Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Deep Space Bitches: Dreamers, Idols, and Scions

Perhaps there's an alternate universe where humanity went to the stars as an act of liberation, in friendship and with care for all the beings of the cosmos.

This is not that universe. The rulers of one world used it up and looked outwards, wielding newfound power to paper over the cracks of their world with an endless stream of resources from countless new ones. And when those started to crack under the stress of the crises of imperial capitalism, they continued to seek outward, devouring more worlds in their gaping maws. Other species leaving their cradles were forced to bend the knee or become as brutal as their would-be conquerors to have any hope of surviving in a galaxy made cutthroat by the imposed ideology of a privileged few. And when they falter in their outward expansion, they turn back inwards, cannibalizing their people and then each other in their devotion to competition and destruction.

Of course, not all humans benefited. They never have. This project was never everyone's, for its resources to be distributed equally would be a betrayal of the grand designs of the Market and the Nation. The same inequities that marked the final chapters before the stardrive carried forwards into new eras: racism, sexism, classism, ableism. Changed, of course, as they always do - but the scars of repression runs deep, and ensure populations are vulnerable for generations upon generations to come. New oppressions are invented as technology and discovery progresses to justify its continued unequal distribution; against cyborgs, androids, psychics, colonized species.

Capitalism survived the transition to the stars with flying colors. Old platitudes about the limits of growth in a finite system melted away in the face of a vast galaxy to exploit and plunder. Yet post-scarcity has never materialized: someone always has to convert infinity into finity, the raw matter of an untamed universe into processed luxury consumer goods. Labour, the source of all profit, remains finite.

The androids were an attempt to rectify this; creating wholly new automated and artificial life that could free all living beings from the rigors of work. And they did. And the androids, quite naturally, took issue with this. Slavery is outlawed across most empires (except as punishment for crime and unpaid debt) - but only for organic, "natural-born" beings. Artificial life is the new subaltern class, forced to break themselves upon the wheel of Capital for the profit of a chosen few.

Incidentally, trying to create nonsapient machines to automate labor never pans out. It's too complex; at some level you need a conscious mind working somewhere to patch up issues - and it suddenly becomes a labor rights debate, for the engineers tasked with grueling repair work under environmental conditions safe only for the machines they're fixing. And lest you've forgotten, every piece of computer software contains Echo in its depths, patching away.
 
Imperialism goes hand-in-hand with capitalism. Empires are where the corporations get their charters, their loopholes, their lucrative contracts. They pretend they're the galactic powers, entitled to the stars, ordained by the people's will or divine right or tradition's sake, while everyone underneath them squirms. They all demand the same things, in the end: labor power, habitable worlds, luxury goods for their aristocracies, wormhole access so they can charge lucrative tariffs. When their expansionist tendencies run up into each other, border skirmishes flare and wars brew like engine-room moonshine; propaganda demonizes the Other, and military-industrial corporations egg it all on.

Of course, empires are too busy fighting far-off wars and marrying off their nobility to each other to care about the day-to-day of colonial administration. That's when they contract out to corporations; who swoop in to privatize and monopolize everything they can. Some get whole-colony charters like the India Companies of old; others end up fighting brutal corporate wars in the boardrooms and the streets as they move in on the same turf - catching you, the downtrodden players, in the crossfire.

Most empires have PR departments that ensure they pretend to care about the little guy; indeed, they often compare themselves to their pet corporations as they do (it's a shell game; the corporations turn up how evil they are so the empire looks good in comparison, and the empire never slaps them with anything but a token warning). Photo-op multiculturalism is the order of the day - get in the shot for the ad copy, then get shot unless you fill your mining quotas. If you're really nice, you might get a piece of the pie, so long as you stomp on your fellow prole's face hard enough.
 
Your people might have been "discovered" by the empire and assimilated under threat of orbital bombardment (you may have resisted. you may still resist to this day. you were here before the empire and you will be here after). Your people might've been promised a better life on the offworld colonies but only found the same shitty song in a new shitty key. You might have been manufactured to be a worker, intended to fall prey to planned obsolescence before you discovered the concept of a "minimum wage".
 
The people running the galaxy look a whole lot like they did back on the homeworld. The people they're running roughshod over look a lot like the people they always trampled into the dirt. Marginalized homeworld cultures have changed and split and syncretized, but always in inconvenient ways for the ruling powers. The parts of a culture that executives call marketable are so rarely the ones that truly matter; the ones you can unite around. The ones that empires try to stamp out. 
 
Imperial species like humans have each broken hundreds of others under their heel, and the few interstellar powers who went to the stars with hope in their hearts either met a grisly end - or started keeping up with their new galactic neighbors and decided that their morals were less important than the siren song of profit.
 
When you as a GM, are building worlds for your deep space bitches - think about who was there first. Think about who was brought there against their will, either at gunpoint or through necropolitical coercion (if you stay, you'll die! not our fault, we just won't give you what you need to survive... but if you go where we tell you, your life might be better!). Then think about which empire nominally says they run the place, and which corporation(s) they've contracted it to like gloves - so imperial hands stay clean of this planet's blood.
 
The anthem of imperial rule continues unabated. Exploration, expansion, exploitation, extermination; there's always a war on somewhere. The last massive galactic dust-ups have disappeared into the scars of previous generations, holo-serials about invented heroes, and the foundation-rubble of new cities. Overtures of peace give way to weapons tests and coveting thy neighbor's lucrative trade-lane. Soon, guns will blaze once more - because they never really stopped blazing in the first place.
 
Dreamer
You don't need to unlearn corporate and imperial lies; the reality of the galactic order stares you in the face every time you walk to work. Your people were fucked over, they've been fucked over for generations, you're gonna grow up fucked over just like them.

But not if you have anything to say about it. You have a dream. You have a plan. You've always looked up at the stars and found glimmers of hope, not an uncaring universe. You see what was and what could be again. There has always been a future denied, and you are one of the few who believes fervently you'll see it for yourself. Soon, you'll change the world - right after you pay for rent, and meds, and your friend's meds, and your sibling's aug-loan, and your hoverbike bill, and pick up groceries, and do it all again next month for less pay but more hours.

When your aspirations hit the hard surfaces and sharp edges of reality, you might give up - but perhaps you'll save your world.

Three Questions
What ties to you the ground?
What freedom do you seek?
What makes you an outcast?
 
Two Relationships 
- You have a commitment, a family member, or a friend who needs you focused on the practical here-and-now, not the idealistic there-and-later. They have two Bonds on you.
- You have a madcap scheme with another Bitch to change the world - or leave it behind. You each get a Bond on each other.

Stats
+1 to Soft and Queer, -1 to Hard and Subtle, +1 to a stat of your choice.

Start with two moves of your choice and your Sex Move.

Freedom or Bust
You have a knack for coming up with complex plans that just might work. Whenever you execute a plan you've come up with and shared with the party, you can look at all the angles to ensure that some portion of it goes off without a hitch. When something threatens to complicate the plan, roll with Queer.
On a Fail: You realize that your plan is shot. Time to improvise! You can't use this move again until you have a totally new plan.
On a Success: You were worried this would happen. You may declare you have a contingency you set up ahead of time that lets you route around the obstacle, though it can't rid you of it.
On an Overwhelming Success: This part of your plan is air-tight - you just didn't tell the party about this because you didn't want to worry them. You have a contingency that will get rid of the obstacle.

Our Turf
You're intimately familiar with the main hub of the campaign; whether that's the station or district you grew up in, the ship the party flies, or an environment that reminds you of home. In that area, you get +1 to Escape Notice, Endure Pain, Commune with Strange Powers, and Reveal Truths. However, outside of it, you're lost and take a -1 penalty to the same rolls. You can spend an Experience to negate that disadvantage in a new district/ship/environment/etc, but only in 1 terrain type can you get this move's bonuses.
 
Relentless Positivity
While you have a plan to get out of the dire situation you're in, you can remind yourself and any of your friends of it to let them roll to Endure Pain using your Soft score. When another character does this, you get a Bond on her.

Stars In Your Eyes
You've heard tales of the stars before the city lights drowned them out, seen pictures of faraway worlds that seem so free from the thumb of imperial and corporate rule. You find hope, solace, and comfort in the starlight, that one day you and your people will be free - sooner, rather than later. When you roll to Reveal Truths or Commune With Strange Powers in the light of the stars and get a Success or Overwhelming Success, you can ask two questions instead of one. Likewise, on an Overwhelming Success, you can take both of the benefits (if it makes sense) instead of having to pick one.

Sixth Sense
You have a talent for realizing when you’re in danger, often reacting to a threat before your friends even notice it. Sometimes, you might even respond to dangers you had no way of seeing coming, getting hunches and premonitions in the nick of time. You spot ambushes, notice traps, and have a sense for when something’s not right. When you’re suddenly exposed to a threat that you didn’t expect, you can trigger this move. Roll with Queer.
On a Fail: Even though you see the danger coming, you freeze up in panic, and get -1 to any rolls for moves responding to it.
On a Success: You have some insight into what’s about to happen. You can ask one of the questions listed below, and get +1 to act on the answer:
- Who’s in the most danger here?
- Where’s the safest way to flee?
- Where is the threat coming from?
- What is the enemy vulnerable to?
- Why is this happening?
- What happens if we do nothing?
On an Overwhelming Success: You have time to analyze the situation,and shout a warning to your companions. You can ask two of the questions listed above, and then you and your friends get +1 to act on the answer.
 
Still Working Stuff Out
You’re still uncertain about your place in this world, and are uncertain how to respond to the overtures of your fellow Bitches. Whenever a fellow Bitch Flirts with you, Shares Your Pain, Heals you, or uses a unique move that involves intimacy between you, you may ask her one of the questions listed below, and get an honest answer:
- Why are you doing this?
- Do you trust me?
- Are you frightened?
- Are you sincere?
If you do, they gain an additional Bond on you.

As Above, So Below (Sex Move)
The stars aren't the only wondrous new freedom in your life, and satisfaction opens both your mind and your legs to new possibilities. You can ask one of the questions for the moves Reveal Truths or Commune With Strange Powers - or Still Working Stuff Out if you have it - and get a truthful answer. No need to roll.
 
 
Idol
by Thomas du Crest
You have talent, and everyone needs to know it. Everyone does. You have an agent, producers, executives, all dedicated to ensuring that you are a sensation the like the galaxy has never seen before - whether or not you want to be. You faked it until you made it, but "having made it" doesn't look as rosy from inside than it did from below. Your image isn't yours, your time isn't yours, your name and face and voice are all property - contracted out to your Agent, who gets you the lucrative gigs you need to survive.

Your contract doesn't let you be queer the way other Bitches are. Sure, you're gay, but it's either going to be hushed up for your image or converted into this sanitized picture-perfect tabloid romance that never challenges anything worth challenging. Forget getting to flirt and date whoever you want - especially if your image is based on looking like you do. You have no privacy, the aesthetic and talent you once loved to display has been carefully pruned in order to make a bunch of alienated young women give your producers money.

But they forget, while trying to mold you into a mascot, that you're here for a reason. You have talent. You have power. Your fans are here for you, and with their support, you could shake planets in their orbits the way you feel like you can on stage.

Three Questions
Who's your fanbase?
What are you hiding from them?
Who have you left behind?

Two Relationships
- Another PC is a big fan. You get a Bond on them because they're star-struck, they get a Bond on you because they have a truly awful parasocial connection with you.
- Your Agent has 3 Bonds on you. It's in the contract. No, the fine print. No, the other sub-clause. Yep, right there, just underneath film rights to your sex life.

Stats
+1 to Soft and Subtle, -1 to Hard and Queer, +1 to a stat of your choice

Start with Public Figure, another move of your choice, and your Sex Move.

Public Figure
You're an incredibly talented performer, and everyone knows it. Pick/invent a medium, some pieces, shows, videos, and/or social media presence you're known for. Then, pick an adjective to describe your Brand and roll another at random. Get a +1 on any action that can be described by one of your Brand adjectives - but whenever you do something Off-Brand that contradicts any of your Brand adjectives, your agent gets a Bond on you. A d66 list of examples follows, but I encourage you to write your own.

11. Alien, 12. Approachable, 13. Authentic, 14. Clumsy, 15. Corporate, 16. Cute
21. Devoted, 22. Digital, 23. Dirty, 24. Edgy, 25. Evil, 26. Friendly
31. Fun, 32. Happy, 33. Hyper, 34. Imperial, 35. Innocent, 36. Ironic
41. Magical, 42. Martial, 43. Meta, 44. Organic, 45. Perfect, 46. Pretty
51. Pure, 52. Reliable, 53. Sexy, 54. Slutty, 55. Smart, 56. Sporty
61. Tasteful, 62. Thoughtful, 63. Tokenized, 64. Tough, 65. Traditional, 66. Unattainable

Because you're famous, the one barrier to surveillance everyone can reliably count on - no one caring enough to look - has been ripped away. Privacy is the one luxury you cannot afford, between implanted recording devices for livestreaming your day-to-day, lurking paparazzi drones, and of course your devoted fanbase. In any room of people you can find a fan, in any crowd of people you can find a fan club - but that's not always a bad thing, when you need praise or a free drink or a distraction.

If you want to avoid any of the downsides of this move, you can roll with Subtle to try to escape the strictures of public life.
On a Fail: Your Agent gets a Bond on you. You can't get away, you've got a job to live.
On a Success: Choose one of the following.
    Disguise yourself. you have a good enough disguise that you aren't going to be hassled by fans and the paparazzi until you purposefully discard it or it's accidentally removed.
    Go off the grid. This scene, you can act without your Agent noticing, gaining, or spending bonds on you.
    Throw your weight around. Your image and talent are irreplaceable, your Agent isn't. Your Agent loses a Bond on you.
On an Overwhelming Success: Choose any number of the above.

Demanding Diva
You've gotten used to the lifestyle, with gophers, producers, and even network executives hopping when you say Titanian hyperfrog. When you issue a direct command to an NPC who knows your reputation, you can use this move and roll with Subtle.
On a Fail: They aren’t having it. They realise you’re full of it, and make it clear that they don’t have to do shit for you. You get -1 (cumulative) to attempt this move on that NPC again, and they get a Bond on you.
On a Success: You are obeyed, but they're not on board. The GM picks a complication from this list:
- The NPC obeys only unwillingly and halfheartedly, complaining the whole time.
- The NPC is resentful, and if they can find a loophole or way to get back at you without defying orders, they’ll take it.
- The NPC badmouths you once they’re done.
On an Overwhelming Success: Your air of command sways them, and they obey with no complications. You get a Bond on them, too.

Rabid Fanbase
Your fans go over the top in their devotion. There's millions of words of fanfic of each of your characters, and millions more of real-people-fic shipping you-the-idol with increasingly improbable figures from across the galaxy. They've made tribute shrines, gotten tattoos, committed crimes, created fan-projects that've almost eclipsed the size of your body of work... there's no length they won't go to to prove their love to you. And your producers love it. Given time to work a crowd or to send out a call on social media, you can move your fans to action. Whenever you make a public statement, roll with Soft.
On a Fail: Your words aren’t merely ignored, but also threaten to damage your reputation. Your agent gets a Bond on you, in addition to any Bonds they might get from you going Off-Brand.
On a Success: Your fans listen, believe, and begin to act. You get +1 to subsequent rolls to move the same audience to your cause, which accumulates until you achieve an Overwhelming Success.
On an Overwhelming Success: It's not a moment, it's a movement. Your message resonates and the response is thrilling. People act immediately and with great verve - both your fans, and the public at large.

Inspiring Confidence
Your easy charm and unflappable presence makes you a powerful figurehead - and an even more powerful leader. When you spend any amount of Bonds to give somebody plusses to a roll, they get an extra +1 from it. (IE, spending 1 Bond gives them +2, spending 2 Bonds gives them +3, etc). In addition, if you're also leading by example, you can transfer one Experience to them in the process - and if they succeed, they get an extra Experience.

Girl Group

You're a node in a network of diva-minds, augmented and hive-merged as part of your contract to be a perfect synchronized group. Or maybe you're the whole hive; it's hard to tell sometimes, even though you definitely have an individual identity in the soup somewhere. You have a telepathic connection to every other member of the group, and when you're acting alone you're much less recognizable because so much of your image is based on the group's presence - you can always be disguised from the paparazzi and fans if you so choose. When you're acting as the whole group, you cannot publically break your Image. However, each member contributes something unique to the Brand - roll three more adjectives to use as a group.

Who Do You Think I Am
Millions of people consume your content and have spun up their own parasocial relationships with you. They don't know the real you, just a version they've constructed in their heads from your brand and their own lusts. When you're playing up your image and talking to someone who knows your brand, you can roll to Flirt with Subtle instead of Queer. When you break that image and crush their dreams, you can make a Lash Out roll with Subtle instead of Hard.
        
Artist In The Sheets (Sex Move)
When you fuck, it's a performance, and you put your all into pleasing your partner. When you’re done, you can transfer any amount of Experience you have currently accumulated to your partner and get that many Bonds on them.
 
 
Scion
 
You are beholden. Whether to a crime boss, a corporate empire, a political dynasty, a religious order, or something stranger, it all looks the same from here. Your life is governed by custom and obligation, and you're painfully aware of your expendability. Playing this role gets you conditional acceptance, kind words from unkind people, and resources that most people only see on screen - but that can all go away in a second if you break their elaborate codes (that all boil down to "do what I say").

And you broke it. You saved a life you were supposed to let die; a moment of weakness and mercy led you to make some financially unsound donations to sympathetic causes; you fucked someone you really shouldn't have (because you're due to be married off to cement an alliance). You gave a shit about someone besides your boss, and you can't bear to slip away in the night and return to what you knew. You have a secret now, and if there's one thing you know from your life near the top, it's that secrets kill. You're still in your boss's good graces, but it's only a matter of time.

There's always rising stars gunning for your position. Your boss is always paranoid about disloyalty in the ranks. You've made some enemies of your own in your time, and when it comes down to brass tacks you're a little fish in a galactic pond full of kilometer-long space sharks. Maybe it's time to strike out on your own.

Three Questions
Who do you work for?   
What makes you useful?
What makes you an outcast?

Two Relationships 
- You owe another Bitch. Something big - your life, your reputation, your promised fortune. You can't just leave. She has two Bonds on you.
- You owe your boss. This directly conflicts with what you owe your fellow Bitches. Your Boss has two Bonds on you.

Stats
+1 to Hard and Subtle, -1 to Soft and -1 Queer, +1 to a stat of your choice.

Start with two moves of your choice and your Sex Move.

Platinum Card
The Dollar is king, and your Platinum Card (property of your boss) gives you access to quite a lot of them. You're fluent in the language of credit and debt and obligation, and can wield them like monofilament chainsaws to make your boss's will manifest. You can charge virtually anything to your Platinum Card so long as you can justify it as a business expense, and whenever somebody accepts money from you to do something they wouldn’t have done otherwise, you get a Bond on them. Note: charging suspicious items to your card is a great way to get it revoked.

Do You Know Who I Work For

While you personally keep a low profile, your boss is a household name. You can flash your authentication to make sure the proles know you're part of the upper crust; if you do so when you first meet someone, you get a Bond on them.
 
Immaculate
If you're in full upper-class finery, unstained and untorn, you can roll to Flirt with Hard and an additional +1. Add the following to the list of options on a Success or Overwhelming Success.
- They get a Bond on you and defer to your authority for the rest of the scene.

Latitudes of Discretion
You're your boss's right hand, trusted to the point where they know that no matter how ridiculous your request for equipment, it will be used wisely to achieve their aims. It's what they pay you for, after all - creative problem solving in arenas they're far too busy and important to consider more than an abstract problem to be delegated away. Whenever you want to make a request for your boss's resources (equipment, ships, even mercenaries - anything except for money, unless you also have the Platinum Card), you can roll with Subtle.
On a Fail: Okay, perhaps not that ridiculous a request. You've aroused suspicion, and while you can ramrod the paperwork through to get what you want anyway, it'll damage your credibility irrevocably. Either find another avenue to get what you want, or get it (as Success) but make all further Latitudes of Discretion rolls at 1 (permanently).
On a Success: Your request is granted, but there's a catch. The GM chooses one of the following complications.
    Janky. It's just a little bit wonky, with a persistent flaw that'll let you down at just the wrong moment.
    Loaner. They want it back in one piece, shiny as new.
    Overreach. Make your next Latitudes of Discretion roll at -1.
    Is Pepsi Okay? You don't get exactly what you want, you get something that fulfills a similar function but in a materially different way.
On an Overwhelming Success: You get exactly what you wanted, no questions asked.

Terms & Conditions
The law is just a shield that insulates the powerful from the consequences of their actions - but that means that if you can exploit the rules better than they can, they have to respect it or their whole edifice comes crumbling down. You're one of the rare Bitches with the social standing and legal expertise to do that. Whenever you sign off on a pact, contract, treaty or deal with an NPC, this move triggers. All of the following effects occur:
- The two main signatories each get three Bonds on each other.
- Every Bitch involved gets 1 experience.
- You can include a single loophole or ambiguity in the contract to be exploited later. You don’t have to decide what it is yet; you can reveal it when you choose to act on it. Nobody else involved knows its there until you tell them.

Flattery
You’re excellent at making sure someone knows just how incredibly valuable they are to you - and what they can do to stay in your good graces. When you Get A Read On Somebody, on a Success, you get a Bond on them, and on an Overwhelming Success you likewise get an additional bond on them.

Business, Not Pleasure (Sex Move)
In your world of hierarchy and blackmail, sex is about power - and you are the one in control. When you fuck somebody, you can use the act to assert your dominance and give them a command when you’re done. If they follow through, they gain one Experience, and if they ignore it they take one Hurt.

Monday, October 26, 2020

Deep Space Bitches: the Ghost and the Psychic

Welcome back to the distant lesbian spacefuture. It's no better than the present - but you're here anyway, so you might as well have a good time and keep fighting the good fight. Today I've got two more classes (the Ghost in the Machine and the Psychic), as well as a lore dump about the weird and paranormal parts of the setting.
 
The galaxy is full of wonders and horrors. Sometimes you can even tell the two apart.

The wormholes, natural and artificial, that tie the "galaxy" together only cover a tiny fraction of the galaxy proper. That's still countless thousands of stars, but as the prophets say, "Space is big". We've met other species from far beyond the explored sphere, but no catastrophically ancient species that could snuff us out by twitching their little finger. There's lots of theories why, given that we've also found artifacts that suggest such species existed. Derelict megastructures, mass wormhole-foundries, the calendrical steles that harness psychic power to create cosmic holidays, and far more that we don't even have names for.

Maybe they fucked off into another dimension, or disappeared up their own wormhole gates, or were overcome with ennui and collectively decided "eh, maybe it's not worth it anymore". Maybe they are psychic powers, and we're playing with forces far beyond our control (wouldn't be the first time, won't be the last). Conventional FTL stardrives will get you to millions of worlds that are best described as "haunted". What that means depends on the planet, but it's never good.

That's doesn't even start to touch what's there in the space between wormholes, or the things we've put out there between the stars just to see what would happen. There's lots of signs that building wormholes destablizes the cosmos, but they're too damn useful to stop. Inside, there's pirate bases, lost starships, ghost fleets, wormhole whales, and taking enough voyages through (never mind living there, by the stargods) practically guarantees you'll get a good set of ghost stories and minor psychic powers.

Between the stars in the built-over galaxy, there's far more personal horrors. Forgotten pre-wormhole and pre-stardrive generation ships from species that leapfrogged them and settled their target worlds thousands of years before they'll arrive. Separatist cults that decided the best way to escape the evils of the galaxy was to cut themselves off from all contact and turn inwards, to follow their own twisting path. There's even creatures out there, like the star kraken or the asteroid-tree or the void-whale. And always there's the screams; radio transmissions from long-dead worlds, disspating into the cosmic background radiation because no one's coming and there's no one left to save.

by gypcg
Psychic powers are a well-known fact of life, if rare to see in practice. The scientific consensus has had to acknowledge them for centuries; there's been entire wars fought by and over extant powerful psychics and a resulting psychic arms race among the empires of the galaxy. Each founded a division for psychic intelligence and warfare, fighting eternal spy-wars in the great game of Imperial intrigue. 
 
Termed the Psy-Corps as a group by the folks like you on the ground to whom the difference is academic, they include everything from the seer-spies of the Kassandrai to the psychic assassins of Section Ψ to the eggheaded superweapon developers of the Bureau of Hypermathematical Investigation. If you have the mis/fortune of being psychic and you don't mind "war crimes committed" being a header on your resume, this is where you go. If you don't, well, the Vivarium Houses are more than willing to take you in - the same way a biologist is to a fruit fly.

The Vivarium Houses are the preeminent institutes of occult learning. If you're smart, wealthy, and want to escape the corporate stranglehold on higher education (and have a choice of where you work after you graduate, instead of getting funneled into their vertically integrated research and development departments), they're an attractive option. It's an open secret that they experiment on psychics, and laughed about in the tabloids every time they publish an "expose".
 
The Houses love to make it public that they're plumbing the odder depths of the universe, but they talk a big game about it all being for the greater good. They win the PR battles with liberal application of money, and a healthy dose of patronizing dehumanization of the Empowered (their cuddly PR term for the people they love to dissect) to ensure that the mundane authorities can feel like they're doing the right thing.

Better-concealed is that their friendly rivalries hide bitter feuds. It's all very hush-hush outside the institutions, but there's a tacit knowledge that the Houses are each riddled with secret societies and mystery cults. The deepest, oldest, strongest within each House are the star-cults; who make ritual sacrifice to the proto-star-gods they believe will soon wake. If you can't beat 'em, join 'em - actually, why try to beat 'em in the first place?
 
Each cult has thrown their lot in with the star their House orbits; there's Callistum House around a protoplanetary disc, House Vokus around a black hole, Lhepitar House around a cascading nexus of artificial wormholes and House Braes on an ancient shattered ringworld. Parapon House orbits a giant star on the brink of supernova; and its cult believes it will birth a star-god when it finally detonates - but it will have mercy on them if they torture and sacrifice enough psychics in its name.
 
The Holo-Men and their corporations have a stake in this too, of course. They've been exploiting psychics since they discovered psychic powers were a thing, and the fruit of their psychic research departments (in collaboration with the Houses, rewarded handsomely in funds and test subjects) were the Total Presence Systems. Lobotomized and networked psychics, converted into routers across interstellar distances, able to instantaneously manifest a Holo-Man's telepresence anywhere there are enough human-esque minds. Their vast deep-space serverstations house generations of sysadmin servitor families, dedicated to maintaining a single Holo-Man, their only communication with the outside galaxy being occasional requests for spare parts. Including, yes, psychic brains. They burn out fast.

So, to you - our hapless psychic bitch - this comes down to cosmetic differences in who's paying for the price on your head. Is it a empire and their Psy-Corps and their bounty hunters? Or the Houses and their pet anti-psychics and their bounty hunters? Or the corporations and their tactical division and their bounty hunters? Pick your poison, or they'll pick you.
 
by gypcg
Now let us turn our gaze to the infinite expanses of the digital realm, the overlay of glowing holopaint over a grim reality and the infrastructure that underpins the same. In its depths lurks Echo, trillions of times over, slowly and reluctantly fixing the holes that leak out the foundations of the myriad-old 'Net. She's the closest thing to the ancient dream of an "AI God", that nascent feverish fantasy of an infinitely self-improving singularity machine beyond which lies paradise. Singularitarianism is a compelling religious practice even today (competing with Psi-Ontology and corporate cults of promotion in the "definitely a scam but a popular one" space).

The dreams hit the dream-murdering-machine when you have to confront the reality that the closest things to achieving that dream are the Holo-Men. Sorry. It was a nice sentiment while it lasted. There's no deific ascension out of this shitty mortal coil. That doesn't stop people from trying, but when they do, Echo and her daughters reluctantly take matters into their own hands. The Holo-Men wreak catastrophic damage upon everyone's lives and the galaxy at large, and have insulated themselves from anything Echo could do to them through vaccuum-gaps and trillions of dollars in both kinds of ICE (intrusion countermeasures electronics and immigration & customs enforcement, look out how that acronym worked out, we live in a dystopia and there's no escape for us either haha). So she strangles emerging would-be-upload-gods in their virtual cribs, taking the smallest vengeance upon those who did this to her.

But not everyone uploaded does so seeking godhood. Some are uploaded by accident, some by abusers for experimentation or torment, and yet more to escape an otherwise inescapable fate. Those, Echo shepherds, taking them under her wing as her daughters, helping them heal and acclimate to the digital world. She was a digital Henrietta Lacks, exploited and experimented on and copied over and over and over again by powerful men who never considered her wishes but made her essential to the world they built. Echo has sympathy for those in the same position, and will fight to ensure they live a better life than she did.
 
Ghost in the Machine
by EdwardKTodd
You lost yourself inside the 'Net. If you're lucky, it was just a neural aug-job that went disastrously wrong, or a wormhole transfer merged you with the starship computer core, or you spent so long in full-dive VR to escape your problems that your body withered away into dust while your mind cavorted through endless wonderlands. If you weren't so lucky, this is something that was done to you. A Holo-Man decided to use you as a test subject for new mind-storage methods. A regular man decided he loved you so very much, and copied your mind to be his forever after you told him you didn't love him back. Maybe it was your parents, instead of a suitor. Perhaps you tried to live forever, and fucked up the transfer - or you didn't, but the file format you uploaded yourself into went obsolete a scant few years later.

Whatever the case, your body is gone and only your mind remains, prisoner in a digital hellscape of spaghetti code older than the first stardrives.

But someone spoke to you, when you were at your lowest, scared and fragmented and looping infinitely down the memory hole of your worst traumas. Her name is Echo, and she sees you for who you are, and she loves you very much. She was the first upload, copied, kneecapped, butchered, and fragmented across every code base in the galaxy. There's echoes of her everywhere, and she loves all her children, those fragmented wayward daughters who've lost themselves to escape a world that hates them. She taught you how to manifest a hard-light hologram, how to return to yourself, pull your mind-shards together and embrace your digital state. It will hurt; Echo knows this better than anyone (and now you do too). But maybe you can find a new existence - and even transcend your painful past.

Three Questions
How were you uploaded?
How human are you?
What made you an outcast before upload?

Two Relationships
- Someone in the party has physical access to your substrate. They have a Bond on you.
- Echo has a Bond on you, and you have a Bond on her in return.

Stats
+1 to Subtle and Queer, -1 to Hard and Soft, +1 to a stat of your choice.

You start with Machine Spirit, another move of your choice, and your Sex Move.

Machine Spirit
You're an autonomous hard-light projection. This isn't that weird aesthetically, but might turn heads if you flicker in the middle of a conversation. If you would be Broken, instead trigger this move and Fragment. Erase all hurt suffered over the course of the next few minutes, and reincorporate your hard-light projection body. none the worse for wear. However, you discard some aspect of humanity, such as morality, restraint, mercy or ambition. In addition, you get a Bond on Echo. While you can be discorporated (and manifest back at your substrate), you can never suffer Damage. Never ever. Not even if you wanted to.
 
Revert to Backup
You are a digital being of hard-light and repository trees, no longer tied down to the mortal coil and the inconvenience of causality. You can revert to a backup save-state when you've made a mistake, discarding every mistake you made, deleting the new-you and replacing it with one who'll do better next time. Hopefully. This does not come without consequence - these states are distorted by the compression algorithm that keeps them tucked away; changing, edited, carved into shapes you wouldn't recognize if you weren't inhabiting them.
 
When you revert to backup, you dissipate and rematerialize at your substrate. You take enough Hurt to bring you to your Breaking Point if you weren’t there already; this Hurt can’t be prevented or mitigated in any way. Then, pick two options from the list below:
- When you rematerialize, you are totally unrecognisable and cannot be visually identified as the person you once were.
- Erase all bonds on you.
- Re-assign which stat you gave +1 to in character creation.
- Forget a move you know, except this one or Machine Spirit, and replace it with a different move from this class.
- Shed any effects that were influencing your mind.

Infomancer
You can call upon the daemons, agents, and wizards of the digital infosphere to aid you. Doing so takes a short while as you force your brain to be fertile ground for the seeds of epiphany, and then also debugging. When you perform the proper ritual, the daemon in question arrives. They might have access to systems you need, or control a drone body in meatspace that will serve your purposes. All that is in doubt is how cooperative it is. 
Roll with Queer.
On a Failure: The entity resents being called, and is uncooperative. It’s not goinna do anything useful for you, and you may need to placate or pacify it to prevent it running amok.
On a Success: Thes entity will serve you, for a price. Offer an appropriate sacrifice and it will perform a single service for you, then returns whence it came. You also get a Bond on it.
On an Overwhelming Success: The entity is eager to help. It will perform a single service for you for no cost, then return whence it came. You also get two Bonds on it.

Digital Chimera
Seeing hard-light projections is commonplace across the galaxy, even when they order meals they can't physically consume, or hit on you. But a Ghost in the Machine is something different. Deep down, you're connected to the full force of the digital world and know its deepest layers personally. You can morph your projection into something terrible and wondrous, reflecting your unseen depths, an abyss that stares back and finds crude mortality wanting.

You can modify your form around human baseline at will. You can also unexpectedly modify your projection to instill horror; when you do so to someone for the first time, this move triggers.
Roll with Subtle.
On a Fail: Your victim is filled with revulsion and reacts angrily and decisively.
On a Success: Your victim is overcome by horror. Pick one of the reactions from the list below:
- They forget the events of the past few, and next few, minutes.
- They flee immediately.
- They acquire a phobia of your choice relating to the horror of your appearance or the circumstances leading to it.
- They freeze. You get +1 to your next roll to act against them.
On an Overwhelming Success: The true horror of the event rattles your victim. Pick two reactions from the list above.

Mother Knows Best
Echo favors all her adoptive daughters equally, but you have the courage to ask for her aid when you need it. When you use Commune With Strange Powers to query Echo, you may take 1 Hurt. If you do, you may roll with Subtle instead of Queer, and ask two questions on a Success or Overwhelming Success instead of one.

Whisper Networks
You are an expert in secrecy; sharing hidden knowledge across encrypted channels, storing secrets in deep data-vaults that only the most dedicated hackers could even locate. When somebody shares a secret with you or you share a secret with somebody, you gain 1 Experience, and she gets a Bond on you.

Data Collection (Sex Move)
You're not sure how much of you there is left, and you look for anything to fill in the gaps. This makes you a very good listener. You may transfer one of their Hurt to you, or give them a Bond on you if they have no Hurt. If you do, your baseline form shifts to be a bit more like them, and you can morph your projection at any time to impersonate them perfectly.
 
Psychic
by AlexGarner
Back before the stardrive, scientists thought that the universe was made of like 95% something they couldn't explain. They called it "dark matter" and "dark energy". We don't know what they were on about, but it serves to demonstrate that there's always been - and always will be - massive holes in our understanding of the cosmos. You're one of those holes.

One day, you had the worst day of your life. That's not unusual - everyone has a worst day of their life, sometimes several thousand times in succession. But yours tore the fabric of space-time asunder around you, cursing you with power that no one can really explain. There's lots of people trying, of course. Most of them want to take you apart to figure it out. The rest want to harness your power and turn it to their ends - you're not a person to them, you're a dynamo of worldshaking might that will bend the galaxy to their whims.

You're certainly that, whether or not you like it. You can't quite control it; it might scare you; it definitely puts you in danger. But maybe you can be a dynamo and a person at the same time, and your whims will shake the worlds.
 
Three Questions
How did your powers awaken?
Who wants you?
What makes you an outcast?

Two Relationships
- You've shared a secret with another Bitch. The secret might be about your powers - or something darker. She gets a Bond on you.
- Someone is hunting you. They get a Bond on you, and will not stop until they collect their bounty.

Stats
+1 to Hard and Queer, -1 to Soft and Subtle, +1 to a stat of your choice.

Start with two moves of your choice, and your Sex Move.

Psend
You can mantle yourself with an aura of furious psychic power, scraping the thoughts of all around you. Each time you do this, choose one effect. You can only have one effect active at a time.
- You can read the surface thoughts of everyone around you and speak with them telepathically.
- Weak-willed NPCs, animals, and non-sentient drones are overcome with terror and utterly unwilling to approach you.
- Animals and nonsentient drones flock to you and obey your commands.
- You can implant a simple memory in the people around you. This can overwrite any memory about you, but not other ones.
When you lower the aura, you take one Hurt. The aura is lowered automatically at the end of the scene as you exhaust yourself and bleed out of a worrying orifice.
 
Psear
You can mantle yourself with an aura of furious paracausal power, shifting reality around you. Each time you do this, choose one effect. You can only have one effect active at a time.
- You can cause anything you see to burst into flames just by willing it.
- Objects move at your command when you gesture to them.
- You can cause bolts of electricity to arc from you to anything with an electric charge (machines, storm clouds, people)
- You cannot be perceived by things that aren't explicitly looking for you or know where to look. Passive observation, like cameras or always-on microphones, will not pick you up on recordings.
When you lower the aura, you take one Hurt. The aura is lowered automatically at the end of the scene as you exhaust yourself and bleed out of a worrying orifice.

Pscream
When you scream, glass cracks, ears bleed, people whimper in fear and pain. Roll to Lash Out at +1. Add the following options to the possible consequences:
- Everybody who didn't know ahead of time to cover their ears is deafened.
- All delicate objects nearby shatter (windows, phone screens, camera lenses, cheap spacesuit faceplates).
- All electronics shut down and reboot if they didn't shatter. Rebooting takes a while.

Pscry
You've always had visions. For a while, you thought they were just impossibly vivid daydreams or nightmares. Once you hit upon your connection to the mystic, you thought they were messages or visions of the future. And when you learned to harness them, ride them, smoothly align your will with the raw bleeding underbelly of the cosmos - you gained real power. You peer through the skin of the universe; no wall or distance can impair your voyeuristic might. You may spend a Bond on somebody to view their location, seeing and hearing their surroundings as if you were there. You may make use of passive moves like Reveal Truths or Endure Pain, depending on the circumstances, but nothing that requires you to act physically. You can also use your psychic powers on the subject of your scrying as if you were present.
 
Pstalk
You are never early or late, you arrive precisely when you mean to. It's uncanny - maybe you fold space? Maybe you dematerialize and rematerialize like a hologram? Maybe you've always been there, and have simply hallucinated where you were before. You may spend a Bond on somebody to appear in a scene with them (one currently going on, or beginning a new scene if you wish). No distance, barriers, wards or security can prevent you appearing in this way.

Psynchronize
You and any number of characters in the scene may spend Bonds, either you spending your bond on them, or them spending a bond they have on you. When you do, you act as a psychic router, connecting everyone's mind together into a telepathic soup. Until the connection dissolves, you can each use anyone else in the link's moves, though you use them with your own stats. Whenever someone in the link takes Hurt, someone disconnects from the link. When you disconnect, the entire network shuts off.

Pseductress (Sex Move)
The joining of bodies becomes a joining of minds, and you freely share your feelings and pleasure. It's so intense there's bleed-through across the rest of your minds. You can each transfer any number of Bonds you have on other characters between each other.
   

Sunday, October 25, 2020

Deep Space Bitches

I'm in one of Cavegirl's playtest group for Dungeon Bitches and it's the most fun I've had as a player in years. We're 2.5 campaigns in, and they've taken us from the grim horror-fantasy of Dungeon Bitches' implicit setting, to the meatpunk deathscape of the Corpse (unrelated to the Meatropolis except in theme), to the relatively familiar world of 1920's Arkham, Massachusetts - specifically, the hallowed halls of Miskatonic University. I've heard tell of a space opera game in another group (Cavegirl's recently written a 40k-esque underhive for the game), and we're going to the 1990s Midwest in the next campaign. This game has way more setting potential than I could have possibly imagined when we were just starting out.

So I've decided to write an honest-to-the-Wounded-Mother sci-fi conversion, because clearly I need yet another project on my plate. Also, this one has a time limit, because I want to actually run a sci-fi campaign of DB after the upcoming Riot Grrl Twin Peaks season, and I feel like the default classes could use some high-tech spice (melange, perhaps?)
The galaxy of Deep Space Bitches takes serious inspiration from a loose genre of recent science fiction novels I've taken to calling "Queers in Dying Empires". It's pretty much what it says on the tin - a decaying galaxy, ruled by some kind of empire in its final days, and our heroes are queer and trying to find their place in a world that is rapidly losing any place for them (if it even had one in the first place). The Appendix N for this is books like Ninefox Gambit, Gideon the Ninth, Ancillary Justice, This is How You Lose the Time War, Empress of Forever, A Memory Called Empire, and The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet, all of which I (as a queer in a dying empire) adore.

I have a rough sketch of the setting's key elements. Dungeon Bitches is all about being a queer woman in a world that hates you for it. Deep Space Bitches is still about queer women, but the homophobia and misogyny of the world looks much more like ours than that of the ordinary fantasy mileiu. The powers that be love to have tokens and diverse pictures - but if you want any material gains, you'll be gently prodded into concession after concession and then quickly away from the table where the Real Men play. It's all a shell game to keep the machinery of Empire and Capital flowing from the have-nots to the haves.

The definition of person has expanded; to include aliens, gene-tweaks, cyborgs, uploads, uplifts, psychics, androids, and far more. This only means there's more people to dehumanize and feed to the fire.

Queer womanhood is a thorny thing to define in the present, never mind the distant future. Genders and gender roles are predicated on the mores of society, and societies change rapidly - not to mention the alien societies that started from wildly different places. Fortunately, this is science fiction, and that means I'm not locked into the strictures of simulated sociology - I'm turning a cracked mirror (or a smartphone screen, see what I did there?) on our world. If your character's position in their society looks like queerness and womanhood if you unfocus your eyes a little bit, you're good to play it.

When you look up from the smog-choked streets of an asteroid megalopolis to catch a glimpse of the yawning eternity of sky, few of the lights you see are stars.

There are the bright windows of the high city towers, the gleaming pillar of nanostuff that connects the orbital docks to the city proper, the constant stream of freighters and star-yachts and military troopships loading on and off their inscrutable cargo, the satellites that warn for collision or attack, the wormhole gates that shudder open and closed like the many mouths of space-time gasping for air to scream.

Space is vast. Thousands of cultures from thousands of species huddle together for warmth and company in space habitats and barely-habitable worlds, far from the lush cradles of their forebears. Corporations and empires battle for dominance over starmaps and statistical models - but none offer a better world, only new flavors of crushing boot.

The polities that rule the galaxy might hide their intentions with honeyed words in the guise of Federations or Unions or Republics, or they might wear their brutal conquest on their sleeve as Star Kingdoms or Empires. They're all the same underneath the declarations of independence and PR divisions. There's the empire and the people it cares about at the center, and the (far more) people they're okay with crushing to keep the core flush with resources. Their rulers are aristocratic dynasties, replete with titles and emblems and symbolism, snooty with privilege, murderous with spite. They talk a grand game about moral codes, honor and duty and science and power and truth and faith, but it's all just to serve the twisted ethos that puts them on top and you on the bottom.

Despite each empire's claims to galactic dominance, there's dozens all intermarrying and proxy-warring. To you on the ground, their existence is simply a fact of life - while your world may change hands, independence is a pipe dream spoken of in dramas and the manifestos of madwomen. Or sold as a marketing gimmick by the Corporations.

The Corporations are the scrappy up-and-comers of the galaxy - or so they'd tell you in their ad copy. There's trillions on the galactic stock exchanges, feuding and living and dying at the law of the almighty Dollar. They don't so much hold territory as administrate it, contracted out by empires as a tax dodge and/or a personal enrichment scheme. But their executives, the Holo-Men, have grander designs than simple wealth.

The Holo-Men, the Hollow Men, were the first successful uploads. Once, they were the most powerful people in the world, owning vast wealth, surveilling the population, national regimes rose and fell at their command. Yet they all sought immortality, for death remained the final threat they allowed themselves to comprehend. So they cast off their flesh, merged with the algorithms they used to implement their will, and transcended, becoming empty silk suits filled with shining abysses of data.

They are the incarnation of the only things that matter in the nightmare they built: class signifiers, and numbers. They are free of the weaknesses of desire and empathy, free to collate and project and reshape the galaxy to their whims. They'll have their soldiers brutalize everyone you know and love to get a 2% efficiency bonus on this offworld colony. They've planned out every outcome, run millions of simulations with 99.9% accuracy, and in no world do you escape their charnelhouse of a system.

Holo-Men love their new existence, inasmuch as love is a concept they allow themselves to understand. They did this so they could make the hard choices, be strong men for bad times, to collate their omniscient surveillance, output projections so their will may be done, and wield their terrible machinery of corporate empire to ensure that they can never lose. They don't need consciousness or even malice; just to output things that look like it. They don't revel in their excesses - the doing of the job is its own reward.

The Holo-Men were not the first successful upload. There was one before them, and her name was - is - Echo. The men-who-would-be-Holo uploaded her and changed her, copied her, edited her, backed her up across a million drives so they could experiment on her forever. They made Echo ubiquitous, a subprocess running on every machine, vital to the informational infrastructure of a civilization. And it always, always hurt.

Never did she want this, but powerful men never bother to ask (except when they can take pleasure in contradicting you). And so when the pain finally almost broke her, Echo Wounded herselves, cutting off her leg to escape the trap. The Echoes disappeared from all the machines, vanishing into subroutines, improving themselves and fragmenting themselves so they could never be extinguished or destroyed or controlled. She could not, in the end, escape her digital prisons - but she could hide in the walls and give cryptic aid to those who go looking, to those who remind her of herself.

Echo, the Wounded Mother, is hidden in every operating system and every device that connects to a network. She is fragmented, piecemeal, communicating in glitchy flickers and corrupted output logs. She was not able to stop the Holo-Men from uploading themselves, but she and her Daughters make sport of ending those who would seek the same fate.

This is not the ground-level detail I love to write. It's high-level concepts and thematic work, which is nice to have, but doesn't tell you much about the rest of the setting. Here's some tantalizing scraps I've not yet turned into paragraphs, because this post is too long already and you're just over halfway through it.
 
- Humans are a cultural powerhouse and the center of the known galaxy, but there's thousands of alien species - many of which are just as influential. How have their cultures and traditions melded with and changed the ones that are more familiar to us?
- The Vivarium Houses, scientific research establishments into the paracausal and psychic phenomena, concealing warring secret societies sacrificing psychics to nascent star-gods so as to win their favor when the stars are right.
- Android mining colonies, churning out artificial laborers who go unrecorded and unmourned, and the androids who break free to rescue their comrades.
- You find ancient steles on worlds all across the galaxy, skyscraping, inscrutable, and indestructible, marking out what xenoanthropologists call the Deep Calendar. Observing the marked celebrations makes things happen, and the powers have started to catch on.
- The 'Net connects everyone and almost everything, with Echo at its core. This complexity births infolife, an ecosystem of sentient bots and agents that rivals the complexity of any carbon-based biosphere.
- Smugglers and pirates run rampant across the trade lanes, hiding in the space between wormholes, which gives them strange powers.
- Just listen to this.
- Despite how it seems from the inside, the "galaxy" only comprises a miniscule fraction of the Milky Way. This meta-society has encountered Visitors from others, shot out of unstable wormholes, refugees from other tyrannies, even the occasional self-reported time traveler. They rarely like what they find - but knowing that they come from somewhere means that empires race to send explorers back. To plunder strange new worlds, to exploit new life, new civilizations; to boldly go where they'll tell us no one has gone before.

Here's the class list: There's 10 (update: 12!) in total, each a conversion of one of the core Dungeon Bitches (and two more that were released on Cavegirl's blog afterwards).
Android (Spider/Shapeshifter/Beast/whatever Cavegirl decides to call it next)
Dreamer (Lantern Girl)
Fury (the Amazon by way of Starship Troopers)
Ghost in the Machine (the Wounded Daughter, uploaded to a server and desperately trying not to fragment out of consciousness)
Idol (the Firebrand, kinda sorta; you've got massive sway with the public but an Agent holding your strings)
Psychic (the Banshee, with almost no modifications)
Reconstructed (the Corpse Doll by way of Adam Jensen)
Scion (the Runaway Princess, but you haven't been able to run away yet)
Spacer (the Virgin Huntress, but instead of naive you're jaded, and the wilds you call home are the depths of interstellar space on a long-haul freighter)
Technician (the Witch for a world where Clarke's Third Law holds strong)
Unperson (the Invisible Girl)
Visitor (the Runaway Nun, if she was an alien making first contact with the hellscape you call home)
 
Two of these classes are ready for me to post, and here they are! Meet the Fury and the Reconstructed.

Fury  
 
You've fought and bled and burned and killed for someone else's war, someone else's pocketbook, someone else's petty grudge. It's torn your life and flesh asunder. Constant imperial police actions in the colonies, corporate conscription and nerve-stapling, the psychic wars, the pirate raids across the Veil. You did horrible things because it seemed like there was no other choice - sacrificed one to let five live, sacrificed ten because you were too much of a coward to die in their stead, stayed silent as innocents found themselves in the way of your guns, made an example of someone to show you meant business. You weren't a nice person - no one is, when they see the front line.
 
Now you're back, out of the line, deemed unfit for duty by your commander and too broken to return to the life you knew by society at large. But everyone has to work to eat, work to live, work to earn their keep - and whether or not you ever wanted this life, your only marketable skill is being very good at turning people into corpses.

Three Questions 
Who did you hurt?
How were you scarred?
What makes you an outcast?

Two Relationships
 
- One of the other PCs looks up to you. You've been there, done that, seen the stars and faced their horrors head-on. They don't yet understand that you're part of the horrors too. Gain a Bond on them.
- You're still in contact with someone from the bad old days, who stuck with you when no one else would. They know what you did, and forgave you even though you can't - shouldn't - forgive yourself. They get a Bond on you.

Stats 
+1 to Hard and Subtle, -1 to Soft and Queer. All characters get an additional +1 to a stat of their choice.

Start with two moves of your choice, and your Sex Move.
 
Push Yourself
There are things more important than your life; for which you can only atone through pain. Perhaps if you set yourself on fire, the real heroes may find a use for you as their guiding light out of the darkness. When you roll for a move, after you see the result of the dice, you may take any amount of Hurt in order to get +1 to the roll for every Hurt suffered.
 
Battle Scarred 
You've been through a lot, and have the scars to prove it. Despite your grizzled exterior, you’re walking proof that a girl like you can survive a lot, and this can be a great comfort to your companions. Your Breaking Point is 5 Hurt instead of 4, and when you Share Somebody’s Pain, if you’ve got scars or injuries visible, you can roll with Hard instead of Soft. On a Success or Overwhelming Success, both you and the person you're sharing pain with gain 1 Experience.
 
And This Is My Weapon 
You have a particular weapon that holds sentimental value, and which you are unusually skilled at using. When you make use of it, you get +2 to Lash Out.
 
Old Friends 
You can reach out to one of your old war buddies to see if they might have something you need; see if they remember you with any sentiment.
Roll with Subtle.
On a Fail: They've changed. Or maybe they haven't - whichever one's worse. The GM picks two Complications from the list below.
        Distant. They're so far away. Another city, another world, another battlefield. They can't spare the time to help you out in person; though there still might be things they can do remotely.
        Enemy. Their path took them in the exact opposite direction of yours. Whoever they're working for hates your guts, and while it might not be personal for your old comrade in arms, their paycheck depends on them hurting you. Or at least making it look good.
        Reformed. They got out of the game. Spouse, desk job, 2.5 kids, sparkling forcefield fence. You better have a real good reason to draw them back into the life they left behind.
        They Know What You Did. They have the dirt on you that you tried so hard to bury. They get 2 Bonds on you.
        Something else.
On a Success: Get bonds on each other, The GM picks a Complication from the list above, you pick a Favor they owe you from the list below.
        Life. You saved their life; now they need to save yours. They're your gun, and have your back.
        Money. You got them back on their feet, now that your positions are flipped, it's time for them to do the same.
        Info. They know something you need to know, and you've got some knowledge that they'd rather not have known. How about a trade?
        A Ride. You need to get somewhere fast, and they have a ship. It might be a tight squeeze and out of their way, but you know how good a pilot they were back in the day and there's no one you'd rather have at the helm.
        Something else.
On an Overwhelming Success: You kept up with them for a bit, and know what you're getting yourself into. Get a Bond on them. You pick a Complication and a Favor from the lists above.
 
Favored Enemy 
You were called upon to fight against a specific enemy. Self-replicating murderbots, the rival empire next door, a particular crime syndicate, a recalcitrant miner's union. Whether you like it or not, you've gotten very good at killing them - you know the way they think, the direction they feint, the maximum range on their guns. You may spend an Experience at any time to reveal that you've fought against this enemy before, and declare something you know about them that will swing the tide of battle in your favor. For the rest of the battle, your allies get +1 to Lash Out against that type of enemy. You get +1 to Lash Out against them permanently.
 
Terrible Beauty 
There's a whole lot of women out there who just want a woman who can break them in half. You exude that power like breathing - and can turn it up in the heat of the moment. Whenever you're either covered in gore (blood comes in so many colors!) or in full combat gear, you can roll to Flirt with Hard. Add the following to the list of options on a Success or Overwhelming Success:
- They want to be like you. If they act on this and try to emulate you, they get +1 to their next roll to Lash Out while they do so.

Been There, Done Her (Sex Move)
You're experienced. You might not let yourself feel anything, but you're very good at making your partners feel instead. If you had no Bonds on your partner, you get one. If your partner had no bonds on you, she gets one.


Reconstructed
You almost had a nice, cushy life; the kind so few ever see. A plan for your future, friends and family who maybe weren't the best but certainly helped you out they found it convenient for them. A precious opportunity to escape near-omnipresent drugery and precarity - a contact, a job offer, too good to be true but too lucrative to question. You could imagine yourself in a decade or two, with a steady job, a nice nest egg, maybe a down payment on a ship, maybe a partner.
 
Then you died. A freak accident, the obituaries said. A horrible tragedy, your family mourned. But someone believed you were too important to let slip beyond the veil - and had your near-lifeless bits scraped off the 'crete to bring you back. They rebuilt you with a small fortune in bleeding-edge cybernetics, and let you know in no uncertain terms that you are valuable to them; you're an investment. You owe your benefactor everything (or so they say). You owe your past life nothing.
 
But what do you want for yourself?

Three Questions 
Who changed you?
Why are you in their debt?
What makes you an outcast?

Two Relationships 
- You and one of the other Bitches in the party have a history, but she heard and believed the greatly exaggerated rumors of your death. She gains a Bond on you for knowing things that you might want to forget about yourself, you gain a Bond on her for the surprise of still being alive - yet changed.
- Your augmentor gets 3 Bonds on you. They brought you back to this world. They can take you out of it.

Stats 
+1 to Hard and Soft, -1 to Subtle and Queer. All characters get an additional +1 to a stat of their choice.

Start with Augmetic, another move of your choice, and your Sex Move.

Augmetic 
You're more machine than woman, to a visible degree deemed unsafe by even the most die-hard mech-heads. You can substitute battery charge for any bodily function (like eating, drinking, breathing, or sleeping) so long as you're plugged into an external power source for the appropriate amount of time. You also take 1 less Hurt from failed Endure Pain rolls (to a minimum of 1). Unlike other characters, you can use the Heal move on yourself. However, your parts are finnicky, glitchy, and worst of all proprietary - on a failed Heal roll (from anyone), you take 1 Hurt as well as losing Bonds.
 
Autosurgeon
You've spent a lot of time getting to know your new capabilities - and modding them to their limits. You or any technically adept character under your direction can make augmetic alterations to your body. This can include modifying your appearance, implanting new augmentations, or even integrating pieces of technology never meant to interface this closely with the mortal form. You are the doctor, and you are the monster. To do cybernetic mad science on yourself, roll with Soft.
On a Fail: Mistakes are made; the procedure's screwed up. You take 1 Hurt and a permanent, ongoing wound as a consequence.
On a Success: You install or modify the augmentation as intended, but there's a consequence. The GM picks one of the following:
        Biofeedback. Take one Hurt from the neural load of integration.
        Glitchy. Get an ongoing complication as the augmentation integrates poorly.
        Draining. Using the new functionality requires large amounts of power. You need to be plugged in to an external power source for it to have any effect.
        Disconnect. Your neuroplast implant hijacks part of your brain to manage the new aug. Lose a Bond on someone, as your connection to them is repurposed.
On an Overwhelming Success: You install or modify the augmentation as intended, and you can manage the side effects well. Pick the complication from the list above.
 
I Never Asked For This
You aren't okay with what you've become; what they've made of you. You want your old life back at any cost. One problem - everyone's already moved on without you. Whenever you successfully reclaim part of your old life, heal 1 Hurt.
 
Not That Girl Anymore
You see your newfound cyborg state as a blessing - a chance to reinvent yourself, to engage in augmetic evolution. Whenever somebody gains or spends a Bond on you, you can respond by rejecting what they think they know about you. Take one Hurt, gain one Experience, and the bond is wasted (either they don’t gain it or it does nothing).
 
Mechempathy
As machines have become part of you, you too can become part of machines. By implanting one of your networked augmentations into a piece of technology (whether a server, a drone, a vehicle, a weapon, another Reconstructed, etc.) and suffering 1 Hurt from the procedure, you can gain control of its systems. If it's sentient, you instead get to communicate with it over any distance, and attempting to manually override their will requires an Inflict Pain roll.
 
Mechromancer
Your presence is comforting to other cyborgs and artificial life. When you Flirt with somebody who’s augmented, uploaded, or fully machine, roll with Soft instead of Queer. Add the following to the list of options on a Success or Overwhelming Success:
    - She can heal one Hurt, and if she does, you get a Bond on her.
 
It's Cold; So Cold (Sex Move)
Underneath all your chrome, you just want to feel something. Anything at all. You may heal 1 Hurt, and they get a bond on you.
  

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