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Cybernetic Hardpoints

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The list of available cyber (or g-mod) implants is rather short. Has anyone thought of adding Hardpoints or something similar to allow for additional cybernetics in arms, legs, cyber-eyes, etc. perhaps borrowing from Shadowrun or Cyberpunk. This would be similar to Essence in Shadowrun. I am not suggesting spending 0.1 strain or having dozens of hard points in arms or legs allowing for installation of a plethora of cybernetics. Instead allowing for more cyber-benefits beyond +1 brawn/agility. Perhaps making the stock cyberarm a Type 1 implant with a Type 2 cyberarm having 4 hardpoints and costing 3 times as much. A Type 3 (perhaps the highest model) has 8 hardpoints. Type 2 & Type 3 Cybernetics can blow out on a dispair, when Sundered, a bunch a threat a generated, etc.

The above are just arbitrary values to illustrate the idea.

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It seem to me that FFG has moved away from crunchy gear crafting and customization. This seems to be a reaction to how game-breaking the Special Modifications EtoE supplement was.  Additional customization to Cybernetics means each of those will have to be balanced against cost, availability, amount, and the type of cybernetic in which it can be installed. While this seems likes something that would exist in the Android universe, balancing such a thing is a nightmare even for those that officially produce a variety of cybernetics in other game systems. Interface Zero for Savage Worlds has a dizzying amount of cybernetics. 2/3 of the session time was spent debating gear purchases, mostly cybernetics. Such a thing can open your game to getting broken by overpower/under-costed advantages and requires an investment of time which could be spent developing the campaign. I encourage you to explore this option if you think it will enhance the experience for your group. However, be prepared for the time investment and risk.

Edited by HaphazardNinja

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I'm with Golem here -- small modifications generally aren't worth your while, and big ones justify a whole new item. The item creation rules in the core rulebook should stand you in good stead, so the only advice I'd give is to make sure anything that's very far outside the ordinary has a drawback. Tell the story about why this particular augmentation isn't common and sought-after. For example, a cyberlimb with an armored case might have Defensive 1 and maybe Reinforced, but it's probably significantly heavier than a normal one and would impose setbacks on Athletics, Brawl, and Coordination. A concealed weapon would require physical reinforcements or electromagnetic shielding which takes up space that would otherwise be dedicated to make the prosthesis convenient and easy to use.

I mean, or it could be the super-advanced next-generation prototype developed by Haas and your character is now wearing a literal fortune on his shoulder. I'm sure that won't have any consequences.

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<Engaging Thread Resurrection Subroutine>

I'm interested in this exact thing.  I just played both Deus Ex: Human Revolution and Deus Ex: Mankind Divided (lots of time available thanks to quarantine) and I loved their augmentation system for cybernetics.  I would love to see something like it in the Android setting.  My thinking is that hard points would be the wrong way to go and would lead to major power imbalances between players due to access to cash/gear/crafting skills.  The way to keep the advancement similar (and to reduce the need to track and balance XP and Cash separately) is to make all upgrades cost XP.  Narrative-wise they can represent physical upgrades, better models, customization to the hardware/software, or improved skill using what's already there- but by having it be XP based it plays in the same stadium as all other character advancement options.  So while the cyborg upgrades his cybernetics, the clone upgrades her skills.

In thinking about this I was considering creating "talent" trees for each upgrade.  So a +1 Brawn Arm has a different "talent tree" than a +1 Agility Arm.  A similar expansion to gene mods seems reasonable to me (also XP based).  That way you only have to balance gear with gear between characters.  You could even levy an XP cost to remove the strain penalty for each cybernetic implant to allow a more Shadowrun-like flavor with heavily cybered up individuals (maybe one of the first upgrades available on any cybernetic removes the strain penalty).

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On 7/7/2020 at 10:38 AM, FinarinPanjoro said:

<Engaging Thread Resurrection Subroutine>

I never asked for this.

On 7/7/2020 at 10:38 AM, FinarinPanjoro said:

In thinking about this I was considering creating "talent" trees for each upgrade.  So a +1 Brawn Arm has a different "talent tree" than a +1 Agility Arm.  A similar expansion to gene mods seems reasonable to me (also XP based).  That way you only have to balance gear with gear between characters.  You could even levy an XP cost to remove the strain penalty for each cybernetic implant to allow a more Shadowrun-like flavor with heavily cybered up individuals (maybe one of the first upgrades available on any cybernetic removes the strain penalty).

I understand where you're coming from, but I would caution against having players spend permanent resources on a piece of equipment that can potentially be removed, replaced, or destroyed. Still, I think this could work.

First, I suggest treating the trees as something the character has rather than an aspect of the implant -- stuff like, "As long as you have a functioning cyberarm, you increase your Melee Defense rating by 1." I'd recommend simply making these talent chains that thematically speak to strong arms, quick legs, etc. rather than strictly requiring an implant that provides a specific bonus.

If you really want it to be deeper than that, you might take a page (literally) from Star Wars and create something like the Force Power trees where there are different branches attached to the same base ability rather than offering separate trees for each specific cyberarm, etc. You might be working in a rather cramped design space, though, since I definitely wouldn't push the bonuses provided very far. A +2 characteristic modifier seems kinda too powerful, or at least something you wouldn't offer until the endgame.

To keep this from offering the cyborg way more options than a Normal has access to, you might require them to buy a more expensive version of the implant to gain access to the tree. Like, you buy an expensive Delta Cyberarm (Brawn), but it only functions as the basic Brawn +1 arm until you invest the XP to learn how to exploit its advanced features.

If it were me, I'd focus the upgrades on specific use cases and limited-use abilities. Stay away from strain-powered abilities, though, because that's what makes g-mods special.

What do I mean by that? Just off the top of my head:

Flash Discharge Capacitors: Once per encounter, as a maneuver, your character can run and leap to any location within Medium range to which they have a clear path. (or whatever the text of Force Jump is.)

Limiter Release: As an incidental, double the characteristic bonus provided by the character's cyberarm(s) for the duration of their next action. The implant suffers one level of damage after resolving the action.

Lidar 3D Imager: Your character gains a boost die on rolls to notice hidden compartments, secret doors, concealed weapons, and other hidden objects or spaces. In addition, they can take detailed 3D scans of objects they examine closely, which might allow them to accurately reproduce a sculpture in cyberspace or use a makerbox to duplicate a physical key.

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I think you cautionary note is well stated.  I have an unspoken agreement with my players that I would not permanently remove something they've spent XP on (without providing something equal or better in replacement).  I look on spending XP on cybernetics the same way I would look at spending XP on a talent that is gear dependent- If I take something that makes me better with grenades I lose access to the benefit as soon as I'm out of grenades, or a talent to make me better at two weapon fighting is useless without two weapons, etc.

I think your suggestions as to what additional abilities should be like are also on point (and probably should stay away from affecting strain).  I was thinking of Force Ability like talent trees to go with advanced cybernetics when I suggested this.

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I did something similar to a hard point mechanic with a player of mine. He was playing a Cyborg fixer who worked for Los Scorpiones. He picked up a Cybereye at char gen. So I added the following addition: 

Cybereyes+ 
[AR Overlay]
When performing a check to construct new items or repair existing ones, add 2 advantage to the result. Only use this ability if you have seen schematics for the item before.

 

So I can see having customized hardware and I would certainly allow for a cybernetic to be customized to the wearer. 

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