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> DICE POOLS, only in Combat?
Luca
post Feb 1 2005, 11:14 PM
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i'm a bit new of this game and so probably I'm asking something obvious.
Can dice pools only be used in combats?
I think that they must be used in combat, one of my players is not so sure about that.
If a rigger is trying to drive a rotorwing is a storm (but not in combat) is it allowed to use control pool or he must only rely on Karma pool?
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mfb
post Feb 1 2005, 11:17 PM
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control pool can be used anytime you're controlling a rigged vehicle.
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James McMurray
post Feb 1 2005, 11:18 PM
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You can use any of your pools outside of combat, even the combat pool. For example, if you are in target practice or a competition, you can use combat pool to add to your shot.

If you couldn't, then you would be better at shooting targets while in a firefight than when out of one. :)

"Dammit! I just can't seem to hit the target today. Joe, can I get you to fire off a few rounds at me?"
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Aes
post Feb 1 2005, 11:35 PM
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IIRC, Combat pool can be used for combat maneuvers (IE: stuff that involves weapon), control pool for anything that relates to vehicles (while jacked in and rigging), hacking pool to anything related to decking (while running hot ASIST), spell pool to all magicky stuff and task pool to all kinds of nice stuff (B/R etc).
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Crimson Jack
post Feb 2 2005, 01:46 AM
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QUOTE
Players may allocate dice from the Combat Pool to any offensive or defensive combat-related tests, such as Pistols, Bows, Throwing Weapons, Clubs, Unarmed Combat or any similar offensive Combat Skill Tests.  They may also use dice from the Combat Pool to dodge and help resist damage from normal attacks.


By the letter of the law, your Combat Pool can be used outside of combat.
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Cynic project
post Feb 2 2005, 01:52 AM
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QUOTE (Crimson Jack)
QUOTE
Players may allocate dice from the Combat Pool to any offensive or defensive combat-related tests, such as Pistols, Bows, Throwing Weapons, Clubs, Unarmed Combat or any similar offensive Combat Skill Tests.  They may also use dice from the Combat Pool to dodge and help resist damage from normal attacks.


By the letter of the law, your Combat Pool can be used outside of combat.

Combat pool is just a name. It could be called action pool and do the same thing. Besides any skill that you could use it,are used mainly in combat. Yes, you can use those dice to shot a target, at a shooting range. But if you some how couldn't do,then could use combat pool to shot someone with a sniper rifle?
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Crimson Jack
post Feb 2 2005, 01:55 AM
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Right. That was my point. What do mean by your last question CP?
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Sandoval Smith
post Feb 2 2005, 02:00 AM
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He meant what would the logic be in not being able to use combat pool to shoot at a picture of a man, but if you shift a little to the left, to the guy sitting next to the picture, you suddenly have all of these extra dice.
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Crimson Jack
post Feb 2 2005, 02:05 AM
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Ah, okay. I wasn't sure if that was a rhetorical question or something he was posing in retort. That makes sense and I agree. :P
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Luca
post Feb 2 2005, 08:09 AM
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It does not make sense to me to use too often the dice pools outside combat. The problem is that one do not know how to manage the regeneration of dices.
A rigger have to do a drive test outside combat: he is driving a car on an old road which runs too near to a cliff during a storm. HE is in a stress situation, therefore he uses the control pool for the test and he is successful. 4 seconds after the first test a tree fall in the middle of the road and the rigger want to brake and(again) not fall out of the cliff. He can use still the control pool, but how much the pool is regenerated? OK, the tree fell 4 seconds after the first test, so because a combat turn is 3 seconds, one must suggest that the pool is regenerated.....but what happens if the tree fell 2 seconds after the first test?
I know the example is absurd and the Master can make his life easy simply by putting the tree to fall after 3 seconds....but what exactly happens in situation like these?
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Crimson Jack
post Feb 2 2005, 08:14 AM
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QUOTE (Luca)
The problem is that one do not know how to manage the regeneration of dices.

Have the pool refresh after the taxing scene. Once the stress is gone... POOF... dice pool regenerates. Just a thought.
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tisoz
post Feb 2 2005, 09:16 AM
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QUOTE (Luca)
It does not make sense to me to use too often the dice pools outside combat. The problem is that one do not know how to manage the regeneration of dices.
A rigger have to do a drive test outside combat: he is driving a car on an old road which runs too near to a cliff during a storm. HE is in a stress situation, therefore he uses the control pool for the test and he is successful. 4 seconds after the first test a tree fall in the middle of the road and the rigger want to brake and(again) not fall out of the cliff. He can use still the control pool, but how much the pool is regenerated? OK, the tree fell 4 seconds after the first test, so because a combat turn is 3 seconds, one must suggest that the pool is regenerated.....but what happens if the tree fell 2 seconds after the first test?
I know the example is absurd and the Master can make his life easy simply by putting the tree to fall after 3 seconds....but what exactly happens in situation like these?

I'd call it combat, man vs nature.
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mintcar
post Feb 2 2005, 10:17 AM
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The rules for dice pools only make sense if they are only used in situations where there´s some kind of opposition. I don´t think characters are ment to be twice as good at stuff they use pools for. I see pools as a means of puting some stratagy into certain important situations. When you are in a combat situation, having your combat pool handy doesn´t automaticly improve your chanses because your opponent also has one to counter with. Dice pools can only be a manageble game mechanic if you only use them in antagonistic situations, or complex procedures like rital sorcery. I would never allow any dice from any pool eccept task pool to be used in a single skill test out of combat. Yes it seems unfair, but the game doesn´t make any sense if this is handled differently. Why would a character with no combat training be able to double her chances when shooting a target, while being stuck with her basic skill when doing the thing she´s really good at, what ever it is? I think this is the big dilemma.

My solution is to keep a strict difference between situations where pools are used and situations where its not used. When a pool is used, there should be an opposing force also using the same pool (unless the opposing force is unable to use said pool, in wich case there is an appropriate advantage). There are a few exceptions to this: One is when there´s a complex procedure going on, like some cases of ritual sorcery or enchanting. There is no opposing force, but the reason for using dice pools is the same; to put some strategy into the procedure in this case. The purpose is NOT to make you better at preforming the procedure than you would be in a single skill test. And these situations are resolved in a manner that compensates the extra dice with several, additional, difficult tests so that isn´t even the case. The other exception is task pool, wich I think is a bit confusing. It´s not really like the other pools, because it´s really just a bonus gained from certain cyberware.

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Austere Emancipa...
post Feb 2 2005, 10:48 AM
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QUOTE (mintcar)
Why would a character with no combat training be able to double her chances when shooting a target, while being stuck with her basic skill when doing the thing she´s really good at, what ever it is? I think this is the big dilemma.

There's only a dilemma there if you assume that a "success" in a "test" is a concrete thing and always describes the ability of the character acting instead of the nature of what is happening, and that successes in different kinds of tests are always equal in value and mean the exact same thing.

In other words, it's only a problem if you assume that getting 4 successes in shooting at a paper target on a shooting range means that you are a good shooter, and getting 2 successes in repairing a bike means you're a bad mechanic, and the two together mean that you are twice as good at shooting as you are at repairing bikes.

But successes aren't meant to work like that. Getting 4 successes when shooting at a paper target doesn't make you a good shooter, nor is the degree of success meaningfully comparable to the degree success of a mechanic who got N successes on his/her test. Successes are a purely abstract system of indicating how well you succeed at something, and can only meaningfully be compared to some other successes when the parameters of the tests are 100% equal -- and even then it's more and indicator of what's abstracted as "luck" (dice rolls) than of skill.

I'm interested in how you then explain the fact that characters tend to manage certain tasks much easier during combat than they would outside of combat. For example, under your ruling a sniper is twice as likely to hit a still vehicle when someone is shooting at him/her (but missing, thus no or little CP spent on Dodging) than s/he would be if s/he were to try to hit the same vehicle at his leisure.

This post has been edited by Austere Emancipator: Feb 2 2005, 10:52 AM
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Luca
post Feb 2 2005, 11:36 AM
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Sorry if it could seem dumb to ask it again but i'm quite new to Shadowrun rules, expecially 3rd edition.
SO, IN summary, in the above example you are for regenerating or not the pool between the two tests? Consider that it is not a combat in the normal sense and there are no combat turns or combat passes (who can calculate the reaction of a falling tree?)
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Sandoval Smith
post Feb 2 2005, 12:08 PM
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If you are going to be throwing repeated tests at a character, then the pools should regenerate every three seconds.

I can't think of a situation where you would need to make a test, but would not be able to use an associated pool. They get to use just as many dice shooting the picture of a man as they do the man.
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mintcar
post Feb 2 2005, 12:13 PM
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Austere Emancipator: You do have a point. But do you not agree that the purpouse of a skill test is simply to find out how well you succed, and the purpous of combat pool is to add tactics to combat. Why then roll twice as many dice when there is no element of tactics in using the die pool? Then adjust the difference between that and a regular test by enterpreting the amount of successes differently? Doesn´t it make more sense to lower the difficulty to hit the target when there´s no stress? Or to apply more penalties for being under fire? This is allready part of the game.

My point is that you should be consistent in your use of dice pools, and it makes more sense not to use them in single skill tests.
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Austere Emancipa...
post Feb 2 2005, 12:47 PM
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QUOTE (mintcar)
But do you not agree that [...] the purpous of combat pool is to add tactics to combat.

No, I don't agree it's necessarily tactics that it adds to combat, I think of it more as what you concentrate on in combat. Regardless of your tactics or lack thereof, you can take a snapshot at the enemy while dedicating yourself mostly to staying out of the way of the incoming bullets (spending all CP on Dodging, none on shooting) or you can concentrate on the shooting while paying little attention to incoming fire (spending all CP on shooting, none on Dodging).

For example, while moving accross a 6-meter-wide street, if a character uses all his CP on Dodging and none on shooting, while still taking a few quick shots at an opponent, I visualize that as him sprinting in a semi-crouched position and making every effort to use cover effectively, to make him as small a target as possible, etc. and paying little attention to what he's shooting at.

On the other hand, if the same character were using all his CP on shooting and none on Dodging, I see that as him jogging/sidestepping quickly but steadily accross the street in an upright position while concentrating on his opponent and firing a few accurate shots.

QUOTE (mintcar)
Then adjust the difference between that and a regular test by enterpreting the amount of successes differently?

The tests where Combat or Control Pool are applicable are completely separate from the tests where they aren't, so you have to "interprete" the successes differently anyway. 4 successes in melee combat cannot possibly mean the exact same thing as 4 successes in Electronics.

QUOTE (mintcar)
Doesn´t it make more sense to lower the difficulty to hit the target when there´s no stress? Or to apply more penalties for being under fire? This is allready part of the game.

No it isn't. At least I have never noticed any penalties to ranged attacks for being under stress or under fire.

[Edit]Screw gender-neutrality, it's too much trouble, and plural forms just don't fit these kinds of examples.[/Edit]
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hahnsoo
post Feb 2 2005, 12:55 PM
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I've always thought that Pool dice represents natural talent, the contribution of Attributes to the active use of skills. After all, they are directly calculated from your attributes (with some modification from things like VCR, Encephalon, Tactical Computers and other ware). While this can represent tactical knowledge (as evidenced by the Tactical Computer), it probably is a lot more than just that.
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Austere Emancipa...
post Feb 2 2005, 01:05 PM
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Perhaps I should correct my above message to say that I think of the use of Combat Pool as representing what you concentrate on in combat. I certainly did not mean to suggest that those with greater Combat Pools are better at concentrating or anything of the sort.
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mintcar
post Feb 2 2005, 02:11 PM
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1: What you are describing are tactical choices in combat, and represent exactly the reason for having dice pools in the game.

2: Fine, but that doesn´t give any good reason for using combat pool in single skill tests.

3: The use of modifiers is a mechanic heavily used in the game. A few more would easily solve your concern about the sniper. And it would be a much better solution than using combat pool out of combat, in my point of view. Read below for more reasoning on this. I´m beginning to swing your way.

My opinion is still that there´s no reason for using dice pools except in situations that are trailed in detail by the rules, like in combat. (again, task pool aside)

Having said that, I have to say you are making more sense than I would like to admit. I still think the reason for using pools dissapear when a single test should be preformed. But the possebility of enterpreting successes differently when using dice pools opens for an even more consistant use of dice pools. It is tempting to be able to give the simple anwer "sure, you can always use them" when players ask if they can use their dice pool. I just think that there needs to be a line between pools and no pools. And that line can not go between the combat skills and the social skills. I´d much rather have it go between combat and no combat.

I think that I´ve always enterpreted successes differently depending on if its combat or not. So I would probably say shooting a target at the shooting range is more similar to using a B/R skill or something, in terms of how the skill is used in the game and why. You´re simply out to determine if the test succeeds and how good. If, on the other hand a sniper is not in a combat situation, but will engage combat by his shot, targeting a vehicle or a person —then I would allow full use of combat pool, naturally. There really does need to be a very clear difference between tests made with pools and tests without. Maybe its easier to define conditions when pools cannot be used. You know, those situations covered in the "skills" chapter in the BBB as opposed to the "magic" or "combat" chapter.

So instead of using modifiers to even things up (I trash that idea even though it was mine) you would tell the character who gets one success when shooting a target, then gets five when shooting his friend in the leg, that its two entirely different situations in the game and the extra successes go towards more damage that is then soaked by the target. What would you tell the guy running around the stadium while someone else is at the shooting range? Whats the reason then that one gets twice as many dice?
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James McMurray
post Feb 2 2005, 04:04 PM
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So let's say I'm shooting at a target, TN6, I need one success to hit it. I've got pistols 4, so I've got a decent chance to hit it. But then someone starts shooting at me. I ignore the shots and keep firing at my target, but sine I'm not in combat I can add 4 combat pool dice and greatly increase my chance to hit the target?
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mfb
post Feb 2 2005, 04:28 PM
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you can use your combat pool any time you shoot a gun, even when no one's shooting back at you.
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James McMurray
post Feb 2 2005, 05:06 PM
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That's the way I do it too. Mine was more of a question to those that say you can't use pool out of combat. I'm wondering how they rationalize the above scenario.
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mfb
post Feb 2 2005, 05:24 PM
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ah. yes, i agree. i think that if using combat pool outside combat doesn't make sense to you, you're probably looking at it the wrong way. combat pool is purely a game mechanic; if the fluff you've come up with for combat pool conflicts with the mechanics, change the fluff.
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