The Compleat Encephalon

Return to Cyberware

The encephalon is designed to enhance the brain's ability to multitask multiple datastreams, specifically in conjunction with datajack linked devices. Now you can run multiple cyberdecks, vehicle rigs, communication rigs, computers, synthesizers, etc. in nearly any combination.

What is Multitasking
The human brain already manages extensive multitasking by itself, controlling continuous physical processes like breathing, blood flow, internal temperature regulation, and tissue regeneration. Individuals are also able to multitask outside activities, such as holding a conversation while walking or driving, or While the internal processes are handled by specialized areas of the brain that focus on individual processes, external activities are accomplished by rapidly switching attention between the different activities.

The encephalon combines both of these techniques via its extensive neurological connections to different areas of the brain and by utilizing highly-adaptive heuristic nano-second switching routines to route information and mental commands in an optimal manner to the various portions of the brain. A person using the encephalon to for multitasking - say to run 2 decks (and thus have 2 Matrix personas doing different things) or someone riging a vehicle and using two remote control decks -- never actually executes more than one command at a time. The encephalon allows the user to have his attention on one task for a few nanoseconds, and hten switches attention to another task for a few nanoseconds. In addition, the encephalon uses portions of the brain and its own cognative routines to manage much of the background processes for each task, reducing the conscious load on the brain, contributing Task Pool to any task at hand.

The switching is fast, but not instantaneous, so there is a small, but finite degradation in response time. A FIFO (First In/FIrst Out) buffer allows the Encephalon to handle multiple datastreams. The buffer stores outgoing commands and incoming segments of data from each source in a partition assigned to it by the encephalon. Each datajack I/O SPU writes incoming data to and reads commands from the partition assigned to it.

Furthermore, a Math SPU added to the encephalon acts as a floating point math coprocessor, speeding up response time so reaction penalties are reduced.

Technical Specifications & Rules
An encephalon can handle a number of simultaneous tasks equal to its rating +1. Therefore, a Level 1 Encephalon allows the user to accomplish two tasks simultaneously, while the much more powerful Level 2 Encephalon allows the user to split his attention between three tasks. A seperate input is needed for each task. The encephalon's built in connection to the brain givs it one input that allows control of the body, each datajack routed to the encephalon provides another connection allowing simultaneous control of a device. There is no limit to the number of datajacks or devices that can be connected via router to the encephalon but the encephalon can still only use a number of links equal to it's rating +1. I.E. if you have four datajacks connected to a Rating 1 Encephalon you can at most use two of them at a time.

# of ConnectionsSize in MP of BufferCost
100 nĄ
2507,500 nĄ
310015,000 nĄ
415022,500 nĄ
520030,000 nĄ
625037,500 nĄ
730045,000 nĄ
Buffer Memory Requirements This is internal memory utilized by the encephalon to buffer commands and data. To determine the minimum amount of buffer memory that must be installed, consult the table below. Every connection (each device routed) to the Encephalon requires its own partition in the buffer memory. The connection to the brain/body built into the Encephalon counts as the first connection.

Reaction Penalties
Multi-tasking imposes some penalties to Reaction times. The delay from data switching and neurological routing causes an increased lag in response times the more simultaneous and complex tasks are being attempted. Any task which requires a complex action or more imposes the following Reaction penalties. A Rating 2 Math SPU reduces the reaction penalty by 1 point for 2 tasks, while a Rating 3 Math SPU reduces the reaction penalties by 1 point for 3 tasks. A Rating 1 Math SPU has no effect.

Each complex task being performed receives the penalty whether physical or via datajack. For Example: Macavity is directing a drone while running Matrix overwatch during a firefight. Issuing an order to a drone is a Simple Action, so it does not incur a penalty.

EncephalonNumber of Complex Tasks
EncephalonNumber of Complex Tasks
+ Math SPU Rating:123

For my games, I already use a house rule whereby the implantation of two smartlinks for the use of a firearm in each hand permits the bonus for each smartlink to be applied to the weapon. The weapons still suffer a +2 TN penalty each for the use of two ranged weapons. The addition of an encephalon, routed to both of the smartlinks, enables the formidable processing and multitasking power of this implant to come into play in combat. An encephalon so linked negates the +2 penalty for the two weapons. However, the use of the encephalon in this manner imposes a -2 penalty to a characters Reaction as the signal switching between the two smartlinks fractionally increases the aiming time.

>>>>>[YOu're a hair slower aiming, but your aim is that much better for having the encephalon force you aim those weapons. It's your choice -- you rolls the dice and you takes your chances.]<<<<<
--Macavity <:=^_^=: / The-Mystery-Cat>

Option: Prioritized Multitasking
A GM may allow players using the encephalon to multitask the option to prioritize multiple activities for reaction penalties. Instead of taking the same reaction penalty to each task, the player may opt to take more of a reaction penalty in one activity in order to reduce the reaction penalty for another activity. Essentially one activity takes priority over another. The following table shows the total penalty for conducting multiple activities. This penalty may be distributed in however the player chooses among the different activities as long as the individual reaction penalties total up to the amount shown on the table.

Math SPU: If these optional rules are used, then a Math SPU reduces the total penalty by its rating. The remaining points may still be distributed among the tasks and the total must equal the total penalty modified by the Math SPU Rating.

Changing Priorities: At any time, a user may change the distribution of reaction penalties with a simple action or let the system equalize the penalties automatically as a free action. If a task goes inactive, whether by the user or by an outside force (i.e.: A persona gets fried by IC, someone pulls out a datajack, etc..) then the user must immediately reassign priorities for the system. Not doing so imposes the penalties for the dead task to all tasks until the priorities are reassigned. Again, the user may consciously change the distribution of penalties with a simple action, or let the system equalize automatically with a free action.

EncephalonNumber of Complex Tasks

(Note, you cannot gain a bonus to reaction from a Math SPU used in this way. A single task with a 0 penalty does not become a +1 with a Rating 1 Math SPU)

Maximum Penalties Because each task requires a minimum amount of CPU time, there is a limit to the penalties you can assign any one task. Consult the table below to determine this maximum penalty.

EncephalonNumber of Complex Tasks
Encephalon Level 10.7540,000 nĄ6/12 days2
Encephalon Level 21.50115,000 nĄ6/12 days2
Math SPU Rating 10.102,000 nĄ6/60 hrs1
Math SPU Rating 20.155,000 nĄ6/60 hrs1
Math SPU Rating 30.2011,000 nĄ6/60 hrs1
Return to Index
Return to Cyberware