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 29, 2012

Star*Drive Saturday: Mutations

Last week I covered new and extended rules for psionics, this week is another fun character option:

Although normal mutations are common in all species, such as varying eye and hair colors, there is a special category for those that are way off from the standard genotype. Still, what most of the galaxy refers to as mutants are essentially human. Even the ones with the most extreme of mutations will find their genetic make-up is 99.9% normal to a standard human. These special mutants number in at 49 billion, or less than 0.005% of the galaxies total human population. You will find most of them in the Thuldan Empire, as it is accepted as common practice to engineer its population for whatever their needs are. Most commonly it is for the environment they are born in and roles in the military, but others pop up around the rest of the galaxy. Spacers and colonists being bombarded with constant cosmic radiation have natural wild mutations appear sporadically.

According to popular opinion, mutants are dangerous and violent beings, whether they be accidental or engineered. These perceptions stem from coverage of the Mutant Uprisings of Tau Ceti which started the second galactic war, and other Thuldan extremes like their Warlion troops. Most stellar nations are getting mutant rights movements to slowly gain popularity, but they are still ostracized as second class citizens and generally distrusted. A few nations like Union of Sol and Hatire Community require that they live together in isolated communities, away from everyone and out of trouble. Individuals with dangerous mutations like Acidic Touch or Electric Aura find themselves kept in quarantine structures for the rest of their lives. In the Verge, mutants find much more freedom, although many still choose to live away from suspicion and prejudice.

Rogue Space Character Options
A player may choose to be a mutant character during character creation only. This is generally for human characters. Alien mutants are almost unheard of. There are 2 types of mutations, advantageous and drawbacks. Advantageous are the good mutations that provide some sort of benefit to the players. Drawbacks are defects and flaws that result from the genetic tampering and different environments. Whenever you choose an advantageous mutation, you must also choose a drawback. Human characters from the Thuldan Empire have a different benefit, in that if they choose 2 or more advantageous mutations, they get 1 less drawback. For example if a Thuldan hero gets 3 advantageous mutations, he can choose 2 drawbacks. Consult with your storyteller on how many advantageous mutations you can choose. Usually it is around 1 to 3.

Both types of mutations can be doubled, counting as 2. The description for doubling a mutation is listed under each entry. For example you can choose 1 advantageous mutation and double it, and get 2 drawbacks, or 2 advantageous mutations and get 1 drawback doubled, etc.
Advantageous Mutations

Acid Secretion/Spit
Produces an acidic liquid that eats through metals and causes L damage. You are immune to the effects of your own acids, but not others.
Doubled: Projecting glands allow you to squirt the acid at short range.

Chameleon Flesh
While naked, your body takes on the colors of your surroundings, granting you improved stealth. +2 to stealth checks.
Doubled: You duplicate colors as well as details in your flesh, making you harder to spot. +4 to stealth checks.

Dermal Reinforcement
Your natural skin is scaly or calloused. It has a L armor rating.
Doubled: Your skin has a M armor rating.

Electric Aura
Your body can generate electric charges through touch. Mostly to fry electronics. Little control of it. Causes L damage when concentrating a zap through touch.
Doubled: Causes M damage and can arc the electricity directed at something at short range.

Enhanced Healing
Can spend a round to concentrate and heal 1 HP damage.
Doubled: Heals 2 HP damage.

Enhanced Initiative/Health/Movement
Choose your Initiative, your Health, or your Movement. You gain a +2 bonus to it.
Doubled: May choose another to get a +2 bonus, or get a +4 bonus to the one already chosen.

Environmental Adaptation
Choose an environment type: hot climate, cold climate, arid climate, thin atmosphere, thick atmosphere, low-gravity, and high gravity. You gain no penalties to operating in the chosen environment (+2 bonus to surviving).
Doubled: May choose another environment to get a +2 bonus, or get a +4 bonus for the one already chosen.

Improved Attribute
Choose any one FASER attribute. You get +1 to that attribute.
Doubled: May choose another attribute to get a +1 bonus, or get a +2 bonus to in the one already chosen.

Improved Senses
Gains a +2 bonus to perception and notice checks.
Doubled: Gains a +4 bonus.

Natural Weapon
Whether retractable claws, spikes, fangs, or horns, you are considered to always have a M weapon for unarmed attacks.
Doubled: Razor sharp. V rated attacks.

Night/Thermal Vision
No penalties for notice or perception checks at night.
Doubled: Grants a +2 bonus to notice or perception checks at night. You work best at night.

Psionic Power
Can choose a psionic power regardless of your Empathy score. You can use that power, but always suffer a -1 penalty in its use.
Doubled: Can choose another power with the same penalty, or use the one already chosen with no penalty.

Your brain’s makeup is unique in that it becomes difficult for psionics that target the mind to work against you. Enemies suffer a -2 penalty in using psionics against you.
Doubled: Your mind appears to be non-existent to psykers. Enemies suffer a -4 penalty in using psionics against you..

Can detect nearby psionics use. User gets a ‘tingling’ sensation to know it is nearby, or when actively looking for it.
Doubled: Increased range of senses and can pinpoint its location.

Radiation Tolerance
Gains a +2 bonus to surviving the effects of radiation.
Doubled: Grants a +4 bonus.

Toxin Tolerance
Grants a +2 bonus to resisting the effects of harmful toxins or drugs.
Doubled: Grants a +4 bonus.

You have feathered or membrous wings sprouting from your well muscled back. Allows you to glide or fall safely, and even get a few extra meters from jumping. The wings must be able to move unhindered and cannot be overburdened to use.
Doubled: Can fly short distances in normal gravity.

Drawback Mutations

Environmental Sensitivity
Choose an environment type: hot climate, cold climate, arid climate, thin atmosphere, thick atmosphere, low-gravity, or high gravity. You suffer penalties to operating in the chosen environment (-2 penalty to surviving).
Doubled: May choose another environment to get a -2 penalty, or get a -4 penalty to surviving the one already chosen.

Light Sensitivity
Must wear special goggles in well lit areas or suffer -2 penalty to all checks.
Doubled: Dim light causes debilitating pain. Suffers a -4 penalty to all checks when not goggled.

Physical Change
Some form of your mutation has manifested on you in an obvious way to where you can be easily identified as a mutant, unless you took care to cover it up. These changes are permanent and vital to your mutation’s function; therefore they cannot be removed or altered through cosmetic surgery. Talk with your storyteller to discuss the details of what your mutation looks like.
Doubled: The manifestation is more extreme and cannot be easily hidden.

Reduced Initiative/Health/Movement
Choose your Initiative, your Health, or your Movement. You suffer a -2 penalty to it.
Doubled: May choose another to get a -2 penalty, or get a -4 penalty to the one already chosen.

Reduced Attribute
Choose any one FASER attribute. You get a -1 to that attribute.
Doubled: May choose another attribute to get a -1 penalty, or get a -2 penalty to the one already chosen.
Sound Sensitivity
Must wear a dampening earpiece or suffer a -2 penalty to all checks.
Doubled: Even a pin drop is excruciatingly painful. Suffers a -4 penalty to all checks when not wearing the earpiece.

Temporary Weakness
Choose one of your advantageous mutations that has to be actively used or turned on. After using it, you temporarily suffer a weakness (-2 penalty) to one of your FASER attributes (chosen by your storyteller) for 2 rounds.
Doubled: Your storyteller may choose another attribute that the -2 penalty applies to.
Toxin Intolerance
Suffers a -2 penalty to resisting the effects of harmful toxins or drugs.
Doubled: Suffers a -4 penalty.

Weak Immunity
Suffers a -2 penalty to resisting diseases or pathogens.
Doubled: Suffers a -4 penalty.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Star*Drive Saturday: Psionics

Last week I covered a 2 parter about cybertech (Part 1 and Part 2). This week will continue with more player options:


The mind is a muscle. Exercise it and it gets stronger. Humanity started to diagnose actual documentable human psionics and supernatural abilities around the end of the 21st century. These were before seen as hoaxes or just unexplainable events, but later as technology advanced more and more cases were documented, skepticism toward psionics started to quiet. Whether this was due to careful observation or a new evolution in humanity is unknown. Regardless, the tide of evidence became undeniable, but still the fraction of population with these talents remained very small. The first contact with the fraal brought us into a step in the proper direction.

The fraal are all psionics, it being a part of them and their lives as breathing is to ours. They recognized the few talents among our young species and decided to act as guides and tutors for the few who could be taught. Thus the disciplines of the mindwalkers were born. Psionics are a potentially very dangerous power that can be easily abused, and even fatal to the user who hasn't learned to control it.

Others in the galaxy who exhibit some psionic capabilities are called talents. While only about 0.1% of the galaxies population sport psionic capabilities, talents are about 10 times more common than full discipline mindwalkers. The media often portrays talents as wild and out-of-control mutants and mindwalkers as the sensible disciplined masters, but often talents are just as stable as the others, wanting to live, love, and thrive in a world that can be very suspicious of them. Some often wish they didn't have the power or responsibility. Psionic abilities do exist in genetics, although it is not completely understood, but bloodlines and families exist which are known psionics.
Nevertheless the rarity of psionics almost guarantees that those with the power will never have a life like that of the non-psionic majority. Each stellar nation has its own laws and customs regarding talents and mindwalkers. They are just too useful and dangerous to ignore. Certain laws regarding them are pretty universal, most requiring registration of powers to the appropriate government, and common screening for powers are performed during pre-school. Commonly, crimes committed with psionics are treated fairly. Murder with pyrokinesis is the same as murder with a laser pistol. But mind probing and mind reading are generally considered invasions of privacy. Mindwalkers even find careers in law, acting as expert witnesses and forensics investigators for crimes.

Some stellar nation attitudes toward psionics are noteworthy. Both religious organizations, Orlamu Theocracy and Hatire Community revere mindwalkers as a miracle of a greater power, providing privilege, special treatment, and unique training. VoidCorp uses mindwalker employees as it does all its assets. The Orion League and Union of Sol allow their mindwalkers almost unchecked freedom, while the Nariac Domain requires they live with psi-restraint implants, allowing the state to control them. The Galactic Concord leaves them alone, but many Administrators are said to be mindwalkers themselves. Law enforcement among mindwalkers are usually other mindwalkers, and technology such as psi-decectors, that can detect psionic use up to 100 yards away, and psi-restraints that inhibit the use of powers by being clasped around the neck.

New Archetype: Mindwalker
Not all psionic users are mindwalkers. It refers specifically to a person who has spent his or her life under specific training to master their unique abilities. All others with psionics are merely considered talents. Each nation and culture has their own variation and version, but most all have the same principles for training that stem from the original fraal disciplines. This makes the term 'mindwalker' universal, even though many different forms exist.
  • Race Restriction: Human and fraal only
  • Attribute Bonus: +1 Empathy
  • Starting HP: 1d6+2
  • Gear Restriction (optional): L armor and L weapons only
  • Special Rules: Mindwalkers are psykers, regardless of whether or not they meet the usual Empathy requirement. They can also have 1 additional psionic power at level 1. (note this means that fraal mindwalkers can have 3 powers)
Note: Non-mindwalker archetypes still abide by all other psionic rules (+2 Empathy bonus required, and 1 psionic power at level 1). Fraal non-mindwalkers still get 1 extra power at level 1.

New Psionic Powers
Psionic power use still follows the same guidelines outlined in the Rogue Space Rulebook. The following are new powers in addition to those listed in the rulebook. A player who can choose psionic powers may take them from either source.

Biokinetic Weapon
Generates a melee weapon of biokinetic energy that extends from the psyker's hand. Strain determines its damage. L(7 tn) M(9 tn) V(11 tn) and X(13 tn). In combat the psyker's Fighting attribute is still used for attacking with it. Lasts until the psyker uses another psionic power or loses concentration.

Control Metabolism
Allows the psyker to survive longer with no food or water and in hostile climates. Severity of the conditions determines the TN (Storyteller's choice) Example: Arid world = TN 7, Toxic atmosphere = TN 13.

Creates a short range link to electronics that is treated exactly like an NIJack cybernetic. Familiarity and range away from the device determines the TN. Example: Touching a computer console = TN 7, Interfacing with an alien computer from accross the room = TN 13. This character must have established some skill and knowledge in computers and grid use to make this power usable.

Allows the psionic to create electric shocks and charges. Strength and damage depends on the TN. L(7 tn) M(9 tn) V(11 tn) and X(13 tn).

Heals self of damage and disease. Strain determines the amount healed. L(7 tn) M(9 tn) V(11 tn) and X(13 tn).

Kinetic Shield
Creates a psychic shield of kinetic energy around the psyker, providing an armor bonus. Strain determines the protection value. L(7 tn) M(9 tn) V(11 tn) and X(13 tn). Lasts until the psyker uses another psionic power or loses concentration.

Causes the psionic to float in the air. Height and distance determines the strain. Example: Float silently across the pressure sensitive floor alarm = TN 7, Soar quickly to the top of a skyscraper = TN 13.

Alters your physical appearance to look like another of your species. Strain determines how convincing of a disguise you achieve. Lasts until the psyker uses another psionic power or loses concentration.

Allows the psyker to determine his/her current location and even plot a course to a destination. Distance and difficulty of situation determines the strain. Example: Direction to travel to nearest settlement on a planet = TN 7, Drivespace course from one star system to another = TN 13.

Can tell past events that happened in the surrounding area or on a solid item you can touch. Further back and greater distance determines the strain. Example: Events occurring in a room just recently = TN 7, Who wielded a pistol several years ago = TN 13.

Can tell future events that may occur in the surrounding area or on a solid item you can touch. Further forward and greater distance determines the strain. Example: Where the enemy ship will strike next during a space battle = TN 7, The results of the government elections 4 years from now = TN 13.

Allows the psyker to disappear from one location and instantly appear at another. The psyker should at least be familiar with the new location, or it be in visual range. Distance and familiarity with the teleportation determines the strain. Example: From one end of a room to another = TN 7, From the bottom floor of a building to the top floor = TN 13.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Never has there been a better Dwarf movie

I just got back from seeing The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey for a second time. I knew when I first saw it that I would have to go back for several showings. I'm not here to talk about whether it's good or not (it's spectacular), I'm here to talk about the significance of this movie to dwarfdom.

When you look at the original source material of the Hobbit, it is a children's bedtime tale with 13 stunted creatures called dwarves, and a hobbit. These dwarves were meant to be silly characters, more like Snow White's famous entourage. Because of this stereotype, dwarves are seen as little more than comic relief in pop-culture. Even my own wife didn't get the reverence and respect I hold for them. Of course mine stems from being more entrenched in geek culture, with things like Warhammer and heroic legends of Warcraft's Bronzebeard brothers.

This all changed with this movie. You watched legions of dwarves heroically face off against an innumerable horde of orcs and goblins. You see a young one face off against a powerful foe and succeed in a fight akin to King Isildur's match with Sauron in The Fellowship of the Ring.You see more than plucky characters here, you see bold and brave, stern and gruff, skilled and purposeful. This movie showed it all. I wish I had some screenshots to show examples of awesome dwarftitude. So I will just describe a few goose-bump inducing examples:
  • Thorin rising from the tree, oaken shield on one arm, walking boldly to face the pale orc.
  • A dwarf blacksmith holding a glowing hot piece of metal in a gloved hand above his head, and 2 great hammers converge from the ceiling to shape it, during the beginning intro.
  • The choir of deep voices humming the song of the misty mountains. (This will be my new lullaby for my kids from now on)
  • The band leaping from the trees to take on the giant trolls with their warcry.
  • The whole escape from Goblin Town.
We were able to see a glimpse of this badassery during the battle of Helm's Deep as Gimli got more action than ever, even beating Legolas' kill count.

It is important to note that the charm of Tolkein's original story is there. In the movie we hear a few lighthearted songs and jokes, and they aren't without their blunders or diplomatic faux pas'. They can be amazingly badass warriors, as well as the brunt of a joke or two on occasion.

But after the credits rolled, I turned to my wife and said "Now do you get why I like dwarves so much?" To which she admitted she did. And that's what matters.

So who is my favorite of the company of dwarves? It's sort of a toss up between two.

Dwalin, the first one that arrived at Bilbo's home, probably ekes out over the top simply because he's the most armed of the group, sporting 2 great-axes crossed at his back, and a massive warhammer at grip. On top of that you have a plethora of knives tucked away in just about every available spot, and even his gloves cover the knuckles in the sharp geometric patterns seen in all of their armor and weaponry. He was never hesitant to use any of it, or lacking skill. Whenever I made a dwarf fighter in DnD, this is pretty much how I imagined him.

Bifur is one that gets much less screen time and lines, but for a reason. See that in his forehead? It's a goblin axe-blade. He must have taken it during the battle for Moria, and like the stout warrior he is, fought on. Their surgeons probably realized that removing the blade would kill him, so they decided to just leave it in, allowing his flesh to grow around it. There is a side effect to it, though. And the reason for so few lines and little screen-time. It hit the right part of his frontal lobe which caused a permanent switch in his language center to ancient dwarvish. That would also be why only Gandalf ever responded to his babbling. He's the only one that could understand him! (Face it, do you ever remember any latin language lessons? If you took an injury that switched you to speak only latin, could others understand you?) He follows close behind Dwalin simply because he's got a f***ing goblin axe sticking out of his head!

Which was your favorite dwarf?

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.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Minis Showcase: Reaper Dwarves

Just a small showing today. I love dwarves, and once in a while I get a strange hankering to paint one. So I would stop in my FLGS and ask the owner "Got any dwarves?" Naturally I would be pointed at his Reaper board and I would sift through all of them until I found something to work on. These 3 hombres I got and painted over a couple years. One I actually used in a few games of DnD. It was the far left guy, and I altered him somewhat by filing down his hair to make him bald. I was trying to emulate my Dwarf Paladin from WoW as much as I could. I admit it, I used to play.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Star*Drive Saturday: Cybertech (Part 1)

Last week we covered the last of the player races, the warrior weren. Continuing with more player options I will be taking a few Saturdays to cover:


Enhancing organic life with cybernetic implants has been possible for centuries, but cybertech has never achieved widespread popularity, most of humanities resistance toward it is self imposed. But as time goes on, the lines between humans and machines continues to blur. If history is a guide, cybertechnology will bypass the limits anyone attempts to impose. The first significant melding of electronics and the human nervous system occurred in the 21st century militaries. Subdermal weapon, cyberoptics, and body plating eventually gave way to full limb replacements. Medicine followed close behind, using cyberware to replace lost eyes and limbs and deploying microscopic nanites to enhance the body's ability to heal wounds and fight off disease. The next step was the move into mainstream. Business people, scientists, and gridpilots adopted the simplest form of cyberware - neural interface jacks (popularly known as NIJacks) - to enhance their everyday effectiveness. Finally, fashion, forever seeking something new, has accepted fragments of cybertech. BioArt is a common sight within the stellar ring, and few question the casual use of such neon implants.

However this doesn't mean that it's as popularly accepted in modern day. Thanks to the Cyko Riots of 2314, most sentients view anything more than cosmetic implants with distaste. Financiers and gridpilots with nanocomputers and athletes are acceptable. Anything more obvious inspires apprehension and distrust, especially military applications. Only on the most rugged and untamed planets can BattleKlaws, body plating, or MusclePlus go without attracting attention from law enforcement agencies. The reactions depend on the nation. Nariacs are well known for acceptance of heavy cybertech in all aspects of life. Rigunmors, thanks to their friendship with the mechalus, think little of it. Austrins and Hatires, however, are much less forgiving. Hatires hold it in contempt because they believe it pollutes the human soul. Austrins hate it for different reasons, mostly stemming from many fierce conflicts they had with the Nariacs during GW2. In most nations cybernetics are treated as normal weapons, requiring registration of varying degrees of legality. Players beware because offenses to these laws vary from simple tagging for location tracking, or even outright removal, sometimes with little regard to the subject's safety. In the minds of the masses, any overly cybered human is an unpredictable killer, a cykotek in the making. In reality few cykoteks exist, but this doesn't mean the abuse of cybernetics is without its own dangers, especially to the player character.

Alien Cybertech
With the exception of mechalus, cybertech for aliens is much rarer, mainly due to the fact it takes a special kind of interface with the different physiologies they bring. T'sa, being adept technicians and even grid pilots, have taken a liking to it. Next would be fraal, and those would be considered the eccentric ones among their own species. Sesheyan may have them whether they like it or not, but it generally would be at the mandate of their VoidCorp superiors. Weren would be the least likely to have them for many honor reasons. If one can't do the task with their own strength, then what is the point of doing the task at all?

Rogue Space Character Options
While cybering up your hero to the brim may seem attractive to a player, they should also beware some of the dangers and costs of doing so. Costs not only apply to your credit account, but also your humanity and even health! Next week I will discuss the bad stuff of cybertech, as well as players getting it installed through cybersurgery.

The following is an extended list of cybergear and rules associated with each piece. Obvious parts of the entries are the Name and Cost in credits (does not include cost of installation), Description provides special rules for it, and even Visibility. "Hidden" means the tech is subtle enough that you can't see it on a naked person, unless scanners are used. "Concealable" means that while its noticeable naked, it can be easily concealed through clothing or makeup. "Obvious" means that there is no way to cover it up, barring a full body covering like a bulky body tank. Some gear requires a Nanocomputer already installed in order to utilize, it will note a Yes or No here. Final thing listed is the Cykosis rating. That will be discussed in detail next weak.

Name: BattleKlaw
Cost: 220 cr per arm
Visibility: Hidden
Nanocomputer: Optional
Description: Hidden retractable Light blade on one designated arm. Often voice or motion controlled, but can be interfaced with a nanocomputer to make it thought controlled.

Name: BioArt
Cost: 25 cr
Visibility: Concealable
Nanocomputer: No
Cykosis: --
Description: A bioluminescent subdermal neon implant that produces a glowing tattoo on the surface. No specific game benefit, mostly for cosmetic purposes. The player's imagination can go wild with this one.

Name: BioWatch
Cost: 30 cr
Visibility: Hidden
Nanocomputer: No
Cykosis: --
Description: A subdermal timepiece that shows the current time, and has a variety of other functions one would find on a modern day expensive watch. (date, alarm, time zone, memory readout, etc.) Completely hidden unless touched with a finger or some other small object, then it glows the information through the skin.

Name: Body Plating
Cost: 850 cr
Visibility: Obvious
Nanocomputer: No
Cykosis: 4
Description: Body plating combines metal and plastic armor which is then bonded to a character's body. Due to its shapeliness, even in heavy clothing, the plating can be obvious upon close inspection, but most who opt for this protection don't bother to hide it anyway. It grants Medium armor protection at all times. The plating is not subdermal, or beneath the skin.

Name: CF Skinweave
Cost: 700 cr
Visibility: Concealable
Nanocomputer: No
Cykosis: 3
Description: CF Skinweave is a carbonate fiber woven directly into living flesh, providing some extra protection against damage. Since it isn't as bulky as Body Plating, it can be hidden easier, but it gives a strange texture to bare skin. It provides +3 health.

Name: Cyberlimb
Cost: 500 cr per limb
Visibility: Concealable
Nanocomputer: Yes
Cykosis: 3 per limb
Description: Cyberlimbs replace those lost to damage, disease, or even for an 'improvement' over original flesh and bone. They can also have other equipment installed within them like hidden weapon compartments and computer gauntlets. The limbs are designed to imitate the shape of a real limb as much as possible so they are generally easily concealed with long sleeves and gloves (or pants and shoes). A cyberlimb grants the user a +2 bonus to strength checks and melee damage using that limb.

Name: Cybereye/ear
Cost: 300 cr per eye/ear
Visibility: Concealable
Nanocomputer: Yes
Cykosis: 3 per eye/ear
Description: As with the cyberlimb they can be concealed with proper headgear depending on the quality. Eyes grant a +1 bonus to search checks, and the ears grant a +1 bonus to listening checks (the bonuses are not doubled if both eyes or both ears are cybernetic).

Name: Endoskeleton
Cost: 1000 cr
Visibility: Hidden
Nanocomputer: No
Cykosis: 5
Description: One of the most difficult, painful, and expensive procedures known. Only the most dedicated need apply. It provides hard materials that reinforces the skeleton as well as covers vital internal portions. The advantage is it remains completely hidden to anything but a proper scanner, and it grants a +4 to health and a +1 bonus to toughness and endurance tests.

Name: ER Slot
Cost: 300 cr
Visibility: Concealable
Nanocomputer: Yes
Cykosis: 3
Description: An attachment that contains many of the medicines and chemicals found in a medkit. Proper contents are automatically injected into the character when he is knocked out or damaged heavily. It can also be manually activated. It is generally a small box-like part that remains attached to the character's abdomen.

Name: Fast Chip
Cost: 400 cr
Visibility: Hidden
Nanocomputer: Yes
Cykosis: 8
Description: A device that has been banned in most civilized locales due to the damage associated with its use. Characters with a Fast Chip and Nanocomputer generally operate at a level above most other people. When it is mentally switched on it grants the user movement x 2, +2 initiative, and +3 to action tests vs. attacks. Each round of use has a chance to deal Light damage (no armor mitigation) to the user, starting with a TN of 5, getting progressively harder each round of use. No joke that this stuff is addicting and dangerous, but can be useful in a pinch.

Name: Gunsight
Cost: 200 cr
Visibility: Hidden
Nanocomputer: Yes
Cykosis: 6
Description: This is essentially a mod to a cybereye and a specific gun. The gun has a camera which provides cross-hairs in the users vision so he can see exactly where the gun is pointing. It provides a +1 bonus to attacks with the weapon it is attuned to.

Name: MusclePlus
Cost: 800 cr per treatment
Visibility: Hidden
Nanocomputer: Yes
Cykosis: 4 per treatment
Description: MusclePlus replaces living muscle tissue with a strong, highly durable, synthetic fiber that increases the users strength by +2 in the limbs that receive the treatment. The procedure is often painful and long, but provides promising results.

Name: Nanocomputer
Cost: 750 cr
Visibility: Hidden
Cykosis: 8
Description: This piece is essential for most advanced cybernetics that require brain control. The nanocomputer has the essential cytronic circuitry that helps with the tremendous processing power needed for translating brain signals to machine language. Like any computer, programs can be loaded and it can store data on microdrives. The software, or bioware, are generally used for operating any piece of nanocomputer dependent cybertech. This provides a big transition for cybertech users that begin to see things as machines do, and even recall data as they do. While this doesn't mean that as soon as someone gets a nanocomputer installed they instantly become a fleshy robot, it is always the start of that journey.
(NOTE: It should be noted that mechalus heroes automatically begin with an equivalent to a nanocomputer as well as their touch-interface NIJack as described here.)

Name: NIJack
Cost: 200 cr
Visibility: Concealable
Nanocomputer: Yes
Cykosis: 3
Description: The NIJack (Neural-Interface-Jack) is a specific plug located on the neck or head that allows for the massive datastream of hooking up to the Grid. Cables run from Gridcaster computer systems directly to the NIJack and the user immediately interfaces with that wonderfully free cyberspace. While it is not essential to have a nanocomputer and NIJack to use the Grid, many prefer it for its much more 'personal' experience, and the upper edge is often needed in dangerous cyberwarfare.

Name: Self-Repair Unit
Cost: 800 cr
Visibility: Hidden
Nanocomputer: Yes
Cykosis: 5
Description: It's an internal piece of equipment that includes a supply of raw materials and a horde of nanite robots. When activated by the nanocomputer, the nanites go into action converting the materials into components and begin to repair damaged cybernetics. It generally takes about an hour depending on the severity of the damage suffered. Note this is to repair any cybergear on the character, not just the subdermal equipment.

Name: Subdermal Comm/Weapon Mount
Cost: 200 cr
Visibility: Hidden
Nanocomputer: Optional
Cykosis: --
Description: The subdermal comm-link and weapon mount are devices hidden under the skin. The comm-link works exactly like a regular comm-link, and the weapon mount can hold a Light rated weapon. Both are generally voice or motion activated, like the BattleKlaw, but can be interfaced with a nanocomputer to make them thought controlled.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Minis Showcase: Qur'haddan Tempest Conversion

This is another one of my minis conversion that I'm proud of. Konomancer, the project of Jarom and I, has in it a lot of cool stuff (well, we think so anyway). The invading advanced alien race, the Qur'haddan, have a monk-like class. Instead of inner-peace and meditation, though, they use their martial discipline, high agility, and speed to pull corrosive and necrotic substance, called Void, from the dead parts from the Realm (Konomancer's version of the Feywild). These are the Qur'haddan Tempests. I really liked the idea of making a miniature of one, so I stumbled on a half-orc monk by Reaper. It took a little filing to get its claws and tusks to go away, and minimal conversion. I had to add something on its wrists for the black gems which act as the Tempest's implements, and some creative painting produced this:
For art on a Tempest in action, by Jarom, click here.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Star*Drive Saturday: The Weren

Last time it was the quick-witted race of the T'sa, this week it is the:

Male (left) and female (right).
A young and proud race of warriors. While usually type cast as brutes or muscle they find employ in various fields across space. However they are still adapting to galactic life.
  • Homeworld: Kurg, Orlamu Theocracy Space
  • Average Lifespan: 160 yrs
  • Average Height: 2.2 m (7 ft)
  • Average Weight: 180 kg (400 lbs)
  • Current Population: 40 billion, highest within the Orlamu Theocracy (78%)
When Kurg was discovered in 2246 by the Orlamu Theocracy, they were undergoing a time period similar to our own renaissance. It was a period of learning, debate, and speculation of the nature of life. Inventions like the printing press, scientific method, and the flintlock could be found. However it was also undergoing a world war. Even with the willingness to bring the weren (pronounced 'wear-enn') race to the galaxy, the theocracy has taken great care not to polute Kurg with modernism. They make it a point to not import any technology, especially weapons. Only 2 remotely located starports are where you will find any human influence on Kurg. Different weren leave Kurg for different reasons. Most seeking a new way of life, often to leave an unhappy one in hopes of a better future among the stars. When it happens, a delegation of Orlamus meet them at a starport, and after a week of interviews they confirm that the candidate is committed to leaving Kurg. In fact, Orlamus often discourage weren from emigrating, they want the candidate to weigh the decision very carefully. Once a weren has left, they are discouraged from returning and contaminating Kurg with foreign ways. A weren who leaves is granted temporary citizenship in the theocracy, and a majority attend an Orlamu college. Crusade, a respected military academy is a popular choice. But Orlamu diplomats provide other options as well, even those outside the theocracy. Weren are in high demand in any nation, even the Concord, especially in militaries.
They can be ill-mannered at times.

You can't miss a weren. They are very tall, very heavily built, and covered in fur. Their powerful frame sports wicked claws that make them a formidable opponent even when they don't carry weapons. A great mane of hair flares from their heads and their fur ranges from black to shades of grays and whites. They approach life with amazing intensity. When embracing a new idea or belief, they become zealots. They profess the tenets of those beliefs with word, deed, claw and war mace. Though they are built for battle, they love to talk and share ideas. Not every discussion leads to a fight, and most weren wont battle those weaker than themselves. They have strict codes concerning honor, combat etiquette, and noble acts. They make fierce warrior embracing combat, but take religion seriously. Tech use doesn't come naturally to them, often preferring gear closer to their native tech level. Philosopher-warriors. Weren appear to be a dichtomy of enlightned scholars and noble savages. They have combined the 2 ways of life well. Though they have no high-tech of their own, they gladly board starships in order to learn more about the galaxy.

Rogue Space Character Ideas
A player may choose to be of the weren race. He/she must follow the restriction below, but also gains the benefit below.
  • Restriction: Warrior only.
  • Benefits: Hard and sharp natural claws grant them a Light weapon at all times (located on hands and feet). +2 bonus to hit points.

Weren Paladin
Character Background: Cleric
High Attributes: Fighting and Empathy
Archetype: Warrior
The theocracy gives weren the option to enter the priesthood, and surprisingly a large number find themselves inspired to take up orders as Orlamists. Once they join the church, they become fierce supporters of the faith. They are among the church's most successful missionaries. While most Orlamists concentrate on the scientific aspect of the religion, weren tend to focus on the faith and devotion aspects. The militant weren find place within the military orders of the theocracy, creating a unique branch within, the order of Paladins. Warrior missionaries traveling abroad and spreading the word of the Divine Unconscious and protecting the weak and helpless.

Weren Bodyguard
Character Background: Mercenary
High Attributes: Fighting and Acquiring
Archetype: Warrior
Whether they stay home, join the theocracy, or travel abroad, weren are among the most respected sentients in explored space. Part of that respect can be attributed to their physique and their well deserved reputation as powerful warrior. Part of it comes from the value that weren culture attaches to loyalty. When a weren attaches himself to a loyalty, religion, or friend, it's impossible to shake. This makes them ideal bodyguards. Generally they are hired for the job, but weren like to claim freedom to leave a dishonorable client in favor of more trustworthy ones. They guard the bodies of their companions, but often work to establish deep friendship and family.

The Weren Flintlock
The flintlock invention was fairly new on Kurg, and quickly gained popularity as a tool of honorable combat, status, and symbolism. It is no less for those who leave the homeworld. They often wear one brandished in a belt or a few on bandolier more as a memento of their past and history. While used rarely in modern warfare, they make a great single-shot close combat weapon, much to the confusion of many foe who has no idea what they are facing. Very innacurate at longer ranges, though a rifle/musket version exists, it is even more rare due to its ineffectiveness vs other more modern alternatives. Other weapon manufacturers try making weapons for weren emulating the Kurg flintlocke style, but they are not as profitable as an authentic hand-crafted on Kurg model.

Weren Flintlock Pistol - Damage@Range: Medium@Melee, Light@Short - Special: Any race other than a weren suffers a -2 penalty in use due to sheer size and strength of recoil. Single shot and takes a full round to reload. Cost: 200 cr for weren from Kurg. 650 cr for everyone else outside due to rarity.