Has a Symbiotic Relationship

In my game one or more of the previous civilizations made extensive use of organic technology. I plan on making Artifacts, Cyphers and other things based on this premise. Using TV shows like Tales from a Parallel Universe/Lexx and Farscape as well as movies like existenz and more books than I can name as inspiration, I have come up with a few things.

First up I want to run this Foci by folks--this is my first stab at a Foci so once you stop laughing any helpful input would be appreciated. ;)  

Has a Symbiotic Relationship:

You have been chosen as a host by a symbiotic creature, it enhances you in strange and unique ways. One or more of the former civilizations of the past eight worlds used organic technology to enhance themselves and the world around them. You have found one of a staggering array of symbiotic creatures and it has bonded with you. The symbiote attaches to your spine or it completely bonds with you internally and only manifests itself outwardly at certain times, i.e. armor, weapons, strange eyelike lenses that enhance you vision, etc. Your symbiote requires extra fuel and you must eat about twice what a human of your size must to survive. If you cannot gain the required intake your symbiote may become dormant until fed. At the GM’s discretion you may lose one tier ability every other day until you are able to eat the proper amount of calories.


GM Intrusion: Your symbiote has become overtaxed pushing itself too hard. For the next 10 minutes one or more of your abilities do not function. (GM’s discretion).


Pick one other PC. For reasons unknown to you your symbiote has taken a liking to that PC. Some strange aspect of the symbiote causes you to synchronize with that PC. Any action you, or the chosen person take in concert with each other, from collaborating on a skill test to fighting the same opponent gain +1 to the die roll. In addition the symbiote bio-syncs you with them in such a way that you can communicate basic concepts—though not complex ideas--between each other through body language and gestures. In essence you know might gain subtle cues such as “Let’s escape, or this guy we are dealing with makes me uneasy.” You would not however know the other persons exact plan or ideas for an escape or why the person unnerves them. (GM’s discretion as to how much information you can convey).

Minor Effect Suggestions:

Your symbiote gains a boost from some unknown reserve you gain +1 point to your pool chosen at tier one (This can be above your normal maximum) this enhancement lasts for 4 rounds or until spent.

Major Effect Suggestions:

Your symbiote synchronizes with you in perfect harmony, for the next 10 minutes you gain +1 to all rolls you make.

Tier 1:

Symbiotic Bond: You are the host to a symbiotic creature, it enhances you and you sustain it. Choose one of your stat pools and increase it by +3 (once chosen this selection is permanent and cannot be changed). Also you gain +1 Armor. Enabler

Enhanced Senses: You are trained in all perception based tasks. Enabler

Tier 2:

Bio Enhancement:  Your symbiote enhances your body or mind, you gain training in a skill based on the pool you chose at tier one. If you selected Might it must be a primarily Might based skill, if you chose Intellect it must be a mental skill, etc. If you are already trained in this skill you become specialized. Enabler.

Limited Regeneration: Your symbiote improves your ability to heal whenever you make a rest roll you roll 2d6 and take the better of the two results. Enabler.

Tier 3:

Symbiotic Weapon (Cost 4 Special): Your symbiote can create a hidden bio weapon. This weapon is not normally visible but springs to the ready at a moment’s notice. Choose one of the following (the choice is permanent). So long as the weapon is not deployed it cannot be detected or found in a search. 1) A small blade that extends from your hand, forearm or elbow. The weapon is light and does 2 points of damage but injects a poison that has a different effect based on your chosen pool. Intellect: The target increases the difficulty of its mental actions by one for 2 rounds. Might: The targets damage is reduced by 2 for 2 rounds. Speed: The targets attacks are increased in difficulty by one for 2 rounds. The effects of multiple doses of the poison on the same target do not stack, but it can be reapplied once it was worn off. A second roll is made on a hit vs. the targets DL a success means the poison takes effect. It requires 4 points from your chosen pool to coat you weapon with poison for 10 rounds. 2) As an alternative you may choose a small tube that extends from the back of your wrist that fires tiny bio darts these dart do 4 points of damage and are coated with a poison (same cost and duration as above) that causes anyone hit by them to resist or take an additional 2 points of damage per round for two rounds (does not stack as above). Poisons cost as noted but the base weapons are-- Enabler.

(Note: the player and GM may come up with other poison effects.)

Tier 4:  

Symbiotic Protection (Cost 6 Special): By spending from your chosen pool your symbiote protects you from a particular environmental effect. You choose the effect when the points are spent and it can be a different effect each time. You may only be shielded from one effect at any given time. You gain 10 points of armor verses that effect for 10 minutes. Possible effects include but are not limited to, fire, cold, acid, and radiation. (GM’s discretion as to effect types).

Tier 5:

Greater Enhanced Senses: You now negate all penalties for dim light or full darkness and negate up to two levels of difficulty caused by penalties to any of your other senses such as loud noises effecting a hearing based perception roll. In addition you become specialized in perception. Enabler.

Full Regeneration: As your harmony with you symbiote increases, so does its ability to heal you. You now regain 1 point to one of your pools every other hour (chosen pool first) until fully healed regardless of whether you rest or not. Enabler.


Tier 6:

Improved Symbiosis: You gain +3 to one of your pools, other than the one chosen at tier 1, all of your abilities are altered as follows: You gain training in a new skill from Bio Enhancement based on the new pool. If you are already trained in the skill you choose you become specialized. Your poison from the melee version of Symbiotic Weapon now is able to effect a new pool, you must declare which pool you wish the posion to effect when you activate the ability. If you chose the ranged version it now does 4 points of damage per round for 2 rounds. Enabler.

Design notes--It is really up to then player and GM to decide if the symbiote is sentient or not. If the GM want to use it an an NPC to influence the player, act as another voice or "whisper in his ear" is up to the GM. If the GM just wants the Symbiote to communicate through emotion becasue he has to much on his plate that is up to him as well. Another option is to allow telepathic communication to the connection PC via the Symbiote. In this case it would only be within line of site. Also all communication would be filtered through the Symbiote.  I would recommend all communication be passed to the GM via notes, the GM would alter the note based on the symbiote's disposition at the time and the vagaries of its, possibly alien, mind and then pass it on.

Edit 1.2


  • Looks good, I like it!  

    I like all of the abilities too.  The only things i can think of are maybe some wording changes to clarify things; some of the abilities they way they're worded could benefit from some clarification so it's clear how they're used:

    Symbiotic Weapon - on the poison here I think you're ok, but remember only PCs have pools; NPCs have health; they don't have Intellect pools.  So maybe it does damage as a poison, and has an effect related to the pool chosen at Tier 1; IE an Int pool symbiote dazes or knocks unconscious, or Speed Pool symbiote paralyzes; etc?  I'm not as familiar with poisons and they're effects on NPCs, so maybe your design works ok, but something to consider.

    Improved Symbiosis:  When you take this with another pool, then all the abilities work retroactively.  What about Bio Enhancement?  If I take this with another pool, do I get to be trained in another skill?  If I choose the same pool, do I not get to be trained in another skill?  I think I would word this as "If taking with another pool, you get training in another skill of your choice.  If you pick the same pool you chose in Tier 1, then you can pick another skill or become specialized in your chosen skill" or something like that.

    Beyond that, a contextual question: is your envisioning of the symbiote sentient?  If so, can you communicate with it?  Can others?  Or is this left up to the player?  Just curious about your vision of the creature.

    All in all a really good job!
  • Stefan, just wait, you can take a poison out of my book!
  • I wrote up a similar focus - Bonds with Symbiotic Armor - that you may be interested in examining.
  • I have seen your actually Aldarc, I came across today after I started work on mine and was looking for inspiration. I just hope mine has a different enough flavor.
  • I think it does. Mine deals with a symbiotic armor - inspired by the likes of Guyver, Bubblegum Crisis, Evangelion, Berserk, Spider-Man, etc. - while yours deals with a more generic symbiotic, a different spin on Fuses Flesh with Steel.

    I would perhaps move Limited Regeneration to the same tier as Bio Enhancement, since they are both "passives" and it would round out what is basically a free skill. (Most foci typically give training in multiple skills on a given tier.)
  • A good idea. Yeah I only gave one skill since it in more of a broad choice. A bio version of Fuses Flesh with Steel is exactly what I was going for.
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