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> Running SR4 for the first time, What do I need to know?
The_Dood
post Oct 11 2006, 01:41 AM
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I'm GMing my first game of SR4 for experienced SR3 players and new players alike this weekend. From your experience what do I need to know well? What things come up so often that I should already be familiar with that part of the rules?
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BookWyrm
post Oct 11 2006, 01:44 AM
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Have your books & dice at the ready.
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Konsaki
post Oct 11 2006, 01:54 AM
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The biggest change would be the matrix, but a majority of the players wont see much of a change except for the equipment. Once they have their equipment, most players are good. Hackers and TMs will see the most change out of the matrix. I reccomend that you dont have any TMs untill you get the matrix and other systems down first, TMs are quirky to say the least.

The majority of the players will see more of the change in Combat due to everyone using it. So make sure to figure out the combat rules. No more combat pool, they use attribute + skill.
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dabigz732
post Oct 11 2006, 05:22 AM
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One thing to remember is keep track of what equipment is wireless (and accesable) and what isn't. If someone foolishly leaves a commlink unprotected they can give away a LOT of information. Nothing like getting a call from your mafia contact asking why lonestar says you gave them their address and contact info.

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kzt
post Oct 11 2006, 05:30 AM
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That bit that max successes in a spell (not net successes, but total max) is equal to force is easy to miss (P174). As is the significant fact that magic now also takes visibility modifiers (p173).
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Ryu
post Oct 11 2006, 06:33 AM
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You need to unterstand the consequences of the wireless matrix.

Knowing each and every rule is not important, but certain basics constantly into play. We also found that certain programs are near-mandatory for any runner, not just for hackers. Turning to hidden mode ain´t exactly helpful if you do it raw. Encryption is your friend too. As is an agent loaded with an attack program for those script kiddie attacks.

Tell them something like "no matrix problems for the first three runs, just learning". And introduce it slowly.
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kzt
post Oct 11 2006, 06:40 AM
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QUOTE (Ryu)
Tell them something like "no matrix problems for the first three runs, just learning". And introduce it slowly.

Or do the NPC hacker bit, where you just give them the data they should be able to obtain or open the doors, etc. In SR4 it's easy for a hacker to also have the skills to also do other things, so you could just have them do the other things until the combat and magic stuff is fully under control.
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Ryu
post Oct 11 2006, 09:58 AM
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Thats what we did, but I won´t recommend it. The new matrix is integral to everyday life, and we had our problems when we introduced it later.

Tell your players from the get-go what kind of comlink setup they would need in any location. Just ignore the times they are not properly equipped. Give them time to adapt. They´ll get into it much faster if they grasp the basics while they learn the combat and magic rules.
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Kyoto Kid
post Oct 11 2006, 03:24 PM
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...and warn your players about the Uneducated quality. This one seriously impacts their ability to function in the wireless world. If they do take it, make sure they have Hacker contact with at least a 4 - 5 loyalty.

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GrinderTheTroll
post Oct 11 2006, 05:53 PM
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QUOTE (The_Dood)
I'm GMing my first game of SR4 for experienced SR3 players and new players alike this weekend. From your experience what do I need to know well? What things come up so often that I should already be familiar with that part of the rules?

An all Target Numbers are 5 or 6. No more pools. All tests are Attribute+Skill.

Keeping this in mind will help resolve unknowns. Filter in the extra details as you get more comfortable.
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knasser
post Oct 11 2006, 07:26 PM
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The power level has changed. If characters aren't created yet, it might be worth making a little speech beforehand. SR3 players will be used to starting off with highly competent professionals. That ain't going to happen with a standard 400BP SR4 build. Also make them aware that 3 in a skill is respectable and a 5 is pretty awesome. Even magic is adjusted - a mage starting with magic 4 is viable (not 'wow' but realistic). This may not seem big to you but if you're new to the system, you wont realise what a change all this is. Tell your mage players not to be ashamed of their Force 4 Earth Elemental. Seriously!

Related to this, get a feel for thresholds. You'll be able to work out which Attribute + Skill combination is appropriate for any task without too much trouble (and you can always change your mind later), but you need to know that 1 success is okay, 2 is good and that you should only be setting threshold 4 for very impressive tasks. Remember that to have a passable chance of achieving threshold 4, a character would need 12 dice! Edge makes a difference of course.

Don't refresh edge too often or you get a Hollywood game. Once at the start of each session seems to be the common rule, though you can set it less often (say once per short adventure).

In terms of running the game, the GM screen gathers a lot of useful information in one place (and the list of contacts and ideas is actually very good). You can get it as a PDF and it's a good but not essential purchase.

Other than that, just run a few trial combats against different types of opponents to get a good grasp of everything. E.g. spirits can be pretty bullet-proof so don't send a big one toe-to-toe against the samurai, etc. And even the lowly security guard can be dangerous with a decent gun, some cover and backup on the way.

HTH,

-K.
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lorechaser
post Oct 11 2006, 07:30 PM
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QUOTE (knasser)
The power level has changed. If characters aren't created yet, it might be worth making a little speech beforehand. SR3 players will be used to starting off with highly competent professionals. That ain't going to happen with a standard 400BP SR4 build. Also make them aware that 3 in a skill is respectable and a 5 is pretty awesome. Even magic is adjusted - a mage starting with magic 4 is viable (not 'wow' but realistic). This may not seem big to you but if you're new to the system, you wont realise what a change all this is. Tell your mage players not to be ashamed of their Force 4 Earth Elemental. Seriously!

Bah.

Other than the fact that I couldn't roll a 5 or 6 on more than 1 die out of a pool of 15, I would definitely consider my characters to be competent professionals.

The difference is that you can't be good in as many things in SR4. But it's fairly trivial to have 15 dice in your primary 2 skills, and 10-12 in a set of 3-4 more. However, doing taht will reduce you to a couple in most others.

Maybe we define competent professionals differently. ;)
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deek
post Oct 11 2006, 07:48 PM
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I definitely think it is a good idea to start off with small bites of the system...both to gauge a feel for how everything flows (including relative strength levels) and to how long things take in real time.

As a GM, that will allow you to prepare each scene for your players and have the most fun during a gaming session.

I would also try to get a fairly good grasp of the three main areas of play, the physical world (ranged, melee and unarmed combat), the matrix and magic. If you have a group of characters that have skills covering all three, you'll want to make sure you are comfortable transitioning between them. Its easy when in combat, because everyone is working at the same time, but if you are outside of the combat turn, things can drag quite a bit.

To help with that, you might want to try to create scenes that only one of those areas are being used at a time.

I could go on with a longer list, but I won't...at least not yet. I will add one more thing...if you are planning on using battlemats and mini's, divide up all the movement rates by 4 ahead of time. The first couple of sessions, movement was pretty hectic because we didn't have a good idea of how it should work. By dividing the rates by 4 and allowing movement in all four IPs, you should be a bit ahead of the game!
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Kyoto Kid
post Oct 11 2006, 08:17 PM
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...that is the way we approached it. Made for a clearer understnding of the individual elements.
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knasser
post Oct 11 2006, 08:34 PM
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QUOTE (lorechaser)
QUOTE (knasser @ Oct 11 2006, 02:26 PM)
The power level has changed. If characters aren't created yet, it might be worth making a little speech beforehand. SR3 players will be used to starting off with highly competent professionals. That ain't going to happen with a standard 400BP SR4 build. Also make them aware that 3 in a skill is respectable and a 5 is pretty awesome. Even magic is adjusted - a mage starting with magic 4 is viable (not 'wow' but realistic). This may not seem big to you but if you're new to the system, you wont realise what a change all this is. Tell your mage players not to be ashamed of their Force 4 Earth Elemental. Seriously!

Bah.

Other than the fact that I couldn't roll a 5 or 6 on more than 1 die out of a pool of 15, I would definitely consider my characters to be competent professionals.

The difference is that you can't be good in as many things in SR4. But it's fairly trivial to have 15 dice in your primary 2 skills, and 10-12 in a set of 3-4 more. However, doing taht will reduce you to a couple in most others.

Maybe we define competent professionals differently. ;)


Yes, I expect we do. I agree with your maths, so I'll just say that when I say competent professional I mean someone who is good in multiple areas. At any rate, people coming from SR3 will need some attitude adjustment.
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Butterblume
post Oct 11 2006, 08:39 PM
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Might also be a good idea to tell the SR3 oldtimers that combat is a little different now. Holdouts are serious firepower now.
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lorechaser
post Oct 11 2006, 09:24 PM
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And without a doubt, download the cheat sheets here.

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Fortune
post Oct 11 2006, 09:44 PM
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I would run a short, individual session with each player, going through some combat, as well as several scenarios related to their chosen field(s). This will give you a chance to get more familiar with the system, and at the same time take away some of the surprizes that SR4 might have in store for the players.

Of course, I always advocate individual chargen sessions between players and GMs, as it goes a long way towards establishing good PC backgrounds, and a deeper understanding on the player's part about just how the GM in question views the game world.
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Mistwalker
post Oct 11 2006, 10:10 PM
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While details of the chars were being finished up, the players shot at each other, spelled each other, etc.., to get used to the rules.
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Fortune
post Oct 11 2006, 10:15 PM
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That's cool, but doesn't really grant the benefits listed in the second part of my post. Nor does it give you a one-on-one familiarity with each individual character and a hands-on intimacy with the rules that specifically apply to their character.

Really, even setting apart an hour for each player before the campaign has started can have a long-lasting effect on the game's flow and enjoyment factor, for both you and your players.
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