Synthetic Bioforms: (Syns, Synths, SBF): The use of synthetic people helps alleviate the manpower shortage and most real peoples’ dislike for manual labor. They are also cheaper, easier to utilize, and easier to maintain than robots in most situations.
The dominant manufacturer of SBFs is Prylo Biotech. Their units can be found throughout Known Space. Their models follow the most common traits of Synths: average of height, thin of build, angular in feature, ice blue eyes, very pale skin, very light hair. In fact, Prylo set the standard that made them the common traits. Synths are as intelligent as humans. Their base skills and personality are implanted when they are created, so they have what is neeeded for their contract. They have little life experience, so they are stunted in development outside of their skill clusters, so they tend to focus on their jobs and skills.
The exception to the above statements are Prylo SBF Drones. They have heavy brows, child like minds, short memories, and little initiative. For certain contracts, drones are prefered over the more flexible basic model.
SBFs from other companies will have different traits. An entertainment company might have golden skin, blonde hair, and beautiful eyes as their company traits. Some make red people. It is up to the company image and what they can sell.
All Synths are all neuter, as per The Law. They have no primary or secondary sexual characteristics. Some will effect a gender in dress, hairstyle, undergarment, and manner, but that is less common than The Entertainment Media would have you think. Most of them dress in fairly drab corporate clothing/ uniforms.
SBFs are created through exo-wombs. The exo-wombs provide them nutrition, physical stimulation, and programming, while they are developing. They are decanted when almost fully grown. They are given a few weeks of orientation at one of the Prylo Centers where they were decanted. They will soon grow into their bodies and their jobs.
Synths come imprinted with basic motor skills, one of three personality foundations, the skills required for their contract, any additional skills/ knowledges that are part of "the purchase package", and any psycho social conditioning required by the Contract Owner (either emotional needs like total loyalty or regional legal needs - inability for violence, Three Laws of Synthetics, etc). Since every imprinting is costly, most are given the bare minimums required. All the basic Synth personalities have an emphasis on duty and responsibility. This plus their lack of life experience, makes them ideal (and docile) employees in most cases. With the Three Law of Synthetics imprint, they will be totally obedient beings.
Since they are not born of a biologic entity (i.e. a female), they have limited legal rights. The Law, as in the Synthetic Being Act, designates them as indentured beings like AIs. This means they can be owned, but must have a "fair and possible chance" of earning enough money to buy off their creation cost (minus any "living expenses"). Prylo starts as their contract holder, but can sell their contract to any "legitimate buyer". Since Prylo seldom makes a SBF except to order, a Synth will be made to order and their contract pre-purchased.
A SBF starts out as an indentured servant to their contract holder (usually a corporation). The Contract Holder must house, feed, and "treat well" their SBFs by law. The SBF is ‘paid’ a basic wage each period. The company usually bills for their "care costs", leaving a small amount of credit left over. This can be applied towards their contract or cashed out for personal goods/ services. Thus a menial Synth will have a tiny bit of pocket change each month, while a skilled Synth a small amount of discressionary income. Many SBFs will save their credit and try to purchase their freedom. Most SBFs live their entire life under contract, spending their credit for things to make their time easier. It is up to the Synth as to which path they will follow. If done properly, it can take a Synth over 3/4ths their probable lifespan to buy off their contract.
Synths are used in a variety of roles. The most commonly assumed role is as a menial for companies. Many restaurants utilize Synths (or specially created SBFs) as "behind the wall staff" and sometimes as wait staff, for reasons of economy. Non-coprporate owners use them as personal assistants and servants that are perfectly loyal - being made that way. Often Synths are used in higher risk jobs such as miners, spacers, or energy plant workers. The Synths prefer these jobs as they are more durable than Humans (thus at less risk) and they are paid a bit more. A suprising number of Synths are used as highly skilled practitioners for the companies with far flung concerns. They are much cheaper to purchase and have to stay "on location", unlike the cost of recruiting and paying a highly skilled practioner to work in the middle of no where for a few years. Thus the "company doctor" for any number of mining sites will be a synths.
A SBF’s lifespan is limited when compared to a non synthetic lifeform of similar type. A humanoid Syth will live for 25 years on average. While some of their lifespan limitations are by design (Tynell Corp which makes wonderous SBF limits them to 4 years for example), it is the nature of their genetics. Between their clone processing and forced maturation, their biology can only handle so much celluar expression. Biologic engineers have been working for centuries to overcome what is commonly called The Dolly Effect. Even under the best of perfect conditions, a humanoid SBF could only live for 40 years or so.
Note: Prylo will make custom Synths within their basic parameters for good customers. Most are simple variations on the basic Prylo models. Some are more extreme. Prylo does not make things that go too far beyond their standards, but other providers might. Thus you might have a SBF somewhere with primary sexual parts, but still be unable to breed.
Synthetics Bioforms are here to provide "color" in a science fiction game, and a viable option instead of robots/ droids. These Synths are the Classics, what one expects. They provide "ignorable background beings" in most cases. They are aliens that are not aliens, thus they can add complexity to a sci fi game… and let you have the "alient trope" even if you don’t want aliens in your game.
You can have extra people around, without having people. It lets you be lonely in space again.
The strongest part is their background. It provides a foundation for other synthetic lifeforms you can create for your games.
If your players are of the right bent, they can play upon "the moral issues" of Synthetics. Are they slaves? Are they wrong to make? Can we kill several of them off to save one "normal person"? Do we have the right to make a species and hold their reproductive rights hostage? And so on.
And they could always come up against nutty people who take extreme action to "Save the Synth".