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This is actually still a problem?  We solved this issue years ago.

In our House Rules, Essence only matters for the Awakened, not mundanes. So, there are no "cyberzombies" and plenty of people are Ghost In The Shell style braincases in interchangeable bodies. If you're Awakened, then the part of your body that's missing is how much Magic loss you incur. However, getting a cloned tissue replacement "fills in the hole" and restores your Essence. Though again, if you're not Awakened then you don't worry about it; you actually fill in "–" as your Essence rating.

Here's the relevant section:

Revisions to Essence
· Essence is only something that applies to the Awakened. So, if you're mundane, just record a "–" for your Essence score; you don't need worry about it and can purchase all the cyberware you want.
· Essence 0 just means Magic 0, not death. Losing a point of Essence means losing a point of Magic as well. If you have a Magic rating higher than 6, a proportional loss of Magic is calculated. As a result, there are plenty of people who are really just brains in a braincase unit, able to effectively change into different fully-robotic bodies at will. Magically speaking, their robot bodies count as Highly-Processed Objects for Resistance Tests (unless they take the "Terminator Option" of being a robotic endoskeleton encased in cloned flesh, in which case they count as Manufactured High-Tech Objects for Resistance Tests).
· If the only piece of cyberware you have installed is a Deltaware commlink (or datajack), you can have that for free, Essence-wise. But, you can't have any more cyberware installed, or you'll retroactively be charged the typical 0.1 Essence for it.
· Replacement body parts cloned from your own DNA do not cost Essence. These will, in fact, restore any Essence lost due to having lost a limb, etc.
· Essence Loss is based on body parts, as per the following chart:

Body Part                                             % of Body   Essence Cost
Head                                                      7.3%                  0.44
Trunk (chest, back, abdomen)      50.8%               3.05
Thigh (each)                                       9.88%               0.59
Lower Leg (each)                              4.65%               0.28
Foot (each)                                          1.45%               0.09
Upper Arm (each)                              2.7%                  0.16
Forearm (each)                                 1.6%                  0.10
Hand (each)                                       0.66%               0.04

So, ignore the stated Essence costs in the source books and approximate them according the above chart. A set of cybereyes (or cyberears) costs 0.1 Essence.

There you go, problem solved.
This is and probably always will be a problem in Shadowrun.

The issue is that Awakened characters can grow exponentially as karma is gained while Mundanes are capped to a maximum of 9/10* essence worth of cyberware.

But people also forget that while mages can continually grow in "power", that growth is also very limited! They (awakened) end up with "tall" characters, who are often hyper focused in a very narrow window (Spellcasting, Summoning). Awakened have to funnel their Karma down  a specific, and narrow pathway for that power - initiations, spells, Power Points, and supporting skills.

Mundanes on the other hand seem to plateau fast, as they run out of Essence, and never really grow... But this is also not really true. Mundanes limit of Essence and how low it is in terms of expansion forces mundanes to expand outwards. They (mundanes) end up with "wide" characters, who are often competent in many avenues of the game while also focusing in on a particular role. Because the primary limitation is Essence for Their "Buffs", Mundanes generally have a heap of Karma that can be spent on a wide range of skills above and beyond those of the "primary" role.

In short by the late game, you have Awakened who are hyper focused, and Mundanes who are generally "Specialized Generalists" (They have a Specialty - Be that combat, decking, rigging, face- and then a bunch of competent skills in a wide array of talents).

IF all members of your group have been earning the same amount of Karma, then you should see that reflected in their stats and skills: With the Awakened spending the majority of their karma on Initiations, spells, possibly Quickenings. While the Mundanes are spending their Karma on skills.

And speaking from experience here, your Mundane characters should be almost TWICE as engaged and better effective in all areas of the game than then the Awakened who should excel in one area, but be weak in others.... In Theory.

In Practice, this is going to depend on your table, how involved your players are in all areas of the game, or how limited you are running the game. If you players are basically just Meat Puppets sitting on the couch until combat comes up, then yea you could have an issue....  (you know the player type... They contribute nothing to any part of the game other than Combat. Sitting there quietly, often reading their phone while Leg work, or Social Work is being done, waiting for the moment they get to roll their 68 combat dice....) 

My advice, before you go looking at changing the all the systems in the game, take a look at what you doing in your runs and table and see if their is room to give the Mundane players more 'feel' to their characters in areas where the Awakened aren't favored. Be that stealth, social, legwork areas of the game. Also: Make sure you understand the LIMITS of magic!

Magic can do A LOT in Shadowrun: but it can't do everything! And it is not an automatic "I Win" button (And this is coming from someone who plays Mages! I had a character going for 25+ years in the same campaign with over 14,000 karma!).

Invisibility (improved) doesn't make the mage immune to detection! The player is invisible, they still make noise, they still have to open doors, have mass, and displace air. MEANING: Just cause guards can't see the mage, doesn't mean the guards aren't aware that they are under attack or have an intruder, it just means they can see the attacker/intruder. BIG Difference!

Spirits are powerful. They are also Sapient, meaning they are functionally people, with their own Wants, Needs, Desires, Hopes and Dreams.... Most players want to treat spirits as a giant "I Win" button that they can summon up to beat the crap out of their enemy and absorb damage for them...  My question to you is: If every time I called you up and asked for a favor you ended up shot, stabbed, punched in the nose, and kicked in junk... How long until you stopped answering my calls? Same thing for Spirits. If the players abuse spirits (by getting them shot, stabbed punch in the nose and kicked in the junk), Then Spirits are within their right to just ignore the summons! (See Street Magic). Also Remember that Spirits attributes are linked to Force. So when that mage summons a Force 12 Spirit, that is a Spirit that is smarter than the character, and may take offense at being summoned! (Hence the x2force Ming mentioned).

Spirits can also be absolute jerks :P
Imagine a Mage that has a rep for hurting Spirits, he then summons a Spirit of air. He orders the Spirit of Air to get him out of a fire fight and away from danger. So the Spirit Flies him 100 meters Straight UP! "You are away from the firefight, and out of danger. Service complete." And drops the mage! *splat*

WARDS!! They are cheap. They are effective. The Corps use them. Learn to love them to make you players hate them :D A Simple Ward, or worse -a series of Wards- are a royal pain in the ass for the awakened (Especially Adepts!!). While they don't do damage, or keep people out, they DO set off alarm bells for the casting mage the instant they are interacted with** Which allows the mage to knwo that the facility is under magic attack, and respond accordingly. Usually with a wave of Spirits, followed by magical assets enroute.

*I listed Essence at 9/10 because of Deltaware, and the Transhumanism trait. Deltaware makes Ware cost half as much essence, and Tranhumanism gives you 1 point of ware functionally for free.

** there are ways to bypass wards with out setting them off, but they take time, and time is not always on a Runner's side.
If the awakened are already gods, there's not a ton you can do, but here are some things that help:
Transhumanism: 5th and 6th edition have this optional rule where mundanes can do something similar to initiation that gives them an additional 1.0 essence hole capacity for augments.  Karma cost is on the same scale as magic initiation.  This is probably a better plan than cutting Essence costs.

If you're playing 5th edition, you can make high Force spirits more difficult to summon by letting them roll Forcex2 to resist instead of Force.

Let players trade karma for nuyen at a rate of 1 karma for $2000 when buying gear and augments.  That helps mundanes afford advancements quicker.

When vehicles and drones have their condition monitor filled, call them disabled and fixable instead of destroyed.  That helps lower the upkeep cost of riggers.

Hello all happy Chummers.

In our campaign which has run for a bunch of years and now we are starting to end up with magic users (different types) on all different positions due to their superiority compared to other chars.

The question has come up to rework cybernetics and/or magic rules to make cybernetics a bit more powerful compared to magic.
We had one idea about halving the essence cost for cybernetics.
One idea was to limit how cool you are as a mage when the char is created (to elevate a newly rolled cybernetics chars power).
Even eliminating essence completely has been discussed.

Then one thing hit us... Has anyone else encountered the same problem and have some tips for us to basically make cybernetics and magic a bit more level in power.

One good comment from our discussion was:
Your street samurai has an awesome cybernetic arm with his smartlink while his friend the mage is a half god with his huge amount of spells and his capacity.

Any thoughts to help us?

Edit: incorrect spelling.
Rules and such / Re: Body Shop: Cyborgs
« Last post by KarmaInferno on <09-12-23/0043:03> »
Something I noticed about the Cybernetic Shell - the sentence "The Physical attributes of a shell can be modified and upgraded similar to cyberlimbs".

Cyberlimbs have Agility and Strength ratings, which can each be increased for 1 Capacity and 5000₯ per point.

Cybernetic Shells have all four Attributes, Body, Agility, Reaction, and Strength. Can all four be increased in this way, or just Agility and Strength?

Errata / Re: [SR6] Body Shop errata
« Last post by KarmaInferno on <09-11-23/2156:10> »

[pg177] Cranial Containment Unit - Mentions a commlink is included, but not what model or rating.
General Discussion / An Updated April Fools’ Repository
« Last post by JanessaVR on <09-11-23/1624:00> »
Many of these have gone missing over the years, so I've compiled all the ones I can find.

The Wiki

April Fools' Page

My Collection

2004 – Shadowrun d20  |  Picture
2005 – Shadowrun 5
2006 – Cyberpirates! of the Caribbean Coast CSG & RPG
2007 – ?
2008 – Runner’s Companion Preview
2009 – BattleRun: Best Ever, An Eighth World Adventure
2010 – Shadowrun, Gibson Edition
2011 – A lost Shadowrun movie?
2012 – Street Legends: Home Edition | Missions: Free Taiwan
2013 – Rigger 4
2014 – ?
2015 – Missions: Friendship Is Tragic
2016 – Missions: UnCONventional Warfare
2017 – Missions: Scene It All Before
2018 – ?
2019 – ?
2020 – BattleRun II: The Quest for the Thing
2021 – ?
2022 – ?
2023 – Who Drek'd in the Sprawl?

Rules and such / Re: Body Shop: Modular Cyberlimbs
« Last post by KarmaInferno on <09-11-23/1432:55> »
Yeah, as I said, making the Mounts and Connectors 1 Capacity each would have mitigated this.

You can still use Bulk Modification, which in 6E is apparently available for Synthetic Limbs as well, and has no effect of the appearance of the limb.
Errata / Re: [SR6] Body Shop errata
« Last post by KarmaInferno on <09-11-23/1429:29> »

[pg 148] Nano-Critter Cyberlimbs - most of the cyberlimb gear on the chart has Nuyen costs in both the Availability and Cost columns.
Rules and such / Re: Body Shop: Modular Cyberlimbs
« Last post by MercilessMing on <09-11-23/0959:43> »
This basically leaves just one ynused Capacity for other stuff.

Thus defeating the ENTIRE PURPOSE of modular limbs.  Great job all involved.

Now do the same thing with a synthetic arm:

Synthetic arms have 8 capacity.  A modular synthetic arm spends [2] on a connector and has 6 cap left over for mods.  To attach a modular forearm, you would need to spend [5] for the forearm cap and [2] for the mount, for a total of [7]. 

There isn't enough space in a synthetic arm even for the connectors to make this happen.
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