Help - Search - Members - Calendar
Full Version: SR5: T-Bird Pilot Character
Dumpshock Forums > Discussion > Shadowrun
BlackJaw
I came to Shadowrun in 4th edition, where there were very few aircraft options for starting players. 5th edition has a number of interesting options available to a starting character, but they are at the edge of possible. I felt like seeing if I could make one I'd be willing to play, despite the lack of Autosofts at the moment.

Meet Laughing Vulture, a low-class cascade ork t-bird pilot and smuggler. He's built using standard rules (you could make a much better t-birder with prime runner character generation rules.) He's essentially a mediocre rigger with an awesome ride. I've spent the max karma to cash conversion for this build. The big issue here is that heavy weapon mounts are beyond starting characters... so I can have a jet, but I can't have a missile launcher or cannon on it. The best I could figure out is an Ares Alpha with Grenade Launcher. A missile/rocket launcher would be a desired upgrade ASAP.

Vulture's primary function is to fly. A Vulture has speed 7 by default (just over Moch 1), and the control rig adding 1 (I prefer the house rule that this is for dicepool chases, not actual speed), and Gearhead add 20% for 1d6 minutes.
VTOL Dice Pool: 15* = Reaction 5 + Skill 6 + Specialization 2 + 1 Control Rig + 1 Hot Sim (+2* Gearhead on stuns and maneuvers)
Limit: 8 = 5 Vehicle + 1 Control Rig +2 VR
Plus, target number is reduced by 1 via Rig.

For upgrades:
The VTOL needs a more powerful weapon. A Heavy Weapon Mounted Onotari Interceptor is $19,000 with a smartgun built in (mounted rocket ammo capacity is Body). The missiles, however, are very expensive. Rockets aren't so bad, but an assault cannon might be the best option. Attaching a Krime Cannon via heavy weapon mount is only $26,200 with an external smartgun attached, and only costs $400 a shot.

Plus, there are plenty of augmentations and basic gear options. Better Control Rig, RCC, Drones, and Autosofts (once we get prices.)

Please forgive my poor formatting.

Laughing Vulture
T-Bird Pilot, Cascade Ork Rigger

Priorities:
A - Cash
B - Skills
C - Race (Ork)
D - Attributes
E - Magic/Resonance (Mundane)

Attributes
Body 4
Agility 3
Reaction 5
Strength 3
Willpower 3
Logic 4
Intuition 3
Charisma 2
Edge 3 (2 from Karma)

Limits
Physical: 5
Mental: 5
Social: 4

Qualities:
SINner (Salish-Sidhe national, Cascade Ork tribe): +5
Gearhead: -11
Juryrigger: -10
Allergy (Seafood, Sever): +20

Contacts:
Fixer: 3c / 1L
Aircraft Mechanic: 3c / 3L

Knowledge Skills:
Professional (Aircraft Control, Specialization: Seattle) 4
Street (Smuggling Routes, Specialization: Air routes) 4
Language (Or'zet) 2
Interest (Urban Brawl) 1
Academic (Salish Law) 1

Skill Groups
Engineering 3
Acting 1
Influence 1

Active Skills
Pilot: Aircraft (Specialization: VTOL) 6
Pilot: Groundcraft 1
Pilot: Anthroform 3
Gunnery 6
Automatics 2
Perception 1
Navigation 1
Electronic Warfare (Specialization: Sensor Operations) 2
Hardware 1
Gymnastics 3
Survival 1
Sneaking (Specialization: Sky) 6

Lifestyle:
Squatter (lives in the vehicle, camping in the cascades)

Augmentations:
Control Rig 1 (used)
Smartlink (used)

Vehicles:
Cascade Skraacha (Ares Venture Similar Model) VTOL Aircraft
+Rigger Interface
+Standard Weapons Mount (Forward Facing): Ares Alpha Assault Rifle, RC 18, 100 regular ammo, 6 high explosive grenades
+Standard Weapons Mount with Manual Control (Door Gun): Ares Alpha Assault Rifle, RC 18, 100 regular ammo, 6 thermal smoke grenades
+Thermographic, Flarecomp

Drones
MCT Fly Spy mini insect drone
Ares Duelist medium humanoid drone
+Standard Weapons Mount: Ingram Smartgun X SMG, RC 6, 100 regular ammo

Weapons & Armor:
Ares Crusader II Machine Pistol
+80 Ammo
+Spare Clip

Armor Jacket

Hardware/Software:
Easy Motors DroneMaster (Rating 3 RCC)
Cyberprogram Software (Toolbox, Signal Scrub, Encryption, Biofeedback Filter, Shell, Sneak, Wrapper)

Gear:
Survival Kit
Toolkit (Aircraft Mechanic)
Shinxy
Nice build! Might steal this guy, at least as an NPC.

Hadn't noticed until you mentioned it how dramatically cheaper it is to own aircraft! Gonna see about making a dwarf helicopter rigger...
ElFenrir
I like this a lot. I've always liked plane-oriented riggers. I also like instead of living in a van down by the river, he lives in his VTOL down by the river. grinbig.gif
BlackJaw
I've had to tweak the build a bit after reading about riggers using "Infiltration" (AKA: Sneak) to to avoid sensors. Essentially, you use the lower of Sneak or appropriate vehicle skill, so that nice high pilot skill for pulling the classic t-bird maneuver of flying low to avoid radar requires two skills.

Page 184 says: "If the target is trying to evade detection, make this an Opposed Test versus the targetís Infiltration + Agility [Physical] (metahumans, critters), Infiltration (Vehicle) + Reaction [Handling] (driven vehicles), or Pilot + [Model] Stealth [Handling] (drones). Since vehicle stealth is limited by the driverís ability, the dice applied for Infiltration skill should not exceed the driverís appropriate Vehicle skill. " (Emphasis Mine) Note again, Infiltration should be Sneak, and that's already in the errata thread.

So is Laughing Vulture actually good enough to be a T-Bird Pilot?

Using page 199's guide, let's assume that flying low requires regular uses of Average Maneuvers: "Avoiding an obstacle, maneuvering through a narrow spot, tight turn (75-130 degrees)" Of course it's also more complicated by the low altitude which meets the Restricted Terrain description on page 201: " low altitude flying over heavy terrain." That means the base target number for T-Bird smuggling runs is 4 (2 Average Maneuver + 2 Restricted Terrain.) For Laughing Vulture, his control rig reduces this number by it's rating of 1, making it 3.

If Laughing Vulture is making a high-speed smuggling run his dice pool is 12 (8), which allows him to buy successes at 4 to 1, hitting the target number of 3 dead on.
Dice Pool = 5 Reaction + 6 Sneak (or Pilot Aircraft if lower, which it is not) + 2 Specialization + 1 Hot Sim VR - 2 "Running"
Limit = 5 Handling + 1 Control Rig + 2 VR Piloting

This could be more difficult if flying in light fog or rain, at night, etc thanks to any unmitigated vision and lighting penalties that apply (as noted by page 201). Thankfully, the not overly defined sensory array on the "Ares Venture" can be assumed to have radar and a camera system into which a Thermographic and Flarecomp system can be installed, mitigating any daylight glare or night fling penalties, as well as poor visibility issues. (See page 175)

In other words, Laughing Vulture can travel at low altitude over heavy terrain, "evading sensors" the whole time, at night in light rain or fog, at top speed, making regular tight turns and passing through narrow spots, without even needing to roll. Sounds like a T-Bird pilot to me.

While we're at it, let's see how he handles his Ares Duelist Combat Drone. Let's assume he's on a run physically with his walker drone along for extra firepower. He's using it via AR as a mobile gun platform. It's got a Ingram Smartgun X SMG mounted, which benefits from the greatly increased capacity of a weapon mount, as well as the Recoil Comp equal to the drone's Body.
Dice Pool 11 = 3 Agility + 6 Gunnery + 2 Smartlink Wifi (note, some parts of the book imply Logic + Gunnery, but the skill is agility linked. Logic + Gunnery is used for sensor lock.)
Recoil Compensation 6 = 2 Weapon Recoil Compensation + 4 Body
Limit 5 = Lowest of 4 Accuracy + 2 Smartlink -or- 4 Data Processing + 1 Toolbox Software
DrZaius
If you wanted a bit of extra punch, you could buy a couple Aztechnology Striker 1-shot rocket launchers (1,200:nuyen:, 10F), with frag rockets (2,000:nuyen:, 12F) and keep 'em in the back for your passengers to fire. Obviously Anti-Vehicle or High Explosive would be better, but it would be fairly discouraging to anyone on your tail. Plus, it'd look awesome.

-DrZ

Example!


Laughing Vulture, having just recovered his team from the roof of tonight's run, is being chased by a Lonestar patrol in a Northrup Wasp. One of his passengers, Trogdar the troll, has been firing his submachine gun with no appreciable effect. However, in the corner of his eye he sees a tube lying conveniently placed near his seat- his dream come true! With a cackle he throws it over his shoulder and fires.

Trogdar has a modified agility of 6, and 5 skill in heavy weapons. He is in close range, and his cybereyes negate any lighting modifiers. Since he is firing out of a vehicle he takes -2 to his shot, but this is negated by the +2 he gets from his wireless smartlink system. Since he's only got one rocket, he's going to throw in his 4 edge as well to Push the Limit (allowing him to reroll 6s, and ignore accuracy for this attack). Trogdar rolls 15 dice, and comes up with
[ Spoiler ]
8 hits.

Gary really stepped in it. Not knowing if the rocket he just saw come from the back of that t-bird is a frag rocket instead of an anti-vehicular missile, he immediately pushes the nose on his Wasp down and makes an Evasive Driving maneuver, giving him extra dice to try and avoid it. Gary rolls his Reaction (4) plus his intuition (3), plus another 3 from his intuition for his evasive driving action (at the expensive of 10 initiative). Gary rolls his 10 dice, and gets
[ Spoiler ]
3 hits.

Gary's Wasp has a body of 10 and an armor of 8. It is resisting a 31P attack from Trogdar, with an AP of +5. Since the modified armor value is less than the attack's damage, the vehicle's armor does not negate it. Gary rolls 23 dice to resist, and gets
[ Spoiler ]
7 hits. Gary's Wasp takes 24P damage, 7 more than it's full condition monitor of 17 (12 + half body), and is blown to pieces in a fantastic explosion.

Trogdar whoops triumphantly, as Laughing Vulture redlines it to try and avoid any further entanglements.
BlackJaw
QUOTE (DrZaius @ Aug 2 2013, 06:51 AM) *
If you wanted a bit of extra punch, you could buy a couple Aztechnology Striker 1-shot rocket launchers (1,200:nuyen:, 10F), with frag rockets (2,000:nuyen:, 12F) and keep 'em in the back for your passengers to fire. Obviously Anti-Vehicle or High Explosive would be better, but it would be fairly discouraging to anyone on your tail. Plus, it'd look awesome.
That's a great idea actually, but I'm not sure where I can get 3,200:nuyen: for a single use frag rocket with disposable launcher. This character build is already maxed out on cash, and I actually had to drop his ammo to 100 per mounted gun instead of 250 in order to afford the thermal and flare comp for the VTOL for night flying.

It may need to be something I'd pick up in play instead of a character creation, which might also allow access to the anti-vehicular option instead of the frag. Of course in the long run, I'd want to mount a reusable rocket/missile launcher on the ship itself for just this kind of situation.

I figure at the moment, the grenade launcher will just have to do. The forward gun has High Explosive grenades (16P at -2ap) loaded. Let's see what Laughing Vulture can do with that. He'll need to use the wireless to detonate them in the air vs a security helicopter, but it should still work well enough.
[ Spoiler ]

Laughing Vulture blows Gary and his copter out of the sky with only 2 action phases, no use of edge, and only 200:nuyen: worth of ammo spent.

DrZaius
QUOTE (BlackJaw @ Aug 2 2013, 01:11 PM) *
That's a great idea actually, but I'm not sure where I can get 3,200:nuyen: for a single use frag rocket with disposable launcher. This character build is already maxed out on cash, and I actually had to drop his ammo to 100 per mounted gun instead of 250 in order to afford the thermal and flare comp for the VTOL for night flying.

It may need to be something I'd pick up in play instead of a character creation, which might also allow access to the anti-vehicular option instead of the frag. Of course in the long run, I'd want to mount a reusable rocket/missile launcher on the ship itself for just this kind of situation.

I figure at the moment, the grenade launcher will just have to do. The forward gun has High Explosive grenades (16P at -2ap) loaded. Let's see what Laughing Vulture can do with that. He'll need to use the wireless to detonate them in the air vs a security helicopter, but it should still work well enough.
[ Spoiler ]

Laughing Vulture blows Gary and his copter out of the sky with only 2 action phases, no use of edge, and only 200:nuyen: worth of ammo spent.


I know it's probably better to get the T-bird during character creation while the player can actually afford it, but it may be worthwhile to purchase a vehicle that comes with a heavy weapon mount, so he can pack on a machinegun or what have you ahead of time.

EDIT: I guess I was misreading- it doesn't look like there's a vehicle that can be purchased that early with a heavy weapons mount. Even the Wasp implies the mount is the weapon of choice, but doesn't indicate that it's actually included..

BlackJaw
QUOTE (DrZaius @ Aug 2 2013, 10:19 AM) *
I know it's probably better to get the T-bird during character creation while the player can actually afford it, but it may be worthwhile to purchase a vehicle that comes with a heavy weapon mount, so he can pack on a machinegun or what have you ahead of time.

EDIT: I guess I was misreading- it doesn't look like there's a vehicle that can be purchased that early with a heavy weapons mount. Even the Wasp implies the mount is the weapon of choice, but doesn't indicate that it's actually included..

I disagree, I think the Wasp's description does indicate that it has a Heavy Weapons Mount. I think the Wasp is the only vehicle that comes with a Heavy Weapon mount and is still accessible to a Player Character at game start actually. A Rigger with a Northrup Wasp Helicopter is actually a cool idea, but it's a 1 man aircraft, meaning I can't transport the rest of the crew with it, and that's a concept killer for me when I play a rigger. Transport in a cool ride with some drone fire support is what I want to do with a Rigger.

Now for someone else, like Shinxy's Dwarf Helicopter idea, it's actually not a bad way to go. There aren't many heavy weapons at availability 12 or less, but there are two Machine Guns that a starting character can buy, which once combined with the recoil comp from the Wasp's 10 body, are actually very dangerous. Alternatively, Grenade Launchers or even the single use rocket launcher can work. The trouble with using an Aztech Striker disposable launcher as a vehicle mounted weapon, however, is that you'd need to replace the entire launcher between shots.

The only other way to a Heavy Weapon mount at character creation is to get a Steel Lynx drone, which is a lot less than a Wasp, but still too much for Laughing Vulture to afford after his T-Bird, Control Rig, RCC, and minimal other gear. I think the Mounted Assault Rifle with grenade launcher does an OK job as a stand in.

Also, I rather like the idea of the Door Gun being an Assault Rifle because there are probably a fair number of other Runners (PCs), like a Street Sam, that are skilled with Automatics that can grab the heavily recoil comped door gun on manual and do some serious damage with it while Vulture focuses on flying and dodging things like Anti-Vehicle Rockets that might come his way. It's not always so likely that another character will have Heavy Weapons or Gunnery.

Also, unifying weapons on the rigger's drones and vehicles makes it easier to use Autosofts. The RCC can supply the same autosoft to every drone/vehicle slaved to it, but only if the drone isn't already using any autosofts. That means if all your drones use an Ares Alpha, then all your drones can share the same autosoft... and there is only so much software space on an RCC. In all honestly, Vulture's Ares Duelist Walker Drone would be better off with an Ares Alpha instead of an Ingram Smartgun X SMG, but that's $3150 for a Suppressed Ares Alpha vs $800 for the already suppressed Ingram Smartgun X. I've been staring at Vulture's gear looking for a way to get an extra $2350 to cover the difference but I can't see it yet, and considering we don't have Autosoft prices yet, it may not be worth the effort at game start.

On a related topic of mounted weapons; what I do think would make a fun addition to a flying rigger's arsenal is a Cavalier Arms Alamo EBR, which you can put in a standard weapon's mount. A Burst Fire Sniper Rifle in a standard weapon mount would get 250 rounds to work with, the vehicle's body as recoil comp, and the control rig aiding accuracy... making it extremely effective.
X-Kalibur
QUOTE (BlackJaw @ Aug 2 2013, 10:26 AM) *
I disagree, I think the Wasp's description does indicate that it has a Heavy Weapons Mount. I think the Wasp is the only vehicle that comes with a Heavy Weapon mount and is still accessible to a Player Character at game start actually. A Rigger with a Northrup Wasp Helicopter is actually a cool idea, but it's a 1 man aircraft, meaning I can't transport the rest of the crew with it, and that's a concept killer for me when I play a rigger. Transport in a cool ride with some drone fire support is what I want to do with a Rigger.

Now for someone else, like Shinxy's Dwarf Helicopter idea, it's actually not a bad way to go. There aren't many heavy weapons at availability 12 or less, but there are two Machine Guns that a starting character can buy, which once combined with the recoil comp from the Wasp's 10 body, are actually very dangerous. Alternatively, Grenade Launchers or even the single use rocket launcher can work. The trouble with using an Aztech Striker disposable launcher as a vehicle mounted weapon, however, is that you'd need to replace the entire launcher between shots.

The only other way to a Heavy Weapon mount at character creation is to get a Steel Lynx drone, which is a lot less than a Wasp, but still too much for Laughing Vulture to afford after his T-Bird, Control Rig, RCC, and minimal other gear. I think the Mounted Assault Rifle with grenade launcher does an OK job as a stand in.

Also, I rather like the idea of the Door Gun being an Assault Rifle because there are probably a fair number of other Runners (PCs), like a Street Sam, that are skilled with Automatics that can grab the heavily recoil comped door gun on manual and do some serious damage with it while Vulture focuses on flying and dodging things like Anti-Vehicle Rockets that might come his way. It's not always so likely that another character will have Heavy Weapons or Gunnery.

Also, unifying weapons on the rigger's drones and vehicles makes it easier to use Autosofts. The RCC can supply the same autosoft to every drone/vehicle slaved to it, but only if the drone isn't already using any autosofts. That means if all your drones use an Ares Alpha, then all your drones can share the same autosoft... and there is only so much software space on an RCC. In all honestly, Vulture's Ares Duelist Walker Drone would be better off with an Ares Alpha instead of an Ingram Smartgun X SMG, but that's $3150 for a Suppressed Ares Alpha vs $800 for the already suppressed Ingram Smartgun X. I've been staring at Vulture's gear looking for a way to get an extra $2350 to cover the difference but I can't see it yet, and considering we don't have Autosoft prices yet, it may not be worth the effort at game start.

On a related topic of mounted weapons; what I do think would make a fun addition to a flying rigger's arsenal is a Cavalier Arms Alamo EBR, which you can put in a standard weapon's mount. A Burst Fire Sniper Rifle in a standard weapon mount would get 250 rounds to work with, the vehicle's body as recoil comp, and the control rig aiding accuracy... making it extremely effective.


I like the mounted Alamo idea, heck, I like the entire concept of this character. I'm really thinking about modifying it slightly and giving it a whirl.
DrZaius
QUOTE (X-Kalibur @ Aug 2 2013, 02:48 PM) *
I like the mounted Alamo idea, heck, I like the entire concept of this character. I'm really thinking about modifying it slightly and giving it a whirl.


I would not discount the ability to lay down suppressive fire with the assault rifle; extremely handy when your team is trying to make a break for it with security right on their tail (plus it's a lot easier when your ammo capacity goes from 40ish to 250). That said, there's enough room on there- why not have both? smile.gif

-DrZ

EDIT: Is a sniper rifle considered something you can mount on a light weapon mount? I could see a GM ruling either way on that one. I know I could probably make an argument that the Ruger 100 (or is it 101?) would be since they're similar sizes; but I imagine a sniper rifle being a much larger weapon than the assault rifle, and it's not explicit in size. Worth asking about for errata or FAQ, at least.

HugeC
Blackjaw, in your grenade launcher example above, I think Gary should have gotten a shot off or been able to do something before getting blown to smithereens. Sensor lock is a simple action, and shooting the grenade launcher is a complex action, so Laughing Vulture can't do both in the same action phase.
X-Kalibur
QUOTE (DrZaius @ Aug 2 2013, 11:04 AM) *
I would not discount the ability to lay down suppressive fire with the assault rifle; extremely handy when your team is trying to make a break for it with security right on their tail (plus it's a lot easier when your ammo capacity goes from 40ish to 250). That said, there's enough room on there- why not have both? smile.gif

-DrZ

EDIT: Is a sniper rifle considered something you can mount on a light weapon mount? I could see a GM ruling either way on that one. I know I could probably make an argument that the Ruger 100 (or is it 101?) would be since they're similar sizes; but I imagine a sniper rifle being a much larger weapon than the assault rifle, and it's not explicit in size. Worth asking about for errata or FAQ, at least.


The Alamo is an EBR, which means it would be similar in weight and size to an M14. Comparing that to an M249 (LMG, needs heavy mount) or a grenade launcher (regular mount) I'd say normal mount is right.
DrZaius
QUOTE (X-Kalibur @ Aug 2 2013, 04:42 PM) *
The Alamo is an EBR, which means it would be similar in weight and size to an M14. Comparing that to an M249 (LMG, needs heavy mount) or a grenade launcher (regular mount) I'd say normal mount is right.


I don't disagree at all- my point was just that the book specifically says "Assault rifle and smaller", without implicitly stating where several of the weapon groups lie.
X-Kalibur
QUOTE (DrZaius @ Aug 2 2013, 12:54 PM) *
I don't disagree at all- my point was just that the book specifically says "Assault rifle and smaller", without implicitly stating where several of the weapon groups lie.


Well, looking at the size listing for conceal mods, I see that the Assault rifle and sport rifle are the same while the sniper rifle is considered larger... well, longer, anyway. That's a tough call.
X-Kalibur
QUOTE (HugeC @ Aug 2 2013, 12:22 PM) *
Blackjaw, in your grenade launcher example above, I think Gary should have gotten a shot off or been able to do something before getting blown to smithereens. Sensor lock is a simple action, and shooting the grenade launcher is a complex action, so Laughing Vulture can't do both in the same action phase.


And honestly, the lock target action didn't give him much of a bonus.
BlackJaw
QUOTE (HugeC @ Aug 2 2013, 12:22 PM) *
Blackjaw, in your grenade launcher example above, I think Gary should have gotten a shot off or been able to do something before getting blown to smithereens. Sensor lock is a simple action, and shooting the grenade launcher is a complex action, so Laughing Vulture can't do both in the same action phase.
Ooops, My bad.

Actually, looking at it, I also messed somewhere else too. The "wounds" the vehicle has aren't a penalty to using the vehicle, they reduce it's handling, which is it's limit not a dice pool penalty. That's a bit troublesome as large vehicles with a big condition track but poor handling rating can become nearly impossible to control well before it's destroyed.

QUOTE (X-Kalibur @ Aug 2 2013, 01:31 PM) *
And honestly, the lock target action didn't give him much of a bonus.
That's more of an issue with his low Electronic Warfare score and the assumed 3 in Sneak that I gave Gary... but you have a point.

QUOTE (DrZaius @ Aug 2 2013, 11:04 AM) *
EDIT: Is a sniper rifle considered something you can mount on a light weapon mount? I could see a GM ruling either way on that one. I know I could probably make an argument that the Ruger 100 (or is it 101?) would be since they're similar sizes; but I imagine a sniper rifle being a much larger weapon than the assault rifle, and it's not explicit in size. Worth asking about for errata or FAQ, at least.
Well it's not fired with the Heavy Weapons skill, so I figured it would be ok, but that's probably not the most applicable method of looking at things as there are grenade launchers that are pistol sized and sniper rifles designed to work on tanks that can't exactly be carried around and fired. The EBR, however, is closer to an assault rifle, so I figured it was safe. On the other hand, I could easily see restricting sniper rifles from use on standard weapon weapon mounts as a way to keep them from being easily mounted on roto-drones and the like... mostly as a game balancing consideration.
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