Jordan Peacock wrote:popebabylon wrote:+1: Maintenance or Repair... something I don't think enough people put into cyber systems. Could simply be a cost per month, perhaps exacerbated by flaws (although could be tricky to make it FFF).
I've toyed with a few ways to handle maintenance/repair for a post-apocalyptic campaign, but it's still on the to-do list. The main advantage of this approach is that it can be F!F!F! because it's not something happening in the middle of combat. At least, not usually.
I've thought that one way to handle it might be to have a maintenance cost associated with everything. For a short-run campaign or one-shot, this might not even be much of an issue. If the characters have regular employment, it might not be much of an issue, either: Cyber-gear might be so routine that a common perk for a regular job is to have cyber-maintenance up to X taken care of "as long as the cyberware in some way enhances your way to perform the job." And, a lot of the "incidental" cyberware might have negligible maintenance costs; as long as you're still in the realm of civilization and not absolutely destitute, it's assumed that it can be maintained as part of your living expenses.
It's only after you get up past a certain threshold that it starts to become an issue. Then, you have monthly costs (or annual, if the GM wants to deal with this less frequently).
If, however, you skip maintenance -- either because you can't afford it, or you've been "off the grid" for an extended period -- then perhaps there's a maintenance table or even a card deck to consult. You get one draw/roll per month without maintenance, and per time you get beat up in combat (Wound or worse) without ready access to maintenance/repair.
Such a table or deck might list general categories: cyber-arm, optics, etc. It's possible that each card (or each table entry) might list more than one category (so there's a chance of multiple breakdowns of related systems). Higher-maintenance stuff is going to populate the list more; things with fewer moving parts, etc. (such as optics) should be rarer. If something comes up and you DO NOT HAVE IT, you lucked out. If something comes up and you DO have it, then a problem arises.
Rather than the element just blowing up immediately, it gains a "malfunction chance." Once that's established, every time the feature is used, roll a d6 (let's say), and on a "1," it breaks down. For persistent-use items, it might be per hour of use; for limbs, gizmos, etc., it's only when it's actually used -- so you have a chance of just NOT USING IT until you can get some maintenance done on it. Woe to the poor fellow whose neural implants are in need of maintenance; you can't very well get by without using your brain, so you'd have to find help and FAST.
So, most of the time, the bill-paying and either card-drawing or table-consulting only happens between adventures, when "time passes" and the heroes are still on the run or out of money. However, once something is identified as a problem, then there's the CHANCE it might work a little while longer, or break down at a crucial moment in the middle of the next action scene.
The numbers, dice, etc., are just arbitrarily chosen here. Part of the trouble would be to figure out where to "weight" the chances so that it's enough that a character might need to worry about, but not enough that the character is guaranteed to instantly break down once he misses a single checkup.
Of course, there might be someone in the team who CAN maintain gear for the group. Perhaps that means that the maintenance costs are reduced (as long as this team member is gracious enough not to expect to be paid by his fellows).
Or, perhaps it means that when the table-rolling or card-drawing is pulled, she gets a chance at a replacement card-pull/table-roll, or she can make a "field repair" that can stave off disaster for a while longer.
I see that this has a lot of potential for being messy, but the GM has a lot of opportunity to just hand-wave it if he doesn't want to go there. First off, the heroes could just pay a per-month fee, or the GM could even go ahead and deduct it for them out of their pay (or just declare that whatever pay goes in their accounts represents money they get AFTER monthly living and maintenance expenses).
Other than that, a GM could either let the heroes get a package deal with their employment contracts for free maintenance, or see to it that there's a friendly neighborhood cyber-doc that they have as a contact even if they are on the run.
Such a convenience could serve as a hook: If the friendly neighborhood cyber-doc is in some sort of TROUBLE, heavily-cybered heroes have a strong incentive to help him out, so they don't have to worry about all those pesky maintenance rules! ;D
P.S.: What's a "TAP"?
Great Ideas! I love the idea of a card draw if repairs are neglected.
As Coyote mentioned, a TAP (Tendril Access processor) is basically a wireless modem for your brain. It acts as your character's virtual eyes, allowing him or her to percieve Hyper real objects and interact with them on a basic level, i.e. "touching" a button on a digital kiosk to bring up a catalog of prices, closing or expanding digital windows hovering in front of you, etc...
The TAP also functions as a web browser, a PDA, a comm link (Though many peoiple still use cell phones, especially people who don't want others to overhear or otherwise record their private conversations.
To see Hyper Reality (and hack it, which also requires a hyper glove), your character needs to have a TAP.