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> Hoping for some quick advise on SR4.
juzzman
post Nov 13 2005, 11:03 PM
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Hi there, Hoping for some quick advise on SR4.

I currently have a lot of SR2 books with many of the supplements and a lot of official adventures/campains. I used to play some years ago, but havent touched it since, been learning d&d 3.0 then 3.5

Have a hankering for it again, but wanted to know, since my current players havent played SR before, is it worth getting the SR4 rulebook, and how much conversions is going to be required for all the existing modulces i have?

From doing searched on the boards, it seems that all the encounters in the material i have will have to be redone, needing basically all the stats and weapons changed. is this correct?

Is the new SR4 simple enough for new players or otherwise better that SR2 enough to justify all the extra work?

Thanks for your opinions
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Catsnightmare
post Nov 13 2005, 11:29 PM
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I can only suggest going to a game shop and comparing 3rd and 4th yourself.
I personally dislike the majority of SR4 and would rather stick with SR3 which already has support books and modules out for it, and it's by far easyer to convert 2nd edition stuff to 3rd (it even tells you how to in SR3) since they still very similar to one another. In comparison to SR4 which is a near total departure from SR3 and as it has already proven extremely difficult to near impossible to convert stats from SR3 to SR4. Hell, from all appearances it seems the publishers themselves aren't even going to attempt it.

Then there's the whole rules errors/erata/corrections issue. SR4 is still new, with players finding issues with rules and things still. I don't keep up with the SR4 board that much so don't know how much is fixed and/or house ruled yet. But any question about SR3 has pretty much been asked, answered, corrected and house ruled repeatedly over the several years it's been around, and you can probably find them all here in Dumpshock with the search engine.
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Gyro the Greek S...
post Nov 13 2005, 11:58 PM
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If you want to do material with stats provided before, do SR3.
From scratch, it's a toss-up. Thus far SR4 seems to be more new-player friendly. That's just my opinion, of course.
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Snow_Fox
post Nov 14 2005, 02:47 AM
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Cat'snightmare points out a very good point. the errata has been done on 3. We know where the screw ups occurred. 4 they are still trying to get out the prime book and see what the rules are like.

also since 4 is out you have a good chance of getting 3rd ed SB's at a discount.
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Gutshank
post Nov 14 2005, 03:53 AM
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I was pretty much in the same boat as you, hadn't played SR in about 10 years or so and had my ol' SR2 stuff.

Well, Got the itch for SR again just as SR4 was released so I picked up a copy of SR3 and SR4 and compared them to see what my group would get into.

We're went with SR4. It'ds got some glitches, sure. But then again, what edition of the game hasn't. We've been having a blast with it so far.

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JongWK
post Nov 14 2005, 01:19 PM
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Juzzman, if you want a rookie-friendly book, you might want to try SR4. Background sourcebooks like Tir Tairngire or Threats shouldn't be a problem with Fourth Edition, as they're mostly flavor. For the adventures' stats, you can use the official conversion guide at www.srrpg.com. It'll take you some time, but it's not hard.
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Reaver
post Nov 14 2005, 04:09 PM
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Myself, I would say stick with SR3. I purchased the SR4 book and was highly disappointed.

However, SR4 does have one thing going for it. The game system is highly dumbed down. So the bonus is, if you have new players, it'll have a quicker learning curve.

If you think your players can handle the higher learning curve of SR3, this is a good time, since any SR3 products you don't have you can probably find used at cheap prices. ;)

That's just my 2. ;)
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Slacker
post Nov 14 2005, 04:31 PM
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I think a couple of you who posted missed that he said he had SR2 material only.

juzzman, since you'd either have to continue to use that old material or buy new books (either SR3 or SR4), I'd really recommend going ahead and going with SR4.
Especially since you're talking about introducing it to players new to Shadowrun.
SR3 has certainly been more developed than SR4, but SR4's more simplified mechanic is easier to learn. In my experience, many players (particularly D&D players) have a hard time with the complexity of the SR3 system.
Also, with new players you don't necessarily need/want all of the extra bell's and whistles. If you start pulling out the BBB for basic rules, Man & Machine for cyber-/bio- ware rules, Matrix for decking rules, Rigger 3 for rigging rules, and whatever other supplemental books you want, players get very intimidated thinking that you might expect them to actually read all of that just to get started.
You could start your group out on SR4 with just the BBB. As your group evolves within the game, you can expand the available options by getting new books as they come out.

You may also want to read this thread in the SR4 section, which deals with the same subject except from the standpoint of going from SR3 to SR4.
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Zolhex
post Nov 14 2005, 06:39 PM
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I have played all versions of SR from 1 to 4. What one did do I like best? Easy answer SR2 now that doesn't mean I didn't like SR3 and don't like SR4 just that as things sit right now 2 was the best to me. However 4 has just been born so it needs some time to get it's wits about it so it can start to grow and evolve. Now because of 4's need to grow it makes it a great system for new players so long as someone stays up on the errata which is not all that hard to do.

Do I like SR4? Yes! Thankfully I found some pretty cool people to sit down with and play every couple of weeks. We all have the main book and we open them alot some games to make sure we get it right. Sometimes there have been issues and I tend to go home and write them up in a letter to Mr. Boyle who has been overwhelmingly helpfully in answering all our questions. Needless to say we have found SR4 to be a fun and entertaining system.

So in answer to your question should you play SR4? Yes. Is there alot of work to convert SR2 modules to SR4? Yes. Is it worth it? In my opinion no leave the past in the past just make up some of your own adventures and in time I am sure Fanpro is gonna pop some new modules out for you to use.

Now I hope that helped you out some if not then sorry for wasteing your time. Just remember with all things new there are good points and bad points depending on who you talk to so no matter what anyone says you may want to get SR4 sit down do some reading make some characters (best way to learn a new system in my opinion of course) and decide for yourself. No offence to anyone else here but untill you take the time to make some characters and play SR4 there is no real telling if you like the system or not. Hehe as mom always says try it you MIGHT like it. :wobble:
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blakkie
post Nov 14 2005, 10:51 PM
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I posted at the end of thread in the SR4 forum that was linked further up, but here is the gist of it.

For someone without the investment of having learned SR3 already, the choice between SR3 or SR4 is SR4. This isn't too surprising since that is who Fanpro seemed to be targeting the product at anyway.

For current, longtime SR3 players moving right now mostly comes down to whether the improvements in area of Vehicles and the Matrix are worth setting aside (or converting) anything in the SR3 supplement rules (R3, MitS, M&M, CC) that didn't make it into the SR4 BBB. IMO the time to learn new rules mostly offsets the other SR4 improvements as generally people that are still playing SR3 either like or tolerate those canon rules, or have [more often] heavily house-ruled SR3 to ease the pain.

P.S. Although some people have refered to SR4 as "dumbed down", such opinion seems largely based on some or all of the following:
1) The text of SR4's rules do not match SR3's complexity and bulk.
2) The rules in different parts of SR4 are much more similar to each other than in SR3, allowing more generalizing for easier memorization.
3) The falicy that simplistic rules means simplistic play.

I think a better characterization than "dumbed down" would be "masochism reduced". ;)
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Kyoto Kid
post Nov 14 2005, 11:48 PM
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This may come as a shock to some on this forum, but if you have been away from Shadowrun since version 2 you might be better off picking up on SR4 instead of SR3.

I have been slowly going through SR4 experimenting with the various game mechanics (Chargen, combat , magic & just moving into hacking) and yes I have found that many things are simpler than in SR3. This is not to say that simple is bad or "dumb" but in a sense more streamlined would be a better word. Features that I found were definite improvements were the shift to the build point system, including character Qualities (formerly edges & flaws), Initiation & metamagic, inclusion of some material from the SOTA supplements (like adept powers) and Bioware in the core book. Yes there will be forthcoming expansions for Magic, Cyber, Hacking (to include Matrix & Vehicle rigging), & Combat. but as mentioned above, the core book is fairly complete in itself when compared to SR3.

The book is (at least from my perspective) better constructed and laid out than previous editions. There is more background material which is presented at the beginning of several sections. The art is okay, the colour plates are pretty good (though they changed the weapon Specialist to an elf - the human gal in SR3 looked more like a true paramilitary type, but that is being very nitpicky). One of the best things, there is finally a useful index.

My only major contention is the "hard cap" on skills and on augmented attributes (this includes cyber, bio, magic and adept powers). Another downside is converting over older modules (particularly SR2 adventures) since the skill and attribute scale has been significantly changed and all the personalities would need major reworking. Also some adventures like "Brainscan" and "Super Tuesday" are pretty much moot since they are now part of SR4's history.

Eventually my group will be making the shift but only after the four supplements are released. and we are all in agreement on the rules.
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mfb
post Nov 15 2005, 12:15 AM
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QUOTE (blakkie)
For someone without the investment of having learned SR3 already, the choice between SR3 or SR4 is SR4.

not always true, though probably more often true than not in the XBox Age of pen-and-paper gaming. still, i'd like to believe there are some new gamers out there who appreciate interesting complexity and diversity over simplicity and blandness.
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Link
post Nov 15 2005, 12:21 AM
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QUOTE
Is the new SR4 simple enough for new players or otherwise better that SR2 enough to justify all the extra work?


Considering the investment you have in SR2, unless money and time are no object, I'd stick with SR2. It's as simple (or complicated) as D&D3 and ready to go, modules and all.
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tisoz
post Nov 15 2005, 07:06 AM
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QUOTE (blakkie)
For someone without the investment of having learned SR3 already, the choice between SR3 or SR4 is SR4. This isn't too surprising since that is who Fanpro seemed to be targeting the product at anyway.

However, the original poster knows SR2. The changes from SR2 to SR3 are minimal, and sometimes unnoticed (such as grounding).

The changes with magic, rigging, decking, and the wireless environment in SR4 make any previous module pretty much obsolete. Most PCs are suggested to be rebuilt using the new chargen system and then spending the karma they earned over their career. The conversion guide is for NPCs, which the GM was always free to adjust as they saw fit anyway.

I was one of the first people to get SR4, and after a couple days of letting it sink in after looking up all the answers to questions folks felt like asking, I have decided I don't care for it. Maybe a year from now when some more SR4 books are out, or if no one is playing SR3 I'll try it, but for now I am avoiding its sickly embrace.

It has also prompted me to actively buy discounted SR3 books and give them to friends and family to promote SR3.
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Cain
post Nov 15 2005, 08:13 AM
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SR4 isn't nearly as new-player friendly as it claims to be. The character creation section is a mess, and it's impossible for me to create a character in less than two hours. Some people on RPG.net claim that they can't pull it off in less than 4-5 hours.

If he's got 2nd, and is familiar with 2nd, then 3rd is the better bet. 2nd to 3rd was just an adjustment; 4th is a baby-and-bathwater type of situation. 4th has simpler rules explanations, but the rules aren't that much simpler, and actually seems to run a little *slower* in my test samples. Then again, I just picked up Savage Worlds, which makes everything else look like a slug with arthritis. 8)
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blakkie
post Nov 15 2005, 08:17 AM
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QUOTE (tisoz @ Nov 15 2005, 01:06 AM)
QUOTE (blakkie @ Nov 14 2005, 04:51 PM)
For someone without the investment of having learned SR3 already, the choice between SR3 or SR4 is SR4. This isn't too surprising since that is who Fanpro seemed to be targeting the product at anyway.

However, the original poster knows SR2. The changes from SR2 to SR3 are minimal, and sometimes unnoticed (such as grounding).


That can make it tougher having old crap floating in your head that's close, but not quite. It probably isn't too much of a factor though since....

QUOTE (juzzman)
I used to play some years ago, but havent touched it since....


The years of D&D will have rotted his mind...and given him cancer to boot. ;)

EDIT: Besides if he has the SR2 books i'm not sure why he'd bother dropping cash on SR3 books? Paying cash to stay behind "the curve"? The one possible reason is knowledge base for SR3 here. But there are a few current SR2 players here too. So the options he originally gave for sticking to SR2 or moving to SR4 seem fairly logical. Now SR2 vs. SR4 is a lot like SR3 vs. SR4, only he isn't really a currently playing SR2 (less knowledge investment, easier to learn SR4 because there is less unlearning of SR2). Also who will be playing with him, and if he has enough SR2 books in good enough shape to keep them going for a year or two, and if he and the players are ok with having the mulitple separate game systems for Matrix, Vehicles, Magic, and Combat within SR2.
QUOTE
The changes with magic, rigging, decking, and the wireless environment in SR4 make any previous module pretty much obsolete. Most PCs are suggested to be rebuilt using the new chargen system and then spending the karma they earned over their career. The conversion guide is for NPCs, which the GM was always free to adjust as they saw fit anyway.

Er. The wireles environment of SR4 is missing from those modules, yes. But SR4 VRs old-school matrix style too. Just drop the SR4 wireless except for direct communication with drones, direct communication with another commlink, and Matrix communication through a satelite/cell phone....which is pretty much keeping the wireless rules except for AR, Technomancers not needing a DJ or trodes, and the part about hacking park benches. ;)

Magic might be a bit dicey for non-Hermitic/non-Shamanic traditions till sometime around springish next year. You'd have to mock up some of their abilities like Possesion and the toxic stuff (the SR4 forum is drowned with temporary stopgap suggestions). But since that's mostly NPC the sketchness of specifics can hind safely behind the GM screen.

The rest you list are not so much an issue. Oddly the SR3-SR4 NPC conversion should actually work reasonably well with SR2 characters...if he was to go that route. The weapon skills are actually a closer fit than with SR3. :rotfl:
QUOTE
I was one of the first people to get SR4, and after a couple days of letting it sink in after looking up all the answers to questions folks felt like asking, I have decided I don't care for it. Maybe a year from now when some more SR4 books are out, or if no one is playing SR3 I'll try it, but for now I am avoiding its sickly embrace.

It has also prompted me to actively buy discounted SR3 books and give them to friends and family to promote SR3.


"Boy, when you pick a lost cause, you really commit." - Tim, Robots :notworthy:
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blakkie
post Nov 15 2005, 08:24 AM
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QUOTE (Cain @ Nov 15 2005, 02:13 AM)
SR4 isn't nearly as new-player friendly as it claims to be.  The character creation section is a mess, and it's impossible for me to create a character in less than two hours.  Some people on RPG.net claim that they can't pull it off in less than 4-5 hours.

Personally i can take days to create a character....in any system. :) I don't quite get the "mess" part about chargen? I found it not that bad at all to code it into a spread sheet (with no macros, formulas only).

If you are focused on what PC you want, or like to tweak here and there, there is help. I kinda wished that computer chargen programs and a computer to run it on could have been assumed for SR4. Then they could have just put a bit of effort into karma costs equivalents for....well cash and metahuman types i guess. Then the character generation would be even shorter because PC advancement would be creation.
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Ophis
post Nov 15 2005, 12:29 PM
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QUOTE (Cain)
SR4 isn't nearly as new-player friendly as it claims to be. The character creation section is a mess, and it's impossible for me to create a character in less than two hours. Some people on RPG.net claim that they can't pull it off in less than 4-5 hours.


are you reading the same book I am reading?

I actually find the charcter gen about the same. I took a player from unaware of the Shadowrun background too a complete character in about 3 hours, most of which was background discussion and deciding on concept. once concept is done it takes about 1 hour plus or minus a bit for equipment buying. I consider up to 2 hours reasonable fot character gen. I can only ask if the people taking 4-5 hours where trying to optimise their character, which if your learning a new system would take a while. A nice list of all the qualities would be nice, oh there it is is the table at the end of the chapter listing all the character design costs...

oh and to the OP. If your group is familiar with SR2 (not just you) I'd go with that but maybe use char gen from SR3. Otherwise go for SR4 as it is easier for players with out the book to learn.
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FrankTrollman
post Nov 15 2005, 06:55 PM
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SR4 is the most playable out of the basic book of any edition of Shadowrun except maybe First.

As to characters taking 4 hours to build... wha?

You have 28 points to distribute between your 8 attributes. Pick four 3s and four 4s, or four 2s and four 5s, or some combination.

You have 200 points to spend on race, special attributes, qualities, skills, contacts and equipment. Go nuts, most things cost multiples of 5, except skills, that you get 5 points of for 20 BP. All of that is on page 88 or page 111 except equipment.

Except for background and equipment, making a Shadowrun 4 character takes five to ten minutes. SR4 characters are teenage hitmen, and they really don't take a long time to make (unless they have a lot of James Bond gear).

-Frank
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Eyeless Blond
post Nov 15 2005, 07:45 PM
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QUOTE (FrankTrollman)
You have 28 points to distribute between your 8 attributes. Pick four 3s and four 4s, or four 2s and four 5s, or some combination.

Think you misspelled "20" there Frank. :)

And I agree, chargen in SR4 is pretty conceptually simple, especially since you have to little to work with and end up with so little in the end. My only gripe is that it would have taken about half a dozen words in the chargen section plus a little layout change, and they could have unified the chargen and advancement systems quickly and easily, and made the whole thing easier to swallow to boot. They could have even taken out most of the idiotic and nonsensical limiters on skills and attributes at chargen, too; it would simply be too costly to have a guy with three skills at 6 right oug the door, etc etc.
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FrankTrollman
post Nov 15 2005, 07:57 PM
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QUOTE (Eyeless Blond)
QUOTE (FrankTrollman @ Nov 15 2005, 10:55 AM)
You have 28 points to distribute between your 8 attributes. Pick four 3s and four 4s, or four 2s and four 5s, or some combination.

Think you misspelled "20" there Frank. :)

I'm counting the starting 1. Yu can think of it as adding 20 points to eight 1s or as putting 28 points in 8 piles. It doesn't end up mattering.

QUOTE (Eyeless Blond)
My only gripe is that it would have taken about half a dozen words in the chargen section plus a little layout change, and they could have unified the chargen and advancement systems quickly and easily, and made the whole thing easier to swallow to boot.


Agreed. Now that the Karma pool has been done away with, there's no need Karma and Build points to both exist. Some people I know like to play with giving out a fat stack of Karma at character creation to make their characters with, and other people I know give out Build Points at the conclusion of adventures. I don't know anyone who actually plays with both the build point and the karma system in the same game. And the reason for that is because they don't actually work well together and the game does not benefit from the inclusion of both.

-Frank
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Ophis
post Nov 16 2005, 10:53 AM
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I am with frank on this one. I think fanpro dropped the ball by keeping the karma system as is.

I use a build points system for xp. Though I call it karma coz I like the name.
I hope to see some guidelines on doing this sort of thing in a SR Companion type book in the future.
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juzzman
post Nov 16 2005, 08:41 PM
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Thanks for all the feedback, it is much appreciated.

Since i dont use player deckers/hackers (i found having to stop gameplay for most of the group whille spending time just with the decker too disruptive) and i can never get enyone interested in being a rigger, the changes to these systems are minimal for me. They are all covered by NPC's that bend to my will and serve the plot :-)

Magic would be an issue i guess, but i cant see any of my players getting too highly advanced for the first 6 months or so, mainly cause we dont get together that much, but also cause i try to aim for quality rather than quantity.

I find that the published adventures, lightly customised for my players, have in the past been an excellent way to go, because they keep me interested by not requiring huge amounts of preperation time, and are detailed enough to keep my players entertained as well. I have to minimise the number of double cross senarios though, that really grates after a while.

So i guess i'll get the SR4 book, run one of my firends throughh it, and see if it has a lessened learning curve, and if so i'll see how much work will be needed to convert a module over. Here's to hoping i'm smarter than i think i am :-)

I guess i'll have to foregoe bug city and a few more of the modules that became historical points of note though if i go SR4. Damn history progressing :-)

Juzzman
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Slacker
post Nov 16 2005, 09:00 PM
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QUOTE (juzzman)
Since i dont use player deckers/hackers (i found having to stop gameplay for most of the group whille spending time just with the decker too disruptive) and i can never get enyone interested in being a rigger, the changes to these systems are minimal for me. They are all covered by NPC's that bend to my will and serve the plot :-)

Well the greatest benefit of SR4 is that you don't have to stop gameplay for deckers/hackers. It flows quite easily right along with normal play.
In early editions I had done the same thing (NPC'ing riggers and deckers), but it fits so well within SR4 its been working out wonderfully to have a player hacker.
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Harlequins_Back
post Nov 17 2005, 08:37 PM
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QUOTE (FrankTrollman @ Nov 15 2005, 01:55 PM)
SR4 is the most playable out of the basic book of any edition of Shadowrun except maybe First.


I don't think so. Templated character systems are always faster and easier to use than point-based. Although you're right about some parts of it-- including otaku and initiation in the main book is a good step in the right direction for nSR to take, and in that way it's better than SR3. But when compared to other good games out there, including detailed advancement rules is just par for the course-- not anything special at all.
QUOTE

As to characters taking 4 hours to build... wha?

You have 28 points to distribute between your 8 attributes. Pick four 3s and four 4s, or four 2s and four 5s, or some combination.

You have 200 points to spend on race, special attributes, qualities, skills, contacts and equipment. Go nuts, most things cost multiples of 5, except skills, that you get 5 points of for 20 BP. All of that is on page 88 or page 111 except equipment.

Except for background and equipment, making a Shadowrun 4 character takes five to ten minutes. SR4 characters are teenage hitmen, and they really don't take a long time to make (unless they have a lot of James Bond gear).

-Frank

Sorry, but in over a dozen characters, I can't pull one off in less than four hours or so. For one thing, your point split for attributes only works if you're human-- if you're a dwarf or troll, with lowered maxes, the points get very complicated very quickly. Also, if you want to max out a single stat, your point basis doesn't work yet again-- and to make matters worse, since normal stats are 10 points a pop, and the max is 25, you effectively lose three attribute points for one. You're also assuming that someone wants to spend the max 200 points on attributes, which may or may not be the case-- and if someone takes an Exceptional Attribute edge, he has to go back and refigure everything.

Skills take nearly forever, especially if you want your character to actually be capable. Skill groups are a losing proposition unless you're tightly focused on just one-- and even then, you can't be better than mediocre at it, level 4 is the max for a group. What you end up with are a lot of level 3-4 skills, with almost no 1-2s and hardcapped 5's and 6's. So, you can't have someone who's really good in more than one or two areas, encouraging generic shadowrunners with one-trick pony abuses.

Exlcuding equipment and background, it's impossible to even read through the list of qualities in less than thirty minutes-- and having that huge long section plopped down smack dab in the middle of the chapter really disrupts smooth character generation. Once you've got everything memorized, you might be able to pull it off faster, using only the build point costs table-- but you still need to remember, off the top of your head, all the racial limits, attribute and skill caps, effects of edges/flaws, and so on and so forth. That's a pretty steep learning curve.

Character generation could have gone much faster if they had included a sidebar or a one-page step-by-step overview, that goes something like this: "Step one, select race and adjust attributes. Step two, assign qualities, there's a short list on page XX and a full listing at the end of the chapter. Step three, assign points..." etc, etc.

Savage Worlds, my new game of choice, manages to recap every single character creation rule in three pages, including one page each for short descriptions of every last edge and flaw. nWoD gives you a decently complete overview in just two pages. nSR says this-- "Here's 400 points, now play nice." :please: Any way you cut it, nSr has serious layout and presentation issues in the character creation chapter.

And yes, I can write an Excel spreadsheet to cover most of the complexities-- but why should I? Not everyone can do that, and not every gamer has a computer. If you need computer technology to pull off a character in less than four hours, the system is just too complicated. I have the exact same problem with GURPS and HERO system-- they're all just a mess to deal with. I know people who have the GURPS and HERO systems memorized so well, they can create characters without looking at a single page. However, if that's the standard needed for fast character creation, then the game is still too complicated-- you shouldn't be forced to memorize everything in order to create a character in a reasonable amount of time. And you still lose out-- you've spent days and days memorizing rules, so you can save an hour or two. Over the short term, it's definitely a losing proposition-- and over the long term, it's still an awful lot of effort for very little gain.
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