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Main » Articles » Strontium Dog » A Dogs' Life

A Guide to the Galaxy for Aspiring Bounty Hunters: Part IV

While technology is capable of significantly altering and improving the human form, obvious cybernetic, genetic or surgical alteration of the human form is generally frowned upon. Unnecessary augmentation is seen as unpleasant and even perverse in most human cultures. Despite this, there are some worlds where genetic alteration or cybernetics are widespread or even mandatory... it’s just that there are many, many more worlds where they are strictly forbidden.

Most of the items in this category can be cybernetic (mechanical or electronic implants and prostheses), biological (genetic engineering and surgical alternation) or both (a more common solution), but the general term 'augment' is used for all of them.
Neural Comm: A neural comm has identical capacities to a standard comm, but the cost is much higher. A character can access the capabilities of a neural comm by thought alone but must still make any relevant skill checks and must still speak aloud to send audio messages (or have his or her eyes open to send video, closed to receive).
Subdermal Armour: Subdermal armour adds a mesh of ballistic fibres to the skin and reinforces the bones, giving the character extra protection.
Physical Characteristic Augment: A character’s END, STR or DEX can be increased in various ways, from replacing motor neurons with faster synthetic cells, to reinforcing bones and replacing organs with tougher vat-grown clones. Augmentations must be purchased for each characteristic separately.
Intelligence Augment: Replacing slow nerve cells with faster synthetic substrates and implanting optoelectronic boosters can increase the speed at which a character thinks, effectively boosting his or her INT.
Skill Augment: The character’s nervous system is rewired to be more suited to a particular task. A pilot might have his reflexes and sense of balance improved; a broker might be made capable of controlling his pupil responses and smelling the pheromones and skin salinity of the other party. A skill augmentation gives the character a +1 DM when using that skill. A character can only have one skill augmentation and must possess that skill at least at Level 0 to benefit from the augmentation.
Wafer Jack: A wafer jack is a computer system implanted into the base of the skull that consists of an external data socket and a processor running an interface program. A character with a wafer jack can use expert programs for tasks relying on INT or EDU only. The main benefit of the jack is that it is much smaller and more discrete than a hand computer, and the user can access the expert program by thought alone. A wafer jack is a Computer/2.
Bug: Surveillance devices such as hidden microphones and tiny cameras, bugs are available to S/D agents. The smaller a bug, though, the shorter its range – a bug that transmits data needs a much larger power supply than one that just records until it is collected.
  • Audio: The bug records anything it hears.
  • Visual: The bug records anything it sees.
  • Data: If attached to a computer system, the bug can search and copy data from the computer. The bug cannot breach computer security on its own, but if a user accesses the computer in the bug’s presence, the bug can read his data.
  • Bioscan: The bug has a basic biological scanner, allowing it to sample the area for DNA traces, chemical taint and so forth.
Transceiver: A transceiver is a stand-alone communications device. Unlike a comm, which relies on the presence of an established communications network, a transceiver can send and receive directly under its own power. To reach orbit reliably, a transceiver needs a range of 500 kilometres. Radio transceivers have a range of 5,000 km, while laser transceivers have a range of 500km only.
Commdot: A commdot is a tiny microphone/speaker and transmitter, ranging in size between a few centimetres and a few millimetres across. A commdot is capable of interfacing with another communications device and relaying messages back and forth. Commdots have a range of only a few metres. They are usually used as hands-free communicators, but can also be used as improvised bugs or throat microphones.
Holographic Projector: A holographic projector is a toaster-sized box that, when activated, creates a three-dimensional image in the space around it or nearby – the range is approximately three metres in all directions. The image can be given pre-programmed animations within a limited range and the projector includes speakers for making sound. The projected holograms are real enough to fool anyone who fails an INT check (made upon first seeing the hologram).
Computers: The power of a computer is given by its rating (Computer/1, Computer/2 and so forth), which measures the complexity of the programs it can run. (Storage space is effectively unlimited.) Programs are rated by the computer rating they require. A system can run a number of programs up to its rating. The computers listed here are laptop size. Battery life is effectively unlimited. Desktop computers are practically obsolete.
Hand Computer: A hand computer is a portable computer system with considerable processing power. It is more powerful than a computer terminal, and can be used without access to a network. A hand computer costs twice as much as a normal computer but can he held in one hand and operated with the other.
Data Display/Recorder: This headpiece worn over one or both eyes provides a continuous heads-up display for the user, allowing him to view computer data from any linked system. Because of the transparent screen vision is not obscured while using a DD/R headset. DD/Rs can display data from any system, not just computers – they can display vacc suit oxygen reserves, grav status, medikit scanner results and so forth.
Data Wafer: The principle medium of information storage is the standard data wafer, a rectangle of hardened plastic about the size of a credit card. A data wafer is memory diamond, with information encoded in structures of carbon atoms; more advanced wafers use more exotic means of data storage.
Cryoberth: A cryoberth, or 'icebox', is a coffin-like machine similar to the low or frozen berths used on some spacecraft. A cryoberth can be used to place a severely injured character into stasis until he receives medical treatment. While in a cryoberth, a character's wounds neither heal nor degrade and all disease and poison activity is halted. A cryoberth's internal power system can function for up to one week on its own, but a berth is usually connected to a vehicle's power supply.
Medikit: All medikits contain diagnostic devices and scanners, surgical tools and a panoply of drugs and antibiotics, allowing a medic to practise his art in the field.
Panaceas: Panaceas are wide-spectrum medicinal drugs that are specifically designed not to interact harmfully. They can therefore be used on any wound or illness and are guaranteed not to make things worse. A character using panaceas may make a Medic check as if he had Medic 0 when treating an infection or disease.
Anti-Rad Drugs: Anti-rad drugs must be administered before or immediately after (within ten minutes) radiation exposure. They absorb up to 100 rads per dose. A character may only use anti-rad drugs once per day – taking any more causes permanent END damage of 1d6 per dose.
Stim Drugs: Stim drugs remove fatigue but at a cost. A character who uses stim may remove the effects of fatigue but suffers one point of damage. If stims are used to remove fatigue again without an intervening period of sleep, the character suffers two points of damage the second time, three points the third time, and so on.
Metabolic Accelerator: This drug boosts the user's reaction time to superhuman levels. A character using slow drug in combat adds +8 to his initiative total at the start of combat (or whenever the drug takes effect). He may also dodge up to twice each round with no effect on his initiative score. The drug kicks in 45 seconds (eight rounds) after ingestion or injection and lasts for around ten minutes. When the drug wears off, the user's system crashes and he or she suffers 2d6 points of damage and is exhausted.
Combat Drug: This drug increases reaction time and improves the body's ability to cope with trauma, aiding the user in combat. A character using a combat drug adds +4 to his initiative total at the start of combat (or whenever the drug takes effect). He may also dodge once each round with no effect on his initiative score and reduces all damage suffered by two points. The drug kicks in twenty seconds (four rounds) after injection, and lasts around ten minutes. When the drug wears off, the user is fatigued.
Medicinal Slow: This drug is a variant of the slow drug. It can only be applied safely in a medical facility where life-support and cryo technology is available as it increases the metabolism to around thirty times normal, allowing a patient to undergo a month of healing in a single day.
Fast Drug: Also known as 'Hibernation', this drug puts the user into a state akin to suspended animation, slowing his metabolic rate down to a ratio of 60 to 1 – a subjective day for the user is actually two months. Fast drug is normally used to prolong life support reserves or as a cheap substitute for a cryoberth.
Anagathics: Synthetic anagathics have not yet been created but there are natural spices and other rare compounds that slow the user’s aging process. Anagathics are illegal or heavily controlled on many worlds. One dose must be taken each month to maintain the anti-aging effect – if the character taking anagathics misses a dose they must make an immediate roll on the aging table as their body reacts badly to the interrupted supply.
Binoculars: Allows the user to see further. Electronic enhancement allows images to be captured; light-intensification allows them to be used in the dark. PRIS (Portable Radiation Imaging System) allows the user to observe a large section of the EM-spectrum, from infrared to gamma rays.
Geiger Counter: Detects radiation, both presence and approximate intensity. The Sensors skill is not needed to detect the presence of radiation with a Geiger counter but anything more complex than that requires a check.
IR Goggles: Permits the user to see exothermic (heat-emitting) sources in the dark. IR goggles and light-intensifying goggles can be combined into a single unit costing 1,250 credits.
Light-Intensifying Goggles: Permits the user to see normally in anything less than total darkness by electronically intensifying any available light. IR goggles and light-intensifying goggles can be combined into a single unit costing 1,250 credits.
Motion Sensor: A motion sensor simply detects any and all movement within the area assigned to it. It cannot differentiate between kinds of movement, it just reports whether there is movement or not in an area roughly six metres in diameter.
Electromagnetic Probe: This handy device detects the electromagnetic emissions of technological devices, and can be used as a diagnostic tool when examining equipment (+1 DM to work out what's wrong with it) or when searching for hidden bugs or devices. The Sensors or Investigation skills can be used to sweep a room for bugs.
Densitometer: The remote densitometer uses an object's natural gravity to measure its density, building up a three-dimensional image of the inside and outside of an object.
Bioscanner: The bioscanner 'sniffs' for organic molecules and tests chemical samples, analysing the make-up of whatever it is focused on. It can be used to detect poisons or bacteria, analyse organic matter, search for life signs and classify unfamiliar organisms. The data from a bioscanner can be interpreted using the Sensors or Life Sciences: Biology skills.
Tent: A basic tent provides shelter for two people against the weather, reducing skill check penalties by 2. The tent can be pressurised. There is no airlock – the tent is depressurised when opened.
Rebreather: The rebreather is a bulky backpack containing breathable atmosphere and a face mask that collects exhaled gasses and 'scrubs them back into breathable gasses again. A rebreather provides six hours of breathable atmosphere and can be used to breathe in any environment that is not otherwise harmful, such as underwater.
Respirator: This device concentrates inhaled oxygen, allowing a character to breathe on worlds with a thin atmosphere. Respirators take the form of a face mask or mouthpiece initially. The more advanced respirator is small enough to fit into the nose, or can even be a lung implant for three times the cost.
Filter: Filters are breathing masks that strip out harmful elements from the air inhaled by the character, such as dangerous gases or dust particles. Filters are small enough to fit into the nose or can even be a lung implant for three times cost.
Breather Mask: Combines the filter and respirator into a single package.
Artificial Gill: Extracts oxygen from water allowing the wearer to breathe underwater. Only works on worlds with breathable atmospheres.
Environment Suit: Designed to protect the wearer from extreme cold or heat, the environment suit has a hood, gloves and boots but leaves the face exposed in normal operations.
Habitat Module: A modular, pressurised quarters for six people, capable of withstanding anything less than hurricane-force winds. Includes survival rations and enough batteries to keep the lights on and the heaters (or air conditioning) running for a week. Requires twelve man-hours to assemble, and can be attached to other modules to form a base.
Rescue Bubble: A large (2m diameter) pressurised plastic bubble. Piezoelectric layers in the bubble wall translate the user’s movements into electricity to recharge the bubble's batteries and power its distress beacon, and a small oxygen tank both inflates the bubble and provides two person/hours of life support. A self-repairing plastic seal serves as an emergency airlock. Rescue bubbles are found on both space and sea vessels as emergency lifeboats.
Thruster Pack: A simple thruster pack gives the user the ability to manoeuvre in zero-gravity. A Zero-G check is required to use a thruster pack accurately. Thruster packs can only be used in microgravity environments and are only practical for journeys between spacecraft at adjacent range.
Toolkit: Engineer: Required for performing repairs and installing new equipment.
Toolkit: Forensics: Required for investigating crime scenes and testing samples.
Toolkit: Mechanical: Required for repairs and construction.
Toolkit: Scientific: Required for scientific testing and analysis.
Toolkit: Surveying: Required for planetary surveys or mapping.
Toolkit: Thieves': Required for breaking and entering and any other illegal activities.
Binders: Plastisteel restraints that lock around a fugitive’s wrists and tighten if the wearer attempts any excessive wrist movement, S/D binders can only be released sing the special security codes at a S/D agency office. The restraints are designed to be used one-handed. Rolling DEX + Athletics: Coordination 8+ allows the Strontium Dog to cuff a fugitive in a single, fluid movement, using a Minor Action, if he has the binders ready. If the Strontium Dog is taking his time, then a fugitive can be securely cuffed in two Minor Actions. The binders are exceedingly strong: 20 points of damage need to be applied in a single burst to cut through or break the linkage between the binders and 30 points need to be applied to remove the binders from around the wrists. Each cuff contains an integral tracker that can be traced using a hand computer.
Trying to wriggle free of the binders requires a successful Athletics: Coordination roll against 15+. Each failed attempt to break free causes the binders to tighten, increasing the target for the Athletics roll by +1. lf the wearer makes three or more attempts to break free unsuccessfully, he sustains one point of damage, applied to his DEX, as the binders bite into his wrists, squeeze the nerves and threaten to crack the bones.
Bug: An insect-sized surveillance device, the Bug has twin eye cameras and powerful microphones set into a tiny carapace that is propelled by a pair of monofilament sheet wings, all powered by an Evinrude micro-fusion unit. The Bug goes where instructed and relays back audio/visual to a Hand Computer loaded with the Securi-Bug software. Bug units have a range of one kilometer and can remain active without a recharge for approximately twenty-four hours.
lf spotted, the Bug's onboard Evasion program, tiny size and incredible agility give it a natural -6 DM against attacks made against it.
Disruption Unit: This small unit emits a constant electro-psionic field that disrupts psionics within its sphere of influence. The unit carries a 100 point charge, with its operation drawing on this charge at the rate of 1 point per minute. The maximum setting is variable between 1 and 6 points, with each point applying a negative DM to all psionic use equal to the points setting. The disruption unit affects an area of three metres radius. The unit can be recharged from a standard power source, taking 1 minute per point to recharge.
Grav-Chute: The grav-chute is a hand-held grav-field generator that is designed to slow a fall from a height thus preserving life. Activating a grav-chute is a minor action and the grav-field is effective for heights up to 200 metres; anything above that and the chute is ineffective, The grav-chute can support a maximum weight of 100kg and has an internal non-rechargeable battery that is good for twenty hours continuous use (replacements cost 100 credits).
Holding Field: A holding field is an advanced system that has a variety of uses. High energy beams or spreads of beams (a field) are strung between a generator unit and a receptor unit to create an impenetrable barrier that may or may not be visible to the naked eye, depending on the energy used and the desire of whoever sets up the field. Generally, a holding field is designed to contain without causing damage although, again depending on the kind of energy used, damage may be caused if the field is touched.
Typical frontier generator and receptor units are contained in a single pillar-like device with settings on the exterior to dictate the unit's polarity (either generating or receiving), so that discrete devices are not necessary. Two units used together create a single-line barrier; three a triangle, four a rectangle and so forth. Onboard computers automatically calibrate to the other units used in the matrix and provide continued energy correction for optimum use. The height of the barrier is determined by the height of the generator/receptor unit. A simple pair of units is 2m in height; add a further 5,000 cr. for each additional metre of height required.
The Holding Field's range (i.e. the maximum distance that can be attained between the two units) is cost-dependent. A basic pair of 2m high units can span up to 5m. Add a further 5,000 cr. for each additional 5m span required.
As the idea of the Holding Field is to contain, physical damage is rare. The energy field offers a solid resistance (and is warm to the touch) just as a physical barrier offers resistance. However, if enough energy is exerted, then a Holdinq Field can be overcome. A basic Holding Unit generates a Field Strength of 6d6+6. To overcome it, the opposing force must achieve a higher Effect than that created by the Holding Field. This could be kinetic energy from something swinging it or charging the field or a weapon system overloading the field itself. Of course, if the units are targeted and damaged, then this will either impair or negate the field. For this reason the generator/receptor units are usually equipped with eight points of armour (further points of armour cost 200 cr. per unit).
Beam Polariser: This device locks onto the wavelength of any laser beam active in a 100 metre radius and ‘attracts' it; that is, bends its trajectory towards the polariser unit itself, where the beam is defracted and rendered harmless. The beam polariser unit is a domed box 18cm in width and height and studded with a variety of sensors, disruption screens and defraction lenses.
Only laser-light is affected by the polariser; blasters and other energy weapons (plasma, for instance) are unaffected. Anyone using a laser within the range of the polariser automatically misses the target and will need to switch to another, more effective, weapon if they wish to continue the combat. The polariser’s battery is good for six hours of continuous use. It must then be replaced (at a cost of 100 credits).
Short-Range Teleporter: A personal teleportation device, the Short Range Teleporter dissembles and projects physical objects from one geographical location to another, reassembling the subject’s molecules at the destination. The maximum range for the device is 50 metres and the teleporter can transport up to 200kg of solid matter. The device can be programmed with specific co-ordinates or can be set to random. On random, the subject is teleported to a random location anywhere within a 500m radius of the current position. Ln-built calibration sensors ensure that the subject does not materialise within a solid object or at an elevation above ground level: it can therefore be used reasonably safely on random mode.
Setting the teleporter requires either a Computers or Special Weapons 8+ roll. DMs can be imposed for setting coordinates in haste or whilst under fire. If the roll is unsuccessful, the user is transported to a random location rather than a pre-programmed one. If the random setting is used, then the user has materialized in a location that is disadvantageous rather than a place of complete safety.
The teleporter is small enough to be worn on a belt or armour sash and can be attached to objects with self-adhesive patches. It is good for three uses before it needs to be replaced.
Stasis Field: A stasis field generator creates a time-retarding field. Living things and objects enclosed within a stasis field experience the passage of time at a significantly slower rate than does the rest of the universe. This means that an occupant of a stasis field could emerge having experienced only a few seconds, minutes or hours of elapsed time, only to find that centuries or millennia have passed outside the field. Stasis fields have a perfectly reflective, shiny surface nearly invulnerable to outside damage.
The stasis field generators available to Strontium Dogs are capable of enclosing a bubble two metres in diameter. The generator is a rod-like device that expands the field outwards and around the subject, so it is always contained within the field. The device has an internal/external ratio of one second to one year, with a maximum external time passage of six years, so no more than six years will have passed outside the field, whilst no more than six seconds will have elapsed within it. The generator can be set to fully automatic cut-off so that whoever is inside the field cannot disable it and must wait until the generator automatically deactivates. Naturally, it can also be set to manual activation and deactivation.
The surface of the stasis field is resistant to all known forms of weapon damage, meaning that a stasis field is the ultimate form of armour. However, the amount of power needed to set-up and maintain the field means it is a one-use device that cannot be recharged. The bulk of the power discharge is used in establishing and collapsing the stasis field, not maintaining it, so establishing a field that lasts for six hours takes a similar amount of power to one lasting six years.
Stasis field generators are only available to TDW-licensed S/D agents.
Telekin Shield: A hand-held unit that throws-up a protective shield against hostile, incoming psionics. The shield is able to block psionic attacks that have a maximum of 12 Psi points invested in them; anything higher and the shield is overwhelmed. The shield's battery life is good for twelve hours of continuous use.
Time Analyser: This hand-held analysis device is used to identify the use of any time or dimensional manipulation activity within a 100 metre radius. It can sense whether time was moved forward or reversed and identify what kind of equipment was used to effect the manipulation. It requires a Special Weapons roll of 8+ to correctly interpret the read-outs of the analyser but the roll offers the user a comprehensive overview of time manipulation within the area within the preceding twenty-four hours.
Time Drogue: A time drogue creates a three metre diameter bubble of reversed time with a maximum time reversal of six minutes. This allows a Strontium Dog to, literally, shoot first and ask questions later, as the dead can be brought back to life for a few, short minutes and interrogated. Once the drogue is switched off, time in the bubble returns to normal, meaning that a resurrected corpse must relive its death for a second time.
A time drogue has a maximum of three uses before becoming exhausted. It cannot be recharged.
Warrant Card: A hand-held device, every Strontium Dog is issued with a warrant card upon being licensed as an S/D agent. The warrant card is slaved to FIDO (the Federal Information Directory Operations database) and it displays all current open warrants, with full details on the subject's history accessible from the FIDO archives, as well as 'closed' warrants – those allocated to a specific Strontium Dog.
Usually no skill rolls need to be made to access warrant information. However, if a Strontium Dog is attempting to locate or cross-reference some particularly obscure fact, event or history, a Computers 8+ roll may be called for. The warrant card also acts as a locator beacon for the Dog House, allowing S/D control to track the locations of the Strontium Dogs out in the field.
Wire Launcher: This is either a separate unit, worn on the belt or wrist or can be bought as part of a leatherene arm pad (the cost of the wire launcher is added to the cost of the armour) or can be added to a combination weapon as an active part of the weapon system (add the cost to the weapon's cost).
The wire launcher fires a hooked grapnel attached to a 50 metre microfilament line that can hold up to 200kg without fear of snapping. Gaining a secure hold on an object depends on how the wire launcher is being used. If it is separate, standalone unit or part of armour, then DEX + Athletics: Coordination 8+ is the roll to make, with a maximum range of Long. If used as part of a combination weapon, then Gun Combat: Combination Weapon is used.


Category: A Dogs' Life | Added by: Ash (12 Feb 2016)
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