C'mon roleplayers and medical... dudes... whatevers: chemical glands

I’m designing a character for a game of Shadowrun which will likely eventually get played, but not fore a while, so no rush. In designing my character for this game, I can install futuristic cyberware, but also bioware, which can be artificial organs, or much more often additions to those organs.

One inrcedibly cool little option is called the Chemical Gland. Not surprisingly, it manufacturs chemicals which can be exhaled, or coat anything sticking out of your body (teeth, fingernails, some cyber), or be used by the body itself. And I can get triggered versions of the gland which activate uder certain conditions.

Thing is, I’m having a hard time coming up with good ideas for chemical to run through my little 'ole body. There’s adrenaline, of course, and its related bits for extreme performance in life-or-death situations. But what might be helpful for other circumstances?

Nitric oxide? For loving, not fighting.

Can you grow an extra ball-sack in the game? Extra testicular fortitude never goes amiss.

Morphine would be a creative choice - current research has implicated an endogenous biosynthesis of opiates in human beings.

So, to recap: Two sets of brass danglers, nitric oxide on tap plus morphine when it all gets a bit too much.

The “opposite” of adrenaline; acetylcholine. It lowers the heart rate strength of the heart beat. As for uses…well…I dunno, that’s for you to figure out! I’m sure there’s something you could use it for.

How about things like dopamine and seratonin?

Real chemicals, or is sci/fi ok?. You could create a Oxygen provider/lactic acid neutralizer, and give yourself nearly permanent endurance.

It is mostly real chemicals-type-stuff, but the glands can produce damn near anything if it can be made from materials already found in the body. And we can push the envelope with stuff that could/should exist but which we can’t currently synthesize.

Busy Scissors: Ah, those are some… creative ideas. I will… uh… think about it.

bouv: Actually, that’s not a bad idea. I can build in a “hibernation” mode just in case I am seriously wounded. Since several pre-existing implants in the game can actually help with that, the combination could make it possible for me to survive just about anything.

Venom. Some kind of fast-acting neurotoxin or hemotoxin (such as rattlesnake venom) might come in handy for covert operations. Just don’t stab yourself with it.

Antivenom. Obviously comes in handy in case you do stab yourself with it.

Insulin. If your character is diabetic.

Epinephrine. Also adrenaline. Comes in handy for treating anaphylactic shock (i.e., reaction to an allergen).

Antiseptic. Great for cleaning wounds in case you get shot. If you have an antiseptic like pure alcohol, it can also be flammable.

Bioluminscent. If you had a glowing gland that could produce a dim green or blue light, it might come in handy in any adventure.

Acid. There are several biological acids which might have some use; look up hydrochloric acid (found in your stomach), formic acid (found in ants), and sulfuric acid (the reason why your eyes water from cutting onions).

Capsaicin. The active ingredient in anti-riot pepper spray. Effective as an aerosol. Think Mace. This is naturally found in pepper plants (like habaneros, jalapeños, etc).

That’s what I came in to say. Not as much for fighting, since while you could scratch with acid-laced nails, you could also scratch with poison or sedative-laced nails to greater effect, although spitting acid in someone’s face could be one hell of a distraction. But acid could manipulate non-organic material too. It used to be common (or at least not unheard-of) for thieves to pour acid through keyholes to ruin locks and open the doors. Don’t have a pen? Use nitric acid to etch a note on a window. Are those metal cell bars getting on your nerves? Dissolve them off at the base and top, then use the bar as a weapon to brain the guard.

Bases are also potentially powerful. If I were in a cell, looking to ambush my guard, I probably wouldn’t use an acid to do so. Rather, I’d take that cup of water they’ll surely give me to help with my “fever”, then slowly secrete as much potassium into the water as I could. The water will break up to dissolve the potassium until I have a strong basic solution that will pretty nearly burn the guard’s face off when I toss it at him. Much better than actually secreting all the acid you’d need.

If you’re allowing complex chemicals (and it sounds like you are) then allowing a character to secrete any kind explosive, even in small quantities, would be an amazingly useful skill. They’ll probably be able to generate a chemical means of lighting the explosive, too.

Wow. You guys are mean. But that’s good. I like that.

Ok, we’ve got a good selection of “outside the body” stuff. Anyone have a line on “inside the body goodies”.

Inside-the-body goodies, eh? Apart from a bioluminescent light, try glands that produce the following:

Vitamin C. Rats can produce their own vitamin C, but humans can’t — and so we eat foods to prevent scurvy. Take a tip from the rats.

Penicillin. It’s manufactured by bread mold, so a bio-designed gland could be implanted in you. Boost your immune system! Of course, ideally you’d want the penicillin to shift in design periodically so the bacteria didn’t build up an immunity…

Aspirin. A pain reliever and blood thinner found in the bark of willow trees.

Bioelectrogenetic gland. Using the biochemistry of the electric eel (which can produce electric bursts of 500 volts and 1 amp), design a bioelectric gland which can act as a battery backup to your cybernetic chipsets.

And some more outside-the-body goodies:

Psilocybin. A powerful hallucinogen found in certain mushrooms.

Tetrodotoxin, found in the Japanese fish delicacy fugu. (It’s actually manufactured by tetrodotoxic bacteria which the fugu eat.) It’s a paralytic poison with no known cure that acts in mere minutes.

Can a single gland implant produce any chemical, or does each chemical require it’s own gland? If it’s the former, you are superman.

For starters, you can be immune to nearly every pathogen or toxin, as there’s almost always an organism that makes it’s own specific antibiotic/antidote to whatever it is you’ve been zapped with.

You can duplicate the effects of any other bioware that functions by releasing chemicals or causing organs to release hormones.

You can secrete any recreational or therpeutic drug you need.

Make your own rocket fuel-peroxide and kerosene (or something else flammable).

Need to fill a room with flammable gas? Hydrogen or methane will work.

Make pure phosphorous- it autoignites in air and burns hot and bright.

Get rid of incriminating documents by secreting large amounts of cellulose-digesting enzymes.

Annoy your friends and confound your enemies by sticking anything and everything together with your own superglue.

Wandering in a desert? You’re full of hydrogen and oxygen. Make your own water!

Stuck in a lifeboat? Instead of your friends living with the guilt of killing you and cannibalizing your corpse, just drip out some glucose and protein broth! You’ve got plenty of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen for raw materials.

Get pumped- give yourself a continuous anabolic steroid drip.

With a lax GM, you could probably make up stuff off the top of your head to counter anything that comes your way. Not that I would ever recommend taking advantage.

As described, it sounds game-breakingly vague, either because it makes the PC into bio-superman, or everybody gets bored while the GM and the player play another round of name that obscure toxin. Working out the ground rules/limits for this implant beforehand might be a good idea.

Create a smokescreen at will?

Oh, I completely agree. If it were my campaign, I’d be inclined to say, “1 chemical per gland, 1 dose per X hours; and you can’t simply buy unlimited glands. The human body has a finite storage capacity to stick these things in. Plus, you have to tell me where the gland is, in case you ever take a bullet there; and you’re not automatically immune to your own secretions.”

How about a pheromone gland.

Permanent bonus to reactions from the opposite sex.

A gland that produces antifreeze like the arctic aquatic life have running through their system. Their cells wouldn’t rupture from extreme cold. It’s Shadowrun so almost anything goes.

Heck, if you’re worried about being eaten you can secrete a substance as ladybugs do — make yourself taste terrible!

I once played a SF role-playing game where an alien race had the intellectual equivalent of adrenalin. They were normally pretty dim-witted but in times of stress, their bodies produced a chemical that doubled their intelligence for an hour or two.

For a boost to charisma/diplomacy, try oxytocin, proven to increase your social awarness, bonding, trusting, etc. Also reduces fear, and may help counter addiction. Might make you less of a killer, but you could switch it off. Also might induce labor.

Aspartic acid may eliminate fatigue. I say may - jury is still out.

Serotonin/serotonin blockers could be interesting. Lowering serotonin levels boosts aggression and gives you a harder edge, diplomatically speaking, but deviate too far from normal and you will probably develop mental problems. Fun!

Missed edit window…

For a good night’s sleep, try melatonin

Can you give me a cite on this Chemical Gland? I own core, Augmentation and a few other SR4 rulebooks and can’t remember seeing it.

Yo, Hostile Dialect. I have no idea whether or not it’s in Shadowrun 4, but then, we don’t play Shadowrun 4. This was the subject of a bitter debate a couple years ago. Amongst many other things I Did Not Like, they didn’t consider what some of their changes would do to the setting, making it impossible for me to play it except as a Paranoia-ish :haha let’s have fun in the crazy dystopia which breaks all sanity".

But that’s neither here not there. The original rules for biotechnology were presented in ShadowTech (SR2), and then expanded slightly in Man & Machine (SR3).
Back to the build: So far, I do have down…

Adrenal Gland

Tailored Pheremones

Paralysis breath weapon (in Shadowrun, antitoxin is easily available, so I can exhale, say Tetradoxin and still not kill people. Useful for kidnappings and such.)

Internal Antitoxin producer (this one is quite nice, since I can sell my body’s excess and it will pay for itself in less than a year.)

I’m still thinking about some of the others. There are so many good ideas here!