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Johnny Reb
Wow. My account name's still around?

Huzzah!

Ahem.

Sorry, just been gone for a few years and a bit shocked is all.

Regardless, I was eyeballing the massive advantage that a lowered target number grants and, well ... it seems a bit unfair. The edge that a Cyberlink gives is so large that I've had players for years not even consider not taking them. Even the *Mages* had them.

So, I was curious.

Would replacing the target mods for links (Including a laser sight) with a numerically-matching number of extra dice help this?

That is to say that a Smartlink would give +2 dice, while a laser sight would give _1, thus boosting the user's skill but not making so large of a difference?

Or would this just ruin game balance?

-- Johnny Reb

PS: Boosted Reflexes are described as a chemical upgrade of the body, rather than cybernetic implantation. Are they detectable in typical Cyber-scanning devices or would a chemical based (IE, 'Piss test' style) be needed instead?
RedmondLarry
Yes, smartlink in daylight with no concealment and no movement modifiers and no wound modifiers and no recoil modifiers gives a big advantage for ranged weapon attacks.
mfb
looking at the rest of SR--stunbolts, extra skill dice for adepts, spirits, drones--i don't see smartlinks as being all that powerful.

you know what, though? and i'm not advocating that anybody do this, or anything, but there would be an up side to doing it that way (though i'd double the dice, at least). and that is, it'd force characters to actually stop and aim, more often. combats would actually end up lasting a slightly more realistic length of time (six seconds, as opposed to three!).

but, then gun guys would suck and be almost as slow as mages.
Krieger
Like OurTeam so subtley said, if you are having problems with SL balance throw some extra modifiers in there, or just make sure you figure in all of the modifiers that should be there in the first place, like visibility, cover, range, wounds, etc. Or even just throw an annoying mage at them that casts Darkness or Mist or Chaotic World at them.

Keep in mind, also, that they don't stack with imaging systems (like an imaging scope), which limits you to a Rangefinder (-1 TN to Long and -2 for Xtrm ranges).
Ol' Scratch
Let's put it this way. If smartlinks never existed and someone around here offered it up as a house ruled implant, there would be a huge number of people screaming "munchkin" and pointing at him accusingly.
TheScamp
You could just give it a -1 bonus like the laser sight has. It could be argued that the targetting method isn't really any different, and the SL gives plenty of other goodies besides just the targeting modifier.
mmu1
Getting rid of smartlinks is just going to make PhysAds the best at both melee and ranged combat without even having to worry about a geas. Bad idea.
Crimsondude 2.0
QUOTE (TheScamp @ Oct 23 2004, 06:54 AM)
You could just give it a -1 bonus like the laser sight has. It could be argued that the targetting method isn't really any different, and the SL gives plenty of other goodies besides just the targeting modifier.

Well, that makes the 0.50 essence cost and obscene markup worth it.

QUOTE (Doctor Funkenstein)
Let's put it this way.  If smartlinks never existed and someone around here offered it up as a house ruled implant, there would be a huge number of people screaming "munchkin" and pointing at him accusingly.

Well, I sure as hell wouldn't post it here for starters.
TheScamp
QUOTE
Well, that makes the 0.50 essence cost and obscene markup worth it.

There are a number of very simple ways to reduce both those costs. Heck, reloading as a Simple instead of an effecive Complex Action is pretty good in and of istelf.
Crimsondude 2.0
Not ... even close.

And if you play an Adept you can now get the same benefit.
mfb
QUOTE (Doctor Funkenstein)
Let's put it this way. If smartlinks never existed and someone around here offered it up as a house ruled implant, there would be a huge number of people screaming "munchkin" and pointing at him accusingly.

heh, yeah, but is that really a good indicator of what's actually munchkin and what isn't? let's be honest, some posters here will scream about anything.
ShadowGhost
Smartlinks have some advantages, but they still don't give you the biggest TN Mods at some things.

i.e. Extreme Range - With both a cybernetic Range Finder, and and Range Finder built into the weapons (you need both), your TN, if there are no other modifiers, is still 5.

Cybernetic Vision Mag 3 - your TN is 4. No weapon modifications required.

Don't forget, your weapons have to have the Smartlink II installed as well, if doesn't already have it, doubling the cost of the weapon (not all guns have a Smartlink II - some have a Smartlink 1 - which doesn't give you the same bonuses as Smartlink II. So you need to pay to upgrade the weapon.

Few weapons have a Rangefinder - you have to pay to add that to a gun, increasing its cost.

And if you only have a Smartlink I, even if the gun has SM II, you still only get the TN mods a SM 1 provides.

I don't have the books in front of me, but does adding a SM II also increase the availability of a gun? Do the PCs have a contact who can install them? How long do they keep said weapons - are they disposing them after runs to eliminate being traced back to the crime with the weapon?

SM IIs do provide a lot of bonuses, but they also add a lot of to the cost of running.
Ol' Scratch
Only 1,000 nuyen more out of the gate and only twice as much for the mod for the weapon. A few thousand for a permanent mod are pennies to a runner, especially a starting runner.
Kagetenshi
But many people don't do much in Long and Extreme ranges. They're certainly quite rare indoors, and not all that common outside either.

~J
mfb
depends on the weapon. for a pistol, Long range is only 30-40m; with most other weapon, that's Medium or even Short. but, yeah, most shots with most weapons in most of the games i've played have been in the Short or Medium ranges. at least, i think they have been... my main char has vis mag 3, so range has never been an issue.
Kagetenshi
Even 30 meters is a lot much of the time.

For example, if the dimensions I just looked up are correct, the Empire State Building's footprint is about 56 meters by 129 meters. Most firefights I've had thus far have happened in areas smaller than 1/8th the ground floor of the ESB.

~J
mfb
most 'runs take place in urban environments, so that makes sense. that changes pretty radically if you do any wilderness runs, but those tend to be rare.
Arethusa
QUOTE (Doctor Funkenstein)
Let's put it this way. If smartlinks never existed and someone around here offered it up as a house ruled implant, there would be a huge number of people screaming "munchkin" and pointing at him accusingly.

Perhaps, but I think it's fair to point out that when compared to the overwhelming power available to awakened characters, at least relatively, there might not be so much screaming.
Krieger
Looking back on it, I've realized that we (as the players) have been getting the benefit of ignorance as far as range is concerned for quite some time. We have a lot of pistol users, and the short range for pistols is (I don't have my books within arms reach) fairly short. Most of our shots would probably have come out to Medium range, if not Long. Like I said, just make sure you apply all of the appropriate modifiers and the SL systems won't be overpowered. After all, if you need more modifiers, you can just make them. biggrin.gif
TheScamp
QUOTE
Perhaps, but I think it's fair to point out that when compared to the overwhelming power available to awakened characters, at least relatively, there might not be so much screaming.

Though the SL is available to those guys, too. smile.gif
ES_Riddle
QUOTE (OurTeam)
Yes, smartlink in daylight with no concealment and no movement modifiers and no wound modifiers and no recoil modifiers gives a big advantage for ranged weapon attacks.

The higher your TN, the more difference -2 makes. The difference between TN 4 and 2 is one of staging. The difference between a TN of 10 and 12 is one of hitting. You only have a 1/36 chance per die of succes for TN 12, but you have a 1/12 chance on TN 10.
tjn
QUOTE (Arethusa)
QUOTE (Doctor Funkenstein @ Oct 23 2004, 08:15 AM)
Let's put it this way.  If smartlinks never existed and someone around here offered it up as a house ruled implant, there would be a huge number of people screaming "munchkin" and pointing at him accusingly.

Perhaps, but I think it's fair to point out that when compared to the overwhelming power available to awakened characters, at least relatively, there might not be so much screaming.

Perhaps, but I think it' fair to point out that Awakened characters become overwhelmingly powerful only when there is an overwhelming abundance of Karma, at least relatively.
Wounded Ronin
You can always give the smartlink to a physad and either live with the 5 points of powers (still enough for 11 dice with one firearm base) or take some bullcrap geas.
tjn
1. A player not only does not choose which geas is applied, but the GM decides whether or not the Adept can even take a geas in the first place. If the GM gives an Adept a bullcrap geasa, the group has other problems then the power balance between differing character types.

2. Okay, so the Adept is throwing 11 dice with a SL. So what? The character has specialized himself into a one-trick pony. The adept will not have enough PPs to get a comparable speed, vision mods, survivability, or the versatility of a starting Sam.

You miss the forest for the trees when exclusivly focusing on how many dice each character archetype can toss.
RedmondLarry
I love the trees. They are each one so beautiful. They are worth examining and loving, each for its own unique inner beauty. They all have rough bark on the outside, making many think that they are unwanted or unloved, but I love the trees, and talking about them with others who have a similar love.
Edward
Saying other TN modifiers counter it is wrong. Compare with and without the smart link in every set of circumstances. There is only 2 times when the SL s not worth it. Long rang with magnification and an improve aim spell with a sustaining focus (much more expensive than SL2 and geasa).

That said an awakened character with a willingness to abuse the geasa rules is quite capable of becoming a full street sam with no efective loss of magic.

Edward
Wounded Ronin
QUOTE (tjn @ Oct 23 2004, 08:04 PM)
1.  A player not only does not choose which geas is applied, but the GM decides whether or not the Adept can even take a geas in the first place.  If the GM gives an Adept a bullcrap geasa, the group has other problems then the power balance between differing character types.

2. Okay, so the Adept is throwing 11 dice with a SL.  So what?  The character has specialized himself into a one-trick pony.  The adept will not have enough PPs to get a comparable speed, vision mods, survivability, or the versatility of a starting Sam.

You miss the forest for the trees when exclusivly focusing on how many dice each character archetype can toss.

The GM imposes the geas? I didn't know that.



In any case, I don't see the problem with having 5 PPs intead of 6. I mean, you're telling me that 1 PP is going to make a huge difference? Let's see...

5 power points
5 levels of improved rifles (2.5)
Improved Reflexes Level 1 (2)
Thermo vision (.25)
Flare dampening (.25)

Not too shabby with the smartlink, if you ask me. You have your super zen rifleman.

In fact, if you wanted to specialize in being a lethal sniper, you could even axe the Improved Reflexes I and get vision mods or something else instead. Let the rest of the party act first, and then keep your 11 base dice and -2 TN in reserve for picking off whomever seems to be a hard case at the end of the combat turn.



In fact, I don't even see why being a "one trick pony" is so bad. The whole entire point of a physad is to super specialize in one thing and be absolutely lethal with that. A physad who wastes his points getting all kinds of unrelated powers is a crappy physad indeed. That's why most of the physad powers in MITS were stupid.

I mean, that's why I like making physads. Because I just pick one area of specialty and build around it. I don't have to kiill my brain looking through an entire sourcebook and picking a million different pieces of cyberware.
Herald of Verjigorm
QUOTE (Wounded Ronin)
In fact, I don't even see why being a "one trick pony" is so bad.

It isn't, as long as your trick is on display. Backup that sniping skill with some negotiations, and an interest in all the ovecrpowering social adept traits, and you now have a sniper-face. If the enemy can see him and isn't shooting yet, he may get you past without any shooting. If the enemy is shooting but can't see him, then they die.
Johnny Reb
Actually, my problem wasn't that Smartlink gunners hit stationary targets at high noon who are standing in the open easier.

No problems with that.

The significant change at certain break points, however, gives me pause ... Dropping a 10 to an 8, for example, is a pretty big one.

A modification that's so massively altering that is also well-nigh free in terms of cash or Essence is a bit ... scary.

The old rule of thumb for eyeballing things needing a change was always this: Does nearly everyone have this thing?

How many non-magicians do you see without them in the normal Shadowrun team? Heck, how many *Magicians* (Adepts included) wind up with one?

Watching the SmartLink turn difficult shots into simple ones and nigh-impossible ones into 'Looks like I have to use some combat pool after all' was a bit ... bothersome ... for me.

Has anyone ever attempted any other variant? I'm hardly thinking that my 2 dice replacemet is the perfect solution, but, I don't know if anyone else has ever been at all curious.

Lastly, for a poster a page back, there was a note that Adepts could get the same abilities as a Smartgun Link now? Where's that from, if I may?

-- Reb
mfb
it's not quite the same benefit, but it's sorta close. there's an adept power in SOTA:64 that turn dropping clips and changing fire modes into free actions, an adept power that gives you two free actions per phase, and a metamagic that allows you to attune your weapon, giving you -1 TN (not compatible with cybernetic smartlinks). therefore, you can have a shooter adept with -2 TN (non-cyber smartlink or laser sight + attuning), who can drop clips and change fire modes as a free action.

that rule of thumb doesn't apply, when a piece of gear or other game item is intended to be ubiquitous.
Starfurie
QUOTE (Wounded Ronin)
The GM imposes the geas? I didn't know that.

Neither did I, and I'm a GM. This is either a house rule, or a false assumption on his part. I've never seen anything to suggest it.
Ol' Scratch
No, sadly, it's right at the top of the adepts & geasa section in Magic in the Shadows. It's horribly inconsistant with the rest of the rules and I don't know any good GMs that enforce it.

Why they haven't corrected it in errata (it's just a matter of changing the word "gamemaster" to "player") is beyond me.
mfb
it is neither.
QUOTE (MitS page 33 @ 2nd para, 1st sentence)
If an adept suffers Magic loss, the gamemaster can choose to apply a geas to 1 point worth of an adept's powers.


edit: and, yeah, i agree with Funk, concerning its place in the rules.
Starfurie
QUOTE (Doctor Funkenstein)
No, sadly, it's right at the top of the adepts & geasa section in Magic in the Shadows.  It's horribly inconsistant with the rest of the rules and I don't know any good GMs that enforce it.

Why they haven't corrected it in errata (it's just a matter of changing the word "gamemaster" to "player") is beyond me.

I read that and knew it was there, but I never even considered that it might mean that the GM chooses which geas, just whether there would be one. That's like the GM getting to choose the characters gender, after the start of play.
DrJest
*snort*, try imposing the geas on one of my players and see how long that player stuck around. Any of them would (justifiably, imho) see that as unwarranted GM intrusion into their character. Being told "that geas is not acceptable - choose again" (eg, When Awake) they would accept; being told "You can only use your pistols in a building" they would not.

How much does the adept bonding power (the -1TN one) cost? Or to put it another way, is it as good a deal as getting a smartlink? I only ask because you can fit a lot of utility cyber into 0.5 essence (eg: cybereyes with flare comp, lowlight, elec mag 3 and something like a display link plus alphaware cyberears with hearing amp, select sound and a dampener). Hell, that's 1.5 PP's of Improved Senses right there (all right, not the vision mag, but you take my point).
Ol' Scratch
QUOTE (Starfurie)
I read that and knew it was there, but I never even considered that it might mean that the GM chooses which geas, just whether there would be one. That's like the GM getting to choose the characters gender, after the start of play.

You're preaching to the choir, man.
Adarael
Just to remind people, Adepts don't even *have* to spring for smartlink cyberware. They can, in fact, get a smartlinked gun and smartgoggles.
Ol' Scratch
At which point they only get a -1 TN bonus and only a precious few of the other perks a smartgun offers. Better off with a laser sight.
Adarael
Except the Smartlink doesn't have a maximum range for effectiveness, and won't alert targets to its' presence.

Still, I offer it only as a suggestion, not as a universal panacea.
Fortune
QUOTE (DrJest)
How much does the adept bonding power (the -1TN one) cost? Or to put it another way, is it as good a deal as getting a smartlink?

Attunement (Item) is a Metamagic which grants the Adept a -1 per 2 levels of Initiation (round up) to TNs when using that specific item.
mfb
uh, whoah. my copy of SOTA:64 says it's a flat -1 TN. i may be stealing your copy, though, if it says that.
Fortune
I am actually a loss as to where I got that from. It seriously must have been wishful thinking, as it is nothing like the Attunement power at all. eek.gif frown.gif
Jason Farlander
QUOTE (Starfurie)
That's like the GM getting to choose the characters gender, after the start of play.

...

Funny you should mention that ...
Wounded Ronin
That could be the post hand-of-god punishment. The player does something stupid, gets his character killed, but then decides to cheat death with HOG.


So the GM decides that the player was horribly mutilated in the crotch area and under the circumstances was rushed to the nearest shady street surgeon.

The problem is that the street doc has this weird fetish....

So the male character is now surgically female.


rotfl.gif
Blaze
Where Smartlinks are concerned, it's worth noting just how their benefits fall off with range. Because of the way they affect your target numbers, they can vastly improve your short-to-medium range performance but don't provide as much of a bonus at long and extreme ranges as, say a Mag-3 scope and an extended laser sight (assuming you're shooting at night with lowlight so the ELS will reach your target). Hence while Smartlinks are the CQB-bunny's best friend, your average sniper is more likely to use a scope and an action or two of aiming.
There's also the other way of looking at 'em- personal preference. One of my characters has a set of smartgoggles built into her armour but refuses to use them as she doesn't like letting the processor do her aiming for her.
GMs also take note- the most effective way around Smartlinked Adept Gun-kata ambidextrous custom-Thunderbolt-wielding killing machines is to simply outrange 'em. No huge minuses to TNs and huge amounts of dice are going to help them if their weapons can't reach the target.

-JH.
mmu1
QUOTE (Blaze)
Where Smartlinks are concerned, it's worth noting just how their benefits fall off with range. Because of the way they affect your target numbers, they can vastly improve your short-to-medium range performance but don't provide as much of a bonus at long and extreme ranges as, say a Mag-3 scope and an extended laser sight (assuming you're shooting at night with lowlight so the ELS will reach your target).

Not so much for a Smartlink II with a rangefinder eye mod.
toturi
I think you need a Rangefinder module for the SL II and a Rangefinder proper for it to work.
mmu1
QUOTE (toturi)
I think you need a Rangefinder module for the SL II and a Rangefinder proper for it to work.

You just need the Rangefinder cyberware and a SL-2 equipped weapon, there's nothing in the rules that says you need anything else.
toturi
QUOTE (mmu1)
QUOTE (toturi @ Oct 25 2004, 07:16 AM)
I think you need a Rangefinder module for the SL II and a Rangefinder proper for it to work.

You just need the Rangefinder cyberware and a SL-2 equipped weapon, there's nothing in the rules that says you need anything else.

Man and Machine Errata
Version 2.0
Date: 8/26/2003
QUOTE
p. 32 Rangefinder Game Effects [4]
Note that the weapon still requires a rangefinder accessory (p. 33, Cannon Companion).


Quite clearly you need both Rangefinders.
mmu1
QUOTE (toturi)
Quite clearly you need both Rangefinders.

Hmm... Well, that's an idiotic piece of errata, then. I always figured the SL-2 rangefinder component was an eye mod interfacing with the SL-2 that worked with any SL-2 equipped gun you were holding. If you need to have a rangefinder on the weapon too, what the hell is the extra .1 Essence you spend on the cyberware for? It's a rangefinder, not a fucking battle computer. What, the SL processor can't hold a few extra lines of code? Who designed this thing, the Soviet army?

Ah, that wonderful 80's feel of SR technology - when laser sights were as big as the gun they attached to, cell phones were the size of a brick, and computer memory actually took up space.
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