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A buddy of mine at work has had a little friendly pushup competition going on and off for the past year or so. Last time we faced off, I beat him 111 to 93. After that, I didn't do any pushups for about a 3 weeks. I get down to belt some out, and with eyes bulging and red face, I squeeze out 91...barely. In three weeks, lost 20 pushups.

So logging onto dumpshock, I wonder:
"I wonder how big a pain in the ass it would be to calculate skill or attribute degradation in Shadowrun?"

First off, you've got to imagine a human with a strength of 6. This is what they call max unmodified human! I know, it says you can use karma to raise it above that, but let's just stick to the basics.
To get that strength of 6, that human is gong to have to be hitting the gym hard for quite some time. Not to mention maintaining a good diet and intaking enough protein and carbs to bulk up.
So what happens when this guy stops hitting the gym? How long does it take before the runner looks at the big crate of corporate prototypes and thinks, "no problem", only to pull his groin when he tries to heft the thing outta the warehouse because he "used to be able to lift that much"?

The same goes for skills. Maintaining a low or averae attribute or skill wouldn't take much. But maintaining an active skill of 8? How much practice would it require to "keep the edge". How long would it be before you could considered downgraded to a 7?
Has anyone ever given a PC a negative modifier to a test for being "rusty"? I have. Does this make me a dick?

I personally assume that characters are keeping their skills and attributes functional during downtime, and would only temporarily dock a few points postceding things like surgery or several-month stints in, say, the Arcology without access to necessary tools to practice.

Sandoval Smith
It'd make you a dick if you suddenly sprang it on them with no warning. "You haven't used your assault rifle in three runs, so drop your skill by a point." Or when someone's trying to hotwire a car because mean guys with guns are closing on them you tell them that they're Electronics skill suddenly drops.

As for the pushps, well what were you doing in those three weeks? You just might not have had the same stamina reserve and motivation that you did during the competition.

Personally, I just assume that unless there's some sort of big change, PCs are doing things that kee their skills sharp during that magical period called 'downtime.' If they've got an 8 skill in something, then it's probably something that gets a lot of use, so even if they are not constantly using it on a run, they're still working to keep their edge.
i think the best way to handle this would be as a bonus system, rather than a penalty system. for instance, characters could allow skills to degrade a point at a time, gaining back half the karma they would have invested if they were raising it to the new, lowered level. for instance, if you allowed your Firearms skill to slip from 4 to 3, you'd gain half of the karma cost of raising it from 2 to 3.

i say this because, really, there's no way to enforce skill/attribute loss that isn't bulky or hard to keep track of.
QUOTE (Sandoval Smith)

As for the pushps, well what were you doing in those three weeks? You just might not have had the same stamina reserve and motivation that you did during the competition.

He is going to be a dad soon...wink.gif
Well if you look at a skill of 8 which is supposed to be "world class", you figure this is something that this person has dedicated most of their life to perfecting. Chances are, they spend a lot of time practicing it and chances are, they like doing it.
Now even a shadowrunner, who does say, a week of good work every month, (between shmoozing to stay good with the contacts, learning metamagic, or any of the myriad things that shadowrunners do with their time) probably doesn't have enough time to maintain the edge with all these skills they have. This isn't really a problem at lower levels, but once they start becoming really powerful, you gotta wonder.

Hell, just hitting the gym and going running takes up at least 3 hours of my day, including a shower or any drive time I need.

Not to mention skills like electronics or computers, where someone may have to keep up with new developements all the time.

I've never sprang a lost skill point on anyone, but I have given them a modifier because they havn't picked up a gun in a year.
Ah screw it, it's just a game. <kill thread>
Kanada Ten
It should be easy enough to port the SotA rules for vehicles and 'ware to skills and attributes. Obviously one would need to increase karma or monetary awards to compensate, but it would actually increase character flexibility. Something I've considered in the past, but I wouldn't implement it unless I implement all SotA rules (which I won't).
I wouldn't use this house rule. Lowering down skills or worse attributes is not a good idea. I mean the players spend karma to raise them - and i know any player who would like the idea of taken away experience points/karma/howeveryoucallit. That sucks and would leave you with frustrated players, i'm sure.
Ah screw it, it's just a game. <kill thread>

Honestly, that's really how I feel about it. I'm not saying skill atrophy doesn't happen, but it's far more complex than any pen and paper RPG can acceptably handle in any reasonably playable amount of time (and perhaps even unreasonably). Hell, I'm not even sure a CRPG could do it acceptably, but it could come a lot closer. Aside from GM fiat for exceptional situations, I don't really feel it has much place in the game (especially with the statistical granularity of the system).
Mr Cjelli
I don't think a skill and attribute degradation system is worth it. Besides, a character doesn't have an 8 in Pistols because he practiced (unless you're using the skill training optional rules). He has an 8 in Pistols because karma was invested in the skill. If you wanted a skill and attribute degradation system, I say you'd also want to get rid of karma all together and come up with some advanced training and practice home-brew system.

I had the experience of GMing 3 separate campaigns in different years with the same 3 core characters (a sammie, an adept, and a mage). We reflected their skill atrophy by coming up with the question "What did your character do while you were retired?" The sammie had a Firearms skill of 9 when he retired the first time. We pulled that back to a 6 to reflect lost skill during his retirement. The adept had a computer skill of 6 when he retired, which we pulled back to a 4 (the adept kept up a bit, but was pulled into Bug City for a couple of years). The mage and adept both kept their initiate grades, but they didn't initiate more than 2 times in each campaign (they both ended up at grade 6 for the last campaign). The last campaign was 3rd edition rules, and so we readjusted the skills again in a similar manner and also to reflect the changes to 3rd edition (splitting up the Firearms skill, mostly).

Anyway, the point of this mindless babbling is that we sat down with the old character sheets as a group, and talked it over, building a history based on "okay, a couple of years have passed, what did you do?" and weaving some of their stories and relationships through that process while keeping game balance and campaign continuity fully in mind.
Though i've never forced a player to "Down-grade" a skill because of lack of use i have thought about it. I Keep thinking about Sean Connary's character Mason in "The Rock". I Do think there is a case of it however the only time i would apply permanet loss is if the Linked Attribute fell below the rating ala the Meta-magic in SOTA64. But loss of use becuse of lack of paractice? I would only make that Temparray.

Beside what would happen if a character got a few skills at 8+ ?? they would be spending so much time "Keeping Their Edge" that they wouldn't have much time to improve or learn other Skills...
Has anyone ever given a PC a negative modifier to a test for being "rusty"? I have. Does this make me a dick?

Ummm... You said it, we didn't. nyahnyah.gif
Crusher Bob
Here's a rough idea:

Have 'permanent' and 'temporary' stats and skills:


Runner Bob is a pretty big guy, his 'permanent' body is 4 and str is 4.
He can do a little bit some work at the gym and keep both of them at 5.

Runnber Ted is a not so big guy. His 'permanent' body is 2 and str is 2.
While it only takes Bob a bit of time in the Gym to keep up a body and str of 5, Ted would have to use blood sweat and tears to stay at body and str of 5.

So, you can 'recast' the character sheet so that it only reflects the characters 'permanent skills' (ie spent karma), then give bonuses for 'practice' based on a sort of time management system.

Willpower based roll to see how much 'work' your character can spen maintaining his skills.
An new edge and flaw that reflects the things you really like or don't like, that makes the 'cheaper' to practice with.

So skill 'up' cost something like:
-1 (really letting things slide) -1 units of practice time (you ca do other stuff instead)
0 (normal) 0 units of practice time
+1 (easy) 2 units of practice time
+2 (moderate) 4 units of practice time
+3 (hard) 8 units of practice time

This might also help a lot of 'unused skills'
You can learn parachuting at 1, then if you need to actually do it, spend some time training up (+2), then let things slide again.
It also lets you make more realistic characters, who have 'mostly forgotten' how to do something their background says they should know how to do...

This way, none of the players feel cheated, in the they never actually lose 'real skill/stat points'. They just need to practice more...
I guess it's functional as a mechanic, but I just don't see any evidence for that in real life. Yes, after atrophying skill (and even physical ability), you will regain it both faster and fiferently from someone training fresh, so to speak, and there are innumerable (and ineffable) complexities involved, but I don't think this reflect that at all.
Crusher Bob
Mostly I proposed it for the following reasons:

It has more possibility that a 'skill atrophy rule'
It allows for short and intense training to produce mostly temporary ability (useful mechanic to have).
It dosen't take anything away from the characters.
Eh, it may be useful, but it seems an unreasonable and unjustified departure from reality. Eyes that shoot laser beams and eat bees and when they bark they shoot laser beam bees at you would be useful I guess, but that's not really a great metric to go by.
Crusher Bob
Actually, I prefer the laser bees that can also function as emergency jelly beans myself. In additino, they are blessedly silent. All that barking those other bees were doing really irritated me.
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