Proware

   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 Proware – systems where the interface is basic neuralware and the real complexity lies in the programming. Most of the “mental augmentation” systems fall into this category. 

   While it’s rarely exploited, Datajacks and Implanted “Memory” are remarkably flexible systems. A Datajack is capable of transmitting; full-sensory inputs, bio-feedback commands, data to and from any other pieces of cyberware the user has, and both neuromuscular and purely intellectual commands, as noted under Deckers, Riggers, Cyberdecks, Data Filters, Camera Cybereyes, and Black IC. Memory is a full computer system – capable of running a wide variety of programs in addition to the “basic” clock/calender, appointment book, phone number list, file comparisons, data storage, word processor, and cheesy solitaire gates that you’d expect to find on any pocket secretary. It’s also capable of recording input from any Cybrenetic Senses the user happens to have, as demonstrated by the Data Filter system.

   If you throw in a Datasoft Link, which allows the user to access computerized memories and skills as if they were his own – and lets the user display his own memories and thoughts if he or she so desires – a Chipjack (these include the “Datasoft Link”; otherwise they wouldn’t work), a Display Link*, and/or a couple of Cybernetic Senses the potential applications are almost limitless. A few of the possibilities are noted below – but there are many more. In case interpretation is needed, programs are listed by their names, rating(s) available, their size multiplier (Program sizes in MP are [Rating x Rating x Multiplier), descriptions, and any necessary notes. Programs have a “base” cost of 1000 NY per MP unless noted otherwise.

   *As a note, display links are circuits that can “feed” electronic data directly into the optic nerve. Cybereyes are little electronic visual pickups coupled with circuitry that feeds data directly into the optic nerve. Anybody with cybereyes automatically has a display link. The advantage of a Camera Cybereye is that it takes very high-resolution pictures.

 

Sample Personal Programs:

   BioControl: (1-10, M6). This complex program uses hypnotic and biofeedback sequences to manipulate it’s user’s body and mind – allowing conscious or programmed control of normally autonomic functions such as shock responses, blood pressure and vessel contraction, and the basal metabolic rate. While useful in performing assorted yoga tricks (target numbers are set by the GM; common “tricks” include going without sleep, relieving hypertension and stress-related disorders, focused concentration, temporarily boosting a physical attribute, resisting pain, intoxicants, and/or various drugs, countering altitude sickness, and so on) there are a few specific benefits. The “user” may add 1/2 the program’s rating to his recovery checks or to any attempts to resist the effects of Black IC, while programs of levels 5+ can automatically change one box of any lethal damage taken to stun and eliminate one box of any stun damage taken from other sources. More specific variants of this program have lesser size multipliers, and far more reliable effects. Examples include:

  • Hibernation: A programmable duration. Devides it’s user’s water, food, and air, requirements by the program level.
  • Iron Will: +6 willpower vrs interrogation, mental control, or when perservering against obstacles [this lasts up to a week after the program’s shut down], also adds 1 to the user’s willpower rating per +3 levels, rounded down [IE; L4; +1, L7; +2, L10; +3].
  • Painkiller: Lets the user ignores the modifiers for one box of damage per level of the program. User’s ignoring “deadly” damage do +1 box of damage to themselves per turn.
  • Berserker: Using this isn’t really a good idea; +2D6 on initiative and all combat skills and reduce all wound penalties by two levels. On the other hand, opponents get a “-1” bonus to hit, it causes 5M fatigue when you “come down”, and “control” requires will checks [EG; 5 to choose something other then the “biggest” weapon available, 8 to select your target (or avoid attacking friends if out of foes), 9 to leave a target alive, and 10 to stop]. This program is quite illegal in most areas),
  • Superman: Enhances the user’s physical attributes by a total of +1 per 2 levels as he/she selects. This can be maintained for up to (Body) minutes per day with reasonable safety – but overdoing it does one box of damage per minute or part thereof. The user must resist 5M fatigue when he or she “comes down”.
  • Therapy: This program helps “compensate” for various mental disorders – including psychotropic IC. The user may add 1/2 the programs rating to any rolls to resist induced emotions or other mental problems – such as phobias. Warped versions of this program are sometimes encountered as brainwashing tools, restraints on people [E.G.; an induced “conscience” – or something like an “honesty” restriction for an accountant], and even as “slaver programs” [Reduces victim’s effective willpower])
  • Sleep Accelerator: Stimulates dreaming, and self-repair – effectively dividing the user’s daily need to sleep by the programs rating.
  • Exercise/Drill Programs: These run your body through a routine while your mind is busy elsewhere. Great for the lazy – or those couch-potato deckers. Long-term use of this program can reduce the karma cost of “acquiring” the relevant skill/attribute (at lower levels then the program) by one point.
  • Stimulant: The user gets one extra die on athletics tests, reduces any fatigue penalties by one level, and may go without sleep for up to one day per level of the program. Coming down inflicts 4S fatigue – but overuse can cause hallucinations, paranoia, and the many other effects of severe sleep deprivation)
  • Drug Programs: These stimulate the brain, producing anything from euphoria to agony. Long term use causes neural trouble – but in the short run they are almost ideal, without physical symptoms, easy detectibility, or aftereffects. There’s no physical addiction – but a psychological one is another matter. Programs which hit the pleasure centers are especially dangerous.

   The multipliers for variants include;

  • M1; Berserker, Drug, Exercise, Painkiller, Stimulant.
  • M2; Hibernation, Sleep Accelerator.
  • M3; Iron Will, Superman, Therapy.
  • M4; Any three specific effects.
  • +M1; Adding a specific effect to the general program.

   Unlike most programs, BioControl programs, and all their variants, are strongly individualized. Anyone using someone else’s program reduces it’s “effective” rating by three. For those interested in exotic ways to kill or control people, malignant biofeedback effects are quite possible. These can produce effects similar to those produced by Black IC, or induce massive pain and/or pleasure for use as a conditioning tool. Those that use pleasure/pain triggers to reinforce a chosen behavior pattern can eventually “burn” near-permanent pathways into the brain – inducing permanent behavior modifications. This can get pretty ugly.

   Compressor (1-10, M2) This program works just like the “Compressor” program that deckers use. In fact, it IS the same program that deckers use. Unlike most proware, this is available at standard prices.

   Descrambler (1-8, M7) This program opposes the encryption program. It must be used in conjunction with gear capable of picking up the form of communications in question.

   Encryption (1-10, M3). This handy program encrypts and decrypts (given the key) communications. While it’s usually combined with communications gear of one kind or another, it can be used on to organize and interpret private oral codes at 2x it’s base rating, or used on written communications at 5x it’s base rating (Mostly because such forms of communications give anybody who tries to decipher them a lot less to work on). In any case, even with the key, an encryption program cannot decipher things encrypted at greater levels then it’s own – at least in any reasonable time. This tends to limit the encryption level which may be employed in a communication system.

   Illusionist (1-10, M6). This potent little program translates neural or cybrenetic “requests” into full-simsense sensory impressions or code which any ASIST interface will translate. While handy if you want to share your impressions or memories with someone – and quite invaluable in the construction of game programs or fantastic experiences – this can also be used as a way to brainwash people, to cause incredible pleasure or pain, and as a kind of anti-decker “weapon”. The program’s target number depends on the complexity and scope of the effect desired, or on the will rating of a resisting “target”. Preprogrammed sequences permit the user to add his Int rating to the effective level of the program.

   Mentat (1-5, M5). These programs are “cognitive enhancers”, designed to boost their user’s ability to reason, recall and organize data, apply formal logic, exclude emotional considerations, and focus. In effect, they increase the user’s intelligence and enhance his or her ability to perform technical work. Using such a program provides a “task pool” which can be used in conjunction with any (relevant) technical, knowledge, or build/repair skill. L1; +1 Int. L2; +1 Int, +1 Task Pool. L3; +2 Int, +1 Task Pool. L4; +2 Int, +2 Task Pool. L5; +2 Int, +3 Task Pool.

   Multiplexer (1-9, M1). This useful program uses a selection of data-compression, sample-reconstruction, channel-switching, and burst-transmission effects, to effectively multiply the number of channels a comminations system can keep open by this program’s rating plus one. Programs which are restricted to a specific communications system (radio, telephone, or whatever) are available for only 75% of the base price. This is (fairly obviously), only useful in conjunction with a communications system.

   Resource Libraries are application programs that come with built-in libraries of specialized software, prefigured solutions, help files, limited “guidance”- class expert systems (Q.V.), an encyclopedic collection of online reference books, and so on. Early versions of such programs include things like AutoCAD/CAM, the best current mathematics or word-processing programs, business software “packages”, etcetera. By the 2050’s, these have improved quite a lot. Such programs give their user’s a notable skill bonus, as well as a task bonus reducing the base time required. Sadly, this is limited to those skills which consume plenty of time, and require at least a little intellectual work. Such a program isn’t a lot of help when you’re shoveling a load of coal. They’re of limited use (Half value) in hands-on applications (E.G.; They’re great for research but of limited use in court. A relevant “library” may help a woodcarver plan – but he has to do the carving by hand) – and apply fully to things like accounting, legal research, engineering design, and so on. Thanks to the fact that they’re in extremely common use, the cost of a “Resource Library” is fairly reasonable. A “Basic” resource library runs about 150 MP, costs 3000 NY, supplies a +1 task bonus, and provides a skill bonus according to the chart below. A “Thorough” resource library, like most of the ones in “professional” use, runs around 600 MP, costs 30,000 NY, supplies a +2 task bonus, and grants a skill bonus as shown below. “Complete” resource libraries are relatively rare, since they take up 6000 MP (or more), require a parallel-processing mainframe host to run on – and cost roughly 600,000 NY. On the other hand, they provide a +3 task bonus and a skill bonus as shown below.

Skill Bonus For

Basic

Thorough

Complete

General Skill

+1

+2

+3

Concentration

+2

+3

+4

Specialization

+3

+5

+5

   There are, of course, special cases; “Programming” resource libraries cost only half the usual price, but don’t add to their user’s effective skill. It’s hard for a program to help you write programs. Magical RL’s exist – but are generally limited to magical theory (Spell design mostly) – although there are a few programs to assist hermetic magi in conjuration by generating circles and so on (These are ordinarily restricted to the “basic” level). Magical resource libraries are rare enough to cost twice as much as usual.

   Sensory Analysis (1-5. M8 for AudioVisual, M5 for one or the other, M3 for taste and/or scent, and M1 for touch. -M2 for “Filtration” only, -M3 for a specific function only. Minimum M1). These programs “process” input from a cybersense, performing functions such as analyzing voiceprints, image enhancement, finding the source of sounds, magnification, and so on. The target number for any specific “stunt” is set by the GM, but the test is generally unopposed. The user may add his or her Int to the effective rating of such a program, but this takes a good deal of time. Analysis programs may also be used to simply augment the user’s natural sensory sensitivity – reducing the target numbers for appropriate perception tests by 1/2 the rating of the program, rounded up.

Filtration Programs can only be used to screen out extraneous sensory inputs, such as “background” noise when you’re trying to eavesdrop, the lightshow during a concert – or the effects of many of the distracting illusion spells.

Specific Functions include things like the classic “Sound Locator” (tells you exactly where a noise came from), Magnification (telescopic or microscopic, can be used to reduce range target penalties by the program’s level, as well as to keep an eye on things), an Autoscanner (uses pattern-detection, templates, and a very limited “expert” system to “tag” probable ambush points, hidden weapons, observers, and probable unarmed attackers. Reduces the target numbers for spotting such items as above. Running it does tend to make the user look a bit “twitchy”), Sonar (This requires both high-frequency hearing and a way to generate ultrasonic pulses, but drastically reduces the penalties for any form of visual impairment. Special tricks may require rolls), Stress Analysis (Permits the user to try and detect lies) – and Rangefinder (Pretty obvious. This program can also be used to measure angles, velocity, heights, and so on, by computing visual angles).

 

 

   Game masters may opt to require an enhanced cybersense package to take full advantage of some programs and program functions. This may cost nothing save a few NY, but functions demanding extreme sensitivity, and/or flexibility, may demand an upgrade costing .1 or even .2 Ess. Q.V.; Camera Cybereyes and Cyberear Recorders.

 

 

   Simulators include vehicle, combat, and other game programs far too numerous to count. They’re extremely cheap – and all too common to suit most mothers. They serve no “useful” purpose save one; such programs are often extremely detailed and realistic. Most of them use simsense interfaces and present the actual controls and readouts of whatever-it-is the user is supposedly piloting. Anyone who makes a point of fooling around with these programs very often will become reasonably familiar with a great variety of vehicles (They’ll be able to read the control panel, know what switches do what – and get a -1 on their target numbers if and when they have to default to their reaction in place of an appropriate piloting skill) at a cost of some 5-10 NY a week.

   Synthesizer (1-10, M1). This program “translates” computer or cybernetic “requests” into standard audio (Voice, music, etc) signal formats. It’s popular with communications gear and datajacks, as it allows “voice” transmissions without any ned to actually speak (This also quadruples the number of spoken words allowed as a free action) as well as with voice modulator (play- back) cybersystems, since a purely computer-generated voice – even a version of “yours” – is totally masked (Minimum rating of 2 to “speak” over cyberlinks, 4 to come up with a reasonable approximation of your voice on a consistent basis. “Voices”, and various “effects”, may be preprogrammed [+Int/2 on effective rating], or improvised).

Expert Systems:

   Expert programs come in two basic types; “Guidance Programs” have one (or more) skills, but don’t confer them on the user. They simply provide directions, as if you had an expert on the phone. Such programs are relatively common (for example, there’s one in each MedKit), don’t require “skillwires”, and rarely have a “skill level” outside the range of 3 to 6 (even lousy programs have lots of references). Some also have “personalities”, either in an attempt to be user-friendly, or to limit the uses they’re put to. The price of a guidance program varies with how common it is, but is about equal to the price of an equivalent skillsoft. They’re not quite as “immediately” useful as a skillsoft, but you can learn from them. Full expert systems are capable of acting independently. They can augment the skills of a living user – but do not require one. Programs in this category cost as much, and are as hard to make, as a skillsoft of twice their level. Working on their own they have an initiative roll of (10-Rating+3D6) and an effective skill equal to their level. Fortunately, or unfortunately, depending on how you look at it, an expert system can’t be given creativity, inspiration, or originality. They can’t perform original research or create original designs – although they may refine and implement ideas. If they’re being used to augment somebody else’s abilities, simply add their rating to that of their user’s. Magical skills are an exception to the rule; an expert system can only handle, or aid in, those aspects of magical skills that mundanes can use.

   Expert systems are automatically capable of taking directions in whatever language they were “programmed in”. Given that the necessary vocabulary tends to be somewhat limited, “extra” languages can be added at a cost of 1000 NY apiece.

   Some (reasonably) common “expert systems” include;

  • Autopilots: These usually include an appropriate vehicle skill specialization, etiquette-1 (In ground, air, or water, as relevant), sufficient storage memory for some maps, a locator chip and/or satellite system – and possibly gunnery skill (concentration in the specific vehicle), if it’s a military model. Such an autopilot is limited to a 1-die enhancement of the pilot’s skills – unless the vehicle is equipped to be run by computer/rigger control. In this case, the two ratings are added normally – or the autopilot can run things on it’s own with minimal human instruction.
  • Forgers: While print may be dying, it isn’t dead yet – and items such as ID cards, security tags, licences, papers, and documents are still widely used in supplemental and low-security roles. This particular system is designed to fake them. While effective use of this program often requires some special printing, laminating, paper-processing, and imprinting, gear, the cost of such equipment is negligible (around 1000 NY) when compared to the cost of the system that operates it.
  • Housekeepers: Servant (Housekeeper concentration. Yes, this does include cooking) 2, Pilot-1 (Household Robot). 18,000 NY, complete with a small selection of housekeeping robots to run.
  • Knowbots: These are matrix search engines, fully capable of collecting information from public sources and sources to which the user can provide a passcode (perhaps sadly, they are not designed to penetrate private databases), and compiling a detailed, readable, and indexed report on it for their user. Knowbots effectively have decking- 1 and matrix etiquette-3. Their search cycle has a base time of two hours, and uses standard information-search rules. If the user DOES have relevant passcodes, such an advantage may add successes or reduce the search’s target number as the GM rules. Knowbots may be “left online” to monitor developing situations. A “knowbot” program takes up about 200 MP and costs some 20,000 NY.
  • Mathematics: Fairly straightforward. The skill involved is Physical Sciences / Engineering / Mathematics Specialization. Interestingly, this program is useful in decking and in the use of technical and build/repair skills – effectively adding half it’s rating (rounded up) to the user’s hacking pool and relevant skills. As a note, it’s also one of the commonest, and therefore cheapest, expert programs around. It’s available for only 50% of the normal cost.
  • Personality Simulators: While most think of these as “toys”, they can actually be extremely useful. On the most obvious level, a decent PS program can stand in for someone when they’re busy – or wish to totally “mask” their true identity – at least as far as phone and matrix activities go. They can provide advice, a certain amount of companionship, occupy children, and even teach or act as assistants if they’ve been given appropriate skills. More notably, they can be used to enhance someone. While this does tend to provoke ribbing about “people without personalities of their own”, even a “partial” simulation of the personality of a skillful diplomat, politician, or orator, can be quite helpful socially.
  • Secretaries: While expensive, a “decently”-rated “secretarial” expert program is cheaper then actually hiring a living human being. The “standard” program comes with Corporate Drone/Office Worker/Secretary-3, two Etiquette-2 skills (As appropriate), four “extra” languages, and Electronics/Telecommunications-2 (this includes generating an appropriate “persona” for vid- phone connections). Another very common system, the “Secretary” is available for 25,000 NY, slightly less then half of it’s 52,000 NY calculated price. Besides – while they may be somewhat less competent then many human secretaries, they’re never sick, in a bad mood, disloyal, or entangled in office politics.
  • Security Programs are simply full expert systems designed to identify intruders, notify the appropriate personnel, and (sometimes) operate automatic weapons. Unfortunately, these suffer from a basic problem: they need to track a great many inputs simultaneously to be useful – increasing their size by a factor of 5 – and they must run very very quickly to keep up with changing situations, which makes them difficult to program, doubling their price. They’re often still cheaper than hiring a bunch of guards however.
  • Tactical programs are simply full expert systems designed to assist the user in combat. These suffer from two basic problems: they need extensive situational information, restricting them to those with at least cybereyes and cyberears, and they must run very very quickly – doubling the base price. Since they’re generally highly illegal as well, grotesque markups are all too common. Still, for those few who can afford to use them, tactical programs can provide a substantial advantage.

Databases:

   Databases are straightforward: you load your system up with a pile of information and hope that some of it turns out to be useful.

Sample Databases:

MP

20,000 pages of plain text or 100 Popular Novels.

01

One fully-illustrated “encyclopedia”-class book, large textbook, atlas, or similar volume.

01

Twenty fully-annotated spell formula. While this contradicts the book, mages can study – and learn – a spell in a single day. This limits how long a spell formula can be.

01

Sixty high-quality photographs.

01

The Handbook Of Chemistry and Physics.

02

Detailed, annotated, city street map(s).

01

-With water, power, and sewers, indicated.

03

-With available floorplans.

05

Detailed, statewide, geological survey.

04

Set of City Guidebooks.

01

Current CD-ROM/Audio Disc (For Comparison).

5-10

A “Full Set” of “Encyclopedias”.

20

Complete Reference “Library”.

200

12 Minutes of CD-Quality Sound.

01

2 Minutes of “Extended Spectrum”, “Ultra-Quality”, Sound suitable for bothering bats and whales.

01

30 Seconds of ACT Format Simsense.

01

10 Seconds of Low-Definition AudioVideo*.

01

3 Seconds of High-Definition AudioVideo*.

01

1 Second of Trideo/Simsense/Panoramic HD Avid*.

01

   *Commercial compression reduces this to 1/6’th. Further compression can be achieved readily, but will reduce the quality of the recording porportionately.

How Big Is A MegaPulse?:

   While ShadowRun never addresses this question directly, the books do provide some “indirect” information on the subject; We know that hermetric libraries require roughly 1/2 cubic meter of storage space per 100 MP – and a quick calculation from that reveals that a book around the size of an encyclopedia contains roughly 1 MP of data in print and illustrations. Camera Cybereyes pick up video images at a rate of 1 MP per second – and a Video Link records low-definition video at around 6 MP per minute. The current video standard is going to be upgraded to a “high-definition” digital standard – which leaves the current standard as “low-definition” video. Both offer known data-transmission rates. The calculations do not agree precisely, but they do give a general result; one megapulse is equal to something in the 60-70 megabyte range. Given the powers-of-two structure of digital systems, the answer is virtually inevitable; one megapulse equals 64 megabytes.

   Why is this important? Well, for the most part, it isn’t – until somebody wants to know whether he / she can carry around the contents of a small law library, a set of briefings – and a detailed map of the amazon basin – in their 30 MP of headware memory. On such an occasion it can be quite helpful to have some idea of just how much information a “MegaPulse” represents.

 

Storage Media: NY  

  • DS MiniCD. Maximum of 100 MP. Archaic, like “floppy disks” are now. 5NY
  • HD/DS MiniCD’s. Maximum of 600 MP. The equivalent of current computer discs. 10NY
  • Optical Memory Chips. Maximum of 1200 MP. The equivalent of current jump drives, fits standard chip- and data-jacks and includes processing capacity as usual. 20xCapacity NY
  • Optical Storage Chips (Non-Processing, otherwise as above). 2400 MP maximum, 1000 MP standard). .5x Capacity NY
  • Hardcopy. Books. See “Database” listing above.

 

Acquiring “Published” or Library-Class Data, Per MP: 

Form

Special Order Data

Common Data

Broadcast Data

Music, Vid, Etc

Download

1 NY

.5 NY

Note 2

Note 3

On MiniCD

10 NY

2 NY

1 NY

.2 NY

On OSC’s

12 NY

3 NY

1 NY

.2 NY

Hard Copy

20 NY

15 NY

10 NY

N/A

   2) May require a yearly subscription – or a .2 to 5 NY fee for downloading any particular item.

   3) With commercials free. If you want it without them, you’ll just have to pay for it or pirate it – usually as per “Broadcast Data”.

   “Special Order” information is the stuff that only sells to a small audience, but is freely available to those who’re interested. It includes things like mage libraries, detailed astronomical charts, magazines on outre’ topics, and so on. A lot of user’s simply look this kind of thing up in commercial databases if they want to look at it for some reason. The kind of stuff that a store would have to special-order for you.

   “Common” Data is the kind of information which you find in book- and video-stores. How-to books, religious texts, best-seller fiction, the technical manuals for common vehicles and equipment, and “tabletop” books.

   “Broadcast” Data is the stuff that people want you to have; current news articles, tourist guides, older works of fiction, religious pamphlets, and so on.

   “Music and Video” includes most entertainment data – including old movies and network programming. Perhaps sadly, current “hits” tend to cost considerably more.

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