Neural Articulator System
Developed by ADIS logo
ADIS - or, indeed, Advanced Design and Integrated Systems - is a small, virtually unknown company designing medical prosthetics and bionic replacements. However, their real groundbreaking work has slightly less altruistic applications - more specifically, cybernetic systems for augmentation of a martial nature.

The NAS (as it is affectionately known) is one such system with a decidedly martial taste to it. It is difficult to visualize any medical applications worth the astronomic development cost, at least.

I'll try and develop ADIS more, and perhaps write a mission or two where the player characters are made aware of this unassuming little company.

The Neural Articulator System is a vision of a truly cybernetic future. Have you ever imagined that you were something else? Now, you can truly be something else, with the Neural Articulator System (NAS).

Featuring advances in both neural input modeling and cybernetic exitation systems, the NAS translates your thoughts and impulses into the actions that the drone hooked up to the system does! See what the drone sees, and the drone does what you do!

The possibilities are endless! Not only can you now go places you never even knew existed, now one can do those dreary and dangerous jobs without risking your own flesh and blood. With only a little surgery you'll soon recover from, the NAS will give you job opportunities so vast you'll need a Digital Personality to sort them all for you! Be with the future! Be NAS!

Or so they would like you to believe...

It is true that the NAS is a beautiful and revolutionary system. What the boys, girls and gennies at ADIS don't tell you, is what it does and what it costs, not only in credits, but in flesh. For like all things almost too good to be true, the NAS takes its toll on your hide.

The NAS is an interpretation/stimulation system that goes into the motor and sensory centres of your brain. By stimulating the sensory centres of your brain, the NAS allows you to perceive the sensory input from a device as a picture, a sound or what have you. Special filters can translate for instance the presence of gamma rays into the strong scent of rotten eggs - alerting you to the fact that there's something wrong here. Further, by "moving" your own body, you can get the device to do actions - open doors, fire a weapon, activate a searchlight - the possibilities are almost endless.

When the NAS is activated, all the voluntary muscles of your own body is locked rigid, to prevent your perceived moving of your own body to actually move your body. And believe me, tensing all the voluntary muscles in your body for any length of time is extremely tiring.

Also, the NAS isn't any better than the datastream to and from the device you are controlling. If you are controlling a roving drone through a radio link, and the radio link is suddenly jammed, you'll think your head is being invaded by thousands of angry ghosts. As such, fiberoptic cable or direct laser-link are the best ways of controlling a device - but one cannot always be particular.

Game mechanics

Availability: So far, the NAS is a top secret system only just getting out of prototype stage at ADIS. RAM doesn't know a thing about the real work being done at ADIS, but would of course be very interested in the NAS - just as NEO would. Thus, availability of this device is not quite, but almost zero.

Cost: The cost of producing a NAS is currently somewhere between 20 000 credits and 40 000 credits. That does not include the development of any drones or devices that the NAS can control, and neither does it include the cost of implantation of the NAS, nor training a being in using the NAS properly. All this adds up to a cost that's more or less astronomic - about 100 000 credits just for the NAS alone!

Implantation procedure: First of all, one has to procure a NAS in order to be able to implant it. Then, because of the extensive modifications to the subject's brain, one has to put the subject into suspended animation. This is done by actually having such a device, and then succeeding in an Average Life Suspension Tech.

As the implantation of the device requires a certain amount of on the spot adjusting, and as such a successful implantation also requires a Hard Gadgeteering skill check.

After this is done, a skill check is done to see if the subject survived the operation itself. Passing an Average Treat Critical Wounds does this. Reviving the subject from the suspended animation is a further Hard Life Suspension Tech.

However, this series of skill checks only deals with the physical side of things. The subject needs to pass two checks as well - one System Shock roll to see if, during the recovery period of 2d3 weeks, the subject will avoid developing a spontaneous, severe brain haemorrhaging and die within two rounds. And lastly, an Intelligence check to see if the subject can adjust to the altered perceptions the NAS feeds the subject so that the subject can even make use the NAS.

The cost of failure: Failing the initial Life Suspension Tech check forces the subject to roll vs. System Shock. Failure means immediate death, success means that the medic may roll again.

Failure on the Gadgeteering skill check means that the NAS is maladjusted, or damaged during the procedure. It will never function, and the subject must pass a System Shock roll or die.

Failure on the Treat Critical Wounds skill check means that the surgical implantation procedure itself was not done properly. Although the NAS may be functional, the mind of the subject may have been damaged. The subject must roll 1d4-1 to determine the amount of Intelligence, Wisdom and Technological Aptitude the subject has lost as a result of a bungled procedure. At the GM's option, epileptic seizures, stuttering, double vision, or any other neurological disorder can be substituted for the loss of ability scores.

Failure on the second Life Suspension Tech skill check means that the subject is not successfully revived, and dies.

The Pound of Flesh: Implanting the NAS will cause the subject to not feel totally "in tune" with his, hers or its own body. Although gross motor activities are not affected (no Ability modifiers), any skills dealing with physical activity will receive a -5% penalty above and beyond all other bonuses or penalties. Thus, the maximum score for such General skills for a NAS-enhanced subject is 93%, not 98%.

This penalty affects the following skills: Acrobatics, Animal Riding, Climb, Move Silently, Paint/Draw, Swimming, and all Pilot or Drive skills except piloting a device through the NAS itself.

Using the NAS: The human or gennie with the NAS implanted, receives a new general skill (Tech) called NAS Operation. This skill is crucial for using the NAS with any device or drone, and is developed like any other General skill.

The GM decides what skill is most appropriate for piloting a given device - usual skills are Drive Jetcar, Pilot Ship/Submersible, Pilot Rotorwing and so on. Pilot Rocket isn't as common, as the drones are generally smaller than a ship. Use Rocket Belt is commonly used for the smaller, rocket-like drones. Then, the NAS enhanced being's skill in either NAS Operation or the appropriate skill is used, whichever is lower. As long as the being operates the NAS, use Tech instead of Dex when running a device.

If the link with the device is severed, the NAS enhanced being must succeed in a System Shock roll or be stunned for 1d6 rounds. However, if the link with the device is jammed, the NAS enhanced being must succeed in a System Shock roll or be unconscious for 1d4 hours because of neurological shock. At any rate, the NAS enhanced being will be at -20% to all skills for eight hours afterward. A Hard Treat Stun/Paralysis will reduce this period of time with 1d8 hours.

Of course, a NAS operator can break the link at any time, but establishing a link with a NAS device calls for a skill check against NAS Operation, at a difficulty set by the GM. The device will ordinarily be inactive and immobile while the NAS link is down.

Lingering effects of NAS use: When the NAS enhanced being activates the NAS, all voluntary muscles in the body lock down. This is extremely tiring. The NAS enhanced being can safely use the NAS for a number of minutes equal to his, her or its Constitution score. For every five minutes beyond that limit, the NAS enhanced being will suffer a -1 (-5%) to all skill checks done. If and when the penalty is equal to the NAS operator's Constitution score, the NAS operator will faint and the link to the device will be broken (but not give any other side effects, as the NAS initializes the link break).

This means that after a certain point, the NAS operator's efficiency will drop drastically. The NAS operator needs five minutes of rest for every minute in the NAS. Thus, one point of fatigue will disappear every 25 minutes, as it takes five minutes of NAS operation to sustain a point of fatigue.

Example: Nasser has a Constitution score of 13. Thus, he can use the NAS link for 13 minutes without any ill effects. At 18 minutes of use, he'll suffer a -1 (-5%) penalty to any and all skill checks. The maximum amount of time he can stay in the NAS before fatigue makes him faint, is equal to (5*13+13) 78 minutes, or something over an hour. However, he'll have to rest for (78*5-13) 377 minutes, or about six and a half hours before all the modifiers are gone (remember that the first 13 minutes are "free", because of his 13 Constitution).

Examples of devices usable with the NAS:

Other plot points: Mechina, the renegade group known for their radical cybernetic augmentations, may or may not be connected to ADIS. Whichever way it is, Mechina would certainly be interested in discussing the finer points of NAS design.