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Cyberware Grades
Cyberpunk? More like... Naturalpunk.

So I was reading the Skillsoft thread and I've had this idea in my head for a while that could help with the issues described in that thread and many others. Namely, the surprisingly sparse cyberware usage, especially on the lower end of things. There are too many things discouraging more widespread usage of cyberware. Things like cost, making yourself a target, PDS, and a few others.

So besides adding more chrome, what could be done to cyber-ify the game? Cyberpunk grades!

Not all cybereyes are created equal

Saedor Krupp isn't the only corp making cybernetic eyes. There are hundreds of others. So why is it that every cybernetic eye I see has the SK initials on it? Does SK have a monopoly on that specific type of cyberware being sold in Withmore? No (I hope not).

This is where grades come in. All cyberware should have grades and variants, similar to how skillsofts work. Want a cybereye but don't want to shell out that flash? Get one cobbled together by the ripper that lives on the basement of the pizzeria next door.

Essentially, worse and better versions of each type of chrome (and if we're allowed to dream big, also outright variants with slight differences in how they work, or hell, even just aesthetic). Got the big paycheck and want to shell out for the slickest armor plates straight from the cutting edge labs in Hong Kong? Go ahead!

Always a catch

Of course, cheaper chrome not only isn't as good as the regular variant (in the case of our cybereye example, the lower tier version could only have one module slot, and a higher PDS load) but it comes with other risks to make up for the cheaper price tag. Namely, malfunctions. Cheap, aftermarket chrome is unreliable. It can short out, misfire, explode, give you a nasty infection, or just not work at a really inconvenient time ("I thought studdlies were made for EXACTLY this situation!").

But fear not, because your friendly cyberneticist or ripperdoc can maintain and repair your shitty chrome. More RP for everyone, more money moving around, more reasons to have ripperdocs and not just licensed cyberneticists, who wouldn't dare touch dangerous/illegal chrome. Win win win.

As a minor aside, I see these malfunctions as fairly random, but never overwhelming. Once a week seems reasonable as baseline, with some randomness thrown in there depending on the type of malfunction. Not all malfunctions REQUIRE repairs, some can just be annoying or inconvenient, others can be seriously dangerous. Gotta pay for those Nailz, chum. Regular maintenance could essentially 'reset' the malfunction random timer.

The big list of chrome

Because I did say more chrome at the beginning and I meant it, plus thinking of new chrome is always fun. I won't bother with IC fluff here, just the hard concepts.

Jumping legs - Allow you to jump to rooves one tile above or below your current height. (Requires some stats that roof jumping already does). Can also negate some fall damage.

Climbing hands - Allows you to climb any distance vertically (and without an expensive grappling hook). The catch? Big PDS load, big price tag, probably makes your hands (and maybe feet) look messed up.

Hidden compartment - Got killed? Carrying a fat wad of chyen? Store it your secret compartment, they'll never think to check there. Sneak weapons past scanners! Always have a weapon on you! The possibilities are limitless!

X-ray eyes - Works mechanically very similar to how the ear amp works, but for emotes and lets you see the room. Maybe also lets you see @nudes, but that'd probably piss people off so, eh.

Gravity/electrical/energy shield - No idea how to fluff this one, but basically, armor on demand/toggleable (without the debuff from the current armor nano). Could even deflect lower calibre stuff outright. Probably massive PDS load and super expensive. For the super solos and corpo kill teams.

Cloak field - Yes, there's already a nano that does something like this. But that nano amplifies existing skills, it does nothing for a hulking, clumsy mano. This would be a toggleable, short-term stealth equivalent to a good stealth character hiding. Countered by thermals and obviously, someone who's very good at spotting people can still spot them. The low grade version maybe requires you to stand still and do nothing, whilst the regular version doesn't, and the higher grade one probably lasts a good while longer. Probably absurdly expensive and absurdly high PDS load.

Explosives launcher - Arm cannon, lets you store and launch all kinds of grenades and make them explode on impact. Not sure how broken this would be, but it would likely have an immensely high PDS load and price.

Electric discharge - Lets you discharge a big burst of electricity around you. Does damage, breaks grapples, possibly causes cyberware to have a chance to malfunction. Friendly fire!(!)

Progia SK edition - Lets you phone people with your mind. Could work like the VR phones but you project the image with your eyes. Cryo.

Quickterm SK edition - See above, but a quickterm.

Quick-e-Kleen - Allows your skin to discharge cleansing agents of all kinds (and perhaps other things). Allows you instantly stop being wet, clean your clothes, perhaps apply certain smells depending on the grade of the cyberware.

I could go on. Final little addition, the current implementation of cyberlimbs is very lacking. This has been brought up a lot but I'm of the belief that especially considering the huge drawback to them, they should provide a significant stat boost, and again, could use the grading system I suggest so you'd see lower mixers with scrappy, hacked together metal arms and corporates with glorious golden limbs.

TL;DR give rippers a reason to exist, let lower end people get chrome without it making them a huge target, and make current chrome more varied.

I've always thought the cost for entry of cyberware was rather high. It kinda makes it exciting when you can first afford chrome, also devastating when you lose it.

Some of the suggested 'wares like an energy field seem a bit too high concept sci fi, and I dunno the coded implications of any of them but I do like the idea of shitty garbage tier cyberware.

So... this isn't the first cyberware 'grade' idea thread, but I do like some of the ideas.

There's at least a couple of points I feel need to be made here:

1) Anything that could potentially affect combat needs to be heavily scrutinized, because what some might perceive as a very small thing could very easily turn 3 years of AE investment upside down. Cool idea or not, balance needs to be maintained.

2) Any new cyberware additions should be more than niche use with heavy PDS load. If anything, an argument could be made that we need more cosmetic/quality of life cyberware that are more corporate aimed, since nobody's sleeping on combat chrome right now. You've got a few of these mixed in there, but the effects need to be more bang for the buck. Having on-demand perfume/cologne in the form of pheromone enhancement cyberware like you suggested is perfect, in my opinion. While someone could carry around a bunch of perfume and spritz themselves as needed, it would be costly and annoying to carry around all of those items. The cyberware needs to present a cost effective or convenience alternative to something that already exists. While I can see a couple of people grabbing the quickterm mod, I can't really see it being bought out extensively. At least not at the moment.

The climbing and jumping ones would need simplified command syntax over the alternatives. One could argue jumping should come built in with cyberlegs, as well.

I'm still waking up, so that's all I've got for now.

Secondary thought... if jumping did come as a benefit of cyber legs, I'd like to think we'd see less deliberate suicide as an alternative to the cost of replacing legs with the very expensive manufactured ones.
I really like a lot of the ideas in this thread. That is one of the things that is sort of hallmark to the cyberpunk genre. Being able to chrome up is I think what most people think of when they start playing. I love the fact that it would give more opportunities for people to do things, and also give an entire archetype additional RP and options.

While this should probably go into another thread, I'm also not entirely sure that it's a terrible thing if some of the combat balance is shaken up a little. Allowing people a little better options to punch upwards make things more interesting. I am certainly no expert when it comes to some of the back end systems, but anything that allows more characters to experience danger is good in my book. You should never feel safe.

(for reference, it's not SK that produces the eyes)
Sorry, not SK who makes the enhancements for the eyes, even.
The PDS cost for "cosmetic replacement" chrome is quite high -- arguably prohibitively high. I'm not sure what mechanic is used to set PDS, but I think it probably should be related to the utility of the item most of all. We should be encouraging style over substance.
Just +1'ing BlazingCoconut's comment in regards to balance.

In a game where playing unfair is basically the norm, balance really should not be a concern and honestly, I kind of hate that it is. Leads to situations where the game describes you shooting someone in the head but they're still only slightly injured. It becomes entirely about numbers and UE instead of creativity or planning. All the planning in the world won't help you against someone with any significant UE advantage over you, and they will kill you in 5-10 seconds.

In fact, that's exactly why I would like to see less balanced/more extreme chrome. Give players more options rather than just 'oh this character has half a year on me so I will never ever be able to beat them' which is the harsh reality, even with the commonly presented solution of 'fight them another way', which isn't a solution, it's ignoring the problem.

But yes, probably a topic for another thread.

I actually love love love the idea of cheap, entry-level cyberware/arms/legs/eyes/etcetc, especially after seeing its prevalence in Cyberpunk. Not that this has to be 1:1 with Cyberpunk, but it's a very evocative setting and they're obviously a part of the same genre.