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Jaid
minor point: if earthdawn multiple attacks are "overpowered" compared to casting because it does better damage, and therefore you nerfed it, then you're perpetuating the typical problem with pen and paper RPGs that makes casters too strong.

casters can do a massive variety of things, often ranging from mobility to healing to crowd control to protective effects to creating minions/allies to mind control and so forth. also, they can deal damage (in most RPGs, they're actually better at this than warriors since it's often easier for them to hit areas and to deal different types of damage to get around resistances)

warriors, in comparison, can typically do damage, plus maybe some tiny fraction of any one or two of those other things; they might be able to heal small amounts with a herbalism skill, for example, or have impressive jumping ability that lets them get past some obstacles (but only for themselves, and the obstacle can't be too large, both of which are typically not problems for a spellcaster that can make people fly, just as an example).

if the warrior is not demonstrably superior in dealing damage, then what are they good for anyways? they become nothing more than a role-playing option for which you are expected to pay in effectiveness.

in every RPG that gives spellcasters equal combat capabilities and drastically superior out of combat capabilities, spellcasters are simply straight up better in every way. now i've seen systems that acknowledge that (one i recall had every PC as casters and gave the group collectively a bunch of non-caster followers that they could call on as needed), i've seen systems that address that by nerfing out of combat utility as hard as they can (why hello there 4th edition D&D), and only very rarely have i seen systems that actually give their warriors better in-combat capabilities. most of the time they give casters equal or better, and it almost inevitably leads to problems where one character has the ability to steal the show, and the only reason this isn't a problem for every group is that in some groups people make a specific effort to not always steal the show.

which is why it annoys me so much when people try to power up combat spells in SR5. magicians can already summon spirits, make the team invisible, make the team fly, mind control their enemies, significantly enhance the team's defensive and offensive capabilities, find out valuable information from captives, etc... they really don't need to also be the gods of combat, particularly when other characters invest all of their resources into that single area to end up no better than the magician already.
sk8bcn
Well technically, it was one player character that played an obsidiman who racked up every combat talent as skill, allowing him to attack 4 or 5 times in a single turn at the expense of 3-4 Hit points, which he healed afterwards with blood boil.

Due to the nature of the system and the exploding dices, he could dish truckloads of damages (once managed something like 70-80 damages in a single turn against a minor horror with good armor).

Due to the fact that I don't master ED like DD (who's more focused on managing your ressources - meaning that you don't multiplicate fights in a row), he turned out to overshadow everyone up to the point where he was main character and the rest where secondary roles.


I proposed a change: increase by one the cost per additionnal attack. His 4 attack a turn could still be very viable and powerfull but at a cost less neglectible (10 hit points).

Cain
QUOTE
if the warrior is not demonstrably superior in dealing damage, then what are they good for anyways? they become nothing more than a role-playing option for which you are expected to pay in effectiveness.

Tanking. Battlemaster fighters were arguably the best defenders in 4e D&D, even later in the game's life cycle. Because fighters could stop enemy movement with an OA, they could stall an entire enemy offensive by themselves if need be. This gave the casters/strikers more breathing room, and allowed them to focus on attacking, instead of being swarmed and having to defend themselves. They didn't dish out the damage like the strikers, but they didn't have to, since that wasn't their job. Their job was to redirect fire to themselves, and keep others from being attacked. In that regard, they were quite successful.

4e was really explicit about character roles, which was a good thing: most games don't actually acknowledge they exist. Shadowrun does, though: from the very beginning, a team needed physical muscle, a techie to handle security and matrix activity, and a mage for magic. Starting around SR2, though, magic got a lot more powerful and effective combat mages started to form. Also, adept costs started going down, so they became much more viable, and better at things other than melee combat. Now, in SR5, you don't need a mundane team member at all-- with the possible exception of a rigger, there's almost no mundane archetype that an Awakened can't be better at.
Jaid
if the obsidiman was outclassing everyone else in combat, it's only because they weren't making similar choices. any other melee could have also picked up those talents as skills. as for the magic users, again, they should be inferior in killing things, because i bet when you came across something that couldn't be solved by stabbing/smashing it, he basically had to sit there and do nothing while the other characters did nothing.

of course, in a game that consists of nothing but fighting, he might have been a problem, but if he was stealing the spotlight in every situation, it's only because your game either only had fighting, or because nobody else was trying to use their own abilities. if all that guy was good at was fighting, he should have been better at fighting than others; if nobody took the time to be good in fighting and also weren't any good at anything else, that's not a problem of game balance, that's a problem of one player who knows how to build a character to get what he wants, and the others not. the solution is not to nerf warriors, rather it is to help the others make characters that are equally good in their own way (potentially including being equally good in combat, if that's their goal).

as to the usefulness of warriors in tanking, there's a few problems with that:

- it tends to be incredibly dull.
- it tends to strain suspension of disbelief, because honestly who's going to try to kill the non-threatening guy who's really hard to kill when they really should be trying to kill the people who dish out tons of damage and are squishy?
- in games other than 4th edition D&D, where wizard utility is not massively nerfed into oblivion to allow a complete focus on direct damage and little else, you really don't need a dedicated tank character. you can summon a monster to tank, or even just make the magic user so hard to kill that it's as hard as attacking the tank, or you can crowd control enemies so that they can't attack in the first place, etc.

basically, tanks work somewhat in 4th edition because they have arbitrary abilities that sort of work, but at the cost of verisimilitude, and because wizards had 90% of their utility taken away (which, to be fair, had the desired effect of making the classes a lot more balanced than they were in earlier editions of D&D).

honestly, even in 4th edition D&D, i've found that groups with no really focused tank character tend to do best anyways. it is very seldom possible for a defender to actually defend a whole party effectively, and killing enemies faster reduces damage to the squishies too. i can't think of a single defender that worked well with spreading out the party (though admittedly, i certainly haven't seen every single defender class in play), and their abilities tend to do absolutely nothing to enemies that can hit multiple targets, which means that if you want to actually let them tank you probably are going to be vulnerable to AOEs as a group. most of the characters that i saw try to go full tank tended to be mediocre at best for protecting the rest of the team (and the times they were most effective tended to be when they focused on other areas; paladins tended to work best when built to deal damage and use their healing, for example, and the fighter i had in my group tended to focus more on the striker aspects, with some self-recovery built in. the warder tried to be a tank, and tended to be pretty unimpressive at it... honestly, even at absorbing damage he wasn't that great. the aegis... hmmm... ok, i seem to recall the aegis sort of working as a tank (at the very least, being able to threaten enemies with retaliatory attacks was something), but mostly as a mobile warrior type trying to kill things. i can't say that i ever really felt like an enemy couldn't threaten my DPS characters effectively because of those tanks being around. i've run in groups with 5 characters, 2 of which were defenders, and seldom felt particularly protected by them.
Cain
QUOTE (Jaid @ Oct 6 2014, 12:38 PM) *
as to the usefulness of warriors in tanking, there's a few problems with that:

- it tends to be incredibly dull.
- it tends to strain suspension of disbelief, because honestly who's going to try to kill the non-threatening guy who's really hard to kill when they really should be trying to kill the people who dish out tons of damage and are squishy?
- in games other than 4th edition D&D, where wizard utility is not massively nerfed into oblivion to allow a complete focus on direct damage and little else, you really don't need a dedicated tank character. you can summon a monster to tank, or even just make the magic user so hard to kill that it's as hard as attacking the tank, or you can crowd control enemies so that they can't attack in the first place, etc.

basically, tanks work somewhat in 4th edition because they have arbitrary abilities that sort of work, but at the cost of verisimilitude, and because wizards had 90% of their utility taken away (which, to be fair, had the desired effect of making the classes a lot more balanced than they were in earlier editions of D&D).

honestly, even in 4th edition D&D, i've found that groups with no really focused tank character tend to do best anyways. it is very seldom possible for a defender to actually defend a whole party effectively, and killing enemies faster reduces damage to the squishies too. i can't think of a single defender that worked well with spreading out the party (though admittedly, i certainly haven't seen every single defender class in play), and their abilities tend to do absolutely nothing to enemies that can hit multiple targets, which means that if you want to actually let them tank you probably are going to be vulnerable to AOEs as a group. most of the characters that i saw try to go full tank tended to be mediocre at best for protecting the rest of the team (and the times they were most effective tended to be when they focused on other areas; paladins tended to work best when built to deal damage and use their healing, for example, and the fighter i had in my group tended to focus more on the striker aspects, with some self-recovery built in. the warder tried to be a tank, and tended to be pretty unimpressive at it... honestly, even at absorbing damage he wasn't that great. the aegis... hmmm... ok, i seem to recall the aegis sort of working as a tank (at the very least, being able to threaten enemies with retaliatory attacks was something), but mostly as a mobile warrior type trying to kill things. i can't say that i ever really felt like an enemy couldn't threaten my DPS characters effectively because of those tanks being around. i've run in groups with 5 characters, 2 of which were defenders, and seldom felt particularly protected by them.

Tanking has always been a part of the game, though. Even in the early days of D&D, the fighters learned that they had to protect the mages and other squishies. They discovered that the best thing to do was be the front line, and defend. Of course, in D&D, wizards rapidly reached the point where they could defend themselves, but even then a defender or two made life easier.

The thing is, even with strikers who can defend themselves, swarming them means they can't attack just anyone-- they have to deal with the ones in their face. Defenders can draw off a lot of that heat, which gives strikers free rein to pick their targets. That's why defenders are important, maybe even necessary.

To bring this back to Shadowrun, street same have long played the defender role. They have a lot of striker in them, but their primary job is to draw the heat off the mages and deckers, so they can do their thing. Even in SR1, spellchuckers tended to be the ones to end the fight, but sams got the enemy's attention so they could do it. (That's a drawback with the system: those who go first are more likely to be shot at.) Yes, you're supposed to geek the mage first, but when there's a sam firing away in your face, you tend to ignore the quiet guys in the back.
Jaid
in D&D, fighters have always been important for the first few levels, and then as far as i can tell rapidly begin to lose relevance around level 5. depending on edition, they may still retain some relevance (2nd and earlier they're still useful for dealing with monsters that have high magic resistance, unless you're in forgotten realms where you can chain a million spells into a single non-action, as well as monsters with high enough saves that you don't want to burn that many resources debuffing them before you completely disable them), but ultimately, fights tend to end when the magic-user gets their turn.

in shadowrun, i'd hesitate to describe the typical street samurai as a tank. oh certainly, they're resistant to damage (or at least hard to hit)... but they also tend to deal exceptional damage as well. they don't tend to have any special abilities oriented towards persuading anyone to attack them instead of the DPS... in fact, in my experience, they tend to *be* the DPS.
Glyph
The change to one attack per round is one of the things I don't like about SR5, especially since it didn't really simplify anything. On the other hand, they nerfed direct combat spells too much. It doesn't render spellcasters ineffective (they have lots of other options), but it makes a category of spells all but useless.
Cain
QUOTE (Jaid @ Oct 6 2014, 06:09 PM) *
in D&D, fighters have always been important for the first few levels, and then as far as i can tell rapidly begin to lose relevance around level 5. depending on edition, they may still retain some relevance (2nd and earlier they're still useful for dealing with monsters that have high magic resistance, unless you're in forgotten realms where you can chain a million spells into a single non-action, as well as monsters with high enough saves that you don't want to burn that many resources debuffing them before you completely disable them), but ultimately, fights tend to end when the magic-user gets their turn.


4e wasn't that way. Fighters easily kept on par with casters, at least when comparing across roles. Strikers did all the serious damage, but defenders could take a beating much better, and were great at redirecting fire. Being able to redirect fire was the key ability of the defender-- they drew attacks for everyone else.
QUOTE
in shadowrun, i'd hesitate to describe the typical street samurai as a tank. oh certainly, they're resistant to damage (or at least hard to hit)... but they also tend to deal exceptional damage as well. they don't tend to have any special abilities oriented towards persuading anyone to attack them instead of the DPS... in fact, in my experience, they tend to *be* the DPS.

Well, "tanking" might be misleading. Sams are great at drawing fire. Before SR5, they tended to go first, which meant that everyone saw how scary they were and went after them. The unassuming guys in the back weren't as obvious a threat, at least until one revealed himself as a mage. Sams were also very good at surviving being shot at, mostly through high dodge pools, but also with a decent ability to soak. So, sams were solid at redirecting fire to themselves, which is what makes you into a defender.

The problems started with the switch to SR4. Instead of soak being entirely Body, it now became body + armor. In SR3, a body 2 mage could only stage down damage once, regardless of how much armor they piled on. With 4/4.5, they could soak as much as they had armor, so a low body became less of a liability. Mages and adepts also got faster, relatively speaking.

In every edition of Shadowrun, combats tended to end when the mage took their turn. Except for 5e, combat spells were just that good. Even in 1e, where drain was higher, spells were usually the end of the fight. Guns can dish out a ton of damage, but they're easier to avoid and resist. So, I'd argue that mages were the real damage. Sams were just the distraction-- a deadly one, to be sure, but they weren't the big guns.*

*Arguably, the rigger was the 800-lb gorilla of Shadowrun combat. Since anti-vehicular weaponry was all but required, they had a much bigger punch. However, they were much more limited in where they could take that firepower, and the best toys cost a lot of money to use are restock. Great Dragon ATGM's were a great way to get the last word in under SR3, but they became tricky to replace.
tjn
QUOTE (Jaid @ Oct 6 2014, 03:38 PM) *
of course, in a game that consists of nothing but fighting, he might have been a problem, but if he was stealing the spotlight in every situation, it's only because your game either only had fighting, or because nobody else was trying to use their own abilities.

There's also another outcome, and thankfully I've never had to deal with it, but a fellow GM of mine did, and there was much hand-wringing about the situation: the player who made the combat character decides to shoot a random npc because they got bored whenever the talky bits took longer than basic interactions. This is not (usually) solvable by in-game means because one can always escalate a situation to violence, but de-escalating a situation in-game after there's a body cooling on the pavement is... kinda hard.

However the best course of action will almost always be having a discussion and coming to understand what everyone wants out of the game, and then making a decision as a group that fits the needs for that group. As a GM, I feel that were I to nerf/buff post hoc in reaction to something in game, without any discussion, and while relying on GM fiat to enforce my change, that would be passive aggressive and a violation of the expectation that the rules function as per the book unless there exists notice otherwise. Even if it's their own damn fault they choose a Fighter and not a Druid like all the other players nyahnyah.gif wobble.gif

To address SR specifically, I've found tanks are not so much defined by the traditional roles (Sam or Adept or whatever), but moreso that they're defined by their race. Trolls are usually the biggest statement I've found that they want to be the tank, even if the difference in soaking against other races isn't anywhere near the difference that it was in SR3. That said, Sams, if built for taking damage, are able to shrug off full auto to the face, but most Sams aren't so heavily specialized for taking damage as it requires significant tradeoffs against initiative and the damage dealing role as a starting character, thus for the generic Sam they'd rather be the ones shooting others in the face than be the one facetanking.
SpellBinder
QUOTE (Glyph @ Oct 6 2014, 06:38 PM) *
The change to one attack per round is one of the things I don't like about SR5, especially since it didn't really simplify anything. On the other hand, they nerfed direct combat spells too much. It doesn't render spellcasters ineffective (they have lots of other options), but it makes a category of spells all but useless.
Most of my SR4 'hands on' combat magician/mystic concept characters have the Shatter spell, not only for dealing with opponents in a close up fight, but also more annoying things like physical locks and restraints and the sort. Not a spell I've considered for any Magician/Mystic character in SR5, along with any that are classed as "Direct," and I'm pretty sure I'm not alone in this sentiment.
Jaid
@cain: again, D&D4 is somewhat of an exception, because magic users don't have utility, but even so, i still find that defenders don't really have much in the way of compelling reasons to focus them over anyone else. i've had a DM decide that the mark was supposed to be almost like a mystic compulsion effect and force the enemies to attack (rather than making that decision on the basis of what logically made sense) and even then, it was at best haphazard. there are frequently too many enemies to mark them all, and enemies that hit multiple targets can frequently not be effected by marks (and are often the ones where you want to control their targets the most).

in shadowrun, there really is a limit to how much effectiveness in combat is useful, and it's not that hard to get pretty much right up to it fairly early on. i've got less experience with SR3 and earlier, but i would expect that staging up the damage from a powerful gun is generally going to kill someone regardless, and a well-built sam will probably be able to hit the vast majority of targets anyways. more reliability is of course always nice, but it fairly quickly seemed, at least in SR4, that for most targets that weren't supposed to be prime runners or equivalent you were hitting fairly reliably and usually doing enough damage to put them down in 1 burst or 2 shots. i suppose if you pile up enough negative modifiers, SR3 would make it pretty hard to hit people though. even so, from what i recall grenades in SR3 still looked pretty effective, and near-hits are good enough with them.
Cain
QUOTE (Jaid @ Oct 6 2014, 08:04 PM) *
@cain: again, D&D4 is somewhat of an exception, because magic users don't have utility, but even so, i still find that defenders don't really have much in the way of compelling reasons to focus them over anyone else. i've had a DM decide that the mark was supposed to be almost like a mystic compulsion effect and force the enemies to attack (rather than making that decision on the basis of what logically made sense) and even then, it was at best haphazard. there are frequently too many enemies to mark them all, and enemies that hit multiple targets can frequently not be effected by marks (and are often the ones where you want to control their targets the most).

It kinda was. When a creature is marked, they somehow know every negative effect on them. So, they not only know they've got a penalty to attack someone else, they know what'll happen if they do. Multiattacks actually don't work against marks, btw-- you need area attacks, because the mark penalty applies based on who's being targeted. Multiattacks count as separate attacks, so if any don't target the defender, the penalty can trigger.
QUOTE
in shadowrun, there really is a limit to how much effectiveness in combat is useful, and it's not that hard to get pretty much right up to it fairly early on. i've got less experience with SR3 and earlier, but i would expect that staging up the damage from a powerful gun is generally going to kill someone regardless, and a well-built sam will probably be able to hit the vast majority of targets anyways.

Not like you might think. Armor reduced the TN of an attack, but you could only soak with body. Since it took two successes to stage it down a category, you needed raw body dice to survive. There were ways and ways to pile on the armor, so you could reduce the TN to 2 easily enough for many attacks, but that did you no good if the damage code was high enough. If damage was staged one past deadly, a body 2 character would drop, regardless of armor. So, it was extra successes that killed, more than power of the weapon.

QUOTE
more reliability is of course always nice, but it fairly quickly seemed, at least in SR4, that for most targets that weren't supposed to be prime runners or equivalent you were hitting fairly reliably and usually doing enough damage to put them down in 1 burst or 2 shots. i suppose if you pile up enough negative modifiers, SR3 would make it pretty hard to hit people though. even so, from what i recall grenades in SR3 still looked pretty effective, and near-hits are good enough with them.


SR4.5 was a lot of eggshells with hammers. However, combat spells were always deadly effective, especially AoE ones. They were more powerful than a grenade, ignored armor, completely silent, and largely risk-free. You could drop large crowds of people with them-- unlike, say, suppressive fire, which had issues with staging.
Tymeaus Jalynsfein
QUOTE (Cain @ Oct 7 2014, 12:03 AM) *
SR4.5 was a lot of eggshells with hammers. However, combat spells were always deadly effective, especially AoE ones. They were more powerful than a grenade, ignored armor, completely silent, and largely risk-free. You could drop large crowds of people with them-- unlike, say, suppressive fire, which had issues with staging.


I don't know... I dropped large crowds of people with Suppressive fire consistently in SR4A. About as consistently as with AOE Magic. Obviously experiences differ. smile.gif
Cain
QUOTE (Tymeaus Jalynsfein @ Oct 7 2014, 06:50 AM) *
I don't know... I dropped large crowds of people with Suppressive fire consistently in SR4A. About as consistently as with AOE Magic. Obviously experiences differ. smile.gif

We've established that your SR4.5 table is atypical. nyahnyah.gif

Besides which, suppressive fire has other problems. Among those is the fact that it's loud and ammo-dependent. You can launch a stunball without even a whisper, but if anyone tried to fire full auto quietly, we'd all laugh. And full auto eats ammo like crazy. Even if you pack a lot of ammo, you'll burn through it quickly. Besides, when it comes to damage per bullet, single shots are much better. Combat spells are only limited in use if the mage takes Drain, which isn't at all likely if the mage player knows what he's doing.
Tymeaus Jalynsfein
QUOTE (Cain @ Oct 7 2014, 04:43 PM) *
We've established that your SR4.5 table is atypical. nyahnyah.gif

Besides which, suppressive fire has other problems. Among those is the fact that it's loud and ammo-dependent. You can launch a stunball without even a whisper, but if anyone tried to fire full auto quietly, we'd all laugh. And full auto eats ammo like crazy. Even if you pack a lot of ammo, you'll burn through it quickly. Besides, when it comes to damage per bullet, single shots are much better. Combat spells are only limited in use if the mage takes Drain, which isn't at all likely if the mage player knows what he's doing.


Suppressive fire does eat up tons of ammo, I have to agree with that. Of course, a Stun Ball is also likely noticed as well, since they only remove large swaths of people when Force 6+, so the ability to hide that Magic is also limited. And to be fair, Full Suppressed Autofire is probably much quieter than the Force 6 Stun Ball, since you would need TWO hits to notice the Suppressed Fire, while you need absolutely NO hits to Notice spells of Force 6+. As for Drain, I have seen even the most optimized for Drain Mage take it, and generally when they least expected it. So I NEVER count on taking no drain, as a Mage. smile.gif
Cain
QUOTE (Tymeaus Jalynsfein @ Oct 7 2014, 06:01 PM) *
Suppressive fire does eat up tons of ammo, I have to agree with that. Of course, a Stun Ball is also likely noticed as well, since they only remove large swaths of people when Force 6+, so the ability to hide that Magic is also limited. And to be fair, Full Suppressed Autofire is probably much quieter than the Force 6 Stun Ball, since you would need TWO hits to notice the Suppressed Fire, while you need absolutely NO hits to Notice spells of Force 6+. As for Drain, I have seen even the most optimized for Drain Mage take it, and generally when they least expected it. So I NEVER count on taking no drain, as a Mage. smile.gif

The thing about noticing spellcasting is, you need to be in the same room to see it happen. Full auto fire can be heard from quite a distance away. Suppressed autofire fails the suspension of disbelief test.
Glyph
I found combat spells to be even more effective in SR3. With the Force of the spell as the TN to resist it, and the ability to cast spells at D damage (so even one net hit would kill someone), combat spells were brutal. The only protection was to have a high Willpower. In SR3, a Willpower of 6 meant something, since it became the mage's TN for spells like manabolt or stunball, but even in such cases, the mage still usually had a two-to-one or better advantage in dice. You could make some real monsters with totem bonuses and foci, but a standard hermetic mage or sorcerer was perfectly functional.
Tymeaus Jalynsfein
QUOTE (Cain @ Oct 7 2014, 07:18 PM) *
The thing about noticing spellcasting is, you need to be in the same room to see it happen. Full auto fire can be heard from quite a distance away. Suppressed autofire fails the suspension of disbelief test.


Only if the spellcaster is in a room, targeting the room, with no other observers whatsoever. In the open, anyone can see it happen. And I see more spells in the open than within the confines of a single room. One of the reasons that my spellcasters rarely exceed their Magic Rating for Spell Force (Typical Mage for me has a Magic of 3-5), as it makes it difficult to notice. *shrug*

You would be surprised how not so obvious full auto fire can be in an environment that has a lot of noise (though you are right that it is obvious, it may be overlooked due to other noise sources or things occurring), or an environment where decent ranges are a factor (having been on the receiving end of such an occurrence and only hearing the slap of the rounds as they pass by - thank goodness for the tracers that accompanied them so as to have SOME idea of origin point). As for whether or not Suppression breaks suspension of belief, that depends upon whether you actually know what suppression does (Hollywood notwithstanding). It works well for what it is designed to do. It makes the discharge less obvious, though if you know what to listen for you can [potentially] still hear it. But at range, it can be missed, especially if the shooter uses subsonic ammunition (no telltale of supersonic boom as the ammunition breaks (or doesn't, in this case) the speed barrier).
Tymeaus Jalynsfein
QUOTE (Glyph @ Oct 7 2014, 07:28 PM) *
I found combat spells to be even more effective in SR3. With the Force of the spell as the TN to resist it, and the ability to cast spells at D damage (so even one net hit would kill someone), combat spells were brutal. The only protection was to have a high Willpower. In SR3, a Willpower of 6 meant something, since it became the mage's TN for spells like manabolt or stunball, but even in such cases, the mage still usually had a two-to-one or better advantage in dice. You could make some real monsters with totem bonuses and foci, but a standard hermetic mage or sorcerer was perfectly functional.


Agreed - I found Combat Magic in 4th Edition to be weaker than in Previous Editions. Not to say that it is Weak, because it isn't, but Previous Editions were much more brutal about it, in my opinion. smile.gif
sk8bcn
QUOTE (Tymeaus Jalynsfein @ Oct 8 2014, 03:20 PM) *
Agreed - I found Combat Magic in 4th Edition to be weaker than in Previous Editions. Not to say that it is Weak, because it isn't, but Previous Editions were much more brutal about it, in my opinion. smile.gif



Heh! By the way, another thing I nerfed quite happily (even if my games aren't heavily combat focused (why again do I try to argue on internet about it?).

I've nerfed 3rd ed. magic by increasing the drain to [force/2] round up.

(because some reason?) grinbig.gif
Jaid
it is theoretically possible that 207x suppressors and silencers use some sort of technology we don't have access to today, is it not?

(or even that in 207x gunpowder simply doesn't explode so loudly, and that bullets tend to be heavier and slower - ie subsonic - to compensate for the loss in kinetic energy from velocity)
Tymeaus Jalynsfein
QUOTE (Jaid @ Oct 8 2014, 09:50 AM) *
it is theoretically possible that 207x suppressors and silencers use some sort of technology we don't have access to today, is it not?

(or even that in 207x gunpowder simply doesn't explode so loudly, and that bullets tend to be heavier and slower - ie subsonic - to compensate for the loss in kinetic energy from velocity)


It is certainly possible... Which is why I don't have all that much problem with the rules for Suppressed and Silenced Weapons. smile.gif
Stahlseele
QUOTE (sk8bcn @ Oct 8 2014, 04:52 PM) *
Heh! By the way, another thing I nerfed quite happily (even if my games aren't heavily combat focused (why again do I try to argue on internet about it?).

I've nerfed 3rd ed. magic by increasing the drain to [force/2] round up.

(because some reason?) grinbig.gif

congratulations, you have managed to increase the TN to resist drain by 1 or 2 points, depending on the spell and the force the spell is used at. If the spell is used on an even number, the rounding makes no difference whatsoever and if it's used on an uneven force number, it's a +1.
[ Spoiler ]

Sadly, your change is not such a big huge fix for the SR3 Magic problem. It's a start though, and more than many people are somehow willing to do . .
Still, for a specialist, this would more or less usually stay in the trivial to achieve range of things to do. So the only ones suffering from it would be characters that, for some reason, do not chose to specialize in their core ability.

A fix for magic is not making the drain harder to resist, but making the actual CASTING harder to do and the caster has to resist drain even if he does not manage to cast the spell at all.
The Problem with THIS approach then becomes the fact that not only do they become less effective in combat, but also less effective in anything else. And versatility is the one big thing magic should have going for it in terms of spells.
TN for the Stun-Spells is the enemy Willpower. So for a starting character, that's a maximum of 8.
USUALLY Willpower will be much much lower than that. So the TN will go down accordingly. 3 or 4 is pretty standard willpower to have in a character.
So if you increased the TN to cast by a flat 2, mages would look at TN 5 and 6 to actually get any hits on their casting test and then still face drain.
And suddenly, casting combat spells is not such a welcome to do thing anymore. Because now it's just like all distance combat completely hit and miss.
If you miss, you still have to resist drain and have no effect on target, just as if you had missed with a gun and still lost ammo. And you are now much more likely to simply fail in whatever you attempted to do with the spell you cast in the first place. Still, for a specialist, this would more or less usually stay in the trivial to achieve range of things to do. So the only ones suffering from it would be characters that, for some reason, do not chose to specialize in their core ability.
Cain
QUOTE (Tymeaus Jalynsfein @ Oct 8 2014, 05:18 AM) *
Only if the spellcaster is in a room, targeting the room, with no other observers whatsoever. In the open, anyone can see it happen. And I see more spells in the open than within the confines of a single room. One of the reasons that my spellcasters rarely exceed their Magic Rating for Spell Force (Typical Mage for me has a Magic of 3-5), as it makes it difficult to notice. *shrug*


Usually, most shadowruns take place indoors. Since indoors means walls and rooms, you won't have the same opportunity to see a spell like you would to hear the sounds of combat.
QUOTE
You would be surprised how not so obvious full auto fire can be in an environment that has a lot of noise (though you are right that it is obvious, it may be overlooked due to other noise sources or things occurring), or an environment where decent ranges are a factor (having been on the receiving end of such an occurrence and only hearing the slap of the rounds as they pass by - thank goodness for the tracers that accompanied them so as to have SOME idea of origin point). As for whether or not Suppression breaks suspension of belief, that depends upon whether you actually know what suppression does (Hollywood notwithstanding). It works well for what it is designed to do. It makes the discharge less obvious, though if you know what to listen for you can [potentially] still hear it. But at range, it can be missed, especially if the shooter uses subsonic ammunition (no telltale of supersonic boom as the ammunition breaks (or doesn't, in this case) the speed barrier).

Yeah, Hollywood sound suppression isn't at all believable. And unless I miss my guess, suppressors have a very short lifespan; the gel in them only lasts for a short while. A fully automatic weapon can blow through it's usefulness in a few seconds in some cases, depending on how good the suppressor is. And even then, it's still noisy.

They are good at flash suppression, as I recall; trying to track someone by muzzle flash is really, really difficult if they have a suppressor. But then again, there are walls for that. wink.gif
sk8bcn
QUOTE (Stahlseele @ Oct 8 2014, 06:19 PM) *
congratulations, you have managed to increase the TN to resist drain by 1 or 2 points, depending on the spell and the force the spell is used at. If the spell is used on an even number, the rounding makes no difference whatsoever and if it's used on an uneven force number, it's a +1.


Yes I know what implies to divide by 2 and round up. well:

QUOTE
A fix for magic is not making the drain harder to resist, but making the actual CASTING harder to do and the caster has to resist drain even if he does not manage to cast the spell at all.
The Problem with THIS approach then becomes the fact that not only do they become less effective in combat, but also less effective in anything else. And versatility is the one big thing magic should have going for it in terms of spells.


I actually didn't want to nerf that much because, up to a point, elite opponent mages will have metamagic shielding a bit more common, (and background counts could come into play too), and, as I haven't evalueted that much yet the effects of those factors.
sk8bcn
oh and, the consensus kwown from the start at my table is that : "Shoot the mage first"
SpellBinder
QUOTE (Cain @ Oct 9 2014, 12:55 AM) *
Yeah, Hollywood sound suppression isn't at all believable. And unless I miss my guess, suppressors have a very short lifespan; the gel in them only lasts for a short while. A fully automatic weapon can blow through it's usefulness in a few seconds in some cases, depending on how good the suppressor is. And even then, it's still noisy.

They are good at flash suppression, as I recall; trying to track someone by muzzle flash is really, really difficult if they have a suppressor. But then again, there are walls for that. wink.gif
You just gave me an idea for a magician/mystic sniper that uses illusion and manipulation magics instead of technology to suppress the noise and flash of gunshots. Will have to work the numbers on that to see about feasibility.

As for the lifespan of suppressors, I did some looking around and found that depending on some factors (like caliber, barrel length, muzzle device, and firing schedule) they can potentially last quite some time, many referring to tens of thousands of rounds fired without degradation of performance. Saw one forum post where someone likened the use of a suppressor to driving a car in the way of longevity; full-auto 500 rounds straight, twice in a row, has a good chance of ending a suppressor's life really quick, while regular target practice had next to no impact. Another statement, direct from a manufacturer, stated testing in excess of 30,000 rounds with no noticeable degradation in sound performance (sadly lacking some details as to the time frame and weapon/ammo used), and that their suppressor could outlast several barrels (I'm assuming that this is with some regular cleaning and maintenance of said suppressor).

As for something like gel, doesn't seem mandatory for a suppressor, it looks like it enhances the performance of a suppressor for a relatively short while, and is more likely used in pistol suppressors as opposed to rifles (the later being that rifles run so hot that the gel is typically gone after three shots). I also am under the impression, from what I've read, that wet suppressors are much higher maintenance than dry suppressors.
Shev
It's nice to see this thread and realize its not just me.

I stopped playing around 2007, after I graduated college. We ran 3rd ed pretty much exclusively, and once 4th came out with its drastic changes to both lore and mechanics that I liked (Wireless? Combined mage/shaman mechanics? Thanks, but no thanks) I pretty much stopped following entirely. I wasn't even aware of a 5th edition until recently.

And now, I've been tapped to run a game for some friends and family. I did a quick check of 5e, and from what I can tell, I'm *still* going to stick with 3rd, warts and all.
risingstar
While I like the magic and updated Matrix systems of 4th Ed, what keeps bringing me back to 2nd/3rd is the flavor text, especially in the supplementals.

The stories are nice, but it still feels like something was missing in the extra books for 4th.
Cain
Here's the thing. Back in the day, when Shadowrun first came out, it was unique. It was innovative, and it used new(ish) mechanics in an interesting way. It was also very inspirational: some of the playtesters went on to found White Wolf, and based the Storyteller dice system on Shadowrun's. Basically, the entire 90's RPG resurgence came about because of Shadowrun. SR3 was the height of the classic rules system-- sure, it had warts, but by and large the system worked well, and did things differently than anyone else out there. While everything else was copying d20, Shadowrun was one of the most original games out there.

Then, 4e hit. Steven Kenson is on record as saying that he deliberately based the new system on NWoD, believing that since they copied off of Shadowrun initially, it was fair game to copy off them. Rob Boyle did the same on a podcast. What this meant was, instead of being a leading innovator in the gaming world, Shadowrun was now just another copy. The system was also rushed to market, with inadequate playtesting, which led to a lot of play issues when real players got a hold of it. Ultimately, those flaws were part of what sparked 4.5; flaws that fans on Dumpshock screamed long and hard about were among the big fixes they implemented.

It's sad to see Shadowrun decline so badly. For a while there, Shadowrun was easily the second-most popular RPG out there, behind D&D. Later, it took third, after White Wolf. Now? I'm not sure where in the pack it is, but it's likely not even in the top ten.
Shev
Is 4.5 purely a mechanics change, or did it reinstate cyberpunk back into the game?
Tymeaus Jalynsfein
QUOTE (Shev @ Oct 23 2014, 10:44 AM) *
Is 4.5 purely a mechanics change, or did it reinstate cyberpunk back into the game?


I maintain it never left the game... but some aspects of it have transformed.
Shev
Wireless has about as much place in cyberpunk as diesel engines have in steampunk.
Tymeaus Jalynsfein
QUOTE (Shev @ Oct 23 2014, 11:10 AM) *
Wireless has about as much place in cyberpunk as diesel engines have in steampunk.


I disagree... *shrug*
Even Cyberpunk 2020 had wireless access points.
Sengir
QUOTE (Cain @ Oct 23 2014, 01:57 AM) *
For a while there, Shadowrun was easily the second-most popular RPG out there, behind D&D. Later, it took third, after White Wolf. Now? I'm not sure where in the pack it is, but it's likely not even in the top ten.

While sales charts are not as easily available as for PC games, I don't get the impression that there are many games which surpass SR in terms of popularity. D&D certainly and possibly Pathfinder, but further than that? WoD has essentially been reduced to a number of hobbyist PDF releases, DSA is popular in Germany but nowhere else, the 40k RPGs are clearly less popular than SR from what I see (they don't even make it into the Amazon Top 100)...

RPGs as a whole have shrunk a lot, but I don't think Shadowrun has lost ground disproportionately
Cain
QUOTE (Shev @ Oct 23 2014, 08:44 AM) *
Is 4.5 purely a mechanics change, or did it reinstate cyberpunk back into the game?

Honestly, I think it took some of the cyberpunk out. Cyberpunk is a very specific setting, a particular era's view of the future. SR4/4.5 was a projection of our present, and used current ideas to form the setting. There were a couple of nods to cyberpunk, but for the most part, it was less the future as seen by Gibson and Stephenson, and more the future as seen by the WinXP User's Manual.

QUOTE (Sengir @ Oct 23 2014, 02:37 PM) *
While sales charts are not as easily available as for PC games, I don't get the impression that there are many games which surpass SR in terms of popularity. D&D certainly and possibly Pathfinder, but further than that? WoD has essentially been reduced to a number of hobbyist PDF releases, DSA is popular in Germany but nowhere else, the 40k RPGs are clearly less popular than SR from what I see (they don't even make it into the Amazon Top 100)...

RPGs as a whole have shrunk a lot, but I don't think Shadowrun has lost ground disproportionately


Well, once upon a time, there was only one popular game: D&D. Everything else was an also-ran.

Around the early 90's, though, RPG's went through a boom. A lot of new and innovative games hit the market, most notably Vampire and Shadowrun. Both took off like wildfire, although eventually White Wolf would almost dominate the RPG world. D&D itself was declining during this time, as TSR basically lost focus and D&D 2e fell prey to power creep, rules bloat, and supplementitis. Shadowrun was wildly popular during this time, and not only was it a big name in American RPG's, it was running neck and neck with DSA in Germany for a while. That's why the game got a lot of German supplements. When Shadowrun first arrived, it was the talk of the gaming world, and was among the first non-D&D games to make a huge splash. It was pretty much the talk of the town until Vampire took hold.

At the end of the 90's, TSR would die in its sleep, and Wizards took over D&D. Around 2000, they showed their take: D&D 3.0, and the D20 revolution. The OGL blew people away, and even though D&D was slipping away, it came back with a bang. Pretty much everything was dominated by d20 during that decade. White Wolf was bought out, and the World of Darkness would slowly start sliding out of the limelight. To rekindle interest in Shadowrun, 4e was released, but it didn't catch on as well in the wake of D&D 3.5.

Now, we hit today. With the release of 5e, D&D is currently leading the pack. In second place is Pathfinder, riding on the coattails of d20. Shadowrun is now, charitably, in the middle of the pack, and is competing with a lot of others. I'd personally put it out of the top ten, based on games played online and at the FLGS's I frequent.
Sengir
On Amazon.com, The SR5 BBB is ranked 36th in the gaming section, after a lot of D&D and Pathfinder stuff as well as PC game tie-ins and guidebooks -- and Minecraft novels -- but long before other RPGs.

On Amazon.de, the BBB is the No. 1 topseller, leading an e-book on Minecraft seeds and a DSA adventure. Do they load those minecraft PDFs on every kindle or why are those so far up? Anyway, as far as Germany goes I'd also point out the fact that Pegasus sells the books for 19.95 €. No matter how much printing costs have collapsed, that's just not feasible if you're an also-ran in an already small market.
Tymeaus Jalynsfein
QUOTE (Sengir @ Oct 23 2014, 03:37 PM) *
While sales charts are not as easily available as for PC games, I don't get the impression that there are many games which surpass SR in terms of popularity. D&D certainly and possibly Pathfinder, but further than that? WoD has essentially been reduced to a number of hobbyist PDF releases, DSA is popular in Germany but nowhere else, the 40k RPGs are clearly less popular than SR from what I see (they don't even make it into the Amazon Top 100)...

RPGs as a whole have shrunk a lot, but I don't think Shadowrun has lost ground disproportionately


Not sure why you consider nWOD as a bunch of Hobbyist PDF releases. It is BOOMING, and Onyx Path (Current License Holder of the World of Darkness) is definitely producing high quality and mainstream games. FAR better quality, in fact, than CGL ever thought of producing, never mind being able to actually produce. Onyx Path's quality blows CGL out of the water completely.
Prime Mover
Not a huge fan of NWoD or quality of early products. 20th anniversary stuff brings out the 90's nostalgia and got my wallet open. Shadowrun still sits a shelf higher in my current campaigns section though.
Tymeaus Jalynsfein
QUOTE (Prime Mover @ Oct 24 2014, 10:28 AM) *
Not a huge fan of NWoD or quality of early products. 20th anniversary stuff brings out the 90's nostalgia and got my wallet open. Shadowrun still sits a shelf higher in my current campaigns section though.


Have not really looked at the 20th Anniversary editions at all. I still have all my original books, so see no real need to purchase them again. smile.gif
For me, Both Shadowrun and nWOD occupy the same gaming space. I like them both. Each one scratches a particular (and different) itch. smile.gif

Though to be fair... FATE can cover both quite nicely. smile.gif
Shev
QUOTE (Cain @ Oct 24 2014, 02:15 AM) *
Honestly, I think it took some of the cyberpunk out. Cyberpunk is a very specific setting, a particular era's view of the future. SR4/4.5 was a projection of our present, and used current ideas to form the setting. There were a couple of nods to cyberpunk, but for the most part, it was less the future as seen by Gibson and Stephenson, and more the future as seen by the WinXP User's Manual.


Damn. I knew this was the case for 4e. I was hoping that 4.5 was an effort to undo some of the damage and bring back at least some cyberpunk elements. Looks like that's never going to happen, though.
Stahlseele
QUOTE (Shev @ Oct 24 2014, 08:33 PM) *
Damn. I knew this was the case for 4e. I was hoping that 4.5 was an effort to undo some of the damage and bring back at least some cyberpunk elements. Looks like that's never going to happen, though.

Of course not . . Shadowrun is a progressive setting after all.
Tymeaus Jalynsfein
QUOTE (Stahlseele @ Oct 24 2014, 11:58 AM) *
Of course not . . Shadowrun is a progressive setting after all.


Indeed... Eventually Cyperpunk MUST bend to Post-Cyberpunk, and then to Transhumanism.
ShadowDragon8685
SR4 is Post-Cyberpunk.

SR5 tried to turn back the clock, to which I say, bollocks.

I still kind of lost most interest in Shadowrun when I discovered Eclipse Phase, though.
Glyph
Shadowrun has transhumanist themes, but despite the populace living permanently online/in an AR environment, and minor augmentations such as datajacks or cybereyes being fairly common... shadowrunners are still the outliers, rather than the norm. They instill awe, fear, revulsion, or obsessive fandom among "regular" people. This is a core feature built into the very premise of the game (exceptional people who do exceptional things, who have incurred various physical and emotional costs to do so), and the mechanics of the game (where augmentations and magic give cheap, easy boosts that give people superhuman capabilities), so I don't expect it to change soon.

I think the game's tone is a bit schizophrenic at the moment. Some people seem to want a near-future vision that extrapolates from modern trends such as ubiquitous recording devices and an information society, while others want a retro-cyberpunk future with corporate feudalism in a decaying society with a wild-west atmosphere. I think the game needs to grow - I think retconning nanotech away with a bogus virus and bringing back cyberdecks were mistakes. But I also think the designers need to remember that this is an alternate reality future when they introduce things from our own modern times. So sure, do away with 5-pound cell phones, but also keep in mind that file-sharing might be less common in a future where data is more balkanized, and jealously guarded.
binarywraith
QUOTE (Shev @ Oct 24 2014, 12:33 PM) *
Damn. I knew this was the case for 4e. I was hoping that 4.5 was an effort to undo some of the damage and bring back at least some cyberpunk elements. Looks like that's never going to happen, though.


It tries, but they insisted on shoehorning in the wireless Matrix and trying to be transhumanist while still explicitly having technology eat your soul if you try to use it to improve the human condition.

I'd have been a lot happier if they'd just stuck to cyberpunk and remembered that the timelines diverged back in the late 1980's, so the things that happen in our world do not need to be reflected in Shadowrun's world, nor should they be. After all, they had a decade of plagues and natural disasters after the Ghost Dance that mean that a logical progression from current tech is impossible. It's like trying to assume what the 2010's would be like without knowing that the 9/11 attacks would happen.

Hell, you couldn't even build an iPhone in SR's 2015's, China's overpopulation is busy being decimated by VITAS, if I recall the timeline correctly.
Cain
QUOTE (Sengir @ Oct 24 2014, 03:12 AM) *
On Amazon.com, The SR5 BBB is ranked 36th in the gaming section, after a lot of D&D and Pathfinder stuff as well as PC game tie-ins and guidebooks -- and Minecraft novels -- but long before other RPGs.

One site sales figures is not very representative. For example, World of Darkness has more or less abandoned the traditional FLGS and brick-and-mortar stores, they now sell almost exclusively POD and online. So, they don't get counted in these sales figures. PDF's also aren't figured in.
QUOTE
On Amazon.de, the BBB is the No. 1 topseller, leading an e-book on Minecraft seeds and a DSA adventure. Do they load those minecraft PDFs on every kindle or why are those so far up? Anyway, as far as Germany goes I'd also point out the fact that Pegasus sells the books for 19.95 . No matter how much printing costs have collapsed, that's just not feasible if you're an also-ran in an already small market.

Actually, you're wrong there. One of the charges leveled against Catalyst is that they overcharge for Shadowrun books. Based on prices at my FLGS, $60 for a core book is on the high end-- most comparable books run for $50 or less. Because the price is so high, that drives down sales. Pegasus has better business practices, and so can put out the same book for much cheaper than CGL. Because the price is lower, the book will logically be more desirable, and thus more people will buy it.
Sengir
QUOTE (Tymeaus Jalynsfein @ Oct 24 2014, 04:04 PM) *
Not sure why you consider nWOD as a bunch of Hobbyist PDF releases.

Maybe that was a bit drastic, but a game line which does no longer put books in stores simply puts itself outside the mainstream, even if we're talking about the mainstream of a non-mainstream hobby.


QUOTE (Cain @ Oct 25 2014, 05:45 AM) *
One site sales figures is not very representative.

I wouldn't use those figures to determine an exact ranking (or even a rough one), but if Shadowrun is among a field of second-line RPGs, I'd expect those to show up somewhere within the same top 100 list.

QUOTE
Actually, you're wrong there. One of the charges leveled against Catalyst is that they overcharge for Shadowrun books. Based on prices at my FLGS, $60 for a core book is on the high end-- most comparable books run for $50 or less. Because the price is so high, that drives down sales. Pegasus has better business practices, and so can put out the same book for much cheaper than CGL. Because the price is lower, the book will logically be more desirable, and thus more people will buy it.

A lower price makes the product more appealing to interested parties, if it's sufficiently low even those with just a passing interest might pick up the product "just in case". But it does not generate customers out of thin air. I wouldn't buy the Minecraft book if it was ten cents, because I don't play Minecraft. The EP guys put out their stuff for free, and it's still a rather obscure game most RPGers haven't heard of, let alone have tried.
ShadowDragon8685
QUOTE (Sengir @ Oct 25 2014, 07:19 PM) *
A lower price makes the product more appealing to interested parties, if it's sufficiently low even those with just a passing interest might pick up the product "just in case". But it does not generate customers out of thin air. I wouldn't buy the Minecraft book if it was ten cents, because I don't play Minecraft. The EP guys put out their stuff for free, and it's still a rather obscure game most RPGers haven't heard of, let alone have tried.


Not for lack of trying on my part. I've been seeding the EP big torrents since I got into EP. I'm at 28.7 GB uploaded on a 203MB folder. I've been seeding this one for 17 weeks now...

I should check and see if they've updated to a newer version of the torrent.

[e]Nope, I'm up to date.

Shameless plugging time: Eclipse Phase is a game of transhumanism and space travel, of functional anarchy and dysfunctional hierarchies, of a time in which sapient, recursively-growing AIs were (probably) tampered with by extraterrestrial intelligences and (definitely) wiped out most life on Earth, leaving the rest of transhumanity (which now includes uplifted ceteceans, octopi, hominids, and birds, as well as non-recursive AIs) to inhabit the rest of our solar system and beyond, thanks to wildly irresponsible exploitation of unknown artifacts known as Pandora Gates. Dying is a disease which has been cured, you can have as many of yourself active at one time as you feel sane having, and everybody has a psuedosapient AI in their headware computer.

Oh, and you have as many goddamn augs as you want, because EP doesn't buy into that bullshit cybernetics eats your soul thing.

If that sounds interesting to you, grab it here. This is a link to The Pirate Bay, but it is 100% legal, as the developers of Eclipse Phase released it by way of a Creative Commons license. If it later turns out that you like it and you have an income to dispose of, feel free to support them by ordering the books hardcopy or something.
Tymeaus Jalynsfein
QUOTE (Sengir @ Oct 25 2014, 04:19 PM) *
Maybe that was a bit drastic, but a game line which does no longer put books in stores simply puts itself outside the mainstream, even if we're talking about the mainstream of a non-mainstream hobby.


The Mainstream is changing, and it is changing rapidly. smile.gif

As for Eclipse Phase - It is definitely an awesome product. Not participating in any games currently (too many others in the wings right now - Shadowrun, DnD, Fate of at least 3 varieties), but no worries, I am sure they will come. smile.gif
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