Mindjammer 2nd edition sneak preview: The Chembu and the Planetary Intelligence
I’m deep down in the New Commonality of Humankind this month, doing the final write-through of the upcoming Mindjammer 2nd edition RPG, due out spring 2013 and using the new Fate Core rules. I mentioned late last year I’d try to post updates and peeks – so here’s a look at the character creation guide for the hominid genotype the Chembu, the genurgic enhancement specialists of the Commonality (you may recognise them from General Ulgus in the Mindjammer novel). I hope you like it – and of course there’s lots more to come in the bumper 300-page hardback in a few months!
HOMINIDS (HOMO VARIENS)
Hominids derive from human stock which through genurgy or genetic drift have become separate sub-species. Some are far removed from their human ancestors. Four hominid species — the Chembu, Javawayn, Hydragand-Dezimeer, and the Viri — are presented below; you can find others in Chapter 17: Alien Life and Chapter 20: The Darradine Rim.
Base Cost: 3 aspects, 1 stunt
The Chembu are genurgists — specialists in genurgic enhancement — and the managers of the Chembu Genurgy Corporacy (page XX). Their homeworld is a water-world inhabited by a bizarre organic global mindscape-analog, which welcomed the original colonists (after some horrific initial misunderstandings) into its “mass mind”. Known as the “Planetary Intelligence” or just “Chembu”, it’s connected to the Mindscape, although its thoughts are too alien for most people.
Before the colonists’ arrival, the Planetary Intelligence lived by genurgically modifying its environment; the Chembu hominids now have a symbiotic relationship with it, a phenomenon with significant philosophical ramifications. It has sensory, communication, and manipulative organs best described as “psionic”, whose powers the Chembu have been unable to replicate.
The Chembu themselves are genurgically-enhanced waterworld dwellers (see “Genurgic Enhancements” on page XX). They appear “streamlined”, with hairless, dolphin-like skin, lungs and gills, and other modifications. When creating a Chembu character, you may use your character aspects, skills, and stunts to buy genurgic enhancements as well as your extras budget.
|Apparent Age:||Mature adult|
|Typical Occupations:||Corporacy Mercantilist, Diplomat, Genurgist|
|Typical Enhancements:||Extended Lifespan|
|Mandatory Extras:||Gills, Mindscape Implant|
|Flaw:||Weakness to hot, dry conditions|
You must take at least 1 of these.
Commune with the Planetary Intelligence
Chembu is Mother, Chembu is Father, Chembu is All. No human can understand the all-encompassing love that is the commune with the Planetary Intelligence.
- Invoke: To succeed at a recovery obstacle for a consequence caused by mental stress; resist coercion or intimidation; gain knowledge which may be known by the Planetary Intelligence (similar to Mindscape exomemory — see page XX).
- Compel: To be lost or susceptible to coercion or suggestion when out of contact with the Planetary Intelligence; be lost within or distracted by the massmind of the Planetary Intelligence.
The Individual is Nothing: the Group Mind is All
You may look like an individual, but in many ways you’re not. There is only one Chembu.
- Invoke: To gain strength from the knowledge that you’re not alone; share knowledge, feelings, perceptions; communicate effortlessly with Chembu.
- Compel: To have difficulty understanding individualism; act counter to your own individual interests if it benefits Chembu; be distracted by the Group Mind.
Nature is to be Improved Upon!
The Planetary Intelligence improved you; now it is your mission to improve the cosmos, one being at a time.
- Invoke: To find and take advantage of flaws in a naturally evolved being; gain a bonus when creating, understanding, implementing, or repairing a genurgic enhancement.
- Compel: To act superior to lesser beings; stumble upon a flaw in yourself; point out a flaw in others, or attempt to fix it.
The Planetary Intelligence
The Planetary Intelligence is perhaps the most remarkable being ever encountered by humankind. The biosphere of the world of Chembu exhibits emergent properties which aren’t reducible to its constituent organisms; in effect, the whole planet is a single organism, alive and conscious in ways which its constituents — including the genurgically modified Chembu hominids — aren’t able to comprehend.
All organisms on Chembu appear to be attuned to the emergence and maintenance of the Planetary Intelligence — in essence, every plant, every animal-analog, acts as though it was an organ or computing constituent contributing to the Intelligence’s whole. Commonality scientists theorise that’s exactly what they are — that, at some point in the distant past, the predecessors of the Planetary Intelligence reconfigured all the life forms on their planet to act as nanomachine assemblies, giving birth to a single, planetwide organism.
The Chembu aren’t the only “children” of the Planetary Intelligence. Since First Contact, the Planetary Intelligence has worked with the Commonality to create the Bioship Fleet — interstellar vessels comprising mechanical components mixed with organic material hybridised from mixed human and Chembu stock.
The Chembu bioships are amongst the biggest of the Commonality’s citizens: vast cyborg bio-mechanical starships, the oldest can be as much as ten kilometres long. The first bioship, with an incept date of 244/77, is Planet Seed 1; now over 115 years old, it’s 10.5 kilometres from end to end, and still growing…
That’s all for now – more to come! Let me know what you think – and fire away if you have any questions.
Sarah 🙂 x