Synthetic Superpowers

Although Cybernetics have been briefly mentioned earlier, this is a discussion of in game concepts for translating other media concepts into RPG’s.

Bionics: Are also known as Bionical Creativity Engineering, or Cybernetics this power covers the concept of the replacement or improvement of parts of a body that may just be all too frail in a world with or without superpowers.  Whether made of metal, synthetic material, organics in the modern age concepts or the ages old ideas of enchanted limbs and steam-punk powered parts in previous eras.  Often written characters have half of their body replaced or some odd amalgamation of parts frequently necessary just for survival and the symbiosis of man and machine grant enhanced abilities almost on accident.  With the advancement of science and medicine cyberwear is no longer considered to be just metal and machines grafted onto a human, instead some forms of cyberwear are now grown from a characters’ own cells or have those cells/organs/limbs altered through various means to create the desired effects.  In most recent cyber/bionics media examples there is a balancing condition to these modifications bringing a question of whether or not a person with a majority of body replacements are even truly human any more, suffering from a loss of emotions and feelings of inhumanity bringing to the fore a man versus self or society issues.  Major changes to the human body by outside forces can force a dramatic reconsideration of self-image to say the least and be a source for interesting limitations as well as role-playing ideas.Â

Because this is a power no matter the limitations it should be an advantage; and often a significant one that is able to take the character to the lower levels of metahuman combat at the least if not able to struggle against the mightiest of opponents.  And because of the infinite possible suggestions for enhancements and improvements the power may generate the Gm and player should work together to create a reasonable suite of powers and challenges for the character as well as allow advancement.

A: Attack powers for bionics can include enhanced abilities (increasing any physical/combat related characteristics), enhanced combat statistics (Damage Modifier and Accuracy bonuses), concealed weapons (pistols and poison darts are a favorite), and unusual abilities tapping into a character’s different power sources are all possibilities (whether radiation, sonic, electrical attacks or some other power source).Â

B: Bionics are often crafted with survival in mind so Defensively bionics can add a whole new dimension to the character whether it is parts that are tougher than the original organics to the ability to leave behind broken parts of the body and possibly easily repair/replace such losses, the ability to have inherently tougher bodies because of modifications (Subdermal plating, bones laced with various substances) or even reserves of air or liquids, the ability to cut off pain sensations so on and so forth can make the character a challenge to overcome. Â

C: Because there is a wide variety of unusual attachments that could be added to bionic limbs that could enhance movement (stretchable, faster or tireless limbs, magnetic grapples, etc.…) here again the options from the source materials are bewildering for the imaginative.  Common movement enhancement abilities for ‘borgs generally involve running/leaping or other leg oriented alterations, though the ability to summon or control mass transit, making all the lights go their way or against their opponents are examples of travel oriented non-vehicular or even non-standard abilities.

D: Classic bionics often deals with the replacement of the loss of an eye or an ear granting not only a restoration of the loss but superior to superhuman ranges of hearing or vision all the way out to unusual additional abilities like sub harmonic senses or infrared/ultraviolet vision.  More recent science Cyborgs are gifted with enhanced computer skills including technological communication skills that make todays cellphones look like abacuses. Magical replacements often suggest different abilities perhaps a character could lose an eye and gain a much-enhanced wisdom (represented by enhanced Intelligence or Charisma, visions of the past or future or some other ability) a hand lost could result in greater respect and many other possibilities.

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Examples of Bionic Powers (2d10+1d8-2)

  1. Additional Limbs: the character has locations to attach additional limbs that can provide a variety of interesting effects, the character may not be able to always run faster by adding additional legs but by becoming in effect a centaur the character may be able to move more like a quadruped gain additional carrying capacity and reduced knock back effects as well as the character may be able to ignore certain disabling effects simply by having enough limbs to compensate for the loss of a few.  While more arms may mean more opportunities to attack, the character will probably still have to expend the power and take the Accuracy penalties for multiple attacks (dealing with their own limbs having less effective avenues of opportunity as well as keeping game balance).
  2. Bio-Organics: After being altered with grafts of perfectly matched biological material (frequently cloned) there is any one of several ways this character could have some interesting abilities.  Externally speaking the character could gain some of the following ideas such as +1d6 to STR, and/or End, +1d3 to Agility, +4d10 to weight, +1d10 to initiative, etc… increased stats are not the only way to go because there are potentially a lot of other interesting options.  Internally speaking with an increased liver function the character not only never gets drunk but has either a 50% reduction in the effects, duration or a 50/50 save against poisons even those that don’t normally allow them. The possibilities of an improved digestion and fat storage system could enable the character to gain sustenance from nearly any organic compound as well as only needing to eat once a week for up to six months at a stretch.  Other ideas could be drawn from the Body Powers section, as well as other different sources of internal modified powers, Supplemental to the other advantages, the character is able to pass through metal detectors as well as avoid the attentions of Magnetic Masters and metal manipulators that frequently target other Cyborgs with ease.
  3. Bowling Ball Butt: the characters’ butt is usable as a weapon in addition to a resting place for several other kinds of items.  The character gains a free attack on opponents to the side they face away from when changing facings for free but these attacks do not gain accuracy benefits.  In addition, the character finds that those that like them for this cyber enhancement have a significant difficulty telling untruths facing a challenge of at least ([5+ the reaction modifier as an absolute] x 5% chance) checked per untruth.
  4. Combat Computers & Programs: the character gains a pool of points equal to current level + accuracy mods and damage mods (which are not lost) divided by 2, rounded up. This pool may be spent to gain bonuses to hit, deal damage and penalties to the attackers’ accuracy when aware.  Each point only lasts a round and are recovered between fights.
  5. Concealed Weapons: As an expansion of some of the more common cyborg options is the ability to bring along a variety of weaponry often integrated into the base systems making it difficult to find, alter or remove ranging from concealed blades, slug throwers and flame throwers to hidden energy weapons possibly powered off of the characters’ internal systems.  Bio organics systems like these can be more like Animal inspired offensive capacity possibly similar to concealed stingers, retractable teeth and claws or concealed marsupial like pouches for smuggling tools for others in some cases. Care should be taken to keep to a minimum any sort of overlap between this power and Poisons or Innate/Natural Weaponry though certainly the powers can inspire each other with options.
  6. Crystal Chip Element: The character possesses structured silicates instead of merely metals with results in a few changes to the mechanics of being a cyborg.  The character is more resistant to Magnetic attacks but Sonic/Vibratory abilities are more dangerous(Cyborg defense does not apply to Magnetism but Sonic/Vibratory effects are at +2/+4 to hit the character).   Also the character is faster gaining +1d6 to initiative, +1d3 to HTH damage and +1d6 to Intelligence.
  7. Deflective Dermal Armor: the character has plates either cunningly hidden under or by some sort of skin or as the final dermal layer designed to protect internal organs or systems from damaging blows.  the character gains 4d10 hit points and 2d10 power only to be used for absorbing damage. The power like effect is recovered immediately after a battle while the health is restored at 5 times the characters Healing rate per hour spent actively repairing the plates and skin.
  8. E Legs: the character has only Cyberized legs though the ‘ware is concentrated in the characters’ lower half, the movement advantages can make up for the lack of upper torso alterations.  The character can perform up to four kicks in a round dealing +1d3 Steps worth of damage and has 20 pr per combat for covering the costs of multiple attacks. Also these attacks are difficult to defend against (-1 to evasion efforts) but take place 1 phase after their regular attack phase.  In addition, these kicking attacks are at only -1 for each additional attack.
  9. Energy Based Economy: no longer driven by simple machines the character has gained new conceptual parts that are beginning to cross over into energy based life forms. In some cases the character may collect and provide condensed energy supplies that are of much use to others.  At the base for the character may gain an additional power reserve equal to Level +Int in points, these effects may be used to attack opponents typically as either light control or Lightning control dealing damage on a 1 step for 1 point used in the attack.  In some cases this accumulation may be sold or traded for other valuable items to strange beings.
  10. Enhanced Hearing: A fairly standard bionic power dating back to some of the first bionic character concepts is to add some sensory improvements, in this case starting with the auditory system.  The character gains +3% per level to dh and dd with an auditory component, but in combat with inhumanly loud noises critical effects may include a loss of this ability additional damage or even loss of hearing in some cases.
  11. Experimental Medicine:  the character is powered not by mechanical science but instead by pharmaceutical/alchemical sciences that enable the character to operate at higher levels of ability that those without, some of these are much more powerful than the temptations athletes and others in demanding high performance positions desire. The effects are variable as well as potential risks endured but mechanical examples can include a secondary PR reserve (at the same starting value as the characters normal PR) that lasts for d6 hours followed by exhaustion that lasts twice as long, expendable only on innate PR costs.  Other options include Increases to Physical or Mental Stats (+1d6 to three stats or 1d8 to two stats) also with durations of increase and subsequent doubled penalties. SS-22 001.jpg
  12. Genetic grafts: unlike many bionically endowed characters the person has had alterations to their genetic code grafted on as part of an operation to repair, subsume or enhance their abilities. The advanced medicines remove the Cybernetic defense, allow the character to heal 1 hp per hour and add 10% to c cap for hth damage calculations most often.  In some cases, the character may have mental enhancements to rival those felt by others including being so genetically perfect they have powerful personal charisma, astonishing intellect or other powers.
  13. Half-man: Having had close to or over 50% of his body replaced, the often experimental body parts can give the following modifiers: +1d6 to Strength overall, +1d4 damage steps with the replacement limbs, -2 to be hit from the mechanical side (the parts and implants occasionally deflect attacks or absorb more damage than human parts would) and the ability to continue to walk while resting or unconscious as well as+30-65% bonus hit points (1d8x5%+25%) if both legs are replaced, however the healing of these additional hit points is performed by having a character (including the character themselves if they are conscious) with the Mechanic or a Cyber or Id Sciences roll work upon the cyber parts of the character.  Characters are capable of making repair attempts at a rate of one attempt per hour, repairing the characters healing rate in damage per success and costing $1000 in materials and energies per point repaired.
  14. Hook me up: the character can enter various alternate reality areas representing the net/cyberspace/etc… and then proceed to perform various actions.  The character could uncover valuable information or perform activities that impact the outside world through the links if the two worlds interact resulting in possible Offensive, Defensive, Movement or Sensory enhancements as regulated by the GM.  The Character may also have challenges to overcome in the location depending upon story needs.   A Gm should also be careful that individuals inside and outside of the alternate reality have enough to do or are quickly enough resolved in order to keep things interesting for both groups of players in a session of a game.
  15. Indestructible Skeleton: In this scenario, the character is gifted with an internal skeleton that has a much higher ability to absorb and alter combat effects than the ordinary human skeletal system, usually represented by granting Armor or other defensive benefits.  Primarily there are two effects of this the first is that there is a fiat declaration that the characters’ bones will not be broken and certain other agreements of the benefits of indestructible bones (the characters; skull won’t be broken even by a planetary force trying to crush it, so the character could take some damage from events like a door being closed on his head but it will stay a heads width open possibly allowing others out or in).  The character also gains a 1.5 Weight and Basic Hits multiplier representing the presumed additional mass and defensive benefits of the skeletal alterations.
  16. Infrared Scope and Beam: Similar in design to an Infrared sighting system this has two settings: the first setting uses ambient heat differentials in order to pick up targets by their heat signature.  The second setting uses the IR projector as the primary light source generating a beam similar to a flashlight that can only be seen by those with IR senses.  This beam though directional (and can be as fine as a laser) does allow those with IR senses to pick up the directed radiations much further in the same direction but does give the prime user a great deal of sensory input and control.  This power can invalidate some forms of Invisibility and Darkness control (which should be regulated as to how much or often this power reduces the utility of those powers).
  17. Limb independence: One to four of a Cybernetically enhanced individuals limbs can be detached and obey the character through mental radio or pre-programmed commands, each limb could be useful in combat as much as an independent agent and in some cases may fly at up to 50 MPH for up to an hour, even if the character does not normally possess flight.  Of course, the character must give up the use of the limbs while they are independently operating.
  18. My God, what did they Do?: is an example of giving someone else control in a situation in the hopes of receiving additional power from the ability.  The character receives 1d3 additional power like abilities of the chosen theme as well as 20% chance per power like ability of having an additional Challenge. All of these Powers are either chosen by the GM or another player in order to best represent someone else making the call as to what to have installed and then kept secret from the player until the player and character determine how things operate (resulting in an internal mystery or sub-game to be solved by the player).  The Gm is encouraged to reward the players involved appropriately with in game experience for playing along.
  19. Mystical Life Additions: this version of the ‘Bionics’ power covers some of the legendary ideas of limb replacement or physiological improvements through better mysticism.  The two famous examples in some of the more common legends of Nuada having a Silver hand replacement while Odin sacrificed an eye in order to gain wisdom.  A character in a campaign is encouraged to come up with their own iconic bedeviling choice of what to sacrifice for what benefit.
  20. Necronics: Instead of using Bio (life) nics this variant uses the parts of the dead in order to improve human functioning thus exchanging Necro (death) for Bio resulting in Necronics (Necro + nics). For those who wish to reject this concept, keep in mind the organ donor program which does use the donated organs of the deceased to grant others the benefits of improved life quality.  In many mundane cases this does not trigger the bionic weakness or grant the character additional powers however from a powered world point of the view the abilities could be as simple as granting additional skills (typically gained from the deceased) to granting incredible powers, sometimes with a price ranging from being associated with the undead, susceptible to magics others are not, to having a possibly hostile spirit the character only can interact with.
  21. Not a Robot: Cyborgs generally differ from robots in that they still have much of their humanity about them. At the level of full body replacement the character has so few parts of their own body left that the ability to differentiate between the two without surgery becomes challenging and at this level the character may choose to duplicate the strengths and weaknesses of a Robotic Form as an ability as well as other Bionic related abilities.  Though this should be moderated by the story and campaign needs, many characters at this level do suffer from dehumanizing feelings and doubts.
  22. Server Rape: although this power has a dreadful name it does reflect the current status of what some Cyborgs and ‘hackers’ can do by making an I d20 save versus the opposing systems main operators I d20 roll (then followed by a secret Cd20 vs. Cd20 roll) the attacker of the server if they win can gain information housed in the systems by paying 5 PR per valued secret accessed (this is not necessarily something as small as a single fiscal identity, but getting all of the fiscal identities is).  A defender may spend 2 PR to raise the PR cost for a particular secret by 1, and either character may expend 3 PR to add a +1 to both of the rolls.
  23. Solving Cyberwear: By growing cultures from the host body that duplicates the bone and fingernail growth locations the body grows a hardened outer sheath for the upcoming Cyber-limb attachment location providing much more stability & wear reduction as well as preventing/reducing pain during dislocation or necrotizing events and circumstances.  These characters may take 1d6x10% less damage from attacks in general, and when dealing damage gain the same benefit over similarly built cyborgs in HTH combat.
  24. Springborg: Unlike modern or magical Cyborgs this is a more clockwork or steam tech version of a cybernetic individual.  This version of Cybernetics could rely upon a variety of interesting advantages and limitations to make the character varied from most of his opponents.  This is especially true in a heavily Cyborg populated campaign.  Ideas like ‘Here’s the wind up’ the character by spending 1 action winding up expends no power on his next action set so long as he declares the actions to his GM beforehand or secretly records them, can recover power from heat based attacks or by replenishing steam tech resources (wood/coal/water) and hard to challenge with electricity.  Other ideas include using early or pre-gunpowder age weaponry (swords and crossbows), and devices/concepts (Babbabageian punchcards and grappling hooks or chains). For complication ideas these characters often are noisy, heavy and bulky.
  25. Switch out joints: One of the advantages of having cybernetics is unlike a purely organic form this bionicist can change out 10-100% (1d10x10%, with 10% means fingers/ toes while 100% means at the torso) of the characters limb length enabling the character to repair up to 50% of the replacement percentage very quickly (1 minute or less) as well as have limbs designed for special situations like ‘remote limbs’ that can operate independently, ‘frog legs’ that increase swimming speed, special gun arms, and other sorts of specialized items for increasing the characters odds of success on a mission or performing specialized events.  This can even be as specialized as having a choice of a Laser Arm, Oxygen supply arm, Neutralizer arm, etc… and many kinds of Critical Assignment Arms & Legs the character can use in a variety of situations without needing surgical alterations.
  26. Telescoping Spine: The characters’ body has been modified so the character can attack anyone within an extra 1″simply by extending his spine.  Though the character should be careful about low ceilings and overhangs as a general rule when using this power; any round the character desires they can change facings up to 3 times for no PR cost.
  27. Trionics: a more advanced form than bi (or two)-onics, Tri (or three)-onics is supposed to be a step above the ordinary.  This concept is more useful to those longer running campaigns wherein Bionics could be outdated.  Sometimes this power is used to indicate the most modern/advanced form of mechanized-organic adaption.  Typically, the Character by constantly updating their systems operates at 1d4 levels higher than their current experience indicates, and gains +3/15% to one roll per round in or out of combat.

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