Human minds are very good at pattern recognition. So good, in fact, that we tend to see patterns where none exist. In the past, this has given rise to mythologies. When people looked at the world around them and saw things they didn't really understand, they invented stories to explain it all. Sometimes these involved astute observations and valuable lessons. But often, mere coincidences turned into rites and "spells" that were believed to ensure good fortune, prevent bad fortune, or even curse someone else. Eventually, these beliefs became elaborate mythologies and religions. In the 20th century and later times, belief in such mythologies began to wane. The universe seemed to be rational and explainable, even if human (and later transhuman) behavior often wasn't. Mythologies were dissected for interesting memes, but there was no real belief - because there was no real, desperate need to make sense of a chaotic universe. But with the Fall and the discovery of the Pandora Gates, and the strange, alien vistas they have opened up, all that has changed. Suddenly, everyone realizes how much we [i]don't[/i] understand about the universe - that there are strange, alien, and often hostile forces out there, and [i]we don't know how to deal with them[/i]. But transhumanity is not so far diverged from its roots that it has lost its capacity for excessive pattern recognition, and the need to make some sort of sense of the world. Thus, a new era of myths may be at hand. I'm not really talking about complex mythologies and religions that may have sprung up since the Fall - while there may be a few of these out there, ten years are not really sufficient for truly complex, organically grown mythologies to evolve. But there is plenty of space for small, local myths and superstitions describing small parts of existence - specific exurgent strains, the activities of particular TITANs, the powers of asyncs, things found on exoplanets and in the ruins of specific alien species, the activities of the factors and so forth. People will come up with their own rites and rituals which give them some comfort, especially if they have come into contact with the unknown. In time, they may coalesce into larger, coherent bodies of myths, especially if they contain some grain of truth. So far, they are still [i]proto[/i]-mythologies, but they have the potential to become more than that. So much for the socio-cultural aspect. But why should anyone bother with this in their game? First of all, of course, it makes for some great scene-setting and atmosphere-building. It shows the players that there is a living, breathing universe around them, and thus makes it more [i]real[/i]. Secondly, it shows the mental stress all of Transhumanity has suffered under since the Fall. Psychosurgery or no, most people need some way of coping with the loss of their home planet and most of their loved ones to a terrible fate. The wounds are still fresh, and need healing - by telling stories if it needs to be. Finally, this is an excellent device for foreshadowing events in your campaign. Think of how the Shadows of [i]Babylon 5[/i] were slowly introduced over the myth arc of the show. Think of the many entities of the Cthulhu Mythos which tend to be hinted at and shrouded in myths and superstitions before they actually appear in the stories and campaigns. You can do the same with entities and locations you want to use later in the campaign, be it the TITANs, alien races, or distant worlds. And, maybe, there are some nuggets of truth in all that dross which may just save the lives of the PCs once they encounter it... So here is my challenge to you: What kind of myths, stories, and superstitions have evolved in the setting of Eclipse Phase to explain all the great and terrible things transhumanity has encountered since the Fall?
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