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BobChuck
I'm looking for what bits and pieces of rules are difficult, confusing, or otherwise controversial.

I am NOT looking for a debate on any of these; that's a separate topic. Actually, a whole bunch of separate topics. Basically, I am looking for a list of all the things that can cause lengthy passionate Rules Discussions at the drop of a hat.

I've picked up on a few so far:

Control Thoughts - problematic spell that is sometimes banned by GMs. Control Actions is significantly less broken but can lead to some of the same issues.

Shapechange - when combined with Trolls and high body, can lead to min-maxed characters that taste strongly of cheese.

Cyber/Bioware - exactly what counts an "accessory" (and multiplied) and what is just added on is unclear in the rules (meaning clear enough to lead to a ridiculous conclusion for high-end ware, but vague enough for said absurd conclusion to result in questioning the rule as a whole), so is hotly debated.

Biodrones - Can they be "hacked"? If so, how, and how does one protect them? Can a person be rigged as a biodrone? Not all that controversial (because it is very uncommon), but very complicated and unclear.

That's all I've got so far. Please post any additional ones that you think new players should be aware of. Please post in as neutral a manner as possible, because this thread is by definition going to contain a lot of flame bait. That's the point - identify them quickly so they can be nipped in the bud before they catch fire at the table.
The Grue Master
Stick 'n' Shock ammo is often banned or controlled. Not sure if it's controversial or not, just rather powerful. I include Shock Gloves in the same category.
Belvidere
QUOTE (The Grue Master @ Jul 13 2010, 10:27 AM) *
Stick 'n' Shock ammo is often banned or controlled. Not sure if it's controversial or not, just rather powerful. I include Shock Gloves in the same category.


The truly painful use of them is in burst fire and full auto weapons. When in pistol they aren't much different than a taser, except a longer range.
Lanlaorn
QUOTE
Shapechange - when combined with Trolls and high body, can lead to min-maxed characters that taste strongly of cheese.


I think the FAQ explicitly said that you can choose Human as a "critter", but only human. Elves, Trolls, Orks, and Dwarves would be considered paranormal critters and thus prohibited by the spell's rules.

That said, if you pick Human it's still a really efficient way to get physical stats up compared to the Improved Attribute line. I don't think that's necessarily a bad thing but who knows.
BobChuck
Aha, thanks for reminding me. I forgot about

Stick N Shock: controversial ammo, for a number of reasons. Technically capable of harming spirits, which is considered ridiculous by some. Also, overpowered in general when used in anything with autofire capability. Most common solution it to define it as "Shotgun only", or more generously, "shotgun and small arms only".

Spirits: powerful in general, significantly better than the "tech" equivalent of drones. Most problematic ability is "Invulnerability to Normal Weapons", which functions as hardened armor at Force x2 against any non-magical attack; elemental attacks half this value (which is why Stick and Shock is effective). There is no single widely accepted solution to this problem; halving the armor in general (to just Force) is perhaps slightly more common than other ideas.

QUOTE (Lanlaorn @ Jul 13 2010, 11:38 AM) *
I think the FAQ explicitly said that you can choose Human as a "critter", but only human. Elves, Trolls, Orks, and Dwarves would be considered paranormal critters and thus prohibited by the spell's rules.

That said, if you pick Human it's still a really efficient way to get physical stats up compared to the Improved Attribute line. I don't think that's necessarily a bad thing but who knows.


I was referring to a Troll who uses this spell plus his high body to turn into truly absurd creatures. There's a Troll/Dragon shapeshifter of some kind a few pages down, though I don't know precisely how it works. Might have been through the adept version of the power.
Cabral
There is no adept version of shapeshift. Perhaps you are thinking of the Drake quality from Runner's Companion?
Lanlaorn
That's not the Shapechange spell, or even regular shapeshifting, that's being a Drake. All those metatypes are inherently somewhat overpowered really (IMO), but that's what you're paying the huge BP/Karma costs for.

I don't really have any experience playing with animal forms, nor have given it much thought, but upon cursory inspection losing all your armor, weapons and 'ware is a fairly signficant drawback that balances the whole thing. Sure you can make a combat monster creature of some kind, but that's not really saying much.
TommyTwoToes
Technomancers in general are debated a bit.
Belvidere
QUOTE (TommyTwoToes @ Jul 13 2010, 12:21 PM) *
Technomancers in general are debated a bit.


The only time I see them as a problem is when they're the only resonance based... anything in the campaign. But I do know that alot of people have problems with them.
BobChuck
Can you elaborate? That's the last section of the book that I really haven't delved into yet (wel, that and actually running games).

Why are technomancers problematic or controversial? Which parts of thier mechanics create the most problems?
Belvidere
QUOTE (BobChuck @ Jul 13 2010, 12:44 PM) *
Can you elaborate? That's the last section of the book that I really haven't delved into yet (wel, that and actually running games).

Why are technomancers problematic or controversial? Which parts of thier mechanics create the most problems?


They tend to be able to get much higher dice pools when it comes to hacking/cybercombat then anyone relying on gear(A normal hacker). Munchkined correctly they can become matrix gods. Plus they have sprites just to make things even easier for them via matrix. But the drawback to playing one is you will probably always be on matrix support. Its easy to make a hacker who can go in the meat, it requires a serious amount of munchkinism to make a technomancer who's still good at hacking and can go in the meat.
Medicineman
the HMHVV is deadly by RAW (deadly meaning you can throw away your char if infected)

Heightened Position Combat Modifiers (especially with Trolls and Dwarfes)
Climbing Claws modifier (+2 Total or +8 ?)
these were some of our Rules Pitfalls

He who dances with Pitfall Harry
Medicineman
LurkerOutThere
Actually in mind mind stick and shock is at it's most broken in small arms where it is staging damage up. Ammo that stages my hammeril from 4 to 6 and is resisted with half armor? Yes please. I just pretend it doesn't exist, actually makes taking people alive require specialized tactics again.

The infection rules are deadly by raw.

I have not found technomancers to be particularly troublesome, the more they specialize the more their vulnerable.

The armor stacking rules are wonky especially with things like form fitting body armor in the mix.

Some wonky things can be done when you heal drain, can quickly lead to some really bottomless casters.

Honestly the best defense against rules cheesedickery is just having a quick talk with your players, you could go through a long document on house rules or you could just hold veto power on character creation and encourage them to take less min maxed options. Remind them that your not really their enemy and if they don't game the system, you won't do so either.

It's for this reason that my home game on Thursday nights plays vastly different from my missions game on Sunday.
TommyTwoToes
QUOTE (Belvidere @ Jul 13 2010, 12:01 PM) *
They tend to be able to get much higher dice pools when it comes to hacking/cybercombat then anyone relying on gear(A normal hacker). Munchkined correctly they can become matrix gods. Plus they have sprites just to make things even easier for them via matrix. But the drawback to playing one is you will probably always be on matrix support. Its easy to make a hacker who can go in the meat, it requires a serious amount of munchkinism to make a technomancer who's still good at hacking and can go in the meat.

And when using unwired.... There is an echo that gives you pseudo skillwires, so you can be threading your own skillwires so you have very available skill in the game.

Threading extra stealth rating means you never get seen

Sprites (which are analogous <God my spelling is aweful> to spirits) cost no money, just time.

Unhackable node (your own head). Where you can run a Tac Net, which becomes roughly unhackable.

No program limit.


Yerameyahu
TMs are still very one-trick and very Karma-intensive. Not unplayable, no, and great at their speciality, yes. smile.gif
BobChuck
The point is, Technomancers are clearly controversial, as evidenced by this discussion. Thank you for the information (and demonstration smile.gif).

What else?
Johnny B. Good
Shapeshifters, AIs, and free spirit PCs. The rules/stats could have been done a LOT better. Shapeshifters are either too good or too terrible, notables being the Wolf Shifter being worst (Huge waste of BP, not including qualities you lose 65 BP) and Jaguar being best at a net gain of 5BP from stats alone, does not include qualities like regeneration. Bear shifter is better if you're going to be a bruiser, 30 BP gain from stats plus regeneration, +1 reach and +1 natural armor. He does have some nasty caps on the mental stats though. But really, if you're going to break the game and make a bear you may as well make him an adept so he can burrow through walls at walking speed, too.

Free spirits are just wonky, especially for upgrading stats. I understand it none.

AIs can be neat, but they're rather limited in scope.

And to top it off, all of these are distinctly non-metahooman, meaning if you want to play one you're going to have to think like one.

In short: Hurrr you're a bear.
Yerameyahu
I think Surprise is a messy little area.
D2F
QUOTE (LurkerOutThere @ Jul 13 2010, 07:38 PM) *
I have not found technomancers to be particularly troublesome, the more they specialize the more their vulnerable.


You can Build a Technomancer with points of Essence worth of Cyber/Bio and still have 2 Resonance at the start of play, without paying a single BP to increase your resonance. I think that's pretty controversial.
The Grue Master
QUOTE (Yerameyahu @ Jul 13 2010, 05:25 PM) *
I think Surprise is a messy little area.


Definitely not trying to troll here, I'm genuinely curious what your beef with Surprise could be?
LurkerOutThere
Mages are pretty controversial, possession mages doubly so. smile.gif
DireRadiant
QUOTE (D2F @ Jul 13 2010, 03:29 PM) *
You can Build a Technomancer with points of Essence worth of Cyber/Bio and still have 2 Resonance at the start of play, without paying a single BP to increase your resonance. I think that's pretty controversial.


Interesting. I know buying Technomancer Positive Quality gives you 1 resonance to start with. I'm curious where the other comes from. And then how you get Cyber or Bioware without losing essence and resonance unless you deliberately use a non standard order of operations. Which you could do exactly the same with Mages. And since you can do that with Mages, then it's not inherently a TM build, but any build.
Yerameyahu
The rules are a little schizophrenic about whether you get 'passive' Defense benefits (Cover, movement, etc.), and then the rules for who surprises whom, in and out of combat, and what actions you can take, are just a mess. Two pages in SR4A contradict about whether you can drop prone or not, what constitutes an ambush is basically up to the GM (which is fine), and overall it's simply more complicated than necessary. I'm not saying it's a big deal, but it's in the same ballpark as some of the above areas.

I'm curious about this 2 Res Techno claim as well. Smells like deliberate misreading.
The Grue Master
QUOTE (Yerameyahu @ Jul 13 2010, 05:38 PM) *
The rules are a little schizophrenic about whether you get 'passive' Defense benefits (Cover, movement, etc.), and then the rules for who surprises whom, in and out of combat, and what actions you can take, are just a mess. Two pages in SR4A contradict about whether you can drop prone or not, what constitutes an ambush is basically up to the GM (which is fine), and overall it's simply more complicated than necessary. I'm not saying it's a big deal, but it's in the same ballpark as some of the above areas.


I shall go read the rules again; this is news to me.
D2F
QUOTE (DireRadiant @ Jul 13 2010, 10:36 PM) *
Interesting. I know buying Technomancer Positive Quality gives you 1 resonance to start with. I'm curious where the other comes from. And then how you get Cyber or Bioware without losing essence and resonance unless you deliberately use a non standard order of operations. Which you could do exactly the same with Mages. And since you can do that with Mages, then it's not inherently a TM build, but any build.


5 BP for the Technomancer Quality -> Resonance 1
4 Essence points worth of Bioware/Cyberware -> Resonance -3
[Start of play]
Improve Resonance from -3 to -2: 10 Karma gained
Improve Resonance from -2 to -1: 5 Karma gained
Improve Resonance from -1 to 0: no cost
Improve Resonance from 0 to 1: 5 Karma cost
Improve Resonance from 1 to 2: 10 Karma cost

Final Resonance Rating: 2
net cost: 0 Karma
tete
My tip

Make sure all the PCs understand how effective Edge is and try to keep them near the same Edge scores (within 3 or so). Unless there character concept is lucky or unlucky. Extreme group edges tend to be problematic in terms of fun for everyone.
tete
double post
The Grue Master
QUOTE (D2F @ Jul 13 2010, 05:59 PM) *
5 BP for the Technomancer Quality -> Resonance 1
4 Essence points worth of Bioware/Cyberware -> Resonance -3
[Start of play]
Improve Resonance from -3 to -2: 10 Karma gained
Improve Resonance from -2 to -1: 5 Karma gained
Improve Resonance from -1 to 0: no cost
Improve Resonance from 0 to 1: 5 Karma cost
Improve Resonance from 1 to 2: 10 Karma cost

Final Resonance Rating: 2
net cost: 0 Karma


There is no such thing as negative Resonance, you just have zero resonance. As such, you can't gain karma just by increasing your negative attribute.
D2F
QUOTE (The Grue Master @ Jul 13 2010, 11:06 PM) *
There is no such thing as negative Resonance, you just have zero resonance. As such, you can't gain karma just by increasing your negative attribute.

You have a rules quote for that? I couldn't find one.
Caadium
QUOTE (D2F @ Jul 13 2010, 01:59 PM) *
5 BP for the Technomancer Quality -> Resonance 1
4 Essence points worth of Bioware/Cyberware -> Resonance -3
[Start of play]
Improve Resonance from -3 to -2: 10 Karma gained
Improve Resonance from -2 to -1: 5 Karma gained
Improve Resonance from -1 to 0: no cost
Improve Resonance from 0 to 1: 5 Karma cost
Improve Resonance from 1 to 2: 10 Karma cost

Final Resonance Rating: 2
net cost: 0 Karma


Sorry to say, but it doesn't work that way. If you ever have your magic or resonance reduced to 0 or lower, then you lose the associated quality (in this case resonance). You never get bonus karma for dropping a stat into the negatives. That character is an EX-Technomancer.
Yerameyahu
Don't be a child, D2F. smile.gif
The Grue Master
QUOTE (D2F @ Jul 13 2010, 06:07 PM) *
You have a rules quote for that? I couldn't find one.


There is a distinct lack of rules about this in the resonance, magic and attributes sections of the book. I'm still reading to find something. It's unfortunate that they never say 'attributes can not be reduced below zero' in the game concepts section that relates to attributes.
D2F
QUOTE (Caadium @ Jul 13 2010, 11:08 PM) *
Sorry to say, but it doesn't work that way. If you ever have your magic or resonance reduced to 0 or lower, then you lose the associated quality (in this case resonance). You never get bonus karma for dropping a stat into the negatives. That character is an EX-Technomancer.

Actually, while that is true for the magic attribute, there is no such rule for the resonance attribute.

QUOTE (Yerameyahu @ Jul 13 2010, 11:08 PM) *
Don't be a child, D2F. smile.gif

Hey, I am not saying I am in favor of interpreting the rule that way. The Thread is about possible rule pitfalls. I just pointed one out.

QUOTE (The Grue Master @ Jul 13 2010, 11:10 PM) *
There is a distinct lack of rules about this in the resonance, magic and attributes sections of the book. I'm still reading to find something. It's unfortunate that they never say 'attributes can not be reduced below zero' in the game concepts section that relates to attributes.

I hear ya! It makes perfect sense to assume that there shouldn't be a negative attribute score in SR. What would a negative attribute score even mean? Unfortunately, there is no rule that says otherwise, so on a purely technical level, negative attributes exist. I'd houserule it.
Yerameyahu
Heh. There's no rule that says they do exist, either. biggrin.gif Sigh.
D2F
QUOTE (Yerameyahu @ Jul 13 2010, 11:17 PM) *
Heh. There's no rule that says they do exist, either. biggrin.gif Sigh.

The only rules in that regard is: loss of resonance points through augmentations. What happens if you have 1 apple and you lose 4? You owe 3.

wink.gif
biccat
QUOTE (D2F @ Jul 13 2010, 09:59 PM) *
5 BP for the Technomancer Quality -> Resonance 1
4 Essence points worth of Bioware/Cyberware -> Resonance -3
[Start of play]
Improve Resonance from -3 to -2: 10 Karma gained
Improve Resonance from -2 to -1: 5 Karma gained
Improve Resonance from -1 to 0: no cost
Improve Resonance from 0 to 1: 5 Karma cost
Improve Resonance from 1 to 2: 10 Karma cost

Final Resonance Rating: 2
net cost: 0 Karma

Why not take 6 essence points (or 5.01) of bio/cyberware to get Resonance at -5? Then improve it to 5 using the same logic?

It doesn't appear from the rules that cyberware actually adjusts your MAXIMUM resonance, just your current resonance.

I mean, as long as we're being absurd.
biccat
QUOTE (D2F @ Jul 13 2010, 10:12 PM) *
I hear ya! It makes perfect sense to assume that there shouldn't be a negative attribute score in SR. What would a negative attribute score even mean? Unfortunately, there is no rule that says otherwise, so on a purely technical level, negative attributes exist. I'd houserule it.

Also, on page 82 of SR4A, see the following (emphasis added):
QUOTE
As mentioned in Game Concepts, p. 40, normal attributes range between 1 and 6. A characterís metatype may adjust the maximums higher or lower. Augmentation (either through technology or magic) can allow a character to exceed their metatype maximum to a certain point.

It seems that your "normal attributes" can't be less than 1. Since essence, magic, and resonance are specifically exempted, I think that this would limit your characters physical and mental stats to a minimum of 1.
D2F
QUOTE (biccat @ Jul 13 2010, 11:23 PM) *
Also, on page 82 of SR4A, see the following (emphasis added):

It seems that your "normal attributes" can't be less than 1. Since essence, magic, and resonance are specifically exempted, I think that this would limit your characters physical and mental stats to a minimum of 1.


Great point and good find. Thanks, biccat. Still doesn't solve the resonance problem, though.

QUOTE (biccat @ Jul 13 2010, 11:21 PM) *
Why not take 6 essence points (or 5.01) of bio/cyberware to get Resonance at -5? Then improve it to 5 using the same logic?

It doesn't appear from the rules that cyberware actually adjusts your MAXIMUM resonance, just your current resonance.

I mean, as long as we're being absurd.

Another nice find! You're absoluetly correct. And yes, it is absurd wink.gif
The Grue Master
QUOTE (biccat @ Jul 13 2010, 06:21 PM) *
Why not take 6 essence points (or 5.01) of bio/cyberware to get Resonance at -5? Then improve it to 5 using the same logic?

It doesn't appear from the rules that cyberware actually adjusts your MAXIMUM resonance, just your current resonance.

I mean, as long as we're being absurd.


The reason you don't do that is because you don't just lose Resonance, you also lose Natural Maximum Resonance. Having -5 from Cyber/Bio would result in a min and max Resonance of 1, by this logic. Then, you'd have to initiate just to get past one point, hence the lack of free resonance.

Another thing, I've always considered magic lost due to essence degradation to be effective magic loss, not actual loss. Thus, when raising the stat, you pay the cost of what your magic/resonance would have been, if not for the cyberware. I'm not sure if there is anything in the rules to back this up, but I haven't ever thought of it as a house rule until now. Ring any bells for anyone?

QUOTE
Characters with Magic or Resonance attributes are subject to penalties
if they have an Essence lower than 6. For each point or partial
point of Essence below 6, the character loses 1 full point from her Magic
or Resonance and the maximum for that attribute is reduced by 1. p68

Added quote for reference.
D2F
QUOTE (The Grue Master @ Jul 13 2010, 11:36 PM) *
The reason you don't do that is because you don't just lose Resonance, you also lose Natural Maximum Resonance. Having -5 from Cyber/Bio would result in a min and max Resonance of 1, by this logic. Then, you'd have to initiate just to get past one point, hence the lack of free resonance.

Another thing, I've always considered magic lost due to essence degradation to be effective magic loss, not actual loss. Thus, when raising the stat, you pay the cost of what your magic/resonance would have been, if not for the cyberware. I'm not sure if there is anything in the rules to back this up, but I haven't ever thought of it as a house rule until now. Ring any bells for anyone?


Added quote for reference.


Nice! Thanks, TGM!
Wasabi
QUOTE (TommyTwoToes @ Jul 13 2010, 01:40 PM) *
And when using unwired.... There is an echo that gives you pseudo skillwires, so you can be threading your own skillwires so you have very available skill in the game.


Since it requires a skillsoft to be emulated you cannot create a skillsoft CF via threading although increasing one could work. The Emulation rule does not say its optional so it blocks this. (probably by design)
Tymeaus Jalynsfein
QUOTE (D2F @ Jul 13 2010, 02:59 PM) *
5 BP for the Technomancer Quality -> Resonance 1
4 Essence points worth of Bioware/Cyberware -> Resonance -3
[Start of play]
Improve Resonance from -3 to -2: 10 Karma gained
Improve Resonance from -2 to -1: 5 Karma gained
Improve Resonance from -1 to 0: no cost
Improve Resonance from 0 to 1: 5 Karma cost
Improve Resonance from 1 to 2: 10 Karma cost

Final Resonance Rating: 2
net cost: 0 Karma


You cannot go below 0 Resonance... if you ever go to 0 Resonance, you lose all Resonance ability and can never raise it again...

Just like Magic...

Edit: Which has apparently already been said... Oh Well...

Keep the Faith
Glyph
Empathy software and emotitoys are controversial because they can give a PC a cheap, easy boost of +6 to social dice pools. Even fairly liberal GMs tend to nerf or ban it.

Possession traditions can be a minefield if you let the mage use a liberal definition of what counts as a "service".

Spells - control manipulations are one pitfall that has been mentioned. The other is the combo of direct combat spells and overcasting, especially if it is a build that can soak the physical Drain reliably.
Yerameyahu
Late, but if you have 1 apple, you can only lose 1. There's no owing. biggrin.gif
nemafow
How about Skillsofts emulating knowledge skills that couldn't possibly be emulated? I cannot for the life of my put an example forward but its something that has always bugged me... Feel free to put an example in if you know one, maybe it will get my brain working today.
Yerameyahu
I think I'll need an example to even know what you mean. smile.gif
Cabral
Maybe, you're thinking about a knowledge skill for a Magic-linked skill? However, when you burnout, your active magic skills become knowledge skills as suddenly you know about spellcasting, not how to ...

I would think that would be fine as a Knowsoft....
nemafow
Gah, I swear someone must know what I mean, Ive seen it mentioned on DS as well. Maybe it will come to me and I'll give an example, till then move along, nothing to see >.>
Lanlaorn
No skillsofts explicitly can't give you magic skills, the rules entry literally lists every other skill group and then adds parenthetically no magic or resonance skills just to make damn sure.

QUOTE
Activesofts replicate skills that require physical activity,
including all Combat, Physical, Social, Technical, and Vehicle
skills (but not Magic or Resonance skills). Recording and programming
physical skills is more difficult, so Activesofts are limited in rating.
Activesofts must be accessed with a skillwire system (p. 342); the rating
of the activesoft is limited by the skillwire systemís rating


Considering skillwires have are connected to your brain and muscles I can't really think of any skill they could give you that they logically wouldn't be able to.
Yerameyahu
I thought we were talking about Knowledge skills. Which isn't even what skillwires are for. smile.gif

Honestly, the rules and fluff don't make sense. The wires don't seem to be connected to your muscles at all, just your brain: they work for non-physical skills (despite the quote paragraph), they work in VR, and they include 100% creative tasks.
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