Saturday, April 7, 2012

You Didn't Think We Were Serious?

In the spirit of April Fool's Day last week, we gave you a peek at some cyberware that was never meant to be.  This week, how would you like to see some of the cyberware that's actually in store for you?


Cybernetics - Cyberware and Bioware

The line between man and machine has been blurred significantly, and in 2096 cybernetic implants are commonplace.  Cyberware refers to any machine that is implanted within, or permanently affixed to, the human body.  These machines are often designed to enhance ones normal abilities, though occasionally they are used insidiously and might be implanted to track an individual—or worse.

Another form of enhancement is known as “bioware”.  Bioware is similar to cyberware, but it represents any sort of implant or enhancement made of organic material and interwoven directly with the body’s natural functions (as opposed to being a separate prosthetic attachment).  Bioware can be used to enhance muscle tissues, increase metabolism, improve lung capacity, etc.

Both cyberware and bioware are purchased using Gifts, either at character creation or during character advancement.  GMs may allow characters to purchase these options using Wealth, but careful consideration should be given to the cost of each upgrade.  GMs may also wish to restrict the total number of cybernetic enhancements a character may have to prevent characters from becoming too powerful for the campaign.  A good rule of thumb is to allow no more than 8 Gifts worth of cybernetics in any one character; any more than that, and the character becomes a barely-human cyborg unsuitable for interaction with regular humans.

Example Cybernetics

Below are some example cybernetics to get you started thinking about what possibilities lie in store for your characters.  Each will have a suggested cost in Gifts and in Wealth.  Generally, a character need only pay one or the other (Gifts or Wealth, not both) unless the GM deems it necessary to pay for both.

Like anything else, cyberware isn’t perfect.  Faults may be added to any cybernetic to mitigate its total cost, and a rare few may possess only Faults (and therefore grant the character additional bonuses; see Trade-offs in Chapter 2: Character Creation.)
 

Brain Bank

A small electronic storage device is implanted in your skull and connected directly to your neural network.  This device acts as a computer hard drive, capable of containing virtually limitless amounts of data.  You effectively have a photographic memory, with the ability to store and retrieve data from your brain bank as swiftly as you can think of it (though if your natural brain forgets something is stored, you do not necessarily recall it when needed; you must “actively” search for the data to be retrieved).  Cost: 1 Gift or Great Wealth

Skill Chip Reader

If you have a Brain Bank, you may install an optional reader that allows you to make use of Skill Chips.  These are small devices that can be inserted into your Brain Bank (via a special port on the side of your skull) and accessed to give you temporary knowledge of nearly any skill; they include instruction manuals, tutorials, FAQs, and other detailed information necessary for the skill’s use.

You may only use a single Skill Chip at any time, and swapping out one for another takes 6 seconds (1 round) assuming you already have a replacement in hand.  The chips themselves are similar in size and shape to SD cards (you may remember seeing those in a computer museum) and are easily stored in small containers.  It takes one minute per skill level contained on the chip to familiarize yourself with the material presented to you and be able to use the skill properly.

Skill Chips come in levels from Mediocre to Superb and grant you an equivalent bonus on any one skill.  For example, you may purchase a Good Vehicles skill chip to gain use of the Vehicles skill at a level of Good.  Note that Skill Chips do not enhance your attributes as advancement of a normal skill would and they are never associated with a specific attribute; therefore, when spending Luck Points to reroll a skill, you only ever get to reroll 1 die at a time.  Cost: 1 Gift or Great Wealth for the Skill Chip Reader; individual Skill Chips cost Wealth equal to the skill’s level +1 (Fair for a Mediocre skill, Good for a Fair skill, etc.)
 

Brainwave

A wireless communicator is implanted into your skull and connected to your neural network.  You may instantly transmit thoughts to any other person with a Brainwave communicator, though they may not be willing to receive incoming thoughts from you.  To force your thoughts into someone else’s mind, or to read the thoughts of a transmission that you are not supposed to be listening in on, requires a Focus check opposed by the target’s Mind attribute.  The target may attempt to force you out again; you must continue to make this check each round you wish to maintain contact.  Cost: 1 Gift or Great Wealth

Mind Reader

This implant is most often used for insidious purposes and installed without the user’s knowledge.  By inserting a chip into the skull and linking it to the character’s neural network, anyone with the appropriate security credentials can log into the character’s brain from a computer (or other capable device) and read that character’s thoughts.  These chips are used for a variety of purposes: corporations spying on their employees, governments spying on their citizens, and back-alley street docs spying on their customers, to name a few.  They may also be used for positive effects, such as tracking a lost pet or using an animal to scout an area for its handler, but are far less commonly used in these ways. 

Cost: 1 Gift or Good Wealth (if used with knowledge and intent); 1 Fault (if installed without a character’s knowledge).  Characters may take this as a Fault at Character Creation, or a GM may give one to a character without his knowledge during play, in which case the character does not gain a Fault trade-off.
 

Rhino Skin

Your skin has been reinforced by a biochemical process, making it incredibly resistant to ripping, tearing, and burning.  You gain a +1 bonus to DDFs vs. weapons that would pierce or tear the flesh (such as firearms and swords, but not clubs) as well as attacks from fire-based sources.  Rhino Skin may be added to Cybernetic Arms and Legs as well as normal body parts.  As an added bonus, you no longer have to worry about paper cuts!  Cost: 2 Gifts or Superb Wealth

Voice Synthesizer

With this implant, you are capable of altering your voice to mimic that of virtually any noise or any person.  Altering your voice to sound like a different, non-specific person requires no effort on your part; you simply state that you are doing so.  Attempting to mimic a specific person’s voice requires that you first be familiar with their voice (at the GM’s discretion) and second attempt a Great Act, Bluff, or similar skill check.  Characters familiar with that person’s voice may make an opposed Mind check to recognize even the most minor inconsistencies, and they may receive a bonus (or penalty) to this check based on exactly how familiar they are with the person.  Cost: 2 Gifts or Superb Wealth
This is, of course, just a sampling of the cyberware you'll find in the game.  Old standards such as cyber arms, legs, and eyes, reinforced frames, and various other enhancements are included as well.  Of course, if you don't find it within the game you're also more than welcome to create your own; that's the beauty of an open, flexible, and accessible system.

Have an idea for some super cool cyberware that you don't see here?  Leave us some feedback and you may just wind up seeing it in the game's final release (with appropriate accreditation, of course).