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> Rocker Archtype?, Bring back the Synthlink!
RunnerPaul
post Mar 19 2005, 10:49 PM
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One piece of cyberware that was never translated into 3rd edition was the Synthlink.

For those of you not familiar with it, the synthlink was like a highly specialized version of the remote control deck rigger headware, that instead of controlling drones, would control a bank of music synthesizers. The twist to it, was, that in addition to taking straight Direct Neural Interface control, the thing was also capable of translating body movements, such as dance or gestures, into command sets that'd drive the synthesizers. It could also be set up to take input keyed off of the position of the diaphram, vocal cords, and mouth, so that the user's singing could also be used to control the synths, resulting in music acompaniment that perfectly complements the vocal performance. A fairly complicated piece of cyberware, but esentially, all it is is a headware RCD coupled with a limited simrig to get the body/muscle position data, and a dedicated processor to convert the ASIST signals from the limited simrig into commands that the RCD can then transmit to the synthesiser banks.

It was also a implant that was highly utilized by the Rocker Archtype, which was responsible for much of the Big-Hair 80's goodness that permeated the early edition Shadowrun products. I know that the general consensus is that the Rocker Archtype has nothing to add to a well designed Runner team, but with the talk of the changes that Matrix 2.0 and it's "Augmented Reality" will bring to the system, I think the Rocker is a character type that's already been living in an "Augmented Reality" world for quite some time. After all a synthlink equipped rocker can get a drum line going with a tap of a foot and summon guitar chords with the wave of a hand, as opposed to being tethered by a cable hooked into one's datajack, drooling and comatose while trying to do one's thing like Riggers and Deckers have been up to this point. Fits in well with the "mobile digital wizard" concept.

And while some people will say that the Rocker Archtype is purely a product of the 80s, I think that current events have begun to justify how a Rocker would fit in with living on the fringes of society and doing quasi-illegal activities.

Right now, all your big corporate record labels are fighting the new technologies for music distribution that are coming out, because they stand to make a signifigantly smaller amount of money overall under new electronic methods of distribution, while at the same time, losing control over what material gets exposed to the public so they can regulate what has the potential to become a hit. On the flipside, many new independent artists are embracing the new tools to try and build a fanbase, thus inadverntly placing themselves in the line of fire when the big corporatations lash out at things like filesharing and independent netcasting "radio stations".

By Shadowrun's time, we know that nigh-unbreakable copy protection in place on prerecorded media, manufactured bands, and pop music written by computer program instead of the actual artistic talent of a human songwriter, are all comonplace. In other words, big buisness, and not the independent artist, won the war for the fate of the recording industry. An independent musician, struggling to make a name for themselves seperate of the industry, while not living as far on the edge of society and the law as your typcial shadowrunner, is definately in the same neighborhood.

I say that bringing the rocker archtype back for SR4, is the perfect chance to both bring back a nostalgic feel for those of us who remember the old editions, as well as further define the flavor of the updated gameworld. Bring the game back to it's (big, dyed hair) roots!
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apple
post Mar 19 2005, 11:05 PM
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I am afraid that a rocker has very little to do with Shadowrunner and what they normally do ...

SYL
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CanvasBack
post Mar 19 2005, 11:21 PM
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Two words.


Be Cool.
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Arethusa
post Mar 19 2005, 11:16 PM
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That's a great idea. Let's further define the flavor of an updated gameworld by going back in time 20 years to 80s.
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FrostyNSO
post Mar 19 2005, 11:20 PM
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"Kick-start my hearrrt!"
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Wounded Ronin
post Mar 20 2005, 12:22 AM
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QUOTE (Arethusa)
That's a great idea. Let's further define the flavor of an updated gameworld by going back in time 20 years to 80s.

The game is *about* the 80s. Back in the 2nd edition days, I didn't pick up a sourcebook with a picture of SMG-wielding magical punk rockers so that I could play a non-80s game.

There needs to be elves with mullets and leather jackets, rampant fear of the Japanese, and people wearing cotton yukatas to sleep.
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FrostyNSO
post Mar 20 2005, 12:39 AM
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Indeed, much of Shadowrun is rooted in the fears, hates, and loves of the 80's. For me, you'll never take the 80's out of SR, and that includes the Rocker.
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GunnerJ
post Mar 20 2005, 12:49 AM
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Solution: update the now-clearly-nutty assumptions about technology rooted in what was available 20 years ago, maintain the flavor. It's not impossible, in fact, it has the potential to be amazing.
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Kesh
post Mar 20 2005, 03:44 AM
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I'd say the synthlink functions should just be blended into the new wireless Matrix system. It's just another peripheral to interface with.
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RunnerPaul
post Mar 20 2005, 04:06 AM
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QUOTE (Kesh)
I'd say the synthlink functions should just be blended into the new wireless Matrix system. It's just another peripheral to interface with.

Some of it, I can see: Body movement/gestures triggering commands, at least in a simple form, would almost be required for any sort of "augmented reality" interface overlaid onto the real world. I could still see a place for the synthlink for translating complex dance steps, or singing, into control outputs.

Still, it's funny that depending on how universal the new Matrix 2.0 is supposed to be, every character could have a chance to be an Amateur Rocker.
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Wounded Ronin
post Mar 20 2005, 05:22 AM
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Heh, more evidence that it's all about the 80s...Real Leather and Synthetic Leather are still on the equipment lists with all the other armor. However, considering the cost of these items, and the fact that they only provide a point or two of Impact armor, it's kind of a strange item to list alongside ballistic armor, isn't it? But it's there because of the influence of the 80s upon the game.
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FrostyNSO
post Mar 20 2005, 05:41 AM
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And there's nothing wrong with that, right??? My main character wears a synth-leather jacket over his armor vest right now 8)
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Link
post Mar 20 2005, 02:00 PM
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QUOTE
That's a great idea. Let's further define the flavor of an updated gameworld by going back in time 20 years to 80s.


Plus Ca Change :D
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mintcar
post Mar 20 2005, 05:43 PM
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...la plus c'est la meme

Letīs hope things change so much they become a little more the same when it comes to the openin story. Plus Ca Change was a lot better than the one in 3:d ed.
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Demonseed Elite
post Mar 20 2005, 07:16 PM
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While I'd be one of the voices against the idea of "returning to the 80s", I don't think it'd be contrary to the idea of SR4 (even without the 80s) to bring back the "cultural figure against the mainstream" idea. I think it fits well. Misfits make good protagonists.
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mintcar
post Mar 20 2005, 09:25 PM
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It would work better like an example character in a fluff text, that is supported in the rules only by the possibility of doing such a character (which exists in any Shadowrun edition so far). There would not be enough rocker shadowrunners for it to be an actual archetype.
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Kanada Ten
post Mar 20 2005, 09:57 PM
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I think it's funny that modern day musicians are more involved with the criminal world than ever before and yet somehow calling it a Rocker rather then Rapper ruins the update. That said, we certainly don't need an archetype with special rules.
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mintcar
post Mar 20 2005, 10:12 PM
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Hehe. Well, maybe if I had gotten my copy of Shadowbeat when it was published, I wouldnīt have thought the rocker archetype to be so ridiculous. If the whole thing would remind people of criminal musicians today, it would work. I seem to forget that rock was not always played by old millionaires.

<<<edit>>> Maybe it wouldnīt actually have to remind of anything thatīs big today. It certainly wouldnīt have to be rappers, as that might lead to the same situation in a few years. It really needs to NOT remind people of anyone who is an über rich diva today though.

edit 2. My first "rocker" character would be like Jimmy Cliff in "The Harder They Come". :D
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Kanada Ten
post Mar 20 2005, 10:18 PM
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QUOTE
I seem to forget that rock was not always played by old millionaires.

So true.

One of the songs that came out some time ago, "Gone 'til November" (or something), really made me think about the dual life of a not yet signed musician and criminal.
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mintcar
post Mar 20 2005, 10:31 PM
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My edits became a bit to many up there. I should have kept it simple. Has anybody seen The Harder They Come? Itīs about exactly that line between trying to make it in the buisness and being swept into criminal activities.
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hahnsoo
post Mar 20 2005, 10:55 PM
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We do need rules for it, I think. I think that they should set down just the barebones framework for music performance, even if it's just "Roll the skill against this TN", instead of just dumping it into the vague Knowledge Skill category, only to be used for magical Centering. Shadowbeat is SR1, and hasn't gotten an update since then... and it used friggin' Open Tests to determine outcomes (ugh).

This would facilitate not only someone who wanted to play a Rocker (a rare, but quirky, character, perhaps like El Mariachi), but also the street sam who wanted to pick up a few guitar lessons to win over a romantic interest or a decker who is really into some form of electronic music performance.
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post Mar 20 2005, 10:57 PM
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QUOTE (Kanada Ten)
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I seem to forget that rock was not always played by old millionaires.

So true.

One of the songs that came out some time ago, "Gone 'til November" (or something), really made me think about the dual life of a not yet signed musician and criminal.

Yeah. Good song, too.
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Kesh
post Mar 21 2005, 12:44 AM
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QUOTE (Kanada Ten)
I think it's funny that modern day musicians are more involved with the criminal world than ever before and yet somehow calling it a Rocker rather then Rapper ruins the update. That said, we certainly don't need an archetype with special rules.

That's... actually a damn good point. it actually plays up the dystopian angle, in a way... with all the synthetic music around by then, real performers would have to compete heavily just to survive. Still, I'd see them more as hiring runners, than being runners.
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RunnerPaul
post Mar 21 2005, 03:31 AM
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QUOTE (Kesh)
Still, I'd see them more as hiring runners, than being runners.

Or as a "day job" that a runner can take that's a little bit less restricting than the typical upright uptight day job.
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Young Freud
post Mar 21 2005, 04:23 AM
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QUOTE (Kesh)
QUOTE (Kanada Ten @ Mar 20 2005, 12:57 PM)
I think it's funny that modern day musicians are more involved with the criminal world than ever before and yet somehow calling it a Rocker rather then Rapper ruins the update.  That said, we certainly don't need an archetype with special rules.

That's... actually a damn good point. it actually plays up the dystopian angle, in a way... with all the synthetic music around by then, real performers would have to compete heavily just to survive. Still, I'd see them more as hiring runners, than being runners.

Of course, rappers don't have the monopoly on criminal behavior. Got two words for you: Phil Spector.

But yeah, I see original performance and composition to become less and less common (although would still be around and popular), while sampling and mashups of old material to become the mainstream in 206x-7x, with all the increases in availability and Sturgeon's law that comes with it.
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