Sunday, February 24, 2013

055: Ishmael ben Zizazel

ENTRY 055: Ishmael ben Zizazel

In the anarchist habitat of Chat Noir, on the threshold of the Fissure Gate, there is a very special game. Losers submit a fork of themselves, pruned for obedience, for a period of indentured service. So came into existence Ishamel ben Zizazel.

Ishmael is a male-identifying infomorph, and an artist who perverts his talents for the criminal syndicate he is indentured to. Instead of original works of art, his skills are spent forging works of art, copying commercial designs, and designing advertisements for illicit Mesh services. His employers are not ungenerous—Ishmael is allowed to keep a portion of his earning, to interact on social networks and with others. They trust to the mental blocks placed in his ego, periodically reinforced by psychosurgery procedures, which ensure his obedience, if not his allegiance.

In his personal time, Ishmael works on his own art—most especially a four-dimensional graphic novel told in logographic symbols which move against a backdrop of distilled mystical cosmology from old Earth religions—and collects information on Zizazel, the morph that he forked from.


Morph: Infomorph
Skills: Academics: Art History 60, Academics: Psychology 40, Academics: Religion 50, Art: Digital Art 70, Deception 40, Impersonation 40, Infosec 55, Interests: Crime Groups 35, Interests: Transhuman Art 50, Interfacing 55, Investigation 40, Kinesics 50, Language: Native Arabic 85, Language: Mandarin 60, Language: Urdu 50, Networking: Criminals 35, Perception 75, Profession: Commercial Artist 65, Profession: Forger 60, Programming 45, Research 40
Disadvantages: Edited Memories, Illiterate, Modified Behavior (3, Obedience to “employers”)

Using Ishmael ben Zizazel

The difficulty with dealing with this indentured infomorph is that the personality and behavior hacks have made it so the nature of his slavery is not immediately obvious to outsiders—nor can Ishmael discuss all of the specifics, or ask for rescue. Unless the player characters are very perceptive, they will only know Ishmael as a rather sad infomorph whose talents are given to a job he does not care for, and employers who he does not care for, but who claims leaving his position is impossible. Player characters are most likely to encounter Ishmael by interacting with the criminal organization he is indentured to, or when the infomorph uses his meager savings or talents to hire them for additional information on Zizazel. From there, once the PCs start learning his story, they may leave him to his slow wage-slavery, or seek to free him. If they go the latter route, that will require either significant psychosurgery to overcome his modified behaviors, or finding a work around such as purchasing Ishmael from his employers or killing them all.


  • The PCs are hired by a mid-level boss to eliminate a low-level boss of the criminal organization that is causing too much trouble. To assist them, Ishmael is seconded to the PCs for a period of time, to help guide them through the syndicate hierarchy, pointing out potential problems and avenues of assault.

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