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Current Project: BRP Open Cybernetics Subsystem


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[Terms of Use]
This Material is free to use for both home use, and monograph authors, and is my contribution to a better cyberpunk setting turnout for BRP. Naturally, no restrictions are present. If a Monograph author wishes to compensate me for this work, They are free to email me at: "Link6746" (Gmail Address). My preferred form of compensation is a free physical copy of the monograph in question.



[The Basic Stats and Terms of Cybernetics]

Inhumanity: Each implant adds 1 to 4 ranks of this to the character. If it exceeds POW, add 5% per additional point to Psychosis. If the campaign is using Sanity rules, each 5% in Psychosis gained reduces SAN by 1/1d4+1

Restriction Level: Restriction Level is pretty much a measure of legality. As an implant or prosthetic's RL gets higher, more qualifications are required to possess it legally. These Qualifications are kept indefinitely once earned, but may be taken away based on the character's actions and standing.

Psychosis: Checked whenever the character is in situations of extreme stress. If a "Success" is rolled, then the character goes psychotic and control is surrendered to the GM.

Imbalance: Increases each time cybernetics are added. If this gets to 50%, all magic checks are difficult. at 100%, all magic checks are impossible to do at all. Increases by 5, 10, 15, or 20% with each implant, prosthesis, or artificial transplant.

CON: Dictates total Organ or other Miscellaneous implants/Transplants of an artificial nature that can be received.

Jolts: Electricity, the power point system for Cybernetics. Can be used to power Energy Weapons either from batteries on the energy weapons,
or by connecting directly to a cybernetic part. Jolts are used to Abstract the system of powering or using powers from Cybernetics.

Platform: The device that connects the Wetware (Body) to the Cybernetic Hardware that the character employs. A Platform goes into a prexisting limb and connects to the Prime Platform-
A Neural Device, or Deck- to allow control over cybernetic components.

Neural Device: The prime platform. This allows you to use other cybernetics. Also called a Deck. Does not come with any modem type or method to connect to external devices by itself, requiring a slot to be taken for these extensions.

Program: This provides a bonus to a certain skill when it's active. This bonus may be Direct (One Catagory towards Easy for a Mental Skill) or Simple (5/10/15%)

Prosthesis: An artificial limb, or even Body, that by default has more Platforms than the original part is capable of, and may have other features.

Implant: A non-limb or non-body replacing device that goes inside the body or limb of choice.

Slots: The Total Number of Implants Allowed for a Given Limb, or Miscellaneous implants.

Type: A Cybernetic component is considered to be a Battery (Jolt Maximum increase), a Generator (Reduce a stat by 1 or more, Return 1 Jolt in a given period of time) grant a Bonus
(To Stats, Skills, or Armor), Be a Weapon (Treated like the weapon it's based on), or grant a Power (From any of the Power Types, with minor modification if necessary) or Ability
(A trait, such as being able to enter digital networks, devices, and programs digitally).

Cost: Bonus Type Cybernetics sometimes have a cost, which is taken every day they are active. Weapon Type Cybernetics Either have a Use Cost, or are treated like Bonus Type Cybernetics.
Power Type Cybernetics cost the same number of Jolts as the power would take in Power Points. Battery, Generator, and Ability type Cybernetics do not take Jolts to Operate.


[system]

Implanting: First, Slots must be checked to ensure that the body can handle the implant. Then, a platform must be implanted or chosen for the implant. Following this, the proper amount of
Imbalance and Inhumanity is incurred if necessary, and the implant is ready to use.

Cyberdocs: A Neural Device and most other implants, prosthetic, and other cybernetic or biotechnology items requires a doctor to have them added to a character.
A machine can be used as a proxy for this, but the most skilled of doctors are better than any machine simply because they can think creatively in terms of how to implant
or replace something without harming the body.

Prosthetics: Adding a Prosthetic is simple: A limb is lopped off, and a Platform placed where the limb connects. The limb is then replaced with the Prosthetic,
Inhumanity and Imbalance is incurred if appropriate, and the Prosthesis is ready to use (and may or may not provide a bonus when using that limb).

Inhumanity Index: Each implant has an index rating of 1 to 4. This is how much Inhumanity is added with the implant. If the character gains Inhumanity above POW, they gain 5% Psychosis for each point of Inhumanity above POW. In campaigns using the sanity option, SAN damage of 1/1d4+1 is also incurred.

Implant Slots: By default, a fully human character with no prosthetics has 2 slots on each leg, 2 on each arm, 4 in the Head, And 4 spread through the Torso and Pelvis, as well as a number
of Misc slots equal to their CON. Neural Devices and Platforms are implants, but do not take an Implant Slot.

Limb Slots: One Per Limb of the same type as that limb, by Default. Additional Limbs come at a penalty of 1d4 DEX per limb, the GM can however rule that a specific limb costs the character
a specific amount of DEX.

Programs: Programs Take no slots to use, but requires a Neural Device of some sort, and reduces INT by 1 and IDEA by 5% for each
MB of program loaded. 3 INT must always remain in order to act as desired, and 1 INT must remain for the character to remain able to
function at all. The total number of Programs that can be put on a character's Deck is equal to INT*2 due to having to sandbox each of them.

Jolts: These are used like Power Points, but are counted separately and can only be used with Cybernetics.

Imbalance: Subtract directly from any Magic or Sorcery based skill rolls if present. Only matters in campaigns with both Cybernetics and Magic.

Batteries: Each Rechargable Battery Implant adds 2 (Small Capacity), 4 (Medium Capacity), 6 (Large Capacity), 8 (High Capacity), or 10 (Extra Capacity) to the maximum Jolts a character has
for Cybernetic Use. Batteries that are not Implants can be used to charge Battery Implants (1d6+1, or 2d6+2). This charging happens over 2 rounds
(half the power is restored on the first round, the other half on the second- If the total be restored is Odd, add 1 to it before division).

Recharging Batteries: A Generator recharges Jolts slowly (1d3 to 2d6 + 1 to 2 Efficiency Modifier per Day/Hour/30 Minutes), while a Power Socket restores an amount
(1d3 to 2d6 per round, with a +/- 1-2 Wiring quality modifier) of Jolts

Restriction/Qualification Level: Restriction Level is the amount of qualification required to legally possess and use a given piece of cyberware. Qualification level is used to determine what RL the character can legally use. If a campaign setting has more stringent restrictions on cybernetics, then move up RL by 1.
0: Unrestricted
1: License
2: Security
3: Military
4: Black Ops/Research
5: Black Market (Minor Infraction if Caught with)
6: Black Market (Moderate infraction if Caught with)
7: Black Market (Severe infraction if caught with)



[Playstyles]: Playstyles allow one or more twists upon Cybernetics.

Arcane Balance: In campaigns with Magic and Cybernetics existing side by side, Balance enforces the rule that a person with machine parts is less likely to think in terms that allow magic to be used by them, and is more likely to be confused by magic. The Arcane Balance playstyle represents this. each implant has a 5%, 10%, or 15% addition
to imbalance, which at 50% makes Magic difficult and at 100% negates the ability to use magic at all. Can be further customized to count above 100% imbalance, where 200%
imbalance causes death.

Inhumanity: In campaigns with a focus on the mind warping effects of Cybernetics, Inhumanity is used to represent the potential of Cybernetics to drive a person insane.
A character's POW limits the amount of implants they can get without gaining in Psychosis (5% per point of Inhumanity above POW). If the campaign is also using Sanity, then after this limit is reached, 1d4+1 SAN damage is taken. Following this, each further implant causes 1 SAN damage so long as it continues to raise Psychosis. Psychosis can be lowered either by removing implants and prosthesis, or by raising POW, but the damage to Sanity that results from it's gain is everlasting. However, Psychosis has one major flaw it brings to a character afflicted with it: In stress filled situations, the character goes psychotic and control is surrendered to the GM until a POW*5 check is succeeded (Roll every 5 rounds) if the player rolls under the Psychosis %.

Glitches: Not all cybernetics are compatible. Sometimes they have glitches in programming that cause minor quirks in behavior, cessation of function, security flaws, or other
problems. Whenever you add an implant or replace a part of your body, Roll D% and compare it to the percentage listed with the implant or prosthesis for flaws, adding 5% per implant already possessed. If you roll under this %, you gain the listed flaw. For some implants, this may be as serious as character death- In this case, roll a Stamina check, with success negating the death and causing you to lose the implant's function instead. Flaw frequency and quirk frequency is dependant on the brand and quality of the device.


[stock Implant List]

Mental Amplifier: Slot Head, Index Rating 3 (+1 if Beta), Type Ability (Psionic Access), Jolt Cost 1 per 1/2 hour, Glitch Stupor, 10% Imbalance.
Implanted Weapon: Slot Arm, Index Rating 1 (+1 if connected to a targeting system), Type Weapon, Jolt Cost Negligable, Glitch Weapon-Popup/Popout. 10% Imbalance
Targeting System: Slot Head, Index Rating 2 (+1 if Beta), Type Bonus (Targeted Attacks), Jolt Cost Negligable, Glitch Frenzy. 15% Imbalance
Dermal Weave: Slot Body, Index Rating 1, Type Bonus (Armor +1, stackable without penalty), Glitch none. 5% Imbalance
Modem: Slot Head, Index Rating 3 (+1 if wireless), Type Bonus/Access (Hacking/Programming), Jolt Cost 1/entry to cyberspace, Glitch Driver Malfunction (Death), 25% Imbalance
Enhanced Vision Module: Slot Head, Index Rating 3, Type Ability (Night/Thermal vision), Jolt cost 1/10 rounds, Glitch light adversion, 15% Imbalance

Adrenal Controller: Slot head, Index rating 2, Type Ability, Jolt cost negligable, glitch Addiction, 5% imbalance. Effect below.
*for 4 rounds, movement does not hinder actions unless moving your full move speed, and any strength, constitution or agility based rolls are considered one step easier. At the end of the first round, make an easy stamina check. failing this, the effect ends early. succeeding this, the next round the effect becomes more difficult to maintain by one step. This process continues until the fourth round, at the end of which the effect is impossible to maintain any longer, and safeguards turn it off.

[stock Implant Platforms]

Grade R(estricted) Cybernetics Platform: Adds 4 Head slots, 10 Jolt Capacity Rechargable Battery. Inhumanity Index rating of 2
Grade M(ilitary) Cybernetics Platform: Adds 3 Head Slots, 8 Jolt Capacity Rechargable Battery. Inhumanity index rating of 1
Grade N(etrunner) Cybernetics Platform: Adds 2 Head slots, 6 Jolt Capacity Rechargable Battery. Inhumanity Index rating of 1
Grade C(ivilian) Cybernetics Platform: Adds 1 Head slot, 4 Jolt Capacity Rechargable Battery. Inhumanity Index Rating of 0.

Prosthetic Cyber-Arm: Adds 1 Arm implant slot for that arm, by means of replacing it. Allows replacement of lost arms.
Prosthetic Cyber-Leg: Adds 1 leg implant slot for that leg, by means of replacing it. Allows replacement of lost legs.

Prosthetic Vat-Grown Cyberized Body: Adds 2 Arm, 2 Leg, and 4 body slots, in addition to a number of head slots and Jolt Capacity dependant on cybernetics platform included.
*This CAN change character appearence and gender.

[Acknowledgements]
Enpeze: Inhumanity Playstyle's Core mechanic (SAN notwithstanding)

Link6746: Collection of different types of implants, implanting system. Example starter implants

Edited by Link6746
New Implant Subsystem (RL/CL), Rebalance to Generators and Rechargable Batteries
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SAN: Reduces each time Cybernetics are added. Indicates mental state.

This was the dumb-ass idea that was central to the rpg Cyberpunk. It was not present in the literature. If cyberwear makes you insane, no one would use it, no one would trust anyone with it, etc.

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These rules are more or less guidelines. They're still in the beginning phase of writing. I do know that I want Imbalance and SAN loss from cybernetics to at least be options for GMs.

In Neuromancer, one of the female leads had several pieces of cyber-ware at one point in her past with conflicting drivers. That might be an option for GMs as well.

In Cyberpunk, it wasn't so much that Cybernetics made you insane, as addiction to cyber-surgery did. that's like the difference between someone who got a single liposuction and called it quits, and Michael Jackson in terms of difference

Edited by Link6746
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In the 90ties we played a cyberspace campaign with BRP. Worked great. Due to the rules it was deadly, flexible and thus great.

I am convinced that simple rules work best and that is the same with cyberware rules. In those days we used the following subsystem

-each cybersystem had in addition to its a cost in $, a neural cost from 1-4, and a legal class from A (illegal) to C (legal in most countries)

-the neural cost is only important if it exceeds the POW value of a person. If the sum of all your implants exceeds the POW you have a 5% chance for each point of excess that you go amok (a roll is applied only in stress situations) and have to be hunted down by special police units.

So for example a mini recorder has neural cost of 1, 5.000$, and a legal class of C. With this eye implant you can record and magnify everything and send it to the cloud

A typical corporate cybersoldier with POW10 has for example the following implants: Bionic Hand (2), DNI Jack (3), Drug Booster (1), Pain Blocker (1), Lung filter (1). All implants give him a neural value of 8. With his POW 10 its no problem. He has never to roll. But would he risk to include a reflex booster (3) then he has 11 neural points. This is 1 over his POW 10 and he has now a 5% chance in each stress situation to run amok.

This simple system is very convenient because it does not penalize the casual cyberware user with two or three implants, but if you risk to include too many implants you will get a massive problem with running amok. It is neatly balancing out skills and cyberware. Additionally it gives the POW attribute an important usage in a setting where magic is not available.

Edited by Enpeze
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In the 90ties we played a cyberspace campaign with BRP. Worked great. Due to the rules it was deadly, flexible and thus great.

I am convinced that simple rules work best and that is the same with cyberware rules. In those days we used the following subsystem

-each cybersystem had in addition to its a cost in $, a neural cost from 1-4, and a legal class from A (illegal) to C (legal in most countries)

-the neural cost is only important if it exceeds the POW value of a person. If the sum of all your implants exceeds the POW you have a 5% chance for each point of excess that you go amok (a roll is applied only in stress situations) and have to be hunted down by special police units.

--Snip--

This simple system is very convenient because it does not penalize the casual cyberware user with two or three implants, but if you risk to include too many implants you will get a massive problem with running amok. It is neatly balancing out skills and cyberware. Additionally it gives the POW attribute an important usage in a setting where magic is not available.

Mind if I copy that for the Inhumanity playstyle? seems far better than what I have.

Edited by Link6746
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That is brilliant. I would either go with this, or do something with the SAN rules.

The SAN rules could work pretty similar to Call of Cthulhu, with a SAN rating for implant, and perhaps even a SAN roll dependent upon how much PP an implant takes to use...

The rule above also works fine, quite nice. I like how an implant is given a Class Rating, it serves as a legal indicator, and it is mechanically similar to Spell Magnitude, so it isn't reinventing the wheel, just changing the 'trappings' of magic in a sense.

Either of these would model the Cyber-Inhumanity aspect really well, that's if you want that to be present for a gritty cyberpunk setting. A more pulpy version of the genre would probably ignore it completely, so it depends on what flavour you want the campaign to be.

For the actual cybernetic abilities, I would use the BRP Powers rules, and make up some techno-babble jargon to give them a less generic feel, maybe have a look at the names they use for implants in other Cyberpunk settings. That way you've got your character creation consistent with a pre-existent system, and it has the costings for Failings, that can be looked at to make some specific cybernetic failings as well. It's always better not to put all your efforts in developing a completely new system, but repackaging the ones provided is what the BGB is all about in many ways. It also allows you to spend more time on designing your actual campaign plot, as this will be what the players remember rather than mechanics.

Edited by Mankcam
grammar
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  • 3 months later...

This was the dumb-ass idea that was central to the rpg Cyberpunk. It was not present in the literature. If cyberwear makes you insane, no one would use it, no one would trust anyone with it, etc.

This is the in-game justification I use for why cybernetics cause mental issues...please note that these are for augmentation (abilities far above human norm) as opposed to simple replacement (abilities equivalent to human norm).

"Augmentation is another stimulus that causes beings that gain excessive amounts of cybernetic/ biomagical enhancements to gain a mental axis. Although some of these are beneficial, most of them are not. The reason that they are so harmful is that it reduces a characters ability to empathize with fellow biological beings.

The root of these problems is that as a being transcends their original limits, they begin to feel less and less like they used to. This is especially true for those who gain sensory, neurological or musculature enhancements. The issue is that they can no longer interact with the world in the same way.

For example, when a being gains thermal vision, they lose the ability to see colors as others of their race can. Within a few years they will forget what colors really are. They typically have horrible fashion sense, since a shirt is a shirt, and whether it is day glow pink or black will have no impact on whether they wear it or not. Thus, their manner of dress is comical or they have someone pick their clothes for them or they have lots of clothes in the same color.

Auditory boosts typically have a tendency to make beings much more cynical since they can hear people whisper under their breath, or what they whisper to each other behind their backs. Those with sensitive auditory systems usually have very few friends. The same can be said for those beings with naturally good hearing such as the Sheng'po or Lupines. Auditory boosts also turn beings into insomniacs, since every small sound interrupts their sleep.

Tactile boosted beings have a tendency to be fastidious about their cleanliness and their apparel. Rough fabrics drive them crazy, irritants such as poison ivy, sunburn, bug bites, extreme heat or extreme cold are debilitating to them. In addition they cannot sleep unless under very fine fabrics such as silk. Other fabrics are too scratchy and too heavy to sleep under.

Beings who have boosted smell have a tendency to sniff the air. There is a huge amount of information carried by scents and those who can gather that information need to collect it, and sadly, sniffing does that. This is a disconcerting behavior when done by those races that it is not common practice to do so. Those with boosted smell also typically have a hatred of spicy food. They seem to prefer extremely bland meals.

Gustatory boosted individuals have many of the same proclivities, although they have to lick surfaces to gain information. This is a drawback for social as well as safety reasons. Nothing quite like licking some nerve agent droplets.

Neurological systems make people move fast, faster than they want to sometimes. For instance, the time it takes to stop an impulse, such as punch your boss when he is pissing you off is far too slow when you have boosted reflexes. The nature of the enhancement makes those who possess it seem to be twitchy. They constantly have to force themselves to not do things. A stimulus causes a reaction, and there is rarely enough time to "stop" yourself from doing something stupid.

Those with neurological upgrades also have a tendency to have a very short attention span. Constantly needing stimulus, they are commonly insomniacs, and are extremely fidgety. Always tapping fingers, gnawing on pencils, tapping their feet and bouncing around, they are not the people you need on an ambush line or conducting surveillance. They lack the ability to just be still.

Adrenaline boosters are even worse. Everything makes you overreact, then you are tired. Constantly switching between adrenaline fueled mania and exhaustion; a boosted individual is not good company. They have a tendency to be moody and emotional wrecks.

Musculature boosts come in two types...permanent and temporary. Temporary boosts are caused by chemical infusion throughout the body, typically testosterone, endorphins and adrenaline, all of which cause an individuals' mental state to become unbalanced. Becoming freakishly strong, rage filled and immune to pain is a good thing when engaged in covert operations gone bad and you are alone, outnumbered and behind enemy lines. It is not a good thing when you are meeting your soon to be in laws for the first time and their dog annoys you by biting you heels!

A permanent muscle boost causes its own set of problems. With more muscle tissue, a being has to eat a lot of protein. For a human who gains a small boost, it is not that much of an issue, just eat another meal. For a troll who gains a large boost...they eat constantly. Not snacks, but full meals. Expect to triple or quadruple the cost of food every month as they eat, and eat, and eat. If a being lives with other beings in a sort of "safe house", then there will likely be arguments about who drank all the milk, ate all the dog food, and made a huge mess in the kitchen.

Permanently strength boosted beings are also notorious for breaking things. Glasses, dishes, sensitive electronic or mechanical or magical items are not built to be handled by overly strong beings, and they break easily."

I also have justifications for addiction to magic, why adventurers are usually crazy (murder-hobos with PTSD) and how high level skills can make you less fun at parties.

tl;dr...cyber augmentation makes you crazy (so does magic and being a murder-hobo).

-STS

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