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Is there any option at character creation I can make to reduce the Essence cost of cyberware besides just buying higher quality (Alpha/Beta..) implants? I am thinking of specifically a race or quality.

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up vote 10 down vote accepted

The splat book you want is Augmentation.

pp. 20-21:

Biocompatability (10 BP): Reduce the Essence cost of either cyberware or bioware by 10 percent (choose one type). Does not apply to genetech. This quality may only be taken once.

Type O System (30 BP): The character can't accept second-hand bioware; basic bioware is considered delta grade for purposes of interacting with a type O body (1/2 Essence Cost, but nuyen prices remain the same).

pp. 48-49:

Cyberware Suites allow you to buy a bunch of cyberware in a bundle, reducing its total Essence Cost. The book has a listing of canned Cyberware Suites; others can be invented, subject to GM approval

p. 88

Cellular Repair is an expensive medical treatment that can restore lost Essence. If the Essence loss is caused by 'ware, the 'ware must first be removed.

p. 90

Adapsin is a Transgenic gene treatment that reduces the Essence cost of cyberware (not bioware) by 10 percent, if the treatment is applied before the implant. Adapsin is not available at character creation; check with your GM to get approval.

A few other suggestions:

  • Use gear whenever you can instead of cyberware. For example, you can cover visual and audio mods using goggles (or contacts) and earbuds. These have their disadvantages, but will save you on Essence Cost.
  • Cyberlimbs take up a lot of essence, but also allow you to install a lot of gear. Use cybereyes (for example) in lieu of buying individual eye mods.
  • Mixing and matching cyberware and bioware can reduce the essence loss. The cost of whichever type uses less essence is halved. (SR4A pg 86) For example if you have 3 essence worth of cyberware and 2 essence worth of bioware you only pay 4 essence (3+2/2).
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