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Modern Age Companion Cybernetics

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  • Modern Age Companion Cybernetics

    I am really excited to finally get rules for cybernetics so I can finally run a Shadowrun game. However, I am really surprised that Green Ronin decided to basically treat them as powers and not equipment. I'm not sure how I feel about this but in a somewhat similar Starfinder treats starships aka a level up perk.

  • #2
    I think that most recent systems do it like that - and for good reason. If balancing plays a role in your system (which needn't be, but it's definitely the case with AGE), you're in for a world of trouble as soon as cyberware is nothing but equipment. It means that the characters can't hit it big and make lots of money without totally screwing over the balance of the game.
    The first and second editions of Shadowrun (I don't know about the later ones) "solved" this by making the more powerful cyberware prohibitively expensive and letting you buy your starting money with points from your character generation pool - that way, starting cyberware was a "power" too, because you had to decide to prioritize money over, e.g., skills to pay for the cyberware you wanted. It worked for starting characters, but again, it all became problematic as soon as the characters made serious money. That's why there had to be stuff like the rules for essence, which basically made it impossible for magic-wielders and adepts to use cyberware.
    In game terms, cyberware is a power, anyway. It allows you to do something that you couldn't do otherwise.

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    • #3
      Thematically, it makes more sense, too. Because, while Jakob is 100% on the money about Shadowrun making cyberwear a power with more steps at first level, most players do view it as equipment for the purposes of buying it. But as some kind of intrinsic magical and sacred ability once installed. IDK if you've ever had a fight erupt at the table because someone hacked a cyberarm with a grenade launcher in it, or shut down half a cybernetic character, but wow does it go from gear to sacred the moment it doesn't work exactly as expected. So making it a power and being honest with its place in the world, and in the rules, I think is a better way to go about it. Especially given the AGE system
      Signatures are broken?

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      • #4
        Really giving PCs access to overpowered equipment can be a problem with any system. Magic items are in this same realm. I can see an argument going either way for or against this method. Especially for optical replacement that are basically night vision goggles. They would be useful but another character could accomplish this with a pair of actual NVGs (Night Vision Goggles). The character that took the cybernetic implants as a power would feel like their "power choice" was wasted.

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        • #5
          I believe there is a paragraph in the text about giving powers as equipment, rather than a power slot. It doesn’t really tell you how much an enhancement should be worth, but that seems to be completely dependent on the specific setting so that it might be an impossible task.

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          • #6
            Threefold will have some guidance along these lines because members of Aethon, a faction in the setting, regularly have posthuman augmentations and even swap them out. Generally some persistent penalties might exist when you take an enhancement you don't have the degree/slot to pay for, which might be ameliorated by getting the "space," indicating the character has learned to work with the enhancement. If this kind of balance is not a concern then there should be no restriction except price, availability, and the ability to survive medical procedures without complications.

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