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The Dreamers (The Protectorate of Virtual Citizens)

by Dave “Proteus” Bartram

Dave Bartram (“Proteus” on RPG.net) presents an alternative take on the Venu, which could also make an awesome alternate foe for the Commonality – internal or external. I think the Dreamers represent a real ideological foe – many citizens, especially in the Core Worlds, might find them all too seductive. Indeed, I’d imagine there are already Core Worlds subcultures who aren’t a million light years removed from this way of thinking…

The colony at Psi Orionis developed its own Mindscape, but took a different route. They focused far less on the use of the Mindscape as a repository of true knowledge and a way of accessing data from the real world, and instead their information infrastructure concentrated on entertainment and leisure. Virtualities and imposalities took over from augmented reality as the primary way of interacting with the Dreamscape, and interest in the real world faded rapidly compared to the pleasures of the Dream. Why bother genurgically adding gills to your species to experience underwater life, when you could simulate it, and simulate things far beyond the scope of the real. Many of the Dreamers exist in higher-dimensional spaces configured contrary to physical laws. They created synthetics to watch over their physical bodies, shackling their eidolons with artificial personalities that rejected pleasure and personal advancement in favour of a dogmatic dedication to sustaining the Dreamscape for their biological masters.

The Dreamers concluded that their way of life was the best way to deal with a cruel and arbitrary universe, and furthermore, they craved the injection of new minds and ideas into the Dreamscape. Thus, they ordered their synthetics to go out and conquer nearby colonies, to create a Protectorate of Virtual Citizens, living in the Dream but guarded in the Real by the synthetic war fleet. The eidolons pursued this goal with the ruthless pragmatism they had been designed for, forcibly converting entire worlds into massive server farms, amputating their citizens to preserve precious resources, and hooking them into the Dreamscape. Exomemories, memoplexes and redaction therapies were employed to “correct” any primitive beliefs that prevented the converts from enjoying virtual existence.

Dreamer culture would never have discovered 2-space, but they eagerly received the technology when the Commonality turned up to trade. The Commonality misread the Dreamer culture as a close analogue of their own, assuming that the virtual life experienced in the Dream was analogous to the Mindscape. The Dreamer synthetics used the new technology to build a war fleet and repel the Commonality, starting their protracted conflict.

The Dreamers have two main cultural memes:

Reality Is Just a Power Source – the Dreamers themselves ignore reality entirely, apart from a rare few who communicate with the synthetics to ensure that all is well in the Real. This attitude bleeds over into the synthetics, who have no interest in science for its own sake. Dreamer eidolons exist only to safeguard the power source of the Dreamscape, they take no interest whatsoever in the external universe, except in terms of analysing resources to exploit, biologicals to convert, and threats to expunge.

Mankind Must Dream As One! – the minority of Dreamer humans who actually take some interest in the Real are agreed that mankind deserves the transcendent existence of the Dream instead of facing the travails of a meaningless and chaotic universe. They have passed this directive onto their eidolons – it is not enough to simply preserve the Dream, it must expand to include as much of mankind as possible. The eidolons see no conflict with their prior directive – defeating the Commonality and expanding the Protectorate is also the most efficient way to remove future threats to the Dream.


Myrmidon Genotype

by Richard Bellingham

Mandatory spend: 2 Stunts, 3 Aspects
The Myrmidon is a genotype universally used on one particular recently rediscovered lost colony world. After initial colonisation the planet was shifted in its orbit by a passing asteroid, causing tectonic upheavals and an alteration in the climate. In order to survive, the remaining population developed an armoured biological genotype based on a species of terrestrial ant that can survive exposure to extremely high temperatures for short periods of time.

At first the alien appearance of the genotype meant that Myrmidons were shunned by their fellow colonists, despite their usefulness. Several hundred years ago a Myrmidon staged a coup against the ruling government, after which a law was created requiring all newborn colonists to belong to the Myrmidon genotype.

Capable of feats of great strength, radiation tolerance, heat resistance, and silent pheromone-based communication, the Myrmidon can be uncanny warriors and highly useful workers.

Appearance: Myrmidons are bipedal humanoids with a sleek ovoid head, large compound eyes, four arms and two legs. Their bodies are armoured in a reddish brown carapace (though custom pigments can easily be engineered into the chitinous shell and often are for decorative or threat display purposes).

Chronological Age: 50-75.
Apparent Age: Young adult.
Typical Occupations: Soldier, Explorer, bodyguard, builder, athlete.
Typical Enhancements: Hyperstrength, Hyperagility, Health Bonus, Intimidate, Leap, Pheromone Cloud.
Mandatory Extras: Energy Resistant (Radiation), Highly Adapted (Extreme Heat), Silent Communication (Can communicate silently with other Myrmidons through pheromone traces – this Extra is free as it provides hardly any advantage over technopsi), Natural Armour, Extra Arms (Aspect).
Genotype Aspects: You must take at least 1 genotype aspect.

Led by the Nose
You are highly attuned to pheromone traces and other smells.

  • Invoke: To follow people, identify mood or illness, find clues relating to smell etc.
  • Compel: To cause miscommunications, overwhelmed senses, following a false trail etc.

Touch Insensitive
Your armoured carapace is thick enough to dull your tactile senses.

  • Invoke: To resist pain or similar negative tactile phenomena.
  • Compel: To not notice burning or other sources of pain until too late, miss tactile clues (like a gun to your spine) etc.


Octopoid Genotype

by Richard Bellingham

Mandatory spend: 2 aspects, 3 stunts
Octopoids are descended from large-brained intelligent octopuses of Old Earth. It’s rare to find humaniform octopoids as most of them retain the radial symmetry and tentacled form of their original body plan. Octopoids are cursed with one of the shortest life spans of any xenomorph – some 40-50 years, or earlier if they reproduce naturally (this tends to be fatal for them) – and the search for appropriate longevity treatments is a subject of grave concern.

Chronological Age: 18-25.
Apparent Age: Mature adult.
Typical Occupations: Radiation Shielding Water Tank Repair Operative, Microgravity Engineer.
Typical Enhancements: Spider-Feet, Mimic, Extendable Limbs, Multi-Attack, Hypersense (polarised vision – The Octopoid aspect counts as the permission aspect for this), Wing Membrane. Aquatic.
Mandatory Extras: Tentacles, Constrict.
Genotype Aspects: You must take at least 1 genotype aspect.

Mayfly Life

  • Invoke: To find potential solutions for the Octopoid’s short life-span or live in the moment.
  • Compel: To take actions to find potential octopus longevity treatments or to behave with undue caution.

Semi-autonomous Limbs

  • Invoke: To give oneself a bonus where tentacles acting without conscious control might be useful.
  • Compel: To cause an unconscious action which is problematic or embarrrassing.

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