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> A question about high-powered games, what do you do?
mallet
post Mar 29 2005, 10:15 PM
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I'm new to this site, but have been playing Shadowrun since it came out way back when. Now after all these years with numerous characters and campaigns under my belt I figured I'd played it all. But then I found this forum...

Reading through these posts I have read about characters of such power levels that I can not really comprehend how they even qualify as being part of the "Shadowrun" universe, let alone what type of Shadowrun adventures they would undertake. Magic of 20? Double digit initiation? Flying across the pacific (by magic)? breaking the sound barrier? Etc...

But you know, to each his own, if everybodys having fun then that's great, but I do have a question for those of you that are playing or have played these types of high powered games in the past.

What do you do? What are your adventures like? Do you even do missions any more? or do you just do what you want? What's the "biggest" things you've done? Killed any Great Dragons? Travel through time? Gone to Mars?

Stories, examples, etc... Would be greatly welcome.
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Vuron
post Mar 29 2005, 10:30 PM
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I have to say I'm generally in your boat as runners have high levels of mortality and unless they make a transition to retirement their enemies and the fickle hand of fate catch up with them sooner or later.

As a result I'd say players tend to retire thier PCs to NPC status far more often than they seem to in many people's campaigns. Not that they don't do truly heroic things it's mainly through a mixture of luck, pluck and storytelling rather than supreme skill or power. So it's not unusual for the PCs to be able to claim to have hurt a faction significantly but routinely boxing with Lofwyr is not an occurance IMC conception.
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Aes
post Mar 29 2005, 10:30 PM
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Mmmm... I think the most "heroic" thing one of my PnP characters has done in SR is watch in a mixture of amazement and amusement as the cyber-sammie picked a fight with Ghostwalker (and survived all of one initiative pass before being subdued).

But then, I've yet to break the 100-karma barrier.
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Vuron
post Mar 29 2005, 10:36 PM
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QUOTE (Aes)
Mmmm... I think the most "heroic" thing one of my PnP characters has done in SR is watch in a mixture of amazement and amusement as the cyber-sammie picked a fight with Ghostwalker (and survived all of one initiative pass before being subdued).

But then, I've yet to break the 100-karma barrier.

You mean Ghostwalker didn't have Improved Reflexes +3 and a sustain focus up and running? ;)

My conception of ghostwalker is that he'd tend towards lethal response to ignorant mortals that dare pick a fight with him. Of course he might play with his meal a while before eating them...
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Maimer
post Mar 29 2005, 10:40 PM
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There are always two rules to keep in mind. No matter how powerful a party of runners gets and the gear that they carry; they end up meeting another group that is just as powerful and just as geared up. Sure it takes a lot more initiative on the part of the GM to maintain such a group, but it is also interesting to watch the looks on the runners faces when the dude they just shot (which generally would go down) don't. Second and possibly the toughest is keeping the game interesting enough for the group to continue with those characters. If the GM enjoys running the game as much as the players like playing; that makes for the best mix. The second rule I like the most is; being that most of the world has awakened and new awakened animals are always being discovered in different area; I use a mix of my own home brewed stuff. Being critters if they are in a run outside a sprawl or some new weapon / cyber-ware that is just a little above the current SOTA rules . . .therefore instituting the next jump in SOTA. This is by far the most complicated and dangerous of the two rules I use. As SOTA can get out of control quickly.

Of course the above makes for interesting plots and a lot of paperwork, but it can be fun. The other side is that know matter how powerful they get, there is always a way to keep things in perspective for the runners . . .those would be things that are out of their control. The most fun I have had is introducing new corps into the game world. Yes this is a lot of work, but I had the time to do this and use the corp when things get interesting in the game. I know a lot of people have posted against such things; keeping with the core rules and setting. But when the runners get this powerful that is really one of few options left.

The other bit of fun I had was with a run I titled "How to Control a Shodowrunner". It was based loosely on a book by Dean Koontz titled "False Memory". In the book people are controled and given phobia's by a psychologist that deeply ingrains command sequences during his sessions. He uses Japanese Hyku (??) to take control of the patient and cause them to act. I had a character in the game that was ex-military (He actually made the character before I had started working on this idea). I had a lot of fun with the guy making him do things he would generally do, and had the UCAS Military as the people responsible for all of it.

When you get a group of powerful characters, it takes a lot more imagination on the part of the GM to keep the players guessing and hoping that they don't get geeked on the next "cake walk" run.
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Dawnshadow
post Mar 29 2005, 10:54 PM
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Um.. Biggest three things that done in the high powered campaign I'm in.. (Street Sam character)

*Killed the demon from the epic of Gilgamesh.. (slight story alteration to the epic... demon got turned to stone, some dumb college kids woke it up..)
*Shot a great dragon a few times while it was wrestling another. Killed it, but only because it had been wrestling the other for an hour.. using a custom gun with 11S, at skill 10, with APDS, called shots, at short range and 10 combat pool.
*Survive a ritual created by an insane, massively powerful mage, that forced an awakening on him (astral perception, Magic 1, no adept powers, no spellcasting, no conjuring) and restored essence (changed his nature such that the cyberware, nanoware and unknown stuff in him is natural to him.. but he can't upgrade anything without losing essence again).

Now.. biggest things SURVIVED on the other hand... (mostly through skin of teeth and karma use)

Dragons using their innate spells.
Force 14 spells. (Fireball, lightning bolt)
Deus poking him with some nasty nanotech.
Having a demon with horns six drive ram him in the chest
Ticking off Ryumyo (multiple times -- yes, we did have a dragon to help keep Ryumyo occupied most of the time)
A troll cyberzombie possessed by a toxic fire elemental at high force (that regenerated, but didn't have immune to normal weapons).
Blasts comperable to small nukes (by hiding behind a force 20-30 barrier spell, as far away as we could get, typically in a T-Bird)
The metaplane of Shadow.
An antipersonal rocket into the hotel room
An antivehicular shot to the chest
10 APDS rounds from a vindicator assualt cannon

Important note: Several of these DID require immediate magical first aid by spellcasters of skill, spell pool, and karma sufficient to cause even a Sam with .5 essence to recover 6 boxes of damage.. by the time the ritual took place, he was lovers with one of the mages, so she tended to throw the heal spell at a lot higher force then she should (which typically meant 10 boxes recovered, and her nearly passing out)

There's been no time travel, no flight higher than a suborbital takes you, no beating great dragons (or regular dragons) in melee alone..

This is a 300+ karma PC, in an immensely high-magic campaign, that was built and developed throughout as a human tank more than anything else, with a max charisma of 5.. and the PC has taken a lot of damage over the game... and has been cut off from his ability to maintain the deltaware in him.
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Paul
post Mar 29 2005, 11:46 PM
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And on the opposite end of the spectrum, I am running a high powered campaign and if the players ever ran into a Dragon they'd be toast. In my own games Dragons are off the charts. No PC will ever kil one in mygame. Ever.
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toturi
post Mar 29 2005, 11:45 PM
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Great Dragons... no, they can't kill it, simply because they are Ultimate NPCs. Normal dragons, we'll see.

High powered campaigns are, by defination, high powered. The PCs should kick serious ass and take names. They should go through SWAT and FRT like other runners go through gangers (which just means that they theorectically should, but doesn't mean one or two of them don't die from it).
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Aes
post Mar 29 2005, 11:55 PM
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QUOTE (Vuron)
QUOTE (Aes @ Mar 29 2005, 05:30 PM)
Mmmm... I think the most "heroic" thing one of my PnP characters has done in SR is watch in a mixture of amazement and amusement as the cyber-sammie picked a fight with Ghostwalker (and survived all of one initiative pass before being subdued).

But then, I've yet to break the 100-karma barrier.

You mean Ghostwalker didn't have Improved Reflexes +3 and a sustain focus up and running? ;)

My conception of ghostwalker is that he'd tend towards lethal response to ignorant mortals that dare pick a fight with him. Of course he might play with his meal a while before eating them...

Well, long story short everyone in our group were under a compulsion critter power to protect some sort of magic artifact (henceforth known as the magic stick). When the entire group turned up to hand it over to ghostwalker and be free of the compulsion, the street sammie was compelled to defend the magic stick. So in the sammies defense, GW knew he didn't mean to get bitchslapped by the dragon. Was just that he hadn't got a choice :P
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FrostyNSO
post Mar 30 2005, 12:20 AM
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Craziest thing I've seen a PC do was a one man SWAT smackdown.
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DrJest
post Mar 30 2005, 12:40 AM
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My main character had about 300 karma, and prior to his retirement had kind of graduated from running the shadows because he needed the cash to more of a Hooding outlook on life.

Although it was kind of fun to walk up to the low-paid and streetwise security guards, say "Good evening gentlemen. My name is Harlequin*. Walk away." and watch them do it :)

*yeah, yeah, I know. I used the name back before ol' Paintface was first published. Interestingly, one of my GM's later decided that the Harley we all know and variously love, hate or are completely indifferent to was highly amused at my street name and took an interest in my career. Now THAT was scary.
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mfb
post Mar 30 2005, 12:51 AM
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the particular character that's referenced in the initial post actually doesn't see that much play, for obvious reasons. as far as i'm aware, the situation that character found himself embroiled in is the most action that character's ever seen in the game he's played in. it was certainly the most action he's seen in a long, long time.

which isn't to say he's not around, doing things, fairly often. he just doesn't very often shoot people, or cast destructive spells, or get attacked. power like his tends to draw a lot of attention and make a lot of enemies (it certainly did in that case).

in other words, the character is well-played. he doesn't break the game just because he can, he doesn't try to horn in on the action generated by other, far less powerful characters.
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Paul
post Mar 30 2005, 01:00 AM
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I don't think a High Powered character breaks a game at all-in fact we sort of like that 200 point to 250 point (on the point system) characters. Established. That's where we like it. For us it works fine.

My current game, Damage Incorporated (Yes we stole the title..) is about a Merc Squad that averages wellover 200 points a character.

In the past I have run other higher powered games: Thirty Days of Night, Devil's Tools, Speak the Word, In the Dragons secret Service and more.

Now that I'm done Pimpin' my games... 8)
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Crimson Jack
post Mar 30 2005, 01:51 AM
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I just recently got my group to shelf their 300+ karma characters in lieu of a new game with pregenerated characters. It's been refreshing for all of us. Me, mostly (as GM).

While it isn't necessarily hard to write adventures for high-karma characters, every single adventure (notice I don't use the word "run") feels like another over-the-top Hollywood summer action movie. The power scale is always through the roof and runs never seem to focus on any particular area for too long (globe-trotting campaign). This is nice when a GM and group want to see a lot of different scenery, but wears on everyone when there's no stability in the game. Consider me happy that we're three runs into our new characters/game and all of the runs have taken place in Seattle... where they always used to when we were all starry-eyed about the game.
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Sharaloth
post Mar 30 2005, 02:10 AM
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If you're going to run a high-powered campaign (like I do, I'm Dawnshadow's GM), you might want to have a plan. I run my games in discrete plot arcs, with a steadily increasing power level as the PC's rack up karma. Keep the PC's interested (even as they become like unto gods) by making the story interesting, having NPC's with personality, remembering the history of the characters and letting it work out. Most importantly know where you're going (not exact details, no, the players will inevitably screw detailed plans over, but always keep in mind the next twist in the road).

That said, these 300+ karma characters, under KP rules that allow them to reroll failures for 1 KP no matter how many times they try it on the same roll (13 rerolls on the pistols test? That's only 13 Karma pool points!), with skills in the 10+ range and enough sheer power to terrify run of the mill Cyberzombies into turning tail and running... well, they tend to end up nearly dying on a fairly regular basis.

I think that show's I'm doing my job nicely.
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Dawnshadow
post Mar 30 2005, 05:45 AM
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Regular basis near death.. um... The magician's way adept averages a deadly wound a run.. the regular adept is I think about half that. The Sam is the one that seems to be surviving more.. but he takes his fair share.

And we've never spent 13 karma on a single test.
A single combat, yes.. a single test, no.

What was it? 15 karma taking down the troll magician in melee for the magician's way adept? 2 rerolls per attack? Serious stun wounds are vicious equalizers.

That being said, most of our runs are Seattle area.. we've just done a few that weren't.. short trip to England, New York, Toronto and now Amazonia.
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Maimer
post Mar 30 2005, 05:58 AM
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I was part of a group years ago that all our characters where around the 250 to 300 range. We routinly took down SWAT teams and Lonestar was a piece of cake.

We even managed to kill a dragon (Not a great dragon, ni-to impossible in my book and don't even want to attempt it.) Of course the whole thing was a fluke accident too. It just turned out that way, and totally surprised the GM.

That being said, I can remember more times my character was near dead and into the over-flow box during any game and had to rely on the Mage to heal us.

Like was stated above, always have an ideas and plot of where you want the game to go. As a seasoned runner and GM I'm here to tell you that we gamers will never do what is expected. Just make sure you have an idea of where you want the campaign to end up. When you'r there, its time to consider another story arche, or tell the players that its time to retire the characters and start new. Make a few game sessions out of them retiring. And get ready to have them start running from Lone-star again.
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SpasticTeapot
post Mar 30 2005, 06:27 AM
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Simple. Start making the world come to an end...and make the shadowrunners the only ones who can save it. Even the most freakish of mages is going to have some trouble against the Horrors. Street samurai of absurd caliber are going to get thrown about by powerful magic, and deckers will find themselves facing Deus. (We'll make him a Horror in digital form for purposes of this timeline, okay? Yes, this makes about as much sense as Dunkhelzahn reincarnating as a small toaster, but bear with me.) The characters are going to need some powerful mojo to beat them, and the only way to get it is to go to a shrine/guru/Harlequin/whatever where they can Gain infinite power/Gain the "spirits" of dead 'runners to aid them, boosting abilities to unholy levels/Get themselves possessed by their totem/Reincarnate Dunkelzahn/Find the Rubber Chew Toy of Truth and Justice. They'll find themselves cowering in fear as the enemy passes by, avoiding combat wherever possible, and keeping down the magic to avoid tipping off baddies in the astral plane. Characters will have to use every trick they know to make it to their destination, and even then they're in for a tough fight against one really big, nasty horror who is maintaining the gate/portal/McDonalds allowing them to remain in this plane.
If they succeed, make them all immortal spirits, or even minor totems in their own right. (Think Harlequin.) They'll become NPCs, but they may even be the source of magic for your next character!
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Critias
post Mar 30 2005, 07:16 PM
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Or, instead, you could play Shadowrun.
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torzzzzz
post Mar 30 2005, 07:33 PM
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Well I would love to say I have a high powered character but I don't! Have just broken the 30 karma barrier with one of my runners and I am really pleased. You asked how they get to the 100's well my only advice would be what I am doing with mine now............... 'CAREFULLY'!

Torz x ;)
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lorthazar
post Mar 30 2005, 07:30 PM
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a 300+ karma game is not unplayable in fact if done right on the GM's part is just as fun as beginning. The party have too much wiz gear? Drop a LoneStar helicopter on the place they hide most of it. Decker making mince meat of hosts? Start having the data you need in cold storage (off net). Samurai beating crap out of LoneStar and FRT? Have Colloton lend LS some Rangers. Rigger's super tank and drones walking over everything? Have some yahoos steal a Stonewall and start blasting everything including the riggers current love interests condoplex. Mage starting to really annoy you? Shedim, Imps, free Spirits, FAB III, and background counts.
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Mortax
post Mar 30 2005, 09:09 PM
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The only time I've ever had an overly powered PC, that is one that I stopped playing because it was too powerfull, was old Mortax.

Full mage with over 200 karma? Kinda scary.
Vampire? Frightening.
Put them together and well, I think the only way it could have been more munchkined would have been to make it a physmage, but they didn't have those in 1st edition.

It was fun to play, but after a while, it gets a bit boring.

Other wise? I prefer a bit more low powered myself. The group I currently GM for might be called high power, but they have more than enough weeknesses for me to smite them if it became nessisary, so I don't consider them over powered. Hell, one creature I created (based off a licker from Resident Evil) nearly took them by itself.

High powered is a matter of perspective. One GD wins, no matter how powerfull they are. (unless another GD helps.) Hell, if one running team is that strong, there are at least a dozen like them that can kick their hoops.
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Krazy
post Mar 31 2005, 02:26 AM
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Our biggest character only hit about 5 karma, but well, in sort of chronological order

1. put on permanent retainer by daimen knight
2. assassinated seven yakuza lieutenants in 14 days (massive debts paid to every other crime syndicate we pissed off, which was all of them)
3. Joined the Calfree resistance for a year. how we convinced the GM to do it I don't know
4. built a basically impenetrable base in seattle
5. incorporated and then hired staff (hey amazing what you can buy legally)
6. took a run to Denver (I took over GMing)
7. Helped stage the over-throw of atzlan. (it was that or stage an invasion into atlzan it's self, figuring out the rules for a fairchild republic A-10 ended that idea)
8. set up a new crew in denver (began running side-by-side campains) with the cash from the bounty on a couple of (dead) blood mages and a convoy of corrupt telesmia. as well as an RD facility in Denver, an orphanage and school in Seattle, and a large magic library.

this between 59 and 62. and in case you're wondering the group was actually more like a platoon, an average of six-8 runners per session, but the Yak assassination took all 15 of us. (so it was a bit much to GM)
and the rules were a bit hollywood, but I think that everyone used Hand of God by the end. and my personal character was at the edge of death 7 times.
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Fortune
post Mar 31 2005, 02:36 AM
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And after all that you only received 5 Karma?
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Tanka
post Mar 31 2005, 02:51 AM
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Maybe he means 5 Karma Pool instead?
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