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Biomods and PDS

I'm not certain why biomods have a PDS load. I am looking at this without any consideration of 'theme', taking an analytical approach. It is a common practice in games to separate aesthetic options from gameplay. We already see this with biomods not allowing options that would give a combat or stat bonus. I think the reason for this is rather self explanatory, it could lead to all sorts of abuse. However, if a boon should not be allowed the same goes for a disadvantage. In fact gaining a biomod at the moment takes away from the ability to invest in more cyberware, a game mechanic effecting object. Biomods are also put into this category because of the shared PDS load but without any contribution towards enhancing the character. If anything it forces a delay in action that would positively affect the game by redirecting it in an aesthetic direction.
PDS also accounts for the loss of "humanity" that comes from modifying the body.

When viewed from that perspective a PDS load makes sense for biomods.

Does that create a situation where a biomodded solo might be giving up some edge when it comes to Chrome and Nanos to a solo who decides not to get biomodded?

It seems that way.

It's a good thing Sindome is evolving so that there are more ways to "win" than just being able to vat someone by yourself.

The PDS help file is a bit outdated.

https://www.sindome.org/help/game/pds/

It does not mention nanos or biomods.

Biomods, much like anything else, are cyberware that modify your body- Just cosmetically instead of giving you a mechanical advantage.

We've already made adjustments to how biomods PDS scaling works, and I think that's satisfactory.

I don't see why you need to be given being stylish without a cost to your humanity. That's essentially what PDS boils down to. And just because there's no mechanical advantages to biomods, does not mean they don't give you advantage in other ways.

Let's remember we're a roleplaying game first and foremost, our goal is to tell a story- Not to minmax and kill eachother repeatedly for no reason. :)

Also, unlike most games, we're again- A roleplay first game. That means we run on a somewaht different philosophy.

(Edited by Celestial at 6:04 pm on 4/24/2022)

Interesting that biomods are regarded as having no mechanical advantage. Was there a change to this?

Or is it the case these days that anything that's not combat related is considered "not a mechanic"?

It wouldn't surprise me if it were one of the things that got lost when biomods were taken off the plate of GMs and builders and put entirely into PC hands. The thing I'm thinking about could be a bit hard to automate, as it might not have always taken a predictable magnitude or [url=https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sign_(mathematics)]sign[/url].

Biomods having a PDS load themselves makes sense because it is a form of transhumanism like chrome, but it is a bit of a downer when you factor in needing the controller just to be able to RP moving them. Sucks too that you can't customize them visually like you can chrome despite them being purely cosmetic/aesthetic in nature.

This is the problem. It's getting theme and mechanics confused. When using the MDA framework (Mechanics-Dynamics-Aesthetics) these three aspects are separate components. In short, theme does not apply as that is an aesthetic. To clarify, MDA is sort of the bible for analyzing games.

From the perspective of the designer the mechanics should generate dynamics (The meta) which generate the aesthetics (Theme). When approached in this way the biomods do not fit into the cyberware model. Anytime something aesthetic is forced into a mechanic as seen in larger multiplayer games such as MMOs it receives tremendous backlash. Just look at Lost Ark and their community.

To follow up, these replies are trying to develop as system from a player perspective, not a developer perspective. I can just tell you from experience, it doesn't work.
How is "working" being defined?

What are the Requirements?

I haven't seen the dev / GM definition of "working biomods".

Working meaning a positive contribution to the overall functionality and enjoyment of the game..
I'd argue that needing the controller is overkill when biomods already have a PDS load associated with them.

It was discussed extensively five and two years ago and the ultimate argument against lifting any restrictions was worry that the game would become a furry playground. Make of that what you will, but I doubt you are going to change any minds.

https://www.sindome.org/bgbb/game-discussion/new-game-features/bio-modification-233/

https://www.sindome.org/bgbb/game-discussion/game-problems/biomod-controllers-423/

It's unfair to punish all existing or potential splicers because of how some might be portrayed. Imposing a mechanically functionless piece of surprisingly not cheap cyberware isn't going to stop them, and there are already reasonable IC hurdles in place as is.

If that's the major concern behind this restriction either make splicer biomods a privilege for vetted PCs only, or better yet enforce that certain behavior is not themely/appropriate through roleplay like we do with other issues. If someone starts going too hard on the furry stuff, ask them to knock it off.

It's working exactly as designed.

Why would we even change it? From a staff perspective, biomods are extremely popular despite the restrictions. With all the complaining you'd think they're never used and everyone hates them.

Yet the opposite is true. Aesthetics and self actualization have a cost, and the PDS is that cost.

Lacking from your model, Varolokkur, is that mechanics can also be B. Behavioral. Where we want to encourage or discourage behaviors through mechanics, ultimately to reflect the theme we want, but player psychology is neglected in the MDA model. Here it is used to the fullest extent, and they have achieved that purpose perfectly.

Something that game players also often forget is that Balance in the context of Game Balance, doesn't mean all aspects of a game are fair or balanced.

Good game design has intentional imbalance.

That's the thing though, it has nothing to do with balance or improving the fun of the game. I came across the problem when considering the system for my own character as a fun narrative flavor to explain change and growth. It is something I could just update nakeds, BS, and poof, and some people just do that because it's easy. However, we like to , as an RP community, go a bit further and give depth to the narrative, (the aesthetic). At this point I took a step back as my dev senses tingled and looked at it from the other point of view. It became clear that this bit of flavor, with no impact on other players, would at minimum take away an immediate 1 month worth of UE and likely a later additional month in what would otherwise be used to better round out what my character can do, that would directly benefit their role and contribution to the game. The same goes for studdlies and cyber tits. Great, you have an updated description, you've changed a couple of words with no impact except some pointless ERP that does not benefit the game. How much time is redirected everytime a player does this that could be used to push towards meaningful improvements? Add it up and if 5 players get biomods and aesthetic chrome per month, you've just subtracted up to five months from the total character skill pool. That isn't healthy for the state of the game. It's not my call to make a decision on this, but I'm giving you the facts to give it some consideration.
The basis of your considerations are wrong. As stated previously, this is a roleplaying game and marks of social status have significance.

It's healthy for the state of the game, it's what we want. Just because it's not what you want doesn't make it bad.

We're not changing it.

To clarify, that's 5 months/m, so not linear, it's a rate. That's scary.
Not only that but your numbers are wrong, and you're just spreading misinformation on how PDS works. You have zero understanding of the actual mechanics.

Furthermore, this isn't League of Legends. You're not buying a skin for a character. You're playing a roleplaying game. Your 'game dev senses' are hellaciously off base.

"Great, you have an updated description, you've changed a couple of words with no impact except some pointless ERP that does not benefit the game."

There are -hugely- significant plots around biomodification. These plots affect specific characters more than others, but they are still significant and cause both social and physical pvp. It is a plot device, and the physical 'weight' of biomodification does, justly, impact your character and potentially aligns them for or against different things in nuanced ways.

These plots take place both on a huge, playerbase wide scale, and in the background.

"Biomods having a PDS load themselves makes sense because it is a form of transhumanism like chrome, but it is a bit of a downer when you factor in needing the controller just to be able to RP moving them."

Asking to be able to move something that is not a part of someone's body would be a massive undertaking. Muscles are a big heckin deal. In my view, we are in the stage where biomods are still controversial and still exciting. The UN places heavy limits. This allows us to engage with the ethical, moral, legal, and social results of pursing this kind of genetic modification. Its super interesting. I feel that minimizing the physical effects that take a toll on your character only reduce this kind of interesting conversation. The end question (or at least a big one for me) would be - what is humanity and does it even matter?

Take PDS effects away and the conversation is still there, but is far less interesting.

This is a game where aesthetics are a game mechanic. You literally can't get involved in certain places or plots without dedication to aesthetics. Aesthetics bestow power to a character in ways that combat simply cannot reach.

I think the PDS hit is balanced.

@papertiger - The muscles exist through the modification process afaik and the appeal of mod vs chrome is it IS part of your body, it's organic, the controller is purely for motor function and doesn't make a lot of sense. It's also not required for other popular types of mods. All the conversation topics you mentioned, ethics morality etc can already be explored IC and an arbitrary piece of chrome has no impact on that.

@alittlelonger - I'm genuinely curious what aesthetic advantage biomods grant since that argument has come up a couple times. To be clear, I'm not against them having a PDS load! I just don't know what function they serve beyond personal RP flavor.

I think using a conventional "bible" of game analysis to look at Sindome is inherently flawed, and completely misses the point. While it is of course a game in the literal sense, the purpose and design of it is (arguably, I am not a designer) more oriented towards an advanced roleplaying chatroom. While there is competition, mechanics, advantages and disadvantages, they exist (through my interpretation) in service of informing and prompting roleplay - not crafting a perfectly balanced text-based Cyberpunk PvP arena. We are here imagining the lives of fictional characters, not trying to win a game.

The flipside of this pedantic argument is that yeah I can say that, but when it comes down to it, can someone's violence not always override my RP? Of COURSE balance is necessary when I can get my character removed from RP by someone who HAS decided PvP is more important. Not to mention the argument that yeah, RP and flavor is important, so let someone look cool and interesting and also be the type of character they want to be without needlessly handicapping themselves; it will make for a more interesting environment than boring generic killing machines.

So to sum up, I have no idea what to do.