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> Archetypes, Replacements for the SR4A Sample Characters
Glyph
post Aug 17 2011, 02:30 AM
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It's hard to quantify character power level, because different dice pools mean different things. Some dice pools have far more potential negative modifiers, while others have far more things that can boost them (such as gymnastics and social skills). And it's a game of glass cannons. One character has 12 dice, another has 20 dice, but they might be equally able to kill each other in one round. And it's a tactical game. One character has 20 dice, but the character with 12 dice snipes him from a rooftop. Also, it's hard to quantify how "powerful" it is to be good at many different things, as opposed to being very good at one or two things (assuming the generalist still has enough dice to succeed, rather than being spread too thin).

I think its less important to balance every character, than it is to have a group that can mesh together, and that has a plausible reason to work together. And just like the powergamers might need to turn it down a notch or two to let the other characters do something, the roleplayers need to accept that if they want a special little snowflake instead of an asskicker, they will be in a supporting role more often than not.
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Mayhem_2006
post Aug 17 2011, 06:57 AM
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QUOTE (Glyph @ Aug 17 2011, 03:30 AM) *
I think its less important to balance every character, than it is to have a group that can mesh together, and that has a plausible reason to work together. And just like the powergamers might need to turn it down a notch or two to let the other characters do something, the roleplayers need to accept that if they want a special little snowflake instead of an asskicker, they will be in a supporting role more often than not.


Very much THIS, AKA QFT.

It doesn't matter if one character has a higher dicepool than another, UNLESS the 2nd character is supposed to be a specialist in that area and now his specialism is getting all stomped over and making the character redundant. That's not a lot of fun for the player, and this is supposed to be a game about fun.

A group that can work together and in which everybody gets a chance to shine in their area of expertise makes it much easier for everyone to have fun. I haven't GM'd Shadowrun but generally my character creation policy for any game in which I want the PCs to act as a team is to get them to character create as a team, rather than as individuals, to make sure all the usual bases are covered, that nobody ends up being totally overshadowed by everyone else, and so the experienced players who know how to squeeze every last dice into a pool can help out the novices so that everybody ends up with an equally effective character.

As I stated elsewhere, the purpose of the game is entertainment. Create and play your character to entertain the other people in your group, not yourself. Then, if everybody at the table does the same thing, you get back 5 times the entertainment that you put in.

Creating and playing a character that entertains only you at the expense of the fun of any of the other players? You might as well go play a solo CRPG, buddy, and you are not welcome at my table.
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Cain
post Aug 17 2011, 10:42 AM
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QUOTE (Shinobi Killfist @ Aug 16 2011, 01:34 PM) *
Well the nature of point buy systems is balance of opportunity not outcome. The trick is to try to get everyone on the same page of where you want the outcome. I think most of the current SR4.5 sample characters are decent in the outcome scale of where I would like the PCs to start. Some are on the weak side but would work great in a street campaign. Can people make a "better" street samurai than the sample given, sure. But you don't need the samples to be one of the best things possible to build, in fact I think you don't want them to be. You want them to be pretty good at what they are supposed to do, which most of the samples pull off fine.

Yeah, but then we have a similar problem to random rolls. But instead of being lucky with attribute rolls, you have the issue of being good at system mastery. It's entirely possible to have a samurai who can out-Face the Face, especially the one in the SR4.5 BBB.
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squee_nabob
post Aug 17 2011, 02:03 PM
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The problem with using specializations to balance PCs is sitting down at a Con with several people using sample characters, and several people using self-made characters. At Origins I brought a CHA TM to a table with 6 other players, including 3 using premades. I was…

A better face than the face Premade
A better fighter than the gun adept
A better hacker than the hacker (to be expected)
And sneakier than the Covert Ops specialist

Admittedly I had some karma and money under by belt, but the fact that several of the sample characters were purely outclassed could have been a problem (I was nice enough to step aside and pretend I wasn’t better than them at their jobs). I have no problem with making the default sample characters better, so new players are an asset to the table.
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Shinobi Killfist
post Aug 17 2011, 06:55 PM
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QUOTE (Cain @ Aug 17 2011, 06:42 AM) *
Yeah, but then we have a similar problem to random rolls. But instead of being lucky with attribute rolls, you have the issue of being good at system mastery. It's entirely possible to have a samurai who can out-Face the Face, especially the one in the SR4.5 BBB.



Yup. Every system has its flaws. The more flexible the point buy the more you can customize your character but also the more it rewards system mastery.
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Tymeaus Jalynsfe...
post Aug 17 2011, 07:40 PM
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QUOTE (Shinobi Killfist @ Aug 17 2011, 12:55 PM) *
Yup. Every system has its flaws. The more flexible the point buy the more you can customize your character but also the more it rewards system mastery.


Hard to avoid that...
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UmaroVI
post Aug 18 2011, 12:29 AM
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Quick note: the Transhuman Mystic had Genetic Heritage and Augmentation Addict; I had missed that both were banned in Missions. Fixed this, updated the sheet as v1.1 with a changelog. The old version still exists, of course.
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Cain
post Aug 18 2011, 05:43 AM
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QUOTE (Shinobi Killfist @ Aug 17 2011, 10:55 AM) *
Yup. Every system has its flaws. The more flexible the point buy the more you can customize your character but also the more it rewards system mastery.

It can be beaten, though. One way is to balance point costs, so different options of the same power levels cost the same amount of points. SR4.5's point costs are hideously unbalanced, to the point where certain options are just a lot better than others.

For example, Uncouth. Uncouth gives you 20 BP, and effectively locks you out of 6 skills. I've never seen anyone take Uncouth, and you know why? Because you can take 4 Incompetences in the same social skill groups, and get just as much return.
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Glyph
post Aug 18 2011, 07:13 AM
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Uncouth is one of the "trap" options in the rules, which does not actually create an uncouth character. I think of uncouth, and I think of someone who is abrasive, stubborn, and lacking in social graces. But the way the social skill rules work is that you use those skills to resist those same skills. So an uncouth character can't resist intimidation, follows orders blindly, etc.

Incompetent is not much of an improvement, though. You are in the same situation - you are treated as unaware in those social skills, and you can't even default on them. Sure, it's only four skills, not six, but on the other hand, you have four points of notoriety.

I have never liked how incompetent has been implemented, either. Being treated as unaware in a skill, but completely unaffected in other, similar skills leads to weird things - like someone who can be a crack shot with a pistol, but who will stare in blank incomprehension if someone hands him a shotgun.
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Elfenlied
post Aug 18 2011, 10:08 AM
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I always disliked that Uncouth included Intimidate. Just feels wrong, IMO.
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Tymeaus Jalynsfe...
post Aug 18 2011, 12:54 PM
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QUOTE (Cain @ Aug 17 2011, 10:43 PM) *
It can be beaten, though. One way is to balance point costs, so different options of the same power levels cost the same amount of points. SR4.5's point costs are hideously unbalanced, to the point where certain options are just a lot better than others.

For example, Uncouth. Uncouth gives you 20 BP, and effectively locks you out of 6 skills. I've never seen anyone take Uncouth, and you know why? Because you can take 4 Incompetences in the same social skill groups, and get just as much return.


I have taken uncouth a time or two. It is sometimes very appropriate to do so. Also, Uncoutth does not eliminate the skills, it just makes them cost twice as much (which is not the same thing), while Incompetant means you cannot buy the skill at all unless you remove the incompetant NQ. Very different effects in the end, and NOT "just as much return" as you indicate.
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UmaroVI
post Aug 18 2011, 02:56 PM
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So aside from variants of "I don't like this in the first place," are there any general requests for character fitting a certain type or criterion? I've seen a few people who would like more humans so far.
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Blitz66
post Aug 18 2011, 07:44 PM
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I'm among those who would like to see more humans. Though, in all likelihood, I could convert some from the builds provided for my own use, instead of asking you to do it. I'm a fan of the Transhuman Mystic, as well as other examples of Awakened/augmented builds, but prefer human characters.

So, thanks for what you've provided, and if you want to give us more options yet... cheers!
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UmaroVI
post Aug 18 2011, 09:56 PM
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Not that you need my permission, but feel free to tinker when you use stuff yourself; part of the goal is to have examples of how to build various character types.

On metatype changes: both the Transhuman Mystic and the Burnout Combat Mage can easily convert to human; neither of them really need strength, and the +1 Willpower, while nice, isn't vital. In general, any of the orks can go human, but they would either need to dump Strength or free up some points. The elves don't really want to go human; all of them really do care about the extra bit of Agility, Charisma, or both. You could make human versions of the Combat Hacker and Bad Enough Trog work, but those would take some work because trolls are pretty different from humans.
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Cain
post Aug 18 2011, 10:12 PM
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QUOTE (Tymeaus Jalynsfein @ Aug 18 2011, 04:54 AM) *
I have taken uncouth a time or two. It is sometimes very appropriate to do so. Also, Uncoutth does not eliminate the skills, it just makes them cost twice as much (which is not the same thing), while Incompetant means you cannot buy the skill at all unless you remove the incompetant NQ. Very different effects in the end, and NOT "just as much return" as you indicate.

Odds are, those skills are ones you wouldn't want to take in the first place, so that aspect of Uncouth isn't a big deal.

But let's look at it for a second. Let's say you want to take an Uncouth character to Intimidate 3. That costs him 24 BP, or assuming he started at 0, 28 karma. If he had bought Incompetent: Intimidate, he would need to spend 26 karma: 10 to buy off the flaw, and 16 to raise it to 3. So, it's *still* cheaper to buy Incompetent rather than to buy Uncouth. It's not "just as much return", it's *more* return.
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mmmkay
post Aug 19 2011, 12:44 AM
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I really liked the idea of building high power level, but simple/not reliant on non-missions viable or unclear rules, characters. I was going to ask you to attempt to build a more combat viable adept than the negotiator, but the negotiator is pretty much not cheaply improvable in combat (could go up to 12 agi in the right arm but would require restricted gear, which sucks for something that can be cheaply bought later). At the very least I can say that I have not been able to come up with a very good combat adept and was wondering if you could think of one. Basically I like adepts and a decent combat focused one or a decently sneaky one that can bypass security (I'd probably try to use Mind-over-Matter) and all that seems good. Anyways more adepts would be nice, since they are very tough to make at a high power level.

Also a couple questions. All but one of the excluded options makes sense to me. Why is Iron Will an excluded option? Also somewhere you were posting the powers/spells/gear that you were ignoring because they had unclear meanings, but other than listing heightened concentration you did not mention other unclear powers/spells/gears. What are some other ones you aren't using?
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mmmkay
post Aug 19 2011, 12:44 AM
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Whoops, apparently double clicking too much causes double posts. Sorry.
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Tymeaus Jalynsfe...
post Aug 19 2011, 12:58 AM
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QUOTE (Cain @ Aug 18 2011, 03:12 PM) *
Odds are, those skills are ones you wouldn't want to take in the first place, so that aspect of Uncouth isn't a big deal.

But let's look at it for a second. Let's say you want to take an Uncouth character to Intimidate 3. That costs him 24 BP, or assuming he started at 0, 28 karma. If he had bought Incompetent: Intimidate, he would need to spend 26 karma: 10 to buy off the flaw, and 16 to raise it to 3. So, it's *still* cheaper to buy Incompetent rather than to buy Uncouth. It's not "just as much return", it's *more* return.


Except that I do not build characters based upon how the "Numbers" play out. If I take an Incompetant Flaw, I do not buy it off when it becomes inconvenient.
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Blitz66
post Aug 19 2011, 01:12 AM
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So the character is skilled but incompetent? In any event, your character is becoming less incompetent. The only difference IS the numbers game.
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Cain
post Aug 19 2011, 01:48 AM
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QUOTE (Tymeaus Jalynsfein @ Aug 18 2011, 04:58 PM) *
Except that I do not build characters based upon how the "Numbers" play out. If I take an Incompetant Flaw, I do not buy it off when it becomes inconvenient.

If you want to gimp your characters for "roleplay" reasons, that's your choice. Just don't go around thinking that makes you better than the rest of us. This is a personal pet peeve of mine: you don't have to make a character weak in order for it to be fun to play. I think those who are stuck in that mindset of their own superiority rally, really need to learn that games are about fun, not sticking your nose in the air at every other playstyle.
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Tymeaus Jalynsfe...
post Aug 19 2011, 01:59 AM
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QUOTE (Blitz66 @ Aug 18 2011, 06:12 PM) *
So the character is skilled but incompetent? In any event, your character is becoming less incompetent. The only difference IS the numbers game.


I don't build characters that way.
But then, I do not have characters with Dice pools at 20+ either. I am happy with the guidelines as set forth in the book, so 12-14 Dice Primary to start with. Of course, the characters get better as time goes on, but I rarely eliminate the Character Flaws (read negative Qualities) that I have, unless it makes sense to do so. They are a part of the character, after all. You can have a thousand Karma, be skilled out the ass, and still not be good at something. That is life.

If I take an Incompetant Quality for a skill, I take one that makes sense for the character. Why would I want to buy that off? If it is going to prove heavily inconvenient (and I might possibly want to purchase the skill in the future, then I probably won't take an incompetancy in that skill. Then again, I rarely take them anyways. I have two characters (out of about 70) that have it. Incompetant: First Aid (Cyberlogicain) and Incompetant: Gymnastics (Technomancer) are the only two that have an incompetancy, and they have them because of background issues. I see no reason to buy them off. Some may call that sub-optimal. I call it character. *shrug*
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UmaroVI
post Aug 19 2011, 02:00 AM
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QUOTE (mmmkay @ Aug 18 2011, 07:44 PM) *
I really liked the idea of building high power level, but simple/not reliant on non-missions viable or unclear rules, characters. I was going to ask you to attempt to build a more combat viable adept than the negotiator, but the negotiator is pretty much not cheaply improvable in combat (could go up to 12 agi in the right arm but would require restricted gear, which sucks for something that can be cheaply bought later). At the very least I can say that I have not been able to come up with a very good combat adept and was wondering if you could think of one. Basically I like adepts and a decent combat focused one or a decently sneaky one that can bypass security (I'd probably try to use Mind-over-Matter) and all that seems good. Anyways more adepts would be nice, since they are very tough to make at a high power level.

Also a couple questions. All but one of the excluded options makes sense to me. Why is Iron Will an excluded option? Also somewhere you were posting the powers/spells/gear that you were ignoring because they had unclear meanings, but other than listing heightened concentration you did not mention other unclear powers/spells/gears. What are some other ones you aren't using?

Adepts: I'll see about another adept or two.

Iron Will is kind of unclear on how it works and super broken. I'll see if I can explain. EDIT: It just occured to me that you might have thought I meant the Adept power "Iron Will." I mean the exosuit from Attitude.

Okay, so it is an exoskeleton that you put on. You treat it like a vehicle... for upgrades. But what about for everything else? It says it fixes your strength at 8, and reduces your agility by 1, which implies that you should move around in it normally - so, like, you can pick up a pistol, and shoot it with Agility+Pistols (rather than something wacky like Agility+Gunnery). What if you mod it to allow rigging (which you can do, because you treat it like a vehicle for upgrades). Can you remote control rig it? Can you jump into it? If you RC rig it, can you shoot people with Command+Pistols? Command+Gunnery? As you can see, it raises a whole mess of rules questions.

Let's assume we go with what I am 90% sure is RAI - you get into it, you work normally except Strength = 8, Agility goes down by 1, the rolls you make for stuff don't change, and you just don't or are not allowed to jump into it or command rig it. Now we get to the broken part - it has 6 body and 4 armor. But you can upgrade it like a vehicle, meaning you can get it up to 12 armor, or 10 if you want it concealed. And you can wear other, normal armor, because it isn't armor and doesn't encumber. Now you can run around in it, with a mere -1 Agility penalty in return for being in an armored vehicle, which makes you quite hard to hurt. And you might well be a mage who doesn't care much about that -1 agility, and is getting a hefty chunk of armor out of this. For the price of about 4000Y. On what should be an antiquated curiosity, not a superb warmachine. Then you mod it with Personal Armor 10, which adds another 10 armor to any attacks directed at you. Oh, and with Body 6, you can put weapon mounts on it.

Needless to say, this is stupid and no GM in their right mind is going to let it fly; if you show up at a missions table with it, I'd expect an orbital cow to be dropped on your character. It's in many ways better than MilSpec armor at the job MilSpec armor is supposed to do (of course, you can ALSO wear milspec armor under it....), it's cheap and 95% of characters would benefit from using it, and the rules are a colossal mess of inclarity.

A few other examples of stuff that I didn't use because it is unclear:
1) the Swap echo. I have no clue how this works. I don't know what it is supposed to do, I don't know what it says it does, and I sure don't know how Catalyst managed to errata it from something that I couldn't make heads or tails of to something that I STILL can't make heads or tails of.

2) If you have a cyberhand, and you hold a one-handed weapon in it and fire it, do you use the hand's agility score? What if it's a forearm? (If it is a full arm, the answer is explicitly yes).

3) Can you Biowire the skillsofts of a Tutor Sprite?

4) What exactly is "armor clothing" in the context of the "Armor" mod in Attitude? Does it include stuff like the armored clothing sets in Arsenal?

5) What counts as "unarmed combat" for Critical Strike? Does it mean "unarmed" as in without weapons, or "Unarmed Combat" as in the skill? Same for Killing Hands and Elemental Strike.

There's probably a bunch more I've forgotten. But that should give you an idea of the sort of stuff I mean. I'm sure some of these seem like they have an "obvious" answer but I've seen arguments about all of them.
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Tymeaus Jalynsfe...
post Aug 19 2011, 02:08 AM
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QUOTE (Cain @ Aug 18 2011, 06:48 PM) *
If you want to gimp your characters for "roleplay" reasons, that's your choice. Just don't go around thinking that makes you better than the rest of us. This is a personal pet peeve of mine: you don't have to make a character weak in order for it to be fun to play. I think those who are stuck in that mindset of their own superiority rally, really need to learn that games are about fun, not sticking your nose in the air at every other playstyle.


And there you go again. Berating other's choices and insulting them. Doesn't that ever get old Cain? Your atttitude is also a personal pet peeve of mine. We have a great deal of fun at our table. How dare you insinuate otherwise. And I never once said it made me better than others. That is all on you. Feeling a bit inferior are you?

One man's week character is another man's Epic fun character. I think that you do have an issue with characters that are not over the top amazing. It can be done, to be sure, and there are a few published products that directly address that. But you seem to have issues with anyone who intentionally plays their character to the levels (Implied or otherwise) of the books. Why is that?
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Blitz66
post Aug 19 2011, 02:20 AM
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Actually, TJ, he wasn't criticizing your choices, but your attitude. Maybe you didn't mean it that way, but the way I read your "numbers" post, you were pretty condescending. If you don't ever intend to raise a skill that you took a flaw for, that's fine, but why are you criticizing how others choose to develop their characters? Growing out of incompetence is at least as valid a choice as paying extra.
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mmmkay
post Aug 19 2011, 02:54 AM
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QUOTE (UmaroVI @ Aug 18 2011, 07:00 PM) *
Adepts: I'll see about another adept or two.


Yay!

QUOTE
Iron Will is kind of unclear on how it works and super broken. I'll see if I can explain. EDIT: It just occured to me that you might have thought I meant the Adept power "Iron Will." I mean the exosuit from Attitude.


I was wondering why the adept power "iron will" was broken. Haha. Jeez the exosuit should be errata'd to iron bill or something. Also the combat sense adept power and combat sense spell have the same name, but does that mean they stack?

QUOTE
2) If you have a cyberhand, and you hold a one-handed weapon in it and fire it, do you use the hand's agility score? What if it's a forearm? (If it is a full arm, the answer is explicitly yes).


I see your point here, although shooting a gun with an agile hand seems nonsensical (still by what does RAW say is the real question).

QUOTE
4) What exactly is "armor clothing" in the context of the "Armor" mod in Attitude? Does it include stuff like the armored clothing sets in Arsenal?


Not sure how official this is, but Hardy answers Kerenshara

QUOTE
5) What counts as "unarmed combat" for Critical Strike? Does it mean "unarmed" as in without weapons, or "Unarmed Combat" as in the skill? Same for Killing Hands and Elemental Strike.


I've always wondered this. Magic fingers, hardliner gloves, and I would really like to know the answer to this. There are a million threads on this and no one has come to a consensus it seems.
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