New Dusk Conclave
Active NDC Plots
- Power Armor
- Mechanized Frames
- Air and Space Craft
- Ground Vehicles
Ghosts are individuals who use mind-machine interfaces, primarily the BW-E-2 Anima System, to 'possess' machines. They feel as though the machine is their true body during this possession, experiencing its senses, proprioception1), and unique capabilities as though they were natural aspects of their own body.
While the Anima System strives to make possession a seamless, natural experience for its user, not all individuals have the flexibility of mind to fully take advantage of it. 'Becoming' a fighter or a tank can be immensely disorienting for someone without appropriate training and experience.
While many others make use of their Geist or the Anima System to control machines, Ghosts are experts at it. They can place their minds into starships, fighters, mechanized frames, tanks, and other adequately equipped machines and treat them like a second body.
In the New Dusk Conclave, Ghosts primarily act as frame/fighter pilots and starship operators.
Gully stood in the Ghost Chamber and gave the mental command to activate it. Clear walls rose around her and locked into the ceiling with a quiet kshhh . Her body lifted from the floor and her mind went blank as the Anima System connected her into the ship.
It always took her a moment to adjust to the new flow of sensory information. A moment to reacquaint herself with having a starship for a body.
She 'saw' diagnostic information telling her that the ship was in good condition and mentally reviewed the ship's inventory, ammunition counts, and fuel supplies. All crew were loaded and in the right places.
“Captain,” she said, her disembodied voice echoing across the bridge, “we're ready to depart on your command.”
Three major developments led to a shift from 'pilots' to 'ghosts' within the NDC's military.
The first major development was the creation of the Geist mind-machine interface. Extremely skilled users of the Geist could use it to take a deeper level of control over remote devices - to the extent that they could treat these remote devices as extensions of their own body. These individuals had significantly improved combat performance, but not all Geist users could show this level of control.
The second development was the creation of the Possessor. The frame's humanoid form and AI support made it simpler for Geist users to take control of the machine, but even here many users found themselves using a more traditional control scheme. It served as an excellent proof-of-concept for the military benefits of both human-form machines and deep mind-machine interfaces.
The third development was the Anima System itself, which was designed to vastly simplify the process of putting a user's mind into a machine. With its development, most anyone could experience the possession effect. Accordingly, more and more technology are being made with human forms in response to the proliferation of the Anima System. Not all users, however, can take full advantage of the Anima System or the machines that it interfaces with. This is especially true for machines with integrated sensors and weapon systems that don't have clear analogs on the human body - and machine forms that don't mirror the human form at all.
The Ghost occupation was developed as a hybrid between the traditional pilot role and a technology specialist. Ghosts are trained to quickly adapt to new body forms and capabilities. They learn how to manage massive amounts of sensory data through mental exercises. The result is an individual who can treat nearly any machine as though it is a second skin.
All Ghosts are capable of operating a wide range of machines, but they tend to specialize to focus either on ships or frames. To be the most effective, you should ensure that you have the appropriate skills for your area of focus.
These skills are necessary for any Ghost:
Navigators are Ghosts who wish to specialize in the possession of starships. They benefit greatly from skills that allow them to handle large amounts of data and decisions, accurately, and have excellent decision making skills.
In contrast to the broad skills necessary to be a Navigator, the Pilot specialization is largely focused on their own martial and piloting prowess. They aim to be not just elite pilots, but elite fighters as well, able to defend against any threat or destroy any enemy.
While the NDC's military is becoming more and more focused on Frames as a primary combat unit, they aren't always the right fit for every job. Transports, non-humanoid armor units, artillery, shuttles, and more are still very much in service. Additionally, while the 'Pilot' specialization is the primary choice for Frame combatants, a Vehicle Specialist is nonetheless perfectly capable of using fighters, heavy dropships, and other non-humanoid craft in a combat situation.
Conclave Knights are ace Ghosts, typically Frame pilots, who have distinguished themselves by action, valor, and virtue.
Those Ghosts who wish to pursue the knightly path are well served by having skills that make them effective leaders. At least one of the following is recommended:
OOC Note: A new character cannot be a Conclave Knight. It must be earned by PCs2) over the course of multiple missions. Not all Ghosts will become Knights.
The easiest way to think about playing a Ghost is this:
Your mind and personality don't change, but your character's 'body' does. They might find themselves feeling detached from whatever body they happen to be in because of how often they swap. They might feel exceptionally at home in any body. The thing that's consistent is that their mind is the same.
When writing as a Ghost possessing things, finding ways to 'humanize' the body the character is in will keep things interesting. They aren't working controls or typing in commands, they're making things happen as naturally as you do when you type. Firing a gun, igniting thrusters, taking damage, receiving repairs, and more are all things that are being done with or to their body.
As the rounds slammed into the Frame's armor, Bart winced as he felt the armor give way and the delicate systems inside be torn to pieces. He focused himself, trying to ignore the pain as best as he could so that he could focus on his aim.
Inside the ship's Ghost Chamber, Gully suppressed a groan as the new engineer struggled to fix a damaged doorway. The newbie's repair method seemed to be some variant of 'turn it on and off again' at just the right pace to prevent her from tuning out the engineer's efforts entirely. It reminded her of when a school bully kept flicking her ear from the seat behind her - often enough to cause distress, but never quite enough to cause her to turn around and yell at him.
An important thing to remember is that while your character perceives their mind as occupying one body at a time, the Anima System is mirroring their mind in two locations at once and filtering out the feedback from one body. This can have unexpected consequences. If one body is destroyed, the damage might be extensive enough to cause the Ghost's mind to die along with the body - or it might cause the mind to be trapped in whichever body the mind was currently occupying. The BW-E-2 Anima System article provides more details on how things normally work, but certain liberties can be taken to keep things interesting.
A significant portion of the Ship/Frame/etc is handled in an 'autonomic' fashion, where the Anima System and/or the components connected to it control all of the basic functions of the craft. Your character provides conscious and subconscious commands to the system, but doesn't have to actively think about much of what they're doing. It's more about 'willing' things to happen. You can play this however you'd like, of course - the specifics of how your character interacts with the Anima System and the things they're possessing is up to you, but it's meant to so intuitive that an untrained person can hop into a Frame for the first time and walk around as though it's the most natural thing. Learning how to fire shoulder rockets with a mental command is a whole other story!
That's fine, too! You can choose how deeply your character connects. If you want them to sit in the cockpit and pilot that way, they still have access to a wealth of sensor data, improved fine controls, etc. They can do this by being fully immersed in the machine and then having a mental construct that creates the cockpit with them sitting in it. They can do it by just not immersing so far that they transfer bodies, relying on the Geist for data instead of a full possession via the Anima System.
The risks that come with full possession - the loss of their original body or sense of self, the ability to feel pain as the machine is damaged, and so on - are a fun piece of fluff meant to make the piloting experience more dramatic. The benefits of improved control, shorter learning curve, and better spatial awareness are seen by the faction as a worthwhile tradeoff.
Ultimately, having fun is the most important thing. It's fine if there's a variety of ways to pilot!