Species and Subspecies
"But now we are developing a new identity and awareness. We are a new people. We live, eat, and sleep among the stars. We live in infinite space, and we will have access to infinite energy until the sun burns out fifty billion years from now. Our consciousness will expand, and infinite space will be our true home. God has given us the stars to live among."
An Evolving World
Humanity's journey to the stars has changed it, though for better or for worse is an open question. Humans have begun to adapt to their new environments, and have even formed durable relationships with species other than their own. This list highlights the myriad options players have for characters who are something beyond the typical Natural human. These are not all the available options that will ever exist on the game; in a small handful of cases, characters will have special racetypes tied to content involved in later Phases.
"Awakening" is a catch-all OOC term for abilities which open a person's awareness to the world. Characters with a non-zero Awakening score can sense the presence of others with Awakening scores to varying extents. Generally, a Newtype or similar evolved human will have an Awakening score of at least 2.
The Awakening numerical statistic has no gameplay value and is primarily a measure of how 'loud' your mental nonsense is in scenes, or how much mental 'loudness' you receive. It often, but not always, comes with Mental control interface access, but is distinct therefrom.
- 0: A pure Oldtype, or Coordinator with no Newtype intuition. Note that this is an unusually low value. Awakening 0 is a distinctive statement of a character's worldview and relational style in the same way an Awakening of 3 or above is. Examples: Bask Om; Raidiese F. Branstein.
- 1: Generally regarded as an Oldtype, but still capable of experiencing flashes of intuition and heightened understanding. Note that this is the average human in the setting. Examples: Flay Allster; Koji Kabuto.
- 2: Often, but not always, regarded as something beyond a Natural. Capable of sensing specific individuals with whom they develop an emotional connection reliably. Examples: Roux Louka; Suzaku Kururugi.
- 3: Almost certainly regarded as something other than a Natural. Capable of sensing the general emotional tenor of a location as well as specific individuals. Examples: Radha Bairavan; Ivan Larzalev; Char Aznable (0093).
- 4: Definitely, indisputably Awakened. Capable of sensing intent to the point of preferring to use that over traditional instruments in battle; sometimes just has whole plot-relevant conversations on the psychic communion layer. Examples: Char Aznable (0079); Rau le Creuset; Teletha Testarossa.
- 5: Extremely Awakened. Theoretically capable of performing feats that can change an era on the psychic axis. Examples: Tiffa Adill; Kaname Chidori.
- >5: Has ceased to be a person in the conventional sense of the term. May exist as a consciousness beyond time and space, fall out of reality, fall into a different layer of reality, et cetera. Examples: Rita Bernal.
While there are physiological/genetic/epigenetic factors that encourage Awakening, they only set a floor. In rare cases that floor can be very high (some people are born very powerfully Awakened; this isn't necessarily a good thing or a bad thing, it just happens). If you're uncertain where you want to place a character within the common band of their subspecies or species, consider the following questions:
- Does this character believe the world and its rules are fundamentally static, or negotiable?
- Does this character care more about their own feelings, or the feelings of others, and how do they navigate that care?
A character with a particularly static view on the world or closed off feelings is more likely to be low-Awakening, while a character with a particularly negotiable view of the world or extremely open feelings is more likely to be high-Awakening. Again, not iron-clad, especially for characters whose shows take a different tack on this point, but if you're sitting there going 'hmmm, how big do I want this number to be,' this can help.
"Boosted Human" is something of a catch-all term for humans who have been enhanced without the use of cybernetics after exiting the womb in a way that does not encourage the development of quantum brainwaves.
A Compoid is a humanoid originating in a layer of reality distinct from our own. "Cognitive layer," "Omnisphere," "Computer World," and "Akashic Record" have all been bandied around as terms for this layer of reality, though it's unclear whether the phenomena humans have grouped into any of these categories is fully correct on this point.
Compoids, as beings partially composed of data, have some limited freedom of movement between types of substance.
Compoids are not a PC species at this time. They are listed for completeness's sake and because a subtype of Compoid wraps around to being much closer to a baseline human.
Related Subtype: Repli-Compoid
Repli-Compoids are humanoids originating in a layer of reality distinct from our own. "Cognitive layer," "Omnisphere," "Computer World," and "Akashic Record" have all been bandied around as terms for this layer of reality, though it's unclear whether the phenomena humans have grouped into any of these categories is fully correct on this point.
While theoretically of a kind with Compoids, Repli-Compoids lack the supernatural capacity to change their type of substance and are substantially flesh-and-blood humans, capable of doing all the things a human does.
Due to their intrinsic connection to another layer of reality, Repli-Compoids always have an Awakening Score of at least 1. Repli-Compoids can have any Awakening value, and may have Mental or Cybernetic proficiency without any kind of enhancement due to a very limited capacity for turning thought into reality. Despite this, as mentioned, they are essentially normal humans.
Coordinators, those with "coordinated" gene selection and modification designed to be the best humanity has to offer, have existed for about 60 years. On just about any metric one might care to name, the average Coordinator outperforms the average Oldtype by about 33%. In nations where they are tolerated, they often occupy major science, industry, athletic, or cultural occupations.
The combination of resentment of these enhanced abilities and extremely strong anti-genetic-modification political messaging has led to widespread mistrust and hatred of Coordinators. Membership in Earthnoid identitarian and anti-Coordinator organizations is fairly common and does not kill your political career in Britannia or on the Orbital Ring; uptake in other Federation member nations varies, but isn't small either.
As the Coordinator population enters its third generation, however, this narrative of Coordinator superiority -- convenient to both Oldtype and Coordinator politicians alike -- has hit a snag. Infertility among second-generation Coordinator couples was about 12%, slightly more common than in Oldtypes but within the margin of error; among third-generation Coordinator couples, however, infertility skyrockets past 70%. In the PLANTs, this has been a talking point in favor of reconciliation, even as the PLANTs enter a war footing; in Federation territory, however, this is often framed as a sign of the moral failings of a population that would create Coordinators.
Characters with Coordinator in their Species field almost always have an Awakening score of at least 1 (unless they are also another species), though they can also have an Awakening score of 0.
Related Subtype: Numbers
Numbers (of no relation to the Britannian Union's Number citizen system) are two subtypes of Coordinator produced in secret at the Orsha Engineering Lab in Ravnui, an independent nation formerly known as Belarus. Theoretical work on a humanoid lifeform able to process quantum brainwaves began a few years after Zeon Zum Deikun's initial postulation of the Newtype in 0052, with the earliest successes coming just over a decade later.
Real Numbers were produced using then-current in-vitro fertilization techniques. Subjects with promising mutations or documented experiences indicating the possibility of high spatial awareness, quantum brainwave processing, or preternatural luck were combined with similar specimens in test tubes, with minor adjustments made using data from George Glenn's Coordinator documents, before gestating in surrogate mothers. While this process rarely generated 'awakened' humans, it proved the viability of artificial creation of top-quality soldiers, with some 50 Real Numbers produced in total.
Imaginary Numbers, conversely, are completely manually-sequenced from the ground up, using insights gained from the evaluation of Real Number donors. Like Real Numbers, they use a human surrogate mother rather than an artificial womb. Imaginary Numbers show signs of quantum brainwave processing and preternaturally high spatial awareness, but are prone to numerous instabilities. About two in five Imaginary Numbers develop fatal genetic diseases prior to age 10, and another five in ten develop severe mental dysfunction by age 30. Those who survive, however, demonstrate truly elite physical and mental abilities, gaining doctoral-level understanding of one or more topics by age 20, as well as the intuitive social reasoning common to Newtypes.
Both Real and Imaginary Numbers have been seeded across the world. Almost all answer to Bal Gorbovsky, the most senior living researcher on the project, and by extension to his associates in Amalgam (to whom he is known as Mr. Thallium).
Any Real Number OC must be no older than 31, and any Imaginary Number OC must be no older than 27, as the earliest successes of each program are 32 and 28 respectively.
While characters who are Real Numbers or Imaginary Numbers will generally have Coordinator in their species field, Real Numbers typically have an Awakening score of 1 or 2, while Imaginary Numbers typically have an Awakening score of 2 or more. It is difficult to have the level of reflexive social orientation inherent to quantum brainwave use without having some degree of Awakening.
First postulated by Zeon zum Deikun in the 0040s, the Newtype is one potential path of human evolution in the face of space exploration and international interconnectedness. Deikun originally asserted that the vastness of space would naturally force humans to expand their consciousness both collectively and as individuals, and that space colonization would in turn naturally lend itself to various expressions of this expansion, such as increased empathy and spatial awareness.
The idea of the Newtype was rapidly embraced by spacenoids, but Earthnoids were slow to accept the idea that spacenoids would eventually overtake them in a concrete sense. By 0087, the existence of Newtypes had moved from fringe theory associated with spacenoids to accepted-but-politically-inconvenient fact. Today, in 0096, the evidence overwhelmingly supports Newtypes' existence, even in the public sphere.
The specifics of what constitutes a Newtype are shrouded in mystery, however, with most people assuming their own abilities to be the baseline of humanity. Deikun's original assertions, however, have mostly proven themselves out; Newtypes are capable of sensing the intent of others even across vast distances, and often have a significantly stronger sense of spatial awareness than the average. These skills result in a significantly disproportionate representation of Newtypes among ace pilots.
A character with Newtype in their Species field will typically have an Awakening score of at least 2. It is difficult to have the level of reflexive social orientation inherent to quantum brainwave use without having some degree of Awakening.
Related Subtype: Category F
While usually blamed on the Titans, Federation Newtype experiments are known to have begun after Zeon defections during the One Year War, and have continued into the present. Early research interests focused heavily on remote weaponry and intentionality-focused IFF/performance enhancement systems like EXAM and HADES, leading to a classification system based entirely on compatibility with this type of equipment.
As research interests diversified and Cyber-Newtypes became a viable means of seizing the power of the "Newtype," this categorization method fell by the wayside. In spite of this, "Category F" remained as something of a terminological shibboleth among Federation Newtype researchers due to its easy association with "Fake."
Category Fs exhibit traits commonly associated with Newtypes, such as empathy, intuitive precognition, or spatial awareness, but without generalized elevation in quantum brainwave activity. This in turn renders them incapable of using psycommu weapon systems without further augmentation. The mechanism by which these effects are achieved remains a mystery due to minimal research.
A character with Category F in their Species field will almost always have an Awakening score of 2; they are "open" in an unusual way that doesn't fit typical categories.
Related Subtype: Cyber-Newtype
A Cyber-Newtype is the result of one of many projects designed to enhance quantum brainwave processing in a previously non-Newtype candidate. Note that despite the name, this does not involve cybernetic implants; it is more likely to involve hypnosis, drugs, genetic alteration, and other forms of less-invasive modification.
While frowned upon, decades of effort have made this process relatively safe, with only modest risks of psychosis, trauma, or brain death. Historically, however, human enhancement has been a bloody process with a high human cost. Artificially forcing a brain to be more aware than it is often leads to death, whether through mental collapse, self-harm, or developing unusual high-lethality fixations.
Cyber-Newtypes made after 0090 are generally stable and capable of forming normal interpersonal relationships, though they can definitely be quirky.
A character with Cyber-Newtype in their Species field will typically have an Awakening score of at least 2. It is difficult to have the level of reflexive social orientation inherent to quantum brainwave use without having some degree of Awakening.
The distinction between a Newtype and a Psychodriver is almost entirely academic; indeed, up until about 0093, Psychodrivers were mostly classified as Newtypes. They exhibit the same elevation in quantum brainwave activity and the same compatibility with remote weapons.
However, while Newtypes achieve this primarily by spatial awareness and a keen sense of intentionality, Psychodrivers achieve these effects with a much more physical type of sixth sense. They have a subconscious awareness of matter outside of themselves, and can to some extent manipulate this.
Psychodriver-related telekinesis occurs at a near-quantum level; Psychodrivers are not conventional telekinetics who can move things with their minds without technological assistance. They do have some degree of emotional quantum brainwave awareness similar to Newtypes, but it is typically less pronounced than that of a Newtype.
A character with Psychodriver in their species field will typically have an Awakening score of at least 2. It is difficult to have the level of reflexive social orientation inherent to quantum brainwave use without having some degree of Awakening.
The SEED Factor is one of several half-steps and branching paths of space-era human evolution. References to it in casual conversation are usually sub-rosa implications of adherence to Zeon Zum Deikun's Contolism theory.
As a specific line of human change with character abilities attached, the SEED Factor represents an increase in capability that comes from emotion, similar to the pop-culture effects of adrenaline but markedly more pronounced. A character with the SEED Factor will usually see a single-step increase in Awakening score; mechanically, it is usually represented by the Clarity ability, though PCs need not tie posing SEED Mode to reaching their Clarity threshold.
Characters with the SEED Factor can have any Awakening score.
Whispered all share a single common trait: Each and every one was born on December 24, 0079, at precisely 11:50am GMT. It is unclear what caused the Whispered to exist, but each one bears that in common.
Every Whispered is an expert in one or more areas of science, able to create technologies far beyond what one might expect. The explosion in Mobile Suit development during the First Neo Zeon War -- still overwhelmingly regarded as the golden age of mobile weapon development -- is, among those who know of their existence, usually attributed to the Whispered.
The existence of the Whispered is a closely-guarded secret, however, for precisely this reason. Only a handful of organizations know of them -- and, overwhelmingly, have made a decision either to protect or to pursue the treasure trove of knowledge within these young minds.
Characters with Whispered in their Species field always have an Awakening score of at least 4. Whispered are virtually always at some degree of danger of losing themselves in psychic communion, so the Awakening score is understandably quite high.
So, as it happens, there are a lot of what we might describe as "one-off" alien species in the universe! Sometimes they have species names, sometimes they do not. Sometimes they only have species names. The important thing is that the 'Alien' designation exists as a catch-all for characters of this type. Some species might be more specific, such as "Ultra" or "Kaiju," but if your series has aliens and monsters but doesn't give you anything more specific, "Alien" will suffice.
Aliens can have any Awakening score.
"Super AI" is a legal designation for an AI capable of passing a specific battery of cognitive tests. At this time, there are only a handful of Super AIs in the Earth Sphere.
Legal personhood for AIs is complicated. Due to the small number of qualifying artificial intelligences, the official stance is that nations grant personhood to AIs on an individual basis. Non-Federation nations have broadly similar pipelines for personhood. No one assumes it by default.
Zentradi and Half-Zentradi
Zentradi are giants standing roughly between 8 and 11 meters in height, humanoid in shape, who can become smaller (size ranges typical to humans) through a process called miclonization. Most go about their daily lives miclonized, and would be indistinguishable from humans if not for their unusual skin color and wider range of body shapes.
The Zentradi entered the Earth Sphere in the late 0050s, pursuing a downed vessel that later became the SDF-1 Macross. After ending up on the losing end of a major war and becoming acquainted with the kindness and culture of Earth, the Zentradi resolved to be humanity's first partners in space.
In many ways, the Zentradi are some of the best allies humanity could ask for. After the war, they have become, if anything, less predisposed to violence than humans. The Zentradi generally do not participate in humanity's conflicts, and are more likely to be employed in public works, anti-alien operations (insofar as these remain), or technological development. Still, they are denizens of the Earth Sphere now, and inexorably drawn into the maelstrom.
For a time after the Zentradi War ended, Zentran-human pairings were common, and produced a variety of half-Zentran children. With the rise of the curious mix of racism and eco-fascism that permeates the Earth Sphere after the One Year War, however, these pairings have become drastically less common outside of colony ships.
Zentradi almost always have an Awakening score of 0, though 1 is fairly common, especially among player characters (though Zentradi are capable of any score; this is simply a statement of a lower average than humans). Half-Zentradi can have any Awakening score, though one above 1 will generally suggest that the half-Zentradi is also a Newtype or other humanoid subspecies.