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Old 09-12-2017, 08:21 PM   #11
hal
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Buffalo, New York
Default Re: Cybernetic costs and modifiers both 3e & 34e

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Originally Posted by ericbsmith View Post
One of my biggest problems with Cybernetics is a more general problem with GURPS - and that is that some advantages become less advantageous - worth less points - when technology can mostly or completely mimic them. Everything from Innate Attack & Damage Resistance to augmented senses are just less valuable when you can get a rifle, a bulletproof vest, and IR goggles.
Agreed.

That's largely why I adopted the concept that if you buy cybernetics before the start of the character's life in game play, the points are what are used, regardless of the price value in dollars for the equipment. Once game play starts however, all cybernetics no longer have an advantage or disadvantage value, but merely a monetary value plus character down time due to surgery etc (as well as a much lighter pocket book or wallet!).

But your point is well taken.

Here is the other issue...

If you walk into a hospital, and need an MRI to be done - any metallic cybernetic implant will play hobb with the MRI scan. What I find to be FUN about cyberpunk as a genre - is trying to anticipate what effects it will have on general life overall.

For example? Suppose someone gets a computer implant, and it records everything the person sees and hears. Said individual walks into a high security area where cameras are not allowed, and all visitors are scanned thoroughly before being permitted into the R&D area that is top secret. A scan to find the computer is one way of catching things right? But what of a simple link to the optical nerve with a largely non-detectable interface between an optic nerve and say, a port embedded in the palm? Have a disguised memory chip in a pen, take the pen apart while in the High Security facility, and record everything you see onto the memory chip in the palm. Take the chip out, place it back in the pen, leave the pen some place to be picked up elsewhere by another operative, and there is your smuggled information.

Much of the cybernetic enhancements will be detectable - which makes them what, liabilities or assets? You walk through a door that has a sign reading "Warning, enter a secure MRI scan point. Declare any implants or metal items - we are not responsible for any damage beyond this point".

So - there are times where having "advantages" at full value because it is the GURPS way, may not really work out to be the advantage as written. It is also why I chose GURPS over HERO in the first place. GURPS 3e with its GURPS VEHICLES and GURPS ROBOTS built things as machinery etc - now, with 4e, things are built with character points (much like HERO did in the earlier years from my memory).

This is in a large part, why I am trying to get a listing of the various things that go into Cybernetics, and see if they make sense, are too expensive (or as Sir Pudding says) not expensive enough, etc.

Has anyone ever played DEUS EX: HUMAN REVOLUTION? Can you imagine trying to stat out Adam Jenson's cybernetics?
  • Legs that allow for a major leap
  • Cybernetic eyes with HUD capabilities
  • Cybernetic arms with killing blades
  • Reflex booster to take down two opponents at once (really not a cybernetic feat to be honest)
  • Subdermal armor and even EMP shielding due to armor
  • Hacking capabilities that functions almost like an electronic lockpick as well as a computer network invader
  • as well as other items

Point is - in that cyberpunk campaign, there is a need to take a substance to hold back cybernetic rejection - which Adam was immune to (the rejection issues).

One would like to think that GURPS CYBERPUNK or GURPS CLASSIC ULTRATECH could simulate the character easily enough, or that GURPS 4e material could simulate it well enough. Truth is - I get to the point where I grow annoyed at how really DIFFERENT the cybernetics from CP2020 feel from their GURPS Counterparts. With GURPS ROBOTS, or GURPS VEHICLES, one could build an arm with a given strength rating, and know how much energy an energy cell could provide for how long. With GURPS 4e, that's no longer the case. With GURPS ROBOTS or GURPS VEHICLES, one could build a cybernetic arm and know how much volume was available to stuff other James Bond like stuff in the arm - with a character point based system, it becomes a bit of a strain. Ever look at the payload rules and how much stuff can be hidden within based on character points only?
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Old 09-12-2017, 08:50 PM   #12
hal
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Buffalo, New York
Default Re: Cybernetic costs and modifiers both 3e & 34e

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Originally Posted by ericbsmith View Post
Yeah, it could theoretically be disadvantageous in the rare circumstance where it shows up, but that doesn't mean it's a disadvantage worth points. In the case of something that won't show up except once every 6 months or once per year it's just below the level where it's worth points. In rule design you have to set a cutoff level, because if every 6 months is worth points what about every 2 years? Every 5 years? What if it requires a major and inconvenient overhaul every 50 years? There has to be a cutoff point somewhere, and one month is as good a cutoff as any.
I can go along with that mindset - providing that the cut off point truly is worth the while.

Let's take this a different direction... Enemies for example. Suppose someone takes a 20 point enemy, that appears on a 6 or less. Now it is worth only 10 points right? But in the course of running a campaign, once per month, for 12 months, I never ever roll a 6 or less at the start of the campaign. Did the player just gain 10 free points because the enemy didn't appear per the game mechanics rules?

Now, let's argue the point differently. Suppose you have a flesh arm. Any time the GM decides to make that arm "non-functional" for a period of say, three hours, would the player be within his rights to get really annoyed that it just happened to his character? You might answer "hey, that's what adventures are - problems that happen requiring interaction and intervention by the player characters to resolve successfully". Maybe the paralysis is due to a poison injected by a dart. Maybe the character was just infected by Tollinger's Disease that causes neurological damage in the area the infection enters by, and spreads throughout the body. These are all one offs right? But let's take step back and look at the guy with the arm. He just got a battery placed within, diagnostics run, and he's A.O.K. - everything checks in at 10% or so the Technician tells him. What if the technician was bribed to put in a battery with only 10% of the energy the battery should have? So now, in 73 days, his arm is going to become useless.

That's not a "minor" disadvantage is it? Having your arm go dead and you can't get a new battery replacement until you can schedule a maintenance appointment, wait until that day arrives, and then show up. Now it is a potentially life altering event. The same can be said of any maintenance of any device.

So, my advice, had I been part of the playtest for this (which I wasn't, and probably wouldn't have wanted to be on) would have been to extend the range of time between where the discount for the disadvantage was 10%, 20% on up to 80% was more extended than for 30 days.

I would have had at least 8 steps (one for each 10% discount level) and made it so that the cutoff point was at least 6 months, closer to a year. Any time period beyond a given cut off point, would all come under the 80% discount value due to that's the lowest you can ever go per the rules.

Now, suppose in a cyberpunk campaign, your player is informed via the news, that all Model KiNa2000 arms with serial numbers 52,000 to 86,000 are being recalled due to a serious defect discovered in the chip that controls motor control of the arm. On a critical failure while using the arm for anything involving fine motor control, the arm begins to spasm unpredictably. It continues to spasm until it can be taken to a specialist who will turn the arm off and make the necessary operating system fixes to get the arm fully operational (seems like there was a programming flaw in the chip that enters into a loop and won't break out). What is that in GURPS terms? A failed maintenance roll? Or a deliberate "event" imposed by the GM for a set of arms (which presumably the player character is one - or perhaps the GM is sadistic and the player character's arm does not fall within those batch numbers but scared the bejabbers out of the player)?

Eventually, things should just have a quick simple cost, paid for and the game goes on, instead of trying to do with character points, what GURPS VEHICLES did for vehicle design. :(
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Old 09-13-2017, 12:20 PM   #13
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Default Re: Cybernetic costs and modifiers both 3e & 34e

The biggest problem with 3e cybernetics, and the one I presumed sir_pudding was referring to, was the 1/5 cost divisor for obvious cybernetics, with baseline cybernetics not being easily distinguishable from natural features.

This meant that a full-body cyborg, whose appearance might otherwise be worth a few points of social disads, could take 1000 pts of cyberware on a 200 pt budget, which was seriously unbalancing. Presumably that's why we don't see it now in 4e.
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Old 09-13-2017, 12:29 PM   #14
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Default Re: Cybernetic costs and modifiers both 3e & 34e

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Originally Posted by Daigoro View Post
The biggest problem with 3e cybernetics, and the one I presumed sir_pudding was referring to, was the 1/5 cost divisor for obvious cybernetics, with baseline cybernetics not being easily distinguishable from natural features.

This meant that a full-body cyborg, whose appearance might otherwise be worth a few points of social disads, could take 1000 pts of cyberware on a 200 pt budget, which was seriously unbalancing. Presumably that's why we don't see it now in 4e.
I would have assumed it was intended as compensation for the previously mentioned "paying points for abilities that duplicate easily available equipment" problem. Paying 200 points for 1000 points of abilities seems less of a bargain when all of the abilities you buy could be duplicated by a trip to the store. With non-obvious cybernetics, you at least get the surprise factor, and perhaps a chance to take weapons (or whatever) to places where weapons are prohibited but no-one is checking with high security scanners (although the Holdout skill will generally be a cheaper way of achieving that); with obvious cybernetics, you merely become slightly harder to rob (and we already have Signature Gear for that).
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Old 09-13-2017, 07:02 PM   #15
hal
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Buffalo, New York
Default Re: Cybernetic costs and modifiers both 3e & 34e

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Originally Posted by ravenfish View Post
I would have assumed it was intended as compensation for the previously mentioned "paying points for abilities that duplicate easily available equipment" problem. Paying 200 points for 1000 points of abilities seems less of a bargain when all of the abilities you buy could be duplicated by a trip to the store. With non-obvious cybernetics, you at least get the surprise factor, and perhaps a chance to take weapons (or whatever) to places where weapons are prohibited but no-one is checking with high security scanners (although the Holdout skill will generally be a cheaper way of achieving that); with obvious cybernetics, you merely become slightly harder to rob (and we already have Signature Gear for that).
Keep in mind too, that GURPS CYBERPUNK (back when there was no 4e - just 2e, 3e, and ultimately 3e revised) had sprinkled liberally about, that in some cyberpunk worlds, having obvious cybernetics invited social stigma issues (discrimination).

Then the "Unnatural" description (which is where the 80% discount comes into play) talks largely about the fact that some people don't want their cybernetics to appear natural - and that to some extent, the cost of these "goods" become cheaper due to the lack of effort and expense to make the cybernetics look natural.

Elsewhere in GURPS CYBERPUNK (Now GURPS CLASSIC CYBERPUNK), it says this on page 30:

"Depending on the campaign, the GM may decide that character points must be paid for acquiring these advantages. Suggested point costs are listed for each device."

Think about that for a second...

Some GM's charge both character points AND money for cybernetics. Some charge ONLY money. Some, such as myself, use both guidelines of points and money, depending on whether it is pre-game or post start of campaign that is involved.

So, getting "Goods" at a monetary discount is one thing. Getting the character points themselves discounted, may NOT have been what the original writer had in mind when the rules were written. Making matters worse is the fact that a cyborg body was entirely different as a beast than cybernetics intended to look normal. Cyborg bodies were largely robots with life support for a brain and a connection system that hooked up the brain to run the body's active behavior. The point total for the cyborg body in order to have it was 120 character points. Getting an 80% discount on that was probably NOT the intent when/where the rules make character point cost for cybernetics, optional.

But, that's largely a matter of conjecture. GURPS CYBERPUNK as a book, predates GURPS VEHICLES, and also predates GURPS ROBOTS. Could one build a Robotic body and treat it as a cyborg body? Sure. Would it match what GURPS CYBERPUNK originally crafted when it was first published? Probably not.
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