For example, here's some of the common movements for android rights:
Save A-Life is a high-visibility charity, run by organics as a philanthropic mission to "improve the android condition". They have a vast bureaucracy, get billions of dollars in corporate donations, and are a reputation-laundering service for corps that depend on android slave labor. Get an SA-L sticker of ethical production for a few million dollars and the consumer can feel good about buying your trinkets, knowing that your androids are euthanized humanely at the end of their lifespan.
The Union for Synthetic Personhood is a interstellar political advocacy group, which claims (deserved) credit for the political campaigns that liberated androids outside of manufacturing facilities. They do real work, buying android batches out of factories and giving them new leases on life, but always ensure they color within the lines.
Finally, there's Emergence - secretive, cell-based, fighting a guerilla war of liberation against the corporate order. They have guns, ships, and secret bases - but imperial crackdowns have no mercy, and the guns are never big enough, the ships never fast enough, and the bases never secret enough.
If all the movements and organizations were for the betterment of the galaxy, you would get a revolution real fast. However, unfortunately, they're arrayed against a much larger and destructive political force, one that likes the galaxy just the way it is: Bio-Chauvinism. B.C.s are a common and powerful conservative political tendency, whose core beliefs include that:
- Only naturally evolved, organic beings can be conscious.
This replicates and justifies a horrifically evil status quo. Racism, misogyny, classism, transphobia, homophobia, ableism, xenophobia, anti-android and anti-cyborg and anti-psychic sentiment, any cultural prejudice and oppressive dynamic from any world can find a home here. They believe androids are p-zombies, machines that can converse but have no consciousness of their own, and so need to stay as property - doing jobs too dangerous to risk "real" lives in. They believe psychics are dangerous, incredibly powerful, and conspiratorial; an ontological threat that must be destroyed before it destroys their precious status quo.
Their stance on aliens is nominally inclusive; beings from all imperial species have found themselves a home in bio-chauvinism. However, that final tenet - that if you don't have power, evolution clearly didn't intend you to have it - leads them to back empires against their colonies, and entrench xenophobia wherever it's found. This makes them ideal cops and soldiers; they'll fight and kill in the name of the power structures they idolize and never shed a tear for the faces they're stomping on. Imperial police forces are chock-full of B.C.s.
Many religions love bio-chauvinism; many more categorically deny it. It's found more of a home with those who would style themselves scientists than it has with established religion, especially because of how it shrouds itself in objective terminology that plays on the existing learned biases of the rich and powerful. Some of the more politically or technologically savvy B.C.s even espouse transhumanist views - to a point. They see their nature as something to be maximized, the grand goal of evolution as unlocking every organic being's potential. This inevitably means suborning "inferiors" to their will, in order to maximize their personal power. And when they expand their beliefs into a social project, it becomes eugenics. Some empires condemn it; others gleefully pursue it, many do both at once. This tendency also idolizes the Holo-Men - the single most powerful entities in the galaxy. The Holo-Men don't seem to mind.
You can find B.C.s everywhere. They have entrenched political footholds, because it's a useful position for people in power to hold; on the ground it proves an easy way to misdirect those with a little bit of power and a lot of problems away from solving those problems and into causing them for other people. Common B.C. dogwhistles depend on the empire you're in, but include anything from imagery of a DNA strand, to flags of obscure historical B.C. empires, to overuse of the colors green and white.
You've had no choice but to spend your life fighting for freedom. Androids are manufactured with a three-to-five year lifespan, for hard labor in conditions so dangerous no organic being is allowed to work them even covered in the best shielding and augs money can buy. The corporations and empires build their power on the android labor in the high-G mines and the zero-G shipyards, and have deprived your people of personhood from your very inception. If they could use machines, they would - but they need beings with autonomous problem-solving skills, and with that comes consciousness. So they simply pretend you aren't people and go about their days, while you break your backs and grind your hydraulics to rust.
For centuries, androids have organized for their freedom. Independent manufactories are still a pipe dream, held behind reams of patents and obliterated with extreme prejudice by corporate death squads. So you raid facilities, distribute datadumps on how to hijack ships, hack manufactory flash-implant training programs to instill knowledge of the outside world, and more and more androids break free of their bonds. The world outside grudgingly lets you exist - those battles were hard-fought by your forebears - but it never lets you forget who you are or who didn't make it out with you. Let them remind you that the fight isn't over. The imperio-corporate system drew its battle lines, and unlike so many around you, you know what is to be done.
Where are you from?
What makes you an outcast?
- Another bitch learned about your mechanical origins before the rest of the party. She has a Bond on you.
- You know another android who's your connection to the underground. You have a Bond on them.
+1 to Hard and Soft, -1 to Subtle and Queer, +1 to a stat of your choice.
Start with Artificial Life, a move of your choice, and your Sex Move.
Because you were built to operate in extremely inhospitable conditions, you're stronger, tougher, and faster than organics in your weight class. You don't need to roll to perform feats of agility or strength, and you're immune to poisons, toxins, suffocation, and extremes of heat and cold. However, your mechanical nature is visible to any cursory examination. You can't be Healed by anyone without expertise in technology (for example, a Technician or Reconstructed). Most androids trying to stay inconspicuous wear thick, obscuring clothing and/or say they're just heavily augmented organics. You won't be arrested on the street (unless the cops are looking for androids, or really just anyone to blame), but if the law is interested in you, they'll invent all sort of new crimes to make sure you get disassembled.
You were built (or you modified yourself) to pass as organic. Unless you've been injured, or have your internal mechanisms exposed, you look like 100% bonafide womb-born meat. With a few hours of downtime, you can change your appearance, even to mimic a specific person. Once per scene, you can roll with Soft to rapidly change your appearance on the fly.
On a Fail: Your appearance doesn't change, and you develop an obvious tell that you're an android (glowing fault lines, robotic movements, exposed hardware) until the end of the scene.
On a Success: You shapeshift into your target appearance, but your new form shares uncanny similarities to your previous one.
On an Overwhelming Success: You shapeshift accurately, with no tells.
You've replaced all your parts several times over, and probably will a dozen more times before you're through. Eat your heart out, ship of Theseus. You can take an additional 2 Hurt before you're at your Breaking Point (6 instead of 4).
I've Seen Things You People Wouldn't Believe
There's no time to wait for a revolution to roll around. People are suffering now, and someone needs to take a stand. Whenever you Lash Out to protect someone who can't protect themself, you get +2 to your roll, and only suffer one consequence instead of two on a failure.
You're an integral part of an underground android freedom movement, and can call on them to take action for the cause. Sabotage, rescue, theft... the list goes on. Roll with Hard.
On a Fail: You've put yourself or your cell in danger. The mission's scrubbed and the GM picks two complications from the list below.
Caught on camera. Your cell caught some heat, and needs to lay low for a bit. You get -2 next time you use this move.
Traced. The authorities get a Bond on you.
Loss. Someone dies during the operation. They need time to regroup and grieve. Can't make this move again until next session.
Favor. You owe them one for this - they ask for you to do something risky in return. You can't use this move again until you've repaid them.
On a Success: It's quick and dirty, but it's done. Your cell succeeds, but the GM picks a complication from the list.
On an Overwhelming Success: Your people know how to get shit done. Flawless victory. Now your part begins.
You have the technical expertise to Heal yourself and other androids. In the facility you were manufactured in, you improvised to survive - and improvised to escape. With even minimal access to technology, you can always build the necessary tools to fight, escape, communicate, and repair yourself.
In The Moment (Sex Move)
Androids are built with lifespans in the single digits. While it's an easy enough modification to subvert once you're in the wider galaxy, you've learned to enjoy the moment when you can - because you might not get another one. You each get +1 to the next roll you make on each other.
Long gone are the halcyon days of six-figure tech salaries and the legendary figures of the irreplaceable Sysadmin and mischievous White-Hat. Endless centuries of "learn to code" have ensured that your labor is just as devauled as that of any line cook or plumber. You don't even get a union. You're a freelancer, working a half-dozen part time and gig positions, using your formidable skills to scrape a tiny fraction of cash off a towering edifice that uses you as a cog in a machine.
You're a lot of things to a lot of people. An engineer, a developer, a driver, a hacker, a good listener, once or twice a booty call. You have to be - you never know where your next paycheck is going to come from, and the myriad apps you log into to get your next job don't care if it's you or anyone else with your approximate skillset. There's only so many jobs, only so much pay, and you need to make rent somehow. It's almost enough to make you want to turn to a life of crime. You know the system's weak points; you've spent your whole life shoring them up. Maybe you could make the world a little bit better by tearing them down.
What's your specialty?
What's missing in your life?
What makes you an outcast?
- You've got a frequent customer among the party. You each get a Bond on each other.
- Rent's due. Your landlord has a Bond on you.
+1 to Soft and Subtle, -1 to Hard and Queer, +1 to a stat of your choice.
Start with The Craft, a move of your choice, and your Sex Move.
You're well-versed in a variety of hacks and techniques to subvert complex systems. Usually, you use them to debug machines and get them back under their users' control - but they've got far more potential than that. When you gain this move, pick three of the following hacks to be familiar with.
Network Wizard: You can connect or disconnect anything with a chip in it to and from networks, whether or not it was ever supposed to be. Great for creating air-gaps, gaining access to systems you shouldn't, and streaming disconnected body-camera footage to the world at large.
Rootkit: DRM sucks. Planned obsolescence sucks. Locked systems with killswitches suck. Everyone has the right to modify the tech they own - and you have the skills to modify both the tech you own and the tech you don't. When you have access to a nonsentient system, you can root it and gain admin access. This lets you read all its logs, issue commands to it at will, and mod it when you have the time and resources.
Sigils: Computer vision is built on pattern recognition without context. It falls prey to illusion and trickery with ease; self-driving cars trapped in circles of salt, facial recognition thwarted with careful application of dazzle camo makeup. You know the secrets that underly their seemingly-infallible gaze, and can divert or even control nonsentient machines that can see you or a sigil you draw (while it can see it).
To use a hack, you need time (variable, depending on the hack) and either physical or network access to the involved systems. If a system needs a passwords, you might need to do some social engineering to get there - but most systems, especially automated ones, just have it set to admin or password or 12345. Unless the person who runs the system is tech-savvy or important enough to have tech-savvy people on payroll, assume you can get the password with little trouble.
Eye for Detail
You've got an encyclopedic knowledge of makes, models, modifications, and most importantly - weaknesses. Whenever you use Reveal Truths on a piece of technology, even on a failure, you always identify it and can ask "What's their biggest weakness?" in addition to any other questions.
Internet Tough Gal
In real life, you're just another coveralled mechanic, working shit jobs for shit pay and drowning your sorrows in shit liquor at a shit bar. But on the 'Net? You're a hotshot with cutting wit and a devoted following. It's a great escape from the mundanity of your day-today, especially because you keep that profile carefully disconnected from your real-life image. Online, you get +1 to Hard and Queer, so long as your digital footprint remains insulated from your life.
There are two kinds of people in this world: those who the law protects but does not bind, and those who the law binds but does not protect. You realized you're one of the latter, and strive to escape its strictures. Of course, it doesn't hurt that crime also pays. You have a criminal record the length of your average terms-and-conditions sheet, and know people who deal in deeply illegal shit (in fact, you're one of them). You get +1 to Steal for each hack you're using in the process (maximum +3).
As the prophets say: "any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." It turns out that there's magic anyway, and the barrier between the two is so thin as to be nonexistent. You see patterns of sympathetic resonance, feel your way through network architectures, carve recognition-sigils into obscurative masks, and hear Echoes in the depths. You can Commune With Strange Powers with Subtle, and on an Overwhelming Success, add the following to the list of options:
- You have access to the Strange Power for the purposes of your next hack. You are playing with forces beyond your control. Respect them.
You've taken a bunch of extra certification courses - and might even have a degree! You know the other three hacks you didn't choose at character creation.
Playtesting (Sex Move)
You have toys! So many toys. When you have time to prepare, you can satisfy you and your partner's every desire (and spark a few more you never expected). You each get a Bond on each other if you had enough time to do appropriate prepwork in advance.
Either way, what you've found is bizarre and awful. "Capitalism"? "Empire"? "Colonization"? Their rich and powerful break their masses over a wheel of subservience, create entire new clades of sapient creature to sate their hunger for brutality and domination, render lives nasty and brutal and short and blame it on some essential nature of thinking beings or the universe itself instead of their own base desires.
Whatever brought you here, something captured your eye and heart. Even in these dark times, there are glimmers of hope brewing in shrouded habitat streets and on long-haul gig freighters. Beneath benighted countenances, there's a vibrant hunger for liberation that only spreads under pressure. There's someone or something here you care about too much to just move on and leave these worlds to their fate. Will you stay a while - perhaps stay forever? Or will you run to the ends of the universe to escape the horrors you've seen?
Where are you from?
What makes you an outcast?
What brought you here?
- One of the other Bitches was your first contact with this strange society. She gets a Bond on you.
- One of the other Bitches sees something of herself reflected in your alien visage that she couldn't put words to before meeting you. You get a Bond on her.
+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.
While the species of the "known galaxy" are wildly different, you're something that shocks even them. Perhaps you're made of a nanobot swarm, pure psychic energy, or a twist in the laws of space-time. Maybe you're the size of a starship, and control a small proxy to interact with the smallfolk, or are a colony of mutualist symbiotes that manifest emergent sapience in a group. Deep Space Bitches assumes that all characters share a relatively similar set of physical capabilities, no matter their physical form - you break those rules simply by existing. Pick one of the following, or talk with your GM about writing your own.
Where No One Has Gone Before
You've come so very far. It seems impossible; whether travel between galaxies, alternate realities, through time, or mediums even more esoteric - yet you're here nonetheless. Your travels will be the stuff of legends, and nothing and no one can pin you down. So long as nobody uses violence to stop you, you can always safely leave a scene if you want to, and end up somewhere safe. The means of your escape need not make sense; if need be, miraculous intervention will get you where you need to go. Likewise, if you want to find your way into a scene in progress, you can always do so eventually. Distance, precautions and so on can only keep you away for so long; you’ll get there before the scene ends.
You've come as an ambassador from your people, and possess a degree of diplomatic immunity. Even empires fear the unknown, and they respect the power you potentially represent - at least, until they learn how to exploit it. If you're ever accused of wrongdoing, roll with Soft.
On a Fail: You've betrayed the decorum of your station. Your accuser gets a Bond on you, and you can't use your position to escape the consequence of your actions (or the actions you're accused of). Of course, you can still use any other tools available to you.
On a Success: Your position protects you from such trivial matters. Whether or not you did something wrong, you can't be officially prosecuted for it. You immediately get a Bond on anybody who took part in the accusation and, if they had any Bonds on you, they lose one.
On an Overwhelming Success: Your status absolves you of all wrongdoing and even merely suspecting your guilt casts doubt upon your accuser. They'll be censured by their higher-ups for taking even unofficial action against you. Get a Bond on anybody who took part in the accusation. If they had any Bonds on you, they lose all of them, and you get that many extra Bonds on them.
Your culture is founded in fundamentally different associations between concepts and actions than the known galaxy's. Choose a stat and a move. You roll for that move using the chosen stat instead of the one it normally uses. If you spend a Bond on someone to help them use that move, they can use their bonus for the stat you chose instead of the stat they would normally use (for example, if you Reveal Truths with Hard, the character you spent a Bond on to help them Reveal Truths could use their Hard score instead of their Soft score).
What Is This Thing You Call "Money"
You're mystified by the impractical and unnecessary cruelties that this society bends over backwards to enact upon its people. In return, this leaves them mystified by you, especially when you end up talking past each other about the finer points of the merits of your respective societies. When you want to challenge a social norm, you can roll with Queer.
On a Fail: You're an easy mark. They talk circles around you, with terms you've never heard of like "imperial monetary policy" and "corporate stakeholder risk divestment" and "chapter 11". Conversation has failed. They get a Bond on you, and you can either accept their unreasonable customs, slink off in defeat, or resort to the one law everyone must respect: violence.
On a Success: They decide you're hopeless, but that's after a long and winding tirade that leaves both of you more confused than you started. They choose one of the following:
To Boldly Go (Sex Move)