Help - Search - Members - Calendar
Full Version: SR4, GM in dire need of help :M
Dumpshock Forums > Discussion > Shadowrun
Alright this might not be the best place in the forum for this but it seemed the right area, I've been dming for about three weeks now in shadowrun i've run into a bit of a problem my current group consists of two gun slingers and a hacker with a new player about to join who is going to be a face/docter type.

Any way onto the problem, my gunslingers are psychopaths who think nothing of killing every single corp security they run into the problem is that the hacker in the group pretty much disables most security and stops the long arm of the law squashing the group flat, and it's getting to be rather irritating that their indescriminate killing doesn't carry a stiffer penalty, I'm not out for punishing them but with the kind of body count they have wracked up they should be in serious shit but due to the hacker +stealth + nanopaste disguise combo it's rediculously hard to bring any serious repercussions, i can't really bring in a mage to combat them because they will be utterly destroyed by a serious mage :< so what would you guys suggest as most of you seem to veterans to shadowrun
Moved post to the appropriate forum.
1. Bring a Mage into the picture. He doesn't have to be a Magic 6 with initiation levels, but let them know that the is a reason to be discrete, especially when you materialize a spirit right in front of them and it is not harmed by bullets.

2. Lots of drones (Steel Lynx with LMGs come to mind). The Gunn Bunnies with have fun shooting at all of them and the drones just might bring one of them down.

3. Have a Security Rigger battle the hacker.

It sounds to me like you just need to take things to the next level. If there are reports going around that a unidentified group of killers is mulling about, it is natural that everyone who can afford it will beef up their security to deal with it.
one idea: Change how you use security!

make a wireless security system, hardwired to a secure rfid-blocking control room. put in a couple sentry guns in the ceiling controlled by the security rigger. if set up properly,it becomes VERY difficult to get in once the alarm goes off, and a direct assault without high explosives becomes impossible. andif the alarm sounds, additional tougher guards arrive in X time from off-site with bigger guns. a team that does its legwork would know going in what kind of a problem they face. the gun bunnies just need to take outthe security room first,and it could be cake.

aside from upping the enemy firepower after an alarm, you can add non-combat consequences (less pay or less karma for kill-em-all direct assaults)

aside from that- is everyone having fun? the point of the game is entertainment of players after all. if combat isn't hard enough, you can just ratchet it up a bit more, give them tougher jobs.
Have you been tracking their Notoriety closely?
Crusher Bob
The first question is to ask whether you and your players are having fun with the game as it is currently. Are you all happy with racking up the body count like that, and you are asking here because you want there to be more challenge in the game, or are you asking because you want to punish the players for playing this way? Attempting to punish the players by taking actions against the characters just leads to munchkin evolution at the least (as the characters gear up to fight whatever it is you are throwing at them) and to acrimonious above table arguments at the worst.

If you are just intending to make the game more challenging, you can try adding in paracritters, since the hacker can't really help against them. Take a look at critters like the barghest (has paralyzing howl) and hellhound (breathes fire) since both of those can be trained just like dogs can. Another option to look at is a nest of devil rats (perhaps in the sewers on the way to the objective).

Drones are another thing worth looking at for tougher fights, but the problem here is that the hacker might be able to make them his drones instead. If you are going to use drones, be sure to read up on the various anti-hacker threads you'll find on here.

Another possible opponent is a low to mid force free spirit (around fore 3 or 4). This free spirit won't have the full power of a mage, but will have enough magic tricks up its sleeve to make things interesting.

Another possibility is that the bad guys control people the characters may not want to shoot (via spell, technology, or whatever). For example, ebil hacker guy takes over an orphanage and puts 'flesh eating zombie chips' into all the orphan's heads. So you'll have a range of unarmored children trying to chew on the team and moaning 'braaaains'. Sure the PCs could just gun them down, but don't they want to try to be the good guys and subdue the orphans? If not, then they can just have a grand ole time gunning the poor kiddies down, they have body of 1 or 2 and are not wearing armor...

Wou can also try some of the more surreal Wounded Ronin adventures:

killing me softly with airstrikes
De-gaying camp rescue
Alas, the helicopter full of fold-up ninjas and the assault on the lair of the pornomancer appear to be lost in the mists of time.

Another possiblity is a security site with a lot of personnel and defensive depths (for example, rebel camp in the jungle). There are more than enough guys in the camp to make things very difficult for the PCs if the alarm goes up, so how are the PCs going to get through?

Regarding the disguise, concepts, don't forget that if someone fails a roll, they can try again a few minutes later if they have another opportunity to do so. In other words, if you have people spending some amount of time surveilling a building in advance while disguised, your guards could have the chance to see through that disguise more often than once.

Also, make them roll Etiquette while disguised to make sure they're acting appropriately. In my game, the team had to get into a prison and get someone out. One impersonated a guard and before they did so, they captured a guard, interrogated him for a few hours to learn about his day, his duties, his friends, his attitudes toward other guards, etc. Then, I called for Etiquette tests with reasonable frequency (usually when he met "new" people). Most of the guards got a chance to see through the disguise, then if he failed the Etiquette tests, they'd get suspicious for a moment, and get that handy +3 for focusing on a Perception test. Fortunately for him, he was passing the Etiquette tests, so it never came to that.

On the other hand, if they're just disguising themselves to avoid detection (which is also smart), then this sort of scenario doesn't apply as much.

If you're worried about tossing in a mage, then toss in an Adept or something magical that might ruin their day. Give the adept Great Leap, Wall Running, and a super-high Gymnastics skill and have him running at them on full-defense until he closes and then go ape-shit on them in close combat. Hell, have a friendly mage use the Deflection spell (in Street Magic) so he gets even more dice for not being shot. Finally, remember that the mage need not be a combat monster to ruin someone's day. The worst mage I think I ever tossed at a team had a spell load out something like this (working from memory, it was last year or so):

  • Double Image -- Make copies of the shooters so the team has a 50% chance of shooting the illusion and not the actual person.
  • Agony -- Hurt them without lasting damage. It's the nice way to take down a PC without forcing them back to character creation.
  • Confusion -- start giving them extra negative modifiers
  • Sight Removal -- same as Confusion but can compound the effective use of tactics to impair visibility in the first place.
  • Phantasm -- make illusionary guards for them to fight; especially effective if they come around a corner *behind* the team!
  • Deflection -- bullets miss people on whom this is sustained
  • Blast -- indirect area combat spell just for some offensive capabilities
  • Stunbolt -- direct combat spell, again, just for some kick

This is more a utility mage sort of thing and less a combat rocker. Toss on Swarm or some other mass illusions, too, and have the mage specialize in illusions (for the extra dice) and if you can safely cast force 6 or so spells with the character, you can make illusions that the average character will not see through. 'Course, if they're using technology to enhance their vision (e.g., glasses or goggles with visual enhancements) that they haven't paid for in essence, you'll need the physical versions of those spells and you'll need to be the object resistance of their gear (probably 3), but if you're shooting for 4+ hits anyway, then you should be good to go.

Don't forget to Fetish the high drain spells for the extra 2 dice to resist the damage and toss on a Focused Concentration to help as well. Hell, if it's a corporate facility or arcology, the mage could all but live on site and get the Home Ground quality, too. All told, you now have a mage that's going to seriously ruin the PC's day but not necessarily turn them into a pink mist.
It sounds like your players don't want to leave potential witnesses behind to sound the alarm or put the cops/corpsec on their tails after the run. You can disabuse them of that notion by pointing out that while Big Brother is watching, he's not watching the 50% of the population that is SINless with anywhere near as much attention. You can also point out that corps hire shadowrunners to be deniable. The target corp doesn't care about the guys who stole their latest research data as long as they don't have it anymore. At that point they're only interested in the corp that hired the thieves. It's far more productive to use hackers, divination, spy satellites, etc than it is to track down three psychopathic street people (who happen to be heavily armed) in order to get a vague description of someone who might or might not actually work for their real target.

It might also be that your players think the style of the game involves a lot of random violence. If that's not something you want, then you'll have to say so explicitly, up front and out of character.

Either way, the best thing to do is ask your players: why kill off so many helpless opponents?
Yeah, honestly, I've been keeping my body counts low by using at least as many drones and Spirits as I do meat security (and my meat security typically tosses 8 dice in firearms at the bare minimum with double digits being pretty common). Hackers, Riggers and Mages are wonderful security personnel in part because they can provide a measure of security remotely through projection, conjuring or jumping in; the gameworld demographics don't necessarily provide for every facility having an onsite mage or prime runner level spider, but you could certainly have a high powered mage or spider provide back up to a half dozen facilities simply through remote services and jumping in. As far as drone snatching goes, just remember that not all drones need to be kept activated or connected to the facility's primary network 24/7. It could very well be standard operating procedure to not bring such drones online until remote Hackers are logging on from offsite (which can be done very quickly) and are reestablishing control of the network. Half the trick to being a runner in my games is realizing how small of a window of opportunity you have and knowing when to bail out and Hackers are no exception. They're great for getting you into places and grabbing the data and keeping things stealthy, but once the cover is blown I make it so they need to eventually abandon the Matrix field of battle as surely as the Samurai has to eventually flee the meat security. My teams get to cheerily run amok and wipe the floor with the opposition for an encounter or two, but past that it's run 'n' gun all the way.
Which drones do you use? I find that only the Steel Lynx has enough dice to resist damage out of the base book . . .
QUOTE (Clyde @ Mar 2 2008, 12:01 PM) *
Which drones do you use? I find that only the Steel Lynx has enough dice to resist damage out of the base book . . .

Do not underestimate the power of weaker drones in large numbers. Or grunts, for that matter.
On that theme, I once managed to take out about half a dozen Rating 6 insect spirits with two Doberman drones with SMGs and a pair of rotodrones with sniper rifles. The Dobermans would open up first with short bursts on one target, bringing it to a -3 penalty to dodge. Then the rotodrones opened up. They took down one spirit each IP.
You might consider reading a few of the thread floating about that discuss how to make combat more challenging for PC's.
This recent thread has a number of good suggestions from experienced GMs.
Most street samurai are going to be able to cap Joe Security OR a combat drone anyway unless hefty negative modifiers are involved, but at least drones are essentially immune to crowd control toxins, mental manipulation, have natural object resistance and shrug off stun damage without a test plus they tend to have considerably more initiative passes than lightly or uncybered security. So in a very real sense even a Nissan Doberman is appreciably more durable than Joe Human Mook with a handgun and armored vest anyway, and I find the idea that Renraku keeps a dozen such drones stashed away and ready to be brought online to back up the dozen living security guards at a moment's notice more credible than training and paying twice that many guards (who are in many ways less combat effective) to be on duty 24-7 just to protect one piddly facility. Besides, hardened combat drones are likely easier to repair than an injured/dying guard and they don't ask for health benefits, retirement plans, refuse to leave cover or have families to mourn them. I readily admit that Drones are far from ideal for every situation, since they are admittedly more vulnerable to hacking and often have relatively low dicepools, but the idea is to present the runners with the kind of mixed security force that doesn't suffer from one uniform set of weaknesses and is large enough to force negative dicepool modifiers without always turning the game into an outright bloodbath. A small Red Samurai detachment being sent out to respond to your team's intrusion is bad enough, but it's even worse when those elite troops use a squad of mindless drones to flush you out of cover instead of taking stupid risks themselves. vegm.gif
QUOTE (Clyde @ Mar 2 2008, 07:01 PM) *
Which drones do you use? I find that only the Steel Lynx has enough dice to resist damage out of the base book . . .

Mitsuhama Rotordrones are nice. There are great mods in Arsenal, too. The key is to use five drones in a group, following the same command. Even if your gun bunnies manage to take out four, they are still taking fire. Rotordrones with Response and Pilot Upgrade, plus all needed Autosofts, are quite able to take out runners.

On the ground level, substitute doberman drones. Smaller than the Lynx.

As for providing more challenge, and surviving guards (=witnesses), donĀ“t have all the guards attack until they are dead. Have them run in different directions. Cope with the hacker like Whipstitch says, MatrixSec can come from off-site. Have the guards carry biomonitors: alert on a certain damage value, while automatically firing up the medkit the guard carries. Use automatic weapons on wide burst to ensure a hit. But invest the power to keep the guards alive rather than trying to win the fight. Once you have living witnesses, the effort that went into killing the other guards will get the heat on. Remember, you can get hiRes-video streams from the guards cybereyes.
Jeremiah Legacy
Perhaps it's time to let the chips fall where they may. Corp security people are getting slaughtered. They have friends, family. More importantly, they usually have someone somewhere who's gonna be pissed, especially if one of them is friend or family. (remember, 7 degrees)

*Vincent's phone rings* "Hello? Jenny? What's wrong, princess? ... Yeah, I heard about that shoot-out at the MCT plant yesterday. .... Oh, he was? ...." * call goes on, then ends.

*Vincent makes a call* "Yeah, you hear about that MCT shoot-out? Yeah, turns out Frank was there. .... Yeah, as in my daugher's fiance. ... Find who did this. Kill them painfully. .... I don't care. Call all the damn triads. Hell, bring the Yaks into it, too! Tell them if they do it, all is forgiven. It's a blood hunt!"
You include the answer in your post. The party is starting serious combats, that will provoke a serious response. Any serious response will include a mage, or, better yet, endless spirit spam from Lonestar HQ.

Or if you are feeling really mean, have a watcher or 5 follow them home after a run. Then have lone stars HTRT team bust in the doors with grenades, flashpaks and LMGs chattering away on full auto from half a dozen steel lynxes ago-go.

Then let them get away after all getting shot and losing their stuff, and tell them to keep a lower profile. wink.gif
You need to ratchet up the response. Are these guys hitting Megacorps or other high security areas? If so, only the first couple dorks are going to be mall ninjas. After that, things are going to escalate until the guys sneak away or get caught.

Here are a few ideas if you don't want to just use a direct combat or spirit herder mage:

Have an astral mage track them. It is a relatively common response and there is nothing they can do about it, but you are not just having a mage one-shot them.

Have the security guys escalate quickly. After the first few Poindexters go down, the next group is 4-5 with assault rifles and good cover, and maybe make them orks. The group after that is 8-10 with sealed full body armor, good cyberware, assault rifles w/grenade launchers (neurostun) and the first few in the door have PPP or ballistic shields.

Maybe have security doors close (on a closed circuit) after a panic button is hit so the SWAT team has time to show up.

Basically, be tough but fair, and don't be afraid to have their actions lead to consequences. You don't need to just ace them, but make one of them limp out carrying the other. And then suggest they spend the karma they earn on infiltration.
QUOTE (Garviel @ Mar 2 2008, 06:59 AM) *
Any way onto the problem, my gunslingers are psychopaths who think nothing of killing every single corp security they run into the problem is that the hacker in the group pretty much disables most security and stops the long arm of the law squashing the group flat, and it's getting to be rather irritating that their indescriminate killing doesn't carry a stiffer penalty, I'm not out for punishing them but with the kind of body count they have wracked up they should be in serious shit but due to the hacker +stealth + nanopaste disguise combo it's rediculously hard to bring any serious repercussions, i can't really bring in a mage to combat them because they will be utterly destroyed by a serious mage :< so what would you guys suggest as most of you seem to veterans to shadowrun

First, I am going to assume that since you are asking this, it means that you, at least, have a problem with the rising body count, and that the PCs might not.

Now, first, let me just say this: Do any of the corp sec have cyber-eyes? Eye Recording Unit is the same thing as a Gun Cam to me. Do they have smartguns? Do the runners leave any gear n the corpses? Amazing whay yu can put a camera into...

Another option, f course could be the johnsons either specifically start saying that "there will be a reduction in your pay for killing employees." or "I want this done so it is like no-one was there."

Or my personal favourite,"I used to work for that corp. I still have friends there. If I hear my friends were will wish you had never been borne...."
Am I the only one who thinks escalating the situation isn't going to help?

My advice is to change up the type of adventure you're running. Have the runners sent on a mission where they won't get paid if anybody dies, or if any evidence (e.g., bodies) is left behind. Send them on more mysteries, and less corporate raids. Emphasize legwork over combat.

Granted, your players may be having fun with what they've got. And if that's the case, then you may as well stick with it. Punishment can come when one of their victim's loved ones comes after them. Or they accidentally kill an intimate of one of their contacts. There's lots of choices that don't involve upping the ante.
Yeah, I want to second Cain. Talk to your players and see what kind of campaign they want to play in. Maybe they want to go on a slaughter-fest. If so, switch up the campaign and have them fight heavier troops. Maybe have them take part in a shadow-war, where mercenaries battle other (equally powerful) mercenaries over key assets.

It's not hard to start this game with characters that are VERY good at combat. If your players want to play a more traditional campaign, maybe rejigger their characters so they have fewer dice to fight with but are much more rounded. But definately talk to your group and come up with an agreement...don't just punish them.
Cheers for all the advice guys, my intention isn't to punish them but merely to have a realistic outcome to their actions, any way once again thanks for all the advice \o/
This is a "lo-fi" version of our main content. To view the full version with more information, formatting and images, please click here.
Dumpshock Forums © 2001-2012