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> GM Problems, How to avoid them?
Feonyx
post Oct 13 2004, 09:20 PM
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I'm an experienced GM (DND mainly years ago) and I have always loved Shadowrun for its lore/style (still read the paperbacks) and I've finally convinced the group I play with to let me GM a few Shadowruns.

However the group I play with are a bunch of Powergamers/Min-maxers and I'm scared to death of someone min-maxing their character to the point that its just not fun. Characters are as follow:

Physical Adept - Loaded with all the magic, abilities (hard to stun, blind, zoom-in eyes) guns (has 4) and armored suits.

Shaman with Lion Totem - Unknown, but thinking can get ugly from what I have read on these boards.

Japanese Businessman with machinegun suitcase (Ares Protector) - The "face" of the group with languages, cybered to 2.5 essense with gear, loads of money.

Meathead Troll - Armored to the gils with a few guns all wrapped up in a suit.

Combat Decker - Not too scared of right now.

My question is. Is there anything I should look out for as a GM that is within the rules that might be borderline broken? Or should I just relax have fun and deal with the problems as problems arise? :D

Thanks in advance!

Feonyx
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LinaInverse
post Oct 13 2004, 09:34 PM
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I'm no expert, but I'll toss in my 2 nuyen.

First off, are these starting chars? By rules, no starting char has "loads of money"; any money that's not spent on gear/cyber/lifestyle/etc is basically reduced to nil. Also, as someone who's played/built mages/PhyAds, what do you mean by having one with "loads of magic"? 6 magic pts, no matter what he spends them on, doesn't buy a lot of PhysAd abilities. Frankly, if the PhyAd in question wants to waste his skill points on guns, I say let him (also Ballistic>Quickness is bad as well). He'll suffer for it in terms of melee-combat, which is what a PhyAd is supposed to be good at.

If you're really concerned with overall "power", one thing my GM did is to restrict start-up gear by Availability score. In our case, we weren't allowed to buy anything with an Avail>8. That let us buy the basics, but kept the really obnoxious stuff like Combat Armor, Cannons, etc out of reach. Make the players earn the "elite" gear through role-playing/etc.
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GrinderTheTroll
post Oct 13 2004, 09:35 PM
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I am guessing you are stepping into these already-made toons? If so it's more tricky since they've had some time to establish habits (from other GMs), gear, money, karma, etc.

I suggest a few runs to gauge your runners and to get a feel of what they would do in situations and what they are expecting to get away with. Are they nit-picky rules lawyers or are they flexible? Do they expect to walk down the street in Heavy Armour toting Panther Assault Cannons? You have expectations as do they. Let them know ahead of time you are feeling things out and ask them to do the same.

Remember this: they can min-max the rules, but you can break them completely. :D

Good-luck and have fun!
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sidartha
post Oct 13 2004, 10:57 PM
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It looks like you have a pretty heavy hitting group there and being ex-D&D players they will probably want to charge into every situation guns blazing and either live and collect Karma or die and roll up new chars.
My advice is this. Since you know the world and I presume that the players have little or no knowledge of the world make sure you explain to them that this is a very lethal game and the bad guys always have you out gunned(not true but it puts them in the right frame of mind) and that you will get the same rewards if not more for sneaking around the guards than blasting through them.
Second. Give them some situations to flex their Killin' Skillz. Mob war, hijackings, hits, escort missions are all ways to let 'em cut loose. However make it clear that they won't get the really high paying jobs until they learn to be a bit more subtle.
Third have a well thought out plan of the actions of the opposition. Ocasionaly the players will do something completely off the wall and you won't see it coming. When this happens knowing how they(the NPCs) will act when there is a five alarm blaze across the street will save you alot of headache.
Lastly. don't be afraid to kill characters for truly stupid actions. Bad luck on a stealth roll should not result in player death, perhaps the guard was curiosly inatentive. But ramming a truck into the front gates of MCTs headquarters and expecting to live more than 60 seconds calls for doom. however on a related note it is your job as GM to make the PLAYERS understand that such action is suicide, they have inteligence and knowledge skills for a reason.
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Tal
post Oct 13 2004, 11:53 PM
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I had similar problems myself. Without seeing the sheets for 'em, I'd have to go with blasting the trog with magic. Domination-type spells can be fun, and often mean you can mop the floor with his buddies.
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blakkie
post Oct 14 2004, 12:09 AM
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QUOTE (LinaInverse)
...Also, as someone who's played/built mages/PhyAds, what do you mean by having one with "loads of magic"? 6 magic pts, no matter what he spends them on, doesn't buy a lot of PhysAd abilities. Frankly, if the PhyAd in question wants to waste his skill points on guns, I say let him (also Ballistic>Quickness is bad as well). He'll suffer for it in terms of melee-combat, which is what a PhyAd is supposed to be good at....

Depends if they read MitS and notice Magician's Way + Geases + Initiation at character creation. Magical Power 5, geas with casting fetish, and picks a Shaman totem so he doesn't have to worry as much about cash. Costs 3.75pp. That gives him 30 spell points. Then he Initiates twice taking Invoking and something else, maybe Centering? Now he has 10 spell points left. Buys another 2 spell points with 50,000 :nuyen: . Initiates again with Centering: [Firearms of choice]. No spell points left, so he'll have to sink some cash into buying his spells (125,000 :nuyen: for a single Force 5 spell). But he now has 5.25pp to plunk into powers, such as IA:[firearms of choice], plus the ability to cast spells up to Force 5.

That's a good deal of magic.
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Wutasumi
post Oct 14 2004, 12:52 AM
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I just put in random NPCs that are at LEAST as powerful as my runners. I don't limit my PC's, I death-trap my games.

Suggested ideas for DT world.
Sprinkle powerful NPCS as told above. 1/6 enemys works about right.
Avalability limit of 9.
When using weaker enimies, groups are fun.
So are magic weilders
Give the opposition better stuff. Then if you have an especialy cruel mean streak, make them all have Personal Saftey Smartlinks.
Drones are fun.
And the military.

When not fighting, which should be a good chunk of the time. (2/3)
Huge parties are a good RP ground. If they are STUPID ENOUGH to gun down everyone there, teach them a lesson with A Corp Strike Team. (About 20 people that are 5x stronger then the runners.) then put a 500,000,000 Nuyen bountie or something on them, and if they survive the strike, have them run into a missle launcher, alot.

Basicly, untill they stop Min/Maxing, have fun with putting the chips in the oppenoents favour, and enforcing RP so they don't have an outlet for their 1337 sk177z. Especialy if they dumped CHA.
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Deacon
post Oct 14 2004, 01:13 AM
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Giving a group of hack & slashers a hack & slash enemy never works. They'll either figure out how to beat it, or complain that the GM is a 'killer' GM.

Instead, what you want to do is give them more role-playing challenges suitable to the genre. When they find themselves unable to deal with them, start subtly impressing upon them the need for etiquette and negotiation skills.

For example, give them the mission to track down something -- a mobster's missing daughter, a piece of heirloom jewelry, a prototype drone. In order to do this, at one point they're going to have to get into a very high-security building and speak to Mr. X. The problem is that Mr. X lives in a high-security, high lifestyle building and doesn't want to deal with riff-raff.

The players have to deal with the security coordinator through either a remote window or through the Matrix, since they're not residents. They have to figure out how to get inside and talk to Mr. X. If they decide to pull out the guns and go in blazing, the doors close -- they find that they're stuck behind walls of meter-thick duralloy which their piddly gunfire won't even scratch, and the building's warded by powerful magicians. Don't even let them start shooting -- just let them know it won't work.

But, if they do their research and find out the security coordinator's weaknesses, and commit a suitable bribe (and it doesn't have to be money -- perhaps the man has a weakness for a certain hard-to-obtain french wine, or a rare Nolan Ryan rookie card, something that the PCs can find in any case), then he'll let them inside to talk to Mr. X. Provided, of course, that they disarm themselves and agree to certain security measures...

It's stuff like this which will make them realize that this ain't their usual D&D hack & slash game. When they have to deal with things in ways that don't allow them to use their 733t c0m6@t sk177z, then they start learning that there's more to roleplaying than rolling dice and stacking bonuses.
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Wutasumi
post Oct 14 2004, 01:16 AM
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That's the point of my system, set it up so they CONSTANTLY get their ass kicked, and start looking for non-combat ways through.
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Tal
post Oct 14 2004, 01:29 AM
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I used a somewhat Pavlovian response system. The only time any of my players got karma was when they started to actually rp.
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Wutasumi
post Oct 14 2004, 01:32 AM
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That works. You either have ta encourage your players to RP, or "encourage"
them to RP.
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blakkie
post Oct 14 2004, 01:35 AM
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QUOTE (Wutasumi)
That works. You either have ta encourage your players to RP, or "encourage"
them to RP.

Or just let them play the game in the way they find fun.....
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Wutasumi
post Oct 14 2004, 01:39 AM
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Yes, but most of my players actualy find RP funner once I FINALY GET THEM TO DO IT. After awhile I'll give them the oppertunity to H&S, make unfair characs, ETC... but they never have after RPing.
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blakkie
post Oct 14 2004, 01:42 AM
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QUOTE (Wutasumi)
Yes, but most of my players actualy find RP funner once I FINALY GET THEM TO DO IT. After awhile I'll give them the oppertunity to H&S, make unfair characs, ETC... but they never have after RPing.

I've just found that it's like trying to get a river to the ocean faster by carrying it there in a bucket. It'll get there anyways whether you break yourself with the effort or not.

*shrug*
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Fortune
post Oct 14 2004, 01:49 AM
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QUOTE (blakkie)
Depends if they read MitS and notice Magician's Way + Geases + Initiation at character creation....Then he Initiates twice taking Invoking and something else, maybe Centering?...Initiates again with Centering: [Firearms of choice]...he now has 5.25pp to plunk into powers, such as IA:[firearms of choice], plus the ability to cast spells up to Force 5.


Initiation doesn't work that way for Adepts of the Magician's Way, according to the FAQ...
QUOTE
Q: When a Magician's Way adept initiates, it says that the adept must choose between obtaining a power point or learning a metamagic technique. But other adepts get both a power point and a metamagic technique when they initiate. Is this correct? Why the difference?

A: Yes, that is correct. A normal adept (not on the Magician's Way), has these choices for initiation:

    Raise Magic attribute by 1 + gain a power point + learn a new metamagic technique; or
    Raise Magic attribute by 1 + gain a power point + alter astral signature; or
    Shed a geas.




When an adept on the Magician's Way initiates, the adept has these choices:

    Raise Magic attribute by 1 + gain a power point; or
    Raise Magic attribute by 1 + learn a new metamagic technique; or
    Raise Magic attribute by 1 + alter astral signature; or
    Shed a geas.



Magician's Way adepts initiate differently because unlike regular adepts and magicians, they receive the advantages of both worlds. The modified initiation rules prevent them from becoming unbalanced and overpowered.
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Sabosect
post Oct 14 2004, 01:53 AM
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QUOTE (Wutasumi)
Yes, but most of my players actualy find RP funner once I FINALY GET THEM TO DO IT. After awhile I'll give them the oppertunity to H&S, make unfair characs, ETC... but they never have after RPing.

I would. Then I would have the fun of RPing the hell out of it to match my stats, spells, etc.

If they can RP to match their min/maxing, is it a problem? I say no. But, if they can't, then frag their sorry hoops.
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Kanada Ten
post Oct 14 2004, 01:54 AM
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The group sounds perfect to run a fencing operation. The Japanese Businessman as the fence, a few bodyguards and a decker to check up on buyers and sellers (while also cleaning the money). I suggest giving them a little of everything: combat with thieves, bribery with police, blackmail with a gang that might turn ugly, ect. The best way to break the D&D mentality is to stop the theme of adventures and quests. Bring out just living and surviving in the shadows.
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blakkie
post Oct 14 2004, 03:01 AM
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Fortune:: Oh, that's what they ment by that paragraph. That would curb the MW Adept some. So knock it down to 4.25pp and only Invoking, Great Form Spirits being an incredibly useful thing to have. Centering isn't nearly as useful if you don't have Astral Perception, since you need that to help with Sorcery and Conjuring...unless he wants to make the Backflipping Soooopar Star. Still with a few choice spells and maybe a sustaining Focus and/or Focused Concentration, he would be fairly formidable tool.

P.S. I do agree that having him try to focus on gunslinging would be a bit of a step back. A well put together cyber/bio mundane starting character is usually the min/max choice for that. For that reason the PC in question probably won't be a problem.
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RedmondLarry
post Oct 14 2004, 06:33 AM
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Welcome Feonyx, to the Dumpshock Forums.
We're glad you're here. :wavey:
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Eyeless Blond
post Oct 14 2004, 07:47 AM
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QUOTE (blakkie)
Fortune:: Oh, that's what they ment by that paragraph. That would curb the MW Adept some. So knock it down to 4.25pp and only Invoking, Great Form Spirits being an incredibly useful thing to have. Centering isn't nearly as useful if you don't have Astral Perception, since you need that to help with Sorcery and Conjuring...unless he wants to make the Backflipping Soooopar Star. Still with a few choice spells and maybe a sustaining Focus and/or Focused Concentration, he would be fairly formidable tool.

A magician adept can choose to learn Centering as an adept or possibly as a magician, but they're definately seperate techniques. Besides, it's not the most important metamagic technique for a magician adept anyway. Neither is Masking, not until you pick up a couple of foci anyway.

Channeling. You want Channeling, from Target: Awakened Lands. You get all your physical attributes boosted, you get Immunity to Normal Weapons from Great Forms, you get all kinds of other good crap, and it all meshes so well with the adept side of beatdown-specialist that there's just no comparison. Take a Trauma Dampener to help deal with the Drain, though by the nature of the technique you'll be able to use full Spell Pool on both the channeling test and the drain resistance test for it.

Not that any of that is necessarily legal. I don't know any GM, especially one new to the game, who would allow characters to initiate at chargen, or take a trauma dampener for that matter.
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mmu1
post Oct 14 2004, 12:36 PM
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QUOTE (Wutasumi)
That's the point of my system, set it up so they CONSTANTLY get their ass kicked, and start looking for non-combat ways through.

That is the worst bunch of GMing advice I have ever seen...

It's not your place as a GM to "teach" the players how to play "correctly" - you're not their mother or schoolteacher.

If you're with a group of players whose playing style is so different from what you prefer that you can't compromise on something everyone will enjoy, the only sensible thing to do is either run the game in such a way that they have fun, if you don't mind, or go looking for a group that's on the same page with you on how the game should be played. Anything else just ends up with someone being frustrated, and that's not the point...
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Cable
post Oct 14 2004, 12:58 PM
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Feonyx, you've entered the one game where munchies can be squashed flatter than a pancake! This isn't D&D, the players aren't the heroes. They're just scraping to survive just like everyone else. There's always someone meaner, tougher, and more chromed waiting around the corner.

Check up on cyberzombies, toxic shamans, main battle tanks, rail guns etc... Its extream, but if they create huge problems quickly someone (like the UCAS) will probbly want to take care of them.

As for the adept with 4 guns, thats normal as long as he doesn't have 4 arms.
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toturi
post Oct 14 2004, 12:59 PM
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QUOTE (Wutasumi)
That's the point of my system, set it up so they CONSTANTLY get their ass kicked, and start looking for non-combat ways through.

You really do not get it, do you?

If all you can do to stop them is to up the ante to force them to RP, then all you are doing is turning them off the game. If the best my DnD GM can do to stop me is to use the Gods to lay the smack down, then something is wrong. And if you keep using GM fiat, your players aren't going to let you forget it.

Min-maxing DOES NOT need necessarily mean COMBAT, especially now that SOTA 2064 is out. What if one of the PCs is a min-maxed out Social Adept/Face who can convince Damien Knight to sign over his shares and go to a monastery? What then? Are you going to try to out-face them now?

Oh, btw? The rules state the GM is god, but never does it say he needs have fun, only that it is players need to have fun.
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Cable
post Oct 14 2004, 01:05 PM
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QUOTE (toturi)
The rules state the GM is god, but never does it say he needs have fun, only that it is players need to have fun.

I need to have fun.
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toturi
post Oct 14 2004, 01:14 PM
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Really? The rules do not say that you need to have fun. Of course, since you are the GM, you get to break the rules, which means the players need not have fun either.
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