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Isam
So I just started GMing an SR4 campaign after a 2-year hiatus. I am the only one in the group with any SR4 books (I'm using SR4.0 since I don't have the 4.5 book). I only had the Core book and Street Magic (that was all that had come out by the time I stopped playing). My wife went above and beyond for X-mas and now I also have Arsenal, Augmentation, Unwired, and the Runner's Companion. The group I'm gaming with has extensive gaming experience, and some of them have even played SR2, but none of them have ever seen SR4 before. I would love to actually use some of the stuff from the new books, but I'm a little wary of things that I may need to disallow/avoid/houserule. I've been working on reading my way through the books (I've gotten through most of Augmentation and the Companion), but can I get some advice on things that are particularly broken/exploitable/unworkable? I'm mostly looking for things that will upset game balance or be way too paperwork intensive to keep track of.

As a note, I am currently using the houserule that matrix actions are Logic+Skill with hits capped by program. I am also using many of Serbitar's house rules (except for the KarmaGen and some of the things that are more flavor than anything else). The group consists of 3 combat specialists and an adept infiltration expert, so none of them are really effected by the hacking rule change, but I'm NPCing a hacker for them (I decided I could only do 1 NPC, and I thought a hacker was more important than a full mage).

I attempted some search-fu, but I'm having serious trouble narrowing the results. If you just want to point me at other threads, I don't mind. My post-fu is also weak or I would have tried to get my word document with my house rules into the post somewhere, sorry.
Karoline
Basically all of unwired will just be for headaches. It introduces way too many new rules that don't really enhance the game at all, and in fact for a large part just mean more bookkeeping and less fun with matrix stuff. Only thing I'd use from that book is the accessory that lets you get to 5IP for hacking (Though you said no one is running a hacker, so no big).

Likely want to take out Emoti-toys, as they are painfully cheap and painfully huge DP bonus to social skills. Basically pointless in the end because if one person has them, then everyone will have them and it will be a net wash on effectiveness.

If you use Karmagen from RC, make sure to remember that the stat cost has changed to new stat x 5 instead of x 3.

Martial Arts has been errataed to provide a max of +3DV.

Those are the big things that I can think of... oh, and possession traditions can be hard to deal with, so you might not want to have any of those until you've gotten a handle on the new rules (Run an NPC one to see what they can do before a player does so).
Malachi
If you're not going to have a PC Hacker or Technomancer than don't worry about Unwired for now. Not because its bad but just because your PC's won't care about it. Considering your group is pretty heavy in the combat stuff Augmentation and Arsenal will be the ones you want to hit. I don't remember much in Augmentation that I would call unbalancing, it was mostly filled with special-use stuff. The Genetech stuff can boost attributes pretty well if used in the right combinations, but its still pretty expensive. Arsenal has some pretty potent weapon and ammo options. Don't let your PC's go crazy with the drugs and Capsule (or whatever they're called) bullet combos. Don't let them acquire that Gauss Rifle lightly. Watch the gun mods closely, especially the "large firing mode change" one. I highly recommend limiting the list it can apply to, if you keep it at all. Burst Fire or Full Auto grenade launchers, rocket launchers, sniper rifles, and the above-mentioned gauss rifle can ruin a game.

Runner's Companion I will admit that I'm not a big fan of, in general. There is some good fluff stuff in there about being "invisible" in society and living as a runner. I like the Advanced Lifestyle rules for fleshing out the PC's home life, though some of the options in there can be abused (like the one that gives you +3 DP to everything you do while in your home). I think RC is the biggest landmine of "gotcha" rules that can really throw your game off-balance. Someone who twinks the rules for SURGE, or some of those new Qualities can come out much more powerful than other characters. The rest of my dislike I admit comes from my personal dislike for not turning a Shadowrun group into a circus freak show. I mean elves, dwarves, orks, and trolls are all good but shapeshifters, AIs, sasquatches, nagas, pixies, ghouls, drakes (little shapeshifting dragons), vampires, and free spirits are all too much for me and not to my tastes. So I would recommend putting RC on hiatus unless you see your group really clamouring for that sort of stuff.
Draco18s
RC also offers alternative character races--including sentient animals--so if you don't want those in your game, or what to be picky about what your players can play, you might want to look them over.

General consensus is that they're pretty expensive for what you get, though. But I would be wary of SURGE. Astral Hazing has been used in a game I was in to incredible effectiveness, despite being a flaw. Same character also had sonar vision--or whatever its called--which allows him to "see" through walls up to a total* barrier rating of 30 or 40 (eg. through reinforced steel bunker walls), which he combined with spacial mapping software gave him (and by extension the team) maps of anywhere, including locations of personnel and such. We were constantly joking on how absurdly broken this was.


*GM may have imposed this so that he couldn't just look through brick walls at infinite depth as implied by RAW. Don't have the book handy to check.

QUOTE (Malachi @ Jan 5 2010, 05:31 PM) *
drakes (little shapeshifting dragons)


Drakes had rules in 3E (see: Dragons of the Sixth World) and while "less painful" in 4E are still a load of points that could be better spent. My first drake character I remarked would have been better at his job (+40 BP) without losing anything as a troll. My current character hasn't seen enough play, but DAMN, I spent 95 points on race (Elf + Drake) and I felt the pain. At least I plan on using my dracoform more (i.e. at all) this time around.
Karoline
QUOTE (Draco18s @ Jan 5 2010, 05:32 PM) *
Same character also had sonar vision--or whatever its called--which allows him to "see" through walls up to a total* barrier rating of 30 or 40 (eg. through reinforced steel bunker walls), which he combined with spacial mapping software gave him (and by extension the team) maps of anywhere, including locations of personnel and such. We were constantly joking on how absurdly broken this was.


Only thing that sees through walls is Ultrawideband Radar which is in Arsenal and Augmentation I think. That lets you see through anything up to its range which is equal to its rating as signal. (So I think the max one that you can get is 200 meters, which is still fairly powerful).

What's really scary is to get this on an awakened character as an implant. Mage can now stunbolt people through walls from 200m away.
Rotbart van Dainig
QUOTE (Isam @ Jan 6 2010, 12:00 AM) *
(I'm using SR4.0 since I don't have the 4.5 book).

In that case, you are lucky - none of the core books were updated yet to reflect the change in rules or layout (page numbers).

And you really want to read the Unwired chapter about Resonance Realm Searches. If only for outright removing them from the game.
tagz
Emoti-toys in Arsenal are something to watch for. Way too cheap for the crazy effectiveness by RAW. I houseruled them so that they cannot be linked to any other device and they announce out loud to the whole room what they observe. For instance:

Runners are talking to a Johnson and have an emoti-toy out to try and get an edge. Someone at the table asks a stupid question the Johnson already answered.
The emoti-toy immediately responds with "Oh, you look really annoyed. Would you like a hug?"
The Johnson looks at the toy and then at the face.
Emoti-toy: "Now you look even MORE upset. Now you REALLY need that hug! YAY FOR HUGS!"
The Johnson sighs, mutters something about amateurs, and excuses himself from the meet.

Basically in my game emoti-toys work real well when dealing with elementary school kids up to high school girls and a few niche groups that don't look at a emotion reading furby with annoyance. Otherwise the target of the social interaction gets a small bonus for being annoyed to offset the toy's bonus a little bit and may drop him down the "Friend -> Acquaintance -> Enemy" ladder depending on the situation.


I wouldn't be super quick to drop Unwired myself. Just because the PCs aren't interested in hacking, doesn't mean the NPC's aren't interested in hacking the PCs. I would keep it in and use some of it every now and then. A street sam that doesn't load up his cyber with some matrix defenses doesn't have much right to complain when he gets strangled by his own cyberarm. Unwired also has the section about buying hacking services which could be very useful to a group without their own hacker, especially in the case you made up a run that has some plot points that hacking is somewhat important to. Even if they don't want to use it I'd recommend you include the book as rule that can be used and skim the parts I mentioned.


Like Draco said, you may want to be careful about all the extra races until you've got a strong handle on things. Some of them can lead to some crazy results that may unbalance your game if you're not prepared for them. The physical adept bear shapeshifter comes quickly to mind. Allowing things like that in the game is fine, you just need to be ready for them and take them into account when you design your runs.


Watch the Amnesia quality. Some people like to get a bonus to character design just for not being creative with a backstory. I tell them "just cause they don't remember it doesn't mean it didn't happen. Make something up and get to the point you lost the memory, or I'll design something very very funny at your expense." I'm currently making something funny up. n_n
KCKitsune
QUOTE (Karoline @ Jan 5 2010, 05:59 PM) *
Only thing that sees through walls is Ultrawideband Radar which is in Arsenal and Augmentation I think. That lets you see through anything up to its range which is equal to its rating as signal. (So I think the max one that you can get is 200 meters, which is still fairly powerful).

What's really scary is to get this on an awakened character as an implant. Mage can now stunbolt people through walls from 200m away.


Sorry Karoline, but mages can NOT use implanted Radar to target for spells. Trust me, I got into a VERY big argument about this in this forum about this. Synner himself came out and said "No you can't target spells with this gear."
Draco18s
QUOTE (tagz @ Jan 5 2010, 06:14 PM) *
Like Draco said, you may want to be careful about all the extra races until you've got a strong handle on things. Some of them can lead to some crazy results that may unbalance your game if you're not prepared for them. The physical adept bear shapeshifter comes quickly to mind. Allowing things like that in the game is fine, you just need to be ready for them and take them into account when you design your runs.


We got one of those in our game (Bear Troll). He picked up Shattering Strike (?) and can do about 40 damage to objects. He single handedly (paw'dly?) dug through the parking lot barricade out of Renraku (we're doing the archology shutdown run, complete with Shodan voice clips).
Saint Sithney
I'd recommend a BBB only game (maybe with a touch of arsenal and augmentation to expand gear options) just to whet your new team's chops. Throw some archetypes at them and then pour on heat until they all die or run off. Always a good idea. Should familiarize them with a) your conception of the SR world b) how the mechanics operate and c) what they can do to fit best into their role.

Just be aware that, if you emphasize the combat too much, you'll come out of this with a bunch of killers who can only move in but one dimension. That said, the throw away run should give your players the time to crack into the specialist books and develop their first real characters, custom fit to your world. Nothing quite like an informed decision. Meanwhile, they can work over the alternate rules/concepts in your expansion books and discuss them with you.
Karoline
QUOTE (KCKitsune @ Jan 5 2010, 06:48 PM) *
Sorry Karoline, but mages can NOT use implanted Radar to target for spells. Trust me, I got into a VERY big argument about this in this forum about this. Synner himself came out and said "No you can't target spells with this gear."


Huh, interesting. I don't see why you wouldn't be able to other than the obvious balance issues, but I won't argue it any.

@Draco18s - I was totally just thinking of making an adept with as big a DV bonus as I could manage and shattering blow to knock through walls with ease. I don't know that it'd be particularly practical in most cases to do so, but the concept seems very fun.
Ascalaphus
Arsenal
This book is fairly safe; there are powerful toys in there, but they're expensive and hard to get. It's a weapon specialist/customizer's wet dream. The sections on hostile environment hazards (space, underwater, polar etc.) are nice, and there's appropriate gear for dealing with it. I'm glad they give pictures for all the guns and vehicles, makes it come to life for me.

Augmentation
Also solid; big shopping list, but doesn't add much complexity. The commentary on which corps are in the race, how and why, is good background for coming up with industrial espionage runs.

Runners' Companion
I don't like it; but it's a matter of taste. I don't think additional races and race-variants are a good thing; five PC races is quite enough wackiness for me. I'm also not a big fan of christmas-tree like characters with huge heaps of Qualities. It does have some interesting background reading however; on staying alive and below the radar, and also on the character-building side of character generation. Some useful material on roles in a team and what kind of gear and abilities are useful.

Unwired
This one frankly didn't turn out so well. It adds a LOT of new rules, many of which have either serious loopholes, balance issues, or are extremely un-fun.
This book was probably written when computer nerds complained about all the things you can do with RL computers that weren't covered by the matrix rules. The result is messy, counterintuitive and complex.
There is some equipment in here that's interesting; the commlink customization is interesting, and the rules for clustering nodes for heavy-duty work. I'm still annoyed they forgot to include something like a laptop though; bigger than a commlink, with more room for hardware.
Draco18s
QUOTE (Karoline @ Jan 5 2010, 09:01 PM) *
@Draco18s - I was totally just thinking of making an adept with as big a DV bonus as I could manage and shattering blow to knock through walls with ease. I don't know that it'd be particularly practical in most cases to do so, but the concept seems very fun.


He's enjoying it quite a bit and is certainly playing up the big, dumb, brute of a character.
hahnsoo
My take on the books (my opinion alone, and should be treated as such), in the context of a new group getting together and playing:
Arsenal
* Great list of gear, and the equipment in the book fleshes out necessary niches (especially for vehicles and drones). At the very least, use this book for the gear. It's mostly appropriate (except for the Emotitoy, as listed above), and gives a good list of mundane prices (like a cost for a normal handheld hobbyist camera or camping gear).
* Don't use the Martial Arts rules, even though melee combat is anemic compared to ranged combat in SR. The only exception I would make is for a mundane (non-adept) martial arts specialist who has no other skills and wants to hyperspecialize. There's a fair amount of options in there that will complicate matters. Our group uses them, but we don't go overboard.
* Use the modifications rules sparingly. This has been a source of a LOT of headaches in our group at large, as it means a lot of bean-counting and specialized rules that frankly make things more confusing for new players. Feel free to use them to make "monsters that the GM made up", though.

Augmentation
* Another good gear book, this time on the chrome and the bioware. The rules make cyberlimbs way more useful, which may appeal to the chromed dudes in your group.
* Treat the genetech stuff as "another expensive Bioware option".
* Treat the nanotech stuff as "another expensive Cyberware option".
* Don't use the medical rules. They complicate a process that really should be simplified. If your characters are good at managing downtime when not in the game (online, through forums, through wikis, etc.), then the medical options may be appropriate. It may also be used to spotlight a med specialist character.
* A great GM book, as it outlines who dabbles in what technologies, and what kind of angle they have as a corporation.

Runners' Companion
* Good for Lifestyle rules. Our group loves the Lifestyle rules, as it puts a better gradient on places to live, but it does add complexity that might be better spent on actually running the game. Personally, our PCs love to fill out what kind of home(s) they have and the peculiarities of those choices.
* Karma-gen character creation, if you are into that sort of thing. Our group is not, but I understand why folks would like it... it makes sense.
* It adds a lot of new Positive and Negative qualities that may bog character creation down, but that's a one-time problem. I personally feel that most of these should be available at the start, with the same caveats as previous editions (nearly all are holdovers from previous editions).
* I wouldn't use any of the custom races, SURGE stuff, shapeshifters, etc, unless one of your players is dead-set on creating a Shapeshifter as a character (maybe they played one in SR2?).

Unwired
* I will agree with most of the people here that it adds a lot of pointless rules (bot-nets? Seriously? That's so 2010), but...
* It codifies a lot of optional rules that people already use as house-rules in their game. Not very useful, I know, but it's there.
* The Technomancer stuff that fleshes out Submersion, Streams, and a whole bunch of other Technomancer-specific rules is pretty necessary if you want to run with Street Magic as well, in terms of balance. The Technomancer should be on par with the Mage as far as options available to them for advancement, I feel. Of course, if no one is playing a Technomancer, then all of this is moot for your game.
* It has a lot of tools that would be necessary for planning shadowruns from the GM side. Want to know how expensive a server farm is? This book gives you crunchy details, so when the shadowrunners start looting the hardware, you know what the cost to the corp (and the price of retribution) will be. Want to know how to brainwash someone using Simsense? The book has it. It's a great GM book.

Running Wild
* A comprehensive book on critters. What more could you ask for?
hahnsoo
(Dammit, double post)
Karoline
Personally RC, Aug, Ars, and BBB are almost always open on my computer when making a character. I admit that RC does have all those weird races that you likely don't want to deal with, but I love the qualities that were added, if for no other reason than it gets tiring to see the same few negative qualities on all my character sheets because there are so few options in BBB, especially ones that aren't utterly crippling like the Unfit one or whatever (The one that prevents you using/getting any physical skills).

Main things I use from RC are the massive list of new qualities, the advanced lifestyles, and the handy charts for referencing all the quality options (I believe that qualities say alot about a character)

Edit: Oh, and if you want to see people actually making use of nanotech, consider lowering the essence cost of a nanohive way down. It is currently crippling to get it as a direct ware, but almost pointlessly cheap to get it as an addition to a cyberlimb. I love nanotech, but I hate having to give my characters random cyberlimbs (Usually a foot) to get access to it.
Draco18s
QUOTE (Karoline @ Jan 6 2010, 01:34 AM) *
Edit: Oh, and if you want to see people actually making use of nanotech, consider lowering the essence cost of a nanohive way down. It is currently crippling to get it as a direct ware, but almost pointlessly cheap to get it as an addition to a cyberlimb. I love nanotech, but I hate having to give my characters random cyberlimbs (Usually a foot) to get access to it.


A foot? I'd go for a hand, and RULE WITH AN IRON FIST. ;D
Blade
First of all, I think it's better to consider these books as optional. You don't HAVE to allow all gear and use all rules. Don't want melee to get more complicated? Get rid of martial arts. Don't want the Magic/Matrix to get too complicated? Ignore the new elements in Street Magic/Unwired.
Some of the book also let the players play character that are quite different from regular Shadowrunners, but some of them will have a huge impact on your game and you should think carefully before letting the player play them.

I don't have any problem with the new spells and powers in Street Magic (as long as you make sure you get the errata). I think we would have been better off without the new spirits and especially the worker spirit that can easily be abused.
Augmentation is good, since it brings a lot of variety to the implanted characters. You can have some pretty interesting character concepts. There are a few things that are just here to push dice pools further, so I guess it could lead to some munchkinism, but it's mostly kept in check.
Arsenal is more a mixed bag. It has lots of new guns, some interesting toys, but the armor options might lead to a big difference between your heavily armored PC and the rest of the team. The aforementioned emotitoy can be a problem too.
Unwired isn't, for me, as bad as some people say it is. It sure adds a lot of complexity to the Matrix part, but not more than Street Magic does to the Magic part. Hacker can use botnets, worms, program options and so on just like mages can use Arcana, Enchanting, Posession, Ritual Spellcasting and all these things. And just like most of SM will be useless to non-awakened characters, most of Unwired will be useless to non-hackers/TM.
RC is the book I have most problem with. Some of the chapters are interesting, especially to new players ("what's a shadowrun?","how to not get caught with all the surveillance"...) but other introduce characters options that are radically different from regular shadowrun characters.
Running Wild is good, as long as you don't use it as a random encounter table.
Rotbart van Dainig
QUOTE (Karoline @ Jan 6 2010, 08:34 AM) *
Oh, and if you want to see people actually making use of nanotech, consider lowering the essence cost of a nanohive way down.

The nanohive is not that much of the problem. Sure, it's cheaper from an essence PoV when chopping off a limb, but one of my characters has it implanted directly.

To get Nanoware to usable levels, a few changes are needed on the degradation rules: remove the degradation by damage (getting shot at won't kill your nano-tattoos and the whole purpose of nano-symbiontes is to help heal damage, which they cant if degraded into oblivion), and increase the regeneration rate of a nanohive to at least 1 point per day. (still important for stuff like nanite hunters or nantidote)
djinni
QUOTE (KCKitsune @ Jan 5 2010, 07:48 PM) *
Sorry Karoline, but mages can NOT use implanted Radar to target for spells. Trust me, I got into a VERY big argument about this in this forum about this. Synner himself came out and said "No you can't target spells with this gear."

just because someone's opinion about how something works is assumed to be correct doesn't make it. in that forum unless the final word was based around the rules, then there is no conclusion. their view is correct in this case, but I just wanted to point out, just because someone says it, does not make it true
[Page 183, Step 3: "...sighting through an electronic vision-enhancing device or other technological rendering of the target does not establish the necessary link."]
Bull
QUOTE (djinni @ Jan 6 2010, 09:08 AM) *
just because someone's opinion about how something works is assumed to be correct doesn't make it. in that forum unless the final word was based around the rules, then there is no conclusion. their view is correct in this case, but I just wanted to point out, just because someone says it, does not make it true
[Page 183, Step 3: "...sighting through an electronic vision-enhancing device or other technological rendering of the target does not establish the necessary link."]


In this case, Synner was the Line Developer for the game at the time. If you can't trust the Line Dev to make rules calls, then that's a whole other issue wink.gif

Bull
djinni
QUOTE (Bull @ Jan 6 2010, 10:47 AM) *
In this case, Synner was the Line Developer for the game at the time. If you can't trust the Line Dev to make rules calls, then that's a whole other issue wink.gif

XD true dat I was just trying to point out an intention versus a stated rule. the intent of rules when they hit the editor's room tend to get really fuzzy in the end product, if they want to shave off a few pages.
and a GM making a common sense call for their game should end any arguments at the gaming table anyway nyahnyah.gif
Isam
Thanks for all the info. I think I'm going to open up Arsenal and Augmentation (minus emotitoys). I like the new lifestlye rules, and I'm going to allow the qualities (subject to GM fiat, of course), and I'm definitely going to tell them to read the first couple of sections on surviving in 2070, but the rest of RC is going to be off limits (they're already past chargen anyway, so it's moot unless/until I kill/arrest/blackball someone). I'm going to give Unwired a (very) thorough read myself, but since none of the PCs have the Hacking skill, much less the programs to hack, I'll leave that as off limits until I can better understand exactly what's in there. As of right now I'm kind of just generally handwaving what the hacker does as the PCs go around (for example, in the last session as we were leaving the scene of a shootout with the ZDF, the hacker broke into the Citymaster the cops were using and deleted all the surveillance footage, and then disabled the vehicle while he was at it. Then he went on to remove as much evidence from GridGuide as he could as well. All the players knew was that he was being awfully quiet for a few minutes, though I did try to have him actually make the correct rolls to do both the tasks). Oh, and I'm making sure the characters are fully aware of the consequences of their actions and know how to act appropriately. I think they mostly went for cybered combat characters or adepts so that they didn't have to learn the magic or hacking rules, not because this is an (excessively) bloodthirsty group. I think some of them might be getting more interested in doing some simple rigging, however, after they saw the hacker's van drive itself into place and pop open it's back doors, followed by the Ingram LMG on the smart platform sitting just inside the van opening up on the ZDF the moment it had targets to aquire. The LMG took out 2 of the 3 officers with 2 bursts (gotta love those narrow long bursts with gel rounds). I took those guys out faster and more efficiently than the troll combat monster designed to beat the crap out of people could have, and this hacker has STR 2 and BOD 3.
Karoline
QUOTE (djinni @ Jan 6 2010, 09:08 AM) *
just because someone's opinion about how something works is assumed to be correct doesn't make it. in that forum unless the final word was based around the rules, then there is no conclusion. their view is correct in this case, but I just wanted to point out, just because someone says it, does not make it true
[Page 183, Step 3: "...sighting through an electronic vision-enhancing device or other technological rendering of the target does not establish the necessary link."]


Except that if you've paid for the vision-enhancing device with essence (Cybereyes for example) then you can target spells with it. Like I said though, I'm perfectly okay with the ruling that a mage can't use it. They already have enough advantages over the poor non-awakened.
Malachi
QUOTE (Karoline @ Jan 6 2010, 10:33 AM) *
Except that if you've paid for the vision-enhancing device with essence (Cybereyes for example) then you can target spells with it. Like I said though, I'm perfectly okay with the ruling that a mage can't use it. They already have enough advantages over the poor non-awakened.

I think the original argument was if radar constituted "vision" or not. For game balance reasons I think the answer is "no."
Sengir
I generally recommend the Matrix Overview and Idiot's Guide chapters from Unwired to everyone, the info really adds a lot to the game world and gives a good idea of what everybody does with the Matrix.

The most important part for tech-savy PCs in my option is the chapter on net topology, because it explains the whole technical side of it...although I'm sure people with a more handwavium approach to the Matrix would disagree there.
Omenowl
My general overview

SR 4.0 is the same as the anniversary edition if you get the most recent errata. No need to buy a new book.

Augmentation is nice. I like the book, but it is for the characters it only applies to those who are looking for augmentations outside of the norm.

Arsenal. I honestly don't feel it adds much to the game. More items are cool, but I would stick to the core book allowing the options in arsenal to be after character creation. I still believe there needs to be a better option/system for vehicle modifications.

Runners companion I do like a lot. Karma generation does present more powerful characters especially non humans so beware of that aspect. There are some major point balance issues with metavariants for point cost (Trolls vs. fomori for example). As for the other races/sapients I would leave those as an optional rule. Overall I would view that as a reference book to create opponents while allowing the qualities and contacts for the characters. The runners companion is in need of editing for point costs on qualities so keep this in mind as the text will show 15BP and the quality header shows 20BP for example.

Unwired I have mixed feelings. I would just skip over unwired unless you get a technomancer and a heavily focused matrix group.

So use the corebook for character creation with maybe allowing augmentation for your cybered characters. As always it is the equipment buying that takes the longest for character creation.
Tyro
I think karmagen should be the default standard. RC is worth it for karmagen alone, even though most of the rest is of doubtful utility.
Karoline
QUOTE (Tyro @ Jan 7 2010, 01:14 AM) *
I think karmagen should be the default standard. RC is worth it for karmagen alone, even though most of the rest is of doubtful utility.


I agree. I think it might need some tweaks, but for the most part I like it soo much better than the BP system because you don't have to worry about the old "Hey, specilizations cost 2 BP or 2 Karma, but BP is supposed to be worth more than karma." and "Hey, it costs me 4 BP or 4 Karma to get a skill at 1, but it costs me 24BP or 44 karma to get a skill to 6, so getting skills as high as possible is to my advantage in the long run and low grade skills are a waste of BP" and so on.

Personally I hate having to decide between taking specs or not at chargen because it costs alot of relative BP, but (the actual bonus aside) it totally makes sense that my character would have. Same goes for rating 1 skills. If using karmagen, my characters tend to have alot more 1 and 2 point skills to help round them out, because in BP, 1 and 2 point skills are very expensive when looking at a karma:BP ratio.

Okay... [/rant]
hobgoblin
i would say that the basic problem of the emotitoy is that it allows the full range of ratings, rather then being limited to say 1-2 (reflecting that its a toy aimed at kids, not a adult tool).

also, while it may come back and say the target looks worried, scared, angry or whatever, it cant really tell you the reason why. Hell, the person may just not be used to dealing with runners, and is worried about what they may decide to do with him if his offer is unacceptable.
Mx
QUOTE (hobgoblin @ Jan 7 2010, 09:39 AM) *
i would say that the basic problem of the emotitoy is that it allows the full range of ratings, rather then being limited to say 1-2 (reflecting that its a toy aimed at kids, not a adult tool).

I have never understood the problem people have with emotitoys, mostly becouse i have never understood the reasoning behind the assumption that becouse your carrying with you a toy thatis runnning empathy-software, you get the full benefits to social rolls as if you had an empathy software running your self.
Tyro
QUOTE (Mäx @ Jan 7 2010, 09:52 AM) *
I have never understood the problem people have with emotitoys, mostly becouse i have never understood the reasoning behind the assumption that becouse your carrying with you a toy thatis runnning empathy-software, you get the full benefits to social rolls as if you had an empathy software running your self.

QFT. Don't remove them, just make them useless for social situations nyahnyah.gif
hobgoblin
QUOTE (Mäx @ Jan 7 2010, 05:52 PM) *
I have never understood the problem people have with emotitoys, mostly becouse i have never understood the reasoning behind the assumption that becouse your carrying with you a toy thatis runnning empathy-software, you get the full benefits to social rolls as if you had an empathy software running your self.

i guess its the assumption that they are basically nodes running software, and as such one can connect to it using ones comlink, and make use of said software directly.

its kinda like how in earlier editions, one had a survival knife that contained a trauma patch that cost more then the whole knife package.
Karoline
QUOTE (Mäx @ Jan 7 2010, 11:52 AM) *
I have never understood the problem people have with emotitoys, mostly becouse i have never understood the reasoning behind the assumption that becouse your carrying with you a toy thatis runnning empathy-software, you get the full benefits to social rolls as if you had an empathy software running your self.


Isn't that kinda like saying you don't know why people think they get a +2 to their attacks with a smartgun system because it is their gun and contact lenses that are running the software, and not running yourself? I don't see how getting the info from the emoti-toy is any different than getting the info from your commlink.
Malachi
I just don't like the idea of any kind of software that gives you that much of an advantage in social situations. I prefer the house rule (that has been stated by several different people) that Empathy Software and Emo-toys only give you a bonus to a Judge Intentions test, not to all Social skill rolls. The problem is exacerbated by the fact that Kinesics is now capped at Rating 3, but Empathy Software goes up to Rating 6. Mystical otherwordly talents that only %1 of the world has are only half as effective as computer software that anyone can get...
Muspellsheimr
QUOTE (Karoline @ Jan 6 2010, 10:33 AM) *
Except that if you've paid for the vision-enhancing device with essence (Cybereyes for example) then you can target spells with it. Like I said though, I'm perfectly okay with the ruling that a mage can't use it. They already have enough advantages over the poor non-awakened.

Radar is not a vision enhancement. It is a visual overlay.

Mages also do not have significant advantages over mundanes - they are appropriately balanced (except for the "unlimited advancement" aspect, which almost never comes up, but can easily cause significant problems; suggestion - Initiate Grade cannot exceed 5, natural Magic cannot exceed 7. You would be amazed at how well it works).



As to the original question.

Emototoys: Remove them - they are significantly cheaper than the software they get for free, and are fucking retarded.
Empathy Software: Remove the last line.

Runners Companion: Great book, many good concepts, but horribly balanced. Particularly in the advanced races section, there are few options that are "correctly priced". Most are either hideously underpowered, or blatantly overpowering. Several options simply do not mesh well with the system. I would advise disallowing Sentient Critters, Synthetic Intelligences, & Free Spirits. The other racial options are fine from the conceptual point, but can cause balance issues - I suggest reviewing my personal House Errata & making any adjustments you deem appropriate. Please note that the errata is not actually fully completed.


QUOTE (Isam @ Jan 6 2010, 09:59 AM) *
and I'm going to allow the qualities (subject to GM fiat, of course),

One of the worst things any GM can do in my experience. Either allow it, or not. If with certain combination's it becomes overpowered, that is a problem with the balance of the game, not the quality itself, and cannot be fixed by arbitrarily deciding who has access to something & who doesn't.
Karoline
QUOTE (Muspellsheimr @ Jan 8 2010, 05:11 PM) *
Radar is not a vision enhancement. It is a visual overlay.


Same could be said for LL vision or thermographic vision or ultrasound (Especially with ultrasound). All of them are technically just overlays, but as long as they are paid for with essence you can target a spell with them. Like I said though, not a big disappointment to me because it is sevearly unbalancing to let mages use it to target people.

QUOTE
Mages also do not have significant advantages over mundanes - they are appropriately balanced (except for the "unlimited advancement" aspect, which almost never comes up, but can easily cause significant problems; suggestion - Initiate Grade cannot exceed 5, natural Magic cannot exceed 7. You would be amazed at how well it works).


If you'd like to believe that, that is your opinion. I'll not get into it in this thread, as it is entirely unrelated.
Muspellsheimr
QUOTE (Karoline @ Jan 8 2010, 04:19 PM) *
Same could be said for LL vision or thermographic vision or ultrasound (Especially with ultrasound). All of them are technically just overlays, but as long as they are paid for with essence you can target a spell with them. Like I said though, not a big disappointment to me because it is sevearly unbalancing to let mages use it to target people.

That is because, with Ultrasound, that is correct. Mages cannot use Ultrasound (implanted or otherwise) to target spells, because it takes its readings & places a visual display over your vision.

With Thermographic & Low Light, that is not the case. Low Light amplifies the light your eyes receive & register, enhancing your vision, not replacing or overlaying it. Thermographic expands the light frequencies that your eyes can pick up, enhancing your vision, not replacing or overlaying it.
Muspellsheimr
QUOTE (Karoline @ Jan 8 2010, 04:19 PM) *
Same could be said for LL vision or thermographic vision or ultrasound (Especially with ultrasound). All of them are technically just overlays, but as long as they are paid for with essence you can target a spell with them. Like I said though, not a big disappointment to me because it is sevearly unbalancing to let mages use it to target people.

That is because, with Ultrasound, that is correct. Mages cannot use Ultrasound (implanted or otherwise) to target spells, because it takes its readings & places a visual display over your vision.

With Thermographic & Low Light, that is not the case. Low Light amplifies the light your eyes receive & register, enhancing your vision, not replacing or overlaying it. Thermographic expands the light frequencies that your eyes can pick up, enhancing your vision, not replacing or overlaying it.
Ascalaphus
QUOTE (Muspellsheimr @ Jan 8 2010, 11:38 PM) *
That is because, with Ultrasound, that is correct. Mages cannot use Ultrasound (implanted or otherwise) to target spells, because it takes its readings & places a visual display over your vision.


In the case of cybereyes, your whole vision is artificial; optical as well as ultrasound is sent to the visual section of the brain.

QUOTE (Muspellsheimr @ Jan 8 2010, 11:38 PM) *
With Thermographic & Low Light, that is not the case. Low Light amplifies the light your eyes receive & register, enhancing your vision, not replacing or overlaying it. Thermographic expands the light frequencies that your eyes can pick up, enhancing your vision, not replacing or overlaying it.


In the case of cybereyes, your vision is replaced, by an artificial sensor that sends information to your brain. This isn't a problem, as long as the artificial sensor is incorporated in your "form" by paying Essence for it. So far clear.

So does it matter what kind of artificial sensor? You can't create LOS by hearing, but is that because only light can transfer LOS, or because hearing isn't precise enough to target something uniquely to a single spot, or because it needs to go through the brain's visual centers?

In the descriptions of astral perception, it's made clear that astral "sight" has nothing to do with the eyes; it's more a matter of seeing with your mind/spirit. Blind mages can astrally perceive and target spells.

Since we've eliminated dependency on light and on the visual parts of the brain (since even blind mages can use astral perception to target LOS spells physically), it must be a matter of being able to sense a spot to target and the path to it. I do think that ultrasound, radar etc, if Essence-bought, should be able to do that, since they can also preisely perceive area.
Draco18s
QUOTE (Ascalaphus @ Jan 8 2010, 06:36 PM) *
Since we've eliminated dependency on light and on the visual parts of the brain (since even blind mages can use astral perception to target LOS spells physically), it must be a matter of being able to sense a spot to target and the path to it. I do think that ultrasound, radar etc, if Essence-bought, should be able to do that, since they can also preisely perceive area.


So you'll let a mage with an implanted radar cast spells through walls even though a blind, astrally perceiving mage can not?
Ascalaphus
QUOTE (Draco18s @ Jan 9 2010, 12:42 AM) *
So you'll let a mage with an implanted radar cast spells through walls even though a blind, astrally perceiving mage can not?


IIRC, walls are still opaque astrally, so yeah.

I didn't say it was balanced; but it makes sense. I prefer to achieve both balance and sense; rules to gain balance that hinder sense are naughty.
Draco18s
QUOTE (Ascalaphus @ Jan 8 2010, 06:48 PM) *
IIRC, walls are still opaque astrally, so yeah.


Correct.

QUOTE
I didn't say it was balanced; but it makes sense. I prefer to achieve both balance and sense; rules to gain balance that hinder sense are naughty.


In which case, that's fine for your games, but its not RAW.
Karoline
QUOTE (Draco18s @ Jan 8 2010, 07:05 PM) *
In which case, that's fine for your games, but its not RAW.


Well, normal radar can't see through walls, only ultrawideband radar can (There is a difference, so make sure you're using the right term).

And no, what he said is exactly RAW. It may not be balanced, but it is RAW. Ultrasound, Low Light, and Thermographic can all be used to target people as long as the mage is paying essence to see with it. By extension of that, ultrawideband radar should also be able to be used to target spells because it is functionally equivalent to ultrasound.

So yes, RAW says you can target with Ultrawideband radar, but a developer says that you can't due to balance issues.

Oh, and as an aside, a blind mage can't target anything on the physical (Except with touch spells) because you must be able to perceive your target on the plane you wish to cast on.

Edit: Oh, and if people are going to argue either of these points (I know both are fairly controversial) please just make a new thread.
Omenowl
QUOTE (Muspellsheimr @ Jan 8 2010, 04:11 PM) *
One of the worst things any GM can do in my experience. Either allow it, or not. If with certain combination's it becomes overpowered, that is a problem with the balance of the game, not the quality itself, and cannot be fixed by arbitrarily deciding who has access to something & who doesn't.


This is easily solved by requiring a well rounded character description. I gives players extra BPs depeding on how well they write up their character description. The more work they put into a character's background story the more points they get.

As for emototoys I only allow them to determine state of mind. Not motivations. I leave that for the players skills. The real trick is to learn the motivation, type of personality and how to deal with people like that. You can even be told all those things, but putting them into practice doesn't always work that is why player's need the skills.



Muspellsheimr
QUOTE (SR4A p.183)
A metahuman spellcaster can target anyone or anything
she can see directly with her natural vision. Physical cyber- or bio-
enhancements paid for with Essence can be used to spot targets, but any
technological visual aids that substitude themselves for the charac-
ter's own visual senses - cameras, electronic binoculars, Matrix feeds,
etc. - cannot be used.

QUOTE (SR4A p.183)
As noted above, sighting through an electronic vision-en-
hancing device or other technological rendering of the target does not
establish the necessary link.


QUOTE (SR4A p.333)
The utrasound accessory consists of an emitter that
sends out continuous ultrasonic pulses and a receiver that picks up the
echoes of these pulses to create a topographic ultrasound "map" that
is laid over (or replaces) the user's normal visual sensory input
.

QUOTE (Arsenal p.36)
THis device emits ultrawideband and tera-
hertz radar in short stepped-frequency pulses. An expert system
analyzes the Doppler shift in the bounced signals and converts
the information into a three-dimensional "map" that overlays
(or replaces) the user's visual senses
, similar in some ways to ul-
trasound.


Oddly enough, I cannot seem to find the rules for spell targeting with Astral Perception. Going from memory, you can use Astral Perception to target spells in place of Line of Sight, but must be active on the plane you are targeting (meaning Perceiving for Physical targets, Perceiving or Projecting for Astral targets). Going from what I can find, you cannot use Astral Perception to target spells, and thus can only use Touch-range spells while astrally Perceiving or Projecting, period.
Karoline
So, all that quoting proves that the correct interpretation is that Ultrawideband Radar should work for targeting spells. Thanks.
hahnsoo
QUOTE (Karoline @ Jan 8 2010, 10:21 PM) *
So, all that quoting proves that the correct interpretation is that Ultrawideband Radar should work for targeting spells. Thanks.
Actually, it seems exactly the opposite, from my reading. An overlay or map is definitely technological and is not "normal" vision, even if paid for by Essence. There is no natural way to produce said overlay on natural eyes, unlike thermographic or low light vision. You might as well say that spells can be targeted using Enhanced Hearing or Enhanced Smell, too, if you are allowing this, since you can put an Enhanced Hearing or Smell overlay on your Image Link, quite easily.

You're seeing what you're looking for, rather than reading the actual words (conveniently underlined in the post). Not that it matters much, due to the sloppy writing from the book, thus leading to two opposite and loose interpretation of the rules being treated as RAW. Everyone has a right to be stubborn about their own opinions, though. What they SHOULD do is list explicit cases of what can and cannot be used for spell targeting.
Karoline
Actually I'm seeing the actual words (Conveniently left out of the underlined sections in the post).

QUOTE
A metahuman spellcaster can target anyone or anything
she can see directly with her natural vision. Physical cyber- or bio-
enhancements paid for with Essence can be used to spot targets
, but any
technological visual aids that substitude themselves for the charac-
ter's own visual senses - cameras, electronic binoculars, Matrix feeds,
etc. - cannot be used.


There, now the correct part of the quote is underlined. It says enhancements paid for with essence can be used to spot targets. It doesn't say that Low Light vision and Thermographic vision can be used to spot targets if you pay essence for it, it says enhancement. Ultrasound is a vision enhancement. Ultrawideband Radar is a vision enhancement. Low light vision is a vision enhancement.

QUOTE
The utrasound accessory consists of an emitter that
sends out continuous ultrasonic pulses and a receiver that picks up the
echoes of these pulses to create a topographic ultrasound "map" that
is laid over (or replaces) the user's normal visual sensory input.

QUOTE
THis device emits ultrawideband and tera-
hertz radar in short stepped-frequency pulses. An expert system
analyzes the Doppler shift in the bounced signals and converts
the information into a three-dimensional "map" that overlays
(or replaces) the user's visual senses, similar in some ways to ul-
trasound.


This is exactly no different than a cybereye replacing the vision that was lost due to a mage gouging out their eyes. It replaces the user's visual senses.
etherial
QUOTE (Karoline @ Jan 8 2010, 11:46 PM) *
There, now the correct part of the quote is underlined. It says enhancements paid for with essence can be used to spot targets. It doesn't say that Low Light vision and Thermographic vision can be used to spot targets if you pay essence for it, it says enhancement. Ultrasound is a vision enhancement. Ultrawideband Radar is a vision enhancement. Low light vision is a vision enhancement.


That's the thing, Ultrasound isn't a vision enhancement any more than GridGuide or a TacNet is. They take extrasensory data (audio, even, for Ultrasound) and overlay that information on top of your field of view.
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