Cyberware and bioware encompass a wide range of implants and other enhancements that can be built into the body of a human or metahuman. While technologically common, there are only certain fringe groups that embrace its installation. One obvious reason is the surgical removal of body parts and the various dangers this includes. Thus, cyberware is typically associated with groups such as gangs, the military, and various types of media stars, and freelance operative.

Purchasing Cyberware

Heroes can take the Cyber Upgrades background edge during character creation and get an equivalent of 25000+ nuyen to spend on bio/cybernetic modifications. The story explanation can include many possibilities, such as salvage operations in an abandoned industrial site, current employment perks, or simply the side effect of serving as a human guinea pig. The hero has the option of paying for part of the modifications with starting cash, if the Edge alone is not sufficient to buy it outright. The cost of a modification includes its installation.

Rather than a shopping list of specific bio/cyberware items, the modifications can be created with functional components, grouped by type and level of function. The following steps are used in creating the modifications:

Step 1: Determine the Quality Rating

Cyberware and bioware come in four basic categories: Gutterware, Streetware (Alphaware), Hyperchrome (Betaware), and Milspec (Deltaware). Each category determines the item’s availability, base price, Essence cost, and functionality.

Availability indicates the length of time it will take to acquire the item.

Cost includes installation. The second cost is for additional function points added to the base item cost at the time of creation, if the functions are reasonable for the type of implant being created.

Essence is the load on the body created by higher numbers and lower qualities of implants. This value is a penalty on Magical tests and Bio/Cybertrauma rolls (see below). The second value is the Essence value of each secondary function point added to the base item.

Functions is the initial number of functions that can be installed in an individual modification. For instance, a cyber eye might be designed to act like a targeting scope, or provide night vision for the wearer. Items can also have multiple functions built into them if they make sense for the type of modification (eg. a cybereye allowing night vision cannot also have a subdermal armor function)

Type Availability Cost Essence Functions Notes
Gutterware Anytime 10000¥
2 (1) 1 triggers Bio/Cybertrauma roll on a 1 or 2 on any Vigor die roll
Streetware 1d4 days 25000¥
1 (1) 1 triggers Bio/Cybertrauma roll on a 1 on any Vigor die roll
Hyperchrome 1d4 weeks 50000¥
0 (1/2) 2 triggers Bio/Cybertrauma roll on snakeeyes on any Vigor die roll
Milspec special 100000¥
0 (1/3) 3 triggers Bio/Cybertrauma roll on snakeeyes on any Vigor die roll

Step 2: Determine Functions

Functions have three levels: 1 point, 2 point and 3 point functions. Each level represents the number of function points needed to get that level. So, for a level 3 muscle augmentation, a modification needs 3 function points. Additional functions can be added for the appropriate number of extra function points.

Some functions can be installed as cyberware, some as bioware, and some as both. All functions in a single implant must be one or the other. Bioware is less likely to breakdown on a failed Vigor roll, but causes Fatigue damage instead.

Stacking Functions and Upgrading
Some of the item functions listed below are progressions from a lower level function. For instance, Level 2 Muscle Augmentation is an advancement of Level 1 Muscle Augmentation. Unless otherwise noted, the benefits of these functions do not stack with each other. Additionally, heroes do not have to purchase a lower level function to obtain the benefits of the same function of a higher level (You don’t need to have first bought Level 1 tension springs to buy level 2 tension springs). However, items can only be upgraded by fully replacing the modification at full price (the old item might be sellable on the black market – ewww…). When items are replaced, the hero’s Essence penalty changes to that of the new modification.


No piece of cyberware is flawless. Some have tiny imperfections that are simply annoying while others have serious design flaws which, under the wrong circumstances, can cause debilitating injuries and in the most extreme cases complete system failure
for the poor sap unlucky enough to have the tech installed. Additionally, the body rejects artificial implants, accentuating the likelihood of failure.

Unlike item functions, Essence penalties stack to represent a design flaw becoming worse and worse as more cyberware is installed in the body. Essence can be reduced or removed entirely by upgrading to a higher quality piece of cyberware.

Whenever a hero with bio/cyberware makes a Vigor check (to resist damage, resist fatigue, etc), a low roll on the Vigor die (or both Vigor and Wild Die, depending on the types of bio/cyberware) triggers a bio/cybertrauma check. If the character has more than one modification, determine which mod fails randomly from all of the potential candidates.


When a the failure is caused by a bioware modification, roll d20 + Essence and consult the following chart:

Result Effect
1-10 No effect
11-15 One level of Fatigue
16-20 Two levels of Fatigue
21+ Three levels of Fatigue


When a the failure is caused by a cyberware modification, roll d20 + Essence and consult the following chart:

Result Effect
1-10 No effect
11-14 Dazed: -2 to trait and skill checks for one round
15-18 Stunned: hero is Shaken, or takes a Wound if already Shaken
19-20 Jolted: hero takes 2d6 damage from electrical shock. Armor does not apply
21+ Catastrophic Failure: The cyberware fails and knocks the character unconscious for 1d6 rounds. One of the modifications will not function until the cyberware is repaired (10% of original cost). If there are multiple functions, randomly determine the function, weighted by number of function points (ie: level 3 functions are 3x more like to fail than level 1 functions)


Meatshield the Troll has come into some cred and wants some cyberware to up his competitiveness on the mean streets of Seattle. He already has Gutterware Subdermal Armor 1 and wants to be faster and stronger to be able to snap Pansy-Ass-Elf-Runners™ in half.

He decides to splurge on Hyperchrome neural enhancements, and wants to get Reaction Enhancers and Wired Reflexes. He decides to go with bioware mods and can afford to drop 100K to get 4 function points total (base 2 for 50K, plus two more for 25K each). This lets him get level 2 for both functions. He acquires one more Essence point (0 base plus 1 for 2 extra functions).

Meatshield only has 50K left for the Muscle Enhancement, so he decides that he will have to get some off-the-shelf Streetware. He can afford three function points (25K for base plus 25K for two additional). This lets him get Muscle Enhancement 2 (boosting his Strength to d12+2!) and Tension Springs 1 (boosting Pace to 8). He also gains 3 Essence (1 base plus 2 for the extra functions)

Meatshield now has two cybermods (one Gutterware and one Streetware) and one biomod (Hyperchrome). He has a total Essence score of 6 (2 from Gutterware, 3 from Streetware and 1 from the bioware)

While on a run, Meatshield is shot (despite his fancy mods) and takes a Wound. He decides to spend a benny to Soak and rolls his Vigor check. The Wild die comes up 5, so he Soaks the Wound, but unfortunately the Vigor die is a 1. Since both his Gutterware and Streetware fail on a Vigor die of 1, he must check for cybertrauma (if the Wild die had also been a 1, the bioware may also have been at risk).

Meatshield randomly determines that the Streetware mod is the culprit, and rolls for Cybertrauma. Unfortunately, he rolls a 16, which when added to his Essence of 6, gives him a 22. The artificial muscle system fails spectacularly, sending an electrical current through the troll, knocking him unconscious for 3 rounds.

His chummers manage to win the fight, and when Meatshield comes to, he checks to see which function is now broken. He rolls d6, with 1-2 affecting the Tension Springs 1, and 3-6 affecting the Muscle Augmentation 2. Meatshield rolls a 4 and drops back down to Strength d12 until he can get the modification fixed. Hopefully, he’ll net more than 5K from this run so he can afford the repairs…


Misspent Youth DSMfive DSMfive