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Old 09-12-2017, 08:50 PM   #12
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Buffalo, New York
Default Re: Cybernetic costs and modifiers both 3e & 34e

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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