Miscellaneous Setting Bits

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Byzantine Laser Byzantine Laser's picture
Miscellaneous Setting Bits

One thing that I always find pretty vital when running an RPG is dropping in little flavor information about the universe. It doesn't have to be anything big, just tiny things that flesh the world out a bit more and make it seem more real--the type of stuff characters overhear in conversations as they walk past, or the sort of information they have to filter through when looking for a clue. Besides, I like how providing details that aren't strictly necessary to avoid the Law of Conservation of Detail.

Anyway, while my favorites are usually the ones that I come up with on the fly, I like keeping a list of them to throw in when I'm feeling less creative. I'm also curious to see what other little add-ons to the universe people have made, so hey, feel free to add your own.

The Diaspora Group
While most Exhumans focus on trying to become as individually powerful and adaptable as possible, others look into different survival strategies. One of the more extreme manifestations of this is a branch that simply refer to themselves as the Diaspora Group, for a reason that becomes immediately apparent to anybody who knows their survival strategy. Rather than augmenting themselves, the members simply seek to spread their consciousnesses as far as possible. While the practice of beaming copies of themselves toward potentially inhabitable star systems in the hopes that somebody will be there to receive it is widely known, others take this even a step further, making plans to construct fleets of specialized probes capable of carrying alpha forks of themselves to extrasolar planets, with a miniature nanofabricator payload that they can use to bootstrap themselves up to a new body upon arriving. Some stay more local to human space by having hundreds of redundant backups of their consciousness across every colony they can get access to, while the most extreme members have gotten themselves into trouble by trying to have an active alpha fork on every habitat they can find, which few stations take kindly to.

Ego Art
With the mind stored in digital form, it's just information, and it can be put to more than one use. One of the more recent uses is as a seed for the creation of generative art. The most popular form involves feeding a binary representation of a person's ego into a graphical display algorithm that uses a very simple command structure. The resulting 'art' is essentially a set of randomly-generated lines in random colors, but the insistence of several prominent celebrities that they can see their souls reflected in it led to a long spike of popularity.

Meal Thyself
For the more adventurous, a Martian company has been offering a rather less widely-accepted form of turning humans into art—for a generous price, they'll deliver a slab of vat-grown meat, created from a tissue sample from the customer's current morph. A restaurant, Meal Thyself, was formed around this concept, letting customers send in their tissue samples ahead of time and then dine on themselves prepared to order. Unfortunately, the concept proved to be popular enough that reservations were booked months in advance. When word leaked that the restaurant was occasionally speeding things along by secretly serving customers meat that wasn't necessarily their own, business dropped off and the company tanked.

Mori Shiori
Mori Shiori has been a rising member of the Elysium glitterati since 8 AF, in no small part thanks to her custom morph, a heavily trademarked body lab-designed for exactly optimal memetic impact. Unfortunately for her career, the designs for her morph got leaked, and within days, it was one of the most popular choices for new resleeves. While the incident received heavy publicity for days, having the formerly unique body suddenly become widespread put a huge dent in the idol's career that analysts don't expect her to recover from.

Sunyata Station
A small, esoteric religious group that follows a syncretic mix of Buddhism and Hinduism maintains this 'station,' which is little more than a computer hosting dozens of infomorphs hooked up to a massive electromagnetic receiver dish. Within the computer, the most devoted adherents of the group meditate for months on end, deprived of all senses except the cosmic background radiation received by the dish, translated into sound, which they believe to be the true sound of the universe and the path to enlightenment. Not many people find it worth their time to disagree, and the AI that shepards the station rarely has to deal with anything more complex than seeing a consciousness embark or depart once every few weeks. (Note: I swear I originally saw something along these lines weeks or months ago on the internet, but I have no idea where it was. If you were the original one who came up with this, feel free to punch me.)