Jan 10 2005, 09:21 PM
My group is about to start up a shadowrun campaign and are contemplating a house rule making the minimum target number for any test be 4 instead of 2. This will hopefully help to reign in the destructive power of the players and the more challenging foes. Situations this will hopefully help include:
- Sniping with a rangefinder and smartlink: instead of rolling 10+ dice against a target number of 2 and getting an average of 8+ successes (resulting in damage at 3-4 over D), the 10+ dice would grant an average of 4+ successes, for only 1 or 3 over D.
It may be necessary to let some target numbers go below 4, such as static tests against knowledge checks, locks, etc. If not, some things won't make sense (failing to learn very basic knowlege for example). Other things will skew the economy, such as people only having to buy locks above rating 1 if they want to have a rating of 5+.
- Magic (willpower targetting spells). Most opponents will have a fairly low willpower (lower than their body). That makes being hit by the mana spells (the ones with the easier drain target numbers) very deadly. The lower stat already penalizes the character by lowering the possible number of successes he can get.
Another house rule we're looking at would be to have any dice used from a single pool be used for all pools that round. This will mainly prevent mages from having better defenses than street sams. Normally a mage can dump a huge portion of his spell pool into offense, and leave his combat pool completely free for dodging and soaking. The non-mages have to split their pool between offense and defense.
I'm also contemplating some sort of different rule for handling opposed checks. Letting the opponent's number be the target and also how many dice they roll makes a diffference of 2 points in a skill almost gauranteed to let the one with the higher skill win every time. I'm not sure what kind of change we would use, or even if it would be necessary.
Any thoughts, comments, or flames?
And just to head off the "don't change it until you've tried it" response, all but one of my group has played shadowrun since 1st edition. The other guy is a complete newbie to the shadowrun system. He hasn't even used the White Wolf system, which is similar in many ways (at least as far as dice rolling goes).
Jan 10 2005, 09:33 PM
I personally don't like the looks of those changes. Sniping TNs typically only hit 2 when in optimal conditions (2/3/4/5 being what they come out to before aiming and with target still, 2/2/2/2 with three Take Aim actions, but just make the target walk and those TNs start climbing again. Add some cover, vision mods, etc., and only a perfectly-placed sniper will be that deadly. Incidentally, a perfectly-placed sniper should be that deadly.), and a lot of other stuff just doesn't make sense at TNs under 2 (a Rigger with a VCR 3 needs a 4 to perform a basic manouver?).
Regarding pool, mages frequently need to keep some on hand for spell defense, plus the requirement of soaking drain. Overall, I'm down on that change as well.
Jan 10 2005, 09:37 PM
As long as you and your players agree on them, then go for it or atleast try it out for a few sessions to see if its worth while.
Personally, making TN higher so players don't kill my NPC's would make me rethink my own strategies since YOU do run the show.
Jan 10 2005, 09:49 PM
|- Sniping with a rangefinder and smartlink: instead of rolling 10+ dice against a target number of 2 and getting an average of 8+ successes|
This would only happen at short range, or extreme range with 3 Aiming actions, both with perfect conditions and no vision or other TN modifiers. Extreme range TN with SL + Rangefinder is 5.
Really, almost everything attempted in Shadowrun should have some kind of TN modifier. This goes a long way towards balancing things out.
Universally raising TNs will make it harder for your PCs to resist or recover from damage as well.
Jan 10 2005, 10:10 PM
Right. I've played in a few games where the GM wasn't using the movement or visibility mods as he should have. Just those two things, let alone wound mods, make for scary TN's at times.
Jan 10 2005, 10:47 PM
Thanks for the input. I'm in the process of refamiliarizing myself with the rules. Our discussion was just based on memory at the time. I'll have to take a closer look at the target number modifiers when I reach that point. I don't recall them being very restrictive, but perhaps our GM at the time didn't use them as they should have been. (That "GM" would be me and most of my group, as we generally used round robin GMing back then).
Jan 10 2005, 10:54 PM
Combat alone has a large number of different modifiers for varying conditions, not the least of which are quite a few visibility adjustments.
Jan 10 2005, 11:09 PM
Realize that this would nerf armor to a significant degree.
This would defintely make combat more deadly at the lower end. Almost any character can come up an armor of 7 or more without getting into sticky situations involving 3 or more layers and thus can have a Heavy Pistol down to 2M.
Jan 10 2005, 11:15 PM
If you also want to stay subtle, I've found 6 is usually the practical limit.
Jan 11 2005, 12:00 AM
One thing I've learned is that there's always a way to jack target numbers up, especially in combat - not to mention the number of simple but nasty tricks you can pull on a party. Surprise checks can be disastrous if the opposition is ready for the team, as well as gas grenades and shock weapons. Have some guards fire gel rounds while others use regular, so that you can make the player deal with TN penalties from stun and physical damage.
And magic? There's always an excuse for background count if you look hard enough.
Jan 11 2005, 12:20 AM
I'd personally say that exploiting the split between physical and stun, while effective, is solidly metagaming.
Jan 11 2005, 01:04 AM
Armor was one of the things I planned on leaving as is.
I don't want to have background counts everywhere, as that seems too much like shaping the world to fit the rules.
I agree that having some forces use gel and other standard is definitely metagaming. The only time that would happen in real life is if two seperate squads came and one of them was either a last minute grab from somewhere that neded the other kind of ammunition, or one of the squads failed to read their mision briefing. Generally its either "try to capture them alive" or "terminate with extreme prejudice".
The rule is defnintely a work in progress and has absolutely nothing to say yea or nay except theory right now.
Jan 11 2005, 01:53 AM
There's nothing contrary about using knock-out gas and APDS from the same squad. Nor is there anything odd about the light security forces using gel rounds and the high threat response packing lethal heat. However, I don't think this kind of solution is the real issue.
|I'm also contemplating some sort of different rule for handling opposed checks.|
Most often people choose a TN 4, like Melee, as a redux on the Opposed check.
Jan 11 2005, 03:02 AM
Yes, a squad will usually have both lethal and nonlethal means of combat available to it. But people from the same group usually have the same goals: kill or capture.
True, there will be times when it is logical to have some people using lethal and others using nonlethal attacks. But those situations will be few and far between.
Jan 11 2005, 03:22 AM
|But people from the same group usually have the same goals: kill or capture.|
Isn't it usually: Capture if you can, kill if you must? Throw the knock-out gas and close the electrified bars and if that doesn't stop them then start with the full-auto? This is totally tangent to your thread though.
Jan 11 2005, 03:46 AM
Or toss in the stun grenades then go in firing. I tend to mix it up myself, a teargas type grenade that my character is immune to, then go in shooting. Or the ever useful flash grenade.
Jan 11 2005, 03:53 AM
There are a lot of cases where capture isn't a priority. Indeed, I'd say most. You can question the survivors, and it's better than risking failure.
Jan 11 2005, 03:58 AM
|QUOTE (Kagetenshi @ Jan 10 2005, 10:53 PM)|
| There are a lot of cases where capture isn't a priority. Indeed, I'd say most. You can question the survivors, and it's better than risking failure. |
I imagine in-game statistics show that a capture attempt is not more likely to result in failure. Knock-out gas is fairly effective and often times the targets are in possession of fragile goods whether it be person or equipment. YMMV
Jan 11 2005, 04:41 AM
I'd disagree. Non-lethal methods are either dangerous to the users and overly lethal (knock-out gas) or comparatively inferior (gel rounds) or inordinately expensive (capsule rounds and compound of choise; those things don't last forever, you know).
Jan 11 2005, 05:17 PM
Regarding the opposed tests, I like that having a skill 2 points higher means you will succeed almost all of the time. A professional (rating 4) should be an amature (rating 2) over 99% of the time. If you are rolling 4 dice looking for 4's, about half the time you'll get 0 or 1 successes. Rolling 2 dice for 4's will get 2 successes 25% of the time. That roughly 1/8 of the time that the 2 would beat the 4 isn't enough in my opinion.
Jan 11 2005, 07:24 PM
Lots of discussion has centered around combat modifiers, and its made me rethink using this for guns and melee (although we may still try it for a session just to find out).
Very little has been said about spells. Spells that target willpower are usually more powerful because targets usually have a higher body than willpower. They also have lower drain, meaning you can stage the damage easier. One of the main reasons we've discussed this change is because of how devestating mana balls, bolts, etc. can be. Yes, I know that people can have mages around to add spelld defense, but those dice pools get eaten up fast when you're having to allocate defense for multiple combatants. I'd also like to avoid having to give every single target a friendly mage just to prevent the party's caster from nuking the opposition with little danger.
Also, we will be starting in 2052 or thereabouts. There will be no sourcebooks outside of the main book (except perhaps things lie martial arts and gun accesseries). When the time is right, I will introduce new things.
Thanks for all the input so far!
Jan 11 2005, 07:50 PM
For what it's worth, my characters typically float around the 5-7 Willpower range, while I can't remember having a non-Troll with a Body above 4.
Jan 11 2005, 08:16 PM
Yeah, I have always considered runners to be more willful than the average member of society. It takes a lot of dedication to refine skills to a useable level for running, and the people who survuve in the shadows tend to do that by being just too stubborn (or lucky) to fail. At least that is my justification for having a high will and lower (or average) body.
Besides, armor is more important than body for staging down damage I have found, and not being seen is more important than armor.
Jan 11 2005, 08:43 PM
I'm not concerned just with PCs. I never have a PC with less than a 4 willpower, or less than a 4 body (usually both are higher if I can do it).
Most NPC combatant types I've seen that aren't special NPCs have a willpower of 3 or lower. That means mana spells cut through them like a knife through hot butter. Combine that with lower drain numbers and there's really no reason to ever take a non-mana spell. Against mages you can usually get the job done with guns and melee, while the party spellcaster takes out the opposing spirits.
Jan 11 2005, 09:06 PM
I've always put opposition at the 3-4 range. 3 'cause it's average, and 4 to add a bit of a challenge; I figure the weak-willed ones probably won't be opposition for the runners anyway (sure, Joe Rent-A-Cop at the Mall may have Willpower 2, but Joe wasn't hired to deal with Shadowrunners, either).
Jan 12 2005, 12:22 AM
|Non-lethal methods are either dangerous to the users and overly lethal (knock-out gas) or comparatively inferior (gel rounds) or inordinately expensive (capsule rounds and compound of choise; those things don't last forever, you know).|
If we're talking about a worthwhile target, I usually outfit the light security with tasers, from which, while expensive, the savings far out weight the cost of a single employee death. I mean, seriously, do your runs happen in a vacuum? Is there not a family or researcher on the other side of the door way your runners are hiding behind? Does unloading SMGs in an apartment, school, university, laboratory, and so on make any kind of sense? Outside the ten inch plascrete maybe, but on the inside of those bullet resistant windows you don't want to pull out the lead unless you can trap the runners in your kill zones. Sorry, I just don't buy the idea that giving the lowliest guard a lethal weapon results in a profitable enterprise. The value of the furniture alone makes using tasers and knock-out gas worthwhile.
Jan 12 2005, 02:24 AM
|QUOTE (James McMurray)|
| That means mana spells cut through them like a knife through hot butter. |
Just about anything will serve when hot butter's in your way.
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