It's Abominable! 10 New Arcanowave Devices

By Brian Rogers

The Prof had told us that this building was the Bobo's new R&D center, and we had to get into of it before lord-knows-what came out of it. No sweat — Mariko and the Night Raven had ghosted in and shut down their alarms, Mitchell and Aura were blowing up stuff across the compound to distract their attention. That left “Large” Marge and I to set the charges and blow the place back to the netherworld.

Piece of cake, right?

So these three abominations come skidding around the corner. Marge lays into one with her souped up Llama Large Frame and I toss one out the fourth story window, trusting that when it did get back up here we'd be long gone. Then the third one reaches into its own stomach and pulls out this nasty piece of three-foot-long armament strapped onto its wrist.

Before Marge can move he's raining fire down on her and it doesn't look pretty. I manage to grab Marge and get her to cover, only to see that the bullets that hit her were alive and eating her flesh.

Whatever new stuff these guys were working on, I'd say they're filed at the patent office already…

Before they discovered the Secret War, the Architects of the Flesh thought they reigned supreme, unchallenged and therefore invincible. Recent defeats at the hands of other secret warriors have shown them the faults in their logic, and that even if you are a monopolistic soul-destroying tyrannical monolith, nothing sparks innovation like a little competition.

Listed below are ten new Arcanowave shticks that the architects have put together in the last few years to boost their chances in the Secret War. After all, it never hurts to stay a jump ahead of the competition!

These are divided into three groups:

Devices whose sole use is combat.
Gizmos of various sorts that you yank out of your “Hello Kitty” bag, strap onto an AI/O port and let rip.
Stuff that you foolishly had implanted into your body.

These divisions mean nothing in game, but make it easier to customize the character.


These are the weapons of terror in the Buro's 2056 shock troops, also used by Architect agents of one sort or another throughout the Secret War. Remember that all of these are fairly hideous to look at, being made of ARB, with the usual scrolling runes and crawling lines and feeling of unnatural aliveness that accompanies Arcanowave technology. No one will mistake these for regular guns.

All of this stuff has concealability and damage ratings, but the Architects designed most of it to inspire terror; concealability was never high on their list of requirements.

While each one of these is virtually unique in appearance, they share common elements. Many have hand-guards and grips that cover the wielder's whole hand and possibly wrist when worn, attaching to AI/O ports on the wielder's forearm, palm or wrist. Another popular option is snaking a cable from the otherwise normal gun to an AI/O port on the temple. This gives a lot of the weaponry the appearance of cyberware, without having to actually do the wetware implants.

ARB Armament

Damage: By weapon
Concealment: By weapon +2

Seeing that their front line troopers were having problems hitting even with the best of the 2056 ordinance, the CDCA took their usual approach to things: using the design specs for the 2056 weaponry as a base they started making guns out of ARB material, then infusing them with the spirits of captured soldiers. After all, just because they're dead doesn't mean they can stop contributing to the cause!

The result was a weapon that would help its wielder aim once it was hooked up to an AI/O port. In brief, this lets the wielder fire the ARB Armament with his Arcanowave Device skill rather than his Guns skill.

Better still, the spirit in the ARB Armament acts as a second set of eyes, yelling out warnings, offering tactical advice and giving +1 AV on any Perception checks to avoid danger.

You can designate your ARB Armament as a Signature Weapon.

There are some problems with this. First, the usual rules for Arcanowave Malfunction apply to the gun (+1 to mutation check per sequence active). Second the gun's concealability is 2 points higher than the normal version of the weapon — ARB armament tends to have a lot of unnecessary spikes and strange protrusions that make it harder to hide. Third, the weapon still needs to be reloaded, and the aforementioned spikes and protrusions add 1 to the reload time for the gun.

Finally, the spirit in the gun has been ordered to like you — he probably would rather not be there. Any roll of boxcars means that the spirit is starting to slip control, and it begins offering you bad advice. Your chance to hit remains the same, but your Perception AV drops by 1 as it starts telling you to do nonsensical things, yelling in your ear and otherwise trying to get you killed.

Functionally this shtick is very similar to the Golden Comeback shtick “Gun Eye”, in that both let you replace your Guns skill with your Arcanowave skill. I feel the differences in design, as well as the idea of being able to chat with the character as his not-entirely-trustworthy sidearm, make this shtick sufficiently interesting to merit its inclusion.

Brian Rogers

Chi Unraveller

Damage: 8
Concealment: 3

This is a short blunt gun whose three barrels are mounted one above the other, with over a centimeter separating each barrel. It is very distinctive, and people remember it once it's hit them.

The Chi Unraveller has a very short range (your Arcanowave Device in meters), but an interesting effect: It turns your target's Chi back on itself by overloading them with Arcanowave energy. The stronger their Chi, the more damage potential.

When hit, the target reduces his Toughness score by his Chi (or Fu or Magic, whichever is highest) score before resisting the attack's damage. The target's Toughness can't go below 0 for resisting damage from a Chi Unraveller.

Helix Shredder

Damage: 10*
Concealment: 3

The Helix Ripper's younger brother, this is a smaller, more portable version of that God-awful device. It is more concealable (but still not easily hidden) and manageable at 7 kg (2 kg plugged in), but its beam is much less powerful.

The Shredder does only 2/3 the base damage of the Helix Ripper, drops Mooks on an outcome of 4+, and can penetrate only 2 cm of inorganic matter before loosing coherency. This is still sufficient to ignore armor, but cover is now much more of a difficulty to your targeting. The damage caused by the beam still laughs at conventional healing.

This is the weapon of choice for people who want to have the advantages of the Helix Ripper but not the image of a Walking Tank.

Leech Rounds

Damage: By weapon type*
Concealment: By ammo type

As with other types of Arcanowave ammunition, these are loaded into a regular gun or ARB Armament and fired as normal. They have the regular damage code for the weapon in question, and if you have the Shtick you're assumed to always have more available.

These are more horrifying than conventional ammunition, however, because if they damage their target (the Weapon Damage + Outcome is more than the target's Toughness + Armor) the Leech Round instead adheres to the target's flesh and burrows in, eating its way through the target and nesting there. This hideous feasting does 3 wound points per sequence to the target for Outcome sequences, or until the Leech Round is cut out or burned. Each of these options takes 3 shots and causes 3 wounds per Leech Round removed. Note that the Leech Round does no damage other than through burrowing — the initial hit does just the 3 wounds for the first sequence of burrowing.

Leech rounds always malfunction when used by a character who has not taken them as a shtick. Add 1 to your Mutation Check difficulties per clip or revolver you fill with Leech Rounds.


This is typical Arcanowave gear — just plug it into an AI/O port and switch it on.

Environment Replicator

This is an ARB lycra harness that, like the spirit shield generator, stretches over clothing and armor. Plug it into an AI/O port it grows tendrils, shoots and other protrusions that quickly change to mimic the surrounding environment, changing color and texture to camouflage you. Nifty, huh?

The Buro designed it for reconnaissance and monster hunting in the 69 juncture, but it has proved useful elsewhere. When active, Perception checks made to find you have increased difficulty, depending on the terrain and your degree of movement.

Unmoving Careful Walk Walk / Combat
Wilds +7 +5 +3
Rural +5 +3 +1
Urban +3 +1 -

Vehicular Transmission Control Unit (VTCU)

This is a two part device — one half hooks up to a standard vehicle and the other half attaches to your AI/O Port. It takes an Arcanowave Device test to install the vehicle half of the unit, with a difficulty of 9 for a 2056 vehicle or 12 for a contemporary one.

Once the vehicular unit is attached, the vehicle will take commands from your VTCU, letting you control the thing from up to your Acranowave Device in miles away. Controlling the vehicle uses your Drive skill, with an AV penalty of −2. Using a VTCU counts as a continuous action, with the usual penalties.

You can detach your VTCU from a vehicle with the same difficulty you had attaching it, and you can attach it to any vehicle if you make the roll and have time. Each attaching and detaching takes about 15 minutes.

The body part of the VTCU comes in two types. One is a set of goggles and headband of ARB material that connects to a head-mounted AI/O port, which controls the vehicle by voice and eye movements. The other is a thick, clawed glove that mimics your hand motions for controlling the vehicle. You have your choice when you pick up the shtick, but you don't get to choose the color — they're always a sickly green with thick red veins running through them.

The vehicular part looks like a thickened black and green tortoise shell covered in arcane runes, and is virtually indestructible — assume that it can be salvaged from any standard vehicle wreck and reused with minimal repair.


The items in this section are things that you have foolishly made a permanent part of yourself. As opposed to the usual use of AI/O Ports, these are things that are always in you, and you simply activate them, taking one shot to do so. The effects of Wetware on mutation checks varies by item, but in general you only accumulate mutation points when actively using the device, not just for having it in you.

It takes a lot of effort and surgery to remove these things from your body, so they can't be casually taken away.

One of the strange aspects of the Arcanowave technology is that parts of the device must be visible on the skin, so there's no hiding the existence of your changes all the time.

Internal Containment Point

This is a storage space for Arcanowave devices constructed inside your body. It appears as a hump under your skin, usually on your back or leg, but some people prefer the pot-belly effect.

When you need it, the containment point sphincters open. Its interior is much larger than its exterior, but only when holding ARB materials. Try to put anything else in it, and it's really painful. It can be done, but it causes 1 impairment per hour, cumulative, until you take the stuff out.

The internal containment point has a concealability of 2 for the purposes of people getting suspicious, but can hold any three pieces of Arcanowave gear, one Helix Ripper or Ariel Mobility Unit, or about 6 cubic inches of normal matter (one handgun, one grenade, a few sticks of dynamite, etc.).

It takes one shot to open the internal containment point; closing it takes none. Each opening adds one to your mutation check difficulty at the end of the session.

Manipulative Tendril

You have an ARB port on your body, usually on the end of your hand, that can extend a manipulative tendril great distances for attacks and manipulation.

When you extend the tendril, make an Arcanowave Device check against a difficulty 5. The result is the range in meters you can extend the tendril, and the Dexterity of the tendril. The tendril has excellent senses of touch, smell and taste (best not to think about it), and you can add the outcome to your Perception when making checks using the tendril's senses.

You can make Martial Arts checks with the tendril anywhere within its range, and it uses your Strength score. If you have either Unnatural Weaponry or Abysmal Spines, you can add the damage bonuses from those to attacks with your manipulative tendril. Treat the tendril as an extra limb with exceptional abilities when adjudicating it, not just as a weapon.

Extending the tendril is a 0-shot action, and its use adds one mutation point per sequence to your end-of-session check difficulty.

Optical Replacement Unit

Or, a cybernetic eye. Getting one of these implanted is a scary proposition, because the whole eye is cut away and an AI/O port is placed directly on top of the optic nerve.

Once in and functioning, the Unit emits a broad band of the same Arcanowave energy that, when focused, is projected by the Helix Ripper. The optical replacement unit can read the reflections of that energy in a method similar to radar, letting you see living flesh clearly and inorganics as fuzzy shadows, the density and thickness of which you can read with practice.

This energy will penetrate through up to 6 cm of inorganics, letting you ignore soft cover penalties against living targets (never mind the advantages of seeing through the wall). Since the Unit sees by AW energy that it provides, you have no darkness penalties when it is active. Finally, Tracer Resin (see Tracer Resin projector) shows up very clearly under this energy, and you can immediately spot those who were hit by Tracer Resin within the last 24 hours unless they have magically cleaned themselves.

When you turn the Optical Replacement Unit on, you have to make an Arcanowave Device roll with a difficulty of 8. The outcome is used as your Perception score when the optical replacement unit is on, even if it is worse than your own.

Each sequence you use the unit, add 1 to your mutation check difficulty.

The unit has a battery pack, similar to that used by the Robot Limb (Feng Shui, p. 122), allowing use of the mechanical eye without adding to your mutation check. The image provided when using the battery is far from perfect — you see in grainy black and white.

Finally, it looks really repulsive, covering your eye socket, part of your cheek and forehead and extending out to your ear. It's immediately noticeable, and you can forget posing for photo shoots. Fortunately, it can be removed (1 shot to remove or put back in), and you could just wear an eye patch, but when it's out you don't have any peripheral vision, and your depth perception gets shot to hell (−1 on all ranged attacks and Perception related checks).

Unnatural Weaponry

You have wickedly hooked and razor sharp blades embedded in your arms and hands, and can extend them just by turning them on. Doing so is a 0 shot action.

While extended, the claws add +2 to your base punch damage, and +2 to your Intimidate AV.

Each sequence you use the unnatural weaponry adds one to your mutation check difficulty.