Help - Search - Members - Calendar
Full Version: Rigging - Yea or nay?
Dumpshock Forums > Discussion > Shadowrun
Greetings all.

I'm going to start GMing a Shadowrun game within the next few weeks, and one of my players decided to make a rigger... a drone rigger, more specifically. "Cool, no problem," I thought. Fast forward a bit, and now I'm wondering if there's any way I can talk him out of it.

See, ever since I started playing SR back in '96, our GM had avoided rigging (and vehicle combat in general) like the plague, partly because no one in our group had ever expressed any interest in playing a rigger. Now it's my turn to take a crack at GMing (I've ran D&D games in the past, but never Shadowrun) - however, after reading and attempting to understand the rigging rules in both SR3/R3, I can only say that they are, in my opinion, a convuluted mess.

Honestly, not only do I not feel comfortable enough with this idea, but most of the micromanagement (of which the character would require more than the rest of the group combined) would rest on my shoulders since the player in question doesn't even have a copy of SR3, and thus has even less of a grasp on these particular rules than I do. If I allow the character, one of my main concerns is that a hefty chunk of my time will be spent looking up rigging rules, rather than focusing on running the game; a headache-inducing thought, and we haven't even started playing yet.

Would I be wrong in asking him to play a non-rigger character? I realize it seems excessive to exclude one or more character types as choices for player characters, but I can understand why some GMs choose to do so. I'd just like to get a second opinion from anyone who cares to give one. Thanks. smile.gif
Herald of Verjigorm
Get him in a room and discuss the rules.

Where discuss can be in the traditional meaning, showing him how complicated they are and maybe achieving a compromise, or in the "organized crime" meaning, club him repeatedly until he plays a street sam.

If you were to find out more of what he wanted to accomplish as a rigger, you might be able to cut out over half the "convuluted mess."
The short answer to your question is: no, you are not wrong if you feel that it would be detrimental to your game. But...

Rigging can be one of the coolest parts of the game, if someone has the motivation and imagination. While I do not claim to be the best versed in the rigging rules, I do have good grasp of them, as well what can and can't be done in real life, and what can and can't be done in the rules (except for the errata... I still need to wade through that).

In most of my games, the rigger handles overwatch, technical security, physical recon, ELINT (Electronic Intelligence), Artillery, Information Management, Command, Control and Communications, Insertion and Extraction, as well as coming along on the run and doing it all with drones, programs, and an internal cyberdeck. The possibilities are as broad as a decker or magician, maybe moreso.

The fundamental change in paradigm that I advocate is that the Rigger is not a vehicle guy. A Rigger is a guy who controls machines intuitively, and most of those machines happen to be vehicles. I would give it a try, start off slow with a Condor for surveillance and a couple of rotodrones, plus whatever else the player can afford that looks cool and simple. As the game goes on, and the two of you learn more about how the rules fit in your game, you can add stuff as you see fit. But if you get into it, it will probably add a new level to your game.
i would suggest scheduling a few one-on-one games with your rigger player, especially if he's studied the rules. you can help each other get a firmer grasp on them, and you'll expand your GM repertoire at the same time.
Here's my advice. Talk to your player openhly and honestly, telling him that you've having trouble making head or tails out of the drone rigging rules. Ask him what he wants, and if he wants to stick to the character concept, work out some simplified house rules that you'll be using. I've done this many times with good success.

As long as he's forewarned that the rules won't be from the book, and he knows what they are, then things should be pretty smooth. My suggestion is to make everything a skill roll of some sort-- generally Electronics or Electronic Warfare for the technical stuff, and a vehicle skill for direct drone work.
My only suggestion is to change the drone rules an itsy bit by not allowing their armour rating to act as hardened armour. It makes a world of difference.

I wouldn't go neutering drones by taking away their hardened armor (watch the Steel Lynx become a fireball from pistol fire!... err... no... if you're going to do that, you need to up the body of vehicles to compensate). The best thing to do would be to encourage him to play a double duty character like a rigger/sammie, rigger/decker, or rigger/covert ops guy or a recon rigger. Explain it like this:

It is very hard to challenge a pure rigger without destroying his toys. Most of the time, a damaged drone is a destroyed drone, and anything else just plinks off. You want to ease into using the rules so that you both feel comfortable, and you will make it possible for him to get better toys as the game progresses and you both feel better about the rules for them.

Drone rules really aren't THAT complicated once you go over them (kind of like the Matrix, really), you just have to understand what applies only to vehicle to vehicle and what applies to vehicle to normal stuff.
Neutering drones? nyahnyah.gif

Seriously, if their sole purpose is combat than you've already got an imbalanced game anyhows. I do agree with increasing Body if needed, but your average combat drone has 6+ armour anyhows, he can withstand most pistol fire, but increasing that to 9 but un-hardened would not be a terrible thing either. wink.gif

Umm... if the armor isn't hardened, they still have to roll vs. TN 2 for every hit. With 2 body dice on most drones, you're staging once at best. Sure you can throw pool dice at it to make it go away, but that only works a few times, and sometimes you just don't get lucky even with that. If you want to yank the armor hardening, you should probably double the body dice to compensate.

I personally rarely use drones in combat, preferring the surveillance and monitoring aspects of dronehood. In a bad section of town, a drone might get used for fire support, but rarely.
Yeah, average Body of 2 is weak as hell. I agree with a body increase averaging 8+ actually. It's almost dumb to have a Body of 1 or 2, if you ever need to roll it, it fails. nyahnyah.gif

On how to ease Rigging into a game, from at least my perspective:

1) Under all circumstances, use the "Vehicles as NPC's" rules. The real Rigging rules are best used for moving targets, and honestly drones probably will not be moving that much. The vehicle as NPC rules are generally simple, and as soon as you eliminate the manoeuvre score, rigging just becomes a series of lock on and attack rolls. =)

2) In the same vein, probably the most important, and unique rule to the vehicle set, is how active sensors, sensor locks, and such work. Be sure to know these, as they are the basis on which any smart weapon will work -- including those nasty CCSS weapons. In my mind, spending a complex action to lock on is kinda nasty, but if you consider that all vehicles obey the same rules, and it gives others a chance to react, it isn't so bad.

3) Avoid ECM/ECCM like the plague until you are absolutely sure how it works! this is another complex part of the rigging rules. I'd recommend a basic knowledge of how ECM works, because I believe it is just a simple increase in TN's.. but when ECCM is introduced, more rolls are as well.

4) A lesser avoid, avoid MIJI and ED until your player is ready to use them. The concept isn't terribly hard in practice, but this is the most potent tool to attack a rigger with -- attacking his deck directly and cutting off access to his drones. Again, it is something I usually ignore in my games.. until the rigger decides he's ready for it.

Really, the rigging rules are about on par with the Matrix rules, and even smaller when you get rid of the manoeuvre score. Just take it slow... study the 2-3 pages of drone-specific rules, then treat the vehicles as somewhat semi-autonomous NPC's. Make sure the player knows the advantages of both captain's chair and hopping in. Also make sure he knows that a lot of sitting aorund, doing nothing will occur. wink.gif

Oh... and warn him against rolling all 1's when piloting a VTOL and trying to keep it level near the side of a high-rise... I've never seen, before or since, 5 dice roll 1's like that.

Hot Wheels
Herald's right from the start, take the player aside so it won't interfer with the other players' time and wrok out some rules between you.
I never disagreed with th at, HW -- that needs to be done with any char, TBH, if you feel it will throw off what you plan on accomplishing. Working out the rules so you both understand them is extremely important, also.

I'm just making suggestions to try to help... which basically boil down to ignoring R3, except for the Vehicles as NPC's rules. wink.gif

I'm with Athenor. I recently had a new SR player pick a physad combatty type person cos we thought it would be simple. She hated it. Not cos of the combat, she just felt she couldn't get into the game world as it was. She left the game for a few months, but couldn't really avoid the topic of shadowrun cos its all me and my other friends talk about. But we got onto the topic of riggers, which had to be explained to her (we'd sort of skipped it first time. She said she wanted to KISS in stead (that's Keep It Simple, Stupid!, fyi, not the good kind), so we kinda glossed over it.

When the topic of riggers came round in conversation though, and we started talking about the them controlling entire buildings, and how they felt during and after they'd just pushed the vehicle to the limit for three hours, and drones shooting each other, and robots... well, she just about bit my hand off. She was still very leery of the rules, so we worked out a character background which meant she had basically one vehicle, which she loves and cherishes and calls Bruce (her being Sheila. The character's Australian so we couldn't resist...), which is kinda smart (Nav 4/Pilot 4) and her money earner, and a few other bits and bobs at her suggestion, but didn't bother getting every doohickey and drone under the sun so she could concentrate on one thing at once till she got used to it. We're two runs in with the character now, and she's started looking for a way to score a robot pilot for the car and invest in a morphing license plate and a transponder library.

We've basically had the car as a dog-brained NPC, and haven't bothered with manoevre scores because there's been no need. We haven't really been in proper vehicle combat either, so the specifics of positioning and so on hasn't really applied. But we have had a running firefight with a corp jeep full of goons - the MS wasn't necessary I felt because it was just one jeep, and they were on a highway, and eventually worked out a MS because she wanted to do something where it was a real, relevant factor. We just rolled it on the spot and called it an average for the entire combat for both of them. It worked great, everything stayed fluid and everyone got to do stuff - spells, shooting, dodgy acrobatics between the cars with a weapon focus, and of course driving, ramming, handbrake turns, sudden diversions down the off ramp, you name it.

If they're interested in playing a rigger its half the battle won already. A keen rigger will be a good addition for your team, and sometimes an exhilarating star performer for the GM as well. Yeah, the rules are a bit cumbersome - but man, you should have seen SR1!!!

The idea about removing the Maneovre score is a really good one. it will save a lot of time and confusion if you aren't used to it. Once you've got the rest in the bag (which is basically five or six tables of modifiers using standard skill rules), you can worry about it if you think its necessary. Good luck, whatever!
I've always believed that the 2Ed vehicle combat system seemed simpler and well... better. Since I haven't really tested either, what are experienced player's opinion?
Do you mean the basic rules or Rigger 1 rules? or do you mean black book rules which were really SR1 but worked ok?

The basic rules were OK. Not flexible enough, but simpler. imo, obviously.

Black book just made it complicated without adding that much.

Rigger 1 rules were pretty much Sr3 rules iirc - its been a while since I've needed to read it! Really nice fiction though.
Omer Joel
QUOTE (Dogsoup)
I've always believed that the 2Ed vehicle combat system seemed simpler and well... better. Since I haven't really tested either, what are experienced player's opinion?

Anyway, listen to Athenor's advice

IIRC, the second-edition vehicle rules were far too abstract to be useful until Rigger 2 came out. Before R2, all you had was a system which almost completely ignored drones and was sketchy at best when dealing with anything bigger (though I haven't seen Rigger Black Book from 1st Ed). R2 basically had the same system used in SR3/R3, which made riggers far better.

Anyway, listen to Athenor's advice and ignore the electronic warfare rules until you'll get a good grasp of them. A drone rigger would make things even better, as large road vehicles get involved in hot chases and on-the-run battels that require you to calculate manouver scores and so on. For drones, just read the rules about gunnery and vehicle armor in SR3, and the drones-as-NPCs rules in R3. Learn the rest as you go, but focus on the sensors/electronic warfare/remote control networks.
One idea I've toyed with for vehicle armor is to make it non-hardened, but add the armor rating to the body for all damage resistance tests. Thus a vehicle with armor 10 and body 5 (say, an armored car) would get 15 dice to resist damage, with 10 armor. Military vehicles could still mount hardened armor.

I seem to recall reading about a system simliar to this at some point - maybe a previous edition of the rules, or somebody else's house rules. Any thoughts, or comments on where I might have seen it before?
I don't see where sketchy or abstract rules was a bad thing. Back in 1st and 2nd, the lack of rules gave GMs a great deal of flexibility about what Riggers could and couldn't do. If anything, I think Rigger 2 and Rigger 3 are way overcomplicated. I've tried many times to understand the rules, but I have trouble grasping thoe rules (and I've run SR since 1st edition). I try to operate on the KISS (Keep It Simple, Stupid) philosophy & don't let the rules get in the way of the story.
Thanks for the replies, all - it seems a lot less intimidating now, especially after checking out the alternate vehicle combat rules. smile.gif
In the vein of dredging up old topics when you get a chance to talk about them --

Rigger 2 was patterned after VR2's lead -- namely, the player describes something, and the GM takes that description, and turns it into a game mechanic. Sorta like the player describing interacting with a sculpted landscape, and the GM taking that description and working it into the appropriate "backbone" rules calculations. If the player just says "I'm running an access test to log on, performing a locate slave, then edit slave, then monitor location" to represent taking control of a camera network, then what's the fun? Similarly, saying "I jam on the accel, swing my vehicle into a power slide, careening around the rear axles of the semi... I am trying to swing the vehicle such that the semi is between the Lone Star and myself, and then slip into the gridguide traffic that is being directed out of the path of the chase."

That, my friends, describes a Positioning test, followed by a Hiding test.

And that is how the rigger rules are supposed to be used... To determine if such a hair-brained stunt is capable or not.

Easy, no? Just get creative, and the semantics of accelerating, decelerating, positioning, ramming, and hiding will completely dissapear.

QUOTE (Wish)
One idea I've toyed with for vehicle armor is to make it non-hardened, but add the armor rating to the body for all damage resistance tests. Thus a vehicle with armor 10 and body 5 (say, an armored car) would get 15 dice to resist damage, with 10 armor. Military vehicles could still mount hardened armor.

I seem to recall reading about a system simliar to this at some point - maybe a previous edition of the rules, or somebody else's house rules. Any thoughts, or comments on where I might have seen it before?

That, is an excellent idea. nyahnyah.gif

This is a "lo-fi" version of our main content. To view the full version with more information, formatting and images, please click here.
Dumpshock Forums © 2001-2012