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Tyro
I'll start it off with an impersonation-based mystic adept I've been working on for a while. She was built with 600 point Karmagen. I intentionally did not use FFBA because I believe it is unbalanced. I use armor suit Capacity rules from Arsenal. I use advanced lifestyle rules. I paid BPx2 in Karma for race. I used exactly 600 Karma.

[ Spoiler ]

[Edit:] Replica's MO is to hide in plain sight. She takes precautions, sustaining Manascape if she believes she will come under astral scrutiny. The plan is to get her another sustaining focus and keep Manascape up at all times once she has it. She cleans away her astral signature whenever possible, and casts Sterilize anytime she thinks there might be forensic analysis of a scene.

Her favorite tactic is to seduce (using Physical Mask) or simply follow home and overpower an employee who has access to the place she wishes to go, or at least a place near it. She doesn't pick anyone who people would pay much attention to; no popular types, no executives unless they're so exalted that nobody would dare question their actions. She then mindrapes them, kills them, and goes to work as them armed with cellular glove molds of their hands (incorporated into the illusion, looking and feeling like real hands but using the molds' fingerprint patterns), her victim's voice and mannerisms, and, once she can afford it, retinal patterns (she has enough space left in her cybereyes for retinal duplication). This should make it cake to get wherever she needs to go, steal it, go home early (or finish the day's work if that would arouse undue suspicion), and disappear into the shadows before anyone knows anything is missing. If she was stealing paydata with a genuine password (Thank you Mind Probe!), they might never know it was stolen.

Replica intends to get Tailored Pheremones (1) as soon as she can afford it (15k); she has exactly enough essence to get them without losing any magic.

Any suggestions? I wish I could fit Skillwires in; maybe I'll take out the ultrasound sensor, as she doesn't really need it.

[Edit 2]: Removed ultrasound sensor, added skillwires rating 3. Changed the rating 3 SIN to a rating 4, dedicated it to broadcast only and purchased a rating 2 for rent and everyday purchases (i.e. lifestyle). Purchased a Pilot Ground Vehicles (1) activesoft.
Cthulhudreams
Did you post pay for race or pre pay?
Fortune
n/m
Glyph
Looking at your Attributes:

3 Body - 15 Karma
3 Agility - 9 Karma
2 Reaction - 6 Karma
2 Strength - 6 Karma
6 Charisma - 45 Karma
5 Intuition - 42 Karma
3 Logic - 15 Karma

No Willpower Attribute listed, but the above add up to 138 points, so even if your Willpower was 6, you wouldn't be spending 225 Karma on your core Attributes. And that's assuming you add the racial mods before buying them - if you add them afterwards, then your Agility would only cost 6 points, and your Charisma would only cost 27 points.
Tyro
QUOTE (Cthulhudreams @ Dec 7 2008, 04:20 PM) *
Did you post pay for race or pre pay?

I'm afraid I don't understand the question.
Cthulhudreams
When you pay for your race, are you saying okay now my charisma is 3, and then buying 3 points of charisma and ending with charisma 6 or are you buying three points of charisma, paying for your race, and ending with charisma 6

One route costs much less than the other route.
The Jake
Here's a concept I've been grappling with.

I was looking at playing a mage assassin that is virtually untraceable. To that end I wanted a build to include at a minimum:

* DNA Masking: Genewipe,
* Phenotype Alteration: Print Removal,
* Erased (10pt Positive quality),
* Full Magician.


To get the DNA masking I picked Restricted Gear and for Print Removal I took Mysterious Cyberware out of Runner's Companion. However, I had to pay to get the DNA masking, which is what is killing my build.

Here's what I've come up with. It's good but not great. I can't think of much more I can do to optimise it. Some of the skill selection may not be 'optimal'. I was aiming for a former scholar-mage type, fuelled by vengeance who became an assassin (there's a long backstory). Originally I was aiming for a troll but I don't see how I can do it on this build. Heck, I originally was going to take Arcana 6 to reflect the scholar background but I can't justify it with the story and the build cost. As it is I've been scrimping on points to buy individual skills rather than the Sorcery and Conjuring Skill groups.

Ideally I anticipated a killer good with unarmed combat, pistols and sniper rifles as well as spellflinging but I really had to scale everything back to just pistols, unarmed combat and spells. I took Martial Arts because I really liked it and wanted to incorporate it into the build somehow (but I'm willing to relinquish it if I had to). His flaws revolve around his obsession with Aztechnology given their involvement in the death of his ex-wife and unborn child. He's violent and without mercy largely as a result of his past experiences more than him being a psychopath - although I admit I look forward to playing it at some point.

I'm willing to alter the backstory some to suit the build (I am flexible) but the above four points are what I was trying to include in the build - so any variation of it would have to include the above in bold.

Thanks in advance.

--
Attributes: (210bp)
Body: 3 Agility: 3 Reaction: 3 Strength: 3
Charisma: 1 Logic: 5 Intuition: 4 Willpower: 4
Magic: 3 Edge: 2 Essence: 5.5

Cyberware/Bioware
Datajack

Genetech:
DNA Masking: Genewipe, Phenotype Alteration: Print Removal

Positive Qualities (35 points):
Restricted Gear (DNA Masking: Genewipe): 5
Erased: 10
Magician: 15
Martial Artist (Muay Thai): 5

Negative Qualities (35 points):
Mysterious Cyberware (Traceless): 5
Flashbacks (Explosions): 5
Enemy (Aztechnology – Incidence 4, Connection: 6): 10
Poor Self Control (Combat Monster): 10
Vendetta: 5

Active Skills (136 BP):
Assensing: 3
Perception: 3
Dodge: 2
Spellcasting: 5
Arcana: 4
Unarmed Combat: 5
Summoning: 5
Binding: 3
Pistol: 4

Knowledge Skills: (Logic + Intuition x 3= 27)
Megacorporate Politics (Aztechnology +2): 3
Magical Threats (Blood Magic +2): 1
Astral Space Research: 4
Spirits: 3
Magical Theory: 4
Chemistry: 2
Pharmaceuticals: 2
Corporate Security Procedures (Aztechnology +2): 3
English: N
Aztlaner Spanish: 3

Martial Arts:
Advantage: +1DV on Unarmed Combat attacks.
Manouevers: Set-Up, Finishing Move

Spells (15 BP):
Area Thought Recognition
Improved Invisibility
Alter Memory
Influence
Manabolt

Contacts: (cool.gif
The Monk (Connection: 6, Loyalty: 1) --> high ranking CIA officer who is helping the character to wage a personal war on Aztechnology.
Isis (Connection: 1, Loyalty: 1) --> Hacker contact.

Gear (30 BP):
Commlink (w/ subvocal microphone),
Glasses (Image Link, Smartlink, Vision Magnification, Flare Compensation, Low Thermographic Vision),
Ares Viper Slivergun with smartlink,
Hidden Gun Arm Slide,
Armor Jacket,
Low Lifestyle.
(I only got around 5k after paying for DNA masking, so at this point so I don't have a lot of options).
Cthulhudreams
I think you'd be better at taking whatever the quality is that gives you a free peice of genetech for 10 BP, wouldn't you? That would save you.. 4 BP by my count, which you can spend on money
The Jake
QUOTE (Cthulhudreams @ Dec 8 2008, 01:23 PM) *
I think you'd be better at taking whatever the quality is that gives you a free peice of genetech for 10 BP, wouldn't you? That would save you.. 4 BP by my count, which you can spend on money


That's for genetic infusions, not for what I took.

I wanted the gene wipe to prevent fingerprints, DNA, matrix traces being collected. As a mage he will eventually be able to tamper with magical forensics using metamagic. But those other things he can't beat.

As far as inspiration for the character I was drawing on influences of Jason Bourne (from the novels as well as the films) and Fox Mulder from X-Files. Not sure if that helps but I think it might paint a picture of what I'm trying to achieve.

- J.
Cthulhudreams
As it references the genetech chapter, i think you can pretty much assume that it works for anything in the genetech chapter.
Mickle5125
drop a couple of your negative qualities and pick up a couple levels of "in debt". tie it back to your CIA contact, and you'll have another pile of money to play with.
ElFenrir
Small nitpick; You have 3 level 5 skills. You can only start with 2 by RAW; however, if your GM has houseruled this, disregard this, of course. smile.gif

This might be a good place to post my concept for a mystic adept/assassin/martial artist combo. Kind of wanting him to be able to do things with the shadows and such(hence the mystic adept part), and the Adept powers are more of his cut-and dry type powers. Still tooling with it, though(using our usual 750 Karma method.)
The Jake
QUOTE (ElFenrir @ Dec 8 2008, 04:32 PM) *
Small nitpick; You have 3 level 5 skills. You can only start with 2 by RAW; however, if your GM has houseruled this, disregard this, of course. smile.gif


There is no such ruling in the SR4 rulebook. If you believe otherwise please provide a quote and page ref and I'll happily eat my hat.

QUOTE (Mickle5125 @ Dec 8 2008, 03:26 PM) *
drop a couple of your negative qualities and pick up a couple levels of "in debt". tie it back to your CIA contact, and you'll have another pile of money to play with.


Interesting suggestion.

This forced me to re-evaluate my qualities. I re-read the Augmentation qualities. I could take 'Gene freak' for 10BP and get Genewipe for free (which really makes sense in terms of economy of points compared to my current method) but since I'm maxed on Positive Qualities, I'd need to drop a 5pt quality to get it (like martial arts). This would free up over 25BP which is VERY tempting.

But then I looked at In Debt and I think you're right. In Debt is CLEARLY the best way to achieve this. I can drop 25BP of flaws, pick up the genewipe, keep my martial arts AND get 25BP for skills and spells.

THANKYOU very much. This helps me out LOTS! grinbig.gif
ElFenrir
QUOTE
There is no such ruling in the SR4 rulebook. If you believe otherwise please provide a quote and page ref and I'll happily eat my hat.


BBB, page 75, Creating a Shadowrunner, in the ''Purchasing Active Skills'' section:

QUOTE
The maximum skill rating for starting characters is either one skill at rating 6(with the rest at Rating 4 or less), or two skills at rating 5(the rest at Rating 4 or less.) Your character cannot start with both one Rating 6 skill and 2 rating 5 skills.


Mustard or ketchup? grinbig.gif (and don't worry, I've misread things plenty of times.)
Mx
QUOTE (ElFenrir @ Dec 8 2008, 11:27 PM) *
BBB, page 75, Creating a Shadowrunner, in the ''Purchasing Active Skills'' section:



Mustard or ketchup? grinbig.gif (and don't worry, I've misread things plenty of times.)

Damm was going to post the same quote, put then i had to reboot my computer to get my net to work. mad.gif
Larme
@The Jack: I have often struggled with the idea of "ultimate killy stealth mage." The real problem is astral stealth. There is no way to magically mask your presence on the astral, other than plain old infiltration (which will apply to astral and meat equally, with the exception of vision modifiers which are different on each plane). The concealment power helps, but it seems to me that if you're not invisible on the astral, why bother being invisible on the physical plane? Invisibility lets you walk right up into peoples faces without being seen, but an overwatch mage will spot you instantly. And let's not forget about ultrasound and radar vision, which renders invisibility useless anyway...

So, what I'm trying to say is: invisibility, what's the point? It works on gangers and low-grade security, but it's worthless against anything with magical surveillance or ultrasound/radar. The best way to be invisible is not to actually be invisible, but to be so ninja-like sneaky that you're effectively invisible. If you can figure out how to get 25 infiltration dice, nobody will find you. This is much better than having a smaller infiltration pool while being invisible, because all they have to do is strap on the right goggles and your most important asset, invisibility, goes poof.

Though I suppose this may not be very constructive -- my advice amounts to "if you want to be Mr. stealth, start over as a cybered adept with maxed out infiltration," which is essentially reconstructive criticism nyahnyah.gif

Also, assassin combat monster? Assassins are supposed to kill one person and escape without their identities (and employers) being revealed. Combat monster is fundamentally inconsistent with that mission... Not to mention manabolt, which leaves a big fat fingerprint wherever you cast it, making it a bad assassination tool (unless one of your qualities modifies that, I haven't read Companion yet).


The Jake
QUOTE (ElFenrir @ Dec 8 2008, 10:27 PM) *
BBB, page 75, Creating a Shadowrunner, in the ''Purchasing Active Skills'' section:

Mustard or ketchup? grinbig.gif (and don't worry, I've misread things plenty of times.)



Interesting. And yet when I checked SR4 after reading your comment yesterday, I found the opening chapter on Skills specifically illustrates with a character creation example with three skills at 5 . One for the next errata perhaps.... ?

I'll take the Worcestshire please.

My DM would probably house rule against it (I would with my PCs). I'm not a fan of these restrictions and they never used to exist in previous editions and as it stands its quite difficult to build a character with a decent array of skills.

- J.
Fortune
QUOTE (The Jake @ Dec 9 2008, 11:09 AM) *
Interesting. And yet when I checked SR4 after reading your comment yesterday, I found the opening chapter on Skills specifically illustrates with a character creation example with three skills at 5 . One for the next errata perhaps.... ?


Can you give me a quote on that. The only example I can find that is even close to what you describe in the Skills Chapter specifically refers to raising Skills after chargen

QUOTE (Shadowrun Core Rulebook pg. 106)
Ashley decides to create a stealthy character and purchases the Stealth skill group at Rating 4 at character creation. After a month of play, she notices that she really only uses Infiltration and so makes the decision to raise it by one point without raising the rest of the Group. This means she no longer has the Stealth skill group, but instead has Disguise 4, Infiltration 5, Palming 4, and Shadowing 4. Ashley can regain her Group by raising the other three skills to 5, at which point she will have Stealth skill group 5, but will have paid more for it than if she had just raised the skill group initially.
Dragnar
The main reason that restriction exists isn't 'OMG starting character get to powerful!', but as a band aid fix for a problem introduced with having different character generation and character advancement systems.
In short, high level skills are significantly cheaper to get at chargen than ingame, so the best way to take them would be all 6's and buying those you'd want on a lower level later. That restriction tries to reduce the cost difference.
Now, you could've just unified generation and advancement, but that would have been too easy, it seems...

And that problem existed in editions past, making nonmunchkinny chargen akward, to say the least, so this heavy handed solution is at least better than just ignoring the problem.
ElFenrir
I do think that's it. I mean, while it's not everyday you find someone with, say, 5 5's, it can exist, and it wouldn't be much more powerful than someone with 2 5's and 3 4's(the three fours losing 1 die each, and that's it.)

But when 2 5's/3 4's guy has to pay 30 karma to get those 3 5's...that other guy can buy a lot more than that-three skills at 2+2, or 3 2's and specialization for 2 of the 5's...or specializations for all the 5's and 2 skills at 2+2....

Karmagen helps alleviate this. At least they grow the same way, and in Karmagen, getting a bunch of 5's or 6's is very expensive at chargen.
The Jake
QUOTE (Fortune @ Dec 9 2008, 01:35 AM) *
Can you give me a quote on that. The only example I can find that is even close to what you describe in the Skills Chapter specifically refers to raising Skills after chargen


At work now. Will do it later tonight. But I think it may have been that passage...

QUOTE (Larme @ Dec 9 2008, 12:35 AM) *
@The Jack: I have often struggled with the idea of "ultimate killy stealth mage." The real problem is astral stealth. There is no way to magically mask your presence on the astral, other than plain old infiltration (which will apply to astral and meat equally, with the exception of vision modifiers which are different on each plane). The concealment power helps, but it seems to me that if you're not invisible on the astral, why bother being invisible on the physical plane? Invisibility lets you walk right up into peoples faces without being seen, but an overwatch mage will spot you instantly. And let's not forget about ultrasound and radar vision, which renders invisibility useless anyway...

So, what I'm trying to say is: invisibility, what's the point? It works on gangers and low-grade security, but it's worthless against anything with magical surveillance or ultrasound/radar. The best way to be invisible is not to actually be invisible, but to be so ninja-like sneaky that you're effectively invisible. If you can figure out how to get 25 infiltration dice, nobody will find you. This is much better than having a smaller infiltration pool while being invisible, because all they have to do is strap on the right goggles and your most important asset, invisibility, goes poof.

Though I suppose this may not be very constructive -- my advice amounts to "if you want to be Mr. stealth, start over as a cybered adept with maxed out infiltration," which is essentially reconstructive criticism nyahnyah.gif

Also, assassin combat monster? Assassins are supposed to kill one person and escape without their identities (and employers) being revealed. Combat monster is fundamentally inconsistent with that mission... Not to mention manabolt, which leaves a big fat fingerprint wherever you cast it, making it a bad assassination tool (unless one of your qualities modifies that, I haven't read Companion yet).


All fair comments.

I'll try and address:

1) Astral signatures can be cleaned up by an Initiate with the right metamagic, which was my plan. Metamagic can be learned. DNA masking, No fingerprints, Erased - are a lot harder to get after chargen.
2) Improved Invisibility... meh. Yes, it isn't perfect but at the end of the day it is another tool which goes into the tool box (and you use the right tool for the job). Using Influence/Alter Memories works a treat for getting someone else to do the job for you. That + Physical Mask + Makeover + Fashion all makes it a lot easier to slip away after a kill - before I even get into using spirit powers. My plan was to use magic to kill from a distance ideally, get up close if he had to. Manabolt is a personal favorite and always works a treat when everything else fails.
3) The positive qualities I've included do not stop astral tracking/signatures. There aren't any that outright prevent it - they only make it *harder*. This is a moot point in my mind when I can Initiate and achieve the same effect with metamagic without using my few qualities.

I did consider at one point whether I should play an adept for the reasons for you've outlined but I decided I *really* wanted to play a mage. I guess the take away message from your post is that if I am going to play a mage assassin and I should focus on my strengths (spells/conjuring) and less on physical combat related skills and perks. This is a very valid criticism and I will ponder on it some more.

- J.
Glyph
Quick comment - you don't have to be an initiate to clean up your astral signature, and it doesn't take long. A number of complex actions equal to the Force may seem long, but remember that a round is, what, six seconds? Outside of combat, that means you can clean up your astral traces in a minute or less in most cases. The Flexible Signature metamagic does reduce the longevity of astral signatures, among the least of its benefits - it is as useful as Masking if you are playing a stealthy mage.
Larme
QUOTE (The Jake @ Dec 8 2008, 07:09 PM) *
Interesting. And yet when I checked SR4 after reading your comment yesterday, I found the opening chapter on Skills specifically illustrates with a character creation example with three skills at 5 . One for the next errata perhaps.... ?


NEVER look at the sample characters for ANY rules. First of all, they're not a source of rules, they're examples. If you want to know what the rules are, read them. If the sample characters violate the rules, it's the sample characters that are wrong, not the rules themselves... And the sample characters very frequently violate the rules. I'm not sure why they're so riddled with errors, but they most certainly are... They're good inspiration for how to create an archetype, but their accuracy is not to be relied on under any circumstances.

As for being a stealth mage... It all sorta breaks down when faced with other mages. Mask is open to a mage assensing you (which they will probably do at high security places) and any mindfuck spells are going to be screwed up if the security team has a mage providing counterspelling. Mages are ungodly against mundos, but enemy mages basically neutralize them. The way SR4 sets up magic, magicians have pretty one reason to be on a team: support. Without counterspelling, mundane teammates are killed by magic. And they have few ways to defend against spirits as well. I notice by the way that your character doesn't even know counterspelling, which means that not only will you not be able to defend your team, you won't be able to defend yourself from other mages... Not good!

Regardless, the meat skills are what make you truly sneaky. Relying on magic only works until you meet an equally powerful mage. Magic will see right through a disguise made out of mana, but a nanopaste disguise is just as solid to a mage as to anyone. But if you want to be a badass mage to start out, your meat skills are crappy more or less by necessity.
The Jake
QUOTE (Glyph @ Dec 9 2008, 04:55 AM) *
Quick comment - you don't have to be an initiate to clean up your astral signature, and it doesn't take long. A number of complex actions equal to the Force may seem long, but remember that a round is, what, six seconds? Outside of combat, that means you can clean up your astral traces in a minute or less in most cases. The Flexible Signature metamagic does reduce the longevity of astral signatures, among the least of its benefits - it is as useful as Masking if you are playing a stealthy mage.


With that in mind do you see any problems with the existing build or approach?

- J.
The Jake
QUOTE (Larme @ Dec 9 2008, 05:57 AM) *
NEVER look at the sample characters for ANY rules. First of all, they're not a source of rules, they're examples. If you want to know what the rules are, read them. If the sample characters violate the rules, it's the sample characters that are wrong, not the rules themselves... And the sample characters very frequently violate the rules. I'm not sure why they're so riddled with errors, but they most certainly are... They're good inspiration for how to create an archetype, but their accuracy is not to be relied on under any circumstances.

As for being a stealth mage... It all sorta breaks down when faced with other mages. Mask is open to a mage assensing you (which they will probably do at high security places) and any mindfuck spells are going to be screwed up if the security team has a mage providing counterspelling. Mages are ungodly against mundos, but enemy mages basically neutralize them. The way SR4 sets up magic, magicians have pretty one reason to be on a team: support. Without counterspelling, mundane teammates are killed by magic. And they have few ways to defend against spirits as well. I notice by the way that your character doesn't even know counterspelling, which means that not only will you not be able to defend your team, you won't be able to defend yourself from other mages... Not good!

Regardless, the meat skills are what make you truly sneaky. Relying on magic only works until you meet an equally powerful mage. Magic will see right through a disguise made out of mana, but a nanopaste disguise is just as solid to a mage as to anyone. But if you want to be a badass mage to start out, your meat skills are crappy more or less by necessity.


It's gotten to a sad state of play where technology beats magic nearly every time. frown.gif

Do you believe its the concept that is not sound?

- J.
Larme
I wouldn't say that one beats the other. If there are no enemy mages around, magic usually wins. It's just that magic ceases to be a serious advantage when put up against equal magical opposition. Magic is like a trump card: if you have it and they don't, you win. But if both of you have it, then neither of you are trumped and it falls to good old fashioned mundanity.

The viability of a stealth oriented mage is highly dependent on your campaign setting. I assume though that since you're outfitted with DNA masking and fingerprint removal, you're not expecting to fight very many gangers, you're expecting people with the resources and expertise to do forensic analysis... The problem with your build is that it relies almost entirely on magic for stealth, and won't work when the enemy employs basic countermeasures. If you want to be a ghost, you need to start with high agility and high infiltration.

I don't think your character is bad per se, but I think that most mages are a lot more helpful if they have a somewhat broader focus. Invisibility, mask, influence, etc. are all highly useful spells. Just don't expect to be some kind of untraceable ghost who operates alone. Unless you've got a hacker to disable their ultrasound sensors, a rigger to get you away quickly, and a samurai to lay down covering fire if things go bad, you're just asking to get it. You shouldn't try to make a character who's a one-man kill machine because a) you aren't playing alone and b) it's not really possible for a mage to be like that. From experience, I can tell you that assassin characters get old quickly, because most jobs tend not to be assassinations, and you're often paired up with people who couldn't sneak their way out of a paper bag in the first place.
Glyph
QUOTE (The Jake @ Dec 8 2008, 11:01 PM) *
With that in mind do you see any problems with the existing build or approach?

- J.

I think the biggest problem is having Combat Monster for a stealth build. smile.gif

I think his mundane skills should be more stealth-oriented rather than combat-oriented. Someone with a manabolt shouldn't usually need firearms. I think, overall, that you have spent a lot of resources in making him untraceable, at the expense of getting the job done and getting away in the first place. For a magical stealth build, you really need some mundane stealth and B&E to complement the magical side of it. Also, if I were the GM, I would not let you pick your own "mysterious cyberware" - that kind of defeats the first word, right there. Also, it's kind of a cheesy way to get something you want for your character, and get points for it.
Tyro
QUOTE (Glyph @ Dec 7 2008, 04:36 PM) *
Looking at your Attributes:

3 Body - 15 Karma
3 Agility - 9 Karma
2 Reaction - 6 Karma
2 Strength - 6 Karma
6 Charisma - 45 Karma
5 Intuition - 42 Karma
3 Logic - 15 Karma

No Willpower Attribute listed, but the above add up to 138 points, so even if your Willpower was 6, you wouldn't be spending 225 Karma on your core Attributes. And that's assuming you add the racial mods before buying them - if you add them afterwards, then your Agility would only cost 6 points, and your Charisma would only cost 27 points.

I'm using the Upgraded Character Generator as released by DamienKnight, version beta 7b. I didn't do the math by hand; it looks like I should have. I messed up and listed the paid-for points (pre-race) for Charisma (her total natural Charisma is 8) and the post-race value for Agility. Willpower is 5. I've edited the post to reflect all of this.

QUOTE (Cthulhudreams @ Dec 7 2008, 08:02 PM) *
When you pay for your race, are you saying okay now my charisma is 3, and then buying 3 points of charisma and ending with charisma 6 or are you buying three points of charisma, paying for your race, and ending with charisma 6

One route costs much less than the other route.

The former; I believe that route is both RAW and RAI. I know I've slapped a lot of restrictions on my character; I paid for my race, I'm using some restrictive interpretations of the rules, and I'm only using 600 BP. The way I see it is, it's a lot more fun to play a character with room to grow. The opposition can always become more powerful, but there's a pretty firm ceiling for runners. I'd rather have a bit of time before I hit that ceiling.
ElFenrir
QUOTE
But if you want to be a badass mage to start out, your meat skills are crappy more or less by necessity.



I have to disagree here. Even with 600 Karma(we usually play with 750, and it goes doubly so there), I can make a mage with good meat-skills as well as being badass in the spellcasting. Now, they won't be badass at say, Enchanting and Arcana on top of all of this, but you can easily build a solid, say, combat mage from this.

Larme
QUOTE (ElFenrir @ Dec 9 2008, 09:15 AM) *
I have to disagree here. Even with 600 Karma(we usually play with 750, and it goes doubly so there), I can make a mage with good meat-skills as well as being badass in the spellcasting. Now, they won't be badass at say, Enchanting and Arcana on top of all of this, but you can easily build a solid, say, combat mage from this.


Well, it's hard to discuss terms like "good" and "bad-ass," we might well have different definitions that we're going by... And I've never used karmagen, I'm talking about your basic 400BP character (though maybe that's the same as 600 karma, I dunno). But no matter how you slice it, it sucks up a lot of BP to be a magician who's likely to overwhelm enemy mages he meets instead of just stalemate them...
ElFenrir
Oh, it does suck up quite a bit. (600 Karma is roughly 400 BP, give or take. It's hard to get a solid grounding, though-as some 400 BP builds can go even higher than 750, while others can be less than 500. It can vary a whole lot-but it seems that 600k is about it.) A 600 Karma character tends to look a bit more powerful, I think, due to the larger number of moderate skills(like 3's, 3+2's, and the like), since it's the sweet-spot for cost-effective(where the scaling of BP makes it more effective to jam a bunch of high numbers in at the start where you want them.) They do tend to have more solid attributes(I would argue more pleasing as well, less 6/1 combos.)

Well, I guess ''badass'' is in terms of the general power level. If it's a 600 Karma game, you can make someone who is very solid in both areas. The build I played around with saw the fellow with all solid attributes, a 5 magic(was 6, gave a point of cyber/bio), 5's in both drain attributes, a 4 counterspelling and a 5 spellcasting; he also had enough nuyen left to get a focus of choice and some karma left to bond it, allowing more dice here. He also threw around 13 unarmed dice and 13 firearms dice too, 12 dice for Urban Infiltration, and has 8 spells of choice(one of which could be an Increased Reflex spell, for example.) I guess I consider that fairly badass. I even did this without Skillwires; if I decide to play switcheroo and add some of them to the mix, it would probably get even better-it would free up Karma for more Resources and foci, if you didn't mind walking the thin line of focus addiction.
Tyro
QUOTE (ElFenrir @ Dec 9 2008, 06:57 AM) *
...if you didn't mind walking the thin line of focus addiction.

That reminds me - In the description for focus addiction (even mild), it mentions a penalty to Drain Tests. Does that apply to ALL drain tests, or only to drain tests while you're in withdrawal?
Larme
@ElFenrir: Can I see that sheet? eek.gif I expect an average samurai to have 12 dice in several things, and more than that in a specialty. But a mage, that's pretty surprising...
ElFenrir
Sure thing! Ok, Human Combat Mage Dude, No Skillwires Version. 600 Karma, 300 Karma available for Attributes. (Keep in mind, the Ork version of this is pretty scary.)

+ Qualities: 25 BP(50 Karma)

Magician
Martial Arts Lv. 2(+2 DV)

- Qualities: 35 BP(70 Karma of choice)

Attributes: 297

B: 4(+1 damage)
A: 5(7)
R: 4
S: 3(5)
C: 3
I: 4
L: 5
W: 5
E: 2
I: 8/1 [Improved with Reflexes if foci is purchased]
Ess: 5
Magic: 5

Resources: 33 Karma-82500
Contacts: 18 Karma
Knowledge/Language Skills: 36 Karma
Maneuvers(Martial Arts): 12 Karma(3 maneuvers)

4 Karma Remaining

Bioware:

Muscle Augmentation 2
Muscle Toner 2

Cyberware:

Plastic Bone Lacing(Alphaware)

Active Skills:

Spellcasting: 5
Counterspelling: 4
Etiquette(Magic): 2(+2)
Negotation(Bargain): 2(+2)
Unarmed Combat(Martial Arts): 4(+2)
Infiltration(Urban): 3(+2)
Assensing: 2
Astral Combat(Unarmed): 2(+2)
Gymnastics: 3
Pistols(Semi-Automatics): 2(+2)
Summoning: 2
Banishing or Binding: 2

Spells(40 Karma)

Manabolt
Stunball
Increase Reflexes
Heal
Physical Mask
Imp. Invisibility

2 more of choice

So, as you can see here, he has a fair amount of dice thrown. You could tweak him some-drop the Pistols for more Karma to Resources/Bonding costs, for example, or up his Conjuring stuff, which IS rather on the lower side-he's more of a spellcaster. Or just drop the Summoning and up his meat skills more.

The 2 Edge is the other thing that sort of suffers-but he could live long enough to increase that, hopefully. it's not perfect by far, but it's, IMO, a solid combat mage that can do quite a few things. He does throw 12 dice for Urban Infiltration, 7 for Gymnastics Dodge(and can wear decent armor), the Bone Lacing gives him a little better damage reduction and better unarmed damage(he hits for a pretty nice 6, 7 if you use the old Hardliner rules of adding +1 to the DV), if you take Kick Attack he can get +1 Reach die and throw 14 unarmed dice(he's 13 normally), and his Spellcasting is fairly solid; grabbing a foci shouldn't be hard with a few adjustments(dropping Pistols again, for example).

The Ork or Dwarf with Skillwires is even more silly. wink.gif






JonathanC
So here's a rough sketch of something I was working on last night. A technomancer...as always, I kept running low on points. I always run low on points when I build characters by hand, and it's such a pain...but I'm trying to get better at building characters without leaning on excel sheets. The idea here is someone who was a shut-in due to health concerns (daylight is uncomfortable due to albinism, sheltered growing up due to being asthmatic). To compensate, they were constantly on the matrix, and were roughly the equivalent to your average MySpace person or WoW addict...they were logged in during the crash, and there you go. I skimped on agility because I realized that there was no way I was going to be able to make a TM worthwhile in combat, so why not be laughably clumsy and give the character some....you know, character? smile.gif

Body 4
Agility 1
Reaction 3
Strength 2
Charisma 4
Intuition 5
Logic 3
Willpower 5
Edge 2
Essence 6
Resonance 6

Qualities:
Technomancer
Paragon: Flow
Poor Self Control: Braggart
Oblivious
Albinism
Asthma

Skills:
Tasking Group 4
Electronics Group 4
Cracking group 4
Etiquette (Matrix) 1(3)
Dodge (ranged) 1(3)
Throwing Weapons 2

Contact: Undefined, 3/2

Complex Forms:
Stealth 6
Spoof 4
Analyze 5
Exploit 5
Equipment
Low Lifestyle
Armor Jacket (non-conductive 1, shock frills)
3 flash bangs
1 High Explosive grenade
2 frag grenades
2 throwing knives
Medkit (rating 6)
2 Trauma patches
Biomonitor
Metalink
Goggles (vision enhancement 3, flare compensation, low-light vision)
Earbuds (Auditory enhancement 3, sound filter 3)
Honda Spirit
Bust a Move toy drone
GM Nissan Doberman
JonathanC
QUOTE (Tyro @ Dec 9 2008, 12:57 AM) *
I'm using the Upgraded Character Generator as released by DamienKnight, version beta 7b. I didn't do the math by hand; it looks like I should have. I messed up and listed the paid-for points (pre-race) for Charisma (her total natural Charisma is cool.gif and the post-race value for Agility. Willpower is 5. I've edited the post to reflect all of this.


The former; I believe that route is both RAW and RAI. I know I've slapped a lot of restrictions on my character; I paid for my race, I'm using some restrictive interpretations of the rules, and I'm only using 600 BP. The way I see it is, it's a lot more fun to play a character with room to grow. The opposition can always become more powerful, but there's a pretty firm ceiling for runners. I'd rather have a bit of time before I hit that ceiling.

Actually, I'd always thought that the intent was that if Elves get Charisma starting at 2, and you buy it up to 6, you're spending 40 points, (10bp a point, buying 4 points), rather than 55 (30 to take you to 5, 25 bp for the last point). This makes sense, since the ceiling for charisma in elves is 7, so the 7th point is the 'last' point that would cost 25BP. Right?
Glyph
It's 3/8 for elves - it's the Agility that's 2/7. But this is a karma-gen character. They are still restricted to a single core Attribute maxed out at char-gen, but they don't have the same "balloon payment" charge for that final Attribute point that they would get in the build point system.

On the other hand, with Karma, it costs more for an elf to go from 3 to 8 than it would cost a human to go from 1 to 6 (60 points for a human to raise it to 6, 90 points for the elf to raise it to 8 ). This is why Cthulhudreams' house rule, which charges a cost for metahumans, also has them buy the Attribute up with Karma, then apply the racial modifiers. So the elf won't be paying 60 karma to be an elf and paying 90 karma for a Charisma of 8.
JonathanC
Ah, I see. Thanks for the clarification. Btw, any thoughts on the technomancer?
Ryu
I suggest Resonance 5 (Stealth 5), Edge 3, Ork, Spoof 5. If you want to stay human, it´s Edge 5 instead. One point of edge could be replaced by Codeslinger and Erased(from RC).

Another idea would be to include Trust Fund (high) at the cost of willpower. Mind the 35BP cap on positive qualities...
JonathanC
Eh, I wanted to keep the Willpower and Resonance high because Firewall is fairly important, and resonance will be a bitch to buy up later on...believe me, I was sure missing those 25 BP wink.gif

Trust Fund is mighty tempting though...
Ryu
I thought you were going for the silent route. Against those opponents that can attack your living node, Firewall 5 won´t help much. If you want to get some use out of Firewall, you need the Attack and Shield CFs. Reduce Electronics to 2, buy Attack 5, Shield 5, Armor 5, Quality of Choice (5BP).
JonathanC
I was planning on threading a lot, which is why the Electronics group was important. Incidentally, isn't it legal in chargen to buy a group up to 4, then buy one of the skills up to 6? I could swear that someone here once suggested that it wasn't, but the book seems to suggest that you can, the disadvantage is that you can't buy the group up against until all the skills are at the same level.
Glyph
Breaking a skill group at char-gen is not explicitly forbidden, but a lot of people feel it is implicitly forbidden. It's one of those things that it's a good idea to ask your GM about.
Ryu
Hmm. It´s better to start with max. CF then a higher threading pool. You gain only two thirds of a hit for threading, that is not much. The karmic worth of 4 rating 5 CFs is 64, while Electronics 2->4 costs 35 karma (TM=>karma system=>less head-aches). DP-wise, you end up more specialised, gaining a net 4,33 dice for some activities.

According to the FAQ, dissolving a group at chargen is legal, but requires special GM approval. I strongly suggest to call it legal and be done with, as everything else is not a clear state, and GM approval is part of chargen anyway. (We had no debate before someone read the FAQ, two years ago when it was fresh.)


QUOTE ('SR4 FAQ')
SKILLS

When can you break up a skill group into its component skills? Can you break it up during character creation? Can I break apart a skill group in order to buy a specialization for one of the skills?

You can break apart a skill group whenever you want--as long as the GM allows it. We advise against breaking apart skill groups during character creation in order to keep it simple and counter min-maxing. Any time you improve a single skill within a skill group or add a specialization to one of those skills, that skill group no longer exists.
JonathanC
Thanks for the advice. I've revised my goals for this build a bit...I'm too tired to crunch the numbers for the equipment right now, but I think this would be more playable than my first try. It seems to me that if you're a competent Sprite summoner, you only really need the combat CFs and basic B&E CFs, since they can fill in most/all of the rest of the holes in a pinch.

Body 4
Agility 3
Reaction 3
Strength 2
Charisma 4
Intuition 4
Logic 3
Willpower 5

Edge 4
Essence 6
Resonance 5

Contacts
Horizon Johnson 3/3

Qualities
Technomancer 5
Paragon: Idoru 5
Albinism -10
Asthma -15
Oblivious -5
Poor Self Control: Compulsive (fastidiously clean) -5

Complex Forms
Stealth 5
Exploit 5
Analyze 5
Attack 5
Armor 5
Shield 5

Skills
Tasking Group 4
Compiling 5
Registering 5
Cracking Group 4
Software 4
Con (Seduction) 2(4) 4/6 w/Idoru bonus
Etiquette (Matrix) 2(4)
Dodge (ranged) 1/3

25,000 budget for equipment/lifestyle
piiman
Hey all, This is a ninja type character I have been working on, please tell me what you think. We are using the 400 BP way of building.

Ork
B - 4 A - 5 R - 5 S - 4 C - 2 I - 4 L - 4 W - 4
E - 1 M - 5

Negative Qaulities:
Poor Self Control Vindictive
Allergy Dog Mild
SINner
Records On File

Positive Qaulities:
Ninjutsu +1 inf
Krav Maga Aim free action
Adept

Skills:
Climbing 2
Running 3
Gynastic 3
Long Arm 4
Blade 4
Stealth skill Group 4 (Infiltrate is a 6)
Escape Artist 5
Perception 5
Thrown 3

Contacts:
Madison Fixer 3/3
Silver Supply Sergeant 3/3

24BP worth of items
Snaptic Boosters ,Armor Jacket ,Nodachi ,Vibro blade Knife ,Ares Desert Strike ,Smart Gun external ,Silencer ,Novatech Navi ,Fairligt Caliban ,Trodes Fake Sin rank 3 (3) Fake License rank 4 (3) Mid Life Style Goggles Image Link Vision Enhancement 3 Head Phones Audio Enhancement 3 Maglock Keypad Anti-Tamper 4 Flash Light Respirator 6 Survival kit
(For mods the follow the item)

Adept Powers Imp Ability perception 2
Imp ability Perception 2
Flexibility 2
Sustenance
Missle Mastery
Strong Throw 3
Quick Draw
3d Memory

Knowledge
English 4
Japanese Native
Eastern martial arts 4
Western Martial Arts 4
Safe Houses 4
Cooking 4
Security Measures 4
Glyph
Power Throw is capped at 3 by the errata. I'm very confused that you have this, and missile mastery, at all, since this character has no throwing skill.

For the cost of Climbing: 2, Running: 3, and Gymnastics: 3, you could buy the Athletics skill group at 3. This would raise Climbing to 3 and give you Swimming: 3.

If you are getting synaptic booster: 1, you might as well get muscle toner: 2 and a reflex recorder - if you're giving up a point of Magic, get a full point of bioware! Unless you're trying to save up for synaptic booster: 2 later.

I'm kind of surprised that you gave this guy such a high skill in escape artist. Perception I can understand, but escape artist shouldn't come up that much. I would use your other skill of 5 for one of your offensive skills. Having no specializations will make you weaker starting out, but they are much cheaper to buy during the game.
piiman
Pistol was changed to throw, didnt change it here
forgot about the skill group
I am saving for synaptic booster 2
and escape artist is that high because of flexibility adept power. So i can crawl in air ducts and such
Glyph
Escape artist isn't the skill used for that, though. The flexibility power all by itself allows that. Escape artist is used to escape from things like rope or handcuffs. It's useful, but not to the point that I would take it at a higher rating than the combat skills. Escape artist is a threshold test with intervals, while combat skills are a dice contest where you have to contend with negative modifiers, dodging or blocking enemies, and then their damage resistance test. So, combat skills are the ones that you generally need to have higher.
JonathanC
So, I decided to go with a 'just for fun' build here. Nothing mechanically interesting, to be honest. I just thought that it would be hilarious to stat out a Rat shaman who SURGE'd into a 'rat-girl' of sorts...beady rat eyes, anime-esque rat ears, and a thick, hairless rat tail. Being as my current game is in L.A., it also seemed like a fun idea to make her a local celebrity, and a regular on the club DJ scene. 400BP, though only 395 are spent here, leaving the remaining points for equipment. I imagine this could be playable, perhaps with some tweaking. I might have boosted conjuring a bit, and obviously the Edge is low. This is more of a proof of concept than something that's optimized for play...I never spend this much on Positive Qualities. But it does look like fun to play.

Veronica McPhail, the Rat-Girl
BODY 3
AGILITY 3
REACTION 2
STRENGTH 2
CHARISMA 5
INTUITION 3
LOGIC 3
WILLPOWER 5
EDGE 2
ESSENCE 6
MAGIC 5
INITIATIVE

SPELLS
Stunball
Heal
Increase Reflexes
Trid Phantasm
Improved Invisibility
Physical Mask
Mana Barrier
Powerbolt

SKILLS 140
Sorcery Group 4
Spellcasting 6
Conjuring Group 3
Pilot Ground Vehicle (bike) 2(4)
Infiltration (Urban) 4(6) total of 9 with Rat bonus
Etiquette 3
Negotiation 3
Dodge (ranged) 3(5)

CONTACTS
Night Club Owner Loyalty 4/ Connection 3

Positive Qualities (35 points)
Fame [local: The L.A. Ratgirl] (5 points)
Magician (15 points)
Mentor Spirit [Rat] (5 points)
Class II SURGE (10 points)
Extravagant Eyes (-5)
Vestigial Tail (-5)
Ogre Stomach (5)
Low-Light Vision (5)
Vomeronasal Organ (10)

Negative Qualities: (-35 points)
Day Job [Party DJ; 10 hours a week, 3k/month](-5 points)
Poor Self Control [Compulsive: collects found trinkets] (-5)
Albinism (-10)
Cursed (-5)
SINner (-5)
Dependent [slacker roommate] (-5)

25,000 Nuyen for lifestyle and accessories
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