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> SR3 Skillwires and stuff, Making a skillwire character and a houserule idea.
Catsnightmare
post Mar 2 2022, 08:37 PM
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So, there are plans in the near future for me to run a 3rd edition Shadowrun campaign for my gaming group and one player expressed a vague idea about a skillwires based character (downloads... "I know kung fu." or "I need a pilot program for a Hughes WK-2")
Having never game-mastered or played a skillwires using character myself, I dove in and researched it by making a character around the skillwires concept. (As an added bonus, if the player finds the SR character gen too intimidating I've got an already made pre-gen character handy.)

A few questions:

Skillwires and headware memory? So lets go with the character getting Rating 6 Skillwires, rating 6 Activesofts are 108 MP in size, lets round it up to 110 MP, big enough for the Skillwires to run the software of that rating. 6x110x500=330,000 nuyen, that's enough to run a single rating 6 Skillsoft, or two rating 3 Skillsofts, or a rating 4 and a rating 2 etc. at once. The question is that MP rating in the Skillwires actual memory space or is it just the MP rating of what the Skillwires can handle? Example: character wants to use the Bike (3) and Subamchinegun (3) Activesofts at the same time. Do you slot the Bike chip, download/copy it into the Skillwires, pop the chip out and then plug in SMG chip and download/copy it into the Skillwires? Or does that require separate installed Headware Memory capacity to do that?

(other questions and ideas will be later, half of them depend on the answer to this question)
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Bodak
post Mar 3 2022, 12:57 PM
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All skillsofts purchased during chargen should be authentic but if the character purchases chips in-game, they could well have some unsavoury mods packaged with them. "Slotting a skillsoft chip into a computer or pocket secretary allows a character to read its address table. A successful Computer (Cybernetics) Test against Target Number 4 will show the actual size of the soft, which may reveal that the actual address table information is not correct." (CC.63) "To verify that a program is what the character thinks it is, he must analyse it. Offline, a character must have a computer with enough memory to hold the program. A successful Computer (Programming) Test with a Target Number of 4 will verify the program and its size." (Mat.94) A standard pocsec with 100MP will need a 8MP Active Memory upgrade to be able to verify Rating 6 activesofts.

Chemistry allows you to make all sorts of things from drugs to demolitions in Man & Machine. It's classified as a Knowledge skill, whereas it definitely should be a Build & Repair skill. As a Knowledge skill, you don't need Skillwires to run it. You're limited to Rating 6 during chargen and can upgrade that to R10 during play. Add a Rating 3 Chipjack Expert Driver and a Cerebral Booster so that you have a Task Pool of 4 dice. Whether or not dice pool can be used out of combat is a contentious issue but in theory this could result in your player rolling 10 dice (six skillsoft + 4 task pool) on Social skills (or whatever chip they've jacked). Potentially 14 dice on Chemistry. And that doesn't care about the linked attribute at all, so a Bod 1 character with Rating 6 athletics or a Cha 1 character with Rating 6 Negotiation could happen with sufficient cash investment. That isn't going to derail the game, but it's good to be aware of up front. Chipping a Computers activesoft is just fine for decking, but chipping any kind of Gunnery / Vehicle activesoft is useless for a rigger in SR3 (SR2 encephalon allowed riggers to access skillsofts, but SR3 encephalons don't feature this). So it's handy for playing a skillmonkey if you reserve wetware skills for Vehicles and Magic active skills.

"Dice pools initially become available for use at full value as the first step of the first Combat Turn of any encounter. Some Pools have limitations on how many dice can be added to a single test." (SR3.43) There follow several pools which DO have limitations on how many dice can be added to a single test. The Task Pool is not a pool which has a limitation on how many dice can be added to a single test. A Rating 1 skill + 4 dice from pool is cheap competence for certain skills (eg B&R, maybe Athletics, or Car) but it's useless for a combat skill (eg Pistols) because your pool gets depleted with your first shot and then you're stuck rolling 1 die (beware Rule Of One!) every pass until your pools refresh. Task Pool is situational; it is not an I-win button.

QUOTE (Catsnightmare @ Mar 2 2022, 08:37 PM) *
As an added bonus, if the player finds the SR character gen too intimidating
There's also NSRCG (see my sig) even though it hasn't been updated in years.

QUOTE (Catsnightmare @ Mar 2 2022, 08:37 PM) *
Skillwires and headware memory? So lets go with the character getting Rating 6 Skillwires, rating 6 Activesofts are 108 MP in size, lets round it up to 110 MP, big enough for the Skillwires to run the software of that rating. 6x110x500=330,000 nuyen, that's enough to run a single rating 6 Skillsoft, or two rating 3 Skillsofts, or a rating 4 and a rating 2 etc. at once.
If you can crunch the maths involved, then CC.64 and CC.123 list skillsoft options such as Optimisation and PlusCode which reduces how much of your skillwires such skills block up while they're running. Always get Adaptive.

QUOTE (Catsnightmare @ Mar 2 2022, 08:37 PM) *
The question is that MP rating in the Skillwires actual memory space or is it just the MP rating of what the Skillwires can handle? Example: character wants to use the Bike (3) and Subamchinegun (3) Activesofts at the same time. Do you slot the Bike chip, download/copy it into the Skillwires, pop the chip out and then plug in SMG chip and download/copy it into the Skillwires? Or does that require separate installed Headware Memory capacity to do that?
"Activesofts that are accessible but not activated do not place any demands on ASIST or Pulse ratings. Skillwires do not provide memory storage for the skillsoft programs, which must be accessed from a chip or headware memory." (CC.60) "Headware memory can be used for both active and storage memory. Other linked memory sources may also be used for storage memory (but not active memory)." (M&M.20) "The user can load the skillsoft data into headware memory for later access. This requires a Simple Action." (CC.58) "As a general rule, any data transfer between two devices takes a mere Simple Action, no matter the size." (M&M.46) "Activating a skillsoft is a Free Action. Deactivating a skillsoft is also a Free Action. The skillsoft remains accessible unless the user removes the jacked chip or clears the information from memory." (CC.60)

I would recommend attaching a Skillsoft Jukebox to your chipjack (SR3.296). Since a chipjack IS a "specialised type of datajack" and a datajack functions as a router with 5 internal ports (M&M.46) I would suggest just fitting an additional jackpoint to one such port and slotting a high-capacity OMC. An OMC is storage memory only, not active memory, but if you copy all your skillsofts up to the OMC, the CED/skillwires can access/run it from there. Have the jackpoint located in a Tooth Compartment for concealability and accessibility because although OMCs are 2x3cm (huge for a tooth!) tooth compartments are described as good for smuggling them. Some people try to put the entire skillsoft jukebox inside a body compartment but the Body Compartment can normally only hold items up to Concealability 9 (M&M.27) and miniature equipment is available at 150% price per +1 Concealability (SR3.291). The Skillsoft Jukebox has a base concealability of 6. So that gets expensive fast. It might be better to go for a Victory "Rapid Transit" Heavy Jumpsuit (CC.50) with jukebox built-in at cost; add Rating 4 Chemseal and program the jumpsuit with camouflage patterns of your choice (SR3.284, CC.97) for extra survivability.
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Catsnightmare
post Mar 3 2022, 07:07 PM
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*Facepalms in embarrassment* I'm so used to just referring to the Cannon Companion for guns I totally forgot about the Applied Simsense section of the book! I don't know if I'm going senile in my age or if it's just that I haven't played in so long. Probably both (IMG:style_emoticons/default/rotfl.gif)

Bodak, Thank You! (IMG:style_emoticons/default/notworthy.gif)
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Kren Cooper
post Mar 6 2022, 10:52 AM
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Bodak has answered your questions pretty comprehensively I think, but a couple of additional thoughts:

First of all,I have an SR3 based "calculator" workbook: https://www.dropbox.com/s/849xhatjqmdtjkd/S...ators.xlsx?dl=0 which you're welcome to look at. There's a page on Skillsofts in there with rating 1-10 costs for Activesofts, Datasofts, Knowsofts and Lingusofts, summarising cost, size, availability, street index, and street price as an easy reference lookup (all those without options, but they can be added on easily enough.
The calculator can also convert various speeds/distances/times for you, work out ramming damage, lists all the SR3 shaman totems and bonuses, shows you how big a ward a character or group can make, has a list of all the weapons+some home brew versions from the CC designer, has some expanded ammunition rules, a list of all the basic and some addon phys-ad powers etc.

Second thing - I had a player in my Pink Mohawk group make a skillwires monkey - I think he had only 1 "real" skill, and put *everything* else into getting a huge wodge of skills to cover every eventuality. Unfortunately this player was also a (self-confessed) PGT, so needed "handling" sometimes, otherwise he'd miraculously have *exactly* the right skill loaded in his jukebox or active for the situation at hand.
To counter this, I printed a bunch of 1X1" squares with the skill names on and stuck them on some cardboard, then chopped them up to make a whole bunch of tokens and handed them over to the player. He then had to choose which 5 from his pot to put into his jukebox, with another token showing either the active one or ones, and which his expert drivers were applying to. That way it was obvious to everyone at the table what he was currently "good" at, and also made it really easy to do perception checks / background checks for hidden clues (stuff like - oh he has his 'building construction' skillsoft loaded, give him a secret perception check to notice the weird architecture in the building concealing the hidden passage)

Third thing - having someone specced into skillwires like that can be a two edged sword. On the plus side - if you need someone to drive vehicle X, just make sure they know about it from their briefing/intel/recon - and let them get a skillchip for it, and the problem is solved. Likewise, if the briefing contains enough information about the environment, you can make it easy enough to get the right info to really help move the adventure along (and leads to some real weird and very situational skills - like 'fish merchandising' after the team had to infiltrate a fish market to get at the stock for a high end restaurant...) So, as a GM you can put some really weird and wonderful scenarios together and have the players have the right skills or an 'in' for it. On the downside, if you make the skills too easy to get hold of, or too broad, you can make it harder to challenge your players, or let that player dominate the group by being good at too much stuff. A lot of this will depend on the player and group dynamics of course - as I mentioned earlier, my player could be a real PGT at times, and had to be watched to avoid it becoming a one man show with supporting cast at times. But, you can get around this by really limiting the skills available "over the counter". Sure, any language is probably available easily enough, as is driving a car. But not driving a truck, where they want permits and different insurance perhaps - so you need to have the right registration on your SIN. Or maybe even just admin bullshit like "we can sell you this HGV skillsoft, but you also have to take HGV maintenance and the expanded road vehicles legal system chips as well - sorry, it's the law" to boost the cost up to a point where the players have to sit and think about the impact of this, and justify the cost vs other plans or options. The alternate of course is to get them on the black market, and then you start getting dodgy copies with malware and bad optimising on, or pop up adware etc. Not all the time, and not enough to kill the fun - but enough to make the player wary and invest some time and effort in developing his network of "chip-dealers". And those kind of people should be the only source of some really dodgy skills - Amazon Prime should not be shipping a "biological agents and toxicology" skillsoft IMO!
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pbangarth
post Mar 6 2022, 04:46 PM
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Forgive my ignorance, please. From the context I can surmise the meaning of "PGT" in the post above, but what does the acronym stand for?
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Kren Cooper
post Mar 6 2022, 09:01 PM
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QUOTE (pbangarth @ Mar 6 2022, 04:46 PM) *
Forgive my ignorance, please. From the context I can surmise the meaning of "PGT" in the post above, but what does the acronym stand for?

Power Gaming Tw*t

He knows exactly what he is. Probably 80% of the time he's cool - he's driving the story forward, he's bringing other people in, he's coming up with pro-active stuff to do. And 20% of the time he's trying to get me to ok him being a Dwarf Albino Mage with exceptional attribute and bonus attribute points in Willpower so he can make Uber Mage the Magnificient, and then gets upset because he only read the upsides of being an albino, and when I give him Low Pain Tolerance as he albino flaw, it "breaks" the character...
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Bodak
post Mar 7 2022, 10:03 AM
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Glad a misspent youth could come in handy! No need to be embarrassed!

I had not heard of the PGT TLA before and Startpage didn't come up with anything when I fed it "PGT power gaming" so maybe it's a local thing. I agree though that the context made it clear this character was an over-the-top attention-seeker. Balks at Low Pain Tolerance? Fooey! Just install a Pain Editor / Trauma Damper if he's so stressed about +1 to wound TNs. If playing up the benefits of the Bonus Attribute Edge is going to come into play several times a session and wound TNs coming up that often would be inconvenient, there's an augmentation for that but there's no free lunch. Always gotta pay for it somewhere. My favourite was the albino fox shifter with Bonus Will and attributes 1/1/1 (1/1/1) 8/8/8 with the albinism offset by Colour Blindness because all the sparkly swirlies in astral space are so damned distracting, I dunno how anyone can even see whether those wires are red or green! Compared with astral, everything else is greyspace! Still, choosing a sshifter or ghoul is tantamount to picking Mysterious Cyberware... it's jeopardy all day and night when you can't switch off your Dual Nature.

From your OP, Cats, it sounds like it's an in-person game. But if you do look for an additional player and can accommodate a remote player, let me know! Not easy to find SR3 openings these days.
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pbangarth
post Mar 7 2022, 04:27 PM
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QUOTE (Kren Cooper @ Mar 6 2022, 04:01 PM) *
Power Gaming Tw*t

He knows exactly what he is. Probably 80% of the time he's cool - he's driving the story forward, he's bringing other people in, he's coming up with pro-active stuff to do. And 20% of the time he's trying to get me to ok him being a Dwarf Albino Mage with exceptional attribute and bonus attribute points in Willpower so he can make Uber Mage the Magnificient, and then gets upset because he only read the upsides of being an albino, and when I give him Low Pain Tolerance as he albino flaw, it "breaks" the character...


Thanks for the definition. Should have figured out the "PG" part, anyway.

Actually, I am playing a dwarf shaman with extra WIL in an SR3 campaign here on DS (Behind the Crown). Just because I wanted to see what it is like.

Balanced by being an Owl shaman, giving the GM lots of chances to have action happen when it's daytime. And Bad Karma, so he's going to be a rookie for a long time. And I'm waiting for the Phobia (Spiders, including arachnid drones) to raise its ugly, eight-eyed head. In the first week of in-game time, two bounties have been put on his head, one by Mitsuhama and the other by a local crime lord.

I've always maintained that the GM has all kinds of ways, provided by the rules and world design, to reign in any PC mage who gets uppity. This GM is proving me right.
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Catsnightmare
post Mar 7 2022, 07:16 PM
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I'm sorry Bodak, my table is full to my limit, I already have seven players! The only reason I have that many is the eighth player is out on military service right now. (IMG:style_emoticons/default/biggrin.gif)
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Koekepan
post Mar 8 2022, 03:04 PM
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Magic is great. Um, but you can still run out of toilet paper. And I'm just waiting to describe a collapsed mage in a dive bathroom after attempts to clean up with magic resulted in too much drain.

Not that I'd do anything that mean - just, magic doesn't make the mundane go away.

Edited to add: after a moment of reflection and a look back at my Redneck Runs thread, I'm exactly that mean, I'd totally do it, and I'd laugh. Sorry for the confusion.
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pbangarth
post Mar 8 2022, 05:42 PM
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Hey! Wait! That's my guy you're waiting to ambush, Koekepan.


Nassty GMses.
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Koekepan
post Mar 8 2022, 06:31 PM
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Don't think of it as an ambush. Think of it as a collaborative effort synergistically promoting shared mission deliverables by ant-nesting the hill.

More to the point, for those interested: http://forums.dumpshock.com/index.php?showtopic=42238 will lead you to a land of SR3 madness.
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