Advanced Cultural Notes: The Ecotroz-Shemar and NeShemar Edit
The Ecotroz Spinster sighed and shut the nano-manipulator field down, shucking off bloody gloves as she turned, and tossed them into the disposal; she had tried her best. Even with her bionic constitution, she was tired, having worked around the clock at her efforts.
Eight of sixteen; not good, but not bad either. Of the sixteen brains pulled from the collected dead bodies pulled from the wrecked starship, only eight of them had proven viable enough to be successfully revived. The other eight had been too long dead, even with the stasis saving, or too badly gone to spark back to life under the influence of the nueronano. Working with organics was so tricky; a matter of minutes and those precious volatile chemical memory chains could be irretrievably corrupted and decayed. Working with hour-deceased organic bodies was pushing the limits of even Shemar technology and skill. So much easier when one was dealing with hardened microchips and crystal matrices.
The Spinster tiredly tapped off a command. The dead brains would be placed back with their respective bodies, then cremated by plasma. The Warrior Sisters would accord the innocents the final rituals before committing the ashes to the elements of the world they were currently orbiting.
The Spinster traced a pattern in the air herself, above the shrouded form on the operating slab as the lab robotics carried it away; May the Light Within and Without take you into its Embrace, little one, and drive all the dark terrors away from you. May the Goddess watch over you wherever your souls journey.
The Spinster then turned to the array of nanotanks, eight of which hummed with life. Within, she knew, eight bionic bodies were being skinned with cyberflesh, revived brains entwined with nueromesh sleeping as they awaited awakening into new lives. There were still hurtles ahead, the Spinster knew; organics were prone to all manner of psychological abnormalities, especially under duress and trauma. Even before they awoke, the eight new cyborgs would need careful monitoring of their mental functions to prevent any unfortunate mishaps.
At least we have eight new Little Sisters out of this all, the Spinster thought, looking at the bright side.
Eight young women in the prime of gynoid health padded into the room on bare feet, in single file, their bodies naked but for silver foil hip-wraps. The Reclaimed who had escorted them into the chamber quietly slipped back, leaving the NeShemar to face those who would test them.
For all their mature physical attributes, though, they moved with a hint of uncertainty, their faces showing a mix of puzzlement and worry. Even with the programming fed into their brains steadying them, the Warchieftainess watching the procession knew, these NeShemar were still new to their bodies, no more than an hour out of the gestation tanks and basic orientation. The silver antennae emerging from their temples quivered with nervousness and some self-consciousness of how little they really knew about themselves.
The bark of command brought the newlings to instant attention, though.
“Greetings, my little ones! Already, you have been taken in hand for the first moments of your new lives by the Healers and Nurturers, but here you are to be sorted as to your position in our clan! I shall not coddle you as the others have; you have not earned my affection nor my respect as yet, nor do I feel that your inexperience entitles you to further cozening! Our Shemar clan is strong not through softness and uncertainty, but through its aggressiveness and its determination! It is my role here to see who among you has the strength to keep us strong, and who is better suited elsewhere!
Drop the swaddling of your awakening! When you leave here, it will be either in the armor of a warrior, or in the robes of one of the other professions! Don the armor provided, and select your weapons!”
The armor is plastic and white and unadorned; without the flourishes and details that would mark a warrior’s personal armor, lovingly maintained and adorned with the scratches and dings of past combats, the paint and sigils of individual achievement, and the blazons of rank. Plain molded-plastic shields that might well be shipping container covers. Basic helmets, with openings for the Shemar antennae to fit through.
Likewise, the weapons are also simple, almost toylike. Clear plastic staffs, tipped with electro-prods, blunted zap-blades and throwing irons, and pulse-punch guns.
“For this exercise, you will be paired off with a companion, and given 2 minutes to fight to knockout. The victors of each match will face each other, until only one remains standing. The victor shall face ME.”
Several of the NeShemar newlings gulped nervously as they looked the tall, stern, belligerent-looking War Chieftainess up and down. Others in the line, though, narrowed their eyes and looked more resolute and determined.
The War-Chieftainess took note of those last ones as the newlings paired off. Yes, we may have some worthy ones among these, she thought, smiling inwardly.
While most ‘newborn’ Ecotroz-Shemar emerge from the Progen nanofacs fully cognizant of who they are, with names already, basic skills, and fully equipped, NeShemar are a slightly different problem. Because of the nature of NeShemar, being bionic convertees adopted into the ES tribes, many of them come with certain skills and experiences from their previous existences already intact (indeed, they may have been inducted BECAUSE of those special skills). However, many NeShemar come as the result of some traumatic injury that has necessitated their bionic conversion, and the EShemar often take advantage of this to partially or fully wipe the memories of the inductees, the better to secure their loyalty as they grow up inside the tribal structure, while preserving those skills and talents they know the individual had prior.
However, oft-times the Ecotroz come across individuals (typically younger people, severely injured in the course of a bandit, monster, or Splugorth raid and abandoned to their fate) that they know little of, prior to stumbling across them. While, in the case of male convertees, it’s a simple matter for the matriarchal EShemar to simply hand the male NeShemar over to their own males to be trained as support personnel and scavengers, for female convertees it can become somewhat difficult to find the appropriate place for them at first. The matriarchal Shemar see the place of a woman as on the battlefield first and foremost, but acknowledge that not all females have the spark of combat burn equally within them. While the Ecotroz have found ways to program the basic skill sets (at a first level of experience) into the partially mindwiped minds of new NeShemar, basic skill in weapons does not always a warrior make. In the case of such new female NeShemar, the ‘newborns’ are released from their cybergestation with only basic names and basic bionics; in particular any built-in weaponry is disabled (the arm implant lasing crystals removed), and given a series of trials and tests to determine their aptitudes and attitudes, and the best place for them in Ecotroz society. These trials, of course, include non-lethal combat; the NeShemar being given partial or light plastic armor without distinguishing marks, and set against each other or other opponents (including newborn Ecotroz) with plastic weaponry, including robo-stun weapons like Pulse-Punchers, to fight until knock-out. Those deemed to show promise as Warriors are then given their arm lase-crystals, additional combat implants, their own body armor, and given to the tutelage of veteran warriors. Others, depending on their demonstrated aptitudes, may find themselves apprenticed to a Spinster, Reclaimed, or Male Shemarrian (the last rarely, it’s seen as something of a disgrace by most female Shemarrians for a female, even a NeShemar, to be tutored in the basics by a Male) in a service role; mechanic, medic, technician, herds woman (including overseeing the dumber ‘beast’ robots), salvager, etc.
NeShemar are generally treated not so much as second-class citizens as much as rather disadvantaged relations. Not openly discriminated against, but it’s generally understood that that ‘true’ robotic Ecotroz Shemarrians are just better at certain things. NeShemar thus are expected to find fulfillment in second-echelon support roles; tending animals, scavenging salvage, taking care of camp, mending clothing and weapons, guarding less vital assets and rear areas in combat, and other roles that ’true warriors’ do not do (at least, not if they can get others to do it for them). However, there is some upward mobility; real achievers can rise to the service of prominent War Chiefs and Spinsters, and particularly adept soldier NeShemar can be accepted into the ranks of the Warriors for displaying combat prowess equal to, if not greater than, an Ecotroz Shemar. These NeShemar are acknowledged as having what it takes to stand beside their Ecotroz Sisters as equals. It is also not unknown for Shemar couples (female/female or female/male) to adopt one or two NeShemar and take a personal hand in training them personally, often alongside a Progen-born Ecotroz sibling, as opposed to the normal creche-training under a Warrior or Reclaimed.
Myrmidons are another form of NeShemar, although generally of a lower class than other NeShemar. They are robots with lower level A.I.s infected with the Ecotroz entity, such as labour robots, combat drones, etc.
Orseme are robotic NeShemar created from scratch and awakened with the Ecotroz fragment. First seen during the civil war as Tinkers created franken-cyborgs or androids to bolster their ranks before Progen was discovered or was wide spread.
Reanims are generally not counted as NeShemar, except in certain tribes. Reanims are those who are too far gone to be rescued and converted into cyborgs, and have AIs or even NIs implanted into them to create a cyborg from the deceased. The Lost Eclipse makes high use of them, sometimes operating among their various zombie-like drones. The fringe tribe Radiant Edge has been known to create Reanims in attempts to create living memorials to cultures that are destroyed by nuclear or similar type disasters.
Random NeShemar Selection Edit
“Wake up, dear.”
“Time to get up. You’ve slept long enough.”
“..urgh....au-auntie? AUNTIE PATRIKA?!”
“One and the same, dear Mariko.”
“Bu-bu-but, YOU’RE DEAD! The Liberty Space Platform! The explos-”
“’The reports of my death were greatly exaggerated’. As in your case.”
“W-what do you mean?!”
“What’s the last thing you remember, Mariko?”
“Huh? I was working in the corporate lab on the new SS10 A.I., activating its physical avatar...oh, something went wrong...it went berserk...it killed Doctor Barin and Sasha...and...and the security went online...and ...and I couldn’t get out! And the SS10 came...and...and...oh...”
”There, there. That’s the bad side of having total recall. The SS10 snapped your neck before going through the security grid anyway and leaving. Don’t worry; I had a few choice words with that stuck-up ##### and put it in its proper place for killing you!
The corporates would have just recycled your corpse but we got to you first. See, I’ve been keeping an eye on you, just as I promised your grandparents, and this seemed to me like a moment needing godparent intervention. But to answer your unspoken question, you are dead, like me, but you’re also alive, like me, courtesy of some good friends of mine.”
“You’ll get over the trauma soon enough. There’s so much for you to learn! And we can start by sitting you up!”
“...uh...urm...where are my clothes?...And am I....bigger?!”
“Hah! You’re fresh out of the cyberfab! Newborn! And yes, you’re bigger than you used to be! A lot tougher, too! Wait until we start activating your full spectral capabilities! You’ll be AMAZED!”
“I mean...I’m bigger....and, ah....curvier...”
“Yes, you are...oh, you mean...ah, well, the Cyberfabs do work a little like the Progen Chambers in reading patient’s minds on some level, as well as doing some random selection of traits, so it’s entirely possible it may have responded to to something it saw in you. But just you wait until you see what you’ve got INSIDE you...and don’t be put off by the antennae.”
”All in good time, dear. All part of the standard equipment. And I’m sure the Riders will probably upgrade you further. I’d really hoped you’d select out as a Wayfinder like me, but the Ghost Riders seem to feel you’re a better fit for them. Probably because you’re more into the number-crunching and networking realm instead of just general knowledge. You-”
“Wait! Please! Antennae!? ’Progen’?! ‘Standard equipment’?! ‘Upgrades’?! Ghost Riders?! Wayfinders?! You alive?! Me dead?!-!?-, -?!-, -?!-, -?!-”
“Oh dear, Mariko, you’re blanking out. Lie back down and I’ll start again at the beginning; see, there’s these people called the Shemarrians-”
Well, you gone and done bought the farm, but the fates have smiled (or the GM had a moment of weakness) and you’ve been given a second chance, courtesy of a passing Valkari who thought you had the potential to benefit the Shemarrian Nation, and decided to salvage your carcass for resurrection as a NeShemar. But which Tribe?
Roll or Choose Edit
You live to fly, and the sky’s no limit. Freedom is your life, your ambition, your ideal. You’ll work with others so that everybody can fly together. Your spirituality is alloyed with practicality, and your idealism tempered by your sense of reality. You enjoy watching the world from high above, taking it all in from the heights. Trying to keep you down is like trying to hold the wind, and when angered you strike with the implacable power of the tornado, or when you act with others, a hurricane. You fight like a hawk, or the wind; fast, hard and elusive.
(Common Alignments: Principled, Scrupulous)
09-16 DarkWaters Edit
You do not fear the darkness, be it the dark depths of the ocean or the eternal reaches of deep space. You do not fear falling or drowning, and great emptiness does not intimidate you. You are a team player, but you can become a universe unto yourself, even packed in a crowd. Your personal space may be as small as a closet, but your playground is the vastness of the ocean or of the universe. You may seem cold and impersonal when it comes to adult business, but you have the wonder and delight of a child when it comes to contemplating the cosmos. When you come into conflict with something, you bring your calm, rationality, and logic to the fight.
(Common Alignments: Principled, Scrupulous, Unpincipled)
17-26 Blood Riders Edit
Life is meant to be lived with PASSION, to the hilt, in the extreme. You’re always in motion, always testing your limits, pushing the envelope, living it up, and meeting every challenge head-on. Victory and glory go to the bold, and you don’t shy away from adversity. Some would say you’re an action junky or an adrenaline addict, but that’s when you know you’re truly ALIVE. You dance with danger, with fire, in fire, and on fire. Like fire you’re nearly impossible to hold, difficult to contain, and you burn hot. You’re loud and you’re wild and you love it.
(Common Alignments: Unprincipled, Anarchist, Miscreant)
27-36 Ghost Riders Edit
Nothing old is obsolete if you can use it, no story is forgotten if you can read it. You seek information, especially that which others would seek to hide from you. You like to search out others’ secrets, listen in on their lives, and revel in the cleanliness of data. Knowledge is power and you ride the lightning. You fight like a ninja, from the shadows, striking from unexpected directions, and you vanish behind the smoke just as fast. You shun the limelight, and you keep out of sight, but you enjoy pulling the strings behind the scenes and in being the power behind the throne, the person behind the curtains, the mysterious wizard behind Oz.
(Common Alignments: Unprincipled, Anarchist, Miscreant, Aberrant)
37-46 SkullCrushers Edit
Death holds no fear for you; only failing your friends and comrades, and of leaving the job undone. You wrestle with your personal demons daily, and you’re determined not to fall victim to your own weaknesses and frailties. You shoulder great burdens uncomplainingly when others do not or cannot. You are stoic and unyielding in the face of adversity, because external pressures are nothing compared to the pressure you place on yourself. Your legacy is to be that you did not give in to easy temptation, that you did not fail in the clutch. There’s nothing subtle about your tactics, and ‘overkill’ does not enter into your thinking; you get the job done, and that’s all that’s important. You fight not because you like it, but because it’s necessary, and because you’re good at it, but you also have to admit to yourself that you DO enjoy the rumble of the guns.
(Common Alignments: Scrupulous, Unprincipled, Aberrant )
47-56 HorrorWoods Edit
You’re happiest when you’re surrounded by life in all its forms. It’s not just yourself and your brothers and sisters that are alive and important, it’s the trees and the soil, the wind and the water. Nature is your teacher, and she’ll teach you a thousand ways to fight, survive, and prosper, and if you treat Nature right, she’ll share her bounty with you.You talk to the animals and the plants because they’ll fight for you and alongside you. Everything speaks and everything feels, and you can tap into that living network if you just open your soul and listen. You can hide in the biomass, find refuge and healing in the wild, and you’ll envelope your opponents in the green.
(Common Alignments: Unprincipled, Scrupulous, Anarchist)
57-66 Wolf’s Path Edit
Teamwork, teamwork, teamwork. You’re strongest when you work with others, even when you’re the lone wolf of the pack. You may not be able to fly, but you’re just as free running on the ground. You advance yourself by best serving the group; by challenging weak leadership and openly proving you’re the better person for the position. You kill only when and what you need to, and you strike quickly, precisely, and efficiently. Life may be tough, and nature red in tooth and claw, but nature is honest, and you appreciate it for that.
(Common Alignments: Scrupulous, Principled, Aberrant)
67-76 SilverMoon Edit
Life without honor is no life at all. You ascribe to lofty ideals and do your best to live up to them, however difficult that may be. You live your life to serve as a shining positive example to others. If that makes you a bigger target, so be it; your idealism is both sword and shield, and any beating you take only makes your mettle stronger. You’re bold and you’re showy, but you have the strength and the will to back up your bravado.
(Common Alignments: Principled, Scrupulous)
77-86 Sapphire Cobra Edit
You’re sensuous and mysterious, flexible and playful. You’ll bend and twist in every direction but remain true to a direction and course only you know and determine. You can cloak yourself in mystery, or drop your inhibitions like your clothing, at whim. You can be seductive, and you can be menacing, all within moments, and even at the same time. You can be beautiful and ugly, like the gleaming perfection of a poisonous snake. You can dance like the wind, then strike like the cobra, all in the same motion. You like screwing with others’ perceptions and preconceptions, and tweaking their propriety, especially if you can teach them a lesson in the process. But under the prankster and puzzler is a deadly serious soul with a predilection for danger, a nasty sense of humor, and a love of playing with poison.
(Common Alignments: Scrupulous, Anarchist, Aberrant)
Pursuit of knowledge, of the path less traveled, of exploration for exploration’s sake: that’s the Wayfinder way. You delight in discovery, of seeing the world in new ways, and of creating things marvelous with what you’ve learned. You live to indulge your curiousity, to go down that road you’ve noticed before but didn’t go down before. Sometimes that quest is fraught with danger, soaked with blood, or takes you into the heart of darkness, but those are risks you’re willing to take. You’re most dangerous when you’re thinking, because your knowledge and creativity are your greatest weapons, especially against those who are ignorant of your true capabilities.
(Common Alignments: Principled, Scrupulous, Unprincipled)
97-00 Nightmare/Lost Eclipse Edit
You know you’re different, strange, a stranger to your own. You also know that there’s a little bit of darkness in everybody that people are afraid of; in your case you’ve decided to embrace it. You like living in the shadows where others avoid going, and if anybody is unwise enough to follow you into the shadows, you’ll prove to them why it’s a good idea to be afraid of the dark. And seeing in darkness, you can see truths others are too blind to see, menaces they cannot see in the glare of the light. You’ll protect them from such dangers, even though you won’t be thanked (not that you seek thanks in any case). You fight dirty because you have to; against the enemies you fight there are no such things as half-measures, honor, or mercy. If and when you DO spare your opponents, you make damn sure to mark them with a lesson that they’ll not soon forget, that will remind them not to ever mess with you.
(Common Alignments: Unprincipled, Anarchist, Aberrant)
Random Fringe Tribe Revival (Choose or Random Roll) Edit
Hey, who sez you have to join (or be found and adopted by) one of the Eleven Tribes? Join the Fringe! Seriously, the Fringe Tribes are even more eager to recruit up their numbers and are looking for a few new good members to bolster their enrollment.
01-05 The Lollipops Edit
You don’t wanna grow up, you wanna just play, you wanna be a Lollipop. You’re hopelessly immature , or maybe persistently innocent. But remember, children can be so cruel sometimes.
06-10 The SkyeKlad Edit
Throw off the straitjackets of conformity and clothing and be free!!!! You’re proud of your body and not afraid to show it off! You’re also very confident and unafraid of the world so much so that you’re not going to hide behind concealing heavy armor.
11-15 Ghezo Guards Edit
It’s a man’s world and your masculinity demands reassurance by going out and being the best badass you can.
16-20 The IronHearts Edit
You don’t want to be constrained by a short lifespan that cuts you off just as you’re learning to truly LIVE. You don’t want to be the candle that burns brightly for a short time, you want to be the Eternal Flame!
21-25 Clan Pantheron Edit
Does it really need to be said again? Yes. Cats are incredible.
26-30 Clan Motron Edit
Hey, evolution has brought us the wheel, quit it with the beasts of burden already! Putting the rubber to the road and the pedal to the metal is what life is all about!
31-35 Clan Megalith Edit
You find mystery and beauty in the truly massive. You’re turned on by BIG Metal and epic scales.
36-40 Clan Immensis Edit
Big is Beautiful and you have so much of yourself to share.
41-45 Clan Shinden Edit
Love that East Asian culture; ancient traditions and cutting edge modernity. You feel equally at home going through the motions of ancient samurai swordsmanship with a plasma blade or conducting martial arts kata interfaced with a giant robot.
46-50 Clan Shelley Edit
Because you wish it was Halloween all the time.
51-55 Thousand Dragons Edit
Dragons are Cool! ‘nuff said.
56-60 Clan Armorand Edit
It’s you and yours against the world. You like being part of the Wall and Shield that protects against the evils of the universe.
61-65 Clan Vespa Edit
Bugs are fascinating! And so very beautiful! Insects are Nature’s original mecha, and you just love studying and learning from them. Having many of their powers and features would be just so cool! And being part of a communal organism ain’t bad either; never being truly alone is a plus in your book.
66-70 The Radiant Edge Edit
You’re drawn to tragedy and disaster, either to try to salvage something good from the ruins, or to preserve what remains as a memorial to what was lost.
71-75 The IceFlames Edit
You run hot and cold, and you’re not happy with a comfortable temperate medium. You prefer extremes, and you’re likely given to wild mood swings.
76-80 The Steel Gaians Edit
You’re an engineer at heart, and you like taking other people’s stuff and improving on it, or at least finding new uses for it. You’re not into flash for flash’s sake, and you’d be happy driving a drab, military-surplus, utility vehicle as long as it WORKS.
81-85 The Obsidian Dawn Edit
You hate vermin, you hate disease-carrying, filth-spreading, ever-encroaching vermin, and you especially hate those that are bold enough to attack and eat sentient beings.
86-90 Clan Scelptor Edit
Because you live to create, to mold, to shape, and you see the whole universe as your canvas, your clay, and your studio.
91-95 The FlameWings Edit
Creation requires destruction, and you are the instrument that clears the way for the former. Enemies must be destroyed, completely, totally, and the slate swept clean. You believe in total war, no quarter, no mercy, no end.
96-97 Clan Alecia Edit
Why not the best? You idolize over-achievers, or at least people who are Big, Loud, and OUTRAGEOUS, no matter how ridiculous or implausible.
You’re into the whole cyberpunk thing so hard, and you believe in the merging of Man and Machine as just the first step to the Singularity.