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jsnead

Trinity RPG - A revised Trinity history & background

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I've always loved Trinity, but laterly I've been dissatisfied with it, in part because the Doyen seem a bit silly, and also because I've never been as interested in humanities first steps into the galaxy as I have with richly layered galactic histories like those common in the modern space operas of Alastair Reynolds and similar authors, and the focus on fighting Aberrants seemed dull. So, despite being about to start running a Star Trek campaign, a few days ago I was struck a nifty way to revise the Trinity cosmology. Comments welcome.

Revised Trinity

In 2019, the Novagenesis procedure was developed. Experimental gene therapies to enhance the mental and physical capabilities of healthy adults began in 2016, and in 2019, researchers accidentally discovered a rare genetic sequence that could be activated via gene therapy, the result was the first Nova. Three years later, the official story is that the activation of a particularly powerful nova resulted in a mysterious energy pulse that activated the N-sequence in almost everyone who possessed it. This story is a half-truth. In reality, a hyper-intelligent Nova who called himself Divis Mal deliberately created this energy pulse using a mixture of his own energy manipulation talents and advanced devices that he created. The result was N-Day and the dawn of the Nova Age.

One crucial difference from standard Aberrant canon was that almost 60% of all Novas had some type of mental enhancement, and approximately 1/3 had enhanced intelligence. One in four Novas was considerably more intelligent than any human had ever been. The result was 1,500 hyper geniuses who helped advance science and engineering in ways previous considered impossible. Fusion power, advanced gene therapies, room temperature superconductors, and medicines that allowed people to live 30% longer than before all came about in the first decade of the Nova Era. At the same time, there were small colonies on both Luna and Mars.

By the End of the 2nd & 3rd decade of the Nova Era, problems were getting more severe. As many Novas learned to control and enhance their powers, they became increasingly dangerous. A few were actively malevolent or insane, more were careless, and some had grown increasingly inhuman mentally. There was nothing like "taint", but most Novas had some sort of mental enhancements, and in many cases these enhancements caused them to think & react increasingly less like human beings. The third decade of the Nova era was one of powerful inhuman beings, some of whom acted in a relatively benevolent fashion, but whose goals, motives, and understanding of situations was increasingly inhuman. During this time, Japan exiled all Novas and closed its borders.

By the middle of the 4th decade of the Nova Age, the Earth was beginning to enter a hard take-off singularity, where a group of several hundred of the brightest Novas worked to find ways to further enhance their intelligence, and then to use this knowledge to even further enhance their intelligence.

The result was a disaster – most vanished, but a few worked to attempt to spread the benefits they had attained, while others attempted to control other humans and other Novas. In 2054, one group of these post singularity Novas forcibly, and destructively uploaded several million people who had been using the latest direct neural interfaces. Other Novas transformed entire cities, or in one case, the entire nation of Turkey, into huge hiveminds. Various Nova ruled regions warred among themselves, while human-ruled nations either attempted to fight back or in many cases, to simply survive.

In 2056, Novas departed Earth after the Chinese Ultimatum. While the Chinese expected the Novas to settle somewhere else in the solar system, or to depart in the near lightspeed starships that were under construction, they instead vanished. For the next 20 years, Earth recovered. The most extreme Nova technology was both impossible to duplicate or fully understand and was abandoned. Also, the most intrusive direct interface technology was abandoned and remains suspect because of the possibility of both forcible destructive uploading and mind control. By 2070, Earth was far more advanced technologically than it had been before the beginning of the Nova Age, but many of the amazing wonders seen in the 2030s & 40s were gone. Regulation of Nova Age technology remains an important function of all governments well into the 22nd century.

In 2072, researchers found where the Novas had gone. Exploration of the solar system revealed ancient alien gateways to other stars and clear evidence that the Novas had activated them. One gateway briefly opened every few months to a random destination, but humans could not activate any others or control any of them. The existence of alien gateways in the solar system, has caused most people to assume that the existence of latent superpowers in a portion of humanity may be related to ancient alien efforts at genetic engineering.

In 2076, researchers using a mixture of Nova tech, and what was later understood to be alien tech completed the 7 Prometheus Chambers. They had been found half-built, and were completed by humans who barely understood what they did. The first psions were created in 2077. In 2079, the Teleporters learned to open the interstellar gateways and the most powerful can use the gateways as interstellar-range foci for their own abilities, allowing ships to completely bypass the gateways. From 2079 to 2114, humanity begins to explore and colonize the galaxy. In 2114, a group of Novas briefly returned and attack Earth, causing the Esperanza to crash in France. In the aftermath of this mysterious return and terrible disaster, the teleporters have vanished, just as the Novas also mysteriously vanished as swiftly as they arrived – many assume that they arrived in response to a Psion expedition discovering a world that some of the Novas had fled to.

In 2119, researchers create enhancement bioware and an advanced and possibly sentient biocomputer, that allows Clairs to open the interstellar gateways. Contact with the colonies in re-established within 6 months. Most of gate-opening units are built into ships. The game starts in 2121.

Technology

Most manufacturing is now done using nanotechnology vats known as Crucibles. However, self-replicating nanotechnology is something that has only been found in a few alien ruins, and nanotechnology that requires a device to generate it, but which can exist outside of the carefully controlled clean room environment of a Crucible exist only as relics created by the now vanished Novas.

The use of augmented reality is exceptionally common, and in many places nearly universal. While HUD contacts are still widely used, in many places, most people have implants that tap into both their sensory nerves and their speech centers, allowing them to experience full AR & VR without the necessity for clumsy suits. However, the horrors of the Nova Age has meant that direct neural interfaces that interact with thoughts and memories are almost never used and are viewed with great suspicion. Similarly, uploading of personalities is also not used, both because it can only be done destructively (killing the individual) and because the resulting personality is always substantially different from the one that previously inhabited the person's body, and in two thirds of all cases, this personality irreversibly crashes within a few weeks.

Medical technology is highly advanced, with gene therapies that do everything from cure cancer and provide an average lifespan of at least 160 years, to ones that can easily change hair and skin color or even sex, as well as provide unusual modifications like enhanced senses, gills, or cosmetic modifications like fur, claws, or even prehensile tails.

Aliens & the Galaxy

In addition to a handful of alien spies that humanity has come into contact with, the galaxy is also littered with dead worlds, and traces of ancient civilizations. Some seem to have vanished, others clearly destroyed themselves in vast wars or were destroyed by some unknown foe. Almost no sentient species endures longer than a million years after they develop advanced technology and most last far less time. As a result, there are only a few known alien species in the galaxy today. None are humanoid and most are difficult to interact with, but humanity is most definitely not alone in the galaxy. Also, millions of star systems also contain the ancient alien gateways, which are abstract constructs that generate spherical bubbles of hyperspace exactly 73 m in diameter.

The Qin exist and are humanities allies. Several Qin colony worlds have experimented extensively with transhumanism and have created the equivalent of the Pentapod Gods. The Qin on these worlds are effectively mobile and independent extensions of these hyperminds, and other Qin view them with significant suspicion.

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Some interesting ideas, though I think it needs some revision drafts.

Notably:

-Consider toning back the "telepathy/singularity automatically means no concept of privacy" trope. Its pretty cliche.

-The origin for the Prometheus Effect. . . I'd suggest dropping the alien technology entirely, as it doesn't really serve any discernable purpose. Just go with "Scientific breakthroughs supplemented with remnant nova tech activate a more stable metagene."

-As you describe it, your setting really does still have taint. Its just that taint represents how well the human mind handles transhuman ascendance. Low taint means you are handling it well, can still communicate with baselines, and are rational. High taint means you lost control of your own ascendance process, are insane, and/or can no longer communicate with baselines.

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Some interesting ideas, though I think it needs some revision drafts.

Notably:

-Consider toning back the "telepathy/singularity automatically means no concept of privacy" trope. Its pretty cliche.

That's there (along with the unreliability of uploading) specifically to keep the setting from going full-on singularity. In this version of 2121, lots of people have basic interface implants, but almost know one hooks their brains directly into a computer because of what was my (higher tech) version of the OpNet crash. Having an in-setting reason for PCs not to have smartphones feels very late 1990s to me, but keeping the populace from all becoming Conjoiners (ala Revelation Space) seems like a very good idea to me.
-The origin for the Prometheus Effect. . . I'd suggest dropping the alien technology entirely, as it doesn't really serve any discernable purpose. Just go with "Scientific breakthroughs supplemented with remnant nova tech activate a more stable metagene."
In large part, this goes along with the alien origin of Nova abilities. I find it fairly silly that even somewhat pulpy genetherapy could unlock vast powers, unless someone put the potential there in the first place. Also, Noetic Biotech seems inherently alien, and so having a partly alien origin for it makes sense.
-As you describe it, your setting really does still have taint. Its just that taint represents how well the human mind handles transhuman ascendance. Low taint means you are handling it well, can still communicate with baselines, and are rational. High taint means you lost control of your own ascendance process, are insane, and/or can no longer communicate with baselines.
In part - I see the problems that ended the Nova Age as a mixture of that and the way that extreme power and viewing yourself as better than other humans (in this case, perhaps legitimately) can lead to attrocities.

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The implications of that last part is that novas *will* become tainted, not as a result of biology but as a result of society.

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Well, its an element of transhuman literature at least as far back as Vinge, that post-singularity life really has no business interacting with baselines. Thus, whenever somebody achieves ascendance, they either clean up their affairs and leave for. . . somewhere, or else they eventually become a blight ( or Blight ) upon the world.

The implication for Aberrant in this context would be that leaving humanity behind is appropriate and healthy, once you've gotten to a certain point. While "pulling everyone up past the singularity" is a noble inclination, its not a good one to follow when you, yourself, have already blown past the barrier, as it removes any element of choice or achievement from those so begifted, *even if it otherwise works out perfectly*.

( and I suspect a totally unearned, undeserved, unchosen ascendence probably would not work perfectly, by definition, as those psychological elements would poison the resulting ascended being )

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