Robots, androids, cyborgs, creating organisms, modifying DNA, and extreme body modifications are part of everyday life in One Shot RPG. It’s up to an individual to choose if they want to stay natural or modify, if they weren’t already modified before they were born, that is.
Robots and Androids
In the world of One Shot RPG, robots come in all shapes and sizes, from humanoid androids, to small boxy vacuums. Because people can’t upload or transfer their consciousness, and AI can’t gain free will, there are no playable robot characters. Players can interact with all sorts of robots, including ones they build and control themselves, but the machines will always remain tools. Androids may house advanced AIs that can pass for sapient beings at first glance, but they aren’t fully lifelike. With some careful observation, characters can tell an android from a real person.
The decision to limit robots to tools has the same reasoning as limiting AI. If there are characters who are robots, and they can just be replaced, will the players feel a sense of danger? The decision to restrict androids to being distinguishable from an actual person comes from the intention of using the uncanny valley. The uncanny valley can be used to amplify the game setting’s horror feel. Imagine the players are investigating the disappearance of a family, when they stumble upon the missing, but something’s off. With careful observation the players realize that they’re actually android replacements. The uncanny valley sets in, and the characters get chills down their spine when the androids ask, “What’s wrong, did we disturb you?” as they brandish their weapons. The players know what’s attacking them aren’t people, but a creepy attempt at replicating the family.
People can’t digitize their consciousness and transfer it to a robot, but they can replace so much of their bodies with machines that they are considered a cyborg. Unlike an android, a cyborg is a living organism with machine parts, and in One Shot RPG, cyborgs are the extreme of that—almost entirely machine. They have the brain, central nervous system, and even some organs of their original bodies, but most everything else has been replaced by machine. People are able to tell cyborgs apart from robots, and cyborgs still have their Internet connected chip and AI. Cyborgs age, their machine and organic parts need maintenance, and they can be killed. Scum affects cyborgs and there are cyborg scum. Because cyborgs can’t be “just replaced” like robots, there are playable cyborg characters.
Becoming a cyborg, rather than replacing only a few parts with machines, is a personal decision. There are those who view becoming fully machine as the next frontier, and there are those that view it as unnatural. But there’s one thing everyone agrees on, cyborgs are people, and are treated as such.
All of the alien species can replace their body parts with machines and go through the full transformation to a cyborg. It’s my intention to have cyborg animal people and stone people playable characters.
Scientists in the world of One Shot RPG are able to create simple organisms in a lab. Bioengineering, biorobotics bio-anything is possible. It’s more efficient to develop advanced organisms through breeding programs, modifying the offspring’s DNA, then implanting machines for the desired effect—rather than creating them from scratch. Organisms can be cloned, but cloning sapient organisms—people—is outlawed. Though it’s illegal doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen. Remember that clones are not the same person, they’re more like siblings who happen to look alike. Whether created through nature or a lab, organisms are still a product of their environment. Just because they were created to serve a purpose doesn’t mean they will obey.
People can be born in a natural environment—womb—or in a test tube. Many families choose to modify the DNA of their unborn offspring to promote certain qualities. Common modifications range from functional such as correcting color blindness or male pattern baldness, to the vain such as hair or eye color. It is a family’s choice whether they wish to modify DNA or not.
While a person could technically modify their DNA after birth, such as regenerating a lost limb, it’s usually much easier to make changes through implants and body modification.
Characters in the RPG one shot setting have the ability to make modifications to their bodies. Lost limbs are replaced with mechanical ones, and even healthy limbs are replaced if a person feels like a prosthesis has more functionality. People can embed Internet connected sensors under their skin to monitor their health and attach external sensors to measure the environment. They can pierce their bodies and add implants for the looks, such as glowing tubing. If a person wants they could replace their fingernails with metallic ones, graft a tail, and change their natural hair color to blue. What matters here is that people have a lot more control over their appearance, if they believe in doing so and can afford it.
Body modifications are not limited to humans either. Members of the additional playable alien species also have their own culture of body modification.
With the inclusion of almost-fully-machine cyborgs and extreme body modification, there can by a range of visually diverse characters and unique character concepts.