( ⇪ Technology )
Most consumer electronics physically consist of a unique pseudo-solid non-toxic crystalline substance that can be programmed to adopt a certain shape, texture, appearance, and behavior. Because this material is so cheap to make, most forms of consumer electronics are exceedingly inexpensive. However, these devices cease to function (although any data they contain remains stored) if these devices leave the Dome-Weave.
Computing objects (mundane, magical, or psionic) that have a significant cost have that cost because they either aren’t constrained by the boundaries of the Dome-Weave or are constrained but have significantly complex programming.
If you have access to a computer terminal, a phone, or a personal AI, you have access to apps. In-general, what apps do is provide convenience without the risk involved in protecting a bunch of NPC skill specialists (DMG2 p155). Apps should not otherwise reduce the amount of time required to accomplish a task or the personal risk involved in attempting that task.
If you have a connection to the internet on your device, you can install an app, which at your GM’s discretion may or may not require…
- a use-time of anywhere from half a minute to 2+ hours of dedicated work,
- an account with The Bank,
- a one-time fee,
- a per-use fee,
- a periodic subscription fee,
- a connection to the internet (the Dome-Weave) to function,
- restrictions on compatible devices,
- an installation time that can take between a few minutes to half an hour, and/or
- complex skill checks on your part
Public terminals (computer terminals that are intended to stay in one place and stay connected the internet or to a specific network) don’t allow you to install new apps, but often come pre-loaded with their own context-specific app suite. Apps that don’t require an installation (browser-based “Software as a Service” apps) are likely to be accessible on any internet-connected public terminal anyway under most circumstances.
The knowledge skill represents remembering knowledge you already have, not acquiring new knowledge. The gather information skill better represents acquiring new knowledge, and since an app takes time to use (even with a hypertooth interface, neural interface, or cyberghost) it can’t be realistically used during combat or time-sensitive situations. Researching a topic online via your personal AI or phone takes just as much time as going out to places and finding the information yourself in-person. If a suspicious topic is involved, it should likewise carry a comparable risk to going out and investigating in-person (in that you might get the attention of the authorities or unsavory people).
The cost of a skill bonus granted to such an app should be as described in the NPC skill specialist rules, and any skill that inherently takes time or extra costs to use (like the craft skill) is still as-normal. Some apps grant a skill bonus only in specific circumstances.
Built-In Personal AI Apps
If you have a personal AI, it grants you a hands-free HUD for accomplishing certain tasks. It also has the following abilities, presented as if they were apps:
- Photographic Memory
- Grant Access to Hypertooth Interface
- Grant Access to Neural Interface (accessible to Neural Implants only)
- Grant Precognition (accessible to Neural Implants only)
- Grant Access to Cyberspace (accessible to Cyberghosts only)
- Grant Hacking (accessible to Cyberghosts only)
Hypertech Bracer and Phone Hardware Apps
- Hypertech Assist (hypertech bracers only)
- Know Direction and Location
Masterwork Tool Apps
The following skills have apps which act as masterwork tools, giving +2 bonus to the skill at any time, instantly:
- Knowledge (separate apps for each field of knowledge)
This is because it’s assumed that you’re spending downtime studying these apps as reference e-books. The cost of a masterwork tool (50 gp as a one-time fee) includes the cost of a phone, if needed. Certain other apps at GM’s discretion might be usable as masterwork tools if the personal AI or phone is connected to the hypertooth interface of appropriate hardware.
All creatures with the hyperion subtype as well as most hypertech objects have the ability to as a swift action enable/disable “autistic mode” (inspired by the same term from Ghost in the Shell™) wherein they cut off all wireless network access. However, this doesn’t cause objects powered by the Dome-Weave to lose power.
(This section is a Work-In-Progress)