ENTRY 042: Factorials
The clanking majority of transhumans do not have unique morphs—even with the vast manufacturing capability of nanofabrication, engineering and design skill limit the ability to plan and craft a really different body, and most transhumans expend their creative energies and resources on ultimately minor or cosmetic modifications and upgrades. Biomorphs are little better, with the vast majority being little more than gene-tweaked baseline humans, or for the more elaborate pods some take-off of existing products of Terran evolution. Yet there do exist groups that focus on developing ever more baroque, high-concept, and alien morphs; who take as their model creatures of myth and fantasy, hypothetical mathematical models, and the few extant examples of xenobiology that have fallen into transhumanity’s sphere of knowledge. For the latter, the most prominent group are the Factors, and the morphs they have inspired are known as Factorials.
Faithful reproduction of Factor biological forms is limited by the sparse knowledge of their anatomy that has come to light; most Factorials attempt only to imitate the outer physical properties or appearance of their colony-structure. More ambitious efforts to mimic the combinatorial distributed networking aspects of Factor mentality are currently still in very early stages of development, with a few spectacular failures serving as living examples of the dangers to egos who pursue such fundamental changes in the way they think and perceive. Still, there exists networked communities interested in Factorials and who continue to push the design envelope and encourage one another in their pursuits, although as with most transhuman networks it has its divisions, poseurs, hangers-on, and xenophiles.
Functional Factorial morphs are effectively high-end Worker Pods (Eclipse Phase, p.142) designed to mimic the external appearance of Factors, effectively gaining Striking Looks (1) and changing the Credit Cost to Expensive. Despite outward appearances the pod is still effectively based on Terran biology, with normal dietary and oxygen needs. Individuals who are familiar with the appearance of Factors receive a +20 modifier to any skill check to discern that a Factorial is not one. Functional Factorials count as Heavily Modified (-10 Integration/Alienation modifier) for purposes of resleeving. (Eclipse Phase, p.272)
Experimental Factorial morphs that attempt to replicate the more characteristic elements of Factor biology and mentality are extremely rare, with none currently on the market, and all of them possess considerable drawbacks. If the gamemaster chooses to include these biomorphs in their game, they typically possess physical modifications normally restricted to synthmorphs such as Modular Design, Shape Adjusting, and Swarm Composition—with mental continuity between disparate biological components maintained by discrete wireless implants. Such morphs are extremely fragile to EMP munitions (Eclipse Phase, p.340) and electromagnetic noise in general; they literally fall to pieces as individual portions of the Factorial cease being able to communicate with each other. Experimental Factorials count as Heavily Modified Exotic Morphs (-40 Integration/Alienation modifier) for purposes of resleeving. (Eclipse Phase, p.272)
At the gamemaster’s discretion, characters with Factorial morphs may replace the Social Stigma (Pod) trait with a Social Stigma (Factorial) trait, representing the greater acceptance egos with Factorials receive within their networks and among xenomorph enthusiasts.