Saturday, April 25, 2015

115. Fray

The everyday population may have heard of a TITAN virus inducing the constant effects of the uncanny valley on its victims, and singularity seekers may identify the same virus as a means of ego-loss, transcendence or enlightenment, but few are aware of just how many irreversible insanities and suicides can be traced to fray infections. The virus does not kill directly, but very few egos are capable of withstanding the stress, anxiety and paranoia it produces.

Mechanics

Fray is a digital strain, infecting cyberbrains and infomorphs.

Stage 1: (Initial infection to one week) The sole symptom of the initial stage of infection is a gradual tendency to view all recognizable faces and morphs as being in the uncanny valley. At first the effect is subtle, but by the fourth or fifth day all human faces and bodies will evoke disquiet and revulsion, seeming somehow wrong. By the end of the first week even faces glimpsed in clouds and other pareidolia experiences are tinged. Victims will often try to isolate themselves to minimize the effects.

Victims take 1 SV when engaging in social situations in this stage. They may also take 1d10/2 or 1d10 SV when interacting with friends and loved ones, who will seem wrong and alien.

Stage 2: (One week to two weeks) During the second week, the victim begins to experience greater and greater levels of derealization, possibly due to the uncanny valley effect spreading beyond human forms. Victims feel as though their world is becoming strange, alien and subtly malevolent, even though they cannot point to any specific change.

Victims take 1d10/2 SV per day during this stage.

Stage 3: (Two weeks+) By the third week, even the victim's own ego is becoming unrecognizable. The victim begins to experience depersonalization, feeling divorced from their senses and body, feeling as though they are intruders in their own lives, and feeling as though they are not always in control of their actions. Disassociative fugues, temporary amnesia and alien limb syndrome also begin to occur.

Victims take 1 SV per hour during this stage.

Although fray does not kill directly, survival past three weeks is very rare. Those few who have lasted become catatonic, but psychosurgery reveals that their ability to determine where they end and everything else begins has broken down, leading to a sense of ego-loss and transcendence.

Plot Hook: A small singularity seeker cult has become convinced that fray is the TITANs means of inducing enlightenment. Recently they have managed to acquire the strain and have begun experimenting with it. The players are tasked by Firewall with destroying the cult and neutralizing their samples.

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