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THE NEW FLESH Titans. Swifts. Dynamos.

THE NEW FLESH

Titans. Swifts. Dynamos.

INTRODUCTION

 

What Is The New Flesh?

Tyger! Tyger! burning bright In the forests of the night, What immortal hand or eye Could frame thy fearful symmetry?

The New Flesh is EON’s third fanbook for the Aberrant setting, and is also the third in a series of sourcebooks that take a close look at the potential and ramifications of the Mega-Attributes in the Nova Age. Having been preceded by the unofficial Brainwaves and EON’s Forceful Person- alities sourcebooks, The New Flesh in turn focuses on the Physical Mega-Attributes. As with all EON fanbooks, this piece of science fiction was inspired by the writers and cre- ators of the Aeon Continuum gamelines over at White Wolf. Mega-Physical novas (and novas in general) are still a very new class of being—a new flesh—in these early decades of the 21st Century. Gifted with nearly unparalleled might, agility and vigor, the Mega-Physical novas have amazed the world for over a decade with their athletic and martial feats. From the Mega-Strong Titans to the Mega-Dexterous Swifts to the Mega-Vigorous Dynamos, they have turned their superhuman physical capabilities towards whatever ends they’ve seen fit. Due to the efforts of the more altruistic of these novas, disasters have been blunted, natural disasters averted, famines ended and innocent lives protected. Unfortunately, other such novas have used their gifts to wage unjust war, destroy innocent people’s homes and businesses, engage in wanton violence, commit murder and take advantage of those weaker than themselves. In both cases Mega-Physical novas have given (at least some) base- lines reason to fear them, and it is only natural for such fears to spread to the general baseline population. The new flesh and the old flesh have managed to coexist for nearly two decades, albeit with some cost and discomfort. Whether or not this state of coexistence can be maintained or is doomed to degenerate into open conflict remains to be seen.

Biotechnology in Aberrant

In what distant deeps or sloes Burnt the fire of thine eyes? On what wings dare he aspire? What the hand dare sieze the fire?

And what shoulder, & what art, Could twist the sinews of thy heart? And when thy heart began to beat, What dread hand? & what dread feet?

What the hammer? what the chain? In what furnace was thy brain? What the anvil? what dread grasp Dare its deadly terrors clasp?

When the stars threw down their spears, And water’d heaven with their tears, Did he smile his work to see? Did he who made the Lamb make thee? - “The Tyger”, by William Blake

While they are the premier example of such, Mega- Physical novas aren’t the only new flesh to have come onto the scene in the early Nova Age. Despite the best efforts of Project Utopia’s Technological Regulation Department, cer- tain organizations and individuals have managed to make great advancements in the field of biotechnology. In addi-

INTRODUCTION

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tion to the expected advancements in medical technology and military bioweapons, certain nova biotech researchers have also explored means of augmenting animal species to attain full baseline-caliber sapience. Genetic engineer- ing can also be employed to create new species of animals, plants and other lifeforms, the purposes of which vary as wildly as the desires of their creators. Faced with the prowess of Mega-Physical novas, much biotech research has focused on human augmentation in an attempt to give baselines an edge against nova foes and competitors. New drugs, cybernetics, bionics, bio- tech implants and genetic engineering now provide such edges, although they tend to be pitifully small ones when compared with nova capabilities and often impose a heavy cost on the user. The Heaven Thunder Triad has likewise not been idle, as they have expanded the range of drugs created though their processing of nova bodies quite a bit. With the potential for such novel lifeforms to be introduced into Earth’s ecology, often without any hope of recall and containment, the world can only wait for the consequences to unfold.

Combat in Aberrant

Fighting, warfare and the martial arts have always been popular themes in the comic books, as they are lit- erally packed with characters with backgrounds in the mili- tary and/or the martial arts. Captain America, Batman, Nick Fury, Wonder Woman, Wolverine, and Green Arrow are only a few of the better-known examples. Things are only a little different in the world of Aberrant, as more than a few Mega-Physical novas find themselves attracted to the life of the soldier, combat elite or faction field operative. Others who eschew such activities can all too easily find themselves in circumstances where such training is neces- sary for their survival. The martial arts are doing well in the early 21st Century, as they have proved popular among novas of all stripes. Although some poorly informed novas dismiss them as ineffectual, weapons both new and old are often brought into play on the battlefields of the Nova Age. The New Flesh takes a closer look at all of these aspects of combat in the world of Aberrant, examines their implications and provides guidelines for integrating them into your chronicle.

Tyger! Tyger! burning bright In the forests of the night, What immortal hand or eye, Dare frame thy fearful symmetry? - “The Tyger”, by William Blake

How to Use This Book

While seeing how physically powerful novas will fit into an ongoing story is pretty straightforward, there are some non-obvious ramifications that need to be taken into account. This book is intended to help you on how best to both keep your Titans, Swifts and Dynamos from wrecking the plot and ensure that they get their chance to shine along with the Mega-Mental and Mega-Social novas. Page through Chapter One for a small sampling of what the biotechnology of the Nova Age has to offer your play- ers, both in terms of advantages and threats to their lives. If you’re a player, look through Chapter Two for expanded information on playing combat-specialized characters and Chapter Four for more information on the Physical Mega-Attributes and the new enhancements and aberrations. Also of interest to players will be the Appen- dices, which hold a grab-bag of new options for their char- acters and expanded listings for the Mega-Mental and Mega-Social Attributes. If you’re a Storyteller, check out Chapter Three for advice on handling Mega-Physical characters in your Aber- rant chronicle, along with story hooks and ideas for chroni- cles focused on Mega-Physical characters. After that, browse through the other chapters for addi- tional material to use in your chronicle, and judge for your- self which abilities you will allow in it, based on the advice presented here and your own vision of Aberrant.

Breakdown

The New Flesh is divided into four chapters and three appendices:

Chapter 1: Unnatural Selection talks about the bio- technology of the Nova Age; of which new drugs (nova- derived and otherwise), bioweapons, gengineered lifeforms and augmentation cyberware are only a few examples. Background details on the individuals and organizations behind such developments, their customers and their foes are also examined. Chapter 2: Blood and Thunder gives expanded rules for combat in Aberrant. Also included are expanded list- ings for weapons, new combat-oriented Mega-Mental and Mega-Social enhancements and an array of new combat- oriented Body Modifications. Chapter 3: Storytelling offers advice for Storytellers on how to rein in Mega-Physical characters when necessary and how best to integrate them into a chronicle. Also shown is what it takes—in Aberrant terms—to accomplish the feats that the Mega-Physicals are famous for. Rounding out the chapter is a closer look at the public defenders of the Nova Age.

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Chapter 4: This Different Flesh provides a close look at all three Physical Mega-Attributes and their associated perks and drawbacks, along with new enhancements, aber- rations and some good strategies for using the Physical Mega-Attributes to their best effect. In keeping with the expanded rules presented in the Aberrant Players Guide, Physical Mega-Attribute listings for ratings at 6 dots and higher have been established and are ready for use in higher-powered Aberrant chronicles. Also included are an in-depth look at the Body Modification quantum power, an array of new Body Modifications and a collection of new physically-oriented quantum powers. Appendix 1: New Miscellanea contains a variety of new physical and/or combat-related items; including Merits, Flaws, a Background, Background Enhancements, new nova-only Abilities and a nova-only language. Appendix 2: Mental and Social Mega-Attributes beyond 5 dots details the Mental and Social Mega-Attri- bute listings for ratings at 6 dots and higher, ready for use in higher-powered Aberrant chronicles. Appendix 3: Mental and Social Mega-Attribute feats presents a look at the bare-bone basics of what novas with a given Mental or Social Mega-Attribute should be capable of in real-world terms.

Lexicon

Accessorized: A term for baseline humans (or more rarely novas) who have been implanted with augmentation cyberware. Amazon: A nickname for female Mega-Strong novas. Other nicknames include battle-axes and Buffys. Boosted: Slang term for an animal that has been either bioengineered or altered via nova powers in order to attain baseline human-equivalent sapience.

Brick: A derogatory term for a stupid and slow-witted nova that has both Mega-Strength and Mega-Stamina, along with protective powers such as Armor and/or Invul- nerability. Cyberware: A term for bionic, cybernetic and biotech implants. Dynamo: A nickname for novas with Mega-Stamina. Other nicknames include everlasts and Rasputins. Energizer: A Mega-Vigorous nova who can keep going and going and going. “A couple of energizers were laying into each other and we knew it was going to last all night.” Frankenstein: A nickname for baseline humans who have had excessive amounts of augmentation cyberware implanted, usually in a vain attempt to match the capabili- ties of a nova. Gee-Jay: Someone who has little or nothing in the way of defenses and can usually be knocked out with one or two hits. Derived from “glass jaw”. Herc: Derogatory nickname for Mega-Strong novas who show off their ability to bend, crush and throw heavy objects with little effort for attention and/or money. Roll: To easily and playfully defeat someone, typically used in casual conversation. “I’m going to roll that guy!” Swift: A nickname for Mega-Dexterous novas. Other nicknames include Houdinis, prowlers, sneaks and stalkers. Speedster: A nickname for Mega-Dexterous novas capable of moving at extreme speeds, typically via the Hyper-Movement power. Other nicknames include blurs and speed demons. Titan: A nickname for Mega-Strong novas. Other nick- names include blockbusters, John Henrys, powerhouses, and tanks. Wall: A nova with high defensive capabilities, but little or no offensive capability.

and tanks. Wall: A nova with high defensive capabilities, but little or no offensive capability. INTRODUCTION

CHAPTER ONE:

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Biotechnology of the Nova Age

ings and gifts of environmental recovery, they have also loosed many new highly addictive drugs and horrifying bio- weapons. The Nova Age has also seen the development of genetic engineering, bionic prostheses and cybernetic implants, the likes of which had previously only been seen in science fiction. Perhaps the two most frightening advancements—as far as baseline society is concerned—have been the poten- tial to create novel types of sapient life and artificial novas. (Readers can refer to pp. 60-69 for details on these crea- tures.) As of 2015 the rate of biotechnological advancement is only becoming faster, despite the best attempts of Project Utopia’s Technological Regulation division and Project Pro- teus to slow it down. As with all else in the Nova Age only one thing is cer- tain: conflict is at hand.

Biotech Producers, Customers & Enemies

In the 19th Century, an Augustinian monk by the name of Gregor Johann Mendel discovered the laws of heredity though experiments with controlled breeding of pea plants. Ever since then, the notion that humans would one day be able to alter the mechanisms of life itself in any earthly life- form—humankind included—has inspired equal measures of dreams and nightmares in the public imagination. The optimists among them hoped of using that poten- tial to alleviate human suffering, protect against famine and remedy some of the worst aspects of the human condi- tion. The pessimists feared the possibilities of engineered diseases that could wipe out entire nations, the abuse of defenseless humans for medical experimentation and the alteration of people into abhuman creatures. Many religious leaders decried the idea of Man attempting to alter the designs of the divine creator(s) as hubris, and deemed those who would practice and advance this new science as blasphemers. Twisted souls realized the possibilities the new science could one day offer to sate their darker desires, which general society condemned as barbaric, decadent and degrading. Some pragmatists and realists noted that tinkering of this sort had been going on ever since humankind began practicing agriculture and domesticating animals, albeit in a very clumsy “hit or miss” manner. By the second decade of the Nova Age, much more about the sciences of biology and biotechnology has been discovered, yet the general attitudes of the public towards them are little changed. Over a century’s worth of such achievements and atrocities by baselines have seen many of the optimists’ hopes and the pessimists’ fears become concrete reality. With the coming of the novas biotechnol- ogy has advanced considerably in both the beneficial and detrimental areas. While the efforts of novas (Mega-Intelligent and other- wise) have bestowed an array of medical wonders (some of them derived from unethical practices), agricultural bless-

As with any other field of human scientific endeavor, the motivations behind the advances in biotechnology are many and varied. Here’s a quick and dirty overview of who the players (legal, illegal and extra-legal) are in the biotech scene circa 2015.

Who’s Making It?

Given the vast rewards to be reaped from biotech research, it’s almost easier to make note of who isn’t work- ing to produce new biotech of one kind or another. Practi- cally all of the major nova factions have reasons to engage in biotech research, adding them to the list of governments, biotech corporations and criminal organizations that have been engaging in it for decades on end. Mix in a sprinkling of Mega-Intelligent nova biotech researchers toiling in their individual hidden labs, and you get a very fertile ground from which anything could sprout. Terraforming: Project Utopia has been the undisputed leader in this field of biotech for nearly two decades, as the effects of the Zushima macrobe, CFC-eating bacteria and

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ABERRANT metal-sequestering plants can attest. PU’s scientists have repaired much of Earth’s prior ecological damage;

metal-sequestering plants can attest. PU’s scientists have repaired much of Earth’s prior ecological damage; neu- tralizing pollutants and introducing bioengineered and/ or cloned wildlife into empty ecological niches. They have also attempted to make permanent improvements (from the viewpoint of the average person) in the form of Operations Eden and Genesis. Unfortunately for them, the departure of Antaeus from their ranks in 2009 has slowed their progress down consid- erably. Others such as nova Levia Mindel (Aberrant: Project Utopia, p. 20) have made the most of this opportunity to catch up and take the lead away from Utopia. Agriculture: Even though a myriad of bioengineered livestocks and crops have been produced by Project Utopia, they are only at the leading position of a close race and only for the moment. One of their major achievements was the creating strains of gengineered tobacco and coca that provide a wide array of drugs to Third World residents who could not afford them when they could only be synthesized in expensive factories. Most of the First World nations and biotech corpora- tions have not been idle in the meantime, as their bioengi- neered agricultural wares have always provided PU with stiff competition. Russia has been no exception to this. After their creation of the first reliable strain of non- seasonal fruit genomes they have made further advances, creating vegetable and grain crops designed to thrive in the harsh climes of the steppes and tundra. The success of bioengineered of livestock has also resulted in certain bio- tech producers branching out into the market for bioengi- neered pets. While most such “tweaked” pets are perfectly innocuous, others are close to being considered blacktech by Project Utopia. Medicine: Project Utopia remains the hands-down leader in this field. They have produced cures for many - if not all - forms of cancer, STDs and other diseases and con- tinue to do so on a seemingly monthly basis. Project Utopia biologists pioneered the fields of cloning synthetic human

organs and human neural repair. The medical corporations have competed as best they can, producing gene therapy viruses such as ILGF (Aber- rant: Year One, p. 77) among other small medical miracles. As for the darker side of medical biotechnology, Kuro-Tek is the king of that particular hill. Illegal human cloning pro- cedures and black market human organ transplants are just two of their more notorious services. Under the guidance of the Apothecary, the Terat Har- vesters have been conducting much research on nova genet- ics and the effects of high levels of taint on the same. There is simply no telling what their efforts may have resulted in. Drugs: Thanks to Triton Pharmaceutical’s access to nova biochemistries, Utopia has patented nearly too many truly beneficial drugs to be easily counted by the average person on the street. They also still produce the majority of the world’s supplies of adrenocilin and moxinoquantamine, although some novas have lately begun to quietly shun their use.

Faced with such a flood of superior and often cheaper Utopian product, the older pharmaceutical corporations haven’t remained very competitive, with several of the older companies going bankrupt. The other field of pharmaceuti- cal innovation has been that of illegal drugs, recreational and otherwise. Kuro-Tek, the Terat Pandaimonion and C-Z Megasyndicate lead the underworld in the discovery of new designer drugs, most of which are intended for baselines but with a few nova drugs as well. The Heaven Thunder Triad remains by far the major producer in the hideous industry of nova-derived drugs, with the C-Z Megasyndicate, Kuro-Tek and the Terat Pandaimonion having only minor small-scale operations. Biotech Materials: This field of biotechnology had never attracted much notice before the Nova Age, and still has remained in the background for the most part. Biotech companies have produced wares such as bioengineered hard transparent resins that are as strong as surgical steel, safe high-quality biodegradable plastics based on polysac- charides (sugar polymers) and the first truly economical means of creating spider silk using gengineered cutworms. The creation (read: secretion) of eufiber by Anibál Buen- dia was until recently the only remarkable advancement (by early Nova Age standards) in the field. That changed with rumors of a “new and improved” version of eufiber that leaves Buendia’s “glorified hair shirts” for dead. Substanti- ated reports of a few independent novas utilizing this “neo- fiber” has garnered much interest, as has the hearsay that the C-Z Megasyndicate has an effective monopoly on its sale and production. Bioweapons: While the First World nations have always regarded biological warfare as a method of last resort, they have never hesitated to develop weaponized agents either

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Wildcard Producers

 

Biotech Implants: Project Utopia initially pioneered this field with the creation of novel synthetic glands such as the disulfram implant (Aberrant: Year One, p. 75), but hasn’t gone beyond the initial concept of what amounts to an automatically-regulated internal supply of one specific drug. Most of the research along those lines by other groups have also remained small-scale, with the C-Z Megasyndicate proving to be the surprising exception. Their biotech opera- tion has been producing a potent array of bioengineered organs and limbs that easily qualify as “augmentation cyberware” by Project Utopia’s standards. Although they haven’t implanted it in anyone save a select group of their more reliable enforcers, the Megasyndicate has yet another potent edge to use against their enemies. Novel Sapient Lifeforms: While the major factions, governments and corporations are certainly all aware of the possibility of creating new forms of sapient life through bio- technology, they have little incentive to do so themselves. Aside from the ethical questions and human rights issues, why go to the trouble when disposable baseline human labor is so cheap? This field of biotechnology has thus been left to the organized crime groups and those Mega- Intelligent nova biotech researchers who have an interest. The prior will certainly seek to market them as truly exotic pets/slaves for the extremely wealthy and decadent. The motivations of the latter can and will vary wildly - one such researcher could regard her creations as nothing more than specialized guardians or servants, while another might see his creations as literally being his children. The research projects in question are not known to have produced any such creatures, but if a success has been achieved it hasn’t been advertised. Artificial Novas: In these early days of the Nova Age, every government knows that novas have the potential to

be most flexible (if willful) weapons of mass destruction ever seen on Earth. The dream of finding some way to make their own novas from their most loyal and dedicated soldiers has been the impetus behind many black ops research projects. Given that humankind’s current knowledge of the eruption process and its genetic antecedent is still quite murky, the extreme risks involved in such a process are considered by most to be purely hypothetical. As far as is known, all of those research projects have remained fruitless. However, with that much money and effort behind the researchers, all that would be required is a little luck at the right time and

There are two possible sources of biotech that haven’t been discussed in the preceding list for one simple reason. Those groups are the Aberrants and the Mathematician’s Terats at CORE Technologies. Since they lack any predilection for or against producing biotech save for their personal ethics, their possible efforts in and reasons for the production of biotech are highly unpredictable. Along with the individual Mega-Intelligent biotech researchers, biotech researchers from their ranks could plausibly produce any biotech item that the Storyteller wants them to, given sufficient time and resources.

themselves or by a subcontracted corporate supplier. The coming of the Nova Age has only given them more incen- tive to discover newer and usually more lethal weapons to protect against the perceived threat posed by novas. With the increasing level of conflict in the Nova Age, it’s becoming a question of when—not if—such weapons will be used. Project Utopia has also made advances, albeit their bioweapons such as their Virally Tailored Poisons (Aberrant Worldwide: Phase I, p. 115) are usually intended for indi- vidual targets instead of entire populations. DeVries produces quite a variety of poisons and gases for use by their combat elites. Kuro-Tek has been the most innovative bioweapon producer on the planet; with an array of poisons, gases, weaponized diseases and biochemical weapons that even the First World governments of 2015 cannot match. The only other organized crime group to have a bioweapons program is the C-Z Megasyndicate, and like Utopia they focus on weapons that affect individuals rather than masses of people. Cybernetic Implants/Bionic Prostheses: Project Utopia has publicly made a distinction between those mechani- cal implants and prostheses intended to restore disabled humans to a normal level of function and those intended to raise humans beyond that level. The prior kind of such devices (commonly labeled as “therapeutic cyberware”) has been allowed to develop with minimal Utopian restriction and is available to the public. Unsurprisingly, Japan is by far the most advanced pro- ducer of therapeutic cyberware on the planet, and their prices reflect that fact. The latter kind—what PU calls “black- tech” or “augmentation cyberware”—is heavily suppressed by PU’s Technological Regulation section and Project Pro- teus. It’s even less of a surprise that Kuro-Tek currently pro- duces most of the world’s blacktech cyberware, although the Heaven Thunder Triad has taken second place in the market.

place for a critical breakthrough to be made

if it hasn’t

been already. The question is whether those efforts will pro- duce gods or monsters.

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Who’s Buying It?

The field of biotech research and production would never have gotten off the ground if there hadn’t been an eagerly waiting market for it beforehand. Just about every- one on the planet has purchased many wares that are either directly or indirectly derived from the beneficial products of the biotech industry, even if it’s just gengineered produce from the local grocery or farmer’s market. On the other hand, those who purchase the varieties of biotech that are

to get away with using them with relative impunity in the manner of DeVries.

 

The Directive: Despite their well-hidden connection

with Kuro-Tek, the Directive is willing to purchase anything they consider useful for their goal of controlling the nova population. Aside from the variety of anti-nova biotech pur-

 

chased by Project Utopia, the Directive also has strong inter- ests in augmentation cyberware and new drugs that could be used for interrogation and brainwashing.

resticted if not outright illegal tend to be a far more select clientele. Nova Factions: The major organizations among the erupted populace sometimes do have uses for restricted biotech, though they are often only minor customers at best in that market.

Aberrants: Despite their general “good guy” per-

spective, there is simply no telling what future circumstances and problems the Aberrants may end up facing that could be resolved with restricted biotech items. Here again the Aberrants are an unpredictable wildcard in regards to the restricted biotech market. National Governments, Corporations and Organized Crime: Given their limited access to nova capabilities, these groups share a great interest in any items of restricted bio- tech that they deem potentially useful. That said, they do have individual tendencies as to what kinds of items they are more likely to buy. National governments prefer items that could increase their military capabilities, bolster their economies and ensure the productivity of their citizens. Profitable items are what corporations most often buy, with items useful for protecting their investments coming a close second. Organized crime groups also go for the profitable items, especially when the restrictions on said items can help drive up the street resale price considerably. Items suited for small-scale warfare are also favored by organized crime groups, as they can literally come under attack from either law enforcement or their competitors at any time. Just about the only items these groups are leery of using are the large-scale bioweapons that could conceivably eradicate their own citizenry/customer base. Terrorist Groups: In the hands of those with sufficient ingenuity and/or insanity, nearly any item of restricted bio- tech can be useful in carrying out acts of terrorism. While bioweapons have always been a top draw for terrorists, the potential of other items haven’t been ignored. Addictive

Project Utopia/Proteus: When agents of Utopia’s

TechReg section (or their Proteus counterparts) want to examine a potentially suspect item of biotech, they can and sometimes do buy it, albeit using a series of dummy com- panies to do so. In this way they can examine the product thoroughly without alerting the sellers to Utopia’s possibly

hostile interest in their operation. Both groups also make a habit of quietly purchasing biotech items intended for use against novas, the better to learn how to defend against them and for possible use against hostile novas.

Teragen: As is to be expected, the subgroups of the

Teragen vary wildly in their purchases of restricted biotech. Those Harvesters working under the Apothecary’s direction make frequent use of unapproved (and very risky) transgenic gene therapies and drugs intended to help them control their excessive Taint. The Primacy has shown interest in large-scale bioweapons that could be used to subjugate the baseline masses instead of causing mass death. Discreetly providing access to needed unethical medical procedures & medical drugs has allowed the Casablancas to acquire many loyal baseline servants, whose lives or those of their loved ones would otherwise have been lost without such intervention. As for the Pandaimonion (and the Cult of Mal, to a much lesser degree), they are always on the lookout

for new addictive drugs with which to recruit junkies/thralls from their horde of baseline party people.

 
 

Story Seed: Bioterror Alert

 

DeVries: Combat elites on Anna DeVries’ payroll

 

A terrorist group has either acquired or is seeking to acquire

quickly learn that staying on it requires them to take advan- tage of every edge they can get hold of, legal or other- wise. Among the edges available from restricted biotech, DeVries elites have been known to employ augmentation cyberware, various drugs useful on the battlefield and even small-scale bioweapons on rare occasion. Other elite agen- cies vary in the stances on restricted biotech. Some tend to shun such items for professional and/or ethical reasons, while others lack the financial and legal resources required

a very nasty bioweapon in order to fulfill their goals, and player characters find out about this somehow. Depending

the

on

the terrorist group and the bioweapon in question, the player characters either can stop them publicly and make a big media splash, or they may have to take them out quietly and avoid causing a mass panic. The local authorities must also be taken into account - are they worth cooperating with in hopes of containing the threat, or will they make a blunder and inadvertently cause the bioweapon to be released?

 

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drugs are favored to subvert people in important positions, while the offer of unethical medical treatments is preferred when those being subverted must retain their full wits to be of use. Aside from the expected tactic of creating enhanced operatives, augmentation cyberware has also allowed sui- cide bombers to become living bombs themselves. A few recent terrorist incidents have seen the use of nonhuman living explosives. The biggest limiting factors on bioterror- ism have been that 1: it’s expensive, 2: it attracts unwanted attention to the suppliers and 3: law enforcement agencies spend a disproportionate amount of their budgets to pre- venting it. However with biotech becoming both cheaper and more easily available, further examples of biotech ter- rorism are sure to crop up in the coming decades. Wealthy Individuals: With extreme levels of personal resources on hand, the more amoral among the wealthy have not hesitated to explore new avenues for decadence offered by restricted biotech. Unethical medical procedures of all sorts—especially the anti-aging treatments—have always been in demand by the wealthy, often as a conse- quence of their experimentation with new recreational drugs. The opportunity to own near-human slaves (or condi- tioned fully-human slaves for the traditionalists) has likewise appealed to those who lust to have total control over other people, while others relish the idea of having “super-pets” at their beck and call. A particularly selfish wealthy person could even deploy a large-scale bioweapon purely out of spite - “if I can’t have what I want, I’ll ruin the world for everybody else!” Despite all that, the biotech items currently most favored among the wealthy are the “gene-boosting” process and personal augmentation cyberware. The prior item literally allows the offspring of the wealthy to have lit- eral inborn advantages over their lower-class peers, while the latter has become de rigeur among wealthy people who feel must remain competitive with novas by any means nec- essary. That isn’t a baseless worry for those wealthy people who must still work for a living, as losing their high-paying

jobs to novas is a genuine risk. For example, nearly all of the top baseline actors have had cosmetic augmentation cyber- ware installed, while few among the ranks of the top base- line CEOs circa 2015 are not using mental augmentation cyberware in order to compete with nova business tycoons. Ordinary People: Unsurprisingly, the only real differ- ence between the wealthy and everyday folk is the amount of money (and its associated social power) they possess. Aside from their own consciences and personal ethics, the only thing keeping Joe & Jane Sixpack from making frequent purchases of restricted biotech is lack of funds. This doesn’t mean that ordinary people won’t be buying restricted biotech, however. Instead, such items will be bought as a means to remedy what these people see (correctly or oth- erwise) as major problems in their lives. There are still many diseases and health problems that Project Utopia has yet to find cures for that unethical medical procedures and drugs can heal. “Gene-boosting” one’s children is also popular, given how so many people either have genetic flaws or simply want to give their kids a better shot at becoming wealthy. Augmentation cyberware is favored by people who feel that their natural capabilities are not up to the (actual or perceived) challenges they face or who hunger for the closest thing they can get to the power of a nova. This even extends to the use of cosmetic augmentation cyberware, which threatens to replace traditional plastic surgery as the favored “ultimate makeover”. Finally, more than a few ordi- nary people are obsessed enough with the idea of owning a near-human slave or “super-pet” to make such a purchase in any way they can.

Who’s Trying To Shut It Down?

Any organization involved in any sort of law enforce- ment or humanitarian (novatarian?) efforts can get involved in the regulation—official and otherwise—of this technol- ogy. Similarly, any organization which sees the potential profit and benefit of biotech can get involved in using it.

Many groups can and will get involved in both. Notes on groups with a special animus toward the market in restricted biotech are as follows. Nova Factions: Projects Utopia and Proteus are the biggest enemies of the restricted biotech market circa 2015. The Aeon Society knows full well the potential for dangers that illegal biotech offers, and seeks to eliminate such threats by any means necessary. The Directive will act against illegal biotech operations (barring those owned by Kuro-Tek, naturally) for much the same reasons. The Teragen takes a dim view of biotech intended to specifically incapac- itate and/or kill novas, and often acts on that distaste. The pro-nova and fairly humanitarian viewpoint of the Aberrants will lead them to act against biotech that threatens either

Story Seed: Businessmen Gone Bonkers

The CEOs of two important Fortune 500 companies go spectacularly insane as a side-effect of their mental augmentation cyberware, and being long-term business rivals immediately attempt to engage in corporate warfare against each other. This wouldn’t be more than a passing concern if said CEOs didn’t insist on dragging their respective (and unwilling) companies into the conflict. The player characters are either businessmen or hired elites seeking to defuse the situation and/or remove the insane CEOs from office. Alternatively, they could be seeking to exacerbate the situation and cause the downfall of the two Fortune 500 companies, either at the behest of competitors or to further their own business goals.

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humanity in general and novas in particular. National Governments: As far as most sane world leaders are concerned, the restricted biotech market is the second biggest cause of nightmares, with nova subjugation of baseline humanity being the first. If they get wind of a genuine biotech threat within their territory, they will typi- cally use all the forces and means at their disposal to end the threat and put the people behind it in either prison cells or body bags. Terrorist Groups: More than a few religiously-moti- vated terrorists have an anti-biotech agenda and would not hesitate to strike at a biotech operation if they could plausibly cripple or put it out of production. Whether such activities are dangerous threats to humanity in themselves or (much more rarely) laudable efforts depends on the bio- tech item involved. Ordinary People: Despite the stereotype of Joe Six- pack, quite a few everyday people can and will recognize the threats posed by restricted biotech. The questions are how will they get wind of such threats, and what they can do to oppose them. Given the right place, the right time, some ingenuity and a little luck, a single baseline human can bring a restricted biotech operation to a screeching halt. Everyday people can also form mass social movements and political activist groups which can have a dramatic impact on society, provided that they don’t get written off as cranks and crackpots.

Why is Joe Sixpack afraid of restricted biotech?

The general public tends to be afraid of biotech

but there are a few solid nuggets of truth

because it’s new

behind the normal irrational fear here.

Biowarfare: Bioweapons are real and unlike nukes (for example) once unleashed they can spread out into the global ecosphere all on their own. Historically plagues have killed untold numbers of people; bringing the magic of the scien-

tific method into the picture is rightfully a fearsome thought. Intentional Misuse: Unfortunately many “civilian” uses of biotech are dual use. Whether a device helps or harms people can come down to the intention of the bioengineer using it. As this technology spreads and gets cheaper there is a strong likelihood that some unethical (or insane) practi- tioners will get involved. Destabilization of Society: Among the baseline popu- lation pretty much everyone has genetic flaws and limita-

tions, but biotech can change that

afford it. Imagine a world where the rich really are supe- rior because their parents paid for the genes to make them smarter, stronger, more attractive and possibly even more likely to erupt as novas. That’s what the early Nova Age is facing circa 2015. As if the possibility of a true genetic upper class wasn’t enough, the potential for genetic sub- classes has arisen as well. Slavery is officially illegal for humans, although it certainly still exists. Pets such as dogs on the other hand have fewer (if any) rights and responsi- bilities. Mixing the genes of the two threatens the boundary between the two classes of beings. Nova Age society won’t want to legalize slavery or give dogs full citizenship rights, but it might face a choice of one or the other. Accidents: All the problems seen above were simply the risks of biotech when it works correctly. When it doesn’t work correctly; society may have to deal with accidental plagues, warped children, or even insane para-novas. When biotech and human stupidity collide, the risk of catastrophe is too much for any rational society to bear.

provided one can

collide, the risk of catastrophe is too much for any rational society to bear. provided one
ABERRANT CHAPTER 1: UNNATURAL SELECTION Lecture notes excerpt Project Utopia Technological Regulation department OK
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CHAPTER 1: UNNATURAL SELECTION
Lecture notes excerpt
Project Utopia Technological Regulation department
OK rookies, let’s talk about the C-Z Megasyndicate’s biotech troublemakers. As a
rule of thumb, they have two types of bioengineers working for them. The first type
is the “unjustly shut down” mad scientist types. Most of these guys will have a prior
record with us. They signed up with the Megasydicate because they’re visionaries who
want to do good things for the world, and someone - usually us - can’t see the full
scope of their work and either shut them down or refused to fund them.
The problem is that while 90% of their work would do good things, that last 10%
is a real horror show. Either they don’t think people would really use what they’re
making like that, or they figure you have to break some eggs to make an omelet, or
maybe they blame us for not supplying them with sufficient funding. These are the
guys running the bio-enhancement stuff. Designer kids, boosted baselines, attempts to
make people erupt, attempts to extend lifespans and prevent aging, that sort of thing.
Their successes can be breathtaking, but their failures are even more so.
Usually they’ll have some ethical problems with how their work is being used, but
they figure it’s our fault for not funding it in the first place. So in their minds, the one kid in four that winds up crippled
and the two baselines out of five that they drive nuts is also our fault. Of course after the Megasydicate gets their hooks
into them it’s just a matter of time before they’re working on things like new and improved slaves and addictive drugs.
The other type of bioengineer the Megasydicate tends to get is the burned-out drug abuser who has hit rock
bottom. The good news is that they tend to be less brilliant than the mad scientist types, who typically have better
things to do than experiment with drugs on themselves. The bad news is these guys also won’t have any illusions about
who they’re working for or qualms about how their products are going to be used.
Something else to point out is that the Megasydicate is money-driven above almost all else. We probably aren’t
ever going to find them making any superbugs, as there’s no real profit in destroying the world.
10
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CHAPTER 1: UNNATURAL SELECTION
OpNet conference call
Encoded OpNet conference call between
Camparelli-Zhukov Megasyndicate lieutenant and
superior
Voice 1: Good evening, sir. The situation regarding the missing shipment to Sydney has been resolved. The
shipment has been recovered and all those responsible for it have been dealt with.
Voice 2: What about that prick Sowell? He was the brains behind that little clusterfuck.
Voice 1: Sowell’s brains - along with the rest of him - are being harvested as we speak. The finished products ought
to fetch about three times what the shipment is worth once the processing is done, going by the current market prices
for Mite and such. On the bright side, he did make for an excellent guinea pig to test my latest anti-nova prototype on.
It worked like a charm, Sowell was incapacitated very quickly. He lost consciousness before he could realize what was
happening to him and counter the attack.
Voice 2: Did Maggie the Meathook get any hard facts out of Sowell before you tossed him in the grinder?
Voice 1: Yes sir, Sowell was dealing with two verified Nakato Gumi soldiers. They’ve both been captured and
are currently being held by the boys you’ve lent me. Maggie’s in the middle of interrogating them, I’ll have whatever
information she digs out of their skulls sent to you immediately.
Voice 2: I’ll see about giving Kuro-Tek another reminder to keep their fingers the fuck out of our pie and stay over
on their side of the Pacific. Speaking of your “pet project”, what’s the latest word on it?
Voice 1: The latest word is “infeasible” if we’re talking about mass production of the higher mammals and large
reptiles. The growth rates of the latter are just too slow for our purposes, and the neurological development problems
of the prior have yet to be resolved. Other than continuing to provide specimens of such as luxury items, I recommend
that this line of research be tabled for the forseeable future. The other lines have much more potential for profit,
especially the rats and insects.
Voice 2: All right then, we’ll be working the dogfighting circuits in the old-fashioned way. Dwyer, send me a review
of whatever new stuff you and your boys have cooked up in the past six months. The junkie crowd is starting to thin out
thanks to Utopia’s education initiatives, and relying on the traditionals just isn’t as profitable as it used to be.
Voice 1: On it, you’ll have a review of our latest synthetics within five days.
Voice 2: Fine. Dwyer, one last thing. Have your boys ramp up production of the collars, the demand for our
conditioned wares in that market is spiking and spiking big. We’ll need three more dedicated labs to handle the
production increase, so find some new recruits and make damn sure they’re more trustworthy than Sowell was.
Voice 1: Understood, sir.
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The Camparelli-Zhukov Megasyndicate Biotech Operation

equipment, lab supplies and research materials of all kinds

as

well as providing security for their labs. The Megasyndi-

cate’s smugglers handle the transportation of products both between the labs and to their sellers, in the case of their new drugs.

While Kuro-Tek has long held the position as the world’s top producer of blacktech—biotech included—they’ve got some competition from an unexpected source. The Cam- parelli-Zhukov Megasyndicate has been running a covert biotech development operation since 2009, and this spe- cialization has allowed them to achieve things that few of Kuro-Tek’s bioengineers can match in 2015. This success hasn’t gone unnoticed, as many others would love nothing better than to shut the Megasyndicate’s foray into biotech down for good, with Project Utopia’s TechReg department and Kuro-Tek being only two of them. Conflict is at hand.

Humble Beginnings

The C-Z Megasyndicate’s biotech operation began in 2007 with one Dr. Morgan Dwyer, who erupted as a result of the cumulative stresses of attaining his medical doctor- ate. He became a mastermind with the functional equivalent of multiple doctorates in the life sciences among his other capabilities. A close encounter with a Proteus operative and the subsequent deaths of his wife and newborn son scared him enough to cash in on his family ties to the old Irish Mob (which had been subsumed by the Megasydicate) and go underground. After creating several highly profitable new drugs for the Megasyndicate, Dwyer proposed that his oper- ation expand to take advantage of his non-pharmaceutical researches. Vor Camparelli agreed, and the rest has been highly-profitable history. Having nearly a decade’s worth of unrestricted biotech research allowed Dwyer to produce many major advancements in biotech. Now his operation is an extremely valuable cash cow for the Megasyndicate.

Research & Development

The biotech researches done by Dwyer and his under- lings are ultimately guided by only one ideal: pure profit. While many of Dwyer’s underlings rationalize their working with criminals as a necessary evil for the greater good, it’s

still just a rationalization. Proof of this is evident in what they’ve produced in their labs. Aside from the expected array of new drugs, Megasyndicate bioengineers have cre- ated many new genetic engineering procedures. This in turn has allowed the Megasyndicate to market designer chil- dren, anti-aging therapies, small-scale bioweapons, a bio- tech implant that can reduce fully-grown men and women to docile slaves and even a genetic therapy intended to induce eruption in baseline humans. Dwyer himself has created bio- tech implants which rates as augmentation cyberware, wea- ponized animals and the truly bizarre textile/lifeform known

as

Neofiber in addition to his impressive array of new drugs.

Dwyer’s Facility

 

Dr. Dwyer’s personal lab is disguised as a secluded

private clinic located in the outskirts of Whistler, British Columbia, Canada. As a well-established resort town with

a

high transient population, Whistler’s year-round tourist

trade ensures that the traffic going to and from Dwyer’s facility remains unnoticed. Dwyer has also taken pains for the clinic to not only appear unremarkable but downright boring as far as the outside world is concerned. The ironic

thing is that the facility actually is a functional private clinic

in

part, as Dwyer keeps a small retinue of fully-trained doc-

Structure & Organization

As with all other Megasyndicate operations, their bio- tech operation is a hierarchy headed by vor Dr. Morgan Dwyer, who answers directly to Vor Luciano Camparelli and is also the Megasyndicate’s top bioengineer. Aside from his own lab facility, Dwyer’s “territory” consists of the various covert R&D labs and production facilities which are used by his subordinates. It’s important to note that aside from the production of restricted biotech items, Dwyer’s organization is dependent on a cadre of Megasyndicate “made men” and soldiers for all their needs. This was a deliberate choice on Vor Camparelli’s part, as he knows full well that Dwyer’s people often need a constant reminder of who’s footing their bills in order to keep them disciplined and produc- tive. Camparelli’s men handle the procurement of medical

tors and medical personnel to tend to the patients. The only real differences are that the patients are all Megasyndicate made men or operatives, and that all the clinic’s medical personnel have skeletons in the closet which Dwyer knows about and uses to keep them under his thumb. Dwyer lives and performs his work in his personal labs, which are in the hidden sub-levels of the clinic. Aside from concocting new drugs and exploring new avenues of biotech research, it is here where he creates and implants all of the augmentation cyberware used by the Megasyndicate. While he is content

to

farm out the production of his other established biotech

work as needed, Dwyer has yet to train any others in the creation and implantation of his own brand of cyberware. He chalks this up to insufficient competence on his under-

lings’ part, and Camparelli hasn’t seen fit to press him on

the subject

yet.

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Standard Facilities

Most Megasyndicate bioengineers will have facilities that are disguised as small private clinics or medical labs, with their personal labs hidden in sub-basement levels. The clinics handle all the medical procedures performed on non-Megasyndicate patients, and even the least of them can provide medical care up to and including outpatient surgery. This is important, as these clinics also handle the implantation of the “chemical collars” (see pp. 24-25) into baseline humans enslaved by the Megasyndicate. The labs are tasked with the production of the majority of the Mega- syndicate’s biotech items, with most of them specializing in drug production. Those bioengineers who have made their own profitable biotech advances are rewarded by Dr. Dwyer with bigger personal labs and increased research funding.

with bigger personal labs and increased research funding. Dr. Morgan Dwyer Background: Dr. Morgan Dwyer had

Dr. Morgan Dwyer

Background: Dr. Morgan Dwyer had the misfortune of spending his early years on a small farm in the “Black Trian- gle” region of the Republic of Ireland, specifically in County Mayo. With the difficulties of attempting to farm land that consisted mostly of stones and swamp, Morgan quickly learned that the difference between “pet” and “meal” was mostly a question of timing. He and his parents moved to the city of Dublin when he was 12. Crime, especially orga- nized crime, was pervasive there and America was a beacon of hope that things could be different. With crime being far too dangerous and farming a quick ticket to poverty, early on Morgan decided to become a rich American medical doctor.

More driven than brilliant, he worked hard to get an educa- tion and harder to make sure it was at the right institutions. He also developed a taste for reading the cyberpunk novels of William Gibson and Bruce Sterling, which was his only leisure activity for many years. He immigrated to the U.S. by getting married to a nice Irish-American girl from Boston, and graduated from both college and medical school at Har- vard. The next step in his life plan was to complete his medi- cal internship and become a doctor. The pressure of Morgan’s medical internship was intense. He often had to tough out 100 hour work weeks with little money, and things only got worse when his wife Maeve got pregnant. The keystone was when he dozed off while filling out a stack of papers, allowing a lab rat to escape from its cage. Morgan panicked and in his certainty that this latest stroke of bad luck was going to get him kicked out of the program, he erupted. At first, becoming a nova was wonderful for Morgan. He gained the power to order the rat out into the open and back into its cage, and the ability to lie convincingly about it so the rat’s escape “never hap- pened”. His other powers were mostly research related, or at least he figured that was how he’d use them. For a while, life was perfect. He very quickly found himself out on the bleeding edge of science with medical and biotech research companies begging to shower him with money. This brief period of happiness ended when he got a job offer from Project Utopia. From the first time the Utopian recruiters opened their mouths, Morgan got an extremely weird vibe coming from them. Judging their offer too good to be true, Morgan politely declined their offer and showed them the door. Things too good to be true usually are, and a few weeks later Morgan learned that things in the USA weren’t really so different from the old country. The offer had clearly been one he “couldn’t turn down” because someone tried to kill him. Morgan saw the car accident coming, but not early enough to save the lives of his wife and infant son. When his family died, so too did his illusions that the United States was any different from the rest of the world. It was obvious—at least to someone like him—that the police were going to claim it was an acci- dent, and it was equally obvious that he’d joined the “rough” game despite his best efforts. Proving a link between his job offer and his traffic accident would have been impossible, so Morgan didn’t even try. He quickly went underground, thanks to some American relatives who had ties to both the old Irish Mob and the Camparelli-Zhukov Megasyndicate. Accepting that human society really was as depicted in the cyberpunk novels, no matter what propaganda may tell the masses otherwise, Morgan stepped deliberately into a life of crime. Nowadays although his Megasyndicate “superiors” may think they’re using him, in reality he’s using them. They supply him with what he needs to live and advance his work,

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and they even thank him for the privilege of playing “target” for the rougher players out there. Image: Eruption did little or nothing to or for Dwyer’s looks, as he is the spitting image of an overworked medical doctor. His hair is a reddish-brown sprinkled with grey and is starting to thin. He forgets to shave for days at a time and often wears lab clothes. He is an obsessive note-taker and always has a pen and pad of paper handy. Roleplaying Hints: Be cold and logical. Your life is now all about thinking and making whatever progress you can. Eventually, any improvement in technology will help man- kind no matter where it comes from so ironically what you’re doing is technically “good”. The celebrity novas of Project Utopia are just targets as far as you’re concerned, likewise your so-called superiors… but never let them know that’s their assigned role. Always make sure you have them give you the orders you want. Let them have it your way, and make them think that’s the way they wanted it in the first place. Your family is dead, in no small part because you were too stupid to see the world for the amoral quagmire it really is. Never admit this, even to yourself. Your work distracts you from that distressing line of thought, so work hard. Animals may be useful and friendly, but they’re not people. Animals exist to serve a purpose, nothing more. When that purpose is over and done with, it’s off to either the glue factory or the dinner table for them. Gear: Notepad, pen, Walther P-99 loaded with alternat- ing hollowpoint & AP rounds. Nature: Analyst. Allegiance: Camparelli-Zhukov Megasyndicate. Attributes: Strength 3, Dexterity 4, Stamina 3, Percep- tion 5, Intelligence 5, Wits 4, Appearance 2, Manipulation 5, Charisma 2. Abilities: Athletics 1, Animal Handling 5*, Awareness 3, Brawl 1, Computer 3, Endurance 5, Engineering 5 (Medi- cal Devices), Firearms 2, Linguistics 4 (Gaelic native, English, Latin, Japanese, Russian), Medicine 5 (Genetics, Pharmacy, Veterinary), Rapport 5 (Discern Motivation), Resistance 3, Science 5 (Biology, Chemistry), Streetwise 4, Subterfuge 5 (Deception). *Dr. Dwyer’s Animal Handling rating depends greatly on his Animal Mastery power; if Dwyer is moxed or otherwise denied access to his quantum powers his Animal Handling rating drops to 2. Dr. Dwyer has Ability Mastery in Medicine, Science and Subterfuge (Adventure! core book, p. 138). Backgrounds: Allies 3, Attunement 2, Backing 4 (Mega- syndicate), Contacts 3, Cipher 2, Devices 5 (drug arsenal, various bioweapons), Followers 3, Menagerie 5 (weaponized animals), Node 2, Resources 4. Quantum 4, Quantum Pool 28, Willpower 9, Taint 2. Mega-Attributes: Mega-Dexterity •• (Fast Tasks),

Mega-Stamina • (Adaptability), Mega-Perception •• (Elec- tromagnetic Vision), Mega-Intelligence ••• (Medical Prod- igy, Scientific Prodigy), Mega-Manipulation ••• (Persuader, Trickster). Quantum Powers: Animal Mastery ••, Intuition ••, Luck •••••, Psychic Link •• (Reduced Quantum Cost, 3 pt. weak- ness: animals only).

Just Waiting For The Hammer To Fall

Despite its relative smallness compared to the rest of the Megasyndicate, Dr. Dwyer’s biotech operation has attracted considerable hostile attention from the Megasyn- dicate’s competition and enemies. As this will only increase as the Megasyndicate’s forays into biotech become more widely known, the effectiveness of the distributed nature of Dwyer’s hierarchy will be put to the test, possibly to destruc- tion. Dr. Dwyer’s minor biotech labs and production facilities can be and often are replaced as necessary, just as Dr. Dwyer and Vor Camparelli intended. But when Dr. Dwyer’s personal facility is uncovered, the whole operation could easily col- lapse like a house of cards. And while neither Dr. Dwyer nor the Megasyndicate have noticed anyone investigating the resort town of Whistler, that doesn’t mean that their pres- ence hasn’t been discovered In the final analysis, both Dr. Dwyer and the Megasyndi- cate’s biotech operation are targets just begging for some- one to take a shot at them. The only questions are these:

when will the attack come, and who will be attacking them? The most likely candidates are listed below. Nakato Gumi / Kuro-Tek: Yoshiro Nakamura didn’t become the oyabun of the most successful Yakuza gang in Japanese history through friendly business competition, and his practices haven’t changed. He sees the Megasyndicate’s biotech operation as a direct challenge and an insult to the primacy of Kuro-Tek in the global market for blacktech. Nakamura’s goal is to crush the operation beyond hope of recovery while simultaneously appropriating as much of the Megasyndicate’s biotech items (and their creators, when possible) for analysis and reverse engineering by Kuro-Tek. The duplication of the drug used in the Megasyndicate’s “chemical collars” is a particular sticking point for Nakamura, as not only is it cheaper to produce and use, it’s much more effective than Kuro-Tek’s cybernetic implant equivalent. All of Kuro-Tek’s attempts to reverse-engineer and synthesize it have failed, so capture of the manufacturing process has become the only option left to them. Heaven Thunder Triad: While not as prideful about their blacktech resources as Kuro-Tek, the leadership of the triads also considers the Megasyndicate’s biotech operation as both unwelcome competition and a source of valuable biotech. Aside from their expected intense interest in the

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Megasyndicate’s new drugs, the triads consider capture of their “meat-based augmentation cyberware” implants to be their highest priority. With metal detectors becoming ubiq- uitous in important buildings across the globe, a metal-free alternative to traditional augmentation cyberware is very desirable. Project Utopia / Project Proteus: As far as Project Uto- pia’s Technological Regulation department (not to mention Director Thetis) is concerned, the Megasyndicate’s biotech operation is some of their worst nightmares of rampant blacktech come to bloody life. While Thetis does see some use for a few of the Megasyndicate’s biotech items, even she agrees that the majority of it is so socially disruptive that it needs to be stamped out with extreme prejudice. The Directive: Director Petr Illyanovich has always nursed a personal grudge against Alexi Zhukov ever since his SOBRE days, but has always been prevented by his fellow Directors from using the Directive against Zhukov’s organiza- tion. That changed—somewhat—when intelligence on the Megasyndicate’s biotech came to their collective notice. Faced with a collection of such clear threats to their respec- tive nations that was obviously the product of nova bioengi- neers, the Directive has made the location and destruction of the Megasyndicate’s biotech facilities a high priority. It’s not as satisfying as a direct attack on Zhukov would be, but Director Illyanovich will take what satisfaction he can in bringing down the Megasyndicate’s biotech operation and harming Zhukov by proxy. Teragen: Not counting their limited trade in nova- derived drugs, the Megasyndicate’s creation of highly effec- tive anti-nova biotech items is the main reason the Teragen takes a very dim view of their biotech operation. While they won’t care to engage in open conflict with the Megasyndi- cate, more than a few Terats won’t hesitate to drop dimes on whatever Megasyndicate biotech facilities they discover. If the Terats can influence the resulting conflict so that those troublesome anti-nova items (and their blueprints) are destroyed in the fighting, so much the better. National Governments: The Megasyndicate’s biotech operation creates small-scale bioweapons and addictive drugs, facilitates the trafficking of enslaved baselines and engages in unapproved genetic therapies. None of those activities endear them to the governments of the First World nations they operate in, for obvious reasons. While law enforcement and intelligence agencies can be expected to clash with the Megasyndicate over this, more than a few mili- tary “training exercises”, “war games” and “missile malfunc- tions” have resulted in demolished Megasyndicate biotech facilities. Victims and their loved ones: Dealing in addictive drugs, risky medical procedures and conditioned slaves means that the Megasyndicate has harmed countless num-

bers of ordinary people in the process, along with the vic- tims’ families and friends. While the vast majority of these unfortunates are everyday people and thus relatively power- less, those few who have some power or influence in base- line society can cause real damage to the Megasyndicate’s biotech operation, given enough ingenuity and luck. If one of these people happens to erupt, the threat he or she will pose will be increased by a few orders of magnitude. If noth- ing else, everyday people can fight against the Megasyndi- cate’s biotech operation by acting as an intelligence network and passing vital data to the Megasyndicate’s enemies.

Planning for the Big Takedown

From the beginning, both Camparelli and Dr. Dwyer have known that the Megasyndicate’s biotech operation would have all sorts of powerful people wanting to see it subverted and/or destroyed. Camparelli’s strategy was to make the operation’s components—nova bioengineers included—as modular and redundant as possible. The way Camparelli sees it, Project Utopia’s restrictions on technol- ogy aren’t going to be repealed any time soon, so there will always be a demand for restricted biotech. Provided that they can continue to acquire the services of enough unethi- cal nova bioengineers to churn out and improve their estab- lished products and develop new ones, the Megasyndicate’s biotech operation will become just another reliable and proven source of revenue, like any other highly profitable racket. By that point, the only way to stop it would require crushing the entire C-Z Megasyndicate. For his part, Dr. Dwyer has no illusions about the risks both he and the Megasyndicate’s biotech operation are facing. While the Megasyndicate’s previous criminal activi- ties were already more than enough to earn them a spot on the “Global Public Enemies” list, the illicit biotech items that Dr. Dwyer and his underlings have produced pose a threat that the current Powers That Be will simply not tol- erate for long. With that in mind, Dr. Dwyer has entrusted a few reliable underlings with a small cache holding all the scientific knowledge (formulas, DNA sequences, schematics etc.) required to reproduce a portion of Dr. Dwyer’s biotech achievements. When the inevitable attack comes, those underlings have been instucted to take their caches and lie low in some obscure country. If Dr. Dwyer survives the attack, he will recontact the couriers through a prearranged Swiss bank account and reclaim his work. If Dr. Dwyer is killed or otherwise rendered incapable of continuing his work, the underlings are to use the contents of their caches for their own benefit. As a point of historical interest, at the time of the attack Dr. Dwyer will have entrusted the cache contain- ing all his drug research to a personal friend and Megasyndi- cate soldier by the name of Anton Sbaria

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The Biotech Bazaar

Despite the biotech industry having received both extraordinary support and hindrances from the world at large, it continues to offer a very wide array of products for sale. What follows is a collection of highlights of the more remarkable products that either already are or could become available, circumstances and the Storyteller’s pref- erences permitting. Storyteller Notes: The following items are categorized as either “advancements” or “innovations”, as established on p. 176 of the Adventure! core book. For those lacking that book, advancements are direct linear developments of existing concepts, and can be considered “mundane tech- nology”. Innovations are the full-blown super-science items, and those produced by novas are also known as “quantum gadgets” (Aberrant Players Guide, pp. 143-148). Also, item costs and the exact identities of the independent pro- ducers have both been left to the Storyteller’s discretion. Finally, as some of these items deal with sensitive subjects like human reproduction, we strongly encourage you to dis- cuss them with your players before introducing them into your Aberrant chronicle.

Agriculture & Terraforming

Even with the successes achieved by Project Utopia, there are still many problems with the global ecology that must be addressed. Many of the more reputable biotech firms have built their fortunes upon either augmenting the planet’s capability to sustain human life or repairing the eco- logical damage inflicted by previous generations. Even so, there is still a dark side in this field of biotech to be wary of.

is still a dark side in this field of biotech to be wary of. Arson Rats

Arson Rats

Producer: C-Z Megasyndicate Category: Bioengineered fauna Description: Another creation of Dr. Morgan Dwyer, these bioengineered rodents are strictly for use by com-

petent Megasyndicate arsonists. Traditional arsonists will cause what are called “rat fires” by taking an ordinary live rat, dousing it in kerosene and lighting its tail on fire. The unfortunate rat is then released to run throughout the spaces between a building’s walls, causing a major fire to spread much more quickly throughout the building than a typical accidental fire would. Dwyer’s bioengineered rats secrete a waxy burnable fat in their fur. They are effectively living candles. They can be set on fire with a match and will continue to burn after they are dead. Their skin is also some- what resistant to burning damage and heat, which prolongs the time they can run and spread the flames in their futile attempts to escape being burned alive. System: Arson Rats have 2 dots of lethal soak against flame damage, which doesn’t prevent them from being lit on fire by an arsonist, but only lets them survive & run a while longer than a normal rat could. Otherwise they have identical stats to normal rats. Using an Arson Rat to start a rat fire will lower the arsonist’s difficulties by 2 on the roll used for committing arson - usually Intelligence + Intrusion or Demolitions. Arson Rats require no special care beyond that required to keep a normal rat alive and healthy, are an advancement and usable by baselines.

and healthy, are an advancement and usable by baselines. Bomb Bugs Producer: C-Z Megasyndicate Category:

Bomb Bugs

Producer: C-Z Megasyndicate Category: Bioengineered fauna Description: Just as the name states, Bomb Bugs are bioengineered fast-growing insects which can detonate as high-grade explosives when triggered. Created by Dr. Morgan Dwyer strictly for use by competent Megasyndicate assassins, these creatures have proven to not only be effi- cient weapons but are fairly difficult for conventional foren- sics to identify. System: Bomb Bugs are controlled and triggered by a special radio transceiver (also designed by Dr. Dwyer), as they are unduly sensitive to signals on certain little-used radio frequencies. Controlling the movements of the Bomb Bugs is much like controlling an RC toy, except that the con- trol transceiver will also have a graphics display for building schematics and showing the Bomb Bugs’ positions in real time. Bomb Bugs can be employed in two configurations:

standard explosive and shaped-charge. One kilogram of Bomb Bugs in standard explosive configuration inflicts 10 dice of Lethal damage on everything within three meters, dropping to half-damage at up to six meters. In shaped- charge configuration one kilogram of Bomb Bugs inflicts

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nine automatic health levels and 10 dice of lethal damage to the target, which must be within 30 centimeters. Finally, until the mid-2030s (by which time baseline forensic science will have learned to recognize the chemical traces involved) all attempts to identify the traces left by Bomb Bugs using conventional forensics are rolled at a +3 difficulty penalty. Fortunately, as literal living explosives Bomb Bugs require special care and attention to keep them in opti- mum condition for use. Bomb Bugs must be kept in an RF-shielded “hive” until ready for use, and must be fed on the special foodstuffs concocted by Dr. Dwyer and his underlings. As an additional mentod of keeping control of the technology, all Bomb Bugs are effectively sterile without a special trigger pheromone kept under lock & key by Dr. Dwyer himself. If neglected, Bomb Bugs will not be able to explode as intended, resulting in either a weakened explo- sion or simply turning into harmless (if disgusting) goo when triggered. Bomb Bugs are also at risk for premature explo- sion if exposed to a strong radio signal on the correct fre- quency. Novas with Hyperenhanced Hearing can determine the frequency and control the Bomb Bugs with a Perception + Awareness roll at a +2 difficulty penalty, although simply triggering unshielded Bomb Bugs just requires an auto- matic action once the frequency is known. Both the exact species of insect being used as Bomb Bugs and the radio frequency used to control them will vary with the hive being used. Bomb Bugs are an advancement and are usable by baselines. If stats for Bomb Bugs are required, they will be identical to those for normal insects of the type in question.

Bonded Animals

risk of breaking the bond. A Bonded Animal will carry out whatever commands its owner gives it, and will never will- ingly attack or harm its owner. There are two downsides to this situation. First, if the bond between animal and master should ever be broken, either by distance or psychic interfer- ence from a telepath or Mental Noise Generator (Aberrant:

The Directive, p. 57), both animal and master will become despondent and listless until the bond is restored. In game terms, the animal’s depression will limit it to eating, sleeping and crapping, while the owner will effectively be operating at -1 to his or her permanent Willpower. Restoring the link merely requires the owner and animal to come within 20 meters of each other. The second drawback is the severe emotional codependency between owner and animal. The owner must make a Willpower roll at +1 difficulty to know- ingly send the Bonded Animal into a dangerous situation. Furthermore, if the owner dies the bonded animal will die as well. If the animal dies instead, the owner must make a Willpower roll at +2 difficulties to avoid losing a dot of per- manent Willpower. Bonded Animals are an Innovation, and can only be created by novas.

DNA Overstamp

Producer: Independent biotech firm Category: Genetic alteration Description: Initially developed to speed the reintro- duction of cloned wildlife into refurbished ecologies, this procedure alters the reproductive organs of a host animal to begin producing the gametes of a different (although of a closely-related species) animal. Use of this procedure is now commonplace among wildlife conservators, zoo breeders and livestock breeders. Unfortunately, the nova who initially developed it has also been working on a variant procedure useable on humans, and has managed to create a working prototype of it. His intentions are good, as he intends to use the procedure to alleviate the sterility problem of most novas. While there are some legitimate uses for it, it is far more likely to be used by the unscrupulous on other people without their knowledge or consent. While the existence of the human DNA Overstamp has been kept a secret so far, an item with such a nightmarish potential for abuse cannot be kept under wraps indefinitely, since sooner or later someone will find out that the children they have conceived aren’t really theirs. System: The animal DNA Overstamp is considered an advancement, and users will only have to deal with the expected (minimal) regulations intended to prevent animal cruelty. The human DNA Overstamp is currently not only an innovation, but is plagued by several minor flaws. At the Storyteller’s discretion, a human host has anywhere from a 3 to 15% chance of developing reproductive health problems

Producer: C-Z Megasyndicate Category: Bioengineered fauna Description: These are otherwise normal animals which have been implanted with a small portion of human DNA from the owner at the time of (in vitro) fertilization in a pro- cess known and mastered only by Dr. Morgan Dwyer. When done correctly, this transgenic implant mentally bonds the human donor to the resulting animal in a fashion that can only be called psychic. The C-Z Megasyndicate markets this as a high-end luxury/personal security item to wealthy cus- tomers. Most Bonded Animals are created from predatory mammals such as large attack dogs or big cats, but using bears or wolverines isn’t unheard of. System: Dr. Dwyer’s transgenic implant creates what amounts to one dot of the Psychic Link quantum power between the bonded animal and its owner. After its birth the animal in question must remain within 20 meters of its owner for the bond to develop properly, which happens when the animal reaches adolescence. After that the animal and owner can be separated by up to 2,000 kilometers without

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such as reduced fertility, sterility or even ovarian or testicular cancer. Even if no health problems develop, the emotional anguish of an unwilling human host discovering that he/she has been subjected to the human DNA Overstamp can be extreme. It’s even worse if this is discovered in the aftermath of a pregnancy, which makes the human DNA Overstamp perhaps the ultimate form of cuckoldry. And if that wasn’t enough, the nova inventor and his/her associates are cur- rently working to both eliminate the flaws or the existing prototype and to make the final version useable by base- lines as well as novas (read: make it into an advancement).

four to eight years of unrestricted growth (Storyteller’s dis- cretion as to the exact amount of time required), a plant- ing of Feedweed originally intended to support a thousand head of cattle will reach a tipping point and can begin a cycle of exponential growth. When that happens, the Feed- weed will begin to overrun the pasturage around it at the rate of 200% of its previous area per month. Feedweed is also very hardy, as those herbicides that can kill it are also dangerous enough to be banned for use in most First World Nations. The threat it will eventually pose to human agricul- ture and the global environment as a whole will be extreme if left unchecked. Feedweed is an advancement produced by baseline scientists.

Feedweed

Producer: Independent biotech firm Category: Bioengineered flora Description: By the turn of the 21st Century the com- bined pressures of public boycotts, honest governmental oversight and Utopian sanctions put an end to the practice of feeding livestock a cheap diet rich in harmful antibiotics and hormones, animal wastes and slaughterhouse scraps. Those livestock producers who bowed to the pressure switched to switched to free-range “organic” grazing, while those who didn’t quickly found themselves driven out of business. The problem with that was the greater expense of free range grazing compared to the banned industrial feeds, which threatened to drive up meat, poultry and dairy prices and further reduce their profit margin. That all changed when a biotech firm in Alabama put Feedweed out on the market with Utopia’s full approval in 2012. Given the bless- ing of such an inexpensive and efficient source of high-qual- ity organic livestock fodder, the livestock industry has been making a strong recovery ever since. System: Feedweed is a bioengineered kudzu vine which can grow and thrive in all but the poorest soils, given sufficient groundwater. It also grows quickly, sprouting and regenerating its heavy foliage nearly on a daily basis in opti- mum conditions. The profuse leaves make excellent feed for nearly all kinds of ruminants, swine and poultry. The only exceptions are camels and llamas, who have exhibited a severe allergic reaction to Feedweed. The developers have no plans to correct this, given those animals’ arid native climes and relative unpopularity outside the Middle East and South America. Unfortunately, there is a subtle problem with Feedweed that has yet to be noticed by anyone as yet. Feedweed’s ability to produce high-quality foliage is dependent on it’s extremely wide-ranging root system. While this makes Feedweed a highly reliable source of fodder, it also means that it will strip away all available nutrients in the soil, even to the point of actively predating on any fungi and other plants that come into contact with Feedweed roots. Given

Genocide Genes

 

Producer: Independent biotech firm Category: Genetic alteration Description: Originally developed to eliminate a number of human parasites, this procedure fatally skews the gender ratio of the affected creature’s descendants so that no females will be produced. These male descendants then spread these genes throughout the wild population and eventual extinction of the population is inevitable. Although ineffective against hermaphroditic or asexual parasites, use of this procedure has saved many human lives in the Third World nations and elsewhere. Despite that, use of this procedure remains regulated due to the potential for it to be adapted for use on populations of wildlife, livestock and even humans. While no such development has been noticed as yet, there could easily be some (likely deranged) nova bioengineer attempting to make than nightmare into a reality in some hidden lab System: Genocide Genes intended for parasites are

 

Story Seed: The Nightmare Becomes Flesh

 

Before being arrested by Project Utopia’s Tech Police,

an

insane nova bioengineer has given humanity a very nasty little present: the introduction of fully-functional human Genocide Genes into the gene pool. The nova bioengineer only managed to alter the genetics of a few people before being caught,

but if left unchecked the Genocide Genes will, generation

by

generation, spread throughout the general human population. As the only novas who are both capable of and available to counter this menace, the player characters are faced with the choice of killing, sterilizing or otherwise dealing with these unfortunates. Are they willing to kill or sterilize innocent people - some of them children - in the name of protecting humankind as a whole? Or is there another, less ruthless way for the player characters to neutralize this threat?

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an advancement and skew the sex ratio of an affected creature’s offspring to nearly 100% male. Genocide Genes intended for use on valuable animals are currently innova- tions, but could plausibly be developed into an advance- ment given sufficient backing and protection. Genocide Genes intended for humans are considered innovations and will remain so for the entirety of the Nova Age, due to the extreme resistance to its development from the authori- ties and other hostile parties. No sane baseline or nova will countenance the threat posed by human Genocide Genes, and given how long humans take to reproduce the crazy ones will hopefully try something else.

Gen-Pets Exotics

Producer: Gen-Pets Ltd. (Independent biotech firm) Category: Bioengineered fauna Description: Given the thriving market for exotic pets, it was inevitable that bioengineers would attempt to create some truly exotic animals for the more jaded pet fanciers. That happened in 2010 when an independent firm from Vancouver created a brief storm of controversy by put- ting out a line of glowing housecats, songbirds and small dogs on the market. Circa 2015, Gen-Pets Ltd. is the best- known and most respected producer of such bioengineered housepets, which are considered to be the gold standard by exotic pet fanciers. System: Gen-Pets produces several varieties of exotic pets, which are detailed below. All kinds of Gen-Pets are considered advancements and may be used by baselines. Glo-Pets: Gen-Pets’ original line of Exotics has been expanded greatly in the five years since its initial debut. These are otherwise ordinary domestic housepets - avail- able types include cats, dogs, songbirds, parrots and many species of aquarium fish - which have been bioengineered with various forms of luciferin in their fur, feathers or scales. As long as they remain fairly healthy and well-fed, they can glow in the dark (for up to 1 hour) as if they had 1 dot of the Bioluminescence quantum power when desired. Except for the fish, which will glow whenever it’s dark enough, Glo-Pets can be trained to glow on command. Glo-Pets are available in any color of the basic visible light spectrum, and research towards creating multicolored Glo-Pets is underway. Glo- Pets are not sterile, but as their luciferin mutations are all recessive most people are content to buy them from Gen- Pets instead of breeding their own. In all other ways, Glo- Pets will share the same stats as typical members of their species. Living Fossils: These are recreated specimens of recently-extinct species such as the dodo, thylacine, pas- senger pigeon and Carolina parakeet. As they have not been bioengineered beyond restoring them to life, Gen-

Pets Living Fossils do not face any restrictions beyond what is normally applied to exotic pets. Aside from the expected market demand from pet owners, Living Fossils have also been popular with many zoos and wildlife conservation pro- grams worldwide. Living Fossils will have the same basic stats as their contemporary analogues; i.e. dodos aren’t much different from a domestic turkey, while thylacines are similar to wolves. Mini-Lions: These are domesticated dwarf versions of the various African lion species, and are similar in size to the “Maine Coon” variety of domestic housecat. While they retain a good deal of the sociability of their full-sized cousins, increased neoteny makes Mini-Lions surprisingly affectionate pets, almost to the levels displayed by dogs. Unfortunately they can’t be kept around domestic herbi- vores, as they will gang up on the obvious prey animal and try to kill it at first opportunity. That said, they will also hap- pily share the kill with their human owners. Mini-Lions have unexpectedly proven to be especially good pets for families with small children, of whom they can be quite protective. Mini-Lions require a diet of fresh raw meat and clean water (plus the occasional bit of greenery) to stay healthy. Aside from having an extra dot of Strength and Stamina, Mini- Lions share the same stats as domestic housecats. Minisaurs: Gen-Pets’ latest line of Exotics are bioen- gineered midget recreations (using recombinant DNA from several reptile and bird species) of a few of the more intelli- gent herbivorous dinosaurs. The bipedals are about the size of a large goose, while the quadrupeds are the size of a typi- cal St. Bernard sheepdog. Gen-Pets’ Minisaurs have proven to be affectionate pets, if a bit dim-witted compared to your average dog. Minisaurs are best kept on a diet of fresh greenery, making them best suited to those pet owners who are also gardeners or who make frequent trips to the gro- cery. Fortunately for their owners, Minisaurs’ sense of smell has been increased through bioengineering so that they will refuse to eat any plant that is toxic to them. Minisaurs will share most of the stats of large geese and dogs respectively, save for being less effective in combat and less aggressive.

Hazmat Weeds

Producer: Zushima Biologicals (a Project Utopia sub- sidiary) Category: Bioengineered flora Description: With the success of their metal-seques- tering plants (Aberrant: Year One, p. 76), Zushima Bio- logicals began development of similar plants designed to leach out and sequester hazardous chemicals from the soil. Hazmat Weeds have been developed to deal with a legion of environmental poisons such as banned pesticides and herbicides, Agent Orange and mercury. There have been

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attempts to develop Hazmat Weeds that can handle sub- stances such as depleted uranium and nuclear waste, but they have yet to hit the market and may never do so. System: Hazmat Weeds are used much like metal- sequestering plants are: they’re planted in a plot of con- taminated ground and left to grow to maturity. At that point, instead of being burned on site (the chemicals are only sequestered, not neutralized) the plants are harvested— roots and all—then carted off to special facilities for safe disposal. Most Hazmat Weeds are advancements, and are available for sale worldwide. The exceptions are the two Hazmat Weeds designed to sequester depleted uranium and nuclear waste, which are considered innovations and will not be available for sale until versions usable by base- lines can be developed.

Mindel Metal Bugs

Earth-normal temperature range. All strains of Mindel Metal Bugs are considered advancements.

Mindel Methane Bug

Producer: Levia Mindel Category: Bioengineered microlife Description: Levia Mindel has also developed a coun- termeasure to another highly dangerous oceanic contami- nant: the frozen deposits of methane underneath the ocean floors. If they were to be released into the atmosphere as methane gas, the resulting ecological damage from climate shifting and global warming would be enormous. After acquiring samples of a naturally occuring methane-eating extremeophile Archaea microbe with the help of a DeVries deep-sea specialist elite, Mindel developed a bioengi- neered version of it that both reproduces and devours meth- ane deposits with extraordinary speed. As Mindel Methane Bugs can operate in a variety of harsh environments, they have also been used to eliminate the dangerous methane underneath the permafrost of the Russian Confederation and other arctic nations. System: Mindel Methane Bugs are pretty much a “fire and forget” solution for inconvenient deposits of under- ground methane. Once released into a methane deposit, they begin to eat voraciously and reproduce at an exponential rate. Depending on the size of a given methane deposit, the Methane Bugs could completely devour it in anywhere from a few hours to several weeks. Mindel also designed them to die off quickly once their methane supply is exhausted, after which they become harmless biomass and excellent food for whatever natural predatory and/or scavenger microbes may be nearby. Mindel Methane Bugs are an advancement.

The Purple Plastic Eater

Producer: Levia Mindel Category: Bioengineered microlife Description: After having her initial achievement eclipsed by Project Utopia, nova Levia Mindel turned her attention towards a class of aquatic “contaminants” that neither the Zushima macrobe nor her own pollution-eating microbe could affect: the metals dissolved in seawater. Her researches led her to develop several strains of bacteria that are each designed to seek out and sequester a specific metal, then form colonies for easy retrieval. While her Gold Bugs have yet to eke out much of a profit, Mindel has made a tidy sum from the metal refiners who buy the resulting gelatinous ores. Surprisingly enough one of her biggest suc- cesses to date has been the Mercury Bugs, the continued production and use of which has been officially subsidized by the Japanese government. System: Mindel Metal Bugs are sold in the form of decaliter-sized bacterial colonies which look like cloudy gray jelly. Once released into seawater, a given strain of Metal Bugs will immediately begin to seek out and sequester their preferred metal. The time required for this can vary widely, depending on the amount and density of the dissolved metal in the vicinity. For instance, accumulating anything more than a tiny amount of gold could take several days, while cleaning up a pool of mercury would only require a few minutes. After either sequestering all the available metal or coming up empty, the Metal Bugs will reform back into a gelatinous colony that will have a predesignated color to indicate their status. Colonies rich in their specific metal will have vibrant shades, while those with less of the metal will have pale shades. Colonies with no metal at all will remain their original cloudy gray. It’s also important to note that Metal Bugs are completely unable to sequester any non- dissolved metal other than mercury, which is a liquid at the

Producer: Zushima Biologicals (a Project Utopia sub- sidiary) Category: Bioengineered fungi Description: After their success in cleaning up the global environment, some Utopian scientists decided to take on the household environment. Recognizing the health haz- ards posed by many of the chemicals found in old-fashioned plastics (such as Bisphenol-A), they developed a fungus designed to break down those plastics and sequester the dangerous chemicals for safe disposal. Packaged as part of what are essentially carbon-fiber rubbish bins of varying sizes, Utopia attempted to market it as the “New Beginnings plastic disposal system”. That branding failed as every- one except PU’s marketing executives began calling it the “Purple Plastic Eater”, due to the very bright violet hue of the fungi. The product was swiftly renamed and has been a popular household item in the First World nations ever since.

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System: The Purple Plastic Eater is extremely simple to use and requires no electrical power: just toss in a plastic item that will fit in it and seal the interior envelope and exte- rior lid. If given a liter of fresh water once a week, the mat of bioengineered fungi within will break down the plastic within 20 minutes to 6 hours, depending on the item’s size. A set of chemically-triggered telltales on the bin’s front indi- cate when the bin is ready to break down plastic, is currently breaking down plastic, the health of the fungi and when the bin’s detachable resevoir is full. Full resevoirs are taken back to a licensed dealer for safe disposal of the contents and to get a free fresh resevoir. Since fresh resevoirs also contain vital nutrient supplements that the fungi can’t get from their diet of plastics, customers have a strong incentive to keep the cycle going instead of just tossing full resevoirs in a land- fill or a burn pile. The Purple Plastic Eater is an advancement and is usable by baselines.

Plastic Eater is an advancement and is usable by baselines. Mini-Carnosaurs Producer: Independent biotech firm

Mini-Carnosaurs

Producer: Independent biotech firm Category: Bioengineered fauna Description: When Gen-Pets put their Minisaurs out on the market, a few pet fanciers were disappointed that Gen-Pets had not only restricted themselves to herbivorous dinosaurs but refused to even do research on developing carnivorous Minisaurs. Sensing an opportunity, in 2013 one of Gen-Pets’ less-than-ethical competitors managed to lure away one of the top Minisaur bioengineers from Gen-Pets with promises of increased freedom of research and a very fat salary. Two years later, the Mini-Carnosaurs have just now hit the gray market for exotic pets. Only Mini-Carnosaur ver- sions of Allosaurus, Tyrannosaurus Rex and Deinonychus are currently available as of 2015, as the possibility of expand- ing the line is up in the air until the Mini-Carnosaurs’ profit- ability can be determined. System: Much like Gen-Pets’ Minisaurs, Mini-Carno- saurs were created from recombinant DNA from several reptile and bird species, but the similarities end there. Mini-

Carnosaurs are all about the size of a small tiger, and are nearly as intelligent. All of these creatures are chemically castrated, requiring an introduced enzyme to become fer- tile (which is costly). It should also be noted that keeping a Mini-Carnosaur is much like keeping a big cat or bear as a pet: an extremely risky and dangerous practice. More than a few governments are putting laws on the books that would allow police and private citizens to shoot Mini-Carnosaurs (and other dangerous exotic pets) with impunity if they pose a threat to life and/or property. Some social commentators have noted that the “shoot with impunity” laws might need to be extended to cover the owners of such dangerous beasts as well. Mini-Carnosaurs are an advancement and are usable by baselines. Traits: Strength 4, Dexterity 3, Stamina 4, Abilities: Athletics 2, Awareness 2, Brawl 2, Stealth 2, Intimidation 3 Willpower: 3 Health Levels: Ok, Ok, Ok, Ok, -1, -1, -2, -3, -4, Inc. Attacks: Bite 5L, Tail Slap 5B, Claw 4L (Deinonychus only).

Pet Chimera

Producer: C-Z Megasyndicate Category: Bioengineered fauna Description: A brand-new byproduct of his research into augmenting humans with transgenic DNA implants, Dr. Morgan Dwyer bioengineered these mammals with sec- tions of transgenic human DNA. The resulting animals are odd-looking in the extreme, but are as intelligent as a dim baseline human. Pet Chimeras don’t truly qualify as sapient and will be legally considered animals once their existence becomes widely known. The Megasyndicate is currently touting Pet Chimeras as the ultimate luxury for the wealthi- est (and most eccentric) of exotic pet fanciers. Pet Chime- ras are most commonly derived from domestic dog breeds and housecats, although any higher mammal could be used. Needless to say, the existence of these creatures will upset both human and animal rights activists but fall into the middle ground as far as legality is concerned, being product rather than pet or person. System: Pet Chimeras look like bizarre mixtures of animal and human traits, with the animal traits predominat- ing. The stats of Pet Chimeras are those of the base animal, with the following added traits: Intelligence 1, Perception 3, Wits 2, Appearance 2, Manipulation 1 and Charisma 2. Pet Chimeras also share the same lifespans and maturation rates as their base animal species. For an added cost (an additional 2 Resources dots would be the minimum), Pet Chimeras can also be created as Bonded Animals (see the listing above). Pet Chimeras are an advancement and are usable by baselines.

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Quantum-Powered Animals

Producer: Independent nova bioengineer Category: Bioengineered fauna Description: Ever since humans first domesticated ani- mals as something other than a source of food, the idea that some fantastic beasts could also be made to serve clever men has been one of their most common fantasies. It wasn’t a big leap of imagination to figure that the gods would likewise have wondrous animals at their beck and call. With the novas’ status as de facto gods of the 21st Century, it is inevitable that one or more nova bioengineers will seek to make that fan- tasy into concrete reality. Although the possibility of “animal novas” is laughed off by nearly all baseline experts on nova powers as of 2015, the potential for them to be created does exist. It’s only a question of if and when it will happen. System: Although the exact means used to create them can vary with the individual nova bioengineer, what’s required to create Quantum-Powered Animals is a quan- tum gadget capable of replicating the Mutation technique of the Ecological Supremecy power. (Details for these can be found on pp. 143-148 and pp. 129-130 of the Aberrant Players Guide, respectively.) This restricts the creation of the required quantum gadget to nova bioengineers with Quantum scores of 7 or more. The “nova capabilities” of the transformed animals will be determined as set out in the Mutation technique listing, with successes being pooled as the user (usually the nova bioengineer) desires. One success can grant the animal one nova point’s worth of a power. Two successes can grant an enhancement (without the accompa- nying Mega-Attribute dot), while three successes can grant a Mega-Attribute dot (without enhancements). Quantum- Powered Animals will not have an actual Quantum trait, but will be treated as having the minimum Quantum to use its power and a pool of 5 quantum points per dot of “Quantum”. Quantum-Powered Animals cannot increase their “nova capabilities”, but neither can they gain Taint or aberrations, save perhaps when one or more botches are

made on the initial Mutation roll. The technology required to create Quantum-Powered Animals is an innovation and can only be used by novas. Storyteller Note: As the idea of super-powered animals is a very four-color concept, they could easily clash with the tone of your Aberrant chronicle and/or the expectations of your players. As a highly optional story element, we recom- mend that the concept be discussed with your players before introducing it. On the other hand, if your Aberrant chronicle is four-color to begin with, this may not be such a problem

 

Story Seed: REVOLUTION!!!!

 

In this case, it’s an entirely different reclusive nova bioen- gineer who develops Quantum-Powered Animals, and he isn’t

a nice or ethical person in the least. Instead he is a world-class sociopathic bastard, as he immediately sold his first trio of super-dog pups to an organized crime group for the purpose of engaging in illegal dogfights, mostly out of curiousity as to what would happen and general irresponsibility. The crooks trained their super-dogs for three months. After some mishaps and two human fatalities (as well as LOTS of dead normal dogs) they finally had three well-trained fighting super-dogs. Inspired by this they asked the nova bioengineer to make fifteen more

super-dogs for them

and then three months later disaster hap-

pened. One of the super-dogs decided he was in charge, and much worse, the rest of the super-dogs backed him up. The end result was bloody revolution, a massacre of all the baselines present, and the formation of a pack of 18 vicious super-dogs which fled the scene. The good news is that this particular batch of Quantum-Powered Animals won’t breed true. The bad news is their leader is fully sapient, rather intelligent and very insane

as well (Storyteller’s discretion as to his exact mental disorders). Any sane nova with Animal Mastery would have realized this and

had him euthanized as a pup. As it is the new pack leader declared war on humanity.

has

Story Seed: Adventures in Keeping Super-Pets!

     

A reclusive, kind-hearted nova bioengineer friend of one of the player characters has managed to create the world’s first

Quantum-Powered Animal, but has also somehow kept the achievement a secret from the rest of the world. Citing a need “covert field testing”, he bestows this affectionate little bioengineered beast to one or more of the player characters

for

as a

 

housepet. Fortunately (or not), it’s close to the average power level (read: nova point count) of the player characters, so they

will

have a decent shot at keeping control of it. Living with an ordinary dog or housecat can be frustrating enough without tossing quantum powers into the mix. A super-dog could not only chase cars, but catch them with ease. Where normal dogs dig up small gardens, a super-dog could literally dig up entire yards. As far as super-dogs are concerned, anything less than a steel bank vault door is a pet door waiting to happen. Super-cats aren’t much better, as one could literally raid the pantry whenever it felt hungry, instead of having to wait for its master to give it food. Normal cats only scratch their owners’ wardrobe and/or furniture with their

claws, but a super-cat could demolish both with relative ease. And if all that wasn’t bad enough, the player characters must keep the super-pet’s existence a secret while dealing with its antics.

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Medicine

more natural-looking than those available circa 1997, they also keep looking good as the patient ages. Even so, there is still a risk that the surgery’s effect can backfire, harming the patient’s erstwhile good looks or even ruining them completely. System: Advanced Cosmetic Surgeries covers every- thing from breast augmentations and reductions, hair restoration and penile enlargement to full-scale facial recon- struction and major skin grafts. They also come in three cat- egories: Minor (i.e. nosejobs & the like), Median (such as breast augmentation) and Major (such as facial reconstruc- tion). The roll for performing Advanced Cosmetic Surger- ies is Intelligence + Medicine, with a difficulty penalty of +1 added when attempting a Median surgery and +2 for a Major surgery. Attempts to redefine a patient’s Ugliness as standard appearance adds a flat +2 difficulty penalty. If all goes well with the surgery, the patient’s Appear- ance can be raised by up to 2 dots with cheap surgery, or by up to 3 dots plus addition of the Sexy Merit (Aberrant Players Guide, p. 75) with expensive surgery. If the surgery is botched, a patient undergoing cheap surgery could have her dots of Appearance redefined as Ugliness and gain the Bad Vibe Flaw (Aberrant Players Guide, p. 76) at the 1 point level. If a expensive surgery is botched, the patient could lose only one or two dots of Appearance. It should also be noted that patients whose Appearance is defined as Ugliness are handled differently. If successful, such a patient undergoing cheap surgery can lose up to 2 dots of Appearance, while one undergoing expensive sur- gery could have his Appearance rating redefined as stan- dard attractive Appearance and also gain the Sexy Merit. One drawback that hasn’t changed is that having had prior Advanced Cosmetic Surgeries makes undergoing further surgeries more difficult. In game terms, each prior Advanced Cosmetic Surgery the patient has undergone— successful or not—will take away one success from the roll for all Advanced Cosmetic Surgeries performed in the future. Finally, since undergoing Advanced Cosmetic Surgery involves the implantation of synthetic organ tissue grown from the patient’s own stem cells, there’s none of the risks associated with traditional synthetic implants. Advanced Cosmetic Surgeries are advancements and can be per- formed by baselines.

Ever since humans first realized that they could do things to help themselves recover from injuries and ail- ments, their drive to advance the field of medicine has been relentless and its practitioners admired. Likewise, the potential of medicine to be abused has also been recog- nized since Hammurabi’s time. This situation has not really changed with the coming of the novas, only its aspects - both positive and negative - have been magnified.

Accelerated Healing Gel

Producer: Triton Pharmaceuticals Category: Life support Description: Inspired by the use of synthetic breath- ing liquids, one of Triton’s nova medical researchers came up with a gelatin that not only transfers the required level of oxygen directly to a patient’s lungs and/or bloodstream, but also transports nutrients to and wastes away from the patient’s cells. The fact that the gel’s viscosity can keep lungs from collapsing and relieves nearly all harmful pressure on damaged tissues is considered a crowning touch. As this kind of unprecendented life support allows formerly radical medical techniques to be used safely, injuries that would have been guaranteed death certificates can be healed in a matter of hours. As of 2015, medical “tank beds” full of Accelerated Healing Gel can be found and are used in all the best hospitals and private clinics of the First World nations. System: If used in tandem with advanced medical treatment (Aberrant core book, p. 255), Accelerated Heal- ing Gel will multiply its effect threefold—a patient fortunate enough to receive both will recover Health Levels at six time categories higher on the Health chart. Note that the normal minimum times for healing damage still apply here: each level of Bashing damage will take five minutes and each level of Lethal damage will take one hour to heal. Acceler- ated Healing Gel may only be used once before having to be replaced with a fresh supply, as supporting the quick- ened healing consumes most if not all of its nutrient supply. Accelerated Healing Gel is an advancement and can be used and duplicated by baselines.

Advanced Cosmetic Surgeries

Producer: Many independent medical firms Category: Surgical techniques Description: Thanks to the wide array of medical advances brought about in the early Nova Age—most nota- bly the creation of synthetic organ transplants—the field of cosmetic surgery has seen dramatic improvement by 2015. Not only are the better cosmetic surgeries available much

Chemical Collar

Producer: C-Z Megasyndicate Category: Medical implant (synthetic gland) Description: With their long history of trafficking in humans for the slave trade, the Megasyndicate has always kept an eye out for ways to make their human wares more

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docile and less likely to rebel against and/or escape from their would-be owners. When Dr. Morgan Dwyer entered their service, his superiors gave him that problem in order to test his competence and capabilities. Dr. Dwyer created the Chemical Collar, which let him pass the test with flying colors, to the detriment of humanity as a whole. As of 2015, Chemical Collars are routinely implanted in the “highest quality” of women, children and handsome young men that have been enslaved by the Megasyndicate’s procurement operations. System: The Chemical Collar is a tiny synthetic gland like the much simpler Disulfram Implant (Aberrant: Year One, p. 75). Surgically implanted next to the spinal cord, the gland produces a highly complex mix of neurotransmit- ters, inhibitors and endorphins—unimaginatively named “Slavedrug”—that makes the implanted slave extremely submissive to whoever holds his or her “leash”. (See the drug listing below for details.) The implant also has a tiny radio transponder and neuron chip which lets the owner control the slave by means of the handheld radio transceiver “leash”. The leash has three functions, the first of which auto- matically triggers the Chemical Collar to deliver a standard dose of Slavedrug on a weekly basis, keeping the slave sub- missive and docile. The second function makes the Chemi- cal Collar deliver a massive overdose of Slavedrug, killing the slave and destroying the Collar. The third function will

automatically deliver the Slavedrug overdose if the slave moves further away from the leash than 20 to 50 meters (owner’s choice as to the exact range), restricting the slave’s range of movement. As an additional measure, many owners also like to have locator chips implanted into their slaves to make hiding futile. Fortunately, slaves need not be doomed to live out lives of servitude and degradation after being implanted with a Chemical Collar. Stealing the leash works quite well, provided that the slave realizes that the thief has it and not the former owner. If the antidote to Slavedrug is concocted, the slave can be injected with it on site before being taken to a good hospital or clinic for prompt removal of the Chemical Collar. Chemical Collars require only outpatient surgery to be implanted into and removed from baseline humans. Chemi- cal Collars are an advancement and can be duplicated and used by baselines.

Eruption Catalyst

Producer: C-Z Megasyndicate Category: Genetic alteration (via retrovirus) Description: While performing personal research on analyses of several thousand DNA samples (including his own), one of Dr. Dwyer’s more capable nova underlings by the name of Dr. Kirill Mirsky made a startling discov- ery. While the actual M-R gene sequence remained as rare

The C-Z Slavedrug

   

Toxin Rating: 3 Vector: Injected (via synthetic gland) Duration: 7 days

Effect: One dose of Slavedrug lowers the victim’s Willpower by six points when trying to resist and/or disobey the com-

mands of his or her recognized owner (read: whoever’s holding the “leash”). Victims who are reduced to zero Willpower do

not

fall prey to the base impulses of their Natures. Instead, such victims will obey and carry out their owner’s commands even when

they conflict with their ethics, personal preferences and sexual orientation. Slavedrug also heightens the natural production of endorphins in the brain when submitting to an owner’s commands, making the victim feel strong involuntary pleasure (both

sexual and otherwise) when obeying. Finally, victims of Slavedrug lose two dice from all Wits-based dice pools for the duration of its effect.

Addiction: 2. Antidote: The neurotoxins present in the venom of certain Australian snakes can negate the effects of Slavedrug for 8 hours.

This is best done with the venom pharmaceutically diluted and administered by a trained doctor, who will have determined

the

exact dosage required for the spinal injection. Attempting extreme.

to get the venom directly from the snake will be dangerous in

the

Detox: +2 difficulty on all Willpower rolls to control any aggressive impulses - combative, acquisitive and sexual - for 24

hours after successful removal of the Chemical Collar as the Overdose: Make a Stamina roll at +1 difficulty to avoid

victim’s normal neurochemistry reasserts itself. dying from a massive brain seizure.

Notes: Slavedrug is a fiendishly complex mixture of some very obscure neurochemicals, of which Dr. Dwyer has done his best to prevent any reverse engineering. As it can currently only be produced by Dr. Dwyer’s specialized synthetic glands,

attempts to recreate it without nova aid will not show any success until the mid-2040’s. It is also completely ineffective when used on novas. Slavedrug is an advancement and can be duplicated and used by baselines.

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as ever, exposure to elevated levels of ambient quantum energy could cause it to develop spontaneously in ordinary baseline human DNA. After locating a few normally-inactive genes responsible for the spontaneous mutation, he man- aged to develop a retrovirus that made them much more sensitive to ambient quantum energies. Further experiments with tissue samples have proven that Dr. Mirsky had created a true “eruption catalyst” that dramatically increases a baseline’s chances of eruption, as well as those of his or her children. Dr. Mirsky’s research also indicates that while the global level of ambient quantum as of 2015 is still too low for the Eruption Catalyst to func- tion, the conditions will be right for it by 2020. Even so, the Eruption Catalyst has quickly become one of the Megasyn- dicate’s priciest biotech items. Quite a few Megasyndicate made men are even saving up to buy it for themselves. System: The Eruption Catalyst does just what the name implies - it helps baseline humans to erupt when they ordi- narily would have little or no chance of doing so. In game terms, from 2020 onwards a baseline treated with the Erup- tion Catalyst will have a flat 5% chance of erupting when directly exposed to quantum energies. Unfortunately, it accomplishes this by causing genetic damage which guar- antees that such baselines will erupt as high-Taint novas (Aberrant Players Guide, p. 68). Baselines who erupt with the aid of the Eruption Catalyst are those who should never have erupted at all. Even worse, such baselines will pass on the Eruption Catalyst’s effects to whatever children they have after being treated. The Eruption Catalyst retrovirus is an innovation and can only be created by novas.

they have after being treated. The Eruption Catalyst retrovirus is an innovation and can only be

Gene-Boosting

Producer: C-Z Megasyndicate Category: Genetic alteration (In vitro gengineering) Description: With a ready-made market of people eager to give their children whatever advantages they can afford, it was inevitable that the C-Z Megasyndicate would attempt to profit from them. Created by Dr. Kirill Mirsky, this process overwrites select portions of a human embryo’s DNA at the time of (in vitro) conception. Aside from the usual control over gender and minor physical traits such as hair & eye color, the process also augments a few of the resulting child’s basic capabilities, as chosen by the parents. Unfortunately the process is far from being perfected, as the Gene-Boosting process has a 25% chance of inflicting physical defects and/or mental disorders on the altered children. Despite this, Gene-Boost- ing remains highly popular with parents who are wealthy, obsessed with genetic superiority or simply wish to ensure that their kids won’t be burdened with their more obvious genetic defects. System: If all goes well with the Gene-Boosting process (read: the Intelligence + Medicine or Science roll is success- ful), the altered infant will enjoy an additional 3 Attribute dots to be allocated as desired, with maximum Attribute rat- ings of 5. However, there is also a 25% that the infant will also develop the equivalent of a physical or mental aberra- tion (Storyteller’s choice) in some way related to the aug- mented Attributes. If the roll used for the Gene-Boosting process is botched, the infant will instead either have 3 less Attribute dots than normal or will lose 3 dots in other Attri- butes (Storyteller’s choice) than those being augmented. The Gene-Boosting process is an advancement and is usable by baselines.

 

Buying Novadom

 

With eruption as a nova being regarded as the ultimate status

symbol in the early 21st Century, it’s ironic that it has remained perpetually out of reach of even the wealthiest baselines for so long. Thanks to the efforts of Project Utopia and most First World governments, attempting to openly purchase novadom

for

oneself is much like trying to buy a tactical nuclear warhead personal use. At best, the would-be buyer can expect to be

for

arrested, thoroughly interrogated, slapped with huge fines and given a long prison sentence for his trouble. At worst, the would- be buyer can expect to be quietly assassinated and given a quick burial in an unmarked grave. If anyone is planning to make colos- sal sums of money by turning full-grown baselines into novas, the transaction will be as covert and discreet as possible. Information about purchasing potential novadom for one’s unborn children (not to mention lots of other information on nova genetics and reproduction) can be found in Aberrant: A Breed Apart.

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Human Cloning

Producer: Kuro-Tek Category: Medical procedure Description: Long held as a trope of science fiction, the cloning of human beings was made a concrete reality in 2011 by the bioengineers of Kuro-Tek. Given a viable sample of human’s complete genetic code, Kuro-Tek can create both partial and complete human clones. Despite the prevalence of synthetic organs for transplants, partial clones are a handy source of those tissues and organs that have yet to be duplicated with that technology. Some wealthy eccentrics have even paid to have heads cloned from their personal enemies for the purpose of having an unethical taxidermist stuff and mount them as trophies. Complete human clones are most often created as infants for those who wish to “resurrect” a deceased loved one or just want to have children, even to the point of cre- ating “cross-gender” clones of the genetic donor. For an additional cost Kuro-Tek can also accelerate their growth to create complete human clones of any physical age desired. In either case, complete clones will only have a newborn infant’s mentality when decanted unless a Personality Recording (see below) is “downloaded” into them. Fortu- nately the cloning of novas is currently beyond Kuro-Tek’s reach and is likely to remain so. System: Most clones produced with this technology will be separate human organs, baseline newborn infants or baselines of any physical age with a newborn infant’s mental- ity. Successful production of a clone only requires the bioen- gineer to make one Intelligence + Medicine or Science roll. Producing a cloned organ will take one to three months and newborn infant clones are produced in the standard nine months. Creating older complete clones requires a second Intelligence + Medicine or Science roll, and will take one to nine additional months, depending on the target age. In both cases, a failure on the roll indicates that the clone will have one or more minor genetic defects from genetic copying errors. Botching the roll will inflict the equivalent of a physical or mental aberration of the Storyteller’s choice upon the clone. “Cross-gender” clones may also be created with no additional effort beyond securing a healthy X or Y chromo- some sample from a genetic donor. Due to interference caused by their quantum energies and highly unusual bio- chemistries, novas cannot be cloned with this technology. Human Cloning is an advancement, and can be duplicated and performed by baselines.

and can be duplicated and performed by baselines. Human Programming Producer: DeVries Medical Category:

Human Programming

Producer: DeVries Medical Category: Neurological therapy Description: Derived from the same basic technol- ogy as the Mood-control Helmet (Aberrant: Elites p. 72), Human Programming was originally touted as a means to improve the general mental health (and head off any result- ing medical expenses) of DeVries’ baseline employees. When the technology’s potential for abuse became clear, it quickly joined the arsenal used by DeVries elites, used for ends both fair and foul. The technology has been outlawed in all First World countries except South Africa, not that this stops DeVries from using it. System: A Human Programming device is a bit more complicated to use than the Mood-control Helmet, as the “crown” of elecrical leads must be firmly attatched to the subject’s scalp and the programming device itself booted up and synchronized with the subject’s brainwave patterns. Normally, this takes at least two turns of game time. Human Programming uses the same mechanics as the Domination quantum power (Aberrant core book p. 191), except that the user’s Manipulation + the device’s dice pool is used for the power roll in a resisted action against the subject’s Willpower. The devices have a dice pool of six to ten dice depending on their size, with the man-portable units having 6 dice. The standard clinic units will have 8 dice and the most advanced clinic units (kept safely at DeVries’ regional headquarters) have 10 dice. Each success on the power roll allows the user to subtract or add 1 point of a psychological or neurological flaw from the subject’s mind. Eligible Flaws for Human Programming include Addiction/Compulsion and all Mental Flaws except for Uneducated. (Flaws may be found in the Aberrant Players Guide pp. 69-76.) The effects of Human Programming may be undone through telepathic memory alteration, with each success on the Telepathy roll negating or restoring the Flaw or Merit in question. Depending on the tone of your Aberrant chronicle and the Storyteller’s whim, Human Programming may also be able

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to affect the True Love Merit, as some psychologists con- sider romantic love to be a socially-condoned mental disor- der. Human Programming can be resisted with the Psychic Shield quantum power (and other means of resisting mental powers). Due to the more-or-less permanent effects of this technology, Psychic Shield and other mental defenses will grant double their normal protection against Human Pro- gramming. In any case, Human Programming has no effect whatsoever on mental aberrations - don’t even bother roll- ing. Human Programming devices are advancements and may be used by baselines.

devices are advancements and may be used by baselines. Induced Hibernation Producer: Independent nova researcher,

Induced Hibernation

Producer: Independent nova researcher, United States government (military/black ops) Category: Life support Description: Early in 2009, an unnamed nova biolo- gist discovered a method of inducing a state of long-term hibernation in mammals without causing them any cellular damage. After performing a few human trials with paid vol- unteers, the biologist knew that the technology was both ready for production and safe for human use. Unfortunately the equipment involved required far too much electrical power for even large hospitals to use it without bankrupt- ing themselves. Undaunted, the nova biologist discreetly offered to sell the technology to the United States govern- ment for a very tidy sum. Thrilled at the possibility of extend-

ing the active careers of a select few of their best special ops troops and top espionage agents —who often lacked family ties or didn’t have any worth keeping—a coalition of the United States military and many intelligence agencies eagerly accepted that offer. The rest has been (highly classi- fied) history. The inventor of the technology still has all the data and blueprints for the hibernation technology however, and there’s no telling where it may pop up next. System: A baseline human placed into Induced Hiber- nation has all aspects of her metabolism (including her heart rate) slowed, reducing her required levels of life support and nutrients by a factor of 20. When locked into the airtight “freeze tube”, a hibernating subject is supplied with a spe- cial atmospheric mix and special drugs mixed in with the nutrient fluid (delivered via intravenous feeding) that keeps her body tissues strong and healthy throughout her time of hibernation. Refrigeration is sometimes also required, as the subject’s body temperature will drop to about 5° Celsius (or 42° Fahrenheit). Best of all, the subject’s aging rate is practi- cally reduced to zero while hibernating. Most novas may be placed into Induced Hibernation as well, as they will only require 5 times the standard nutrient feed and the hibernation drugs tailored to the nova metab- olism. Of course, all that is rendered moot if a nova has any powers or aberrations which would either inhibit the proce- dure or make it impossible. Placing a subject into Induced Hibernation (or awakening a hibernating subject) requires an Intelligence + Medicine or Science roll, and takes one hour. Failure on the roll means the subject will remain awake, while a botch indicates that the patient will suffer a bout of extreme nausea and suffer three health levels of unsoakable bashing damage as her metabolism clashes with the hibernation drugs. Unfortunately the technology is a heavy power con- sumer, as a bank of 40 Induced Hibernation units (each of which are about the size of a late 20th Century van circa 2015) requires a dedicated power plant that would other- wise capable of powering a small town for it to function. If the power supply fails, hibernating subjects can easily die if aid isn’t given to them in time. Unless a major breakthrough in energy producing technology is made, use of Induced Hibernation will be limited to wealthy national goverments, major international corporations and the occasional eccen- tric billionaire. The Induced Hibernation technology is an advancement and can be used by baselines.

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Personality Recording

discomfort. Those subjects who were gender dysmorphic will instead quickly grow quite comfortable in their oppo- site-gender bodies. Personality Recordings can also be used for multiple downloads, resulting in two or more person- alities that were identical until the time their original was recorded, which can raise all sorts of questions and conflicts over issues of personal identity. The Personality Recording storage devices themselves are about the size of a small toolbox and weigh four kilo- grams. After being “imprinted” with the scanned data, Per- sonality Recording storage devices require little in the way of upkeep beyond the care normally given to fragile elec- tronics. Personality Recordings are an innovation and can only be created by novas with Quantum 4 or higher.

Pigment Alteration

Producer: Kuro-Tek Category: Neurological procedure Description: After achieving their first successes with Human Cloning, Kuro-Tek’s nova medical experts immedi- ately began research on one of its major drawbacks - the fact that all complete clones they created would have the mentality of a newborn infant upon being decanted. While this wasn’t a problem when such clones were decanted as physical newborn infants, it made producing clones at the later stages of maturity highly inefficient. That changed when a Kuro-Tek nova researcher stumbled on a method to literally record a human’s complete personality and memo- ries, which could then be stored and “downloaded” into the otherwise blank mind of a newly-decanted complete clone. While the process is far from being perfected, it has allowed Kuro-Tek to make the most out of their Human Cloning technology. System: The creation of a Personality Recording involves scanning the subject’s complete nervous system using a modified MRI scanner, with the subject preferably being unconscious at the time of recording. This allows the subject’s personality and memories to be stored as data within a special crystalline matrix which is the actual Person- ality Recording. Downloading a Personality Recording into a newly-decanted clone (or a human who’s been completely mindwiped through use of Telepathy) merely reverses the process. In both cases, an Intelligence + Medicine or Sci- ence roll is required to perform the process, with success resulting in complete personality and memory transference. Failure on the roll means that the transferred personality and memories will be incomplete, which may or may not be a good thing depending on the circumstances. Botch- ing the roll means that there will be major distortions in the transferred personality & memory data, which can result in the creation of mental disorders in an originally-sane per- sonality or the removal of mental disorders from an insane personality. In most cases, Personality Recordings will be down- loaded into complete clones of the subject’s original body that had been aged to a sufficient stage of physical matu- rity. This need not be the case though, as the blank clone being used for downloading can be of any age or genetic donor source. This can make for tragic results when a per- sonality is downloaded into a clone body of an inconvenient physical age, or one that carries serious genetic flaws in its DNA. It’s likewise best to download a recorded personal- ity into a body of the same gender as the original subject, except in the case of subjects who are gender dysmorphic. Most subjects who find themselves inhabiting an opposite- gender body can suffer extreme psychological stress and

Producer: DeVries Medical Category: Genetic alteration (via retrovirus) Description: Originally developed to aid in disguises, the existence of DeVries’ Pigment Alteration technique was revealed when the nova medical researcher who created it

was caught trying to sell it “under the table” to Kuro-Tek by

a

team of DVNTS elites. With the incident caught on live

OpNet video, DeVries made the best of an embarrassing situation by rebranding the technique as a novel form of cosmetic medicine. Despite the backlash from racists, eth- nocentrists and the cosmetic industry, Pigment Alteration has become the latest hot “must have” item to be found on the high fashion scene in 2015. System: An application of a Pigment Alteration retro-

virus can change the color of the patient’s hair, skin or eyes to a new color chosen by the patient. The only limitation

is

that the new color must be selected from the naturally-

occuring hues found in the relevant body parts of baseline humans. (Pigment Alterations capable of granting unnatural new hair, skin and eye colors such as seen in anime char- acters are limited to the realm of innovations, and can cur- rently be developed and performed only by novas.) DeVries’ geneticists have a wide library of baseline DNA samples to choose from, and have been known to pay very well for samples from baselines with rare and/or unusual hair, skin

or eye colorations. The process itself is a simple injection

-

the complicated part is creating the specific retrovirus,

using Intelligence + Medicine or Science for the roll. Suc- cess means that the patient’s hair, skin or eyes will change to the new color in about eight days - skin and irises will simply change, while a patient’s hair will begin growing in the new color from its roots. Most patients undergoing Pig- ment Alteration of the hair prefer to shave off all body hair and most scalp hair to make sure that they have as little hair of their previous color as possible after the new color has

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grown in. Failure results in the patient’s new color becoming some other random natural hue, while botching means that the new color will make the patient look odd in some way. Possibilities for botches include multicolor results (including piebald), making the hair turn white, causing massive skin wrinkles or having the new color just be highly unappealing. Additional Pigment Alterations of the same body part will increase the chance of failure, with each previous Pigment Alteration adding a +1 difficulty penalty to the Intelligence + Medicine or Science roll. As a somatic genetic alteration, Pigment Alterations can not be passed on to one’s children in the usual manner. Pigment Alterations are an advance- ment, and may be created and administered by baselines.

Rejuvenation Treatment

Producer: C-Z Megasyndicate Category: Medical treatment Description: One of Dr. Morgan Dwyer’s most nota- ble achievements is an unperfected treatment that can extend the lifespan of an adult human. Extrapolated from the research that produced the Megasyndicate Anti-Aging drug cocktail, this combination of genetic therapies and drug treatments has proven highly popular with the elderly among the baseline social elites. Despite the occasional accident and deletrious side effects that the treatment sometimes produces, it brings in considerable revenue for the Megasyndicate. Even Vor Alexi Zhukov himself has made plans to undergo the treatment before his age can begin to take a serious toll on his capabilities.

System: The Rejuvenation Treatment modifies genes to extend the human lifespan. While it doesn’t technically make people younger, in general it has the same basic effect of the Age Alteration technique of Temporal Manip- ulation. Each success on the nova doctor’s Intelligence + Medicine roll results in the patient having 2 years subtracted from her physical age. Botches on the roll will cause all sorts of horrible side effects to the patient. Possibilities for such include (but are not limited to) the equivalent of physical aberrations, developing a nasty genetic disease or physical handicap or even immediate death. Even worse is that fact that even when successful, the treatment gives the patient an increased chance to develop mental disorders. Each year of “reversed” aging from the Rejuvenation Treatments will add 2% to that chance. If the patient already has a mental disorder—such as sociopathy, for example—each Rejuvena- tion Treatment will either cause the patient’s mental disorder to increase in severity or grant him a new one (Storyteller’s choice). As novas have slightly different genetics from base- line humans and already have an enhanced lifespan, they can not benefit from or be harmed by Rejuvenation Treat- ments. Because the treatment only extends one’s lifespan, it is not possible to “youthen” someone into a baby or other pre-mature age, nor will they cease aging. Multiple Reju- venation Treatments are possible but every treatment after the first suffers from a -1 success per treatment and the 2% chance per year of dire results is calculated on the subject’s total time over all treatments. Rejuvenation Treatments are an innovation, and can only be duplicated and administered by novas with a Quantum of 4 or higher.

innovation, and can only be duplicated and administered by novas with a Quantum of 4 or

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Drugs

Drugs have a history of use by humans and their ances- tor species that predates human sapience - much less human civilization - by a very wide margin. No force in recorded his- tory has ever been able to change this, so it’s no surprise that drugs remain a notable element by the Nova Age. If anything, the presence of novas has only kicked the drug industries - both legal and otherwise - into high gear. New drugs derived from the genius of nova researchers and stud- ies of novas’ biochemistries have given baseline humanity a wealth of miracle cures, with new ones being discovered on an almost daily basis. Sadly, the dark side of this pharmaco- poeia also includes insidious new addictives that ruin human lives and the horrifying drugs produced by vivisecting living novas. The eventual consequences - both good and bad - of drug use in the 21st Century remain to be seen.

General Rules

Vector: This is the method that the chemical agent is

most often administered. Particularly insidious agents often have several vectors.

Contact: The substances take effect when it comes into contact with the subject’s skin.

Injected: The substance must be forcefully injected into the subject’s body to have any effect.

 

Ingested: The substance must be chewed, imbibed,

swallowed, or otherwise consumed to have any effect.

 

Inhaled: The subject must breathe in the chemical

agent for it to have any effect. Duration: The amount of time the chemical agent remains active in the subject’s body. Many drugs do not take effect immediately have also have an onset time before the chemical takes effect. Effect: The general description of the specific effects experience while under the influence of the chemical agent. Antidote: Some chemical agents have a counter-agent that negates the chemicals effect (although some antidotes may have their own side-effects). Addiction: Failing a Resistance roll against a chemical with an Addiction Rating requires a Willpower roll with a dif-

ficulty equal to that substance’s Addiction Rating. If the roll fails, the character becomes addicted. For most substances, the addicted character gains the Addiction flaw (+1 modifier

The Toxin Rating was originally introduced in the Trinity core book (p. 255). And while the Aberrant setting books often make mention of the mechanic it is never explicitly defined. The following is a set of optional rules for use with Aberrant that makes full use of the Toxin Rating mechanic. Toxin Rating: Toxin Rating is a measure of relative potency of a chemical agent. This is usually expressed in a rating from one to five; with mild substances (such as aspi- rin and weak alcoholic beverages) having Toxin Rating 1 and powerful substances (crack cocaine and many tailored pharmaceuticals) having ratings much higher ratings. Poi- sonous substances may have ratings even higher than five and deal an amount of bashing or lethal damage equal to its Toxin Rating. Each success on a Resistance roll reduces the Toxin Rating by 1. A substance that has had its Toxin Rating reduced to 0 has no effect. Novas have an increased resistance to all chemical agents, and can negate entirely the effect of any drug or chemical not specifically tailored to work on their physiol- ogy with only a single success on the Resistance roll. Nova- tailored drugs are extremely potent, and most function as a lethal poison with a Toxin Rating of (10-Stamina) if ingested by a non-nova. Novas resisting the effect of a nova-tailored chemical agent make their Resistance roll at +2 difficul- ties, with each net success reducing the Toxin Rating of the chemical agent by 1.

to

all difficulties for each 24 hours after the first 24 hours that

has passed since they last time they indulged their craving).

A

character may spend a Willpower point to negate this

penalty for 1 scene. Some substances impose other draw- backs and penalties. If the Willpower roll is successful, the subject does not become addicted. Mixing drugs is incred- ibly dangerous. Chemical cocktails have an effective Addic- tion Rating equal to the combined Addiction Rating for each drug that is part of the cocktail. Detox: Detox measures additional side effects suffered between doses while coming down from a high or while

purging oneself of an addiction. Overdose: Taking large amounts of drugs (even nor- mally safe ones) can be dangerous. Certain compounds have additional effects if multiple doses are taken (assume

if

additional doses are taken while a previous dose is still

in

effect). These effects can range from the inconvenient to

the lethal.

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The Stash

Nova Tranquilizer

Adrenocilin

Producer: Several independent pharmaceutical com- panies Toxin Rating: 3 (nova-tailored)/ 10-Stamina L (Baseline) Vector: Injected Duration: 100 minutes, - 10 minutes per dot of Stam- ina/Mega-Stamina Addiction: N/A Effect: Loses 3 dice from all dice pools. (Aberrant:

Year One, p. 106) Detox: N/A Antidote: None; each dot of Mega-Stamina reduces the tranquilizer’s effect by 1 die. Overdose: None.

Producer: Triton Pharmaceuticals Toxin Rating: 1 (nova-tailored) Vector: Ingested Duration: 4 hours Effect: (Aberrant core book p. 281). Adrenocilin func- tions as a (10-Stamina) lethal poison for baselines. Addiction: 2 Antidote: Moxinoquantamine (one dose neutralizes the effects of Adrenocilin, but the nova may still develop an addiction). Detox: +2 Difficulty to the use of all Quantum Powers. Overdose: Adrenocilin is relatively safe and has no overdose side effects.

Soma

Eclipsidol

Producer: Heaven Thunder Triad, C-Z Megasyndicate, Kuro-Tek, Teragen Pandaimonion Toxin Rating: 5 (nova-tailored)/ baselines die outright unless they make a successful Stamina roll at +1 difficulty. Vector: Ingested Duration: 4 hours Addiction: 0 (Nova)/ 2 (Baseline) Effect: (Aberrant core book, pp. 281-282) Detox: N/A Antidote: None. Overdose: Overdosing on Soma has a 5% chance of the user suffering temporary (for novas) or permanent (for baselines) paralysis.

VTP (Virally Tailored Poisons)

Producer: Kuro-Tek Description: see Aberrant: The Directive, pp. 55-56. Toxin Rating: 5 (nova-tailored) Vector: Contact, Ingested, Injected, or Inhaled Duration: 30 seconds (or 10-Node Rating turns), 5 min- utes (or 5 –Node Rating Minutes) Effect: (Aberrant: The Directive pp. 55-56). Eclipsidol has no effect on baselines (effectively Toxin Rating 0 for baseline subjects). Addiction: N/A Antidote: None, Counter-Eclipsidol Drugs can prevent the effect for up to 3 hours. Detox: None, as a nova’s normal neurochemistry quickly reasserts itself after the effect fades. Overdose: Eclipsidol has no overdose side effects.

Moxinoquantamine (Mox)

Producer: Triton Pharmaceuticals Toxin Rating: 4 Vector: Contact Duration: 12 hours – Stamina/Mega-Stamina Addiction: N/A Effect: Nova falls unconscious and his quantum pool is depleted. (Aberrant Worldwide: Phase 1 p. 115) Detox: N/A Antidote: None. Overdose: N/A

Producer: Triton Pharmaceuticals Toxin Rating: 3 (nova-tailored)/ 10-Stamina L (Baseline) Vector: Ingested Duration: 6 hours Addiction: N/A Effect: (Aberrant core book, p. 281) Detox: N/A Antidote: Adrenocilin. Overdose: None.

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New Drugs

 

Getting Clean

 

Amor

With all the drugs to be found in the world of Aberrant, sooner or later the issue of overcoming the Addiction Flaw (Aberrant Players Guide, p. 71) is going to come up. Provided that everyone in your chronicle is comfortable with exploring this through a roleplaying game, we have a game mechanic to

allow that. If your Storyteller allows Flaws that could plausibly

Producer: C-Z Megasyndicate Description: Originally developed as a drug to aid in emotional therapy, official concern over its potential for abuse forced the developer to throw in his lot with the C-Z Megasyndicate. Now sold on the streets as “Amor”, those official concerns have been turned into cold, hard reality. With so many lonely and unloved people in the world, the Megasyndicate has an eager supply of customers. Some people have even taken to surreptitiously dosing their established romantic partners with Amor in an attempt to strengthen their relationships. Toxin Rating: 3 Vector: Ingested Duration: 6 hours. Addiction: 3 + number of doses beyond the first. Effect: Amor induces a neurochemical state in the user which is functionally identical to that of humans in healthy long-term romantic relationships. Amor users will exhibit the same behaviors of lovesick humans, differing only in that they will have no obvious focus for their affections. Amor users will instead focus on an individual of the appropriate gender as their “partner”, who will usually be a well-known friend. Particularly lonely users can even choose acquain- tances who have only shown the user momentary kindness, affection or friendship as partners. Some of the more intel- ligent Amor users will even pair off with each other to ensure that they’ll have a receptive and understanding partner. Once a partner has been chosen, the user will seek to establish a romantic relationship with him or her. In some instances this can develop into an actual romance with the partner, but that’s exceedingly rare. While some partners can and will exploit an Amor user’s “affections”, many more will either try to turn down the user or try the “let’s just be friends” tactic. Amor users will then begin to either court or stalk their reluctant partners, and will turn to increasingly extreme tactics in both should the partner remain uncoop- erative. Aside from the sort of tactics seen in the movie Fatal Attraction, this can easily include dosing an unwilling part- ner with Amor. Amor isn’t a nova-tailored drug but novas can be affected by it if they fail their Resistance roll. Detox: Once a given dose wears off, Amor users will experience emotional distress of the kind normally asso- ciated with heartache. In game terms, this is equal to an increase of two steps on the “Sadness” column of the Empathic Manipulation chart (Aberrant core book, p. 196). Unless physically prevented from doing so, Amor users in that state will seek to dose themselves as soon as possible. Antidote: There is no known pharmaceutical antidote

be corrected to be “bought off” with experience points,

the

addicted character must go “cold turkey” and actively prevent himself from giving in to his addiction. The required experience

points will usually be twice the Flaw’s bonus point value, although your Storyteller has the final say on that. Depending on what he’s addicted to, the addicted character may also need to enter rehabilitation therapy and be prescribed counter-drugs such as

methadone. If the Storyteller desires, another requirement

is a

higher-than-average quality of roleplaying from the player of

the addicted character - overcoming an addiction can have seri- ous dramatic potential. Otherwise, this could be accomplished during a character’s “down time”. The Storyteller should keep

close track of the characters’ progress towards buying off

the

Flaw, as any stumbles made will have a cost. During the character’s rehabilitaion, resisting any opportu- nity to “get a fix” requires the character to make a Willpower roll. Depending on the nature of what he’s addicted to - such as

an extremely addictive drug - the Storyteller may add a difficulty

penalty to the Willpower roll. Success on the roll means that

the

character manages to keep himself from backsliding, although he will likely seek to get away from the temptation as soon as pos-

sible. Failure on the roll not only means the character gives in to whatever he’s addicted to, but that the Storyteller will dock one or more experience points from the character’s pool of experi- ence points that’s been set aside to buy off the Flaw. Botching is even worse, as it effectively wipes out the character’s pooled experience points and forces him to start over from scratch. Rehabilitation will come in stages as the Flaw is bought off one point per period, the length of which is also predetermined by

the Storyteller. Once the last experiences points are spent,

the

player can remove the Addiction Flaw from his character sheet. It’s also common for former addicts to develop aversions towards their former addictions, although this is by no means mandatory. A final note: Addictions that are aberrations instead of simple Flaws cannot be overcome in this manner - don’t even bother with it. As with all other true aberrations, the nova’s permanent Taint is the root of the problem of a nova with an Addiction aber- ration, and no known rehabilitation therapy can counter that.

for Amor. Overdose: Users who take more than one dose of Amor during the six hour duration must make a Resistance roll with a difficulty penalty of + (number of extra doses taken). Failure on the roll means that the user will suffer a temporary

 

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bout of severe erotomania (the delusion that another person is in love with the user). Botching the roll means that the user’s erotomania has become a permanent mental disor- der. In both cases, overdosed users will seek to win and/or retain their partner’s affections at any and all costs. Cases of such users stalking their partners are not unheard of.

that tinkering with one’s biochemistry on this level can be very risky. Users must make a Resistance roll with +2 bonus dice once every six weeks they take the Anti-Aging drug cocktail, with success meaning it works as intended. Failure on the roll means that the user gets no benefit at all, while botching means that the user develops permanent sociopa- thy (as per the aberration in Aberrant: Brainwaves). Sub- sequent botches on the Resistance roll will inflict whatever other permanent mental disorder or metabolic problem the Storyteller deems appropriate. In all cases, the Anti-Aging drug cocktail has no effect on novas. Detox: If unable to get their daily fix, users of the Anti-Aging drug cocktail will experience a temporary mental disorder of the Storyteller’s choice for 24 hours as their neurochemistry slowly returns to its normal state. Any and all permanent mental disorders and metabolic prob- lems gained through prior use of the drug cocktail will be retained, of course. Antidote: None. Overdose: Overdosing on the Anti-Aging drug cocktail requires taking more than one dose in the same 24 hour period. In that case, users must make a Resistance roll at +3 difficulty to avoid immediate death by the failure of their brain metabolism. Users who survive an overdose can expect to lose one or two dots of their Mental Attributes and/or Willpower (Storyteller’s discretion).

Baraka

Anti-Aging Drug Cocktail

Producer: C-Z Megasyndicate Description: Description: One of Dr. Dwyer’s earliest (if mixed) successes, this drug cocktail literally halts the aging process in baseline humans. Unfortunately it also tends to cause sociopathy and other mental disorders in long-term users. In a rare show of honest cooperation, Project Utopia and the Directive quickly had it banned in all of the First World nations and many other nations as well. Despite all that, this flame is still attracting wealthy moths and has made respectable amounts of money for the Megasyndi- cate in the process. Toxin Rating: 4 Vector: Injected Duration: 24 hours. Addiction: 4 + the number of doses taken beyond the

first.

Effect: Users of the Anti-Aging drug cocktail will have their aging processes effectively halted, provided that they can keep taking it on a daily basis. The problem with this is

 

Tainted Highs

 

Producer: N/A Description: Baraka isn’t a drug per se, but rather the result of a grisly practice started by certain extreme base- line cults. Baraka has become the name on the street for nova body tissues harvested from still living novas, which are often consumed raw. The tissues are saturated with the hormones and byproducts of the nova metabolism and often carry residual quantum (and sometimes taint) ener- gies. Needless to say, most novas consider themselves to be above prey animals and would be horrified (and angered) to find out that such a practice exists. Toxin Rating: Baraka has a Toxin Rating equal to the “donor’s” Quantum or Taint score (whichever is higher). Toxin Ratings higher than 3 are poisonous to baselines and deal bashing damage, while Toxin Ratings of higher than 5 deal lethal damage. Vector: Ingested. Cooking the flesh reduces its Toxin Rating by 1. Duration: Baraka is a short-lived high and only lasts for about an hour. Effect: For those willing to indulge in such horrific cui- sine Baraka is a euphoric, and the user feels energetic and excitable (how much of this is an actual chemical process

Recently, the Heaven Thunder Triad took possession of a nova that they have dubbed “Endless Bountiful Harvest”. This pathetic wretch has been completely twisted by Taint so that it isn’t much more than a mewling, screeching wreck of an entity

that’s barely able to move or function on its own. Its sex, race and age are indistinguishable beneath the vast and awful aberrations that twist its being; and any identity, powers or life it may have had before its eruption are gone, leaving only this howling shell.

It

is

so awful to look upon that it shakes the sanity of weak-willed men just to see it. The nova harvesters of the Heaven Thunder Triad are not weak-willed men however, and never hesitated in carrying out their work upon this twisted pile of flesh that had once been

a

human being. Along with the plentiful hormones and other

secretions that are so useful when refined into drugs, this crea- ture also yielded a 6th instar node, a rare find indeed. It was when they had finished their work that the harvesters discovered

the

true glory of this pathetic being. It fully regenerated its mas-

sive wounds in less than twenty minutes. Thus was born its name and the production of some of the most vicious, addictive and dangerous drugs of the Nova Age.

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and how much is simply psychosomatic is open to debate). This provides no noticeable in-game effect. When the high wears off the user gains a point of temporary Taint for each

Intelligence with the Taint Resistance enhancement and a high threshold for pain. All of this was necessary, for much of the research on this drug involved the researcher cutting open the brains of his own clones to take samples. This

point of Toxin Rating remaining after the initial Resistance roll.

Addiction: 1+ the number of doses taken beyond the first in a 7 day period. Each dose of Baraka is the equivalent of 0.5kg of tissue. Antidote: None; effects wear off over time. Detox: The long-term side effects of eating nova flesh have yet to be documented, but it is theorized that such cannibals would steadily accumulate taint energy and start to display physical mutations or contract bizarre illnesses. Overdose: In addition to any other side effects of con- suming Baraka, users who eat more than 2kg at one time on a regular basis experience the same benefits and penalties as someone using Mite.

drug is built around the observation that “dorming down” decreases taint, even that which is caused by having a large

M-R node. Thus it isn’t the entire story that very large nodes cause taint simply by their physical size by pressing on the rest of the brain. What must be happening is that very large nodes expose the rest of the brain to quantum, and as it can’t deal with it the side effect is taint. Thus when a nova with this condition dorms’ down, the rest of the brain is less exposed to quantum and functions better. This drug is absorbed by the other (non-node) portions of the nova’s brain and then proceeds to absorb excess quantum, shield- ing the rest of the brain. Since it mostly stays in the blood-

stream it largely doesn’t affect normal brain function

at

Crimson

correct dosages. Toxin Rating: 2 (nova-tailored) Vector: Ingested, Injected Duration: Duration at the correct dosage is 8 hours. However the dosage level can vary wildly depending on how much Mega-Stamina the nova has. Effect: As long as a nova has this drug in his body, he has the equivalent of the Mega-Intelligence Taint Resis- tance enhancement with one dot of Mega-Intelligence. This gives him a +1 on Willpower rolls to resist mental aberra- tions, or +2 to his Willpower if he has a Node rating of 3 or above. Novas with more than one dot of Mega-Intelligence do not gain any extra effect. Novas that already have the Taint Resistance enhancement gain no positive effect but still suffer the side effects. Baselines should not be exposed to this drug; since it migrates to the brain and stays there since there is no quantum to make it decay; it is treated as exposure to nerve gas. Addiction: Anti-Taint drugs have not proven addictive.

Antidote: None; effects wear off over time. Detox: While this drug is in effect the nova’s total quan- tum pool is reduced by 10%. Novas with a full quantum pool who take this drug will find that their “excess” quantum energy will simply leak out of them at a rate of 1 quantum point per minute. Overdose: If the dosage is too high then the drug will replace oxygen in the nova’s brain, causing his base Intel- ligence to be lowered by one dot for every extra dose the nova gets.

Producer: Heaven Thunder Triad Description: Developed using similar techniques as Red-7, Crimson is made from the hormones and adrenaline of Endless Bountiful Harvest and other highly-Tainted novas. Strangely, Crimson is slightly less lethal in the short term than Red-7, but the tradeoff is that users of it are far less in control of themselves than users of Red-7. Toxin Rating: 3 Vector: Injected Duration: 1 hour Effect: Crimson increases the Physical Attributes of the user by 3 dots (Anything over 5 translates into Physical Mega-Attributes with no enhancements) for an hour. While under the effects of Crimson, the user suffers from a penalty of +1 difficulty to all Willpower and Intelligence rolls as well as the aberration Hormonal Imbalance - Rage. This drug has no effect on novas other than to grant a point of temporary Taint. Addiction: 2 + number of doses beyond the first. Antidote: None; but the effects wear off with time. Detox: Every dose of Crimson carries a cumulative 3% chance of killing the user outright from massive heart failure and stroke as soon as the duration elapses. Overdose: Crimson has no additional overdose side effects.

First Generation Anti-Taint Drug(s)

Green Honey

Producer: Triton Pharmaceuticals Description: This revolutionary drug was developed by a Utopian nova medical researcher with high ratings of the Node Background, the Clone quantum power, Mega-

Producer: Heaven Thunder Triad Description: While everyone’s heard about people who are said to be “addicted” to their lovers, this extrapolation of the infamous date rape drugs takes that idea and makes

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it

a horrifying reality. Developed by triad pharmaceutical

or nymphomania (as per the Addiction/Compulsion Flaw) upon being deprived of physical intimacy with their user. Antidote: None for the user; the effects wear off gradu-

experts from certain sexual hormones and glandular secre- tions derived from nova body tissues, Green Honey is a

binary drug that has little direct effect on its users. Instead,

ally if he stops taking the drug. As for the user’s victim(s),

it

reacts with the user’s biochemistry to make some of the

a

standard dose of Kuro-Tek’s Nemukame drug will com-

user’s secretions literally addictive to people of the cor- rect sexual orientation. Since it hit the black market in 2013 Green Honey has been declared a controlled substance, with its use punishable as both a serious drug offense and rape in the First World nations. Toxin Rating: 3 (both user and victim) Vector: Injected (user), Ingested and Contact (victim) Duration: 6 hours (user), 4 hours (victim) Addiction: 1 + number of doses beyond the first (user), 3 + number of doses beyond the first (victim). Effect: Green Honey is sold in both male and female versions, as differences in sexual biochemistry make them useless to members of the incorrect gender - men can’t make direct use of female Green Honey, and vice versa. Once it’s reacted with the user’s biochemistry, Green Honey becomes a potent aphrodisiac and disinhibitor with euphoric side-effects. Active Green Honey is then secreted through the user’s saliva, sweat and sexual fluids, where it can affect any other human who is sexually oriented towards the user’s gender. For this to happen, a prospective victim must ingest and/or come into direct physical contact (bare skin at the minimum) with the user’s secretions. After that, the victim must make a Resistance roll to avoid intense sexual arousal and a strong addiction to that specific user of Green Honey. Addicted victims have a +3 difficulty penalty on all Willpower rolls to resist any opportunity, invitation or request to engage in sexual activity with their user. Most novas can use Green Honey, with the risk of inevi- tably developing satyriasis or nymphomania (as appropri- ate). Most novas can also become addicted to users of Green Honey, provided they don’t have protection against it. Having Mega-Stamina •• or Mega-Stamina with either of the Adaptability or Health enhancements will make the nova immune to Green Honey, while novas with certain other Mega-Attributes and/or enhancements may be able to avoid the drug’s effects at the Storyteller’s discretion. Likewise, novas with aberrations that would make addiction to Green Honey impossible (again, Storyteller’s discretion) are automatically immune. Tinkering with one’s own biochemistry in this manner

pletely negate the effects of an initial dose of Green Honey. Victims who have taken multiple doses of Green Honey via their user must enter a program of drug rehabiliation that includes a regimen of Nemukame to break their addiction. Overdose: If the level of active Green Honey in a base- line user’s system becomes too high - say, about four times the normal dose - it will drastically impair his or her mental processes. Baseline users who overdose on Green Honey must roll Stamina at +2 difficulty to avoid falling into a form of permanent catatonia where they can only respond to and engage in sexual activity. On the bright side, they are no longer addicted to Green Honey and won’t require any further doses. Nova users who overdose on Green Honey will only suffer this state for (24 - {Stamina + Mega-Stamina}) hours before recovering. Green Honey has no additional overdose side effects on victims.

Hyperzine X (a.k.a. Brain Juice)

Producer: Heaven Thunder Triad Description: Not many people in the general public realize that within the “publish or perish” world of aca- demia, the pressure to be the smartest of the smart is enor-

mous. Countless brilliant minds have fallen to using various narcotics and other treatments in the hope of granting them an edge in performance over their competitors. Hyperzine

(or “brain juice” as it’s called on the streets) is a noot-

ropic drug derived from a selection of neurotransmitters harvested from nova brains. This drug vastly increases the cognitive effectiveness of the human brain. Use of the drug clears away the mental effects of time and fatigue, allowing the user far greater clarity than before. It’s currently a con- trolled susbstance in many First World nations, yet it remains popular among the more driven - and reckless - among the baseline intelligentsia. Toxin Rating: 3 Vector: Injected. Duration: 6 hours. Addiction: 1 + number of doses taken beyond the first. Effect: Baselines who ingest Hyperzine X are overcome with great mental clarity (treat as the Concentration Merit) and have their Intelligence ratings temporarily increased by one dot. Regular use combined with a rigorous study regimen and a high level of mental stimulation over several months will make these effects permanent. Hyperzine X can dramatically increase a human’s intellect in other ways as well. While continuing to use this drug, the baseline user

X

is

very risky for baseline users, who must make a Resistance

roll at +1 difficulties to avoid being irreversibly poisoned by the drug that their own bodies have been producing. Such users will suffer the effect described in “Overdose”, below. Detox: For users, the effects will gradually fade once he or she stops taking Green Honey. Victims must make

a

Willpower roll to avoid developing temporary satyriasis

 
 

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may purchase Mental Merits (Aberrant Players Guide, p. 71-72) with experience points at a cost of (Merit’s bonus point value) x 3. Use of this drug is both illegal and dangerous. For every week of use the baseline must make a Stamina roll at diffi- culty +1 or suffer from the effects of a fatal brain aneurysm. Antidote: None; the effects wear off gradually if the user stops taking the drug. The loss of increased Intelli- gence and Mental Merits gained through use of Hyperzine X may possibly be prevented with a regimen of Kuro-Tek’s nootropic drugs (see Aberrant: Brainwaves) and certain neurotherapy drugs. The Storyteller has the final say on whether this is possible. Detox: Users of Hyperzine X will develop Polar Disor- der (Aberrant core book, p. 153) as they feel their mental capabilities slowly diminishing. Overdose: Overdosing on Hyperzine X has no addi- tional effect other than the usual risk of suffering a lethal brain aneurysm.

Joy Buzz

able activities - if they can’t derive any pleasure from it, why bother? Non-addicted users will only suffer these effects for one hour after the duration elapses. Antidote: A dose of endorphin inhibitors can negate the effect of an initial dose of Joy Buzz without any ill effect. Addicts will require either intensive neurotherapy or use of the Healing power (equivalent to healing three lethal Health Levels) to regain normal pleasure center function. Overdose: The user must make a Resistance roll at +3 difficulties or enter a temporary comatose state from the pleasure overload. Botching the roll means the comatose state is permanent.

Long Pig

Producer: N/A Description: Much like Baraka, Long Pig isn’t an actual drug but the continuation of an ancient and horri- fying human practice. Long Pig is the common name for human flesh used as a foodstuff, typically harvested from a recently-perished or still-living human. Understandably this practice has been widely reviled (if not illegal) for centuries with few exceptions, as nobody in their right mind wants to risk becoming someone else’s dinner. The social and legal punishments for cannibalism are typically the most severe available. Toxin Rating: Raw human flesh has a Toxin Rating of 2. Failing the Resistance roll means there’s a chance the canni- bal will contract a nasty disease such as kuru or Kreutzfield- Jakob Syndrome from eating human meat. Vector: Ingested. Cooking the flesh reduces its Toxin Rating by 1. Duration: As with Baraka, eating human flesh provides only a momentary high of 30 minutes. Addiction: 1 + the number of doses taken beyond the third in a 7 day period. Each dose of Long Pig is the equiva- lent of 0.5kg of tissue. Effect: Engaging in cannibalism causes euphoric and aphrodisiac effects in humans, with users feeling highly energetic and often sexually aroused as well. The question of whether this reaction is biochemical or psychosomatic has yet to be answered, although the Storyteller may see fit to inflict the Lusty Flaw (Aberrant Players Guide, p. 72) on the cannibal for the duration of the high. This provides no other noticeable in-game effects. Antidote: None; effects wear off over time. Detox: Other than the increased risk of contracting dis- eases such as kuru, none. Overdose: None, other than the expected social prob- lems that crop up when a cannibal has learned to consider other humans as the tastiest meat to be found on the hoof.

Mnemosyne

Producer: C-Z Megasyndicate Description: Prior to 2015, the Megasyndicate’s rev- enues from illegal drug sales had been suffering notice- ably, thanks to Project Utopia’s education and anti-drug use initiatives. When Joy Buzz hit the streets, the Megasyndi- cate recouped much of their previous losses within a few months. Despite a rapidly-developed Utopian propaganda campaign against its use, Joy Buzz has become the number one drug fad among the glitterati, professional party people and other social butterflies. Toxin Rating: 2 Vector: Ingested Duration: 4 hours. Addiction: 2 + number of doses beyond the first. Effect: Joy Buzz alters the user’s neurochemistry so that the endorphin releases triggered by any kind of pleasure she experiences are magnified several times over. The plea- sure can come from any activity; with sex, victory in social brinkmanship and enjoying a fine meal being only a few of the more obvious sources. Users of this drug (called “joy- buzzers” on the street) have a difficulty penalty of +3 on all Willpower rolls to resist enaging in any activity that they find enjoyable. Joy Buzz isn’t a nova-tailored drug but novas can be affected by it if they fail their Resistance roll. Detox: Addicted Joy Buzz users will derive much less pleasure from their activities than is normal. If prevented from getting their Joy Buzz fix, many addicts will either des- perately indulge in increasingly extreme bouts of hedonism in a vain attempt to kickstart their brains’ pleasure centers. Others will give up and avoid even the mildest of pleasur-

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Producer: Independent nova pharmaceutical researcher, C-Z Megasyndicate Description: This is a counterdrug specifically designed to protect against Kuro-Tek’s Lethe (see Aberrant: Brain- waves). While it cannot restore memories lost to Lethe, Mnemosyne does protect against that effect provided that the user’s been taking it on a regular basis. It also provides some minimal defense against telepathic memory altera- tion. Prior to 2014, this drug was considered another urban legend of the Nova Age. That changed when the inventor sold the Mnemosyne formula to the C-Z Megasyndicate, who now produce large quantities of it for sale. Kuro-Tek has made finding (and either recruiting or kidnapping) the inventor of this drug a top priority. Toxin Rating: 1 Vector: Injected Duration: 24 hours. Addiction: N/A. Effect: Where Lethe breaks down the chemical links involved in recently formed memories, Mnemosyne shields and reinforces those same links. One minute after being introduced into the user’s system, the user is rendered immune to the effects of Lethe for the period of duration. Telepaths (nova and otherwise) will also have a +2 difficulty penalty applied to all rolls made to alter the memories of a Mnemosyne user. Mnemosyne isn’t a nova-tailored drug but novas can be affected by it if they fail their Resistance roll. Detox: After discontinuing Mnemosyne use, a user will experience some minor memory problems (treat as the Absent-Minded aberration, Aberrant Players Guide p. 93) for 24 hours as his neurochemistry readjusts itself. Antidote: N/A. Overdose: None.

Nemukame, (a.k.a. “Sleeping Turtle”)

off their libidos can become psychologically addicted to it. Such addicts will also gain the Lusty Flaw (Aberrant Play- ers Guide, p. 72) if prevented from dosing themselves with Nemukame, although any resulting sexual encounters tend to be as unsatisfying and repellent as those with sex addicts. Effect: Nemukame reduces the user’s sexual drive & responsiveness to near-zero by artificially stimulating the production of certain natural inhibitors that do so in hazard- ous situations such as famines. The user is rendered unable to become sexually aroused and is completely immune to seduction attempts. Nemukame isn’t a nova-tailored drug but novas can be affected by it if they fail their Resistance roll.

Detox: After the duration elapses, the user’s neu- rochemistry will overcompensate a bit as it returns to its normal state. For one hour, treat the user as if he had the Lusty Flaw (Aberrant Players Guide, p. 72). This can be averted by taking another dose of Nemukame, but that can lead to psychological addiction. Antidote: None. Overdose: None.

Noctisol-3, (a.k.a. Everwake)

Producer: Independent nova pharmaceutical researcher, the United States Army. Description: For centuries, military planners have sought to minimize the risks posed by one of the most basic human requirements: the need for sleep. With the aid of the nova pharmaceutical expert who created Mnemosyne, the United States Army has found a fairly workable solution to that problem. Production and use of Noctisol-3 is currently restricted to the United States Army and Marines, but that hasn’t stopped organized crime groups from attempting to steal the formula from them. Toxin Rating: 2 Vector: Ingested Duration: 72 hours. Addiction: N/A, Noctisol-3 was deliberately designed to be non-addictive. Effect: Taking Noctisol-3 allows the user to remain awake and physically active (if needed) for nearly three days, with only 4 hours worth of catnaps being required. Users will also be somewhat more agitated, resulting in a +1 difficulty on all rolls to avoid following orders to engage in combat, even when said orders are clearly stupid. Noctisol-3 isn’t a nova-tailored drug but novas can be affected by it if they fail their Resistance roll. Detox: After the third day of using Noctisol-3, the user will suffer +1 difficulties to all rolls per day, as exhaustion begins to set in. Getting at least 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep will remedy this.

Producer: Kuro-Tek Description: Long familiar with the “honey trap” tactic used in espionage, the leaders of the Directive knew that their V-R Lenses (Aberrant: The Directive, p. 59) weren’t going to be enough to protect their agents from the wiles of Mega-Seductive novas. Kuro-Tek was quick to come up with an effective countermeasure and offer it up for use by Directive field agents. It’s also one of Kuro-Tek’s better sell- ing “grey market” drugs, especially among workaholic busi- ness executives and some of the clergy. Toxin Rating: 1 Vector: Ingested Duration: 4 hours. Addiction: N/A. Nemukame is not physically addic- tive, although users who attempt to use it constantly to turn

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Antidote: Other than putting the user in physical restraints or shooting him with tranquilizers, there is no known antidote to Noctisol-3. Overdose: Overdosing on Noctisol-3 is possible if the user tries to take it more than once per week. When this happens, the user must make a Resistance roll at +2 dif- ficulty to avoid falling into a coma of indeterminate length (Storyteller’s discretion).

Suishō (a.k.a. “Crystal”)

“Super” Mite

Producer: Heaven Thunder Triad Description: Surrounded by urban legends and sought after by unintelligent Mitoids, “Super” Mite is exactly like Mite, except that it works faster and more easily. Naturally the side effects of this Tainted drug are far more dire as well… Toxin Rating: 3 Vector: Injected Duration: 1 hour Effect: “Super” Mite has the same effects on baselines as Mite, but on a vastly quicker time scale. The bonuses accumulate over the course of weeks until the Mega- Strength 1 point is reached (+1 Strength and Might per week until they reach 10 total, then Mega-Strength 1). Nova users of “Super” Mite can buy one dot of Mega-Strength for a quarter of the normal experience cost, but gain 1 point permanent Taint and five points of temporary Taint in the process. Addiction: 1 + number of doses beyond the first. Antidote: None; the effects wear off gradually if the user stops taking the drug. “Super” Mite mutants are per- manently warped. Detox: The side effects can be far more exotic if the user botches the Stamina roll to avoid cardiac arrest. If the Stamina roll is botched, the baseline mutates in the same manner as a user of Tainted Soma (see below) but also loses all but one point of Intelligence and Wits, goes hope- lessly insane, and gains the aberrations Hormonal Imbal- ance: Rage, Sheer Hideousness, and Bulging Muscles. Such mutants keep their bonuses from Mite use permanently and no longer require fresh doses to maintain their strength, nor are they addicted to it any longer. Overdose: “Super Mite” imposes no additional effects for overdosing other than the usual chance for cardiac fail- ure.

Tainted Soma

Producer: Kuro-Tek Description: Kuro-Tek has long been at the forefront of nootropic drug research, so it was only a matter of time before they came up with a memory-enhancing drug. Known on the street as “Crystal”, this drug has become one of the hottest items in academic and scientific circles. Others use it to make permanent memories of their loved ones, particu- larly satisfying achievements and pleasurable experiences. Despite it being produced by Kuro-Tek, law enforce- ment agencies tend to look the other way where Suishō sales are concerned. The drug itself is remarkably safe, non- addictive and has no side-effects. That isn’t to say it can’t be abused, as certain truly sadistic people have used Suishō on their victims to ensure that their memories of the con- sequent pain and trauma will remain fresh for decades to come. Toxin Rating: 2 Vector: Contact (cut with DMSO, packaged in adhesive tabs). Duration: 4 hours. Addiction: N/A. Effect: Suishō allows the user to change anything in her short-term memory into permanent memories. After dosing herself, the user will have perfect recall of anything she per- ceives in the next four hours. If used for academic study, this allows the user to cram a week’s worth of unassisted study into the four hours that Suishō is enhancing the memoriza- tion process. If used on a victim to record traumatic experi- ences, Suishō will impose a difficulty penalty of anywhere from +1 to +3 on all Medicine (Psychology) rolls made to provide the victim with psychotherapy. Suishō isn’t a nova- tailored drug but novas can be affected by it if they fail their Resistance roll. Detox: N/A. Antidote: Kuro-Tek’s Lethe drug (see Aberrant: Brain- waves) and telepathic memory alteration are the only ways to eliminate memories made permanent through Crystal use.

Overdose: N/A.

Producer: Heaven Thunder Triad Description: This variant of Soma is taken from the ever-regenerating node of Endless Bountiful Harvest and other heavily Tainted novas. The highs produced by this ver- sion of Soma are far more intense than the incredible rush given by the normal variety. For baselines however, the risks of this venomous brew far outweigh the pleasure and power to be had. For novas, there is no risk of death, but the dangers to body and sanity make it far too risky for all but the unin- formed and foolhardy. Of course, the Heaven Thunder Triad does all that they can to make sure that the world at large remains uniformed

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of the side effects. The foolhardy are easy to find and often, when they are hedonistic or power hungry novas, have more money then sense anyway. Toxin Rating: 5 (nova-tailored) Vector: Ingested Duration: 4 hours Effect: For baseline users, Tainted Soma is probably one of the most nakedly dangerous drugs that it is possible to ingest. A baseline taking a hit of this deadly brew must

make a Stamina roll at +2 difficulty, failure on this roll means instant death as their brain liquefies and pours out through their eye sockets. A baseline botching this roll is in for an even worse fate as the drug mutates them with vicious abandon. Base- lines who have botched the Stamina roll endure crippling and painful spasms over the course of (7-Stamina) days and develop the aberrations Hormonal Imbalance: Rage, Sheer Hideousness and one other of the Storyteller’s choice. Such mutants often carry some small physical bonus (+1 or 2 to Strength and/or Stamina and a Body Modification) as well. The newly mutated baseline is no longer considered

Biotech Materials

When compared to the flashier fields of scientific endeavor such as high-energy physics or genetic engi- neering, material science has often been given short shrift. This is no different in 2015, as most denizens of the Nova Age take the existence of the wondrous new materials being put out on the market for granted. That attitude is not only dismissive but is downright dangerous. Despite being regarded as background elements, the new materi- als produced through biotechnology can and will change Terran society in subtle ways. The only questions are these:

what effects will these wondrous substances have on human society, and will anyone even bother to notice those effects before it’s too late?

Artificial Spider Silk

Producer: Independent conglomerate (biotech and textiles subsidiaries) Category: Bioengineered animal product Description: Finding a way to make the mass produc- tion of artificial spider silk commercially feasible has been a long-held goal of biologists, clothing designers and textile magnates. As cannibalistic carnivores, spiders can not be farmed in sufficient numbers to make silk farming viable, so another way had to be found. In 2010, a transnational conglomerate solved the prob- lem when one of the baseline researchers in their biotech division made a breakthrough by creating transgenic cut- worms with working spider silk glands. With just a pittance of low-quality flour and green plant matter, the cutworm grubs could each produce the same amount of silk as sixty normal silkworms before pupating. The resulting product has become a mainstay of the textile industry and a very tempting target for industrial espionage. As of 2015 none of the conglomerate’s competitors have managed to steal the secret behind their artificial spider silk. The conglomerate’s recent introduction of reinforced spider silk armors that are both lighter and slightly stronger than Valamid fiber-based armors (Aberrant: Project Utopia, p. 51) has only increased their competitors’ efforts. System: The original variety of artificial spider silk has the best qualities of both dragline and aciniform (used by spiders to wrap prey items) silk; and is used for clothing, medical sutures and all kinds of threads, lines and ropes. The most remarkable property of these items is their reduced weight in comparison to similar items made from other substances. The new spider silk armors provide pro- tection that’s slightly better (+1 to Soak values) than that of Valamid fiber armors yet have only half the weight (the penalty for bulkiness is reduced by 1, to a maximum of zero). That said, spider silk armors are not only slightly less durable

addicted to Soma, for all the good that will do them

The

other effects on baseline users are the same as for regular Soma (see p. 281, Aberrant core book). Ingested by a nova, Tainted Soma produces the same effects as regular Soma and also effectively enhances the user’s Quantum score by +1 (This augmentation can increase the effects of powers that have effects based on Quantum, as well as the dice pool for a power max, but it does not allow the purchase of Extras or level four powers, nor does it increase the user’s Quantum Pool). The user is, however also gripped by a powerful euphoria and suffers from extremely poor judgment (+2 difficulty on all appropriate rolls). Addiction: 1 + number of doses beyond the first dose of any type of Soma; botching the roll also imposes another point of temporary Taint. Tainted Soma is instantly and totally addictive to baseline users, inflicting the Addiction flaw with the first dose. Antidote: None. Detox: After the four hour duration has elapsed, the nova user must roll their Quantum just as if they had initi- ated a power max, each 1 on this roll will inflict 1 point of temporary Taint. Overdose: A baseline suffers a +2 increase to the dif-

ficulty of the stamina roll to avoid being killed outright for each dose of Soma (Tainted or otherwise) taken within a 4 hour period. A nova can withstand a number of doses within

a

4 hour period equal to his Resistance; each dose after that

is

treated a Toxin Rating 5 lethal poison.

 

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than Valamid armors (-1 to the Destruction rating) but are biodegradeable. If stored in anything less than hermetic conditions, spider silk armors will begin to rot away into uselessness in anywhere from two to twenty years, depend- ing on the conditions. (Valamid-based armors have the same Soak values and mass as their normal Kevlar™ based analogs, while adding +4 to their Destruction ratings. Vala- mid armors are also non-biodegradeable, and can be kept for many decades in normal storage and remain useable.) Details on armor stats can be found on p. 277 of the Aber- rant core book.) Artificial spider silk is an advancement and can be used and duplicated by baselines.

Bioadhesives

Producer: Independent baseline bioengineer Category: Bioengineered animal product Description: Derived from several species of geneti- cally engineered molluscs by a baseline bioengineer in 2005, these are slightly improved versions of the natural protein-based glues produced by these creatures’ wild rela- tives. These surprisingly inexpensive products are mostly used in the fields of medicine, manufacuring and cosmet- ics, and have made their inventor extremely wealthy. Rumor has it that the U.S. Army is negotiating with the inventor to explore possible weapons applications of bioadhesives, but if anything has come of those hypothetical negotiations it isn’t widely known as of 2015. System: There are currently four kinds of bioadhesives on the market, which are described below. All bioadhesives are waterproof and fully biodegradable unless specified otherwise. Bioadhesives are advancements and can be used and duplicated by baselines. Biobond: This bioadhesive is used with inorganic medi- cal implants of all kinds, as it not only adheres strongly to the implant but also provides a porous framework of tough proteins that the patient’s body tissues can literally grow into and anchor themselves. Aside from making inorganic medical implants much more reliable, Biobond is a key sup- porting technology for the use of inorganic cyberware. InstaStitch: The predecessor to Biobond, this bioad- hesive has become a standard part of the medical repetoire worldwide. This bioadhesive has replaced old-fashioned surgical sutures, as the patient’s own body tissues will grow through and assimilate the Instastitch. Not only does this eliminate the need for physical removal of a suture, it also allows the patient’s wound to heal with only faint scarring at worst. Permafix: The Nova Age’s answer to SuperGlue™, this bioadhesive is used as an all-purpose permanent adhesive for manufactured products ranging from furniture to sports equipment to plywoods. Unlike other bioadhesives, Perma-

fix will not biodegrade on its own and requires a special solvent to remove it once it’s adhered to something. The solvent is completely harmless and will dissolve Permafix without causing any stains within thirty seconds of applica- tion. Separating two items glued together with Permafix by using brute force requires an effective Strength of 6+ and is very likely to damage the glued items. QuickTack: This bioadhesive has replaced spirit gum in the fields of cosmetics, disguises and stage makeup. Designed to harmlessly bond with and detach from human skin, QuickTack cannot be removed by anything other than 10 seconds’ worth of mild sustained physical pres- sure. QuickTack allows the skin it’s bonded with to perspire,

secrete and radiate heat normally, making it very comfort- able to use.

Biofactory

Producer: Novelty Consulting Category: Bioengineered microbial product Description: Before 1998, quite a few impressive new materials had been invented, holding out a promise of stun- ning technological progress. With the coming of the Nova Age, this situation only became more pronounced thanks to the discoveries of Mega-Intelligent nova scientists. Unfor- tunately, those impressive new materials also had equally impressive production costs, making mass production infeasible in many cases. That changed in early 2015, when Novelty Consulting patented a process that used several species of bioengineered microbes to literally assemble a prechosen material from base chemical stocks. System: Biofactories are cooperative multispecies microbe colonies that are kept in what are essentially com- puter-controlled automated vats the size of commercial beer kegs. The microbes are designed to respond to chemical signals released by the biofactory computer, which guides them in their production of a prechosen material. The com- puter also controls the release of the required chemicals and food for the microbes. The fact that this means of mate- rial assembly requires nothing in the way of combustion or intense heat has made it especially attactive to manufac- turers who have a sense (or wish to present a façade) of environmental responsibility. The range of materials that can be produced by a biofactory is very wide, with metamateri- als and all kinds of ceramics being only two possibilities. Given 24 hours of uninterrupted operation and sufficient resources, a biofactory can produce anywhere from 10 to 40 kilograms of the chosen material, with the material’s level of molecular complexity limiting how much of it can be pro- duced. Materials with highly complex molecular structures will take longer to produce. Biofactories are an advance- ment and can be used and duplicated by baselines.

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Biosmelter

Producer: Novelty Consulting Category: Bioengineered microbial product Description: Released in mid-2015, these devices are highly specialized versions of Novelty Consulting’s Biofac- tories. Each biosmelter uses a specific species of bioengi- neered extremeophile bacteria that literally feeds off of the impurities found in a single type of metal ore, leaving behind refined metal. While they aren’t quite as profitable as their standard biofactories, Novelty Consulting has still made a handsome amount of money through sales of these devices. If Amanda Wu has her way, biosmelters could replace most traditional smelting operations within twenty years. System: As simplified biofactories, biosmelters operate on the same basic “computer-controlled microbe colony in a vat” concept. That’s where the similarities end. A biosmelter is the size of a dumpster, with very thick walls and protec- tions against leaks and accidental spillage. That’s due to the very nasty chemicals used and produced by the extremeo- phile bacteria in the refining process, which could pollute the local soil and groundwater if left unchecked. Given suffi- cient power and resources, a biosmelter can refine 20 metric tons of ore within 24 hours. Biosmelters are an advancement and can be used and duplicated by baselines.

Neofiber

Producer: C-Z Megasyndicate Category: Novel bioengineered lifeform Description: Upon first learning the origin of eufiber, Morgan Dwyer was utterly revolted by the idea of wear- ing a nova’s skin excretions as clothing. After his eruption and subsequent recruitment by the C-Z Megasyndicate, he decided to act on that revulsion and create a superior ver- sion of eufiber that had a much more palatable method of production. Dr. Dwyer’s new version of eufiber—dubbed “Neofiber”—is grown in “seed pods” on a bioengineered organism that shares characteristics with both fruiting plants and slime molds. Neofiber differs from normal eufiber in a number of interesting ways, it is more aware and “trainable” than normal eufiber, bearing more than a little resemblance to vampiric eufiber in how it functions. In addition, prop- erly cultivated neofiber has shown the ability to defend and assist its wearer in various ways when the wearer is in extre- mis or incapacitated, such as manifesting tendrils to drag the nova to safety or spines to prevent the nova from being manhandled. System: Properly cultivating neofiber requires the wearer to take points in the Neofiber Background, which is functionally identical to the Eufiber background in most ways, with the same soak enhancement and Quantum stor- age abilities, etc. After acquiring a suit of neofiber, a nova may then spend the time needed to cultivate the neofiber colony’s “smarts”. This works by the nova spending expe- rience points to buy the new Ability called Cunning (see below). The difference between Cunning and other Abili- ties is that Cunning represents the developed instincts, rela- tionship and trained responses of the character’s neofiber colony. With a rating in Cunning, a colony of neofiber can then assist its wearer by reshaping itself when needed using its Cunning + (the nova’s Neofiber Background) as a Weave dice pool to invoke the effects described on p. 82 of the Aberrant Players Guide for the Weave skill. This effect is normally under the control of the player, but the Storyteller can have the colony take action on its own when appropri- ate. The advantage to Cunning is that the neofiber colony is taking the action instead of the nova, so that it can assist in various activities (combat, climbing, etc.) without counting as an action for the character wearing it. Neofiber can also be manipulated directly with the Weave skill. Like vampiric eufiber, Neofiber will also attempt to keep itself “full” to its background point limit on quantum points and will instinctively attempt to drain its wearer of quantum points or Health Levels if it becomes depleted. In that situ- ation, the Storyteller rolls the Neofiber background rating + Cunning vs. the wearer’s Wits (Aberrant Players Guide, p.

Hyper-Resins

Producer: Independent biotech firm Category: Bioengineered plant product Description: In 2009, a small collaboration of indepen- dent baseline bioengineers discovered several new kinds of resins that when dried could rival many metals (including surgical steel) in terms of hardness and tensile strength while being much lighter. Even better, resin-based items had no harmful chemicals and were biodegradeable after 10 years. After they bioengineered a few otherwise useless weeds to produce the “hyper-resins”, the group patented the tech- nology and became very wealthy. As of 2015, items made from the relatively cheap hyper-resins have replaced some comparable metal items, especially surgical instruments intended for use in poor Third World nations. Hyper-resin items have also become popular as components for sports equipment and short-term emergency gear. Unfortunately, others have abused the technology to create hyper-resin weapons that metal detectors can’t pick up. System: Hyper-resin items have almost the same stats as their metallic analogs, save for their weight. For items made from all but the heaviest metals (such as lead), a hyper-resin equivalent will have only 25% of the metal item’s weight. Hyper-resins are an advancement, and can be used and duplicated by baselines.

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81). Unlike vampiric eufiber, there is no background point discount for Neofiber. Because Neofiber is biochemically very different from Eufiber, all poisons, diseases or other chemical cocktails designed with Eufiber in mind (such as Eu-Freeze—see Aberrant: The Directive p. 56) are ineffective when used against Neofiber. Neofiber is an innovation and can only be created and used by novas.

Cunning

 
 

Story Seed: Rogue Web

 

The inevitable has happened: a cyberkinetic nova with more

curiousity and money than common sense has created a neofi-

ber cyberkinetic web. After several weeks of being used to

the

cyberkinetic’s advantage, the continuous information flow and repeated close-range exposure to quantum powers have caused the web to spontaneously develop animal-level sentience. After turning on and devouring its user the web begins to grow, searching out both “natural” eufiber to consume and replace and new sources of quantum energy - novas - to drain. And then it “wakes up” completely into full sapience, a truly inhuman intel- ligence born from quantum power and pure information with a

natural talent for manipulating the OpNet and anything it’s con-

 

Though used mostly like an Ability, Cunning is actually

a

measure of how well a nova has developed and trained

the rudimentary mind of their neofiber colony. A colony of neofiber with well developed Cunning can act and react to help or defend its wearer without prompting, sensing his desires though attunement when needed. As the neofiber’s Cunning grows, it becomes more responsive and quicker to

react to changing circumstances. System: In addition to the functions described under Neofiber, Cunning can also be used as a crude form of Per- ception or Intelligence when the Neofiber must act without

nected to

And it’s hungry. The player characters are given

the

task of finding some way to deal with the rogue web before it

anyone else, and without causing any more damage to the local OpNet than is really necessary.

kills

its user might even attain some level of actual—if not even remotely human—sapience and “go rogue”.

 

the conscious guidance of its wearer. In this case, the neo- fiber colony can roll its Cunning as an Awareness dice pool

Oilgourds

 

at

+1 difficulty or at +2 difficulty as an Intelligence dice pool

Producer: Independent nova bioengineer Category: Bioengineered plant product Description: Early in 2015, an independent nova bio- engineer created an altered gourd plant which could repli- cate any industrial oils (which are mainly used in lubricants and detergents) known to current terrestrial science. After patenting the invention and working out a royalties contract with a major transnational agricultural corporation, these “oilgourds” hit the global market. Many nations loved the idea of being able to literally grow their own industrial oils, and environmentalists praised it as being much more earth- friendly than refining industrial oils from petroleum. Despite strident (and futile) protests from the OPEC nations, the pro- duction and use of oilgourds is only expected to increase as time goes by. System: Oilgourd plants are much like their natu- ral cousins, except that their fruits are uniformly inedible (even to insects and fungi). Each oilgourd plant must be exposed as seedlings to a sample of the industrial oil they are intended to replicate. When mature, a ripe oilgourd will have anywhere from one to three liters of the chosen indus- trial oil stored within it, depending on the length of the local growing season and the level of care given to the oilgourd plants. Oilgourds are an advancement, and can be used and duplicated by baselines.

to “make connections” on an animal level. Cunning is also used in place of Dexterity to determine the colony’s move- ment speed when it is moving its wearer without assistance or if it is moving on its own for some reason (Walk or Run speeds only). Finally, if someone wishes to steal the neofiber colony off of a nova or otherwise take it off of them unwillingly, she must roll Strength + Might vs. the Cunning + Neofiber background of the nova to pry the colony loose from the wearer. Even then, the colony will attempt to escape from its new owner until the new owner has attuned it to herself and trained it by buying Cunning with experience points.

Neofiber and Cyberkinesis

Just like “natural” eufiber, a colony of neofiber can be used to create cyberkinetic “webs” as described on p. 81 of the Aberrant Player’s Guide. The only difference is the neofiber’s Cunning rating, which allows it to supplement its master’s Cyberkinesis rolls with its own Cunning + (the nova’s Neofiber Background) dice pool. That said, using this tactic does pose a risk to its cyberkinetic user. Just as with neofiber clothing, cyberkinetic webs of neofiber can turn on their users by draining quantum points and Health Levels from them as described above. It should also be noted that given how little is known of the properties of neofiber, it’s not far-fetched that a neofiber cyberkinetic web that killed

 

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Smartgels

Producer: Independent nova bioengineer Category: Bioengineered microbial product Description: The byproducts of a nova bioengineer’s foray into proteomics research, these bioengineered pro- teins have just hit the global market, with Project Utopia’s full approval. Sold in compressed form, these protein-based aerogels will rapidly inflate into their preprogrammed forms upon being deployed. System: There are currently four types of “smartgels” available on the market. All forms of smartgels are advance- ments, and can be used and duplicated by baselines. Blob round: Usable in grenade launchers (Aberrant core book, p. 276), this smartgel will engulf a target in a blob that’s similar to rubber cement, except that it’s con- siderably stronger. Much like the Foamthrower (Aberrant:

Year One, pp. 107-108), a blob round has the same effect as two dots of the Immobilize quantum power (assuming a Quantum of 1), reducing the Dexterity of the target. The attacker uses Dexterity + Firearms in a resisted roll against the target’s Dexterity, with the result determining how many dots of Dexterity the target loses. It is also impossible to suffocate a breathing person or animal with a blob round, as the protein is designed to avoid growing over sources of carbon dioxide gas. The last two differences are that a blob round will have an effective “Strength” of 5 and four “health levels” due to its somewhat elastic structure. Blob rounds will dissolve on their own 15 minutes after being used. The use of blob rounds is currently restricted to the military, law enforcement agencies and wildlife management agencies. Gelcast: This normally opaque smartgel acts as an instant medical cast and limb/body immobilizer, and is quickly becoming standard equipment for medical profes- sionals around the globe. In addition to providing support equal to the best traditional casts, gelcasts can form reseal- able apertures through which surgeons can easily oper- ate when exposed to a specific frequency of ultrasound. Another ultrasound frequency can be used to make the gel- cast literally scratch at an itchy spot on the encased body part. Due to being a specialized form of aerogel designed with working pores, gelcasts both allow the skin to breathe and wick away perspiration and skin secretions. Finally, gel- casts can temporarily become transparent so that medical

doctors can examine the encased body part just by looking at it. Before being used, gelcasts come in small packs rang- ing in size from a cigarrette pack (for the neck or a limb) to a coconut (full body cast). Hullpatch: Just as the name says, this smartgel is designed to quickly seal small to moderate-sized breaches in the hulls of air vehicles. When sold, a hullpatch resem- bles a plastic dumbbell with two small D-rings attached to one end. To use it, the hullpatch is placed halfway through the breach (easily done, since it’s fairly gelatinous) and the D-rings are pulled. When deployed, a small hullpatch can cover up and adhere to two square meters of a vehicle’s inner and outer hulls, centered on the hull breach. Large hull- patches can cover up to six square meters of a vehicle’s hull in the same way. As the protein-based aerogel is designed for extreme tensile strength, hullpatches have been proven capable of maintaining cabin pressure at altitudes of up to 15 kilometers. Hullpatches are permanent, but users are still advised to have repairs made at an aircraft hangar as soon as possible. Attacks against the aircraft will gain +2 dice if the hullpatch is targeted. Researchers speculate that hull- patches could be used on spacecraft without difficulty, but as of 2015 this hasn’t been tested in actual spaceflight. Seapatch: Developed at the request of the U.S. Navy, this smartgel is designed to quickly seal small to moderate hull breaches in sea vessels below the waterline. Before use a seapatch resembles a platter-sized drain plug with fluted edges. The reason for this radical difference in design from the hullpatch is simple. Where a hullpatch reacts to low- ered atmospheric pressure and has to keep the air inside the plane, seapatches must function against the water lathe effect, where water is shooting in through the breach and will cut anything in its way to pieces. The design of the sea- patch allows it to be jammed up against a hull breach while diverting the incoming water away from the person(s) using it. When deployed, a seapatch can cover up to 8 square meters of the vessel’s exterior and interior hulls. Seapatches are permanent, but users are advised to place their vessels in drydock for repairs as soon as possible. Attacks against the vessel will gain +2 dice if the seapatch is targeted. Sea- patches can withstand water pressures of up to 30 fathoms.

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Sucrochemicals

Producer: Independent nova bioengineer Category: Bioengineered plant/microbial product Description: Soon after the introduction of Oilgourds, the independent nova bioengineer responsible for them recently patented several new manufacturing processes using bioengineered microbes to create safe biodegrade- able plastics from ordinary plant-derived sugars. Even better is the fact that not only are these new processes are much less polluting than producing old-fashioned petrochemical plastics, they are considerably cheaper as well. Sucrochemi- cal technology is rapidly being accepted and used in all of the First World nations, with the rest of the planet expected to follow suit in the next few years. Petrochemical-based plastics are being phased out of use as a result of this, lead- ing to futher problems in the OPEC nations. One particularly irate Saudi oil tycoon has even tried (unsuccessfully) to put out a bounty on the inventor’s head.

System: Sucrochemical technology can be used to create sugar-based analogs to any of the traditional petro- chemical-based plastics, with the two minor differences that the sugar-based plastics will not harbor any harmful chemi- cals and will biodegrade at the same rate as normal plant matter. Sucrochemical plastics are an advancement and may be used and duplicated by baselines.

matter. Sucrochemical plastics are an advancement and may be used and duplicated by baselines. UNNATURAL SELECTION
matter. Sucrochemical plastics are an advancement and may be used and duplicated by baselines. UNNATURAL SELECTION
ABERRANT Cyberware Autolocation Module From the first time a human with a wounded leg used
ABERRANT
Cyberware
Autolocation Module
From the first time a human with a wounded leg used
long stick to aid in walking, people with crippling injuries
and deformities have always been developing tools that
would mitigate their handicaps. Circa 2015 this has been
taken to a new level with the recent advances in cyborg
technology. With the support of Utopian medical charities,
many crippled humans have the option of permanently
eliminating their handicaps by accepting therapeutic cyber-
ware. Other people who feel threatened by the capabilities
of novas have also created a market for cyberware that can
give them an edge—no matter how small—against their
erupted rivals. With augmentation cyberware having been
banned as blacktech in all First World nations, organized
crime has stepped in to fill that demand. The full ramifica-
tions and consequences of cyberware use in the Nova Age
a
-
legal or otherwise - have yet to be seen.
Cyberware Varieties
What follows is an assortment of the more remarkable
items of augmentation cyberware that the players are likely
to come across in an Aberrant chronicle. The “inorganic”
variety covers the traditional kind of cyberware composed
of metal, silicon & plastic components. “Organic” augmen-
tation cyberware items are those composed of living tissues
which are either surgically implanted into the user or grown
in his body as a symbiont. In either case these items will
have equivalent dot ratings, capabilities and drawbacks as
detailed in the Cyberware Background (see Appendix #1 of
this book, p. 241). As for therapeutic cyberware, the vast
majority of it is inorganic but is otherwise considered innoc-
uous by law enforcement and security personnel. Those
people with obvious therapeutic cyberware might get a
second look in rural and/or backwards regions, but their
cyberware won’t be thought of as unsettling or even out of
the ordinary in the major metropolitan and surburban areas
of the early 21st Century.
Producer: Heaven Thunder Triad
Category: Inorganic
Description: A specialized relative of the Symbiotic
Brain Data Implant (Aberrant: Underworld, p. 38), this item
can literally grant a Triad member the “home field advan-
tage” when it comes to getting around a neighborhood.
Combining with a host of active sensors with constantly-
updated 3D digital maps, Triad members can evade pursuit,
find Triad safehouses and sneak past security cordons with
ease. The Autolocation Module is identical to the Symbiotic
Brain Data Implant in terms of cost, implantation, opera-
tional lifespan and upgrading.
System: The Autolocation Module combines several
minor items into a very effective means of keeping con-
stant track of the user’s location. The active sensors include
GPS, an inertial motion tracking system, a magnetic micro-
compass and a micro-gyroscope. In conjunction with the
onboard 3D digital maps, the user only has to make a Per-
ception + Awareness roll to determine his general location
in terms of direction and proximity to known landmarks,
even if he’s been moved while unconscious. If the user has
an 3D digital map of his current locale, he will also receive
anywhere from +1 to +3 bonus dice (depending on how
up-to-date the map is) on attempts to get around the area,
evade pursuit and find local Triad establishments (if there
are any). The micro-gyroscope component also gives the
user a somewhat augmented sense of balance. Users of
the Autolocation Module may stand, walk or even drive
vehicles across treacherous surfaces as if they had the Per-
fect Balance enhancement (Aberrant Players Guide, p.
102). Unfortunately the Autolocation Module provides no
enhanced ability to land on one’s feet after a fall.
This device does have a few defects, however. First,
the 3D digital maps are updated by the Heaven Thunder
Triad on an irregular basis, depending on how often the
HTT’s cameramen can drive through an area without being
harassed by police or rival criminals. Many areas of the
46
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Other Cyberware Items

 

To avoid confusion, we’ve assigned Cyberware dot ratings to those items of cyberware that have been presented in previous Aberrant sourcebooks. In all cases, items that are therapeutic cyberware will have no dot rating at all.

DeVries Brain-implant Data Connection (Elites, p. 72) Basic model: With multiway communication: •• With full OpNet connection: ••• Symbiotic Brain Data Implant (Aberrant: Underworld

, p. 38): ••••

Synthetic Transplant Organs (Aberrant: Year One, pp. 73-74): None Synthetic Glands (Aberrant: Year One, p. 75): None

planet have yet to be mapped in this way by the HTT, espe- cially as the majority of their funds are earmarked for more vital operations. The Storyteller retains full discretion as to the accuracy of the HTT’s 3D digital maps. Second, anyone capable of hacking into the GPS system can not only locate the user at will, but can also feed him false GPS data to draw him into a trap. Distortions of the local magnetic field can likewise render the micro-compass useless. The Auto- location Module is a three-dot Cyberware item. It is also an advancement, and may be used and duplicated by base- lines.

Bomb Implants

explosion does an automatic twelve health levels of lethal damage plus another twelve dice of damage, with the vic- tim’s lethal soak being reduced to one-third of its normal level (round down) against it. Due to size restrictions, they cannot be equipped with quantum scanners (see Aberrant:

Underworld) as explosive collars can. Finally, they can also be tuned to a central transmitter to prevent the victim from straying. Conventional bomb implants are one-dot Cyber- ware items. In contrast antimatter bomb implants are tiny, about the size of an average seedless grape. Aside from the housing and control circuitry, it has an array of microscopic quan- tum capacitors surrounding an even smaller quartz crystal of a specific structure and dimensions. When activated the quantum capacitors temporarily change a few atoms of the quartz crystal into antimatter, resulting in an instantaneous explosion that obliterates both the user and everything around him. In game terms, this is 15d10 [20] levels of Lethal damage from the heat blast, pressure wave and gamma radiation caused by the matter/antimatter reaction. On the bright side, there is no appreciable nuclear fallout as with old-fashioned nuclear weapons. Due to the extreme difficul- ties involved in producing the antimatter, antimatter bomb implants aren’t used as a means of controlling captives. Instead they are designed as last-ditch suicide weapons for use by novas, and are typically designed to be set off at will by the user himself. Antimatter bomb implants require 5 dots of the Cyberware Background with the Ultrablack Cyberware Background Enhancement. In both cases the bomb implant blasts are considered to have the Explosion Extra (Aberrant core book, p. 231) for determining the blast area and damage reduction at distances away from ground zero. Also, bomb implants are typically designed to go off when tampered with. Bomb implants using conventional high explosives are advance- ments, and may be duplicated and used by baselines. Bomb implants using antimatter are Innovations, and may only be created by novas with a Quantum Trait of 6+.

Producer: Kuro-Tek, Heaven Thunder Triad (conven- tional), Independents (antimatter) Category: Inorganic Description: Before the Nova Age, the concept of liter- ally placing a bomb into a person’s body had been a trope of science fiction for many decades. With the recent advances in cybernetics that trope has become a terrifying reality. As the next logical step beyond Kuro-Tek’s Explosive Collar (see Aberrant: Brainwaves), bomb implants have become a favored means for both national governments and orga- nized crime to control difficult people such as novas. While most such devices rely on conventional high explosives, there are some rumors that one or more Mega-Intelligent nova scientists have created extremely small bomb implants that use shielded antimatter instead. Whether true or not, those rumors have caused many novas and baselines more than a few nights of worry and uneasy sleep System: Conventional bomb implants are metallic devices the size of a small child’s fist that can be surgically implanted wherever in a victim’s body there is sufficient room for it. Such spots are usually close to one or more of the vital areas of the victim’s body, limiting the bomb implant’s use to killing the victim instead of just maiming him. They are also equipped with remote controls with a radio base that allows an operator to detonate the explosives at will. The

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47

ABERRANT

Genomorphic Armament Symbionts, a.k.a. GEAS

Producer: C-Z Megasyndicate Category: Organic Description: After getting mixed results from ZGH (see p. 53 of this book), Dr. Dwyer realized that he was going to have to take another route toward his goal of human aug- mentation. The breakthrough came in 2013 when he discov- ered a means to create symbiotic organisms which would literally grow into their mature state as bioengineered aug- mentation cyberware in a human host. Dr. Dwyer created a wide variety of organic HAUGS, which he knew would not give the Megasyndicate’s enforcers anywhere near the edge they needed. Returning to his data from the ZGH project, Dr. Dwyer combined the best of it with his symbiotic implants to create the GEAS. While they were strictly bioengineered weaponry at first, Dwyer soon expanded the technology to grant other useful capabilties—such as enhanced move- ment and redundant organs—as well. Vors Camparelli and Zhukov have done their best to keep news of their enhanced underlings quiet, but rumors of Megasyndicate thugs with beastlike capabilities have begun to spread like wildfire. As of 2015, Dr. Dwyer is still the only master of this organic augmentation cyberware technology.

System: Each GEAS is either a 2- or 4-dot Cyberware item, as they are bioengineered analogs of the 1- and 2- nova point Body Modifications. While still in an embryonic

state, the GEAS is surgically implanted into the human host. The GEAS will then grow to maturity in either three or six weeks (for 2-dot and 4-dot GEAS, respectively). The host must remain under medical supervision for that period to ensure proper development. Once mature, the host can use the GEAS just like a nova could its analogous Body Modi- fication. The GEAS has two drawbacks, with the first being the need of the host to take a cocktail of special nutrients on

a daily basis in order to keep her GEAS healthy and fully

functional. If the host is deprived of the nutrient cocktail, her

GEAS will enter a dormant state and cannot be used until

its nutrient supply is restored. Even worse is the fact that

a nutrient cocktail must be specifically tailored to both the

host and the GEAS, as taking another host’s nutrient cocktail will only result in the host suffering violent nausea and GEAS dormancy for 24 hours. As of 2015 Dr. Dwyer is the only source for GEAS nutri- ent cocktails. GEAS are an advancement, and can be used by baselines. Duplication of the GEAS by baselines will require at least two decades’ worth of research and experi- mentation.

GEAS by baselines will require at least two decades’ worth of research and experi- mentation. 48

48

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Gun Implants

Producer: Kuro-Tek Category: Inorganic Description: With the increase in the use of advanced prosthetic arms for both therapeutic and augmentation cyberware, it was inevitable that someone would figure out how to build functional guns into them. To no one’s surprise, Kuro-Tek was the first to achieve that milestone. Ever since 2004, several Nakato gumi soldiers have turned the formerly crippling loss of a flesh-and-blood arm into a deadly advan- tage. With the introduction of hyper-resin in 2009 (see p. 42 of this book) into the global market, the newer gun implants can even bypass standard metal detectors with ease. System: As far as their stats are concerned, all gun implants are direct analogs of either pistols (light or heavy) or small submachine guns as described on p. 275 of the Aberrant core book. Pistol-grade implants are 3-dot Cyber- ware items, and small SMG-grade implants are 4-dot Cyber- ware items. Some gun implants fire tranquilizer-style darts instead, and have the same stats as Trank Pistols (Aberrant:

Year One, pp. 107-108). “Dartgun” implants are typically used to deliver doses of poisons, drugs or disease-causing microbes. A very few gun implants even fire paintballs, which will usually carry drugs or poisons mixed with DMSO to work as contact agents. Other possible paintball loads include fluorescent marking dyes, skin irritants and plastic explo- sives equipped with microtriggers. Plastic explosive paint- ball loads will inflict two automatic health levels of lethal damage plus two dice of lethal damage when triggered, and are generally used for sabotage or breaking and enter- ing. “Paintball gun” implants have the same stats as Trank Pistols save for inflicting Bashing damage instead of Lethal. “Dartgun” and “paintball gun” implants are both 2-dot Cyberware items. As of 2015 all gun implants are only built into inorganic arm prostheses, due to the problems of properly maintain- ing and reloading the implant. Using a gun implant requires the Firearms Ability, with new users suffering a +1 to all Firearms rolls made until they become accustomed to these unusual weapons. That usually requires a full week’s worth of intensive practice in using and maintaining the gun implant, but the Storyteller is encouraged to alter that as she sees fit. Gun implants manufactured after 2009 will also be man-

ufactured out of hyper-resin and advanced polymer compo- nents, making them undetectable to metal detectors. At the cost of an extra dot of the Cyberware background, such gun implants may also be disguised to look like harmless com- ponents of the arm prosthesis in order to fool other varieties of security scanners. Gun implants are an advancement, and may be used and duplicated by baselines.

Hibiki Implant, a.k.a. “the Echo”

Producer: Kuro-Tek Category: Inorganic Description: Originally developed by a lovesick teen- aged Japanese inventor to aid his cute (if shrill-voiced) girl- friend attain her dream of becoming a pop idol, this artificial larynx implant has instead become an espionage tool for Kuro-Tek and the Nakato gumi. Users of the Hibiki implant can literally reprogram their voices to sound like any other person who’s spoken in their vicinity. The damage Nakato gumi operatives have caused through bypassing voiceprint security devices and impersonating other people over the phone—and the resulting profits they’ve reaped in doing so—are immense. System: Users of the Hibiki implant can replicate any sound that is within the audible range of baseline humans, granting +3 dice on all rolls for mimicry or singing. Dupli- cating a specific voiceprint will require the user to have recorded the subject’s speech with the implant’s short-range microphone component, which has a maximum range of six meters in optimum conditions. The implant’s memory can store up to six different voiceprints at one time. Finally, as a last resort the user can roll Stamina + Resistance to produce an intense ultrasonic squeal that is inaudible to baseline humans but will agitate and irritate all four-legged animals within hearing distance. In game terms, every two successes on the roll will increase the attitude of the affected animals by one step on the “Anger” column of the Empathic Manip- ulation chart (Aberrant core book p. 196). Botching this roll will damage the implant, rendering the user mute until it can be repaired or replaced. The Hibiki implant is a 2-dot Cyber- ware item. It is also an advancement, and may be used and duplicated by baselines.

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ABERRANT

Human Augmentation Systems, a.k.a. “HAUGS”

Producer: Kuro-Tek & Heaven Thunder Triad (Inor- ganic), C-Z Megasyndicate (Organic), Independents Category: Both Inorganic and Organic (various implants/prostheses) Description: This listing covers the various cyberware items that are designed to raise one of a human’s basic physical, mental or social capabilities to peak human or even slightly superhuman levels. These are also the most popular items of augmentation cyberware sold , as many baselines have turned to them as a way to remain competitive against nova rivals. Rumors are told of HAUGS that can augment multiple Attributes, but there is currently no widely-known

evidence that such advanced cyberware has been made functional. Despite the efforts of Project Utopia and law enforcement agencies worldwide, sales of the HAUGS are going strong and will likely remain so. System: Most HAUGS will be rated as 3, 4 or 5-dot Cyberware items as per the Background; granting +1, 2 or 3 dots to a specific Attribute respectively. HAUGS that can provide more dots to one or more of the user’s Attributes will require the Ultrablack Cyberware Background Enhance- ment (see Appendix #1 of this book, p. 243.) A HAUGS will have all the logical and expected components required to support its function - for example, one that provides enhanced strength will also include a strengthened skeleton and hyperstrong ligaments. HAUGS are an advancement, and can be used and duplicated by baselines.

and hyperstrong ligaments. HAUGS are an advancement, and can be used and duplicated by baselines. 50

ABERRANT

   

Kizuna Implant, a.k.a. “the Yoke”

 

The Mega-Flex Syndrome

 

Producer: Kuro-Tek Category: Inorganic Description: With the release of the C-Z Megasyndi- cate’s Chemical Collars (see pp. 24-25 of this book) into the black market, the Nakato gumi knew that their own share of the trade in enslaved humans was at risk. Oyabun Naka- mura personally charged a team of Kuro-Tek’s best neurolo- gists and cyberneticists with developing their own device to ensure a slave’s docility. What they came up with was the Kizuna implant, which essentially dampens the victim’s emo- tional responses and self-will to very low levels. Slaves with Kizuna implants have often been described as living love dolls instead of docile humans, which most potential buyers find creepy but has proven a selling point with others. While oyabun Nakamura considers it inferior to the Chemi- cal Collar, the Kizuna implant has nevertheless made the Nakato gumi quite a lot of money. As with most other Kuro- Tek products, possession and use of the Kizuna implant has been banned in most First World nations except Japan. System: The Kizuna implant is a one-dot Cyberware item and consists of a tiny plastic nodule with a dozen small electrodes linked to very fine wires coming out of it. The device is surgically implanted at the base of the skull with the needles inserted into specific points in the victim’s cer- ebellum and pituitary gland. Once successfully implanted, this device lowers the victim’s Willpower by four points when trying to resist and/or disobey the commands of his or her designated owner. (The identity of the owner is pro- grammed into the Kizuna implant prior to being installed into the victim.) Victims who are reduced to zero Willpower do not fall prey to the base impulses of their Natures. Instead, such victims will obey and carry out their owner’s commands even when they conflict with their ethics and personal preferences. Overriding a victim’s sexual prefer- ences is beyond the Kizuna implant’s capabilities. The vic- tim’s entire range of emotional responses is also decreased by three steps on the Empathic Manipulation chart (Aber- rant core book p. 196), making the victim nearly autistic in terms of personal interaction in most cases and reducing all Social dice pools by 2 dice. The Kizuna implant does have three very serious flaws, however. The first is that it was designed to control base- line humans with what is deemed normal mental function. Victims with neurological and/or mental variances—such as mental disorders—are less affected by the implant, as their Willpower and emotional responses will only be lowered by two points and two steps respectively. Second, novas cannot be affected at all by the Kizuna implant. Third, the Kizuna implant’s circuitry can be surprisingly sensitive to electro- magnetic interference in rare circumstances. Depending

Some baselines are so desperate to become novas that they

will literally gamble with their own health and lives in order to erupt. When HAUGS were released into the black market, these fools only saw them as yet another possible avenue towards

novahood. One very graphic example of how this situation

can

go wrong was provided in late 2014 by an unknown individual and obvious novaphile calling himself “Mega-Flex”. One fine winter afternoon, “Mega-Flex” entered the limelight during an

attempt to foil the mugging of a newlywed couple by a Mitoid. Unfortunately, the costumed novaphile suffered a catastrophic

seizure throughout his clearly augmented musculature. Both

the

newlyweds and the Mitoid ran away screaming (in different direc- tions) when “Mega-Flex’s” body literally tore itself apart before

the horrified eyes of the other bystanders. Ironically, the secu-

rity camera footage of the hideous incident became one of

the

10 most downloaded videos on the OpNet for that following

week. The subsequent autopsy revealed that “Mega-Flex” had

not only illegally used steroids, human growth hormone and

the

ILGF virus (Aberrant: Year One, p. 78) in apparent attempts to self-erupt, but had been implanted with a prototype HAUGS that boosted his strength and stamina to mildly superhuman levels. Ever since that day, the “Mega-Flex Incident” has been one of Project Utopia’s premier examples of the dangers posed by aug- mentation cyberware.

on the factors involved (and the Storyteller’s discretion), the Kizuna implant can choose a random bystander as the vic- tim’s designated owner or disable the emotional dampen- ing in regards to a random person. In extreme cases, the damage to the Kizuna implant can limit it to suppressing all outward signs of emotional response while leaving the victim’s actual emotions and self-determination unhindered. The Kizuna implant is an advancement, and may be used and duplicated by baselines.

 

Shizukane Implant, a.k.a. “the Quiet Bell”

 

Producer: Kuro-Tek Category: Inorganic Description: Given how useful the cellular phone has proven to be in facilitating long-range interpersonal com- munication, it was only a matter of time before someone created an implanted version of it. One of Kuro-Tek’s first and most popular items of augmentation cyberware, this device allows users to make cellphone calls using either normal or subvocalized speech. With military-grade signal scrambler technology to prevent others from eavesdrop- ping on their signals, Nakato gumi operatives can act as a literal “smart mob”.

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51

 

ABERRANT

System: Implanted in the user’s mastoid cavity, this device uses neural links to the user’s auditory and optical nerves and an internal microphone next to the larynx for output and input. Dialing is a matter of either selecting a preprogrammed number or using a virtual keypad to enter a new number. Text messages are created using the same virtual keypad. The Shizukane implant has a range of two kilometers in areas without cellular phone network cover- age. As it has no metal components, the Shizukane implant will not register on airport security scanners. The implant’s battery allows the device to be used for 48 hours before recharging (via a port in the mastoid cavity) is required. Finally, the built-in signal scrambler imposes a difficulty pen- alty of +4 on all attempts to decode the encrypted signal. The only real drawback to the Shizukane implant is that it’s still vulnerable to all the problems which can hinder normal cellphone transmissions. At the Storyteller’s whim, electro- magnetic interference and problems with the local cellular phone networks can limit this device’s usefulness or render it inoperative. The Shizukane implant is a two-dot Cyberware item. It is also an advancement, and may be used and dupli- cated by baselines.

tum interference device linked to a microcomputer implant that’s grafted to the user’s spinal cord. When activated, this allows the user to interface with any electronic or computer- ized security device by touching it. Once contact has been established, the user can open them with ease. System: The Zenbukagi implant can be used 4 times per scene without drawing upon its quantum battery and grants the user +4 dice on all Intelligence + Intrusion rolls made to circumvent most electronic or computerized secu- rity measures available in the 2010s. It can also be used to

commit credit card fraud if the user has access to a source of forged unactivated credit cards. Fortunately, the Zenbukagi implant was originally designed to counteract only security measures that are considered “state of the art” during the 2010s. Advancements in security technology will quickly render the 2011 version of the Zenbukagi implant obsolete at a rate of -2 dice per following decade, forcing the user to either have the implant upgraded to keep pace or removed. Hypertech security measures designed by Mega-Intelligent novas or other Inspired beings will typically eliminate the Zenbukagi implant’s bonus entirely (Storyteller’s discretion). The Zenbukagi implant is powered by a quantum battery with a capacity of 10 quantum points. In an effort to ensure the implant’s longevity, the user cannot use the stored quantum points for additional uses of the implant without

Zenbukagi Implant, a.k.a. “the Universal Key”

a

special bypass code. The bypass code is unique for each

Producer: Kuro-Tek Category: Inorganic Description: This device represents the pinnacle of Kuro-Tek’s augmentation cyberware circa 2015. Developed by a team of Kuro-Tek’s top nova scientists in 2011, the Zen- bukagi implant uses a dedicated superconducting quan-

Zenbukagi implant, and will only be revealed to the user by his superiors in dire circumstances. The Zenbukagi implant

is

a 5-dot Cyberware item and also requires the Ultrablack

Cyberware Background Enhancement. It is also an innova- tion, and can only be duplicated by novas.

 

“Hey, This Cyberware Is Second-Rate!”

 

Readers familiar with the cyberware seen in Trinity: Asia Ascendant will quickly notice that the cyberware in this book doesn’t really measure up to the cybernetic marvels of 22nd Century Nippon.

few

We’re very glad you folks noticed that. Thank you for paying attention. Circa 2015 cyberware—especially augmentation cyberware—is still a very new field of technology. Even with the aid of those Mega-Intelligent novas who focus their research on cybernetics and bionics; Aberrant Era cyberware is clearly more primi-

tive, underpowered, less efficient, blatantly obvious and clunky in general in comparison to their counterparts in Trinity. One reason for this is the huge effort that Aeon, Project Utopia and Project Proteus put into hindering the development of all kinds of blacktech, including augmentation cyberware. Another is the fact that Trinity Era Nippon will have had more than a century’s worth of unhindered and honest technological progress by their Mega-Intelligent novas and mentally-enhanced Superiors to develop their cyberware to heights only dreamt of in the Nova Age. Barring the use of time travel, the only way Aberrant char-

acters are likely to get their hands on 22nd Century Nihonjin cyberware is to live long enough for it to be developed. Of course, that assumes they can establish and maintain good contacts in the Japanese government during the Aberrant War, Exodus and

the

Crash.

52

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ABERRANT

Zootropic Growth Hormone (ZGH), a.k.a. “Morph”

Producer: C-Z Megasyndicate Category: Organic Description: An early result of Dr. Dwyer’s early research into human augmentation through transgenics, Zootropic Growth Hormone (ZGH) is a synthetic amino acid, single chain polypeptide hormone derived from nova physiology. When

used for gene therapy in baselines it allows for genetic mate- rial from a selected animal to be introduced into the base- line subject, who will then begin to develop advantageous body features of that animal. Despite its initial potential, Dwyer rejected it for use by Megasyndicate operatives due to the unacceptable side effects. Instead, in 2012 Dwyer got the Megasyndicate to begin selling it on the black market. Known on the street as “Morph”, ZGH has become one of the hottest “must have” items for baselines seeking to aug- ment themselves to (mildly) superhuman status. Morph was quickly banned in all First World nations, but as of 2015 all efforts to suppress the Morph trade have only kept the price high and the money rolling into the Megasyndicate’s coffers. System: The initial dose of ZGH counts as a 4-dot Cyberware item. It must also be “loaded” with the DNA of the template animal, and is administered via multiple deep- muscle & bone marrow injections by trained medical tech- nicians. Subsequent injections of “blank” ZGH (delivered to

a limb muscle) must be self-administered on a weekly basis.

ZGH has no effect on novas, but baseline users will gain four nova points to spend upon Body Modifications and may pur- chase additional Body Modifications with experience points as novas can, provided that treatment continues. The only

limitation is that all the Body Modifications must match analo- gous features possessed by the template animal. The type of animal is determined from the start of the process and cannot be changed. There are three drawbacks to using ZGH. The first is the irreversible alien appearance that the ZGH treatment causes, as the user will also develop features resembling those of his chosen animal type. In game terms the Storyteller will assign the user one or more fitting physical aberrations as Flaws (Aberrant Players Guide, pp. 91-92). The second drawback

is the need for continued ZGH injections to stabilize the user’s

altered metabolism. If the user fails to get his weekly dose of ZGH, he will suffer from the effects of either the Hormonal Imbalance (Lust) or Hormonal Imbalance (Rage) aberrations. The hormonal imbalance will persist until the user can obtain more “blank” ZGH and begin dosing himself again. The third is the fact that after the user receives the initial dose of “loaded” ZGH, each dose of ZGH loaded with the DNA of any other animal becomes a deadly poison inflicting (12 - Stamina) levels of lethal damage.

Bioweapons

The use of biological weapons has been a tactic of human warfare ever since 1500 B.C.E., when the Hittites discovered that driving plague victims into the lands held by their enemies made their conquests easier. Later people throughout the ancient and medieval periods weren’t shy about using natural poisons and diseases to wreak indirect havoc on their foes. The atrocities only grew during the 19th and the early part of the 20th Centuries, as the test- ing and use of biological weapons was avidly pursued by all nations that could afford it. Improved public awareness of the threat posed by bioweapons did little to stop them, although the national governments’ own fear of bioweap- ons did make them a method of last resort. The signing by the United States of the Biological and Toxic Weapons Convention in 1972 raised the possibility that bioweapons would be banned worldwide, but later events proved that to be a false hope. With the dawning of the Nova Age, there are only two changes in this lethal equation. The first is that all but the poorest nations - and even some private individu- als - can gain access to bioweapon technology. The second is that the power of the latest bioweapons - and the fear that sane, rational people have for them - is increasing at an almost-daily rate. The only certainty is that in the conflict to come, bioweapons will be used. Whether or not humanity will survive that event remains to be seen.

or not humanity will survive that event remains to be seen. CDM-83, a.k.a. “the Zombie Plague”

CDM-83, a.k.a. “the Zombie Plague”

Producer: Project Utopia Category: Bioengineered bacteria Description: Scientific research has a long history of accidental discoveries. While most such cases are beneficial or at least harmless, others are horrors that have made sane researchers wish that disinventing something was possible.

   

ABERRANT

CDM-83 is a textbook example of this, as it developed from

 

gone for good. The former human will then seek to hunt down and devour the nearest available source of healthy live human flesh. Due to their brain damage, “zombies” created by CDM-83 infection do not suffer any kind of pain penalty and are completely immune to Mega-Social Attributes, telepathy and mind controlling powers - there’s just not enough “mind” left for those powers to affect. CDM-83 zombies also have the equivalent of two levels of the Dispersed Organs Body Modification (Aberrant Players Guide, p. 109) , as the bacteria will do their best to keep most of the zombie’s organs functional. The exception is the zombies’ brains, which CDM-83 was never designed to deal with. CDM-83 zombies can be killed with targeted head shots without any additional difficulties. Unless disposed of beforehand, CDM-83 zombies have a “lifespan” of only 24 hours before their infected bodies literally fall apart snd shut down completely. Novas are immune to CDM-83, and the bacteria cannot affect nonhuman lifeforms or human cadav- ers. CDM-83 is an advancement, and may be created and duplicated by baselines. Antidote: Short of cleansing all traces of CDM-83 from a victim’s body with the Healing quantum power before they lose all their Willpower (which requires 1 point of quantum for every half hour of infection), there is no antidote.

Damper Polyps

a

Utopian researcher’s experiments with using a special kind

of symbiotic bacteria to extend the period that donated human organs could be kept alive and usable for trans- plant. Instead the researcher ended up creating a strain of parasitic bacteria that caused severe and irreversible brain damage to its infected hosts, reducing them to mindless

beasts with an insatiable hunger for healthy human flesh. All

 

it

took was one mistake by a careless baseline lab technician

for CDM-83 to get its first trial run. Fortunately it could only be transmitted by bites from infected hosts, so Team Tomor- row Americas was able to contain the initial outbreak with- out much difficulty. Afterwards a few samples of CDM-83 were relegated to Project Utopia’s maximum security cold storage facility, with all other specimens (and the cadavers of the infected hosts) promptly incinerated. The incident was covered up without fanfare, but the threat posed by CDM-83 is just waiting to be unleashed once more. Vector: Injected (via bite from an infected host). System: Once introduced into a baseline victim’s body via a skin break, CDM-83 requires thirty minutes to reproduce itself in numbers large enough for symptoms to develop. Initially the victim will develop an unhealthy pallor and slight nervous tics as the bacteria begin interfering with his metabolism and causing gradual brain damage. In game terms this reduces the victim’s Appearance by 1 dot and his permanent Willpower by 2 dots. Those reductions are cumulative with each additional thirty minute period, as the victim’s skin will break out in slimy weeping lesions and generally appear to be rotting away. Once the victim’s permanent Willpower reaches zero, his mind is effectively

Producer: C-Z Megasyndicate Category: Bioengineered sea jelly Description: With the likes of Team Tomorrow breath- ing down their collective neck, Dr. Dwyer was tasked with

finding an effective anti-nova weapon from the moment the Megasyndicate’s biotech operation was created in 2009. After writing off Eclipsidol (Aberrant: The Directive, pp. 55-56) as both far too conspicuous and much too likely to cause inconvenient property damage, Dr. Dwyer took a dif- ferent path. Combining some of his old pre-medical school experiments on sea jellies with the Eruption Catalyst (see pp. 25-26 of this book), Dr. Dwyer created the first damper rounds and promptly field-tested them on a traitorous nova underling. The results spoke for themselves, and damper rounds are now issued—if only on rare occasion—to the Megasyndicates’ best nova operatives. System: As the name implies, damper polyps are the immature form of a transgenic sea jelly bioengineered by Dr. Dwyer. In their mature state these jellies are little dif- ferent from their wild cousins, and are kept in a display aquarium at his personal clinic for breeding purposes. The resulting polyps are placed in a form of chemically-induced suspended animation and individually encased in a round of protective putty. The final preparation must be made by the user, who must “charge” each damper polyp she intends to

 

Story Seed: The Devil’s Playground

 

Thanks to a shocking lapse in their security procedures, one of Project Utopia’s bioengineers has not only managed to steal a sample of CDM-83 but has also gone underground. From what

little remains of his lab journal and notes, the bioengineer appears to have been fascinated - if not obsessed - with CDM-83 for quite some time. As if another CDM-83 outbreak wasn’t enough of a threat, the notes indicate that the bioengineer was thinking of

the

possibilities of “expanding” the bioweapon’s capabilities.

The player characters are assigned the task of apprehending the rogue bioengineer and destroying his supply of CDM-83, hope- fully before he releases it or finds a way to make the bioweapon

transmittable via air and/or water. In the worst case scenarios, the player characters will also have to contain the outbreak and deal with the infected hosts by whatever means necessary to keep

the

“Zombie Plague” from spreading any further. In all cases, the

player characters may also have to deal with agents of national governments and other groups who would like to add CDM-83 to their existing bioweapon arsenals.

 

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use with one of her own quantum points - this only requires a simple Willpower check to accomplish. The charged rounds are then ready to be fired from a modified soft projectile gun (Aberrant: Year One, pp. 105-108) at the target nova. The round is much too soft and low-powered to inflict any physical damage on the target nova, but the impact does jar the encased damper polyp into full activity. Upon making contact with the target nova’s body, a damper polyp will immediately attempt to drain his quan- tum points. In game terms this is equivalent to a Quantum Leech attack using a dice pool of 8 for the power roll against the target nova’s Willpower. If the attack is successful, the damper polyp will drain off six quantum points from the target nova’s Quantum Pool to fuel an instant hyperaccel- erated growth spurt into a medium-sized sea jelly. After that the former damper polyp dies and falls off the target nova, quickly decaying into useless slime. As one-use items, users typically fire multiple damper polyps at a target nova. Damper polyps are innovations, and may only be used or duplicated by novas.

Glory Bomb

implant. The cyst must either be physically ruptured by the user or have an attached radio microreceiver and automatic micromechanism to release the trigger via remote con- trol. The amount of the damage caused by a Glory Bomb explosion is 10d10 [15] Lethal damage, and is treated as having the Explosion Extra (Aberrant core book, p. 231) for purposes of blast area and damage reduction. There is no way for a Glory Bomb user to survive the explosion, short of having his mind transferred into a new body via nova powers or a Personality Recording (see p. 29 of this book). Aside from the prospect of instant death when the explosion is triggered, the Glory Bomb does have two other drawbacks. First is the fact that a baseline human’s biochem- istry simply can not be altered in this manner without seri- ous health consequences. Starting from the time he is first infused with the Glory Bomb, the user has exactly seven

days to live. If the user should make it to that deadline (pun intended) without blowing himself up, he will die - without exploding, fortunately - as his body finally surrenders to the strain of operating with the Glory Bomb in his system. The second drawback is that radio-triggered Glory Bombs can be set off prematurely if someone managed to deter- mine the precise frequency that the trigger implant is set to receive. Novas with Hyperenhanced Hearing can determine the frequency set off the Glory Bomb with a Perception + Awareness roll at a +2 difficulty penalty, although simply

Producer: Independent nova bioengineer Category: Binary chemical compound Description: The product of an unknown nova hyper- genius, this radical extrapolation of the suicide bomber

concept literally turns a baseline human’s body tissues into

surprisingly high grade of explosive. What little is widely

known of it was derived from Project Utopia’s chemical analysis of a Glory Bomb user’s remains in mid-2015. The bomber managed to infiltrate a small mosque in southern Saudi Arabia during evening prayer before deliberately setting himself off. The blast demolished the mosque and killed 200 Wahabist clergy and worshippers. Law enforce- ment and intelligence agencies are frantically attempting to develop a means to detect Glory Bomb users before they

a

triggering a Glory Bomb only requires an automatic action once the frequency is known. The Glory Bomb compound

an innovation, and can only be created and administered

by novas. Antidote: It is possible to for novas with the Healing quantum power to cleanse the Glory Bomb compound from

is

user’s body, but this requires healing seven bashing Health Levels and doubles the quantum point cost.

a

Judas Kiss

go off, but have had little progress as yet. The only certainty

Producer: C-Z Megasyndicate Category: Bioengineered virus Description: Created by one of Dr. Dwyer’s deceased nova underlings, this item has proven a nasty surprise for someone who thinks he’s safe inside a security barrier. Often just referred to as “the kiss”, this bioweapon is a virus genet-

ically designed to kill one specific person. All the user has to do is infect a convenient third person, making her a carrier (who unaffected by it) until it dies in a few days as carrier’s immune system clears it out of her body. But if the carrier comes into physical contact with the target before that time, the victim will contract the illness and most likely die soon after. The Judas Kiss gets its name from the fact that if the carrier kisses the target the chances of him being exposed to

that the Glory Bomb will be used again, and soon. Vector: Injected Toxin Rating: 5 System: The Glory Bomb compound is comprised of two separate substances which react violently when they come into direct physical contact with each other. The first substance is a quantum-charged chemical that alters the user’s biochemical makeup to produce explosive biomat- ter and is administered to the user by means of a dialysis machine over a period of eight hours to achieve total body saturation. The second substance acts as a trigger to set it off when released into the user’s bloodstream. To prevent premature explosion, the trigger chemical is stored in a tiny artificial cyst that only requires minor outpatient surgery to

is

it

are 100%. The virus is keyed to the target’s gene sequence

 

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ABERRANT

and as such it has the keys to their entire immune system. Despite the Megasyndicate’s best efforts, the existence and artificial nature of the Judas Kiss virus have been discovered (via autopsies of the victims) by both Project Utopia and the Directive. As of 2015 this data has only just been revealed to law enforcement agencies worldwide, but it has only given them yet more reason to take down the Megasyndicate by any means necessary. Vector: Contact System: Creating a dose of Judas Kiss requires a veri- fied sample of the target’s DNA. The completed virus is then injected into a handy carrier, who will transmit the Judas Kiss through skin secretions and body fluids. A version of Judas Kiss that can infect a carrier through ingestion has been in development for a few years, but nothing has come of that as yet. Fighting off the Judas Kiss requires a standard Resis- tance roll at a +2 difficulty penalty. The target must make three successes on the roll or perish as the virus attacks his nervous system. Even novas aren’t automatically immune to the Judas Kiss, but many of them can throw it off with rela- tive ease. There is no medical treatment for the Judas Kiss after exposure short of using the Healing quantum power on the target. Unfortunately the “accuracy” of this bioweap-

on’s targeting is somewhat overstated. Truly massive for a virus it targets a specific gene sequence, which means that everyone who shares the gene sequence is also targeted. Parents, children, or siblings of the target will have a 50% of having the correct gene sequence, and members of the general population have roughly a 1% chance. The Judas Kiss is an advancement, and may be used and duplicated by baselines. Antidote: There is no known vaccine or cure for the Judas kiss as of 2015, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t exist. Any high-quality medical institution could produce both, given sufficient time and resources.

Ketsuki Nekkyō, a.k.a. “Blood Fever”

Producer: Kuro-Tek Category: Bioengineered bacteria Description: Despite his eagerness to exploit the opportunities and benefits available in the Nova Age, Yoshio Nakamura still maintains some very reactionary Japa- nese attitudes. One of those is the historical disdain that the Japanese have long held for their neighbors in East Asia, especially China. While most modern Japanese are wary of having such a large, powerful and not very friendly nation on the other shore of the Sea of Japan, Nakamura consid- ers the People’s Republic of China as a threat to Japan that must be dealt with decisively. Mindful of Japan’s advantages and limitations, Nakamura plans to make the Chinese liter- ally turn on themselves and watch the PRC collapse in on itself. His means of accomplishing this task is the Ketsuki Nekkyō or “Blood Fever”, which Kuro-Tek’s top bioengi- neers have developed at his request. Sometime in the winter of 2015, selected Nakato gumi agents will release the bioweapon in China and reduce the nation—and the Heaven Thunder Triad, with any luck—to a disorganized and ineffective shambles. Vector: Inhaled Toxin Rating: 8 System: After the initial infection, the Ketsuki Nekkyō bacterium has an onset period of 24 hours before the bac- teria can invade the victim’s brain and cause symptoms to manifest. As the disease is airborne and uses the victim’s lungs as its main breeding ground, this allows the disease to spread over a good-sized area before the outbreak becomes obvious. Despite the English translation of its name, Ketsuki Nekkyō does not cause its victims to bleed or exhibit fever symptoms beyond the normal flushed skin caused by physical excitement. Instead of causing Health Levels of damage to the victim, the bacteria infects certain structures of the victim’s brain. Said victim will develop the equivalents of the Sociopathy (see Aberrant: Brainwaves)

 

Story Seed: Maintaining Wa

 

As anyone familiar with the Trinity setting knows, while the People’s Republic of China did experience troubles and disasters in the time leading to the Maoist regime’s fall in 2018, the out- break of a cannibalism-inducing disease was not one of them. Yoshio Nakamura’s jingoistic plan to use bioweapons against the ailing PRC is nothing more than hubris that has blossomed into megalomania, and it has been revealed to the Japanese govern- ment by sympathetic novas. This revelation will once and for all prove to the Japanese that the Nakato gumi’s activities can no longer be tolerated. If your Storyteller intends to keep her Aber- rant chronicle close to the canon metaplot, this means that the Japanese government and what allies it has must take down the

Nakato gumi quickly, decisively and above all else covertly. If any hint of Nakamura’s plans were to become known to the public at large, Japan would likely end up facing severe legal penalties and economic tariffs at best. The worst case scenario would have Japan facing war with the People’s Republic of China, which is

still

strong enough—for the moment, anyway—to harm Japan

and its people severely. The player characters can be tasked with

the

capture and/or execution of key Nakato gumi officials (includ- their nova operatives and Yoshio Nakamura himself), shutting

ing

down Nakato gumi and Kuro-Tek operations and facilities, and seizing the Nakato gumi’s funds for consciption by the Japanese government. Player character Directive agents can also take part in the purge of Nakato gumi sympathizers from the Directive’s Japanese branch, starting with Mitsu Nakamura.

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and Hormonal Imbalance: Rage aberrations (Aberrant core

book, p. 152) as well as an addiction to eating still-living or freshly-killed human flesh (as per the 4 pt. version of the Flaw on p. 71 of the Aberrant Players Guide). From that point on, the victim will seek to hunt down and feast on any other humans he can take down, infected or otherwise. The normal social bonds of romantic love, family, friendship and respect are mea