Immortal characters will never die of natural causes, nor suffer from old age. They may still die of other causes, most particularly accident and injury.
Each of the processes that contribute to old age is gradually conquered or controlled over the centuries. The myriad forms of cancer are cured, DNA is made better at self-repair, minds are enhanced to hold the weight of millennia of memory. Immortality typically comes with an improved ability to heal and other biotech advancements, but those are technically distinct advancements.
An immortal society may initially look similar to a mortal one, but scratching the surface reveals a world of differences. In the workplace, immortality ends age-based pay and retirement. It also means a potentially limitless amount of training and specialization. At home, immortality necessitates a decrease in birth rates, a transition in the meaning of adulthood, and the end of inheritance. Immortal civilizations have long ago dealt with a population explosion, and must more carefully examine ideas such as property law and compound interest. Any societal concept that depends on the eventual turnover of human beings must be considered, and, if necessary, rejected.
Each civilization faces immortality in a different way. The citizens of certain cultures take on new personae over the years, shedding who they were to become someone new. Some cultures become expansionist, colonizing new planets where children can roam free. In cases where this is impossible, people may “freeze” into their roles in society and become experts without peer.
Some few civilizations intentionally choose mortality. They may choose to reject high levels of Biotech overall, or immortality in specific. No civilization chooses these routes without a strong conviction – a Core Value aligned with their choice.
For another rare subset of civilizations, immortality interfaces perfectly with their beliefs and actions. Such groups are likely to be strongly hierarchical and orderly. For the majority, however, civilizations encountering immortality for the first time are driven toward a psychohistorical crisis point. It is a rare group that does not fracture or change dramatically when confronted with the end of so many social systems.
High-quality implementations of immortality include the mental and emotional capacity to handle an indefinite lifespan. Not all implementations are of such high quality, and some Cargo Cults have a very long life of suffering to look forward to. There is also the question of how old the setting itself is – how old are the oldest immortals?
Characters with a Biotech score of 3 or greater are immortal. It is possible to be a Biotech 1 character with Immortality, but this should be restricted to Cargo Cult characters.
Core Tech: Biotech