Knights of the Stellar Void
Your character’s genotype represents his species, race, body plan, and so on. Below is a list of the most common genotypes thus encountered.
Humans are the standard genotype of the Expansionary Era. Except for longevity and ethnicity, Purestrain humans are physically little different from our own time.
Humans from the fringes and colonies run the range of natural human capabilities, and are rarely the result of genurgic management, although some may have enhancements. They have fewer behavioural restraints and less cultural conditioning than pure-strain humans.
Humanity has always looked to the animal kingdom for companionship and aid, domesticating species as desired. For millennia, the Commonality has created animal companions with human-like intelligence and fully or partially humanoid body plans: the xenomorphs, or uplifted animals.
- Canids: Uplifted dogs, loyal and headstrong to a fault, man’s best friend since the dawn of time
- Cetaceans: Uplifted dolphins, social animals used to a tight-knit pack, whose mental agility and fortitude make them excellent pilots and astrogators
- Felines: Uplifted cats, sensuous and curious creatures, with excellent dexterity and an innate luck
- Octomorphs: Uplifted octopi, whose multi-limbed and malleable bodies can fit into any number of spaces, combining well with brilliant problem-solving skills and hunter’s senses
- Ursines: Uplifted bears, dedicated workers and fighters known for their fortitude and savagery
Synthetics are artificial life forms, from entirely mechanical to entirely biological, though the distinction is often blurred; the key is that synthetics are made, not born. Commonality synthetics are as intelligent as they need to be: intelligence is easily created, and synthetics with higher than human intelligence operate starships, space stations, habitats, and even entire worlds.
- Mechanicals: these beings are made entirely of inorganic matter, born at the time they are forged. While they may look like the unthinking robots of old, they posess intelligence, creativity, and free will
- Organics: these would be lifeforms bio-engineered for the rigors of space, or living beings modified by heavy use of technology to survive and thrive. When the body breaks, the wizened grey matter may be put into a mechanical shell or slipped into a new body altogether
- Intelligences and Installations: these lifeforms exist only as digital data, and their “body” exists as the shell that holds them: a spaceship’s hull, a satellite’s shell, a tank’s chassis. Depending on the mobility of their coding, they could download themselves into drones or Avatars and leave their larger form, or even slide from machine to machine, leaving the old host dull and inert
Hominids derive from human stock which through genurgy or genetic drift have become separate species or subspecies. They’re the most numerous form of “alien” in Mindjammer — and certainly those which interact most with humans. Some are far removed from their human ancestors.
Few people realised that extra-terrestrials would be so alien. In all the First Age of Space, Old Earth never heard back from any slowships which had contacted alien intelligences, and the prevailing orthodoxy was that humankind was alone, at least in this part of the galaxy (dubious signals received from the direction of Andromeda, and ambiguous chatter from the 8th Millennium Deep Space Probes before they mysteriously went offline were never considered conclusive). First Contact therefore came as a surprise.
The more the Commonality expands, the more alien species it encounters. As yet, none has been advanced enough to pose a threat, and Commonality researchers have many theories to explain this situation, all as provisional as the previous “Just Us” orthodoxy. The Custodians of the Commonality acknowledge this might not always be the case and, after the Venu, the Commonality is cautious when encountering alien life.
Many genotypes come with a mandatory spend: these are Aspects and Extras that a character must purchase out of their extras budget, somehow related to (or reflecting) the abilities and traits of their genotype. For example, one genotype may require the character to spend just one aspect, while another may require three aspects and two stunts.
The mandatory spend can be technological enhancements that were made to the character’s body—Mindscape implants, cyberware, or biotech, for example—or may just reflect natural/inherent abilities common in that genotype. Beyond what their name implies (spending part of your extras budget, which is mandatory), there are few restrictions or limits on what a genotype aspect or stunt may or may not be—two ursine uplifts may have very different genotype aspects, for example.
The biggest restriction is that it must make sense for the character and genotype. It makes sense for a cetacean uplift to have gills, but not so much for an canid uplift.. unless they were biotech the canid chose to implant, and not a natural trait.