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 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.

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 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

Fanseeth Economics

The Fanseeth use a representative currency. You may have a slip of paper, but what gives that slip of paper value is the fact that it is backed by something more concrete, and could be exchanged for some backing commodity at any time.

There are two different economic units of account that can be freely exchanged for fixed amounts of what they represent. Those two units are the Kilocalorie (kcal, usually stored in either a mechanical or chemical battery or in the form of glucose) and the Gram of Gold (gg, exchanged as coins or as bars for larger quantities).

Kilocalories are (usually) represented by a paper currency); gold is generally represented by coins of (usually) non-precious metals or other forms of physical token.

In day-to-day transactions, especially those involving a transient good—going out to a restaurant, by way of example, or finding fuel for a spacecraft—the kcal reigns supreme and is widely used as a base unit of currency. Most people with jobs are paid by their companies in kcal for their salary.

Grams of Gold are considered a long-term, more stable unit of value. Often when purchasing non-transient goods (e.g., a chair, a ship) the payment will be in in gg. If a job offers a retirement plan, it is often in gg.

At least, all of that is the theory. Government policies are implemented around this assumption, after all, so it has to be at least somewhat true. Right?

Economics and Culture

By and large, kappi and hakal work almost entirely in kcal currency and will do so even for more permanent goods. They often end up not owning their homes in a classical sense, since it is easier to rent when your income is in kcal.

Vordur are the opposite of this in a lot of ways, storing generational wealth in gg which they frequently pass down. Even when they don’t have a lot of gg, this is how they tend to measure their own wealth.

Bondi follow the intended pattern as closely as any group. They tend to have long-term wealth which gets converted into housing and used for retirement. Then hopefully there’s some left over to give to their children or to use to invest in their child’s education.

Conversion

There’s a conversion rate between gg and kcal, but it fluctuates over time. We’ll have the exact exchange for the Fanseeth prequel event up in early January. In common practice, gg can always be exchanged for kcal, but the reverse is not always true.

It is theoretically true that you can reverse the transaction, but that requires a buyer and access to the exchange markets to make the sale. A lot of groups who are willing to do the currency conversion from kcal to gg similarly take a small cut as a handling fee for their difficulty in managing it on the monetary markets.

Representation in Game

For the most part we are going to be giving out kcal currency for this game in the form of paper scrip. You can also feel free to print your own if you think you’ll need or want more. But, if you want to bring gg into game: bring any non real-world metal coins that you want to use. Our standard will be the sort that you commonly see sold for, e.g., Stonemaier games and metal doubloons meant to represent pirate treasure, but any coin will do (be aware that if you acquire ones for ongoing games they probably aren’t going to be legal to spend in those games after trading them here).

But fundamentally that is more to throw around and make an impression. Every good or service sold by NPCs in the Fanseeth game in January will be available for kcal.

Written by: David H. Clements

Fanseeth: Clades, Class, Career, and Culture

This document is a bit of a miscellany of some of the elements of the Fanseeth that contribute to their culture.

Clades

Clades represent groups of people who live in the same habitat on a moon or the same area of one habitat on a station. They are the towns or (more rarely) the cities of the Fanseeth.

Miners and pilots in particular will frequently have jobs that take them away from their clades for stints of time, but they will return to their clades between their jobs (e.g., a miner goes out to a moon for some significant period of time, then has a significant period of time off).

Clades are usually pretty mixed groups. There will usually be a small segment of each of the four predominant cultures in every clade, though how much that matters will change.

For example: A vordur politician living in a clade of mostly miners may be looked down upon by other vordur, but they still have the political connections. They still will likely send their child to a more vordur-centric group for education and friendship-building.

Class Mobility

Class mobility technically exists among the Fanseeth, and there are no rules that prevent, for example, a hakal miner from being elected to the position of Warden.

But it isn’t that simple.

The four predominant cultures of the Fanseeth are strongly tied to the socioeconomic class of the group. They represent who you “rub elbows” with. Which parties you get invited to. Which schools you attend.

Even if you can change your economic situation, it’s hard to develop the connections of someone who was born in that group. Someone who loses their money still has a network of connections and will often make significant sacrifices to ensure that their children maintain those friendships. It can take generations to fully move between two different groups.

There are significant cultural forces in play that make this movement difficult—in both directions. It’s hard to learn everything you need to know about mining on the job if you didn’t grow up around it. It is difficult to know the ins-and-outs of a political system if you weren’t raised among people who are fairly political.

But it absolutely can happen.

Theoretically.

Careers and Other Jobs

As mentioned in the section on class mobility, there’s nothing really that prevents someone from one group from doing jobs commonly associated with one of the other groups, and it even happens. A bondi family that is hard on their luck ends up with one of their children becoming resource harvesters. A vordur child has a large inheritance coming eventually and wants to spend some time to “find themselves” so spends it doing odd jobs aboard ships and then goes back and writes a book about the experience.

In general, however, you see people of the cultural groups in the jobs that are associated with the groups.

So usually a pilot will be a member of the Kappi. But that kappi pilot likely has a family that includes younger members who are doing odd jobs to learn the ropes or working as mechanics aboard ships or for different clades.

A high level bureaucrat is probably a member of the Bondi, but their family (and indeed, their own history) likely includes everything from janitorial work to selling tickets for liners to tour the moons.

These “lower level” jobs are also where you find the most mobility between the groups. It is very hard to become a pilot without the correct set of connections and experiences, but working on a moon liner in some role is a relatively straightforward proposition.

In general, however:

  • Vordur will do a lot of managerial jobs at different levels of prestige. They will work as marketing directors for corporations, entrepreneurs finding new creative ways to invest money, and other such things. When younger it is pretty common to see them apprenticing to higher level vordur and doing a lot of odd jobs for them.
  • Kappi do a lot of jobs associated with ships and shipping. Everything from logistical planning to cleaning ships to mechanic work to piloting.
  • Hakal are often associated with mining, but they’ll also do a lot of the work related to resource extraction and preparation. Extracting metal from the ores or purifying gasses to be used, and maintaining the equipment used for these tasks.
  • Bondi fill in the gaps inside of the clades. They are farmers, craftsmen, programmers, and frequently low-level executives at companies.
Written by: David H. Clements

Fanseeth: Knife Fighting

There have been a lot of diffusion of knifefighting styles among the Fanseeth over the ages, so you’ll find every style among every group in different degrees. These usually also involve arguments about what each version does or does not show, or how much it represents reality, or how it isn’t supposed to represent reality, whether and to what degree it can be used to settle disputes, whether it is a reasonable way to spend one’s time, or any number of heated debates on the dueling traditions (and if it gets heated enough, the debate itself can lead to a duel).

Most children among the Fanseeth grow up with a least a passive knowledge of knifework, though how much they’ve actually practiced varies widely.

Thrusting is usually frowned upon for these styles, since it is so often highly lethal when done with an actual knife.

There are four primary arts used in duels, but each has a lot of individual variations: Gisal, Takni, Jasha, and Bowwi.

(Note to players: These are starting places only. Feel free to add, subtract, multiply, or divide as needed for your play preferences. If you want to engage in knife-fighting at the upcoming Fanseeth event, please review the knifefighting mechanics for The Darkest Space.)

Gisal — The Tournament

This style is popular for entertainment and for betting. It originated as a spectator sport for the Vordur, but now all of the cultures enjoy a good Gisal match. It is among the oldest arts found among the Fanseeth, but has evolved significantly over time.

An area is cordoned off on the floor, stepping outside of that area is a loss of the round. All cuts to critical spots (defined as inside of the arms or legs—but not the outside—along with any cuts to the torso) are considered “points” and after each point the participants reset to opposite sides of the field.

Usually done to a best-of-n-rounds, though sometimes different values of points are awarded for each area, and instead of stopping to reset, they continue fighting until that number of points is reached.

Betting is frowned upon in polite company but is perfectly legal and very, very commonly practiced.

Takni — The Academic Art

A common sport among young, educated Vordur that have a lot of money and not a lot of sense, the goal of this fighting is to lay a small, shallow cut with a specially modified knife along the deltoid (most commonly) of the other person. It is widely practiced in schools, sometimes with official sanction (the Fanseeth equivalent of a gym class). In this style it is very common to use a cloak or half-cape in one’s other hand, which is used to bind the opponents knife for a more effective cut.

This cut will sometimes be encouraged by the recipient to scar over, resulting in what is called a “smite” which may be displayed. These are often considered a mark of honor, at least among participants.

The art is studied heavily and treatise on the proper way to engage in it have been evaluated in depth.

Jasha — The Dance

In the early days of Fanseeth, knives were forbidden to prisoners. Additionally, before the advent of safer blades and more sport-like versions, fighting in general was considered a waste of resources.

In this style two opponents move at a roughly equivalent speed, working to match speeds with one another while they make cuts and thrusts at the other person, never actually landing the blow.

The goal is to make an attack on the other person that the person acknowledges as having gotten past their guard.

Almost never done for tournaments, this form is almost exclusively practiced by the Hakal and in mining-focused clades.

Bowwi — Settling Disputes

Based on an old legend from the origins of the Fanseeth, this is a form of duel that arose as a way to rapidly settle disputes between clades and is still widely used for dispute arrangements, especially friendly ones. It’s also frequently used as a legal resolution to difficult problems between clades that don’t want to get a higher level of government involved.

Two fighters either clasp hands or hold on to a piece of cloth and then attempt to land a designated number of cuts (or touches, or whatever equivalent) on the opponent.

These cuts are usually limited in where they can be landed—never on the arms that are bound, nor on the leg on that side—and is often fought with each fighter’s primary hands being so bound, leaving the blade in their off hands.

Written by: David H. Clements

Fanseeth: Religion

The Fanseeth’s religion is tied very much to the place and the people. It is tied heavily into the moons they inhabit and to the history of the Fanseeth. They also have a lot of rituals, usually administered by a lay-priest (someone who is a member of the population at large who has chosen to administer the rituals) but sometimes by people for whom that is their full profession. This collection of beliefs, rituals, and practices is called Vaettirveg by non-Fanseeth scholars, but for the Fanseeth, it’s just the way things are.

Every individual clade and moon will have their own specific regional spirits and structure. Everything is viewed to have a spirit, called a vaettir: every ship (skipvaettir), every station (starvaettir), every moon (tangvaettir), every mountain on that moon (landvaettir). Some of those vaettir are called Light or Dark, but in truth all of them are viewed to be entities with their own agendas, and none can be considered wholly good or wholly evil. Many are also thought to have both Light and Dark aspects: what they give in one hand, they take away in the other, for good or for ill.

Each clade or group will give offerings to the vaettir in their own way, with the most common offerings being of cool, clean water. They are most frequently offered to the vaettir—who then consumes the essence of the thing—and then consumed by the offering parties (assuming that the thing being offered is something that can be eaten), who partake of the physical essence of the thing. Nothing is wasted, nothing is lost.

Vaettir

Vaettir—no matter their aspects—should not be viewed as wholly light or wholly dark, but rather as beings of varying complexity with agendas of their own. They are often said to embody the spirit of whatever it is they represent, which may be very simple or very complex in its nature.

It isn’t entirely certain to any observer or practitioner whether the vaetter actually exist in a literal, tangible sense, but they are widely accepted to exist in some psychic or spiritual form, and rituals to honor and placate are deeply woven into the Fanseeth culture. For example:

  • Offerings and prayers are given before an expedition is undertaken and again when it comes to a conclusion.
  • Public ceremonies mark events of public importance (everything from elections to births) and also mark out the Fanseeth concept of a year, providing a shared community and continuity of culture.
  • It is generally viewed that the Vaettir will hear statements and may take them as a challenge, and so better to soothe things over with offerings (the way in United States culture we “knock on wood”).

Light and Dark

Light and Dark are important aspects to the Vaettir. A Light Vaettir embodies the principles of light, heat, and warmth. A Dark vaettir is associated with cold, darkness, and death. Most vaettir are categorized into one or the other, but some—especially greater vaettir (more on that in a moment)—may embody both principles in what are called “aspects.”

While in general life is associated with life and darkness with death, it is important to remember that heat can kill. Light can sear. Coolness and even death can be a blessing. To the Fanseeth, these are inherent traits rather than moral judgements.

While these forces work against each other and the Light vaettir tend to be more friendly to the survival of the Fanseeth people than the Dark vaettir, balance is always necessary and both aspects are necessary.

Ancestor Veneration

The Fanseeth do not practice ancestor veneration in the same way as, say, the Children of Earth do, and there is nothing in Fanseeth practice that would be considered in the same genre.

Pantheon

There are a few vaettir who could be thought of as deities to the Fanseeth. These can be thought of as the vaettir of concepts and are referred to as Greater Vaettir.

Some of the major and widely recognized ones are:

Kanshar, Lady of the Rulers

Lady of the Rulers. Guider of the Wardens. Protector of the People. She is considered to be a severe deity who is called upon in times of hard decisions. When survival is on the line and each decision may be life or death, she is frequently given offerings. She is also the one called upon in the election of a new Warden. Offerings are usually purified water and the meals eaten before decisions are made.

Her light and dark aspects are extreme, but she is generally portrayed as being between the light and the darkness.

Feix, Keeper of Spaces

Keeper of Spaces. Ey guard hearth and home, providing shelter and refuge for those who are accused or those who are hard on their luck. Ey watch over births and deaths and all familial or in-clade disputes. Ey also are said to protect the doors of the clades, keeping out unwelcome elements and influences. Eir domain also extends to sex, protecting children, and are said to love music and dance.

Ey are usually portrayed in their light aspect; eir dark aspect is about barricaded doors, protective shields, and keeping out undesireable elements. The dark aspect is usually only taught as part of an esoteric tradition that few practice.

Shenwa, Guide of the Dead

Ruler of the Passage, Devourer of Corpses. He takes as an offering the essence of bodies before they are reprocessed. Said to love the scent of tree resin, he is particularly drawn to the smell of myrrh. Also the Lord of the Outcasts, he ensures those who are lost to the community are not wasted and is called upon for guidance by those who have been outcast from their clade.

Usually portrayed in a dark aspect, his light aspect focuses on new growth from decay from the recycling of the physical body and its spirit.

Written by: David H. Clements