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> the otaku are coming!, help!
Req
post Oct 5 2004, 07:37 PM
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Hey chums.

So my girlfriend, out of the blue and much to my surprise, has decided that she wants to play an otaku in my current campaign. This is great news to me, given the metaplot bits that I'm working on (the Arc situation is just about to develop... :)) but we've never had anyone play a matrix character. I've always run an NPC decker in the interests of 1) keeping player downtime to a minimum, and 2) not having to learn the matrix rules. She's a bit concerned with the apparent overall complexity of the whole ruleset.

Any tips on making the matrix rules approachable to a non-rules lawyer type? Are there simplified rules anywhere that don't suck?

Also, anything folks have experienced in terms of introducing the otaku to a campaign would be nice. My PCs have "stumbled across" an otaku tribe once, but they've got no idea what it was, and non of them are particularly matrix-savvy...

Thanks kids. I'm aware that this is a bit of a free-form rambling request, but I'm interested in whatever you've got - I haven't been involved in Matrix stuff since my horribly-broken 1st edition character in 1994. :)

-Req
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Moon-Hawk
post Oct 5 2004, 07:42 PM
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Well, one of the easiest way of simplfying the matrix system and making it approachable is to let the person play an Otaku. Suddently all the different system tests are simplified down to five tests. Active and storage memory are much simpler, as is programming. Upgrading is also much simpler.
And you can do TONS of cool stuff with an otaku in an Arcology campaign. I had one when I ran RA:S and Brainscan, it was very cool. I had to do a lot of tweaking and altering, but the end result was a tremendous campaign.
Remember to give them some function outside of the matrix. Face works, if you load them up with social skills. It breaks the steriotype, but eh. They can make perfectly good snipers, as well. Or riggers, but that won't make the character any simpler.
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Eyeless Blond
post Oct 5 2004, 08:00 PM
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All of those would work but for one complication: otaku by default start with no resources. This means they can't have a VCR or a smartlink, any contacts outside of their tribe, or really much of anything. I suppose you could give them a sniper rifle, but with all the skill points they have to spend on channels and their Computer skill (along with Electronics B/R and other things to be a real decker-substitute) they barely have enough left over for their max-allowed Ettiquite-4, let alone any actual Rifle skill. This is of course besides the fact that the chargen options encourage you to make an Otaku with physical attributes of all 1s, which further limits his usefulness outside the Matrix.

Unless you want to allow an Otaku character some extra Karma and/or cash after chargen, you're pretty much forced by the canon rules to play an Otaku just like the stereotype says: a semi-useful character in the Matrix and a cripple outside of it. Or you can house-rule them. At least that's my take on the whole thing.
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Kagetenshi
post Oct 5 2004, 08:14 PM
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And by semi-useful we really mean absurdly useful.

Keep in mind that the cap of 4 doesn’t apply to the Street specialization. You can have Etiquette 4 (Street 6) if you want.

Technoshamans are better at breaking in while cyberadepts are sneakier, but both get a flat +1 to their DF just for Otakuness.

~J
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Jason Farlander
post Oct 5 2004, 08:15 PM
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QUOTE (Req)
Any tips on making the matrix rules approachable to a non-rules lawyer type? Are there simplified rules anywhere that don't suck?

There are simplified decking rules provided in MJLBB... have you decided that those suck or have you not had the chance to look at them? (note that I havent had the chance to check them out either, I just know they're there.)
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Kagetenshi
post Oct 5 2004, 08:27 PM
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Back to the original question (oops), the rules are a lot easier when you're dealing with Otaku, as Moon-hawk said. Just check to see if a test uses Access, Control, Index, Files, or Slave, no messing around with Deception, Read/Write, Browse, and a half-dozen others. In many cases you can figure out which of the above would be used without even looking it up.

~J
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Dashifen
post Oct 5 2004, 08:29 PM
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Honestly, sit down with your girlfriend outside of the normal shadowrun session and run a little matrix stuff just the two of you. Spend all the time to look up answers to all of your questions. Take notes out of the book on the meanings and usage of different techniques. Bookmark or pull out and lamenate (sp?) the table in the back of the matrix that shows what operations correspond to what subsystems so you have that information at your fingertips.

Also, I'd suggest not using NSRCG to make the character the first time. After that go right ahead, but I learned most of what I needed to about decking by building the character by hand so that I had to look everything up. Without that, I don't think I'd understand things as well.

Last: Go through the Idiot's Guide to the Matrix thread. It's stalled at the moment and it's about decking and not otaku, but it might help you understand what's involved. The difference is really the fact that Otaku don't have utilities but instead have channels and complex forms.
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Kagetenshi
post Oct 5 2004, 08:33 PM
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Hell, if someone wants I could run an Otaku example thread. That'd take a fraction of the effort of the decking thread I'm running.

~J
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Dashifen
post Oct 5 2004, 08:34 PM
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QUOTE (Kagetenshi)
Hell, if someone wants I could run an Otaku example thread. That'd take a fraction of the effort of the decking thread I'm running.

~J

I'd run it but I'd need an otaku :)
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Kagetenshi
post Oct 5 2004, 08:38 PM
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We have a team. I'll draw one up this evening. We can do a few examples and then let someone with a greater need for hands-on experience step in. You in?

~J
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Eyeless Blond
post Oct 5 2004, 08:57 PM
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My claim that they're only semi-useful is twofold. The first is partly dependent on how you interpret the chargen rules, in particular how many points you are allowed to put into each of your mental attributes. Can you only put 6 into each, plus two single points for 6/7/7, or can you go higher? This is naturally of vital importance, because your brain is your deck.

The second is dependent on which optional rules you allow your deckers to use. For instance, do you allow hacking pool to be used for DF and to supress crashed IC? If so the Otaku are at a disadvantage, at least off the block, because their HP can't compete with someone with a Math SPU 3. Do you allow persona modes? If so the Otaku's Masking--and thus DF--will almost certainly be lower than a decker's.

I'd love to see how the otaku work as well. I'd love to be proven wrong about them, because I really do love the concept of someone interpreting the Matrix without a deck. I'm just wondering, from a pure theoretical standpoint, if they are useful characters compared to a regular decker, who can do most of the above and also be non-pathetic in combat to boot.
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Kagetenshi
post Oct 5 2004, 09:01 PM
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I'll do the number-crunching when I get home, but you're absolutely right about the critical issue of 6/7/7 vs. 8/8/8. I consider the latter to be the only reasonable interpretation, but it is, by strict reading, contradicted. If you rule 6/7/7, I take back the above.

~J
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Req
post Oct 5 2004, 09:14 PM
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We will be doing CharGen with BeCKS, to fit in with the rest of the group - I'll have to look into how making an otaku works with that. It's good to know that this simplifies the matrix system a bit, the player is by no means a techhead (like I am. :)) and can use all the help she can get. She tends to play shamans. :) But in terms of the campaign I think it would be an awesome addition.

J.F., I haven't gotten my hands on MrJLBB yet; I wasn't under the impression that it would be particularly useful to me. After a decade of this game I've got quite enough contacts, thank you very much. If anyone who *has* used the streamlined 'trix rules could let me know if they're any good, it might be something to look into.

Reading the Idiot's Guide now...that thread is TOO DAMN LONG. Jeez. :)

As to the otaku walkthrough thread, I am so there. I'll put together an otaku this evening as well, just to get my head around the rules, and then you'll find me watching with bated breath.

Thanks all.

-Req
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Eyeless Blond
post Oct 5 2004, 09:32 PM
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Ouch. BeCKS never really puts a whole lot of thought into making an Otaku character. Attributes and the almost mandatory Computer 8 skill cost far, far too much for an otaku in BeCKS, far more than is gained through the 120 Karma cost for making one in the first place. Also I don't think NSRCG (or BeCKS for that matter) handles the Otaku getting free skill points to spend on channels, or the two bonus points to spend on attributes; I can't recall. You may need to do a lot of hourse-ruling to get a playable Otaku out of BeCKS.

(Edit): Sorry if I seem so pessimistic about all of this. I'm not trying to psyche you out or anything; I'm just a little dissappointed how the chargen system works (or, rather, doesn't work) for Otaku.
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Dashifen
post Oct 5 2004, 09:44 PM
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QUOTE (Req)
Reading the Idiot's Guide now...that thread is TOO DAMN LONG.  Jeez.  :)


As a contributor to that thread .... thanks!

QUOTE (Req)
As to the otaku walkthrough thread, I am so there.  I'll put together an otaku this evening as well, just to get my head around the rules, and then you'll find me watching with bated breath.


Make a new thread when you get it done and I'll come up with something screwy to make you run through. Name it something like Idiot's Guide to Otaku or something so I can find it ;) Or PM me with the title or something.
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Kagetenshi
post Oct 6 2004, 12:38 AM
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I'll bow out and act as an advisor, then. Pretty sure I've already got a handle on those rules myself :)

~J
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Dashifen
post Oct 6 2004, 02:17 AM
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QUOTE (Kagetenshi)
I'll bow out and act as an advisor, then. Pretty sure I've already got a handle on those rules myself :)

~J

Oh! I didn't know you were in the running. I thought you were handling a new decker thread while Synner is busy and the original Idiot's Guide is languishing (no offense intended, Synner!!).
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Kagetenshi
post Oct 6 2004, 03:04 AM
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I'm doing that too. New version 8, now with multitasking!

As I said, though, better him than me.

~J
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Moon-Hawk
post Oct 6 2004, 04:30 PM
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Otaku are definitely typecast when you first make them. Low physical stats, no good gear, and only a respectable etiquette skill, few other skills. But skills and resources are the two easiest things to get, and low stats aren't hard to raise a tall. After two or three runs you should have enough money for all sorts of "standard" gear, plus a good smartlinkII and a rifle, or whatever else they need. As I said, the rigger option is a tough one, and only viable in very long campaigns. A stat of one or two is cheap enough to raise. If you really dedicate the first 50 karma or so to rounding out your character you can have average physical stats, some bioware to bump your quickness up to good if you want, some useful 'ware, some good gear, and a couple skills allowing you to branch into another role on the team.
My point that I was trying to make (but stopped before I really started) was that even though Otaku start off very pidgeon-holed, a very good Otaku can also be very effective in other roles after a short amount of time.
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Shockwave_IIc
post Oct 6 2004, 04:43 PM
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I'd have agree with Eyeless Blond, BECKS Doesn't like Otaku at all, BP is the only real way, however, after creating one via that system, on paper they will look obscenly hard they can start (depending on interpretion) a "deck" which is only one down from a Fairlight. But just look at the Channels, thats what really makes an Otaku hard IMO, And if the Character is technoshaman, add 1 to there values for an "more accurate appearence"

And on the thing about "other" roles, Medic and Negotiator are to very valid and easy grab side roles for an Otaku, However unless the Character is "old" by Otaku standards then then Negotiator is kinda limited to matrix negotiations only.

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mfb
post Oct 6 2004, 05:48 PM
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actually, Channels are the one place where otaku get raped by deckers. sure, an otaku's Channels apply to all tests made against that system--but they start out at a maximum of, what, 7/6/5/4/4 for a technoshaman? that means that they have to specialize pretty heavily. they might be good at Access, but anything requiring Slave means they're screwed.
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Req
post Oct 6 2004, 07:07 PM
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Doh. Got home after work last night, discovered a Crisis™. So no time to make an example otaku, and hence no "teach Req how to hack" thread has been started. I will, I swear. Perhaps tomorrow.

Maybe we'll use BP to make the char and I'll just have to GM Fiat it into compliance with the rest of the team. It shouldn't be a huge problem though. Does seem like BeCKS sells the otaku a little bit short.
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Kagetenshi
post Oct 6 2004, 09:07 PM
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QUOTE (mfb)
actually, Channels are the one place where otaku get raped by deckers. sure, an otaku's Channels apply to all tests made against that system--but they start out at a maximum of, what, 7/6/5/4/4 for a technoshaman? that means that they have to specialize pretty heavily. they might be good at Access, but anything requiring Slave means they're screwed.

Keep in mind that it's some 12 karma to raise that to 7/6/5/5/5, which is one to three runs, less than it will take for the decker to seriously upgrade any single program. This is a weakness for Cyberadepts, though, you're right. I'll have to give it some thought.

~J
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Dashifen
post Oct 6 2004, 09:12 PM
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I agree as well, but with specialization you can do better. Slave (Edit Slave) 3/6 if you're working with BeCKS isn't too bad ;)

Edit: spelling
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mfb
post Oct 6 2004, 10:04 PM
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nah, technoshamen get +1 to all Channels. their base Channels are 6/5/4/4, +1 technoshaman bonus.
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