How exactly you perform Psychosurgery on Biomorphs?

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Benny89 Benny89's picture
How exactly you perform Psychosurgery on Biomorphs?

I get that Psychosuregry is basicelly editing the Ego pattern in virtual environment. Does it have to be Simulspace? For example can you use Simulspace with AR Illusion to increase "effect" (like getting out of mind best/worst memories, place NPC inside his most traumatic memories to torture him to give up some information) ? Or it's by "default". Like Psychosurgery is more like just editing a program code without really much interaction with "patient" or more like memories/pictures rummage where you can manipulate what "patient" sees and experience while looking/changing what you want? Does patient even know he is being edited?

Also- how you do it with Biomorph. With Synths or Infomorphs is easy- you can do it by Access Jack or coping Informorph and perform psychosuregry.

But how you access Biomorph mind to perform psychosurgery? Via Mesh? But then you can do it from whatever distance you want? Or you need some physical connection to their Ego/Brain? Because it's not hacking so I guess it's not like you breach into their mesh inserts, because it's about editing the Ego itself? So how you even start psychosurgery on BioMorph? I can just enter from Mesh and let's start psychosurgery? That is not how it works, no? You need some sort of hardware (Corebook doesn't say you need one) for it? You need to cut them out from mesh? Access their bilogical brain? Can you even access biological brain?

Another thing- Can you do Psychosurgery on unconciouss patient? I mean his ego is still running, it's just he is now aware.

I don't get that Psychosuregry, that details are missing. Can someone help me understand it?

Lazarus Lazarus's picture
Benny89 wrote:I get that

Benny89 wrote:
I get that Psychosuregry is basicelly editing the Ego pattern in virtual environment. Does it have to be Simulspace? For example can you use Simulspace with AR Illusion to increase "effect" (like getting out of mind best/worst memories, place NPC inside his most traumatic memories to torture him to give up some information) ? Or it's by "default". Like Psychosurgery is more like just editing a program code without really much interaction with "patient" or more like memories/pictures rummage where you can manipulate what "patient" sees and experience while looking/changing what you want? Does patient even know he is being edited?

As it is described it is a great deal like modifying a piece of software. This means that it is theoretically possible to do it outside of simuspace but doing so would be akin to taking a highly complex program, editing it in a text editor, and recompiling it without any testing (and overwriting the original software even if there's a compiling error). There's nothing in the nature of everything involved that says it is an absolute impossibility (especially if the modifications are extremely minor) but from a practical standpoint you are really going to want to be using a debugger so you can check find and verify that you are working on the right piece of code, then compile and check your results before erasing the old executable.

It is definitely possible for a person to be 'edited' without their knowledge. You would simply need to download their ego, perform psychosurgery on the downloaded copy, spin up forks of the edited ego to check your work, then overwrite their ego with a 'clean' copy (one that has never been spun up) of the edited ego.

That doesn't mean it would necessarily be easy to do such a thing. You would first need an opportunity to download a copy of someone's ego which would not make then suspicious. Then you would need to deal with the Lack since psychosurgery operations take a while and the person is going to wonder where all that time went. However, it is definitely possible.

To give an example; if you could access someone's backup you could make a copy, perform psychosurgery on the copy, overwrite the original backup, then kill their current morph (and destroy or steal their stack). When they restore they will restore with the edited personality without being aware of it.

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Also- how you do it with Biomorph. With Synths or Infomorphs is easy- you can do it by Access Jack or coping Informorph and perform psychosuregry.

But how you access Biomorph mind to perform psychosurgery? Via Mesh? But then you can do it from whatever distance you want? Or you need some physical connection to their Ego/Brain? Because it's not hacking so I guess it's not like you breach into their mesh inserts, because it's about editing the Ego itself? So how you even start psychosurgery on BioMorph? I can just enter from Mesh and let's start psychosurgery? That is not how it works, no? You need some sort of hardware (Corebook doesn't say you need one) for it? You need to cut them out from mesh? Access their bilogical brain? Can you even access biological brain?


It is a little more complicated than simply 'by access jack'. You need a complete copy of the person's ego to work on and you don't get that simply by plugging into an access jack. An access jack is just a port, sort of like the USB port on your computer. You would need to connect a device that is capable of making a full backup of a person's ego to their access jack then trigger their cyberbrain to download a copy of the ego into the device.

To continue the USB analogy; if I hook up a USB drive to a computer it isn't capable of immediately imaging the computer's internal harddrive. You have to run something on the computer to tell it to make an image of its internal harddrive and save it to the USB drive (there could be a program resident on the computer than instructs it to do this automatically, however, but that is still a 'computer side' operation that's occurring).

This happens more often than I might be making it sound, however. This is what people do any time they download their ego from a cyberbrain to sleeve into another morph, to egocast, or to backup their ego. The only reason I added the initial caveats is to head off the idea that you could just bonk someone over the head, plug something into their access jack, and immediately have a copy of their ego. You have to figure out a way to trigger the cyberbrain to 'download' into the device (in theory you might also be able to do something if you could physically 'pull' the memory from their cyberbrain and then hook it up to something else capable of reading and imaging that memory, though you might have encryption issues)

As for people with biological brains, yes, you can download their ego as well. Biomorphs do that all the time to download their ego into other morphs, create forks, egocast, and create backups. You don't do it through their mesh inserts, however. They don't have the right kind of access to the brain. You would use an ego bridge or ego bridge-like device.

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Another thing- Can you do Psychosurgery on unconciouss patient? I mean his ego is still running, it's just he is now aware.

I don't get that Psychosuregry, that details are missing. Can someone help me understand it?


That's a little tricky to answer because you don't do the surgery on 'the person'. You do it on their ego. Now you could make a copy of a sleeping ego, operate on the copy, then overwrite the sleeping ego with the edited copy, but is that performing the surgery 'on an unconscious patient'?

My artificially intelligent spaceship is psychic. Your argument it invalid.

Urthdigger Urthdigger's picture
No, you can't just give them

No, you can't just give them an AR overlay to psychosurgery them. You need to actually edit their mental code, and unless you're a TITAN you can't just show them images to do that. So, for editing biomorphs essentially what you need to do is connect them to an ego bridge, download their ego into an infomorph state, edit it, test that everything went ok by instatiating them (Psychosurgery is very trial and error, and most psychosurgeons go through many copies of an ego before success), and then finally download it back into the morph.

Benny89 Benny89's picture
Thank you both for your

Thank you both for your explanations. I start to see it more. So for Biomorph I need ego bridge, download copy on some external device (btw. Can I download it to just some private server on mesh?), then proceed with edition. But corebook says you can use Psychosuregry to torture and iterrogate- so that means that there is some interaction with ego, no?

You said that I can't show them images or anything but how else exactly I "interact" with that Ego while doing surgery to interrogate it or access the memories I need?

Another question- can I do psychosurgery WITHOUT copy? Just on their original ego inside morph? Let's call it Raw surgery. Can I somehow access their ongoing, original Ego in real-time, not working on their copy? How can you do that? Are there any securities?

If I can do that- how is Psychosurgery not just better brain-hack?

Also- how you exactly force overwrite of fork (ego copy) back to cortical stack? I thought cortical stack has only one-way connection and does not receive any signals to it. Also- I need to each time restrait target, yes? I can't do it on distance. I need to use Ego bridge again to transfer edited copy to their.... brain or cortical stack, right? There is no protection vs it, only Willpower x3 test? And that triggers the merge/override? Won't merge just mix two different memories? Don't I need to somehow detele their original ego to override with edited one?

And with cyberbrain- same but without ego-bridge, just some device/software to download ego copy?

Urthdigger Urthdigger's picture
...I really reccomend that

...I really reccomend that you just look at the Psychosurgery section of the core rulebook again, you seem to be drastically misunderstanding what is going on with it. The most important part of the name to recognize is the SURGERY aspect of it.

For starters, the subject needs to be in a digital state on a computer you control. You need to be able to actually EDIT their ego, which requires using software to manipulate it. You also misunderstood what I said. I said you can't just show them images to rewrite them. That's what AR is, just images the person sees. It's not actually manipulating their ego. AR is images they see, nothing more. Hence, you cannot use AR to perform psychosurgery on them, you need to be able to directly manipulate their ego as you would a text document. I don't know how else I can say it to get the point across.

That said, when you're manipulating someone via psychosurgery they're typically not actually running at the time. You make your edits while they're not running, then run them to see the effects. You CAN perform psychosurgery on a running mindstate, and I suppose you could show them images if you so desired, but that's not actually a part of the psychosurgery.

As far as interrogation goes, you're not interrogating them WITH psychosurgery. the "interrogation" option for psychosurgery is basically editing them to give them a week of absolute hell tacked onto their memories. This applies a +30 modifier to intimidation tests for the purpose of interrogation.

No, you cannot work on their "original" ego within their morph. You need it in a digital form on a device that allows you to edit files on it, AKA loading it up onto a server and editing it.

Also, something else that should be mentioned, and why psychosurgery isn't just a "better brain-hack." Take a look at the timeframes required for it. The SHORTEST psychosurgery takes an entire DAY to perform, at least from the subject's point of view (servers can do time acceleration to make it pass faster). Most take weeks. Even if you could somehow perform psychosurgery on someone inside their morph, you would need to have them restrained for a whole week for most options.

I get the feeling you don't understand how cortical stacks work. They're a backup device, meant to take a copy of someone's ego for later retrieval if they die. It is NOT where the ego is stored. That would be in the brain or cyberbrain. You force them back by... just sleeving them. That's it. Their brain will eventually copy a backup of them to their cortical stack too, so hey, that even gets the ego onto the stack!

Yes, you need to restrain the target and you can't do it over a distance. You need to hook them up to an ego bridge and download their ego, or grab a digital version of them (The most common way for unwilling psychosurgery to be performed is if egocasting to an unscrupulous darkcast facility and they take a copy of your ego to hand over to psychosurgeons)

The WILx3 test is to avoid having the psychosurgery stick. They're resisting the editing process itself. If you WERE to merge the ego, it'd be handled the same way as merging forks (That is precisely what you're doing). More commonly, when you download a copy of someone using an ego bridge, the morph's brain is wiped. Then when you're done, you just sleeve them into the empty morph, same as any usual sleeving process.

...err, and to answer your last question: A device to download an ego copy is LITERALLY what an ego bridge is.

Lazarus Lazarus's picture
Benny89 wrote:Thank you both

Benny89 wrote:
Thank you both for your explanations. I start to see it more. So for Biomorph I need ego bridge, download copy on some external device (btw. Can I download it to just some private server on mesh?),

You could, but would you necessarily want to? After all, if an ego is stored in an external device there's no way for it to escape but if you are running it on a mesh linked server then any time the ego is being run the potential exists that it will find some way past any security and either escape or send a message to the outside.

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then proceed with edition. But corebook says you can use Psychosuregry to torture and iterrogate- so that means that there is some interaction with ego, no?

You said that I can't show them images or anything but how else exactly I "interact" with that Ego while doing surgery to interrogate it or access the memories I need?

You would spin up a copy of the ego and ask it questions. If it doesn't seem like it is going to give you the answers you're looking for you would spin it back down, edit it so that it is in more pain/is less likely to withhold information/is more disoriented/etc., spin up the new copy, and question again.

Most likely when you are finished you would delete the copy you just interrogated (because why let the primary ego even know it was interrogated much less let it know what you were asking about?). As a result the exact definition of 'interacting with the Ego' is somewhat muddy. You interacted with a copy of the Ego but most likely not the 'true' Ego that is left at the end of the operation.

You probably also follow a fairly similar process for a lot of the other operations. For example, if you implant a false memory you would spin up a copy, question it, see how well your edit seems to have worked, then delete that copy and make adjustments based on what you learned, spin up a new copy, lather, rinse, and repeat.

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Another question- can I do psychosurgery WITHOUT copy? Just on their original ego inside morph? Let's call it Raw surgery. Can I somehow access their ongoing, original Ego in real-time, not working on their copy? How can you do that? Are there any securities?

Not really, no. I suppose in theory you might be able to do something like download a copy of the ego, edit it without spinning it up, then 'compile' the edited version straight back to the morph but that's about the closest you could do. A biological brain clearly has no compiler. A cyberbrain, while electronic, emulates a brain and as a result can't really be loaded up with anything like a compiler either (at least that's my interpretation).

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Also- how you exactly force overwrite of fork (ego copy) back to cortical stack? I thought cortical stack has only one-way connection and does not receive any signals to it.

Usually a cortical stack is constantly backing up the brain (which would mean it is receiving signals from the brain). It can also send signals (which is how you retrieve the data from it to rebuild an Ego) but that is not its normal operating mode.

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Also- I need to each time restrait target, yes? I can't do it on distance. I need to use Ego bridge again to transfer edited copy to their.... brain or cortical stack, right? There is no protection vs it, only Willpower x3 test? And that triggers the merge/override? Won't merge just mix two different memories? Don't I need to somehow detele their original ego to override with edited one?

If you can convince someone to allow you to download a copy of their Ego and then upload it you do not have to restrain them. This might be easier than it sounds since people download copies of their egos all the time in order to move to a different morph (including an infomorph), generate a fork, ego cast, or create a backup.

I would suggest looking at Backups and Uploading (EP p. 268) to get a better understanding of what you need to do to upload and resleeve biomorphs and pods. In theory you should be able to grab a copy of someone's cyberbrain wirelessly since an ego can evacuate a cyberbrain in one turn (EP p. 271) but you would probably have to hack the cyberbrain first (EP p. 261).

My artificially intelligent spaceship is psychic. Your argument it invalid.