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Shadowrun 4e newbie questions
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Lokathor
Duke


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 23, 2009 3:58 am    Post subject: Shadowrun 4e newbie questions Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

New to shadowrun, my friends and I are making some characters for the "4E 20th anniversary" edition. One guy has played a lot of 3e shadowrun, and two of us haven't played shadowrun at all before. There's some other guys (including a potential alternate GM), but they're not around at the moment. So we're all kinda looking at character creation as a way to become familiar with the rules. Now, assuming that this is a good approach to learning which sections of the game need to be learned first:

  • Are the default characters any good? Do they have any big flaws or can they be looked at as examples to build similar characters to?
  • Any general pointers to character creation? I'm thinking about a mage, the 3e guy is thinking about a troll "tank guy", and the third guy wants to do something like the covert ops example (stealth, guns, etc).
  • Any other things that new people to the game should be aware of? I've noticed the Matrix replacement rules, but that's it.


    I guess that's it for my questions at the moment.[/list]
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    Last edited by Lokathor on Wed Dec 23, 2009 3:58 am; edited 1 time in total
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    Korwin
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    PostPosted: Wed Dec 23, 2009 5:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

    The sample Chars are crap.

    There are some Threads here with advise (especially Mages).

    You may want to look at Franks Houserules
    Even if you are ignoring the Matrix, his unrelated Houserules are worth it. (Strg + F Unrelated House Rules)

    What books do you/can you use?

    SR Newbie Thread

    SR MinMax

    Some builds
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    Lokathor
    Duke


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    PostPosted: Wed Dec 23, 2009 6:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

    Well, the guy we're probably gonna have GM won't show up until late the 24th, so we probably won't get to talk to him about gaming stuff until more like the 26th. He's done lots of Shadowrun GMing in the past (mostly 3E I guess), and the only reason he stopped being our Earthdawn GM was because he moved out of state for a year. If he ends up not wanting to run (unlikely, he's good about that, even if he's a very adversarial type GM) then I'll probably end up being in charge for at least the first little while. For now we're just using the Core book I guess.

    I'll have a look at those threads, but here's what I came up with so far for my mage. I'm trying to go with the "pew pew lasers" kind of stuff, but I didn't know what combat spells were properly versatile. Blast and Flamethrower seemed pretty good.

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

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    Last edited by Lokathor on Wed Dec 23, 2009 6:20 am; edited 2 times in total
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    Korwin
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    PostPosted: Wed Dec 23, 2009 6:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

    The best combat spell is probably Stun Bold or Stun Ball.

    With Flamethrower you have one problem. You must be able to hit the opponent - and your opponent gets the chance to dodge it.

    From here:
    FrankTrollman wrote:
    Someone asked me for a top ten list once:

    1. Heal - it operates separately and cumulatively with First Aid and is therefore not replaceable by anything. It is the best spell in the game.
    2. Detect Life - bypasses all senses and goes straight for the Star Trek Tricorder bullshit. As per the example in the basic book it is capable of telling you not only where creatures are, but what they are and even what they are doing. Awesome covered in awesome sauce.
    3. Physical Mask - also doubles as an attack spell since you can mask yourself as someone who doesn't have a light machine gun.
    4. Fix - cumulative and separate from technical repairs. Game mechanically it is used before getting to normal repairs while the Heal spell is used after First Aid - but whatever. The point is that you shouldn't leave the house without this spell.
    5. Mana Static - The answer to spirits and enemy magicians. It's a one-stop nut-punch to essentially any magical threat. It's hard for you to do anything while you're doing it, but who cares?
    6. Trid Phantasm - Information is power, and Trid Phantasm allows you to create any information you want. Drain is intense, but seriously - holy crap.
    7. Control Thoughts - The long term effects of this are pretty small, as it takes anyone just a few combat rounds to shake it off. However, this spell allows you to get pretty much anyone to do pretty much anything they could do in 15 seconds. In Shadowrun, that's a lot.
    8. Shape Metal - Yes, you read that right, this is a sustained spell. That means that you can use it to open things and close them again. It's like having a portable door that also doubles as virtually unbreakable restraints.
    9. Mind Probe - It's actually really hard to interogate people. Almost anyone can hold out against torture if they think they are going to die anyway. Mind Probe ends all that.
    10. Turn to Goo - It serves double duty. First, it can be used as a simple Save-or-Die to drop an enemy right out of the fight, but secondly it can also be used to store characters in relative safety. Once in goo form, a character is actually pretty hard to hurt and doesn't need to breathe. You can use this spell on hostages to sequester them out of harm's way and on teammates you are smuggling through security. It serves as an attack, a defense, and a utility spell and operates on a completely random set of physical laws that other things do not apply to.

    I mean sure, special shout-outs go to Power Bolt, Improved Invisibility, Resist Pain, Levitate, Sterilize, and Animate - but the ones actually on the list are the best. Ones which if you know one or more of them you can automagically be on my team, whatever else it is that you do.

    -Frank
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    CatharzGodfoot
    King


    Joined: 07 Mar 2008
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    PostPosted: Wed Dec 23, 2009 4:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

    Lokathor wrote:

    I'll have a look at those threads, but here's what I came up with so far for my mage. I'm trying to go with the "pew pew lasers" kind of stuff, but I didn't know what combat spells were properly versatile. Blast and Flamethrower seemed pretty good.


    The problem with a 'pew pew laser mage' is that you can just buy pew pew lasers (and flamethrowers) that cost money and use power packs rather than your own life force. The key to being a successful SR mage is doing things which can't be easily replicated with technology. You could play a dwarf hermetic mage with logic-enhancing bioware and soak enough drain to make blasting doable, but that's not the most effective use of magic.
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    Lokathor
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    PostPosted: Thu Dec 24, 2009 3:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

    So the equipment section lists the costs of spells. Do I have to pay for the spells as well as paying the 3BP per spell to know a spell?
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    Avoraciopoctules
    Overlord


    Joined: 21 Oct 2008
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    PostPosted: Thu Dec 24, 2009 5:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

    If we're asking Shadowrun questions, I'd be interested in hearing how viable a mage who telekinetically cuts people up with monofilament wire is. Mechanically, I know you can wield a monowhip with Magic Fingers, and that does make the weapon seem considerably less stupid, but I'm not sure how well it would model an attack using garrotes or just your average monofilament tripwire. Swinging a whip at someone is different from just wrapping the wire around them or their weapons without losing your own fingers.

    It's a relatively obscure tactic, so I have no idea whether there are specific rules for it and if so, where they would be.
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    Lokathor
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    PostPosted: Thu Dec 24, 2009 6:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

    Okay, assuming that you don't pay cash for your starting spells, here's my completed character.

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


    The threads mentioned seemed to indicate that Edge isn't as important, but the other two players are both at Edge 1, so I was kinda going the stark opposite direction. The other stuff all seems good.

    Edit: dropped the skill specializations to get two more spells.
    Edit: added an alternate spell list after looking at a few more spells
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    Last edited by Lokathor on Thu Dec 24, 2009 9:46 am; edited 2 times in total
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    Orca
    Knight-Baron


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    PostPosted: Thu Dec 24, 2009 7:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

    Edge is absurdly good IMO, especially if it refreshes as often as the book suggests. The higher the better as higher edge gives you both more uses and more effect on the most common use for magicians (I really want lots of hits on this spellcasting test, and I don't want to be limited by the force of the spell.)
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    FrankTrollman
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    PostPosted: Thu Dec 24, 2009 7:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

    Orca wrote:
    Edge is absurdly good IMO, especially if it refreshes as often as the book suggests. The higher the better as higher edge gives you both more uses and more effect on the most common use for magicians (I really want lots of hits on this spellcasting test, and I don't want to be limited by the force of the spell.)


    The faster Edge refreshes, the more pointless it is to have an Edge of much more than 3 or so. The best use of Edge is almost invariably to reroll your misses - at which point having more doesn't help save that you can use it more often. If the GM seriously refreshes your Edge every time you get a critical success on a task without using Edge, a high end character can spend Edge pretty much like water as long as they have a few in the bank. The thing about spending an Edge to ignore the hit caps on a spell is interesting, but for most characters the spells they know are extremely Force dependent anyway, so you're not going to actually want to cast the spell at Force 1 (which is the only point). Truly Force independent spells that players know include single target illusions like Improved Invisibility (which has bullshit tiny drain so you don't care), and Heal (whose drain isn't even set to Force, so there's no real advantage there in most cases).

    If your GM has slower edge refreshment house rules, grabbing a 4th, 5th, or even 8th Edge may be totally worth it. But the out-of-the-box rules have Edge refresh too fast to make large Edge values needed for ass saving and awesome stunting, and still too slow for any amount of Edge to meaningfully impact extended tests.

    -Frank
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    Lokathor
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    PostPosted: Thu Dec 24, 2009 7:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

    The main reason I can see myself using Edge for isn't so much for spells, but for all the skill checks I'm called upon to make that I don't have any ranks in. Or maybe on drain resistance tests or something.

    I play a lot of nWoD and so I'm used to spending Willpower (out of my 8+) like water for +3 or +5 to just about everything. Does Edge in Shadowrun work about the same if you're after the bonus dice, or is it not as important?
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    Overlord


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    PostPosted: Thu Jan 07, 2010 4:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

    If the sample characters for the anniversary edition are still terrible, does that mean they've been left more or less unchanged? So the newest rewrite still has illegally built PCs?

    EDIT: Akula would like to know if the Qualities that make you harder to detect in the Matrix are worth purchasing.


    Last edited by Avoraciopoctules on Thu Jan 07, 2010 4:40 am; edited 1 time in total
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    FrankTrollman
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    PostPosted: Thu Jan 07, 2010 7:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

    Avoraciopoctules wrote:
    If the sample characters for the anniversary edition are still terrible, does that mean they've been left more or less unchanged? So the newest rewrite still has illegally built PCs?


    There are subtle differences. I haven't gone over them in detail to see if there are optimistic availability gear or math errors in the new version. The characters are crap because they don't hit all the high points to let them do their job. The Smuggler is an improvement in that she bothers to have Infiltration. But she still really needs the whole Stealth skill group. Smuggling without Shadowing or Palming is kind of retarded.

    And they're pretty half assed. They converted the Smuggler from an Elf to a human, which is fine, but the art still shows an Elf.

    Quote:
    EDIT: Akula would like to know if the Qualities that make you harder to detect in the Matrix are worth purchasing.


    I can't tell you. Which Qualities and which version of the Matrix rules? If you're playing anything with Infinity Mirror, I don't think it really matters.

    -Frank
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    Avoraciopoctules
    Overlord


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    PostPosted: Thu Jan 07, 2010 7:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

    So if I want prebuilt PCs, I should probably create them myself. If I make characters with an extra 100 Build Points and just give them average or higher stats (so 3+ in everything for a human), some bland weapons and gear, and either 2 or 3 ranks in skill groups relevant to their jobs, do I need to worry much about other details to produce a competent PC?

    I had some success in making a D&D module where I produced 8 partially filled out character sheets (class, ability scores, and skill points already set, some additional details for gear on classes that made significant use of it) and let the players choose between them and then complete the remainder of the sheet. I feel inclined to try this tactic in my first Shadowrun game, but I need to come up with a chassis that will produce characters who can contribute to problem solving and survive in dangerous conditions.
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    Akula
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    PostPosted: Thu Jan 07, 2010 9:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

    FrankTrollman wrote:
    I can't tell you. Which Qualities and which version of the Matrix rules? If you're playing anything with Infinity Mirror, I don't think it really matters.

    -Frank
    I'm thinking of the qualities that make you harder to get information on, like Erased or Astral Chameleon. Would those be useful in any way? Or is it just completely possible to get by without them?

    Personally I think that Astral Chameleon is useful and Erased is not, but I have no practical experience with the system.
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    Korwin
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    PostPosted: Thu Jan 07, 2010 10:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

    Erased is great! I like the combination of SINer and Erased...
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    FrankTrollman
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    PostPosted: Thu Jan 07, 2010 3:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

    For an archive of vaguely usable characters using core rules, there's a fan-made one Here.

    -Frank
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    Lokathor
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    PostPosted: Thu Jan 07, 2010 5:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

    I was wondering about the same thing. I put up my finalized character on Google Docs for anyone who's interested. My background is that I worked for Aztech all my life and I was very used to having the might of a MegaCorp at my back when I would interact with people (Magic and Business training, Charisma 1 for being a pencil pushing git). Something like Richard Woolsey from Stargate, when he was first introduced. Anyway, I was on a mission for Aztech of the "complete the mission or don't come back" kind, and then my group failed the mission, with most (maybe all) of them being killed. So now I'm moderately on the run from Aztech. The specifics of the mission have been left up in the air to be expanded upon in an interesting way at a later time.

    After the first run (which was also heavily botched; I kept getting knocked out so I could never use Sterilize as we were getting away), the group got 12 Karma each. I picked up Astral Chameleon thinking that it would be a good buy. However, having re-read the astral signature rules a second time, it seems that my astral signature only shows up on things targeted by spells. In other words, if I use Improved Invisibility and then walk through an area, that area doesn't pick up my signature just because I passed through with a spell active. The signature stays stuck to me. Is this correct?
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    FrankTrollman
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    PostPosted: Thu Jan 07, 2010 6:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

    Lokathor wrote:

    After the first run (which was also heavily botched; I kept getting knocked out so I could never use Sterilize as we were getting away), the group got 12 Karma each. I picked up Astral Chameleon thinking that it would be a good buy. However, having re-read the astral signature rules a second time, it seems that my astral signature only shows up on things targeted by spells. In other words, if I use Improved Invisibility and then walk through an area, that area doesn't pick up my signature just because I passed through with a spell active. The signature stays stuck to me. Is this correct?


    Yes, that is how it works. But note that you're going to be casting targeted spells like Control Thoughts and Orgasm at pretty high force. Astral Chameleon is fucking awesome. People can follow those trails for 1 hour/force, and it takes several hours to track you down. If you have Astral Chameleon you can basically nuke to your heart's content and never worry about it.

    Erased is also pretty exciting, because it bypasses the Matrix rules altogether and just gets the job done.

    -Frank
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    Orion
    Prince


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    PostPosted: Thu Jan 07, 2010 6:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

    Speaking of Astral Signatures--

    Adepts don't leave them under any circumstances, as far as I can tell. is this correct?
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    Lokathor
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    PostPosted: Thu Jan 07, 2010 6:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

    Alright, cool.

    I had a question about the Control [Material] spell, specifically the Control Metal version. The object resistance chart puts "alloy" at threshold 4 (which includes doors and stuff, right?), and any advanced processed item like a gun or vehicle at threshold 6. It seems like you'd need specialization plus a mentor spirit plus a focus to have any sort of reliable chance to shape even just a metal wall. Am I missing something or should I just take Shape Concrete instead (which is mostly threshold 2)?

    Also, I was considering a specialization with my last two karma. I think I still want to get a Cat mentor spirit later on (+2 Illusions), but I was considering getting my Spellcasting specialty in Manipulation. Is it wise to spread out bonuses like that? Or should I wait to see how the game goes and try to super specialize in one spell type if possible?
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    Ferret
    Knight


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    PostPosted: Fri Jan 08, 2010 8:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

    Lokathor, everything comes down to your dice pool. The nice thing about Mentor Spirits and Skill Specializations is they're applied -after- you split your dice pool. Under your proposed path (Spellcasting (Manipulation) and Mentor Spirit +2 Illusions) you could cast a single Manipulation or Illusion spell on your IP, at 10 dice. Or you could split your dice pool in half and cast 1 Manipulation spell at 6 and one Illusion spell at 6.

    If you double up on bonuses instead, (+2 Illusions Mentor, Illusions spec Spellcasting skill) you could cast a single Illusion spell at 12 dice, or even-split the pools and cast 2 spells (Illusion, anything else) at 8 and 4 respectively. The kicker is that if the second spell is ALSO Illusion, you get your bonus dice again, making it two spells at 8 and 8!

    The choice is yours, and really depends on if you need to cast single high-force spells more often vs. lots of lower-force spells. In general, I'd go for 1 spell/IP at higher force, but that's just me (given how easy it is for Magicians to hit the IP cap).

    Couple questions of my own now that I've chimed in:

    Possession Tradition w/ Task Spirits:

    Infinite Skillwires for Magicians?

    Possession Traditions: MUST have a vessel of some sort for the spirits they summon, or can you immediately set your spirit on a remote service and call it good (if it's a nonphysical task)?


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    FrankTrollman
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    PostPosted: Fri Jan 08, 2010 9:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

    Lokathor wrote:
    Alright, cool.

    I had a question about the Control [Material] spell, specifically the Control Metal version. The object resistance chart puts "alloy" at threshold 4 (which includes doors and stuff, right?), and any advanced processed item like a gun or vehicle at threshold 6. It seems like you'd need specialization plus a mentor spirit plus a focus to have any sort of reliable chance to shape even just a metal wall. Am I missing something or should I just take Shape Concrete instead (which is mostly threshold 2)?


    The Object Resistance chart in SR4A is mysteriously batshit fucking insane, and it seriously did get an errata. Yeah, no one can cast anything on shit with an OR of 6. Fortunately, nothing actually has an OR of six, unlike the pre-errata Object Resistance table in the SR4A book.

    There is no advantage whatsoever in getting narrowly defined Shape spells. Shape Metal is a spell, Shape Ferrocrete is apparently also a spell. Shadowrun Ferrocrete is a Metal, so the spell Shape Metal is in all ways superior.

    Ferret wrote:

    Possession Tradition w/ Task Spirits:

    Infinite Skillwires for Magicians?


    Not infinite. But very large. Task Spirits are amongst the worst in Combat, but a lot of people identify them as the best spirits. And as the guy who wrote them into the game, I kind of agree with the assessment. Certainly they take their place next to Guidance Spirits, Spirits of Man, and Spirits of Water as spirits that have incredibly impressive and totally irreplaceable powers.

    Quote:
    Possession Traditions: MUST have a vessel of some sort for the spirits they summon, or can you immediately set your spirit on a remote service and call it good (if it's a nonphysical task)?


    Possession spirits are summoned onto the astral plane. They grab a vessel instead of materializing. So you can summon them and send them hither and yon without producing a vessel - they just won't be able to do anything physically except manifest as a spooky mirage and tell Scrooge that he will be visited by more ghosts.

    -Frank
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    Quantumboost
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    PostPosted: Fri Jan 08, 2010 10:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

    FrankTrollman wrote:
    Task Spirits are amongst the worst in Combat, but a lot of people identify them as the best spirits. And as the guy who wrote them into the game, I kind of agree with the assessment. Certainly they take their place next to Guidance Spirits, Spirits of Man, and Spirits of Water as spirits that have incredibly impressive and totally irreplaceable powers.


    So, voodoo basically wins among possession traditions, since it has all four of those? O_o
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    Lokathor
    Duke


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    PostPosted: Fri Jan 08, 2010 10:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

    Wait what? All Concrete in the 2070s is actually metallic Ferrocrete? Well... so just about every large building wall ever is composed almost entirely of metal-type materials? Sounds sweet. So I guess if you had Shape Metal, Shape Plastic, and Shape Glass then you could shape like 80% of all the stuff you'd ever find. I looked up for some errata, the SR4 to SR4A PDF lists "1, 2, 3, 5+" as the category values, which seems much more doable.

    As far as Initiation goes, my guy is on the run and in this GM's setting basically all mages are controlled by ether a corp (Hermetic) or a government (Shamin). So I can't really join a mage group to get a discount. I was looking at a rite I could do to get one, and the only one that seemed doable for my character was the Meditation, until I looked at the second extended task required. For me, it comes out to, 10 (1, 1day) and 6 (12, 1day), both Within 4 days. Are the two tasks performed in parallel or something, because I don't really get how I'm supposed to get 12 successes on 6 dice in 3 rolls without a mega edge score or something.
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