Inscrit le: 19 Sep 2009
Jeu 1 Oct - 22:58 (2009)
Your character has five Capability scores, each based on one type of technology. These describe your inherited abilities, technological implants, and generalized training. This section describes your Capabilities and gives examples of what you can do with a certain score.
When making your character you may choose any Capabilities you like, as long as you fall inside your civilization’s allowed range (see the chart below). You don’t need to spend points or roll dice to figure out your character’s capabilities; just choose a number in that range.
The higher your strongest Capability is, the lower your total Import will be, and the more difficult it will be to garner Twists. See page 114 for more information on this, and page 170 for some discussion of why Capabilities and Import are balanced in this way. Remember that only the highest Capability matters.
During character creation it is worthwhile to note that level 5 is a “breakpoint” for many Capabilities, offering a significant gain over level 4.
Normal, unenhanced humans will have all their Capabilities between 1 and 3. A Capability of 10 is the highest that is currently possible, but the future will make higher scores possible.
Personal technology is often acquired in a somewhat sporadic manner. There is no guarantee that a particular supporting character will have all of the enhancements listed for a certain level of Capability. For the player characters, however, you can assume that they’ve filled out their list of enhancements completely.
Civilization Capability Table
Civilization Bio Cog Meta Nano String
Masquerade 1–9 1–6 1–8 1–8 1–6
Union 2–7 2–8 1–10 1–8 1–8
Mechanica 1–4 2–5 1–4 4–8 6–10
Disciples 1–5 1–5 1–4 1–6 1–5
Tao 1–8 2–8 4–10 2–8 1–4
Stardwellers 1–10 1–8 1–8 2–10 1–8
Roamers 1–6 2–6 2–8 1–8 1–4
Independents 1–5 1–6 1–6 1–6 1–9
Replicants 1–9 1–7 1–5 1–7 1–8
Logicians 1–7 2–6 1–2 1–8 1–6
Stored n/a 6–10 2–8 1–6 1–6
Cargo Cults 1–5 1–4 1–4 1–6 1–6
Old-Worlders 1–3 1–3 1–3 1–3 1–3
Spacers 2–7 1–6 1–6 2–7 1–6
Your Capabilities can increase beyond the levels imposed by your Civilization. You can do this at character creation, or through Twist use, or simply by purchasing the appropriate enhancements with money. If you do, this, however, you’ve essentially sold your character’s heritage for power. Your total Import decreases by one, and always stays one lower than it would normally be. You can choose which Theme decreases.
Derived from biology, biotech relates to living creatures and the systems that bind them together. Your character’s Biotech scores represents fitness, strength, endurance, and internal energy stores.
Biotech is unique in that it’s the only the Capability that fully passes on to your descendents. While certain items might require implantation (e.g. a pathogenesis organ, page 144), the vast majority of Biotech is written into your character’s DNA before birth. High-Biotech civilizations like the Stardwellers know effective ways to make major changes after conception — see page 138 for genetic modification techniques.
1 Sickly and weak
2 Regular person in good health
3 Athlete, contortionist, dancer
4 Yogi. Turn off your senses, hold your breath for 10 minutes.
5 Regenerate nerves and muscles. Lift half a ton. Run a marathon without preparation. Biofeedback.
6 Regenerate your bones and limbs, hold your breath for an hour, lift a ton.
7 Skydive without a parachute, take only bruises from small bullets.
8 Regenerate eyes and ears, stay awake for a month without physical problems. Generate certain virii and microbes internally.
9 Take a handgun shot to the body without severe injury. Purge any poison from your body. Ignore radiation sickness.
10 Breathe water with your lungs, lift three tons.
Biofeedback becomes available at Biotech 5, giving characters total control over the systems of their body. Anyone can control their breathing; this level of sensitivity lets a character know exactly what is happening with every single organ, and regulate it if need be. Such characters will know immediately if they catch a disease, and what areas it affects. They can also enter a state of hybernation or suspended animation, seeming dead to those with Nanotech scores of 4 or lower.
Your character’s expected lifespan can be found on the table below. This is important primarily because your Professions are purchased by aging your character. The Medical Care column uses the maximum Biotech of your character’s home civilization. To avoid possible complications from aging, you should keep your character’s age less than twenty years below the maximum. Beyond that, one’s Biotech, Cognitech, and Nanotech scores tend to drop.
For example, a Stardweller (max biotech 10) with Biotech 4 will live about 320 years, while one with Biotech 8 will live about 500. Someone from the Tao (max biotech 8) with the same scores would live 220 or 400 years, respectively. The Stored use their Cognitech instead of Biotech.
Biotech Natural Lifespan Medical Care
1 50 +1
2 70 +5
3 100 +10
4 120 +20
5 160 +40
6 200 +60
7 250 +80
8 300 +100
9 400 +150
10 500 +200
Characters with Biotech 8+ can participate in Biowarfare conflicts without the need for a biology laboratory. Their own bodies will produce the necessary agents. They can also participate in Biotechoriented Research Blitz conflicts without the need for a laboratory, though they do take a -2 penalty for not having any research assistants.
The study of cognitive science has given birth to cognitech: techniques and devices that influence one’s own mind. Cognitech describes your character’s logical ability, quality of thought, memory, and speed of learning.
Playing a character with a high Cognitech score can be challenging. You will, to a certain extent, want to rely on the dice rather than your own mental capabilities as a player. It’s perfectly reasonable to say “I want to come up with a plan to trap our opponents” and then roll the dice, rather than trying to come up with a “foolproof” plan on your own.
1 A dull, uninventive, slow mind
2 The average human mind, unaided
3 Rocket scientist
4 Savants in their field of expertise, perfectly clear minds. Learn in 75% the normal time, take mental and physical actions simultaneously.
5 Infinite patience, access to Lenses. This level and above must use some variety of nanowire mesh (see page 70). Constant infosphere access.
6 Perfect memory, review old perceptions for new details, learn in half the normal time
7 Alter personal time sense up to 10x, take two mental actions at once.
8 Learn in 25% the normal time. Never hesitate or freeze up.
9 Memorize multiple DNA sequences, break 20th century encryption in your head
10 Calculate wormhole coordinates in your head, alter your personal time sense up to 100x
Meshes and Lenses becomes available at Cognitech 5. More on these revolutionary devices can be found in the Technology chapter on page 143.
Social science is a hard science in this day and age, as strongly grounded in mathematics as astronomy or biology. Its techniques, devices, and methods are referred to as Metatechnology. Your character’s Metatech score represents charisma, charm, savvy, force of will, and perfect inflection.
Unlike the other attributes, it is almost pointless to list what you can do with a particular Metatech rating. Your effectiveness depends on the scores of those you interact with. Below we describe what you can do with certain differences in Metatech scores. Subtract your target’s Metatech from yours, and look at the chart below.
This table assumes that whomever you’re talking to starts with no real reason to go along with what you’re saying. If they agree with you already, then obviously you don’t need to convince them.
-2 You’re an ineffective communicator. People only go along with what you say if you actually make good point, and they stay long enough to listen.
-1 Get someone to like you after a year
±0 Normal interpersonal interactions. Discern someone’s Core Values after a week of interacting with them.
+1 Befriend someone in a week. Talk your way into a secure area after a month of effort.
+2 Pass a law by normal processes in a month. Instantly get someone to loan you a small amount of money.
+3 Befriend someone in an hour. Instantly convince the average soldier to take mercy on you. Discern someone’s Core Values after just ten minutes of talking to them.
+4 Brainwash someone in a week, given proper tools. Instantly convince someone to hear you out on a particular topic.
+5 Break up a happy marriage in an hour.
+6 Talk your way out of jail in a day. Instantly convince your nemesis to take mercy on you. Discern someone’s Core Values by observing their dress, bearing, and gait.
+7 Convince someone to commit suicide in a week. Instantly convince someone you’re attacking to stand there and take it.
Brain drawing (CC) by Patrick J. Lynch, medical illustrator
To reduce the time required, move down the chart. Each step speeds things up with this progression: year ➔ month ➔ week ➔ day ➔ hour ➔ 10 minutes ➔ minutes ➔ 10 seconds. (“Instantly” on the table above means in 10 seconds or less.) If you have a lower score, it makes you less convincing, and you must move up the chart and take more time to achieve the same goal.
Core Values are key to resisting Metatech influences. Even those with a rock-bottom Metatech score can resist people who tell them to betray what they believe in. Add the appropriate Core Value to your Metatech score when resisting influences that go directly against that CV.
To discern someone else’s Core Values without error requires Metatech 5 or greater. It only works if your Metatech is no lower than your target’s. Targets whose Metatech is two or more points above yours can feed you false CVs, making you believe that they care about different things.
Nanotechnology is the application of physics, engineering, and chemistry to objects built on extremely small scales: a few billionths of a meter. Your character’s personal Nanotech score represents precision, perception, hand-eye coordination, and stealth.
Nanotech allows for very detailed examination of an object or area — down to the microscopic level at Nanotech 5, or the molecular level at Nanotech 7. However, such examination is not fast, nor is it automatic. Scrutinizing a crime scene ten feet across can take hours at the microscopic level, and days or even weeks at the molecular level. Once you find what you’re looking for (say, a skin flake that might be from the criminal), there’s some more waiting to do before you can complete the DNA scan.
Knowing what you’re looking for is a great advantage, as are high Cognitech scores, Familiars (see page 139), and an investigation-related Profession (such as Police).
1 A clumsy person, or one not paying attention to their surroundings
2 The average person paying careful attention
3 A surgeon or Secret Service agent
4 Sherlock Holmes, or the precision of most 20th century machines
5 Add IR, UV, and radio senses, microscopic vision, dermal microbots, and perfect proprioception
6 Add electric and magnetic field sensors, telescopic vision, a quantum-dot laser array, and the ability to see and hear with your whole body
7 Add the ability to see microwaves, X-rays, and gamma rays, a built-in spectrometer, nanowire “feelers” and manipulators in your fingers, and a DNA sequencer.
8 Add a gravity wave sensor, and an atomic force microscope in the fingers
9 Add a dark-matter sensor, nanite fabrication unit, and airflow calmers
10 You can identify starships in orbit. Your touch has nanometer precision.
< ENCADRE >
Capabilities are a tricky thing to pin down. Circumstances, assistance, the use of Reserve, and more can all influence just how effective a character is. The tables in this section are intended as a rough guide for the GM, not the be-all and end-all of what a particular character is capable of. As in every game, no matter how detailed, there will be some times when a player wants her character to do something that doesn’t quite appear on these tables. Don’t spend all day deliberating — just take your best guess and get on with the game.
< /ENCADRE >
Characters with a Nanotech score of 5 or greater can “scan” others to determine their Capabilities to within a point or two. This only works for Biotech, Nanotech, and Stringtech, and only if your Nanotech is not lower than your target’s. Those whose Nanotech outstrips yours by two or more points can feed you false values, pretending to have higher or lower Capabilities than they truly do. People at lower Capabilities can do this as well, but only to determine someone’s Biotech score, and only in the 1-3 range. You can think of this as “sizing someone up,” looking for muscle tone and general health.
Characters with Nanotech 7+ can run a Manhunt conflict without suffering a penalty for being in the conflict alone. Characters with Nanotech 9+ can participate in Nanowarfare conflicts without the need for a nanotech research lab. Their own implants will produce the necessary microbots.
Based on string theory (a contender for the “ultimate theory” of physics), stringtech applies physical forces to the world with varying degrees of power and sophistication. Your character’s Stringtech represents raw physical power, both offensive and defensive, provided by devices built into your body. You can apply force equivalent to your own Stringtech score, and (with countermeasures active), avoid injury from forces less than your own score.
Characters can choose, if they so desire, to have only the defensive aspect of Stringtech. There is no particular gameplay advantage to this, but if others scan you with Nanotech, you can assure them truthfully that you have no concealed weapons.
Some regions prohibit high Stringtech ratings for legal and safety reasons, the assumption being that someone who built a powerful weapon into themselves didn’t do it just for home defense. This is usually a fair assumption. For this reason, characters may “peace bond” their Stringtech, making it difficult to restart (takes one minute), and other characters with level 5 or better Nanotech will be able to verify this. Patent officers often have legal status, and thus generally have the equivalent of a concealed weapons license in most civilizations, so this usually isn’t necessary.
Many Stringtech weapons have various descriptors attached (see page 132) that come into play during combat. The chart below indicates not only the rough amount of force your character can bring to bear, but also when certain descriptors typically become available. Characters with built-in weapons and a Stringtech below 5 have weapons without any descriptors. After Stringtech 5, any number of available descriptors may be used at once.
1 Fists, kicks, brass knuckles. All countermeasures have the Energy-Transparent descriptor at this stage.
2 Knives, two-by-fours, carpentry hammers
3 Trained martial artists, small handguns, sharp weapons with leverage (e.g. swords, axes)
4 Rifles, large handguns, tasers, mild explosives (e.g. grenades), 20th century riot gear.
5 Tank guns, high explosives, high-power lasers, railguns, nanoweave greatcoats. Near-c
and Energy descriptors available. Countermeasures stop having the Energy-Transparent descriptor.
6 Conventional bombs, hydrofluoric acid, compression beams, tank armor
7 Dissociation beams, type I nanophages. Supersymmetric descriptor available.
8 Lightning strikes, the surface of the sun, fuelair explosions, decay-induction fields
9 Inversion beams, nuclear blasts, type II nanophages
10 Core of the sun, fission-fusion beam, vortex sinks
See page 132 for details on all descriptors.
Characters with a Stringtech score of 5 or higher can participate in Open Warfare conflicts as if they were an army of a thousand people. Their opponents always receive the +3 bonus for outnumbering the character badly.
Characters with Stringtech 8 or higher always inflict an extra point of Reserve damage when their attacks are successful. This typically represents a wide-area attack or broad-spectrum weapon, both of which are difficult to counteract.