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> Skillwires/ActiveSofts, How to get more dice than a normal char.
bitrunner
post Jan 30 2005, 03:58 PM
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OK, i had one of my players (who's also a skilled GM) come to me with this little nugget...

Is there anything that prevents someone with skillwires, multiple chipjacks with expert drivers (Rating 3), and skillsofts from slotting the same skill at the same time. for example, if you purchase 3 chipjacks and 3 separate skillsofts for Pistol 6, is there any reason why you wouldn't be able to slot all three chips at the same time?? Also, to complicate matters, what if the person also had the skill naturally??

Since you can activate modes of cyberware as a free action, what is preventing you from doing this.

i'm concerned because, consider this:

the person has native Pistols 6 skill, and buys the cyber/chips above, maxed out on expert drivers. the character also has a combat pool of 9.

this means that he could, just in one combat turn, use his native skill and fire a Pistol and use 6 of his combat pool. Then, as a free action, he can activate his skillwires, and now is using the chip, which provides a task pool of 3. He can use these task pool, plus 3 more from his combat pool, for another 6 pool dice. He has now used a total of 12 pool dice, whereas the normal person would have only 9.
Or, even worse - he slots the skill twice, and goes into combat - as a free action, he "activates" the first skillsoft, providing him with Pistols 6 and a task pool of 3 for that skillsoft. he uses 3 combat pool to max out his pool dice. He then fires the second shot using the next skillsoft/chipjack, which is also Pistols 6 and has its own task pool of 3, and he uses another 3 dice from his combat pool. thus, he has attacked twice with a semiauto pistol (2 shots) and used 12 dice for each shot (6 skill plus 6 total pool dice), and still has 3 combat pool dice left over for dodging/damage resistance!!

even worse is when the character is decking, because they can use multiple skillsofts in Computer/Decking to effectively provide 3 extra hacking pool dice per chip - if you use the Quick Resolution system in MrJLBB, that is 3 pieces of ICE that can be jammed for "free" without touching the character's main hacking pool!!

(keep in mind that M&M pg 48 talks about Task Pools - because it is granted by the Expert Driver, it can be used with ANY skill...)
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Backgammon
post Jan 30 2005, 04:14 PM
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Honestly, I'd just say "No you can't do that."
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Cochise
post Jan 30 2005, 05:51 PM
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QUOTE
s there anything that prevents someone with skillwires, multiple chipjacks with expert drivers (Rating 3), and skillsofts from slotting the same skill at the same time. for example, if you purchase 3 chipjacks and 3 separate skillsofts for Pistol 6, is there any reason why you wouldn't be able to slot all three chips at the same time??


The mere fact that there's no precedence for additive use of skills in that manner.
All he can do is to use the highest skill rating at any given time.

QUOTE
Also, to complicate matters, what if the person also had the skill naturally??


No complication there either: The skill wires explicitly overwrite his natural abilities while being in use.

QUOTE
Since you can activate modes of cyberware as a free action, what is preventing you from doing this.


Not too much, but it's not as severe as you might think (at least the above mentioned problems do not actually exist) ...

QUOTE
i'm concerned because, consider this:

the person has native Pistols 6 skill, and buys the cyber/chips above, maxed out on expert drivers. the character also has a combat pool of 9.

this means that he could, just in one combat turn, use his native skill and fire a Pistol and use 6 of his combat pool. Then, as a free action, he can activate his skillwires, and now is using the chip, which provides a task pool of 3. He can use these task pool, plus 3 more from his combat pool, for another 6 pool dice.


Problem there: In order to use combat pool on that skill wire based attack, the chip in question would also have to include the DIMAP-option from the Cannon Companion, since skill wires or CED on their own do not allow the use of linked natural pools without the DIMAP option (see core rules and CC for details).
But let's assume that our skill wire user has got a DIMAP equipped chip (and a suitible skill wire system when it comes to ASIST-rating and memory-bandwitdth):
On his first shot, he has 12 dice (like the majority of all runner characters in such a situation). He then must use his free action on this phase to activate skill wires (while others could have used the free action for something else). He then is able to shot a second time with again 12 dice (6 skill chip + 3 CED + rest of availible combat pool, provided the chip has DIMAP-rating 3) ...

QUOTE
He has now used a total of 12 pool dice, whereas the normal person would have only 9.


... and for this little priviledge he invested a minimum Essence cost (depending on cyberware grade) of 1.2 for the wires themselves ... .3 for the rating 3 CED and lots of cash for the system that's capable of running such a chip, a similar large amount of cash for the chip that has an availrating of 9 (thus not availible for starters within a normal campaign) ... Then there's the chipjack with 0.2 Essence.

So I can't actually see your problem there ...

QUOTE
Or, even worse - he slots the skill twice, and goes into combat - as a free action, he "activates" the first skillsoft, providing him with Pistols 6 and a task pool of 3 for that skillsoft. he uses 3 combat pool to max out his pool dice.


Still the same DIMAP problem as far as the use of combat pool is concerned.

QUOTE
He then fires the second shot using the next skillsoft/chipjack, which is also Pistols 6 and has its own task pool of 3, and he uses another 3 dice from his combat pool.


And again the DIMAP-Problem ... and of course we're now talking about a second chipjack plus another 0.3 for the second CED (which has to be bought for each chipjack individually)

QUOTE
thus, he has attacked twice with a semiauto pistol (2 shots) and used 12 dice for each shot (6 skill plus 6 total pool dice), and still has 3 combat pool dice left over for dodging/damage resistance!!


And he spent a large portion of essence and an even larger portion of cash on being able to do this.
So where's the problem?
Look at the generic Gun-Adept with improved skill 6 on his Pistols ... This sucker's gonna use 12 d6 on each attack he does with a pistol and can still use his whole combat pool on dodging and resistance ...

QUOTE
even worse is when the character is decking, because they can use multiple skillsofts in Computer/Decking to effectively provide 3 extra hacking pool dice per chip -


So what? Techincially the same argument as with the guns: He paid for this ability with cash and Essence (and I've seen more than one decker char that couldn't afford skillwires with CED essence wise, simply because of the other stuff that deckers can use to increase their matrix performance).
And without some serious DIMAP-options on those chips, your skill-wire decker will pretty much suck, since he has no access to his natural hacking pool.

QUOTE
if you use the Quick Resolution system in MrJLBB, that is 3 pieces of ICE that can be jammed for "free" without touching the character's main hacking pool!!


So your problem there (apart from the fact that so far the problem isn't actually as big as you thought) is that Quick and Dirty rules don't work out properly. This only leads to one conclusion: The quick resolution system in MrJLBB is not suited for games where players really want to go deep into the matrix stuff => Use the matrix rules instead. As painful as learning them might seem.

QUOTE
(keep in mind that M&M pg 48 talks about Task Pools - because it is granted by the Expert Driver, it can be used with ANY skill...)


Yet that doesn't alter the general limitations of skillwires and their use in conjunction with natural pool dice, nor does it change anything about the involved essence and money cost that should most definitely lead to some sort of benefit for a character / player who is willing to actually go this route ...
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akarenti
post Jan 30 2005, 06:04 PM
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Okay, I'm sure if I really understand the scenario, but hear goes.

3 Chipjacks (each with a rating 3 Expert Driver)
Rating 6 Skillwires w/ 108 Mp of Active Memory
3 Standard Pistols Activesofts

First off, you can't use Combat Pool with slotted skills (p296, SR3). (Unless they are programmed with the DIMAP option, wich is rather expensive and increases availablity a bit (p61, 64, CC))

I would rule that a single Chipjack Expert Driver could only add it's Task Pool once per Combat Turn. So you get to switch between the Activesofts for a killer first Phase or two.

Of course the above system costs over 400,000 :nuyen: and 2.4 Essense. Not to mention Chips aren't exactly armor plated or anything. Nor are player characters after they spend 400,000 :nuyen: and 2.4 Essense on skillwires.

That brings up an interesting question: Do Chipjack Expert Drivers increase the effectiveness of Skilltwitcher programs?

Edit: Cochise beat me to the post. :(
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tisoz
post Jan 30 2005, 06:25 PM
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To run 2 Rating 6 chips with DIMAP 3 at the same time requires skillwires that cost 2.4 essence and 2,916,000 nuyen. If they are going to try using free actions to switch between the 2, running only one at a time, it still costs 729,000 nuyen. Just for the wires. They also need to make a (DIMAP rating)M Stun test every time they quit using the chip, Willpower only.
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tisoz
post Jan 30 2005, 06:31 PM
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QUOTE (akarenti @ Jan 30 2005, 01:04 PM)
Rating 6 Skillwires w/ 108 Mp of Active Memory

Need the DIMAP option to make it work. This increases the program size from 108 to 243 Mp. So the wires need to be able to handle that load.

Running one chip at a time (and constantly making stun checks) needs Skilwires 6 w/243 Mp.

Running both at the same time needs Rating 12 Skillwires and 486 Mp rating.

Running 2 Pistols 6 at the same time, but only one DIMAPed, needs Rating 12 Skillwires with 351 Mp, base cost 2,106,000 nuyen.

This post has been edited by tisoz: Jan 30 2005, 06:36 PM
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akarenti
post Jan 30 2005, 07:16 PM
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QUOTE (tisoz)
QUOTE (akarenti)
Rating 6 Skillwires w/ 108 Mp of Active Memory
Need the DIMAP option to make it work. This increases the program size from 108 to 243 Mp. So the wires need to be able to handle that load.


I was listing the system that I assumed Bitrunner was using; note "3 Standard Pistols Activesofts".

I think it's also worth pointing out that you can't get a Activesoft with DIMAP 3 at character creation (Availability 9). Or Skillwires with a rating higher than 6.

If a character builds up enough Nuyen to buy a Rating 12 Skillwire system ingame, well, I feel he has to have done something to deserve it. I mean, once you get to that amount of Nuyen, you have to decide between Skillwires or military grade Attack Helicopters.
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tisoz
post Jan 30 2005, 07:32 PM
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No problem, I just don't know if bitrunner and the guy who came up with the scenario thought of all the things needed to make the idea function. Or the huge costs.

If they did consider all the requirements, I don't see the problem with game balance.
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JaronK
post Jan 30 2005, 08:12 PM
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I think he only needs the rating 6 system with 200+mp... he's switching out one pistols 6 for the other, so they're never used at the same time. I'd allow it, since the essence and money costs will keep him from using other rather valuable cyberware... like wired reflexes, at least to start.

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tisoz
post Jan 30 2005, 08:45 PM
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So how are they getting 2 Free Actions and 2 Simple actions a combat phase?

Example:
Pistols 6 slotted, use that chip to fire pistol - Simple action.
Deactivate cyberware - Chipjack running Pistol Skillsoft #1 - Free Action (neccessary to unencumber skillwire load.)
Activate cyberware - Chipjack running Pistol Skillsoft #2 - Free action (should be out of actions for this combat phase)
Fire Pistol - Simple Action

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hahnsoo
post Jan 30 2005, 08:50 PM
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QUOTE (tisoz)
So how are they getting 2 Free Actions and 2 Simple actions a combat phase?

Example:
Pistols 6 slotted, use that chip to fire pistol - Simple action.
Deactivate cyberware - Chipjack running Pistol Skillsoft #1 - Free Action (neccessary to unencumber skillwire load.)
Activate cyberware - Chipjack running Pistol Skillsoft #2 - Free action (should be out of actions for this combat phase)
Fire Pistol - Simple Action

I was under the assumption that the first shot was done using natural skill.
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bitrunner
post Jan 30 2005, 08:57 PM
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oops, forgot about the DIMAP....yes, he would have that on the chips...

the whole character concept revolves around the skillwires - the "jack-of-all-trades" character - so soaking up the majority of his essence for the skillwires is trivial...he also has taken Priority A for resources, so he's got his mill nuyen, most of which is invested in the skillwires and chips...

so, by canon then, it CAN be done...there is nothing that says in canon that you can't do this, was my point...

also, where is the rule that mentions you have to make a stun check after using a chip?? i'm not familiar with that....

as for the Computer problem - i just realized that as soon as he turns off the chipjack, any Task Pool that are being used to "jam" ICE (using the QR rules) would be shut off as well, so that mitigates THAT little problem.


i guess the big thing that made me nervous was that there was that slight change in the Task Pool, because IIRC in SR2 it was only usable for tech, knowledge, B/R skills, etc and NOT for ANY skill, such as combat skills...
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tisoz
post Jan 30 2005, 09:13 PM
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The Stun check is feature of the DIMAP option. It's in the description in CC.61. DIMAP isn't available at start.
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Cochise
post Jan 30 2005, 09:56 PM
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QUOTE (bitrunner)
oops, forgot about the DIMAP....yes, he would have that on the chips...

But that part is extremely important: Starting characters won't be able to utilize that option, since the rating 6 avail 8 rule effectively removes DIMAP from the scene. The highest possible combination would be rating 4 chip with DIMAP 2, since the design rating would be 6 and the avail would be 8, since the design rating is what's important during chargen. And that would change your scenario to 12 d6 on the first shot and 9 on the second (just as with your "normal" guy) and a net gain of 1d6 for purposes of dodging and resistance ... Rather pricey, don't you think?

QUOTE
the whole character concept revolves around the skillwires - the "jack-of-all-trades" character - so soaking up the majority of his essence for the skillwires is trivial...


It becomes non-trivial, if he really wants to do what you described and feared in the initial posting.

QUOTE
he also has taken Priority A for resources, so he's got his mill nuyen, most of which is invested in the skillwires and chips...


The jack of all trades concept is fine and dandy, but in order to come close to what you feared, he'll have to spend his whole 1 million on skillwires and chips ... and he'd still be far away from what you described as a potential issue with balance.

QUOTE
so, by canon then, it CAN be done...


Yes ... but the whole scenario is less dangerous as you seem to perceive it.
The limitations in costs (Essence, money, drawbacks in other fields *less room for other implants that could provide more combat prowess or better decking skills*) balance out just fine: You get some sort of allrounder who heavily depends on not losing his gear (chips) and making lots and lots of money, since higher grade chips tend to have insane price tags ...

QUOTE
there is nothing that says in canon that you can't do this, was my point...


Yes, there's nothing that prohibits something like that, but is less effective than you thought.

QUOTE
also, where is the rule that mentions you have to make a stun check after using a chip?? i'm not familiar with that....


DIMAP-option rules in CC ...

QUOTE
as for the Computer problem - i just realized that as soon as he turns off the chipjack, any Task Pool that are being used to "jam" ICE (using the QR rules) would be shut off as well, so that mitigates THAT little problem.


Of course ... and now start to think about the price-tag of a chip with a high enough DIMAP-option to even grant natural hacking pool minus three in order to have the CED solution actual be on par with a normal decker ...

QUOTE
i guess the big thing that made me nervous was that there was that slight change in the Task Pool, because IIRC in SR2 it was only usable for tech, knowledge, B/R skills, etc and NOT for ANY skill, such as combat skills...


The only real issue that I have with skill wires and the CED is very much the same as with the new adept powers on social skills: Pool or extra dice where there normaly is no pool or extra dice ...
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Glyph
post Jan 30 2005, 11:47 PM
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There are much more efficient ways to get an advantage in ranged combat or decking.

In the ranged combat example, the character has to waste time turning on skillwires, then resist Drain from the DIMAP chip, simply to get 3 extra dice for that second shot (assuming that the GM has looser availability rules, and the combo is even possible at char-gen). It's better to have a reflex recorder, and have 1 extra die for both shots at a fraction of the cost. Not to mention adepts, who can get 6 dice of improved ability that apply to every single shot. The CED is good, but not so much so for combat skills.

As far as decking, a Math SPU: 3 is much cheaper and gives the same 3-dice benefit. If you get the pricier Encephalon: 2 as well, you wind up with 5 dice.
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tisoz
post Jan 31 2005, 12:06 AM
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Something else...

If skillwires don't work while a rigger goes into the machine, why would they work while decking?
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gamemaster
post Jan 31 2005, 01:30 AM
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i have a very good and simple solution.........come back next week with a real character...see ya.
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mfb
post Jan 31 2005, 01:35 AM
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yes. because the ability to switch back and forth between natural skill and skillwires automatically means that the character was built as a one-trick pony with no background or personality.
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Glyph
post Jan 31 2005, 05:47 AM
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It's not even a character at this point, though, just a "nugget". The player/former GM might not even be interested in playing such a character; it may have simply been curiosity about how the rules would work.


I admit, though, that I have felt the same frustration when I see people assume that a min-maxed character must automatically be a munchkin with no personality.
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Botch
post Jan 31 2005, 12:31 PM
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Another thing that could be done with the skillwire-warrior is link in the senses and connection A/V recognition systems, auto-pilot, and targeting (sentrygun-esque) to provide physical protection whilst decking.
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Lantzer
post Jan 31 2005, 04:04 PM
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I have a little rule of thumb that I picked up while playing and GMing Champions a while back...

Keep it Simple.

In general, I've found that the players who make more mechanically straightforward characters tend to be more fun to play with. This is generally because they have followed the shortest path to filling a character concept. Perhaps I'm wierd, but I look at a game system as a way to model the mental picture I have of a character in a setting. I occasionally play with the numbers to see what I can come up with, but I can't think of a time I actually had any desire to _play_ one of those monstrosities.

If a character 'looks' like an excercise in squeezing advantages out of game's mechanics, then it is likely that the character _is_ such an excercise.

Why would a character get multiple skillwire jacks slotted with exactly the same skill when 'everybody knows' that there's no point? Only because the player is attempting to exploit a case that the the rules were not designed to deal with. The reasons for this set-up are entirely rules-mechanics based. And if the player is honest, he recognises this.

I find that sort of excercise entertaining to discuss, but irritating when someone tries to actually put it into play. Probably because the character in question is usually built around a single mechanical trick, and the player gets antsy if he doesn't get a chance to show off his trick. If he does get to use it, he quickly bores of it, and starts looking for the next trick.

Now, it is possible to have a mechanical trick imbedded in an otherwise really cool character. If this is the case, would the character be any less cool if, for example, the multi-parelell-redundant skillwire trick was removed and replaced with a single system as the rules-set is built to handle? If the character is actually cool, you will see no difference. Just a few less dice being thrown around, and less time being spent buried in rulebooks trying to get the trick to work out right. If the removal of the trick somehow makes the character now totally unplayable and uncool, then you know where the player's interest truly was.

So I suppose, in practice, my reaction to this would be:

"Hey, that's neat. That's pretty clever of you. So, anyway, where's your character?"

And you haven't seen rules-rapes until you've worked with Champions.
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bitrunner
post Jan 31 2005, 06:13 PM
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hehe, the player in question is my Champions GM, and a Legionnaire!

btw, he's not a "one trick pony" unless you consider having the skillwires a "one trick"...interestingly enough, when he played the character the other night, we discovered the downside to the system. If you don't have a chip slotted, you can't use the skill. Seems obvious, but a situation arose that required anyone that had a chemistry skill (mind you, a knowledge skill, so the wires wouldn't be needed anyways, but he's all about the chips) could have a chance to notice something special about their surroundings. since he did not have said chip slotted, he could not make the test - and he had no reason to justify (with only character knowledge) that he might want to do so...

also, he's got plenty of background and personality for this character - it is almost a clone of another character he played in my last campaign that lasted for almost 5 years...he enjoys skillwires and being a jack-of-all-trades....remember that the follow-up to the saying is "master-of-none"...
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BitBasher
post Jan 31 2005, 06:20 PM
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Er, shouldn't everyone been allowed to roll at a default of +4 to int, unless the base TN for the test was higher than 8? That represnets the "I watch CSI and Mister Wizard" casual knowledge some folks might have, the odds are just bad,
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Botch
post Jan 31 2005, 06:31 PM
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QUOTE (Lantzer)
Why would a character get multiple skillwire jacks slotted with exactly the same skill when 'everybody knows' that there's no point? Only because the player is attempting to exploit a case that the the rules were not designed to deal with. The reasons for this set-up are entirely rules-mechanics based. And if the player is honest, he recognises this.

Knock, knock, knock.

Skillwires?

Under the descriptions skillwires are an artificial nervous system will built in skills culled from recording many people with the required skills.

Which leads to the questions.

If my nervous system now responds at machine speeds, why can't my actions?
If the skill is culled from recording people using the skills why can't I have a gun chip that only used chromed-speedfreak-gunbunnies as souce data so I can accurately fire the gun really fast?
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Cochise
post Jan 31 2005, 06:32 PM
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Oh, there are some other drawbacks with that skill wire setup:
  • SOTA - This character better earns lots of money to keep his chips at SOTA level.
  • Once you use DIMAP as positive options for chip coding, the negative options are in the game as well ...
  • As you already saw: Non-sloted skills just aren't availible and without due reason, the character will not slot the proper skill at the right time.
  • Chips can be taken away from him

As said before: If a player is willing to go that route, he / she's due to receive some advantages from it. That's the idea of having implants in the first place ...

@ BitBasher: It's those bad odd, that make it work out fine. He doesn't have the skill and the high TN will often prevent him from slotting the correct chip in time of "need" in more than enough situations ...
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