No Humans Allowed (1992)

No Humans Allowed (1992) is the genetic manipulation sourcebook for XXVc. The concept of genetically modified people and animals is introduced in the core rules, primarily in a mechanical sense. It’s pretty obvious that large scale genetic manipulation has made exploring and inhabiting space possible, but the core box doesn’t really dig into the greater moral and social conundrums that are introduced by creating new species of human (there is a passing mentions that bigots view gene-altered species as lesser than human, but that’s about it). This book acknowledges that those questions exist, but doesn’t attempt to answer them either. Rather, this is a mix between a powers book and a monster book.

A monster book? Yeaaaaah. See, advantageous genetic manipulation in humans is pretty commonplace in XXVc to allow, say, Martian humans to live comfortably in Mars’ less Earthly environment. They’re still recognizably human, though. More extreme modifications for more extreme environments or for particular tasks (like hard labor) tend to produce “monsters,” who are perfectly suited for the tasks they are designed for. Woof, not great! This sure sounds like boutique slave labor and, like Dark Sun’s slave races, rises from racist concepts of eugenics. Dark Sun at least confronts and attempts to break down those concepts. Here they are either glossed over or presented uncritically. You can kind of get the vibe from the cover — it should read as a Frankenstein-esque mad scientist tableau, but instead it has all the critique of a portrait of a former CEO hung in an office lobby.

This all seems like a missed opportunity: genetic manipulation is essentially identified as XXVc’s central question and then all the books I have seem to quietly avoid even attempted to answer it. Maybe this sort of stuff is tackled in the adventures or other sourcebooks (I’ll never know), but it seems a shame at best and (given the racism in the source material, which is also present in the Buck Rogers Adventure Game produced in 1993) sinister at worst.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *