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> Dragon PC Critique, Yes, Really, A Dragon.
Ramaloke
post Dec 13 2010, 03:02 AM
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So I'll preface this thread with the following:

Yes I realize that the stats given out for playable dragon characters before the printing of Runner's Companion was a joke, and yes, I realize that most GMs will throw books at me for a variety of reasons when I even bring up this character as a possibility. However, I have done some reading through old posts and found some claims that the stats presented were actually rather balanced. Now since I generally enjoy making characters and have a few on hand for most systems I'm familiar with just in case a game comes up, I've decided to try to make a functioning and interesting dragon PC.

Now, I am not interested in discussion on whether or not the race should be playable from a world building perspective. I'm only interested in comments on the build and ideas to fix any of the errors or issues I may have in it (since I am a new player), and comments on the balance of such a character. Here is where you can find the April Fool's PDF document.

Here is what I got:

Chie, "Sk8 Princess"

Waking up on the street with no memory of your past is a jarring thing, but doing so and knowing that you aren't like those around you can be even stranger. Her earliest memories were of the overbearing need to find shelter, to hide in it, and to stay safe. Why these urges came to her so strongly when her past continues to elude her is a mystery but so far it seems like good advice.

She often speculates on the circumstances that could have led to one of her kind living on the streets and without a memory, and the only thing that she can think of is that something that had threatened her life drove her to this desperate and undignified existence. She knows of spells that erase ones memory, and who would dare assault a dragon so but one of her own kind... or herself.

Now she runs the shadows, making sure that her existence is as secret as possible, and taking only the safest of jobs.

Her disguise is that of a street rat teenie bopping elf sk8er. She rarely gets to indulge in flight considering that it would attract too much attention, the feel of the wind on her face from skating is a poor substitution, but it satisfies that deep need to fly. She's been particularly enamored by metahuman music and enjoys people watching at the various dance clubs and bars around town.

Sheet:
[ Spoiler ]

Updated Version:
[ Spoiler ]

Karmagen Version:
[ Spoiler ]

New Spell:
[ Spoiler ]
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Elvaron
post Dec 13 2010, 04:02 AM
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I recommend getting a focus to sustain that metahuman form spell for you, at some point. And wouldn't any awakaned person see the dragon aura?

I'd drop chinese as a language and get at least some sort of street knowledge in turn. Since she's supposed to be japanese, she'll surely have an anti-chinese set of mind, dragon or no dragon. Chinese will hardly come up, and if it does - well, people can be pretty quick to pick up sign language when someone just transformed in to a dragon...

No social skills at all? That just makes her a bigger target than she already is, making her, well, somewhere between insect spirit and lesser horror? Well, I guess she can default on her charisma to 4 dice...

Oh, at least one connection couldn't hurt. Everybody knows at least some guy. Could just be someone she doesnt even remember but contacts her, who knows...

Other than that, well, it looks manageable. The physical attributes are of course insane, but then you want to hide that part away anyways. It's certainly not a well-rounded character with personal interests, but that's what you get when you make a dragon with 400 BP (IMG:style_emoticons/default/smile.gif)

Not gonna criticize on the whole playing a dragon thing, if any GM ever allows it and it offers fun for everyone, who am I to judge? The biggest challenge imho is roleplaying her correctly.

This post has been edited by Elvaron: Dec 13 2010, 04:06 AM
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Ramaloke
post Dec 13 2010, 04:08 AM
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Yeah I would really like the BP to take Influence Group 1 at least but to do that I'd have to gimp her spells or lower her spellcasting (possibly breaking the skill group into Spellcasting 4 and Counterspelling 4 and not taking anything in ritual casting).

As far as the Sustaining Focus, I had considered the In Debt quality at max just for such a sustaining focus but I decided it was against the flavor of the character.

As far as the aura, yes, thats a problem, the only answer I can find to such is possibly picking up the Spirit Pact quality for a Power Pact to get access to Aura Masking. Again though the BP limits me pretty severely. I could swing it at 10 BP (which would put a rather large threshold on identifying that she's a dragon, something around maybe a 6). If it was possible, I'd switch the Elemental attack for Aura Masking, as it fits the character better (perhaps a dragon to young to belch fire?) but its not strictly legal and Im already on shaky ground using April Fools material. (IMG:style_emoticons/default/nyahnyah.gif)

-edit-

I might be able to free up 15 BP if I do:

Spellcasting Group -> Spellcasting & Counterspelling at 4 (Save 8 BP)
Perception 1 -> 0 (Save 4 BP)
Assensing 3 -> 1 (Save 8 BP)

+ Mentor Spirit (The Dark King) = +2 Dice for Assensing and Perception. (Spend 5 BP)

Defaulting on Perception then would be the same as actually having a rank in the skill, and my Assensing pool stays the same as well, but I dont like the flavor of that particular mentor spirit for her, maybe a refluff is in order.

Also, Technically Astral Combat is less important to her since she is dual natured and would just use her normal skills/stats in that case, and her normal stats are that of a dragon. *rawr* Possibly another 8 BP there.

All that would total 23 BP, and a Sustaining Focus (Rank 3) costs 9 BP (60k Yen and 3 BP to bind it). Then I could take Influence Group and 1 other skill to rank 1, maybe intimidate since it seems likely that a dragon would be intimidating...
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Elvaron
post Dec 13 2010, 04:16 AM
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Well... You could just give her initiation 1 and the aura masking technique and have her be endebted in karma... Anything else just makes her unplayable, and there's other things in the rules that use the get-it-now-pay-karma-later system. All at the discretion of your GM of course, but.... well, you said it yourself, you're already using April Fools material, he probably won't care as much whether it's MAG 6/10 or MAG 6/11, and having that technique from beginning is sort of the only explanation why she's still alive... Also could 'pay' for that initiation with another negative quality. But of course neither is initiation usually allowed for starting chars, nor are you allowed to gain more than 35 BP from negative qualities.... Soooo it's entirely up to the future GM. Maybe make a few alternate versions and let him pick...

But yeah, you better learn Dodge (Rulebooks) on a highlevel in RL....
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Draco18s
post Dec 13 2010, 06:03 AM
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QUOTE (Ramaloke @ Dec 12 2010, 11:08 PM) *
Perception 1 -> 0 (Save 4 BP)


Abort, abort! Always have perception!

You should nix Arcana instead, its only (practical) use is to design new spells and spirit formula. You might as well pick that up later with karma if you think you really need it.*

I'd also trade Astral Combat for a physical combat type (preferrably unarmed; make use of those claws and teeth, baby). Unarmed combat can also be used in a pinch to fight astral entities as you are dual-natured. I'd also skip medicine and magic theory, as they're not terribly practical. Streetwise, Safe Houses, and "Shortcuts" are far more practical.

As for gear: armor vest. Never leave home without it. Also: weapon of choice (for unarmed that'd be the hardliner gloves).

*Yes, I realize no rational GM will ever let this into his game and that that is beyond the scope of this thread.
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phlapjack77
post Dec 13 2010, 06:25 AM
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Usually I think you need some kind of skill (Exotic Ranged Weapon?) to go with your "Elemental Attack" power. Or you could just be defaulting to Agility I guess...
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Ramaloke
post Dec 13 2010, 12:54 PM
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So I've done some rebuilding based on the suggestions above, and managed to make her more rounded and put some definite style into her which I enjoy allot. I particularly liked getting the Urban Explorer Jumpsuit and Inline Skates, which I think is just too cool (I mean, dragon chick likes rollerskating? So Win.), so she basically looks like a punky asian sk8ter elf chick.

Assuming she can buy hits with her Elf Form Spell she'd be rolling around with: B 4, A 5, R 4, S 4, so she ends up being pretty good physical wise even if shes in a sustained shapechange for most of the runs.


Updated Version (Also Edited In First Post)
[ Spoiler ]


Overall I think she's a very playable character and pretty balanced. Opinions on that?
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Jareth Valar
post Dec 13 2010, 12:57 PM
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OK, first off, if you can play her well, the other players have no problem with the character concept (this isn't one of those you should just spring on the group, "Surprise, I'm a dragon"), and the GM can string a nice epic storyline out of it....SWEET!

OK, now to the critique:
1) The background is a bold way to go. Difficult to role play, but a fun challenge if you are up to it. She could be one of the recent hatchlings alluded to in previous editions/works. (Can't site an actual reference right now, but give me a few, I will).

2) I would suggest to your GM about lowering her Strength to maybe 20. It's actually allowed by the rules, SR4A 292,2. It suggests up or down up to 3 points, but when you are talking numbers as high as 30-40, 3 points seems a pittance. 3 points is typically 25-50% or more of most critters stats, and a 10 point drop might let him completely ignore the April rules and would fit if you decided to go the "young/6th world hatchling" route. Actually, this would put her only a few points stronger than a Surged Minotaur Drake. (IMG:style_emoticons/default/wacko.gif) He might even decide to feel more generous and give you a few BP back for it. Enough to make her a bit more playable anyway.

3) I agree with Draco18s with the skill options. Arcane is nice for a Magician that has had to research his own spells, but largely unnecessary. Medicine as a Knowledge skill is largely useless under most circumstances unless you are playing a combat medic type or healer, I'd drop it. If you wanted to keep the extra languages, you could get by dropping them by 1, especially if you have no Social skills to be capped by them, and with a high Logic/Intuition, the threshold shouldn't be too difficult. Definitely don't loose perception, and you could even drop your Assencing by a point or 2, but don't loose it entirely (she IS dual natured)

4) As for gear, doesn't really matter as long as you get gear that let's you blend in. Armored clothing, a pistol, comlink, other little things. 10,000 might even be a bit much.

All in all, I wish you luck and hope this helps.

And as for criticizing the thought of using it? Never crossed my mind, never will. If you've ever heard of any of my games, that would be the pot calling the kettle...blah, blah, blah.



<edit>
DOHT! Just saw the new revision. Looks good though.

And Dragon eggs were mentioned in Never Trust an Elf novel, Shadows of the Underworld adventure C.O.D.

I'm sure there are more, but my search-fu is tired.
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Jareth Valar
post Dec 13 2010, 01:17 PM
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(IMG:style_emoticons/default/wink.gif) (IMG:style_emoticons/default/vegm.gif)

Thanks. Now that I have that download I might even see if my players want to do an aside game while some are away for the holidays......*memories of an OLD D&D Council of Wyrms* (IMG:style_emoticons/default/eek.gif) (IMG:style_emoticons/default/silly.gif) (IMG:style_emoticons/default/smokin.gif) (IMG:style_emoticons/default/rotfl.gif)
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Ramaloke
post Dec 13 2010, 01:21 PM
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If you prefer Karmagen the Dragon stats would be much easier to use since you dont pay Double for them in the updated Karmagen rules. So an Elf in Karmagen costs 30 Karma (which is 15 BP instead of the 30 BP), a Dragon in Karmagen would cost the equivalent of 150-163 BP depending on it's type.

My GM doesn't like Karmagen though (IMG:style_emoticons/default/nyahnyah.gif) .

Thanks for the heads up on books talking about Dragon Eggs, I'll see if I can find any old copies of them around.
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Stormdrake
post Dec 13 2010, 04:07 PM
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Does the spell "Metahuman Form" count success as does the shape shift spell to boost the attributes of the assumed form?
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Draco18s
post Dec 13 2010, 04:12 PM
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QUOTE (Stormdrake @ Dec 13 2010, 11:07 AM) *
Does the spell "Metahuman Form" count success as does the shape shift spell to boost the attributes of the assumed form?


I believe so.

QUOTE (Ramaloke @ Dec 13 2010, 07:54 AM) *
Assuming she can buy hits with her Elf Form Spell she'd be rolling around with: B 4, A 5, R 4, S 4, so she ends up being pretty good physical wise even if shes in a sustained shapechange for most of the runs.

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Ramaloke
post Dec 13 2010, 04:13 PM
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I would think so, but I would also say that its upper end is limited by the metatype of the spell you learn. IE: No humans with 7 Body or Agility if you manage 4 hits.

If this is true then it is indeed powerful but not terribly overpowered as the spell would most likely be a "dragon only", and the dragon is taking a rather large hit in Bod and Str to assume a metahuman form which then wouldn't be a viable target for many types of augments (basically anything not magical wouldn't work). If it's balance is an issue I might add a clause that says that "while under the effects of the spell the caster is subject to effects based off of his real race and her assumed metatype. For instance a dragon under the effects of Elf Form would be subject to both Slay (Dragon) and Slay (Elf)."
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Elvaron
post Dec 13 2010, 05:19 PM
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I don't think balance will be much of an issue in her elf form. Any other character has a lot more points to spend on skills, and can get weaponry up to panther XXL and such with the special item quality...
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Starmage21
post Dec 16 2010, 03:41 AM
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One of the reasons they're surprisingly playable is because of the relative uselessness of the strength attribute. Dragon pc claw damage is fixed at 10p so str is used for skill checks that you don't really use. In addition any place you could assume your natural form you could also bring a rigger vehicle that is much more dangerous. Lastly a dragon on the fiel presents a huge target for gunfire and the dragon goes down j faster than a decked out troll to autofire that wouldn't scratch a rigger vehicle.
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Laodicea
post Dec 16 2010, 05:03 AM
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I'm not sure if your body is high enough. :/
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Ramaloke
post Dec 16 2010, 01:18 PM
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Yeah, the reason why it's so low is because I decided that the Metahuman Form spell shouldn't get extra attribute bumps for extra hits on spellcasting. Great Dragons have an innate ability which doesn't even get the extra stats, its why they hate going into metahuman form so much. I've been trying to work out what to do with extra hits on such a spell because I dont want it to be cast at the lowest force possible, there should be some sort of bonus to casting it at an appropriate or higher force. This is what I've got on my latest version but Im unsure as to its balance, as it sort of introduces a hammerspace effect.

Metahuman Form (physical)
Type: P Range: LOS Duration: S DV: (F2)
Metahuman form works similarly to the Shapechange spell, but there are several important differences. It allows the caster to change her shape into a specific type of metahuman and allows her to speak in that form. Unlike shapechange her body does not need to be within two points of the chosen form, and extra hits on the spellcasting test does not result in increased physical stats. Instead each hit beyond the first allows the spellcaster to subsume one piece of equipment of appropriate size (gm discretion) into her natural form once the spell ends. These items are not destroyed, just stored temporarily. Upon the next casting of this spell these items appear equipped and ready for use. Each metahuman form is a different spell (Elf Form, Troll Form, and so on).
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Fortinbras
post Dec 16 2010, 04:27 PM
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If you really want to play and Dragon, but don't want anyone to think it's for munchkin purposes, might I suggest

[ Spoiler ]


Re-Edit
[ Spoiler ]


That's right. Dragon Hacker. Eat your heart out Cerebus/Neurosis if that is your real name which it isn't!
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Ramaloke
post Dec 16 2010, 04:48 PM
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@ Fortinbras: Did you read the PDF with the april fool's rules? I'm.... not sure you did. Dragons as presented unlikely to get any cyber or bio ever ever ever ever, due to the extremely harsh penalties involved.
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Doc Chase
post Dec 16 2010, 05:04 PM
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Yeh. Fluffwise there's only been one dragon to receive cyberware I think, and he went craaaaaaazy.
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Draco18s
post Dec 16 2010, 05:06 PM
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QUOTE (Doc Chase @ Dec 16 2010, 12:04 PM) *
Yeh. Fluffwise there's only been one dragon to receive cyberware I think, and he went craaaaaaazy.


I miss him. (IMG:style_emoticons/default/frown.gif)
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Ramaloke
post Dec 16 2010, 05:07 PM
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yeah the April Fool's PDF says:

QUOTE
All cyber, bio, nano and geneware augmentations for dragons must be custom-designed, of course, making them automatically the equivalent of deltaware with an additional cost multiplier of 4 (for a total multiplier of 12 times the normal cost).


And also:

QUOTE
Every time a dragon loses Essence to implantation he must make a Willpower + Magic Test with a Threshold of 3. If he fails he automatically gains a 10 point Mental Negative Quality.


And finally:

QUOTE
Dragons are capable of accessing the worldwide computer grid, but their physiology—and their avoidance of cyberware— limits their ability to interact with the Matrix. Fortunately the development of AR has made it easier than ever to interface with technology—though this requires specialized nanotrodes custom-made and configured to the draconic brain which are both expensive and difficult to acquire on open market (Cost: 50,000Y and Availability 20) but might be possible to procure from certain corporations in return for services rendered.
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Draco18s
post Dec 16 2010, 05:13 PM
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Meaning that Fortinbras's dragon (with 7 dice to that test, at current) would likely have to have spent Edge (which I don't see a value listed for) at least once.
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Ramaloke
post Dec 16 2010, 05:15 PM
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The important thing to remember about the purpose of this thread is to see if I could make a balanced dragon character. While the idea of a hacking dragon is neat it just wont be as good at it as a human hacker.

/shrug

Im still working on the balanced dragon magician, I have some tweaks I've yet to post up.

-edit-

As preventative measure vs derailing (cuz its an evil force that permeates the interwebs), I'd like some opinions on the latest version of the Metahuman Form spell I cooked up on post 17 of this thread. (IMG:style_emoticons/default/biggrin.gif)
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Fortinbras
post Dec 16 2010, 05:29 PM
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The only dragon that was ever able to access the Matrix was a Western Dragon named Eliohann. In the Matrix he went under the name of Cerebus or Neurosis, hence the tag at the end. He showed up the first time in an adventure called "Dragon Hunt"
He eventually went to work for Celedyr, but got caught in the Crash of '64 where he derezzed and then respawned as a Ghost in the Machine. In Emergence he hires runners to extract an AI.

I forgot that dragons need Deltaware, so toss the cyberware, give him the Restricted Gear Advantage and buy those trodes.

Of COURSE a dragon wouldn't be as good as a human hacker. That's what makes him balanced!
It's the only thing I could think of to even have a balanced dragon character.

Otherwise it becomes an Angel Summoner and BMX Bandit situation

EDIT
It could be argued that the (Critter) Form (Physical) Spell already does what the spell you cooked up does. I think it's fine as is.
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