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Charon
So I'm getting back into Shadowrun. Was around the site during the drama of the announcement of SR4. Gotta say things are surprisingly tame these days!

Overall I'm happy with the rules but there are tidbits that annoy me and wants to be sure I understand well not only the rules, but how it affects the game in your experience.

For this thread ;

Improving...
An active skill by 1 : New rating X2
An attribute by 1 : New rating X3
A skill group by 1 : New rating X5

In chargen mode, attributes are 10 BP per points except for the maxing out point where it is 25 BP. Skill groups are 10 BP per points.

Okay, so attributes at creation are as expensive or perhaps slightly more expensive than a skill group.

But in play, that is reversed quite dramatically.

How does this affect your campaign? I have yet to play the system but it seems to me that rational behavior would dictate that you invest all your karma in attributes. Given the skill+attribute system, until your linked attribute are maxed there is no point in investing a single karma point in skills if the cost for attributes is X3 (Initiations excluded).

Shouldn't it be X5 or even X6 ?

Thoughts, comments? What's the karma expenditure behavior like in your campaigns?
Cynic project
here is what i have done in building characters. Half the cost of skills. Ie two point for one skill, andfive point for one skill group and ten for attributes . I then dare you to see how many charatcer do nto spend 200 points on attributes.

If you insite on using karma after you made character I would say something along the line of skills*1 skill groups*3(maybe even 2.5) and attributes at least*5 if not more.
Charon
QUOTE (Cynic project @ Jul 29 2006, 03:09 PM)
here is what i have done in building characters. Half the cost of skills. Ie two point for one skill, andfive point for one skill group and ten for attributes . I then dare you to see how many charatcer do nto spend 200 points on attributes.

I don't intend to touch the chargen method. It seems okay. And at any rate, if I change the BP value of skills, I change the value of everything. It would have repercusision on the relative value of ressources, contacts, Edge, Magic etc.

For example, the most likely result of lowering the skill BP cost for a magician is a magician with a higher magic rating (The points he'll save on skill are more likely to go toward magic than toward more skills).

Don't want to open that can of worm.

I just want to make sure that 80% of the karma awarded during the campaign doesn't go toward attributes. Which seems the logical conclusion of the current rules. That's what I infer from the rules without actual experience. Personal experience, anyone?

QUOTE
If you insite on using karma after you made character I would say† something along the line of skills*1 skill groups*3(maybe even 2.5) and attributes at least*5 if not more.


What do you mean, "insist" on using karma? What else am I gonna use?

Anyway, if the karma ratio between augmenting attributes and skills becomes 5:1 as in your exemple, I'd expect the reverse dynamics to take place; most points going into skill.

Did you test any of these karma expenditure scheme (either the core rules or yours)? Results?
Cynic project
Well, let's say your character put all their point into skills. That sounds like abetter bet than attributes, right? Well, in someways it is but let me ask you something. How many attributes have more than 5 skills linked to them? Also in the basic rules you can only raise skills so high. 6-7. So you are going to run out of point you can put on your skill.


In the basic rules as theya re, if you are shooty mic shoot, you would only raise your fire arms skill group when you can't rase your quickness attribute.Sorry i do not have the name remeberized but I think you can the point. In the basic rules you get the same amount of dice for rising yoru attributes, as you do your skill, for that one skill.You also get more dice pools for other skills. It is this way, why pay more power for less?

As for things other than karma, you could go on using the build points you used to make you charatcer.Only after you made them they can buy less htings witht hem.IE no money or contacts.

Why drop karma?Well in all other edetions of shadowrun there was no edge, and the number of karma points you had gottenr eally matered.You were more luck for just having more karma points. These day you have to buy edge.
Raptor1033
I wouldn't lower the cost of skill group raises considering that cost is based off the cost of raising a single skill. Look at any of the costs of groups vs individual whether at chargen or post, groups always 2.5 times as much as a single skill. Mostly because all the groups have at least 3 skills in them. If you wanted to balance it you'd have to raise the attribute multiplier to keep the skill costs balanced, I'd say x5 would be pushing the effective cost barrier. Personally I leave the rules as they are because I assume they did extensive playtesting and kept it at x3 because it seemed the most balanced.
Charon
QUOTE (Raptor1033 @ Jul 30 2006, 10:22 PM)
Personally I leave the rules as they are because I assume they did extensive playtesting and kept it at x3 because it seemed the most balanced.

Well, one would assume.

Still, given the current structure, it seems that rationnally a player would focus on increasing attribute almost exclusively until all the relevant ones are maxed.

Especially in regard to skill group.

Ex : If you begin play with Agility 4 and Firearm group 3

Increasing Agility to...

5 : 15 karma
6 : 18 Karma

Increasing Firearm group to

4 : 20 Karma

See, it is cheaper to increase your agility to 5 and then to 6 then to increase your firearm skill group from 3 to 4. And of course, +1 agility is vastly more useful than +1 firearms since it would also likely increase 3 to 6 other skills the PC is likely using as well as give a better default for many others.

Therefore, it seems to me that a rational PC would never increase any skill group before having maxed the linked attribute. He would sometime increase a single skill, if it is a truly crucial skill for his concept, but that's it until his relevant attributes are all maxed.

And that doesn't feel quite right to me. It should be a little spread out, IMO.

What are your experiences of players Karma expenditure behavior?
Glyph
One of the rule tweaks (pg. 69, under "Grittier Gameplay") is to limit the number of hits to Skill x 2, which makes skills more relevant compared to attributes.
Serbitar
in my SHP (see sig) I do the following:

limit hits in certain "skill critical" skill tests to skill+1
up attribute costs to 5x new grade (and apply metahuman mods afterwards)

the last thing made it, of course, neccessary to overhaul the whole creation system
irdeggman
I don't have access to my book at the moment, but isn't the rule on attributes - only 1 attribute at its maximum?

I don't think it specifies this is only applies at character creation.

IIRC the rules on max skill ranks (i.e., 1 at max (6) with the rest at 4 or 2 at 5 with the rest at 4) only applies at character creation.

Which means that you won't be able to keep on adding to attributes in order to "max" them all out - there is a real limit to what can be accomplished there.
Edward
There is a real limit to attributes.

You canít take them above the max.

Once your spending karma you can max the lot.

If its only one skill group your really using with an attribute then for efficiency you would bring the skill to 3 before taking the attribute to 6 skill 4 before attribute 8.

I agree it doesnít seem right.

Edward
Charon
QUOTE (Glyph @ Jul 30 2006, 11:17 PM)
One of the rule tweaks (pg. 69, under "Grittier Gameplay") is to limit the number of hits to Skill x 2, which makes skills more relevant compared to attributes.

Hmm, interesting altough by the time you have skill 3 you can achieve 6 success.

On average it takes 18 dice to achieve 6 success so it shouldn't be an issue and you still rationnally have to boost attribute before skill group.

This does encourage you to raise skills to at least 2 before going on an attribute increase spree.
Dewar
QUOTE (Serbitar)
in my SHP (see sig) I do the following:

limit hits in certain "skill critical" skill tests to skill+1
up attribute costs to 5x new grade (and apply metahuman mods afterwards)

the last thing made it, of course, neccessary to overhaul the whole creation system

Seems like the Skill+1 limit would be a lot more effective than the Skillx2 limit mentioned in the optional rules section. I think I might start using that.

Also, as someone else mentioned, only one attribute can be max. So that helps balance it out a little.

Is the max augmented value for a stat based on your current stat, or on your race's max? If it's based on your races max then you're spending karma to do what you could do with simply money or spells. In that case I can see the reduction in karma cost.

Eh, in my games I force the characters to roleplay stat increases, while I sort of handwave the skill increases away. For example, if a character wants to improve his biology skill, I let him pick up a few books and read them in his off time with no loss of game time. If he wants to up his logic he's gotta go to college, with corresponding costs and time spent to do so.
ethinos
QUOTE (Charon)
Ex : If you begin play with Agility 4 and Firearm group 3

Increasing Agility to...

5 : 15 karma
6 : 18 Karma

Increasing Firearm group to

4 : 20 Karma

See, it is cheaper to increase your agility to 5 and then to 6 then to increase your firearm skill group from 3 to 4. And of course, +1 agility is vastly more useful than +1 firearms since it would also likely increase 3 to 6 other skills the PC is likely using as well as give a better default for many others.

It takes 33 karma to go from Agility 4 to Agility 6. How is that cheaper than the 20 karma to raise the entire Firearms group to 4? Also, you are actually raising several independent skills at the same time. To raise all three skills (Pistols, Automatics, Longarms) seperately from 3 to 4 would've otherwise cost you 24 karma, instead of 20.

Not too many people take entire skill groups all that often. Usually they only take one, maybe two out of the skills available in the group. Which leads 70% of the people advancing skills individually, instead of in the group. Skill groups are always a karma sinkhole. At chargen and at advancement.

The x2 for the next skill level is a lot nicer to look at than the x3 for the attribute. Therefore, if your character is in love with that pistol (Pistol + Agility), it's actually cheaper to buff up the skill side of it than that attribute.
Charon
QUOTE (ethinos @ Jul 31 2006, 07:43 PM)
It takes 33 karma to go from Agility 4 to Agility 6. How is that cheaper than the 20 karma to raise the entire Firearms group to 4?

Wow. Just re-think that and you'll see the problem.

You want to be a better shot with firearms.

It takes 15 karma point to raise agility to 5 and 20 to raise Firearm to 4. So you raise agility since it does what Firearm does and so much more.

Then you still want to be a better shot.

It takes 18 karma to raise agility to 6 and still 20 to raise firearm to 4.

You once again opt to raise agility.

See what I mean? Training for skills will rationnally be the last resort until you have maxed the attribute.

Even if you want to raise just one skill you'd have this dilemna to a lesser degree. raising the attribute would be a bit more expensive than the skill but if you have even only 3 agility related skill you use a lot (i.e Pistol, Blades and Infiltration), it'd still be more rational to pump the attribute before the skill.

Only for the PC who only use a lot a single skill linked to a particular attribute would it be rational to max the skill before the attribute (i.e. a someone who only use First aid amongst the logic linked skill)
ethinos
Ok. I see what you mean, but that wasn't how it came off to me.

However, you don't fire a gun with the Firearm Skill Group. You use the individual skill. So, unless you fire a pistol, a shotgun, and an assault rifle interchangibly through an adventure, raising a skill would be cheaper and more common.

Only skill group my mundanes ever even consider taking is Influence.

Weapons? Usually a pistol and something larger. Since I don't use both a shotgun AND an assault rifle with any characters, buying the whole skill group is unnecessarily expensive.

Raising a skill group is meant to make it cheaper at raising all the subskills as a whole. Not every skill is in a skill group either (like Intimidation). Nor does everyone want or need to shoot an AK97 as well as a Predator.

With your scenario, raising an attribute is always a more attractive scenario.

Even without your scenario, raising your attributes will always be more attractive anyways, since attributes are almost always used more often. And to counter this, attributes are more pricey. Should they be higher? Or maybe skills cheaper? Who knows.

In reality, most folks will significantly raise, or even max out their "essential" attributes with the first several runs. At some point however, that last point or two will be pretty expensive, and they might opt for the skill instead. Plus, some skills limit success based on the skill level.

The rules accomodate most situations effectively. Sometimes the rules favor one situation, sometimes they negatively deal with another. Its the way these things work I guess.
Moon-Hawk
Huh, I've had a different experience regarding groups vs. individual skills. I see players buying lots of skill groups. Their attitude seems to be, "If I want at least two of the skills in the group, then I should pay the little tiny bit extra to get the entire group." Even for a character that only ever plans to use pistols and longarms, buying those two skills up to 4 vs. buying the firearms group up to 4, the group is only a little bit more expensive and it gives them options.
So I generally only see them buying skills instead of groups if there's really only one skill in the group that they're interested in.
Charon
I think I'll bump attributes to X5.

Skill X2
Skill group X5
Attribute X5

It's exactly the same ratio as

Skill 4 BP
Skill group 10 BP
Attribute 10 BP

It's still more rational to increase an attribute over a skill group if they are equal, but with those figures you probably may want to increase skill groups before attributes are maxed (i.e. SG from 3 to 4 = 20 Karma while Attribute 5 to 6 would now = 30 karma)

And individual skill would definitely be increased more often over attributes.

I'll give it a shot anyway.

You can always decide to backpedal and refund karma paid in excess. It's easier to do than work the other way around and raise the cost later in the campaign if I'm not happy with the result.
Brahm
On my main character, Human, I've gone through 85 karma and haven't maxed out an Attribute yet. I've now got, as of the Karma email last night, 23 unused Karma so I'll likely max out Edge, which will be it's first increase, which will put me over the 100 mark to get to the first Max. Although I've given a lot of thought of instead spending it on starting in the Computer Skill Group and then a 3 points in Pilot Ground Craft spread over a few sessions, since 1 point per Skill per session is our groups limit.

I've spent about 40 BP on Skills including a few Specializations, with about 45BP on Attributes. The highest I've bought a Skill so far is one 3, the rest are 1s and 2s. I nearly bought a point in Skill Group Computers, and likely will for my next purchase. The rest of my Groups I either don't actually use that much, so they aren't a priority, or they started out at 4 which is pretty good.

I've actually got a long way to go on maxing out any other Attributes because besides not having reached the natural limit on any of them, I don't have any augmentations yet.

Maxing out Skills and Skill Groups are certainly more of an end game when fleshing out your character. At least for mundane characters, since Awakened and TMs characters can keep sinking karma into Magic and Resonance. But that's really what Skills represent SR4, more polish and less raw ability. That is part of the change to Attribute + Skill.

@Charon

If you are going to increase Attributes like that you should look at bumping up karma handouts. Especially for Attributes in metahumans with bonuses to their Attributes that gets crazy. 50 karma for the last point of Strength/Body on a Troll? Wowsers. I haven't got any of that and you can see how much Karma I've gone through without maxing out anything and that is without the extra costs of raising to non-human ranges.
Serbitar
I recommend to apply metahuman modifers afterwards and not include them in attribute advancement. Makes much more sense anyways.
James McMurray
QUOTE (Serbitar)
I recommend to apply metahuman modifers afterwards and not include them in attribute advancement. Makes much more sense anyways.

How so? I'm not disagreeing, just curious about your thought process.
Moon-Hawk
I tend to agree with Serbitar on this. Why is it harder for an average-strength troll (by troll standards) to get stronger than it is for an average-strength human (by human standards) to get stronger, just because the troll is "above average" by human standards?

edit: I can always tell I've been rambling when I arrive at the end of a sentance and I forget what punctuation I'm supposed to finish the sentence with. smile.gif
Charon
QUOTE (Moon-Hawk)
I tend to agree with Serbitar on this. Why is it harder for an average-strength troll (by troll standards) to get stronger than it is for an average-strength human (by human standards) to get stronger, just because the troll is "above average" by human standards?

Conversely, it should be as hard for any race to reach its maximum.
I.e. it should be as hard for a troll to reach charisma 4 as for a human to reach 6.

I rather agree with serbitar on this point.
Brahm
QUOTE (Moon-Hawk @ Aug 1 2006, 01:12 PM)
Why is it harder for an average-strength troll (by troll standards) to get stronger than it is for an average-strength human (by human standards) to get stronger, just because the troll is "above average" by human standards?

Just from a game playing sense it does tend to lead to min/max of those stats at character creation for Trolls and Orcs, and little advancement afterward. The other metahuman types it doesn't seem to have much impact on. Who really gets wacked by this are Adepts since increasing their Attributes via powers increases their cost for natural Attribute advancement while implants do not do that.

However even doing that doesn't really change the need for a bit of a boost to karma awards to keep a similar character advancement rate if you boost the Attribute costs.


All in all it actually seems to play fairly well as is with the cost at Attribute x 3 as I'm expecting to see a fairly even split of Attribute and Skill karma expendatures through the first 120 karma. Yes, when nearing the end of PC advancement I expect much more of a money to Attributes, karma to Skills split. But that's a ways down the pipe, and it looks like it'll be well out past a year of nearly constant 5 hours/week gaming with one character.
Dreizehn
The current chargen system seems to reward picking up skill groups where useful at maximum value of 4. After generation the system reverses course and heartily encourages one to get maximum attributes. I imagine that it wouldn't be that difficult to spend a small amount on initial attributes and lots of points on skills, with an eye on spending all karma on attribute points.

Regarding earlier comments on the usefulness of the Firearms Skill Group over just picking up Long Arms/Pistols/Automatics. As my group's designated smasher of people and things, I like to keep my options open. One day the AP IV will be the correct tool, the next day, it could well be the AK-97 (w/ underbarrel grenade launcher - of course). Then there are those *special* days when your first 2 - 3 guns break (or run out of ammo) and you need to use whatever guns happen to be lying around.

A clever GM can quickly dismantle a weapon specialist by making their chosen weapon completely inappropriate for the situation they are in (like close quarters for the sniper expert - or obscenely long ranges for those melee/pistol fiends).

All of that, however, points to the usefulness of having high attributes since they are widely applicable to linked skills.

Good smashing!
13
Lagomorph
alternately, you could just do away with karma, and hand out build points since you like the build point system better than the karma system. Each has it's own specific rules on increasing attributes and skills. The only possible issue would be initiation and submersion, in which there is no BP cost, only karma cost.
Brahm
QUOTE (Dreizehn @ Aug 1 2006, 01:28 PM)
The current chargen system seems to reward picking up skill groups where useful at maximum value of 4. After generation the system reverses course and heartily encourages one to get maximum attributes.

Groups at 1 or 2 for utility purposes, or even 3 for a secondary character profession focus, make a lot of sense too if you are building a reasonably rounded character. After generation the system does encourage Attribute purchases much more heavily than during creation, but I've found a reasonable pull towards putting karma into Skills. The one thing I haven't found is much of a pull into putting karma into Skill groups. Likely because I picked up most of the obvious utility Groups during creation, so the only Groups left would imply a serious change in focus of the character. However I will say that I expect I will buy a 5th point in the Stealth Group before maxing the Attributes for that since they fall under multiple Attributes.

In fact I think that is one way to have easily avoided any question this entirely. Have more Groups like Stealth, and to a lesser entent Influence, and less like the nearly strictly single Attribute Groups like Firearms. Outside of Pistols + Reaction for Quickdraw I can't think of any RAW uses of Firearms with anything other than Agility.
Samaels Ghost
It becomes far cheaper to upgrade your Agility based skills by boosting your Agility being as it covers 18 skills. There seems to a problem there, not so much with Reaction (3 skills) and Strength (3 skills).
Charisma (6 skills), Intuition (9 skills) and Logic (9 skills) are a little bit more reasonable.
While a lot of people may have not actively taken advantage of this in the past, it doesn't mean that it isn't a problem. This is a fairly exploitable option. I don't know if the karma price should be adjusted, though. It seems to be more of a problem of a focus on attributes.

Why Hacking can be defaulted in, I cannot conceive.
Samaels Ghost
I think the same problem exsists during character creation. Does it make any sense to have Agility at 4 and Firearms at 4 when I could easily swap the Firearms to Agility and boost 15 other dice pools while I'm at it? Maybe from a character background stand-point, but not from a system standpoint.
Brahm
QUOTE (Samaels Ghost @ Aug 1 2006, 03:56 PM)
I think the same problem exsists during character creation. Does it make any sense to have Agility at 4 and Firearms at 4 when I could easily swap the Firearms to Agility and† boost 15 other dice pools while I'm at it? Maybe from a character background stand-point, but not from a system standpoint.

There is an excellent reason. It costs less after chargen to raise. smile.gif I think that is part of why 3 x Attribute works and why 5 x Attribute might not work as well. Fanpro did playtest Attribute costs other than 3. I bet that is why the 1/2 of starting BP limit is there, since with karma cost at 3 x Attribute that 200 BP cap isn't really needed. But with a higher karma cost for Attributes it would have tended to push up starting character Attributes.

Agility itself is a bit of an issue because it became sort of a catch-all for Skills, and has a lock on all the combat Skills save for Strength being used to calculate the base damage of most melee attacks, but not chance to hit or extra damage.

QUOTE
While a lot of people may have not actively taken advantage of this in the past, it doesn't mean that it isn't a problem. This is a fairly exploitable option. I don't know if the karma price should be adjusted, though. It seems to be more of a problem of a focus on attributes

It isn't a problem because the exploit isn't. Since everyone is doing it anyway it is simply the design of the system. There really isn't a fundamental problem with game play having natural Attribute ranges and lower levels of Skills being the base of a character's abilities, high (beyond natural) range Attributes and mid-level Skills being midrange ability, and the higher levels Skills being the top end of the ability.
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