Your mind is software. Program it. Your body is a shell. Change it. Death is a disease. Cure it. Extinction is approaching. Fight it.
Humanity stood on the cusp of a new age, with accelerated technological growth converging toward a singularity point, promising an undreamt-of future. Despite the ecopocalypse and social upheavals on Earth, humanity had conquered the solar system and partially terraformed Mars. Advancements in biotechnology, nanotechnology, artificial intelligence, and cognitive science transformed our lives. Everyone was wirelessly networked with the world around them, AIs processed vast amounts of information, and nano-fabrication enables people to print complex devices on the molecular level at home. Biotechnology allowed people to genefix, enhance, and clone their bodies, while others pursued body modifications to adapt to new environments or make themselves into something no longer quite human. People's minds and memories could be digitized, uploaded, transferred over long distances, and downloaded into new bodies (biological or synthetic). Death had been defeated... for those who can afford it.From within, disaster struck. Transhumanity reaped the rewards of its arrogance when conflict spiked between the battered nations of Earth, already weakened by decades of climate catastrophes and other disruptive factors. Rampant netwars soon exploded into physical conflicts with spiraling body counts. In the midst of these aggressions, a group of military AIs known as TITANs quietly achieved full sentience and autonomy, and rapidly began exponentially incrementing their own intellectual growth. The AIs spawned by this hard-takeoff singularity quickly turned against transhumanity, enveloping the system in unprecedented levels of violence, disaster, and warfare. What began as a whirlwind of conflict between political factions, revolutionaries, and hypercorps soon escalated into a struggle between man and machine.In just a few years, transhumanity was nearly wiped out with nuclear strikes, biowarfare plagues, destructive nanoswarms, infowar attacks, mass uploads, and other unexplained singularity events, ripping the superpowers of old to pieces. Our planetary home—Earth—was transformed into a toxic and strange hellhole, while many major habitats were left frozen sarcophagi in the vacuum of space. Just as quickly as they came, the TITANs disappeared, taking millions of uploaded minds with them, leaving behind a network of wormhole gateways. Known as Pandora Gates, these poorly-understood devices allow instantaneous teleportation to distant star systems... often one-way and/or fatal. Though only a handful of Pandora Gates are known to exist—each highly contested—the foolish, brave, curious, and desperate are already risking certain death to enter and explore what lies beyond.In the aftermath of the Fall, transhumanity lives on, divided into a patchwork of hypercorp combines, survivalist stations, transhuman faction species, and city-state habitats. Under the oppressive police states of immortal inner-system oligarchies, advanced technologies remain highly restricted, and refugee infomorphs are held in virtual slavery or resleeved in robotic bodies and forced into indentured labor. In the outer system, rebel transhuman scientists and techno-anarchists struggle to maintain a new society?from each according to their imagination and to each according to their need. And on the fringes and in the niches lurk networked tribes of political extremists, religious fanatics, criminal entrepeneurs, and bizarre posthumans, among other, stranger, and more alien things ...Though most claim the Fall was carefully orchestrated by the out-of-control TITANs, others whisper that the driving powers behind the wars—both AI and transhuman—were infected by a mutating virus with multiple infection vectors—biological, information, nano—dubbed the Exsurgent virus. Whatever its source, this virus has been known to sometimes transform its victims into something unexplainable ... something monstrous and reality-altering. Whatever the truth, the remnants of the TITANs and this virus were left to the desolated ruins or driven to the edges of the system, where they remain hidden away in dark corners, quietly waiting to infect the minds of the scavengers and explorers who find them....This game is brought to you by Posthuman Studios. The three editors/writers/founders buy into some of the post-classical economic thinking seen in the setting; books are published under the Creative Commons license, and their website's forum is used as a hive mind to collect ideas and features to be used in the book.So far, they have released the following:
And, on the other side of the coin The Prometheans.
It's mentioned that playable AIs are engineered without the limitless potential of the early designs, to prevent this sort of thing from happening again.
Alien Geometries: The Pandora Gates. No one knows how they work, but that doesn't stop the various corporations from constantly sending people in. It is stated that the bizarre geometries of said gates might cause dizziness or nausea in people, and that some of the gates' borders are encased with normal structures to keep it looking safe.
The TITANs have a thing for fractals. Their structures almost universally employ them and several of their nanoviri and nanoswarms will twist anything they contact into them. Exactly why they love fractals so much remains a mystery.
Alien Kudzu: The blue forest on the exoplanet Bluewood is a relatively harmless example — as long as nobody pisses it off, that is.
Also, given the different rotational and revolutionary speeds of planets, calendars are different on a month-by-month basis. A detailed description of Mars' 668-day year is given.
Based on the orbital positions of the planets in the core book the year is somewhere in the 2150-90 range.
The Alternet: The Mesh is a wireless mesh network that employs post-Singularity technology in order to make routers unnecessary for anything less than interplanetary communication.
Amazon Brigade: Furies are genetically engineered supersoldiers (well, bodies for supersoldiers, anyway). It was discovered that their brains being designed for combat made them all overly aggressive and wild, so to balance these tendencies they are only produced as biologically female.
And I Must Scream: All sorts of chilling stuff can happen to you if your Ego (ie, your conciousness) ends up in the wrong hands. For example the Ultimates are rumored to download indentured infomorphs into deaf, visually limited flats with no AR implants.
There's a gangster on Titan who is rumored to have a tank full of cyberbrained koi hosting the egos of her enemies.
Artificial Human: In flavours ranging from "AI in a human body" to "uplifted squid".
Asteroid Miners: With most of them mining in the Main Belt between Mars and Jupiter.
Attack Drone: That rips off your head and uploads your mind into a computer.
Augmented Reality: So prevalent that going without it, even for a short time, can make people think you've gone crazy.
Author Tract: Almost everything about the Anarchists, though they try to give all factions a fair shake.
Auto Kitchen: Specialized nanofabricators called "makers". Cheap ones only extrude nutrient gels and ration bars, while the more expensive kind produce stuff that may be recognized as "food".
Banana Republic: The Jovian Republic is essentially a Banana Republic IN SPACE, and is consistently portrayed as the least sympathetic of the major factions. Most people refer to it as the "Jovian Junta" instead of its official title.
Benevolent Conspiracy: Firewall, their extreme methods aside their sole goal is the survival of transhumanity.
Big Brother Is Watching: Everybody who has time and interest to do so can watch someone else, at least outside the Jovian Junta, thanks to the advances in technology and the cultural shifts about privacy resulting in surveillance from the bottom (sousveillance).
Black and Gray Morality: Even Firewall, the people who are protecting transhumanity, sometimes kill thousands of people at once to let everyone else live. Borders on Blue and Orange Morality in that 'will you sacrifice X human lives to save Y' becomes an even more complex question than it normally is in a setting where death is often temporary.
Blue and Orange Morality: The Factors and their goals are almost incomprehensible to transhumanity. Certain groups of Transhumanity are also starting to go this way.
The ETI and the Exsurgent virus, whose agendas are completely unknown and alien to us humans, but so far seem quite evil. May even dip into Omniscient Morality License territory, depending on how the GM interprets their motives.
Body Backup Drive: Borrows the cortical stack concept from the Takeshi Kovacs series and externally stored "backups" are part of most insurance policies (instead of being exclusive to the wealthy).
Body Horror: What some strains of the Exsurgent virus do to you.
Mind Rape: What all strains of the Exsurgent virus do to you.
Body Surf: Common and relatively safe, not to mention being the most efficient method of traveling between habitats and planets.
Centrifugal Gravity: The only source of "Artificial Gravity" in the setting. Most of the larger habitats are toruses or O'Neill cylinders. Though in many habitats and ships they don't even bother with gravity since basic biomods counteract the degenerative effects of micrograv.
Clever Crows: Ravens and crows are among the avian species that were uplifted, though they share the same "neo-avian" stats as the more common parrots.
Cloning Blues: Clones have to be grown and are not instantly the age of the original (an aversion of the cliche "instant clone"), but modern age acceleration systems reduce what would require 20 years to a mere 3 (which almost makes it played straight). In most cases, they are mindless bodies intended to be used as spares by the original (another aversion from the cliche "same mind"), but a person's mind could theoretically be forked and placed in the new body, causing two of the same person to exist (which plays it straight). Finally, forks generally have far less rights, and are treated as lesser beings, by most legal entities (playing the trope straight).
Project Futura tried to accelerate the growth of its clones' minds (by time dilation and virtual reality) to replace the population lost during the Fall, but accidents happened and the project was called off, leaving a bunch of specimens with mental problems.
A number of habitats, both of the "religious retreat from the start" variety and the "developed into a cult of personality" variety.
MeatHab has attracted a cult of worshippers who live inside it. The intelligence running the Meat is having fun messing with them by undermining their leader.
Death Is Expensive: Thanks to mental uploading, personality backups, and cortical stacks, most people are able to simply "resleeve" if their body is killed. However, there are costs involved (both mental/spiritual and economic), and with so many indentured infomorphs waiting to be resleeved, bodies are a moderately scarce and valuable commodity.
Death World: Earth. Despite being host to an army of robots (some of which rip off your head and upload 'you' into a computer) that the TITANs left behind, many people are still trying to scavenge from it. And there are a number of other death worlds visited through the gates:
Droplet: Six-meter crabs, the colonists are required to carry weapons.
Echo IV: Known for its aggressive megafauna.
Nott: Frozen ice ball, in addition there is something out there killing people, possibly living possibly not.
Solemn: has a bacteria that eats metal, major problem considering how many transhumans are partially or fully synthetic.
Tanaka: inhabited by ambulatory pseudo-fungi that attack anyone who comes through the gate.
Digital Piracy Is Okay: Both the opinion of the writers and the Autonomists in universe. Individual Autonomist colonies tend to have a problem with their own members knocking off their own designs, but they expect that their stuff will be pirated within a few months by other people.
Digital Piracy Is Evil: The hypercorps and Jupiter take a very hard line against copyright infringement, since independent and open-source fabrication would destroy the society that they're built on.
Easy Sex Change: Even discounting resleeving in a male or female body, you can use a healing vat to do it (and about a day is sunk into the procedure), or you can get an implant which allows you to change sex at will (and though this takes about a week, you're conscious and unhindered for the process). Androgyny and hermaphrodism are options in both cases. Note that gender identity tends to be less mutable, and that people generally identify as male, female, or neuter regardless of what sexual organs they're wearing at the moment.
Electronic Telepathy: A standard feature of mesh inserts. Usually indicated in the fiction by colored text in brackets.
Empathy Pet: Somewhere between this and Imaginary Friend, muses are AI programs granted to virtually all children as an assistant intended to stay with them for the rest of their lives. Their personalities change to best suit their owner's desires, and they do many menial tasks for them... all while existing inside their owner's mesh inserts.
The End of the World as We Know It: Also known as "The Fall". The Earth was completely decimated 10 years before the start of the setting, leaving killsats, nanobot swarms and head-hunting bugs to greet anyone who is brave (or stupid, or flat-out insane) enough to go back.
Everybody Smokes: In big-league hypercorp circles, chain-smoking is virtually mandatory. People are fully aware of the health risks, but that's the point. A truly rich executive can just buy a new morph whenever the last one succumbs to lung cancer.
Everything Is An iPod In The Future: Nanotechnology and future materials, combined with the ever-increasing demand of future transhumans for ever-increasing comfort and ease of use (as well as the necessity for every item to be usable by a variety of different morphs in a variety of different environments) means that just about anything that isn't a weapon, a suit of armor, or implanted into your body is a palm sized, smooth, cream-colored ovoid with little glowy bits instead of buttons (assuming it isn't controlled wirelessly by the computer in your brain). These little iPods are virtually weightless and indestructible, never malfunction, never need a recharge, clean and repair themselves, can easily be attached to any surface (so they won't go floating around in your microgravity bedroom) and are usually controlled by a friendly internal AI. Some people refer to such devices as "blobjects".
Everything Is Online: Played mostly straight. Virtually every piece of tech can be controlled remotely and/or mentally using an ecto (Hard Light-esque physical interfaces) or mesh inserts (brain-implanted PC).
Notably averted by the Jovians, who intentionally maintain a labyrinthine mess of physical wires and analog security to keep their stations offline, effectively immunizing them to the cyberwarfare that other factions fear.
Fantastic Racism: Most commonly towards uplifts, independent AIs, and "the clanking masses" (poor infugees sleeved into cheap synthetic morphs).
Fantastic Aesop: The Fall gave us "Don't let a self-aware, adaptive alien digital virus infect your Seed AI-controlled defense system, or else it will run amok with advanced technology, completely devastate the Earth, wipe out 92% of the human race, and disappear after going through a singularity event."
Though the section on GM secrets stresses that much, if not most of the devastation of the fall was caused by good 'ol human warmongering. It speculates about how things might have turned out if the TITANs had hit sapience / gone Extropian in a less World War Three type environment— maybe humanity would have kicked their ass, who knows?
Flying Car: Fairly common on Mars and Venus, due to the lower gravity and inhospitable surface respectively.
Free-Love Future: The Carnival of the Goat, which combines artistic body and mind modification with hedonism of all kinds.
Played straight in the rest of the setting, too. The fact that almost all morphs come with built-in contraception and STD Immunity is a major contributing factor.
As well that most transhumans are functionally immortal and thus see "lifelong" commitments such as marriage to be unrealistic. There are those that still choose to marry to give this a shot, however.
Given that one of the starting bodies available are 'Pleasure Pods' which are bio-engineered hookers who can switch their gender at will, can be remote controlled to a punters whims and have enhanced control over certain muscle groups, yeah... theres some weird kinky sex in the transhuman future.
Also there are Neotenics, who are engineered to be children, and while it is disapproved of for people in those morphs to work in the sex industry the fact that the rule book specifically mentions that does rather imply that it does happen. Ethical problems abound!
Friending Network: The various social networks, including ones for scientists, anarchists, celebrities, criminals, and even one for Firewall. They're also the source of the different "Rep" scores.
Fun with Acronyms: The TITANs (Total Information Tactical Awareness Network), who appropriately have access to super-advanced technology (and potentially even psi powers) with which they can seemingly bend reality to their whims.
Gatehopping The Universe: The Gatehopper groups who continuously travel through the Pandora Gates, sightseeing the wonders of the universe and sometimes return to transhuman space by random chance. Unless they ended up in a supernova by said random chance.
Giant Enemy Crab: The Nova Crab morph, a human sized coconut crab with cybernetic implants.
Gender Is No Object / Purely Aesthetic Gender: Since you can switch into a new body that has a gender more to your choose, or can have an implant that point-blank lets you switch genders, issues of gender politics have somewhat fallen by the way side.
Global Currency Exception: Credits are the standard currency used in old and transitional economies (which include well over half of humanity). In places that have fully adopted the New Economy, however, reputation and favor-trading have replaced credits, a state of affairs that has both benefits and drawbacks.
Grand Theft Me: Comes in several flavors, from having your morph stolen or hijacked to having your brain surreptitiously copied and passed to the highest bidder. And then there's the Exsurgent Virus...
Homeworld Evacuation: During The Fall millions of people uploaded their Egos to the sparsely-populated colonies in other parts of the solar system (uploading being the easiest means of space travel), while some others crowded the Space Elevators and crammed aboard ships.
Human Popsicle: Body banks are full of them. Sleeper ships aren't too uncommon either.
Hybrid Monster: Panopticon introduces "Swarm Cats". These mutant moggies are spliced up using open-source biotech, and can be entered into competitions. Those made for competitive purposes must be at least 51% Feliformia (big cats, small cats, civets, etc.) and whatever else. Noncompetitive can be 'anything goes'. Two examples are given;
"On my last trip to a scum barge, I saw one that looked like a Siamese house cat with four eyes and purple bioluminescent fur, and another swarm cat that was more like a snow leopard with armadillo skin, six chitinous legs, and a trio of whip-like cybernetic tails."
I Did What I Had to Do: "There cannot be another Fall" is the mantra of Firewall, and they are willing to do anything to abide to it. Usually they try to be subtle in their activities, but they aren't afraid to crack a few eggs, or kill a few million innocent bystanders, to prevent extinction.
Indentured Servitude: The practice was revived once Brain Uploading was developed. Mega Corps would hire people from third-world countries and upload their Egos to cheap synthmorphs on their mining colonies throughout the solar system in exchange for some years of labor. Then came the Fall and billions uploaded themselves seeking to escape the TITANs, most became disembodied infomorphs. The newly emerged Hypercorps began exploiting this massive "infugee" population with indenture contracts promising them new bodies, which often have built-in dependencies on expensive treatments that only the corps can provide. Naturally most of the Autonomist Alliance condemns this practice, with the exception of the anarcho-capitalist Extropians (the rest of the Alliance being collectivists).
I Want My Jet Pack: An offhand mention during a description of the Mars habitats reveals that, due to the planet's lower gravity, humans finally got their flying cars.
Justified Extra Lives: Players can purchase backup insurance, where a copy of their mind is put on file and placed into a new body, should something horrendous happen to them. Alternatively, the cortical stack implant can be retrieved from their corpse, and it contains their entire mind as it developed up until their death. Be warned that death (or even the knowledge that you are a backup copy of someone who did die) can have unfortunate repercussions on a person's mind.
Karma Meter: Reputation networks are used by people to record other people's deeds, both good and bad. It acts as a futuristic combination public record and social profile website, and the mechanics of the game simplify it down to a number which goes up when you do positive things for the specific group and goes down when you do negative things.
You can also use your Rep scores as a sort of currency within the group that Rep applies to, allowing you to procure items and services through your network of friends and acquaintances. Especially in post-consumer societies like the Autonomists, where this is the only method of exchange.
Kill Sat: Earth's quarantine is enforced by a number of armed satellites. However, nobody's quite sure who put them there....
Kinetic Weapons Are Just Better: They tend to do more damage and pierce armor better than energy weapons, which are mostly designed to be less-than-lethal. Assuming, of course, that you want your opponent dead in the first place.
Killing people is largely an expedient done to mooks and suchlike because you don't care much that they wake up elsewhere. However killing people that you are trying to stop is seldom a good idea because it lets them get away.
Longevity Treatment: The game mentions longevity treatments as part of the backstory. Though they're apparently obsolete now (outside the Junta) since longevity is included in most Basic Biomods and Brain Uploading is commonplace.
Lost Colony: As the Pandora Gates are not fully understood by transhumans, gates sometimes lead to different places without warning, and redialing sometimes doesn't work, some off-world colonies are considered lost forever.
Loss of Identity: A quite possible occurrence, one of the most common being the situations where someone dies, gets restored from backup, and after some time passes the original is found to be alive after all and is now treated as an illegal Alpha-fork.
Matter Replicator: Quite common, with everything from lumbering machines that churn out food and water to portable models that'll remake your iPod.
Meaningful Name: In biology, the term "Eclipse Phase" refers to the period after a cell has been attacked by a virus but before it is overtaken by it. To an observer the cell does not appear to be infected, but it is.
Mega Corp.: The hypercorps are explicitly named as the modern descendants of the old "megacorps," most of which died in the Fall or were unable to adapt to post-scarcity economic models.
Merchant City: Extropia, located in the Main Belt separating the Inner and Outer Solar system, is the best place to trade goods and services from all over the system, or get in major debt real quick.
Me's a Crowd: A combination of forking and multiple bodies will allow a person to essentially be multiple places at the same time. Eventually each fork will become an independent being simply by merit of their different experiences after being separated from the original, but egos can be merged and reforked to ensure that all copies essentially stay the same mind. The "Pax Familae" criminal syndicate is composed entirely of forks of Claudia Ambelina.
Metaplot: The developers have stated that they will develop the metaplot, despite a minor fan outcry on the forums.
The Men in Black: Project Ozma. Firewall itself has some similarities but neither works for any government nor do they have much of the hierarchy most such groups have.
Myself My Avatar: You could say that the most common form of interplanetary "travel" is like that, if you plan on returning to your old body which was stored on ice.
Nanomachines: Ubiquitous, from "nanoware" implants to nanofabricators and Titanian swarms of Grey Goo.
New Neo City: The independent asteroid Nova York, New Shanghai on Mars, New Quebec and København on Titan...
News Parody: In universe, Titan's Monster Raging Goblin Cock News Network (MRGCNN), hosted by Momo von Satan and a giant, fanged, viking... phallus. Although "The Cock" is not actually a person but instead a CGI dummy that Momo stages arguments with. (It says something about the setting that we actually have to specify whether or not the giant animated penis is a person or a prop.)
No Fame, No Wealth, No Service: The New Economy in a nutshell. As currency is no longer in use in areas that operate fully under this system, getting help from others (or, in fact, basic human rights) requires having a good reputation with one's community. Even in transitional economies, reputation is often necessary to get the very best stuff.
No Transhumanism Allowed: Played straight by the Jovian Republic and other bioconservative groups, very much averted by everyone else.
Nothing Is Scarier: A lot of the horror of gatecrashing relies on the aliens who aren't there, and the question of why they aren't. Best exemplified on one planet in the Gatecrashing sourcebook, which has a massive computerised reality capable of holding an entire population of egos...but it's empty, and no-one quite knows why.
Nuke 'em: Some of the older members of Firewall tend to believe that the best approach to danger is to nuke the settlement from space.
This was also used as a strategy to try and stop the TITAN conquest and destruction of Earth. It helped them more than anything.
One-Federation Limit: Jovian Republic, Morningstar Constellation, Planetary Consortium... played straight with one exception— the Lunar-Lagrange Alliance and the Autonomist Alliance.
One-Gender Race: Averted with the Fury morphs as the name implies female only but the description says that on occasion there are male versions.
Outgrown Such Silly Superstitions: Subverted. The majority of pre-Fall religions, particularly Christianity and Judaism (The former still thrives in the Jovian Republic, though), are mostly gone due to the changes in transhuman society, but new faiths (and Buddhism) are filling the void.
Plasma Cannon: The bulky and slow-firing but very powerful plasma rifle. Has to cool off for a couple rounds every other shot.
Pluralses: Rimward commits a foreign language version whenever it refers to a quantity of Titan's currency as "kroners". In real life kroner is the plural form of krone, the currency used by most Nordic countries (where most of the Titanian colonists came from).
Portal Network: Two forms exist. Pandora Gates are an FTL Portal Network linking the Solar System to any other system (if you can figure out how to program the gates to send you there), and Egocasting is a lightspeed means of transporting someone's mind to another body at another location.
Powered Armor: The core book has the battlesuit, a piece of heavy armor that augments the user's strength, allowing them to lift heavy loads, hit like a cannonball and double their jump distance, which functions almost like a small vehicle more than a suit. For the really hardcore, the NPC File contains the HOPLITE suit (High Offense Piloted Local Insertion Tactical Exoframe) which trades a teeny-tiny bit of armor (it only gives 20/20 protection rather than 21/21) for the ability to fly, a built in nanoswarm, an rail-machinegun and a missile launcher.
Power Perversion Potential: One of the Psi-Gamma sleights available to PC Asyncs is Mindlink, allowing two people to exchange thoughts, emotions, sensations, and more, and could theoretically cause an emotional or sensory feedback loop under the right (or wrong) circumstances. Using it requires the async to be touching the other person, and would certainly have interesting results given the right value for "touching."
Plug 'n' Play Technology: Justified by the use of automatic compensatory programs, although there are some incompatibility issues, mainly with ultra advanced code (like TITANS) or alien technology.
Private Military Contractors: Hypercorps specializing in security like Direct Action and Gorgon Defense Systems. The Ultimates started as one before they branched into the pseudo-ubermensch philosophy, though they still provide mercenary services.
Psychic Powers: Many strains of the Exsurgent Virus do this, while one strain even makes playable psychic characters who aren't under the control of the virus (yet). They also go slightly insane, however.
Mind Rape: Alienation makes the target feel disconnected from their morph. Drive Emotion manipulates emotions. Implant Memory can be used to inflict stress by transferring any traumatic memories the async might have. Psychic Stab inflicts physical damage on the target's brain. And then there are a few psi-gamma slights that are exclusive to Exsurgents.
Psychic Static: Static reduces the effectiveness of all ranged slights in the area.
Reality Warper: Psi-Epsilon sleights, with which Exsurgent asyncs can pretty much do anything.
Remote Body: Sometimes, mostly by infomorphs that don't want to be tied down to one body.
The Republic: The Morningstar Constellation, the Lunar-Lagrange Alliance, the Jovian Republic (though many people in-universe argue the point, and outside of its own territory it's better known as the Jovian Junta), and the Titanian Commonwealth. The Tharsis League is theoretically this, but it's heavily co-opted by the Planetary Consortium.
Robot War: What the war on Earth eventually became, once transhumanity figured out what the TITANs were really up to.
Sanity Meter: Your Lucidity score functions like mental hit points. It's a lot harder to recover Lucidity than HP, especially since if you run out of HP, you can just buy more (at both a credits and Lucidity cost).
Scale of Scientific Sins: Every single one of them has been committed in Eclipse Phase. Although bioconservatives are mad about them all, the only thing that most people now disapprove of scientists ever trying again is creating Seed AI. Little do most people know that there are still Seed AI amongst humanity who are benevolent. The only real sin should be exposing them to the Exsurgent virus.
Scenery Porn: In-universe, the Gatehopping group stumbles upon a very impressive looking nebula. Also, a scientific gatecrashing team have set up shop on a dead planet with a premium view of the Milky Way.
Science Is Bad: "Transhumanism Is Bad" is the rallying cry of the Bioconservative faction, most notably the Jovian Junta Republic. Largely averted otherwise, aside from the various posthuman factions.
Settling the Frontier: Before the Fall almost every rocky planet and large moon in the solar system was colonized by the old earth nations and the hypercorps. After the Fall the Pandora gates were discovered, and the major factions controlling the solar system started using them to expand into other systems. The Gatecrashers module includes info for running campaigns where the players are exosolar colonists.
Sex Bot: Pleasure pods, though technically they're primarily made of biological parts.
One of the audio clips for the Continuity module is I'm sorry, I can't do that.
In Gatecrashing, it's mentioned that one Angelina Germanotta is a member of a certain hedonistic space colony. She might be better known to you by another name ...
Lifeboat Foundation got renamed as the Lifeboat Project/Institute in one of the later chapters (regarding one of the origins of Firewall). Similarly for the Singularity Institute which just got changed to Singularity Foundation.
In the introduction one character complains that she always gets sleeved in a chain smoker, kind of like Takeshi Kovacs.
Nanofabricators specialized for food production are called Makers.
The anti-Consortium movement on Mars is known as "Barsoomians". This was intentional in universe. For bonus points many members are sleeved in red-skinned Ruster morphs.
Despite the passing of many years and The Fall, Anonymous still exists, is still trolling, still doesn't work for anyone, and still measures success based on how many laughs they can get out of what they do.
There's a Scum barge in the Jovian Trojans known as the "Kimiko Ross".
In universe: A Martian colony made up primarily of uplifted apes has a half buried Statue of Liberty out the front and a habitat in the Jovian Trojans where the residents download into genderless biomorphs is called Winter
One of the types of Basilisk Hacks is called a "YGBM" hack.
It's been pointed out that the picture for the pregen synth character looks very similar to Iggy from Ergo Proxy.
The Morph Recognition Guide introduces a variant of the Arachnoid morph called the Arachnikoma.
Skilled, but Naive: Infolife (that is, AGI) Hackers can be amazingly good even compared to exceptional Transhuman Hackers, but probably have very little field experience, very poor social skills and likely still haven't gotten used to not having been told everything about transhumanity during their upbringing.
Sliding Scale of Libertarianism and Authoritarianism: Extropia and anarchists on one end of the spectrum, and the Jovian Junta on the other. The Titan Commonwealth is strongly libertarian, while the Planetary Consortium is more-or-less moderate (personal freedoms and privacy rights are very strong, but democracy is virtually nonexistent and economic restrictions are somewhat stringent).
Smells Sexy: The Enhanced Pheromones (standard in Sylphs and Pleasure pods) implant and Hither drug. The combat drug BringIt also causes users to emit pheromones, but they make people want to kill the user instead of have sex with him.
Space Cold War: Five way between the Planetary Consortium, the Lunar-Lagrange Alliance, the Morningstar Constellation, the Jovian Republic, and the Titanian Commonwealth with the Autonomist Alliance.
Space Elevator: Mars has one. Earth had a few before the Fall, one is still standing but it's kind of off-limits.
Space Is Cold: Biomorphs without Temperature Tolerance and Vacuum Sealing take 10 points of cold damage per minute in vacuum.
Space Pirates: Most of them operate in the Main Belt and the Outer System.
Space Western: With the outer reaches of the solar system, the Firefly-flavored Martian outback and the extrasolar exoplanet colonies courtesy of Pandora Gates.
Space Whale: Suryas, giant space whales LIVING IN THE SURFACE OF THE SUN!
Spider Tank: Fenrir synthmorphs, arguably, considering they require six Egos to operate and have a big gun mounted on top.
Split Personality Merge: Forks are usually merged with the original once they have fulfilled their intended purpose. It gets more difficult the longer the two have been separate though.
Standard Sci-Fi History: Thanks to the TITANS stages 2, 3, and 4 happened within the same decade. The Consortium plans on becoming the Empire, but the Autonomists (except maybe some Titanians) would rather the Empire cycle never happen.
Strawman Political: In the corebook at least, the anarchist and transhumanist leanings of the authors become rather obvious by the way they describe the other factions - the planetary consortium is made up of many a Corrupt Corporate Executive while the Jovian Republic is busy Putting on the Reich and denying any kind of scientific progress in a way that made them look bone-headedly stupid (the Jovians are also hypocrites who have a secret upper-crust elite that are transhuman to the point of being considered Ex-human). Later supplements and forum discussions of the authors got better at giving everyone a balanced characterization, even giving a new Jovian spin to the tagline:
Humanity is disappearing. Protect it.
Programs are stealing the future. Fight it.
Death is what makes you human. Embrace it.
Subspace Ansible: Quantum Entanglement comms, very handy. Also very, very expensive to use.
Super Reflexes: The Neurachem biomod, Reflex Booster cyberware, and Mental Speed nanoware all provide these.
Transhuman Aliens: Played with as one alien race did something like this to themselves to survive the virus.
Also looks like humanity itself is going to have to do this in order to claim their place in the Cosmic Horror Story universe.
Transhuman Treachery: Exhumans are humans attempting to super-evolve themselves, whether to survive anywhere or else seek to join in The Singularity. They don't think like humans do, and tend to be rather hostile to them (and vice versa).
The official Jovian policy is that all of transhumanity is inherently guilty of this by sheer dint of existence.
MeatHab is a subversion: a transhuman who turned itself into a living habitation, but enjoys human company and has an awesome sense of humor. The subversion came when a small bunch of exhumans thought that it was one of them, and it promptly sent them packing.
Uncanny Valley: An in-universe example, used by name as a negative trait in character creation.
Unlimited Wardrobe: Both subverted and played straight by smart clothing, which consist of nanomachines which can alter the clothing to whatever specification you desire. One set of clothes, unlimited possibilities.
United Space of America: Justified. In a rather sobering moment it is revealed that during the Fall the more affluent parts of the world left the less affluent parts of the world to die, and there was a holocaust by omission of the entire African continent.
Though China had one of the largest presences in space before the fall, and many of the old megacorps recruited a lot of indentured servants from the third world (helps explain the Jovian Junta).
The Jovian Republic was founded by the remnants of the US government and military with assistance from the remnants of a few South American governments. Rimward describes them as a totalitarian-leaning version of religiously conservative Cold War-era USA IN SPACE!, replacing Red Scare with Transhumanism scare.
Titan was colonized by a coalition of north Atlantic states, primarily Scandinavia but some Canadians as well. You know, because they already lived in dark cold places rich in hydrocarbons, and at the time their hydrocarbons were running out.
Universal Translator: Muses can provide real-time translations of most languages. There's also a "dolphin translator" designed specifically for translating human language into dolphin squeaks and whistles and vice-versa.
Universal Universe Time: Averted, the Earth time and calendar is used mostly by Lunar-Lagrange Alliance, the Martians use their own 24 month calendar, and everyone else use whatever works for them.
The Autonomist Alliance is composed of every anarcho-subgenre around the sun, and not all of them get along. In particular, the Extropian anarcho-capitalists and the collectivists barely even agree that they're on the same side (with the mutualists sitting in a Switzerland position between them), and the scum have no use for anyone's laws but their own and embrace Anarchy Is Chaos on their own barges; conversely, Titanians and anarchists generally get along better, acting more like bickering siblings than true rivals.
The Barsoomian Movement agrees on one thing: Martians should decide their own destiny, and be governed by their own people rather than by the Planetary Consortium. Beyond that, they have nothing in common, ranging from the nomadic techno-libertarians to the "redneck" clanking masses in low-quality robot shells, and each group has a different vision for the future. Supporting the Barsoomian Movement is one of the few things that almost everyone in the Autonomist Alliance agrees on, but conversely, not all (or even most) Barsoomians are autonomists; some just want a new Martian government, an end to indentured servitude and a chance for economic success.
We Will Use Manual Labor in the Future: Averted in the strictest sense, as most labor is done by robots. But in the Inner System and Extropia many of those robots are inhabited by indentured transhuman egoes, and the ultimates often play it straight using enslaved biomorphs.
What Measure Is a Non-Human?: Complicated in-universe with the existence of uplifted animals, AIs, and personality forks; complicated further by the general non-permanence of death (e.g. is it okay to murder someone if you agree to pay their resleeving fees?); and complicated further still by opinions and laws regarding the subject varying from habitat to habitat.
Even outside these groups, "zeroes" (people without access to mesh inserts of any kind) and "flats" (genetically unmodified baseline humans) don't really get a lot of respect from transhumanity at large, to say the least.
Who Watches the Watchmen?: Everybody. Always. Thanks to sousveillance. Except in the Junta, and the sensor networks in most Consortium habitats tend to be under hypercorp control.
With Great Power Comes Great Insanity: Psychics, without exception, all go insane to some extent following the onset of their powers. They can get better, but are still more prone to psychosis afterward.
Once again, a common bioconservative and Jovian line is that all transhuman existence will lead to this.
Working For A Body Upgrade: Indentures, though the hypercorps have a habit of not following through on their promises or giving them morphs that require periodic gene therapy.
The Worm That Walks: One of the available Synth bodies is a swarm of robotic insects. They can also come together into a vaguely humanoid form.
In Rimward, Legba is described as being even worse than the average scum barge - and that describing it as a hive of scum and villainy is an insult to scum and villains. Given that the Nine Lives crime syndicate is easily one of the nastiest in the setting, it's hard to disagree.
Most scum barges play with the trope. From an outsider's viewpoint, they look like this, but the scum's particular brand of freewheeling does not lead to a Crapsack World and the barges aren't much more dangerous than anywhere else in the Solar System. Just not the kind of place you want to go if you're too uptight.