Someone please explain Exhumans to me

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RampantRoomba RampantRoomba's picture
Someone please explain Exhumans to me

Between the eugenicist space-Spartan Nazis (Ultimates), the immortal corporate CEOs (hypercorps), the ultra-freemarketeers who think near-anything can and should be bought and sold as long as all parties are in agreement (extropians), the uplifted wildlife and a billion-and-one other curiously out-there groups, I'm having trouble getting what makes exhumans so separate from some of the other factions aside from some highly alien thought processes and a frequent disregard for the rights and egoboundaries of others. This is even after I read the Exhuman section in X-Threats.

Forgive the rookie question, but Exhumans seem slightly redundant given the presence of other extreme ideologies and morphological circus sideshowery in the game. :P

Urthdigger Urthdigger's picture
I think the biggest

I think the biggest difference is all the other groups still consider themselves human. Well, or uplift.

GreyBrother GreyBrother's picture
Like Urthdigger said, most of

Like Urthdigger said, most of these ideologies consider themselves transhuman or find the human form relevant to various degrees.
The Exhuman decided that humanity and anything human is weak and holding themselves back, so they want to use the new technologies to crank their personal power up to eleven. Be that physical power like the Predators do or Mental power like those walking brains do.
The Ultimates still value the human form. Extropians are more concerned with profits and free markets than a strong opinion about human form.

From a gamemasters perspective, Exhumans can be used like Aliens when you don't want to bring the Exsurgent virus into play. The X-Risks pretty much gives you the Xenomorph so you can definitely use these like that. The Brain guys work a lot better as "man behind the man" kinda threat.

RampantRoomba RampantRoomba's picture
We claim this new exoplanet in the name of limburger cheese

Hmmmm, I guess that helps explain a little.

What I'm trying to figure out is how a PC exhuman would work---it's a faction package option in the Transhuman splatbook, after all, but I'm trying to figure out how one's supposed to RP an exhuman allied to Firewall if most of the lore on exhumans paints them as either royal sociopaths or just unnervingly unknowable (like those weird artist bug people from I think one of the Anarchist habitats). With the former it could possibly create unwanted OOC friction within a gaming group and I figure no one wants that. The latter might be doable but I imagine it might need a player to spell some things out to the rest of their group.

Urthdigger Urthdigger's picture
A PC exhuman would likely be

A PC exhuman would likely be one that considers itself benevolent to humanity for one reason another. Pet apes basically. Or perhaps it feels attacking people to be a waste of time and resources, and would rather set its sights on something that actually poses a challenge. Or maybe it has the kind of superiority complex that needs adoring fans.

CordialUltimate2 CordialUltimate2's picture
I have an exhuman in my team.

I have an exhuman in my team. Every instance of PC exhuman should be pretty unique. Her story is that she was a gatecrasher morph designer who spliced a little too much of a xenofauna into her morph and when she sleeved into it, it gave her exurgent virus, psychosis, some atavisms and a taste for live meat. Preferably of the intelligent kind.
And she rolled with it.
So she has been placed under Firewall observation. Why she was not kidnapped into some blacklab?
Cause her daddy is the head of FaYing corp.
So she is in a position of questionable loyalty to everyone. She is quantum entanglement agent ;-)

And yes I have an Ultimate and Exhuman in one group. When complimented with AGI emerged from a assassin AI you can START to get the picture of our attitude towards collateral damage.

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Trappedinwikipedia Trappedinwikipedia's picture
Exhumans are probably best

Exhumans are probably best described as survival focused radical utilitarians ideologically. They're all about taking whatever measures they think will make them stronger and more survivable, which isn't super unique. Where they really stand out is that they are one of the only groups which is heavily involved with major mental/ego alterations. Most transhumans are basically the same sort of person but in a weird body (which is psychological changes that implies), but Exhumans take things a step further and try to optimize their minds to the same extent as their bodies. They tend to be fairly crazy as a result, because this is a young science which they are on the cutting edge of.

They're also generally fairly hostile to the rest of transhumanity, partially because they want them as a resource-a source for new opinions and experiences, and partially because they see greater transhumanity as a strong competitor for other resources they want to use. Friendly Exhumans exist, with Protheans and Adaptives probably being the most likely clades to be friendly (Hulders and Surya are already pretty close to Adaptive Exhumans after all).

Personally I think a Soul Eater Exhuman would make the most interesting PC, but as there aren't rules for a Goya Machine or other technologies they use it's hard of hard to make them work as a character. Defilers are also kind of neat, in a Texas Chainsaw Massacre meets Alien kind of way.

NotActuallyTim NotActuallyTim's picture
I've always thought of

I've always thought of Exhumans as fundamentally selfish.

Most transhumans work on the assumption that some other transhumans are worth keeping around, and not just for further abuse. That attitude varies on who 'deserves' what, but Exhumans disagree with the initial statement.

They'd rather keep themselves alive, at the cost of everybody else, if necessary.

Kojak Kojak's picture
Trappedinwikipedia wrote

Trappedinwikipedia wrote:
Personally I think a Soul Eater Exhuman would make the most interesting PC, but as there aren't rules for a Goya Machine or other technologies they use it's hard of hard to make them work as a character.

I actually have a player who is exactly that, although the rest of the group hasn't caught on yet. He palms cortical stacks in the aftermath of shootouts, copies an alpha fork onto a blank stack he carries around, and then throws it into the goya. I simulate the goya machine with a trimmed and somewhat more forgiving version of the ego-merging rules in Transhuman. The character thinks he's infiltrating Firewall because he thinks it will give him access to more valuable prey, although what he doesn't know is that he's been psychosurgically "leashed" by Firewall (who know exactly what he is but find him useful because he's a powerful async and he "only" feeds on forks).

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MrWigggles MrWigggles's picture
"Humans, once were things

"Humans, once were things trapped on a singular world. They often lead pointless lives, then died. They often fret around on their mud ball, trying to one up each other, to no real sigificance or avail. And they kept dying. The only thing Humans did that was worthwhile was their drive to do more. The only worthwhile trait they passed down to us. They spanned the globe. They industrialized. They computerized. And eventually manage to leave the mud ball. And by doing so, they became something almost interesting. Almost worthwhile. They so called Transhuman. But what the Transhuman fail to realize is they still drape the rigors, the failing, the fault of the Human on themselves. They use such words as morality, society, family. These were hardly important words when we were on the mud ball. And they mean so much less now. Now that we've granted ourselves the tools to be beyond, to be more. They say its immoral, unfounded, unethical and dangerious to strive as far as we have. To break away as we have. I counter that simply just being, is the unforgivable act. To not utilized the only thing the Fire that our progenitor gave us. To do more. And more we are, and more we shall become. We're not humans. We're not transhumans. The terms are dead. Inconsequenciall. Baggage from a not soon enough bygone era."

"The only limitation, is that its still part of your vocabulary."

"I tried to live with them, to work with them, eat with them. And then their mouths, stopped making words. Their posts on the forums stopped being word. It was prattling at first. And now its barking. Maddening barking. Insistent barking. Their attempt to commicate is an affection of intelligence, and frankly insulting to think they can cogitate."

uwtartarus uwtartarus's picture
Exhumans are the perjorative

Exhumans are the perjorative for extreme case mercurials and such, the Titanian intel services use them, that is kind of how you'd utilize them as PCs.

The background in Transhuman gives them psychosurgery, biosculpting, and mental disorders; sort of outlining what has led them to be who they are, a twisted wreck and alien freak but still sort of sympathetic (if only for pure utilitarian survival) to the need to stop x-risks. A PC exhuman probably lives and views the world in radically different paradigms than their teammates.

Also the Ultimates are basically just exhumans with a humanoid bioform fetish.

Exhuman, and Humanitarian.

jackgraham jackgraham's picture
The exhumans are the faction

The exhumans are the faction who haven't talked themselves into believing they're the Good Guys.

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kindalas kindalas's picture
jackgraham wrote:The exhumans

jackgraham wrote:
The exhumans are the faction who haven't talked themselves into believing they're the Good Guys.

You mean Factions. Right?

I love the Exhumans when it is time for a change in horror in my games.

Because sometimes I need to show a different kind of monster that isn't an elder god or a self exploiting aspect of transhumanity.

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jackgraham jackgraham's picture
kindalas wrote:jackgraham

kindalas wrote:
jackgraham wrote:
The exhumans are the faction who haven't talked themselves into believing they're the Good Guys.

You mean Factions. Right?

Good point -- it's not like they're in any way unified.

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UnitOmega UnitOmega's picture
I mean, X-Risks makes an AVP

I mean, X-Risks makes an AVP scenario entirely possible.

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nerdnumber1 nerdnumber1's picture
Exhumans feel that, in order

Exhumans feel that, in order to survive, we must discard certain "human" traits, both mental and physical, and pursue radical self-improvement. Since many feel that "empathy" is one of the things to throw away and being the ultimate predator is the best survival technique, they are often seen as a bit of a boogeyman. They are seldom sadistic, but often ruthlessly pragmatic. They vary quite a lot and tend to be on the fringe (throwing away your humanity is hell on your social life), but they aren't all necessarily complete monsters. Those who don't share their beliefs are naive at best and probably doomed.

People also sometimes throw the "exhuman" label on those with extreme body modification and exotic morphs. Simple bigotry there.

Exhuman characters could be difficult, but interesting.

Firkraag Firkraag's picture
nerdnumber1 wrote:Those who

nerdnumber1 wrote:
Those who don't share their beliefs are naive at best and probably doomed.

I'd say "cautious and steadfast" would be more applicable to some, if not many.

While individual members and even entire branches of transhumanity might die and go extinct, there is safety in numbers - sort of "memetic immortality". And we learn off of each mistake in some way or form.

Also, keep in mind, that humanity thrives on redundancies and competing alternatives. There is no one universally applicable evolutionary perfect form. What is better for one situation may not be suitable for another. Even within confines of controlled evolution, predicting what will and what won't survive is hard, whether it's technology, memes, anatomy or neurological traits. Diversification ensures you have alternatives to fall back to, if your main bet is compromised or unsustainable.

Actually, the problem of many Exhumans might be that they're too attached to their own egos and individuality.

Anyway, regardless of what they might say on the matter, Exhumans might be considered as voluntary beta testers for new potential strains of transhuman cognition and can work as scarecrows for the proverbial evolutionary dead ends.

As I understand it, transhumanity is all about moving flagpoles. What is posthuman today, might become an atavism tomorrow.

_____________________________________

Now, I am curious, whether there are Exhumans indistinguishable from average member of transhumanity in appearance and behavior, hidden in the plain sight, so to speak.

Generals, scientists, hypercorp shareholders, socialites...

I mean, becoming a Matryoshka Brain sized supercomputer entity protected by hive-mind directed space fleets is nice dream to have, but it's not exactly option on the table, while the wounds inflicted by last attempt at seed AI are still fresh. And there's no telling, how stable or sane - for a given definition of sanity - TITANs were.

But immor- resleeving means you have a lot of time to absorb the best ideas, technological solutions and computational power from the rest of transhumanity, while you wait and study, and also aren't exactly an easy target to pick on, as having a network of allies means, that your ideals might survive and hurt attacker even after you die (and gives another vector to be rebooted, if all other meaningful redundancies would fail).

And, yes, I think, that Exhuman or Ultimate are worldviews, not conditions. You can be sleeved into newly printed Flat, right from ice and still be an Exhuman. Whether you're regarded as one is another matter.

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