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Message no. 1
From: AlSeyMer <AdSM@******.BE>
Subject: Why i think that bioware as per Shadowtech was a Good Thing (tm).
Date: Wed, 7 Oct 1998 00:01:32 +0200
All IMHO, of course ;-)

1. Coherence:
Let's take a look at "Tir Na Nog", page 70.
"... Rather than damaging the aural template, the associative damage done by
cyber- and bioware and the resultant loss in magical potency results from the
deviation between an individual's aura template and his body. In effect, the
implantation of artificial enhancements creates a new body, or physical
template, that differs from the aural template. ..." Granted, this comes from a
comment of the main text.
As i see it, the quoted text only covers the implantation of cyber- and/or
bioware in a magically active character. This character will suffer magic loss
for the said reasons.
A mundane character has no Magic attribute, so it cannot be affected.
But, Essence is not Magic.
This brings us to the following question: what do Essence and Magic measure?
For the Magic attribute, the answer is pretty simple: it is the measure of the
potency of a mage/adept's gift/talent/whatever.
(It can be argued that SR3 rules for "somatic adepts" go against this, as the PA
can increase its talents by acquiring new "power points". However, this
shouldn't be viewed this way, because by acquiring new power points, an adept
can only augment his/her power up to its Magic level. So, (s)he is limited by
its Magic attribute, the measure of his/her power but not of his/her abilities.
BABY p.168)
The Essence attribute, as per BABY p.41, is "a measure of life force, of a
body's wholeness". Which brings us back to the quoted text from "Tir Na
Nog". If
the body template is tempered with, if the body's wholeness is not preserved, an
Essence loss should be due...
By following this line of thought, there is at first no apparent reason why
cyber- bioware implantation should cause an essence loss when an injured
character doesn't loose any.
My point here is that a natural injury can be healed, and once healed the body
template will be returned to its pristine state. When cyberware is implanted,
the body template is damaged (well, the body is damaged...), and when the body
is healed, the body template stays damaged, because the implanted cyberware
replaces part of the body, allowing a whole new range of expression that were
not "allowed" by the original body.
The bioware thing is completely different, as it is alive. It has its own body
template, so there is no Essence loss. (Well, maybe it should, when bioware
implantation is so massive that it overwhelms the body in which it is

2. Game balance:
Let's face it, most of the magically active characters have tremendous
opportunities for self improvement. It's what a PA does best, and a mage with a
few health spells can be munchkinized to hell and back without going illegal
with the rules. I am sure most of you have already seen a mage with a truckload
of spell locks/sustaining foci and some health spells beating the crap out of
anything put in his way.
No other character can even hope to be on a par with this kind of character,
because all of them are limited by essence in how much improvement they can cram
themselves with (not telling the huge amount of money needed, or what a
wonderful life a cyberzombie has...); and none of them has the opportunity to
improve itself so dramatically with only a few Karma point well spent.
So, bioware came as the great equalizer, giving the opportunity to balance the
game between a frustrated street sam and an inflated mage.

Don't get me wrong, i really like mage characters, but i think that allowing
them to get bioware without paying it somehow only increase their potency by
depriving them of their most admirable roleplay opportunity: knowing that they
are potentially unlimited in improvement only if they keep going by some rules,
one of the most important being preserving their integrity.

Just my two cents, as they say ;-)


Further Reading

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