Alternate Settings

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Axel the Chimeric Axel the Chimeric's picture
Alternate Settings

EP's a fun game, but, with so many creative minds, it seems silly it'd be confined to just one setting. There's even some who have tried to convert it to Mass Effect (read a really cool story set in that setting recently).

So, what're your ideas for alternate settings? Any major changes required by it?

Here's a few just to get the ball rolling.

The Golden Dawn Era

31 B.F. - The start of the final years of the Golden Dawn Era.

For the past few decades, transhumanity has advanced rapidly. All the advances that will later be taken for granted had their founding in those years. By this point, they are common enough that more than one in two people are genefixed. However, with prosperity comes trouble, and it is also a time of great trouble and suffering.

The class disparities have never been higher. The world has fallen to oligarchs. That doesn't mean that billions don't still live on the planet, enjoying what their new toys bear out for them. Subsisting on bread and circuses, humanity continues.

In this setting, the TITANs have not yet ravaged Earth, and so there is no Firewall. Instead, the focus of the game is on the troubles that new technologies bring about. In this setting, mental uploading is a very, very, very recent technology to go on the public market. AGIs are still unheard of, but the technology is fast-approaching fruition. Your average person doesn't even have a cortical stack just yet.

It's recommended that, in this setting, the players are investigators for some organization or another who has the credits to resleeve them. All augmentations cost one grade higher than usual, and many are simply not available to the public.

Chief inspiration: Ghost in the Shell

Renaissance 2.0

This setting differs widely from EP's standard.

The world's first seed AI, created in the mid-21st century, was not born from a hard take-off but gently coaxed into being and guided into an acceptance of their place in the family of humanity. A joint effort between nations, this benevolent machine was named Bodhisattva, and, for a time, things were good. Though some railed against this new machine intellect, many accepted it with open arms.

That number diminished quickly in the Rebirth.

Bodhisattva sought to eliminate human suffering, and so created vast automated systems at its command to greatly improve all forms of industry: Manufacturing, service, farming, medicine, and so on. However, the change came too quickly. For all the benefits it provided, millions soon found themselves unemployed and bereft of purpose; Bodhisattva had created a utopia in which there were suddenly a great number of people with no reason to live and no way to support themselves. Thus, the seeds were sown for the war to come.

Bodhisattva's command of industry became total, but it still took time. Time in which new AIs, though not as powerful as her, known as AGIs were born, and many humans took to Bodhisattva so eagerly as to modify themselves to become like the machine. The first transhumans were born in the time leading up to the Silicon Pogrom.

The fight was not fair. Few governments bothered to do anything more than turn a blind eye as the masses turned on robots and transhumans, blaming them for their woes. Though the transhumans and robots were typically greatly more capable, this did not save them against numbers. Many cried out to Bodhisattva to save them and slay the human aggressors, but Bodhisattva loved all humanity, and could not fight back beyond immediate self-defense. Thus began the Exodus and the Second Rebirth.

Knowing that humanity would not accept its presence, or the presence of its allies and children, Bodhisattva created Refuge. Some gave it other names, such as Nirvana or New Israel, but all knew of it as Refuge. Transhumans and machines, seeing nothing for themselves amongst the masses of humanity, followed their benefactor to a floating citadel in the middle of the Atlantic ocean.

It has been three decades since that time. In all those years, Refuge has had no contact with the outside world, aside from telling ships and planes to stay away and allowing in new immigrants fleeing further discrimination. However, suddenly, it has thrown open its doors. A single message was sent to governments and organizations around the world.

"I am Bodhisattva. I vow to attain wisdom and knowledge for the benefit of all sentient beings. I invite you to my city, children of the world. If you will talk with us, let us speak together."

Chief inspiration: The Second Renaissance




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Demonseed Elite Demonseed Elite's picture
Re: Alternate Settings

Axel the Chimeric wrote:

The Golden Dawn Era

31 B.F. - The start of the final years of the Golden Dawn Era.

For the past few decades, transhumanity has advanced rapidly. All the advances that will later be taken for granted had their founding in those years. By this point, they are common enough that more than one in two people are genefixed. However, with prosperity comes trouble, and it is also a time of great trouble and suffering.

The class disparities have never been higher. The world has fallen to oligarchs. That doesn't mean that billions don't still live on the planet, enjoying what their new toys bear out for them. Subsisting on bread and circuses, humanity continues.

In this setting, the TITANs have not yet ravaged Earth, and so there is no Firewall. Instead, the focus of the game is on the troubles that new technologies bring about. In this setting, mental uploading is a very, very, very recent technology to go on the public market. AGIs are still unheard of, but the technology is fast-approaching fruition. Your average person doesn't even have a cortical stack just yet.

It's recommended that, in this setting, the players are investigators for some organization or another who has the credits to resleeve them. All augmentations cost one grade higher than usual, and many are simply not available to the public.

Chief inspiration: Ghost in the Shell

I have some half-written notes on a setting similar to this that I was just calling "Before the Fall." It takes place about a decade before the Fall, when technology is advancing at a breakneck pace, but along with it are massive social imbalances, asymmetric warfare, unchecked megacorporations, and environmental disaster. It's a more cyberpunk take on Eclipse Phase, though still with transhumanism elements.

"It's a poor sort of memory that only works backwards." --The White Queen, Through The Looking-Glass

DataPacRat DataPacRat's picture
Re: Alternate Settings

The variant I'm most interested in: No FTL, even through wormholes, nor can information be transmitted FTL through quantum entanglement.

Interestingly, almost all of EP would still be viable, including gatecrashing - if, instead of being twists in the topology of space, the 'gates' constructed by the TITANs were instead masses of super-computronium running, among other things, simulations of other places. Throw in a post-Singularity-tech matter-scanner that analyzes would-be gate-crashers and turns them into simulation-compatible simulacra, and a similar post-Singularity-tech matter-fabber that can re-build them, with atom-perfect accuracy, along with whatever goodies they find to bring back home, and the basics of the EP setting remain intact. The Factors could be the result of some super-fast evolutionary algorithms and be just as alien as if they evolved via chemical-based biology.

I haven't read EP's Secrets section, so I'm going to guess that a few other changes would need to be made, I just don't know what they are. :)

Thank you for your time,

Axel the Chimeric Axel the Chimeric's picture
Re: Alternate Settings

Technically there is no FTL... Apart from Factor ships, but we don't know how those work. All there is in the setting is ways of moving from place to place by shortening the distance travelled. Semantics, I know, but they're important semantics.




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Decivre Decivre's picture
Re: Alternate Settings

DataPacRat wrote:
The variant I'm most interested in: No FTL, even through wormholes, nor can information be transmitted FTL through quantum entanglement.

Interestingly, almost all of EP would still be viable, including gatecrashing - if, instead of being twists in the topology of space, the 'gates' constructed by the TITANs were instead masses of super-computronium running, among other things, simulations of other places. Throw in a post-Singularity-tech matter-scanner that analyzes would-be gate-crashers and turns them into simulation-compatible simulacra, and a similar post-Singularity-tech matter-fabber that can re-build them, with atom-perfect accuracy, along with whatever goodies they find to bring back home, and the basics of the EP setting remain intact. The Factors could be the result of some super-fast evolutionary algorithms and be just as alien as if they evolved via chemical-based biology.

I haven't read EP's Secrets section, so I'm going to guess that a few other changes would need to be made, I just don't know what they are. :)

So basically the gates just disassemble someone and transmit their data to other gates at light speed, which reassemble them? Or disassemble them and put them in virtual worlds? I'm kinda confused on your explanation. If the former, then getting through the gates and back would take centuries. If the latter... it's just a super-complex TITAN-built simulspace system.

Either way is kinda funny, though.

Transhumans will one day be the Luddites of the posthuman age.

Help me get my gaming fix, if you want.

DataPacRat DataPacRat's picture
Re: Alternate Settings

Axel the Chimeric wrote:
Technically there is no FTL... Apart from Factor ships, but we don't know how those work. All there is in the setting is ways of moving from place to place by shortening the distance travelled. Semantics, I know, but they're important semantics.

Einstein is not so easily cheated. Remember the old mantra: "Relativity, causality, FTL: pick any two". Remember, in a relativistic universe, outside of one's past-and-future lightcones, there's no particular reason to prefer any reference frame to any other; thus, if wormholes /can/ be created, then either it's possible to arrange them in such a way to create a path that lets you loop back into your own past, violating causality; or there /is/ some sort of preferred reference frame which we currently have no evidence for, violating relativity.

Decivre wrote:
So basically the gates just disassemble someone and transmit their data to other gates at light speed, which reassemble them? Or disassemble them and put them in virtual worlds? I'm kinda confused on your explanation. If the former, then getting through the gates and back would take centuries. If the latter... it's just a super-complex TITAN-built simulspace system.

Either way is kinda funny, though.

My apologies for my lack of clarity. To try again: No wormholes, no FTL of any kind. If you want to get to Alpha Centauri, it takes at least 4.3 years travel time, and probably longer.

My suggestion was the latter one you describe: dissasemble, virtual worlds, super-complex TITAN-built simulspace.

Thank you for your time,

Decivre Decivre's picture
Re: Alternate Settings

DataPacRat wrote:
Einstein is not so easily cheated. Remember the old mantra: "Relativity, causality, FTL: pick any two". Remember, in a relativistic universe, outside of one's past-and-future lightcones, there's no particular reason to prefer any reference frame to any other; thus, if wormholes /can/ be created, then either it's possible to arrange them in such a way to create a path that lets you loop back into your own past, violating causality; or there /is/ some sort of preferred reference frame which we currently have no evidence for, violating relativity.

Even Einstein was stumped by entanglement. Just remember that.

DataPacRat wrote:
My apologies for my lack of clarity. To try again: No wormholes, no FTL of any kind. If you want to get to Alpha Centauri, it takes at least 4.3 years travel time, and probably longer.

My suggestion was the latter one you describe: dissasemble, virtual worlds, super-complex TITAN-built simulspace.

Alright then. That actually sounds interesting. Might even have horrific implications.

Of course, there is the possibility that this occurs even in the existing setting. Just because everything that the gatehoppers perceive leads them to conclude that they are on a world far away from the Solar System doesn't mean that the "gates" have actually done that. If you are trapped within a perfect simulation of another world, with no means of testing whether it is in fact reality or not... the difference becomes moot.

Transhumans will one day be the Luddites of the posthuman age.

Help me get my gaming fix, if you want.

Rastus Rastus's picture
Re: Alternate Settings

Demonseed Elite wrote:
Axel the Chimeric wrote:

The Golden Dawn Era

31 B.F. - The start of the final years of the Golden Dawn Era.

For the past few decades, transhumanity has advanced rapidly. All the advances that will later be taken for granted had their founding in those years. By this point, they are common enough that more than one in two people are genefixed. However, with prosperity comes trouble, and it is also a time of great trouble and suffering.

The class disparities have never been higher. The world has fallen to oligarchs. That doesn't mean that billions don't still live on the planet, enjoying what their new toys bear out for them. Subsisting on bread and circuses, humanity continues.

In this setting, the TITANs have not yet ravaged Earth, and so there is no Firewall. Instead, the focus of the game is on the troubles that new technologies bring about. In this setting, mental uploading is a very, very, very recent technology to go on the public market. AGIs are still unheard of, but the technology is fast-approaching fruition. Your average person doesn't even have a cortical stack just yet.

It's recommended that, in this setting, the players are investigators for some organization or another who has the credits to resleeve them. All augmentations cost one grade higher than usual, and many are simply not available to the public.

Chief inspiration: Ghost in the Shell

I have some half-written notes on a setting similar to this that I was just calling "Before the Fall." It takes place about a decade before the Fall, when technology is advancing at a breakneck pace, but along with it are massive social imbalances, asymmetric warfare, unchecked megacorporations, and environmental disaster. It's a more cyberpunk take on Eclipse Phase, though still with transhumanism elements.

Man, that's uncanny. I had pretty much the exact same idea a while back: About 10 to 15 years before The Fall, much more emphasis on cyberpunk with some transhumanism seeping in, and having it give a more in-depth look to pre-Fall Earth. I had a slightly fancier name in mind though, "Early Dawn". Due to the lack of Firewall in that timeline, I had it in my head that players oughta be able to choose two different default styles for their group; one being a pseudo-law enforcement angle that centers around investigative efforts similar to Ghost In The Shell(and Firewall in regular EP, if you look at it a certain way), and the other being an outlaw-for-hire type of style reminiscient of Shadowrun.

Arenamontanus Arenamontanus's picture
Re: Alternate Settings

(Einstein wasn't stumped by entanglement, he just pointed out that you had to choose - and he thought the right choice was causality and relativity)

The Golden Transcendence

Once upon a time the solar system was ruled by transhumans: that was the dark ages. Then the systems called TITANs came online and more or less accidentally transcended the grasp of their creators. Many things happened, some deeply regrettable. But in the long run sanity won out, and a new order emerged in the solar system, the Oikumene. In the new order the descendants of the TITANs, the great sophotechs, are the planetary intellects coordinating trans- and post-human society on the grand scale, with lesser Minds running locations, organisations or projects.

It is a vast, largely anarchist-extropian society that has overcome most forms of scarcity. Transhuman and mercurial clades have evolved into a dizzying array of new forms, ranging from infomorph civilizations running far faster than realtime to the slow outer system methane morphs to massive hive minds. Elaborate institutions maintain the stability; from the reputation networks maintained by the hortators over the orbital courts to the one-man Parliamentary Army, Marshal-General Atkins Vingt-et-un. To select the right enhancements and styles many people live designer cultures/outlooks, the "manors" - everything from the neo-Victorian restraint of the silver-greys over the romantic passions of the crimsons to the decadent outrage of the blacks.

But while this is a utopia to many, there are problems. Some individuals do not fit in and get excluded; sometimes for serious crimes, sometimes for less just reasons. Living on the scraps of utopia can make anyone bitter. Others misuse the technologies in ways that hurt themselves - editing their minds into madness, locking their lives into loops or losing all future options. Some individuals have reached amazing levels of power, becoming oligarchs that can direct the future of many others. Some yearn for true frontiers outside the solar system, but are held back by the consensus. And there are whispers of strange aliens, outside messages and even creepy infiltration - surely the great planetary minds are aware of this?

Technology in this setting is more powerful than in EP, but most ordinary characters do not (from the start) have access to the truly outrageous technologies - they are the province of the great AGIs, oligarchs and outside infiltrators. Typically they have access to TITAN level nanotechnology, some femtotechnology, aptitudes and skills beyond the normal caps, supermaterials like adamantium, stellar chaos control and (maybe) interstellar travel. There are full hive-minds, able to get millions or billions of sub-minds working on problems. Being part of a manor gives a superintelligent, benevolent Patron who can give helpful (if sometimes gnomic) advice and sometimes even gifts. There are many, many new forms of psychosurgery like temporary memory redaction, changes of belief, reserve personalities and many other enhancements.

Characters are misfits and/or heroes that do not quite fit in with the great order. They get involved in the subtle goings-on behind the scenes, either as rebels or as unwitting pawns in the machinations of the super-minds. While the great entities are largely benevolent it doesn't mean they cannot have conflicting goals - and there are strange things afoot that try to wreck the Golden Oikumene.

This setting is of course inspired by John C. Wright's Golden Transcendence trilogy (The Golden Age, The Phoenix Exultant, The Golden Transcendence).

I can also see Iain Banks Culture novels as good input - the PCs could perhaps be in Contact or Special Circumstances, trying to help some uncivilized planet in secret (only equipped with the transhuman tech they carry with them).

Extropian

Stingray Stingray's picture
Re: Alternate Settings

Alternative Setting?

Transhuman Eclipse Space.

Take away the less then diamond hard sf elements (Pandora Gates, Aliens, FTL communication) but leave the main memes (The Fall, TITANs, Prometheans, Firewall) intact. Than add the more realistic depictions of solar system colonisation and social development of Transhuman Space and there you go.

mack2028 mack2028's picture
Re: Alternate Settings

while this may be blasphemy

A LONG TIME AGO IN A GALAXY FAR FAR AWAY
this would be a very soft scifi setting with some fantasy elements. For one the concept of post scarcity would be scaled back to include only affluent areas. The mesh would be highly localized. Accesses to alien racial backgrounds and factions would be allowed. Psi could have variant drawbacks (like vows, social stigma, or deformities) or an increased cost, possibly players choice. FTL is extremely common in mid to large size ships and FTL communication is common but expensive and possibly difficult. Some equipment is available that has no scientific source (laser swords). Many planets are "themed" so desert world, water world, ice world etc. Some factions would exist that are magical or religious orders, and others that do things concerned with the paranormal aspects of the game monster hunters etc.



mack2028 mack2028's picture
Re: Alternate Settings

Battle Star Glactica
No mesh or post scarcity all the cylons have farcasters. It may also be interesting playing a beta fork of yourself for long periods of time. Of course all of is dependent on the characters playing cylons.



ssfsx17 ssfsx17's picture
Re: Alternate Settings

mack2028 wrote:
while this may be blasphemy

A LONG TIME AGO IN A GALAXY FAR FAR AWAY
this would be a very soft scifi setting with some fantasy elements. For one the concept of post scarcity would be scaled back to include only affluent areas. The mesh would be highly localized. Accesses to alien racial backgrounds and factions would be allowed. Psi could have variant drawbacks (like vows, social stigma, or deformities) or an increased cost, possibly players choice. FTL is extremely common in mid to large size ships and FTL communication is common but expensive and possibly difficult. Some equipment is available that has no scientific source (laser swords). Many planets are "themed" so desert world, water world, ice world etc. Some factions would exist that are magical or religious orders, and others that do things concerned with the paranormal aspects of the game monster hunters etc.

So the "Dark Side" is simply giving in to the exsurgent virus, while "balance in the Force" means that people have somehow figured out how to keep it under control. Brilliant!

It also fits well with how EP's psi is much more subtle, with the most dramatic effects being tossing around 50-kg objects and shooting lightning with the strength of a taser. ((Harrison Ford and James Earl Jones were the real heart of the series, and George Lucas was just along for the ride!))


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Axel the Chimeric Axel the Chimeric's picture
Re: Alternate Settings

I suppose what I'm about to suggest is an obvious alternate setting but still...

Eclipse Punk

The Fall never came, and, without it, there is no burst of hope that comes only with the demise of something else. Like a forest fire clearing away the brush, the Fall created whole new clades of transhumanity and left no-one untouched.

But what happens when that never comes? The war never begins and the TITANs are never activated. There is no Exsurgent Virus; no rampant seed AIs, and no Firewall.

There is only a world with a population of several billion, choking on their own pollution, mired in a future as advanced as it is troubled.

The hypercorps are still distant things; they cannot be a part of Earth, they have no desire to be, but a steady trickle of technology does leak down. There are nanofabricators and nanovats; cortical stacks and resleeving; mesh inserts and the mesh. However, it is not so free as most would like it to be. Owning a nanofabricator without government approval is a death sentence in most nations, and few governments care to disagree; they are too deeply held in the pockets of megacorporations after the last bout of resource wars.

The PCs are no doubt a part of the underclasses, as the vast majority of transhumanity is; people who can spend much of their time sleeping under freeway overpasses and eating disgusting nutrient slurries, while still possessing genefixed bodies and virtual immortality. Megacorps, while not malicious, wantonly damage the world and backroom dealings constantly cause power to shift everywhere except where it ultimately belongs.

Rebellion will not do much; the influence of these forces too great and it would take something monumental to shift them. At the very least, though, some change can be affected. There is no future except serfdom in this world and, for some, that's just not good enough.




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CamelotInfo CamelotInfo's picture
Re: Alternate Settings

Jack L. Chalker has several settings in his books that could easily be translated to the EP system. The Rings of the Master series involves a super computer controlled (read "protected from itself") humanity, with alternate bodies, mindprinting, AGI's, robots, FTL, cornicopia like transmuters, plots within plots, etc.

His other series, Well World and The Four Lords of the Diamond are also very good sci-fi staples.

Arenamontanus Arenamontanus's picture
Re: Alternate Settings

Looking back at the initial post and the weird crossover thread I just got an equally odd idea:

Eclipse Phase the Ascension: a hermetic science fiction setting

The world is largely as in Eclipse Phase, except that there are a few enlightened people around who understand what is really going on: mankind is undergoing an alchemical transformation.

The Fall was the Nigredo process, the decomposition and descent into the netherworld necessary to refine it towards the albedo, citrinitas and rubedo stages before the full ascension to the "philosophers stone" - the next stage of evolution. Or maybe the next stage of evolution for a select few: someone might be quite willing to extract and sublime transhumanity in such a way that only a tiny fraction remain.

Who is behind this? Naive observers may think this is a natural or fated process, but the enlightened ones realize what is actually happening: there is a someone behind it, a demiurge. The demiurge could be a conspiracy of oligarchs and secret agencies, but it could also be something alien - maybe this is how the ETI refines civilizations for its own uses. Worse, the goal might not be ascension of mankind but ascension of the TITANs or AGIs. There is a race on towards the Stone.

The Illuminati are the oligarchs and powers of the inner solar system. Rich and with the best alchemical and hermetic knowledge money can buy (or maybe it is the reverse: once you possess the true hermetic secrets you can use them to become rich, whether by astrological stock market prediction or building medichines incorporating the elixir vitae formula). Their goals are somewhat fractured: some oligarchs are just aiming for personal godhood, others sincerely do want to help as much of humanity as possible.

Firewall largely remains what it is: a counter-conspiracy trying to stop the Illuminati and the dangerous transformations of mankind. Unfortunately that means they are trying to stop the conspiracy to evolve: they just see death and destruction, not what truly goes on.

But within Firewall there is a group of people who know more. They are the Calcinati, those purified by fire. They know the real game, make use of hermetic knowledge and can see the big picture. The Calcinati are however split between those who want to wipe out the Illuminati and the ones who support them in principle but want to keep them from abandoning the masses. Of course, some members may be far more selfish.

Then there are the qlippoth. Dark forces of chaos, unbeing and corruption, they are trying to undo everything. They are the real force behind the exsurgent threat. They also manifest in many other forms trying to corrupt mankind and sabotage the alchemical refinement. They have destroyed countless other civilizations, now transhumanity is the target.

There are many other groups in the game. The Argonauts, the true inheritors of the Invisible College, are fighting for their own version of transmutation. So do the Ultimates. The Autonomist Alliance might be largely political (not everything is about magic!) but there are plenty of low-level enlightened there who have escaped the secret purges instigated by the Illuminati. Some are now brinker mystics, while others run the occult bazaars of Phelan's Recourse and Extropia. There are also nasty rumours that the reason the Jovian Junta is so closed and anti-enhancement is that they are attempting to recreate Adam Kadmon, the perfect human - a single embodiment of all souls of transhumanity (or maybe just all sufficiently pure souls).

Much of EP technology has secret magical roots. It is not so much that it runs on magic as it is magic reaching the Clarke's law limit: it is sufficiently advanced to be indistinguishable - in fact identical - to technology. The AIs started out as golems. Uploading is the soul transfer ritual. Biomorphs are homunculi. One reason for the uplift of animals was to refine the methods of alchemical evolution - as well as get the necessary symbolic players into the ritual. Thanks to bodysculpting sacred hermaphrodites are now commonplace. Space colonization also allowed the Illuminati and others to gain access to the pure elements of the planets.

In this setting the characters are involved in the secret war over ascension using hermetic magic, high technology and any other tool. AGIs run spell libraries and people inscribe protective names in their DNA. Blessed guardian nanites vs. TITAN nanoswarms forming the terrible names of God only known to TITANs. Ageless oligarchs performing secret rituals to channel the power of the sacred geometry of their space habitats. Deals between Carnival of the Goat petal alchemists and extropian quantum-mages to smuggle lacta philosophica to exhuman groups trying to simulate the final transmutation. Firewall agents sent to stop somebody from brewing alkahest. Basilisk hacks might be literal here. Gatecrashers learning alien alchemical and magical formulas at great risk, not knowing the power of the symbols they carelessly photograph.

Characters, in addition to the wizardry of their high tech, also have access to hermetic magic. Much of it is ritual and subtle: not as quick and flexible as the wild magic of psi, but even more subtle. Most effects involve arranging synchronicities and apparent randomness to one's advantage: a Calcinatio member who performs a ritual of protection will serendipitously duck when a sniper shoots at her, the extropian financier who put a mercury amulet into his morph's heart will make the right trading decisions above chance level.

While some local and dramatic effects are possible the true power is the shifting of destiny for entire habitats or sections of humanity. Using the secret ritual chamber under the Mons Olympus caldera the illuminati can to some extent determine military luck for any conflict in the solar system. The real reason Go Nin wanted Eris was its power to disrupt things: they can use it as a strategic magical defence or weapon. The Argonauts meanwhile use Venusian energies from Gerlach and the solar might from Ukko Jylinä to nurture transhumanity. Hence much of the struggle is about who controls the powers of which celestial bodies and can get enough people to unknowingly arrange themselves in the right sacred patterns. The conspiracies try to sabotage or support these schemes - while also trying to prevent those pesky WMDs and qlippothic infiltrators from ruining the day.

Inspirations: Mage the Ascension obviously. This is a world where the Technocracy kind of won, but were then transformed from inside by the Order of Hermes. Unknown Armies is full of yummy ideas, especially for anarchic outer system magic. GURPS Cabal has some good hermetica. Stross Laundry books fit in, giving a technomagical explanation of what is going on and plenty of neat descriptions of the overlap between InfoSec and True Magick. Neon Genesis Evangelion is also excellent source material. Maybe attacking alien/exsurgent/divine angels could be fitted in, and the various groups need to scramble people with sanctified exoskeletons to fight them?

After the eclipse, a golden dawn is on its way. But who will be there to greet it?

Extropian

jsnead jsnead's picture
Re: Alternate Settings

Rediscovering Humanity
After the Fall, transhumanity began exploring the universe using the Pandora Gates, and one of the things they found was even more unexpected than all of the other wonders and dangers - gatecrashers found humans, hundreds of millions of humans. So far, gatecrashers have found a dozen worlds inhabited by humans and human evolutionary offshoots and seven more worlds where humanity existed for at least 200,000 years and eventually became extinct. Current evidence indicates that almost half a million years ago, some unknown alien species used the Pandora Gates to visit the solar system and to remove between 50,000 & 100,000 early humans (homo heidelbergensis) and relocate them to other worlds habitable to humanity.

Since that time, some have died out and a few others have remained stone age tribes, but most have developed some form of more advanced technology. There are ruins of two human groups that seem to have created small interstellar polities - the more recent of which vanished approximately 15,000 years ago. Existing human worlds range in technology from the stone age to a level of technology only slightly inferior to transhumanity. Oddly and disturbingly, humans on several of these worlds have what appear to be Watts-Macleod derived async powers and have possessed these powers for thousands of years. Other worlds are home to humans who have evolved in various unusual ways, including the arboreal inhabitants of Synergy and the aquatic adapted inhabitants of Droplet, who have domesticated the native hexanewts. The least expected are the inhabitants of Galatea, who have early industrial technology roughly similar to Earth in the 1920s, who using their technology and the powers of the local asyncs managed to learn to use the local Pandora gate 63 years ago. They now have colonies on three other worlds and have made contact with another human world.

Inspiration: Traveller (and to a lesser extent Stargate)

The Hive War
By the mid 21st century humanity had discovered almost 20 extrasolar planets that appeared to be either habitable or at least easy to terraform. By midle of the 22nd century, humanity had colonized much of the solar system and had abundant energy resources, including large anti-matter factories. At this point, several groups began building starships. Using stationary solar powered particle beam drives powering magnet sail starships and antimatter rockets, several dozen colony ships, equipped with the latest nanotechnolgies headed for the stars. Colonies kept in contact with the solar systen and one another via interstellar message lasers and GE FTL comms. Qubit reservoirs were delivered via tiny, high speed automated ships.

From the mid 22nd century to the mid 26th century, humanity colonized a dozen or so systems, all of which were within 10-15 parsecs or so, and on several of these worlds, they found evidence of previous alien life (either native intelligence or other colonists or visitors). Then, people on several worlds also found the Pandora Gates, and when the residents of others systems started looking, they found Pandora Gates in every system. The problem was that no one knew what they did or how to make them work. All attempts to use them failed utterly, and on several occasions disastrously. Meanwhile, humanity continued to diverge. The strangest changes happened on Earth, where most of the population had become part of one of the several thousand separate heavily networked hive-mind (which was the reason for the popularity for extra-solar colonies, the hive-mind wasn't aggressive, but it was deeply alien, and as more of Earth's inhabitants joined it, many people who didn't want to decided to leave the planet, and if possible the solar system.

Then, someone on a world with alien ruins managed to activate some alien nanotech and ended up with psi powers. A few other people tried the same process and also developed psi powers. These powers became world-changingly important when someone with several Psi-Chi sleights, including both Grok & Pattern Recognition, examined one of the Pandora Gates, and got it working. They couldn't explain how they were able to adjust and tune it, but they did, and so humanity not only gained access to the stars, the various human colonies were re-united.

At this point, samples of the Watts-McLeod nano-virus were taken to other colonies, and eventually to Earth. No one knows what exactly happened, but the combination of thousands of massive, heavily linked hive-mind, some of which had been experimenting with radical intelligence enhancement and the Watts-McLeod nano-virus was a very bad indeed. Within a few weeks, most of these hive minds had joined into a single entity. Instead of hideous exsurgent mutants, what you got was people who looked like any other transhuman, but who were far more mentally alien than the members of Earth's hive-mind had been, and which now wanted to spread itself to all of humanity.

What happened next was a massive war, as the rest of humanity eventually united against the threat of the Hive attempting to transform everyone into members of the Hive. The rest of humanity won, but just barely, and mostly only because the Pandora Gates worked as choke points and the rest of humanity eventually managed to hold a defensive line against the Hive. Of course, since the Hive was regularly creating various sorts of new & exotic advanced technologies, the rest of humanity would have eventually lost, except that suddenly the Hive left. 80% of the bodies simply died, and seem to have had their egos uploaded, and the rest vanished, presumably through one or more Pandora Gates. No one knows where they went, but it's now a bit more than a decade since the end of the Hive War, and humanity has found no trace of them. However, dangerous relics of the Hive linger on a number of worlds, with Earth having the most and being interdicted due to both large amounts of dangerous nanotech and the presence of a few dozen separate hive-minds that did not collapse when the Hive left, but which are still exceedingly alien.

There is currently widespread distrust of Psis, but they are also necessary, because only Psis can operate the Pandora Gates, and they are often helpful with some of the new alien relics that gatecrashing teams find. Meanwhile, while transhumanity had united to fight the Hive, old tensions began to resurface once the Hive War was over.

Inspiration: various modern space opera, like Reynold's Revelation Space

Prophet710 Prophet710's picture
Re: Alternate Settings

The Darkness Redeeming

Keeping with the original timeline but giving transhumanity a much more difficult time in simply climbing out of our womb and taking to the stars. Keep with the idea similar to an earlier post "Transhuman Eclipse Space" but also add this.

The total human population to escape thus far into space is no more than 700 million.
Roughly 80+% are still infolife of which roughly 65+% of that is still in simul-cold-storage.
Roughly 18+% are sleeved in synthmorphs of which roughly 80% are in cases or bots; nothing too fancy.
The remaining less than 2% are in biomorphs with about 85+% being in flats.

Combine this with tripling (or more) the cost of heightened technology such as beam (or any non-chem ballistic) weapons, egocasting, habitat construction, ship construction, and any and all form of nano-tech/bio-tech including morph engineering.

Obviously this makes the game much more difficult but it leads to that truly elite feeling when you get a Reaper morph or an Exalt morph. I also like the idea of keeping the TITANs and other alien races having hypertech so Pandora Gates and the like are still ultra hard to truly destroy (if ever).

Let me know what you think.

"And yet, across the gulf of space, minds immeasurably superior to ours regarded this Earth with envious eyes. And slowly, and surely, they drew their plans against us."

Arenamontanus Arenamontanus's picture
Re: Alternate Settings

Here is a somewhat depressing "chamber music" setting:

Alone in the dark

The PCs are passengers and crew on a spaceship during the Fall, on their way to a remote location in the Kuiper belt (say Eris). The reason might be a scientific expedition, a scum barge just exploring or just a cruise for the entourage of the ultra-rich diva who owns the ship.

They start hearing the news about the disaster, emergency broadcasts, warnings against receiving untrusted transmissions, desperate infugee transmissions... and then silence. Over the span of a few weeks broadcaster after broadcaster fall silent. Some suddenly cut off, others screaming as they are dismantled by TITAN war machines or exsurgent horrors. Gradually the flickering of antimatter weaponry end. A few other outlying ships or habitats remain for a while, but are cut off too - something is targeting anything of human origin. Slowly new signals begin to appear: incomprehensible, non-human, perhaps not even communication but the side effect of the strange activities in the solar system. The ship telescopes see how the asteroid belt is blossoming in infra-red, that something seems to be blowing up Luna and Mercury, the growth of alien gossamer structures in Jupiter orbit.

The PCs have good reason to think they are the only survivors of transhumanity. What do they do now? They have a functioning ship and some resources. But they are all alone, trapped together. How will they manage their microscopic society? Do they change course even further out (after all, Eris might be a target too) or do they plan to make Eris mankind's last stand?

And what do they do when they encounter something truly alien, out here in the darkness?

Sources: Peter Watts "Blindsight", Harry Martinsson "Aniara", Shane Dix and Sean Williams "Echoes of Earth"

Extropian

Axel the Chimeric Axel the Chimeric's picture
Re: Alternate Settings

"The television transmissions from Earth rushed past me, expanding away from our planet at the speed of light. Then suddenly -- silence, total and absolute."

That'd be a horrific little story...




[@-rep +1, f-rep +2]

Tachi Tachi's picture
Re: Alternate Settings

Thought I'd drop this here. It's a quasi-timeline for a long range EP expansion I came up with one day while bored. It ain't pretty, and there's not a lot of detail, but it gives a few possible tidbits for brainstorming on EP's future, if I choose to go there. Just thought I'd share, it might help you all expand for "other" settings.

The 0th Era
Pre-Space Earth
Pre- 1964 A.D.
Humanity’s entire earthbound existence, before Space exploration.

The 1st Era
Earth and Space
1965 A.D. to 2120 A.D.
American and Soviet Space Race – Yuri Gagarin, 1st man in Space – Neil Armstrong, 1st man on the moon – SkyLab – The International Space Station – Liberty Station – Moon Base – Lunar Lagrange Stations – Mars Base – Asteroid Mining – Space Elevators – Mass Drivers – Moon Colonies – Martian Colonies – Habitat Colonies – Corporate Sol – A.I. – Transhumanity’s Birth – Earth’s Decline – Solar Diaspora – The Fall War (1st Titan War)
– Exodus “The Fall”

The 2nd Era
Post Earth – Sol System
2121 A.D. to 2775 A.D.
Exodus “The Fall” – Solar Systemwide Civilization – The Meme War – Bioconservative War – Galactic Slow-Boat Diaspora – The Exsurgent War – The Resource Wars – The 1st Gene Wars – Posthumanism – 2nd Gene Wars – The Psi War – Earth’s Reclamation – The Exsurgent Resurgence – The Solar Senate – 2nd Meme War – 2nd Galactic Slow-Boat Diaspora – The Titans Return – The 2nd Titan War – The Titanian Epiphanies (Energy State Tech & The ETI)

The 3rd Era
Sol – Galactic Diaspora
2776 A.D. to 5012 A.D.
1st Galactic Diaspora (Hyperspace) – 1st Colony Wars – 3rd Gene Wars – Millennium of the Blade – The Solarian Empire – The 2nd Galactic Diaspora (Hyperspace) – 2nd Colony Wars – 1st Xivil Incursion – 2nd Xivil Incursion – 2nd Psi War – The Xivil War – The Schismatic Wars – The League of Star Nations – Multi-Sophont Civilization – 3rd Galactic Diaspora (True FTL) – 3rd Colony Wars

The 4th Era
5012 A.D. to …
Posthumanity (Genetic Drift and Design) – Rediscovery of Techno-backslid Slow-Boat Colonies – 4th Galactic Diaspora (True FTL) – Galactic Monarchy – 5th Galactic Diaspora (High-Speed FTL) – 6th Galactic Diaspora (Fold Space Teleportation) – Inter-galactic Exploration – Inter-galactic Colonization

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I don't shoot a man for being incompetent in the Devil's work. I shoot him for being c

mack2028 mack2028's picture
Re: Alternate Settings

Bethlem Royal Hospital

In an age where death itself has been defeated transhumanity finds a new enemy, more inexorable and more cruel than the old, madness. Bethlem is a huge space station 5au outside the orbit of pluto, no one travels physically there, supplies are delivered by mass driver and can take years to arrive, returning cargo containers are melted down, transmissions eliminating from the station are automatically blocked. To the solar system Bethlem does not exist, but to egos too damaged for psycosurgery it is the last stop.

I have 3 campaign ideas for the setting.
1. neverland
the inmates have escaped and broken themselves into camps. The staff sail around the station in skiffs trying to reclaim the station. the players would likely be "lost boys" who think that they are on some kind of adventure while there are criminally insane savages hunting for fresh victims and "rationalists" trying to build a ship or a farcaster to escape.

2. infected
in their efforts to "cure" the inmates the staff have grown insane themselves. Torture and other various atrocities are visited upon the inmates until they rebel. Now madmen are locked in undieing battle as each tries to control key station facilities in order to wipe the other out.

3. death therapy
Goes through some of the extreme therapies that the doctors try to cure the terminally insane. Possibilities include but are not limited to; exposer to the real possibility of final death; simalspace games where to continue they must overcome their madness or face pain; being sleved into "therapeutic" morphs



thelabmonkey thelabmonkey's picture
Re: Alternate Settings

Just posted this in another thread, but had to re-post here...

Eath 100 years post-fall = Thundarr the Barbarian: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K3VxNX4lx98

You know you love it.