Sockets are technological whatchamacallits that allow for swappable enhancements to a user’s actual body. They have to be surgically installed, which naturally means there’s a recovery time and then some time to learn how to use the new bits properly, but the benefits are definitely worthwhile for a lot of people. The initial cost is high, though. Most of the people who wear sockets actually got them through their jobs, because it’s more economical for employers to invest in each employee than to hire more.
There is (as you might expect) a kind of counter-movement against the tendency for mechanical enhancement. The Black Cross, for instance, does not permit its members to have any such “unliving parts.”
Each socket allows the wearer to use a “slug,” a self-contained enhancement system. Slugs can be interchanged without surgery, about as easily as replacing a printer’s ink cartridge. (It takes one minute, or ten rounds; reduce the time required to change slugs by two rounds for each rank of the “Quick Change” and “Quick Draw” feats.)
- Class 1 sockets hook into the nervous system to supplement existing body functions and techniques. They allow an installed slug to interact with your body as a kind of secondary brain, accepting input from senses, processing that input, and manipulating muscles accordingly. These sockets are relatively small and light, and are usually anchored to bone but not integrated into it. Class 1 slugs are expensive but commercially available, and exist in numerous varieties.
- Class 2 sockets connect to the nervous, muscular, and skeletal systems to form a significant enhancement or addition to the body’s natural capabilities. They allow an installed slug to perform as a semi-autonomous subunit of the body, often generating new sensory inputs or providing self-contained skillsets or interfaces. Class 2 sockets must be more fully integrated into the body in order to function properly, and are often built into the bone structure and directly connected to musculature and ligaments. Class 2 slugs are available primarily through military and industrial supply, and tend to be specialized by provider and intended market.
- Class 3 sockets replace biological components to provide functions that substantially exceed the capabilities of the original parts. Essentially, these sockets form attachments for cybernetic prosthetics. The advantage of the socket system in these situations is the capacity for interchangeability, while typical prosthetics are permanent replacements. The installation of a class 3 socket is a non-reversible process; most often, in fact, it is chosen as a more versatile alternative when a standard prosthesis would otherwise be fitted. Class 3 components (too complex in form and function to be called “slugs”) are virtually unavailable in the general market and must be specially constructed.
You may have as many sockets as you can fit on your body, and carry around all the spare slugs you have the strength to lift. You cannot gain the benefit of a slug if you do not have an available socket to fit it. Class 2 sockets can only fit Class 2 slugs, and so on.
The advantage of sockets and slugs over standard Devices and Powers is interchangeability. Each time you elect to buy slugs with Power Points, you get two different slugs of the same Point value for the price of one.
When characters buy sockets and slugs:
- Class 1 sockets cost 2 Power Points each; Class 1 slugs are Devices worth up to 4 Power Points.
- Class 2 sockets cost 4 Power Points each; Class 2 slugs are Devices worth up to 8 Power Points.
- Class 3 sockets cost 6 Power Points and replace a biological body part; Class 3 components are Devices with no maximum Point cost.
- If replacing both arms/legs/eyes/etc. with Class 3 sockets, the set of sockets costs 9 Power Points, and the components attached count as a single Device. If one half of the set is compromised – one prosthetic leg missing, for instance – the components still provide up to half their benefit.
Slugs are Devices and as such may buy Powers, feats, and skill ranks at a discount:
- Powers that are specific to a slug cost one point less per rank than usual. For Powers previously costing one Point per rank, in the cost becomes 2 ranks per point, then 3 ranks per point, and so on. (This is the standard Device discount.)
- Feats have the same discount: instead of 1 feat per Point, you get 2 feats per Point in a Device.
- One Power Point will buy eight skill ranks in a Device.
- The benefits of slugs are still governed by Power Level caps (see Character Creation).
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