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Hello all! The information qouted below was sent by myself to several friends of mine that also enjoy Shadowrun and one of them suggested that I post it here to get a general opinion on it. Looking over it now I think that the 24+ area should have been toned down a touch in its description but overall I still hold to this outline. I originally came up with the chart to help me build a character and have it 'feel' right. Often times it is easy in RPGs to want to have the biggest, baddest, and flashiest characters which, in Shadowrun, means huge dice pools. I wanted to chart out what a true runner would likely possess. This is my attempt at that.

"I cannot make a character up without reference to the system and setting. In the case of Shadowrun we have a fairly detailed setting (you just have to read in detail to get detail) but the system has a lot of conflicting items. The primary culprit is the skill rank chart. This should have been pulled from the book. It is an aberration. Skill rank represents, at best, half of your total dice pool. Which blurs it out so much that it is no longer any good. Dice pool is what it should be about. Everything and everyone is measured in dice pools. In order for that to stay constant we need to take out variability. Fortunately the game does this for us with purchasing successes. It is important to keep in mind that we measure heroes against the everyday and not against the big bad guys. So I examined just those things. Several factors are involved with this. First, it is really important to acknowledge that the common homo sapien cannot default and still buy a success. This is extremely important to the chart.
Secondly, we want to measure what a hero can achieve routinely and not on a good roll or using edge. We can also remove positive modifiers from external sources (IE ideal conditions). I use the sniper as an example because it is easy for everyone to quantify such a practice and imagine negative modifiers.

Given those things, here is my chart.

0-3 dice: General dude. Cannot routinely accomplish easy tasks without some risk because he cannot buy a success.

4-7 dice: Dabbler with a bit of know-how, nerve, superior attribute, or some blend. This category gets its own rating because it is where a character can buy a success under normal or even some adverse conditions. This is the bottom rung for shadowrunners. Pick-up skills that the character runs into from time to time will be here.

8-11 dice: Professional with a solid basis. Can purchase 2 successes, possibly under adverse conditions. Accomplishes average tasks with little to no effort. Shadowrunners have any important skill that does not apply directly to their specialty in this area.

12-15 dice: Expert. 3 successes in normal conditions. Difficult tasks with no problem. The realm of runners who are good at what they specialize in. I feel that most runners would have specialty skills here in this realm.

16-19 dice: Elite. 4 successes in normal conditions. The book gives no rating for 4 successes but I made this block because it enables a character to buy successes nearly at will. At this rating a sniper could be buying 3 successes for a 500 yard shot in the rain with high wind. In other words, he grunts, pretends to actually look into the scope, and wishes for something worth his time before squeezing the trigger and sending a 50 caliber bullet through his target's nasal cavity. The kingdom of runners that are not know for any sort of failure in the assigned task.

20-23 dice: Iconic. Natural character cap at 20. 5 successes in normal conditions, 4 in adverse. Impossible tasks with grace. This is the guy that takes mile-long shots for no reason other than he can.

24+: Legendary. At this range very little is stopping the runner. This approaches the realm of graphic novel. Think Wanted. The sniper is sitting in a chair 2 miles away and does not even bother to aim the gun. He just pulls the trigger and wills the bullet to his target."
A good way to look at the examples of skill Ratings (SR4A, p. 119), is not that having a certain skill rating gives you that overall level, but rather that the average individual at that level would have that much skill along with appropriate attributes and advantages.

I.E. having a skill alone at Rating 5 does not make you an "Expert", but an Expert probably has Rating 5 (along with a comparable attribute and bonuses.

Mirivor, I like your divisions. They make sense to me. And MJBurrage, that is a good way to look at the book's descriptions. The example of the sniper doesn't (and can't, really) take into account the resistance rolls of the target. Mirivor, you might consider running a parallel set of descriptions about armour, or dodging. For example:

0-3 dice: sitting duck, dead at the first shot

12-15 dice: careful veteran, survives contact with typical enemy

24+ dice: could have made it across no-man's-land in WW I

Then there's the whole issue of Glitches, which you sort of built in with your mention of less than ideal conditions. And Edge which can turn a bad pool into a very good one.
From another thread
QUOTE (suoq @ Aug 25 2010, 01:25 PM) *
One way I like to think about dice (and obviously open to debate).
21 dice = Go away. I can do this by myself.
18 dice = Can someone hold my tools?
15 dice = I could use some backup on this one.
12 dice = I can back you up on that.
9 dice = I can hold your tools.
6 dice = I think I can, I think I can.
3 dice = you're kidding me right? I'm color blind and you're telling me to cut the red wire?

QUOTE (suoq @ Aug 26 2010, 09:37 AM) *
6 dice is a attribute 3 skill 3 character with no tools in a world of tools. One can get 6 dice with a level 3 agent and level 3 software running on a level 3 commlink. It's a level 6 first aid kit in the hands of a child. It's the perception rating of a LEBD-1 or a Doberman or a Stormcloud.

It's a greater than 1/12 chance of failing a TR1 test.

A 6 in Missions means you can't buy avail: 4 gear between missions on your own. You need someone else to buy it for you.

Note that what your characters needs depends on your table. You can play a game where 12 is competent. You can play a game where 15 dice is competent. You can play a game where 18 dice is competent. You can play a game where people are riding the dice cap. It's more important that everyone at the table be on the same page when it comes to dice pools than that your table is at some other table's dice pool suggestion.
While that's true, suoq, there's clearly an intended scale in the book; it's just incomplete, because it only mentions skill.
QUOTE (suoq @ Aug 28 2010, 11:09 AM) *
Note that what your characters needs depends on your table. You can play a game where 12 is competent. You can play a game where 15 dice is competent. You can play a game where 18 dice is competent. You can play a game where people are riding the dice cap. It's more important that everyone at the table be on the same page when it comes to dice pools than that your table is at some other table's dice pool suggestion.
I think that's what his table was meant to help his friends do, by giving them a scale that contains more than just skill.
QUOTE (Yerameyahu @ Aug 28 2010, 10:26 AM) *
While that's true, suoq, there's clearly an intended scale in the book; it's just incomplete, because it only mentions skill.

The problem then is tools and their stacking.

The average tool could be said to add three dice to your pool. Some common tools add 2 (smartlinks & specializations link to mind), many add three, some have 4 or more. To simply things, I'll use tools of 2 dice each, with the understanding that better tools exist.
I think of tools as things like cyberware, magic, skills of 6, specializations, some types of software, etc.

A soft cap (5) with a high group (4) leads to 9 dice, so I'll assume 9 dice between skill and attribute = "that's my job".
The question is, how many tools to do the job does the average runner at the table carry. If a combat guy using the weapon of their choice normally takes a skill of 6, specializes, carries a smartlink, and has access to a level 2 tacnet that's 17 dice on the table. (4 +2 tools). I could see other tables where having a soft cap, a high group and a smartlink (11 dice) being all that's needed to be good at your job.

It's hard to give guidelines. Characters like the Pornomancer, Mr. Lucky, or any dumpshock built street sam will eat any sample character out of the book alive. If your table is playing the sample characters, you need different guidelines than the table with the Pornomancer and Mr. Lucky.
Agreed. There's always more to it that stat and skill.
The big, huge problem with breaking dice pools down like that is that all skills are NOT created equal. Some attributes are easier to improve with augmentation, and some skills are easier to boost up with various bonuses. Also, measuring it by buying successes also ignores that the use of skills is not equal, either. Someone rolling 18 dice for pistols might get that whittled down by wounds, fatigue, visibility penalties, firing from cover, etc. Someone rolling 18 dice to customize a weapon is far less likely to have a lot of negative modifiers.

Also, while the dice pool breakdown is an improvement over the skill descriptions, it has a bit of the same problem. It rates people based on only one skill, when, honestly, a runner needs a number of tertiary skills to use a primary skill to best effect. And even a runner with those tertiary skills will get less respect, and lower-paying jobs, than a runner who is at least functional outside of that area. The sniper with 24 dice is an example. He needs stealth, perception, and probably some athletics to actually be a good sniper. And a sniper with 16 dice who can also interrogate people, use drones for recon, drive a getaway vehicle, and patch his buddies up when they get wounded will probably still be more in demand than him.

Honestly, a single dice pool of 24+ does not make a runner a legend. Such a character can consistently succeed at one single thing, but they can still fail at a bunch of other things, get wounded, get blackmailed, get manipulated, and so on. They aren't striding the earth as invincible giants.
I agree with all posts here. Some specific points (assuming I can figure out the qoute thingymajig):

Suoq: I read that thread that you mention with deep interest and I acknowledge the part about tools and how high the dice pool can get and, for runners exclusively, we are in 100% agreement. My chart, though, is intended to use the dude standing on the corner as its basis. It is at this level that tools begin to make sense to me. If the normal street walker is a 0 rank in a given skill and he has a total tool modifier of +8, that means he can accomplish average tasks nearly all of the time by buying 2 successes with his pool. He has the trappings to do such tasks over and over again without failure. You could do just what you did, of course, and dictate that the summary's parameters are meant to entail runners and exclude the common individual, which is what I think your table does.

I think that what the table is based on is the critical part. The individual's game's style is the other big factor. If you play runners that constantly face cyberzombies and T2000 liquid metal beatsticks then I daresay Suoq's is much more in line (maybe even short of) what you would use. But if you are playing a game closer to the cuff, so to speak, then I feel that this one holds true.

Thanks for all of the comments and input, peoples!

Glyph: Bah. I skipped your post. The table is not meant to summarize any given skill or be exact. It is more of a way to judge where your runner sits when he is compared to Joe Blow, a security guard, or even a Red Samurai. I created it soley as a guide to creating a runner that has the same 'feel' as the book does. The premade PCs in the book do .... something. Truthfully I think something in that section went arry. Then again they do have implants and cyberware, extra passes (the most powerful thing in the game, in my humble opinion), and some other stuffs that make them well beyond a normal fellow's experience. My group always has a laugh when someone asks what the Weapon Specialist does when faced with a decked out street samurai and we respond with 'blows him up with her missile launcher'. smile.gif That is not how it may happen, of course, but it certainly evokes the classic Indiana Jones moment.

*Big bad guy swings his sword all fancy-like*
*Indiana whips his pistol out of its holster and shoots him*
*Crowd roars in approval*

I love that scene!
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