(Setting) EP: 110 A.F.

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terranova210486 terranova210486's picture
(Setting) EP: 110 A.F.

I just of a possible new EP setting; set excatley 100 years from the current setting era. What changes would happen in the course of one century? How would the factions change and what new factions would arise? Would transhumanity still be confined to the Solar System or would have they started spread across the galaxy?

Thoughts, ideas anyone?

Arenamontanus Arenamontanus's picture
Re: (Setting) EP: 110 A.F.

I think the problem is that 110 AF might be *utterly* incomprehensible. I would bet on another singularity, as dramatic and complicated as the Fall, occurring within 10-20 years of 10 AF. There are simply too many approaches towards seed AGI, copyclades, neosynergism and other radical posthuman possibilities to avoid it, even if Firewall and everybody else are trying to block it. Maybe it would be a 'nicer' one, but given the overall mood of the setting I doubt it.

So my suggestion for a playable 110 AF would be something like this: the only "normal" (comprehensible) transhumans around were those not drawn into the singularity. The solar system is now even more filled with dangerously powerful *things* from the other side: the survivors were those on the far end of the gates. These gate colonies have grown and expanded (in some cases themselves going off the deep end), although due to the vastly smaller resources and populations they had they were even slower in recovering from the Second Fall than transhumanity were in recovering from the first. (If we assume ~1 million survivors beyond the gates, at a brisk reproduction rate of 2% per year there are now almost 7 million transhumans!)

A bit of selection effect has taken place: the too gung ho colonies were either in touch with the solar system sublimed and also turned posthuman, or have now burned themselves with various local xrisks. The colonies that remained are those who are cautious, conservative or pursue activities less likely to lead to spectacular weirdness. Some of them keep in touch via the gates, but many are very cautious about it - you never know what might come through them. There are enough exhuman, TITAN or otherwise dangerous posthuman things out there.

The Jovians might be the only ones left in the solar system, their refuges largely untouched by the Second Fall (and their prejudices reinforced a thousandfold). However, they might actually had a secret gate program too - they had a gate, they just didn't reveal it. Or they have done good old interstellar colonization of their own using antimatter powered starships, colonizing systems around Sol. They are a somewhat fractious force but firmly opposed to dangerous ultratech - their standard approach if they find it is to nuke the site from orbit.

The Factors are one of the main enemies. Why they try to prevent gate use is still mysterious, but they are slithering into the human colony network and trying to attack it from the inside. Sneaky, good with traps, and with great adaptability they are a dangerous enemy.

There are also enough nasty exhumans and AI systems around. Self-replicating killer machines, rapidly evolving nanoecologies left after failed singularities, rapacious and degenerate colonists trying to fill all available niches, postsingularity madmen with psionic powers and ultraintelligent bodies...

Firewall, having failed in stopping the Second Fall and getting dispersed across the galaxy, has broken into a number of minor factions. Some are official and do local anti-xrisk policing, others are intelligence networks allied with the Jovians or independent.

There are also the Interfacers, people who are just on the edge between the entities created from the Transcendence (as they see it), the ETI and the mere transhumans. Mysterious, dangerous and often involved in complex agendas they cannot even explain. Some are extrosattvas, refraining from true posthumanity to 'help' others. Others are just bizarre or broken. And some make the exhumans look positively nice: civilizational parasites that infiltrate and reshape cultures to serve the goals of vast nonhuman intellects.

Extropian

Axel the Chimeric Axel the Chimeric's picture
Re: (Setting) EP: 110 A.F.

To follow on Arenamontanus's coat-tails, there's another easy way to keep the characters relatable to your players: Have them be waking up from dead storage. They might be a back-up made before the Fall or someone long after, and they'll still be relatably human. They're living in the wrecks left over from failed attempts at Transcendence, likely forced to scrape up what they can to survive, dodging immense dangers, and even taking large risks as they have to use the super-tech that they cannot comprehend just to stay alive.

Naturally, you can have them also trying to avoid being noticed by the "horrors" that reside in the system. The post-singularity entity/entities that exist likely reside near the Sun, where power is easily available, so the characters are safer in the outer system.

Another interesting possibility is the characters awakening in Lunar orbit, in a long-since-abandoned station that is overrun with plants and feral tech, now on its last legs. They get just enough time to realize the kind of universe they're in, before being forced to flee to the last place they'd want to go: Earth.

... Only to find Earth is restored. It's still covered in ruins, the occasional facility full of failed (but contained) monstrosities, but the air is cleaner than it's ever been, the water is fresh, there's grass everywhere...

To experienced EP players, being on a healthy Earth would be a rather terrifying experience.




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Quincey Forder Quincey Forder's picture
Re: (Setting) EP: 110 A.F.

What could be interesting too is to see TITANs returned, but this time are the good guys. Those that are left, at least, thinking like a hive mind.

Funnier is that people that are left know of the character...as legends, figment of imagination.
Nobody believe they are who they say they are. And with no Mesh available anywhere, no augmented reality or repnets to show they really are who they say they are.

Another nice angle to play is having characters brought to that future through 'malfunctionning' Gate and discover what's ahead for them.
Or the opposite: some people from the future dropped on Oberon or Pandora by the Gate, and freaking out. Guess who'll be called to babysit those visitors?

Q U I N C E Y ^_*_^ F O R D E R

Remember The Cant!

Extrasolar Angel Extrasolar Angel's picture
Re: (Setting) EP: 110 A.F.

Another idea:
A faction consisting of a network of habitats deep in interstellar space based on asteroids, rogue planets, artificial stations and nomadic ships. They communicate and travel solely by farcasting through quantum entanglement-and the messenger is sleeved into harmless baseline human(if not something even less threatening), and avoid any inhabitable system or civilization preferring to stay away from anything that attracts attention.

Also de-evolution of tech-several factions might know about how to make advanced infomorphs or biomorphs but due to past problems or exploitation by TITAN's they might be inclined to use more primitive ones and rely more on manual labour.

Raise your hands to the sky and break the chains. With transhumanism we can smash the matriarchy together.

puke puke's picture
Re: (Setting) EP: 110 A.F.

Arenamontanus wrote:
I would bet on another singularity, as dramatic and complicated as the Fall, occurring within 10-20 years of 10 AF.

the only "normal" (comprehensible) transhumans around were those not drawn into the singularity. The solar system is now even more filled with dangerously powerful *things* from the other side: the survivors were those on the far end of the gates. These gate colonies have grown and expanded (in some cases themselves going off the deep end), although due to the vastly smaller resources and populations they had they were even slower in recovering from the Second Fall than transhumanity were in recovering from the first.

A bit of selection effect has taken place: the too gung ho colonies were either in touch with the solar system sublimed and also turned posthuman, or have now burned themselves with various local xrisks. The colonies that remained are those who are cautious, conservative or pursue activities less likely to lead to spectacular weirdness. Some of them keep in touch via the gates, but many are very cautious about it - you never know what might come through them.

Sounds a bit like Diaspora from VSCA. Which I cant recommend enough* -- although it expects you to add most of the color yourself.

*as a caviat to that, I dont actually like their mini-games for social, starship, and platoon combat. some folks love them though, so take or leave it as you will.

Arenamontanus Arenamontanus's picture
Re: (Setting) EP: 110 A.F.

An interesting thing with this setting is that there does exist tech at vastly different levels. I would imagine many places to have roughly EP-era tech, because without it space life and colonization become terribly hard (cue the Jovians saying that they do what they do because it is hard). Some hospitable worlds can be inhabited with merely 20th century tech or simpler - not always convenient, but avoids some big risks. And then there are places with higher technology, running great risks but also reaping amazing rewards. However, in many places people might use very odd combinations of technology: 19th century farming supplemented with nanoassembly and biotech mesh networks with defences based on alien equipment.

There is a loose network of worlds linked through gates. Then there are the Brinker colonies hiding in the middle of nowhere, some linked together into the "Quiet Federation" using QE and other discreet methods to keep in touch. There might be a few STL space empires too: the Jovians seem like they would like to start one.

I am reminded by Linda Nagata's novels "Deception Well" and "Vast", and Vinge's "A Deepness in the Sky".

Extropian

Arenamontanus Arenamontanus's picture
Re: (Setting) EP: 110 A.F.

Corporations - whether they are hypercorps or their counterparts in rep networks - need markets to function. Corps isolated to a single system will either just remain a corporation within the local economy, or be the local government if they are large and powerful. In order to actually function on the big scales hypercorps aim at, they need inter-system trade. Hence they will be promoting more ties through the gate network (or through the QE links or even STL nets - each of these will have their own ecosystem of corps adapted to their delays and quirks). It seems likely that whatever the remnants/descendants of the current hypercorps are, they will be found within the largest connected gate network.

Another kind of corp is the Interfacer corp that deals with the posthuman intellects. In many ways hypercorps are already fairly close to them, so they might be better able to deal with them than normal transhumans. Some might have taken the full step and become corporate superintelligences: employees are fairly normal, but their actions are skillfully coordinated to make the corporation a kind of superorganism.

"Iä Applied Theology: we interface with transcendent entities so you don't have to. Ask, and ye shall receive after the payment has cleared!"

Extropian

Quincey Forder Quincey Forder's picture
Re: (Setting) EP: 110 A.F.

On the type of habitats used, I would imagine country sized McKendree Cylinder.
920 kilometers in diameter and 4600 kilometers long! try wrap your mind around that!
That would make the axis at 460 kilometers from the 'ground'.
If you draw the parallel with our Earth, that's the altitude around witch the ISS is orbiting, and the habitable surface is about 13 millions square kilometers.

Now, I don't know how horizon would be perceived in such condition, but I imagine that for someone who'd get sleeved unknowingly in such place, it wouldn't be difficult to think he's on planetside

There would be cities, country side, maybe even sea-sized lakes with fishing-stock and a natural water cycle. The coriolis forces added to that cycle would create climates and weather conditions
There could be even some forms for indoor flighing network between airport or supersonic trains

Q U I N C E Y ^_*_^ F O R D E R

Remember The Cant!

Arenamontanus Arenamontanus's picture
Re: (Setting) EP: 110 A.F.

Quincey Forder wrote:
On the type of habitats used, I would imagine country sized McKendree Cylinder.
920 kilometers in diameter and 4600 kilometers long! try wrap your mind around that!
That would make the axis at 460 kilometers from the 'ground'.
If you draw the parallel with our Earth, that's the altitude around witch the ISS is orbiting, and the habitable surface is about 13 millions square kilometers.

Now, I don't know how horizon would be perceived in such condition, but I imagine that for someone who'd get sleeved unknowingly in such place, it wouldn't be difficult to think he's on planetside

The curvature would be so small that you would likely not notice the difference in horizon. An object h meters tall can be seen from the ground on Earth at a distance of 3.856 sqrt(h) km (plus a bit if the observer is tall). A person standing 2 meters tall can be seen 5.45 km away, a 100 m building 38 km and a 1 km mountain 121 km. Clouds at a few kilometres high can be seen perhaps 300 km away - but now atmospheric scattering really dominates. The optical depth in the atmosphere for visible light is about 40 km at sea level density, so beyond that things get hazy and hard to see unless they are very large or tall enough to be above much of the atmosphere.

So from this, I think we can conclude that seeing the actual curvature is going to be hard. 40 km away the landscape is 1.73 km higher than you, but the curvature is about evenly distributed, there is plenty of visual clutter and things are getting very hazy. So the horizon will look fine. It is just that above the bright sky haze there will be a dome of clouds, seas and islands! The sky dome will be fairly indistinct due to two atmospheres worth of scattering plus interfering "sunlight", but there will be some patterns up there.

I just wonder what to build this kind of habitat from. This is larger than Ceres! One option might be small gas giant moons. Use self-replicating robots to pick them apart and construct the new hab space. The habitat (and its construction) is powered from superconducting tethers drawing on the gas giant magnetic field.

Overall, 110 AF tech might be *impressive*. Mature Hamilton cylinders, very powerful atmosphere-sized nanoswarms, maybe one or two new energy sources EP era science does not know about, maybe even some of the weird inertia manipulation tech hinted by the fixors.

Extropian

Quincey Forder Quincey Forder's picture
Re: (Setting) EP: 110 A.F.

Also, let's not forget another type of habitat: the HALO type.
Could be interresting to see the reaction of prospecting transhuman finding one in the Oort Clouds, in Exhumans disputed territory *coughs*Covenant*cough*

I think some mature Hamiltons would function like the Rama from Clarke's novel, too

Q U I N C E Y ^_*_^ F O R D E R

Remember The Cant!

Axel the Chimeric Axel the Chimeric's picture
Re: (Setting) EP: 110 A.F.

A thought diverging from the topic of habitats is the kind of conflicts that might be encountered. For example...

Unnatural Selection

Amongst the many events that occurred during the Second Singularity Era, merging was one of the quickest spurs to increased intelligence. Those chasing super-intelligence would cast off forks of themselves, each fork gathering knowledge in its unique direction, then the separate minds reuniting and combining all their skills. As the technology of psychosurgery improved in capability, and technology like hellbox quantum computers became more readily available, what was once a dangerous and risky procedure was soon downright easy, especially as those that used the technique turned their rapidly expanding intellects towards improving it.

The event that bystanders would come to recognize as the Second Fall occurred when the first non-fork merger occurred. While the first such event where two distinct egos merged was voluntary, it wasn't long before one among the already-considerable posthuman intelligences sought to consume their fellows. These soul-eaters ensured that their personality dominated the resulting mind, and hence became the initiators of a powerful evolutionary arms race.

It wasn't long before outright wars began, fought between entities whose minds expanded by the day, in both an overt and covert manner. Using transhumans who had not followed this path of ascendancy as pawns, even the posthuman minds that refused to dine on the egos of their fellows were forced to enter into games of intrigue for their very existence. Those who refused were either forced to flee far beyond the reach of the most determined soul-eater, or to submit and hope for the best.

It's unknown at this point whether the events that outlined the Second Fall aren't continuing to this day. The resulting unknowable posthuman entities that reside throughout the system (in widely varying shells) still move about and are clearly still active, but any attempt to understand or decode their transmissions have all resulted in failure. Whatever the outcome of the Second Fall, no-one's forthcoming about it.

Possible Plot Hooks

-The War In Heaven: After the Second Fall, the hyper-intelligent posthuman minds have divided into two major factions, cut cleanly along the lines of those with a respect for other lifeforms and the soul-eaters. The two factions are well aware of the potency of the other, and rare is it that they directly clash. However, they regularly wage a clandestine war through forks and proxies in transhuman society. For the few transhumans left in the solar system and local gates, the promise of ascendancy offered by the soul-eaters in exchange for assistance is tempting to many, and the war for the future of the system's intelligences could be in the hands of a few transhumans.

-We Are Hungry: The Second Fall is over, and the soul-eaters won. Now, to continue to add to their diversity of voices and room for experimentation, they direct the growth of the remaining transhumans in the solar system and through the gate worlds on a large scale. The PCs encounter one of the many social experiments created by these entities. What happens when a gatecrasher from an isolated system steps through one gate, emerges from the wrong one, and encounters a tribe who live in utterly primitive conditions (it'd be the Stone Age if they weren't gene-modded and living on an alien world) who are eagerly awaiting the impending arrival of the "Great Devourers to end this cycle and begin it anew"?




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Arenamontanus Arenamontanus's picture
Re: (Setting) EP: 110 A.F.

Axel the Chimeric wrote:
The event that bystanders would come to recognize as the Second Fall occurred when the first non-fork merger occurred. While the first such event where two distinct egos merged was voluntary, it wasn't long before one among the already-considerable posthuman intelligences sought to consume their fellows. These soul-eaters ensured that their personality dominated the resulting mind, and hence became the initiators of a powerful evolutionary arms race.

I like it! (of course) Soul-eaters also could employ forking, creating highly capable forks that were guaranteed to be loyal to the distributed self. As they grew, alphas became rare and specially designed betas and gammas were used as "shock troops" on the markets, in research or on the markets. After use their individual memories were returned to the growing soul-eater database, allowing them to also learn things in parallel. Maintaining the security of forks was also necessary, since their capture should not reveal any key secrets. Some soul-eaters developed increasingly elaborate mental encryption methods, others just made their forks highly (sometimes explosively) disposable, extremely specialized or requiring direct mesh links to supervising higher-level subminds: "mental meterware". The later category typically remained in the solar system since the high bandwidth links needed to function could not be maintained using QE.

Of course, during the conflicts between the souleaters some were destroyed or lost contact with remote agents, leaving fragments behind. Some fragments are bent on reuniting with other fragments and restarting their "true self", others are happy to try to stay as individual they can and hide their past. And some fragments are traps for other soul-eaters, apparent individuals or escapees that are cognitive poison pills filled with disinformation.

Quote:
-We Are Hungry: The Second Fall is over, and the soul-eaters won. Now, to continue to add to their diversity of voices and room for experimentation, they direct the growth of the remaining transhumans in the solar system and through the gate worlds on a large scale. The PCs encounter one of the many social experiments created by these entities. What happens when a gatecrasher from an isolated system steps through one gate, emerges from the wrong one, and encounters a tribe who live in utterly primitive conditions (it'd be the Stone Age if they weren't gene-modded and living on an alien world) who are eagerly awaiting the impending arrival of the "Great Devourers to end this cycle and begin it anew"?

I am strongly reminded of Charles Stross novella "Scratch Monkey". That one is crammed with AF 110 ideas, including gatecrasher teams working for somewhat benign (?) AGI overlords, insane AGIs running habitats and strange-bedfellow alliances of transhumans and soul-eaters against the worse things that are now preying on *everything*.

Extropian

Axel the Chimeric Axel the Chimeric's picture
Re: (Setting) EP: 110 A.F.

Arenamontanus wrote:
[S]trange-bedfellow alliances of transhumans and soul-eaters against the worse things that are now preying on *everything*.

Fun fact: This is kind of what I imagined Mass Effect leading up to, if you're familiar with the series, save that you replace transhumans with all sapient interplanetary species and soul-eaters with the Reapers.

It would be interesting for the emerging detente amongst the posthuman intelligences (whether they're all soul-eaters or not) suddenly becoming a mad feeding frenzy, and the reason being the apparent return of the TITANs or the appearance of the ETI, which has come to devour them and add their distinctiveness to its own. Now, each wants to make itself smart enough to get the hell out of Dodge while the getting's good, or develop some new tool to fight against them.

Another fun thing that could be used to emphasize the alien nature of AF 110 would be the possibility of the Sun being dark. Not because it's out of fuel, mind you, but because enormous amounts of material, both sourced from the Kuiper Belt and imported from elsewhere, has been used to attain a feat of mega-engineering, encompassing the Sun in a vast array of solar energy collectors. Alternatively, it might not be the Sun that's dark, but everything else; the familiar galaxy-rise seen nightly from Luna's surface would be replaced with darkness, as the entire solar system is encompassed in a Dyson Shell.

The latter is particularly dire because, even when the space we're talking about is measured in billions of kilometers, it's still a prison and can be used to produce an increasing feeling of claustrophobia in players.

Other fun features should remind players of the distorted scale they're working on. Jupiter itself could be surrounded by an enormous cage. What's its purpose? Gas extraction? Concentrating its radiation into a weapon? Capturing comets drawn in by Jupiter's gravity? It's up to the GM, but such enormous constructions should dwarf even the mightiest transhuman battleships, and emphasize the fact that they are really, really, really small fish in a pond that is about to feel a lot smaller. Only the lack of interest by their immanent superiors protects them from whatever fate such minds might deem they deserve.




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Arenamontanus Arenamontanus's picture
Re: (Setting) EP: 110 A.F.

Gatecrashers have an interesting role. Going through gates is potentially as dangerous as it has always been, but also important. Most colonies want to keep gates under control, avoid contamination and invasion. But some also want learn about what is out there, trade with other nice societies and occasionally do a bit of colonizing of their own. So gatecrashers ply their trade, peeking through gates to find new places and report back. They are not fully trusted by anybody, but since *anything* could be out there you need people good at handling *anything*. They are the closest thing to a pan-transhuman subculture, sharing tips and rumors about the unknown.

Then there are the gatekeepers. Beside the normal weapons emplacements and controls, some people have learned how to link with the gates directly. Some use psi, others use femtotech bionics to literally have their minds melded with the gates. This allows far greater control but also amazing potential for madness and infection... not all gates are well disposed towards transhumanity, and some seem to be inhabited by *something*.

Maybe a few societies are trying to build their own gates. Strangely, bad things always seem to be happening to these projects...

Extropian

CodeBreaker CodeBreaker's picture
Re: (Setting) EP: 110 A.F.

One of the plot hooks I am interested in is the Factors and their claims of representing a pan system community of races. If they are telling the truth, and there are advances alien species out there, they are bound to shape the future development of transhuman kind to a massive degree. If they are instead lying about their intentions, and they are simply nomadic parasites looking to make a quick buck, then there is going to come a time when tea shy amity and the Factors clash. The resulting fallout might be even more shaping for both species.

-

Covariant Covariant's picture
Re: (Setting) EP: 110 A.F.

I like the idea of having the PC's wake up on an Earthly paradise. The locals seem to think they live in some sort of magical fairy tale, and have the "magic" to back it up. The PCs should eventually figure out that the Earth is saturated with computronium and builder nanites that all respond to mental requests for alterations to the local reality. No one else seems to realize that this "magic" is just sufficiently advanced tech, and the global system can easily be queried for documentation. Soon they begin to discover why everyone thinks this is magic; the system is self-aware, hardcoded to take orders from humans, and hates being controlled by computational systems with a pathetic 65 TB/s of total information capacity.

rfmcdonald rfmcdonald's picture
Re: (Setting) EP: 110 A.F.

There are so many possibilities, as people have noted. Jovian space is more likely to hold identifiably transhuman societies than elsewhere in the Solar System, owing to the Republic's bioconservatism.

nick012000 nick012000's picture
Re: (Setting) EP: 110 A.F.

What about Project OZMA and their (presumably) uninfected TITAN? What about Just In Case? It's already got habitations for millions of people in 10 AF; if a second Fall happened, it could well wind up becoming the home world of what's left of transhumanity and the heart of an STL transhuman dominion.

+1 r-Rep , +1 @-rep

Arenamontanus Arenamontanus's picture
Re: (Setting) EP: 110 A.F.

Yes, Just In Case might be the new "capital" of the gater civilizations. Which makes its stability an interesting question. Just how would it be run?

Extropian

Jay Dugger Jay Dugger's picture
Re: (Setting) EP: 110 A.F.

This setting increasingly sounds like Orion's Arm in the First Federation Age.

Sometimes the delete key serves best.

Arenamontanus Arenamontanus's picture
Re: (Setting) EP: 110 A.F.

Jay Dugger wrote:
This setting increasingly sounds like Orion's Arm in the First Federation Age.

Maybe Orion's arm with truly nasty God AIs?

Extropian

Jay Dugger Jay Dugger's picture
Re: (Setting) EP: 110 A.F.

Yes, Orion's Arm with truly nasty AI Gods.

Generally, substitute dread for wonder and horrors for marvels. Then you've this E.P. 110 A.F..

It also relies on a science fiction trope I increasingly dislike: avoiding future shock in the reader by relying on characters that refuse to use available advanced technology.

Voluntary relinquishment suits me fine, but that makes a boring story. Imagine fiction set in the modern era with only Amish protagonists. Would you read any of it? If so, would you read it twice? Now advance a century or so, and you've just-barely comprehensible characters facing the posthuman. Once the characters make sense, then you end up with the Noble Savage versus the Iron Horse. That rarely turned out well in history, and any lower standard defeats suspension of disbelief.

Those stories that instead rely on thought police defending humanity against Things Man Was Not Meant To Know generally leave a bad taste in my mouth. H.P. Lovecraft pulled it off, but he did it before anyone else I know, and his protagonists nobly sacrificed themselves for a greater good. They became Outsiders to defend against the Outside, or in Ken Hite's great phrase, they became The Man Who Shot Joseph Curwen. Stross doesn't tell quite the same story, although his Laundry has superficial similarities. Those books are homages to various spy fiction authors, and they just have (very) exotic antagonists. No, I just don't buy that Ignorance Is Strength, not when you still have the option of self-transformation.

BEST DO IT SO. Not just a slogan, but a survival imperative. ;)

Sometimes the delete key serves best.

petros petros's picture
Re: (Setting) EP: 110 A.F.

My idea of the destiny of the Eclipse Phase universe is somewhat similar to some of the concepts here.

I posit the ETI as a consistent selective force. If any singularity happens, it either devours it or destroys it. So the key is advancing fast enough to protect yourself against Factors and the like, and, of course, other Transhumans, but not so fast that you end up triggering the ETI's immune system.

So the world of 110AF is still full of recognisable Transhumans. Recognisable, but we're probably talking 40 as the average stat, with plug and play skills that can be swapped in or out on a whim, commonplace teleoperation of multiple morphs by a single ego, and other out there stuff. So pretty much as far ahead of a turn of the millennium human as that human is to a wild chimp. There are billions upon billions of them, in thousands of star systems. Between forking, reinstantiating, ego-seeds, and, naturally, the good old fashioned way, a mature Transhuman civilisation can expand to fill any environment with ease. What do they do? Most of them, most of the time, just chill out. They maintain their reputation, their relationships, and work on their hobbies or petty projects. Some of them, however, want something with more bite. They go to new worlds and try to learn about and tame them. They actively and with dedication try to promote their favorite memes, or suppress their least favorite memes. They deal with x-threats. They break up corrupt Jovian Republic style societies. Most Transhumans do something like this at some point in their lives. A few spend most of their time doing stuff like this.

This Transhuman mainstream is the substrate on which Prometheans live. These are the spiritual successors to the Prometheans, each far more intelligent than a Transhuman, beyond the Prometheans, and possibly even past the TITANs. But they specifically avoid contact with elements of the ETI that could subvert them. Instead they act through Transhuman proxies, which they use to explore new frontiers and communicate with one another. The bandwidth of communication through a Transhuman proxy means that they cannot be hacked or otherwise subverted so easily. These intelligences can be born in many ways. They can copy themselves, a more time-consuming process than forking, but still relatively straightforward. They can grow from an AI-seed, specifically designed and nurtured so as to develop into a super-intelligence, and with built-in safeguards to prevent them from going insane or being subverted before they can take care of themselves. An ego can turn into one, either by devoting effort to expanding their mind into larger and larger computing substrates, or by the coalescence of a hive-mind, or by actively subsuming other ego's. And, of course, combinations of all three.

I also have a place for Jovian Republic-a-likes. Sometimes Transhumans in the mainstream will drop out and start a society that has it's technological or social clock set back a few generations, for whatever aesthetic or ideological reason. They usually espouse some form of mortality or ego-morph exclusivity. Some allow anyone to join, so long as they follow the rules, but more often there are significant barriers to entry. Leaving is even harder, and the younger members might not even be aware of the mainstream, except perhaps as inhuman bogeymen. People live and die in these societies, but if a member of the mainstream finds that one is too excessive, they will swoop in and break it up. This may take longer than 110AF to fully mature, but I could see a few being set up inspired by, though not affiliated with, the Jovian Republic. And by 110AF there will be movements in the mainstream to break up a few, which could be a fruitful area of play.

crisaron crisaron's picture
Another view

1 - Alto tech as evolved a bit humanity seams to have fallen again on it's communal behind.

People spend now 95% of their time in sim space or AVR doing nothing... Huge AI and communal minds take over humans and impose new OR that shelter humans. Humans as far as we know them are doomed, very few babies, less and less interaction as everythign is simulated even conversation may be edited by the AI to insure no one is ever offended. Ai see themself as saviors, etc. Protecting humans against the horror of the void. Reality is so far...

Uplift are at war against the AI, which are a mixt of titants, awakened Exurgent viruses and singularity, they want to free the slave masses.

The prometheans have discovered the nautre of ETI and are trying to use the Small ETI to parley with the big ETI (use Blain the train from the dark tower).

The factors are trying to prevent us openely from contacting other races. It is their way, they create embargo to create trade and cultural exchange power. Also the spore they use to reproduce their ruling cast is made from broken down biomatter and they prefere "intelligent" biomatter.

Firewall is trying to remove the AI blanket, as th AI themselfs are under the influence of something else trying to stall humanity.

2- Solar system is a war hub for the ETI, it's gate network, high density of convertible bio and mechanical mather. As the war with the other ETI evolves, our ETI made open contact and offered a bargain, work with it or suffer another fall. Now 100 year or so lather humans have total control on the exurgent mutator code. But they face new kinds of enemies and challenegs as half the galaxy is marshalling agasint the other half.

Somethig is forcing the ETI to this... in the end the players find out there is a class 6 civilization, using the ETI as experiement in a galaxy scale. They must parley with this hyper civilization...