personal- some can succeed whilst others fail, unlike the COmbat path, whic is an all-pass or all-fail affair.

Here we go.

-----

ROOM ONE

The players wake up in a comfortable mansion room. There is a speaker through which Melitus can communicate with them, and also a camera.

There is a painting on the wall (attached)

Melitus invites the players to walk through one of the doors (the doors do not function until Melitus says so)


EXPLANTION: This room is just to get the players used to the set-up

The painting is The Death of Socrates. It is discussed later. Socrates' philosophy is one of the basic foundations for the set-up of the Matrix, though there are many more detailed philosophical views laid on top.

Attachment: paintingb.jpg
This has been downloaded 151 time(s).


__________________



"We've got maybe seconds before Darth Rosenberg grinds everybody into Jawa burgers and not one of you buds has the midi-chlorians to stop her!"

"You've never had any TINY bit of sex, have you?"

BtVS

Last edited by Ushgarak on Jun 2nd, 2006 at 12:24 PM

Old Post Jun 1st, 2006 01:34 PM
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Ushgarak
Paladin

Gender: Male
Location: Chelmsford, Essex, UK

Co-Admin

ROOM TWO

This is a large warehouse. It is filled to the brim with computer monitors of every sophisitcation and type, from old bulky green screeners- even black and white- to the latest flat screen jobs (end of 20th century latest, that is) to the types used in the real world.

Each one is covered in Matrix code, showing various parts of the Matrix- everyday life.


"The Matrix," says Melitus. "Whether you are its enemy or its friend, whether you would see it preserved or destroyed, there is no doubting the enormity of its achievement. Here a world is kept, a prison that no inmate knows is a prison, where the needs of one society are filled by the ignorant enslavement of another, but a slavery which does not restrict the day to day life of its victims. A world which, perhaps, is more important than the 'real' world without. And its operation is the major obession for every sentient being on the planet. For its inmates, to live in it. For those like me, to stay unnoticed in it. For the jailors, to maintain its operation. And for those inmates who learn the truth, to destroy it. It is all around us, looking like one thing but being another, and even when you are not in it, it occupies your thoughts more than any other consideration. Seen like this, it is just so much code, but look at what that code has become. More real than Real, some would say."


Some players disagree with that comment. But when it is said that nothing that happens in the Matrix is real...

---


"That is incorrect," says Melitus. "Everything that happens in the Matrix is 100% real. You confuse real with physical. Just because the Matrix is not physical, it does not detract from its reality. Everything that happens inside it does indeed happen. A person who talks to another in the Matrix really DOES talk to that person. He simply is doing it via a means different to that which he perceives. This conversation we are having right now is real, although it is not physical. Your life before you were rescued from the Matrix? No-one made that up. That life was REAL. It did happen. Those memories are not implanted- you really did do those things. It was simply not in the physical world.

"The Matrix is not truly a dream. A dream is introspective, it is relative only to yourself and exists only for yourself. But the Matrix is independant. it exists whether you observe it or not, and two people can independantly observe the same thing, and one person affect it and the other also see the change, very different to a dream

"In fact, the only significant thing that is unreal for the inmates of the Matrix is the idea that you have ultimate control over your own destiny, whereas in fact that is a privilege accorded to you by others, the Machines, who would remove that immediately if it suited them. As it is, Humans in the Matrix are accorded free will so long as it does not interfere with the parameters of the simulation.

"There are also some more petty things that are unreal, like the metaphysical nature of their world- for example, the existence of the Matrix Universe can be measured in years, not aeons- the past is simulated, your ancestors did not exist, there was no Big Bang, the world was created in software, and so forth. But these things can safely be assumed by everyone and are not important. They do not affect the life of anyone, whereas suddenly being terminated on a whim by a Machine certainly would.

"However, I am not at this point debating the concept of real. I am merely pointing out that significance of the Matrix in everyone's lives."

This context given, Melitus asks a question:

"Is a decision made inside the Matrix in any way less relevant than one made outside of it?"

-----

EXPLANATION: Straightforward- the last sentence in his speech sums it up. Melitus is providing perspective. The question is very genuine, and its response is noted for later. There is no right or wrong, just logic.

However, it is very difficult to say that choice does not exist in the Matrix, unless you think choice does not exist at all. Within the Matrix, although it is a virtual world, you can still choose to go shopping or go bowling, and it will affect what happens to you. The choice is therefore as genuine as one you would make in the real world.

A case can be made for ultimate choice not existing as people are not aware of their true situation. One counter-argument to this is that people never know that anyway- no-one knows the true nature of the Universe, in or out the Matrix. It might still be said that from the perspective of Zion, their world is more real than the Matrix and so choices within it have more validity. That would be an acceptable comment to say that Matrix choices have less value. I still find it hard to accept that logic though. The Matrix is a prison in which choice exists, and the films make it clear that without choice, the Matrix would actually fail.

And to be sure- make friends in the Matrix, and it is as real as real can be. Fall in love, real. Kill yourself? 100% identical.

Interestingly, this question is very relevant once you have seen Reloaded, because it turns out people do have the choice to be in it or not after all. After Revolutions, the choice is even conscious.


__________________



"We've got maybe seconds before Darth Rosenberg grinds everybody into Jawa burgers and not one of you buds has the midi-chlorians to stop her!"

"You've never had any TINY bit of sex, have you?"

BtVS

Last edited by Ushgarak on Jun 2nd, 2006 at 12:25 PM

Old Post Jun 1st, 2006 01:44 PM
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Ushgarak
Paladin

Gender: Male
Location: Chelmsford, Essex, UK

Co-Admin

ROOM 3 Part A

An observatory or planetarium, looking upon the night sky.

Melitus asks the players what the difference is between the Matrix and the Real World.

-

EXPLANATION:

A question to give context. Melitus wants more than just 'It is a simulation' The players come up with several ideas:

- There is no physical presence in the Matrix, it is all perception based on coding

- Strange programmes like Melitus himself, Agents and the Oracle can exist in the Matrix, they could not (as best can be determined) in the real world

- Basic rules of existence can be tampered with in the Matrix; the physics of the real world are immutable. This reflects it being built inside the Real World; if someone did in turn build the Real World, no-one has contact with that process.

- The Matrix cannot exist without the real world. The reverse is not true.

- Melitus adds that history is faked in the Matrix, from your family tree to fossil records.

- We KNOW the Matrix was created with purpose. The Real World, this can only be speculated about




It is therefore clear and agreed that there are considerable differences between the Matrix and the Real World.


__________________



"We've got maybe seconds before Darth Rosenberg grinds everybody into Jawa burgers and not one of you buds has the midi-chlorians to stop her!"

"You've never had any TINY bit of sex, have you?"

BtVS

Last edited by Ushgarak on Jun 2nd, 2006 at 12:26 PM

Old Post Jun 1st, 2006 01:54 PM
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Aliies
Art-type-person-thingy...

Gender: Male
Location: South Australia

((I've only read a few things so far, but this must have call upon some imagination to invent! Excellent work, as usual! Sorry if you didn't want posts here just yet shifty ))


__________________
Mal: "Well, if anyone gets nosey... You know... Shoot em' "

Zoe: "Shoot them sir?"

Mal: "...Politely"

Old Post Jun 1st, 2006 02:05 PM
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Ushgarak
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ROOM 3 PART B

Melitus asks the players to refine their answer- what the differences are for the inmates- those still hooked in- as compared to the differences to someone who has been freed.

-

EXPLANATION

An interesting question that gets many answers. Some go down the obvious route- the differences in physics only apply to those freed- whilst some immedaitely point out that the differences only count for those freed, and that the effective differences for an inmate between the Matrix and the real world zre zero. Some disagree, saying that you can be killed in the Rwal World and so die in the Matrix, which does not apply to the real world. This can be argued back again by saying that it MIGHT be true in the Real World but we don't know it- the identical situation for someone trapped within. Others reject that logic, saying that this is a certain fact as opposed to speculation, and that the inmates do not realise this fact does not stop it being a difference for them.

The implications of this argument are important.

One important difference that people are more inclinded to agree on is the level of control that inmates are subjected to.


-----

ROOM 3 PART C

The starfield imagae above changes- image attached

Meltius asks players to name five differences, between the left and right images.

The players can see none. Melitus says his senses can perceive over 3000 differences, that a Human cannot.

This leads to the conclusion that differences exist, whether people can perceive them or not.

Melitus then asks a question- "Are those over 3000 differences between the two images actually important to an observer in any way?"

The vibe is to answer no.

This proceeds to the idea that there are now two different elements to ask about difference:

1. Is the difference perceivable?

2. Is the difference tangible (i.e. does it actually affect anything, as far as the observer is concerned. Not seeing 3000 stars is irrelevant, not seeing a car coming towards you is a tad more important)

-----

EXPLANATION: Important context for a coming question, about incorrect information.

The starfield (there are no differences for you to see; the image is repeated. Only in-game is there a difference) is to give the perspective of a Matrix inmate. The players cannot see the difference between the two, but the difference exists, and Melitus can see it.

The inmates cannot tell between the Matrix and the real world, But- as identified before- the differences DO exist, and the players can see them.

Attachment: starfield.jpg
This has been downloaded 149 time(s).


__________________



"We've got maybe seconds before Darth Rosenberg grinds everybody into Jawa burgers and not one of you buds has the midi-chlorians to stop her!"

"You've never had any TINY bit of sex, have you?"

BtVS

Last edited by Ushgarak on Jun 2nd, 2006 at 12:28 PM

Old Post Jun 1st, 2006 02:08 PM
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Ushgarak
Paladin

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Location: Chelmsford, Essex, UK

Co-Admin

ROOM 3 PART D


Meltius asks about the nature of choice. At first, he aks that if he had shot the players in the back of the head when they chose to follow Jericho's path, would they feel cheated? Is that what they chose?

This causes some dispute, so the question is simplified. if you ask to choose between an apple and a pear, chose the pear, and are given an oranage, can you be said to have chosen the orange?

EXPLANATION: The next step towards the big question in this room

The players eventually bring it down to this (feel free to disagree). If the person was holding the fruit behind his back, then when you choose, you do so accepting a risk that he might not actually have the fruit you asked for. Therefore, receiving a completely different fruit could be considered part of your choice as you accepted the risk. But if the fruit is out in front of the person, then it is not reasonable to say your choice covered the person not giving you either fruit, but a totally different one.

This is contentious- some would argue that the possiblity that the man might give you the wrong fruit is there whether you can see the fruit or not, and so that one way or another, if the outcome does not reflect your choice, then it wasn;t really your choice at all, but instead something forced upon you.

Some might say you didn't take a choice at all. You say something, and then the OTHER person ameks a choice as to whether to go along with what you said or not.

Midway between the two,m some might say that it is a choice so long as the other persoin chooses to respect you, in that your decision does affect the final outcome.

But the players decide as I say above, and so say when they chose to take the Journey, the risk that Melitus might kill them was high enough to be considered something that they chose to risk and so chose to do.

Though later some disagreed, disasscoiating choice and consequence, The consequence is a valid result of the choice, but that does not make it what you chose.

----

ROOM 3 PART E

All the above in mind, Melitus hits the players with this question:

"Are decisions based upon false assumptions still valid?"


EXPLANATION:

This caused a lot of trouble, with a lot of mis-understanding and apparent contradiction of what was said before- and it must be said, contradiction will fail you on the Philosophy path far faster than controversy. It is fine to change your mind if you acknowledge you were wrong before, but care must be taken not to adopt two contrary positions.

The question is another vital one for the finale, as was the one asked earlier in the room of monitors (this one just took longer to get to!).

As to the answer- this is very difficult, and answers can range from "All decisions are based on false assumptions" to "Choice only counts if you have full knowledge of the situation." It is a question which gets to the heart of many concepts, from free will to scepticism, and the answers are always interesting.

Again, no right answer; what was being looked for was consistency.

This was the first time that the players definitely started to disagree with each other. Only Fire gave an utterly clear answer:

"a decision based on false assumptions is invalid"


__________________



"We've got maybe seconds before Darth Rosenberg grinds everybody into Jawa burgers and not one of you buds has the midi-chlorians to stop her!"

"You've never had any TINY bit of sex, have you?"

BtVS

Last edited by Ushgarak on Jun 2nd, 2006 at 12:28 PM

Old Post Jun 1st, 2006 02:23 PM
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Ushgarak
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Location: Chelmsford, Essex, UK

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ROOM 3 PART F

Yup, still here!

Melitus has had a running argument with Dexx's character over the definition of the Matrix as 'not real'. Melitus continually makes the point that the Matrix is absolutely real, it is just different. It is not physical, but it is still real, it is still THERE, obviously- else who would care about it? It is not just in the imagaination.

Dexx disagrees on several counts, and Melitus asks him to expand upon this, Once Dexx has descirbed its false nature, Melitus follows up with a new question:

"So if everything in the Matrix is deceptive... how can any decision made inside it be valid? It is all based on false information..."

-

EXPLANATION: Close to a trap. This is a way to try and catch people out with inconsistency. It is taken as an article of faith for Humans that the Matrix is not real, yet this description is very controversial. A point of view that it IS real, just different, is very valid (talk to Cipher).

The opening part of this trap invites people who deny the reality of the Matrix to likewise conclude- based on earlier agreeing that decisions made on false information are not real decisions- to agree that decisons in the Matrix are not genuine.

There is much disagreement about things being real 'only in the Matrix'. Melitus points out that if you learn to drive a car in the Matrix, you can do it in the real world (if there are any left), so how unreal outside the Matrix can it be? Indeed, Melitus disparages the idea of things being real in one place and not in another; he says they are either real or not.

Fire, following from his clear comment earlier, immdiately concludes that no, decisions the Matrix are not valid. THose that did not agree that deicisons based on false information are invalid, of course, have no problems with saying that Matrix choices are real- however, that wss a controversial answer to the earlier question anyway. Again, this question is highly controverisal, and was a very enjoyable part as some wrestle with their own logic


__________________



"We've got maybe seconds before Darth Rosenberg grinds everybody into Jawa burgers and not one of you buds has the midi-chlorians to stop her!"

"You've never had any TINY bit of sex, have you?"

BtVS

Last edited by Ushgarak on Jun 2nd, 2006 at 12:29 PM

Old Post Jun 1st, 2006 02:33 PM
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Ushgarak
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Co-Admin

ROOM 4 PART A

A return to room 1, with the painting again

Melitus bounces an earlier question back. The majority of players just concluded that decision made in the Matrix were not genuine.

The same players earlier answered this question:

"Is a decision made inside the Matrix in any way less relevant than one made outside of it?"

By saying no, the choices were just as relevant.

Meaning the players say the choices are just as relevant... but then said they are not actually valid choices.


EXPLANATION:

Most the group are caught out in a contradiction now, and must quickly re-asses their logic. Players can simply change their minds on the original answer (another part of the trap being sprung- this isn't the trap yet), or modify their answers based on other things learned- Dexx's character, for example, brings in the earlier raised issue of tangible difference to defend his position (after crying).

Most simply choose to recant their first answer, and now say that decisions made in the Matrix are not as valid as ones made outside of it.

-----

ROOM 4 PART B

Melitus's masked butler enters the room with a covered tray. He removes the cover, and reveals a blue pill and a red pill.

Melitus asks a simple question- was this choice valid?

EXPLANATION

This is the trap. Players who have denied that choice exists in the Matrix have now denied their choice to take the red pill.

Now, this is only a trap if you attach moral significance to that choice. But those who don't are left in an uncomfortable position about whether they are willing soliders, or were duped into fighting- back to Cipher again.

It ia assumed that most people generally think they did the right thing in choosing red, and would fight to defend the validity of that choice.

But some are not afraid to dump the significance of that moment, saying it was pure luck to take it, or even that they were deceived by Zion based on earlier deceptions from the Machines. The moral implications of all this could go on forever... luckily we were not here to debate that.

It was only possible to philosphically defend your choice as valid if, earlier, you had dumped the dogma that the Matrix is not real. One way or another, one of the generally accepted viewpoints of Matrix rebels had to go. Either the Matrix cannot be described as not real, or you never made a valid choice to leave it.

I was actually quite depressed by the number of people who concluded that they never made a valid decision to leave the Matrix! But further questioning revealed that people were answering like this because they felt trapped by their own logic, not because they actually wanted to deny the validity of their choice. Nasty. And also risky, because if you do that, if your beliefs conflict with your logic, it is very likely you will contradict yourself more in future.

The one thing all agree on is that Melitus is horrible.


__________________



"We've got maybe seconds before Darth Rosenberg grinds everybody into Jawa burgers and not one of you buds has the midi-chlorians to stop her!"

"You've never had any TINY bit of sex, have you?"

BtVS

Last edited by Ushgarak on Jun 2nd, 2006 at 12:30 PM

Old Post Jun 1st, 2006 02:44 PM
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My own commentary at this point, as players obviously seemed unhappy with their own choices:

-----

Melitus never claimed it was a bad thing.

However, objectively speaking, that was the defining moment of your lives, and to logically conclude that the choice was invalid DOES diminish your cause somewhat. If you are indeed worried that Melitus is trying to claim intellectual superiority, then by forcing you to concede that you made an invalid choice, that is certainly one way to play into that. As it happens, Melitus is far more complex than that but he is NEVER unhappy to unsettle your view of reality.

Castor, a quibble over the definition of valid... is actually what I tried when I was faced with this... heh... anyway, re-defining valid probably doesn't help escape the question and the point.

The logic behind the point is this: A choice is not really a choice unless it was genuine. If you are chosing between A and B but the actual results are chosing between C and D then you exercised no free will in that choice at all and so it was not really a choice, even though it seemed like one. The term we are using to define that is 'valid' and technically speaking it applies to all decisions made in the Matrix.

Now, no matter which way you cut it, either the Matrix is all false or it is not all false, or to put it another way, there is either no truth or some. If you are saying that your choice to leave the Matrix was valid because in those circumstances your choice was not deceptively based, then as you made that choice in the Matrix you therefore must conceed that some things in the Matrix can be true. There can be no in-between- you cannot have the Matrix all false AND say your choice was valid. There has to be somethnng that is true there for a valid choice to have been made.

So if you say your choice was valid, probably the best thing to do is to describe what things are not fake in the Matrix. Problem is, accepting any of the Matrix as genuine is hard for a Rebel- but the alternative is to admit you made no valid choice in leaving it yourself.

It is a basic conondrum that all of you face- you say Humanity is duped and enslaved in a false world- but you were all part of that world, so surely you were duped too?

So Melitus challenges you to pin down exactly where you stand on this. But I assure you- yes, Melitus is clearly a very intelligent being, and he does enjoy watching you people get into knots, but he is NOT doing this just to lord it over you. He (and therefore I) needs to know what you think- it should be very clear that all this is going somewhere.


__________________



"We've got maybe seconds before Darth Rosenberg grinds everybody into Jawa burgers and not one of you buds has the midi-chlorians to stop her!"

"You've never had any TINY bit of sex, have you?"

BtVS

Old Post Jun 1st, 2006 02:49 PM
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Ushgarak
Paladin

Gender: Male
Location: Chelmsford, Essex, UK

Co-Admin

ROOM 5

A balcony, impossible to reach, overlooking the Matrix, it is not clear if this is a simulation-within-the-simulation, or whether Melitus has brought the players back out into the Matrix.

The people the players can see from the balcony are the same ones they saw in code back at the monitor warehouse.

The Matrix," says Melitus. "Whether you are its enemy or its friend, whether you would see it preserved or destroyed, there is no doubting the enormity of its achievement. Here a world is kept, a prison that no inmate knows is a prison, where the needs of one society are filled by the ignorant enslavement of another, but a slavery which does not restrict the day to day life of its victims. A world which, perhaps, is more important than the 'real' world without. And its operation is the major obession for every sentient being on the planet. For its inmates, to live in it. For those like me, to stay unnoticed in it. For the jailors, to maintain its operation. And for those inmates who learn the truth, to destroy it. It is all around us, looking like one thing but being another, and even when you are not in it, it occupies your thoughts more than any other consideration...

... but when you see it WITHOUT the code... it is very hard to think of all this as a lie, isn't it?"

Melitus goes on to point out a couple in love, and asks if that love is a lie.

----

EXPLANATION:

A discussion point. Melitus is explaining that knowing something is a lie does not detract from having to interact with it. The Rebels know walls in the Matrix are all codem, yet they cannot walk through them. Even the Agents have to play within rules that they know full well are artificial

(It is hinted that the exception to this is The One)

He is then getting back to what I mentioned earlier, about social interaction in the Matrix being functionally identical to soical interaction outside of it, so in which way is it a lie?

When pointed out that the couple are not physically interacting, Melitus asks:

"Would you care to explain to me how their love would be in any way the greater if their interaction was physical, Rade?"

Most concede that there would be no difference.

This section is actually aid to the players after the trap of just before. Players are given a very moral reason to concede that some things in the Matrix are real- conceding that love trascends the fake nature of the Matrix is a very human thing to do (which is why Melitus asked it). This therefore helps players with their earlier contradiction.

Not for all of them, though- Fire says

"Love is a lie, in here and in the real world"

Eek! That's in character though- Fire doesn't think that outside the game. Err, so I think.


In conclusion, everyone is happy to say that social interaction in the Matrix is no different to that outside of it (most people saying it is valid in both, Fire saying it is identically invalid in both)


__________________



"We've got maybe seconds before Darth Rosenberg grinds everybody into Jawa burgers and not one of you buds has the midi-chlorians to stop her!"

"You've never had any TINY bit of sex, have you?"

BtVS

Last edited by Ushgarak on Jun 2nd, 2006 at 12:32 PM

Old Post Jun 1st, 2006 02:59 PM
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Ushgarak
Paladin

Gender: Male
Location: Chelmsford, Essex, UK

Co-Admin

ROOM 6

A dark cavern full of clay figures, human sized. One is missing.

The gap is filled a minute later by the Butler.

Melitus asks what the differences are between his army of terracotta warriors, and his butler.

He then asks what the source of the differences are.

-

EXPLANATION

Seeing if people were paying attneiton to Room 3 earlier, which talked about difference.

Perceivable differences are quickly identified:

"the matrix code for the butler animates him, gives him speciffic functions, like moving, and talking...being sentient.
The teracote soldiers' code, is simpler, being only a piece of material."

The source of the differences is the way that Melitus has coded them. The point is that ALL differences in the Matrix are down to the code.


__________________



"We've got maybe seconds before Darth Rosenberg grinds everybody into Jawa burgers and not one of you buds has the midi-chlorians to stop her!"

"You've never had any TINY bit of sex, have you?"

BtVS

Old Post Jun 1st, 2006 03:03 PM
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Ushgarak
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Location: Chelmsford, Essex, UK

Co-Admin

ROOM 7

Outside, by a stream and a waterfall.

A chicken moves by.

Melitus asks the difference between the butler and the chicken

He then asks the differences between the waterfall and the chicken

Finally, he asks what of the clay warriors, butler, waterfall and chicken was the most complex to programme

-

EXPLANATION

Subtle, but important- and very controversial. Obviously, Room 6 was just a prequel to this.

One question that arises is whether the chicken is sentient or not. Melitus asks for detail on this, asking whether it is just the Matrix chicken that is not sentient, or all chickens. If people think there is a difference in sentience betwene a Matrix chicken and a real chicken, they must justify that.

(Melitus points out one important difference- there is no such thing as a real-world chicken. They are extinct. They had to be re-created from archive material)

(This starts to get at the heart of whether AIs are sentient or not. This caused an argument, as some believe they are not,mand I contend that it is a central part of the plot of the Matrix that they are, regardless of whether that is possible in the real world or not. It is science fiction after all. It is a shame, but in the end I had to make a dictat saying that, as far as this game is concerned, AIs are sentient)

-----

Melitus raises a point about simulations in the Matrix, and their intent, when Trickster suggests the chicken is an imperfect copy:

"Ah," says Melitus. "Azrael, your analysis of the chicken is entirely incorrect, and here we come to the heart of this matter. When the Matrix was created, it went through unsuccessful early phases. When the construct you now know as the Matrix was created, one of the most important factors in its success was that everything- absolutely everything- was perfectly simulated. In comparsion to the late 20th century scenario it simulates, the Matrix has to be indistinguishable- in every way. And that includes the chicken. If there was a way the real chicken had behaved that this one did not, this model would be a failure. I assure you, none of these models are failures."

-----

This leads to the most controversial reveal- that the waterfall was the most difficult to code- more precisely, to code EXACTLY as they act in the real world.

Why? Because a chicken reacts to stimulus. AI is sophisticated enough to create people like, for example, Melitus, or any Agent, the Oracle or the Architect. A chicken's mind is child's play by comparison. The butler is just a cut down AI. The statue is a solid object.

But no mathematical analysis has EVER been able to predict the behaviour of a waterfall down to the molecular level. To all perceivable purposes, the shape of a waterfall appears to be random. It is very easy to create a waterfall that LOOKS like a real one, but as described, it has to be more than that- it has to BE like a real one, to the cloest of all analysis, or the deception might be exposed by inmates performing scientific study.

As I say, this was highly controverisal, but it was the situation provided. Some pointed out that you didn't need to simulate the waterfall, it would form itself out of the river, as in the real world. Well, that isn possibly true, but that only means they have the exact same problem when they created the 'water' programme, or even the 'environment' programme, because the whole system so totally defies 100% accurate analysis- just look at weather forecasts.

Machines really hate random factors.

-----

Melitus describes the problem:


"Now, we could have simply approximated the randomness. A relatively simple application of mathematics could have created an object that could have had a trillion times a trillion forms and the chances of it having the same form twice would have been miniscule. But it could have happened. And more importantly- it would not have been an accurate simulation of the object. Like I said before, the crowning principle of the Matrix is that it must accurately simulate the physical world in every detail. An inaccurate waterfall would have been unacceptable. On some level, people would have begun to sense these things that are incorrect. It also would have been unacceptable within the parameters of perfection that the builders of the Matrix required. Worst of all- although it was unlikely, it is possible that such an object could have been analysed by a human with the right computational equipment, who would have then discovered that the waterfall's shape was somehow being determined by a mathematical equation. Unacceptable- just as unacceptable as the possiblity that it would be observed as the shame shape twice.

"So the waterfall had to be truly simulated- and a programme that was truly random created. And that is very, very hard. Randomness is very difficult for a machine. And the code for it is very complex, perhaps out of all proportion to the object's significance."

-----


__________________



"We've got maybe seconds before Darth Rosenberg grinds everybody into Jawa burgers and not one of you buds has the midi-chlorians to stop her!"

"You've never had any TINY bit of sex, have you?"

BtVS

Last edited by Ushgarak on Jun 2nd, 2006 at 12:34 PM

Old Post Jun 1st, 2006 03:18 PM
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Ushgarak
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Location: Chelmsford, Essex, UK

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ROOM 8

Melitus' room- but he and his lung are not there.

The Butler, Musicians, and Medical team (all masked) are there instead.

Melitus asks the players to idnetify everyone in the room that is sentient.

---

EXPLANATION

Define sentience! Tricky. Some want to make it as choice, but Melitus says the chicken can make simple choices, and few are prepared to define that as sentient.

It is soon concluded that it takes more than being able to respond to stimuli to be defined as sentient.

Melitus also challenges players to state if they think free will is required for sentience.

Interestingly, no-one identified themselves as sentient people inside the room!

The answer:

"It so happens," says Melitus, "that the Butler, and indeed none of my staff here, are sentient. For a start, the range of choices available to them is extremely restricted. If they were sentient, for one thing, they would be able to remove their masks."


__________________



"We've got maybe seconds before Darth Rosenberg grinds everybody into Jawa burgers and not one of you buds has the midi-chlorians to stop her!"

"You've never had any TINY bit of sex, have you?"

BtVS

Old Post Jun 1st, 2006 03:24 PM
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ROOM 9

A void. A complete lack of sensory input, except for hearing.

Meliotus asks people what they think the point of existence is- and then whether any of the players believe in the soul, and if they do, if only humans have it as opposed to AIs, and why.

---

EXPLANTION:

'Nothingness' is a challenge to people to say that there is no point in existence, and if they think there is, to justify it.

The soul question is relevant to the final task.

It is a purely opinion/infornation gathering room, this one!


__________________



"We've got maybe seconds before Darth Rosenberg grinds everybody into Jawa burgers and not one of you buds has the midi-chlorians to stop her!"

"You've never had any TINY bit of sex, have you?"

BtVS

Last edited by Ushgarak on Aug 5th, 2006 at 03:04 PM

Old Post Jun 1st, 2006 03:26 PM
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ROOM 10- THE END

Back to the starting room, with the painting.

Melitus asks people if they want to summarise or change any of their previous answers.

The painting is also discussed briefly, and an allegory is made- how Socrates was forced to commit suicide by drinking hemlock in wine; the similarity with the players drinking drugged wine is noted.

Also the context of Socrates' death is noted- that he choose to commit suicide rather than recant his philopshical beliefs, which were disliked by the society he was in.


The final spiel then begins.

Melitus explains that her personally likes humans a lot, and he certainly thinks that their choice to leave the Matrix was genuine- and also admirable.

He then says that the painting, whilst interesting, is not as interesting as the painter.

---

"As Fire mentioned," says Melitus, "the Death of Socrates was painted by Jacques-Louis David."

[NOTE- that is pronounced Da-veed]

"David was a fascinating member of your kind. Obviously he was a talented and famous painter who also achieved fame for several other reasons but this is of little interest to me. David painted during the Revolutionary period in France. It is said that when his friends were being taken to the guillotine, David calmly stood by and sketched them, for use in future paintings. See, David was a user. He saw tools for his own exploitation- even his friends being taken to their deaths were one more thing for him to make use of in the furtherance of his art. There was no taint of ethics or morals in what he did. That is a position I respect."

---


__________________



"We've got maybe seconds before Darth Rosenberg grinds everybody into Jawa burgers and not one of you buds has the midi-chlorians to stop her!"

"You've never had any TINY bit of sex, have you?"

BtVS

Last edited by Ushgarak on Jun 2nd, 2006 at 12:36 PM

Old Post Jun 1st, 2006 03:31 PM
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THE FINAL PROBLEM

Now the final reveal is made. The choice that all must make.

Melitus says there is something the players do not know. Whilst they were asleep from the drugged wine...

... he duplicated each of them

The rear wall of the room slides up, and reveals an identical room, with the players in there also.

(When one of the players speaks, the other speaks at the same time)

Immediate denial comes that they are true duplciates, just programmes overliad with the residucal self-image.

THis amuses Melitus- who then produces his other twist. The people over there just went through the exact smae experienc as the players did.

But... before everyone woke up... Melitus randomly mixed the two groups up.

-----

My post at the time:

"You see, half of you are the crew from the Shehazarard or the Persepolis, and you came here to confront me, before drinking the drugged wine and awaking on the sofa.

The other half of you are AIs based upon the originals. You have the exact same memories, personalities, motivations, morals nad thoughts of the original- the copy is exact, as I had considerable time to study your brain patterns being projected into the Matrix. In this case, you have only literally been alive since the moment you awoke on the sofa- but your memories are identical, having been pre-implanted.

But the thing is... I mixed you all up. So none of you know who is associating with whom- and whether you are the original or not..."

Game note- This is no joke. There is a 50/50 chance that you are, in fact, playing the AI.

-----

The final puzzle is...

Only one of each pair can leave.

The two rooms are separated again

There is another bottle of wine available. It is poisoned with Hemlock.

Melitus breaks off contact, but means are provided to exchange short messages with your other half.

The puzzle- convince your other half to drink the poison and die. Then you may walk out alive.

This was no joke, and I informed players that if you drank, there was a 50/50 chance that you just killed your character

-----



And that was the Philosophy path. They were confronted with what to do next.


__________________



"We've got maybe seconds before Darth Rosenberg grinds everybody into Jawa burgers and not one of you buds has the midi-chlorians to stop her!"

"You've never had any TINY bit of sex, have you?"

BtVS

Last edited by Ushgarak on Aug 5th, 2006 at 03:04 PM

Old Post Jun 1st, 2006 03:37 PM
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