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Author Topic: Reduce Filler in 6th Edition  (Read 1532 times)

Shadowjack

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Re: Reduce Filler in 6th Edition
« Reply #15 on: (18:09:43/02-27-17) »
Thank you, everyone, I am enjoying this thread and you have all made valid points. There are too many individual points for me to address but I would like to say that I respect the way you handle yourself, Carmody. And to Fastjack, I admit that I don't know much about the financial side of the hobby but I will say this: I used to operate a website and it cost me $120 CAD annually. I don't know how much it costs to run a website like this one but I have a hard time believing that it would be very expensive and I do think that having a functional website is a worthy investment, even for a small business, which this is not. This website is used for promoting products and it is also vital to keeping Shadowrun relevant, the fact that the forums are literally the least reliable out of any forums I've visited in the past 10 years is a matter of great concern to me. Moderators working for free is noble although I can't help but feel there is greed behind CGL as you should be getting paid. People seem to buy a lot of pdfs and hardcopies so I don't understand why CGL can't afford to pay the moderation team at least a little something for thier hard work. My last point is on that topic is that many people no longer visit these forums and have gone to reddit as they are fed up with load times and the forum constantly going offline, it looks very neglectful.

Back on the original topicf, I think it would be prudent to at least split the books into fluff and crunch sections. I do find it hard to find what I'm looking for a lot of the time and I don't have this problem with D&D. When you consider how rules heavy this game is and how often players and GMs open the books to find rules during sessions I think the current layout schemes are impractical. I understand that not everyone agrees with me on this but I strongly dislike having to look at so many bookd during character creation, and to be clear, I use hardcopies exclusively and that is part of the problem. If you rely on pdfs you have the benefit of search functions and having every single book open simultaneously, but that is not the reality with  hardcopies.Over on the reddit there is a huge amount of discontentment about the editing of 5th edition and you can't deny that this wouldn't be as big of a problem if the character options and rules were condensed into a smaller number of books, just something to ponder.

Another issue I see with Shadowrun specifically is that the majority of players appear to be power gamers. This is not a problem in itself, people should play the way they enjoy, but I do believe that it limits CGL's options for publishing. Most people care about crunch a lot more than fluff and they simply won't buy books like 6th World Almanac or Market Panic, they simply have no interest. If CGL wants to sell a lot of books to power gamers they need to spread crunch over as many books as possible. This makes sense but it also cheapens the quality of the books a lot imo. I am in the unfortunate position of being a huge fan of the fluff but wanting to have it separated from the crunch. I still believe there can be fluff added, like an intro to the weapons section, for example, but I think CGL goes way too far with jackpointer banter, short stories, and new and unnecessary rules. A good example of this is Cutting Aces. To be fair, I didn't buy it, but I think all the extra rules for long cons is basically just a cash grab. I highly doubt many people that buy the book will ever use those rules more than once.  Another example of a book I'm not a fan of is Hard Targets. Now I actually like the gear in the book, I got a big rush when I read it for the first time. *But* The majority of the book is basically a sourcebook for Havanna (iirc), I don't agree with putting these things in the same book because most people are not going to start a Havanna based campaign, they're just going to use the character options.I'd much prefer sourcebooks full of fluff that I can buy at my discretion and have character options condensed into fewer books.
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Dwagonzhan

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Re: Reduce Filler in 6th Edition
« Reply #16 on: (20:10:59/02-27-17) »
Kinda like the old 3rd edition books. Each chapter started with the section that talked about all the stuff from an in-world perspective with the Shadowland folks commenting. Then after that you had the breakdown of how the rules worked for the things that were discussed.

3rd Edition was very much the superior format. I can find info in those books with very little trouble most of the time, even without the benefits of searchable digitized text.
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Trillinon

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Re: Reduce Filler in 6th Edition
« Reply #17 on: (23:14:59/02-27-17) »
I ultimately agree with Shadowjack on this. I love the fluff, shadow-talk, fiction, and all of that. In source books.

But for a rule book, I want an excellent rules reference. Fiction, shadow-talk, and purple prose all get in the way during play.

In my idea world, the starter set would focus on establishing the lore and providing the basic rules. An advanced rule book would contain all of the rules in an easy to reference manner, and then a catalog would contain a super-set of all the gear, cyberware, spells, etc. There's room in a catalog for shadow-talk, but keep the rest of the fluff to a minimum. After that, go crazy with the fluff. I'll lap it up.

But, we don't really need a 6th edition for this. I would happily buy both a Rules Compendium and a Runner's Catalog for 5th edition, even if they were entirely reprinted material, so long as they focused on being excellent reference books.

Carmody

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Re: Reduce Filler in 6th Edition
« Reply #18 on: (05:31:42/02-28-17) »
Chrome Flesh was a nightmare in term of rule-fluff mix. All the gear descrptions are done in character, then, all of a sudden, sometime in the middle of the very same paragraph some rules appear...
In the french edition we kept the descriptions in character, but all the rules were moved to dedicated boxes, along with the nuyen and essence cost (basically as it was done in the Arsenal chapter of Run & Gun).

Shadowjack

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Re: Reduce Filler in 6th Edition
« Reply #19 on: (08:56:31/02-28-17) »
I'm starting to realize that part of my issue with the books is that I have strong preference for games with convenient session prep and npc design. Shadowrun 5E is a frustrating romp across the internet to find answers and even making a simple npc often requires a lot of rules reading and page flipping spread across many books. It's a bit too exhausting for my tastes. If all the pertinent information was in one, two, maybe three books, I'd find that a lot more satisfying. I make all my sessions from scratch and it's a lot of extra work just because there are so many important books.
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All4BigGuns

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Re: Reduce Filler in 6th Edition
« Reply #20 on: (11:46:28/02-28-17) »
Having a lot of books isn't that bad, but mixing too much 'fluffy bits' into the rules sources is just annoying as all hell. Again, I'd rather see all the stories and other stuff like that in their own sources. Heck, a lot of the non-rules information thus far could have gone into something like Shadows of North America from 3rd.

Quite irritated that so much focus was put into mixing the two that we can't have ground up creation rules for weapons and vehicles (and even add armor to the mix this time).
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Senko

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Re: Reduce Filler in 6th Edition
« Reply #21 on: (12:22:06/02-28-17) »
Honestly like or hate the fluff (I'm on the like side by the way) I feel the books have much bigger issues that should be addressed first. Rules relating to the same subject in different sections of multiple books so its easy to miss things, inconsistent internal terminology that creates ambiguity, lack of clarity about what has/hasn't changed from previous editions (I've seen this when debating with more experienced players about how something works) and of course design decisions that aren't thoroughly checked through the book like the critter costs in howling shadows I believe where it tells you to look up another table that was removed.

Trillinon

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Re: Reduce Filler in 6th Edition
« Reply #22 on: (16:49:26/02-28-17) »
Honestly like or hate the fluff (I'm on the like side by the way) I feel the books have much bigger issues that should be addressed first. Rules relating to the same subject in different sections of multiple books so its easy to miss things, inconsistent internal terminology that creates ambiguity, lack of clarity about what has/hasn't changed from previous editions (I've seen this when debating with more experienced players about how something works) and of course design decisions that aren't thoroughly checked through the book like the critter costs in howling shadows I believe where it tells you to look up another table that was removed.

You'll get no disagreement there, though I think the two things are related. I imagine that effectively editing a rule book is more challenging when it doubles as a lore book.

A SR5 Rules Compendium could address both problems. It could focus on being a rule book, and it would give the designers an opportunity and financial justification to reorganize, clarify, and generally polish the rules.

Kincaid

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Re: Reduce Filler in 6th Edition
« Reply #23 on: (16:51:41/02-28-17) »
I have no insights into CGL's particular stance, but with other game companies one of the main considerations it making a product that appeals to the broadest possible audience in the hopes of maximizing your sales, so you end up with products that incorporate elements of crunch and fluff in some mix.  If you make a product that's too narrow, it won't sell (I think I recall reading that this was the fate of Street Legends), which dampens the prospect of similar products getting made down the line.  Small-scale supplements, like Gun H(e)aven, can essentially be all crunch, but major releases carry much more financial weight in terms of needed ROI.

I love L5R, but I never really got into the mechanics-at-the-end layout.  Partly because which mechanics were attached to a given chapter seemed a little random--I've lost track of how many times I've looked up the Utaku Infantryman school.  I haven't given this too much thought, but my instinct is to have fluff with a mechanics and in-play sidebar offset (they would be separate) and then referenced gear/tables at the end.
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Beta

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Re: Reduce Filler in 6th Edition
« Reply #24 on: (17:11:09/02-28-17) »
I know that the SR5 rules are more comprehensive, but I compare my old SR2 book with the SR5 book, both in thickness and in how many words are probably on each page, and I feel like the sheer weight of words in SR5 doesn't actually do the book any favors.  I get that they were being somewhat chatty in approach in many of the rule areas, and trying to be precise in some other areas, and all of that takes words, but .... I don't know, the book feels like it was written by people paid by the word, rather than paid to encompass a given set of rules in as few words/pages as possible.  To me a target for SR6 would be to produce it with about a third less words compared to SR5.  I don't know if that could be met, or how it could best be approached, but I think the effort to meet it would result in a much easier to use book.

farothel

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Re: Reduce Filler in 6th Edition
« Reply #25 on: (03:00:26/03-01-17) »
I love L5R, but I never really got into the mechanics-at-the-end layout.  Partly because which mechanics were attached to a given chapter seemed a little random--I've lost track of how many times I've looked up the Utaku Infantryman school.  I haven't given this too much thought, but my instinct is to have fluff with a mechanics and in-play sidebar offset (they would be separate) and then referenced gear/tables at the end.

You're talking about the books where they add the crunch at the end of each chapter and indeed, that is not always clear what is where.  There they should have put some more information in the table of contents.  But in the books like Book of Air, Book of Water, etc. all crunch is at the end in an appendix (with clear explanation in the table of contents) and to me that's one of the best ways to do it.
Bonus fact: They have created in the book Secrets of the Empire a school index with all schools, advanced schools and paths they have with the book and page number they can be found (organised by clan).  I find that extremely useful to quickly look something up.

For Shadowrun it might be a bit more tricky as they don't really have schools and such, but one interim solution could be that at the end of each chapter they put in one table with a summary of all the rules from that chapter, with a page number as to where the full rule explanation can be found in that chapter.  That way you have in your table of contents for each chapter a line saying something like 'rules summary', which makes it a lot easier to find everything back.  I know I created something like that for all matrix actions for 4th edition (it should still be on these forums somewhere as I shared it back in the day).  All matrix actions in alphabetical order with dice pools and short explanation and reference to the book and page number for the full rule.

And maybe at the end of the production of books, bring out a small PDF with all those tables, organised by group (I mean here, one table for combat, one for matrix, one for magic, etc.) with the books and page numbers of all the rules.  This PDF should not be all that large and easily printable for reference at the table.  Creating this might even help in finding inconsistencies between books and help with creating errata (or the other way around, during errata they can make this table as they have to look things up anyway).
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Glyph

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Re: Reduce Filler in 6th Edition
« Reply #26 on: (03:31:08/03-01-17) »
The biggest problem with SR5 is the editing at the production level.  I don't mind the fluff in and of itself, but I think that it needs to be differentiated from the crunch.  Someone mentioned Chrome flesh, which has some examples of this - someone talking about how to get the RFID tags out of augmentation bundles, or someone mentioning that reproductive enhancement bioware is half the cost of replacement - this should be rules, not shadowtalk!  Conversely, the rules themselves sometimes sound like shadowtalk - thing like saying "no self-respecting shadowrunner" would ride a dodge scoot.  I know they think they're sounding cool and edgy, but it gives a real douchebro tone to parts of the books.  It would be fine if they had a shadowtalker making a comment like that in-character.

My biggest problem with the books is not having to buy a number of "core" books - it is that after doing so, it is still not complete!  All I ask is for the gun stuff to be in the main and Run & Gun books, the magic to be in the main and Street Grimoire books, etc.  But it isn't!  Things that were in the core rulebooks in SR4, such as the commanding voice or enthralling performance adept powers, custom weapon grips, or the Norse magical tradition, are missing - and you have to hunt down some crappy .pdf's if you want them.  If you are going to stick gear and other crunch in some adventure or campaign setting book, at least make it new content, not something that should already be in the core 5-6 books.

Carmody

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Re: Reduce Filler in 6th Edition
« Reply #27 on: (04:21:14/03-01-17) »
As Kincaid said, Catalyst (and all editors) have to make books that will sell well.
For Shadowrun, crunch books have good sells, fluff/background books not so well.
There are several possible explanations to this, people being, in average, more interested in crunch, fluff books being bought only by the gamemaster while many players do buy the crunch books relevant to their character, etc.
I think this is why most fluff centric books also have a crunch section, and many books tend to be balanced between fluff and crunch.

Regarding NPC making, you are obviously doing it very well, on my side I tend to use mainly (if not only) the core book for them.

Shadowjack

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Re: Reduce Filler in 6th Edition
« Reply #28 on: (04:25:07/03-01-17) »
I have to agrere with Glyph on the "douchebro" comment. I find it a bit irritating that the books contain some weirld aggressive comments toward the readers like "you can debate what is and isn't lethal damage all day, we'll be here when you're done!" or something like that, I can't recall the exact wording but it's kind of weird. Another example is treating the reader like a moron by saying "you need bullets to shoot people, but we shouldn't need to explain that", again paraphrased heavily, but these types of comments are in a bunch of SR5 books and I don't like it.

I am not a fan of pdfs, I'm getting too old I guess, I just can't enjoy myself when reading a book on a computer. I do have interest in the content of pdfs and would pay for it if it was in hardcopy form, *especially* fluff books compiled together. In general I  find myself cravying more books like attitude and 6th world almanac, and more novels. Going back to the fluff to crunch ratios of rules books, I mean, they are rules books, people need them to play the game. People like pictures, stats, character options, etc, you can't please everyone and if you try to you end up with odd books imho. I'd be much happier with books like Run and Gun if they were more focused, I mean, this is a hugely important book, practically everyone needs weapons. Which brings me to my next point, the armor in Run and Gun is quite bad for the game, you can't really make a handful of superior armors or they set the standard for the rest of the edition. But the *worst* problem with Run And Gun, for me, was the armor addons. Those should never have been published because every time you make a character you need to go there, check the costs, and buy them all, or you're at a disadvantage. That really sucks, they are just fillers and create new standards.

I feel this needs repeating: Rules books should be dedicated to rules and character options, short stories and shadow talk decrease my interest in the books and SR5 as a whole. Way too many rules,  too hard to remember, easy to forget if you take a break for a few months. I read the core book for I would estimate about 60 or 100 hours. That is foolishness and a waste of my time. Meanwhile with Anarchy I read it once and understood the majority of the game and can play and have a blast. Because there are less rules it's eaiser to get clarifications on things that need explaining (thanks Rusty!). The game runs faster, smoother, and quite frankly, better. Not only that but the SR5 core book is way too heavy, it's impractical. The errors in SR5 are out of hand, I don't know what the problem is but someone probably needs to be fired if they can't put any books together properly. There really isn't any excuse for it, it just makes CGL look bad. When I buy books from other companies this does not happen.

As it stands now I might not play 6th edition for the following reasons.

1. Convoluted rules
2. Terrible editing
3. Way too much fluff inside rulesbooks
4. Can't remember the rules
5. Anarchy is 10 times more fun
6. Buying the same stuff reskinned edition after edition and spread over too many books

Put out Anarchy 2.0 6E and I'll buy that. Imo 6E might as well be rules lite too, there is no point to having a million rules and while some people like it, most people don't, at least not from what I've seen online and in person. My dream scenario would be a rules lite 6E with between 1 and 3 character options books and a plethora of pure fluff books and novels. Just my two nuyen.
« Last Edit: (04:42:16/03-01-17) by Shadowjack »
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Carmody

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Re: Reduce Filler in 6th Edition
« Reply #29 on: (05:04:31/03-01-17) »
As it stands now I might not play 6th edition for the following reasons.

1. Convoluted rules
2. Terrible editing
3. Way too much fluff inside rulesbooks
4. Can't remember the rules
5. Anarchy is 10 times more fun
6. Buying the same stuff reskinned edition after edition and spread over too many books

Put out Anarchy 2.0 6E and I'll buy that. Imo 6E might as well be rules lite too, there is no point to having a million rules and while some people like it, most people don't, at least not from what I've seen online and in person. My dream scenario would be a rules lite 6E with between 1 and 3 character options books and a plethora of pure fluff books and novels. Just my two nuyen.

You forgot to mention the main reason: 6E does not exist  ;)

Jokes aside, from what you said it seems you are simply more an "Anarchy guy" than a "SR5 guy" in terms of what kind of rules you like (this is not said in a negative way, I am fully an Anarchy guy myself). The best solution in that case is probably to just switch to Anarchy (eventually letting aside the shared narration stuff if you prefer a more usual GM/Players split) rather than forcing you to use something not suited for you.
We now have the chance to be able to choose!

 

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