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jameson (ST)

Mutants & Masterminds - [Review] Gadget Guide: Cybertech

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Gadget Guide: Cybertech

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Vitals: Published By Green Ronin • 7(6) pages • $1.29 • full color PDF

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Gentlemen, we can rebuild him. We have the technology. We have the capability to build the world's first bionic man. Steve Austin will be that man. Better than he was before. Better, stronger, faster.

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What's in it?

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Let me be blunt: this is not a Gadget Guide. Oh, it looks like a Gadget Guide, and it is coming out amidst that run of products, but this is most surely a Power Profile. That’s not to say that this is a bad thing, just that fairly early on it states that the fact that Cybertech is generally part of the character’s body and cannot be easily removed makes those items not equipment, or even removable powers, but instead a descriptor of traditional power effects. Ergo what follows is not equipment, but Powers under a specific descriptor. Power Profile: Cybertech Powers perhaps.

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The Guide (if you want to call it that) starts out, as mentioned, by getting into Cybertech as a descriptor, and details on what constitutes cybertech, as well as options for variants on the theme. After that it gets into Cyberlimbs and details some common Features that can be found in cyberlimbs of various sizes, from hands to a complete leg. This accounts for roughly a page, and as with most discussion of Features it is always nice to see about what a point can buy you.

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After Cyberlimbs we get into Bodyware. Bodyware covers everything in the torso of the cyborg, from armor and organ upgrades, to various enhancements. Among all of this is an interesting form of Summon called Semi-Autonomous Weapon. I don’t think I have encountered this specific concept before, but the idea is that implanted into the character is a weapon system that can function on its own. This could be a small weapon turret, an additional limb, or even a concealed mode of attack that activates on its own (much like a Reaction effect). I think this is an interesting play on the Summon effect and could easily be used for both hidden weapons (as in this instance), or in more obvious systems (think Warmachine’s shoulder gun).

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The next section discusses Headware including cyber- eyes, ears, hair (yes, hair!), and various brain upgrades or interface systems. Skill Software seems like it could (depending on the genre and style of a game) be over powered, but it does present a viable use for Variable to allow a character to download skills as needed.

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The final section discusses Cybertech Complications and includes a sidebar called Tech Support dealing with damage to Cybertech systems during the game. There are seven complications ranging from stalwarts like Power Loss or Weakness, to theme specific complications like Cortex Bombs and Cyberpsychosis. The latter two would be especially useful in re-creating the cyberpunk genre, but might not fit in theme with most Supers games.

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All of this sounds pretty good, and Gadget Guide: Cybertech is pretty good. It puts some new twists on Cybertech, covers all the standard bases well, and delivers a thematically rich product. So where's the poop? Well, this isn't the first time that we've seen "limited to one arm" as a full flaw on a power, but if anywhere I would have expected to see what that really means it would be here. If you have higher strength in one arm does that one arm have the ability to lift to that full amount? If so where is the downside limit, and what value is having the same strength on both arms?

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Closing Thoughts

Gadget Guide: Cybertech is good. It's really quite good, and for groups looking to recreate games in the cyberpunk genre it probably steps up from good to great. It's not without a couple of minor flaws, but those flaws hardly exist in a vacuum that fails to make up for them. In general I would say that if you want to play a cyberpunk type game, or plan to play a bionic hero this is well worth the price of admission.

Rating: 90% - A fairly solid Power Profile … err, Gadget Guide. Stronger still for use in cyberpunk genres.

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Thanks! Always interested in cybertech, since that figures so heavily in so many of my concepts. :)

I feel like 'one arm only' should really be more of a complication than a Flaw...I guess if you were very explicit in what you couldn't do as a result of it being limited that way, maybe...

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