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Full Version: So...about some of those published books...
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I've dug out some old know, 1st and 2nd-edition stuff. The classics. I thumbed through them, thinking about how I might update them to work with my current group...

When it hit me that the scenario I was looking at was pretty much impossible to beat.

It was 'Double Exposure'.
Every enemy in that is super-armored, super-tough, has unbelievably high combat skills, incredible initiative...and there's dozens of them. And at one point, fighting them is pretty much inevitable.

Then I checked some other books. Sure enough, the trend continues. All of those 'classics' seem to have been designed with the utter munchkin in mind...only an advanced-level powergamer group would have a shot at making it through.

Not that the 'modern' books lack their share of in point, 'First Run', second scenario. The Renraku mages in that each have a force 4 power focus. Not only is that seriously powerful (especially considering that most teams only have one mage), it's also way more money than any starting team should have if they manage to loot these things (420k nuyen.gif each, I believe).

Now I it just me, or are the power levels in official scenarios rather skewed?
Ancient History
Some people have contested the power levels, yes.
Some say it's to coutner-balance power gamers, others say it's to encourage PCs not to shoot it out with everyone...meh. I still had fun with 'em.
The npcs stats and skills can always be adjusted for the power level of the group, to give a slight challenge but not be unbeatable. Always worked for me.
Wounded Ronin
I can't tell you the number of times I'd read a module and was left with the overpowering impression that the power level was stupidly high.
Shh, you'll wake up Polaris and then he'll tell you about how the Renraku Arcology was a joke.

QUOTE (Striker)
The Renraku mages in that each have a force 4 power focus. Not only is that seriously powerful (especially considering that most teams only have one mage)

This is where the saying "Geek the mage first" comes from. All the foci and power in the world don't matter if you shoot them before they can cast.
James McMurray
Yeah, there's some serious power escalation in the printed modules (at tleast the old ones, I haven't seen anything by Fanpro). Long before I joined my group, the players did no runs except those. It ended up with a group that feels they have to power game to the extreme to survive. And now I get to be in the GM chair with that. Its not too bad most of the time (I've limited things to just the core rulebook for right now).

From what I've heard, some of those runs also had incredibly juicy rewards. 2,000,000 nuyen.gif or Paradise Lost is the one that I really remember. For some reason my players keep wanting me to run that adventure. And there was also an adventure (not sure what it was called) that had some sort of gas that made people goblinize. One of the party members was turned into a troll, so he got to be a badass mage with the physical resilience of a troll.
Crimsondude 2.0
QUOTE (Kagetenshi)
Shh, you'll wake up Polaris and then he'll tell you about how the Renraku Arcology was a joke.


It is a joke--It's the punchline to anyone complaining about the level of graphic violence on Shadowland.
I thought Brainscan was pretty extreme - I know it's a high level adventure, but seriously, so much of the opposition simply didn't make sense in the places they were assigned - Dward Phys Ad Demolition specialists my ass....
My eye-opener was "Dragon Hunt."

Crimsondude 2.0
Brainscan is not extreme enough, IMO. I haven't run it (because, like I've said elsewhere, I don't keep PCs around long enough to survive it), but were I to GM it I would take care to alter everything Kenson touched.

Anyway. the reason I called the Arc a "punchline" is an amusing story. Dave Hyatt, one of the authors of RA:S and BS, is also the person who created Shadowland 11-12 years ago. One day back around March or February 2001, before BS came out, someone was complaining on chat about the level of violence that a certain group of gamers (affectionately known as the LLS, a term coined by Mr. Hyatt) were causing in an event that had been set up to be spectacularly destructive (It was a simple matter of destroying a large nightclub and killing everyone inside with automatic weapons, explosives, and a titanium crowbar wielded by a coked-out Georgian (Former Soviet Union)). Said person, who no one ever noticed before or since, said they were going to complain to Dave. At the time, several member of LLS were in chat discussing various things, including said scene. In response, the "S" in LLS replied by reminding the offended party that they were going to complain about the level of violence to someone whose own sourcebook cover features civilians murdered by a Drone From Hell--and that's nothing compared to what's inside, or other ideas that were tossed about for the Arc, such as the walking virus bombs (people who'd, well, explode when you came into contact with them).

BTW, the place is getting a little dull right now. Anyone interested should visit. It's a fun place.
QUOTE (kevyn668)
My eye-opener was "Dragon Hunt."

Corp Punishment

The Ghost leader is frightening.
Crimson Jack
Most of the modules, old and new alike, seem a little underpowered to me. I always have to beef them up for my group. Beef them up by quite a bit actually.
I'm with Crimson Jack, 99% of the stuff I've run seems a little too tame for my group. I've run the first Survival adventure, and that too seems a little low end.

Brainscan seems like it might be able to thwart my PC's for an adventure or two, but then again maybe not. Too many drones to be truly effective.
Er, how do you mean? Drones outclass similar meat competition by an order of magnitude at least.

'Fraid I don't agree. Perhaps it's how I'm using drones, but as far as I know, they use the rigger's initiative (and don't get any without a rigger, aside from a dedicated SK or something). They're also pathetically low in terms of body, and aside from the Steel Lynx I don't know of any with a decent amount of armour.

My players chew through drones like, well like nothing on earth really. Perhaps it's all the AV rounds they've been collecting, but when you have a character with a selectable clip 8M assault rifle which has a 50 round clip of explosive and another of AV as standard running gear, it kinda makes drones crappy.

I just hope the Sentinel and the Marauder do something - else I'm gonna be throwing nothing but powered up mages channeling force 8 great forms at my players.
Drones use the rigger's initiative. A dedicated Rigger will typically have an Initiative on the order of 13 +4d6. A drone being ridden by a rigger will get Control Pool to dodge and full Combat Pool for attacking only. They dodge on their Handling rather than 4. They've got low Body, but slap some vehicle armor on there; five points is impervious to non-AV small arms save for sniper rifles.

The shadowrun system makes battles go either to hell or no sweat. I really have a problem finding that ballance in the opposition, where the players feel that the outcome is really unceartain. Or rather, my players are paranoid enough to worry even though they´ve been crushing the oposition. I want the battles to be more equally matched though. The published adventures have some rather wimpy npc´s that will have no chance against the characters. Then they have these overpowered npc´s as well, but they tend to be one or two against the pc´s who are four or five in numbers.

It´s not that the scenarios are created for munchkins. They are created for a good team of shadowrunners, that have every expert present in the team. My players usually choose the character they feel like playing, and that doesn´t necesarily mean the best overall team. But this last time it so happened that all the major archetypes were represented. And that made a world of difference in the effectiveness of the team. Opposition that seemed overpowered before suddenly became easy to defeat.
Yeah, that sounds about right. My players went up against a pair of Force 5 Great Form Fire Elementals, a cybered/bioed combat mage with a weapon focus combat axe who channelled one of the GF spirits, and a highly powerful spell mage and a quintet of Earth and Water elementals.

The only character who walked out of there with any damage at all was my own wolf shaman who took a light from casting a deadly manabolt (bad rolling on the drain resistance test).

Yet I've had them go up against sprawl gangers, roughly 1:1 in terms of numbers, whom they vastly outpace in terms of skills, armour and weapons, and they get their heads handed too them. Poor rolls can only account for so much....

Survival of the Fittest looks like it holds some potential - there's some heavy magic in there as well as large numbers. But I still doubt they'll be all that compared to the party.

Perhaps I should ask players to retire their characters, but after 300 karma, they're a little attached :o)
QUOTE (Striker)
Not that the 'modern' books lack their share of in point, 'First Run', second scenario. The Renraku mages in that each have a force 4 power focus. Not only is that seriously powerful (especially considering that most teams only have one mage), it's also way more money than any starting team should have if they manage to loot these things (420k nuyen.gif each, I believe).

When I ran this the players sensibly grabbed the case and ran. The two mages and the cyber zombie arent worth fighting, and this was with mid level characters.

'My group chew through drones' the one time I found it easy was when we faced a group escaping with what we came for and a drone (or two?). Roll my initiative, wait for my turn, right theres one dwarf, wounder who to shoot at?
Having read the posts here on this topic I'd like to throw in my 2 cents worth. I've been running this game for a looooong time now. I usually don't run published stuff anymore unless they I feel they would truly be an interesting experience for my players, but back in the day I ran my share of published adventures (My fave was Eye Witness, that was effing great!). Most of the time my players are much more powerful than the opposition, but there are times when they take that ultra job that the security / opponent is going to be ultra as well. One thing I love about Shadowrun is a good plan is worth more than good stats any day of the week. If you have a hard time finding balance in the scenarios as far as the power level of the npc's goes, here is some advice. If the NPC's seem a little underpowered, give them some sort of tactical advantage. As a GM, you can justify the advantage with any logical reason you want. Lighting, cover, position,... those things can all tilt the balance of a battle towards the side best suited for those conditions. Vice versa, if you think the NPC's are too powerful, but you don't want to water them down, throw a tactical bone the way of the PC's. An accidental choke point the security must get through, an escape plan the NPC's didn't plan for. Remember, this ain't Final Fantasy with 2 sides lining up to sling lead and mojo at one another. Situation can make even a mundane combat encounter one that can be tense and rewarding for everyone.
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