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Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

Let your word be "Yes, Yes" or "No, No"; anything more than this comes from the evil one.

Ratoslov posted:

Not entirely. The single strongest element of Shadowrun is that the game puts front-and-center it's answer to 'So What Do You Do In This Game, Exactly?' It has lived where other games have died because every bit of lore and crunch is built with an eye towards the PCs being Freelance Assholes who Do Crimes For Money (And Sometimes Pro-Bono). Sure, they'll go off discussing the new monetary policies of the Corporate Court for a page, but they always swing back to discussing what kind of jobs that means for you, Johnny Chainsaw-for-a-Dick.
Yeah, I have to give them credit for this. They were very good about it. Shadowrun has plenty of metaplot events, and every single one of them was designed to give your PCs stuff to do.

Like, a dragon became president, and then was assassinated. And the consequences of his last will and testament basically makes him Elminster the Quest-Giver, with the added bonus of a) not being Elminster and b) being dead so he never shows you up in any way.

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KirbyKhan
Mar 20, 2009


Soiled Meat

DalaranJ posted:

Alright, well, this F&F is complete, great job.

I should probably edit in a header for Inkless

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.


Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay 1st Edition

Post 12: Putting it to bed

WHFRP1e is an interesting starting point for the roleplaying aspect of the franchise. It genuinely surprised me to read through it, given its reputation; I was expecting a much less well-made system. Yeah, it's a mess, but I'll take a mess where each component of the mess is something that might actually come up. Especially when all of those components are used to give some credence to the central thing I've always felt distinguishes WHFRP: It's always been a game where the weird little flavor and backstory details of your character matter. So having stuff like a poisoning subsystem whereby your halfling ex-chef's old training helps him alert the party to danger? That's actually got a place, even if it does overcomplicate the game some. 1e is a good game for the time it's designed; I could take it to my group and run it out of the box and it would (at least by my reading) function. Though the magic system seems like complete trash.

One of the weirdest parts of reading WHFRP1e is how familiar and unfamiliar the setting feels in it. Most of the elements I like are already there; oppression and brutality don't really help, the nobility don't matter nearly as much as they think they do, the world is full of people exploring it and pondering how it works how it works. You've got the snooty privileged elves, next to the less rear end in a top hat ones who have to work for a living. Humans and dwarfs are buddies. The world's species were originally created by space-faring colonists as a weird experiment or an attempt to make slaves and servants. But some really prominent stuff is missing; it's weird to read about Warhams magic without the Winds of Magic. Chaos gets a lot of billing, but it's much less the supreme overriding antagonist and more a long-off thing that will someday make the world collapse under the weight of its own flaws and bad choices. The Dark Gods seem like they were originally going to be far more than just four; it sounds like the original intent was to have a big blank space for new Evil Gods rather than just settling on Slaanesh, Nurgle, Tzeentch, and Khorne. The whole Law thing just feels superfluous and I'm glad it eventually got stripped out, since it took more of the spotlight off of the way WHFRP tends to be grounded in the actual people living on their crazy planet for Chaos to have an evil opposite that also fights it.

One giant semi-faceless force of cosmic peril is enough, thank you.

It's also really goddamn weird to read about a non-knightly Bretonnia, but otherwise most of the nations of the Old World have their shape right off the bat in 1e. The Empire's a goddamn mess, Tilea and Estalia are as they ever are (and are still crying out for sourcebooks of their own some day, c'mon, Cubicle 7!), the Border Princes are still a land of people trying to catch falling knives, etc. Yeah, the Old World has always been 'Nation But With A Twist/Wizards' writing, but you know? That can work. Especially with the focus on how messy everything is. You never get the clean super-good fantasy kingdom in Hams; the good guys are coalitions of messy, squabbling political interests and social strife that make them feel more fun. It doesn't make them feel like they're all evil, just like it's a setting where 'we can't immediately send messages across the kingdom' or 'there's a ton of different legal jurisdictions at play here' might matter. Probably one of the reasons the setting moved so much towards urban and investigative adventures; they take advantage of the mess of politics, money, and competing privileges that make up Hams' countries.

The main issues I'd take with 1st edition lie in the way it doesn't really care about balance. I think 2e trying to clean up and balance the professions more carefully was an important step forward; the level of potential disparity between PCs in 1e is a little more than I feel comfortable with in a randomized character creation system. Similarly, I also feel like 4e's providing point-buy options and things that you can take after rolling if you're disappointed in your PC is a further step forward from there, too. I'm actually less sold on the Talent-Skill split in 2e, though on the whole I think it's at worst a sidegrade. Skills are messy, but given the overly punishing nature of Basic Skills done without the Skill in 2e is one of the places I think it stumbled compared to 1st, I can't help but wonder if there might not have been another way to handle it. I especially like the way Skills give a nice little suite of bonuses and stack up with one another, and the way Skills that don't sound useful for an adventurer will usually include some general bonuses that will still help with adventure. Having Trade (Artist) on my sheet and having my PC try hard to be good at painting in 2e is too often a flavor thing, while 1e would make it do something more concrete. Though this could have been solved by cutting down on what counts as a 'Skill' in 2e and making more of the sort of 'side profession' skills like art or cooking into Talents to make them work more like 1e, especially as 2e stated it didn't want to have detailed crafting systems or whatever so it could focus on adventure. Still, Skills in 1e definitely had their charm and were one of the fun bits to read.

The funny thing is, when you examine the damage die as randomization and the level of defense you get from equipment, you actually get a proportionally similar amount of DR from equipment (relative to the damage die) in 2e as in 1e. After all, if you're randomizing with a d6, 3 points of DR from full plate and a shield is equivalent to 5 points from full plate in a d10 based system. However, as you're using the same strength and toughness numbers (albeit more tightly controlled and not advancing as quickly, with outliers much less common) the effect is to make toughness less important as a component of DR. Remember, I was able to potentially start a dwarf with 7 Toughness (and armor) in this system. As a starting PC. That is actually still almost possible in 2e, in a very, very outlier situation (Career with Very Resilient, roll 20 on 2d10 for base Toughness, buy +5 Toughness with your starting advance, bam, 60 Toughness Dwarf), but much less likely to come up. Also, since you're using a d10 to randomize, while having more actual wounds, it's less likely you'll run into situations where you outright need exploding dice to hurt someone or where you'll almost automatically one-shot them. Still, those lower points from armor and the higher points in 2e can be deceptive; 3 points of DR matter a lot in a d6 randomized system!

What really, truly surprised me in 1e is how much less hostile it is than I'd expected it to be. You know, Grim and Perilous Adventure, very old system and all that. But the GMing advice is actually quite fair, and very good for the time. I will always have some fondness for anything that points out directly that adversarial GMing is dumb as poo poo because the GM in a traditional players-and-GM arrangement holds all the cards. A focus on 'you win by ensuring you and everyone else had fun playing' is really good! The other interesting part is how it chides a GM away from making players' endeavors fail all the time; players need to succeed sometimes so they'll take risks. They 'want their PCs to be heroes, not idiots', in the game's own words (or a paraphrase thereof). There's a lot of 'let them try, this is an adventure-fantasy setting even if it's a bit grimier' advice. Sure, you start out low, but even in 1e the expectation (especially with Fate in the mix) seems to be that if you can survive, you really should become someone impressive. The sense I always get from WHFRP (in all editions) is that the low start is there for a sense of progression, and I was glad 1e came right out of the gate with that in mind.

Which is generally how I feel about it, having read it and pondered it. It was a good foundation for a game series, and significantly better than I expected. I admit I went in expecting this would be some crazy, old-school mess, and instead I found a functional RPG with a lot of enthusiasm and the bones of the games and setting I love already in place. As a bit of gaming history, if you got the 1e book with the general 'all of Warhams RP' PDF set Cubicle 7 made available cheap, I'd really recommend giving it a read just to have a look. I might even try running it some time just to see it in motion for curiosity's sake.

The End

Deptfordx
Dec 23, 2013



Incidentally, I mention it here because pretty much everyone in traditional games hangs out in this thread.

For Glorantha-philes. Six Ages. The semi-sequel to the legendary King of Dragon Pass finally got it's Steam release today.

Edit: Corrected title thanks wiegieman

Deptfordx fucked around with this message at 16:22 on Oct 17, 2019

Dawgstar
Jul 15, 2017



Halloween Jack posted:

Yeah, I have to give them credit for this. They were very good about it. Shadowrun has plenty of metaplot events, and every single one of them was designed to give your PCs stuff to do.

Like, a dragon became president, and then was assassinated. And the consequences of his last will and testament basically makes him Elminster the Quest-Giver, with the added bonus of a) not being Elminster and b) being dead so he never shows you up in any way.

My favorite was Dunk left his exceedingly valuable comic collection to somebody who got it snatched and the PCs were hired to retrieve it, which ended in a merry chase of two different go-gangs chasing the runners in their hijacked semi (because how else are you going to transport dozens of long boxes).

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

Let your word be "Yes, Yes" or "No, No"; anything more than this comes from the evil one.

I love poo poo like that.

Shadowrun just needs a much simpler system to run on, that keeps the gear porn but cuts out the endless fiddling around with it. It's a shame Shadowrun Anarchy was such a half-finished mess.

Cooked Auto
Aug 4, 2007

If you will not serve in combat, you will serve on the firing line!




CGL being reactionary has so far only produced trainwrecks. Because I'm pretty sure Anarchy was an attempt to cater to the casual RPG market.

wiegieman
Apr 22, 2010

Royalty is a continuous cutting motion




Deptfordx posted:

Incidentally, I mention it here because pretty much everyone in traditional games hangs out in this thread.

For Glorantha-philes. Sixth Age. The semi-sequel to the legendary King of Dragon Pass finally got it's Steam release today.

Six Ages. You're crossing a wire with the 13th ate glorantha product.

MuscaDomestica
Apr 27, 2017



It is easy to see the progression in Shadowrun where they kept on "simplifying" the magic system, removing all complications yet doing nothing to the rest of the game.

Spells used to cost as much as skills, you could only cast to the power level you payed points. In fourth edition they made all spells cost a base five karma. This means that a mage can buy multiple brand new tricks for the cost of the other characters getting one extra die for their abilities.

Spirits used to have complicated rules depending on the type of mage. Hermetic could only bind them at high cost and Shamans could only summon one at a time and only in a place that resonated with the element. The spirit would immediately dissipate at sunrise/sunset. They got rid of binding and replaced it with all mages summoning multiples of five types (up to 3x Magic in power) and they last a full day so it is easier to heal any damage that occurs while summoning. Also Spirits in 6e have not had any of their power lowered even though all weapons and items got re balanced for the new armor rules. (except for grenades)

Mages used to be delicate, non magic healing had a chance to disrupt their essence making it harder to heal the characters. Magic users used to have the chance to permanently loose magic. By sixth it is much easier to heal mages and there is no chance to loose magic (except for the critical fail tables which are special...)

hyphz
Aug 5, 2003

Number 1 Nerd Tear Farmer 2022.

Keep it up, champ.

Also you're a skeleton warrior now. Kree.




10: Look, just make a magic guy

So, last time we went into all the things sorcerers can do and ran out of space as a result, so let's catch up with what we missed. Rituals! Rituals are more complex spells that take hours to cast, and that can be cast by groups of mages working together. First, you need one leader who knows the ritual. Next, you need a magical lodge, which is a room that's set up for doing magic; you need one to do rituals, learn spells, and enchant items and building one costs 500 nuyen per Force level of the lodge, which determines how powerful the enchantments you can do inside are and.. well, apparently nothing else. Or you can create a temporary one by using some reagents, which you can buy for a whole 50 nuyen per "dram"; apparently there's all different kinds of reagents but they're all bundled together as one good.

Third, spend the reagents needed to cast the ritual (which are not listed for any of the rituals in the book), plus 1 extra dram of reagents for each point you want to reduce the drain by. The leader makes a Sorcery test with the help of all the other participants to seal the ritual; the net hits on this determine what the ritual does, and also determines if the drain that all the participants suffer is Physical or Stun. But unlike regular spells, you don't get Physical drain if the spell resistance goes badly; you get Physical drain if the spell casting goes well - specifically, if the number of hits on the Sealing test is higher than the leader's Magic rating. If anyone tries to leave the lodge during the ritual, except for one person named as a spotter who goes out to find the target, or the leader gets killed then the ritual fails; in that case, everyone still suffers all the drain as stun.

And here's the rituals:

  • Circle of Healing: pick a healing spell and cast it on everyone in a radius equal to the leader's Magic rating. At the same time, you enchant an object to produce a magic circle that hangs around for a number of days equal to the net hits and gives those net hits as a bonus to any healing tests conducted in the circle, provided you don't move it. Thing is, the casting Threshold is 7, so unless the leader's got Magic 7 somehow, successfully casting a circle of healing will seriously wound everyone involved by hitting them with 14 dice of physical Drain, and Drain can't be healed by magic. I mean, ok, I guess that might be supposed to be thematic, and honestly it's kind of cool if it is, but it doesn't come across that way. Or maybe you're just supposed to dump in a ton of reagents?
  • Circle of Protection builds a physical and astral wall around a non-moveable mystical object. The more net hits, the longer it lasts and the tougher it is. But if anyone leaves, the ward immediately ends, so cool if you want to just sit around unbothered for a few hours or something. I'm not quite sure how the physical wall interacts with other physical objects; it's described as a literal physical wall, so I don't know if it can break down other things nearby.
  • Curse lets you cast an Illusion spell on someone provided you have a tissue sample from them. Oddly, this doesn't have to actually be a curse - you could use it to turn your buddy invisible from several miles away, provided you have 3 hours notice and enjoy eating 10 dice with of drain.
  • Prodigal Spell casts a combat spell on anyone your spotter can see, even if the ritual casters can't. But it's just a regular combat spell. No, it doesn't get powered up at all as far as I can see. I really have no idea how this would ever be a useful thing. By the way, the spotter has to sit and watch the target for four hours and everyone, including the spotter, is getting whacked with 12 drain dice afterwards.
  • Remote Sensing lets you cast a Detection spell with an area of hundreds of metres; you can cast it on a subject who leaves the area to look around while the ritualists keep the spell up, and they share everything the subject detects; or if it's a targeted Detection like Mind Probe, you can have a spotter see the target. See, this is.. actually kinda cool, but another great way of totally ruining any sort of investigation-themed adventure.
  • Renascence casts a manipulation spell on an area around the ritual which lasts several hours, although the ritual itself takes 4 hours. The name means "rebirth" which seem to have nothing to do with the effect at all.
  • Ward is like circle of protection except it's just a mana barrier, it doesn't have to be spherical, and it lasts weeks instead of hours; you can even make it permanent by spending Karma if you want to.
  • Watcher summons a not-quite-a-spirit from the ritual leader's mind. It has 2 in all attributes and skills, plus 1 (to all of them, apparently) for each hour beyond the first spent doing the ritual.


And speaking of that, Conjuring is how you summon regular spirits. We've already kind of covered the rules for this in the section on Sprites as used by Technomancers; you choose how powerful a spirit you want to try and create (which is called its Force), then make an opposed test against the spirit to see how many things it will do for you and how much drain you suffer. Again, you actually suffer drain equal to the number of hits on the conjuring check - not net hits - so you can summon a tiny Force 1 spirit, roll well, and kill yourself. You can also spend reagents to gain.. a point of Edge on the point. One solitary point of Edge. On the other hand, conjurers don't have to do anything like "registering" spirits, but they also can't do so; so the spirit is going to sod off after one sunrise and one sunset, no matter how well you summoned it (but the book emphases that this is affected by geography, so you can spirits hanging around forever in the seasons of midnight sun).

Unlike Sprites, Spirits have much fuller character sheets equivalent to complete PCs and written as formulae based on their Force level (which are terribly laid out). There's six types of spirit in the book: Air, Beasts, Earth, Fire, Kindred and Water. Each one has different sets of powers, and how many of them they get access to is determined by their Force as well. And, oddly... there's not all that much about what spirits actually do. Previous editions emphasised that spirits had their own agendas, but there's none of that here, so they just show up, work for you, then leave. A typical stat block for a Spirit will have all stats at, at least, the Spirit's force; so if you're willing to risk summoning a Force 6 spirit (there seems to be no particular limit to Force), you'll get essentially a character doing your bidding with all but one of their stats at least 6.

(Note: if you wish to piss off your GM in a similar way my group did in Fourth Edition, summon a Kindred Spirit with Force 7+ and ask it to plan your run for you. It's got all mental stats at 7 or more so it's smarter than any of the players, before allowing for the fact that the average RPG player isn't Marilyn Vos Savant even if they think they are.)

Enchanting. Enchanting is divided into two categories, and the first is Alchemy. This is not turning one thing into another; it's making objects that contain spells. Find an object, choose a spell you know, choose something that will set it off (magic word, touch, or time bomb that's armed immediately), make an Enchanting + Magic test based on the Drain Value of the spell and the trigger you chose to determine how strong the object you create is, then resist drain as usual. You can reduce the drain value by using reagents, but only by 2 points.

The object stays at full power for 2 hour per point of strength; and that strength is also used when the spell actually fires as the object's stat modifier to cast the spell (so, yes, you can make a preparation that throws a fireball at Potency 10 and then have it roll badly and only get 1 net hit on the actual fireball). Other than that, it's just the regular spell, with no drain because that was already dealt with when you made the object. Hum. Those are actually... pretty clear, concise, decent rules so far. Oh, wait, you can totally break the Increase Attribute and Increase Reflexes spells by putting them enchanted objects; they normally increase their drain based on the net hits of the spell, but here the net hits aren't rolled at the time the drain is taken.

Next up. Foci! Foci are objects that power up your ability to cast. Essentially, having a Focus on your person and being bound to it (which costs Karma, so this is the only object in the game you have to spend effectively-XP to use) will add the Focus's Force level to a certain dice pool used when taking magic actions. The exceptions to this are Qi Focuses which contain or power up Adept spells, Power Foci which increase your effective Magic rating, and Weapon Foci which are melee weapons which add their Force to your attack rolls (but you still have to have some kind of magical ability to use them, which is even more reason to give your regular martial character a point in Magic to be able to use them. You can buy Foci, although they're expensive and licensed (and you still have to spend Karma to bond to them), or you can make them yourself - although you still have to buy the formula, a bunch of reagents, and make an opposed roll depending on what object you're using for the focus.

Think we're done with magic yet? Nope, we still have the Astral Plane to worry about. The astral plane is the plane where the energy that's manipulated by magic shows up; the main things that show up there are living creatures and magic. If you've got the power of Astral Perception, you can Assense (ugh) the auras of living things to see their health, illnesses or poisons, emotional state, relative magic ability, cyberware, and any astral signatures on them. Astral signatures are the fingerprints left behind when mages cast spells, and recognising them can trace a spell back to the casting mage, but unfortunately nothing in the assensing table says anything about identifying who cast a spell, only identifying that there is an astral signature present.

Plus, there's Astral Projection. If you project yourself into the astral plane, you can fly around at speeds between 100 metres and 5 kilometers per round (we don't find out if you create a sonic boom by going through the astral at 5 times the speed of sound, mind you) and you can also pass through manufactured walls, so cliffs and similar objects are still problems (and you can't go underground through natural earth), but any buildings in a city are see-through and walk-through. So there's yet another way to break apart investigation or infiltration adventures! That said, you can't see artificial things in detail (so you can't go reading books or searching for a critical item), and although you can manifest as a ghost on the physical plane to communicate with people there, you can't manipulate with, attack, or cast on anything, so it's mostly useful for scouting. Unless we remember to put all of our secure facilities underground, probably with supernatural astral guardians and cunning magical tra.. uh-oh.

Also, there's a time limit of 2 times your Magic on how long you can hang out in the astral, after that point, your Essence starts to drop by a point per extra hour, and if it hits zero you die. And to get back to the real you, you have to astrally move back to your body; because you're so fast distance isn't a problem, but it's a skill roll to find it if some cunning person has picked it up and moved it while you were in the astral and not watching. No word on what happens if they're nasty enough to have chucked it into the earth and buried it.

If you meet anything nasty, including another magician, in the astral, then you might end up fighting them. Guns don't work in the astral; you have to either use spells, bonded melee weapon foci, or just wade in with your fists. You use the Astral skill or Close Combat to fight, and Willpower instead of Agility, and you resist damage with Willpower instead of body. Your armor is greatly reduced because physical armor doesn't have any effect in the Astral, but since nobody really cares about armor that's not too much of a restriction.

No, you can't attack the living astral component of regular people from the astral plane. They haven't made magic users that broken. That said, they don't have any explanation of why not.

Now, remember that dumb "submerging yourself in the mysteries of the Matrix" thing that Technomancers can do? Regular mages do that too, except it's the astral and it's called "initiation" (even though you can do it several times). It's bought with Karma, increases your maximum Magic rank, gives you "the ability to visit other metaplanes" (these are apparently where spirits come from but we never find out anything else about them) and gives you a "metamagic", which isn't actually a D&D-style metamagic but a power-up to spell casting in general. Yay, yet another source of power ups for spellcasting! Here's your choice:

  • Adept Centering lets a Physical Adept use a Minor Action to focus, preventing opponents gaining Edge from environmental conditions or illusions for 2 rounds. Unfortunately, in order to complete initiation, you have to roll an extended test using your best magic skill, and Physical Adepts don't actually use any magic skills, so it's probably really hard to get.
  • Centering lets you make up a gesture or activity which lets you add your number of initiation levels to all tests to resist Drain. Yea, everyone's going to take this.
  • Fixation makes your alchemic preparations decay on a daily scale rather than a 2-hourly one; but you have to spend Karma to activate it.
  • Flexible Signature lets you throw out fake astral signatures on your spells, but since we still don't know how to recognise them, that's a bit tricky to adjudicate.
  • Masking lets you make your astral aura look like you're a more or less powerful mage than you actually are, or hide your bonded foci. Fair enough.
  • Power Point for a Physical Adept instead of another Initiation bonus. Except we still don't know how adepts are initiated.
  • Quickening doesn't let you cast a spell quickly. It's actually D&D's Persistent Spell; it lets you make a spell self-sustaining, but again it costs Karma to use.
  • Spell Shaping lets you change the radius of area spells by taking dice penalties on the Spellcasting test instead of suffering drain, or punch 1 meter holes in the area to keep your buddies safe.
  • Shielding gives you extra dice equal to your initiation level when you try and counteract someone else's spell as they're casting it.

And that's, finally, that. So, yes, another game where magic users have a ton more options, a ton more power, and better alternatives for achieving the same things that others can. This is probably really just Shadowrun's age showing, but of course it becomes incredibly jarring in the modern setting of the game.

And that's more or less it. There's a surprisingly short GM section giving a rough overview of security levels and the effects of reputation, but it's fairly loose. But we're going to have one more post, which is going contain a bit of design waffle, and some highlights of errors I either noticed late or that come from the "interesting" Critical Glitch suggestions table.

EthanSteele
Nov 18, 2007

I can hear you


I'd like to give them the benefit of the doubt on the magic healing circle thing, but. There's everything else.

JcDent
May 13, 2013

Give me a rifle, one round, and point me at Berlin!


Just loving reverse engineer the system in Harebrained Schemes' PC adaptations and call it a day.

hyphz
Aug 5, 2003

Number 1 Nerd Tear Farmer 2022.

Keep it up, champ.

Also you're a skeleton warrior now. Kree.




11: Case had spent ten minutes in a urinal trying to discover a convenient way to conceal his cobra

We're more or less done with Shadowrun Sixth Edition at this point. As you can tell, it's a mess. The few attempts at original mechanics don't work at all, and what's left is a weird mish-mash of systems that don't integrate with each other very well.

So for the last post, I'm going to engage in some design speculation about SR 6E and about cyberpunk in general. To make it vaguely entertaining I've also scattered in some rules errors I missed and some samples - in quotes, but actually paraphrased - from the suggested glitches and critical glitches table in the GM section. Glitches occur if more than half of your dice show 1s, and the opponent can spend Edge to make 2s count too; Critical Glitches occur if, at the same time, you don't roll any successes (and 2s cannot be made to count).

Here goes:

[Antidote Patches reduce the Poisoned Status as inflicted by a toxin. No toxin in the game actually inflicts the Poisoned status.]

Why write a F&F of Shadowrun Sixth Edition? Apart from the two obvious reasons - that I quite like writing F&Fs and so that sempai will notice me - and one unusual one, that someone suggested it; it was because I had heard about the Edge mechanic, and was interested in almost anything that was an attempt to do something new with a cyberpunk game.

[Critical glitch: "Your melee attack awkwardly shatters your forearm, which is irreparably damaged and must be replaced with cyberware." A cyber forearm is 12,000 nuyen and 0.45 Essence. Note that the glitch can still happen if your arm is already cyber.]

Because cyberpunk comes across as a genre almost even more grognardy than fantasy. First Edition Shadowrun was released in 1989, the same year as AD&D 2nd Edition but gives the impression of having been changed since then, but not in particular overhauled or experimented with.

[Social Regular Glitch: "You fart unexpectedly."]

Cyberpunk doesn't seem to have had a "D&D Fourth Edition" that was a good game that split the base. There was Cyberpunk 3.0, which genuinely tried to change some of the standards (corporate arcologies becoming entire belief systems, cyberware so advanced it doesn't need surgery, hacking so prolific the Matrix is abandoned), but was terribly designed, wilfully incomplete, and had some utterly ridiculous ideas (no Matrix, so the old ICE sprites show up as literal physical objects made of nanodust you have to fight)

[Critical glitch: "You are triggered into attacking your contact, no matter what advantage or numbers they have on their side."]

Moreover, it doesn't seem to have even had a D&D Third Edition which rejigged the old material into a new functioning layout, a layout strong enough to have supported the genre for years to come. Now it's fair to argue that it didn't really need it, because the initial standards like Shadowrun itself and Cyberpunk were designed late enough that they didn't have the cruft that D&D's Second Edition had, but still.

[Only Aspected Sorcerers get starting spells based on their Magic rank. This means that starting Aspected Enchanters can't enchant anything, because you need to know the spell you want to link to the object.]

The genre itself also seems to have stood still except for a few minor changes to the technology to reflect modern developments, which are often more problematic to the style than they are appropriate. Which is especially odd, because there seem to be plenty of potential developments to the setting. With the power of magic in Shadowrun, is big tech - and the acceptance of the corps that have to exist in order to make anything that sophisticated - the only choice anyone has against magocracy? What if hacking goes terminal; a perfect hack, which can never be patched, and works every time; to the extent that no computer can ever be secure, anyway, and the big guys all retire from digital space entirely - while leaving the men and women in the street stuck because things have grown beyond the point of scalable analog solutions? (Hell, you want technological verisimilitude? That might have already happened.)

[Critical glitch: "You open too large a mana channel and are burned out. You permanently lose 1 Magic rank."]

Instead, even the newer cyberpunk systems like Interface Zero focus on embedding the same cyberpunk standards into existing systems (Savage Worlds and FATE in that case), and while there's some adaptations of PbtA and especially BitD to the genre - like Hack the Planet - they tend to follow the same tropes as the others; explicit or implicit character classes, very familiar roles, similar disconnections in the setting (many of the indies give hacking rules without specifying anything about what hacking can actually achieve) (Note: I'm intentionally not considering Hard Wired Island even though I'm aware of it, because I know it's still in development.)

[Social Regular Glitch: "Coughing fit delays the conversation. Edge advantage to your opponent." There is no such thing as "edge advantage".]

But where's, say, Cyberpunk Masks where characters are defined by development arcs instead of standard roles? Where's Cyberpunk Mutant Year Zero or Legacy where you're building your own group on the streets outside the corporate arcologies and stealing and scrimping what you can contribute, and Mr. Johnson be damned?

[Spellcasting Regular Glitch: "Distraction sends the spell at a different target. Same effect." You just fireballed your whole crew! And that's a regular glitch!]

Instead, we have the idea of the players endlessly doing runs for Mr. Johnson.. which, as much as the books suggest that going to work for a corp would be "selling out", is ultimately just doing what a corp tells you and getting paid for it; just with a shady intermediary.

[If you have successfully hacked your way to Admin status on a node, you can no longer search for encrypted files, since Hash Check only works at User level.]

Is it just the genre? Well, I cracked out my old copy of Neuromancer which I first read years ago - thus the post title - and it's interesting what made it into RPGs and what didn't. Case saying "you're street samurai" to Molly early in the book has been fixed in RPG canon, but you never hear of a "jockey" or a "joeboy". There's portable computers, but not with Matrix access; a cyberdeck is something you plug into your desktop PC. Cyberspace is a visualisation of communication data personal to the user. Cyberspace is addictive. There are arcades. Media piracy is totally a thing that can be a much more valuable score than some random corp data.

[Critical Glitch: "Your weapon breaks and a broken piece hits your nearest ally in the eye. They take 2P unresisted physical damage and are Blinded 1."]

And that means that RPG-cyberpunk kind of developed as its own thing, and then.. just suddenly seemed to stop and settle on a standard. Which I would understand if that standard were coming across as being made for ideal RPGing, but it isn't.

[Spellcasting Regular Glitch: "You cast a randomly selected spell instead of the one you meant to."]

One of the things I found interesting on this thread was the mention that Shadowrun endured because it always gave the PCs clear things to do in the setting. I found this interesting because there's a parallel thread on Sixth Edition on RPG.net which says the exact opposite.

[Critical Glitch: "Your spell marks you forever as a practitioner of blood magic, even though you didn't use it." There is nothing in the book about blood magic or the danger of being a practitioner of it.]

And that's one I relate to, because while it's pretty clear what the PCs are meant to do, their wider relation with the setting is very confusing. How badass are they in comparison to others? If they're meant to be super badass, why are they stuck on the streets? Are runners supposed to be the bad guys or the good guys? The thread did comment that the sample adventures for Shadowrun veered back and forward between those two constantly over the course of the game series, with later ones having the PCs expected to work for people who would have been their enemies in the earlier ones.

[Critical Glitch: "A rock flies through your car's battery or fuel tank causing an explosion equivalent to a grenade going off at the center of the vehicle." This will deal 16 physical damage before resistance. This will knock any character with Body 5 or less unconscious every time; any character with Body 1 or 2 will actually fill their Overflow meter as well and be permanently dead. Even a character with Body 9 will be knocked unconscious unless their resistance roll is above average.]

So. Ahem. I kind of wandered there. But the point about the Edge mechanic is that I can really see what it's trying to do. It's trying to strike a balance between the free loose arguing-about-definitions applications of Fate points and the crunchier system that provides a stronger feeling of character empowerment. It fails horribly, but still; that's a drat good thing to try.

[As written there is no limit to the number of times you can use an Amp Up effect on a spell, so a caster can nuke the entire planet by repeatedly amping up a spell's area, although they will die by drain afterwards. Think any corp might have a conveyer belt of burned out mages to keep casting Control Actions on as many civilians as they can? well, why wouldn't they?]

A surprising amount of the other material is actually cruft from previous editions; in fact, those with more experience than me have noted that a lot of Sixth Edition appears to be just copy-pasted from Fifth. Cyberpunk RED, too, is largely being praised for its similarity to previous editions, although that's probably just because after Cyberpunk 3.0 fans lost trust in the developer.

[Critical Glitch: "A ricochet hits your teammate. They take full damage plus 3 hits with no defence roll, only damage resistance."]

So, Shadowrun Sixth Edition is a disaster. Obviously rushed out because of the popularity of Cyberpunk RED, but still somehow getting to #1-#2 on DriveThruRPG (although it's possible that this was because a re-usable download code leaked). There's still back and forth about whether it will be fully errata'd.

[Jumping into water clears the Burning status, but it doesn't give the Wet status.]

Actually, there already is one round of errata which I intended to go through at some point, then I found out that the PDF I was reviewing from already had the errata included. Well, some of them. Some of them are missed out. And some of them had typos in the errata that were then copied into the actual book.

[Critical Glitch: "You inadvertently insult your contact so badly that they instantly become hostile to you."]

But if there is going to be a cyberpunk resurgence led by the re-releases of these games, I'd far rather there was more of an attempt to do something original with the genre than simply remakes of the old games and standards. As it is, with Shadowrun Sixth Edition being awful and Cyberpunk Red potentially being too close to the old game to attract modern players, it might not go well. In fact, I'll finish with one of the very first regular glitches suggested in the book, because it could sum up the effect this kind of release could have on cyberpunk RPGing:

[Universal Regular Glitch: "The opposite of what you meant to happen happens, and you don't know it."]

(End of line)

hyphz fucked around with this message at 16:18 on Oct 18, 2019

Cooked Auto
Aug 4, 2007

If you will not serve in combat, you will serve on the firing line!




You typed uninal instead or Urinal in the title btw.

Also I'd suggest swapping the bold glitches for italics because they draw the eyes a bit too much from the main text blocks.

Also the Blood Mage bit feels like a big dick move to new players. Not bothering to explain it means that a malicious GM could feasibly make life difficult for a mage player who is left unaware of what they've been marked at. That whole glitch reads as "You who have played this know the score so we don't need to explain much".

I would argue cyberpunk as a genre hasn't changed all that much because the definition is so specific that making alterations to it will come off as wrong. I would say Gibson and others when defining the genre did it so thoroughly that it's hard to make changes so it doesn't slide over to regular Sci-fi or Near Future. So that's why you tend to encounter games of that genre reusing the same clichés and so on without much alteration. Partly because it's what defines cyberpunk as a genre itself and its hard to break away from them.

One of the reason I would argue why SR has managed to stand out is the merger with fantasy as well as establishing a Unique Selling Point in what the PCs are. Something which Cyberpunk fails to do based on the F&F write up earlier. Same goes with Cyberpunk heartbreakers like Neotech.

Bieeanshee
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.




Grimey Drawer

Those critical glitches are downright unplayable.

8one6
May 20, 2012

When in doubt, err on the side of Awesome!



"You rolled the dice bad so your hand snapped off" is some poo poo I'd expect to see from a garbage D&D houserule not an actual published game.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.


Critical failure charts are basically always terrible.

Ratoslov
Feb 15, 2012

Now prepare yourselves! You're the guests of honor at the Greatest Kung Fu Cannibal BBQ Ever!



Yeah, I'll freely admit that Shadowrun has always been extremely fuzzy on the question of why you are Shadowrunning and why Shadowrunners exist rather than doing something more profitable like running small crime syndicates or selling hand-knitted scarves on Ebaybutfuture.

OvermanXAN
Nov 14, 2014


Night10194 posted:

Critical failure charts are basically always terrible.

Critical Failure charts always feel to me like they're something where writers are like "Look how hilariously slapstic I can be!" without considering how unfun it is to actually interact with the results rather than just have a mental image.

Drakli
Jan 28, 2004
Goblin-Friend

Ratoslov posted:

rather than doing something more profitable like running small crime syndicates or selling hand-knitted scarves on Ebaybutfuture.

I think you mean Neo-Etsy.

Omnicrom
Aug 3, 2007
Snorlax Afficionado




I'm certainly no expert on Shadowrun, but as an outsider there's a very 80s and 90s vibe to Shadowrun, its assumptions of the setting and the players, and the curious scope. I may be shooting completely on spare, but I wonder if the curious unreality of Shadowruns and Shadowrunners are kind of a result of Shadowrun's 80s lineage. For instance I wonder if Shadowrunners exist because the game never got beyond the same default assumption of DnD that all you need for setup is "you meet up in a bar and a person gives you a quest". Shadowrun feels like a heavily gorged setting but as has been pointed out while there's lots of player facing stuff there's less player justifying stuff. Explaining Murderhoboing is always kind of a tricky sell, but it's easier in a fantasy setting where the assumption is that there's lots of unexplored/untamed locations with monsters and we need to occasionally point people with swords in that direction. It works far less effectively as an explanation in Shadowrun's near-future Urban Science Fantasy Cyberpunk setting.

Again, I have little real experience with Shadowrun, but there is a very 80s and 90s feel to the massive cruft and the way it feels like the game that never got beyond rules as physics. I remember reading a 4th edition Shadowrun module and as a plot point a person gets murdered and the game actually bothers to explain mechanically how it can happen and how one person did this and got these results on their role to shut off the security and another person specifically used this spell at this power to do this much damage and kill this woman. It stood out to me that the game couldn't just say "and she's found dead of magic and someone hacked the system", they had to give the exact mechanical actions taken as though the module had to justify itself to the reader.

As for calamitous Crit Fail results they seem like they suck in everything except a game like Paranoia, where the point is violent farce and slapstick.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
Walls of Text
#1 Builder
2014-2018



Shadowrunners exist because of Case and Molly Millions.

Cooked Auto
Aug 4, 2007

If you will not serve in combat, you will serve on the firing line!




Omnicrom posted:

It works far less effectively as an explanation in Shadowrun's near-future Urban Science Fantasy Cyberpunk setting.

In that case its either Deniable Ops or Dirty deeds done cheap. The game does sorta position runners as expendable troubleshooters that does the deed for various syndicates and corporations. And if things go badly their hands are clean and no real traces back to them either.
Someone always needs someone else to fix a problem or deliver some clandestine goods and that's where runners come in.

Although that might just be the case with SR4 and 5 because they had a massive tonal shift towards the more grittier compared to earlier editions that was more punks with attitude.

Later books for 5th ed I know have tried introducing other concepts but no idea how well they pull them off. Poorly most likely based on what I know of CGL writing. One of the last SR5 books that I remember did introduce the concept of being a more good natured runner trying to help the people.

The game still does have a lot of 80's roots in it still, such as with the old fear of Japanese corporations were going to take over the world.

megane
Jun 20, 2008





As with lots of cyberpunk (and steampunk) media, they lost the “punk” part in geeking out about the “cyber” part. The protagonist is supposed to be a punk: an outsider living on the fringes because he or she won’t accept the corrupt structure of society — a person who has skills and connections, but won’t use them to seize power or take advantage of the weak, and who is therefore outcast. Being a stylish, wared-out superhuman killing people for corporations just to make money, which seems to be the default assumption in Shadowrun, is completely anathema to this. That’s part of why SR always seems so self-contradictory; it crows about how the corps are bad and you should hate them, and how their greed is ruining the world, and then the whole game is about actively and violently furthering their goals because they’ll pay you.

Changing this core assumption fixes a lot of problems with the game. Like, why is your powerful wizard on the streets when you could easily be making millions working for a corp? Because you have principles and are willing to be poor to stand up for them.

megane fucked around with this message at 17:54 on Oct 18, 2019

hyphz
Aug 5, 2003

Number 1 Nerd Tear Farmer 2022.

Keep it up, champ.

Also you're a skeleton warrior now. Kree.


megane posted:

As with lots of cyberpunk (and steampunk) media, they lost the “punk” part in geeking out about the “cyber” part. The protagonist is supposed to be a punk: an outsider living on the fringes because he or she won’t accept the corrupt structure of society — a person who has skills and connections, but won’t use them to seize power or take advantage of the weak, and who is therefore outcast.

I can see being outcast if someone like that was actively trying to rebel. But if they just "don't use them", then they're probably not outcast, they're just ignored and chalked up as another statistic.

I guess that's more of the bigger issue - the feeling that the expectation in cyberpunk games is that the party goes on a run and gets paid purely to gear up for the next run and never really has any sight of anything larger they're doing (heck, SR 4th edition actively said that should be expected and was a normal part of shadowrunning)

Freaking Crumbum
Apr 17, 2003

Too fuck to drunk




i think both Dragonfall and Hong Kong were excellent examples of what you can do with a SR story that's more detailed and elaborate than just "HAIL ADVENTURERS I AM MR JOHNSON PLEASE ACCEPT MY QUEST" but gently caress if either of those kinds of ideas are relayed to GMs from the source material. IIRC the 2E and 3E versions of SR had a plethora of world building and lore-heavy books for every conceivable geographic location on earth, but i don't recall that any of it was usefully framed for a GM to jump off of and use as an adventure prompt; it was more like really flavorful toilet literature with all of the 90's metaplot that got crammed in.

some of the set piece battles in the harebrained games are pretty great though, and an example of how the tabletop game could be run.

breaking into an off-the-books military hardware fabrication plant that's run by a nascent, experimental AI and the runners trip the internal security systems and they have to stage a desperate holdout battle against the automated defense machines the AI starts activating while the group's decker feverishly attempts to bypass the myriad lethal ice security systems protecting the AI's friend or foe subroutine so that they can trick the AI into treating them like allies.

having to infiltrate the SR version of comicon and navigate through all the various booths and displays in order to find the one lone nerd that recalls how to unlock the specific memory lock that's been placed on the group's decker, but you can't go loud because it's a public venue in broad daylight and the person that's normally the face gets stuck outside for reasons and they have to try and navigate another person through a variety of conversations over voice com but the other person is socially illiterate and the com keeps cutting out and it's a dice roll whether or not the social remedial can come up with plausible explanations on their own without turning all of the hired security violet

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

Let your word be "Yes, Yes" or "No, No"; anything more than this comes from the evil one.

Omnicrom posted:

I'm certainly no expert on Shadowrun, but as an outsider there's a very 80s and 90s vibe to Shadowrun, its assumptions of the setting and the players, and the curious scope. I may be shooting completely on spare, but I wonder if the curious unreality of Shadowruns and Shadowrunners are kind of a result of Shadowrun's 80s lineage. For instance I wonder if Shadowrunners exist because the game never got beyond the same default assumption of DnD that all you need for setup is "you meet up in a bar and a person gives you a quest". Shadowrun feels like a heavily gorged setting but as has been pointed out while there's lots of player facing stuff there's less player justifying stuff.
You're totally on point and this is both the main selling point and the most common reason to deride Shadowrun. You are all footloose mercenaries, you meet a man in a bar who gives you a quest, you break into a place and steal something or kill someone for cash. It's "D&D with guns" in more than just the broad strokes of the setting.

In defense of Shadowrun, it does depart from the standard murderhobo D&D campaign insofar as it has a social context --you're usually breaking into an enclave in an urban area that has a police presence and innocent bystanders.

It doesn't have a transparent class/level ruleset with a magic item treadmill as you get more powerful. But that causes as many problems as it solves.

Bieeanshee
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.




Grimey Drawer

I remember as far back as 2E, there were books dedicated to alternative campaigns: Docwagon trauma teams, ecoteurs, things like that. At one point I really wanted to run a Ghostbusters inspired paranormal investigation campaign, because of the Awakenings sourcebook.

Glazius
Jul 22, 2007

Hail all those who are able,
any mouse can,
any mouse will,
but the Guard prevail.



Clapping Larry

Ratoslov posted:

Yeah, I'll freely admit that Shadowrun has always been extremely fuzzy on the question of why you are Shadowrunning and why Shadowrunners exist rather than doing something more profitable like running small crime syndicates or selling hand-knitted scarves on Ebaybutfuture.

Ah, I see you're familiar with Freemarket.

EthanSteele
Nov 18, 2007

I can hear you


Omnicrom posted:

Explaining Murderhoboing is always kind of a tricky sell, but it's easier in a fantasy setting where the assumption is that there's lots of unexplored/untamed locations with monsters and we need to occasionally point people with swords in that direction. It works far less effectively as an explanation in Shadowrun's near-future Urban Science Fantasy Cyberpunk setting.

The answer to explaining murderhoboing is..uh.. don't? As in "don't murderhobo" but for some reason people decide that the Sneaky Espionage game where best case scenario is you sneak into a place or talk your way by some guards and do sick hacking tricks so that nobody has ever known anyone was there is the one to get an SMG and then just shoot everyone you see with APDS rounds.

wiegieman
Apr 22, 2010

Royalty is a continuous cutting motion




The reason you're a Shadowrunner should be part of your character's backstory. All runners are tough, established experts, so how did your character get their skills and why aren't they working for a government or getting paid a ton of money by a corp? Usually it's because they have serious issues preventing it, but it's up to you.

Dawgstar
Jul 15, 2017



EthanSteele posted:

The answer to explaining murderhoboing is..uh.. don't? As in "don't murderhobo" but for some reason people decide that the Sneaky Espionage game where best case scenario is you sneak into a place or talk your way by some guards and do sick hacking tricks so that nobody has ever known anyone was there is the one to get an SMG and then just shoot everyone you see with APDS rounds.

And if you desire, a 'shoot first ask questions eh maybe never' approach to the game is super-easy to discourage in Shadowrun. Amusingly in my game it had the effect of making my runners hyper careful planners because they no longer fancied the idea of being chased by APCs and VTOLS and other military acronym vehicles after it happened a couple of times.

Cythereal
Nov 8, 2009



wiegieman posted:

The reason you're a Shadowrunner should be part of your character's backstory. All runners are tough, established experts, so how did your character get their skills and why aren't they working for a government or getting paid a ton of money by a corp? Usually it's because they have serious issues preventing it, but it's up to you.

That's my feeling after having played Dragonfall. If you could be a productive member of society, you wouldn't be a Shadowrunner.

Maxwell Lord
Dec 12, 2008

I am drowning.
There is no sign of land.
You are coming down with me, hand in unlovable hand.

And I hope you die.

I hope we both die.


:smith:



Grimey Drawer



Buck Rogers XXVc: The 25th Century

Digital Personalities, Scientists, and Digital Personalities who are Scientists



Digital Personalities (shortened to DPs, because 1990 was a simpler time) are basically AIs, and while they’re mostly covered in the World Book, this book gives the mechanical details. Suffice it to say, they’re computer folks, made up of 1s and 0s, and they come in two types: Constructs, which are original digital creations, and Translated Personalities, which are based on the brainwaves of real people. They sometimes manifest as 3D holograms to interact with people. DPs are strictly NPCs, which is probably just as well. Two major examples in the setting are Dr. Huer- a Construct, and the setting’s incarnation of one of Buck Rogers’ iconic allies- and Simund Holzerhein, the digital ruler of the RAM empire.

A DP has no scores in Strength, Dexterity, or Constitution, but does have the other four attributes. They have a hit die of d10, and since they’re NPCs there’s no tracking experience, you just determine what level they are. The Armor Class of a DP starts at 10 at 1st level, and improves by 1 every level.

But wait, wait, why do they have an Armor Class? And Hit Points? Because there is digital combat! This is where the game gets kinda cyberpunk and I have to jump around a bit. Basically, in XXVc there are World Computers, crystalline structures the size of a city. There’s one for Earth, Luna, Mars, Mercury, and Venus, and there are satellites linking those computers together. DPs can travel within and between these World Computers, which in game terms are made up of a bunch of individual cells. A DP can travel to any adjacent cell in a round, and can also spend a round to disassemble-reassemble to another World Computer. So yeah basically they go dungeon crawling looking for data, and when enemy DPs meet, they can fight, using special programs.

A DP starts out being able to initiate one program per round- at 5th, they can initiate two per round, and at 10th level three, etc. Virus Attack does 1d4 damage per attacker level on a hit, then 1d4 damage per round for the following three rounds. It can be used as often as the attacker wishes, but you have to wait for one virus to expire before attacking with a new one. Mind Bolt does 1d6 damage per attacker level, and can only be used three times in an encounter, and misses count as uses. There are a bunch of Non-Combat programs too; there’s a Stealth program, a couple of healing ones, one that lets you control remote devices, etc. It looks like any DP “knows” all these programs, they’re just limited by the number of actions they can take.

You may have worked out a problem here. Since all DPs are NPCs, the PCs can’t actually participate in these digital games of cat and mouse, so these rules are kinda pointless. It’s interesting to think about or maybe have running as some sort of parallel action, but in those cases there’s no reason for the Referee* not to “script” what happens. Nice idea but not much of a use for it.

Finally there’s the Scientist, an NPC-only class- theoretically the rules are complete enough that a PC Scientist is possible, but they’re not designed to work in an adventuring group, and all these rules are just so you can make Scientist NPCs.

Scientists can be Humans, Tinkers, Lowlanders, or Delph, and need at least 16 Intelligence and 12 Wisdom. They get 1d4 hit points per level, and have the same THAC0 and advancement as medics (though again, the referee can just say what level they are.)

The main thing about Scientists is they get access to two exclusive skills: Bioengineering and Gadgeteering. Bioengineering is actually considered a general skill, but also one that only Scientists have access to, and has a prerequisite of Biology 20, or Botany 15 if you’re focused on plants.

Bioengineering is related to Intelligence and is used to create new genetically-altered organisms. It has a couple of uses: Alter Human lets you alter an unborn person’s ability scores within a +2/-2 range, though it has to balance out to 0 (i.e. you have to penalize something to increase something else.) Creating a Gennie is a Difficult task, and Creating a new Animal/Plant is a range; modifying an existing species (making a faster sheep) is Average, combining traits from two or more life forms (sheep + cheetah) is Difficult, and creating something entirely new is an Impossible task. (No Humans Allowed does feature one creature whose genes were built “from scratch”.)

Gadgeteering lets you modify a device to improve its function or make it do something entirely different. The difficulty for this is mostly based on how much you’re altering the gadget, and there are also modifiers for whether you have all the proper tools and whether the gadget already has multiple uses. Whipping up a gadget can take anywhere from 1d4 hours (for Easy modifications) to 1d4+4 days (for Impossible tasks.)

And there’s one more thing: Inventions. Inventions aren’t a skill to themselves, but rather use certain Science skills depending on what’s being invented. It’s a detailed system based around Research Points, which are a total you generate from what you’re trying to do, to how big/portable the thing is, to how long a range it has, to damage or HP healed, etc. A healing ray (base cost 20) that’s portable (+10), that works over hundreds of feet (+5), that heals 1-20 hp (+5) has a Research Point cost of 40, and that’s subtracted from the relevant skill you’re going to roll against (Physics, in this case). Research points also determine the cost to develop the device and the time it takes to make, and these rules can also be used to discover new astronomical bodies or lost cities or whatever.

It’s not the worst system, but since it’s NPC-only it basically has no reason to exist. I don’t see any point you’d delve into this instead of just saying “RAM has invented a powerful new weapon, you’ve got to sneak into their secret base to destroy the research!” Like, it goes beyond even the kind of “how many clerics are in town” simulationism you got in the worst of 3.x.

And honestly, I don’t actually think there’s much of a reason to keep this from your players. The Scientist class as a whole may be way too fragile to really put in the field as an option for PCs, but that’s just a question of hit dice- the rest seems entirely doable. If PCs could do inventions, that’d honestly be perfectly okay. So, yeah, just do that. Someone wants to be the Huer or Zarkov of the group, let ‘em.

And that brings us, at long last, to the end of Characters & Combat. As I said, the rules have a lot of bumps in them. It’s an interesting attempt to push the AD&D rules set as far as it will go, Pondsmith was trying some things, but a few things slipped past playtesting and editing. There may well have been time pressures, given the big multi-media launch they were trying. Generally speaking my advice with XXVc would be to use your semi-generic system of choice, but that’s with almost 30 years of development since.

But now we’re done with the weak part of the game. Soon, I’ll be able to dig into the real meat of this- The World Book. See you next time, rocketjocks!

Edit: * I forgot, the GM in this game is called a Referee.

Maxwell Lord fucked around with this message at 02:15 on Oct 19, 2019

EthanSteele
Nov 18, 2007

I can hear you


wiegieman posted:

The reason you're a Shadowrunner should be part of your character's backstory. All runners are tough, established experts, so how did your character get their skills and why aren't they working for a government or getting paid a ton of money by a corp? Usually it's because they have serious issues preventing it, but it's up to you.


Cythereal posted:

That's my feeling after having played Dragonfall. If you could be a productive member of society, you wouldn't be a Shadowrunner.

Yup! Just like Torchbearer says, you wouldn't be a protagonist if you could be a productive member of society. My group was talking about this today after the session, that one of the valid end points for a Shadowrunner is a corp recognizing your skills, deciding you're worth whatever problems you've got and going "yeah, we'll hire you on retainer and give you a pension" and being an official Aztechnology Problem Solver (Assassin) or something.

Dawgstar
Jul 15, 2017



EthanSteele posted:

Yup! Just like Torchbearer says, you wouldn't be a protagonist if you could be a productive member of society. My group was talking about this today after the session, that one of the valid end points for a Shadowrunner is a corp recognizing your skills, deciding you're worth whatever problems you've got and going "yeah, we'll hire you on retainer and give you a pension" and being an official Aztechnology Problem Solver (Assassin) or something.

That's the end game my group reached at one point, being the go-to troubleshooter squad for the Draco Foundation. As the Draco Foundation was broadly altruistic, most of the runs were stuff like 'keep the mystical whatsit out of Aztechnology's hands' and such, enabling them to have a healthy credstick and a clear-ish conscience.

Ronwayne
Nov 20, 2007

That warm and fuzzy feeling.


Halloween Jack posted:

In theory--and yes, the game lays out its setting's theories--magick is balanced by having hard limits on what it is and isn't, and what it can and can't do, unlike D&D. In practice, they ignore it all the time, and magick can do really powerful stuff anyway.

The "Analyze Device" spell in particular grinds my gears. It's less offensive than a 1st edition spell called Fix, which fixes broken things.

According to the way magick works in Shadowrun, a gadget-fixing spell or even a lockpicking spell should be impossible. Because spells manipulate energy. Magick itself isn't intelligent and doesn't know things or solve problems. It can't give you skills you don't have, or perform technical work that you don't know how to do. Now, you could maybe summon an urban spirit that knows how to do it for you, because spirits are sentient creatures.

Possession traditions+task spirit cheese :science: :unsmigghh:



Re: Shadowrunners being shadowrunners due to an inherit deficit, I strongly disagree. Pretty much all my PCs do not work for a corp because they don't want to. And the GM forcing you to sucks and I wouldn't play with one that enforced that fluff conceit. "The problems inherent in shadowrunning, up to and including horrible death and things worse than death, are still preferable to work-a-day-life under any possible corp context."

Ronwayne fucked around with this message at 03:54 on Oct 19, 2019

EthanSteele
Nov 18, 2007

I can hear you


Ronwayne posted:

Re: Shadowrunners being shadowrunners due to an inherit deficit, I strongly disagree. Pretty much all my PCs do not work for a corp because they don't want to. And the GM forcing you to sucks and I wouldn't play with one that enforced that fluff conceit. "The problems inherent in shadowrunning, up to and including horrible death and things worse than death, are still preferable to work-a-day-life under any possible corp context."

I'd say that "not wanting to work for a corp" counts as an issue that prevents you from working for a corp? No one said it was a deficit that prevented that avenue.

Ronwayne
Nov 20, 2007

That warm and fuzzy feeling.


Ah, its just that its often phrased in a "everyone wants to, and its only being broken in someway that keeps you from going corp" way, with the implication that not wanting to being proof in-of-itself that that PC is a broken shell of a person*.

I apologize if that was not your intent.

*this might just be 4th and most of 5ths ed's anti-punk stance.

Ronwayne fucked around with this message at 04:51 on Oct 19, 2019

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Cythereal
Nov 8, 2009



Ronwayne posted:

Re: Shadowrunners being shadowrunners due to an inherit deficit, I strongly disagree. Pretty much all my PCs do not work for a corp because they don't want to. And the GM forcing you to sucks and I wouldn't play with one that enforced that fluff conceit. "The problems inherent in shadowrunning, up to and including horrible death and things worse than death, are still preferable to work-a-day-life under any possible corp context."

I don't think anyone's saying that working for a corp is an ideal end state for everyone. For some Shadowrunners it undoubtedly is, for others it is not. That's down to the players and DM to sort out if your group wants to have an end point.

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