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Arbitrary Augmentation Limit

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In many science-fiction and some fantasy games your characters can obtain special abilities or enhance their existing abilities with Cybernetics, Bio-Augmentation, Nano Machines, magic, or assorted other Phlebtonium. This can prove a problem for game balance as players mod their characters far beyond their normal power level, so many games impose a limit on how many of these augmentations a character can have.

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Variety of Cap, Cybernetics Eat Your Soul can be used as a thematic justification for this. Other related tropes include Limited Move Arsenal, Arbitrary Headcount Limit, Limited Loadout.


Examples:

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    Tabletop Games 
  • Cyberpunk: Cybernetic augmentations decrease a character's Humanity score, running the risk of "Cyber-Psychosis".
  • d20 Modern: Characters can accommodate a number of implants equal to their Constitution modifier +1 safely, and take "negative levels" if they exceed that limit.
  • Dungeons & Dragons: Eberron's Construct Grafts require the participant to make a Will saving throw whose difficulty scales dramatically with the number of grafts they've already received. On a failure, they literally lose their soul, become a Construct, and come to despise all organic life.
  • Hc Svnt Dracones:
    • 1st edition: Some Surgeries have a limit to the number of times they can be taken in the description, most notably Reclamations are limited to three, while a character can only have as many Implants as they possess dots in Mind: Presence or Body: Resilience.
    • 2nd Edition: Surgeries are classified as "Operations" or "Augmentations". Operations are limited to one in the character's head, torso, and dermis, while they can have three Augmentations in each of those areas (though some Operations can increase that limit). Reclamations don't count towards those limits but are tied to the experience track system instead.
  • In Numenera, there is a soft cap on how many Cyphers (one-shot magical items) a character can carry at once, with consequences of exceeding the cap varying from one of the Cyphers randomly deactivating to a hole getting ripped in reality and swallowing the hoarder up.
  • Shadowrun is one of the more famous examples of Cybernetics Eat Your Soul with the Essence system. Essence measures the integrity of the connection between one's soul and body, and the installation of cyberware (even as a replacement to a lost limb) invariably damages this connection. As a character implants more cyberware their Essence score decreases, limiting their ability to use or benefit from magic. When one's Essence reaches zero, they die, though some unethical mages can reanimate them as a cyberzombie. Bioware also decreases Essence, though to a lesser degree.
  • In Star Munchkin D20, points of Constitution are lost for every cybernetic - but since this is a Munchkin game there are ways around that, such as the Mutation feat that grants +4 Con and can be taken as many times as desired.
  • In Tiny Frontiers characters are limited to two cybernetic traits.
  • In the Trinity Universe, Power at a Price is a standard.
    • In Aberrant the characters' limit to the superpowers they could obtain was determined by their Quantum level. Once they reached it, they could get more powers (or get them cheaper to begin with) by getting Taint levels. Of course, Taint being the characters' Sanity Meter, it also meant that they would become crazy and eventually unplayable that much faster.
    • In Æon, a Psion (person with psychic powers) could "synch" with any biotech they owned in order to make it work just a little bit better than factory-standard (and in some specific examples the device wouldn't work at all unless it was synched with a Psion). However, the limit of biotech devices that a character could synch with total was equal to his psionic powers' level and if they went over it they would develop junkie-like symptoms until the device was taken away.
  • The One Ring: Each piece of war gear can be upgraded with a total of three special qualities by spending Experience Points. These include general qualities, like reducing a weapon's encumbrance or increasing its chance of a Critical Hit, or qualities unique to specific character backgrounds, like Dunlending spears that can deal an Armor-Piercing Attack to a human.
  • Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay: A single item (i.e.: weapon, set of armour, or talisman) can be enchanted with at most three Runes or one Master Rune, which has led to them being called the "jealous magic" in-universe. Moreover, any attempt to combine runes with non-runic enchantments explodes.

    Video Games 
  • BioShock limits the total equipped plasmid and gene tonic count.
    • In BioShock gene tonics are categorized as Physical, Engineering, and Combat and the player can equip up to six of each type and six plasmids.
    • In BioShock 2 the player can equip up to eight plasmids and eighteen gene tonics that aren't categorized.
  • Deus Ex allows two 'augments' per body part (divided up as for Subsystem Damage), swappable as you find more. Some will have a different effect on different body parts: for example, faster running speed if used to augment your legs, higher encumbrance limit if arms.
    • In the prequels, Jensen's augs all come pre-installed, but are mostly either deactivated or functioning at a minimal level. They're unlocked and upgraded with XP, to represent Jensen's body adapting to them over time.
  • Fallout: New Vegas zigzags this. The game limits the amount of implants that can be purchased from the New Vegas medical clinic based on the player's base Endurance stat, to the tune of one implant for every point of Endurance. The implants that can be earned through the Old World Blues DLC, however, ignore this restriction completely.
  • Honkai Impact 3rd: You can equip up to 3 Stigmata onto your Valkyries in order to give them special passive abilities.
  • Invisible, Inc.: each agent has four slots for agumentation, except for Sharp who has five.
  • Mega Man Zero 3: Played with. Like in previous games, you can use as many Cyber Elves as you want to augment yourselves, at the cost of mission points (elves that give permanent effects will also give permanent score penalty). This game introduces the "Satellite Elves" system so that you can use the elves without the score penalty, but you can only use 2 of them at a time.
  • In Warframe, mods have a set cost attached to them and it's impossible to attach one if it goes over the limit of the item it's being equipped to. This limit can be increased to up to 30 by leveling it up and doubled to 60 with an Orokin Catalyst or Reactor. For even more expensive builds, Forma can be used to assign polarities to slots that halve the cost of a mod if its polarity matches the slot's.

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