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One thing that has been a constant hot button topic around here is just how much impact Edge has in determining the average value of a Character. This ranges from optimization to generalists on through to even archetypes and NPCs.

How do we determine the value of Edge?

The problems are manifold: Edge refreshment and impact can depend greatly upon the GM's calls. There are literally hundreds of ways that Edge can impact an given game if one accounts for every possible skill in the book, every test, and the numbers of players and NPCs.

Super high edge makes for a powerful generalist and and occasionally INSANE specialists. But just how powerful? How Insane?

To begin with, the Edge Impact is caped at a peak value of, naturally enough, Edge. That is, at no point can you ever add more dice to a test than your Edge value. This is common sense and easily done by anyone. If two characters are compared head to head in an isolated circumstance, determing the impact of each one's edge is as simple as adding it to the roll.

SInce it is so simple there is no need to cover it in detail but to point out that the term 'peak value' applies to the maximum value of a dicepool with edge.

Now, how do we cover long term viability of Edge on a character sheet across the wide spectrum of potential rolls without exhaustive testing?

We ballpark it.

Here is the method I recommend and the reasons behind it.

Essentially you divide the value of Edge by three, with some caveats. Less than three rounds to zero. More than six rounds to nine. Thus you are provided a number of 0-3 to add to a character's potential dice pools (the Edge pool) that represents their prorated edge over an entire run.

here is the why: A character with a minimum edge (1 or 2) is unlikely to ever use their edge except in exceptional (peak) circumstances. It isn't high enough to 'divide' in any meaningful way (they either use it, or they don't) and, as they have no point invested in it, are unlikely to use it at all anyway.

You can't get 3 points of edge without spending, thus you are inclined to use it, though with a low value (3-4) you don't have many times you CAN use it, and it's prorated and peak impacts are minimally different.

Once you get to 5 edge you've committed to an edge build character no matter how you cut it. This is a character built to use edge, and they have enough to use it with some casualness. Its peak impact is high (like having a professional skill for unskilled tests). Since this character has a reasonable chance of pulling edge on any given test, their prorated value has a high impact upon the functional value of the character.

Obviously, a 7-8 value is the edge specialist, the Mr. Lucky, built entirely to take advantage of his Edge. His peak value is insane, and given the work it takes to make a max edge character he is garaunteed to use it every chance he gets. The only reason there is a prorated value at all is that the amount of dice in the pool will drop the more it is tapped, thus decreasing his value as the game progresses and his ability to provide peak values diminishes.

Another mathmatically appropriate way to express it is (Edge/2 - 1) rounding up.

Now, interestingly, as the character spends edge you can treat them functionally as the equivilent of the lower edge value. That is, even Mr. Lucky, if reduced to 2 Edge will have a prorated value of 0 until his Edge refreshes. The player will begin 'hording' their edge, just as a player with minimal edge will simply fail to remember they have it (potentially) or save it for emergencies, and the peak value is diminished to current total.

However there is no way to properly mimic this with a static value, thus we use the prorated value provided above.

How it can work: Compare two shadowrunners, one 'Lucky' one 'Unlucky'. We wish to determine their value against each other:

Phase 1: the luckless character compares his ordinary dice pools against the +3 dicepools of Mr. Lucky. If Mr. Lucky is not terribly dominant, you can then compare both characters dicepools adding in Peak values. Whichever character has the dominant dice pool (s) can be said to be 'better'.

Phase 2: Move our lucky character down one value, recompare (any lucky character could be downgraded, technically both characters should downgrade at the same pace), recompare both prorated dice pools (now +2 for Mr. Lucky) and peak dice pools (+5 or 6, depending upon the build), and determine how dominant either character is in a variety of tasks.

Phase 3: Again, downgrade each character's Edge value by one step (+1 for mr Lucky),note that the downgrades never become negative.

Phase 4: provided you are working with a Mr. Lucky concept, again compare without any luck at all.

With this you can evaluate how dominant, and for how long a character is against another (or NPC's) even accounting for what stage of the game you are at. Phase 1 represents the very beginning of the game, right after a dice pool refresh, phase 4 represents the end of a long difficult game when edge is likely to exhausted (or virtually so, most players will generally try to end with at least one point in reserve, or use their last point in what they feel is the last big fight) Phases 2 and three represent the middle game and standard end game phases typically. Remember, even if Edge is not being used, that the potential to use it is what is being accounted for. Since the idea is to allow a quick ballparking rather than a dedicated, long 'run' senario for evaluation you aren't actually testing the dicepools, only the averages.

So: Unlucky bastard vs Mr Lucky Could be evaluated like so:

Unlucky bastard shoots Mr Lucky with a dice pool of 20, Mr Lucky defends with his full defense Dicepool of 18(+3) with a peak of 26! Mr Lucky is strongly able to avoid being shot. During Phase 1.

Mr Lucky then brings his shooting dicepool of 18(+3) (peak 26 still), against Unlucky Bastard's insane full defense pool of 20 again!, Mr Lucky, in Phase one, still has an advantage against Unlucky bastard, at least in a shooting match.

Now, that you can do the straight comparison of dice pools, checking things like how many IPs and so forth, reaction tests (for going first, avoiding surprise (also+3 for phase 1 Mr Lucky), and more can all be evaluated without a long headscratching period of 'what about edge'.

EDIT::: This was a poll, but seeing as apparently I am a moron (gremlins flaw?), it somehow appears to NOT be a poll anymore. That's okay, hard questions like 'do you like it or not' only ruin the fun for forum posters anyway.
Mr. Unpronounceable
Edge can be used for rerolls - this means at the high end, the relatively unlucky guy with a huge dicepool still has at least a chance against a character that needs to add edge to his base roll to compete. At long as edge isn't required so frequently that he simply runs out, anyway.

i.e. throwing 20 dice should get you about 6 2/3 successes, rerolling failures (even with a mere 1 edge) gives you another 13 1/3 dice or about 4 1/3 successes for an expected total of 11 successes - if the lucky guy's defense pool is 18 counting edge, he should only end up with an expected 7 succeses (1/3 +(1/3 * 1/6)) to counter it - and he can't reroll because he already spent edge on that roll. If I read your example wrong and he's rolling a total of 26 dice (including edge) he's still going to end up with only 10 successes. (If the lucky guy rerolls, instead, he'd end up with just under 6 (for 10+8 dice) or 10 successes (for 18+8 ).)

High edge is nice, but not the inevitable "I win" scenario.

edit: dratted smileys
Roger. However, the high edge guy can apply that same logic for rerolls too, only far more often. Rather than try to provide for each potential use of edge in a given test, the idea is to provide a 'speedy' way to compare them over an extended time. Even if the base dicepools are identical, the high edge character is more likely to use things like the reroll to maintain, well, and Edge over his opponent. The 'no edge' character will tend to reserve his for 'do or die' moments, counting on averages and 'non-resource luck' to win out.

Don't get spectactularly caught up in my example numbers. First of all they were for demonstration purposes only, and while achievable they are merely conjured figments of my fevered imaginations. Secondly, the 'High edge' character can only pull out the 26 dice as a 'peak' roll, that is he could roll that many dice if he put his edge into the roll first, and hadn't used edge at all. That' s why the slightly annoying notation exists, to seperate the max potential of the peak roll from the averaged bonus that represents his option.

The idea is not to show that edge is an I Win, or that it ISN"T an I Win, its to provide a quick tool for comparison when Edge is a factor in a character.

If necessary you CAN break dice pools down to 'total average successes' as well. I don't think its hugely necessary, and the end result works out the same. Simply pick one of the two 'average' shorthands (divide by 3 for rolled average, by 4 to represent 'bought successes) and include the decimal places. If you use the 'by three' method, Mr. Lucky's prorated bonus is a full extra success, but only while fresh. As the character progresses through the game their bonus, in successes becomes fractional (2/3 of a success, 1/3 of a success, no bonus near the end of a long or difficult game where his edge is virtually nil)

As I attempted to point out, averaged bonus from Edge is necessary to compute when evaluating a character.

High edge represents an investment in the character, thus a stated intent to use it at some point. The higher the edge, the higher the intent to use.

A 'max edge' character represents a significant investment, roughly 1/5th the total points available to character creation. Therefore a high edge character virtually mandates that edge be used, and often, as the character will significantly lag behind other characters is ability, and if the game is scaled in difficulty to strain a 400 pt character, then (without using edge...) the 325 pt character should be severely gimped.

Given those two factors, any evaluation of the character that does not take into account the Edge (other than simply noting that yes, there is edge...) is incomplete.

But by understanding that, at least early in the game, the high edge character is worth a +3 bonus dice/1 bonus success to any test he takes... at least potentially, it makes evaluation of the character's viability much easier.

When a character spends Edge to add dice to a test, he gets the full value of the Edge Attribute, unless you are using one of the optional rules for grittier gameplay on pg. 69.

Also keep in mind that a Mr. Lucky doesn't have to rely solely on Edge to succeed. It is fairly easy to create an Edge: 8 character who also rolls 18 dice for pistols.

The effectiveness of Edge really depends on the GM - a high vs. low refresh rate can make a huge difference. Plus, there are lots of official optional rules on handling it.
You're trying too hard and putting yourself in the unenviable position of having to make too many assumptions in an area that has too many variables, so no, I don't really like it. Plus, you're assuming people are using the optional rule that states that you use your modified Edge pool (accounting for spent Edge) rather than the standard rule that allows you to add dice equal to your full total. And as Mr. Unpronounceable said, regardless of the amount of Edge you have, you get better results when using Edge to enhance tests in which you already have respectable pools to begin with due to the sheer effectiveness of rerolling misses. I'm biased though; just about all of my characters have one or two specialized dicepools and a decent Edge total, and the other players in my group do likewise. It's a great attribute and allows people to do cinematic stuff and get away with the occasional ill-advised stunt, and it's basically de rigeur for Hackers/Riggers since it is a big part of what takes them from "Considerablly better than an opposing Agent/Pilot programs" to "Stompling the crap out of opposing Agent/Pilots."

Pfft. Glyph beat me to it. Teach me to open a window, hit reply, and then answering the phone before finishing the post.
As I said in the first post: There was a poll at one time.... frown.gif

I may be mistaken on using edge, it hasn't been a factor so far with any game I've played and I personally was greatly annoyed when I first read the entire Edge thing (being familiar with the entire concept, if not specific execution from... mechwarrior 2 I think...) but since I have no intention of houseruling it away...

I don't think it should affect the assumed totals too much however, and makes tracking 'peak' dice totals easier, as they won't change.

The thing about using Edge with high total pools is that they are less likely to need Edge for tests of those pools, thus are less likely to use them (even while getting better results for doing so). However, the more points spent gaining Edge, the fewer 'high pools' the character will have access to, simply due to a shortage of points.

As for all those variables: That is why a quick and dirty, common sense method of doing a quick look at the character for comparison is so necessary. I rather hope this is it, but I'm perfectly willing to listen to (and support) better ideas. Or even just alternate ideas.

Look, we can all look at a character that has bought up several skills in a group to high totals independently and suggest that a more efficient character design might be to buy the group to a similar level. We can also look at a character that has, say Gymnastics at 6, Dodge 6 (melee) 8 and Blades 6 (knives) 8 and realize that he's probably wasting points on at least one of those skills.

Just based on the variables involved, however, quickly evaluating good/bad point expenditures for a character using Edge is much harder. All we can really say, at the moment is 'wow, thats a lot of points in Edge' without any real way to say if the character is designed to maximize the use of that Edge or not, or if he's averaged weaker, or stronger against a low edge character with the same role in the party.

Mr. Unpronounceable
Keep in mind that the 'all other aspects being equal' concept is flawed - edge takes bp or karma to build up, those same bp or karma will be applied elsewhere for the low-edge case.

So, for a firearms case, which is better?
For the same dice pool (when the lucky guy adds edge and the "unlucky" guy doesn't)

1 agility, 1 pistols, 8 edge (99 bp to make)
5 agility, 3 pistols (specialized,) 3 edge (60 bp to make)

so for 2/3 the bp, he gets the same dice pool (but for more than a total of 8 rolls in a game) AND can put those bp toward more/better cyber, a wider array of skills, better contacts, etc.
The difference will be that for the Edge-using character, those will be exploding dice. Actually, that example illustrates one of the strengths of Edge - that it can give you temporary parity with a specialist in an area that is not your specialty.

But while a high Edge costs build points, it usually won't show up in the character's main specialty, which can still be pretty high. The cost in build points will show up in secondary areas - less tertiary skills, skills of 1 or 2 instead of 3 or 4, a few Attributes at 2 instead of 3, etc.

If I had to quantify Edge, I would say that it costs about as much as a function or specialty, and that most characters can be good, or even great, at about two things before starting to get spread too thin. Mr. Lucky, between the Lucky quality and hard-maxing Edge, spends 95 points. With an Edge of, say, 4 instead, your sammie can, in addition to being a shooter, also be an ex-DocWagon employee with the Biotech skill group: 4, Pilot Ground Vehicles/Wheeled: 4/+2, Automotive Mechanic: 3, and the Guts quality.

So a high Edge limits some character concepts. However, if you want to play someone who is just a shooter, with enough other skills to get by, then a high Edge would be "worth" it.
It usually costs roughly 60-80 bps to gain a true specialty. Attributes can cover multiple bases, so it really all comes down to synergy. A stealthy sniper can easily afford high Edge because he's covering his two defining traits with a single Attribute total, so the only mutually exclusive expenditures are skill and gear. Whereas a Hacker/Face will have trouble attaining a high Edge pool because Hackers are defined by Skill and Gear while Faces are defined by Contacts, Skill and Charisma plus 'ware/powers. Something is likely going to have to give there since virtually everything is mutually exclusive. SR4 doesn't really like people filling multiple roles in a team all that much, and seems to avoid the "this guy's railroading the session" problem primarily by making it easy to make sure everyone brings something different to the table. Heck, in the case of the Stealthy Sniper, you can make the strong argument that the character's really only filling one role-- his stealth skills will mostly help him get into position to snipe better, because it's hard to be a true breaking and entering expert without heavy Technical or Social skills to go along with his other talents, so without external help he's really just another combat monkey. Which is why I really think it's for the best that people specialize and take a high Edge in most scenarios-- building a guy who can truly handle everything is kind of a pipe dream, so in most cases what you really want is a big enough team for everyone to be able to specialize and cover most bases while still having decent Edge totals all around. I believe this was by design and that whether or not it is a "problem" is largely a matter of perspective.
Mr. Un,

That's why I prorate the edge value, as simply comparing peak dice pools makes Edge look much more effective than it is. You're right, using edge to match or even beat a give DP is not cost effective vs. just getting that DP higher except in certain margin cases where the DP is high enough that it is impossible/cost prohibitive to raise any higher.

Then you have to offset the fact that the no-edge guy suffers no degredation of performance, he can continue to use his DP at full value no matter how many times it is called upon in game.

So you are not comparing a 1+1+full edge dicepool to a 5+3+2(spec)+full edge dice pool at all.

You'd compared the smaller 'bonus' value... in your case 1+1+(3) vs 5+3+2+(1), making it much less easy to simply claim 'better' at a given task simply because of Edge
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