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> Hard Skill Limit, Is max rating 6 too low?
mdynna
post Jan 10 2006, 06:43 PM
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As I was reading through the SR4 rules, I generally liked them. I think its worth it to convert just for the updates to the Matrix, as Deckers (Hackers) can finally be a member of the group.

My biggest concern, however, is the "hard" limit of 6 on skills. Does anyone else think this seems really low? I mean, you can have a starting character with a (couple) skill rating 5. That means they are one point away from the *maximum it can ever be*. I could see this as a problem because a lot of characters won't have much to look forward to. Back in SR3, your "typical" Street Sam had an SMG and Pistols of 6. the main objective of running that character was working him/her up to be a "gun god" with ratings of 10+ in those skills. Now, in SR4 the standard SS has Automatics and Pistols 5, with Agility 5. A few runs later and they have 6 in all of those and... then what?

Do you think SR4 characters have as much room for improvement as SR3?
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mintcar
post Jan 10 2006, 07:00 PM
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There are a lot more skills now. I´ve only made characters with 300 BP, and the characters in my groups have skills of 1 maybe 2, rare cases 3. Look at the descriptions of different skillvalues. 2 is concidered enough for an uneducated professonal. With 400 points I´m guessing characters go up to 2 or 3 rare cases 4 in skills if they don´t insist on extremely high values and take all the skills they want. The hard cap makes it more important to curb inflation, but I like it.
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stevebugge
post Jan 10 2006, 07:36 PM
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Reading the quick conversion rules it's quite obvious that they really intended to reduce the numbers by about a third. 4 is the new 6, allowing a character to start with an attribute at 5 or 6 under SR4 would be equivalent to allowing someone to start with a single attribute at 8 or 9 or two at 7. Same with skills, keep in mind that power level now a 6 is equivalent to 8 or 9 and the skill cap doesn't seem so bad.
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Gothic Rose
post Jan 10 2006, 07:36 PM
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QUOTE (mdynna)
As I was reading through the SR4 rules, I generally liked them. I think its worth it to convert just for the updates to the Matrix, as Deckers (Hackers) can finally be a member of the group.

My biggest concern, however, is the "hard" limit of 6 on skills. Does anyone else think this seems really low? I mean, you can have a starting character with a (couple) skill rating 5. That means they are one point away from the *maximum it can ever be*. I could see this as a problem because a lot of characters won't have much to look forward to. Back in SR3, your "typical" Street Sam had an SMG and Pistols of 6. the main objective of running that character was working him/her up to be a "gun god" with ratings of 10+ in those skills. Now, in SR4 the standard SS has Automatics and Pistols 5, with Agility 5. A few runs later and they have 6 in all of those and... then what?

Do you think SR4 characters have as much room for improvement as SR3?

The room for improvement is there, it's just changed now.

Awakened Characters are the Specialists of the Sixth World. A Gun-Fu Adept is absolutely amazing at shooting, a combat mage rocks combat with magic. They continue getting better and better and better in their specializations, and never really stop.

Augmented Characters (and Unaugmented) are the Jacks of All Trades. They hit a Hard Cap with skills very quickly, so, instead of tossing their karma into upping a single attribute many times (i.e., Magic, or Resonance), they up their skills, and when they cap, they up a new skill - the line between a Street Samurai, a Rigger, and a Hacker is very thin - ultimately, a cybered character may very well end up being a combat badass hacking nightmare with an army of 30 Steel Lynxes at his beck and call.

Magical Characters and Technomancers get really good with their shtick. Unawakened get good with many things.
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Guest_MK Ultra_*
post Jan 10 2006, 07:46 PM
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I like it, too. Whithout insulting anyone, gaming style depends after all, in my groups skills of 10+ would be real munchkin, it was rare even for very long term charakters, to have even 8. Thet being said, you have to take into acount, the change rate for Att & Skills from SR3 to SR4 is 3:2, so a 6 in SR4 would equal a 9 in SR3 and 7 (with aptitude) would be 10 in SR3. I think the hard cap willlead to more well rounded and realistic longterm characters, which is a good thing IMHO. It represents the real world better, to, when you´ve mastered one skill, branch out and learn others, not just go on forever with one specialisation like in Dragonball GTZ.
But then, it all depents on what gamingstyle you prefer, if you like a higly cinematic, action and dice laden game, just go for it and have fun. I wont think bad of you. One of my players would like to just go on specialising with most of his characters. But since he wont gm ever :S , he´s got to play in my world ;)
Sure, the players do influence the setting much, but most of the others are not this munchkinized either.
My flavor is more to the low and midpower gaming, so the hard cap sits well with me. Also, if you only have so much time to play, you non the less get the setisfaction of mastering your chosen specialization.
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Azralon
post Jan 10 2006, 08:03 PM
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QUOTE (mdynna)
Do you think SR4 characters have as much room for improvement as SR3?

The very existence of skill caps answers the question. No, there is not as much room for improvement in SR4 as there was in SR3.

.... And this is the part where I get characteristically preachy:

Every one of your skills is capped during character generation at a 4, with the exceptions of either two (ungrouped) skills at 5 or one (ungrouped) skill at 6. This means that you're completely entitled to be world-class in one skill, but presumably that's the core of your character so it's okay.

You can still get a step of improvement out of that 6, though, because you can buy the Aptitude quality. It costs 10 BPs in chargen or 20 karma after. That's a hefty expense, and all it does is entitle you a little more room to grow by raising that skill cap to a 7. You'd still need to spend 28 karma to raise an active or combat skill to that new level.

Then, if you're so inclined, you can look into Reflex Recorder (and/or Improved Ability). That's even more expense, either in money or (in the case of the adept) karma.

But sticking to just normal-people skills, it's a whopping 48 karma to go from a non-Aptitude 6 to an Aptitude-enabled 7. It'll take you a good chunk of time to earn that much karma (unless your GM is silly). Such is the nature of "diminishing returns advancement," which is common in many RPGs.

So your signature skill is capped and specialized (for another 2 karma); what about its linked attribute? Did you cap that yet? You can't be the world's best race car driver with a Reaction of 3. Oh, and don't forget about maxing out your Edge to make sure all those dice get to really count.

Then there are the other skills and attributes out there that need attention now and then.

~~~~~

So, yeah, there isn't as much room for improvement in SR4 compared to the theoretically-infinite range some of us are used to. But my position is "There's enough room to keep me working at it for a long, long time."
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Kerberos
post Jan 10 2006, 08:15 PM
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QUOTE (Gothic Rose)
QUOTE (mdynna @ Jan 10 2006, 01:43 PM)
As I was reading through the SR4 rules, I generally liked them.  I think its worth it to convert just for the updates to the Matrix, as Deckers (Hackers) can finally be a member of the group. 

My biggest concern, however, is the "hard" limit of 6 on skills.  Does anyone else think this seems really low?  I mean, you can have a starting character with a (couple) skill rating 5.  That means they are one point away from the *maximum it can ever be*.  I could see this as a problem because a lot of characters won't have much to look forward to.  Back in SR3, your "typical" Street Sam had an SMG and Pistols of 6.  the main objective of running that character was working him/her up to be a "gun god" with ratings of 10+ in those skills.  Now, in SR4 the standard SS has Automatics and Pistols 5, with Agility 5.  A few runs later and they have 6 in all of those and... then what?

Do you think SR4 characters have as much room for improvement as SR3?

The room for improvement is there, it's just changed now.

Awakened Characters are the Specialists of the Sixth World. A Gun-Fu Adept is absolutely amazing at shooting, a combat mage rocks combat with magic. They continue getting better and better and better in their specializations, and never really stop.

Augmented Characters (and Unaugmented) are the Jacks of All Trades. They hit a Hard Cap with skills very quickly, so, instead of tossing their karma into upping a single attribute many times (i.e., Magic, or Resonance), they up their skills, and when they cap, they up a new skill - the line between a Street Samurai, a Rigger, and a Hacker is very thin - ultimately, a cybered character may very well end up being a combat badass hacking nightmare with an army of 30 Steel Lynxes at his beck and call.

Magical Characters and Technomancers get really good with their shtick. Unawakened get good with many things.

Are awakened characters really significantly better at what they specialize in? An adept can get 3 extra ranks with improved ability sure, but it seems to me that it's very easy for a samurai to boost agility and reaction to 9 with cyber/bioware, while for an adept raising stats is extremely expensive. Ad a reflex recorder and the Samurai should have as many dice as the Adept with his weapon of choice. Unless of course the adept uses augmentation too, which I suppose it possible.
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Azralon
post Jan 10 2006, 09:05 PM
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QUOTE (Kerberos @ Jan 10 2006, 04:15 PM)
Are awakened characters really significantly better at what they specialize in? An adept can get 3 extra ranks with improved ability sure, but it seems to me that it's very easy for a samurai to boost agility and reaction to 9 with cyber/bioware, while for an adept raising stats is extremely expensive. Ad a reflex recorder and the Samurai should have as many dice as the Adept with his weapon of choice. Unless of course the adept uses augmentation too, which I suppose it possible.

... It's almost as if the system is intended to be thematically diverse and yet relatively balanced. 8)

EDIT: Note my word shift from "designed" to "intended."
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Kerberos
post Jan 10 2006, 09:09 PM
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QUOTE (Azralon @ Jan 10 2006, 04:05 PM)

... It's almost as if the system is designed to be thematically diverse and yet relatively balanced.  8)

The question is whether it is balanced, I might be missing something, but it seems to me that Samurai gets greater width, without being significantly worse at what they specialize in, which would make them all around better than Adepts.
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mintcar
post Jan 10 2006, 09:21 PM
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The oposit has been claimed before. It will take much more testing to be sure.
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Kerberos
post Jan 10 2006, 09:52 PM
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QUOTE (mintcar @ Jan 10 2006, 04:21 PM)
The oposit has been claimed before. It will take much more testing to be sure.

But what's the reasons given for claiming the opposite. I'm very new to the game, so it's entirely possible I'm missing something, but in that case I'd like to know what it is. An adept power such as Improved physical ability seems particularly useless, since I can see no reason to use 1 magic point, 2 if it's above the racial maximum, when you can pay less than 10.000 and 0,2-0,3 essence for the same from cyberware.

ETA: Except for body which IIRC can't be boosted with implants.
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Ryu
post Jan 10 2006, 09:59 PM
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Any character always had the choice of specialization vs. a broader skillset. You can now get very close to the theoretical limit right out of the gates of character generation. So what? It was never a good plan for "character" advancement to put all karma in one skill, even if Firearms, Sorcery and Computers made that an efficient choice for quite a few skill-levels.

What do you want to play? Start out as the best and you stay the best, want to become the best, stay below. Start professional (Level 4). 3 Skill Levels and one positive quality to go. Consider secondary skills and knowledge skills that pop up along your path to power. Consider attributes (My sammie needs 70kp on those alone, thats several months of playing!)
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mfb
post Jan 10 2006, 10:11 PM
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QUOTE (Ryu)
What do you want to play? Start out as the best and you stay the best, want to become the best, stay below.

that's a fine answer if you only view the game mechanics as a make-do vehicle for roleplaying--which is a valid choice. however, it's just as valid a choice to view the game mechanics as a game. a game where you have to intentionally handicap yourself so that it's actually possible to challenge you (instead of just walking over any opposition) isn't much of a game. that's one reason many of use are displeased with SR4; it doesn't support players and GMs who prefer to use hard rules--who enjoy the game portion of roleplaying games as much as the roleplaying portion.
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ThatSzechuan
post Jan 10 2006, 10:18 PM
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QUOTE (Kerberos)
QUOTE (mintcar @ Jan 10 2006, 04:21 PM)
The oposit has been claimed before. It will take much more testing to be sure.

But what's the reasons given for claiming the opposite. I'm very new to the game, so it's entirely possible I'm missing something, but in that case I'd like to know what it is. An adept power such as Improved physical ability seems particularly useless, since I can see no reason to use 1 magic point, 2 if it's above the racial maximum, when you can pay less than 10.000 and 0,2-0,3 essence for the same from cyberware.

ETA: Except for body which IIRC can't be boosted with implants.

Well, SR3 operated differently and improved ability let adepts positively shine at their chosen field of expertise.

In SR4, improved ability has been put on a tighter leash, but take special note of the adept powers that add to pools rather than skills. Both Kinesics and Combat Reflexes, for example, are only limited by your magic attribute and the karma you expend to raise it, making an adept better at social tests and dodging/surprise tests, in the long run, than a samurai or face.
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Guest_MK Ultra_*
post Jan 10 2006, 10:24 PM
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Why are sammies good in social tests and faces good in dodging? :wobble:

I agree with you ThatSzechuan. Adept means Specialist, so they shuld be abled to boost a small field to extraordinary levels, while being less versatile. Because, they won´t opt for many cybertoys and can´t spare the karma to get all the skills, needing it for the one skill and the magic that boosts it.
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emo samurai
post Jan 10 2006, 10:33 PM
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There's the improved skill adept power; does that have much of a cap, or is it limited only by one's magic rating, too? And kinesics is great; once you have good skills and charisma, you can basically mind control Damien Knight into giving you his shares in Ares by shaking his hand; as far as I can see, there is NO good way to boost your willpower dice pools to counteract it.

Oh, and maybe you could have the extroadinary skill thing break the skill limit instead of raising it by 1.
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Guest_MK Ultra_*
post Jan 10 2006, 10:39 PM
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The max for skill boost is actual skill level/2.

Well you might not get his shares, but you sure can raise hell with this kind of social skill pools. You´d have a "Dead not alive, and shoot first don´t bother about talking"-contract on your head real soon, if you are abusing this to blatently.
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Azralon
post Jan 10 2006, 10:40 PM
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No adept power can have a rating higher than the adept's Magic, as well.
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mdynna
post Jan 10 2006, 11:01 PM
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I totally agree. Voluntarily capping your character just so they have room for advancement in the future means that the system is broken. I've run through the character creation process a few times now and every time I make a Street Sam/Gun Guy I end up *looking* for things to spend BP on. Why should the player *have* to take Automatics at 3 if they can put it at 5? I don't consider this "munching", its just making your character good at what they do. In SR3 who didn't have a Decker with a Computer of 6? Or a Sammie with an SMG 6? Or a Mage with Sorcery 6? Now in SR4 there are some cases where there are more skills: Magic and Hacking come to mind. There are 3 or 4 skills in those areas where characters should be really good. On the other side of the coin is "gun guys". SMGs, Assualt Rifles, and Machine Pistols got merged into "Automatics". So your average Sammie has less skills in their area of expertice.

In the end, though, there's an easy fix: after character creation, eliminate the skill limits. Maybe you double the karma cost for above 6 (or above related attrib) but other than that, let them advance away.
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Gothic Rose
post Jan 10 2006, 11:01 PM
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QUOTE (Azralon)
No adept power can have a rating higher than the adept's Magic, as well.

Oh. Damn. I can only Add +5 dice to my Reaction Pool for surprise and defense tests!

When you take an experienced adept vs. an experienced Street Sam, the Adept wins in his chosen field, because he -has- to specialize. Adepts get to be really, really good at 1 or 2 things.

Street Sams get to be good at 20 things.
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Grinder
post Jan 10 2006, 11:14 PM
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I don't like the skill cap at all, but haven't been able to test it (haven't run a longer campaign of SR4). I'll use it at first, but when i don'T feel comfortable with it, i'll drop the rule eventually.
In SR3 we didn't have a skill cap at all, but only a few chars had skills above 7 - and if so, only one or two skills. Most had enough other fields to sepnd karma or/and wanted to have more skills at 5 or 6 then being a one-trick-pony for any long.
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Azralon
post Jan 11 2006, 12:08 AM
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QUOTE (Gothic Rose)
QUOTE (Azralon @ Jan 10 2006, 05:40 PM)
No adept power can have a rating higher than the adept's Magic, as well.

Oh. Damn. I can only Add +5 dice to my Reaction Pool for surprise and defense tests!

When you take an experienced adept vs. an experienced Street Sam, the Adept wins in his chosen field, because he -has- to specialize. Adepts get to be really, really good at 1 or 2 things.

Street Sams get to be good at 20 things.

Yep.
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mintcar
post Jan 11 2006, 12:13 AM
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Really. Try doing this: Make starting characters with 300BP and allow for 200BP attributes. This creates starting characters that makes sense according to the descriptions of attribute- and skill values. When it comes to attributes, 2 is concidered sub-par. When it comes to skills, you are actually initiated in the area. Sure, you are just as sub-par compaired to other practitioners. But you are highly superior to the average person that never did it, whatever it is. That´s the difference. Realisticly by the skill descriptions, starting characters shouldn´t have more than 1 or 2 in most skills.

If you want to skip the gutter-punk stage, 400BP is propably good for professional shadowrunners. In that case I can surely agree that a strict, old fasioned street samurai does have far to easy a time to max out their potential. If they´re willing to focus on just a few weapons and don´t want to do any break ins, healing, driving, gun-smithing on the side, they can have a hard time finding places to spend the points. If you want to hack or do magic you have so many skills to think of that you´ll propably have to worry about completing your selection with Karma, rather than improving your main skill. Street samurai will have to use their freedom from BP/Karma sinks like magic and hacking for something. Magicans have 8 special skills, hackers have 7 or 8 not sure, then they have to be able to survive in combat reasonably too. What do you propose should be equally obligatory skills for street sam? No, the good thing with that character type is the simplicity that lets you do what you want after making yourself sufficiently bad-ass. Get a hobby you killer-nerds! :P
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MaxMahem
post Jan 11 2006, 01:17 AM
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In my experience a skill rating of 6 is a fine hardlimit for characters. A character with a 6 in a skill and a 6 (or possibly more) in it's linked attribute has 12 dice in his pool. That gives him a good chance of success even at extremely difficult tasks, which have a Threshold of 4.
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Glyph
post Jan 11 2006, 07:57 AM
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Like BeCKS (which it seems to heavily borrow from), the SR4 character generation system makes starting out maxed out in one area possible, but disproportionately expensive. Why spend 18 build points (Aptitude plus double the normal cost for a point) to go from 6 to 7 in a skill, when you could add a new skill of 4 with a specialization instead? I'm still experimenting with the rules, but I have roughed out some characters. I will often start out maxing out something, then dropping it back down, because there are other useful things that I can add to the character more cost-effectively. With half of your points usually being spent on Attributes, and with so many useful skills, it's tempting to be more of a generalist - and I tended to gravitate more towards specialists in SR3.

But I still think that the skill maximum should not be something you can get at the very start of the game. You should be able to improve vertically as well as horizontally! And subsequent character advancement can lead to an unrealistic number of paragons - people who are nearly the best there is at lots of skills.
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