Pretender

Homo sapiens accommodo

Build Points: 50 (35 Untrained)  

There are Pretenders among us. Geniuses with the ability to become anyone they want to be. In 1963, a corporation known as the Centre isolated a young Pretender named Jarod, and exploited his genius for their research.

Then one day, their Pretender ran away....

Few know of them, and their numbers are small, less than 100 in the world. Their origins are a mystery, and they are not found in nature. Pretenders are able rapidly learn skills, allowing them to act in differing capacities from day to day. Even more importantly, they are able to empathize with individuals, and can use their abilities to predict what people will do in given situations.  What any given Pretender does with this ability varies with his personality. In the 1990s, there was a Pretender who helped the helpless and defended the weak and abused. He used his abilities to insert himself into certain situations in order to right wrongs, while at the same time another Pretender used his abilities to market himself as a top-notch assassin.

Pretenders have the following attribute modifiers and abilities.

Intelligence +3. During character creation, a Pretender can increase his Intelligence to his racial maximum. In game play, the character can continue to increase his Intelligence with no maximum rating. 

Creation Modification: During character creation, a Pretender cannot have more than 10 points in active skills, assuming a Beginner level of creation. If characters are being generated at a higher power level, consult the GM to learn the Active Skill Point limit. However, a Pretender begins with his Intelligence (x10) in Knowledge skills and can buy Knowledge skills (including Background) at a cost of one (1) Build Point per 2 skill rating. For example, Jarod (Intelligence 9) can purchase Medicine (the Biotech background skill) at a rating of 6 for 3 Build Points. Or he could buy Car B/R Background 1 and Negotiation Background 1 for one (1) Build Point. 

Empathy: A Pretenderís abilities are psychic in nature, and their ability to predict what individuals will do is based in some part on being able to empathize with the target. Pretenders receive a -1 Target Number modifier to all Social skill tests.

Hunted: All Pretenders have the Hunted flaw at a rating of 6, with no balancing value in Edges.

Skill Acquisition and Advancement: In play, a Pretender can develop Intelligence-, Charisma-, and Willpower-linked Active Skills at a rate far exceeding normal. To learn the skill at an accelerated rate, the Pretender must have the appropriate Background skill. If the character meets this requirement, he can learn the Active Skill at a cost of (rating) Karma in (rating) days (This can be reduced in the normal fashion). Active skills learned in this manner cannot exceed the rating of the background Skill. This requires nuyen equal to the skill rating x 50 (for background and research materials).

The Pretender can learn and improve other Active skills as normal, but in only half of the normal training time.  A Pretender can learn and improve Knowledge skills in 10% of the normal time required.

For example, Jarod has Medicine 9. He can learn Biotech at a rating of up to 9, in 9 days, as he practices his surgical skills on cadavers, for a total of 9 Good Karma.

Prediction:  (new Active Skill, no default, Pretenderís only) A Pretenderís ability to learn skills at a rapid rate is impressive, but it is not the only ability possessed. Even more impressive is a Pretenderís ability to be given a scenario and work out a solution, or predict what a given individual will do in the scenario.  This potent ability requires several components.

First, the Pretender must have an ample amount of information about the target, be it a person, place, and thing. For example, if the Pretender is trying to figure out the best plan of attack for an assassination, he must have very high quality details about the target location, the victim, methods of travel, etc.

If the Pretender is also attempting to figure out how an individual would approach the situation, he must have detailed information on the individualís psychology, abilities, background, etc. He must also know the Background Skill for each of the individualís Active Skills at an equal or greater rating.

Second, for the attempt to have the best chance of success, the Pretender needs to be isolated from the outside world for the duration of the simulation. The only contact he should have is with a handler, a highly skilled psychologist who knows and understands the Pretender, and is specifically trained in handling a sim-running Pretender (Active Skill Pretender Handling, Intelligence Ė linked, see below for details concerning the Handler). If the Pretender has no such handler, he risks losing himself in the simulation.

Gathering the information required about the person, place, or thing follows the typical rules for gather information, and may take some time.

The Pretender must make a Prediction skill test. The Target Number for this test is based on the complexity of the simulation (normal TNs, 4 being Average). The Target Number is modified as follows. Running one of these simulations typically takes a numbers of days equal to the final Target Number, and requires a number of successes equal to the base (complexity) Target Number. If the success threshold is not met in the first test, the simulation can be kept running, and the test rolled every day until enough successes are accumulated.

If the Prediction test is successful, then anyone enacting the Pretenderís plan, with the knowledge he provides, gains a task pool equal to the successes generated by the Pretender on the Prediction test. This task pool can be used for almost any test involving the simulated scenario, barring actual combat-involved tests, such as attacking (the chaos of actual combat is too difficult for even the Pretender to completely map out).

Note that when attempting to predict an individual, additional tests are required. 

 

PRETENDER PREDICTION MODIFIERS

Information Quality

Modifier

Non-Existent

NA

Poor

+6

Average

+4

Good

+0

Superb

-2

Superior

-4

Absolute

-6

 

When a Pretender is attempting to predict what an individual will do in a given situation, he must first make the test as above, for the locale. Then he must make a second test to determine the individualís most likely course of action.  The base Target Number for this test is the individualís Intelligence + (Karma Pool/5), plus the Prediction Modifiers listed above, plus any modifiers assigned by the GM (for example, a professional soldier might net a -1, while an amateur assassin might add a +2). The threshold for predicting an individualís actions is equal to half the baser Target Number. A successful test provides a task pool, similar to the one described above, and that can be used in tests with the predicted individual (in some cases, this provides two task pools, the base one and the individual Ė specific one). Against the individual, the task pool can augment some combat rolls, particularly melee rolls, assuming the Pretender knows the targetís fighting style.

The task pools provided by this ability cannot exceed the Pretenderís Prediction skill. The task pools provided by these simulations are available only in the simulation-style event. Should a Pretender that has predicted an opponentís reactions encounter the opponent in a situation not like the simulation, the task pool does not apply.

Handler: When a Pretender is running through a simulation, he should have a Handler with him to help ground him to reality and push him along. The Handler must roll a Psychology (Pretender Handling) test. The Target Number for this test is equal to half the Target Number the Pretender is aiming for on his Prediction test (if running a sim involving both a place and a person, use the higher Target Number), and the threshold is equal to half the number of days that the Pretender has been running the simulation. If the test takes longer than normal, the Handler must roll every time the Pretender has to make his additional tests. If the test fails, the Pretender becomes lost in the simulation.

A Pretender that becomes lost in a simulation has two options for recovery. The Handler can attempt to draw him out. This requires additional tests from the Handler. The new Target Number is equal to the simulation base Target Number and requires a number of hours equal to the simulation Target Number, and a number of successes equal to half of the days that the Pretender has spent in the simulation. The test can be attempted as often as necessary.

The Pretender can also attempt to pull himself out of the simulation. This requires a Willpower test against a Target Number equal to the simulation Target Number, and a number of successes equal to half of the days that the Pretender has been in the simulation. The test can be attempted as often as necessary. If the Pretender has no Handler, his Willpower Target Number is increased by +2.

A Pretender who has been lost to a simulation, but then pulled out, will develop an appropriate mental flaw. A Pretender who has been lost to a simulation and not pulled out is generally committed or killed.

Untrained Pretenders: Much of the above assumes that the Pretender has been trained in his abilities; he knows that he can learn skills rapidly, and the Center (or other organization) has used him to develop scenarios. However, it is possible for an untrained Pretender to exist. Pretenders do not occur naturally, but they all share certain genetic markers that, when properly manipulated, activate their latent psychic abilities. Untrained Pretenders follow slightly different rules during character creation and in game play.

The character must have an Intelligence of 6 after all modifiers are applied. It takes him twice as long to learn Active Skills that are tied to his Background Skills. Once he learns of his Prediction ability, it takes him twice as much Good Karma to improve it as normal. However, an untrained Pretender has a Build Point cost of 35 instead of 50.

Pretenders and Technological Enhancement: Pretenders can get cyberware and bioware in the same manner as other characters, but Headware has three times the normal Essence cost. The reason for this is unknown. Similar bioware has twice the normal Bio-Index.

Prediction: An Example

Jarod has a Prediction skill of 7. He is going to try and run a simulation to break into the Cavilard Research Facility. The base Target Number of this test is 6 (above average, the CRF is well Ė secured). He has access to superb information about the facility, reducing the Target Number to 4. He will need at least 4 successes. Rolling his Prediction skill, he scores a 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 6, for a total of 4 successes.

In addition to the sim for penetrating the facility, Jarod must also attempt to predict what the Security Director will do. The base Target Number for this test is Intelligence + Karma Pool (5 + 4) 9, but Jarod has very complete (Superior) files on the Director, reducing the Target Number to 5. In addition, the GM rules that the Director is a predictable individual, and reduces the Target Number by another point, for a total TN of 4, with a threshold of 4. Jarod scores a 1, 2, 3, 3, 5, 5, and 6 on his Prediction test, for only three successes. He keeps the sim running for another day, and rolls again, and scores 1, 2, 4, 4, 4, 4, and 6, for an additional five successes.  His total successes in predicting the Director are 8, but his skill limits this to a task pool of 7 when dealing with the Director.

During the sim, Jarod has a Handler with a skill of 6. The Handler rolls 6 dice against Target Number 4 and scores 3, 4, 5, 6, 6, and 6, more than enough to keep the Pretender grounded to reality. The sim takes five days to run, and the team penetrating the CRF will have a 4-point task pool to augment their rolls, and 7 points versus the Director.

 

 

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