This is a continuation of my previous post on using Don't Rest Your Head and Don't Lose Your Mind from Evil Hat Productions to run certain types of adventures in the EP setting.
This post contains setup info and pregen characters for a scenario using DRYH/DYLM to portray a group of Lost Generation kids undergoing an unusual therapy at an orbital research facility. The intro information is intended for players who aren't yet familiar with the EP universe. Players totally unfamiliar with transhumanism will probably need a bit more introduction; those who know EP can probably skip much of what follows.
The Setup: General Setting Info for Players
10 years ago, a group of AIs, the TITANs, turned against transhumanity, almost wiping out civilization. This event is known as The Fall. Transhumanity -- genmod humans, uplifted animals, and sentient AIs -- undertook a massive diaspora across Earth's solar system and beyond. Earth is a smoking ruin, and only half a billion humans remain.
To help repopulate the solar system, transhumanity's best and brightest attempted to rear a generation of children by uploading their infant minds into accelerated virtual reality, while at the same time accelerating the growth of their mindless bodies in vats.
This generation of children are now five years old, but subjectively, they're 21 years of age and have been downloaded into physically mature bodies. But something about them isn't quite right. Maybe it's psychic stress from the poorly understood effects of a lifetime in accelerated VR. Or maybe it's something else -- some lingering infection from the infowar viruses that ran rampant during the Fall. Whatever the case, these kids -- dubbed the Lost Generation -- exhibited signs of mental illness while still in VR that only grew worse once they were downloaded and sleeved into biological bodies.
Symptoms ranged from paranoid schizophrenia to outright catatonia.
But once sleeved in biological bodies, the Lost also exhibited what baffled researchers could describe only as psychic powers. By and large, they weren't the flashy powers of comic book superheroes, but more subtle effects, such as: the ability to adjust one physiology or mental processes to gain subtle advantage, the ability to sense and mentally manipulate other minds, and a form of machine empathy that provides intuitions into the workings of unfamiliar devices -- even those of alien manufacture.
You are one of these kids. Your parents have had you sent to a research facility in Mars orbit, Drainer Lab, to undergo a new type of therapy that they hope will help you.
The Kids Are Not All Right: Player Characters
First off, you can download a PDF with DRYH stats for the PC here.
Here are backgrounds for the six PCs. Spoiler warning: If you're planning to play this scenario, stop reading! Some of the PCs have secrets.
Players should feel free to elaborate on these background in any way that makes sense. They're all young, but even those who've reached the age of majority are still considered wards of their parents due to mental incompetence.
You're very good at escaping. You've had to be. Ever since you were 12, you've been hearing the Bees.
Your parents realized early on that there was something weird about you. Now you're listed DNTD -- Did Not Take Delivery. Short version: they want noting to do with you.
Well, fuck them.
At some point, from one of your many hiding places, you started to listen -- really listen -- to the Drone. It's become part of you. You've reached an accord of sorts with the Bees; they come when you call, in the form of whatever nearby nanobot swarms you can reach out and call to you. They can take things apart, or put them back together, or make them go haywire -- whatever you need.
You may be a reject, but you're their Queen.
You have no memory of who you are or how you got here, but the finely detailed nano-tattoo on the back of your left hand reads, in Bengali, as follows:
- Your name is Sanjay.
- You have no long term memory. You will forget reading these words, along with everything else, in about 10 minutes.
- Your parents love you and hope the doctors here can help you.
- Please be careful not to kill anyone if you're startled.
You're borderline autistic and have great deal of trouble communicating normally with other humans. When it comes to computers, though, you're a savant. You've learned secrets that you're sure could get you in a great deal of trouble.
The best-guarded were your own personnel files. Unlike most of your peers, your origins aren't purely human. You were a human infant before they uploaded you into the VR -- but you were a human infant with a machine brain whose contents were a blending of two AIs. You were allowed to acclimate to being a human baby in a physical body, then uploaded and put in with the other children.
You look like them, you act like them -- sort of -- and you have unusual talent like them. But somewhere, you had parents who were machines, and now that you've learned this, you're incredibly fearful of what might happen to you.
All of this seems like some sick experiment, and if, in the end, you decide that you're a machine & not a human, the actions you may take to protect yourself probably won't be pretty.
By all rights, you should hate everyone. Their thoughts, which you can hear the constant din of, sure warrant it. But you don't hate them. You're pretty certain that people don't realize how many nasty thoughts they have a day. The worst is when they're looking at you, judging you. To really home in on one particular person, you have to concentrate fairly hard. And the most of the time, you wish you hadn't.
Around age 12, you got a hold of a narcoalgorithm that emulates the effects of marijuana, and you've run it two or three times a day ever since. It keeps you calm, it keeps you liking people... and it helps you forget some of the shit you've seen.
One thing you haven't forgotten, though: the other day, you read the Institute director's mind. You don't like doing this, but you'd noticed a "hole" in the blurry din of half-heard thoughts that normally surrounds you. Realizing it was her, you homed in on her -- and you didn't like at all what you found. She's not human, or if she is, she's not at all a normal human. What's she doing here? What's she planning?
You're angry as hell, but unlike some of your peers, you haven't let it break you. When you were twelve, you nearly had a breakdown. You freaked out and started smashing things -- virtual things, of course, but they broke just the same. After that, your parents never visited you in VR again. All the anger and hate you nurse, you're saving for them. You've spent your entire, fake fucking life institutionalized. First as a baby, then as a attempt to create a model a student, but always as a lab rat.
Physical pursuits weren't encouraged in the VR. After all, you'd be moving into flesh bodies as adults -- and they wanted you all to grow up to be professionals, not laborers. After your breakdown, though, you ignored this restriction and spend all of your free time on sports and exercise. Kendo, soccer -- anything that your reasoned would make you more agile. You got AI opponents to compete with when you couldn't tear the other kids away from their lessons, and you managed to get access to parts of the VR that had heavy gravity, light gravity, or no gravity to experiment in. It worked. Your meat body is annoyingly weak and prone to getting winded, but you can fix that. The agility and reflexes, though, stayed with you.
If you can just contain your anger long enough to finally get out of here, you're going to have a good, long talk with mom & pop.
The number of your peers who've had breakdowns and been dragged off in baskets, never to return, since childhood seems to freak out most of your peers. Well, they're idiots. As far as you're concerned, it's just proof of your superiority. It's obvious that you're the next step in human evolution. You've all been raised in accelerated VR, and you all seem to have extraordinary powers (even if some of you try to hide them). Of course some of you will be flawed. Get rid of them, then. Let the best survive and thrive. You're out to prove that you're one of the fittest -- whatever the cost. And when every test is passed, when you're free to be an adult, there will be no limits to how high you can climb.
Of course, that's if the world doesn't notice that you're an insecure borderline sociopath with virtually no compassion (not that you acknowledge this flaw yourself). If you don't end up in prison, you'll make a fine CEO one day.
Your life hasn't been one brimming with happy thoughts. You've felt like a lab animal for almost as long as you can remember. Sure, your parents visited, and they tried to treat you like normal kids. But you could always feel them studying you, observing you. The other kids didn't seem to notice at first, even though, every so often, one of you would have a breakdown. The kid would be taken away, no questions would be answered about where they went, and you'd never see them again.
When you were eleven, the Flutes started, and they've never gone away. It was around 11 or 12 that a lot of you went crazy; your numbers were halved in those years. That was when even the thickest kids in the group had to finally admit something was up. By the time they decided you were grown enough to go into a body, there were only a handful of you left.
Then your boyfriend-- wait, no, be honest: he wasn't really your boyfriend. He had no idea you loved him, and then right after you were resleeved, he went berserk and killed three people. They took him away, too. Something was done to all of you. And one day, you're going to get even.
In the next post, I'll present a scenario to go with these PCs.
And one thing more...
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