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MessagePosté le: Mer 30 Sep - 22:56 (2009) Répondre en citant Back to top

The Societies

Think of the civilizations as a tile mosaic on the floor. Each tile is a person, and regardless of its own color and shape, it forms part of a larger picture. The Societies are plastic “overlays” placed atop the civilizations. Not all of the mosaic is covered: everyone has a civilization, but not everyone joins a society. That takes a certain level of commitment.

Societies provide benefits to their members, but require that each member have a particular core value (which must be rated at 5 or higher). Many societies also require a time commitment, dues, and so forth.

The Artisans

The creation of the neural mesh opened incredible doors for artists everywhere. It can stimulate creativity, record dreams, and analyze thousands of options in a second to determine the one most likely to appeal to the masses or shock them. The Artisans take this a step further: each one of them has obtained a cross-linked neural mesh, connecting the right and left sides of their brain into a single unicameral consciousness. Each of them is an undeniably brilliant, if somewhat crazy, artist. The Artisan’s Society does not exist in the Old World, or in areas that outlaw neural meshes, and it is very rare among the Spacers, who value practicality. It is particularly common in both the Cognitive Union and the Masquerade, forming one of the few common bonds between these civilizations.

Their symbol is the eye in the hand, representing a way of viewing the world through creation.

Benefit: Artisans have minimum Cognitech and Metatech scores of 6, which can raise them above their civilization’s maximum if necessary. They do not suffer Plot Score reduction for exceeding these maximums. They also learn the Artist profession twice as quickly as their Cognitech score would normally allow. Unfortunately, Artisans are easily distracted and confused outside the realm of artistic endeavours, and they lose any ties on Cog and Meta rolls.

Core Value: Individuality — Artisans place high value on uniqueness, and refuse to emulate the practices of others.

The Darwinians

Founded as a backlash reaction to the Hospitalers, the Darwinians believe that humanity has “coddled” the weak and defenseless for too long. Working primarily in secret, the Darwinians release viral epidemics, memetic plagues, and other such assaults on the minds and bodies of humanity. They are careful never to use weapons that would simply kill everyone exposed: after all, a population cannot build up a resistance unless it survives. They see their work as improving humanity at the cost of individual humans, and often speak of “pruning” or “gardening.” The Darwinians are organized much like a terrorist organization, with each person only having contact with a few others in the society. Most meetings are held in person rather than on the infosphere. The Darwinians exist in every civilization except for the Union. They are somewhat more common in the Rationalist League.

Their symbol is the skull within the cross: to heal humanity, they must purge parts of it.

Benefit: Darwinians have access to nanophages, memetic plagues and biotech weapons that would normally be illegal in their civilization, although they are expected to occasionally use them at the group’s direction. Darwinians have a minimum Biotech score of 4, which can raise them above their civilization’s maximum if necessary. They can exceed their civilization’s maximum Biotech by one without suffering Plot Score reduction.

Core Value: Survival of the Fittest — Darwinians believe that natural selection is still a necessary force, and will go so far as to enforce it themselves.

Group-Minds

A group-mind is several individuals (typically called “members”) acting as a single person. Each member has a neural mesh installed, with a very exclusive and well-encrypted transceiver. By linking each of the member’s meshes through radio or optical contact, thoughts in the mind of one member are propagated to other members, effectively creating a single multi-brained mind. Group-minds can become very large indeed — anyone with a mesh, even a partial mesh, can theoretically join one. One planet has an entire populated continent where 90% of the people living there are a single group-mind. The remaining 10% find interaction with it a bit strange, but not so strange as to be impossible.

Group-mind support organizations appear in every civilization that doesn’t outlaw them. Groupminds are rare in all civilizations, appearing primarily amongst the Stardwellers and Logicians. Among the Old-Worlders, Cargo Cults, and most parts of the Tao, group-minds are totally unheard-of.

Group-mind publicity items often carry an image of literally linked minds.

Benefit: As one might expect, group-minds are able to coordinate their members extraordinarily well. They also have more “processing power” than the average person, with more thought pathways available. Characters who are a group-mind raise their civilization’s minimum and maximum Cognitech and Nanotech by one point. They also have multiple bodies that they can coordinate independently and simultaneously, which can be as much a hindrance as a benefit. They can exceed their civilization’s maximum Cognitech and Nanotech by one without suffering Plot Score reduction.

All this applies as long as the group remains compact. Group-minds who stretch themselves across an entire planet will find that coordination becomes more and more difficult, and their thoughts become slower and less sensible as the transmission time delay grows. Decryption is a danger as well — group-minds who fail to update their mesh’s security software, or who fail to take advantage of the best encryption available, will find themselves taken over as their mental impulses are altered en route. Many group-minds are paranoid about the Aia (see page 63) using them as “appendages”, though in reality the risk is very small as the Aia simply don’t seem to care about humanity.

Core Value: Unity — Group-Minds know the strength that comes from working together.

The Heterolinguists

Created as a terrified knee-jerk reaction to the creation of memetics (and memetic plagues in particular), the Heterolinguists have radically altered the language centers of their brains. If they can pull together as a group, and create more of a unified culture, the Heterolinguists are the society most likely to “upgrade” to civilization status. Their main goal is to continue “life as normal” while blocking the influence of powerful metatech on the individual human being. Heterolinguists do not appear in the Old World or the Union, and are relatively rare elsewhere (especially in Mechanican space). This Society is passed on genetically.

The Heterolinguist symbol is one of the brain in a starburst, symbolizing either a shattering of old mindsets or a newness of mind, depending on which Heterolinguist one speaks to.

Benefit: Heterolinguists are completely immune to any memetic attacks that are not specifically designed to tackle the Heterolinguist brain type, and treat Metatech persuasion attempts against them from non-Heterolinguists as if they had a maximum Metatech of 6. Unfortunately, their inability to truly understand those outside their society gives them trouble: their maximum Metatech score is only two thirds of what their civilization can normally attain (round down), and they lose all ties on Metatech rolls.

Core Value: Sanctity of Mind — Heterolinguists believe that no one but they should be able to change their minds. This CV does not function against all Metatech assaults, only against those that would convince the Heterolinguist to submit to further mental or social tampering.

< ENCADRE >

Can I Join the Group?

Joining a group-mind means handing the GM your character sheet. Individuality is subsumed, and a new being is created. Your old character doesn’t exist any more. However, if the group-mind decides to dissolve (which is rare, but it can happen), you get your character back, with some very strange and fragmentary memories.

If you play a group-mind from the beginning of the game, you give the GM your character sheet when you break into your individual members. You get it back if they decide to re-form for some reason. For the time that everyone’s apart, the consciousness that was you does not exist. Some group-minds break apart to enter a civilization where they’re normally outlawed, and plant post-hypnotic suggestions in their members’ minds to bring themselves back together later. Obviously, this can be pretty dangerous.

< /ENCADRE >

High Society

The rich tend to like each others’ company, and their ability to enjoy the finer (and sometimes more dangerous) things in life unites them as surely as any other factor. High Society does not exist among the Old World, Disciples, Spacers, Logicians, or the Union. It is particularly common in the Tao.

The symbol of high soceity is ancient scrollwork with a diamond inside. The diamond symbolizes the perfection created by time and pressure. If one is not in High Soceity, it is an ancient symbol for money.

Benefit: All members of High Society are rich, able to afford items and services that individuals normally could not. For purposes of these rules, they can buy moderately expensive items without concern, or highly expensive ones by dipping into their savings or taking a serious loan.

Core Value: Good Breeding — More than just height and build run in family lines; one inherits character as well.

The Hospitalers

An outgrowth of the Red Cross, Salvation Army, and other such humanitarian groups, the Knights of the Hospital are a charity organization concerned primarily with the wellbeing of the poor. Hospitalers organize charity fund-raisers, tend to the less fortunate, and attempt to bring public attention to the disenfranchised who still exist in nearly every civilization. The Hospitalers exist everywhere, even in the Union, and many Old-Worlders who leave their civilization become Hospitalers.

The Hospitalers’ symbol is a dove inside a cross, which combines the two ancient symbols of healing and peace.

Benefit: The Hospitalers have an excellent reputation: they are known across the universe for their works, and most people will automatically trust and respect a Hospitaler. Hospitalers increase their Metatech by 2 when convincing others of their trustworthiness and sincerity. Abusing this reputation will almost certainly lead to expulsion from the society.

Core Value: Charity — Hospitalers live to help others.

< ENCADRE >

Singular Verbiage

Heterolinguists are challenging to play. They don’t communicate very well, and they always communicate differently. They don’t just speak a rare language — the very way their brains process communication is different from the rest of humanity, and even from other groups of Heterolinguists. They sometimes can’t even understand each other. They’re about as mentally alien as one can get and still be human.

If you’re interested in playing one, we suggest taking some time to think about how you want your character to talk and understand others’ speech. Heterolinguists aren’t utterly incomprehensible, in fact they can even be eloquent, but there should always be the possibility of serious misunderstanding.

< /ENCADRE >

The Hyperevolutes

Evolution is not a carefully-designed affair — significant amounts of randomness influence the process. The Hyperevolutes believe that, with modern assistance, they can do better. They use Biotech simulations to determine which genes and organs humanity can do without, and genetically modify their children (and, where possible, parts of themselves) to strip these inefficient bits out. They have no appendix, no wisdom teeth, and much more efficient biological and mental processes. They tend to carry this desire for efficiency into the rest of their lives as well. They exist in every civilization except the Old-Worlder and Cargo Cults, and are particularly common in the Rationalist League. This Society is passed on genetically.

The symbol of the Hyperevolutes is a sickle pruning the dead brances from a tree.

Benefit: Hyperevolutes have minimum Biotech and Cognitech scores of 4, which can raise them above their civilization’s maximum if necessary. Their Biotech is considered one point higher for the purpose of resisting disease and old age. They can exceed their civilization’s maximum Cognitech and Biotech by one without suffering Plot Score reduction.

Core Value: Efficiency — That which is unnecessary or holds us back should be trimmed away.

Organized Crime

An ancient profession, and one made very difficult in the modern age. Criminals without some kind of organization to help them are almost certainly doomed to rehabilitation programs. By keeping out of the public eye, taking few risks, and refusing to betray each other, members of this Society actually have a chance against the impressive technology and methodology employed by modern police. This society is unheard-of in the Old World, the Union, and in most Cargo Cults. It is rare in the Rationalist League. Most organized crime takes place in Tao and Independent space.

The symbol used by the largest organized crime cartel is that of two hands grasping a rod, with darkness behind.

Benefit: Members of this Society are the only ones who can start the game with even a single level in the Criminal Profession, and the only ones who can improve it later in the game without painful trial and error.

Core Value: Solidarity — Never snitch, never desert your new family.

The Sleepers

A loosely organized group, Sleepers spend years at a time in frozen stasis, awakening only when it is their turn to watch the others. Over 90% of the society are in stasis at any given time. In this way they hope to extend their lives and their influence on the world.

They have an interesting perspective on time, and while they have trouble adapting to cultural and technological changes, they make excellent psychohistorians. Most Sleepers are also quite rich, especially those with accounts in banks that still believe in compound interest. Some Sleepers worship the Transcendentals, hoping to survive long enough to reach the Transcendentals’ “desired future.” Sleepers exist in every civilization with a Biotech score above 5, except for the Union. The Disciples of the Void and the Spacers have a high percentage of Sleepers, and the Replicants have very few.

The Sleepers use the ankh as their symbol, representing life and rebirth. A downcast sleeping face fills the top of the ankh.

Benefit: All Sleepers have access to cryogenic tanks and excellent medical care (Biotech 8). They can exceed their civilization’s maximum Biotech by one without suffering Import reduction.

Core Value: Longevity — It’s all about living forever, and the longer you’ve lived, the more wisdom you must have accrued.

The Transcendental Worshippers

An understandable group, these folks believe that the Transcendentals have risen above their mere physical shells and become literal gods. While they are presented here as a single society, the TWs are more factionized than most religions, and the differences between one “church” and another can be extreme, as few agree as to the best way to worship their gods. The Transcendentals’ official response is “no comment,” and they rely on the aid of these people as little as possible — it only encourages them. TWs exist in every civilization except the Union, Disciples, and Logicians. They are especially common in Mechanica, but quite rare in Independent space.

The largest group of Transcendental Worshippers uses an inverted hourglass showing impossible times in both top and bottom.

Benefit: TWs can use a profession entitled “Code Cleric,” which encompasses both the Programmer and Religious professions. All TWs receive this at level 2 for free, and can improve it normally.

Core Value: Worship — The TWs truly believe in the Transcendentals, and will do whatever is needed to help them achieve the Desired Future.
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MessagePosté le: Mer 30 Sep - 22:56 (2009) Back to top

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