Some characters can manifest special powers on demand, using nanites which have bonded to them. This type of nanotechnology is known as 'personal nanotech'. Personal nanotech acts like magic, using rules similar to divine magic from D&D or d20 Modern.
Many effects (adapted from D&D and d20 Modern spells) are possible using personal nanotech. Nanotech powers are listed and described on the following pages:
Ground Zero is essentially a 'low-magic' world; even the most powerful nanotech effects are only equivalent to 3rd level D&D spells.
It is impossible to simply 'buy' personal nanotech or decide to pick it up somewhere. There's nano everywhere, and some of it has been designed to bond with humans. Thus, the process is actually reversed: personal nanotech picks you, not the other way around.
In game terms, to use personal nanotech the character must possess the appropriate talent. The following thinker talents grant personal nanotech to a character or improve his nanotech capacity. Only the very perceptive (high Wisdom) are able to embrace nanotech. The 'Personal Nanotech' talent unlocks personal nanotech powers (duh), while the other talents increase its capacity for use:
To increase his manifester level and gain access to more powerful nanotech grades, the character must select a nanotech-related advanced class.
Personal nanotech effects are powered by obedient nanites that the manifester mentally controls. Thanks to the user-friendliness of personal nanotech, manifesting it requires little effort. Some nanotech has biochemical triggers and can activate in response to certain changes in body chemistry. Others take hold of the brain and start to scan for special commands - the host merely has to think about the desired effect to produce it.
Whatever method a particular nano uses, the game mechanics are the same. When the character wishes to manifest a personal nanotech power (selected at the time of manifestation from the appropriate power lists), he concentrates on the effect he wishes to produce then makes a nanotech control check. This is a full round action and the character adds his Wisdom modifier. The base Difficulty Class for nanotech control checks is 11 for minor powers, 13 for medium powers, and 15 for major powers. Since nanotech was originally designed for use by humans, non-humans may have a harder time controlling nanotech powers. You can take 10 or take 20 on this roll, but only under non-stressful conditions.
If the check fails, nothing happens. (The attempt does not count towards a user's manifestations per day limit.) If the check succeeds, the character successfully manifests the desired power. While a nanotech power is active, a sparkling cloud of fine dust forms around the power's target, requiring an Awareness check (base DC 10) to spot. (The tiny flashes are actually created by stray energy released in microscopic explosions.) This shimmering dust is known by several nicknames, such as 'fairy dust' or 'foo-foo powder'.
(In D&D terms, nano-wielders are spontaneous casters. They may manifest any effect of a given level from their power lists and do not have to prepare effects ahead of time.)
Most nano-wielding characters can manage only a handful of nanotech effects per day. After 24 hours, a character's nanomachines have built enough new nanomachines, and conscripted enough ambient nanomachines from the environment, to completely refresh his powers. A character who can manifest more than one effect per day will regain his powers fractionally over the course of 24 hours. (This is different than the spell rules in most d20 games.) In certain areas, the ambient nanotech level can be higher or lower than usual, decreasing or increasing the time required for replenishment.