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Shinobi Killfist
QUOTE (phasmaphobic)
QUOTE (Shinobi Killfist)
yeah but it would basically be the same number of steps if the GM just mentioned the TN when telling them to make that knowledge check. 

That would be so, yes, but I don't think I've ever played a game with a GM who actually told the players their target numbers on anything outside of combat, and even then it wasn't always a given, especially if the opponent had some unknown buffs.

Hell, I never give out TNs either. Oftentimes the players' knowledge of the TNs can drastically change their perspectives, especially if the situation has a lot of variables of which they know not. And usually, that out-of-game knowledge quickly changes their ideas, especially in such a number-driven game.

so it was bad to know the TN is SR1,2,3 but its good to know the TN in SR4. Only in cases where a pool is involved would things really be different in SR3 since they were expendable so being able to estimate how many dice to comit was useful.

But then again I fail to see the issue, giving the TN is just the out of game way of describing what in game the character would likely know: wow this is a difficult shot.

Now in game they know the difficuky number they now the how many dice they can roll, so they have just as much knowledge and it lets them determine if they want to blow edge or not for this action. Basically the same thing which was apparetly so bad you'd never let them get this info in SR3.
QUOTE (Shinobi Killfist)
so it was bad to know the TN is SR1,2,3 but its good to know the TN in SR4.

Cute snark, but I think you're missing the facts here. In SR3, many variables unknown to the playera would affect their target number, and if the GM did not want the players to be aware of such variables, he would have to keep the target numbers secret.

In SR4, the numbers have changed so that you always know your target number, while the number of dice you roll changes instead. However, there are going to be dfew, if any, unknown variables affecting your own dice pool. Instead, these "unknowns" affect the Threshold of the test, which you really never ever even have to give out. In SR4, unlike SR3, you don't have to worry about the player knowing these unknown variables, as they affect the thresholds. The players tells you how many hits, you compare to the threshold, and then the results are determined. If the player did not get enough hits to succeed, they will know this, but not until AFTER the fact. Like it should be.
QUOTE (Shinobi Killfist)
But then again I fail to see the issue, giving the TN is just the out of game way of describing what in game the character would likely know: wow this is a difficult shot.

But it matters in the way it is handled. Let's say, in SR3, the target has some cyber and/or magic that gives him an extra advantage, affecting any TN to hit him, and if you tell the player, they will know this BEFORE the test is rolled.

But really these are things they have no real reason to ever suspect beforehand. If the target has some special circumstance in effect, the player has NO WAY of knowning this without prior knowledge, investigation, or trial and error. By using your description of it, "the character would likely know" all of this. But how can you justify describing to them a TN/difficulty they have no good reason to really know? Their character suspects a simple shot against their unaware opponent, say TN 3, but you tell them TN 7 or something, and the player is automatically going to hear alarms in their head they would not have heard otherwise.
Can you give an example of what it is you're describing?
I'm not trying to pick on you, Cain, so please forgive the personal attention.

Because I'm not communicating a single modifier to my player.  I have to do a joint calculation with him to make sure he's rolling the right number of dice.

As you say later, your joint calculation is likely an artifact of people learning a new system. The end goal should be that the GM relays situational modifiers and the player -- now familiar with his/her character sheet -- does the rest.

GM: "Dim lighting, target has partial cover."
Player: "I have lowlight, a smartlink, and 4 boxes of Physical. So my Agility plus Firearms plus the modifiers..." (rolls) "3 hits."

In SR3, all I had to do was keep track of TNs, and all the player had to do was reference his sheet to determine the right number of dice to roll.

The player still had to calculate TN modifiers even after the GM made a declaration. Reach, smartlinks, firearm ranges, et alia were things inherent to a player's sheet.

In my test run, I had to keep track of all pool modifiers, all threshold modifiers, and cross-reference it against the PC sheet to make sure everything was done right.

More "learning the system" stuff, I imagine.

That, plus the mandatory three dice rolls per combat action, and the piss-poor organization in the rulebook, slowed gameplay to a total crawl.

SR3 had as many dice rolls per combat action. You could combine your defense pool with your resistance pool (best if using two colors of dice) to make it one handful rather than two, but you can do that in SR4 too. Myself, I (used to and still) roll "dodge" stuff first to see if I even need to pick up the "soak" dice.

You have zero disagreement from me over the organizational inefficiency. The book has an unfortunate amount of cross-referencing required and even then the answers sometimes elude the reader.

Now, some of this is pretty usual for a new system.  But I also was introduced to Savage Worlds at about the same time.  Savage Worlds effectively has a floating TN system, and it runs many times faster than any other RPG I've ever seen!

I haven't played SW, so I can't speak to that.

I can say, though, that Shadowrun was never a fast system. It's more of a complex system. The two descriptors are typically at opposite ends of the same spectrum, and game designers have to pick the middle ground that best reflects their (concept of their) game.

Shadowrun has an immense level of diversity, and it attempts to at least somewhat mimic realistic combat (i.e.: lighting levels, use of cover and movement, armor penetration, variable levels of success, injury penalties, differences between evading and absorbing damage, et cetera). The more of that stuff you put in a game, the more complicated it's going to get. The more complicated your gameplay, the slower it becomes.

I'm not going to champion either side of the "simplicity versus realism" dichotomy because it's just a matter of personal preference. I'm also not going to suggest that Shadowrun is neither especially simple nor especially realistic. I will say that it tries to strike a balance between the two that's meant to appeal to its players.

SR4 leans more towards the simplicity side than SR3 did. I confidently assert that, and I personally welcome the shift (or at least the attempt thereof). I like that dice pool allocation is gone; the lost control is a good tradeoff for having one less thing to track. I like that TNs are fixed; the lost dimension of dice variability is likewise a good tradeoff because, again, it's one less variable to track.

So, fixed TNs are not some magic cureall for faster, easier gameplay.

I wholly agree. I don't think anyone has suggested that, to my knowledge, and if they do then I'll be right there disagreeing with them.

Fixed TNs are a step in the right direction for faster, easier gameplay. It also allows for more consistently scaling die results.


For the record, I'm okay if you disagree that SR4 is more streamlined than SR3. I boggle at it, but I'm okay with it. I just want to make sure that we're both seeing the same facts even if we have different opinions on what they mean.
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