Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Cyborg Love

Though I tried to think of a catchier title for this post, I figured I might as well simply call a spade a spade...I love cyborgs. I have no idea why but it goes back a looong time.

I can remember (vaguely) some movie in the 80s that had something called a bio-borg or bio-roid as its main character...he looked like a wheeled centaur monstrosity with a laser for one arm. I don't remember the name of the film (maybe Heavy Metal or something equally catchy), but I do remember being extremely disappointed with the film even at my young age (oftentimes one has to grow up to realize a film like, say The Golden Child, is a piece of crap. Not so with this one). However, I had REALLY wanted to see it...just for the 'borg.

Re-watching the Jedi films (as I've been doing for fun and inspiration for my micro-game) has got me thinking about 'borgs, I'm sure. Hell, last night I was even contemplating going out and re-buying Rifts, but that way lies madness (more on this in a minute). Back to Star Wars for a sec, one thing I loved about the 2nd edition RPG was the pirate character with the bionic arm (I believe she might have even had some special rules to go with it). Yet another thing I greatly miss in the 1st edition RPG (and of course, cyborgs like Vader and Grievous do feature prominently in the Star Wars universe).

Personally I tend to fall on the Kevin Siembieda side of 'borg feelings...I believe most folks would not blissfully embrace melding machine parts with their meat frame (a la Shadowrun), even though I am often the first one to jump at the channce to play a 'borged out character.

Heck, I've purchased RPG supplements in the past simply for the promise inside (Cyberpunk's Chrome Berets) or a prominent cover 'borg (like Man & Machine, which also prompted me to pick up the 3rd edition of Shadowrun, long after I'd sworn off and sold my 1st edition gear).

You know, now that I think about it, I WAS a huge fan of the Six Million Dollar Man back in the day (I wonder what his cost would be, adjusted for inflation?). While I did not have any of the "action figures," I certainly wanted that total 'borg villain that came with the toy line. Maybe there is a secret longing in me of un-requited toy purchase that drives me to thinking 'borgs are cool?

I don't know. Just know I like 'em lots, at least in RPGs. Not that they can save an RPG I don't like...for example, Cyberpunk has plenty of 'ware for your chrome hero, but I don't like the game enough to play it. I like Shadowrun's version of cybernetics a lot, but the games premise is so cheesy (people morphing into Tolkien characters) that I'm a bit embarrassed to even bring it up with rational people...and it has a steep learning curve for non-gamers.

And then, of course, there's Rifts...I should probably make that the subject of its own post (my love/hate relationship with Palladium). I will say that the one time I got to PLAY (as opposed to GM) a Palladium game, it was Heroes Unlimited and I played a bionic character. And everyone in the group berated me for it. And then the adventure was some sort of Time Travel thing that automatically devolved our my case my character turned into a quadriplegic baby that detached from all his cybernetics...and then when we returned to our own time, my character was left high and dry. What a gyp!

Anyway, much as I love 'borg characters, most RPGs make the acquisition of cybernetics even more complicated than buying skills. So many to choose from, so many costs to add up. Talk about slowing down the chargen process! And for the most part it's fairly unnecessary...cybernetics are going to mimic other powers/weapons, or boost existing stats, or (possibly) act as plot devices. All that math (with humanity/essence points, as well as counting the cost of the cyberware) just tends to bog things down.

Mongoose Traveller's take on human augmentation is about my speed these days. Just so long as they've GOT it.
: )

No comments:

Post a Comment