Vaputech Implants

By William J. Keith


Force Jar

Cheap Forces... theoretically. A Force "Jar" comes in two parts: one is a metallic "headband" that is about two centimeters high and a few millimeters thick, made of smooth dark metal, with slots on top for circuitry interface. This is implanted into the recipient's head, and does nothing by itself. The second part is a cap of the same metal that fits over the recipient's head, with a bit of exposed circuitry around the bottom that locks into the appropriate ports on the receiving headband.

Each cap contains a Force of any chosen type. When worn, the cap can provide the effects of its stored Force. A demon otherwise lacking a Corporeal Force can go to Earth; an amnesiac can be restored far enough to process the information in such memories as remain. Activities based on Forces will take the stored Force as one of the user's own, and attributes will be increased, etc. Nothing can be pushed past its species maximum, and Undead and Remnants have "species maximum" of effectively 0 for Celestial Forces. The caps can be removed and worn at will, and traded if desired.

Now the downsides. The configuration of any given Force is fixed - that is, the points it grants for attributes remain the same. A particular cap might raise Intelligence by 1 and Precision by 3, for example - at least, if the recipient doesn't already have Intelligence at maximum, or Precision within 2 thereof. Second, the caps can be stolen or damaged - some might have the Unbreakable feature, but removability is integral to the concept. Summonability is a valuable feature, though. Third, each time the cap is removed, roll against Will. On a failure with a CD of 6, one of the recipient's own Forces is removed instead of the cap's Force, which stays. Choose the realm randomly, as well as the attribute points lost. If the user is overfull on Essence, the excess also does a Soul Hits equal to the total Essence held as it exits the user.

The recommended cost for a Force Jar headband base is half as much as for a normal Force, modified by costs for additional Features like Unbreakable. Caps cost no points unless they are bound to the owner with a feature like Summonable; they are meant to be traded by demons willing to swap parts of themselves like commodities. This design was sparked by the headgear of the troops on the cover of S4 (which, okay, was not a headband).

Mechanical Numinous Corpus

The recipient of one of these implants need not know the implanted Numinous Corpus, although the artificer-surgeon must. Horns, Claws, Fangs, Fins, Spines, and Tail are the versions currently known, though Andre is sponsoring research into certain Ornamentals. They cost the same Essence, and make the same Disturbance, to activate as the Song. Upon activation, the appropriate NC takes form, extruding from the performer's body as finely jointed silvery mechanisms. This is cosmetic, at the moment - they have the same effect as the Song known at the surgeon's knowledge level. The devices require no Song roll, never failing as long as they operate. The true advantage of the implant, though, is not evident until the normal duration of the Song is up -- the implants are physical devices, and, though as vulnerable to wear and damage as any Numinous Corpus, do not vanish automatically! They may be retained for as long as desired.

The user must spend an additional Essence to command the devices to retract, whereupon they fold themselves into the user's skin and cover themself with a flexible skin-colored plastic. Unless the user tans noticeably or is subjected to a close medical exam, they will not be noticed while retracted. The other downside is that, as physical relics, the implants may be subject to breakage, whereupon the relics will no longer function.

The recommended cost for a Mechanical Numinous Corpus is as a standard relic of the level of the artificer's Song, with the Convenience: worn hidden(+3), creates a disturbance when used(-1), and 1 Essence required above the usual 1 for the Song (-1), for 1 point per level, plus any costs for features a player would like to have added. This relic was sparked by the glove-things on the cat on page 113 of S4, as was:

Sensory Enhancers

Normally, a player can increase his Perception after creation, but eventually will have to buy another Force to cover it; in GURPS, Acute (fill in sense here) is almost impossible to receive later. These devices can get around those problems, and fairly cheaply in terms of points. (They are also old standbys in cyberpunk, which I was trying to avoid - there are extensive catalogs of mundane cybernetics elsewhere - but that's because they're just so useful, so they're here too.) A plate implanted over, and replacing, one eye can give bonuses to vision rolls, though no more than 3 unless both eyes are replaced or the other eye is removed (the difference in the two visions becomes too much to reconcile). Hearing can be augmented with a device which, unless closely inspected, looks like a pair of hearing aids (at higher levels, large hearing aids). Touch can be augmented with a skin-grafted, flexible circuit patch over the area where sensation is desired enhanced, usually the hands. Clothing can hide it, though none but expert makeup can. Smell can be enhanced by replacing the nose with what looks like a metallic sculpture of an animal's snout - almost totally undisguisable, though smell is now good enough to track by.

To purchase this relic, spend half the points which would have been required to purchase the necessary boost at caracter creation. Besides the cat, the shooter's eyeplate on p. 118 contributed to this.

Bound Unholy Pistol

This pistol comes with a cable attaching it to a socket in the user's temple. The cable can be carefully removed and replaced with a minute's work each way. Yanking it out does Body hits equal to the level of the Pistol. The Unholy Pistol can more effectively use the Essence pumped into it by the user - it converts faster via the direct link, allowing the pistol's full rate of fire for the round rather than the single shots such weapons usually require.

Purchase as a standard Unholy Pistol -- the usefulness of the increased rate of fire balances out (or at least is intended to balance out; talk to a non-Vapulan and you may get a different answer) the socket implant and the extra target the cable presents. The obvious spark for this one was the shooter on page 118, of course.

Symphonic Monitor

Demons don't want to expose themselves to the Symphony at large. Humans have a difficult time of it, period. However, the benefits of being able to hear the Symphony intimately are undeniable. Therefore, why not have a piece of equipment to do the hearing for you?

A Symphonic Monitor consists of a blocky eyeplate or ear covering of dark metal. It does not replace these organs -- a *careful* cutaway will reveal a functional organ, surrounded by a ring of broken circuitry which had tied the user's brain (or celestial analogue thereof) to the display or speaker unit. The unit operates thusly: attuned to a particular concept in the Symphony, it will continuously compare the surrounding Symphony to that concept, displaying a waveform or sounding a tone which can be translated to glean information about the presence of that concept in the Symphony as it currently affects the user. Thus, for example, if the device is attuned to 'angels', it will register slightly if an angel in a Vessel comes into the user's view; more strongly if the angel begins talking to the user; and if the angel attacks the user, it will almost certainly approach peg. Attuning it to 'demon', 'relic', or 'Technology' will produce unreadable high-energy garbage continuously.

The understanding of this output is not innate - translation of the device's output is a skill which requires practice like any other (in GURPS, it is a Mental/Very Hard skill; in In Nomine, it is based on Precision). Furthermore, Vapula's algorithms are still under development; the device itself has an effective Perception for its currently-attuned concept, which the GM will need to roll against in any important situation in order to determine if the device even has the desired information. As usual for information devices, on a critical failure or unfavorable Intervention, convincing incorrect information is provided. The higher the Perception, the more useful the artifact, naturally.

The attuning is the really hard part. Any being capable of giving out a Rite or Attunement can attune the device to its own nature fairly easily with a moment of concentration. This includes Word-bound celestials, or ethereals with worship rites. However, for arbitrary concepts, the only way to attune the device to a particular concept is to have the device exposed to the phrase describing the concept (five words or less is the limit, though the more precise, the better the device's accuracy)... spoken in Angelic. Forcing an angel to take celestial form is no easy task; nor is finding one in a Tether speaking the desired phrase. Hunting a Reliever down, maybe in the Marches, is perhaps the most likely track to bear fruit. If the demon can influence a Vassal of War (!), their verbal code will also work.


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