As it stands, any survivor with enough know-how (Which varies from reading a few DIY books to reading ALOT of DIY books) can re-tool themselves in the image of a cybernetic ubermensch.
But what happens to even the finest machine with time and use? [color=pink]It degrades.[/color] That’s why pre-cataclysm there existed an entire industry dedicated to the maintenance and repair of automotives, electronics and home appliances. It’s why militaries put more people in the role of ‘keeping our weapons working’ than ‘using them’.
That’s what’s missing in the long game. I think.
CBMs currently offer a wide array of advantages once installed, compared to the potential disadvantages married to mutation (or vanilla humanity) there’s little reason to be squeamish about giving yourself a tune-up. That’s the crux of my suggestion:
Before the world ended their was an industry to keep your CBMs ship shape–now you’re out to sea:
*You Install them
*You Maintain them
*You Replace them
Forewarning, the meat of this idea might stray into TLDR territory; with that in mind let’s skip straight to step two: Maintenance.
CBMs would have a durability, easily checked via the bionics menu, which degrades with use. This would mean that every time you use an activatable bionic it’s getting a little more worn, and even those passive installations need upkeep. Your alloy plating will get dents. Your toolkit will degrade. Your power capacity will dwindle–and if nothing is done CBMs will eventually break. A dire prospect for something that’s inside of you.
The solution? Maintenance and repair. Any aspiring Steve Rogers will need first the proper tools and next the proper parts–parts that must be cannibalized from other bionics. (Or prosthetics from hospitals) That’s long term maintenance and repair. That’s all the little bumps and fender benders your car gets on the road, but we also need to think short-term. An expendable resource.
Perhaps some sort of ‘cyber paste’, a totipotent slurry of forgery stem cells that keeps your body playing nice with all that hardware. So long as the tank is filled up your golden, run CBMs dry and you’ll need to pencil the monthly tune-up sooner. This could be the likely butchery product of CBM bearing zombies, making them less loot pinatas and more like walking IVs. More CBMs (like more engines) means you’ll be guzzling more ‘gas’ as you go…
Essentially the idea behind this is–even if one acquires many CBMs in the early game–it might not be feasible to install everything until one has amassed the resources needed to keep them working. Even then there’s going to be a limit on what might be ‘optimal’ from on survivor to another. The point where they really consider ‘do I need this?’
Which brings us to removal and replacement. When something breaks it’s broken beyond repair–rendered spare parts same as with a vehicle. Obviously this is not ideal, so players will want to keep CBMs from breaking, encouraging certain behaviors, like prioritizing the upkeep and repair of rare or essential CBMs or rationing the amount of CBMs they install based on availability of resources. More-over this could be a great way to introduce CBM debuffs–by way of their absence.
As it may be ‘better’ to only install a particular gizmo when braving the wider world some frugal survivors would rather remove and reinstall it as needed. I say let them, with a caveat.
Removing/Breaking certain CBMs puts a debuff on your character as appropriate, until such time as it’s reinstalled or a general purpose prosthetics kit is used. Replaced your skin with alloy plating? Probably shouldn’t take it off if you plan on getting attacked. Replaced your fingers with a toolkit? Hope you’re good with a crafting malus stumpy! Essentially making them ‘less’ when they start taking away what makes them more.