NEWS

The Essence effect scale?

  • 48 Replies
  • 15143 Views

Pure Mongrel

  • *
  • Newb
  • *
  • Posts: 24
« on: (17:16:24/10-26-10) »
    Hi guys,

    I was wondering if there is a scale for the effects and ways characters acted / responded in regards to loss of essence. If not, has anyone considered one?

    I keep reading that the more essence a character loses, the more disconnected from humanity they become ... but at what stage, or essence loss, does "X" happen?

    What are types of "X"?

    For instance could "X" be ...


    No longer "gets" funny jokes?
    No longer reacts to a love song or movie?
    No longer thinks puppies or kittens are cute?
    No longer has love, comfort or warmth as a "need"?
    No longer understands facial expressions?
    No longer subscribes to "Women and Children first!"?
    No longer stops to help an injured bystander or team mate?
    No longer has a sex drive?
    No longer feels faith or understands the concept of religion?
    No longer considers the loss of a real limb an issue?
    No longer sees themselves as an ego, but more of an "it"?
    No longer gets hidden meaning or reads between the lines?
    No longer gets gut feelings?
    No longer thinks in "maybe", every thing "is" or "isn't"?
    No longer considers personal hygiene? (Bathe, do hair, brush teeth, etc.)
    No longer does actions governed by social norms? (Pick nose, go to the "toilet" when needed as opposed to where expected, interrupt someone already talking? etc.)
    No longer performs actions at appropriate times? (Eat and drink right in the middle of a gun fight because the hunger and thirst registered right then, Answer a phone and talk at normal level during a funeral, etc?)

    What else and where would that sit on the scale?

    At what stage of the scale do dice modifiers apply and to what?
« Last Edit: (17:24:43/10-26-10) by Pure Mongrel »

FoxBoy

  • *
  • Chummer
  • **
  • Posts: 107
« Reply #1 on: (18:15:01/10-26-10) »
I guess one way to look at it is what are the extremes?

6 essence = functional (meta)human being.
0 essence = dead.

So really, one reasonable interpretation is to say someone at 2 essence is only paying attention a third of the time (2/6 = 1/3). But that doesn't really pan out for gameplay's sake. You have characters fully active even on .05 essence left.

I guess one way cyberpsychosis could manifest in is as a growing fear of the reaper. Drop to 0, your dead.. if your sitting at .05, well... it won't take much to push you over. That can feed a growing paranoia. That means your always looking over your shoulder, and even sometimes pulling your gun on people because for a moment, that guy walking down the street looked so much like the reaper... best known as a paranoid mental flaw.

But honestly, I don't think there is any hard and fast rules on how someone should behave when they're losing essence, as that's largely a RP consideration. It certainly can provide justification for some of those mental flaws, that's for sure.

Nomad Zophiel

  • *
  • Omae
  • ***
  • Posts: 414
  • Zophiel by name. Nomad by profession.
« Reply #2 on: (18:33:40/10-26-10) »
Shadowrun seems to handle Essence as more a metaphysical thing than a social one. You can take psychological Negative Qualities to represent a growing disconnect from normal people but its not required. What you're talking about is more like Cyberpunk 2020's rules where having cyberware deducts from your Empathy (effectively Charisma and the ability to Judge Intention). Its entirely possibly to have .05 Essence and still be quite Charismatic and aware of others' feelings. In fact there are several modifications that make those things easier. He doesn't necessarily share the concerns of others anymore but he is aware of them and can react accordingly. Other people, though, will tend to react badly to someone with a lot of obvious 'ware. I would say that odd behavior would be based on the type of 'ware someone is carrying around. Some Runners RP this just fine on their own but here are a few examples:

Someone with tricked out cybereyes rarely thinks to turn the lights on when its dark.
A Hacker with an internal commlink may grow frustrated when other people don't answer his messages fast enough. He tends to forget that not everyone is wired in all the time and able to reply with a thought. (Although if he has a good Charisma, his frustration won't show)
A rigger might be surprised when the door to his friend's car doesn't open automatically as he approaches and have to spend a second fumbling for the door handle.
Someone with an implant weapon in their normal looking cyberarm is acutely aware that anyone else might have one. He really doesn't like people pointing at him, they could be taking aim.
Wired Reflexes already has its own examples built in. By its very nature it makes you look high strung.

FastJack

  • *
  • Administrator
  • Prime Runner
  • *****
  • Posts: 5948
  • Kids these days...
    • For those that hate 6E
« Reply #3 on: (19:19:12/10-26-10) »
You could always have the players roll a chance that they pick-up an negative quality from Augmentation (p. 21) anytime they lose a full point of essence...

voydangel

  • *
  • Omae
  • ***
  • Posts: 537
  • SR GM since 1990. Damn I'm old.
« Reply #4 on: (20:08:56/10-26-10) »
Take a peek at Uncanny Valley (it's a wiki-link). It's pretty much the flip side of what you're talking about, but I think it's right there spot on in terms of the game effect you're looking for.

Taking the uncanny valley effect into account, it becomes rather easy to calculate an "appropriate" social skill modifier based on essence.

Add up the total essence cost/loss from any and all cyberware that would be "obvious" to someone having a conversation with the character or a casual observer. This includes non-natural looking cyber-eyes, obvious cyber limbs (obviously), and Wired reflexes - but only if they are "on" at the time. Most bio/nano/gene-ware wouldn't count, but some might.

Once you have this "total obvious essence loss" number, round up. Poof - there's your modifier. So if you had 1.2 essence worth of obvious cyber, then your modifier would be 2. Apply that as a negative modifier to all face to face social tests made by the character due to the other person/people not feeling quite comfortable around the character, and/or their lack of ability to read his body language and facial expressions correctly, or just plain being distracted by all his chrome.

Alternatively, you could also give them that same modifier as a bonus to intimidation, but that would only work on people who might actually be intimidated by lots of cyber. aka, not other runners, etc.
« Last Edit: (20:13:21/10-26-10) by voydangel »
My tips for new GM's
Unless it is coming from an official source, RAI = "Rules As Imagined."
SR1+SR2+SR3++SR4++SR5+++h+b+++B+D382UBIE-RN---DSF-W+m+(o++)gm+MP

Glyph

  • *
  • Ace Runner
  • ****
  • Posts: 1652
« Reply #5 on: (23:32:09/10-26-10) »
Personally, I think mundanes get screwed around enough.  And the sammie doesn't really need to either be locked out of the face role, or have his pitifully few social skill dice reduced even further.  There are social penalties for obvious 'ware in certain situations, and a plethora of negative qualities that players can choose to take if they want to play characters who have been adversely affected by their augmentations.

Critias

  • *
  • Freelancer
  • Prime Runner
  • ***
  • Posts: 2521
  • Company Elf
« Reply #6 on: (23:57:55/10-26-10) »
Personally, I think mundanes get screwed around enough.  And the sammie doesn't really need to either be locked out of the face role, or have his pitifully few social skill dice reduced even further.  There are social penalties for obvious 'ware in certain situations, and a plethora of negative qualities that players can choose to take if they want to play characters who have been adversely affected by their augmentations.
Glyph's pretty much shared my opinion, word for word.

Pure Mongrel

  • *
  • Newb
  • *
  • Posts: 24
« Reply #7 on: (00:19:31/10-27-10) »
I see what you guys are saying, but the nature of the Cyberpunk genre is to question "What makes us human", "How do we define Humanity" and "What are the ramifications of losing ones humanity"?

I am not looking for any hard and fast rules here, nor am I trying to "NURF" cyber users, but everything I read suggests that a metahuman is trading more than some Nuyen for the benefits of of Cyberware and as a GM I want to explore and reflect that in my games.

From a role playing perspective, paying for increased abilities with part of ones "soul", has side effects that go beyond forgetting to turn on the light, etc. The very institutions and norms a society holds to be true and dear directly reflects the spirit of that society. It is no accident that a world dominated by technology is much darker, crueler an colder than a society based on community and human endeavor.

Take the movie Bladerunner for instance. The main idea of that movie was "What does it really mean to be human?" The hero is a human, but has been forced to do things he considers inhuman just to keep his job. He falls in love with, what his reasoning mind tells him is, a machine but he sees humanity in her. The replicates are desperately seeking the "answer" to humanity in a vain attempt to understand their own existence / reason for being and a hope that this will lead them to a way to live beyond a technology based limit of a four year life span.

So if every point of essence is giving up one sixth of a characters metahumanity ... what in role playing terms do you guys think each point / stage of loss represents?

Assuming 6 is a spiritually centered  being ...

Does an essence at level 3 mean that  an NPC or PC  understands the norms of society on an intellectual level, but they personally do not feel anything in regards to them. Does strong emotional responses regarding love, happiness, anger, hate, etc. confuse them? (A mothers need to go back and save one child while she still has two others by her side would seem like an illogical choice for instance.)

Does an essence level of 1 mean that  an NPC or PC  feels... nothing? No remorse, no sorrow, no anger, no joy ... nothing? Do they have no emotional response to violence, beauty, sexuality, faith, justice, etc. Do they only act in "logical" ways? How does that make them respond in any given situation? It might be a good thing if they walk into a scene of dismembered bodies as they are not distracted and don't get attacked by surprise, but a bad thing if their team is negotiating a deal with a big client to rescuer his daughter and they stand up, state that in all probability she is already dead, their team would do better to go find a job that has a better chance of success and walks out.








« Last Edit: (01:11:50/10-27-10) by Pure Mongrel »

voydangel

  • *
  • Omae
  • ***
  • Posts: 537
  • SR GM since 1990. Damn I'm old.
« Reply #8 on: (00:23:01/10-27-10) »
Personally, I think mundanes get screwed around enough.  And the sammie doesn't really need to either be locked out of the face role, or have his pitifully few social skill dice reduced even further.  There are social penalties for obvious 'ware in certain situations, and a plethora of negative qualities that players can choose to take if they want to play characters who have been adversely affected by their augmentations.
Glyph's pretty much shared my opinion, word for word.

Personally, I agree with Glyph (and Critias) here.

If you want to add more to the game mechanics wise, then I've already stated my suggestion, other than that, I'm not sure what to say other than good luck. ;)
My tips for new GM's
Unless it is coming from an official source, RAI = "Rules As Imagined."
SR1+SR2+SR3++SR4++SR5+++h+b+++B+D382UBIE-RN---DSF-W+m+(o++)gm+MP

Nomad Zophiel

  • *
  • Omae
  • ***
  • Posts: 414
  • Zophiel by name. Nomad by profession.
« Reply #9 on: (02:14:32/10-27-10) »

Take the movie Bladerunner for instance. The main idea of that movie was "What does it really mean to be human?" The hero is a human, but has been forced to do things he considers inhuman just to keep his job. He falls in love with, what his reasoning mind tells him is, a machine but he sees humanity in her. The replicates are desperately seeking the "answer" to humanity in a vain attempt to understand their own existence / reason for being and a hope that this will lead them to a way to live beyond a technology based limit of a four year life span.

OK, ignoring the question of Deckard's humanity or replica. . .nity for a second, you raise an interesting example. Your average SINner probably perceives someone with large amounts of optional prosthetics to be less than human. A veteran who lost an arm or their sight in the war probably doesn't share that stigma. Someone who's crazy enough to have perfectly good eyes dug out of their head in order to have an artificial upgrade, though, may seem a little unstable to a normal person. Are they still as human as they were before? Are they as human as a Troll? That's a very personal answer for every character, in the same way that the humanity of a Troll, Ghoul or AI is.

See the game Eclipse Phase for an example of humanity completely redefined in a hypertech society. There, most everyone is in a manufactured body, either robotic or biological, and has no qualms about sending their personality hurtling across the solar system as software to inhabit another body. Are they still human (or transhuman)? They think so but a minority population who avoids such things sees them as copies of dead people inhabiting machines. From that viewpoint the replicants have taken over the solar system and left the real humans with the scraps. So the question is, do you have an ultimate answer in mind? Is there a particular "what it means to be human" in your game or is it about letting the characters come up with their own answer?

I don't want to argue a point too much (or we can discuss by PM, because I think it would be fun) but keep in mind than non-technological collective endeavor societies also had their share of wars, cruelty and pointless suffering, too. Whether technology or a particular form of resource distribution is better than some other way largely depends on which metrics you choose to measure by.

The Cat

  • *
  • Chummer
  • **
  • Posts: 105
« Reply #10 on: (02:42:24/10-27-10) »
Because what essence is has been played so fast and loose it's difficult to decide what, if any, penalties heavy cyber should carry beyond cultural ones.  Is essence biological integrity?  Neurological integrity?  Metaphysical integrity?  Spiritual integrity? A combination of two or more of these?  None of these?

Selecting any of them opens up a whole lot of questions.  If it is biological integrity why wouldn't a heart attack reduce it, or age naturally drop it as your body fails?  If it's neurological, do people with neurological disorders have less?   If it's metaphysical integrity wouldn't one be able to be raised merely by intense self awareness through meditation and self-enlightenment, even if mundane?  If it's spiritual integrity do non-theists have less and atheists have none?

For that reason most games I've been in, as GM or player, left cyberpsychosis and its effects up to the player with the exception of the one cyber-zombie I was in a game with.  The few times myself and some of the groups I've been with tried to work out something reasonable with cyberpsychosis the only thing we could really come up with that made sense to us was the general "life invasiveness" of the cyberware rather than the raw essence cost being tied loosely to the degree of psychosis.  It was (and still is if you work at it) possible to burn a load of essence on small mods that, even taken together, are not that big of a change to the body, mind, neurological system or even the outlook of the character, or you can shoot the essence to the moon with some major changes (cyberskulls, complete limb replacement, torsos, reflexes wired to hades and back and so on) that would be devastating the body to metal percentages or would so fundamentally change how a character viewed the world that they'd become so impatient with unmodified people's "limitations" they'd almost go mad with frustration.

For example, a character gets basic wired/boosted reflexes (Wired 1).  This is a fairly significant essence loss (2), and a significant alteration to the body (well, an invasive one, though the actual hardware may not be that large and bulky), but more importantly, it is also a significant change to how they interact with the world.  Pretty much everyone they meet is so damned slow to react to everything (ignoring the integral trigger for the moment).

"The guy at the stuffer shack told you the price a whole .5 seconds ago and you've STILL not gotten out your commlink to pay him?  Jeez!"
"My gods, I ordered my meal .25 seconds ago and the waiter STILL hasn't written it down...  The service here sucks!"
"My girlfriend dropped ANOTHER glass and couldn't catch it before it hit the ground!  What is her problem?"

Their outlook is utterly different from most of the population, and that skewed view puts them at slight odds with "normals."

But compare that to a guy who gets natural looking, top-of-the-line Cybereyes and ears -rating 4s- neither with any modifications beyond the basic package plus Aluminum Bone Lacing.  Yes he's more resilient to damage than the average person, but he's unlikely to notice that in his day to day life.  His vision and hearing are perfect, but a lot of other people have perfect vision and hearing as well.  He's down the same 2 essence, he's also had a very invasive surgery (possibly even more invasive than for the Wired Reflexes) but his outlook hasn't changed.  His day to day interactions are pretty much the same as they've always been.  He sees very few differences between himself and "normals" in his day to day life.

The first guy would, under what we could work out, be lined up for a little cyberpsychosis, the second nearly none at all.

We usually ended up dropping the whole matter since it was so subjective as to be difficult to reasonably rule on between a player and a GM in terms of severity.  However, you may be able to pull something useful out of the idea.

The Cat

  • *
  • Chummer
  • **
  • Posts: 105
« Reply #11 on: (02:59:45/10-27-10) »

Take the movie Bladerunner for instance. The main idea of that movie was "What does it really mean to be human?" The hero is a human, but has been forced to do things he considers inhuman just to keep his job. He falls in love with, what his reasoning mind tells him is, a machine but he sees humanity in her. The replicates are desperately seeking the "answer" to humanity in a vain attempt to understand their own existence / reason for being and a hope that this will lead them to a way to live beyond a technology based limit of a four year life span.

OK, ignoring the question of Deckard's humanity or replica. . .nity for a second, you raise an interesting example. Your average SINner probably perceives someone with large amounts of optional prosthetics to be less than human. A veteran who lost an arm or their sight in the war probably doesn't share that stigma. Someone who's crazy enough to have perfectly good eyes dug out of their head in order to have an artificial upgrade, though, may seem a little unstable to a normal person. Are they still as human as they were before? Are they as human as a Troll? That's a very personal answer for every character, in the same way that the humanity of a Troll, Ghoul or AI is.

Well, yeah, but how much is the average SINner going to know?  How do they know you're not a vet from the 2065 Desert Wars?  How do they know your eyes were perfectly good when you removed them, maybe you were blind from birth?  How do they know that metal arm you have isn't there because you were in a massive car crash?

Most "optional prosthetics" of the less exotic varieties do have a medical function that would be at least as common as its optional function.  Of those that don't, many have a business function and would be fairly common.  It would be no more shocking in 2072 to see a guy at the mall with a pair of cyberlegs than it is today to see a guy in a wheelchair without any legs.  Cybereyes and ears would be even more common that that especially among the older crowd (Granny swears by her old Fuchi eyes but we've been trying to talk her into upgrading to the new Azzie 3000s with low light so she can still see when she gets out of bed at night).  SINners would likely even know at least a few people with things like wired reflexes and muscle replacements to combat various muscular and neurological condition.  While uncommon, it wouldn't be that shocking to find out Bob in accounting has a cybertorso from that time he flipped his car off the bridge and Mary in receiving has a cyberskull from that time she fell off the retaining wall at the beach a few years ago.

Medicineman

  • *
  • Ace Runner
  • ****
  • Posts: 2310
« Reply #12 on: (04:33:57/10-27-10) »
More Sugarbread and less Whiplashes please.
I'd rather give Players who want to play a Char with emotional Problems due to 'ware some Karma for good Roleplaying instead of inventing a Table for reaction modifiers or  Emo Status.
Officially there are NO Rules for gettin emotional or lacking Emotions. only said social modifiers.
there is also a raised Trend for Chrome,Cybereyes or Datajacks are sooooo Standard(2072).

What about a Char who (by Background) was quadriplegig (unable to move)maybe due to an Accident.
Who got Cyberarms,Torso and Legs. Now he can move,dance,now he enjoys life,everything .He's the contrary to emotionally unstable or Callous (even with Essence of 0,25)!
One of own Chars (Cyb Ork) has an Essence of 0,01 and Yes he is callous, but out of my own Will, I gave him that Disadvantage.And to be honest, its not easy to play him that way !

He who dances with the Sugarbread and not with a Whip
Medicineman
« Last Edit: (04:41:09/10-27-10) by Medicineman »
http://english.bouletcorp.com/2013/08/02/the-long-journey/
---------------------------------------------------
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h1V7fi5IqYw
---------------------------------------------------
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-RYlAPjyNm8

Pure Mongrel

  • *
  • Newb
  • *
  • Posts: 24
« Reply #13 on: (04:55:18/10-27-10) »
Just so we are on the same page regarding this discussion. I get the feeling I have presented it wrong ... sorry for that  :o

I don't want to add or change any rules and I don't want to change anyone's game, playing style, etc.

What I am trying to get a grip on is how Cyber augmentation effects the person that has been augmented. How does losing personal essence effect the way they view their surrounding and social interactions.

I want to get your opinions on how that would pan out in role playing, so lets try it this way:

The PC goes into a cafe and, in an annoyed tone of voice, orders a Soyachino from a middle aged Orc male behind the counter, who takes his Nuyen, makes the drink and hands it too the PC. The PC then sits at a table that is next to an young Elf girl that is very attractive. The PC attempts to flirt with her.

Now, only focusing on the Orc and the Elf, how would they react in this scenario if their essence score was 6, 3 and 1?

Would 6 be?:
Orc - Takes offense at being spoken down to, maybe makes a smart comment, shows his emotion on his face, maybe sings "Customers suck" while making the drink?
Elf - Notices the PC's attempt to flirt and giggles then flirts back, or turns her nose up and turns her back to the PC, or tips her drink in the PC's lap and leaves?

Would 3 be?:
Orc - Acknowledges the PC's order, gives the standard company greeting and goodbye responses in a dull tone, makes the drink and hands it to the PC with a bored expression?
Elf - Acknowledges the PC's flirting with no more than a polite "hello", but appears disinterested, finished drink with out further discussion and leaves giving the PC a bland "goodbye" on the way out?

Would 1 be?:
Orc - Does not acknowledge PC as such, just states "Order?" and holds out hand for the credstick, makes drink with no noise and no facial expressions, hands over drink with no more response than "done" and returns to the front counter, all the while just staring at the wall, until the next customer to enters.
Elf - Does not acknowledge PC at all no matter what he does. Finished drink in an officiant manner (does not remove mouth until cup is empty), stands and walks out with an automated style of motion and no social expression of any kind.
   
« Last Edit: (05:23:04/10-27-10) by Pure Mongrel »

Medicineman

  • *
  • Ace Runner
  • ****
  • Posts: 2310
« Reply #14 on: (05:08:57/10-27-10) »
I don't want to add or change any rules and I don't want to change anyone's game, playing style, etc.No offense taken :)

What I am trying to get a grip on is how Cyber augmentation effects the person that has been augmented. How does losing personal essence effect the way they view their surrounding and social interactions.

They don't per se !
They can ,yes, but also your MAG (Magic Attribute) can influence social interactions also (some say they  should influence the Char in the same Way as lost Essence), or the Metarace,or Gender

Now, only focusing on the Orc and the Elf, how would they react in this scenario if their essence score was 6, 3 and 1?
Their Essence is Irellevant,it doesn't matter(or better said it shouldn't be all that matters)
Essence was a Gauge for a lack of Emotion in Cyberpunk 2020 it isn't for SR4 .Not by RAW .It can be made into a Gauge by taking Mental Disadvantages (or Physical ones)

He who dances to Utada Hikaru's "Apple & Cinnamon" right now
Medicineman
« Last Edit: (05:11:40/10-27-10) by Medicineman »
http://english.bouletcorp.com/2013/08/02/the-long-journey/
---------------------------------------------------
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h1V7fi5IqYw
---------------------------------------------------
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-RYlAPjyNm8