Help - Search - Members - Calendar
Full Version: GM shortcuts
Dumpshock Forums > Discussion > Shadowrun
Back in the day when I GMed SR2, I had no idea what a 'GM shortcut' was, but at the very least the system came with one in from of the Threat Rating, saving me for some work. These days, my GM style is a bit different, and I prefer to NOT sit for minute after minute and roll dice while muttering to myself. Being new to SR4, however, it is a bit hard to know where to 'cut'.

So far, I've implemented the following:

1. When NPCs make unimportant rolls, they buy hits, always. If there are NPC mooks on both sides of a battle, they'll always buy hits when attacking each other.

I also consider letting mooks buy hits when dodging and/or resisting damage. Yes, I know that one cannot buy hits in a stressful situation, but this is a houserule designed to save rolls for the GM.

2. Unless it is somehow important that they use two, NPCs will only use one condition monitor.

Does any of you have more tricks I can use?
If NPCs are doing unimportant checks, you can just decide if they succeed or not. Depending on how good they are, and what your plot requires.

Likewise, if a bunch of NPCs are fighting a bunch of NPCs, you don't have to roll for all of it. For example when the PCs have some gang allies and the PCs and their allies are fighting a rival gang, just roll opposed Professional Rating once per turn or their allies to see how well they do on average compared to the enemy. Only major NPCs and NPCs the PCs are personally engaging need to be fully rolled.

If the PCs are directing their allies, let them make Leadership tests to give temporary boosts to their side.

It's like directing a movie: the audience cares about the details of what happens to the main characters and near them, but only about the generalities of the supporting cast.
I'll often just make a "Rating X" NPC, where all relevant stats are X, kinda relevant ones are (X - 1), and irrelevant ones are (X - 2). That way, most pools are (2 * X) dice.

I also notate damage in little triangles, one side of a triangle per box of damage. Then the dice pool penalty is the number of complete triangles.
SR4 with the rules for goons, or whatever they call them, is awesome. 7th Sea is still my favorite for throw-away thugs, Brutes. Simple rules, easy to dispatch, but can also be used to brutal effect if done properly. I sort of cobble a bit from those for personal use, to make things some what easy.

I also don't have a game where the players strip everything from the fallen for resale, so the lack of detail of what the goons/brutes are armed with (gear, ware, and so on) isn't much of a concern, though firearms generally get snagged and sold quick and cheap. Just because.

7th Sea Gamemaster's Guide has rules on Brutes for that game, though.
For larger fights I tend to use the combat as a backdrop for the PCs' actions. I just describe the battle in a way that builds tension and enhances the players' role in the story. I say "this mook takes one in the head" and "this car explodes" but unless it directly affects the players I don't bother rolling anything really. You can also use a timeline for events that occur in the scene- things that will happen on certain turns regardless of the players' actions (unless their goal is to stop such events) to add a random feeling to things. It saves a lot of time and effort.
if you dont like to let the NPC v NPC battles be just fluff and you need to roll something then do what i do.
Roll 8d6 per 2 pair NPC groups so 4d6 per group (i like rolling dual coloured ones so easy to roll multiple groups at once)

based on NS team (net succcess team) achieves the following goals.
4: Whitewash. No contest. Shalughtered.
3: Easy battle for NS. This will be over soon.
2: Just your everyday battle with odds favouring NS. Will take some time but NS should have this sorted eventually.
1: Tough battle. NS has minor advantage but will take some time to pull this off.
0: Extremely difficult contest. No clear winner. Strap up for the long haul, this will be won by attrition.

one such roll can preety much establish what will end up happening if events remain unchanged.
you can fluff the battle and even make it go on for a while based on just this roll.

you can ofcourse roll again if you need to see how things progress but you will need to alter the outcomes based on what the roll before was or you swing it in a direction you want.
if you roll again modify the dice as follows NS is based on the LAST roll only:
NS = 4: the NS team rolls 4d6 the other team 1d6
NS = 3: NS rolls 4d6, other rolls 2d6
NS = 2: NS rolls 4d6, other rolls 3d6
NS = 1: both teams roll 3d6
NS = 0: both teams roll 4d6

glitches dont apply to these rolls.
QUOTE (KamikazePilot @ Dec 25 2010, 09:49 PM) *
if you dont like to let the NPC v NPC battles be just fluff and you need to roll something then do what i do.
Roll 8d6 per 2 pair NPC groups so 4d6 per group (i like rolling dual coloured ones so easy to roll multiple groups at once)


I really like this. You could add trigger events- actions by the PCs that trigger rerolls to see if the battle is shifting. It would be especially cool if the DP accounted for things like Professional Ratings, Leadership (C&C) and TacNet. I like this idea a lot.
I like one of the optional rules from WAR! about large dicepools - if a dicepool is particularly large and you don't want to roll all of those dice, roll half the dicepool and count all 3+ successes; IE: if your dicepool is 30, you'd roll 15 dice and all dice that come up 3 or higher are successes. 1's still count normally for glitching.
Much good stuff . . . what about battles where the PCs are fighting hordes of mooks? Any shortcuts you use there?
I at one point attempted to implement rules similar for WH40K, but that was mainly due to the rigger having 11 drones and the team being swamped with enemies. It didn't turn out too well, but I think I'll be revisiting that concept.
That's somewhat tricky. Normal rules don't really handle that well, in several ways:

* An individual zombie is no threat, but even a ninja would get gnawed to bits if dropped in the middle of an entire horde. Same for swarms of man-eating rats and such; individually they'd never be able to penetrate armor, but a swarm is supposed to be able to.

* Rolling the attacks of 50 drones on a PC is tiresome. It just takes too long.

A technique I'm trying to perfect is to aggregate them. Say that any 10+ zombies can become an Aggregate Zombie (AG). Every zombie added to the AG gives +X to its stats, including damage-dealing, while every Y damage kills one zombie. Area damage should probably be squared to see how much it hurts the AG.

I had a related challenge yesterday. Whilst playing Vampire, the party was at a big vampire party which was attacked by werewolves. Instead of tracking NPCs, I just said "so and so many of the werewolves focus on this PC, so many on that PC, and the rest are busy with the NPCs vampires."
Depending on how much attention they drew, and how much effort they put in tactical maneuvering, the PCs could try to shift some of the werewolves' attention away to the NPC vampires. One PC who was in an NPC vampire formation had to make some rolls to see if the nearest werewolf attacked the PC or the NPC next to her.

This worked out fairly well; I could devote some opponents to every PC without being drowned in details.
What about the mischief rules from Running Wild? Groups of enemies could fall into those couldn't they?
QUOTE (Ole_I @ Dec 29 2010, 04:48 AM) *
Much good stuff . . . what about battles where the PCs are fighting hordes of mooks? Any shortcuts you use there?

If they are up against range oposition and it happens to be a big mob then i suggest and throw in free and ENFORCED perception rolls hinting of avenues of escape, manhole covers, broken doors, other cover, unlocked vehicle, anything really that the PCs may use that their stubborn players may no think about. Getting shot by a horde of enemies is usualy a death sentance because the law of averages are on their side. This brings me back almost a decade ago with my Imperial Guard monstrous army vs some space marines. Took me longer to setup the troops than it took the battles to finish. A crapload of lasguns will eventually win smile.gif
And on that note, group multiple SA shots from hordes of enemies into bursts and roll randomly to see which PC is in the line of fire.
You can also assume that the majority of fire from a horde is wild and random, call it suppression fire and only roll targeted fire from lieutenants and named NPCs.
This is a "lo-fi" version of our main content. To view the full version with more information, formatting and images, please click here.
Dumpshock Forums © 2001-2012