Neuralware is class of cyberware possessors that are critical for linking cybernetics to the central nervous system.
One of the most important aspects of cybertech is invisible to the naked eye. This type of enhancement, known as neuralware, is usually in the form of tiny co-processing chips and nerve amplifiers that increase existing abilities.
The basic neural processor is a "switch-box" implanted into the lower spine, and is used to route signals from external cyberwear to the central nervous system. It is the main system for any type of neural interface, including reflex boosters, interface plugs, weapon, DataTerm and vehicle links, mini-computers and sensory augmentations. The Neural processor has a small inspection space which allows secondary co-processors to be inserted into the basic processor module. This makes upgrading a process of opening the inspection space in a sterile environment and inserting the new co-processors.
Implanting a neural processor is far easier than one would expect, thanks to the science of nanotech. The basic module is surgically affixed to the spine, where it releases a flood of nanosurgical units into the spinal column. These microscopic machines thread tiny linkages through the central nervous system, hooking nerve endings to the neural processor. This process takes some time (1D6+7 days) before the nanosurgeons have worked their way through the entire body and all the connections are hooked up to the neural processor.
These are specialized "add-ons" which can be plugged into the main neural processor at any time; the whole process takes about an hour and can be performed in any walk-in clinic. Some, like reflex boosters, allow you to improve your reactions and perceptive abilities to inhuman levels; others, like link co-processors, allow you to interface with computers, databases, vehicles and other machines. Once you have the basic neural processor, you can jack in as many options as you like.
Types of NeuralwareEdit
Reflex Boosters: These are specialized TRC co-processors that amplify and speed up signal processing. The biggest advantage to a REFLEX boost is its ability to increase a character's initiative rolls in combat. There are two types of Reflex co-processors (also known as boosterware). Note: this is the only type of boost which can be used with the Boostmaster enhancement in Solo of Fortune. You may only select one type of boosterware (and you may not combine multiples of a single type of boost).
Kerenzikov boosterware is always activated; the character is always reacting with a higher than normal reaction speed. Since Kerenzikov often boosts responses to greater than 10, it has a high humanity cost, as the user must learn to readjust his or her actions to a world that appears to be moving in slow motion. Because of this, Kerenzikov boost can be installed at two levels of augmentation (+1 or +2 to Initiative, HL is 1D6 or 2D6).
Speedware (also known as Sandevistan) kicks in only when desired, eliminating much of the need to adapt one's entire life to an inhumanly fast reaction time. The character must first subvocalize a mental command word before boost is activated, then wait one turn before the boost kicks in. He will remain boosted for five full turns (+3 to initiative rolls) before the boost cuts out. He must then subvocalize the command again, and wait 2 turns before regaining a boosted state.
Speedware's big advantages are in lower humanity costs and improved performance; because the body isn't "on" all the time, more can be drawn from it during the boost mode.
Tactile Boost: This increases any Awareness roll involving touch by +2. The boost can be turned on or off at will, taking one turn to do so.
Pain Editor: This coprocessor overrides the pain receptors of the brain, making the subject impervious to torture, deprivation or physical hardship. It doesn't mean he isn't getting hurt, just that he won't notice it until he collapses (make Endurance Skill checks, but at two levels of difficulty lower than normal).
Olfactory Boost: This increases any Awareness roll involving smell by +2. In addition, the subject adds +2 to his Shadow/Track skills (he can track by smell), and has a 50% chance of locating a scent to begin tracking with unless the target has taken particular pains to disguise its scent). The boost can be turned on or off at will, taking one turn to do so.
Links: Links are specialized co-processors that allow you to translate signals from the device you want to run into your neural code. There are five major types of link; you must have the proper link in order to run that type of device.
- Cybermodem Link: This is the basic processor that translates Net information into images. It replaces the more limited interface programs of the early 'teens, and allows the Netrunner to perceive a wider variety of environments than its predecessors.
- Vehicle Link: This allows the user to control a vehicle through direct mental control. Cybervehicles include cars, AV-4s, aircraft, rotorcraft or motorcycles which have had their normal control systems replaced by a computer. The character plugs directly into the computer using interface plugs and cables, sending commands through his own nervous system. Power servos then steer wheels, depress accelerators, and control braking. Cybervehicles are inhumanly responsive - like driving an extension of yourself. As a result, a cyberassisted vehicle will automatically give you a +2 on any driving, piloting or motorcycle driving skill you are using at the time. To modify a normal vehicle to cybervehicle stats costs an additional 40% of the base vehicle cost.
- Smartgun Link: Smartguns are modified versions of normal firearms, linked to an internal microcomputer, which in turn is jacked to a human operator. A smartgun uses a small sonic or laser projector to lock onto the target, scanning it thousands of times per second. As the gun traverses the desired target, the computer link picks up your mental fire signal (or incoming data from the targeting reticule of your cyberoptic) and triggers the gun. Smartguns are far more accurate than most other guns; using them automatically gives you a +2 to any firearms attack you are making. The cost of adapting a normal gun to smartgun configuration is twice the normal cost of the gun.
- Machine/Tech Link: This allows the user to interface with (and control) any auto-factory or heavy machine operating from a MLINK-based control system. You can also control small machines/appliances in non-factory situations.
- DataTerm Link: This co-processor allows the user to directly access and store information from a DataTerm, transferring it to a Times Square Marquee, or a LCD screen for display (in game terms, this allows the character to access information as if a DataTerm were available, even if it isn't).
Interface Plugs: These are the staple of Cyberpunk culture. Usually installed in the bones of the wrist, spine or skull, they tap into major nerve trunks and interface with the neural processor to send and receive signals. The plug itself can be used to insert information and reflex "skill chips", or as a plug in for a set of interface cables (allowing you to directly control any device you have the proper "link" with). In game terms, interface plugs allow the player to directly link to many types of machines, such as cybermodems or cybervehicles.
Interface plugs are quite common; many companies will even pay for their installation. Quite a few factory and construction workers now "stud" directly into their machines. Interface plugs are critical to people like Netrunners (who must have them to gain the speed and ability to run the Net), and Solos (who use them to operate smartguns).
Most people wear their plugs on wrists for ease of use. Occasionally, a true cybertechie will mount them at the temples (a plug head), just behind the ears (called a frankenstein) or in the back of the head (a puppethead). Some cover them with inlaid silver or gold caps, others with wristwarmers. Once again, a matter of style.