Cyberware - Acquisition

“I was a little scared before surgery ‘cause of the release you sign that says there’s always a very small percent chance that you’ll die during the operation.”

Billy West


One thing’s the same about all Cyberware – it’s going to cost you big. The prospective cyber will need to not only figure out some way to buy the cyberware he’s interested in, he’ll also need to get someone to install it for him – and the surgical fees might very well overwhelm the cost of the actual gear.

A clever character may find some way to avoid or defer the normal monetary costs associated with cyberware. Many of the more seedy chop-shops and street docs will install cyberware on credit; however, you’d better be on time with your payments, or else you’ll find yourself facing reposession – and repo men don’t have a reputation for being gentle. A more respectable option would be to sign a multi-year contract with a Corp in exchange for them amping you up; but watch out for those terms, because there’s a reason the Runners call that ‘Selling Your Soul’. Some insurance carriers will even pay for a basic Cyber Limb or Organ and the required surgery – but watch out for their investigators; insurance carriers will always investigate claims involving Cyberware, and if it turns out you were doing something that violated your contract – like committing a crime or purposefully getting into fights, for most insurance contracts – then your claim will be denied.

At character creation, cyberware is bought with character points; you don’t need to pay cash, either for the cyberware or for the surgery involved. However, once play begins, cyberware will typically be purchased with cash, and your character point total will be adjusted accordingly. The surgical costs are detailed below, in the ‘Procedure’ section, while each individual piece of cyberware has been given a dollar cost. In general, this cost is between $200-$5000 per added character point; assume an average of $500 per CP for LC4 cyberware, $1,000 per CP for LC3 cyberware, or $2,000 per CP for LC2 cyberware. The only exception to this ‘pay cash for cyberware’ rule would be in special circumstances, such as having one character modify an existing piece of cyberware – in that case, you’d pay with character points, possibly in addition to some cash expenses.

Second-Hand Cyberware

Second-hand parts may be available, usually at 20-70% (1d+1 x 10%) of the cost of the cybernetics. This may or may not be a bargain, and there may be damage that is not immediately evident. Because of their value, cyberware is rarely discarded until it is totally destroyed, giving new meaning to the phrase “loot the bodies.” Salvaged cyberware is usually worth 10-35% (1d+1 x 5%) of the original value depending on its condition.

Salvaging cybernetics is much faster than installing them in a living person. It takes only one-third the procedure time and, if paying someone, costs 1/10th as much. Surgery rolls are at +4 if you don’t care about injuring the subject (such as if they are dead; the surgery automatically deals damage to the affected area), or +1 if you’re removing the cyberware while attempting to leave the subject uninjured. A Mechanic (Robotics) skill roll can be substituted for Surgery if the target is deceased. Failing the roll means the parts require major repairs; critical failure destroys them.


All cyberware has a Legality Class (or LC) – the lower the LC, the more difficult it is to purchase the cyberware legally. Anything LC3 and up (or LC4 and up in police states such as Canada) can usually be purchased by anyone right off the street; no special permits or fees required. LC2 cyberware (or LC3 in police states) usually requires some kind of background check and permit, similar to a handgun in the modern-day US. LC1 cyberware (or LC2 in police states) is restricted to those working for large organizations such as Megacorps or Governments – that’s military-grade. If you’re found with unauthorized LC1 cyberware, if you’re lucky they’ll just rip it right out of your body – if you’re unlucky, they’ll execute you on the spot. A permit for LC2 cyberware counts as a Perk; you need either a Patron or Status 1+ in order to be authorized for LC1 Cyberware.

The Black Market doesn’t care about Legality Class. Just about anything and everything is available if you’ve got the money and know where to look. Illegal cyberware costs twice as much on the Black Market, and you need to get it installed by a street doc or in a Black Market clinic. Since both the Government and the Corps generally ignore the riff raff, most people with illegal cyberware are never caught or tried – but an Edgerunner isn’t most people. Runners with illegal LC 2 cyberware must take a -10 point Secret; if they’ve got illegal LC 1 cyberware, it’s a -20 point Secret.


Installing cyberware involves opening up the patient and, except for simple procedures, performing neurosurgery to connect the device to the user’s nervous system. Surgery skill is used to install cyberware – Surgery (Cyberware) is a common specialty, especially for Ripperdocs. Most proper hospitals and upscale clinics are reliable enough that no skill rolls are required for surgery – but it’s a rare Edgerunner who can afford their prices.

The table below shows the procedures’ difficulty modifiers (use the parenthetical value for brain or eye surgery), the time per attempt, and the injury caused by a failed roll (this is applied to the body part operated on). Success installs the modification, but you won’t be able to control your cyberware until after the given recovery period, and in some cases, such as the installation of subdermal armor, you’ll be bed-ridden for the majority of the period. The clinic fee is the surgical fee charged at a respected clinic or hospital – getting surgery done at a street doc or via the black market is much cheaper, but carries with it some extreme risks, and not just the normal risks of surgery, either.

All damages and recovery times assume the surgeon is using robotic instruments; without them, double recovery time and damage. (Increase damage from a failed Simple procedure to 1d/2 HP.) Cyberware has the Uncontrollable modifier until the recovery time has passed. If a disadvantage is mitigated by the modification – e.g., One Hand for a Cyber Hand – the patient will suffer the disadvantage until the recovery time is completed.

On a critical success, halve the recovery time. A critical failure may inflict double damage, or may result in the inadvertent installation of defective cybernetics. These may break down at a dramatically appropriate time, or cause an inconvenient disadvantage. Leaking toxic chemicals, bad installation, electrical faults, or infection might lead to Chronic Pain, Neurological Disorder, Unfit, Terminal Illness, or Wounded. A problem may also be specific to the attempted modification, such as a malfunctioning ear implant leading to Motion Sickness.

Some surface implants – notably skin coatings and dermal armor – can be grown by immersing the patient in a vat of micromachines inside a biofab, which assembles the implant as if it were a 3D printer. This technique is also used to add synthetic flesh and tactile sensors to robots and total cyborgs. Nanosurgeons make the neurological connections between skin and body.

This process requires a Physician roll (modified by the quality of the tank) and takes the specified number of hours. The patient is unconscious. On a failed Physician roll, the process must be repeated. On a critical failure, something goes gruesomely wrong, resulting in 1d corrosion damage for every 2 hours the process took.

Surgical Procedures Table
Procedure Modifiers Time Injury Recovery Period Clinic Fee Street Fee
Simple 4 (2) 15 min. 1 HP 1 hour $100 $30
Minor 2 (0) 1 hour 1d/2 HP 1 day $1,000 $300
Major 0 (-2) 2 hours 1d HP 1 week $10,000 $3,000
Radical -3 (-5) 4 hours 3d HP 4 weeks $100,000 $30,000

Cyberware - Acquisition

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