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> Multiple sitting duck disorder
Tinman
post May 25 2010, 11:44 PM
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So I have a player who wants to build a combat hacker with a case of multiple personality disorder dividing up her two aspects. While reviewing the negative quality in augmentation (p.164) one part caught my eye.

"In the event of a personality change, the character must make a willpower + charisma (8, 1 minute) Extended Test. Until that test is completed, the new personality cannot act."

Does this mean that if she finds out she's being traced while in her samurai personality, or is threatened physically (or God forbid shot at) in her hacker personality she will just freeze up in a catatonic state for a minimum of 20 combat turns till she sorts herself out? Or is she just going to be stuck with her previous personality until the switch is complete?

I'm kinda leaning toward the latter, if only for the fact that you only get 20 build points for the quality.
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Caadium
post May 26 2010, 12:12 AM
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QUOTE (Tinman @ May 25 2010, 04:44 PM) *
So I have a player who wants to build a combat hacker with a case of multiple personality disorder dividing up her two aspects. While reviewing the negative quality in augmentation (p.164) one part caught my eye.

"In the event of a personality change, the character must make a willpower + charisma (8, 1 minute) Extended Test. Until that test is completed, the new personality cannot act."

Does this mean that if she finds out she's being traced while in her samurai personality, or is threatened physically (or God forbid shot at) in her hacker personality she will just freeze up in a catatonic state for a minimum of 20 combat turns till she sorts herself out? Or is she just going to be stuck with her previous personality until the switch is complete?

I'm kinda leaning toward the latter, if only for the fact that you only get 20 build points for the quality.


Here's how I'd run it, based on the following write up.

QUOTE (Augmentation pg. 164)
Multiple Personality Disorder (MPD )
Bonus: 20 BP
The character has two or more personalities present in his mind. These different personalities will not all have access to all of the character’s skills or memories. During stressful situations, the character must make a Willpower + Charisma (3) Test or switch personalities. In the event of a personality change, the character must make a Willpower + Charisma (8, 1 minute) Extended Test. Until that test is completed, the new personality cannot act. When this psychosis is taken, the player must divide the character’s skill lists into two groups. No more than half of the skills can be shared by both personalities.


If she faces a situation her personality finds stressful, such as being traced in Sammie persona or shot at in hacker persona, then the character must make the Will + Cha (3) test. Failure on that test means the other personality comes to the rescue and steps through. Unfortunately, this is not an instant process and it takes Will + Cha (8, 1 minute) for the transition to complete.

For 20 bp, it should be very nasty IMO. That is 5% of a standard starting character. If you like the flavor but want to water it down thats your game, but I'd also water down the cost.
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Udoshi
post May 26 2010, 12:19 AM
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If you're a GM, handle it as you see fit. Having the character be unable to process what's going on around them for an entire minute is very crippling. What you want, essentially, is a Flavor/Fluff personality thing, not something that's going to get them killed in combat the first time it triggers.

Also, that quality is Cyborgs and Cyberzombies.

Instead, I would give handle it more like Judas/Deep Cover. Possibly give them all three, leading to an Antagonistic third mentality(Judas), the character's usual personality, and the 'Safe' one(Deep Cover). Just blur the lines(and trigger conditions) between them. Possibly add some sort of Panic Attack quality, which swaps the personalities up when it triggers.

For added personality, have the GM take control of the Judas personality, and describe the consequences/character's new location, attire, etc when they get control back. More or less, making them deal with the person they have in their head doing things they're not aware of.
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Mäx
post May 26 2010, 07:02 AM
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QUOTE (Caadium @ May 26 2010, 02:12 AM) *
For 20 bp, it should be very nasty IMO. That is 5% of a standard starting character.

Dieng in the first combat situation you fail the will+charisma(3) test is to me a light years beyand nasty.
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Tanegar
post May 26 2010, 09:03 AM
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QUOTE (Mäx @ May 26 2010, 02:02 AM) *
Dieng in the first combat situation you fail the will+charisma(3) test is to me a light years beyand nasty.

Yeah, what really strikes me about Shadowrun character creation is the fact that it's possible to make a character who will die within the first three encounters. Some concepts, while interesting flavorwise, are just really, really bad.
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Saint Sithney
post May 26 2010, 09:36 AM
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Simple enough. If an impending event causes a forced personality change, it changes in order for the other personality to deal with it. So, the 2nd personality kicks in and immediately reacts to alleviate the stressor. The player can reestablish control after the interval, but until then, consider it like a berserk fugue state.

Honeslty, Combat Paralysis is 20BP and it's just half Initiative on the first CT and some modifiers for surprise and composure. This one-minute-coma thing is bananas.
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Jaid
post May 26 2010, 10:37 AM
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actually, it's not all that far off of most other 20 BP negative qualities in terms of just how bad it sucks.

in general, if you have a negative quality worth 20 BP, you should count yourself lucky if it *only* costs you more BP to make the character playable than you gained from taking the quality in the first place. seriously, in general the 20 BP negative qualities are so shockingly bad that you should never ever ever use them for anything, because they won't add character to your character, they'll add unplayability. if you want to play someone who freezes up in combat (and for the record, freezing up in combat and letting the other guy act first is quite likely to be a deadly flaw in shadowrun), then just keep your initiative stat low. if you want to play someone who has crappy social skills, don't put much into social skills. and if you want to play someone with multiple personalities, just make up different personalities and switch between them every now and then. but whatever you do, don't touch those 20 point negative qualities, and if you do happen to be stuck with one (such as being uneducated for some character types) the first thing you should do before even spending a single point anywhere else is to buy off that quality. i don't mean after chargen, either. i mean immediately, before you spend so much as a single BP on attributes or skills or anything else.
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Aerospider
post May 26 2010, 11:25 AM
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I have a character in one of my games with MPD and I just ignore the extended test, mostly because it doesn't make sense fluff-wise. The change of personality due to stress is a defence mechanism – most likely the secondary* personality was born from the primary personality's inability to deal with distressing circumstances. It doesn't ring true that the mind would take any significant length of time to engage this kind of desperate measure in response to immediate threat – no subconscious is going to choose to stand around drooling rather than make do with whatever resourcefulness it already had. The change should be about someone coming to the rescue, be it through fight or flight.

That might make it a bit too forgiving, but then the character has had to spend BPs on skills they can't always use and suddenly having to use a very different skill set to the one you expected to have at your disposal can be quite a handicap (e.g. no longer being skilled with the weapon you're carrying).
I also like to extend the skill-split rule to qualities, since they are different people in a way. The secondary* personlity in my game has vertigo and I'm just waiting for the day he changes during a roof encounter (IMG:style_emoticons/default/ork.gif)

* Is it just me that assumed a character with MPD had a primary personality with a back-up rather than two of equal importance? That's certainly the general case in RL to my knowledge, especially if the trigger is stessful situations, or am I basing this completely on Primal Fear ... ? I think it works better that way anyway, since then the player isn't roleplaying two completely different people (which, as mentioned, would be more akin to Deep Cover or Judas) and he doesn't have to think up silly, contrived ways to 'stress' his character back to the first personality.
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Aerospider
post May 26 2010, 11:34 AM
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QUOTE (Jaid @ May 26 2010, 11:37 AM) *
actually, it's not all that far off of most other 20 BP negative qualities in terms of just how bad it sucks.

in general, if you have a negative quality worth 20 BP, you should count yourself lucky if it *only* costs you more BP to make the character playable than you gained from taking the quality in the first place. seriously, in general the 20 BP negative qualities are so shockingly bad that you should never ever ever use them for anything, because they won't add character to your character, they'll add unplayability. if you want to play someone who freezes up in combat (and for the record, freezing up in combat and letting the other guy act first is quite likely to be a deadly flaw in shadowrun), then just keep your initiative stat low. if you want to play someone who has crappy social skills, don't put much into social skills. and if you want to play someone with multiple personalities, just make up different personalities and switch between them every now and then. but whatever you do, don't touch those 20 point negative qualities, and if you do happen to be stuck with one (such as being uneducated for some character types) the first thing you should do before even spending a single point anywhere else is to buy off that quality. i don't mean after chargen, either. i mean immediately, before you spend so much as a single BP on attributes or skills or anything else.

But where's the fun?

For me the most interesting characters are always the ones with serious neuroses and/or heavy handicaps – damaged individuals who live in hard times and have the scars to prove it. Besides, aren't runs where things frequently go laughably-wrong much more enjoyable than those that go perfectly smoothly?
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Ascalaphus
post May 26 2010, 12:38 PM
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QUOTE (Saint Sithney @ May 26 2010, 10:36 AM) *
Honeslty, Combat Paralysis is 20BP and it's just half Initiative on the first CT and some modifiers for surprise and composure. This one-minute-coma thing is bananas.


This!
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Jaid
post May 26 2010, 08:34 PM
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QUOTE (Aerospider @ May 26 2010, 07:34 AM) *
But where's the fun?

For me the most interesting characters are always the ones with serious neuroses and/or heavy handicaps – damaged individuals who live in hard times and have the scars to prove it. Besides, aren't runs where things frequently go laughably-wrong much more enjoyable than those that go perfectly smoothly?



well, allow me to put it this way: supposing you would like to represent someone who is not very physically fit. now, you *could* take the infirm quality, and now all of a sudden you can't make climbing, disguise, diving, escape artist, gymnastics, infiltration, navigation, palming, parachuting, perception, running, shadowing, survival, swimming and tracking tests at all. *or* you could look at that quality and say "wow, that's really really really stupid that because i'm not physically fit i would somehow be exceptionally incompetent at all of those skills to the point of being unable to make a test without investing in those skills, especially since several of those skills have absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with physical fitness."

if you want to represent someone who's physical fitness is a major obstacle, then here's a crazy idea: don't invest much in your physical attributes. and then, don't invest much in the physical skills that actually involve physical activity. with strength 2 and no running skill, you have a sprinting dice pool of 1. i hope we can all agree that a sprinting dice pool of 1 is pretty crappy, and is likely to be a fairly significant hindrance, in fact is likely to be just as much of a hindrance overall as if the character wasn't even allowed to make the test in the first place. and when it comes with the added fact that your character can actually make perception tests, well, that just plain makes sense in a way that being completely incapable of diguising yourself or jumping at all or perceiving anything don't.

don't get me wrong, i'm not saying "don't incorporate any major flaws into your character", i'm saying "don't incorporate any 20 point flaws into your character." if you want to be uncouth, then by all means have a crappy charisma and no etiquette, or even choose incompetence in etiquette if you want a high charisma character who just doesn't care about social graces, but if you take the uncouth quality then all of a sudden you're completely gullible (can't make the opposed test to resist being lied to), completely spineless (can't make the test to resist intimidation), unable to even attempt to lie, and instantly accepts whatever price is demanded for any service, no matter how blatantly outrageous the price is.

if you want to be uneducated, then don't spend many or any points on the sorts of skills you don't think you should know. your untrained skill pools will likely not be very high, but at least you'll be able to recognise basic common devices when you see them. like knowing what a car is for example.

it's fine for your character to have major flaws and significant weaknesses, and it's fine to represent them with negative qualities if you want (as opposed to just roleplaying them, which i think is a much better way to handle being 'uncouth' or '). just whatever you do, don't represent those major flaws with 20 point negative qualities, because in all probability it just won't work the way you want it to work for one thing, and for another thing it completely cripples your character. there are better ways to represent those major flaws than taking the 20 point negative qualities, and i strongly recommend that people use those better ways.

on a side note, for clarification: when i talk about 20 point negative qualities, i am in general talking about non-scaling ones. there are plenty of non-scaling negative qualities that aren't nearly so bad. gremlins 4 or a serious common allergy aren't so bad, at least not compared to uncouth or infirm or uneducated.
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Caadium
post May 26 2010, 08:56 PM
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QUOTE (Jaid @ May 26 2010, 12:34 PM) *
well, allow me to put it this way: supposing you would like to represent someone who is not very physically fit. now, you *could* take the infirm quality, and now all of a sudden you can't make climbing, disguise, diving, escape artist, gymnastics, infiltration, navigation, palming, parachuting, perception, running, shadowing, survival, swimming and tracking tests at all. *or* you could look at that quality and say "wow, that's really really really stupid that because i'm not physically fit i would somehow be exceptionally incompetent at all of those skills to the point of being unable to make a test without investing in those skills, especially since several of those skills have absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with physical fitness."

if you want to represent someone who's physical fitness is a major obstacle, then here's a crazy idea: don't invest much in your physical attributes. and then, don't invest much in the physical skills that actually involve physical activity. with strength 2 and no running skill, you have a sprinting dice pool of 1. i hope we can all agree that a sprinting dice pool of 1 is pretty crappy, and is likely to be a fairly significant hindrance, in fact is likely to be just as much of a hindrance overall as if the character wasn't even allowed to make the test in the first place. and when it comes with the added fact that your character can actually make perception tests, well, that just plain makes sense in a way that being completely incapable of diguising yourself or jumping at all or perceiving anything don't.

don't get me wrong, i'm not saying "don't incorporate any major flaws into your character", i'm saying "don't incorporate any 20 point flaws into your character." if you want to be uncouth, then by all means have a crappy charisma and no etiquette, or even choose incompetence in etiquette if you want a high charisma character who just doesn't care about social graces, but if you take the uncouth quality then all of a sudden you're completely gullible (can't make the opposed test to resist being lied to), completely spineless (can't make the test to resist intimidation), unable to even attempt to lie, and instantly accepts whatever price is demanded for any service, no matter how blatantly outrageous the price is.

if you want to be uneducated, then don't spend many or any points on the sorts of skills you don't think you should know. your untrained skill pools will likely not be very high, but at least you'll be able to recognise basic common devices when you see them. like knowing what a car is for example.

it's fine for your character to have major flaws and significant weaknesses, and it's fine to represent them with negative qualities if you want (as opposed to just roleplaying them, which i think is a much better way to handle being 'uncouth' or '). just whatever you do, don't represent those major flaws with 20 point negative qualities, because in all probability it just won't work the way you want it to work for one thing, and for another thing it completely cripples your character. there are better ways to represent those major flaws than taking the 20 point negative qualities, and i strongly recommend that people use those better ways.

on a side note, for clarification: when i talk about 20 point negative qualities, i am in general talking about non-scaling ones. there are plenty of non-scaling negative qualities that aren't nearly so bad. gremlins 4 or a serious common allergy aren't so bad, at least not compared to uncouth or infirm or uneducated.


Thank you! That is a much more detailed way of saying what I was trying to get at. To use the examples above, if you want to make a character that is uncouth don't take social skills or attributes; if you want 20 bp for it (or 5% of a base character), expect something above and beyond. If you can get what you want through role-playing or just not spending the points, then do that. If you are looking for free points for something you're going to do anyway, I'm not a very sympathetic GM.
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