Steve Jackson Games GURPS – Generic Universal RolePlaying System

GURPS Technomancer – Cover

Excerpts from GURPS Technomancer

Chapter Introduction

In July 16, 1945, the Manhattan Project reached fruition. The first atomic bomb was detonated at the Trinity site near Alamogordo, New Mexico. The explosion ripped a hole in the fabric of space, and Dr. Oppenheimer's words ". . . I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds" unknowingly closed a necromantic ritual. The fireball vanished, but the mushroom cloud remained. It began to rotate, a stationary tornado shot with red lightning.

Radio reception within 20 miles of Trinity was jammed by static. The southern United States experienced freak weather conditions: violent lightning storms, hail, torrential rain, even snow. Shimmering auroras filled the night over the Western Hemisphere. These died down after a week, but the tornado – officially the "Trinity Event," but nicknamed the "Hellstorm" – remained. It's still there today.

The immediate result was a suspension of the U.S. atomic weapons program. Plans for the atomic bombing of Japan were canceled. "Nearly unconditional surrender" terms were offered to Japan: the emperor's position would be guaranteed. World War II ended on August 14. The United States retained two atomic bombs, but would make no more until the Hellstorm was understood.

More important were the invisible effects of the detonation. A wave of magical radiation spread out from the blast, transforming reality. Carried by hurricane-force winds, magically enhanced fallout was blasted high into the atmosphere, where freak weather conditions scattered it across America in a zone 2,000 miles in radius that would become known as "Trinity's Shadow."

"High-Explosive Fireball" & "Shaped-Charge Fireball" spells

High-Explosive Fireball Missile

The caster throws a ball of fire from his hand. It has SS 13, Acc 1, 1/2D 25, Max 50. When it strikes something solid, it produces a blast identical to an ordinary explosion. As per Concussion Damage (p. B121), full damage applies to everyone in the target and adjacent hexes, 1/4 damage at 3-4 yards, 1/16 damage at 5-6 yards, etc. Only sealed, rigid armor protects against this damage at all, but except on a direct hit, such DR is squared.

Cost: 10 per 6d concussion damage, to a maximum of 40 energy points (6dx4 damage).
Time to cast: 1 second per 10 energy points.
Prerequisite: Explosive Fireball, TL7+.
Item: Staff or wand - bolt is fired from its end. Energy cost to create: 1,800; must include a ruby worth $1,200. Usable only by a mage.

Shaped-Charge Fireball Missile

Caster throws a bolt of molten metal that mimics the behavior of a shaped-charge projectile. It has SS 13, Acc 1, 1/2D 25, Max 50.

Cost: 5 per 1d(10) damage (i.e., armor protects at 1/10 DR), to a maximum of 30 energy points (6d(10) damage).
Time to cast: 1 second per 5 energy points.
Prerequisite: Magery, Fireball, Shape Metal.
Item: Staff or wand – bolt is fired from its end. Energy cost to create: 1,600; must include obsidian worth $800. Usable only by a mage.

Industrial Enchantment

Industrial enchantment is high-tech enchantment rooted in the mass-production paradigms of the Industrial Revolution. Instead of the "craft shop" approach, a factory production line is constructed to manufacture a specific item and nothing else.

The hardware in a magical production line is a set of specialized technomagical "machine tools" used by wizards to make one item. Some resemble slightly modified versions of factory machines, others things from a mad scientist's laboratory.

Items travel on conveyer belts from one white-coated mage to the next, each performing a single process that is only one fraction of the total spell. They are gestured over, irradiated with oz-particle beams, doped or sprayed with alchemical or necronium (p. 44) aerosols, baked in elemental furnaces, inscribed with incantations carried on modulated laser or microwave beams . . . the rhythm and operation of the production line is the spell: its precise, perfectly timed processes a potent ritual as intricate and complex as any shaman's dance.

Ambulatory Necrotic Plague

This dread disease is caused by an undead bacterium. The only known carriers are toxic zombies, humans and mundane animals. Evidence suggests that it originated in zombie rats living in a death-aspected mana-active waste dump in Elizabeth, New Jersey.

The bacillus is apparently a mutated intestinal bacterium. The mutation may occur spontaneously in someone exposed to high levels of radiation. The disease can also be contracted from the bite of a toxic zombie or by eating toxic zombie flesh; e.g., a dog could bite a zombie rat, become infected and go on to bite and infect humans. The bacterium has been cultured in labs as well; it is not airborne, but it could be injected into someone . . .

Anyone bitten or clawed by a toxic zombie must fail a roll vs. (damage taken) to avoid coming down with the disease. If the roll is less than the damage, infection occurs; a 3 or 4 always causes infection. Roll only once per day, no matter how often the victim is bitten or clawed that day. Those who ingest tainted meat must roll vs. HT to avoid the disease; those injected directly must roll vs. (HT-5).

One infected, the victim's skin and organs slowly rot, but this doesn't affect ST or HT, as the bacteria transform the vital organs into undead tissue. Symptoms manifest after (victim's HT) hours and progress through three stages:

Stage 1 (after HT hours): Body temperature drops. Skin becomes pale. Sores develop. Lose one level of Appearance. If still alive, lose 1 point of DX and acquire High Pain Threshold and Slow Healing 1 (p. CI104).

Stage 2 (after HT × 2 hours): Body temperature unnaturally low. Patches of skin peel off. Lose another level of Appearance. If still alive, lose 2 points of IQ and acquire Bad Smell (p. CI80).

Stage 3 (after HT × 6 hours): If still alive, the victim dies. Either way, he will transform into a toxic zombie (see p. 56). The victim can be saved if properly treated before the disease reaches Stage 3.

The bacterium is immune to conventional drugs, radiation and chemotherapy, as well as the Cure Disease, Sterilize and Suspended Animation spells. There are only two known ways to halt the disease: a successful Exorcism spell will kill it, and moving the patient into a no-mana area will stop its progress.

Neither measure is enough to save the patient if the disease is at Stage 1 or 2, as the patient's tissues will have been partly eaten away. Without the undead bacteria to provide their unearthly vitalization, the patient will experience multiple organ failures and internal infections. Upon being "cured," he will lose 1d HT immediately, and a further 1d HT/hour (Stage 1) or 1d HT/minute (Stage 2) until dead. A successful Instant Restoration or Instant Regeneration spell will end the HT loss and effect a true cure; apply a -4 penalty to the caster's skill if the disease has reached Stage 2.

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