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Thread: Shadowrun 4e

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    Default Shadowrun 4e

    So the DM of my regular D&D gaming group has just picked up a copy of the core rules of Shadowrun, and wants to try a game... Sooo I'm after a little help creating a character. I've read through the Building a Shadowrunner section of the book a few times, but I really don't understand how it all works, expecially purchasing Skills and how they impact gameplay. If anyone has any experince with Shadowrun, then please help me understand the character generation process!
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    Default Re: Shadowrun 4e

    The complete character creation can't be explained in a forum. Do you have specific questions?
    Last edited by Timeras; 2008-12-20 at 07:40 AM.

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    Well, one thing I'd like to know more about is how skills work... They can't just directly modify the number gotten on a roll like in D&D, as you roll more than one d6 per Test.... It would make things too easy. I couldn't find the rules pertaining to them in the book (Limited time, I don't own the book after all)
    Same thing for purchasing skills. I'd assume there's a limit on the number of BP you spend on any one skill, but what exactly is it?
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    You allways roll against 5. Each die that shows a 5 or 6 is a success. To accomplish a task you need a certain number of successes. If you have more than you needed you accomlished your task exeptionally well.
    I haven't created SR 4 characters for some time, so I'll have to check how many points you can spend on a Skill (in earlier editions it was 6).

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    OK. I'm back. You can start the game with one Skill at 6. The rest must be 4 or lower. Or you may have two skills at 5 and the rest at 4 or lower.

    How skills work:
    Say one of your chummers is injured and you want to help him (first aid).
    You roll a number of dice equal to your biotech skill plus your logic attribute (I only have a german version of the 4e rules, the original names may not be the same as my translation). then you tell your GM how many successes you scored and he will tell you if you succeeded and how well.
    If you don't have the skill, you roll dice equal to your attrbute -1.
    Sometimes you may not even try if you don't have the skill (complex tasks like surgery and magic skills).

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    Default Re: Shadowrun 4e

    Oh, cool! I get it now. Thanks for all the help
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    Default Re: Shadowrun 4e

    A few hours later and I've got my first character, a Dwarven Rigger. Now the skill system makes sense to me, chargen wasn't so daunting. Thanks again
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    Default Re: Shadowrun 4e

    http://pavao.org/shadowrun/cheatsheets/

    Those help remarkably well. Shadowrun's Open character system is pretty awesome but remember it boils down to a team game so if one person wants to be the awesome I can do everything guy, he's probably not going to get far. Stick to one area, and try not to be a skill monkey

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    If you want you can post a link to a finish character and we can tell you if you did it right.

    Dwarven/Human riggers are my favorite SR4 chars

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    Default Re: Shadowrun 4e

    Quote Originally Posted by NPCMook View Post
    http://pavao.org/shadowrun/cheatsheets/

    Those help remarkably well. Shadowrun's Open character system is pretty awesome but remember it boils down to a team game so if one person wants to be the awesome I can do everything guy, he's probably not going to get far. Stick to one area, and try not to be a skill monkey
    Ooooooooo, shiny!

    Do you know of one for 3E?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Oracle_Hunter View Post
    Ooooooooo, shiny!

    Do you know of one for 3E?
    Sadly no, I've looked at 3E, but I felt great pain when it came around to using the PRIORITY SYSTEM for character creation, though I do know that using the Shadowrun Companion adds in the Build point system

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    Quote Originally Posted by NPCMook View Post
    Sadly no, I've looked at 3E, but I felt great pain when it came around to using the PRIORITY SYSTEM for character creation, though I do know that using the Shadowrun Companion adds in the Build point system
    Aww, but the Priority System is so much fun! It only takes 1-2 hours to make a character - what's not to like?
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    Default Re: Shadowrun 4e

    I have a question: Are there any promblems with playing a Rigger who never goes on a run? You know, just sends in a drone or three, and stays back in a bunker somewhere. I know there's the whole range issue, but that can be fixed by waiting in the car... I'm just thinking about having my Drones hacked or something, which I don't want to happen.
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    The main issue is that when the enemy inevitably tracks your signal down, there's nobody else there to protect your ass, and they'll put a bullet in your head while you're in VR. The bigger and more powerful your opponent, the bigger the risk; megacorporations and local governments, especially, will be able to dispatch units to your location in minutes, even if you're on the other side of the city.

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    It's been a while since I played Shadowrun, but I think an enemy hacker might be able to take over your drones.
    Also, as a player I think it's more fun to take part in the run physically. And you might be able to help your chummers more, if you're with them. You cannot use skills through drones.
    And some runs don't work that way. Maybe your group has to pass as a maintainance crew and an armed drone might be a bit conspicuous.
    Last edited by Timeras; 2008-12-21 at 09:47 AM.

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    Is there a way to limit a hackers access? Firewalls are the only thing I've come across

    Edit: Maybe having a separate network? Is there a mechanic for that?
    Last edited by Malacode; 2008-12-21 at 10:21 AM.
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    Default Re: Shadowrun 4e

    It's all wireless - creating a VLAN won't help you, because the idea is that once the enemy finds your drones' (hidden) ports, they break in through them by various advanced and intentionally vague means. That's what the firewall tries to prevent. It's just as vulnerable as Bluetooth, pretty much, and you can't close them off. The only way to not risk wireless hacking is to use wires, which just won't work for most drones. (It certainly can work for some; I've worked with a crew of engineers who operated a RPV - a drone - that was connected to the computers through some miles of optical cable.)

    Wireless networks are just VLANs, and the only thing they'd achieve would be automatic subscription and easier access, basically.


    Going on the run in person is much more fun, and much more useful. For one thing, it's a bit of a waste to only give yourself the skills to run drones - you could add several skillsets that are useful in the field. There's also no real difference between a rigger and a hacker, and a hacker is very useful on the field, where he can be an ECM/ECCM specialist and mess up enemy com and equipment.

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    Here are some general tips I can give you for making a good 4e Shadowrun character who is fun to play. And yes, it does take a little work - the mechanics are complicated and the world is very deadly. It's a great world, it just needs... a lot of thought to make it go right.

    1) Invest in skills wisely. Never invest in a skill that won't pay off in actual sessions. This is not D&D where each class has certain skills... your rigger can have skills totally unrelated to rigging. I would suggest Heavy Weapons (you can't make much use of the good stuff without it), Demolitions (you never know when a shaped charge will come in handy), Conning (covers everything the other social skills cover, if needed). Also, you might think it's cool or quirky for your character to be great with pistols or something, but it's just underpowered - in 90% of situations you can carry an assault rifle and you'll be better off with it, so buy the weapons skill that covers those. If you have extra skill points consider Throwing [Lobbing] for grenades. Perception is handy, too.

    Your absolute most important skill, however, is the one you use to avoid attacks - I believe it's called Dodge but I forget offhand. Consider using Dodge as your one 6 rank skill. Yes, even as a rigger - driving is easy, avoiding bullets ain't.

    Skills that I recommend against include the stealth skills, unless the whole team has them (they are seldom as useful as either going in guns blazing, or conning your way in - scouting out on your own non-astrally rarely works because of spirits, magical wards, etc. that will just get you killed with no one to back you up), most of the social skills unless you're the face (RP as you want but don't buy the social skills unless you have a mechanical need for them), all of the knowledge skills unless your DM gives you some for free, and any melee/sword/martial arts skills of any kind. Worthless.

    For your pilot skills, consider carefully what you need. Ground vehicle and aircraft are obvious, and they cover almost any situation. Anthroform robot sounds awesome, but there are no gundams in your standard Shadowrun - the anthroform droids tend to be small and useless, or at least no more useful than wheeled droids of similar size.

    2) The most important attribute is Body, followed by Edge, followed by Agility, followed by anything else. "Anything else" includes your rigging stuff; all non-mage characters (and most mages) should have good body, edge, and agility or they are likely to die.

    3) Qualities are your friends. Take the Fast Healer quality (adds bonus dice to anyone's attempt to heal you) and the quality that gives you an extra box before you take wound penalties. I think it's called Toughness or something like that - definitely look through them till you find it. One extra box before taking wound penalties is arguably better than laying a solid gold egg each day, at least for Shadowrunners.

    If you take negative qualities to get extra BP, consider how much your character can control them. Simsense Vertigo is a nice one (not for riggers, obviously) because usually the enemies aren't going to force you to use VR. Mild addictions to normal substances (caffeine, alcohol) are livable. Allergies are terrible things to take, because you're at the GM's whim as to when these come into play.

    4) Wired Reflexes (or the Adept power that does similar) are the most powerful thing in the game. Use as much of your char gen money as possible to invest in the highest reflexes available. Wired 3 is ideal, but most GM's won't let you have them out of the gate. A lot of players figure they'll get Wired 1 so they have extra money to spend on other things, but it's seldom worth it. Save every cent to get Wired 2 if possible - it gives you 2 extra turns (3 total) per round! That's good for any character, and better than most bad guys have. Not having Wired Reflexes is like not having body armour - it's not going to lead to anything good.

    The key rule to Shadowrun char gen is: every character should be a gish. Not magic+combat gish, but specialty+combat gish. The hacker should be a hacker who's good in a gun fight. The mage, rigger, con artist and scout all need to be good in a gunfight. If you can't survive a protracted, messy gunfight with grenades and limited cover, you can't survive Shadowrun.

    Of course your party's goal should be to always avoid such fights - but they will happen sooner or later and they will claim PC's left and right.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tsotha-lanti View Post
    It's all wireless - creating a VLAN won't help you, because the idea is that once the enemy finds your drones' (hidden) ports, they break in through them by various advanced and intentionally vague means. That's what the firewall tries to prevent. It's just as vulnerable as Bluetooth, pretty much, and you can't close them off.
    If you have the money and the drone-building skill, you could try to set this up:

    A "smart" port for the wireless commands. If its firewall comes under attack, it shuts itself down - preferrably shorting its own circuits with a tiny explosive charge so it cant' be hacked and reopened. When the drone loses a signal from this port, it opens its previously inactive secondary port, which uses a difference frequency than the first port and has a different type of firewall.

    You, as the rigger, can decide whether or not to start transmitting via your second frequency when you lose the first signal, so if you worry you'll just be re-hacked you can leave the drone in standby, which is certainly better than having it controlled by enemies. The enemy won't be able to track you if you're nto transmitting, and will have a hard time figuring out the new frequency, if they bother to think there's a backup port at all.

    ap
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    Default Re: Shadowrun 4e

    Ew, is that what they turned Shadowrun into?

    In 3E you would pick skills and weapons that suited your character and their role. Since a lot of Shadowrunning should be, well, in the shadows it was always good to have at least one guy with Breaking & Entering skills (including stealth) and everyone should have some sort of way to get a weapon past Security.

    If you always get to use your Assault Rifle without Lone Star jumping all over you... well, then why doesn't everyone?

    Hell, if he goes the Rigger/Hacker route, wouldn't stealth be helpful when he has to subtly get near a security system to hack it?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Oracle_Hunter View Post
    Ew, is that what they turned Shadowrun into?

    ...

    If you always get to use your Assault Rifle without Lone Star jumping all over you... well, then why doesn't everyone?
    The game does nothing to force or encourage this method of playing, as such. Indeed, firefights are a bad idea, just like they should be. (Unlike in, say, vanilla CP2020, where every character has Skinweave and an armored jacket, rendering them immune to all rounds up to and including 5.56x45mm.)

    It's just that some GMs have no clue how to run cyberpunk, and some players have no clue how to play it. You get people with 20+ dice in their pool for certain tasks, trolls using nothing but bows for weapons, and similar ridiculous crap.

    Another Poet's advice looks like advice for playing and optimizing Shadowrun like it were CP2020 (played the traditional way) - nothing more than cyberpunk D&D. (Although you can't argue about the insane power of augmented reflexes; not that hackers need it, since VR gives them the same deal.)

    Cyberpunk and optimization do not go together. Just look at the classic cyberpunk protagonists - Case of Neuromancer, Nell of Diamond Age, Hiro Protagonist of Snow Crash. Aside from the fact they're all hackers, none of them are professional fighters (Hiro is only the world's best swordsman in the Metaverse, and swords are a really bad choice of weaponry in the real world). And they shouldn't be. Even though Shadowrun by default codifies the game into 21st-century dungeoncrawling (which is definitely a weakness of the game), that isn't what the genre is about.

    Quote Originally Posted by Another_Poet View Post
    If you have the money and the drone-building skill, you could try to set this up:
    ...
    If you're in the middle of combat, you just disabled your own drone. Better than having it turned against you, but you still lost.

    If you're outside of combat, finding the new open port is so easy it's essentially automatic, and the drone's going to get hacked anyway.
    Last edited by Tsotha-lanti; 2008-12-22 at 06:10 PM.

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    Default Re: Shadowrun 4e

    For the Game I am attempting to setup I was looking to give Houston a Shadowrun make-over, but seeing as Texas was split between mostly Aztlan and CAS, it'd be a bit difficult... Though it would make for some interesting runs, since Lone Star originated in Texas, some runs involve a Corp sending you to make Lone Star to look bad/Take out a big wig, hitting the ports to steal stuff off ships, or steal a ship.

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    @ Another Poet: Looks like I've got all that stuff covered. Wired Reflexes II, Toughness, decent Reaction, Body and Edge (Along with Agility and Logic), and a few Qualities (Geas + Spell Knack gets me a spell I can use at certain times and 5 more BP. Not bad, eh?), but despite what you say, I like the Stealth thing. I really think that when going on a Run, you don't want to get noticed. Isn't that the point? The firefight stuff is only in case your stealthy tactics fail (If I was GM-ing, that's how I'd run it at any rate)
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    @ Malacode: Great! You should live long enough to gain karma. Living long enough to spend it, well, that's a different story, but you're off to a good start! :) About the stealth, don't worry, everyone's entitled to take something that may or may not be useful. And depending on your GM it may be more useful than I said. Just remember to have a backup plan any time you're relying on stealth. My (now comatose) street sam's backup plan was to wear a visible dynamite vest on all such missions. (It was actually C4 shaped to look like dynamite sticks, but still). Terrifies the clergy.

    Second, I have to partly agree with the criticism of my own advice. As I was typing I thought, "Wow, it sounds like char op. I'm doing char op?"

    But, in all fairness, it's only optimising it to the point of being survivable - which is hard in Shadowrun. Suggesting prioritising Edge, Body and Agility in SR is like saying "You don't want a 6 in Constitution, and get your AC above 12 at Level 1" in D&D. Any character, any trope, any flawed character or antihero, should have those basics unless it's a very particular kind of campaign. My suggestions on skills and qualities are similar to saying (in D&D) "Toughness as written in the SRD is a bad feat, and unless you're in an aquatic campaign you won't use Swim very often." It's not really optimisation so much as a basic explanation of what (most) characters will and will not need.

    Shadowrun is very lethal. Even if you keep a low profile (good), bring the right specialists (good), hire or con a patsy to take the fall (great), cover your butt mech-, tech- and magic-wise (hard to do), recon first (of course) and get in and out quickly (great) there's a chance you're going to get into a big fight. Not a high chance, but the GM has to throw you a surprise every once and a while, or maybe you biffed that Perception roll when the guard you bribed was lying to you about when the shift changes. In any case, once you get into that fight a non-combat-ready character has two choices - not be there (hackers, riggers, and some mages have this option) or die. Not being there is BO-RING - SR fights take a while to resolve, after all. And dying suxxors. So I suggest all characters be combat-capable.

    A Shadowrun session can easily break down into: two hours of planning (everyone has fun), a half hour of the hacker and GM talking, a half hour of the mage and GM talking, a half hour of the rigger and GM talking, and then three hours of the soldier types playing out a combat while the others try desparately to think of ways to help without getting killed. It's easily avoided, but it is a real pitfall of the game.


    Also, Tsotha-lanti I disagree that Shadowrun doesn't represent Cyberpunk very well. It does a great job, if you work out all the rules. And our group certainly doesn't play it as Cyber D&D - I tried that the first time we played, and two landmines and an alarum system later I understood it's not a dungeon crawl.

    You're right, Cyberpunk books often feature a nerdy weak character with one mad skill set in a dangerous world of guns and tech. Roleplayers don't tend to want to play nerds (though I've seen some great nerd characters in SR) and SR cranks up the tech level and adds in magic to hurt you too. So, the characters end up tougher than Case or Nell but they're in a more dangerous world. I think the PC mortality rate of Shadowrun shows that the game does, indeed, capture that "completely crushed by The Man" feeling that pervades good Cyberpunk. It's just that when you have a team of 5 people willingly seeking out criminal underworld work, you can't all be computer programmers scared to death of guns and loud noises. You end up more in the position occupied by supporting characters in Cyberpunk novels - you know, that gun-wielding hyper-fast bionic merc type who is anonymously hired to protect the nerd but may or may not be out to double cross him? That's your shadowrunner. Still a cyberpunk trope, just different than the Weak But Awesome Nerd.

    Anyway, that's probably a lot more than two cents from me, so I'll call it good. Enjoy your game, Malacode, and when you're ready to start a thread ranting about the confusing layout of the SR book I'll be sure to stop in and say hi. :)
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    Default Re: Shadowrun 4e

    True, 4th edition is more lethal than earlier editions (a good thing, I never liked how a single PC could kill 4 gangers before they could draw their weapons). But most most cops and guards of smaller Corporations shouldn't be cybered. They will probably have physical attributes slightly above average, wear light armor and carry a heavy pistol. And they will probably not have too many skill points in their pistols skill.

    So all characters should be able to defend themselves, but you don't need a group consisting only of street samurais with a few noncombat skillpoints.

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    Default Re: Shadowrun 4e

    Quote Originally Posted by Timeras View Post
    you don't need a group consisting only of street samurais with a few noncombat skillpoints.
    No, definitely not. In fact, that would be a recipe for disaster. Good luck defending against magic.

    But since you can buy any skill you want, even your mage might as well drop a few on rifles or whatever the assault rifle skill is. It's a three-in-one, since you can use it to fire the gun as a gun, or to fire the underslung grenade launcher (which thus negates the need for Lobbed for grenades or Heavy Weapons for rocket launchers). And since assault rifles are pretty easy to learn to use it makes sense for almost any character. Heck, I could pick up ranks in assault rifle if I pestered my dad's gun club friends and promised not to tell the gov't about their collections. And I work in a friggin' history museum
    Last edited by Another_Poet; 2008-12-23 at 11:51 AM.
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    Default Re: Shadowrun 4e

    Quote Originally Posted by Timeras View Post
    True, 4th edition is more lethal than earlier editions (a good thing, I never liked how a single PC could kill 4 gangers before they could draw their weapons). But most most cops and guards of smaller Corporations shouldn't be cybered. They will probably have physical attributes slightly above average, wear light armor and carry a heavy pistol. And they will probably not have too many skill points in their pistols skill.

    So all characters should be able to defend themselves, but you don't need a group consisting only of street samurais with a few noncombat skillpoints.
    More lethal? How is that possible?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Another_Poet View Post
    .... Enjoy your game, Malacode, and when you're ready to start a thread ranting about the confusing layout of the SR book I'll be sure to stop in and say hi. :)
    Oh, I ranted about this with the GM and other players. We devoted a good half hour to it too . Seriously! It took me quite a lot of page flipping to get the combat rules down pat, and I've yet to learn some of the cybercombat stuff... Oh well, at least it's a (productive? good? fun? Naw, I'll go interesting) way to burn time.
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Extinguisher View Post
    I don't read the first post. Or the title of the thread. Or anything in the thread to be honest. I just post random words and hope it all makes potato.

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