Friday, July 31, 2015

212. Enclosure Contests

Part science, part sport, and part art, enclosure contests are displays of prowess in one of transhumanities most vital skills: the creation and maintenance of stable, closed ecosystems. Contestants enclose themselves in sealed systems of their own design and manufacture; points are awarded based on the length of time remaining inside and inside. Leagues have been established based upon the sizes of the enclosures and allowed technologies, heavy use of nanotech is often looked upon as too easy. Records currently reach up to almost a year, so there are no matches, rather the contests are always open. Sometimes enclosures are designed for aesthetics as well as stability and become semi-permanent art installations, such as the glass sphere in which ecosystem designer and artist Sasha Starkweather lived in for six months, currently on display in Erato.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

211. The Monasteries

The Gift of St. Dmitri, most often referred to as "the monasteries", is a hollowed asteroid, along the lines of those use by the Jovian Union. A cylinder approximately 20km long and 8 km across (from interior wall to interior wall), spun for Earth-like gravity. The climate of the cylinder is kept carefully Mediterranean although one half is higher and drier than the other. The higher, drier side is the site of a monastery based on a reconstruction of early christian practices, as well as a number of hermitages, and an indeterminate number of hermits living throughout the area. The low, wet side contains a reconstructed Shaolin Monastery on a mountaintop, and an eastern orthodox monastery on a island in a lake. The habitat contains a few small villages who host tourists, but the majority of the land is wilderness.

Since the fall the habitat has come under pressure, from both within and without, to more refugees. It represents a large livable space that currently supports a fraction of the population it might. At the same time, however, it's small populations density and well cared for ecosystems make it one of the final living spaces of many species.

Plot Hook: Every so often, a criminal gets the idea to hide in the wildernesses of the monasteries, thinking no one would ever think to look for them there. A few of the monks in the early-christian and shaolin monasteries have come to live as monks after much different lives, and still maintain links to old friends in organized crime. As a g-rep favor, a player is asked to track down and extract a criminal hiding among the hermits, who has been making life difficult for the locals.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

210. Singularity Seeker Perspectives

What do we actually know about the TITANs? They want you to believe two things: we know nothing about the TITANs, and we know that they are unquestionably hostile. We can't possibly comprehend their minds, but we do know their motives. There have been those decrying research and new knowledge throughout history; with hindsight, ask, have they ever been right?
Dr. Krish Hegde, advocate for opening of research into TITAN tech

I maintain that 'memetic infection' is simply a way to dismiss an opposing ideologies most convincing arguments. Someone changes there views, shifts their priorities, and suddenly they aren't acting as they 'should'. Were their minds suborned, or were they legitimately persuaded? What would be the difference?
Mathieu Armistead, anarchist provocateur

Intelligence is a trump card in evolutionary races. It is a general purpose improvement, capable of both greater and less hopelessly specialized than a claw or eye. Grow enough of it, and you may elevate yourself beyond one evolutionary race and into another. As humanity did once, so shall we again.
Excerpt from second singularity seeker response, Exhuman/Singularity Seeker debate

We reject all dilemmas; we are many, we will pursue all possible options.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

209. Niamh Griffin

Niamh Griffin is much older than she seems. She was one of the first generation to be born and raised in space, aboard the O'Neill cylinder Verdigris. Born into wealth, Niamh managed her money well, and although she never met with any substantial professional successes, she grew only more wealthy over the years. At the age of 50, she migrated to Luna and added plasticity treatments to her slowly cultivated suite of mental augmentations. The plasticity treatments have destroyed her ability to maintain memories past a decade, leaving her disconnected from her past. Without a sense of continuity or history, she remakes herself periodically, throwing herself into newly discovered passions. 

Currently Niamh is occupied with pursuing info-brokering, although as a hobby more than a career. She loves learning secrets, especially the secret histories of transhumanity and its organizations, an interest that has made her a concern of both Firewall and OZMA.

Mechanic

Morph: Neotenic

Motivations: +Individualism, +Thrill Seeking, +Secrets

COG 25 COO 15 INT 25 REF 15 SAV 25 SOM 10 WIL 15
MOX - INIT 8 SPD 1 LUC 30 TT 6 IR 60 DUR 30 WT 6 DR 45

Active Skills: Deception 55, Hardware: Electronics 40, Infosec 70, Interfacing 55, Intimidation 45, Kinesics 68, Kinetic Weapons 35, Medicine: Psychiatry 55, Networking: Criminals 45, Networking: Hypercorps 63, Perception 45, Persuasion 78, Programming 65, Protocol 78, Psychosurgery 65, Research 55

Knowledge Skills: Academics: Cryptography 65, Academics: Psychology 80, Art: Poetry 65, Interest: Rumors 65, Interest; Conspiracies 65, Profession: Info Brokerage 55, Profession: Mesh Security Operations 70

Reputation: c-rep 100

Implants: Basic Biomods, Basic Mesh Inserts, Clean Metabolism, Cortical Stack, Enhanced Pheremones, Endocrine Control, Plasticity Treatments

Monday, July 27, 2015

208. Francesca's Wine and Cheese Manufactory

Francesca's is a favorite of Valles New Shanghai's New Pittsburgh dome, and a popular meeting place for local organized crime, generally considered neutral ground. Built along the lines of an automat, most of Francesca's is literal hole in the wall, an opening in the building with no windows or doors, only a sign above. One wall is clear diamond, giving a view into the 3d-printers that make the cheese and the wet-nanoware that makes the wine. The opposite wall  holds the cases from which patrons can retrieve wine and cheese pairings.

No one knows who Francesca is (if anyone), who owns the place, or who collects the profits. Maintenance and repair are carried out by a local man who has held onto the contract for decades, even past his retirement, and cleaned by an aging robot the regulars have taken to calling Francesca in her absence.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

207. Blood Capsules

Blood capsules are the most common name for a nanotech design containing individual molecules withing a simple nanite. The nanites have no means of moving themselves or doing any action except one, opening themselves and releasing the molecule they contain. The most basic versions are decades old, but since the patents expired the open source community has been refining the designs and opening up new uses, allowing the nanites to be opened upon receiving a mesh signal or upon contact with certain chemicals.

The paranoid often inject capsules containing antidotes, programming them to open upon contact with their poison, rendering them effectively immune. As a tool of assassination, blood capsules can be quite dramatic, as when a Pax Familae agent was able to inject capsules containing the necrosis nanotoxin, causing a horrific death by sudden, whole-body internal bleeding as his vessels were dissolved.

Capsules are commonly combined with DMSO for ease of application, especially if they are being applied against the subjects will.

Mechanics

Blood capsules are treated as chemicals [Low]

Blood capsules contain one dose of a drug, chemical or toxin, set to be released upon a pre-programmed condition, usually a signal by radio or mesh, contact with a specific chemical, or a simple timer.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

206. Radium Wine

Among synth-bound bio-conservatives, and wealthy enough to afford affectations, but not wealthy enough to resleeve into biomorphs, finding normal human analogues to the particular maintenance of their synth bodies is a popular obsession. The use of metabolic chambers is particularly popular, as it allows for a form of eating. Radium wine allows synths to fuel themselves from a wine bottle instead of a pump, containing a mixture of radioactives (for nuclear batteries) and pure alcohol (as liquid fuel). It is commonly served at the bars of hot zones where synths congregate, but is often restricted in other places due to the dangers of it being accidentally drunk by biomorphs.

Friday, July 24, 2015

205. Medusa-Locks

The replacing of hair with small, muscular fibers was originally conceived as an edge up in fashion. Those of the cyber/fashion avant-garde were soon sporting floating "hair" that could reshape itself, moving in reaction to it's wearers mood, or reaching out as if to caress passers by. The fibers, however, were inevitably thicker than actual hair, leading to an uncanny effect that prevented full acceptance by the general public.

Instead of attempting to overcome the problem by designing smaller fibers, one independent Extropian designer decided to embrace size, and began selling blueprints for a thicker and also stronger version, resembling dreadlocks. These tendrils appear like dreadlocks even from up close, an illusion that is only broken when they are used to pick up small objects. A group of Scum militia implanted their dreads with syringes of poison, as well as modifying them to resemble snakes, leading to them being called "medusa-locks".

Mechanics

Floating hair is [Trivial]

Medusa-locks are [Low]

Thursday, July 23, 2015

204. Introspection Cortex

Cognite receives the most attention for their uplift programs, but the development of mental augmentations is still one of their primary sources of revenue. One of their older products, yet still one of their top earners is the introspection cortex.

The introspection cortex, despite the name, is a supplementary network of connections between key areas of the brain (or, in cyberbrains, a simulation of such). The effect of the new network is bring the unconscious mind into the reach of consciousness. Users do not gain any direct control over the unconscious aspects of their mind, but do become directly aware of them. A user will have an intuitive understanding of the fact that, for example, their dislike of a person is due to them smelling similar to an old enemy, or that their bad mood has more to due with their diet than their current circumstances.

A bioware equivalent is in the works.

Mechanics

Introspection Cortex's are cyberware [Moderate]

Combining an introspection cortex with augmentations such as endocrine control or a feedback cortex may produce synergistic effects boosting their benefits by 5 - 10, at the GM's discretion.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

203. Virtue Plague

The virtue plague is an exsurgent strain that supercharges the brain's mirror neurons as well as greatly increasing human-to-human empathy. The infected are highly empathetic and strict pacifists, for which reason they are called the virtuous.

Among themselves the virtuous are extremely tightly bound, with their overactive empathy giving them a sharing of emotions that can resemble a group-mind. They maintain constant eye-contact with each other whenever practical, and typically share a mood when together. A constant deluge of stream-of-consciousness conversation is occasionally broken by periods of silence, when words are not needed.

To all others they are seldom seen, isolated, clannish, and paranoid pacifists. The bands of virtuous that form will seek isolated, unclaimed areas to live in, and do not threaten or interact with outside society at all. They will avoid contact with non-infected through any means up to (but not including) violence. If forced to interact with non-infected, they will attempt to due so via text, avoiding voices and face-to-face contact.

The virtuous often also exhibit echopraxia, and will also compulsively mouth words spoken near them.

Mechanics

The virtue plague is a biological strain, infecting biomorphs.

Stage 1: (Initial infection to one week) During the early stages of infection the virtuous become more friendlier, more empathetic, and more social in general.

Stage 2: (One week to two weeks) During this stage the virtuous' mood will begin to become unpredictable while in the company of others, their moods easily influenced. They will begin to seek the company of other virtuous.

Stage 3: (Two weeks+) At this stage the mental transformation is complete. The virtuous will form into tightly-knit communities of several dozen, seeking isolated places where they can live among themselves.

Plot Hook: A recently recovered datastore has information suggesting that this strain is the result of promethean experimentation with the exsurgent virus. It is hypothesized that the prometheans attempted to render the strain benign, but only partially succeeded, The players are tasked with investigating this possibility, with the understanding that the utmost discretion is required, so as not to endanger Firewall's relationship with the prometheans.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

202. Kessler Syndrome

Kessler syndrome was a specter for the space industries throughout the pre-Fall era. The amount of debris in orbit increased in step with the human presence in space, with orbital waste management taking larger and larger priority as humanity struggled to keep below the tipping point. Graveyard orbits became saturated, laser-brooms de-orbited loose, small objects, and specialized waste management vessels handled larger objects, but Earth's orbits were only barely being kept under the potential tipping points of a runaway cascade.

During the Fall, this careful management was entirely overpowered, as inter-orbital war between the great powers and then the TITANs engulfed the skies in broken or exploded ships, stations and space elevator pieces, as well as left behind orbital denial weapons systems and satellites. Earth orbit is a storm of colliding debris (each collision spreading yet more debris), ranging from fragments massing less than a gram to derelict ships, most in orbits fast enough that even small specks can cause damage.

No agent, TITAN or transhuman, has established a deliberate deliberate blockade of Earth, but it remains profoundly out of reach; the odds of landing on Earth are essentially zero, and even if you land, making it back to space is just as dangerous. Fear of TITAN attack and exsurgent infection remains high, and most habitats have rules forbidding the entrance of anyone or anything that has come directly from Earth.

Notes

Kessler syndrome can replace the deliberate interdiction through killsats in the setting.

Monday, July 20, 2015

201. Knitting Spores

The fibers of the knitting fungus spread throughout the body, encompassing everything beneath the skin in its weave. As a result, the bodies tissues hold themselves together more stubbornly, better resisting impacts, shocks, and the limiting damage to the wound itself. The spores are engineered not to damage organs with their growth, but this limits the speed of their growth, and they usually take ~2 months to fully spread. The spores would be destroyed by stomach acid if ingested, and would cause damage to the lungs if inhaled, so they are rubbed thoroughly into the skin, sending their initial sprouts through pores.

Mechanics

Knitting spores are bioware [Moderate]

Knitting spores increase wound threshold by one.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

200. Supercavitating Rounds

Supercavitating rounds are a smart ammo option for kinetic weapons using the principles of supercavitation to give ballistic rounds usable ranges and velocities underwater. Caps fitted tot eh tips of otherwise normal rounds vent stores of pressurized gas, eliminating most contact between the round and the water, and allowing bullets to reach almost their usual speeds. They can at times be difficult to procure, as the Hidden Concern does their best to corrupt or delete the blueprints.

Mechanics

Supercavitating rounds are smart ammo [Low]

Supercavitating rounds cannot be combined with other ammo types.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

199. Nostalgia

Nostalgia induces in its users exactly what it says on the tin, a distinct feeling of nostalgia. This designer drug takes the form of a cigarette, usually in an old-fashioned style. The drug is most popular among the ennui-heavy circles of hyperelite, although habitual mind-expanders often enjoy it as a down-tempo alternative to their usual cocktails.

Mechanics

Nostalgia is a drug [Trivial]

Type: Chem Application: INH Duration: 4 hours Addiction Modifier: -10 Addiction Type: Mental

At the GM's discretion, nostalgia may give +10 to art checks.

Friday, July 17, 2015

198. Bubblewrap

Bubblewrap was one of the earlier and is still one of the most successful brands of designer drug. Presented as domes of translucent material, bubblewrap is chewed like gum, slowly releasing the active chemicals. The drug is carefully designed to begin pleasant although subtle feedback loops within the brain, inducing a calm, meditative state.

Mechanics

Bubblewrap is a drug [Trivial]

Type: Chem Application: O Duration: 4 hours Addiction Modifier: - Addiction Type: Mental

At the GM's discretion, a character may lose 1 SV at the end of the duration.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

197. Stratification and Speciation

Transhumanism is a verb, an act of continued ascent towards something that it would be better to be. The paths that can be taken are determined by the paths that have been taken. The solar system is small, and although transhumanity is reeling from the Fall, competition is once again accelerating among the many types of exhumans, posthumans, ultimates, mercurials, infolife, and singularity seekers. Those who abstain from direct drives for transcendence differentiate more slowly but no less certainly; a Jovian's idea of what it means to "just carry on living" is a different thing from that of an extropian.

A mind that has achieved posthuman intelligence through psychosurgery is unlikely to think or strategize in the same way as a genetically improved Menton. Infomorphs may find less and less reason to remain in-step with the rest of transhumanity and increase the subjective speed of their simulations, out-thinking all others by virtue of speed. Forking is more likely to be experimented with by those in cyberbrains, if only due to convenience. The ability of biomorphs to heal and replicate still surpasses those of synths, could these be the building blocks of more social forms of intelligence? Each step allows for steps in new directions, directions other steps would not have allowed.

Eventually each train of development may come to its goal (if any), local maximums too difficult to overcome, or states of pleasing stability. In the deep future the self-improvement of individuals might give rise to lasting, identifiable types. There is not necessarily any reason to assume that "more advanced" types would erase those that came before; like in evolution, new forms can co-exist with the old in an ecosystem.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

196. Multi-Soldiers

Transhuman augmentation offers tremendous potential to military organizations, but augmentation isn't free and good morphs are certainly not cheap. Programs for standard augmentation, once the costs of surgery, downtime, and augment-usage training are factored in to the equation, can quickly become impractically expensive, even for hypercorps. Those augmentations that become standard are those whose benefits best outweigh their costs.

The multitasking augmentation, requiring only a cortical stack and therefore compatible with virtually all morphs, has become one of those standard augmentations. The primary disadvantage is the need for skilled soldiers, as forks have the skills of their originals and the most effective multitaskers will be those who can fill the roles of multiple types of specialists as well as typical soldiering.

The first fork is the most like a traditional soldier. This fork has direct control of the body, shooting, moving, and otherwise doing what a soldier would be expected to do. This fork is the only one with bodily control, and will typically be the only one using its senses as well.

The second fork maintains communications, tacnet, and operational awareness. This fork acts as a voice in the ears of the other two, giving important information, relaying orders, navigating, and keeping an eye on the situation as a whole and updating the others when needed. This fork typically spends its time in a simple VR environment containing tacnet feeds, communications, maps and other important sources of information.

The third fork typically specializes in infosec or bot-jamming, depending on what is needed. In the post-singularity battlefield hacking can be a powerful weapon, in the hands of one's enemies as well as oneself. An infosec specialist fork exploits weaknesses in enemy communications, but their primary task is typically defensive. It is also common for the third fork to be tasked as a bot-jammer, maintaining control of a small group of combat drones. A multitasking soldier who is actively fighting, maintaining situational awareness, and with control of several drones is as effective as a squad.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

195. Sato

`You figure they own that ninja, Finn?' Molly asked.
`Smith thought so.'
`Expensive,' she said. `Wonder whatever happened to that little ninja, Finn?'
`Probably got him on ice. Thaw when needed.'
Neuromancer

Direct Action is what people think of when the phrase "hypercorp military" is mentioned, but each hypercorp has its own forces, and that means more than just security. The Planetary Consortium does a better job of preventing inter-hypercorp conflict on some days than others, the Autonomists refuse to go away, and the system if full of a great diversity of smaller threats.

The Go-Nin Group's conglomerate, keiretsu structure does not lend itself to formal military structures. Likewise, no single company has the resources to maintain an aggressive force, and when they are convinced of the need for action, usually prefer the one-time cost . The Go-Nin "core", Tamahashi enterprise consultancy firm, feels much more strongly about the need for loyal, on-demand aggression. Sure, Ultimates are the consummate mercenaries, but that only allows for very specific type of trust. They therefore invested in Project Sato, the creation of a small but elite unit of special agents.

Sato is the generic name given to an indeterminate number of vat-grown ninja whose creation was the goal of the project. The Satos are amalgamations of delta forks, skillware, and psychosurgury; they are perfectly loyal, with a meditative attitude masking the fact that they have no motivations of their own. Typically sleeved in ghosts, they are never deployed in large groups, but their skills in combat and infiltration are unmatched.

Mechanics*

Morph: Ghost

COG 10 COO 30 INT 15 REF 30 SAV 15 SOM 20 WIL 15
MOX - INIT 9 SPD 1 LUC 30 TT 6 IR 60 DUR 45 WT 9 DR 68

Active Skills: Beam Weapons 60, Blades 75, Disguise 78, Fray 80, Freerunning 50, Impersonation 45, Infiltration 100, Intimidation 45, Kinesics 55, Kinetic Weapons 75, Perception 73, Spray Weapons 60, Throwing Weapons 60, Unarmed Combat 85

Knowledge Skills: Language: Japanese (native) 85, Language: English 80, Profession: Assassin 60, Profession: Bodyguard 60

Ego Traits: Anomalous Mind, Malleable Mind (Level 3)

Implants: Adrenal Boost, Anti-Glare, Basic Biomods, Basic Mesh Inserts, Bioweave Armor (Light), Cortical Stack, Chameleon Skin, Cyberclaws, Eelware, Enhanced Hearing, Enhanced Vision, Grip Pads, Muscle Augmentation, Neurachem (Level 1), Medichines, T-Ray Emitter

*Note that while I have built him as a character, Sato does not have motivations or rep, as he cannot actually be considered a person by even the most liberal definitions of the word.

Notes: Inspired by Hideo from William Gibson's Neuromancer. 

Monday, July 13, 2015

194. Post-Singularity Signage

Post-singularity signage has become a complex thing, having to account for augmented senses for most of the electromagnetic spectrum, as well augmented reality standards and more exotic forms of vision such as radiation, electrical activity or terahertz waves.

Signs have to be visually comprehensible and ideally eye-catching across as much of the electromagnetic spectrum as possible. New sign designs often incorporate not just contrasting colors, but contrasting densities of materials, materials conducting electricity or heat, and materials that emit small amounts of radiation or electromagnetic fields. Important warning signs are often given precedence over AR overlays, annoying at times but making it impossible to miss them.

Notes

Inspired in part by Anders Sandberg's Warning Signs for Tomorrow

Sunday, July 12, 2015

193. Life with Enhanced Hearing

Those who have lived with enhanced hearing for a significant length of time often learn to gauge their surroundings from background noise, such as an intuitive sense of the mood of a city based upon the amassed infrasound produced by daily activity, nearby movement even if relatively quiet, and the whine of active devices.

In many circles you have to have enhanced hearing to be considered a real music-lover. A great deal of the best and most interesting music being takes place in registers requiring enhanced hearing to really appreciate. Even old music, played live on real instruments, often sometimes gains new depths as high or low frequency sounds, previously unheard, are found to produce unintended patterns. Recorded music however, unless specifically recorded with enhanced hearing in mind, sounds oddly limited, like a black and white image.

Deprived of enhanced hearing feel as though the world has been muffled, and often develop anxiety related to reduced situational awareness.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

192. Smalls

Neotenics are resource efficient, requiring less space, food, water, and air than full-sized morphs, an advantage not to be underestimated in space. Their small size and general agility lends itself well to low and zero-g environments, and the youth-like plasticity of the brain lends itself well to augmentation. But no matter how many convincing arguments neotenic advocates use, it seems unlikely that they will ever overcome the stigma and assumed weirdness of sleeving as a child.

To overcome that stigma, Skineasthesia presents "smalls", reduced size versions of adult biomorphs. Skineasthesia's patented biological miniaturization techniques ensure the best of both worlds; the well refined genetic superiority of exalts with the small size, agility and resource efficiency of neotenics (for those looking to recreate neotenic advantages entirely, we recommend plasticity treatments).

Mecahnics

Implants: Basic Biomods, Basic Mesh Inserts, Cortical
Stack
Aptitude Maximum: 25 (SOM), 30 (all else)
Durability: 30
Wound Threshold: 6
Advantages: +5 COG, +5 COO,+5 to two aptitudes of the player’s choice; smalls count as a small target (–10 modifier to hit in combat)
CP Cost: 25
Credit Cost: Expensive (25,000+)
Notes

Inspired by the smalls from Kim Stanley Robinson's 2312.

Friday, July 10, 2015

191. Acquisitions

These are simplified rules for using rep (based in part on the acquisition rules from Rogue Trader). These rules replace the usual rep and networking rules, using networking only for favors, and rep only for equipment, or burning for automatic successes. This way all favor/acquisition tests are reduced to a single die roll, with no bookkeeping required for factors such as refresh rates.

To acquire equipment, roll against your rep with the following modifiers for cost
Trivial +20 Low +10 Moderate - High -10 Expensive -20

To seek a favor, roll against your networking with the following modifiers for level
Trivial +20 Low +10 Moderate - High -10 Expensive -20

Other modifiers, such as "keeping quiet", can still apply.

Players can burn rep to automatically succeed at either rolls with the following costs
Trivial Low Moderate High Expensive 5

Thursday, July 9, 2015

190. Kaiju Therapy

One of the first petals created, kaiju therapy dates back to the days before petals established themselves as hardcore drugs and were explored as a means of harmless entertainment or psychological regimens. Kaiju therapy, as the name suggests, was designed as a a form of or supplement to therapy, designed to make users feel powerful and give them an outlet for relieveing stress.

Users of kaiju therapy find that, although no physical change actually occurs, they sense their bodies as becoming much larger. At the same time their bodies mutate into monstrous forms suggested by their subconscious. They hallucinate that their surroundings have become a cityscape; one which they are free to stomp through and destroy.

These days kaiju therapy is used primarily for entertainment.

Mechanics

Kaiju therapy is a petal [Moderate]

Type: Nano Application: O Duration: 4 hours Addiction Modifier: - Addiction Type: Mental

Sweets

Destroy a monumental building and the petal will pick out an open source book on architecture, interior design, or construction for you to read.

Defeat another monster in a wrestling match and you will receive blueprints for a small action figure of your kaiju self.

Take a nap instead of any of that and you will receive notice that the petal has purchased a coffee for you at the nearest convenient location.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

189. Agonizing Art

Agonizing Art/Snuff Art/Mortification is an art movement that arose shortly after the Fall, and although it never had a large number of practitioners and has been dwindling as we get farther from the Fall, it dominated early post-Fall the art scene. The Fall casts a dominating shadow over the psychology of transhumanity, something that can be seen very well in art. Some artists reacted tot eh Fall by remembering what was lost, lovingly painting romantic Earth landscapes. Others prefer to pull their trauma from themselves and display it, taking advantage of resleeving technologies to bring torture and death into their work. Typically performance pieces, agonizing art seeks to condense the traumas of the Fall into single symbolic acts of mutilation or suicide.

Plot Hook: A recent piece on display in an Extropian plaza consists of a flat (the artist's birth body, supposedly) pierced through the abdomen and suspended in clear plastic. A fork of the artist's ego is inhabiting the morph, and is happy to discuss his piece at length, even as the wound has gone septic and he slowly dies. The artist's commentary suggest that he has some special insight into the nature of the exsurgent virus. Firewall tasks the players with discovering this information.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

188. Assassins

One of the more common petals, and apparently based upon a popular AR game of the same name, Assassins is unusual in that is was seemingly identify to be purely fun, but is at the same time one of the most dangerous of petals. As in the AR game, each user is given a target, as well as becoming the target of another user. Users die when they are "killed" by another user, using special AR weapons.

The danger of use comes from the psychological effects of the petal. Although it sounds like a harmless game, to the users it becomes entirely real. They become very genuinely afraid for their lives, willing to take great risks to flee their assassin. Many users do not even have the resolve to pursue their targets, and simply hole up as best they can. Those tracked down by their assassin will fight for their lives, and although the AR weapons are not real, injuries are not uncommon. Those who are killed take 1d10 stress from what seems like a real death and the rapid end of the trip.

Mechanics

Assassins is a petal [Moderate]

Type: Nano Application: O Duration: 24 hours Addiction Modifier: - Addiction Type: Mental

Sweets

Successfully kill one of your targets and you will receive blueprints for a unique patch.

Be the last one standing and you will receive the blueprints for biter smart ammo.

Kill every other users (no other user can make a kill) and you will receive blueprints for a unique wasp knife.

Monday, July 6, 2015

187. Savorynges

Famous as the first entirely new fruit, engineered from the ground up as opposed to being a modified version of an existing one, Savorynges are unlike any other fruit. Designed to contain large amounts of protein and to have a long shelf life, they are surprisingly dry, with a texture commonly described as being as much like bread as like fruit. In taste they are like an apricot/orange mix. A bit of an acquired taste, they have nonetheless become popular due to their hardiness.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

186. Evolution Box

Evolution Box is a Titanian microcorp specializing in refining other company's designs through evolutionary algorithms and simulations. Provided with a simulspace version of a design, their specialists will simulate semi-random situations testing the design, with a genetic algorithm combining successes and adding mutations to each generation.

Plot Hook: A minor inner system corp has sent a design to Evolution Box for refinement. One of their competitors asks a player to steal a copy of the design as a c-rep favor.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

185. Profession: Security-Ecologist

One of the strategies of the Planetary Consortium/Autonomist Alliance cold war that is common to both sides is autonomous sabotage. Gremlins are the weapon of choice, designed to disrupt the enemies actions, slow their economy and waste their resources. An arms race has developed, each side attempting to develop countermeasures to the other's gremlins while seeking to design new gremlins that will overcome their enemies new countermeasures. Many gremlins are capable of reproducing, and many others are designed by automatic evolutionary algorithms. Their countermeasures are also often self-reproductive and designed by automatic evolutionary algorithms; on some autonomist stations they are set up to deliberately mimic predator-prey relationships, with bots preying on gremlins and allowed to reproduce themselves according to their success.

This cycle is repeated with almost any widespread and actively used security system. The gremlin ecologies develop relatively slowly, being bound by physical replication, but it is common wisdom that you should re-install your mesh security software regularly before it develops into something incomprehensible. The results of the arms race and automated evolution is often best modeled as an ecological system, and neither side has full knowledge of what has developed.

Specialized in the complex relationships that form between automated, self-improving security systems and their aggressors, security-ecologists are trained first and foremost to be able to identify the roles of unique security systems and their roles within the ecological system that has developed, and then to exploit that knowledge int eh pursuit of either shoring up security or defeating it.

Mechanics

Profession: Security-Ecologist can be taken as a knowledge skill.

Friday, July 3, 2015

184. Dr. Lucy Michaels

Dr. Lucy first came into medicine as a paramedic, working first in her home town and then as part of a nation-wide response team to climate events. She began to notice the usefulness of medical augmentations, particularly early medichines, and eventually entered medical school with the intention of building a career developing new bioware. Her expertise as a surgeon and augementicist earned her a spot on an evacuation ship during the Fall, and she migrated to Extropia to persue her fortune in biotech.

She found early success in the pursuit of a eudaimonia gland, the patents for which earned her a fortune. She made her name, however, in her development of techniques for self-surgery, both with and without waldoes. Dr. Lucy Michaels is well known as the host of the popular "Self Improvement" and "DIY Augmentation with Dr. Michaels" shows, broadcast from Extropia weekly, created to advertise bioware and advance transhuman memes.

Mechanics

Morph: Menton

Motivations: +Helping Others, +Morphological Freedom, +Science

COG 30 COO 10 INT 25 REF 10 SAV 25 SOM 10 WIL 20
MOX - INIT SPD LUC 40 TT IR 80 DUR 35 WT DR 53

Active Skills: Animal Handling 45, Disguise 55, Hardware: Implants 55, Impersonation 45, Kinesics 68, Medicine: Biosculpting 75, Medicine: General Practice 70, Medicine: Implant Surgery 70, Medicine: Paramedic 75, Networking: Media 75, Networking: Scientists 45, Perception 85, Persuasion 75, Protocol 65

Knowledge Skills: Academics: Genetics 90, Academics: Microbiology 70, Art: Bodysculpting 65, Art: Broadcasting 70, Interest: Cutting Edge Technology 70, Language: English (Native) 95, Profession: Lab Technician 70, Profession: Medical Care 75

Reputation: 60 f-rep, 40 c-rep, 35 @-rep

Implants: Basic Biomods, Basic Mesh Inserts, Clean Metabolism, Cortical Stack, Direction Sense, Eudaimonia Gland, Eidetic Memory, Enhanced Respiration, Enhanced Pheromones, Hyper Linguist, Math Boost, Temperature Tolerance, Toxin Filters, Medichines

Thursday, July 2, 2015

183. Stoking the Firebrands

The Planetary Consortium's approach to their cold war with the Autonomist Alliance is to treat them like pests or vermin. They may never be eliminated entirely, but they can be managed, suppressed, and kept from power. To the minds of the PC, the greatest weakness of the autonomists is that the disorder of their sociopolitical systems is only a step away from a breakdown into proper discord, balkanization and isolation.

To this end, PC memeticists have maintained a powerful memetic campaign. Rather than attempt to convince automists of the PC's views, moderate them and draw them towards compromise, the campaign seeks to radicalize all possible ideologies, driving wedges into autonomist communities. These memes are designed to support almost all ideological positions, encouraging stronger and stronger views, or else to make finer and finer distinctions within ideological groups, causing fractures among those previously united.

Plot Hook: PC memeticists have been carefully raising paranoia among autonomists regarding crypto-facist conspiracies not unlike Firewall in organization. Firewall needs a team to perform a raid/hack mission to determine if the memeticists have information on Firewall, and whether this might be an Ozma ploy to attack Firewall.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

182. Sleepers

Transhumanity can be considered to be in the middle of a large cold war. The battle of Locus demonstrated the great difficulties of conquest against post-singularity peoples, but the inner and outer systems have certainly not given up on their rivalry. The Planetary Consortium is continually seeking to destabilize the Autonomist Alliance, while the autonomists seek to undermine the PC and hypercorps from below by inciting sabotage and rebellion.

One of the most active weapons in the autonomist arsenal are the sleepers. The inner-system economies rely heavily on infugees, much more so than anyone else. Infugee databases should be well protected, and infugees should be subject to careful screenings, but of course no security is perfect. It has become common practice for anarchist firebrands to hack into infugee databases and copy into it a fork of themselves. They then do their best to be a good candidate for an indenture contract. At whichever job they end up, they will attempt to sabotage industry, incite rebellion amongst their fellow indentures, assassinate key figures, and in general take advantage of any opportunity to undermine the PC.

Sleepers are typically given a programmed identity.

Plot Hook: Anti-Autonomist factions within Firewall see attempts to destabilize the PC as potential x-threats due to the high likelihood of war, economic collapse and balkanization in the event of success. The players are tasked with preventing the assassination of a particularly important hyperelite executive, but the executive cannot know of the player's intervention.

Plot Hook: An anarchist sleeper saboteur has plans to disable key elements of a Direct Action munitions fabrication site, and calls on an @-rep favor from one of the players for help.