This is written by And again, I've done a few minor touch-ups. The topic of today is the vast and wonderful world of cybernetics - you know, Robocop, Terminator, Black Barney, and so on. So here goes.

CYBERNETIC ENHANCEMENT in XXVc, by Phillip J. Reed, jr. (editor Camelot'94), originally published in Papyrus #16

Throughout the XXVc basic game and (if memory serves) within the first few novels, the subject of cybernetics is avoided (save for Black Barney, who I'm still unsure of). Gennies, the genetic creatures created by man, fill the gap left wide open by the lack of cybernetics in the setting, though gennies can only go so far.

After all, what happens when a Terran or Martian loses a limb in combat? Does he grow a new one or just suffer for the rest of his life?

The following is a short collection of possible cybernetic enhancements useful in the XXVc setting as well as a few brief notes regarding their use. This information is written for use with XXVc though with its AD&D2-style mechanics, as Nick Parenti has pointed out so well in the past, it is also useful with any RPG system derived from those basic concepts.

Attributes and Realism

It's important to note that this cybernetics system is far from realistic. Any cybernetic which grants an attribute bonus is applicable to the entire attribute range and not merely for the limb or enhancement in question. For example, a character takes a cyberarm with a +2 to Strength. Various game systems utilizing cybernetics would, at this point, rule that the bonus is added only when using that arm. This system just drops the bonus on top of the attribute, generalizing its effects greatly.

Motor Power

Another frequently asked question when cybernetics are used, is the old "what's powering them?". This system assumes that all cybernetic components have an internal battery which gives them a one-year life. This battery can be easily charged from any starship's drive or other engine/energy device.

Cybernetic Availability

Yeah, right. These things are almost impossible to find (thus the high cost) and, even if you do happen to find them, they'll probably be attached to someone. If you really want to locate some cybernetics, try contacting the Black Brotherhood. Of course, I'll warn you now that it's gonna cost more than you've got. (An arm and a leg? ... Sorry, poor taste. But I just couldn't resist...) Cybernetic Components

Now, after all the flashing neon and bright lights of hype, I present a few cybernetic components/enhancements for use in your XXVc (or system-related) campaign.

Cyberlimb: A pretty common enhancement, these are most often used by those poor souls who have seen their original limb either disintegrated or ripped off. The basic cyberlimb costs 2500cr.

For an additional 1000cr, you can purchase a hydraulic-powered limb which grants a +2 to Strength. A Dex+2 cyberlimb is also available for an additional 1500cr beyond the base cost. A Str/Dex+2 limb is also available, but you'll end up paying 500cr beyond the combined totals.

Cyberscreen: Why wear smart clothes with an ECM package when you can just have the defensive abilities implanted within yourself? Sure, it costs 3500cr, but the protection is worth it.

This little gadget operates in the same manner as the ECM package detailed on p.27 of the XXVc Technology Book.

Enhanced Senses: This includes such things as cybereyes, implanted hearing magnification, and any kind of vocal modification. The types of enhancements are limited merely by the imagination of the gamemaster and players. Each sensory enhancement costs 1000cr, though the gamemaster may set a higher cost for special enhancements (such as laser eyes).

Internal Armor (light and heavy): Not nearly as protective as the real armor available to XXVc patrons, internal armor is undetectable to the naked eye and can be combined with regular armor types. The light version costs 3000cr and has an AC8, while the heavy version costs 5500cr and has an AC4. When combined with regular armor types, the internal armor's AC should be subtracted from the regular armor's AC (in effect, treating it as an AC modifier, similar to a Dex AC modifier).

Organ Replacement: This enhancement is most often taken by people suffering from a terminal disease though a few have chosen this cybernetic modification for the simple desire to swim in space. A character so modified is assumed to have not a single original vital organ, instead there is a mass of plastic tubing and copper wiring filling the body. They can survive in space, their internal organs identical to those of a Spacer (see Characters & Combat p.30). Of course, since their skin hasn't been enhanced, it's necessary that they wear a space suit in order to be protected from the freezing cold of space. This operation costs 15000cr.

Weaponry Attachment: Intended for a cyberarm, the weaponry attachment is an external connector for any one-handed weapon. The weapon is fired by thought alone, an action which increases the character's chance to hit with the weapon by +1. The weaponry attachment costs 5000cr, plus the cost of the weapon and ammunition. For an extra 6000cr, any small weapon may be concealed within a cyberarm. A concealed weapon takes one full combat round to conceal or reveal. The weapon may not be fired when concealed.

Possible Use in an AD&D2 Campaign: It's easy to lay the blanket term of magic over the cybernetic enhancements described above, possibly even making a few of them magical items to be found during an adventure. Magical surgery could implant any of these items, creating characters as strange as anything they could ever encounter on an alien world.

The DM could even go so far as to take a few of the more standard magic items found in a typical campaign and rework them just slightly. The Gauntlet of Strength which slowly replaces flesh with steel, ensuring the gauntlet could never be removed, would be an odd magic item (especially for the finder). What about the Cloak of the Manta Ray which permanently attaches itself to the wearer, falling off only when the wearer has been killed? Magic rings, once slipped over the finger, could disappear forever, becoming a permanent spell-like ability of the wearer instead of a power inherent in a ring.

When adapting material, it's best to keep a wide open mind.