Hello Amy! I've always been kinda interested in Technos (I was a bit of an Otaku fan in 3rd) but felt that they tended to sorta fall flat; SR5 is sadly no difference. Rather then list a bunch of demands, I'm just sorta going to categorize where I feel their current strengths and weaknesses are, mostly in comparison to Deckers.WeaknessesPrice of Entry
- In order to make a Techno with all the bells and whistles, the current cost is significantly higher then that of a Decker. Deckers and Technos both need high resources/resonance and skills, but while Deckers only need good logic and intuition, Deckers need all four mental stats. Likewise, Technos have Techno-only skills they need on top of normal hacking abilities!
- Resources A will get you not just a real good deck, it can also buy you lots of OTHER good stuff too! Resonance on the other hand scales up your technomancer abilities...but not much else. It is possible to ignore Resonance, sprites, and CFs, and just go "classic Otaku" style, but I personally think doing this misses out on why you'd want to make a technomancer to begin with!
- The decker specific "goodies" are mostly programs, but programs are really good. Consider that a program to upgrade Sleaze costs a handful of nuyen, whereas a technomancer has to spend an entire submission on it! Likewise, a Rating 6 Agent is a must-have and costs one immediate payment of nuyen, while sprites need to be created each time and potentially hurt you whenever you do it.
- Deckers can make up for lower physical stats with 'ware (the decker I last played made good use of a single expenditure of muscle 'ware to keep him actually mobile!) while technomancers are strongly shooed away from using 'ware...which unfortunately cuts down their ability to dump physical stats the way a decker might.
- A Decker can by default hardlink into a device to access a host, bypassing the huge firewall - which is great! It helps incentivize deckers to be on-premise and with the group, rather then just nap in the back, and keeps them in the action. Unfortunately, Technos can't do that...unless they spend a fairly good chunk of karma on one of their submissions.Versatility
- A Techno can never protect their buddies' gear (or their own, in fact) the same way a Decker can.
- Use of 'ware gives Deckers a large variety of options Technos don't otherwise have. The Decker I mentioned playing had a pimped out cyberarm with a hidden holster for his gun; if he couldn't hack it, he could shoot it. Deckers can also side-line as Riggers - or at least have some drones on command - with far more ease then Technos can. Technos are basically always going to be doing one thing: hackin'. Deckers can add other stuff to their resume.Cost of Upgrade
- Simply put, a Decker can upgrade themselves using both nuyen and karma; a Techno can only use karma. Nuyen after a certain point is all but worthless to a Techno, unless they want to save up and retire, but where's the fun in that? Cost of Ability Usage
- Techno fading numbers are absolutely insane. Puppeteer is a really cool ability - the best technos have, probably - but it costs more then twice flat out mind control does in stun damage. CFs are rarely used when even the smallest one is going to knock you out of commission.StrengthsVersatility
- Most CFs are bad, but there are two or three that are so awesome they almost make up for the bad ones. Everyone knows how versatile Puppeteer is. Resonance Veil can also be extremely potent depending on your GM.
- Likewise, there's no Gremlins ability for Deckers. A fault sprite can wreck havoc that Deckers could never dream of.
- Assuming your GM is ok with it, machine sprites and Diagnostics is the best "buffing" ability in the game.
- Depending on how you build your stats, Technos can choose to always have their entire ASDF be high, rather then one high, two middling, and one low. This will likely become far more useful in deep runs into the Foundation, where you can't change out your deck.Cost of Upgrade
- Buying a new deck out of chargen is beyond expensive; I've found it only seems to happen when the GM gives you a mission with a new deck as part of the payout. For Technomancers, it is relatively
easier to save up enough karma to either upgrade a stat point or to gain a stat increasing submission.
So as it stands, Technos have a small number of abilities that are awesome, but they're almost all Matrix-only, cost way too much, and depend somewhat heavily on GMs being lenient. In workhorse mode, they fall behind Deckers rather badly. Worse yet, technos seem to lack some of the more basic necessities that Deckers get immediately. Because they can't use nuyen to upgrade themselves, this leads to them eternally falling behind; the longer the game goes on, the greater the lead between the two. While mechanically
technos can be compared to mages, they lack the huge array of spells, only effect the Matrix, have nothing similar to foci, their sprites are more limited, and their drain/fading significantly more severe.