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Old 07-08-2016, 12:02 PM   #1
hal
 
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Default Differences between GURPS 3 & 4 cybernetics

Hello folks,
In trying to decide how I will approach repricing various limbs and other cybernetic items from GURPS ULTRATECH for an upcoming cyberpunk/Night City campaign, I started to look at things with a fine tooth comb. This resulted in some questions on my part, and some dis-satisfaction with perceived issues. Before I list some of my issues, I wanted to get some clarifications if possible.

To wit: what is the HT of any bionic device? The maintenance rule on page 143 indicates that if a maintenance interval is missed, the HT drops by one and a roll is made against the HT attribute. Failure results in some problem of the GM's choosing, and a crit failure results in a potentially fatal circumstance.

Maintenance checks that potentially result in a dysfunctional item seem to have the same result as "unreliable" (page 95 ULTRATECH 2 for classic GURPS) which only fails on a 15+ or 13+ depending on which level is taken. The other disadvantage for bionics listed in UT2 is Breakdown Prone (same page as unreliable UT2) with rolls to activate 16+ or 14+ depending on the level chosen.

Is it just me, or do the maintenance rules for cybernetics make things worse than the classic GURPS rules? Consider what happens if HT equals that of the TL (for example, otherwise the HT of 12 based on GURPS TRAVELLER might be more prudent): at 1 missed maintenance interval, HT 9 becomes HT 8. With only a 25% chance of rolling an 8 or less, the device will suffer some form of degradation in performance. This roll is worse than the classic rules. But the rule for crit failures means that ALL bionics can catastrophically fail after missing maintenance of one week! Does this sound right? When you take into account that anyone with bionics now requires 1 hour of maintenance (seemingly per bionic item) and the fact that most professionals charge money for their services; player characters with bionics in GURPS 4e are getting hosed pretty badly as contrasted against Classic GURPS rules.

Seems to me that either I'm missing something, or the rules need more fine tuning. A bionics equipped character whose plane goes down in a jungle, is now facing a grim countdown. It is one thing to have restrictions based on having sufficient power cells available, but another to have the maintenance rules in 4e be applied in a strict manner. Having 1 in 216 bionic devices fail if not maintained within a 168 hour interval would seem to render that "product" a non-viable product for the usual cyberpunk genre convention. I suspect that most of the cybernetic devices should not include the maintenance disadvantage.

Comments?
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Old 07-08-2016, 12:20 PM   #2
Turhan's Bey Company
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Default Re: Differences between GURPS 3 & 4 cybernetics

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To wit: what is the HT of any bionic device?
Absent specific rules to the contrary, I'd use the HT of the person wearing it.

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But the rule for crit failures means that ALL bionics can catastrophically fail after missing maintenance of one week!
You'll need to connect the dots here. My copy of Ultra-Tech for 4e indicates a monthly maintenance interval. If it's missed, HT is reduced and there's one roll to see if something goes wrong. I don't see anything suggesting that another such roll is necessary until the next maintenance period is missed, which would be another month on. Certainly, any cybernetic device can critically fail if maintenance is missed, but I don't see where you're getting a week from.
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Old 07-08-2016, 02:16 PM   #3
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Default Re: Differences between GURPS 3 & 4 cybernetics

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Absent specific rules to the contrary, I'd use the HT of the person wearing it.
Hmm… I'd play it slightly differently (which means at least one of us is having the wrong kind of fun). Specifically, as the GM, you should set the HT of the device at a level that suggests its quality/proneness to malfunction. Maybe the base model has HT 10 but the ruggedized version has CF +0.5 and HT 12! Want a cheaper version? You can have one that's CF -0.25 but HT 8. Hope you like getting it fixed!
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Old 07-08-2016, 02:38 PM   #4
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Default Re: Differences between GURPS 3 & 4 cybernetics

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Absent specific rules to the contrary, I'd use the HT of the person wearing it.
So cyberlinb serial number 1001 going into a HT 10 person has a HT 10, but the same cyberlinb model with serial 1002 placed on a man with a HT 15, will have a HT of 15 despite the two limbs be manufactured to be the same from an assembly line?

;)

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Originally Posted by Turhan's Bey Company View Post
You'll need to connect the dots here. My copy of Ultra-Tech for 4e indicates a monthly maintenance interval. If it's missed, HT is reduced and there's one roll to see if something goes wrong. I don't see anything suggesting that another such roll is necessary until the next maintenance period is missed, which would be another month on. Certainly, any cybernetic device can critically fail if maintenance is missed, but I don't see where you're getting a week from.
Check the actual description for the various cybernetic devices. The arm for instances, lists a maintenance interval for 1 week instead of 1 month. That is why I'm going over this with a fine tooth comb. At one point, I wondered why (again, using the cyberlinb one arm on page 209) we see electrical and maintenance as listed for the description AND the one arm mitigator thinking that the one limb mitigator is supposed to include unhealing for the limb, temporary disadvantage electrical, temporary disadvantage maintenance 1 month. That seemed to be double dipping until it struck me that the one arm mitigator only applies to describing the "unhealing" aspect. That's a guess on my part however.

So, reading the rules strictly, missing a maintenance results in having to roll against the HT of the bionics in question. If successful, the unit functions fine until the next missed maintenance - which will require a new HT saving roll. Note that the HT drops by one BEFORE the roll is made. A crit fail results in a potentially fatal shut down. So, after 1 week for the arm without maintenance, the following occurs:

3 through 9 for a HT 10 individual, the arm continues to function normally.
10 through 16 for HT 10 individual, arm degrades
17+ for HT 10 individual, arm fails entirely

This is FAR worse than either of unreliable or breakdown prone as best as I can see.
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Old 07-08-2016, 02:43 PM   #5
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Default Re: Differences between GURPS 3 & 4 cybernetics

Somehow I got it into my head that mature prosthetic technologies have Ht 12, but early or experimental ones only 10. Slightly above less important items, because we care more about our body integrity than tools. "Oh no, the fridge is on the fritz." doesn't seem anywhere near as ghastly as "Oh no, my legs gave out."
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Old 07-08-2016, 02:49 PM   #6
hal
 
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Default Re: Differences between GURPS 3 & 4 cybernetics

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Originally Posted by thulben View Post
Hmm… I'd play it slightly differently (which means at least one of us is having the wrong kind of fun). Specifically, as the GM, you should set the HT of the device at a level that suggests its quality/proneness to malfunction. Maybe the base model has HT 10 but the ruggedized version has CF +0.5 and HT 12! Want a cheaper version? You can have one that's CF -0.25 but HT 8. Hope you like getting it fixed!
Good idea, and I'm not knocking it. Problem is that it falls in the domain of house rules. If I were to house rule it myself, I'd use the maintenance rules from Classic GURPS.

Problem is - why is that information missing in the first place from the rules as written? That is why I'm hoping that the rules are there and that I missed it
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Old 07-08-2016, 02:52 PM   #7
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Default Re: Differences between GURPS 3 & 4 cybernetics

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Originally Posted by Flyndaran View Post
Somehow I got it into my head that mature prosthetic technologies have Ht 12, but early or experimental ones only 10. Slightly above less important items, because we care more about our body integrity than tools. "Oh no, the fridge is on the fritz." doesn't seem anywhere near as ghastly as "Oh no, my legs gave out."
Why limit the HT to 12?

;)
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Old 07-08-2016, 02:55 PM   #8
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Default Re: Differences between GURPS 3 & 4 cybernetics

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Why limit the HT to 12?

;)
You don't have to as long as you're willing to pay for my ultra rugged model. It's only 10 times as expensive. But how much do you value your limbs?
(There is no way to sell cybernetic prosthetics without sounding creepy, eh?)
I want to break out into song from Repo; a genetic opera.
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Old 07-08-2016, 03:13 PM   #9
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Default Re: Differences between GURPS 3 & 4 cybernetics

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So cyberlinb serial number 1001 going into a HT 10 person has a HT 10, but the same cyberlinb model with serial 1002 placed on a man with a HT 15, will have a HT of 15 despite the two limbs be manufactured to be the same from an assembly line?
Precisely so, yes. The language of the rules describing cybernetics is in terms of traits accruing to the character who uses them, much as a metatrait would. Those traits do not include any mention of HT. Therefore, the natural conclusion to be drawn from the rules is that the character's HT applies.

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Check the actual description for the various cybernetic devices.
OK, checking specific devices, I'm seeing a few with different maintenance intervals. In your initial discussion, you appeared to be discussing cybernetics in general with one of those few items used as an example. On that handful of specific items, then, yes, frequent maintenance is vital.
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Old 07-08-2016, 04:05 PM   #10
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Default Re: Differences between GURPS 3 & 4 cybernetics

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Precisely so, yes. The language of the rules describing cybernetics is in terms of traits accruing to the character who uses them, much as a metatrait would. Those traits do not include any mention of HT. Therefore, the natural conclusion to be drawn from the rules is that the character's HT applies....
That kind of makes sense for magical prosthetics, but is pretty absurd for technological forms.
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