Help - Search - Members - Calendar
Full Version: SR4 Companion
Dumpshock Forums > Discussion > Shadowrun
Just picked up SR4 Companion, and something that immediately struck me:

I couldn't find a sentence anywhere in the book that says "Hey, this book is the optional rules book. If you are a player, be extra-certain your GM allows this stuff before using it, and if you're a GM, allow this stuff with caution".

Whilst I would expect that experienced players are going to recognise that the Companion is "the optional rules book", how will new players make that realisation? It's not really a big gripe, and (having read a few bits) I love the book, can't wait to pick through it for ideas and things I can use, but not seeing a "warning" touched a nerve that D&D struck a long time ago.

That said - I'm interested now on how people use the Companion (past and present) - maybe I am unusual in the special status that I give the companion over the other books:

Players: Do you expect that "if it's printed in the companion, chances are you can use it with impunity" (if possible, try and remove 'I know my GM, I know what he/she would allow' from the equation)?

GMs: Do you take an inclusive "It's allowed except stuff I say isn't" approach with the companion, an exclusive "You can only use the bits I name", or "if you want to use things, ask me and I will make a case-by-case descision" approach when allowing characters to use things from the companion?

Personally I'm of the "everything is disallowed except what I name as allowed. Then if you want something not on the pre-approved list, ask me and we'll see" school.
I like options, so I won't be thrown off if a player wants something out of it. In fact, I'm pretty good with all of the optional Positive / Negative Qualities, the SURGElings, Ghouls, Drakes...I'd probably allow a ghoul before a drake in my game, but it's a matter of what comes up at the table at the time.

Of course, I haven't been able to give it a good dig through yet, so there may yet be lurking something that Should Not Be (played) but on the couple skims I've done, I haven't seen any yet.
QUOTE (ToreadorVampire @ Oct 24 2008, 10:50 PM) *
I couldn't find a sentence anywhere in the book that says "Hey, this book is the optional rules book. If you are a player, be extra-certain your GM allows this stuff before using it, and if you're a GM, allow this stuff with caution".

It's not an "optional rules book" anymore than Street Magic, Aumentantion, Arsenal or Unwired.
Runners companion is a "Core rule book" just like the rest.
Unless the GM specifies otherwise, I assume all "Optional Rules" in the Core books to be RAW.
Unless the GM specifies otherwise, I assume all "Tweaking the Rules" options are not RAW.
Unless the GM specifies otherwise, I assume everything is done by RAW.

I will hopefully be starting up a game soon as the "mechanics" co-GM, & will follow the above guidelines.
With a quick glance through, I came up with ...

Alternate Character Generation ...

QUOTE (SR Companion pg. 38)
The standard Build Point system of character creation from SR4 is a rich system that offers a lot of options to players. It can be quite detailed though, bogging a player down in math and moving around Build Points.

As optional alternatives, this chapter presents two new character creation systems: the Priority System and the Karma System.

Alternate Character Types ...

QUOTE (SR Companion pg. 70)
The following section introduces rules opening a variety of new options to for Shadowrun characters types. Before implementing any of these options in their games, groups should consider the impact and ramifications they might have on the style of play, tone of a campaign, and power level of the game. Some of the implications are obvious, others less so. Carefully consider and discuss the following material before introducing it into play.

Gamemasters are cautioned not to allow certain options into play if they are not comfortable with how they will change the game. Collectively or in part, some of the character types may very well unbalance the game if the gamemaster is unprepared to deal with the unique abilities and peculiarities of the new character options introduced in these rules.

All the rules that follow should be viewed as optional, and as such are subject to individual gamemaster approval before being introduced into a game.

Qualities ...

QUOTE (SR Companion pg. 96)
As always, final approval of any quality is in the hands of the gamemaster; some qualities may be inappropriate or incompatible with the style and tone of her game.

I stopped there, but those should suffice as examples of the new material's optional nature. smile.gif
At the beginning of my campaign I told my players that all material in every book will be subject to my approval for inclusion and tweaking. Also when a new book is released no equipment or options will be available until I have read it in its entirety and am ready to include it.
one very big Problem with the Runners Companion is the incompability (I hope its the right Word)
between the 400 Building Points from the BBB and the 750 Karma Point System.
Even though I prefer the Karma System,it creates definitely more Powerful Chars which rank about 500-550 Building Points.
Al the Example-Chars in the BBB would need only 500 -550 Karma (The TM or Mage slightly more maybe)
nonetheless I really Like It ,with all its Possibilitys. In my two Groups we've agreed to use everything with caution and the DM's approval.Especially everything concerning Char Creation.
A lot of Nonsense can be done

Heath Robinson
QUOTE (Fortune @ Oct 24 2008, 09:24 PM) *
I stopped there, but those should suffice as examples of the new material's optional nature. smile.gif

Counterexample for Qualities: The explicitly Optional "Code of Conduct" Quality is the exception that proves the rule. RC Qualities are not Optional, otherwise there would be no need to note that this particular Quality is Optional. The fact that a GM can reject a character with Body 10 and Body 1 does not make those attribute values Optional.

Optional is a very specific status that needs to be defined officially. Merely being rejectable by the GM on a character is the basic state of being, because that's the way the gaming social contract works.

I gave specific quotes that showed the optional nature of the new character concepts and generation system. I merely added the last one about Qualities (with no bolded statement, you might note) because even add-ons to older concepts that are included in the core material like said Qualities are still optional, as the quote I provided shows.
I know my GM pretty well, but I still ask about what, if anything, he is including from new books. I think this is the best way to approach any game. I assume that they are going byt he basic rules but that any and all are subject to change/revision during the course of a game (which may or may not be available for discussion during said game).

When I GM, I try to utilize the main book rules as close to as written as playable. I do not allow things from books I am unfamiliar with because if I don't know a rule, then it will only cause undue complication at my table. I also strive to be as allowing on character choices as the game can stand. One caveat, unless I am running a certain type of game, twinkery is not tolerated; characterization is a necessity. It makes for a richer game for all involved. Of course, there are those games such as Bricks n' Belts and the Bird of Prey, where twinkery was the rule and that was just plain fun for us.
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