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> Low Power Level, Difficult to increase
Stormdrake
post Sep 1 2005, 03:31 PM
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Ok got my copy and have been reading to the exclusion of all else. The rules as they are seem to hold together pretty well. That is unless you want to run anything but the presented street level game. I personally like to run epic or heroic games, thats why I play fantasy/scifi RPG's. I know several people including the writers have stated that you can just add more build points to up the power level. However if thats all you do you and your players are still going to run smack dab into the hard skill and attribute caps. The augmented skill and attribute caps are not much better and make no sense except to keep the game at a low setting. I mean why put a cap on augmented attributes? Cyber or magic are meant to over come the limitations of the physical form so why does Fanpro feel the need to slap a hard cap on this aspect of the game except to limit the power level? As for the skills hard cap Fanpro has built in a point were characters simply can not advance any more. 3rd and even 2nd edition had there problems but they always allowed players to continue upping there skills beyoud the "normal" range.
Any one elses thoughts?
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mmu1
post Sep 1 2005, 03:36 PM
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QUOTE (Stormdrake @ Sep 1 2005, 11:31 AM)
Ok got my copy and have been reading to the exclusion of all else.  The rules as they are seem to hold together pretty well.  That is unless you want to run anything but the presented street level game.  I personally like to run epic  or heroic games, thats why I play fantasy/scifi RPG's.  I know several people including the writers have stated that you can just add more build points to up the power level.  However if thats all you do you and your players are still going to run smack dab into the hard skill and attribute caps.  The augmented skill and attribute caps are not much better and make no sense except to keep the game at a low setting.  I mean why put a cap on augmented attributes?  Cyber or magic are meant to over come the limitations of the physical form so why does Fanpro feel the need to slap a hard cap on this aspect of the game except to limit the power level?  As for the skills hard cap Fanpro has built in a point were characters simply can not advance any more.  3rd and even 2nd edition had there problems but they always allowed players to continue upping there skills beyoud the "normal" range. 
Any one elses thoughts?

The caps are not the problem, in my opinion (well, not the problem as far as the issue you bring up is concerned, anyway, because they still allow for some very powerful characters) - it's how easily you'll reach them if you up the build points.

There are very few diminishing returns in the SR4 system, and characters with skills and attributes maxed out can do some really absurd things as a result of how the die pool penalties work - in particular when it comes to combat.

If you boost the build points, you very quickly end up with runners who are at the pinnacle of human development (according to the rules) in multiple areas.
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Clyde
post Sep 1 2005, 03:50 PM
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Hence resolving the whole power level issue. It's hard to complain about your character being at the pinnacle of human development after all. :wobble: Of course, some people like to climb mountains because it's hard.
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mmu1
post Sep 1 2005, 03:52 PM
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QUOTE (Clyde)
Hence resolving the whole power level issue. It's hard to complain about your character being at the pinnacle of human development after all. :wobble: Of course, some people like to climb mountains because it's hard.

Resolving, ignoring... What's the difference, right? :D
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JongWK
post Sep 1 2005, 03:55 PM
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You can also treat 4s as hits, which makes a bigger difference between ratings. Consider making higher attributes a bit harder to get, too.
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Stormdrake
post Sep 1 2005, 03:57 PM
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<<If you boost the build points, you very quickly end up with runners who are at the pinnacle of human development (according to the rules) in multiple areas. >>


I think this is what bothered me the most is that instead of allowing players to increases their skills in their areas of interest the game will now push them into becoming masters of every skill. An exageration I know but still its not wrong either.
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Stormdrake
post Sep 1 2005, 04:25 PM
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Am thinking I may keep the attribute cap as is but do away with the augmented attribute cap. As for skills am thinking of a couple different ways of handling this. The first is to take the aptitude edge and say that it allows you to increase your chosen skill as far as you want rather than just one point. The other option is to apply a graduated cost scale for skills that exceed the controlling attributes racial maximum. The problem with this is I do relies that characters will reach a point were the only thing to threaten them will be other legendary shadowrunners or world threatening monsters.
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FrankTrollman
post Sep 1 2005, 05:57 PM
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The big problem is not that a character made in SR4 is street level. That can be overcome by any of a number of ways. No, the big problem is that a properly made SR4 character is 14. Years old.

Skills are a really bad deal, both at the beginning and later on in your career. So while PCs are going to need some of them, the fact is that they are going to purposefully buy up their attributes as far as they will go before they buy up skills to anything.

There are 59 active skills that are available to characters without Magic/Resonance, and 35 of them can be purchased as part of 10 skill groups. That means that getting a rating in every single skill so that you never have to default on anything costs a whopping 196 points. Of course, that's about as much as you would want to pay on skills under any circumstances, because as previously noted - skills suck.

Here's why: For 10 points you can get +1 to a "skill group", that would add 1 die to some of the skills linked to an attribute. But for 10 points, you could get +1 to that attribute, which would add the same amount of all of the skills linked to that attribute. On character creation, skills cost literally twice as much as they are worth when compared to attributes. If you chopped the price in half, players still wouldn't go all skill crazy because at that point it would just be a fair deal. At 5 points for a skill group and 2 points for a single skill, it would still be a good deal for many characters to get a point of Intuition (which adds to assensing and navigation and knowledge skills, and Initiative) over spending 3 points less to get +1 to the stealth group and +1 to Perception (which is admittedly most of the benefits of Intuition). And that's not the most extreme example by a long shot (which would, of course, be Agility, which has two skill groups in it and a bunch of secondary skills besides).

But it gets even more bizarrely extreme after character generation. It costs less karma to raise your Agility to 6 than it does to raise your Firearms Group to 4. That's absurd. noone is going to spend karma on skills as long as any of their attributes are less than maximum.

---

The fact is that a triangular system does not, and can not, mesh with a linear system. If Karma costs are triangular, BP costs have to be triangular. If BP costs are linear, Karma costs have to be linear as well. There's no point in going halvies on that, there is no workable middle ground. As long as anyone anywhere is paying linear prices for anything, everything has to be linear in price.

The only workable solutions are to retrofit the entire game to be triangular in costs from the ground up, or to make everything linear. That means that either you have to put BPs on a triangular scale, and make all the graded cyberware triangular, and make all the focus costs triangular, and everything else I haven't thought of yet; or you have to take the remaining triangular things out of the game. that means that karma costs have to be linear, and it means that Wired Reflexes needs to have its cost put into line with the Synaptic Accelerator (1 Essence and 11k per rating point).

Both answers are workable and fair. But a split decision where some things cost more and more as the game progresses and some things don't is definitely neither. Obviously, making things strictly linear is easier, and that makes it better. We are telling a story, not playing Accountant: The Addition. As for what linear scale to go with, I suggest that Karma costs should equal BP cost. Getting Karma in game should just give you more BPs at the rate of 1 for 1. There is absolutely nothing gained in having things grow at any other rate.

-Frank
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Ghostfire
post Sep 1 2005, 06:00 PM
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Personally, the easiest way I see so far of increasing the ultimate cap on power is to simply raise the maximum augmented attribute cap to 2x racial max.

Example: for elves, that will give them the ability to have something like 36+ dice in a specialized firearms or melee skill, for example. I dunno about you, but 12 hits on average on a firearms test with a high-end weapon with good ammo seems pretty powerful to me.

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mmu1
post Sep 1 2005, 06:33 PM
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QUOTE (Ghostfire @ Sep 1 2005, 02:00 PM)
Personally, the easiest way I see so far of increasing the ultimate cap on power is to simply raise the maximum augmented attribute cap to 2x racial max.

Example: for elves, that will give them the ability to have something like 36+ dice in a specialized firearms or melee skill, for example. I dunno about you, but 12 hits on average on a firearms test with a high-end weapon with good ammo seems pretty powerful to me.

A system that requires you to roll 20-30 dice for a skill test is not what I'd call playable.

One of the reasons for the hard attribute caps that can be reached at character creation is obvious: the system has very little room for growth, because scaling things up would require a completely absurd amount of die rolling. Even compared to what people would sometimes use in SR3 when dumping combat pool into a roll.

I remember wondering, a couple of months back, how they were planning to maintain granularity without using stupidly large dice pools. Silly me.
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blakkie
post Sep 1 2005, 06:40 PM
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QUOTE (mmu1 @ Sep 1 2005, 12:33 PM)
I remember wondering, a couple of months back, how they were planning to maintain granularity without using stupidly large dice pools. Silly me.

Capped at 24 dice, but yes i was expecting roughly 20-25% more dice in any given than with SR3. Apparently you missed my posts? :)
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hyzmarca
post Sep 1 2005, 06:46 PM
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QUOTE (Clyde)
Hence resolving the whole power level issue. It's hard to complain about your character being at the pinnacle of human development after all. :wobble: Of course, some people like to climb mountains because it's hard.

The real problem with that is that it is impossible to create competition that outclasses a competently made PC in his chosen area. As I pointed out in an earlier post, a competently min-maxed hot off the laserjet mage with not a single point of karma under his belt has a decent chance of taking down Harlequin.

Alo, in SR3 characters would specialize. They could do some things very well. Other things that were competent in, and others they could not do at all.

In SR4, it pays to generalize.
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Autarkis
post Sep 1 2005, 06:54 PM
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Again I will state my opinion about Harlequin and SR4.

He** yeah! To me, being able to kill Harlie is a good thing.
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Stormdrake
post Sep 1 2005, 07:11 PM
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Skills and attributes are hard capped at character creation and afterwards are they not? If you can raise past the caps once game play starts that's completely diffrent from what I read.
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Supercilious
post Sep 1 2005, 07:20 PM
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If a hot-off-the-press Decker can be as good at decking as that hot-off-the-press mage is at magic, then all of a sudden I am seeing FastJack getting out-decked (Oh, right, I meant to say out-H4<K3D)pretty fast...

Which is not right.

A decades worth of practice, hardship, and tears at the gaming table should be certifiabley better than a character creation character.
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blakkie
post Sep 1 2005, 07:22 PM
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QUOTE (Supercilious @ Sep 1 2005, 01:20 PM)
If a hot-off-the-press Decker can be as good at decking as that hot-off-the-press mage is at magic, then all of a sudden I am seeing FastJack getting out-decked (Oh, right, I meant to say out-H4<K3D)pretty fast...

Which is not right.

It's not even correct.

However it takes less than it probably should from there to reach the top end.
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hyzmarca
post Sep 1 2005, 07:52 PM
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QUOTE (blakkie)
QUOTE (Supercilious @ Sep 1 2005, 01:20 PM)
If a hot-off-the-press Decker can be as good at decking as that hot-off-the-press mage is at magic, then all of a sudden I am seeing FastJack getting out-decked (Oh, right, I meant to say out-H4<K3D)pretty fast...

Which is not right.

It's not even correct.

However it takes less than it probably should from there to reach the top end.

Buy up the skill group to 6, buy that postive quality that allow you to have 7 in one skill, and the specialize for 9 dice, the maximum anyone can have in any skill. Set the linked attribute to 6 and you'll be rolling a base pool of 15. Augment the linked attribute with cyber and you'll be rolling a base pool of 18 if you are human and Fastjack can't possibly have a higher base pool.
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Autarkis
post Sep 1 2005, 08:05 PM
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You can't buy a skill group up to 6 at character creation, only 4.
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hobgoblin
post Sep 1 2005, 08:08 PM
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simple solution, no edge cap :P

but keep the refresh low or nonexistent so that you dont end up playing WoD :silly:
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kigmatzomat
post Sep 1 2005, 08:11 PM
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People do realize that the BBB puts a cap of 200BP on stats for a 400BP character, right? That's like four 4's and five 3's when building well rounded characters.

Of course, we know that most people are going to buy up at least one 6, a couple of 5's and 1-2 for the non-prime stats. After all, it costs 15 karma to buy a 4 up to 5 and only 9 karma to get 2 to 3. Say hello to plenty of Cha:1 sammies, just like the old days and thanks to the "my stat has no relevance" matrix rules, Logic:2 hackers. (I say 2 just to get the extra knowledge skill points)
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blakkie
post Sep 1 2005, 08:16 PM
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Where to start? Ah, at the beginning will do:

QUOTE
Buy up the skill group to 6 , buy that postive quality that allow you to have 7 in one skill, and the specialize for 9 dice


Not allowed. Skill Groups only go to 4. Limit of two skills at 5 OR one skill at 6 OR one skill at 7. It'll cost you 10BP for the Quality + 8BP for that last point though.

QUOTE
Set the linked attribute to 6 and you'll be rolling a base pool of 15. Augment the linked attribute with cyber and you'll be rolling a base pool of 18 if you are human and Fastjack can't possibly have a higher base pool.


Well he can, assuming he is human, bump the natural Attribute max up one, which is likely to give a total of 2 more for his augmented max. Also he'll be able to have increased his Edge to the max under Lucky (8 for Human, 7 for everyone else). Also he likely has a few coins earned over the years, so he's going to be packing better gear and programs. Programs are still uber important in decking.
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hobgoblin
post Sep 1 2005, 08:21 PM
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QUOTE (kigmatzomat)
and thanks to the "my stat has no relevance" matrix rules, Logic:2 hackers. (I say 2 just to get the extra knowledge skill points)

and then go ahead and watch them trip every alarm in the system when trying to do a action that isnt aided by a program :P
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blakkie
post Sep 1 2005, 08:22 PM
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QUOTE (kigmatzomat @ Sep 1 2005, 02:11 PM)
People do realize that the BBB puts a cap of 200BP on stats for a 400BP character, right?  That's like four 4's and five 3's when building well rounded characters.

Ya, but they really don't care. :D

EDIT: Oh, and that 200BP is spread amoung the 4 phys, and 4 mental stats. Edge isn't included.

QUOTE
Of course, we know that most people are going to buy up at least one 6, a couple of 5's and 1-2 for the non-prime stats.  After all, it costs 15 karma to buy a 4 up to 5 and only  9 karma to get 2 to 3.  Say hello to plenty of Cha:1 sammies, just like the old days and thanks to the "my stat has no relevance" matrix rules, Logic:2 hackers.  (I say 2 just to get the extra knowledge skill points)


He's going to have to make sure he's is pulling down the big cash, because he'll need a lot of cred for programs, hardware, etc. There are a lot of Skills linked to Logic where you still include the attribute.
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Sabosect
post Sep 1 2005, 09:24 PM
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Guys, one other problem you face. In order to keep the die mechanic, you have to effectively rewrite all of trhe modifiers in the book to account for the increased power level. Otherwise, you end up with your characters having enough dice to get automatical successes at things that are supposed to be impossible.
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blakkie
post Sep 1 2005, 09:43 PM
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QUOTE (Sabosect)
Guys, one other problem you face. In order to keep the die mechanic, you have to effectively rewrite all of trhe modifiers in the book to account for the increased power level. Otherwise, you end up with your characters having enough dice to get automatical successes at things that are supposed to be impossible.

Huh? Er, no. If they are suppose to be impossible but aren't then you haven't given it a high enough threshhold. The same was true in SR3, except there you gave a higher TN. If your characters are so uber that they can easily do thing that lesser characters can only hope to pull of rarely then.....well that is the definition of higher powered isn't it????

The one advantage with SR4 is that on opposed rolls you don't have to do quite as much. When Jack Big Balls rolls his 18 dice vs. Suzzie Kick Ass's 16 dice, the +2 dice Jack got for his SL2 is worth roughly what it was when he was only Jack Moderate Balls rolling 10 dice vs. the then Suzzie Tap Ass rolling 8 dice. Not exactly the same, but ball park. Although attack die pools do rise faster than defending die pools, which makes combat more deadly at higher power level.
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