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> Archetypes, Replacements for the SR4A Sample Characters
UmaroVI
post Aug 14 2011, 03:40 AM
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Archetypes Overview
The Archetypes are a replacement for the Sample Characters provided in SR4A. They are specifically intended for Shadowrun Missions and are fully compatible with the SRM rules. They can be used in non-Missions games as well, with a few caveats (see below), such as ignoring references to SRM-specific rules (such as how downtime activities work).

NEW
5 new archetypes added - the Magical Rocker, Martial Artist, Former Neoprimitive, Gunslinger, and Info Savant. In particular there are now 4 of each metatype other than dwarves (of which there are 2), and more adepts.

Why replace the sample characters?
The sample characters are neither suitable as pregenerated sheets for new players to use, nor useful as examples of how to make characters. They have widely varying levels of effectiveness (compare the Weapons Specialist to the Street Samurai or the Enforcer), many of them cannot do the job they claim to be able to do (the smuggler cannot smuggle things, for example), and many of them are built in strange or illogical ways. They are also difficult to use, because they don’t list all necessary information on their character sheets. Lastly, they aren’t fully Missions-compatible (for example, the Occult Investigator has Mind Probe, which isn’t allowed in missions).

The Archetypes fix these problems. They are built to a fairly uniform power level, and they all clearly advertise what they are and are not good at. Not only do they list all the game information needed to sit down and play them (such as the effects of spells, common dice pools, damage of weapons, and statistics of vehicles and drones), they also have a list of recommended ways to spend karma and nuyen with the costs pre-calculated, for easy between-Missions upgrading (useful for convention play, or for new players who are overwhelmed by the number of options).

All of the Archetypes have “hooks” that make it easier for players to get into the character and add unique elements to their version of an Archetype, as well as a few open Knowledge Skills (along with a list players can select from) to add a bit more uniqueness.

Finally, to be more friendly to new players, all the Archetypes have a “Tactics” section that lays out the basic way the characters operate and explains the typical use of each character’s abilities.

Design principles:
In general, all the characters favor passive and automatic effects (such as Improved Ability) over active-use preemptive abilities (such as Attribute Boost). Similarly, they have minimal amounts of “widget” gear - meaning small, situational pieces of equipment that are easy to forget you have and that you have to remember to use. The reason for both of these design choices is to make the characters easier on new players; sheets filled with lots of little things that only help in narrow circumstances and with abilities that you have to use in advance rather than activate “on the fly” when they come up are much harder to handle when you haven’t seen the character before and aren’t highly familiar with the game system.

All of the characters are designed with about a 70%-30% focus on effectiveness “as-is” versus long-term karma and nuyen efficiency. Obviously, this varies a bit from archetype to archetype, but at the very minimum none of them are missing anything they need to perform their stated roles, even if it means having some gear that they will want to throw away and replace after finishing their first run.

All of the characters are designed for a relatively high level of optimization, for several reasons. First, it’s a lot easier to weaken characters than to strengthen them. Second, the players of Archetypes will usually be newer players: they should be able to play alongside characters with more karma run by more experienced players, without being unable to contribute.

All characters are designed to wear acceptably discrete armor - typically armored clothing with discrete armor worn underneath. None of the characters start play with Restricted or Forbidden armor.

All of the characters have at least one weapon (or attack) that is Restricted, concealable, or both; many characters also own unconcealable and/or Forbidden weapons, but none of them rely on such weapons to be effective.

The Tactics section maintains the polite fiction that Stick-n-shock is for taking people alive, rather than for any situation other than fighting Stun-immune targets or intentionally killing people at the cost of taking them down less quickly. All characters who use guns own both Stick-n-shock ammo and lethal ammo; the intention is to facilitate both tables where Stick-n-shock is prevalent, and also tables that have a “gentlemen’s agreement” not to use it as a default attack.

Similarly, the characters with Summoning/Compiling have fairly conservative suggestions about the force of the spirits/sprites they should typically call, but of course have the option of higher-force summoning.

All of the characters have 35 points of Negative Qualities, with an emphasis on “personality flaws.” This is to give players immediate hooks they can use to get in character, and to make the Archetypes more distinctive. If you don’t have time to make a whole character from scratch and want to instead personalize an Archetype before play, swapping negative qualities for other ones is a good idea.

All of the characters have an appropriate contact. Characters with poor social skills tend to have higher connection-rating contacts to give them more to do during the Legwork portions of adventures.

As an overall design principle, more specialized characters aim to be excellent at all the aspects of their area of expertise. Less specialized characters aim to be pretty good at critical aspects of the areas they cover. For example, characters who are not very combat focused aim to be good with one type of weapon rather than subpar with every type of weapon. More combat focused characters aim to be very good with several types of weapons (including at least one weapon for any given niche), rather than incredibly amazing with a single particular weapon.

Excluded options:
None of the characters use any of the following, even though they are (strictly speaking) permitted in missions, and most if not all of the characters would benefit.

-Cyberhands and Cyberfeet with Armor Enhancement
-Emotitoys and Empathy Software (including not advising the Technomancer to thread them)
-Multiple Grenades
-Softweave Armor
-MRSI software
-Iron Will
-Dump stats were kept to the following standards: most of the characters have all or all but one ability score at 2 or higher. A minority (the Technoshaman and the Transhuman Mystic) have two ability scores at 1.
-None of the characters are metavariants, Changelings, or sapient critters.
-The characters avoid, as much as possible, the use of any spells, powers, or equipment with unclear mechanics. For example, the Technomancer is not advised to take the Swap echo, because it isn’t clear how it works and different GMs may rule it works in very different ways.

Rules assumptions:
There are several places where the rules are unclear. There’s simply no way to design all the characters to work under all possible interpretations of every rule, so instead, I will outline the assumptions the characters were built under.

Cyberlimb Averaging: It is unclear how cyberlimb averaging was intended to work as the example appears to contradict the text and the math used isn’t explicitly shown. The archetypes assume the most conservative (ie, weakest for the cyberlimb user) interpretation that doesn’t directly contradict the example, which also appears to be the most widely held version.
a) The skull is considered a “partial limb” and is not used except in tests that directly and exclusively involve it (just like hands or feet).
b) The torso is a full limb.
c) Tasks that involve one limb and one limb only use that limb’s stats and only that limb’s stats, regardless of whether it is partial or full. The characters were designed to not bring up questions like “does firing a SMG use only my hand, or does it use my forearm, or my entire arm?”
d) Tasks involving clear and specific sets of limbs use the average or the minimum, depending on the GM’s judgement of whether it requires a combined effort or careful coordination. Examples include running (both legs) and firing two-handed guns (both arms). Only full limbs are averaged; partial limbs do not apply in either case.
e) Tasks that involve no specific body parts, such as encumbrance from armor or damage resistance, average the torso, both legs, and both arms. The characters base stats are averaged in multiple times if appropriate; for example, a character with a cybertorso, one cyberarm, and one cyberleg would have an “average Body” of [(base Body)x2 + cyber torso body + cyber arm body + cyber leg body]/5

The only more conservative commonly held interpretation that I am aware of counts the head as a full limb. However, this leads to either the nonsensical conclusion that the head is not involved in resisting damage, or contradicts the example given on page 343 of SR4A.

In any game that has houserules or a different interpretation of the rules from the above, all of the characters with cyberlimbs will need to be significantly reconstructed.

Threading: Threading is an action that takes no time, and a technomancer can choose to keep less hits than they roll on a threading test. Thus, a technomancer can in theory Thread, discard all the hits, and try again, until they either get as many hits as they want, roll no hits (in which case they must take -2 to retry), or glitch/critically glitch.

The Technoshaman is built in such a way as to still work if the Threading rules are not used as written, but the Tactics section assumes no houserules. No changes need to be made to the Technoshaman at tables that houserule Threading to bar or limit retries.

Skill caps: I assume that the skill caps are (unaugmented attribute plus unaugmented skill)x2 or 20, whichever is higher; ie, the Improved Ability adept power and other effects that increase skills do not raise the skill cap.

I assume that for Matrix tests, the cap is set by (unaugmented) Complex Form or Program rating and skill, not by Logic and skill. If Logic and skill is used to set the cap, the Technoshaman should be significantly rebuilt or not played.

Control Device: It is not uniformly agreed upon what you can and cannot “remote control” in order to replace your ability score with Command; for example, can the Mercenary Rigger use Control Device on his medkit to provide first aid? None of the characters are built around the assumption that you can Control Device anything and everything in this way, but a number of them (such as the Mercenary Rigger and Technoshaman) would benefit from doing so if allowed.

Missions Specific Design Choices
There are some things that might not be immediately obvious that result from the characters being designed for Shadowrun Missions; these are listed mostly to help anyone who wants to use the Archetypes characters in non-Missions games.

In general, all of the characters are designed with choices of skills and abilities that I have observed to be useful in Missions games I have run or played in personally.

Contacts: All the characters have a Contact from Season 4 of Shadowrun Missions. You may want to replace these if you are playing a different season or a non-missions game. The missions format tends not to reward very heavy investment in contacts at character creation, so there aren’t any characters who spent more than 9 points on contacts (but everyone has at least 1).

Licenses: Per Bull’s preferences, Fake Licenses are based on “common sense” things that characters would have licenses for - such as a license to practice magic - rather than the way the Sample Characters have a separate fake license for each restricted item (even to the point of having two fake licenses in order to own two copies of the same gun).

Optional Rules: The characters assume that no optional rules (aside from those explicitly included, like extra recoil compensation for high Strength) are used, and that no “at the GM’s discretion, characters may take...” abilities are permitted. Specific “game-changers” commonly used in non-missions games:
1) Martial arts. Every character except the pure mages and the Technoshaman would benefit from some investment in martial arts otherwise.
2) Way of the Adept. The Negotiator should probably have a Way, if Way of the Adept is allowed.
3) Custom streams and traditions: All the magical and emerged characters would benefit from having a customized tradition or stream.

Possession: Possession traditions are banned in Missions, so there are no Possession-tradition magicians or mystic adepts.

Mental spells: Mental spells are banned in missions, so none of the magicians know any mental spells.

Specializations: Missions allows only the specializations listed under the skill entries in SR4A, in all of their vague and inconsistent glory. This causes a whole host of oddities such as Unarmed (Martial Arts), Pilot Ground Craft (Wheeled), no Pistols specialization that covers the Ruger Thunderbolt, et cetera.

The Archetypes:
Archetypes Spreadsheet that gives a general idea of what the Archetypes are and what they do.
Burnout Combat Mage: a cybered Dwarf magician focused on combat magic.
Spirit Medium: an Elf magician focused on summoning.
Magical Rocker, a human magician focused on flashy combat magic and rocking out.
Paranormal Detective: an Ork magician focused on detection and illusion.
Transhuman Mystic: a Dwarf cybered mystic adept focused on magically-enhanced physical combat and B&E.
Negotiator: an Elf cybered adept with a mix of social and physical combat skills.
Martial Artist, a troll augmented adept focused on melee combat and social skills.
Former Neoprimitive, a troll augmented adept who uses archaic throwing weapons to great effect.
Gunslinger, a human augmented adept focused on mastery of pistols.
Ronin: an Ork street samurai, focused on an even mix of toughness, melee combat, and ranged combat.
Ghost: an Elf street samurai, focused on ranged combat.
Bad Enough Trog: a Troll street samurai, focused on toughness.
Mercenary Rigger: an Ork rigger, with secondary skills in hacking, B&E, and physical combat.
Generalist: a Human face/street samurai/hacker.
Spook: a Human face/street samurai/B&E specialist.
Combat Hacker: a Troll hacker/street samurai.
Technoshaman: an Elf technomancer focused on hacking, with secondary rigging.
Info Savant, an ork technomancer focused on rigging, with hacking secondary.
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LurkerOutThere
post Aug 14 2011, 04:07 AM
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Very cool project, of course it kind of stinks that you've only got 2 humans on the list.
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Abdul Alhazred
post Aug 14 2011, 05:50 AM
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Love it. I was actually looking for a Rigger to work off of to make a character.

Much love.
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CanRay
post Aug 14 2011, 06:31 AM
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*Inhales deeply, holds it, then slowly exhales* One love?
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Bushw4cker
post Aug 14 2011, 06:34 AM
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Ballistic 27 Impact 25 Armor for the Troll?! Are you kidding?! I don't think I'd let a player have half that amount of armor. If that character got hit with a Cruise Missile (24P damage) and the attacker only got 1 success, the damage would be converted to Stun. And with 30+ dice to roll, there's a chance he might not even be knocked unconscious. The Heaviest Military Armor doesn't even offer that kind of Protection.
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Neurosis
post Aug 14 2011, 06:48 AM
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Minor quibbles aside and unvoiced, this is an immensely laudable undertaking.
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CanRay
post Aug 14 2011, 07:00 AM
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QUOTE (Bushw4cker @ Aug 14 2011, 01:34 AM) *
Ballistic 27 Impact 25 Armor for the Troll?! Are you kidding?! I don't think I'd let a player have half that amount of armor. If that character got hit with a Cruise Missile (24P damage) and the attacker only got 1 success, the damage would be converted to Stun. And with 30+ dice to roll, there's a chance he might not even be knocked unconscious. The Heaviest Military Armor doesn't even offer that kind of Protection.
"I don't like doors any more." - Character in a John Ringo novel after taking a claymore mine to the chest.
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Cain
post Aug 14 2011, 07:00 AM
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May I suggest that you also look at the Dumpshock Character Archive?

It was started for much the reasons you describe. The focus of the sample characters is similar, although it doesn't have an overriding design philosophy.

I didn't do much work on those characters, but I helped start the Dumpshock project, due to certain... objections I had about the sample characters. I'm sure the original thread can be viewed if you want to dig it up.
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PeteThe1
post Aug 14 2011, 07:10 AM
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How is it half of them have a min-maxed cyberarm designed to give even the non-combat characters bigger die pools than a 'normal' starting samurai? Never mind the crazy people in the twenties. There is such a thing as too optimized, especially for purported archetypes.
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Cain
post Aug 14 2011, 07:20 AM
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QUOTE (PeteThe1 @ Aug 14 2011, 12:10 AM) *
How is it half of them have a min-maxed cyberarm designed to give even the non-combat characters bigger die pools than a 'normal' starting samurai? Never mind the crazy people in the twenties. There is such a thing as too optimized, especially for purported archetypes.


That's because the "normal" (sample SR4.5 starting) samurai, frankly, *sucks*.

The problem with SR4.5 isn't that you can create gimped characters, or that you can create overpowering ones: it's that you can both kinds of characters in the exact same game, which drains all the fun out of it. If everyone sucks equally, that's not a problem; but some of the sample characters suck more than others. The goal of a sample character archive is to give everyone a more equal starting point, or at least something to shoot for. That way, there won't be a huge power disparity.
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Glyph
post Aug 14 2011, 09:39 AM
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QUOTE (PeteThe1 @ Aug 13 2011, 11:10 PM) *
How is it half of them have a min-maxed cyberarm designed to give even the non-combat characters bigger die pools than a 'normal' starting samurai? Never mind the crazy people in the twenties. There is such a thing as too optimized, especially for purported archetypes.

The weakness of one person, however dedicated, creating a bunch of archetypes is that people tend to have favorite guns, skills, cyberware combos, etc. You will also see several of the archetypes with almost the same set of firearms, and ammo tends to be either EX explosive or stick-N-shock. I fiddle with characters a lot, and I have noticed the same tendency in myself. On the other hand, one person doing a set of archetypes ensures a certain design philosophy and internal consistency among them.

I don't really consider a character "too optimized" unless that character is using cheesy rules exploits (and the OP specifically avoided a lot of munchkin tactics such as empathy software, or getting cyberhands and cyberfeet just to add armor to them), or blatantly doesn't fit the campaign (and these characters are specifically designed for Missions - they are powerful so that new players can hang with the more experienced runners they will be working with).
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Abdul Alhazred
post Aug 14 2011, 01:13 PM
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Could we move this to Community Projects so it won't get buried ?
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Ascalaphus
post Aug 14 2011, 01:22 PM
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I've only skimmed the characters you've created, but I like the overall idea. I especially like your openly-set-out design principles. Particularly that you want to avoid rule usage that's often disputed or whose interpretation is unclear.

I'm not too shocked about your widespread usage of cyberlimbs as other people. In the real world, if some tactic works well, people in the same business tend to adopt it as a best practice. The same could apply to cyberlimbs - they're a quick route to being dangerous in a fight. That's obvious IC, so why shouldn't there be copycats?
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suoq
post Aug 14 2011, 01:48 PM
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QUOTE (Ascalaphus @ Aug 14 2011, 07:22 AM) *
In the real world, if some tactic works well, people in the same business tend to adopt it as a best practice. The same could apply to cyberlimbs - they're a quick route to being dangerous in a fight.

Alas, that's not the root cause. The root cause is this is what happens when one person builds all the archtypes. Some known cheese becomes common (cyberlimbs, rating 6 medkits). Some know cheese becomes deliberately avoided (Empathy software). Some design decisions are simply odd (Public and private commlinks are standard but both are left undefended on most characters. Even the hacker has, for his public commlink, a Meta Link with Vector Xim and no firewall.)

You would see the same thing if I ever got off my butt and did the Omae/Chummer project I'm thinking of. My personal design trends would creep into all characters I would build. Personally, I like the work and hope it continues. They're certainly better choices than the in-the-book archtypes and they allow someone to just grab a character and go.
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UmaroVI
post Aug 14 2011, 02:38 PM
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QUOTE (Cain @ Aug 14 2011, 03:00 AM) *
May I suggest that you also look at the Dumpshock Character Archive?

It was started for much the reasons you describe. The focus of the sample characters is similar, although it doesn't have an overriding design philosophy.

I didn't do much work on those characters, but I helped start the Dumpshock project, due to certain... objections I had about the sample characters. I'm sure the original thread can be viewed if you want to dig it up.


I've seen the Sample Character Archive and that was some of what made me think of doing this; as you say, the main problem I had with it was a lack of overriding design philosophy leading to the different characters not being well-balanced against one another.

QUOTE
Ballistic 27 Impact 25 Armor for the Troll?! Are you kidding?! I don't think I'd let a player have half that amount of armor. If that character got hit with a Cruise Missile (24P damage) and the attacker only got 1 success, the damage would be converted to Stun. And with 30+ dice to roll, there's a chance he might not even be knocked unconscious. The Heaviest Military Armor doesn't even offer that kind of Protection.

QUOTE
How is it half of them have a min-maxed cyberarm designed to give even the non-combat characters bigger die pools than a 'normal' starting samurai? Never mind the crazy people in the twenties. There is such a thing as too optimized, especially for purported archetypes.


As Cain and Glyph pointed out, it's far more important that the characters are balanced against each other. Missions tends to both have a fairly high level of optimization, and also needs to allow characters with no karma to work with characters with 100 karma and still be useful.

It's also, as I said, much easier to weaken characters then strengthen them if you want to use them at a table that considers things like Rating 6 medkits to be the height of cheese.

QUOTE
The weakness of one person, however dedicated, creating a bunch of archetypes is that people tend to have favorite guns, skills, cyberware combos, etc. You will also see several of the archetypes with almost the same set of firearms, and ammo tends to be either EX explosive or stick-N-shock. I fiddle with characters a lot, and I have noticed the same tendency in myself. On the other hand, one person doing a set of archetypes ensures a certain design philosophy and internal consistency among them.

That's certainly true; keep in mind, though, that some of this results from issues within the SR ruleset - some guns are simply better than others, some armor types are better than others, etc. Other parts (for example, the sensor suites) are simply a major nuisance to redesign from scratch.

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Tymeaus Jalynsfe...
post Aug 14 2011, 03:22 PM
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QUOTE (Cain @ Aug 14 2011, 12:20 AM) *
That's because the "normal" (sample SR4.5 starting) samurai, frankly, *sucks*.


That is strictly an opinion, Cain. I actually LIKE the starting Samurai.

QUOTE
The problem with SR4.5 isn't that you can create gimped characters, or that you can create overpowering ones: it's that you can both kinds of characters in the exact same game, which drains all the fun out of it. If everyone sucks equally, that's not a problem; but some of the sample characters suck more than others. The goal of a sample character archive is to give everyone a more equal starting point, or at least something to shoot for. That way, there won't be a huge power disparity.



If every one is super, no one is. Disparity is what makes a story. How you overcome the obstacles is a Story. If you always win, where is the Story?
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Ascalaphus
post Aug 14 2011, 03:30 PM
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QUOTE (suoq @ Aug 14 2011, 02:48 PM) *
Alas, that's not the root cause. The root cause is this is what happens when one person builds all the archtypes. Some known cheese becomes common (cyberlimbs, rating 6 medkits). Some know cheese becomes deliberately avoided (Empathy software).


I don't get why Rating 6 medkits would be cheese. (Actually, I don't see why they had to give medkits ratings, instead of just fixing all of them at R6. There's no reason to go lower, so why add fake complexity to CharGen?)

Whether cyberlimbs are cheese is arguable. Personally I don't think so. Is your objection more OOC or IC?

OOC, it's obvious that cyberlimbs are powerful, and especially powerful considering the price. But are they unbalanced? Are they so powerful that you have to take them? I think they do a decent job (given the Essence price) of giving the non-Awakened something to fight back with.

IC, it's technology. Performance can be measured, people can post reviews on ShadowTweakers about which builds work well. So it makes sense to copy powerful builds. (I think that technology is exactly one area where it can actually be good roleplaying for a tech-savvy character to heavily optimize. Because that's what engineering is for: to achieve the best performance for your situation. That's what hackers do.)

QUOTE (suoq @ Aug 14 2011, 02:48 PM) *
Some design decisions are simply odd (Public and private commlinks are standard but both are left undefended on most characters. Even the hacker has, for his public commlink, a Meta Link with Vector Xim and no firewall.)


Eh, that's bound to happen I guess. I must admit I didn't review the stats thoroughly, I find reading other people's stat blocks to be extremely boring. (I also think SR has way to many stats and particularly equipment with sub-stats to keep track of.)

QUOTE (suoq @ Aug 14 2011, 02:48 PM) *
You would see the same thing if I ever got off my butt and did the Omae/Chummer project I'm thinking of. My personal design trends would creep into all characters I would build. Personally, I like the work and hope it continues. They're certainly better choices than the in-the-book archtypes and they allow someone to just grab a character and go.


I'd make things differently too I guess. It would also matter if you decided on the outset that all archetypes would be built for Pink Mohawk or Black Mirrorshades - the amount of detectable, visible stuff for example, and the amount of points that go into stealth.
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CanRay
post Aug 14 2011, 03:31 PM
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"Face is hurt, man, hurt bad. Combat Monster, you have to go out and find the guy that did it. You're going to have to" *Shudders* "Investigate and be sociable."

"... ... ..."

"Talk to people without hurting them."

"... ... ..."

"It's like what you normally do, without the stabbing."

"Don't stab people when talking."

"Right."

*Walks away* "No stabbing, no stabbing, no stabbing..."
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suoq
post Aug 14 2011, 03:50 PM
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QUOTE (Ascalaphus @ Aug 14 2011, 10:30 AM) *
I don't get why Rating 6 medkits would be cheese.
They provide a first aid skill of 6 and give a +6 bonus to it for 1/5 of the price of rating 6 empathy software (which needs a commlink that can run it....)

QUOTE
Are they so powerful that you have to take them?
5 characters took them. Throw out the guys with high magic ratings that didn't take the essence hit, and while it's not "have to take", you can see it from there. I find it interesting that there are more cyberarms than orcs, given orcs unbalanced BP cost.
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CanRay
post Aug 14 2011, 04:09 PM
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QUOTE (Ascalaphus @ Aug 14 2011, 10:30 AM) *
I don't get why Rating 6 medkits would be cheese.
Yeah, they're powerful, but they've also been around since 1st Edition, IIRC.

'Runners are likely to have the R6 Medkits, but can lose them easily enough as well. And then they're stuck with "Band-Aid Brand Junior-Medic MedKit", which they stole out of some drekky apartment and is Rating 1. (IMG:style_emoticons/default/nyahnyah.gif)
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PeteThe1
post Aug 14 2011, 06:40 PM
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QUOTE (Ascalaphus @ Aug 14 2011, 08:30 AM) *
Whether cyberlimbs are cheese is arguable. Personally I don't think so. Is your objection more OOC or IC?

OOC, it's obvious that cyberlimbs are powerful, and especially powerful considering the price. But are they unbalanced? Are they so powerful that you have to take them? I think they do a decent job (given the Essence price) of giving the non-Awakened something to fight back with.


They were useless for 3 editions, then suddenly they become a way for anyone to be frighteningly effective for not a huge investment? Thats unbalancing and doesn't seem to fit with the spirit of things.

Particularly when the corebook puts your average ganger or corp-sec at a pool of 7. Or veteran Red Samurai or Tir Ghosts, the best of the best, at 15.
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imperialus
post Aug 14 2011, 06:56 PM
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QUOTE (Ascalaphus @ Aug 14 2011, 09:30 AM) *
I don't get why Rating 6 medkits would be cheese. (Actually, I don't see why they had to give medkits ratings, instead of just fixing all of them at R6. There's no reason to go lower, so why add fake complexity to CharGen?)


It's a house rule, but I give the different rating medkits vastly different sizes. A Rating 1 medkit is about the size of a nice thick paperback novel. It has a small diagnostic computer, and a compartment that carries a few highly compressed bandages, a small bottle of rubbing alchohol, scissors, thread, and some asprin style painkillers. This is the average 'home' style first aid kit.

Rating 2 and 3 medkits come as a large fanny pack or large pouch that can fit onto combat webbing. They have stuff like real painkillers of the opiate variety, spray on skin, trauma patches, things like that. Its the sort of stuff you might expect a combat medic to actually cart around into the field.

Rating 4 and 5 medkits is when you start getting into autodoc territory. They are the size of a decent briefcase and weigh about 30 lbs. They contain much more extensive diagnostic equipment as well as much more effective supplies. This would be the sort of medkit that a mechanized infantry unit might keep in the AFV and pull out when needed.

The Rating 6 Medkit is man portable only in the loosest sense of the word. It is technically intended for forward aid stations on actual battlefields and weighs about 80 lbs. It's a large backpack and contains sufficant diagnostic equipment and supplies to perform emergency field surgery if necessary.

There is also a "nanite medkit" in existence that clocks in at rating 6 but is only the size of a rating 2 or 3 kit. These are top of the line SOTA pieces of tech though and priced accordingly.
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Neurosis
post Aug 14 2011, 07:48 PM
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QUOTE (PeteThe1 @ Aug 14 2011, 03:10 AM) *
How is it half of them have a min-maxed cyberarm designed to give even the non-combat characters bigger die pools than a 'normal' starting samurai? Never mind the crazy people in the twenties. There is such a thing as too optimized, especially for purported archetypes.


Yeah, I mean, honestly the NPCs in Missions (I can't think of another place people'd be likely to play a pregen) are not really statted in such a way as to put up any but the flimsiest resistance to some of these super-characters. But I still hold that this is a laudable effort, especially in theory.

I don't think that R6 Medkits or for that matter R6 Respirators really qualify as cheese. They're just things that every runner should have with them all the time with the current rules.

Also, @imperialus, that is quite a house rule!

QUOTE
That is strictly an opinion, Cain. I actually LIKE the starting Samurai.


It is certainly better than some of the other sample characters.
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Glyph
post Aug 14 2011, 08:00 PM
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It's not that cyberlimbs are ubiquitous all of a sudden - they are simply favored by the OP. They aren't really unbalancing compared to all of the other options out there - there are tons and tons of different ways to optimize characters. If I had been the one doing them, you probably wouldn't have seen any cyberlimbs at all, but would have seen the restricted gear quality and muscle toner: 4 for most of the combat types.

Also, the core book mooks are not a great baseline for comparisons. In my opinion, the simplification involved greatly weakened the supposedly more powerful types such as Red Samurai and Ghosts. The published adventures tend to have NPCs with things such as specializations, and heavier augmentations.

This set of characters has been optimized for clearly stated reasons - they are for play in a campaign where the other characters tend to be optimized, and where new characters get tossed in the mix with 100+ karma characters. They would be out of line if they were, say, suggested archetypes for a game of street punks from the Barrens and Noir-ish, lightly augmented types such as bitter ex-cops and private detectives. But for what they are intended for, they are fine (assuming the OP is right about the Missions power level - I don't play Missions, so I can't confirm that).
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Shinobi Killfist
post Aug 14 2011, 09:14 PM
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QUOTE (Cain @ Aug 14 2011, 03:20 AM) *
That's because the "normal" (sample SR4.5 starting) samurai, frankly, *sucks*.

The problem with SR4.5 isn't that you can create gimped characters, or that you can create overpowering ones: it's that you can both kinds of characters in the exact same game, which drains all the fun out of it. If everyone sucks equally, that's not a problem; but some of the sample characters suck more than others. The goal of a sample character archive is to give everyone a more equal starting point, or at least something to shoot for. That way, there won't be a huge power disparity.


The 4.5 samurai is perfectly fine.

As for the power disparity the problem isn't that it is there, but that it isn't labeled. Something like grouping them into street/low level campaign, experienced runner etc. would show that the system easily handles a wide range of play styles even with starting at the same BP. If a group of players would be grabbing the archetypes to use it would be suggested each player come form the same power level. As is you bump into the problem where new people wont notice that X archetype is weaker compared to Y archetype and they wont work out to well on the same team, both for the players and the GM.
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