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Recently the hacker player in the team has run into some real life problems that prevent him from attending game on a regular basis. Besides running him as an NPC on the days that he can not attend are there any suggestions as to a course of action that would de-emphasize the need for a hacker. Without eliminating him from the game entirely on the days that he is able to make it?

Also it would be interesting to hear discussion on running a team without other Shadowrun staples, such as a Mage, Street Samurai, ect..
Well, it is absolutely possible.

We played SR3 for several years without Hacker, Rigger and without most of the Magic just because we realy hated those damn complex and difficult rules of these parts which just had no similarity to the rest of the SR3 Rules.

Basically we just had Sams, Adepts, Mages, B/E Specialists and Faces.... We had great fun, but it has to be said, that we had a lot of action. We played it also nearly without any kind of Legwork. Mostly due to the fact, that i have been the GM and i made up my own runs, which have been mostly Breaking and Entering.
It's your game, you can do what you want. A fair number of Shadowrun games are AD&D with shotguns and cyberware. It works.

But is that what you want? Once you start to de-emphasize legwork and the pressing ubiquity of technology you are starting down a path.

And do you know where that path leads?

To troll cybermonsters/cyberadepts with heavy weapons and allergies to llama hair.
well, i disagree to a certain amount:

Legwork is something, that really bugs me sometimes. Its basically "call all my contacts and hope, that someone can tell me something" and that sucks a lot.

I think there are missing some parts in most SR-Games, that you are used from AD&D (for example).
You won't find magic items in chests.
You won't have long travels from one place of the realm to the other with all what comes along with it.

This Legwork stuff may be a little compensation for this, but i personaly don't like it too much.

I love Cyberware, i like rigging and the magic. i love using modern weapons and tools, but i am not a friend of legwork biggrin.gif

But interesting: I am not good at GM-ing Fantasy-Campains, but i am kind of good in Gm-ing SR, because its so versatile and so much cliche-loaded wink.gif
I have fixers that work differently in my games. They are responsible for negotiating with the johnson, doing leg work, etc. They don't do any black market stuff. They are information brokers and agents. They have several hackers working all the time collecting information and are coordinating several teams at a time.

It gets rid of the silly scenes where some idiot pc tries to intimidate the client. It greatly reduces the legwork made by the pcs.

Usually the fixer will have several missions that are possible. The main one and a few back up ones. If you try to mess with him too much then he will give the better run to another team and then offer you a lesser paying run.
Actually I usually have prefixes suffixes with my fixers, just for ease of speaking with my players when they're getting contacts. i.e. Job fixer, info fixer, fence, gear fixer. Or some combination. You can get multiple aspects in one guy but they are then less specialized.

Note that when I say legwork I don't just mean the "talk to people" rolls. This also includes stuff a hacker would be doing, casing a joint, getting equipment or additional personel. etc etc

Some info a Johnson will give them. Some they have to get.

Note that not all info is required, but often is helpfull.

And sometimes the Johnson lies.

Back on topic, it's possible to de-emphasize hacking to a degree in SR4, but the new wireless matrix renders it almost impossible to exorcise. You practically need a decker to cross the street. About the best you can do is to de-emphasize legwork, and hold the run in a static zone.
Plenty of ways to run without hackers. First off, just make the game centered around other stuff. Look at modern mobsters and other criminals. You think they run around all day talking about their biz over cellular phones what with the po-po being able to look up the record at-will? All that crazy NSA-type flag-word scanning and the like? Heeeelllll Nnnnoooooo! You need a hacker to go to Joey's place and teach him a lesson about paying up? You need a hacker to slang dope on the corner of Vernor and Springwell? Hell, you need a hacker to track down some guy who's just earned a couple of extra nostrils directly ported into his forehead by casing his hangouts and muscling his acquaintances?

Think outside the electronic leash, people...
Mark(psycho)Phipps( HAHAHA! )
QUOTE (psychophipps @ Jun 5 2007, 10:49 PM)
You need a hacker to go to Joey's place and teach him a lesson about paying up? You need a hacker to slang dope on the corner of Vernor and Springwell? Hell, you need a hacker to track down some guy who's just earned a couple of extra nostrils directly ported into his forehead by casing his hangouts and muscling his acquaintances?

No you don't need a hacker for those things.

What would be usefull for that...hmmmmmm..

troll cybermonsters/cyberadepts with heavy weapons and allergies to llama hair?

(and actually a hacker would be useful for a lot of that, and with the amount of camras around our troll friend is at some significant risk of getting in deep drek slanging dope on a corner. He probably isn't even spoofing the money trail. Sure he's using a certified credstick, the same one, tied to the same account, for all his little transactions. And do you think pot head petey remembered to clear out his GPS and financial transaction logs before lighting up?)

Snarkyness aside (couldn't resist) the above campaign type would work. If you don't have petey's comlink be a problem they'll soon forget all about all that stuff, or at least pretend they have. It's just that every aspect or the game you gloss over, every skillset you drop, you take one step closer to kick-in-the-door and the munchkins that spawns.

SR4 is not playable without a hacker.
Sensors and Wifi are everywhere. Any team without a hacker is toast and free game (except for speciality teams like all mages teams with special jobs only).
Barrens teams could still work.
While playing SR2 and SR3 we didn't have a Decker since none of the players wanted to play one (early on in SR2 we had a combat decker with a cranial cyberdeck). As a GM I still wanted to incorporate the matrix aspect of the game, which forced the players to hire in help in form of NPC Deckers. The more nuyen they spent the more successfull the decker was, and since decking in those days didn't always require on-site access the decker could be located elsewhere. This made the game faster since no Decker took up time rolling dice (SR2 espessially), and the players could make runs against more secured places. The players could also pay the Decker to do legwork.

This system doesn't work as well with SR4, mostly due to the whole wireless-thingy, signal ratings etc. So our solution was to invite a new player who wanted to play a hacker (or rather a combat hacker).
Just use him kinda like a contact while the player isn't there.

He does the Matrix information gathering stuff, but not much else.

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