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> Shadowrun 3rd Revised, our backs turned, looking down the path
Kagetenshi
post Apr 13 2005, 05:38 PM
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Update: contrary to my own statement, I have begun this project. I will use this space at the top to link to all subthreads in the project. The first post of every thread for the project will link to every other thread for the project.

Jon’s Glorious Karma Character Generation System (S3CKS)

Decking

Ranged Combat

Astral Space, Essence, and the Awakened

New Gear

Cyberware

Time, Pool, and the Flow of Combat

_________________________________________________
The following books are the ones that this project is not considering for its ruleset. Ideas from these books can be considered, and a sufficiently persuasive argument may result in a book entering SR3R canon (or leaving it), but by default nothing in a book listed here that is not introduced in an earlier book exists in SR3R, and no new rules apply from these books.

Liber Non Grata:

Any book for Shadowrun, Fourth Edition

State of the Art: 2064

Shadows of Asia

Shadows of Europe

Loose Alliances

System Failure

Mr. Johnson's Little Black Book
_________________________________________________

Let me open by saying that I am not, at this time, trying to compile a revision to Shadowrun 3rd Edition. It's way the hell too early for that, and there's still a chance (however slim it may seem at times) that I'll fall in love with SR4, that it will be everything I've always wanted and more (or at least an improvement).

That being said: pretend you know nothing about 4th ed. Pretend someone came up to you and said they were doing a 4th edition, and that it was going be more a revision of the current rules than an overhaul. They're just asking you about the rules, not the world in general. What would you tell them you want to see revised, and what if any suggestions would you have for how to revise it to do what you want?

The obvious example that I'll get out of the way now isn't actually in the rules, it's in the organization. It's no secret that I believe that the main weakness of SR3, completely overwhelming anything else, is its complete lack of organization and proper ease of cross-referencing. Lack of indices, rulesets split up amongst widely disparate books and pages… I realized, upon purchasing the first few Shadowrun PDFs, that a big part of my mastery of the rules is not, in fact, the chunks I have memorized (though they help)… no, it's largely due to the fact that my spatial memory is good enough that I can reliably flip to a given section of the book on demand and look a rule up from there instead of having to hunt for the section. I don't think I need to point out that spatial memory should never be a major part of mastering the rules. Ironically enough, this is the flaw in SR3 that is impossible to correct in a fan revision (at least one that doesn't involve a lot of copyright infringement, which I under no circumstances am considering).

Another example is the way they've overpowered Riggers with regard to combat. There are some sections that might need consideration (like the invulnerability/invincibility dichotomy that exists any time you don't have Control Pool to throw at the problem), but the major low-hanging fruit is the fact that Riggers get a free attack pool. That's right, while they use Control Pool for maneuvers and dodging, they can freely use Combat Pool to attack (and nothing else). If strapped for attacks, they can even supplement their Combat Pool with Control Pool. Imagine a streetsam with twenty-three pool dice, even if ten of these are unavailable for dodging or soaking. I have just such a Rigger, legal under the current rules.

So, if, some eight or ten months down the road, I decide that SR4 isn't for me, what would you want to see fixed in a 3rd Revised? There's no need for you to be unsatisfied with what we've seen of SR4 to contribute here, though you may have more incentive to if the releases are worrying rather than calming to you. What's broken? What needs to be streamlined? Specifics, if possible; just saying "deckers" is a lot less helpful than saying "MP costs and the confusing way that Attack programs work", for instance.

Fire away.

~J
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Papadoc
post Apr 13 2005, 05:57 PM
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Kage hit upon one of the most important thing that should be done, organizing the existing rules in a logical referable manner. However, he is correct unless FanPro/WizKids does it, it will not happen.

Now for some of the things that I believe need to be examined;

1. Decking.
a. Hacking pool should be changed in a manner that places more emphasis on skill than on hardware/software.
b. Possibly have two different yet compatible systems to play/run deckers; one that is more abstract for use with multiple players/types (ie standard runs which include sam's, mages, riggers), and a more complex system when just running the Decker. Note that both systems would need to be internally consistent with each other (ie methods and results should be able to be achieved with either method). The idea is to have mechanism that allows for Decking during a run.

2. Riggers.
a. Force use of Control Pool only while rigging. Meaning no more Control Pool for driving, and Combat Pool for shooting. (This never made much sense anyway). I would suggest that the Control Pool formula be changed to allow for a slightly higher (25%?) increase to "ease the pain" for riggers. :)
b. As per 1b above; find some way to speed up/streamline the system so that it is much more compatible with a multi player/archetype game session.

These are just a few off the top of my head, additional areas for improvement would be firearms (weights, damage, etc.)(well covered by several existing websites).

Just my .02 :nuyen: worth. YMMV
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Kagetenshi
post Apr 13 2005, 06:04 PM
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QUOTE (Papadoc)
2. Riggers.
[…]
b. As per 1b above; find some way to speed up/streamline the system so that it is much more compatible with a multi player/archetype game session.

Would you consider including a dedicated page or two for the charts of TN mods of the various driving actions to accomplish this? If not, would you consider the above chart plus getting rid of the Maneuver Score to accomplish it?

I really need to do some playtesting with the maneuver score. I must admit it's been one of the always-dropped sections of the rules, but it could potentially offer a balancing factor to Riggers that I've been missing.

~J
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GrinderTheTroll
post Apr 13 2005, 06:06 PM
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QUOTE (Papadoc)
Kage hit upon one of the most important thing that should be done, organizing the existing rules in a logical referable manner.  However, he is correct unless FanPro/WizKids does it, it will not happen.

This is probably my biggest gripe when I need to reference something. Half the spells are in SR3, the rest in MITS. Same for most the other source books as well as FAQ rulings, rule obsolescence from Core -> Expansion (MITS, Matrix, CC, etc). My players and I bitch about the messy crossreferencing.

It's a bold project, but a great idea.

A note to FanPro: You would probably get existing players to purchase this if you did nothing more than to have all the rules in one central book/tomb. Re-brand it "SR Classic" or some garbage.
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Kagetenshi
post Apr 13 2005, 06:18 PM
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Come to that, a grand index may not be completely out of reach for a fan project. Won't help the layout any, but such is life.

~J
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Elfie
post Apr 13 2005, 06:32 PM
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QUOTE (Papadoc @ Apr 13 2005, 12:57 PM)
1. Decking.
          a.  Hacking pool should be changed in a manner that places more emphasis on skill than on hardware/software.
          b.  Possibly have two different yet compatible systems to play/run deckers; one that is more abstract for use with multiple players/types (ie standard runs which include sam's, mages, riggers), and a more complex system when just running the Decker.  Note that both systems would need to be internally consistent with each other (ie methods and results should be able to be achieved with either method).  The idea is to have mechanism that allows for Decking during a run.

For (A), there is skill involved, but hardware should be more prevalent. Is it possible to hack whatever supercomputer there is today with a 486? Maybe, but wouldn't it be easier with <instert today's top of the line specs here>? There is a lot of skill involved in matrix combat already, what with maneuvering and non-detection programs, that could help an out-matched decker.

For (B), the process can be very streamlined if the GM decides to ignore all flavor text in the matrix. Team "Get the doors open" Decker rolls to locate door control, then rolls to control it. If he sets off an IC, then that's no different from your B&E character getting spotted by a sec guard with combat ensuing. That's pretty streamlined as opposed to the GM saying something like "When you log in, you get the feeling of being on an Old West-style street, with the Sheriff's office to your left, and a Saloon to your right..." and having the Decker try to figure out where to go to find the security node.

I guess I would say that they need to make Decking more accessible to players. At least in that section they seem to throw every table at you at once. It's not difficult to figure out if you sit down with it, but they present it in such a haphazard way that it's too daunting.
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Kagetenshi
post Apr 13 2005, 06:42 PM
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I'm going to admit to my prejudices right up front: if and when I undertake this project, one major aspect of it is that I'll be trying to reflect the fact that, in my opinion, a character without Computers should be like a character without Etiquette. Much as I'm not terribly a fan of the neo-WMI and the death of cyberdecks, the possibility that every character might be reasonably able to be at least part-decker without having to go terribly out of his or her way for it definitely excites me.

~J
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post Apr 13 2005, 07:15 PM
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QUOTE (Papadoc)
Kage hit upon one of the most important thing that should be done, organizing the existing rules in a logical referable manner.  However, he is correct unless FanPro/WizKids does it, it will not happen.

I'll do you one better. The core book itself is not organized well.

I've spent several man-hours making bookmarks for my SR3 book that go five tiers deep into the book to the smallest heading they have, and what struck me the most tellingly (aside from the fact that I have too much time on my hands, and a remarkable ability to type up labels quickly) was that the chapters are not well-organized.

The worst example of this, by far, is the Matrix chapter itself. It starts off with the egrigious mistake of introducing concepts and terms before defining them (e.g., IC). The subchapter on IC is at the end of the chapter, but the Security subchapter is in the middle-front of the book, and refers to the IC at the end of the chapter. The gear chapter doesn't help anything either because Magical and Matrix gear are described in their own chapters, which is counterintuitive. Were I to want to know what a Focus is and what types there are, I'd read the Magic chapter. If I want to purchase them or a cyberdeck as gear, my natural instinct is to jump to the chapter titled "Street Gear." I also think that some of the subchapters could be better organized, and some headings and subheadings in those subchapters could be organized better or even omitted. My concern of course is that in simplifying concepts one can end up delving into the PowerPoint Bullet School, which gives a person less information (generally. That's why these things are called generalizations.) in less space.

Some subchapters, such as Healing and Damage, should be in the Running the Shadows chapter, and not the Combat chapter. Likewise with any Repair subchapter or heading (e.g., in the Rigging chapter). Beyond the Shadows should just be called Advancement or something to reflect the fact that half of the chapter deals with Karma, and the other half is GM hints. Perhaps split it into two different chapters, and focus on the GM duties and hints in one chapter, and give short rules for all manner of advancement (e.g., initiation) in another chapter. Running the Shadows has no coherent method to its madness, nor do I think that Diseases and Toxins should be in that chapter. They should be sitting right next to Healing and Damage, or Street Gear (since SR3 took all all the good toxins like Seven-7 nerve gas), or in a subchapter of Combat titled, "Gas Attacks."

Oh, did I also mention the fact that the SR3 book overall gives way too much info and space to missiles and rockets? It's almost as bad as Rigger 3's insane amount of space devoted to ships and submarines--because those are such popular and useful vehicles to have (Oh, yeah. I labeled that, too. I labeled all of my SR3 books except SOTA64 and SOE because the cross-referencing and lack of indices were driving me mad).

OTOH, the book does something novel in that they actually enumerate the steps in a combat turn for Combat, Matrix Combat, and Vehicle Combat.

Unfortunately, the Vehicle Combat list contains 8 items, with "6. Characters take actions and resolve results" encompassing all 4 substeps of regular Combat (listed as "3. A-D"). People wonder why no one plays riggers? Aside from having to jump back to the Combat chapter to recall (not a problem for us, but we're all vets. This is a book introducing the game to newbies) those steps so that they don't screw it up, there are 12 steps on has to go through for the first combat turn, and 11 for each subsequent turn.

I'm sitting here counting my labels from back to front, and before I even got to Street Gear, the Seattle & PacNW chapter to the Index have over 50 labels. The entire book probably has a couple hundred labels (I'm sure this is the same in the online PDF. I feel very sorry for Adam's wrists if he had to type them all up) because I went one level deeper than what is listed in the TOC, and several pages have multiple labels on them.

This is wasteful and unnecessary, and hurts my brain (and wrists).
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Kagetenshi
post Apr 13 2005, 07:22 PM
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By the end of the Combat section, I counted 211 labels, not counting labels that had disclosure triangles to display other labels (I only counted the labels at the bottom of trees).

Note that that gets us to page 129.

~J
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Dawnshadow
post Apr 13 2005, 08:16 PM
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Examples or specific situations given when warrented -- not exhaustively however.

1: A retooling of the cyberware -- specifically the communications stuff, and muscle replacements.

2: More organization in the descriptions of each weapon -- just increase the size of the tables and put all the addons a specific weapon has underneath it.

3: Better descriptions of the interactions of various cyberware with normal gameplay.

4: Better encumberance rules. I like the idea, but the implementation is horrid. You can be encumbered naked under the rules, and they aren't entirely consistent -- cyberlimbs don't have a weight attached to them that I can recall, and it doesn't say if they factor in, but bone lacing explicitly DOES and has a weight assigned..

5: Better spell target numbers -- so it's hard to lower a cybernetic monster's (essence 0.5, TN 10, Q6) quickness than the mage's (essence 6, TN 4, Q6)? But it's equally easy to raise them?

6: Better design of spells and elaboration of what area of affect means, what sustained means, and some explanation of why for both.

7: Better explanation of foci and how they work -- so, my ambidextrous knife fighter with a pair of force 6 knives, skill 6 gets how many bonus dice? Well.. either 21 (each focus adds to skill with that hand) or 27 (both foci add to base skill)?
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Fortune
post Apr 13 2005, 08:32 PM
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Maneuvers for all melee combat, not just unarmed martial arts.
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Kagetenshi
post Apr 13 2005, 08:34 PM
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So you'd want to see maneuvers for everything rather than maneuvers for nothing?

~J
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Fortune
post Apr 13 2005, 08:44 PM
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Yep! Of course, some of them might need to be reworked a little.
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psykotisk_overle...
post Apr 13 2005, 08:52 PM
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I'd rather see maneuvers for nothing.

Also, rules that are consistent, are all in one book and make sense at least from a balance perspective.
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BitBasher
post Apr 13 2005, 09:13 PM
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I concur with what others have stated above except for the "decking for everyone" bit. I back this fully and will offer any support I can.
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Kagetenshi
post Apr 13 2005, 09:16 PM
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Perhaps I misstated: I don't believe that everyone should be a drek-hot decker, but I think that just about everyone should be interacting with computers on an extremely frequent basis and actively using the skill, making the jump into decking that much smaller.

~J
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BitBasher
post Apr 13 2005, 09:32 PM
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That I can't argue with, which is supported by the flaw "computer illiterate". I think though, like the Car skill, that a person with no skill in computers can still do 99% of their functions, work included just fine. The idiot proof icon based user interface takes care of that. The computer skill is more for the highly technical end of it, which is really not needed by those outside of IT or those of less altruistic motives.
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Herald of Verjig...
post Apr 13 2005, 09:33 PM
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As the setting is currently defined, you don't need to know anything about active memory addressing to use e-mail. However, you do need it to properly initiatie security intrusions.
If you want to make the base level of computational knowledge a 3 in computers instead of a 3 in intelligence, go ahead, but at least include a passing comment suggesting 3 more active skill points to everyone. Also, just remove the computer illiterate flaw since basic system usage will be beyond the abilities of a 0 skill PC.
I don't consider this a bad way of changing the numbers, just that you should change all the relevant numbers to stay consistant.
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Kagetenshi
post Apr 13 2005, 09:43 PM
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In my opinion it should be just as easy to get along without Computers as it is without Etiquette.

However, I'm pretty sure anything we'd be doing to that would be flavor rather than new rules, and as such eminently ignorable.

~J
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DragginSPADE
post Apr 13 2005, 10:08 PM
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QUOTE (Kagetenshi)
In my opinion it should be just as easy to get along without Computers as it is without Etiquette.


Heh. I've seen plenty of players completely skip all social skills when making their character...

Personally I don't have that much of a problem with the organization of the main book, although an useable index would certainly be nice. The main points I'd like to see cleaned up would be rigging and decking.

For rigging: Eliminate the maneuver score. Completely. I still use the basic SR2 vehicle combat rules when I'm absolutely forced to resolve a vehicle combat.

For decking: It's been pointed out on the SR4 boards, but I'd like to repeat that there are way too many utility programs necessary to do anything useful in the matrix. Cut them down to where you have only one or two utilities per system rating of the host, and the matrix would be a lot more appealing to me.
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Herald of Verjig...
post Apr 13 2005, 10:59 PM
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QUOTE (Kagetenshi)
However, I'm pretty sure anything we'd be doing to that would be flavor rather than new rules, and as such eminently ignorable.

Then my preemptive precautions were unneccessary. Carry on with your contingency, I'm interested to see how it turns out.
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Cain
post Apr 13 2005, 11:17 PM
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Dump the maneuver score. Work vehicle combat into the personal combat rules, so if there's a mixed vehicle/personnel combat, you're not having to juggle two mutually-exclusive systems at once. Hell, simplify all the rigger rules-- drones, electronic warfare, gunnery, and so on-- into one coherent system compatible with the basic combat rules.

Simplify decking. Reduce the number of utilities to 5-10 or so; one for each of the system ratings, and a few special utilites (Medic, Attack, etc.).

Switch to my initiative system. Let the fast people keep the advantage, while keeping slower players interested in the combat.
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sapphire_wyvern
post Apr 14 2005, 03:06 AM
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Drop the Sleaze utility entirely, and replace all references to "Detection Factor" with Masking.

Redo vehicle availability so that PCs can start with a civilian chopper or light aircraft (which they can't in SR3) but not highly armoured military mini-tank drones (Steel Lynx drones, which are Availability 2!).

Replace all the tactical pools with a single tactical pool which is applicable to any task resolution (I like it; YMMV).

Replace any use of the Open Test with an opposed skill check versus TN4, possibly with modifiers if absolutely necessary.

I back the integration of vehicle combat with personal combat and dropping of Maneuver Score. And electronic warfare could, perhaps, use the same ruleset as decking? It's all about security intrusion after all.

Get rid of the strange split between Electronics and Electronics B/R. Replace the skills with Communications and Security Systems, each of which covers both legitimate use and hacking, within their area of expertise.

Get rid of any magic spell whose effect is divorced from its Force. In particular, the game needs only one Force-dependant Increases Reflexes spell. Change Invisibility to a Force & success based Concealment spell. The mana based version should work by making creatures "not see" you, even though you look the same; the physical version should result in *actual* modification of your appearance. At lower levels of Force, it would be like Predator cloaking, and at high levels, true Invisibility.
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Catsnightmare
post Apr 14 2005, 03:33 AM
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I'm already planing my own little reversion of SR3.5 for my own use, I don't plan on using the new 4th edition ruleset period. But I'll retro convert some of the things in there to SR3 for sure.


As many have requested simplified rigging/driving, I think the rules presented in MJLBB are great. I plan on using them with a little bit of tweaking using some things from the BBB.

Not sure about the simplified decking rules there though, may do something hybidized in the meantime.
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Kagetenshi
post Apr 14 2005, 05:26 AM
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You know what, screw waiting. I've got the time right now, I've got some ideas, and I'm not getting any younger. If August rolls around and I like SR4, well, maybe someone who doesn't will use what I've done. Even if no one does, it'll be that much more practice in making (hopefully) balanced and sensible rules. Thus, I officially launch the SR3R project.

A word on how I'm going to be running this project: while I will be using a lot of input from you folks, and definitely trying to get something that will at least somewhat please most of you, when it comes right down to it I'm staying Benevolent Dictator for Life of this project. Others are, of course, welcome to make their own rules or fork SR3R, but I hope you'll contribute to this project.

Also, I will not be considering new gear for a long time. Sure, maybe there's missing stuff that should be added, but unless new gear is truly necessary to make a ruleset work (for some reason) it'll be addressed only after we've got a large chunk of the rules hammered out.

I will be starting other threads to address specific parts of the system one by one; until a thread is started on a particular topic, use this thread for suggestions on that topic (for instance, if there's a thread on Ranged Combat, use this thread for suggestions for Decking and vehicles/drones. When I start a thread on Decking, add future suggestions to the Decking thread but continue adding Vehicles/Drones suggestions here).

Oddly enough, I feel the low-hanging fruit on this project is none other than the Matrix rules. I'll start a thread on them shortly.

Oh, by the way, I intend to playtest the rules we make extensively. I'll post in the relevant topic threads when we're going to start a trial run in Into the Shadows.

~J
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