Cybernetics

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CYBERNETICS IN ASCENSION

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Please note that all of the cybernetics information was written for Ascension and represents our unique take on this. Therefore, make sure you read everything completely and if you do not understand, please contact a staff member for clarification. 


Cybernetics is described as the study of communication and control processes in biological, mechanical, and electronic systems, especially in regards to the interaction between mechanical and biological processes. Cybernetics in the Ascension world is relatively new and still in its infancy as a modality for replacement of limbs and other functionality of a living body. The major breakthrough in creating functional implants and prosthetics came when engineers at a biotech firm (Biodyne) discovered that stone sources similar to the Ascension Stone served as excellent conductors for microprocessing arrays. They named this source material axistone, and it can be found worldwide at these hotspots of supernatural activity. 


Though axistone microprocessors are very powerful, they do have some serious limitations. For one, they cannot be used with magic, as it interferes with transmission. Second, they carry with them the potential for “rejection” just like with any transplants/implants. To counteract this, any person rigged with any sort of cyberware must take anti-rejection medication.


Our setting is in the “near future,” so cybernetics should be considered more of workhorse hardware than the sleek, limitless ware of science fiction stories. We don’t want to see any T-2000s, Robocops, or anything else that clearly belongs in a sci fi setting.


As cybernetics were primarily designed by human researchers to enhance the human species, they are specifically balanced to operate within the constraints of the human body's biology, and therefore have limited functionality for supernaturals.



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DEFINITIONS 

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Cyberware

Cyberware or wetware is the hardware or machine parts implanted in the human body and acting as an interface between the central nervous system and the computers or machinery connected to it. Cyberware can be further broken down into Bodyware and Headware. 


Bodyware

Bodyware or prosthetics is an older generation of cybernetics investigated and streamlined during the early 21st century. Using microprocessors crafted from stone sources at axis mundi, modern bodyware is capable of controlling the movements of an artificial limb that is attached to the severed nerve-endings of the patient. The patient is then taught how to operate the prosthetic, trying to learn how to move it as though it were a natural limb. There is a learning curve, and those with new bodyware may find difficulty at first in controlling the limb. There is a subset of bodyware that crosses over into a partial interface. This includes things such as cochlear implants to replace hearing. 


Headware

Headware or interfaces represent attempts at direct connection of a brain-computer interface. The data jack may translate thoughts into something meaningful to a computer, and then translate something from a computer into meaningful thoughts for humans. There has been some research into using interfaces to treat epilepsy and allow those that suffer from debilitating seizures to live a somewhat normal life. The most innocuous of experiments is essentially a “hands-free” mouse or keyboard that allows the user to manipulate information on the computer without making tactile contact. 


More advanced headware can allow limited control over a computer using thought commands alone. This area of research was spearheaded by studying functional MRIs of mutants with cyberpathy and crafting implants that worked on the areas involved in processing thought commands. 


Neurophilin

Neurophilin is a cyclic fungal peptide composed of 11 amino acids that serves as the primary anti-rejection medication for those receiving cyberware implants. The medication is very expensive, and generally only sourced legitimately through the hospital and the biotech group based there. A much cheaper, albeit less pure and less effective, form of neurophilin can be found through black markets. If you are roleplaying having implants, you must take this medication and seek it out, either through the legit or illegal sources. It must be taken daily, regardless of race. After 24 hours without neurophilin, implants will function at 80% normal. After 48 hours, it drops down to 60%. It drops 10% per day after that, so the most one can go without medicine and having any functionality of their implants is about a week. 


Axistone

This conductive stone material is mined from places that hold an axis mundi (pyramids, Stonehenge, mystical places) and forms the basic unit of the microprocessor that powers the cybernetic implants. 


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IMPORTANT LOCATIONS

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All implants are placed at the hospital, specifically the second floor cybernetics ward. Legit neurophilin is dispensed from the hospital pharmacy. Outside scripts are not allowed, to help prevent diversion. 

Illegal stocks of neurophilin can be obtained from the Market, though it is usually adulterated by being cut with other substances and repackaged so it is not as effective. 

Cybernetics servicing and info jacks are available at the hospital. Unapproved, illegal servicing is done behind locked doors at the Techno Logic store, but it is not effective for serious damages or malfunctions. 



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CYBERNETICS RULES 

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1.) Cybernetics may not be used with magic at any time. The axistone that makes up the microprocessors will short out if exposed to intrinsic magical surges. That means that characters that do magic are not candidates for implants. Races that have magic as a default, non-optional power (familiars for example) can never have functional cybernetics for this reason.


2.) For human characters, the maximum cybernetic allowance is 60% of the body. So you can claim to be (barely) more machine than human, but no cyborgs or entirely artificial beings are allowed. The technology isn't advanced enough yet for this.


3.) When a human characters uses cybernetics to increase speed, strength or other physical attributes, they can at most double their natural ability; effectively boosting them to the baseline for unenhanced supernaturals.


4.) Only the most basic cybernetics function with supernaturals. Their different biology jams the axistone if cybernetics are used to give them new abilities or powers. Instead, cybernetics can only make existing abilities or powers 25% more effective through synergy. The cybernetic needs to be appropriate for the power. 


Example: a mutant with night sight can increase the range or clarity of this sight with an ocular implant. A mutant without this power cannot gain night sight by getting an implant (unless they choose that module). 


5.) For supernatural characters, you must give up one racial power/skill for each prosthetic or implant you choose. This means any supernatural can maximally have five implants (or less -- check your race info). And again, you cannot be a magic user ever. You cannot give up inherent, default powers such as for example the magic of a familiar or a lycan's shapeshifting.


6.) Supernaturals require double the dose of neurophilin due to the limited compatibility of the drug with their metabolisms. They also drain twice as fast when off their medication.


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CYBERNETICS LIMITATIONS

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Step 1: Choose Your Cyberware Appearance


Synth 

Synthware is a prosthesis or implant that has been covered with synthetic skin or crafted to look indistinguishable from a natural body part (such as an eye). Synthetic skin blends seamlessly with the recipient’s skin tone and texture, and can hide the fact that they carry cybernetic prosthetics. However, it is vulnerable to cuts, rips, tears, etc, which can expose the underlying mechanical constitution. There is generally a waiting period for grafting, since the ware must be “matched” to the recipient. Synthware is also much more expensive than mechware, since the appearance must be customized extensively for the recipient. 


Mech

Mechware is the “bare bones” line of cyberware. No attempt is made to blend the implant or prosthesis. It is considerably less expensive than synthware, and generally available for same-day grafting since there is no need to wait for customization. 


Step 2: Choose Your Devices & Modules


Each implant or prosthetic counts as 1 unit towards the maximum of 5 for supernaturals. EACH arm or leg counts as 1, so if both legs are cybernetic, that takes up 2 units. Cochlear implants and ocular implants count as 1 unit for bilateral implantation. Most devices come outfitted with a series of customizable “modules.” These are the function upgrades for each device. The allowances are listed under each one. You can always choose less than the allowed modules, and “upgrade” later, as long as it stays within the allowance. 


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Leg/Foot


Description: Artificial foot or leg. Bullets can penetrate and fry the interface, disallowing use of modules until removed. 

Module Allowance: 2


Modules:

-Speed: Ability to move at speeds approaching that of a cheetah in open spaces. Short bursts of activity only. Requires room to get up to speed. In enclosed spaces, still allows for quick movements. 

-Endurance: Able to move without tiring. Can be combined with Speed to allow for longer periods of sprinting. 

-Strength: Able to kick or lift items off oneself with the legs, up to the weight of a small car (at the upper limits of this weight range it can only be lifted, not kicked around). 

-Durability: Can take a hit with a melee weapon such as a pipe, bat, axe, etc and take no damage to the underlying prosthetic. Synthware, however, may be ripped or torn down to the metal shell. 

-Lightfooted: The sound and pressure made by walking or running are decreased by 50% due to special isolating polymers being used in the construction of the feet.


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Arm/Hand


Description: Artificial arm or hand. Bullets can penetrate and fry the interface, disallowing use of modules until removed. 

Module Allowance: 2


Modules:

-Reflexes: Extremely quick movements, almost a blur to those with normal sight. Short bursts of activity only. 

-Endurance: Able to move the arms or hands without tiring. Can be combined with Reflexes or Strength to allow for more sustained movements. 

-Strength: Able to throw or lift items, up to the weight of a car. Shorts bursts of strength only. 

-Durability: Can take a hit with a melee weapon such as a pipe, bat, axe, etc and take no damage to the underlying prosthetic. Synthware, however, may be ripped or torn down to the metal shell. 

-Dexterity: Very dextrous with the hands, able to perform delicate maneuvers with intricate precision (such as small detailing, surgery, etc).

-Hidden weapon: A hidden weapon mechanically built into a forearm prosthetic. Usually a knife or something similar. Guns are not allowed. It can be either sharp or blunt (to be chosen on installation, can only be changed by replacing the entire prosthetic). When activated, the weapon clicks out but remains attached, functioning as an extension of the body. The hidden weapon cannot be installed in synthware. The weapon functions like a normal weapon and does not offer any additional strength or speed. (takes a full round to activate in combat)


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Chestplate


Description: The chestplate is a molded prosthetic to replace the general architecture of the torso in situations where damage has been great enough to require reconstruction. The chestplates are crafted of a titanium alloy that is resistant to low-speed penetration, such as stabbing or blunt force, but they are not bulletproof. 

Module Allowance: 1


Modules:

-Electrify: The chestplate momentarily surges its power source in order to produce an electric charge capable of rendering a normal human unconscious, and knocking most supernaturals back. Due to the energy required in performing this function, the chestplate can only surge twice daily without shorting out. 

-Insulation: The chestplate is capable of absorbing and nullifying a blast of cold or heat that would normally cause thermal damage.

-Cloak: When activated (up to twice times per day as it needs to recharge), the user is surrounded by a photovoltaic field that modifies and reflects light in a way to make the user mostly transparent. When looking carefully in their direction, a shimmering silhouette could still be detected; and the cloak does nothing to stop detection through hearing, smell or other non-visual senses.


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Tongue 


Description: Overall functions as a tongue replacement. Capable of all normal tongue functions, as well as a few module upgrades. 

Module Allowance: 2


Modules:

-Poison Taster: Able to taste minuscule amounts of most poisons in food or drink, as well as identify the type of unadulterated poison by tasting it in base form. The small amounts are absorbed and destroyed by the tongue implant, therefore the taster does not suffer ill effects.

-Herb Identification: Able to identify an herb used in a concoction by tasting it. The small amount is absorbed and destroyed by the tongue implant, therefore the taster does not suffer ill effects. 


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Ocular Implants


Description: Ocular implants come with numerous module upgrades.

Module Allowance: 2


Modules:

-Infrared: The ocular implants allow the recipient to see in the infrared spectrum, allowing for night vision and thermal imaging.

-Magnify: This module functions similar to a microscope, and thus built for short distances. The maximum resolution is 100x at a distance of two inches. 

-X-ray: Using a small burst of X-ray radiation, renders the ability to see objects concealed on a person. Cannot see through walls. The amount of radiation given off is equivalent to a few days' worth of background environmental radiation exposure, or similar to the dose received during a cross-country airplane flight (concentrated into one short burst aimed at a small area).

-Enhance: This module is useful at long distances, functioning similar to a pair of binoculars with a max 10x zoom. Changing focus from near to far objects takes a few moments of adjustment. 

-Record: Capable of recording video at close range, however to download to an external device requires a neural implant (see neural implants).


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Cochlear Implants (Ears)


Description: Artificial devices for hearing. A base module that comes “standard” on all implants is the ability to turn them off to allow for complete silence. 

Module Allowance: 2


Modules:

-Owl Ears: Able to locate the source of a sound based on the direction of the recipient’s head and how the sound hits the implants. The sound must still be within hearing range.

-Frequency tuning: Able to tune in to a given frequency, even outside the normal human hearing range, such as a particular radio station or sound. It takes a full post/round to tune in to a different frequency. 

-Focus: Able to focus on the sound of a single speaker’s voice while filtering out background noise. The speaker must be in regular hearing range. 

-Volume: Able to “turn up” the ambient volume. This increases all sounds in the area, and may render the wearer more susceptible to sonic attacks. In quiet areas, it allows for enhanced hearing up to 5x the limits of a normal human.

-Record: Capable of recording audio at close range, however to download to an external device requires a neural implant (see neural implants).


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Olfactory Implants (Nose)


Description: These implants are generally used to replace or enhance one’s sense of smell. Full prosthetics are available in cases where a nose has been lost through injury. A base module that comes “standard” on all implants is the ability to turn them off in cases of overly strong or noxious smells. 

Module Allowance: 2


Modules:

-Bloodhound: The ability to parse a specific scent from all others and use it to track a particular subject or item. Subject to the normal limitations associated with scent tracking: old trails, losing the scent in water, etc. 

-Enhancement: This increases all scents in the area, and may render the user more susceptible to noxious odors and gases. It allows for enhanced smelling up to the limitations of a canine. Does not allow you to smell the species of a supernatural, but might detect that someone's smell is 'off'.

-Exclude: Turns off a specific scent, while keeping all other scent abilities. Helpful in cases of noxious odors. Note, it does not render the user impervious to the effects of a poison gas; they just won’t smell it. 

-Filter: Employs a micronized filter implanted in the device to filter out harmful agents such as biologic weapons, poison gases, etc which are activated by breathing them in. Has no effect on toxins which activate through other methods such as skin contact or ingestion.


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Penile Implant


Description: This implant is generally used where the genitals have been removed or disfigured, or in cases of erectile dysfunction. A complete penile prosthesis is available, and with the synthware appearance it looks totally natural. It is wired to nerve endings, so will respond appropriately to arousal of the recipient. 

Module Allowance: All


Modules:

-Instant Erection: Able to erect the implant at any time, even without actual physical arousal.

-Stamina: Able to keep going and going and going and going...

-Spermicide: An internal spermicide kills sperm during ejaculation to prevent unwanted pregnancies. 

-Resize: Able to resize +/- 20% in order to better ‘fit’ a partner. 


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Neural Implants


Description: Implants interfaced directly with the central nervous system, with numerous modules available for customization. Note that these are not hooked in to an ethernet at all times, and the information on board at any given time is what comes with the modules or what is updated when hooked in to a cyberjack. 

Module Allowance: up to six for humans (for supernaturals, every 2 modules count as one implant)


Modules:

-Translator: Using an internal translator, the user can understand words spoken in nearly all widely known languages (secret / non-written languages excluded). The translator will then translate their response into the same language in order to respond. Automated translation technology is still not perfected, so while individual words are translated well, in longer or more complex texts, parts of the meaning might still be lost.

-Calculator: Internal calculator, able to do complicated math almost instantly.

-Encyclopedia Cybernetica: An integrated encyclopedia updated frequently. Requires weekly downloads at a cybernetics servicing location. 

-Emotion Filter: Able to “turn off” the user's emotions preferentially, such as hate, anger, fear, love, etc. 

-Emotion Enhance: Able to “turn up” the user's emotions preferentially, such as increasing bravery. 

-Emotion Reading: Read the eye movements, facial twitches, and other non-verbal cues of a subject. The implant translates them as lying, truth, flirting, etc. Requires player consent.

-Wireless Interface: Similar to mutant cyberpathy or to current day BlueTooth, the user is able to interface remotely with a computer, to perform any tasks with it the computer already supports (surf the web, check email, etc). Note the information is not directly downloaded to the module, and thus still requires a monitor in viewing range. This implant does NOT equal wireless internet.

-Cyberjacker: The user can plug in to other cyber-enhanced people and download information directly from their implants. Unless both users also have the wireless interface installed, this requires a wired connection.

-Universal Download: Able to interface directly with any computer/tablet/etc (not just jacks at a cybernetic facility) and download information directly into memory. Theoretical information based only. You can’t “know Kung Fu” immediately upon receiving the information, but you will have all the written literature to guide physical learning of the martial art.

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