Cybernetics and Augmentations

Saturday, June 24, 2017

A common trope of many science fiction stories is the ability of characters to be able to improve themselves with science, often in the form of cybernetic enhancements. In the Starfinder Core Rulebook, these kinds of augmentations fall into a few broad categories—cybernetics, biotech, and personal upgrades. Cybernetics and biotech are handled using roughly the same rules, while personal upgrades have their own system.

Personal upgrades represent any system—be it technological, magical, or a hybrid of the two—that increases a character's ability scores. Personal upgrades are useful, but not crucial to most character concepts because of how ability score generation and level-based increases are handled. In Starfinder, when a character reaches 5th level, and every 5 levels thereafter, the character increases 4 ability scores of the player's choice. Also if the ability score is a 16 or lower, it increases by +2, while scores of 17 or more increase by +1. This makes it easy for characters to shore up ability scores that turn out to be too low to produce the effect desired in mid-level and high-level play, without forcing a player to decide between improving a key ability score and improving weak ones.

As a result, personal upgrades are kept very simple. Over the course of a character's career, beginning around 3rd level or so, they can buy one personal upgrade that grants a +2 to one ability score, one that grants a +4, and one that grants a +6. It doesn't matter if these are mystic ability crystals, technological synaptic enhancers, or some hybrid system, each character can successfully use only three of them, each at a different level of ability boost.

Cybernetics and biotech work differently, as they come in a wide range of item levels, and can be as simple as gaining a fully function prosthetic limb to replace a lost body part, or as complex as installing a dragon gland that gives you a breath weapon attack. Other forms of augmentation, such as necrografts, are mentioned as existing in the Core Rulebook but don't have full descriptions there. (Hint: keep your eyes on the Adventure Path!) Here's an example of a cybernetic augmentation:

CARDIAC ACCELERATOR SYSTEM: HEART

Price 3,850 credits Level 6

This implant plugs directly into your heart and can be triggered to overclock the performance of your heart and circulatory system. When you run, charge, or take a move action to move, you can spend 1 Resolve Point to increase your speed (in the relevant mode of movement) by 20 feet for that action. This extra movement is treated as an enhancement bonus.

Alternatively, you can spend 1 Resolve Point as a reaction when you attempt a Reflex saving throw to gain a +1 enhancement bonus to your roll.

Each augmentation has a system it replaces or modifies, such as an arm, the throat, or your skin. You can't have more than one augmentation applied to the same system—once you add a dragon gland, you can't also get a vocal modulator installed, as they're both throat system augmentations. The price listed for each augmentation includes the cost of having it professionally installed, which normally takes about an hour per level of the augmentation. While a minimum level of skill is required to do this, there's no check involved—adding augmentations has become a routine outpatient procedure in the universe of Starfinder, with no significant risks of failure or complication. You can also have old augmentations removed or replaced with new options, though since all augmentations are custom built for their specific user, there's no market for used augmentations.

Once implanted, augmentations work just like your natural limbs and organs—a cybernetic arm is no more vulnerable to specific attacks or effects than your natural arm. Adding augmentations is essentially a character design choice: they can be useful, but no character concept requires them in order to be effective.

Owen K.C. Stephens
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Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I am a little less excited now that as it stands I cannot remove the augmentations of my enemies and install them into my allies. I wanted to truly "Loot" the bodies.

Dark Archive

JakBlitz wrote:
I am a little less excited now that as it stands I cannot remove the augmentations of my enemies and install them into my allies. I wanted to truly "Loot" the bodies.

I agree. Removing cyber-parts from previous users and selling them for half or less is a common trope in sci-fi and makes much more sense than selling magic items for half value.


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TheGoofyGE3K wrote:
lakobie wrote:
The only thing that annoys me about that point buy is stat cap is 28 (+9 mod) and not 30 (+10 mod which is a much nicer number)
Start at 18. Add the +6 and the +5 to get to 29. Shame the independent point from themes doesn't add on afterwards. So close

It's only +4 from levels. It's at 5th and every 5, so a total of four times.


QuidEst wrote:
TheGoofyGE3K wrote:
lakobie wrote:
The only thing that annoys me about that point buy is stat cap is 28 (+9 mod) and not 30 (+10 mod which is a much nicer number)
Start at 18. Add the +6 and the +5 to get to 29. Shame the independent point from themes doesn't add on afterwards. So close
It's only +4 from levels. It's at 5th and every 5, so a total of four times.

I thought everyone was referring to the the +1 from the theme as part of the +5.


Marco Massoudi wrote:

I think there is room for both:

-The power-loader that just needs an operator

-The symbiotic enhancer which works from the wearers strenght and boosts it.

I was going to clarify as follows...

Quote:

Well, the second one I would call a type of augment, like a Guyver suit. It isn't something you really wear so much as something that is part of you.

Anything like an Iron Man suit or the armor of a Space Marine should just be a flat (though upgradable) score.

But then I remembered the Berserker Armor from Berserk where it doesn't exactly boost anything, but it removes the self imposed limitations of the sub-conscious.

So I can see some sort of gear that doesn't actually enhance you, but it allows you to perform at your most adrenaline fueled ability for an extended period of time.


Marco Massoudi wrote:
JakBlitz wrote:
I am a little less excited now that as it stands I cannot remove the augmentations of my enemies and install them into my allies. I wanted to truly "Loot" the bodies.
I agree. Removing cyber-parts from previous users and selling them for half or less is a common trope in sci-fi and makes much more sense than selling magic items for half value.

Same. Cyberware chop shops are a fun trope, and it's sad to cut out all chance of them or any stories related to them showing up. It also makes no sense that the parts become immediately worthless as soon as they're implanted in someone, it's super weird and gamey.


Torbyne wrote:
QuidEst wrote:
TheGoofyGE3K wrote:
lakobie wrote:
The only thing that annoys me about that point buy is stat cap is 28 (+9 mod) and not 30 (+10 mod which is a much nicer number)
Start at 18. Add the +6 and the +5 to get to 29. Shame the independent point from themes doesn't add on afterwards. So close
It's only +4 from levels. It's at 5th and every 5, so a total of four times.
I thought everyone was referring to the the +1 from the theme as part of the +5.

The theme bonus applies during Ability Score Buy and can't get you over 18.


If I want a super-modded character, like someone who's more machine than man, or a massively genetically modded experiment, is there any reason I can't say that the level 5, etc. increases are cybernetic in nature as well as the three personal upgrades?

So can I have a soldier with 16 Str and Dex at level 1, then add a cybernetic personal upgrade for +2 Str, then at level 5 have some seedy back-alley cyberneticist rewire my nervous system and add carbon-fiber muscle grafts for +2 Str and Dex?

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Aratrok wrote:
Marco Massoudi wrote:
JakBlitz wrote:
I am a little less excited now that as it stands I cannot remove the augmentations of my enemies and install them into my allies. I wanted to truly "Loot" the bodies.
I agree. Removing cyber-parts from previous users and selling them for half or less is a common trope in sci-fi and makes much more sense than selling magic items for half value.
Same. Cyberware chop shops are a fun trope, and it's sad to cut out all chance of them or any stories related to them showing up. It also makes no sense that the parts become immediately worthless as soon as they're implanted in someone, it's super weird and gamey.

is there any explanation on how we have such an advanced tech with such a big limitation?


I could guess some, based on the fact it's custom tailored

To re-use the parts you need a client who is at least the same species and general body build (it leaves probably no very good impression if you got a few dozen corpse looted second hand parts laying aroung 'wait a sec there was one of you kind gibbed last month, should've perfectly fine parts for you' )

and of course the activation and handling of those parts could be linked to a personalized neural blueprint

additionally, especially if its bio-tech, it could also need the same blood type (ot whatever the equivalent)and probably has to be kept fresh

Also it probably needs a lot of delicate work to remove them without destroying them

and then there is the point that such equipment can only be looted from corpses, which is probably also uncomfortable for several clients

considering all of that it would make kind of sense, even though you are free to modify that for your own campaign if you deal with people who are shady or desperate enough...

where there's opportunity there is a market if you have an adequate lake of moral standards


Yes, I'm not entierly happy about the emphasis on adventurers buying all thier gear, rather than finding it. I prefer most of the magic items in my games to be found, that way I can channel players into having the right stuff for the adventure, and have a small number of quirky but powerful items instead a hoard of generic items. In my campaigns shops generally don't sell any magical gear.

It is also a bit limiting if you need to provide players with access to shops as well. You have just sent the players out to explore the unknown reaches, and they have to keep rushing back to civilisation or make do with inferior gear whenever the level up.


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A good generic one, where tech and magic exists.
is that the parts are custom formed for that person's innate magical structure (which helps maintain and power said items). So it might be like that. The parts are realtively easy to come buy. They might be made of generic crap, 3d printed on the cheap and are worthless material when not attuned to your specific bioelectric/innate magical soul field thingy.

So for anyone else its just scrap of that generic easy to come by goop. that doesnt' resell well.


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Personally, I don't think it makes much sense to grab someone else's cybernetics and just install them in yourself, you'd think that they would be pretty damn personalized to their specific anatomy even in the same species, let alone some of the potential body plans that might be out there, unless you're specifically fighting a clone of yourself of the same apparent age. Maybe it would be different if it was something that entirely replaced a body part, but even then, even in the same civilization, people might not always be focused on modularity...or compatibility with their competitors. Leaving aside other civilizations' cybernetic styles.

I imagine you can still take weaponry off of the corpses of your enemies unless your hand configuration is radically different (what do you mean it was designed for something with twenty-two tendrils per tentacle!), though armor might need some degree of reconfiguration, though I'd like to imagine that anyone might be able to do so with a fairly simple skill check instead of always having to lug it back to civilization (or perhaps overlook it entirely for the sake of convenience).

Edit: Also I don't know how I would feel about a game where not mutiliating people's corpses was reducing your loot...


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d'Eon wrote:

If I want a super-modded character, like someone who's more machine than man, or a massively genetically modded experiment, is there any reason I can't say that the level 5, etc. increases are cybernetic in nature as well as the three personal upgrades?

So can I have a soldier with 16 Str and Dex at level 1, then add a cybernetic personal upgrade for +2 Str, then at level 5 have some seedy back-alley cyberneticist rewire my nervous system and add carbon-fiber muscle grafts for +2 Str and Dex?

A thought I had in... I don’t remember which thread. By making cybernetics both level tiered in capability and with absolutely no resale value, they have opened the door to letting a PC start at level 1 with a full conversion mechanical body, either leave enough organic components to justify being susceptible to poisons and disease or have synthetic parts filling the role that are also unfortunately vulnerable to them. I could see a "human" who was born with the worst draw possible from the genetic lottery but their rather well to do parents were able to buy continuous cyber parts to keep the PC alive and well. This leading to a PC who looks almost entirely mechanical on the outside but still is functionally represented as a Human by the rules and gives a neat hook for a human who looks like a robot and is envious of Androids for looking more real than the PC does. Or a mechanic character who takes their obsession with self-improvement as a means to survive rather than some desire to be more machine. Or reverse the whole trope of man to machine and start out as an extremely advanced machine character who is basically trapped in a mobile life support system and as you level up and get ahold of augments you are solely replacing your mechanical parts with customized organic parts that are "corrected" cloned pieces of your original body.

Basically, everything they have said about cyberware and stat increases so far leads me to believe you can fluff it however you like so long as you leave the limits and types intact.

Dark Archive

I can see some of the mostly mechanical/rules reasons for not taking parts from enemies.

But it doesn't make sense in reality.
Look at how people get organs transplanted from other peoples bodies even with different blood types or sizes. Sure, it doesn't always work flawless or sometimes at all, sometimes the body rejects the alien part, but still.

I also see people installing body parts from alien species into themselves.

Even if it's tailored to a special person/species, hardware can be removed and taken apart for components.

And maybe most good people would have a problem with taking the dead apart, but some would not

Trying to survive on a remote planet, i don't think too many people would be too picky about this. The dead don't need anything anymore and they don't care either.

Cybernetics are also not a part of a natural body and they don't decompose (but rust away) if not re-used.

This is the first sci-fi universe where it is handled like this i can think off and for me it massively takes away from making it realistic.


Fardragon wrote:

Yes, I'm not entierly happy about the emphasis on adventurers buying all thier gear, rather than finding it. I prefer most of the magic items in my games to be found, that way I can channel players into having the right stuff for the adventure, and have a small number of quirky but powerful items instead a hoard of generic items. In my campaigns shops generally don't sell any magical gear.

It is also a bit limiting if you need to provide players with access to shops as well. You have just sent the players out to explore the unknown reaches, and they have to keep rushing back to civilisation or make do with inferior gear whenever the level up.

The only gear that you dont seem able to loot are stat augments and implants, two categories out of the whole grab bag of loot that is out there. AIs, ship parts, weapons, armor, miscellanious gear, actual treasure and art, corporate data, ancient lore, Maps, an honest feeling of accomplishment from doing good works... all of the rest is still there for the looting.

My one grip about the no looting implants is that, isnt basically everyting supposed to be able to be broken down into UPBs that are functionally magical money anyways? i suppose it would be weird if it is a bio-implant that is being converted into UPBs and then paid in to making a new phased plasma rifle and that could push the PCs into only bio-implants since there is less incentive to murder-rob bio implants over magic or cyber implants but still seems like something should be possible.


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I don't think I've ever seen a science fiction series where people took cybernetic parts out of other people and implanted them in themselves, it's almost always something uniquely created for them, or taking someone else's and asking the right people to make something that works like this for them at most...but much more often it's something made fresh in the books I've read...

And yeah, people do have organ transplants, but that's usually because they'll die if they don't, or at least have a miserable life, not because they're hoping for an upgrade...and they know they'll have to deal with a lowered immune system, risks of rejection, etc. I don't see that as being the same as picking cybernetics off a dead enemy unless you lost a body part.

They have I believe said that biografts will exist, though. Not sure if they involve parts from other living things, or specialized body parts grown in vats...

Also whether they degrade generally depends a lot on what the cybernetics are made of, especially if they're delicate in nature...it's easy for things to be damaged. It's probably not usually a major design goal to make cybernetics that survive past their owner's demise...I mean, would that be a selling point to you? "This arm is tough enough that it'll survive you! You can pass it on to your son!" "...okay? But I'm only buying it for me?"

And frankly, like I said, if the game incentivizes mutilating corpses, by making it so that you're actively sabotaging yourself by refusing to rip parts out of the enemy, a lot of people are going to start doing it because the game is rewarding them for doing it. You shouldn't have to be making in-character sacrifices for not mutilating corpses...it really takes away from any actual moral dilemma because people know which the game is rewarding them for doing. For that kind of thing to have impact, it should be rare and have real in-game repercussions...


I think the one setting I know where second hand cybernetics are used is Shadowrun...and lets be honest in serveral ways you are f***ed if you live in that setting

Dark Archive

Saying "there's no market for used augmentations" is silly.

That would be the case only if they were very cheap and the cost of removal and re-installation would be higher than getting a new one manufactured and fitted.

Look how as good as ANYYTHING can be processed and reprocessed in the real world.

Some poor people have to strip trash for a living. ;-(


Well it was a significant part of Battle Angel Alita, wasnt it?

And i thought they mention there being a market for it in some of the Dues Ex games?


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Surely hijacking cybernetics from corpses is much more of a personal campaign choice than a built-in feature? Seems like you could house-rule it but including it as a part of the economy calculation puts them in a difficult spot in terms of making a game in which you are essentially playing 'heroes' so to speak. Why would the servant of a Lawful Good god be stealing arms from thugs? But if that's an integral part of the PC's WBL calculations then you'd be heavily penalised for playing anything other than a morally ambiguous character. If you wanted to play a campaign where the party were a bit more morally flexible and sold cyber limbs on the black market I see no reason not to bend the rules for that as a GM but from what we've seen of the game so far it doesn't seem to line up with the themes that the Paizo guys are setting up.


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There's 'used', and then there's 'was ripped out of the dead body of someone you probably filled with bullets and/or laser beams and/or hot plasma and/or grenade shrapnel'. Also you're forgetting whatever modifications might need to be made to adapt it to its new wearer's unique physiology. Leaving aside the fact that killing people and harvesting them (whether for organs or cybernetics) and selling the remains is probably going to be illegal in many places...


Luthorne wrote:
There's 'used', and then there's 'was ripped out of the dead body of someone you probably filled with bullets and/or laser beams and/or hot plasma and/or grenade shrapnel'. Also you're forgetting whatever modifications might need to be made to adapt it to its new wearer's unique physiology. Leaving aside the fact that killing people and harvesting them (whether for organs or cybernetics) and selling the remains is probably going to be illegal in many places...

True but also misleading. Assuming a nation of laws, there are probably just as many that say if someone attacks you and you kill them in self defense you still are not entitled to their personnal belongings. if you take their lungs that is illegal, if you take their Vibro-knife of Trust that is also illegal. it is possible one may also count as an evil act as far as the karmic balance on your soul goes but still both illegal in the mortal realm.


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Torbyne wrote:
Luthorne wrote:
There's 'used', and then there's 'was ripped out of the dead body of someone you probably filled with bullets and/or laser beams and/or hot plasma and/or grenade shrapnel'. Also you're forgetting whatever modifications might need to be made to adapt it to its new wearer's unique physiology. Leaving aside the fact that killing people and harvesting them (whether for organs or cybernetics) and selling the remains is probably going to be illegal in many places...
True but also misleading. Assuming a nation of laws, there are probably just as many that say if someone attacks you and you kill them in self defense you still are not entitled to their personal belongings. if you take their lungs that is illegal, if you take their Vibro-knife of Trust that is also illegal. it is possible one may also count as an evil act as far as the karmic balance on your soul goes but still both illegal in the mortal realm.

...well, yeah, doesn't that go without saying...? Not sure what makes my statement misleading...

Dark Archive

It could be that most of the "value" of the cybernetics is the cost of the installation and the actual cybernetic is relatively cheap, hence there being no practical resale value.

Dark Archive

Let's leave the "taking alien body parts into your own body" thing away.

But if you destroy a robot or put a bullet in a cyborg, there are a lot of metal parts left which are not part of a natural body.

Those have a worth.


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Marco Massoudi wrote:

Let's leave the "taking alien body parts into your own body" thing away.

But if you destroy a robot or put a bullet in a cyborg, there are a lot of metal parts left which are not part of a natural body.

Those have a worth.

True, but from a mechanical standpoint, factoring that into the WBL characters get puts you in a situation where players are actively discouraged from making good aligned characters because they'll be behind on wealth from not wanting to take cyber limbs and organs from people. It's easier to not include it for balancing purposes and not to restrict player choices. It works for a setting like Shadowrun where characters are supposed to exist in a grey area, but in a more traditional D&D style game where many characters are heroes it just doesn't make sense to punish that interest. Luke Skywalker wouldn't steal a guy's robot arm to sell on the black market.


I don't see how is looting augmentations any different morally from looting gear.
Either way you take possessions from a dead enemy.

Scarab Sages

Marco Massoudi wrote:

Let's leave the "taking alien body parts into your own body" thing away.

But if you destroy a robot or put a bullet in a cyborg, there are a lot of metal parts left which are not part of a natural body.

Those have a worth.

But do they? The manufacturing and material cost can be so low as to be meaningless. See the worthless yellow rocks trope.


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Marco Massoudi wrote:

Let's leave the "taking alien body parts into your own body" thing away.

But if you destroy a robot or put a bullet in a cyborg, there are a lot of metal parts left which are not part of a natural body.

Those have a worth.

How much would you anticipate getting for a laptop with one or more bullet holes in it?


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Mashallah wrote:

I don't see how is looting augmentations any different morally from looting gear.

Either way you take possessions from a dead enemy.

I think there's a pretty big difference between taking coins from someone's pocket and ripping their arm off, I just don't see a priest of Iomedae doing that sort of thing. There's no doubt that these things could theoretically have value but I just don't see it as a very 'Space Opera' thing to do, it's way more fitting for a cyberpunk game, but that's just my opinion


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Luke Spencer wrote:
Mashallah wrote:

I don't see how is looting augmentations any different morally from looting gear.

Either way you take possessions from a dead enemy.
I think there's a pretty big difference between taking coins from someone's pocket and ripping their arm off, I just don't see a priest of Iomedae doing that sort of thing. There's no doubt that these things could theoretically have value but I just don't see it as a very 'Space Opera' thing to do, it's way more fitting for a cyberpunk game, but that's just my opinion

But it's not their arm. It's literally a piece of gear they're wearing in place of an arm.


Let me clarify something: Is it just the 3 augments you get as part of leveling up that can't be removed? Cause if so who's to say the enemies even have such augments? Since they seem to be a math fix for the pc's I don't see why we should assume NPC #5 has them.

Scarab Sages

I'm reminded of District 9... "I want that @&^##^ arm!"


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Mashallah wrote:
Luke Spencer wrote:
Mashallah wrote:

I don't see how is looting augmentations any different morally from looting gear.

Either way you take possessions from a dead enemy.
I think there's a pretty big difference between taking coins from someone's pocket and ripping their arm off, I just don't see a priest of Iomedae doing that sort of thing. There's no doubt that these things could theoretically have value but I just don't see it as a very 'Space Opera' thing to do, it's way more fitting for a cyberpunk game, but that's just my opinion
But it's not their arm. It's literally a piece of gear they're wearing in place of an arm.

I think it's a matter of how you think of it. The way I see it, it may just be a piece of tech but it's wired into the body in a way that it functions identically to a normal arm. It's not just gonna click off like a piece of lego, you have to separate the flesh from the machine, in that sense it's the same as taking an actual arm. Maybe a better example would be a cyber-organ. To get that organ you have to rip open a person's chest, and in my mind I can't see a morally good person doing so for a bit of extra money, even if it's just a piece of gear.


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Mashallah wrote:
Luke Spencer wrote:
Mashallah wrote:

I don't see how is looting augmentations any different morally from looting gear.

Either way you take possessions from a dead enemy.
I think there's a pretty big difference between taking coins from someone's pocket and ripping their arm off, I just don't see a priest of Iomedae doing that sort of thing. There's no doubt that these things could theoretically have value but I just don't see it as a very 'Space Opera' thing to do, it's way more fitting for a cyberpunk game, but that's just my opinion
But it's not their arm. It's literally a piece of gear they're wearing in place of an arm.

Do you see the difference in taking someone's weapon from their living hand, and removing a living person's prosethetic limb? That cyber ware isn't just hanging on their body, it's part of their body now. Artificial or not it is integrated into the body, and so it's not just gear.


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Mashallah wrote:
Luke Spencer wrote:
Mashallah wrote:

I don't see how is looting augmentations any different morally from looting gear.

Either way you take possessions from a dead enemy.
I think there's a pretty big difference between taking coins from someone's pocket and ripping their arm off, I just don't see a priest of Iomedae doing that sort of thing. There's no doubt that these things could theoretically have value but I just don't see it as a very 'Space Opera' thing to do, it's way more fitting for a cyberpunk game, but that's just my opinion
But it's not their arm. It's literally a piece of gear they're wearing in place of an arm.

I think it stops being a piece of gear when it's fully integrated in your neural, muscular, and bone structures, and requires surgery to remove.


Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

Honestly I wouldn't be opposed to letting a group take cybernetics from corpses and sell them on if the party were that way inclined and there weren't any characters that I don't think would be okay with it, but there would have to be consequences for doing something so very, very illegal.


Although that gets complicated when that competley integrated, wholly a part of your body now has an integrated laser and cutting torch... especially when the PCs realize that the laser is 4 levels above their current gear.

Luthorne, what i was trying to state was that the vast majority of PC adventuring would be considerd illegal under a nation of laws. while it may be more heinous to take an implant out of a body, it is property theft just like killing someone and taking their gun collection and motor boat would be and there is no gaurantee that any one of those crimes would carry a harsher penalty than the others under the law. It might be different if someone purposefully killed just to harvest body parts but that gets into things like "intent" instead of "loot" or "finders keepers" that most adventurers revolve around.


Luke Spencer wrote:
Honestly I wouldn't be opposed to letting a group take cybernetics from corpses and sell them on if the party were that way inclined and there weren't any characters that I don't think would be okay with it, but there would have to be consequences for doing something so very, very illegal.

Killing someone and taking their fancy +5 longsword plasma ultrablaster should be just as illegal under most laws.


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Mashallah wrote:
Luke Spencer wrote:
Honestly I wouldn't be opposed to letting a group take cybernetics from corpses and sell them on if the party were that way inclined and there weren't any characters that I don't think would be okay with it, but there would have to be consequences for doing something so very, very illegal.
Killing someone and taking their fancy +5 longsword plasma ultrablaster should be just as illegal under most laws.

Well yeah if they get caught then they also get into the same amount of trouble. The only context where I'd say you could legally keep someone's gear would be if the individual or group had a bounty or was otherwise a known and proven criminal in which case the gear could fall under it as a reward, but even then most law officials would find the suggestion of taking cybernetic implants abhorrent and wouldn't allow it. I mean, bringing a murdered to justice doesn't mean you can have his pacemaker to sell on Ebay


Luke Spencer wrote:
Mashallah wrote:
Luke Spencer wrote:
Honestly I wouldn't be opposed to letting a group take cybernetics from corpses and sell them on if the party were that way inclined and there weren't any characters that I don't think would be okay with it, but there would have to be consequences for doing something so very, very illegal.
Killing someone and taking their fancy +5 longsword plasma ultrablaster should be just as illegal under most laws.
Well yeah if they get caught then they also get into the same amount of trouble. The only context where I'd say you could legally keep someone's gear would be if the individual or group had a bounty or was otherwise a known and proven criminal in which case the gear could fall under it as a reward, but even then most law officials would find the suggestion of taking cybernetic implants abhorrent and wouldn't allow it. I mean, bringing a murdered to justice doesn't mean you can have his pacemaker to sell on Ebay

Just like it doesn't mean you can claim ownership of his car and laptop.


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Torbyne wrote:

Although that gets complicated when that competley integrated, wholly a part of your body now has an integrated laser and cutting torch... especially when the PCs realize that the laser is 4 levels above their current gear.

Luthorne, what i was trying to state was that the vast majority of PC adventuring would be considerd illegal under a nation of laws. while it may be more heinous to take an implant out of a body, it is property theft just like killing someone and taking their gun collection and motor boat would be and there is no gaurantee that any one of those crimes would carry a harsher penalty than the others under the law. It might be different if someone purposefully killed just to harvest body parts but that gets into things like "intent" instead of "loot" or "finders keepers" that most adventurers revolve around.

Well, I was mostly trying to say that generally, showing up with shot-up cybernetics that were ham-handedly chopped off, clearly were never attached to you, possibly still with parts of the original owner's body attached to them, and trying to sell it generally is going to heavily imply homicide or at least mutilation, whereas you could at least attempt to pass off other stolen goods as being legitimately gained, since they weren't actively a part of someone else's body. Or just regular theft. So I was more attempting to address Marco's assertion there would be an easy market for such things; obviously theft is wrong, though even in lawless areas of space, I imagine people who mutilate corpses for money get some revulsion, even if law isn't being enforced.


Mashallah wrote:
Luke Spencer wrote:
Mashallah wrote:
Luke Spencer wrote:
Honestly I wouldn't be opposed to letting a group take cybernetics from corpses and sell them on if the party were that way inclined and there weren't any characters that I don't think would be okay with it, but there would have to be consequences for doing something so very, very illegal.
Killing someone and taking their fancy +5 longsword plasma ultrablaster should be just as illegal under most laws.
Well yeah if they get caught then they also get into the same amount of trouble. The only context where I'd say you could legally keep someone's gear would be if the individual or group had a bounty or was otherwise a known and proven criminal in which case the gear could fall under it as a reward, but even then most law officials would find the suggestion of taking cybernetic implants abhorrent and wouldn't allow it. I mean, bringing a murdered to justice doesn't mean you can have his pacemaker to sell on Ebay
Just like it doesn't mean you can claim ownership of his car and laptop.

Or if we are basing this on anything like reality, anything at all that you find on or near the bounty being hunted is not yours for the taking. Any property from the bounty would go back to original owners, be awarded to the victims, become government property (for them to likely auction off dirt cheap anyways) or pass on to the next of kin (possibly with some kind of estate taxes going to the government) If the PCs take anything at all it would be illegal. now that is based on our laws and even then it is probably that if you took down someone with better gear than you, as much of that gear as you could manage would be missing or unaccounted for when you turn in the bounty and its possible that in setting there are some kind of hunter's rights that lets them confiscate goods from declared bounties. but we have nothing like that to go on yet so to default, theft is theft.


Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber
Mashallah wrote:
Luke Spencer wrote:
Mashallah wrote:
Luke Spencer wrote:
Honestly I wouldn't be opposed to letting a group take cybernetics from corpses and sell them on if the party were that way inclined and there weren't any characters that I don't think would be okay with it, but there would have to be consequences for doing something so very, very illegal.
Killing someone and taking their fancy +5 longsword plasma ultrablaster should be just as illegal under most laws.
Well yeah if they get caught then they also get into the same amount of trouble. The only context where I'd say you could legally keep someone's gear would be if the individual or group had a bounty or was otherwise a known and proven criminal in which case the gear could fall under it as a reward, but even then most law officials would find the suggestion of taking cybernetic implants abhorrent and wouldn't allow it. I mean, bringing a murdered to justice doesn't mean you can have his pacemaker to sell on Ebay
Just like it doesn't mean you can claim ownership of his car and laptop.

I'll concede that point, guess it's just a limit on my suspension of disbelief. I can imagine a sci-fi government making exceptions for external possessions but I don't see any law-abiding group giving any form of consideration to permitting to stripping corpses for parts. I see no reason why people can't allow it in their games, I just see it as the developers not wanting to cripple good-aligned parties who have moral issues taking cybernetics from corpses.


Luthorne wrote:
Torbyne wrote:

Although that gets complicated when that competley integrated, wholly a part of your body now has an integrated laser and cutting torch... especially when the PCs realize that the laser is 4 levels above their current gear.

Luthorne, what i was trying to state was that the vast majority of PC adventuring would be considerd illegal under a nation of laws. while it may be more heinous to take an implant out of a body, it is property theft just like killing someone and taking their gun collection and motor boat would be and there is no gaurantee that any one of those crimes would carry a harsher penalty than the others under the law. It might be different if someone purposefully killed just to harvest body parts but that gets into things like "intent" instead of "loot" or "finders keepers" that most adventurers revolve around.

Well, I was mostly trying to say that generally, showing up with shot-up cybernetics that were ham-handedly chopped off, clearly were never attached to you, possibly still with parts of the original owner's body attached to them, and trying to sell it generally is going to heavily imply homicide or at least mutilation, whereas you could at least attempt to pass off other stolen goods as being legitimately gained, since they weren't actively a part of someone else's body. Or just regular theft. So I was more attempting to address Marco's assertion there would be an easy market for such things; obviously theft is wrong, though even in lawless areas of space, I imagine people who mutilate corpses for money get some revulsion, even if law isn't being enforced.

Maybe. The closest real world analogy i can think of would be mutilating corpses to remove jewlrey or pulling gold teeth. It was all considered grusome but when it was a profitable endeavor people still did it. I wouldnt be surprised if something similar still goes on today. Actually, my mother in law had a titanium plate in her leg after a break and they eventually removed it when her leg had healed up. The plate costs something like $600 on its own and she had to pay out of pocket for it. She had wanted to keep it, i dont know why, jewlrey maybe? But the hospital told her it was illegal to do so because there have been a lot of problems with people reselling such things for use in other operations and that resulted in a lot of infections and lawsuits so no one is allowed to keep such implants anymore. Which really makes me think there would be a market for second had cyberware and that the trade would probably be a thriving black market...


Luke Spencer wrote:
Mashallah wrote:
Luke Spencer wrote:
Mashallah wrote:
Luke Spencer wrote:
Honestly I wouldn't be opposed to letting a group take cybernetics from corpses and sell them on if the party were that way inclined and there weren't any characters that I don't think would be okay with it, but there would have to be consequences for doing something so very, very illegal.
Killing someone and taking their fancy +5 longsword plasma ultrablaster should be just as illegal under most laws.
Well yeah if they get caught then they also get into the same amount of trouble. The only context where I'd say you could legally keep someone's gear would be if the individual or group had a bounty or was otherwise a known and proven criminal in which case the gear could fall under it as a reward, but even then most law officials would find the suggestion of taking cybernetic implants abhorrent and wouldn't allow it. I mean, bringing a murdered to justice doesn't mean you can have his pacemaker to sell on Ebay
Just like it doesn't mean you can claim ownership of his car and laptop.
I'll concede that point, guess it's just a limit on my suspension of disbelief. I can imagine a sci-fi government making exceptions for external possessions but I don't see any law-abiding group giving any form of consideration to permitting to stripping corpses for parts. I see no reason why people can't allow it in their games, I just see it as the developers not wanting to cripple good-aligned parties who have moral issues taking cybernetics from corpses.

I still really don't see the principal difference here. If you find moral issues iffy, drop loot altogether and rely on rewards given as part of bounties/quests, as that is the only realistically moral option.

But, as is, this is about equally as immoral. A LG Paladin being perfectly fine with looting gear from corpses but then somehow not fine with looting augmentations comes off as weird and arbitrary to me.


Pathfinder Lost Omens, Maps, Rulebook Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Hopefully we can get some optional rules for it somewhere down the line. That way both sides of the discussion get satisfied.


Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber
Mashallah wrote:
Luke Spencer wrote:
Mashallah wrote:
Luke Spencer wrote:
Mashallah wrote:
Luke Spencer wrote:
Honestly I wouldn't be opposed to letting a group take cybernetics from corpses and sell them on if the party were that way inclined and there weren't any characters that I don't think would be okay with it, but there would have to be consequences for doing something so very, very illegal.
Killing someone and taking their fancy +5 longsword plasma ultrablaster should be just as illegal under most laws.
Well yeah if they get caught then they also get into the same amount of trouble. The only context where I'd say you could legally keep someone's gear would be if the individual or group had a bounty or was otherwise a known and proven criminal in which case the gear could fall under it as a reward, but even then most law officials would find the suggestion of taking cybernetic implants abhorrent and wouldn't allow it. I mean, bringing a murdered to justice doesn't mean you can have his pacemaker to sell on Ebay
Just like it doesn't mean you can claim ownership of his car and laptop.
I'll concede that point, guess it's just a limit on my suspension of disbelief. I can imagine a sci-fi government making exceptions for external possessions but I don't see any law-abiding group giving any form of consideration to permitting to stripping corpses for parts. I see no reason why people can't allow it in their games, I just see it as the developers not wanting to cripple good-aligned parties who have moral issues taking cybernetics from corpses.

I still really don't see the principal difference here. If you find moral issues iffy, drop loot altogether and rely on rewards given as part of bounties/quests, as that is the only realistically moral option.

But, as is, this is about equally as immoral. A LG Paladin being perfectly fine with looting gear from corpses but then somehow not fine with looting augmentations comes off as weird and...

I mean ultimately it's an entirely subjective thing and we'll likely never agree on it, I can't really explain why I consider it different but something about taking something off of a body vs defiling the body itself seems like the difference between necessity and cruelty to me, again I don't expect you'll understand where I'm coming from anymore than I can see where you come from but that's just how I see it.


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JakBlitz wrote:
is there any explanation on how we have such an advanced tech with such a big limitation?

Genetically encoded upon installation, perhaps? Or possibly single-use encryption in order to prevent cybernetics harvesting operations?

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