Starfinder: Cylon Humans

Chris Van Deelen

Cylon, human AKA ‘Skinjobs’ or ‘The 12’

Racial Traits

Created to be almost indistinguishable from regular humans, the Cylon humanoids take the physical appearance and mannerisms of their hated for.  They are so similar to regular humans, only a detailed scan on a biological level will be able to detect the slight chemical differences, which are a trademark of their synthetic creation.

Ability Adjustments: +2 to Str and Con, -2 to any attribute

Hit Points: 4

Size and Type: Cylon humanoids are medium size with the human subtype.

Computer Symbiosis: The way the Cylon human’s brains are constructed, they can physically ‘jack’ into computer systems, using the palms of their hands. This gives the Cylon humans a +4 to any computer checks they are attempting, as long as they are able to physically touch a computer with their bare hands. Even gloves will prevent this from occurring.

Predestined Profession: Having been created to infiltrate human society, each Cylon humanoid has been given a profession. This is chosen at creation and the Cylon automatically gains 1 rank in it every level without having to pay for it.

Resistant: Cylon’s are slightly more resistant to the effects of poisons, disease, gaining a +2 saving through when exposed to such hazards.

Resurrection: Whenever a Cylon humanoid is killed, a new body is resurrected at the nearest Cylon base-ship or colony. Depending on the distance between the place of death and the nearest body, the newly resurrected Cylon humanoid may lose hours, weeks or even longer of their memory. This can translate into lost experience and even levels and abilities, depending on how long it has been since the last memory upload.

Self-controlled Hallucinations: Due to the nature of their programming, Cylon Humans are fully capable of creating their own controlled hallucinations. As such, when they know something is about to occur, they are able to modify what they ‘see’ in order to either offset the effects, or enhance them to be more to their liking. As such, if given time and foreknowledge of what is about to take place, they will gain a +2 against all mind-affecting effects. This does require a standard action, however.

Skill Focus: Every Cylon humanoid specializes in a specific skill, and automatically gains this feat at first level. The skill must be chosen at that time.

 

Brief History

The genesis of the Cylon Humans began during the original Cylon war. The centurions had begun experimenting with captured humans, creating cybernetic hybrids. The Cylon’s believed that if they could eventually perfect their own biological bodies, they would transcend their robotic existence and become the race their divinity had originally planned.

Originally there were only 12 Cylon models created. They were used to infiltrate many aspects of human society in order to learn from their enemy and act as sleeper agents. Due to the billions of humans through the colonies, the odds of ever running into one of the original 12 were all but non-existent.

Physiology

Although nearly identical to humans, the nervous and neural system of the Cylon human are entirely different on a fundamental level. Information is processed and transmitted differently. Those who have had a chance to study the Cylon humanoid have discovered that the brains act more like biological computers, and the individual personality, memory and such are more like computer programs.

As such, their thoughts, memories and experiences can be stored, transmitted and implanted into biological bodies, waiting to be activated. Because of this, Cylon’s are effectively immortal – they cannot be permanently destroyed, although they can lose memories and experiences if they are too far away from an uploading device. This can be bypassed though, as they can directly interface with a computer system and upload their recent memories into storage, which can then be transmitted to another computer or directly into a waiting copy.

As previously stated, Cylon Humans are all but indistinguishable from normal humans. Their DNA has been created artificially however. The Cylon’s are genetically compatible with regular humans, and as such could reproduce sexually.

Biologically, they are in fact, human, although the Cylon’s believe that they are machines. Cylon Humans are an artificially created human, but unlike regular humans, they have several advantages that set them apart from the rest of the species.

The average Cylon Human is slightly stronger and more resilient, and has a stronger immune system, which can help against toxins, although they are just as susceptible to radiation as other biological entities.

Lastly, due to the tinkering with their DNA and addition of minute changes to the epidermal layer of their hands, Cylon Humans can link directly to any computer system by simply laying their palms on it. They have to have skin-to-surface contact, though, as even thin gloves will prevent them from being able to interface with computer systems.

Although only 12 models were originally conceived and created, there is no reason that the Cylon race would not have created more types.

Psychology

Due to the very nature of the Cylon Human, despite being synthetic, all models have genuine emotions, behaviors and individual personalities. And they also react the same way humans would in any given situation – joy, fear, horror, lust, all emotions that humans experience are likewise experienced by Cylon Humans.

All Cylon Humans are capable of creating a visual and self-controlled hallucination. Doing so allows the individual to see the world around them as they wish it to appear. This has the effect of allowing a Cylon Human to calm down, and often is able to resist certain psychological effects. Also, they are fully capable of dreaming, just like regular humans, although some are able to alter their programming so they do not require sleep. As such, they are still susceptible to sleep-like effects.

Each model likewise has their unique memories and experiences. Whenever models are uploaded, they will share all these experiences with other members of their own particular model. They are able to choose what memories and experiences are downloaded when they are resurrected, which can prevent false memories or other issues which could lead to psychological issues in the future.  One aspect that must be noted though - they cannot share memories or experiences with other model types.

Due to the nature of the Cylon Humans, their personalities run the entire range. There are good and evil models, those who seek the destruction of all humans, while others want to see humans and Cylons living together in peace. They can and often fight among themselves as a result. One never knows if a ‘Skinjob’ is an ally or an enemy, waiting to attack and sabotage and create as much destruction and havoc as possible.

Game Terms

As you might have guessed, I took a great deal of creative licence when it came to writing this up as a useable race for Starfinder. This is how they should be handled.

Resurrection – the GM needs to keep careful track of the experience and memorable events that occur while a Cylon Human is played, and when they are able to access a computer system in order to upload their memories and experiences.

A Cylon human lost in deep space will send a mental ‘death’ signal, meaning that the nearest body will be woken, and the last download of memories and experiences will be uploaded to the waiting model. This also means it could take days or longer for the model to reach the destination where it could be brought into play. If the particular model is on good terms with the Cylon race, then this might not be a factor, but if the model is actively working against the wishes and goals of the race, memories and experiences could be edited or even deleted, erasing possible aberrant behaviors.

It all comes down to how the individual GM wants to handle this race. If incorporated into a regular Starfinder game, the fact that they are effectively immortal could be a real game changer, depending on how the GM integrates it into the game.

Use this race with CAUTION, unless you intend on using it as a NPC only race.

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Chris Van Deelen is the creator and contributor to over half of the Wisdom from the Wastelands series, contributor to the Swords of Kos: Hekaton anthology, and the recently released 'Swords of Kos: The Rite'. He also wrote Creatures of the Tropical Wastelands, and 100 Oddities found in a Car. As prolific as he is, Chris Van Deelen continues to write and produce material which will be in publication soon. Not only is he a prolific content creator, he also has a wide selection of fiction and stories! If you like his work, please follow his personal author page on Facebook and on Twitter to keep up with his latest news and game content.