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Drunken Review: Shadowrun 5
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Hadanelith
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 16, 2014 3:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

FrankTrollman wrote:
Although of course nothing will ever be as bad as 3rd edition's Rigger 3 expansion book which wanted you to keep track of the lost gas mileage and cubic footage for putting a crash cage in your car.


Wait, what? I can't say I've even heard that this book exists (I know Rigger 2 did, but I never heard of a third one), but now I'm interested. Please, tell me more. Later. After your liver stops hating you for this book. Well, after it hates you less; I doubt it will ever forgive you for taking on this steaming pile of fail.
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Krusk
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 16, 2014 3:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Yeah... I got to the char gen portion and just couldn't be bothered to sort it out. This is the part where I decided I wouldn't actually play it. Shadowrun Char gen has always been a bit of a pain in the ass but this was just outrageous for a modern rpg. I get it if it's 1995 but it just isn't.

Fuck retro clones and this back to old school movement in RPGs. Just had someone try to sell me add again today.
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Koumei
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 16, 2014 4:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

John Magnum wrote:
The number of points you have to spend increasing Essence and other special stats. The book is remarkably coy about this fact.


Yeah, you pretty much have to divine that information on your own rather than the book doing anything as crazy as stating it. In most cases where a table lists something and then a number in brackets, they can't be fucked telling you what it means (such as weapons. Under the Accuracy column it might have +1 (4), and you need to consult the runes to discover the (4) is the Limit). That's one of the things that shits me the most.

For what it's worth, the limit will rarely crop up for most actions - your basic Limit works out to be a little bit better than the average roll in most cases when using your own innate numbers. The problem comes when dealing with things (like Spirits or weapons) that have their own Limit. I was also a bit disappointed that it just makes a situation where heaps of people reliably get average-to-good results and nothing more. You don't get the eccentric artist who might fail to do anything but might also create a masterpiece worth billions. You instead get the artist who reliably churns out acceptably decent pieces to put on your wall.
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Aryxbez
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 16, 2014 4:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

I'm of the few that have actually played this game, and for quite enough time to have gotten close to 90-ish Karma (everyone else had 160 or more, they played Shadowrun VERY regularly). From what I could make a conclusion on, was that it was basically an inferior version of 4th edition. Decent sum of assumptions carried over to this edition, but now with less options (Core-only swag in this case), and seemingly an intent on lowering the power level.

Such as Frank will likely soon get to, how they increased the max Skill ratings from 6, to Twelve! Thusly six didn't mean as much as it once did, and they also dramatically increased prices on various -ware, for what I assume was to represent a weaker level of play. Thusly, in the context of 5th, there would be no point to doing a "300BP" or "street-level" as you're practically already considered that conceptually.

Quote:
It's not just German community. "300BP is a great idea!" crowd is surprisingly big.

I assume it's because the fans, ignorant as they are, have knee-jerk reactions to the idea of default Shadowrun powerlevels "feel too high" through some subtleties that don't really seem they would add up. Part of it also might be that they want to create their backstory through play, instead of having a pre-established one going in (400BP Street Sam tale of geting those Cyberlimbs likely already been "told", and they want to play as PC's "before" they get to that point).

Limits as we can tell, I feel really just put more concepts into a Box. Street Sam's are directly discouraged to have social skills for simply doing what they do (essence calculates into your social limit...seriously).


seerow wrote:
I think it's the novels/fiction of the universe that make people think that's the way it should be.

I suppose I've never really exposed myself to much readings of it (read the 4thA core book, little of supplements, and skimmed "Elven Fire" once), but do often wonder what the "scope" of the characters in Shadowrun are supposed to be. Are they supposed to "not matter", or are they? Given they are protagonists in the story, the setting matters little to the Players if they're not playing in it, but to what level are their actions supposed to matter? (I know it's not D&D, but all the same)
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kzt
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 16, 2014 5:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

The typical adventures I remember has these nearly totally unimportant minor crooks saving the world, while working with billionaires, dragons and insanely powerful immortal elves.
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FrankTrollman
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 16, 2014 7:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

A very frequent scenario in this book is that there will be a table and the numbers in that table will not be explained in the text. I assume that the designers had long discussions about what the numbers should be, and then just sort of assumed that a casual reader of the book would be on the same wwavelength as they were. Despite not having spent several months arguing about what the rules and numbers should be and thus lacking any context at all to parse what the hell the book is talking about. The Matrix section is by far the worst about this, but we'll get there when we get there.

Now in some cases, the context that you need is in previous editions. I know that you can't spend your race priority special attribute points to raise Essence because I've read first edition, second edition, third edition, and fourth edition and that is how it has always worked. But just reading this book, you wouldn't actually know that. You might conclude that Essence 6 was the normal maximum so you could get yourself some Wired Reflexes and buy your Essence back up to 6 with your race priority. The book doesn't explicitly say you can't do that, because the authors are all Shadowrun grognards and it didn't even occur to them that their readers don't already know that you can't do that.

I think the reason this is worst in the Matrix chapter is because unlike the other sections there isn't any continuity in the Matrix rules between editions. I'm as much of a Shadowrun old-guard as anyone alive, and I still have no idea what some of the numbers in some of the tables in the Matrix section are supposed to mean. There is a fucking table column labeled "Rating" and the devices on that table have like eight different ratings in various things that are functionally different and game mechanically important and I have no clue which "Rating" is being listed there. I can narrow it down to probably being one of about three things, but I could seriously be wrong about that.

-Frank
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Longes
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 16, 2014 9:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

FrankTrollman wrote:
There is a fucking table column labeled "Rating" and the devices on that table have like eight different ratings in various things that are functionally different and game mechanically important and I have no clue which "Rating" is being listed there. I can narrow it down to probably being one of about three things, but I could seriously be wrong about that.

-Frank

I don't know what exactly you are talking about, but most likely Rating means "Rating of the device"
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Nath
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 16, 2014 12:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Koumei wrote:
I was also a bit disappointed that it just makes a situation where heaps of people reliably get average-to-good results and nothing more. You don't get the eccentric artist who might fail to do anything but might also create a masterpiece worth billions. You instead get the artist who reliably churns out acceptably decent pieces to put on your wall.

The idea is that random good luck does not exist, or more exactly is not simulated by dice alone. For a character to get lucky at something, you must "enable" it by using Edge, and roll the dice to see if he will actually be lucky, or the other way around, roll an unusual number of hits by luck and then spend Edge to get the full benefit of that stroke.

Bad luck, on the other hand, is still caused by dice alone, and can be "disabled" after the roll by using Edge.


Last edited by Nath on Sun Mar 16, 2014 12:07 pm; edited 1 time in total
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FrankTrollman
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 16, 2014 2:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

One of the problems that dicepool systems have in general is that while chances of success are logarithmic as difficulties increase, the maximum number of hits is actually linear to the number of dice. So while we can confidently say that the difficulty thresholds going up to ten is stupid because that's out of the range characters can ever be in, it's still actually physically possible for someone to roll that on as little as ten dice. It only happens once every fifty nine thousand rolls, but it does happen.

That makes situations where characters can "try again" into situations that do very very strange things. Characters who are merely "pretty good" could just plug away until they succeed at tasks that would balk virtual (or in some cases literal) gods. Our sample ludicrous task that is an appropriate challenge for a Force 15 Spirit or a Great Dragon would be completed in about six days of trying once per combat round for eight hours a day by our tertiary specialist with a ten die pool.

So I can see why the authors would want to bring the hammer down on high end black swans. But as Nath pointed out: Limits don't actually do that. You can just plug away at the task for gods and then spend an Edge point when you finally get your super roll - Limits be damned. If they actually wanted to reduce the range people could get crazy lucky in, obviously the thing to do would be to lower the target number and decrease peoples' dice pools. What they did instead was to increase peoples' dicepools and throw a temper tantrum over people getting high results and it all comes off as retarded. Especially as the edge cases they were probably offended by in the first place still happen and are literally called "Edge" in-game.

-Frank
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Longes
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 16, 2014 2:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

I thought you have to declare the use of Edge to break Limit before you make a roll
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silva
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 16, 2014 3:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Aryxbez wrote:
I suppose I've never really exposed myself to much readings of it (read the 4thA core book, little of supplements, and skimmed "Elven Fire" once), but do often wonder what the "scope" of the characters in Shadowrun are supposed to be. Are they supposed to "not matter", or are they? Given they are protagonists in the story, the setting matters little to the Players if they're not playing in it, but to what level are their actions supposed to matter? (I know it's not D&D, but all the same)

While I think the rulebooks are agnostic about that, 90% of the fiction/novels are about low-lives saving the world from some horrible threat in a heroic way (even when the authors manage to hide the heroism behind a noirish veneer, like in 2XS).
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Silent Wayfarer
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 16, 2014 4:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Longes wrote:
I thought you have to declare the use of Edge to break Limit before you make a roll


Nope.

Quote:
Push the Limit: Add your Edge rating to your
test, either before or after the roll. This can allow
you to take tests that might otherwise have
a dice pool of zero or less thanks to various
modifiers in play. Using Edge in this way makes
the Rule of Six come into play: for every 6 you
roll, count it as a hit and then re-roll that die,
adding any additional hits from the re-roll to
your total. If you decide to use this function after
your initial roll, only your Edge dice use the
Rule of Six. This use of Edge also allows you to
ignore any limit on your test.

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Nath
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 16, 2014 5:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

I realize that every time I read this passage I have a different understanding of what "this use" refers to: the whole "Push the Limit" rule, or only "If you decide to use this function after your initial roll"
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John Magnum
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 16, 2014 6:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Either way, you can definitely use Edge after the fact to ignore limits.
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FrankTrollman
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 16, 2014 6:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Character Archetypes

Shadowrun has a long and storied and frankly terrible history with character archetypes. For a game as complicated as Shadowrun, you'd think that demand for sample characters playable right out of the box would be pretty high. And Shadowrun has produced a lot of sample characters in every edition. It doesn't have a hard class system, so they've always tried to present a lot of different options. Generally 16 of them. Third edition Shadowrun had 16 sample characters in it. Fourth edition had 16 sample characters too. It's just how things were done, and it could have been really cool. So it's no surprise that Shadowrun 5 has 16 sample characters as well.


The Elven Decker and the Human Decker were two archetypes presented side by side in the first edition Shadowrun rules. Both were unplayably terrible as written, but in slightly different ways.

However, in every edition of the rules, the sample archetypes have all been catastrophically awful. Only a scant handful have risen to the level of being “kind of playable.” And beyond merely being very poorly built, they usually have simply incredibly puzzling deficits. Not just simple lack of min/maxxing like buying things at lower than the obviously best rating, but true failures to understand the nominal purpose of a character. Detectives who only roll 3 dice on perception tests, “Covert Ops Specialists” who can't pick a lock, “Combat Hackers” who lack programs needed to hack in combat. Relatively few archetypes bothered to be proficient in driving their own cars. Crazy shit.


The Former Wage Mage knew attack spells that were too low force to actually hurt people. No one knows why.

And it's actually worse even than that. Some of the archetypes straight up lie to you. First edition claimed that it was supporting the “tribal warrior” archetype – a character who had no magic, no technology, some friends, and a fucking wooden bow. This was not true. That character was garbage and no amount of tweaking would make it not be garbage. In later editions, it was silently replaced with other character archetypes that were a bit better supported.


The Detective's shtick was that he was too old for this shit and generally outclassed by the people around him who had shiny new toys or powerful magic. Being conceptually inferior was about as inferior a concept as you might think.

And rules issues abound. Lots of characters have had numbers that don't add up and selections which are explicitly illegal. Basically, it comes down to a perfect storm of rules being in flux and designers not giving an actual fuck about the sample characters. Often these archetypes are written long in advance of the finalization of the other rules. Then when the costs of something get raised or lowered, the archetypes which include those things aren't updated and then their numbers don't add up.


The 4th edition Smuggler famously comes with a military grade anti-aircraft missile that is well outside the limits of what starting characters are allowed to own, in addition to being something sufficiently crazy that player characters are unlikely to need it at all.

So going into 5th edition, the standards for sample characters are... not high. Nevertheless, I think these sample characters represent a new low. It's kind of an achievement I guess.

The first thing you notice is that the archetypes are in no order at all. They aren't alphabetical. They aren't in the order of main archetypes than hybrid archetypes. They aren't clustered around capabilities. Fucking nothing. There is no ordering to these archetypes at all. On closer examination, you reveal that they are complete clusterfucks of bad accounting, bad concepting, bad design, and poor attention to detail. But while they are materially worse about that shit than any previous edition (shocking as that is), the thing that really puts them over the edge in my eye is that they couldn't be fucked to actually sort them in any way. What the fuck is that about? Are they seriously just in the book in the order the art got completed? What the fuck?

I'm not going to go through all of these things and pick out the stupid, the illegal, and the illegally stupid, but I am going to highlight the giant pile of money that the Street Samurai apparently spent. Long ago, putting your top priority into Resources gave you a million Nuyen. Now, lots of people choked on their own dick when they saw that, but the reality was that actually most monetary costs scaled exponentially, so having two hundred times the five grand that scrubs got for their bullshit priority wasn't actually that big of a deal. Sure, there are some things where higher ratings scale linearly in cost (and for those things, players tend to think of them as having only one “real” rating – or two if the maximum rating for starting characters is different from the maximum rating available in-game). But for the most part the monetary cost of a better model was considerably higher than the price of a lower tier piece of gear. The marginal improvement of going from a baseball bat to a katana wasn't all that great, but the monetary cost increase was a couple orders of magnitude. Going from low lifestyle to high lifestyle wasn't going to come up all the time, but it did cost an order of magnitude more. Luxury lifestyle cost an order of magnitude more than that.

This is actually one area where SR4 kind of dropped the ball. They had people buying resources with build points linearly, but the cost jump to go from a family sedan to a sports car was anything but linear. The original point-buy system in the Shadowrun Companion was better: you bought yourself up in discrete wealth levels and each level came with more wealth than the one before it (pretty much, there were some errors on the chart, but the levels you actually bought worked out like that). But regardless, there has always been a vocal minority of people unhappy with the fact that resources go up to eleven a million Nuyen, and have lobbied against it. Now, I could namedrop a series of Gibson characters who did start their respective books with fancy cars and nice apartments, but that's not really the point. Whether the people who complained about a million Nuyen worth of resources being “not cyberpunk” had any merit to their argument or not, they demonstrably exist.



So obviously what we're looking at here is that partway through design, the angry street level grognards successfully got the resources shrunk down to be more “street level” and then the high end of resources was less than half as big and they didn't update the playtest characters. If that sounds like the light at the end of this tunnel is actually a game balance trainwreck coming your way... you got good ears.

Section.4 Skills



Shadowrun has always had a weird relationship between skills and attributes. In first edition, you basically rolled your skill or your attribute, whichever was better (plus some tasks came with huge penalties if you were using an attribute instead of a skill and some didn't). As time went on, the game adopted a greater and greater reliance on attribute based “pools” which you would add to your skill to determine how many dice you rolled. These were frankly overly complicated, and involved a lot of adding attributes together and dividing by numbers. In 4th edition, this was all simplified to just having people roll their skill plus a single attribute, and there was much rejoicing. Also, there used to be a system for determining what you rolled when you didn't have the right skill that was overly complex, and it was replaced with just rolling your attribute minus one.


The old system was more complicated than it needed to be.

Now this does not come without cost. By making your dicepool dependent on a single attribute instead of the average of a basket of attributes, you really notice big differences in individual attributes and it becomes a lot easier to min/max (or fail to min/max properly and make a shitty character). Also, the new defaulting rules, while easy to use and not full of fail like the skill web was, basically provide no benefit at all for a character being trained in a similar skill, which is counter intuitive. In Shadowrun 4, when you want to get better at a range of activities, you buy an attribute, and when you want to get better at a specific activity you buy a skill. It would be nice if Shadowrun actually told you that anywhere, but that's what's going on. Skills are circumstance bonuses to your attributes.

Naturally, what Shadowrun 5 tells you is that a character who has a 1 in a skill has the most rudimentary skill and a character with a 12 in the skill has the “highest level of sentient achievement.” This is complete and total horseshit. Skills are not a measure of how much you can achieve, dice pools are the measure of what you can achieve. And those are controlled by attributes to at least the extent that they are by skills. The skill number is not a measure of how good you are, but of how much better you are at that task than you are at other tasks in the same attribute field. This is a kind of weird zen kind of measurement and confuses the fuck out of players all the time. And it appears to have completely bamboozled the authors of this edition as well, because they have no ideas what these numbers mean. Sigh.



Way back in the day, there was a skill called “Firearms.” It's what you rolled when you wanted to shoot people. This drove gun nuts up the wall, because they are fucking convinced that the fact that you hold a shotgun and a pistol differently while pointing it at people and pulling the trigger is terribly important despite the fact that we're playing a fucking game and diagnosing someone's diabetes and surgically removing an inflamed gallbladder are the same fucking skill. And when 3rd edition came around, they got their wish and Firearms was broken up like it was Yugofuckingslavia. This caused a lot of problems, because it meant that the number of skill points you needed to be a weapons expert became ridonkulous. But even though it was a huge nerf to their characters, street samurai players were happy about it. At least, for a while. By the time SR4 came out, it was kind of obvious that the whole thing was stupid, and they made a compromise that made no one happy where you could buy “skill groups” that were package deals where it was like you were paying for two and a half skills but there were literally three or four skills in there. So now you could buy a single skill and shoot guns, but it cost 2.5x as much as a normal skill because go fuck yourself. Also, there was some very confusing accounting that happened if you had individual skills that were also in skill groups. You'd think that SR5 would be a great time to clean that shit up, but that's because you think differently from the actual writers of this fucking book.

Shadowrun has a lot of skills. Many of these skills are stupid and were introduced in obscure sourcebooks. For fuck's sake, there's a diving skill that is never ever used because it was made up for the Pirates book back in 3rd edition because someone got offended that you could go full frogman with the swimming specialization of your Athletics. And it's just sort of stayed around ever since. Even though I begged and pleaded for Street Magic to not create a bullshit new skill that no one would ever use, I was overruled by zealous dumbasses who couldn't help themselves from adding an “Arcana” skill that is totally different from other magic skills in that it doesn't make any god damn sense. Anyway, a new edition would be a great time to fix the skill list by getting rid of bullshit skills like Parachuting and Arcana, but noooo! Not only do all those crap skills make a come back, but they've added new ones. There is a skill called “Disenchanting.” It is used to make magic items stop being magical. Magical items stop being magical when you break them in half, this doesn't have to be a fucking skill. “Make a Skill for it” is Shadowrun's “Make a Feat for it” in every single way. And it makes the game measurably worse for exactly the same reason and in exactly the same fashion.



Some skills basically just give a short description of what they do. Sometimes these descriptions tell you to go look at the chapter dealing with the subsystem they are related to. Other skills have special rules right in their descriptions. Sometimes, these are... extensive. The Social Modifiers take up an entire page right in the middle of the skill list and that doesn't even include the sidebar about bigotry in the 21st century. All in all, it kind of looks like there are rules for whatever people felt like writing rules for, and most of the things people felt like “writing” rules for were things they could copy out of sourcebooks from previous editions. And since some of those sourcebooks were about extremely specific things, the Skills chapter has a bunch of shit that has no business being in the basic book of any game.


I know I'm not the only person to complain about this. But seriously man: what the hell?

Shadowrun for some time has had a special category of skills where you can just make up whatever the fuck you want. They are called “Knowledge Skills” and were a huge improvement over the “Theory” skills of first edition which I won't bother talking about any more. If you want “Bear Lore” or “Pinata Knowledge” or whatever, you just write that on your sheet and when you want exposition from the GM about Bears or Pinatas you roll your dice and make your demands. It's cute and it works well enough for a minor system. For reasons that don't make any sense to me, the Shadowrun 5 crew decided that people had too many of these things and decided to reduce the number of flavor skills that you get. I have no idea why anyone thought that was something worth doing.

Near, but not actually at the end of the chapter you get a skill list. It misspells Arcana as “Arcane” which considering how bullshit and tacked on the actual skill is, is genuinely confusing. After that we get some of the rules for rolling attribute tests without associated skills, and this is where we learn that the rules for carrying shit are bullshit flavored bullshit. That's pretty much OK however, as equipment doesn't have listed weights and everyone abstracts lifting anyway. But if you actually look this shit up, you will become very sad. It's literally impossible for a maximally big and strong man to lift an average adult man over their head. Why? Because the lift numbers are linear and very very tiny.

Next up.... Combat.
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John Magnum
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 16, 2014 6:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

If, hypothetically, the sample characters had been halfway playable and constructed legally according to the rules, it would've been extremely useful for them to let you know what priorities they chose. It's possible to deduce them, I suppose, from their race and attributes and skills, but holy cow. It seems like one of the things you'd want from sample characters is enough information to modify them and rebuild your own inspired by them, which is pretty hard to do if the process used to create them is totally opaque. But infinitely more so if that process isn't even close to rules-legal.

It wouldn't be as big a deal if they'd just used Build Points, since then they could just have little brackets saying how many BP shit cost like in GURPS writeups. But the priority system is a lot more convoluted.
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Ancient History
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 16, 2014 7:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Some of these things aren't just a tremendous step backwards, unwriting the progress of a couple editions - you'll notice that SR4 basically said "fuck it" with weights and carry limits to a large extant - but they actively rework the rules because the stuff that was a terrible idea in 2nd edition wasn't grognard-y enough.

Sample archetypes have always been very weird, and I never understood why their core skills weren't maxed out. I mean, I know why I didn't max out skills in PACKS - because I was layering shit on and it would have been another onion level of complexity to try and get maximized skill ratings - but I've never understood why it didn't happen for basic sample characters.

I like to think that a large part of the opening resources issues has to do with cognitive dissonance against pricing - since all the 2050 prices of 1st edition are basically in 1990 dollars, more or less, which is why the top-of-the-line cyberdecks cost a couple million nuyen. By contrast, SR4 price mechanics were closer to 2010 dollars, which is why you can get a top-of-the-line commlink for less than the cost of a Lexus. But even then, there was some weird shit in there - going back to PACKS again, I had one character type called the "Booster Ganger," and people actually looked at me funny because he'd spent 30k on cyberware and about 35 nuyen on actual equipment (including a slingshot)...but of course, that was half the point.
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Tycho
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 16, 2014 10:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

FrankTrollman wrote:
Your Character
So the priorities are wonky in a whole lot of ways. Moving from A to B in attributes costs you 4 points of attributes. Moving from B to C costs you 4 points of attributes. But while moving from A to B on skills costs you 10 skill points, moving from B to C costs you only 8. So depending on where you are on the chart at the moment, the tradeoff between any two things is different. So you might be able to trade 4 attribute points for 10 skill points, but maybe you can only trade them for 8. You know, whatever.




I just wanted to point out it is even worse:
in the Skills Column 45/10 means 45 Skillpoints for single Skills, 10 Points for Skill Groups. So you loose 10 Skillpoints and 5 Points for Skillgroups, so more like 25 Skillpoints. From B to C you loose 17.

Also it is kind of funny that it is impossible to start as a mundane Human with Edge less than 5.

And in the German board we calculated that the difference between a optimized char and a terrible built char can buy more than 500 real karma points, depending how you choose the priorities and putting you points...
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Rawbeard
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 16, 2014 10:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

I need someone to do the math for me for the illbegotten character I am going to play. If I try to do it myself I might gouge my eyes out...

I also like how they shafted orks and dwarfs, but pretty much started to suck elf balls. I'd like to know why dwarfs lost their thermo eye vision and got +20% lifestyle cost instead.
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FrankTrollman
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 16, 2014 10:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Rawbeard wrote:
I'd like to know why dwarfs lost their thermo eye vision and got +20% lifestyle cost instead.


Most All of the design decisions of SR5 only make sense when viewed through the lens of neck beardy grognard arguments in the 1990s. Back in first edition, Dwarfs (as they were called back then to try to show how "Not Tolkien" they were being) pretty much sucked. Metahumans in general paid way too much for being special, Dwarfs weren't really all that special to begin with, and the "benefit" was that you got to lose Quickness (one of the stats that makes you win) for Strength, Body, and Willpower (the three stats that suck). So naturally, people didn't play many Dwarfs.

The developers didn't like that, so every time they printed new rules they produced new and stronger incentives to be a Dwarf. By the time of the Shadowrun Companion for 3rd edition, Dwarves had lost their Quickness penalty and in the point-buy system literally cost less than the bonus attributes you got for being one. They were literally paying you 3 character points (out of 120) to be a Dwarf, and you got the Thermovision and Poison Resistance if you cared (which you did not). There are thus people who remember a time of "Dwarven Powergamers" and resent cheesy Dwarf players accordingly.

But while it's possible, even likely, that the changes to the Dwarf writeup are there because someone in there is sick of Dwarvish welfare queens and wants to stick it to Dwarf players out of revenge... it's actually even more likely that Dwarves lost all their advantages simply because the authors were so familiar with them that they didn't think they needed to be said. Really a lot of the book is like that, so it wouldn't surprise me at all.

-Frank
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Ancient History
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 16, 2014 10:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

While the dwarfs weren't straight Tolkien, they were almost straight from OD&D, minus the magic resistance...which one of the metavariants got.

I think the lifestyle cost thing is actually a holdover from one of those quirky rules in one of the old cyberware books where trolls were supposed to pay more for cyberlimbs and shit...which snowballed into higher lifestyle costs, but I can't remember if it was in a fan-supplement like The Shadowrun Supplemental or one of the more forgotten books like Sprawl Guide. But honestly, my encyclopedic memory of SR isn't what it once was.
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Rawbeard
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 16, 2014 11:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

The "they didn't think to mention it" explenation came to mind, but you never know if those guys are stupid or full retard.

I already hate how you can't really be a mage and a meta (except for elves but fuck a bunch of that). I don't think anyone mentioned that yet, but priorities suck. *sigh*

Fun fact about the combat mage archetype, he is human, his artwork is a huge fucking troll. Someone didn't get the memo... who am I kidding, there was no memo.

Quote:
I think the lifestyle cost thing is actually a holdover from one of those quirky rules in one of the old cyberware books where trolls were supposed to pay more for cyberlimbs and shit...

funny you should mention that, trolls pay double lifestyle now.
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Ancient History
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 16, 2014 11:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Priority was interesting when it first came out because a) it was different, and b) it made concrete trade-offs. But even that got really fucked up fairly quickly; magicians ended up having a fucking D priority option and that wasn't the least or the stupidest add-on. Aside from a couple grognards, nobody really complained when the transition was made to build points in SR4, especially after the priority system in Runner's Companion bombed horribly. Point-buy is just a lot more versatile than saying "Okay, you get this many skill points and this many spell points, and you can spend spell points like Karma to buy a focus, yadda yadda..." But, y'know, groggies running the asylum in SR5.
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Lago PARANOIA
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 16, 2014 11:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

FrankTrollman wrote:
But regardless, there has always been a vocal minority of people unhappy with the fact that resources go up to eleven a million Nuyen, and have lobbied against it. Now, I could namedrop a series of Gibson characters who did start their respective books with fancy cars and nice apartments, but that's not really the point. Whether the people who complained about a million Nuyen worth of resources being “not cyberpunk” had any merit to their argument or not, they demonstrably exist.


Ancient History wrote:
I like to think that a large part of the opening resources issues has to do with cognitive dissonance against pricing - since all the 2050 prices of 1st edition are basically in 1990 dollars, more or less, which is why the top-of-the-line cyberdecks cost a couple million nuyen. By contrast, SR4 price mechanics were closer to 2010 dollars, which is why you can get a top-of-the-line commlink for less than the cost of a Lexus.


Frank, again wrote:
There are thus people who remember a time of "Dwarven Powergamers" and resent cheesy Dwarf players accordingly.


I've said it before and I'll say it again: Grognards ruin fucking everything. At this point I strongly believe that if you're building a new edition of anything then as long as:

  • When the casuals/outsiders don't like something and the grognards do like it, you leave it out.
  • When the casuals/outsiders like or are indifferent to something and the grognards loathe it, you keep it in.

    You're guaranteed to at least improve on the previous edition. Our various grognards on the board have yet to convince me that specifically going out of your way to spite them (and only them) will do anything but improve the game.
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    In short, your entire post is dismissive of not merely my intelligence, but my agency. And I don't mean agency as a player within one of your games, I mean my agency as a person. You do not want me to be informed when I make the fundamental decisions of deciding whether to join your game or buying your rules system.


    Last edited by Lago PARANOIA on Sun Mar 16, 2014 11:28 pm; edited 2 times in total
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    Ancient History
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    PostPosted: Sun Mar 16, 2014 11:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

    Not...quite true. There's a lot of good stuff in the earlier editions, and the grognards honestly would have done better not to try to do better than it. Really the best version of "What has come to pass" was 2nd Edition.
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