More Human Than Human

Beginning early in PL 6, scientists discover ways to not only replace abnormal or defective genes, but also to safely improve on otherwise healthy genes. Even more importantly, they discover ways to create retroviruses that target all of an organism’s cells, thus allowing them to change various aspects of a creature. It becomes possible to upgrade a living being.

At first, these processes only modify existing traits—increasing (or decreasing) one of the subject’s innate abilities, or sharpening his or her senses. But as the technology is perfected and scientists map and catalog the genetic structure of various other creatures, it is possible to alter a subject so that he or she has traits that humans have never possessed.

Genetic manipulation can endow a creature with any special quality. Developing the appropriate therapy is no different than any other genetic experiment (see Performing Experiments, above). Once the therapy begins, the subject must make a Fortitude saving throw (DC varies) once per day until such time as he achieves a specific number of successes linked to the genetic modification being attempted (at which point he permanently gains that special quality). Every time a save fails, the subject suffers 2 points of Constitution damage.

Type of Special QualityFort Save DCNumber of Successes
+1 to one ability score1510
Extraordinary ability (Ex)1515
Supernatural ability (Su)2025
Spell-like ability (Sp)2050

During therapy, the ability remains latent, so the patient receives no benefits from the intended manipulation. Immediately upon completing the required number of Fortitude saves, the ability activates and becomes a permanent special quality of the patient. Alternatively, there may be treatments with short-term durations. (According to most scientific authorities, these are not realistically feasible, but they can be found in many places in fiction.) A short-term treatment automatically takes effect in 1d4 minutes and lasts for 1d3 hours. At the end of that time, the character reverts to his normal state, is fatigued, and suffers 4 points of Constitution damage. A successful Fortitude saving throw (DC 15) reduces this to only 2 points of Constitution damage.

The main idea to remember is that according to our best understanding of genetics, each gene tends to affect only a single trait (or a small set of closely linked traits). At PL 6 it is only possible to modify one gene at a time. To create more drastic changes, the patient must undergo several gene therapy treatments, each one requiring a separate set of Fortitude saving throws.

At PL 7 mastery of this process is such that multiple modifications may be combined into one treatment. Have the patient make Fortitude saves as if the regimen was for a single Supernatural special quality.

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