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StealthSigma
We use Shadowrun because we like the system. However the GM has removed magic and is allowing essence scores below 0 (essentially removing essence). This creates a cost imbalance between bioware and cyberware. The only reasons I can think of to utilize bio over cyber is the lower detectability. Please correct me if I'm wrong.

I've finally convinced my GM to perform a more in depth look at the costs of bioware beyond a flat 30% reduction in cost, which many times still makes bioware unfavorable to cyberware. Here's the method I've utilized.

I'm establishing a base line of reduction with 1:1 bioware:cyberware. This means that the bioware has a direct comparison to a piece of cyberware. I used the following to establish my baseline. Muscle Replacement vs Muscle Toner & Augmentation, Cat's Eyes vs Cyber Low Light, Troll's Eyes vs Cyber Thermo, Orthoskin vs Dermal Plating, and Wired Reflexes vs Synaptic Booster (a PITA).

This is the basis for my work. I take calculate the essence cost reduction for each of these as a percentage. I then increase the cyber version cost by that percentage and decrease the bio version by the same percentage. I then average the two values together.

Muscle Replacement: 5,000 nuyen & 1 essence
Muscle Aug & Toner: 15,000 nuyen & 0.4 essence (47% / 53% ratio in cost)
Essence Reduction: 60%
Modified Cyber Cost: 5,000 * 160% = 8,000
Modified Bio Cost: 15,000 * 40% = 6,000
Average Cost = 7,500 (3,250 Aug, 3,750 Toner)

Low Light Cyber Vision: 1,500 nuyen & 0.2 essence
Cat's Eyes: 7,500 nuyen & 0.1 essence
Essence Reduction: 50%
Modified Cyber Cost: 1,500 * 150% = 2,250
Modified Bio Cost: 7,500 * 50% = 3,750
Average Cost = 3,000

Thermo Cyber Vision: 1,500 nuyen & 0.2 essence
Troll's Eyes: 8,000 nuyen & 0.1 essence
Essence Reduction: 50%
Modified Cyber Cost: 1,500 * 150% = 2,250
Modified Bio Cost: 8,000 * 50% = 4,000
Average Cost = 3,125

Orthoskin: 30,000 nuyen & 0.25 essence
Dermal Plating: 5,000 nuyen & 0.5 essence
Essence Reduction: 50%
Modified Cyber Cost: 5,000 * 150% = 7,500
Modified Bio Cost: 30,000 * 50% = 15,000
Average Cost = 11,250

Wired Reflexes vs Synaptic Booster seems a bit of a PITA, but using the same formula I get the following results.

Synaptic Booster 1: 80,000 nuyen & 0.5 essence
Wired Reflexes 1: 11,000 nuyen & 2 essence
Essence Reduction: 75%
Modified Cyber Cost: 11,000 * 175% = 19,250
Modified Bio Cost: 80,000 * 25% = 20,000
Average Cost = 19,625

Synaptic Booster 2: 160,000 nuyen & 1 essence
Wired Reflexes 2: 32,000 nuyen & 3 essence
Essence Reduction: 67%
Modified Cyber Cost: 32,000 * 167% = 53,333
Modified Bio Cost: 160,000 * 33% = 53,333
Average Cost = 53,333

Synaptic Booster 3: 240,000 nuyen & 1.5 essence
Wired Reflexes 3: 100,000 nuyen & 5 essence
Essence Reduction: 70%
Modified Cyber Cost: 100,000 * 170% = 170,000
Modified Bio Cost: 240,000 * 30% = 72,000
Average Cost = 121,000

Put yourself in this system. No magic, no essence concerns. Would you still pick bio? Does the benefits of bio outweigh the increases costs at the listed costs?

Critique about how to alter the cost of bioware is welcome.

Edit:
I ran some numbers on upgrading the incremental augments, I think the numbers I came up with make Bioware more appealing if you plan on upgrading from Rating 1 -> Rating MAX, while making cyberware more appealing if you don't have any plans to upgrade.

I used the following costs for upgrading
Cyberware: 10% tradein on old chrome
Bioware: Cost difference + 10% of new bio cost

Augment: Cost / Cost to Upgrade
Muscle Replacement 1: 5,000 / 5,000
Muscle Replacement 2: 10,000 / 9,500
Muscle Replacement 3: 15,000 / 14,000
Muscle Replacement 4: 20,000 / 18,500
Total Cost: 47,000

Muscle Augmentation 1: 3,250 / 3,250
Muscle Augmentation 2: 6,500 / 3,900
Muscle Augmentation 3: 9,750 / 4,225
Muscle Augmentation 4: 13,000 / 4,550
Total Cost: 15,925

Muscle Toner 1: 3,750 / 3,750
Muscle Toner 2: 7,500 / 4,500
Muscle Toner 3: 11,250 / 4,875
Muscle Toner 4: 15,000 / 5,250
Total Cost: 18,375
--
Wired Reflexes 1: 11,000 / 11,000
Wired Reflexes 2: 32,000 / 30,900
Wired Reflexes 3: 100,000 / 96,800
Total Cost: 138,700

Synaptic Boosters 1: 19,625 / 19,625
Synaptic Boosters 2: 53,333 / 39,041
Synaptic Boosters 3: 121,000 / 79,767
Total Cost: 138,433
EvilP
Looks fairly good. I think you should up the costs for bioware a little bit more in some cases. It's far more concealable and won't fall prey to naughty hackers.

I can see this game of yours getting quite brutal as everyone with a bit of money will be a cyberzombie equivalent as soon as they can afford it. Have fun!
LurkerOutThere
Errr i have to ask, is he literally removing essence or is he allowing negative essence. In the former it doesn't matter, in the latter bioware sitll has it's place as it is more friendly to mages and nothing should be changed in my opinion.
Summerstorm
Hm hm... Well i would just leave the essence and monetery costs the way they are but reintroduce the negative consequences of cyberware. Oh and also stress.

For example the Wired Reflexes and Move-By-Wire should make you too twitchy. Maybe you react faster than you should, dodge things that aren't there; that kind of stuff.

Ah and with the stress: Every once a while cyberware has to be repaired/get into maintenance. Bioware... well at long as you live it will just regenerate and keeps on working. So the monetary advantage of cyberware fades with the years.
Traul
Bioware can also have its uses if you make extensive use of cyberware scanners.
Generic_PC
QUOTE (LurkerOutThere @ Nov 11 2009, 06:06 PM) *
Errr i have to ask, is he literally removing essence or is he allowing negative essence. In the former it doesn't matter, in the latter bioware sitll has it's place as it is more friendly to mages and nothing should be changed in my opinion.


He said that magic was gone. I don't understand why, but that's his GMs initiative.

I would never rely on TIME to balance out costs. Any shadowrunner is gonna go for cyberware everytime. They average life span of a runner is extremely low, assuming they aren't doing milk runs all the time.

Similarly, I wouldn't rely on upgrades, unless you really need anything to balance them out. I'd give bioware a small bonus, say, +1 to a logic based skill of your choice with a Cerebral booster, On top of the price reduction. Or make Cyberware slightly more (read, 2 points) hard to acquire. This represents more faulty pieces, or fewer pieces built for a certain kind of metahuman.
Jericho Alar
I could see pulling magic if you liked the system but wanted a more straightforward cyberpunk setting; I'm guessing the GM probably pulled stuff like metatypes too.

I'm surprised at the no-essence floor thing though, unless they're playing transhuman full borg-kit type settings, letting people go to negative however much is a bit unbalancing. I'd feel alot more comfortable with just a relaxed essence (say, 9).
LurkerOutThere
I completely missed the line about removing magic, never mind forget i said anything with my apologies.
OneTrikPony
I wish I could play in your game. Shadowrun - magic = Awesome!

Sounds to me like if essence doesn't exist then cyberware grades don't exist and any bioware function that can be accomplished better and cheaper by cyber doesn't exist. You're GM has created a perfect world.

I think I missunderstand why you're worried about stuff like synaptic accelerators when you can get stuff like MBW for only money.
Thanee
Make Essence below Zero a negative dice pool modifier for all social tasks. Otherwise leave everything as is.

Bye
Thanee
StealthSigma
QUOTE (Generic_PC @ Nov 11 2009, 09:45 PM) *
I would never rely on TIME to balance out costs. Any shadowrunner is gonna go for cyberware everytime. They average life span of a runner is extremely low, assuming they aren't doing milk runs all the time.

Similarly, I wouldn't rely on upgrades, unless you really need anything to balance them out. I'd give bioware a small bonus, say, +1 to a logic based skill of your choice with a Cerebral booster, On top of the price reduction. Or make Cyberware slightly more (read, 2 points) hard to acquire. This represents more faulty pieces, or fewer pieces built for a certain kind of metahuman.


No I don't rely on time, that was just something I tested out after figuring new costs for bioware. I was just thrilled that the method I came up with did generate bioware with cheaper costs over time.

Bioware still has its uses. It's discreet. It's hard if not impossible to detect. It's not vulnerable to hackers (even though that's a low risk). It doesn't require the same level of maintenance that chrome requires. Bioware is very useful to characters that many times will operate on their own or operate for extended periods of time away from other people.

However when there is no floor to essence scores, it's very hard if not impossible to justify paying 140,000 more for Synpatic Boosters 3 over what you would pay for Wired Reflexes 3. Hell, you're still better off going with Muscle Replacements over Toner or Augmentation even if you need just one of those two stats, since Replacements is cheaper than Toner or Augmentation.

--

QUOTE (Jericho Alar @ Nov 11 2009, 10:57 PM) *
I could see pulling magic if you liked the system but wanted a more straightforward cyberpunk setting; I'm guessing the GM probably pulled stuff like metatypes too.

I'm surprised at the no-essence floor thing though, unless they're playing transhuman full borg-kit type settings, letting people go to negative however much is a bit unbalancing. I'd feel alot more comfortable with just a relaxed essence (say, 9).


Very keen perception. Yes, metatypes don't exist as the currently are in rules.

This is what we do with any PnP RPG system we touch. We mold the system to something that we do like.

One issue is that without essence to govern cyber and bioware there is no incentive to use bioware except in a few fringe cases. I personally have a character concept who's only bit of chrome is a datajack. So I will admit it does make it a little personal to me as I'm gimping myself for concept. And likely to further strengthen my position the person with the lowest essence score (just a tad under 0) does want bioware costs reduced so that he could swap some of his chrome for bio and get his essence score above 0.

The other issue is that by removing magic we've removed one of the methods of obtaining additional IPs. So to have additional IPs (that last for more than one combat round) you need to dope yourself, use wired reflexes, move-by-wire, or synaptic boosters. I'd say that if we had magic, we would have between 2-3 of our characters that would be adepts and probably gain extra IPs that way.

Or look at it this way. You've suggested to raise the essence cost. The problem is that will have no bearing on the issue we have. All it will do is just remove the concerns some players have about their characters showing a negative essence. There's still no incentive to use bioware over chrome. Essence is an attribute that balances bioware, chrome, and magic all at once. You get to mix and match chrome, bio, and magic to reach that essence value of 6. We've removed one of the legs from that stool making essence suddenly an attribute that has lost a significant amount of reliability. I think that even with enforcing 6 essence as a cap, you still run into issues of bio and chrome being unbalanced.

--

QUOTE (OneTrikPony @ Nov 12 2009, 12:18 AM) *
I wish I could play in your game. Shadowrun - magic = Awesome!

Sounds to me like if essence doesn't exist then cyberware grades don't exist and any bioware function that can be accomplished better and cheaper by cyber doesn't exist. You're GM has created a perfect world.

I think I missunderstand why you're worried about stuff like synaptic accelerators when you can get stuff like MBW for only money.


We like options to be viable in a PnP system, plus as I've stated before certain characters could make very good use of the low profile discreet nature of bioware. Which do you think is easier to get into a crowded party? A bio enhanced characters and a gun, or a heavily cyberized individual along with a weapon?
Jericho Alar
well, essence 6 in the 'current' system is balanced between cyber and bio because of the half off bonus for the smaller of the 2 numbers - if you look at most <1 essence characters they mix bio in to get more stuff for the same essence.

when you remove the 0 essence floor you're essentially telling players it's ok to ignore the extra incentives to mix, since generally the only advantage to paying double for bio isn't that bio is less essence on paper (it is!) but in practice it's even half what the paper value is.

no reason to worry about it in this system, you can freely stack a full cyborg conversion (~4+ essence depending on armor plating/lacing etc.) with MBW3 (5 essence) without penalty.

a higher cap isn't an issue for starting characters, sure, because the real limit at character creation for characters that lack magic stats is cash and not essence per se; but get a couple hundred k in run rewards under your belt and your cybered up characters will be *far* below 0 and falling just as fast as they were when they were at 2.

basically, without some penalty for going below 0 the advantages to bioware are basically roleplay only excepting cases where the ability isn't duplicated elsewhere - unless you go to the extent of doing significant cyber scanning at every entrance everywhere (MAD won't cut it; without a real scan you can't tell the difference between a blue-collar's skillwires and a felon's Wired Reflexes - they're basically the same amount of chrome... )
Godwyn
You do not have to have magic to balance essence. It is not quite a tripod seems to be inferred. Maintaining essence puts a hard cap on augmentations as if you hit 0, you die. Doing so makes bioware very useful, because you can effectively get almost 8 essence worth of stuff, as whichever you have less of, bio or cyber, counts as half against your essence.

Also, unless the GM lets you create/edit bio and cyberware, some things available as bioware simply do not exist as cyberware, tailored pheromones for instance.

As to the concern about enhanced individuals generally having an advantage over those that don't, I reply, well yes.
Thanee
Also, what's with alpha-/beta-/deltaware? The main advantage of those is also the reduced Essence cost.


But I think one of the main questions should be... why did you (or your GM) even remove the Essence 0 cap!?

Really, unless there is a VERY good reason to remove that cap (being able to have more cyberware is not enough of a reason, IMHO, you can already have plenty... and there are ways to get even more (i.e. abovementioned cybergrades)), just put it back into place and suddenly all your problems with it vanish in a puff of smoke. biggrin.gif

Bye
Thanee
Screaming Eagle
They like the game system for cyberpunk and droped a pile of the setting - Essence is present to stop the Sami from outstripping the mage or adept TOO hard and (IMO) to stop the game from going TOO transhumanist.

This GM doesn't have mages and is most likly fine with people going full borg and beyond.

The only things stopping you in the old "Cyberpunk" game from going full convert doom cyborg were:
A) money - god the thearapy (cyberpsycosis) and mods got pricy
B) staying pretty

I can see running this kind of game and not modifying the Bio costs at all or only givving a moderate discount - they are in fasion, Chrome is SO last nano. Anyone who is anyone has Bioware and all the trend setters have gone down the Genetic Enginerring path.

Sure you start in the business with Chrome - its cheap and it works, but if you want to play in the big leagues you need to walk the walk. Setting off Military Ware'z detectors is a big Faux pas and can cost you work...

That said as presented the cost breaks look ok, not what I'd be doing, but not to shabby at all.
Godwyn
You can go full Cyborg, read Augmentation nyahnyah.gif
Screaming Eagle
QUOTE (Godwyn @ Nov 12 2009, 02:40 PM) *
You can go full Cyborg, read Augmentation nyahnyah.gif

I have read it, but mostly read the rules there as "GM perogative/domain, PC's only to enter with correct autherisation"

And frankly? They suck.
Yes, that was an opinion but as presented it is nowhere near worth it to get this done to you - starting like it ok, I can see it, but who the F*** is going to volenteer?
Stahlseele
Combine GITS with Appleseed and Bubblegum Crysis and that's what you're gonna end up playing.
Especially if you combine Batou with Briareos Hecatonchires and maybe a Boomer or Power-Armor.
Godwyn
QUOTE (Screaming Eagle @ Nov 12 2009, 07:00 PM) *
I have read it, but mostly read the rules there as "GM perogative/domain, PC's only to enter with correct autherisation"

And frankly? They suck.
Yes, that was an opinion but as presented it is nowhere near worth it to get this done to you - starting like it ok, I can see it, but who the F*** is going to volenteer?


I agree. It was kinda of joke about it. It is far more effective to either a) build a drone to do the same thing then rig it, or b) fully replace body with cyber limbs/torso/skull, though that does start to run the essence really high, which just requires higher grades, which cost more, which is what helps limit it. Of course with no essence requirement, it would be ridiculously easy to start with a full cyber body.
Tymeaus Jalynsfein
QUOTE (Screaming Eagle @ Nov 12 2009, 11:03 AM) *
They like the game system for cyberpunk and droped a pile of the setting - Essence is present to stop the Sami from outstripping the mage or adept TOO hard and (IMO) to stop the game from going TOO transhumanist.

This GM doesn't have mages and is most likly fine with people going full borg and beyond.

The only things stopping you in the old "Cyberpunk" game from going full convert doom cyborg were:
A) money - god the thearapy (cyberpsycosis) and mods got pricy
B) staying pretty

I can see running this kind of game and not modifying the Bio costs at all or only givving a moderate discount - they are in fasion, Chrome is SO last nano. Anyone who is anyone has Bioware and all the trend setters have gone down the Genetic Enginerring path.

Sure you start in the business with Chrome - its cheap and it works, but if you want to play in the big leagues you need to walk the walk. Setting off Military Ware'z detectors is a big Faux pas and can cost you work...

That said as presented the cost breaks look ok, not what I'd be doing, but not to shabby at all.



But remember, even in Cyber Punk, there was still a humanity stat that controlled exactly how much enhancement you could apply to your body... there needs to be some capacity limit or the game tends to break down...

Keep the Faith
Tymeaus Jalynsfein
QUOTE (Screaming Eagle @ Nov 12 2009, 12:00 PM) *
I have read it, but mostly read the rules there as "GM perogative/domain, PC's only to enter with correct autherisation"

And frankly? They suck.
Yes, that was an opinion but as presented it is nowhere near worth it to get this done to you - starting like it ok, I can see it, but who the F*** is going to volenteer?



You never actually volunteer for such a procedure, you are Volunteered by circumstance most likely...

Robocop (Both 1 and 2) is a good example of that...

Keep the Faith
StealthSigma
QUOTE (Tymeaus Jalynsfein @ Nov 12 2009, 11:35 PM) *
But remember, even in Cyber Punk, there was still a humanity stat that controlled exactly how much enhancement you could apply to your body... there needs to be some capacity limit or the game tends to break down...

Keep the Faith


Mmhmm, which is why I'm pursuing the reduction of cost of bioware. I have an environment that I have to work in, and baring any changes to the environment this really the only option that will work.
Screaming Eagle
QUOTE (Tymeaus Jalynsfein @ Nov 12 2009, 10:35 PM) *
But remember, even in Cyber Punk, there was still a humanity stat that controlled exactly how much enhancement you could apply to your body... there needs to be some capacity limit or the game tends to break down...

Keep the Faith

It was basically a Sanity Score messuring how much you considered yourself human. But you could get it back with time and therapy as long as you took the mod'ing relativly slowly and as long as you looked and could act human at the end the damage to your mind was minamal and easily fixed. There was a hard cap we worked out back in the day - a point of no return. But, if I recall correctly, it was well past anything a starting PC could afford.

I do agree there should be SOME limiter but I doubt we are going to come to a consensus on what it should be.
Brazilian_Shinobi
You could still use "Essence" (even putting it on a higher value, let's say, 10) and whenever you put a new ware or whenever the GM feels like it, he could make you roll Int + Willpower to see if you develop some kind of psichosis, and the diference between the strting essence and your current one would be a penalty for the roll.
Screaming Eagle
looks like they left essence and left it at 6, you can just go negative. As far a penalties for negative essence, a few off the top of my head that are kinda "Cyberpunky" in case anyone cares... no none of this is play tested.

-1 overflow for each essence or fraction you go below 0 - you don't bleed anymore, you breakdown
-1 on addition tests for each negative essence - you are basically just shooting things straigth into yuor brain at some point
Apply mental flaws at a rate of 5 points for each full essence point below 0 (these may be optionally bought of with Karma as per - therapy - if you'd like)
For a "gritty" game that keeps the player street punk slave to their upgrades - Any time you take physical damage granting penalties a test with your negative essence as the die pool is rolled threshold (pick one, i'd go with 2) - if the test succeeds you need to go to the shop for an overhaul costing X (dagged if I know how much, I'd need to sit down with the books and think on it).
Heath Robinson
Remind people that they're more difficult to medic back to full health with lower Essence scores. It is, unfortunately, true that the rate at which dice are removed is really slow, but who's to say you can't get the GM to apply a significant "more machine than human" modifier for being lower then 0 Ess. Perhaps a -3 modifier? (That -3 essentially doubles the penalty at that point.)

In addition, try to persaude the GM to start moving some of the SURGE traits into Bioware or Geneware options. They may be occasionally marginal in utility, but it's worth having them out there.
OneTrikPony
Removing magic from the game can really allow the good parts of the game to shine.

I've been thinking about this for a while now and I think that this would allow a GM to add alot more depth to the tech. You can add rules that support the flavor without unfairly penalizing an archetype that has to compete with magic.

One thing I'd do is highlight the textural difference between cyber and bio. For one thing I'd like to make cyberware feel more mechanical. Material science allows mechanical implants to surpass the performance of it's biological counterpart in many ways but mechanical parts wear out and require maintainance while bioware is mostly self healing.

I would increase monthly lifestyle costs by some factor (probably 1000) for each point of the total essence value of cyberware. Additionaly each month of game time a character would need a maintainance check; a Cybertech skill extended test) with a threshold equal to 1/2 total cyber essence value (rounded up) and a timeframe of (essence) hours. Tools required would also be determined by the amount of ware installed; a Kit for 1-2 points of essence value, a shop for 3-5 pionts of essence value, a facility for any essence value over 5. Hardware and software maintainance might also be required. Each time a maintainance check is skipped the GM could temporarily apply a negative quality like Buggy Ware (Augmentation) or Gremlins (SR4a) until the character has the ware repaired by a doc using the rules in Augmentation.

This would accomplish a couple of things.
It would legitimize cyberware grades. Forget about bio being an expencive option. With out essence mechanics Deltaware seems silly.
It woud make cyber 'feel' more mechanical, more like gear than a part of the body.
It would also be a compelling reason to be a shadowrunner, 'I run to make money to maintain my ware/I get more ware installed so I can take harder runs so I can make more money to maintain my ware.'
It soaks up some of the funds that a character would use on gear, slowing what would be unlimited advancement due to the lack of an essence cap.
The character would have to spend skill points on a non combat skill or regularly see a street doc with the required skills and tools.

Having to see a street doc every month would be a major risk from a RP perspective. It wouldn't be too difficult for KE to track a character through a street doc.
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