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Message no. 1
From: shadowrn@*********.com (Allen Smith)
Subject: Take II: Willpower Boost Bioware/Cyberwear
Date: Sat Jun 2 09:25:01 2001
This is a hopefully-improved version of the Willpower Boost
bioware/cyberwear I posted earlier. As before, comments are



Willpower Boost:

This is a set of cyberware and/or bioware that is capable of enhancing
Willpower. [Thanks to Hahns Shin and Eric Wiser for their comments on

Willpower Boost Bioware:
This is neural (cultured-only) bioware, originally developed
by Cross. It primarily involves tissue into the limbic system
(especially the amygdala, nucleus accumbens, and cingulate
gyrus) and basal ganglia, and into the juncture between the
caudate nucleus (generally considered part of the basal
ganglia) and the dorsolateral prefrontal and lateral
orbitofrontal (orbitolateral) portions of the frontal
lobes. Of the tissue implanted into the limbic system and
basal ganglia, most is serotinergic in its normal production;
other portions respond to corticosteroids by releasing
cannabinoids and GABA-A-receptor agonists. The second
amplifies stimulatory (mostly glutamate and dopamine) and
inhibitory (mostly serotonin and GABA) signals. (These neurons
are treated to reduce the normal feedback effect of
neurotransmitters reducing their own output.) The end result
of all of this is a greater degree of emotional stability
(from the limbic system manipulation) and of rational control
over the emotions (from the boosting of the frontal lobe
influence over the limbic system) - including _increasing_
emotions. While it might seem that the first (emotional
stability) would always result in someone lacking in
sufficient emotions for proper function (which can happen if
something goes wrong - see the Stress effects below), a lack
of worry about going out of control can actually _help_ in
emotional expression.

Preventative and/or repair work on emotion/reason-critical
areas damaged (or potentially damageable) by stress hormones
and oxygen deprivation (including that damage related to
glutamate overload), via implanting neural precursors modified
to resist such damage, is also part of this bioware. [This
surgery can result in not only a Rugged Implant but Rugged
Attribute: Willpower.] Any other underlying neuropsychological
problems are also treated as necessary, including via further
cell implants and/or gene therapy.

The increased self-control (including ability to concentrate
and to control one's reactions to others) can enable
recipients to gain Intelligence and/or Charisma. Accordingly,
GMs should not require the normal training time or costs (in
SRComp) for gaining Intelligence or Charisma, up to a number
of increases equal to the Willpower the implant
bestows. However, Karma cost is as normal, and there will be
some time (equal to normal training time) involved - it's
simply that the "training" can happen while doing other

As mentioned above, Stress to this implant tends to result in
a lack of emotionality. Other symptoms include those of a
schizoid/schizotypal personality disorder, due to overmuch
dopamine going to the limbic system (a phenomenon involved in
schizophrenia). There are also some odd interactions with
astral perception, which have lead some researchers to
investigate whether Madness-inspired Awakened (MitS pg 27) may
be, in at least some cases, schizophrenic in
origin. Unfortunately, the hazards of such research have
prevented any firm conclusions as of yet.
Light Stress:
The subject is lost in thought at times.
Moderate Stress:
A. If the subject does not have Astral
Perception, the subject receives a +1 TN to
uses of Charisma and Charisma-linked skills.
B. If the subject does have Astral Perception,
the subject receives a +2 TN to uses of
Charisma and Charisma-linked skills,
_except_ when dealing with the Awakened,
spirits, dual beings, or Magical
Serious Stress:
The subject receives a +2 TN to Perception
rolls. This does _not_ include such rolls
while Astrally Perceiving or Astrally
Projecting, but the subject can suffer a
different problem in such cases - getting
"Lost in the Details". As the name implies,
this is similar to the Cybermancy problem of
the same name (M&M pg 58). However, it is not
as bad; repeat the Willpower test to break out
of it once per Initiative Pass on which the
subject would have an action, or once per
minute in less stressful (non-combat)
situations. Moreover, the difficulty of
breaking loose decreases at a rate of 1 per
test instead of increasing.
Deadly Stress:
The implant fails to give any Willpower

Similarly to a Cerebral Booster, up to 2 levels of this
implant may be taken, each giving a +1 to
Willpower. However, this implant is most successful (i.e.,
is capable of having its full effects of raising Willpower
by a +2, or above the Racial Modified Limit) when combined
with either psychotherapy or meditative practices to assist
in the adaptation to and structuring of the new
neurons. Magicians and adepts can be assumed to be
meditating as necessary, but others will need a trained
psychotherapist [Psychology skill at least equal to the new
Willpower]. This won't cost anything extra for the
non-Awakened - the increased difficulties of surgery for
the Awakened more than compensate - but is an opportunity
for potential vulnerability should the therapist be
"persuaded" to talk. [It's also a roleplaying opportunity.]
No extra time is required; it is assumed to be done during
the recovery period. (Such therapy is actually advised for
all recipients, but Shadowrunners aren't that likely to do
it unless absolutely necessary...)
Bio Index: .4/level
Availability: 6/14 days
Cost: 50,000/level
Street Index: 2
Legality: Legal

Tailored Implanted Memory Stimulator (T-IMS):
This implant, originally developed by Yamatetsu, is a modified
version of the IMS used in cybermancy subjects. Instead of
stimulating all memories at approximately random intervals, it
responds to negative emotions such as fear and doubt by
stimulating memories of good times, past victories, and other
measures to increase confidence. The implant's Willpower Boost
is thus primarily felt in resisting interrogation, torture,
fear/intimidation (as per the Bravery Edge on SRComp pg 22),
phobias, or most (not including those inducing pleasant
emotions, for instance) mind-altering spells/powers, plus in
situations in which the person believes that they will
fail. The last is primarily up to the GM (and player), but
A. If the subject is spending (or burning) Karma for a
reroll or extra die;
B. If the subject has just made an "Oops";
C. If the subject's last Willpower roll was an "Oops";
D. When losing in Astral Combat;
E. When the Daredevil Edge (SRComp pg 29) would apply;
F. When the "Hooper-Nelson" or "Hand of God" rule (SR3
pg 248) could be (or is being) invoked.
The T-IMS also has the pleasant side effect of curing
nightmares from psychological causes, although
externally-induced ones are only resisted via the added
Willpower. (Some experiments have been done with allowing
voluntary activation of a T-IMS. As one might guess, this was
the rough equivalent of an implanted, personalized, high-level
Tripchip, and resulted in catatonia. There are rumors of some
megacorps - Aztechnology and Shiawase being the leading
nominees - and other groups implanting a remote-controlled
T-IMS as a loyalty device.)

This does have some of the same disadvantages as a normal IMS,
namely occasional flashbacks. However, the flashbacks are not
to traumatic events (and thus won't cause negative reactions),
tend to be easier to distinguish from reality due to their
more-specific timing, and do not generally cause social
problems given the charismatic effects of increased
confidence. [Whenever a T-IMS's boost makes the difference
between success and failure in something, the resulting
memories - as selected by the GM and player - should be

A non-Physical Increase Willpower spell can be used on someone
with a T-IMS, since it is not continuously active. However, the
T-IMS's boost will not be cumulative with that of the spell;
only the higher of the two bonuses should be applied. A
Physical Increase Willpower spell is cumulative with a

Some experiments have been made with using a T-IMS in
cybermancy. Using a T-IMS instead of a normal IMS results in
the cybermantic subject experiencing such a reduced range of
memory stimuli that they will experience Chronic Dissociation
Syndrome even faster than normal. Altering a normal IMS to
also activate as per a T-IMS, on top of its normal activity,
is somewhat more successful, but two problems have been
found. First, the increased rate of flashbacks is sufficient
to be a distraction - and cybermantic subjects have Perception
problems anyway! Second, the normal Increase Willpower spells
used on cybermantic subjects are not Physical, and thus are
not cumulative with a T-IMS; Physical cybermantic Increase
Willpower spells are likely to be significantly more difficult
than the already extremely difficult cybermancy spells.

This implant is available in two levels, each giving a
(limited) +1 to Willpower. Its availability is decreased (and
Street Index increased) by its relationship with cybermancy.
Essence: .3/level
Availability: 8/1 month
Cost: 70,000/level
Street Index: 3
Legality: Legal

Implanted Moodchip/Personafix Chip I/II:
These pieces of cyberwear are, as the name implies, a
derivative of BTL technology. (Using these along with normal
Moodchip/Personafix BTLs will cause a serious emotional
conflict [Stress to the Willpower attribute plus other
(roleplayed) problems], and is likely to burn out the implant
at the very minimum.) The artificial personality state induced
by either version is not helpful to doing magic, although it
_will_ help with resisting hostile magic. (The latter effect
seems to be due not so much to the normal Willpower-enhancing
effects of the implant as it does making the person's mind not
work in quite the same way anymore (similar to Object
Resistance).) Mages thus almost never use either version of
this for increasing Willpower. On the other hand, either
version is quite effective - it increases Willpower overall by
a +2, and also gives a +2 TN for any attempts to alter the
subject's emotional state (including via
Interrogation/Intimidation, spells, or powers); the last
unfortunately does include via beneficial psychotherapy.

The Chip I is a pretty crude version of this implant, without
many modifications from the original BTL version. The primary
such modifications are that it's programmed to shut down
during sleep, except under circumstances that activate a
T-IMS, and it has feedback mechanisms that will increase its
effective rating (via increasing input intensity) to prevent
tolerance causing withdrawal. The long-term effects of this
high-intensity input, however, qualify as highly
disadvantageous - sometimes known as a "Scorched
Brain". First, if the subject fails to resist psychotropic IC,
psychotropic (non-Moodchip/Personafix) BTLs, or Programmable
Assist Biofeedback, one Stress point is done to the subject's
Willpower and another to the Chip. Second, similarly to
Move-By-Wire, one point of Stress is done to the subject's
Willpower every two months. Third, one cannot repair
(including via magical healing) Stress to the Chip or to the
subject's Willpower (from _any_ cause) without deactivating
the Chip - which will result in withdrawal (as will the
failure of the Chip from Stress). Withdrawal causes complete
catatonia, for a _minimum_ of a number of days equal to the
weeks that the subject has been on the Chip. Only after this
period can the damage be repaired; if an attempt at repairing
the Stress fails (for either the Chip or the subject's
Willpower), another period of catatonia will result before the
next attempt can be made. For each time a Chip is reinstalled
or reactivated after it or the subject's Willpower failed,
double the period of catatonia and raise treatment TNs by a +1
due to cumulative brain damage. Note that the period of time
that the subject has been on the Chip (for purposes of
catatonia period duration) includes _all_ time the subject has
been on the Chip, including periods before prior
repairs. The results of implanting a Chip I into a cybermancy
subject are unknown.
Essence: .1
Availability: 8/14 days
Cost: 20,000
Street Index: 2
Legality: 2-Y

The Chip II combines a considerably improved version of the
Chip I with other cyberwear, the programming of which appears
to have been derived from AI research - a speculation given
increased validity by its origins with Renraku. Instead of
working through a normal chipjack (or even an implanted one),
its electrodes more directly tap into the necessary areas of
the brain, and do not cause pleasure center activation or
neurological overload like a normal BTL. Moreover, significant
sections of the portions of the brain mainly concerned with
emotion (such as much of the limbic system and basal ganglia)
are replaced with cybernetics. (The replacement of some
sections of the basal ganglia helps against the emotional
(so-called TLE-x) effects of Move-by-Wire, which are due to
interference between the basal ganglia movement sections
replaced by Move-by-Wire and the remaining sections, such as
those dealing with emotions. As a result, _if_ someone gets a
Chip II and Move-by-Wire at the same time (or replaces one or
the other at the same time), there is no Charisma minus from
"TLE-x", and the roll against "TLE-x" is at a further +2 dice
(on top of the added Willpower dice).) Like Willpower Boost
Bioware, it also allows spending Karma more freely on
Intelligence - but not Charisma - than would normally be the
case (see above). The Chip II does not suffer from the Stress
problems that the Chip I does (except for conflicts with other
Moodchips or Personafix chips), but that is not to say it is
free of problems. First, the modeling of the emotional
functions of the brain is not particularly accurate, resulting
in a -2 to Charisma, to Charisma-based skills, and to the
subject's Attribute Maximum for Charisma; however, add two
dice whenever Charisma is used to _resist_ emotional influence
(e.g., for Interrogation/Intimidation resistance). Second, the
Chip II is not compatible with Willpower Boost Bioware, since
the relevant sections of the brain have largely been replaced
already. Third, implantation of a Chip II into a cybermancy
subject would necessitate a Physical Willpower Increase spell,
as mentioned for the T-IMS.
Essence: 1.75
Availability: 10/2 months
Cost: 215,000
Street Index: 4
Legality: 3P-Q

Allen Smith easmith@********

Further Reading

If you enjoyed reading about Take II: Willpower Boost Bioware/Cyberwear, you may also be interested in:


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