Roleplayer #19, April 1990

C-Punk Outtakes

Near Misses from GURPS Cyberpunk

by Steve Jackson

When it became clear that GURPS Cyberpunk was going to be a very long book, a number of things got cut out. Some were perfectly good ideas that just didn't fit. Some, on the other hand, were strange. Here are some of these "outtakes" from the Cyberwear chapter . . . the good, the bad, and the very ugly.

Cast-Iron Stomach . . . $20,000 . . . 15 points

The cyborg's digestive tract has been modified to allow him to eat nearly anything even vaguely food-like. In particular, he can digest keratin, bone and cellulose. He could get a filling, and nearly balanced, meal by eating a half-pound of grass or wood and a few scraps of bone or leather. Many plastics are also edible.

This implant gives a partial immunity to poisons; the cyborg has a +4 to resist the effect of any poison, disease or drug that he eats or drinks. Gases, blood agents, etc., affect him normally. Any orally-ingested substance that normally has an "automatic" effect is resisted at HT+2.

"Unwholesome" food or water, not deliberately poisoned, will not hurt the cyborg, and he can turn his taste and smell functions off at will. Thus, a cyborg with a cast-iron stomach could catch and eat a whole rat, tear it up, crunch it down, and derive all the benefit of a hot, nutritious meal. Of course, anyone who flaunts this ability has a significant Odious Personal Habit.

Hypno-Eyes . . . $8,000 . . . 5 points

This is a modification available for bionic eyes. The cyborg can will his eyes to pulse in a rhythm that tends to entrain EEG. This gives a +4 to any Hypnosis attempt, as long as the cyborg can meet the victim's eyes at a distance of 2 feet or less for a minimum of 1 second. If a victim sees the pulsing for a second, be will continue to look into the cyborg's eyes for long enough to allow one Hypnosis roll.

If the victim is epileptic, being subjected to hypno-eyes counts as a stressful situation and may bring on a seizure; see p. B28. Check this before determining whether the hypnosis works.

Bionic Bladder . . . $6,000 . . . 1 point

The cyborg's bladder has been rebuilt with an enlarged capacity and foolproof sphincters. He can now function in perfect comfort for at least 24 hours without seeking relief. This enhancement has no game effect unless the GM plays with hyper-realism. In the real world of cyberpunk, it is very popular with politicians (who can now filibuster in comfort), long-distance drivers and pilots, and security personnel who might need to watch a screen, or walk a post, for many hours without physical distractions.

Stereo Jack . . . $1,000 . . . 0 points

This is a perfectly ordinary headphone-type jack, built right into the user's skull. The jack will not accept computer-type signals; it is strictly for a sound system, and is wired only to the auditory nerves. The main effect is that the user can listen to very loud music in total privacy. However, a radio could be plugged into the jack, and it would be absolutely inaudible to anyone else, no matter how good their listening tools.

If this is installed at the same time that a bionic ear is installed or upgraded, the cost is only $100.

Off Switch . . . $1,000 . . . varies

The user can "turn himself off," going to sleep by an act of will. If he has a timer chip, he can set the time he will wake up. Otherwise, he wakes up naturally. The user's sleep is normal; he will awaken normally if disturbed. This version costs no points.

Variations on this include a physical switch (popular for pets); a switch that can be triggered by a spoken code phrase (good for turning off a berserker); and a version that keeps the cyborg asleep until he is turned on from the outside, by a physical switch or a code phrase. Any physical switch is a 4-point disadvantage. Any coded switch is a 10-point disadvantage. Add 6 points if the cyborg doesn't awaken naturally. In order to take disadvantage points, the existence of the switch must be known to enough people to make it a risk. Or the switch may be taken as a Secret (see p. CY25) at half point value; if it is revealed, the cyborg gets no extra points.

(Back to Roleplayer #19 Table of Contents)

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