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 Roach Reconnaissance

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PostSubject: Roach Reconnaissance   Sun Aug 22, 2010 11:00 pm

I got this idea from WMS's topic on a TacNet Animal Scout. I want to make a magic-lite adept (for animal empathy power and also for character reasons) who uses a large network of cockroaches to scout for him. WMS suggested using NanoPaste trodes and TacNet software. My question is, what items are specifically required? I understand I need TacNet software, but can I "slave" the roaches's data to the character's commlink to save money on TacNets? Does each roach need a commlink or sim module? Are there other ways to supply sensory data without heavy, larger equipment that would bog down/downright crush the roaches? How easily can micro-sensors be affixed to them, and would they provide sensory channels?

Here is some info on roaches and potential sensory channels they can provide:

*Cockroaches have "compound eyes" which allow them to see simultaneously in almost all directions around its body. Each cockroach eye is made up of 2,000 individual lenses. In contrast, human eyes have only one lens. *Hairs on the legs of a cockroach provide an extra sense of touch.
*Antennae, or feelers, provide roaches with a sense of smell. Male cockroaches have special sense receptors that allow them to smell the odor produced by a female when she is looking for a mate.
*Cerci are the two little hairs on the rear end of a cockroach. They act like a motion detector. When something tries to sneak up on a cockroach, the cerci detects the slightest breeze or movement, and alerts the cockroach to run in the opposite direction. (Perhaps providing a similar benefit as Combat Sense?)

My idea is to make a bum with animal handling skills and adept powers focused on street survival (iron gut, disease resistance, etc.) and animal handling (animal empathy, improved physical ability, animal attunement metamagic after initiation). If he has to take some form of rigger ability, I would give him a Day Job as a roach exterminator (he collects them rather than killing them) along with his own van (think Dale's Dead Bug).

One problem I see with the bum angle is that high Charisma is important for an animal handler. I would obviously take negative qualities to make him socially inept. But is that, in a non-technical sense, cheating? I guess I could make him a king of bugs that would not be accepted by humans but is very charismatic with roaches.

But first I want responses concerning the technical side of things.

EDIT: More info
Regular Roaches vs. Roach Drones:
(Samples taken from Running Wild)

Cockroach
B A R S C I L W EDG ESS Init IP
0 1 3 0 1 2 0 1 0 6 5 1
Frequency: Common
Movement: 2/5
Skills: Dodge 3, Infiltration 3, Perception 2,
Powers: Gestalt Consciousness, Wall Walking
Note: –1 Reach

Roach Drone
B A R S C I L W EDG ESS Init IP
0 1 3 0 1 2 0 1 0 5.4 5 1
Movement: 2/5
Skills: Dodge 3, Infiltration 3, Perception 2
Powers: Gestalt Consciousness, Wall Walking
Cyberware: Orientation Goad, Eye Recording Unit, Cyber Ears Rating 1, Olfactory Booster 4
Notes: –1 Reach
Cost: 7,000 nuyen each or 35,000 nuyen per Group Rating as Swarm

Excerpts from Running Wild:

Gestalt Consciousness: (Required for swarms)
Type: P • Action: Auto • Range: Self • Duration: Always
Critters with a Gestalt Consciousness associate their minds with others of the same species to form social groups. Cyberpsychosis from cyber and bioware implantation has negative side effects on the group awareness of these social groups; all the critters in a specific population must have identical implants and
enhancements.

Pros and Cons of Vat Growth Integration (VGI):
Using a combination of nanosurgery for implantation and simsense technology to aid in brain development, VGI accelerates the biodrone cloning process. Similar to Warform DNA sequences, the exact schema for a set of implants must be carefully laid out before the VGI process begins. Further modification and implantation after the VGI process is terminal to the creature. Developing a VGI process is expensive both in the terms of computer and human resources and in the amount of genetic material and time wasted through failure (dead critters). A creature undergoing VGI receives a 10 percent discount on the Essence cost of all implants and suffers diminished cyberpsychoses effects due to the simsense conditioning it receives during gestation and development. The VGI process also enables the development of Swarm populations at a linear cost, despite the geometric population increases for higher-rating Swarms. The cost for a Swarm or Mischief is equal to the cost of a single critter multiplied by the Group Rating and then multiplied by the base population of the group. Standard cyberware clinics cannot perform VGI processes. Beta and delta clinics are needed for the nanotech. The base cost for developing a VGI formula for implantation is 50,000 nuyen and higher for more complex designs. Developing VGI formulas for Swarms and Mischiefs increases the cost by a factor of 10. These formulas are highly guarded corporate secrets and not generally available on the open market.

VGI must be used for implantation in Swarms and Mischiefs to avoid losing the Gestalt Consciousness power from these critters.

The Group Rating is capped by the Essence of the creature, making biodrone Swarms non-viable for extensive implantations.

SO, augmentations CAN be added to even small roaches to help with rigging, but it would be pretty expensive. Benefits for "virgin" roaches are increased swarm rating potential, cheaper integration, fertility (i.e. not sterile), and even on-the-fly integration with NanoPaste trodes and soldered (is that what they do nowadays?) micro-microphones, security tags, etc.

Another sample for your consideration: (Note: Judging from the "flavor text", one would need to buy this off of the black market as well, probably at a higher cost and requiring the Black Market Pipeline quality. I forget what the different cost modifiers are.)
Sensor Swarm VI (Swarm)
Using the olfactory booster as a chemsniffer to identify specific
compounds, the insect [It doesn't say which insect it is, but with a low level flying ability I guess it could be some sort of beetle? I would probably just make it a certain roach species myself.] Sensor Swarm is designed for scouting
a building or large shipment for explosives, chemical warfare, and
biological agents. The Swarm is available only to accredited security
agencies, though a civilian model is being developed.
B A R S C I L W EDG ESS Init IP
R 1 1 0 1 2 2 1 0 5.5 3 1
Movement: 10/20 (flying)
Skills: Flying 2, Infiltration 3, Perception 4, Tracking 1
Powers: Gestalt Consciousness, Natural Weapon (Sting: DV 2P,
AP –2), Wall Walking
Cyberware: Olfactory Booster 4, Commlink (DR 3), Orientation Goad
Notes: As a Swarm, the Sensor Swarm VI’s Body attribute is
determined by the Group Rating. The Signal rating for the Swarm
is equal to (Group Rating + 4).
Cost: Rating x 7,500 nuyen

Another idea for roaches: Training hissing roaches (the kind I plan on using anyway) to hiss on command remotely, and having the rubbing action drop security tags, powders of usefulness (I'm sure there are some), poisons, smoke, etc. Insects cannot be trained to a very high degree, but hissing roach owners say that they are pretty smart, considering, and getting them to hiss is as easy as stroking them.
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Sex: French

PostSubject: Re: Roach Reconnaissance   Wed Sep 22, 2010 9:06 pm

I'm not one to double post, but after understanding the Matrix more, I kinda have to basically abandon the whole idea of catching and training random roaches. My original idea was, hey, grab a roach, use some powers to get it to like me, paint on some trodes and glue a couple of listening things to it, and, there ya go, another little scout for my swarm. But I have the impression that to successfully add its senses to my TacNet it needs a datajack and a micro-commlink, killing whatever Essence it may have anyway and requiring lots of money. Basically, one might as well just purchase the Roach Drone biodrone and get it over with.
Another option is to make a Mystic Adept act as a Roach Spirit Hive and still take advantage of Gestalt Consciousness and the telepathy metamagic, as well as having access to the Mother Roach Spirit.
But which is cooler? They fulfill a similar purpose and share a similar lifestyle. So I guess I'll just have to make some sort of bifurcated character sheet.
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