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> SR5 weapon damage, and shotguns, What's with the variation?
FriendoftheDork
post May 19 2016, 10:45 AM
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Hello again.

While attempting to convert 2nd ed. and 3rd ed. guns to SR5, I've noticed a lack of clear standard for damage as there were in SR4. Some guns simply do more damage than others, without any explanation in the description. No, I'm not talking about how Ruger Super Warhawk does more damage than an Ares Predator, it's clear that one has a higher caliber than the other and is supposed to represent the good old Magnum of the future (feel lucky and all that). Besides, in this example there is only +1 damage and -1 AP difference, not huge, but can make the difference, and it comes at the cost of having to use a SS revolver.

Other weapons makes little sense though - why does colt america and fichetti security do more damage than other light pistols? In the old days, these were your average light pistols, similar to todays 9mm Parabellum. Price and availability was the selling point for the first, and ammo capacity and RC for the other. And what is then the normal damage level for light pistols, 6.5?

The same inconsistency applies to most other weapons, with some having inferior damage for no good reason, somewhat compensated for by being slightly cheaper, not that the difference of a few hundred nuyen is going to matter to a serious Shadowrunner, but it could do someone who just wants a cheaper gun and don't know the difference. But if the damage is variable, would that not also mean the calibers are variable?

Assault rifles are even more varied, with a difference of 2 damage between the colt m23 and ares alpha and the other expensive corporate toys. Is that supposed to mean that the AA and Raiden are supposed to be battle rifles? Or just assault rifles that magically does more damage despite being the same caliber?

And to the worst category, which made me post this thread in the first place, shotguns. A whopping 3 point difference between the defiance and the AS-7. The latter even has the advantage of having BF and high ammo capacity, and 13P damage in a normal weapon seems extremely high to me. Sure, it's forbidden to use, but when you go in with auto shotguns or assault rifles you don't care about legality anyway. Any runner can afford to start with this gun out of the box, and with some recoil compensation can probably take down corpsec without breaking a sweat or needing a high skill. Now, it would make complete sense if the PJSS was some sort of elephant gun and did 13P, with the drawback of being heavy, extremly low ammo capacity and being single (double) shot. But what damage code should the AS-7 have instead? 11? 12? Even at 11P damage, the advantages of choke and burst fire would mean 13P +4 AP weapon that on a burst on close range gives -3 to defense... pretty damn decent in my book, and also far cheaper than the best assault rifles that do comparable damage.


Ok enough monologuing, feedback is appriciated. I'm not sure if I want to revamp the whole damage system to make it make more sense, or just nerf a few outliers and keep it as it is in hope the developers had some idea of balance in there.
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binarywraith
post May 19 2016, 06:59 PM
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Short answer : The gear was written by multiple people who were not in good communication and never rationalized across the line by the 'editor' before publication.


If you want to see how deep the rabbit hole goes, search up the Rainforest Carbine.
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FriendoftheDork
post May 19 2016, 11:29 PM
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QUOTE (binarywraith @ May 19 2016, 08:59 PM) *
Short answer : The gear was written by multiple people who were not in good communication and never rationalized across the line by the 'editor' before publication.


If you want to see how deep the rabbit hole goes, search up the Rainforest Carbine.


Damn I didn't want to be right about this. Was hoping there was some logical I simply failed to see. And yes, that carbine is insane, but it's not core so I can easily ignore it.

Is there any attempt by the community to rebalance weapon damages for the main book weapons? I really like that base damage is increased and dodging is easier, but I also want some internal consistency and weapons being balanced toward each other somewhat.
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Mantis
post May 20 2016, 03:18 AM
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Not that I know of.
Balance doesn't seem to have been a great concern in 5th ed as far as weapons go. I think the idea is that you are moving to weapons with higher accuracy as your skill increases and this frequently goes along with higher damage. The Colt M23 has both lowest damage, price and accuracy while the Raiden has the highest in each category. So you upgrade the weapons as you go. The main problem with this idea is that the second best AR (Ares Alpha) is available at character creation and there is no real reason not to just buy that instead. No point in taking some artificial upgrade path when that sort of option is there. Maybe some better editing would have caught that little detail but alas...
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FriendoftheDork
post May 20 2016, 12:18 PM
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QUOTE (Mantis @ May 20 2016, 05:18 AM) *
Not that I know of.
Balance doesn't seem to have been a great concern in 5th ed as far as weapons go. I think the idea is that you are moving to weapons with higher accuracy as your skill increases and this frequently goes along with higher damage. The Colt M23 has both lowest damage, price and accuracy while the Raiden has the highest in each category. So you upgrade the weapons as you go. The main problem with this idea is that the second best AR (Ares Alpha) is available at character creation and there is no real reason not to just buy that instead. No point in taking some artificial upgrade path when that sort of option is there. Maybe some better editing would have caught that little detail but alas...



Yes. the lack of an organic upgrade path is something I've always missed in SR. This has only applied to some degree with augmentations, as Essence can be be recycled for new ware, but the issue was sometimes the price of augmentations as well. I often used a policy of upgrade cost, so instead of paying full price for Wired reflexes 2 you could subtract the cost of Wired 1. Not as realistic maybe, but lowered the barrier for investing in cyber early and not going for the top model straight away, but rather be a bit more rounded.

In certain video games however, I always liked the fact that you started out with nothing, got a cheap Beretta, and then had to gradually work your way up to being able to afford proper armor and the eventual assault cannon.

Since my own game is thug-street level, it's possible for me, but in that case weapon performance and prices has to be balanced, and significantly better options must be much higher prices or have much higher Availability, or there is just a waste of space in the book. Nuyen does not really work by itself as a cap as it does in real life, as players are not constricted the same way or have realistic priorities. For example, a RL person would much rather invest in a medium lifestyle rather than getting the TOP car model and having to live as a squatter instead. So even if my runners only make 3-4 thousand nuyen, if they can get the best assault rifle worth 2500 nuyen they will, rather than invest in the 500 nuyen model and live a decent life with other nice stuff. The fact that players have perfect knowledge in which weapons are better and how the rules work also means that they can always know if investing more money is worth it, while in RL such an assessment is much harder to do, and sometimes more expensive version are not really better at all (cough, Apple, cough).

My biggest gripe is probably that changing how the weapons work, prices etc. also changes the fluff of Shadowrun. Ares Predator has always been there, the AK was always the cheap assault rifle while M23 and its kin were more expensive and often better weapons to some degree, now it's upside down for no good reason. The fact that the weapon damages and performance is so varied within each class of weapons also means that the players are forced to cherry pick and min-max more rather than just choose what sounds and looks good. Although Ares Alpha was always the superior choice in SR4, you could easily buy the cheapest assault rifle and using weapon mods and upgrades make it comparably good to it. Now, 2 damage difference is just too great, often the difference between a dead enemy and one that can shoot back. Thus the rules limits you options rather than increase them,

I have spoken. Ugh.
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Mantis
post May 20 2016, 02:40 PM
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No arguments here. It's yet another example of SR5s core issue of good ideas with poor follow through.
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Glyph
post May 21 2016, 02:19 AM
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QUOTE (FriendoftheDork @ May 20 2016, 05:18 AM) *
Since my own game is thug-street level, it's possible for me, but in that case weapon performance and prices has to be balanced, and significantly better options must be much higher prices or have much higher Availability, or there is just a waste of space in the book. Nuyen does not really work by itself as a cap as it does in real life, as players are not constricted the same way or have realistic priorities. For example, a RL person would much rather invest in a medium lifestyle rather than getting the TOP car model and having to live as a squatter instead. So even if my runners only make 3-4 thousand nuyen, if they can get the best assault rifle worth 2500 nuyen they will, rather than invest in the 500 nuyen model and live a decent life with other nice stuff. The fact that players have perfect knowledge in which weapons are better and how the rules work also means that they can always know if investing more money is worth it, while in RL such an assessment is much harder to do, and sometimes more expensive version are not really better at all (cough, Apple, cough).

One thing to keep in mind is that the gear is there for the NPC's, too. Naturally, shadowrunners will both gravitate to the best options, and be savvier than most in knowing what those best options are - they are elite professionals, after all. But that ganger will have a sawed-off under his dirty lined coat, the wage slave will have an overhyped light pistol, the security grunt will have an SMG with comparatively few bells and whistles, etc.

Now, I am no fan of SR5's editing, but it could be argued that the shotgun damage codes make some kind of sense. At the very bottom, you have the Defiance T-250, the quintessential cheap shotgun. One step up, you have the better quality shotguns, the Reminton and PJSS models. Another step up, and you have the Franci and Mossberg models, combat shotguns. And finally, you have the Enfield and the Auto-Assault 16, which are drum-fed beasts that let you mercilessly hose down the enemy.

The higher overall damage ratings give them a bit more room for variation in damage code, which formerly only went up or down by 1, sometimes 2. Unfortunately, as you pointed out, a difference of 2 points is still mechanically significant, perhaps too significant. If you want to "fix" it, the most obvious solution is to move one, or both of the outliers up or down by one to smooth it out. So for shotguns, raise the Defiance T-250 up to 11 DV, and the Enfield and the Auto-Assault 16 both down to 12 DV.
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