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> My views on the SR4 FAQ, Why not? Everyone else has an opinion.
Ed Simons
post Apr 23 2005, 04:39 AM
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Okay, here are my questions and comments about the SR4 FAQs so far. (Why not, everyone else is doing it? :) )

QUOTE
Q. Are deckers called hackers in SR4?
A. Yes. We’re eliminating the clunky old cyberdeck in SR4, and with no ‘deck, it doesn’t make much sense to call them deckers. So we’re back to calling them hackers, since that’s what they do.


Unfortunately, this doesn’t answer any of the real questions about SR4 decking/hacking. Nor does it address any of the perceived problems of SR3 in this area.

If the cyberdeck has been eliminated, what will it be replaced with? How will costs for its storage/programs/whatever compare with SR3?

Will SR4 hacking eliminate the frequent problem that while the decker’s busy, the rest of the party is bored? If so, how will it accomplish this?

Will there be any equivalent of the combat decker archetype, designed to go on-site to access systems that aren’t normally accessible? Will SR4 hackers ever need to risk going where they might have to dodge spells or bullets?

Which will be more important in SR4 hacking; skill or equipment/programs?

QUOTE
Q. Will riggers be combined with deckers/hackers?
A. Yes, we are removing the distinction between them. This does not mean riggers will go away — there will still be hackers who specialize in drones, vehicle operations, or security systems. But the protocols, technology, and game mechanics behind them will be the same.


Simplification is good, but these two concepts are separate things in a lot of cyberpunk fiction and a lot of people will want to play only one of the two concepts.

Does a SR4 rigger/hacker still jack into the machine like their SR3 counterpart? Do wired/boosted/whatever reflexes still only apply outside the vehicle while VCR bonuses only apply inside the vehicle?

Will SR4 vehicle combat rules be integrated with personal combat?

Will SR4 vehicles still be incredibly fragile, unless they’re controlled by a rigger? Will a non-rigger driver have any chance against a rigged driver?

QUOTE
Q. Will SR4 still have Dice Pools?
A. Yes, but not in the same sense as SR3. In SR4, any time you make a test, the dice you roll are considered your dice pool. Dice pools consist of skill + attribute, +/- any modifiers.
The Dice Pools from SR3–Combat, Hacking, Control, Magic–no longer exist in SR4.

Q. What is the basic mechanic?
A. Basic success tests are made rolling your dice pool against a fixed target number of 5. The target number never changes. So each 5 or 6 that you roll equals a “hit.” Success is determined by the number of hits rolled. More difficult tests require a higher number of hits to succeed.


Based on what I understand here, this says several things.

You only have to roll the dice once, which will save a little time.

Instead of spending time calculating TN modifiers, you will spend time calculating SR4 dice Pool modifiers. This is not simpler than SR3, just different.

Attributes appear to be a lot more important than skills now.

Rule of Ones failures will happen less often now, if they even exist in SR4.

The loss of the old dice pools will simplify things in combat. It also removes a lot of player choice in allocating those pools, thus making combat more an exercise in dice rolling than decision making.

There will be no longshot successes. Some things will just be flatly impossible to some characters.

Those last two points mean lower powered goons won’t be able to wear down tougher opponents dice pools by numbers and may not be able to hit them or hurt them at all. This means goons will need to be tougher, to the detriment of non-combat-intensive characters.

Dodging (if it still exists in SR4) just got harder. There’s not enough information to tell if resisting damage or drain have become harder or easier in SR4.

QUOTE
Q. Are any of the attributes changing?
A. Yes. Specifically, we have expanded them:
— Intelligence has been split into Intuition and Logic


It is not obvious why these attributes needed to be separated, or how they are used in the game. For example, if my character wants to try to notice something, which would he use? Neither attribute seems particularly appropriate.

QUOTE
— Karma Pool has been replaced by an Edge attribute. Edge is used in many similar ways as Karma Pool was–it is still a “luck factor,” but it is now an attribute rather than a mark of experience. This makes it especially useful to non-cyber and non-magic characters, as they will have a way of keeping ahead of the game.


Why would people choose to buy Edge instead of more attributes or skills, regardless of character type? And I don’t understand why this would help non-cyber versus a cyber character. Both types could purchase Edge with Karma, while the cyber types can purchase cyber with money.

QUOTE
— Magic no longer starts at 6. Magic must be bought up just like any other attribute. This means that magical characters are not as powerful right out of the box as they were in previous editions.


So is it cheaper to be a mage in SR4 since you appear to get a lot less for it than in SR3? If not, why do you feel the need to weaken mages?

And will there be any changes in mages use of the astral? As it stands, going astral is incredibly useful for spying unless the GM decides to be a jerk about it.

I’m only going to be shelling out my hard earned cash for SR4 if it’s a clear improvement on SR3. So far, the real problems in SR3 don’t seem to have been addressed, so I have no idea if SR4 will solve them. None of the listed changes in the SR4 FAQ seem to be improvements, they’re just changes. And some of them don’t appear to be positive changes.


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FrostyNSO
post Apr 23 2005, 04:51 AM
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QUOTE (Ed Simons)
Instead of spending time calculating TN modifiers, you will spend time calculating SR4 dice Pool modifiers. This is not simpler than SR3, just different.

Attributes appear to be a lot more important than skills now.


1. Exactly what I have been saying. Why? If I am missing how this is better than calculating TN's, please tell me, maybe I'm just short sighted.

2. Most of the people on here already seemed to think it was better to buy higher attributes at chargen anyways. Why place even more emphasis on them? As it was, a person with a high linked attribute picked up a skill faster than somebody with a lower linked attribute (in karma expenditure). Though this wasn't perfect, I think it could have been fixed with ammended skill increase costs.
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Arethusa
post Apr 23 2005, 05:02 AM
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Guys, it is simpler. Currently, there are two variables. TN (and related modifiers) and dice (and related modifiers). Switching to a static TN with more varied dice modifiers streamlines to one variable and a much less insane probability curve (in case you didn't notice, the current exploding mechanic is borderline psychotic). That doesn't mean it's necessarily better, but it is a lot simpler, and depending on its execution, could play a hell of a lot better.
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Kagetenshi
post Apr 23 2005, 05:05 AM
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The new method is well over the border of psychotic if you look at the edge case of massive die penalties.

~J
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Arethusa
post Apr 23 2005, 05:08 AM
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How? You don't even know how the mechanic's going to function yet. You don't really know what order of magnitude die penalties will work at and you don't know what success thresholds are going to look like. I can make up nightmare cases in my head, too; it's not exactly hard, but it's not exactly worthwhile, either.
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Kagetenshi
post Apr 23 2005, 05:13 AM
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If the dice thrown can at any point approach one (or even down to about three or so), any test that isn't impossible will be really not very difficult. Either there are some major exceptions to the base mechanic they haven't told us about (and 4e is supposed to be getting rid of exceptions, remember?) or they've vastly increased the number of dice getting kicked around, or my statement holds.

~J
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Arethusa
post Apr 23 2005, 05:18 AM
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I'm not saying the potential for insanity isn't there. I've run through the same scenario, and it's not like it isn't a fairly obvious one. All I'm saying is that with the little that's been revealed so far, it's a fairly large leap to assume that that actually is the case— especially when it's (1) so obvious and (2) so obviously fucked up. I'm not saying to blindly trust the developers not to fuck up— most people here, by this point, know what I think of most of SR3— I'm just saying that it's unreasonable to assume nightmare scenarios are reality when very extremely little information has been released.
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Kagetenshi
post Apr 23 2005, 05:29 AM
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Point. Alter my previous statement to say that the logical extension of what we've been presented is well over the line of psychotic. Whether there's another logical extension or enough information not given that any logical extension from what we have now will be useless is as yet undetermined.

~J
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Fortune
post Apr 23 2005, 07:19 AM
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QUOTE (Ed Simons)
Simplification is good, but these two concepts are separate things in a lot of cyberpunk fiction and a lot of people will want to play only one of the two concepts.

And they still can. Vehicle Hackers will use different skills than computer Hackers.

QUOTE
You only have to roll the dice once, which will save a little time.


That's an assumption. There is no word whether an 'exploding 6' (similar to the White Wolf system) mechanic is, or is not included as yet.

QUOTE
Rule of Ones failures will happen less often now, if they even exist in SR4.


Another assumption. I thas been stated that a form of the Rule-of-One is included, and it has been hinted that it happens with more frequency in SR4 than in SR3.

QUOTE
There will be no longshot successes.  Some things will just be flatly impossible to some characters.


This is a concern of mine, but can be alleviated with the inclusion of the 'exploding 6s' idea.

QUOTE
It is not obvious why these attributes needed to be separated, or how they are used in the game.  For example, if my character wants to try to notice something, which would he use?  Neither attribute seems particularly appropriate.


This will cut down on the proliferation of Intelligence 6 Sammies running around the Sprawl. AFAIK, Intuition will be used for Perception (possibly in combination with a Perception skill).
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Ed Simons
post Apr 24 2005, 08:08 PM
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QUOTE (Fortune)
QUOTE (Ed Simons @ Apr 23 2005, 02:39 PM)
Simplification is good, but these two concepts are separate things in a lot of cyberpunk fiction and a lot of people will want to play only one of the two concepts.

And they still can. Vehicle Hackers will use different skills than computer Hackers.


That’s certainly not obvious from the FAQ, which only talks about merging the two concepts.

QUOTE (Fortune)
QUOTE (Ed Simons @ Apr 23 2005, 02:39 PM)
You only have to roll the dice once, which will save a little time.


That's an assumption. There is no word whether an 'exploding 6' (similar to the White Wolf system) mechanic is, or is not included as yet.


Of course it’s an assumption, based on the almost non-existent SR4 information in the FAQ. Of course, if they are using an ‘exploding 6’, their claims about making the system faster seem to be false.

QUOTE (Fortune)
QUOTE (Ed Simons @ Apr 23 2005, 02:39 PM)
Rule of Ones failures will happen less often now, if they even exist in SR4.


Another assumption. I thas been stated that a form of the Rule-of-One is included, and it has been hinted that it happens with more frequency in SR4 than in SR3.


Well the more dice rolled, the less likely that all of them will turn up Ones.

Can you point me to where it is stated that SR4 still uses Rule-of-One failures or gives any hint of why they would be more common in SR4 than in SR3?

QUOTE (Fortune)
QUOTE (Ed Simons @ Apr 23 2005, 02:39 PM)
It is not obvious why these attributes needed to be separated, or how they are used in the game.  For example, if my character wants to try to notice something, which would he use?  Neither attribute seems particularly appropriate.


This will cut down on the proliferation of Intelligence 6 Sammies running around the Sprawl. AFAIK, Intuition will be used for Perception (possibly in combination with a Perception skill).


So instead, SR4 will have a proliferation of Perception 6 Sammies? I fail to see how this is a benefit over SR3.

It also still doesn’t provide any explanation over why the two attributes need to be separated in the first place or how they will actually be used in the game.
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mfb
post Apr 24 2005, 08:39 PM
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because there are plenty of people who are very quick and perceptive, who aren't math majors. and there are plenty of math majors who aren't very quick or perceptive. it doesn't make sense to use the same stat for both doing math and noticing things or reacting quickly.
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Guest_Crimsondude 2.0_*
post Apr 24 2005, 08:50 PM
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But the Math majors have the Math skill, whereas the non-major doesn't (or doesn't have it nearly as high).

The idea of using Intelligence as a measure of someone's (academic) intellectual capacity is, IMO, more fallacious than the idea of splitting it up. Perhaps the name should be changed, but it has always been my opinion that once knowledge skills were introduced, the idea of Intelligence serving as a raw figure for intellect was necessary, but using it to measure their intellectual achievement in a given area, or overall, was not.
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Arethusa
post Apr 24 2005, 08:53 PM
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Are you telling me you've never met anyone fantastically bad at everyday life and anything involving perception or situational awareness but were naturally pretty good at math, physics, and other technical disciplines? Sorry, but the division doesn't hold up in reality any better than the old lack of division. It's an extremely silly choice. Intelligence and Perception would have been far less silly.
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Guest_Crimsondude 2.0_*
post Apr 24 2005, 08:57 PM
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Well, the previous post was edited. However, to reply to your question my point is this:
Their academic capacity is measured in the knowledge skill "Math" rather than in their Intelligence attribute, which is a raw measure of someone's ability to perceive and deduce basic observations. This is the same reason why I called BS on Synner's comparison about how a starting Sam can be as smart as Einstein. Einstein's intellectual achievements in physics (as opposed to anything else, which I don't know enough to speak on) was based on his Physics skill, not his Intelligence attribute.
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hermit
post Apr 24 2005, 09:03 PM
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But separating Perception and cognitive intelligence DOES make sense, as both have little to do with each other.

It's the only thing I have read about the changes so far I genuinly like.
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Guest_Crimsondude 2.0_*
post Apr 24 2005, 09:17 PM
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I didn't say it doesn't. I'm just suggesting that you're relying on a weak analogy.
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hermit
post Apr 24 2005, 09:20 PM
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Apart from the fact that skill isn't everything, especially in the realm of theoretical science (it does take a fair amount of capability for abstract thought to even grasp the basics), cognitive and perceptive intelligence are two different things, it's as simple as that. Considering Charisma covers the whole "social intelligence" area, I'd say the splitting the old Intelligence stat is quite the improvement.
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Patrick Goodman
post Apr 24 2005, 09:38 PM
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QUOTE (Ed Simons @ Apr 24 2005, 03:08 PM)
QUOTE (Fortune)
QUOTE (Ed Simons @ Apr 23 2005, 02:39 PM)
Rule of Ones failures will happen less often now, if they even exist in SR4.


Another assumption. I thas been stated that a form of the Rule-of-One is included, and it has been hinted that it happens with more frequency in SR4 than in SR3.


Well the more dice rolled, the less likely that all of them will turn up Ones.

Can you point me to where it is stated that SR4 still uses Rule-of-One failures or gives any hint of why they would be more common in SR4 than in SR3?

Happy to. Go look in this thread here. Specifically, towards the end is where I talk vaguely about my Rule of One incidents under the new system.

QUOTE
So instead, SR4 will have a proliferation of Perception 6 Sammies?  I fail to see how this is a benefit over SR3.

You don't have to have a massive INT to be able to notice things? Perception and noticing things are learned abilities, and don't necessarily require massive amounts of raw intelligence.
QUOTE
It also still doesn’t provide any explanation over why the two attributes need to be separated in the first place or how they will actually be used in the game.

Because INT as it was in previous editions was too broad? Just a shot in the dark. Fortune's already told you about the proliferation of sammies who qualified for MENSA; the split will probably help cut down on that.

I feel fairly certain that more information on this subject will be forthcoming; I'm going to shut up now, however, and go back to watching the movie with my fiancee and her niece.
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Ed Simons
post Apr 30 2005, 01:46 AM
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QUOTE (Patrick Goodman)
QUOTE (Ed Simons @ Apr 24 2005, 03:08 PM)

Can you point me to where it is stated that SR4 still uses Rule-of-One failures or gives any hint of why they would be more common in SR4 than in SR3?

Happy to. Go look in this thread here. Specifically, towards the end is where I talk vaguely about my Rule of One incidents under the new system.


Can you give us any hint of how they work or why they might be more common in SR4?

QUOTE (Patrick Goodman)
QUOTE (Ed Simons @ Apr 24 2005, 03:08 PM)
]It also still doesn’t provide any explanation over why the two attributes need to be separated in the first place or how they will actually be used in the game.

Because INT as it was in previous editions was too broad? Just a shot in the dark. Fortune's already told you about the proliferation of sammies who qualified for MENSA; the split will probably help cut down on that.


Yes, now they’ll all have Intuition of 6, instead.

Regardless of how broad an attribute Intelligence is, it’s been part of the system since SR1. I’d still like to see some sort of explanation from someone involved in designing SR4 as to why they felt attribute proliferation was both better and necessary.

And none of the old Intelligence based skills are clearly tied to either Intuition or Logic. Apparently, perception will be based on Intuition. How about Build/Repair skills? Biotech? Computers? Demolitions? Electronics? Languages? Knowledge skills?

QUOTE (Patrick Goodman)
I feel fairly certain that more information on this subject will be forthcoming;


I wish I shared your optimism. Regardless, thanks for replying. It’s good to see someone trying to answer fan questions about SR4.
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blakkie
post Apr 30 2005, 02:15 AM
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QUOTE (Ed Simons @ Apr 29 2005, 07:46 PM)
And none of the old Intelligence based skills are clearly tied to either Intuition or Logic.  Apparently, perception will be based on Intuition.  How about Build/Repair skills?  Biotech?  Computers?  Demolitions?  Electronics?  Languages?  Knowledge skills?

In a past life i was a professional programmer for a good number years. While i certainly honed my intuition skills to aid in my work, generally Computers are about Logic. Computer users, not so much. ;) Likewise Electronics and mechanical build/repair skills fit nicely there.

I suspect that Logic is a bit of a misnomer, and they will include raw memorization within the Logic. So Knowledge skills are likely to go under that.

Biotech i'm going to guess will be Intuition. Maybe Language skills too. If character creation works in a similar manner to SR3 where it is Attribute x Factor = skill points available in Knowledge and Language that would work well there. Language would be Intuition x Factor and Knowledge would be Logic x Factor. I know in the past there have been people that have expressed a desire to see the solid ratio between Knowledge skills and Languages broken. Beyond just allowing Knowledge points to be used in Languages.

P.S. Patrick Goodman is sort of part of the rules development. It's just that he is easier to ignore than someone on the development payroll. ;)
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