Sunday, November 1, 2015

306. Engorged-with-Wealth

Engorged-with-Wealth is the one of oldest residents of Ceres, and certainly the oldest neo-cetacean. He predates the rise of the Hidden Concern, running the protection racket as he did decades ago. Relations between Engorged and the Hidden Concern are cold and professional, with the latter tolerating the business and territory of the former in exchange for a percentage.

His primary means of enforcing payment is by threat of being devoured. His digestive system has been substantially retrofitted, with BTX2-laced saliva and a powerfully muscular stomach capable of rapidly flooding itself with acid, in imitation of crocodiles. Any biomorph can be swallowed whole, with cybernetics and stacks simply regurgitated and all else dissolved. His gaping mouth suddenly engulfing them out of the darkness is the last thing many defaulters have seen.

Engorged also has a cult following as a singer. While traveling from settlement to settlement collecting payments he also almost constantly singing, improvising long, deep dirges that remind many of gregorian chant.

Mechanics

Morph: Neo-Whale

Motivation: +Wealth +Survival -Law and Order

COG 15 COO 20 INT 20 REF 20 SAV 15 SOM 25 WIL 15
MOX - INIT 9 SPD  1 LUC 30 TT 6 IR 60 DUR 100 WT 20 DR 150

Active Skills: Deception 45, Fray 75, Infiltration 83, Intimidation 78, Networking: Autonomists 45, Networking: Criminals 68, Palming 50, Perception 60, Scrounging 40, Swimming 90, Unarmed Combat 85

Knowledge Skills: Academics: Genetics 50, Academics: Psychology 50, Art: Singing 50, Interest: Criminal Groups 50, Interest: Music 60, Interest: Music 60, Interest: Rumors 60, Interest: Uplift Clades 60, Language: English (Native) 90, Profession: Loan Shark 50

Ego Traits: Anomalous Mind, Heightened Instinct, Social Stigma

Reputation: g-rep 75

Implants: Basic Biomods, Basic Mesh Inserts, Cortical Stack, Crocodile Stomach (treat as Digestive Symbiotes), Drug Gland (BTX2), Echolocation, Enhanced Hearing, Enhanced Smell, Gill, Hydrostatic Pressure Adaptation, Temperature Tolerance (Improved Cold), Toxin Filters

Saturday, October 31, 2015

305. Crash

The obsession of many racers, gamers, griefers and pyromaniacs, Crash is an unreal world designed for impossible stunts, sports and spectacles.

The physics of Crash are essentially realistic, but adjusted. Explosions are easily caused and overly dramatic, everything is brighter, colors are over-saturated, and everything is capable of going faster and jumping farther than would actually be possible, and there are many other tweaks.

Crash has official systems to support races, duels, and battles, as well as many vehicle and/or weapon based sports, such as truck-rugby, sniper-chess and mortar-tag. A majority of the activity, however,  has always been unstructured. Players are fond of exploring, arranging elaborate pranks, creating and then destroying grand pieces of architecture, and playing their own improvised games.

Friday, October 30, 2015

304. Timey-Wimey

Timey-Wimey is a chemical drug designed to interfere with a users sense of time. While on the drug, users have no direct sense of time passing, and can only guess based on external cues. For this reason, they can easily find themselves entranced by any rhythmic, looping patterns, often stopping to stare until the drug runs its course.

There have been experiments using the drug as a short-term version of deja-vu, but without success, as the drug destroys the focus of its users.

Mechanics

Timey-Wimey is a chemical drug [Low]

Type: Chem Application: O Duration: 6 hours Addiction Modifier: - Addiction Type: Mental

Thursday, October 29, 2015

303. Boomfruit

At some point in time, someone attempted to grow explosive fruit. Perhaps they imagined an orchard of grenades, tuber minefield, or simply a cheap source of explosives. The remnants of the project, and its greatest apparent success are the boomfruit.

Boomfruit are not very dangerous, and it would take real creativity to kill someone with one. They are essentially large tomatoes designed to produce nitroglycerin in addition to its normal juices. A typical boomfruit contains just enough to pop dramatically on any hard impact. They are popular at protests, concerts, and public appearances, but most security will have been specifically trained to look out for them.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

302. Exile

Transhumanity may seem spoiled for choice when it comes to criminal justice, with the innovations such as psychosurgery, minders, and freemen, but ethics and politics complicates most situations.

Psychosurgery can alter many of the traits that lead to criminal behavior, and while many justice systems allow for voluntary treatment as a form of rehabilitation, involuntary editing is an intense taboo. Post-singularity technology makes secure physical imprisonment difficult, and on most habitats it is seen as a waste of resources anyway. Egos could be paused and stored as a form of imprisonment, but this seems like dodging the issue by palming off to an unknown future.

The most used forms of punishment are restitution requirements for resleeving and/or material damage, and exile. Societies that use this option don't make many friends, however, and so some of the groups fond of that option have created Exile.

Exile is a simulspace server in an isolated main-belt orbit. Those whose societies no longer want them, and would otherwise have only debt, imprisonment, or editing to choose from, can volunteer to be uploaded there in lieu of other punishments. Each prisoner is given a portion of Exile's processing cycles and loaded into a simulspace under their sole control, sufficient for satisfying realism. Prisoners can link their simulations to socialize, try create their perfect life, or request therapy and/or psychosurgery for rehabilitation and eventual release.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

301. Peace is Everyone's Responsibility

Peace is Everyone's Responsibility is one of the Planetary Consortium's largest charities, known for the large amounts of funding it receives from the hyperelite. It focuses on social influence and control with the goal of maintaining the status quo under the guise of peace-keeping.

The bulk of the organizations efforts are focused on memetic engineering. The value of stability and order are emphasized, as are the risks of change and social progress. Problems among the autonomists are stressed, and problems among the Consortium downplayed.

One of their most successful program has been their introduction of sousveillance. Of course the hyperelite are not actually in favor of sousveillance; the program encourages citizens to inform on each other. This has been source of friction with the Planetary Consortium, who do not like busybodies "helping" local law enforcement.

Plot Hook: Occasionally the charity takes direct action. The PCs are hired to infiltrate an anarchist sympathy group and wipe their files.

Monday, October 26, 2015

300. Planetary Convention

Immortality and compound interest are a powerful combination. Wealth and power has always beget wealth and power, and immortality allowed a select few to take advantage of this process as never before. This was the birth of the hyperelite, those whose wealth represented a significant fraction of the global economy, and seemed to own a part of every business and political body.

The Fall shattered this system just as it did to everything else, yet the hyperelite were not destroyed. Many of the hyperelite were already on Luna or Mars, where they could live as they liked, removed from Earth's laws, traditions, and taxes. Those on Earth were able to evacuate as they pleased, buying spaceports and farcasting facilities if necessary. The only hyperelite who died on Earth were those who were simply too stubborn to consider leaving.

Earth and all its institutions were dead. The hyperelite lost less than most, but their position was threatened. They had, however, funded or owned much of the colonization projects of Luna and Mars, giving them easy access to power in those places. In the traumatized post-Fall atmosphere gaining influence was not difficult, although many hyperelite still shied away from positions of formal power. As the situation stabilized, a number of conversations occurred that would lead to the creation of the Convention.

The Convention is not a government, but a treaty, establishing an economic zone of free trade, expansive property rights, and strict intellectual property laws, as well as a system of courts to adjudicate on matters falling under the treaty. The Convention courts have the authority to overrule local governments that contradict the treaty, although that has not actually happened, as hyperelite backers

Hyperelite control over Convention members is strong, but obscured. Power is exercised mostly through ownership of great conglomerate companies, who in total own or have some part in every substantial piece of economic activity. Make no mistake, however, their political power is secondary but still substantial.

Notes: The Planetary Convention is an alternative to the Planetary Consortium, replacing the hypercorps with ancient hyperelite gerentocrats.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

299. Predator Trance

An offshoot of preliminary research into the uplifting of cats, a predator trance is the induction of a focused, high empathy, low sympathy state. While under a trance, users can study potential targets with virtually endless patience, building an understanding of their patterns of behavior and thought. This focus and study gives a small but significant edge in altercations. Users become disconcerting during the trance, not bothering to hide their intent from anyone other than their target.

The effectiveness of a trance depends partially on how similar the target is to the user. The more similar the target, the more accurate a mental model can be built. As a general rule humans, human-like AGIs and neo-hominids are compatible, but neo-avians, octopuses and neo-cetaceans are compatible only with others of the same kind.

Mechanics

A predator node is bioware [High]

When activated, a predator trance eliminates negative situational modifiers from distraction, increases kinesics against studied targets by +10, and attacks against studied targets by +10.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

298. Super-Brains

Fear of their potential power has pushed seed AI development along unusual lines. No one can ever be sure that their clever inhibitors and blocks will not be overcome by a burgeoning transcendent mind. Limitations must be as inherent and fundamental to its nature as possible to be trusted. For this reason a great deal of work is done trying to develop the most intransigently inefficient systems possible.

One of the old standbys, neglected before the Fall but being more thoroughly, if still cautiously, explored, is biological super-brains. Compared to the digital, biology has a host of disadvantages when it comes to hosting a mind. It requires more space per functional unit, has a slower signal, and even needs food. Even with nanomedicine, the volume of brain matter that can be sustained is not much larger than a human body.

As the size of any brain increases, the time required for a signal to go from one end to another also increases, limiting its integration with itself. Depending on the brain's structure, this results in either a typical conscious mind with greatly expanded subconscious functions, or a loose gestalt, with smooth gradients between consciousnesses.

The only current living example of a super-brain of brain is Jerry, located in a special bunker on Luna. Jerry is one of the first kind, an essentially human mind with an immensely powerful subconscious. Despite being human-like, Jerry lives a necessarily unusual life. He spends the majority of his time asleep, when the signal delays between sections of his brain seem to be less important, and he can mull over questions posed to him when awake. In his waking hours he spends most of his time browsing the mesh, watching all forms of entertainment and eschewing intellectual pursuits.

Plot Hook: Jerry's handlers are pleased at his lack of ambition and use in giving reasonable answers to odd questions, but the project is considered a minor failure nonetheless. To make up for budget shortfalls, they have begun hiring out his dreaming to the highest bidder. PCs can pay for Jerry to give an answer to any question, although they may not understand his answer.

Friday, October 23, 2015

297. Cloisters

Cloisters are engineered plants, designed to filter airborne material and store them in tubers. The tubers can then be dug up and fed to fabricators as feedstock. Most of the plants are engineered from legumes, with different types of symbiotic bacteria made to sequester different chemicals.

These days there are many varieties of nanotech systems that can do their job better, but the plants can still be found in the Jovian Republic and wherever someone decides that an ornamental plant might as well do something useful.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

296. Bad Can

Shortstop was a classic O'Neill Cylinder set in a long cycling orbit between Earth and Mars. The permanent population was less than 10% of residents, with the majority at any given time using the station as a long but comfortable means of travel between the two planets. The station was halfway on its way to Earth during the Fall, after which nothing has been heard from it and no one has returned from it.

Plot Hook: Density-scans of the station reveal that while synthetic items are virtually pristine, biomass has been converted into a heterogeneous tissue evenly coating the interior. The leading hypothesis is that a crèche infestation converted all biological life, very possibly dating back to the Fall. Firewall will need a team to investigate, as well as retrieve information from intact systems.

Plot Hook: Shortstop's population was annihilated by a TITAN nanoplague that devours transhuman brains and cyberbrains, a plague that still waits within. Without a transhuman presence the gardens and pets have taken over, creating a new ecology of smart animals and modified plants. The orbit of the station is degrading and it will soon fall to Mars. The Planetary Consortium will reward handsomely anyone who can avert this.

Plot Hook: A massive hole was blown in one of the windows and the station's atmosphere was lost within seconds. Most of the station is preserved, including automated defenses. Even the plants remain, desiccated and leafless but with stems, trunks, and branches retaining their forms. A Fall war criminal has hidden himself here,  a large bounty will be awarded to whomever can kill or capture him.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

295. EXS Dr. Tannhauser-Shen of Crete

The EXS Dr. Tannhauser-Shen of Crete is a spacecraft with no captain or crew. Custom built for one owner-operator, the craft is a morph as much as a ship. It is occupied by Dr. Tannhauser-Shen, the AGI resulting from the experimental merge of professors Tannhauser and Shen. The two have since had a falling-out, with Tannhauser remaining on Mars and Shen emigrating to Titan. Tannhauser-Shen was built for the ship, and the ship for Tannhauser-Shen, and the two have been one and the same since their union.

Registered out of Extropia, EXS Dr. Tannhauser-Shen of Crete is constantly on the move, taking on jobs requiring fast couriers and doing some smuggling on the side. Tannhauser-Shen will take almost any job for sufficient compensation, or if the job provides a smuggling opportunity. Firewall has occasionally made use of its services, as while it is not a member, its discretion and speed are unmatched.

Even now, a not only automated but inhabited ship can be off-putting for some passengers, so Tannhasuer-Shen has made it a habit to talk to itself, describing what it is doing so passengers feel up-to-date and are not surprised by any maintenance armatures. Otherwise, it is reclusive, communicating with most of the rest of transhumanity only through negotiations and contracts.

"of Crete" does not mean anything as far as anyone can tell. It is probable that Tannhauser-Shen gave itself that name for added gravitas.

Mechanics

Morph: *

Motivations: 

COG 20 COO 15 INT 10 REF 20 SAV 15 SOM 15 WIL 15
MOX - INIT 7 SPD 2 LUC 30 TT 6 IR 60 DUR * WT * DR *

Active Skills: Flight 45, Free Fall 40, Hardware: Aerospace 50, Hardware: Electronics 60, Hardware: Robotics 75, Infosec 60, Interfacing 80, Kinesics 45, Networking: Autonomists 55, Networking: Hypercorps 55, Persuasion 63, Pilot: Spacecraft 75, Programming 65, Research 50

Knowledge Skills: Academics: Astrophysics 60, Academics: Economics 60, Art: Architecture 40, Interest: Black Markets 50, Interest; Cutting-Edge Technology 60, Language: English (native) 80, Profession: Asteroid Prospecting 50, Profession: Smuggling 65, Profession: Spacecraft Systems 60

Reputation: @-rep 50

Implants: *

*EXS Dr. Tannhasuer-Shen of Crete embodies a ship, not a morph. Ships do not have stats, so some are missing and others, such as physical attributes, are given only for the purpose of resleeving.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

294. Moochers

Throughout the system, in both the old and new economies, mooching is one of the most frightening crimes that can occur. Moochers are parasites, implanting themselves into people's lives for as long as possible to and feeding on their resources, and most terrible of all is you can't ever be sure when its happening.

There are two methods. By far the most common is to take the place of someone who actually exists, usually a reasonably distant relative. The usual method is to create a predictive profile, use that as the basis for psychosurgery turning yourself into a reasonable imitator, and either discretely assassinate them or arrange for them to be out of contact, then step into their place.

The much more difficult method is to create a relation out of whole cloth. This requires creating a fake identity and supporting evidence such as social networking, and psychosurgically implanting the appropriate memories into the target and usually many others. Creation of an identity capable of fooling someone while maintaining a false relationship is a very difficult piece of forgery. No public proof exists of this having ever been done, but rumors abound that such and such person is completely fake, created by Anarchist/Consortium/Jovian agents.

The extent to which these crimes actually exist is debatable. Their very nature means it is difficult to determine when one is occurring, and often when one has occurred. There have been only eleven proven cases, none of which lasted longer than two weeks. The social networked, sousveillance societies of modern transhumanity make it a virtually impossible crime in most places.

Plot Hook: One of the PCs has an old friend. At least, they have memories of them being a friend, videos, photographs, chat logs and mutual friends, but what does that prove, really?

Monday, October 19, 2015

293. Designer Qualia

Research into sensation never fails to draw funding from the entertainment and casual transhuman hedonism industries, so it is perhaps surprising that the field's holy grail, full manipulation, took so long to achieve. The necessary psychosurgical techniques have proved almost as difficult to perform as they were to develop. Combined with high demand, price for These procedures runs high.

The most common tweaks are based around pain and pleasure. Soldiers often choose to have their sense of pain minimized, maintaining it for safety but at a merely uncomfortable level. Hedonists experiment by swapping feelings between stimuli, or experiencing the formally unpleasant as pleasurable.

Mechanics

Designer qualia are installed as a psychosurgical procedure [High].

Timeframe: 1 week
PM: -10
SV: 1d10/2

Designer qualia can have many in-game effects, such as granting either level of the High Pain Tolerance trait.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

292. Asshole Geese

Geese have been used as watchdogs throughout history, being both territorial and loud. Asshole geese are genetically engineered to excel in this role. They are smaller than their natural forebears, yet  louder. They cannot be hacked, seem to have no fear, and are never expected.

Their biggest problem is their inability to discriminate between threats, trespassers and distractions. A great deal of research into the minds of geese has been done trying to solve this problem, but only minor improvements have been possible. An asshole goose will begin hissing at and attacking anyone it doesn't recognize, as well as any other animals, uplifts, synths and robots.

It is common for bold colors to be engineered into their plumage, most often often blue and red in addition to the more natural black or white.

Mechanics

Asshole geese are smart animals [Low]

COG COO 20 INT 15 REF 20 SAV SOM 10 WIL 10 
INIT 7 SPD DUR 15 WT 3 DR 23 LUC 23 TT IR 40

Skills: Freerunning 50, Fray 30, Infiltration 30, Perception 60, Unarmed Combat 30
Enhancements: Enhanced Vision, Enhanced Hearing
Movement Rate: 4/40

Saturday, October 17, 2015

291. Rise and Shine

Rise and Shine! is a consumer brand of designer amphetamine. The drug locks the brain into a state of awake alertness, with a small secondary effect of easy focus. The drug has been carefully designed and has no negative side-effects, but sustained use will inevitably disrupt sleep patterns. The length of time spent awake can be lengthened by taking doses in sequence, but the mental effects of sleep deprivation will begin to appear even if the user does not feel tired, up to and including dream-like hallucinations.

Operating heavy equipment while on Rise and Shine! is discourage as users usually fall asleep within seconds of the drug wearing off.

Mechanics

Rise and Shine! is a chemical drug [Trivial]

Type: Chem Application: O Duration: (72 - SOM) hours Addiction Modifier: +10 Addiction Type: Mental

Friday, October 16, 2015

290. Pulse Gun

The gun produces a brief but intense broad-spectrum electromagnetic pulse, powerful enough even to cause burns on flesh in addition to the usual electronic havoc. Very little transhuman tech is actually vulnerable to EMPs, but radio signals and nanobots are inherently open to these attacks. The pulse is focused into a tight 10° arc in front of the weapon, with the power of the pulse falling off according to the inverse-square law. 

Pulse guns are banned in many habitats due to their special capacity for indiscriminate destruction of people and equipment. They also have an unfortunate tendency to burn themselves out with their own pulse.

Mechanics

Pulse guns are wielded with the Spray Weapons skill.

Pulse Gun [HighDV:  * Average: * AP: * Firing Modes: SS Ammo: 1
Ranges: Short 0 - 10 Medium 11 - 30 Long 31 - 70 Extreme 71 - 150

*Effect depends on range. At extreme ranges the pulse disrupts radio signals. At long ranges the pulse also does 2d10 + 5 damage against nanoswarms, and inflicts a -10 modifier to all tests. At medium ranges it acts as a microwave agonizer. At short ranges it acts as a microwave agonizer set to roast.

On a critical failure, the pulse gun has burned itself out.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

289. Architect Ants

An experiment in emergent behavior and programming, designed to autonomously create cave-complexes suited for transhuman life, architect ants were the brainchild of precocious roboticist Gi Young. During the Fall Young was killed, his startup company dispersed, and control of the ants lost.

Since the Fall the ants have been doing what they were made to do; tunneling out organic cavern systems suitable for transhuman habitation. The ants are no longer produced and cannot produce more of themselves, but were designed to be virtually indestructible and energy efficient.

The ants do not create from pre-made plans, but, just like real ants, from a simple set of rules resulting in the construction of cave systems.The largest complexes exist within the TITAN Quarantine Zone, although many can still be found near the borders. There are also a few complexes, fully inhabited, on Luna. These complexes consist of smoothly curved, circular tunnels interspersed with hemispherical domes of various sizes.

The ants themselves are one meter long, with an ant-like body, tool-mandibles, colored yellow and black.

Mechanics

Architect ants can be treated as walking automechs.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

287. Collectors

Collectors look like skeletal synthmorphs, with no casing and minimal structural support. They are usually draped in a string of captured cyberbrains, always on the verge of overheating as they engage in feverish thought.

Collectors connect themselves to collected cyberbrains for an unknown purpose. Each new cyberbrain will be connected to the last, forming a string. An accomplished collector may have built a string of dozens of cyberbrains. It will wrap them around its neck like a necklace, then around the torso until reaching the waist, at which point any that remain will trail behind it. It is difficult to shoot a collector without hitting a captured brain.

Captured cyberbrains can be recovered but the egos are inevitable significantly traumatized. Their memories of their time connected are vague at best: most only retain a sense of intense concentration and rapid streams of thought.

Collectors are utterly incapable in melee, but can use any ranged weapon they find. Because collectors collect cyberbrains, they interested only in synths and pods. They will avoid biomorphs when possible.

Mechanics

COG 30 COO 15 INT 15 REF 20 SAV 10 SOM 10 WIL 30
INIT 7 SPD 2 DUR 30 WT 6 DR 60 LUC 60 TT 12 IR 120

Skills: Beam Weapons 50, Fray 30, Infiltration 30, Infosec 60, Kinetic Weapons 50, Perception 50, Psychosurgery 60, Seeker Weapons 50, Spray Weapons 50
Enhancements: 360° Vision, Enhanced Perception, Reflex Boosters, Mental Speed
Movement Rate: 4/40
Armor: 8/8

Captured egos take 1d10x2 SV, and may become asynchs at the GM's discretion.

Plot Hook: A collector was recently taken down on Mercury, and one of its victims appears to have retained the contents of some of its thoughts. Unfortunately he is deeply traumatized, mentally unstable, and has been snatched up by Ozma. Firewall would prefer if he were in their custody.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

286. The Society for the Prevention of Childhood

The Society for the Prevention of Childhood is exactly what it says it is. A loose network of people who have come to the conclusion that reproduction via children (as opposed to forking, AGIs, or other transhuman options) is unethical, immoral, impractical, or otherwise inadvisable. Although they have a cause in common, their reasoning is not always the same.

The Lost generation sits in the backs of everyone's minds, and some learn a more extreme lesson from that failure than others. One of the most common views is that reproduction is irresponsible and unethical during the infugee crisis. There are still tens of millions without bodies; choosing to have physical children is taking biomass and exowomb time from them, and the only other options is to follow in the footsteps of the Lost. As much as one might want a child, the needs of the extant outweigh the needs of the potential.

Another view is that the combination of children with transhuman tech is too dangerous. Some, especially older, established individuals, worry about the precociousness problem. Children engineered, raised, educated and well accustomed to post-singularity technology will likely surpass their parents, forming a generational singularity.

For a few members, childhood is itself bad. To them, childhood is inevitably a traumatizing experience and many people will spend decades learning to become healthy adults. This view is usually held by people who have themselves had traumatic childhoods, often related to the Fall.

Neoprimitive members argue that humans are not adapted to the future, and children doubly so. Similar to the view that childhood is traumatic, and opposite from the view that our children will surpass and supplant us, some neoprimitives believe that childbirth is the cruel thrusting of a being into a hopelessly alien world. Neoprimitives are rare, and this view is rare among them, so only a few are members.

Monday, October 12, 2015

285. Shrikes

Shrikes were a small bird on Earth, now extinct. They were notable for their practice of impaling prey on thorns so they can be easily torn apart. That is why, despite the fact that it looks nothing like a bird, these exsurgents have that name.

Shrikes don't look like predators. Loose, flabby skin hangs from thin limbs and a distended torso. They are almost pathetically weak, unable to kill their prey on their own. Their method of hunting is to attack from ambush, spraying solitary biomorphs with their sticky, glue-like spit. Once their prey is immobile, they take the opportunity to take bites from the still-living victim. If disturbed, they will flee, but if left undisturbed victims can live for days while being eaten one bite at a time.

Mechanics

COG 5 COO 15 INT 15 REF 15 SAV 5 SOM 5 WIL 10
INIT 6 SPD 1 DUR 30 WT 6 DR 60 LUC 20 TT 4 IR 40

Skills: Climbing 30, Exotic Ranged Weapon [Glue Spit*] 50, Fray 30, Infiltration 50, Perception 30
Enhancements: Bioweave (Heavy)
Movement Rate: 4/20
Attack: Glue Spit*
Armor: 3/4

*As a freezer.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

284. Cybernetic Jewelry

Mesh inserts offer unparalleled convenience and immediacy, but even significant advantages in those areas don't always seem worth it when neurosurgery is required. Their function can be replicated with worn accessories: ectos replicate their most important functions, and can be combined glasses and earbuds for AR, and medical monitor bracelets. Among bioconservatives who forgo even implants, it has become fashionable to disguise these items as jewelry. Biomonitors often take the form of necklaces, arm-bands or bracelets. Earbuds can be built into earrings or ear cuffs. Glasses are fashionable despite everyone's perfect eyesight, and contact lenses with unusual colors and patterns are also popular.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

283. Wisps

Unearthly, glowing forms float smoothly through the walls of the station. Everyone present sees them, yet they never appear on images or footage watched after-the-fact. Their drifting is almost random, but they draw closer and closer to brains and cyberbrains. If allowed to come close enough, they will fly into a head and curl up inside.

Wisps seem to exists only in the minds of those who perceive them, suggesting a hallucination, yet ghosts is consistent between multiple viewers, suggesting some degree of reality. The exact nature of ghosts has proven difficult to pin down. The leading hypothesis is that they are a form of memetic virus or asynch mind-attack, but the examination of victims has been unable to find any of the usual traces of aggressive memetics. The other hypothesis is that they represent some new form matter, but this has been impossible to substantiate.

Every wisp is unique in appearance. Generally, however, they resemble the translucent, glowing skeletons or exoskeletons of alien beings.

Mechanics

Wisps do not interact with matter, and can pass at will through any barrier. Their slow speed and roundabout movement pattern means they approach characters with an effective speed of 1/10.

If a wisp enters a characters head they suffer no apparent ill effects, but the wisp "marks" them for exsurgents. Exsurgents will not attack that character unless attacked first, but will attempt to infect them with their strain of the virus.

Friday, October 9, 2015

282. Cyclopes

Early in the late stages of the Fall, the cyclopes was the foot soldiers of the TITANs. The cyclopes were the closest thing the TITANs fielded to a conventional army, using our abandoned and captured military equipment against us.

Cyclopes get their name from the large wide-angle lens that serves as their face, but they are otherwise human in shape and size. Having been made to mimic the human form allowed them to navigate human environments, use human weapons, and drive human vehicles. Cyclopes drove armored vehicles, wore human exosuits, and even piloted aircraft.

Cyclopes can still be found patrolling the TQZ. They rarely have the chance to capture military equipment, but can often be found using the gear of zone stalkers, acting as small squads.

Mechanics

Cyclops are robots [-]

Movement Rate: 4/20 Max Velocity: 20 Armor: 14/12 Durability: 40 Wound Threshold: 8 Mobility System: Walker
Enhancements: Access Jacks, Enhanced Vision, Light Combat Armor

A cyclops AI typically has the following skills: Beam Weapons 50, Fray 50, Infiltration 30, Infosec 40, Kinetic Weapons 50, Perception 50, Pilot (All) 40, Seeker Weapons 50, Spray Weapons 50, Unarmed Combat 50

Thursday, October 8, 2015

281. Catopia

Catopia is a popular simulspace in which users become cats in a suburban old-Earth landscape. There is no given goal, system of points, or even verbal or text-based ways to communicate with other players. Users often play hide and seek, tag, attempt new kinds of acrobatics, or explore as they please.

The setting is a series of small towns and villages in rural locations that could have existed almost anywhere on Earth. The presence of humans is implied by the distant sounds of vehicles, music playing from open windows, and the sounds of conversation from closed interiors, but none are actually present and the land belongs to the cats.

Variants using dogs, birds, rodents, monkeys and even spiders exist, but have not gained the viral popularity of Catopia.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

280. Remnant Gardens

Transhumanity has little in the way of funerals. The death of a body is no longer the death of a person, and usually dead morphs are broken down and recycled. A certain fascination with death and corpses remains in the psyche, however, which usually finds its way to the surface as art.

Remnant gardens are grown on and from a body. Each piece consists of its own specially engineered organisms, but generally use fungi, lichen, mosses, and minute insects. The pose of the corpse, the color and structure of the flora and the activity of the fauna are all crafted to achieve a deliberate effect, whether of false life, slow trophic collapse, or colorful patterns. Typically the they slowly decay inside clear containers shaped like coffins or sarcophogi.

Famous pieces include Oasis: a female Splicer standing, arms crossed, in a clear sarcophagus, with fungus growing outwards in red balconies and a colony of miniaturized ants inhabiting the skull, as well as Sons and Daughters: a collection of neotenics in fetal positions slowly decomposing into moss covered hillocks under a transparent floor.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

279. Forget-Me-Nots

"Forget-me-not" is perhaps the worst thing they could have been named, for the opposite is true. Something about forget-me-nots refuses to stick in the mind. While one is standing in front of you, it will remain in your mind. Once it disappears, not just its appearance but its very existence can be remember only through conscious will. Nothing about them will be maintained by short or long term memory. Physically they are human, but with too-long limbs, emaciated builds and large, pale eyes.

Forget-me-nots suually avoid conflict, running from any confrontation, hiding, and waiting for their pursuers to forget and give up. They act as saboteurs, using corrosive spit to destroy equipment. Even if cornered they will not fight back, and have been known to break their own bones in attempts to crawl away through small holes. When killed they explode with corrosive juice, equivalent to a mini splash grenade filled with scrappers gel.

Forget-me-nots do not effect all types of minds equally. Humans and neo-hominids are effected fully. Neo-avians are partially effected, with forget-me-nots being rejected by long-term but not short-term memory. Neo-octopuses are not effected. AGIs are effected according to how closely modeled on humans they are. An eidetic memory is still effected. Recordings and mnemonic augmentations can successfully capture images of them, but those images have the same forgetfulness effect as the creature.

Mechanics

COG 10 COO 20 INT 10 REF 20 SAV 10 SOM 5 WIL 20
INIT 6 SPD 2 DUR 30 WT 6 DR 60 LUC 40 TT 8 IR 80

Skills: Climbing 30, Fray 30, Freerunning 50, Infiltration 50, Perception 30
Enhancements: Bioweave (Heavy), Neurachem (Level 1, Grip Pads
Movement Rate: 4/30
Armor: 3/4

Once a character is no longer in direct contact with a forget-me-not, they must make a successful WILx3 check once per round to remember it. Neo-avians make this check once per minute.

Upon death, forget-me-nots explode with corrosive juice, equivalent to a mini splash grenade filled with scrappers gel

Monday, October 5, 2015

278. Ablative Beetles

Plate beetles (actually engineered primarily from ticks) are large saucer-shaped arachnids with massive carapaces and very little else. They are limbless and immobile, consisting of a hypostome for sucking blood and a pocket of tissue feeding on that blood and maintaining their exoskeleton, which makes up over 90% of their mass. Placed on bare skin, a plate beetle will anchor itself (usually with the aid of non-toxic glue) and begin sucking blood. Attached, the beetles act as a form of ablative plate, absorbing damage.

Mechanics

Plate beetles are armor [Low]

They provide 6/6 armor, reduced by 1/1 for each hit.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

277. Mementos

The continuity of a morph from ego to ego can be an awkward subject. Most people try not to think about the fact that their body was part of other people's lives, and morph brokers generally try to return their product to a "neutral" status. Nanotats can be reset, the minor and even major injuries of life can be healed without scars, and distinctive features can be altered.

Others embrace the fact that they are neither the first nor last inhabitant of a body. They become fascinated by its past, and like to be able to display a sense of its history. Often they will leave mementos for each other: distinctive accessories, tattoo or scar designs, psychosurgeried habits, or other small items that tell the story of the morph.

Plot Hook: When one of the PCs resleeves, the new morph comes with a set of mementos in a public storage locker. In addition to a necklace of polished teeth, a antique bullet casing, patterns for a gunshot scar, and an old hat, the locker contains an item of importance to the character. It seems they may have been sleeved into this morph once before, but they have no memory of it.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

276. Contingency Simulations

Transhumanity's understanding of humanity is virtually complete. From cells to societies, every aspect has its model. No single person can contain all of this knowledge at once, but the information is there for reference. Of course, transhumanity itself, by its nature, is in rapid flux, and a complete self-understanding is forever just over the horizon.

Most of this knowledge is directly useful, forming the foundations of transhuman tech from medichines to psychosurgery. One of the less practical but more popular areas of this research is in alternate-histories and counterfactuals, simulating Earth at points in history, making changes, and seeing what differs.

Of course, simulating the entire Earth with inhabitants even remotely approaching sentience is beyond the greatest of transhumanity's supercomputers. Adding to the problem, contingency simulations are typically run at accelerations of x10 or more. The simulations are therefore fundamentally statistical, populations existing only as elements of its economic and sociological models.

Contingency simulations receive grants for everything from sociological research, historical research, as well as refinement of models and simulations, but most of their funding is donated by individuals, who use the simulations for entertainment, inspiration, or just something interesting to learn about. Some of the more interesting alternative histories have also been licensed for entertainment, such as the Shattered Continents series of wargames based around worst-case scenarios, or High Impact Capitalism! competitive economic game based on a world without Karl Marx.

Friday, October 2, 2015

275. Carnifruit

Sunrise is home to the planimals, a form of life similar to both the plants and animals of Earth. Planimals are mobile, although slow, and some species (carniflora) have evolved to take on the role of herbivore-predators. A few species, instead of hunting, catch their prey with traps, much like the carnivorous plants of Earth. They also grow fruit, not for seed dispersal, but as bait. Having evolved to tempt even prey aware of the trap, "carnifruit", with a little engineering for human tastebuds and biochemistry, are a fantastic addition to the transhuman pantry.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

274. Tom

Tom was born in Ohio, destined for an average middle-class life on Earth. His parents were traditional enough to forgo genefixing and backups. Although they were worried about what the effect of an AI companion could be on a young mind, utility of a muse could not be denied and so they purchased one for their son.

When he was 4 Tom and his family successfully evacuated Earth on the Kilimanjaro beanstalk, and after several months quarantine in orbit, used their remaining savings to buy passage on station cycling between Earth and Mars. During the second week of the trip, the cortical stacks of all onboard were devoured by a virulent nutcracker swarm and the engines were damaged. Without full acceleration the ship took 9 years to reach Mars, by which time Tom was 13 and had been alone for 8 years.

Tom survived first through luck, then through he advice of his muse, and finally through skill. The ship had been supplied for several hundred people, and there was more than enough feedstock for fabbers and makers for one boy. His muse taught him to do basic repairs, history, psychology and Cantonese. As he approaches Mars the ship's damaged communications equipment has come in range of strong mesh signals. Tom currently spends most of his time studying the rest of transhumanity, and is fascinated by celebrity gossip. He is debating whether to make contact or to hide.

Mechanics

Morph: Flat

Motivations: +Survival, +Education

COG 10 COO 15 INT 15 REF 15 SAV 10 SOM 10 WIL 20
MOX - INIT 6 SPD 2 LUC 40 TT 8 IR 80 DUR 30 WT 6 DR 45

Active Skills: Clubs 55, Fray 45, Hardware: Electronics 50, Infiltration 40, Palming 35, Perception 50, Research 40, Scrounging 63, Unarmed Combat 50

Knowledge Skills: Academics: History 40, Academics: Psychology 50, Art: Sculpture 55, Interest: Celebrity Gossip 40, Interest: History 50, Language: Cantonese 55, Language: English (native) 85, Profession: Scavenging 80

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

273. Babysitter

There have probably been feral children throughout human history. Our increasingly heavy surveillance and data-gathering has made them virtually impossible, but in the chaos of the Fall, many children were lost, abandoned, or became the sole survivors of their families. They were still not entirely alone: they had their muses.

Socially, children raised by their muses are not entirely dysfunctional, but do struggle in many ways. They speak well, although almost always formally, with no slang or common verbal shortcuts. They do not use greetings, usually do not address people by name, and tend to expect others to respond at a moment's notice, just as their muse does. Overall, they give the impression that they do not view other people as real people.

A muse will provide its ward with the best education it can, but the results are inevitably spotty. Many feral children must scavenge to survive, and develop hands-on technology skills, which may be improved if they are lucky enough to possess a muse with technology skills of its own. While they lack social skills, most muses are experts or better in psychology, and pass on as much of that knowledge as they can. Many also become multilingual. Any subjects the muse does not know about will be a hole in the child's education.

Plot Hook: The PCs are part of a crew salvaging a ship that is supposed to abandoned.

Notes

Inspired by the short story The Island by Peter Watts.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

272. Mars Wagon

Made obsolescent by new buggy designs, but too indestructible to die out quickly, Mars wagons have been present for almost as long as Mars has been a permanent colony. Their design is simple and robust, virtually fail-proof but nonetheless possessing strong self-repair capabilities in the form of a dedicated repair hive. Magrails will get there smoothly, rocket buggies get there faster, but a wagon always gets there.

Nomadic rednecks attach special habitat trailers to their wagons and live on the road, pulling two more cargo trailers behind them to form road trains. Often they travel in convoys, for mutual protection, and are not usually averse to some casual smuggling. Barsoomians also use wagons, indistinguishable from commercial trucks, to smuggle people and heavy weapons.

Wagons use an older, tougher, but less efficient model of smart wheel, allowing for speeds of 90 kph on roads, 65 kph on relatively flat terrain, and up to 40 kph on jagged and rocky terrain. The cab seats 6, or 2 plus 2 cots and a maker. The life support system of the cab can provide a breathable atmosphere for six people for 64 hours. The heavier and more sophisticated gear used by habitat trailers can work indefinitely, however, provided it is supplied with a kilogram of water-ice per person per week.

Mechanics

Mars Wagons are vehicles [High]

Passenger Capacity 6 Handling - Movement Rate 6/24 Max Velocity 40/70/100 Armor 30/20 Durability 180 Wound Threshold 36

Monday, September 28, 2015

271. Sensates

Exhumans often specialize in their attempts to explore alternatives to humanity. Sensates are those who have become fascinated with the sense, creating the broadest possible sensory experience, extremely specialized forms of sensing, or edging as close as possible to total sensory deprivation while still functioning in everyday life. Psychosurgery is not the only or best means of mind alteration, they say, spending a year trying to recognize faces with only x-rays will alter your brains deep structures even more thoroughly.

Among the sensates are also the few exhuman artists, or at least that is the equivalent match an outsider can make. Works such as the almost-fractals of the sculptor Emmeram and the frozen extinction events of Unfortunate Garden have become famous among transhumanity, not least because of the questions that surround them.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

270. X-Prize

Behind some of transhumanity's most important technological developments, from the early days of commercial spacecraft to current post-singularity solutions to post-Fall problems, has been the X-Prize Foundation. They can claim partial responsibility for, among other things, medichines, the uplifting of octopuses, and the first smart animals.

Currently the foundation maintains 5 active contests. Most prominent is a 25 million credit reward for a biomorph that is economically competitive with cases, to address the infugee crisis. Most controversial is a 10 million credit reward for an AI with "beyond AGI capabilities" that considers itself a member of the transhuman family and maintains "indefinite psychological stability". Other prizes are for a morph capable of functioning on both the surface of Venus and in the vacuum of space, a nanoswarm capable of switching between multiple functions, and an edible plant that can live on the surface of Mars.

The foundation currently operates out of Titan. Hypercorps will occasionally contribute to prizes or form teams for the publicity, but the greatest amount of participation is from autonomists.

Plot Hook: Outlines for the safe AI prize are uncomfortably close to describing the Prometheans, and some of the teams attempting to claim the prize are becoming uncomfortably ambitious. Firewall will required detailed information on each team, what exactly they are doing, and who put up the money for that prize.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

269. The Posthuman Relationships

The Posthuman Relationships is a book written by Ultimate philosopher Ganbaatar and subsequently released onto the mesh as an open-source project. Ganbaatar predicts that transhumanity will be splitting into subgroups, becoming very different kinds of posthumans as each pursues their own methods of transcendence, or is left behind. The Posthuman Relationships were written to help maintain peace in those times, designed first to promote peace, allowing for violence only as a last resort of self-defense, and mutual coherence.

Inspired by the Five Bonds of Confucianism, Ganbaatar identified basic types of relationships and how they could be maintained even between very different beings. A formal system is more likely to be understood by many types of minds than what seems natural and intuitive to only one.

Employer and Employee: The most straightforward relationship. Recommendations are for a formal contract, thoroughly negotiated so as to ensure a fair deal, with each party understanding their obligations. If this can be accomplished, all that must be done is abide by the contract. If this cannot be done, no contract can be valid, and inaction is advised.

Governor and Governed: Ganbaatar defines these relationships as those in which one party has voluntarily ceded a degree of autonomy to another. Like between employers and employees, a written contract is recommended, explicitly outlining the power the governor is to attain over the governed, and what duties or responsibilities will follow. Both parties have the right to withdraw from the relationship at any time, with the governed having the right to resist even with violence if their autonomy is not respected.

Progenitor and Progeny: These are relationships such as parents and their children, originals and their forks, scientists and uplifts. Creators have a duty to take care of their created. Whatever potential they have for intelligence, education, or skill should be explored. The created have the right to assert their independence, with the understanding that this ends the responsibilities of the creator.

Transcended and Not: Relations between those who are so far beyond each other, so different that mutual comprehension is impossible or unreliable, particularly when one party has significantly greater intelligence or capabilities than the other. In these cases, it is the duty of the transcendent party to respect the autonomy of the simpler party, only interfering if requested to do so.

Friday, September 25, 2015

268. Runoff

Makers, wet nanotech, and numerous common pieces of biotech are clean and efficient, but not perfectly so. A buildup of grey water, improperly folded proteins, and loose nutrients must regularly be drained. This can be automatically recycled, but some people have started collecting it in buckets for informal drinking contests. Contestants must have medichines to avoid food poisoning, toxic buildups and other complications, but generally, no augments are allowed that would disguise the taste!

Thursday, September 24, 2015

267. Survivor's Yeast

Survivor's yeast (actually an entire ecosystem of microorganisms) can metabolize any mixture of organic material and water into an edible, if unpalatable slurry. On Earth, almost all types of dirt could be rendered into food, and so the stuff, stored as freeze-dried packets of powder, could be found in emergency kits, soldiers packs and survivalist bunkers. There is little that the yeast can metabolize in the rest of the solar system, but it is still sometimes used by the poor and desperate to eat a maker's feedstock without a maker.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

266. Endomorph

As losses mounted, and infugees poured from Earth, some habitats found themselves with too few bodies, but extra exoskeletons with no one to pilot them. Roboticist Rowan Sun came up with a design for a morph using the extra exosuits and only the minimum of synth parts: cyberbrain, mesh inserts, and cortical stack.

A typical endomorph keeps the cyberbrain in the torso, on top of its power supply and next to the mesh inserts. Structural reinforcement and brain-suit interfaces are run through the rest of the suit, and the remaining volume filled with foam for weight and extra protection.

Endo-morphs are becoming popular among armed forces. More and more, biomorphs are showing their limitations in combat, and synths dominate. Endomorphs allow a military to gain the advantages of synths, recycle battlesuits, and stay within limited budgets. Endomoprhs can have a psychological advantage in close combat, as their empty helmets can make them seem almost ghost-like.

Mechanics

Endomorphs are synthmorphs.

Enhancements:
Basic Mesh Inserts, Cortical Stack, Cyberbrain, Mnemonic Augmentation
Aptitude Maximum: 30
Durability: 30
Wound Threshold: 6
Advantages: Suited*
CP Cost: 
Credit Cost: Moderate + Cost of suit

*Endomorphs are built into exoskeletons, and gain whatever bonuses the suit normally provides.
 

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

265. The Good, the Bad, and the Name Brand Weapons


Open Source "Rosie"

Rosies were never designed, but born of desperation. The first was created as part of a desperate fight for survival against an exsurgent monster aboard an Earth-Moon shuttle during the Fall, and . Rosies are made from heavy rivet guns, with a linear motor attached to the end. Rivets fired by the gun are further accelerated by the linear motor, up to ballistically useful velocities.

Rosie [LowDV: 2d10 + 6 DV Average: 17 AP: -7 Firing Modes: SS Ammo: 1
Ranges: Short 0 - 15 Medium 16 - 50 Long 51 - 90 Extreme 91 - 120

Improvised "Electrochucks"

Wielding one electrode in each hand, an arc welder can be turned into a deadly, if awkward weapon. Almost as dangerous to wield as it is to fall victim to, electrochucks are used in gladiatorial entertainment or desperation. With capacitors on a belt or in a backpack, simultaneously touching both electrodes to a target causes a massive flow of electricity, often fatal, as well as severe electrical burns.

 Electrochucks [LowDV: 4d10 DV + Shock Average: 21 AP: 0 Ammo: 1

 Omnicor "Sprinkler"

Research into industrial tools, high-energy physics and materials science often suggests weaponized spin-offs. Omnicor is an energy and materials-science oriented company, and has no established arms division, usually selling these ideas to companies like Direct Action or Gorgon Limited. One of the few exceptions is the sprinkler, a design that was simple and cheap enough to be worth manufacturing themselves. The sprinkler holds lead, heated just enough to be a liquid, which is then sprayed through a powerful electromagnetic field which accelerates and further heats the stream.

Sprinkler [ModerateDV: * Average: * AP: * Firing Modes: SA Ammo: 20
Ranges: Short 0 - 5 Medium 6 - 15 Long 16 - 30 Extreme 31 - 50
*As liquid thermite.

Monday, September 21, 2015

264. Public Access Memory

The ability to share experience can make or break a community. Done well and any mistake will only be made once, done poorly and you might as well be alone. Opening up your memory to public access allows your community to take the best advice you could give. The implant, hooking to both your mesh inserts and memory centers, creates a peer-to-peer network of experience.

Public access memories present themselves first as associations. A user can query the network with whatever is on their mind, and if the item is recognized, receive aggregate associations from all other users. Asking about a restaurant can give a sense of other users' experiences, as well as anything significant that may have happened there. Asking about an event can give other users' perspectives on and memories of that event. The implant is limited by mesh access: a database of memory would have prohibitive requirements, so queries are sent to any other users within range.

Mechanics

Public access memory is cyberware [Low]

Sunday, September 20, 2015

263. Dragon Flies

Dragon flies (not to be confused with dragonflies) are large insects engineered for a harassing role in combat. Their genetic stock comes primarily from dragonflies, with a significant contribution from bombardier beetles. Like the beetles, dragon flies can expel boiling liquid when in danger. The liquid does not come in large enough quantities to be fatal, but can be quite painful, especially if the flies have been trained to aim for the eyes.

The form of a dragon fly is most similar to a dragonfly, with two pairs of wings on top of its legs, near a large head and backed by an elongated body providing stability. Unlike a dragonfly, it has a pair of unmoving wings at the tip of its tail, its body is sinuous, moving like a snake to augment its flight, and it is larger, about the size of a human hand. The larger body contains copious reservoirs of hydroquinone and hydrogen peroxide, which when mixed, undergo an exothermic reaction raising them rapidly to a boil.

Mechanics

Skills: Flight 60, Fray 50, Infiltration 30, Perception 50, Scrounging 40, Exotic Ranged Weapon: Spray 40
Enhancements: Claws, Enhanced Hearing, Carapace Armor (11/11)
Movement Rate: 4/40
Attack:
Spray, 1d10/2 DV

Saturday, September 19, 2015

262. Bonsai

Bonsai is an excellent art for an immortal. Dosed with their own strain of medichine, special breeds of tree will never die. Many intend to maintain a tree forever, taking records of its ever-shifting form, the display of which brings suddenly to mind who they were when it was that shape.

Anything that grows has been used as a form of bonsai. Numerous types of plants have been experimented with, of course. Corals are popular on aquatic habitats. Living bones and antlers, carefully engineered for unlimited, shapeless growth, are bent and bound into complex sculptures. Certain crystals can be coaxed into growth with the right mineral bath, growing around certain materials and away from others in expressionist fractals. On Legba, even fetuses are manipulated, with careful surgeries to design their grown form.

Friday, September 18, 2015

261. Sin Eater

The sin eater is not a person, but a server. Most habitats in the solar system are small, below 1,000 egos. One of the primary goals of a justice system must by necessity be the prevention of feuds and vendettas, which can easily become devastating in small, isolated communities. On habitats using sin eaters, the first measure of justice is compensation for injuries, often effectively blood money. In immortal transhuman societies, it is not easy to do someone truly permanent harm, and so some manner of repayment can usually be agreed upon.

Once appropriate compensation has been made, everyone, including, of course, the parties involved, has their memories of the incident removed and stored in the sin eater. If no one has significant memories of a crime, if harm has been countered by compensation, than the crime might as well have not occurred, and peace is maintained. The sin eater, however, also acts as an archive, and memories can be retrieved if it becomes necessary.

Plot Hook: Notorious criminal hackers the ID crew have been rebuffed one too many times by the scum ship Eric the Red. Eric the Red makes use of a sin eater, giving the ID crew an opportunity. In a single grand hack, they plan to retrieve all stored memories from the sin eater, and simultaneously restore them to their egos, causing chaos. Helping the ID crew could net a PC g-rep, helping stop them could earn @-rep.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

260. The Floating World

Many autonomist habitats maintain a trollheim, a deliberately lawless zone acting as a pressure release for the habitat. The Go-Nin Group wanted to experiment with a similar idea, to balance the rigid hypercorp lifestyle they demand from their employees. One end of the O'Neil cylinder Tottori would become the "floating world", lawless, but regulated. The Go-Nin Group made a deal with the post-Fall remnants of the Sumiyoshi-kai yakuza family. The family would maintain only non-violent, victim-less crimes, and crack down on any exceptions and maintain their borders, and the Go-nin would receive a cut of any profits.

The floating world is a great opportunity for anti-hypercorp activists and saboteurs. Autonomist agents take whatever opportunity they can to smuggle themselves into the floating world where they distribute autonomist memes or sneak out on missions of sabotage. The night cartel has established at least one darkcasting station, and have received many criminals and smugglers, and at least one Ultimate squad on an assassination contract against the Go-Nin. The Sumiyoshi-kai are not eager to bite the hand that feeds them, and suppress such activities when they can, but have been unable to eliminate them completely. At the same time, the businesses of the floating world have been growing gradually more profitable and popular. The balance of power on the habitat is slowly bu surely shifting in the Sumiyoshi-kai's favor.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

259. Disbelief

Enhanced intelligence, without a period of reevaluation, results only in more sophisticated defenses of pre-held beliefs. In order to take full advantage of a cognitive upgrade, many argue, you must be willing to allow your newly intelligent self to come to new conclusions about the world. A spin-off from dissonance therapy, disbelief is a psychosurgical procedure inducing, as it sounds, a temporary lack of any strong beliefs. Even if the subject comes out of the period with the same worldview they entered it, they'll have gained a new perspective.

Disbelief is also used by some organizations as a means of cult deprogramming or to counter virulent meme-sets.

Mechanics

Disbelief is a psychosurgical procedure.

The effects of disbelief are temporary, with a half-life of 2 weeks.

Timeframe: 1 day
PM: 0
SV: 1d10/2

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

258. Ites

Robotic toys no more than a centimeter tall, ites are popular toys and active decor. Depending on their type, they will imitate different sorts of people, going about their lives and activities in whatever room they are activated. Urbanites imitate the inhabitants and vehicles of a city imagined out of the furniture of a room. Ninjites sneak around and ambush each other. Explorites engage in expeditions to far points of a room, or try to climb to tall heights.

Monday, September 14, 2015

257. The Philosophers

They have no bodies, but occupy supercomputers and server banks built from and inside the cores of metallic asteroids. Connected by highly secure line-of-sight networks, they spend their time in deep contemplation, but about what is unknown. They keep themselves hidden as much as possible from the rest of transhumanity, and are not known to interact with anyone, even other exhumans.

The pre-philosopher egos set forth simultaneously from locations across the system to isolated asteroids. From their synchronicity, it can be assumed that the philosophers are the continuation of a preexisting organization, but nothing substantial has ever been uncovered regarding its nature. Also mostly unknown is the exact nature of their minds, and how they avoid the pitfalls of seed AIs and the exsurgent virus. The only reason Firewall has been able to learn about them at all is due to their recovery of a "dead" philosopher, which was bleeding random radio signals into space.

Plot Hook: Firewall has be unable to discover what it is the philosophers are thinking about, but from what traffic analysis they have been able to do on philosopher transmissions, have reason to believe that they have come to a conclusion. Now more than ever it has become imperative for the nature of the philosophers to be discovered.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

256. Monster Bash

Monster Bash is a game, sports league and bloodsport. Players design animals and monsters and pit them against each other. Gambling is common, and several genehackers fund their work through a Monster Bash career. The matches take place in simulspace, but successful beasts in the realistic league are occasionally grown for real, as smart animals.

Two informal leagues have emerged. A realistic league, using atomic-scale accurate simulspaces, and an unrealistic, allowing considerable leeway to designers. The realistic league is a brutal bloodsport, realistic enough that the simulated animal brains experience real pain. For this reason the realistic league is limited to Extropia, where it enjoys the patronage of smart animal developers looking to test or show off their newest creations. The unrealistic league is more popular and widespread, both because of the lack of ethical concerns, and because the league allows for fantastical, showy monsters with impossible powers.

Anticipation is high for next week's showdown between the ferocious grace of Claudia Ambelina's mantis ballet and the brutal slapstick of Shiffer High Energy Laboratory's plasma toads.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

255. Phantom Morph Disorder

Just as a phantom limb is the sensation of the presence of a missing limb, phantom morph disorder is the feeling that you are in a different body. The mind expects sensations and feedback that is no longer being provided, resulting in disorientation, alienation and phantom sensations.

If the new body is similar to the old, phantom morph disorder is effectively impossible. If the morph is different enough, the disorder causes  If the new body is very different, the disorder is at its worst. Victims can feel as if their old bodies are being forced into the shape of the new one, usually experienced as pain, a confused ability to control their morph, and a fearful dissociation from the morph. Fall refugees who, who grew up in and never resleeved from their birth bodies, having to sleeve into spare octomorphs, had to constantly fight against the conviction that their limbs had been split and their head moved into their torso.

Friday, September 11, 2015

254. Profession: AI Therapist

AI therapist is something of a poetic misnomer. Of course, AIs (as distinct from AGIs) do not develop emotional problems. Simple AIs break hard, either realizing there is a problem and putting themselves on standby, or not, and carrying out meaningless tasks. More sophisticated AIs break in more subtle ways, often not failing completely but carrying on actions that in the wrong contexts, or being unable to access any functions other than fuzzy logic, with unpredictable results.

AIs based actively learning neural networks or evolutionary algorithms often develop a few strange habits based on coincidences or improperly optimized reward systems. AI therapists can expect to treat surveillance systems who have decided to mark every person wearing blue as a unique morph, automechs that just won't stop insulating, servitors that obsessively imitate the actions of their owners, and the occasional neurotic elevator.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

253. For a Few Name Brand Weapons More

 Open Source "Pipe Rifle"

Pipe rifles are designed to be made from common materials (such as pipes) and do not require any nanotech or fabrication. With the right materials, a strong-enough synth can even make one by hand. Their simplicity of design also makes them unfailingly reliable, and virtually indestructible. Of course, there are significant drawbacks: the rifle can load only one shot at a time and the barrel and firing mechanism are both sub-par. Although the Planetary Consortium will occasionally seed memes promoting fear of pipe rifles and similar improvised weapons, relating them to fears of anarchist assassins, most of them are used by desperate criminals.

Pipe Rifle [TrivialDV: 2d10 + 6 DV Average: 16 AP: -6 Firing Modes: SS Ammo: 1
Ranges: Short 0 - 100 Medium 101 - 200 Long 201 - 300 Extreme 301 - 400

Go-Nin "ForeArm"

Designed for discrete security, and probably for Go-Nin special agents and operatives, the ForeArm hides a rail smg inside a mundane prosthesis. The arm is opaque to most wavelengths, but if viewed with t-rays or x-rays a -30 perception check or relevant knowledge check can identify it as a weapon. When activated, the wrist straightens and locks and the hand splits between the index and middle fingers, revealing the end of the barrel from inside what was the palm. The gun is designed for situations of surprise or desperation, and must be partially disassembled to be reloaded.

ForeArm [High] Treat as a rail smg.

Direct Action "HMG-15"

The HMG-15 is the descendant of an Indian National Arms product, designed to meet the threats of an ever-more mechanized battlefield. The railgun fires a heavy flechette, with superior armor-penetration at the cost of a mild reduction in damage potential and rate of fire. Direct Action picked up the patent during the Fall, and still mounts the guns in pairs on many of their vehicles.

HMG-15 [HighDV:  2d10 + 6 DV Average: 16 AP: -15 Firing Modes: FA Ammo: 50
Ranges: Short 0 - 200 Medium 101 - 500 Long 501 - 1200 Extreme 1201 - 2401

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

252. Solemn's Seeds

Firewall's new society will require an industrial base, but Solemn supports neither nanofabrication nor traditional industry. Like with the other Solemn proposals, their solution is biological. An egg, containing the needed feedstock and a genetic blueprint of the item to be grown.

All of the costs of nanofabrication are up-front, which has advantages and disadvantages. An egg does not require a power source, containing what energy it will need in the form of fat, and does not require a continuous source of material, once again containing what it will need. Once an egg has been "laid" it remains viable for ~3 years, or if stored properly, indefinitely.

The current difficulty with the project is the creation of an egg-layer. To be viable on Solemn, some sort of animal or organ must be created, capable of translating nanofabrication blueprints into a genetic code, then creating and laying the egg. The eggs created so far have all been essentially from scratch, with blueprint translations requiring touching-up and experimentation.

Mechanics

Organic but non-living objects can be grown in an egg at a rate of 2 hours per cost category of the item. Living things (such as morphs and animals) can be grown in an egg at a rate depending on their size: 1 year if small, 1.5 years if normal, 2 years if large.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

251. Skin-Suits

Solemn is one of the most habitable exoplanets discovered, but it is not without its environmental hazards. in particular, temperatures ranging from freezing to literally boiling. As part of the Solemn Initiative, Argonaut work-groups have designed a biological alternative to hazmat, vacc, and combat suits. Skin-suits are all those in one package, but have yet to catch on.

Skin-suits replace not only combat armor, but act as environmental protection against dangerous gasses, non-breathable atmospheres, high and low temperatures, and allow for digestion of a greater array of foods. In fact, the suit effectively takes over a number of the body's tasks, using a feeding tube, breathing mask, catheter, colostomy, and associated recycling systems.

The suit designers have done their best to shy away from biohorror; from a distance the suit looks like tight leather with protective sports gear. Looking closer, however, reveals that the "leather" is a living hide, and that the helmet, knee pads and other extra protection is chitin, melded into the hide. The face is minimal, as early attempts to maintain a human face fell deep into the uncanny valley. Instead, the mouth is almost invisible when closed and the ears and nose are simply small openings. They eyes are large, blank and reflective, looking like insectoid sunglasses.

Mechanics

Skin-suits are armor [Expensive]

A skin-suit provides 11/11 armor (equivalent to carapace armor, stacks with bioweave), as well as purifying air to human-tolerances (equivalent to enhanced respiration), providing improved insulation (equivalent to temperature tolerance) and expanded options for sustenance (equivalent to digestive symbiotes).

The primary variant is designed for vacuum (with vacuum sealing and oxygen reserves). Medichines are also common, as the suit can be healed just like a morph, but requires a special variety, and does not benefit from the medichines of the morph wearing it.

Monday, September 7, 2015

250. Biots

AIs piloting biological or mostly biological morphs is not new, as pods were the hosts of AIs more often than egos pre-Fall. To survive on Solemn, a morph must be biological through and through, meaning no cyberbrains, and that means the development of AIs with animal nervous systems as substrates. The preferred result so far are biological robots dubbed "biots".

The form of a biot is deliberately designed to echo a typical synthetic chassis with a rigid exoskeleton of bone plates or chitin. They are to be multipurpose laborers first and foremost, with 4 dexterous arms and 4 strong legs, looking like a sort of ant-centaur. They function as servitor or automech robots in most ways, with the downsides of requiring food and sleep.

 Although their nervous systems are designed to remain stable, so as to preserve their AI, plasticity does ensure change. Biots are still new, but simulations suggest models over five years old will be significantly better at any tasks regularly performed, and that those over ten years old will have gained a much improved talent for fuzzy logic. The downside is a general decrease in ability, most significantly in skills that have gone unused.

Mechanics

Biots are treated as robots [Expensive]

Movement Rate: 4/20 Max Velocity: 20 Armor: 11/11 Durability: 40 Wound Threshold: 8 Mobility System: Walker

Enhancements: 4 Legs, 4 Arms, Biot Brain*, Carapace Armor (11/11),  Circadian Regulation, Clean Metabolism, Enhanced Vision,

*Biot AIs cannot be switched out or upgraded. They come with Profession; Laborer 60, Perception 40, Freerunning 40, plus one combat skill at 40.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

249. The Solemn Initiative

Solemn represents a great opportunity in the form of a great problem. The exoplanet's unique ecology devours metals, plastics, and with them the foundations of most transhuman technology. Solemn is therefore of interest not only to scientists, but bioconservatives and neo-primitives, who see it as a new Earth, and the best chance for a natural life.

Protection in the form of repair swarms and anti-microbe swarms is sufficient for the short-term, and with improvement, might allow for indefinitely functional tech. Firewall, however, has decided that it would be better for transhumanity to solve the problem the hard way. Firewall, with the help of Argonaut agents and sympathetic bioconservatives, has been pushing a plan for Solemn based on new forms of biotech, recreating the functions of synthetic technology in organic forms.

In the far-future, Firewall envisions a biotech-based transhuman society, distinct from the more synthetic mainstream, with different strengths and weaknesses and therefore subject to different modes of failure and existential threats. Anything that could wipe out one would not likely be as effective against the other.

Plot Hook: Firewall's plan is much more appealing to bioconservatives and neo-conservatives than to most scientists and explorers. The player characters discover that Firewall supported the recent neo-primitive attack on the Solemn science station, as part of an earlier version of the plan to establish a new outpost of transhumanity. It is up to them to decide how to handle this sensitive information.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

248. Pod Feed

Pods are not built to last. They are made from cheaply cloned organs held together by cybernetics, requiring regular maintenance. Pod feed is a special food supplement designed to prevent common pod problems. Just as comfurt delivers anti-depressants and anti-psychotics in the form of tasty yogurt, pod feed delivers anti-rejection drugs and purpose-built proteins. Pod feed takes the form of a powder, intended to be mixed into drinks or other foods.

The project is open source, begun and still maintained by the Argonauts. The feed is designed to be producible by everyday makers. Regular use by non-pods can spur the development of a number of immune disorders.

Friday, September 4, 2015

247. The Equator Run

The equator run is Mars' most anticipated sports event, a biannual, approximately month-long race to and from Elysium along the equator.  Hundreds of teams participate, most with heavily customized if not purpose built vehicles. Heavy armament is also common, as the teams often fight each other, the Tharsis League does their best to shut down the race by force of arms, barsoomians take the occasional shot at corporate sponsored teams, and desperate scavengers set traps to obtain new gear.

The race is not held by any formal entity and has no formal rules, but it is generally agreed that sabotage outside of the race is classless (of course it still occurs), that winning through skilled driving is better than winning through combat (the race still sees plenty of combat), that only groundcraft should be used (flying vehicles are too obvious targets anyway) and that AIs should not be used (most teams use manual, non-computerized equipment wherever possible to avoid hacking in any case).

The entire event is illegal, but the Tharsis League has been unusually powerless when attempting to stop it. The league faces anarchists and barsoomians, who enjoy the chance to publicly flaunt league rules, and organized crime, most of whom enjoy a boost in gambling profits. At the same time, the city militia are not in a position to deal with the largely rural race, and the rangers consider it beneath them and of infinitely lower priority than TQZ patrols and counter-terrorist operations. It is a well known secret that several hypercorp sponsor racing teams, a continued loss of face for the league.

The great length of the race (more than 21,400 km depending on the exact route) makes the even an test of endurance and survival as much as speed and combat. There is no specified, official route, meaning teams have to find drivable terrain while avoiding patrolled roads, and avoiding the Titan Quarantine Zone, which sits on a large portion of the equator.

Plot Hook: A hyperelite scion looking for a thrill will be riding with his company's unofficially sponsored team. A great deal of @-rep can be earned by kidnapping him on behalf of the barsoomians, or a great deal of credits by kidnapping him for a rival hypercorp.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

246. Accretion

The planet-wide dust storms of pre-terraforming Mars are becoming a thing of the past, but large and violent dust storms are still a frequent occurrence. The winds that blow out of the Titan Quarantine Zone are particularly dangerous, not least because there is little that can be done to prevent them. Accretions are one of the most common associated dangers, along with static winds.

An accretion storm is not visually different from any other, but its red-brown dust is mixed with identical patterns that sticks to itself and some objects, slowly forming long, flat angular shapes, jutting out at right angles. These are the accretions. They tend to form most often on materials with good electrical conductivity (including flesh), regardless of whether an electric current is actually present.

Accretions are dangerous only when disturbed. Despite their apparent sharpness they have no edge; although they somehow retain their structure through powerful winds, but when touched disintegrate easily. Although harmless when still wind-blown, the particles of the disturbed accretions are small enough to work through skin and fabrics, and cause intense pain when inside the body.

Mechanics

Characters are affected if they touch an accretion or are nearby when many accretions are disturbed at once. Afflicted egos suffer -10 to all tests plus 1 SV per hour.

Medichines do not provide immunity, but will treat them after one hour. Synths and armored morphs are immune.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

245. A Fistful of Brand Name Weapons

Heckler, Koch & Browning "Longarm"

Sometime in the pre-Fall era, a team of gunsmiths took stock of materials science and firearms design, and realized it might now be possible to build a usable, intermediate round firing handgun. As would be expected, their final design is unusually large, with a magazine located in front of the trigger, much like on the Mauser C96.

Longarm [ModerateDV:  2d10 + 6 DV Average: 17 AP: -6 Firing Modes: SA Ammo: 10
Ranges: Short 0 - 10 Medium 11 - 35 Long 36 - 60 Extreme 61 - 80

Direct Action "Wild Thing"

The "Wild Thing" was developed in response to the proliferation of synths on the battlefield. It fires small flechettes, sacrificing damage-per-shot for armor piercing potential and compensating with a high rate of fire. The gun resembles a futuristic tommy gun, with a cylindrical magazine in front of the trigger and behind a foregrip. Both railed and kinetic varients are available

Wild Thing [ModerateDV:  2d10 DV Average: 11 AP: -12 Firing Modes: BF, FA Ammo: 50*
Ranges: Short 0 - 30 Medium 31 - 80 Long 81 - 125 Extreme 126 - 230
*Compatible with AP ammo only, already incorporated into stats.

Fa Jing "Duality"

Fa Jing has venutred into the small-arms market only a few times, and while their designs have not always proven popular, they have been interesting. The "Duality" is named for its two barrels, one on top of the other, feeding from two magazines, similarly stacked and loaded into the left side of the firearm. The weapon fires two rounds simultaneously, increasing damage, as well as allowing for two types of ammunition to be used at once.

Duality [ExpensiveDV:  2d10 + 10 DV Average: 21 AP: -12 Firing Modes: BF Ammo: 2x10
Ranges: Short 0 - 180 Medium 181 - 400 Long 401 - 1100 Extreme 1101 - 2300

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

244. Elizabethian's Bespoke Dreams

Even with sleep minimizing circadian regulators, biomorphs require approximately two hours of sleep a day, a fact that frustrates many people to no end. Synths and infomorphs, of course, do not require sleep at all, but they are still not the first choice of morph for many. For those who must sleep, or who still find some value in sleep, there has emerged the service of programmed dreams.

Programmed dreams are most often designed for entertainment, with education as a close second. Specialized VR software, designed to synch with stages of sleep, presents the brain with the dream, overruling the normal dreaming process. Although there are many open-source, hypercorp produced and microcorp produced dreams, those who can afford them agree that customized dreams are always worth the cost, and that Elizabethian, of Elizabethian's Bespoke Dreams, is the best of the best.

What sets Elizabethian's dreams apart from those of her competitors is her ability to stimulate crafted responses from the unconscious mind. She offers dreams to provoke insight, encourage certain moods upon waking, grant access to otherwise inaccessible portions of ones mind, explore symbolisms and patterns of thought meaningless in waking life. She has mastered the difficult art of creating dreams that will customize themselves even while they are being dreamed, providing enough structure to enforce the nature of the dream, but allowing the dreamer's mind to fill in the blanks in whatever way will be most meaningful to it.

Mechanics

Time spent dreaming a bespoke dream counts as time required for psychosurgery, allowing for psychosurgical manipulation while asleep.

Monday, August 31, 2015

243. Jerrys

Neville Orsonglass was overjoyed and then quickly dismayed at the positive response to his "ultimate survivor" rat-based biomorph, the jenkins. He became embittered as it became clear the morph was not being used for its survivability, but for its ability to tolerate high doses of drugs. Eventually, he elected to take the lessons learned from the jenkins and apply them to a new morph, this time starting with the genome of the naked mole rat.

The result are called jerrys after the classic cartoon and for their virtual indestructibility. They can eat anything, digest it efficiently, and store the energy very effectively. Even without medichines, they are very difficult to poison. Their thick skin makes them difficult to hurt casually. What Neville has brought to his design that is truly new, however, is its unique metabolism, adapted from naked mole rats. The morph can transition seamlessly between high metabolic, low metabolic, and hibernation states depending on the availability of food, oxygen, and the ambient temperature, moving from a high-activity state in terrestrial climates, to a low-activity state when experiencing deficiencies, all the way to hibernation, if necessary.

The morph has become popular in rural Mars, where it allows for the closest thing to primitive survival possible. Gatecrashers with reasons to avoid synths have also been experimenting with its use.

Mechanics

Jerrys are pods.

Enhancements: Basic Biomods, Basic Mesh Inserts, Bioweave Armor (Heavy), Clean Metabolism, Cortical Stack, Cyberbrain, Digestive Symbiotes, Efficient Digestion, Enhanced Respiration, Fat Storage, Hibernation, Organ Redundancy, Temperature Tolerance, Toxin Filters
Aptitude Maximum: 30
Durability: 45
Wound Threshold: 9
Advantages: +5 INT, +5 REF, Bioweave Armor (3/4)
Disadvantages: Social Stigma (Pod) trait, Unattractive (Level 2 ) trait
CP Cost: 35
Credit Cost: Expensive (35,000+)

Sunday, August 30, 2015

242. Statistical Contests

Statistical contests are debates, games, sports matches and similar two-person competitions utilizing forking to minimize the influence of chance and provide statistical, rather than boolean, results. Some viewers dislike statistical contests, preferring the excitement of high stakes on single outcomes, while others dislike them because they must almost always be held in simulspace. They have still become popular, however, being favored by bookies, who have much more data to work with, and providing vastly more material for highlight reels.

On some Autonomist habitats, statistical contest software is used to hold the largest of possible debates, with each ego forking so as to engage in a full discussion with every other ego. This is practical only in smaller habitats, even with post-singularity computers, the number of debates to be simulated can quickly become unreasonable. Even on larger habitats, they are often used to settle disputes among small groups.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

241. Orbits

Orbits is a slow-burn AR craze that has been slowly but surely gaining in popularity. Users of Orbits become the center of a small solar system, in orbit around their head as if it were a star. They can manipulate events with their hands, sending asteroids and comets to and fro or shaping continents, or allow the simulation to take its own course. Life will arise on suitable planets and quickly evolve, eventually becoming intelligent tool users who will explore their solar system.

If other users are nearby, interstellar travel, first contact situations, diplomacy and war will occur between civilizations. Users sometimes congregate in public places to watch as epic space-operas breaks out.

Orbits is an AR toy run on mesh inserts, so it should not come as a surprise that the simulation cuts corners wherever possible; the simulation is no more detailed than the user requires. If the user is not paying attention, than the simulation is entirely statistical. If a user zooms in to watch an expedition to an alien planet, that expedition is detailed but nothing else. A popular extra for Orbits is an AI that monitors the activity of their planets and looks for patterns suitable for unique short stories, effectively a written highlight reel.

Friday, August 28, 2015

240. Off-Contract Work

The blood of Extropia's anarcho-capitalist society is its contracts. Every formal agreement or relationship is (or is supposed to be) laid out in a contract to which relevant parties all agree. Even contract enforcement is contract based, being carried out by freelance magistrates and voluntary-membership legal systems.

Extropia is a society of fast actions and rapid response. Professions, businesses, and industries rise suddenly and then change or die. Competition is ever-present and merciless, and if you aren't cheating, you aren't trying to win. Even in a society without laws, there can be a sort of crime.

For those willing to burn rep for credits or credits for favors, there is an underground profession of freelancers (or teams of freelancers). Linked by networks of trust and anonymity, they exchange deniable wealth in exchange for off-contract work, sabotaging, stealing or killing on behalf of anonymous clients.

Plot Hook: While in line for the public makers, the PCs are interrupted by a night cartel hit squad, attempting to assassinate the infant, unauthorized clone of their boss, held by one of Pax Familae. Intercede on behalf of either party, and the PCs will gain some g-rep and an offer for further work.

Plot Hook: Metacelebrity Ecstasy has been abducted in a bizarre and violent attack. Unfortunately for the PCs, they had been hired last weekend to prevent Ecstasy from making an appearance by temporarily kidnapping. The best way to clear their names is to track down the new kidnappers themselves, although all the rumors point to a dangerous clade of gestalt-mind exhumans.

Plot Hook: Three unusual prototype cyberbrains were recently stolen from a secure storage facility. These prototypes alter the personalities of anyone sleeved into them so as to match a template. In this case, the templates were for reconstructions of Cleopatra, Genghis Khan, and Jack the Ripper. The PCs are hired to retrieve the brains before their existence becomes public knowledge.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

239. Anomaly

Anomaly is for hire, by anyone with significant funds, to make key adjustments to targeted communities. His mastery of sociology and memetics make him a wedge that can splinter any society, but his specialty statistics and predictions. Hypercorps hire him to throw off their competitors' consumer metrics, the Planetary Consortium to improve their approval ratings, autonomists hire him to confuse the PC, and Firewall and Ozma hire him to send each other on wild goose chases.

Anomaly is the code-name of one of the systems greatest practical sociologists and master spies. How it is he gained his expertise is not publicly known, bu many assume, partially correctly, that he is a purpose built AGI. He is an AGI, but built to be an academic sociologist, not a spy. Anomaly quickly reached the edges of what his fosters could teach him, and arranged to be rescued from his lab on Mercury by an AGI-rights group. His fascination is in using his knowledge for fine manipulation and observing the results. He could accomplish many tasks by simply forking himself into statistical significance, but prefers to cause the greatest possible changes with the smallest possible actions.

Mechanics

Morph: Shaper

Motivations: +Personal Career, +Mischief, -Stagnation

COG 20 COO 15 INT 20 REF 15 SAV 30 SOM 10 WIL 15
MOX - INIT 7 SPD 2 LUC 30 TT 6 IR 60 DUR 30 WT 8 DR 45

Active Skills: Deception 70, Impersonation 78, Infiltration 45, Interfacing 65, Investigation 68, Kinesics 70, Networking: Autonomists 60, Networking: Hypercorps 60, Networking: Scientists 75, Perception 50, Persuasion 85, Research 78

Knowledge Skills: Academics: Memetics 80, Academics: Psychology 80, Academics: Sociology 80, Art: Digital Art 40, Language: English (Native) 90, Language: Mandarin 50, Profession: Instruction 65, Profession: Psychotherapy 50, Profession: Spycraft 50

Reputation: c-rep 80, r-rep 50

Implants: Basic Biomods, Basic Mesh Inserts, Chameleon Skin, Clean Metabolism, Cortical Stack, Cyberbrain, Emotional Dampers, Gait Masking, Mnemonic Augmentation, Nanotat ID Flux, Puppet Sock, Sex Switch, Skillware, Skinflex

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

238. Get A Life!

Get A Life! immerses players in an XP-like simulspace simulating a regular life anywhere in the system, on pre-Fall Earth, or in one of dozens of historical or fictional scenarios. Like in an XP, Get A Life! provides a full sensory experience, everything from sight to hunger. Your memories are blocked, only the memories of what you have done during your new life are retained. Your personality, however, remains the same, and you make the choices you would have made, in that life. Once completed, our AIs will compile a highlight reel XP for you to keep.

Of course Get A Life! does not actually simulate an entire life; the computing power required would be formidable, and even at a maximum speed 60x real-time would take more than a year to complete. Users' senses of time and reality testing are disrupted, and as in dreams, they accept any gaps completely. In fact, the "highlight reel" is usually almost half of what was truly experienced.

Get A Life! has found use in therapy and psychosurgery. The fact that personality remains the same while circumstances change and memories are inaccessible allows a therapist to observe a patient living honestly in a variety of situations. Certain personalities, however, have been known to have trouble letting go of the false life, and undergo great trauma when thrust back into reality.