Building Extropia

60 posts / 0 new
Last post
Arenamontanus Arenamontanus's picture
Re: Building Extropia

Axel the Chimeric wrote:
Arenamontanus wrote:
The Extropia corporation (or foundation) claimed original ownership of the bedrock resources of 44 Nysa and presumably lease or sell them to inhabitants (whether corporations, individuals, associations, socialist collectives or anything else).

This is something that's bothered me considerably; namely, the lease or sell part. If Extropia leases property, rather than selling it, you have something resembling a government; they can enforce laws on their land because the whole asteroid belongs to them. It's still technically capitalism in that case, but it would feel, to me, ultimately to be distinctly lacking in the anarchist part.

If they sell it, on the other hand, Extropia is considerably more free. Anyone who's ever lived on rental property versus owned property knows just how much of a difference it makes, and everyone knows of the looming threat of eviction should you fail to pay your property taxes.

A very Anglo-Saxon view on owning versus renting :-)

(see some of the earlier discussions in this thread on this topic)

Extropianism in EP seems to be a fairly pure anarchocapitalist polycentric legal system. But living in space also requires many measures for collective survival - functioning heat sinks, preventing hypervelocity impactors, life support, habitat mechanical integrity etc. I think more of these than most people think can be handled through market mechanisms (believe it or not, lighthouses, the standard example of a public good, were actually maintained for-profit in England for a long time), but there are going to be some where the economies of scale, natural monopolies and tragedies of the commons do require a single coordinated solution.

If the initial organisation sells off asteroid mass and volume it also loses the ability to enforce public goods and safety through contracts. (unless it is a sales contract with a long list of restrictions - "the buyer may not engage in the following habitat-endangering activities... these restrictions transfer in any resale..." - but then you need a law company to enforce the contract, and the contract itself is more like a licence agreement than normal ownership.)

Having a "rental" situation actually seems to make colonizing an asteroid much more appealing for an extropian company than going to an asteroid and selling it - you get a steady revenue flow, there is an incentive for investing in infrastructure (oh, the alliteration!) that will both entice people to go there and increase thethe revenue stream, and you get the chance to set up reassuring coordination rules for habitat safety. Purists might want to own their own asteroid, and they are welcome to do so. But the economic growth is more likely to happen where there is a stable system that inspires trust.

However, to avoid worries about the founders being a government and misusing their power, it might make sense to make the owning organisation a transparent construction. It could be a company with a smart contract charter, a foundation bound by contracts with external third parties (if Extropia Foundation reneges on it, all its investments in lunar banks are forfeited) or even deliberately split into several independent bodies. Still, the key thing is that the whole system should give a long-term return on investment to the founders - by extropian principles, they deserve it for having done the work.

Extropian

Chaplain Exmortis Chaplain Exmortis's picture
Re: Building Extropia

Hopefully this will further the discussion and provide some interesting hooks for GM's and players alike. A description for the company's facilities will be provided for both a Cole Bubble and for a Beehive. I like completeness.

Vacuum Pangea

Vacuum Pangea started as the experiment of a rather ludicrous individual; Rufus "DamDat" Ewing. Entertainer, singer, hip hop artist, and street rapper turned wild and eloquent bio-chemist. Rufus had quite the career previous to the Fall known for his strong lyrics, literary references, and storytelling abilities in his music he was also something of a flashy spender and was well known for his bright colors and outrageous media comments. In words of some he was, "equitably quotable at all times". It was only during and after the Fall that Rufus changed. He saw in the TITANS everything that was wrong with machines and the very concept of digital and for several years he became untraceable.

Resurfacing in Extropia under the name Re: with a host of biological enhancements and a brand new skill set of unknown origin he set about developing Vacuum Pangea. The facilities consist of a central growth which cannot properly be called a building. It's said the seed was a full three meters thick and weighed in at seven hundred kilos. Re: licensed his own stretch of Extropia, planted his seed, and waited seven Earth standard months in a hotel not far from the site. The initial building was little more than single story bud with a door entrance and several smaller slits to provide windows. As the facility has grown the trunk has twisted and bent, the roof has opened up into a massive Dahlia cultivar and fills the surrounding neighborhoods with it's wonderful aroma. The interior of the facility is strangely evocative of being inside some giant Leviathan of legend. The floors, walls, and ceilings are all smooth and soft to the touch and maintain a comfortable temperature through out. Along the ceilings run thick arteries of phosphorescent fluid lighting the interior in a mild green supplemented by the numerous window slits. All of the furniture is crafted from wood, vegetable planks, even enlarged and re-engineered mushroom species. Some are free standing while others have grown into the building forming a symbiotic relationship. All variety of animal and plant forms can be found living on, around, and inside the facility creating a menagerie of strange creatures. The Genesculptors spend their days writing and changing strands of genetic material from the extensive archives and it's not unheard of for impromptu competitions between Genesculptors to produce some unique micro-organism within a set amount of time or to see who can the most creatively overcome a set of obstacles with life forms of their own design.

Security is perhaps on the most interesting elements of the facility; flocks of trained security Ravens (uplifted and otherwise) patrol the air while the grounds are given over to pack of enhanced and exceptionally well trained canine variants running with modified Fury morph security personnel. The interior and exterior are watched by clusters of eye stalks, there nerve ganglia running through the facility to a security monitoring room where sensory bridge ganglia connect into the modified morphs of security officers.

The company specializes in biology; genetic manipulation, custom morphs, radical organ enhancements and hybrids, and progenation. It is perhaps the last item that could be called VP's claim to fame. They seek to replace every day machines; housing, tools, drones, computers, and everything in between with organic equivalents. The company is committed to the organic orbital habitat and has hosted forums discussing everything from replicating O'Niel cylinders to growing entire continents across the gaseous surfaces of Jupiter and Saturn. While all of the high minded goals are well and good the company has furnished Transhumanity with several interesting organic drones and a clothing line of living wearables. They are also heavily engaged in growing organic computers in a bid to evade any possible TITAN return. Their thinking simply that an organic system and chemically derived protocols would in theory be more resistant to TITAN based software. That said the company still uses various hard tech components such as computer systems and terminals, electrical control and distributions systems, and various other infrastructure related systems.

While Re: has become a scientist and businessman he has lost nothing of his flashiness. He hosts extravagant parties where he premiers new developments in organic tech and showcases past achievements. He's an outspoken critic of both Pods and the clanking masses. He believes them both to be transhumanities greatest weakness in facing the TITANs. He advocates resleeving synths as informorphs until they can be placed in biological morphs and simply eliminating the Pod population all together. His own morph is a custom purely biological construction with all of the mental and physiological enhancements available publicly and privately and has more in common with Remade than anything else. Many whisper he borders on Exhuman and some already consider him such; his combination of reputation, wealth, popularity, and many political, scientific, media, and business allies keep such accusations very quiet.

Possible Hooks

VP has developed several new enhancement organs suitable for a wide variety of morphs. The players are either hired by rivals to steal/destroy the blueprints for such or are taken on by VP to help safe guard them at a demonstration. Perhaps Firewall wishes these possibly Exhuman level enhancements to remain off the market.

Re: is indeed an Exhuman stalking the streets and thoroughfares of Extropia proving his physical and mental dominance using the oldest method there is: hunting the competition down and killing it. His obsession with mental and physical enhancement has finally pushed him over the edge into a madness which hides itself during the day deep in his Ego but he's slipping and the ultimate survivor and hunter is slowly becoming the dominant part of the Ego.

VP has leased several large freighters and seems to be moving their operations off of Extropia; where are they going and what are they doing there that requires such privacy? They've always been fierce about protecting the companies patents and copyrights but now they've become quite militant and reports of quiet character assassinations of inquisitive sentients have started to circulate.

Note: In a Beehive version of Extropia the facility would have been grown over the existing rock floors, walls, and ceilings and internally would be very similar to what is described above with the obvious lack of an "outside". The halls would be patrolled by the above mentioned security canine variants though the flocks of ravens wouldn't be used for obvious reasons. Likely "buds" of the facility would extrude onto the outside of the asteroid to catch what sunlight and EM radiation it could to help "feed" it. I imagine VP also has extensive deals with ice freighters for additional water to help counter act the additional the facility would be on Extropia's resources. And no, I haven't figured a cool name for the "facility" so some help with that would be super sweet.

Chaplain Exmortis
"Uploading really isn't YOU, it is in fact a copy of YOU. Same goes for re-sleeving. Still cool, still fun, but not as cool, or as fun as YOU thought it would be." ~Unknown

Psyfer Psyfer's picture
Re: Building Extropia

Nice...

Chaplain, are you familiar with the concept of a Dyson tree? If not, look here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dyson_tree

What you describe for the Beehive version of Extropia is very much along those lines. Depending on it's age, it could also potentially be HUGE, tens or possibly hundreds of kilometres across... Would Vacuum Pangea rent out tree space? Do they have any protocols to avoid their tree's growth from interfering with shipping, or do they seek to monopolise space around Extropia in order to force trade through their own docks (on the tree) for extra revenue?

And to wrap it up, here's a list of names for you to consider:

Axis Extropia (play on Axis Mundi)

Nemus Astartes ('Star Tree' in Latin, I think)

The Millennium Tree (Yes, it's a Rifts reference, but it's still a cool name for a giant space tree)

Nova Flora

Just another Ghost in the Machine...

Chaplain Exmortis Chaplain Exmortis's picture
Re: Building Extropia

Psyfer wrote:
Nice...

Chaplain, are you familiar with the concept of a Dyson tree? If not, look here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dyson_tree

What you describe for the Beehive version of Extropia is very much along those lines. Depending on it's age, it could also potentially be HUGE, tens or possibly hundreds of kilometres across... Would Vacuum Pangea rent out tree space? Do they have any protocols to avoid their tree's growth from interfering with shipping, or do they seek to monopolise space around Extropia in order to force trade through their own docks (on the tree) for extra revenue?

And to wrap it up, here's a list of names for you to consider:

Axis Extropia (play on Axis Mundi)

Nemus Astartes ('Star Tree' in Latin, I think)

The Millennium Tree (Yes, it's a Rifts reference, but it's still a cool name for a giant space tree)

Nova Flora

Definitely thinking of Dyson trees when I was developing the idea. I'm fan of Vacuum Diagrams, Stephen Baxter, and Dan Simmons and have loved the idea of plants and trees being re-adapted for space. I imagine that the size and possibility of interference with shipping isn't a major concern currently as like many long lived plants it enjoyed an early phase of rapid growth but has since settled into a steady and slower development phase. I can imagine in the future there being a real need for "pruning" not only to control the amount of resources necessary for it's development but also to maintain good relations with the Extropia Corporation and their neighbors on/in Extropia.

I could easily see the VP offering the buds as an exotic habitation or retail space. Obviously any dock facilities would primarily be for company use (a very neat way to avoid leasing a space and/or equipment from another company and being beholden to said company's scheduling) and even leasing out those docks for other companies and individuals to use as they expand and VP's own shipping schedule permits. Though I don't imagine VP looking to seriously compete in either the habitable space leasing business or the space dock and storage freight business. As a company VP is very focused on their mission plan which is left purposely vague for GM's to design based on whatever they need for their particular campaign.

I must admit I really like Nemus Astartes and so I give it my official blessing :). VP's Extropia headquarters is officially named Nemus Astartes! :)

Chaplain Exmortis
"Uploading really isn't YOU, it is in fact a copy of YOU. Same goes for re-sleeving. Still cool, still fun, but not as cool, or as fun as YOU thought it would be." ~Unknown

Jay Dugger Jay Dugger's picture
Re: Building Extropia

I like the Robert W. Chambers references. That's a nice touch, and a fine set-up for Extropia-as-Carcosa in an Eclipse Phase-Call of Cthulhu crossover.

Sometimes the delete key serves best.

Arenamontanus Arenamontanus's picture
Re: Building Extropia

Jay Dugger wrote:
I like the Robert W. Chambers references. That's a nice touch, and a fine set-up for Extropia-as-Carcosa in an Eclipse Phase-Call of Cthulhu crossover.

Maybe Reginald Neophyte is actually an avatar of Nyarlathotep?

Another Extropia company that has appeared in our game:

Sacred Vengeance Corporation

“To the last, I grapple with thee; From Hell's heart, I stab at thee; For hate's sake, I spit my last breath at thee”
-Herman Melville, Moby Dick

The SVC is a for-profit revenge company that allow customers to make life difficult for people. This can range from pranks and smears to physical violence or even muirder, depending on budget. SVC is a legal extropian company: it carefully adjusts what it does so the profit exceeds the payments it must make to law companies in order to pursue someone. Actually hitting a person with a good contract with Medusan Shield is pretty expensive, but someone outside extropian jurisdiction or unprotected is very cheap to harass.

For example, a person might hire SVC as a Major favor (level 4) to get back at an enemy after an unfriendly review. If the enemy is unprotected the SVC might simply kill him. However, if the enemy has a typical security contract (as a minor favour, level 2) the result would be level 2 (4-2) harassment: he gets roughed up, and afterwards the rented goon shows the security corp that he was hired by SVC, an SVC arbitrator shows up and pays the security firm for their trouble and freeing the goon. If the enemy has high security (like a level 3 favor), then the harassment might be merely a smear campaign, getting crazies to come to the enemy's parties or lectures, or repeated annoying flashcrowds.

One of SVCs most important services is vengeance bonds. Rather than specify someone to be a victim, the customer sets up a contract so that if they are attacked or killed the SVC will strike. While other law companies have similar services SVC offers variants that go further, such as post-mortem revenge, undirected revenge ("If I die, bad things will happen to everybody in this habitat") and blood feuds. These are usually intended as safety measures than an actual desire for causing harm: having a high level vengeance bond makes attacks less profitable, yet the high chance of the bond never "maturing" allows SVC to offer pretty extreme revenges for a smaller investment.

Many non-extropians regard companies like SVC as signs of their immorality or complete insanity. Extropians tend to view SVC as merely a specialised law company, playing a bit with symbolism (the company logo is a stylized bloody dagger and its standard simspace skin is a mixture of chilly 20th century corporate office and Hashishim fortress). Security companies regularly deal with SVC: they have arbitration deals with the company, usually making interaction quick. A few people have become annoyed by SVC itself and have tried to strike at it, but it is well protected with high-level defence contracts.

Extropian

Jay Dugger Jay Dugger's picture
Re: Building Extropia

At some point I'll have to write a guide to combining Delta Green with Eclipse Phase, but that will wait. The Cthulhu Mythos has far too many extraterrestrials already. I've a game to run next month and pursuing war criminals will probably serve as its theme.

Sacred Vengeance Corporation (SVC)

How far will SVC range? As far as the profit margin, sure, but do they advertise a willingness to go to the Inner System? Will they visit Earth?

Do they have a policy regarding Fall criminals?

Standard Contracts for SVC

Carthage Delenda Est.

Sometimes the delete key serves best.

Jay Dugger Jay Dugger's picture
Re: Building Extropia

At some point I'll have to write a guide to combining Delta Green with Eclipse Phase, but that will wait. I've an EP game to run next month with pursuing war criminals on Mars as its theme. This will nicely allow me to transfer stories from the western genre to E.P. with the American Civil War standing in for the Fall and Mars standing in for the closing western frontier. Besides, who doesn't like John Ford and Clint Eastwood? Best of all, I can adapt Ken Hite's essay "The Man Who Shot Joseph Curwen" if I need to play up the horror angle.

Sacred Vengeance Corporation (SVC)

How far will SVC range? As far as the profit margin, sure, but do they advertise a willingness to go to the Inner System? Will they visit Earth?

Do they have a policy regarding Fall criminals?

SVC Trivia

The 'Carthago Delenda Est' Clause

This option in SVC's basic contract simply encourages policy holders to end every conversation which mentioned a specific enemy with a variant of the phrase "My enemy must be destroyed." SVC offered a small discount in return for this advertising, but most policy holders refused the methods required to guarantee advertising.

The Mark of Cain

SVC considered using red hair to signify its policyholders, but abandoned the idea as impractical and too subtle to prove effective.

Lamech

SVC jargon for a client who boasts of a extravagant revenge contract with SVC.

Sometimes the delete key serves best.

Smokeskin Smokeskin's picture
Re: Building Extropia

Arenamontanus wrote:

Extropianism in EP seems to be a fairly pure anarchocapitalist polycentric legal system. But living in space also requires many measures for collective survival - functioning heat sinks, preventing hypervelocity impactors, life support, habitat mechanical integrity etc. I think more of these than most people think can be handled through market mechanisms (believe it or not, lighthouses, the standard example of a public good, were actually maintained for-profit in England for a long time), but there are going to be some where the economies of scale, natural monopolies and tragedies of the commons do require a single coordinated solution.

If the initial organisation sells off asteroid mass and volume it also loses the ability to enforce public goods and safety through contracts.

They could also use owner's associations.

Say you're a hab expander (like we have real estate developers today). Depending on the ownership of undeveloped parts of the asteroid, you claim or buy a volume. You excavate it, install power and fab material supply lines, waste disposal, add access tunnels and internal roads, shielding maintenance systems, etc. You then set up an owner's association corporation with the responsibility of maintaining all these services. When you sell off space, the contract specifies that you're liable for paying a certain part of the assocition's running cost, with a mortgage in the space. Buy a space there, and things will work. That ups the price, and that's why expander makes the contracts like that.

Buy a space somewhere without such a system, and whenever there's a problem, you have to comvince your neighbors to pitch in, deal with freeloaders, etc. I'm sure some communities have developed squatter-style and have to deal with things that way, but it is mostly for the poor.

You could even own spaces that come with several association memberships as spaces are divided and sold off.

Pages