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Hi I am about to jump back into shadowrun last time I ran or played was when 3rd edition had just come out. I have a few questions about different things with 4th, I search the forums and didn't see the answers so I will ask here.

Character Creation> Why would anyone play a human except for role-play reasons, every race gives you bonus ability scores, increases the max for those abilities, and some other goodies like low-light vision? Anytime I would make a character that was a good idea as a human why not be an Elf and get +2 Cha and +1 Agi ? And the point cost to play a race doesn't reduce the max 200 points on abilities.

Is this a real problem are there any quick fixes? I thought of making people pay for race out of the 200 build points for abilities, or applying the max attribute penalty as a negative to the ability?

Skill requirements> Just like how you can only spend 200 BP on abilities I think that setting a requirement on skills like you have to spend at least 100BP on skills.

Group skills> Why on earth is something that gives extra dice to only 3-4 skills cost the same at creation to raise as an ability score that gives you the same extra dice to all skills linked to that attribute? And again why is it more expensive with Karma to increase it?

My fix to that is to keep the BP the same (after all you can only have so many ability score increases) but use group skills as a creation tool only, after creation or during (for specialization, or making one in group a 5 or 6) they are counted as separate skills to increase.

Gear> Contact lenses and glasses, why can someone buy a pair of contacts that does everything and it fits all OK but adding extras to cybereyes costs more essence. Essentially why don't glasses (ect.) have a capacity rating max?

Crossbows, what is the rate of fire SA or SS? It takes a free action to reload one not a simple so can I fire one twice? Isn't an arrow or bolt that does 7P+hits that can also deliver a 10S drug something that everyone would use? I mean why shoot a shotgun for 7S -1 AP when a crossbow can do 10 extra stun?

Thanks in advance for help and sorry for so many things on one post but figured it was better then 4 or so different posts.
many people like humans because they get extra edge. edge is good. orks are the master race for min-maxing.
i agree that skill groups are expensive to raise with karma. i think the purpose of this is to encourage more skills during character gen.
i would assume laced crossbow bolts would be more expensive than bullets. also, a pislol would be more concealable than a crossbow.
and archery seems to be a very specific skill. drugs don't work on everything you will encounter
Re: Character Creation and Race
If this bothers you, another fix that came to mind would be to penalize those attributes that used to have actual reductions in previous editions, not just lower max ratings. If an attribute has a range of 1-5, for example, treat it as though the attribute actually had a -1 that you had to buy against... so going from 2 to 3 on such an attribute is actually like going from 3 to 4 on a human. At chargen, you would treat this as having to buy up from 0 to 1 first before being able to raise it (+10 overall cost, basically).

Re: Skill Requirements
I'm not sure why this is a problem.

Re: Eyewear
Yeah, I don't like this either. Some folks have proposed house rules for limiting the capacity of eyewear, along the lines of contacts (3), glasses (6), goggles and the rest (9). IIRC this is what Serbitar's house rules do, I think it makes sense (search the forums for his stuff if you like).
Welcome back! I'm still adjusting to Fourth myself, but I can try to answer at least some of your questions.

Character creation: First off, it costs you points that could be used to make you magically active, have more skills, etc. Second, humans get Edge, one of the handiest stats in the game. If the GM uses the Hand of God as written, you can literally see it as the "lives" of your character. You CANNOT DIE until you run out of Edge. And of course, there's always racism and discrimination.

Skills: If a player isn't spending at least 100 BP on skills, I'd be curious as to where they're all spending it. Only 200 can go into attributes, 50 into resources...How are they spending the 150 remaining points?

Group skills: You can only boost your attributes so much. Particularly in 4th, where you can only max one stat, and have to pay overtime for even that one. Skill groups are cheaper to upgrade than individual skills. And why wouldn't you want them? By that logic, why would you increase each skill separately when you can just increase the attribute they're linked to? Because attributes can only take you so far.

Gear: Because the contacts or classes can cram all the tech they want into it without damaging your beautiful self. A cybereye, on the other hand, can only hold so many augmentations before they start to overflow. Is it logical? Not quite, but doe it really matter?

Crossbows: I think a crossbow is still a SS, because you have to reload it after every shot. It is not automatic.

And the drug isn't delivered unless you pierce the armor, methinks. Assuming it's an Injury vector.
[EDITED FOR MASSIVE SPAM REDUCTION] Seriously, that'll teach me to write a long reply to a question nobody has answered yet, only to go afk and let a swarm of people respond first before I click submit.

Anyway, note that humans get a free attribute point for nothing. That's pretty good, and Edge is useful for everyone. Meanwhile, trolls and orks get "free" bps in strength, a marginally useful stat that isn't linked to very many skills. Their body bonuses are great for anyone, but they pay for that privelege in racism. Meanwhile, elves and dwarves are nice but not quite as bp efficient as humans in general. For once, I think all the metatypes in SR actually have a good reason for existing. I'd prefer not to tinker with that.
Weird... crossbows dont seem to have a ROF listed. I myself have a tough time thinking they'd be able to fire faster than a Ruger Super Warhawk.
Crossbows are about as concealable as an erection in a sauna. On top of that, even the automatic feed ones have a magazine of up to four bolts. You don't want to be reloading that often, let alone carrying round a dozen boxes of foot long "bullets." They don't take a Ready Weapon action but I can't believe they're anything other than single shot. For poison you have to inflict a box of damage to get your bonus and I personally wouldn't allow that if the damage had already been converted to stun. Remember that the resistance roll to the poison will be separate to the crossbow damage also. And realise that you've given up your ability to go full auto or lay down surpressing fire.

Also poison crossbow bolts are a giant red flashing sign that says "Same guy that hit the Shiawase facility last month."
poison also generally doesn't take effect immediately, but rather at the end of the combat turn iirc.

if you shoot someone for 10 damage, they take 10 damage now. if you poison someone for 10 damage, they typically take damage in 3+ seconds, which is a huge difference in shadowrun combat. by the time the poison does something, they could already be dead.

now there are exceptions, but those exceptions are expensive and not easy to get, and you can get the same mileage out of a gas grenade... which hits an *area*

that being said, as i read it crossbows can fire at semiauto rate... their main drawback is probably the ammo, and the lack of mounts.... only lasersight and smartlink. no recoil reduction, no underbarrel grenade launchers, no smart firing platforms, etc. (technically no silencer, but i don't think a silencer is necessary anyways in this case nyahnyah.gif ) you can't quickdraw one, it definitely won't fit in a quickdraw holster, and good luck getting one into an arm slide. you can't load it with gel rounds, stick-n-shock, APDS, ex-ex, and so forth.

there's lots of drawbacks to the crossbow. you just have to not be avoiding noticing them.
QUOTE (knasser)
poison crossbow bolts are a giant red flashing sign that says "Same guy that hit the Shiawase facility last month."

Nope, they're a high velocity way of saying, "You've seen too much and now have to be eliminated." smile.gif
QUOTE (Jaid)
there's lots of drawbacks to the crossbow. you just have to not be avoiding noticing them.

Immunity to "Detect Guns" might be a small niche, but a handy one.
I seriously think that changing character gen rules right off the bat is a VERY bad idea... I've seen it done many times; a GM looks at a rules and decides to change or remove it without even play testing it. Some rules may look stupid until you actually use them, if after that you dont like em then yes give it a tweak. However changing character creation to encourge humans are a bad idea. sure they dont get any extra abilities (bar the +1 EDGE) but in a world where metahumanity is shunned by humanity you may find people more receptive to a human than to an ork or troll.
The reason for the cost to rising Groups seems like its an exercise in buy now, pay later. You get the skills at a discount at character gen and pay more for them when you use Karma to level up. (or whatever you call it)
The contact lens are there to make sure people can access the Matrix and AR without losing Essensce, this allows street sammies to spend essense elsewhere should they wish to and allow mages to try out the virital world.
Well personally I've never liked contacts, and don't buy the idea that they are some magic self cleaning, never slip gizmo that everyone should buy. (Yeah, before my eye surgry I used to wear the buggers and hated them.)

However, something to bear in mind is that for Mages at least, Cyberwear paid for with Essence can be used to target spells, so Cybereyes become more attrative once the player realizes that losing 1 Magic isn't really that big of a deal.

Anyways, here are some of the Char-gen alterations that we use in my group...

1) Essence Loss during char-gen only lowers the max cap on Magic, not the actual score. You still pay 25 BP for your final point though.

2) Availabilty only applies to Restricted or Forbidden Gear at char-gen.

3) The quality that gives you a +1 to the cap of one of your Stats allows you to break the 1/2 BPs towards attributes rule if you max out that stat. <Edit> But only for regards with that one final Point.[/b]

4) Characters are given 10 BPs free that can only be used to buy Contacts, but the character has to buy at least three seperate Contacts with those BPs. (And those Contacts can not be improved with normal BPs either.)

5) Characters are usually given at least one Campaign Contact free of charge, usually a Fixer of a Johnson, sometimes they are given two such free Contacts.

6) We usually play with 500 BP, I've found that it gives the characters more of a Third Edition feel to them.
Thanks for all the feedback from everyone.

Looking yeah the crossbow does have problems, same as bow but those narcojet arrows are still very nice. I would probably make it SS ,the whole should not be faster than a revolver is true. Plus I would agree that to inject an injury vector poison it would have to do at least 1 block of physical damage.

I will take the advice and just use the rules as written for now and see how they work. Its just I am the one running it and making characters for the players based on a one page written description the player is giving me and normally I am a min/max rules lawyer type when it comes to char gen. Once the game starts I like to kick back and relax, but making 5 characters is letting me see a few balance issues (which always exist for those who look for them in any system).

I like the extra points for contacts idea and was thinking of using maybe some kind of rule for enemies as well to balance out the extra points, I think there were some in 3rd/2nd.

Something I just thought of our group used to love Dikote but I don't see any rules as written for it in 4th. I would assume an availability higher then 12 to keep it out of character generation and probably just add armor piercing to the weapon/bullet maybe an extra (-2)?
One thing about external vision aids, they can be taken away. Or for that matter lost. I hope future books come with ways to loose them when taking damage and similar...
The nice thing for the GM about the contacts and glasses is that they are accessible to the common mook too. The PCs would have those contacts and glasses because they are so much cheaper than the cyber equivalent anyway, so the loot isn't going to help the PCs much.
The (Hu)Man is always putting the metas down. Always!
QUOTE (Cyberwyrm)
Character Creation> Why would anyone play a human except for role-play reasons, every race gives you bonus ability scores, increases the max for those abilities, and some other goodies like low-light vision? Anytime I would make a character that was a good idea as a human why not be an Elf and get +2 Cha and +1 Agi ? And the point cost to play a race doesn't reduce the max 200 points on abilities.

play a human for the +1 edge. Couple that with lucky and you got an edge of 8. That's way better than natural low light vision. You can always get cyber to get the bonus attributes but they don't have cyber that makes you more lucky.

HMMM. any shadowfist players out there? How about a piece of equipment call "Probability Manipulator" that gives you bonus edge?
Humans cost no extra BP to play and are considered the Gold standard for everything, from cars to cyberware. The thing I don't like about the races is that the Elves are the only ones who don't have a disability associated with their bonuses. Trolls/Orcs have minuses to other stats as well as racism. Dwarves have a lower Running multiplier but not a lot of racism. Elves get bonuses and the only "minus" they have is they're too pretty and considered to be part of an "Elven Conspiracy."
QUOTE (WhiskeyMac)
Elves get bonuses and the only "minus" they have is they're too pretty and considered to be part of an "Elven Conspiracy."

The Bland positive quality 4tw!
QUOTE (WhiskeyMac)
Humans cost no extra BP to play and are considered the Gold standard for everything, from cars to cyberware. The thing I don't like about the races is that the Elves are the only ones who don't have a disability associated with their bonuses. Trolls/Orcs have minuses to other stats as well as racism. Dwarves have a lower Running multiplier but not a lot of racism. Elves get bonuses and the only "minus" they have is they're too pretty and considered to be part of an "Elven Conspiracy."

That's why everyone hat elves: They're all arrogant stuck-up poseurs[I] , hated by orks and trolls, disliked by dwarves and many humans. Envied by all.

Still, unless you're going for a gun face you're better off with a human.

If you HAD to lower their stats -1 body or str might be appropriate. But I think they're fairly balanced.
Elves are balanced and overrated. They cost 30bp's and get you a total of +3 attributes and low light vision. Humans cost nothing and have +1 attribute. Natural low light vision isn't better than cyber low light anymore so the pair of cyber eyes you buy means the human is a much better deal. The only place an elf is really good is the wizard/face where the tradition's drain is based on will + charisma. Then those 2 extra dice are nice, and if you take up a bunch of charisma skills you're set.
Characters are more then a set of numbers.
Crusher Bob
If you want to try some alternate character generation rules, you can try Serbitar's alternative, SECKSY
Elves are nice and all, but you get basically two advantages - first, like the other metatypes, it effectively lets you spend more than 200 points on Attributes (since you can still spend 200 points, only you also get those three bonus Attribute points). Secondly, it lets you start with higher Agility and Charisma, and improve them to a higher rating later.

The thirty points it costs to be an elf is equal to the thirty points worth of Attribute bonuses, so you take a net hit of 10 (for losing that human Edge bonus) in order to get the advantages mentioned above.

Humans are still competetive, though. Those thirty points that can't go to Attributes will go to other useful areas, and they have that Edge bonus. Would you rather have an elven shaman with Quickness: 3, Charisma: 7 and Edge: 2, or a human shaman with Quickness: 2, Charisma: 5 and Edge: 6 ? And yeah, the elf could spend 30 points to get Edge to 5, but then the human would be 30 points ahead in spells, or resources and bound foci, or skills.

Certain metatypes are better for certain roles, but overall the races seem fairly balanced in SR4.
And as mentioned, the ork is pretty much the min maxer's race of choice, regardless of class. Ork Mages in particular are pretty sought after ive seen. They take a little hit to Logic and Charisma(both Drain stats), but the fact that A. they are a cheap race, B. Their Body and Strength bonuses pretty much mean they need NO points in them at all, and C. Their willpower takes no hit. A player can get well by with a high Willpower and a still-good Logic/Charisma score, and for very little disadvantage...except for aformentioned racism and the fact you're old at 30. nyahnyah.gif

It does seem a bit true that the Elves end up taking a little hit here.

Dwarves are another interesting pick; you give up a little run speed for a cheap race with virtually no disadvantages. The hit to Edge is probably the worst.

Really though, you and your players pick what fits you best. The problem with BPs to me over Priority is there is too much damn point juggling at times. Which is why im still fumbling with bringing back Priorities. smile.gif
One thing to keep in mind is that dwarves, orks, and trolls are hot stuff right out of the gate, while elves and humans are the ones who have the potential to be better in certain areas once you have some Karma. With SR4's truncated power curve and low skill and Attribute cielings, having a higher maximum rating is often worth the sacrifice at char-gen. That said, orks are still very tempting, offering a net gain of 20 points - and a Body of 4 and Strength of 3 are useful even to techie types.
Magicians, too. An Ork magician with the right tradition (e.g. Buddhist or Witchcraft or anything with Intuition as a drain attribute) has no drawback from Attribute caps.

At first, I questioned why Orks were so cheap (something like 10 BP cheaper than other races or something). Then it occurred to me that, according to canon, Orks reproduce at prodigious rates. Ergo, this discrepancy may be included by design, an application of game theory to support and encourage the accurate simulation of the setting.

The reverse may be true for Elves, I imagine.
QUOTE (ElFenrir @ May 6 2007, 03:28 PM)
Dwarves are another interesting pick; you give up a little run speed for a cheap race with virtually no disadvantages. The hit to Edge is probably the worst.

Dwarves have a lowered reaction cap though, and honestly, I'd give up their strength bonus to fix that any day of the week. I'd rather have a strength score of 1 than a sub-10 base initiative, but then, I'm a bit of an initiative junkie in general. Dwarf mages who wish to abuse reaction enhancers and Increased Reflexes are wonderful though, since you'll be faster than just about anyone no matter what your stat cap is.

Like most people my picks for best race still comes down to humans and orks though. Humans don't have discrimination to put up with and aren't that much less point efficient than orks, at least as long as you willing to leave a stat score here and there fallow. It's easy to get away with a strength score of 1 by taking synthacardium and shock frills or a monowhip for melee tools, really. And orks are just bad ass.

Trolls and elves I have mixed feelings about. Sometimes I feel that they're just too specialized, but on the other hand, attributes outclass skills enough in this game where both races must be taken seriously, even if you have to do serious point shaving to fit their meta cost in. Also, I must say, while this doesn't apply to the vast majority of players out there, I feel like I must mention how dominant trolls can be in low powered street level campaigns. When your opposition is topping out at 6 dice in their best combat skill, suddenly a troll with a nice length of lead pipe is right on top of the food chain.
Having a high body counts for a lot, too. Stacked with armor, you can end up with 15-20 dice to roll for damage resistance.
Here's my take on this:

Humans: don't cost points, give +1 edge, and have less cultural bias against them. Sometimes those bonus attributes you pay for aren't in the stats you want them in. In my game if you have to do anything at all with the Yakuza or about half of the Japanese J's then you'd better be a Human male (preferably Nipponese).

Contacts: I very rarely worry about these. Sure you can load them up until they are Availability 12 (which btw is what gives them capacity) but since they don't have an Essence cost they are not part of your body. As a result they resist damage with their own body (0) and armor (0). Start hitting your group with some AoE Fire or CS/Tear Gas and they'll learn to wear glasses or cybereyes instead. Having contacts melted onto your eyeball is not fun.

Availability: Once you are over about 10 you are looking at pretty long lead times. This means that the player has to be planning to get the glasses/lenses after gameplay and probably a few runs down the road. This can be hard based on the economics of your game. Could mean low or lesser lifestyle or else living together as a team. Both have issues.
Yeah, I wanted to mention the same thing Cheops did. At chargen, you do have a restriction on availability, so there is a limit. After chargen, well, its simply nuyen and lead time, which can certainly be a restriction in and of itself.

I haven't had any players try and abuse cramming all that stuff in contact lenses, probably because of the cost and availability...I am sure if they did, obviously, their opponents could as well, not to mention having some breakages occur. And really, last time I checked, contact lenses don't last forever, so every now and then, you'd have to get a new pair, and if you were really evil, you could make it so that if only one function broke down, they all ceased to function:)
how about having the contact fall out at bad times. like in the middle of a firefight in an unlit room. then you could assign depth perception modifiers cause they are only seeing out of one eye. glitches on perception tests would be a good time for this to happen as well. so not only would they not see the assasin on the fire escape but when he dropped down on them they would be on their hands and knees looking for the contact.
Actually even worse is if the contact doesn't come completely out but folds over or kind of dangles instead. Not only does it mess up your vision it also actively distracts you or causes irritation.

Plus cybereyes give you "natural" 20/20 vision. Even though most characters shouldn't need glasses unless you let them take some sort of negative quality they still might not have perfect visual acuity. A lot of people are walking around in RL with -1 or -2 eyesight and could benefit from glasses but don't know it. This could translate that even under normal conditions a character with cybereyes probably can see a little clearer and further than those without corrective eyewear.

Edit: I also forgot to mention the whole falling/getting wrecked thing applies for glasses, monocles and goggles. I think a lot of this stuff could potentially be glitch material not critical glitch (unless they break).
Hehe...this is pretty our games some of the last things we were worrying about being twinky were a pair of contact lenses of all things. I guess YMMV, but we have never had a problem with them.

For the record(perhaps a little OT), i find that NOTHING is a problem if you have a good team of people to play with. Me and my buddies have been playing for years, and things just....dont get out of hand, no matter if we use contacts, play a heavily armed merc, or a troll con-artist combat mage. I guess it depends on the group. Perhaps some people have seen more abuse than others.

All of that being said, I wear contacts IRL, as do many, and im sure we can agree they CAN indeed get irritated if they are either worn too long, get something in the eye, etc. I think this would be the only thing we would pay attention too; if someone tried to wear them for 3 days straight. They might take some vision penalities at that point, but i wouldnt start melting them to the character's eyeballs if people want to use gear thats available.
I've always had it set up so that if I wasn't a sammie or non-magic face, I have contacts with basic stuff (image link, vision enhance and flare comp) and then goggles for actual runs. Glasses are too fragile for an actual run and could come off as a faux pas when sitting with the J.

Orks and Trolls are both great bang for their buck in terms of BP, but they will also have the largest social bias against them, this needs to be kept in mind. Even with the Human Looking quality, because then you are just shooting yourself in the foot with your biggest allies... other orks and trolls. Elves taking it on the other hand makes quite a bit of since. Anyway, thats my 2 bits.
Contacts shouldn't be melting to anyone'e eyeballs. Contacts are not particularly vulnerable to heat or gases, so any damage to them that you are imagining will largely be redundant because anything nasty enough to ruin your contacts will be nasty enough to ruin your eyes regardless. The big reason why you're not supposed to wear contact lenses in a laboratory setting is mostly about being able to flush the eyes after chemical spills quickly rather than any fears about trapping gasses behind the lenses. And oh, btw, the-no-contacts-in-the-lab rule is considered outdated and superstitious by OSHA. Perhaps, maybe, just MAYBE it could be an issue, but modern contacts are permeable by design and anything you inflict on runners beyond an extra turn or two of stinging is just excessive.

Anyway, as far as practicality goes and vision modifiers go, I wear the newer disposable super-permeable silicone hydrogel extended wear contacts that are good for a month or so without removal or cleaning, and they're both comfortable and reliable. I've actually pushed it to a month and a half or so of continuous wear with less issues than my old traditional lenses gave me over a weekend, and I honestly only put in a new pair of lenses because I felt like I was pushing my luck at that point. I also prefer wearing contacts for physical activities because they don't fog up, get caught on things or break. I do think the gm making players purchase new uber-contacts at regular intervals is pretty reasonable, but any other penalty just doesn't really make much sense. It'd be better to just put an arbitrary capacity limit on contacts and be done with it rather than bone your players at random intervals (not talking about glitches there, mind you, EVERYTHING is fair game with glitches).
Rotbart van Dainig
As a sidenote, contects actually protect the eyes to a degree... most people will notice that when cutting onions.
Yeah, I've heard that before too, never really noticed myself though... Probably because I've worn contacts since my early teens. I don't really know what it's like to get eye irritation from foods to begin with.
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