ENTRY 114: Relicteurs
Skillsets age and lose relevance as civilization and technology moves on. The necessity of creating flint knives through knapping drops to near-zero once superior metal technology becomes available and widespread; foot- and head-binding to achieved desirable body alteration falls out of fashion due to changing cosmetic preference and medical or ethical concerns; in both cases the skills are no longer practiced, and within a few generations are generally lost. Most transhumans rarely give this any thought, aside perhaps from a passing sadness or triumphant glee at the passing of the old ways—but others see this as a criminal loss of knowledge.
Relicteurs are a mostly informal association of transhumans dedicated to the preservation through practice of archaeoskills, the intellectual and physical abilities no longer in widespread use but which they feel should be preserved for the day when they do have some use once again or out of a desire to keep past legacies alive. While it is impractical to practice with certain obsolete technologies and circumstances, relicteurs also maintain distributed libraries of self-crafted and peer-reviewed skillware, most of which are available for free.
Barsoomians in particular have benefited from relicteur training in ancient traditional low-tech building techniques, and security forces regularly access the thousands of catalogued styles of martial arts, many of which use exotic and archaic weapons, and hunting, trapping, and survival techniques from old Earth cultures. Scumbarges tend to be relicteur strongholds as well, with an urgent need to keep at least a few people on board capable of programming near-obsolete programming languages and servicing antiquated but vital equipment.
Among the relicteurs themselves, there is a substantial movement for reinventing or repurposing archaeoskills for contemporary use, finding immediate and practical value in the skills of yesteryear. Knitting and sewing for example have re-emerged as energy-conservative and stylish endeavors in habitats where maker-crafted clothing was becoming a strain on the system; it is less resource-intensive to make a length of thread for repair or embroidery than to re-process an entire article of clothing. Likewise, many Neo-Avians and Neo-Ceteceans have repurposed scrimshaw methods to decorate their bills and teeth.
Relicteur networks on the ‘Mesh maintain a freeware library of skillsofts for archaic skills, everything from Art: Scrimschaw to Medicine: Leeching; it is up to the gamemaster to decide what relicteur ‘softs are available in their game. Skillsofts follow the rules in Eclipse Phase p.309 and 332.
The most immediate benefit of relicteurs is to provide characters with an obscure, archaic skill in a pinch and with a minimal cost or hassle. Run a search, download the freeware skillsoft, then make a test. Used creatively, this can be a lot of fun for both players and gamemasters. If a player begins to somehow abuse the relicteur network (like trying to sell the skillsofts), consider applying a rep penalty or limiting access until the PC makes amends.
- The relicteurs post bounties for certain highly-desired skills, everything from organic home-made pickles to dates with minor celebrities. The latest bounty involves lassoing, and the last grandmaster lives in an isolated bubble-farm on Mars, herding transbovines and studying the effects of their manure on Martian soil. If the PCs can convince the grandmaster to record a skillsoft and upload it, they can get some sweet prizes.