Playing People from the Different Colonies
Everybody automatically receives Knowledge: Native Star System for free to rank 3. Native language(s): free rank 3 for all. But variations have occurred: in the 300 years of isolation from each other, languages have diverged. Even speakers of the same original language have trouble understanding each other if they come from different planets. The difficulty is at least +1.
Solarians are not suitable as player characters - they are too alien in general, being the product of an extremely advanced society where technology has removed the limitations of individuality and humanity. Simply assume that as long as an average solarian is connected to the Cocoon networks he/she/it has access to just about any skill, information, technology and way of thinking that is known to the solar system. Rebuilding the body might take some time, but things like memory or mind transfer, rewriting of personality or interfacing with artificial intelligence is commonplace and nearly instant. As might be understood, most solarian skills and motivations are simply incomprehensible to less developed humans. Most likely they simply download a "handle primitives" interface to deal with them.
Roleplaying a Solarian: You are everything if you decide to. But you
can also decide to be something – anything.
Red Rock Alliance
Alliance people are similar to "standard humans", although most have grown up in small communities with strong memes. Their home language varies from settlement to settlement, as does their behaviour.
Playing an Alliance citizen: there are just about any kind of community in the Alliance, everything from orthodox religious groups over ethnic minorities and political groups to hermits. When in contact with the outside world, you are often defensive about your ideology; it is always under pressure from Landfall and the other settlements.
If you don't get noticed, you don't have anything. You just have
to be noticed, but the art is in getting noticed naturally, without
screaming or without tricks.
Life in the Landfall Republic is intensely media-influenced, a place where virtual is more important than real.
Since advertising and persuasion is so prevalent, people are fairly resistant to manipulation; the difficulty is +1 higher to influence a Landfallian. They are also not distracted by doing something and watching non-interactive media at the same time, but they tend to have short attention spans.
Landfall people tend to be perceived as Extravagant and Vain by outsiders, since they place such an emphasis on expressing their individuality and style. Cybertechnology is available, usually neural interfaces to link up with the net or auxiliary systems. Due to the many languages present, most Landfallians rely on translation devices or speak English, but many excel in their own native tongue. A lot of jargon, new terms and idioms have appeared, making novas slightly hard to understand for outsiders.
Playing a Landfallian: The most important thing is to enhance your own brand – you want to be in the spotlight, you want to show your own style, your own value. Make people take notice of you in the right way. You are brand conscious: you want to be seen with the right people, the right things and the right values. You are interested in what is new, exciting, up-and-coming – find it, live it – for 15 seconds or so. AI, media and global networking is everyday stuff, and what happens in the mediasphere is just as real as what happens in the real world (or more real).
He who experiences the unity of life sees his own Self in all
beings, and all beings in his own Self, and looks on everything with
an impartial eye.
Unity is different, here mental is more important than physical. Unity characters have implanted cerebral interfaces enabling broadband mental communication between individuals and the formation of group mentality (equivalent to the Nanocomputer and a Wireless NIJack). They also have access to other bionics, especially brain modifications.
Unity members have access to the broad skill Mental Interfacing (WIL, cost 4), which allows them to use the cerebral interfaces to communicate, access information and monitor their own thoughts; it is roughly equivalent to the broad psionic skill Telepathy and its specialities, but of course only applicable to other members of Unity or specially interfaced devices. Mental Interfacing has a speciality skill: Mental Architecture (WIL, cost 4), allowing them to organise and control their thoughts as well as cohere into a group mind.
Unity is commonly perceived as Controlled, Mysterious and Quiet, largely because Unity members tend to communicate better through interfacing than speaking, and culture their mental discipline. Unity members speak English with outsiders.
Playing an Unity: Roleplaying depends on whether the character is a singleton
or united into a larger unity. If you are a singleton, you have sought
out Unity and strive to become part of it (for whatever reason). A longing
for community, closeness and openness is almost prerequisite. In Unity
there is no room for hiding anything, you must be open about everything
you is and learn to become close to other people. As a fully integrated
unity, you are both an individual and a group; the other members (or rather
your members) overlap and form a wonderfully complex self, always
(or nearly always) in contact and supporting each other. Being alone after
being unified is a dark and fearful experience.
Nature scarcely ever gives us the very best; for that we must have
recourse to art.
Arcadians are among the physically most divergent human cultures, having adapted to life on Arcadia and a biotechnological culture. Most Arcadians have animals as servants, pets and tools around them.
The free broad skills are different for Arcadians: instead of Vehicle Op they have Animal Handling and as an extra broad skill Life Science.
Genetic modifications are common, and points can be placed in (system as for mutations): Improved senses, night vision, thermal vision, adrenal control, biorhythm control, improved constitution, dexterity, durability, immunity, intelligence, drug glands (gives the ability to produce a variety of drugs directly in the body), hibernation (the ability to hibernate for months at a time) and smell communication. The Yeti Yeti corresponds to adaptation to a cold environment, while the Aquarian corresponds to an amphibious adaptation; these can be combined, even if they cannot be used at the same time. Light and sound sensitivity and thermal intolerance are not uncommon drawbacks. Through their modifications they can go beyond racial maxima of abilities.
Arcadians appear as Quiet, Intimate and Trusting, a result of their lifestyle.
Home language is Arcadian Lingua, a mixture of English, French, German, Italian, Spanish and Russian terms. Many Arcadians know at least some of the old languages.
Playing an Arcadian: Body contact is completely natural, and the best
way of getting in touch with somebody and something. You do not find living
in close proximity to animals or other people disturbing, but rather comforting.
Everybody and everything belongs together, in a great intricate social
ecosystem. You are a part of nature, but both you and nature can change
each other. Community and consensus are very important. Instead of seeing
instrumental "technical" solutions to problems, you tend to
find organic "biological" solutions to problems. Since everything
(or at least most stuff) around you is alive, you need to tend it, check
that it is well and maybe talk to it. Your senses are quite likely different
– "this smells bad" is not just an empty phrase, and the pheromones
left in a room may tell you much about the mood there.
Penglai really consists of four subcolonies, each comparatively different in culture, society and language. Mandarin is the official language, but the different colonies are dominated by people originating in different areas, and have local languages. Penglaiese can quickly tell from which colony another penglaiese comes from.
Genetic alterations and bionics are frowned upon, but adaptations to high gravity and long days are common, usually done by metabolic enhancements: implanted bioengineered micro-organisms sense the body’s state and produce hormones suitable for it. The result is +1 CON.
Penglaiese are often perceived as Polite and Conformists by outsiders.
Playing a Penglaiese: Harmony is important; consensus is much better
than disagreements, and a smooth flow is better than a turbulent one.
Hierarchies are a part of everyday life, one cannot ignore status and
respect. Politeness and formalism helps maintain the structures and hence
the harmony. The guanxi networks are important – you are who you know
– and once you tie social bonds they are not to be taken lightly. Obligations
are very real, and knowing the right people gives you help and respect.
Caution is better than recklessness, and old values of striving together
and enduring the hardships of the colony are important. Never ever lose
face – especially in front of your guanxi.
After many decades of guerrilla information warfare and escalation of weapons systems, the Pi3 people are extremely hard to interact with. Their society, technology and psychology have changed significantly from the human norm.
Their free broad skills are Athletics, Survival, Stealth, Security, Technical Science and Awareness. They are extremely tribal, and have all the other members of their family or tribe (human or AI) as allies. They have access to weapon and sensor drones, exoskeleton armour, stealth cloaks, infowar software, autofacs and similar equipment.
The inhabitants of Pi3 have a reputation as Suspicious, Efficient and Ruthless. Their languages are highly idiosyncratic variants of Indonesian or English, rather hard for outsiders to understand.
Playing a Pi3 person: In any situation, be aware of the possible dangers
and the possible ways of dealing with it. Danger is everywhere, both physically
and digitally. Always sit with your back against the wall. The only ones
you can trust is your family. When dealing with outsiders, think of how
they plan to trick you.
The inhabitants of New America are fairly standard humans, with few differences from the traditional human norm. The mainstream, fundies, technorats and schools may differ culturally but they remain fairly normal humans. Most New Americans know at least how to drive a water vehicle, and many (especially from Floating California) air vehicles. Orbital technorats can choose Acrobatics instead of Athletics.
Americans speak English. The Floating Californians have a very special dialect, deliberately including many semi-nonsensical or satirical terms.
Playing a Mainstreamer: You are proud of being an American, and feel that you live near the frontier. The sea is important and everywhere – as a teenager you likely wanted to borrow dad’s boat. You worry slightly about people who don’t fit in, the other fractions of NA are not necessarily crazy, but definitely worrying. Think small town American apple pie, but a bit more rugged.
Playing a Technorat: You feel a bit superior over the other fractions, they just don’t get the whole picture. It is Technorats who usually come up with the great solutions – which the others fail to appreciate. They are planetbound, you are not. You are free, you are at the true frontier. You tend to ignore opposition, it is usually not worth the bother.
Playing a Fundie: Your community is right. You have the certainty of faith (or at least are expected to exhibit it – fear doubts). Be polite rather than nice, but not unfriendly either – be correct. You judge others and yourself constantly. Guilt means something, it is not just an empty word.
Playing a Friend: You are free, and will never let yourself be tied down to anywhere or anything. You don’t let yourself be tied down, but that doesn’t mean you cannot solve problems when you need to – you have the tech to do it. If something doesn’t interest or appeal to you move away. If somebody goes your way, that’s great, if somebody doesn’t, no problem. Hobbies are your life.
Playing a Pioneer: You are of a dying breed – the true pioneers,
at least in your own opinion. You are pragmatic, you have to be since
all the others are just a bunch of hippies and bible-thumpers. You are
a true individualist unafraid of being alone; groups are suffocating.
Atlantis is a mercurial and complex society, where almost everything goes. Atlanteans tend to be extremely individual and unique, they all try to represent their own brands so to say. Everything is business, and it is considered completely normal to set up contracts and trades even for personal relationships.
The free broad skills of atlanteans are: Athletics, Vehicle Op, Stamina, Knowledge, Business, Awareness, and Interaction
Squidding is an integral part of Atlantean culture, and most people are familiar with it. Atlanteans do not need psychology to interpret a squid visualisation, but can do it with Awareness. Various bionic and genetic enhancements are available at Atlantis, although the genetics is less dramatic than Arcadian.
Atlanteans in general speak English, with an extensive vocabulary for trade, social interactions and contracts. They appear Assertive and Greedy to outsiders, due to their highly individualist market-based culture.
Playing and Atlantean: You’re always involved in business and you’re always evaluating. Business is as natural as breathing, and nothing remarkable in itself. You are very aware of your own value and you market yourself – nobody will do it for you. Nobody will do anything for you for free: TAANSTAFL: There Aint No Such Thing As A Free Lunch. Personal space is important; if somebody tries to coerce you or interfere with what is yours you get mad.
Mary is a very closed society, and its citizens are tightly held. Most have a very limited knowledge about the outside world.
Marians have Athletics, Survival, Knowledge, Awareness, Interaction and one broad skill depending on which Management they belong to (HM: Medical Science or Administration, BM: Life Science, TM: Technical Science, IM: Computer Science, PM: Administration etc).
Marians appear to be Precise, Bureaucratic and Conformists. They speak English.
Playing a Marian: You are afraid of making mistakes. Of running out of RCUs. Of the Crisis. You have a place in society and you better hold on to it – because you could loose it very quickly if you mess up. Better be too cautious than take any risk. The only place where you are not afraid is the games – there you can play with no fear.
Playing a Turnbull colonist: You were looking forward to a bright tomorrow
just when everything went wrong. Now you are suddenly stranded in a very
strange, remote future. Sometimes you feel like an ancient fossil or just
outside. Your old colonist companions are either centuries dead or drifting
away in this new universe. But maybe there are new possibilities for you
– if you can adapt well enough, to show that you are worth something.
Human presence on Traha is divided between the purists and xenocreoles; the purists have not mixed their culture with Trahan culture, they just coexist with it, while the xenoceoles meld human and Trahan culture.
Xenocreoles have both human and Trahan culture and language from start, with one level less than their human level. They are however viewed with some suspicion by purists of both species.
Being immersed in Trahan culture, Victorians have access to the broad skills Trahan Philosophical Science (INT, 7) with the speciality skills History (4), Plexing (4, the ability to mesh philosophical systems and use this to manipulate them), Metaphilosophy (4, the science of possible philosophies and their evolution) and Modern philosophy (4, the currently dominant paradigms).
Victorians (and especially Xenocreoles) are perceived as Ceremonial, Polite and Peaceful, sometimes a bit Weird.
Victoria has three "official" languages, English, Spanish and Trahan. Most people learn some of each, and it is not uncommon with borrowed terms.
Playing a Victorian: You have the Latin rhythm of life, family and friends are important, you know when to cool down and relax – but you are also a representative of mankind among the Trahans – what you do will reflect on their view of humans. Take it easy, but you can straighten up when needed to become very polite and formal – not just with Trahans. Trahans are people too, just different.
Playing a Xenocreole: You are not bound by the cultures. You can both
refer to the Rahumrass philosophers and human democracy; why not take
the best part of both worlds? Cultures can be plexed together. You feel
a bit proud of being a xenocreole, you have taken a step beyond the limitations
the other people remain in, and dared to break the barriers. You are used
to deal with people and especially settle disputes – conflicts should
be defused as early as possible. Trahans are people.
Negsoa is a violent, primitive society, and people have adapted to it. Free broad skills for Negsoans are Athletics, Stamina, Awareness, Interaction and either Melee Weapons (if noble) or Unarmed Attack (if commoner).
People from Negsoa have the flaw Primitive, but they do not get any bonus skill points. Nobles have the level 4 version (+2 penalty when dealing with modern technology); commoners level 6 (+3 penalty).
Negsoans are commonly regarded as Suspicious, Superstitius and Rude. They speak a thick English dialect with plenty of words borrowed from various south-african languages (bantu, xhosa).
Playing a noble: Trust the family, but not too much – especially not your brothers, they are often your competitors. But even if you disagree, you always work together against the other high families. You can be haughty and commandeering, but sometimes you have to earn the respect. Showing weakness or not being generous will lose you respect. You know there is a better world than this, but this is the best you can get – so far.
Playing a pheasant: Life is work. You might not like it, but you have to work. If you don’t work you will starve or will be beaten. Nobles don’t always thread on you, they can be generous sometimes, but there is a great distance between you. Climbing up to their level is simply not possible. There is much in the world you don’t understand, the spirits and the ancestors are a part of life and you always have to consider them and their views of your actions. This is how the world is, and there isn’t anything you can do about it.
Playing one of the Seapeople: You are not a thrall, and free you will
remain. You dislike the nobles; you may trade with them, but you do not
like them. Your family will support you, and you will support your family
– you have to. You can only trust other seapeople families, and you stand
firmly together against outside threats.
Since all the genetic and medical quirks of the Stevens have been mapped, medicine on Ridgewell or another place with access to the medical files of the clan has a –2 bonus for treating a Stevens. The Stevens family gets along fairly well; they have a –1 bonus for social interactions within the family and the clone of a hero works as the Network perk..
Outsiders tend to see the Stevens as Conservative.
The only language on Ridgewell is English, spoken with some rather peculiar idioms.
Playing a Stevens: You’re family. The others they may have their quirks,
but they are your brothers and sisters. You can be familiar and relaxed
with your family, but you don’t really know what to expect from outsiders.
You know what the name Stevens and your clone-line stand for. Sometimes
you feel the need to mark your individuality, especially when others just
see you as one of the clone. You are not of the old humanity, you have
moved on a bit.
Gaians are primitive (+2 penalty when dealing with most modern technology), and often regard advanced technology as something inherently evil and tainted (especially "classic" evils such as computers, nuclear power and plastics).
Instead of Vehicle Op as a free base skill they have Animal Handling.
Gaians (especially the Mothers) have developed mental techniques, which can be learned as part of the skill Psychology. Unlike Dionysian Psychodesign, they employ purely mental methods and no external tools. By using Psychology they can memorise large amount of information, control their own emotions, resist pain (as the skill Resist pain) and at higher levels create daimons. The techniques are clothed in quasi-magical terminology ("Making contact with one’s Higher Self", "Centring", "Gaia-spirits" etc).
Gaians speak an English dialect.
Playing a Swan: Your work is strictly regulated by the laws of Gaia as interpreted by the mothers. If somebody commits a crime against Gaia, everybody will be punished. You live on Gaia’s body, and on her sufferance. Everything good in life is of Gaia, everything bad is due to the errors of man – so you better be vigilant, and make sure you act ec instead of tox.
Playing a Dolphin: Gaia guides you, She doesn’t command you. If someone commits a crime against Gaia he or she will be punished – that is the laws of nature. The Mothers know much about Gaia, but they put on airs sometimes and they are not infallible in interpreting Gaia’s wishes – they are human just like you.
Playing a Pine: You are an outsider in the two communities. You don’t
quite belong in Swan or Dolphin, but you feel more at ease with other
Pines. You feel a bit sceptical about zealousness, remembering that it
was the main cause driving you from Pine once upon a time. Un-gaians may
not be all bad.
The two dominant factors of Dionysians (except for the people of Sinai) are hedonism and psychodesign. Dionysians tend to love life, new experiences (not just pleasurable ones) and try to get as much out of a situation as possible.
The Sinaites are like traditional humans, clannish and fundamentalist. They eschew "diabolical" technologies, drugs and methods such as Psychodesign.
Dionysians have access to advanced Psychodesign (available as a speciality skill to Medical Science, cost 5) which makes it possible for them to achieve any desired character traits, values or ways of thinking. In practice this reflects as +1 PER in general (due to modifications during childhood and later) and –1 for others to employ psychodesign on them (due to the "maintenance backdoors" and hypnotisability training).
Dionysians are generally regarded as having good character traits, regardless of their true character (which usually is also good, of course). Many see Dionysians as Hedonists, mistaking their pleasant lifestyle for decadence.
The language is Dionysian English, a variant rich with obscure allusions to the bible and altered states.
Playing a Dionysian: You take convictions a bit lightly – regardless how zealous you might be, they can easily be changed. Your relations to other people shift over time – your friends might be strangers tomorrow, and vice versa. You’re tolerant in the extreme, and if you encounter something new and unusual you gladly try it. What matters is your overall experiences. You are a bit self-centered, other people are usually great pleasures but follow their own agendas.
Playing a Jesurun: The preachers guard the frailty of your soul. You are under siege by Satan. Christ demands your vigilance – any slip, and the flames of Hell awaits you. The Devil follows mankind everywhere as ancestral sin, something the fools of the initial expedition did not realise – and that caused the second Fall here on Jerusalem.
Playing a Tixotroph: Nothing is fixed. Nothing is permanent. Everything
changes. So do you. You change yourself in total freedom. There is no
point in staying fixed as a rock, change as the wind. Feel the drift of
the personalities as the dust devils in Djinn Valley dance in the desert
– without any constraints, without any goals but to express their flow.