Etamui: Style and Costuming

Everything the Etamui touch is modified in some way, made stronger, better, faster, whatever as long as it’s not baseline. This extends in many ways to their clothing choices, though how it manifests is related to class and accessibility to materials and the knowledge of how to use them.

Given the pervasive monitoring systems going on in the stations, digital camouflage (or dazzle) is something that sees heavy use. The Glitches utilize it on practically a daily level, though everyone takes a go at it, whether when slumming, engaging in illicit meetings, or even getting out of the limelight for just a night. 

Costuming tip: Check out the Etamui Lookbook pinterest board for aesthetic and visual concepts!

SciDevs

Given their access to the latest research, materials, and with the time and processing cycles to spare, the SciDevs are often on the bleeding edge of fashion (in the case of biomods, rather more literally than most people would like to think on). Sleek edges, and a purposefully muted palette with pops of color, often lit up, are the current in. Mods are kept close to the skin, or embedded entirely, mostly for the sake of not ruining lines (and in part proof of access/concept). You can often tell a high end athlete by their (purposely) visible seams where heat is vented during extreme exertion.

Costuming tips: Look through the SciDev lookbook. Go for vinyl fabrics, shiny materials, whites or blacks or grays with flashes of neon color. Have fun with makeup: sharp edges and angles, drawn-on seams or circuit lines. If you’re a little bit tech-savvy, incorporate some EL wire. If you’re not, then glowsticks work great too!

ProdOps

Where the SciDevs go for keeping lines constrained, ProdOps often go for a look that is much more flamboyant. After all, if you can fix it, manipulate, or make it, why not flaunt it. While patterns are still highly geometric, the color palette gets out of the grayscale more regularly, and the mods are heavy on both form and function. Hair extensions that light up are the current de rigueur amongst those who are in performance art, while those working with things that require better sight are very much into visible eye-mods, all the better if they’re thematically appropriate for the work they engage in (finally, the excuse to buy fashion contacts you [as a player] have been looking for!).

Costuming tips: Look through the ProdOps lookbook for inspiration. Go wild with makeup! Use cords, cables, and wires as accessories. Light-up hair clips and hairpieces are inexpensive and easy to find at a local party store or online.  Put some straps and belts on over a bodysuit. The options are endless.

Gawans

The workhorses of the Etamui, everything is heavier, more durable and built to last (rather than getting swapped for this season’s fashion) amongst the Gawan. Their mods may be constantly visible, and look rugged, but they’re lovingly crafted and well maintained. Their clothing is of a similar nature. Bulky, built to last, but with a definite eye towards lines and usefulness and always well maintained. You’ll not often see worn hems, or patches that aren’t lovingly seen to with this group.

Costuming tips: Look through the Gawan Pinterest board for inspiration. Jackets, cargo pants, motorcycle gear, boots, and bracers all work well for this look.

Glitches

Which brings us to the Glitches, who scavenge what they can from the upper classes, whether that means clothing, materials, or mods (a deceased SciDev isn’t going to be using those mods anyway and really, you’re just making it easier on the incinerators by pulling the inorganic materials out of the bio before dumping it). Things often come to them well used up, but they make good use of it through layering and some serious DIY Or Die aesthetic. There is one point though, to which the rest often are seen imitating the latest in Glitch aesthetic, and that’s in Dazzle. Given that it’s a survival skill as well as looking killer, they have reason to keep constantly developing new styles, better color combinations, and different patterning.

Costuming tips: Browse the Glitch lookbook. Camouflage the heck out of your face with colorful patterns, accessories, and hairstyles that disrupt facial recognition. Start with athletic wear and add several more layers on top of that simple base.

The Transhumanist Exceptions

Adherents to the Spiritualist sect of transhumanism are the most likely to seek an inhuman appearance. If you’re a Spiritualist, you might have altered your body to look like anything: an elf, a cat-person, an abstract concept, a metal being. Go wild with your costuming.

Matricists and Shapeshifters might also possibly have less human appearances, though their aesthetic goals are less likely to be mythical or animalistic and more likely to be superhuman or different aspects of the human experience. Some might be looking to appear in a way that is disruptive, shocking, or unsettling to others, in an attempt to help awaken or enlighten the people around them, or to have a different social experience for themselves.

Written by: Lia Lilley
Costuming tips by: Dani Higgins

Etamui: Space Stations

The space stations of the Etamui are enormous, able to fit up to a million people comfortably, and with life-support systems to sustain double that for a limited period of time. In shape, they resemble a pyramid of donuts, with a flattened cylinder in the center and on top of the pyramid. Top, of course, being relative – the base of the cylinder is parallel to its orbit around Etamu. The central cylinder does not rotate, while the others do, providing the gravity that allows their inhabitants to live in comfort. The outermost ring, with a radius of 2 km, rotates at a speed of 140 m/s, which leads to approximately 40 rotations an hour; the inner rings move slightly slower to maintain the same level of gravity.

The innermost two rings are the Production ring and the Facilities ring, where the ProdOps live. Production, the ring closest to the central column, handles the fabrication of the vast majority of supplies necessary to keep the station running, while Facilities, the second ring, is responsible for the upkeep of the station itself. Though the largest fabricators, big enough to print the massive pieces of metal that make up the rings themselves, are located in the central column, Production contains numerous smaller printers and mills of various sorts. It also holds most of the farms where the bulk of the food is grown, though Facilities contains the smaller farms and hydroponics units that produce more specialized food.

Glitches tend to live in these two rings, primarily concentrated around the warehouses of Facilities. At any given time, large portions of the Facilities ring hold supplies that are packed away in case of emergencies, supplies which are often touched no more than once a decade. These complexes of storage units provide an excellent place for Glitches to hide out.

The third ring is the Research and Development ring, where the SciDevs live. Along with housing for its residents, this ring contains numerous labs where the SciDevs conduct their research. The primary hospitals of the station are located here, as are the facilities where the vast majority of the artificial births are incubated. Fabricators for specific items, like the components that go into most bio-mods, are located here.

All living quarters, no matter the ring, are divided into village-like structures similar to the kampungs in modern Indonesia. Each one contains a primary school, a small medical facility, and a store for nutrients and fabrication supplies. Every pod can, in an emergency, be sealed off from the rest of the structure via airlocks and remain self-sufficient for up to a month.

Each ring can, when necessary, connect to the central column via long arms, though these are usually retracted. Once a year, however, they reconnect, so the central column’s massive engines can restore the slight loss of rotational momentum that the rings experience as they revolve through space. This is also how their rotation was started in the first place – once the central cylinder had produced sufficient components to build the shell of a ring, it connected to the stationary ring and slowly pushed it to the right speed.

The rings can also connect to each other via flexible plastic tubes that can withstand the difference in momentum between the rings for the duration needed for someone to pass from one to another. However, because of that difference in rotational velocities, the tubes do not remain connected when not in use. Someone who wants to pass from one to another must wait until the airlocks on both rings are lined up. Such transit is rather disorienting, as the tube stretches beneath the traveler’s feet and gravity does not remain entirely constant in one direction.

Transportation around the rings is provided by a fleet of small shuttles that run on electromagnetic rails around the outside of each ring. The lack of friction allows them to obtain a high rate of velocity, traversing the circumference of the rings in a matter of minutes. For the comfort of passengers, they max out at 200 km/h, though they could easily go faster.

Written by: Emily Randall

Etamui: Government, Rights, Economy, Occupations

Government

The government of the Etamui is in many ways a direct democracy with compulsory voting. Every citizen is expected to do their civic duty and participate in the process. Referendums can be put forth by any citizen that will come forward to a global vote, and every citizen is expected to weigh in on it.

Administering a large series of space stations, however, is not an easy task. There are two mechanisms in place to help alleviate the load.

The first is the use of Sortition. Any eligible citizen can be selected to represent their district, and they will be called and expected to participate in this duty (much like Jury Duty in the United States). The Sortition is used to appoint members of a Council and into specific roles (such as magistrates), who are in turn are responsible for a lot of the day-to-day administration of the Etamui. At any point their district can hold a Vote of Recall (which is limited to the district performing the recall) and have an individual replaced, though they are eligible to be selected again.

Most of the day-to-day administrative tasks are handled in this way.

The second is through the matter of delegation. A citizen may grant their vote for most referendums to a member of the Council who they believe represents them (who may or may not be from that individual’s district). Then—except for the most important of referendums and any vote of recall—the Council member is assumed to represent that individual’s interests until or unless the individual chooses otherwise.

The Council handles most day-to-day administrative tasks, handles initiatives that do not require a full vote from the populace, puts together legislation that can either be handled by just the council or by the populace as a whole, and appoints people for government positions that are not selected via the Sortition.

This causes particular stress between the Gawa Forge Cluster and Celestial Station, because most of the administrative functions are centralized to Celestial. If you live on Celestial then it is just a short walk and the neuralnet connections are all very fast, but if you live in Gawa Forge Cluster it can be a significant commitment that takes a great deal of time and frustration if you end up being assigned somewhere in Celestial or being selected to join the Council (which you can join remotely and suffer the time penalty in communication, but it is most effective to show up in person to effectively represent your district).

Every citizen is absolutely equal, of course. Just some (e.g., the SciDevs) are more equal than others (e.g., the Gawans).

Rights

Fundamental to understanding the Etamui is understanding their view of rights. Every citizen of society is guaranteed several fundamental things:

  • Food (covering basic nutrition only, think original soylent in our world) and water.
  • Housing (basically in a capsule hotel)
  • Medical care.
  • Education.
  • Basic implants depending on what you are genetically engineered for, usually implanted in childhood.
  • Clothing (basic, plain, but functional ).
  • A job with an Enterprise if the government can find one suited to your implants, genetics, and abilities.

Glitches, lacking the basic implant, are not citizens of society and thus are not eligible until they accept the implant. There are some relief organizations to provide supplies to Glitches, but these provide haphazard assistance at best.

Anything beyond that is supported by the work that you do which gives you Celestial Credits (cc), though gift giving is a very common substitute.

Work and Currency

Every citizen is expected to work either directly for the government (assuming they have been picked in the Sortition) or for an Enterprise of some variety.

Any citizen is eligible to take the Assessment at any time, which informs what the individual is best suited for. Most enterprises (but not all) will only employ you if you have the appropriate Assessment.

There are, of course, ways of influencing the results of the Assessment and there are certainly augments that can help one be Assessed in a particular way, but these things are not openly discussed and are frequently expensive.

The major currency used is the Celestial Credit (cc). For the economy nerds reading this (because it’s not necessary to understand in order to play Temet Nosce), it’s a proof-of-stake cryptocurrency. This currency mints blocks relatively quickly, but does still require consensus for verifying transactions, making it difficult to use in the Gawa Forge Cluster since most of the major stakeholders are in Celestial Station.

The Celestial Credit is used to purchase most luxuries: everything from better food and tea to better lodging and clothing. According to Celestial Station, this is the only acceptable currency, and certainly it is the most widely accepted.

In the Gawa Forge Cluster, because the Celestial Credit takes longer to process and is under the control of Celestial Station, it is not uncommon for Enterprises to pay their workers using their own enterprise-specific cryptocurrencies when can then be used to purchase things from that enterprise (including, often but not always, Celestial Credits) or, sometimes (from Enterprises that have entered into an agreement), from other enterprises in the Gawa Forge Cluster.

Enterprises

Rather than have companies the Etamui have a concept of Enterprises. All enterprises are considered to be (de jure) socially owned by society in general and the employees in specific, though in practice truly socialized ownership is rare. Enterprises are allowed to select their own employees, but any employee who has passed the appropriate Assessment may also be assigned to any Enterprise (with mixed results). The Council (or the People) may also at any point require certain behaviors of Enterprises, and Enterprises will naturally assist.

Usually one “climbs the ranks” (such as those ranks exist) inside of an enterprise through a combination of the correct assessments (showing proclivities toward, e.g., management) and seniority.

Forming an enterprise is relatively straightforward (if you are on Celestial Station, anyways). You register it with the Council, get a few regulatory approvals, provide a societal good justification, and you are good to go.

Glitches

Glitches have, from the standpoint of the Etamui, “opted out” of the system. They are allowed to do so, of course, but they aren’t citizens and thus aren’t entitled to the same rights (or carry the same responsibilities) as citizens.

They can, of course, accept the neuralnet implant, take the Assessments, and become full citizens at any time.

They usually trade goods as their major form of economic participation.

Written by: David H. Clements

Attributes in the Accelerant System

For today’s #MechanicsMonday, let’s talk about how attributes work in Accelerant games!

In the Accelerant system, you have a certain number of attributes that will have various values, depending on the specific game. The most common of these are: Vitality, Air, Earth, Fire, Water and Void, but there’s some room for individual games to define these separately.

At the beginning of each game you will start with each attribute at a given level (e.g., 2) based on game-specific characteristics (e.g., how many character points—CP—you’ve earned). Attributes cannot generally fall below zero.

Vitality is affected by healing and damage. If you take “1 damage by <anything>” then that comes out of your vitality. If you reach zero you are either stable (and will wake up after 5 minutes) or unstable (and will die after 1 minute). We’ll talk more about which one you end up in with a future #MechanicsMonday post.

Attributes may be renewed—or removed—through various mechanics in the game. The most important of which for now are skills.

For example, to borrow a page from the Accelerant game Occam’s Razor, let’s say that you have had your legs augmented (and bought the appropriate skills to augment them with character points, or CP). This carries with it certain costume requirements: you have to show that your legs are somehow augmented. You can move preternaturally fast for short periods of time. You can spend AA (Air Air, or 2 Air attributes) to call out “By my voice, short slow by speed.” Basically informing everyone who can hear you that you are now moving very quickly for the next ten seconds, so everyone else is slow by comparison.

So if you started with 2 in the Air attribute and you spend AA, you are now at 0 Air and will remain so until you either use or encounter some mechanic that replenishes or adds to Air in some way.

Some skills can only be used a certain number of times per day or per purchase or are otherwise limited (can only be used within the Neural Net, or the Dark Cloud), but the most common way to use active skills is through the expenditure of attribute points.

For the upcoming Etamui game you can expect a small subset of skills to be assigned that will use these attributes in different ways. Look for more information on this in the upcoming weeks.

Etamui Religion: Transhumanism

Sects

Transhumanism is, at its core, the belief in and active work towards the potential of active transformation of humanity into something post-human. It is a nearly universal belief on Celestial Station––when one believes in anything at all, that is. However, there are several transhumanists sects that vary wildly in their practices and approaches:

  • Singularitarians (or Singularists), who believe we’ve already achieved the technological singularity and just don’t realize it or are in denial about it. They treat the neuralnet with all the respect and reverence of a deity, and treat computerized objects with the care one might show to a demigod or messenger of a deity. Programs are prayers. God is in the machine.
  • Matricists, who believe that we’ve already gone beyond humanity and uploaded our consciousnesses into the neuralnet. They claim to believe all our experiences are virtual, rather than actual, and life only has the consequences you allow it to have. They think that if you can truly understand that experience is an illusion, you can do anything at all and attain godlike power; to work towards this end, they engage in any number of activities to free their minds. Martial arts, drugs, trance-inducing neuralnet programs, meditation, and reckless activities to try to awaken their minds. Some matricists die of this enlightenment-hunting every cycle. (Supposedly, the matricist sect began as a joke. Some people still participate in it as a joke or recreation. Some certainly do seem to be true believers, though.)
  • Spiritualists, who believe that the spirit reflects the body, and the body reflects the spirit. They seek to modify their body to show what they feel their spirit looks like, or to influence what they want their spirit to be. If they can align body and spirit just right, they might achieve enlightenment, or empower themselves with supernatural abilities. Often their modifications make them look alien, inhuman, animalistic, or give them a deviant kind of beauty.
  • Shapeshifters, who strive to be more than a singular individual, using technology and modifications to “become” or embody different identities and understand the world from multiple perspectives. They believe every person is a multiplicity and in losing their individual selfhood, they can join with the collective consciousness of humanity. Ideally, this is a very serious philosophy and practice. In actuality, this is the domain of those privileged and wealthy enough to be able to take on new roles and afford the constant biomods needed to change their appearance and merge with another perspective every few cycles (though people with less access to such luxury can still engage with this through virtual reality, drugs, and neural programs). These are often SciDevs who engage in cultural tourism, “slumming it” with Glitches until that becomes uncomfortable or loses its appeal, and they declare they’ve learned what they were meant to learn from the experience before moving back to the Research and Development ring.
  • Uplifters, who believe that all sentient beings deserve to be sapient and have that sapience recognized. They advocate for enhancing animals and plants towards greater cognitive capacity, and also strive for increased self-awareness in artificial intelligence. For many, it’s because they feel humanity deserves to not be alone in the universe. For others, it’s that they believe many animals, plants, and/or artificial intelligences have already achieved sapience but it’s not respected or recognized sufficiently by humanity, and they want to join with other sapient beings in the pursuit of transcendence.

Basic Tenets

  • Seek perpetual growth and progress in all aspects of human existence, taking an active part in one’s own biological evolution. Mankind shall be the director of its own destiny.
  • Transcend the constraints of body, mind, and society.
  • Empower people with conscious choice over their lives, bodies, and deaths.
  • Knowledge, culture, and resources should be shared among the population for the betterment of humanity and swifter human evolution.

 

Basic Practices

These vary by sect.

  • The only one that exists across almost all transhumanists is that of modifications. Biological, genetic, and cybernetic modifications are ubiquitous aspects of transhumanism, viewed as ways to push the evolution of humanity or the self to the next stage of the species.
  • Spiritualists, Shapeshifters, and Matricists often engage in some form of meditation to increase self-awareness or seek enlightenment. Sometimes this is a sitting meditation focused on the breath; other times it’s with biochemical or virtual assistance to enter a trance state.
  • Singularitarians often engage in prayer and program-driven communication with the Superintelligence of the neuralnet. Some engage in divination by scrying the code of the neuralnet and claim to have received information from the Superintelligence through this practice.

Miscellany

What happens after death? This belief varies wildly by sect and individual. Many transhumanists believe there is nothing after death, only oblivion, and so this is part of their drive to seek to extend life indefinitely. Matricists believe (or claim to believe) that consciousness is uploaded into the neuralnet and lives on therein. Spiritualists and Shapeshifters often subscribe to the belief of some form of reincarnation or another. Uplifters and Singularitarians may have any number of beliefs about the afterlife.

Dream: To reach the next stage of humanity’s evolution, and the next after that. Pleasure and being free from suffering.

Nightmare: Stagnation. Suffering. Ignorance.

Light side, positive qualities: At its best, transhumanism encourages compassion for all living beings, egalitarianism, sharing of resources, helping the sick and poor, and universal care and education.

Dark side, negative qualities: At its worst, transhumanism becomes a rationale to take away the choice of individuals in order to enhance the greater good or the evolution of humanity as a whole.

Hybrid Mechanics for Operation: ReForge

For today’s #MechanicsMonday let’s discuss the way we will be doing certain challenges in our rule system (this has bearing on the upcoming Etamui game as well as for the main game). Specifically, we’re going to talk about our hybrid or either/or skills.

In many games we talk about “soft skills” versus “hard skills.” Soft skills are the ones that exist on your character sheet or that otherwise you as a player may not have, but your character does (“I can open this lock because I have a skill called lockpicking”), hard skills are skills that you actually need in the physical world (“I can open this lock because I know how to pick locks”). Most LARPs have a mixture of these along with skills that you need to have both (“I can pick this lock IG because I have both the character attribute and the OOG skill”).

For our game, we are going to have both some soft and some hard skills, but we also are going to have some hybrid skills where you can apply either a soft skill (at a resource cost) or your hard skill in order to overcome a challenge.

For example, you may have to get past a door that requires a puzzle to solve. Some doors you may absolutely need to solve the puzzle, but in some cases you may have a skill that allows you to sacrifice some resource (e.g., “2 Air,” in Accelerant terms) in order to get an easier puzzle or even to bypass the puzzle altogether.

The same will go for many of our physical challenges and things like lockpicking. We will aim to provide skills to allow players to bypass these or deal with an easier version if you have the skill and (sometimes: or) are willing to sacrifice the resources required.

Etamui: The Factions

In the Introduction to the Etamuiwe briefly reviewed the four primary cultures or factions of the Fanseeth. In this post, we’ll dive a little deeper into those factions. This post assumes you’ve read Introduction to the Etamui.

SciDevs

The wealthy intellectual elite, developers of the future, guiding humanity into the next stage of evolution. They are researchers, programmers, developers, scientists, philosophers, and technological artists. They primarily live on the glitzy Research and Development ring of Celestial Station.

  • Other names: Labs, Labbers, Brains, Leets, R&D, RTD, Intellects
  • Stereotypes and views of other cultures
    • ProdOps: The foundation of Celestial Station, without which we could not do our most important work of advancing the future. They are the steel, sturdy and unthinking; we are the wires, sensitive conductors of brilliance.
    • Gawans: We need them for supplies; they need us for direction and technological advancement. They could choose to join us on Celestial Station at any time, they only need apply. It makes no sense that they fuss about being under our rule. Don’t they realize we all work best together? Ingrates.
    • Glitches: An incomprehensible drain on the system.
  • Light side, positive qualities: Creative, inventive, wanting the best for everyone.
  • Dark side, negative qualities: Elitist, ethnocentric, thinking their way is the only/best way and that they know what’s best for everyone else.

ProdOps

The working class of Celestial Station. They perform skilled labor and hands-on work in the highly functional Production ring and Facilities ring of the Station. They are technicians, repair, maintenance, and public works employees. They are lab techs, nurses, and can also be artists or performers, though in a more physical or visceral capacity than the SciDev artists.

  • Other names: Techies, Maintens, Prods, Ops, Proddies
  • Stereotypes and views of other cultures:
    • SciDevs: They’re pretty stuck up and haven’t really worked a day in their lives. But anyone who works hard enough and is smart enough can score a SciDev position. The opportunities are out there.
    • Gawans: If more of them visited Celestial Station, they wouldn’t be in such a hurry to be separate from us. It’s a wondrous thing we’re all building together.
    • Glitches: Freeloading slackers.
  • Light side, positive qualities: Hard-working, team players, down-to-earth.
  • Dark side, negative qualities: Just-world fallacy, thinking that anything bad/good that happens to you is because you earned it.

Gawans

The distant, tense child of Celestial Station – though don’t tell them that. They receive fewer resources, less assistance, and all the cast-offs of Celestial Station, but are still subject to Celestial rule and law.

  • Other names: Forged, Forgies, Asters, Forgers
  • Stereotypes and views of other cultures:
    • SciDevs: Elitist and out-of-touch. Most have never been off their cushy station or seen a lick of real work. And then they try to tell us how to live our lives? They need us way more than we need them.
    • ProdOps: The rank-and-file Celest. They keep voting the same Labbers back into power and don’t see how they’re taken advantage of.
    • Glitches: Victims of circumstance, trying their best to fight back or opt out. There’s better ways to do it but they don’t know how. Maybe they’d like to ship out to the Forge.
  • Dream: Independence, respect, being the equal of Celestial Station and having agency over themselves.
  • Nightmare: Being cut off from the rest of the universe, loss of independence, the things that are dreamed in the dark of space.
  • Light side, positive qualities: Tough, independent, ingenious. Strong cultural identity.
  • Dark side, negative qualities: Temperamental, divisive, somewhat clannish.

Glitches

There are robust government assistance programs for the poor, the disabled, and the Glitches. However, acquiring government assistance means submitting to a network implant, and many Glitches are explicitly opposed to this.

  • Other names: Stealthers, Untagged, Unrexed, Hiders, Errors, Tuberats, Malwares, Metamorphs
  • Stereotypes and views of other cultures
    • SciDevs: They’re trying to control everyone. Keep track of us, shape us in their image. Have to submit to them to get their “help”. No way.
    • ProdOps: Programmed robots. Nothing more.
    • Gawans: Maybe worthwhile. Maybe we can build something better. Or maybe we can’t trust them at all.
  • Dream: Comfort, pleasure, respite.
  • Nightmare: Loss of independence/individuality, loss of autonomy. The stories of gremlins infesting the understation.
  • Light side, positive qualities: Fiercely independent and individualistic. Resourceful.
  • Dark side, negative qualities: Paranoid. Socially hostile or suspicious.

Fanseeth: Vaettir-Tales and Vaettir-Sworn

The Fanseeth believe there are vaettir in everything, that all things have a spirit which must be considered and honored (or, more often, placated). Offer to the skipvaettir, the spirit of your ship, to increase the likelihood of safe travel. Offer to the hylvaettir, the spirits of the mine, in hopes of safe mining. Offer to your knife to turn its hunger from your flesh to the flesh of your foe.

And offer to the wild things, the dark things, the hungry things, in desperate appeal that they won’t hunt you.

Because there is a spirit in everything, and there are spirits that are not kindly inclined towards humans. The Fanseeth lead harsh lives on harsh environments, and they make meaning of mine collapses and shipwrecks through tales of the dark vaettir who were surely responsible.

The Fanseeth have several kinds of spiritual advisors and intercessors to deal with the vaettir. Sometimes these are full-time jobs and the practitioner’s only professions; in other clades, these are part-time roles only, and the practitioner also is a pilot, miner, or does other jobs on the side.

  • Speakers are the spiritual leaders of the community, translating the needs and wants of the local vaettir to the community, and speaking for the community to the local vaettir. 
  • Vaettirthegn are spirit-servants, spirit-sworn. They are the hands and feet of the vaettir. They provide quieter service to the community, often teaching, raising children whose parents are dead or unknown or away at the mines, doing small rituals to placate the vaettir. 
  • Vaettirthralls are… strange. They are devoted entirely to the vaettir to a degree of intimacy unmatched by the other roles, and are often under a series of taboos and behavioral restrictions. In some ways, they are like nuns or monks in other traditions, but more solitary. Vaettir-touched, vaettir-sworn, perhaps vaettir-possessed. They are often avoided by many members of society, though they are believed to have power from the vaettir and sometimes approached warily for good-luck charms, help with a curse, or spiritual healing. 

Every clade has its particular tales of hostile or mischievous vaettir, as does every mining site, each factory, each ship. Parents, teachers, and nurses tell kids to behave, or a particular local vaettir will get them. Kids have fears of the troll under the bed or the goblin in the closet. When little annoying things go missing on a station, it’s a wight’s fault. When ships malfunction, it’s because of the gremlins in the pipes and wires. 

And there are worse stories. 

The Gap-Huldra, invisible vaettir of the space between stars and stations that wanders the void; she consumes ships whole and cannot be reasoned with or bargained with. 

The Storm-Giants, spirits of the radiation storms that swirl over the planets and moons, beautiful and deadly, dancing the auroras in their wake, observable only from the safety of a clade’s shielding but they’ll eat the flesh from your bones if you are outside the shielding when they arrive. 

The Nacker, who plays music so sweet that it’ll draw you out of the station without your suit, and reduce you to gibbering hallucination. (This may be an explanation for the star-madness that sometimes comes from being asteroid-bound too long.) Tales say that some have managed to survive him by offerings or bargaining or entertaining him, and some have sought him out to learn his musical gift.

The cave-trolls, a sort of hylvaettir, believed to live deep in the asteroid mines and who jealously guard its resources. They abhor light and want to be left in peace to their asteroid homes, so flooding a mine with light is believed to keep them away. Lights going out, cave collapses, and any number of mining accidents are attributed to the cave-trolls. If too many of these accidents happen, miners will murmur increasingly about this mine being a vaettir-place full of angered cave-trolls. Some unions have organized strikes until a vaettirthegn, a Speaker for the Vaettir, can be brought in to pacify the spirits. 

Fanseeth: Costuming and Style

The clothing of the Fanseeth reflects its history as a series of prison colonies in many ways. One of the larger ways it manifests itself is in color choices of the upper and lower classes.

Costuming tip: Check out the Fanseeth Pinterest board for visual inspiration.

Monochrome apparel that echoes the uniforms of old is still associated with higher class and power (and is worn as a matter of course by most Vordur and Bondi). Those seeking to rise in station can, on occasion, be made uncomfortable with the fact that their interview clothes look suspiciously like those of the people who beat on great-great-grandma with an electrified baton. Formal wear will also echo this, with sharp lines, muted colors, piping, and jewelry that is based on the ranking sigils of old. It’s considered gauche to wear jewelry of a rank above that of what one’s family achieved, but it common practice to those climbing the social ladder to take on the “rank” afforded them by marrying up.

Costuming tip: If your character is upper class, look for sharp clean lines. A button-down dress shirt will do in a pinch, as will more military-style outerwear. Check out military surplus stores. Add pins and patches. Vests or waistcoats create the right sort of lines, especially if they keep to a relatively monochrome theme. Gloves, hats, and boots (or spats) can add to the look. Even something like a simple turtleneck with a jacket or vest overtop can work for this.

Those who would traditionally be perceived as being “lower class” (namely the Hakal and the Kappi) tend to wear colors with fierceness. No shade is too bright, no riot of hues damned. Needlework and cross-stitch is also something that makes its way into the fold. Common motifs are sigils made up of prisoner glyphs, reindeer, and alchemical symbols representing the elements of what was being mined at a given time. A common social game to play is “spot the rich kid”, tells for which are a nonsense jumble of numbers (or not even setting them into sigilry), or a grouping of elemental markers that make no sense given the mineral compositions of a given mining location. Accessories are often pragmatic (a flask clipped to your belt by a carabiner, or paracord woven into a belt) or otherwise scavenged (spare parts off discarded equipment turned into jewelry), and sometimes even spiritual (rocks from a home moon to connect you to the landvaettir, the symbol of your ship to honor the skipvaettir).

Costuming tip: If your character is lower class, try thrifting some “ugly sweaters” or Christmas sweaters. Look for heavier, bulky, rougher-cut clothing and durable materials. If you want to go the extra mile, add some distressing to give it a heavily worn look. You can use fabric paint or markers to add sigils, glyphs, or alchemical symbols to a shirt, pants, or leggings. Try a trip to a hardware store, get some odds and ends and string them up on cord for a necklace or bracelet.

This goes more for class rank than specifics of group—a Vordur of the lower classes might wear brighter shades, while a Bondi who wants to be seen well by the Vordur will tend to dress in a more muted style.

While layers are common, it’s more for look than need, as climate control is the norm, and is well maintained within the clades. Climate suits being, of course, necessary for heading “out back” or to the mines. It is not uncommon for people to carry breathing masks even within stations, “just in case,” though the degree to which are actually used is open for debate.

Biomodifications and cybernetic modifications are more common among the working classes as a way to make them more desirable workers or more effective in the mines, as pilots, or in processing plants; oftentimes a hakal will receive the mods after getting injured on the job. These mods are usually industrial, emphasizing function over form. When upper class Fanseeth receive mods, they are still functional (even the most bourgeoisie Vordur value function; they are still Fanseeth, after all), but are generally sleeker than the clunky hackjobs afforded by the lower classes. More often, upper class mods aid perception or fine dexterity, or provide mental outsourcing like a computer implant, whereas lower class mods are more like exoskeletons, hardware limb enhancements, or skin protection.

Written by: Lia Lilley
with additions by Dani Higgins, David H. Clements

Fanseeth Cultures and Subcultures

It is important to realize there’s class mobility in the Fanseeth in theory, but very difficult to exercise in practice. Your culture is largely defined by the socioeconomic status of your parents and is derived from who you rubbed elbows with growing up, what resources were they able to provide, and what sorts of connections they were able to help you make.

Artist Toby Morris illustrated this concept well in the short story, On a Plate.

This means that it is entirely possible to see a Vordur working as a miner, despite that this job is almost always occupied by Hakal, but they are probably friends with the manager (and maybe went to the same school) in a way that the other miners wouldn’t have access to.

Similarly, if your parents were disadvantaged Hakal, they might sacrifice disproportionately to make sure that you had the advantage of being able to rub elbows with the “right” sort of people.

Vordur

Vordur society is defined by generational wealth, with each new generation being expected to add to and prove their worth to receive their inheritance. They are investors, inheritors, and view their role as “keeping the engine of Fanseeth society running”.

They carry a sense of themselves as caretakers. They are the ones who create jobs (they own the major businesses, after all). They are the ones who safeguard the cultures of the Fanseeth. Their investments allow miners to find their fortunes.

That is what the Vordur tell themselves, anyways.

Their view of:

  • Kappi: Good, hardworking people who would move up in the world but they lack a firm long-term vision. Disinclined to settle down in one place, they tend to spend their kcal as they make it without regard for the future.
  • Bondi: They don’t put in the hours that we do and the hours that would be necessary for them to move up in the world, but otherwise many of them show good business sense.
  • Hakal: They need direction and purpose or else are prone to violence. Given direction and purpose they are tremendously valuable and hard-working, but prone to sloth and the worst of vices without a firm guiding hand.

Kappi

Kappi tend to not like being tied down. They like movement and travel. Their culture tends to work on the same sorts of shifts as the Hakal (see below), but their shifts tend to be shorter in nature and they are much more mobile than any other culture. It isn’t uncommon to find Kappi on cruise ships and aboard stations for some period of time just working to make ends meet, gaining new experiences, and then moving on when they have gotten what they came for.

They are the most mobile in terms of jobs of any of the groups. While all of the groups are theoretically mobile and may shift jobs at any time, the Kappi are the ones who do it the most of their own volition.

They see themselves as the glue that hold the Fanseeth together. In their mind, there would be no Fanseeth without the Kappi.

Their view of:

  • Vordur: Self-aggrandizing to an extreme, they still pay most of the bills and nothing is going to change that any time soon. A necessary evil to keep them around and if you stay out of their direct gaze you can live a pretty good life. Just don’t piss them off.
  • Bondi: They miss what makes life worth living. Sure, they do important things, but they themselves tend to be pretty boring. Planetbound. They’d also do well to not define themselves so much in terms of their jobs. They also tend to be complicit in the control of the Vordur, most of them without knowing it.
  • Hakal: Crude but just trying to get by. They lead hard lives and don’t look up nearly enough, but in many cases they don’t get the opportunity to do so. They are best when they are working together.

Bondi

The Bondi fill the gaps. They do a lot of the planetside jobs and some of the stationside jobs and fill all of the “middle” roles of Fanseeth society that don’t pertaining to the flying of spacecraft.

They tend to be pretty anchored, both in place and in career. They tend to have very strong connections to their families and aren’t bound by the “shifts” that the Kappi and the Hakal usually experience in their families. They take a very “family first” view of their lives and tend to see “work-life balance” and something important to strive for.

Their view of:

  • Vordur: Self-important and prideful. They hold all of the chips, they pull the strings. Work hard, and you may get there some day.
  • Kappi: Free spirits who won’t settle down and focus on their families. They would get further in life if they would just stay put.
  • Hakal: Poor souls. It’s a shame they need to work so much and spend so much time away.

Hakal

For the Hakal, their entire lives are structured around their shifts. Even those who aren’t working the mining and processing plant shifts often have their lives dictated by the ebb and flow of people going and coming out for work. Shifts last for significant periods of time and then they get a significant amount of down time before their next shift.

During their downtime they will frequently work other jobs, but at a much more relaxed pace.

They have a strong attachment to their view of themselves as the “backbone” of the Fanseeth. They are the ones who provide the fundamental resources on which society is based. As such, they have a lot of pride in themselves and that identity.

Their view of:

  • Vordur: The highest bosses. The people they despise and/or want to be, depending.
  • Kappi: They are often the other side to what we do.
  • Bondi: They have no idea what life is really like, of course, and their lives are pretty cushy all things considered. Soft. That said, be polite to them, they can get things done and since they tend to stay in one spot they develop deep connections and provide the jobs you’ll need when you are off shift.
Written by: David H. Clements