[Solar System] Cyberware on a primitive world.

Started by CedricP, March 16, 2010, 06:26:35 PM

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We are starting a Solar System campaign about a prison ship who crash on a savage primitive world.
(Pitch Black meet Lost)

Our setting is a little bit inspired by Fading Suns: medieval in space.

We talked about that it would be interesting that some prisoner are criminal just because they have cyberware and how they would have to deal with their maintenance on the primitive planet.

I looked at the Shadowrun TSOY thread but they use different pools of metal and meat.
Any suggestion on how to represent cyberware with the default pools? Or do you advice in using different pools for cyborg characters?

Also, any suggestions on how to represent the maintenance issue? A player was interested about this issue, he said that it would be interesting that cyborgs became dependant on tech savvy characters to maintain their cyber parts. I thought maybe something about on how they refresh their pools?


Howdy!  The most straightforward thing to accomplish what you are aiming for here is with the new(ish) Equipment rules from World of Near, which can be found at http://bzr.mausdompteur.de/schatten/worldofnear/worldofnear.html, after the first set of Keys.  When the Equipment's rating is used, its Quality Value lowers, reducing the number of available ratings (and possibly its number of Imbuements) until repaired.

If people with cyberware are automatically criminals, then you might want to have a prerequisite Secret or Key that permits cyberware Equipment, and you may want to have a particular Imbuement or other quality that distinguishes cyberware from other Equipment with similar uses (like, all cyberware is effectively Signature Equipment, or something).

Eero Tuovinen

I've written something about cybernetics... ah, of course it's this, a treatise on how to play steampunk Pinocchio. I'll need to play this thing at some point, it's really quite clever in parts. That also covers cyborg rules by implication; the character gets an extra Fuel Pool which is associated with the cybernetic parts, and which is refreshed with a maintenance scene, which requires help from somebody else (can't do it alone). That thread doesn't really discuss the sort of slightly cyborgized people you'd usually see in scifi, as the least cyborg by those rules is one that loses an entire human Pool and gains a Fuel Pool in its stead. No reason not to extend the crunch in that sort of direction, of course, if you like the way it's going.

If you don't like the idea of using a separate Pool for the cyberware, then there's a range of other solutions. What you'd pick would mostly depend on what you'd want the cybercraft to mean. For example, if the thing about cyber is that it is subversive towards the human body identity (Cyberpsychosis optional), then something similar to the Pere-di-Fey symbiotes in World of Near might fit the bill nicely; those still come with sort of semi-separate Pools, though.

For a solution that uses only the basic Pools, consider low-key basic crunch; nothing wrong in making cybertech do something pretty generic and simple, especially if the rest of the crunch landscape is pretty minimalistic, too. You could even say that there is no other way of removing the Ability Pool caps than cybertech. Like so:

Secret of Cybertech (Ability)
The character has some cybernetic parts that allow him to push his body to near superhuman feats. The player can spend an unlimited amount of points from an associated Pool as bonus dice for this Ability. However, the character refreshes any associated Pools to one point below the maximum, unless servicing the cybertech is somehow part of the refreshment scene; if the Pool wouldn't gain anything due to this limit, add one point.

(I wrote it that way in case you have Abilities that are associated with several Pools in the crunch landscape.)

Secret of Biotech (Pool)
The character has superior biotech - he's born of a superior geneline or he's been injected with designer drug or whatever. The character's Pool caps for all Abilities using the given Pool are raised by one. This Secret can be taken several times to increase the cap further. However, the character refreshes less points for this Pool when interacting with people not so enhanced, the reduction being equal to the difference in enhancement (so one point for having this Secret once, etc.); if the Pool wouldn't gain anything due to this limit, add one point.

(Note how biotech and cybertech have interesting cross-over, making combining them somewhat inefficient. I also like the social drama implicated here, such as mr. hypermuscle being unable to appreciate sex with less endowed individuals.)

Secret of PID (specify)
The character has a specific personal integrated device (PID), a cybertech or biotech functionality that goes beyond human capabilities - seeing ultrasonics, breathing water, changing haircolor at will, shooting a grappling hook out of his crotch, whatever. (Note that in the fiction both of the above Secrets are also PIDs, they're just very generic instances.) Model the PID with equipment rules, except using it costs one Pool point less than normal (or you gain a bonus die to using it if it's free) due to high-tech efficiency. However, each PID lowers the Pool refreshment further, counting for all Pools. Treat the PID as either cybertech of biotech for these purposes as per the last two Secrets, depending on the fictional description.

Secret of Personal Maintenance
The character is proficient in restoring the high-tech personal integrated devices (PID) used by the starfarers. Do maintenance by making an appropriate Ability check into an Effect for the patient (either character can pay for the Effect for all I care, as long as it gets paid); the patient can then spend the Effect 1:1 into Pool points during refreshment, counteracting any reductions due to cybertech or biotech. Note that cybertech and biotech are likely serviced with different Abilities, while the Secret is the same.

(Maybe not quite as elegant as I'd like it to be, but I wanted to have a robust sense of how maintenance would work and what its benefits would be. Effectively I'd expect characters with only minor enhancement to not care about maintenance, while others would need it to get their Pools back to peak condition.)

The above solution is rather crunch-light and powerful, but it loses impact if the are more complex crunch subsystems in play. You should especially make sure that spending Pool effectively and in large bursts stays the prerogative of freaks of nature; if cybertech is represented by being able to get two bonus dice on one feat, then getting two bonus dice on one feat is a big deal in the fiction, and shouldn't be duplicated by a trivial generic Secret.
Blogging at Game Design is about Structure.
Publishing Zombie Cinema and Solar System at Arkenstone Publishing.


Thanks both of you, it give me a good base to work on. I also take good note of the observation on the crunch landscape.

Eero Tuovinen

Do let us know what you'll develop - it's always interesting to read about SS play.
Blogging at Game Design is about Structure.
Publishing Zombie Cinema and Solar System at Arkenstone Publishing.