Author Topic: Runner's Toolkit--pre-order now! PDF download now! And free PDF GM screen!  (Read 16837 times)

Mara

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AH, as much as I liked your original PACKS(the Gunsel Karcist was a neat idea!), I can say that it came across as
more of a tool for more experienced players. The PACKs we got? It is a much better tool for less experienced
players. Honestly, I see the Runners Toolkit as kind of a tool set for newer players to Shadowrun.

And, it does have Technomancer and Mage builds, just not in the area previewed. In Skill Builds, it does use traits
from other then the core book, they mark the ones with them with an asterisk, and puts a summary of the trait
in the kit.

Of course, other stuff I like in the Runner's Toolkit? The Cheat Sheets for all the stuff, and the Contacts booklet.
I cannot look at it as something for veteran players, of course. I have to look at it as something most useful for
new players.

wylie

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Mara brings up a good point.
When the toolkit was being design, were vetern players thought of?
Is this more aimed at new players, bringin more easier into the game?

just wondering the thinking behind the plans....

I will say I disagree with some of the builds in the NuPACKS i see in the preview, but that is more my way of making characters then actual gameplay.
The PLATPACKS didn't worry about attributes, more about skills & gear

FastJack

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The PACKS and Anatomy of a Shadowrun are aimed at new players, but the charts, GM screens, maps and everything else are good for veterans as well as newbs.

Ancient History

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I am in no way bashing Malachi's approach; both are valid takes on the subject. The design philosophy differences are very different, but that isn't a diss against NuPACKS.

I had a lot of different concepts when I was writing PACKS, conceptions and base assumptions about what I wanted PACKS to be and what I wanted to communicate to the players, and how I was going to accomplish that. I wanted PACKS to be a modular system for PC/NPC generation, but I also wanted it to be an integrated and flavorful approach, illustrating how skills, augmentations, and gear can play off each other. My Profiles and Kits feature a lot of flavorful stuff, skills and items that require a certain mindset to arrive at. Because one of my primary unstated goals with PACKS was to help teach players how to build their characters. So I included items, skills, and options from every book. I threw in references to fluff material and the occasional Elf Ear Stud [0]. I deliberately tackled what I thought were interesting and sometimes out there character concepts and combination of equipment. PACKS, without creating Pornomancers or anything really overpowered, in some ways stretched the system to show people what was possible within the rules, and with a bit of imagination. It also left a lot of things unsaid, and that was deliberate. I didn't want to tell players what a given character had to be or why it was that way; by itemizing everything I made everything optional, and the constraints inherent in the system were minimal. For some that's a flaw("What the heck is a Gunsel Karcist? How does this work?"), for others that's an advantage ("Oooh, Elementalist.")

Malachi's NuPACKS is in many ways much more practical. I say it appears to be more attractive for new players, but that does not mean it is not of benefit to more experienced players. The Kits are more generic, but thus also more iconic and appealing to the average player. The different tiers of skill levels are probably more realistic in terms of what players are looking for. It's more streamlined, more modular, and I believe more aimed at building characters that the player can fill out on their own. If there was a speed trial, and leaving out customizing or minmaxing, I'd say that with the Attribute Kits you could very probably build a 400BP character with NuPACKS faster. The descriptors give players an idea of why certain ratings were chosen for a given character type, which then suggests how they might work to improve their character later. That Malachi put a lot of work into the system is very obvious, and while there are elements of the design where I might have gone a different way...well, I did go a different way...I'm very adamant that Malachi's NuPACKS is at least as viable an approach to tiered character building.

Which hey, we didn't create out of whole cloth. GURPS has been doing something similar for years, and I learned a bit ago that some Shadowrun fans had their own versions of kits and templates eons ago.

Malachi

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Well said AH.  While the 2 products share the same name, the mindset and underlying thought/approach behind them is very different.  When I designed the PACKS system as it is now, I had two primary things in mind: speed of character creation, and ease of use.  More veteran players can use PACKS as a starting point for their characters (to get them outlined in broad strokes) and then tweak all the little details from there.  I should also point out that GM's were also in mind when designing the system.  There are plenty of times (I know) when PC's go a different direction in the adventure and you need "this" kind of character in a hurry.

For example, say you had an adventure all planned out for your characters to sneak into some warehouse to steal the macguffin that gives them the clue to where to find the bad guy.  Your group doesn't have a Hacker so you figure they'll need to do it the "old fashioned way."  The unexpectedly, the group says, "that building has tons of security, we should hire a veteran Hacker to go with us and provide Matrix support."  Or it could be reversed and you have a group of non-combat characters that decide to bring along a little muscle.  Suddenly you need a character with fairly complete stats/skills/gear of a certain skill level.  PACKS allows the GM to grab some appropriate Kits, and quickly build a fairly complete character with all the necessary stats and gear to drop right into the game.

CanRay

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Oh, man, I could have so used that when my group decided to start taking their barroom contacts "Krunch and Klub" with them on 'Runs!
Si vis pacem, para bellum

thalandar

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Don't understand the Metahuman packs, why does it cost -10 bp to be a troll?  Where is the cost to be a troll figured in?  Right now, I am REALLY NOT a fan of pack because I think trolls are overpowered anyway, but if you make it cost -10 bp to be a troll I'll be swimming in troll power characters.  Please tell me I am missing something!

Wolfboy

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yeah way to go Jason, now only one problem

i want it in hard copy

NOW

 ;D
May god grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, to change the things I can, and the firepower to make the difference.

Suicide is never the answer, now homicide on the other hand, that has posibilities.

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CanRay

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I took the sell sheet (Or promo sheet, whatever you have with the free PDF) to my FLGS for them to pre-order it for me.
Si vis pacem, para bellum

Critias

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Don't understand the Metahuman packs, why does it cost -10 bp to be a troll?  Where is the cost to be a troll figured in?  Right now, I am REALLY NOT a fan of pack because I think trolls are overpowered anyway, but if you make it cost -10 bp to be a troll I'll be swimming in troll power characters.  Please tell me I am missing something!
The basic idea as I understand it is that trolls tend to be pretty one-dimensional (thanks largely to some major attribute threshold modifiers!), and come with a bucket of downsides (some GMs ignore them, but the downsides are there).

If your whole group is making nothing but trolls, that means you've got a whole lot of big, ugly, dumb guys (compared to your average, diverse, shadowrun team).  Sure, they can take and dish out a whole lot of physical damage, but it comes at the price of not being as good at everything else that's out there. 

thalandar

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Don't understand the Metahuman packs, why does it cost -10 bp to be a troll?  Where is the cost to be a troll figured in?  Right now, I am REALLY NOT a fan of pack because I think trolls are overpowered anyway, but if you make it cost -10 bp to be a troll I'll be swimming in troll power characters.  Please tell me I am missing something!
The basic idea as I understand it is that trolls tend to be pretty one-dimensional (thanks largely to some major attribute threshold modifiers!), and come with a bucket of downsides (some GMs ignore them, but the downsides are there).

If your whole group is making nothing but trolls, that means you've got a whole lot of big, ugly, dumb guys (compared to your average, diverse, shadowrun team).  Sure, they can take and dish out a whole lot of physical damage, but it comes at the price of not being as good at everything else that's out there.

So you are saying I am reading it right and they changed the rules so that it went from costing 40 points to be a troll to giving back 10 points.  Ummm, what downsides.  Ok they have a max charisma of 4 (natural).  Sorry, I think it should cost MORE to be a troll or give them some required allergies or something.

If this is really the case, then I have to say, I am totally unimpressed with a Catalyst product for the first time.  The main reason I bought it was for the Packs.....

Well, I seem to be a minority though so to each there own.  I can see this being an asset to first time players and GM's, so I would recommend it for those just starting the game.

Critias

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It's something I mentioned when I was working on it, trust me.  My own PACK (pun intended) of races didn't make the cut, but I didn't get in until very, very, late in the PACKS process.  I'm not a big fan of elves feeling a little ripped off like they are, myself.

But the important thing to remember is that gaming is already an abstraction and oversimplification in order to promote playability, but that the levels of abstraction and oversimplification are dramatically increased, when one gets into gaming by PACKS.  It's meant to be quick, more than anything else, and it does that by taking a few liberties (especially with metarace selection).  In PACKS, your metatype selection actually lowers some attributes directly, not just changing their potential attributes (like in normal character creation).  Because attributes are out-and-out changed, not just attribute thresholds, the powers that be felt a change in metaspecies cost was appropriate for PACKS, and PACKS alone.

It's certainly not a change to the core book's character creation rules, and the two shouldn't get confused where metaspecies is concerned.  It's for PACKS characters, and the way their set-up works, only.

JM_Hardy

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So you are saying I am reading it right and they changed the rules so that it went from costing 40 points to be a troll to giving back 10 points.  Ummm, what downsides.  Ok they have a max charisma of 4 (natural).  Sorry, I think it should cost MORE to be a troll or give them some required allergies or something.

If this is really the case, then I have to say, I am totally unimpressed with a Catalyst product for the first time.  The main reason I bought it was for the Packs.....

Well, I seem to be a minority though so to each there own.  I can see this being an asset to first time players and GM's, so I would recommend it for those just starting the game.

I'll admit that this is a complicated one, but it doesn't actually change the rules at all. Here's how it works--when you choose a metatype in PACKS, you make some additions and subtractions to certain attributes based on racial maximums and minimums. We do not have to figure any costs for additions--those are based on racial minimums, and so they just raise the attribute to what it would have been for that metatype with the same expenditure (that is, increasing a human's Body rating to 3 costs 20 BP, and increasing a Troll's body rating to 7 also costs 20 BP).

But the subtractions are different--when you subtract attributes, you are taking away points that have already been paid for in the attribute kit. So by taking a metatype that reduces certain attributes, you need to get build points back for that subtraction. In PACKS, trolls, lose 1 point of Agility, 2 of Charisma, 1 of Intelligence, and 1 of Logic. That's a total of 50 points that they should be refunded.  As the rules state, though, selecting a troll costs 40 BP. So they are being refunded 50 BP, but costing 40 BP, for a net refund of 10 BP, as listed in PACKS. So there's no change in the rules.

Hope that helps.

Jason H.
Jason M. Hardy
Shadowrun Line Developer

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thalandar

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So you are saying I am reading it right and they changed the rules so that it went from costing 40 points to be a troll to giving back 10 points.  Ummm, what downsides.  Ok they have a max charisma of 4 (natural).  Sorry, I think it should cost MORE to be a troll or give them some required allergies or something.

If this is really the case, then I have to say, I am totally unimpressed with a Catalyst product for the first time.  The main reason I bought it was for the Packs.....

Well, I seem to be a minority though so to each there own.  I can see this being an asset to first time players and GM's, so I would recommend it for those just starting the game.

I'll admit that this is a complicated one, but it doesn't actually change the rules at all. Here's how it works--when you choose a metatype in PACKS, you make some additions and subtractions to certain attributes based on racial maximums and minimums. We do not have to figure any costs for additions--those are based on racial minimums, and so they just raise the attribute to what it would have been for that metatype with the same expenditure (that is, increasing a human's Body rating to 3 costs 20 BP, and increasing a Troll's body rating to 7 also costs 20 BP).

But the subtractions are different--when you subtract attributes, you are taking away points that have already been paid for in the attribute kit. So by taking a metatype that reduces certain attributes, you need to get build points back for that subtraction. In PACKS, trolls, lose 1 point of Agility, 2 of Charisma, 1 of Intelligence, and 1 of Logic. That's a total of 50 points that they should be refunded.  As the rules state, though, selecting a troll costs 40 BP. So they are being refunded 50 BP, but costing 40 BP, for a net refund of 10 BP, as listed in PACKS. So there's no change in the rules.

Hope that helps.

Jason H.

But BP's are about game balance and you aren't charging the character for the benefit of having +4 to strength and +4 to body, you still need to figure in that.  Otherwise you are going the route of old AD&D where it doesn't give you any benefit to play a human fighter, so no one plays them.  I NEED more game balance in my game as it is, I have power players and regular players and the regular players playing humans already feel short changed.  Trolls only have the draw back of having a lower cap on a couple of atributes.

i was hoping PACKs would help my humanplayers.

JM_Hardy

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You are charging them. That's why they only get 10 points back for losing 50 points worth of attributes.

PACKS costs are the same as normal character creation costs. To see that, let's compare PACKS to normal character generation, using the Brawler attribute kit, which goes like this:
Body 5, Agility 4, Reaction 3, Strength 5, Charisma 3, Intuition 3, Logic 2, Willpower 3. The kit costs 200 BP.

Then we decide to make this character a troll, and we get the following scores:
Body 9, Agility 3, Reaction 3, Strength 9, Charisma 1, Intuition 2, Logic 1, Willpower 3. We get back 10 BP, so the total cost is 190 BP.

Now let's do character creation the conventional way. We choose the troll metatype, which costs us 40 BP. As a result, we have the following base attributes:
Body 5, Agility 1, Reaction 1, Strength 5, Charisma 1, Intuition 1, Logic 1, Willpower 1

To get to the same level as the character we made with PACKS, we have to make the following adjustments:
Body +4, Agility +2, Reaction +2, Strength +4, Charisma --, Intuition +1, Logic --, Willpower +2.

Combining all those pluses gives us +15. Since attribute costs are 10 BP per point, that means the total costs of making those changes is 150 BP. We add that to the 40 BP cost of choosing to be a troll and get 190 BP, which is the exact same cost that we got through doing it with PACKS.

The elegant thing about PACKS is, nothing in the rules changes. It just does a lot of the math for you so that you can do things quickly and easily. But whether you use PACKS or whether you generate the normal way, the BP cost remains the same. PACKS, then, is not doing anything with BP costs that the SR4A rules didn't already do.

Jason H.
Jason M. Hardy
Shadowrun Line Developer

"The thing is, Im serious about what I do, and the people with whom I associate are serious about what they do. Were all serious people. Look, I can even make a serious face. See?" --Quinn Bailey