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DnDer
Related to the tangent found in my vision scope capacity topic. Original post that sparked the debate.

Short version being: "Is chrome, or magic, required to play a character who can run the shadows? Can a mundane keep up with the pack, or are you just hurting yourself by choosing to forego the next step in human evolution?"

I said the discussion should probably be brought to another thread, so I figured it was my responsibility to make one.
bannockburn
Short answer: no, it's not a punishment at all.

Longer answer:
I have a perfectly fine working Ninja-Courier with hacking ambitions. A 400BP generalist with lots of edge, to be exact. Think Hiro Protagonist meets Deadly Little Miho.
Even this generalist has 14 dice with blades, up to 21 with edge, and a high gymnastics pool. He is by no means omglolweaksauce, but a viable character.

This being said, over the course of his (few) adventures, he's gotten some ware, mainly for convenience: A datajack and an implanted commlink.

Players usually do not hurt themselves if they use the flavor option for a character, as long as it isn't ... let's say a troll working at McHughes and bringing no relevant skills to the table. Because that's what important, after all: Bringing something viable to add to the team's talent pool.
The how of it is kind of unimportant, in my opinion.
toturi
QUOTE (DnDer @ Jan 5 2013, 07:53 AM) *
Related to the tangent found in my vision scope capacity topic. Original post that sparked the debate.

Short version being: "Is chrome, or magic, required to play a character who can run the shadows? Can a mundane keep up with the pack, or are you just hurting yourself by choosing to forego the next step in human evolution?"

I said the discussion should probably be brought to another thread, so I figured it was my responsibility to make one.

It can be. If you chose not to implant or play a character with Magic, then there are not as many viable builds. It is not to say that there are none, but there will (by choice) be less. As I see it, any build that is not augmented or Awakened can usually do better with augmentation or Magic.

People have different views of what makes a viable build. Some people's standards are lower than others. But in general, yes, a mundane could keep up, but you are just hurting yourself.
bannockburn
Simple: Viable is anything that brings something to the table and is enjoyable for the player. It isn't hurting yourself if you enjoy your character.
Of course, anything that's augmented will have higher pools, but that doesn't mean such characters are worthless in the big picture of things.
I even had a player on a convention slapping down a character with only high LOG and INT and not that many active skills, but a BUNCH of knowledge skills. Which he paid for with BP and karma. He was a boon to the team, because his character knew something about everything that came up.
Lionhearted
For mundanes, I personally don't understand why some people make a differention between gear and ware. Both are items you buy, both let's you perform your chosen role better. The only difference is an arbitrary self restriction. Disregarding one of them just seems... odd.

On the notion of essence, in one of the Q&A sessions for Shadowrun returns, Weisman stated that the notion of essence was originally conceived as a way to balance magic versus technology in a class less system.
As I see it, the fluff about losing your humanity should only be applied at very low essence ratings. There's plenty of descriptions in the fluff how everyone from highranked politicians to manual laborers all have atleast some implants and the social stigma really only comes into play with really obvious or outlandish chrome.
As such, the notion of a purist would be an exception to the norm, not the standard.
That's very subjective of course.
bannockburn
QUOTE (Lionhearted @ Jan 5 2013, 01:14 AM) *
As I see it, the fluff about losing your humanity should only be applied at very low essence ratings. There's plenty of descriptions in the fluff how everyone from highranked politicians to manual laborers all have atleast some implants and the social stigma really only comes into play with really obvious or outlandish chrome.
As such, the notion of a purist would be an exception to the norm, not the standard.
That's very subjective of course.

This is, canonically, pure truth, and I agree. But having a character have a strong conviction that bioware and / or cyberware is wrong, is an interesting plotpoint, in my opinion.
My bioware centered character WILL not use anything else. No cyber, no nano, no genetech.
And you can do a LOT of things with gear within SR4 smile.gif Which is something I am very glad of, as it gives players more options.
Best example: You don't need cyberware anymore for smartlink. My adept loves it, but a mundane will love it, too.
Lionhearted
I agree, it's an interesting trait for an unusual character. However, the misconception I see a lot (especially with new players) is that it's the default position, which it clearly isn't. the average guy couldn't care less, it's just how the universe works.

Yes you can do alot with gear, there's some things you cannot.
But the main point is that gear doesn't rule out ware (or magic for that matter). Why pick when you can have it all?
bannockburn
Different priorities?
It's not as if you can get 'ware only at character creation.

A taste for the challenge it presents?

More customization options later on, when you see where your game is going?

Just speculation, of course. These are reasons I can imagine, but the actual reason is highly individual, I guess.
I've played two mundanes so far.
The first one was a soldier / mercenary type in SR3. His attributes and skills were godlike, but he didn't have any ware and not much gear at start of play, catering to his amnesiac background.
The second I've mentioned earlier, was the Ninja luck monkey.

Both felt really powerful, if somewhat lacking in the initiative department. But that was all.
The SR3 character was even played in some rather high powered convention adventures and didn't miss out much on the 500+ karma monsters.
He currently has about 100 karma points and a bit of ware, smartlink, internal radio with encryption and a datajack, I think ... There were other priorities and I usually have problems with finding reasons for ... let's say scoop out my eyes with a spoon and replace them with cyberware.
I'm more of an upgrade kind of player if it's not due to accidents.
Lionhearted
There is alot of other things to spend your nuyen on I suppose.
Still would like to make a Rigger driving a customized Tomino... Yes, it's a mech... and I want one.

Only have a problem with purism that is arbitrary out of ideals from the player, not the character.
Ware is just another set of gear, that uses up points in an otherwise useless number.
bannockburn
Of course it's arbitrary.
It's always arbitrary. Some characters don't use lethal weapons at all. No difference, at its core.
But that's the deal at character creation: You abstain from taking something and you can spend the saved points elsewhere. It's valid, as long as your character turns out useful (which is why I am actually a big proponent of group creation)
Lionhearted
Not what I was implying.
I mean arbitrary reasons like:
"I don't use cyber because it's a cheap way out and not "real" capabilities"
"I refuse to use cyber because that's what only ruthless munchkins goes so far to push their characters"
"I refuse to use cyber because of (real world) philosophy"

In short, things that doesn't make sense in the universe or from a character perspective.
As I said in the other thread. Some of it feel like some fanatical anti-munchkinism fuelled by very corrupt logic.
bannockburn
Ah, my mistake.
I misunderstood smile.gif

I've never encountered anyone using these arguments, though smile.gif
toturi
QUOTE (bannockburn @ Jan 5 2013, 09:12 AM) *
But that's the deal at character creation: You abstain from taking something and you can spend the saved points elsewhere. It's valid, as long as your character turns out useful (which is why I am actually a big proponent of group creation)

But also the deal with most character creation systems, you could abstain from taking something and spend the saved points elsewhere for greater effect. It has greater validity, as your character turns out more useful.
QUOTE
Of course, anything that's augmented will have higher pools, but that doesn't mean such characters are worthless in the big picture of things.
Anything that is augment should have higher pools and it does mean that while such character are not exactly worthless in the big picture, they are certainly worth less.
bannockburn
I disagree. Greater effect does not equal greater usefulness does not equal greater validity.
Or else each created mage NEEDS to have a rating 4 power focus at creation. It's the biggest bang for the buck, so it would be stupid, not to take it, right? Wrong.

A valid concept is not defined by the number of dice it brings to the table.
Nor does a lower number of dice mean that the character is worth less. See my example of the knowledge skill wonder. He was worth different.

edit: readability
toturi
QUOTE (bannockburn @ Jan 5 2013, 09:31 AM) *
I disagree. Greater effect does not equal greater usefulness does not equal greater validity.
Or else each created mage NEEDS to have a rating 4 power focus at creation. It's the biggest bang for the buck, so it would be stupid, not to take it, right? Wrong.
Not wrong, right or more precisely more right. It is not smart not to take it, but nobody said the player has to do the smart thing. Some people just enjoy being not smart.

QUOTE
A valid concept is not defined by the number of dice it brings to the table.
Nor does a lower number of dice mean that the character is worth less. See my example of the knowledge skill wonder. He was worth different.

No, the character is worth less because your character knowledge skill wonder could have had more dice for his knowledge skills. But no, he had to be mundane.
bannockburn
Equaling flavour decisions with stupidity is a mighty high horse.
Not everyone enjoys playing the system to its limits.
toturi
QUOTE (bannockburn @ Jan 5 2013, 10:16 AM) *
Equaling flavour decisions with stupidity is a mighty high horse.
Not everyone enjoys playing the system to its limits.

Justifying suboptimal decisions as flavor doesn't make them any more optimal.
bannockburn
Using your absolute views, I will illustrate my point a bit further (may contain hyperbole, keep it, when you find it):

You want to have a character that runs really really fast? Well, you need to hyperoptimize him with everything that's available at character creation. You'll get a character who can run really really fast. It's NOT, however, a valid concept, as he brings absolutely nothing to the table besides the ability to ... run away really really fast. Which is funny in itself, but not playable.

You want a mage? Well, you have to use all the best choices, or you are stupid, or to use your slightly more neutral circumscription, 'not smart'. Which leads in turn to your mage always looking the same.

This is not roleplaying, it's rollplaying. Technically you're doing nothing wrong here. It's a preferred style of play (one I don't share, but that should be obvious) well within your holy RAW.
Your view of things, however, does not mean that everyone who plays any character that's not hyperoptimized is 'not smart'. Nor does it even mean that it's a willful limitation on players side when they NOT follow your suggestions.
I've had such people in my groups over the years. They just changed the name if their character died or retired and tried to play the same character with the exact same stats and exact same gear. Why? Because it was the optimal choice. Eventually, I stopped playing with them, and I am happier for it, even if they were great folks if a bit unimaginative.

At this point, it should be pretty clear that you and me have vastly different views on the matter, and I don't think that this thread will profit from me trying to convince you, or the other way round.

Edit: I should have been clearer about this from the start:
I am not making a point for optimal choices or against them. I am just saying that you're not 'punishing' yourself (as the OP asked) if you DON'T make that optimal choice, and not even if you make a suboptimal choice, as long as you, your GM and your fellow players enjoy the game.
binarywraith
Be aware that this forum has really absurd ideas of what is a 'viable' build.

Beyond that, straight mundanes are perfectly playable. You just have to make up for the lack of bleeding edge 'ware and magic by having the skills to pay the bills, and a lot of money invested in the right gear for the situation and knowing the right people.
Glyph
"We're in the minority. Runners who are not jacked, rigged, or wakened. We live by our guts and wits."
- Jazzman Harker, Shadowrunner

That is a quote from First Edition, and it has held true since then. However, every edition has also had at least one unaugmented mundane among the sample characters. So apparently, while they are rare, the game considers them to be a viable concept.

Unaugmented mundanes are suboptimal. You are Deckard in a world full of replicants. This fits the themes of the game, where technology gives you cheap, easy boosts to your abilities, and mages and technomancers are viewed with a mixture of awe and fear. However, there is a world of difference between "suboptimal" and "unplayable".

I tend to make characters that are optimized, but even I have made a suboptimal choice or two for roleplaying reasons. But when you do so, live with it. People who choose to play a mundane for roleplaying reasons should expect their character to have a harder time keeping up.
Lionhearted
What I think Toturi is getting at is that numbers are numbers and numbers can be optimized.

The proposed goal is to make a character that reflects the concept you've made. Within reason. Restricting yourself to completely mundane will invariably hamper your ability to realise the concept.
You will end up with two versions of the exact same character. Only one of them has more dice to roll.
bannockburn
QUOTE (Lionhearted @ Jan 5 2013, 03:51 AM) *
Restricting yourself to completely mundane will invariably hamper your ability to realise the concept.

Not if this IS your concept.

I mean: Don't get me wrong. As Glyph, I also optimize my characters to a certain point, sometimes even a lot. But I also like having points to put them in completely irrelevant stuff that I only take because I think it simply fits.
phlapjack77
It's probably cliche to say this, but it all comes down to the play style of the group. Mundane, unaugmented characters will have lower dice pools, so the game has to be able to account for that. But it's almost silly to say this. Because the game will have to account for when players hyper-optimize as well.

Basically, some gaming styles will allow this concept to work. Others won't. True for every character concept out there.
toturi
QUOTE (bannockburn @ Jan 5 2013, 10:35 AM) *
This is not roleplaying, it's rollplaying. Technically you're doing nothing wrong here. It's a preferred style of play (one I don't share, but that should be obvious) well within your holy RAW.

It is still roleplaying, it is simply roleplaying by the numbers.

Yes, your concept can be to play a pure mundane. But that concept will result in a character that is by its very nature be less capable. He could still be capable (however you chose to define "capable"), but less.

QUOTE
But I also like having points to put them in completely irrelevant stuff that I only take because I think it simply fits.
If it fits, then it is not irrelevant. The stuff that are completely irrelevant are those that do not.

My mages do not look the same. They are quite different. The possession tradition mage looks quite different from the materialisation tradition mage. The Knowledge skills nosferatu mage is quite different from the two before.

I dabbled with a fast runner character before, but I never did manage to optimise him to my satisfaction (probably because the concept itself is suboptimal).
All4BigGuns
For the most part, the 'optimize' crowd just use terms like 'suboptimal' and things, and may suggest that it might be a smarter idea in their opinion to do such-and-such. While the other end of the spectrum just says "oh my god! munchkin! munchkin! get thee behind me satan!"
Lantzer
QUOTE (toturi @ Jan 5 2013, 03:15 AM) *
My mages do not look the same. They are quite different. The possession tradition mage looks quite different from the materialisation tradition mage.


To clarify, as I think you two are talking past each other..

Would two possession tradition mages look quite different?

Or is there an obvious right way to build them?
All4BigGuns
QUOTE (Lantzer @ Jan 4 2013, 11:03 PM) *
To clarify, as I think you two are talking past each other..

Would two possession tradition mages look quite different?

Or is there an obvious right way to build them?


Possession and materialization should look quite different, yeah, but two materialization or two possession should probably look similar--after all it's mainly slight philosophical differences between them.
binarywraith
QUOTE (All4BigGuns @ Jan 4 2013, 10:50 PM) *
For the most part, the 'optimize' crowd just use terms like 'suboptimal' and things, and may suggest that it might be a smarter idea in their opinion to do such-and-such. While the other end of the spectrum just says "oh my god! munchkin! munchkin! get thee behind me satan!"


From the other end of the table, 'Bigger Dice Pool = Better Than' does not fly as a sole metric in a role playing game.
All4BigGuns
Actually it does. If your dice pool is 15 for a task and another guy's is 8 for a task, you are clearly better at that task than he is.
_Pax._
QUOTE (toturi @ Jan 4 2013, 09:11 PM) *
No, the character is worth less because your character knowledge skill wonder could have had more dice for his knowledge skills. But no, he had to be mundane.

You do not need to hit the mechanical-best-possible, just to be worthwhile and viable as a character.

Suggesting "only the best, or better, may apply" is IMO insulting.





QUOTE (All4BigGuns @ Jan 5 2013, 12:51 AM) *
Actually it does. If your dice pool is 15 for a task and another guy's is 8 for a task, you are clearly better at that task than he is.


If your dicepool is 15 for one task, and 5 ro everythign else ..... while the other guy has 8 or 9 in everything ... then, suddenly, parity: you're a specialist, he's a generalist.
All4BigGuns
QUOTE (_Pax._ @ Jan 4 2013, 11:52 PM) *
You do not need to hit the mechanical-best-possible, just to be worthwhile and viable as a character.

Suggesting "only the best, or better, may apply" is IMO insulting.


Remember, he didn't say worthless. He said worth less. There is a difference

QUOTE (_Pax._ @ Jan 4 2013, 11:52 PM) *
If your dicepool is 15 for one task, and 5 ro everythign else ..... while the other guy has 8 or 9 in everything ... then, suddenly, parity: you're a specialist, he's a generalist.


I did say "at that task".
_Pax._
QUOTE (toturi @ Jan 4 2013, 10:15 PM) *
Yes, your concept can be to play a pure mundane. But that concept will result in a character that is by its very nature be less capable. He could still be capable (however you chose to define "capable"), but less.

What augmentations or magic will help a purely Remote-Control rigger? One who uses the Command program, not one who "jumps in" ...?
All4BigGuns
QUOTE (_Pax._ @ Jan 4 2013, 11:56 PM) *
What augmentations or magic will help a purely Remote-Control rigger? One who uses the Command program, not one who "jumps in" ...?


Reaction Enhancers.
Wired Reflexes/Move-by-Wire
Improved Reflexes adept power
Improved Physical Attribute (Reaction)
Improved Ability (Gunnery)
Improved Ability (<insert Pilot skill here>)
Encephalon
Pushed
_Pax._
QUOTE (All4BigGuns @ Jan 5 2013, 01:05 AM) *
Reaction Enhancers.
Wired Reflexes/Move-by-Wire
Improved Reflexes adept power
Improved Physical Attribute (Reaction)

Reaction, aside from initiative, is useless to a remote-control Rigger. (And it's useless to a Jump-in rigger, entirely - they use Response, not Reaction).

And the initiative effects can be gained via drugs.

QUOTE
Improved Ability (Gunnery)
Improved Ability (<insert Pilot skill here>)

2 or 3 dice isn't going to make-or-break any build. Or do you mean to suggest that all riggers must be adepts, even teh augmented ones? smile.gif

QUOTE
Encephalon

Arguably the only skill likely to benefit a Command Rigger, from among those the Encephalon improves, is Electronci warfare. By all of +1. And only with an R2 Encephalon ... costing 75,000. There are better places to spend that money, and still get that single, solitary die.

QUOTE
Pushed

... like the Logic skills bonus of hte Encephalon? This stuff is pretty useless to a Command Rigger. They're nto going to be jumped-in and counter-hacking. They'll have Agents for that. So bonusses for logic skills aren't going to be terribly useful.


...


Still, let me re[phrase and refine my earlier question:

What necessary and/or significant benefits can a Command Rigger gain only from Magic or Augmentations, and nowhere else?
All4BigGuns
I'll grant you on the Reaction boosting stuff, however, on the rest, you didn't say "make or break" in your original question. You said that would help and they would help.
_Pax._
Hence, my rephrase-and-refine.

Which could instead be presented: "Okay, of those, which will make or break the character?"

Because yes, there will always be an augmentation, or magical ability, that wil be of at least minor benefit to anyone, of any mechanical build / specialisation. But I do not beleive that any of them are automatically required for the character to be "not gimped" / "not good enough".
All4BigGuns
QUOTE (_Pax._ @ Jan 5 2013, 01:27 AM) *
Hence, my rephrase-and-refine.

Which could instead be presented: "Okay, of those, which will make or break the character?"


Any of the non-Reaction ones when facing someone who is also not as unaugmented as they are? That's the whole reason for augmentation via tech or magic. To keep up with the Joneses.
_Pax._
So, for just one example ... you're saying the one die provided by PuSHeD, which only affects Logic-linked skills (none of the Piloting, Gunnery, Perception, etc rolls a Rigger typicaly makes, really only EW) ... is going to make or break the entire character?? Really?!

/facepalm
All4BigGuns
It'll make or break whether it's "optimal" by strict math or not. I'm not saying you'd be wrong or bad to do it, but it wouldn't be the by strict math and mechanics "optimal". Hell, I've kind of come to terms that the way I do Adepts isn't "optimal" by strict math, but I still do it that way, and I probably won't ever do the other way.
_Pax._
And, newsflash for you: you do not have to be absolutely 110% optimised to pass the "make or break" line.

"The absolute very best of the best of the ultra-uber-best" is not required to simply be "good enough".

One single, solitary die does not make-or-break a character. Two dice doesn't either. I doubt even three or four dice does. At 5+, I'm willing to possibly concede the point .... but not before looking at off-specialty die pools, to see if the character is sufficiently well-rounded to offset their lack of "best of the best"-ness in any one area of specialisation.
All4BigGuns
For some people it will (obviously I'm not actually one of them considering that I will not put implants into an Adept), but they're not wrong for having the opinion that it will. You're not wrong either.
_Pax._
They're not wrong when ti comes to their own character.

But they are wrong, when they try to extend that to an objective valuation of other peoples' characters.
NiL_FisK_Urd
QUOTE (_Pax._ @ Jan 5 2013, 08:19 AM) *
Still, let me re[phrase and refine my earlier question:

What necessary and/or significant benefits can a Command Rigger gain only from Magic or Augmentations, and nowhere else?

A simsense booster (in addition to a simsense acceleerator), and a math SPU.
All4BigGuns
QUOTE (_Pax._ @ Jan 5 2013, 01:49 AM) *
They're not wrong when ti comes to their own character.

But they are wrong, when they try to extend that to an objective valuation of other peoples' characters.


Remember, people tend to have blinders on when it comes to other views, so they go by their own. I've been guilty, I'll admit, and so have you.
_Pax._
QUOTE (NiL_FisK_Urd @ Jan 5 2013, 02:49 AM) *
A simsense booster (in addition to a simsense acceleerator), and a math SPU.

Dude. COMMAND rigger. No simsense; not jumping in. Just using the best Command program they can get, and AR mode. And while we're at it, by the by? Codeslinger (Control Device) to replace any need / use for a Vehicle control Rig, too.

Thus, the booster is of no use to him. None whatsoever. Nor would the Accelerator be of use, either.

The Math SPU benefits one solitary skill. I'll grant you, for that skill, it's a hefty bonus. But it's not a commonly-called-upon skill, regardless.

So, still not make-or-break territory.




As for the basic die pool that character would get?

Singularity Battle Buddy Basic, with System 5 and Firewall 6.
... hardware-optimised for Command, +1
... running Command R6 (Optimised +1, Crashguard) NOTE: I checked the numbers, need to drop to R6 for chargen; not even Restricted gear can get the R7 version to start with)
... in AR mode, +1
... with Codeslinger (Control Device), +2

He's getting 10 dice, plus skill, for everything he does with a drone. Just figure an average of 5 in all relevant skills, plus or minus 1 here and there, and you're looking at an average die pool of 15, across the board. Hardly gimped.

Sure, sure, he needs to pop a dose of one or another drug, to get more than one IP, and he needs a complex action for anything he does. *shrug* Noone's perfect, and that's really his only true "flaw" / "weakness" - which every character has one or two of, anyway. (And, bonus, we can get 15BP or 30 Karma "free" by taking Sensitive System ... since we're going to have no augments anyway, and if we do get something implanted later on, it won't be a lot of stuff anyway ...)

...

Or if you want to go full VR, that's +2 initiative passes right there, IIRC. Now, we can use the Response of his commlink (maybe with some Response Enhancers thrown in), plus a Simsense Accelerator on the 'link as well, and eliminate the need for drugs to shroe up his initiative. And his full-VR can still be a Captain's chair affair, with the command Program. So he retains his die pools (adds +1 for going Hot-sim VR, even). And he can go VR with 'trodes, no implant required.

...

Still not seeing the make-or-break issue there.
All4BigGuns
QUOTE (_Pax._ @ Jan 5 2013, 01:58 AM) *
Dude. COMMAND rigger. No simsense. The booster is of no use to him. None whatsoever.


You don't have to "jump in" to do VR. You can go hot-sim and just use Command as far as I'm aware. It'd even behoove you to do it for the hot-sim bonus.
NiL_FisK_Urd
QUOTE (_Pax._ @ Jan 5 2013, 08:58 AM) *
Dude. COMMAND rigger. No simsense. The booster is of no use to him. None whatsoever.

The MAth SPU benefits one solitary skill. I'll grant you, for that skill, it's a hefty bonus. But it's not a commonly-called-upon skill, regardless.

Oh, you can just command 5 IPs in Hot-Sim, granting +2 to all rolls, cant you? And if a drone can only be commanded for 3 IPs, then just command 2 at the same time.
FuelDrop
Think superman and batman. Superman has all the super powers to do the heavy lifting and doesn't need skill. Batman is weaker by far, but is vastly more skilled at what he does. Augmented vrs Mundane.
Umidori
Yeah, but Batman breaks chargen with his access to incredible amounts of nuyen and useful contacts. nyahnyah.gif

~Umi
_Pax._
The analogy still holds. A normal, albeit highly-trained, human is able to hold his own on a team filled with the likes of frelling Superman. BEcause instead of trying to match the superbeings one-for-one in their own specialties, he's made to take advantage of areas their superpowers don't make them unstoppable God-beings.

It's not a perfect metaphor, but it's pretty close.
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