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September 18, 2008, 7:08 pm

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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. Encyclopedia Galactica 2453ed

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.

Game Uses
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".

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Comments ( 11 )
Commenters gain extra XP from Author votes.

Voted Ouroboros
September 19, 2008, 8:04
Interesting, and a novel take on slave-clones. I especially like your exploration of the legal status of these guys.

Good job!

Voted Scrasamax
September 19, 2008, 10:16
Very nice sir. Legal status is a good touch that sets it apart.
September 19, 2008, 14:33
There are two reasons why The Synths are so distinctive:
The first is less obvious: Branding. This way you see a SBF and you know where it came from. This is the company's way to make sure their goods always have the same packaging and people know where it came from. Think about a glass coke bottle, or the Nike Swoosh, or any number of neo-heraldic company logos, and take it a step further.

The second is for easy identification. This way you know that person you are talking too is a SBF. By making them different, you can't confuse them for "real people". This allows emergency responders, as well as customers, to know who is real and who is not.
Voted manfred
September 19, 2008, 18:36
Good piece of color. It is the details, like the laws surrounding them, their chance to buy themselves out to freeedom, and their 'brand' appearance that seals the deal. Very usable.

Now imagine if someone happens to look like one of those copyrighted looks... :)
September 20, 2008, 1:06
Well The Synths are different enough that you would have to actively dye your hair and skin to get that combination. Just as it would be easy enough to look like one (well if you have the right bodytype), it would be easy enough to change your look to avoid being branded a synth or treated like a "nothing".
Voted valadaar
September 20, 2008, 20:04
A great take on the replicant idea. I like the customized appearance part the most.
Voted Siren no Orakio
September 20, 2008, 21:49
A pretty stock character type, as I mentioned in chat. Really, this sort of character is best used not for themselves, but to illuminate the nature of the society around them, as you touched on in the Game Uses. The Frankenstein principles apply.
January 24, 2009, 12:08
Awesome. It reminds of Brave New World-from their synthetic birth to the fact that their personalities were implanted in them to fit their role in society.
Voted Chaosmark
January 24, 2009, 14:59
angryscot hit it right on the head. I couldn't shake the feeling of Brave New World the entire time I read this sub. An interesting concept, and always something that gets brought up in scifi, but I very highly doubt I'll ever use it.
Voted Forganthus
June 1, 2012, 2:09
This is awesome. Indentured slaves, made to order, wedged between robot and man. And the idea of talking to a branded Coca-Cola man is pretty good, too. Great flavor. You've left me to speculate on their psychology, though. (What do they do for fun?)

A couple of thoughts. If they all must be paid enough to have a fair chance of buying off their contracts, the 4yr synths must make a good amount more than the 40yr synths (10x the discretionary income).

Second, the Dolly Effect sounds like the short lifespans that somatic cell clones have. These are caused by epigenetic effects (activating/inactivated 'tags' on the genes) and telomere shortening. I can imagine both of those problems being solved in my lifetime (well, maybe not dynamic epigentic imprinting), but definitely before we have terraformed planets hundreds of years in the future. If you want something to kill your synths with, I'd go with cancer. Overactive telomerase is how cancer cells don't die of old age, and nearly everything that speeds up aging/growth can be teratogenic. There's a lot of thought that we evolved old age as a defense against cancer, actually (our own form of planned obsolescence). So yeah, cancer.

Sorry for the ramble! 5/5!
Voted Pariah
October 19, 2014, 8:26
Only voted



Random Idea Seed View All Idea Seeds

       By: EchoMirage

Pick up a pathology/microbiology book, and add the diseases/syndroms to your game. Your players will freak out.
Coughed at? Diphteria. or tuberculosis?
Drunk from a muddy stream? Or just walked through? Well, let us introduce you to schistosomiasis...
Hit by a stream of energy? Too moch mana is ust like too much radioactivity - perhaps all mages could develop cancer early if too powerful...

Ideas  ( System ) | June 19, 2004 | View | UpVote 0xp

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