Chinese is the trade tongue of the Firmament, and the one most likely to be encountered by interstellar travellers. However, the other languages of Old Earth still exist. Most people will speak some Chinese even if they have a regional language they prefer, but some isolated communities may be entirely monolingual. In many places, speaking Chinese instead of the local language marks you out as a foreigner.
Characters start with fluency in one language. If they’re spacefarers, this will be Chinese; otherwise, it’ll be whatever language is dominant in the area they grew up in. Other languages that are still widespread in the Firmament include:
Characters can spend points on the Language skill if they wish to know languages beyond their native tongue.
Your character has been outfitted with a cybernetic prosthetic for an arm, leg or eye. It functions just as well as an ordinary appendage - it’s neither unusually strong and tough, nor is it weak and clumsy. However, it does have several disadvantages:
- The implant counts as a piece of cyberware, giving you 1 Strain.
- Wounds inflicted on your implant cannot be healed naturally, and must be repaired by a skilled technician.
- The implant is obvious, clunky and valuable if separated from its owner. You are easily recognisable and may be targeted in some cultures.
- The implant is vulnerable to EMP and other forms of attack that target robotics and electronics, though it can’t generally be hacked wirelessly.
While this Hindrance confers no superhuman capabilities, characters with a cybernetic prosthetic may upgrade it using the rules for cyberware.
Requirements: McGyver, Science d8+
This advanced version of the McGyver Edge allows a character to make more elaborate and complex contraptions. Although still improvisational and unreliable, these contraptions can be fairly complex devices, depending on what the scientist has to work with. The scientist can use spare parts and cannibalised equipment to build items such as communications equipment, sensors and jury-rigged traps.
Creating a contraption takes 10 minutes instead of a round, but otherwise works similarly to McGyver. Like McGyver, the contraptions produced by a mad scientist generally only last until they are used.
Requirements: Novice, Shooting d8+
When it comes to dueling, there are two types of people: the quick and the dead. Being a quick shot is useful to anyone who wants to win a tense standoff, too. When making an opposed Athletics roll to interrupt someone with a pistol or thrown weapon, you add +2 to the skill roll.
Requirements: Novice, Repair d6+
This is a Background Edge that can only be taken at character creation. Like every would-be drone jockey, your character has spent a significant portion of their free time building and tinkering with their own personal drone. You start the game with a basic surveillance drone, heavy drone, automated turret (on tripod), or tool bot - which does not have to be paid for with your starting funds. Heavy drones and automated turrets come with an SMG installed.
You are acclimatised to working in zero-gravity environments, and no longer suffer any penalties to Agility and linked skills when in space or other zero gravity environments.
Requirements: Novice, Agility d6+, Healing d8+
Your character is a trained surgeon, capable of performing life-changing operations. With access to a proper, modern medical facility, you can perform surgery to heal permanent, crippling injuries that result from Incapacitation. Performing surgery takes 4 hours and requires a Healing roll. Restoring the use of an arm or leg imposes a -2 penalty to the roll, while restoring eye or brain damage imposes a -4 penalty. Advanced medical equipment will give you a +2 bonus to the Healing roll.
Failing the Healing roll means that the surgery fails and you cannot attempt it again until your Healing skill improves. Critical Failure means that your patient begins Bleeding Out on the operating table. Regardless of whether the surgery is successful, the patient receives Exhaustion upon awakening. This turns into Fatigue after 24 hours, and goes away completely after another 24 hours.
Surgery can also be used to install cyberware, as long as you have the actual component to be installed. This uses the same rules as above, with the same penalties; installing cyberware in the eye or brain, for example, imposes a -4 penalty. Failure will result in a cyberware package that has been poorly integrated and may malfunction; Critical Failure causes the patient to begin Bleeding Out as usual.
Requirements: Novice, Driving/Piloting/Boating d8+
Your character knows one unique vehicle like the back of their hand. This can either be a vehicle they actually drive - like a car or starship - or it can be a rigger’s favourite trusty drone. When using it, they add +1 to all maneuvering rolls - including the roll made to Soak damage if they have the Ace Edge.
This Edge can be taken multiple times, applying to a different vehicle each time. If the vehicle is lost, it can be replaced - but the benefits don’t kick in until they’ve used the new trademark vehicle for at least a week.
Mess With The Best
Requirements: Novice, Hacking d6+
You’ve arguably spent way too much time winning beefs in cyberspace, but at least you’ve had plenty of experience detecting and defeating attempts to “hack back”. If someone tries to counter-hack you during a netrun, whatever device you’re using is treated as though its Difficulty was one step higher.
Requirements: Seasoned, Hacking d8+
Hacking from a ‘pad? Beefed up security? Currently on horseback? No problem. You’re used to hacking in difficult circumstances, and can cut through the distractions and focus on the run to the exclusion of all else. This allows you to ignore 2 points of penalties to your Hacking rolls during a netrun, or get a +1 bonus if there are no penalties. This doesn’t apply to the post-exploitation phase after the netrun, or to general Hacking rolls.
Requirements: Veteran, Hacking d10+
You’re adept at operational security and getting out without leaving a trace. You start a netrun with 4 Ghost Tokens, instead of 3.
Requirements: Veteran, Smarts d10+, Hacking d8+
When fully immersed in cyberspace, you’re like a fish in water; the lightning-fast blur of data is no longer disorienting to you. You can react to ICE in the blink of an eye, and have become fully proficient in hacking at the speed of thought. While you are fully immersed in virtual reality using a SenseNet, you can spend a Ghost Token before making a Hacking roll to add 1d6 to the result.