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Old 09-12-2017, 12:03 PM   #1
Eddie T
 
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Default 4e Cybernetic/Implant Question

I want to give a character a BOS Implant from UT (p. 217).

What is the correct way to annotate on a character sheet?

BOS Implant should go in equipment, but it grants: Alcohol Tolerance [1], Deep Sleeper [1], Metabolism Control 1 [5], No Hangover [1]. 8 points.

I starting to wrap my head around the "If you can buy a gadget with $, it's point cost is 0" statement and this is the first practical exercise I've had with it.

I'm thinking an accessory under Perks with those four advantages grouped under it, all at 0 points.

Am I thinking the 4th Edition intended way?
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Old 09-12-2017, 12:19 PM   #2
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Default Re: 4e Cybernetic/Implant Question

I've not worked with cybernetics, but my understanding is that they are basically meta-traits you slap on a template and the PC pays points. If need be, they miiight want a gadget limitatiom if it can be specifcally broken (attacking a bionic arm) or stolen ("I'm gonna need that guy's leg. That dude there. I need his prosthetic leg."). Otherwise it's generally just a trait the character buys.

Part of acquiring one in play may require an operation that costs money, though. That's ultinately up to the GM, though.
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Old 09-12-2017, 12:49 PM   #3
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Default Re: 4e Cybernetic/Implant Question

Quote:
Originally Posted by Eddie T View Post
I want to give a character a BOS Implant from UT (p. 217).

What is the correct way to annotate on a character sheet?
The "correct" way is whatever makes the most sense to you and your players, I'd say, and minimizes confusion. Personally, I'd write the implant under the character's advantages, in a similar way to how you'd write a racial template. Something like:
"BOS Implant [8]
(Includes Alcohol Tolerance, Deep Sleeper, Metabolism Control 1, and No Hangover)".

I probably wouldn't list it under equipment because, in my experience, people are very rarely going to be selling their cybernetics, so the money value doesn't usually matter, and most treatments of implants don't treat them as encumbrance either, so the weight is irrelevant.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Eddie T
I starting to wrap my head around the "If you can buy a gadget with $, it's point cost is 0" statement and this is the first practical exercise I've had with it.
Note that whether cybernetics cost points for the traits they provide is actually an option, set by the GM. See "Body Modification", pp. B294-295, for some discussion of this, but basically, there's three things you can do:
  • Charge points for modifications. Probably the simplest approach - if the character has the points, they spend them, and don't worry too much about the cost or recovery time. You can even let players go into point-debt if they don't have the points to spare, meaning they then have to spend some or all the points they earn on paying off the debt.
  • Charge money for modifications. If the character has the cash, they can buy the gear. To avoid rich characters getting too overpowered this way, it's best to enforce surgery recovery times (and the chances of botched surgeries) much more rigorously, along with other means of equipment control.
  • If modifications are imposed rather than chosen by the character, they cost neither points nor money. If you have a plot where a character gets kidnapped by a crazed cyberneticist and given a horrible (but useful!) robotic tentacle-arm, don't make them pay points for it. It's just like any other trait that you decide a character gets. Just like losing an arm in play doesn't give a character 20 points for One Arm, gaining an advantage doesn't cost points.

Now, there are some ways to combine or tweak these approaches. Personally, when I ran a game with cybernetics as an option, what I did was charge points for cybernetics and required characters to pay the money for the implants and the surgery to install them. However, money spent that way wasn't treated as money spent on equipment - I didn't consider it part of their assets when determining what Wealth level they had, for instance. And I didn't worry too much about other equipment-based concerns, like replacements for worn-out parts, or issues like random equipment failures.
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Old 09-12-2017, 02:36 PM   #4
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Default Re: 4e Cybernetic/Implant Question

I second Kelly's way of annotating it on the character sheet.

For the issue of paying for it, I typically say that for cybernetics bought at character generation to pay only points. Those gained in-play I charge money for; if bought in a period of gaming without significant downtime, I let them pay half up-front in $ and hit them with a few temporary disadvantages (such as Chronic Pain and/or Dependency) during the recuperation period in the meantime. They don't have to pay off these temp disads, but they do have to RP them.

This help?
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Old 09-12-2017, 03:38 PM   #5
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Default Re: 4e Cybernetic/Implant Question

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if bought in a period of gaming without significant downtime, I let them pay half up-front in $ and hit them with a few temporary disadvantages (such as Chronic Pain and/or Dependency) during the recuperation period in the meantime.
That's actually another way of handling point-debt, too, if you don't want to just completely let the characters go into debt - apply disadvantages representing recovery from the surgery, learning to use the implants properly, and similar conditions representing relatively temporary stuff, equal to whatever points the character didn't have handy to pay for what they want, and just let them buy those off as soon as they have the points for it. So, using the original BOS implant example, if a character wants to get it, but only has 3 points banked, you could still let them get it, but slap them with, say, Wounded, to make up the extra 5 points, and representing the surgery point still being sensitive and easily damaged. In fact, this approach has the advantage that you don't have to force the player to pay off the points - if they decide to spend them on other stuff besides buying off the disads, it just means they're having an unusually-long recovery time, or adaptation period, or whatever, and the disad means they're not getting "free points" in the meantime.
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Old 09-12-2017, 06:07 PM   #6
hal
 
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Default Re: 4e Cybernetic/Implant Question

Quote:
Originally Posted by Phantasm View Post
I second Kelly's way of annotating it on the character sheet.

For the issue of paying for it, I typically say that for cybernetics bought at character generation to pay only points. Those gained in-play I charge money for; if bought in a period of gaming without significant downtime, I let them pay half up-front in $ and hit them with a few temporary disadvantages (such as Chronic Pain and/or Dependency) during the recuperation period in the meantime. They don't have to pay off these temp disads, but they do have to RP them.

This help?
While we agree in philosophy, I take it a step further and treat it in a slightly (and I do mean SLIGHTLY) different fashion...

Point cost for advantages that are bionic in nature (keep in mind that this is in MY games - not necessarily the way others do it or the rules specify) are paid for up front in character points - but not with cash costs.

Bionics acquired AFTER the start of character generation, get paid for in cash ONLY. The player character then has to pay for the operation itself (which usually has a delay time. Life threatening stuff can be scheduled quickly, elective surgery usually has a wait time of 2d6 weeks (2 to 12 weeks) before the scheduled surgery can be implemented. Then there is the issue of the doctor rolling his skill for the surgery. Then there are the HT saving rolls to avoid infection (usually a formality, but an 18 is always a critical failure!). Then there is the down time.

In short - the points paid up front represent all of the issues that can stem from the operation itself.

For the record - I really DISLIKE the cybernetic builds in GURPS 4e, and have returned to the original rules from either of GURPS CLASSIC CYBERPUNK or GURPS CLASSIC ULTRATECH. The "requires maintenance" is in my opinion buggy and in bad need of restructuring.

As the first reply correctly notes: this is YOUR game, do with it as you will. If you house rule something, explain WHY you're house ruling it, and chances are - your players will agree with your explanation. In addition, while the rules as written (RAW) imply that you need to charge X points for a given ability or capability, keep in mind that these are arbitrary costs assigned to arbitrary abilities. If you GM long enough, or have played GURPS 4e long enough, you will begin to note that some "things" are deemed to be too expensive for what the player is willing to pay for it. It is sort of like having a choice between a Dodge Vehicle at $15,000 and a Plymouth vehicle that is the same body and engine, but costs only $12,000. When something costs too much, it doesn't get purchased. Likewise, if you feel an advantage costs too much, or doesn't cost enough? Fiddle around with it and discuss it with your players. In other words, don't be afraid to experiment with things if you have to. ;)
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Old 09-12-2017, 06:09 PM   #7
hal
 
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Default Re: 4e Cybernetic/Implant Question

I almost forgot. The reason why there is a real "fear" that buying new implants after the game starts can be hazardous, stems from one incident, in which a player decided to get skip and chip slot implants. The doctor rolled an 18 on his surgery roll, and failed his skill saving roll from the crit failure - and the player's character started to go insane as a consequence. The slots were removed to save his life, but not all things go smoothly when the dice are being rolled.

;)
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Old 09-12-2017, 06:21 PM   #8
sir_pudding
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Default Re: 4e Cybernetic/Implant Question

The 3e rules had ridiculously deep discounts for not having cosmetically invisible implants or prosthetics (and IIRC no specific mechanical consequences for it). I recall it being fairly broken.
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Old 09-12-2017, 06:50 PM   #9
hal
 
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Default Re: 4e Cybernetic/Implant Question

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Originally Posted by sir_pudding View Post
The 3e rules had ridiculously deep discounts for not having cosmetically invisible implants or prosthetics (and IIRC no specific mechanical consequences for it). I recall it being fairly broken.
Sadly, I feel the same about the 4e rules. As for badly broken? All that is required is for the GM to look at it, decide if they want it, and remove it if they don't, try it if they do (and see if it works or not).

Simply pointing at something that was the old rules and saying it was badly broken doesn't make it so. As I pointed out earlier, pricing of anything in GURPS is largely by fiat. If enough people feel the price is worth it, they buy it. If so many buy it because it is effective for the price given - the question to ask isn't if it was badly priced and "broken" so much as to ask "why was it such a good buy?"

Case in point: Combat Reflexes. It doesn't equal the cost of the separate elements that go into Combat Reflexes, yet, it is deliberately discounted. So, does that make Combat Reflexes broken? <shrug>

In the end, some "Genre" conventions exist to get a given type of character built to do specific things. Discount them and that's a good idea for that Genre use ONLY, not necessarily across the board.

What MIGHT be a good idea? Is list all of the Cybernetic costs etc from both 4e and 3e, and list them/describe them as to what they do. Then? People can discuss those elements they like or dislike and why. To that end, I think I'll open up a new thread (in case the original poster of this thread is not interested in such things...)
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Old 09-13-2017, 03:50 PM   #10
Eddie T
 
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Default Re: 4e Cybernetic/Implant Question

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Originally Posted by hal View Post
As the first reply correctly notes: this is YOUR game, do with it as you will. If you house rule something, explain WHY you're house ruling it, and chances are - your players will agree with your explanation. In addition, while the rules as written (RAW) imply that you need to charge X points for a given ability or capability, keep in mind that these are arbitrary costs assigned to arbitrary abilities. If you GM long enough, or have played GURPS 4e long enough, you will begin to note that some "things" are deemed to be too expensive for what the player is willing to pay for it. It is sort of like having a choice between a Dodge Vehicle at $15,000 and a Plymouth vehicle that is the same body and engine, but costs only $12,000. When something costs too much, it doesn't get purchased. Likewise, if you feel an advantage costs too much, or doesn't cost enough? Fiddle around with it and discuss it with your players. In other words, don't be afraid to experiment with things if you have to. ;)
I completely understand this is my game and I can change anything I see fit. I have no issues with that. I underlined my problem with GURPS in the quoted portion of your post above. I've been role-playing since 1988ish when West End Games Star Wars was brand new. Although I've owned GURPS 4e since 2005/2006, I've not been able to play it due to Life. Now that the stars have aligned and I've got a group, a roof, and time all at once, I'm trying to get an understanding for what the design team's intent with the RAW was before I start tweaking stuff (and I'm intrinsically lazy, if it meets my needs as written, I'm not changing it). Up until now, I've only played in a handful of GURPS games (as in count on one hand) so I don't have a lot of practical experience to draw on with it. I'm coming primarily from class-based systems or systems where psionics/magic/cybernetics are either given as part of the class or relatively cheap to buy (points-wise - for example, sticking with WEG Star Wars, every time you raise a Force Skill by +1, you pick a new Force Power to go along with it). What I'm finding is that the "generic" part of the title has been stressed so much that when it comes to concepts, abilities, and races that there are so many different ways to model something with abilities/limitations/enhancements/modifiers/etc. that I'm designing my own system. It feels like I'm trying to mold a puddle of water into a solid form as opposed to shaving a block of ice down into a sculpture. Very different problem-solving paradigms there. Does any of that make sense (without coming across as arrogant, not my intent)?
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