Reling, Rel

A virtual sophont entity given a real-life body of some sort.

Image from Steve Bowers
Relings are virtual sophonts that have been embodied, downloaded into a real-world body, usually one designed from scratch by themselves or some other agent to thrive in a real-life environment. In this sense they are the functional opposite of a virtual sophont which has been designed or modelled by real-life sophonts to live in a virtual reality scenario.

A reling can take the form of almost any clade, or assume a form never imagined before. The new entity may have close ties to the virtual sophonts who designed it, or be completely independent. Sometimes relings act as ambassadors from the virtual world to the real world, but often they just want to explore reality for themselves.

Relings are often quite unusual in appearance compared to most modosophonts, since they can take a wide range of forms. The most extreme relings are known as relmonsters, which are strange and sometimes dangerous creatures that are deliberately designed to appear intimidating.

Not all relings are sophont; many are virtual animals of various kinds, which may be fantastic creatures or seemingly mundane, but which have never before existed in the real world. Non-sophont relings are known as relife, and are usually neogenic in nature. A small but increasing number of worlds have entire ecologies consisting mainly, or solely, of relife organisms; although early forms of refile were often marginally viable or entirely unsuited to living in reality, the technologies required to create viable organisms using a virtual template are reliable and sophisticated in the Current Era.

Some relings (and other incarnates), dissatisfied with rl, return again to virtual reality.
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Development Notes
Text by Jorge Ditchkenberg
Initially published on 24 September 2004.