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In your opinion, is using shades or a helmet visor with magnification tech to decrease ranged TNs for combat unkosher according to the rules as written? What about using them for the casting of spells?

At least for the latter case, with the helmet in question "cleverly disguised as a motorcycle helmet", how on earth could that work without a fairly obvious lense-structure?
Nanobots. The nanites slightly alter the differences in the helmet visor to increase the magnification.

Think about glasses - they're visible, sure, but the magnification differences are tough to determine when you're looking at the side of them.
In regards for spells, it's fine as long as the magnification is optical (which would be a bit harder to hide). Firing guns I'd allow because I'm lazy. I'm pretty sure its canon, since it's like magnification enhancement in cybereyes, and I don't really see a big difference. I don't know why you'd get suspicious of it, unless you're trying to apply that realism stuff to our game again : P (I have absolutely no clue how easy it would be to aim a gun with binoculars taped to my eyes... obviously, a scope would be a no-no, but iron sights? *shrug*)

Hiding it is another question. Electronically you could do it, no problem. Get a small camera built in the front and the inside of the glasses have a screen. We *might* be able to do that now, I have no question it'll be possible in 20 or 30 years. However, electronics (and nanobots) would disallow using the glasses for spells. Could you do it optically? Umm.. I'd say with sunglasses you'd have maybe an inch between your eyes and the glasses, so I could possibly imagine level 1 mag in there. That said, when you're wearing the glasses, you're ONLY looking through those lenses and would have all the penalties that go with it until you take them off (poor depth perception, inability to see objects within say a meter and limited peripheral vision). It'd also be obvious from the inside what the glasses did. With a motorcycle helmet you could buy yourself some more space, at least another two inches, probably more with a custom helmet. Plus you'd have plenty of wrap around space in there for mirrors. I think you could fit a level 3 magnification optical scope would work fine with that. For any of the choices though, I'd charge them extra, the final helmet especially. Optics aren't easy, especially when you're pressed for space.

Electronic would be pretty easy in was said, just apply a camera near the eyes, possibly behind the visor, and have an LCD screen overlay.

Optical would be more difficult. My best suggestion would have to be piezoelectronics, which may or may not allow spells, dependant upon the GM. This would basically be a fairly advanced layer of glass or crystals, which would distort as a current is applied to it, bending light like any other lens. This is pretty close to how I understand organic eyes work, too.
Dim Sum
Can't remember what the canon rules are with regards to such tech in sunglasses. Purely for style reasons, I've always allowed shades to incorporate such tech as vision mag, thermo vision, flare compensation, etc. - makes Secret Service agents cooler and scarier. smile.gif

Where vision magnification is concerned, I allow the same 3 range reductions of other cybernetic vision mag and imaging scopes if the shades are bought in the electronic version. If the character chooses the buy the optical version, I permit only one level of range reduction due to the tech limitations involved.
Herald of Verjigorm
Optical vision mag in a thin material is technically feasible. Your eyes do it all the time. You will need some method of changing the curvature of one side (inside or outside). Such a method could achieve as potent of vision improvement as any single lense within a few construction limits.

You may house rule the "maximum effectiveness" of any thickness of material, but remember that few people have sufficiently severe nearsightedness that 1 cm thick (at the perimeter) lenses cannot give them functional sight.
smart materials, which bend and conform according to the needs of the moment, already exist in SR.
But are they normally transparent, mfb? That's the important question. SR has smart things like vehicle construction materials, sure. But if SR can't provide transparent piezo-electrics, (honestly, I would bet they can, but I'm not the one to ask, go to your GM,) then it's a bit pointless.
So long as the same light energy which struck the target and was reflected to your eyes ends up hitting your eyes, it works for magic smile.gif The easiest way would probably be with very small lenses and fiber optics.
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