The setting of Transhuman
intrigued me ever since I heard the first rumors
Finally there was a sci-fi setting that seemingly had all I was looking
for. What was I looking for in a sci-fi setting? Try the following:
- Scientific realism. No silly FTL drives that do away with
relativity, no "humans with rubber mask aliens", no laser weapons that
are visible and make a sound in the vacuum of space.
- No weird restrictions on technology. Take cloning and human
genetic engineering, for example. In most futuristic settings, these
issues are handwaved away. For example, somehow all nations in a
politically fracturous setting that otherwise can never agree on
anything agree on outlawing these technologies, and are somehow able
this. The only ones who oppose these restrictions are the occasional
mad scientist, and then his attempts inevitably end in tragedy. This is
not believeable when even today there are plenty of people willing to
clone themselves, or purchase egg cells of models to create their
- No dystopia. I enjoy cyberpunk as much as the next guy, but it
isn't inevitable that the future of humanity will end in
tragedy and oppression.
- No US-dominated world, or a setting focused on North America.
Sorry to my Dear American Readers, but there are five other continents
out there to explore, which are at least as interesting as the North
(Note: This does not mean I don't enjoy games with these cliches - I
like Shadowrun, Fading Suns, and all the rest. But these aren't
everything that SF could be...)
So what does Transhuman Space have?
Here is just
a very short list:
- Despite being a "hard" SF background with no contact to sapient
aliens, Transhuman Space has an extremely long list of "species"
available as player characters. These range from "normal humans" (with
maybe a hereditary disease or two edited out of the DNA), to "upgrades"
(humans with more extensive changes, like better health or longer life
spans), "parahumans" (these are humans with significant amount of
non-human DNA in their genes, which makes them biological different
species from "normal humans"), "bioroids" (biological androids -
"humans" or human-variants manufactured in one piece, and usually
conditioned to be slaves or indentured servants), artificial
intelligences, and even sapient octopuses (genengineered to be smarter)!
- An extremely politically diverse world (if not to say
"unstable"...), with multiple Great Powers (with China, the EU, and the
USA leading the pack) jockeying for influence everywhere on Earth - and
- Human colonies almost everywhere in the solar system
- Some of the coolest equipment to be found in an SF universe,
ranging from customizable cyberswarms - groups of tiny robots - to
designer drugs and food.
I followed the setting's development, and was involved in the
playtesting for several books (for example, it was me who kept
Switzerland out of the European Union in the setting...). I am credited
as a playtester both in theCore Book
of the Solar System
, and even though I didn't manage to get credit
, I still managed to smuggle the names of two of my friends in
I also wrote a review of Transhuman Space
, which you can read here
I am a member of and a frequent poster to the Transhuman Space
, where I developed the idea for the following section:
Feel free to discuss these pages in my RPG forum
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