The Gaming Den Forum Index The Gaming Den
Welcome to the Gaming Den.
 
 FAQFAQ   SearchSearch   MemberlistMemberlist   UsergroupsUsergroups   RegisterRegister 
 ProfileProfile   Log in to check your private messagesLog in to check your private messages   Log inLog in 

Google
 Search WWW   Search tgdmb.com 
OSSR: Shadowtech

 
Post new topic   Reply to topic    The Gaming Den Forum Index -> In My Humble Opinion...
View previous topic :: View next topic  
Author Message
Ancient History
Invincible Overlord


Joined: 18 Aug 2010
Posts: 11399

PostPosted: Sat Dec 23, 2017 2:26 pm    Post subject: OSSR: Shadowtech Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

OSSR: Shadowtech

A Shadowrun Sourcebook


The Best Just Got Better!

AncientH

Bruce Sterling wrote:
Anything that can be done to a rat can be done to a human being. And we can do most anything to rats.


We've covered some Cyberpunk RPG books before, but we've never yet assayed that most quintessential type of cyberpunk RPG book: the 'warez book. Where games like AD&D might have an Arms & Equipment Guide and plenty of books full of new magic, one of the defining characteristics of Cyberpunk is the augmentation of the human body - and that led, by degrees, to chapters and then entire books dedicated to new implants that player characters could add to their body.

This wasn't a simple or straightforward process - in Shadowrun, you started off with the cyberware section in the core rulebook, and then there were cyberware sections in books like the Street Samurai Catalog - but Shadowtech was really the first proper all-augmentation book for Shadowrun - and this was in 1992, before the first Chrombook came out for Cyberpunk 2020, which largely lifted the "catalog-style" format from it. Shadowtech was a gamechanger.

Frank

Most people whose opinions about Shadowrun I care about in the slightest would put Shadowtech as one of the five most influential books of Shadowrun. There are certainly people who hate this book, but there aren't many who doubt its impact. What the Grimoire did for Mages, Shadowtech did for Street Samurai. The original Shadowrun book didn't really offer people much in the way of “higher level” options, and this was the first book that offered some for Street Samurai. It set the tone for what a high level Street Samurai would look like in Shadowrun for the next twenty years.

As an expansion for Shadowrun at the time, Shadowtech was monstrously large. 120 pages of rants and power creep. That's basically twice the length of previous outings like Street Samurai Catalog. Now, by the standards of 10 years or 20 years later, this is a very short book. A lot of pages are still one per item, and while font sizes and column placement are about 500 words per page, most pages have both pictures and white space. It's not an exaggeration to say that Augmentation for 4th edition is about ten times as long in terms of actual word count. And obviously the 300,000 word monstrosities that became “normal” for the industry in the last decade are closer to twenty times the length. Shadowtech is very much a transitional product, where the production values are computer assisted and things aren't getting stuck in paste-up for months or years, but we haven't quite gotten to the word processor apocalypse where twelve thousand words is a short chapter.



Shadowrun itself posits a future where people have ports drilled into their heads so that they can splurge content directly from their brain to the page. The length of a typical RPG book in the Shadowrun future is probably millions of words (or at least hundreds of thousands). Shadowrun never really wrestled directly with that fact, but sort of implied it by the fact that all data was initially measured in megapulses rather than any simple multiple of bytes. The number of characters in a text was simply handwaved as being exceedingly large. Sadly, that part of the future looks fairly plausible at the moment.

AncientH

Conceptually, the book is inspired by the Street Samurai Catalog in being, well, a catalog, mixing out-of-game information and stats with in-game presentation, formatting, and color commentary - and this was the start of some of the most popular shadowcommentators in the game, and would largely set the stage for how such comments were presented until 3rd edition simplified things a bit.

Mechanically, the game wrestles with the fact that Shadowrun has hard conceptual limits on how much 'ware you can stick in your body - installing cyberware subtracts Essence, you have a finite amount of Essence, when Essence hits zero you die. It's the Shadowrun equivalent of being able to die during chargen from Traveller. What this means, then, is if you want to sell players on new implants - or, more directly, sell players on a book full of new cyberware - you're going to have to get creative when dealing with the numbers. And they did.

Frank

Shadowtech had two main people behind it. Tom Dowd was the “rules guy” and was charged with “Development” and Karl Wu was the “science guy” and was charged with “Writing.” Also with producing some of the illustrations that incorporate actual MRIs because Karl Wu was some kind of actual medical scientist. Shadowtech is as far as I know the one and only RPG supplement Karl Wu ever contributed to. Tom Dowd has his fingerprints all over Shadowrun and is at least partially responsible for almost everything that makes Shadowrun great and terrible from 1989 to 1999 or so.

The tonal difference with these two authors is massive. Karl Wu was a doctor or at least someone who was almost a doctor according to the dedication. In any case, large sections of the book read like a medical teaching session where Karl Wu is telling you how various glands and chemicals work in the real world, and then giving a Popular Mechanics style rant about how those actions can be exploited in the future with SCIENCE™! On the flip side, Tom Dowd is putting stuff into the game because he wants it there for various gameplay and/or story reasons and his technical acumen when describing how these things work is approximately at the level of a Saturday morning cartoon. Going through the book, it is actually quite jarring when the book's voice changes, and I think I could bet real money betting on a sentence by sentence level which sections were written or reworked by Tom Dowd and which were Karl Wu originals.

Karl Wu also contributed some cyberware to Cyberpunk, but once we get to the Clinton administration, Karl Wu is never heard from in RPGs again. I dunno why Karl Wu didn't make any more rpg materials. Given the amount of work he obviously put into this, the paycheck must have been pretty disappointing. Based on wordcount, he likely saw less than a thousand dollars for something that probably took months. We're talking 1992 money, but even so he could probably legit make twenty or even forty times that much working as a radiologist or whatever the fuck he did in his day job. The paycheck I got for working on Augmentation is less than half of what I make in a week as a doctor, and the wordcount I got in that book is close to Shadowtech's entire length. I don't think something like Tom Dowd finding him incredibly hard to work with really explains much, considering how White Wolf was eagerly snaffing up any Shadowrun contributors they could find in the early nineties. Of course, the reason Nigel Findley stopped writing Shadowrun books is that he straight up died. In any case, no one I know seems to know what happened to Karl Wu.

As an aside, medicine is an extremely greedy profession when it comes to your “extra work” time. In the United Kingdom, where I currently work, doctors get paid kinda bullshit money for their base job, but that base job pushes them up the continual professional development ladder and entitles you to work extra shifts to keep hospitals and clinics open. These extra shifts pay double to triple what you make at the base pay scale. So in essence, doctors are pretty much required to work 60+ hour weeks, but the overall pay is fairly decent. But this means that the incentive to not have a second job is immense. As a British Medical Registrar you make about 24 pounds an hour for 40 hours a week, but your extra shifts pay 70 pounds an hour. If you work 8 hours a week at a second job, those 8 hours could have been paid at 70 pounds an hour if you'd just done more medicine. I don't know where exactly Karl Wu was practicing medicine, but the incentive structure is always and everywhere for doctors to work as doctors to the point of near death from exhaustion. I, for example, just worked 12 days in a row where I was in the hospital for 144 hours, which is literally 1 hour out of every 2 for 12 days straight. And the US is famous for trying to get doctors to work more than that.

AncientH

The influence of Shadowtech can most immediately be seen in its spiritual sequel, Cybertechnology, which canned a lot of the science but kept the general attitude of "10 pounds of sugar in a five pound sack." After that, however, SR generally dropped both the catalog format and consolidated cybertech gear books - maybe for obvious reasons. It's expensive to put out sourcebooks that appeal to only a fraction of your audience, and while cyberware has fairly universal appeal outside of the magic crowd, Shadowrun moved toward consolidation and expansion of material in one-stop-shop books, sacrificing formatting for cramming everything you can into a book like Augmentation.



Frank

The bipolar nature of the text, veering erratically from demanding that things work mechanically some way or another because of scientific realizarm and demanding that the technobabble conform to some form of demanded power creep ends up making entries with actual in-game utility that is all over the fucking map. Some of the shit in there was like “OMGWTFBBQ?!” when it came out, freaking everyone out with how much more powerful it was than other options in the game. Other stuff is completely at the other end of the scale, being so fucking useless in-game that you wonder why it takes up page space at all (cranial cyberdecks, we will get to you).


Time to go shopping.

Obviously, actual players are going to choose to get implants and equipment that are awesome and not get the stuff that is hot garbage, and the result was that characters of the street samurai persuasion were unrecognizable in their power level shortly after this book came out. Lots of groups house ruled various items off the island entirely (Dikote was a popular choice for that treatment). Which is not to say that the game was now objectively tilted in favor of street samurai over mages, far from it! But that the power jump from Shadowtech for its target archetype was so dramatic and so obvious that it was pretty divisive at the time.

I think it's important to recall that the original concept of what an Essence point was worth was pretty bullshit. In the original Big Blue Book, the offered exchange was 1 point of essence for 1 point of a physical stat (or half a point of Essence for a conditional +1 to a stat). You only get 6 Essence and bonus points of attributes don't matter very much, so Muscle Replacement and Dermal Armor were hot garbage, but those were conceived as the standard rate of cyberware. You spent half a point of Essence and you got +1 Body for some but not all purposes, and that's terrible.


The original authors of Shadowrun pretty much expected the iconic cyberware to be the thing where you had a knife you could pop out of your arm. This item was basically crap since you didn't really want to fight with a knife no matter how concealable it was.

The core issue here is that the items that the Shadowrun community thought of as the iconic cyberware for Street Samurai were actually mistakes. The basic layout for a Street Sam was Wired Reflexes, a Smart Gun Link, and Cybereyes. But those were good because the original designers underestimated the value of target number modification (cybereyes and smartlinks) and extra actions (wired reflexes). The original intended powerlevel of the game was way lower than what people were actually playing, which meant that the standard people were writing expansion material to was massively more powerful than the standard the original designers had in mind when they made the Big Blue Book. It meant that material for Shadowtech had to be either way above the previously published material or be useless garbage that people with system mastery would not use – because the vast majority of previously published material was hot garbage compared to the shit people actually used in real games. It created a situation where there wasn't a way to write Shadowtech that actually expanded the game in a meaningful way without having a bunch of neckbeards have their heads explode because you were doing the powercreeps. Shadowtech is really the first book in Shadowrun that just says “Fuck it, we're powercreeping everything!” It's also arguably the last, because even books like Fields of Fire tried to walk back the crazy and give powercreep options “drawbacks” that could generously be claimed to balance things somehow.

AncientH

One of the main differences between Shadowrun and other RPGs like D&D and World of Darkness is that it was fairly open about being able to go out and just buy power creep cyberware. Hell, it was encouraged. There were in-game boutiques. The idea of being limited by your starting stats and gradually improving with time, effort, and XP Karma was shit for magicians to deal with while eating their granola. Yes, AD&D always had gp values on magic items, but you were almost never expected to be able to waltz into a store and just purchase your power up - but in Shadowrun, that was completely a thing, and it prevented an alternative - and fast - form of character advancement. Wealth by level guidelines be damned.

Now, they did offer some restrictions; the Street Samurai Guide had already introduced concepts like grades of cyberware (Alpha and used, basically), and "Essence hole" was a longstanding houserule before it was made official. But over all, if you were a lucky newb runner who pulled down a million nuyen score - and didn't immediately retire - you could buy a whole new body.

Click here to see the hidden message (It might contain spoilers)


The other major "balance" restrictions involve biotech, and we'll get to that in due course.

Frank

Shadowtech falls right between 1st edition and 2nd edition. And it provides rules for playing it in 1st edition rules and in 2nd edition rules. Or rather, it's all technically 1st edition rules, but it happens to line up exactly with the changes made in 2nd edition. 2nd edition removed the concept of “Threshold” for combat damage, which was a thing by which some weapons required different numbers of hits by the attacker or defender to stage the damage levels up and down. This was needlessly complicated and didn't really add anything to the game. There are plenty of problems that 2e and 3e still had, but going from variable damage thresholds to static damage thresholds was simply a good idea.

The main difference is that automatic success dice were dropped and replaced with target number modifiers. This meant that combat went from an attrition battle to a drum roll of blood splatters, but it also meant that your base dice pool was far more important. In 1st edition, you'd get shot and have 6 automatic successes and then roll your dice looking for 6s. The whole die roll only affected things at the margins. In 2nd edition, you only get your base dice pool, but you're looking for 3s, so you actually get successes.


First Edition Combat – your armor removes most of the damage from being shot.


Second Edition Combat – your armor allows you to have a chance of reducing damage with your Body test

The ware from Shadowtech all does exactly what it says it does in either edition, but some of the stuff is significantly more important in one edition or the other. A bonus die is obviously a lot more important in SR2 than it is in SR1.

What I don't understand is why 2nd edition Shadowrun didn't just massively overhaul the costs and benefits of the Cyberware that was dog shit in 1st edition. It wasn't just the early developers who seemed categorically disinclined to simply make shitty things not shitty when they rewrote them. When I was working on Augmentation I got incredible pushback when I suggested just reprinting Cyberlimbs as things that weren't hot garbage (the Cyberlimb in 4th edition is fucking useless). We were allowed to write bizarre alternate versions of crappy cyberlimbs that were better in every possible way so you might actually want to use them – but we were not allowed to just rewrite the rules for Cyberlimbs in a manner that was remotely playable. I still don't understand the logic here, but I'm certain that Karl Wu must have been subjected to the same shit. It would explain so many things.

AncientH

RPGs tend to be conservative, if the Granny's attic of the Encyclopedia Magica is any indication, they hate throwing anything away. Part of the reason is that you have a lot of legacy material wrapped up in the old system - adventures, sourcebooks, reams of player character sheets full of the old gear - so where major innovations take place is generally during the edition change, not in sourcebooks that come after. Which is why very few pieces of 'ware were ever dropped in any edition of Shadowrun - stuff like program carriers, for example, eventually bit the dust, but less because the designers didn't like them any more than because they had overhauled the Matrix rules so thoroughly that they no longer made any sense (if they ever did; Program Carriers were the precursor to installing a cyberdeck in your head, except instead of an entire deck you just had the bare minimum programs you needed and trusted to your skills to let you hack the Matrix. Even the NPCs basically never used them.)



The sole exception to this is the Matrix rules, which changed drastically from one sourcebook to the next and one edition to the next. Seriously, the material from the Grimoire in first edition was reprinted almost verbatim in Grimoire II, large chunks of it survived unscathed in Magic in the Shadows, and it wasn't until Street Magic that pretty much all of it was dropped, incorporated at base, or revised. It literally took until 4th edition for magic to change that much. The Matrix, on the other hand...changed a lot. Every single fucking book. It was a mess, and we might get into it one day, but not here.

Frank

The book is 120 pages and not particularly dense with text by modern standards. There are no chapter numbers, but there are eleven major headings noted in the table of context (including “Introduction” and “Equipment Table”). In several cases the format is that there will be a major heading that rants about science and rules for a type of thing, and then there's a catalog with a few items at the rate of one per page (or in the case of the Cranial Cyberdeck, one item in like 6-8 pages because the old Matrix rules were so many windows into madness that you couldn't see the desktop image). So I expect that we'll be able to power through this in 3-4 posts, followed by a rant about how this book influenced future books.


A significant portion of the book ends up ranting about this thing, although it turns out you don't want it.

I might be a little bit biased as about 15 years after this book I pretty much was Karl Wu: the Next Generation. But even so, this book is severely influential by any standards and I think we'll have a lot to talk about.

AncientH

If nothing else, this book introduced a lot of gear which (by the law of conservation of RPG momentum) is still being used in the game, even if not in exactly the format the original designers had in mind. That's what a shared universe is about, folks. You think George Lucas imagined The Last Jedi back when the script called him Luke Starkiller? Fuck no! But that's what happens when you get big collaborative storytelling projects - which is what Shadowrun and other RPGs essentially are.

Frank

Next Up: Bionetics.

Yes. Fine. Bionetics is not a real word. But that is what the first book section is actually called.

AncientH


Cyberpunk:
Click here to see the hidden message (It might contain spoilers)


Shadowrun:
Click here to see the hidden message (It might contain spoilers)


'nuff said.
_________________
The Unpublishable - Updates Fridays between midnight and midnight | http://wikithulhu.com
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Stahlseele
King


Joined: 14 Apr 2010
Posts: 5067
Location: Hamburg, Germany

PostPosted: Sat Dec 23, 2017 5:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Oh i am going to enjoy this one ^^
_________________
Welcome, to IronHell.
Click here to see the hidden message (It might contain spoilers)
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Ancient History
Invincible Overlord


Joined: 18 Aug 2010
Posts: 11399

PostPosted: Sun Dec 24, 2017 1:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

OSSR: Shadowtech

Bionetics


No. Bionetics. Dianetics was attacked in Universal Brotherhood.


A little bit of that plus some 6 million dollar man stuff mixed in.

AncientH

Quote:
The human body is a complex and intricate machine built from organic materials and compounds. Just as with any other machine, man continually seeks to improve it beyond the factory specifications.


Where do you go when you can't jam any more metal and plastic into your body? That's the essential issue with the first half of this book. Cyberware, as traditionally understood through cyberpunk fiction, was almost exclusively about implants, prosthetics, artificial inorganic elements added to the body. Shadowrun had that covered. So what was left for power creep?

Bioware. Biological components. Vat-grown muscles, clonal organs, etc. It's not totally unprecedented - the Space Marines in Warhammer 40K had some of this going on, and Marvel comics had been playing fast and loose with biological grafts and super soldier serums in various comics, and real live humans had been grafting monkey testicles to themselves for at least a century.

And bioware doesn't subtract from Essence, it adds to your Body Index. When in doubt, create another track! World of Darkness would take that frighteningly to heart in many of their products, but it was a new one for Shadowrun.

Frank

Honestly, while there was certainly a time when I staked my flag in the “bionics vs cybernetics” fight, I think at this point I simply do not care what word you use for augmentation implants. I don't think “bionetics” ever caught on, and I can't recall the word even being used in any previous or future Shadowrun materials. But there's no special reason why it's any better or worse than any similar word. If for some reason you thought you should split the difference between people who say “bionics” and people who say “cybernetics” then I am not going to stop you from doing that. It's only vaguely important to keep using consistent terminology within a document so that people aren't really confused by what you're trying to say. It's all futuretech mumbo jumbo, your technical terms just have to sound remotely plausible and not like a joke that went flat.

In any case, the Bionetics section is an 8 page meandering rant about transhumanism (the specific word was not used because it hadn't really penetrated cyberpunk fandom in 1992 and would not do so for another 5 years or so). There are game rules sprinkled into the text, and comment threads that are responding to the main text but presumably can't see the game mechanics. I'm not sure what the text the shadow-talkers are reading actually looks like, but it's not the one I'm reading because the one I'm reading tells me the amount of bio-index that is recovered with various numbers of successes on biotech tests.

AncientH

Quote:
The maximum amount of bioware that a given individual can safely accept is represented by the Body Index, which is equal to the total number of Body Cost Points represented by his bioware, up to a maximum equal to the character's natural and unaugmented Body Rating, modified only by race and Karma.

That last part is to keep players from buying cyberware or bioware that increases your Body attribute and thus lets you get more bioware in a sort of feedback loop. It doesn't really make a lot of sense, because Orks and Trolls get more Body because they're bigger, and how big you are shouldn't have any relation to how much bioware throws your system off.


Andre the Giant could fit in a shitload of bioware with these rules.

It also leads to weird situations where you have to keep track of multiple attribute numbers, real and augmented - but Shadowrun players had been used to that for quite some time from cyberware. Ironically, this gets super weird when you get to physical adepts, who can use magically-purchased extra Body points to get a higher Body Index - but at the same time, bioware cost magicians Essence and Body Index! You could potentially min-max it a little by careful choice of race, some starting advantages from the Shadowrun Companion, initiation (which prior to 4th edition was the only way for physical adepts to get more magic points and thus more powers), and opting-in on higher-grade 'ware and geases on certain powers to maximize costs...

...well, it was a powergamer's little mathematical wonderland, if you wanted to go that route.

Frank

The section gives you a short spiel on different systems in the body like the respiratory system and the lymphatic system. Each is just a short blast of what today we'd call wiki-facts, but it is and was surprisingly helpful. It tells you a couple of neat things about how various parts of the body work and then it tells you some surprising weaknesses of the human body and when you get to the next part where it gives you some augmentations to buy they are actually grounded in a thing. It's not terribly deep or anything, but it really grounds the ware in a way where it seems like they are actual parts of the story and not just bonuses on your character sheet.

When 13 year old Frank was playing Shadowrun, this book is the point where I saw players being able to include their ware into their story declarations. People who had skin enhancements would be able to taking piping hot burritos out the microwave without waiting for them to cool down. People who had lung enhancements would be able to hold their breath in the face of poison gas. Sure the numeric bonuses were much larger than what had come before, but what really made Street Samurai turn the corner with this book was that they finally had abilities that were defined in narrative space. That you could do things that other characters couldn't do. Not by rolling more dice or even by rolling dice at all, but by having defined ways in which your character was super human and thus have means that your character could leverage those super human traits into story effects.


It isn't that you just generically get a bonus to athletics rolls, it's that you literally have more oxygenation capacity in your lungs. So if it's for some reason important that you not have to breathe for a while, you can do that.

AncientH

There are some rules for implantation, damage to 'ware, and repair. There's also something called Biosystem Overstress which is about what happens if you've augmented an attribute to over twice its unaugmented rating, which means you have a fun chance of accidentally ripping yourself apart because your vat-grown muscles are anchored onto purely normal bones or something. Or maybe give yourself a terrible headache, if you think too hard with your augmented brain. It's one of those finicky situational rules that are introduced for very valid reasons but seldom enforced, and I don't recall if it was continued in subsequent products or not.

Of course, the fun part is you can see this happen in real life with Olympic athletes who overdevelop their bodies and then push it just a bit too far.

Click here to see the hidden message (It might contain spoilers)


Frank

By far the biggest rule in here, and by far the most controversial, was the introduction of body index. It's not even close. I think that rule is probably more contentious than any other rule ever written for any edition. Because Shadowrun had embraced a weird precious bodily fluids system of Essence, there was a profoundly limited amount of enhancement you could ever get. In order to get Street Samurai to have “next level” aspirations in the sense that Initiating mages got in the Grimoire you needed to either create some means of getting extra Essence (which the developers refused to consider) or just give people an extra set of currency to spend that was very much like Essence, which is the thing they went with.


We must protect them.

Body Index successfully filled the design goal of making Street Samurai who were made with the rules in the original book have extra ware to chase after and did it within the design constraint of not letting players get any more Essence. But it did so by pissing all over the mystical mumbo jumbo that was behind Essence in the first place. Essence had some giant giant holes in it if you thought about it too much, and the entire existence of Body Index required us to think about Essence. And that made everyone sad.

AncientH

Essence was always very vaguely defined. It served multiple narrative and systemic purposes, in that it let you cap cyberware, regulated the cyberware/magic duality, regulated how well healing spells worked, how likely you were to get cyberpsychosis (or the SR equivalent, that was really in Cybertechnology though), etc. But to manage all that, they didn't try to really explain what it was. There were a couple of theories offered up, the most coherent being in the Tir na nOg sourcebook where it talks about the "aural template" and Essence loss is caused by your body not matching what it should be naturally.

Which, if you take it to its natural conclusion, should rule out modern orthodontics, lots of plastic surgery, simple prosthetic limbs, etc. And is weird when you consider that a lot of what you look like it determined by the environment as much as genetics.

This is all born out of somebody - I'm not sure whom - reading Larry Niven's The Magic Goes Away, which was highly inspirational to Shadowrun. Part of that story involves a magician with a club foot: he could fix it with magic, but if he did it would cost him half his power, so instead he hobbles around being a magical badass.



Players generally dislike ambiguity unless it works in their favor, and when players become writers this sometimes works against the game as a whole, since they then try to "fix" things without understanding why they weren't really broken. So in 4th edition when the fans took over the asylum there were some efforts to take the fluff explanations for Essence and make them part of the rules...little pebbles dropped into the water, who knows how far the ripples will spread?

Frank

Shadowrun has wanted there to be a thriving community of organ legging for pretty much the entire time. There has never been a solid justification for this. The economics don't make sense. It's more profitable and less gross to steal peoples' cars than it is to steal their cybereyes or pull their enhanced kidneys out with a sharpened ice cream scoop.



The whole thing with grades of organs going down to “second hand” and including shit like “type O” was something that was medically incoherent and I ended up filling it full of mind caulk in 4th edition with the introduction of an actual clonal tissue line that was “Type O” due to coming from a specific individual whose first initial was O. That's because the “Type O Blood” we're familiar with actually refers to not having the A or B protein on the outside of red blood cells, and is pretty much worth dickall for predicting whether organs are transplantable.

AncientH

Organlegging comes from another Larry Niven novel, The Long Arm of Gil Hamilton, where "corpsicles" (people cryogenically frozen for future reanimation) face the potential of being broken up for spare parts. It's not really cyberpunk, but...



It's worth mentioning that Shadowrun had used "Biotech" before to just refer to medical equipment - stim patches, medkits, all that kind of thing. I don't know if there's any deep and abiding though process behind that, but I think it may be why they went with "Bionetics" as the chapter title instead of "Biotech"...to avoid confusion.

Bioware


Like, pretty much nothing like this at all.

Frank

This book contains 22 pieces of bioware. These are divided into Circulatory, Dermal, Endocrine, Hepatic, Lymphatic, Neural, Renal, and Structural. Primarily, these distinctions tie into the medical justification rants in the previous section and future editions streamlined this by dividing the bioware into Neural and Everything Else, because only the Neural category actually has any rules to go with it (you can't get non-cultured neural enhancement as bioware). Karl Wu clearly had a vision of future sourcebooks building off the different systems of the body to make it do strange and wonderful things. That is not what happened. Two editions later, the bioware list had grown from 22 items in Shadowtech all the way to 29 items in Man and Machine. And that includes the fact that they split Muscle Augmentation (that adds Strength and Quickness) into Augmentation (which adds Strength) and Toner (that adds Quickness). The other extras are mostly cheap sci-fi grafts like cat eyes and thermosense organs that don't really tie into the systemic enhancement concept at all.

The defining pieces of bioware for the next twenty years were all pretty much right here in this book. Most of the body systems get only a cursory treatment and none of that was ever really built upon. But with only 22 to speak about, we can actually do a bit on each of the sections.


Eat up.

I should note that the presentation of the augmentations is in alphabetical order by body system. But you only know that if you're looking at the table of contents because none of that formatting made it into the body of the text. So it goes from “Synthacardium” to “Orthoskin” because the Synthacardium is in the Circulatory system and the Orthoskin is in the Dermal system. There's a logic to it all, but I had this book for literally fifteen years before I noticed what it was.

AncientH

Bioware is less common in fiction than cyberware, so there are fewer precedents to steal borrow from, I think most of the later authors just didn't have the background to do anything even vaguely reasonable to add to the section, and there was no real addition to the bioware list, or any address of the bioware mechanics, until 3rd edition.

And it's worth noting, Shadowrun isn't the only game with this issue. D&D, of all games, comes close to trying to one-up SR on the bioware front with some of their symbiotes for Dark Sun (also, GURPS has some tucked away in there, but GURPS has something tucked away everywhere.)

Frank

The Circulatory System has the Platelet Factory that prevent blood loss, the Symbiotes that enhance healing and immunity, and the Synthacardium that enhances blood flow. The game mechanics they happened to use made Platelet Factory virtually game breaking while the Symbiotes were cool but not very useful. The Synthacardium is just kind of there, but it's important to note that without really changing what it did it became a mandatory augmentation for Street Sams in 4th edition because the athletics tests it boosted randomly became your defense against bullets in 2005.

The Dermal system has Orthoskin that is exactly like armor in your skin except game mechanically superior to the previously written up armor in the skin called Dermal Armor; and Tailored Pheromones, which were the first (and for a long time only) means of getting a meaningful bonus on Social tests, which massively changed the assumptions of what kind of dice pools social characters were expected to have. This system is actually called the Integumentary system, but was probably not called that n this book because my copy of Open Office does not recognize Integumentary as a word. It doesn't have means of absorbing oxygen through your skin, or means of having diamond hard claws, or ways to photosynthesize, or means to protect yourself from heat or cold, or ways to prevent water loss and go without drinking for weeks at a time. All of those things are things that Integumentary System Bio Enhancement could plausibly do, and the lack of followup on this section remains sad.

The Endocrine system has the Adrenal Pump and the Suprathyroid gland. Those straight up modify your physical stats and caused a lot of people to flip the table because they were so much better than previous things that did something similar. To be honest, the Adrenal Pump, while cool, was too weird and fiddly and wasn't actually good, but the benefits were so obvious and large when it was working that people threw fits anyway. Endocrine system enhancement could also do things involving pancreatic enhancement to better manage blood sugar and metabolism, pineal gland modifications to allow better control of sleep, gonad modifications to do any sort of sex or reproduction thing, and pituitary modification to basically turn you into Andre the Giant. Of those, only the Sleep Regulator actually became a thing, leaving this particular well only mostly untouched.

The Hepatic system has one item in it: the Toxin Extractor. Now there's a lot of things the liver does, and removing poisons from the blood is an important one but by no means the only thing the liver does. You could be enhancing glycogen storage or have it produce new kinds of bile salts, or even selectively replace its detoxification functions to cause medications to last longer. The liver does literally hundreds of things, and the Toxin Extractor is honestly the least interesting and most obvious possibility. For reasons that no one has ever been able to explain, the bioware that fights toxins in this book have an effect for every two levels. No one has ever been able to explain why that is. I assume it's some sort of last minute rules change. In any case, it's fucking obviously a mistake, because fucking obviously. One of 3
rd edition's rare concessions to sanity was changing it so that the maximum level was half as large and one level counted for 1 point. Which was basically the same thing except much simpler. Of course, there's a separate issue where poisons in pretty much every edition of Shadowrun are so OP that getting a few points to resist in one way or another means you are still totally fucked whenever they get trotted out, so this ware is pretty much useless regardless. You pretty much have to make a gentleman's agreement with the MC to not have anyone cover the world in strychnine, and a Toxin Extractor won't change that.

AncientH

The finer exploits for a lot of bioware came when they were combined with selective bits of other 'ware. The traditional combo is the Trauma Damper (which converts 1 box of physical damage to stun) and the Platelet Facotories (which remove 1 box of physical damage if you take 2+ boxes of damage). This has caused many headaches about "who's on first" (i.e. what happens if the Trauma Damper would reduce the damage to the point that the Platelet Factory doesn't kick in), but those are fun arguments to have.

There are also some weird cases where bioware and cyberware are incompatible. This was a bit like the AD&D concept of there being "slots" on the body for magic items, but was usually based on some augmentations being mutually exclusive or redundant. For example, you can't have Orthoskin and Dermal Armor (and later on, Dermal Sheathing). From a practical perspective, this is okay in that the incompatiblities are usually vaguely understandable from a setting perspective, if not a gameplay perspective - you can seriously crunch the numbers on your optimum augmentation build vis-a-vis what bonuses you get doing which combination of gear, and this approach was actually joyously embraced by some of the designers. Funny enough, it got its start in the main rulebook because they didn't want you taking Wired Reflexes and Boosted Reflexes at the same time.

Tailored Pheromones are sort of the inspiration for the Pornomancer, before that became a legitimate character concept. Shadowrun has always had a lot more gear oriented toward combat and/or being sneaky than they have toward...other things, with social interaction usually being pretty low on the hierarchy of needs, unless you're playing a Face character.

Frank

The Lymphatic system just contains the Pathogenic Defense, which is just like the toxin extractor but it only works on diseases. But diseases show up even more rarely in games than poisons and also these aren't really conceptually different and game mechanically severely underwhelming. Lymph flow isn't actually very interesting in the real world, so while you could plausibly have something weird where your body could change its density through ballast and bubbles in lymphatic vessels, there really isn't much of a reason for this to be a thing. We probably could have just not bothered with Lymphatic augmentation full stop.


Medically relevant, but honestly no one wants to hear about your enhanced lymphatic drainage augmentation.

The Neural system has a hidden rule where all the costs quoted are for “cultured” ware, so you can't get them at higher grade to reduce bioindex costs. Because go fuck yourself. It's the longest subsection, including the Cerebral Booster, the Damage Compensator, the Mnemonic Enhancer, the Pain Editor, the Reflex Recorder, the Synaptic Accelerator, and the Trauma Damper. Fully half of those have to do with changing how your body reacts to injuries, which was a really big deal in 1st and 2nd edition because injury modifiers affected the target numbers for every die roll you ever made. So a character with a moderate wound was pretty much completely useless at most tasks since they generated a third as many successes when attempting standard actions. Of course, in 4th edition, wound penalties are extremely trivial, but all those wound modifying pieces of neuralware still exist, you just don't get them because you don't give a fuck.


Pain Editors make you less insightful and more headstrong.

In my personal group, the one that made us flip out was the Cerebral Booster. Not because it was especially overpowered (although it was real good considering what a god stat Intelligence was), but because the flavor text was so hard to accept. They make your brain more foldy, causing you to brain better. And even as a teenager I knew that if you rearranged how many folds you had in your brain, you'd pretty much format the entire person. Such a thing could only work if you introduced it to a baby that didn't have a brain full of important memories and skills to destroy. Which is actually something that I think is great about this book. The upgrades are all sufficiently “real” and “in world” that you can object to one of them on the grounds that it doesn't make sense.


Does not make sense.

Compare to like D&D or something. If a magic idol gives you a bonus to sailing or some fucking thing, does that “make sense?” I dunno. I don't think you can even have an intelligible conversation about that. But in Shadowrun, you could. Our group had a discussion and decided that one of the offered pieces of augmentation couldn't be installed into grownups because of how the world and the object interacted.

AncientH

A lot of 'ware is specifically noted to benefit characters operating in certain cases where attributes actually matter a great deal - magic, rigging, and decking. The thing was, the designers were sometimes okay with characters getting an edge from 'ware and sometimes they reacted like "OMG, hax!"...which was just bizarre when you consider decking in particular: any decent decker is going to have pumped oodles of nuyen into their decks and programs (unless, Ghost help them, they were trying to code their own programs), you'd think giving them some other money-sink for whatever slight edge an Adrenal Pump might give them would be worth it - but rigging and decking are a lot like cyberware in that you can largely buy your way into those professions, if you have enough money; with skillwires, even skill isn't a major stopping point.



Another weird thing you see in bioware is a lot of dual functionality with cyberware; you can have, for example, Pathogenic Defense, Toxin Extractor, Nephritic Screen, and Blood Filters. The bioware tends to reduce the power of the toxin/virus/hangover, while the filters give you an extra save. This generally means that the bioware is the better option from an effectiveness standpoint, but also much more expensive. Literally, Toxic Filters are 10k¥/level and Toxin Extractors are 24k¥/level.

This reflects a... not sure how to put this... interesting flexibility to the Shadowrun approach to augmentation. Increasing attributes directly is only one way to deal with a test, since you can also add bonus dice or lower the Power of the attack/Target number of the test, etc. Or instead of adding dice to an attribute, they can add dice to a skill, as they do with Reflex Recorders. It's a very fiddly game, Shadowrun, and when you get past the obvious stuff, you're into the weed almost immediately. I mean seriously, 24k¥ a level for a toxin extractor - that's putting down the cost of a medium-sized car on something that won't reliably keep you from getting a hangover.

And part of this also represents the collision of editions, as Frank mentioned above - bonus dice became a much bigger deal in 2nd edition.

Frank

The Renal system again has just one entry: the Nephritic Screen. That was garbage ware and you don't care. Kidneys have various metabolic functions, like you could enhance kidneys to make more EPO and that would make more red blood cells and that would make you better at endurance like Lance Armstrong. But again, honestly, people don't give a shit about the kidneys except as a hit location that makes you piss blood.



The Respiratory system is given three pieces of ware: the Extended Volume makes you just able to breathe more and better, the Tracheal Filter does a shitty job of trying to protect you from inhaled poisons like tear gas, and the Toxin Exhaler lets you breathe poison gas like a green fucking dragon. While the game mechanics leave something to be desired, there isn't a whole lot else you'd really want the respiratory system to do. Like, an improved sense of smell seems doable, but the bottom line is that the entire respiratory system really only does two things: breathe in and breathe out.

The Musculoskeletal system is called the Structural system for reasons that elude me. In any case, it has just two pieces of ware in it: Muscle Augmentation makes you stronger and faster by jacking up your muscles, and Enhanced Articulation makes you generally good at things by making your joints totally sweet. Now I do bone and muscle procedures on a regular basis and I could think of lots of ways to improve things. Future editions added a bone density augmentation that made your bones tougher, but we don't get striated muscle to smooth muscle conversions or chimpanzee based muscle attachments.


Chimps can pull about twice as hard as humans because their muscles attach differently and give them more leverage. Mussels can hold their shells closed indefinitely because smooth muscle does not use energy to hold a position.

AncientH

I'm going to differ with Frank on the Nephritic Screen, because nuyen-for-nuyen it may be the best piece of 'ware for giving you a little defense against toxins and pathogens. For 20k¥, you can buy a level 2 blood filter that does nothing, or...well, that's it really, you can't buy Toxin Extractor or Pathogenic Defense for less than 24k¥/level. If you want something and don't want to sink at least 50-60k¥ into it, the Nephritic Screen is your go-to choice. And it works with all of the others.

And...that's really it. I could talk about a few things more, but I think we've hit the highlights. We're going to talk about the Task Pool a little later on. Look forward to it!

Frank

Next up... Cybertechnology.
_________________
The Unpublishable - Updates Fridays between midnight and midnight | http://wikithulhu.com


Last edited by Ancient History on Sun Dec 24, 2017 12:23 pm; edited 3 times in total
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Cervantes
Apprentice


Joined: 28 Jul 2014
Posts: 83

PostPosted: Sun Dec 24, 2017 3:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

it is pretty cool that we have Frank leveraging his Knowing Medicine for this OSSR. good stuff here
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
DrPraetor
Knight-Baron


Joined: 02 Apr 2009
Posts: 823

PostPosted: Sun Dec 24, 2017 5:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

On google scholar, there is exactly one Karl Wu, and he's an orthopedic surgeon in Taiwan who seems to work on bone cancers and also molecular mechanisms of osteoarthritis:

https://scholar.google.com/scholar?hl=en&as_sdt=0%2C23&q=author%3A"Karl+Wu"&btnG=

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/jcp.22685/full

https://www.karger.com/Article/Abstract/253592

Which makes him somewhat overqualifiedperfect to write RPG sourcebooks.

and he must be in his 50s if not 60s by now, but he's still going (not in RPGs)...
http://www.airitilibrary.com/Publication/alDetailedMesh?docid=22107940-201511-PP201511240033-PP201511240033-1-4-00017
http://www.airitilibrary.com/Publication/alDetailedMesh?docid=22107940-201511-PP201511240033-PP201511240033-1-4-00019

But I guess we can't be sure it's the same guy?
_________________
Chaosium rules are made of unicorn pubic hair and cancer. --AncientH
When you talk, all I can hear is "DunningKruger" over and over again like you were a god damn Pokemon. --Frank
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
erik
Prince


Joined: 07 Mar 2008
Posts: 4964

PostPosted: Sun Dec 24, 2017 8:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Maybe send that as a PM to whomever is an interested party? And edit/delete the post? I know it wasn't with malicious intent, but it feels a bit much like doxing. If you strip all the links out the post still stands well.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
FrankTrollman
Serious Badass


Joined: 07 Mar 2008
Posts: 27230

PostPosted: Sun Dec 24, 2017 9:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

There are like 44 people named Karl Wu on LinkedN, and if you straight google up the name you get a doctor of dentistry in Texas. But we're pretty sure it's not that guy, because he started practicing in 2001, which is too long of a wait even if he was writing his cyberware rants at the very beginning of medical school.

The truth is we don't know where he went, or even if he's still alive. There are various people whose name is Dr. Karl Wu, but the Dr. Karl Wu who wrote most of this book has been out of the RPG writing business for nearly a quarter century and the trail is dead cold.

Erik wrote:
I know it wasn't with malicious intent, but it feels a bit much like doxing.


Scientists do not mind linking to them on google scholar. Linking to them on google scholar is the second best thing you can do for them. The first best is citing their work after you find it on google scholar in a scholarly article of your own.

-Frank
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Aryxbez
Knight-Baron


Joined: 15 Oct 2010
Posts: 983

PostPosted: Sun Dec 24, 2017 11:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

FrankTrollman wrote:
Karl Wu clearly had a vision of future sourcebooks building off the different systems of the body to make it do strange and wonderful things. That is not what happened.


I think this sounds like a good summary of the book, and my disappointment with Shadowrun's Cyber/Bio Ware. Felt like lot of Ware ye care about in SR4 is ones increasing your numbers with the rest not giving abilities on top, or cherry-pick very strongly the ones that might. Ones I can think of off-hand that gave abilities are Pain Editor, Platelet Factories as above (DR 1, min 1 basically), and one that gives you immunity to one certain gas/toxin? (I used it to give my Street Sam immunity to Pepper Punch so I could just fill an area without screwing myself).

I also hope we can find this Karl Wu, as it'd be awesome to have heard his ideas on the subject's future. Secondly, it does remind me of the Technomancer plotline that was by certain people who left, couldn't we just ask those people via their FB or whatever on what those plotlines were supposed to be?

Finally, what would you guys say are good products of any editions of SR worthy of reading and looking at for ideas in a SR game? For example Renraku Arcology: Shutdown was mentioned as a good example of a Dungeon crawl.
_________________
What I find wrong w/ 4th edition: "I want to stab dragons the size of a small keep with skin like supple adamantine and command over time and space to death with my longsword in head to head combat, but I want to be totally within realistic capabilities of a real human being!" --Caedrus mocking 4rries

"the thing about being Mister Cavern [DM], you don't blame players for how they play. That's like blaming the weather. Weather just is. You adapt to it. -Ancient History
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Ancient History
Invincible Overlord


Joined: 18 Aug 2010
Posts: 11399

PostPosted: Sun Dec 24, 2017 12:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Shadowrun hasn't had a lot of great adventures. I wouldn't even characterize RA:S as a dungeon-crawl, it has less detail to it than you might expect. Like...maps and shit.

I hold out a soft spot for Harlequin's Back, but that is a crazy mashup choo-choo of an adventure where you're constantly changing rules, setting, and trying to figure out what the fuck you're supposed to do and why. It isn't typical Shadowrun at all.

Paradise Lost and Queen Euphoria are a couple of the purest Shadowrun type adventures - the ones that really only feature a single "twist," and have reasonable set-ups and challenges. Portfolio of a Dragon is a great list of adventure seeds.
_________________
The Unpublishable - Updates Fridays between midnight and midnight | http://wikithulhu.com
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Nath
Master


Joined: 28 Oct 2012
Posts: 186

PostPosted: Sun Dec 24, 2017 3:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Frank wrote:
Muscle Augmentation makes you stronger and faster by jacking up your muscles

To me, the description of Muscle Augmentation has always been... problematic. If you compare who they describe Muscle Augmentation's braided polymers to Muscle Replacement's "vat-grown muscles" and "calcium treatments", it's basicaly the opposite of what the divide between bioware and cyberware was supposed to be.

Quote:
Shadowtech, page 35
The process of muscle replacement has been slowly evolving toward the procedure now known as muscle augmentation. With the development and improvement an biosurgical technique, the actual removal and removal and replacement of the natural muscules becomes obsolete and unnecessary. Using a biological weaving treatment, an air-injected fluorinated polymer (Teflon TM) known as Gortex TM is braided into existing muscle fibers. Fortex, which is chemically inert, is more than four times as strong as natural muscules and ligaments, and, when braided into cables and incorporated into existing tissues, it can increase muscular system performance enormously.
Quote:
Shadowrun, 1st Edition, page 128
Muscle Replacement: Implanted, vat-grown synthetic muscles replace the users' own. Calcium treatments and skeletal reinforcement allow an overall increase in the users's strength.

Twenty five years down the line, I think SR should have at some point switched to a way more generic approach regarding attribute increase, putting side by sidethe fluff, maximum rating, cost, Essence loss attached to cyber-replacement, cyber-implant, bio-replacement and bio-implant for each attribute.

As a side note, the shadowtalk about Muscle Augmentation also happens to contain an in-universe reference to Essence - the second comment ny Nightfire reads "Not to mention infinitely more Essence-friendly."
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
FrankTrollman
Serious Badass


Joined: 07 Mar 2008
Posts: 27230

PostPosted: Sun Dec 24, 2017 4:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Nath wrote:
Twenty five years down the line, I think SR should have at some point switched to a way more generic approach regarding attribute increase, putting side by sidethe fluff, maximum rating, cost, Essence loss attached to cyber-replacement, cyber-implant, bio-replacement and bio-implant for each attribute.


The fact that Shadowtech had to be made at all means that the original idea of what stat bonuses were worth was bullshit and needed to be radically rethought. 2nd Edition should have had a massive overhaul of cyberware costs. 4th edition actually did, but for some reason they kept the old shitty Muscle Replacement and Dermal Armor as-is.

As for in-character Essence descriptions, Shadowtech is all-in on the idea that characters know what Essence is.

-Frank
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Ancient History
Invincible Overlord


Joined: 18 Aug 2010
Posts: 11399

PostPosted: Sun Dec 24, 2017 4:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

OSSR: Shadowtech

Cybertechnology


Conceptually this. But the way the game works it was almost entirely about getting tiny microprocessors grafted to your spinal cord for people who wanted their characters to not suck.

AncientH

Quote:
Drek, but cyberware has come a long way since the ole datajack.


Cyberware technically preceded cyberpunk. This shouldn't really surprise anyone that was paying attention, because there was very little new in cyberpunk fiction as far as sci fi went - implants, prosthetics, and augmentations had all been used for decades before "cyberpunk" was a thing. It was in large part the style that set cyberpunk apart - the sleek commercialism of the future, the careful alienation of humanity as it stood on the threshold of technological singularities while the world continued to team with poverty. Not just wealth disparity, but technological disparity...and the people that moved in the shadows between those worlds.

Quote:
How can anyone expect to keep up? Either money-wise or Essence-wise?

It is never quite clear if "Essence" is a term understood and used in the setting of Shadowrun - this is one of the few places in the game where it seems like it is, and that's frankly weird, considering the vagueness of the term (see last post). But there's also something to be said for the real concept of 'ware as a sink. Do you have to spend ever nuyen you have on another bit of gold chain?



There aren't any levels in Shadowrun, unless you count initiation. There are few literal maximums in the game - you can top out skill or attributes, but that's about it. Lots of people in games understand grinding, to max your stats before you take on the Big Bad or whatever...but that kind of mentality doesn't quite work for Shadowrun. The "top" is kind of arbitrary, and it's a moving target - the bleeding edge today is always one sourcebook away from being yesterday's news. So a large part of the augmentation game is really asking yourself what you're going for - and in that way it kind of presages the kind of game that D&D3rd edition became, where people were trying to figure out the right class combos to be unstoppable badasses or whatever. You can't build Pun-Pun in Shadowrun, thankfully, but by the same token no matter how funky they get with the math, there's always a bit of zero sum gain in play - you only have 6 Essence. What are you going to do with it?



Frank

Cyberware had already been established as a thing, and while we hadn't quite gotten to the Alpha, Beta, Gamma Delta grading system, we did already have Alpha grade ware and cyberware concepts from five years ago are mostly pretty similar to cyberware concepts from twenty five years ago. This section has a five page rant about how there are tools you can make that you can't grow, interspersed with some minor updates to the rules about implantation and cyberware damage. This entire section could just not be in the book, because of course you already know how Cyberware works or you wouldn't be fucking reading a Shadowrun sourcebook.

There are exactly 22 pieces of cyberware in this book, which makes me suspect that Karl Wu was literally tasked with writing exactly 22 of these things. Or perhaps that Tom Dowd made cuts until there was 22. It's just such a fucking weird number that I feel like there had to be a reason that it's exactly the same for Bioware or Cyberware. And that reason almost certainly had to do with allotted page counts.


Either that or there's a secret 23rd piece of ware in this book you can only see if you are a member of the Illuminati.

AncientH

Technically, the 23rd piece of ware are interface modules.
Page 40 wrote:
In terms of repair, treat interface modules as having an Essence cost of 1, a nuyen cost of 20,000¥, and as being of alpha grade.


If you read all the rules in this section, you are informed that "none of the cyberware in this book is currently available in alpha or beta grades." This was promptly ignored by absolutely everyone, even the other designers, and for good reason that it is stupid.

Frank

There are little rants about cyberware divisions, which for this book are Bodyware, Headware, Matrixware, and Senseware. Again, the augmentations are in alphabetical order by category, and the categories are mentioned in the table of context but not in the body of the text. And again, it took me 15 actual years of owning this book before I realized that the ware wasn't simply in a completely random and unsorted order. Even with the knowledge I now have, I still do not know why Headware Memory comes before Datajack. My theory is that since it's listed as “Memory” in the Headware subsection and “Headware Memory” in the Big Blue Book, that someone deleted the word “Headware” from Headware Memory and left the space between the words so that when it got alphabetically sorted it got sorted as starting with “ “ which of course comes before “D” in the subsection. It's shit like this that made teenage Frank believe these pages were assigned in no ordering system at all.

Unlike the section on the biological systems, the rants about the cyberware systems don't have a lot to say. Even reading it with the benefit of hindsight, I can't really follow the logic behind matrixware being its own category.

AncientH


Cue theme music

The byline for Shadowrun is "Where Man Meets Magic and Machine." Cyberware is one leg of the tripod, but it's technology-based and unlike a lot of other games SR had a moving timeline, so you could seriously talk about obsolescence issues in a way you can't for other games...and because they were deliberately trying to not copy everything from other extant Cyberpunk games, they tended to be very idiosyncratic in how they categorized everything. Which is fine, really. A lot of this stuff would be streamlined later. But it's weird to think that this book was nominally set in 2052 and this same 'ware was still being presented as part of the state of the art in 2070 when 4th edition rolled around...for the most part.

Cyberware


In the Shadowrun future, stuff like this is slightly more elegant looking.

Frank

Bodyware is the catch-all category of everything that fits into your body. If it doesn't have anything particular to do with your nervous system or your sense organs, it's bodyware. Every Swiss army knife attachment you could imagine being in a futuristic cyborg goes here. Every structural enhancement, every computerized chemical dispenser, it all goes here. You could fill a book this size with just bodyware options and brainstorming it all would be done before the weekend was over. So it's really weird that this book presents just two options: Bone Lacing (which became a standard that many Street Samurai used) and pistons for your legs called the Hydraulic Jack (which are pretty much never used because Cyberlegs are themselves never used).

Unlike Bioware, Bodyware Cyberware did get a lot more love in future installments. Internal air tanks, cyber tails, chemical injectors, cyberskulls, retractable horns, and so on. Some of the designs are remarkably specific and some of the things that never got a writeup are surprising themselves. But I can't say this book's relative lack of meaningful bodyware really stopped the march of progress in Shadowrun in that regard.


Still, where's my fucking wheeled cyborg bodies?

AncientH

Body-wide augmentations like bone lacing caused some headaches. One of the weirder issues in early Shadowrun is that you had to buy the attributes for your cyberlimbs separately, which meant you could seriously have a Strength 8 cyberarm and a Strength 3 cyberarm, and which did you use?


There was some averaging involved. It wasn't pretty.

The same thing came up in terms of armor - what do you do if you have bone lacing, but also cyberlimbs with armor, and you put on an armor jacket on top of that?

Quote:
>>>>>[Ah, the last piece of equipment I need to complete my repertoire. Yep, wired reflexes-3, muscle augmentation 5, and now cyberlegs with a hydraulic jack-6.]<<<<<
- Kent <23:08:41/12-13-52>

>>>>>[So what?]<<<<<
- Rim Shot <06:12/24/12-14-52>

>>>>>[So now I'm faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive, and able to leap tall buildings in a single bound.]<<<<<
- Kent <08:53:48/12-14-52>


This is arguably the best joke in the book.



Frank

Headware is everything where there are computer bits that interface in some way with your central nervous system. Sometimes various authors forget that, like when they categorized Reaction Enhancers as Bodyware despite the fact that they interface wholly with the central nervous system in the back and neck (the spinal cord is biologically an extension of the brain). But in general, that's what it is. There are things that are literally in the head that are not Headware (Cybereyes are Senseware despite obviously being located in the head) and things that aren't in the head in a literal sense are headware if they interface with the central nervous system as their primary purpose (unless one of the authors forgets, like with the aforementioned Reflex Enhancer). The items listed in the Headware section are Memory, Datajack, Softlink, Skillwire Plus, Skillsofts, Encephalon, SPU (Data Management), SPU (Input/Output), SPU (Math), and Tactical Computer. That's almost half the list of cyberware in this book, and honestly some of those things are data chips and not cyberware at all. Because go fuck yourself.



Headware Memory is a thing that exists because Johnny Mnemonic (the book, not the 1995 movie obviously). You want couriers to have data in their head, because that is awesome. It's heavily genre appropriate, and I even wrote a reference to that in one of the story vignettes in Augmentation. The problem is that Shadowrun authors never came up with a game mechanical justification for this stuff. You could put data onto data chips and then put those chips into your pocket or even inside your body in a fingertip compartment. Why put it in your actual brain? The original book made Headware Memory way too expensive in terms of Essence and money. Shadowtech provided an alternate version of Headware Memory that was significantly more essence friendly by the Megapulse. And you still didn't get it and didn't care because the fundamental issue of why you'd want the memory in your head specifically rather than next to your head did not have an answer. It didn't have a story answer and it didn't have a game mechanical answer. It was just puzzling.

The Datajack is of course something that already existed in the core book. And what they talk about here is getting extra dataflow rates by using higher standards of connection ports. This is the kind of thing that would absolutely exist. I mean, can you imagine the embarrassment if you ended up with a micro-USB port in your head and the next generation of computers were all using USB-5-Minis instead? But of course, what the hell are you doing trying to track cord compatibility and intra-hardware data transfer rates in a roleplaying game? Why the fuckity fucksticks would you think that was a good idea? It is not a good idea. Do not try to model crap like that in your game. Anyway, same goes for the Softlink. Basically, the Shadowrun future would obviously have dozens of different kinds of ports and jacks that you could have installed in your head and various sized chips and wires would slot into them. So if you get an Aztechnology datachip, or want to hack a Renraku mainframe, you should need some sort of X to Y connector. But equally obviously, the big box of X to Y connectors should be standard hacker gear which means that the different port types should be relegated to flavor text. Under no circumstances should you find yourself writing multiple entire pages offering slight upgrades to I/O slots in the head. Seriously, if you find yourself doing that, you need to rethink your game's level of computer detail.

Skillwires were extremely problematic. Lots of games just banhammered them. The concept is that you slot a chip in and then you know kung fu. Like that scene in The Matrix, but obviously Shadowrun came out several years before The Matrix did and the line of inspiration very obviously runs from Shadowrun to the Wachowskis and not the other way around. In any case, Skillwires were largely equivalent to having skills, but had a different and much more linear cost. So the short version is that Skillwires transitioned from being a much worse deal than learning skills to being a much better deal than learning skills with very little in between. So the penumbra between the point where they ruined your character and the point where they ruined the game was quite narrow. Shadowtech messed around with the math on these things with Skillwires Plus and shit, but the bottom line is that most games I'm aware of had a gentleman's agreement to not use these things so I don't care.

The biggest device from a player characters actually using it perspective was the Encephalon. But to talk about that, we have to talk about the Task Pool.

AncientH

Nominally, if you actually read the Cybertechnology chapter, Headware and Senseware use different interface busses. You don't really care, but it means that you could potentially be shot in the dick and suddenly your cybereyes and cyberears don't work but your Tactical Computer is still fine!

In early days, Shadowrun was much more conspicuous about encumbrance rules program size, as measured in Megapulses, how fast you could transfer things; this was a relatively major issue back before torrents and flashdrives were a thing. This gets really fugly really fast in terms of math, but it lasted a surprisingly long time given how often they revised the Matrix rules.

A lot of the headware gear is straight powercreep upgrades of existing stuff. So you can buy better Datajacks, Headware Memory, and Skillwires than the base book. Whether or not you wanted to do that was kind of optional, but it expanded the possibility space without actually invalidating earlier character options, which Shadowrun was often allergic to.

The Encephalon, along with the Cerebral Booster, were two of the most popular pieces of tech for the nerdier professions in the game, especially deckers; because they boosted Reaction time (which was a derivative attribute of Intelligence + Dexterity/2), it was also very popular among street sams looking to max that out. Besides the Intelligence boost that these two augmentations give, they also provide a Task Pool, which requires a bit of explanation.

The first couple of editions of Shadowrun used a pool mechanic, where you had a finite supply of bonus dice that you could borrow from to help you on various tests; the pools refreshed occasionally during the adventure, but could be a decisive difference between success and failure. There were separate pools for Combat, Decking, Rigging, Magic, as well as a catch-all Karma Pool, and then there were odd-bodkins like the Task Pool, introduced in this book, which could be spent to help out on different Skill Tests. It was a fun mechanic but tended to be heavily abused and was eventually dropped. As Frank will now talk about.

Frank

The game that Shadowrun became deviated tremendously from the game that the original writers and designers thought they were making. And one of the most obvious places is in the concept of the dice pool. The original designers envisioned players having a pile of dice and splitting them up towards performing various tasks. It turns out that what people actually wanted to do was to succeed at things, and if you split your dice into small piles you don't do that. So what people actually did was apply their dice pool towards one thing at a time for the most part, and then just wait for their dice to refresh so they could do it again. By fourth edition, the pretense that dice pools were things you were supposed to split between things had been jettisoned and the word just meant “the number of dice you roll in one go” which is functionally what it had meant in most cases since 1989.

Of the various sub processor units, the only one anyone actually used was the Math SPU. Because having a nerve staple in your head that makes you able to do advanced calculus as a background task is generally useful for hacker types. The Data Management SPU became the Data Compactor, and people still never fucking cared because of the previously mentioned problem where they hadn't made us care about putting data chips into our skulls at all, let alone worrying about exactly how much storage space those data chips had. And I think the I/O SPU eventually became the Internal Router, but I'm not even sure because the whole concept is way too inside-baseball.

The big noise was the Tactical Computer.


The soldier of the future is going to literally be one of the characters from X-Com.

Tactical Computers were things in your head that processed tactical information in real time and coordinated your compatriots in a small unit tactical scenario. So like one dude gets to play Zero from Code Geass, and everyone else gets to enjoy tactical bonuses. This thing cost a shit tonne of Essence and made bonuses that were very large. And future generations asked “Wait, why is this thing in my brain again? I mean, couldn't all the computer parts be in a cyberlimb or even in a backpack and just plug into my brain through a datajack for anything it actually needs from my brain specifically?” And noone had a good answer for that.

AncientH

One of the wiggy bits about the Tactical Computer is that the functional level of it was determined in part by how many super-senses you had; so to get the most out of the system you had to invest fairly heavily in Senseware, which was normally considered to be part of the "optional extra" category for most people - but senseware was, generally, a pretty good deal overall, because you spent about .25 Essence on cybereyes and then could install .5 Essence worth of super-senses in there for free. You were still limited by the Tactical Computer to your max Initiative, but being able to move first was often a deciding factor in Shadowrun combat.



Frank

The Matrixware subsection nominally includes the MPCP, the Persona Module, Hardening, Memory/Storage (not to be confused with Headware Memory because you are not the boss of me!), Transfer, and Response. Yes, they wanted you to design a motherboard like you were making a desktop computer and then chunk all those bits into your actual head. This did not go over well.


You do not actually want a head computer.

First of all, the Matrix rules in that edition (and every edition) were garbage. And secondly, the costs involved were extremely large such that you couldn't actually afford to get one of these fucking things. It takes kind of a lot of math to figure out what these things cost. One of the components (Hardening) has a listed cost of 2 Nuyen, multiplied by the MPCP rating of your deck squared and further multiplied by its own rating raised to the fourth fucking power. A reasonably unexciting deck in that era had an MPCP of 8 and a Hardening level of 4, so that particular component set you back about 33 thousand yen in component costs. And if you wanted to upgrade to the next bigger dick of having an MPCP of 10 and a Hardening of 5, that would set you back 125,000¥ just for the component costs for the virtual armor. This was not something you could ever afford without millions of moneys.

And at the time you needed over a thousand MPs worth of data storage to be taken seriously in cyber combat, and they wanted you to spend an Essence for every 300 MP, so making a decent deck essentially cost more money and more Essence than you actually had. This entire subsection was DOA, and would have been even if the matrix rules of the period had been remotely playable, which they were not.

AncientH

This wasn't quite the nadir of the Matrix Rules in Shadowrun - I think that was either Virtual Realities 2.0 (for 2nd ed) or Matrix (for 3rd) - but it comes close. The level of ridiculous for installing a cranial cyberdeck in Shadowtech is more than most people were willing to deal with, even if the stats aren't quite as bad as Frank is pointing out: your go-to cyberdeck from the 1st edition book was probably a Fuchi Cyber-6 which had a wopping 100 MP of memory, and that cost 364,000¥. The top-of-the-line out of the book was the Fairlight Excalibur, with a whopping 500 Mp memory.

The basic idea was that you weren't going to be running a full suite of the best programs your deck could potentially run at all times; you were going to be selectively running one or two of your best programs, and then swapping them out when you needed to - so, start out a run stealthy, and if the IC catches you you quickly switch to combat programs. That was the intent, anyway. Player characters generally preferred to minmax, when and if they could afford it. Trading up your cyberdeck became the equivalent of trading out your +1 sword for a +3 sword.

But more than that, it was so far away from straightforward even the designers never used it, to the best of my knowledge. I don't recall a single NPC with a cranial cyberdeck from this era. It was just too much work. And it wasn't even the first attempt at this kind of thing, since Program Carriers technically still existed at this point.

The "deck" as a fetish object for Deckers has its roots in William Gibson's Neuromancer and associated short stories like "Burning Chrome," but from a gameplay perspective it's a weird limitation for a lot of players since this one piece of equipment basically defines how useful their character is in any given situation - to the point where the MPCP effectively replaces the character's attributes when in the Matrix. So the idea of trying to internalize the deck is absolutely understandable, but the attempts at execution were absolute rubbish.

Nor was Shadowrun alone in this, as we discussed in the OSSR of the GURPS Cyberpunk book.

Frank

Senseware has always been a place where Cyberware has really punched above its weight class. And that's partially because the original authors way underestimated how valuable it was in the system they had created to be able to offset target number penalties. But it's also because having super senses is something that gives real narrative weight to a character's actions. It's all very well and good to have an abstract bonus to investigation checks or some fucking thing, but when you specifically have the ability to see infrared or have a more acute sense of smell than a dog, there are legitimate questions you can ask the MC and expect to get answers without even rolling dice.

The ones introduced in this book are the Chemical Analyzer, the Gas Spectrometer, the Olfactory Booster, and the Orientation System. All of those are stone cold awesome, although the Chemical Analyzer would probably be more useful if it didn't expect you to put the chemicals to be analyzed directly on your tongue.


Funny, doesn't taste like poison.

AncientH

All of this senseware directly fed into the Tactical Computer build dreams, if that was the way you wanted to go, and one of the early Physical Adept builds that people fapped over involved a Physad with a TacComputer and lots of super-senses - becauses senses were absurdly cheap for Physads compared to buying some of this stuff, and they didn't have to worry about hard limits on how much hardware they could cram into their eye sockets.

A good question you might ask about some of this stuff like the Olfactory Booster might be...why wasn't this bioware? Why couldn't it just be a vomeronasal organ? Shit, I'd pay for that, Flehmen response and all. There's not a really good explanation for that - I mean, the gas spectrometer, maybe - but it's one of those things where the boundary line between bioware and cyberware seems to be...weak. Like it could go either way.



The Orientation System, the last piece of cyberware, is also a chip-you-install in your head. It is not quite the same as having a GPS unit installed in your brain, because it requires you to install maps. This is because GPS, while launched in '79 and made available to civilians in the 80s, didn't actually allow complete global coverage until the 00s, and in 1992 the smallest handheld receiver massed 1.25 kg. In today's world, the Orientation System would be an app. And many people would like to install their cellphones in their heads.

Frank

Next up... Eugenics/Genetics.
_________________
The Unpublishable - Updates Fridays between midnight and midnight | http://wikithulhu.com
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Stahlseele
King


Joined: 14 Apr 2010
Posts: 5067
Location: Hamburg, Germany

PostPosted: Sun Dec 24, 2017 5:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

For some reason, both of those swell fellas have neglected to drive home what the main difference is between Cyber and Bio outside of the rules.

Cyber is a machine that does what you want, when you want.
You get screened for any phyiscal defects that could be a problem with the installation procedure, then you go into the optometrist of your choice, have them rip out your glibbery bits and put in some nice Zeiss-Opticts!
You are done in a few hours. Same with actual neurosurgery. Datajack-Installation/Chipjack-Installation or Memory Upgrades . . you can do those in an extended lunchbreak!

Bioware is way more problematic, because it is biological. It means you get screened, then gene tested. Then they take a sample, if needed from the actual Organ needing to be augmented. Then it gets grown. This alone can take several weeks. Then you either get a lump of specially designed cells artificially grafted onto the Organ in question, or what is more probable, they actually grow a modified version of your Organ and then cut out the original one you were born with and put in the augmented version you paid money for.

Why you do not want to have stuff like the olfactory booster be bioware but rather cyberware instead?
Bioware can not ever be deactivated! There is, i think, one exception of an adrenal gland that you can train to activate, but that's it.
Have you smelled anything really, really bad as of late?
Now imagine having that magnified tenfold without a choice.
With cyberware, you simply can switch off your nose. Or your ears. Or your eyes. And simply not care about things like foul stench, screaming noises or stroboscopically flickering bright lights.

You get bioware reflex enhancements? You had better get used to being twitchy mc scaredycat.
Cyberware? You simply switch it off or at least turn it down a notch.
You decide you do not want to breathe the probably gassy/poisonous Air at all? Fuck tracheal filter and enhanced lung capacity, i have my internal airtank full of relatively fresh and clean air, i can go for ours without opening my mouth and nose!
And when you get home and do not want to know what is in your beer or food exactly anymore? You do not want to hear your neighbours having kinky sex or the annoying child from across the street having a screaming fit or the constant barking of dogs outside and the sirens and the such?
You simply switch it off or you turn it down to normal levels instead of Wolverine.
Bioware? You are stuck with all that inconvenience!

Same for skin options like chameleon skin. I'd rather have the dermal sheath with image scanners and ruthenium polymers so i can decide how i look and not have my bodies autonomous reactions override my tastes.
Bioware Infrared or lowlight? Always active, you get used to it, but it will always be there in the future.
Cyberware? Think the Predators different sight modes for Infrared, lowlight, ultrasound, ultraviolet. Zoom. Enhance. LIGHT! Dimmer!

As of SR4 and 5, this has become slightly turned around again, as Bioware can not be hacked like Cyberware can.

Addendum:
Yes, strictly RAW Cyberlimbs are and probably always have been the inferior version compared to natural limbs augmented with cybernetics or bioware, but they have the same convenience going for them.
Have retractable rollerblades or even hoverfeet if you are lazy and have to cross longer distances . .
Have to stand still for quite some time?
Imagine, 2 legs and an artificial arm to anchor your.
Then you lock them in place. You could even sleep like that, if you lock your fingers around some sort of handle and your legs in the standy uppy position.
And as of SR3 and onwards, not sure if before, you haf replaceable parts as well. Something wrong with your cybernetic hand? Unplug, get a worse but functioning one from the shop while yours is in for repairs, plug it in, you can still use it, even if you do not have whatever else you might have had in your hand.
The best part about Cyberlimbs was again that you could put a cyberdeck and other toys into them and save potentially, tons of essence in exchange for more money . . house rules for rigger VCR made them actually viable to use, if you go from Essence Cost 5 for VCR 3 down to Essence Cost 1 or if you have the money to actually make it higher grade 0.8 Essence for Alpha. That is a MASSIVE reduction in Essence cost and seeing how essence is limited and money is not so much, there is just no question about it ever.

Not sure if those rules were in Cybertechnology, but in Man and Machine SR3 there were rules that you could actually substract cost both in essence and money from other bodyware, depending on the number of cyberlimbs you already had. At some point, those implants also lost some of their bonus stuff, but the sweet point was 2 full cybernetic limbs and then you got a massive 20 or 40% reduction on essence and money cost for things like Bonelacing and dermal armor/sheath and cyberware muscles and by extension you could also rule that you should get the reduction to bioware too, because, of course, you can not put biological muscle enhancement or joint improvements into artificial limbs . . Systemsmastery could do a lot of nifty stuff sometimes.

Hell, one could even make Skillwires slightly useable with them.
Have skillwires and expert system. Have in a Cyberlimb a smuggeling compartment. Put a datajack and chipjack in there. Have a DNI enabled Skillsoft jukebox and put it into there. Bam. Done. Cheap skillwires and loads of useable skills that nobody can take from you under most circumstances and you can change them with a thought.
_________________
Welcome, to IronHell.
Click here to see the hidden message (It might contain spoilers)


Last edited by Stahlseele on Sun Dec 24, 2017 6:16 pm; edited 8 times in total
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Longes
Prince


Joined: 04 Nov 2013
Posts: 2572

PostPosted: Sun Dec 24, 2017 5:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Nephritic Screen became a big deal in SR5 with the rise of the juicer builds. One of the new pieces of geneware they published in Chrome Flesh is Narco, which makes all drugs that boost an attribute give an extra +1, reduce side effects to half the crash damage and half the penalty duration, and make it easier for you to become an addict. Nephritic Screen buffs up your addiction resistance tests so Narco + Nephritic Screen is a popular and cheap way, cash and essence-wise, for a magician, decker or adept to get +2 to most stats and +3 initiative dice.

Frank, your wheeled cyborg bodies do exist in SR5. You can be a tank-man or a bike-man if you want.


Last edited by Longes on Sun Dec 24, 2017 6:15 pm; edited 1 time in total
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Stahlseele
King


Joined: 14 Apr 2010
Posts: 5067
Location: Hamburg, Germany

PostPosted: Sun Dec 24, 2017 6:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

I am pretty sure i had seen things like the wheeled cyborg body / tracked cyborg body somewhere else before SR4 as well . . not sure if that ever was official or somebody kitbashed something together by themselves or ported it over from Cyberpunk . .
_________________
Welcome, to IronHell.
Click here to see the hidden message (It might contain spoilers)
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Nath
Master


Joined: 28 Oct 2012
Posts: 186

PostPosted: Sun Dec 24, 2017 9:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

FrankTrollman wrote:
2nd Edition should have had a massive overhaul of cyberware costs. 4th edition actually did, but for some reason they kept the old shitty Muscle Replacement and Dermal Armor as-is.

The 4th edition overhaul drove the price of some gear down from that of a Ferrari to a mere SUV, and as result put an end to the requirement for street sams to start out with a net worth equivalent to that of a permanent high lifestyle. But it copy-pasted pretty much everything else, repeating in a new way the 1st edition failures to grasp the very implication of its own system. Unlike nuyen price, no second thought was given to maximum rating or Essence cost - there are exactly the same as in the previous editions.

As a result, a +4 Agility boost from Muscle Replacements went from "shitty" to quite interesting, and initiative boosts went from "every other level may give you an additional action phase" to automatically twice that (previously, you got 1D6 or 1D6+2 per level - ranging between 1-6 or 3-8 - while the additional action phase the 4th edition gave you would have required 10).

AncientH wrote:
The Orientation System, the last piece of cyberware, is also a chip-you-install in your head. It is not quite the same as having a GPS unit installed in your brain, because it requires you to install maps. This is because GPS, while launched in '79 and made available to civilians in the 80s, didn't actually allow complete global coverage until the 00s, and in 1992 the smallest handheld receiver massed 1.25 kg. In today's world, the Orientation System would be an app. And many people would like to install their cellphones in their heads.

Fields of Fire would introduce a handheld GPS equipment in 1994. It would wait for Man & Machine to offer internal GPS as cyberware.

Even if GPS are now supposed to be ubiquitous, I still have a soft spot for Orientation System, for the narrative space Frank was mentioning above. The orientation system does integrate data from GPS, but it has its own, internal location system at hand when underground or when someone tries to move you someplace while jamming GPS signal, and its combination with radar sensor can automagically provide 3D map of a building as you move in. That's possibly my favorite cyber superpower.

About narrative space, it reminds me of Man & Machine half-hearted attempt at making people hesitate to take bioware, by introducing Stress Levels. Both cyberware and bioware could receive stress points when you took damage. The effect of stress on cyberware was mostly GM fiat, with the suggestion it should just stop working or provide lesser modifiers, while each piece of bioware had its specific table for annoyance. The thing was, Bioware stress could never ever be reduced below 1 once it had taken some, which would leave characters with permanent side effects such as "headaches and bouts of deja vu", "may need to take nutritional supplements" or "more vulnerable to common colds and fevers". I think that book played a pivotal role in Young Nath envisioning how an augmented person life might actually suck hard.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Stahlseele
King


Joined: 14 Apr 2010
Posts: 5067
Location: Hamburg, Germany

PostPosted: Sun Dec 24, 2017 9:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

@Nath
SR4 dropped prices on ware, true, but at the same time, they also dropped max starting ressources by half or more if i remember correctly, so in relation, prices for the starting characters did not really change all that much . . In world/in game, yes, massive price drops. But also, massive drops in suggested payment for Runs done, with even the most extreme dangerous lengthy runs usually not going much into double digits thousands of nuyen, so, again, not much of an actual price difference for the characters . . can't have the mundanes competing with the awakened after all <.<
Also, you are making a mistake when you equate character build starting ressources with in game world currency.
_________________
Welcome, to IronHell.
Click here to see the hidden message (It might contain spoilers)
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Ancient History
Invincible Overlord


Joined: 18 Aug 2010
Posts: 11399

PostPosted: Mon Dec 25, 2017 1:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

OSSR: Shadowtech

Eugenics/Genetics


I just hope you have a large stockpile of kryptonite on hand.


As a matter of fact, we do.

AncientH

The double helix structure of DNA was first published in 1953, the year before Tolkien's Lord of the Rings was published. So while the principles of heredity had been generally understood for quite a long time, the exact mechanism and a lot of the fiddly bits weren't...and still aren't, though we continue to grow our knowledge and technology in that direction. So if you were a kid in the 80s, you probably had a general idea of what DNA was, and science fiction gave you a very bizarre idea of what fucking with DNA could give you - ninja turtles, clones, deadly viruses. Fantasy, particularly Tolkienian fantasy, basically ignored DNA altogether, so Shadowrun was in virgin territory as far as addressing how that worked. They went with metahumans and many Awakaned species as subspecies of humanity - and suggested that this was all down to genetics (or metagenetics) - but this was basically the first time anybody sat down and tried to really do something with all that.

Frank

This section is a 9 page rant about genetics followed by a section with 9 items of Gene-Tech. The purpose here is very much world building, as few of these items were ever meaningfully purchased by player characters. It starts with a short primer on how genetics works, and then it gives a few pages of rants about how genetics interacts with Awakening and why some armadillos turn into juggernauts and most don't. And while I wouldn't say that the three dimensional shapes creating four dimensional meta-triggers was perfect, it's basically become the go-to explanation ever since. Shadowtech was the first and last time an actual doctor who knew his ass from a hole in the ground was allowed to write about magic and genetics and no author previous or subsequent has been inclined or qualified to give a better explanation. The genetics rant in Shadowtech was intended to be the opening of a conversation with some open ends left deliberately in there (for example: it raises the question of whether Shamans actually need the Magus Factor in their genes at all considering the interaction of Totem spirits).

Instead it was the damn mike drop, because Doctor Karl Wu could tell you how triplets of nucleotides encoded for amino acids that got made into proteins. And most other Shadowrun authors just weren't able to even have a conversation at that level. And the few of us that existed had actually grown up reading Doctor Karl Wu's tirades in this book and had no particular inclination to overturn it.


Gregor Mendel will choke a fool.

One thing that's quite interesting about this is how well it holds up. Which is no mean feat because it was written while the Human Genome Project was ongoing. It carefully steers clear of making claims that might get invalidated when it was completed. This is way harder than it sounds, and is actually some pretty tricky writing. Oddly, the part where it goes off the rails isn't the declarations about the human genome, but about the tools we have to manipulate it. This book talks about there being just 400 restriction endonucleases, but between having gone on mad gene mapping rampages in the Pacific and having created genuine synthetic proteins, that number is off by a factor of 10. There are over four thousand endonucleases, and by 2053 there will almost certainly be 32,640 different 8 nucleotide restriction enzyme cutting sites. It won't be 65,536 because every block of 8 nucleotides also has a unique
set of nucleotides on the reverse side. An enzyme that cuts at GGCCCCGG also cuts at CCGGGGCC because that is what is written on the other strand. Also there are a few palindromes where they are backwards and forwards the same and generate half as many unique restriction sites.

The book also predicted that the genome project itself would run into big delays due to the government falling apart, but of course in reality it was finished ahead of schedule due to advances in shotgun sequencing techniques. But that's neither here nor there.

AncientH

This was basically the final word on genetech as a practical thing in Shaowrun until 4th edition. It wasn't just that there wasn't much to add, but people didn't know how to add it; you didn't really want Shadowrunners as genetically engineered babies, but if you did that would be something you'd have bought at chargen, not an upgrade you could really apply to a grown-up human. Applying genetic alteration to a full-grown human is just an insanely complicated and "likely to give you cancer" thing and nobody among the designers, I think, really knew what to do with it or how to make it work. So it sat there.

It should also be noted that the actual novels, both before and after this, dipped their pinkies into genetech and it was so bad that most of it was quietly swept under the rug. Seriously, in the first anthology there's a genetically-engineered metahuman called a Uruk-Hai - because the stories were written before the actual game, and they were still stealing directly from Tolkien - and Dave Arneson wrote an adventure that involves genetically engineered half-animal/half-metahuman hybrids and giant cockroaches in a makeshift dungeon. It was silly and stupid D&D crap and people just mindcaulk over it. That was genetech.

Frank

Genetech is in a kind of weird place as far as Shadowrun goes. Genetic manipulation is specifically rather behind the times and trying to catch up. I think this is an explanation for why there just wasn't any of it in the big blue book. And certainly, none of the player characters get to be people who had GATTACA modifications. With the genetic mastery having been delayed until the mid forties, any Genejacks or Super Soldiers would be like 6 years old at the time of Shadowtech.


Specially designed for labor, the Genejack's muscles and nerves are ideal for his task, and the cerebral cortex has been atrophied so that he can desire nothing except to perform his duties.

But Shadowtech also came out 25 years ago. The new generation of engineered children should have been coming online over the course of the Shadowrun story. In 2063, that first generation of freaks would be in highschool. In 2070 they'd be graduating from college. This is a whole plotline that really should have gone somewhere, and while it was mentioned a few times (Dr. Terrance Clark eventually got his sex clone in some book or another), the payoff was never there.

For fuck's sake, the Otaku were about the right age to have been the results of genetic engineering experiments. But the developers never committed to shit about those guys and that plotline went nowhere.

AncientH

A lot of the familiar names from this book became Shadowcommenter regulars, and some of them were worked more-or-less heavily into the metaplot, such as Dr. Kristine Martin (KAM in the comments). This was still well into the era when writers were making up names on the fly, with lots of little shout-outs to friends, and one-note posters that were just fire-and-forget jokes, like the little quotes in Magic: the Gathering cards - and like those figures, some of them developed and became regulars, with established histories, personalities, and specialities. That eventually in 4th edition led to JackPoint, where the list of shadowtalkers was severely pared down, but the level of detail on those voices was ramped up - the idea being to make a much more robust, but smaller and more intimate community. Of course, that also means you have to deal with somebody else's pet character and people get to fuck with yours, but that's a sharecropper universe for you.

Okay, I'll bite. What dream? A dream for a better, cleaner world? Peace on Earth? Food and care for the needy?
-Alyn Vage, Reporter, Network 5 News

Nope. Redhead, five-ten with green eyes, athletic build, and legs up to here.
-Dr. Terrance Clark


Hope you got that kryptonite.

Gene Tech

Frank

There are nine items in the Gene-Tech catalog, though some of them like “Gene Therapy” are actually grab bags of lots of different stuff that will probably never come up in your game. That can be said about all of these things, with the exception of Immunization*, which is a thing that enterprising Shadowrunners often gravitate to until they realize that after waltzing through a couple of encounters by popping Neurostun that they are immune to, the MC is going to start invalidating the tactic by having enemies show up with chem-sealed armor or worse, using other chemical agents in return. And since you are not fucking making a resistance check against any of these fucking things, encouraging the MC to break the informal chemical weapons ban that most tables used is not where you want to be.

You are never going to use Leonization because the game is not going to last long enough for it to matter. You better hope you never have to use Antibac, Binder, or Zeta-Interferon, because as previously noted once people start throwing chemical and biological weapons around your character is going to die because the resistance target numbers on those things are insane. Doom and Gamma-Anthrax have progressively larger damage values every day and they start at “try to roll 6 successes on four dice against a target number of 6” which you are obviously not going to do. But while those things are basically certain means of killing dudes, this is Shadowrun and you could probably just kill them with bullets in a much shorter period of time.

And finally, there's Myco-Protein. Your character obviously eats a tremendously large amount of this stuff (although bizarrely the quoted cost in this book is obscenely too high by a factor of 10 or more). But it's all roleplaying and world building. You are never going to write myco-protein on your character sheet. The fact that this stuff exists is background material.


Myco-Protein actually exists, and is the key ingredient in Quorn. It's a fake meat for vegetarians at the moment, but in the Shadowrun future it's a poverty food eaten by billions of people every day.

*: Immunization has a piece of shadowtext that I'm virtually certain was written by Tom Dowd. KAM, who is established to be Very Smart™, claims that Immunization doesn't work on viruses. This is obviously someone misremembering something based on the fact that antibiotics don't work on viruses. Obviously immunization works on viral illnesses, which is how we eliminated Small Pox. It is absolutely unthinkable that Dr. Karl Wu would have written something like that, so by process of elimination it must have been added or modified after primary writing was finished by Tom Dowd.

AncientH

I've got really nothing to add at that point, there obviously was a serious struggle to figure out what genetech should do from any practical standpoint, because they weren't going to address anything like letting an ork turn human or vice versa, or just grow your own bioware implant. It's not a nothing chapter, but there's not much else to say. It's really only interesting as an historical marker for how influential it was on the idea of genetics in the Shadowrun setting, since it informed so much of how players and designers thought about how genetics worked from that point on.

Frank

There's some interesting world building here, but very little that would actually come up during a mission.

AncientH

One of the things that you see a lot in RPG products, and ShadowTech is a good example is critical focus. That is, the aspects of the setting that catch the attention of the designers are basically what get the development, while anything they don't care about or don't understand tends to fall by the wayside...sometimes for years. Chicago was a major aspect of the Shadowrun setting basically until FASA folded up shop and the major Shadowrun developers were no longer physically located in Chicago. Magic, Matrix, guns, and Seattle get much more development in the setting because those are the things they think are cool or those are the things they hate and want to change. That's why later editions do stupid shit like foot fetish and trying to kill Immortal Elves, and why it ignores genetically augmented superbabies or the children's revolution in Tir Tairngire. It has nothing to do with any benefit to the setting as a whole, but everything to do with the interests of individual writers and developers.

Anyway, let's do some drugs.

Next up: Chemistry.


_________________
The Unpublishable - Updates Fridays between midnight and midnight | http://wikithulhu.com


Last edited by Ancient History on Mon Dec 25, 2017 1:57 am; edited 1 time in total
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Whipstitch
Prince


Joined: 29 Apr 2011
Posts: 2989

PostPosted: Mon Dec 25, 2017 3:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Ya know, forget it. I've been super cranky lately for some reason. mea culpa
_________________
bears fall, everyone dies


Last edited by Whipstitch on Mon Dec 25, 2017 3:22 am; edited 1 time in total
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Ancient History
Invincible Overlord


Joined: 18 Aug 2010
Posts: 11399

PostPosted: Mon Dec 25, 2017 4:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

OSSR: Shadowtech

Chemistry


In the Shadowrun future, noone bothers cooking meth anymore.

AncientH

You don't see a lot of drugs in RPGs. Poisons, certainly. Potions, absolutely. But straight-up drugs are usually a very hazy concept. D&D usually only deals with fantasy variants that read like a PSA for "This is your brain on black lotus." Vampires don't need to do drugs, since they have blood, and the overall effects of feeding off of addicts and the like isn't well-documented in the World of Darkness. Call of Cthulhu's drug rules are like three different flavors of opium and everything else is some sort of Mythos brain-bender.

But in cyberpunk fiction, drugs are ubiquitous. The people writing it had grown up during the 50s when it had seemed there was a pill to cure anything and during the 60s when there was always a new high and the 70s when pharmaceuticals were getting flashy and refined and purifed. The 80s saw epidemic of cocaine starting up, but it also saw steroid scandals and massive interest in performance-enhancing drugs - and not just for athletes. A chemically-enhanced life was part of the dystopian future they promised. Shadowrun actually tried to deliver, at least a little.


Some people will laugh, and the rest will need an explanation.

Frank

One of the most salient facts about Shadowrun is that it takes place in the future. 61 years in the future for the most part. And while yes that means you can replace people's arms with faster arms or replace peoples eyes with faster eyes, the overall reality your characters live in is one in which materials science and pharmaceuticals research has been marching on for six decades.

For characters whose basic job it is to break the law and stick it to the man, the players looking into the Chemistry rules is always a watershed of character effectiveness. Once you start asking questions like “what are these things made out of?” and “what can the science that exists in this setting deliver?” the number of leverageable options you have is very much larger than it would be otherwise. It just gives you a much longer list of ways you can interact with the setting once you can interact with the setting itself. There are twelve items in the catalog section, and some of them are themselves game changing, but the 6 page rant about applied industrial chemistry and pharmaceuticals was significantly more eye opening to teenage Frank. Here was the promise that you didn't need the fucking blue key to get through the blue door in the dungeon. The walls, the light fixtures, and everything else was made out of stuff and you could interact with any of it. You could break a door next to a lock. Or melt a wall next to a door.


This is a thing that power conduits in Shadowrun do, and they use this property for mass transit in areas wealthy enough to have new power conduit infrastructure.

That was what is in many ways the most revolutionary idea in Shadowtech: that the power conduits in the fucking walls have physical properties and that the player characters could interact with those properties in predictable ways. The world wasn't just abstract, it had hand holds, and the players could use those hand holds to pull themselves up. There are specific options in this book, but it holds out the promise of being able to think outside the box. To get things you otherwise wouldn't have thought possible.


Or that.

AncientH

Chemistry is more difficult to abstract than you would think, because real-life chemistry has rules, and those rules are basically the governing of the physical interaction of over a hundred different elements, including their various isotopes and at different temperatures and pressures. Anybody that can reduce that down to something a set of teenagers can effectively play with on a tabletop isn't a game designer, they're god.


Small 'g', son.

And to their credit, the chemistry rules focus on applications that shadowrunners are likely to run into as opposed to some others. It's not the Neo-Anarchist's Cookbook or anything like that, thankfully.


I'd say I was dating myself with this reference, but I've seen people pop this thing out during games.

Frank

The Pharmaceuticals section begins with a tirade about how the difference between drugs, medicine, and poison is mostly a matter of dosage and perspective. Considering that this was still the “Just Say No” era of telling all the kids that drugs were BAD, this plain talking, science-based, medical perspective was about as jarring as if the book had just laid down a litany of swear words or had a page of full-frontal nudity.



Which doesn't mean there aren't some addiction spiral rules, there totally are. The game mechanics are basically gibberish here, and I've never seen people keep using them after trying them out once. I don't have a lot nice to say about the rules part here, but someone did try to put all the different things about addiction in here. Physical addiction withdrawal, mental addition, detox periods. It's just... the mechanics aren't there.

Bottom line is that a heroin addict needs like 20 dollars worth of heroin every day or they have a really bad time. But in a story you wouldn't want to roleplay out every single hit, because that would be administratively untenable. Like Vampire, it needs a way to handle the fact that you need to do dangerous shit to get through the day without actually using up that much screen time. And like Vampire, it doesn't have that.

AncientH

Quote:
The results of substance-abuse research show tranquilizing-type drugs as the most commonly encountered group of misused chemicals, far more even than hallucinogens. Part of the problem with tranquilizer misuse stems from their relatively low purchase price and wide availability. [...] Another problem far more difficult to correct arises from society itself. For individuals who have fallen through the cracks in the system, there is very little hope. Many turn to tranquilizer use to alleviate the depression accompanying their situation.


Let us take a moment to appreciate Shadowrun predicting the opioid crisis a few decades early.

Compounds


No.

Frank

The first thing on the block is Carcerands, which is a chemical means of making other chemical things be time release once they hit the body. Which can theoretically be used for all sorts of things and really sets the imagination on fire. But honestly it's probably not actually going to be relevant in any particular games you play. I think I've had Carcerands meaningfully come up twice in the entire time I've played the game. Once on the player side to smuggle combat drugs and once on the MC's side as part of a murder mystery.

Of more interest is DIKOTE. It's a means to cover stuff with a thin coating of hardness 10 diamond. It makes pretty much anything harder than it would otherwise be, which is “pretty good” for things that you want to smack, stab, or cut with and also not half bad for things you want to use to stop from being stabbed or cut through. It's a significant increase in damage from weapons and defense from armor. People lose their shit about this stuff.

If your definition of what game balance means is based wholly or in part on how much damage things do, then DIKOTE is clearly and obviously unbalanced. It's just more damage. You take whatever you think is an acceptable balanced damage output, and then you DIKOTE it, and now it does more than that. You don't have to be Carl Fucking Gauss* to realize that if you take a balanced amount of damage and add more to it you have a more than balanced amount of damage. Now that being said, Shadowrun is a game where people move at super speed and also have guns, so the ability to do damage is actually not particularly important in the overall scheme of things. I would say categorically that Olfactory Boosters are more consequential than Dikoting your weapon of choice, but more virtual ink has been spent on rants about DIKOTE than probably all other items in this book combined.


*: The “F.” in “Carl F. Gauss” stands for “Fucking.” Or perhaps “Friedrich,” but I choose to believe it stands for “Fucking.”

AncientH

People can - and did - DIKOTE their teeth. And toilets. And cyberdecks. It was, above and beyond any practical concerns, a form of conspicuous consumption. Not unlike buying a civilian Humvee.

One thing you don't see in this section is chemistry interacting with Magic. There's no rules, or even hint of fluff, about taking hallucinogens to be better at Magic, or of magic drugs - Awakened drugs and magical compounds were far, far in the future. This in large part has to do with Shadowrun's approach to alchemy, in which normal chemical procedures were sort of sidereal to whatever actual magical process was going on. We never got a proper chemist vs. alchemist rant in Shadowrun, but you could envision one vividly.

I think part of the reason was that you didn't need magic drugs. When you already have arbitrarily awesome chemical synthesis, where you can pump out stimulants that make your heart explode or hallucinogens that make the brown acid look like mother's milk, you don't need magically-souped up drugs - it would just be a gimmick (and, to be fair, a lot of Awakened drugs when they came out were pretty gimmicky), and any actual magical effects would have run hard into the dividing line between magic and mundane that Shadowrun was running at the time.

Frank

DMSO is of course a weird spoken word jazz break by the Dead Kennedies. And that among other things explains exactly how this works, because DMSO is a real thing. In Shadowrun people use DMSO mixed with poisons and drugs in squirt guns. That would totally work, and they are very effective. There's a sample squirt gun called the ARES SQUIRT. There's some mild poisons available here like Cyanide and Atropine, but you don't really care. What you're actually going to use is something like Narcoject, which is not in this book but totally effective at knocking people out.

This book has ACTH (which turns your adrenal pump on) and MAO (which turns it off). Interesting, and fascinating from the science point of view. But at the core of the matter is that honestly Adrenal Pumps aren't good enough to bother with all this fuckery.


Oxygenated Flurocarbons are a real thing.

Oxygenated Fluorocarbons are a real thing that are totally awesome but quite dangerous for various reasons discussed in the text. This book posits the invention of slightly safer breathable fluids, which is not an unreasonable thing for the future to gift us with.

AncientH

The Squirt (and its eventual sequel, the Ares Squirt II) are one of those application-specific items which finds its home in unexpected places - in this case, when fighting Insect Spirits. Because insect spirits are vulnerable to insecticides. Insecticides are, of course, just poisons that happen to work better at a given dosage against certain species of insects, and are still totally toxic to other forms of life including humans, but a lot of fans like the idea of a super-soaker fight where they got to bring nerve toxins and shit against giant bug monsters. Who can blame them?



There was in SR for a little while something called an Athletics Pool, and I think they seriously expected some PCs to go all Aeon Fluxx on runs - this being before Parkour had conquered the public consciousness - but as far as I'm aware that never really happened and Athletic tests remained incredibly rare.


The really funny part about this being that in the original shorts, she'd die in every single one. So more "twitchy's making a dust angel" than "super ninja."

Frank



Predator armor is awesome, and their special active camo is a thing science fiction characters should have.

Ruthenium Polymers are a means to make predator camo for armor. They have various other uses with color changing vans and such, but the important one is that you can make awesome science fiction invisibility suits. It's expensive as fuck in this book, but it's totally awesome. Later editions gradually made this stuff way cheaper and it eventually found its way into the mainstream because people want it.

The combat drugs introduced in this book have continued on as the standards of combat drugs in Shadowrun. Yes, others were eventually introduced, but Kamikaze and Hyper remain the standards against which other combat drugs are measured.

AncientH

Ruthenium polymers also featured prominently in Ghost in the Shell as thermoptic camouflage.


Which is part of the reason why so many people watched this movie.

A lot of the finer applications of this weren't actually gone into in any great detail until later; Cybertechnology for example applied it as an implant with Dermal Sheathing.

One of the nastier ideas some players had was loading up the combat chemicals in their Ares Squirt and spraying them on opponents. Provided you can keep your distance, you just wait for the inevitable crash. This always seemed to work a little better in theory than practice - aside from forcing the Gamemaster to use the terrible addiction rules, fights in Shadowrun generally don't last long enough for this to be a viable tactic. Although I've had mid-range bosses do this with their own troops to give them a sort of boost.

Technology and the Law

Frank

The book ends with an 8 page rant about legal matters and corporate/government law that is largely dominated by updating the legality codes rules to include all the extra crazy shit that was introduced in various sourcebooks. Not a lot to say about that.

The final pages of this book are just an updated equipment table that is current up to 1992 with all the stuff that had been printed so far. At least, almost all the stuff. I think some of the stuff that appears in text blocks rather than equipment blocks in various books might not make the cut. Like, I don't see the Interface Module in this equipment list, but it's possible I'm looking in the wrong place.

AncientH

Availability and legality used to be really big parts of Shadowrun. There were large tables of these things. This is, in part, because the designers wanted there to actually be some sort of limit to what the players could conceivably buy and field - you didn't want them starting the game with a missile launcher and ten missiles, and otherwise naked. It also twigged into things like permits, and the boundaries of what was legal if the cops pulled you over vs. the "if caught with this, try to swallow it" kinda mentality that really appeals to low-level criminal play in a way that it just...doesn't in other games. You just don't normally have AD&D games where wands are illegal to carry without a permit, y'know? And vampires just don't care.


Also, let us take a minute to realize how much shittier Bright is than it could have been if they'd gone full Shadowrun instead of full Tolkien.

Frank

Next up: Wrap Up
_________________
The Unpublishable - Updates Fridays between midnight and midnight | http://wikithulhu.com
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Stahlseele
King


Joined: 14 Apr 2010
Posts: 5067
Location: Hamburg, Germany

PostPosted: Mon Dec 25, 2017 6:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

The NASTIEST Idea for fun with DMSO is still ghoul purree.
Load it into one tank very carefully. Load DMSO into another.
Have it mix in the gun and fire out at high pressure.
Instant wave of new ghouls coming right up. Well, in a few days.
Or weeks. And if that is not industrious enough:
Crop-Dusters are a thing that exists . . Spray a city with it.
Now we wait and 28 days later we see what happens in Raccoon City.
_________________
Welcome, to IronHell.
Click here to see the hidden message (It might contain spoilers)
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
FrankTrollman
Serious Badass


Joined: 07 Mar 2008
Posts: 27230

PostPosted: Mon Dec 25, 2017 7:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Stahlseele wrote:
The NASTIEST Idea for fun with DMSO is still ghoul purree.
Load it into one tank very carefully. Load DMSO into another.
Have it mix in the gun and fire out at high pressure.
Instant wave of new ghouls coming right up. Well, in a few days.
Or weeks. And if that is not industrious enough:
Crop-Dusters are a thing that exists . . Spray a city with it.
Now we wait and 28 days later we see what happens in Raccoon City.


The Ghoul Apocalypse is the result of a couple of bad writing segments. When a couple dipshits went AWOL and made Ghouls be infectious at all, it was a fuckup. And when Runner's Companion fucked up the numbers on the transmissibility, that was another fuckup.

No one ever intended for the Ghoul Apocalypse to be a thing, and none of the flavor text matches that shit. It's just a couple of writing fuckups that the devs should have stopped but did not.

-Frank
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Stahlseele
King


Joined: 14 Apr 2010
Posts: 5067
Location: Hamburg, Germany

PostPosted: Mon Dec 25, 2017 7:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

I know.
I still like to point out what stupid bullshit you can do.
Even as a shadowrunner, you can basically be Umbrella Corporation.
You can be the great big bad evil without magic or mega moneys!

The other way to become the big bad is obviously to be a mage and have a double digit earth spirit/elemental and randomly use the quake power in megasprawls . .
_________________
Welcome, to IronHell.
Click here to see the hidden message (It might contain spoilers)
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
RelentlessImp
Knight-Baron


Joined: 09 Mar 2010
Posts: 593

PostPosted: Wed Dec 27, 2017 8:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

More reviews need to use Transmetropolitan pages and Aeon Flux bits.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Display posts from previous:   
Post new topic   Reply to topic    The Gaming Den Forum Index -> In My Humble Opinion... All times are GMT
Page 1 of 1

 
Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum




Powered by phpBB © 2001, 2005 phpBB Group