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> help with a character, new player looking for some tips
GlassJaw
post Sep 19 2004, 05:05 AM
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It looks like I'm finally getting a chance to play in an SR campaign. I've dabbled in SR in the past but never had a chance to play in a continuous campaign.

I never had really much of a chance to delve into the Matrix so I would like to play a decker. The group might be on the small side however (3 + GM), so I'm looking to make a character that can fill a few roles. I was thinking of a decker that can handle himself in combat but also has some stealth and covert ops ability.

We can use the Sum-to-10 method. I was thinking about putting 4 into Skills, 4 into Resources, and 2 into Attributes (0 for Human and magic).

Any general advice or ideas for a character like this? What should be my cyberware priorities? What's the best process for buying decker equipment and utilities?

Thanks!
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Brazila
post Sep 19 2004, 06:20 AM
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The best way to go would be to do a combat/intrusive type decker. I would get a gun(probably SMG) skill at 4 or so depending on your campaign power level. Grab yourself a smartlink and boosted reflexes and now you can fight. I would recomend a good atheletics and stealth, then a good melee skill to defend if your attacked. For cyber you want chipjack with expert driver, datajack, some headware mem and a math SPU. For someone new to Matrix stuff, go with a stock deck and do everything you can to crank your detection factor. If you are using the rules in the Matrix book, learn them quick, as they will make or break you, see especially the modes options.
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simonw2000
post Sep 19 2004, 08:14 AM
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Enhanced Articulation. 'nuff said.
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Sphynx
post Sep 19 2004, 10:23 AM
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I think you'll find the character becomes ALOT easier, if you build the character without a CyberDeck. That's how I make all my best Deckers (Learned that trick cause I'd always end up getting a 'better' deck within a few games anyhows, making the initial investment pointless). You can steal a good cyberdeck later. That gives you the cash to cyber up nicely. Math SPU 3 is neccessity, the rest is about making you able to do more than sit in a safe place avoiding the fun parts of the game. I tend to make a Security Rigger/Decker. But with Attributes so low, you won't get to start with a 6 Int and Willpower as is really needed.

Make a character that can survive TO the building, that lets you hack places that rely on intra vs inter net. Mage/Decker is also good, Levitate Self and Imp Invis are great for getting you to a locale that lets you hack a place.

Sphynx

PS. I actually suggest NOT getting an Encephalon. Essence cost isn't worth the return.
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JaronK
post Sep 19 2004, 12:19 PM
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Well, the big ware items for combat deckers are Enhanced Articulation (extra die for all the B&E electronics tests, for building your computers, and for shooting), math CPU (extra hacking pool), Encephalon (more hacking pool again), and a good ole' smartlink. Personally, I like shotguns as a combat skill, since that gives you both high power and high concealability.

JaronK
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GlassJaw
post Sep 19 2004, 03:43 PM
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QUOTE
build the character without a CyberDeck. That's how I make all my best Deckers (Learned that trick cause I'd always end up getting a 'better' deck within a few games anyhows, making the initial investment pointless). You can steal a good cyberdeck later


So you mean don't start out with a deck at all? Hmm, I'm not sure I want to do that. If I'm the decker of the group, I think they're going to rely on me to at least be able to do something. What about starting with a mid-range deck like the CMT Avatar or Novatech Hyperdeck?

QUOTE
But with Attributes so low, you won't get to start with a 6 Int and Willpower as is really needed.


Why the need for Willpower so high? Is it mainly to resist overload damage? I put in 4 for skills for2 for attributes but maybe I could change it to 3 and 3. Here's what I was thinking for stats and skills:

B 4
Q 6
S 3
C 2
I 6
W 3

Computer 6
Computer B/R 4
Demolitions 6
Electronics 6
Electronics B/R 4
Etiquette (Matrix) 1 (3)
Pistols 4
Stealth 6
Submachine Guns 6

I actually still have 6 skill points left so maybe I should lower my skill priority. Demolitions would be cool but I think that would be the first to go.

QUOTE
a good melee skill to defend if your attacked


I have seen people mention taking unarmed combat before and I guess I'm just not seeing the need for it. Is that just my noobishness kicking in?
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Sphynx
post Sep 19 2004, 03:58 PM
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High Willpower is if you choose to follow the Riggers path. Not all buildings have Matrix security, alot of buildings are setup to be 'jacked into' by a Rigger, who can control the whole building like an extension of himself. If you decide to forgo that, than a lower WP will be easy to handle.

As for the Deck. Completely your call, but I find it best. Personally when I make a decker, I tend to start with all the programs (except offensive utilities, Track, and Medic at Rating 6), stored on chips for when I do get my hands on a nice deck.

Why not a CMT or weaker? Because you really need a MININMUM of a rating 8 (and the 6's in all Persona Programs) in order to get past anything other than a Green zone. You'll be lucky to do more than log onto an Orange (make a host and try). So, with a minimum of half your starting resources being dedicated to just the deck without any programs, it's just not worth it.

As for unarmed, there's no way I'd take that skill (from a numbers point of view) as a Human Decker with a 3 strength. :P

Sphynx
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Modesitt
post Sep 19 2004, 04:03 PM
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Just a few hints, here's part of the the beginnings of a decker I made before on Build Point. Take Sphynx's advice. When you start the game, you tell everyone that you're just a gun bunny. Then you kill someone for their deck and said "Oh, btw, I'm also a novahot decker." Note that this character wasn't designed with the idea of killing someone for their deck afterwards - I started off making a traditional decker and eventually abandoned it in disgust once I got to the Deck building section of Matrix 3.


[ Spoiler ]


I would suggest starting with your programs - but not the deck. Deck's are basically all equal if they're stock(You'll have to do a lot of mods yourself and all, but mostly), but the difference between a security decker and a shadowrunner decker can be night and day. You would get horribly violated when it came to Street Index unless you did something like take the Connected edge at 3 points for Programs.
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Chance359
post Sep 19 2004, 04:04 PM
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No Athletics? I'd suggest dropping Submachine Guns to 4 and Stealth to 5, and putting the 3 points into Athletics, then getting enhanced artwinkulation and synthacardium.
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Sphynx
post Sep 19 2004, 04:22 PM
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Athletics for what? Nah, if you wanna change skills around; take Modesit's advice, but instead of claiming to be a gun-bunny, be a B&E expert, change Submachine gun to a 6 in Electronics B/R and Computers B/R, guaranteed to be a whiz with B&E, especially if you grab some microscopic vision with the CyberEyes you'll need. ;)

Sphynx
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Necro Tech
post Sep 20 2004, 08:22 PM
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My name sake started out with no deck so I could pour all my money into cyber. I took the mil nuyen and burned like 900k on cyber and the rest on chips and equipment. I have enhanced articulation, cerebral booster, trauma damper, mnemonic enhancer, sleep regulator and a super thyroid gland. Cyber I have the math SPU, encephalon, various eye mods, full obvious cyber arm, smartlink, 5 datajacks, 2 chip jacks, big router, expert driver + 3, transducer. With a high base INT (including bonus attr AND exceptional attr) plus cerebral booster my final INT is 10. The encephalon makes it a 12 for training and spending karma to improve linked skills. This allows you raise decking and programming really high because the do it your self route is a great option.

While working on getting a deck, you have all the skills to make you a first class tech wiz and add stealth and you have a B & E guru. Remember to buy the Matrix book and learn it well. Your starting skills should come out of that book because a good decker should be able to do more than just hack a building. Real deckers do it on the inside. My personal weapon is a heavy pistol in concealable holster under long coat. Conceal 12 can get you past most doors without a MAD scanner.

I always favor high stats but think about upping your CHR. You can get etiquette/netiquette 3/5 with a charisma 4 and the whole Matrix is your shopping cart. PayPal is probably still around in 2064 and you can get illegal goods shipped right to your falsified adress. Willpower is important through the whole game so try to find at least a 5.

A poor deck is worse than none at all because you can die, get caught and traced or set off alarms all over your target building if you screw up. You have neither the hardware or software (or skills) to hit even a mid orange as a starting character. Proceed at your own risk.
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Bigity
post Sep 20 2004, 08:25 PM
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Starting a decker without a deck is like starting a magician with a Magic of 1.

I'd never allow that character submission in a game, and if it somehow snuck in, all the NPC deckers would have Fuchi-4s. And programs of rating 1.
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Brazila
post Sep 20 2004, 08:38 PM
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I guess a lot depends on the style of your GM, you reallly need to learn that before you play. If someone played a decker minus the deck and tweaked out out to be %90 as effective as a sammy in combat, I would call that PC colby and boot him from my game in a nanosecond. Of course I am a picky GM and the above mentioned PC with the 10 intelligence would seldom get RPing karma, since I expect PCs to do a decent job at roleplaying their stats! YOU NEED A DECK TO PLAY A DECKER otherwise your just an ER.
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Sphynx
post Sep 20 2004, 09:26 PM
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Everyone's entitled to their own opinion on how to define roleplay to their players, but I do feel obligated to point out a few issues in the above mentioned comments by Bigotry and Brazen.

First off, a deck is something you can lose as easily as you can steal. Why did I learn to steal a deck in-game? Because you couldn't do squat with the ones you can start with for one, but also because GMs tend to put you in awful spots like being ambushed and shipped, or mugged by street gangers. You end up with no deck.... Anyone else spends their points/cash, it's good for their lifetime. Only deckers take a risk like that, so don't take the risk.

Secondly, as the book says, build your background around your character (not the other way around). Starting without a deck is EASY. Ex CorpDecker? Guess who didn't let you take the Deck home... but you did steal some programs on disk... ;) No starting resources/equipment, just lost everything and are hitting the shadows to make your way back into the world. Decks are usually the first thing a person loses.

Thirdly, Don't call yourself a Decker. A B&E with a datajack and a computer skill, math spu, microscopic eye.... well, he's got all the potential to be a decker, just wait'll you get a deck to BE one. :P

Seriously, stating that a decker starting the game without a deck is suggesting that you only allow stereotypical characters in the game, nothing 'different'. I could come up with a thousand reasons to not start with a deck, it's easier (from a RP point of view) to explain, than to explain how you have a half-mil worth of cyberdeck (programs + Deck) as a street decker....

Sphynx
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Kagetenshi
post Sep 20 2004, 09:40 PM
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QUOTE (Sphynx @ Sep 20 2004, 04:26 PM)
First off, a deck is something you can lose as easily as you can steal.

Not very easily, in other words.

QUOTE (Sphynx)
Why did I learn to steal a deck in-game?  Because you couldn't do squat with the ones you can start with for one, but also because GMs tend to put you in awful spots like being ambushed and shipped, or mugged by street gangers.  You end up with no deck....  Anyone else spends their points/cash, it's good for their lifetime.  Only deckers take a risk like that, so don't take the risk.


I take it you've never played a rigger, especially not one who does both vehicles and drones. Or for that matter, with someone who uses the rules for wound effects. As I've mentioned elsewhere, you can also do rather more than squat with a starting deck.

On another note:

QUOTE (Sphynx)
Secondly, as the book says, build your background around your character (not the other way around).


Semi-true. It's a bad idea to come up with a very detailed background and then make the numbers fit unless you're experienced enough that there's some number-crunching in the back of your head while you're writing anyway. However, fitting part of your numbers to a general background can provide some focus.

~J
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Sphynx
post Sep 20 2004, 09:47 PM
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Very easy to lose a deck.

Your explanation didn't work. You might get past ltg, login, analyze, search, but by the time you're ready for download, you're hit. Most people don't get to use Pool to increase DF.


As I said, background is EASIER to come up with if you don't have a half-mil deck to explain. Wizkid with a datajack having to use someone elses deck is commonplace since it's not even legal to own a cyberdeck without a permit.

Sphynx
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Kagetenshi
post Sep 20 2004, 10:03 PM
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As I mentioned, the discussion of story vs. numbers wasn't related. That being said:


LTG, login, analyze, search, graceful logoff.

Fifteen minutes to half an hour

LTG, login, [insert whatever you do with what you searched for last time], maybe search if you're feeling lucky, graceful logoff.

Twenty to forty minutes.

LTG, login, [insert operation], etc.


By the time you're getting into jobs where you need to do it in one shot, you should have better hardware.


~J
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Clyde
post Sep 20 2004, 10:09 PM
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Hey, dude, just get a cranial or cyberarm cyberdeck. A bit more expensive, but a great backup and perfect on a B&E type character. Both those options are in "Man & Machine" so you'll to go outside the Big Black Book.

As for weapons, well you'll need a shotgun or SMG minimum, 'nuff said.
Of course, you can put those in your cyberarm, too! :grinbig:
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Kagetenshi
post Sep 20 2004, 10:24 PM
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No, you really won't. As long as you steer clear of heavily-armored trolls, a heavy pistol will do most non-front-line characters just fine.

Edit: just reread that there are only three characters. Well, it depends. If one of them is dedicated combat, heavier armament is optional. If not, Clyde has the right idea.

~J
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Necro Tech
post Sep 21 2004, 12:09 AM
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Thanks for assuming I can't play my stats by the way. Like I said, you can't deck until you get a cyberdeck but that doesn't mean you are not a decker. If thats all it took, then anyone with a Fairlight and a computer skill of 1 would be a decker. You are the sum of your skills AND hardware. Until you make, beg, borrow, buy or steal a deck, a person with skills that good can fill many other uses.

As a side note, I seriously am missing something on the times offered by Kagetenshi with the various operations. Huh?
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the_dunner
post Sep 21 2004, 12:26 AM
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Bah, screw the deck -- go old school Program Carriers. :D
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Kanada Ten
post Sep 21 2004, 12:29 AM
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QUOTE
As a side note, I seriously am missing something on the times offered by Kagetenshi with the various operations. Huh?

He's saying that with a low deck you go on do a few operations and then wait a period of time before going on again. The time listed is the time he considers reasonable for the tallies generated by the low deck to have fallen.
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