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> Techno's....I thought I knew
Brol_The_Mighty
post Feb 6 2008, 06:56 PM
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Alright, so here's the thing. I started a thread last week on how to build a TM, that helps against what I had thought the inherent weaknesses of the TM are. However, over the week there've been many responses, and most of them I understood, and some I did not. And it made me ponder, do I actually KNOW what the inherent weaknesses to the TM are, compared to cybered Hackers...and what're the best ways to overcome these. I'm looking for a Good Hacker, and a Fair, if not Good Rigger. I know, I know, a tall order. Here's the reasons I thought that TMs had problems.

Problems
No cyber advantage.
-The TM has no way of physically storing data that it hacks.

HUGE investment of Karma for skills, as well as Resonance rating.
-Whereas the Hacker uses nyuen for new programs, and abilities (like storage, additional DP's, and such) the TM has to use Karma.

No Matrix Condition.
-TM's use their Physical Condition, instead of Matrix. Thus the need for a higher body, for more boxes.

Reliant upon Sprites.
-The TM's greatest strength is in its Sprites. However, each time you compile, you have to resist Fading. That, and compiling a sprite takes a good amount of time.

Limited Dicepools.
- I don't know if I'm missing something, but I'm just having a hard time seeing how a TM can compete with a Hacker in dicepools for Matrix tasks.

Limited use "Meatside."
- With all the Karma costs associated with getting a TM up, its hard to allocate karma for skills and attributes needed for "meatside" operations.

Solutions

"Burning" a point of Resonance for Cyber/Bio.
-From a fluff perspective, i REALLY don't like this option, but it may be the only one. However, I'm not sure what's the best combo, choices. Best bang for the buck.

Overspecialization
-Definately a viable choice, but leaves you lacking on the meatside. That, and is still tricky to pull off. Unless I've missed something.

Threading
-Using threading with a complex form you already know, you can increase your CF's rating by the amount of hits you get.

Sprite Tasks.
-You can use a task, for the Sprite to assist, adding its rating in DP.

Re-registering Sprites.
-You can have (charisma) in registered sprites. And continually re-register them during downtime.

Houserule.
-Suggested at letting TM's buy CF's at resonance like Mages buy spells. Cost would be 5 Karma.

Storage Devices.
-A TM, or a sprite, can just wirelessly transfer the data to whatever storage device he'd like.


That's all I've got. If anyone has any other disadvantages that I missed, or Solutions, I'd LOVE to hear them. I'm fascinated by the TM, and am just trying to learn as much as I can about making mine a fluid, viable character.

This post has been edited by Redjack: Feb 8 2008, 08:42 PM
Reason for edit: Flagged as an SR4 topic
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raverbane
post Feb 6 2008, 08:02 PM
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QUOTE (Brol_The_Mighty @ Feb 6 2008, 01:56 PM) *
Alright, so here's the thing. I started a thread last week on how to build a TM, that helps against what I had thought the inherent weaknesses of the TM are. However, over the week there've been many responses, and most of them I understood, and some I did not. And it made me ponder, do I actually KNOW what the inherent weaknesses to the TM are, compared to cybered Hackers...and what're the best ways to overcome these. I'm looking for a Good Hacker, and a Fair, if not Good Rigger. I know, I know, a tall order. Here's the reasons I thought that TMs had problems.

Problems
No cyber advantage.
-The TM has no way of physically storing data that it hacks.

HUGE investment of Karma for skills, as well as Resonance rating.
-Whereas the Hacker uses nyuen for new programs, and abilities (like storage, additional DP's, and such) the TM has to use Karma.


One thing we done to mitigate these two issues in our game is a house rule and an addition. We added an echo that is called "Storage" that allows a techno to have storage 'capacity'. Since Response is what a comlink uses as it's 'oomph' we basically say the more response a comlink has, the more storage. So, with the "Storage" echo, the resonance of the techno is used as a basic guideline for how much storage they have. Even though the can "store" data, they still can't "run" programs. They still can only "run" complex forms. But, they can manipulate they have stored using the appropriate complex forms.

A hacker, after the game starts, simply paying 6,000 cash for a level 6 hacking program. But, a techno has to pay a total of 22 Karma to get a learn a new complex form from scratch up to level 6. To make up for the inequities of of this we simple let a techno buy complex forms just like a mage buys spells. Complex forms always operate at a level equal to the resonance of the techno.
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Whipstitch
post Feb 6 2008, 08:06 PM
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N/M, I missed a rather crucial piece of information. I'm not exactly batting 1.000 today.
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Mr. Unpronouncea...
post Feb 6 2008, 08:27 PM
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QUOTE (Brol_The_Mighty @ Feb 6 2008, 07:56 PM) *
Reliant upon Sprites.
-The TM's greatest strength is in its Sprites. However, each time you compile, you have to resist Fading. That, and compiling a sprite takes a good amount of time.

Limited Dicepools.
- I don't know if I'm missing something, but I'm just having a hard time seeing how a TM can compete with a Hacker in dicepools for Matrix tasks.


This is true for straight-out-of-chargen technomancers, but ones that have had a chance for downtime are completely different:

Yes, they're reliant on sprites - but you can have [charisma] sprites registered at any time. You don't have to compile them on the fly, keep a stockpile of them up-to-date with lots of re-registering done during downtime, so you won't run out of services. They're free to register, registration takes [rating] hours, and sprites don't get the "break free" test like spirits do, so you can do this over and over again during downtimes - you should never run out of services.

As for the dicepools, that's more-or-less true. Until you remember that the technomancer can increase his complex forms by threading, and then have a sprite sustain the thread for him...and have another assist. This is why hackers cap out at about 6 stealth, and technomancers start at around 9 - generally most breeze through systems like they're undefended, if they remembered to do their homework.
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djinni
post Feb 6 2008, 08:37 PM
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QUOTE (Brol_The_Mighty @ Feb 6 2008, 02:56 PM) *
Problems
No cyber advantage.
-The TM has no way of physically storing data that it hacks.

has nobody ever thought of photographic memory?
all he has to do is see the source code and he knows it. that's the same as downloading a file.
uploading it is just as simple as VR typing. input the sourcecode string and bammo, there ya go.
can't believe I'm the only one that figured that out as soon as I read "no storage" for technos
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Mr. Unpronouncea...
post Feb 6 2008, 08:41 PM
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Thought of it, but as stated above, completely unneccessary - storage is cheap, unlimited, and ubiquitous. All the techno has to do is a copy/paste to some item in his possession.
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Blade
post Feb 6 2008, 08:52 PM
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The TM can store data quite easily. He just has to carry some kind of storage device, or to send data to a node somewhere in the world (or have a sprite do it if it's sensitive data).

A way to get more bangs for your bucks is to benefit from the high mental attributes you need for your persona by getting a lot of rating 1 or 2 active skill linked to those attributes.

But still, TM are far too expensive compared to hackers.

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Brol_The_Mighty
post Feb 6 2008, 08:53 PM
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Isn't there a downside to re-registering a sprite?

@Raverbane: If you let the TM always operate CF's at Resonance, and purchase CF's at resonance, how do you calculate the Karma cost?
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raverbane
post Feb 6 2008, 08:56 PM
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QUOTE (djinni @ Feb 6 2008, 03:37 PM) *
has nobody ever thought of photographic memory?
all he has to do is see the source code and he knows it. that's the same as downloading a file.
uploading it is just as simple as VR typing. input the sourcecode string and bammo, there ya go.
can't believe I'm the only one that figured that out as soon as I read "no storage" for technos


Someone has thought of it and decided (for the purposes of our game) that it doesn't work for programs.

Photographic Memory
Cost: 10 BP
A character with Photographic Memory rarely forgets anything
he has experienced. Th e character can instantly recall faces,
dates, numbers, or anything else he has seen or heard. When making
Memory Tests (see Attribute-Only Tests, p. 130), the character
gains a –1 threshold modifier to the test.

The player still has to make memory tests. It isn't total recall and it isn't instant Flash-style speed reading. The time it would take the player to read the source code, he would do nothing but sit and read all day.

I do understand that memory is exceedingly cheap. But, I when I think about technos I think of technomancers that have had enough training, ie submerged, just do it on MEAT ALONE. Without any trappings of traditional hackers
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Dashifen
post Feb 6 2008, 08:58 PM
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QUOTE (Brol_The_Mighty @ Feb 6 2008, 02:53 PM) *
Isn't there a downside to re-registering a sprite?


Fading. Other than that, nope.
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raverbane
post Feb 6 2008, 09:01 PM
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QUOTE (Brol_The_Mighty @ Feb 6 2008, 03:53 PM) *
Isn't there a downside to re-registering a sprite?

@Raverbane: If you let the TM always operate CF's at Resonance, and purchase CF's at resonance, how do you calculate the Karma cost?


Same cost as a mage pays to learn a new spell. 5 karma
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Aaron
post Feb 6 2008, 09:25 PM
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QUOTE (Brol_The_Mighty @ Feb 6 2008, 12:56 PM) *
No cyber advantage.
-The TM has no way of physically storing data that it hacks.

In a world where articles of clothing have embedded storage and wireless capability, I've never found this to be a concern.
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nathanross
post Feb 6 2008, 11:09 PM
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I guess nows as good a time as ever to try to fix TM's, and they DO need fixing.

PROBLEM 1 - STORAGE

I agree with most everyone else, this is not a problem. The fact that TM's do what they do means they have absolutely no issue mentally or otherwise with comprehending and editing data. If they couldn't do this then what are their abilities doing? I see it merely as cut and paste. Sure they don't have a built in commlink or anything, but they can easily have a wireless-enabled storage medium and access it and use it. Pretty plain and simple I think. Its not like hackers have to have photographic memory to remember paydata. (IMG:style_emoticons/default/spin.gif)

PROBLEM 2 - KARMA WHORE

This is the problem... Plain and simple, really, all the other problems could be ignored if this were to be fixed. As it stands, at character creation, to create a technomancer that is equivalent to a commlink+hacker (not taking into account the power imbalance Sprites gives), you must spend the following

45BP Resonance Attribute 5
40BP Electronics Group
40BP Cracking Group
40BP Tasking Group
105BP All 21 complex forms at Rating 5
80BP All mental attributes to 5 from 3 (I think this is fair, assuming the Hacker will be build with at least 3 in mental Attributes)

TOTAL = 350BP

Of this, a hacker need only spend:

40BP Electronics Group
40BP Cracking Group

26BP All 22 Computer Programs at Rating 6
2BP Rating 5 Resp /5 Sig /6 Sys /6 Fire Commlink

TOTAL 108BP

A TM must spend 240BP more than a hacker to get EXACTLY the same hacking dicepools. I am not even going to mention Hacker Adepts. Frank already computed the karma imbalance between them and TM's and found that a TM would require 1000 karma just to have the same dice pool. Now I think TM's are an AWESOME concept, but SOMETHING HAS TO BE DONE!

I know the designers erred on the side of caution with TM's, but the fact that they are forced to specialize and even then just to match up to what a hacker can do. Sure threading is nice, but I think the first step should be to completely eliminate the need for Electronics or Cracking skill groups. I feel this could be done by pairing each CF with an attribute, if not also creating new complex forms to replace the mental attributes. It needs to be developed further, but as long as people are thinking about it, progress should be made.

PROBLEM 3 - SHARED MATRIX/PHYSICAL/STUN DAMAGE TRACK

I dont feel that this is so much a problem, as it would be a perfectly normal drawback IF technomancers where as powerful as they should be (see PROBLEM 2). Yes, they need a higher body, but that would not be an issue if you didnt have to spend all your BP pumping your Mental attributes.

PROBLEM 4 - SPRITE CRUTCH

Yes, as things currently are, Sprites have very little drawback. They dont cost any money, just healing time. They are a TMs greatest strength, but because they are so good, the wonderful people who developed the rules, thought that the only way to balance this amazing strength was by making everything else a TM does suck. If the karma cost is to be reduced and the other abilities of TM's are to improve, Sprites must gain some kind of limitation, or drawback. Right now they have none.

PROBLEM 5 - LIMITED DICEPOOLS

See PROBLEM 2

PROBLEM 6 - SQUISHY

This is another huge problem, that COULD be rationalized if TM's where just plain gods of the Matrix, but that becuase they are so lack luster in every other way, makes things worse.

Resonance is the lifeblood of a TM, it limits EVERYTHING that they do. It is their Response chip and SO much more. It is so hard to get a TM just to the point of being equivalent to the hacker, but hackers can take Wired Reflexes, Skillwires, Cybereyes and now with Augmentation out, they can buy a Simsense booster at Chargen that allows them the 4 Matrix IP's that before only TM's could have, and even they had to [Initiate] for it. Now that is just not fair. This cyber bias also begs the question, "Are Technomancer's magic?"

I say throw out the loss of resonance rule, Otaku didnt have it, why should TM's? Or does it pollute their body of something (spits in disgust)? Given everything else that limits a TM, why cant they get implants? I see a future of SR with Bioware and Nanoware, and maybe even some genetech focused towards TM's. Why FANPRO built a wall that would inhibit true creativity in such an area is beyond me. I loved what I read in Emergence, but why oh why don't the rules support that?

Anways, I hope I have presented the issues in a clear manner, and Im sorry that I could not present more solutions to the problems. I hope that DS can finally get closer to addressing and correcting the issue.
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hobgoblin
post Feb 6 2008, 11:12 PM
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nothing like "crap, that file is in my other jacket"...
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Whipstitch
post Feb 6 2008, 11:17 PM
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I think what TMs needed more than anything was a different role than Hackers, but that ship's pretty much already sailed.
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hobgoblin
post Feb 6 2008, 11:25 PM
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didnt someone make a post ones about the TM only needing to take the most heavily used CF's, and thread the rest as needed?
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nathanross
post Feb 6 2008, 11:41 PM
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That is true, there are a few that you can avoid, but that hardly helps a 250BP (not even karma) imbalance at startup.
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Brol_The_Mighty
post Feb 6 2008, 11:43 PM
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No idea
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hobgoblin
post Feb 6 2008, 11:43 PM
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so dont go that hard, call a sprite and thread it up from a nice low 3 or so (IMG:style_emoticons/default/wink.gif)
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Brol_The_Mighty
post Feb 6 2008, 11:52 PM
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Wouldn't that just be admitting defeat, and keeping the TM the second-rate hacker that it is then? Instead of coming up with ideas, or even houserules to put it at least on par with the cyber hacker, where its supposed to be? Do we really have to wait the year for Unwired to come out?
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hobgoblin
post Feb 6 2008, 11:59 PM
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i dont see it admitting defeat, i see it as the TM using what tools he have available.

why should the TM just be a biological hacker?

the TM have some unique abilities, use them. dont try to turn the TM into just another hacker.

hell, thats like complaining that the mage has to pay expensive BP for what a sammie can do with a cheap cammo suit...
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Brol_The_Mighty
post Feb 7 2008, 12:21 AM
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All of the TM's "unique" abilities, are for hacking or rigging. In fact, I wouldn't even really call them unique (except Echoes) since even in the core book, for every CF, it references programs. And for sprites, it references Agents. Yes, some of the sprites are unique...but they're used for.....hacking and rigging.
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nathanross
post Feb 7 2008, 12:40 AM
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QUOTE (hobgoblin @ Feb 6 2008, 06:59 PM) *
i dont see it admitting defeat, i see it as the TM using what tools he have available.

why should the TM just be a biological hacker?

the TM have some unique abilities, use them. dont try to turn the TM into just another hacker.

hell, thats like complaining that the mage has to pay expensive BP for what a sammie can do with a cheap cammo suit...


The Mage is NOT doing what what a Sammy can do, NO ONE can do what a mage does. The mage is the most all powerful "class" (if you will) in Shadowrun. The Mage has the control a TM should have in the matrix, but in the real world. Not to mention the fact that a mage can Astrally project (not as useful as Matrix projection is, mind you). Besides, even mages dont cost this much BP.

The problem is not with the concept of Technomancers, but with the fact that the developement team was lazy and compromised the TM concept for a homogeneous matrix. The way in which the TM interfaces and does things within the Matrix have no place in the current rules.

The Technomancer that Emergence presented was what I think the rules should reflect, but that is not currently the case.

This is also a problem with the developers concept of AR. AR is very boring right now, and this needs to be fixed. We are still fixed in this wired point of view about how electronics and networks interact. AR (at least in future term) HAS to be more than that. Right now its just at a smart phone level. It has barely advanced past email accessibility. SR4 should represent the day when all sense of reality and illusion is lost. This is the true strength of AR. We need hot and cold sim AR, where everything is fake and yet real at the exact same time. Where we can naturally touch and feel what isn't there.

This is a matrix for TMs, but this Matrix does not currently exist. What Im asking the DS community is, how can we make it?
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Jaid
post Feb 7 2008, 12:45 AM
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i will freely agree that the TM's echoes (except overclock) are rather lackluster. certainly they aren't nearly as cool as they should be, imo (i've considered whipping up some homebrew echoes, a few of which i have ideas for, but have never actually made any).

but the sprite abilities include some pretty danged amazing ones.

and it's silly to complain about the technomancer's abilities without sprites and threading. you may as well make the observation that the regular hacker sucks without a commlink and programs... sprites and threading is what the technomancer does. that's their area of specialty. of course they suck without it.
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hobgoblin
post Feb 7 2008, 12:56 AM
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thanks jaid, i was starting to wonder if i had missed the elephant in the room here...
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