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  #31  
Old 01-13-2019, 06:27 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by UngainlyFool View Post
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?
A guide on how to make a character by archetype may be a bit too involved - although I am less worried about survivability in general. Might be because I literally never made (or had in my real life campaign) a character with 16 dice pools right out the gate. And I pointed my method out earlier - the challenges I just adapt to the highest and lowest dicepool in any group, and then it's generally fine even if somebody puts more points into auxiliary skills.

A link to all the cheat sheets that are out there could be enough on that front. Somebody collected literally all of them here.

People are consistently bringing up the roleplay aspects though - so maybe it'd be more necessary for somebody to write a "How to be a paranoid criminal in the year 2085 without ruining the fun for everybody" guide, or the respective guide for the gm to set up a scenario that disencourages that sort of character. Sadly I can't say I haven't met people that were overdoing it on that front either - and that's while only playing in one game on this site.

Last edited by Phettberg; 01-13-2019 at 11:03 AM.
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  #32  
Old 01-13-2019, 10:46 AM
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I was thinking more what the character roles are and what they can do to help in the context of a run rather than character generation help. What does it actually mean to be a Mage or a Decker or a Face? That sort of thing.
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  #33  
Old 01-13-2019, 11:35 AM
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I think I see what you mean. As for summing up the basic options, I think the core rulebook doesn't do a bad job at this actually, considering the writeup of metatypes and common character types and their roles are a page each. It does not get more concise than this - anything more and you have to get into some of the rules. I know bringing that material onto the site here would be problematic, but one could basically rephrase and shorten it in general terms and have a good starting point.

Showcasing all of that information in an in-game context sounds like a good idea as well, if somebody were to write that guide. Otherwise it might be easiest to run a short one-shot with pregenerated characters and new players and then edit that together - because in that situation an old hand at Shadowrun might also be able to localise what some of the problems are for new players to begin with. It's hard to forget for those that have been playing shadowrun for a while. The prepwork for said one-shot could already lay the basis for a list of "options" each character type has.

In that scenario I would prepare super limited characters though, specially designed to showcase a single aspect of an archetype as narrowly as possible:
  • Face
  • Two Aspected Magicians or two severely specialised Mages, one for Summoning one for Spellcasting. The latter would probably be more made for straight up combat casting, because to showcase all the different types of spells may be a bit much.
  • One Decker and One Technomancer - the former probably more leaning towards quick "brute force" decking activity or the Attack attribute, the latter more going towards sleaze.
  • One Rigger, or maybe two (One mainly working a single combat capable vehicle, and another doing everything via multiple specialised Drones)
  • "The" Street Samurai with the katana, assault rifle and everything but their big toe replaced by cyberware
  • One Sneaky Adept and one (or two) Gun and/or Melee Adept

I'm surely forgetting something, and these are too many characters anyway. Could be two groups of five though. It'd be a little challenge to have the face type shine though, because running through at least one combat would be desireable, and the point of this character type is mostly to avoid them.

Not saying I would run this one-shot either, as I have a pretty full plate. Having said it, the idea is sound. And thinking and talking about it has also increased my desire to at some point attempt to bring my Shadowrun Vienna campaign onto the site. We will see when that'll be though.

Last edited by Phettberg; 01-13-2019 at 11:37 AM.
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  #34  
Old 01-13-2019, 03:29 PM
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While some of the core rulebook write-ups are pretty solid, the ones for physical adepts, mystic adepts, and most egregiously technomancers are misleading to a degree. However, the former two are mostly explanation issues in character building more than anything else, so pre-gens would skip their issues. In the core book, technos are described as behaving like deckers but spending karma instead of nuyen, and that’s not really the case in SR5, and can really mess with a new player if they’re interested in the fluff of technomancers.
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  #35  
Old 01-13-2019, 04:15 PM
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To be fair, adepts and mystical adepts are not included in the "common character types and their roles" page at all. So let's say one needs three pages to get the basic idea of the options out there: Metatypes, Common Character Types, Magic User Types

That is if one wanted to prepare a quick start guide like ungainlyfool has suggested - Lay down the options to then possibly illustrate them "in action" in another guide afterwards.

But I don't personally know what kind of misleading writeups you are referring to, so as to that I have nothing to add.
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  #36  
Old 01-13-2019, 04:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Phettberg View Post
One Decker and One Technomancer - the former probably more leaning towards quick "brute force" decking activity or the Attack attribute, the latter more going towards sleaze.
I would have the technomancer more focused on their resonance powers to showcase the difference between a technomancer and a decker. Maybe not even have any hacking skills at all, just software for complex forms and the various resonance skills for sprites.

I am playing one right now in another game and almost never need to hack anything because my resonance skills not only cover most things I generally want to do, but they do it faster and in fewer rolls because you don't need to mark a system first to use them. I don't even have that many complex forms. I've got editor (to create, change, copy, delete, or protect any kind of file), loto (to shut down any device for a few combat turns), puppeteer (give a single command to any device) and search history (gives you the full history of a device for the last couple of days).

That covers a surprisingly large range of hacking things. If I'd put a higher priority into my resonance, I'd have even more powers than that and that doesn't even count all the chaos you can do with sprites. A strong machine sprite with gremlins is devastating.





One interesting possibility to do as an introduction would be to just run a game where no one has any character sheet at all. Just throw them into the setting with no idea of what they can do and just ask them what they do in that situation. The choices they make would then shape their character. Then come up with solid stats later after they've played through. Something like this:

GM: "You are underground mercenaries called 'Shadowrunners' who have worked together on a couple missions in the past and have received a call to meet in a private room of Dante's Inferno, a local night club. As you move through the crowd, you see a vast number of other people of various metatypes. There are humans of various races; short, but stout dwarves; slender and beautiful elves; strong orks with tusks; and massive trolls that tower over everyone else with horns coming from their skulls and bony protrusions everywhere else.
"Their appearances vary just as widely as their metatypes do. You see one human covered in tribal tattoos, the scent of magical reagents thick upon him. In a corner sits a bespectacled dwarf, a cable coming from his head into a tablet computer that you recognize to be a hacking device called a 'cyberdeck'. At the front door, an elf made of more machine than flesh due to her abundance of cyberware is in an argument with the bouncer over what qualifies as a 'weapon'. You note that he has already dumped about a half dozen firearms into a nearby box. Perhaps the most out of place person in the crowd is an ork, dressed in the robes of a shaolin monk. Something about his quiet demeanor and physical stature makes you think that he could bring a fist to a gun fight and you would feel sorry for all the people with guns.
"What are your names and what do YOU all look like?"

P1: "Um... I don't know.... I guess I'm a troll with big guns and stuff. Um... I am... um... Groot."

P2: "I'm an elf hacker with long hair, sexy clothes and an awesome one of those hacking computer things you mentioned. My name is Syllyndr."

P3: "I'm a bearded human with a long trenchcoat, pointy hat and magic. My name is Merlin."

GM: "Okay. Groot, Syllyndr and Merlin move together through the crowds to the meeting room. Though you were checked for weapons at the door, its possible some of you may have snuck something in past the bouncer. A guard in the meeting room checks you for weapons. Do you have any?"

P1: "A shotgun"

P2: "No."

P3: "Just my magic fingers."

GM: "The guard checks you for weapons and finds Groot's shotgun. He takes it away and says you can have it back after the meeting."

P1: "I growl, 'You better not scratch it!'"

GM: "Alright, you are trying to intimidate him, so here's 8 dice. Roll those and tell me how many 5's and 6's you get."

P1: "I got three 5's and one 6."

GM: "That's a really good roll. Let's see how he does."

::Gm openly rolls 6 dice and gets 1 hit::

GM: "Okay, so those 5's and 6's are called hits. You got 4 of them. I got 1. That means you did better than me. The guard gives a noticeable gulp and nod to the massive Groot and is exceptionally careful with the shotgun."

And so on. From the brief exchange above, we know the following about the three characters:

Groot:
- is a troll
- has a shotgun and maybe some other heavy weaponry
- has an intimidation skill

Syllyndr:
- is an elf
- is a decker
- probably has a decent charisma

Merlin:
- is a human
- is a magic user of some sort

By the end of the adventure, you've introduced them to the system and hopefully have a good idea of what kind of character they want to play. Or perhaps they've seen what some of your npcs are capable of and gotten some ideas from those and want to make something similar. The details of their stats during the game don't matter too much. I would just give them straight 3's plus/minus any racial mods and a 4 in any skill it makes sense for them to have. NPC's just roll 6 for everything. Then once they've played through, go through chargen with a good idea of what their characters should be able to do. It's a lot easier to build a character once you have your idea for it ready. Just pick whatever makes sense. They'll also be more excited with their new creations because whatever it is will most certainly have more than 8 dice to roll for whatever skills they pick up.
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  #37  
Old 01-13-2019, 07:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BiBo View Post
I would have the technomancer more focused on their resonance powers to showcase the difference between a technomancer and a decker.
Yeah, that is obviously way better. I was just throwing something out real quick.

As for not needing to hack - I was under the impression that to thread edit on a file you would still need access to the device first, otherwise you don't even know what files there are. Pretty sure one can't thread through a Sprite, they can only sustain a complex form. The other forms I don't recognise (apart from puppeteer, which is indeed pretty good).

The idea of a sheetless game to start out with is not so bad - but I doubt that players would fall into the established archetypes so neatly with very little prompts, and in general I feel like it might put some people on the spot. With some people it could work quite well, but in that sense I feel it might not be an apporach inclusive to all types of players. In general I think just giving them a small pitch of a character to then work with might be better, without requiring them to look at the sheet until they have played a little bit.
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  #38  
Old 01-13-2019, 08:17 PM
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The Editor form doesn't need physical access to the device, as the files are all hosted on the Matrix. Which means you do typically need the Computer skill for Matrix Perception checks to find the devices and files you're targetting, but Hacking and Cybercombat are typically used very minimally by technos, since they're kind of bad at it themselves. Even if they ever need marks, it's much less risk and investment to just Puppeteer an Invite Marks action for 3 marks immediately.

Which is all information that the core book doesn't touch on at all for technomancers, either in the example techno they have or the technomancer section. Also why they were one of the most troublesome to start off with and least varied archetypes pre-Kill Code.
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  #39  
Old 01-13-2019, 09:58 PM
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I just wanted to add a part of my first experience with building mechanics for a character in a game.

Imveros needed a Decker/Technomancer for a game and even though he said in his post that any beginners should avoid the matrix specialist roles. Me being me, I dived right in and chose to do a Technomancer because someone said they were a bit easier to learn than a Decker. I found out "easier" does not mean "easy" in Shadowrun

The people that were applying for the spot, Imveros, and several of his players helped me and pointed out the glaring mistakes I was making. One mistake, in particular, got me to thinking. I was adding the points you get for the "Metatype" column and the "Attributes" column together and putting them wherever I pleased, be it the primary stats or Magic and Edge.

When I was told that the stat points in the "Metatype" column were for Magic and Edge only, and the stat points in the "Attributes" column were for the eight primary stats only, I looked back into the book and couldn't find where it pointed this out. That was when I decided that Shadowrun 5th edition needed a "Character Creation Guide for Dummies." And that is why I totally support Imveros's efforts here and even UngainlyFool idea to help explain character creation more efficiently.
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  #40  
Old 01-14-2019, 03:36 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AwesomeEli View Post
Even if they ever need marks, it's much less risk and investment to just Puppeteer an Invite Marks action for 3 marks immediately.
Damn, I hadn't even thought of that. Should be pretty obvious by now that I never played a Technomancer - I don't actually like them very much myself. I just always found the idea kind of lame pretty much since it popped up in mona lisa overdrive - I don't know if Gibson stole it from somewhere else, but knowing him probably not.

Quote:
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I looked back into the book and couldn't find where it pointed this out.
That one can be a bit of a puzzler, because it is not worded in a great way. It's there in step two, and as far as I can tell now the book says specifically that one should select the row for the metatype column with the special attributes points in mind, and that the special attributes are edge, magic and resonance. It's pretty easy to read over though, because at that point you don't particularly know what's going on yet.

Anyway - above I linked to a collection of cheat sheets for Shadowrun, which includes something called the "superbook" of rules. That has a step by step chargen guide, which actually points out the special attributes separately.
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  #41  
Old 01-14-2019, 07:44 AM
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If I ever get the chance to make another Technomancer I'll use your idea AwesomeEli and probably give you a PM to make sure I do that right

And I'll definitely give them a look over Phettberg.
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Old 01-14-2019, 09:32 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Phettberg View Post
Damn, I hadn't even thought of that. Should be pretty obvious by now that I never played a Technomancer - I don't actually like them very much myself. I just always found the idea kind of lame pretty much since it popped up in mona lisa overdrive - I don't know if Gibson stole it from somewhere else, but knowing him probably not.
The concept of technomancers are super common in movies, comics, etc. The way most people see them in shadowrun is deckers with natural decks in their heads, but what they really are is people who have the superpower to control machines. It's called a range of things like technopathy, machine empathy, technokinesis and others. Every time you see a superhero/villain controlling all the machines around them, that's a technomancer.

Examples include:
Micah from Heroes
Neo from the Matrix
Kilgore from the Flash
Goku Furinji from Goku Midnight Eye

I am not sure why the book goes out of its way to insist it's not magic but then uses all the magic mechanics to the point that it is pretty much exactly magic. Probably to keep people from making a mage/technomancer combo, I guess.
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  #43  
Old 01-14-2019, 09:51 AM
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I know what it is - but thanks for the unsolicited lesson.

As I said I know the concept originally from Mona Lisa Overdrive, the last novel in the sprawl trilogy, which was amongst the works of fiction to define the cyberpunk genre in the eighties (along with arguably the Ware Tetralogy and works by Bruce Sterling, Vernon Vinge and some of Philipp K. Dick). It obviously predates Shadowrun and all the other media mentioned apart from that anime. From the blurb I can see that whatever the main character does is due to a cybernetic implant though - so not exactly accessing the internet without a device.

I am not knowledgeable about the specific ins and outs of technomancer play because I never played them - and neither had any of the players in my defunct real life group. The few cases I had somebody play them they were most likely not using them to their full potential.

So I see now that equalling Technomancer as a Decker without a deck is not a great approach mechanically. So a guide to that effect certainly has my approval.
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Old 01-14-2019, 02:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Silk View Post
If I ever get the chance to make another Technomancer I'll use your idea AwesomeEli and probably give you a PM to make sure I do that right
Technomancers and awakened deckers are some of my favorite things in the SR system, so feel free to ask away whenever!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Phettberg View Post
So I see now that equalling Technomancer as a Decker without a deck is not a great approach mechanically. So a guide to that effect certainly has my approval.
The largest issue related to this is that the otaku of 3rd edition and technomancers of 4th edition were largely deckers without decks, and that the core book of 5th edition tries to portray them as such. The mechanics, however, are not in line with this view. Before Kill Code, technomancers' mechanics more easily lent themselves to a group support role, and offloaded any actual matrix action onto their sprites entirely. A technomancer that was trying to emulate a decker could eventually do that, but to get to where an average strength decker would be at character creation would require a technomancer to go through something like 60-100 post-gen karma.

The recent Kill Code supplement has since greatly expanded what the archetype can do more easily, and offers a lot of needed explanations and support, both in mechanics and fluff. I'll look into slapping together a guide or something similar.
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Old 01-16-2019, 05:06 PM
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First, I'd like to thank all of you for this interesting conversation and for all of your points of view. I wasn't sure what kind of reception this would receive. Secondly, Sorry for my silence on my own thread, a combination of illness and vacation had gotten me quite behind in more than a few places.



It is tough finding the right group with the right mentality. I used to run PUGS at my LGS and some of the people that showed up were real gems. The bonus is that you can spot the tools a lot faster in person. It was one such tool that made me take the show on the road. It got to the point where I privately messaged my favorite runners and we moved the game to my house. That group ran for almost a year until I stopped running the game and it all fell apart. #AlwaysTheGM

As a rule of thumb, avoiding super special snowflakes, anyone with cyber arm cheese, and most of the things disallowed by SRM, tends to weed out the worst offenders. I also enjoyed the in-depth application process here on the crossing as I feel it helped me dodge a few stealth problem causers.

Interesting fact, The organized play FAQ lists damage codes for the various rulebooks should you need to calculate the damage you do hitting a power gamer over the head with one of them. Wouldn't you know, the collector's edition CRB deals the most damage.



Beyond that, I'll be the first to admit that the core book is a 500-page trainwreck. An embezzlement scandal put Catalyst Games into publish or perish mode and it shows something fierce with the first several books. It's gotten much better, but they still haven't fixed the core book. The freelancers on the official forums and the facebook page most of them run has been this edition's saving grace. It's only thanks to speaking with the freelancer who wrote the section that I understand how AI PCs fully work and I've been with this edition since day one ~_~


BiBo, I dig your fill in the blanks approach to runner creation and I'm certainly going to go rules light for the new player solo version. The story/setting has always been Shadowrun's greatest asset. Get the hooks in them with a short and sweet feel-good adventure and then drop the core book on them and work them through creation. That way they know the types of skills they like using, how often they are used, and the sizes of pools they can live with.

The end goal would be they then have a full sheet and a fleshed-out runner to then apply to full Shadowrun games with. Hopefully, that intro adventure will help them define that second the third dimension they'll need to stand out in a crowded field. The number one comment I received from my players when we were recruiting replacements recently was, "Meh they look boring, where is the spice?"




Just to summarise, I'm just trying to make Shadowrun more accessible. The more players we snag, the more we can turn into GM's. The more GM's we convert the more games we have. The more games we have, the more players we can snag. It's a self-building cycle.
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