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Sweaty Hippo
Cybergear is useful to most runners except for Adept/Mages that want to remain "pure" so that their magic doesn't suffer.

But how feasible would a "cyber-less" character be that isn't an Adept/Mage/Technomancer?
Tarantula
Fairly craptacular. Maybe with surge you could get someone halfway decent... if you're lucky.
Cain
Feasible? It'd work as a character concept, and could be very interesting. In SR1, they had a tribesman archetype, who was a neo-primitivist. He used a bow, and his big strength was in being able to call on other tribesmen when needed.

Effective? Not so much. That's why the archetype was dropped, there was nothing he could do that a cybered guy couldn't do better.
Ol' Scratch
The big problem in SR4 is the limit on Qualities and starting Skill ratings. If you dropped both those limits for such a character (which wouldn't be fair to everyone else, mind you), you could possibly cook up a competitive character. But his strengths would/should be in areas where magic and chrome don't really shine. Things like Demolitions or an army of Contacts and Group Contacts. You could even make a pretty good Face, too, especially with the Empathy software in Arsenal coupled with a pair of sunglasses with a camera. Of course, nothing stops that broken Social Adept from doing the same, but they need to be reigned in by the GM either way.

Of course this assumes that by "technophobe" you meant more of an "augmentationphobe" as your post suggests. If he's a true technophobe, he's pretty screwed no matter what.
Sweaty Hippo
I meant "Technophobe" that does not rely on Essence-draining 'ware. Other technology is okay. Sorry if the title was misleading. If the title can be changed, please tell me how.
Cain
You can't change the title of a thread. frown.gif

Anyway, I think the Tribesman is what you're asking for. I don't have my 1st Ed book on hand, so maybe someone else could chime in with a few statistics?
Aaron
Good attributes, plenty of skills and contacts, superb equipment, and plenty of performance-enhancing drugs will get you through a run with no Magic or Resonance rating and all 6.0 Essence intact.
Cain
QUOTE (Aaron @ Sep 11 2008, 01:21 PM) *
Good attributes, plenty of skills and contacts, superb equipment, and plenty of performance-enhancing drugs will get you through a run with no Magic or Resonance rating and all 6.0 Essence intact.

With the rather brutal Addiction rules, that character won't have much of a lifespan. Before too long, his Essence will drop, and he won't even have augmentations to show for it.
Ol' Scratch
Well, there's no set time for when a GM requests an Addiction Test. Just when he does, it is brutal. The rules for that even imply that as long as you use them casually you shouldn't need an Addiction Test, so saving them for emergencies rather than staying doped up from start-to-finish of a run shouldn't be a problem. Unless the GM just wants to be a dick about it.
Cain
If he needs a hit or two every run in order to keep up, I'd say he needs to make tests somewhat more often than a "casual" user. But that's just me. Even if the physical addiction isn't especially strong, the psychological thrill of performance-enhancing drugs can be worse.
Ol' Scratch
I'm not disagreeing. I'm just saying that the rules allow for it, especially if the GM likes the idea of an unaugmented character.

Would be nice if there was some other way to get an Initiative Pass boost, though. They make it too important in these games. Maybe some kind of real-time tactical software similar to the Empathy program in Arsenal that doesn't work with other forms of Initiative improvements.
Tarantula
Edge. Just have the GM refresh it more often.
Coldhand Jake
Honestly, in 4E, a 6 Essence mundane can still kick ass. Even as a physical or gun character, think of the outstanding training a soldier has now. High skills and specializations in Close Combat, Firearms, use those 200 points of stats strongly, use your qualities to push your numbers high, and invest in good sensor gear. Smartguns, image link shades (with STRONG sensor options), earbuds, trodes, a good commlink and sim module, drones, good contacts...Sure, it won't be twinked hard, but you could -certainly- hold your own and be of a holistic mindset. Make sure to take Qualities to take advantage of these choices...but hell, I'd say it'd be a hell of a character.
Ol' Scratch
Except for the whole Initiatve Pass bit which, again, is the crux for why they're severely crippled.
Cain
And the fact that skills are capped at chargen. You can't get high dice pools in many skills, because most of your skills will be rank 4 or less.
DocTaotsu
I think the "best" 6 essence character you could come up with is probably someone with an army of contacts as mentioned earlier. If your growing up unaugmented in a world that's chuck full of it then you're going to have to have a lot of friends.
Xerxos
A friend of mine made a edge 8 character - a human with the "lucky" trait. Could be fun even unaugmented. Of course combat drugs would still be needed to get two IPs.
DocTaotsu
Ah yes... Mr. Lucky. We ran a Mr. Lucky in a home game and boy is that a broken character type ;p

Unless of course you're running "Edge refreshes every campaign". Then it gets interesting.
Cain
QUOTE (DocTaotsu @ Sep 11 2008, 05:04 PM) *
Ah yes... Mr. Lucky. We ran a Mr. Lucky in a home game and boy is that a broken character type ;p

Unless of course you're running "Edge refreshes every campaign". Then it gets interesting.

Slowing down the refresh rate doesn't bother the Mr. Lucky types, but it definitely hurts the normal characters. They'll run out of Edge first.
QUOTE
A friend of mine made a edge 8 character - a human with the "lucky" trait. Could be fun even unaugmented. Of course combat drugs would still be needed to get two IPs.

You can spend Edge for extra IP's. Of course, if you're doing this too often, you'll easily run yourself out even with an Edge of 8.

What I want to see is a Lucky mage. That could break a game by itself. vegm.gif
Jaid
i think you could have a sniper character without 'ware, or a purely stealth-based character who isn't intended to get into a fight. likewise, you could have a decent hacker or rigger.

not that i'm saying these concepts wouldn't be stronger with 'ware (they could most definitely benefit from 'ware, no question of that) but they could at least survive and do reasonably well without it. there dice pools won't be quite as good as it would be if they had some enhancements, but those concepts would at least be somewhat useful. wouldn't want to have 2 in the same group, one with 'ware and the other without, though...
wind_in_the_stones
One of the editions had a 6 ESS detective archetype, IIRC.

Making the cyberphobe a metahuman would help, as well.

There's some tech that mimics cyberware, mostly involving sensors/audio/vision/smartgun. There are also a lot of gadgets that don't mimic the 'ware, but are exceedingly useful. And they're ones that the tricked out gunbunnies don't bother spending their nuyen on.

And don't forget 'trode rigs, for the "sensitive" hackers.

But like others have mentioned, there are few substitutes for added initiative passes.
DocTaotsu
Ah Jaid is right, you can sneak out a pretty decent non-cyber sniper. They won't be sniping people at 3 miles with full auto but they'll certainly be able to apply "pressure" to those right points.

I think the key here is specializiation. You just can't be good at as much if you don't have cyber or magic to help you along.
Cain
QUOTE (wind_in_the_stones @ Sep 11 2008, 06:26 PM) *
One of the editions had a 6 ESS detective archetype, IIRC.

That was first ed. The no-cyber archetype was used as a template for Dirk Montgomery, although he did end up with a cybelimb in the end.

As far as the rest goes, there's no mundane archetype that can't be improved with cyber, and a good number of magical ones as well. For example, just about every archetype can benefit from having an attention co-processor. Your dice pools are going to be severely limited, and you won't be able to accomplish much. You may be barely viable, but you won't really shine, either.
psychophipps
Huh...my mundane character is doing pretty well for himself, thanks. Sure he has two pieces of rinky-dink cyber, Sound Damper and Flare Compensation, but he's otherwise a complete Mark 1, Mod 0 human. Add that he has Sensitive System, Sensitive Neural Structure, and SimSense Vertigo to keep him honest and he's looking even more mundanerific.

Of course, his 12-13 dice with his preferred weapons (without using an action to aim) says otherwise, but I digress... cyber.gif

Cain
QUOTE (psychophipps @ Sep 11 2008, 08:48 PM) *
Huh...my mundane character is doing pretty well for himself, thanks. Sure he has two pieces of rinky-dink cyber, Sound Damper and Flare Compensation, but he's otherwise a complete Mark 1, Mod 0 human. Add that he has Sensitive System, Sensitive Neural Structure, and SimSense Vertigo to keep him honest and he's looking even more mundanerific.

Of course, his 12-13 dice with his preferred weapons (without using an action to aim) says otherwise, but I digress... cyber.gif

Yeah, but the street sam in the base book has 15 or so, and he's not even optimized properly. Most combat specialists should be throwing a base of 15+, and 18+ is even better.
SpasticTeapot
Knowing the right people can go a long, long way. Spending big points on contacts can help.

There's also the issue of broad utility. While an adept can become really freakin' awesome at just one thing, you can become useful in a wide variety of skills that no one else has - say, biotech or demolitions.
Cain
QUOTE
There's also the issue of broad utility. While an adept can become really freakin' awesome at just one thing, you can become useful in a wide variety of skills that no one else has - say, biotech or demolitions.

Wonderful. You can be mediocre in more areas.

Seriously, though, given a 400 BP character, you can't have more than half your stats at 4 or better, no matter how hard you try. And your skills cap out at 4, unless it's one of the ones you focused on. That means you'll typically have about 7 dice in your pools if you've spread yourself out more or less equally. 7 dice is OK for a secondary skill, where you won't face opposition. However, it also only averages 2.33 successes, rounded to 2, which isn't that much.

Given that, if you run into an opposed test or any significant penalties, you'll run out of dice really quickly. So, trying to perform first aid while under fire isn't going to happen for you. The same with placing charges while avoiding bullets. Basically, anything you want to do under combat conditions needs 10-12 dice minimum. For anything you want to do that's opposed, you need even more, since your effectiveness will depend on you having a larger dice pool. Combat is the worst; not only is it opposed, but there are even more penalties that can be applied.
Ol' Scratch
Course, based upon the original post, you could make a very feasible character who only uses Bioware and Genetech for augmentation purposes. Everything you need to be competitive is found there. But... somehow that seems to go against the spirit of the idea.
Cain
QUOTE (Dr. Funkenstein @ Sep 11 2008, 11:06 PM) *
Course, based upon the original post, you could make a very feasible character who only uses Bioware and Genetech for augmentation purposes. Everything you need to be competitive is found there. But... somehow that seems to go against the spirit of the idea.

True. I'd think that also applies to using SURGE and genetic edges/flaws.
Boscrossos
Actually you can make a pretty good full-VR Hacker without any essence loss. No datajack may hurt occasionally, but all the essentials of hacking can be done with non-implant technology, and I seem to recall unwired even offers some tech that will give you 4 initiative passes in full VR. That's some serious virtual punch, right there. Also, by not paying for expensive cyberware, you can spend that much more on a good 'link (or two), programs, all those lovely qualities like codeslinger, aptitude, Exceptional attribute (willpower) to resist biofeedback, a great reaction, charisma, and logic score, ok body, agility and strength, etc... . One thing you will miss out on is extra initiative passes when not in VR, though. No running and AR hacking on the same turn for you.

Not an optimal build, but definitely not a total gimp either (especially if your GM enforces the rule of only 1 IP spent hacking in AR per turn, which, IMO, everybody should).
Platinum Dragon
SURGE is something you're 'born' with though, and actually takes bodymods to get rid of. I think it's more trying to create a non-awakened character who doesn't like the idea of going under the knife and replacing bits of himself.
Kairo
Nothing wrong with a character concept that takes no cyber or magic. I've had several players use characters along those lines. Are they necessarily as effective or powerful? Maybe not. However they can still be feasible and in some cases, pretty lethal.
psychophipps
QUOTE (Kairo @ Sep 12 2008, 05:03 AM) *
Nothing wrong with a character concept that takes no cyber or magic. I've had several players use characters along those lines. Are they necessarily as effective or powerful? Maybe not. However they can still be feasible and in some cases, pretty lethal.


I agree completely. Yeah, the character won't be a 15+ dice (insert random label here)-monster but maybe they don't have to be. I play street-level games where the baddies aren't all Wired 2, Magic 5 super-spank adept/mages uber-munched to max foot-to-ass interface potential so I don't need a crazy amount of dice to take care of biz.

So I only roll an average of four hits instead of five and only get a second pass when he's hopped up on Jazz. Like that's gonna break the game for my character and render him worthless or something... ohplease.gif

Brains will out-do uber-powers any day of the week, IME. cyber.gif
Cain
QUOTE (psychophipps @ Sep 12 2008, 06:50 AM) *
So I only roll an average of four hits instead of five and only get a second pass when he's hopped up on Jazz. Like that's gonna break the game for my character and render him worthless or something... ohplease.gif

Brains will out-do uber-powers any day of the week, IME. cyber.gif

I agree that smart tactics are the win; but part of smart tactics is how your character handles things. You're not going to be as powerful as someone who is augmented, and you're not necessarily going to be more versatile, either.

As for IP's, the addiction rules are pretty brutal. If you overuse Jazz, (and "overuse" is highly subjective, some might say more than 1x/week) you're going to be facing a set of increasingly difficult addiction tests. You *will* eventually fail them, and spiral ever downward. Addictions in Shadowrun are bad news.

The safest thing to do is go for an Edge of 8, and occasionally spend Edge for an extra IP. Don't do it too often, though; you'll run yourself out of Edge very quickly.
Ol' Scratch
QUOTE (Cain @ Sep 12 2008, 05:21 PM) *
I agree that smart tactics are the win; but part of smart tactics is how your character handles things. You're not going to be as powerful as someone who is augmented, and you're not necessarily going to be more versatile, either.

And, more importantly, being unaugmented doesn't make you any smarter.
psychophipps
QUOTE (Dr. Funkenstein @ Sep 12 2008, 04:26 PM) *
And, more importantly, being unaugmented doesn't make you any smarter.


Actually, it kinda does. If your character can leap tall buildings in a single bound, why worry about crossing a street with busy traffic like everyone else? Same thing goes for the adept/mages/augies. If you *know* that a character will be able to shrug off Heavy Pistol and SMG shots then the player will not take them very seriously, right?

Same goes for, "Everything hurts you just dandy, homie". I play this character smart and ruthless as hell because I have to or the aforementioned uber-spank paranorms/augies will crush him like a bug...
Cain
QUOTE (psychophipps @ Sep 13 2008, 07:28 AM) *
Actually, it kinda does. If your character can leap tall buildings in a single bound, why worry about crossing a street with busy traffic like everyone else? Same thing goes for the adept/mages/augies. If you *know* that a character will be able to shrug off Heavy Pistol and SMG shots then the player will not take them very seriously, right?

Same goes for, "Everything hurts you just dandy, homie". I play this character smart and ruthless as hell because I have to or the aforementioned uber-spank paranorms/augies will crush him like a bug...

With the way damage works in SR4, totally soaking the damage from a heavy pistol is a rarity. So are one shot kills, though, so it's something of a tradeoff. What tends to happen more often is people raising their defense pools, trying to get away instead of soaking it. Since a heavy pistol does a minimum of 6P, you need 18 soak dice to reliably get that. Which, while not impossible, is somewhat difficult for a human to get. Trolls can hit it, but only with a dedicated build.

If humans are shrugging off normal attacks without problems, something very odd is going on. I can see dodging them; but totally soaking them?
Mx
QUOTE (Cain @ Sep 13 2008, 08:38 PM) *
With the way damage works in SR4, totally soaking the damage from a heavy pistol is a rarity. So are one shot kills, though, so it's something of a tradeoff. What tends to happen more often is people raising their defense pools, trying to get away instead of soaking it. Since a heavy pistol does a minimum of 6P, you need 18 soak dice to reliably get that. Which, while not impossible, is somewhat difficult for a human to get. Trolls can hit it, but only with a dedicated build.

If humans are shrugging off normal attacks without problems, something very odd is going on. I can see dodging them; but totally soaking them?

My Sasha can reliably soak a heavy pistol round, platated factories for -1 damage coupled with 5body+14armor=19 dice for soaking, so i would say a human can do it quite easily.(She's a dryad but that doesn't really help with soaking damage)
Cain
QUOTE (Mäx @ Sep 13 2008, 12:11 PM) *
My sasha can reliably soak a heavy pistol round, platated factories for -1 damage coupled with 5body+14armor=19 dice for soaking, so i would say a human can do it quite easily.(She's a dryad but that doesn't really help with soaking damage)

How did you get so much armor, without taking on penalties?

And you're absolutely right about the platelet factories. That does change the soak requirement.
Mx
QUOTE (Cain @ Sep 13 2008, 11:18 PM) *
How did you get so much armor, without taking on penalties?

Vashon Islands Steampunk line with gel packs + Form-fitting body armor half-body suit + cyber arm with two points of armor.(8+4+2)
psychophipps
QUOTE (Cain @ Sep 13 2008, 01:18 PM) *
How did you get so much armor, without taking on penalties?

And you're absolutely right about the platelet factories. That does change the soak requirement.


Easy for me as well for my ork ganger. Body 8 + Dermal 3 + 8 for an Armor Jacket. Hell, I regularly roll pretty well on his soak without any Edge at all.

An example quote:
Me: "How much damage was it again?"
GM *looking smug*: 9 Lethal
Me: "Ok" *rolling dice*
GM: "You sure you don't want to spend Edge?"
Me *looking at my roll*: "Yup". *looking up at the GM* "I soak 11 of it."
GM *with jaw dropped*: ...
TheOOB
Really as long as you get get regular access to multiple initiative passes in combat you can be viable, not great, but viable. Drugs are a way of doing this, and a high edge can help fill the gaps. The fact is, a character with only 1 IP is pretty worthless in a fight, you'll only have half as many actions as a guy with 2 IPs, and without ware your actions will mean less in the first place. The general rule I follow is that 2 IPs are neccesary for people who want to fight at all(and shadowrunners by their nature see their share of combat) and 3 are required to be a combat character.

Perhaps a way you can make a character work is to talk to your GM and let your character have a bodyguard of some sort, I can't figure out exact ally how much this would cost, but even an unaugmented bodyguard adds another action in combat(much like how a mage with only 1 IP can summon a spirit to make up for the fact). Something like 100BP grants you a 200BP bodyguard with loyalty 4(you still need to buy gear for them with your own BP).

Just a thought anyways.
Cain
QUOTE (TheOOB @ Sep 14 2008, 12:37 AM) *
Perhaps a way you can make a character work is to talk to your GM and let your character have a bodyguard of some sort, I can't figure out exact ally how much this would cost, but even an unaugmented bodyguard adds another action in combat(much like how a mage with only 1 IP can summon a spirit to make up for the fact). Something like 100BP grants you a 200BP bodyguard with loyalty 4(you still need to buy gear for them with your own BP).

Like I said, one of the SR1 archetypes was a Tribesman. As a respected member of one of the local tribes, he could always call upon them for help. At pretty much any time, he could call up 2d6 other tribesmen to come and help him. This was the "Gang" ability, and you bought it when you were buying contacts. It was a little bit broken, though, so it was removed in SR3.

Runner's Companion has rules for organizations. It hints at how to be a gang or tribe member, but never quite gets around to saying it explicitly. But basically, if you buy a Tribe/Gang as a high Loyalty contact, they're more willing to send you backup when you need it.

Granted, this wouldn't help a non-cybered character any more than it'd help a cybered one. But for a non-augmented individual, it's worth considering.
TheOOB
One can assume a non cybered character has, at the very least, more resources to arm and equip said gang.

Really though, in the long run your non cybered character is eventually either going to break down and buy ware, or wish they did. For a media example look at Togusa from Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex (great anime by the way, should be required watching for anyone who wants to GM a good cyberpunk world). He is the lone unaugmented field operative in an otherwise augmented organization, and while the certainly keep him around for his skills(he is useful for investigations, leg work, and interrogation) he is more often then not a liability in combat, usually getting seriously wounded in combat where his team mates would escape unscathed. Eventually he does break down and get some combat enhancing ware(though he is by no means a cyborg) simply because the demands of his job where to much and he likely wouldn't survive to many more gunshots.

It's kinda how it would work in shadowrun, no matter how strong your convictions are, the character will eventually have to face facts, they either need to get some ware, or find a safer profession. Shadowrunning is perhaps the most dangerous job around, and you either take every advantage you can get, or you wind up dead. No one said the 6th world was a nice fair place.
Moon-Hawk
I had a character do this (I was GMing, so this was one of my player's characters). It was in a fairly mid-level campaign, which helped. The group was fairly small and the concept was a jack-of-all-trades that could step in and do a competent job of filling whatever role was needed on that run. She was never really a superstar, but it worked pretty well. Good attributes all-around, lots of skill groups, that sort of thing. I think she would've seen a benefit from boosting Edge a bit higher, by using jazz (and edge) more for better initiative, specializing some of her skills, and from using gear more intelligently, but she wasn't really the type to spend a few hours optimizing her gear. She did have a lot of odd gear, and there were several times she was able to make up for mediocre pools simply by having the perfect tool for the job.

The right gear can give you a pretty effective hacker, face, B&E expert (not all locks are wireless or even necessarily electronic) and a pretty nice perception pool, and properly chosen and/or customized gear can give decent dice pools in a LOT of different areas, and can frequently come through in the clutch with a huge edge-enhanced pool that seems to come out of nowhere and that rivals a specialist. (provided said specialist isn't ALSO an edge-monkey, of course) You'll never be the best, but there will always be something you can do. If that's an appealing sounding concept, then you'll be fine.

If you want no cyber, no magic, and to be an AWESOME SUPER NINJA FTW, well, it's not going to happen, but it's a perfectly good concept for a certain style of play, if done correctly. I know that's a lot of disclaimers, but in a game where "magic meets machine", I'd say the fact that it's do-able at all is pretty cool.

I felt like the character started to suffer a bit in the long run, though, as they had fewer options for upgrading their characters. After 100+ karma or so the magicians are going to be enjoying multiple-grade initiation, and the cyber characters are getting new and exciting 'ware, but the character in question was running out of useful things to buy and spending large amounts of karma to raise a single attribute or skill group by one point was a bit underwhelming, so if you're looking at playing a character like this for a very long campaign you might want to either take latent awakening and enjoy RPing through the process of discovering magic, or enjoy the RPing process of seeing a character getting more and more cyber for the first time. (I'm thinking Hatchetman from Cybertechnology)

Hope some of this helps.
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