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> My Thoughts On Sr4, Great new rules but the sourcebooks.....
whistlingtony
post Feb 2 2008, 02:14 PM
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Hi all,

I have been a long time fan of Shadowrun. It always pained me that SR had a great setting saddled with horrible rules. I've been very excited to see the rules changes. Here are a few of my thoughts. I'd love some feedback and ideas please.

1. Combat is still slow. I tried getting rid of resisting damage, but it was unfair to heavy body types. Now I just rule of 4 all of that unless the players want to try to save their hides. The book has some good suggestions, anyone found anything that works well?

2. Why are the PDF files so expensive? Hey, Catalyst! Make Them Cheaper. Way cheaper... If you make them $5, everyone I know would buy them. PDF files aren't as handy as a book. They get lost. You can't read them without a computer. They're cumbersome to use in play... Their perceived value is far less than that of a book. Besides, it's not like you have to pay to have them made. Sheesh.

3. Is it just me or is the setting kind of lacking now? It seems that the SR setting is branching beyond Seattle, but at the expense of any real depth for all these new settings. Oh, and the history in the beginning of the book isn't as good any more. It has to skim over too much. I just bought Corporate Enclaves..... Nothing about Seattle. Nothing about the day to day life of Joe Average in 2070. I was hoping for something like the Sprawl Survival Guide. I'm not too impressed with Augmentation either. They were both expensive and not that interesting.

4. Rigging and Decking rock now. It's amazing and wonderful. Job Well Done.

Thanks all!

-Tony

This post has been edited by Redjack: Feb 2 2008, 08:55 PM
Reason for edit: Add sr4 icon
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MaxHunter
post Feb 2 2008, 02:20 PM
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For Seattle you should have got Runner Havens. I do recommend Arsenal, but I liked Augmentation too.

Combat is quite detailed (SR has always been on the "more detailed" side of the gaming spectrum) It still is still faster and much more balanced than previous editions, it takes a lot of practice to make it *fast*.

On the pdf part I believe (and this is just me speaking) that the most pricey part of the publishing process is not the paper. You do have to pay writers, editors, artists, designers, distributors, etc, etc. I do find them expensive as well, but the exchange rate may have something to do with it in my case.

Cheers,

Max
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Whipstitch
post Feb 2 2008, 10:16 PM
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Uh, there's guys like me who own only the mainbook in hardcover, you know (a decision I regret, incidently; I keep misplacing it and end up just using the PDFs). They'd be losing out on stupid amounts of money if they charged only $5; even if you have a terrible memory it's easy to print off cheatsheets of damage codes and price lists to hand out even before taking into account the existence of laptops. With my laptop, a wireless router and a printer in my room I can create cheatsheets of things like damage codes on the fly, use diceroller programs for more tedious tasks like extended tests and get distracted by holostreet jokes here on dumpshock when I should really be running my game. You're crazy if you don't think that would cannibalize some of the hardcover sales, which would be devestating if they were only making $5 per PDF.
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Prime Mover
post Feb 2 2008, 10:26 PM
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Got all books in hardcover accept GM screen, easier to drag to my games and back and lug around the house. If had a laptop might be different but even then I'd still pick up both. Don't mind paying a fair price to keep one of my favorite games alive. I'm sure $5 supplements would'nt keep a small company afloat long. And I for one think quality of 4th is definetly a step above 3rd and worth it.
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imperialus
post Feb 2 2008, 10:54 PM
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QUOTE
3. Is it just me or is the setting kind of lacking now? It seems that the SR setting is branching beyond Seattle, but at the expense of any real depth for all these new settings. Oh, and the history in the beginning of the book isn't as good any more. It has to skim over too much. I just bought Corporate Enclaves..... Nothing about Seattle. Nothing about the day to day life of Joe Average in 2070. I was hoping for something like the Sprawl Survival Guide. I'm not too impressed with Augmentation either. They were both expensive and not that interesting.


Runner Haven's is on Seattle. The entire books is basically Seattle and Hong Kong. Just thinking out loud here but Shadowrun has always been a fairly small market and most of the people playing today have been playing for years. SR just isn't a game that attracts a lot of new blood. Just using myself as an example I have probably a half dozen books that focus to one degree or another on Seattle. I just don't need any more. Same thing with day to day life. Corp Enclaves does have a fairly good writeup on a Japanese wageslave which is different, and different is useful to me.

QUOTE
4. Rigging and Decking rock now. It's amazing and wonderful. Job Well Done.


4th ed is the first edition where I actually enjoy playing a matrix monkey. I'm in complete agreement here.
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Caine Hazen
post Feb 2 2008, 11:17 PM
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QUOTE (whistlingtony @ Feb 2 2008, 09:14 AM) *
2. Why are the PDF files so expensive? Hey, Catalyst! Make Them Cheaper. Way cheaper... If you make them $5, everyone I know would buy them. PDF files aren't as handy as a book. They get lost. You can't read them without a computer. They're cumbersome to use in play... Their perceived value is far less than that of a book. Besides, it's not like you have to pay to have them made. Sheesh.


I'd say all the indexing and search functions associated to the pdfs take quite a bit of time, and thus would be worth the extra money.. I know it is to me, as it helps me to look things up faster there. Once I have a page # I can have everyone open their books and look at a rule. The time and effort costs us, but I think its worth it.
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Method
post Feb 2 2008, 11:40 PM
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I don't mind paying for the pdf or the books.

Buying the books used to annoy me because for a long time they used a crappy publisher and SR books were notorious for falling apart at the bindings. Their current bindings are very much improved.

And for GMing I've found that pdfs are exceptionally useful for preparing adventures. Being able to text search is great.
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Ravor
post Feb 3 2008, 01:14 AM
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I have to second the notion that Fourth Edition's fluff seems to be lacking something, but it isn't anything that I can quite put my finger on.

Oh, and Runner Havens should have been called New Hong Kong, if you want to run a camapign in Seattle you really should buy one of the older sourcebooks.
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BishopMcQ
post Feb 3 2008, 01:38 AM
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It's true that the SR4 line is leaning away from books like New Seattle and the Denver boxed set. Instead, books like Runner Havens are updating multiple settings in a way similar to Shadows of North America. Personally, I like the fact that I now have information on multiple cities, the key players, movers and shakers. I don't distress that I no longer know what store is on the corner Aurora and NW Market.

The shift to a more global view that gives GMs a framework to tell their stories without fleshing out every street corner works for me. Emergence did a great job of globe trotting with their stories and events. By having a prisoner breakout in one corner of the world, coupled with industrial accidents elsewhere, there is a much more realistic representation of the world. If every event that was worth caring about happened in Seattle, the world would feel lopsided.

Additional books have expanded the city listing for SR4, and will continue to do so for at least 2 more books, IIRC. Beyond that, the SR Missions team laid out a rather sizeable amount of information for the goings on in Denver, and included nearly 50 restaurants, bars, clubs, etc. I'd expect similar results from the continuing Missions campaigns.

-----------

To the other topics:

The cost of PDFs is a reasonable expense in my mind. If you don't want to pay the cost of the PDF, then buy the book. I personally enjoy having both and can reference the PDFs while I'm at work or travelling when books would be awkward. At the gaming table, I have copies of the books on hand. With the exception of my 5 SR4 books, I have 2 copies of all the rules books and 1 of each of the setting books. These are my GM and player copies. Some of my players have their own copies, but when I am running games at a Con or doing intro missions at the FLGS, I like to have an extra copy for a new player to look at. This way they can decide which books they need now and what they want to purchase later.

Combat is all a matter of experience with the system and the number of players you have. I've had a running fight with a group of 5 runners go on for 4 hours as they transition from standard combat to Vehicle combat and back again. On the other hand, I've had fights end in under five minutes. New players get cheat sheets to speed up combat until they have a firm grasp on the rules. After that, we play fast and loose with the DP modifiers. If you have specific questions or critiques about the combat system, let me know and I will try to help you address them directly.
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Ravor
post Feb 3 2008, 01:51 AM
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Oh, don't get me wrong, I don't ahve a problem with Shadowrun's expanding into other cities, I just have an intense dislike for the treatment that Seattle got in New Hong Kong.
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Ancient History
post Feb 3 2008, 01:54 AM
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People are always gonna hate Runner Havens 'cause it wasn't a Seattle book.
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Whipstitch
post Feb 3 2008, 01:58 AM
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For what it's worth all my friends who never played SR before rather liked the Seattle section. It's not like all 58 pages are garbage, you know. I'm not saying the old guard should be forgotten or that it really excuses the book's faults (I do think that Seattle is a bit lacking in terms of plot hooks), but on the other hand there's a lot of sheer inertia behind the setting to wrestle with and I think it gets the job done well enough.
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Malicant
post Feb 3 2008, 01:59 AM
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I like Runner Havens because it was not a Seattle book. First time I did not fall asleep while reading a city book. And I usually devour everything connected to SR, if I can get my greasy fingers on it.
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Naysayer
post Feb 3 2008, 02:55 AM
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Yeah, maybe it's because Seattles been with me as a default setting for like 18 years now, but I had no problem with it not being the main focus of RH, or the main setting of SR4 at all.
I still haven't gotten around to give Hong Kong a thouruogh read, but, without disliking the Seattle-part at all, my favourites got to be Caracas and Istanbul/Constantinople, precisely because they were kinda vague. The way they were presented, they offer enough info to get a general feel for the place, and give a GM some idea for the kind of runs that can go down there, but don't clutter it up with too many canon NPCs and stuff. Also, I liked the feeling of those places.

re: combat: I think the "new" rules make it smoother, but don't expect some kind of quantum leap. As others have already said, part of it is experience with the system. Another factor are the players (incl. the GM). If everybody spends half an hour drawing diagrams, devising strategies, and calculating and counter-checking different pros and cons for every single shot, then yeah, that can take time. I'm not saying you should put your players under some sort of shot-clock, but a little reminder that combat is supposed to be a nightmare of bullets, adrenaline, ricochets, shrapnnel, blood and death can go a long way...

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Adam
post Feb 3 2008, 06:48 AM
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QUOTE (whistlingtony @ Feb 2 2008, 09:14 AM) *
2. Why are the PDF files so expensive? Hey, Catalyst! Make Them Cheaper. Way cheaper... If you make them $5, everyone I know would buy them. PDF files aren't as handy as a book. They get lost. You can't read them without a computer. They're cumbersome to use in play... Their perceived value is far less than that of a book.

You can print out multiple reference copies. You can back them up to a CD/DVD/etc. You can redownload them if you "lose" them. You get updated copies when we correct the book. You can print only the material you want. You can cut and paste into your own documents. You can search them electronically for keywords [and you can search multiple books at once.]

There are many upsides to PDFs [as there are downsides, of course] -- some of them may not be that important to you, but they are important to the people that buy them.

Our PDFs are priced at around the market standard, and are available more inexpensively if you buy them as the PDF/Print pre-order combo. If we sold them at the price you're suggesting, we would need to sell many, many more to make the same amount of money. Obviously, Catalyst does not pocket the full price of a PDF -- some of that goes to WizKids, some of it goes to the credit card vendor or PayPal, and when FanPro was selling them on other sites [like DriveThruRPG], they also got a cut of the sales. Just like the sale price of a print book is divided between publisher/distributor/retailer [and further subdivided beyond that at each level], the sale price of a PDF is divided up.

QUOTE
Besides, it's not like you have to pay to have them made. Sheesh.

As the person that makes most of Catalyst's PDFs [and gets paid for it], I assure you that it *is* work on top of what is normally done to produce a book, and that selling PDFs is part of the way that RPG companies can manage to produce RPG books on the razor-thin profit margins that they currently have.
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Kyoto Kid
post Feb 3 2008, 06:56 AM
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...I have no issue with the price on the PDFs. I look at it as not having to lug 20 - 30 KG of books around to each session. For me that is a huge benefit and definitely worth the price. Heck 25$ US for Arsenal, that is cheap when you consider the convenience of a fully bookmarked file you can download to your 1.5 KG notebook comp.
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imperialus
post Feb 3 2008, 07:17 AM
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QUOTE (Kyoto Kid @ Feb 2 2008, 11:56 PM) *
...I have no issue with the price on the PDFs. I look at it as not having to lug 20 - 30 KG of books around to each session. For me that is a huge benefit and definitely worth the price. Heck 25$ US for Arsenal, that is cheap when you consider the convenience of a fully bookmarked file you can download to your 1.5 KG notebook comp.


I totally agree. Makes more room in my bag for OOP sourcebooks. Really, the other way I look at it is this:

Shadowrun is, in the scheme of things, a tiny game. Sure it's the 3rd most popular RPG on the market but that's compared to D&D and WoD. Other than those two systems everything else (including Shadowrun) is small potatoes. The release pace of source books is slow enough that I can comfortably afford to spend 25$ on the PDF and another 30 when the hardcopy hits the shelves. It boosts Shadowruns sales, which means that it's that much more likely we'll continue to see source books. I think the quality of Catalyst's offerings in general make them more than worth the cost.
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Cain
post Feb 3 2008, 09:09 AM
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I can't say that I care for Runner Havens that much.

Basically, Hong Kong is wonderful, the mini-locales are decent, but Seattle is straight boilerplate. What I don't like about Seattle the most is, with a small amount of white out, it can easily become any other North American sprawl. It fits Edmonton and Boston and Bangor just as readily as anywhere else, which is a serious problem. It's not a core location, it's a generic sprawl. And apparently, this was done on purpose.

Hong Kong cannot be swapped out. Hong Kong is what I wanted Seattle to be: a living, breathing, vibrant cityscape. Instead, where Hong Kong is inspired and bold, Seattle is insipid and bland.
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DeadLogic
post Feb 3 2008, 10:23 AM
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Personally, I like the new approach that's being had with the new setting source books. I like having multiple resources in one purchase, as it gives me the freedom to expand my game at any given moment. I mean, what happens if my players were to piss off some major mob syndicate? I can open RH and grab a new location, have their last remaining Contact save their hoop and toss 'em on a freight ship, Their leaving port while the Mob turns the city over trying to track them down. IMHO, versatility wins every time.
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Cardul
post Feb 3 2008, 12:46 PM
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OK, you know..I have to say that I like Runner Havens. Why? Because, honestly, I know about Seattle already. And you know what, it covers all the stuff that is needed: the major gangs, the barens, the neighborhooods, important places. I do not think Seattle is a generic Sprawl..I just think that Seattle is the icon f what a North American Sprawl is like. It was the first published, so when peple looked for examples, it was thefirst place they looked at. Also, you know what, when I GM, I like VAGUE. Vague means "GM, you have freedom", specific actually limits the GM.

And, I will say this: I feel Riggers have gotten gimped, still...DAMNIT! I want my Drive by Wire and structural instability mods on my combat bike again!
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Ancient History
post Feb 3 2008, 01:07 PM
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QUOTE (Cain @ Feb 3 2008, 09:09 AM) *

Yes Cain, we know. We know because you take every opportunity to pass of your bloody review at every opportunity. But that's okay.
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DocTaotsu
post Feb 3 2008, 01:17 PM
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I freaking hate PDF, maybe I'm doing it wrong but even on a laptop it seems like a pain in the ass to find or do anything. Most of my players have PDF (can't buy the core book where I'm at) and they all keep trying to steal my hardcover away from me.

Until they start selling cheap eBook readers I'm probably going to keep using dead paper books.

They fixed the binding thing? I had to use super glue to make mine stop falling apart.

I agree with the previous posts. Seattle is freaking boring. As a guy who has never played Seattle up until a few months ago (sue me, I wanted to be different... since 2nd ed) I found the source material lacking. The Ork Undergroud in particular should have rated a whole chapter, complete with maps and some flavor pictures.

God, where the hell are the maps.

I'm really digging 4th ed but the lack of mapage is getting tiresome. I'm getting tired of printing out GoogleMap's and telling my players "Well uhm... like this but with trolls." Oh well, I'm sure that's a cost thing.

All that bellyaching aside, I love 4th ed. I love it more now that 4th ed D&D is the unholy spawn of the Dark Prince himself. I love that they've given some thought to Asia aside from marking it "Japancorps Here!". I love the fact that I was able to get two brand new SR players (one new to RPG's in general) up and running in one game session, having a blast by session two. I also love how everything is more or less intergrated and no archetype is struck by the feeling that they're playing a different game than the rest of us.
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Ravor
post Feb 3 2008, 04:44 PM
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QUOTE (Ancient History)
People are always gonna hate Runner Havens 'cause it wasn't a Seattle book.


No, I don't mind that New Hong Kong wasn't a "Seattle Book", in fact overall I like the book, I just think that the Seattle section could have been better written by a bunch of meth addicted monkeys banging on broken typewriters.
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Mattily
post Feb 3 2008, 05:08 PM
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At first I hated the pdfs, they were horribly slow and made my system unstable.

These days I'm finding them much more useful. Maybe it's because I changed my reader, have had to use pdfs for uni or the quality has just improved, but these days I'm a buy both SR fangirl...

Oh, and I quite like Runner Havens

(IMG:style_emoticons/default/smile.gif)
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Wounded Ronin
post Feb 3 2008, 05:12 PM
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I think if PDFs make your system unstable the problem is mostly with your system...like there's probably spyware or something eating all your system resources.
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