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> Alternatives to the Pass system, Attempting to make 4 IPs != 4x the awesome
Heath Robinson
post Jan 7 2009, 10:38 PM
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For whatever reason, you want to replace the Pass system of SR4. Maybe you don't like the fact that when you've got 4 IPs your guns fire 4 times faster, or how IPs are a necessity for anybody who wants to avoid dying in a gunfight. Whatever. I don't care about the reasons, you just want to know about possible alternatives.

I also want to know about the alternatives. I'm the kind of person who likes seeing what happens when something changes.


All of these are going to require you recost IP boosting effects, oh well. The simpler ones are far less thought through, because they're boring.

NERFPLZ
Every extra IP adds a negative penalty that might be cumulative. Call it "attention deficit" or something.

    Forseeable pros
  • Really upfront

    Foreseeable cons
  • Extra modifier to take into account




BOOSTPLZ
Everyone begins with 2 IPs and the maximums are raised by 1.

    Forseeable pros
  • Extra IPs are less important, but still important
  • Extra tactical choices for people without IP boosts
  • Reduced Initiative Pass effects are less awesome but can see more application

    Foreseeable cons
  • Extra IPs still make you N times better, it's just offset slightly
  • You still need extra IPs to do well in the combat minigame




Did I hear someone say Extra Actions? 'Cause I think I just heard someone say Extra Actions
Every character begins with their IPs stat at 2 and the maximum is 5 (6 for Matrix IPs). Instead of getting additional passes, you get a number of Simple Actions equal to your IPs stat (instead of the normal 2, hence the baseline increase in the IPs stat). You only get 1 Complex Action for all of your Simple Actions.

    Forseeable pros
  • RoF doesn't change so dramatically with additional IPs
  • Smaller improvents makes extra IPs less of a necessity for combat characters
  • People without extra IPs can still compete
  • More interesting Cyber/Bio comes into play because IPs are less important

    Foreseeable cons
  • The best way to apply extra IPs is now far less intuitive
  • Recoil and Compensation are going to play a far bigger role in determining who wins a combat
  • More frontloading on actions for initiative bunnies might mean that the low init mage never gets to do anything in combat
  • Defense pools now drop quite quickly
  • The coolness of hypervelocity weapons is seriously weakened
  • Drones/Vehicles/Riggers don't get to do anything without making a crash test


Variants: Trading 2 Simple Actions gets you a Complex Action



No IPs, Init enhancement only, FINAL DESTINATION
Any effect that gives you extra IPs gives you +2 Initiative per extra IP instead.

    Forseeable pros
  • RoF doesn't change, at all
  • Initiative enhancements make you fast off the mark
  • Very simple
  • People without extra IPs are quite a bit less gimped
  • More interesting Cyber/Bio comes into play because getting extra initiative has a Poisson-shaped benefit curve

    Foreseeable cons
  • Unsatisfying from a player perspective
  • Adrenaline Surge becomes quite a bit more desirable
  • Drones/Vehicles/Riggers don't get to do anything without making a crash test
  • Spend a point of Edge, negate the effects of all that SOTA 'ware on the most important turn


Variants: Change the amount you add to initiative, Allow extra Matrix IPs



Look, I just liked the old system better, is using that too much to ask for?
You roll initiative. Generally your initiative is quite high and varies quite a bit. Initiative begins at the highest roll and sldies downwards giving you an action when the tracker hits your initiative entry. You gain additional entries every 10 below your value. Ware gives you lots of extra Initiative to make extra passes likely.

    Forseeable pros
  • SR2 players will want to have your children
  • Normal folks can get multiple passes
  • Sams may not get the full effect of their Init enhacement without some personal work

    Foreseeable cons
  • Isn't this thread meant to be about reducing the owningness of extra Passes?
  • Sams go first. ALWAYS.


Variants: You don't get the additional entries normally and instead when everyone has had their Action Phase they subtract 10 from their Initiative and everyone with a positive Initiative gets another Action Phase in Initiative order (repeat until no further combatants have positive Initiative), You get additional entries every 20 Initiative and then you take a second pass with 10 less Initiative in which only people with positive Initiative get to act



I like them being awesome, but not quite that awesome
Everyone only ever has 1 IP. Any device that normally gives you an extra IP instead gives you a +1DP bonus on combat actions (this exact tests that the bonus applies to can be tweaked in playtesting) in addition to the Initiative bonus.

    Foreseeable Pros
  • Players based on speed (extra passes) still get a fairly significant boost for their efforts
  • Players with 1 IP won't feel left out because they are acting just as much as everyone else, just not as "well" as the combat monsters

    Foreseeable Cons
  • DP inflaction
  • Drones/Vehicles/Riggers don't get to do anything without making a crash test


Variant: Replace the +1 DP with a +1 Modifier to Agility.



This Sam is super lucky!
In this, all players start with 1 IP. Ware that increases IPs as well as Reaction/Initative, only increases Reaction/Initiative instead. At the start of combat, all players roll their Initiative dice, as normal. Figure the rest of Initiative as normal; someone with a 10 who rolled 3 hits goes on a 13. In addition, every full 3 hits gives the character an extra IP. This lasts until the next full Combat Turn, and Initiative is rerolled. So it would be:

Joe the Sam rolls and gets 6 hits, lucky! He has 3 IPs(2 from hits, + 1 natural.) The combat turn goes as normal; with his extra IPs coming in after everyone else has used theirs up. There are still opponents left; so not everyone rerolls. This time, Joe isn't as lucky...only 3 hits...enough to get him just 2 IPs this turn.

    Forseeable Pros
  • Players aren't forced to load on on IP-increasing ware/foci/expensive abilities. They still find it a good addition, though.
  • A hint of randomness, which some folks might like. You might get 4 IPs this time...or maybe still have only 1. Adds some risk, but then there's those nice reward times.
  • The more lightly augmented have chances to get more IPs, and the Reaction/Initiative boosting Qualities will mean quite a bit to them, being worth it. Other builds-like pure adepts without needing to buy the very expensive Initiative boosting powers might be seen more.
  • Adds a little more threat to the game, knowing that even Joe Security Guard might have a lucky roll and get an extra IP that he might not have had before.

    Forseeable Cons
  • People are likely to frontload Reaction as much as possible. This can also lead to dodge twinks.
  • People might be likely to twink the Initative stats in general higher than most, just to ensure they get multiple hits.
  • A little more math-after calculating Initative, then Ips must be calculated.
  • Changing Initiative and Pass numbers each turn. Players need to be on the ball for this.
  • "I rolled low this turn, I have to suck". Doubly so for Drones/Riggers/Vehicles.




You have 30 seconds to take your turn
Reduce the turn length to 1 second. Everyone rolls Initiative at the beginning of combat - this determines their initial Action Points. Everyone gains a number of Action Points equal to their Reflexes (aka IP) each turn. It costs 4 AP to perform a Complex action, 2 to perform a Simple action, 1 to perform a Free action. There's a banked AP cap of 5 and you can rush an action at the cost of a DP modifier equal to the AP deficit. You also go into negative AP from rushing and cannot rush when you have negative AP.

Your Recoil counter resets when you take a Take Aim action.

    Foreseeable Pros
  • More accurately models combat chaos
  • Tactical expenditure allows you to be quite flexible when you don't have 4 IPs
  • You can express things as a per-second rate and there's no calculation to get that into the per-turn rate

    Foreseeable Cons
  • Extra Bookkeeping
  • Needs the players to rework their instincts more than many other systems because of the way Recoil gets handled and the way AP replenishes


Variants: Use a 3-pass CT that occupies 3s and discard any APs above 1 at the end of each CT - you may make an Interrupt Action for 2 APs



Your guns suffer from a bad case of Physics
All IP rules remain the same as RAW but guns are restricted to a set number of shots per combat turn. This is based on the number of rounds said weapon can fire in the hands of someone unaugmented (single shot=1, semi auto=2, full auto=10, hypervelocity=12), and ignores the RAW for number of bullets used for suppressive fire. This bullet allowance can be spread across the combat turn by fighters with multiple IPs, and each additional IP refreshes the recoil mods. Hence a 4IP sam with a hypervelocity minigun can fire a short burst, without stacking recoil penalties, in each of his phases, and can even throw in a take aim action for each one. Conversely Mr. Mundane can fire the same number of bullets, with a full-auto action, but cannot aim, and suffers a hefty recoil penalty. To balance magic, similarly only one spell may be cast per phase.

    Foreseeable Pros
  • Melee gets more favourable trade ins for extra IPs
  • Very light rules change
  • Guns are more equally effective across different degrees of augmentation
  • Promotes tactical fire choices

    Foreseeable Cons
  • Guns are less powerful than RAW
  • Extra bookkeeping
  • Combats are more likely to drag on past the sweet spot where the victor has been decided
  • High IPs or recoil comp, you need only choose one
  • "The reason I have 3 shotguns is that I can fire all of them in 3 seconds, like a juggler."




Military Simulations FTW
Make a Tactics roll instead of the Initiative roll. Everyone declares their actions in ascending order of the tactics roll and the time allowed for this depends on the number of hits you got on the roll. If you want to co-ordinate your actions, it costs you hits off your Tactics roll. After declarations the GM narrates the actions of the turn.

IPs affect the number of actions you get to take and their placement within the single turn timeline.

    Foreseeable Pros
  • Pretty good match to reality
  • Far less optimal action choices due to time constraints
  • Combat ends up being more narrative which can be good
  • Tactical abilities of the characters comes into play

    Foreseeable Cons
  • Dramatically different to the normal Initiative system
  • Lots of GM adjudication
  • Extra resource management
  • Quite low granularity on ordering resolution


Variants: Add a Leadership pool of hits that can be used instead of Tactics hits for co-ordination



A bit of the old Mexican standoff
You don't get additional passes, but whenever you want to react to an action occuring within a certain area of your character you roll IPs x2 with the number of hits determining what "size" action you can take in response.

    Foreseeable Pros
  • Even less tracking than the base SR4 system
  • Models snap reactions instead of faster cognition
  • Conceptually simpler than the original system
  • Very little rewriting of the rules

    Foreseeable Cons
  • Melee never really sees any benefit from extra IPs due to being one of the largest actions you can get
  • A lot of extra rolling
  • Pistols + Wired 2 = NO U!
  • Bit more GM adjudication than normal


Variants: Modify the roll used to determine what you get to do



Okay, so you go then I go, then we both go together, right?
Rather than subsequent passes going upwards (i.e. 1-2-3-4), the passes go through some other order. For example, downwards (4-3-2-1) or even an interleaved system (3-1-4-2).

    Foreseeable Pros
  • It's not all that different from normal SR4

    Foreseeable Cons
  • Non-linear pass orders may see a little more learning curve than normal
  • Still has the "4 IPs is 4 times as awesome" problem
  • Can end up with frontloaded actions for high-IP characters, meaning that non-combatants get to do nothing in combat at all


Variants: Rather than a pass order change you get to act on certain passes based on how many IPs you have (i.e. 1: 4; 2: 3,5; 3: 2,4,6; 4: 1,3,5,7;)



I think we should institute Flextime
There are N Passes each Combat Turn, and you can spend one of your X IPs each Combat Turn to act in the current Pass. You movement is fixed between Passes you act in, and running into someone means you have to take a test to avoid getting thrown onto your ass.

    Foreseeable Pros
  • It's not all that different from normal SR4

    Foreseeable Cons
  • Still has the "4 IPs is 4 times as awesome" problem
  • In a low IP game, everyone may wait until the last few Passes to take their actions (to maximise survivability), making the high-IP characters the star actors in combat


Variants: Some IP enhancers give you "reactive IPs" that you can only take in the same Pass as someone else


I'll add any good points to the lists above if this thread gets off the ground.

Edits:
  • Added Malachi's system as "I like them being awesome, but not quite that awesome".
  • Added ElFenrir's system as "This Sam is super lucky!"
  • Added HentaiZonga's system as "You have 30 seconds to take your turn".
  • Added Psychophipps' system as a variant of "I like them awesome, but not quite that awesome".
  • Added ornot's system as "Your guns suffer from a bad case of Physics".
  • Added Blade's system as "Military Simulations FTW".
  • Added BrownCoatOne's system as "A bit of the old Mexican standoff".
  • Added The Pat's systems wherever they fit (mostly as variants).
  • Added The Monk's system as a variant of "Did someone say Extra Actions? Because I think I just heard someone say Extra Actions".
  • Renamed "Look, I just liked the SR3 system better, is using that too much to ask for?" to "Look, I just liked the old system better, is using that too much to ask for?", added Variants
  • Added Caadium's system as "Okay, so you go then I go, then we both go together, right?"
  • Added The Monk's second system as a variant of "You have 30 seconds to take your turn".
  • Added FrankTrollman's system as "I think we should institute Flextime".
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HentaiZonga
post Jan 7 2009, 10:45 PM
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I personally like Action Points... (IMG:style_emoticons/default/smile.gif)
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Stahlseele
post Jan 7 2009, 10:45 PM
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in the SR3 System, you did not get passes, but ini dice.
you rolled the dice and added the result to your reaction.
on 1 you got to act once, on 11 you got to act twice, on 21 you got to act thrice and so on . .
beginning with the one who has highest result, going round to guy with lowest result.
after every time one has acted, 10 points are scratched from roll, as long as you are above 0 you get to act again, if your last score was 7 and you are done you substract 10 and you're at -3, so you don't get to act again.
simple no? *snickers*

Action Points.
A fallout Reference!
sucks that it's impossible to use ._.
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JFixer
post Jan 7 2009, 11:01 PM
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SR4 allows a system in which combat is extremely lethal, and your only hope of surviving a full on fire-fight is to take full cover and wait for the guy to finish spraying the area with bullets. Wired Reflexes and Synaptic Accelerators, while thankfully stacking with nothing, do make a single combatant the equivalent of his own platoon. A single sam, wired up, can take out three guys in a round, easily. That's three seconds to kill three enemy combatants, though he leaves himself vulnerable to two attacks in the meantime.

I think it may simply be easier to give cover a greater bonus, perhaps a defense bonus as well as a penalty to attackers, to keep a target from dying so quickly they make no difference in the fight.

IPs themselves, while they either allow very little movement, or none at all, seem to be imbalanced at the higher level game, but less so at the lower level. Two passes with a heavy pistol are extremely different from three with a medium machine gun, or a mana storm.
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Malachi
post Jan 7 2009, 11:05 PM
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How about this:

Everyone only ever has 1 IP. Any device that normally gives you an extra IP instead gives you a +1DP bonus on combat actions (this exact tests that the bonus applies to can be tweaked in playtesting) in addition to the Initiative bonus.
Pros:
* Players based on speed (extra passes) still get a fairly significant boost for their efforts
* Players with 1 IP won't feel left out because they are acting just as much as everyone else, just not as "well" as the combat monsters

Cons:
* Extra IP 'ware/spells may seem overly expensive for the benefit that they give

EDIT:
Maybe my experiences are not other peoples' here, but my groups haven't had the "1 IP guy getting bored" problem. I've seen a few people talk about the 1 IP going and sitting while everyone else takes "their other 3 passes." Is 4 IP's really the "standard" for everyone else? In all of my SR3 and SR4 time I have actually never had a 4IP character. My current group has 3 characters with 3 IP's, 2 of which are Matrix-based (Hacker and Rigger). I try to keep combat moving as quickly as I possibly can, cutting out die rolls except when absolutely necessary (NPC to NPC actions, for example, don't get rolled). Since I bring my laptop to gaming sessions, I use a computerized die roller and a spreadsheet for calculating/tracking damage. I can move through multiple rounds of combat pretty quickly.
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ElFenrir
post Jan 7 2009, 11:33 PM
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I thought about this a lot, too. Enjoying melee characters a lot, I'm particularly forced(and those like me), to pump the passes, due to things like melee taking a Complex Action, and my dude's arms and legs aren't semi-auto, burst-fire or FA weapons(though they might hit like one, at least. (IMG:style_emoticons/default/grinbig.gif) )

I always liked:

The Strange Combo System that involves Rolling and Adding IPs

In this, all players start with 1 IP. Ware that increases IPs as well as Reaction/Initative, only increases Reaction/Initiative instead. At the start of combat, all players roll their Initiative dice, as normal. Figure the rest of Initiative as normal; someone with a 10 who rolled 3 hits goes on a 13. In addition, every full 3 hits gives the character an extra IP. This lasts until the next full Combat Turn, and Initiative is rerolled. So it would be:

Joe the Sam rolls and gets 6 hits, lucky! He has 3 IPs(2 from hits, + 1 natural.) The combat turn goes as normal; with his extra IPs coming in after everyone else has used theirs up. There are still opponents left; so not everyone rerolls. This time, Joe isn't as lucky...only 3 hits...enough to get him just 2 IPs this turn.

Forseeable Pros:

-Players aren't forced to load on on IP-increasing ware/foci/expensive abilities.
-A hint of randomness, which some folks might like. You might get 4 IPs this time...or maybe still have only 1. Adds some risk, but then there's those nice reward times.
-The more lightly augmented have chances to get more IPs, and the Reaction/Initiative boosting Qualities will mean quite a bit to them, being worth it. Other builds-like pure adepts without needing to buy the very expensive Initiative boosting powers might be seen more.
-Adds a little more threat to the game, knowing that even Joe Security Guard might have a lucky roll and get an extra IP that he might not have had before.

Forseeable Cons:

-Must reprice a lot of ware and abilities(like the Adept's reflexes), to reflect they only boost Reaction/initiative now.
-People are likely to frontload Reaction as much as possible. This can also lead to dodge twinks.
-People might be likely to twink the Initative stats in general higher than most, just to ensure they get multiple hits.
-A little more math-after calculating Initative, then Ips must be calculated. It's not much at all, simply counting the hits, but it is an extra step; also, IPs must be tracked between combat turns, as they change.

That's all I came up with for now, though I had a few more in the works.
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Heath Robinson
post Jan 8 2009, 12:13 AM
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Malachi,
I've added your system to the first post if you don't mind, as "I like them to be awesome, but not quite that awesome".

As with all the single pass systems, Drones, Vehicles and Riggers all have to make crash tests if they want to do something other than control the vehicle (the reason I point this out is so that people using these house rules know that they need to house rule out the crash test as well).

Apart from that, it's actually an interesting choice for replacing the effect - it reasonably emulates the impact of additional control that boosted reflexes would give you.

I have played an unaugmented mundane in a part of augmented and awakened badasses. I did find myself doing a lot of waiting, but not too bored since I was interested in what my more experienced compatriots were doing. It seems like it's quite possible that people do get bored if combat is resolved fast, though.

ElFenrir,
I've also added your system to the first post, as "This Sam is super lucky!" I was originally going to use "No IPs make spunky Japanese girls unhappy" but remembered a more famous quote.

It's not hard to realiably get 4 IPs under it, but the fact that unaugmented mundanes can also reliably get 4 IPs puts them in the same box as their awakened/wared with the corollary that they're still less awesome because of their choice. Would have liked that when I played Doc Gaudi.

The correlation between higher Initiative and more IPs is nice. The random number of IPs per turn introduces a degree of "crap, I rolled low and have to suck" especially for characters/objects that have to spend a fixed number of actions to avoid something bad happening. Like Drones.


Any system which makes Drones worse than they already are is effectively beating a cripple.
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ElFenrir
post Jan 8 2009, 12:38 AM
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Hmm, Drones are kinda massacred under that. (IMG:style_emoticons/default/wink.gif) You know, I had tried tinkering(with a lot of random die rolls), trying to find the sweet spot of hits to IP. I decided on 3 after awhile as the happy medium. I was working with Initiative scores of 8-12; I should have even gone lower and higher, but I figured this was a decent ballpark. 2 was WAY too low, and 4...4 was almost my choice, but again, it put the ball back into the court of the super-sams. Now, granted, people who pay for a lot of bonuses should indeed get them; but with 4, it was turning back into the problem we have now(as in, people with big boosters rule all.) 3 seemed to be that medium; the sams still can get some mega-speed going, and impressive, and likely more than any mundanes still unless they roll 2 or less hits, but lesser-boosted folks can still have those ''lucky reflex boosts'' in certain situations.


I guess what it comes down to is that no system is fullproof, but each has their own little bonuses, minuses, and quirks.

I like this thread, and I'm wondering what else comes out of it. (IMG:style_emoticons/default/biggrin.gif)

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HentaiZonga
post Jan 8 2009, 01:36 AM
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QUOTE (Stahlseele @ Jan 7 2009, 03:45 PM) *
Action Points.
A fallout Reference!
sucks that it's impossible to use ._.


Not at all! (IMG:style_emoticons/default/smile.gif) Just reduce the turn length to 1 second; everyone rolls Initiative at the beginning of combat - this determines their base Action Points. Everyone gains a number of Action Points equal to their Reflexes (aka IP). It costs 4 AP to perform a Complex action, 2 to perform a Simple action, 1 to perform a Free action. Just cap Action Points at 5 to prevent things from going silly, and allow anyone to re-roll Initiative as a Simple Action if they want to take their chances.

Try it! (IMG:style_emoticons/default/smile.gif)
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Heath Robinson
post Jan 8 2009, 02:28 AM
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I've added the Action Points system as "You have 30 seconds to take your turn". I did make some assumptions about things where I thought it wasn't clear, so you might want to check and point out where things differ.

The potential to rack up many Action Points with good dice rolls or Edge is the first criticism I could think of. Yeah, it's going to be rare but being able to hit each guard with their own specially tailored full burst doesn't sound like good news to me. It's awesome, though, and models chaotic combat quite well.

ElFenrir,
Yeah, the fact that nothing is perfect is part of the reason why I'm putting up Pros and Cons for each. I guess I should add a "Get over it" section for the original SR4 system.
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HentaiZonga
post Jan 8 2009, 03:18 AM
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QUOTE (Heath Robinson @ Jan 7 2009, 07:28 PM) *
I've added the Action Points system as "You have 30 seconds to take your turn". I did make some assumptions about things where I thought it wasn't clear, so you might want to check and point out where things differ.

The potential to rack up many Action Points with good dice rolls or Edge is the first criticism I could think of. Yeah, it's going to be rare but being able to hit each guard with their own specially tailored full burst doesn't sound like good news to me. It's awesome, though, and models chaotic combat quite well.

ElFenrir,
Yeah, the fact that nothing is perfect is part of the reason why I'm putting up Pros and Cons for each. I guess I should add a "Get over it" section for the original SR4 system.


How we've dealt with Recoil, etc.:

1. Resetting recoil now requires a "Take Aim" Simple action. Otherwise you're simply continuing the last burst.
2. Everyone's AP caps at 5, so you can't "bank up" more than 1 Complex Action + 1 Free Action per second.
3. If someone wants to go before they have sufficient AP, they can "rush" the action, at a dice pool penalty equal to their AP deficit. This puts their AP negative; while negative, they cannot further "rush" actions.
4. Movement rates can now be expressed in meters per second, and maximum burst rates can now be expressed in rounds per second. This is a feature.

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psychophipps
post Jan 8 2009, 04:30 AM
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We just tweaked our house rule to every extra pass from gearz/spells/drugs/etc to add +1 Reaction and +1 Agility. This Agility boost does stack with other non-banned Agility boosting. We describe this as the game mechanic effect of everything running in slow motion, everything around you is slower so you have "extra time" to aim, draw your weapon, throw that punch to the extra IP character but it's all going so damn fast for the non-boosts it seems like they're extra fast and graceful.

It's worked great so far...
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ornot
post Jan 8 2009, 09:43 AM
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How about Everyones' gun suffers from Physics or Less flying lead makes Mr Melee happy.
All IP rules remain the same as RAW but guns are restricted to a set number of shots per combat turn. This is based on the number of rounds said weapon can fire in the hands of someone unaugmented (single shot=1, semi auto=2, full auto=10, hypervelocity=12), and ignores the RAW for number of bullets used for suppressive fire. This bullet allowance can be spread across the combat turn by fighters with multiple IPs, and each additional IP refreshes the recoil mods. Hence a 4IP sam with a hypervelocity minigun can fire a short burst, without stacking recoil penalties, in each of his phases, and can even throw in a take aim action for each one. Conversely Mr. Mundane can fire the same number of bullets, with a full-auto action, but cannot aim, and suffers a hefty recoil penalty. To balance magic, similarly only one spell may be cast per phase.

Pros:
buffs melee, if you choose to go that way
limits RAW rewrites
guns become great leveller for the unaugmented, especially the highly skilled

cons:
gimps guns to some extent
more book keeping

notes:
IPs more commonly used for defense in firefights
less flying lead can lead to longer combats.
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Blade
post Jan 8 2009, 12:56 PM
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There are no combat turns (warning, very different initiative system)

When the players would be rolling initiative, they don't. They roll a Tactics roll instead, one of them can roll an additional Leadership roll. They keep in mind (or write down or use tokens or something) their score.
Then each player (from lower Tactics to higher Tactics score) proceed to describe what his character is expecting to do during this combat (ie. "get behind this cover and shoot at these guys", "get there by running from cover to cover", "open the door, throw a flash-bang then enter facing that direction and shoot any hostile target"). The time he has to decide depends on his Tactics score (from a few seconds to as long as he likes). If two characters wants to synchronize their actions, they need to spend one (or more, depending on the complexity) Tactics point or one (or more, depending on the complexity) Leadership point.

Once everyone has declared his actions, the GM proceeds to describe what's happening chronologically. The actions happen simultaneously, the character with a higher initiative score starting to act a few milliseconds before the one with a lower initiative score. If there's a situation where it's really important to know who's first, roll an initiative test.

Characters with more than 1 IP pass still have more actions. Drawing a timeline can help:
Start End
1IP |-----------|-----------|
2IP |-----|-----|-----|-----|
3IP |---|---|---|---|---|---|
4IP |--|--|--|--|--|--|--|--|

(the | represent the start of a simple action)

The characters keep doing what they declared until the combat is over or the player decides to declare a new action. In some cases (switching to full-dodge when the threat is obvious, stop shooting at someone after an explosion blew him to pieces), it's just a free action. In other cases, the character needs to spend a simple action to re-evaluate the situation, or he can spend one or more Tactics point to do so as a free action. It's up to the GM to decide how difficult it is to declare a new action. Characters can still delay their action, in which case the player can declare his action as a free action.
Characters can also spend a simple action to evaluate the situation, allowing them to refresh their Tactics pool with a new Tactics test.

When a character with IP boosts uses a Tactics point, the player rolls a dice. If the result if strictly inferior to the character's IP pass number, the character will react fast, but wrong. He can spend one Tactics point to avoid this.

For the GM, it's recommended to ignore Tactics points and to just adapt the NPCs reactions to their professionalism. Gangers probably won't have them, SWAT teams will have a lot of them.

Pros:
* Real-time combat!
* Combat more narrative.
* Less metagaming over the use of IPs
* Less "optimal actions" (characters who'll switch targets as soon as the first one is dead)
* Takes into account the Tactical abilities of the characters

Cons:
* Very different from the base rules
* Takes time to get used to it
* Some players don't like not rolling their insanely high Initiative score.
* Requires a bit of management for the Tactics points
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Browncoatone
post Jan 8 2009, 12:59 PM
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Reaction - re⋅ac⋅tion - [ree-ak-shuhn]
–noun
4. Physiology. action in response to a stimulus, as of the system or of a nerve, muscle, etc.

Initiative - in⋅i⋅ti⋅a⋅tive - [i-nish-ee-uh-tiv, i-nish-uh-tiv]
–noun
2. readiness and ability in initiating action; enterprise: to lack initiative.

Reflex - re·flex - [adj., n. ree-fleks; v. ri-fleks]
–adjective
1. Physiology. noting or pertaining to an involuntary response to a stimulus, the nerve impulse from a receptor being transmitted inward to a nerve center that in turn transmits it outward to an effector.
2. occurring in reaction; responsive.
–noun
6. Physiology.
a. Also called reflex act. movement caused by a reflex response.
b. Also called reflex action. the entire physiological process activating such movement.
7. any automatic, unthinking, often habitual behavior or response.

Using these definitions (which I already know the authors of the RAW do not) s/he with initiative acts first and all others react to his/her initial action. Those reacting must:

Observe the situation
Decide on a course of action
Act on that decision

But those reacting fall into two categories: those taking voluntary actions and those acting involuntarily. Those acting involuntarily effectively skip the decision step and begin what could be considered a preprogrammed action automatically. This could be a natural response like jerking your hand away from a hot surface or a trained response like throwing yourself to the ground at the sound of gunfire. Either way, the response to that stimuli is determined in advance of the stimuli's observation. This makes the reaction time much faster at the cost of freedom of action.

So, logically (like anyone cares about logic), having the capability to unthinkingly react to stimuli very quickly (like person with wired reflexes does) shouldn't give a person the initiative- only the capacity to react to another's initial action much quicker than an average person could.

Oh, and just because you're fast doesn't make you graceful. In fact I'd argue the opposite. Having the capacity to physically react much faster leaves less time for your mind to process the situation before your body automatically carries out the reflex action. A normal person might begin to take a reflex action but then interrupt that action once their mind has selected a different option. A person with wired reflexes may very well have completed the action before the mind had finished processing the available information. Having wired reflexes doesn't give you anymore time, it just lets you move in less time than you would normally be capable of.

From this rambling we can conclude the following:

1. Actions are not instantaneous.
2. Some actions are involuntary, and those involuntary actions are faster than voluntary actions.

You probably want me to get to the point, eh chummer?

Well I haven't tried it yet but just a thought:

Everyone gets one normal action when they normally get it per 4th RAW. However, everytime your character is attacked, be it melee, magic or firearm, you roll a number of dice equal to your IPs and total the hits:

0 - You suck. Take it like a man.
1 - You may make an immediate, out of sequence Free action. Like that helped you.
2 - You may make an immediate, out of sequence Simple action. Shoot back I shall.
3 - You may immediately make one, out of sequence Simple action and one out of sequence Free action. Would you like to hurl an insult with that shotgun blast?
4 - You may make an immediate out of sequence Complex action. Now we're talking!

Note that recoil and penalties remain accumulative throughout the turn. Oh and wound modifiers are applied to IP dice pools.

Pros:
Easier record keeping.
Limited RAW rewriting.

Cons:
Wired Reflexers even more deadly than before.
More rolling every turn.

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Rotbart van Dain...
post Jan 8 2009, 01:14 PM
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QUOTE (Heath Robinson @ Jan 7 2009, 11:38 PM) *
I also want to know about the alternatives. I'm the kind of person who likes seeing what happens when something changes.

The only alternative I would consider is inverting the sequence of phases:

Person A: 4 Passes
Person B: 2 Passes
Person C: 1 Pass

Default SR4:

Turn:

AAAA
BB00
C000

Seqence is:

ABCABAA


Now, invert it:

Turn:

AAAA
00BB
000C

Seqence is:

AAABABC

Welcome back to the glorious times of SR2 where a decent Street Sam could take out the entire guards before they even got their guns out.
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ornot
post Jan 8 2009, 01:29 PM
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@Browncoatone

This may be your intention, but you practically remove any use for WR; with the investment of nuyen and essence it's not unreasonable for a player to expect some return. The dice odds suggest that with WR2 you will likely get a free action whenever someone shoots at you. This is not especially useful, and probably not worth the cost.

I've experimented in games I've run with ways to nerf IP boosts, including limiting these boosts to defensive or reactive only actions, but it's ultimately been quite dissatisfying for players who like the wired reflexes trope, and required more monkeying around with rules than I have patience for. In the end I changed my focus and ended up with a houserule that my players accept, understand, and quite appreciate since melee combat is an option they like.
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The Pat
post Jan 8 2009, 05:54 PM
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Since our group never liked the effects of unbalanced IPs we tried the following options:

Faster out of the Gate
Extra IPs just add 4 dice to your Initiative test (Think something similar is up there)

Pros:
- Easy to implement

Cons:
- Bad value for money on IP boosting gear/powers

We left this after some time (nobody took IP boost any more (IMG:style_emoticons/default/wobble.gif) )

Reflexes just make your react faster
Our try at reality: If you just do the same thing all the time (e.g. shoot at the same target for 3 rounds), both character (A: 1 IP, B: 4 IPs) should just be able to actat the same rate. But if some new factor enters the action or the character wants to change his action, B will just be faster. So whenever a character changes his action and/or a new factor comes into play (some guards entering the room etc.), all players roll IPs x 2 dice - with 3 sucesses you can act at once, with 2 successes you loose a simple action and with 1 or no successes you loose a full turm due to "readjusting". [Of course usually this roll is also made at the beginning of combat]

Pros:
- Just sounds right to me (Reflexes do not make you faster overall, only your reaction time)
- Reduces unbalance due to IP differences

Cons:
- Additional rolls
- Storyteller has to judge when to ask for a roll

We are now working with a new rule:

There is no way to ge multiple IPs (except VR)

Pros:
- Very easy solution
- No unbalance due to IPs

Cons:
- Takes away a part of SR canon that many players consider as vital to the setting
(We don't - SR setting has MANY cooler facets than cybered-up speedsters that gun down an army in 3 secs - but that's just our POV)

Final thought:
Take what you like most and try it out!

The Pat
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The Monk
post Jan 8 2009, 06:32 PM
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We will be trying this:
1 IP gets you 1 complex action (as normal). Each additional IP gets you one more simple action. So 3 IPs gets you 2 complex actions (or 4 simple).

All of these actions happen on the same turn but on different initiative phases. To figure out which phases you go on just divide your initiative score by the number of "action bunches" you get. Each 1 complex action or simple action (left over) are an action bunch. For example if you score a 12 for initiative and you have 3 IPs (2 complex actions) divide 12 by 2. Your first action is on phase 12 your second is on phase 6. If you have 4 IPs you have 2 complex actions and 1 simple action, divide your initiative score by three. So if you score a 12 you go on phases 12, 8, and 4.

Also starting from the player (or bad guy) which scores the lowest initiative we declare our actions for that turn. These actions can only be changed by using up 1 simple action, kinda like you are reassessing the situation and changing your actions. And then the turn plays out starting from the highest initiative. For example if you declare that you are shooting bad guy A, but he gets capped on a phase before you get to go, you can change your actions and declare new ones on your phase by sacrificing one simple action (shoot bad guy B instead).


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Heath Robinson
post Jan 8 2009, 08:01 PM
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Added the systems suggested, rephrased things to be as succinct as possible. Please check and I would appreciate some extra criticisms of the systems already included.
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masterofm
post Jan 8 2009, 08:35 PM
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*edited for double post*
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masterofm
post Jan 8 2009, 08:35 PM
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"There can be only one"

Throw out the IP system all together and give everyone 1 IP. Allow for a complex action, a simple, and two free actions for everyone. Only your simple action can carry over into your next IP. You can always take a dodge action/pilot check that does not take up any of your actions. Trying to punch or swing and use a gun at the same time will give you a hefty penalty. Drones and spirits are only allowed a single complex action and a free action. Full dragons are of course an exception to the rules (2-4 IPs.)

Pros
- Ungimps dodge and makes it a more valid skill choice
- Allows drones to still take their pilot check
- Puts everyone on an even keel
- A better Equalizer for stats, and stat building

Cons
- Makes initative very important if you want to act first (but then again SR is still built on this.)
- Puts drones and spirits on an even keel with players (however they always used to start with 3 IPs in SR so....)
- Need to throw out some of the borrowing from next IP rules.
- I'm sure there are more.

To make brawlers more of a viable option you can have shooters only be allowed to take two simple or one complex action when firing their gun per IP. That way brawlers get three actions for every two IPs and shooters get four and a complex action (or two simple actions) of their choosing, I would gimp troll bows though if I went with this option as it would make them crazy powerful.
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InfinityzeN
post Jan 8 2009, 08:57 PM
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I always liked the way things worked in Blue Planet. First we need to get an action completion speed (ACS for short). So 6 - IP. This is to take into acount 5IP net heads and the ability to spend edge (which now reduces your ACS by 1 for a single action).

So it happens like this. At the begining of a fight, everyone rolls initiative and declares their actions. Then you start counting the ticks (call them 1 second long). Once a number of ticks have passed since you declared your action, you get to perform it and declare a new action on that tick. Declaring a response (full dodge, etc) dumps your currently in waiting action so you have to declare a new one and start your count over.

An action is a complex action, so you can do 2 simple actions in it. Free actions are allowed one per declared action (plus any gained through other means).

Actions within the same tick happen in initiative order. Held actions that lose initiative still act before a non-held persons second simple action. Held actions always beat complex actions.

Actions can be held for as long as you desire once their tick comes up. This allows you to do an "I am at his face, if he reacts funny I shoot him". Actions can be dropped and new ones declared at any time, but reset your count down. The guy with the gun now pointed at his head who's declared action was "Draw and fire" can drop his action and declare "Raise hands and surrender".

Example: Sammy Sam Sam has WR2 (ACS: 3) goes up against two guards (ACS: 5). Of course, he wins initative. The guards actions will both be to draw and shoot Sammy, which he counters with a move towards cover while fast drawing his pistol and blasting each guard once.

tick 1 and 2 nothing happens
tick 3 Sammy starts moving, passes his fast draw roll, and shots on each guard. Guard 1 declares a dodge while Guard 2 will try to take it so he can still shoot. Both guards are hit, with Guard 1 taking light damage and Guard 2 is blasted pretty bad. Guard 1 declares his action to be the same as before. Sammy declares his action will be to shoot Guard 1 twice while continuing to move.
tick 4 nothing happens
tick 5 The badly wounded Guard 2 draws and fires. He barely hits Sammy and only lightly wounds him. Declares his next action will be to run for cover.
tick 6 Sammy shoots Guard 1 twice. Guard 1 dies. Declares next action will be to shoot Guard 2 twice, free action shout "Lie down or die!"
tick 7 & 8 nothing happens
tick 9 Sammy holds his action. Guard 2 declares action "drop pistol and surrender", free action say "I give up!"
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Browncoatone
post Jan 8 2009, 09:19 PM
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InfinityzeN:
I like it. Actions are not instantaneous and reflexes actually work like reflexes. Under most systems surrender isn't even considered as a possibility because either you can shoot somebody or you can't. With this you know in advance that the hurt is coming and you can offer and accept surrenders before the shots are actually fired- which is good for story telling, especially if you're trying to capture somebody. I think if I were to use it though I'd printout a display to help keep track of everyone's upcoming delayed actions.

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Browncoatone
post Jan 22 2009, 09:09 PM
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So I was thinking about this the other day and this home rule kinda bubbled to the surface:

All SR4 rules as RAW except actions are declared on one pass and then completed on your next pass.

Pros:
Limited divergence from the RAW
Fairly easy to remember
Characters are able to react to actions about to happen if they're fast enough

Cons:
Not the RAW
Makes Reaction/Initiative enhancers even more dangerous
May require minor paperwork for GM when running multiple NPCs in a combat
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