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One of my player, a beginner, wants to create a physical adept (skilled with blades). I said okay, but I didn't really know them at that point. Plus he's an elf ! Arg!
Aren't the SR4 adepts ... weak? I mean, 3 magic points (at least 30 BP!) to get +2 initiative passes? The street sam can do that a lot cheaper! And it's the same for almost all of their powers.
Plus they need many attributes!

Any advice on how I could optimize him a bit?

thanks smile.gif
well, first off, there *are* things that are much easier to get by cybering than by magic. for example, initiative passes (which you mentioned) and attribute increases (which you didn't).

if you really want to optimise, have him get a synaptic booster 2 (costing him 1 point of magic) and just pick up stuff like improved ability (blades) and whatnot (it may even be worthwhile to sacrifice 2 points of magic and pick up some other bioware/cyberware)
I would not build a completely non-cybered physical adept. I would create a "cyberadept" who is a physical adept that has lots of cyber/bioware, buying at least 1 essence/magic worth of cyber/bioware at chargen. I would only use my power points for things I could not get with cyber/bioware. For example, as you mentioned, I would buy the bioware version of Increased Reflexes and use my power points for impossible things like skill bonuses, facial sculpt, commanding voice, etc.
The previous posters are right on. Adepts do very well when blended with choice bits of 'ware. However, what's "optimal" in one group can be suicidal in the next. I'll post a modified (I used a monowhip, focused on automatics and an ork without muscle augs in the original) example of a sheet I once used with my old GM that worked fine as a fairly one dimensional physad combat specialist, but ended up dead rather quickly with my newest GM, since he's a helluva lot more likely to put you in situations where dressing for success and deferring to the Face isn't always enough to make up for defaulting to 3 charisma for etiquette. Hopefully the sheet will give you some ideas though. It can certainly swing a mean sword, at any rate...

[ Spoiler ]
Optimizing an adept is not easy. IE: A synaptic accelerator 2 would have been better than wired reflexes on the long run. The cost in ressources is higher, but you don´t have to buy magic 5. And you can bring magic back up to 5 instead of 3 (without initiation).

Synaptic 1 (2 IP are usually enough), 0.5 bio

Depends on the player, but agility is king. I´ll suggest muscle toner 1 unless something else strikes the players fancy.

Reflex Enhancers 2 for a perfect loss of 1 point of essence. I´d personally prefer cybereyes and ears, but that can be done via contact lenses and ear buds and is therefore less munchy.

Agility+1, reaction +3, +1 IP for 1 point of essence/magic and 108k.

Powers: Depends on the player, again. High agility+skill should do the trick for bladed combat. Combat sense (if that´s the english name) is always nice to have.

JonathanC I doing it right?

Metatype : Ork

Body: 5
Agility: 5
Reaction: 5 (7)
Strength: 6
Charisma: 2
Intuition: 3
Logic: 3
Willpower: 4

Edge: 3
Magic: 6 (5)
Initiative: 10
Essence: 5

Knowledge Skills
Mandarin : N
English : 3
Hong Kong Triads : 3
Literature : 2
Cop Trids : 2

Active Skills
Unarmed Combat (Martial Arts) : 6
Dodge (Ranged Combat) : 4
Perception (Visual) : 2
Inflitration (Urban) : 3
Pilot Ground Craft (Bike) : 1

Positive Qualities

Negative Qualities
Allergy unc/mild
Addiction, mild
Gremlins 1
Spirit bane

Synaptic Booster 2

Ares Predator IV

Camouflage Suit

Suzuki Mirage (Racing Bike)

Commlink : Meta Link

Fake Sin (Rating 4)
Contact Lenses
+ Audio Enhancement (Rating 2)

Killing Hands
Elemental Strike
Critical Strike (Level 4)
Improved Ability : Combat Skill (Level 2)
Mystic Armor (level 4)

Fixer (L:1 C:3)
Lone Star beat cop (L:1 C:1)
That all depends on what you intend to do with your adept though. If you use Adept powers to do things that are flat out impossible to replicate in other ways, then yes, conserving your Magic is the way to go. However, if you're going to be primarily using Physical/Combat skills, then quite frankly there isn't much need to get back up to 5 magic to begin with, since cyber is flat out more cost effective in that arena (unless you're into thrown weapons, anyway) and your magical powers are mostly there to help you hit the bleeding edge of effectiveness. Even with a mere 2 magic you can initiate twice and pick up Adept Centering and Item Attunement, which, frankly, are all a hardcore swordsman physad is likely to be all that interested in. Not to mention... we're talking about the beginner shadowrun player here. They're not exactly known for lasting long enough to hit grade 3. Building for the now seems appropriate.
if nothing else, replace dodge with gymnastics... you have a melee skill that you can use as long as you can move, and gymnastics allows full dodge outside of melee. if possible, the entire athletics skill group is nice.

you should probably also invest in at least *some* pistols skill =P i for one would try to max out your improved ability in pistols, and consider being addicted to something that gives a bonus to agility...

and to pay for all this, i would set aside magic 6(5) and just have 5(4). 25 BPs can do a lot of stuff...
Talia Invierno
QUOTE (Jaid)
and consider being addicted to something that gives a bonus to agility...

He is. He's an elf (+1 AG) grinbig.gif
First comment, this is a non retarded near future game. Ranged attacks are the general focus. Not that swords aren't cool and all, and the game system does support them. But all to often it will not go that well.

While I certainly undersand the cyberadept crowd, my general take on adepts in SR4 is that they aren't supposed to be street sammy replacement anymore. (and should different from the mystic adept as well).

Astral perception is cheaper now, take a look at that. You'll be able to tell a lot with assensing(and if you throw in a skill boost and enhanced perception it can get pretty crazy), plus you can ward.

Play around with being a bloodhound.

Also GMs tend to actually enjoy that stuff more. We make all these convoluted plots and all the synaptic accelerated folks do is shoot holes in people until someone pays them. We often actually like it when you get the kind of info you get on 5+ hits on an assensing test. Or that you might get by being able to pick up the scent of your johnson on the guards that just ambushed you. (again you can throw a whole lotta dice at that).

You get the idea.

Actually more on topic if you wanna be a blady sort of char in shadowrun maybe consider being the stealthy type. That way you actually have an excuse for using melee weapons, you're trying to be sneaky and quite when taking someone out at close range.

Also consider combat sense. Especially if coupled with reaction enhancers(cyber or adept based, boosted attribute(reflex & agility) actually isn't bad when you know troubles coming. When you break into a run you can be throwing 17 die to avoid getting shot. Which is just what a stealthy blade guy needs when the fit hits the shan! Also it would allow you to actually survive charging a freaking gun line as melee types in SR are wont to do.
Talia Invierno
QUOTE (sunnyside)
Astral perception is cheaper now, take a look at that.  You'll be able to tell a lot with assensing(and if you throw in a skill boost and enhanced perception it can get pretty crazy), plus you can ward.

Hmm, there's an idea for a sword specialist unique role within the party: the best equipped to combat physically against astral creatures, such as spirits. You'd need high WL and/or AG + high Astral Combat (partly depending on house-ruling of not-yet-published rules), Astral Perception, and a sword weapon focus (doesn't need to be huge).

Base it off 5 points of MG, expecting maybe to lose one due to 'ware (as already discussed in this thread) -- but pointing out that the synaptic accelerator and RE enhancers are almost perma-decisions, preempting any adept advancement in improved reflexes. Myself, I'd focus more on resistance-type 'ware, eg. plastic bone lacing.

Besides that the usual in skills and attributes for such a PC:

AG 6, ST 5, BD 4(5), RE 4(5?), blades 6 (specialisation sword), I'd recommend firearms 4 and throw weapons 4, fill in other skills as found appropriate. If you don't have a rigger in the party, this also makes the logical driver for the group; ditto face.

Adept powers (4 points): Astral perception, and choose from

Combat sense x
Counterstrike x
Critical strike x
Improved ability (blades) x
Improved reflexes 1 (gives that all-important second initiative pass)
Mystic armour x
QUOTE (Jaid)
if you really want to optimise, have him get a synaptic booster 2 (costing him 1 point of magic) and just pick up stuff like improved ability (blades) and whatnot (it may even be worthwhile to sacrifice 2 points of magic and pick up some other bioware/cyberware)

32 points for the synaptic booster plus 10 points for the lost Magic - that's a pretty pricey buy.
Something a lot of adepts could really benefit from is Agility Boost. Four ranks of it only costs 1 magic, and an elf adept with magic 5 and agility 6 gets to make a 9 dice test to increase his agility by 3-4 for 6 to 8 combat turns. When that time's up you have to face 4S drain resisted by Body+Will, but that's not too bad considering that you have a good chance of having Agility 10 for most fights.

A bit of luck and you can have 10 agility for the combats that count. Couple that with a few points of Combat Sense or Mystic Armour, and of course some Increased Ability, and you're far from useless. If you've got the points, of course, then synaptic boosters are the way to go, but it's not necessary to be useful.

There are also a lot of things adepts can do that it is much harder for a sam to get away with. Nimble fingers, traceless walk, facial sculpt, quick draw, motion sense, magic sense...
QUOTE (Dancer @ Jul 6 2007, 10:45 PM)
32 points for the synaptic booster plus 10 points for the lost Magic - that's a pretty pricey buy.

Which is why I'd rather take Alpha Wired 2 and use the saved gear BP to get 1.2 worth of super efficient (Synthacardium, Tailored Pheromones), irreplaceable (platelet factories) or attribute boosting bioware for an effective .6 essence (thanks to the 50% discount when raising the underdeveloped type of 'ware). Synaptic boosters still come out ahead, of course, in terms of total essence, but they're so freakin' expensive that characters usually can't have much else going for them after they buy it. Mind you, this all goes out the window if you're not playing what amounts to a glorified samurai... but if you're not playing one of those, then why in the hell are you going for synaptics 2 anyway?
Here's a quick and dirty build from me, as an example of how you can create an adept who is decent in combat. His main focus is blades, but he can still do the basic functions of shooting, talking, sneaking, and dodging.

[ Spoiler ]
Thats a sexy build, Glyph.

Sheer numbers-wise 3 levels of Penetrating Strike (SM, p179) at .75 magic total does 3 more damage to an armored target or structure where 2 levels of Improved Ability at 1.0 magic only adds .66 damage since its two extra dice that must roll hits to take effect. It can mean the difference between missing and hitting, sure, but if you want to hit I suggest more Muscle Toner to boost AGI to add more overall effectiveness to more situations. [AGI is more versatile than, say... a Reflex Recorder.]

Also, you can't attack what you can't detect so Astral Perception is really, really an awesome *offensive* ability. It pwns invisibility and Chameleon suits.

The Edge is a great idea as well. High AGI+High Edge is so darned effective for an Adept in so many critical situations!
Rotbart van Dainig
The lack of the Athletics skillgroup might be a problem for a closecombat type, though.
The cost of implants in terms of BP have to consider lost magic.

Wired 2: 30 BP magic + approx. 6 BP gear = 36 BP
Synaptic 2: 10 BP magic + 32 BP gear = 42 BP

Wired 2 is better on the short run for combat purists, if you want that 3rd IP. I´m with Whipstitch here.

In my opinion, adepts need to choose a dicepool size they are comfortable with. A Red Samurai straight from the book can be beaten by high agility + skill alone. My take: Blademastery is done.

Now we need to consider what sunnyside said: it is a game of ranged combat. High reaction and good armor are king. Take combat sense 2+ mystic armor 2(both from Talias list). On the long run mystic armor would be lost due to an orthoskin implant, but I don´t think thats feasible at chargen. BP and powerpoints left go wherever the player wants to go. Astral sense is a primary choice here, and cool resolve is always my favorite.

On the beginner aspect: Chars for beginners need a balance of short term power and long term potential. They also need something to do besides combat. I´d complement blades and unarmed combat with higher levels in both stealth and athletices. Influence and firearms 1 should also be present. The player should be able to do anything basic that comes to his mind with some chance of success, in addition to filling the basic role of close combat monster.

Yeah, if it weren't for for the gear category being capped at 50 bp, I'd be a lot bigger fan of Synaptics 2 (that, and you can't squeeze in any other 'ware without dropping another point of essence, unlike Alpha Wired 2 and the right bioware). Between that and Improved Ability being effectively capped at 3, there's not much I like about having a high magic score on combat adepts (other than taking high doses of the deliciously munchkiny combat sense, of course).
I agree on the penetrating strike, Wasabi. Unfortunately, it only works for unarmed combat. Critical strike is better for unarmed, though - penetrating strike is something I would only take after maxing out critical strike.

I would disagree about wired reflexes: 2 being good for an adept. Once you go past one, or maybe two, points of magic loss, you are better off simply making a sammie. Synaptic accelerators are extremely costly, BP-wise, but their low Essense cost means that you can take it and still have four or five points left for adept powers. You will be limited in other areas, of course, but this type of build is generally used for combat specialists, anyways.

I don't really like astral perception that much, mainly because in SR4, an adept can't use his meatbody skills for astral combat like he could in SR3. I agree that it is great against invisibility and chameleon suits, but it is also a way to get your head ripped off by an astral baddie. Ultrasound goggles are nearly as good, without making the character as vulnerable.

I also agree on the Athletics group, Robert. I was tempted to get Athletics group: 1 instead of the dodge (how often does someone with 11 dice for "normal" dodging need to go on full defense?), or even losing a point or so of Edge to boost it up, but I decided to keep him pretty basic, with room to grow, versatility-wise. If someone wants Athletics group for him, though, it's easy enough to tweak, either by ditching the dodge skill, losing a point or two from Edge, or both.
An important thing for a weapon combat focused adept would definately be the Muscle Toner cyber ware. It'll cost you a point of magic but net you 2+ points of AGI, which will be used for pretty much all of your combat tests, except dodging. And Combat sense is really good, adding dice to dodge is great, you can end up with 20+ dice to dodge if you want to never probably be hit.
"Never probably be hit" rotfl.gif

Anyway you also have to decide how much you want your character to be an idiot D20 combat munch type. Since I believe the OP is the GM you REALLY have to decide if you want to go out of your way to make one of your players into an idiot D20 combat munch type.

Do you really want more "hurrrr I kill everybody and go get the treasure I mean the prototype we we're sent to this dunge...... er corporate facility for" in your game?

As a GM you have a rare oportunity to make a character you'll enjoy having in the group. Now I take it you want them to be combatty to a degree. So do the synaptic thing for 1 magic. And put some MP into relevant combat skills.

But then put some points into making them useful outside of combat. I'd mentioned astral becuase it's useful in combat sometimes but also opens up the whole world of assensing. And with enhanced perception they can do it better than others. But there are a whole range of movement, infiltration, face type skills availible.
That really depends more on the player than anything. If the player wants to play a combat-oriented character, then the GM shouldn't try to force additional roles on him. That's not to say that the character should lack skills essential for any runner to have (etiquette, perception, etc.), but the GM's request was for an optimized combat character.

Besides, none of the builds and suggestions presented here make an invincible character - he will only be at his best in melee range, and normal ranged combat will have a chance against him (and wide bursts, spells, and area attacks will hurt him).

It's his first character, and the type of character that hs wants to play. Let him see for himself how useful other skills can be, and how much more prevalent ranged combat is, and he can start picking those skills for himself as he gains Karma.
As much as I love astral bloodhound type adepts, they're not always terribly newbie friendly, and depending on the GM/group they may also require a lot of initiative on the part of the player to accomplish much. Maybe this new guy is an experienced enough gamer in general to be undaunted, but I know a lot of people tend to try not to rock the boat when introduced to a new table and system (at least until they got a session under their belt, anyway). I adore studying game systems to death, but as a newcomer I doubt I would have any idea what to do with things like Eidetic Sense Memory or have a good feel for when astral perception (and the conseqences of being dual-natured) would be a liability instead of an advantage. And depending on Hyde's playstyle, god knows just learning how to behave around the potentially omnipresent matrix 2.0 may be enough for the new guy to handle to start with.
Well personally when I build combat-adepts I burn two points of magic, one for extra IPs and the other for Muscle Toner & Aug, ect...

Then I focus the remaining Magic on things like Killing Hands ect, because using Power Points for IPs and Stat Increases is akin to trying to break down a brick wall with your head.
Thanks !
My campaign is not a combat oriented campaign, but more on an investigation one and I expect my players to think before doing anything brutal. But as he is right now, he will feel weak compared to the sammy when it's time to play and I don't want that to happen, that's why I asked for advice on tweaking him a bit... so he can still be effective in combat and be useful in assenssing for instance (This skills is really, really useful in this campaign smile.gif )
You know. Looking at it I can't find where attribute boost hits are limited by the rating. It isn't a spell after all, and they even erratad it (to make it a simple action and have the augmented max limit it).

So I don't see any reason why a player couldn't get mostly cheap attribute boosts off of it. Let convenitent than cyberware (having to use the simple actions). But it would only cost .5 MP for agi and reaction boosts. And if you're rolling body+will to resist a single box of drain you can keep them going a lot.

And if you know there is trouble you could cancel the power and retry a could times to get at least a decent result.

So a nice combat and sense using char could be (with soft maxed magic).

synaptic 2 (1MP)
astral perception (1MP)
enhanced perception 4 (1MP)
Improved scent (.25 MP)
agi and reaction boost (.5 MP)
Mystic armor 2 or weapon skill 2 (1 MP)
then a .25 MP fun skill. Commanding voice is nice if you throw in the leadership, Linguistics can be fun and there are all sorts of senses. Or toss a die onto on still class.

Or hard max magic and put the combat skill upto +4 die. Or put +2 combat skill +4 infiltrate bonus, which would be very usefull for someone who wants to use blades.

Of course this build won't be as all around good in combat as the sammy generally, and of course being a blade user always makes things tricky. But they can do a lot of other stuff a sammy simply cannot. And I find that players who have chars that totally overlap their skillsets can have issues. Especially if one is better.
The trouble with taking attribute boost for Reaction is that it is not compatible with other attribute augmentations (the synaptic booster, in this case). I agree that it is best to keep attribute boost at rating: 1, since going any higher will make it increasingly likely that you will take Drain from it. Attribute boost: 1 plus Magic: 5 gives you 6 dice, enough to semi-reliably get a boost of 2 points, and sometimes more. Unlike improved physical attribute (which Ravor descibed best), attribute boost (for Agility) is a decent, viable alternative to muscle toner, especially for characters who get synaptic booster: 2 and don't want to sacrifice another point of Magic.
Whoops yeah. Ignore the reaction boost in the above example.

Also if you want to take reaction a little higher instead of dropping even more BP on it you could get the quality to raise it a little more.

Still 400BP, especially on a cyberadept, is pretty tight. So maybe just leave it.
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