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> Lower power scale Shadowrun game, How to runner a sort of educator's deligh in terms of skillsets
Thadeus Bearpaw
post Nov 24 2012, 09:49 PM
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Hello guys.

So my group every year or so wants to try Shadowrun again. I love, repeat L.O.V.E. Shadowrun but my group doesn't seem well disposed to do it. There's a lot of simulationism in Shadowrun and the setting IMO requires a lot of versimilitude. I want the players to be able to learn the game and world at a far more graduated pace than the default game position. I want to make the game educational, given that I was wanting to start my PCs at a bit of a lower level and slowly introduce more and more basic elements over a few months to get them in the mode of Shadowrun. My question is how do I run character generation on say 300 BP, or 250 BP? Do I change the caps, do I just adjust the ratios down, what do you guys reckon is the best way to go about this goal?
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Nyost Akasuke
post Nov 24 2012, 10:02 PM
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The same way you would run a 400BP character generation. Just with less points.
In all honesty, I prefer a lower-level SR campaign compared to the basic/average one. Starting on street-level gives you a good idea of how the whole corporate/capitalistic system works.. from the snacks to the gourmet meals on the food chain, as it were. I recently just GM'd a game for a group of friends (online) who had never played Shadowrun, and started off on a street-level campaign. Personally, I think it worked splendidly. They became interested in the game on a level that (as middle to low-class citizens) related to them.. and we have eventually advanced towards higher (and more diabolical) things. Granted, I did up the Karma rewards for each run/mission due to the fact they started out at only 350BP. Now they're at about that stage where they've become comfortable with the game, its mechanics, setting, and overall atmosphere, and are roughly a bit above where the average (and I say that cautiously) runner would be at CharGen.

I'm not nearly experienced as most (if not all) the posters here.. but I ran at 350 with no other changes to any rules.. and it's working out pretty well in my opinion. My suggestion is to not change any caps or ratios or anything... just let the players start off as weaker-than-average (for CharGen) characters, and ease them into the Shadowrun universe gradually from the street level up to the upper echelons of power and influence.
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Dakka Fiend
post Nov 24 2012, 10:02 PM
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If you want to cut down on rules and not actually on power level (your post reads to me that way), why not start with just the BBB, no PC magic and toned down Matrix rules (e.g. no TMs) and add stuff over time?
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Thadeus Bearpaw
post Nov 24 2012, 10:11 PM
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QUOTE (Dakka Fiend @ Nov 24 2012, 04:02 PM) *
If you want to cut down on rules and not actually on power level (your post reads to me that way), why not start with just the BBB, no PC magic and toned down Matrix rules (e.g. no TMs) and add stuff over time?


I want to maintain the integrity of the world, so magic should be in there. It's a big part of the world.

As for just running at 350 BP, I was thinking that if I changed the ratios I could jump them up as part of the plot. You know at 300 BP this is your Shadowrunner bootcamp, at 350 you're almost ready for the big time, and at 400 start running normally.
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Halinn
post Nov 24 2012, 10:20 PM
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For a more down-powered SR game, I'd look towards lower caps for things, before severely restricting BP. Stuff like a lower maximum for magic/resonance, skill cap a notch down (i.e. one at 5 or two at 4, otherwise max 3), limiting dice pools (something like 12-14 max would be a good target for stuff like this), and fairly severe restrictions to available gear (availability 8, probably at the normal 12 for SINs and licenses, and a cap on how much money they can allocate BP to [probably something like 100k, but letting them know that they can talk to the GM for a higher limit if their character concept calls for it]). This should do a lot more towards giving the game a lower-powered feel than only restricting BP would do, and might very well be enough that you wouldn't need a lower BP amount.
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Thadeus Bearpaw
post Nov 24 2012, 10:24 PM
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QUOTE (Halinn @ Nov 24 2012, 04:20 PM) *
For a more down-powered SR game, I'd look towards lower caps for things, before severely restricting BP. Stuff like a lower maximum for magic/resonance, skill cap a notch down (i.e. one at 5 or two at 4, otherwise max 3), limiting dice pools (something like 12-14 max would be a good target for stuff like this), and fairly severe restrictions to available gear (availability 8, probably at the normal 12 for SINs and licenses, and a cap on how much money they can allocate BP to [probably something like 100k, but letting them know that they can talk to the GM for a higher limit if their character concept calls for it]). This should do a lot more towards giving the game a lower-powered feel than only restricting BP would do, and might very well be enough that you wouldn't need a lower BP amount.


That's not a bad idea, but won't they still have such a large breadth of skill, they'll feel inclined to operate more balls to the wall?
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NiL_FisK_Urd
post Nov 24 2012, 10:27 PM
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I recommend that you use karmagen, maybe with 500-600 karma instead of the standard 750.
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Lionhearted
post Nov 24 2012, 10:38 PM
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Started a similar thread not to long ago, there was some decent stuff in there including a very elaborate account from a GM introducing brand new players to SR
This one
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Thadeus Bearpaw
post Nov 24 2012, 10:41 PM
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QUOTE (Lionhearted @ Nov 24 2012, 04:38 PM) *
Started a similar thread not to long ago, there was some decent stuff in there including a very elaborate account from a GM introducing brand new players to SR
This one


Cheers.
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Halinn
post Nov 24 2012, 11:28 PM
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QUOTE (Thadeus Bearpaw @ Nov 24 2012, 11:24 PM) *
That's not a bad idea, but won't they still have such a large breadth of skill, they'll feel inclined to operate more balls to the wall?

They'd be able to adequately cover a pretty good area, but they won't be as amazingly much over regular corpsec etc that they'll walk through challenges like runners might. A standard corpsec goon would have something like 8-10 with his firearm of choice (3 stat, 3 skill, 2 smartlink, 2 spec). Similarly, he might have as much as 11 dice for perception (3 stat, 3 skill, 2 spec, 3 glasses/cybereyes with enhancement 3). That makes stuff like that or gangers a credible threat.
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Nyost Akasuke
post Nov 24 2012, 11:45 PM
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Personally, I think starting at a ''lower level'' of setting is far more important in introducing new players to Shadowrun than the actual stats/character creation itself. I've tried to get people into Shadowrun before, and almost all the rejections I got came down to one thing: They were simply overwhelmed with information. I, for one, am a person who enjoys learning a lot (especially about worlds that don't exist, but the real world has some interesting things (IMG:style_emoticons/default/wink.gif) ), but I find a lot of people aren't on the same frequency as me. They look at allllll the information, fluff and crunch that Shadowrun has to offer and back away, saying ''Nope, nope... too much.''

And honestly, I believe it is too much. At least, it too much to take in at once. I spent a good 9 years just learning about Shadowrun in all it's glory before actually playing a game, and to be honest if I had played it when first introduced to it I would've given up. Thats why I recommend a Street-level campaign first, and then build up from there. At Street-level, everything is pretty clear-cut. Motives are relatively easy to discern, hacking isn't difficult at nearly any skill-level, and overall everything is just simpler. Once the players have a good grasp of what the world is like, its politics, and most importantly, how to relate with the rest of metahumanity, they can move up to corporate schemes, magical threats, experiments gone wrong, arcologies, hacks that actually take effort, etc.

Again, I think the most important part is slowly easing potential players into the wealth of astonishing detail and information Shadowrun contains. It really is a ton of stuff to look at, when you compare it to pretty much every other tabletop out there, or just most games in general. But that's my personal experience. You know these people better than I do, obviously, so I guess there's a judgment call to be made there. Just throwing my opinion out in the wind for anyone to catch (like a cold ;] )
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Alpha Blue
post Nov 24 2012, 11:52 PM
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I run karmagen at 600 plus change in my group. I would also lower availability to 10 and the number of qualities that are available to max three per character. Running just the main book might also be good for starters. SR is just overwhelming and not for beginners in my view.

I've had good luck with pregs too, by the way.
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FoolErrant
post Nov 25 2012, 12:43 AM
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If you do go with a lowered BP/Karma total in chargen, you may want to keep the 200 BP/375 Karma on basic attributes restriction as written instead of lowering to one-half the reduced point total. It takes 180 BP to have just 3s across the board before special attributes, much less have room for 4+ in favored stats, and it makes being a decent generalist that much harder, forcing more specialization in a game that already heavily favors specialists.

This may not be as big of an issue as you'd guess, because points spent on attributes won't be spent on skills, gear, cyber, magic, complex forms, or contacts. This is an important point, as most roles rely on heavy investment in one or more of those categories, and they will therefore have to make an important choice in how they build because of it.

That said, restricting Magic and Resonance is definitely a good thing in a low point total game, in part because of the outsize effect of things like overcasting and multicasting for mages and boosted Complex Forms for TMs. Restricting Edge may not be a bad thing either, though it's less of an obvious issue.

Mag 5+ mages have damage power that's meant to be comparable with the sammy with 3 IPs that is rolling 15-20 dice to shoot his automatic rifle... and your guys are unlikely to be hitting that many dice without some significant effort. They've also got one of the relatively lowest-cost sources of IP boosts available, and that is something that matters quite a bit in a low-power game. Then there's the trick of summoning high-Force spirits. That means that there's a distinct possibility that the mage will be more prone to being overpowered than normal, which makes restricting Force a must, and due to the linked nature of Magic and Force.. that means restricting Magic.

Resonance is a bit trickier, as mundanes, MysAds, and TMs all have distinct advantages and tricks when hacking and rigging that the other builds simply can't use effectively, and TMs are easily among the most Karma-intensive builds out there; it's definitely possible to have a 500 BP TM with an additional 100 Karma that's still working on their TM abilities and not heavily branched out into a second specialty. I'd still do it, if only to prevent high-power sprites from having the same sort of effect on your game high-Force spirits would.. not to mention what happens when you have TMs with CFs that emulate software like Stealth at ratings that make finding them essentially impossible unless they glitch.

Edge is perhaps the most tricky of all; it's already a limited-use resource and it's a good thing for newbs to have in case they screw up. That said, Mr. Lucky-type builds look better the lower the power level of the game.
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taeksosin
post Nov 26 2012, 02:51 PM
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The char-gen and house rules in http://forums.dumpshock.com/index.php?showtopic=37773 are a good set of rules for generating well rounded, lower powered, slightly more realistic street level characters.
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mister__joshua
post Nov 26 2012, 03:03 PM
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QUOTE (Dakka Fiend @ Nov 24 2012, 10:02 PM) *
If you want to cut down on rules and not actually on power level (your post reads to me that way), why not start with just the BBB, no PC magic and toned down Matrix rules (e.g. no TMs) and add stuff over time?

QUOTE (Thadeus Bearpaw @ Nov 24 2012, 10:11 PM) *
I want to maintain the integrity of the world, so magic should be in there. It's a big part of the world.


On this point, it's worth noting that Dakka didn't suggest removing magic from the setting, just restricting it at CharGen. I did this with our game (well, I didn't restrict it, just steered people away from it). Let people get used to the world setting and all it's wonders. Magic will still be seen and experienced, just by NPCs and powerful enemies. Down the line, when someone dies (which will inevitably happen) let someone make a mage and introduce it then. I would extend this to TMs too, though I didn't and paid for it. While we were all trying to learn the basic system and the setting the TM player was completely ineffective on account of not knowing the rules well enough and building the character badly. As GM I should have helped more but already had too many balls in the air.

It's definitely worth thinking about
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