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    Default Re: Shadowrun 4th ed. Questions

    It's two things, really.

    First, flaws already provide a benefit, in the form of bonus build points. Flaws should not provide benefits otherwise. Flaws especially should not be a trade of game benefits for fluff penalties.

    (Also, fluff penalties should never be swappable for crunch benefits. In fact, many edges/flaws should be incinerated on the grounds that they force you to buy a trait for what should be pure roleplay choice.)

    Second, and this my personal bugaboo, shadowrunning is for people who either can't or won't engage the mainstream. People who run as a passtime - who risk imprisonment or death for money when they already have a stable paycheck - do bad things to my suspension of disbelief. I have similar problems with lots of SR canon, though. (Extraterritoriality and how the U.S. balkanized being two major areas.)

  2. - Top - End - #302
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    Quote Originally Posted by Reluctance View Post
    (Also, fluff penalties should never be swappable for crunch benefits. In fact, many edges/flaws should be incinerated on the grounds that they force you to buy a trait for what should be pure roleplay choice.)
    Personally I like having crunch supporting my character traits. It makes it easier to play them for me by preventing me from handwaving away things when it would be inconvenient and so on. Also it makes it easier to justify a somewhat bad action my character does when there are clear rules saying that's what you do if you have this flaw.
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    Default Re: Shadowrun 4th ed. Questions

    Quote Originally Posted by wadledo View Post
    In Debt is the best Negative ever.
    Unless you have a very creative GM
    I was in a party where the mage took that disadvantage. Sure it was easy at first, just make the weekly payments and there were no hassles. But then one session it turned out the person loaning the money had a few drug deals go sour and needed cash to reorg his business so he was sending goons to collect favors in return for loaning the money.
    This fell on some unwritten clause the loaner stated, that the ACT of loaning the money also carried an interest rate.

    Which really felt legit, in a sleazy Shadowrunny kind of way.
    Made for an interesting little session. The mage quickly paid that debt off to avoid a second call.
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    Default Re: Shadowrun 4th ed. Questions

    Quote Originally Posted by Reluctance View Post
    Second, and this my personal bugaboo, shadowrunning is for people who either can't or won't engage the mainstream. People who run as a passtime - who risk imprisonment or death for money when they already have a stable paycheck - do bad things to my suspension of disbelief. I have similar problems with lots of SR canon, though. (Extraterritoriality and how the U.S. balkanized being two major areas.)
    You've never heard of thrill seekers and Gentlemen Thieves? Also consider some versions of Zorro, where his alter ego is a wealthy land owner, yet he still goes out of his way to take up his mask when he needs to do what needs doing. Some Shadowrunners do runs for their ideals, not just to make enough to afford their next month of meals and rent. They're rarer, certainly, but that doesn't mean they don't exist and can share the same setting.
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    Default Re: Shadowrun 4th ed. Questions

    Also, not every single runner graduates to the big leagues. I can imagine some runners sticking to the lower level stuff, where the Risk vs. Reward is less ramped up.
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    Default Re: Shadowrun 4th ed. Questions

    I've seen plenty of P.C.s with day-jobs and various good (IMHO) reasons for running them. In a low powered game set in England every one of the group had a day job of sorts. The Rigger worked in a garage, the Face was a P.I., our Mage designed puzzles for a toy company and the Phys. Ad. was an actor. We were a green group so we needed the other work to keep us going in the gaps when jobs were slow and money was tight.
    In another game the Rigger only ran the shadows because he couldn't afford to keep his father's garge going any other way.
    In yet another game our rather experienced group established a Private Detective agency as a cover for our various runs and the G.M. ran a few of our cases.
    Though non of the P.C.s who did these thought of getting anything from this apart from story hooks and a pay check
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    Default Re: Shadowrun 4th ed. Questions

    So has anyone ever ran as Corp. Agents instead of Shadowrunners? Playing as a special team of security agents formed to counter a suspected future run or something. Sounds like it could be fun.
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    Default Re: Shadowrun 4th ed. Questions

    I have a magician with Day Job. He needs a Day Job because he has a criminal SIN (BTL abuse and dealing). This also led to investing points into accounting, which I don't think the GM has put together, yet...
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    I have a runner in an ongoing game who is basically a Yamatetsu company man. He runs the shadows mostly because he enjoys it, in an emotionally repressed sort of way. Technically, he no longer works for the corp, but seeing as he avoids making runs against them (old loyalty and the fact he lives on Yamatetsu turf) and is well known as being available for any deniable assets jobs they need done, his exact employment status is a bit hazy.

    He's ended up as an odd cross between a street samurai and a Face character. The latter mostly because having someone who can deal with the corps on a relatively even footing without feeling massively out of place is surprisingly useful. With each passing session, he simultaneously becomes more of a ruthless street thug and a preening dandy.

    It's hilarious when he and the team work through pre-written adventures, because they generally assume the runner is a piece of street trash and thus feels massively intimidated by the wealth and power of the contact, or stands out because he wears bike leathers or something. And there's my character in European business suits with a pink flower on the lapel, who sometimes lives in nicer places than the Johnson.
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    Default Re: Shadowrun 4th ed. Questions

    So, thinking about TheOOB objections, how badly does the game break if you don't award Karma, and instead award BP? Keep things like the "maximum attribute penalty", apply the doubling (in the "improving skills" section) to any skill raised above 6, as well. Keep training times and such, acting as another brake on the process.

    But make it so BP is the reward, and remove Karma from the game entirely. You get 4-5 on average... enough to learn a new skill, or improve an old one. If you want to boost attributes, you have to wait a couple adventures. You're still subject to maximums, and the increased cost for those. You've got more things to spend BP on (OMG, I have to initiate?), and can even keep the 1 BP = 5000Y option... some people spend their time gambling or investing, instead of self-improvement.
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    Default Re: Shadowrun 4th ed. Questions

    Quote Originally Posted by Maugan Ra View Post

    It's hilarious when he and the team work through pre-written adventures, because they generally assume the runner is a piece of street trash and thus feels massively intimidated by the wealth and power of the contact, or stands out because he wears bike leathers or something. And there's my character in European business suits with a pink flower on the lapel, who sometimes lives in nicer places than the Johnson.
    I had a similair thing in a game I ran where the P.C.s where an ex-corp. sciencetist, a english noble lady and a mage who moonlighted as a fashion designer. I always made certain to read carefully to alter the sections where the it says the P.C.s got in trouble cause they look to like street scum and add bits where they get hassled in low-life dives because they look like rich suckers out slumming
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    Default Re: Shadowrun 4th ed. Questions

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Hall View Post
    So, thinking about TheOOB objections, how badly does the game break if you don't award Karma, and instead award BP? Keep things like the "maximum attribute penalty", apply the doubling (in the "improving skills" section) to any skill raised above 6, as well. Keep training times and such, acting as another brake on the process.

    But make it so BP is the reward, and remove Karma from the game entirely. You get 4-5 on average... enough to learn a new skill, or improve an old one. If you want to boost attributes, you have to wait a couple adventures. You're still subject to maximums, and the increased cost for those. You've got more things to spend BP on (OMG, I have to initiate?), and can even keep the 1 BP = 5000Y option... some people spend their time gambling or investing, instead of self-improvement.
    It's an interesting fix, and one worth investigating, but implementing a quick fix usually results in a sub par outcome. The biggest problem I see is that it still provides no incentive for a character to advance anything other than their specialties. I system in which you used karma for creation and advancement would be better, unfortunately the version we have was written by someone who is insane and doesn't understand game design.
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    Default Re: Shadowrun 4th ed. Questions

    Quote Originally Posted by TheOOB View Post
    It's an interesting fix, and one worth investigating, but implementing a quick fix usually results in a sub par outcome. The biggest problem I see is that it still provides no incentive for a character to advance anything other than their specialties. I system in which you used karma for creation and advancement would be better, unfortunately the version we have was written by someone who is insane and doesn't understand game design.
    Main incentive? Eventually, you hit the top. No more than racially adjusted 6 for attributes, no more than 8 for skills.

    Plus? The person who only ups their specialities is begging for the GM to hit 'em where they aren't covered.
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  14. - Top - End - #314

    Default Re: Shadowrun 4th ed. Questions

    I thought that skills only went to 6, 7 if you had Aptitude. (Which always struck me as a nonsense quality post-chargen. If you're already spending the karma to raise a score from 6 to 7, and spending double on top of that, having to spend another 20 for the privilege is karmic usury.) Which gives even more reason to top out and then move onto something else soon.

    BP is more efficient for character growth than karma is, especially in that BP costs are flat while karma costs scale. I see BP building be more breakable and faster. Bad for extended campaigns. Good for mini-arcs so the players can see real growth before the game ends.

    ...

    I'll say one more thing about my thing with Day Job. I have no problem with successful career criminals. I have no problem with independently wealthy characters who commit the occasional crime for kicks. (Except that they tend to be idiosyncratic and difficult to rationalize in extended group games.) I just have trouble wrapping my head around an independently successful person being regularly available to commit crimes for hire. The fact that the whole world seems to have a mercenary fetish is one of the things that sits wrong with me personally.

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    Default Re: Shadowrun 4th ed. Questions

    Quote Originally Posted by Reluctance View Post
    I'll say one more thing about my thing with Day Job. I have no problem with successful career criminals. I have no problem with independently wealthy characters who commit the occasional crime for kicks. (Except that they tend to be idiosyncratic and difficult to rationalize in extended group games.) I just have trouble wrapping my head around an independently successful person being regularly available to commit crimes for hire. The fact that the whole world seems to have a mercenary fetish is one of the things that sits wrong with me personally.
    Day job is not independently successful by any means.
    5000 a month is barely enough to live on by today's standards, let alone Shadowrun.
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    Default Re: Shadowrun 4th ed. Questions

    Quote Originally Posted by wadledo View Post
    Day job is not independently successful by any means.
    5000 a month is barely enough to live on by today's standards, let alone Shadowrun.
    5000 a month is a solid middle lifestyle in SR... and trust me, people live in less than 60 grand a year in the real world. SR's Low Lifestyle is 12k, and you can do that solo, if you're willing to do a studio apartment, discount food, and don't get sick.


    Quote Originally Posted by Reluctance View Post
    I thought that skills only went to 6, 7 if you had Aptitude. (Which always struck me as a nonsense quality post-chargen. If you're already spending the karma to raise a score from 6 to 7, and spending double on top of that, having to spend another 20 for the privilege is karmic usury.) Which gives even more reason to top out and then move onto something else soon.
    Ah, you are right. I was thinking of the 3e chart. However, in this version, aptitude becomes a bit more "doable". At 10 BP, it's a couple adventures worth, plus the 8 BP for reaching 7. It's expensive, but you are the best in the world.
    Last edited by Mark Hall; 2012-08-11 at 08:57 AM.
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    Default Re: Shadowrun 4th ed. Questions

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Hall View Post
    5000 a month is a solid middle lifestyle in SR... and trust me, people live in less than 60 grand a year in the real world. SR's Low Lifestyle is 12k, and you can do that solo, if you're willing to do a studio apartment, discount food, and don't get sick.
    You get by, but as I said, it's not 'independently successful,' though it may be simply different definitions of what successful means.
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    Default Re: Shadowrun 4th ed. Questions

    Quote Originally Posted by wadledo View Post
    You get by, but as I said, it's not 'independently successful,' though it may be simply different definitions of what successful means.
    I wouldn't call it "independently wealthy", no... you're not rolling in dough. But unless you're buried in debt, you probably own your own car, have a small house or an apartment in a decent neighborhood, and if you eat ramen or canned ravioli, it's because you want to.

    Now, mind you, this assumes a single person, living alone. Non-contributing roommates (or, as they're sometimes called, "children"), will mess up this calculation, driving you down to the high side of low.

    OTOH, there's your motivation, and your Shadowrun group. "You have all just graduated college. Unfortunately, you come from poor families, and had to borrow heavily to graduate. If you don't start making payments, someone is gonna bust your daddy's legs."
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    Quote Originally Posted by comicshorse View Post
    I had a similair thing in a game I ran where the P.C.s where an ex-corp. sciencetist, a english noble lady and a mage who moonlighted as a fashion designer. I always made certain to read carefully to alter the sections where the it says the P.C.s got in trouble cause they look to like street scum and add bits where they get hassled in low-life dives because they look like rich suckers out slumming
    Heh, that is the wonderful inverse of it, yes. Fortunately, my character has ways of getting out of those situations. Usually, the air of confidence he projects is enough to convince folks that he's a Johnson, and thus hassling him would be a bad career move. Beyond that, he has enough 'ware under his skin that anybody carefully observing him can tell he's enhanced, and there is almost certainly easier prey around.

    Failing all of that, he carries a Dikoted machete in a concealed holster. Nothing quite like them for persuading folks to back down. Has a gun as well, naturally.

    And in regard to the day job... Hey, I am presently, in real life, living on less than 1k a month. It can be done, and honestly, I'm not suffering too much for it. It's certainly above 'barely enough to live on'.
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    Default Re: Shadowrun 4th ed. Questions

    Best Day Job I have ever seen someone take--
    A runner who worked as a contractor for an alarm installation company. NOT to rob the places he installed alarms in, but to break into places who installed competitor alarms in order to get the residents to switch to his company.

    I had to tip my had to that player.
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    Default Re: Shadowrun 4th ed. Questions

    I can see how many GM's can see the disadvantage system as "fluff" but I can see how even "good" disadvantages are severely dibilitating if done right. I think I am looking at it this way due to the fact that the other game we are playing now is Anima. In Anima, most of the disadvantages can be worked around. Blind/Mute? Psychic powers. Powerful enemy? More XP. Nearsighted? Buy glasses and the GM never brings it up again. Unattractive? No real penalty what so ever.

    Disadvantages in Shadowrun are different. They usually can't get worked around, especially at "first level". Gremlins? You can barely operate a motor vehicle or elevator (two of the party took 2 and one took 3). In Debt? He comes calling, demanding a hefty cut from your endeavours. Day Job? Someone finds out and your nice little teashop gets bombed. Fame? Everyone and their grandma is out to get you. Disadvantages just give GMs fodder with which to screw over the party. You just have to get creative.

    Now, I am sure someone already answered this but is there any penalty for counterspelling a group as opposed to yourself? Is it still free? And can you cast while you are covering your group? There doesn't seem to be a penalty which strikes me as a lil wierd.

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    Default Re: Shadowrun 4th ed. Questions

    Quote Originally Posted by Dimestoretiamat View Post
    Disadvantages in Shadowrun are different. They usually can't get worked around, especially at "first level". Gremlins? You can barely operate a motor vehicle or elevator (two of the party took 2 and one took 3). In Debt? He comes calling, demanding a hefty cut from your endeavours. Day Job? Someone finds out and your nice little teashop gets bombed. Fame? Everyone and their grandma is out to get you. Disadvantages just give GMs fodder with which to screw over the party. You just have to get creative.
    As a GM, I have enough on my plate without having to remember to randomly spank a PC for a trait they took. Negative qualities really make the mistake, by and large, of being carried over from Ye Olden Times when not enough people knew that they were mistakes. Now they're like THAC0, except grandfathered in.

    Now, I am sure someone already answered this but is there any penalty for counterspelling a group as opposed to yourself? Is it still free? And can you cast while you are covering your group? There doesn't seem to be a penalty which strikes me as a lil wierd.
    I'm only running on the basic 4e book, so I can't tell if it takes one free action to start up and then runs indefinitely, or if it takes up your free action each pass. The latter could be annoying.

    You're the only person you can protect reflexively. Otherwise, the cost is that you sink points into the Counterspell ability, and that you lower the chance of another PC having their character get messed up. Seems like all the cost you need.

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    Default Re: Shadowrun 4th ed. Questions

    Quote Originally Posted by Reluctance View Post
    As a GM, I have enough on my plate without having to remember to randomly spank a PC for a trait they took. Negative qualities really make the mistake, by and large, of being carried over from Ye Olden Times when not enough people knew that they were mistakes. Now they're like THAC0, except grandfathered in.
    Part of being a GM, though, is making sure these things matter, or they ARE just extra points. If you don't take advantage of the negative sides of traits and classes, then you're giving your players a pass on things. If Day Job NEVER comes up, then it's just free money. If they never have to enter simsense, then it's just free points. That's why some flaws are more expensive for certain characters... a hacker with Simsense Vertigo is far more screwed than a magician. Heck, a samurai who never has to worry about the legality and concealability of his guns is getting a pass on his bonuses, as is the troll who never has to deal with too-short ceilings, or the shapeshifter who never comes against a ward.

    If you don't involve their disadvantages, then they're free points. If you play their disadvantages... if they get an inconvenient call about their day job when they're in a meet, or if the AI client will only meet in VR... then the points granted by those disadvantages are earned.
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    Default Re: Shadowrun 4th ed. Questions

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Hall View Post
    Part of being a GM, though, is making sure these things matter, or they ARE just extra points. If you don't take advantage of the negative sides of traits and classes, then you're giving your players a pass on things. If Day Job NEVER comes up, then it's just free money. If they never have to enter simsense, then it's just free points. That's why some flaws are more expensive for certain characters... a hacker with Simsense Vertigo is far more screwed than a magician. Heck, a samurai who never has to worry about the legality and concealability of his guns is getting a pass on his bonuses, as is the troll who never has to deal with too-short ceilings, or the shapeshifter who never comes against a ward.

    If you don't involve their disadvantages, then they're free points. If you play their disadvantages... if they get an inconvenient call about their day job when they're in a meet, or if the AI client will only meet in VR... then the points granted by those disadvantages are earned.
    In every RPG that has disadvantages there is always the burden on the GM as to how much to bring them up, the problem with SR4's disadvantages is they are all over the place. You have some that provide real penalties, some that are super situational, and some that are pure RP disadvantages. I don't like a system that mixes mechanical and RP disadvantages. And the balance is way out of whack. Combat Paralysis kills your character, but you can get the same BP from 4 minor allergies that will likely never come up, and even if they do they are not a huge deal.
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    Default Re: Shadowrun 4th ed. Questions

    Quote Originally Posted by TheOOB View Post
    In every RPG that has disadvantages there is always the burden on the GM as to how much to bring them up, the problem with SR4's disadvantages is they are all over the place. You have some that provide real penalties, some that are super situational, and some that are pure RP disadvantages. I don't like a system that mixes mechanical and RP disadvantages. And the balance is way out of whack. Combat Paralysis kills your character, but you can get the same BP from 4 minor allergies that will likely never come up, and even if they do they are not a huge deal.
    Which is a separate issue entirely from "I don't want to bother with it as a GM."
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    Default Re: Shadowrun 4th ed. Questions

    Also, I've never seen "Incompetent (Pilot: Watercraft)" turn out to be a bad choice.
    He understands - more than the others do, at any rate. We don't talk much, and the silence speaks
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    Default Re: Shadowrun 4th ed. Questions

    Quote Originally Posted by TheCountAlucard View Post
    Also, I've never seen "Incompetent (Pilot: Watercraft)" turn out to be a bad choice.
    Maybe not but Phobia(Water) I once turned out as being a very bad choice. [I had decided to start a new character who was from the desert, and had never really been around water he couldn't step across. So any large bodies of water were completely foreign and terrifying to him. I insisted that Water was a common thing and should be counted as the higher point value phobia. The DM pointed out we had never seen Water in a Shadowrun game, and it was thus uncommon, and worth the lesser value.

    Very first run with this character involves escaping with a target via boat. Long story short, character dies in his first run due to his phobia of water messing with him at the worst possible moment. The DM insists that this was not intentional, and he really hadn't expected us to ever run into water when he okayed my character. ]
    Last edited by Seerow; 2012-08-15 at 07:37 PM.
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    Default Re: Shadowrun 4th ed. Questions

    [QUOTE=Reluctance;13731460]As a GM, I have enough on my plate without having to remember to randomly spank a PC for a trait they took. Negative qualities really make the mistake, by and large, of being carried over from Ye Olden Times when not enough people knew that they were mistakes. Now they're like THAC0, except grandfathered in.

    Come on now, as GM it's half the fun! Little random things, even if they are not game changing like the water phobia one, are what make the game fun. Besides, as GM you are pretty much required to know your player's characters inside and out. Why not have a lil fun with it?

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    Default Re: Shadowrun 4th ed. Questions

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Hall View Post
    if they get an inconvenient call about their day job when they're in a meet
    Will the GM force the player to sit out because their character has an obligation? Will they force the table to decide between leaving one guy out or having everybody sit around and do nothing? If either of these is the case, they're being a bad GM. The alternative, though, turns the "flaw" into a piece of roleplay fluff at best. Inconvenient if you happen to get forced into your character's life, but meaningless at the table. (One could argue that having an income that's not reliant on being shot at is a good thing if you get lifeswapped, but that's neither here nor there.)

    if the AI client will only meet in VR
    Is the character the face? If not, exactly what tests will they be performing where those dice matter?

    When I break out SR, I want to play a crime story with cyberpunk and magic. Having a sick kid or a struggling business are motivation and backstory. (There's the side-issue that these characters need to keep coming back session after session, which means I have to explain why they're career criminals rather than resolving their plots with their one big score, but that's one of my setting bugaboos.) If it doesn't impede your ability when the spotlight is on, it's not a real flaw. If the GM has to bend over backwards to make the drawback an actual drawback, it's making extra work for someone who already has to juggle the whole world. Neither are good design principles.

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    Default Re: Shadowrun 4th ed. Questions

    Quote Originally Posted by TheOOB View Post
    In every RPG that has disadvantages there is always the burden on the GM as to how much to bring them up, the problem with SR4's disadvantages is they are all over the place. You have some that provide real penalties, some that are super situational, and some that are pure RP disadvantages. I don't like a system that mixes mechanical and RP disadvantages. And the balance is way out of whack. Combat Paralysis kills your character, but you can get the same BP from 4 minor allergies that will likely never come up, and even if they do they are not a huge deal.
    It really is a delicate balance. I settle for the level of "Well THATS an issue". Its between "There are no consequences" and "Holy crap this guy is so frustrating to play". Use common sense and the law of "It would be really funny right now" as a guide.

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