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So, how are you guys with Availability? Do you use it all the time, no questions? Are you more case by case? Game dependent? Im talking about Availability at chargen, by the way.

Personally, we've never used it, and by this point in time most folks on the forum probably know me as a vehement anti-availability supporter. Or, erm, vehemently against it. IMO, it's something else to worry about that's not necessary, it's screwed over people-in the sense that they build their Perfect Character...only to find out that their Signature Weapon(some rare gun or sniper rifle or something) was misread in the column and they CAN'T have it, even though it was worked into their backstory, and I never liked a book giving hard and fast rules. (For example, in other games, you're heavily limited by your funds. you COULD, theoretically, buy that + whatever magic sword on chargen...but you don't have the funds to do it. But they don't specifically forbid it).

And i think it also comes from our very first SR game played in SR2 when i was...ah, 15 or 16 maybe. The GM, an experienced RPer, experienced Shadowrun player and GM, and hardly a guy you could even remotely call a powergamer(he tended to play offbeat designs in my experience), just canned Availability and said ''dont even look at it for the beginning, it only matters in game after you start''.

Which is how we continued playing.

At the very worst, what we do if we want to run a more specific, low end campaign of gutterpunks...we limit the resources rather than Availability. If you only have a max of 20,000 nuyen to your name(or less), you aren't going to have to worry about it. (Typically, we play garden-variety, 400 point games, with one 450 point zombie massacre.)

Anyhoo, im just wondering how the rest of the forum does it here.
When I run a game, I like to stick with Availability, since letting people get the good toys right out of chargen always seems a bit...sad.

That said, me and my GM both believe in adjusting availbility(and sometimes, even prices) based on the environment. In out current game, for isntance, it is nearly impossible to start with a non-Japanacorp firearm..however, my GM adjusted the Availability of the Nitama Nemax, and that Shiawase LMG frm Arsenal down to 12, given theya re a Japanese made.(She decided NOT to lower the availability that one RL frm the main bok that fires Semi-auto! primarily because, the rockets would still not be available). Availabiliy is generally a thematic thing for us, not a hard and fast iron clad rule..
We use availability to determine if we should ask if the piece of gear is kosher. Else availability is ignored.

Availability is to unspecific to be of real use. It is mostly a game balance tool, but one does not work once ingame (shopping around may take a few weeks, but thats the most that will happen). The synaptic boosters for example are only balanced by their cost, while you canĀ“t get a suprathyroid gland at chargen. Yet said gland would be one of the most common augmentations amongst the rich. Your whole body improves, and you get to stay slim! (all the effects of sport without moving from the couch).
Typically I enforce availability so that character's can grow with their equipment as well as their Karma. Most special cases I allow it, because it's no fun to ruin a character concept like that.
One of the problems that i(and a few other folks) have had with Availability as a balance tool, is that there are instances of gear with a high availability...that aren't nearly as powerful as things with a lower Availability.

Wired Reflexes is a perfect example. Sure, it's a little Essence-heavy(but with Bioware's low essence cost, you can still load up), it costs very little for the power it gives, and it's perfectly legal for a starting character.

Now, look at a Rating 5+ Sequencer. It's a nifty little thing to have on hand, yes, and the higher the rating, the better it is...but honestly, IMO, it's not as good as Wired Reflexes 2(alphaware).

Rating 4 cybereyes allow you to grab a couple more mods. Nothing huge. But they are AvailabilitY: 16.

You can't buy a large container of Nanopaste disguise. But if you really want to dump a few more nuyen, you can buy several small containers and do the same thing. Eh?

Rating 4 cyberears: same thing. Availability 16.

Titanium Bone Lacing *used* to be legal at chargen in SR3, but they changed that. IMO, yes, they are very good...but they are also a fairly hefty nuyen and decently high essence cost. (You might want Alphaware to save on some essence..and they still aren't cheap, and it's a whopping 80,000.)

By the rules, most cyberguns, save a Light or Hold Out, are out.

Cyberskulls are out, even though no one ever takes them.

Anyway, I can understand if they wanted some stuff to be, you know, rare...but it should be stated as such. I just have trouble completely buying it's for game balance.

I guess another thing i have is the whole cybersurgery fiasco. Personally, i'd rather spend game time on more exciting things than ''ok, Bob, you're out the next three sessions because you got bone lacing put in that you couldn't buy at the beginning. Go suck it up and play Tekken in the other room, since the others were in the middle of something, and can't just speed up the time''. Sure, i'd like the folks to have to work fixers, contacts, and the like to get gear...but they already WILL be doing that just to fence and sell the loot they grab, to pick up that new gun that just came out(ie, in a sourcebook), that wasn't there before, and, sometimes, go through some cybersurgery in-game where i can hopefully speed it up. Some folks, i can understand, would prefer the runners not start with everything they want so they can aquire it in-game; myself, i'd rather let the folks make what they want and then do lots of OTHER fun stuff in game.

And neither way is wrong IMO; it's personal preference.

And i see your point, Ryu, about how the whole Availability thing is rather unspecific. If something is Availability X, why is it? Is it rare? Hard to get? Hard to make? Illegal? Or just because the writers felt like making it that way?

I've been running SR4 character generation using the 12 cap just like the generation rules state. After that, I've been known to adjust things or, in the case of one player who couldn't make up his mind (here's looking at you, klinktastic) I liberally massaged things to get him the 'ware he wanted. Course he doesn't know about the kinkbomb installed in those Cerebral Boosters ..... whoops biggrin.gif

(Just seeing if you're paying attention, klink)
I think for the most part I like availability limits in chargen. It helps give the characters room to grow, and can help make major NPC opponents stand out when they have something the player characters haven't acquired yet.

There are, of course, examples of where this breaks down as ElFenrir said. For the most part, like all the rules in SR, I often let the availability limit slide in favor of story.
We use availability as-is. I don't think our GM would have a problem with ignoring it if there was a good reason, but we haven't had a good reason to do so.
I usually cap it at 8 but I didn't for my last game. Now I have a troll with an Ares Alpha and I think it would have been more fun if he had to knock over a shipment to Firewatch to get one.

But if I had to do it again, 8. Let em work for it, makes it mean more.
Kyoto Kid
...I chose #2. I allow the character to perfrom a test as if they were looking for gear through their fixer for one item that exceeds the limit as long as it fits with the character concept. This item cannot have an "F" legality.
QUOTE (DocTaotsu @ Feb 7 2008, 10:29 AM) *
I usually cap it at 8 but I didn't for my last game. Now I have a troll with an Ares Alpha and I think it would have been more fun if he had to knock over a shipment to Firewatch to get one.

But if I had to do it again, 8. Let em work for it, makes it mean more.

I've actually increased the availability of the Ares Alpha to 14 just to put it out of the way at character generation a few times..... same effect, different solution, I guess smile.gif
Ive seen the Alpha in action. Nothing worse than the perfectly legal hunting or sniper rifles. It's a good gun, but you can half re-create it with some nuyen, a grenade launcher, and some gas vents. (Its still better, yes). We never had a problem with the gun, like, ever...and we've had several characters with it. Im curious how the gun became a problem? Or was it more of a ''rare-factor?''

But, once again, i think this whole thing goes to show the whole ''variety of people and a variety of games''. To some folks, my games might seem like some lean free-for all of big guns blazing, monowhips flailing, bone lacing cracking, and a partridge in a pear tree, but in reality, in the past three games ive run...about a total of three combats took place. In the last game i played in(we use the same rules in our group), no combats took place. We end up rolling more perception and social skills than our guns. But im sure i can understand some folks looking at the listing of our characters and saying ''You let them have THAT?!''...and i guess im within my rights to say ''don't you let your players have ANY fun unless they pass a connection check/availability roll?'' grinbig.gif (note, this was not an insult in any way.)

Im sure i could have fun in a game that uses Availability at chargen; i actually have several characters, built in our more free creation mode, that don't even go above Availability anyway, because there was no reason for them to. And im sure some of you folks could have fun in/running a Non Availability game...maybe. smile.gif

(i tend to think variety is the spice of life, one day, maybe i'd try a game that had not only a cap, but a very low one, to see how i liked it.)
For a standard off-the-mill game, 12 works fine.
Depending on the tone and style, I may actively dissuade players from choosing certain equipment (the aforementioned Ares Alpha comes to mind. It's not that I think it's totally teh borrken! - though it is annoyingly good - I just think it's a little too slick, a little too pro, a little too shiny for a regular starting char. Generally, IMO it's a piece that just feels so much better when you trade your rusty AK in for it).

But overall, sometimes, it's "take what you think you need - time", and sometimes it's "availability 8? 6? Listen, you get a switchblade, some lint and a crack habit. Now go and write history, Forrest!"
I don't know, I really, really like my lasers.
Unless you're doing something specific 12 is a perfectly good availability, the problem is that as some other people have noted certain items probably should have lower availabilty. Cyberlimbs and the related options are probably the biggest culprits here and frankly I don't think anybody who GMs in my group (we rotate) would have much of an issue ignoring availability entirely if someone actually wanted to gimp themselves by taking one. Mostly I'm just resentful that availability (and the way capacity actually works... yeah) prevents me from putting a grenade launcher inside my cybereyes.
Mostly I'm just resentful that availability (and the way capacity actually works... yeah) prevents me from putting a grenade launcher inside my cybereyes.

What? My GMs are always willing to put a grenade launcher in my eye. Oh... wait... you mean the outward firing sort. That's a different story.
Oh it's hardly a game breaker. And it's so illegal they don't get to carry it around very often. I just think it would have been more fun if they had to get it the hard way, in character, rather than just pointing at a line on a list and saying "I want".

But as always, that's personal preference and not some hard and fast rule.

But yeah, an avail 6 game would be awesome to run with the right players.
I think the right players find a niche in about any group.

Myself, i'd try an avail 6 game...but personally, i like to come out of the box stronger most of the time. I suppose after years and years of That Other Game, and being knocked around little critters with pointed sticks and fire ants, i sorta grew tired of it. (On the other hand, supers games don't interest me much, either...the Superhero genre in general doesn't float my boat.) Some players i know love starting with the aformentioned switchblade and crack habit with nothing more than a battered synthleather jacket and a packet of soyflakes(and i gotta say i had alot of fun playing my young troll punk-rocker street guy, but i couldn't do it every game); others aren't happy unless they are playing characters who had a minimum of 3 years of experience of runs under their belt. Availablity, however, gladly encompasses game number 1, but not game number 2(but then, i notice the majority seem to play it on a piece by piece basis, with ''depends on the game'' second.

The other thing is that, as stated, not all the things are created equal. Level 4 Muscle Augmentation and Toner are both Availability 20. However, i don't think im the only GM who would say Muscle Toner is ''higher on the ladder'' than Augmentation, due to Agility's importance in ALL of the combat skills, and in addition, a few other skills on top of it; since Strength is usually looked upon as a ''useless'' stat by many(even combat monkeys dump it), one could say that Muscle Augmentation 4 isn't ''as good'' as Toner 4. (and i know a few GMs might be willing to let the higher levels of Aug slide than the Toner.)

Im also noticing a few different frames of thought: one is ''flat game balance'', and the other is ''make them work for it'', and yet another is ''they should start with fun toys, but not ALL of them'', and people like myself, who feel ''just make the character you want, and then i'll see what you got, and we'll run from there''. What goes with this last one, is that i think that even if you load your essence at the start with fun ware and get some big bang or electronic/mechanical toys, there will still be plenty of goals for characters that ARENT gear related.

The fact is: many nasty toys has a 12 availability rating.
For my last campaign, I have houseruled to accept anything with an avail. of 11 or less.
And for the 12 rating, I made my player choose even or odd and roll a die.
So that don't feel like total GM fiat and some of them still get to start with some shiny toys.

Hey, because of that one of my player is obsessed with ripping off a monowhip from another PC.
Bad luck it's the rigger...
I wouldn't let availability above 12 happen as a rule because then skillwires 4 creep into play and skills become second fiddle to electronic awesome.

Also in the news at 9, skillwires: totally nuts.

but otherwise, despite me thinking that incompoetence: hamster wrangling is totally fine (the laughs that would have to be in the backstory for that to be justifiable would be worth 5 BP alone), 12 as a general rule with some flexibility if its one of the things that has availability of a million billion for no obvious reason.

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