Eclipse Phase | AUSTIN, TEXAS | 2015-2019 A.D.
When humans wanted to explore beyond the Moon’s orbit, however, a solution was needed to provide sufficient atmosphere for the whole journey. That solution was to reduce the total pressure of the atmospheric gases people breathed from 1000 kilopascals to 34 kilopascals. The lower pressure atmosphere maintained the sea-level partial pressure of oxygen at 24 kilopascals with nitrogen occupying the remaining 10 kilopascals. This atmosphere has remained a standard for artificial environments since that time. Not only does it decrease the resources dedicated to sustaining the atmosphere, but it also solves numerous other problems: spacesuits can operate on this standard, thus eliminating the need to pre-breathe oxygen before EVAs, and structures can be more lightly-built since they do not need to contain higher atmospheric pressure.
Those that live in artificial environments would not normally experience seasonal changes in their environment; however, it was proven long ago that the lack of seasonal change has a detrimental affect on the human mind. To counteract this problem, the environment is often modified in small steps to simulate that changing conditions of an Earth-type seasonal round. Since there are numerous Earth-based variations to choose from, many artificial environments will cycle between two or three preferred choices, with each varied randomly by the environmental control systems. It is not uncommon for the population to vote for an extension of a particular seasonal cycle, or to change the choice of a seasonal cycle. Temperature, humidity, and hours of “daylight” are the most commonly modified environmental variables, but some environments do have the ability to provide some light precipitation. It is also common for a night not to be completely dark, but maintain a minimum level of lighting. Within colony cylinders, the effect of dawn and dusk is achieved by progressively modifying lighting levels from one end of the cylinder to the other.
Most locations in the Solar System have only a limited amount of space for living quarters. As a result, the design and arrangement of living quarters has become quite standardized, regardless of location. Nomad colonies and space stations are the least flexible in terms of the facilities available; living quarters are allocated based on position and number of occupants. These quarters are only of the most simple type (see Basic Quarters below). Normally, quarters do not have food preparation or personal hygiene facilities attached; it is much more space-efficient to have common food and hygiene facilities. Other locales offer a few more options (see Expanded Quarters below). It is entirely up to the owner’s personal taste and means to decide how much space and additional amenities they want to pay for. Since living quarters are not usually designed to be modular, there are often waiting lists to get into a specific living arrangement.
Most living quarters are only available for a monthly rental rate. The only quarters available for permanent ownership are higher-end quarters such as certain expanded quarters or those built and owned by wealthy individuals. The rates vary not only with the size, but also by the location and the quality of the common facilities available at that location. Relatively speaking, renting quarters is very reasonably priced under the rent control laws enacted by most local governments. The cost of utilities (electricity, water, PAN access) is often included with the rental fee, except in Nomad colonies and other out-of-the-way places, where the value of electricity and water results in steep charges. All living quarters are grouped together to centralize access to resources.
Minimal quarters are the often only thing available to people with low wages, or those wishing to save some credits. A minimal living assignment is often part of the employment agreement for those that work some of the bottom-rung positions (such as unskilled labor). This actually saves the company money, since it can rent a large number of minimal living-space assignments at a significant discount compared to the cost of paying the workers additional wages for living-space rental. Minimal quarters are available in two flavors: “coffin rooms” and “square holes.”
Coffin rooms: more properly know as sleeping tubes, are one-meter-diameter cylinders approximately two and a half meters long. This is little more than enough room for one person and a few belongings. The far end of the tube is small storage cabinet for a few personal effects like clothing and personal hygiene items. The mattress is a foam pad with a cloth cover and sheet for bedding. The bedding is changed after each occupant leaves; the occupant can also arrange for bedding changes every few days. The tube has a PAN adapter, but no access terminal is provided. There are also environmental controls for the tube: light, temperature and humidity.
Square Holes: more properly known as box quarters, have a double door entrance and are one and a half meters high and one and a half meters wide by three meters deep. These larger quarters are much more suitable for long-term habitation forthose with a lower income. It is possible for two people to cohabitate in box quarters. Box quarters have features similar to sleeping tubes: foam mattress, bedding exchange, PAN adapter and environmental controls. There is, however, significantly more storage space at the back of the quarters for personal items.
Access to a sleeping tube or box quarters is granted when the user enters their identification or credit card. Sleeping tubes are rented on a monthly basis for 200 to 300 credits; nightly rates will vary from 8 to 12 credits. Because box quarters are considered low-cost, long-term quarters, they are rented on monthly basis for 300 to 400 credits.
Player Character Lifestyles
Player Characters need some-place to live when they are not out and about in the Solar System. Most PCs will have basic quarters. but this will not necessarily be the case for every PC. If the Player Character has the income to support more extensive lodgings. they can certainly live in something quite luxurious. Characters may also decide to maintain multiple residences for differing purposes. For those involved in covert operations and espionage, extra residences can act as safe houses or used as a base. For those with multiple identities, a residence is used to establish cover identities. For individuals that travel extensively, access to multiple residences means they always have some-place to stay.
Without a kitchen to prepare food, a bathroom for waste disposal, or showers for cleaning one’s person, most people use the common facilities made available within the building their quarters are located in. Since most buildings have multiple floors of the same housing type, the floor layouts will be similar with bathroom and shower facsimiles located at different points on the floor. Essentially. each bathroom and shower unit is assigned to quarters closest to the facilities. Each unit has enough room to accommodate at least one third of the assigned people at a single time. Access is granted by fingerprint scan to prevent problems such as surprise encounters, but anyone living on the floor can use any unit If it is not in use already. Mess halls or cafeterias are normally located on the lower floors of the building and can seat a majority of the building’s residents at any one time. It is expected that those who arrive early will vacate their seat before the latecomers are ready to sit down.
Basic quarters are available for both single and double occupancy. Single basic quarters are rectangular rooms two meters wide by three meters long and two meters high. Double basic quarters are rectangular rooms three meters wide by four meters long and two meters high. These quarters are extremely functional and compact. Common to all living quarters, whatever the room size, is a storable bed that folds up against one of the room’s walls. The bottom of the bed contains a fold-down desktop and storage areas for small personal effects. Standard to all quarters is a chair (or two), PAN access terminal, voice and video communications, video wall screen and a fairly significant amount of storage space for such a small area. People rarely use more storage space than what they receive with their quarters. Additional storage space is rented at a rate of 5 credits per month per cubic meter. The room has polymer panels that can be replaced – for a fee equal to 50% of one month’s rent – to change the wall colors and textures. Environmental controls for light, temperature and humidity are standard. Monthly rent for single-occupancy quarters is 600 to 800 credits, while double-occupancy quarters rent for 900 to 1200 credits. If the quarters have a window to the exterior, the monthly rent is usually increased by about 200 credits.
Hotels offer both minimal and basic quarters to travellers or others who require temporary lodging. By far, the most common hotel accommodations are the so-called “coffin hotels” that feature several corridors of sleeping tubes. Hotels offering box and basic quarters are much less common, since anyone requiring these kinds of facilities is likely to rent one on a longer term from a rental agent. If hotels do have either box or basic quarters available, the single night rates range from approximately 20 credits for box quarters to 35-75 credits for basic quarters [single tu double occupancy]. In many cases, hotels offering these accommodations are simply normal quarters left vacant for rentals by daily use. All businesses offering daily rates will accept reservations for quarters. Although a few luxury hotels can be found here and there, they are very rare and very expensive (starting from several hundred credits per night].
Expanded quarters are, quite simply, basic single- or double-occupancy quarters with additional living areas attached. The interior of most buildings cannot be reconfigured, but there are some that are modular in design and can accommodate a modified floor plan. Other buildings are built with a variety of floor plans beyond the basic quarters. If the renter is not taking possession of an existing set of quarters, there is a reconfiguration fee equal to 10% of a single year’s rent for the new floor plan. Not all of the expansion options in the table are available in every location; that is more a function of which options the building was designed to accept. All options have the same ceiling height as the rest of the quarters; two meters is standard.
For those who have the money for something beyond the usual living quarters, there are no restrictions to what credits can buy. The quarters of the wealthy are always custom-built, but opportunities for construction are limited to new buildings and existing buildings being rebuilt or renovated. Since most of the wealthy who want to build quarters will have the money to either finance a new building or purchase an old one, it is not uncommon for this kind of thing to happen based on the individual’s desire to set up new quarters. Some buildings are specifically designed with the goal of providing the space for a wealthy individual to design their quarters. Being very modular, the only real limitation to setting up the floor plan is an existing set of living quarters being in the way.
One of the greatest distinctions between wealthy quarters and other quarters is the finishing. Floors are covered in carpet, hardwood or tile. The walls have a textured finish or wood panelling. Rugs and tapestries are commonly added to rooms. Moldings and finishing are done in wood or stone. More open space gives the quarters an entirely different feel; very common to the quarters of the wealthy are numerous windows providing a view to the outside of the building. Combined with three-meter high ceilings, these types of quarters are cathedral-like in comparison to lesser living spaces.
Free-standing, dedicated-use furniture is another feature of wealthy quarters; there are no storable beds or folding tables. Couches, chairs, tables, desks, potted plants, beds and other such items of furniture are found throughout. Kitchens and bathrooms are two more amenities standard to these quarters. Though the wealthy would likely not cook themselves, many will have a chef do the cooking for them. The other option for those quarters lacking a kitchen is to have catered meals delivered. Given this, a dining room is a standard feature for enjoying one’s meal; the dining room will usually seat anywhere from eight to twenty-four people, sometimes more. The last common feature is at least one full bath; on a space station where water rationing is always strict, a bath is often seen as the most excessive symbol of wealth.
Given the widely varying nature of these quarters, and the fact that most are purpose built, they are not available for rent, except on an individual basis. The purchase price for these kinds of quarters can range from 500,000 to 3,000,000 credits. Because they are not a rental property, wealthy quarters are subject to an annual property tax by the local government. The tax rate can vary widely from 10% to 30% of the evaluated price of the property.