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Author Topic: How Well Is Essence Loss Understood?  (Read 570 times)

Ghost Rigger

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How Well Is Essence Loss Understood?
« on: (17:18:49/03-06-17) »
To elaborate on the title, how well known is the Essence cost of any given 'ware and the fact that an unaugmented metahuman has 6 Essence in-setting? Obviously, a cyberdoc should know what combinations of 'ware you can shove into yourself and survive and which ones you can't, but what I really want to know is whether or not a streetsam could, completely in character, tell that cyberdoc how much Essence he has left using exact numbers? And how well would he know what it means? Might a streetsam with very low essence crunch the numbers on what new 'wares he could fit into his essence hole if he upgraded everything to betaware? Also, if a magic user can tell what your exact Essence is with 4 hits on an assensing test, do they see it in the same terms as a cyberdoc would?

MDMann

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Re: How Well Is Essence Loss Understood?
« Reply #1 on: (10:00:58/03-07-17) »
I'd say a street doc is unlikely to know this though experience will have given them a good practical eye to it (rough count).

A cyber doc is also unlikely to know this though they may may equipment to measure it inexactly. Very expensive and unusual equip may be available at a beta or better clinic. They'll also have good records and calibrations with their experiences to gauge this.

The only reliable way to measure this in my opinion would be an assensing by a mage who could pinpoint it for the doc. Expensive but reliable. Not what the mage is best employed doing, but if you really want to know...

Jack_Spade

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Re: How Well Is Essence Loss Understood?
« Reply #2 on: (10:41:04/03-07-17) »
Bah, just test how many datajacks a human being can carry before he croaks. I'm sure the corps have tested that extensively and there are pretty specific guidelines available for everyone operating with cyber/biotech.
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Reaver

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Re: How Well Is Essence Loss Understood?
« Reply #3 on: (15:10:48/03-07-17) »
Essence is an out of game mechanic. At least I think it is.... I have never read a story or fluff bit that mentions essence in a numerical sense.

Its know in world that you can only cram in so much stuff before you die... and its well known the more stuff inside you, the less 'human' your responses to stimulai become.... but thats it.
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firebug

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Re: How Well Is Essence Loss Understood?
« Reply #4 on: (15:28:20/03-07-17) »
I get the idea that Essence isn't supposed to be, in-universe, something quite so "by the numbers".  For the sake of balance and playability, it works very clearly for the players, but the people in Shadowrun probably can't always tell what is the limit; if it were so clearly defined, stuff like cyberzombie "research" probably wouldn't be as much of a thing, as if they just knew "this is how much Essence someone has, end of story", it'd be pointless to try and go past that number (the only useful thing would be to try and make more efficient augmentation).

In Shadowrun Returns: Hong Kong they make it clear that people on the street (including the skilled street docs) don't know the exact concept of Essence; just a "rule of six", in that there's six potential augmentation zones (four limbs, head, torso) and stuffing extra in is bad.  In 20 years, I'm sure they've learned more, though.

Keep in mind that the concept of Essence is a magical concept; there's people who believe it'd BS entirely because it comes from magical research over purely scientific research, as it's often called things like "holistic integrity" and so forth.  As with anything magical, you can never boil it down to the exact specifics, because magic just doesn't work that way.  But it's understood through a combination of medical science and magical research that augmentation damages your aura, and that an aura made too weak means a person will die.

However, just like a PC magician still rolls dice the same way as someone firing a gun does, just because it's more nuanced and vague in-world doesn't mean it should be for the characters.  I would never hide a PC's Essence score from them (even if it were possible somehow); knowing it and being able to micro-manage that amount is a big part of the balance for mundane characters.  A player should never have to actually gamble on whether or not they permanently lose their character just for progressing them as intended.

An Awakened person can get the out-of-game number on someone's Essence, but in-game it wouldn't be a literal number; I mean, even the basic concept of "what is astral perception like?" is something that differs for each magician and explicitly is incredibly difficult to describe to someone else.  In-game, they'd be able to look at someone else and know "that person's aura is about as damaged as yours", rather than just comparing it directly to "equal, higher or lower than my own".  They would be able to use vague terms to describe it to someone else "their aura is very thin", "I can see slight discoloration", "what remains of their aura is frail".  And so forth.
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Desiani

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Re: How Well Is Essence Loss Understood?
« Reply #5 on: (19:17:17/03-07-17) »
Given the essence question... what about karma? I know Awakened probably 'feel' it, but what about the rest of the world?

I'm asking because, in-character one of my players asked 'What is Karma?' when a force 12 spider spirit said it would imbue them with karma.  Spirits know what it is
.. but does metahumanity?

firebug

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Re: How Well Is Essence Loss Understood?
« Reply #6 on: (20:48:08/03-07-17) »
Karma is a purely meta concept.  If the spirit used the word "karma", the GM was misspeaking.  Even the spirits don't know "players get exp points".
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Desiani

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Re: How Well Is Essence Loss Understood?
« Reply #7 on: (09:18:47/03-08-17) »
Karma is a purely meta concept.  If the spirit used the word "karma", the GM was misspeaking.  Even the spirits don't know "players get exp points".

That was me who said that. :p I'm new to GMing I general and I just started digging into all 5 editions worth of lore books and what not for ideas for runs/overarching metaplot.

I figured Magicians would know what karma -might- be because of the Allied spirit mechanics.

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Re: How Well Is Essence Loss Understood?
« Reply #8 on: (10:07:50/03-08-17) »
It might have been in the fourth edition magic book, where they mentioned that a spirit pact would be something like giving up "life force" or "future potential" or something.  I can't give you a better answer, sadly, but I can say without a doubt that karma as EXP is definitely something people are less aware of than Essence.
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incrdbil

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Re: How Well Is Essence Loss Understood?
« Reply #9 on: (21:03:26/03-08-17) »
 We don't seem to have any background material describing large numbers of augmented types dying on tables..or pondering "If I get this, will I die shortly thereafter." Seems most of the warnings on that are coming from long ago lore or stories from the early days of augmentation.

it seems to suggest that, somehow,  there is some form of stress test, or analysis of a body to see just how much augmentation it can hold. I mean, it would be harder to sell beta or delta ware without readily convincing someone they would die if they got the standard version.

So perhaps its done in different ways. high end clinics have trained medical specialist mages with degrees in medicine and cybertechnology who can assense you, look at the procedure, and tell you if it is advisable or not.

Maybe for the more cost conscious, there is a rougher, but somewhat accurate test that is done on an individual.

And for those buying used wares from a back alley street doc..good luck. Even then, if the street doc wants business, he cant have too many clients dying on the table or right afterwards..unless hes really into recycling wares.

As there is no seeming mechanic for a procedure adding or subtracting from cost, it seems the implantation process has become pretty standardized..and, through study, physiological impact for most of the races have been tested for all varieties of cyberware.

Now, maybe some people do get a bad test and have a bad result from accidentally using .05 essence when they only had .04 left. But we haven't read much about it, and if it does happen, it seems primarily limited to NPC's. Which is fair. Its hard enough for player characters as it is, not having an accurate essence count and dying on the table seems a waste of a character and playing time.

So...every game has its own flavor. if you want to spread rumors of runners who put in a bit too much chrome and suffered, go ahead, or simply say some one invented a highly accurate way of testing a individuals way of handling implantation. (Maybe as a result of medical studies on people who lost essence due to other means as well)..or that routinely part of the cost of implantation is paying for an astral perception by a specialist.


Which then adds in the possibility of runs based off of messing with those test results and getting a target to "accidentally" kill themselves by putting in more ware than they could handle.





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Re: How Well Is Essence Loss Understood?
« Reply #10 on: (21:24:23/03-08-17) »
We don't seem to have any background material describing large numbers of augmented types dying on tables..or pondering "If I get this, will I die shortly thereafter." Seems most of the warnings on that are coming from long ago lore or stories from the early days of augmentation.

it seems to suggest that, somehow,  there is some form of stress test, or analysis of a body to see just how much augmentation it can hold. I mean, it would be harder to sell beta or delta ware without readily convincing someone they would die if they got the standard version.

So perhaps its done in different ways. high end clinics have trained medical specialist mages with degrees in medicine and cybertechnology who can assense you, look at the procedure, and tell you if it is advisable or not.

Maybe for the more cost conscious, there is a rougher, but somewhat accurate test that is done on an individual.

And for those buying used wares from a back alley street doc..good luck. Even then, if the street doc wants business, he cant have too many clients dying on the table or right afterwards..unless hes really into recycling wares.

As there is no seeming mechanic for a procedure adding or subtracting from cost, it seems the implantation process has become pretty standardized..and, through study, physiological impact for most of the races have been tested for all varieties of cyberware.

Now, maybe some people do get a bad test and have a bad result from accidentally using .05 essence when they only had .04 left. But we haven't read much about it, and if it does happen, it seems primarily limited to NPC's. Which is fair. Its hard enough for player characters as it is, not having an accurate essence count and dying on the table seems a waste of a character and playing time.

So...every game has its own flavor. if you want to spread rumors of runners who put in a bit too much chrome and suffered, go ahead, or simply say some one invented a highly accurate way of testing a individuals way of handling implantation. (Maybe as a result of medical studies on people who lost essence due to other means as well)..or that routinely part of the cost of implantation is paying for an astral perception by a specialist.


Which then adds in the possibility of runs based off of messing with those test results and getting a target to "accidentally" kill themselves by putting in more ware than they could handle.

We do, and we don't for the stories. More then a few about Butch revolve around.... "Reclaiming payment" from a corpse by way of ware, tech, fluids, or flesh.... Which tells me it happens more then you think, it just doesn't make all that interesting story material in "overly fluffy" books. <YES that is a dig at an other post in the forums>

And earlier editions Shadowrun books talk a little more about this, and in better terms. Check out the fluff piece about Hatchetman's journey into becoming a Cyber zombie. Even during a process that requires pushing someone into negative Essence, it ends up getting talked about as "going past the threshold of life" or "My body is fine, but I can feel my soul screaming to be free". Nothing about "I now have -3.32 Essence" or "I feel a little more down after I lost another 0.5 essence to my 10th data jack. Maybe I should see a doctor about my datajack addiction. Or maybe its the fact that I only have 1 essence left "


But that doesn't mean there isn't some sort of medical or magic testing that could tell how far gone you are, or are not, down the Essence hole.
<Place Subject in room with Puppy. If Subject pets puppy, Subject may be safe for more implants. If Subject eats puppy, Subject is NOT safe for more implants>


And of course, its just fricken EASIER to meta-game it and say " Yea Fred, your Assensing test shows you that the 'ganger' is sporting 5.75 essence of ware, and its NOT the cheap kind!" then it is to try to get all game flowery with it. :D
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Ghost Rigger

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Re: How Well Is Essence Loss Understood?
« Reply #11 on: (16:20:32/03-09-17) »
Hm, a bit of disparity of opinions here. For context, I'm writing something for the GM Toolbox I'm calling "Essence Loss and Cyberpsychosis: A Streetsam's Perspective". There's a few negative qualities at the end that represent alternate forms of cyberpsychosis, but 99% of it is a streetsam with 0.02 Essence explaining what he understands Essence loss to be, why 'ware cost you Essence, what it's like to live with 'ware and what it's like to have cyberpsychosis. It's a mix of what I've heard other people say about those things and my own musings on the matter. It looks like I'll have to somehow portray Essence and the loss thereof as something mysterious and mystically vague, yet well understood and documented in medical circles.

Shadowjack

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Re: How Well Is Essence Loss Understood?
« Reply #12 on: (16:45:30/03-09-17) »
I am with Reaver on this.
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SunRunner

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Re: How Well Is Essence Loss Understood?
« Reply #13 on: (14:50:44/03-10-17) »
Essence is a magic concept, but the medical community knows its real no matter how batty the mages drive them by being unable to define it in a clinical manner. Combine that with how common ware is and yeah they have to have so pretty decent tests and metrics for telling where some one is on the essence scale. My bet would be on a combination of things depending on the level of care your getting. on the top end they probably have a lot of empirical data that says getting these implants is fine and does little to no damage and combine that with what other implants the have most people with training in cyber surgery and such can tell you your pretty safe. Once you go past a certain point probably in the 4 to 4.5 essence lost to gear they will start taking long hard looks at research tables and probably have some clinical tests they can do combined with skilled specialist med mages that consult on peoples aura strength and such.

On thing to keep in mind is magic talent is kinda like athletic ability. There are alot of people that can play high school level sports i.e. magic rating 1 or 2 and are never gonna get better but can have an assenseing skills of 6+ and some basic cyberware knowledge skills and make a living as medical consultants doing this sorta thing. They probably work like real medical specialists where they work in 2 or 3 different facilities on different days of the week. It would be good use of a mage from a nuyen making stand point. its VERY bad for business to have you clients dropping dead or going on a psycho killing sprees and then dropping dead from too much ware. Especially when you factor in they are not a strong enough mage to work security duty. Players are the rare Michael Jordans/Larry Birds that manages to start at magic 5 or 6 (I.E. phenomenal innate talent) or the people with the sheer amount of drive and willpower to improve themselves from where they started.

incrdbil

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Re: How Well Is Essence Loss Understood?
« Reply #14 on: (12:06:25/03-11-17) »
Ok, I see a basis for a test or methiod, in game, to measure a beings ability to tolerate augmentation. The Healing modifier table notes that, for a test, you get 1 dice per 2 full points of lost Essence. So, one way or another, 'ware has a noted effect on the bodies ability to recover or respond to treatment.

So, it seems that some form of test based on that would be logical.  Whatever stress or impediment is caused to the bodies ability to recovery is somehow tested and cataloged to form a measure a doctor would use before implanting more cyberware. Or they resort to a magical assessing.

"Sorry, but we've looked at the results of you augmentation compatibility test results; the readings indicate the augmentation you've requested would compromise your immune response and your bodies natural ability to heal yourself. The effects vary; it may feel like you age quickly as your cells fail to replenish. or your body simply falls apart and ceases to heal from damage. Deterioration of brain cells may cause intense delusion that you are losing your 'soul', which, of course, is just a manifestation of physical symptoms. and then there's the escalated chance you die on the table. So, I'd advise against it, but if you really want it, we could try to see if our Beta Clinic could do the procedure within tolerance, though you will have to sign a waiver."