Malware

Science fiction is riddled with cybernetic implants that prove detrimental to the recipient. Cortex bombs and Compliance stems are used to exert control over persons often forcing them to act against their will. ID chips can be used to secretly track the movements of persons by both mega corporations and governments alike. Although use of these devices is usually restricted or illegal this doesn’t prevent them from being used by criminal networks, immoral corporations, or despotic governments. Except for function, limiting cybernetic malware are the same as cybernetic augmentations, and follow the same rules regarding implantation, acquisition, and maximum number of augmentation slots and total implants.

Cortex Bomb

Model Level Price
Grenade Varies Varies

You have an explosive charge surgically implanted in your brain. This cybernetic malware is often used to ensure a subject’s loyalty, a method of self-destruction to avoid capture, or a “suicide bomb” by those wishing martyrdom. Cortex Bombs damage, level, and price is determined by the type of grenade used for the explosive charge. Adding the cyberware trigger and implanting the malware costs an addition 1000 credits. Example: using the explosive charge from a frag grenade V would be considered 14th level, have a price of 19,750 credits, and does 10d6 P damage in a 15’ radius.

If the cortex bomb is triggered, the recipient gets no saving throw and the detonation is considered a Coup de Grace. If the recipient survives the damage they must make a Fortitude saving throw (DC = 10 + level of the grenade) or die. Others trapped within the blast radius get a saving throw based on the type of grenade used.

Types of triggers built into a cortex bomb are only as limited as the engineer’s imagination. Common triggers for controlling a subject include; attempting to disarm the cortex bomb, a remote detonator, exceeding the time limits between check-ins with a controller, moving out of the range of a controller, or going against a directive set by a controller. The controller can be a device or person. When a cortex bomb is used in martyr mode it’s considered a swift action for the recipient to activate the bomb. A recipient using a cortex bomb to self-destruct often includes a delay from time of death allowing the potential of a medic to revive the recipient. Other self-destruct cortex bombs rely on proximity sensors so the malware detonates only in the presence of one or more bystanders.

Disarming a cortex bomb requires a successful Medicine skill check (DC = 15 + level of the grenade) followed by a successful Engineering skill check (DC 20 + level of the grenade). Failure of either roll results in the premature detonation of the cybernetic malware.

Compliance Stem

Model Level Price
Standard 5 4,250
Advanced 10 20,250
Superior 15 98,250

Although this cybernetic malware allows you to maintain free will acting against your controller’s directive results in debilitating pain and mental anguish. Compliance stems have both legal and illegal applications. Legal applications include controlling criminals rather than sending them to prison and as insurance policies on high risk loans. More nefarious uses include controlling slave populations, or coercing the recipient to perform a task they wouldn’t normally agree to.

You can act normally while following your controller’s directives. If you try to intentionally harm the controller or defy your controller’s instructions, you must make a Will saving throw (DC 15) or gain the stunned condition for 1d6 rounds. If you make the saving throw you gain the staggered condition for 1d6 rounds. When the stunned or staggered condition ends, you may act normally if you obey your controller. If you continue to defy your controller you must make a new saving throw and repeat the penalties. The advanced compliance stem requires a DC 20 Will save to avoid the stunned condition and the superior compliance stem increases the Will saving throw to DC 25.

All compliance stems are locked with a physical biometric key linked to the controller’s DNA. The controller can remove any compliance stem linked to their key from the spine of any subject as a standard action. Removing a compliance stem without a key requires a successful Engineering skill check (DC = 20 + item level) followed by a successful Medicine skill check (DC 15 + item level). Failure on either roll results in the subject gaining the stunned condition until the compliance stem is repaired or properly removed.

Repressor Stem

Model Level Price
Standard 3 895
Advanced 8 11,895
Superior 13 51,895

Cybernetic augmentation is not accepted everywhere. There are even places where augmentation is illegal. The repressor stem originated as a tool to threaten or punish cyborgs for their augmentations. Repressor stems nullify your perceived threat to society.

A repressor stem can be placed on your spine as part of a grapple combat maneuver or standard action if you are willing to allow it. Once the gimp stem detects nerve impulses it harpoons hundreds of nanofilaments into your spine. You are entitled to a Fortitude saving throw (DC 10 + item level) or have all your cybernetic augmentation shut down and become non-functional. In addition, you take a permanent -2 penalty to Strength and Dexterity while the repressor stem is in place.

The penalty to Strength and Dexterity increase to -4 with the advanced repressor stem and -6 with the superior repression stem. Otherwise both the advanced and superior repressor stems function exactly like the standard.

There are three methods for removing a repressor stem. First every repressor stem comes with an encrypted paired key. Simply swiping the key across the surface of the repressor stem as a move action causes it to withdraw its nanofilaments and fall to the ground. Second, a Computers skill check can be used disable the repressor stem (DC = 10 + item level). When a repressor stem is disabled it withdraws its nanofibers from the spine and falls to the ground. Third, a skilled surgeon can remove an active repressor stem with a successful Medicine skill check (DC 20 + item level). Because the nanofilaments are interlaced with the spinal cord this is a difficult surgery and failing the skill check by more than 5 removes the repressor stem but makes the Strength and Dexterity damage permanent. Failing the roll by less than 5 simply means the attempt to remove the repressor stem failed.

Tracer Chip

Model Level Price
Standard 1 250

The tracer chip is simply a high-tech tracking device. Anywhere the recipient goes the tracer chip is constantly attempting to connect to any open communications frequencies to report the recipient’s location. It is not uncommon for space stations, starships, and core worlds to have dedicated tracer networks.

Despite being defined as malware the tracer chip has many legitimate uses. Many non-violent criminals and parolees who are sentenced to house arrest or on a travel ban have been implanted with the tracer chip. Its not uncommon for parent to secretly get their kids “chipped” during other standard childhood medical procedures. If a character buys something on some form of credit it may be a requirement of the seller for them to get “chipped”.

The tracer chip is small enough to be considered a nanoaugmentor, however, it’s only a single chip and not a colony of self-replicating nanobots.


Gravity Age: Cybernetics Emporium from Stroh Hammer
Archetypes Cyborg Cyber Incarnate
Cybernetics Cybernetic Augmentations Avatars Malware
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