Europan Game Mechanics

Characters designed for a Europan game will find that many of the morph and equipment options aren't terribly useful. At the same time, the moon is a place of extremely high education and is founded on a collection of research colonies so it stands to reason that Europans have developed a number of specialized items just for their environment. Below are a number of such unique adaptations, though certainly not all of them especially when personal modifications to commercial products are included.

Most of these products are developed by Europan corporations (see the Guide to Europa) with only a few offworld items prevalent in the Europan market. This is another example of Europa as a microcosm, a world isolated by an icy crust, A xenophobic militocracy, belts of radiation, and sheer distance. As such, GMs should feel free to include items that are simply not available off of Europa and to disallow items that they think wouldn't be available on the moon. When overused, this latter tactic cab grate on players and seem like railroading. A gentler approach is to adjust the price for demand and availability: something a PC wants might not be popular with anyone else and consequentially the ten times more expensive than in other markets.

New Morphs

Europan Variants

Adapted from Rimward p. 188

Various biomorphs have been adapted to survive in the intense pressures and deep cold of the subsurface Europan waters.

  • Europan Aquanaut: As the aquanaut biomorph (p. 150, Gatecrashing), but equipped with hydrostatic pressure adaption. CP and Credit Costs remain the same.
  • Europan Uplifts: Neo-cetaceans and neo-octopi are natural fits for the Europan environment. Any of these morphs can be modified for survival on Europa, adding hydrostatic pressure adaption and temperature tolerance. Increase CP Cost by 5; Credit Cost remains the same.
  • Europan Synths: Synths are already suited to the upper levels of the Europan oceans, but if they want to travel unrestricted to the barnacle habitats on the lithodermic reefs or even deeper to the floor they need some extra modifications. Morphs fitted for deep exploration should have hydrostatic pressure adaptation and exchange their thruster jets for submarine mobility (p. 310 EP). Credit Cost and CP remain the same.
  • Haida Orca Variant: The greatest success at modifying uplift morphs to date is this orca variant, a cetacean uplift that upgrades the neo-orca with carapace armor, eelware, enhanced vision, hydrostatic pressure adaption and temperature tolerance. Increase CP Cost by 10; Credit Cost remains the same. These morphs, named for a native North American culture that revered orcas, are especially useful as undersea guards or mercenaries.

When making a Europan character, the table below can determine an aquatic morph. It can be used in place of the morph table in Transhuman.



A number of biomorphs are popular on Europa including the selkie, aquanaut, octomorph, neo-beluga, neo-dolphin, neo-orca, Orcamorph, neo-porpoise, and neo-whale. Generally, these morphs are Europan variants (except the selkie) or they are restricted to environmentally-sealed tanks in larger subcrustal habitats. In addition, there a number of morphs unique to Europa.



Naiads started out as the biomorph design that researchers on Europa were sleeved into during their stays but it has moved far beyond that now. Somewhat thin and delicate-looking, which makes some mistake them for hazers, they are actually quite resilient and are built with habitat failures in mind. While the naiad morph can't swim any better than a splicer and has no gills in the basic model but if you need to hold your breath and swim out of an airlock to a submersible or if the habitat you're in ruptures and you need to get to safety then being in a naiad means you have as long as you can hold your breath to figure out a plan. As a result, they are also resilient in a firefight which means starting a fight on Europa may turn out to be a surprisingly difficult venture.

Implants: Basic Biomods, Basic Mesh Inserts, Cortical Stack, Hydrostatic Pressure Adaptation, Light Bioweave Armor.
Aptitude Maximum: 30
Durability: 35
Wound Threshold: 7
CP Cost: 15
Credit Cost: Expensive

Ice Climber

For those who want a more amphibious lifestyle, the ice climber is an excellent option. They look relatively human except for their characteristic pale skin (easy to change cosmetically but endemic to the geneline) they can still survive in the upper oceans of the moon. While this morph isn't any better at swimming than a baseline human, the gills and temperature tolerance help. They also have grip pads to help them crawl along the ice and these pale morphs are often seen crawling between locks in Connamara and Pwyll. Depending on the designer, ice climbers sometimes push things far enough to develop the Uncanny Valley trait.

Implants: Basic Biomods, Basic Mesh Inserts, Cortical Stack, Enhanced Vision, Hydrostatic Pressure Adaptation, Grip Pads, Gills, Temperature Tolerance (Improved Cold)
Aptitude Maximum: 30
Durability: 35
Wound Threshold: 7
CP Cost: 20
Credit Cost: Expensive



Designed as a high-end morph using the best in transgenics, the oceanic is a marvel of modern genetic technology. While it's still mostly based on human genomes, material from ceteceans, sharks, and even cephalopods is also spliced in. Its superior physicality make the oceanid popular for combat specialists and survivalist explorers alike. Even in Pwyll and Connemara, however, the oceanid is a fairly common sight as preferred sleeve of enforcers and workers who are frequently in and out of the water, as well as those looking to make a status statement.


Implants: Basic Biomods, Basic Mesh Inserts, Cortical Stack, Enhanced Hearing, Hydrostatic Pressure Adaptation, Echolocation, Gills, Temperature Tolerance (Improved Cold)
Aptitude Maximum: 40
Durability: 40
Wound Threshold: 8
CP Cost: 30
Credit Cost: Expensive

Splicers, Naiads, Ice Climbers, and Oceanids… Oh My!
With all of these “basic” morphs around, it might seem like every habitat on Europa is a hodge-podge of different morphologies and characters. Not really. Some habitats might be melting pots but the majority are dominated by one or two morph types based on their character. Much like the various Martian morphs, those on Europa can and will make some assumptions about you based on what your sleeved into.

In Conamara and Pwyll, the majority of folks don’t step outside unless they’re in a submersible or dive suit. It just isn’t part of their everyday so they tend to be sleeved into naiads or just plain splicers. In outward-looking Conamara the population is tipped toward splicers over naiads while in independent Pwyll it’s the opposite, but worldwide these are the dominant morphs, especially in the near-surface icicle, bubble, and fishhook habs.

For those who want a little more freedom, as in the ability to cycle through an airlock without dying, the adventurous in the near-surface habs favor the ice climber. As the name suggests, this is the perfect morph for pulling yourself along the bottom of the ice-crust to a neighboring habitat or popping outside to make a quick repair. It doesn’t hurt that they look strange and edgy. For the truly strange and edgy and those who want to freely explore down to the tops of the lithodermic reefs, the oceanid is the morph of choice. It’s favored by explorers and those who have truly “gone native,” especially since the echolocation adaptation allows you to speak neo-cetacean passably.


Orcas were considered prime subjects for uplift because of their massive brains, with many transhumans considering them sentient even before the neural hacks were applied. Now the orcamorphs enjoy a reputation as some of the most innately intelligent biomorphs in the solar system, though with significant drawbacks: orcamorphs enjoy a vastly increased “life of the mind” and tend to daydreaming, attention deficit disorders, and a tendency to withdraw from everyday life; nearly forty percent of the population display some form of autism. Despite this tendency to get lost in their own heads, orcamorphs are highly social and tend to form deep relationships with small groups, and many feel the need to keep in close contact with their groupmates at all times, either by physical proximity, infrasonic calls, or a Mesh feed.

Orcamorphs are biomorphs; moreover they are marine mammals rather than fish, and observe the same requirements for food, oxygen, water, etc.—just more of it than smaller folk! They do not normally possess gills and cannot breathe underwater unaided, but can hold their breath for long periods of time. Their natural echolocation is usually accomplished by clicking vocalizations.

Implants: Access Jacks, Basic Biomods, Basic Mesh Inserts, Cortical Stack, Echolocation, Eidetic Memory, Enhanced Respiration, Oxygen Reserve, Temperature Tolerance
Aptitude Maximum: 40 (35 SOM)
Durability: 60
Wound Threshold: 12
Advantages: Bite Attack (1d10 DV, use Unarmed Combat Skill), +10 COG, +5 COO, +10 INT, +5 SOM, +10 Swimming
Disadvantages: Orcamorphs counts as a large target (+10 modifier to hit in combat)
CP Cost: 80
Credit Cost: Expensive (minimum 45,000)

Note: This section is an alternative or addendum to the Neo-Cetaceans presented on pp.110-1, 142-3 of Panopticon. Orcamorphs represent a more extreme humanoid adaptation than the Neo-Orca, designed for walking rather than swimming. This was originally posted on the excellent Farcast Yearblog.


Both the novacrab and flying squid pod morphs are popular on Europa, as variants to survive the crushing pressure, as well as some unique pod morphs.


Aptenodytes Pod

For neo-avians wishing to visit Europa and sleeve into something a little less alien than an octomorph or naiad, this pod offers the closest thing most neo-avians can get to flying on the icy moon. Based on penguin morphology and genetics, particularly the emperor penguin, the aptenodytes pod resembles a four-foot penguin with the glowing seam-lines of a pod morph. They are fast underwater, seeming to fly through the seas, and they have adaptations to easily survive the water even though they lack gills.

Implants: Basic Biomods, Basic Mesh Inserts, Cortical Stack, Cyberbrain, Mnemonic Adaptation, Hydrostatic Pressure Adaptation, Temperature Tolerance (Improved Cold), Oxygen Reserve, Polarization Vision, Puppet Sock.
Aptitude Maximum: 30 (25 SOM)
Durability: 30
Wound Threshold: 6
Advantages: Small Size, Non-Mammalian Biochemistry, +5 COO, +5 to one other aptitude of the player's choice, +40 Swimming.
Disadvantages: Social Stigma (Pod)
CP Cost: 25
Credit Cost: Expensive (25,000)


The takko and nautiloid are popular synthmorphs on Europa with the proper adjustments as well as the cetus morph which was developed specifically for the world. Other synth morphs unique to Europa include the following.


Combining the natural ferocity of orca physiology and the amazing combat ability of synthmorphs, the blackfish is designed as a solo reconnaisance unit for use in subcrustal oceans. It sees plenty of use on Ceres but the largest number remain on Europa where it was designed and first manufactured. The steel sections of the morph are coated with radar- and sound-absorbing materials and it is constructed to give off the least amount of waste heat possible. Many groups have taken to using these morphs for what they call "unobtrusive surveying" of ecosystems among the lithodermic reefs but few among the Jovian authorities are convinced by this claim.


Implants: Access Jacks, Basic Mesh Inserts, Cortical Stack, Cyberbrain, Enhanced Hearing, Enhanced Vision, Echolocation, Invisibility (PO 149), Mnemonic Augmentation, Puppet Sock, Reduced Signature (PO 149), Temperature Tolerance (Improved Cold).
Mobility System: Submarine (8/40)
Aptitude Maximum: 30
Durability: 30
Wound Threshold: 6
Advantages: Bite Attack (2d10), +5 COO, +5 REF, +5 to one other Aptitude of the player's choice, +10 Infiltration, +40 Swimming, +10 Unarmed Combat, Armor 8/8
CP Cost: 50
Credit Cost: Expensive (50,000)


Billed as the most versatile synthmorph for any Europan, the ChroManta resembles a stingray made of steel plates with two small turbines in directional cowlings mounted to the back. The synthmorph is indeed highly maneuverable and useful underwater, with a few included systems that make it great for prospectors and explorers, but its real utility comes out when the morphs returns to a habitat. Once there, the morph extends a set of spider-like legs for walking or a set of directional jets and collapsible wings that allow for flight. Further modifications can adjust the shape of the ChroManta to take full advantage of these systems or to give the morph tools it needs for particular jobs. ChroManta morphs have a reputation on Europa as the sleeves for immature risk-takers but they prove enduringly popular and are a relatively common sight.

Implants: Access Jacks, Basic Mesh Inserts, Chemical Sniffer, Cortical Stack, Cyberbrain, Directional Sense, Echolocation, Enhanced Hearing, Enhanced Vision, Mnemonic Augmentation, Shape Adjusting, T-Ray Emitter, Temperature Tolerance (Improved Cold).
Mobility Systems: Submarine (12/60), Walker (2/8), Winged (8/32)
Aptitude Maximum: 25
Durability: 20
Wound Threshold: 4
Advantages: Small Size, +5 to one aptitude of the player's choice, +40 Swimming (using submarine system), Armor 2/2.
CP Cost: 15
Credit Cost: Expensive (15,000)


Even out in the Jovian system, Direct Action's Iron Rule still holds true: synthmorphs are just plain tougher. In fact, there are plenty of people who feel this is even more relevant under the crushing ice of Europa than in asteroid habs or planetary surfaces. There are lots of synth models on the Europan market that are modded up to zip through the oceans with submersible jets but you don't have to be a Mercurial to realize that not every ego on the moon wants that. Metal-minded neo-cetaceans and the neurodiverse prefer GenDiver's synthacean, designed after porpoise physiology instead of human. Like synths, these creatures trigger an uncanny valley response, but it is limited to neo-cetacean uplifts. Some roboticists have added extra limbs to give it a way to walk on land, but most consider that ruining the point of the synthacean.

Implants: Access Jacks, Basic Mesh Inserts, Cortical Stack, Cyberbrain, Enhanced Hearing, Hydrostatic Pressure Adaptation, Temperature Tolerance (Improved Cold), Echolocation, Mnemonic Augmentation.
Mobility System: Submarine (8/40)
Aptitude Maximum: 30
Durability: 40
Wound Threshold: 8
Traits: Social Stigma (Clanking Masses), Uncanny Valley (neo-cetaceans only)
CP Cost: 30
Credit Cost: High

New Augmentations

Dermiskana Routines

Bioware/Cyberware - Physical Augmentation

This adaptation enhances a morph's chameleon skin implant to accommodate the use of the neo-octopus Dermiskana language. Provided the ego sleeved inside has the skills, they can produce the color patterns to accompany the limb-signs of the complex language. Unless the morph has tentacles, even if they have multiple arms, they are still somewhat limited and their speech will be far less nuanced than someone sleeved in an octomorph or takki. [[Trivial]] (requires Chameleon Skin).

Hydrostatic Pressure Adaptation

Bioware/Cyberware - Physical Augmentation
From Rimward p. 188

The morph is capable of operating under extreme pressure conditions. Biomorphs (including pods) with this mod can withstand up to 500 atmospheres; the synthmorph equivalent can handle up to 2,500 atmospheres. The morph can also acclimate to changing pressures more quickly and is immune to oxygen toxicity, nitrogen narcosis, and the bends. [Expensive]

Temperature Tolerance (Improved Cold)

Bioware/Cyberware - Physical Augmentation
From Sunward p. 166

The morph is treated as having the Temperature Tolerance biomod (p. 305, EP), but with an even greater resistance to low temperatures. The morph can tolerate temperatures as low as –80 C without ill effects. [Moderate]

Vocal Expander

Bioware/Cyberware - Physical Augmentation

This expansion for the larynx greatly increases the vocal range of transhuman morphs, allowing them to communicate on the frequencies used by neo-cetaceans for their own language, Echo/Speak. With this adaptation, any morph can speak Echo/Speak (some neo-cetaceans insist that there is still a slight accent) as long as they have the skills for it. Hearing Echo/Speak requires an Enhanced Hearing implant as well. [[Trivial]]

New Nanoware

Versions of all nanoware are also available as smart plankton (see Panopticon 152) at the same price as the air-based version. Normal nanites don't function very well underwater and plankton nanites obviously don't function well in the air.

New Gear

External Gills

Survival Gear

Similar to a Martian rebreather (Sunward 167), this backpack device fits easily over suits with a tube that fits over the mouth. The backpack is filled with two sets of nanites which work together. One set is equivalent to a saltwater battery swarm and powers the unit while the other uses some of the energy to disassociate seawater into breathable oxygen. The unit will function for a week of continuous use but it can recharge with an hour of sunlight or equivalent lighting making external gills nearly infinite. [Low]

Saltwater Battery

Survival Gear

This cylinder holds a set of nanites which extracts magnesium from the seawater, making pure metallic magnesium. The magnesium reacts with the salts in the water to create a slight charge that can be used in place of a nuclear battery for about a week. In emergency situations, the battery's tab can be pulled and the nanites will activate to begin providing a charge for other survival equipment. [Trivial]


This DIY knife is a common sight in some of the deeper and more permissive habs on Europa. It is grown from a triggering seed by drawing materials from saltwater. More information can be found on the Farcast blog.

Smart Animals

Surrounded by an alien ecosystem and dominated by academics and biologists, it's unsurprising that Europan culture loves smart animals. From the sealed habs of Conamara and Pwyll to the fishhook habs trailing into the deep to long-range explorers far from civilization, smart animals of all types are a common sight. Many species are unique to Europa but some have proven so successful that they are exported to other worlds including Titan and Ceres.

Coral Hives

These polyp colonies are half smart animal and half biodrone. The coral colony is enhanced and adapted for life on the lithodermic reefs of Europa, but they are controlled by a central AI that guides their development. These clever amalgams were developed by the independent mining companies of Pwyll as an alternative to large, centralized harvesting platforms. Putting out small, autonomous installations for collecting resources is an invitation to have someone come by and steal your haul. With low-heat, non-metallic collectors, however, it's nearly impossible to find them without direct coordinates and prospectors can feel confident that there will be a deuterium ball waiting for them when they next swing by. [Moderate]

Smart Otter

These fast-swimming and loyal companions in the major cities and habitats clinging to the ice of Europa. Their ability to move quickly in and out of the water make them ideal for those sleeved into Naiad or Oceanid morphs looking for smart pets that can follow them through multiple environments. Though they are clean and conscientious, some habs have placed limits on free-roaming smart otters. This is generally recognized as being a reaction to a spate of biodrone voyeurism using jammed smart otters which occurred in Conamara last year than any real threat to public health. [Moderate]
Skills: Fray 20, Freerunning 20, Infiltration 40, Perception 30, Scrounging 40, Swimming 40, Unarmed Combat 20
Enhancements: Enhanced Hearing, Enhanced Smell, Oxygen Reserve, Hydrostatic Pressure Adaptation, Temperature Tolerance (Improved Cold)
Movement Rage: 2/8, Swim 4/8
Attack: Bite, 1d10-4 DV


From Rimward p. 192

Favored by some uplifted octopi as pets (and by others as snacks), squidlings are .25-meter-long squid adapted for air breathing, their natural water jet locomotion replaced by powerful jets of air, much like octomorphs, for micrograv propulsion. Most lack ink sacs, these being a hazard in space habitats. They aren’t exactly affectionate, but they instinctively shoal with octomorphs for protection and will eagerly devour any scraps dropped to them. [Low]
Skills: Fray 60, Free Fall 60, Unarmed Combat 40
Attacks: Beak (1d10 ÷ 2) - 1 DV, AP +1
Implants: Enhanced Smell, Enhanced Taste


Most robots can operate without issue in the highest levels of the ocean, so long as they have submarine mobility systems. You can make native Europan robots with this mobility system by simply swapping out one of their listed mobility systems for Submarine (4/20), without changing the cost. Alternatively you can add the system to the robot's list of mobility systems for another 1,000 credits. For robots designed to operate farther down the water column, add the Hydrostatic Pressure Adaptation robotic enhancement as well.



A modified version of the octosuit, this suit is optimized for operating in the water rather than in freefall. Despite the cost, it's popular among bioconservatives on Europa because of the abilities granted without the need to resleeve. Like other exoskeletons, this suit can be jammed remotely, making it a popular option for infomorphs who don't want to purchase a full morph for a quick venture into the physical world.

The robotic exoskeleton fits over a standard splicer or flat with water jets and robotic tentacles at the shoulder blades. A krakensuit provides +20 to Swimming tests, 4 extra arms, the submarine mobility system, and 8/8 armor. [High]


Ice Hopper

Also called a Bobber, this vehicle is designed to skim along the underside of the ice crust through a combination of thrusters and a pair of smartmaterial feet that "kick" off the underside of the crust to give the hopper its characteristic movement. While it's not fast or flashy, the ice hopper is very affordable and popular for prospectors and and inter-habitat traders alike. [High]
Passenger Capacity: 1-5; Handling: +10; Movement Rate: 8/32; Max Velocity: 40; Armor: 30/25; Durability: 150; Wound Threshold: 30

Marine Harness

More of a frame that one straps into than a true vehicle, this is designed for brief journeys outside of a habitat. It isn't enclosed so only pressure-adapted morphs can safely use them, but it does allow the pilot to move at greater speeds than most humanoid morphs can reach on their own. [Low]
Passenger Capacity: 1; *Handling:** -20; Movement Rate: 4/16; Max Velocity: 20; Armor: 5; Durability: 40; Wound Threshold: 8


This somewhat poetically-named submersible has proven very popular among native Europans and visitors alike who want to see the oceans on an intimate level. Equipped to go down to the mid-ocean, the sojourn-ship is a personal submarine that is sleek and fast and many enjoy its somewhat cramped interior because it angles their bodies up toward the ample windows. The result is a feeling that you are sailing through the ocean yourself and the peaceful feeling that settles over even jaded explorers has led to a boom in sales as more of the subcrustal ocean is settled. While there is a second seat behind the pilot's, most travelers prefer to use this for storage as otherwise the craft has precious little. [Moderate]
Passenger Capacity: 1-2; Handling: +20; Movement Rate: 12/60; Max Velocity: 150; Armor: 12/10; Durability: 50; Wound Threshold: 10

Alien Life

Europan life is carbon-based but very different from Earth lifeforms. Some virulent diseases form Earth have no effect on Europan life and some harmless bacteria can prove devastating. There isn't an easy way of knowing what will do what without the benefit of an advanced degree in xenobiology or good old trial and error. Violent trauma, however, and extremes of heat are just as deadly so those confronting dangers from the depths can still rely on guns and explosions.

For more information on species from Europa, see Europan Ecosystems.

Environmental Hazards

Harvesting Resources

The oceans of Europa are shielded from radiation and actively stirred by hundreds of thousands of vents. That means that aside from the biological bounty of the moon, there are natural resources to harvest and exploit. These are not a hazard that PCs are likely to come into direct conflict with, but the gold-rush-like mentality of harvesting and exporting means that the natural resources on Europa are a constant backdrop to conflict.

Of course, the biggest problem is whether harvesting should be happening at all. Ecologists on Europa point to the terrible state of most of the Earth's oceans even before the Fall as a result of over-exploitation. They don't want any mining but the resource companies understandably argue the opposite. The Europan Parliament has consistently taken a middle-ground approach to the subject and allowed a limited number of mining licenses for the oceans, renegotiated every four years. Operators who violate the environmental restrictions are dismissed without negotiation and unlicensed harvesting is policed and punished as strictly as poaching.

Some of the natural resources harvested on Europa include:

  • Metals: For most of the system rimward of the Main Belt, metals are something you import. They are expensive and in high demand but necessary for nearly every technological problem. Europa, however, has an iron core and magma that travels a relatively short distance through the moon's mantle to the underwater vents on the floor. Metal content in the oceans is still not comparable to even a semi-profitable asteroid but it is enough to provide local needs and a small export to other Jovian satellites.
  • Silica: The massive lithodermic reefs of Europa are built form silica pulled from the seawater by native polyps and many miners are happy to do just the same. Silica is used in circuitry, bioware, photovoltaic cells, and a host of other technologies and the mining operations on Europa provide more than enough for export.
  • Helium-3: The most plentiful source of helium-3 in the Jovian system is, of course, Jupiter itself. To get this important fusion fuel source one needs radiation and helium atoms and Jupiter has both in spades. On the other hand, it also has a massive gravity well that requires careful slingshot trajectories and fuel consumption to harvest the helium-3 in the atmosphere. While they can't compete with Jovian harvesters, Europan companies can still produce helium-3 at comparable prices since they don't have to deal with anything like the technical issues of operations in Jupiter's atmosphere.
  • Deuterium and Tritium: Unlike helium-3, deuterium and tritium are hard to come by off of the icy moons around Jupiter. Europa has the largest water reserves of the three and also the friendliest environment so even if its radiation levels are low it can still generate a lot of fusionable materials. This is the chief export of Europa, in fact, and "slush-prospectors" pulling icy slurries of heavy hydrogen out of the oceans are a large population throughout the moon.
  • Water: It probably goes without saying but Europa also exports a lot of water. Because of the local ecology, heavy mineral content, and radioactive isotopes the water requires a lot of processing before it's fit to drink, but these are the things that companies are trying to harvest anyways so they're happy to handle it. Most habitats have water-only licenses from the government even if they have no other harvest licenses so that they can provide their own drinking water. They are supposed to flush the stuff filtered out but if a little bit makes it into their local reactors the EDF Licence Enforcement Agency is usually too busy to make a big deal out of it.
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