M. Jared Swenson Productions

This blog chronicles my projects, developments, and all things related to tabletop gaming. I will try to avoid rants and reviews. Mostly games I'm developing, and progresses from my campaigns.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Star*Drive Saturday: Cybertech (Part 2)

Last week was Cybertech Part 1, where I covered a basic explanation to cybertech and listed several pieces of cybernetics players can infuse with their bodies.


Character Creation
When creating characters, players should still pay for their cybertech with the prices listed. With the exceptions of mechalus (who begin with a free touch-interface NIJack, and a nanocomputer) and Nariac heroes (who have one free piece of cybertech, player choice, but also is tagged for tracking by the Domain). Cybertech purchased by a player at character creation do not have to pay cybersurgery fees.

Cybersurgery is a very specific field in medical science that usually requires specialists. Most modern day physicians are only able to install the most basic of cybergear, requiring a completely different kind of doctor for the more advanced stuff. They are a combination of computer technician and medical surgeon. A player wanting cybertech installed during their adventures have to pay the price from a surgeon unless another player has specified that they are in fact a cybersurgeon during character creation.

Note that just like anywhere in the galaxy, certain cybertech that the player wants may be illegal, and if he/she still wishes to get it installed on one of these locations, then they must look to the underground. Cybergear like BioArt is different, in that you usually go to tattoo parlors or salons for that service, and it's offered pretty much anywhere in the stellar ring, and more chic places in the Verge.
  • Chop Shop - Does the doctor actually have a license? You may never know. At least the certificates hanging crookedly from his wall look somewhat real. The equipment looks less than sanitary and it's located in a poorly ventilated area, but hey, that's why they invented antibiotics right? This is the only guy on the planet that will be willing to install that Fast Chip you really need, and accepts cash under the table. Eliciting the services of a chop shop may have adverse side effects that are entirely up to the storyteller (buggy gear, unnatural pain during gear use, some other mysterious medical condition, etc.) and you may not be 100% certain that the gear is brand new, maybe just ripped out of some other poor soul who tried for the same thing. Installing a piece of cybergear at a chop shop is the price of the gear x 1.25 Example: Installing a cyberlimb would be 500 cr (for the cost of the limb) + 125 cr for installation: 625 cr total.
  • Legitimate Hospital and Doctor - Things are looking much better. You are pretty sure the doctor is a licensed practitioner and the facilities are much better than a chop shop. However the gear is probably still illegal in this area, so getting the doctor to install that piece may cost additional, but again, at least he has better equipment. Or it may be completely legal, but this location is more remote and not up-to-date with the latest medical equipment. However, the doctor may not be as versed as you would like for him to be and issues can still arise, again up to the storyteller. Installing a piece of cybergear at a legitimate hospital with a doctor is the price of the gear x 1.75
  • Licensed Cybersurgeon and Dedicated Cybersurgery Ward - The absolute most ideal conditions for cybergear installation. The dedicated cybersurgery clinic means the staff is experienced and 100% legal. This may only be available in some areas for more extreme cybertech but it is almost guaranteed nothing will go wrong with the surgery, and your gear may actually work a step above its intended performance. However, clinics like these generally don't do "no questions asked" like the other places and ask for ID's, perform background and criminal history checks before proceeding, or even psyche exams to check for early signs of cykosis. The other places at least don't care who you are. This grade of surgery is usually available in the militaries. Installing a piece of cybergear with a licensed cybersurgeon and dedicated cybersurgery ward is the price of the gear x 2.25
Damage and Repair
Cybergear getting damaged usually is from specific targeted attempts or attacks and can be up to the storyteller (like getting your cyberlimb caught in the closing blast door, or taking a shot from a lightning weapon). Same as with cybersurgery there are different grades of repair, but they can be done by most technicians who can work with fine machinery.

Custom Cybergear
You can look in any corner of the galaxy and find many different variations of cybergear. The ones listed in Part 1 are a general guideline for the popular and commonly seen pieces. Players wanting to come up with their own cybergear are encouraged to do so, at storyteller digression. When doing so, find the gear that appears closest to its function or form, and modify it from there as the storyteller sees fit. Just about anything small can be made subdermal, like a battery charger for your gun, or an anti-thievery hidden pocket to carry money or other valuables. Some existing gear can be modified simply by increasing or decreasing their bonuses. Like a cheaper cyberlimb would only grant a +1 strength bonus and only have a cykosis rating of 2. A much stronger experimental MusclePlus enhancement could be made, but in those cases you may need to rule the necessity of an endoskeleton because normal bones would shatter under the tremendous force a +4 strength MusclePlus could put out.

Also note with custom cybergear to adjust its cykosis rating as you see fit. Generally small things that are mostly cosmetic or don't mess with your brain and senses don't have a cykosis rating (such as subdermal small equipment and BioArt). Bigger things that effect your strength, mind, and self-image can have a number (like nanocomputers or an endoskeleton). When making an item, think of the effects it will have on the character's psyche, and rate it from 1 to 8. With 1 have little effect, and 8 having a massive effect.

Two victims of cykosis.
An inherent danger associated with some cybergear is the mental illness known as cykosis. This ailment twists a character, making him/her behave more machine than living being. This twist is homicidal and unpredictable, and it shouldn't be the goal of any player. When a character succumbs to cykosis he/she goes violently insane and becomes a non-player character; hand the character sheet to the storyteller. They generally seek out others of a similar condition - cybernetic misfits known as cykoteks (pronounced "psychotics").

Cykosis has the in-game effect by reducing one's Empathy score. Each piece of gear has a cykosis rating. Add up the ratings of all the gear and for every 10, the character's Empathy is reduced by 1 point.
Example: A character has a nanocomputer(8), a cyberlimb(3) in one arm, MusclePlus(4) treatment in the other arm, and a Fast Chip(8). All those added together is 23, meaning he has to drop his Empathy score 2 points.

It is up to the storyteller to determine when a character becomes a full cykotek. It can generally be at -3 or -4 empathy, or have the character make empathy checks whenever they start using their cybergear heavily to determine when they 'snap'. The reality is still that cykoteks are very rare, and gangs of them are only found in big overpopulated cities, but overblown media coverage and fearmongering doesn't stop them from being children's campfire tales or warnings against cybergear use.

Mechalus heroes are immune to the effects of cykosis. Nariac characters still have to watch out for it, but the one free piece of gear they get at character creation is never counted toward cykosis because they were raised and conditioned for it.

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