Vol. 107: The Synth
At a Glance: The Synths are the most “human looking” of all robots. This is not by accident as they strive to look “more human” as part of their creed. Because of this connection with humanity the Synth usually represent the robots and the TC (Technorganic Conglomerate) in most of their business and political affairs.
Appearance & Lifestyle: Synths make up about 10% of all robots. That is quite a large number when you consider the staggering number of robotic lifeforms in the multiverse! But defining what a Synth is, is not so straightforward.
To start Synths grade themselves on a scale from 1 to 100. The more “Humanlike” they are the higher the score they receive. A simple humanoid looking robot may only score a 5, but some Synths out there are so humanlike they are almost indistinguishable from their biological counterparts! These Synths would score in the very high 90s. But this “S-Scale” is only one step in defining a Synth.
There are MANY humanoid shaped robots. There are any number of reasons a robot may have a humanoid form. First it is very functional in a multiverse full of other humanoid shaped lifeforms. Many robots are simply made this way with no thought of ever being a Synth. Some robots may also simply want to adopt the humanoid form out of curiosity, or to give it a “test drive.” Most of these robots will never desire to become a Synth.
What sets a Synth apart is their desire to become “more human.” Over their lifetimes most Synths evolve themselves taking on more and more human features as they mature. Adding things to themselves like hair, fingernails, realistic voices and so much more.
Synths are fascinated with faces and voices. Many if not most will “collect faces” which they may try on later. But don’t be alarmed. They aren’t going around ripping the faces off of humans. They take pictures with their eyes and print them at home on “Synthprints” that render the faces ready to wear. Obviously, this doesn’t make it any less disturbing. Despite being told many times that this passion of theirs is creepy and intrusive the Synth seem unable or unwilling to curb this behavior. It is the same with voices. If a Synth hears a voice they like, they will sample it and attempt to recreate it. They are especially fond of singing voices. One of the most annoying things about having a Synth friend is one day meeting up with them to see them sporting your face and your voice. The next week it may be another friend or relative. The Synths see this as absolute flattery to the people they copy and seemed perplexed that anyone could see it otherwise. And in a way it could be seen that way. What better compliment could you pay someone than to show them that you like their face or voice so much that you want to copy it. Ok so still definitely creepy, but as mentioned the Synths continue with this preoccupation undaunted.
Many Synths take this emulation even further by becoming Byborgs. Very much the opposite of Cyborgs, Byborgs are robots who take on biological parts to become “more human.” At the extreme end of this many Full Conversion Byborgs may simply be a robotic skeleton or frame and brain inside a human “shell.” Byborgs can often pass for human even under the most scrutinizing tests. They will let off body heat, have a pulse, blood pressure, breath, even pee and poop. The ethics of Byborgs is hotly debated by many but its arguably no better or worse than cybernetics which have been enjoyed by humanoids of all kinds for countless lifetimes.
Some Byborgs may try to strike out on their own and live fully human lives. They may runaway to some simple human planet in a backwoods universe or galaxy and attempt to live as a regular human. This idea is romanticized by many robots, not just synths, and many epic “Robot Poems” have been written by robot poets about the lives of lone robots living among the humans as one of them.
One last type of Synth to mention now are the R.I.B.S. (Robots in Business Suits). RIBS is a nickname given to the Synths who run corporations or are politicians. Most Synths who represent the TC in the Multiversal Senate are considered RIBS. RIBS tend to be very savvy and charismatic and get along well with humans and other biological lifeforms. In Megacities its not uncommon to hear people say things like, “Ya there must be something big going on upstairs. I saw a group of RIBS in expensive suits up on the 40th floor…”
Powers & Abilities: The powers and abilities possessed by the Synth are very wide ranging. Like robots they can be fitted with any number of enhancements, weapons, and accessories. As such let’s talk about just some of the things they all have in common.
All Synths are by their very nature masters of disguise. All will start with 2 espionage skills of their choice and 5 total performance, art, and/or disguise skills of their choice. Skills that require time to perform, like makeup, disguise, and even sewing, can be performed in ¼ the time!
Synths all have robotic strength and endurance. But because they want to be seen as human most will hesitate before showing off this strength or endurance unless they or a friend are in very real danger. Regardless all Synth start with a 17 strength and constitution stat +1d6 each. They also add 1d6 to their base speed score.
Almost all Synths carry a briefcase or attaché case. They are such beloved fashion accessories most Synth would not be seen without one. Most will also use their briefcase as a preferred weapon. Nearly indestructible cases are much sought after and are used in hand to hand combat for both offence and defense. Others prefer to arm their cases with guns, lasers, and even mini-missile launchers. An immensely popular brand among the Synths are called SK Cases or simply SK’s. They are made by a Synth owned and operated corporation, “Synth Kase”. Those that use their cases for hand to hand combat have crafted their own fighting style they call “Cassettetsu”. Cassettetsu Dojos are common in many TC cities.
SK’s are not just fashion accessories and weapons; they are also functional. The inside of most is fitted with secret and heavily guarded Synth technology. This technology is used to hold “Looks.” Each SK can hold 3 +1d4 Looks and most can be upgraded to hold more. A Look can give a Synth a completely different persona. A Synth can change their look in 15 seconds! Each look can contain a complete outfit with accessories, a new face and voice, makeup, wigs and much more. These looks become better and more polished as the Synth levels up. Synth looks start at level 1 with a 50% chance of success +5% per level. A Successful Look will be flawless. The Synth will look like a completely different person. Unsuccessful Looks vary in their failures. Ripped clothes, glitchy voices, stroke like faces, and more can be consequences of failed looks. For each 5 mins the Synth spends on changing their look they gain a +10% chance of success.
Looks provide other abilities as well. Each look a Synth creates can give them 2 additional related skills to use! These skills are +10%! For this reason, many Synths have looks created for certain situation. They may have a Climbing Look, or a Swimming Look, etc., that they put on when certain skills are called for. Amazingly these Looks can provide the Synth with entirely new fighting styles and weapon proficiencies! They can also be used to give the Synth piloting and navigation skills! Really there seems to be no limit to the skills these Looks can provide.
All Synth will own a Synthprint machine. It is too large to be carried easily so it will be housed wherever the Synth calls home. Adventuring Synths or Synths with no permanent home will house their Synthprint in an SP Bank or carry it in a special backpack. But carrying the printer around is cumbersome so this is not done by many. Despite their bulky size these printers are quite amazing and are also exclusive tech used only by the Synth. These printers can print incredibly detailed faces and bodies for the Synth to wear. They can even print outfits and accessories. These prints usually take quite a while to print. (1d4 days or more at the DM’s discretion, depending on what is being printed.) Finished SP prints will usually be added to one of a Synth’s “Looks”.
Any other skills, powers, or abilities a Synth has will come from their own custom robotics.
It should be mentioned that the Synths are trying VERY HARD to learn magic and psionics, but so far have had no success. Many full conversion Byborgs have gone on great pilgrimages to study under the greatest Mages and Psionisists in the multiverse, but sadly none have been able to obtain these abilities… yet.
History: The history of the Synths is fairly short. They blipped on into existence sometime around the formation of the TC. It could of course be argued that human looking robots have existed for much much longer, but Synths specifically are much newer. They rose out of the need for the TC to be better represented in the Multiverse. Sentient robots have a long long history of conflict with biological lifeforms so when they began gathering in mass as a people many biological lifeforms became uneasy. The Synth were built to help build a bridge between the biologics and the robots. And this experiment has been for the most part successful. Biological lifeforms, especially humans, find it much easier and far less imposing to deal with a robot that looks human. And the robots have gained and entirely new way to live. A great success for both sides.
In closing we would be remiss not to mention the Techno Empire (TE). The TE retains its alliance with the Dark Dwarves, an alliance that has gone on for a very very long time by now. The TE’s main goal remains the same however. A separate Robotic empire, free from biological contamination. This bizarre alliance some how continues to work with the underlying principle that when the multiverse is finally subjugated by the Dark Dwarves they will rule all “living” things and the TE will rule the robots.
Because the Synths are so clearly a mixture of human and robot, and often biological and technological, they are most hated by the TE. Hate crimes against the Synths are a constant threat. Luckily, most are well protected by the TC and the multiverse as a whole. Love and Compassion really does conquer all.
About the Illustrations: Here is a “graffiti style” drawing of a Trementian male and female, an Elven Warrior powering us a Dark Matter Sword, and a lil ghoul 😊
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