08/22/2013 progress update: Cybernetics, Dubbing, and some eye candy
Hi everyone, I'm popping in with a (long) progress update!
The bulk of the text is finished. I just need to wrap the setting rules, do about 10k words in the Game Master section, and some biohorrors and NPCs to the threats section, and everything will go to a final edit. If you are a backer who pledged to have your characters or a group of character, or a location added into the book, and you haven't contacted me with the information I need, please do so as soon as possible.
From this point on, I'll be laying out edited text and blocking off areas for artwork I still need. I'll also be working on a character sheet, which I'll post a link to as soon as it's finished. Things are shaping up pretty nicely, and it won't be much longer, though I still won't give an ETA, sorry.
Now let's talk about cybernetics. Previous iterations have dealt with cyber trauma in some crazy ways, all of which weren't very FFF. The design process attempted to take too many factors into account, and this was making it difficult. I've streamlined everything into the following section. This is going to be the final, so I hope you like it.
The first thing you need to understand is, not all augments are created equal. Some are really crappy, and can actually speed up the process of cybertrauma (See below), while others are so clean they almost feel like you were born with them installed. There are four grades you can choose from when purchasing cybernetics in Interface Zero; Gutterware, Streetware, Hyperchrome, and Milware.
Gutterware is the worst possible grade of ‘ware you can get. These augments are very cheap, but that’s because they were either cut out of someone else’s body, grown from incompatible—or diseased—organs, or built with sub-standard materials.
Cost in credits: Gutterware 1,000 credits per point of Strain.
Strain cost: Gutterware costs double the listed Strain.
Availability: Gutterware is highly illegal, and is only available on the black market. If your character wishes to purchase gutterware after character creation, she must make a Streetwise (Streets or Organized Crime) roll to find a dealer. If your character has a fixer or street level contact, she gains a +1 bonus to the roll.
Streetware is the most common grade of cybernetics you’ll find. It’s clean, but more expensive than Gutterware. Streetware is generally thought of as “out of the box,” or “plug ‘n play” ‘ware. It’s not specifically tailored to a particular individual’s body, but has been tested on a wide range of subjects to ensure general compatibility with baseline humans, synthetics, and the most common types of hybrids.
Cost in credits: Streetware costs 5,000 credits per point of Strain.
Strain cost: Streetware costs the listed Strain of an item.
Availability: Streetware is available on the open market. Characters can find it in any city on the planet, or even get it via the Global DataNet.
If Streetware can be likened to an economy vehicle, then Hyperchrome is a sports car. Hyperchrome is custom-made for the individual, resulting in a much cleaner—but more expensive—installation.
Cost in credits: Hyperchrome costs 25,000 credits per point of strain.
Strain cost: Hyperchrome costs the listed Strain of the item, minus 1 point of Strain from the total number of Hyperchrome-grade augments your character installs in one session. This is cumulative with the Cyber Tolerance Edge, and yes, if you only install a single augment, you still subtract 1 from the Strain cost. This includes augments that only have a Strain of 1, so those shiny environmental regulators would have a Strain of 0!
Example: Johnny has an existing Strain of 3. He’s saved enough credits to get bone lacing, and an enhanced neural net, both of them are going to be Hyperchrome installs. Bone lacing costs 2 points of Strain, and an enhanced neural net also costs 2 Strain. The total strain cost would be 4, however, since Johnny is getting both installed at the same time, he subtracts 1 from the total Strain, so his modified Strain cost is 3. Since Johnny already has a Strain of 3, his new Strain total is now 6. If he chose to install each augment separately, he would end up saving 2 points of Strain rather than just 1, and would have ended up with a total Strain of 5, rather than 6.
Availability: Most Hyper chrome-grade augments are readily available on the open market. Characters can get any type of augment not considered to be a weapon without submitting to a background check. If a character wants to get weaponry, but doesn’t want to have her identity listed, she’ll have to find it on the black market, specifically various organized crime rings, like the Yakuza, the Triads, and other groups.
The cost is still the same, but that doesn’t mean purveyors of these augments won’t want something extra for their services (See the GM section at the back of the book for more information). To find Hyperchrome, a character must make a Streetwise (organized crime) roll at a -1 penalty. Remove the penalty to the roll if the character has a fixer contact.
Sometimes called blackware or ghostware, military-grade augments are beyond SOTA (State Of The Art), existing in a realm of myth and street rumor. These augments aren’t just clean, they’re made from emerging tech— like neurochemical combat conditioning, advanced reflex technology, and radical nano-morphic science. If you want L33T gear, this is the grade for you amigo...if you can get it, that is.
Cost in credits: Milware costs a whopping 125,000 credits per point of Strain. This cost is based on the item’s listed strain cost, not the actual Strain cost the ‘ware inflicts on your body when it is installed (see below).
Strain cost: Milware costs half the listed Strain of an item. If the result is a number with a decimal point (like .5 or 1.5), round down to the nearest whole number, even if the result is 0. As with Hyperchrome, this is cumulative with the Cyber Tolerance Edge.
Availability: Milware augments are like the alien myth; everyone’s heard about them, but nobody has actually seen them. Whether or not someone’s actually seen Milware in action—well that’s how the rumors start, isn’t it?
If your characters are playing at the Elite Operatives power level, they can begin play with as many of these augments as they can afford. If the characters aren’t playing at the Elite Operatives power level, they’re going to have to work it into their background to be able to get these at character creation, but even then, Milware is expensive; prohibitively so. Characters with nothing but Milware cybersystems can have nearly double the number of augments someone with Streetware can! That kind of edge shouldn’t come cheap. Furthermore, just because your character can afford this stuff (not very likely at Novice rank), doesn’t mean they can just buy it as if they were ordering a pizza.
Milware is never available for purchase on either the open market or the black market. To obtain these augments, your character needs to have developed some serious connections with powerful people. We’re talking about high ranking government officials with access to code-name classified projects, military commanders, and CEO’s of megacorps, and I’m not talking about the little fish; I’m talking about C-7 megacorps with vast resources and influence. This should only happen through role-play; no hand-waving the process of establishing contact and working to gain mutual trust, and absolutely no using the Interludes rules from the Savage Worlds core system.
In Interface Zero, your characters can install as much cyberware as they wish. There are no artificial limits in this game, but that’s not to say there aren’t any consequences. If your character ever gains more strain than her Vigor die, she must make a Vigor roll each time she installs a new augment. The penalty to the roll is equal to the difference between her Vigor Die and her current Strain.
If she fails the roll, she gains a level of lethal Fatigue that doesn’t go away unless your character removes enough augments to drop below the Vigor threshold. A Critical failure results in two levels of lethal Fatigue. As mentioned above, your character can continue to install augments if she wishes, but if she ever gains four levels of Fatigue in this manner, she dies on the operating table. All of the standard rules for Fatigue apply.
Some augments, like cyber eyes, cyber legs and cyber arms are capable of holding more than one function. The number of functions an augment of this type can hold is equal to the Strain of the augment. So, a cybernetic eye with a Strain of 3 will come with 3 functions, a cyber-arm with a Strain of 4 will have 4 functions, a cyber-leg with 5 functions, 5 Strain, etc. The monetary cost for the augment is determined as normal, by paying X credits (indicated by the grade of the augment) per each point of Strain.
You'll note that Milware represents a HUGE jump in cost over the other grades. I based the costs on Gutterware (1000 credits) and built up in multiples of 5. You're free to house rule the costs, but I wouldn't suggest it. Milware isn't meant to be cheap. Dropping it down to a multiple of 4 will drastically reduce the cost, though admittedly, it's hard to even find this stuff in the first place. Moving on.
In 2090, Brain Engram Technology has reached the point where a person can create a backup of his or her consciousness and either store it locally in devices known as cortex drives, or have it stored remotely in engram banks. If a person with a dub ever dies, her dub will be downloaded into a new body, usually a bio-form grown in cloning tanks. It goes without saying that these arrangements must have been made before death, but for those who have the foresight to make these arrangements, death is merely an inconvenience.
Here’s how it works.
Immortality ain’t cheap. While this technology is rapidly becoming available to more and more people, the cost to dub one’s self is still prohibitively expensive. If your character wishes to back up her personality she must pay 250,000 credits per dub. The cost includes a single bio-form, but extra bio-forms can also be purchased at a cost of 50,000 credits per body.
These clones are based on the character’s existing race and her physical Attributes—Strength, Vigor, and Agility. The mental Attributes are covered by the dub itself. If your character wishes to download into a new race, the cost of the body will rises by 25,000 credits. All prices assume the character is buying her body on the open market, at a reputable firm.
It is possible to get dubbed on the black market. The cost for a dub on the black market is cut in half, but it’s risky. Your character must make a Spirit roll at a -2 penalty. If the roll fails, the dub fails. Since most shady organizations require payment up front, the character loses the money she spent for both the dub, and the new body.
The cost of a backup does not include cybernetics (Including a TAP). The character will have to purchase those separately at the original costs of each item. She can choose to have the cybernetics pre-installed in her bioform. The grade for each augment will either be streetware, or Hyperchrome. If she chooses to wait until after, then she can choose whatever grade she wants, provided she has access to the grade. Milware is still very hard to get.
Creating the Dub
Mechanically speaking, creating a dub is as simple as making a new character. When your character purchases her dub, you make a new character (or simply make a photocopy of your existing character sheet) at the character’s current rank, and experience. You cannot make a dub at a higher rank, or with more experience points than what you have gained.
Since you are choosing the bio-form your dub downloads to after you die, you can opt to purchase a new race. Simply pay the extra money to get the race you choose, and rebuild your character with the appropriate racial template.
Lastly, here's a few more pieces of artwork to check out. These are chapter inserts for the GM section and the World Chapter. I hope you like them!
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