Despite the cataclysmic, near-apocalyptic occurrences of the Sixth World, science—and technology—marches on. Prosthetics have become better than the real thing, leading many to dispose of perfectly good arms (and legs, skin, organs, craniums, eyes, ears, etc.) in favor of cybernetic enhancements.
Uncomfortable with chrome? Synthetic versions look almost as good as the real thing, and bioware is essentially the same thing, but with bioengineering instead of mechanics.
All this comes at a cost, however. Living creatures have an undeniable life essence, and replacing your bits and pieces with chrome eats away at it. That chromed out ork isn’t distant and aloof because she’s a professional—she’s like that because she’s more machine now than metahuman, and she’s lost touch with her emotional and living self, as well as her peers and what it means to be a living being.
That being said, for the non-magical, cyberware is one of the few ways to get real personal power. If you can’t cast a spell or burn power to lift a car—and who doesn’t need to lift the occasional car?—then you can get the machinery installed to do it for (as?) you.
Also, you can get better eyes and ears, stomachs that filter toxins and poisons (hell, BLOOD that filters toxins and poisons), sleep regulators (3 hours a day), reflexes to rival a computer, and anything else technologically possible.
While most mundane runners of the Sixth World sport some kind of cyberware or other, street samurai take it to the extreme. They often replace as much of their body as they can with cyberware to give them the best possible edge in combat, and specialize in dangerous missions that would kill a softer being.
Cyberware and magic
Since cyberware eats away at a living being’s essence, and magic is (largely) based on that essence, cyberware reduces a mage’s spellcasting and spirit-summoning ability, an adept’s power, and a technomancer’s resonance. Magic users avoid cyberware like the plague, and some inventive corps like to punish their magical enemies by implanting (useless) cyberware until the magic’s gone.
Under normal circumstances, reducing your Essence to zero immediately kills you. It’s possible—with a lot of effort, medical technology, and illegal/dangerous magic—to keep someone alive and functioning without Essence. They are, however, no longer intelligent metahumans, but an ultra-powerful cyberzombie completely controlled by their operator. If you encounter one, it’s recommended you run away, then kill it with some sort of long-range (and very large) explosion before it can find you. Mages be warned: since they have no Essence, most magic does not effect them.