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karaokelove

Cybernetics? No thanks!

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According to the rules, all of a character's cybernetic implants completely shut down for an entire encounter if even a single point of ion gets past their soak. That completely ruins the point of cybernetics for all characters. Why spend $10,000 on an extra point of Agility or Perception if you can immediately be made into a blind paraplegic for an entire encounter because a single point of ion got through? Taking a cybernetic implant is basically the same as reducing your strain threshold to 1. That seems rather harsh, and I can't see any reason anyone would ever take a cybernetic implant under those conditions

It's even worse for droids, in that one of their main features is based around being able to equip up to 6 cybernetic implants. But with the current system, the more implants you have, the more screwed you are if even a single point of Ion gets through. Droids are designed to use cybernetics, but punished severely for doing so. If they have even a single major upgrade (such as brain, arms, or legs) and that 1 point of ion gets through, they're toast. Now imagine they've got all 3, as droids are designed to do; it's one of their major features; one of the reasons they start with less XP than other races.

 

The main argument I read in favor of this system is that +1 to a stat is really good, and so the penalty should be severe. To that, I say look at the other items you can get for $10,000. For that money, I could pick up Laminate with a Vacuum Seal, Superior Customization, and Enhanced Optic Suite. Sure, that's equipment, so it can be stolen, destroyed, or lost, but at least it won't crap out if you get nicked by an ion blast, and it's arguably way better than a bump in Brawn or Agility.

 

There should be some sort of drawback to balance things out, so every game doesn't turn into a party of cyborgs fighting their cyborg enemies, but the current drawback is so severe that it completely defeats the purpose of taking the upgrade in the first place. Am I missing something?

Edited by karaokelove

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The book (EotE) specifically brings out "weaponry designed to disable technology" and "weapons that would only effect droids." Off the top of my head, that's around 4 weapons, including ion cannons (counted as one). Not every Stun weapon is ion-based.

So relative rarity of the weapons could serve to balance it out.

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But they are used against droids, which are designed to use cybernetic implants.

 

How are Cybernetically enhanced creatures more difficult to hit. Agility doesn't affect that, correct? (I'm still relatively new to the game, which is why I'm trying to figure out this issue here on the forums). If that is the case, then that basically makes cybernetics an all-or-nothing mechanic, like Superman. If you don't have ion, the Cyborg/Droid wins. If you do have ion, you win. That seems like bad design.

 

And an Ion Blaster is only 250 credits and rarity 3. That makes them one of the most common and inexpensive weapons in the galaxy.

Edited by karaokelove

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Yeah, but no one's going to be carrying them into battle. Ion weapons work against a very limited number of opponents. If you're walking around the streets of Nar Shaddaa, you'll be carrying around a blaster. That trandoshan who pulls you into an ally and puts a vibroknife to your throat won't be taken down with ion weaponry.

On top of that, ion weaponry disables electronics and machinery. That is established in Star Wars mythology. I would hate it if the system ignored this simply for balance. If you choose to replace your meatbag parts with cybernetics, then you are taking that consequence. Them's the breaks.

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Maybe sometimes you need to replace a limb "dear old dad" lopped off.

Maybe you ahould stop min-maxing and number crunching and think about telling a story. Not every character has to be unbeatable. Having a defect might even make you a more interesting character.

Unless your foes shoot everyone with an ion blaster, they won't necessarily know you even have cybernetics.

This is not a competitive you versus the game master game. This is cooperative storytelling.

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As for Cybernetically enhanced characters being harder to hit, I'm guessing (though I have not rolled anyone with cybernetics yet) that their defense rating will go up depending on the cybernetics they use.  This adds Setback dice to rolls to all combat checks against them.   (page 206-207 EoTE Core)

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It's not a matter of number crunching or min-maxing, and it's not a matter of ignoring cannon and saying they shouldn't be affected by ion. It's a matter of a major gameplay mechanic being essentially broken, which also severely impacts an entire race (droids, as well as Ganks).

 

I absolutely think cybernetics should be affected by ion (and think it's quite fair that cyborgs take stun damage from ion just like droids). But the fact that it's an all-or-nothing system makes no sense. It's the "single point of ion damage completely obliterating a character for an entire encounter" that I have an issue with. With the current rules, it doesn't matter if you take 1 ion damage or 10,000, the effect is the same, and that makes no sense.

 

From a GM perspective, imagine you introduce a major baddie who's supposed to be a threat to the whole party, but he's got cybernetic eyes. Instead of taking 10 rounds to defeat and having him jet pack away to fight another day, he immediately takes one point of ion damage, goes blind, and gets owned by the pc's. That's insane.

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As for Cybernetically enhanced characters being harder to hit, I'm guessing (though I have not rolled anyone with cybernetics yet) that their defense rating will go up depending on the cybernetics they use.  This adds Setback dice to rolls to all combat checks against them.   (page 206-207 EoTE Core)

I'm looking at the list of cybernetics (http://swrpg.viluppo.net/equipment/gear/) and not seeing anything that increases defense. The most they can get is +1 Soak from the armor implant.

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Would it not make more sense to utilize the game's amazing systems of Setback Die and Difficulty Die? Instead of a binary on/off that doesn't take any other factors into account, why not have something with more wiggle room. This game is supposedly more about narrative than mechanics, but this mechanic completely goes against that. It takes all the choices away from the GM and says "nope, he got grazed by an ion blaster, he's done for however long this encounter lasts."

 

If you still think it should be a binary outcome, then fine, but why for a whole encounter? Why not have something like Disorient, Immobilize, or Staggered effects, that last for a specific number of turns?

Edited by karaokelove

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I have a player in my game that is a Gank, so built in cybernetics.

 

I've house ruled that unless an ion weapon has Blast (and it actually triggers vs. the cyborg), the attacker needs to make a called shot (2 setback for 1 aim maneuver, 1 setback for 2 aim maneuvers) against the specific cybernetic to disable it.

 

It hasn't actually come up yet (we've only played two sessions of the campaign so far), but I think it's a fair compromise.

 

Cheers!

 

EDIT: Or you could change it to something like Ion weapons inflict Strain on cyborgs, either in place of (or in addition to) my house rule.

Edited by salamar_dree

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Icosiel is right: personal ion weapons, enen though super common, fill a niche, that is, non-lethaly subduing droids and cyborgs. Only used by people for exactly one job. A nemesis might pull one out in preparation with his confrontation with the party, but thugs and mercs, even Imperials and Rebels, will go for the more universally effective options, like blasters or lead pipes.

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It's called encounter design yo. If your players have ion weapons, don't give the BBEG cyber eyes unless you want him blinded. If your players have cybernetics don't use ion weapons on them unless you want the encounter to involve zapping their cyberbits.

As a niche weapon so despite its availability, it's not something everyone will carry. A nemesis...possibly, but that's a nemesis, so of course he's supposed to be scary.

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One thing you all can help clear up: I've been told 3 different things, which drastically affect how viable cybernetics are. They are:

 

1) That if a single point of ion gets past soak, all implants cease working (which is the basis of my original post).

 

2) According to the book's description, it doesn't even look like it has to get past soak. It just says "If hit by weapons that normally would only affect droids, the cybernetic enhancement temporarily stops working for the remainder of the scene or until repaired." If this is the case, it's even worse than I had thought.

 

2a) Unless by "hit with ion", it means the specific implant, which would require either a called shot or the Blast characteristic, which would be perfectly fair.

 

3) But finally, someone mentioned that they only shut down cybernetics on a critical hit. If this is true, I would concede that that's pretty balanced, but can't find any info in the books to back that up.

Edited by karaokelove

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I don't really understand why you seem so upset over this. And for the record I do not think the system here is broken as you claim. Encounters in the FFG system are usually not very long for starters. in other games Encounters can be a whole "Episode" in an adventure. I know I was used to having longer Encounters when I started playing this game, but realized that by FFG design, most encounters will only be a few rounds long. ECRB P199. "Once the action has been resolved, the GM ends the encounter." So really just a few rounds will be enough to end any "Action". An encounter is not a siege on a building or base. Something like that is many mnay encounters long. Again, in other systems, a siege on a building or base could be an encounter. 

 

As far as cybernetics taking some nasty damage from ion weapons. Sure. 

From a GM perspective, imagine you introduce a major baddie who's supposed to be a threat to the whole party, but he's got cybernetic eyes. Instead of taking 10 rounds to defeat and having him jet pack away to fight another day, he immediately takes one point of ion damage, goes blind, and gets owned by the pc's. That's insane.

Ok, so you have  a major baddie who has cybernetics. Do the CHARACTERS know this or the Players? If this baddie does not have cyborg parts showing, why are they shooting him with ion weapons? And why are players packing ion weapons with them anyway? For the off chance they meet a cyborg and need to fight him? Um, ok, but that sure will eat up your encumbrance.  If it is a matter of a player having borg implants, especially those that can't be seen, because they are inside the body, and your GM keeps hitting you with ion weapons, well, I hate to be the one to tell you, it is not the mechanics that are broken, it is the GM. Your idea of adding in setback dice to the cyber stuff is interesting, but it adds in a lot more book keeping as well, which is a big thing the developers also wanted to keep down. So they are not going against their own system here. 

 

I was also under the impression that it took a critical hit to shut them down. As anything but a critical hit is a graze/near miss/scuff/singed hair. I will see if I can locate that in the book. 

Edited by R2builder

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This is not a competitive you versus the game master game. This is cooperative storytelling.

 

I was about to say "Why is your GM bringing out the 'bring down the PC weapon' every game?"

 

Would I expect something like that to be used against me? Sure - when it was cool and dramatic and appropriate. Would I expect that to be used against me every single game? Absolutely not. And if the GM did, I'd ask him why, find out what the hell was going on and if he was doing it just for the LOLZ, I'd tell him to knock it off because it's ruining my fun.

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karaokelove, you're missing two things here.

 

1) "If hit by weapons that normally would only affect droids, the cybernetic enhancement temporarily stops working for the remainder of the scene or until repaired." In other words, the cybernetic enhancement is what has to get hit to stop working. Not the character that has an enhancement, but the enhancement itself. Sounds like an aimed shot to me, and nowhere in the rules do I get the sense that a cybernetically enhanced PC just stops working altogether if he gets hit with ion damage. 

 

2) "The consequences of this depend on the enhancement in question and are left up to the GM, but should make sense." Your interpretation doesn't make sense. You say as much. It is unreasonable for a single point of ion damage to get through and completely wreck a PC. Ergo, that is not what actually happens. Try and take a more reasonable line. What are the consequences of someone with implant armor (for example) getting hit with ion weapons? Do they suffer strain? A character with cybernetic eyes might take an ion charge to the face, and it would temporarily wipe out his vision. Mechanically, that could means he simply upgrades the difficulty of all checks twice (and Vigilance/Perception checks thrice). So both your legs get hit with an ion blast. You can't walk, but you can still shoot, right? 

 

The balance, as others are saying, to the potential power and utility of cybernetic enhancements is that, as machines, they are affected by weaponry designed to disable technology. What that means is entirely up to the GM. That is where the rule end on the matter, and that is where the GM steps in to make a ruling.

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The idea is don't be overt with your cybernetics.  Why would anyone shoot an organic with an ion weapon?  The aggressor has to know or strongly suspect the presence of cybernetics to risk shooting at a target with a weapon that might not be worth using.

 

Of course of the 5 people who had cyber in the movies - Anakin*, Vader, Luke, Lobot, and Grievous - four of them were pretty open and overt about their cyber. It was only Luke who kept that the down low. Anakin had his pretty obvious cyber arm, Lobot had his Space Walkman bolted on his head, and of course Vader and Grievous were covered in cyber.

 

* Yes I know they're the same dude, but it's such a radical overhaul in appearance for both instances that for the purposes of discussion I'm couning them as seperate.

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If I remember correctly if you have more than one cybernetic and get hit by ion a random cybernetic goes down not all of them. Also you only lose the bonus not the whole entire limb or eyes go bad

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The book uses Cybernetic Legs as an example. It says that not only do you lose the bonus, but that the implant ceases to function, so a character with cybernetic legs would be unable to walk. I don't even want to think about the penalties for a cybernetic brain.

 

But, I think it's just a matter of the rules not being clear. If it does require a crit or a called shot, then I concede that that's perfectly fair and balanced.

 

The issue is that what I was thinking was different from what the book said, which was different from what my GM said, which was different from what everyone on here is saying (we've even seen several different interpretations in this one thread). I'd say that's a good indication that the book should be more clear on the rules.

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And that description only says it lasts until the end of the encounter (which is not long), or until it is repaired (which could mean flipping a circuit breaker), dood. If a GM (you, your GM or anybody) does otherwise he os either mistaken, which is easily remedied, or going killer GM, and is bucking the book in favor of being a sack of worm feed.

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If I remember correctly if you have more than one cybernetic and get hit by ion a random cybernetic goes down not all of them. Also you only lose the bonus not the whole entire limb or eyes go bad

 

The rules don't say anything about a random piece of gear going down, but that's not a bad idea as a house rule. Keeps things interesting. 

 

 

And that description only says it lasts until the end of the encounter (which is not long), or until it is repaired (which could mean flipping a circuit breaker), dood. 

 

Yeah, at the most this would be an action from either yourself or someone in your party to get you back in working order. Not the end of the world. 

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