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  #16  
Old 01-11-2019, 01:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roekahs View Post
I am just learning the SR system, but it seems like the cleanest chargen is to come up with your 'high concept' first. The system is so flexible that you can pretty much make whatever you want to play.
Definitely yeah. If you go in without a good idea of what kind of character you want to make, you're going to come out with a mess. I always tell my players to explain to me what they want their character to be like, then we go over the mechanics of building something to fit that image.

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Originally Posted by Trinity
The other problem is it's always the exact same thing. For a world that has more options than most other systems for stories it always comes down to the Johnson calls up a bunch of randos that get stuck together for some run, the lore tells the players to be paranoid, the players (at least one anyways) acts like a total dbag to prove how tough they are. Other players get mad, the game falls apart. New players get a bad taste from it and go back to d&d. If the game doesn't fall apart there it gets stuck in the infinite planning loop.
Regarding the dbag thing, that's just a player issue. You get dbags in every system and they almost always play antagonistic/loner characters. It's why a lot of GMs specifically say no pvp allowed in their game. I think the behavior often forms because the first taste of RPGs for most players is video games. There, you are the central character and everyone else is just your support. It's hard to transition from being the protagonist to being part of a team.

But to be fair, the Johnson thing is basically how all RPGs work and was a trope taken from D&D then given some cyberpunk dressing. In D&D some NPC gets a bunch of randos to go out and do something for them. One of the traditional places to get work is even in a tavern (which is why you often meet Johnsons in bars/nightclubs, despite it being kind of a weird place to conduct clandestine, often criminal business). Shadowrun just spells it out explicitly and tbh I think it was initially meant as a joke that just kind of got so well established that everyone forgot the punchline. The editions done by FASA tended to have more humor injected into them.

To mix things up though, I like to incorporate character backgrounds into runs so they become the driving force behind the jobs they go on vs some guy hiring them. For example, one of my players is an adept who is out to prove that he's the best martial artist in the world. He got beat down by a cybered-up gang leader in a hand to hand combat during one run. So for the next run he did some research into that guy, found out there's a bounty for him and used that to convince the others to help him take that guy down. In that case the player essentially became his own quest giver.

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Originally Posted by Roekahs View Post
I would like to eventually run a game - and I am especially intrigued by RainyDayNinja's game of 'good guy' runners - I just need a better grasp of the system first.
I usually frame my games in the context that the runners are generally good guys, despite being criminals. Though it may be different in other groups, I feel that that was the original intent of the setting. Corporations are evil and you're rebels sticking it to the man. Advancement is even done through "karma" which implies that good things happen to you when you do good (in fact, they used to call it 'good karma' back in 1e). I'm sure FASA didn't decide on that word by accident. The awards in the book even give more karma when you are doing a 'good' job and less when you do an 'evil' one. I like to reinforce that by giving instant karma rewards when someone does something particularly heroic (especially if doing the right thing may not be personally beneficial to them).
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  #17  
Old 01-11-2019, 03:09 PM
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As an almost exclusive D&D player for the past decade, but with experience in other games, I think that what I’d need to jump in is the same thing I give people with no D&D (and often no RPG) experience. I give them a ready made character sheet at third level (I don’t know if levels would be a straight transition, but I use third because it gives enough class options to be fun without overwhelming, and enough HP to take some of the squish off) and then I run a one shot that pretty much starts with a street fight. In the first encounter, I lay out the player options every round and essentially make the choice for the player with tone of voice. If they pick something that’s not my choice, I’m all “You certainly can do that.” and if they still go that route, well that’s player agency. By the second encounter, I expect most players to be making their own choices.
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Old 01-11-2019, 03:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Numen Wraith View Post
I donít know if levels would be a straight transition, but I use third because it gives enough class options to be fun without overwhelming, and enough HP to take some of the squish off
Unfortunately, Shadowrun is a point buy system, and a particularly front-loaded one at that. If your character canít do it at creation, they probably wonít ever be able to really do it, with some exceptions (which is where some balance issues arise). On top of that, SR is fairly lethal, and oneís HP-equivalent really doesnít go up much at all, if ever.

Altogether it results in a game that, for those unfamiliar with it, kinda always feels overwhelming in its stakes, as botching character creation is irrecoverable outside of getting a complete overhaul and a faulty character could cause a TPK if the GM isnít being careful.
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  #19  
Old 01-11-2019, 04:17 PM
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*Whispers from the Darkness*

Iš! Shub-Niggurath! The Black Goat of the Woods with a Thousand Young!

The Cult of the Great Old Ones will claim the raiment of favored non high-fantasy game from your fetid corpses and feast upon your souls!

Between the shadows of terror and the realities of your objective Ė sixth-world a monstrous game has been born. It is a terrible, indescribable thing vaster than any dragon or monorail ó a shapeless congeries of protoplasmic bubbles, faintly self-luminous, and with myriads of temporary eyes forming and unforming as pustules of greenish light. It approaches, bearing down upon us, crushing the frantic chummers and slithering over the glistening floor that it and its kind had swept so evilly free of all litter. Against such crushing darkness, what good is a stick of Nu-Yen?

Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn. In his house at R'lyeh dead Cthulhu waits dreaming.


*Hissing, crawls back into the sewer*

Seriously though, I applaud all attempts to increase the amount of non dungeons and dragons-esque games.

I like Shadowrun and the world it is in, however I must admit I have never fully understood character creation Ė and thatís probably one of the largest handicaps both SR and CoC face, is that it isnít nearly as efficiently streamlines as I think both D&D and PF are.

Just a thought. Anyway, keep up the good work not playing swords and boards.
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  #20  
Old 01-11-2019, 04:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AwesomeEli View Post
Altogether it results in a game that, for those unfamiliar with it, kinda always feels overwhelming in its stakes, as botching character creation is irrecoverable outside of getting a complete overhaul and a faulty character could cause a TPK if the GM isn’t being careful.


In all seriousness though - how high the stakes are is still set by the Gm. The system is inherently more lethal than others, true, and the story might dictate a certain level as well, but in reality how high the dicepools are is still all behind the scenes and up to person running the show. Usually one would look at the 'best' characters in terms of combat viability and then the 'worst' and try to figure something out in the middle that is fun for everyone. But if one player is trying to be a one dimensional killing machine and the rest are creating more 'mellow' or broader characters then something is off in terms of party composition, not necessarily with the system.

In a campaign around a tabletop dying might also be fun - but I realise after a conventional pbp recruiting process where one tries to put a lot into a character it is a lot less fun or desireable. Then again a Gm on here could still offer any player that has a character die a free pass at another of their choosing to insert back into the campaign. The upside of lethality is one can reinvent themselves often.

Also whether somebody can actually unredeemably "botch" char gen is also up for debate. It depends a lot on the style of the campaign and gameplay, something that can and should be communicated in any game. If the only thing that is important is combat then that's one thing, but nobody forces a Gm to play it that way, or the players for that matter. In pbp it's a bit tricky, but generally there can be more "fighty" characters engaging in the up and close while other characters are doing stuff more laterally.

Anyway - bit of a rant - but I will never stop defending point buy and crunchy systems.

Last edited by Phettberg; 01-11-2019 at 04:58 PM.
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  #21  
Old 01-11-2019, 05:51 PM
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I agree. Lots of people online will tell you that if your character doesn't have 16-18 dice or more in their main skill they are effectively useless. I think as long as you have 10+ in something that you use relatively regularly that you should be more than fine. I prefer characters that can do a variety of things over hyper-specialization and it's more about using what you have than necessarily having the most. I had to explain to one of my players (who kind of refused to listen to what I was saying) that 18 dice in negotiation doesn't matter when you are sitting there screaming and insulting that person. Doesn't matter how many hits you roll, you aren't sweet talking someone that way. Might as well say "I shoot at the ground" and wonder why people aren't dying despite all the hits you're getting. He wanted to handwave the rp with a die roll, which would have been fine if he didn't rp his character as an insulting crazy woman.

I do have to say that while shadowrun is a lot of fun in chargen, advancement is a bit of a drag. In D&D, you level up, it's exciting. "I gained a level! I get new abilities and powers! Neat!" In Shadowrun you get some karma and maybe you can increase one of your skills. 1 extra die to your a specific skill's die pool is not very exciting.
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  #22  
Old 01-11-2019, 05:54 PM
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I’m a huge fan of SR myself, it’s why I’m running a game on here after all, but you can botch a character at character creation pretty easily, if only because the resources you get at character creation dwarf whatever you’re going to gain as the game goes on, by and large. At least if a GM is following the suggested guidelines of 5 karma per run or whatever silliness it is.

I’m not saying the character is useless or anything of the ilk, but if you accidentally forget to acquire something you feel is necessary to the character, or if you’re trying to stick to RAW and that suddenly changes, you might be looking at 30 karma and an in game month to get semi-competent (6 dice) at the newly required skill that is the problem. All of which is advancement that isn’t necessarily fun or interesting to the player. An understanding GM can allow for rebuilds or new characters or whatnot, but that potential pitfall is kinda frightening for new player.
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Last edited by AwesomeEli; 01-11-2019 at 05:56 PM.
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  #23  
Old 01-11-2019, 06:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AwesomeEli View Post
Unfortunately, Shadowrun is a point buy system, and a particularly front-loaded one at that. If your character canít do it at creation, they probably wonít ever be able to really do it, with some exceptions (which is where some balance issues arise). On top of that, SR is fairly lethal, and oneís HP-equivalent really doesnít go up much at all, if ever.

Altogether it results in a game that, for those unfamiliar with it, kinda always feels overwhelming in its stakes, as botching character creation is irrecoverable outside of getting a complete overhaul and a faulty character could cause a TPK if the GM isnít being careful.
Sounds like all the more reason for GM to make a new PC's sheet to me, but I don't know the system at all.
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  #24  
Old 01-11-2019, 08:39 PM
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Originally Posted by Numen Wraith View Post
Sounds like all the more reason for GM to make a new PC's sheet to me, but I don't know the system at all.
The book comes with a fair number of pregenerated characters that can be used if you really want to. Personally I find character creation to be one of the most enjoyable parts of the system though, so it's kind of a shame to not make your own character unless it's a one shot adventure or something.
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  #25  
Old 01-11-2019, 08:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AwesomeEli View Post
I’m a huge fan of SR myself, it’s why I’m running a game on here after all, but you can botch a character at character creation pretty easily, if only because the resources you get at character creation dwarf whatever you’re going to gain as the game goes on, by and large. At least if a GM is following the suggested guidelines of 5 karma per run or whatever silliness it is.

I’m not saying the character is useless or anything of the ilk, but if you accidentally forget to acquire something you feel is necessary to the character, or if you’re trying to stick to RAW and that suddenly changes, you might be looking at 30 karma and an in game month to get semi-competent (6 dice) at the newly required skill that is the problem. All of which is advancement that isn’t necessarily fun or interesting to the player. An understanding GM can allow for rebuilds or new characters or whatnot, but that potential pitfall is kinda frightening for new player.
I've made a character that I think I screwed up a bit on character generation. Her street name is Rain, and I look forward to fixing her flaws through gameplay. You don't have to have a character 100% min/maxed to enjoy a game, and I tend to remember the characters that I forgot something in character generation more than the ones I pimped out correctly from the start.
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Last edited by Silk; 01-11-2019 at 08:47 PM.
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  #26  
Old 01-11-2019, 08:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BiBo View Post
The book comes with a fair number of pregenerated characters that can be used if you really want to. Personally I find character creation to be one of the most enjoyable parts of the system though, so it's kind of a shame to not make your own character unless it's a one shot adventure or something.
As a D&D player, I don't know how different it is, but I know that when I've initiated new players, character creation can be overwhelmingly daunting. It's my favourite part of the game, but I know many people that have stopped short and never made it past that step. I think that getting them past that and to the 'meat' of the game so they have an idea of the things they're doing in creation helps. It's a lot easier to make creation choices if you understand what you're actually affecting.
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Old 01-12-2019, 12:19 PM
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A recurring theme in this thread is how crunch-heavy the character generation process is and the barrier to entry that creates for new people. I totally agree. I found out that Monte Cook Games has a generic Cypher System game on the market and I think that it's an excellent solution for this. But I guess it depends on what your ultimate goal is. Are you trying to promote the game of Shadowrun or the world?

I'm new to the Cypher System but I've been tinkering around with it from a Shadowrun point of view. It only takes about 15-20 minutes to make up a character and so far I've been able to make up every character archetype that I've attempted. Of course, the Cypher rules don't march in lockstep with the 5e rules for Shadowrun. As one person mentioned, in the Shadowrun 5e rules, if you can't do it at character creation, you probably won't ever be able to. In Cypher it seems like you grow into new abilities as you go up in tiers (levels). I'm ok with that though and the Cypher System seems better for PbP since only the players ever make rolls.
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  #28  
Old 01-12-2019, 03:48 PM
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For that matter one could use any other generic roleplaying game as a substitute just as well, if one really wanted. Savage Worlds, Fate Core, Fudge, Powered by the Apocalypse (I think there is even a published book with playbooks for this) just to name a few that are less crunchy.

But then one has exchanged the task of finding people willing to learn one niche (for this site) system with finding them for another even more niche system. They would have to learn that too, but it does not do the things Shadowrun does out of the box, and may never get the feeling right. Even if it did, if you still want to bring in complete newcomers to Shadowrun without using the rules you still have them read up on how Shadowrun is supposed to be in some shape or form, what it is supposed to feel like, and then you may be able to approximate it. Even if you write a summary of the setting and typical characters yourself, they still need to have a look at that, probably before ever looking at Cypher.

Does not seem worth the effort - or rather one would be better off just doing away with anything really Shadowrun specific and just homebrew something together for a Cypher game.

EDIT, because it has not brought up by anybody in here yet: If you wanted a less crunchy version of Shadowrun with more narrative control for the players catalyst has made it - Shadowrun: Anarchy. Not sure how well it would work in Pbp, but just thought I should mention it.

Last edited by Phettberg; 01-12-2019 at 03:55 PM.
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  #29  
Old 01-12-2019, 03:55 PM
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Originally Posted by Phettberg View Post
and may never get the feeling right.
This is possibly the biggest issue with trying to substitute in other systems. Shadowrun has a 'three worlds in one' design, via Matrix, Magic, and Mundane, and it feels very distinct in a way that few other emulations can match, from what I've tried. Karma in the Dark, a SR hack for Blades in the Dark, is really the only one that feels quite right, but I don't think there's any BitD being run on this site at all.
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  #30  
Old 01-12-2019, 11:40 PM
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Seriously though, I just upped my workload in RL (RL...boo, hiss!), and I don't think I have nearly enough of a grasp of the overall rules to actually run a game. Of course, I'm often playing next to Shadowrun Godlings like AwesomeEli, Raizen, UngainlyFool, etc. (Apologies to all the SRGLs I left out.) Kinda intimidating to a neonate like myself!
That's sweet, RQ, but you are as on top of SR as I ever was. I just started SR5 last year with Raizen.
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I've made a character that I think I screwed up a bit on character generation. Her street name is Rain, and I look forward to fixing her flaws through gameplay. You don't have to have a character 100% min/maxed to enjoy a game, and I tend to remember the characters that I forgot something in character generation more than the ones I pimped out correctly from the start.
Mine was the same. A very unmaximized street sam that was tons of fun to play.

Trinity makes a good point. For those who are used to alignments and heroism, SR can be just as disillusioning as a "secret" CE player in a DnD group who is looking to screw the party over all the time. SR (necessarily?) deals with some darker stuff of metahuman nature and it can get out of hand if everyone isn't on the same page to drive the story forward rather than show how gritty they can be.

Developing a group that has to figure out how they all have been doing this before rather than showing up with randos is an option. RainyDayNinja's game is another.

Would it be useful to a new player to have a sticky about how a SR can possibly go and how the different archetypes fit in to making it successful or survivable?

I don't have the time or experience to GM, but honestly of all the systems out there, I would be most likely to do this one. I personally love the rule set and the tough trade offs of the character generation. Despite the messy books and assumed lore knowledge after 5 editions of the game, the rules seem to make sense in the way they function than any other I've played. I've said it before, SR is a hot mess, but it is one I love digging into.

Maybe next year I could try with one of the published runs. Until then, I'm happy to help in any way I can in getting newbies up to speed.
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