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MITJA3000+
So, because it's finally reasonable to play hackers, what do you think are the minimum group sizes? First of all, in the wireless world, you need a hacker. Second of all, in the awakened world, you need a magician. Third of all, you need a gunbunny? So what do you think, is three enough? Maybe a face would be nice, but then again, you could go two in one, a face/sammie for example. The problem I'm having though, is that I only got two players. I've been thinking how to solve this, since I don't really like having a NPC in the team, they end up being faceless shooters without any personality.
stevebugge
A Cybered Hacker can make a pretty decent gun bunny too, though any dual-use character won't be quite as effective at either function as a specialized character. But when you only have two players you need more generalist characters. That probably puts face duties on the mage. Also if the charcaters have only adequate, but not exceptional combat skills it will force them to be a bit more careful and creative in their planning. Of course they will have to start with a bit lower end jobs, or you can give them extra build points for skills to round them out a bit.
James McMurray
Spread the love between archetypes. An elf makes a pretty good Shaman / Face. you can make a decent Street Samurai / Decker or Mage / Decker since cyberware is no longer needed for decking.

Or you can do what I've done in the past: have an NPC decker. You make all his rolls ahead of time so you don't have to stop the game for it. Leave him at home so you never have to roll combat dice for him. Our group almost always uses an NPCdecker because even with the new martix rules it's easy to get into a situation where the "decker effect" kicks in and the group is standing around waiting for their computer guy to sleaze his way into the place's security.

The same thing happens with astral mages scouting alone but it isn't as pronounced because there's nowhere near as many die rolls to slow things down.

edit: I originally typed that elves make good shaman / mage instead of shaman / face.
Glayvin34
Everyone in my team is a gunbunny, axebunny or combatspellbunny. So I'm stuck as the Hacker/Infiltrator/Face, which I don't really mind. I got him a dice pool of around 13 on his gun coupled with Wired Reflexes 2 he's hardly defenseless. I gave him pretty high Agility but low Strength. And with a Logic of 7 and programs at 6 he gets around 13 dice and 3 IPs in AR, also good.
I picked up the "First Impression" Quality, so with a Charisma of 4 (no enhancements), Influence group at 3, he gets 7-9 dice to convince, depending on the situation, which is not that bad. And I plan on getting tailored pheremones later, for up to a +4 bonus.
I'd say you NEED a Mage and Hacker, either of those can be combined with a lower-than-average Face, and you don't need a gunbunny, just make sure the Hacker has some guns and the Mage has combat spells.
James McMurray
I agree that you don't need a gunbunny. If everyone in the group is combat capable a gunbunny can actually mess things up because the GM has to decide whether to put in someone that can challenge the gunman at the risk of offing another character because of the power differential.
fool
I know it's not really kosher, but when our group only has three people, the two players usually get to play two characters. I tend to think that four is about the perfect size for a group. Not only does it improve the survivability of the group and improve the chances of a succesful run, but people get to advance their characters more quickly. The draw back of course is that it is difficult to switch roles between the characters. A good role player, like a good actor con get themselves around more than one role at a time- things like switching personalities. The downside is that most players don't do that. Personally when I'm running tow at once, I try but don't always succeed. it largely depends on how well I've got hte character fleshed out.
stevebugge
QUOTE (fool)
I know it's not really kosher, but when our group only has three people, the two players usually get to play two characters. I tend to think that four is about the perfect size for a group. Not only does it improve the survivability of the group and improve the chances of a succesful run, but people get to advance their characters more quickly. The draw back of course is that it is difficult to switch roles between the characters. A good role player, like a good actor con get themselves around more than one role at a time- things like switching personalities. The downside is that most players don't do that. Personally when I'm running tow at once, I try but don't always succeed. it largely depends on how well I've got hte character fleshed out.

This is something you have to be very careful in allowing, mostly because some players can pull it off without too much disruption and others will simply ruin a game when allowed to play more than one character. Our group doesn't allow it, mostly because we have a player who thinks he can pull it off but he ends up killing the game speed by doing things like having is two character engage in long pointless conversations. He also takes forever to roll and sort dice so having him do it for two characters slows the game to a crawl.
James McMurray
We've also used that method. In our groups it tends to usually end up with one of the characters having a personality attached and another character who is just some numbers to be called on when needed.

I've played in games with 6 players that used two characters each. In a way it was actually a plus because the GM could afford to not pull as many punches and if you got dropped in combat you weren't relegated to wandering off and watching TV until the fight was over. It also meant fights took a bit longer, but not by much when everyone knewt he game (it was rolemaster, so fights were fairly quick a lot of the time).
fool
Yeah we only do it, generaly if there are three of us (one gm and two pcs)
Like I said it can be difficult to pull off with the characters becoming little more than flat cardboard cutouts. the other danger is if a slow player controls two characters. We haven't had any players trying to carry on a conversation with himself (as tow characters) but we;d just tell him to shut the frag up.
Butterblume
You could easily drop the mage wink.gif.

Your fixer gets you only jobs, where there's no magical security, or the magical security is designed for (against biggrin.gif) magic intruders ...

James McMurray
You cold also drop the hacker and have no electronic defenses, but neither option lends itself to suspension of disbelief. smile.gif
Butterblume
Mages and magic are supposed to be rare, so that would be way easier then dropping electronic security wink.gif.
Kanada Ten
I think two is the minimum for a runner team (not necessarily a hacker or a magician). Dropping Hacking and Magic is not really a problem, since it just changes the location setting. A pair that never leaves the Barrens, for example, or on an ocean based game, would not have a huge need of either. There is plenty of atypical settings to run. A game might have far more use for a magician than a hacker based in the wilds of Abathbascan Council, while one set fully inside a Shiawase arcology would be the opposite.
Grinder
I think a team of a sammy/adept (for the combat) and either a mage or a hacker are the minimum. The role of the face must be filled by one of them in this case, but that shouldn't be a problem.

A good runner team otoh would have at least three people: as above, plus a hacker.
Kyoto Kid
QUOTE (Butterblume)
Mages and magic are supposed to be rare, so that would be way easier then dropping electronic security wink.gif.

...just make sure someone on the team has:

A) some form of area attack (gas Grenades, Flash Bangs etc)

B) Biotech [First Aid], a medkit rating 6, and full array of slap patches or the run could end real quick. Those negative modifiers add up and soon you may find your character is left with only 3 - 4 dice in her skill pool while staring down a bunch of mostly fresh grunts.
Shrike30
Gunbunny, as was said above, is really the disposable class. Hackers and Mages essentially let you interact with two planes of existence that other characters can't really handle nearly as well (or at all). Faces are useful because sometimes, you have to/want to interact with people. Gunbunnies aren't really necessary... it's not hard to give someone a fairly effective weapon skill (specialization and smartlink, stacked, is a +4 dice alone) and let them defend themselves when necessary. Gunbunnies are mostly good for turning combat into a non-challenge for the group. If the crew works hard at avoiding combat or initiating it only when they've got a solid advantage, having someone massively specced out towards killing people isn't truly necessary.
BnF95
My group tends to use a character pool. Each PC has (on average) 3 characters (of different designs) which can be called by the fixer (or sometimes by other characters) depending on what the run needs.

Since there are about 8 full-time players, about 6-7 part-time players, and 3 of us rotate as GMs/players we sometimes end up with very large groups.

On the other hand, sometimes we divide the full time players into 3 different groups so that we GMs don't have such a hard time.
Loestal
QUOTE (BnF95)
My group tends to use a character pool. Each PC has (on average) 3 characters (of different designs) which can be called by the fixer (or sometimes by other characters) depending on what the run needs.

Since there are about 8 full-time players, about 6-7 part-time players, and 3 of us rotate as GMs/players we sometimes end up with very large groups.

On the other hand, sometimes we divide the full time players into 3 different groups so that we GMs don't have such a hard time.

That sounds exhausting, I would never run a game with 8 players and each have numerous characters.
Big D
I can see solo teams. But fixers have to hire them for jobs that a solo can do, which usually means deep niche work--really repetitive, too (kill this guy, now kill this guy, or hack this server, now hack this server). Just about any class could run solo, but doing so profitably might be another issue, as mainstream jobs would be impossible for them.

A 2-man team is feasible, but that's really pushing it. Elf Face Adept Mage (probably not a true Face Monster until later on) plus hacker or TM with "leet haxor" and drone skills who can also shoot at least one weapon straight. Still pretty limited, probably not much infiltration, but can build an army (spirits, drones, and sprites) to bulk up and can talk their way past some problems. Still, it can give you a Butch and Sundance feel, especially at higher levels (until the Bolivian Army spoils the fun).

A 3-man team gives you the first chance to put a dedicated sam or gunbunny into the mix.

A 4-6 team is probably the norm, and gives you room to specialize.
Kanada Ten
Solo running can also mean infiltration in a deeper sense (get a job with LowTech Security and learn their procedures - for now), or detective work (basically, fulltime legwork - really great with a two person team).
Big D
Heh... a Remington Steele team? nyahnyah.gif
Kanada Ten
There you go. Only working for the mob, fixers, and so on, rather than - You know, I watched that show all the time, along with Moonlighting, and I can't think of a single plot! Scarecrow and Miss King (?), too.
Kyoto Kid
QUOTE (Shrike30)
Gunbunny, as was said above, is really the disposable class.† Hackers and Mages essentially let you interact with two planes of existence that other characters can't really handle nearly as well (or at all).† Faces are useful because sometimes, you have to/want to interact with people.† Gunbunnies aren't really necessary... it's not hard to give someone a fairly effective weapon skill (specialization and smartlink, stacked, is a +4 dice alone) and let them defend themselves when necessary.† Gunbunnies are mostly good for turning combat into a non-challenge for the group.† If the crew works hard at avoiding combat or initiating it only when they've got a solid advantage, having someone massively specced out towards killing people isn't truly necessary.

...I pretty much agree about the total gunbunny. In the last run I was on (2 players + GM) I ran two characters, Violet (a Hacker/B&E specialist) & KK4.1 (a Blade adept) while the other player brought just one character (a mage).

[major edit]

[Hard to deal with intricate themes when on a tight time frame. Most of my posts are made at work during breaks].

To sum things up, I thought that the three characters mentioned above actually made a fairly balanced team. Combat (particularly for Violet who unfortunately got beat up pretty bad) was a bit touch & go near the end since we ended up fighting ghouls in the underground trying to rescue Mr "J-San's" daughter, but we managed to survive & achieve the objective, and come out of it with a fairly good haul of loot.

The one skill area where we did come up short was in the social group (all of the characters only having Etiquette of about 3) but KK was able to make up for it with her Knowledge of Japanese Culture, Customs, and Language. Though Gaijin, she was able to impress Mr "J-San" with her social grace and actually gained his respect.
BnF95
QUOTE (Loestal)
QUOTE (BnF95 @ May 19 2006, 08:39 PM)
My group tends to use a character pool. Each PC has (on average) 3 characters (of different designs) which can be called by the fixer (or sometimes by other characters) depending on what the run needs.

Since there are about 8 full-time players, about 6-7 part-time players, and 3 of us rotate as GMs/players we sometimes end up with very large groups.

On the other hand, sometimes we divide the full time players into 3 different groups so that we GMs don't have such a hard time.

That sounds exhausting, I would never run a game with 8 players and each have numerous characters.

Nah, each player only brings in 1 character, the reason for the pool is for team flexibility. The GMs, playing the fixer, chooses which character/s fit the profile and contact them. The PCs (if multiple character options are offered) choose which character they will use.

We don't always play together (same game) though normally we do play in the same house, but in different rooms, with each of the 3 GMs (sometimes 2, very rarely 1) running a concurrent timeline (but different mission) game.

Although I remember once running a whole story-arc for 17 players (23 characters since some of the original characters bit the bullet.)
MITJA3000+
Thanks for the response mates.

Good pointers there. Players playing multiple characters is out of question in my group, since the biggest issue is roleplaying, not playing with numbers or hunting karma. The idea of dumping mages/shamen is pretty good considering the rarity of them, but then again I really enjoy the mojo and without magic, well, we might as well be playing CP2020 wink.gif

Characters with a bit broader base of skill will have to be the answer, even if it means the characters can't be very specialized, at least in the beginning. The good thing though is that I just got On the Run, and to me it seems a very low-level adventure, so it wouldn't harm the game that much if the characters were a bit weak.
James McMurray
Hey Big D, check out the mentor spirits. You can basically pick your area of social expertise and make a spooky Face / Shaman or Mage. If you're willing to drop a point of Magic to bioware and get tailored pheremones you can get +3 dice when face to face. Or you can drop two magic to be an adept mage and get level 2 kinesics for +2 to social tests all the time, plus a little boost somewhere else.

If your GM is a goof and lets you combine them you can get level 2 Improved Ability on 2 social skills and level 2 kinesics by dropping two points of magic. You've still got a magic rating of 4, which isn't bad with SR4's easier overcasting. smile.gif
Big D
Oh, yeah, I assumed that. I was considering a "true" Face Monster to be one with a pool of 20+ (which can be done at chargen). A "multiclass" Face/Adept/Mage that puts 4+ Magic into casting can still get close to that, but it's probably more effective to "settle" for 12-16 dice and beef up other skills.

Moon Maiden and Seductress (and even Dragonslayer) are good for that. Raven is good if you're running mind control munch. Firebringer looks good, but half its benefit is worthless for shammies.

I like the look of Raven best, myself, unless all MC spells are out. The ele bonus helps give the face back some combat power.
Butterblume
My newest Sam/Face char has 7 dice for social tests (charisma 4 and influence group 3), and a whooping 15 for his main weapon, a SMG.

I know powergamers will pity me, but most GMs that i know would be glad about a char like that wink.gif.

This char is build for 4 team mates, though. I just wanted to inject a dose of realism back in this thread biggrin.gif.
Edward

You can still do solo runs. With the right contacts and equipment, and your fixer choosing runs that play to your strength you will be fine.

If you donít have a mage you donít go to places where you expect significant astral protection.

You make shore you enough knowledge of the matrix to survive, and a powerful comlink with a carefully crafted agent or 3

If you need extra combat support a drone can be programmed to assist you without requiring you to ride in it. (especially if its upgraded to system 5 gunnery soft 5)

Thus a mage with a hacker contact setting up a couple of agents for him, and a rigger contact setting up a couple of drones for him and a couple of bound spirits for backup can deal with practically anything.


If your going to have more than one player each I would say each player should play a unsociable combat type (or silent ninja or a hacker that dose nothing outside the matrix) and a more sociable character. Trying to play more than one character socially is tricky so the pure combat char can be background for those meats,

Edward
Voran
SR4 skill limits and the ability to have external bonuses to really amp up the particular pool does also lend to a more generalized role for your 'mundane' types. Taking a base char template like a 'weapon specialist' from the sr4 book, its not too hard to make them into a tricked out bio/cyber urban warrior, that can kill you from afar, mid range, and up close, with or without explosives.

I would tend to lose competitions of 'best builds' as I tend to end up making above average 'generalist' type characters, rather than savants.

I think part of that is due to my history of less than stable long term rpg groups, so when I have situations where I have chars that can be ported into someone elses game, I don't really know what role he'll have to fill, so its nice to have some backup professional abils.

Sure, I could roll up a new char, but I also have a habit of getting invested in a particular character, playing him until he dies or gets really boring.

Hacker is something I find easier (at least skill wise) to get into than previous edition deckers. With the costs of becoming a hacker much cheaper than being a decker (remember the 1 mil plus decks?) it helps to pick up even a skill level of 3 or 4 if possible, and load up with a decent mix of hardware/progs.
James McMurray
QUOTE (Voran)
I would tend to lose competitions of 'best builds' as I tend to end up making above average 'generalist' type characters, rather than savants.

Depending on the campaign you might actually win the best build award with that setup. smile.gif
Clyde
Second that: the generalist is always the "best build" in my campaigns as well.

You might dispense with a Hacker using the old SR1-3 standby of hiring an NPC to do the minimum hacking necessary to pull off the job. You also might manage something by playing a "hacker lite" whose got only the bare minimum skills (computer, hacking, cybercombat no higher than rating 3) and relying on your programs to do the heavy lifting. A tooled up Agent might well work as a hacker in a box, too.

Mages are harder. You could hire one to summon up a spirit to provide you with some Astral protection once in a while, and to ward your safehouse. Still, with magic's rarity and careful planning you could do a lot of jobs. An adept with Spell Resistance (or any character with the Quality) has a chance against a mage, especially with Astral perception and some combat abilities.

NightHaunter
1!
Mage with hacking, infiltration, combat and Social skills.

Job's a good 'un.
Moon-Hawk
I will say, that concept is more feasible in SR4 than in any previous edition, IMO.
NightHaunter
Feasible?
I've built it!
It's not amazing in any catagory, but thats what karma and cash are for right?
fool
a freind of mine likes to run the pool cleaner. Started in second edition and the idea was to have everytype of pool, rigging, hacking and magic. Wasted some essense and therefore magic on the necessary cyber and wasn't phenomenal at anything, but he was the most rounded character I've ever seen. Oh Yeah he was a gator shaman of course.
booklord
Hacker: Nice, but not entirely needed even in 2070. The biggest problem would be runs requiring on-site hackers. For these runs the runners may be required to have an NPC tag along. As long as you create him with minimal combat abilities and no real desire to be the team "face" then he'll do little to interfere with the team actions. ( As an added bonus you can "fake-roll" his matrix interactions to provide the results best suited for the story flow and speed up the gameplay )

Face : As long the shadow team doesn't consist entirely with gunbunnies or other anti-charisma freaks then you can role-play the interactions with NPCs. Anybody can be a face, as long as they maintain their professionalism. It really just depends on your style of play. The best "face" character I've ever seen was a player who had a low charisma sorceror adept in SR3. Minimal social skills but the player himself could role-play social interactions with NPCs like none other.

Gunbunnies: Not really needed. But good luck finding a group of players where there isn't at least one player who wants to play one. In extreme cases everyone will want to play one.

Magician: Not fully needed. But not having one does put the team at a disadvantage and the adventures will have to be tailored to suit the characters. More often than not a player will want to play one.

Rigger: Accessory character at best. Riggers have always bugged me because WAY too often the rigger character is unable to fully participate in the run.



I generally allow 2 characters per player. But I require that each character be a different type. Can't have 2 magicians or 2 Hackers or 2 gunbunnies. Got to mix it up. Its also quite helpful when it comes to character mortality. If one character dies or is put out of commission, he still has one other.
iron_ic
(First Post)

-> One-man-team: I thought about that, too. My idea was to build a Mystic Adept (1 Point of Magic for "social" adept powers). Add some spells (covers almost every situation), a small gun, social skills and a commlink with autosofts, linguasofts, dunnowhatsofts,... and an agent (max rating). Since Pilot programs are "smart" now (!= the ones in SR3) the agent could do some *very* basic hacking ("open that door").
Shrike30
QUOTE (booklord)
Magician: Not fully needed. But not having one does put the team at a disadvantage and the adventures will have to be tailored to suit the characters. More often than not a player will want to play one.

I want to play in your group. I've got one NON-awakened player character in mine nyahnyah.gif
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