Cyberware in Shadowrun tends to be awfully standardized. Despite hundreds of companies, and thousands of individual physicians and tinkerers, there really aren’t very many items available. That never seemed especially satisfactory somehow – so we broke the stuff down into subsystems and let people design their own cyberware, mixing and matching as needed to produce just the system they wanted. In this case we’re covering cyberdisguises – basically, anything that makes you look different, ranging from simple scar removal, nose sculpting, and having your fingerprints passively modified on through full-body systems that allow their user’s to transform themself into quadrupeds. High-end systems aren’t usually very practical, but they can be very very stylish.


   Cyberdisguises are actually divided into two basic groups; Bodysculpts and Shapeshifting Systems.

   “Bodysculpting” is essentially ultra-tech “plastic surgery”, augmented with genetic manipulations, nano-surgery, and cybrenetic replacements. In many cases, bodysculpting can be almost totally organic – or even purely cosmetic. Regardless of the extent of a body- sculpting job, from a basic “nose bob” (a small area, superficial change, bodysculpt, bioware, totaling .04 Body Index – small enough to pretty much ignore) thru complete rebuilding, Bodysculpts are pretty much fixed. Once you undergo one, the results are as solid and unchanging as your natural appearance.

   “Shapeshifting Systems” throw in elastic polymers, electro-sensitive smart materials, pigment catalysts, telescoping bones, “memory” metals, and microcomputer controllers in order to allow the user to make active changes in his, her, or it’s, anatomy. In effect, the user has an alternate form or forms. In general, this goes a lot “deeper” then Bodysculpting, and generally involves a good deal more cyberware then bioware.

   Truly exotic cybredisguises, such as a “demihuman” tiger-person who can shapeshift into full tiger form, usually involve both bodysculpting and shapeshifting.

   Whatever the mix, a cyberdisguise usually involves enough tampering to subsume a certain amount of extra `ware without further impact on the user’s system. To reflect this, a cyberdisguise may include extra `ware totaling up to 1/2 the base cost (Essence and/or Body Index) of the disguise itself – rather like the way a cybereye can mount a limited number of extra systems. For example, that aforementioned “tiger-person” could probably afford to add appropriate claws/fangs (“Hand Razors”), low-light vision, and a bonus to stealth or something. In general, such items should either “fit the theme” or involve some sensible overlap. Modified hands won’t include cybereyes. Hand razors, multiple- fingerprint systems, and so on are, however, far more likely candidates. Minor effects are basically GMO.

Cyberdisguise Statistical Data

Extent Of Alteration 

Base Cost 

Base Biological Cost 


1000 NY



2500 NY



5000 NY



10,000 NY


Full Body

20,000 NY



Degree Of Alteration 















Level Of Flexibility





A “basic” biosculpt

Single Alternate


A single alternate form



On the alternate form(s)



A wide variety of forms

Slow Transformation


Requires hours to days

  • The Extent Of Alteration is determined by how much of the user’s body is affected. A small portion? (The eyes, ears, or fingers, a palm, or some such area). A “modest” portion? (Such as the hands, feet, or face). An “intermediate” portion? (Such as the skin and hair, the head, or a pair of limbs). A “large” portion? (As in much of the body), or the full body? In any case, the base cost of the extent is then multiplied by the modifiers for the
  • Degree Of Alteration (“Superficial” items include fur and hair, fingerprints, “wrinkles”, retina patterns, skin color, altering eye/ear shapes, fat reduction, facial details, and so on. “Minor” items include scales, hide, or feathers, modest alterations in bone structure, prehensile toes, muzzles, horns, and the various differences between the metatypes and the assorted primates. Major changes include significant (fixed) size modifications, restructuring limbs, and so on. “Radical” changes include things like becoming a quadraped, quasi-avian, or other major skeletal mods. “Comprehensive” modifications are things like turning into a dolphin or serpent – the extreme limits of the vertebrate design. In most settings, these are beyond the “state of the art”. “Total” modifications include things like turning into a tree or octopus. They are, and possibly always will be, far beyond the “state of the art”) and for the
  • Level Of Flexibility (“None” is for fixed reconstructions – AKA Biosculpting. “Single Alternate” permits shapeshifting between two specific forms, both essentially fixed (Although there is some margin for “transitional” forms). “Variations” permit a wide variety of slight modifications on the systems basic form(s). For example, a character with a system which allowed Full Body/Superficial/Variation changes could impersonate all kinds of people. “Multiform” is purely theoretical for large-scale systems. It would allow the user to make any change desired within the design limits of his or her cyberdisguise system. Unless full nanotechnology systems are available in the game setting, this level of cyberdisguise is probably out of reach. A “Slow” system requires hours, or possibly even days, to make it’s changes rather then the turns to minutes of most cyberdisguise systems.

Some sample changes include:





Variable Fingerprints




Face Dancer Implants




Secondary Retinal Pattern

Small/Superficial /Single Alternate



Alter Apparent Metatype

Full/Minor (Fixed)


Fixed Animal-Human Hybrid Form

Full/Minor (Fixed)



Human with Hybrid Alternate Form




Fixed Animal Form

Full/Radical (Fixed)



Hybrid with Animal Alternate Form

I + Full/Minor



Full Range: Human to Animal




   In general, the “Bio Cost” can be divided between an actual Essence Cost (at 1 to 1) and a Body Index Cost (at .8 to 1). Thus, that “Fixed Animal Form” could be managed at a Body Index cost of 1.00, or an Essence Cost of 1.25, or some mixture of the two. Exactly what proportions are available – or required – is up to the game master. Any secondary modifications subsumed in the system – a retinal clock with the secondary retinal pattern, claws and nightsight for the tiger-person, and so on – must adhere to the same division between Bioware and Cyberware. Body Index or Essence costs beyond what can be subsumed in the cyberdisguise must be paid normally.

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