Chinese is the common and 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. The 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:
- 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 purchase upgrades and improvements from skilled technicians.
Psionic Talent (Minor)
Your character possesses latent psionic abilities that they do not have conscious control over. They may be aware of them, or may simply know that strange things happen around them. Either way, they are the mercy of their “psionic episodes”, which can happen at any time.
Whenever the GM decides that you’ve been placed into a sufficiently stressful situation - such as an intense gunfight or life support failure - draw a card. If it is a face card, consult the following list:
- Spades: Telepathy, detrimental. You might be overwhelmed by psychic noise (Stun/Confusion), suffer memory loss (Mind Wipe) or even be possessed or have a dissociative episode (Puppet).
- Clubs: Telekinesis, detrimental. You activate a telekinetic power in a way that causes complications. Maybe friends and foes alike are flung away by Havoc, or a protective Barrier puts your allies in danger while protecting you.
- Hearts: Telepathy, beneficial. You glean information from the minds of others (Mind Reading), your surroundings (Object Reading) or maybe even from the future or the “other side” (Divination).
- Diamonds: Telekinesis, beneficial. You activate a telekinetic power such as Barrier, Telekinesis, Havoc or Fly. It harms your enemies, protects your friends or removes you from danger.
- Joker: Draw again, and treat the result as a face card cast with a raise.
You can also spend a Benny to intentionally trigger this ability. In this case, treat every card as a face card.
The GM decides exactly what effects are triggered by a psionic episode, but powers are always treated as though cast successfully. Even effects that normally require an opposed roll, like Telekinesis, automatically succeed. However, these effects are under the control of the GM, not the psionic.
Requirements: Seasoned, McGyver
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: Seasoned, Smarts d8+, Psionic Talent
Careful training and refinement of your psionic abilities has given you some limited measure of control over them. When your psionic talent is triggered - whether intentionally or by accident - you draw two cards and choose which to use.
Requirements: Seasoned, Psionic Novice
You now draw three cards when triggering your psionic talent instead of two.
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.
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, 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 the use of an 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.
In the Zone
Requirements: Novice, Hacking d8+
Hacking from a ‘pad? Beefed up security? Currently on horseback? No problem. You can cut through the distractions and focus on the hack to the exclusion of all else. This allows you to ignore 2 points of penalties to your Hacking rolls.
Mess with the Best
Requirements: Novice, Hacking d8+
Most hackers focus on bypassing security protocols and network defense to the exclusion of all else, but you’re a veteran of hacker turf wars. You get a +2 bonus to your Hacking rolls when going after another netrunner on the same system.
Advanced Persistent Threat
Requirements: Seasoned, Hacking d10+
Taking over a network is kid stuff; real pros don’t consider a run a success if they tripped the alarms on the way in. When you successfully complete a netrun, the alert level drops by one stage.