Monday, March 21, 2011
Art Preview: The Full Conversion Cyborg Player Race
Here is a preview of the Full Conversion Cyborg race from Otherverse America. The art is a work in progress by Alex Garcia. And here we've got some preview text from the player race chapter of the revised core rulebook, a description of baseline humans in the setting as well as their FCB cousins.
By 2107 C.E., Panacean humans are the dominant strain of humanity. Unmodified homo sapiens are a rarity, usually found only in remote, rural areas, or among populations that rejected the gene-mod for ideological reasons, such as the Lifer Enclaves. The greatest concentrations of un-modified, ‘old-stock’ humans in North America are found within the Lifer Enclaves at Pensacola, FL and Atlanta, GA.
Today’s Panacean humans look identical to their non-modified human cousins. However, the first versions of the genemod had suffered minor physical mutations. These defects were quickly re-coded in later immunization campaigns. Some older Panacean humans are marked by blue-green striations, resembling tiger stripes, upon their face, hands and chest. New born children, modified with the latest version of the mutation have less than a 1 in 20,000 chance of being born striped.
During the 2010s and 2020s, “Panacean Stripes” were an especially desirable trait- they marked a potential lover as an absolutely safe partner, and heralded a new post-AIDS era of sexual freedom. Even those who didn’t manifest the stripes naturally used make-up, tattooing and cosmetic genemods to imitate the appearance of those who did. Today, the fad for striped lovers is a thing of the past, as society has grown to accept (and take for granted) this omnipresent gene-mod. Seeing old men and women with azure stripes is barely worth commenting on, these days.
Baseline Humans in the Otherverse America campaign setting have all common human racial traits. In addition, they gain the following additional racial traits.
Intangibles: Brown Skinned Future
Hispanics are the dominant racial group in America, and have been since the
mid-2060s. However, a century of inter-marriage, cosmetic genetic engineering, and alien immigration means that racial homogeny is a thing of the past. Many of the children of the 22nd century blend the traits of a half dozen ethnic groups, plus designer mutations and over-the-counter nano-infections found nowhere in nature. Powereds and cyber-enhanced soldiers comprise a substantial minority of the human population, while most big cities are home to at least a token extra-terrestrial population.
A 22nd Century version of Hispanic culture has spread to, and had a profound influence on both Lifer and Choicer nations. The Lifer Hispanic population brings tension, both racial and social to both movements.
The traditionally Catholic Hispanic population forms a powerful voting bloc which counters the traditionally white Evangelical Christian core of the Lifer movement. Despite a common opposition to abortion, and a shared conservative streak, 22nd Century Hispanics haven’t forgotten the anti-immigrant/anti-Mexican rhetoric and mass deportations of the early 21st Century, much of which was spearheaded by the conservative and Evangelical culture of the day. Old rivalries and ethnic tensions die hard. Lifer politicos must be acceptable to both white and Hispanic believers to have any hope of victory.
Among the Choicers, Hispanics bring a strong Central American paganism to the Covenant. Devotees of the dark Mayan goddess Xix Tab often side with hardline Bastian priestesses, while others worship the Virgin Mary as a gentle, Choicer patron of motherhood and grace.
Spanish is as common as English. Official documents and Mesh-sites are accessible in both languages, while marketing displays beam information directly to the corneas of consumers in their preferred tongue. Most American citizens can speak and are literate in both English and Spanish as their native languages.
Hispanics have taken a dominating role in arts and entertainment. Mexico City, Buenos Ares and Havanna have joined Bollywood, Hollywood and Tokyo as the major cultural exporters of the 22nd Century. Americans of both pseudo-nations and every racial background have become just as addicted to telenovelas, futbol and lucha libre as they are to manga, rock n’ roll, action movies and the NFL.
Size: Medium. A human’s baseland speed is 30 ft.
Ability Score Modifiers: +2 to any ability score of choice. Humans excel in a variety of fields.
If the game master feels ordinary humans are overshadowed by the metahuman characters in this sourcebook, she may allow human characters to add +1 to an additional ability score of choice at character creation.
Bonus Feat: Humans receive an additional feat at first level, which can be of any type, including Birthright feats, racial feats, Psionic Precursors or Object Philosophies as well as faction specific or general feats.
Highly Skilled: Humans receive four additional skill points at first level, and an additional skill point at every level there after.
Dynamic: Humans receive an additional action point at first level and every level there after- they make committed heroes, terrorists and activists.
Automatic Languages: Humans born and raised in North America speak and are literate in at least two languages, usually English and Spanish. Foreign born humans may substitute other languages if desired.
Panacean Infection (EX): Panacean humans have extraordinarily strong immune systems. They are immune to all non-magical terrestrial sexually transmitted diseases. However, they can still succumb to alien diseases, bio-warfare agents and magical diseases. They receive a +4 racial bonus on FORT saves made to resist contracting other forms of disease.
A Panacean’s evolved genome is laced with a genetically engineeredform of the resilient herpes virus; this re-sequenced disease causes them no harm and has no ill effects. The Panacean Infection is designed for easy sexual transmission. Only a relative handful of humans were immunized under laboratory conditions: the genome’s designers intended that like the disease it was designed to eradicate, the Panacean genemods could be sexually transmitted. This cheap and easy secondary vector for immunization was instrumental in disseminating the genemod in Africa.
Any humanoid, monstrous humanoid or giant with a reasonably normally anatomy who engages in unprotected sexual intercourse with a Panacean mutate also gains the Panacean Infection extraordinary racial trait. Players and gamemasters can safely assume most human characters in an Otherverse America campaign have this genemod, unless there is a compelling story reason otherwise.
The upcoming Sexually Transmitted Future sourcebook goes into deeper rules for genetically engineering humans and other species.
Full Conversion Cyborg (PL 7)
Large Monstrous Humanoid
“If you live through this with me,
I swear, I will die for you.”
- Courtney Love, Live Through This
“More than sixty percent of all full conversion cyborgs have been sexually or physically abused at some point in their lives. This fact, it's true one across the board; it doesn't matter if the cyborg is Lifer, Choicer, is a member of the US military, or belongs to some other corporation or interest. Regardless of affiliation, it is likely that at some point in his or her life, the borg- this indomitable, unstoppable war machine, knew what it means to be a victim.
To most abused children, cyber reconstruction's the perfect deal. The minute they
turn 16, they sign with the first people who can make them this promise: Come work for
me, and in return I'll strip away the human weaknesses, in many cases, the very sexuality,
the skin- that has made you a victim. That makes you weak.
I'll give you an indestructible metal body, wire your nerves into guns and jet
engines, download combat training right into your brain... and make you strong, so strong you never have to worry about being hurt ever again. All of a sudden..... boom. Thermo-nuclear capability is in the hands of a kid whose father beat him till his bones cracked....since the day he was born.
It's a testament to the strength of these people's souls that we don't have to stop
more of them because they've gone rouge.”
-Dr Fabian Obregon (codename: Mind Games), transcript of a Mesh-Know-Now! interview after the Lesbos Beanstalk Incident, late 2107.
Cybernetic implants are as common to the 22nd Century as cellular phones were during the early 21st Century. Military cybernetics programs enhance a soldier’s capability with implanted subdermal armor or onboard weapon systems. Young priestesses replace the flesh and blood fingers they were born with as a sacrifice to choice itself. Cyborgs are everywhere in 2107, but full cybernetic conversion is still rare. It’s not just a matter of money, despite the multi-million dollar surgery required to create an FCB; it’s a matter of psychology. Very few people have the will necessary to surgically remove their flesh and blood humanity and replace it with steel and composites.
Those who do, for whom total body prosthesis is the only choice, are a special breed. A handful of full conversion cyborgs become beings of steel and silicon as a matter of survival, not choice. There are very few injuries 22nd Century medicine can’t heal, very few diseases that can’t be cured, but for the small, unfortunate minority full cyber-conversion is a better option than a life time of paralysis or an early death.
However, most full conversion cyborgs choose this path, giving up perfectly healthy meat-bodies in favor of cybernetics. Why? Corporations and the military recruit trans-humanists, who are willing to enter a decade long service contract for a chance to climb the techno-evolutionary ladder. Patriots, fanatics and true soldiers become full conversion borgs for a chance at the power necessary to make their ideals a reality.
However, nearly three quarters of all full conversion cyborgs world wide share a single common tragedy. Most elective cyborgs are the product of long term sexual abuse during childhood. As soon as these damaged children reach adulthood, they cut away the flesh that hurt them, transforming themselves into an invincible polymer-skinned juggernaut, someone who can never be harmed (sexually or otherwise) again.
Cyber-Conversion In Game
There are going to be plenty of cybernetically enhanced player characters in an Otherverse campaign, including many so heavily modified they’re often mistaken for Shell Suits. The FCB player species provides a strong, durable cyber-chassis to build upon, giving FCBs an advantage lesser ‘borgs can’t match. Thanks to their built in power supply, FCBs can field more and better cybernetics.
A player can choose to undergo full or light cyber-conversion in game. If the character is human, he retains his human racial traits after the conversion (bonus feat and additional skill ranks), though the character no longer receives the additional skill ranks for being a human after the procedure. If a member of another species undergoes the conversion process, he or she loses most, if not all of their racial abilities, and replaces them with the FCB’s racial ability listing.
Individual gamemasters should decide if unique abilities, particularly Psionic or magical talents innate to a particular race are lost during the conversion process. In most cases, abilities explicitly referencing the character’s original anatomy are lost. Similarly, human characters with abilities directly tied to their original anatomy (such as Genefeats) lose those powers during the conversion process.
The FCB racial traits are treated as an acquired template added to the base creature. Performing the cyber-conversion requires a well equipped surgical suite. In most cases the cyborg’s surgery is performed over a several day period, while the ‘borg remains in a medically induced coma. In most cases, a cyborg requires a 2-3 month period of recovery and psychological adjustment before entering active service, and is virtually helpless, requiring complete hospitalization for the first few days after the surgery.
• Purchasing Full Cyborg Conversion has a Purchase DC 34 + 1d6 (DC 35-40) and has a base restriction rating of Restricted (+2).
To offset this cost, many newly created cyborgs arrange a contract with a megacorp or the military. Terms of service typically last between 10-15 years, with lucrative bonuses for reenlistment. In addition to front line combat service, cyborgs are also employed in mining, space exploration, heavy industry and other high risk occupations.
Many companies offer ‘short-time’ contracts to their FCBs. In exchange for a decade or more of service, a cyborg is returned to full humanity at the end of their contract period. Once the contract expires, the cyborg is installed into a freshly decanted cloned body, custom grown to their specifications. The cyber-chassis is than refurbished and reused by another short-timer ‘borg.
Appearance: The appearance of individual FCBs varies wildly, depending on which entity the ‘borg works for, and who they purchased their systems from. However, all members of this ‘weight-class’ of cyborgs share similar design elements.
All FCBs are heavily armored, robotic humanoids resembling light shell suits or androids. Cyborgs have a metal and composite endo-skeleton which mimics human proportions and anatomy, with thick layers of artificial muscle tissue and Kevlar pseudo-skin woven around robotic components and equipment pods. Dense composite plating protects the cyborg’s vital areas.
Most cyborgs have eliminated all traces of their human appearance, and their skulls resemble a combat suit’s helmet or a robot’s skull rather than anything human. A distinct minority have human seeming faces. Despite the realistic appearance and texture of their skin, it is durable polymer, as resistant to damage as the cyborg’s armored body. In all cases, the only thing organic that remains of the cyborg’s birth-body are the brain, portions of the spinal column and some of their optic nerve.
Reproduction: Full Conversion Cyborgs are sexless creatures by their own choice. They cannot reproduce, do not feel physical pleasure, and most, freed from the burdens of human hormones, have no interest in sexual matters at all.
Obviously, FCBs cannot select any class with an emphasis on sexuality, including many of Black Tokyo’s advanced classes. If the FCB becomes a member of any cybernetically enhanced class (such as the Voidsparrow Advanced Class) which more selectively removes body parts, the cyborg is subject to the more extreme
The FCB is immune to most effects based upon sexual manipulation, and in most cases is not considered to have any sexual orientation. Though cyborgs can and do feel love and affection, it’s all but impossible to seduce one of these ‘borgs.
Names: Full Conversion Cyborgs begin their lives as humans, and their names follow mundane human naming conventions. However, just because a FCB uses a human name, it doesn’t mean they keep whatever name they were born with. Many cyborgs legally change their name, or adopt a codename upon their conversion into a cyber-warrior….another way of cutting ties with their past.
Size: Large. The FCB receives a +4 size bonus on grapple checks, may use larger weapons than its medium counterparts, and it’s lifting and carrying limits are double those of a Medium creature. However, the FCB suffers a –1 size penalty to Defense, and a –4 size penalty on Hide checks.
The FCB’s base land speed is 40 ft.
Ability Score Modifiers: +6 STR, +2 CON, -2 CHA. Full Conversion cyborgs are incredibly strong and durable, but they find it difficult to relate to other people, both due to their obvious cybernetics and to the pain of their early childhood.
Racial Skills: Full Conversion Cyborgs receive no racial skills. Their abilities are determined by their training and interests, not a standard race-wide template.
Racial Feats: All Full Conversion Cyborg receive Iron Will as a racial bonus feat, reflecting the sheer force of will necessary to undertake (and survive) such a radical transformation.
Enhanced Senses: The FCB gains lowlight vision and darkvision with a 90 ft range.
The FCB receives an implanted communication link and onboard computer, similar to the implants described in the Dept Seven Tech Update: Cybernetics. These implants allow the cyborg to communicate wirelessly through the Mesh, send and receive radio and cell phone signals, and perform computer use tanks as normal for a standard computer system. Full Conversion Cyborgs physically disable their wireless card when it is not in use, and cannot easily be hacked.
Full Cybernetic Conversion (EX): The FCB’s integrated armor provides the creature with a +4 equipment bonus to Defense, which increases throughout the cyborg’s career. This bonus increases to +6 at 5th level, and +8 at 8th level.
Unfortunately, the cyborg’s bulk prevents the FCB from wearing additional external armor. The cyborg can pilot power armor, but the FCB’s proportions and anatomy mean the suit has to be custom fitted, increasing the total purchase DC by +6.
The FCB no longer needs to eat, breathe, or drink. He becomes immune to the effects of vacuum and radiation. He becomes immune to non-magical heat and cold. The fully cybernetic FCB becomes immune to non-magical disease and poisons, ability drain and energy drain.
Redundant organs and self repair systems enable the FCB to shrug off lethal damage. The FCB has a 50% chance to ignore the additional damage from a critical hit, as if he had the fortification ability.
Cyber-receptive (EX): Thanks to the cyborg’s high-energy power supply and specially designed artificial organs, he or she can receive an effectively unlimited number of additional cybernetic implants (or points of Drain) without ill effect.
Racial Weaknesses: As a fully cybernetic creature, the Full Conversion Cyborg does not heal damage naturally, though the cyborg can be repaired like any other high tech device.
All FCBs suffer a –2 penalty on all CHA based skill checks (except Intimidate) against any creature with less than two cybernetic implants. Even humanoids with a single implant or a hobbist’s interest in cyber-reconstruction find it difficult to relate to full conversion cyborgs.
All FCBs require extensive maintenance, performed by a competent cyber-mechanic in a well equipped shop. Each month of active service, the cyborg must undergo extensive diagnostics and repairs. Doing so requires the FCB to receive a DC 32 Repair check, which requires at least 16 hours in a well equipped repair bay.
If the cyborg doesn’t receive these repairs, he suffers a -1 penalty to his STR and DEX scores, and is considered fatigued until he receives these necessary refits. These penalties increase by one per week (maximum -10) until the cyborg receives repairs. If the cyborg performs nothing but rest or light activity during a month, he does not require maintenance, but any stressful activity puts a strain on his cyber-systems and increases the likelihood of a catastrophic system failure.
Anyway, enjoy both racial write ups.