Chargen: Capabilities

Your character has up to six Capability scores, each based on one type of technology. These describe your inherited abilities, technological implants, and generalized training.

Capabilities are rated from 1-5, with higher ratings indicating greater enhancement and effectiveness. You may rate each Capability for your character as you see fit. The higher you rate the Capability, the fewer points of Import you will have later.

You do not need to take a rating in every Capability.

Biotech

  1. This is the realm of everyday physical prowess. Even if not trained as an athlete, most people can run, climb, swim, and resist disease in the absence of injury.
  2. Characters at this level can run faster, jump higher, lift more weight, and react quickly when in danger. They are more durable, longer-lived, more disease-resistant, and heal more quickly (though they do not regenerate lost parts). All of this continues to improve with higher levels of enhancement. This level also provides control over autonomous functions, such as heart rate and adrenal response. Hibernation becomes possible.
  3. Medical technology leaps forward. A myriad of treatments make immortality feasible, and allow for the regrowth of lost limbs. DNA augmentation can also incorporate more exotic animal traits, including poison glands, redundant organs, and gills. Augmented scent glands produce pheromones that can influence emotions or imitate a particular scent. Sensory organs hear extreme pitches outside the normal human range and see in the infrared and UV spectrums. Many of these alterations are immediately visually obvious and require special foods or unusual nutrients to maintain properly.
  4. At this point, characters are immortal and regenerate extremities without the need for treatment. Characters enhanced at this level can stay awake for a month without ill effect, at least physically. They are immune to handgun fire, can lift a ton, and can outrun cars. Further sensory enhancement include a bloodhound-like sense of smell that allows the detection and analysis of diseases and poisons.
  5. Total control over one’s bodily structure. Such characters can enter cocoons for a slow process of metamorphosis. They can create internal pathogen factories, letting them literally cough out a plague. They can close wounds with a thought. The changes started at level 2 have advanced such that characters can lift five tons, breathe water with their lungs, and skydive without a parachute.

Chronotech

  1. You have a limited temporal channel that carries just a few messages at once, from no more than a few hours ahead. The messages are short and cryptic, relying on your knowledge of yourself to trigger memories and suspicions. You sometimes react to things that never happen (though rarely in a way that is dangerous to you), because you cannot tell that which is likely from that which is barely possible.
  2. Your hardware filters the probable from the possible more easily. This timeline averaging shortens your horizon to a few minutes, but gives you greater reliability. You have improved reflexes, and you often react to events just before they happen. In social situations, you avoid serious faux pas that would cause other people to react noticeably. You can reliably win fast games of chance like three-card Monte, though events that are truly probabilistic force you to fall back on likelihood estimation. Your vision clouds again after a few minutes, as signals from an exponentially expanding set of futures compete for your attention.
  3. You have several temporal channels, optimized for various durations and probability bands. Many issues with signal resolution have been solved, and you can reliably ask your future self about the most reliable course of action for the next few minutes. It is still possible that a more risky option would pay off better. You can easily guess secret certainties, like passwords, code keys, and the like. Your messages are also timestamped, letting you know when to expect trouble. You have access to the Temporal Expertise (see page 9) that allows you to re-try actions many times and use the most effective method.
  4. Multitasking improvements expand your predictive horizon. You can ask yourself advice about the next few days. You still receive mixed messages and likelihood estimations from farther in the future. You receive not only good advice, but alternatives and options. Your less reliable channels send unclear messages from years into the future. If you have a Mesh you can filter these through your subconscious, giving you prophetic dreams. If not, you will have to puzzle the message out during your waking hours.
  5. Your bandwidth and reliability expand significantly. You can successfully guess maps and other large data sets, as long as you can check their accuracy within an hour or so. Your first impressions are always correct. Your understanding of the future makes you impossible to surprise.

Cognitech

  1. Even without much training, unenhanced human minds can find patterns in daily events, use basic writing and mathematics, and plan for the future. They tend to be forgetful and to ignore implications.
  2. This level sharpens the mind’s existing abilities. You can think faster, quickly memorize even unfamiliar things, and perform complex mental mathematics. You have enough concentration to take mental and physical actions simultaneously.
  3. The nanowire mesh is the hallmark of this and all higher levels. This brain implant allows you to run programs on your brain and connect to the infosphere. It also opens you to the dangers of mesh-hacking. The attached computer will store memories for you, and can also house data ghosts and familiars. As a side effect, at this level and higher you will tend to have bizarre dreams, which can be very distracting if not analyzed by an outside expert.
  4. At this level, you don’t run programs in your mind – programs are your mind. You may record your own persona and edit your personality as you see fit. You can also take on someone else’s persona if you have their recording. You can even create emergency backup personalities that will activate under certain conditions. This level also allows memory editing and recombination. You have uninterruptible concentration and infinite patience when you want them. Your mind has expanded to the level where you can house other digital life forms within your brain.
  5. Multitasking allows your character to take several mental actions at once. You can simulate multiple personas, which, among other things, means that you need never hesitate. One of your personas oversees the others, ensuring that you do not forget implications. Your mental processes can simulate a city in detail.

Metatech

  1. Interactions can put social pressure on others through conversation or oratory, swaying opinions and reinforcing or undermining Core Values. Such methods are generally either shallow or slow-working.
  2. This level of capability begins an improvement of non-verbal communication. A stare can cause hesitation, a gesture might incite or neutralize a particular emotion. Such things are easily resisted by the prepared, but can still be effective when unexpected. Other techniques teach a skill without words and subtly improve teamwork. Many slower techniques are also perfected at this level, such as brainwashing, advertising, and hypnosis, allowing one to program a specific response into a person. All of these take time or cause stress.
  3. Techniques developed at this level read emotional and mental states very accurately, allowing one to sense the intent behind actions. Characters can read others’ Core Values and Professions with five minutes of interaction. Memetic analysis creates (or destroys) deeper understanding between individuals and makes existing messages more effective, but also requires careful study of the target before use.
  4. Manipulating and shaping large groups becomes easier. Psychohistory is used to influence large groups and predict times of crisis or opportunity. Combined with personal charisma it can raise nations, protect them, or destroy them. Like memetic techniques, psychohistory requires substantial data- gathering, and is also subject to historical inertia.
  5. Level five techniques reach to the very core of a person’s psyche and instincts. Words of Power activate basic instincts and reflexes such as fight-or-flight, anger, hunger, or a mating response. Nonverbal communication advances to the point where the character can use body language to convey metatech assaults. Techniques such as Locking Body Mirror freeze an opponent with indecision. This level also allows the creation of selective messages. For instance, orators may deliver different messages to different members of the same audience in a single speech.

Nanotech

  1. The ordinary range of touch, taste, smell, hearing, and vision. Human touch has roughly millimeter precision.
  2. You can see into the UV and infrared spectra. You have perfect proprioception and can measure distances by eye. You can hear sounds several octaves above the normal human range. You can emit bat-like clicks for sonar. Your hands never shake.
  3. You have a cloud of microbots that live on your skin and float around you, acting as telescope, microscope, spectrograph, and radio antenna. The bots sense electric and magnetic fields. All of this allows you to read others’ Capability scores. They can track each others’ positions, giving you a picture of wind and pressure and allowing for short-range communication with other people. They are equipped with weak lasers that can project images directly into eyes, or disorient the unprepared. They do need to take an hour to recharge daily, during which time you are much less perceptive.
  4. You can feel gravity waves. The entire electromagnetic spectrum is open to you. You have forensic devices that allow you to analyze chemical compounds. You can read DNA. You have a replicator that can construct small objects from raw materials, though it is very energy-intensive and produces heat. Your touch has micrometer precision. You also have access to nanophages, self-replicating nanobot swarms that are voracious living weapons, and pseudomatter, which can mimic other materials.
  5. You can detect flows of dark matter and neutrinos. Your touch has nanometer precision, allowing you to feel and move single atoms. Your telescopic vision allows you to identify starships in orbit. Your replicator can now fabricate nanobots. Your nanophages are faster-acting and more dangerous. You can interface with programmable matter that can become any tool you need, though it has high energy requirements.

Stringtech

  1. Bludgeoning or cutting force. The basic fists and feet of human beings. Simple weapons such as knives and clubs. This level can kill the unenhanced or crush flimsy objects, but it requires intent.
  2. You can employ deadly force, typically projected at range. You have built-in ranged weaponry on par with 20th century firearms, and close-up weapons as dangerous as chainsaws or vibroblades. You likely also have non-lethal weapons capable of distracting or incapacitating in the manner of flashbang grenades.
  3. You have built-in energy weapons, such as lasers and electromagnetic pulses. Energy weapons are precise, require no ammunition, and are adjustable to be either lethal or non- lethal. They often produce significant waste heat and require electrical power. You can generate simple electromagnetic fields at close range, letting you move metal objects or create electrical discharges. Your projectile weapons are as dangerous as tank guns or dynamite. Collateral damage becomes a serious concern at this level or above.
  4. This level introduces supersymmetric weapons such as inversion beams, fission/fusion beams, and transmutation rays. Your weapons ignore solid matter, moving through it and hitting only their target. You can manipulate nuclear processes such as atomic decay and transmutation, and can even create and handle specks of antimatter. Thanks to this, you can generate substantial electrical energy. Your weapons are as powerful as lightning strikes and conventional bombs.
  5. You can control gravity, allowing you to fly, manipulate objects at a distance, and alter local time rates. Such control enables the creation of folds in space, such as wormholes. These allow characters to travel instantaneously over long distances, redirect or reflect attacks with spatial mirrors, and change the geometry of space. Such things require tremendous power expenditures. Your weapons are as destructive as a nuclear bomb at ground zero.

Level 3

Capabilities rated at 3 or higher provide a benefit of particular note, and also inhibit your character with certain special needs.

  • Biotech: Grants immortality, which grants access to greater levels of Expertise. You need specially made high- efficiency food, which can be found in any advanced civilization.
  • Cognitech: Grants mesh use, which also opens up new types of Expertise. Your character’s dreams are significantly more complex than normal. To avoid being preoccupied with them, you must have processed by a rêvetech service. This service is cheap, but requires infosphere access or someone with higher Cognitech.
  • Metatech: Grants the ability to read others’ Core Values and Professions with a five-minute interaction. To avoid seeing everyone as nothing more than a set of social patterns to manipulate (which both ruins your effectiveness and alienates your friends) you need some friendly one-on-one interaction for about an hour.
  • Nanotech: Grants the ability to read others’ Capabilities using an active scan that they may be able to detect. You must give your microbots and sensors an hour to rest and self-repair each day. You can typically do this while you sleep. Your Nanotech rating drops by two points during this time.
  • Stringtech: Grants energy weapons with great precision, range, and flexibility. You need electricity, plain and simple. Plug into a wall jack in an enhanced civilization for about an hour. In lower-tech surroundings you may need to plug directly into an electrical substation.

Game Effects

  • Capabilities are the largest influence on your effectiveness in conflicts.
  • Capabilities change what your character is capable of achieving without using Twists and Themes.
  • All characters must have Cognitech and Metatech; all other Capabilities are optional. For example, a Dataform character might do without Biotech, using robotic drones to interact with the physical world. You cannot participate in conflicts that involve your missing Capabilities. When calculating Import, you substitute your highest remaining Capability for any missing Capabilities.

Once you have chosen your Capabilities, move on to Expertise.

Links

  1. Civilization
  2. Society
  3. Neuroform
  4. Core Values
  5. Themes
  6. Capabilities
  7. Expertise
  8. Import and Tech
  9. Finishing Touches
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