Inscrit le: 19 Sep 2009
Mar 29 Sep - 21:33 (2009)
Similar to the gypsies or “rom” of Earth, the Roamers are a nomadic people. They travel via wormhole from one inhabitable world to another, wearing out their welcome as they go.
Roamers dress in what might have once been considered wild and colorful clothing before the advent of the Masquerade. Unlike most other civilizations in the modern era, Roamers wear actual, genuine cloth garments, many of them sewn by hand.
The Roamers are one of the most insular civilizations in the universe. The Union and Logicians are always looking for new recruits, and even the Old-Worlders and Disciples rarely turn away those who are serious about joining. The Roamers, on the other hand, actively reject attempts to join their culture. They have a very strong “us and them” mentality, portraying themselves — often correctly — as a spurned and downtrodden people, unwelcome even on those worlds that let them stay. When anyone tries to compare the Roamers to other civilizations in one can see the Roamers’ wounded pride rising to defend them.
The Roamers’ outer appearance is one of brightly-colored simplicity, but this conceals a culture with every bit of complexity that their high metatech and nanotech capabilities can bring. Every gesture can carry a nuance, and every intonation of the voice carries hudden meaning. The language of the Roamers is a tonal one (like Mandarin), and in many cases includes information on frequencies that only a good Nanotech rating will pick up. Those visiting Roamer encampments must find a good translation program for their meshes, lest their hosts have secret conversations or invisibly insult them to their faces. Once you’ve “proven” that you don’t understand their culture, you might as well go home.
Sneaking into a Roamer camp is nearly impossible, as every animal with them has nanotech “fleas” that watch for invaders. When you visit a camp, expect to find layers upon layers of concealment in all things.
Because of their pride and secrecy, the Roamers have difficulty trading with outsiders. They could sell stories, and even with their smaller population could compete meaningfully with the Tao in this arena. They could sell clothing, and either compete with the Masquerade, or sell to them — millions of Masqueraders would line up to buy robes of real, hand-woven cloth. They could lease out their considerable expertise in metatech and nanotech. Any one of these things could bring the Roamers some much-needed wealth... but their scorn for outsiders and pride in their own work drives them to set outlandish prices. Their elders realize the necessity of trade, but sometimes find it hard to convince the younger class to part with their goods or services for a sensible amount.
Instead, the elders bring in the majority of the civilization’s income through careful informationgathering and espionage. Many other civilizations pay them for this service, and value it highly... but they also know that other civilizations do the same, and every Roamer visit could be thinly-veiled espionage. This brings a greater benefit than mere money, however: the Roamers, by reporting on nearly every civilization, keep others from really questioning how the Roamers themselves work.
Their low income not withstanding, Roamers are one of the most culturally rich civilizations around. They claim descent from some of Earth’s final nomadic cultures, and maintain much of the oral tradition those cultures had.
Roamer Eavesdropper by Ivan Bilibin, public domain
The Roamers have no real allies, but are welcome on most Tao and Masquerade worlds. They are aggressively banned from Union space, which just turns it into a challenge. Sneaking on and off of a Union-controlled planet is a rite of passage for young Roamers. Roamer society is a family-oriented geritocracy, with the oldest (and hopefully wisest) ruling each family.
Common Name: Roamers
Emblem: Different landscapes from different worlds border two representations of the triskelion, a symbol of travel and endurance whose meaning is, “Wherever you throw me, I shall land on my feet.”
Inspector Status: Equivalent to a local police officer.
Benefit: Roamers are a close-knit group. One Roamer may treat another as family, borrowing money, calling in favors, sleeping in the guest room, and so on. Treat this as two free plot points each game, which may only be spent through Empathy, and only applies to other Roamers. Roamers are encouraged to take complications that involve other Roamers staying at their house, borrowing their money, and so forth.
Core Values: Secrecy and Wanderlust
Secrecy is, specifically, secrecy for the Roamers and their kin. They have no problem unearthing the secrets of others, but use this CV to resist others’ attempts to get them to divulge their own private matters. Roamers and Masqueraders get along well on a superficial level because of the overlap between Secrecy and Anonymity.
Wanderlust gives the Roamers bonuses to actions that free them from physical bonds, let them shake off metatech attempts to settle them down, and convince others to lend them modes of transportation (such as opening wormholes).
Travel with the Roamers
The wormhole snaps shut, and the subsonic noise and sounds of rushing air end abruptly. In the aftermath, twelve wagons stand on a hillside, brightly colored ribbons streaming in the wind. An orange sun sits in a midnight-blue sky, and the Roamers laugh, pat each other on the backs, and begin to set up camp.
That evening some representatives from the city in the valley — several instances of a single person, for this is Replicant space — make their way up to the encampment. They are respectful and speak well, but the Roamers can read the distaste in their body language. These fine people want nothing to do with Roamers, but they’re not offended enough to ask them to leave, not yet. They will be.
An ad-hoc treaty is negotiated, similar to treaties used in years past. The Roamers can visit the city, so long as city folk can come to their encampment, one bo y for one body. The people in their suits tip their hats and leave, and the Roamers spit on the ground when they’re out of sight. Unclean folk, these doppelgangers. The sooner they make enough money to leave, the better.
And so, with mutual distrust and some small amount of fascination, the two cultures mix. The Roamers set up a tent and circus, on neutral ground so as not to violate the treaty. They replicate fantastic beasts from faraway worlds. The city opens the doors to its museums, its orbital tower, and its cultural centers. Both sides watch the others like hawks, never trusting, but the Replicants are too polite to kick the Roamers out. The Roamers, for their part, spend cautiously and rake in as much money as they can at the carnival. The Replicants are smart, but the Roamers are more savvy, and the economists on both sides know it.
Each side spies on the other. The Replicants use satellites, infosphere sifting, and biometrics. The Roamers sneak nanotech devices into the orbital tower, analyze traffic patterns, perform psychohistorical surveys on the citizens that visit them. The majority on both sides know nothing of this, but there are those who recognize what’s going on. Eventually the Roamers accept a contract from certain Replicants to do the same sort of spying on someone else — and they smile, pocketing the money. They step down their operations just enough so that the Replicants know things are better, and they stay to rake in more money.
After two weeks most people in the city have been to the carnival. Bonds of infatuation form, and trysts occur. After three weeks, some have been to the big top twice, and are beginning to catch on to the tricks. Relationships fall apart when there are no similarities to hold them together. After four weeks the exotic creatures are becoming ill. Eventually there’s an “incident” where one of the less mature Roamers pushes a Replicant too far with taunts and insults, and the city council politely implies to the Roamers that it’s time to turn this youngster over to the local authorities, or pay for some wormhole transit and leave the planet.
The tents fold themselves into backpacks, the banners simply dissipating in the wind. The creatures are fed back into the replicator for spare elements. The Roamers decamp and have a few last drinks, admiring the view, for each planet has its own beauty. Orbital wormhole generators spin up, and the wagons are carefully “scooped” from the surface of the Replicant world and sent to Independent space. The Replicants sigh — the young in sadness, the old in relief.
The wormhole snaps shut, and the subsonic noise and sounds of rushing air end abruptly. In the aftermath, twelve wagons sit in a valley, brightly colored ribbons streaming in the wind. A yellow sun sits in a light-blue sky, and the Roamers laugh, pat each other on the backs, and begin to set up camp.
The Roamers and the Rube by Grace D. Palmer