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kjones
post Apr 11 2010, 03:54 PM
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I've been playing SR4 for a couple of months, and I only just now learned that you can't target physical targets with M spells from the astral. All this time, my group's mage has been running around Stunbolting unsuspecting people while astrally projected.

I guess that's what you get when you let the mage explain the magic rules to you without bothering to read them carefully for yourself.
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Yerameyahu
post Apr 11 2010, 03:57 PM
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Hehe, I recognize *that*! In SR3, I briefly had the opinion that I could cast through cover because Astral Perception told me where they were. (IMG:style_emoticons/default/biggrin.gif)
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Dreadlord
post Apr 11 2010, 04:03 PM
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Mine was even more embarrassing. As a new GM to SR4 running the Corporate Punishment module (hacked up to SR4 rules), I had the corp mage astrally projecting and Manifesting and casting Physical spells at mundanes. Not only was it abusive (and how!) to my poor players, it was wildly against the rules. Manifesting gives a projecting mage no benefits at all, it just allows people on the physical plane to see and hear the astral projector. WHOOPS!!! Boy, was my face red! I am just glad my players keep coming back!
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jimbo
post Apr 11 2010, 07:10 PM
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QUOTE (Dreadlord @ Apr 11 2010, 11:03 AM) *
Mine was even more embarrassing. As a new GM to SR4 running the Corporate Punishment module (hacked up to SR4 rules), I had the corp mage astrally projecting and Manifesting and casting Physical spells at mundanes. Not only was it abusive (and how!) to my poor players, it was wildly against the rules. Manifesting gives a projecting mage no benefits at all, it just allows people on the physical plane to see and hear the astral projector. WHOOPS!!! Boy, was my face red! I am just glad my players keep coming back!



I'm a long-time gamer/GMer, and getting ready to run SR. My initial read thru on the rules had me questioning those points (spellcasting mana spells at physical while astral) and manifesting to cast at physical. Without providing direct quotes, the SR4 really goes too far into describing how things work that sound like mechanics but really aren't, and a TABLE would clear things up nicely.

Another good one and thankfully described in the FAQ is astral combat. Short of looking at that FAQ, one has to make extrememly deductuitive (<---new word) leaps to figure where to go from Astral Combat + Willpower, C/2 Damage or Weapon Foci for Damage, etc.
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Triggvi
post Apr 11 2010, 07:23 PM
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I tend to laugh when people talk about having a program 12 and thinking they can just load it on there com link and use it at rating 12. Com links max out at 6 except for very cutting edge stuff. Response 12 com links are possible but very hard to get your hands on and keep. I have made my mistakes when I started. I butchered the combat system my first time out.
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Tymeaus Jalynsfe...
post Apr 11 2010, 07:29 PM
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QUOTE (Triggvi @ Apr 11 2010, 01:23 PM) *
I tend to laugh when people talk about having a program 12 and thinking they can just load it on there com link and use it at rating 12. Com links max out at 6 except for very cutting edge stuff. Response 12 com links are possible but very hard to get your hands on and keep. I have made my mistakes when I started. I butchered the combat system my first time out.


Ahhh... But you can run a Rating 12 Piece of Software on a Rating 6 COmlink, as long as you have the Optimization Option at rating 6...

The problem is actually finding the Rating 12 program to add that Optimization to so that you can use it...

Keep the Faith
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kanislatrans
post Apr 12 2010, 01:13 AM
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QUOTE (Tymeaus Jalynsfein @ Apr 11 2010, 03:29 PM) *
Ahhh... But you can run a Rating 12 Piece of Software on a Rating 6 COmlink, as long as you have the Optimization Option at rating 6...

The problem is actually finding the Rating 12 program to add that Optimization to so that you can use it...

Keep the Faith

And then staying alive as the army of hired hackers and other runners sent by the corp to recover said program comb the planet looking for you. (IMG:style_emoticons/default/grinbig.gif) .(grin)
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Heath Robinson
post Apr 12 2010, 01:23 AM
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QUOTE (Triggvi @ Apr 11 2010, 08:23 PM) *
I tend to laugh when people talk about having a program 12 and thinking they can just load it on there com link and use it at rating 12. Com links max out at 6 except for very cutting edge stuff. Response 12 com links are possible but very hard to get your hands on and keep. I have made my mistakes when I started. I butchered the combat system my first time out.


This is the second time you have said this. Repeated use does not make it any truer.

QUOTE (Page 115 @ Unwired)
Optimization (Rating)
Program Types: Common, Hacking, Autosoft, Simsense
Under normal circumstances, a nodeís System rating limits the rating on any software run on that node (see System, p. 213, SR4). A program with the Optimization option is more effective at running on a system with limited resources. Add the Optimization rating to the rating of the System (to a maximum of twice the Systemís rating) to determine the maximum rating at which the program can operate.
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kjones
post Apr 12 2010, 01:53 AM
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As noted before, where the hell are you getting Rating 12 software in the first place? That's the kind of stuff that G.O.D. has in their cutting-edge R&D department.

Besides, you'd still need to find not only Rating 12 software, but Rating 12 software with 6 levels of optimization.
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Ascalaphus
post Apr 12 2010, 01:56 AM
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We realized near the end of a combat that we should have checked for each shot whether it was powerful enough to do physical instead of stun damage (due to armor.)
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Heath Robinson
post Apr 12 2010, 03:03 AM
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QUOTE (kjones @ Apr 12 2010, 02:53 AM) *
As noted before, where the hell are you getting Rating 12 software in the first place? That's the kind of stuff that G.O.D. has in their cutting-edge R&D department.

Besides, you'd still need to find not only Rating 12 software, but Rating 12 software with 6 levels of optimization.

The post I quoted discussed not being able to run Rating 12 Softs at Rating 12. I do not see how difficulty acquiring said Softs factors into the discussion.
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Dixie Flatline
post Apr 12 2010, 04:22 AM
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QUOTE (kjones @ Apr 11 2010, 05:53 PM) *
As noted before, where the hell are you getting Rating 12 software in the first place? That's the kind of stuff that G.O.D. has in their cutting-edge R&D department.

Besides, you'd still need to find not only Rating 12 software, but Rating 12 software with 6 levels of optimization.


Dice averages being what they are, a starting character min/max'd could write a rating 12, optimized 6 program in around 3 months if you're working alone.

And that's apparently using notepad and a publicly available compiler (no special software).

Throw in a programming suite of software, and a development environment, and it takes 6 weeks working alone.

IMHO optimization should take HUGE amounts of time to code (at least doubling the programming time if not taking longer), and more importantly, shouldn't be usable between different models of comlinks/nodes. After all, the idea of optimization is that you're using the hardware & software you know will be there to cut corners and do things more efficiently. Optimizations that work on one system won't work on another, and may even crash the program. As it stands now, optimization is horrendously broken. It adds I believe 12 more net successes to add optimization 6. That was, according to calculations I did a while back, 3 more weeks to make a nearly beyond-cutting-edge, state of the art program that runs on a rating 6 commlink.
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Drats
post Apr 12 2010, 06:24 AM
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IMO, curtailing the ability for your PCs to code Deus-quality software is one of the primary reasons to implement the -1 die-per-interval rule on extended tests.
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Neraph
post Apr 12 2010, 07:11 AM
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I like how spirits are useless. Go read the section about Physical and Mana abilities, and how you can only use Mana abilities on the Astral, then go look at Materialization, Possession, and Inhabitation. You'll get it.

I also like how bows/crossbows are useless, since the "Shoot Weapon" action is for firearms only.
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Banaticus
post Apr 12 2010, 10:52 AM
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QUOTE (Tymeaus Jalynsfein @ Apr 11 2010, 12:29 PM) *
The problem is actually finding the Rating 12 program to add that Optimization to so that you can use it...

In addition to writing it himself, which was mentioned earlier, a maximized starting face character should be able to get the rating 26R piece of software in about 3 weeks. Make sure to see the "Verifying Software" section on p109 in Unwired, though. If I was selling a rating 12 hacking program that I wrote, then I'd for darn certain be putting a rating 12 virus of some sort in it (and likely some other optimization as well like limiting it from attacking any node registered to me -- p114, Unwired).
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DWC
post Apr 12 2010, 02:57 PM
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QUOTE (kjones @ Apr 11 2010, 09:53 PM) *
As noted before, where the hell are you getting Rating 12 software in the first place? That's the kind of stuff that G.O.D. has in their cutting-edge R&D department.

Besides, you'd still need to find not only Rating 12 software, but Rating 12 software with 6 levels of optimization.


It's actually not that difficult for a decent programmer to write, provided he's got a lot of free time with nothing better to do. A good programmer, with a R5 programming suite can buy hits and do it in 6 tests, followed by 2 more to add the optimization and that's including the dicepool decay for extended tests. If he's got access to a programming nexus, he does the whole thing in 4 months. Since he wrote it himself, it never degrades, and he's free to pass it around to enough people that almost no one knows who actually wrote it.

Edit:
It only requires a dicepool of 15 to buy hits to a threshold of 24 with the decay. 5 dice for the programming suite means you only need a Software skill of 4, a Logic of 4, and 2 more dice from somewhere, like an encephalon, gene therapy, neural amplifiers, or adept powers.
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Ol' Scratch
post Apr 12 2010, 03:10 PM
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I used to make a ton of mistakes when I first started playing, and I still do to be honest. The most embarrassing one was in 3rd edition (which was when I first tried my hands at a magician) and I didn't realize that you're supposed to divide the Force in half when calculating Drain. I would nearly kill myself on a regular basis because of it, and I would get really frustrated as a result. Of course, since the numbers were high rather than low, no one I was playing with at the time pointed out that mistake. I've always found it odd how people only go out of their way to jump in if you make a mistake that favors your character, but if you're crippling yourself unwittingly they hardly even notice.

I know I've made some even worse mistakes, but I can't really remember them. Hooray for blocked memories!
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Yerameyahu
post Apr 12 2010, 03:34 PM
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I asked Dixie this in another thread, but no answer: why do you say that a homebrew Program never degrades? I could have sworn that everything except legit corp programs degrade, because they're not getting updates.
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DWC
post Apr 12 2010, 03:36 PM
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QUOTE (Yerameyahu @ Apr 12 2010, 11:34 AM) *
I asked Dixie this in another thread, but no answer: why do you say that a homebrew Program never degrades? I could have sworn that everything except legit corp programs degrade, because they're not getting updates.


The errata for Unwired specifies that programs written by the hacker never degrade, implying that software degradation is entirely a corporate profit protection measure.
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Yerameyahu
post Apr 12 2010, 03:41 PM
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Wow. Okay. Well, that's totally insane, so there's a new house rule for my group. (IMG:style_emoticons/default/smile.gif) It also doesn't match the reasoning behind open-source degrading. Thanks though!
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Ol' Scratch
post Apr 12 2010, 03:55 PM
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Actually, a lot of people misunderstand the errata and mistakenly assume it cuts out all of the original text. Here it is in its entirety:

    QUOTE (Unwired + Errata)
    Pirated Software

    Pirated software—i.e. programs whose copy-protection and activation/validation anti-piracy mechanisms have been bypassed through cracking—are usually distributed by warez sites (see Piracy, p. 94). While pirated programs have the advantage of not being linked to a registered SIN, they are not automatically updated and patched in the same manner as legal software. Without registration and the confirmation that the copy is legitimate and licensed, the software is not authorized to connect to the manufacturer’s update sites.

    In game terms, illegal and pirated software—and also programs that a character has coded himself (p. 118)—degrade over time, reflecting that the program is slowly becoming outdated. Hacking and malware programs degrade at the rate of 1 rating point per month; all other programs degrade 1 rating point per 2 months.

    Degradation of pirated software owes as much to systemic software and firmware upgrades demanding compatibility updates as to the megacorporations making regular updates an anti-piracy feature. In 2070, obsolescence and latent program degradation is hardcoded into software and is triggered when compromised software is flagged. Patching and upgrades are transformed into a security feature.

    Software programmed by the hacker and Open Source programs never degrade in this fashion, but may require patching to remain current at the gamemaster’s discretion. For more on cracked software degradation, see the Warez Degradation sidebar below.


    Warez Degradation (Sidebar)

    By default Unwired assumes that all forms of cracked software, from agents to autosofts, degrade as described under Pirated Software. Groups, however, are free to adjust what programs are affected by degradation to suit their games and play styles. To reduce book keeping gamemasters may wish to limit degradation to cracked Hacking and Common Use programs, Firewalls, and autonomous constructs (ie. Pilots, IC and agents.) While the remaining types of cracked software would still suffer degradation and enforced obsolescence, the rates at which they degrade would be slower and their effects less obvious.

The emphasis is mine. If you don't want to read it, it basically states that even programs you yourself code will degrade over time and it's up to the GM and the group (via the sidebar) to decide whether or not that's the case.
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DWC
post Apr 12 2010, 04:50 PM
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True. The GM can arbitrarily decide to reduce its' rating, but the normal rules for software degradation do not apply.
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Ol' Scratch
post Apr 12 2010, 04:53 PM
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Actually, the first underlined quote states otherwise even post-errata. Which is exactly what I was talking about regarding people misunderstanding the errata. What the errata says is that self-coded programs never degrade because of the pre-programmed sabotaging corporations put into their software... not because of SOTA issues. The latter is dependent upon the GM but (albeit poorly written) the default rule stands unless they say otherwise.
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Jhaiisiin
post Apr 12 2010, 04:56 PM
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What if you take time to patch your own software to keep it SOTA? Then it won't degrade. The question then becomes, how much time does it take to code and apply a patch?
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DWC
post Apr 12 2010, 05:06 PM
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QUOTE (Dr. Funkenstein @ Apr 12 2010, 11:53 AM) *
Actually, the first underlined quote states otherwise even post-errata. Which is exactly what I was talking about regarding people misunderstanding the errata. What the errata says is that self-coded programs never degrade because of the pre-programmed sabotaging corporations put into their software... not because of SOTA issues. The latter is dependent upon the GM but (albeit poorly written) the default rule stands unless they say otherwise.


It's contradictory enough that I can see the intent being either interpretation. Given the balance problems that arise when players can write R12 hacking programs (worst of all being Stealth), your interpretation is better for the health of a campaign.

Oh, and patching software is an extended test with a threshold of the difference between the base rating and the degraded rating and an interval of 1 week. Compared to how long programming takes, it's a drop in the bucket, especially if you've got nexus access and are willing to use the Rushing the Job option to halve the interval.
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