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iPad
I doubt anyone here hasnt played one or the other, but the idea of a straight up Street Sam you see in the novels and main rule book looks so boring as a basic concept to me. 'Ware, guns and guts, apds this apds that, and usually some bone ex-navy seal or sas background to boot.

I have no problem with the concept of an ex-military, just all the ex-mill people Ive met in rl arent anything like the way they tend be protrayed in rpgs, films or TV. To be ex-mil it seems you have to be a 'tough nut' charisma void, an ex-squaddie (British infiltryman) I know has kept me and a crowd of people down the pub almost on floor with histerics all evening with tales of his army days.

Before you reply please ask yourself would you actually enjoy playing Kid Stealth for a whole campaign?
Kagetenshi
Sure, why not. I'm not sure I would have thought of the legs-and-explosives trick, though.

~J
Crimsondude 2.0
QUOTE (iPad @ Jan 3 2005, 05:05 PM)
I have no problem with the concept of an ex-military, just all the ex-mill people Ive met in rl arent anything like the way they tend be protrayed in rpgs, films or TV. To be ex-mil it seems you have to be a 'tough nut' charisma void...

Then you're playing with some pretty crappy players.

A PC is only as good as a player is willing to make them. Garbage begets garbage.

I don't play ex-mil PCs because that point in my gaming life is just over. I helped out enough people with theirs and spent enough time on my own characters that I don't see the point. But to dismiss them dismisses a significant basis for characters than have cyber and CQB skills.

Sams and mercs fill a role, and a pretty big one given the relative proportion of mages, deckers and riggers. Sure they sometimes seem like the junk food archetype, but junk food tastes so good sometimes.
iPad
I wasnt saying anything about crappy players mate, more 'no thrills' sams. The message I suppose is everyone needs a hobby (IC wise).
Cray74
QUOTE (iPad @ Jan 3 2005, 11:05 PM)
I doubt anyone here hasnt played one or the other, but the idea of a straight up Street Sam you see in the novels and main rule book looks so boring as a basic concept to me. 'Ware, guns and guts, apds this apds that, and usually some bone ex-navy seal or sas background to boot.

Dude, the character's what you make of it. Guns & gear should not make the character. They should be indicative of (some of) the preferences and thought processes in the character.

I'm having great fun with a merc/samurai/muscle-thing who spends most of his down time trying to build the perfect pocket secretary (pocket cyberdeck, really), immaturely "chasing skirts," and saving up to retire in Aruba.

His gear is raw overkill firepower and armor - titanium bonelacing, dermal sheathing, mild initiative enhancements, all a result of his history as a merc machine gunner: stand and deliver indiscriminate justice. Doesn't always work, but it fits his "brick" mentality in combat, and doesn't really influence his behavior outside of combat.

Mages, physads, deckers, and other non-muscles are the same. They shouldn't be defined by their spells and gear. If they're "more interesting" as roleplaying characters than muscles because they can cast spells or hack computers, then there's something odd going on.

QUOTE
Before you reply please ask yourself would you actually enjoy playing Kid Stealth for a whole campaign?


Before I can answer that, a question for you: Am I stuck with Kid Stealth's canonical personality or do I get to play someone that's enjoyable to me?
noneuklid
Yes, but most of the people who play ex-special forces ops who had (x limbs) blown off in an explosion and their right arm shot up, then bought upgrades to their 'standard army replacements' (I get those for free, right? Because I didn't pay for them. I don't care if 'resources' includes all gifts! La la la! I can't hear you!) with their mustering out pay and also the huge amount of gold they found in an Atlzan technotemple and now carry assault rifles and katanas (or broadswords, because "katanas are too overused") down the streets...

Most of those people tend not to be the ones to stick around long on a discussion forum, or post entirely too much about their own greatness.

Only us Night One adepts are truly great. cool.gif
Apathy
I've played a fair share of ex-military PCs, because that's my own history so that's what I know. But I agree with others that have posted here; a fun merc can't be defined by his 'ware and equipment any more than the adept is defined by his powers...it's all about the personality you infuse into them.

I think the reason sams and mercs often come across as boring is because they're often the first characters that newbies create (easier than learning all those decking/rigging/magic rules), and it takes a while for newbies to learn how to get into role-playing. But that's just a limitation of the player, not the archetype.
Crimson Jack
QUOTE (iPad)
I have no problem with the concept of an ex-military, just all the ex-mill people Ive met in rl arent anything like the way they tend be protrayed in rpgs, films or TV.

Take a peek at Collateral and watch some of the special features regarding Vincent. Not only is Michael Mann one of the unsung masters of character development, this is an excellent example of an intriguing ex-mil character... in a very Shadowrunny style movie.
Fix-it
Sams= boring.
Mercs= Less boring.
Oro
its the same in every game:
im running a D&D3.5 game right now and one of my players (fighter) is going to play a street sam in a new SR game. hes been playing for a while and knows both systems better than i do. I like lots of options for my characters cause i like a real mental challenge when i play, he likes to kill stuff... so be it.

people who play combat monkeys well usually play them really well cause they have less to worry about system wise and can devote more game time to RP'ing; they dont have to worry about problems on multipule dimensions, just their physical one while a decker/conjurer/rigger has to worry about...well, hed be a nut job after a few months.

in all the games ive run and played in the players that REALLY SHINED role-playing wise were the experienced gamers who played fighters (in all their varied forms). the ones where i had to step back say "damn hes got that character down" where the intelligent, experienced gamers who played moronic meat shredders.

my two cents
Necro Tech
Don't forget you can make magic user, adept and rigger combat monkeys. Combat monkeys can be bored frequently when you are not killing stuff. If your merc has hobbies or back up skills, he gets more playing time and tends to be more interesting. If you can't (or wont) roleplay, all characters are boring.
mfb
well, yeah, if you're playing a guy with no hobbies, no family to speak of, and no social skills, of course he's gonna be boring. that's true whether you're talking about a sam, a merc, a mage, or whatever.
toturi
Ahhh, that's what Meditation is for. Passing the time... and Centering when you initiate. Mage/adept combat monkeys are good.
Fix-it
QUOTE (Oro)
they dont have to worry about problems on multipule dimensions, just their physical one while a decker/conjurer/rigger has to worry about...well, hed be a nut job after a few months.

That's what I find fun about playing my fav. rigger. he often forgets he's human. Ever try to fly out of bed in the morning?
Sandoval Smith
No, but he has walked into a mechanic's and asked for a tune-up.

I'd say that the problem isn't with sam and mercs, but with players who really aren't doing any roleplaying.
Kagetenshi
That's what Riggermages are forů so you can try to fly out of bed and succeed.

~J
Cain
My favorite street sam was a troll with a Cha of 1; he was loosely based on Mr. Tulip from Terry Pratchett's The Truth. He started with an Art History skill of 6, and later raised it to a 9! One of his hobbies was going to museums and seeing if he could make the curators break out into tears.
mfb
i think the reason that sams and mercs tend to be characterless more often than other character types is, there are so many more examples of them in media. i mean, consider the following movies as SR characters, and how much they'd suck: Escape from New York, Sniper, Rambo, any Steven Segal movie, any Arnold movie in which he's not trying to be funny. sure, it's fun to watch them beat the crap out of bad guys (except Steven Segal, he's just terrible), but they've got no life. they're excuses for one-liners and violence; and let's face it, most SR players can't come up with good one-liners to save their lives.
Crimsondude 2.0
You forgot the most atrocious example: Walker, Texas Ranger.

Although in the right context, even the most ludicrous and unnecessarily violent and stupid scenes can be really effing funny to watch (Which Conan O'Brien proved earlier last year).
mfb
i didn't forget him, i had him surgically removed from my mind.

...if you consider opening your own skull with a claw hammer "surgical".
Crimsondude 2.0
You know, I wouldn't have charged much if you asked me to do it for you.
Canid13
I actually prefer to play the combat monkeys, but I try my best to not make them one dimensional, either in their background or in their personality. Sometimes I fail miserably, but as far as I'm concerned, a character who can just kill people is one dimensional and should be treated as such - any person who's not going to bother trying to do anything else has real issues which can be entertaining to try and bring out.

Regardless of how you kill, a combat monkey is a challenge just as much as any other charcacter because you're got to try and be the character. So a character doesn't take an especially active part in some runs and perhaps doesn't say much, but over time that can change and change dramatically.

Newbies use sams and mercs cos they're less rules heavy (afterall, everyone needs an understanding of the combat rules) so they're easier to start with, in any system. Some people then move away from those arctypes, but some people don't. I enjoy combat as well as the actualy character interaction, so I guess that makes me inclined to play sams and mercs or combat monkeys of one form or another. It's up to me to make them less one-dimensional, and I think I manage it for the most part. Unless I'm intending to play a walking cliche that is :o)
noneuklid
Playing a good combat monkey means being a living work of art. I am a minmaxer to the core: Maximize advantage, minimize disadvantage. Just like being a good face means being able to turn an angry mob into a teary-eyed group of barstool pals, being a good combat monkey means being able to get the rest of your group out of an apparently hopeless situation.

And if you are a damn good combat monkey, you have perfect control over who lives and dies while you're doing it.
mfb
indeed. playing a combat monkey is more fun, for me, when i'm the only one on the team--not because i want to hog all the kills, or anything, but because that's when it's the hardest to do my job well. more challenge = more fun.
Canid13
Hehehe, you'd love my group then mfb. There's loads of combat types but they ALL, including the non combat types, go around without thought or due care (either player driven or cos the character genuinely wouldn't care).

Makes playing a wolf shaman combat guy kinda challenging :o)

Course it's even more fun as a GM coming up with ways to not kill them and not make it look like I ain't going for the throats :o)
Jrayjoker
All characters can become boring if the player or GM let them. I personally have had a lot of fun with all the character archetypes, and I have let all of them suck. Like everyone has said, it depends on what you do with your down time.
Birdy
Actually the best groups I played with where mostly mundane "soldier" types with an occassionally Mage thrown in as a bullet-trap. The most boring ones where watching supermage do all jobs with it's spells.

Generally mage characters are far more into cliche and boring repetition than most other characters. May be due to the fact that after selecting Elf and Magic there is not much left from the buildpoints for character development.

"Soldier" types on the other hand have lot's of points for skills (Exspecially with Sum-to-10 and BP). Hey, you can even choose a race that is not optimised for the job and survive! And few "Soldiers" I ever had or played with were cyber/bio monsters. The most effective ones had minimum ware (200-400k Ressources) and skills.


Birdy

Good mage: See good corporate lackey
Jrayjoker
Well, most retired grunts/mercs are going to be low on ware and have a lot of low to mid level skills with some focus on their specialist training. As for street sams, I see them coming out of dojos and policlubs rather than gangs and being more specialized. Either way, they don't have to be boring.
Kagetenshi
Though to be honest I don't see military training of the non-special variety as good preparation for the Shadows in the least.

Not that I think special forces-type training would be very good either, but it'd probably be a little less actively harmful.

I haven't experienced the monotonization of mages, but then again I haven't played in a sufficient volume of different games to hit that, I think.

~J
Jrayjoker
I don't know K, the guys I know from the military would do just fine as support Sams on an extraction or infiltration. Special forces would be better in my opinion. As for a Merc, they would be perfect.

The mages I have played started to feel homoginized after a while. I could see the potential for boredom if all you played were the stats.
=Spectre=
Ultimately, the role comes down to the characters backstory. If all you really do is jsut toss weapons, ware and points together, sure, it's gona be shallow and empty and nothing will come out of it.

But if you put some time into it, you can turn it into a really viable concept. Let's say you go for broke and make the Million Nuyen Man. Maxed Cyberware and what Bioware you can get with GM's permission. Now, your average runner will pull around 30-40k a month, barring the unforseen(remeber this is average, not street or master level). Not even counting Street Index, you have the equivalent of 2-3 years of pure income in your body. Now you didn't get that by saving up. Soemone a lot richer than you probably invested in your body. Who's your benefactor? Are you on good terms or bad? Is it a corporation fronting for you? Mafia? Someone else entirely? SomeTHING else entirely?

In short, don't let the archetype define your character. Your character should define the archetype.
Jrayjoker
The 5 second summary would be that role playing matters... wink.gif
Mercer
When my group switched to SR3 lo those many years ago, the first thing we did was make up all new characters just using the main book. I made up, for lack of better terms, a merc/sam. I never really thought of the character that way, though, since I never had played classical sams in SR2, but after playing him for about a year I happened to notice that my cyberware package for the SR3 character was almost identical to the cyberware package for the SR2 Samurai. I think plastic bonelacing and a level of Dermal were the only differences. And I played that character for two and a half years, and never upgraded any cyberware and never bought any bioware.

There's no point to this, I just like talking about my old characters. Other than to say, stats are just numbers, and numbers get boring quick. What makes characters fun is something else. But other people have said that better and they said it before I did, so I'll just wind this down here.
Oro
i agree with jrayjoker, to a point, roleplaying matters to those who want to roleplay. otherwise they are just number crunchers with nothing better to do or role playing is their only social outlet.

i dont think that the character you create has anything to do with a good roleplaying experience. its all up to you. you can give a good role player any character and get a good result. by the same token you can give a number-cruncher a well made, good-back-storied character and watch him reduce it to numbers.

its all about what is important to the player. if the player is more interested in "winning" and not in "playing" then he will do just that.

ive found that the best way to get a good group is to be selective in your gaming group and to reward MOST of the karma/exp from good role playing. its better to have a small good group than to have a horrible large group.

exp/karma is, after all, a way of enforcing and bringing about what you want in the sessions. thats what the purpose of it is, use it to reinforce what you want from/in the game.
draco aardvark
QUOTE (noneuklid)
Yes, but most of the people who play ex-special forces ops who had (x limbs) blown off in an explosion and their right arm shot up, then bought upgrades to their 'standard army replacements' with their mustering out pay and also the huge amount of gold they found in an Atlzan technotemple and now carry assault rifles and katanas down the streets...

Most of those people tend not to be the ones to stick around long on a discussion forum, or post entirely too much about their own greatness.
I've found that they don't stick around for long in-game either. People like that tend to die or 'disappear'. The face always seems to be the careful one, who thinks a lot before committing to anything stupid.


QUOTE
Newbies use sams and mercs cos they're less rules heavy (afterall, everyone needs an understanding of the combat rules)
My first character was a mage, never fired a gun, never got shot at. When I started GMing I didn't know how dodging worked! *sigh* even not geting shot at has its downsides smile.gif
Canid13
And when I started GMing I'd never played SR3 and had only spent about 5 or 6 sessions playing a razorboy (I suppose you'd call him that, just not to his face) in a bastardised SR2 campaign.

I had absolutely no clue about the whole magic thing other than my character couldn't do it, so the team needed a mage :o)
Jrayjoker
I played a dog shaman first. He was always in the thick of things, pack mentality and all that. He also cooked a mean omelette. (SR2 Cooking/Breakfast/Omelettes 4/6/10, yes I spent a lot of Karma on it).
PBTHHHHT
Hmmm... a friend of mine told me about this one party she attended where this guy just sat that there on the couch just watching everyone and did not participate in any discussions. He apparently worked for the embassy security staff (she works for the State dept btw). Maybe a few of those security/military types really do have the personality of a brick and they just can't turn off their training.
Cynic project
I have seen them go both ways. But I have to say that they can be the most fun,at least for me. I mean it is sometimes fun to play the disillusioned Spec ops, who didn't want to leave.Maybe he is a Tir Ghost who wants to believe that the Tir is the the anwser,but the truth of the world he lives in,is just to much. Or hell it is fun to play the patierate forced to leave to save for VIP's ass. You can't go home. Going to another country would either be betraying those you are loyal to or working for people you want to kill. But really, what else do you have?

Then above all else you can do the lack of role playing with a mage.,decker,rigger or adept. Yes,magical types get more out of charisma than mundanes,but still you get what you build.You build a pile of shit,you get one.
iPad
QUOTE (Canid13)
Hehehe, you'd love my group then mfb. There's loads of combat types but they ALL, including the non combat types, go around without thought or due care (either player driven or cos the character genuinely wouldn't care).


Being a member of said group I resent that remark. Its only Florent (ooc) and Tim (ic) who qualify for this imho.

QUOTE
From 'Gaming Sesson Quotes" thread.

Sol (Tim): Miss Wraith where are you?
Wraith (jokingly): Ive been kidnapped by Stuffer Shack.
Sol: Miss Wraith I will rescue you at once!
Wraith: Yes its at (gives address).
(Wraith and Canis burst out laughing).
Sol hangs up the phone.
Sol: Cooper we need to go to (address) and rescue miss wraith from Stuffer Shack.
Cooper (Florent): Ok. (wtf?????)



QUOTE
Makes playing a wolf shaman combat guy kinda challenging :o)

Course it's even more fun as a GM coming up with ways to not kill them and not make it look like I ain't going for the throats :o)


I'll not mention the Flame Aura vs a trio of swords incident then? rotfl.gif
Canid13
Ah, that wasn't player stupidity, that was 'Player's first battle playing a mage after only ever playing hard as nails street sams' :o) Taught me my current character can't take on three people in combat though, and he should be shooting/spellslinging as a first resort :o)

Granted, that statement applies to some more than others, but I'm the one who sits back and smokes when sessions turn into semi-heated discussions about IC remarks or actions :o) It does happen to all of us.
kevyn668
QUOTE (PBTHHHHT)
Hmmm...  a friend of mine told me about this one party she attended where this guy just sat that there on the couch just watching everyone and did not participate in any discussions.  He apparently worked for the embassy security staff (she works for the State dept btw).  Maybe a few of those security/military types really do have the personality of a brick and they just can't turn off their training.

Or maybe that guy was just a loser.

Or maybe he was "on duty".

Or maybe he was stoned.

Who cares? Its not really a representative sample. I know lots of military and government types. Some are fun to party with, some are lame, and some are assholes. Much like non-military/government types....

I have quite a bit of fun playing merc types. They tend to be pretty versatile. The only reason I go those types over some other backgrounds is that I think it makes more sense. I still have trouble bending my brain around how a sam got almost a cool million worth of crome jamed in him without any government backing.

And I don't know about RL but in SR, special op training seems to fit perfectly with shadow work. Since they are both "shadow work." Combat, stealth, and athletics, all seem to come up fairly often in SR.

Basically, I think any background can become boring. Look at it this way:
1) If you're a sam or a merc, you came from the corps, the military, or organized crime.
2) If you're a mage you came from the corps, the military, the government, OC, or the "streets" ("phenominal cosmic power, itty-bitty living space" wink.gif).
3) If you're a decker you came from [see above].
4) If you're a rigger you came from [see above].
5) If you're an otaku you came from the streets. Period.
6) If you're a face...well, who cares?
FlakJacket
QUOTE (kevyn668)
6) If you're a face...well, who cares?

More like if people are able to find out then you just aren't doing it properly. wink.gif
Wounded Ronin
I disagree with all of you. I like the straight up action hero type character. For me, in a big way, SR is about strategy. So an action hero type character who goes about the encounters in a strategic way or reasonable way is a lot of fun for me.

The character dosen't even have to be twinked out or powerful. In fact, for a challenge, recently I'd been making a lot of under-powered action hero type characters. For example, I recently made a PC based on Snake from Metal Gear. No magic, no cyberware, and skills spread out everywhere in an inefficient unfocused manner. Started with almost no gear; the resouces were as low as possible using the point system since all my points were hogged by having skill in almost every type of weapon. Jack of all trades but master of none, because that's how the character was. But, I had a lot of fun playing the character because it represented a challenge in terms of strategy (how I manuver through the base, where I decide to stand in each room) and tactics (what to do during the actual encounters). The fun of the game was very much trying to be as efficient and effective as possible with a relatively low-key character whose only starting weapon was a Colt Asp.

So, I don't think that a character who is like a video game or movie action hero is boring at all. Firstly, you don't have to twink necessarily when making such a character. Secondly, if you don't twink you can't be about mindless hacking; you'll have to be very strategic if the encounters are designed for people with smartlinks and wired reflexes but you're just a "normal" person. Thirdly, I don't even think that the role playing necessarily has to be boring. You can have a lot of fun parodying the hypemasculine stupidity seen in movies and video games. If you do it right you can make the others laugh. I disagree with sams/mercs being somehow inferior to other character types most emphatically, whether we're talking about how interesting/fun they are to play, or whether we're trying to argue that playing them is somehow less mature than playing a mage.
Sandoval Smith
Further reinforcing the point that it's not the characters themselves that are boring, but rather how they're played.
Cynic project
QUOTE (kevyn668)
1) If you're a sam or a merc, you came from the corps, the military, or organized crime.
2) If you're a mage you came from the corps, the military, the government, OC, or the "streets" ("phenominal cosmic power, itty-bitty living space" ).
3) If you're a decker you came from [see above].
4) If you're a rigger you came from [see above].
5) If you're an otaku you came from the streets. Period.
6) If you're a face...well, who cares?

Or you could come from a spook outfit,private family wealth,streets with luck, polyclubs, cults, Not for profit places.....

Um I have played a Street sam who were punks who won the lotto and didn't know what else to do with their money.Well he ran threw the money but now he had some nice toys.

I have see the street sam come from the rich family trying to rebell.

I have seen the jaded eco truoble starter.

I have seen the CIA spook.

I have seen the private bodygaurd.

I have seen so many other things it is not funny. But all these were streetsam or mercs. Look, if you can't come up witha good street sam, maybe you shouldn't play one.but do not say that there are all the same.
hyzmarca
For a ex-military character with depth, I think Tommy Lee Jones' character from This Park is Mine is good inspiration. Granted, I've only seen part of the movie once, several years ago. But, it did make an impression.
Voran
Any character played long enough has the potential to become boring. Certainly on a rules kinda level, cybertypes have a situation of diminishing returns. As tech increases in the game it costs more to keep state of the art. And a fully tweaked Sam has less chance of putting in the really new gear unless they yank stuff out or go the cyberzombie route. Grim situation, that.

Daishi
In our last military campaign, we were set down in a war-torn Berlin as mercs on the run. We were all mercs or sams, and even though none of us are terribly good character actors, we all managed to develop some quirk that was memorable.

The three quickest examples were "Shakey" who audibly kept track of the amount of sanity he had left and when he ran out calmly committed suicide in an elevator shaft. The sarge with his permanent cigar, penchant for fireballs and tendency to reference Murphy's laws of combat at inopportune moments. And my LT who was a paper-thin British officer stereotype (ie. A Bridge Too Far) who kept instant tea pouches as accessible as his rifle ammo and would set up a brew every chance he got. And dammit, he would finish that brew no matter what. Picture six mercs holed up in an abandoned police station, when all of a sudden the building is being shelled by recoilless rifles. The LT remains seated in the break room sipping his tea as the walls explode, directing the defense through his BatTac. Only when he was done his tea did he walk to the roof.

The point being is there are a lot of stereotypes for sams and mercs that can be drawn upon. Even if you aren't good at fleshing out a character in game, just pick a different stereotype, or find one quirk that sets him apart.
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