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Morphling The Pretender
I was curious to hear what you guys who say about this.

Aptitude is a very easily abuseable edge. Sure, it's 4, but -1 TN is nothing to sneeze at. Obviously, everyone would like to put it on skills they will use as often as possible. I was wondering what skills you'd allow a player to use it with, and why not the others?
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The choices (and a few examples) would be:

Combat: Pistols, Rifles, Unarmed Combat
Social: Etiquette, Negotiation, Interrogation
Technical: Computers, Electronics, Demoltion, Biotech
Vehicle: Car, Bike, VTA
Build/Repair: LTA, Fixed-Wing, Submarine
Magical: Sorcery, Conjuring, Aura Reading
Knowledge/Language skills: Police Procedures, Philosophy, Spanish
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I'll start off the discussion.

Combat skills are right out. Both already have ways to reduce target numbers on thier own (Reach, Lasers/Slink). That's plenty.

Magical skills would be also out on principle. Magical characters (especially aspected ones) would use thier skill SO often it would be absurdly useful.

All the technical and B/R are fine, except Computers. Sorry, but a free -1 on decking isn't right. All the others are not equally abuseable.

Vehicle skills would be okay, even for a guy with VCR 3. Gunenry would be out of the question, but I think -1 on VTA would be cool, and not game destroying.

Social is an interesting one. So long as the game uses Negotiations AND Etiquette often enough to prevent one from unbalancing the other, I'd allow it. And Interrogation specialty... everyone needs that. biggrin.gif

Knowledges skills are fine, cept for goofy stuff like "Small Unit Tactics" for riggers. But nothing would get that scary.

So, tell me what you think.
--------------------
hate your neighbors
cheat your friends
they don't discriminate
popularity and fame don't care
if you're a reprobate
Wish
I let it go for all skills when I'm running. Our current GM does the same. In our current group of 6 characters, one has Aptitude in Conjuring. Nobody else has it. It's very useful, but doesn't seem to make that huge a difference. The guy with Aptitude conjures force 6 spirits, the guy without it conjures force 5 spirits.
Sphynx
I allow it for:

Any Build/Repair skills
Electronics
Athletics
Stealth
All Social Skills

Sphynx
grendel
We've applied several restrictions to players taking characters with aptitude, the best being that in addition to the edge, a player must take an extra level 1 enemy. The enemy relationship revolves around the character's aptitude, and works to offset any bonus gained.
sidekick
I would allow it for any skill. I mean for BP is a lot to blow for a -1TN. Now mind you, all Aptitudes are not equal. An Aptitude Sorcery can really be a god send to the Aspected Mage but Aptitude: Stealth isn't a huge boon to the Steal Adept (since stealth is an open test). But... thems the breaks as they say. Aptidue is especially nice for Physads (been thinking of making it a .5 Adept power that can be bought on top of any improved skill... mind you it can only be purchased once) since it gives them that little extra boost over Sammies.
6thDragon
I've allowed it in the past but under slightly watered down circumstances. If it's a combat, decking, magic, or rigging skill I'll ask the player to pick one situation it applies to. For instance with pistols (aimed shots or second target), unarmed combat (against other unarmed combatant), I'm sure you get the point.
True 4 build points is a lot to blow for a -1 TN, however I've had munchkins take full advantage of that and it can really unbalance the game.
Rock-Steady
We banned that edge completely.
Morphling The Pretender
QUOTE (Sphynx)
Athletics
Stealth

Leave it to a retard like me to forget the Physical skills. I suppose Stealth and Athletics won't break the game either, unless the character gets Muscle Toner 4, Flex Hands, and all that other Althetics stuff. Then, on comes the Veto.

(STAMP)
Ol' Scratch
We allow it to be used on any one specialty within a single skill of choice, but characters can have only one aptitude, and only one character can have an apititude in any single group of skills. For instance, only one character can have a Firearms aptitude (Pistols, SMG, Assault Rifle, Shotgun, or any other single Firearms skill), while only one other one can have an Aptitude in a Physical Skill, or a Magical Skill, or a Technical Skill, or a Social Skill, or a Build/Repair Skill, or a Melee Skill, or an Academic Knowledge Skill, or... etc. The player then chooses what specialization within that skill the Aptitude applies to; Pistols (Morrissey Elite), Sorcery (Spellcasting), Stealth (Alertness), or Computers (Decking) are a few examples. Aptitudes only cost +2 points and are highly encouraged.

It helps add a little flavor, uniqueness, and specialization to the party. While anyone with a Pistols 6, Vision Mag 3, Smartlink-2 w/ Ranger Finder, and a pistol with a Laser Sight can be a bad ass shot, the specialized character with the Aptitude is still going to shine. And we like that cinematic flavor.
Sahandrian
We've got a pretty simple rule. Aptitude can be taken for any skill, but is actually taken for a specialization. Aptitude(Pistols) is a no, but Aptitude(Ares Predator) is okay. We've only had one character take it, and that was a gun adept who always used a certain weapon.
Kagetenshi
I don't allow it for combat, nor for spellslinging, nor for decking. I'll let people use it for Computers, but it'd apply to programming only. As for social skills, given the existance of Good Reputation which can about half of the time (the half with the sky-high TNs usually) can provide a -2 to Social TNs at half the cost of Aptitude and with no restrictions on the actual skill used I have absolutely no problem with applying Aptitude to social skills.

~J
Digital Heroin
I allow it for a single combat skill under two conditions: The character undergoes no augmentation, and they are a mundane. If the person were to undergo augmentation, no matter the augmentation, they lose the aptitude. The logic is this: a person who pours their existance into a weapon, or group of weapons, learns to become one with it... we see this with swordsmen, target shooters and the like... if they undergo a change in their physical being, they often lose the focus they once had...

Why do I allow this? Simple, so that people who want to have a change of pace can play simple people, who are dedicated to their trade. Take my Jon Snow character. He's an anachronist - he longs for a simpler, purer time, without cybernetics or magic - yet he needs to stay compeditive. So he trains with a single minded focus in his use of pistols. The bonus from the edge gives him a chance to compete - at least in one respect - with augmented runners. Were he to get wired, for example, he would have to adapt to the way his body now reacted. Old reflexes he relied upon for his aptitude just wouldn't be there.

I also enjoy grengel's approach in this regard as well (and wholeheartedly appologize, as an aside, for my dropping out of Reign, Snow just didn't fit in, and I fell behind). Adding in a reputation, and an enemy, because of this aptitude, fleshes out a character further.
Cray74
QUOTE (Wish)
I let it go for all skills when I'm running.  Our current GM does the same.  In our current group of 6 characters, one has Aptitude in Conjuring.  Nobody else has it.  It's very useful, but doesn't seem to make that huge a difference.  The guy with Aptitude conjures force 6 spirits, the guy without it conjures force 5 spirits.

Ditto. I don't have to rule on Aptitude because it doesn't appear often. The players can use it for whatever. I suppose I'd step in if a PC had 3 or 4 aptitudes, but there hasn't been a problem yet.
Zazen
One aptitude per character. Not allowed for sorcery.

That's mine. smile.gif
Cray74
QUOTE (Zazen)
One aptitude per character. Not allowed for sorcery.

That's mine. smile.gif

The single instance of aptitude in my current game (that I'm running, not playing in) is for sorcery, and I don't mind it - now. The mage character with it is distinctly non-optimized, as is the other character (physical adept) in the game.

I had been considering objecting to the mage (who had just about every magical edge in the book), but after seeing their two-man Three Stooges act in combat, I'm more concerned about keeping them alive in low-threat bar fights and street brawls.

[scene: homage to...or crude parody of...the Kill Bill restaurant scene]

Mage Player: "Uh...I passed out from the drain."
Physad Player: "That was your first spell."
Me (GM): "Well, he did nuke 5 of them, and injured 5 more..."
Mage Player: "And without my sorcery aptitude, I wouldn't even have gotten those."
Physad Player: "So, you start making a new character, and I'll die trying to fight these other twenty you left me."
Me: "Fifteen, now. Almost ten, really. Some were badly burned by the fireball."
Physad Player: "Whatever. Friends in melee is going to get me."
Me: "*cough*Assaultrifleonthefloor*cough*"
Physad Player: "What are they doing now? I'm waiting for my doom."
Me: "They're coming down the stairs in a dense, tightly packed line. Hint."
Physad Player: "I'll draw my sword and wait for the first one."
Mage Player: "Hey, maybe that assault rifle would help."
Physad Player: "They're all spread wide apart on the catwalk, right?"
Me: "No, I just said-"

etc etc, ad naueseum.

Lesson: Aptitudes help offset beer-induced player deafness and unfamiliarity with suppressive fire rules.
Pavlov
I retain veto power over characters in the game, so I judge the edge on a case-by-case basis. I don't mind powerful PCs, but I have had problems with groups of characters across a wide range of power levels. If both players bring characters who want to get in gunfights, but one packs a lot more armor and speed, it's tough to balance challenges for them both. On the other hand, I've sent characters back to make them more effective at whatever it is the player wants them to be able to do, usually because of a lack of rules knowledge. If the edge puts them over the top, it's gone. If they're still within the realm of viability, it's cool.
Talia Invierno
biggrin.gif @ Cray74

We actually do very occasionally allow Aptitude: Conjuring, on a case-by-case basis (read "once"), for shamanic types only (but not an aspected conjurer). Reasoning: they're unique in conjuring on the fly, not infrequently in a combat situation, and they can't use their spirits to "soak" drain or add 6 or so extra dice. This aptitude always exists in conjunction with such specialties as Etiquette (Spirit): since it is held to reflect an unusually strong social interaction with spirits. Should this understanding ever be betrayed, it is understood that the aptitude can be replaced at the GM's discretion with Conjuring: Incompetence. Not that the shaman isn't good at it, but the situation becomes parallel to that in the Mojave for that shaman: the spirits just don't trust the shaman anymore.

Sorcery: never. However, although it's never been asked, I can't see us having any problem with Aptitude: Aura Reading at all.

Combat skills: never. Offsetting range and visibility modifiers would be the big use. To grant aptitude here would be to undermine the essence choice of the smartlink.

Computer and electronics would normally be disallowed. There is, however, one NPC who does have aptitudes in both (and mathematics as a grouped aptitude, see below): he's an intuitive logical thinker, and he's close to unique in the world. So I could see a possibility for a PC to have an aptitude here, but again it would be on a case-by-case basis and ringed with appropriate roleplaying.

Athletics and stealth: we rule that the stronger 'ware drowns out natural aptitude.

No problems with any of the others. B/R variants seem to be the most popular among our group. We do have the option for grouped aptitudes for the person naturally gifted in ways that translate across skills (natural mechanic, crack driver) but only two PCs have chosen this to date: they're expensive!
Shockwave_IIc
QUOTE (Talia Invierno)
No problems with any of the others. B/R variants seem to be the most popular among our group. We do have the option for grouped aptitudes for the person naturally gifted in ways that translate across skills (natural mechanic, crack driver) but only two PCs have chosen this to date: they're expensive!

Anychance of explaining this further? ie cost, the type and number of skills and anyother issue you've had with it
Friggas Ring
I'd allow the aptitude edge for any skill as long as it's not the characters focus. No aptitude in sorcery for Full Magicians (but I'd allow it for an physad), no aptitude in Pistols for that gun bunny, but for an otaku? Sure. Computer or electronics is okay for anyone that's not an otaku or decker. Stealth is fine for anyone. Vehicles... anyone but riggers.

The idea of an edge like "College Education" or "Trade School Education" (I forget the exact names of the edges because I'm supposed to be working or something and shouldn't be reading my SR books) for B/R skills or vehicle skills is pretty cool. Even if it only reduced TNs for defaulting.

Hrm, time to stop rambling.

-fr
Shadow
Vetoing an edge because it makes the character stronger is just silly. Your the GM, your supposed to balance the adventures, if the players are all bad ass gun adepts with aptitude in pistols, then make the bad guys stronger. There isnít anything that a player can do that gm can't balance out. It's just plain silly to ban edges like that.

In my games it almost all allowed, as long as there a good story behind why they have it.


Kagetenshi
Just remember, it doesn't matter if your players are all Superman, as long as they're all Superman.

~J, spouting oft-repeated but nonetheless valuable advice.
snowRaven
I allow it for any skills, but I bumped the cost up to 6 for Combat Skills, Magical Skills and Computer. I also require those aptitudes to be balanced with a resitricting Flaw (judged on a case-by-case basis) - I also rule that the -1 TN does not stack with that of a smartlink.
Morphling The Pretender
QUOTE (Shadow)
Vetoing an edge because it makes the character stronger is just silly. Your the GM, your supposed to balance the adventures, if the players are all bad ass gun adepts with aptitude in pistols, then make the bad guys stronger. There isnít anything that a player can do that gm can't balance out. It's just plain silly to ban edges like that.

In my games it almost all allowed, as long as there a good story behind why they have it.

Yes, there is nothing that players can do that the GM can't balance. Unfortunately, there is a cavernous difference between "maintaining balance" and "maintaining sanity."

It's fine if you earn your hotness and BS with Karma over time, but to start with -3s on ranged tests is just insane. Why?

Well, maybe it's the way I play, but I think the lethality should remain somewhere at most at 75% chances to get killed for BOTH sides. If things go wrong for the players or the enemy, they have a good 25% chance at getting out alive. (screwed up, but alive). Of course, stupidity is always 100% deadly, but bad luck shouldn't be.

However, how do you balance someone who has 3s for full auto shotgun fire, or a summoner who resists nigh unlimited amounts of drain without blinking or a decker who trashes even with just his dusty old modest deck? You need (NEED being the operative word) to dump a cyberzombie, an incredible mage, an entire megacorp, an army, or a skilled sniper against them. If, to balance an edge, I need to throw otherwise 100% deadly forces at them, that's just plain ridiculous.

But, you may ask, "What's the problem with that? Why not throw certain death at your players?"

IT IS NOT FUN.

It's not all about the nuyen, the karma, the body count, the new toys, the inflated ego from vicariously living through a character, the 8 pages of back story you conjured to cover your inner munckin.

It's supposed to be fun. And, frankly, if limiting a single edge is going to ruin your fun, find an MP3 the world's tiniest violin, and imagine me playing it.

Isn't it a bit more fun when your enemies have a bit of a chance against you, and you have a bit of a chance against your enemies? Why bother playing the game if it's just an exercise of mathematical certainty? I think that, for the preservation of the game, balance, and fun in general, it's better to limit the absolutely heinous bullcrap, and leave it to the merely modest bull. (I won't ban Slink, but none of this Aptitude+Slink+whatever else they'll beg for).

</rant> Ahh... I knew this topic would get a rant out of me. I should start a rant jar.
Ol' Scratch
You guys seem to suggest that an Aptitude in Sorcery or Conjuring helps with Drain. It doesn't. It only applies a -1 TN to target numbers. The Power of drain or damage isn't a target number, it's the Power; SR3 p. 162, "Drain" never even says "target" a single time when describing Drain or how to calculate it. An Aptitude in those skills (should) only apply to the Target (and hence "Target Number"). Just like it only applies to the target number of shooting someone with a Pistols skill.

But even if you want to be pedantic and claim that the Power of Drain is a target number (which, technically, I admit it is despite there being a clear "Target" number for spells)... well, that's just you being a wussy GM, especially if you allow it just for the sake of allowing it (and even more so if you then complain about it). You're just giving magicians a two-for-one deal. It's entirely your fault. smile.gif
Shockwave_IIc
QUOTE ( Morphling The Pretender)
Why bother playing the game if it's just an exercise of mathematical certainty?


Here here.

I remember one time i was running a different game, where i had a pc that was rather good in combat (my fault for letting it get past me) to challenge that character in his chosen field i had to risk the lives of the other PC's, which i wasn't willing to do. In social situtations he was useless, his fault granted but it's only fair to provide a game for ALL players, no?

The appitude edge can (note i said can not will) have the same effect. I'll let a character have when it's not in his primary field. even more likely if it happens to apply to a hobby skill.
Example, a decker that part times as a DJ. his apptitude is in his DJ skills.

Anyway i'll stop now before i get into a rant.
Fortune
QUOTE
You guys seem to suggest that an Aptitude in Sorcery or Conjuring helps with Drain.  It doesn't.

Definitely! A Drain test is not part of the Sorcery test, but a whole seperate thing altogether. One should not benefit from the reduction of the TN of the other.
Ol' Scratch
If you guys really have a problem with a -1 TN bonus, lower it to just a +1 die bonus. There's precious few ways outside of adept powers and a small handful of cybernetics that grant you a bonus die to a skill, and having a Pistols skill of 7 instead of 6 is hardly as devestating as a base TN of 3 vs. 4.
Glyph
I do it like most people replying here seem to do, and what the book recommends as well - I disallow it for magical, combat, or decking skills (although I would probably allow it for enchanting). I would allow it for vehicle skills, but would not let it stack with the Vehicle Empathy Edge.
Ol' Scratch
So why would anyone be encouraged to take it over Vehicle Empathy (a 2-point Edge that effectively gives the same benefit for all vehicles)?
Sren
Why is it that most GMs seem to think that a -1 to TNs for sorcery tests is so unbelievably unbalanced, but a -2 or more to firearms test is normal? I haven't played in a game yet where all of the non-magical characters didn't either start with smartlink-IIs or get them within a couple sessions, but there is no way to reduce the base target number for any magical test. Worse yet, shielding increases the base target number for sorcery tests against a protected opponent, so you can't even center against the shielding bonus of said opponent.

I don't understand the decking rules very well (in the only game where I even had a decker in the party, the decker was played by the GM), so I don't know how powerful the edge would be fore deckers, but for some reason, I doubt it would be any better than a smartlink-II is for gun bunnies.

Just don't let it stack with smartlinks (as they would interfere with a natural skill more than any other 'ware, at least in my opinion), and everything else will balance out. I haven't been in a game yet where a -1 to the TNs of my mage's spells would have made a truly significant difference, it would just offset the penalty for being wounded, as the battle cry of most opponents is generally "geek the mage" so the mage is always wounded when casting in combat.

As for helping with drain, an aptitude in sorcery shouldn't help, even though sorcery dice can be added to a drain resistance test, but an aptitude for for resisting drain sounds like an interesting option, even though it isn't a skill... maybe something I'll ask my next GM about.

Also, why would someone want to pay four points to get an aptitude in a skill that will never have any effect on the game? Paying several skill points for a skill that will have no effect on the game is handicap enough to give a character an imaginary hobby (I say imaginary, because the skill will almost never be rolled)? I like character that have fun personalities and hobbies, but those can be more than fairly represented with a few knowledge points, and good roll-playing, without sacrificing the skill points required to survive the first fight you encounter (which usually happens the first time you fail a stealth roll).

Hopefully, one day I'll find a GM that allows any edges or flaws, or even one that uses the point system...

Anyways, thats my thoughts on the subject, hope it wasn't too painful.

Thanks
S'Ren
Fortune
QUOTE (Sren)
As for helping with drain, an aptitude in sorcery shouldn't help, even though sorcery dice can be added to a drain resistance test...

Conjuring has a special rule that allows you to withhold dice from the Conjuring test to help resist drain, but I don't recall any rule that lets you add Sorcery dice to Drain Resistance tests. Spell Pool dice can be added just fine, as can any applicable Totem bonus.
Kagetenshi
Regarding Decking, it'd be like a free +1 to the Rating of most utilities. A few more effects, wide-reaching enough to maybe justify a 6-point cost rather than 4, but not gamebreaking I think.

~J
Zazen
QUOTE (Doctor Funkenstein @ Nov 16 2003, 01:09 AM)
So why would anyone be encouraged to take it over Vehicle Empathy (a 2-point Edge that effectively gives the same benefit for all vehicles)?

For drones.
Talia Invierno
And because sometimes it's not vehicle empathy, it's just an knack, a heightened ability to make vehicles do what you want.
QUOTE
Anychance of explaining this further? ie cost, the type and number of skills and anyother issue you've had with it
- Shockwave_IIc

Well, I still can't direct you to the webbed version (sigh), so here are some condensed examples more or less from memory which we do allow in game and which have yet to be found imbalanced. (None of these bonuses will apply on defaults of any kind.)

Crack Driver (+5)
-1 to all TNs when driving any form of wheeled (not tracked!) transportation on ground. GM's best judgement when dealing with more complex vehicles.

Crack Pilot (air) (+6)
-1 to all TNs when piloting an airborne vehicle, including LTAs. This does not include vehicles which are not normally supposed to be airborne. GM's best judgement when dealing with more complex vehicles.

Crack Pilot (water) (+6)
-1 to all TNs when piloting a watercraft (including hovercrafts and hydrofoils). Except for hovercrafts, this does not apply to watercraft out of the water. GM's best judgement when dealing with more complex vehicles.

Electronic Aptitude (+8 )
-1 to all TNs for all matters related to computers and electronics, including cybertechnology (but not other forms of 'ware).

Firearms Affinity (+6)
-1 to all TNs for all handheld firearms, but not including handheld mortars, missile tubes, artillery or heavy guns.

Knack With Languages (+3)
You can usually pick up an extremely general sense of anything you hear as if you actually had one dot in a different language in the same family group as a language you actually know. (To learn one of those languages, you must purchase them normally.) If you know two languages in the same family group, you additionally have -1 to all TNs for attempting to understand any language in the same family group. Where there are no other languages in that family group (eg. Sperethiel), you are completely lost (unless you've actually learned it, of course). Incidentally, this means that you can't ever have a TN bonus where there is only one language in the family group.

Knack With Tools (+6)
- 1 to all TNs for manual construction and repair work including B/R tests (GM's best judgement when it comes to more complex structures).

Mechanical Aptitude (+6)
-1 to all TNs for working with mechanical devices, including Lockpicking, Aircraft B/R, Ground Vehicle B/R, Boat B/R, Plumbing, Clockwork ... (As always, GM's discretion)

Vehicular Aptitude (+4)
You have the intrinsic ability to figure out the controls of any type of vehicle, even if the vehicle is fairly unfamiliar. Reduce all modifiers by half when defaulting within the vehicle branch of the Skill Web.

Elemental Ties (+/- 2, +/- 4, +/- 6)
-1 or +1 to all TNs for all spells dealing with a particular element (not school of magic) or type of elemental. At second level, the TN bonus or penalty applies both to sorcery and conjuring, while at the highest level, the TN bonus applies to all things magical tied into that element, including geographic knowledge (only) of that particular metaplane. The mage must actually have the ability to cast or conjure within that elemental sphere. Hermetic mages only.

Magical Education (+3)
TN -1 to all magic (knowledge or background) tests which fall within your tradition. At the GM's discretion, this may also include theories of thaumaturgy, spirit lore, and spell formulae. This also includes Magic Theory 1 as a freebie (Background Knowledge Skill) - you may add more starting points if you like.
Siege
+2 Best Customer

Conveys a -1 bonus to all Negotiation rolls dealing with price while dealing with a specific contact.

Good, bad or just outright silly?

-Siege
Kagetenshi
Good, but I'd include a minimum purchase/month.

~J
Siege
QUOTE (Kagetenshi)
Good, but I'd include a minimum purchase/month.

~J

Woo-hoo! A better review than most of my edges/flaws. grinbig.gif

-Siege
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