Amalgam Homo prognatus mechanicus, “golemborn”
Tool use, language, and imagination are the true cradle of human civilization – that which separates man from beast. Since the dawn of history, humanity has attempted to give language to that which it has created; statues were given significance as guardians, and spirits were said to enter into mannequins and homunculi. Stories of magic animating lifeless creations have existed as long as being able to create has existed. In recent years, with the invention and refinement of the computer and robotics, humanity has finally been able to create artificial intelligence – but the resurgence of the magic that once crept into golems and statues has now allowed robots to dream. Cybernetic and prosthetic enhancement augmented with magic has merged creator with creation into a new type of metahuman called the Amalgam.
Enhanced: “Wire Minded.”
The Enhanced are biological humans whose bodies have begun the process of accepting and creating mechanical upgrades and additions to the internal workings of the body. Cells based on aluminum, silicon, and gold rather than carbon create nanobots that convert fuel into more robust cells and organs than any organic creation. The result is a being that understands the imperfection of their flesh, and seeks out new and advanced bionics and cybernetics to further themselves along the path to mechanical ascension. Enhanced culture advocates and revolves around the denial of biological impulses in favor of ever growing cybernetic perfection; food and water are fuel, society is a protection mechanism, and the pleasures of the flesh are a sign of organic weakness to be purged.
Biometric: “Body Forged.”
When the inner self is mechanical perfection, the outer self begins to reflect the fact. Biometrics have moved past the inner body and have begun directly grafting robotic or cybernetic parts onto themselves, often interchangeably as to suit the needs of the given task at hand; why hold a blade when the arm can be a blade? Why hold a tool, when the arm can be the tool? This philosophy extends into the daily life of a Biometric. Superbly adaptable, the Biometric throws itself into absolute resolution until a given task is completed, before moving on to the next and the next. Biometrics struggle with the concept of niche and acceptance – neither fully organic nor fully mechanical. They are never a true master of any one task, and they seek guidance and meaning for their logical minds in an increasingly chaotic world. They often find solace in mastering both the organic and the mechanical halves of themselves.
Ascendant: “Spirit Shell.”
Ascendants have completed the journey, and are fully mechanical beings whose metallic shells house souls. The Ascendant’s physical needs are met entirely through the consumption of fuel (typically in the form of food) and through maintenance. It is the spiritual self that the Ascendant turns their attention to. As the polar opposite of an Enhanced, the Ascendant must work hardest to maintain their humanity and keep hold of their soul, lest they be rendered nothing more than an exceptionally advanced robot. Some Ascendants walk the road of meditation and solitude, and others seek their answers among biological beings, but all face a daily and real struggle to assert that they are People, rather than Things.
Amalgams are bound together by the dual lives they lead. They are chained to their humanity; they seek to shed their humanity and be free of the biological impairments of survival, emotion, and social connection, and simultaneously are drawn to retain it and embrace it, as it remains the only true definition between an Amalgam and a soulless object. The struggle between mind and soul is waged dozens of times a day in every single Amalgam, regardless of whether they are mostly organic or entirely mechanical. The result is a race of beings at war with themselves, seeking out magic as the potential answer to an unknowable and unwinnable conundrum.
Enhanced – The Enhanced appear to be mostly human, as the vast majority of their mechanical workings are internal. Visible wiring might appear near tight nerve ending clusters; wired hands, fingers, or a bit on the face are common, as are vibrant, glowing eyes. The Enhanced tend to dress in as utilitarian a manner as possible. Any cosmetic ornamentation or alteration to their basic SCG will directly play into their mechanical natures – gizmos and devices attached to their processors by wire, or electronic status indicators, for example. Anything more is seen as a lamentable attachment to humanity.
Biometric – Bionic body parts, visible wiring, and bright, exotic contact lenses are an absolute must when it comes to being a Biometric. Hands and entire limbs made of metal and plastic, with external data ports and interchangeable tool sockets, are the hallmarks of the Biometrics. It is common for these limbs and other electronic or mechanical structures to be proudly displayed, painted, and ornamented – why settle for a simple metal arm when it can be painted in red chrome? A Biometric’s clothing will only serve as an enhancement to this – think in terms of a body builder’s muscle-displaying tank top.
Ascendant – No portion of an Ascendant is organic. They are hairless, skinless, and entirely metal and plastic, and this should be reflected by costuming – contacts that change the color of the eye, painted or covered skin, and obviously mechanical and augmented limbs. Ascendants usually wear armor of some kind rather than simple clothing, the better to protect their delicate machinery from external wear and tear. Unlike the Enhanced, it is common for Ascendants to carry or wear trinkets, mementos, and comfort items that serve as a reminder and a promise to themselves – they will not surrender their souls to the machine.
Amalgam – For the purpose of using higher grade equipment, all Amalgam are considered to have one level higher of the skill Demolitions than their total card set. If the Amalgam has zero uses of the skill, they are considered to have zero and not one.