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Trucido
I find that in the world of Shadow Run combat can sometimes get tiresome, or repetitive. Sometimes everything can be solved with an assault rifle, some APDS rounds, and good recoil compensation. In order to make up for this, when I GM I like to include some interesting mechanics and qualities to the opposition.
To some GMs this makes me the anti-christ. I've played with a couple of GMs who swear by the source books like the bible. I find that I can't do that, not because I feel like it makes the game stale necessarily (not that I don't either). It's more or less that I'm too lazy to A) memorize it and B) Check the scatter chart everytime someone fires a grenade.
This causes a bit of trouble sometimes, but it also allows me to create my own rules without fear of them infringing on the book because I don't know WHAT the book says about it. So I was wondering if anyone else has any interesting tweaks to combat that they've added.
For instance, I've created a two different sets of enemies for my next with two seperete mechanics. The first of which are tower shield wielding swordsmen. The mechanic? 1d6, 4 and under and they deflect any ranged combat attack taken against them. This is because I've found that the melee characters in my group are often sent to the back of the lines so the full autoers can take charge.
The bullies, the other set, have a mechanic called "Bullet Sponge". Basically, they have a reaction of 1, but they take half damage. Eating bullets like candy. Sure it'll make combat a bit more challenging. But it would make a character alot more intimidating if they took a bullet to the brain and grinned back at the party. These mechanics are never intended to be used BY the players.

What do you think?
Austere Emancipator
QUOTE (Trucido)
The first of which are tower shield wielding swordsmen. The mechanic? 1d6, 4 and under and they deflect any ranged combat attack taken against them.

And, uhh, what are these "tower shields" made of, again?

QUOTE (Trucido)
The bullies, the other set, have a mechanic called "Bullet Sponge". Basically, they have a reaction of 1, but they take half damage.

Wouldn't it be much easier just giving them a very high Body and lots of armor?
hobgoblin
some mixture of dikote and orichalcum apparently...
Trucido
Well, that's why they're unorthodox, but I've found you can explain anything away with "err... Magic...". And yeah I could give them a high body. And lots of armor. But then there's lots of math and dice rolling. And I really think it bogs down the game to roll 25-30 dice. Also, odds are you're going to get at least 6 successes on a 30 dice test, hell you could auto-succeed 7. That would make damage impossible. Not annoying.
Trucido
Or dikote and orihalcum... Exactly >.> what I was thinking hobgoblin. <.<;
Squinky
While I respect what you are saying, two things come to mind.

1. You can't really call the rules boring if you haven't even read them fully. There are many options to even out combat. If you are having problems with melee characters not doing there thing, there is a dice pool penalty to ranged combat if someone is in melee range. Attack your gunners with melee folk and the tables turn. For that matter, there are tons of modifiers for ranged, use them. That is another area melee characters have it lucky.

2. Players who cotton to the fact that you are just making up crazy rules to fit your needs will feel unhappy when they made their characters by the rules. I personally don't like it when that happens...
Austere Emancipator
QUOTE (Trucido)
Well, that's why they're unorthodox [...]

Not everything unorthodox is batshit insane.

Like Squinky said, you have to make sure your players don't mind you making up crazy stuff whenever you feel like it. If they like consistency within the reality of the game world, then this sort of thing isn't going to be received well.
Kanada Ten
Drones, magic, and intelligent tactics are basic ways to fight full auto monsters... Your Bullet Eaters could be mimicked using actual game mechanics such as Regeneration, Immunity to Normal Weapons, and even some spells. Judicious use of Invisibility and Levitation can make enemies nearly invincible, but just having them choose the fighting ground can offer the same results.

If you're just really into simplicity, then you'd be happier with another game system.
Trucido
I agree with the both of you. And if I called the standard combat rules boring I apologize, not for insulting the book or anything so much as failing to express myself fully and properly. I do not find the rules to be... Boring. Think of it as... a video game for instance. In every sequel they add some sort of whacky mechanic. Be it the ability to transform into some monstrosity, or go into some form of bullet time, or whatever it is. this is in an attempt to rehash the old combat system and make it interesting again without having to reinvent something that already works
I respect the combat system because, well, it works. But I feel that a good rehash every once and again keeps combat interesting. I also agree that if the players feel cheated by it, then I have failed to do my job as a GM, and that is to provide an entertaining and enjoyable world for which the players to immerse themselves in.
Perhaps a part of my love of these simple but rule altering mechanics is that sometimes I feel like the game can sometimes lose it's immersion if you attempt to accomplish the same goal through the games internal systems. It can be done. But adding up modifiers and recounting your dice pool everytime you attack can feel... burdensome to some new to intermediate players.
I've been playing ShadowRun for about four years now. Because of the old TN system I learned to love modifiers...and loathe them. But most of all I learned to utilize them. But I remember nothing frustrated me more than calculating them. In this way I am able to achieve the same effect without losing the magic of the world. This, more than digits, reminds the players that they are in an extraordinary world, furthermore, one where they are NOT the only extraordinary people.

Thanks much for your input. I agree completely with the both of you. Like women, these mechanics should be used in moderation!
chewy01234
Wrong account. oops.
Vasili
Hi, My name is Vasili. I am in Trucido's gaming group. I am a bullet sponge. (Or not, judging by the 11p I took to my gut last night from some asshole prime runner APDS carrying punkass.)

Anyroad, I'd like to add to Trucido's setup that we are both usually players, our GM is the worlds biggest rule nazi. We will argue for hours over the stupidest stuff because he cannot let go of the rulebook, every combat turn is saturated with 3-5 rulebook checks and combat begins to feel slow and clumsy. Is he a good GM? Yes. But after 2 hours spent on 3 combat turns, equating to 9 seconds of game time....things are frustrating.

Trucido, to my knowledge has not been a game master since SR3, and the both of us are about to get into GMing for the group (Him for a game or so, and then me for a short story arc.) and I think the main point here was to ask what people did in general to streamline combat, and make it more efficiant and fun for everyone.
Squinky
Well, SR4 combat seems to go much faster as compared to SR3. Get the basics down, then it is easy to not have to look up everything, because most things only modify dice by a little.
Tarantula
Whats to stop a melee guy from killing your tower wielding swordsman, and then using his spiffy invulerable shield to then walk up toward gun toting enemies deflecting off all the ranged attacks just the same. What about turning it around (so the curve of the shield is facing the enemy) with c4 or c12 strapped to the other side? Does the blast break through the invulnerable shield? Making a super deadly shaped charge that they can use at will? What if I shoot a shield wielder with a missile, rocker, grenade? What about the bullet eaters? What happens when they're hit by a panther round? What about the shield holders? Whats to stop a troll from grabbing two tower shields, and using them as gigantic clubbed weapons to parry things with. Those are just stuff off the top of my head of how players can use the non-mechanics against the GM. The invulnerable shield particularly is a problem, since it could be looted off the carriers once they're dead. Even if its cybernetically attached, you just need to cut off the arm, and figure it out once you're back at home.
Vaevictis
If I were a character, I would generally take exception to rule bending on grunts. The fact of the matter is, characters have to play by the rules, and so should most of the NPCs.

Exceptions should be either rare and on "unique" type creatures (super-villians, great dragons, etc), or equally available to the PCs. IMHO.

Also, do keep in mind that a 2/3 chance to completely deflect an attack, irrespective of how skilled and/or successful the attack is, is just insane. Crunch time. Character spends edge, because it absolutely positively must hit. Character, beating the odds, scores 9 successes! Awesome. Aw, crap. Sorry, shield dude rolled a 3, wiping out all of your successes. That, my friend, is what we in the trade call "bullsh*t." wink.gif
PH3NOmenon
QUOTE (Trucido)
What do you think?

It's a game, change it however you feel is appropriate to let your players have fun.

Just make sure your players get annoyed by too many cool things npcs can do, but they cannot.

My take on your "special abilities": They look like fun. It requires your players to re-evaluate their current tactics and plan. However, in the interest of maintaining some level of realism (which i feel SR4 tries to mimic as much as possible) it'd limit such 'drastic' rule-changes to "bossfights" only.



You could always fiddle with modifiers and tresholds to get the same desired results if you wanted to stay more in tune to the rules. An unexplained -5 modifier for ranged attacks instead of the ubershields or double the hitboxes for both P and S tracks on your bulletsoakers should be sufficient, and would make less RAW-inclined players cry than "i rolled a three, this guy's invulnerable for the turn.".
Edward
As a player I would find your setup very annoying, the rules represent the way the world works, and my characters usually are knowledgeable about how the world works (at least in there aria of specialty) if you change the rules without warning I am not going to know what my character can and cannot do, I am going to take an action that the rules say should have a high chance of success and your unannounced house rule (witch only affects that one character) is going to stuff me up completely.

Rolling 30 dice only takes 30 seconds (ok 60 seconds if you donít have enough dice)

Buying 7 or 8 successes dose not mean youíre immune to damage, just that an attacker would need ether heavy weapons or auto fire to damage you.

A great big shield would provide armor. I donít know if it exists in SR4 yet but the ballistic riot shield would work well for the shield character.

Or you could just read the rules (and fill in gaps with good judgment) and have enemies use cover and maneuverability to best advantage.

Edward
Trucido
I absolutely understand everybodies apprehensions, and I am happy to read them since my intention was to gather the general feel and opinions about it. I could find a counter-answer to every withdrawl, and every withdrawl could find a counter-answer to that. With that being said, once again, thank you much for your input. For the most part it will be taken into account and factored into the run. If any of you would like, I will post after run feelings on how it went around tuesday after it's conclusion. Thanks again!
Tarantula
I'd really like to hear how you'll handle a player getting a hold of one of your tower shield swordsman shields.
chewy01234
Hey trucido here is an idea...

GO FUCK YOURSELF!!!!!!!!!!

GOD DAMMIT!! GM'S think they are fucking gods and can do whatever the hell they want. Why not just have your party fight a magical leviathon resistant to all spells and metal of all kinds....with a body of 96.

You think you are soooo cool don't you. So so so elitest. You commy bastards are all the same. All the same I tell you.


GO BACK TO RUSSIA!!!!!!!!!
Trucido
Well, the way I have it planned is simply that the shields they are using are just medieval tower shields. If they wanna grab one, feel free. They'll probably be a little bit weaker than your everyday riot or tazer shield, yanno, given that they're medieval and all. The effect comes from the men behind the shields. I've designed them as adepts and the shields are there as a utility to an advanced form of missile parry. So they can gather all the shields they want. If they really want.
Trucido
That's it Chewwy! It's on!

Boys get your guns! And pair up in twos! The man in the front gets a rifle! The man in the back gets a clip!

FOR THE MOTHERLAND!!!!
Teulisch
Well, thats one way to start a counterproductive flamewar....

regarding your 'sheilds', please remember that using a sheild in melee gives you a penalty. a normal sheild gives a -1 penalty to ALL pysical tests (thats your attack, dodge, and parry as well). With the larger size of a tower sheild, i would suggest giving it a larger penalty. rather than 'deflecting' bullets, the most balanced thing to do would be to have the sheild act as cover- giving a -4 penalty to be hit.
if you want to keep your roll mechanic, i suggest having a special skill for the sheild, which also takes a penalty from the sheild (so its at skill+sttribute-penalty). Having the skill add to reaction for shooting atatcks without needing to use an action to dodge would be one way to do it. this permits players to use the strategy, but only if they want to learn an exotic skill for it. basicly you increase effective reaction with non-implant gear this way.
The final option is to allow a 'bullet parry' action with the skill. simple action, and you need to beat the attackers hits in an opposed tests. if you parry, you dont get the passive bonus vs that atatck. it basicly gives you stat(x3)+skill-penalty(x2) dice versus one attack. again, an option the players could get, if they want to spend karma on the skill.
if the players do get such skill, i suggest making the sheilds degrade when they take too much damage. you can fix it with armory skill, but you may need the right materials (which could require a simple run to get). those sheilds are way too big to conceal, wont fit in some cars, and probably have wheels on the bottom.

for your 'bullies', are they magical or technological? magical is very easy to explain away (Ares bug spirit experiment). tech is a bit more difficult. the palate factory already reduces damage taken- perhaps you 'bullies' have a much more extreme, possibly nanoware (beta-grade and up) version? this creates SOTA ware which is very valuable if you can steal any of it.

Butterblume
QUOTE (Edward)
A great big shield would provide armor. I donít know if it exists in SR4 yet but the ballistic riot shield would work well for the shield character.

There's the Ballistic Shield (+6/+4) or the Riot Shield (+2/+6).
Trucido
The bullies I believe should be magical. I don't want to go into giving them anything but bioware if I were to go tech, because I don't want the party members going off and making a bazillion dollars off of some scrub with a nifty trick's collarbone.
PH3NOmenon
Meh, i used to worry about that too, i've had players cut off bodyparts of beaten baddies left and right... (pun intended)


But, if you just have a look at the rules for fencing such stuff, you'll find that if you let players have 10% of the listed value of used collarbones, you're giving them plenty. Ten percent is not a whole lot considering you're now driving around with a garbagebag full of bodyparts in the trunk of your car.

Then again, that would require those blasted rules again... confound it!
Trucido
Seriously! It's like there's no escape! Accursed rulebook.
Demon_Bob
Improved Invis + stealth + monofilament whip.

Airborne drone with sniper rifle.

My favorite. Comlink Eyeball drone doorman, "Excuse me sir weapons are off limits at this facility. Please, leave your weapons in your vehicles or I will be forced to notify Security as well as Lone Star."
Glyph
Trucido, there has been a thread about streamlining combat without house rules. I think your perceptions may have been skewed by the other GM, the rules lawyer. Yes, it's not fun when it takes forever to run a simple combat. But the solution is to wing it when you are unclear on a specific rule, debate rules interpretations after the game, and use a few of the techniques from the above thread to speed things up a bit.

Your approach, which seems to be ignoring the rules and making stuff up as you go along, is not fair to the players. They made their characters by the rules, and should be able to use the abilities they paid for, without being screwed up by what is essentially GM fiat. There are plenty of nice, legal ways to beef up grunts that won't anger the players by being unfair. And keep in mind that shadowrunners generally should be able to take out most "grunts" fairly easily.



On the specific problem of the players organlegging the opposition (which I think there was also a thread on, in the Shadowrun forum) - keep in mind that without surgery skill, plenty of time, and then a freezer to put the parts in, it's not very feasible. And if they invest in that, they should still find that their notoriety goes up, some of their better contacts drop them in disgust, and the ones replacing those contacts will tend to be more unsavory and less reliable. They will also get dirtier but less high-paying jobs, and have to worry more about law enforcement and vindictive enemies (dead guards are part of business, but if someone cuts off their body parts afterwards, the corporation will expend more effort in punishing the offenders). Logical, in-game consequences are the best way to deal with these kind of things.
Trucido
Well, your belief in my ignoring the rules is my fault for approaching this thread with a facetious and sarcastic tone. I do not, nor have I ever discarded the rules. And my goal is not actually to streamline combat so much as it is to come up with interesting or fun mechanics to enhance it.

Furthermore, i do not feel that most shadow runners should be able to take most grunts. I feel like every shadow runner should be afraid of every man with a gun. Because guns kill. A bullet from Rambo and a bullet from PeeWee Herman kill the same. I feel that mechanics that are "unfair" to the gamer because they cannot acquire them add suspense to the game. And makes Joe Everycorpse someone they may think about confronting in a way other than "Wave your favorite killing mechanism in his general direction".

But regardless, I do feel that combat can become too bogged down with rules, as I've previously stated, but that is because I've seen the horror of looking up modifiers for wind velocity. But, once again though, my goal is not to be rid of the old rules and replace them with new rules. Perhaps I am too lazy to manipulate a 1D6 mechanic into a XD6 mechanic using SR4s governing rule sets, that I am guilty of. But if it's not broken. Why fix it? I kind of feel like this thread has strayed far from what I'd initially intended.

I appreciate the advice and the contributions. But things have somewhat fallen away from my origional intent, my fault, once again for lacking a certain degree of professionalism in my tone, but I was looking for opinions on additions, and perhaps some new flavors of said additions. Not replacements.
Tarantula
QUOTE (Trucido)
be afraid of every man with a gun. Because guns kill. A bullet from Rambo and a bullet from PeeWee Herman kill the same.

QUOTE (Trucido)
may think about confronting in a way other than "Wave your favorite killing mechanism in his general direction".


Sorry, but its the having it both ways that you don't get. You can work towards the first one, guns kill, be afraid of them, and have a very lethal game both ways. But having it "guns kill you, but not the other guys" completely nullifies your intent to have guns seem lethal.
Edward
A medieval style tower shield, half an inch (maybe an inch) of timber is not going to stop a super sonic bullet, or survive a burst from a any automatic weapon.

A bullet from PeeWee Herman isnít nearly as dangerous as Rambo. Rambo shoots you in the chest. PeeWee Herman shoots you in the leg, if he hits at all.

A runner skilled in combat should be able to kill mooks easily. Mooks beat shadowruners with numbers and loose many in the proses. Elite NPCS are a different matter, SWAT, jaguars, HTR. These have state of the art armor, weapons and cyber, as well as exceptional training and often magic, as well as significant numbers, all of this will likely exed the runners abilities and the runners should run but they could win.

There are some truths in the world. Such as a full tight burst from a fully compensated HMG wielded buy a skilled character will put any soft target out of the fight. This is part of guns actually being deadly. So when you have a character that goes to the effort of bringing an HMG with gyroharnes and gas vent to a fight, and sees somebody wielding a big shield that will slow down his dodge and blasts into him he will be understandably annoyed when that target has a 50% chance of taking no damage.

The armored defense specialist player is also going to be unhappy when the enemy heavy weapon man shoots him with a long burst from a HMG and he didnít have the option of using the 50% shield block.

Edward
Austere Emancipator
QUOTE (Edward)
A medieval style tower shield, half an inch (maybe an inch) of timber is not going to stop a super sonic bullet, or survive a burst from a any automatic weapon.

Half an inch is more like it. A very large wooden shield made of 1" hardwood would weigh a fuckton. Not that either would provide more protection against firearms than holding your SR4 rulebook in front of you.

Except for the m4jyck part, obviously.
Ophis
Just a little tangent here. Your wanting to make the game more intresting right? You find that combats turn into repetative slug(pun intended)fests right?

Hows about trying interesting non combat problems? MCT use very little meat security, maybe some para animals on the perimeter, most of their facilities use automated defences, gas and robot warriors. Thats a different set of challenges to the normal stuff. Mix it up a bit there more ways to challenge than combat and you don't need to create player POing rules to do it.
Trucido
Thanks for the suggestions Ophis. Perhaps I will, I've never really integrated drones, so that's a good way to go. Para critters are indeed a part of the run I have scheduled. And it's absolutely logical edward, that a bullet would pierce a midieval form of defense like a hot knife through butter. But is it not also absolutely logical in Shadow Run that an adept with enough great leap can jump onto the roof of a home two or three stories? Is it not also logical that my adepts punch does about as much as stuffing a high explosive grenade in his opponents mouth?

Yes, unaided the shield would be useless. But with magic behind it, wood suddenly becomes able to deflect rifle rounds. I think that if one can shoot acid from his pointer with the aid of magic, it is not unfair to believe that an adept can be trained in a skill that's a psuedo combination of Mystic Armor and Missile Parry in the form of a shield specialization.

And when I said Peewee Herman and Rambo's bullets kill just the same. You misunderstood. I did not mean they both had the same prowess as a marksmen or mercenary. I meant if Peewee's bullet pierces your lung, you're just as unhappy as if Rambo's does.

On the mooks part I agree somewhat, in the sense that in Shadow Run the characters are EXCEPTIONAL people. They are better than your average Jim Bob shotgun hillbillie. Or Tom the mall security guard. Of course. But that doesn't mean that I don't want them to be afraid of getting hit. But at the same time. I don't want combat to be point and click.

Should one shadow runner be able to take five mooks? Sure, with the appropriate tactics they may even be dead before they knew he was there. Should he be thinking "Hmm... Five mooks, that's an easy five on my kill count, lemme take my armor off...I won't be needing it anyway". No, Of course not! But I find that in most cases mooks are just lead magnets who pose no threat even if they do fire back.

And I don't believe that any function I could come up with (ridiculopity aside) would piss on the rules of SR4 so much as simply not break it down into a formula pre-described in the book. For instance, I could give my shieldies 12 dice for dodgeing ontop of their reaction when they're fired at. Or as was stated about the bullies, I could just double their body boxes, that would do it just fine, no? I instead find that 1d6 is less dice and simply quicker and more daunting. And I also find that half damage is scarier than 24 health. It's more of a "How do we hurt these guys" rather than "Oh, we just have to hurt them lots."
Edward
I donít think they are that unthreatening.

The corporate security unit is the definition mookdom. He still has 7 dice when he fires his first burst (skill 3, agility 3, smart gun 2,uncompensated recoil -1) if your playing him smart that will be a wide burst reducing the dodge pool buy 2

Very few characters have a reaction stat that will evade that without taking an action (they can be built but at the determent of other necessary abilities). The base damage code is 5P assuming only one net success to hit. there is a high probability that the runner will have moor than 5 points of armor. But then it would be more than reasonable to have such a guard using gel rounds. So 7S AP+2 against impact. Or they could load stick and shock. 6S against half impact, -2 all dice pools even if you resist Very few characters can afford to ignore this, again they can be build but at determent of other abilities.

Naturally you will find that runners are normally quite skilled at getting the first shot, thus preventing such mooks from shooting them

Finally the things you where suggesting didnít sound very mookish. Magic should never be for mooks, nether should SOTA cyber and bio. Both of your proposals used one or both of those.

Edward
Teulisch
not all people are equaly vunerable to gunfire. An ork with a high body, bone desity bioware, and an armor jacket and helmet... its not hard to get around 20 dice. with 7+ reaction, theres a good chance the mooks miss in the first place. If i have any chance to get behind cover, that makes me harder to hit. suddenly your mook is shooting 3 dice against 5 reaction with that wide burst. if i drop a smoke gernade, he may go to zero dice. and my ultrasound, thermal, and other upgrades let my smartlinked weapons fire do horrible thing to that mook, even if hes behind cover.

the use of modifiers is a big part of combat. If i can drop the enemys dicepool below my modified reaction, then theres a good chance i wont be hit at all. And i dont need to throw to use smoke gernades, but it does depend a lot on who has what vision modifiers.

all that said... mooks are no match for the sam or adept who focuses on combat. but the mook can do a lot of very bad things to the non-combat members of the team, like the mage (who you need for counterspelling and banishing) and the technomancer (who is keeping you safe from enemy hackers, using the security teams relay from offsite). If those guys drop, then things get ugly fast.

Your average combat-focused runner will be able to drop 3 to 6 mooks per round, repending on conditions and range. the average mook will fire once and miss, or fail to damage. we can expect the runner to get off two shots, get shot at by the rest, then get off 4 more shots. 5:1 odds favor the runners against low-end mooks.

back to the original topic... if you change the mooks, the runners may well die quickly. they grow to expect a certain level of resistance from certain enemies, which they can do legwork to confirm in many cases. having a new bit of gear change the playing feild changes when the runner feels he should escape, vs when he feels its a cakewalk. and if you expect a cakewalk, you may take to long to adapt to the rasberry frosting-coated monowire chainsaw.

if you make em tough, then their not really mooks anymore. If you want to 'challenge' the PCs, dont use mooks, use prime runners.

of course, if i ever run into your sheild guys? if i know its possible for em to do that, then i will bring HE gernades to throw BEHIND the sheilds.
ornot
I have to agree with Edward on this.
QUOTE
Magic should never be for mooks, nether should SOTA cyber and bio.

I'm blessed with players who don't try to blow away every little thing in sight however, so I don't need to throw such heavy ordnance at them. ^^
Trucido
Well, perhaps I think of mooks as something other than everyone else. I kind of think as mooks as the cannon fodder that's in every level of every video game before you get to the triceratops headed rocket launcher weilding boss. But I prefer my mooks to be the mooks from level 8, not the mooks from level 1 who bring a knife to a gun fight. I don't expect my mooks to survive, nor do I want them to. I want them to die. I just want the players to have fun killing them, rather than killing every guy the same way. That's all.
Moon-Hawk
And that's good. But I think people are suggesting that you do this by having the mooks use different gear, different tactics, and different situations, rather than different rules.
X-Kalibur
If they are combat oriented characters, maybe the answer isn't changing combat, but rather, changing run mechanics. Runners should be shying away from combat anyway, because like you said, all bullets are potentially lethal.

Also, instead of using fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants rules (deflection chance? wtf is this, modified D&D concealment? bleh!) or even overpowered your mooks' equipment, make them more tactically sound. You can maybe throw in a low level mage, but once runners know he is a mage he's going to suffer lead poisoning. Otherwise leave magic for high profile runs. Same thing goes for hackers. A not terribly skilled hacker might be able to muck up characters' smartgun systems, mess up their map overlays, etc.

There are always ways around using unfair (in favor of the GM) rules.
Tarantula
QUOTE (Trucido @ Jun 5 2006, 10:19 AM)
And it's absolutely logical edward, that a bullet would pierce a midieval form of defense like a hot knife through butter. But is it not also absolutely logical in Shadow Run that an adept with enough great leap can jump onto the roof of a home two or three stories? Is it not also logical that my adepts punch does about as much as stuffing a high explosive grenade in his opponents mouth?

Yes, logic works when using it with a piece of wood and a bullet, things that exist. Adepts are magical, and don't actually exist. Thus, the "logic" of them being able to jump 3 stories, or punch as hard as a grenade explodes is "magic". You can't really try to justify magic with logic, nor vice-versa.

As far as your magical shield guys go... my next step after killing them would be to loot the shields, have someone rip out the insides of my car door, and put them inside it. Oh, not to mention in the trunk, on the bottom of the hood, and pretty much anywhere I expect the car to possibly be shot while I'm driving it. Obviously, it can deflect bullets, so then all I need is some minor bodywork if my car gets shot, but i wont ever have to worry about it being disabled from a bullet.

If such a "magical" bullet deflecting material exists, why isn't it used as the plating in high grade armor? Could a character with the armorer skill break a shield up somehow and replace the hard plates in his armor with the wonder material? If not (from the enchantment) I'm sure theres plenty of talismongers and other mages who would love to have their hands on such a special shield so they can learn how it was enchanted and then sell the same material in whatever shape you want.
"Yeah, thats our newest survival knife, made out of indestructo 3000! Guaranteed that even HMG bullets won't dull the edge."
Edward
If your players are bothering to take cover and use smoke grenades then they are considering the enemy a real threat. Not worthy of your comment ďtaking of there armor because there not a threatĒ even knowing it as an exaduration.

I was under the impression the shield wasnít magic, the wielder charged it with magic.

Of cause magician scientists are common in SR and the ability to do something like that would quickly be translated into a impenetrable armor spell. (drain being f+5 but its still good) or an adept power making there armor impenetrable (and they wear full body armor with helmet)

Edward
-X-
In other words once something happens in a game, you can't pretend it can't happen again under laboratory conditions unless you show just how unique the situation was after all.

Can a cyberzombie ever cast spells? NEVER! Well, there was this one time one got inhabited by a massive ghost/spirit and eventually learned to crudely channel some raw mana.

You could also attribute the magic to some kind of magical Threat to get away with things.

These adepts in question could be doing massive blood rituals where each person they kill during the ritual adds 5/5 to their armor rating. (10/10 for dragons, vampires or shapeshifters, 20/20 for a great dragon or IE)

But if one person does it, there has to be some reason there aren't labs somewhere reverse engineering the effect.

Hell, as high level magic as it seems to be, with as many people who've seen Harlequin do his obnoxious teleport routine, there's probably a lab or two noses to the thaumaturgical grindstone working out how he did it. Maybe even a magical initiatory lodge of some sort.
Vasili
Well, we did the run last night, and Trucido didn't mention the mechanic out loud, and thus it was just fun.

The shield guys took it in the mouth, tbh. And to answer the question about taking the sheild? I did. And killed 4 people with it.

The bullet sponge blokes were alot of fun in combat. Trucido's little tweaks made the combat intresting and challenging. It was just like having enemies with alot more HP than usual. Anyroad, we had fun and that's what counts.
Moon-Hawk
NOOO! u r diong it wrong!!!1 taht is not how ur suposed to have fun!!!1 RULZORZ!!!!1

Seriously, though, glad it works for you group. Any other combat suggestions would also be appreciated, accepted, and thoroughly mocked. smile.gif
mdynna
Hey, if you're players enjoy the "FPS video game" style SR then go ahead. Personally, I enjoy a more realistic SR with bad guys that counter with tactics, numbers, and such rather than creating "blue guys with shields" and "red guys that take more damage." But, that's me, and you're you so whatever.
eidolon
I'm responding to things as I come across them from the top down, so apologies if I rehash some things.

QUOTE (Trucido)
Sometimes everything can be solved with an assault rifle, some APDS rounds, and good recoil compensation.


If everything can be solved in this manner, you need to find a more creative GM. It's not that the "kill it with a gun. kill it with a gun. kill it with a gun" style isn't a valid way to play, it's that it might not be (as seems to be the case here) the style that the players (or the GM, in the reverse case of "the players just want to shoot things") want to play.

QUOTE (Trucido)
To some GMs this makes me the anti-christ. I've played with a couple of GMs who swear by the source books like the bible. I find that I can't do that, not because I feel like it makes the game stale necessarily (not that I don't either). It's more or less that I'm too lazy to A) memorize it and B) Check the scatter chart everytime someone fires a grenade.


Although "I'm too lazy to learn the rules" method is one way to do it, you'll most likely not find much support for it here. SR, like it or not, is a rules-intensive game (I speak with regard to SR3, fyi, although nothing I've seen leads me to believe that SR4 is as free form as say, Call of Cthulu, so the same applies, even if to a slightly lighter degree). Now, some would argue that if you're not using the rules from the book, you're not playing Shadowrun. Keep in mind that what they're really saying is "you aren't playing Shadowrun by the book". I personally feel that the rules in a game such as Shadowrun (where the rules are created to fit and represent the setting, rather than being generic) make up a very large part of what SR is. Without the rules for decking, combat, and magic that are given in SR, I'm just playing "LOOKY, CYBERPUNK WITH ELVES!". smile.gif

The other issue (and I saw this being addressed at least once while skimming the thread) is that when you take it upon yourself to pull random rules from thin air, you had better be ready for players to mutiny. The exception to this is when you have
a: discussed your rules with the players ahead of doing it, or at least in the process of doing it &
b: apply your rules fairly, consistently, and without bias.
Even when you meet these two conditions, you can expect a fair share of players that will question you as to why you felt the need to make up rules, when there are already so many in the game. Be prepared to give a proper answer long before you ever tell them you have a house rule that you use.

Getting away from that though, now on to specific responses.

QUOTE (Trucido)
For instance, I've created a two different sets of enemies for my next with two seperete mechanics. The first of which are tower shield wielding swordsmen. The mechanic? 1d6, 4 and under and they deflect any ranged combat attack taken against them. This is because I've found that the melee characters in my group are often sent to the back of the lines so the full autoers can take charge.


This suffers from much "squarepeginaroundholeitis". Although I see that you have a perceived problem and have made an attempt to solve it (which is commendable), allow me to offer my views on a different route.

Perceived Problem: Melee characters always get sent to the back during firefights. Since this bores the melee characters' player, it is bad.
Actual Problem: Lack of encounters that showcase (or even include) the abilities of a melee character.

The answer isn't necessarily to find a way to pound melee fighters into the round hole that is ranged combat. The best way to engage and entertain any player is to put that player's character in the center of the spotlight. So although the melee character might duck and cover during today's firefight, he was instrumental in evading capture the other day in that high-security bar, you know, the one that doesn't allow any weapons and has all kinds of scanners in the doors, when he knocked out the evil Johnson's bodyguards so we could get out of there. (just an example, not intended to be the "quintessential roleplaying encounter")

As a side note, consider hinting to the melee character player that taking a ranged combat skill might be worthwhile. Cite the lack of participation in ranged combat scenes as the primary motivation.

QUOTE (Trucido)
The bullies, the other set, have a mechanic called "Bullet Sponge". Basically, they have a reaction of 1, but they take half damage. Eating bullets like candy. Sure it'll make combat a bit more challenging. But it would make a character alot more intimidating if they took a bullet to the brain and grinned back at the party. These mechanics are never intended to be used BY the players.


The bit of this that I disagree most with has been bolded for emphasis. While I'm not wholly against NPCs with abilities outside the norm for PCs, this is a prime example of the wrong way to use them. Again:

Perceived Problem: Combat is not hard enough, because the PCs always just kill everything. (I'm reading into your post a bit here, but I'm fairly sure this is what you're getting at.)
Actual Problem: NPCs are not fighting with the same level of intelligence and tactics that the PCs tend to use. GM frustrated that when he stands up "Cardboard Johnny" in an alley, CJ just gets knocked down by a hail of gunfire. (Alternatively, GM is not gearing the NPCs to the PCs level of ability. "Random ganger X" with a 4 in pistols is obviously no match for PC_SAM with wizzer cyber and a LMG.)

The first time the PCs are engaged by a group of corpsec officers that use the terrain (including COVER, the most overlooked balancing tool when it comes to combat) and intelligent tactics to their advantage, they'll quickly realize that "stand here and shoot at it" isn't always the best answer. It might take longer and seem like it isn't worth the time, but coming up with NPCs that are a good challenge to the PCs using the same rules that the PCs are held to will almost always lead to a greater sense of satisfaction after a combat than just saying "they take half damage".

Less advicey and more just commenty, I think it's pretty silly to say "I don't know the rules" and "the rules make the game suck" in the same post.

QUOTE (Trucido)
Well, that's why they're unorthodox, but I've found you can explain anything away with "err... Magic...". And yeah I could give them a high body. And lots of armor. But then there's lots of math and dice rolling. And I really think it bogs down the game to roll 25-30 dice. Also, odds are you're going to get at least 6 successes on a 30 dice test, hell you could auto-succeed 7. That would make damage impossible. Not annoying.


While "It's magic" might work to explain a spell to a mundane character, it's not the best response to "why does that work that way" when it comes to rules. My rule of thumb? Before you can modify or replace a rule, you first must understand the What (does the rule do?), How (does the rule do that?), and the Why (does the rule do it in that way?) of the original rule. This isn't to say that your answers must be the exact same as those used by the game designer, only that you should have a firm grasp on a rule, even one you disagree with, before you go monkeying around with it. You have to take into account balance, flavor, and many other factors before you can change a rule with much credibility.

As far as the "math and dice rolling bogs down the game", I again don't see how you think you're in a position to say that while also claiming not to know the rules at all. I find that there's not a test in the game that takes more than a few seconds (or a couple of minutes if it's extended in some way) to resolve, regardless of the number of dice. And why is that? Because we know the rules well enough to know what test to roll when, and how to interpret the results.

QUOTE (Trucido)
Perhaps a part of my love of these simple but rule altering mechanics is that sometimes I feel like the game can sometimes lose it's immersion if you attempt to accomplish the same goal through the games internal systems. It can be done. But adding up modifiers and recounting your dice pool everytime you attack can feel... burdensome to some new to intermediate players.


Once you know the rules, they quickly take a back seat to the story and plots of the game. Also, keep in mind that as a player, you have much less to worry about then the GM does (depending on your own gaming outlook; in my view it's the GMs job to know everything, and a player's job to know how to run their character; I'm aware that others see it differently, that's a different discussion). When it comes to new and intermediate players (although I'm uncertain as to what your definition of intermediate is; it seems to be "not a total noob but still unfamiliar with the rules", which I'd still classify as a new player), it's up to the GM and that new player's fellow players to help them learn, and to keep that player from feeling as though the rules are a "burden". With time, that new player will be an old salt and teaching the next new player the rules. (Disregarding the pest of a player that can't ever be assed to even learn the rules that apply to their character. This advice doesn't help in regard to them. It's up to each group and GM to decide whether that breed of player is welcome at the table.)

And as I guessed, doing this top down leads to me reiterating things, and missing out on others. No worries. Some things need to be said more than once.
QUOTE (Moon-Hawk)
And that's good. But I think people are suggesting that you do this by having the mooks use different gear, different tactics, and different situations, rather than different rules.

Said very well.

Echo Moon-Hawk's and mdynna's last posts, though. If it works it works. Just offering up another viewpoint.

(Oh, and kudos to all for ignoring the troll. Well done.)
Trucido
Well. I appreciate you reading and looking into this MUCH farther than I have myself it seems. And your responses are much appreciated. So I'll do the responding in kind.

I must apologize once again for giving the impression that I've hit myself in the head with the source book and felt that that was enough to absorb the rules inside.

I am quite aware of the rules. And I would like to think that I am relatively well versed in them. My initial approach and attitude to this post was for relatability. I found that in an unprofessional post I would attempt a more human "village idiot" approach rather than the... rules lawyer(Is that what you call them on this forum?) approach.

--If everything can be solved in this manner, you need to find a more creative GM.--

Perhaps that is true. Every GM has their weakness. I personally falter in being not too adept in social situations. I can do them if they're scripted out before the run with a character analysis and so forth, but flat footed I find that I often fall short on improvisionals. But perhaps.

I have already touched on the too lazy to read the rules thing just above the last reference, so I'll move on.

--This suffers from much "squarepeginaroundholeitis".--

I would agree. It definetly does. But I feel like the suggestion about taking away weapons and sticking Bruce Lee in a bar is the same thing just turned inside out. Instead of being faced with foes who are resistant to bullets, you are instead in a situation where you lack the bullets for them to be resistant too. Both situations end in the same resolve, save for the fact that with resistances to bullets, gun bunnies don't feel as alienated.

--Actual Problem: NPCs are not fighting with the same level of intelligence and tactics that the PCs tend to use. GM frustrated that when he stands up "Cardboard Johnny" in an alley, CJ just gets knocked down by a hail of gunfire. (Alternatively, GM is not gearing the NPCs to the PCs level of ability. "Random ganger X" with a 4 in pistols is obviously no match for PC_SAM with wizzer cyber and a LMG.)--

The actual problem is not that combat is not challenging enough. In fact there was no problem at all. Many people have replied to my thread with the assumption that I have created these mechanics as a crutch, because my or my gm's combat situations are kinda gimpy.

Nay my friend. In fact, I shall say it again. Nay! I won't go back and quote myself, not directly, but in a nutshell, I recently approached this issue stating my true intentions. My goals are not to streamline or amp up the difficulty slide bar. My goal was to enhance combat. Create new problems for the characters to solve in new ways not using their standard intuition but combat instincts.

And in response to the emboldened statement, I see no problem with restricting qualities. I wouldn't suggest letting the combat mage take simsense vertigo. Or the hacker take incompetence bow and arrows. Sure it happens from time to time. In fact I know a case of the latter, would you say that's fair? Furthermore, I find that conquering those with greater abilities than oneself offers up more satisfaction than your equal or lesser.
eidolon
I did warn you about taking this one top down. wink.gif

QUOTE (Trucido)
I must apologize once again for giving the impression that I've hit myself in the head with the source book and felt that that was enough to absorb the rules inside.


Accepted (for whatever that's worth). It was indeed the impression left, although a more recent (and somewhat closer) reading proves otherwise. As to the tone of posts, yes, we tend to stick to straightforward and (mostly) serious. We have our exceptions, but well, they usually receive the type of responses that your first post did. smile.gif

Onward.

QUOTE (Trucido)
Every GM has their weakness. I personally falter in being not too adept in social situations. I can do them if they're scripted out before the run with a character analysis and so forth, but flat footed I find that I often fall short on improvisionals. But perhaps.


Very true. GMs all have their weaknesses. I have several, I'm sure. The important thing isn't that we have them, but rather that we attempt to address them. For improv skills, the best I can offer is that "with a grasp of an NPCs personality, you gain the ability to speak and act as he would". Also, when doing NPCs before a game, try to mentally link them with a character from a movie or a book. This can give you countless ideas on how to play them. The best thing for improv is just to do it as much as possible. Try not to think about it too much when you're doing it. Nine out of ten times, if you just let go and act out the scene without obvious tension, your players will return in kind and nobody will ever be the wiser that you're pulling the character out of thin air. (After all, in RL, our conversations are much the same, are they not? We have no scripts.) In the game, you need to be aware of a few things, such as profession, personality generalizations, and the "Important Information" that the characters want from said NPC. If you know what and who the character is, it becomes all the more easy to portray him or her. Just stuff OTOH.

QUOTE (Trucido)
But I feel like the suggestion about taking away weapons and sticking Bruce Lee in a bar is the same thing just turned inside out. Instead of being faced with foes who are resistant to bullets, you are instead in a situation where you lack the bullets for them to be resistant too. Both situations end in the same resolve, save for the fact that with resistances to bullets, gun bunnies don't feel as alienated.


You make an interesting point. I have a follow up question though: Do you see it as necessary that every character be equally useful or valid in every given situation? Do you see each scene, or encounter if you prefer, as individual scenarios in which all characters must factor equally, or do you look at the overall session (or even multiple sessions) as but parts of the overarching "game"? If you take the latter perspective, you find that placing the melee fighter in a situation that showcases his talents to be the balance to the ranged combat scene in which he's/she's forced to stay low. It becomes much less "pound it in", as you no longer have to make mechanical exceptions in an attempt to give each player their share of "important time". It's not about forced situations, it's about making your players happy (through the validation and edification provided when their character is the center of the action). Again, with your last bit there, it seems as though your outlook is "everyone must be equally important at all times". You note that in the situation I gave, the gun guys would be alienated. That may well be true, if you look at it in terms of "minute by minute" rather than "over the course of the session".

QUOTE (Trucido)
My goals are not to streamline or amp up the difficulty slide bar. My goal was to enhance combat. Create new problems for the characters to solve in new ways not using their standard intuition but combat instincts.


I'm sorry if this comes across as overly snarky, but "shoot it more because it isn't dying" isn't combat instincts. It's "it hasn't died yet, and my method of killing it is to shoot it more and hope it dies". If you want them to have to think on their feet, give them smarter opponents, not tougher. (Although smarter opponents are arguably "tougher". smile.gif)

QUOTE (Trucido)
And in response to the emboldened statement, I see no problem with restricting qualities. I wouldn't suggest letting the combat mage take simsense vertigo. Or the hacker take incompetence bow and arrows. Sure it happens from time to time. In fact I know a case of the latter, would you say that's fair? Furthermore, I find that conquering those with greater abilities than oneself offers up more satisfaction than your equal or lesser.


Again, no offense intended, but that's a total straw man. Combat mages taking simsense vertigo has nothing to do at all, and is not related in any way, to your giving NPCs magical uber shields and double life without offering the same to PCs. Mages are prohibited (or at least, GMs are advised to prohibit, which if you give it any though is fairly obvious) from taking flaws that don't hurt them in order to get free build points. That's a balance issue for one thing, and common sense for another. The point is, waving your hand and saying "these bad guys do not follow any of the rules of the known game universe, but you are still expected to" destroys verisimilitude and player trust when used in this fashion. (I generalize, and apparently it has done neither for your group. However, when applied to the greater cosmos of SR, I think you'll find that it holds fairly true.)

It is true that overcoming a challenge tends to be more rewarding than running over a cockroach. However, I think there are better ways of providing that challenge than what you're proposed. (Prime Runners, as mentioned, is a good example.) Working within the rules to provide that challenge is, in my experience and to my tastes, far superior to hand waving wonky rules into a game.
Butterblume
\o/

I totally agree with eidolon on his last posts.

Well done.
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