I mentioned last week that I am doing a pretty large update for my Firefly campaign setting that utilizes the AGE system.
I have really added quite a bit more and changed things around and I’m pretty happy with the outcome thus far.
One thing I really wanted to added to the game was cyberware. I didn’t want to go crazy with it and make it like Cyberpunk 2020 or Shadowrun, but I did want to give enough give it that flair of a ‘Verse heading into that more dystopian feel (as if it wasn’t already).
One thing, that I’ll admit freely, that inspired this is playing Deus Ex: Human Revolution. I already knew that there was some cyber-technology in the Firefly Universe, as seen in the “Those Left Behind” Serenity comic book and I’ve thought for a long while that it would be fun to do.
Not only that but the fun of thinking how a corrupt and all powerful company like Blue Sun would capitalize on all of this.
In Deus Ex there is cyber rejection and a drug that keeps that from happening, but there are side-effects, addiction, and the need of the drug to keep the body from rejecting the metal implants. I think something like that would be awesome in the Firefly Universe and would add a whole new level of tension and desperation to the ‘Verse.
When I decided to create this for my game I did not want to create a whole new rule set to go along with the AGE system or just cut and tape a rule set from another game onto Firefly.. I limited myself to what was in the 4 books available to us right now.
I think what I’ve done is good, fast, and easy for play. It may not be the most realistic of options and it may not be what everyone is looking for, which is why I made it an optional rule. Ignore it completely if you feel so inclined.
Well here it is.. This will be in the Firefly: Hurtlin’ Through the ‘Verse update coming out soon.
Cybernetics and Gene Therapy (Optional Rule)-
Cyber-technology is something that didn’t get fully explored in the Firefly and Serenity (aside from the robots) show, although there are hints of it here and there. A full view of cyber-technology is finally displayed in the Serenity comic “Those Left Behind.” Ex-Federal Marshal Lawrence Dobson (from the Pilot episode Serenity) has a cyberware eye that allows him to see a thermal heat pattern.
It is possible had the show not met an untimely demise further examples of cyber-technology would have been seen.
Cybernetics and gene therapy are new technologies in the ‘Verse and both are under strict enforcement by theAllianceand Blue Sun Corporation. Usually only the very wealthy can afford Gene Therapy, which they do, and pay large sums of platinum, to further better themselves over common folk.
Cybernetics, generally, are used to replace limbs, eyes, damaged tissue, and the like on soldiers of theAlliance. It is not illegal for normal citizens to get cybernetic augmentations, but they must apply for a license, be approved, and then have theAlliancecredits to shell out for the procedure.
Seeing cybernetics on the Boarder planets, except for Beaumonde and sometimes on Persephone, or in the Rim is rare and people tend to gawk at those who have it. So if remaining inconspicuous is your goal, this may make it a tad more difficult.
Adding cybernetics to a game setting can be a tricky business since they can introduce complicated and convoluted rules into an otherwise simple and elegant system. Firefly: Hurtlin’ Through the ‘Verse will outline simple suggestions for implementing cyberware and gene therapy into your own campaign.
Cyberware is expensive and the procedure to add it to the body is dangerous and time consuming.
When a character is about to be operated on they must make a Constitution (Stamina) check with a -2 at a TN of 11. Each time a character goes under to add on another piece of cyberware they must make the test. Each piece of cyberware raises the TN by one degree on the Basic Test Difficulty Table (pg 56, Players Handbook, Set 1).
Failure means that the doctors “detect” something that hinders the operation. Due to this the character cannot get that or any other cyberware for at least 30 days while recuperating and they move to the next rank of difficulty.
Once a character reaches the “Nigh Impossible” level of Basic Test Difficulty Table they are unable to add anymore cyberware to their body since it just can’t handle the strain any longer. Additions do not need to be rolled in this manner since the alteration is to the cyberware itself and not to the body.
The cybernetics listed below not exhaustive. These are meant to be a quick list and examples.
The first thing to consider is pricing. Rather than coming up with a complicated listing for each piece of cyberware just use a base line price of 3,000p and add the modifier for each bodily section listed below. Additions (see below) cost a straight 500p.
Sharp Vision*– Characters with this augmentation can see double that of normal eyes and receive +1 when using the Aim function.
Lowlight Vision*– Characters are able to see clearly in poorly lit conditions.
Thermal Vision*– Thermal vision allows a character to see heat signatures of various objects, people, and animals. These eyes give the character +2 to Perception (Seeing) against a target wearing a Chameleon Suit.
*A character can only have one style of Eye Augmentation. All characters can switch between normal vision and that granted by their cyberware. This is not automatic. A player must state that they switch over.
Cyber Leg(s)– Adds +3 to Speed and +1 to jumping (per leg).
Rebreather– Filters out toxins, gas, and poisons when activated and lasts for 1 hour before running out of air.
Voice Emulator– Allows person to sound like another target where a good sound sample has been obtained. When using this piece of cyberware the character receives +4 to Communication (Deception) rolls against computer recognition software or person (that cannot see character).
Cyber Arm(s)– Unarmed Damage is now 1d6 +2 and +1 on Strength (Might) checks (per arm).
Cortex Jack– This device provides faster interaction between a cortex station and the user. The character gets +2 to initiative rolls (if so desired for that function) while hacking the Cortex. The character also receives a further +2 to Cunning (Hacking) rolls.
Adrenal Stimulator– This device activates a surge of adrenaline into the body giving the character +2 to initiative rolls and thickens the skin granting +3 armor for the encounter. This can only be used once in a 24 hour period.
Hyper Reaction Articulator– This piece of cyberware sends a an electrical jolt into the brain and allows the target to take one additional Major Action and one additional Minor action (these can be activated separately). This can only be used once in a 24 hour period.
Data Module– This allows the insertion of disks that have vital information in them. When a player inserts a disk they must make a Cunning (Hacking) roll, TN 15 to gain access to the information. Failure means that they cannot access the Data Modules for 24 hours due to feedback. Only one data disk can be in the module at one time.
Emotional Override– This kills all emotions of the character. They cannot be rattled or shaken during this time. They are also a might unsettlin’ in this fashion and suffer -2 to all Communication Ability tests.
Reboots- Reboots are a failsafe jack that detects a problem slightly before it arises and allows the character to quickly correct the situation. The reboot is a small chip that has 7 small plugs. Each plug represents a link to an ability score. Each Reboot program must be purchased and installed separately. Reboots allow a character to re-roll a failed roll but they must take the second roll. This can be used once per day per reboot.
Hearing Amplifier– A character can activate this to hear more acutely. This gives the character +2 to Perception (Hearing) Ability Tests.
Short Range Comlink– Functions just alike a normal short range comlink, however this one cannot be taken away from the character. It can still be jammed however.
Olfactory Sensor- Heightens the characters sense of smell. +2 to Perception (Smell) checks.
Flesh Weaving– Thin fibers are woven just under the skin, giving the character a permanent +2 Armor.
Storage Space (Must already have Cyber Leg)*– Leg is altered to have small cavity that will allow the storing of a small pistol, Adrenaline Shot, etc.
Retractable blade (Must already have Cyber Leg)*– A small blade that slips out of the tip of the foot (1d6).
*A character can only have one or the other in a given leg.
Foot Spikes– Small spikes jut out of the bottom of the foot (1d6 damage) and give +2 to Strength (Climbing) checks. Both legs must be replaced for this augmentation.
Storage Space (Must already have Cyber Arm)*– Arm is altered to have small cavity that will allow the storing of a small pistol, Adrenaline Shot, etc.
Retractable blade (Must already have Cyber Arm)*– A small blade that slips out of the arm (1d6+1).
*A character can only have one or the other in a given arm.
Finger Needle– A single dose of poison or tranquilizer can be put into an opening in the index finger. A small needle will pop out of the finger and allow the character to attempt to poke the target. Resolve poison effects normally.
Finger Line- The tip of the index finger can pull away and is attached to a thin, but strong, piece of cord that goes into the hand. This can be used to sneak up and strangle an unsuspecting target.
Camera- A small camera is inserted in the pupil area. Data is then stored on a blank data disk in the brain. A character must have the Data Module for this piece of cyberware to work properly.
Data Disks- Disks contain information, such as schematics, plans, and other information. When a character has successfully installed the data disk they gain access to the information. This can be just general information or can be access to an Ability Focus. Did the character find a disk on information on reading and understanding people? While the disk is in their Data Module they are treated as having the Perception (Empathy) Focus.
Communication Reboot- Read Reboot description above.
Constitution Reboot- Read Reboot description above.
Cunning Reboot- Read Reboot description above.
Dexterity Reboot- Read Reboot description above.
Perception Reboot- Read Reboot description above.
Strength Reboot- Read Reboot description above.
Willpower Reboot- Read Reboot description above.
Gene Therapy is another invasive, time consuming, and expensive operation. While not exactly being cut open and ripped apart, as is the case with installing cyberware, gene therapy is harsh on the body due to the chemical attack on the system.
A specially engineered virus which contains the patient’s own DNA is injected into their body. The virus then attaches itself to the patients own cells and begin to add the new genetic coding.
Over the course of a month the patient will begin to see improvement in whatever therapy they were treated for.
Rules for gene therapy work exactly the same as cyberware. When a character is about to receive the injection they must make a Constitution (Stamina) check with a -2 at a TN of 11. Each time a character goes under to receive another session of gene therapy they must make the test. Each injection raises the TN by one degree on the Basic Test Difficulty Table (pg 56, Players Handbook, Set 1).
Failure means that the doctors “detect” something hinders the operation and makes it so the character cannot an injection for at least 30 days and they move to the next rank of difficulty.
Once a character reaches the “Nigh Impossible” level of Basic Test Difficulty Table they are unable to undergo any further sessions of gene therapy to their body, it just can’t handle the strain and their cells may become unstable.
As with cyberware the baseline pricing for gene therapy is 3,000p. You then multiply the base by what the new Ability is going to be. For example- Burgess “Skinny” Rollins has decided that he needs to be stronger to do his job as a body guard effectively. His employer knows that Burgess is loyal and dedicated to his job, so he agrees to pay for one session of gene therapy. Burgess’s Strength Ability is a 4, thus the cost of the session will be 12,000p.
A Deadly Game
Cyberware and Gene Therapy are new technologies and not whole heartedly safe. If a character fails the Constitution (Stamina) test and the Dragon Die comes up a 1 then the target has suffered a major infection or complication. They move up two levels of difficulty rather than one and must make another Constitution (Stamina) test at the current difficulty level. If this roll results in a failure the character has died.
Cheap Cyberware (Optional)
Whenever new technology is discovered and brought to the market there are those who want to exploit that new money pot. Sometimes this is a person wanting to bring needed technology to those who need it, and other times its vultures picking at the desperation of the poor and destitute.
Cheap Cyberware is substandard, looks clunky, but it’s functional. If a character purchases cheap cyberware it is ½ the normal cost and all target numbers stay the same as outlined above. However anytime a character uses that piece of cyberware they must roll 3d6, TN 11, to make sure that it functions properly. If the roll fails the cyberware is useless for 1d3 turns, at which point it works itself out. If the roll fails and the Dragon Die is a 1, the cyberware has suffered a major failure and needs to be repaired by a Mechanic. A mechanic rolls a Cunning (Mechanic) Ability Test, TN 13 to successfully get the cyberware up and running again.
This does not include using a leg to walk or an arm to grab something or any other mundane function. If a character decides to run with that leg and use the boosted pace or the arm to lift something or perhaps punch a foe, then the test must be made.