Monday, April 29, 2013

119: Blackballs

ENTRY 119: Blackballs

It’s all fun and games until the first accidental overdose. Police and security forces have been looking for effective non-lethal deterrents for over a century now, in a technological arms race with no end in sight. A popular pre-Fall option were blackballs—a compact missile of artificial snow laced with staining and soporific agents, which could be carried around in an insulated compressed-air pistol. Initial designs were promising: low impact velocity, with force equivalent to a thrown snowball even at point blank range; the artificial snow crystals dissolved quickly at human surface temperatures, and were laced with both a long-lasting chemical dye and short-lasting reuptake inhibitors that cause drowsiness and sexual dysfunction. Blackballs were especially popular on Luna, and employed en masse in a few instances in reply to miners’ strikes, and were even sold to civilians for personal protection.

Blackballs fell out of favor after a series of fatal accidents: a “group suppression release” of blackballs decimated a flock of neo-avians, it turned out the staining agent was toxic to them; blackballs were recalled and re-formulated, but the new mix proved fatal to a group of three neo-hominids dosed during a non-violent protest of the canceling of “Benny the Banana,” a genetically-augmented high-protein savory fruit product and affiliated cartoon program, video games, and merchandise line. Rather than pay to dispose of the blackball stock and weaponry, the parent microcorp Jonez BB Ltd. sold the goods under the counter far afield, to burgeoning habitats towards the Rim. Eventually litigation forced Jonez BB to close, but by then datapirates had liberated the weapon schematics and chemical formulations and posted them to the Mesh for anyone to find. Blackball weaponry can still be found for sale in many Rim communities.


Armor Penetration (AP)
Damage Value (DV)
Average DV
Firing Modes
Blackball Pistol
Low (Rim), Moderate (Everywhere else)
* A chemical or vacuum seal provides complete protection from blackballs.

Blackball pistols are fired using the Kinetic Weapons skill. By themselves, blackball pistols resemble heavy pistols except for a larger (6 centimeter) barrels and oversized external magazine; the blackballs themselves appear as large lozenges of compact black “snow” held within clear, insulated gelcaps. Blackballs deliver a fast-acting (1 Action Turn) dermal toxin; affected characters must make an immediate SOM x 3 Test or be rendered unconscious. Non-human biomorphs, particularly Neo-Avians and Neo-Hominids, take 1d10 damage as well. Medichines or circadian regulation implants render a character immune to blackballs, as might other appropriate toxin-filtering gear or sleep-suppressants at the gamemaster’s option.
At the gamemaster’s discretion, blackball pistols may fire similar loads featuring other dermal drugs and toxins.


  • A local voyeur has been using home-made blackball loads mixed with hither (Eclipse Phase 321) instead of the usual soporific, targeting large number of biomorphs at parties and then recording the ensuing flash-orgies and for their personal enjoyment. Needless to say, the victims are not amused; anyone that can catch the voyeur in the act can expect a substantial rep boost.


  1. Really interesting idea. I like the idea of this being really mixed up in uplift rights as well, the sort of not-connected-but-very relevant thing that happens with real life issues in this vein all the time. Consider gears moving.

  2. While it would be impressive, Eclipse Phase does not have 3201 pages in the core book; you are looking for page 321.