For Sci-Fi: Nano AB or no?

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AB: Nanotech?

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Emiricol
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For Sci-Fi: Nano AB or no?

#1 Postby Emiricol » Tue Oct 23, 2007 9:14 pm

I've been making the homebrew I am working on a relatively real-world style game. In it, only certain races will have psionics (none so far though), and magic isn't realy.

But I was thinking, perhaps an AB: Nano-Prodige might be appropriate. It would certainly be easy enough to weave into the story. I'm interested to see what the Savages here think on the matter.

Would you enjoy a setting where a few naturally talented people could control nano swarms into various magic-like effects? (As Arthur C Clark said, 'Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.')
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#2 Postby SlasherEpoch » Tue Oct 23, 2007 11:48 pm

Effects such as?

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#3 Postby Emiricol » Wed Oct 24, 2007 2:39 am

I don't think blast would be on the list, but various boosts, drains, deflection, fast healing, I am not sure of the specifics yet. At this point I mostly want to know if I should put in the effort, or if the idea is not of interest.

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#4 Postby Snate56 » Wed Oct 24, 2007 4:13 am

It might be an interesting take on the force!


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#5 Postby SlasherEpoch » Wed Oct 24, 2007 7:59 am

Alternative ABs are always welcome.

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#6 Postby Emiricol » Wed Oct 24, 2007 8:06 pm

Here's my basic idea:

Arcane Background (Nanogete)
Arcane Skill: Nanite Mastery (Spirit)
Starting Power Points: Special
Starting Powers: 2

Nanotechnology is everywhere in an advanced society, from protein tubes used to punch through antibiotic-resistant bacteria to space-based 100% pure CaF2 crystallization techniques. These are, however, task-specific nanites. At a certain point, however, self-replicating nanites that can be programmed for a variety of tasks become a reality.

Shortly thereafter, advances in cybernetics come together with nanite technology to enable an implant which can control nanites, though only with great expense and much specialized training, and only after a pool of nanites is programmed to respond to the Nanogete (their 'offspring' nanites retain this response programming as well).

To be able to control nanites, the character must have a control unit surgically implanted into his brain. This procedure is terribly complicated and prohibitively expensive, so that the only entities with enough resources to outfit Nanogetes are planetary (or interplanetary) government agencies and mega-corporations. As a result, all existing Nanogetes are bound to serve their respective sponsors in various capacities.

Nanogetes use Power Points somewhat differently than most arcane backgrounds, in that each person gains a reservoir of points equal to their Vigor. But the Nanogete can also direct these nanoites to use the energy and matter of his own body and mind to spur faster nanite regeneration. Thus, using more than his Vigor but less than twice his Vigor results in a level of Fatigue; another level of Vigor results in more levels of Fatigue.

Thus, a Nanogete with a Vigor of d6 would have the following pool structure:
  • 1-6: No Fatigue
  • 7-12: Fatigued
  • 13-18: Exhausted
  • 19-24: Incapacitated
  • 25+: Dead

Nanobots self-replicate at a rate of 1PP per hour, except in vacuum, where there is no material capable of sustaining the replication process except through draining the Nanogete, as listed above.

Backlash (a 1 on the control dice) is a mis-programming that causes the nanites to react differently than expected, based on the wild dice roll. Note that this is not an extremely harsh backlash table due to the limitations of the AB.
  • 1= nanites attack doing 1d6+"spell cost" damage to the caster.
  • 2-3= nanites reverse the effect going for
  • 4+= nanites effect both the caster and target (if the result would have been success) with the effect. If the caster was the target then the caster is hit with a raise on the effect.
Last edited by Emiricol on Thu Oct 25, 2007 1:38 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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#7 Postby Control » Wed Oct 24, 2007 8:08 pm

Indeed, every Arcane Background some one works up and posts is one less I have to think of when some one says..."Hey, you should run a game like...".
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#8 Postby JackAce » Wed Oct 24, 2007 8:26 pm

Emiricol wrote:At a certain point, however, self-replicating nanites that can be programmed for a variety of tasks become a reality.

And in that reality, some small portion of the population wake up one day to discover they can think these nanites into action, drawing a swarm of self-replicant nanobots to themselves to do their bidding.

This sound pretty mystical for a near-reality setting...

How about this:
To be able to control Nanites, the character must have a control unit surgically implanted into his brain. This procedure is terribly complicated and prohibitively expensive, so that the only entities with enogh resources to outfit Nanogetes are planetary (or interplanetary) government agencies and mega-corporations. As a result, all existing Nanogetes are bound to serve their respective sponsors in various capacities.

The AB works identical to the AB: Miracles in the SW rulebook, but the "List of Sins" is dictated not by any religious doctrine, but by the ideals and goals of the character's corporation or agency.
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#9 Postby Emiricol » Wed Oct 24, 2007 8:36 pm

Well, I like the implant idea. Not so much making it a reskinned AB Miracles, though that would work pretty well. I was more likely to make it a reskinned core book AB Superpowers, but decided I didn't want the PC to have to focus that much in terms of the character build-out.

As an implant, would it no longer be a Background edge?

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#10 Postby JackAce » Thu Oct 25, 2007 5:29 am

Emiricol wrote:As an implant, would it no longer be a Background edge?

Depends on how difficult it is to get these implants.
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#11 Postby Bill » Thu Oct 25, 2007 7:37 am

It sounds like it should be a background edge based on the fact that it is terribly expensive and limited to only a few groups (thus it is not something you could hook up with unless you had an advanced hospital, a trusted surgeon, recovery time and access to the base, likely highly restrictited technology). And, if the players want it and you deem it appropriate, it would be easy enough to grant by requiring the character to have an open advance and take the downtime for the character.

Second, are these nanites everywhere? If not you could use power points as the number of nanites the player carries with him and has to work with (max he can control) with each increase in power points representing learning how to control them more effiecently. Recovery might be based on location (near a source of "free" nanites or not) rather than time.

Backlash (a 1 on the control dice) might be a miss-programing causing the effect to react differently than expected based on the wild dice roll.
1=nanites attack doing 1d6+"spell cost" damage to the caster.
2-3=nanites reverse the effect going for
4+=nanites effect both the caster and target (if the result would have been success) with the effect. If the caster was the target then the caster is hit with a raise on the effect.

Note that this is not an extreamly harsh backlash table due to the limitations of the AB.
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#12 Postby Emiricol » Thu Oct 25, 2007 1:36 pm

Ok, I edited the AB: Nanogete entry with some new info.

Nanites are not everywhere, but are in many places in large urban areas. But these nanites are programmed to be in tune with the controller, as are their 'offspring'. So the only way of getting more is to wait for them to replicate naturally, or let them pull what they need from the nanogete's own body.

That's the thought, anyway.

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#13 Postby JackAce » Thu Oct 25, 2007 1:45 pm

Emiricol wrote:4+= nanites effect both the caster and target (if the result would have been success) with the effect. If the caster was the target then the caster is hit with a raise on the effect.

:1icon_hm: Any power that the caster would use on himself would be beneficial to him in some way.

So a Backlash would have a 50% chance of making the result better!

The same is true for beneficial powers used on an ally, because with a Backlash/4+, both the target and the caster would gain the benefit.
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#14 Postby Emiricol » Thu Oct 25, 2007 1:55 pm

d'oh, need to work on that...

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#15 Postby Clint » Thu Oct 25, 2007 2:48 pm

The corporate angle doesn't work too well for me. It just feels like it ties the character into certain kind of subplot, and I'd just prefer a more universal application. Now, this is just personal preference for a more generic application; obviously this is a setting-based discussion, so take it for what it's worth.

I'd take out the implant and say that characters with this AB are nano-hosts. Nanites are all based off one person's original design, and they've become rather ubiquitous in certain areas (though they can be potentially found anywhere they've ever been released).

Part of any nanites core programming is self replication, but self replication requires a satisfactory host. A living creature with the correct bio-electric signature to effectively power a nano-factory for all intents and purposes. The original designer planned for a non-sentient species to serve as these host and did not believe any sentient had that particular signature. Sadly, the designer just didn't test a wide enough section of the population. It is a rather rare occurence and also requires the person to be exposed to nanites at some point in their life, but sentient can serve as hosts for a nanite factory.

An unexpected side-effect of this nano-factory on a sentient being is that nanites can be controlled by such a person without a programming tool, giving then a unique range of innate "powers," for lack of a better term.

There are downsides however. If they push their powers too far, they can actually drain the energy from their body to produce more nanites than is safe.

Also, the idea of something man-made turning around and altering man (or woman or whatever) for its own purposes makes people uncomfortable to say the least. Such people are known as Nanogetes officially, but behind their back and sometimes even to their face, they are called Nanofreaks.

It'd be easy to pretend they were normal, but a side-effect of the process turns the iris of their eyes an unmistakeable pure silver color.

Game effects: Nanogetes effectively have the Ousider Hindrance for a -2 Charisma.

Another thing about the mechanics. Instead of a set Fatigue result based on the PPs used, I'd go with a variant of Soul Drain. Once they use up their base amount, they have to make a Vigor roll with a penalty equal to the number of PPs attempting to use. Change the effect of failure to a level of Fatigue, and a result of 1 or less to two levels.

Anyway, just my thoughts.
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#16 Postby Emiricol » Thu Oct 25, 2007 3:18 pm

See, this is why you are the professional. This both takes it out of the heavily mystical (first draft) without tying folks to the corporations (second draft), and simplifies PP use through an existing mechanic rather than making a new one. Not to mention the very cool flavor that fits really well with the setting's tone in general.

Thank you, Clint.

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#17 Postby Emiricol » Thu Oct 25, 2007 4:05 pm

Version 3

Arcane Background (Nanogete)
Arcane Skill: Nanite Mastery (Spirit)
Starting Power Points: Vigor (i.e. Vigor d6 = 6pp)
Starting Powers: 2

Nanotechnology is everywhere in an advanced society, from protein tubes used to punch through antibiotic-resistant bacteria to space-based 100% pure CaF2 crystallization techniques. These are, however, task-specific nanites.

In 2110, Dr. Loise Gauthier of Quebec, Canada made the breakthrough of designing mechanical, self-replicating nanites, which could be controlled via computer. Since then they've become rather ubiquitous in certain areas (though they can be potentially found anywhere they've ever been released).

Part of any nanites core programming is self replication, but self replication requires a satisfactory host. For all intents and purposes, a living creature with the correct bio-electric signature to effectively power a nano-factory. The original designer planned for a non-sentient species to serve as these hosts and did not believe any sentient had that particular bio signature. Sadly, the designer just didn't test a wide enough section of the population. It is a rather rare occurrence and also requires the person to be exposed to nanites at some point in their life, but sentient can serve as hosts for a nanite factory.

An unexpected side-effect of this nano-factory on a sentient being is that nanites can be controlled by such a person without a programming tool, giving then a unique range of innate "powers," for lack of a better term.

There are downsides however. If they push their powers too far, they can actually drain the energy from their body to produce more nanites than is safe.

Also, the idea of something man-made turning around and altering man (or woman or whatever) for its own purposes makes people uncomfortable to say the least. Such people are known as Nanogetes officially, but behind their back and sometimes even to their face, they are called Nanofreaks.

It'd be easy to pretend they were normal, but a side-effect of the process turns the iris of their eyes an unmistakable pure silver color.

Game effects:
* Nanogetes effectively have the Ousider Hindrance for a -2 Charisma
* Accelerated Replenishment: Nanogetes may continue to use up nanites after exhausting their reserve (PP pool). To use this dangerous ability, the Nanogete first decides how many Power Points he wants to draw from himself. Then he makes a Vigor roll minus the number of points needed to activate the power, as a free action. On a failure, the character suffers a level of fatigue. On a 1 or less, he suffers two levels of fatigue. These points must be used immediately.
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#18 Postby cpk666 » Thu Oct 25, 2007 6:12 pm

Since you mentioned that you did think that Blast would be available for this AB, how about a complete list of what powers would?

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#19 Postby Emiricol » Thu Oct 25, 2007 6:50 pm

You got it!

--------

Many of the Powers in the AtR setting are the same as those in the core rulebook, though there are some newer, AB-specific powers as well.

Nanogete Powers

Core Book Powers
  • Boost Trait – Nanites enhance the relevant body systems (musculature, heart/lungs, neural pathways, etc) for the duration of the power
  • Deflection – A cloud of Nanites work to refract, deflect or slow incoming attacks
  • Elemental Manipulation – Nanites either fan, dig, combust or condensed the appropriate material
  • Heal – Nanites stitch torn or cut flesh, create strong calcium deposits to mend bones, attack “bad” bacterium and viruses, or filter out toxins from the bloodstream
  • Light – The Nanites power up on the Nanogete’s bio energy then become incandescent swarm
  • Lower Trait – The reverse of Boost trait, the nanites degrade the enemy’s tissues, etc. (Vigor roll, not Spirit).
  • Smite – Nanites store up energy and release it on impact, causing extra damage
  • Stun – The Nanites release a burst of light or zap the target’s neural control centers of the brain with electrical energy


New Nanogete Powers

Oxygen Extraction
Rank: Novice
Power Points: 1
Range: Touch
Duraction: 2 hours (1/hour)

This power allows nanites to extract oxygen from the surrounding area, whether under water or in a hostile atmospheric condition. The nanites then carry that through the target’s skin and into the bloodstream – all the target needs to do is hold their breath.

Of course no breathing creature is accustomed to not breathing automatically, and so this requires concentration to maintain. The target suffers a -1 penalty on all skill rolls while under the effect of the Power. Additionally, because the air is infused through the skin, the subject is not generally able to speak aloud while in the hostile element, requiring other means of communication.


Light Amplification
Rank: Novice
Power Points: 2
Range: Touch
Duraction: 10 minutes (1/minute)

When using this power, nanites mimic additional rods in the target’s eyes, coagulate around the pupil (essentially making it larger) and act to thicken the structures that carry signals from the eyes to the brain. This gives the target Low-Light vision, eliminating all lighting penalties except in absolute darkness.

The primary benefit of this Power as opposed to the simpler, less Power Point-hungry Light power is that it is not visible to anyone else; that is, other than more reflective eyes, it does not cause a light source to give away one’s position. This makes it very useful for scouting, for instance.
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#20 Postby Clint » Fri Oct 26, 2007 8:38 am

I'm a bit confused on the powers. Are they designed from scratch or just trappings of the existing powers (Environmental Protection and Darksight from the Fantasy Toolkit)? It's if they are the latter, that I'm wondering about why some changes were made.
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