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> Skill and Attribute Degradation, Can't do what I used to...
Apathy
post Mar 31 2006, 09:21 PM
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Most people I know over 30 (myself included) will admit that they've let themselves slide over the years - you've only got so much time and energy (karma) to spend on building up our skills, so we focus on those that get us a better salary. Over the past 10 years, I've probably gone from strength 5 body 4 agility 4, to strength 4 body 3 agility 2.

In SR, though, there's no mechanism to model this decline. Should there be?

[edit]This originally started bothering me back when I made NPC templates for a Mech Infantry company. Theoretically, everybody started out as a private and/or second lieutenant, back when they were young and vital. Then as they got more karma, they sunk it into stuff like Gunnery, or Small Unit Tactics, or Op Sec. But this created the unrealistic video game 'big boss' scenario, where the general was actually physically tougher than the young private. Just didn't make sense to me.

Having to spend karma to avoid back-sliding in skills and/or attributes might be more realistic, but would it suck all the fun out of the game, or just force high-karma characters to make harder choices?
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Backgammon
post Mar 31 2006, 09:55 PM
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This is something I've considered before, actually when I first starting playing SR. I had basic rules where a char with X Body had to spend Y time working out, or he faced atrophy, or had to spend karma.

In the end, yes, it's too heavy and not really fun. I suggest you merely indicate to your players that when in downtime, they integrate some sort of "work" out for their character in a purely roleplay sort of way. e.g. characters with high intelligence (err, logic) spend a lot of time reading or meditating, and high physical stat chars jog, go to the gym, perform sports, etc.

Making hard rules for it has not been worthwhile in my experienceť
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Jhaiisiin
post Mar 31 2006, 10:04 PM
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I can see in groups that have characters that last a couple decades, it'd matter. But the unfortunate part of SR is that your character is in an extremely dangerous line of work. Unless your very good or very lucky, you usually don't get to the point of losing attribute points. You're long since dead by that point. You could also rationalize that because of the extra danger posed by this job, that runners stay in absolutely peak shape just to survive their everyday life. Slip from the razor edge of skill and you might find yourself down and bleeding.

Aging could easily decrease your physical abilities over time, but help give you a bonus to mental abilities (that old, wise retired colonel type who can captivate you with his words). If you want to play an exceptionally young character (why??), you could even give negatives across the board, simply because as a kid, you're not as strong, not as tough, but also no where near as bright. I doubt anyone would ever play a child, nor a middle aged+ person, but if you really wanted to, you could set up a quick age scale like so:

Assuming human, with maximum lifespan of 120yrs (not impossible, given people today live beyond 100yrs with some measurable frequency)

Up to 30yrs: Normal Stats
30-50yrs: -1 Str, Agi, Reac, Bod, +1 Cha, Int, Log, Will
51-70yrs: -2 Str, Agi, Reac, Bod, +1 Cha, Int, Log, Will
70+yrs: -3 Str, Agi, Reac, Bod, +1 Cha, Int, Log, Will
These bonus/negatives would be cumilative. So at 70+ on a human, you'd be looking at a total -6 (minimum 1) to all your physical stats, and +3 to your mental stats. Old age sucks, chummer.

For the other races, we'll need appropriate maximum ages (NOT including immortal elves), and adjust the scale to each race.

EDIT: With skills, you just have to practice them. Though you could always rule if X character never uses con, after Y number of game sessions, they lose a point because they are forgetting the nuances they learned. Just a thought, and would prevent players from completely relying on others to do the skills.
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neko128
post Mar 31 2006, 10:16 PM
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-6 to physical stats seems waaaay over the top, to me. My grandfather, for example, was a policeman and soccer player; fit, but not built or anything. However, now that he's 74, he's still above-average strength; he's not weak and feeble like your rules would imply.

In fact, with medical science as advanced as it is in 2070, I'd say that the "-6" mark should be more like 120 for humans.
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Jhaiisiin
post Mar 31 2006, 10:21 PM
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Fair enough. I'd been converting a D20 aging ruleset, given SR has never had one. I think you're right though, it is a bit rough, esp with a 1-6 system. Hmm.... Okay, revamping it.

Up to 30yrs: Normal Stats
30-55yrs: -1 Str, Agi, Reac, Bod, +1 Cha, Int, Log, Will
56-80yrs: -2 Str, Agi, Reac, Bod, +1 Cha, Int, Log, Will
80+yrs: -3 Str, Agi, Reac, Bod, +2 Cha, Int, Log, Will
Bonuses are NOT cumilative.

I know the body degrades faster than the mind increases, so hopefully that still works.
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James McMurray
post Mar 31 2006, 11:06 PM
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I don't like the idea of mental stats automatically increasing as age increases (especially into the years when people generally tend to lose mental faculties).
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Kremlin KOA
post Mar 31 2006, 11:12 PM
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sorry, makes no sense

in 95 the world's fittest man was a 70 year old Marine seargent

my grandfather at 72 could beat 19 year olds at Aussie rules football... which is rougher than american style

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GrinderTheTroll
post Mar 31 2006, 11:46 PM
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QUOTE (Apathy)
Most people I know over 30 (myself included) will admit that they've let themselves slide over the years - you've only got so much time and energy (karma) to spend on building up our skills, so we focus on those that get us a better salary. Over the past 10 years, I've probably gone from strength 5 body 4 agility 4, to strength 4 body 3 agility 2.

In SR, though, there's no mechanism to model this decline. Should there be?

[edit]This originally started bothering me back when I made NPC templates for a Mech Infantry company. Theoretically, everybody started out as a private and/or second lieutenant, back when they were young and vital. Then as they got more karma, they sunk it into stuff like Gunnery, or Small Unit Tactics, or Op Sec. But this created the unrealistic video game 'big boss' scenario, where the general was actually physically tougher than the young private. Just didn't make sense to me.

Having to spend karma to avoid back-sliding in skills and/or attributes might be more realistic, but would it suck all the fun out of the game, or just force high-karma characters to make harder choices?

If you and your players enjoy this level of detail then go ahead.

I'd only consider something like this if a character had retired and wanted to return. It'd be an interesting story hook about "the return of Runner X!!" but I don't see it needing hard-and-fast rules.
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ronin3338
post Apr 1 2006, 12:34 AM
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I'm with Grinder. Go with the character concept... If he's older and hasn't been working out, lower some physical stats; if he hasn't shot his pistol in 6 years, lower that skill, if he's an avid chess player, raise his mental stats...
Remember, the PCs are not "normal" and should continue to have higher stats than Joe Average, even in old age, barring bizarre accidents or complete refutation of the runner's lifestyle.
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Shrike30
post Apr 1 2006, 12:39 AM
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And remember that Leonization can make an old person young again, so age (for the rich, at least) post-2052 or so really isn't quite as important...
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ronin3338
post Apr 1 2006, 02:16 AM
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Ah yes, injecting yourself with liquified reruns of the Thundercats to keep yourself young... forgot about that ;)
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Jhaiisiin
post Apr 1 2006, 03:48 AM
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Granted, there are exceptions to every rule, such as that 70 year old marine. But that's not the rule. Pool every 70 year old, and I'd wager that a lot of them are more intelligent, wiser and in some cases more charismatic than your average 30 year old, hence the ideas behind the increases. If you get afflicted with some debilitating brain disease, such as alzheimers, that works against the system, and starts dawning negatives. Same with a stroke, or brain injury, or parkinsons, or any number of other diseases that aren't considered part of the control norm. If you want to make it that real, then you'll want to start making up stats, treatments and final status of any given disease/affliction you wish to apply. He was asking for a general rule, I provided one. *shrug*
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Teulisch
post Apr 1 2006, 04:10 AM
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lets also remember how metatype affects aging. if you play a game that will last long enough for age to be a serious consideration, then elves and dwarves are gonna end up far more powerfull than orcs and trolls. and if you know your making an 'old' character, you will have fewer of the goblins, and more of the UGE... even spike babys.
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Cain
post Apr 1 2006, 06:17 AM
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Neko mentioned something that seems to be getting glossed over. Medical science in 2070 is a lot better than it is now; and nowadays, it's not at all uncommon to see very spry 75 year olds. I don't think coming up with complicated degradation rules are necessary; we can simply say that routine medical care is helping them stay at peak. And that way, we don't need to artifically jack up the mental stats; we can represent that by spending karma.
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Voran
post Apr 2 2006, 10:16 AM
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My Sr4 stuff comes in about a week. But I was thinking, at least for a runner who's gone the bioware/cyber route, they'd be more in danger of losing their tech edge, than getting negatively affected by age categories.

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Eryk the Red
post Apr 2 2006, 03:23 PM
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I do have an idea for a simpler rule. It doesn't so much represent aging specifically, so much as the problem of "keeping your edge". You simply assume that any maxed out Attribute or Skill (except special Attributes, probably) runs the risk of degrading. Characters are required to spend a point of Karma at some regular interval (end of every run, every two weeks, whatever suits you) to maintain that rating. If they choose not to pay, the rating goes down by one point. Clean, simple, and promotes diversity in Karma expenditure.
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GrinderTheTroll
post Apr 3 2006, 07:15 AM
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Older cyberware would (eventually) be subject to SOTA but those types of rules don't exist in SR4 yet. Newer models (of cyberware) would be cheaper, faster and more reliable than the "older" versions.

I've never had runners out-of-loop so long their cyber became obsolete, since it is so prevailant, they can get it replaced if they really wanted to keep the edge.
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James McMurray
post Apr 3 2006, 09:19 AM
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I've never actually had a (Shadowrun) campaign last long enough that age would become a factor for the characters, even if they'd started out 60 years old.

Aging rules to me have always been a bit too open to abuse by min-maxers.
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GrinderTheTroll
post Apr 3 2006, 05:26 PM
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QUOTE (James McMurray)
I've never actually had a (Shadowrun) campaign last long enough that age would become a factor for the characters, even if they'd started out 60 years old.

Aging rules to me have always been a bit too open to abuse by min-maxers.

Oh yeah, I remember cracking open a AD&D DM Guide and seeing that "venerable" players get a +1 INT for age, so I instantly made an older character to get my cool bonus, lol.
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Eryk the Red
post Apr 3 2006, 10:54 PM
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The problem with aging rules generally is that they always assume "Older = Weaker but Smarter". I've met stupid old people. Not senile. Just dumb. And my grandfather is in way better shape than me. The most aging rules should do is make it more difficult to maintain/improve physical characteristics. So, in SR terms, that 70 year old man might have Strength 5, but he pays through the nose in Karma for it.
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Apathy
post Apr 4 2006, 02:00 PM
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My original question was more about atrophy than aging. Though there have been real physiological changes that happen as I get older, the biggest reason I've gotten out of shape is because I don't make exercise a priority like I used to.

In real life anybody who has an attribute or skill at 6 (best in the world) can only keep it that high by spending a significant portion of every week honing those skills. Michael Jordan's still awesome, but I believe most people would agree with me if I said he's no longer at the top of his game.

That said, I think I have to grudingly agree that this is one of those situations where realism != fun, and I should just drop it. Most runners don't survive in the biz long enough for it to be a factor anyway.
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GrinderTheTroll
post Apr 4 2006, 05:01 PM
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QUOTE (Apathy)
My original question was more about atrophy than aging. Though there have been real physiological changes that happen as I get older, the biggest reason I've gotten out of shape is because I don't make exercise a priority like I used to.

In real life anybody who has an attribute or skill at 6 (best in the world) can only keep it that high by spending a significant portion of every week honing those skills. Michael Jordan's still awesome, but I believe most people would agree with me if I said he's no longer at the top of his game.

That said, I think I have to grudingly agree that this is one of those situations where realism != fun, and I should just drop it. Most runners don't survive in the biz long enough for it to be a factor anyway.

Please excuse my philosophic vomit ahead of time! :D

It's funny, when I played as younger player my stories and plots didn't have all the details and trappings of real-life.

For example, as a youth, my Goblin camps consisted of tents and weapons piles.

As an adult, I oddly have to make the camp logistically sound so they come complete with a "mess hall", latreens and even consider "why would they even have a camp here?", "how well defended is the camp?", etc.

Oddly, I find that as an adult I consistantly want to steep my plots to make them "more realistic". Although i find some satisfaction in my ability to model what a "real" Goblin camp might look like, I am putting forth a constant effort to "let go" of having to "keep it real" and just have fun with it.

So although I can see your logic with aging and atrophied players, I just wonder if in the end is it all worth it? Did both you and your players have fun? Is Run-X,-Y or -Z rememberable or will it just blur?

/steps off the soapbox.
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Apathy
post Apr 4 2006, 05:15 PM
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QUOTE (GrinderTheTroll)
So although I can see your logic with aging and atrophied players, I just wonder if in the end is it all worth it?  Did both you and your players have fun?  Is Run-X,-Y or -Z rememberable or will it just blur?

[confused] Thought I already said more or less the same thing.
QUOTE (Apathy)
That said, I think I have to grudingly agree that this is one of those situations where realism != fun, and I should just drop it.

Did like your analogy to the Goblin camp, though. I go through the same stuff. Most of the painful detail thrown into this sort of thing happens behind the scenes and the players are never aware of it... Unfortunately, it's all just a theoretical exercise now anyway, since I no longer have a gaming group. :(
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GrinderTheTroll
post Apr 4 2006, 05:18 PM
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QUOTE (Apathy)
QUOTE (GrinderTheTroll)
So although I can see your logic with aging and atrophied players, I just wonder if in the end is it all worth it?  Did both you and your players have fun?  Is Run-X,-Y or -Z rememberable or will it just blur?

[confused] Thought I already said more or less the same thing.
QUOTE (Apathy)
That said, I think I have to grudingly agree that this is one of those situations where realism != fun, and I should just drop it.

Did like your analogy to the Goblin camp, though. I go through the same stuff. Most of the painful detail thrown into this sort of thing happens behind the scenes and the players are never aware of it... Unfortunately, it's all just a theoretical exercise now anyway, since I no longer have a gaming group. :(

Too much caffine and a light work load today for me. :wobble:
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