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Everial
I realize there are other bio/cyber pieces that seem unfairly stacked, but these were just two that I ... well, I suppose I have a beef with them both. (and abuse them both =\ )

Anyways, suggestions for balancing them?
(I forget to whom I must attribute it, but I remember a GM ruling that ME voids all magic ability, eg.)


[Edit] wow... I messed up, I forgot to add a 'Penalize Both' option, sorry.
Ancient History
I don't see how there's a problem with either of these. It's not like Firepower ammo y'know. Or personalized gun grips.
Fortune
Or Chipjack Expert Drivers! biggrin.gif
Everial
I just think the reduced Karma cost is unreasonable...

take the (now-stereotypical?) mage with ME 3... you get a datajack and spend 9 karma for Computers 4 (Deckins 8) and you just became a competetive decker, too... After initiating twice, get an Alpha VCR (I think you can manage lvl 2) and start rigging, too...

and... isn't there a reason EA has become 'Enhanced Artwinculation'?
it's essentially the equivalent of the Adept Improved Ability (I think that's the one that gives extra dice) on most skills... (I'm sure one could generate a hypothetical example in which a Jack-of-all-Trades type character might recieve enough bonuses to almost match the 6 starting power points adepts are granted.)

[Edit] Changed entry so specialization didn't show up as a smiley.
Ancient History
Consider: character types who need to spend all their time and money stuffing impalnts into their bodies need to be competitive with otaku and magicians who want to blow all their ahrd earned karma and money and time on foci and skillz and spells and shite.

Plus, pieces of equipment like this are more likely to entice magicians to burnout, or single-direction chracters to step out from specialization and become more diverse, well-rounded characters.
Daishi
Enhanced Articulation I like, to be honest. It's not all that crazy, but it is a very useful piece of ware for someone looking to cover a range of bases.

The Mnemonic Enhancer... well that one I'm not so sure about. The reduced karma cost is pretty sweet. Oddly enough, our group once made the ME more powerful by using it to reduce the time to learn skills. I realized things had gone too far when my character became fluent in a new language in about 4 hours... I'm a fan of the extra die for language and knowledge skills, as well as the memory boosts. I think that the ME is great for just that as it stands. Although perhaps at a reduced rate...
TinkerGnome
I've not used EA too often, though I don't think it's too far unbalanced. As far as the mnemonic enhancer goes, I don't think it should be eliminated. Everyone in the game world who can afford one would have one, of course, thus making it a balance issue between mundanes and magicly active characters. If it really bugs you, though, there are a couple of fixes that I would accept as a player.

1) The reduced karma cost only works for intelligence linked skills. This covers knowledge and linguistic skills, but also active skills like Biotech, B/R skills, and Computer. These are all skills where the application of enhanced memory are obvious and makes more sense than non-intelligence linked skills like, let's say, Athletics. I might go so far as to extend the benefit to Charisma and Willpower based skills, since both Etiquette and Sorcery seem like they could benefit from increased retention of knowledge.

2) In a game that uses training times, let it reduce the time it takes to learn new skills by a factor of 1+level. So at level 3, your learning times are down to 1/4. As a player of a character who dumps all of his karma into skills, it would let me keep up with the mages who can blow 20 karma in the course of a couple of weeks. I've found my mundane character constantly sitting on karma while he tries to train for skills.
Laughlyn
I just have to ask, am I the only one who uses bioware stress levels? Or the only one who doesn't allow you to repair all of the stress (cannot repair light stress)? If you use those, bioware becomes something that is either really expensive or really something to keep in mind with most of the things the character does in every day life as well as running the shadows.
Glyph
The problem that I have with the mnemonic enhancer is that, to me, Karma represents how well a character has performed, and giving a character a Karma discount because of a piece of bioware breaks the entire concept of good Karma to me. I let it reduce training times, instead, which actually makes more sense.

Enhanced articulation isn't game-breaking. It gives cybered characters a bit of a break, and like the smartlink, it is distinctive to cybered characters. It is far from broken, though. Even the chipjack expert driver isn't that bad - the character can roll 12 dice for some useful skills, but gives up other possible cybernetic augmentations in order to do so.
Sphynx
Well, I've always considered the ME to be out of control until I played a Sammie type character (see, I do/have played something other than a Quickening Shaman). Whereas a Mage type has consistent growth, the ability to become massively more powerful in short periods of time, the Sammie type doesn't. He slowly works on maxxing out attributes as every weak attribute he has is taken advantage of by the GM, then starts working on skills and such incredibly expensive rates that he goes games and games before he gets a +1 to a skill/attribute.

On the flip side, allowing a ME into the game allows Mages as well as Sammie types to become godlike, in quick order, in whatever field they desire.

End result for me was to allow Mnemonic Enhancers, but create some personal flavor to the description along the lines of: Due to the nature of this Bioware, it interacts with a part of the brain that is vital for Magic use. No current solution has been found within the science community, but anyone who has this Bioware installed loses all Magic ability in the process.

Now, Sammies and Mages alike seem to advance at about the same speed in regards to power, due to sammies being able to afford exceed attributes for skill purchases.

Sphynx
Sphynx
Uhm... what's the difference between number 2 and number 4? I think everybody is voting the same thing... and there's no option for disallowing both. nyahnyah.gif

Looks like most of us agree that ME is out of whack, but EA is just fine.

Sphynx
toturi
I think it (ME) is quite alright, if and only if you are playing and applying everything... wound effects, stress points, etc. The damned thing is connected to your brain, for God's sake. A knock out punch/DMSO-gamma sco mix can give you Flashback(-4 Flaw)!
eek.gif
The White Dwarf
Assuming you follow the faq, and dont allow ME at starting, its well balanced. Enchanced articulation isnt really unbalanced at all, given the way it works with magic, and the pretty decent bio index on it. The whole "xyz is unbalanced" thing seems to happen a lot when people dont use all the stuff surrounding something, as the above said with the stress and wound effect rules having bioware isnt all fun and games. The same could be said of smartlink-2 or a datajack, just for the huge statistical change in shooting success, or the unbeleivable huge array of in character actions allowed by a datajack.
Austere Emancipator
QUOTE (TinkerGnome)
1) The reduced karma cost only works for intelligence linked skills. This covers knowledge and linguistic skills, but also active skills like Biotech, B/R skills, and Computer. These are all skills where the application of enhanced memory are obvious and makes more sense than non-intelligence linked skills like, let's say, Athletics. I might go so far as to extend the benefit to Charisma and Willpower based skills, since both Etiquette and Sorcery seem like they could benefit from increased retention of knowledge.

This hasn't come up in my games yet, because I told my players that I will limit the usefulness of the Mnemonic Enhancer somehow, I just didn't know how back then. I think I'm going to settle for it only reducing the karma cost of Knowledge skills, not Active skills. Otherwise, it will works like it says in M&M.

I don't use many of the rules regarding bio and cyber (e.g. I allow Light stress to be repaired, I allow cultured bio and gear with Avail over 8 to be purchased in chargen, if it can be justified, etc), so I can see how ME might become unbalancing.

I don't think Artwinkulation is that bad. It is a great piece of ware, no doubt, and most of my players' cybered chars tend to take it, but they also take Smart-2 and Cybereyes, and like others have mentioned, ware like that is generally not considered game-breaking.

However, I can see how ME would have the effects it has by canon, considering its description. For the life of me, I cannot fathom how being better lubricated would have the kind of effects EA seems to have... But that's not really an issue with SR cyber&bio.
Andvare
I always disallow dikoted AVS-cyberarms nyahnyah.gif .
I will allow everything else, though i usually raise the cost for both.
Icepick
Well, here's one of the golden rules of shadowrun.

If the "good guys" get it, then the "bad guys" do too.
Fortune
QUOTE (Icepick @ Aug 24 2003, 01:52 PM)
Well, here's one of the golden rules of shadowrun.

If the "good guys" get it, then the "bad guys" do too.

That's pretty much a given fact, but kind of a moot point in regards to the ME. The 'bad guys' can have skills of any level anyway, without a GM's need to explain it though Bio/Cyberware.

I was also wondering what the difference was between Choices 2 and 4. smile.gif
Solidcobra
as said earlier: it is good to make the ME nuke mages (no magic with ME) and allow the poor sammies to do something..... a sammy can't be good at combat without the GM bringing in a LOT of stuff he can't handle (Social situations and magic), a mage on the other hand, even MORE powerful in every aspect and steadily growing, is very much okay to play with most GMs.....

the reason: Being good at combat makes people angry at you

no, honestly...... how many GMs do you know that would NOT implement magic and social situations if someone plays a combat monster?

and how many GMs would make everyone target the spellcaster until he is dead or in any other way burn him?

you see my point? good....
Cray74
I'm cool with both items of equipment. +1 die to all active skills...that's nice, but hardly an earthshaking effect.

Mnemonic enhancer is POWERFUL, but it let's me finally raise skills at a rapid rate. I always have so many other uses for karma that skill improvement suffers unreasonably.

So, no gripes here, nor any suggestions for nerfing them.
Buzzed
Is voting for I and III voting for the same thing?

Is voting for II and IV voting for the same thing also?

Where is the vote to penalize both?
Austere Emancipator
QUOTE (Solidcobra)
how many GMs do you know that would NOT implement magic and social situations if someone plays a combat monster?

How many GMs do you know that do not implement magic and social situations, completely regardless of what the PCs are like?

QUOTE
how many GMs would make everyone target the spellcaster until he is dead or in any other way burn him?

I'm guessing quite a few, considering how widespread the saying "Geek the mage first" is.
Johnny the Bull
Why disallow the ME and EA? It's not like its going to save them in the end. The world sucks, the PC's will die young and the world will go on smile.gif
Everial
I already acknowledged that I messed up the poll choices.
ToThePain
How about banning the Ares Viper Slivergun...
Glyph
QUOTE
How about banning the Ares Viper Slivergun...


Yeah... a gun that that goes ping! ping! off your armor is really unbalancing. sarcastic.gif

I mean, seriously, it's a good stealth pistol, but you're hardly going to be slaughtering NPCs left and right with it.
Talia Invierno
I'm in the same boat: I recognise that both can be powerful for their cost ... and I try to get them whenever I can. I don't think the base enhancement is over-powerful. I don't allow reductions on karma costs though - so I suppose that makes me an advocate of some degree of penalisation.

One house rule balancer that we adapted over from another game was the idea that few if any PCs would have the sheer strength of will to study or work at a task without break. The SR system assumes a certain number of hours spent per day. We modify that by 8-WL hours, during which you just accomplish ... nothing. Amazing how many odds and ends get fixed around the home when you are supposed to be working diligently on something intense. (The students among us should all recognise this symptom nyahnyah.gif )

The difference is added to the total time required to learn ... and the mnemonic enhancer reduces this (sometimes quite literally!) "wasted" time not at all.
Hunter
I've made this point before. The most "broken" piece of 'ware in the game isn't one of these two but the smartgun link. Where else can you get a massive increase in your ability for such a low cost? You go from an average to an easy test (4 to 2) simply by adding this....
Laughlyn
I don't see what your big issue with ME is. It only allows characters to understand INT based skills easier. Look at this way, how much faster, how much easier, how much better would you be at advance calculus if you didn't need to look up notes, you could trust your memory, and you could recall formulas in your head in a fraction of the time it normally takes? The same goes for physics, chemistry, biotech (medicine in real life), etc.

The idea of game balance is a screwed up idea that everything in the game is equal. We all know that isn't true.
Laughlyn
Hunter
Yea Hunter SGL is powerful, but it's a mere 2tn for ranged weapons. That's not a game breaking ability. Try a troll physad martial artist with a aptitude for unarmed combat. Everyone else rolls TN 5 to hit him and he rolls TN 2 to hit them.
CanvasBack
QUOTE
QUOTE 
How about banning the Ares Viper Slivergun...


QUOTE
Yeah... a gun that that goes ping! ping! off your armor is really unbalancing. 

I mean, seriously, it's a good stealth pistol, but you're hardly going to be slaughtering NPCs left and right with it.


Oh man can I confirm that...

These three newbs I met at a con sat down at a VS table I happened to be in at one point and none of them had characters created. We had a bunch of things to get straight. I was trying to help the gm get them in shape to run, but unfortunately a couple things slipped through the cracks. The big one was that two of them took the Viper as their PRIMARY weapon. I suppose I'm to blame, at one point one of them asked me what I carry on a run. "Well, if it warrants it I bring my trusty Ranger Arms SM-3, but usually it doesn't. I carry my Ares Viper as a backup, it's a good stealth gun... But for the 'heavy-lifting' on a run, my trusted Uzi III with sound-supressor and APDS ammo seems to work just fine..." I seem to remember regaling them with the benefits of Stealth and Concealability which somehow translated into "Buy the Viper, don't waste your money on any other weapons..." frown.gif

So when we ended up taking on another Shadow-Team, we almost had our asses handed to us 'cuz I didn't even think to ask what each of them was carrying. As it was, one Street Sam bit the dust and Mr. Gun-Fu adept ended up losing two points of magic on the operating table... sleepy.gif dead.gif

The Third Newb had chosen the Browning Ultra Max, and got out with only moderate injuries. I on the other hand came out unscathed.


To get this back on topic:

I generally don't like house rules. If you as a gm can't cope with a particular piece of cyberware, just ditch it and make it unavailable. Entirely plausible as most cyberware is highly illegal in civilian (non-police, non-corporate) hands.
Sphynx
QUOTE (Laughlyn)
I don't see what your big issue with ME is.  It only allows characters to understand INT based skills easier.  Look at this way, how much faster, how much easier, how much better would you be at advance calculus if you didn't need to look up notes, you could trust your memory, and you could recall formulas in your head in a fraction of the time it normally takes?  The same goes for physics, chemistry, biotech (medicine in real life), etc.

The idea of game balance is a screwed up idea that everything in the game is equal.  We all know that isn't true.

Laughlyn, you've missed the last paragraph of the ME's description:

QUOTE
Because memory retention is key to learning, the Karma cost for learning or improving skills is reduced by a number equal to the level of the mnemonic enhancer, to a minimum of 1.


With a Level 3 ME, you can learn EdgedWeapons(Swords) from 0(0) to 6(12) (with a 12 Strength) for 1+1+1+3+4+6+1+1+1+2+2+3=26 Karma. To do it without the ME would cost: 1+3+4+6+7+9+3+4+4+5+5+6=57. It's like getting double+ the Karma the GM gives out.

Sphynx
ShadowGhost
I don't see how ME favors mages more than Street Sams - it costs you a magic point, but does not help, or reduce karma cost for learning new spells - it only reduces karma costs for learning new SKILLS.

ME's are also legal, with a street index of one, and a total cost of $45,000 , so if someone can afford them, AND find a clinic to surgically implant them, so what's the big deal? Are you going to ban steriods because they quarter the Karma Cost for increasing body, or halve the cost for increasing strength too?

We do have a house rule about improving skills beyond 6 - you NEED an instructor, and it's an Etiquette test to find one based on 1.5 times the new skill level you want to improve (another reason to have Etiquette). If your skill is 6, you're already world class, and you need coaches and instructors to help get to the next level, and this also costs cash.
Fortune
QUOTE (CanvasBack @ Aug 25 2003, 12:26 PM)
I generally don't like house rules.  If you as a gm can't cope with a particular piece of cyberware, just ditch it and make it unavailable.  Entirely plausible as most cyberware is highly illegal in civilian (non-police, non-corporate) hands.

Which, in itself would be technically a house rule. smile.gif
CanvasBack
QUOTE
 
QUOTE
I generally don't like house rules.  If you as a gm can't cope with a particular piece of cyberware, just ditch it and make it unavailable.  Entirely plausible as most cyberware is highly illegal in civilian (non-police, non-corporate) hands. 



Which, in itself would be technically a house rule.



Ha! Good one. But by simply making it unavailable in the game for a plausible reason, you can as gm reserve the right to change your mind at a later date without suffering from the embarrassment of the suspension of disbelief. This might be the best option for novice gms who don't want to deal with certain aspects of the game until they've got the basics cold. As for legal cyberware, hospital and clinic waiting lists can be very long nowadays. In the harsh reality of the 2060s this could be exacerbated ad infinitum... The ME is probably a must have for many, many corp types. Imagine the waiting list you would have to expose your real (or really good fake) SIN to purchase it legally... spin.gif
Laughlyn
Sphynx, do you have a crap load of people running around in your game with a 12 STR? Or does that go hand in hand with self teaching yourself a skill spec at level 12?

Not to mention it's brainware making it automatically cultured bioware. Do you allow people to start with cultured bioware for no additionally cost and or an edge?

You may want to check your math again. While it is cheaper by far with the ME, it's not as cheap as you're playing it out. I'll do the math when I can find my main book. Still though I'd find the STR 12 to be more off setting than ME, not to mention allowing the ME as starting bioware.
Sphynx
Actually, if you read my previous post, you'll see I actually think ME's are "good", I just restrict them from Magic users.

Yes, I allow Cultured Bioware since I ignore the FAQ when it suits me since it's not Canon.

Any level of Str comes up the same[Edit]in regards to halving the cost[/Edit], I kept it at 12 to avoid different algs for skills being higher/lower than attribute (Ie: to make it easy).

Cost (since you don't have the book) is a mult of 1.5 for skills and 0.5 for spec's <= Attribute.

My only point was saying that there is more than TN adjustments that you mention, it reduces Karma cost and THAT's where people have problems. It's roughly equivalent to handing the person with the ME twice as much Karma for each game, and GMs don't like that.

Sphynx
Laughlyn
You do realize that with your example it shows basically half karma. The farther off the base, the more it costs and changes your ratio. With a base STR of 6 the cost is 87/65 to get Edge Weapons (swords) of 6/12. Cutting it down to 25% off.

Again though this is just assuming that the GM would allow someone to become a self taught grand master of the sword. Without the checks and balances of the game, anything can sound powerful.
Sphynx
Actually, those that wouldn't allow Grand Mastery are the ones that really see the bonuses. 16 Karma for an ME to get a skill from 0 to 6, vs 30. Basically every skill one person gets to 6, someone else gets 2.

What one person pays for a skill to 4 (14 karma), the ME user can get 5 skills to 3 (15 karma). or 2 to 4 (12 karma) and 1 to 3.

Anyhows, I agree that it's balanced, I allow non-magic's to have one so they can advance as quickly as a Mage is all.

As for allowing skills to 12, to each their own. I play a unrealistic JohnWoo style of gaming where the team is all the best at something, and wencourage it. Sure, it's not realistic to be WorldClass with a Rating 12, but at least 3 people in our Team DO have that rating and it's funner for it. nyahnyah.gif

Sphynx

ShadowGhost
QUOTE (Sphynx @ Aug 25 2003, 08:14 PM)
Actually, if you read my previous post, you'll see I actually think ME's are "good", I just restrict them from Magic users.

You still haven't explained why you don't let magic users have ME, but Street Sams are allowed it, when SS can only spend it on skills and attributes.
hobgoblin
hell, from what i read the thing is cultured bioware, that means its offlimits for starting chars. then i find nowhere is says that it can be used on magic, attributes or anything other then skills...
sapphire_wyvern
The main reason why the ME is extra powerful for mages is that mages are already karma sinkholes. This is a balancing factor, and allowing mages to get really cheap skill advancement along with all the benefits of initiation can allow them to become incredibly powerful very quickly. Consider that most mages can't afford to spend much on skills at chargen; if they have an ME, they can quickly pick up pretty much any rating 3, 4 or even 5 skill from scratch for only 5 or 6 karma.

That said, I don't think it's an unreasonable piece of ware, provided that it's not allowed at character generation.
Sphynx
Zactly what the Sapphire Wyvern said. In addition, it allows a Sammie to stay even with Mage types in regards to power levels. Without it Mages soar, improving nicely nearly every game, and a Sammie seems to just sit there, unimproved.

Sphynx
hobgoblin
in fact a sammie can get skills in the high 20's by the tiem it takes a mage with the same bio to get high 10's as the mage will be looking into initiation (amn big hole after 3-4 levels) quickening, foci and some new spells, all of this cant be helped with the ME...
The White Dwarf
Guys, two things:

First off, the ME is MORE valuble to mages, who have more things to spend karma on. Saving any karmar for them is valuble. Eventually the Sam will effectivly cap his skills out and have nothing to do - the mage needs to initiate (at the least) pass that.

Second, ME is not as powerful as it seems. More karma, whuppe. All it does is make you effectivly cap out sooner. Yay power. Your guy with ME will be just as powerful as my guy without ME if we go to a high enough karma level, simply because youll run out of stuff to do. It doesnt actaully give you any game advantage other than a feel good factor because you "advance" faster. Its the PERCEPTION thats under review here not the MECHANICS.

You want mechanics? SL-2 gives you an undeniable mathematical advantage. Innate reach for a troll is an advantage. Having a datajack gives you more flexibility than I can shake a troll-sized stick at. Ive said it before and Ill say it again: SR is not made by a die or two, or some karma, its all about making smart decisions in your play group. So do what you want to these 'wares, but stop making it sound like theyre the be all end all of play, because neither one will make a difference in the later stages of the game with experienced runners.

PS- the troll above with reach and aptitude unarmed (which the edge itself suggests against) can only use his reach to increase the opponent tn or decrease his, tns of 5 and 2 at once is impossible. It can be 4/2, or 5/3. Just something I couldnt help but correct.
krishcane
Lucky for me as GM, my PCs don't read the books very carefully. We've been playing for years, and none of them have found the Mnemonic Enhancer yet. They did find EA, but it hasn't been a problem. Like someone said, the bad guys can always have more dice.

--K
BGMFH
Does anyone else enforce the IC effects of ME?

With near perfect memory, the look on that guards faace as hes wasted never goes away.

The feel of that rush during sex never fades.

Enforce the effects... After having their samurai turn into a cold hearted killer, then into a sociopath, that'll kill that.

And their soft-hearted mage turning pacifist, if not selfdestructive from the memories, dreams and nightmares....

C'mon people. be mean!
Spellslinger
<wrong thread/my bad>
ToThePain
QUOTE (Glyph)
QUOTE
How about banning the Ares Viper Slivergun...


Yeah... a gun that that goes ping! ping! off your armor is really unbalancing. sarcastic.gif

I mean, seriously, it's a good stealth pistol, but you're hardly going to be slaughtering NPCs left and right with it.

Never said it was unbalancing just not really rules friendly.
Fortune
QUOTE (ToThePain)
...not really rules friendly.

In what way?
Laughlyn
Do you mean the concealability, the cost, the ammo capacity or the rest of the advantages that it has that you simply can't build into a pistol for that cheap. If you were able to pull out the "flechette only" part of the pistol, it would be better than anything on the market.
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