I love cyberpunk games and I love cyberware. When I first started role-playing 17 years ago aside from D&D my other two games of choice were Cyberpunk 2020 (only got to play a few times sadly) and Shadowrun.
However one thing that always annoyed me was the overt complexity of the cyberware rules systems. I understand how they get that, considering what cyberware does and everything, but shit, it can take a bit to figure out…
As years have gone on, my like for more complex and crunchy systems has dwindled to the point of being non-existent. I usually stick to my own OSR hacks for fantasy and Barbarians of Lemuria hacks or Savage Worlds for everything else.
A few months ago I gave Interface Zero a read through and enjoyed a bit of the fluff. There was detail, but it wasn’t mind numbing or over abundant…. so with that I was getting excited to see their Cyberpunk rules and hoped that they kept in line with the “Fast, Fun, and Furious” mentality of SW… now I’m sure people will disagree with me, but I think that even IZ’s cyberware rules are just too convoluted for my tastes and actually a bit confusing.
Aside: I had two players who wanted to be totally cybered up and they were lost by the defect rolls and etc that are the core mechanics of cyberware in IZ… so I said screw it and just told them to take an edge that would be their piece(s) of cyberware and they suffered a -2 to Spirit rolls to become unshaken.. We had a blast…
So time has gone on and I’ve gotten the itch to A) run some Cyberpunk again and; B) run my Firefly campaign again (which I tend to also put some cyberpunk in as well, because I like it in the universe). Today I sat down and thought about how I would really work cyberware in my games and how/what would work well with my players and my own rules-lite/keep it fast philosophy.
So with a few pieces hacked from this home-ruled Cyberware document (shit you can just ignore my stuff if you want and use his) (edit: I see Webring is being a cheeky fucking monkey and won’t actually load up the cyberpunk document, but does take you to conversions page. Just scroll down to the Cybernetics link) and taking ideas from Deus Ex: Human Revolution, what I’ve seen of cyberware in Firefly/Serenity and some of the ideas of cyberware from IZ, Shadowrun, and Cyberpunk 2020 I came up with this…
Cyberware has been used by agents of various powerful corporations and the Alliance for several years but is relatively new to general public of the ‘Verse. However corporations, like Blue Sun, have wasted no time in flooding the media with programs, news specials, and demonstration booths (including contests where a lucky few can win a free augmentation and a 3 month supply of MASS). It is becoming slightly more common to see people on the Central planets or even the well to do Boarder planets sporting one or more pieces of cyberware.
To get cyberware you must first purchase the Jacked edge. This is to represent the time and money you spent getting prepared for future cyberware surgery. The player and GM should discuss and reach an agreement on what exactly the piece of cyberware does. Some examples will be provided below. A character can have as many pieces of cyberware equal the max number on their spirit die divided in half (IE- A character with a d6 in Spirit can have 3 pieces of cyberware).
There are three types of cybeware in the ‘Verse; Normal, Newtech, and Junker.
Each piece of Normal cyberware, costs 3,000 credits and incurs a -2 to all Spirit rolls to recover from being shaken. This represents the strain on the body and loss of humanity and the journey to becoming more of a machine. If you alter a current piece of Cyberware it does not add to this amount or count against your total amount (IE- A character adds a retractable dagger (Str+d4 damage) to his existing cyberarm (giving him +2 to Strength rolls and does Str+2 dmg when punching). He suffers -2 to Spirit rolls to recover from being shaken for the arm and it counts towards his total of cyberware equipment, but getting the blade adds to neither).
Newtech cyberware is more expensive, costing 8,000 credits, and functions as Normal cyberware, but you do not incur the -2 to your Spirit rolls (however you still have the allotment total).
Junker cyberware is the bottom of the barrel, costing 1,000 credits, made illegally, usually in some techie or boosters basement apartment. Junker cyberware functions just as Normal cyberware, but when used the player must roll 2d6. If double sixes are rolled the piece malfunctions and the player cannot use it for 1d6 rounds until it “resets.” If double ones are rolled the target must make a Vigor check or take a level of fatigue due to the strain and also piece is unusable for 2d6+1 rounds).
Almost all cyberware users must take the drug Medical Augmentation Stabilization Serum, or MASS for short, manufactured by the Blue Sun Corporation. Many people with cyberware joke that they are really religious because they go to MASS every day. All people with cyberware gain the Habit (Major) Hindrance and must take MASS every day or start risking cyber-rejection. Just use the standard rules in SWDX for Habit, but instead of falling into a coma (which usually does happen) the person risks needing to have their cyberware removed or die due to cyber-rejection. Another does of MASS can help get the targets system back under control. There are a lucky few who have some freak genes and do not suffer from cyber-rejection.
MASS costs 5 credits for one dose.
Cyber Intolerance (Minor)-
Mechanical stuff in your body just doesn’t function like it should. If you have any Cyberware in your body you suffer an additional -2 to Spirit rolls.
You have undergone profiling, tests, and spent some credits to get cyberware enhancements placed in your body.
Requirements- Novice, Wild Card, Background edge (can be take after character generation with justification and GM approval), Vigor d8
Your body welcomes the additions of metal, gears, and chemicals. You do not suffer from cyber-rejection and don’t have to worry about ever being addicted to MASS.
Requirements- Novice, Spirit d6, Jacked
Somehow you are able to handle more cyberware than normal people. You can have up to an additional two pieces of cyberware past the normal amount in your body without dying (you still suffer the -2 to Spirit for each piece however).
Cyberarm- +2 Str rolls (with arm) and Str+d4 dmg.
Cyberleg– +2 pace and jump.
Rebreather– Allows you to breathe in many gases and toxins safely or +2 when in those hazards to resist adverse affects.
Heat Vision– Allow you to see heat signatures.
Night Vision– See at night. Beware of lens flare.
Cortex Hub– Hub in your brain to access the Cortex. +2 to hacking rolls.
Retractable claws– Comes out of finger tips- Str+d4 dmg.
Dermal Plating– Thickened skin or mesh beneath skin. Adds +1/+2 (to a max of +2/+4 for an additional purchase).
Head Comlink– A comlink in your head allows you to communicate with those that you choose on specific frequencies.