Monday, July 15, 2013

196: Biomimetic Sampler

ENTRY 196: Biomimetic Sampler

Pain and pleasure are evolutionary advantages that have helped transhumanity survive for hundreds of thousands of years. Early synthmorph designers soon learned they needed to include analogues of satisfaction and discomfort into the morphs they were designing, both to ease resleeving and as a necessity to help users live and thrive in their new bodies. While it never completely mimicked the biological neuroreceptors, it was close enough to activate the old hardwired survival instincts in the transhuman ego—the instinctive drawing back of a body part away from a source of damage, cradling an injured part, etc.

These same pleasure/pain analogues, along with the other sensory input data, later became the focal point for the development of narcoalgorithms—because while a synthmorph may have no physical need to get drunk or high, the mental desire and addiction to do so still remained with the ego. So many synthmorphs and infolife have sought out means of getting off in their new technological forms. Needless to say, they have found them in all manner of digital drugs. But digital drugs, even with all their tricks and advantages, have never quite come close to the vast spectrum of experiences offered by physical, analog drugs.

The biomimetic sampler is an augmentation designed to address that issue. A chemical drug is applied to the input of the sampler, where it is vaporized by a laser and its structure analyzed. Using a software emulation of a simplified human body and mesh-based XP recordings, the sampler then synthesizes a narcoalgorithm approximating the physical and mental effects of the drug. Initially a psychiatric tool designed to aid addicts who had resleeved, it was quickly co-opted by the black market and less scrupled hypercorps.


The Biomimetic Sampler is a cyberware augmentation for characters with a cyberbrain with a cost of Expensive. If a dose of chemical, drug, or toxin (see Eclipse Phase, p.317) is fed into the sampler, that dose is destroyed and the Sampler produces a narcoalgorithm that approximates the physical experience of the drug or toxin to the user, allowing synthmorphs to enjoy the same benefits of various drugs…to a point. Narcoalgorithms created by this drug can only give the perception of the physical effect, but without working muscles and endocrine systems cannot enjoy the bonuses. Mechanically, this means the character can enjoy any boosts to purely mental attributes like COG, INT, WIL, or Lucidity, but not physical attributes REF, SOM, Durability, Perception, Speed, etc. Sampler-derived narcoalgorithms also never cause damage, which means morphs with this augmentation can mainline digital emulations of toxins without danger. All narcoalgorithms created by the Biomemtic Sampler have an Addiction Type of Mental and share the Addiction Modifier as their original drug (if no Addiction Modifier is listed, that would be zero).

The gamemaster has final say on what chemicals and chemical effects translate over; while a synthmorph could mainline a capful of exotic hydrocarbons or an alien venom, odds are the XP library is going to be a little short on those. By design all biomimetic sampler-created narcoalgorithms are one-shots, but a clever and skilled hacker can probably find a way around that—if a character does manage to hack their own biomimetic sampler for a supply of “infinite narcoalgorithms,” remember to apply the full duration, side effects, and risk of addiction as appropriate.


  1. A little typo: "nanoalgorithms" - I suppose you meant narcoalgorithms!

    This piece of hardware is actually something I thought existed already... it's kind of how I imagined narcoalgorithms of existing drugs would be created, though not as a cyberware implant. This could certainly have interesting benefits. ;)

    1. Narcoalgorithms. Fixed. Really, I just sort of wanted an excuse for synthmorphs with a drinking problem.

    2. That is indeed a pretty cool thought :D