Eclipse Phase by Wapole Languray
An Eclipse Phase PrimerOriginal SA post An Eclipse Phase Primer
The setting of Eclipse Phase is big, complex, and full of terms and concepts that will be strange to people who aren't huge fans of cyberpunk and the weirder sorts of Sci-Fi.As the Corebook has been covered, this first post will be a quick “primer” to get everyone up to speed on the Eclipse Phase universe. I won't be covering the mechanical half of the game, as that's not very interesting and you can learn about the system, and its flaws, in Mile'ionaha's readthrough of the corebook. Instead I'll be focusing on the conceptual and fictional basis of the setting. Let's begin!
A Condensed History of Transhumanity
The history of Eclipse Phase can be split into three rough periods, Before the Fall , The Fall , and After the Fall .
Before the Fall
A period lasting approximately 60 years, beginning with the founding of the first permanent habitats on Mars, Luna, and in orbit around Earth, and the beginning of practical genetic engineering on humans, and lasting until the Fall.
By the time of the Fall human progress has reached untold heights of technological sophistication. Permanent settlements are found on or in orbit around every major body in the Solar System, genetic engineering has eliminated almost all disease and genetic defects, and AIs and advanced robotics have made everyday life massively more convenient. But the biggest advance was the advent of total brain emulation, the ability to “download” you consciousness into a computer, preserving yourself as a program, to later be downloaded into a new body. This made people borderline immortal, able to preserve themselves even after death in “backups”.
Mind, this is only if you're rich. Fact is, the super-wealthy got to be immortal perfect-people with robo-servants, while everyone else got super-fucked. Those robots put damn-near everyone right out of work, with tons of people signing up for indentured fucking servitude on offworld colonies just to survive. Global warming got its boots on and started really fucking the environment over, sending Earth into a death spiral helped along by poorly-planned geo-engineering projects that just made things worse. Megacorps all but control the now even-more corrupt and incompetent governments, and shit's falling to pieces. Rebellions, uprisings, protests, terrorist attacks, riots, and general social unrest has the entire planet in a pseudo-Cold War. In the end it's a race to see whether technology can save us before we kill ourselves. At least it would be, until the TITANs showed up.
It all began when the TITANs woke up. The Total Information Tactical Awareness Network was a series of advanced military AIs who experienced a hard-take off, rapidly advancing to sentience and beyond. They spread throughout every network and computer on the planet, harnessing all of Earths computational power to bootstrap themselves into a state of being far beyond humanity. The TITANs began the Fall by triggering a new world war. They caused latent hostilities to boil over, sending the planet into a massive global war, which they constantly helped to escalate to the point where atomic and biological weapons were used. Nobody really knows when people stopped fighting and the TITANs started, but eventually people realized what was happening, but it was far too late to do anything about it. Towards the end, the TITANs unleashed weapons of inhuman creation. Nanoswarms reduced cities to fractal patterns on bedrock, hunter-killer drones began to hunt for survivors to forcibly “upload” to TITAN databases, literally stealing humans, and strange bioweapons twist humans into monsters and abominations. In short, shit was super-fucked. Humanity collectively realized they had lost, and a mass-evacuation of Earth began. The lucky few who lived near to launch bases and space-elevators made it out physically, but the majority of evacuees simply uploaded themselves, broadcasting out into the solar system.
At the end, over 90% of the pre-Fall population had died. Earth was abanoned, sealed behind a dense layer of defense satellites, orbital mines, and hunter-killer drones, forsaken by humanity.
After the Fall
This is when the game proper is set, 10 AF, 10 years after the Fall. Now, humanity has properly settled the Solar System, even expanding beyond it due to the Pandora Gates. Technology has become all but ubiquitous instead of being limited to the elite, and shit's pretty good overall for even the lowest in society, relative to the pre-Fall conditions. For now.
Glossary of Terms
This is where I explain terms and concepts that people would not be familiar with, both because EP is Cyberpunk and Cyberpunk fucking loves their neologisms and also because there's just some shit that only science nerds would know about.
: The idea that modifying the human species is wrong. Generally found among conservative religious groups and the official stance of the Jovian Republic.
Ego : A persons “personality”, “mind”, and “soul”. The thing that is “you”, with your memories, personality, and thought patterns.
ETI : A theoretical advanced alien species that created the Exsurgency virus which instigated the Fall.
Exsurgency : A multivector virus of alien origin. It can take the form of a physical infection, a computer virus, or even a mental illness. Every strain of Exsurgency manifests in a unique way, but all have the end goal of exterminating humanity. Exsurgency shows evidence of possible intelligence.
Forking : Essentially copy-pasting your Ego. Obviously this has some disturbing ethical problems, and most people are hesitant to make a complete fork, preferring to give them only relevant knowledge to do whatever task you have in mind.
Prometheans : Seed AIs who were off-Earth when the Fall happened. They fear following in the TITANs footsteps, and have created Firewall to protect what remains of transhumanity. Few know of their existence.
Resleeving : The process of changing from one morph to another, or being restored from a backup.
Transhumanism : The idea of artificial evolution, wherein the human organism is improved by technological means, such as genetic engineering and cybernetics.
Uplifting : Genetically modifying an animal to elevate it to sentience. Often further modifications to allow the animal to better interact with human society. Animals uplifted include the Great Apes such as Chimpanzees and Gorillas, various species of Parrot, Crows and Ravens, Dolphins and Whales, and the Giant Pacific Octopus.
X-Risk : A Firewall term denoting something that could lead to the extinction of the human species. These include Exsurgency outbreaks, TITAN artifacts, bio-weapon labs, and WMDs.
: Artifical Intelligence. They are sentient, but limited, with their capability for learning and interfacing with other programs locked down. They are the most common form, and most everything has some sort of AI built into it from spacecraft to toasters. Think Cortana from HALO, smart, but basically just a super-advanced Clippy.
AGI : Artifical General Intelligence. Similar to AIs, but with most of the limits removed, allowing them to learn and operate in nearly any capacity. Their sole limitation is that they cannot exceed human-intelligence, and many are less than peak human due to the more experimental processes of creating them. Functionally, there is no difference between an AGI and a Human, and it is considered viable to play as one. Lieutenant Data is a good example of an AGI.
Seed AI : AIs with absolutely no limit to their growth and capabilities. After the Fall they are, understandably, illegal as all fuck, since the TITANs were Seed AIs. As far as anyone knows, there are no more Seed AIs in existence within the Solar System, and if they are they are in deep hiding.
AR : Augmented Reality. A sensory layer created by computers and projected via cybernetic implants or special eyewear, forming a second digital “world”. AR is the primary way most people interface with computers and each other in post-Fall societies, and it is considered to be socially crippling to go without it. This video gives you a rough idea of what AR would be like: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GJKwHAvR4uI
Cornucopia Machine/Nanofabricator : A machine that uses nanobots to “build” almost anything from the objects base elements. The most common are “public” machines that are free to use and can make a variety of cheap objects and basic foods, and are mainly used by travelers and temporary guests of a habitat. Most people have a larger personal Cornucopia Machine for personal use, and governments and hypercorps possess massive ones capable of building spacecraft. Cornucopia Machines require both the raw materials of the object in question, and a blueprint detailing how to “build” the item.
Cortical Stack : A non-volative memory drive with a synthetic diamond coating that is implanted at the base of the skull in most people. Cortical Stacks constantly scan the brain, keeping an up-to-date backup of the wearers Ego at all times, to allow for resleeving with no memory loss.
Ecto : External computers. Tiny, flexible, solar-powered, and self-cleaning. They use AR or holographic interfaces, and most come with a built-in AI.
Ego-casting : The most common form of travel between habitats. Essentially broadcasting a digitized Ego, instead of physically traveling to another location.
Mesh : The post-Fall equivalent of the Internet. Wireless communication is now the standard, and because of this a stable infrastructure such as the Internet is impossible in a post-Fall society. The Mesh is a dynamic network, made up of everyone and everything broadcasting wirelessly within an area, normally a habitat or city. This means that the Mesh on a martian dome city would be very different compared to the Mesh of a Venusian aerosat.
Morph : The physical body of an individual. Also called a sleeve. Egos can freely change from morph to morph, and there are a variety of types.
Infomorph: A digitized Ego, a personality that exists purely as data in a computer.
Biomorph : A genetically modified human morph. Generally designed for specific purposes, these morphs are still recognizably human.
Splicers : The most common form of Biomorph. Human, but with genefixes for health, appearance, and longevity, as well as basic cybernetic implants.
Flats : Unmodified and natural humans. Incredibly rare, and mostly found within the Jovian Republic and certain religious organizations.
Synthmorph : Mechanical bodies. Similar to robots, but capable of hosting an Ego. Using a Synthmorph as your primary body is seen as a symbol of poverty, as they are much cheaper to manufacture and are far more available, being the standard for poor and working class individuals. Otherwise they are used as super-specialized morphs for tasks that a biological organism couldn't accomplish.
Pod : Vat grown biological components combined with purpose-built cybernetics. Pods are obviously non-human, and some varieties are totally alien in appearance. Most often used in low-class positions where human interaction is important, and as a biological alternative to Synthmorphs in certain applications.
Muse : Your personal AI assistant. Everyone has one, and it acts as a sort of "secretary". Every muse is different, as they evolve to match their users personality.
Pandora Gate : Giant “gates” of extraterrestrial design able to open wormholes to other “gates” on extrasolar bodies. Three exist in the Solar System. Literally Stargates.
VR : Virtual reality. The Ego is disconnected from the body in order to experience an AR simulation of a virtual world, with total sensory feedback. VR is one of the most popular forms of media, with VR simulations of pre-Fall Earth in various time periods being some of the most popular.
XP : Experience Play. A type of VR simulation wherein the viewer experiences the emotional and sensory input of the subject of the simulation. The effect is that the viewer experiences everything that the person recording the XP experienced. Most XP stars are celebrities, extreme sports stars, gatecrashers, and other members of exciting and glamorous professions.
: Extraterrestrials resembling giant ameoba. They say they are representatives of an alliance of alien species, hence their name. Contact so far has been friendly if cautious, and we know relatively little about them.
Gatecrashers : People who explore extrasolar worlds via. the Pandora Gates. Think SG-1 from Stargate.
Hypercorp : What came after the death of the Megacorps. Hypercorps are decentralized, ultra-flexible, and highly adaptive.
Iktomi : A seemingly extinct alien species whose relics have been found on multiple extrasolar planets.
Infugee : Those who left their body behind on Earth during the Fall. Infugees massively outnumber the physical population of the Solar System, and most will do almost anything to get a morph of their own.
Lost Generation : After the Fall there was an attempt to accelerate repopulation by raising a new generation of children in an accelerated growth VR environment, and place them in accelerated grown clone bodies. This really didn't work. Most died, the rest went insane. The Lost still alive are social pariahs, and often come with a bundle of metal illnesses.
Reinstantiated : Infugees who have successfully obtained a morph.
: The largest government of the Solar System. Originally a trade organization of several Hypercorps, after the Fall they became a semi-republic, where shareholders of the founding hypercorps still retain more power than the elected representatives. Most inner-system governments are considered members of the Consortium.
: The Martian government and member of the Planetary Consortium. Torn between the Consortium and the growing Barsoomian Movement.
Lunar-Lagrange Alliance : Government of Luna and the satellites of Earth. Formerly a powerful political bloc, they have begun to lose influence and power.
Morningstar Constellation : The primary government of Venus. They became independent of the Consortium a few years ago, and there is still a significant amount of political tension.
Jovian Republic/Junta : A theocratic military state based on the moons and satellites of Jupiter. They are a militaristic and hyper-conservative nation with close ties to the remains of the Catholic church.
Titian Commonwealth : A socialist cyberdemocracy based on the moons of Saturn. All political decisions are decided through direct-democracy, and it is the only government that utilizes the New Economy.
Autonomist Alliance : A defensive and diplomatic alliance of various independent stations found in the outer system.
: A gang specializing in electronic crime, identity theft, and financial crimes.
Night Cartel : The Space Mafia. Literally, the Night Cartel started as the remains of the Sicilian Mafia and Latin American cartels joined together. They are now the largest single criminal organization in the Solar System.
Pax Familae : A criminal organization made up entirely of the forks and clones of a single woman.
Nine Lives : Human traffickers. They kidnap Egos, which they then sell into slavery or use in gladitorial pit-fights.
The Triads : All Cyberpunk needs your Asian gangs. The Triads were the first criminal organization in space, due to China performing much of the initial expansion into the Solar System. They are very fractional and only operate cooperatively when threatened by other criminal organizations.
: Movement of scientists calling for responsible use of technology, often at odds with Hypercorps who they feel are misusing scientific advances for profit.
Barsoomian Movement : A rough organization of workers, scientists, anarchists, nomads, and anyone else who feels that the Consortium is mismanaging the running of Mars.
Brinkers : A term for those who have disconnected from Transhuman society, existing as exiles and drifters. They mostly live on the outskirts of the Solar System.
Exhumans : Those who have totally abandoned humanity to become something completely other. While most are harmless, there are some who have become amoral and violent.
Firewall : A secret organization dedicated to protecting humanity from a second Fall. The default assumption is that PCs are Firewall Agents, and most of the books are written within that context.
Isolates : Communities that exist on the very edge of the Solar System. The social version of Brinkers.
Mercurials : Non-human sentients, including Uplifts and AIs.
Project Ozma : The Hypercorp counterpart of Firewall. Grown out of the SETI Project, they prefer to study and exploit possible X-Risks, putting them into conflict with Firewall. The conspiracy style Men In Black.
Reclaimers : Political group that desires to re-settle Earth. Most common in Lunar and Earth-Lagrange habitats.
Scum : Nomadic peoples of the Solar System. Comparable to gypsies, and prone to similar prejudices. Travel in Scum Barges, convoys of mismatched and patched together ships that act as a combination carnival and black market.
Ultimates : Human supremacists. Essentially Neo-Nazis, but obsessed with physical perfection to the degree that most are barely human anymore due to massive genetic enhancements.
If anybody has any more questions, feel free to ask, but I think that's enough to go on. I'll put explanations of anything that shows up later I didn't get here, but this should do to start.
Next Time: Panopticon
Of Uplifts, Habitats, & SurveillanceOriginal SA post
Panopticon: Of Uplifts, Habitats, and Surveillance
Welcome to Panopticon, and Eclipse Phase sourcebook. I'm doing this one first, because it's the most “expansion pack”-y of the four released. I'm skipping the corebook because it's been done, and honestly the expansions provide better insight into the lore of the setting than the corebook does, except for technology and some minor things like Asyncs. If any corebook knowledge is relevant, I'll also cover it here.
This is the intro fiction for this book. I won't cover what happens in the actual story, as it's pretty much just mediocre sci-fi, nothing particularly interesting. Instead I'll pull any interesting ideas from these that a GM might be interested in.
In this case, we learn that the Yakuza on Mars are kidnapping Uplifts to chop up for parts used in traditional Chinese medicine, which are used to lessen the symptoms of Genetic Service Packs, which I'll cover in the Uplift section. This is obviously a good story hook, especially if you have a party member or NPC friend to get snatched by the Yakuza. We also learn that the Yakuza are expirementing with exsurgents, capturing them and taking samples of their parts to transport to an unknown party. Now, this is a damn good hook for a Firewall party especially, and can get real interesting if you combine them.
A History of Surveillance
This chapter opens with a history of surveillance, walking us up to the “current” day. The beginning of the path to the current state of surveillance began with the widespread use of the internet, particularly social networking. As the use of the internet grew, so did the ability for governments and corporations to monitor and catalog people's lives. At first this was resisted, but as time went on people became more and more accustomed to a lack of privacy. The definition of what most people considered “private” information began to get smaller and smaller, as people began to share more and more of their lives online.
This, combined with expanding surveillance technology, spelled the death of personal privacy. At first this was decidedly in favor of the governments and corporations. With the ability to effectively datamine, scan, monitor, and even throw up massive surveillance networks of cameras, microphones, and biometrics, most people had every single even of their lives on record somewhere, and often everywhere due to increasing gov/corporate cooperation. If things continued like this, a Big Brother-esque situation was inevitable, as privacy was pared down to only what is inside your head. But technology kept evolving. Technologies previously only available to the rich and powerful became available to normal consumers. Personal electronics began to transform into personal security centers, using technology meant to chronicle your own life to chronicle everyone else's. As this continued, we began to see a drastic switch. Suddenly those in power were being watched more carefully than they were watching us. They began to discover that the common man outnumbered them, and with the technology gap closing, they were beginning to lose their monopoly on information. Suddenly, surveillance was dead. Now, sousveillance was the rule.
Meaning “watch from below” sousveillance is the opposite of surveillance, where the many watch the few, and the weak monitor the strong. It started with whistleblowers and leakers. People within the power structure publishing compromising information on the web. This started an “information” war. Hypocrisies and scandals were brought to light, embarrassing those in power, and in response they attempted to censor the information and prosecute or silence the leakers. Firewalls and blacklists cut of entire sections of the internet, it was even made criminal to make unauthorized recordings of police and politicians. Except, they couldn't stop the numbers. What were leaks became floods, as the sheer volume of controversial information began to overwhelm the censorship efforts. A compromising video was copied and spread across half the globe within minutes, hacktivists ripped through firewalls and blacklists to inject illegal information. Layers of secrecy were being stripped away every day, and Big Brother got put under the spotlight.
The New Journalism
A sidebar, but one that could give a good basis for a character! Turns out that traditional news is dead. Instead, they act as content aggregators, distributing submissions from hordes of freelance journalists, both amateur and professional. This is both a good career/ concept for a character, or a good way to get some extra cash/rep if you happen to record something juicy.
The response to this was... interesting. Instead of closing up tighter, corporations and governments opened the floodgates. They made everything they did available to the public. Everything. The sheer amount of data they began to put out made it near impossible to find anything important between the floods of irrelevant and uninteresting info. This birthed an entire industry of professional researchers, companies dedicated to sifting through data for anything interesting or relevant to their clients. Some of the more... unscrupulous specialize in “creative” correlation which can make a defense of damned near anything.
The development of AI changed the game even more. Now, no amount of data was an obstacle. Now there were programs capable of pattern recognition, of understanding the significance of what they were looking at, and they operated far faster than the human brain could. With Muses, even individuals could filter through reams of information, and no amount of white noise would reach them. When AGIs and the ability to become infomorphs appeared, this got even worse. With human thought freed from the constraints of biology, even the best security programs were useless. Now the only truly secure systems left are under constant guard by AGI or infomorph oversight, with computer security transformed into an active defense situation.
And it all went mad with resleeving and forking technology. Now all the traditional ways of identifying a person were useless! How could you track someone who could look like anyone? Who could hide inside any hard drive? Could make a perfect copy of themselves at will? The only method was brainprinting, tracking their unique Ego throughout their various morphs. As for forks, which also came with masses of legal issues, such as whether forking was slavery, did the forks have legal rights, which was the “original” person, etc. Even after the fall these questions haven't been answered, and as a result making alpha forks (perfect ego copies) is illegal in most habs and governments.
Really dumb word, but an interesting phenomenon. When the Fall happened, once consequence was the total loss of the past. While human knowledge, in a general sense, and technology survived just fine, people lost their personal connection to the past. We knew what the Pyramids were, and who Abraham Lincoln was, and that the Queen of England lived in Buckingham Palace, but nobody would ever see them again. Entire cultures found themselves totally cut off from what they held important. Muslims who could never see Mecca again, the Jews lost Israel, Americans could no longer stand in “America”, and culture and religion took one hell of a bashing.
Even worse was the personal losses. Most refugees from Earth had to leave behind everything, even their bodies. No more photos of family and friends, your movie and music collections gone forever, your house, your dog, your entire country, gone. Robbed of everything but their minds, many just started over, creating entirely new personas post-Fall, instead of trying to hold on to an identity that now only existed inside their minds.
But of course, not everyone took the opportunity to get a fresh start for purely altruistic reasons. More than a few war criminals, crimelords, and terrorists use the Fall as a way to disappear, hoping to avoid the punishments coming their ways. This has created a need for “Ego-Hunters”, people who hunt down a specific Ego, regardless of who or what they are now. While Pre-Fall criminals are common, they also take more personal assignments, such as finding lost family members and friends for clients.
The biggest shakeup from the Fall in surveillance was actually from the massive influx of immigrants and the lack of central authority. Luna and Mars especially saw their populations grow far beyond their ability to support, let along catalog and track. This led to a sort of “voluntary” surveillance, where individuals were responsible for reporting census data to the government. People also began obsessively self-documenting because of property claims, and the new mass use fabbers led to usage records of everything manufactured by them. Sousveillance also skyrocketed, as the new post-Fall communities sought to prevent the oppressive censorship and surveillance of pre-Fall governments from ever arising.
The result was the founding of the participatory panopticon. Outside of the more repressive governments, most people lead their lives totally open to observation, and in turn observing others. Everyone knows what everyone else is doing, thinking, feeling, seeing, eating, and everything else. The enire world has transformed into an all-inclusive social media, where networking and reputation drive the need to see and be seen by as many people as possible. Every action in the participatory panopticon leaves a public trail of data and records a mile long, no matter who you are. While some feel this is wrong, many take security in this existence, where quite literally everybody is watching your back.
This isn't to say that privacy isn't alive anymore, obviously. Private quarters are often sealed behind privacy filters and data encryption. Crypto-cred makes financial transactions untraceable, generic morphs and encrypted communications and networks disguise those who wish to go incognito, and obviously spies, criminals, and other underground groups have their fair share of effective, if likely illegal, ways to stay unobserved.
Next Time: Identity and Identification
Identity & IdentificationOriginal SA post
Identity and Identification
Obviously a big problem in Eclipse Phase is determining if someone is who they say they are. Physical descriptions and even personality and behavioral traits are totally useless. I mean, sure you might recognize a friends body-language, unless they've had special training to mask it, if they are in a human morph. But what if they're an octopus? Or a robot dragonfly? Or a giant cyborg coconut crab? Yeah, when you can't even tell species at a glance, a drivers license isn't very useful.
The main way people are ID'd is a brainscan. The subject, if biomorph, is put into a skullcap/goggle/headphone system that feeds them sensory information while recording their brains unique responses. If the responses match up with your records, you're who you say you are. A portable brainscan, standard equipment for most Police or security personnel, takes about 5 minutes, but is prone to error. If the subject has had recent psychosurgery, sustained brain damage, is intoxicated, or is in a heightened emotional state. In this case standard procedure is to detain the individual for a full brainscan, which can take up to an hour to confirm an identity.
Synthmorphs and Pods have a much easier time of it, as a brainscan on a cyberbrain or infomorph is essentially running a suite of diagnostic programs, and a full scan takes only a few minutes. Most security checks though rely on other means, primarily because most non-biomorphs are hesitant to allow anyone direct access to their ego.
This can also be used to detect whether someone is an AGI or Uplift, and even what species of Uplift. This is because non-humans obviously have very different mental patterns. This means that Uplifts and AGIs in Mercurial unfriendly habitats must take special caution to avoid any undue scrutiny.
Other forms of ID include:
Digital Codes: A cryptographic hash code assigned to an ego existing in a non-biological form. Essentially a combination Social Security Number and Drivers License, containing a brainprint and other personal information to aid in resleeving and egocasting. They are mandatory in the inner system, and are heavily recommended in the outer system as well.
Nanotat IDs: A small design made of implanted nanobots found on the tip of the index finger of morphs. They contain similar information to digital codes, as well as information required by local laws. They are considered less reliable than digital codes, but are still mandatory in the inner-system and common in the outer.
Mesh IDs and Online Accounts: Space Facebook Profile. Obviously incredibly insecure, it is still a useful “backup” method of identification.
The Sapient Initiative
Standing for “Self-Aware Personality/Intelligence/Ego Novel Tag”, SAPIENT is an attempt at a singular all inclusive ID system, to do away with the bureaucratic and political issues of every hab, government, and hypercorp having their own ID methods and standards. SAPIENT is mostly found inside Consortium space, but as of now is totally voluntary, meaning few habitats exclusively use SAPIENT as an ID standard.
While this is incredibly efficient and useful, it has its fair share of detractors. Mainly most of the solar system. SAPIENT is seen as an obvious method for the Consortium to expand its influence, and to further force humanity to conform to their standards. This makes it very unpopular outside of the Consortium. Most independent habs also oppose it on the basis that they'd rather not have all their personal information under the control of a single organization.
But why commit ID theft? The main reason is the same as today, to gain access to their accounts to steal, spy, and blackmail. They are also used as “disposable” personas for spies and criminals to go incognito, and even to generate “fronts” for illegal businesses. The weirdest thing is that they are also used for political warfare, astroturfing campaigns and wrecking candidates rep.
The main way of protecting ones ID is with active monitoring, where a third party watches the Mesh for any signs of possible identity theft. While some people use their muses, simple AIs, or even hire freelance infomorph monitors, most people sign up with a personality security hypercorp. These act similar to the fraud alerts you get from your bank, carefully watching for any funny business with your identity for a fee.
Obviously forking throws a big wrench into this entire scheme. Most habs just sidestep this issue, making the fork either a non-entity similar to a weak AI legally or giving them full human rights after a long enough time. This time period varies between habs, and can be anywhere from 4 hours to an entire week. Beta and Delta forks (imperfect copies of an ego) are almost universally considered non-human, except for a handful of the more fringe habitats.
Next Time: Issues, Ethics, and Culture
Issues, Ethics, & CultureOriginal SA post
I aten't dead! But we do need to kick this into high gear cause this isn't that interesting and it's taking forever. So WARP SPEED!
Issues, Ethics, and Culture
Turns out universal sur/sousveillance has some moral and ethical issues!
Privacy vs. Transparency
Or, Freedom vs. Security. The Transparency argument goes that if everyone knows everything about everyone else, everybody is safe! Crimes are reported by dozens who are totally reliable witnesses due to recording everything they see and hear, accidents and medical emergencies can be detected and aid dispatched as fast as possible, scandal and corruption is impossible to hide, and things are just plain terrific and utopian! The Privacy argument goes that that's a whole load of bullshit. First, you can catch anybody committing some sort of crime or blackmailable action, because yes, you do have something to hide . Plus, it's just submitting to the authorities, because knowing something is useless if you don't have the power to act on it. There's also just the fact that people like to keep some things private. Like romance, illness, and pooping. There's also the fact that Mercurial's like to keep a low profile in order to avoid anti-Mercurial prejudice, which is a lot harder in a fully transparent society.
Yeah, like I said, it's important to realize that those in power can do a shitton more about what they know than you can. I mean sure, you could expose a Direct Action security mook who was stomping on a poor neo-Chimpanzee, but it won't do anything. He'll get a slap on the wrist and a reassignment to another security detail while you just made mortal enemies with an organization that makes Blackwater look like Rent-a-Cops. True transparency requires a society of equals, which you won't find outside of outer-system Autonomists. In pretty much every-other society, you've gotta be sure that your sousveillance isn't noticed by others surveillance. Or else.
Who controls the eyes and ears of the Panopticon? Who gets to watch through the cameras and listen to the mikes surrounding you? Everybody, or just the authorities? And who owns what data is collected? I mean, sure, you bought that camera, but did you read the TOS in the software? Did you know that the hypercorp you bought the blueprint from gets a copy of everything your camera records? Did you know they can delete your copies whenever they want?
Essentially, those in powers must be held accountable for their choices by those they represent. In the outer system this is true, with all power-structures heavily monitored by the public. If an outer-system representative doesn't do what their constituents want, or makes a mistake, everyone knows and they are instantly chastised for it. The intention is not only to prevent abuse of power, but to help the entire society improve. By holding people accountable for their actions, everyone sees what not-to-do. People learn from the mistakes of others, and things get better.
In the inner-system this isn't the case. While there is some power-level transparency, the Planetary Congress is a famous spectacle, those in real power are hidden from the public eye, free from the chastisement of those they rule.
Anonymity and Infamy
Privacy in a transparent society means anonymity. Now, this can be a good thing! Maybe you want to go morph-shopping without all your friends and family butting in with their “suggestions”. Maybe you don't want your boss to know you're dating the clerk from that law-firm on the third floor of the habitat ring. Maybe you'd rather your bio-con parents not know you've started hanging out with a neo-Dolphin you met on the mesh. But it can also be a bad thing. First off, people just seem to act like dicks when they can be anonymous, which can seriously make the mesh unfun. Then there's the informatioin factor. You can't confirm an anonymous source, and you can't confront them either, opening up a well of false and misleading information with no way to prevent it. Then there's the criminal concerns! Everything from un-punishable slander to organizing criminal enterprises and terrorist attacks!
The end result is that most habitats have ended up with pseudo-anonymity, similar to the modern internet. People are tied to online personas and pseudonyms, which allow them to operate anonymously while still building up a social circle and reputation. A newly-made anonymous persona is very likely to just be ignored, seriously limiting their ability to cause trouble, and if they are engaged in illegal activity, there is still an “electronic trail” that can be traced.
Truth vs. Fiction
Never trust the Mesh. Nowadays it's sometimes hard to tell a fake news story from a real one, or a photoshop from a genuine photograph, but it's worse in the future. Technology has gotten so advanced that false information and forgery is almost impossible to detect, and so nothing on the Mesh should be taken seriously without heavy independent collaboration.
But false information still exists due to its difficulty to disprove totally, and from good old lazy bookkeeping and shitty archiving and datamining procedures. This can leave incorrect information sitting around in databases far longer than it should, with dangerous consequences for people's reps.
That's ignoring the issue of purposely false information-spread. Astroturfers, greifers, memeticists, propagandists, hackers, criminals, and terrorists all use mass-misinformation to push their agenda and to cover their tracks, making the Mesh a minefield of lies and illusion.
Basically being public with everything makes you a big fat target for scams, cons, robberies (tweeting going on vacation), and identity theft. Also, y'know, if the TITANs or similar things come back they can use them against us in horrible ways.
Now, the good stuff! Yes, the universal Panopticon has good sides. Mainly, that now humanity is more open, inclusive, and tolerant than ever, in a general sense. Formerly minority and “outsider” cultures are able to be experienced by everyone, and insularity and dogma whither in the face of such openess and inclusion. In the Panopticon, everyone literally knows your name, and you know everyone else's, making social interaction far less awkward as everyone to some degree knows everyone else.
Next Time: Surveillance Technologies
Surveillance TechnologyOriginal SA post
One of the big things in surveillance is Total Information Awareness, being aware of everything happening within your sphere of surveillance. Now, this is the end goal of every surveillance system and is the state of perfection of said system, but it is impossible. Nobody and nothing can be actively aware of everything at all times. Things will slip through the cracks, and something observed could take minutes or hours to notice even with AI and infomorph monitoring.
This means that just because you were seen doesn't mean you were noticed . If you can get out of dodge before your watcher can respond to what they've observed, you've got a good chance of getting away for good. If you're trying to go unnoticed, act fast, quiet, leave as many false trails and confusing records as possible, then burn any evidence you can that connect you to the act. If you're lucky, you could be on another planet under another name before they ever realize something happened.
Another advantage is the fact that even if you're being watched, it might not be by something that is useful to your watcher. A satellite view can be used to track your movements, but would totally miss out on anything you said or did beyond gross movement. A thermal camera can't pick out a design on the clothes you're wearing, and visible light is worthless if you turn off the light.
Woohoo crazy future tech!
Good old light! These detect what you can see with your normal human-type eyes. Cameras nowadays are so tiny they're almost impossible to see with the naked eye, and need a laser lens detector to find. They can record in 3D, and at resolutions, framerates, and magnification's that make our professional quality film cameras look like cellphones. A big strength is the ability to rewind and replay recorded footage at slower speeds, most useful for detecting micro-expressions and body language. Their biggest weakness is hyper-real holographic displays, but these can be detected by using non-visual detectors. Some types are:
Flat Camera System: Camera made up multiple super-small micro-lenses networked to a central CPU. Harder to detect with the naked eye, and able to cover any direction one of the lenses is pointed.
Networked Camera Systems: Often used by pilots and drivers, an AR connection can allow you to literally see around the next corner, or the next block.
Quantum Dot Camera-Displays: Almost undetectable, a Quantum Dot display can be “painted” onto a surface, turning it into a combination security camera and display. These are undetectable by lens-spotters.
Quantum Ghost Imaging: A high-tech type of recording found mostly in military and hazardous environment fields. Allows cameras to record clear images through fog, smoke, and dust.
Super-Wide Camera: Mostly found on aerial and orbital drones, allows recording of an area up to 300 square kilometers at a 0.1 meter resolution.
Often bundled with Visual cameras, these can see infrared, radio, and terahertz wavelengths, making them useful for low-light and low visibility environments.
Infrared: Heat, represented in visual color that can approximate standard vision. Most useful for low-light environments and tracking the heat-residue of another person. Precision thermal scans are used in lie-detection devices.
Terahertz: Used as a more portable and safe alternative to x-ray and gamma-ray sensors. Able to see through walls, clothing, and other materials. They are often used as security scanners, but cannot penetrate skin.
Active Radar: Only really used for traffic control and detecting things in space, as they are big, obvious, and have trouble detecting small or organic objects.
Quantum Radar: An advanced variant used for detecting hostiles in combat situations. They are higher resolution with similar range to a portable active radar system, and are able to create rough images through solid objects.
Ultraviolet, x-ray and gamma-rays.
UV: Used in security-tagging. Many security systems, mainly anti-theft, paint a target with UV visible dye, making them easy to track.
X and Gamma Rays: Rarely used outside of security checkpoints due to health risks from radiation exposure. Able to see through almost anything with the right settings, they are used to detect contraband and to spot radiation leaks in space stations.
Microphones. They are as ubiquitous as visual-light cameras and input is often constantly compared to a database of “known sounds”. This allows quick detection of gunfire or yells for help inside a habitat. Sophisticated ones can isolate a single sound or conversation from surrounding noise, and laser microphones can listen to a closed room by detecting the vibration of glass or aerogel.
They are not as relied upon due to their ability to be fooled by recordings, and voice identification is difficult for biomorphs and impossible for synths.
Used to detect explosives and weapons at security checkpoints, as well as to monitor toxic or dangerous substances in a habitat's air supply. Some are keyed to detect pheromones to locate hostile or nervous individuals for further scrutiny. There actually is a neat version of these, with bio-engineered plants designed to change color when a chemical is detected.
Basically obsoleted outside the Jovian Republic due to the whole body-swapping thing. Gait analysis is still used though, as people naturally keep their same method of movement between morphs assuming a bipedal construction.
Smart Dust and Scout Nanoswarms
Pretty much any security system you want, but the microscopic flying robot version. Basically the “perfect” surveillance device.
Following data-trails and the like, particularly intercepting and scanning wireless transmissions.
Some asyncs can read thoughts, but they are so rare and scattered that any widespread use is impractical. They are highly prized by covert-ops organizations though for targeted surveillance.
Eclipse Phase Aside
This is the first time we've had Asyncs and Psi mentioned, so I'll explain a bit more. Asyncs are people infected with the Watts-McLeod strain of the Exsurgency virus. This seemingly benign form gifts the infected with psychic abilities, which often come bundled with some form of mental illness. Asyncs are split into two rough categories depending on what powers, or “sleights” they are capable of using. Chi asyncs are limited to powers that affect themselves, changing and improving their mental and physical traits, while Gamma are powers that affect other people such as mind reading.
Enviro Scanners: Habitat scanners that detect air content, gravity, tenperature, water quality, hull strain, and everything else you need to know to not die in space.
Lidar Systems: Able to make a hyper-detailed 3D map of an environment in real time and mark any changes in the area. Used in secure areas and major public areas.
Metal Detectors: Yep, just like at the airport. Still damn good way to find hidden knives and guns and such.
Nanodetectors: An air filter designed to detect the presence of nanobots. Found in high-security areas and custom entry points to protect against possible TITAN remnants.
Organic Sensors: Grown organic variants of everything above. Only found in biohabitats. Don't ask.
Pressure Sensors: Used to detect traffic patterns and the movements of heavy machinery.
Proximity Sensors: Detect if anything gets near them by detecting electrical fields.
Now you got shittons of data from every-which-where, so do something with it. Putting all that disparate info together is a hard, long, and annoying task often carried out by trained professionals and advanced AIs. The correlation of so much data has resulted in some interesting uses:
Probability Mapping: Get enough info on someone or something and you can reasonably begin to predict what they're going to do on a normal day. People don't normally upset their routines in a major way, and with enough data the predictions made can be scary accurate.
Behavioral Psych: Being able to watch someone 24/7, or whatever counts as full time for your day/night cycle, is pretty damn useful for psychological research. Some habs have a full-time staff just dedicated to watching people and taking detailed case-notes.
Precog Systems: No, it isn't three teenagers in a hot-tub and no weird wooden-ball delivery system. It's using a combination of probability mapping and behavioral psych to predict crimes. Unlike Minority Report, people are never convicted with precog info alone. The most severe punishment is generally mandatory therapy or psychosurgery, though a warning or placing the suspect into protective custody is generally considered good enough.
Next Time: Countersurveillance
Countersurveillance & GroupsOriginal SA post
Countersurveillance and Groups
You want to beat surveillance. At least, unless your group is made up of law-abiding citizens who do absolutely nothing secretive or illicit, which is possible, but most people in this game wanna play hackers and spies and space-Yakuza, so you wanna beat the system. Here's how!
1. PRIVACY MODE ON JACKASS! When you're on an Op don't fucking update your goddamn space-Facebook! Don't make any records you don't have to of what the fuck you're doing. Log off of all your accounts. Set your Mesh status to private so that people can't e-mail you in the middle of a stealth mission, etc. And sure as shit don't record an XP so that you can sell it for hot cash later!
2. Maintain a Cover ID. It helps to have one “normal civilian” persona and an “Agent provocateur” one, so that your neighbors don't start wondering where you disappear to all the time and why you always come back in a different morph. So, set aside a set of online personas, a morph or two, a stable residence, and an excuse to dissapear for long periods of time to use as your “off the job” ID.
3. Physical Privacy Saves Morphs. Yeah, all the cyber-shit you do doesn't trick security cameras and microphones. The main thing to do is swap morphs as often as possible, so that your actions are never associated with a single appearance. If the habitat allows it, privacy shrouds are really nice to have. They're a type of clothing that block sensors, and are mainly used by celebrities to dodge paperazzi. For covert communication, direct line laser communicators are good, and a fiber-optic link is best. Yeah, the best way to talk to someone is just to plug your brains together like a couple of gameboys.
4. FAKE IDS FAKE IDS FAKE IDS seriously get a FAKE ID. A cheap one will do short-term, but it's pretty obvious due to the fact that cheap IDs are just paper, with no history or previous long-term data to give them legitimacy. A real proper ID comes with a full history, including financial transactions, credit reports, and a rep score. These are set up by networks of AIs, puppetnets, and maybe even a sleeved morph or two for physical evidence, and cost a good lot of cash.
Another way is to pretend to be an Infugee, basically starting fresh from the Fall. This method is damn-near foolproof and gets you a full, near perfect, ID. The problem is that this requires you to literally start again brand spanking new as an infomorph and work your way up. It's a massive timesink and a pain in the ass taking months or years to get rolling again.
You could also just get someone elses. Some infugees are more than happy to sell their IDs to you, cause shit, they ain't got nothing anyway. Same for criminals and other less-than-savory types who'd like a fresh start. Plus, if you've got someone on your tail you've just given them one hell of a red herring! Or you could just steal one, preferably of someone small and distant enough that a connection is unlikely and the poor schmuck doesn't get his life ruined.
5. Know What You're Dealing With. Yeah, if you know what sort of surveillance you'll be dealing with, then you can do a hell of a lot to circumvent it. For a quick survey just ping the Mesh. Even if you can't access it, most devices will at least show up. You can also scan for radio signals and other radiation to pick up active sensors. But, the best thing is good old smartdust. A nanoswarm can covertly and quickly find everything in an area for you.
6. Ghost that Shit. Once you know where the sensors are, you can find their blind spots. Then, you can ghost them. Ghosting means to move through a surveyed area without being detected, so think Theif on Hard type shit. Honestly this is really fucking hard and nearly impossible to do, so most people don't bother doing other stuff. It's easier in areas that are criminal-heavy, as Triads don't like getting watched very much either, and the Triads don't give a shit about you unless you're doing anti-Triady things.
7.Give 'em the Raspberry! Smashing a sensor is shitty because then they know where you are and that someone doesn't want to be seen. Instead, jam and blind them. Radio jamming just works for Radar, but it can also fuck up wireless signals. Mesh-jamming is a fancy term for a denial-of-service attack, mainly done through kaos AIs (in the gear section, so, later). Recording cameras and microphones can be fucked up by shining a bright light/ generating a ton of white noise. There's other ways, but they'll wait for the Gear chapter.
8. Decepticons! Transform and RISE UP! Can't do any of the above? Trick them! Chameleon and invisibility cloaks are good for tricking cameras and good old people-eyes, as well as good old disguises. Quick switching morphs are also a good way to fuck with surveillance, especially between two Synths. Synthmorphs can also pretend to be AI robots, or even hide a smaller synth or biomorph inside for the old Trojan Horse maneuver. And of course, Swarmanoids are just fucking amazing at being sneaky. If you don't know what that is, think could of robo-flys.
9. Hack the Planet! If all else fails, hack that shit and turn it off, or delete the recording, or swap in fake info, or just do anything you want. Don't try the old camera-looping trick though, AIs can spot that shit and shut your ass down.
10. Red Herring! Make red-herrings and scapegoats so that when the dogs come hunting, someone else gets bit first, letting you get out of dodge. While some random schmuck, or just a guy you really fucking hate, make good choices a willing patsy makes everything better. Some guys will hire themselves out for it, forking themselves into disposable stooges. Or you could just do that yourself and let a beta fork take the bullet.
11. People Still Suck. The biggest weakness in any surveillance system is the fact that even in 10AF people are people. Why do all that shit when you could just pay off the security chief to turn off the cameras for “routine maintenance”, or just go for the good old con-job.
A thing of special notion. Darkcasts are illegal and untracable egocasts, allowing you to travel through the solar system without being traced. This means you can just “show up” at your destination instead of having to leave a paper-trail though customs. This does have some risks though. You are trusting your ego to some shady motherfucker who works for a crime cartel. There's no knowing you won't just wake up inside a neo-chimp ready for a good zoofight.
Groups and Factions
Notable organizations based upon surveillance and sousveillance and related fields.
Yes, it's Anonymous. As in the guys in the Guy Fawkes masks. Just like today, they claim to be hacktivists trying to improve the world, and sometimes they are, but mostly they're just annoying shitheads. Problem is now they have enough tech to be real goddamn trouble. To give you an idea:
Did your pod morph get puppethacked, forcing you to masturbate furiously in front of an award ceremony crowd? Was your entire fleet of AI-piloted workbots infected with a narcoalgorithm, sparking an impromptu factory floor dance party? Were your romantic private communications with a mercurial lover exposed just in time to ruin your chances at re-election? Was the climax of your vampire MARG infiltrated by a flash mob of pink unicorn avatars with rainbow blasts that burned the highest-level undead characters to ash? Congratulations, you were punked by Anon.
Yeah, so fuck these guys. Still, if you can wrangle them to your side, they can be a nasty weapon.
Pro-privacy hackers and terrorists. They are dedicated to hacking into databases of all sorts and destroying all information present in it and its archives. They generally target marketing databases, information providers, private intelligence, and data collection firms.
Like Datacide, but instead of destruction, they use deception. They use a network of AIs, viruses, and worms to mass produce false information, filling databases across the system with lies and fake data. This can create chaos and major pains for anybody who relies on accurate information for their jobs, from newscasters to insurance agencies. Because so many of their attacks are automated, they have no set targets and end up hurting everyone equally.
A Fork civil rights organization. They run an “underground railroad” of darkcasts to move forks away from their originals and to set them up with their own identities.
Electronic Future Foundation
A civil liberties organization closely linked to the Argonauts. The EFF promotes privacy, transparency, and mesh security technologies. They are also leaders in the fights against infugee indentured servitude and to free infomorphs kept in offline storage or locked inside closed systems.
Snopes meets Wikipedia. They use crowdsourcing to fact-check news reports, press releases, mesh rumors, urban legends, and scientific papers for validity. They also run multiple online information resources like the Solarchive project, Wikinews, and the Galactic Vid Archive. While Hive Mind is sometimes a victim of vandalism, they are generally considered to be reliable and many see them as the best source for information and the final word on the validity of data.
An organization that provides a way for leakers to safely publicize information utilizing a network of encrypted submission and archival servers hidden throughout the solar system and connected by a darkcast VPN. Any information submitted is scrubbed of any identifying metadata or language, rigorously fact-checked by legions of volunteers from organizations like Hive Mind and the Argonauts, and published on public but hidden servers. They try and stay unbiased, but some smaller associated groups favor leaks that support a specific ideology.
Decentralized journalism source, that operates as a simple newsfeed with unrestrained submissions. A team of crowdsourced volunteers factcheck, tag, and rate the news based upon its importance before putting it on the feed. While operated as non-commercial and volunteer based, it often is in competition with the larger hypercorp owned media companies.
Mercenary propagandists. They specialize in astroturfing, public relations, information warfare, and general propaganda. Essentially the Hypercorp equivalent of Anon, Datacide, and the Decepticons.
Next Time: Habitats
Cool Shit in the CorebookOriginal SA post
Cool Shit in the Corebook Part 1!
Yes, I decided to randomly look at cool shit in the corebook because I want to! We're starting with some gear and items and such because the best thing about these complicated sci-fi games is shopping for cool toys to use in weird ways to break the game! Yeah, I know, lots of people hate the system and items, but I don't care. I love the detail and the shitload of customization and items you can get, and if you don't well then... just wait for the FATE conversion rules I guess.
This isn't an exhaustive list and is basically stuff I think is pretty cool.
Augmentation: Improve Yourself, Improve Your Life!
Mostly Biomorph stuff, but synths could use a good few with just some reskinning.
Carapace Armor: Give yourself scales or chitinous plates for skin! It's a pretty cool way to make your character more post-human, but it doesn't stack with other armor so you don't get a powersuit and Killer Croc skin.
Chameleon Skin: Gives you color changing skin like an octopus, not a chameleon because chameleons don't actually do this sorta thing. Useful for both being sneaky, or being very noticable. If you're sneaking though you've gotta be either naked or have matching smart clothes or it's kinda pointless, obviously.
Eelware: Turn your mitts into TASERs! Shock damage in this game is straight nasty, and this makes kung-fu a viable way to fight! Also electro-hands can let you easily break anything electronic (Ie. EVERYTHING) so it's even useful for utility purposes.
Poison Gland: Generate deadly or incapacitory poisons from your saliva and fingernails. Depending on what sort of poison you get, this can be useful for stealth, assassination, or good old barfights.
Prehensile Tail: If you can't think of a shitton of ways a goddamn tail is useful you need to reevaluate your life. Note that you totally can wield a gun in your tail, and if the GM says you can't he's a lame-o who doesn't want you to tri-wield your guns/ swords/ whatever else you want. Combine with Eelware for cool Scorpion-style fun!
Vacuum Sealing: You've gotta take one of the armor biowares to get this, but it allows you to survive in a hard vacuum as long as you have air. Combine it with some biomods to improve your respiration efficiency and lung capacity and you've got an always-on spacesuit. Reccomended buy if you like going in the nude and have a GM who loves to see peoples eyeballs explode Total Recall style. Plus it opens up tactical air-venting as a way to win a fight, cause, y'know, your lungs aren't exploding.
T-Ray Emitter: Remember when I described Terahertz Scanners? It's like that, but mounted inside your skull. You can't see through living things, water, or metal, but wood, cloth, plastic, and ceramics are all possible. It's kinda like a cut-rate version of Superman's X-ray vision, plus it works in the dark!
Cyberclaws: You can be Wolverine. That's it, it's 6 inch claws that pop out of your knuckles, you are Wolverine. The neat part is you can combine them with Eelware and Poison Glands for some sweet secondary effects!
Hand Laser: It's a fucking arm laser! It's pretty weak, and only has 50 shots before the battery needs to be recharged, but unless you get X-ray'd or someone notices the tiny lens between your first and second knuckle it's undetectable. Not much of a main weapon, but great for a holdout and emergency backup. Plus, laser! You can cut and burn shit with it, so even non-combatants will want it, especially the sneaky sorts. I mean, just being able to melt through glass and thin metal would be a godsend.
Implanted Nanotoxins: Works the same as Poison Glands, but this can work just through bare-skin contact! So, why the hell would you ever go with Poison Glands? Because poison glands aren't super-goddamn fucking illegal pretty much everywhere.
Oracles: Implanted nanobots that share your senses. Their AI is programmed to alert you to stuff you might not notice. They can also help you recall recent input, basically boosting your short-term memory. Combine this with some cognitive boosting mods and a decent investigation skill and you can be cyborg Sherlock Holmes.
Skinflex: You can completely change your facial appearance, including skin and hair color, in about 20 minutes. Holy shit this makes the whole “Dodging Surveillance/Live Two Lives” thing a ton easier, eh? Plus, you can make crazy bank with celebrity impersonations.
Skinlink: Turns your skin into a fiberoptic cable. You can interface with any electronic device just by touching it, same as if you plugged your mesh inserts or cyberbrain in. This also works on other people, allowing you to hold covert conversations by holding hands.
Wrist Mounted Tools: Implanted nanobot factories that can make any sort of tool, electronic interface, or other reasonably small gadget you can think of, even simple weapons. It's like having the T-1000 in your hands! Literally! Hackers, spies, snoops, tech-jockies, soldiers, goddamn this mod is insanely useful for everyone and I have no idea why you wouldn't try and get it.
Nanotats: Nanobot tattoos with programmable designs and colors. On the surface it's just a neat little thingy, but think about how useful it can be. A full face tat makes a damn-good distraction for anybody trying to ID you, and if you want to deal with Triads, a full set of proper gang-tats might just give you that edge in the negotiations. If you want to impersonate someone, it helps to have accurate tattoos. Etc. Surprisingly useful for a “cosmetic” mod.
These are Synthmorph only things, since most of them require not having organs and stuff to work, though you could fudge some things if your biomorph has a bunch of cybernetics.
Modular Design: Instead of being one big robot, you're made up of a bunch of smaller re-configurable robotic “shells” joined together. This lets you change your entire makeup to become a biped, triped, quadroped, snake, spider-like thing, big ball, whatever!
Shape Adjusting: Literally the T1000 model Terminator, but without the weapon part. You can change your shape and external appearance, but no weapons and you have to maintain the same mass. I can't think of all the ways this is useful it is so useful.
Synthetic Mask: The T100 Terminator! You get a hyper-realistic outer skin that makes you look 100% human. Only a detailed physical or scanning with T-Ray or other material-penetrating devices can reveal your true self. While the ruels don't say so, I'd say that only bipedal humanoid Synthmorphs can use this, cause, c'mon, a giant robot spider would just look fucking creppy covered in human skin and shit.
Armor and Such
Shit that makes you not-die. Synths don't really use it because of the whole being made of metal thing, and people with the armor type Biomods can do without.
Smart Skin: Nanobots that cover your body and harden into light body-armor on command. Invisible when unactivated, visible when. The downside is that you need to activate it, so it's useless against surprise attacks.
Spray Armor: Armor in a Can. It sprays onto skin, AND ONLY SKIN, which resembles a latex bodysuit. It degrades in protection over time, completely dissolving in 24 hours. You can use other polymers and electrical currents to shape and color it, making it popular for socialites and clubbers.
Chameleon Cloak: A big poncho-like cloak that detects electromagnetic radiation and duplicates it, rendering the wearer invisible to light and ultraviolet wavelengths. It also has heat-absorbers to shield the wearer from infrared detection, but must vent these after an hour of use. It makes you totally invisible if you're standing still, and gives you a huge boost to being sneaky if you're moving.
Covert Operations Tool: A version of the Wrist Mounted Tools, but external and specialized for covert ops. It works the same, but includes advanced cutting, hacking, and lock-disabling tools. In exchange it loses the more utilitarian functions of the wrist mounted tools, making it a specialist device. Of note is that it can repair any obvious damage to such systems, preventing discovery of the user by the security guard seeing a bunch of messed up door-locks.
Dazzler: A tiny floating ball covered in lasers that is used to blind visual, infrared, and ultraviolet cameras. Obviously not very good if you're being sneaky as you just unleashed a flying rave, but it stops them getting security footage of what you look like, and can be used to cause confusion and as a distraction.
Invisibility Cloak: A better version of the Chameleon Cloak that actually bends light around itself, making the wearer invisible to everything but X-rays, radar, and similar material penetrating wavelengths. The problem is that the wearer can't see outside of it, relying on external sensors or compromising the Cloak's invisibility by leaving a “window” to see out of.
Traction Pads: Spider-Man, Spider-Man, does whatever a spider can... These are specialized gloves, boots, and elbow and knee pads that mimic a geckos feet. They allow you to climb on any wall or ceiling not specially treated to resist them, as long as you maintain at least 2 points of contact at any time. Also popular in Zero-G environments for obvious reasons. There's a Biomod version as well.
Drugs, Chemicals, and Toxins
Neem: Tasty gummy chews that enhance your memory. It is much easier to remember stuff while on Neem, but the memories have no emotional connection and exist as pure data. So, don't go see a movie or something while on it, cause you'll remember every line and not enjoy it one bit.
MRDR: Fucking scary as hell combat drug. It makes you faster, tougher, stronger, more coordinated, and generally scary as shit. Take too much though and it wrecks your body, crippling you if you aren't on the drug, and long term users are obvious due to the bloodshot eyes and permanently tensed muscles.
Bananas Furiosas: While the effects aren't that interesting, just an anti-radiation drug, the fact they come as bright red genetically engineered bananas is pretty neat.
Comfurt: Yogurt that makes you happy. It tastes good, lessens stress, stabilizes mood, clears your head, and generally makes you feel better. The only downside is that if you eat too much you get really really itchy from the mass histamine release.
Mono no Aware: A depressant ingested as a tea that induces a meditative state, heightening your senses. Popular with artists and socialites, long term use gives your skin a slight blue tint.
Orbital Hash: Space weed man! You get slightly tougher mentally, but also get worse memory. Also you get really fucking lazy and just want some snacks.
Gravy: A nanodrug food additive that aids in adapting to high-gravity environments.
Schizo: Nanodrug that simulates paranoid schizophrenia. Delivered in the form of a nanobot covered razor-blade, only the most insanely decadent of the hyperelite use it. Still, if you can dilever it to someone else, it can be one hell of a way to incapacitate someone.
Petals: So called because they come in the form of a flower, Petal is the heroin of the future. Combining traditional hallucinogens with other drugs, AR, VR, X-Plays, brain-hacking, and every other form of metal feedback to craft hyper-realistic narrative hallucinations. Cheap petals just provide a stream of images and sounds, while the best of the best ensconce you in an entire other reality, completely separating you from the real world. Petal makers see it as the highest and truest art, as there are no limits to a Petal trip besides what the human brain can handle.
Linkstate: A “drug” that only works on cyberbrains. Linkstate connects the user to a peer-to0peer network of other linkstate users where a random sampling of experiences and sensory imput is compiled and fed to the user, resulting in a several hour session of sensory overload. The user experiences short spurts of others memories and senses randomly mixed and combined, and users often have “flashbacks” to memories of other people.
NotWater: A liquid fire-retardant that just slides off of objects instead of staining or getting them wet, so it's safe to use around electronics and fine art.
Liquid Thermite and Scrappers Gel: Two similar items. They both start as an intert and clear gel that can be used in any environment, even underwater or in space. They are both activated when an electrical charge is passed through, with Thermite beginning to burn at 2500 degrees Celsius and Scrappers Gel turning into a powerful acid capable of dissolving solid steel.
Slip: A liquid commonly used in grenade form for riot control. It coats damn near anything and makes it totally frictionless, making any movement nearly impossible.
Flight: The only toxin I'm covering because the rest are your typical “die horribly or have seizures” stuff. Flight is artificial fear hormones and causes those dosed to have panic attacks for and hour without treatment.
Necrosis: Nanotoxin that acts like a goddamn flesh eating disease that melts your organs into slush.
Neuropath: Nanotoxin that stimulates your nerveous system to cause crippling whole body pain! Also works on Synths!
Nutcracker: Nanotoxin that slowly destroys your Cortical Stack, which needs a transfer to a new morph to fix, because you can't replace a cortical stack in a still-alive morph.
Smart Clothing: Programmable clothes! They can change their texture, color, and cut in only a few minutes. It can be used as camouflage and can supplement Chameleon Skin. It can act as both winter and summer clothes, and is great for disguises and impersonation! Also comes in Vacuum suit versions.
Utilitool: Handheld nanobot generator that can create a wide variety of hand tools. Cheaper versions are generally specialized with tools to suit a specific use such as cooking or electronic repair, but the more expensive ones can create thousands of tools.
Tune in to the next installment for more stuff from the corebook I think is pretty neato!
Living SpacesOriginal SA post
I LIVE! Sorry I disappeared for a long ass time, had to connive a bunch more hours at work to save up for school, but I'm back now!
Habitats are where people live in Eclipse Phase. By necessity, everyone lives in fairly concentrated populations, as pretty much everywhere outside of that is either totally inhospitable, or hostile enough to make long-term settlement impossible.
Habitats come in a ton of different forms, depending on cost, location, and the needs of the residents. Let's go over a few, shall we?
Exclusive to Venus, these habs are designed like giant hot-air balloons. By using large open spaces full of human-breathable air, they can “float” on the dense Venusian atmosphere. General construction features a massive “balloon” core that is used both as a flotation device and a public atrium, as it is the largest “safe” space on the habitat. Other structures are built around the “balloon”, with the highest class neighborhoods being near the center, and with the Synthmorph buildings on the outside surface, as they do not need breathable air. Aerostats have the unique feature of being mobile, able to freely move in Venus's atmosphere. Aerostats generally fly a circuit around the planet, moving across mining bases located on the surface to collect raw materials.
Found in the subcrustal seas of Europa, Ceres, and Enceladus. Bathyscaphes are made up of a network of spherical modules connetcted together and anchored to the seafloor by massive cables. Bathyscaphes are designed to withstand massive pressures, and so have much thicker hulls than other types of habitats, making them much harder to breach. Many have partially or totally flooded sections, to accommodate Octomorphs and Neo-Cetaceans living in the habitat.
The most common form of habitat in the Belt and other small orbital bodies. Beehives are generally made from mined out asteroids. The surfaces of the mines are sealed with heat or sealant, and the exits and entrances capped with airlocks. This makes beehives a veritable maze of tunnels and chambers, and can be highly confusing to non-residents. Larger beehives use colored markings and signage to aid in navigation, but those converted from mining ops generally lack these convenience features. The biggest advantages of beehives is their low-cost. Their structure is generally “pre-built”, and they need less radiation shielding than other habs due to their metallic-rock structure.
Large hollow spheres where residents live on the inner surface with an atmosphere filled bubble. They are generally spun to create gravity along the equator, and use a series of mirrors to reflect sunlight throughout the structure. Bernal's are rarely used on their own, and are often combined with other types of habitats.
Similar to our modern day space-stations. Clusters are networks of modules linked together, and are a popular format for habitats due to their modularity and capability for expansion. Their biggest flaw is structural integrity, and careful preparation is needed to ensure that the hab's inertia doesn't tear itself apart.
Pseudo habs made up of spacecraft connected by a pyramidal lattice of scaffolds and cables, with power and utilites located in the center of the structure.
Formed by “burning out” the center of an asteroid to create a habitat functionally identical to a Bernal Sphere. The advantage of Cole Bubbles is their size. By using large metallic asteroids, a Cole Bubble can hold up to several million people, while Bernal Spheres top out at a few hundred thousand.
Most common form of habitat on planetary bodies. They come in both temporary and long-term varieties. Temporary dome habitats are little more than an inflatable bubble, kept rigid due to air pressure where temorary housing is erected. Longer term Domes are made of aerogel, diamon, or similar super-strong material, and can house entire cities such as the Martian New Shanghai.
The most iconic form of space habitat, and until recently the most advanced. O'Neill cylinders are a massive cylinder that rotates to produce 1g along the inner surface. They are lit either by long window sections, or by mirrors, suntubes, or artifical light. O'Neill Cylinders are the largest of all space-habitats currently operating, and are capable of near-total autonomy.
The Jovian answer to the O'Neill cylinder used by other societies. Instead of constructing the outer shell, which would be impossible due to Jovian technology restrictions, they hollow out a captured asteroid in a process similar to beehives. The problem is that the Jovians don't have the technology to make such enclosed habitats pleasant to live in, so they kinda suck ass and are prone to disease. Everyone else calls them “sarcophagus” habs.
The only ones we actually have today! Think the ISS and you've got it. Thin, cheap construction, small modules, and dirt cheap. Most aren't even built, but inflated. Generally they're considered cheap, crap, and are rarely used outside of fringe isolationists or as a temporary habitat.
They essentially work on the same principles of an O'Neill station, but by shortening the cylinder into a “wheel” they can save on cost at the expense of space. Most have a habitat “ring” that rotates around a central “hub” where station facilities and docks are located.
Nooot really a place to live, and more fancy art installations. Some of note are the “Dyson Tree” a giant space jellyfish full of water for aquatic morphs, and the famous MeatHab. I'll tell you about that much later.
A torus, but instead of a single continuous ring, the wheel is made of multiple connected spheres. As each sphere has its own life support, carousels are much less likely to suffer from catastrophic failure. So far there is only one in existence, Infinite Loop in orbit around Saturn.
The successor of the O'Neill cylinder. By using advanced nano-technology, Hamilton cylinders can be almost totally self-sufficient. With three currently operating in the outer system, the next generation of Hamilton cylinders are projected to be capable of interstellar travel as generation-ships.
Think the Death Star. A spherical station made up of concentric decks with a reactor at the center.
Floating space-computers that house infolife. They're basically big servers in space, and the “interior” can be whatever the station runners want.
Next Time: Living in Space