Monday, July 29, 2013

210: Skinmorphs

ENTRY 210: Skinmorphs

Transhumans run on past extrapolation. For all that there are adventurous people seeking new experiences and new ways of living, the vast majority still prefer things at least recognizably descended from a bipedal plains ape. Even the majority of exhuman morphs still prefer to have something with a recognizable face, and some sort of manipulators for what’s in front of them, preferably with thumbs of some sort. In the pursuit of some balance between form and function, several enterprising amateurs around Saturn have been playing with a specialized swarmoid variant known as the skinmorph.

Cosmetically, a skimorph resembles a solid 3D-printed object of a transhuman; unlike a statue or typical synthmorph however, the skinmorph is an empty shell, generated and made mobile by thousands of swarm-bots linking up and acting in concert to mimic traditional bipedal appearance and movement. The advantage of the modified design is a degree of physical integrity alien to most swarmoids, with high-end models approaching average transhuman strength, at the cost of some of the swarmoid’s flexibility of form. While a skinmorph can collapse into a wave of bugs and scoot under doors and things and reform on the other side, they cannot fly or hop as other swarmoids, and the default setting for their form is a generic bipedal template, though this can be changed; at least one skinmorph (and former uplift) on Extropia likes to run around as a dog.

Skinmorph Stats

Macromorphs have all of the advantages of synthmorphs (Eclipse Phase, p.143).
Enhancements: 360-Degree Vision, Access Jacks, Basic Mesh Inserts, Cortical Stack, Cyberbrain, Mnemonic Augmentation, Swarm Composition*
Mobility System (Movement Rate): Walker (4/16)
Aptitude Maximum: 30 (SOM 10)
Durability: 20
Wound Threshold: 2
CP Cost: 35
Disadvantages: -20 to SOM-based skills when in zero gravity.
Credit Cost: Expensive

* Skinmorphs are a variant, sturdier version of the typical swarm composition augmentation (Eclipse Phase, p.311). The swarm is capable of tackling physical tasks like grabbing, lifting, or holding as a unit, and can carry most gear or wear armor, and may make strength-based SOM-linked skill tests. However, skinmorphs are much less flexible in the forms that they can assume, and the individual “bugs” that make up the skin are only capable of crawling. Further, damage to the swarm lessens the physical integrity of the skinmorph and its ability to manipulate physical objects; for every wound suffered, the maximum SOM aptitude is reduced by 1 until the damage is “healed” by adding more bugs.

Using Skinmorphs

Hands are awesome. Players like having them, they like their player characters to have them. Having your character able to interact with the physical world of the setting—actually pick up and carry stuff—is generally a positive thing, though it is alien to some of the more exotic morphs available in Eclipse Phase. The skinmorph then is an intermediate design, for players and gamemasters that want their PCs to be able to look cool and literally go to pieces but also enjoy the power of picking stuff up and hauling it.

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