A Synth is an artificial creature, almost always a cybernetic construct. They may be lifelike, obviously mechanical, bipedal, quadrupedal, even floating silver orbs or skulls, according to the design of the creator. Most often, synths are adjuncts to their owner, allowing them to access information or abilities that the owner does not itself, possess. Synths may be employed as soldiers or security, as computers, messengers, or diplomats. It is even possible for a synth to serve as a Player Character. Below, you will find the rules for synths in the Knights-Marshal setting.
A Hound of Scathac is one example of a Synth.
Synths and Autonomy
Synths are either fully or semi-autonomous. Fully autonomous synths are capable of independent action and cogitation. If the GM allows Synths as Players character, it is strongly recommended that they be fully autonomous.
Semi-autonomous synths generally act only within a fairly simple set of instructions, either pre-programmed, issued as commands, or a combination of the two. So a com-synth could be controlled as desired by its owner, but will act only as ordered. However, it will perform its functions without minute control. The operator could tell it to scout an area of some size, avoiding detection and conflict, and report back, and the synth will attempt to do so to the best of its ability. The operator is meanwhile free to do other things, which may or may not include monitoring the progress of its com-synth.
Fully autonomous synths are capable of self-determination. Although their needs and drives may not be human, their decision-making ability allows them to pursue their goals with ability and intent at least the equal of a human. Fully autonomous synths are therefore probably the easiest to play as a Player Character.
Synths and Hacking
A Synth, because of the complexity of its processors, has greater resistance to enemy Hacking than a normal ‘com’ or other device. Synth gain a Dice Bonus equal to their Mind when defending against Hacking attempts.
Because of their natures, fully autonomous synths often make the best Hackers. Synth equipped with a Hacking Package gain a Dice Bonus equal to their mind on Rolls to hack another device or synth.
Software and Hardware:
Hacking Package [Rare] - this upgrade may be equipped to any com, scanner, or synth, allowing it to be used offensively to Hack other systems. This is done by comparing the Mind of the attacking operator or synth, adding an appropriate career [theirs or one to which they have access, ex: one loaded onto a com] and comparing it to the Mind of the system under attack. If the hack is a success, the hacker can insert a single command for each 10 by which the roll was successful. Commands are finite statements [go here; do this; compute this;etc;] not open-ended ones [‘Obey all my future commands’, for example]. It is possible to hack again and again, if the opportunity permits, inserting new commands each time. However, each time the Hack is failed, the target number for success rises by 10.
Synths, as noted above, are especially resistant to being hacked, and adept at hacking. Hacking Package cost: 1 Mc x MInd of the Com or Synth in which it is installed.
Link Device – [Uncommon] a remote access device linked to one or more coms or synths. It can be in the form of a headset, heads-up display, a forearm device or whatever else is reasonable. It can be linked to any device or synth owned or operated by the one in possession of the Link Device, and allows the operator to access it as though the device were present. A single command may be issued, generally as a free action, once per panel to any or all linked devices or synths, whether fully or semi-autonomous.
It is also possible to use a Link Device equipped with a Hacking Package to ‘Hack’ a synth or another Link Device, wresting control of that synth or device, [See ‘Hacking’]. Cost: 1 Mc; Hacking Package not included.
Some Examples of Synths
Note: All Synths have the Advantage: Unliving [p. 11 of BASH-SF].
Armiger [Uncommon] – A semi-autonomous bipedal synth, armed and rigged for security or other simple combat operations. Though not particularly tough, Armigers have the benefit of being easy to repair and relatively inexpensive. Armigers use readily available parts, and can easily be fitted with similar components with minimal adaptation. Thus their repair costs are approximately 75% of normal. Armigers can also be operated remotely by a Link Device.
Profile – B 1, A 2, M 1, Soak 20, Move 6, Enhanced Vision +3, Weapon Programming x1 to hit, One Hard Point. Armigers may be upgraded with stronger servos and processors [B 2, M 2]. Cost: 1Mc, weapon not included. Upgraded Armiger II, 1.7Mc.
Com-synth – [Uncommon] also called a drone, Com-Synths are semi-autonomous with the primary purpose of acting as a mobile ‘Com’ [see the entry for Com, under ‘Commonwealth Equipment’]. Often humanoid in shape, Com-synths are sometimes simple metal spheres studded with sensors and equipped with gravitic propulsors. Com-synths generally are unarmed, but it is not uncommon for them to be retrofitted by their owners to suit other purposes including security. They are considered to have one Hard-Point for mounting a weapon or other add-ons. Com-synths have an internal cameral that is linked to its operator, who can see a read-out of the synths location, and view through the camera as desired. The nature of the link device is up to the purchaser.
Profile - B 1, A 3, M 3, Soak 15 Fly 2, Small [+1Dice bonus to A, -1 Dice penalty to B, Lifting capacity 75 lbs.], ‘Com’ equipped. Cost: 3 Mc; not including any career upgrades. Comes with one Link Device.
Scanner-Synth [Uncommon] – As the Com-synth above, but with a Scanner in place of the Com. Cost: 5 Mc.
Panzur [Rare] – A fully autonomous synth designed for infiltration and warfare. The basic model is quadupedal. A Panzur has 2 Hard Points [see Powered Armor], which may be equipped with weapons at the normal cost of the weapon[s].
Profile – B 3, A 3, M 2, Soak 30, Move 12, Enhanced Senses: +2 Sight, +1 Hearing, Cloaking Device 1, Career: Scout 2, Tensor Fore-Claws [x4 to hit, x6L damage], Swift Strike, Running 1, EMP resistance 1, Weapon Technique: x1 bonus to hit and damage with tensor claws.
Note: With GM permission, a Panzur could be taken as a Player Character. If so, the player may chose 1 Point from the Powers lists for Normal or Mechanical powers, and may take advantages as usual. One Advantage must be Synth: Panzur.
Cost: 8 Mc + any weapons mounted on Hard Points.
Note the Image for this post shows a Panzur, equipped with a Rotary Slug Cannon.
Destriant [Rare] – A semi-autonomous riding synth, generally quadrupedal, often an imitation of the Pembrokian Destrier, these are heavily customized, bearing heraldic caparisons, banners, or embellishments, but also often carrying weapons. A Destriant may carry one rider, as much as a single passenger and has two Hard Points for Weapons, which must be paid for separately. A Destriant may be controlled with an Agility check on the part of the rider [or an appropriate career check] as a free action.
Profile – B 5, A 3, M 2, Soak 30, Move 12, Enhanced Senses: +2 Sight, +1 Hearing, Career: Riding Synth 2, Tensor Hooves [x4 to hit, x7L damage], Swift Strike, EMP resistance 1, Running 1, Weapon Technique: x1 bonus to hit with tensor hooves.
Cost: 15 Mc, + any weapons mounted on Hard Points. It is not unheard of for Destriants to be upgraded to fully autonomous, at an additional cost of 2 Mc. Wealthy owners often lavish other upgrades on their destriants as well.