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Just a small thing that has been irking me since starting to play again, using the 5th edition rules. (I'd been about to start the game with 2nd edition rules before deciding to buy the new book, so those were pretty fresh in my mind, despite decades away from the game).

Average attribute level by priority, 2nd to 5th: (if I can ever make a table work out....)


| Priority...|..2nd..|.5th |
| ....A......|..5....|...4 |
| ....B......|..4....|..3.5|
| ....C......|.3.33..|..3. |


In 2nd being metahuman added a flat 0.5 average attribute (+3, with 6 attributes). In 5th it varies, elves are the lowest at +.375 (+3 attributes on 8 attributes total), orcs/dwarves +.625.

I think I've figured out what bugs me about this. What is it that makes Runners special? Aside from a near suicidal disregard for danger, of course nyahnyah.gif To me, under the 2nd edition rules, new runners felt like they were a bit special, a bit better than the average ganger or security mage--they were probably stronger/faster/smarter, and if not they had a lot of skills and gear. In fifth I don't get as much of that same sense, it feels more like characters are general joes, with probably more specialization in esoteric or deadly skills than most people, but not really anything all that special, not anything that others couldn't be if they wanted to.

I presume that is the intent, but I'm curious about why they would have tuned down characters in that way.
binarywraith
The mechanics have changed entirely since 2e. Since all rolls are now attribute + skill instead of just skill, it makes sense to have lower average attributes to try and keep dice pool levels in line.

The attribute ratings are measuring two entirely different things. Hell, they aren't even the same attributes.
Glyph
But because Attributes are so important from SR4 on, most players spend the maximum allowable on them - which still doesn't give you anything close to SR3, where an A priority could give you straight 5's across the board, and getting a single dumpstat could let you get 6's in several other stats.

This is one of the main points of failure of SR5's priority system - it doesn't realize that the maximum allowable Attributes is also most people's minimum for them. And they go too pitifully low after A and B (for Attributes, like grad school, A and B stand for Adequate, and Barely). E skills aren't too bad - that's three 6's, and you can buy some rating 1 or 2 skills with starting Karma to be a bit more well-rounded. But E Attributes are just plain pitiful. 12 points - that's not even average. That's 4 2's and 4 3's, and heaven help you if you want to even soft-max your primary Attribute. Even the professional mouth-breather professionalism rating: 0 thugs have 14 points spent on Attributes. The beat cop contact has 20 points in Attributes - and that is just to have someone better than average.

Shadowrunners used to be badasses who used augmentations and magic to leave ordinary enemies in the dust. Now, they look like, if they didn't have augmentations or magic, people would be shaking them down for their lunch money.
binarywraith
E skills aren't too bad if you assume a min-maxed one trick pony. While those are, sadly, commonly what gets theorycrafted around here, they aren't what the system was designed around.
SpellBinder
QUOTE (binarywraith @ Sep 26 2014, 11:07 AM) *
The mechanics have changed entirely since 2e. Since all rolls are now attribute + skill instead of just skill, it makes sense to have lower average attributes to try and keep dice pool levels in line.

The attribute ratings are measuring two entirely different things. Hell, they aren't even the same attributes.
IIRC, up through SR3 there were only six attributes. Starting at SR4 it was expanded to eight and those attributes started playing a bigger role in the game.
QUOTE (Glyph @ Sep 26 2014, 06:27 PM) *
Shadowrunners used to be badasses who used augmentations and magic to leave ordinary enemies in the dust. Now, they look like, if they didn't have augmentations or magic, people would be shaking them down for their lunch money.
Lunch Money!, where everyone's a young Catholic school girl beating up everyone else. Sorry, just had to get that out of my system.

But even so, with the karma vs. nuyen variation presented in the SR5 core book it does feel like there'll be runners who do good in the big scheme of things roughing up the drug & chip dealers for money while bettering the neighborhood.
Glyph
QUOTE (binarywraith @ Sep 26 2014, 06:34 PM) *
E skills aren't too bad if you assume a min-maxed one trick pony. While those are, sadly, commonly what gets theorycrafted around here, they aren't what the system was designed around.

I have seen hyperspecialist builds, and I have also seen builds that were spread too thin. Both usually get advice to either spread out a bit more, or focus more. The one-trick builds that do get theorycrafted here, like the ultimate climber or the pornomancer, are more intellectual exercises than actual characters for play. Sure, in SR5 you can start out with 12 power points, or a melee dice pool of 30, but while it is nice to see what the maximum you can get for something is, it is another thing to actually play such a character.
Cain
QUOTE (Betx @ Sep 26 2014, 09:54 AM) *
I think I've figured out what bugs me about this. What is it that makes Runners special? Aside from a near suicidal disregard for danger, of course nyahnyah.gif To me, under the 2nd edition rules, new runners felt like they were a bit special, a bit better than the average ganger or security mage--they were probably stronger/faster/smarter, and if not they had a lot of skills and gear. In fifth I don't get as much of that same sense, it feels more like characters are general joes, with probably more specialization in esoteric or deadly skills than most people, but not really anything all that special, not anything that others couldn't be if they wanted to.

I presume that is the intent, but I'm curious about why they would have tuned down characters in that way.

You can see this in the developer notes for 4.0/4.5. They say they wanted a more street level, grim and gritty focus for the game. Now, I happen to agree with you: shadowrunners are supposed to be a cut above. SR4 was clearly an attempt to down-power the game, which failed miserably, as demonstrated by the many broken builds in 4/4.5. SR5 is largely a continuation of SR4.5.

Me, I've had the most fun with Shadowrun (any edition) when you go for over-the-top. Trolls shrugging off machine gun fire, Sammies beating down spirits with their bare hands, mages using their spells cleverly, deckers trashing enemies in the matrix... that's Shadowrun to me. I definitely prefer a cinematic game, if not as gonzo as Feng Shui or similar games. It definitely feels like the game is going in the wrong direction ever since SR4.0 came out. Add that the all the mechanical issues, and I'm beginning to think the line developers don't really care for the game.
Glyph
QUOTE (Cain @ Sep 26 2014, 10:59 PM) *
SR4 was clearly an attempt to down-power the game, which failed miserably, as demonstrated by the many broken builds in 4/4.5. SR5 is largely a continuation of SR4.5.

Yes, that is the schizophrenic nature of SR4 and onwards. Poor design, in my opinion. Some posters think that players should look at the gimped archetypes and the over-simplified grunts and somehow intuit a "proper" power level, and anything over that is not "intended by the developers". But really, it isn't hard to get a broken build - there are plenty of ambiguously-worded rules and omissions that you can twist, but you don't need to. Simply making a few logical choices during character creation can give you a powerful character.

SR5 doesn't fix these issues. I was cautiously optimistic about social skills, at least, before, but looking at the Street Grimoire errata, it looks like the pornomancer is back. Cool resolve and authoritative voice are added to the mix with voice control and kinesics, all stackable with each other and with tailored pheromones. I was curious how many dice a character could get for melee - the answer, for me at least, is 30. Other people might be able to get even more - this was only the core book, and my min-maxing tends to be pretty meat-and-potatoes. I don't bend ambiguous rules into pretzel shapes, I just go through the book and think "What things give me dice or points for this?". So yeah, the overall potential power level is raised, although the archetypes are even more underpowered - lots of lightly augmented mundanes with dice pools in the 8-10 range.
binarywraith
I think the takeaway from Street Grimoire is that the current dev team has a serious hard-on for magicrun. :/
Glyph
They are weirdly inconsistent about magic, alternately powering it up and nerfing it. Direct combat spells are all but useless, but spirits are more powerful than ever. Adepts are powerful, but background count, which can go sky-high now, can suddenly turn them into worse than mundanes.
Irion
@Glyph
I have the impression of the 5. edition, that they started with quite sensible ideas, but than screwed up the implementation from time to time.
1-12 for BC was just not enought, no matter how you look at it. The second problem with it was, that even 1 or 2 was already a serious nerv for most shadowrunner.
So you could not really use it for "background" unless you were ok with it really fucking with the strategy of the runners. Espacially if you had the run arround in attuned BC with enemy spirits and mages...


The main issue with SR (in my humble opinion) is, that most of the rules but in place to restrict the possibilities of the characers or blatent abuse of the system can be overcome with some creativity or certain builds. This renders them practically useless, because once it is figured out, everybody does it. This is countered by introducing more restricting rules, which again can be outmaneuvered.
Leading to the point where a characer not build with such things in mind is much weaker than a characer build with those rules and exceptions in mind.
Glyph
@Irion:
That did seem to the the SR4A approach, both with the dice pool caps and the optional rules for direct spell Drains. SR5 is a new edition, so it should be starting out fairly balanced. But their problem is that they think every good option, rather than being balanced by opportunity costs and other good options, has to be balanced with drawbacks. So on the one hand, you can get super-high Attributes and dice pools, but on the other hand, you have wireless "bonuses", overwatch scores, and background count. Unfortunately, these drawbacks are not really tied to power level.

And pity the hapless player who builds a less min-maxed character. All of those drawbacks will affect such a character even more - you are almost encouraged to min-max, just to counteract all of these penalties. And while lower-powered characters will watch the min-maxed characters outshine them, they will also find that NPC grunts are a lot more of a threat. Even the lowest-rated grunts have 6 dice for attack and 6 dice for passive defense, which is not significantly less than a lot of the non-or-lightly augmented mundane archetypes in the book.
binarywraith
This is, of course, why the general consensus among longtime players and GMs in here is 'screw that noise, house rule it out'.
SpellBinder
QUOTE (binarywraith @ Sep 29 2014, 09:27 PM) *
This is, of course, why the general consensus among longtime players and GMs in here is 'screw that noise, house rule it out'.
That's how I'm feeling about a lot of things in SR5. With the number of things that used to be good in SR4 that are mediocre now in SR5, it's like why bother?
Cain
QUOTE (binarywraith @ Sep 29 2014, 08:27 PM) *
This is, of course, why the general consensus among longtime players and GMs in here is 'screw that noise, house rule it out'.

The more time you need to spend house-ruling a system to make it playable, the less its worth it.
binarywraith
QUOTE (Cain @ Sep 29 2014, 11:29 PM) *
The more time you need to spend house-ruling a system to make it playable, the less its worth it.


Yes, I have discovered this to be my general opinion on 5e as it stands.
Irion
QUOTE (Glyph @ Sep 27 2014, 02:27 AM) *
But because Attributes are so important from SR4 on, most players spend the maximum allowable on them - which still doesn't give you anything close to SR3, where an A priority could give you straight 5's across the board, and getting a single dumpstat could let you get 6's in several other stats.

This is one of the main points of failure of SR5's priority system - it doesn't realize that the maximum allowable Attributes is also most people's minimum for them. And they go too pitifully low after A and B (for Attributes, like grad school, A and B stand for Adequate, and Barely). E skills aren't too bad - that's three 6's, and you can buy some rating 1 or 2 skills with starting Karma to be a bit more well-rounded. But E Attributes are just plain pitiful. 12 points - that's not even average. That's 4 2's and 4 3's, and heaven help you if you want to even soft-max your primary Attribute. Even the professional mouth-breather professionalism rating: 0 thugs have 14 points spent on Attributes. The beat cop contact has 20 points in Attributes - and that is just to have someone better than average.

Shadowrunners used to be badasses who used augmentations and magic to leave ordinary enemies in the dust. Now, they look like, if they didn't have augmentations or magic, people would be shaking them down for their lunch money.

I agree that it is problematic in SR5, I just do not think it had to be. The general idea to work with drawbacks is rather a good one. As long as you balance the drawbacks.
There are just two dangers with this approach.
First: The drawbacks are too strong or too weak. Meaning they do not matter or they make it not worth taking.
Second: The drawbacks can be circumvented with little effort. This is espacially hurtful, if the drawbacks are also too strong.
In my opinion the 5th edition suffers from both problems.

The idea of wirelessboni in general (in my opinion) to integrate hackers is actually a good one. It adds a risk and reward mechanik. For a lot of things it is even plausible as long as you arguee, that it is not just a wireless signal (in the normal meaning) but any kind of input a hacker could mess with.

But it ends up to be the fact, that normally ware only gives you an increase to limits (which again would be a great design choice because it prevents stiuation where an unaugmented professional can't even put one foot in front of the next, while some guy who does not know what he is doing but has some augmentations is better). With limits ware enables you (theoretically) to go beyond the possibilities of a mere human. But to realise the potential of your "ware" you still need skill. Which is (as far as I am concerned) a great approach.
But limits do not matter, dicepoolboni are again most of the meat or even all of the meat. And to get them you have to make yourself quite vulnerable. (While magic offers most "for free"...)
Cain
Glyph raises an interesting point. Attributes were significantly less powerful in SR3, as they did not directly factor into your dice pools. They affected the cost of buying skills, and factored into your allocatable pools, but didn't directly add to your dice. SR4 clearly saw this as a problem, and tried to roll stats back; by default, every shadowrunner would have an average of 3.5 in each attribute. Problem is, attributes became way too powerful, forcing the 4.5 revision to raise their karma cost.

Basically, low attributes became a trap. In SR3 and earlier, you could get away with low attributes, since the system was largely driven by skills. With SR4, 4.5, and 5e, you can't afford to do that anymore.
binarywraith
QUOTE (Irion @ Sep 30 2014, 01:08 PM) *
The idea of wirelessboni in general (in my opinion) to integrate hackers is actually a good one. It adds a risk and reward mechanik. For a lot of things it is even plausible as long as you arguee, that it is not just a wireless signal (in the normal meaning) but any kind of input a hacker could mess with.

But it ends up to be the fact, that normally ware only gives you an increase to limits (which again would be a great design choice because it prevents stiuation where an unaugmented professional can't even put one foot in front of the next, while some guy who does not know what he is doing but has some augmentations is better). With limits ware enables you (theoretically) to go beyond the possibilities of a mere human. But to realise the potential of your "ware" you still need skill. Which is (as far as I am concerned) a great approach.
But limits do not matter, dicepoolboni are again most of the meat or even all of the meat. And to get them you have to make yourself quite vulnerable. (While magic offers most "for free"...)


The biggest problem with forcing everything to be online in order to make Deckers more integrated is a subtle one, and lies in two places. Firstly, the synergies of magic and decking. Analyze device, as it reads in the RAW, is absurd.

Secondly, and more problematically, there is the Edge system. It is intended more to be the saving grace in 'oh drek' situations, but the ability to burn edge for automatic successes means that there is no such thing as a secure system because luck can be conjured deliberately at will. This isn't a huge deal when the worst that a cyber-penetration can do is brick your commlink or get access to information, but when you can brick someone's cyberware in realtime is becomes a huge issue.
Irion
Lets be honest about it, the major issue is, that bricking does a shitload of damage to stuff which should be (at least vital stuff) should be hardwired.
A cyberarm (no matter what the software does or does not) should never catch fire unless you set it on fire. There is no need for having cyberware overclocked or pulling other stands and the drawback by far outnumber the benefits...

If it would mean for cyberware, that it forces a factory rest and a forced security mode, than it would be fine.
It takes a few rounds and the ware goes back online with minimal functionality (for a cyberarm it would be base attributes any perks and installed stuff not working, a move by wire would lose it's bonus but you could still move etc).
To get the boni back, you would need to see a cyberdoc/mechanic whatever you want to call them.

It is the issue with the benfits just not matching the risk at all. Would be like, whenever you cast a spell a enemy mage on the astral could channel an area-spell through you and fry the entire team.
There is a reason not even foci work this way anymore.
Glyph
The trouble is, they went with Ghost in the Shell-style cyberware hacking, but kept the old paradigm of the decker as a separate role, rather than a skill, like sneaking, that any runner should have. Ghost in the Shell is about cyborg commandos who can all hack, and it is integrated seamlessly into their tactics (although even this team of hackers and AIs is quick to switch to "autistic mode" when they run into enemy hackers). I wish that, instead of going back to decks, they had just ditched the whole Gibsonian matrix altogether (I mean, the matrix rules suck in every edition), and made hacking into a skill like any other, with simple rules to use it, rather than an entire, overcomplicated subset of rules.
binarywraith
QUOTE (Irion @ Oct 1 2014, 02:45 AM) *
It is the issue with the benfits just not matching the risk at all. Would be like, whenever you cast a spell a enemy mage on the astral could channel an area-spell through you and fry the entire team.
There is a reason not even foci work this way anymore.


I think that's the best comparison I've heard. Wireless vulnerability on, say, grenades is exactly identical to foci being subject to having spells grounded through them in earlier editions.
Sendaz
Which is why in 6th Edition they are bringing grounding back when they roll out WizFi so deckers and mages both burn equally. nyahnyah.gif
Irion
@Glyph
QUOTE
The trouble is, they went with Ghost in the Shell-style cyberware hacking, but kept the old paradigm of the decker as a separate role, rather than a skill, like sneaking, that any runner should have.

You can leave the rest, the fat part is the problem. It is always the problem. Whenever some guy or girl thinks something they have seen in any kind of anime would be cool in a specific kind of rule system it SUCKS! SUCKS! SUCKS!
Because compared to animes hollywood movies are documenteries on the science channel. In regards to consistancy, logic ah well and of course science.
And if you do that if you are writing the rules....Well, we all know what you get, now.

Animes are manly(or most of the time exclusivly) regulated by narrativ. And for a gaming system to go like: Ah, well if it is imbalanced, the players won't do it that often...Yeah is kind of a silly approach.

It is the equivalent of the GM just stating: No you just can't hack his eyes, because you just can't hack his eyes. Well because he has the new advanced nove implant which is not in the book but which I just made up because I wanted a reason you can't hack his eyes... (Yes, thats kind of the general approach in series...)

Just think of what would have happend if they made the second half of your sentance also true...Right, it would be even WORSE!
So instead of shooting twice a round you would now hack once and shoot once a round, or something like that...
While the mage just throws a fireball and burns both of those fuckers, because well he is immune to hacking, which would now be about half of the attacks...

Yes, that is also true for a lot of comic books be it Marvel or DC. I guess that is the reason why a lot of superheroes got turned down a notch in new adaptation.
There is a reason why at least good systems for any supernatural or super powerful beeings take a narrative approach rather than a simulatory one.

Shadowrun has a simulatory/gamist approach.
It is one thing if you just took one rubber point of your limited amounts of rubber points per session to "hack the eyes of that guy" or if you have to explain every time why you are not hacking they eyes of that guy now...
If you go full DnD style with you have X times of every special action per hour/day/week/seasion/adventure... Yeah, it works. But than we are at best at a gamist/narrativ approach with a "fuck consistancy and logic"-theme.
Yeah, and now with that you can go and rip of animes.
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