Friday, February 8, 2013

039: Surrogate Pod

ENTRY 039: Surrogate Pod

Transhuman genetic engineers view the conventional reproductive system as a platform for their own projects, one result of which are surrogate pods, also known as “walking wombs.” The surrogate pod is a mobile gestation chamber for a developing morph; the more basic models resemble a pregnant unmodified human, while more elaborate versions feature various augmentations or are based on nonhuman physiologies. In the vast majority of cases, surrogate pods are designed as temporary bodies for egos that have purchased the biomorph growing within the surrogate’s artificial womb. For paranoid or insecure egos, this provides immediate and ongoing assurance of the state of their future self, as well as intimate contact and connection with the morph that will make the eventual resleeving process easier.

Surrogate pods find their greatest use in habitats where morph and resleeving technologies are ideologically limited, and as a cheaper alternative to the more expensive biomorphs—since the bulk of time and expense comes from gestation, moving a partially-gestated biomorph into a surrogate pod frees up artificial wombs and vat decanters for other projects, the morphs can be offered at a lower cost. The downside of course is that surrogate pods are typically extremely basic, specially geared for the sustainment and protection of the developing biomorph inside them above all else. Typical surrogate pods generally lack senses of smell and taste, reproductive organs, and have simplified digestive tracts—and that’s before the genetic surgeons really started cutting corners. Surrogate pods are mostly not designed for long-term use—the surrogate pod itself is often destroyed when the gestation period is complete, either through the surgical harvesting operation, and even if the pod survives “giving birth” its genetic lifespan is rarely much longer.

The greatest number of “reusable” surrogate pods capable of surviving multiple implantations and gestation exist on Mars. The Martian models are the remnants of a cooperative initiative for population growth; the durable surrogates are volunteers or sometimes paid employees, and the biomorphs they gestate are often near-baseline human and animal fetuses, though other options are possible.

Generic Surrogate Pod Stats

Surrogate pods have all of the advantages of pods or biomorphs (Eclipse Phase, p.142), as appropriate.
Enhancements: Basic Biomods, Basic Mesh Inserts, Clean Metabolism, Cortical Stack, Cyberbrain, Puppet Sock, Gestation Sack, Neuter
Aptitude Maximum: 30 (20 for Coordination, Reflexes, and Somatics)
Durability: 30
Wound Threshold: 6
Advantages: None
Disadvantages: Social Stigma (Pod), Unfit (2)
CP Cost: 10 + carried biomorph
Credit Cost: High (or cost of carried biomorph, if higher)

Surrogate pods are typically purchased containing a developing biomorph; the cost of this biomorph is 50% the CP or credit cost of buying a full-grown version outright, but it will take time to develop—typically one week per point of durability. The surrogate pod is implanted with nutritional gel packs that feed directly to the developing morph and build the morph’s implants as it matures, so there are no special dietary requirements beyond a minimum caloric intake. Delivery of the biomorph generally results in the death of the surrogate pod; Martian-model reusable surrogates have triple the base cost (30 CP/Expensive) as one-shots.


  1. So, the idea here is that the gestating morph would be usable once birthed? Do you get a child splicer, exalt, remade, etc? One thing Eclipse Phase is not super clear on is where babies come from, something even more complicated in the future, apparently.

    1. The idea is that you get a functional biomorph when gestation is complete - I left the exact stage of development up to the GM. Theoretically you could design a surrogate pod to gestate anything up to an adult-sized transhuman.

    2. Reproduction in Eclipse Phase is a topic that's been hotly debated a few times by my group. I wish there was more material about it.
      Reading this post (great idea btw), I wonder how developed a newly birthed morph's brain has to be in order to host an adult ego without severely limiting or even damaging the ego. Baby human brains take a while after birth to become fully functional after all.
      Is there any official information about genetically accelerated growth of biomorphs or something like that?

      Here's an idea: A character dies and is resleeved, but their ordered biomorph isn't fully matured yet. So they will have to spend the next (days/weeks/months) in an adolescent body until it reaches full maturity. Just imagine what the hormonal chaos of puberty might look like if it didn't take years, but was compressed into such a short timeframe! And since the morph was probably never designed to be used before full maturity, I imagine making sure that's not a rough ride wasn't high on the morph designers' prioritiy lists :D

  2. Yeah, this is something I didn't get about the lost generation: Why did they need to raise the new people in VR and do all this experimental stuff, when they could just resleeve a whole ton of informorphs? Why did we need to boost the population when we are having trouble supporting the sleeved morphs we have?