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Mithral MAge
post Dec 6 2008, 11:21 PM
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I want to write a review of SR4 for a fan supported magazine that covers a lot of various game systems.

I have only run SR4 for about 18 hours. I learned a lot, like the index is a life saver, but I still feel inadequate for doing a review.

So I was thinking I would ask you guys what you found to be the strong points, weak points, best improvements over SR3, worst changes, etc...

Plus anything else you would like to see addressed in a review. I will also be happy to give you credit in the article if you PM me your name.

What I hope to do is take everyone's comments and compile it into a cohesive article, adding my two cents when appropriate. At the very least I will give "Special thanks to the members of the Dumpshock Forums", and like I said, if you send me your real name via PM, I'll also add you to the "Written by..." list. Assuming your screen name shows up in thsi thread with some good input.

Plus, if you like, I can tell you how to subscribe to the zine it will be published in. Its an ezine, its free, its total fan contributions only, and open to any game. In fact we would love to have permission to even publish SR adventures, etc... So if any of the "owners" of SR reads this and would be willing to give us such permission, PM me and let me know. If one of the editors haven't already contacted you that is.

The publication is "The Domesday Book", done in honor of, and the tradition of, Gary Gygax. We are even trying to ressurect his old gamers society. To check it out in more detail:

C&C Society

Yes, it is associated with Troll Lord Games and their Castles and Crusades Game, but we are independent of them, completely fan driven, and our name is the same started by G. Gygax back in the early 70's, and we wish to be all inclusive of all RPG goodness.

Feel free to download our first 3 issues we have already done.

Thanks
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Adam
post Dec 7 2008, 12:06 AM
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If you are writing/publishing free material for Shadowrun, all you need to do is follow the usage policy here: http://shadowrun4.com/legal.shtml
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Mithral MAge
post Dec 16 2008, 09:33 PM
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No one wants to voice praises or weaknesses of SR4?
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Fortune
post Dec 16 2008, 09:51 PM
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We already do pretty much just that very thing in almost every thread here.
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deek
post Dec 16 2008, 09:56 PM
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Maybe you could post some interview-style questions to help us get our complaining/praising juices flowing for you? Give us a few specific questions and I bet you will get a better turnout.
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Neraph
post Dec 16 2008, 10:55 PM
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I feel the combat system is much more streamlined from SR3, I really enjoy the spellcasting/hacking/technomancer rules, I love the extreme need for tactical combat.

On the other hand, I really, really dislike the difficulties in playing a melee characer.
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Malachi
post Dec 16 2008, 11:10 PM
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QUOTE (Neraph @ Dec 16 2008, 06:55 PM) *
I feel the combat system is much more streamlined from SR3...

Really? I'm not an SR4 hater by any stretch, but ranged combat in SR4 does involve more die rolls than before, and uses basically all the same modifiers. I don't think it's gotten any simpler.

QUOTE (Neraph @ Dec 16 2008, 06:55 PM) *
On the other hand, I really, really dislike the difficulties in playing a melee characer.

Really? I found melee characters in SR3 as less viable. I'm curious what your difficulties are.

My two biggest highlights of SR4:
* Unified, consistent Magic system where everything "makes sense"
* Wireless Matrix - the Matrix specialist is now part of the party again! And running Matrix stuff is so much faster and easier to improvise than it used to be

I could write a more detailed review on either of the topics above.
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ElFenrir
post Dec 16 2008, 11:14 PM
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Well, I can say having played melee in SR3 and SR4, I think one thing that made it easier in 3: the Defensive Roll.

Player 1 rolls attack. Player 2 rolls defense. If player 2 had a high skill and Combat Pool, they could counterattack(and ties went to defender), possibly neutralizing player 1 if their damage-code was high enough, or at least wounding them so they took minuses. A sam with a 5(7) in *insert melee skill here* and an 8 Combat Pool could do a lot of damage in one fight, only on the defense.

Now, you need Riposte(which works a bit differently, and uses up attacks, and may be limited), or Counter-Strike(which you need to be an adept to get). That is one way indeed that, IMO, melee was stronger in SR3. You really had to think about attacking a skilled person up-close(though shooting them from afar was always an option, and you still had to close the distance.)
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Malachi
post Dec 17 2008, 01:37 AM
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From what I remember, "moving" in SR3 used a Simple action, and making a Melee Attack used a Complex one. So, Melee characters were screwed because they couldn't move into melee and attack in the same Pass. (Maybe I was playing that wrong the whole time) Second problem, I don't remember there being any sort of penalty in SR3 for being in melee, and then simply deciding to shoot said melee opponent with a ranged weapon. SR4 has the "attacker in melee" penalty, which at least means that the attacker has a -3 to said Ranged attack, plus the SR4 melee person gets their Reaction to try to dodge that attack. I don't recall their being any penalty for a Ranged attack while in melee in SR3, and the Dodge test was only made if the person remembered to allocate Combat Pool towards it when the round began.

Or someone can correct me if I was playing that wrong all along...
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Fortune
post Dec 17 2008, 01:51 AM
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You were playing that wrong. (IMG:style_emoticons/default/wink.gif)
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Malachi
post Dec 17 2008, 01:58 AM
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QUOTE (Fortune @ Dec 16 2008, 09:51 PM) *
You were playing that wrong. (IMG:style_emoticons/default/wink.gif)

Ok, which part?

Eventually I did "houserule" it that a character in melee had to first succeed in a (free) Melee Attack just to get the right to shoot someone. But that was my rule.
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Fortune
post Dec 17 2008, 02:22 AM
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From my admittedly rusty memory, normal movement didn't cost an Action in SR3.
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Mithral MAge
post Dec 17 2008, 07:06 AM
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QUOTE (deek @ Dec 16 2008, 10:56 PM) *
Maybe you could post some interview-style questions to help us get our complaining/praising juices flowing for you? Give us a few specific questions and I bet you will get a better turnout.



Good idea. I'll try and create something intelligent sounding over the next few days.
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BIG BAD BEESTE
post Dec 17 2008, 02:51 PM
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QUOTE (Fortune @ Dec 17 2008, 02:22 AM) *
From my admittedly rusty memory, normal movement didn't cost an Action in SR3.


Yup. A character could move their Quickness Attribute metres per combat round or up to Quickness Attribute x Run Multiplier (3 for average Humanoid). The total movement distance was then split between the character's available Actions. IE - your bog-standard Q 3 human who rolled an 11 initiative could walk a total distance of 3m/round. With 2 Actions on 11 & 1 respectively they would cover half that distance each Action but still be allowed their Full Actions. Running took up an Action I believe and if you made an Athletics (Running) Test you could temporarily increase your Quickness value to determine the additional metres you could cover.

Getting back on topic though, writing a review is generally a personal thing. It's all about your impressions and your observations. Write what you felt about your game and how you experienced the system. Sure, ask for advice and some clarity to compare an older edition with the new, but be aware that if you haven't played with these systems yourself then all you'll get is hearsay. Might as well just stick with the designer's notes if you're unfamiliar with the changes as they'll know better than most what's changed.

Please don't think that I mean the above comments in anything but a constructive way. I only advise this in the interests of seeing an honest and well-researched opinion being expressed in your article, which in turn will influence others perceptions on what I consider to be a great RPG system. Try to be unbias in your evaluation and who knows, your thoughts might even highlight some problem that laters gets redressed by the game designers themselves. To a good writer, constructive feedback is always welcome.

BTW: as for asking we Dumpshockers, count that as first-hand market research and general "recieved by the SR community as..." (IMG:style_emoticons/default/wink.gif)
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Mithral MAge
post Dec 17 2008, 09:22 PM
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QUOTE (BIG BAD BEESTE @ Dec 17 2008, 03:51 PM) *
Yup. A character could move their Quickness Attribute metres per combat round or up to Quickness Attribute x Run Multiplier (3 for average Humanoid). The total movement distance was then split between the character's available Actions. IE - your bog-standard Q 3 human who rolled an 11 initiative could walk a total distance of 3m/round. With 2 Actions on 11 & 1 respectively they would cover half that distance each Action but still be allowed their Full Actions. Running took up an Action I believe and if you made an Athletics (Running) Test you could temporarily increase your Quickness value to determine the additional metres you could cover.

Getting back on topic though, writing a review is generally a personal thing. It's all about your impressions and your observations. Write what you felt about your game and how you experienced the system. Sure, ask for advice and some clarity to compare an older edition with the new, but be aware that if you haven't played with these systems yourself then all you'll get is hearsay. Might as well just stick with the designer's notes if you're unfamiliar with the changes as they'll know better than most what's changed.

Please don't think that I mean the above comments in anything but a constructive way. I only advise this in the interests of seeing an honest and well-researched opinion being expressed in your article, which in turn will influence others perceptions on what I consider to be a great RPG system. Try to be unbias in your evaluation and who knows, your thoughts might even highlight some problem that laters gets redressed by the game designers themselves. To a good writer, constructive feedback is always welcome.

BTW: as for asking we Dumpshockers, count that as first-hand market research and general "recieved by the SR community as..." (IMG:style_emoticons/default/wink.gif)



Well, I have written a lot of reviews, but one thing my ONE game of SR 4, which was only played for about a total of 12 hours, showed me was that there is a LOT of ground my game did not cover.

So to give as comprehensive a view of all aspects of the game as I could I thought asking for the observations of people who have maybe played or ran hundreds of hours of SR4 would flesh out my review and make it much more useful.

I don't know about you guys, but I don't think a review by a guy who has about 12 hours experience running SR 4, and who last seriously played SR over 8 years ago, will be terribly informative or authoritative. I think help from heavily experienced people would really shore up my review. So I am here asking for that help.

What are the strengths of SR4?
1. Does it play smoother/faster than earlier editions?
2. Does the magic system make more sense? IS it more cohesive?
3. Are the MAtrix rules actually playable as a group now?
4. Is the Index as awesome as I found it to be, or have you found things missing?
What are its weaknesses?

What are popular house rules to address various potential shortcomings?

Anything else about SR4 that you don't think is noticeable in just 12 hours of playing?
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deek
post Dec 17 2008, 09:47 PM
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Now, I can answer some questions. First, my background, while not unique, is certainly not the norm. I ran a few SR1 campaigns, so several hundred hours of GMing, granted, we nixed magic cause no one liked the rules. I have not ran or played a single minute of SR2 or SR3. I did get back into SR4 right after the core book was released and have a couple hundred hours of GMing under my belt.

With that said, I think their are two main strengths, one, the wealth of background/world/setting information (granted, this is pre-dates SR4, but there is a lot of history to the game world) and character customization. You can literally spend hours building your character before you get to any "fluff".

1) Yes, it does seem to play a lot faster than earlier editions. Once you have characters generated, the game flows pretty smooth. If you have some inexperienced players, the first session or two may drag on, but once they are up to speed, the streamlined nature of the rules really promote fast play.

2) I think it is. The game mechanics are in-line with the rest of the system.

3) No. I've read plenty of examples of GMs feeling the matrix runs quicker, but I always still got stuck doing 1-on-1 time with our hacker, while everyone else played Guitar Hero until we were done.

4) The index is awesome for the books that have it. I think the copy of Augmentation I purchased had no index...it really sucked. Overall, the books are solid, but they could be organized a little better. I always hated having to flip around from commlink gear, to the matrix section for signal ratings, then to another section to upgrade commlinks. But for the most part, things are where you'd think they'd be.

As to weaknesses, I really think its the learning curve when introducing someone new. Each of my players spent about 3 hours a piece creating their first character. Some had never played SR before, others had, but not for a long time, but everyone was an experienced gamer in other systems. I would suggest new gamers start with an archetype character and play from there, adjusting for taste.

There were really only two houserules I ever used. One was to make movement evenly divisible by 4 IPs so we wouldn't have partial hex movements. This included making 1 hex = 1 meter = 3 feet, as I am American and metric isn't as easy to think about as feet. And two, using the optional Skill + Attribute pools for matrix activities.

Our campaign ended before incorporating Augmentation and Unwired into our games, so we were really just governed by the core rules and street magic. I'd think that a brand new group could be a bit overwhelmed having to work through core + street magic + unwired + augmentation + whatever else is out there now.

The game is fun. The setting is awesome and Dumpshock is a great resource to answer (or at least read different viewpoints) any of your SR4 questions!
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