Accelerated Learning in Shadowrun
While this comes in a wide variety of forms – Neural Programming and Imprinting, Programmable-ASIST Biofeedback Sleeplearning, and Magical Imbuement – they all have roughly the same effect: they forcibly alter the neural patterns of the brain at an unnaturally rapid pace to bestow skills.
Unfortunately, like any other form of tampering with the central nervous system, this costs essence. Since skills are relatively easy to acquire, as are skillwires – which can be used for a wide variety of skills – it usually isn’t worth it.
Obviously enough, the more stress placed on the brain, the higher the essence cost – and advanced versions of skills are far more complex than basic ones are. The essence cost of accelerated learning is based on how many karma points it would take to acquire the skill in question by normal means.
Children’s brains are far more flexible than those of adults. Children need pay only half the base essence cost of any accelerated learning they undergo.
Unfortunately, technological systems of Accelerated Learning require the use of a skillsoft program rated at twice the level of the skill being learned and cannot be used to obtain skills above level three – although the skills so obtained can be improved normally thereafter. It also requires about one hour of treatment per point of karma the skill(s) involved would normally cost. Magical skill imbuement doesn’t require much time, but the spellcaster involved must have the skill to be provided at at least twice the level he’s granting, the bestowed skills are still limited to a maximum of level 3, and the ritual materials required cost at least 1000 NY per karma point equivalent.
Base Cost: .02 Essence and 1000 NY per karma point equivalent.
Alpha, Beta, and Delta-ware versions are available technligically. Specialist magi may possess metamagical techniques which provide similar bonuses, but their services are incredibly expensive. Surgical cost modifiers apply normally.
For Comparison: Skill-1 costs 1 Karma, upgrading to Skill-2 costs another 4, and upgrading to Skill-3 costs another 6, for a total of 11. Skillwires-3 cost 30,000 and .3 Essence and can be used for any number of skills. They just can’t be improved. If you just want a quick course in the basics for one or two skills, Accelerated Learning will work. If you want a lot of skills, go with wires.
The same procedure can be used to treat various mental disorders (at 5 karma per point of disadvantage to be bought off), or to induce compulsions (for no known reason these don’t have an effective karma cost: they can be installed and removed via time and psychological techniques alone. Yes, this is the same effect which makes a Cranial Bomb the only essence-cost-free implant in the game). As a note, approximately 90% of the cost of bioware and cyberware lies in surgery and recovery. The systems themselves are fairly straightforward.
While most Geneware represents natural talents, it can be added to youngsters who haven’t yet achieved adulthood (normally late adolescence). Creating the designer virus costs fifty times as much as the bioware equivalent, but does include the “Natural”, “Cultured”, and “Reduced BI” options up to the usual 6 CP maximum limit on Geneware.
There is only a base 15% chance (+5% per extra success achieved in the design process) that any given strain of designer virus will work on any one individual, although a simple test will tell.
Tweaking an existing designer virus to match a specific individuals genetic makeup only costs twice as much as the usual Bioware.
Ixian’s “Head Start” Package
Ixian likes to make things work properly – and, while machinery is fairly easy, societies are difficult. He’s trying to make sure that the people who made up society (starting with the ones who’d be making the major decisions in the future) make well-informed and rational decisions (he hopes to get to the less influential echelons later on). To this end he’s set up a company to sell the “Head Start” package described here.
The package has an effective “value” of 220 karma (100 after the Menemonic Enhancer is applied) plus the neural upgrade. Since Ixian uses the best gear that he can build with his superhuman skills and talents (deltaware-level neural imprinters), the package costs a child .5 essence and about four days on the system – and has a “sale value” of about 2.5 million NY. He actually sells it much, much, cheaper than that. He’s trying to make it a – or the – standard educational technique for upper-echelon children so as to imbue as many as possible with a good understanding of the long-term advantages of ethical behavior. Initial demonstrations had to be on slave-children, but he had no objections to that; it wasn’t like it was going to hurt them.
The first step is to provide some Viral Geneware – a Menemonic Enhancer III, as above.
The second step is to provide the following minimum skill package: Art-3, Biology-3, Biotech-3, Computer Theory-3, Computer-3, Cybertechnology-3, Electronics-3, Finance-3, Etiquette-3,Magical Theory-3, Firearms-3, Military Theory-3, Leadership-3, Physical Sciences-3, Mechanics-3, Psychology-3, Negotiation-3, Sociology-3, Unarmed Combat-3, Bike-2, Car-2, and Security-1
The knowledge base lays particular stress on the importance of long-term benefits and sustainability and the advantages of cooperation (psychology). Other stressed areas include the environmental sciences (biology), games theory (computer theory/mathematics), business ethics and their advantages (sociology), social strategies (sociology), interpersonal relationships (psychology), history (sociology), and genetic self-interest (biology).
If a child already has a few points in one or more of these fields, the extra karma points that makes available are expended on optional languages, magical basics, and/or build/repair skills.
All skills can be upgraded normally. The enhanced memory function is permanent, and so will aid in future skill acquisition and improvement, including learning spells.