Wednesday, July 24, 2013

205: Skinchasers

ENTRY 205: Skinchasers

You’re a neo-hominid in a transhuman universe, and you’ll never be able to forget it. Uplifts are generally outnumbered, outsiders rubbing elbows (or comparable parts of the anatomy) with a wild and diverse array of transhumanity which they are constantly in contact with but rarely a part of. Imagine being a neo-hominid where your gut-level reaction if that someone baring their teeth is a form of threat display, faced every day with hundreds or thousands of Mesh ads showing smiling, laughing humans. Imagine growing up where you might not see another member of your species for months or years on end. Yet as social creatures, they need to connect with someone.

Uplifts are not human. Members of a different species, they do not think or act in human ways, their instincts and responses are alien to much of human experience. Yet they are raised to transhuman intellect, immersed in transhuman culture, and often raised by and interacting with humans as much if not more than with other members of their own species. So it should come as no surprise that many an uplift comes to crave transhuman companionship. Individuals derisive of such uplifts call them skinchasers, a label containing the suggestion of both bestiality and betrayal.

This is not necessarily a sexual attraction, though such relationships do happen. The mental and biological hurdles of stimulus and attractiveness for such relationships generally require special expertise from qualified therapists (though more than a few adventurous couples make do with Mesh-based advice). No, for most uplifts that find themselves in this situation, they simply feel more comfortable being around and interacting with humans than members of their own kind. It is, to many psychologists, a special class of alienation where the uplifts feel that they belong more strongly with humans than other uplifts.

Using Skinchasers

This is not an excuse to introduce bestiality to your gametable. Honestly, if you want to include cross-species lovin’ between a neo-hominid and a sylph, that’s entirely between you and your table. This is about adding another wrinkle to the dynamic of roleplaying an uplift, and relationships (mental, spiritual, platonic, etc.) between uplifts and transhumans. An uplift accused of being a skinchaser is subject to bigotry, and while that should not dominate a campaign it might be appropriate if the uplift character is in a fairly conservative habitat, or if they encounter a fairly conservative population of uplifts. On the other hand, several organizations may support skinchasers to further integrate uplifts and transhumans socially.


  • Ezekial Jones is an octomorph a long way out. Lonely and depressed, Jones strikes up a working relationship with a local worker named Tafa, but fines it difficult to express his feelings and see if they are reciprocated. Jones asks the PCs to be his de Bergerac and guide him in bromancing Tafa according to transhuman customs.
  • Memphistoles is a neo-hominid (orangutan) is worried about the perpetuation of the species, but his son/daughter (a neo-hominid orangutan with the Sex Switch augmentation) Manchester seems fixated on humans. Memphistoles offers the PCs a reward if they can convince Manchest to have a child with another neo-hominid orangutan.

1 comment:

  1. An interesting perspective on "going native" and racism - or rather speciesism, I guess. I think there are some interesting parallels to more short-term experiences like culture shock and attempting to become integrated in a different culture or society.