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  • Writer's pictureFrancois DesRochers

The Bazaar #59: OCC Overview – Cyber-Doc


INTRODUCTION

 

Cybernetic and bionic modification is a major theme for Rifts. It should be no surprise then that a character class that responds to the needs of implanting, repairing, and healing characters with this high-tech gear would be included. Whereas the Body Fixer a more generalist but more capable in terms of most medical sciences, the Cyber-Doc is the specialist and best option for most modifications. They also play to a certain mystique in the game, largely drawn from some of Kevin Long’s original artwork and the idea of the Body Chop Shop, where implants can be removed from victims and sold (or resold) anew for a quick buck.

 

Type of Characters. As one of the Adventurers and Scholars, you’re not expecting a combat powerhouse, and Cyber-Docs certainly live up to that hype. This is a professional, with medical training that could be an angel, saving lives with upgraded prostheses or responsible for making military-grade upgrades to willing recipients. On the other hand, this could be a kingpin of an evil underground network, responsible for kidnapping and killing victims whose only crime is owning a cybernetic implant or bionic that could be sold to someone else for a profit. They have a decent skill set that supports their primary purpose but can also be leveraged to treat others without bionics or cybernetics. Off-hand, one would expect to find these characters almost exclusively in metro or urban environments, but there is no reason why they can’t be the adventuring type. Perchance they have a quest to help the downtrodden with their medical skills or supporting their squad mates; maybe they are on the run from a failed Body-Chop-Shop and need to find themselves in a different neighbourhood or country. Regardless, this class can certainly get away with playing the wandering medical professional.

 

Key Characteristics of the O.C.C. As one of the Scholars and Adventurers, one would assume this class would present with a slew of skills. Compared to most Men-at-Arms, psionic or practitioners of magic, that would be the case; compared to other Scholars and Adventurers, they seem to be rather anemic in terms of skills. They certainly have what’s required to do the job, but compared to the Body Fixer, they start a little behind the curve. What they lack for in skills is made up for in some special abilities, almost exclusively related to bionics. Be it installation, assessment, or upgrades, everything is hyper-focused. This makes them indispensable for any Cyborg, Headhunter, or other heavily modified Player Character in the group. Consider them a sort of bionic/cybernetic cleric.



Relevant Books with Updates. One of the original Scholars and Adventurers, there were exceptionally few updates over the years. Those improvements that did arrive were largely for their patients, in terms of new bionics or cybernetics. A few World Books provided another spin on the same, but ultimately, the Cyber-Doc has been pretty much stable.

  • World Book 17: Warlords of Russia. Not so much an update, but another reference point and good background source for a Class in a (very, VERY) heavily modified environment; pretty much all the Warlords forces and many not directly serving them have some form of augmentation, unless it interrupts with psionics or magic, or they are dirt poor.

  • World Book 36: Soviestki (Review Forthcoming!). The Vedmak is the Cyber-Doc that has sampled his own wares, and taken up some form of partial or complete bionic reconstruction. Expands a bit on the original, and I would argue that this should be the baseline for the Class, regardless of setting.

  • Sourcebook: Black Market. Not so much a book with an update to the Class, it does provide the Player and GM some great background on the underbelly of society, and how a Cyber-Doc could go about making connections, and settings that could better employ the Cyber-Doc's Special Abilities.

 

GAME CONTEXT


How I Would Play This OCC. This is an odd Class. It wants to play like a Body Fixer, but it gives off really strong villainous NPC vibes. I’m not a fan of playing villainous characters, but could certainly see this as a Black Market operative or evil villain for an antagonist NPC. As a Player Character, I’d like to think the remainder of the party, or at least one other Player has a character that needs bionics and/or cybernetics looked after. Otherwise, a lot of the medical training would be best used as role-playing fodder, or in-game play to some benefit. The additional abilities and O.C.C. Skills supports a sort of criminal investigation kind of group, or makes the Cyber-Doc a great spotter for components that could be used to identify somebody, making an urban sleuthing kind of game a real possibility. In a film-noire kind of setting, this could make a great addition to the crew.

 

The Cyber-Doc in Context

 

  • All Human. The Cyber-Doc is definitively a support character from the get-go. By accepting this and planning your Player Character as such will allow the Player to understand and play to their expectations. They can be a valued and even integral part of the team, given their hyper-specific concentration of skills and abilities. This will largely be influenced by the remainder of the party, the setting, and how the GM presents the scenario. In a pinch, like most from the Scholars and Adventurers group, they can contribute to combat with any energy rifle or pistol they are trained with, and some level of survivability from body armor. Just don’t expect them to go tot-to-toe with any combat character from a Class they might have had a hand in creating.

  • With the Big Boss(es). Well, if you thought you were not much more than a support character with an All Human party, you definitely are in this case. There are certain instances that this could be countered with select others of the group (e.g. Cyborgs, Headhunters, those with heavy conversions), and possibly as a “lore character” on the hunt for bionics and cybernetics, or those with specific types. The special abilities are guaranteed to not be something shared with the remainder of the group. Otherwise, when push comes to shove and battle ensues, other than the Mega-Damage output of a trusty energy rifle, the Cyber-Doc is lending a hand as best they can.

  • With the Demi-Gods. In an odd way, we are further widening the dichotomy between the Cyber-Doc’s usefulness and the unique attributes they might bring. The medical skill set is likely a foregone conclusion in terms of the remainder of the group; demi-gods don’t get bionics, typically auto-regenerate, and their M.D.C. bodies have little need for the Cyber-Doc’s training. Oddly enough, the Cyber-Doc has a skill selection the others most likely do no, and that goes even more so for the Special Abilities. How much time and space the GM gives in order to rely on the Find/Recognize Quality of Cybernetics and Bionics is anyone’s guess; likely not that high a planning factor for the adventure or campaign. So yeah, we’re really helping as best we can, with limited resources by comparison. And this may be perfectly fine. The role-playing aspect may be the reason a Player takes this class. Compared to demi-gods and Cosmo-Knights, what else have you got?

 

Rifts Main Book (RMB, or Grey Book) to Rifts Ultimate Edition (RUE). Aside from a few augmentations to the O.C.C. Skills, the greatest improvement the Cyber-Doc received is several Special Abilities. As one would assume, they are almost exclusively related to bionics and the installation of mechanical augmentation. In terms of doing what the Class is expected to do, they give some great, if not very specific, bonuses. A lot of these could be employed in totally non-medical circumstances, such as Finding and Recognizing Quality of Bionics and Cybernetics. Additionally, they have the Repair and Souping Up of Bionics, with rules for repairing these advanced systems, as well as tweaking them to get more performance. Otherwise, largely the same less a couple of key “upgrades.”

 

Final Thoughts on the Cyber-Doc


The theme of human augmentation is pervasive throughout the Rifts RPG. And the Cyber-Doc is where it’s at in terms of scratching the itch of that theme. Whether they are nefarious NPCs or do-gooder adventuring doctors, the Cyber-Doc has a very specific niche role. If the GM and adventure fits that theme (likely an urban setting, or in search of cybernetics and bionics), they can provide a lengthy and compelling character to play. They are obviously never meant to be a shining star in combat, and if that’s a limitation you can both accept and play around, the Cyber-Doc may be your jam. There are those that don’t want to have to navigate those space in game play, and that’s fine as well. Rifts has a plethora of other Classes that can meet that need. The Cyber-Doc is a specialist in a field of rare specialists in Rifts Earth, which makes them rather a diamond in the rough, so to speak. How the GM and Player figure that out can be a neat, enjoyable element of the gaming experience. This is a Class that is very much what the Player puts into it.


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