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Author Topic: Reduce Filler in 6th Edition  (Read 1533 times)

Shadowjack

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Re: Reduce Filler in 6th Edition
« Reply #30 on: (05:36:04/03-01-17) »
I am definitely more of an Anarchy guy, you are right about that, Carmody :) I do still need to buy the character options books again in 6th edition though, as I doubt CGL will make Anarchy equivalents for all of them. But if they were condensed into a smaller number of books, maybe they would. The book for SR5 I'm missing is Rigger 5.0 but I don't feel comfortable buying it because I know it's going to have a lot of unwanted fluff in it. Without it though I don't have a good reference of all the vehicle names, how they look, vehicle upgrades to for amp creation, and so on. I'll also be paying for a bunch of rules I can't usee, so that kind of sucks.
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Kiirnodel

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Re: Reduce Filler in 6th Edition
« Reply #31 on: (06:32:58/03-01-17) »
Shadowjack, you keep referring to a 6E as if it were on the upcoming releases list. As far as I'm aware there aren't any plans to switch to another new edition now or in the near future. Referring to how you'll "need to buy the character options books again" particularly in reference to how you'll need them as a supplement for Anarchy purposes is a very negative outlook on the whole process.

I guess I'm just of the opinion that while, yes, there are mistakes when it comes to the some of the ways the books are laid out in the 5th edition books. It isn't worth throwing ones hands up and just giving up until they release the next edition. Fourth edition was around for a long time, and it even went through a bit of a re-write and reorganization of its own. I don't think 5th edition is going to be booted out for the next edition any time soon.

As for Rigger 5.0, it is actually one of the more crunch-heavy books of the set. With chapters devoted to each vehicle category with stats for everything. I don't really think of descriptions about each vehicle and small (Shadowtalk) commentary about their pros and cons as being "unwanted fluff." It reminds me very much of the weapons and armor chapters from Run & Gun.

Shadowjack

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Re: Reduce Filler in 6th Edition
« Reply #32 on: (07:32:35/03-01-17) »
I am not suggesting that 6E is coming out soon, as I said, I just don't want it to be a repeat of how 5E was designed. I don't exactly see how my outlook is negative, I'm paying $50 per book for character options and the books are full of things that I place no value on. It is also a concern that as an Anarchy player I have to either skip on buying all character options books or I need to buy them, pay for a bunch of stuff I don't need, and then convert everything myself. On top of that, most of the character options from edition to edition are just the same old things with modifed rules. My stance is firm, I don't think the books are designed properly for what they're supposed to do. Let's look at how Chrome Flesh was marketed and see if it makes sense.

"EDGE OF THE POSSIBLE

Shadowrunners cannot be limited by what their bodies canóor cannotódo. They have to do more, stretch farther, surpass any limits, and accomplish the impossible. Some runners can rely on magic; for everyone else, there are augmentations. From shiny chrome that makes your body into a humanoid semitruck to genetech that alters you at the most fundamental level to drugs and chemicals that give you a quick and dirty boost, Chrome Flesh provides dozens of new ways to alter Shadowrun characters and make them better, stronger, faster, and altogether readier to kick ass and take names on the streets.

Along with the gear and a compiled table of all cyberware, bioware, genetech, and nanotech currently available in Shadowrun, Fifth Edition, Chrome Flesh covers how runners break down and what resources can help fix them up, and where augmentation tech might go in the future. Itís paydata every shadowrunner needs if they want to overcome everything the Sixth World is going to throw at them.

Chrome Flesh is for use with Shadowrun, Fifth Edition."

Let's take a look at what I paid for. I got 95+% of the same bioware and cyberware I got in previous editions, there was almost nothing new and of the new stuff very little was important. There was a lot of drugs, most of which I don't use and don't see purpose of, especially since drugs are a weird aspect of SR5 since you needs to make modifications to your character every time you use them. In terms of crunch this book was very close to a copy+paste from previous editions, especially the fluff, I don't want to pay for and read all that stuff in each new edition. I know there are new players to think about but for me, it just feels annoying.  The book is over 200 pages long, about half or more of the content is fluff. The book talks at length about megacorps and their cyber plans and I don't see how that is useful at all, I am willing to bet that less than 5% of readers use any of that stuff. In fact, most Shadowrun books go on and on about the same things, gangs, megacorps, policlubs, etc, I don't need it in every damn book. This goes back to my big complaint: After the first read, when all the fluff has been soaked in, Chrome Flesh became exclusively a resource for me to browse ware, most of which I never used despite being a street sam enthusiast. I don't think Chrome Flesh really added anything to Shadowrun. Am I wrong? I did not feel like I got a good deal and I barely use the book, if I didn't have the book I don't feel like it would change my SR5 experience that much.

What I would have liked Chrome Flesh to be would be 80% to 100% crunch, lots of new and interesting ware and biotech items, new qualities pertaining to these two things, and perhaps a better system for using drugs. When a new edition comes out I expect some really cool stuff in each book I pay for, Chrome Flesh was uninspired imo.

Let's look at Dungeons and Dragons for a moment.

Dungeon Master Guide: 100% essential and useful fluff, packed with crunch
Player's Handbook: Almost completely crunch and useful info on running the game
Monster Manual: Fluff on each monster (useful), lots of crunch

No shadow talk equivalent, no short stories. The books are well organized and full of consistently useful information. If I need to reference the books mid game I can do so quickly and conveniently. I remember what I read, the rules are simple and clean and the books have no errors of note. These are the core books of the game and I am very comfortable with them.Why can't Shadowrun books be like that? I know Shadowrun lore is pretty in depth, and I like that, but not when I'm using core books, with the exception perhaps of the actual core book. Since Shadowrun has more character options than Dungeons and Dragons, why not fit all the additional character options into a small number of books? I don't mind little additions to pdfs or other non-essential books, but I reallly don't like having to flip through 6+ messy  rules books to make each character. I think my concerns are legitimate and iirc 5th edition was already well into development before it was even announced. 6th edition is said to not even be in progress *but* I want to get my concerns out there well in advance so history does not repeat itself. I think that's my right after spending the amount of money that I have on Shadowrun.
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Re: Reduce Filler in 6th Edition
« Reply #33 on: (15:46:38/03-01-17) »
The vibes I'm getting is both the lack of distinction and imbalanced content amounts create a dissatisfying product. There have been several descriptions of layout in regards to the separation of fluff and crunch and the amounts of them, of which are all important in considering what to do with the books. Ultimately there is a resounding agreement to bringing an improvement to the "quality of life" to the products and in turn essence the game itself (as in the act of us gathering and playing it; or rather the experience of the game).

(and editors doing their job, but that's a whole other bag of dirty needles).
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Dwagonzhan

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Re: Reduce Filler in 6th Edition
« Reply #34 on: (18:09:21/03-01-17) »
The complexity of the system is in part based on the attempt to stay consistent with prior editions. Imho, SR would also greatly benefit from using consistent rules terminology (and enforcing its use with all their writers, be they staff or freelancers). That alone would make it much easier to catch errors before they go into print.

I hate being the guy who does nothing but complain, but the more I've read through Fifth Edition Shadowrun, the more I've come to just despise the editing.
It's not even just the errors, inconsistencies and logical gaps; Shadowrun is a large and complex game, those errors are to be expected and corrected.

But it's the layout for information that really drives me nuts.
I'm a GM, so it's on me to commit to keeping the game rules consistent at my table. Cross-referencing between books is the bane of any GM's existence to begin with but cross referencing within the same section where something is supposed to be described is a Cardinal Sin as far as I'm concerned.

The worst offender I've found is in Street Grimoire, in the section that describes the Adept Ways.
From page 156 to page 178, there are THREE separate segmented descriptions for each Way. That is, each Way is described three different times, with different crunch each time.
Why not just put each Way down in ONE section describe the Crunch there?

My current theory is that three separate writers worked on these sections independently and the editor just just plopped them down one after another, instead of editing the text to be cohesive and concise.

Far be it from a lowly customer to tell a professional how to do their job...but I have literally done better editing in academic pursuits than what is found in parts of these books.
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Wakshaani

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Re: Reduce Filler in 6th Edition
« Reply #35 on: (01:08:25/03-02-17) »
Let's take a look at what I paid for. I got 95+% of the same bioware and cyberware I got in previous editions, there was almost nothing new and of the new stuff very little was important.

Point of order; right at half of the ware was old, the other half new. I went through all four previous cyber-books, took notes, grabbed what I could, then added more .... it wasn't easy, but a book that left out old favorites would get nailed to the wall, while one that was "95% old" would as well. There were, I want to say, four? Pieces of gear that didn't make the cut, one of which was a mistake to leave out, but otherwise it updated almost everything, then added the same number again. There's a TON of stuff there. Sure, you won't use all of it, but it *is* present.

As for the fluff and crunch entwining, it was a HUGE hit for the 2050 book, so much so that editorial wanted it carried forward into 5th, which we've done. This has resulted in a few problems, but keep in mind that rules hidden in fluff date allllll the way back to the Street Samurai Catelogue. Still, if it's unpopular, pass it up the chain and they'll ask us to do it differently in the future. We don't mind either way, honest.

Quote from: Shadowjack
The book for SR5 I'm missing is Rigger 5.0 but I don't feel comfortable buying it because I know it's going to have a lot of unwanted fluff in it. Without it though I don't have a good reference of all the vehicle names, how they look, vehicle upgrades to for amp creation, and so on. I'll also be paying for a bunch of rules I can't usee, so that kind of sucks.

Here, I should point out that a vehicle's looks, what it is, what it does, and, heck, even the name, are, in fact, fluff. We could release a book that nothing but statlines:

Mid size car Speed blah, accel blah, armor this, body that, seats so many, costs all this

And just repeat it twenty times a page with nothing else.

It would wither on the fine and die.

The difference between "a bike" and "My Yamaha Rapier!" is what gives the game life. The setting, the culture, the language, it all works together. If you want, feel free to contact the guys upstairs and suggest that they release some PDFS that are just the stats and nothing else. They get enough people wanting a thing, they're happy to sell a thing. It's what keeps the doors open, after all, but I have to warn you that it won't light you up like you think.

LASTLY... I think i'm the only person to have written for both Shadowrun and L5R. The way that Alderac worked is that writers did the fluff, while the rules team did all the rules. Writers never went near 'em. This can cause a few problems, but is one way of doing things. Should Shadowrun do the same? It could, but, it comes with a few problems. One: If the rules guy leaves, he takes all the knowledge with him. Everyone else has to relearn the system. If, for instance, only one person knows how the Matrix is supposed to work, then they leave the company, everyone else has to scramble and figure it out. Two, you sometime shave rules and fluff that don't align. L5R has this with, for instance, the Daidoji Bushi, master of the spear, getting a polearm instead of a spear, while the Shiba bushi, samurai famous for using the naginata, get a spear instead of a polearm. Small things add up. Personally, I like the L5R model a bit more, but, it's not the only way of doing things. Will it change for us in the future? Time will tell. I certainly don't know, but I'm happy to abide by whatever direction upstairs passes down. I'm a typeslinger, travelling from town to town with a word processor on my belt. I'm happy to write anything for anyone, as long as they meet my rate. RPG stuff, short stories, novels, journalism, poetry, plays,  movie scripts, anything at all. I'm not a picky dude. :)


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Re: Reduce Filler in 6th Edition
« Reply #36 on: (02:35:22/03-02-17) »
One: If the rules guy leaves, he takes all the knowledge with him. Everyone else has to relearn the system. If, for instance, only one person knows how the Matrix is supposed to work, then they leave the company, everyone else has to scramble and figure it out.
Hmmm....
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Re: Reduce Filler in 6th Edition
« Reply #37 on: (02:54:05/03-02-17) »
All I really want is a usable table of contents.

Jack_Spade

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Re: Reduce Filler in 6th Edition
« Reply #38 on: (03:29:33/03-02-17) »
@Wakshaani

That sounds... disturbing to be honest. Does CGL really have such a bad data management without documentation by the developers?

And about the 2050 book: Has there been a quantitative survey among the buyers? Because from my perspective that sounds like a case of correlation and not causation. (I love the German 2050 book because it gave me 2050 rules and tech and not because it mixed rules and fluff)

In regards to the stats on vehicles: Form and look should be part of the stat block, since that very much influences crunchy stuff like cover and social mods. That a particular car has won a certain race or that it was target of a series of runs is fluff.

Lastly, the problem you describe of fluff not fitting crunch is very much one of internal communication. Frankly, that is a management and editor issue and not a problem of this particular style of writing (I'm not saying it's easy, if it was easy to produce a good/perfect product a lot more people would do it)
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Shadowjack

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Re: Reduce Filler in 6th Edition
« Reply #39 on: (06:26:07/03-02-17) »
@Wakshaani

I will say this: The new decker ware in Chrome Flesh was a hit, I do feel like that was a step forward. As a street sam enthusiast though, I didn't see much that changed the game for me. Move by Wire was nerfed and there wasn't any major additions that got me excited, and that was disappointing. Especially considering that a big part of Shadowrun is the evolution of technology, particularly, cybertechnology, I just felt that Chrome Flesh was lacking impact and surprises. There were some nice minor pieces but not a lot that really grabbed me. A lot of the ware was just stuff that you could get in other areas of the game, I mean, the game has so many ways to get low light vision for example. Regarding the 2050 book, that was a standalone book, right? I think any kind of core book should have a decent amount of fluff just for new readers, but then again, D&D didn't do that and they managed.

As for you comment on vehicle stats, I can see your point although having a plethora of usable info is useful. In particular with vehicles, having fluff is good. For example, "this bike is a favoirte in the triad street racing scene, known for it's high speed and fuel management." That is good fluff imo, it adds character to the item, nothing wrong with that. But the fluff that I don't like is very long winded and redundant stuff about megacorps, gangs, etc, short stories, and TONS of shadow talk. I don't think the books need to be devoid of fluff, but it needs to be toned down a lot, especially in sections dealing with rules. If a rules section had just rules and examples of how they work, that would be ideal. I have to agree with others that it can be too hard finding the rules quickly when they are amidst so much fluff.

One book that I feel is needed is a new Anarchy supplement with a plethora of new amps. There just needs to be more, a lot more. Custom amps are very fun but each one can take an hour if it's complicated and the basic rules for amp creation can only take you so far before the overlap kicks in . If this book came with 50%+ fluff I think it would be a fail. We already get the fluff from other books, this is a very key book for Anarchy players, devoting too much space to fluff means we won't get what we need and the next book could be a year away, if we get one at all.  I'd probably make the book like this:

80% amps, qualities, npc stat blocks, contact briefs, etc
20% fluff
The crunch of the book would be a major boost and leave Anarchy players with LOTS to play with. If the book failed in that area the book would be a disappointment for me. Btw, thanks for handling criticism well. I don't claim to be an expert, these are just my preferences as a customer :)

Edit: Just wanted to add that I agree if the books had just nothing but stats they would be weaker, but I do think the rules books should be more focused. As an example, why not put all the ware, vehicles, and gear into the same book? That would be the major equipment supplement. You could fit quite a lot in there and remove most of the fluff. The next book could have changelings, infected, metavariants, qualities, martial arts, etc. Then maybe make the third book about magic and matrix. 3 hyper focused books that cover all the crunch would be great. Things would be easy to find without so much fluff, pages could be color coded on the sides. Then after those major books you could go on to add new, non-essential supplements that would be the main source of fluff and maybe come with a little bit of crunch if necessary. On top of that, trim the rules down a LOT, make the game run smoothly, don't make it feel like a college course to learn. Why can't 6th edition be set up like that? What is the disadvantage? I mean, maybe you would sell less books, and that sucks, but is it not more important to make higher quality products?
« Last Edit: (06:44:40/03-02-17) by Shadowjack »
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Shadowjack

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Re: Reduce Filler in 6th Edition
« Reply #40 on: (12:48:17/03-02-17) »
One thing I should clear up a bit, I think Hard Targets is a good book. It has some nice crunch but it's not really the main point of the book. So overall I like it and I think the large amount of fluff is appropriate. I don't consider it a rules book. I just want the real rules books to be designed for long term use and be full of regularly used materials.
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Ghost Rigger

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Re: Reduce Filler in 6th Edition
« Reply #41 on: (14:25:25/03-02-17) »
One thing I should clear up a bit, I think Hard Targets is a good book. It has some nice crunch but it's not really the main point of the book. So overall I like it and I think the large amount of fluff is appropriate. I don't consider it a rules book. I just want the real rules books to be designed for long term use and be full of regularly used materials.
Well, that's a bit of a tall order for Chrome Flesh when all the essential 'ware is in the CRB, is it not? While CF offers some interesting and useful options (of particular interest to myself are the internal router and nephritic screen), I can't see any reason one would make a streetsam that wasn't mostly 'wares from the CRB. One the subject of CF, I genuinely enjoyed reading the bits on mental illness in the shadowrunning community, the history of cyberware and the nuances of biotech. However, I read those out of curiosity and boredom, and the rest of the time I was annoyed that I had to scroll through all the fluff sections to look at the different kinds of 'ware. So, while Rigger 5.0 and Run&Gun get an A+, CF gets a B.

Mirikon

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Re: Reduce Filler in 6th Edition
« Reply #42 on: (15:11:20/03-02-17) »
I'll start off by saying that I was introduced to Shadowrun in 4th edition. I've gone back and read some of the old sourcebooks, but that was strictly for fluff and worldbuilding reasons. There's a difference between veiled mentions of things in the current books, and actually reading Missing Blood, Threats 1 & 2, Shutdown, and the other big gamechanger books, y'know?

Anyways, I really liked how 4th edition did things. There was plenty of fluff, and plenty of crunch, but you could separate the two out, so you didn't have to try and glean rules information from in character speech. Since Chrome Flesh has been talked about a lot in this thread, look at 4e's Augmentation. Look at the cyberware chapter, as a simple example. Start off with some intro fiction. Then go to an in-character info piece, talking about the pros and cons of cyberware, along with the big names in cyberware (not just AAAs), all sprinkled with shadowtalk for extra flavor. Then you have a hard stop and moving into the rules section. The rules section is not in character. It doesn't have shadowtalk. It is just rules, and tables, and some out of character info dumping, and some player-side examples of how stuff works (like calculating the nuyen and essence cost of some second hand R2 Alphaware Muscle Replacements).

Compare that to Chrome Flesh, where all that drek is mixed up together in a voice that goes in and out of character at a whim, and you can see why people would have a problem with it. So basically, I'd say that the amount of fluff in the books is great, but you absolutely have to organize it better.

4E had steak (the crunch) and mashed potatoes (the fluff), and put them on the same plate. You can talk about whether the potatoes were lumpy enough for you, or whether your steak was cooked right, but you had steak and potatoes, and everyone (usually) agreed on which was which. 5E took the steak and potatoes and threw them in a blender to give you some obscene meatshake.
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Shadowjack

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Re: Reduce Filler in 6th Edition
« Reply #43 on: (16:35:01/03-02-17) »
@Ghost Rigger

Personally I feel that the CRB should have most of the essential street sam ware but Chrome Flesh should have brought more to the table. I think deckers actually won out by a large margin over street sams, which seems odd considering they get their own book of goodies, all of which are direct expansions on what the CRB offers, so it did feel a bit lopsided. I like the fact that you don't *need* other books to play Shadowrun, just the CRB alone is a great value and you can play it to death. Chrome Flesh actually nerfed move-by-wire and that was an unpleasant surprise for me because I felt like the 4E version was very stylish. Some other street sam ware was nerfed too and it felt like more was taken away than was added. I did enjoy some of the new ware but it just felt underwhelming if I have to grade it honestly. When I read that book I was very excited but it died down quick when I actually got to see the ware. I also feel like nanotechnogoly is in a borderline unplayable state, same thing for drugs, and martial arts as well (while we're at it).

@Mirikon

I haven't read the books you mentioned but I'll add them to my long list of old books that I need to get. I agree that 4E had better layouts, it also had better editing. 5E felt like an improvement rules-wise, if only there weren't so many errors. I actually quit 5E a while back just because I got fed up with the perpetual internet searching for rules clarificaitons and iirc the rules section on these forums is the biggest other than the online campaigns sections, that is a pretty good indication that Shadowrun in general has a bad rules set, which is further indicated by the existence and popularity of Anarchy. I imagine it's difficult for CGL because the fan base is accustomed to deep rulesets and may not react well to a huge change. But if 6E is another massive heap of rules I'm going to be disappointed because it just seems like the writers are trapped in a cage at that point. I also wish that Anarchy 2.0 could be released at the same time so all fans have a fair chance to enjoy the next age of Shadowrun. Again, I know this is years away, but I might as well plants some seeds in hopes of growing the crops I was down the road.

The funny part about all of this is I am addicted to Shadowrun fluff, I can't get enough. I just don't like the rules to in needle-in-a-haystack formart. I also have seen a lot of people talk about how they quit Shadowrun because of the complicated rules. I think a lot of people still don't know Anarchy exists, which is a shame because Anarchy is what saved Shadowrun for me.
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EiraHaexa

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Re: Reduce Filler in 6th Edition
« Reply #44 on: (17:56:57/03-02-17) »
I for one am willing to aid in the creation of SR6. If nothing else, I can help make sure lore remain consistent, unless there is a logical decision to retcon something, and supply fluff and filler. I love Shadowrun, even more than D&D (Forgive me Gary Gygax, for I have sinned!). I want to see it continue far into the future so that one day my own children can enjoy it (once they're old enough).

I'm willing to help make sure that happens.
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