CHIPWARE LOOSELY BASED ON GURPS CYBERPUNK
by Amy Luther
Presented for your approval, some variant chipware inspired by the chipware in GURPS Cyberpunk, with a dash of Ocelot's Discount Cyber Shop thrown in for spice.
Zap Chips (Discount Chips, price varies)
A "zap" chip is an APTR or MRAM chip with a defect, usually containing one key error which causes failures during certain circumstances. Sometimes a chip with a known problem can be found at a discount ("It's Drive +3, red-hot, but it's got a little bug. Stay off the freeway and you'll be fine."). Zap chips are priced between 1/2 and 1/4 of normal chip costs. Disadvantages of a zap chip are up to the GM, but here are some suggestions: the chip fails to work in combat ("Some kind of adrenaline interference," mutters the tech), every 1d10th skill check is automatically a fumble, the chip can never provide critical successes, the chip causes seizures on a roll of 1 on a d10 every time it is inserted, the chip causes other neuralware to fail, etc.
Idiot Chips (1/2 cost per level)
Idiot chips subtract the level of the chip from all other chipped skills in the same class ("class" meaning all other MRAM chips or all other APTR chips). For example, an idiot Rifle chip at +2 would subtract -2 from all other APTR chips for as long as it was used. The disadvantages of this type of chip are obvious, but the advantages can be significant - if you only intend to use one chip at a time, the penalty does not take effect, and the cost for each level of an idiot chip is halved. For example, a Rifle +3 which subtracted -3 from all other APTR chips would cost 450eb rather than 900eb. Idiot chips do not take points off of natural skills, only other chipped ones. Penalties to chipped skills can never go below 0, so the worst an idiot chip can do is render other chips useless. Of course, a smart GM won't tell the players that the other chips are shut down until they really need to use those chipped skills ...
Demo Chips (1/3 cost per level)
These are MRAM chips, specifically TECH-based chips, which can only be used in specific situations. They are frequently distributed by corporations as an advertising ploy and to insure that the buyer will only use a certain type of item (a rather brutal way to make sure the company tech won't be fixing a competitor's items). For instance, a Demo Play Instrument chip might only work with Fender Stratocasters, or a Demo Cyberdeck Design chip might only apply when you're working on PCT Danzigs (god forbid), and a Weaponsmith chip could be limited to weapons put out by Sternmeyer. Demo chips work just like normal chips, but their specific focus must be decided upon when they are purchased and cannot be changed afterwards. The cost for each level of a Demo chip is reduced by 1/3, rounded up, and the price can never fall below 50eb/level. Creative GMs might find a way to apply the Demo concept to REF-based chips as well (that Motorcycle chip only works when you're sitting atop a Thundergod).
Jackhammers (price varies)
Jackhammers are chips which incapacitate the user. There are many different types available and are typically used to keep an unconscious foe down or to mess up an inattentive one. Some of these incorporate a type of lock which prevents the chip from being removed without a key or special command. You can pop the chip in and lock it down to prevent your enemy from taking it out when he recovers. Some common types of Jackhammers:
Happy Hammer - Stimulates the pleasure centers of the brain. Not quite as good as wireheading, but good enough to keep the user docile. The user is euphoric and happy and will be glad to cooperate with just about any request. (-2 COOL plus a Resist Torture/Drugs roll to fight, 25 Diff.). 300eb. Headbanger - This is a torture device. Possession of it is a Priority 5 offense; use is a Priority Three crime (equivalent to Aggravated Assault). It stimulates the victim's pain center. -4 to all rolls until the chip is removed. Some varieties also keep the victim from screaming ... Resist Torture/Drugs rolls can be used to act normally and negate the penalties for one round per point of success over a Difficulty of 30. 700eb. Harvey Wallbanger - The user is mindlessly drunk. -2 to REF, INT, and COOL until removed. Resist Torture/Drugs rolls can be made to fight the effects for one round per point of success over a Difficulty of 25. 400eb.