REDUCING THE POWER OF FULL 'BORG CONVERSIONS
an article/rant by Gary Astleford
"Full 'borg conversion."
Just about enough to make you wince, eh? Unless, of course, you're one of those guys who has a GM that actually allows players to be full conversions. In that case, you're probably jumping up and down. Read on, for I'm sure your happiness will turn to disappointment very quickly.
It is this author's opinion that full 'borg conversions (from here on in affectionately dubbed as "FBCs") are far too powerful for the average street-level CP2020 campaign. They're armored from head to toe, have attributes which far out-strip most human beings, and can turn PCs and NPCs alike into blood pudding by the dozen.
FBCs are horrendously armored (not much can be done about that, I'm afraid), and damage that penetrates is usually minimal (in the case of most small arms and mono-weapons). By the rules, it's nigh-impossible to kill an FBC with one shot unless you're using a heavy military-grade weapon (like, say, a tomahawk missile).
FULL 'BORG DAMAGE TABLES
What the following charts attempt to do is bring FBCs down to a level where average characters can harm them. Single shots that penetrate an FBC's armor are now liable to disable or, at the very least, inconvenience the FBC. The charts are detailed, and require that players and GMs who use FBCs do a little more paperwork during combat.
When an FBC takes damage that equals or exceeds 20% of its current maximum SDP in any location, roll on one of the following charts. Damage is deducted from the 'borg's SDP as normal, and any special effects from the charts are applied immediately.
For example, Silicon Slim (an Alpha-class FBC) is shot in his chest by a C-SWAT officer with a Militech Mk IV assault weapon loaded with dual purpose ammo (6d6-1 AP damage). The copper rolls good on his damage (6, 6, 5, 4, 4, 4, minus 1, for a total of 28 points). Slim's armor is SP 25, halved down to 12 due to the AP bullets, and 8 points of damage (half of 16) get through. The damage equals 20% of Slim's current maximum torso SDP of 40 (which would be 8), which calls for a roll on the chart. His torso SDP is reduced from 40 to 26, and the roll on the "TORSO HITS" chart below yields a "79."
"79" indicates that Slim's circulatory system has been damaged and might be leaking. Checking the entry, we see that there is a chance that the leak may seal itself automatically. Slim rolls a 1D6, which results in a "5," so the nutrient fluid continues to drain. Rolling a 1D10, Slim determines that he has 4 minutes before he "bleeds" to death. Poor Slim.
By the way, since Slim's current maximum torso SDP has been reduced from 40 to 26, the next time he is shot in that location it will only take 5 points of penetrating damage to force a roll on the torso chart again. In this way, 'borgs can be whittled down by combined small arms fire rather quickly.
HEAD HITS (Roll 1D100) :
01 - 35 : Superficial damage - No Effect 36 - 55 : Random headware option hit. Determine option and roll 1D6. 1-4 : Option is damaged and non-operational. Repairs cost 1/2 the original cost. 5-6 : Option is completely destroyed and must be replaced. 56 - 60 : Voxbox hit, and the 'borg's speech is affected. Roll 1D6. 1 : Speech is filled with static and difficult to understand. 2 : Volume control damaged, speech is very soft and hard to hear and cannot be turned up. 3 : Volume control damaged, speech is deafeningly loud and cannot be turned down. 4 : Speech manifests as random electronic noise and cannot be understood. 5 - 6 : Voxbox is destroyed and speech is not possible. 61 - 80 : Sensory input is knocked out and must be repaired/replaced. Roll 1D6. 1 : One cyberoptic is knocked out. Even = Right eye. Odd = Left eye. 2 : Both cyberoptics are knocked out and 'borg is effectively blind. 3 : Cyberaudio is knocked out and 'borg is effectively deaf. 4 : Olfactory sensors are knocked out and 'borg cannot smell. 5 : Taste sensors are knocked out and 'borg cannot taste. 6 : Whole body tactile sensors are knocked out and 'borg has no feeling in its body. All actions are at -5, and MA is halved. 81 - 90 : Neural processor damaged. Roll 1D6. 1-3 : Reflex reduced by half (round up). 4-5 : 'Borg paralyzed from the neck down. 6 : Power surge causes instant death. 91 - 00 : Brain compartment, if present, is hit. If penetrating damage exceeds 10, the 'borg dies instantly. If not, roll 1D10. If roll is equal to or less than penetrating damage, the 'borg is knocked unconscious for 1D6x10 minutes.
TORSO HITS (Roll 1D100) :
01 - 25 : Superficial damage - No Effect 26 - 35 : Random torso option hit. Determine option and roll 1D6. 1-4 : Option is damaged and non-operational. Repairs cost 1/2 the original cost. 5-6 : Option is completely destroyed and must be replaced. 36 - 50 : Myomar and/or endoskeletal damage. Body reduced by 1D6 until repaired. 51 - 60 : Locomotive systems damaged. MA reduced by 1D6 until repaired. 61 - 65 : Neural processor damaged. Roll 1D6. 1-3 : Reflex reduced by 1D6 until repaired. 4-5 : 'Borg paralyzed from the waist down and can only crawl. 6 : Power surge causes system shut-down. Back-up systems, if functional, will keep the 'borg's biopod functioning for 24 hours. 'Borg cannot move. 66 - 70 : Batteries damaged. Roll 1D6. 1-2 : The 'borg has 1D10 hours of power left before its systems will shut down. 3-4 : The 'borg has 1D6x10 minutes of power left before its systems will shut down. 5 : The 'borg has 1D10 minutes of power left before its systems will shut down. 6 : All systems shut down immediately. Back-up systems, if functional, will keep the 'borg's biopod functioning for 24 hours. 'Borg cannot move. 71 - 75 : Back-up/emergency power cells damaged. Roll 1D6. 1-2 : Back-up systems will only function for 12 hours if a shut-down occurs. 3 : Back-up systems will only function 6 hours if a shut-down occurs. 4 : Back-up systems will only function for 1 hour if a shut-down occurs. 5-6 : Emergency power cells destroyed; back-up systems will not function if shut-down occurs. 76 - 80 : Biopod circulatory system damaged and leaking nutrient fluid/blood. Roll 1D6. 1-4 : "Arteries" self-seal. 5-6 : 'Borg will die in 1D10 minutes unless "bleeding" is stopped. 81 - 95 : Artificial internal organs damaged. Roll 1D6. 1-2 : Digestive system hit. Food cannot be processed until repaired. 'Borg will starve in 1D6+5 days if it cannot eat. 3-4 : Cybernetic lungs hit. Roll 1D6.
1-4 : Lungs at half capacity. All actions at -4 until repaired. 'Borg can use air storage cell. 5-6 : Lungs destroyed. 'Borg can use air storage cell for 2 hours before dying. 5 : Air storage cell destroyed. 'Borg must use lungs for respiration. 6 : Artificial heart hit. Heart can take 5 SDP before being destroyed. If destroyed, instant death. 96 - 00 : Life support/biopod hit. If penetrating damage exceeds 10 points, 'borg will die instantly.
LIMB HITS - Also usable for standard (non-FBC) cyberlimbs (Roll 1D100) :
01 - 25 : Superficial damage - No Effect 26 - 40 : Random limb option hit. Determine option and roll 1D6. 1-4 : Option is damaged and non-operational. Repairs cost 1/2 the original cost. 5-6 : Option is completely destroyed and must be replaced. 41 - 45 : Limb's tactile sense is destroyed. -5 to all actions with affected limb, MA at 1/2 if it is a leg. 46 - 55 : Hand or foot hit. Roll 1D6. 1-2 : No loss of function. 3-4 : 1D5 fingers/toes lost (as well as implanted rippers or "Dynalar Digits"). 5 : Hand/foot actuators damaged. -2 to all actions with hand, -1 MA if a foot. 6 : Hand/foot actuators destroyed. Hand is useless. If foot, -2 to MA. 56 - 70 : Limb servos and/or actuators hit. If an arm, all actions with that arm are at -1D10 until repaired. If a leg, MA is reduced by 1D6 until repaired. 71 - 85 : Myomar and/or hydraulics damaged. Limb strength and hand-to-hand damage reduced by half. 86 - 95 : Hit causes massive structural damage and reduces limb's SDP by half of its original score. 96 - 00 : Limb's battery is hit. Roll 1D6. 1-2 : The limb has 1D10 hours of power left before it shuts down. 3-4 : The limb has 1D6x10 minutes of power left before it shuts down. 5 : The limb has 1D10 minutes of power left before it shuts down. 6 : The limb loses all power and shuts down immediately.
CONCERNING BACK-UP SYSTEMS
Though the text presented in Chrome Book 2 never states that 'borgs are equipped with back-up power systems, I think it'd be rather silly not to include them in order to improve a cyborg's survivability. Basically, the back-up power cells are tied into the cyborg's biopod, circulatory, and respiratory systems. When a 'borg's main power systems are shut down, due to expenditure or damage, the back-up systems come on line and keep the brain and other bio-system organs alive and nourished.
The back-up cells have enough power for 24 continuous hours of use. During this time, the 'borg (or what is left of it) is completely helpless and immobile. If help (in the form of repairs, a recharge, or a transplant into a functional cyborg body) is not received within this span of time, the 'borg will die.
CONCERNING 'BORG ARMOR - A POSSIBLE SOLUTION
If you're serious about bringing FBCs down to scale, you might want to consider taking away or, at the very least, reducing their armor SP. One of the FBC's biggest defenses is its full body rating of at least 25 SP. This renders it immune to most small arms, and turns a game where full 'borgs are commonplace into a continuing cycle of firepower escalation. Honestly, there really isn't any reason for non-military FBCs to have armor at all. In fact, I don't think civillian police forces would stand for it.
First of all, normal cyberlimbs do not come stock with armor. Armor must be purchased seperately. Why should 'borgs' limbs be any different? The armor serves no practical non-combat purpose for FBCs. Without it, they can still function as effectively as an unarmed human -- due to their FBC attributes and abilities, they can function even better than their fleshy counterparts. In addition, the FBC "Total Body Cyberware" breakdown in Chromebook 2 doesn't list a humanity cost for limb armor. I find this to be odd, considering a normal human would have to roll 1D6 for his own HC when buying 20 SP armor for a limb.
Secondly, an FBC without armor would be less likely to go cyberpsycho. Fully 4D6 of an FBC's humanity cost is due to the body plating (or equivalent) that it gets. Taking away the body plating also cuts costs, albeit slightly. Then again, what is 2600 eurodollars to someone who can afford to be a 'borg, anyway? Strangely enough, FBCs do not suffer from the -3 EV penalty of their torso plates. The EV of the armor being, perhaps, the one thing that might have brought them down a notch or two has been forgotten or omitted. The armor would still be inflexible, heavy, and bulky, regardless of whether a 'borg or a normal human was using it.
In my opinion, the armor that all civillian FBCs share should be replaced by unarmored, stylistic coverings. Nothing is stopping unarmored FBCs from wearing normal body armor, including armor jackets, flak pants, and helmets. In fact, nothing stops the armored FBCs from wearing body armor, either, which is a supremely scary thought.
I will not argue the fact that all military and some corporate FBCs should have armor as part of their make-up. However, several of the other 'borgs have little or no reason for being armored as much as they are. The generic "industry standard" Alpha, the fire-fighting Brimstone, the chameleonesque Gemini, and the iron-pumping Samson stand out as examples of 'borgs that have no reason to be equipped with such high SPs. Giving the Wingman, Copernicus, or Aquarius models an SP of 25 or higher is nearly as absurd when considering their applications.