Wednesday, October 9, 2013

282: Macronauts & Micromorphs

ENTRY 282: Macronauts & Micromorphs

"There are minimum physical dimensions for old human-type brains to achieve and sustain transhuman-style intelligence; not just in terms of volume but surface area, which is critical for temperature control. However, we live in an age when technology can exceed these limits. We need no longer be transhuman-size to maintain transhuman intellect. Give up your size, and discover how big the universe really is."
- Rejected Ad Campaign for Micromorphs, c.AF 4

Micromorphs were an early fad which failed to gain wide adoption: classical human-style biomorphs that were approximately 1:12 human scale and proportional to normal flats and splicers, with most examples only 25 centimeters tall. Physical difficulties like brain surface area were overcome by cyberbrains and bioengineering, borrowing extensively from research on similar-sized lab animals. Unfortunately, the small scale of these enhancements drove up the relative cost of micromorphs, and the morph had limited appeal despite the claims of greater size economy. After only 30 months of production, the morph was officially removed from the general market, with a Lunar microcorp ("THE MicroCorp, Inc.") with ties to the micromorph community continuing to service existing micromorphs and operating a micromorph pod service.

That still leaves over ten thousand micromorphs, who working together have founded their own microscale habitats and set about exploring a universe at another scale. These "macronauts" who leave the micromorph habitats approach life as a challenge on a massive scale, and cover surprising ground given their stature, having adapted appropriately-sized small drones as vehicles and labor-saving machinery. Macronauts are often welcome technicians on spacecraft, due to their small mass and ability to access hard-to-reach areas, and have even had some success as gatecrashers. However, life is not all cornucopia machines and lilliputian sex workers for micromorphs; every one of the morphs is sterile, and many suffer cardiovascular and skeletal problems stemming from their small size and long exposure to microgravity. Augmentations that "normal scale" morphs take for granted the micromorph community has to scale down on their own, using a dedicated reverse engineering clique calling themselves Jultomten. Alcoholism and petal abuse are also rampant problems on the outskirts of micromorph communities, due to a cultural sense of doom - as no more micromorphs are being manufactured, and none can be born, some micromorphs feel the weight of obsolence and eventual extinction weighing down on them.


Micromorphs are biomorphs.
Enhancements: Basic Biomods, Basic Mesh Inserts, Cortical Stack, Cyberbrain, Nanoscopic Vision
Aptitude Maximum: 25 (5 for Somatics)
Durability: 10
Wound Threshold: 2
Advantages: +5 to two aptitudes of the player's choice; non-personal augmentation equipment made for micromorphs (clothing, drugs, etc.) that can be nanofabricated is one cost category less, as fewer resources are required in their construction.
Disadvantages: Small Size Trait (see Transhuman: The Eclipse Phase Player's Guide)
CP Cost: 10
Credit Cost: High


  • The PCs win a Mesh contest, an all-expenses-paid pod-vacation at the Lunar micromorph habitat of Gernika II, where they can enjoy the luxury accommodations in micromorph pods (as above, but with puppet sock), and take in sights like the Gernika II bonsai tree, said to have been cultivated from the Gernikako Arbola from old Earth. As they settle in, the PCs are contacted by Firewall: they rigged the contest to get the PCs to Gernika II, for the purpose of making contact with a subset of the Jultomten who may have deciphered a scrap of TITAN-tech, and recruit them into Firewall...or eliminate them. Of course the PCs, as fish out of water, might find Gernika II a strange habitat, where tomato plants are, relative to the micromorphs, the size of trees and domestic rodents take the place of traditional pets...
  • The PCs wake up with a hangover, in micromorphs, and in a cage - but still aboard their normal (full-sized) habitat. With few options, the PCs have to figure out what happened to them and escape. After having a bit of fun running around and getting creative to press buttons and climb up stairs and ladders, the PCs discover their full-sized selves - the micro-PCs are forks that their enemy got ahold of and stuck in micromorphs so that they could torture them. Now that they've reunited with their full-scale selves, it's up to the players what they want to do with their new forks and micromorphs.


  1. Isn't there a smaller size category in trans human that fits micromorphs better? I mean 25cm is a lot smaller than a neotenic morph.

    I think there was a scaled down habitat mentioned in Sunward too, but they were talking about improbably small insect-sized morphs, that were supposedly cheaper than full sized morphs.

    1. There is. I like to think of micromorphs as an earlier, more ambitious attempt. It harkens back to old ideas of shrink rays and cities in a bottle, but that never quite got the kinks worked out.