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Drakes. I lied there is more than one word. How do alls you peoples be thinking about drakes in 4th editions? Any advice on builds, ways to persuade my gm that it won't throw off the midrate flow of his campaign, and whether or not its even worth it? Responses on all those questions and more would prove useful.
Navar is a member of my upcoming fourth campaign and essentially we're just wondering if Drake's are balanced and fun enough to introduce in to a campaign.
Get outs my thread Boy! Everyone else is welcome *twitches at the decker*
Personally, I think they're probably balanced in play depending on how you're generating characters. Now, ignoring the fact that I think it's perhaps a little more corny to be playing what is essentially a diet-caffeine-free-dragon than say an elf or a troll, you do still have to pay for both your base meta-type if you want to be something other than human and then buy the staggeringly expensive drake quality in order to play one... and personally I as a GM would think you'd be well within your rights to say you can play a drake and take magician or adept and that's all if it makes you feel better about the balance of it all. That all said, now you look at the math and consider a 400BP character. If you want to just be a human base adept who is also a drake then you're still looking at 70 points, plus the cost of raising your magic, buying skills and attributes etc. Throw in something other than Adept, say Mage, and another meta type other than human and you're looking at investing upwards of 120 points into just your 'race' if you were to make a troll drake magician. And still you'd have to buy a magic rating up and all the other stuff. It's a huge point investment, and though I've never actually built a drake character to experiment, I think the cost of doing it is more than limiting enough to keep a player from running away with it to far. And of course there are also the inherent weaknesses in being a drake, or at least what I would call weaknesses, including the fact that your aura shows you as a dracoform when in human form, spells specifically set to target both your metatype and drakes in general will both work on you, and bio and cyberware don't carry over into your drake form so that sort of makes the bad ass chrome dragon guy a non-issue as 'shifting up' into drake form makes all your cool body mods go away while you're a drake and it's only by raising your magic that your breath weapon will be of any appreciable threat (At least I think that's how it works, I could be wrong). Oh, and you can't talk normally in drake form unless you have dragon speech as a power, which it lays down as requiring you to initiate in order to pick it up as a metamagic.

So with all that taken into account and you still want to play a drake, I think it's probably balanced and as a GM I'd probably allow it. It might be a little silly, but the downsides and the point cost more than make up for the fact that the character can hulk up into his drake form and rip stuff up with his big scary claws. grinbig.gif
Balance wise I find nothing wrong with drakes, they have some nice abilities, but nothing much better then what you could spend that BP on in the first place, certainly not more powerful then shapeshifters.

That said, i can see campaigns where a dragon shapeshifter wouldn't fit in all that well, it's up to your GM.
Play a Drake if you want to pay a lot of BP for underwhelming ablities you aren't going to use anyway. It's kind of sad, but you can't play a Drake to it's full potential if the campaing is not build around the fact that you play... well... a Drake. It can work, sure. Try it, see if it works, that's the best advice I can give you.
The Jake
I have a drake in my campaign for the first time. But we also have an AI as well....

I'd say they're balanced at a glance (not that I've had extensive GMing experience with 4th ed, let alone these new player options mind you) but you are seriously gimping your character. Seriously.

Both these options are very costly for the "cool" factor but there's many things upon closer examination that means they will have a tough time competing with normal PCs later on in the campaign.

Would you be starting as a drake or using latent drake? HINT: Latent drake gimps your character even worse.

- J.
Drakes are fairly well balanced. I recommend the player take some sort of magic, though, sice they will be upping their magic with that drake anyway...And, of course, while you cannot use your cyber in Dracoform, you can use your magic.
- It will be very hard to unbalance a campaign using a drake. Your list of basic powers is nice, but an augmented body will usually be superior. We are talking some 325 k¥ here. I would actually recommend to use the karma system for the campaign; the big chunk of BP is not transformed favourably (1:2), but you will have a much easier time with the remaining karma than with the remaining BP.

- You need to agree on the consequences of being seen in drake form. My group has little problems there, but our game has seen shapeshifters, a minotaur, a fomori, a technomancer... Still, the Erased quality would likely be very useful.

- Assuming you won´t cause a panic by transformation alone, your drake body gives you pretty solid stats for physical combat. I´m partial to oriental drakes, which could conceivably use heavily customised gear.

- Echo the magical angle. You want to have counterspelling in dual form. Mystical adepts would be an interesting option. Masking is your friend, as is a solid initiatory degree.

(Can you please use more descriptive thread titles? I only opened this thread because the other topic hinted at drakes.)

everyone can have a dragon in Shadowrun, if they have the launch or heavy weapons skill or whatever is used for those things
Drakes are perfectly playable. You pay 65BP and get some interesting advantages and disadvantages. I echo the calls of others to go magical, and suggest that Drakes are quite good in astral combat as they have Hardened Mystic Armor and +1 Reach. Mages also round-out a number of other aspects, particularly they give Improved Invisibility and need thumbs less often. IE: You're much less likely to get seen in drake form, you don't need hands to cast spells, and can cast magic fingers if you need fine manipulation. Still, your GM may allow you specially designed weaponry for use in your drake form, as I'm sure there are weapons out there that don't require thumbs to use.

Going an oriental drake is also tempting, particularly if you want to avoid using custom weaponry (no +1 size means their hands probably aren't too much bigger than human or ork hands). It's also good if you like the cultural linkage, but you might be accused of being an Anime fanboy.
Dr Funfrock
There's various precendents for Drake gear. Dragons of the Sixth World, on p.177, has a shot of a Drake in heavy armour, with some sort of wrist mounted machine gun. And a hip flask. Because he is a bad-ass Russian Drake, apparently.

The thing to remember is that whilst rarity is an issue with getting customised gear, it will certainly be out there, because there are a number of disgustingly rich Dragons who are funding research into better Dragon adaptated technology out of nothing more than personal interest. Just apply a hefty metatype cost increase (probably around +50% for most stuff, +100% for armour and other stuff where your sheer size is an issue in materials and construction, such as Drake adapted living spaces. I really can't see Drake adapted vehicles, because you can fly in dracoform anyway, so why bother with the hideous engineering challenges involved?)

QUOTE (Stahlseele @ Jan 7 2009, 06:11 AM) *
everyone can have a dragon... for lunch, if they have the launch or heavy weapons skill or whatever is used for those things

Fixed that for ya wink.gif

Though I am forced to admit that I have only ever killed a Dragon once in character.
The look on the GM's face at the words "I pull out my rocket launcher" was freaking priceless.
What if Aardelea´s bloodline continued and got significantly larger? The magic level increases a bit more, and latent drakes awaken all over the world (still in limited numbers of course).
i was talking about the Great Dragon ATGM, but then i am one min/maxing powergamer that likes to combine trolls/dwarves with ghouls . . so eh, ok, i'll give you that ^^
QUOTE (MatrixJargon @ Jan 7 2009, 03:33 AM) *
Navar is a member of my upcoming fourth campaign and essentially we're just wondering if Drake's are balanced and fun enough to introduce in to a campaign.

If you ask me, Drakes are attention whores by favour of what they are. They always draw all attention to themselves because either they're backed by a Great, or they're hundet byy all Greats. I find it very difficult to integrate them without completly disregarding that background, and haven't had good experiences with Drake PC in general.

This isn't about the numbers, either; they're a good deal, but nowhere near as imbalanced as orcs, Infected, or Formori trolls. Just that btheir background practically forces them to be the center of the campaign no matter what.

I would flat out disallow them als PC. But your game, your choice. smile.gif
Admittedly, still a novice here, but the points and systems seem to balance out favorably. Because of the Y/Augmentation/Stats ratio that Drakes have available to them, I don't see anything abusive or broken about them that a Troll couldn't walk away with for less BP.
Aside for innate Magic and the ability to fly and when not in Combat-Mode pretty much look like Joe-Wageslave.
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