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MrFletch
Hello. Our group has decided to fire up a ShadowRun game for the first time in ages. I get to be the GM. As a test I ran a game involving 14-17 year old ork gangers in the Puyallup Barrens. It was a hilarious time so the group decided this would be the theme.

Those test characters were simply something I threw together under SR3 rules using the "yeah that looks right" method. I didn't use priorities or build points. We have SR4 now and I'm trying to figure out some things. Below is a list of things I wouldn't mind some feedback on.

1. Since these will be very young inexperienced characters and a low powered street game I don't think they need 400 build points to start with. Does 300 BP sound realistic or would you jack it up a bit to 320 or 340 BP?

2. Since the game starts in the ork enclave of Carbanado in Payallup I'm thinking very little formal education existed for these characters. Would you think they are completely illiterate, have some formal education, or perhaps more education? I guess what I'm asking is how well can these kids read and write in order to function in their lives and improve themseleves?

3. What's a commlink? Given the minimal wired Matrix presence before Crash 2.0 and the fact that most of the Barrens seems like a Third World country am I wrong to think that Augmented Reality and the Wireless Matrix just wouldn't exist for these characters? They might know what AR is from watching the trid, but I doubt they have any experience with it. Ummm... it could be an interesting experience if they travel to other parts of the metroplex.

4. Can anyone think of anything else I should be concerned about for such young, inexperienced PCs as gangers?

Thank you for any feedback you can provide.
warrior_allanon
any magical support they have is either gonna be NPC's or ill trained street mage, just figuring out their powers or some kinda street shaman with a city based totem (ie rat, pidgeon, something of that nature) as for a power setting i would go 300bp with the regulation half for attributes maximum, but reset the max allowed at char gen to be base of 4, most of them will be hitting straight 3's for stats with i believe 4 on strength.

have fun cause this sounds like it will be
Valentinew
1. I think 300 is good to start for VERY young characters, say early teens. Once they hit 17 or so, I think they would be at full, at least for attribute ratings, if not necessarily skills. (My group started with 400, & all of our characters are definitely newbie runners, but we're all also playing 18 & up in age.)

2. At the most, I think these kids would be home-schooled, so it would be very hit or miss with the education, etc.

3. I assume all of the characters will be SIN-less, yes? Still, I think they would have access to a couple of commlinks & accessories, from looting some stray body if nothing else. I would say they probably only had 1-3, no more than half your party number, and that perhaps they shared the commlinks amongst their little group. This could be interesting. Is the commlink still identifying your PC as the looted corpse? What twists could come from this?

4. What about transportation? Especially if & when they leave the Barrens. There's probably still a legal driving age, so that will add some Lone Star heat to their runs.
Have they ever been outside the Barrens? Have they ever seen a culture where metas are not accepted?

Hope that helped a little.
Drace
I'd go 300bp

Also, make the limit for skills lower, so 1 5 or 2 4's, rather tha the 1 6 or 2 5's. This would represent them being street punks, rather than trained

Make magic att. limit at 3 or 4, for them being wiz kids, not mages fully trained or practiced

Allow commlinks and the like, but only the cheaper models. The wi-fi basically would extend to all but the most remote areas of either barren (areas like parts of glow city)

Recommend having an addiction, hey living on the street, smashing people's heads in for protectin money, you need a release from reality twirl.gif

Also, if they're gangers, have them doing gang things, like selling drugs, running guns, recruiting new blood, and fighting gang fights. If you want to make the game a bit bigger, have them also tie their gang to a larger one (meat junkies, a mob family, a triad) and do work for them if you want to get them out of the 'hood' mentality.
Siege
At such a street level, gang ties will be common - if nothing else, the players will at least need to know who rules what so they know who not to upset.

A car should be reasonably available - it'll be a rolling POS, unless one of the PCs is a mechanical wiz, but paying anything close to list price is absurd.

Any highly technical knowledge should have a solid background behind it - "mom was a nurse and I picked up some lessons from the street doc she worked for" or "I got my hands on a learning chip and..." and so on.

I'd recommend fleshing out the neighborhood in detail, so the PCs have an idea of where to pull their backgrounds from, including gangs, illegal shops and businesses and so on.

You might also allow an edge "spiffy" - which allows a street kid to have something unusual or different from the usual. Depending on the "spiffy", the cost would vary accordingly.

-Siege
TheNarrator
The base character build for SR4 is lower powered than SR3... I think the 400 build points would probably be pretty appropriate for street-level gangers.

Formal education is going to be a rarity for this bunch, but they'll all have an education from the School of Hard Knocks.

Comlinks, cars, guns... these things could have been stolen or bought on the cheap from people who steal them. But stuff like cyberware should probably be a no-no unless they've got organized crime connections or something that could hook them up.
Snow_Fox
They should be able to read at some level, even the least schooled should be able to recogniuze some words, like "Beer" almost like a pictogram.

I'd be less concerned with the number crunching than the feel of the play. The roel playing. newbie players won't know to ask for the neat toys. limit the vehicals to unmodified basics-vans, sedans and pick up, basic bikes. weapons should be knives and pistols. A shot gun should be a major thing. SMG's and Assault rifles should be unknown.
Dog
Wasn't it Changeling that introduced the ideas of "iconeracy?" That is, literacy for icons, signs and so on, but not the printed english language.

I'd throw in a few details now and then about the "haves" looking down on the "have nots." Like from their rat-infested flophouse, they can see the sparkling towers of Bellvue, or how people on the street pretend not to see them, then throw away their half eaten sandwich in plain view. "Get a job!" comments and the like.

Also, remind them of the constant physical discomfort of being on the streets. A toothache when you can't afford the dentist, or sloshing through puddles wearing inadequate shoes. Remind them that a good warm coat is a luxury.

This is of course if you want to run something that gritty. If that's not your style, don't sweat it.

You'll probably want to screen the contacts they select very carefully. I'd suggest that all starting contacts are also street types and based in the same neighborhood.
SpasticTeapot
I'd adjust the costs of many things.
Physical attributes should be about normal. Gangers tend to be tough, lithe, and fast. The ones that are'nt get weeded out by natural selection. (Unless they're Otaku, or the like. Then, they arrange for their enemies to be driven over by semis whenever they cross a street.)
Mental attributes should be limited and about 1.5x normal cost; no more than 3 or 4 unless a REALLY good explination is given. Exceptions may be made for some characters; if one PC wants to play a greasemonkey kid (with no cyber at the time of the start of the game, limiting his driving prowess), then it's all very well to let him have a 5 in intuition.
Cash should be VERY limited, and 5x or more normal cost. A particularly lucky runner might have a bit of cheap-0 cyber, or a half-decent used car, but nothing fancy. In addition, Low or lower lifestyles would be the norm, although they would likely have fringe benifits. (Namely, the local organized crime would'nt hit you up for money; you are the local organized crime.)
Contacts may even be a bit cheaper than normal. Gangers, if they are good, loyal, and bring in the bacon, will have a gang to back him up when he's in an emergency. In addition, they'll likely be happy to give him a hand, providing he keeps throwing wild parties or keeping the motorcycles in shape.
Magic should be VERY expensive, perhaps double or more normal cost, and likely limited to three or so. On the other hand, wizards are relatively rare; a single, low-power magician can be quite useful in a standard gang fight. (Healing spells are also quite useful when you can't go to a hospital, even at force 2.)
"Resonance" powers might be a bit cheaper. I'm still a little fuzzy on that area of the rules; however, it would seem to me (if the SR3 Otaku are an example) that those with Resonance might be a bit more common on the streets. 1.5x normal cost with a relatively low limit is reasonable.
Skills would be limited, and slightly more expensive. I think that the system might work well like this:
Skills at levels 1-3: normal cost.
Skills at level 4: Normal cost + 5
Skills at level 5: Normal cost +15
Skills at level 6: Normal cost +25. These would be very well.
I'd allow characters to have 3 skills at level 4, and one or two skills at level 5. Level 6 skills would be almost unheard of; however, if the skill is in something less than game-breaking (I.E: Gymnastics), it should'nt be a big deal.
Skill groups would be limited to a maximum level of 3, with the third level costing an additional 5 BP.

I'm not much of a GM, and I'm still a little shaky on the SR4 rules. Despite some of the simplifications (I kind of liked the old rules, personally), it looks like it will be a good bit more fun to run. It's also less of a headache. (With a bit of paint and some cheap dice, you don't even need to look at the numbers of what you roll. Just paint two sides of each die, and count the dice with a colored side up.)

Just my two nuyen.
Sharaloth
personally, limiting it to 300 BP without any cost increases is the way to go here. Standard SR4 characters are pretty 'street level' to begin with, at 300 BP they're paying through the nose for every little thing. Put some limits on gear and lower the starting skill cap, it's all been suggested before. Teapot's suggestions I find to be seriously ruthless, though for a 400-500 point game they might, possibly on the outside, work the way you want them to.

Siege
Low-end 'ware wouldn't be that hard to accomplish, if they have any capital at all.

Are they wet-behind-the-ears newbs dumped on the street yesterday?

Are they "Boyz in da Hood" with some criminal enterprise, skill and resources behind them?

The 'ware might be third-hand and prone to glitching, but a street doc with a dermal stapler and a bottle of whisky is gonna be available somewhere - especially with the proliferation of chip skills.

And if you have any full-blown wizards, even at 2 or 3 Magic, the crew will have _some_ starting capital. Wizards may start poor, but all it takes is the liberal use of "Heal" to start racking up nuyen or trade goods.

-Siege
Wounded Ronin
Don't forget to have overweight mother melodrama when someone gets shot.
PoorHobo
I'd always wanted to do a low powered street/gang game. Sounds fun. But alas, 3rd edition rules makes you an unstoppable corporate ass kicker from the get go.

I'd suggest being really nice on contacts. Not lenient on who the pick but give them BP discount for the ones the do choose. Or give them 320 BP and specify that 20 of it has to be used for contacts. Sure they may not have cyberware, good weapons or high magic but they know fences for the stuff they can get, drug dealers, squatters, cops, corrupt apartment managers, taxicab drivers etc...

Seems like it'd fit in with the games theme
tisoz
QUOTE (PoorHobo)
I'd always wanted to do a low powered street/gang game. Sounds fun. But alas, 3rd edition rules makes you an unstoppable corporate ass kicker from the get go.

BS!
QUOTE
I'd suggest being really nice on contacts.  Not lenient on who the pick but give them BP discount for the ones the do choose.  Or give them 320 BP and specify that 20 of it has to be used for contacts.  Sure they may not have cyberware, good weapons or high magic but they know fences for the stuff they can get, drug dealers, squatters, cops, corrupt apartment managers, taxicab drivers etc...

Since you have no problem adjusting beginning points or setting limits or mandating what types of things are available, SR3 can be tailored to low power campaigns. There are several threads on it and more than a couple games have been played that way. Even here on Dumpshock.

PS: one could always put caps on skills and attributes and make resources expensive... Oh yeah, that's SR4.wink.gif
MaxHunter
Iīd go with 300 Bp also. I believe that capping the skills at 4 or 5 will prevent gang munchkinism. 300bp IS already very little, so that is a strong limitation as well. Their characters should be poor but playable (and different to one another), If not, there's no fun.

Don't agree with the education restrictions, they could have learned from a mentor or picked up a chip or whatever. I also think that tech and commlinks is a very essential part of cyberpunk culture. It would be as today's squatters having no money to eat, no house but all the same saving money -stealing - to get cellphones or designer clothes. (It's a status/inferiority complex thing, It happens in my city.)

I did like the contact points allotment, I'd settle at 315 though.

If I were playing that kind of campaign, I would play it gang-style in the beginning, (drug dealing, running guns, etc. as it has been mentioned earlier) but I would also plant the seed of a corporate / mob / triad story, so that the players can "grow up" and become true shadowrunners in time.
(or a power in the underworld, or corp employees or made-men, etc.)

All in all, the idea is great! Have fun with it.

Cheers

Max

edited to delete redundant phrase. I'm a gang ork!
Crusher Bob
Let me squirt out some character builds:

The first thing to notice is that you cen't even be average in all stats, it costs 160 pts to get 3s in everything, and you can only spend 150 BP (half) on stats.

Lenny

Lenny got pinched for dealing dope. Sure he pled it down to just possession, so he got of with time served plus 6 months probation, but now he's got a shiny new criminal SIN and a debt to a high powered lawyer.

Ork, Adept

BOD 4
AGL 3
REA 3
STR 3
CHA 4
INT 3
LOG 3
WIL 3

EDGE 3
MAGIC 4

Influence Group ((Con, Etiquette, Negotiation, Leadership) 4
Dodge 3
Intimidation 4
Perception 3
Pistols 2
Running 3

Resources 15,000 Y

Edges/Flaws:
Adept (5 pts)
First Impression (5 pts)
Sensitive System (-15 pts)
Criminal SIN (10 pts)

Contacts (12 pts)
Corrupt Police Detective (4/2)
Gang Leader (3/3)

Adept Powers
Voice Control
Improved Con 2
Improved Negotations 2
Kinescis 4
Improved Perception 2

MrFletch
Thank you all for your suggestions.

Yes they will have ties to low level organized crime to allow them a chance to move up in the world. One character is already a newbie street mage who just discovered his power. In the test game he turned invisible and freaked everyone out including himself.

I didn't realize you could only use half your BP for your attributes. I'll do the math later, but if it takes 160 BP to get 3s in all attributes I may up the points a little bit. As I explained to the players do get some toys for being in a gang. They have a crib and some stashes in there. They will not have to pay for their little clubhouse initially.

One player said he didn't like the idea of a low powered game. "What happens if we run into Red samuri? We can't power our way through them!" I explained that was the friggin' point! To be honest I'm a little tired of high magic/high cyberware games and relish this idea.

With luck it'll be fun and I can tell you what worked and what didn't. If you have more ideas please keep them coming. Due to family/work/school/holiday obligations we're not playing this game until early January so I welcome any additional viewpoints.
Aku
QUOTE (MrFletch)
One player said he didn't like the idea of a low powered game. "What happens if we run into Red samuri? We can't power our way through them!" I explained that was the friggin' point! To be honest I'm a little tired of high magic/high cyberware games and relish this idea.


You need to be careful of these sentiments, remember that gaming isn't just for your enjoyment, but for everyone's. Ofcourse, being a low powered game, i wouldnt EXPECT red sams to be making regular appearences either, but it seems like, atleast in this players opinion, that might be the case.
MrFletch
QUOTE (Aku)
QUOTE (Aku)
You need to be careful of these sentiments, remember that gaming isn't just for your enjoyment, but for everyone's. Of course, being a low powered game, i wouldnt EXPECT red sams to be making regular appearences either, but it seems like, atleast in this players opinion, that might be the case.





I realize that everyone should have gaming enjoyment. However a nontraditional campaign shouldn't be viewed as something odd. I view it more as a opportunity for outside the box thinking. Their gang is their own small criminal syndicate. Instead of waiting for a Johnson to call them they can figure out schemes of their own. Prostitution rings, gambling, BTL and drug dealing, protection rackets, and knocking off other gangs to get turf. A street gang isn't a big fish overall, but in their own pond they can be king.

As a general rule I'm not going to send them into situations they can't handle, but they need to play smart too. If a Red Samurai team is in da hood looking for something, a gang shouldn't screw around with a corporate strike team. If someone does something stupid I have no qualms about bring the hammer down hard.

But no I won't have corp strike teams and dragons hidden in every nook and cranny. Just the one dragon slumming down the street, but that's all I promise biggrin.gif
nick012000
I'll point out that with the stats they're given in SR4, it's entirely possible to make an adept ganger who can take them on. Or, at least, take one of them on. He'd need the rest of the group to kill the rest (again, not too hard to do). They've only got security armor and about 5-6 Body (net result: staging down each attack by about 5-6 DV), so if the group concentrates their fire (and have lots of EX-EX and automatic weapons), the Red Sams would die. Of course, you'd have a megacorp really mad at the ganger scum who took out one of their elite teams, but they ought to be able to survive, even if their gang hidey-hole doesn't.

Carl

Carl is a ganger in the 'menace you with large, pointy weapons' tradition. He also has a tendency to laugh maniacally when he opens up in full auto with his FN HAR.

Elf, Adept

BOD 4
AGL 6
REA 4(6)
STR 2
CHA 3
INT 4
LOG 1
WIL 2

EDGE 1
MAGIC 5

Athletics Group (Climbing, Running, Swimming, Gymnastics) 2
Stealth Group (Disguise, Infiltration, Palming, Shadowing) 2
Automatics (Assault Rifles) 4(6)
Blades (Swords) 3(5)

Resources 25,000 Y

Qualities:
Adept (5 pts)
Guts (5 pts)
Toughness (10 pts)
Moderate Addiction (BTLs/Matrix hotSim) (-10pts)
Moderate Addiction (Stimulants) (-10pts)
Mild Addiction (pyromania) (-5pts)

Contacts (12 pts)
... (make them up)

Adept Powers
Improved Ability (Automatics) 4
Imroved Reflexes 2

Gear
FN HAR w/ External Smartlink, Gyrostabilization, Supressor, and Shock Pads
Chameleon Suit
Helmet
Some cheap clothing
Contact lenses w/ Flare Compensation, Image Link, Smartlink, Vision Enhancement (Rating 3)
Glasses w/ Thermographic Vision, Vision Magnification
Earbud w/ Audio Enhancher (rating 3), Spacial Recognizer
Headphones w/ Select Sound Filter (rating 3)
Commlink (Novatech Airwave) w/ Mangadyne Diva OS, Sim Module modified for BTL/Hot Sim, and trode net
655 EX-EX rounds for FN HAR.
Toptomcat
There's a good case for SR4 Adepts being broken right there. 300bp Ganger + Adept = Spec Ops? Say it ain't so!
Crusher Bob
Erm, didn't you notice that the 300 pt social adept I posted would roll 14 dice for Con, 14 dice for negotiation, 12 dice for intimidation, leadership, and etiquette (plus the bonuses from first impression?)

nick012000
Just for kicks, I increased my build up to 400bp.

What did he get?
+1 Body (10bps)
+2 Strength (20bp)
+2 Willpower (20bp)
+2 to Athletics Group (20bp)
+2 to Stealth Group (20bp)
Etiquette (Street Gang) 1(3) (6bp)
Pilot Ground Craft (Motorcycles) 1(3) (6bp)
A motorcycle (5000 nuyen.gif, 1bp)
1 more contact (Loyalty 2, Connection 1) (3bp)
Criminal SIN negative quality (-10bp).

Nothing really gamebreaking there, though I'm not sure where the other 4bp went.
PoorHobo
QUOTE
Since you have no problem adjusting beginning points or setting limits or mandating what types of things are available, SR3 can be tailored to low power campaigns. There are several threads on it and more than a couple games have been played that way. Even here on Dumpshock.


I Should have specified, of my group I'm the only one thats generally intrested in anything low powered. Not that I play with obtuse powergamers, but somewhere inbetween. Good group, just not their playstyle. Thus its not that I would have a problem adjusting 3E rules for a low powered game I've just never had a chance to do it.
Glyph
I think SR3 was actually much better for running low-powered games. You could have lower point allocations, caps on skills or Attributes, and so on. Even with the relatively powerful normal build, there were still lots of things that were much more powerful than the PCs.

With SR4, they made the mistake of making it possible for characters to reach the absolute maximum in an ability at char-gen. You can start out being the best there is at what you do, with no improvements left except branching out into other areas.
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