Planescape and Transhumanism?

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sciborg2
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Planescape and Transhumanism?

Basically an open question, with some thoughts jumbled in my head. I don't want to think of this as just mashing together cyberpunk and Planescape (though I do think the dystopia scent does touch Sigil at the least).

I mean we could have steam punk cyborgs and Daelkyr-esque symbionts. But in some sense almost all the factions & sects are trying to make the basic bodily forms found in the Wheel into something more. And overall the Wheel is a post-scarcity society, depending on how you look at it. (Doesn't mean everyone gets to share in those infinite resources.)

So I honestly don't know - is Planescape already a transhumanist setting, only a fantastic one instead of a science-fiction backdrop for adventures? Or does the presence of fantastical themes negate the transhumanist concept?

Wicke
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I'm not particularly familiar

I'm not particularly familiar with the whole transhumanism thing. Based on my current understanding though, it seems like the setting may provide opportunities for transhumanist growth/transformation, but that the setting isn't particularly transhuman.

It strikes me that Transhumanism fits more as a faction. The Planes provide a multitude of opportunities for improvement on human(oid) life; transhumanism is only one path in that direction.

KnightOfDecay
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I agree with Wicke. Some of

I agree with Wicke. Some of the factions/sects (like the Godsmen or the Tacharim) seem to have a transhumanist bent or to be at least open to the ideas of transhumanism. Others like the Doomguard or the Vile Hunt naturally seem to be opposed to it.

This leads me to the question how transhumanism would be defined in the Planescape multiverse. What about the "evolution" of souls (e.g. the evolution of a human/oid soul into a thinking animal in the Beastlands or a fiend in the Lower Planes)?

If you're interested in the topic of transhumanism you should definitely check out Dan Simmon's Hyperion/Endymion and Ilium/Olympos (I think I already recommended them in the Infinite Staircase topic) which have a strong focus on this topic. You should also check out Dietmar Dath's The Abolition of Species.

sciborg2
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I do think it might be a

I do think it might be a question of definitions. For example is magic a technology? It utilizes the rules of the world, and we've seen research programs dedicated to furthering it (see Spellweaver linguistic research, Eberron magitech, etc).

I do think magic in D&D turns Logos (verbal), Dance (somatic), Sacrifice (material), and Duration (memory). The exact science of how these 4 parts work together is unclear though - when Tasha was figuring the Hideous Laughter spell what exactly was she doing? What does it mean to have hypothesis testing when it comes to magic?

I feel like transhumanism could simply be taking advantage of the rules to improve the immediate bodily existence, in which case even a lich is arguably "transhuman".

I could see tranhumanist factions (Incantifiers come to mind) but is the above also too narrow when we think of an enchanted world where matter responds to intention/alignment? I think my OP was too generous saying almost all factions are transhuman, but I do think any faction where a greater (supposed) understanding of reality confers beneficial powers might fit?

Rolro
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The concept kinda loses

The concept kinda loses meaning outside the Prime cause after death mostly everyone becomes transhuman. Possibly the Xenos organization from Spelljammer could develop into it.

sciborg2
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Well after death people

Well after death people become petitioners which isn't really more than human (using the term loosely)...though even that's not clear according to the Prolongers.

Thinking about it though I do think many factions aren't interested in mere physical/mental improvement. The idea obviously tempts Incantifiers, but I think cases could be make to entice the Takers & Sensates into body modification. (Not sure about brains, as their relationship to the body is unclear in D&D.)

KnightOfDecay
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Tough topic

Quote:
Well after death people become petitioners which isn't really more than human (using the term loosely)...though even that's not clear according to the Prolongers.

What about the petitioners who cease to be "human" (lantern archons, the petitioners of the Lower Planes and the Beastlands)?
Considering the success story of fellows like Orcus (who rose from larva to demon prince) this might be an interesting option for some berks to become something "more than human". The question is here: Is transhumanism consistent with the memory loss that petitioners usually face and the completely new existence they live thereafter.
Wicke
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It seems to me that

It seems to me that transhumanism will also mean something different depending on if you're talking about a Prime vs a Planar. Does a mortal achieving demi-godhood status qualify? Or a hero passing becoming a legend and living on forever on the Planes? Does a wizard using True Sight qualify as transcending the human experience? Does Detect Magic also qualify then?

I think the fantasy setting muddies the waters a great deal. In the real world, there are hard limits on human existence and ability. In a fantasy setting, those hard limits are tough to delineate. In PS, a being that is able to travel directly from the Outer to the Inner planes might qualify.

Simile
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Previous mention

Just adding a link here to a previous discussion on transhumanism:
http://mimir.planewalker.com/forum/posthumans

Calmar
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I think one might add the

I think one might add the Phyrexians from Magic: The Gathering in some smaller or greater capacity. They could be a new sect that worships machines and augments their bodies with (nightmarish) machinery, or you could even replace one of the lower planes with Phyrexia.

Provided you want your transhumanism to be rather gruesome...

KnightOfDecay
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Interesting. I didn't know

Interesting. I didn't know them. Looks quite baatorian to me.
Maybe this is what could become of the Tacharim, if they took their experiments too far.