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Is it just me or is sensor targeting completely worthless?

As per 162 the only things that don't receive a negative modifier are non electric powered vehicles, or large/oversized vehicles(which get a +3 modifier). While electric vehicles, metahumans, critters, and drones get -3, and micro drones get -6. Compare this to most vehicles getting a sensor attribute of 1, some with a 2, and most combat drones getting a sensor of 3 the likelihood of sensor "assisted" gunnery tests helping you at all diminishes greatly.

Because as 162 states passive targeting causes sensor to substitute for agility, so in most cases you'll go from your positive agility + gunnery down to a score of 0 + gunnery, if not lower, while drones will primarily be at a 0 + targeting.

Now looking at active targeting, where you roll sensor + perception( in most cases 0 or less + perception or in the case of drones clearsoft) even with a high perception/autosoft you'll be averaging 1-2 hits which will will give 1 or 2 bonus dice, and often times won't even be good enough to detect what they're searching for which means they fail to lock on.

So for those riding in a vehicle trying to use the sensor to assist in shooting wouldn't they almost always be better off not bothering with the sensors and just shooting a gun out the window? And, unless I'm misinterpreting something doesn't this make drones even less viable in combat(as they'll be getting their targeting dice alone for shooting + any bonuses from smartlink/etc - any other modifiers)

If I'm not misinterpreting does anyone have suggestions on ways around this?
Jack Kain
Well first off this is for gunnery tests, so its not possible to simply stick the gun out the window. The gun is attached to the vehicle. So depending on the vehicle and where the weapon is mounted it might not be possible to fire with out the sensors.

Ordinary character's shooting hand held weapons suffer a -3 penalty for firing due to the motion of the vehicle. Page 162. So just leaning out the window has its problems to.

Drones, and vehicle mounted weapons can benefit from smartlinks.

Drones roll Pilot+Targeting and can get bonus dice for sensors for locking on.
Drones can also benefit from the clearsight program to get even better sensor tests.

You also assume a sensor of 1. Well thats stupid, If there going to bother of course the vehicle has been upgraded with a higher grade of sensors.
Remember this is vehicle to vehicle combat, shooting at a person with in a vehicle has its own problems, your better off shooting at the vehicle in many cases.
Eryk the Red
The problem, of course, is that there aren't any rules for upgrading a vehicle's Sensor rating yet. There's specialized sensor gear that can be added, but nothing to increase the Sensor rating. While I'm normally one to house-rule stuff at the drop of a hat, I've avoided this, because I really don't know how expensive it ought to be or what limitations there should be.
As per the faq(I know some don't follow it but it's still worth knowing about) Drones roll sensor + targeting to shoot.
Let's take an example a ganger with 3 agility, 3 gunnery, 3 in perception, riding in a pickup truck with a white knight with smartlink mounted in the flatbed. He also has automatics 3(and any automatic with a smartlink), and since this is a type of truck we can use the GMC step van as a template for the vehicle making the sensor 1(Not higher due to there being no rules for upgrading sensors, but since we're customizing lets say it has vision enhancement 3)
The gang decides to do a driveby on it's rivals so the ganger in question is shooting at metahumans.
If he decides to just shoot his gun out the window at his enemies he'll roll 5 dice(3 + 2 for smartlink +3 for agility - 3 for moving vehicle)
If he's in the back shooting the gun that his mounted he'll roll 8 dice (agility 3 gunnery 3 smartlink 2).
If he decides to use sensors on the vehicle to help him shoot the gun that is mounted, assuming passive targeting, he rolls 3 dice( 1 sensor + 3 gunnery + 2 smartlink- signature of metahuman).

Now he goes to lock on, doing a sensor test he rolls sensor + perception, and rolls 4 dice(1 sensor + 3 perception + 3 enhancement -3 for signature of metahuman ) Or 7 if you apply the perception bonus for "actively looking/listening for" which is more respectable as you have a better chance of noticing things that aren't obvious, but you still need to get at least 4 net hits to match what you're doing if you just stood up and shot the gun that was mounted in back.

As for shooting at vehicles, if it is electric powered(which I figure the majority would be) then they suffer the same -3 penalty. Since this is set in the year 2070 I'd assume oil would be even more of a luxury commodity and that most transportation wouldn't rely on it heavily anymore.

Or in the case of drones fighting drones, they will have trouble seeing each other(sensor 3 +clearsoft 3 + vision enhancement - signature 3)

Or the stock crashcart auto doc that has trouble seeing the injured people it is trying to help.

Anyone have suggestions for rules on upgrading sensors, or any other way they've dealt with gunnery and sensors?
I deal with it by using Vehicle Mask to reduce the siganture to teensy tiny small numbers. wink.gif
Jack Kain
You assume wrong on vehicles the majority are fueled by biodiesel. There is nothing to support they are mostly electric cars. Only the scooter and the Honda are listed as being electric.
Shadowrun is way to dirty a setting for there to be a lot of emission free electric cars going about

Remember the clear sight program. It is added to ALL SENSOR TESTS. So a drone firing its guns should get sensor+targeting+clearsight

And from what I can see active targeting locks on and then gives you a bonus to future tests but doesn't require you maintain the sensor targeting.

Lets look at this, would you rather be nice and safe from harm inside the armored truck and fire via sensors or exposed to fire up in the ring mount?

Autodocs are usually placed next to the target manually. That equals automatic success.

In the end the game should not make fighting by remote as effective then from a distance.
Eryk the Red
I don't read the text for Clearsight as saying it applies to all tests that use the Sensor attribute. I read it as saying that Clearsight applies to the Sensor Tests described on pg. 162, since that is the page reference given. And on pg. 162, there is a heading called "Sensor Tests" that describes a specific kind of test, that explicitly mentions Clearsight.

And even if it wasn't that way, in my game, I'd still say that Clearsight is used only for the vehicle equivalent of Perception tests (thus making it the Perception skill for vehicles, in much the same way that Targeting is the weapon skill for vehicles), if only for game balance.

Also, I just kind of assumed most cars were electric, myself. I'm having trouble believing that in 2070, when we've got fusion power plants, combustible fuels are cost-effective in general.
Clear sight is supposed to be for perception tests. I don't think that you are supposed to double up on the software like that.

We have a new tech right now that will make gas the cheapest thing around. It is called Total Conversion Process (TCP) and it converts anything carbon based (which is nearly everything on the planet except metal) into coal, natural gas, and diesel. Diesel can easily be converted into gasoline. Gas is going to be cheap as hell and most of the more eco friendly systems wont be able to compete. In a way it sucks but the electric car is going to stay an oddity and we will have plenty of pollution left.
active sensor targetting on a well-outfitted drone has a fairly good chance to target someone who is not specifically avoiding being detected. most drones will have pilot 3 and clearsight 3 (many will have sensor 3 clearsight 4, in fact). that's 6 dice, most likely. a human gives a -3 penalty to that dicepool, which makes it a dicepool of 3... which, altogether, isn't that bad of a chance. if you make it a dicepool of 7 (modified to 4) for an upgraded drone at chargen, even better... add in appropriate sensory mods (augmented vision 3) and you've got a dicepool of 7.

for a rigger, you should be looking at sensor 3 + perception(specialisation) of at least 4, probably 5 or 6 (that is, including the specialisation). subtract metahuman signature modifier, add in vision mods, and you're probably at 5. plus control rig bonus for 7, plus possible hotsim bonus for 9. against a target that is unaware or not specifically avoiding sensor lock, you've got a reasonable chance to generate 3 hits.

of course, passive sensor targetting is indeed pretty much worthless until there are some rules for upgrading sensor rating.
keep in mind that there is no reason for a perception test on obvious things. The -3 on humans doesn't mean that they are invisible to drones. If you are in it's path then it will avoid you or question you. This is to notice someone who is trying to blend in a bit or not challenge the drone.
while it is true that perception tests aren't needed for 'obvious' things, imo when something that has had it's dicepool reduced to 0 with respect to perceiving a given other thing, that other thing is no longer "obvious".
If it is standing in front of the drone then it is obvious. If the drone is moving right at it then it is obvious. It has to have at least this much ability in order to navigate. Cars in shadowrun have this much.
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