Biotics


Biotics

The term biotics refers to powers that are accessed and augmented by using bio-amps, or users thereof. The effects are produced through biological manipulation of dark energy. The various effects range from the ability to raise kinetic barriers, to creating small gravitational vortexes, to raising enemies helplessly into the air.

Biotic abilities arise from a creature with small pockets of element zero throughout their nervous system. The natural electrical nervous impulses create mass effect fields from these pockets, creating the effects seen as biotic abilities.

Exposure to element zero in the womb can sometimes lead to biotic abilities arising (such as in the case of the first human biotics), but often leads to conditions such as cancer. Biotic abilities are of varying rarity in many species. Some, like the asari, are naturally biotic, while others, like humanity, were exposed through artificial means.

Bio-amps are artificial devices used to increase the probability of biotic abilities surfacing in an individual.

Human Biotic Users
Human Biotics are those who were exposed to element zero (eezo) in utero and, beating the odds, developed eezo nodules throughout their nervous system. About one in one hundred exposures (in humans) will result in a person with moderate, stable biotic abilities that are worth training. Only asari are natural biotics and do not require eezo exposure, though not all choose to develop their abilities. Each biotic is first trained and then wired for an implant – usually at puberty – to use their talents to any useful degree. Basically a biotic has to develop conscious control of their nervous system, which is a long slow process. Once trained, a biotic can generate and control dark energy to move objects, generate protective barriers or restrain enemies. This is done using a technique called ‘physical mnemonics’; the biotic uses a physical gesture to cause the right neurons and eezo nodules to fire and create the desired effect. The Alliance first trained human biotics via the BAaT program at Jump Zero in 2160, quietly hiring turian mercenaries as teachers, but after an instructor died, BAaT was shut down. The Alliance military eventually set up other training programs to handle biotics, but the records pertaining to BAaT remain classified.

Most modern human biotics use the Alliance’s L3 implant, which is safe to use but not particularly powerful. However, some older biotics are stuck with L2 implants, which can allow for much greater power but at a cost. L2 implants are notorious for causing medical complications such as insanity, mental impairment, or extreme physical pain. It is possible to ‘upgrade’ from an L2 to an L3 implant, but the procedure is dangerous and unethical. Many L2s are angry at the way the Alliance has (in their view) abandoned them and want reparations for their suffering.

Human biotics can face prejudice from those who are religiously or philosophically opposed to their physiological modifications. This is mostly due to ignorance: some people (wrongly) believe that biotics can read and control people’s minds. While human biotics get some involvement from the Parliamentary Subcommittee for Transhuman Studies, they don’t have much political representation. Some unstable biotics see themselves as ‘the future of humanity’ and have turned their back on the galactic community to become terrorists. However, the Alliance military welcomes biotics with open arms and offers huge recruitment incentives. Because of the massive physical efforts involved in biologically generating dark energy, biotic soldiers have a larger daily calorie ration and are given energy drinks to keep their blood sugar and electrolytes up. The electrical fields in their bodies mean they are also prone to small static discharges when they touch metal.

Human Biotics are classed according to their strength and implantation:

  • L1. These biotics can manipulate small objects but aren’t strong enough to be offensively viable.
  • L2. The L2 implants were first implemented in 2167. The results vary wildly – some L2s are hardly stronger than an L1, others are strong but unstable, while a few are powerful and stable, but suffer discomfort from their implants. L2s are all around the same age.
  • L3. In 2170, the L3 implant was developed. L3 biotics are consistently stable with moderate ability; while not as strong as an L2, L3s are safe from dangerous side effects. Because of the implementation date, all L3s are 25 or younger.
  • L3-R. Short for ‘L3-retrofit’, this is an L1 or L2 who has undergone extremely dangerous surgery to replace their implant with a newer model.
  • L3-X. Implants installed in an unsuitable candidate.

Biotics of Other Species
Alien biotics vary in status:

  • Almost all asari are biotic to some degree. Their physiology, which enables them to unite their nervous system with a member of a different species, gives them a level of natural control over their abilities that humans have to struggle for over years of training. Biotic ability is mandatory for asari who want to go into military service.
  • Salarian biotics are unusual and highly prized. The salarian military does not risk them in the front lines but uses them in the intelligence services.
  • In turians, biotic ability is also unusual. They are viewed with some suspicion by the general infantry and tend to be deployed in specialist groups called ‘Cabals’ for key missions.
  • The few krogan biotics tend to be extremely powerful and often train to become krogan battlemasters.
  • Quarian biotics are very rare. This is likely due to their life aboard the Flotilla. Element zero is such a rare resource that it is probably too precious to be ‘spent’ on encouraging biotic potential in quarians, and because the quarians live aboard ships, any engine accident severe enough to release dust-form element zero would also be fatal to the crew.

New Background Edge
Arcane Background (Biotics)
Arcane Skill: Biotics (Vigor)
Starting Power Points: 10
Starting Powers: 2
Biotics manipulate mass effect fields using dozens of element zero nodules within their nervous system that react to electric stimuli from the brain. Amplifiers allow biotics to synchronize the nodules so they can form fields large and strong enough for practical use. Only the powers listed in the Biotics section may be selected.

Backlash: When a Biotic rolls a 1 on their Biotics die (regardless of their Wild Die), he is automatically Shaken. This can cause a wound.

BIOTIC POWERS
Barrier
Rank: Novice
Power Points: 2
Range: Self
Duration: 3 (1/round)
Trappings: An electric blue glow surrounding the biotic. Barrier creates a kinetic barrier surrounding the biotic that is effective alone or can enhance an already active shield. Success grants the biotic 4 points of Shield and a raise grants 8.

Lift
Rank: Seasoned
Power Points: 2
Range: Vigor
Duration: 3 (1/round)
Trappings: electric blue glow surrounds target and they are lifted a meter into the air. Lift is a biotic power that is used to raise a target off their feet, dramatically limiting their combat effectiveness while the power persists. The weight a biotic can lift is equal to 10 lbs times his Vigor die type, or 50 lbs times his Vigor with a raise.

All physical actions have a –2 penalty. If the character rolls a 1 on his trait die, regardless of Wild Die, he has lost control of his body and begins to tumble in three dimensions. Treat the character as Shaken, but he must make an Agility roll to recover rather than Spirit. While under the effect of Lift, the victim’s movement rate is effectively zero.

Living targets may resist with an opposed agility roll. If the roll is greater than the biotic’s skill total, the victim has managed to grab onto something. If the creature loses, however, it is lifted as usual and does not get another attempt to break free. Note if the victim is not adjacent to anything that could be used to prevent lifting they do not get the Agility roll to save themselves.

Occasionally a victim might manage to grab onto something solid to prevent itself from being lifted. The victim would have to be adjacent to an object to take advantage of this. An Agility roll is required to grab on in time. If successful, the victim may make an opposed Strength roll versus the caster’s arcane skill. If the victim is wins this contested roll, he manages to grab onto whatever was available and is not lifted.

Reave
Rank: Novice
Power Points: 1- 6
Range: 12/24/48
Duration: Instant
Trappings: a shimmering electric blue aura on the target with electric sparks Reave employs mass effect fields to biotically attack the target’s nervous or synthetic systems. The damage of Reave is 2d6.

Additional Reave Attacks: The biotic may attack up to three times by spending a like amount of Power Points. This must be decided before the power is used. The reave attacks may be spread among targets as the character chooses. Using multiple reave attacks does not incur any attack penalties.

Additional Damage: The biotic may also increase the damage to 3d6 by doubling the Power Point cost per reave attack. This may be combined with the additional reave attacks, so using 3 reave attacks of 3d6 damage costs 6 Power Points. [This is the bolt power from SWEX.]

Shockwave
Rank: Veteran
Power Points: 2
Range: Special
Duration: Instant
Trappings: a series of explosive tiny singularities extending out from the biotic. Shockwave creates a damaging
stream of micro-singularities that appear and collapse with explosive force. Place a ruler in front for the character. Along the ruler, lay small burst templates one right after the other with their edges touching. Anyone within a template must make an opposed agility roll versus the arcane skill roll of the biotic or suffer 3d6 damage.

Singularity
Rank: Veteran
Power Points: 4
Range: Vigor
Duration: 3 (1/round)
Trappings: a black humming ball surrounded by an electrical blue field. Singularity is as per the Lift power but it affects a Medium Burst Template and causes 1d6 damage to all victims per round. The power extends to a Large Burst Template and causes 2d6 damage to all victims per round on a raise.

Slam
Rank: Seasoned
Power Points: 2-6
Range: 24/48/96
Duration: Instant
Trappings: each victim is yanked a meter into the air and them slammed into the ground through violent manipulation of gravitational forces. There is a burst of blue energy in a column around each victim. This is an area effect power that can put down many opponents at once. The character first picks where he wants to center the slam, then makes the appropriate skill roll. Normal ranged attack modifiers apply.

The area of effect is a Medium Burst Template. If the roll is failed, the slam deviates as a launched projectile. Targets within the slam suffer 2d6 damage. Unlike other attacks, rises on the attack roll do not add to damage to area effect attacks.

Additional Effects: For double the Power Points, slam does 3d6 damage or the size is increased to a Large Burst Template. For triple the points, it does both. Note this leaves victims prone. [It is otherwise the blast power from SWEX.]

Stasis
Rank: Novice
Power Points: 2
Range: Vigor
Duration: 3 (1/round)
Trappings: An electric blue glow surrounding the target. Stasis causes an enemy to be temporarily locked in a mass effect field, freezing the target in place and making them unable to move or perform actions.

Throw
Rank: Seasoned
Power Points: 2
Range: Vigor
Duration: 3 (1/round)
Trappings: An electric blue glow surrounding the target. Throw is the ability to move a single object or creature (including one’s self) by manipulating mass effect fields. The weight a biotic can lift is equal to 10 lbs times his Vigor die type, or 50 lbs times his Vigor with a raise.

Lifting Creatures: Living targets may resist with an opposed agility roll. If the roll is greater than the biotic’s skill total, the victim has managed to grab onto something. If the creature loses, however, it is lifted as usual and does not get another attempt to break free.

Occasionally a victim might manage to grab onto something solid to prevent itself from being lifted. The victim would have to be adjacent to an object to take advantage of this. An Agility roll is required to grab on in time. If successful, the victim may make an opposed Strength roll versus the caster’s arcane skill. If the victim wins this contested roll, he manages to grab onto whatever was available and is not moved, bashed, or otherwise affected that round.

Dropping things: Particularly ruthless characters often use Lift to drop their foes or bash them into walls and the like. A creature affected by this power can be moved up to the biotic’s Vigor in inches per turn in any direction. Dropped creatures suffer falling damage as usual.

Victims who are bashed into walls or other solid objects suffer the biotic’s Vigor+d6 as damage. If a biotic with a d12 Vigor smashes a batarian into a wall, for example, the batarian suffers d12+d6 damage.
This power is particularly fearsome when used to yank an opponent out from cover during a firefight.

Warp
Rank: Novice
Power Points: 2
Range: Vigor
Duration: Instant
Trappings: A visible wave-like pattern extending from the biotic. Warp produces a large fan of alternating mass effect fields that damages its targets with strong, alternating gravitational forces. When used, place the thin end of the Cone Template at the character’s front. Targets within the template may make Agility rolls versus the biotic’s arcane skill roll to avoid the blaze. Those who fail suffer 2d10 damage. This counts as a Heavy Weapon.


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Biotics

The Furthest Stars Keryth987