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> to be or not to be, here's my question
Red-ROM
post Jul 3 2009, 04:26 AM
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When I run a game, I tend to want my characters to survive. I've pulled punches, even fudged die rolls, but i've read of some serious player extermination. I read a guy saying they'd lose 3 characters in one knight. Am I a softy? should I be screaming 187 on a m*#$% f^#! street sam? I've had a character leave his meatbag in a parking lot to go VR while his team went into the building leaving this guy unprotected in the street. If thats not asking for a dirt nap i don't know what is. and on the flipside, should I roll up some extra characters(oops, an old D&D term slipped in there)? I'm playing in a PBP game on dumpshock, are my days numbered?
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Blade
post Jul 3 2009, 08:45 AM
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Depends on your GM. Some don't like killing PC, other can't start the day without killing an entire party. Also depends on your playing style.
But even if your GM is likely to save your PC from death, it's a good idea not to abuse it. It leads to ridiculous situations and removes some of the drama of the game.

I've played in a game where one of the player kept taking stupid decisions. He decided attack the leader of an eco-terrorist group in his HQ deep inside a strange jungle while surrounded by guards hidden in said jungle. Oh, did I mention that his character was a close-combat fighter? The GM was very soft and the PC was just knocked out by the leader and some guards. Later on, as some of the guards were escorting us to a VTOL that was supposed to bring us out of the jungle, she tried to beat them up. Once again, the GM was far too soft and the guards kept the character alive and just shoved it inside the VTOL. A few minutes/hours later, when asked to disembark the VTOL, the PC wanted to stay inside and tried to break down the door leading to the pilot seats. She finally did it, but the vehicle was rigged and she didn't know anything about computers or hardware, so there was little she could do. I don't remember exactly how she got out, but from what I recall she was once again put in a situation where the opposition could just shoot her in the head but the GM didn't want to kill her. (Well, he had his reasons, but this wasn't fun for him or even for the rest of the players).
And worst of all: the player kept bragging about how the eco-terrorists were worthless, how his PC was able to kick the ass of three of them before the other shot him, how she could have done the whole mission by herself and kept complaining that we didn't go along with his plans.

Don't be that player.
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Da9iel
post Jul 3 2009, 08:55 AM
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With new players, I always give them one solo (or just the new players) run, and they never fail to do something stupid. They get shot/locked up/whatever. We debrief. They get one free reset. From then on, they should at least be thinking of a new character concept to introduce the next time they do something stupid.
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PBI
post Jul 3 2009, 10:37 AM
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I tend to get progressively lethal as the campaign goes on, especially if I have players new to the game. The first few runs will be dangerous, but unless the players really force my hand, they'll get bruised but not die. Once the campaign is established, though... (IMG:style_emoticons/default/smile.gif)
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Chibu
post Jul 3 2009, 11:30 AM
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Ok, so we play a bit harsher than 'no one dies' but the GM doesn't going out of the way to kill us or anything. Here's my advice for you as a GM: If your players are about to do something stupid, you should tell them. "You don't think it's a good idea to leave yourself unprotected, out of body, in the middle of a parking lot." If they inquire as to why this would be the case, inform them that it isn't safe, they might get killed or at least have something stolen while they're away (external comlink? lol). You need to get them to not make stupid decisions, whether or not you're planning to kill them. And since you're playing 4th edition, If they keep making really bad plans (like the VR example), just kill them. They have Edge, so they won't stay dead. It might scare them though.

As for playing yourself... The best plan is to assume that the GM is out to get you. Isn't this how a shadowrunner should be anyway? Plan accordingly. Don't leave yourself alone in an alley to go VR. Don't even THINK that you can break into that azzy pyramid with more planning. Shoot straight, conserve ammo, and never, ever, cut a deal with a dragon. 'Eh chummer?
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resident-securit...
post Jul 3 2009, 11:53 AM
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i have found, from my experiences asa player, that if noone dies (or comes very very very close to dying) we can feel invincible, or "coddled" you get the * oh he wont kill us if we dont go too overboard* mindset, its exactly that mindset that has my runner of the shadows wearing medium military armour and driving a tank to jobs (yes i have a permit for the tank 'thank you decker')

luckily the only death we have had so far was a very unfortunate street sam, that i tried to save and killer her with the door of my car >.<, wasnt happy, i paid good money for the paintjob
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PatB
post Jul 3 2009, 12:13 PM
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Another factor is dice rolling. We play with open dice. Sometimes the players have better luck, sometimes it's the opposition, and sometimes it's a bit of both. Truth is, no one can blame the GM for fodging dice, so it all comes down to how players will react, especially in times of bad luck.

Get captured, fail a mission, lose rep, deal with that dragon and live to regret it, but in the end, if the players play it well, they should be able to live another day. If anyone says that life always goes as you want and you win at everything you do, then I'll call you a lier or a corporate wageslave we shadowrunners despise (IMG:style_emoticons/default/sarcastic.gif)
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DireRadiant
post Jul 3 2009, 02:43 PM
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I played in a game where the PC death count caused by PCs on the same team was higher then the GM/NPC ones.

Of course, that was because the PCs that survived the stupidity of their teammates actions learned it was safer to get rid of problem team mates before they got the entire team killed.

Do you really want a team mate who
- walks into a Triad bar alone and insults the Triad boss, while the rest of the team is waiting outside thinking he's gone in to do a simple package drop off? (You didn't let us know the package was the Triad Bosses favorite sons ripped off cyberlimb?)
- loses his commlink with the entire teams network addresses on it? (You just forgot it at the hotel because you were taking a shower?)
- records everything he sees and sends the entire recording to his secret corporate masters? (What, we weren't going to notice the signal traffic when we are on a boat in the middle of the Caribbean?)
- shows up with 80 kilos of C4, and then explains all those spirits following him around are his former teammates ghosts...(And we weren't going to figure out he blew them up during a previous run?)
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The Jake
post Jul 3 2009, 03:36 PM
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I won't kill a player for bad dice rolling. But I will fuck them up for stupid behaviour.

- J.
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Summerstorm
post Jul 3 2009, 03:49 PM
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QUOTE (The Jake @ Jul 3 2009, 04:36 PM) *
I won't kill a player for bad dice rolling. But I will fuck them up for stupid behaviour.

- J.


Exactly this... But just saying... maneuvering into a situation where a bad roll results in death is pretty stupid and also what shadowrunners do for a living. My point is: If you play shadowrun, and you are playing shadowrunners, death is expected. At least for me. Where is the fun, when there is no danger?

But as a GM i never really WANT them to die. I give them tips what they could avoid, and am pretty lenient with the reactions of the NPCs... but a bullet to the face is a bullet to the face. Also i am playing my NPC's ruthless if they are ruthless. So they will use a simple action on a downed runner to end him, if they want him dead. No "Oh, he is surely dead, better i target his friends... Naaa, they can't possibly heal him later"

But of course the "evilness" of the GM has to be adjusted to the group. My Group always where happy with that (i too like my characters to die once in a while, when i am at fault, or picked fighting instead of running.)

I am playing in a new group now (4th edition for the first time), and on the first run, i was blown up with 10p damage (had not one soak with edge and 9 dice.. yay me) If it would have been 15, i would have been dead. And i would have accepted that. Nobody forced me to push the damn button (Damn boobytraps). My point is: when i would have said: "Well i am blown to a million pieces." And my GM would have told me: "Umm, no... it was of course only 13p... you live", i would really hate that.
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Snow_Fox
post Jul 3 2009, 05:08 PM
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It's a delicate balance, if it's too easy and death isn't a threat, where's the challenge? conversly it sucks to lose a beloved character.

If you don't want to Kill then you can have them reduced to deadly dam but stabilized, effectively out of the run and maybe the team fails the run with too many down-they live but don't get paid.
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Kliko
post Jul 3 2009, 06:24 PM
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If fellow PC's fuck-up or behave stupidly just tell them in-game (or notify your fixer) that youe character don't want to run with the other character again.... ever... period (but that being said everybody has his price. htis is Shadowrun afterall). Its the metahuman thing to do really .
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Snow_Fox
post Jul 4 2009, 03:16 PM
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That can cause a problem in the gorup if the problem character is beloved by the player.
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Critias
post Jul 4 2009, 03:39 PM
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If your players are having fun, what's the problem?
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Tymeaus Jalynsfe...
post Jul 4 2009, 03:46 PM
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QUOTE (Critias @ Jul 4 2009, 09:39 AM) *
If your players are having fun, what's the problem?



Indeed !
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Naysayer
post Jul 4 2009, 03:53 PM
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But what if it's the wrong type of fun?
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Larme
post Jul 4 2009, 03:56 PM
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It's always been a problem in Shadowrun -- if it's not strong enough to kill them, it won't, but if it is, it will. Shadowrun is a lethal enough system that truly challenging the players on a combat level means that they will almost always get hurt or injured. Especially if they're treating the game like D&D where the goal is to just whack the opposition until they run out of HP.

My suggestion is not to challenge them by combat. Don't set up a situation where they get railroaded into fighting a deadly threat. Put deadly threats in the scenario, like fast response teams, chokepoints, etc., but then allow the team to find ways around them, like stealth, social, diversions, etc. If you put in a deadly threat planning for the PCs to fight it toe to toe, you're going to lose at least one player every time, probably.
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Naysayer
post Jul 4 2009, 04:02 PM
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True.
But if you put in "deadly" encounters where the only real option is to circumvent them, then your players might feel like the game is missing a certain amount of true interactivity...
That's especially true with combat encounters, because many player will inevitably come to a game with a more traditional mindset where a combat encounter is meant to be, you know, encountered, and then shot in the face for cash and XP karma.
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Critias
post Jul 4 2009, 04:38 PM
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It's such a subjective, "what works for your table works for your table" thing -- like so many other conversations around here lately -- that I really can't think of a better answer. Personally, I'm a big fan of threatening the characters on a regular basis. I want the players to breath a sigh of relief at the end of a session if they're all still kicking. I want them to go "whew!" at the end of a fight, and be glad things went their way. I want there to be tension in my games, worry, concern, all slowly growing until a gunfight erupts as a release valve...but with no one really being sure who'll still be standing at the end of the fight.

But that's me, and my players.

If your players are having fun despite you not wanting them to die (and fudging little rolls here and there, or whatever else)...SO WHAT? Don't worry about what Dumpshock things. Your game's going well. Keep doing what you're doing.
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Mercer
post Jul 4 2009, 05:31 PM
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QUOTE (The Jake @ Jul 3 2009, 04:36 PM) *
I won't kill a player for bad dice rolling. But I will fuck them up for stupid behaviour.

- J.


(This is actually a response I wrote to a similar topic 4.5 years ago, but it's become something I try to keep in mind when I'm running games. It's tacky to quote oneself but here we go.)
    The part about the "do something stupid" that I have a problem with is that, who's to say whats stupid? As a gm, I pretty much get the final word on the subject, but I am aware that my authority to declare an action stupid doesn't have with it any special power to be correct.

    Sometimes, no matter how brilliant a group of players you have, you will be staring over the screen wondering who these morons are and how they got into your house. The thing I had to realize is, as a gm, my judgement of what was the right or wrong thing to do was based around having perfect information. I had read the module or designed the adventure, so I knew the repercussions of the pcs actions. Pc's don't have that benefit. They make their decisions based around the information they have, which is the information that I give them. If they're tackling a scenario in an asinine manner, then there exists the possibility that instead of them being morons, I presented it poorly. (Sometimes they're just morons. It can go either way.)

    Further, just because something is obvious to me doesn't mean its obvious to anyone else, or even especially right. What if the gm's idea on how to tackle a situation is moronic? Are any of us infalliable? (Its a rhetorical question.) I've played in games where the gm decided on the correct course of action and would punish the party for not doing it (and not consciously, just if you deviated from what he thought was 'right', it was skewed against you). All I can say is, for a group of players, its not the most fun way in the world to spend a Thursday night.

For me, there has to be a certain amount of lethality in SR to work. I have to know that the GM will kill me. Bad rolling, poor decision making skills, what have you. That's not to say that every encounter should be potentially lethal (a lot of the finesse of GMing comes from keeping a threat of death on the table without making it the default penalty for failure) but there are some fights you go into-- toxics spring to mind-- where you figure you're either going to walk out or leave in some sort of bag. I never want to lose a character, I'm never happy about it, but if I come to it honestly then I can deal with it. I'd rather have a bittersweet story about how a favorite character bit it than one about how we only won because the GM let us.

Most of this is thematic (my group tends to go for a grittier game, on the low fantasy/black side of the divide), but some of it is mechanical. If you look at TGTSNBN, mechanically death is too easy so you have a myriad of ways to come back from it-- at higher levels, having your head chopped off is a temporary setback. In SR, even though any character no matter how experienced can potentially be killed in one attack, in practice death is more rare. There are a lot of safeguards in the system against bad luck (Edge, Karma or Karma Pool, depending on the edition), characters tend to be pretty burly, and shadowrunners have DocWagon contracts, healing spells and fancy medkits. Basically, the game doesn't have to be any more lethal than you want it to be.

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Muspellsheimr
post Jul 4 2009, 05:37 PM
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My goal is not to kill the players. As such, I will not put them in situations where they will die. Due to the Hand of God rule, however, I will not fudge dice rolls, & I will occasionally place them in situations where death is a noticeable possibility.

If the characters do something to place themselves in a 'you will die' situation, I will not hesitate to follow through with it, although I will give them a way out. If they notice &/or use this is another matter.
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Stahlseele
post Jul 4 2009, 11:19 PM
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. . I don't have an excuse for this and i don't know where this came from but:
Have a Character with a slight speech impairment use a gun and intimidation asking:"Toby, or NOT toby?"
Depending on how the person asked answers:
if answer="Toby!"
Intimidator="Someone hired me to kill Toby!"_BANG!_
If answer="Not Toby!"
Intimidator="He said Not to be!"_BANG!_
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Red-ROM
post Jul 5 2009, 03:34 PM
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QUOTE (DireRadiant @ Jul 3 2009, 09:43 AM) *
I played in a game where the PC death count caused by PCs on the same team was higher then the GM/NPC ones.

Of course, that was because the PCs that survived the stupidity of their teammates actions learned it was safer to get rid of problem team mates before they got the entire team killed.

Do you really want a team mate who
- walks into a Triad bar alone and insults the Triad boss, while the rest of the team is waiting outside thinking he's gone in to do a simple package drop off? (You didn't let us know the package was the Triad Bosses favorite sons ripped off cyberlimb?)
- loses his commlink with the entire teams network addresses on it? (You just forgot it at the hotel because you were taking a shower?)
- records everything he sees and sends the entire recording to his secret corporate masters? (What, we weren't going to notice the signal traffic when we are on a boat in the middle of the Caribbean?)
- shows up with 80 kilos of C4, and then explains all those spirits following him around are his former teammates ghosts...(And we weren't going to figure out he blew them up during a previous run?)


This explains why your character was so jumpy leaving that bar in "plato o plomo"

I've never been in a group where players tried to kill each other, Of course I've only(until this 1st dumpshock game) played in RL, so killing someone's character could get you punched in the nuts

edit: another thought; do you ask your players to make multiple cahracters from the start? because it seems to take a while for me to make a character (and double check for all the mistakes I make every time)
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Kliko
post Jul 5 2009, 04:04 PM
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QUOTE (Snow_Fox @ Jul 4 2009, 11:16 AM) *
That can cause a problem in the gorup if the problem character is beloved by the player.


Then talk to the player? A team (independent of what type of game you are playing) should have a valid reason to operate/be together.
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Stahlseele
post Jul 5 2009, 04:24 PM
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QUOTE (Red-ROM @ Jul 5 2009, 05:34 PM) *
This explains why your character was so jumpy leaving that bar in "plato o plomo"

I've never been in a group where players tried to kill each other, Of course I've only(until this 1st dumpshock game) played in RL, so killing someone's character could get you punched in the nuts

edit: another thought; do you ask your players to make multiple cahracters from the start? because it seems to take a while for me to make a character (and double check for all the mistakes I make every time)

Sooner or later, most members of a group try to kill at least one other member of the group, for some reason or other.
Yes, tell them to come up with multiple characters. It broadens the Range of things you can actually DO with them.
No using having a face around that is well versed in the japanese customs if you are going to send them into a Deathrun in the SOX.
Also they can use the other Characters as NPC's if some skill is missing in the Group, if they make all characters use the same fixer.
Or they can be called upon by the group, should one of the characters die or be out of town or out of action for any reason.
They are spares ^^
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