Monday, November 25, 2013

329: Shiftmorph

ENTRY 329: Shiftmorph

"Haven't you always wanted to be a car? And have sex with another car?"
- Laughably Bad, stand-up comedian and shiftmorph spokesperson

Transhumanity has tried to create working robots that emulate the classical transhuman form for centuries, and for centuries it failed, because of lack of knowledge of transhuman biophysics and insufficiently advanced technology. So for decades the state of the art in robotics were wheeled constructs, many-legged shamblers based on more stable spider and quadruped designs, even rollers, swimmers, and an endless assortment of flying drones. By the time transhumans did perfect humanoid robots they had a vast array of robots, thousands of designs with every means of mobility imaginable, and transhumans gladly piloted all of them remotely. Yet when the leap was finally made to resleeving into early synthmorphs, relatively few transhumans expressed any interest inhabiting a six-wheeled all-terrain low-gravity vehicle, preferring the more familiar case and synth morphs. So non-humanoid synthmorphs remain a minority.

Yet, there is a middle way - shiftmorphs, which are designed to change both their function an appearance between specific modes. The most common shiftmorph version transforms between a humanoid mode similar to a synth and a six-wheeled all-terrain vehicle mode. Each mode has its inherent advantages and disadvantages - humanoid mode has hands and can climb, all-terrain wheeled vehicle is faster, etc. Other shiftmorphs are designed with different or additional modes, such as quadrupeds (often sculpted to mimic a specific animal), arachnoids, jellybots, flight-capable drones, and even mundane equipment - very later in the conflict with the TITANS some hypercorps experiments with synthmorphs that transformed into static artillery emplacements, though relatively few were fielded in actual combat.

Shiftmorph Stats

Shiftmorphs are synthmorphs. The most common shiftmorph has two modes: a humanoid form almost identical to to a typical Synth, and a vehicular form that resembles and functions as a small, one-occupant all-terrain wheeled vehicle.
Enhancements: Access Jacks, Basic Mesh Inserts, Cortical Stack, Cyberbrain, Mnemonic Augmentation, Shiftdesign (2 mode)
Mobility System: Typically Bipedal Walker (4/16) or All-Terrain Wheeled (8/32)
Aptitude Maximum: 30
Durability: 30
Wound Threshold: 6
CP Cost: 30
Credit Cost: Expensive

Shiftdesign: This robotic enhancement allows the morph to transition to a different mode, such as humanoid, quadruped (cat), quadruped (horse), flying drone, motorcycle, etc. Each mode uses the same attributes, though mobility mode may change; players should work with the gamemaster to determine exactly what the characteristics of the new mode are, keeping in mind that the morph never gains or losses mass with the transformation - so a 60kg humanoid morph that shifts into a cat mode will still mass 60kg, and will be larger than a housecat. A character can have two different modes which are functionally identical but cosmetically different - some synthmorphs enjoy the ability to transform into something resembling a case or another shiftmorph to confuse others about their identity. This robotic enhancement is typically a design mod, but is also available as an aftermarket modification, though it requires extensive design (or redesign) of the synthmorph to transition between different modes. Each new mode requires a separate shiftdesign mod. Shiftdesign is incompatible with the Swarm Composition enhancement. Changing modes requires a Complex Action.[Expensive]