In the city of Angelus in the year 2112 cyborgs and those with cybernetic implants are not as common as one might think. After the legacy of pollution and the cataclysms of the past, most people have a heightened appreciation for all things natural. This has fostered a strong green movement within the city that strives to make the massive, technological city as nature friendly as possible. As a result a most of the population wouldn’t choose to become a cyborg or to have cybernetic implants even if they had the option. The high cost of such procedures precludes most people from ever having the choice anyway.

The majority of people in Angelus are 100% natural, perhaps only one in a hundred have any sort of cybernetic “improvements” but that still means that nearly a million exist within the city. Most of the cyborg or enhanced people in the city fall into one of the following categories: members of professional mercenary units, organized crime organizations, pirates, corporate security, police forces, a few specialized industrial workers and the gladiators of the Lace & Steel games. There are also street gangsters who try to take on the role of street samurai thought usually they are forced to rely on low quality, black market modifications.

Types of Cyborgs

There are primary two types of cyborgs: partial-conversion and full-conversion. Full-conversion cyborgs are then broken down into two further categories: soft-shell and hard-shell.

A partial-conversion cyborg retains some of his original body (usually the head and torso), with everything else replaced with cybernetics.

Despite all of this augmentation, real blood still pumps through what’s left of the cyborg’s body, he still needs to eat, breath, and sleep, and he still retains all of his regular human senses. The new cyborg will also retain his natural physical features, though weight will increase drastically.

A full-conversion cyborg takes the cybergraft process one step further. With a full-conversion, the character’s entire body is discarded and replaced with a completely artificial one. This allows the full-conversion cyborg to look radically different from his original “meat” body. However, in most cases, the new body follows the same general proportions as the old, so the character won’t need to relearn his physical capabilities all over again. In addition, many cyberdocs are loath to provide a full-conversion cybergraft with a body that’s non-human in shape or appearance, fearing it will only cause psychological issues.

Since a full-conversion cyborg has an entirely mechanical body, this allows for extensive internal modifications. As the cyborg’s brain still requires oxygen, the character still needs to breath, but his lungs will be larger and more efficient, as will his heart and circulatory system. His digestive system will be tailored for maximum efficiency and will contain filters to strip out unwanted toxins (such as alcohol). Weaponry may be implanted in the cyborg’s limbs, as well as enhanced optical and audio sensors in the head. Finally, the entire body will then be covered with a layer of armor plate, followed by layers of tactile sensitive sheeting. The more advanced (or expensive) the cyborg, the more elaborate the tactile sheeting overlay. A properly made full-conversion cyborg is visually indistinguishable from a normal human.

Soft-Shell: A soft-shell full-conversion cyborg is designed to replicate the human body from the inside out with artificial components. Once complete, the only way to tell a soft-shell cyborg apart from the rest of humanity by mass or the use of sensors (infrared, MRI, etc.).

Due to the hidden nature of their cybernetics, soft-shell cyborgs are popular among police and corporate security forces, as they are able to easily interact with all levels of society. However, they are less durable then hard-shell cyborgs.

Hard-Shell: Hard-shell cyborgs replace the plastic bones, synthetic muscle, and artificial skin of a soft-shell with a steel framework, hydraulic actuators, and armored plate. Often larger and bulkier than a normal human, a hard-shell has almost unmatched levels of strength and durability. At the same time, they are significantly heavier than a normal human, often lack most human facial features, and require constant maintenance.

Although cheaper to make than a soft-shell, hard-shell cyborgs are not normally encountered in regular society. Instead they are used extensively in special forces combat units, for the exploration of hazardous environments, and in space construction.

Building A Cyborg Character

A basic template as well as a staggering number of suggested powers and improvements can be found in the Kazei 5 sourcebook.

Much this section was excerpted from the HERO System sourcebook Kazei 5, written by Micheal Surbrook.

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