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> Alternate Flaws Idea, Eliminates Munchkinning!
Moonstone Spider
post Nov 19 2004, 06:59 PM
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I saw somebody else presenting this idea on another forum and wondered what other people think.

His ideas for flaws is that you get no build points for taking a flaw. Instead, you get bonus karma every time your flaw impedes your progress, with more karma for more severe problems. Example:

Mr. Shank takes the flaw "Allergy, mild, sunlight." Under the normal system he'd get two build points. Munchkin bob takes "Allergy, Extreme, Dust from Halley's comet." Under the normal system Munchkin Bob would either get 5 build points or else get slapped with a trout and them proceed to whine and mope about the mean GM that won't let him play the flaw he wants.

Under the new system, whenever Mr. Shank has to go outside and deal with sunlight during a run, he gets an extra karma point for that run. Since Munchkin bob never runs into halley's comet, he gets nothing. On the off chance that they do, of course, he'd get more karma than Mr. Shank since his allergy is more severe, but he will run into halley's comet so rarely Mr. Shank's more common allergy will net more Karma.

I see tons of benefits here. Blindness, for instance, would be viable for a street samurai. Since it's so debilitating for a gunbunny he would probably get a per-battle karma bonus instead of per-run, and if he decided it was just too much and got cybereyes good news, instead of a fight over it he just never collects any Karma again for blindness.
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Herald of Verjig...
post Nov 19 2004, 07:06 PM
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One detail: your flaw math is off, unless sunlight is a rarity and haley's comet dust is everywhere. Sunlight may be a 3 point, and comet dust will be 4.

As for the idea, it has merit, but will probably just lead to a lot of munchkinny PCs with mild allergies and phobias who arrange their legwork to make one of them useless at each stage, thus netting extra karma. The only balancing factor in suc a pattern would be the "kill the weak and loot them" impulse that each of the munchkinny PCs would have to resist to actually get anything done.
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Deadeye
post Nov 19 2004, 07:07 PM
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Hmmph. Interesting idea. In theory I like it, and my gut reaction is pretty much the same. I'm going to have to think on it some more and try to punch holes in it. So far, though, I dig it.
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Wounded Ronin
post Nov 19 2004, 07:08 PM
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I think that getting a lot of karma is far more potent than abusing Edges and Flaws. Too much karma dice really makes the game stop being fun. No one cares too much if you took 20 points of High Pain Tolerance. But few things are more frustrating than the karmic invulnerability brigade.
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Toxic_Waste
post Nov 19 2004, 07:12 PM
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It would stop (some) character building munchkinism, but then you'd have a whole new class : the "in-game munchkin", who deliberately goes out into the sunlight, even if he has no reason to do so. Except to gain extra karma.
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Wounded Ronin
post Nov 19 2004, 07:14 PM
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I can see it now. I take an allergy (mild) to krill bars.

Then on my inventory sheet I put down 100 krill bars.

I stuff my pockets with them every time I go out. Whenever I have a peaceful moment, I eat one to get a point of karma.


Anyway, someone getting 6s for all their attributes because they abused Hung Out To Dry is such a miniscule problem compared to the issue of building up a lot of karma. Personally, I literally stop having fun when the PCs get too much karma.
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Moonstone Spider
post Nov 19 2004, 08:18 PM
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Actually I can't see how the Krill Bar or deliberate sunlight munchkin could work. After all, the flaw only counts if you've had to deal with it in-game. Just as blindness would only count as a flaw if you had a modifier on a test because you were blind, krill-bars would only count as a flaw if it wound up giving you a posititve modifier on a test at some point, not because you deliberately ate krill-bars and it had no real effect.
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Herald of Verjig...
post Nov 19 2004, 08:24 PM
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Simple. Each run, let the combat munchkin eat a krill bar while trying to negotiate something. After he pitifully fails, the social munchkin deals with the pathetic +2 TN modifier resulting in a test of only 19 dice vs. a 3 instead of the optimal. During the fights, the social munchkin chows on a bar and shoots wildly in the general direction of the enemy.
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Ol' Scratch
post Nov 19 2004, 08:25 PM
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Considering you can only take five edges and five flaws whose total doesn't exceed +/-6 Build Points, I really don't see the problem... especially if it's in a game run by a real GM (as opposed to a wimp who can't say "no"). As others have already pointed out, this karma house rule bit is way more abusable.

Honestly, I've never understood why so many people seem to whine about them. I love seeing flaws on a character sheet, and I love taking them. They add a lot of life and color to a character. Ditto for edges.
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Moonstone Spider
post Nov 19 2004, 08:48 PM
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QUOTE (Herald of Verjigorm)
Simple. Each run, let the combat munchkin eat a krill bar while trying to negotiate something. After he pitifully fails, the social munchkin deals with the pathetic +2 TN modifier resulting in a test of only 19 dice vs. a 3 instead of the optimal. During the fights, the social munchkin chows on a bar and shoots wildly in the general direction of the enemy.

Interesting, interesting.

So in your games you allow somebody else to show up and negotiate after a deal is closed? I've never heard of such a thing. Mr. Johnson is really going to agree, after 20 minutes of haggling and managing to get the runners to agree to a price of 50 nuyen each, to renegotiate with the adept?

As for combat, that +2 will be applying to all the tests. Oh darn, your face's TN for a dodge test just went from a 4 to a 6. Good luck dodging a shot that has more than 2 successes behind it, and pray nobody fires a burst or full-auto fire giving you and even higher modifier.

And let's look at the long-term effects of this "Munchkinning." At the end of the run, face and samurai get 1 bonus karma each. Most people suggest build-points are equal to 5-10 karma. Given the +2-3 value for a mild allergy, your players are looking at 10-30 runs before they make up the karma value they could have gotten on their skills and atributes right from the start. How horrifying. Why, after a measly 20 successful runs your elven face is going to have a whole extra karma pool die!
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Herald of Verjig...
post Nov 19 2004, 08:55 PM
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First, I never said the gun-abomination should be negotiating the pay, just have him try to buy something military grade each time. Actually, have him try to buy many military grade things, then let the adept of social omnipotence call in half an hour later for whichever of those items are actually useful.

For dodge, no competant non-combat munchkin would let themselves be in a position where dodging is neccessary. Blindly firing can include a 3 inch mirror, and a non-standard grip extension so that the weapon is in a firing position, with horrible TN modifiers, while the socialite is fully hidden by the arlmor 47 drone that the rigger munchkin lets him cower in (in exchange for getting all the drones for a total cost of 300 nuyen).
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Ol' Scratch
post Nov 19 2004, 09:02 PM
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Note that this would be a more desireable abuse for karma whores like magicians rather than mundanes. Likewise, there are plenty of flaws that can be used on a run that have no bearing on the success or failure of the actual run itself. Computer Illiterate while using a pocket secretary or transciever, Incompetence (English) whenever you talk to someone, Oblivious (compensated for with implants or powers) whenever you make a Perception Test, etc.
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Moonstone Spider
post Nov 19 2004, 09:05 PM
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Ah, I see. That's a remarkably strange set of scenarios, however. For instance, what is the contact going to think of such behavior? Mightn't the contact wonder if there isn't a major run on these items since he's getting twice as many calls from the team, raising prices?

Yes, that's not a standard rule. I don't recall rules for 3 inch mirrors and nonstandard grip extensions either. In fact the rules clearly say if you've got 100% cover, you cannot fire at the enemy.

In my experience plenty of non-combat characters need to dodge. In fact unless you've got plenty of body dodging is all you can do to survive many attacks.

Lastly you haven't answered my point about how little karma they will actually be getting in these farfetched scenarios, in comparision with what you'd normally get for the run.
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Kagetenshi
post Nov 19 2004, 09:09 PM
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If the characters are the only people buying, then yeah, he's going to be getting twice as many calls.

He's also going to be out of business. Same if he learns about runs on items by watching a single customer's patterns.

~J
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Herald of Verjig...
post Nov 19 2004, 09:11 PM
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You ask for ways it can be abused (otherwise, no benefit of posting an idea here), then you blatantly state that a simple method, made with little analysis of the possibilities is inconsequential because they are not getting double the normal karma each run. We haven't even approached the full amnesia cyber-beast who gets 8 extra karma every run because someone asked what is name is, or where he was last Thursday, or if he knew how to hotwire a car.
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Kagetenshi
post Nov 19 2004, 09:25 PM
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Or a paraplegic, who would by this system be racking up extra karma every time it would be useful for them to be able to walk.

~J
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Herald of Verjig...
post Nov 19 2004, 09:38 PM
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Mage type with spirit bane: watchers. 2 karma every time it tries to give orders to a watcher spirit, and the mage will always have to fall back on some other type of spirit to actually do the work (often a type that is actually capable of doing the work).
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Ol' Scratch
post Nov 19 2004, 09:39 PM
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Actually, no, the Watcher will still do its command. They're too stupid to even try and scheme.
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Herald of Verjig...
post Nov 19 2004, 09:41 PM
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They'll do it even more poorly than usual, almost always resulting in failure and the need to use a spirit that actually has attributes.
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Ol' Scratch
post Nov 19 2004, 09:53 PM
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What? Even Force 1 watchers have attributes. Spirit Bane represents other spirits you encounter anyway and has no bearing on any services of spirits under your direct (and iron fisted, which is probably why they hate you) control. Now if you ask it to do a favor as opposed to using a service (which watchers don't have; all commands are effectively services), they'll probably decline. But that's about the extent of the flaw.
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Moonstone Spider
post Nov 19 2004, 10:01 PM
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Herald, when I asked for ways to circumvent the system I was hoping for something a bit more realistic than some insane plan to rig rube goldberg devices of mirrors, sticks, and drones. Anybody who can seriously set up something like that and still fire at least once before the gunbunny has already killed all the enemies (Or else is dead in which case it's a shame you're going to die now too without him) deserves some karma.

I would also note, Herald, that you'e completely misread the nature of the flaw system by claiming a karma bonus for every time the flaw appears rather than once per run. I suggested that if a flaw is very debilitating, such as a gunbunny who seriously tries to fight while blind, then it might counter for each battle but normal flaws would be on a per-run basis. Nowhere did I even suggest a per-event basis as you'd have us believe with your watcher spirit trick.
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Herald of Verjig...
post Nov 19 2004, 10:02 PM
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Watchers don't have an attribute list (in contrast to all other recorded types of spirits), just a force. Unless I've been missing a page in MitS all this time.

On re-rereading the flaw, yes it says nothing about messing with conjured spirits of your own command. So the only danger is that when other mages use the watcher swarm, they will all be trying to hit the specific mage. That's only really a danger if he's astrally active at the time, and even then a stunball will fry them. There's also the completely house-ruled danger from the force 6 great form free watcher, but that's almost as blatant as OBB.
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Ol' Scratch
post Nov 19 2004, 10:31 PM
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MitS p. 101, Characteristics of Watchers: A watcher's Attribute Ratings are equal to its Force.

I'm greatly saddened that you actually had to have that pointed out to you. It's a default "duh" for all spirits, and stat blocks only apply when they materialize since, while astral, their Physical Attributes are equal to their Mental Attributes just like anyone else.
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Stumps
post Nov 19 2004, 11:23 PM
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Nice idea.
Wrong game.

This would work better if it were in AD&D, but this is SR where Karma pulls MAJOR weight and a run is dealt with 4 Good Karma as an average, "you did alright", and my old GM really only dealt out 1 Karma for every 10 Good Karma that we got (that was his way of tallying it up).

Under this rule, I would be a mage and take as many flaws as I could that were extreme that could get in my way during magical acts, then I would rake in the extra Karma that I would get way ahead of the time I'd reach 10 Good Karma that I would normaly have to reach to get my 1 Karma point.

I'd have around 6 Karma for each run easy under this rule, and do believe that I could do it easily.
There are magical flaws.

Let's say each session of play we only did one run.
Each week we only did one session
(about my old groups average actually)
If I got 4 Good Karma per run, it would take me 3 runs to get 1 Karma point
That would be 3 weeks.

In three weeks with this rule, having my mage guy with 6 extreme flaws for magic, I could earn 6 Karma for each run.
If I got 6 Karma for each run, plus my 1 Karma for every 10 Good karma (as my old group did it) then I would have 19 Karma after my 3rd run in three weeks.

Hell, I wouldn't even take edges as a mage if this rule were used. I could make up for my flaws with Karma points.

Ubermuncher, AWAY!
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Wounded Ronin
post Nov 19 2004, 11:32 PM
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QUOTE (Moonstone Spider)
Ah, I see. That's a remarkably strange set of scenarios, however. For instance, what is the contact going to think of such behavior? Mightn't the contact wonder if there isn't a major run on these items since he's getting twice as many calls from the team, raising prices?

Yes, that's not a standard rule. I don't recall rules for 3 inch mirrors and nonstandard grip extensions either. In fact the rules clearly say if you've got 100% cover, you cannot fire at the enemy.

In my experience plenty of non-combat characters need to dodge. In fact unless you've got plenty of body dodging is all you can do to survive many attacks.

Lastly you haven't answered my point about how little karma they will actually be getting in these farfetched scenarios, in comparision with what you'd normally get for the run.

Firstly, if you *know* you are combat incapable, especially after breaking out in hives since you just ate a krill bar, I think you would use this nifty thing called full cover. Like, lie and cower on the floor of the car and toss the odd flashbang out a window from a position of full cover so that technically you are participating in combat. You wouldn't be effective, but as long as the party has flare comp you'd still just be cashing in on extra karma without being destructive.

Secondly, you obviously can fire at the enemy if you have 100% cover because there are rules for firing through and blind fire. If I try to shoot through a wall at you and neither of us can see each other at all, that's clearly a situation where we both have 100% cover from the other. Similarly, the rules never say you can't just blindly lob grenades in the general suspected direction of enemies. In fact, that's one use for them in real life. You can bank them around corners or toss them through windows to avoid exposing yourself. Use flashbangs or something pointless if you don't want the +2 TN to make you accidentally kill the party.

Thirdly, I already think that karma dice can become too powerful. Even one more karma dice is a pretty big asset. The last thing I want to do is add an extra rule that speeds up the rate at which people acquire karma dice, even if it is a marginal increase.

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