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I'm starting to think my characters are too strong.... and they have never even used karma to increase their stats.
Maybe some of you have this same problem:
My characters all have a complete Smartlink System and Vision Magnification. The latter reduces almost all ranges to TN 4, and the Smartlink further reduces the TN to 2. When they're using their whole combat pools on the first shot, none of my opponents will ever have a chance of surviving. Using 12 dice against a TN 2 will generate about 10 successes...... How can an opponent ever do better??
Maybe I'm missing something in the rules, or using some wrong calculations.... could anyone help me out??
Smartlink and VisionMag don't work together. Use the one that gives most benefit. (Vision Mag SR3 p. 280 works like Image Scope) (Image Scope p. 280 may not be used with Smartlink)

Smartlink with Range Finder accessory do work together. Man & Machine p. 32.
Austere Emancipator
You are missing at least something: Smartlinks and VisMag don't stack. You use either one or the other. The best you can do for target numbers is thus 2/3/4/4 (using SL at Short and Medium, VM at Long and Extreme).

Most of the time, there should be lots of other modifiers. Cover, movement, visibility (IR-smoke does wonders), etc. Don't just have secguards standing around in the open doing nothing, of course they'll get killed that way. Search the forum for "tactics", it should bring up lots of threads on how to make combat more interesting.

And if all the characters in your games really are that powerful, then they probably should be doing jobs that make full use of their capabilities. In other words, they shouldn't just be slaughtering low-end secguards. However, I run a rather low-power game myself, so I can't help you with that. I'm sure someone else will come along soon enough...
bear in mind Hieleke (compatibility issues aside), that if you can get those TNs and dice, so can the bad guys. So plenty of people can match you.
On Page 280 of SR3, under Imaging Scopes, it says:

Imageing scopes...may not be used with smartlink systems

On Page 300 under Vision Magnification it says:

This enhancement magnifies the visual image in the same manner as an imageing scope...

I've always interperated this to mean that you can use smartlink or image Mag, not both. Choose the one that gives you the best bonus based on the situation.

Dang! not quick enough.
Okay, I wasn't aware the bonusses don't stack. I will start using this from now on.
But still: if the TNs are only 2/3/4/4 with either of the cyberware, characters could still easily be killed by just a single attack.
A character that can fire first in combat can use about 12 dice on his first shot (skill + CP) and 6 dice on his second shot (just skill). Now matter how, the defending character has to make a lot of successes to defend against such attacks. I never let my characters (PC and NPC) wear anything much better than armor jackets, meaning they have to defend against TN 6 or something with just their body and CP. How can one ever generate more successes than the attacking character?
If they're using 12 dice for every ranged attack, you may not be refreshing the combat pool correctly. Dice pools refresh every round, not every phase (or, God forbid, every action). So if your street sammy with a combat pool of 8 gets to act for 4 phases this round, he's going to have 8 dice total to use this round, not 8 dice each phase. Blow them all on your first attack, and you won't have any left to help your attacks or dodges for the rest of the round.
Austere Emancipator
You're still assuming a situation where some poor bugger is just standing around in the open. He ought to haul his ass behind some cover, quick. Even a bit of cover raises those TNs to 4/5/6/6, and good cover will guarantee 6/7/8/8. Then deploy a few IR smoke grenades and watch them TNs soar.

If someone really does simply stand around in the open, in good light, not doing anything significant in an attempt to not get shot, then getting hit is what you should expect. Dying too.

QUOTE (hieleke)
I never let my characters (PC and NPC) wear anything much better than armor jackets, meaning they have to defend against TN 6 or something with just their body and CP.

So everyone packs weapons with Powers greater than or equal to 11? Eek. Well, if getting EX-Explosive ammunition is that easy (I'm guessing that's what's making those Powers so high), getting more armor than just an Armored Jacket should be possible as well. Put a Form-Fitting suit under that Armored Jacket and you've got 7 points of ballistic armor right there.

For those who can't afford a suit of F-F, or if such things simply aren't available, put a Lined Coat over that Armored Jacket instead -- you'll take a slight hit in mobility, but you've also got 7 points of ballistic armor and 4 of impact.
The maximum number of combat pool that can be used for a test cannot exeed the Character's skill being used for the test. Page 43 SR3.

Oops, I gues you already took that into account.
The attacking character should not be generating hardly that many sucesses.

1) The character should have cover, if he doesn't he should be toast. Cover adds half the cover to the TN to shoot, so 4 points of cover is +2 to the TN.

2) The target should have cover. The target doesn't want to get shot and die, so he should take 4 points of cover on average. +4 to the TN.

3) Gunfights rarely happen in broad or perfect daylight, and in good weather. Rain, smoke, fog, darkness and glare can create at LEAST a +1, probably more. We'll call it +1 TN for now though.

We add up a basic TN at short range of 2, plus out VERY basic and minimal modifiers that should be in every combat and we get 2+2+4+1=9 TN for the shot, at close range, without either target or firer moving or wounded or recoil.

You are letting your party off with VERY unrealistically low target numbers for shooting. That TN of 2 is ideal, and should literally almost never happen.
Shadowrun also just is the sort of game where you have a fair chance of dying from a single attack, even when you are fairly tough.

A "regular person" getting shot will usually die.
you can also simply have the goons outnumber the players at one point or augment the goons so that not all the players go before them. EG: initive, three PC's beat the goons and gun down three of them. the remaining two light off with fully-automatic weapons and sound the alarm.
If you use cover and other modifiers to bring the TNs up a bit, and possibly increase the number of opponents they're facing, your players will learn very quickly not to spend all (or even most) of their combat pool on the first attack.

Our group learned that in the first fight. Physad throws a knife at a ganger, using all her combat pool, and misses. Ganger returns fire with a SMG at point-blank range, and adept - lacking combat pool to dodge or help stage the damage - nearly has to invoke Hand of God.
Tom Collins
If you're player are nicely tricked out with gear and cyber, then they should be pulling down jobs that are a little higher risk. The bug boys don't play nice or fair, and they tend to have a lot more money for fun little gizmos and upgrades that can make their sec. much tougher than your average runner.

Remember, just because your players can't find security armor doesn't mean that your opponents shouldn't have it. Corp. Sec. can and should be outfitted with top notch equipment.
QUOTE (Tom Collins)
The bug boys don't play nice or fair

Yeah, look what they did to Chicago biggrin.gif

sorry, couldn't help it

But yes, as everyone has said, you are calculating these TNs as though there is no movement, cover, or visibility present.

Let's say your runner is sneaking up a group of guards in a guard station. Let's even be nice and state the guards don't notice him yet and he is at close range. But remember, this is Seattle, so it's raining (but we'll be nice and say a light rain), and it's a shadowrun, so it's night (but we'll be nice and say the facility has perimeter lights that provide Partial Light).

TN 4
-2 for Smartlink
-1 Guards are standing
+2 for partial cover (the guard station, you can see them through the window but about %50 of them is covered)
+1 for walking
Vis modifiers (if you have none, you get a +8, if you have thermo, you'll have either +2/+1 depending on whether it's natural or not, low light will net you a +5/+2 depending on wether it is natural or not, low light and thermo depending on what is natural and what's not can generally reduce all penalties or atleast lower it to a +1)

giving your character a minimum TN of 4, all the way up to a 12. But this is an ideal ambush situation, but still a far cry from that TN 2. 12 dice will net most likely 6 succeses. Let's try another situation.

You are gunning your way out of same situation and are running past the same guard station, again, we'll be nice and say it's short range. But now the guards (plural) in the station are very aware of your prescence, and it's still a Seattle Shadowrun so it's raining and nighttime.

TN 4
-2 for Smartlink
+4 for running
+2 for Partial Cover
Vis modifiers

Netting a TN 8, and with multiple opponents to deal with (who will have a kinder TN 6 to shoot back if posses similar 'wares), the shots become a lot more difficult. 12 dice (which is silly to roll since you will need that CP to dodge), will only net maybe 2 succeses, if that.

The lesson here, when all the modifiers are applied, combat becomes much harder.
Keep a list of all the modifiers, and soon turning TN 2 into TN 10 will be second nature.

In the last three runs, there hasn't been a firearm TN of less than six. Cover, wounds, smoke, nighttime, recoil, terrain, movement, and armor (hey, if they do hit, you know...) have turn them sky high.

One player fired two magazines before achieving anything that could even be remotely considered a hit. biggrin.gif
I always like having a drone rigger or two on more secure locations to provide a "target rich environment" for my PCs. Having a combat drone or two show up at inoppertune times can do some fun things for encounters...

Also, like stated, if your characters are chromed from groin to their brain, make sure that the people guarding things arent like the 80 year old greeters at wal-mart. While cannon fodder is nice, I always operate under the assumption that there are going to be goons that are armed comperably to the PCs with a little extra.

Also, squirts are fun against PCs who arent wearing sealed armor biggrin.gif
Tom Collins
QUOTE (sidekick)
QUOTE (Tom Collins @ Jan 28 2004, 04:06 PM)
The bug boys don't play nice or fair

Yeah, look what they did to Chicago biggrin.gif

sorry, couldn't help it

Lol, I need to check my spelling a little better, but I'll blame the fact I was running to my advanced transport class as I hit reply this time. Still, I guess it works both ways (and no, the Big boys don't play fair either).

On those target numbers....

Vision mag drops it to short range, with an additional -1 for a laser sight (which has a limited range, but may reach extreme for a pistol). This gives you 4 or 3 respectively. A smartlink-2 with rangefinder give 2/3/3/5. Obviously, its less effective at extreme range.

Now, for optimum vision mods, you want thermographic and ultrasound. Ultrasound divides your vision mod by half, round up, so that +4 for thermo in pitch black is now +2. sure, if they have high frequency hearing they know where to shoot, and you annyoy the hellhounds, but it can be worth the risk.

I totaly agree with the use of cover, but its not always practical (gernades dropping in the good cover, for instance).
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