The chrynalus strain follows the common exsurgent pathology of digital intrusion, fabber subversion, and nanoplague production. It’s packaged with an aural basilisk hack to incapacitate transhumans until they are completely infected by the nanoplague. Biological and synthetic victims alike host chrysacid parasites: polyps of crustacean-like limbs that burst from the skin/shell and puppet the exsurgent like a marionette.

Digital Infection

The digital virus operates as described on p. 364, EP. Any AIs, infomorphs, or cyberbrains that become infected do not immediately become exsurgents, however. Instead, they suffer 1d10 − 2 SV per hour and are inflicted with paranoia, delusions, hallucinations, and other mental disorders as they descend into madness.

Basilisk Hack

At normal speed, the hack is an audible series of dissonant tones. At a slower speed, it plays at a frequency barely noticeable to the unaugmented ear and may ride on something as innocuous as radio static. This hack follows the rules for incapacitating inputs (p. 365, EP). Many victims fall prey to the basilisk hack, which keeps them incapacitated until the nano- plague converts them to exsurgents.

Stage 1

Timeframe: Instantaneous-3 hours

Infected characters and items display no outward signs of infection at first. The first stage of infec- tion attacks the host’s cognitive functions even as nanobots co-opt nerve tissue for the virus’s purpose. Intense, terrifying hallucinations quickly drive even resilient minds insane. Inside the character or item, the nanobots build up strange synthetic growths. Victims acuire the Mental Disorder (Hallucinations) trait.

Stress: 1d10 - 2 per hour

Stage 2

Timeframe: 3 hours-1 day

The infection becomes visible as the growing masses inside the body—called chrysacids—pierce the surface and start growing. Infected characters continue to be plagued by nightmarish visions and suffer even further as they watch the chrysacids first puncture their skin or shell, taking an additional SV 2d10.

Stress: 1d10 - 2 per hour

Stage 3

Timeframe: 1 day-1 week

Stage three sees chrysacids growing into limbs up to three meters in length and exhibiting a life of their own, engaging in limited autonomous movement and sensory processing. Most victims become insane exsurgents by this point, attacking anything they see. As the chrysacids grow, they drain the life from their biological hosts. Biomorphs suffers 1d10 DV per day.

Stress: 1d10 - 2 per hour

Stage 4

Timeframe: 1 week

The larger chrysacid growths eventually break off, scurrying about as independent critters. Biomorphs eventually succumb and die, but the chrysacid growths live on.

Stress: 1d10 - 2 per hour

Chrysacid exsurgents

The psychic assault on the victim’s mind remains a constant throughout infection and eventually renders victims incapable of technical skills and all higher thought. Characters who reach their Lucidity in stress become exsurgents. While biomorph exsurgents do not last, synthmorphs and machines will continue to sprout new chrysacid growths as long as the nano- plague has access to raw materials. See p. 99 for more details on chrysacid exsurgents.