NPCs From Hell #006
By Blackjack [Blackjack's Shadowrun Page:] [] [@BlackjackSRx]

Posted: 1999-08-02


Torturers are generated by taking violent criminals into a corporate medical lab and essentially burning out most of the parts of their brain that control emotions relating to compassion.  They are then installed with essence devouring cyberware, the result being a virtual flesh and blood robot capable of doing unspeakable things to another individual without the slightest hint of remorse.

Since individuals with negative essence also tend to be easier to control, Torturers are also installed with a number of cyberware enhancements designed to make their job "easier".  Some of them include: A tube in the palm that contains a cutting mechanism designed to slice fingers one millimeter at a time; a vast database of medical information about the central nervous system and the best ways to stimulate pain centers; lie analysis gear that registers changes in the subject's voice patterns, pupil dilation, blood pressure, etc; and electrical generators with finger tip contact points.  One thing a Torturer is incapable of is murder - in fact, they're programmed against it.  While this makes them lousy combatants, it serves as another layer of insurance that they won't kill a subject before extracting the information needed.


Essentially walking mainframes, Nodes contain a complex network of circuitry that utilizes the nervous system, brain, and installed cybernetic enhancement to create a walking, high powered computer.  The architecture of the internal network is virtually identical to that of a conventional mainframe, allowing the Node to be "configured" into a walking server, complete with nodes, intrusion countermeasures, and all the advantages of a mainframe.  When jacked into the matrix, a decker entering a Node would not be able to differentiate it from a normal system.

Deckers talk fondly of the rush of being in the matrix.  Well, Nodes are the matrix, serving as both a system and a security decker.  Thus, a Node can perform insanely complex actions at a blazing speed.  The personality of a Node tends to be a bit cold (primarily because they venture into negative essence territory), but they still retain most of their personality and don't appear as robots.  Aside from occasionally carrying an external auxiliary battery, Nodes look physically normal.

Nodes are used for a variety of purposes.  A primary use is as a shunt destination.  Shunting is when the signals to a specific server are redirected to a separate system that mimics the activities of the primary.  This allows deckers to tear the original system apart without alerting security.  Nodes also find use during prolonged corporate wars, when it may be necessary to get a system behind enemy lines to be used as a base of operations for persistent system attacks.  Finally, Nodes can be used to assassinate deckers by tricking them into entering the system, and then using the accelerated abilities of the system's IC (and the Node's decking skills) to Black the decker to death.