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Houserules for tanky, cyberlimb-focused samurai

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penllawen

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« on: <10-13-19/1118:52> »
Quoting myself from elsewhere so I don't drag that thread off-topic:

I've been pondering lately houseruling cyberlimbs to be more powerful, not less. I don't much like how you can burn 7-8 points of Essence (before alpha/beta/delta mods) getting four limbs plus torso and head and be rewarded by a mere handful extra boxes of physical track. It feels underwhelming, and thematically off that someone who is quite literally 80-90% metal isn't more resilient than that. Not to mention recovering from damage taken should be a matter of being repaired rather than being healed, and I wouldn't mind a mechanic that reflects that.

Not quite sure how to handle it mechanically, but my dream goal would be that samurai could be split into one of two equally viable archetypes - speed demons loaded up with reflex mods, and tank demons loaded up with cyberlimbs. (Essence cost precluding anyone other than cyberzombies doing both.)

In 5e this is tricky because the already-substantial soak pools don't leave a lot of room to make cyberlimbs even tougher. You could make them give hardened armour, maybe, but you'd have to be careful. 6e would be more amenable to this idea -- you could just add dice to the soak roll.
Anyone have any ideas how to make this work? (In 5e and/or 6e.)

Under 5e rules, perhaps something like: max 2 points of Armour per limb, but it's hardened armour now. That'd give a maximum of 7 autohits on damage soak, which is certainly very high, but it'd take a lot of Essence / nuyen to get there so perhaps that's OK.

DigitalZombie

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« Reply #1 on: <10-13-19/1145:21> »
Now, I personally dont share your view of how resilient characters should be in Shadowrun.
But I`ll try to come with some suggestions anyway.
I think hardened armour is very good, too good actually. It would devalue the bone lacings a lot.
Maybe keep armour in their original form, and instead of just 1 extra condition modifer a cyberlimb also adds 1 to soak tests.

If you really want to go for hardened armour, I would also look into buffing bonelacing and bonedensity somewhat.

Shadowhack

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« Reply #2 on: <10-13-19/1146:43> »
Quote
but it'd take a lot of Essence / nuyen to get there so perhaps that's OK.

Honestly, I think cyberlimbs are to costly in 6e. Anyone with a high natural strength would have to pay big nuyen for even one limb. Unless your resources A on priority they become prohibitive.

penllawen

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« Reply #3 on: <10-13-19/1150:08> »
Honestly, I think cyberlimbs are to costly in 6e. Anyone with a high natural strength would have to pay big nuyen for even one limb. Unless your resources A on priority they become prohibitive.
Agree with that - as I said in the other thread (but not this one), Im not a fan of the changes to cyberlimb stat boosts in 6e. 5es system is much better IMO.

ZeroSum

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« Reply #4 on: <10-13-19/1155:16> »
I never played 5th Edition and my grasp of those rules is pretty much non-existent. However, for 6th Edition, here's a couple of options from least complex (or at least, requiring less core rules changes) to most.

1. Every X rating of Armor adds +1 dice to damage resistance dice pool
This is basically bone density/bone lacing on steroids. Let's do the Min/Max Math(TM):
If I wanted to go all out, I could get six obvious "limbs" worth of armor; skull, torso, arms, and legs. That's 4+10+(2*15)+(2*20) capacity, for a total of 84 points of armor at a staggering cost of 420k nuyen. If every 4 points of armor gave us +1 dice pool, this character would have 21 extra damage resist dice, averaging 7 hits to reduce damage before adding body. The trade-off is that they would be virtually useless with Agility and Strength 2 for all actions using the cyberlimbs.

A less extreme example would be a samurai with 4 points of armor in the torso and each arm and leg, for a total of 20. Their Defense Rating would almost always grant them a point of attack, and they would get 5 extra dice to resist damage. However, this comes at the cost of 90k+100k nuyen just for the limbs and armor enhancements, so it doesn't really scale well when considering that Titanium Bone Lacing is 30k nuyen and 1.5 essence for +2 Armour and +2 soak dice, while Bone Density Augmentation R4 is 20k and 1.2 Essence for +4 soak dice but no additional armor. You could play around with every 2 or 3 points adding to armor, but that just means the DM can throw virtually indestructible NPCs at you, as the game mechanics would just break.

This brings us to...

2. Every Rating of Armor adds +1 to Armor and +1 dice to damage resistance, but Armor enhancements are capped at X
By capping how much armor can be added you fix the exponential issue with 84 armor enhancement NPCs, while improving the cost/benefit ratio over cyberlimbs vs bone augs. For example, if armor is capped at 1 you could add +6 dice and +6 armor for 30k if you armored all six limbs (skull, torso, arms, and legs). You still have to spend 90k on all the limbs, though, but you now have a significant boost in both armor and soak without the possible extremes.

If you instead cap at 2 per limb you're looking at +12 armor (which is already quite possible under CRB rules) and +12 soak dice, for 90k + 60k. 12 soak dice has a probability of adding 4 hits to your soak roll, meaning your durability would be significantly increased compared to nearly every other archetype, but at a relatively steep investment cost.

However, if you think this overcorrects, you could instead combine the two approaches and go for...

3. Every Rating of Armor increases Defense Rating by 1, and Rating / 2 (rounded up) adds a dice to damage resistance tests; armor attribute enhancements are capped at 3 per limb
This approach yields the same maximum result of +12 dice to soak, but increases armor by 18 (again, this latter part is completely feasible under core rules). It now costs 90k+120k to gain the maximum advantage of armored cyberlimbs, and you're extremely likely to gain edge on defense tests. I personally think this is a reasonable compromise between cost and benefit.

There is of course another approach...

4. Armor enhancements are capped at 1 per limb, cost is increased to X per enhancements, but now provide Hardened Armor
Limiting to 1 per limb is crucial, I think; with a skull, torso, two arms and two legs up-armored you would auto-soak 6 damage, making you impervious to most small arms fire, and any modified DV less than 6 would do 0 damage. This is a DRAMATIC increase in survivability, as it would basically take explosives or extremely high-net hit assault cannon shots to damage you, so the cost should be equally steep. Maybe make it... 50k per enhancement, for a total of 300k if you wanted the full suite? Adjust to what you think is fair, as long as you realize this can seriously destabilize combat.

Shadowhack

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« Reply #5 on: <10-13-19/1212:49> »
Honestly, I think cyberlimbs are to costly in 6e. Anyone with a high natural strength would have to pay big nuyen for even one limb. Unless your resources A on priority they become prohibitive.
Agree with that - as I said in the other thread (but not this one), Im not a fan of the changes to cyberlimb stat boosts in 6e. 5es system is much better IMO.

I would be a proponent of putting the cost structure of cyberlimbs up for errata. Cyberlimbs are one of the biggest parts of the cyberpunk genre. Just from a fluff and fun perspective they should be easier to get. My fix would be that the price as listed is for a limb that equals whatever your natural strength is after attribute and race points have been spent. You shouldn't have to spend over half your nuyen on a single limb. This would make sense even in the fiction of the world. Unless someone loses a limb in combat it just wouldn't make sense to buy a replacement that can't better what you already have.

penllawen

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« Reply #6 on: <10-13-19/1220:06> »
Adjust to what you think is fair, as long as you realize this can seriously destabilize combat.
My lingering concern is that you can't make this work just by buffing cyberlimbs, and instead you also have to gently nerf other competing augments (eg. bone lacing.) Maybe you even have to make armour as a whole less effective to create breathing room for cyberlimbs to be better without making people completely invulnerable. Such changes are beyond the scope of the tinkering I want to do, though.

ZeroSum

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« Reply #7 on: <10-13-19/1223:23> »
My lingering concern is that you can't make this work just by buffing cyberlimbs, and instead you also have to gently nerf other competing augments (eg. bone lacing.) Maybe you even have to make armour as a whole less effective to create breathing room for cyberlimbs to be better without making people completely invulnerable. Such changes are beyond the scope of the tinkering I want to do, though.

I personally think that option 3 from my previous post strikes a balance between cost and effect. It doesn't completely destabilize combat because it "only" adds dice to your pool and it does come at significant investment cost. But it leaves a nice amount of breathing room for characters to add some armor and survivability at the low end, and significant but not crazy overpowered at the high end. This is what it is all about for me, and it doesn't take a lot of rule changes to implement.