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What is the smallest character biomorph possible?

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Blue Screen of Death Blue Screen of Death's picture
What is the smallest character biomorph possible?
Thank you all for answering my previous questions. I hope that the answers help other GMs and players. Here is a new question: [b][i]What is the smallest possible biomorph for a player character?[/i][/b] I am thinking of making a bunch of forked async assassins in very tiny bodies (faster to grow, easier to hide). I believe they could have functional wings if they were tiny enough. They could be beautiful (tiny little pixies), ugly (gremlins or imps), alien (facehuggers), covert ([i]"Oh, look, stray kittens!"[/i]) or horrifying (Lovecraft's Brown Jenkin, the face of someone you once loved on a zombie rat). Thanks in advance for helping spawn the horde!
ShadowDragon8685 ShadowDragon8685's picture
If size and concealability
If size and concealability are the factors you're most concerned with, then forget biomorphs. The Mimic synthmorph is very, [i]very[/i] small (about the size of a human head,) and can shapeshift. For strict biomorphs... Well, the Scurrier is a pod, but it's a proof that you can put a transhuman mind with a cyberbrain into something at least as small as a raccoon. There is detail of the goldfish torture system in Rimward, page 191 (Aquarium Pet,) which indicates that something as small as a goldfish [i]can[/i] have a ghostrider module and cortical stack implanted, but that such are pushing the limits of the body, and it can be determined by any observer that they've been augmented. So... I'm not sure I'd let something the size of a goldfish get away with with a full cyberbrain, but something the size of a mouse? Yes, probably.
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jackgraham jackgraham's picture
FWIW, I meant the Aquarium
FWIW, I meant the Aquarium Pet as a large goldfish, the size of a smallish koi or a big pleco. I don't think I'd rule in favor of a ghostrider or cyberbrain in a mouse-sized body (waste heat? energy requirements?), but I don't think we want to get into official rulings on the exact body mass required to run these devices either.
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ShadowDragon8685 ShadowDragon8685's picture
jackgraham wrote:FWIW, I
jackgraham wrote:
FWIW, I meant the Aquarium Pet as a large goldfish, the size of a smallish koi or a big pleco. I don't think I'd rule in favor of a ghostrider or cyberbrain in a mouse-sized body (waste heat? energy requirements?), but I don't think we want to get into official rulings on the exact body mass required to run these devices either.
Ooooooh! I see. I was thinking you meant, like, pet store aquarium goldfish, the tiny, dinky, bite-sized ones, not the really big ones. In that case, I'd revise my estimation upward: perhaps something as small as a housecat. Obviously a raccoon-sized body can handle it, because Scurrier.
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Urthdigger Urthdigger's picture
There's a reason I like
There's a reason I like scurriers. Small, and looks cute, harmless, and not at all like a threat. Whenever I've played Rocky, using his adorable looks and small size to get close to his targets has been a core strategy.
Armoured Armoured's picture
Pod =/= biomorph
BSOD's original question was around how small you can make a biomorph, as they were intending to use them for asyncs. Pods work, but the penalties are pretty harsh. I guess that could be a good reason to use a lot of them though... some fail, but the law of averages means one might succeed, eventually. I think the smallest pure biomorphs are the Neo-avian and Neotenic morphs. In the setting we don't have a reference of anything smaller without a cyberbrain, implying there is a lower bound for the amount of thinkmeats required to run an ego at standard transhuman capacity. Maybe a smaller one would just have harsh aptitude maximums, if you want to homebrew it. This is making me think about something a TITAN (or enterprising exhuman) would cook up, though. A bio-swarmanoid, with one ego split throughout a number of imps/rats/kittens and hooked together with psi. Of course, any transhuman would go mad without the filtering systems a swarmanoid has to translate many sensory inputs into something a transhuman can comprehend. And now I want to make all the swarmcats on a scum swarm part of a single exhuman consciousness. Dammit.
kindalas kindalas's picture
After reading
After reading Wikipedia's page on Dwarfism it appears that the shortest people on record are 55 to 70 cm in height. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_shortest_people I would rule that any biomorphs could be around that range but without any of the physical disabilities that often come with such extreme cases of Dwarfism. But I would think that any smaller in size would require compromises, in durability, aptitude maximums or by requiring a cyberbrain. kindalas
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jackgraham jackgraham's picture
A 55 cm tall human? Huh. I'm
A 55 cm tall human? Huh. I'm going to take that as a corner case that we don't need to model in the rules. So for the most part, when thinking about how small a biomorph with H+-level intelligence can be, we considered what kind of brain is going in there and whether it would be a candidate for uplift. H+ has figured out how to make a big-bodied parrot with an uplifted parrot brain, but as it stands, they haven't figured out how to miniaturize a human brain so that it can run a tiny, human-like body. Example: Hypergibbon (or did we call it a neogibbon?... anyway...). It's got a cyberbrain, because looking at gibbons, they're not on the same level of intelligence as the great apes -- likely not candidates for uplift. And you probably wouldn't want to try transplanting a parrot or raven brain into a lesser ape, especially when you have cyberbrain tech. (Other possibility this brings up: cyberbrains have stymied research into miniaturizing bio-brains, because they're easier/cheaper).
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Blue Screen of Death Blue Screen of Death's picture
So, no murderous swarm of Tinkerbells? Pity.
Thanks for all your input, fellow memes! Having heard from such perceptive posters plus the Voice of God (one of the game's designers), it looks like my secret army of Tinkerbell clones is going to have to stay in my fantasies. Now, a bunch of neotonic cherubs with dangerous mind powers would be creepy. Tangent: Do you guys think that the Hobbits (by Hobbits, I mean the newly-discovered hominid species [i]Homo Florsiensis[/i]) remained as smart as the [i]Homo Erectus[/i] they likely descended from? Or did their dwarfism probably compromise their intellect. For myself, I believe that intelligence is the defining feature of Humanity (in all its forms) and it would be the last advantage we would lose. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homo_floresiensis I do like the idea of a hive-mind of murderous swarm-kittens but have cats ever agreed on anything?
Chernoborg Chernoborg's picture
In Transhuman "small" (child
In Transhuman "small" (child and dog sized) is the smallest trait a morph can get. "Very small" ( mice and insect sized) is exclusively for bots and creatures. Curiously, swarmanoids fall outside these parameters. The individual morphs the ego is distributed across are tiny . There's even precedent for running a swarm of biomorphs-presumably using pod rules . Pinpin on Locus(Rimward pg.61) occupies a group of smart monkeys. This raises an interesting question, if you buy increased size for a swarm composition morph do you get larger but fewer individuals? So,you could have a swarm of tiny pod biomorphs or a larger (but still pretty small) single biomorph with a biological brain for asyncs.
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sebwiers sebwiers's picture
Armoured wrote:This is making
Armoured wrote:
This is making me think about something a TITAN (or enterprising exhuman) would cook up, though. A bio-swarmanoid, with one ego split throughout a number of imps/rats/kittens and hooked together with psi. Of course, any transhuman would go mad without the filtering systems a swarmanoid has to translate many sensory inputs into something a transhuman can comprehend. And now I want to make all the swarmcats on a scum swarm part of a single exhuman consciousness. Dammit.
A similar concept was explored as an alien race by Veron Vinge, in various stories featuring the "Tines". The critters were bigger (about dog sized) and most minds were composed of a mix of 4-10 critters. They didn't have psi, per se; the members mind-share communication was achieved via ultrasonic noise using tympanic membranes (which had some serious drawbacks). One of the major story features was the huge upheaval causes when radio-communications allowed an individual to have members at great distances from each other. Another interesting story element was what happened to the mind as members died / were replaced, and how new minds were formed as 'children' between packs that mated.
jackgraham jackgraham's picture
sebwiers wrote:
sebwiers wrote:
A similar concept was explored as an alien race by Veron Vinge, in various stories featuring the "Tines". The critters were bigger (about dog sized) and most minds were composed of a mix of 4-10 critters. They didn't have psi, per se; the members mind-share communication was achieved via ultrasonic noise using tympanic membranes (which had some serious drawbacks). One of the major story features was the huge upheaval causes when radio-communications allowed an individual to have members at great distances from each other. Another interesting story element was what happened to the mind as members died / were replaced, and how new minds were formed as 'children' between packs that mated.
The Tines are one of my favorite alien races ever. I always have them in mind when thinking about collective beings. Y'know what I'd love to read? Fucking Peter Watts, or someone else with more of a biosciences orientation, writing about the Tines. Because Vinge is one of our greatest, but he's academically a com sci guy, with the attendant math backing and some interest in astrophysics. I'd love to read a more neuroscience-oriented exploration of that race, because whoa, the things to be pondered regarding their brain architecture!
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Blue Screen of Death Blue Screen of Death's picture
Carl Sagan wrote:“If the
"Carl Sagan" wrote:
“If the songs of the humpback whale are enunciated as a tonal language, the total information content, the number of bits of information in such songs, is some 10[sup]6[/sup] bits, about the same as the information content of the [i]Iliad[/i] or the [i]Odyssey[/i].” Carl Sagan, [i]Cosmos[/i]
It seems is precedent for acoustic data sharing among lifeforms (although very [i]slowly[/i]) on Earth. That, and I am glad for the opportunity to quote [i]Cosmos[/i]. Thank you all for your replies. I don't have really anything to add to such well-thought out replies except gratitude. One quick observation; I'm guessing the insect-sized morphs in the Colony on Luna ([i]Sunward[/i], p. 90) get wireless signals from a full-sized brain nearby. Correct?
sebwiers sebwiers's picture
You don't need to look at
You don't need to look at whale songs for "acoustic data sharing". Humans do it all the time. And belting out the [i]Illiad[/i] in under an hour is actually pretty fast compared to human speech. But I wouldn't put a lot of faith in that math; language / information theory is second only to economics for the leeway it's mis-use allows for quoting figures that fit your argument. A fun bio-model for a hive mind might be electric-eel type field generation and sensing. Basically gives you direct neural communication across short distances. Not sure if that is restricted to aquatic environments or not. My guess is yes, but technology could easily over-come that hurdle via conductive clothing / antenna arrays on the hive members. Seems like this would be practical for rat / fish sized nodes.
jackgraham wrote:
I'd love to read a more neuroscience-oriented exploration of that race, because whoa, the things to be pondered regarding their brain architecture!
Yeah, it always struck me as ... unlikely. But then again, aliens would be really unlike us anyhow, so why not? The fact they could eat the same food as us was much MORE unlikely. One thing that the stories implied was the individual tine-hounds were much more widely varied in mental ability than humans or almost any earth animal. Like, instead of a human being right or left handed, or a dog being better / worse at tracking, they had individuals that were pretty much all right or left brain (or all linguistic, or all mathematical) and the collective mind was affected (sometimes catastrophically, sometimes for the better) if the mix was changed by adding / removing / swapping in a new member. To me that says their individual brain architecture was much more variable (functionally, if not physically). In humans, you only see variation like that when a region of the brain receives abnormal input during development (such as the visual region in person born with non-functioning eyes being re-purposed for ... um, well, something else). Seems very likely the brain development of a tine-hound would be guided by the tympanic input the received, which is supported by the fact that a mind-pack typically prefferred to adopt a puppy when growing its numbers.
Panoptic Panoptic's picture
So would something the size
So would something the size of a housecat have to have a cyberbrain to host a transhuman mind, or could it be meat-based? Perhaps an expensive piece of custom work. A thought on space saving. If you didn't bother with a cortical stack, but instead had an interface which could be hooked up to an external stack equivalent. Basically do an upload when back at "base". Pretty handy for black ops types too, no stack to interrogate.
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Googleshng Googleshng's picture
Anything smaller than a
Anything smaller than a neotenic or avian morph is pretty safe to assume is too small to work as a biomorph, as both of those were specifically designed to be as small as possible, if I recall. Scurriers are roughly the size of housecats and again, if I'm recalling correctly, having so little room in their skulls is a major factor in why they're pods instead of bio.
Blue Screen of Death Blue Screen of Death's picture
Thank you all for your
Thank you all for your comments. You've all made very good arguments while there must be a minimum size for a meat-brain. OK, so how 'bout a biocore in a tiny synthmorph with minimal mobility, senses & manipulation? I'm thinking like the old intellect devourers in D&D (a brain on four feet, like a very [i]smart[/i] rat). https://ssk-denver.obsidianportal.com/characters/intellect-devourer
Googleshng Googleshng's picture
That's honestly not something
That's honestly not something generally supported. Any time you're looking at a meat and metal mix for a morph, you're generally looking at pods, which across the board graft a cyberbrain for all the heavy thinking to the lower part of a meat brain (to handle low level autonomic/instinctual/hormone driven bits and interact with what's generally a mostly biological body with a lot of artificial organs. If there's no biological body to deal with, there's no practical reason not to scrape that last bit of brain out, and frankly there'd be a lot of logistical nightmares in keeping it alive. If you're doing the brain in a jar thing, it'd be as more of a wacky art project than a practical widely used morph, and you'd really be without precedent on the specifics. If you just want a little ratsized transhuman though, hey, scurrier morph.
Blue Screen of Death Blue Screen of Death's picture
Thanks again for your replies
Thanks again for your replies. :-) The biocore was my last hope for tiny psychic assassins. Hey, how 'bout a Godzilla-sized morph...? ;-)
Chernoborg Chernoborg's picture
Since biocore is an option
Since biocore is an option ,you can put it on anything that would be about the size of a human head (accounting for space needed by biosupport tech) . Heck, GITS has the Jameson type cyborg. Async abilities would be creepy as hell coming from an nondescript black box. Go for it! I'll see your Godzilla , and raise you an Ultraman sized synth made from scavenged TITAN warbots!
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Blue Screen of Death Blue Screen of Death's picture
Ultraman, eh?
Ultraman, eh? Sorry, must have missed [i]your[/i] major motion picture in theaters this summer,ya tinfoil pansy! :-P :::ATOMIC BREATH:::
Chernoborg Chernoborg's picture
Hmmm...Jaeger-morphs vs.
Hmmm...Jaeger-morphs vs. TITAN spawned kaiju on the dusty red plains of Amazonis, sounds fun! Of course, we've swung over to the complete opposite of the point of this thread! Somewhat relevant to the original question,the unused pixie pod in the Transhuman playtest is a small flying humanoid morph . Here's the thread: http://eclipsephase.com/morphs-draft-1-open-discussion
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Blue Screen of Death Blue Screen of Death's picture
Chernobog,
Chernobog, I had never even seen the pixie. It is probably as close I as will get to my evil Tinkerbells. Pity it didn't make the final cut. Between the pixie and the unsuspecting twins of the Lost kids, I've really appreciated your good ideas. Thanks for the plot twists! Godzilla realizes he is outmatched before Ultraman and hides behind an unconvincing cardboard skyscraper... Out of curiosity, has anyone actually made a Godzilla-sized morph? I guess the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man won't melt in a Martian summer.