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Inncubi
From a different topic I posted an opinion that, after some time, became quite constant in my group: They don't want/need a sammy as part of their team. First, I'll deffine roughly what do I mean by a Street Samurai. Second I'll post the reasons for the argument. I'd like to hear from you on this topic.

A disclaimer:
I'm not saying that samurais aren't powerful characters. They are: they roll huge buckets of dice for shooting, punching and slashing. Second, this doesn't involve so much character concept, as much usefulness of the archetype, because, damn, a Sammy can be cool. In this sense some builds may vary, a hacking sammy that can do other stuff in a proficient way may break the argument I'm doing here, so I'll try to stick to the classic role in the party for these characters. That role being muscle.

Many of these arguments can /also/ be extrapolated to the Physads. This is true, however I decided to keep them still since their initiation and ability to perceive in astral, and the possibility to build wards sets them apart, for now. If you ask me I'd rather have mystic adepts than full blown physads in a team.

A) The Deffinition of Street Samurai:
These are characters that use cyberware or bioware as primary for their combat skills. They are the riflemen in a group, the demolitions experts and martial artists. They are part tank and part damage dealer in MMORPG terminology. They can stop a Panther Assault Cannon round with their chest and come out of it alive thanks to armour layering, dermal sheaths, bone lacings, etc. These characters are a classic in the Cyperpunk theme, and may very well be the roughest, toughest, meanest killing machine on the streets.

Now, the question of a million nuyen.gif : Are they still needed as much as your hacker, rigger or mage in a group?
My argument will try to deny this.

B) Sammy Skillset (SR4):
A proficient sammy knows: Firearms (or subsets), Close Combat (when was the last time you saw a sammy take: Incompetent Unarmed Combat, or Blades for that matter?), Stealth, Etiquette and Athletics. That's a minimum to consider one viable to be added to a team. Demolition guys, medics and tech-savvy ones may be a bonus, but not the rule.

C) Why we don't want a player to roll a Sammy (from a team efficiency point of view)?:
The past subset of skills can easily be covered in other ways by other characters who have additional talents. This is the main argument.
Let's start with the obvious one: firearms and Close-Combat.

C.1) Rifleman and Knife-man:
Sammies shoot very nicely, so you want one on your team. They also take damage, instead of squishy mage. Drones can do this, and even more efficiently. They don't need patching up, can be reapired if the team has someone with mechanics and can be optimised much cheaper than the cyberware a Street Sam carries. For sensors you can add and mix and share information from lots of little robots. On the other hand if your Steel Lynx is shot beyond repairs you don't go al guilt ridden for stripping it of base components and sell them to a junkyard. A Sammy is a pal, an alive team member who also needs to be taken care of -like squishy mage-. In a pinch I'd rather have the dornes do more shooting instead of the Sammy if just to make sure my friend doens't get hurt.

Close combat is a tricky one, but a summoned spirit can usually do the trick. Also an Adept or mystic adept, that can initiate and get nifty powers during play, can replace the sammy. Yes, they will not have all the dice the sammy has, and they may, at the start, be less powerful than him. But each can outgrow by far the sammy for practical reasons. The adept can support astrally with perception and a weapon focus, and can also carve enemy martial artists. For a gunbunny adept there is pure win, since they can combine magic and shooting for huge exploding dice. The mystic adept has some minor sorcery and conjuring to aid in his "Close Combatiness", and after a while, with functional spells this guy supports a lot the group (he has utility spells like analyze device, detect enemies, Detect RFID tag and Wreck RFID tag, for a magical tag eraser which does take care of stealth and reinforced RFID's). He can also initiate, and get nifty metamagic.

The Combat Hacker does a lot the sammy can do, add some skillwires and he's also incredibly versatile. Just see how the Lieutenants on mook groups are hackers /and/ warriors (SR4, BBB, pp.275 and 276). Same, and even better, is the combat technomancer, who uses agents and sprites to support the other team members, has a nigh unhackable brain -except by other virtuakinetics- and can go through submersion.

The Rigger -or Drone and vehicle hacker- can do a lot of the aforementioned, plus scouting, driving, all of this keeping at a safe distance form harm. He's an artillerist, air support and get-away pal rolled into one. Again, his drones make the need for a Sammy pretty much a thing of the past.

C.2) The Stealth Issue:
Now, you need to get inside a facility, with narrow corridors and do a classic extraction scenario. You can't send with waves of drones, armies of spirits or hack-and-slash your way inside. You need a Samurai to support you once inside, if the going gets tough. I say wrong, with a caveat: I have to accept this is one of the scenarios where having one wouldn't hurt. However, the Combat Hacker, and you want him inside in many cases so he takes care of maglocks and maintains the team's node going, can stealth himself inside as well. Just get him the skill or the Skillsoft for it.

Now, suppose the extraction team is composed with one mage and one Combat hacker. Outside there's teh rest of the team: another hacker/technomancer and the rigger. Such a team can hit nodes stealthily and open doors, cancel alarms and have the building work for the pc's instead of against them. Mage has drones, spirits and watchers. They do scouting. And yes, mage has drones: He relies on Pilot agents and good matrix security measures, this relieves the team's rigger's commlink on less critical drones -sensor pods, easy to maneuver fly-spies, repeater drones, etc-. He also has tons of sensors on his person that feed him intel on surroundings. They can bypass almost any barrier: both can shoot, one can deal with astral badies and the other matrix threats.

C.3) Etiquette and Athletics.
This is the easy part as rarely the Samurai is also the face of the group. He needs so much in physical attributes that charisma is his -usually- dumpstat. Athletics are almost a moot point, since either it can be covered with magic (levitate instead of climb), and even if you have tons of it you'll need to help the team members that don't have it.

As an ending paragraph I'd like to say that a team of 'runners is best covered when you make slightly redundant, heavily supported characters. Don't be master of one, jack-of none. Generalists, when supported by another character who can do similar thing -maybe with abit less expertise than you-, can go over the specialised and in more situations (E.g: Mages with a bt of infiltration, athletics and computer. Also some driving skill could be nice, or easily covered with Pilot agents) . They can tackle variability and adapt easier, this kind of team build focuses on specially talented team members (technomancers, mages, adepts) and highly technological users (Hackers, Riggers). These guys, with the resources a sammy spends on his body, can easily overcome huge threats.
As a side note, software and computer skills would be a must for this runner team. As well as technical and programming skills: the team will eventually want tobe able to produce items, software and other goodies -desktop forges, programming suites, forgery for some extra cash, etc-. The sammy takes the place of a valuable team member and doesn't offer much.
Machiavelli
I remember one sentence from an old weapons book. I think it was in version 2 where somebody said to an all-purpose-HMG that he didn´t knew something like that could have more purposes than killing people. That is exactly what the sammy is for, and if you have one, it is never a loss. Like every other character-type, if you have one: good. If not, it could work with additional abilities of comrades in the team. But not as good as with the sammy. I like my sams around me, they do their job great and for all the other stuff, we have other character-types. The more skills you buy out of your speciality, the more you suck in your field of work. Its a walk on a thin line. I would keep the old order.^^
counterveil
For me it's almost mostly a flavor thing. We're playing in 2052 using SR4 rules, so magic is rare®, to my understanding. To that end I *requested* that we only have 1 or 2 magic-capable characters in a group of 6. We ended up with 2 mages, 1 adept and 3 varied sammy-like characters...go figure. As it turned out, the 2 mages never come to game, so it's mostly a gunbunny-style group. Due to the way I run the game (varied scenarios and no power creep on NPCs), our gunbunnies have opted to spread their skillset instead of specializing so much since they can easily get away with medium-to-high skill levels.

Are they still sammies? Sure - but the operating realities dictated to them by my GMing style have pushed them more towards generalization and redundancy and less towards the classic specialization of the rocked-out, hardcore, eat-my-fist Street Samurai of classic Shadowrun. Well, except for the full-limb-torso-head replacement tank, but he's just fun as hell. So we end up with a pistol-adept moving towards face skills, a heavy-weapons samurai moving towards piloting and demolitions, and a combat-hacker-medic improving his weapons skills.

From a numbers and purely analytical perspective? Sure, I'll concede on most of your points, but everyone has a different style of play and each GM has different ways of running their campaign. For me, there will always be room for the "Samurai" in my games.
Inncubi
Shortly after I posted I kept thinking that where Sammies really shone were as independent, individual runners. The others need a team to shine, and have it become more than the sum of its parts -basically my argument in the above post-. A sammie is one of the characters with the highest chances to survive and thrive on his own on the streets, for the exact same reasons as before: Sure a drone can shoot, but the sammie doesn't need the tech to do so. He is, by himself a weapon, and there's a market for that in the shadows.

So, I'd say that sammies are still there only working as independent agents more than part of a team, in, obviously, the contracts that they are good at. Possibly not going to bust any wards at the magic research facility, but they can hunt a missing corp child and bring him back.

Oh and yep, the Stoner-Ares 107 HMG from the Street Sammie Catalog, the swiss army knife of killing people.
Screaming Eagle
The team I am currently running has a near totally combat dedicated Phy-ad - a Sammi for most purposes. Killing hands, mystic armor, critical strike, some more mystic armor, some more critical strike and berserk. He would have been more effective, points and raw damage wise, had he gone straight cyberware so I think he's relevant to your argument.

I, as the poor GM, don't get notice till last minute if this machine of pain is avalaible so I typically scale the opposition for his presence/ believablity, I scale it rough, they've got good guns, decent skill and are oft trigger happy. When he doesn't show the team cannot "kick in the door", an option he not only opens for the team but activly endorses where it is not obviously stupid. Most of them have some compotency at combat, but not enough to go toe to toe with any decently sized slice of security onsite for any but the "easiest" of runs. So they have to be extra careful - a margin of error has been removed. They can typically get away with setting the alarms off once they are most of the way out, but if they set them off on the way in its bust without the meat-shield berserker. Can they do the run without him? Heck yes. Then again they usually manage without needing the medics skills and "can do the run without him". Missing out on the mage one week was a real blow but they managed.
Larme
QUOTE (Inncubi @ Jun 10 2009, 12:55 PM) *
C.1) Rifleman and Knife-man:
Sammies shoot very nicely, so you want one on your team. They also take damage, instead of squishy mage. Drones can do this, and even more efficiently. They don't need patching up, can be reapired if the team has someone with mechanics and can be optimised much cheaper than the cyberware a Street Sam carries. For sensors you can add and mix and share information from lots of little robots. On the other hand if your Steel Lynx is shot beyond repairs you don't go al guilt ridden for stripping it of base components and sell them to a junkyard. A Sammy is a pal, an alive team member who also needs to be taken care of -like squishy mage-. In a pinch I'd rather have the dornes do more shooting instead of the Sammy if just to make sure my friend doens't get hurt.


A steel lynx is a lot more limited than a street samurai in combat. It can't take cover in most places, it can't navigate all types of terrain, it can't jump, can't squeeze through narrow spaces... It also is going to have a much worse defense pool. A drone is going to me limited to Response + Dodge with a jumped in pilot, and Response caps at 6. A samurai, on the other hand, has Reaction that caps at 9, plus a possible 6 gymnastics, + 3 synthacardium, + 1 enhanced articulation, + 1 reflex recorder, + 2 Reakt... Under extreme duress, in other words, your shooter goes down if it's a drone, but is less likely to go down if it's a streetsam.

QUOTE
Close combat is a tricky one, but a summoned spirit can usually do the trick. Also an Adept or mystic adept, that can initiate and get nifty powers during play, can replace the sammy. Yes, they will not have all the dice the sammy has, and they may, at the start, be less powerful than him. But each can outgrow by far the sammy for practical reasons. The adept can support astrally with perception and a weapon focus, and can also carve enemy martial artists. For a gunbunny adept there is pure win, since they can combine magic and shooting for huge exploding dice. The mystic adept has some minor sorcery and conjuring to aid in his "Close Combatiness", and after a while, with functional spells this guy supports a lot the group (he has utility spells like analyze device, detect enemies, Detect RFID tag and Wreck RFID tag, for a magical tag eraser which does take care of stealth and reinforced RFID's). He can also initiate, and get nifty metamagic.


Adepts are impractical as a concept without cyberware. Some day, maybe after a year of game play, an uncybered adept can exceed a starting streetsam. But as far as I'm concerned, combat adepts are just a subset of street samurai because they have some cool abilities, but need at least some cyber to start out decently. Yeah, it's true that the Adept will some day be better, but not to such a degree that it matters IMO. The streetsam can start out so close to the top of her game that she'll never become obsolete, even after years of gameplay. And after years of gameplay, the Adept might have exceeded the streetsam at her one or two focused skills, while the streetsam will have every skill you'd ever need. You can't discount the usefulness of versatility.

I'm not sure what you mean about Adepts being able to carve enemy martial artists. Why is that good? Carving in general is highly inefficient. You want to shoot/blow up enemy martial artists. Guns give you multiple attacks per round at high DV with good AP, rolling skill + attribute against enemy Reaction. Martial arts give you just one attack per round, with skill + attribute vs. skill + attribute. Close combat is never efficient except when you're using it on Surprise as a silent takedown -- the counter to martial arts is guns.


QUOTE
The Combat Hacker does a lot the sammy can do, add some skillwires and he's also incredibly versatile. Just see how the Lieutenants on mook groups are hackers /and/ warriors (SR4, BBB, pp.275 and 276). Same, and even better, is the combat technomancer, who uses agents and sprites to support the other team members, has a nigh unhackable brain -except by other virtuakinetics- and can go through submersion.


You're forgetting SR4A's change -- skillsofts cost rating x 10000. You might as well cross them off the list, they're ok to have, but generally too expensive to be practical.

Combat technomancer? What are you smoking? Yeah, technomancers can become hacking gods, but that costs them ALL their BP and ALL their karma. You're never going to see a combat technomancer unless you play the same character for years.

And it's true that combat hackers are sweet, they'll just never have the combat versatility that a streetsam has, because so much of their resources goes into hacking and not combat. In a truly heavy combat situation, the hacker folds, but the streetsam is in her element.

QUOTE
The Rigger -or Drone and vehicle hacker- can do a lot of the aforementioned, plus scouting, driving, all of this keeping at a safe distance form harm. He's an artillerist, air support and get-away pal rolled into one. Again, his drones make the need for a Sammy pretty much a thing of the past.


Drones can't get anywhere near the dice pool of a streetsam. And no, riggers do not combine stealth and combat. Streetsams do -- they can fight like devils while also being sneaky. For riggers, it's either or -- either you send the tiny, worthless drone that's quiet, or you send the big bad drone that can't be damaged, but also sets off every alarm from here to Albuquerque. There's no such thing as a well armed and armored drone that's also quiet. If you send any drone with less than 20 damage resistance dice, you're going to lose it in any kind of dangerous situation.

QUOTE
C.2) The Stealth Issue:
Now, you need to get inside a facility, with narrow corridors and do a classic extraction scenario. You can't send with waves of drones, armies of spirits or hack-and-slash your way inside. You need a Samurai to support you once inside, if the going gets tough. I say wrong, with a caveat: I have to accept this is one of the scenarios where having one wouldn't hurt. However, the Combat Hacker, and you want him inside in many cases so he takes care of maglocks and maintains the team's node going, can stealth himself inside as well. Just get him the skill or the Skillsoft for it.


I think you're overestimating the combat hacker, or thinking about some pretty soft facilities. I made a pretty badass combat hacker, but the only way to do it was to make huge sacrifices. She can stealth and hack and fight, but to do that she had to take Logic 1 and no Hardware skill. Combat hackers can be powerful and versatile, but they cannot be universal. At least, not with the SR4A cost increase in skillsofts. In previous errata versions you might be right, but not anymore.

QUOTE
Now, suppose the extraction team is composed with one mage and one Combat hacker. Outside there's teh rest of the team: another hacker/technomancer and the rigger. Such a team can hit nodes stealthily and open doors, cancel alarms and have the building work for the pc's instead of against them. Mage has drones, spirits and watchers. They do scouting. And yes, mage has drones: He relies on Pilot agents and good matrix security measures, this relieves the team's rigger's commlink on less critical drones -sensor pods, easy to maneuver fly-spies, repeater drones, etc-. He also has tons of sensors on his person that feed him intel on surroundings. They can bypass almost any barrier: both can shoot, one can deal with astral badies and the other matrix threats.


I don't know why everyone thinks watchers are so great. Something's just attractive about the word "watcher," I guess. But with all around 1's, they don't even have the Perception to notice anything beyond the obvious.

Mage has drones? Lol. I've never seen nor heard of a mage who can afford drones, let alone drones with souped up Pilots, and Agents to deal with the hacking. That's just impossible. Maybe some day after years of running, if instead of buying foci to become a good mage, you buy programs to become a shitty hacker and rigger. Not an efficient use of resources though, IMO.

Again, you're overselling both the combat mage and the combat hacker. Neither is bad, but neither is as all-powerful as you claim, especially not starting out of chargen. The streetsam can deal with spirits just fine as long as he brings stick-n-shock, WP grenades, zapper rockets, or any number of things. The hacker is always good, but the mage is optional -- only once in a blue moon will you encounter a magical threat that a street samurai truly cannot handle. Against spirits, it's halve the armor and shock them to hell, and against enemy mages, it's go first and geek them.

Your argument is not based on realstic assessments of other build types. You're combining an overstatement of mages and hackers with a critique of the limitations in a samurai's build. You're also making an artificial distinction between combat adepts and sammies, even though the sammy starts out a lot better and the two fulfill nearly the same role. You're also making riggers into gods by pretending that a whole army of really limited drones (i.e. small ones that can sneak and big ones that can fight) somehow creates a cohesive whole that's better than a streetsam (who can bring drones of his own, mind you, if he feels like it). And finally, you're creating a false choice between a samurai and some other more versatile builds. What if your team has a hacker, a mage, and a rigger? Would you prefer another hacker, another mage, or another rigger?

Finally, the worst fallacy of your argument is that you're defining street samurai narrowly, as characters that only have a narrow set of abilities. And then you're defining every other build as broadly as possible -- the hacker is also a combat expert, the mage is also a hacker and a rigger (lol)... Shadowrun is a classless system, no matter your archetype. Samurai can be just as versatile as anyone else. To the extent your critique has any meaning at all, it is to point out that single-focus characters are generally less useful than versatile ones. Duh. Next please.
Adarael
Disclaimer: this is my personal take.

The Street Samurai is the consummate Runner. Shadowrunning, black ops, terrorism and counter-terrorism are his profession. He is the swiss army knife of any team. While others are specialists in roles the ronin dabbles in, the ronin is generally not a master of any one field. The ronin's mastery lies in his adaptability. Is a door locked that the hacker is too busy to open? The ronin can crack it, or force it open with enhanced muscles, or blow it down with a charge. Is there an enemy security team? The ronin can shoot them, or use his implants, or beat them to death with his hands. The ronin can hear and see better, can react as fast or faster, and can infiltrate in ways inconvenient for most others. Are you being jammed? A ronin can use electronics warfare suites to counteract it on the fly, if the hacker is engaged in a node... or he can go into autistic mode, and approach undetected. Is someone lacking a skill that's needed? That's ok; the ronin has a chip for that and the skillwires to run it. And at the end of the day, if you need someone who can wade into a cloud of chlorine gas, bullets, and hatchet-wielding maniacs, the ronin has the chops to do it, survive, and absorb all the hits.

The ronin isn't a specialist - most of the time - but he can do almost any job.
Inncubi
QUOTE (Larme @ Jun 10 2009, 01:00 PM) *
A steel lynx is a lot more limited than a street samurai in combat. It can't take cover in most places, it can't navigate all types of terrain, it can't jump, can't squeeze through narrow spaces... It also is going to have a much worse defense pool. A drone is going to me limited to Response + Dodge with a jumped in pilot, and Response caps at 6. A samurai, on the other hand, has Reaction that caps at 9, plus a possible 6 gymnastics, + 3 synthacardium, + 1 enhanced articulation, + 1 reflex recorder, + 2 Reakt... Under extreme duress, in other words, your shooter goes down if it's a drone, but is less likely to go down if it's a streetsam.


A steel lynx doesn't bleed, a steel lynx can be bought and sold, a steel lynx can be four steel lynxes. They, with walker mods, can take cover pretty much as good as any characterand are shorter. Better than a character stat-wise? Certainly not, that wasn't my argument in any case. Can they take teh role of main shooter. Yes, and that was my argument. You don't /need/ all those augmentations to get the job done. You help, but can be done without in a very efficient way, enough that the role can be taken.

QUOTE (Larme @ Jun 10 2009, 01:00 PM) *
Adepts are impractical as a concept without cyberware. Some day, maybe after a year of game play, an uncybered adept can exceed a starting streetsam. But as far as I'm concerned, combat adepts are just a subset of street samurai because they have some cool abilities, but need at least some cyber to start out decently. Yeah, it's true that the Adept will some day be better, but not to such a degree that it matters IMO. The streetsam can start out so close to the top of her game that she'll never become obsolete, even after years of gameplay. And after years of gameplay, the Adept might have exceeded the streetsam at her one or two focused skills, while the streetsam will have every skill you'd ever need. You can't discount the usefulness of versatility.

I'm not sure what you mean about Adepts being able to carve enemy martial artists. Why is that good? Carving in general is highly inefficient. You want to shoot/blow up enemy martial artists. Guns give you multiple attacks per round at high DV with good AP, rolling skill + attribute against enemy Reaction. Martial arts give you just one attack per round, with skill + attribute vs. skill + attribute. Close combat is never efficient except when you're using it on Surprise as a silent takedown -- the counter to martial arts is guns.


I know that to start "decently" is to have godloads of dice to roll. Specially on optimized builds that are specialized. Street Samurais shine on this as they can take huge ammounts of goodies towards this end. Beyond that they don't provide for extra nifty goodies (like warding). The Adept doesn't need to surpass the Samurai in every skill, he should be able to just perform effciently. As for they being something like a street samurai, I said on my disclaimer that many of these arguments stand, in fact, also regarding adepts. Take that to almost every combat-focused build, in deterrence to have a versatile ammount of abilities. I never took away the usefulness of versatility. The contrary is true, I think a team that is composed of versatile runners has no need for the sammy, in its tradiitonal combat monster role.

So as to close-combat efficiency, it depends on the situation as someitmes you don't want to shoot anyone. But I agree with you that its not the best way to "deal" with opposition. However when it becomes crucial the adept can do it adequately, taking over the sammy's role.


QUOTE (Larme @ Jun 10 2009, 01:00 PM) *
You're forgetting SR4A's change -- skillsofts cost rating x 10000. You might as well cross them off the list, they're ok to have, but generally too expensive to be practical.


That, I am. I don't have SR4A. I mean from a SR4 point of view. Point is yours.

QUOTE (Larme @ Jun 10 2009, 01:00 PM) *
Combat technomancer? What are you smoking? Yeah, technomancers can become hacking gods, but that costs them ALL their BP and ALL their karma. You're never going to see a combat technomancer unless you play the same character for years.

And it's true that combat hackers are sweet, they'll just never have the combat versatility that a streetsam has, because so much of their resources goes into hacking and not combat. In a truly heavy combat situation, the hacker folds, but the streetsam is in her element.


Combat technomancers don't need to roll as many dice as the sammy, they will start weak but can be built into a nice addition to the party. Yes they have to be built though and go through submersion once or twice before being able to stand up to heavy fire. Now the technomancer, with decent dodge, say 3, and automatics at 3 plus specialization can survive enough to become a pain in the ass.

However given your arguments I just have to grant this pint as well. A Combat technomancer is not as good a fighter as a samurai. He can, though, get the submersion thing about skillwires and wired reflexes eventually too.

QUOTE (Larme @ Jun 10 2009, 01:00 PM) *
Drones can't get anywhere near the dice pool of a streetsam. And no, riggers do not combine stealth and combat. Streetsams do -- they can fight like devils while also being sneaky. For riggers, it's either or -- either you send the tiny, worthless drone that's quiet, or you send the big bad drone that can't be damaged, but also sets off every alarm from here to Albuquerque. There's no such thing as a well armed and armored drone that's also quiet. If you send any drone with less than 20 damage resistance dice, you're going to lose it in any kind of dangerous situation.


For riggers its either, or? I don't agree, many mods on drones makes them viable stealthers. True you can't be an artillerist /and/ a ninja. Neither can teh sammi: He doesn't shoot his assault rifle as silently as he does his silenced Predator. But Riggers /can/ survey the nodes, serve as backup hacker, command agents and check the sensors. And they can have the lynxes shoot when drek hits the fan -and they don't suffer from recoil, without having to pimp their guns-.

QUOTE (Larme @ Jun 10 2009, 01:00 PM) *
I think you're overestimating the combat hacker, or thinking about some pretty soft facilities. I made a pretty badass combat hacker, but the only way to do it was to make huge sacrifices. She can stealth and hack and fight, but to do that she had to take Logic 1 and no Hardware skill. Combat hackers can be powerful and versatile, but they cannot be universal. At least, not with the SR4A cost increase in skillsofts. In previous errata versions you might be right, but not anymore.


I never asked for universal, just versatile. And I'm sure you can make a decent combat hacker with logic 3 or 4. Just get agility, strength and reaciton into the 3-4 range. On the other hand, I know how your "optimized builds" look. he probably was scary. As hell. I say, you don't to be /that/ scary to get the job done, and enjoy the beenfits of more things to do as a team asset besides shooting.

QUOTE (Larme @ Jun 10 2009, 01:00 PM) *
I don't know why everyone thinks watchers are so great. Something's just attractive about the word "watcher," I guess. But with all around 1's, they don't even have the Perception to notice anything beyond the obvious.


Useful, minor intel gatherers and watchdogs. Not universal machines of über destruction.



Inncubi
QUOTE (Larme @ Jun 10 2009, 01:00 PM) *
Mage has drones? Lol. I've never seen nor heard of a mage who can afford drones, let alone drones with souped up Pilots, and Agents to deal with the hacking. That's just impossible. Maybe some day after years of running, if instead of buying foci to become a good mage, you buy programs to become a shitty hacker and rigger. Not an efficient use of resources though, IMO.


The souped up come from the teams hacker and technomancer, and rigger. My point about this is to establish a strong team sinergy. A mage can command drones to go on autopilot and act, gather information and, again, shoot. they don't jump in. You are underselling the ability of autosofts a a decent, read 4, Pilot.

QUOTE (Larme @ Jun 10 2009, 01:00 PM) *
Again, you're overselling both the combat mage and the combat hacker. Neither is bad, but neither is as all-powerful as you claim, especially not starting out of chargen. The streetsam can deal with spirits just fine as long as he brings stick-n-shock, WP grenades, zapper rockets, or any number of things.The hacker is always good, but the mage is optional -- only once in a blue moon will you encounter a magical threat that a street samurai truly cannot handle. Against spirits, it's halve the armor and shock them to hell, and against enemy mages, it's go first and geek them.


Then stealth is out, specially with the zapper rockets. Banish, stunbolt or your friendly physad does the job just fine, and with less noise.
The mage has utility spells, like analyze device cst as a service form one his spirits and turn the hacker into a great hacking machine. The sam doesn't.

QUOTE (Larme @ Jun 10 2009, 01:00 PM) *
Your argument is not based on realstic assessments of other build types. You're combining an overstatement of mages and hackers with a critique of the limitations in a samurai's build. You're also making an artificial distinction between combat adepts and sammies, even though the sammy starts out a lot better and the two fulfill nearly the same role. You're also making riggers into gods by pretending that a whole army of really limited drones (i.e. small ones that can sneak and big ones that can fight) somehow creates a cohesive whole that's better than a streetsam (who can bring drones of his own, mind you, if he feels like it). And finally, you're creating a false choice between a samurai and some other more versatile builds. What if your team has a hacker, a mage, and a rigger? Would you prefer another hacker, another mage, or another rigger?


My argument is not about build types, and I said so at the start of the thread. Its about a character's role in a team. About adepts and sammies, read above, I already answered the issue. True about the sammie bringing drones, hopefully he will. And in that team you are proposing I'd say a second mage, a technomancer or a mystic adept, thank you very much. And from the three choices you give, mage, hands down.

QUOTE (Larme @ Jun 10 2009, 01:00 PM) *
Finally, the worst fallacy of your argument is that you're defining street samurai narrowly, as characters that only have a narrow set of abilities. And then you're defining every other build as broadly as possible -- the hacker is also a combat expert, the mage is also a hacker and a rigger (lol)...


Alright, this is your best argument. i think I may have commited the mistake of defining the samurai to narrowly, regarding the other characters. My bad. True. In any case I still think that for a team its better to have more mages, more hackers or a technomancer on a team with those roles already filled in -again for the sinergy it creates- than a samurai. What's more, since every character in Sahdowrun -or the huge, vast majority- will have some decent, passable combat skills, you don't need the samurai for the basic role he's supposed to fulfill. you can have other characters that can fight well enough that the team beats the opposition, and still do a myriad other things.

QUOTE (Larme @ Jun 10 2009, 01:00 PM) *
Shadowrun is a classless system, no matter your archetype. Samurai can be just as versatile as anyone else. To the extent your critique has any meaning at all, it is to point out that single-focus characters are generally less useful than versatile ones. Duh. Next please.


I agree, and yes you got my point. Except for the "Duh. Next please." No need to get high and mighty. But also one thing you missed: the samurai can be versatile, but other characters exploit much better that versatility than the sammy. Mage and hacker mainly, as they can serve as face (elven face shaman, anyone?) buff the teams defenses, program software and/or sumon spirits.

In any case I really liked Adarael's post.
Mx
QUOTE (Inncubi @ Jun 10 2009, 10:23 PM) *
you can have other characters that can fight well enough that the team beats the opposition, and still do a myriad other things.

Except when they don't and your whole team is dead, just becouse you decided that "No, we don't really need a combat specialist, we rather have a second hacker".
The Jake
This same argument could be mounted for armed conflicts and the use of soldiers. "Why not use spirits or drones?"

Bottom line: there will always be a need for a man on the ground skilled in guns, stealth, combat. His skills/trappings/role and responsibilities may change but he will always exist.

- J.
Larme
QUOTE (Inncubi @ Jun 10 2009, 02:23 PM) *
A steel lynx doesn't bleed, a steel lynx can be bought and sold, a steel lynx can be four steel lynxes. They, with walker mods, can take cover pretty much as good as any characterand are shorter. Better than a character stat-wise? Certainly not, that wasn't my argument in any case. Can they take teh role of main shooter. Yes, and that was my argument. You don't /need/ all those augmentations to get the job done. You help, but can be done without in a very efficient way, enough that the role can be taken.


Four steel lynxes? Sure, but you'll need four vans to transport them, and probably divine intervention to survive the FRT coming down on you like a ton of bricks.

But your main point, that sammies don't need all those dice, that depends on the power level of the run. It might be true in the Shadowrun that you play, or even the Shadowrun that most people play. But I'd question why a streetsam who's overmodified for combat would be sent on jobs that can't challenge him? For killing rentacops, you can use anything, they suck. If your opponents are Red Samurai or worse, however, those extra dice might become exceedingly important, and the ability to sneak, hide, and be mobile might become a lot more valuable than the ability to be made of metal and expendable.

QUOTE
I know that to start "decently" is to have godloads of dice to roll. Specially on optimized builds that are specialized. Street Samurais shine on this as they can take huge ammounts of goodies towards this end. Beyond that they don't provide for extra nifty goodies (like warding). The Adept doesn't need to surpass the Samurai in every skill, he should be able to just perform effciently. As for they being something like a street samurai, I said on my disclaimer that many of these arguments stand, in fact, also regarding adepts. Take that to almost every combat-focused build, in deterrence to have a versatile ammount of abilities. I never took away the usefulness of versatility. The contrary is true, I think a team that is composed of versatile runners has no need for the sammy, in its tradiitonal combat monster role.

So as to close-combat efficiency, it depends on the situation as someitmes you don't want to shoot anyone. But I agree with you that its not the best way to "deal" with opposition. However when it becomes crucial the adept can do it adequately, taking over the sammy's role.


Because of all the points Adepts spend on magic, they are of necessity less versatile than even a samurai. This efficiency you speak of is out of their reach. A combat adept is less, not more vesatile than a sammy, because the sammy doesn't have to spend 50+ points on magic and the Adept quality.

QUOTE
Combat technomancers don't need to roll as many dice as the sammy, they will start weak but can be built into a nice addition to the party. Yes they have to be built though and go through submersion once or twice before being able to stand up to heavy fire. Now the technomancer, with decent dodge, say 3, and automatics at 3 plus specialization can survive enough to become a pain in the ass.

However given your arguments I just have to grant this pint as well. A Combat technomancer is not as good a fighter as a samurai. He can, though, get the submersion thing about skillwires and wired reflexes eventually too.


That is not a combat technomancer. That is an "omygodpleasedontkillme" technomancer. 3 dodge is not enough to avoid a shot by triad thugs, even. All technomancers are matrix based, their physical abilities of necessity are next to useless because technomancy costs so many BP. In other words, there is no such thing as a combat technomancer. You cannot, ever, in any way, replace a samurai's combat abilities with a technomancer's. A combat hacker, maybe, but never a technomancer. Not one who's any good at hacking, anyway.

QUOTE
For riggers its either, or? I don't agree, many mods on drones makes them viable stealthers. True you can't be an artillerist /and/ a ninja. Neither can teh sammi: He doesn't shoot his assault rifle as silently as he does his silenced Predator. But Riggers /can/ survey the nodes, serve as backup hacker, command agents and check the sensors. And they can have the lynxes shoot when drek hits the fan -and they don't suffer from recoil, without having to pimp their guns-.


Steel lynx is the minimum size of drone that can engage in combat without getting blown up near-instantly, anything smaller lacks the armor to survive a powerful shot. It can never be stealthy in any meaningful way. It's big, it's nasty, unmaneuverable, and unquiet.

QUOTE
I never asked for universal, just versatile. And I'm sure you can make a decent combat hacker with logic 3 or 4. Just get agility, strength and reaciton into the 3-4 range. On the other hand, I know how your "optimized builds" look. he probably was scary. As hell. I say, you don't to be /that/ scary to get the job done, and enjoy the beenfits of more things to do as a team asset besides shooting.


Again, it all depends on what power level you're playing at. What is "the job?" If the job is not that hard, then sure a combat hacker can do it. My own combat hacker has 16 dice for pistols, and 19 dice for ranged dodge. But she still has glaring holes which means she couldn't go through what a sammy could -- he body isn't great, she has no athletics skills, and she only knows one category of gun with any real skill. She can substitute for a samurai on a milk run, or even a relatively tough run, but not in a real hardcore situation. What you're saying is that you don't need samurai because you don't need anyone who's capable of fending off military grade threats. My response is: how do you know?
Larme
QUOTE (Inncubi @ Jun 10 2009, 02:23 PM) *
The souped up come from the teams hacker and technomancer, and rigger. My point about this is to establish a strong team sinergy. A mage can command drones to go on autopilot and act, gather information and, again, shoot. they don't jump in. You are underselling the ability of autosofts a a decent, read 4, Pilot.


Right, but a mage can't afford a drone with souped up stats and autosofts. They need 100% of their chargen resources to start out as good mages, and 100% of their post-chargen resources to become better mages. Anyone can have a drone on their team, but where does it come from, the drone fairy? If anyone has enough money to bring drones with them, it's probably the samurai, not the mage.

QUOTE
Then stealth is out, specially with the zapper rockets. Banish, stunbolt or your friendly physad does the job just fine, and with less noise.
The mage has utility spells, like analyze device cst as a service form one his spirits and turn the hacker into a great hacking machine. The sam doesn't.


Sure, mages are the best anti-magic. That doesn't mean that a samurai can't fight magic, and it doesn't mean that you'd always rather have a mage than a samurai. Given the option, every team would like to have a mage. But guess what the best anti-mage is? That's right, a samurai. Samurai goes first, shoots mage, spirit departs. Even the twinkiest combat mages I've built would not survive a face-to-face with a streetsam. Not that they always fight face to face, but my point is, each one counters the other. Neither is unecessary. The only way to protect a sammy from being geeked by magic is to bring a mage, and the only way to protect a mage from being geeked by a samurai is to bring a samurai. You need both to have a complete team, not one or the other.

QUOTE
Alright, this is your best argument. i think I may have commited the mistake of defining the samurai to narrowly, regarding the other characters. My bad. True. In any case I still think that for a team its better to have more mages, more hackers or a technomancer on a team with those roles already filled in -again for the sinergy it creates- than a samurai. What's more, since every character in Sahdowrun -or the huge, vast majority- will have some decent, passable combat skills, you don't need the samurai for the basic role he's supposed to fulfill. you can have other characters that can fight well enough that the team beats the opposition, and still do a myriad other things.


More than one mage is largely surplusage, and more than one hacker is almost certainly. The samurai does have a basic niche that nobody, except a combat adept (who's just another kind of samurai) can fill. The most important thing a sammy does, IMO, is protect the team from other sammies. The rest of the team might be able to handle themselves against grunts, but if a Prime Runner assassin shows up, you'd better have that muscle on your side or you're all dead. Your post assumes that the runs are going to have a consistent, not-too-oppressive difficulty level. I don't think there's any reason to expect that in a given game of Shadowrun, unless you already know what your GM likes to run, or unless you have a pre-game understanding about the maximum power level.

QUOTE
I agree, and yes you got my point. Except for the "Duh. Next please." No need to get high and mighty. But also one thing you missed: the samurai can be versatile, but other characters exploit much better that versatility than the sammy. Mage and hacker mainly, as they can serve as face (elven face shaman, anyone?) buff the teams defenses, program software and/or sumon spirits.

In any case I really liked Adarael's post.


Again, mages are the *least* versatile archetype because they literally have 0% left over resources to spend on other stuff at chargen. And if they spend their post-chargen resources on becoming versatile, they'll soon be outstripped by other mages. You don't design your team just so it can defeat rentacops, you have to imagine the chance that a Prime Runner or a team of them would show up. What would you do then? If everyone was half-this-half-that, if your combat was from a combat hacker and your rigging was fron a mage, you'd be fucked. You're right about efficiency, in an easy game setting. But you're wrong about efficiency in Shadowrun as a whole, because it is a quasi-realistic game world, containing not just rentacops, but threats that scale all the way up to the epic.
Dikotana
You're missing an interesting problem with the steel lynx. If it gets shot up, it's shot up. You pay to repair it. If it's shot up badly enough, you scrap it and buy another. Given the fact that no one will have any qualms killing drones and the fact that if you're packing steel lynxes security will come in with assault cannons I think this is likely to be a huge money sink.

Street samurai are tough if they're built right, but of course they'll get shot up too. But when they're injured, they'll very frequently fix their own problems with a (cheap) medkit and a few days' rest. Only when runs go direly wrong will they end up spending serious cash in a hospital.

And, well, what others said. A hacker can fill in for the lack of a street sam, sort of, but by the same reasoning a group without a hacker can have its hacker bone up on necessary skills and buy a decent commlink with the necessary programs. As good as a hacker? No, of course not, but probably enough to get some jobs done.

Finally, I wouldn't underestimate the benefits of a real human behind the eyes of the shooter. A drone's pilot just isn't as good as a person. A combat hacker can do the job himself, but even then his steel lynx isn't as mobile or as quick as the street sam.

Oh, and this is Shadowrun. If you don't have a samurai, you're doing it wrong.
Malachi
*shrug*

Shadowrun has no classes. Calling your character a "Street Sam" doesn't mean that you can only take shooting things and punching things skills. If your argument is that a character that can only shoot things and/or punch things is not needed that's fine. A good Street Sam build shouldn't be that narrow, anyway. However, it is also about play style. Some groups play SR with combat, a lot of combat. I prefer more stealth-based with sporadic, brief combat engagements, but YMMV. Play the game whatever style suits your fun-factor.
hobgoblin
QUOTE (The Jake @ Jun 10 2009, 11:34 PM) *
This same argument could be mounted for armed conflicts and the use of soldiers. "Why not use spirits or drones?"

Bottom line: there will always be a need for a man on the ground skilled in guns, stealth, combat. His skills/trappings/role and responsibilities may change but he will always exist.

- J.

unless your looking at a squad of AI's in anthroforms. But then i guess they can be comparable to a squad of men in heavy combat armor, or the equivalent with full cyberlimb replacement as a suite...
The Jake
QUOTE (hobgoblin @ Jun 10 2009, 11:00 PM) *
unless your looking at a squad of AI's in anthroforms. But then i guess they can be comparable to a squad of men in heavy combat armor, or the equivalent with full cyberlimb replacement as a suite...


You're not thinking laterally enough.

I am saying there will always be a need for a human with those skills. As I said, his role may change. You wouldn't send a soft/squishy human into those situations obviously. That's retarded.

But you will send him into situations where you need someone to slip past check points, drive down the street in a car without attracting the attention of law enforcement, pass through airport security, etc. Which I thought was the purpose of shadowrun.

Those items are very fixed in purpose and will never be as useful as a street samurai (or any suitable representation of an augmented combat wombat).

- J.

Jaid
i'm gonna have to agree with the opinion that you've defined street samurai too narrowly. a good street samurai is not just good at shooting things, stabbing things, and dodging various objects (pointy or not, high velocity or not) that would hurt them. a street samurai also has B&E/covert ops built-in, plus some face (not as much as the face of course, but at least decent con/etiquette). demolitions, the actual full stealth group (shadowing, disguise, and palming), athletics (climbing, running, and jumping especially) and other similar skills that most of the group won't have room for. even the less BP-intensive archetypes still won't have room for all of those *plus* combat.

sure, the samurai may not have those at incredibly high levels, but should still be able to perform a broad cross-section of skills that other people simply won't. a good street samurai should open up options other than just combat.
BlueMax
QUOTE (Malachi @ Jun 10 2009, 03:30 PM) *
*shrug*

Shadowrun has no classes. Calling your character a "Street Sam" doesn't mean that you can only take shooting things and punching things skills. If your argument is that a character that can only shoot things and/or punch things is not needed that's fine. A good Street Sam build shouldn't be that narrow, anyway. However, it is also about play style. Some groups play SR with combat, a lot of combat. I prefer more stealth-based with sporadic, brief combat engagements, but YMMV. Play the game whatever style suits your fun-factor.

I disagree. Shadowrun has three classes

Technomancer
Magical
Mundane
One cannot be a Magical TM. Mundane is a subclass, everyone else already has the benefits.

Most "Samurai" fall into Mundane with Cyberware, Heavy Cyberware.

The rest I agree with, even the description of preferred game.

BlueMad
The Jake
This is why I missed the old Merc archtypes. Former soldiers didn't have much 'ware but they were loaded to the eyeballs with skills making them a very flexible, highly coveted team asset.

SR4 has made the technology so ubiquitous that not going for cyber is gimping yourself severely.

Not that this is a bad thing necessarily, its clearly the logical progression from SR1. But it is a definite consequence that clearly emerges at character creation. It makes it obvious that a street samurai is now a much more flexible (and durable) concept than the older, grizzled but skilled merc veteran.

- J.
hobgoblin
glasses/googles and ear plugs loaded to max with sensory gear, comlink with tac soft and some extra external sensors, and use hit and fade tactics, as the wired party will win in a stand a slug it out confrontation...
The Jake
QUOTE (hobgoblin @ Jun 11 2009, 02:56 AM) *
glasses/googles and ear plugs loaded to max with sensory gear, comlink with tac soft and some extra external sensors, and use hit and fade tactics, as the wired party will win in a stand a slug it out confrontation...


In theory, sure.

In practise however, given how cheap basic, shitty Wired Reflexes are, it makes no sense for the military not to kit out even basic groundpounders with a minimum level of cyber. Unfortunately, using standard chargen rules, to create your typical SpecOps/Green Beret kind of guy, it simply isn't possible to give them justice.

- J.
CodeBreaker
I personally like the Role layout Runners Companion uses. Different roles, with different approaches to each of those roles. So I would consider a Street-Sam to be a Physical based Close Combat Specialist with some Fire Support and Infiltrator thrown in.

Sure, the Close Combat Specialist role can be filled with a Technological approach (Drones loaded with Armour and some really heavy modding), but the Street-Sam is probably more flexible and can fit the other two roles at the same time.
Meatbag
Just a little note? Getting all four IPs is expensive, either in nuyen.gif, Essence or both. It limits your choices rather severely, and most people that aren't dedicated Street Sams (I include Adepts here) won't go for them.

So yes, unless you're taking drugs or eating Edge on a regular basis, there's still a use for a highly dedicated killing machine.
BlueMax
QUOTE (Meatbag @ Jun 10 2009, 07:27 PM) *
Just a little note? Getting all four IPs is expensive, either in nuyen.gif, Essence or both. It limits your choices rather severely, and most people that aren't dedicated Street Sams (I include Adepts here) won't go for them.

So yes, unless you're taking drugs or eating Edge on a regular basis, there's still a use for a highly dedicated killing machine.


Two things, don't forget spells and foci. Sometimes the extra init passes are that useful. Like when you had to bring in limited gear.

BlueMax
hobgoblin
QUOTE (The Jake @ Jun 11 2009, 05:08 AM) *
In theory, sure.

In practise however, given how cheap basic, shitty Wired Reflexes are, it makes no sense for the military not to kit out even basic groundpounders with a minimum level of cyber. Unfortunately, using standard chargen rules, to create your typical SpecOps/Green Beret kind of guy, it simply isn't possible to give them justice.

- J.

maybe thats because the sr4 rules lean more towards street then elite out of the box? want more experienced characters from the go, up build points...
Inncubi
Alright, I have enough good arguments and am convinced. Yes there is still a role for the Samurai/muscle character in a party and can't be replaced with such ease as I initially proposed (Not that it can't, but then again I have seen good arguments towards replacing almost any other role).

Now, to spur a little more discussion. I have seen lots of argument towards versatility builds, but on the
build-a-character threads I see consistent excess of specialization. So I'd like to see, not down to building points unlesss you want to, the creation of your dream team. This means, take the freedom to design that team of runners that you'd love to commit crimes with.

Some basics:

*They work as a team and know each other. Hell, they are friends. Yes, it can happen in the shadows.
*Five people group.
*Roles they fit in and essential skills.
*"Realistic" characters. Try not to gimp a stat as they should be able to work as independent human beings (e.g. No Logic 1 hackers, who'd suffer from "Down's Syndrome", for example and thus heavily impaired on learning hacking skills).

This is not about making the most individual bad-ass Samurai/Hacker/Mage, but rather the best overall team possible where you see combined tactics and supplemental skills, where even after game, specially after starts, they can share programs, copy important software, and give goodies to their pals in order to limit weaknesses.

I'd say go for classic SR4, but if someone /has/ to go for SR4A, SR3, SR2 or even SR1, sure make yourself happy and do it.

My take would be:

They all have infiltration at 1, at least, combat hacker and Mystic adept higher, maybe even the whole stealth group.
Any and all mages have the Heal spell.

Rigger, maybe technomancer of the dronomancer stream, with decent hacking skills (Some Electronics, Electronic warfare, mechanic, and maybe cracking, these skills at 3 or 2 should suffice). Skillwires, if mundane, even without skillsofts at start can be a plus for enhanced learning experience and usually demands part of the pay in skillsofts. If technomancer he works his ass out into submersion to get the skillwire echo thing. If technomancer he's an elf to get that extra charisma and have more sprites. If possible get a paragon: Flow.

Elven Technomancer with some face abilities, probably a technoshaman with 01 as paragon or Idoru. Charisma is high for extra sprites. He later learns some vehicle skills to support the rigger's army of drones. He also cracks programs, downloads patches and gather intel. His sprites help usage of drones, driving and matrix security.

Elf shaman face with totem that enhances a social skill or perception skills: Dragonslayer, Moon Maiden, Owl, etc. Leans towards manipulation spells, detection spells and one, at most two combat spells. Analyze device to aid the hacker(s) in their matrix actions (cast it targeting their commlinks). His support comes from being mostly astral and having spirits.

Combat Hacker, probably ork or dwarf, serves as backup matrix baddie but main ability is to enter security facilities for on-site muscle and computer support. Also has some drones in his network (Rotodrones with silenced Hunting rifles can serve nicely as snipers in a pinch for very low prices). Agents for some eyes on the teams network and for making "Zerg swarm" attacks on networks. Also has skillwires, and works like the Rigger on this.

Mystic adept or full combat mage, any tradition that allows for spirits of man, going for combat support and muscle along the hacker, I'd lean towards ork, troll or dwarf on this guy, a decent charisma (3 or 4) for summoning a couple spirits and have them cast sustained spells like increase reflexes and increase attributes. His spells concentrate on a single direct damage spell but more going for utility combat spells (Physical barrier, increase reflexes, combat sense, etc). He is loaded with sensors down the hoop, has a few drones that work on autopilot. If he wants a totem I'd say Gryphon to aid in binding /any/ spirit he can summon. If mystic adept he relies a lot on spirits of man to do the casting of his spells, he need have sorcery only high enough to be able to start with the spells he needs; hell, make him an aspected towards conjuration to save some points. If full combat mage he still relies on the psirits but not as much.

Again, this not necessarily the BEST configuration, but my choice of team composition. The team can easily share the software they bought upon creation after the first adventure by cracking it, mages can assign spirits to other teammates to sustain spells, etc.

Eager to hear from you people.
BullZeye
5 man team of optimal job performance, eh?
1. "Street Sammy" - cybered up, full combat destruction machine (or a physAd, but I'd go for cyber). Can kill anything between 0-1000m without too much hassle. Can sneak somewhat and isn't a total ass in social situations, (This is actually my current char, though he's effective only to 500m as he has to temp as a face quite often. I'm proud of him biggrin.gif ) [Combat and stealth/social]
2. "The Mage" - Spellslinger and spirit summoner. Both utility and maybe stunbolt/ball as combat spell. Some secondary abilities a bonus: social or stealth, I'd go for the cliche elf face on this one biggrin.gif [Magic stuff and social/stealth/combat]
3. "The Hacker" - Codebreaker and pure hacking awesomeness, maybe even a TM. Some combat abilities if need to go on site on the job. Data miner and does a lot of the legwork over matrix. [Hacking and combat/stealth/social/tech]

With these 3, one can already cope, but the remaining two roles can be extremely useful on some occasions.

4. "The Rigger" - The guy/girl behind the wheels/wings/whatever. Remotely or behind the wheel, this one can pilot em all. Some basic data searching skills. and maybe one of the legworkers of the group. Maybe also a sniper to add versatility. [Piloting and combat/social/hacking/tech]
5. "The Stealth Specialist" - a.k.a. Ninja. This one can't be seen until it's too late. An adept or cybered up mundane. Lethal up to 50ish meters but whatever this one is doing, you can't see nor hear anything. Excels in B&E and stealth, good at fighting, rest of the skills by flavor. [Stealth and combat/hacking(B&E)/tech]

I didn't go too closely on the builds as there are so many ways to do them. These are just the rough outlines. On races, I'd say play what one wants but make sure the bonus attributes of the races aren't wasted. Like making a troll hacker smile.gif

The problem what I see on the "multiclassing" is that if you have the hyped up combat hacker, do you really want to risk him/her for "simple" stuff? We encountered this couple of times during the game and instead of sending the combat hacker, we agreed it's best that the street sammy goes outside to "negotiate" with the local gangers who just surrounded our van. Yes, a combat hacker and a combat mage can be really powerful, but when you add points to two separate skillsets, they both will suffer somewhat when comparing to a fully specialized character. What I mean with separate skillsets is to add skills that rely heavily on more than one attribute. There are ways to compensate but a character with high logic and charisma isn't going to cut it in combat, while they would be excellent in social and technical situations.

One or more characters in the team has to take the role of a face, one way or the other. This can be combined to almost any so it's more of "who wants to play the face?". Yes, this will alter the characters main abilities but I'd say every character in the group ought to be able to do two kinds of things, one with excellent proficiency and secondary at good or better. How and which ones to combine depends on the characters. I gave the examples of these pairings in [ ... ]'s on the character builds. Another "good to have" is also a medic. That can be made from almost any, but high logic is a bonus... or the mage with that type of healing. Both is the best option.
Larme
I exclude the stealth specialist. Hackers can do their job in most cases, they edit the cameras and turn off the alarms, and that's that.

My team would center around a rigger/hacker, who rigs an armored van with a turret for which serves as the mobile base and getaway vehicle. She has some inexpensive spy drones, and runs Matrix overwatch. I don't believe in drones being part of the team on a regular basis as far as combat goes, because they're so unsubtle, and quite inaccurate when acting on their own. In order to infiltrate, when a facility needs to be penetrated to access the network, the rigger/hacker could pilot an up-armored Horseman with rigger cocoon and/or personal armor for safety. Combat hackers are viable, but I think it's more efficient to combine the rigger and the hacker because they already have similar skillsets.

Next team member is the samurai. He's not just a retard who's good with guns though, he's also the scout. High agility makes Infiltration easy for him, high Intuition along with ultrawideband radar, attention coprocessor, and cybersenses lets him scout, and spot the enemies, sensors, etc.

Next is the mage, of course. No team worth its salt would go without magical support in SR4, it's practically suicidal. It doesn't really matter how you do the mage, with one caveat -- no Possession. The reason being that possessed mages can't use their own counterspelling and banishing. They could order a spirit to spell defend the other team members, but until they learned channeling, banishing would be right out. The mage's main job is to counter enemy magic, and possession is really all about killing, not magical defense. But in terms of spell and spirit sets it's no big deal how you cut it, as long as you've got 12+ drain dice and 12+ casting dice in your favorite school. If I had to pick, it would be Manipulation, since the sammy can already kill with guns, and Manipulation offers a new capability.

The next slot is the combat medic. High Logic lets him dual spec in first aid and B&E. He's really important to patch up the mage's drain, and anyone else who gets hurt. And of course he's a sammy in his own right, boosting the team's combat effectiveness.

And last of all is the face. Most of my faces would also be sammies, just with social pools of 12 or higher. You don't want a pure social person on the team -- even if they use Commanding Voice, that doesn't work on everything. It's better to be dual spec'd with guns, because those do work on everything, but you can't have a successful team with out at least one social person.
Blade
I've once played with an all-streetsamurai team and let me tell you we kicked some serious ass.

Start of the fight: me on a boat with 5 enemies and a gun pressed against my back, a turret in the boat is aimed at another boat where the rest of the team is. Some other enemy boats are closing in from behind.
Two combat turns later: we're unharmed, they're all dead.

I've never seen such an offense power in any regular team, except maybe with a heavy use of spirits.
Inncubi
QUOTE (BullZeye @ Jun 11 2009, 04:44 AM) *
The problem what I see on the "multiclassing" is that if you have the hyped up combat hacker, do you really want to risk him/her for "simple" stuff? We encountered this couple of times during the game and instead of sending the combat hacker, we agreed it's best that the street sammy goes outside to "negotiate" with the local gangers who just surrounded our van. Yes, a combat hacker and a combat mage can be really powerful, but when you add points to two separate skillsets, they both will suffer somewhat when comparing to a fully specialized character. What I mean with separate skillsets is to add skills that rely heavily on more than one attribute. There are ways to compensate but a character with high logic and charisma isn't going to cut it in combat, while they would be excellent in social and technical situations.


Well the hyped up hacker ought to do that, and its not so bad since you have the rigger as secondary hacker and the technomancer running on the node... So I don't see why this is a bad thing. And, about the combat mage, I'd say the same goes here: He's made so he can be in front lines -or near them, albeit behind cover-. Or better, have these guys stay in the van send the face/shaman out but with spirits as overwatch and the team looking after him. biggrin.gif.
BullZeye
QUOTE (Inncubi @ Jun 11 2009, 07:18 PM) *
Well the hyped up hacker ought to do that, and its not so bad since you have the rigger as secondary hacker and the technomancer running on the node... So I don't see why this is a bad thing. And, about the combat mage, I'd say the same goes here: He's made so he can be in front lines -or near them, albeit behind cover-. Or better, have these guys stay in the van send the face/shaman out but with spirits as overwatch and the team looking after him. biggrin.gif.

Yep, they are suppose to be near the front lines, but when a more risky situation comes, I wouldn't send either the hacker or mage to deal with a possibly easy looking situation which could then turn out to be a full blown battle. When the run is on, then those two semi-combatants have to earn their cred, but for example on the way to the mission you bump into some gangers, you don't want to put your only wildcard to the line (by wildcard, I mean the person who can turn the tables during the run) while the sammy could handle the situation with much less risk.

Sending the face/shaman is also risky, as one of the gangers could get a brainfart and blow the shaman's head off with a sawed off shotgun. That's why I like my sammy/face so much. He can go out and try to negotiate, intimidate or blow the opposition to pieces, all in one compact package. And it poses much less risk for the rest of the team smile.gif

So "multiclassing" is really good, but one has to consider what combination works the best in every situation. That combathacker is likely not able to hack the gangers street sweeper biggrin.gif And making a big scene with a mage just before the run can draw unwanted attention to the group.

@Larme
Yep, combat.face is probably one of the best options with combining social abilities. It gives the chance to go from negotiation to full bang in a heartbeat smile.gif
Inncubi

To be honest, after this thread, I think I play a very different form of Shadowrun than other dumpshockers. To the combat hyped character is secondary, while utility experts/socialites/stealthers/techies are the norm. My playing group relies heavily on technology: drone uses, layered matrix defenses, sprites and agents, nodes, repeaters, tacsofts, malware, software from Arsenal and Unwired to boot... Each has about two commlinks (sometimes even three) and at least have one Nexi (usually the drone kind) to handle all the subscriptions they have. Hell it looks like Daedalus Labyrinth, the party's node.

Anyway, back on my point: my games focus much more on how to /avoid/ combat using other skills, yes if it happens it pays to be prepared. But my players prefer to have combat as secondary specialties so they can simply avoid it most of the time, and so that when it happens they control the battlefield and not the enemy. Socially heavy, double dealings and grey areas its their expertise, and they cultivate contacts /everywhere/. So far each character has about 10 to 15, and none has connections higher than 4, but they ask favours, do favours, etc.

I may not be conveying adequately my idea, but let's just say that combat as I intuitively think many here play it is not how my table uses it. Like I said somewhere else: a single assault rifle implies about twenty carloads of reinforcements, a SWAT team or two and chopper reinforcements. So they try to keep their stars as low as possible.
DWC
I'm a big fan of keeping things low key. Sneak first, lie second, fight third. It just happens that I'm firmly in the camp that because Plan C is so all or nothing, you should be really good at it.
Larme
QUOTE (Inncubi @ Jun 11 2009, 02:53 PM) *
To be honest, after this thread, I think I play a very different form of Shadowrun than other dumpshockers. To the combat hyped character is secondary, while utility experts/socialites/stealthers/techies are the norm. My playing group relies heavily on technology: drone uses, layered matrix defenses, sprites and agents, nodes, repeaters, tacsofts, malware, software from Arsenal and Unwired to boot... Each has about two commlinks (sometimes even three) and at least have one Nexi (usually the drone kind) to handle all the subscriptions they have. Hell it looks like Daedalus Labyrinth, the party's node.

Anyway, back on my point: my games focus much more on how to /avoid/ combat using other skills, yes if it happens it pays to be prepared. But my players prefer to have combat as secondary specialties so they can simply avoid it most of the time, and so that when it happens they control the battlefield and not the enemy. Socially heavy, double dealings and grey areas its their expertise, and they cultivate contacts /everywhere/. So far each character has about 10 to 15, and none has connections higher than 4, but they ask favours, do favours, etc.

I may not be conveying adequately my idea, but let's just say that combat as I intuitively think many here play it is not how my table uses it. Like I said somewhere else: a single assault rifle implies about twenty carloads of reinforcements, a SWAT team or two and chopper reinforcements. So they try to keep their stars as low as possible.


The fact is, Shadowrun makes sneakiness hard and combat easy. Souped up samurai can kill ridiculously fast -- 3 passes per round, 4 with edge, can be up to 8 dead guys every 3 seconds. If you're that chromed up, you could cap 100 people in a minute or less, and that's just with a pistol. Let's not even talk about automatics are grenade launchers. Provided that you don't have a long way to travel, sometimes the best option is to break down the door, sticknshock all the guards, grab the macguffin, and go. You'll be gone with several minutes to spare before the cop sirens start to sound. But how do you sneak into a regular building? You need to do a lot of legwork, getting uniforms and ID badges, altering the schedule so it looks like you're supposed to be there, coming up with a non-suspicious way to give yourself the right clearance... Not that it can't be done, or it's a bad idea, but streetsams are so badass that a few of them can often blitz a facility and solve the run with a fraction of the time and nuyen expended on legwork.
Mx
My "dream team" would probably be:

1. Street samurai, the guy who can take and dis out a metric ton of damage. Heavily cybered and armed to the teeth. Preferably a Fomori, but normal Troll or even an Ork works okey.
He's the one who keeps the team alive when extrament hits the rotatory oscillator. grinbig.gif

2. Face, probably a cybered Dryad adept of the speakers way. The one who usually handless all negotions.

3. Techno shaman, with some social skills to act as a face if needed. Vanilla Elf or a Dryad. Has Idoru as a paragon.

4. Shaman or an other charisma traditions mage, with some social skills to act as a face if needed. Vanilla Elf or a Dryad. Can be combat mage if the team needs more fire power.

5. Combat face, a street sam/face hybrid, preferably a cybered up dryad with ware to support both functions. Teams main back-up face

The face can take some other support function or be replaced, if the team needs a trigger, medic or some other character type.
If the face is replaced by some other character type, the combat face becomes the teams main face.
HappyDaze
The ideal SR team...

4 x PCs of whatever mix interests the players and 1 x NPC hacker.

What can I say? In my experiences, the SR4 idea of integrating the hacker with the team has been a failure. There's just not too much interest in them overall in either my last group or my current group (although, in the case of the latter, it likely stems ffrom the fact that I made it rather clear from the beginning that a 110% hacker was not going to be a desireable character for hte game).
hobgoblin
QUOTE (Larme @ Jun 11 2009, 10:20 PM) *
The fact is, Shadowrun makes sneakiness hard and combat easy. Souped up samurai can kill ridiculously fast -- 3 passes per round, 4 with edge, can be up to 8 dead guys every 3 seconds. If you're that chromed up, you could cap 100 people in a minute or less, and that's just with a pistol. Let's not even talk about automatics are grenade launchers. Provided that you don't have a long way to travel, sometimes the best option is to break down the door, sticknshock all the guards, grab the macguffin, and go. You'll be gone with several minutes to spare before the cop sirens start to sound. But how do you sneak into a regular building? You need to do a lot of legwork, getting uniforms and ID badges, altering the schedule so it looks like you're supposed to be there, coming up with a non-suspicious way to give yourself the right clearance... Not that it can't be done, or it's a bad idea, but streetsams are so badass that a few of them can often blitz a facility and solve the run with a fraction of the time and nuyen expended on legwork.

do that enough and at best the johnsons will stop doing biz, corp ninjas may start raining down on the runners location, and lone star have orders to shoot on sight...
BlueMax
QUOTE (hobgoblin @ Jun 11 2009, 03:25 PM) *
do that enough and at best the johnsons will stop doing biz, corp ninjas may start raining down on the runners location, and lone star have orders to shoot on sight...


You realize that a certain segment of players would look forward to this result, yes?

BlueMax
/to each
//his own
The Jake
QUOTE (Mäx @ Jun 11 2009, 09:57 PM) *
My "dream team" would probably be:

1. Street samurai, the guy who can take and dis out a metric ton of damage. Heavily cybered and armed to the teeth. Preferably a Fomori, but normal Troll or even an Ork works okey.
He's the one who keeps the team alive when extrament hits the rotatory oscillator. grinbig.gif

2. Face, probably a cybered Dryad adept of the speakers way. The one who usually handless all negotions.

3. Techno shaman, with some social skills to act as a face if needed. Vanilla Elf or a Dryad. Has Idoru as a paragon.

4. Shaman or an other charisma traditions mage, with some social skills to act as a face if needed. Vanilla Elf or a Dryad. Can be combat mage if the team needs more fire power.

5. Combat face, a street sam/face hybrid, preferably a cybered up dryad with ware to support both functions. Teams main back-up face

The face can take some other support function or be replaced, if the team needs a trigger, medic or some other character type.
If the face is replaced by some other character type, the combat face becomes the teams main face.


Obsess over Dryads and Faces much?

- J.
The Jake
QUOTE (Larme @ Jun 11 2009, 09:20 PM) *
The fact is, Shadowrun makes sneakiness hard and combat easy. Souped up samurai can kill ridiculously fast -- 3 passes per round, 4 with edge, can be up to 8 dead guys every 3 seconds. If you're that chromed up, you could cap 100 people in a minute or less, and that's just with a pistol. Let's not even talk about automatics are grenade launchers. Provided that you don't have a long way to travel, sometimes the best option is to break down the door, sticknshock all the guards, grab the macguffin, and go. You'll be gone with several minutes to spare before the cop sirens start to sound. But how do you sneak into a regular building? You need to do a lot of legwork, getting uniforms and ID badges, altering the schedule so it looks like you're supposed to be there, coming up with a non-suspicious way to give yourself the right clearance... Not that it can't be done, or it's a bad idea, but streetsams are so badass that a few of them can often blitz a facility and solve the run with a fraction of the time and nuyen expended on legwork.


In principle yes. In practise you still have to not leave a shred of evidence or face retaliation. That is often much harder.

E.g. did the sammy bleed at all in that gunfight? use his bare hands to put the ammo in the clips? surveillance footage?

I'm not entirely disagreeing with you, but it is still very tricky.

- J.
Larme
QUOTE (The Jake @ Jun 11 2009, 10:14 PM) *
In principle yes. In practise you still have to not leave a shred of evidence or face retaliation. That is often much harder.

E.g. did the sammy bleed at all in that gunfight? use his bare hands to put the ammo in the clips? surveillance footage?

I'm not entirely disagreeing with you, but it is still very tricky.

- J.


I don't like the "no shred of evidence" playstyle. I don't think it's that realistic. Corporations gain nothing by tracking down runners that hit them just to retaliate. It costs a LOT of money to sortie corporate forces to attack the Barrens, not to mention the whole thing where doing it openly would be an act of war on UCAS, so it would have to be the blackest of black ops. No, that's not going to happen -- what they're going to do is focus on tightening security so it doesn't happen again. They'll only seek revenge if you did something REALLY bad. But chances are if you're on a job that's dire enough to provoke direct retaliation, you've probably got an org of your own offering protection. That's not so say retaliation never happens on a normal basis, it's just not the Red Samurai kicking in your door or anything. It's more like a bounty on your head, or the cops asking questions. Both can be dealt with. Games were you're fucked because you left behind one hair and not fun, and not realistic IMO.
The Jake
QUOTE (Larme @ Jun 12 2009, 03:34 AM) *
I don't like the "no shred of evidence" playstyle. I don't think it's that realistic. Corporations gain nothing by tracking down runners that hit them just to retaliate. It costs a LOT of money to sortie corporate forces to attack the Barrens, not to mention the whole thing where doing it openly would be an act of war on UCAS, so it would have to be the blackest of black ops. No, that's not going to happen -- what they're going to do is focus on tightening security so it doesn't happen again. They'll only seek revenge if you did something REALLY bad. But chances are if you're on a job that's dire enough to provoke direct retaliation, you've probably got an org of your own offering protection. That's not so say retaliation never happens on a normal basis, it's just not the Red Samurai kicking in your door or anything. It's more like a bounty on your head, or the cops asking questions. Both can be dealt with. Games were you're fucked because you left behind one hair and not fun, and not realistic IMO.


Fair call.

I am not a fan of the "corporations would never retaliate" mentality. I'm of the view yes they could (and may well do so - for too many reasons I won't go into). If, for no other reason, to act as a strong deterrent to other runners or at least the wider world, creating the perception that "nothing escapes THIS company". Certainly not in all cases but there are many cases I can say yes they would.

As for the no evidence, it depends. I weigh it up based on the multiple factors - the type of run, the opposition and their resourcing, reasons for reprisal (and are they strong enough to warrant a response), the level of response, etc.

A bunch of mobsters won't have a the forensics skills necessary to track down runners for blowing up a gambling den based on a hair sample (maaaybe if they have magicians on hand). NeoNet OTOH will have teams of these guys pouring through their lab that has been ransacked of the latest prototype and corrupted the data, setting back the company 2 years and millions of dollars in wasted research.

- J.
Larme
QUOTE (The Jake @ Jun 11 2009, 11:45 PM) *
Fair call.

I am not a fan of the "corporations would never retaliate" mentality. I'm of the view yes they could (and may well do so - for too many reasons I won't go into). If, for no other reason, to act as a strong deterrent to other runners or at least the wider world, creating the perception that "nothing escapes THIS company". Certainly not in all cases but there are many cases I can say yes they would.

As for the no evidence, it depends. I weigh it up based on the multiple factors - the type of run, the opposition and their resourcing, reasons for reprisal (and are they strong enough to warrant a response), the level of response, etc.

A bunch of mobsters won't have a the forensics skills necessary to track down runners for blowing up a gambling den based on a hair sample (maaaybe if they have magicians on hand). NeoNet OTOH will have teams of these guys pouring through their lab that has been ransacked of the latest prototype and corrupted the data, setting back the company 2 years and millions of dollars in wasted research.

- J.


I don't get it. Corporations are about the bottom line. How is the bottom line helped by retaliation? For sure, if they think you still have the macguffin, they will try their hardest to get it back. If they know you no longer have it though, what do they gain? They just lost a bunch of money, and now they're going to spend more money just to feel better about it? No, that's bad business. That actually deepens the red on their sheet, and that's the one thing they'll never tolerate. You staunch the bleeding, you don't open the wound wider just because of wounded pride. What a corp wants to know when they get hit is, a) what vulnerability let them in, and b) who hired them. The way to get their money back is not to send assassins after shadowrunner scum, but to send their own team to recover the macguffin from the enemy corporation. Or at least, to send a team that will set back the competition as far as they've been set back. That's the key word, I think -- competition. That's who these guys care about. Runners no more compete with a corp than an ant competes with a person at his picnic. The ant steals crumbs, while the person takes single bites that are the size of 1000 ants, without even thinking about it. When an ant takes your food, you might try to squash him, but if he gets away, who cares? He's just an ant. When you find out that a person brought the ants specifically to spoil your picnic, you get mad at the person, not the ants. You don't seek revenge on those little creatures that are beneath your notice, as long as they scurry away and don't bother you overmuch.

Now, there are a few corps that have a revenge policy, like Aztech. They want to make sure that nobody hits them by extracting brutal vengeance on everyone who does. The fluff is pretty clear that most corps don't follow that model, though. Aztech probably spends an assload enforcing this policy, and it's given them a fearsome reputation, but in the end, it's all supply and demand. Aztech drives down the supply of runners who want to hit them, demand goes up, pay goes up, and now instead of having noobs come after you, so you can swat them down, the only people who hit you are the elite of the elite, and your elaborate security measures and fierce reputation aren't even worth a fart. At least if noobs came at you, they'd have a better chance of failing, maybe getting caught and spilling the beans about their op.

In the end, the fluff states that Shadowrunning is the coin of the realm. If Shadowrunners were the target of corporate execution squads just because their face was seen or they left an eyelash, that wouldn't be the case. The fluff cannot support truly venegeful corporations. There is obviously some measure of retaliation, but it is not a given, it is situational.
Mx
QUOTE (The Jake @ Jun 12 2009, 05:10 AM) *
Obsess over Dryads and Faces much?

- J.

I think that at least most members of the team should have enough social skills to act as a face in a pinch and those shamans allready need a hight charisma, so its just about giving them few points in social skills and theyr good enought. And being a Dryad gives them nice +3 to those social skills, but i don't think all of those that are listed as either Elf or Dryad sohuld be Dryads as a team consisting of a Fomori and four Dryads might be a litlle to memoraple and easy to regonize.
Mirilion
QUOTE (Mäx @ Jun 12 2009, 07:54 AM) *
a team consisting of a Fomori and four Dryads might be a litlle to memoraple and easy to regonize.


This... has potential. Business potential. My agent will call your agent.
Fuchs
QUOTE (Mäx @ Jun 12 2009, 09:54 AM) *
I think that at least most members of the team should have enough social skills to act as a face in a pinch and those shamans allready need a hight charisma, so its just about giving them few points in social skills and theyr good enought. And being a Dryad gives them nice +3 to those social skills, but i don't think all of those that are listed as either Elf or Dryad sohuld be Dryads as a team consisting of a Fomori and four Dryads might be a litlle to memoraple and easy to regonize.


I'd rate even one dryad as a bit too memorable to have a place in a "perfect" team.
BullZeye
QUOTE (Fuchs @ Jun 12 2009, 12:33 PM) *
I'd rate even one dryad as a bit too memorable to have a place in a "perfect" team.

I totally agree. A "Perfect" team ought to not have anything that can lead to them on a normal run or outside the runs. So no magic if need not be, no bows, no exotic weapons, no exotic metas, no exotic vehicles. I don't mean that everyone in the team should have blandness quality, but not have anything that really sticks out. Even if it means to not have the +3 to social skills, but I rate secrecy much higher than a small bonus with such a drawback (distinct style). Each of the members should have a kind of normal life, nothing to lead the enemy to their gates. Multiple fake identities so if one gets compromised, the next one is ready to rock. It might even be necessary for the entire team to change to next ID if one ID is compromised. Paranoid? Hell yeah, but it's the prize of being elite wink.gif Of course the other option is that the whole group works from a hideout at all times and is just for the running without any resemblance of normal life. But at least I prefer to have some kind of normal life on my characters smile.gif
Kliko
The question isn't if you're paranoid. The question is if you're paranoid enough...
Critias
Things like "four Dryads and a Fomori" being thrown together as someone's professional urban criminal dream team are why the metaracial subtypes make me shudder. For most players, they've got nothing to do with role playing opportunities, exploring new regions of the background material, or appreciating and enjoying the background material as presented enough to worry about the stated and repeated rarity of those subtypes -- they're all about scraping together that extra +1 die here and there. Ungh.
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