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Metachemistry is odd

I just don’t get it, in the Mercenaries Sourcebook it’s presented as a cheaper alternative to some other augmentations, but in practice it’s not all that affordable. Imagine you want to get Sixth Sense, a fairly high end combat aug. If you get it the traditional way it’s a Restriction 2 Cost 11+1CD T1 purchase, plus whatever you want to spend on a superior surgeon. Pretty hefty expense for sure, but since it’s a full body Silk augmentation you still have 2 full body silk slots available. If you want to get the same through Metachemistry you first need to go through the Metachemistry Procedure, Restriction 1 (assuming you’re military) Cost 9+1CD T1, followed by the Metachemistry version of Sixth Sense, Restriction 2 Cost 8+1CD T2. All in all, the Metachemistry variant seems more expensive than the traditional Silk based alternative, and it leaves way less room for further augmentation.

Another issue I think with Metachemistry is that the base procedure is a full body bioware (which means you could at most get either another bioware or silk full body augmentation), with all metachemistry augs being full body cybernetics. Rules wise this would be an impossible combination as far as I understand augmentation rules. Not only this, but some augmentations that would otherwise be Implant or Limb augmentations are instead full body in their Metachemistry versions. Did I read this wrong? Maybe all Metachemistry augs are treated as Implants if you’ve gone through the procedure?

Honestly, I don’t understand what they were trying to do here and I’d love someone helping me make sense of this.

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this is way out of my depth as i haven’t played at all with body mods, but per my reading on pg 47* of the mercs book, you can skip the metachemistry aug procedure altogether and get sixth sense for 9+1CD/T1 as long as you are willing to pay a +2 difficulty cost on the resistance test.

if you get the metachemistry procedure, it gives you -2 difficulty on subsequent tests for the next four years and does not count towards the aug limits, but it’s not required. if that’s not a good enough deal for your players, you could always let them roll on the table for their default aug and then have future augs replace it as they purchase an upgrade.

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The Metachemistry Procedure is, according to my pdf of the Mercenaries Sourcebook, a full body bioware augmentation.

(Relevant screenshot)
Honestly, there’s no reason to grab these as opposed to traditional augments. You’d think that limited selection and necessity of a previous procedure would be enough of a drawback to allow these Metachemistry augmentations count as Implants instead of Full Body.

yep, i was flipping back between the table the this text on pg 47 (bolding mine):

The procedure is equivalent to a full-body biograft augmentation installation, but instead of gaining an implant, the subject’s Resistance tests on future Aug installations are at -2 difficulty for the next four years. If any of these installations generates a complication, the GM can spend 2 Heat to give the subject a new side-effect Trait.

MetaChemistry implants are affordable equivalents of implants that usually require subtle Biograft or Silk technology, and they are uniquely compatible with those who have undergone the process. The extensive redundancies and microflora customisation involved means they are usually full-body Cyberware, and Resistance tests to install them in subjects who have not undergone MetaChemistry are at +2 difficulty.

i read the instead in the first passage as meaning that it doesn’t count against the bioware cap. but even if it does, the procedure is not required for the metachemistry implants, as implied by the increased difficulty in the second bolded passage, which makes it technically cheaper than the silk based equivalent, depending on how you value earnings versus difficulty ratings.

I still think there’s something wrong about how it works out, like they tried a couple different things and the system never came together properly. I’d sure love to get one of the devs in here to see their thoughts. In the meantime, how would you homebrew it? I like the idea of a keeping the limited selection of augs and the necessary procedure, but making them not be a full body cyberware. I’d either make them bioware or be Implants, otherwise I don’t see the point to metachemistry being an option compared to regular augmentation.

not sure you’ll see the devs drop in the forums. modiphius staff sometimes drops in on threads, but i’m not sure i’ve ever seen Mark Redacted make a post here.

i think the system works out as written, though it might not as clearly written as it could. i hope, hope, hope someone will eventually combine the core book, nomad book, and merc book guidance on this so there is one source to design your post-human moreau horror.

in the meantime, in places of doubt, i would suggest looking at the wargame for guidance. metachemistry is a skill held by morlocks, krakots, and kiel-san–basically advanced/reckless bioengineering more likely to take place in a praxis black site than a cosmetic clinic. so it would make sense that it’s slightly cheaper but also riskier than normal augementation. further, when you look at the wargame, you see that profiles usually only have one mod at a time–so from that perspective i like the idea of each aug being whole body cyberware. you can get it replaced but you can’t have back alley sixth sense AND super jump.

the only aspect i’d homebrew is the actual metachemistry procedure and let players take a roll on the table on pg. 47 (which happens if they get it on their lifepath) after paying for the procedure. otherwise, you’re right, paying 9+1N for the luxury of being able to pay 8+1N later for an actual aug seems like a bad deal compared to a higher end silk mod that is only slightly more expensive. unless there was some story reason for it–i.e. a campaign of krakot renegades who don’t have access to either the best of the human sphere or EI, i would discourage my players from using metachemistry.