Shadowrun

Shadowrun Play => Character creation and critique => Topic started by: gargaM0NK on (09:35:05/02-15-17)

Title: [SR5] Priority Generation: Math You Really Ought to Know
Post by: gargaM0NK on (09:35:05/02-15-17)
Plenty of outstanding players will tell you that it’s the story of a character, not their stats, that matters most. And while that may be true, Shadowrun - for better or worse - rewards mathematically strong character builds and punishes poor ones. Consider that an efficiently-built 0-karma character can sit at a table (say at a Missions event) with a sub-optimally built prime runner (with 150 karma under his/her belt) with the same archetype and have a higher roll for every test by virtue of their build. That’s seasons worth of hard work negated by lack of karma efficiency.

Thus the purpose of this thread is not to debate the merits of building your characters stats first and then developing a story to fit as opposed to vice versa - but instead to expose the math behind an efficiently-built character, and identify the patterns and processes that lead to such.


1. General Principles:
Karma Efficiency - We evaluate the relative strengths of competing builds by breaking down the karma value of benefits a character has, and then find the minimum karma cost necessary to achieve those benefits. For example, a post-gen skill specialization in First Aid costs 7 karma and adds 2 dice to the relevant tests, but a rating 6 MedKit costs 1500 NuYen (where 2000 is equivalent to 1 karma), making the MedKit a more karma efficient way to boost your First Aid pool (and perhaps the most karma efficient purchase in SR5!)

That said, Karma Efficiency isn't always optimal - any time a higher dice pool would gain/save you additional karma or nuyen, notably combat for instance. Ultimately, dying in combat costs ALL of the karma you've gained, and spending an Edge to be Not Dead Yet is less efficient than whatever karma + nuyen you could have spent on Attributes/Skills/Gear to not die in the first place.

Buy pools, not skills - Regardless of how you build your character, when you roll for a test all that matters is the (dice pool) & [Limit], and if we didn't find more efficient paths than Attribute:6 + Skill:12 we'd almost never get a pool of 18+.

Tall-stacks - Because character advancement in Shadowrun costs karma based on the "Desired Rating", the same stats can be more efficiently achieved by starting with a few high values (tall stacks) rather than many moderate ones (wide stacks).
Ie, to reach Reaction 5 Intuition 5, it's more karma efficient to Buy Reaction 5 (0 karma to raise to 5) Intuition 1 (10+15+20+25 = 70 karma to raise to 5) at character creation than it is to buy Reaction 3 (20+25 = 45 karma to raise to 5) Intuition 3 (45 more) with the same 4 Attribute points.

Attribute Synergy - One way to diversify your character's talents is to take an Attribute you already have a tall-stack in and put a point or two into a non-primary skill that uses that same attribute. Have a ton of Logic for hacking? Put a point in First Aid, and take advantage of that existing tall-stack by utilizing it in a new dice pool.


2. Priorities:
In theory Priority speeds up creation by restricting decisions to apples to apples choices. That is to say, once I know my ABCDE, I am only comparing STR with CHA, Armor with Ammo, Persuasion with Perception. That said, there's a weird cognitive gap where moving each Priority category up or down changes the relative cost/value of other categories. So, where with BP I might ask, “Would I benefit more from another specialization or a better CommLink?”, with Priority I might ask myself, "Okay, but if I'm a mystic adept, can I still be an elf?". Also, by contrast to BP it’s more difficult to spread yourself evenly between areas, tending instead to result in specialists due to the fact that if your Magic and Attributes are great you're going to have to suck at Skills and Resources, etc.

How do I get by with only Rating: E?
As a consequence, unlike SR4A where you'd often want to hone in on your character from the top-down, in SR5 there's an argument for figuring out which E Priority you can best live with and going from there.

Post-creation karma efficiency by category:


A
B
C
D
E

Magic

210(90)
120(70)
  50(40)
  10(10)
    0
Meta:
Human

230(40)
190(55)
135(55)
  80(45)
  35
Attr:
Human

425(70)
355(70)
285(35)
250(35)
215
Meta:
Elf

225(65)
160(60)
100(65)
  35
    -
Attr:
Elf

495(70)
425(70)
355(45)
310(25)
285
Meta:
Dwarf

215(75)
140(55)
  85
    -
    -
Attr:
Dwarf

535(70)
465(70)
395(35)
360(40)
320
Meta:
Ork

225(75)
150(80)
  70
    -
    -
Attr:
Ork

540(70)
470(70)
400(35)
365(35)
330
Meta:
Troll

240(100)
140
    -
    -
    -
Attr:
Troll

590(55)
535(70)
465(35)
430(35)
395

Skills

477(150)
327(116)
211(62)
149(23)
126
Res
(¥)

225(88)
138(68)
  70(45)
  25(22)
    3

For each category the first number is the post-creation karma points that Priority rating can be worth, if allocated for optimal karma. The number in parenthesis is the karma points lost by dropping to the next highest Priority (which is to say that after character creation it would cost 60 to increase to the same Attributes and Skills of Magic:A from Magic: B). That matters because you can, for each Priority level, choose the category with the highest karma lost to find a more karma efficient build.

So, why not always just go Skills:A > Magic:B > Metatype: C > Attributes: D > Resources: E?
Well, Trolls can’t go Meta (C), not all concepts need any Magic, and some archetypes need a ton of Resources. ‘Wared adepts DO want Magic, but know they’re not getting the value of a max Magic rating after Essence loss. Not to mention the fact that some large karma equivalences (particularly Skill Groups (#post_Skills)) aren't dice-efficient, and some small karma investments result in significant dice pool increases (1-2 karma of NuYen to purchase Vision / Audio enhancements, for instance).

But while there may not be 1 Golden Priority order, you can use the relative karma value for each rating to help optimize your builds. Example: Morningstar the Street Sam is an Ork (C) who is not magically active (E), and needs Resources: A for ‘wares. Using the table, he can still determine that going Skills: B (vs 116+62 less for D), and Attributes: D (vs 70+35 more for B) will gain him ~73 karma over doing it the other way around.


3. Magic/Resonance:
Magic should generally be the first Priority you determine.
Magic Loss - Because purchasing magic is based on the desired rating, and essence loss due to cyber/bioware actually reduces your current magic rating, dual-natured characters who desire ‘ware can benefit from lower than normal magic Priority, then purchasing the ware and suffering essence loss, so that they may spend their karma on the (now) lowered desired attribute rating for magic. Just don’t let your Maximum Magic (base 6) be lowered to 0 or you can no longer purchase the Magic attribute or use magical active skills!

Technomancers While not technically magic users, Resonance users are handled the same way for the purposes of character creation. Complex Forms are no longer particularly expensive to purchase after creation, so you’ll just want to ensure you get Resonance of 6 and compiling + registering to 6 as well, whether it be through the Magic category or Metatype and Skills.

Magic Users:
Adepts are a solid choice, because (unlike Mystic Adepts) when they increase their Magic, they gain power points, facilitating the learning of Metamagic Feats at Initiation. Their strengths vs ‘Ware generally lie in skill-boosting and affecting the astral plane, but for some combat applications there are several Cyber and especially Bio -ware options are more efficient per point of Essence, and there’s nothing that says you can’t do both.

Mystic Adepts combine adept powers with the Magician’s ability to cast spells and summon spirits. In exchange, they are unable to astrally project (leaving the immediate area of their body). At character creation they can (and should) purchase power points up to their Magic rating for 5 karma each, but are unable to purchase more after creation except in lieu of a Metamagic Feat upon Initiation. This is why they prefer to take Magic at max and must weigh Essence loss more carefully than Physical Adepts.

Magicians are on the other end of the spectrum from Adepts, and focus on Spell-casting and Spirit Summoning, and their increase reflexes spell is probably the most efficient initiative tool in the game. While not as resilient as Mystic Adept based casters, they have the ability to project astrally and leave their bodies to Spy/Investigate/Fight.

Aspected Magicians at Priority (C) actually lose out on karma from spells vs full Magicians, and at Priority (B) the 25 bonus karma worth of Skill Groups (effectively only 10 if you dismiss Banishing / Ritual Spellcasting) isn’t worth sacrificing the versatility of full Magicians over. Even at Priority (D) you’d generally do better to adjust priorities, go full Magician, and maybe take one less Edge to boost your Magic instead.

Traditions:
Spell casters must choose a magical tradition. Traditions primarily dictate which secondary Attribute (in addition to Willpower) they use to soak drain. Possession traditions, while sporting two of the best sets of spirits in Vodou / Psionic, are not permitted in Missions, so you can omit those from your search. You'll also want to look at which 5 spirits you can summon, or more specifically, which spirit powers you desire access to. Considering that Spirit of Man's (Innate Spell) power can either act as a 0-karma Sustaining Focus or double your combat spells per turn, I'd suggest making that your top priority, followed by looking at the expanded spirits in Street Grimoire for access to Magic Guard and other new powers.
Mentor Spirits:
For less karma at char-gen than a Specialization, Mentor Spirits are a pretty good value to most magic users - each gives a 2 dice bonus as well as either a second bonus to a magic skill roll (Magicians) or free adept power (Physical Adept). Mystic Adepts choose between the two. Each comes with a disadvantage to be played around, but many roll Composure to resist, which isn't so bad for Charisma Traditions (although even they still need 15d6 to get 3 consistently).

Spellcasters:
Depending on your choice of spells, it's not unlikely that you'll use Manipulation spells more often than any other school. That said, Combat and Health spells tend to benefit most from high force / high pool casting, so they'd benefit most from a +2, if perhaps not as often. Here are my top recommendations:
Adepts:
Choose based on the adept powers you'll be using. The spirits below are worth the most power points.
Skills:
Alternately, you could choose for the cheap +2 skill bonus. Some of the best for skills would be:
Recommended Spells:
Since spells all cost the same Karma, karma efficiency doesn't directly apply here. Instead we want to look for spells that come up often, open up approaches not available to non-casters, and (when in combat) hit multiple targets in a single turn. And be careful of augmenting spells that must be sustained while taking other actions, as their bonus is often mitigated by the -2 sustaining penalty.
Keep in mind that for spells you want to cast at high force with high drain, like combat spells, you'd do well to buy a Fetish (SGp212) to reduce the drain.

Close Runners Up:
Title: Re: [SR5] Priority Generation: The Math You Really Ought to Know
Post by: gargaM0NK on (09:35:27/02-15-17)
Recommended Adept Powers:
Adept Ways:
Most ways essentially allow you to pay 20 karma for extra power points. You'll want to choose based on your selection of Adept powers, with more benefit from ways that apply discounted Power Point cost to more expensive powers like Astral Perception, Cool Resolve, Improved Physical Attribute.. Two stand out above the rest by granting you complimentary Mentor Spirit bonuses, effectively giving you 25 karma worth of quality for 20 karma. Burnout's way is completely different, costing only 15 karma, and essentially facilitating 'Wared adepts by reducing the essence cost of all augmentations as though they were Alpha Grade.

4. Metatype:
Choice of metatype affects 3 things, systematically: Starting Attribute values, Special Attribute points to allocate, and Natural Maximum Attributes - which will have an effect on the relative value of the Attribute priority. So you’ll want to keep your Attribute (#post_Attributes) priority in mind when deciding on one.

Races:
That said, to balance races Metatype also controls access to Special Attribute points, which is where the otherwise awesome non-humans get whittled back down to size. The priority table (#post_CategoryTable) calculates the total karma gain between Physical, Mental, and Special attribute points. Where Specials are concerned, Elves at C are fine, but Dwarves get only 1 Special and Orks get none at all, meaning you’re either sacrificing Special attributes or, by swapping, probably Physical / Mental to compensate.

And while it can be tempting to use Metatype as a dump priority, Edge is really valuable for breaking limits as well as adding dice, and Metatype is where you pick it up. That said, if you’re not a magic user, make sure you don’t prioritize for more Special Attribute points than you can invest in Edge.

It is worth noting that Special Attribute points from Metatype are worth more post-gen karma as your Magic and Edge Attribute approach 6. As an example, a Metatype (B) Dwarf's 4 points are worth 70 karma if added to an Edge of 1, but worth 90 karma if added to a Magic (D) Adept's Magic of 2.

Metatype also controls the Natural Maximums for Attributes as well, and can allow you to excel at your Archetype beyond what is even possible for Human characters.


5. Attributes:
Depending on your priority assignment, you have 12-24 points to assign to non-special attributes, regardless of current / desired rating, but only one attribute may be raised to the maximum (the rest cap at Max-1). After character creation, however, increasing attributes cost 5 karma / desired rating. Keep in mind that whereas Skills generally contribute only to specific rolls, each attribute contributes not only to multiple skills, but additionally derived attributes (such as Limits and Initiative) as well.

Allocating Attributes:
If you chose a non-human, try to increase whichever Attribute has the highest racial Maximum to that max, then soft-max any attributes which exceed the default max of 6. Of attributes that have the same maximum, look at the linked Skills and prioritize Attributes related to the Skills you’re focusing on. There's a downside of leaving attributes at 1 long-term though: you are entirely unable to default on those attributes. Keep in mind however that after character creation it costs 25 karma to raise a rank 1 Attribute 2 points to 3, vs the same 25 for only 1 rank from 4 to 5, so if you start with several tragically low Attributes, it doesn’t have to stay that way for long.

Also, there are other ways to increase your attributes than direct karma purchases. Unlike the ease of raising Limits, which is significantly easier for Mental, and easier still for Social, There are many more ways to boost Physical Attributes than Mental Attributes. Of Physical Attributes, Body is the most difficult - and with Body you ideally want an odd number since the extra condition boxes round up.

Boosting Physical Attributes:
• (Bio) Suprathyroid Gland - +1; Ess: .7
• (Adept) Increased (Attribute) - +X; Power Points: R
• (Bio) Adrenaline pump - +1-3 (1d6 Turns); Ess: .75*R
• (Spell) Increased (Attribute) - +X

Body:

Agility:
• (Cyber) Cyberlimb - 3+ Custom; Ess: .45-1 / limb
• (Cyber) Muscle Replacement - +1-4; Ess: .5*R
• (Bio) Muscle Toner - 1-4; Ess: .2*R
• (Drug) P4MO (CFp182) - +1; Both: 1 Week  (Cyber)

Reaction:
• (Cyber) Reaction Enhancers - +1-3; Ess: .3*R
• (Drug) Overdrive (CFp186) - +1; Both: (10-Bod)h
• (Drug) Betameth (CFp180) - +2, +1 Int; Both: (9-Bod)h
• (Drug) Novacoke - +1; Both: (10-Bod)h

Strength:
• (Cyber) Cyberlimb - 3+ Custom; Ess: .45-1 / limb
• (Cyber) Muscle Replacement - +1-4; Ess: .5*R
• (Bio) Muscle Augmentation - 1-4; Ess: .2*R

Boosting Mental Attributes:
• (Spell) Increased (Attribute) - +X; Force: Current (Aug) Value

Will:
• (Drug) Hurlgh (CFp181) - +1; Both: (12-Bod)h

Logic:
• (Bio) Cerebral Booster - 1-3; Ess: .2*R

Intuition:
• (Bio) Cerebellum Booster (CFp118) - +1-2 Intuition; Ess: .2*R• (Drug) Psyche - +1 Int; Psychological: (12-Bod)h

Charisma:
• (Drug) Ex - +1; Both: (8-Bod)h• (Drug) Red Mescaline (CFp182) - +1; Both: (18-Bod)h

Boosting Derived Attributes:
Initiative: (Base: (Rea) + (Int) +1d6)
• (Spell) Increased Reflexes - +1d6 /2 hits, +1 /hit, max 4d6 + 8+
• (Adept) Improved Reflexes - Max 4d6+ 3; Power Points: .5 + 1 /1d6   
• (Cyber) Move-By-Wire (CFp84) - +1-3 Rea, +1d6+3-9 Ini; Ess: 3-5
• (Cyber) Wired Reflexes - +1-3 Rea +1-3d6; Ess: 2-5
• (Bio) Synaptic Booster - +1-3 Rea +1-3d6; Ess: .5*R
• (Bio) Boosted Reflexes (CFp118) - +1d6; Ess: 1
• (Gene) Synaptic Acceleration (CFp162) - +1, +1d6; Ess: .4
• (Drug) Cram - +1 Rea +1d6; Psychological, (12-Bod)h

Attribute Observations:

6. Skills:
Although it's the 2nd to last priority to consider, skills are really what defines most Shadowrunners. And where Metatype is kinda tied to Attributes, Skills are similarly tied to Resources in that - depending on your archetype - you’re going to grow faster with either NuYen (Hackers / Street Sams) or Karma (Adepts and Magicians). If it’s NuYen, you may want to sacrifice skill priority to bump up resources.

In the priority table (#post_CategoryTable), we can see that Skills (A) is worth 88 karma more than Skills (B), the largest drop of any priority A - a compelling reason to make Skills your top priority IF your character could take full advantage of all of those skills (and skill groups). There are several caveats to that choice, however:
Core, Auxiliary, and Synergy Skills by Role:
Close
Combat

Decking
Fire
Support

Infiltration

Magical

Negotiation

Techno-

Transport
Core
Skills
Melee WeaponComputer,
Hacking,
Electronic
Warfare
Ranged
Weapon
Locksmith,
Palming,
Sneaking
Assensing,
Spellcasting
Summoning
Con,
Negotiation
Compiling,
Registering
Software
Pilot
Aux.
Skills
Gymnastics,
Ranged Weapon,
Running,
Throwing
Cyber-
combat,
Hardware,
Software
Con, Disguise,
Ettiquette,
Imperso-
nation
Arcana, Astral
Combat,
Binding,
Counterspelling
Ettiquette,
Imperso-
nation,
Intimidation
Computer,
Cybercombat,
Elec Warfare,
Hacking
Elec Warfare,
Gunnery
Navigation
AttrAgi / StrLogicAgiAgiMagicCharismaLog/WillReaction
Syn-
ergy
Locksmith,
Palming
Sneaking
Demolitions,
First Aid,
Forgery
Medicine
Locksmith,
Palming
Sneaking
Ranged Weapon*Based on
Drain Attribute
Instruction,
Leadership
Demolitions,
First Aid,
Forgery
Medicine

Allocating Skill Points:
If you have points in skill groups, deal with those first, as you can’t use skill points for a skill in a group you’ve purchased. Keep in mind that you cannot break a skill group (to specialize or raise an included skill) until karma expenditure, and not all Skill groups are equal: not only do some feature more frequently used skills than others, but some contain 4 and others only 3. The most commonly useful are probably Influence, Stealth, Cracking, and some of the Techno/Magic groups.  The least commonly useful are probably Close Combat, Firearms, Acting and Outdoors. As with Attributes / Skills, groups at rating:6 are the best karma value.  Athletics is a decent use for any leftover skill group points after, as just not defaulting on running / swimming is a plus, and the more Gymnastics the merrier for dodging.

Then take your skill points and take as many skills to 6 as you can afford (3 at E, 7 at A). It’s only 2 karma to grab 1s in a couple of skills (especially the ones you can’t default in) after you earn some karma in-game. Also, although it's not on the table, virtually every Shadowrunner wants and benefits from Perception.

Any remaining points are best spent as specializations. Specializations at character creation cost 1 Skill point. After character creation, they cost 7 karma. The best specializations are those that come up frequently, such as Automatics: Machine Pistols/SMGs/Assault Rifles, Perception: Visual, Stealth: Urban, or Con: Fast Talk.

At ranks 1-4 of a skill, the specialization will gain you 5-9 more karma than increasing the skill 1 rank. Increasing from rank 5 to 6, it’s the same either way unless one or more of those points would have to be spent on a rank 1 skill to specialize in, at which point you’d do better to just take the 6.

Street wisdom is that for your runner's core skills, you want to aim for a pool of 16+ dice, with 13+ for your auxiliary skills, and 10+ dice in your synergy skills. That won't get you far unless you have limits to match, however.
Title: Re: [SR5] Priority Generation: The Math You Really Ought to Know
Post by: gargaM0NK on (09:35:51/02-15-17)
7. Limits:
With SR5 one of the biggest changes to the core rule-set was the addition of limits. Your character has Accuracy for combat as well as the three inherent limits, described in the table below, but all of them work the same: no matter how many hits you roll, you can only use a maximum of your limit for that roll.  Alternately, you can spend edge before you roll to ignore your limit for that test.

    Accuracy
Mental Limit
Physical Limit
Social Limit
Base  (Gear-based)(2*Log+Int+Will)/3(2*Str+Body+Rea)/3(2*Cha+Wil+Ess)/3

How high should my limits be?
Because we're using d6s and 5's and 6's are successes, we'll average 1 success for every 3 dice we roll. So we should always aim for a limit of at least 1/3 of our dice pool for a roll. Then using some fancy math we can derive the following table for how much higher than dice/3 we need to go to ensure we keep a # of successes within the standard deviation for the pool size.

Dice Pool2-1011-2829-55>55
Extra Limit
1
2
3
4

Which is to say that, if I have 18 dice to roll for Con, I'd want a modified Social limit of at least (18/3)+2 = 8 to ensure that I don't discard successes on more than ~3 out of every 20 rolls.

Boosting Limits:
• (Adept) Improved Potential (Men,Phys,Soc) - +1; PP: .5
• (Quality) Indomitable (Men,Phys,Soc) - +1; Karma: 8*r

Accuracy
• (Gear) Laser Sight - +1
• (Gear) Long Barrel (HTp181) - +1
• (Gear) Personalized Grip (HTp182) - +1
• (Gear) SmartLink - +2
 
Mental Limit
• (Bio) Mnemonic Enhancer - +1-3; Ess: .1*r
• (Drug) Deepweed - +1; Physiological: (6-Bod)h
• (Drug) Psyche - +1; Psychological: (12-Bod)h
Physical Limit
• (Bio) Enhanced Articulation - +1; Ess: .3
• (Gene) Neo-EPO (CFp160) - +1; Ess: .2

Social Limit
• (Gear) Armored Clothing(R&Gp57) - +1-3
• (Bio) Tailored Pheromones - +1-3; Ess: .2*r
• (Adept) Voice Control - +1-3; PP: .5*r
• (Drug) Novacoke - +1; Both: (10-Bod)h


8. Resources:
To compare the benefits from items vs other character improvements, you can divide the cost in NuYen by 2000 to determine how many karma you'd have to spend (with Bonus chargen karma) or earn (using Work for the Man). Because the karma cost of skills/attributes increases per rank while NuYen costs are linear, bonuses from items become better deals as the cost to increase your pool with Attributes / Skills increases. Ie. if my Magic is 1, its more efficient increase it to 2 (10) than buy a rating 1 Power Focus (9 karma worth of Nuyen + 6 to bond), but the same focus is cheaper than raising Magic from 3 to 4 (20 karma). Also, since the cost of items in NuYen doesn't increase post-gen, many purchases can safely be postponed until after creation.

Lifestyles:
The general rule for Lifestyles is, the less you can get away with, the better. A month of High Lifestyle at character creation, it should be noted, costs less on average than a month of Medium after starting NuYen is taken into account. Higher Lifestyles may serve the interest of bio-drone Riggers wanting access to exotic pets or Matrix specialists with the better grid access, although said runners are hit among the hardest by the NuYen squeeze.

Privileges for Various Lifestyles:
Gear:
Augmentations:
With Cyberware and Bioware stacking normally in Fifth Edition, you have to be careful with how you spend your Essence, but the upside is that the cost and availability of higher grade 'ware is lower. As per 4A, Cyberware tends to cost less Nuyen, where Bioware tends to cost less Essence. Also as per 4A, Bioware is often more Essence efficient than the Adept equivalent in Power Points. The general rule is this: Rather than taking the same grade for everything, it's more efficient to buy higher grades of less expensive, higher essence augmentations. For example, if my runner has Wired Reflexes(1) (Ess: 2; 39K) and Muscle Toner(3) (Essence: .6; 96K), I'd do better to grab Used Muscle Toner (Ess: .75; 72K) and more cutting edge Betaware Wired Reflexes (Ess: 1.4, 58.5K), saving me .45 Essence points and 4.5K NuYen.

Initiative:
The best overall deal (if you can live with an illegal implant and spring for the Restricted Gear) would be Alpha Move-by-Wire:2 (CFp84) with an average of +10 to Initiative (Ess: 3.2, 150K), although magic users will likely prefer Synaptic Boosters:3 with an average of 9 (Ess: 1.5, 285K), and Pilots may want to combine Wired Reflexes:2 (Ess: 3, 149K) and Alpha Reaction Enhancers:2 (Ess: .48, 31.2K) for an average of 8 but two more Reaction in the bargain. The Cerebellum Booster (CFp118) is less Nuyen efficient than most other options at 50K and .2 ess per point, but stack with all other boosters. Boosted Reflexes (CFp118) and Synaptic Accelerators (CFp164) are more efficient alternatives to rating 1 Wired Reflexes and Synaptic Boosters respectively, but if you ever upgrade later you won't get any essence / nuyen refunded.

Soaking Damage:
Bone Lacing offers twice as much per rating as Bone Density Augmentation for comparable essence. Both remove your ability to deal Stun damage with Unarmed attacks, but synergizel with Striking Callus (CFp121).. Orthoskin mods like Chemical Repulsion (CFp116) make it the superior choice to Dermal Plating. Dedicated tanks should also look at the Pain Editor.

Cyberlimbs:
(Off-)hand and feet replacements with Armor 2-3 stack and aren't restricted by your Strength. A full cyberarm "of awesome" with max Agility that you use to increase your ranged weapon pool. Unfortunately the non-specific wording about which attributes are used when means that whether you get the attribute you paid for, half of it, or ignore it entirely is up to GM discretion (not worth it to my mind).

Skills:
Misc:
Armor:
With Armor, we start to get outside of the mindset of Karma Efficiency (or NuYen Efficiency). Taking less damage means I have lower dice penalties for the remainder of the Mission, so the cred spent on it will soon pay for itself many times over. We do want something we can wear - a suit's probably less conspicuous at the Space Needle than Camo, and Powered Armor is right out. It's also worth taking the qualities into consideration. We also don't want to walk around encumbered as Agility skills are both common and critical. Mostly, though, we want the highest armor rating to live and fight another day. There are normally better ways to use Restricted Gear, however, so I've limited my list to Availability 12.
Melee Weapons:
As with Armor, we're normally more concerned here with stopping power than karma efficiency. When selecting a Melee weapon, you'll likely want to stick with a flat damage weapon unless your Strength exceeds 6. At that point, the Garrotte's +4S beats the Stun Staff / Shock Hands 9S, although Garrotte's use weird grappling rules described in Run and Gun. At Strength 7, the Mono Garrotte beats the Mono Whip / Chainsaw's 12P. It's also worth noting that there are fewer options to increase Accuracy for melee weapons, so Close Combat Adepts are more incentivized than their Gun Fu counterparts to take the Enhanced Accuracy power.
Firearms:
Again we're generally more concerned here with stopping power than karma efficiency. Contrary to the Weapons Specialist / Firearms skill group mentality however, most runners can get by with a single ranged weapon skill. The best value here is the Automatics skill, as you can use a Machine Pistol (in lieu of the Pistols skill) in more hush-hush black trenchcoat runs or an Assault Rifle (instead of Longarms) in louder pink mohawk runs giving you essentially 2 skills in 1. While you can only specialize in one or the other at character creation, you're only paying 7 karma down the road for effectively a second skill instead of 112 if you went Longarms + Pistols/Heavy Weapons.

Automatics:
Automatics that feature either Gas-Vent or Suppressors are nice, because you can mount the other for a silenced burst. Assault Rifles are for when your Automatics user absolutely, positively has to kill every mother-drekker in the room. Submachine Guns only need one hand, are more concealable than Assault Rifles, but still offer better damage and recoil control than a Machine Pistol. Machine Pistols then are the discreet option for Automatics users, and fit in a holster.
Longarms:
Battle Rifles are highly illegal, with larger clips and a tradeoff between burst fire and incredible stopping power. The Remington is really a higher pen version of a Sporting Rifle. There’s one clear choice in Sporting Rifles, but the 20 round clip and high range and damage rank it among the best legal Longarms. Then you've got the Shotguns granting Longarms some versatility with a high damage, close range option, but lack the potential to silence by RAW.
Pistols:
Higher damage makes Heavy Pistols generally better than the top-tier Light or Machine pistols. The reason to use a Light Pistol over a Heavy pistol is because Heavy Pistols don't tuck into a Hidden Arm Slide, and the reasons to use a Light Pistol over a Hold-out are ammo capacity, damage, and accessories. Holdouts are discreet and highly concealable, giving you the best chance of getting you in somewhere armed rather than not. Compare Tasers to Pistols with Stick n Shock. The Ruger Super Warhawk does the same damage, has as much or better ammo (a phrase you don't hear often), and better range and AP than all but one Taser, which you'd need a base damage of 11 to outclass.
Exotic:
There are some interesting choices here, but most of them are Illegal and hard to conceal. For chemical users, though:
Title: Re: [SR5] Priority Generation: The Math You Really Ought to Know
Post by: gargaM0NK on (09:36:32/02-15-17)
Weapon Mods / Accessories:
For melee weapons, just grab the Personalized Grip and go. With gun mods, what you're putting on the barrel is normally the biggest question. The average combat round with Firearms will likely go something like: Simple-1 - Ready Weapon / Insert Clip / Take Aim -> Simple-2 - Fire SS/SA/BF/FB -> Free - Eject Clip (if necessary). This means that you'll want at least enough Recoil Compensation to cover the Semi-Auto (1) / Burst Fire (3) / Full Auto (6) you'll be firing depending on the gun. You'll also want enough Accuracy to cover your pool size (see Limits (#post_Limits)). If you've done both of those without using the Barrel mount, a silencer / suppressor gives more flexibilty mid-run. As a consequence, guns with integral barrel mods are more highly valued. There's much less competition for the other mounts.
Ammo:
Foci:
Even outside of raw karma efficiency. Foci are efficient in that they allow Archetypes which thirst for karma to grow (via Initiation, increased Magic, etc) to advance significantly by means of NuYen (which they don't typically advance as quickly as Street Sams or Hackers) as well.
Resources E Bare Minimum PACK:
  500¥ Squatter Lifestyle
1000¥ Armor Jacket
  250¥ - Chemical Protection I*
  300¥ Goggles(6)
  25¥ - Image Link
150¥ Earbuds(3)
350¥ Steyr TMP
120¥ 60x Regular Ammo
    5¥ Spare Clip
2500¥ Fake SIN
  200¥ Fake License (1:Conc. Carry)
    10¥ 2x Cert Credstick, Standard
100¥ Comm: Meta Link
100¥ - Sim Module
  70¥ - Trodes
  50¥ - Subvocal Mic
  20¥ Backpack: Cheap (RFp254)
200¥ Survival Kit*
  25¥ Flashlight*
* After increased lifestyle costs, Dwarves must choose between the Chem Protection and the Survival Kit, and Trolls get none.
† Both the Fake Sin and Meta Link should be upgraded ASAP, possibly with karma at char-gen to a Fake Sin: 4 (5 Karma) and Hermes Ikon (1.5 Karma)


9. Qualities:
Negative Qualities:
It is almost always in your best interest to take a full 25 karma worth of Negative Qualities at character creation. The reason being that there are several advantages you can either only purchase directly (like Contacts and Power Points) or can purchase for less Karma cost (like Positive Qualities) during character creation. Another reason is that some roles, like Technomancers (with Complex Forms) and Magicians (with Spells) may need to make karma purchases to really be even roughly playable. Furthermore, characters who take Resources (E) may desire to trade Karma to Nuyen for critical purchases like a better CommLink or Fake Sin.  And all characters would do better to buy Knowledge / Language skills for relatively inexpensive Karma costs as opposed to very inefficient use of Skill points.

That said, because Negative Qualities too cost 2* the karma to remove after creation, ideally you'd prefer to take Negative Qualities that you don't mind playing around than to be forced to pay them off later.  There's a discussion thread on Negative Qualities that lend themselves well to this approach here (http://forums.shadowruntabletop.com/index.php?topic=25846.0).

Positive Qualities:
General:
Augmentation:
Magic:
Matrix / Rigging:
Social:
Close Combat / Fire Support:
Title: Re: [SR5] Priority Generation: The Math You Really Ought to Know
Post by: gargaM0NK on (09:36:50/02-15-17)
10. Character Advancement & Progression:
Skill Diversity:
When you transition to spending karma to advance after character creation (as opposed to karma equivalent priority points) the math suddenly changes. Where before you got the best bang for a few tall stacks, with karma it's much cheaper to raise your 0-1's to 2-3's than it is to raise 5-6's to 7-8's. This progression has always kinda reminded me of the Oceans movies (in 11, everyone has their one niche they bring to the team, but by 13, basically every member of the team can do passable face work).

Downtime Efficiency:
Lifestyle costs make it more important for Nuyen-driven characters to spend their downtime wisely than karma-driven characters. Here, efficiency is about reducing monthly upkeep costs (with cheaper lifestyles and by spending less on consumables/renewables) and spending as little downtime as possible between runs.

Training times reinforce the idea of tall stacks at char-gen, as it takes longer to train a single high skill/attribute than it does two lows. Specializations become faster than attributes and skills >4. Edge is faster than Magic.

Instruction is more useful for Skills below 5 (2 days off of 4 is 50%, but out of 35 is .05%), and it's most cost effective at rating 3 (2 fewer days for 30 Nuyen / day). Tutorsofts are more time efficient for training skills at rank 3+ and more Nuyen efficient if you'd eventually train a skill >5 (2400 for ranks 1-6 vs Instructor 2090 for 1-5 + 4610 for rank 6).

Initiation:
While metamagic feats are largely a playing style preference, there are a few that are recommended for everyone, namely: Masking and (Adept/) Centering.

Consumables / Renewables:
If you knew before a run whether you'd need a Grenade/Drug/Pheromone/Reagents/Subscription to succeed, it would only be efficient to buy them if your success or survival depended on it, because unlike most expenditures, it's a permanent cost for a temporary benefit.

Not knowing that, we can still find a maximum budget.  The average run pays ~11K nuyen according to FAQ. Each run takes at least a week on your calendar, so you can earn 44K a month (less if you spend time training or looking for gear).  Depending on your metatype and lifestyle, that leaves you between 43.5K and 24K. Your total budget for this category, then, should always be less than that number (or you'll eventually go broke), and (just like saving for retirement) the lower you can get away with here the faster you can save for new gear/'ware/etc. On the flip side, having consumables as an "Oh drek!" option on a run could make the difference between pulling it off, not pulling it off, or dying.

Skillsoft Networks (CFp78) - these are capped at rating 4, and cost as much for a month as it would to purchase a single skillsoft permanently. In exchange, you can freely swap out skillsofts for the month (only one at a time though). Consequently, they're better for situational skills (Nautical Mechanic) than primary skills. Also, these can be renewed in 3s when you need them on a run, so definitely let them lapse until you're about to need them again.

Social Software Subscriptions:
Grenades: (better to have and not need...)
Patches: (Well worth carrying one of each)
Drugs: (Somewhat confusing. See interpretation (http://forums.shadowruntabletop.com/index.php?topic=11865.msg218628#msg218628) and example (http://www.shadowrun.com/forums/discussion/comment/200694/#Comment_200694))
Drugs with a Threshold of 1 can be purchased at Pharmaceutical Grade to reduce the threshold to 0. Otherwise, you need to periodically skip weeks or have a combined (Body/Logic)+Willpower of 3*threshold+2 to reliably beat the addiction test (see Limits (#post_Limits)). You may also have to spend Edge on beating the addiction Threshold in the event that luck abandons you. If you STILL fail the test, you take the addiction quality for 0 bonus karma, and you probably want to think about stopping intake of that drug. The longer the duration, the less you'll spend on them.

Reagents: (Use in emergency to manipulate spell limit)

11. References and Shout-Outs:
Book Codes
CF = Chrome FleshDT = Data TrailsGH3 = Gun H(e)aven 3HS = Howling Shadows
HT = Hard TargetsR5 = Rigger 5.0RF = Run FasterR&G = Run & Gun
SG = Street GrimoireSSP = Shadow SpellsSS = Stolen Souls

Codes will typically use the format CFp7 - for page 7 of Chrome Flesh as per the table above.

References:
Shout-outs!
Title: Re: [SR5] Priority Generation: The Math You Really Ought to Know
Post by: ZeldaBravo on (06:58:23/02-16-17)
There are some mistakes there:

  • Orcs’ 3 Strength and 2 Body are worth 70+ Karma and
It's '2 Strength and 3 Body'

  • Trolls require the highest level of prioritization and have DOUBLE the cost of gear and lifestyle

Trolls only get lifestyle cost doubled, check the Errata.

I can look for more if that helps.
Title: Re: [SR5] Priority Generation: The Math You Really Ought to Know
Post by: Glonthein on (08:45:21/02-16-17)
Another one to correct :
"Adepts are a solid choice, because when they initiate they gain both a Metamagic feat and a Power Point"

Pretty sure it's either one or the other per initiation, not both. Raising magic does give them an auto-Power Point, but as far as Initiation goes, I believe you have to chose.
Title: Re: [SR5] Priority Generation: The Math You Really Ought to Know
Post by: gargaM0NK on (08:56:45/02-16-17)
Cheers guys! Adepts, Orks, and Trolls have been updated!
Title: Re: [SR5] Priority Generation: The Math You Really Ought to Know
Post by: Hobbes on (14:17:56/02-16-17)
For example, the conversion of 1 karma to 2K NuYen tells us that Resources: A is worth ~255 karma points, whereas optimal skill allocation makes Skills: A worth 477 karma, so generally Skills: A is more karma efficient than Resources: A.

I don't dispute the math, but your next point and the limited number of skills needed for a character to efficiently contribute to a team means you can easily have "Too many" skill points and not enough other things.

Tall-stacks - Because character advancement in Shadowrun costs karma based on the new "Desired Rating", the same stats can generally be most efficiently achieved by starting with a few high values (tall stacks) rather than many moderate ones (wide stacks).
Ie, looking at the table below, to reach Reaction 5 Intuition 5, it's more karma efficient to Buy Reaction 5 (0 karma to raise to 5) Intuition 1 (10+15+20+25 = 70 karma to raise to 5)  at character creation than it is to buy Reaction 3 (20+25 = 45 karma to raise to 5)  Intuition 3 (45 more karma) with the same 4 Attribute points.

Most important point that drives almost all optimization choices in a build.  Well stated.


So, why not always just go Skills:A > Magic:B > Metatype: C > Attributes: D > Resources: E?

That would be a hot mess of a character.  Elf Face Shaman, maybe...?   : )   

The other advise really worth repeating is start with "E".  (Hint, it's resources, magic, or metatype) 
Title: Re: [SR5] Priority Generation: The Math You Really Ought to Know
Post by: Tecumseh on (18:22:39/02-16-17)
While Skill A is karma-efficient, there is a significant percentage of the population that considers it a trap option. See this long thread (http://forums.shadowruntabletop.com/index.php?topic=21909.0), which I won't try to summarize here.

I will point out that there are things that are difficult to quantify in Karma, such as Limits. A Limit it set by multiple underlying values, and so the cost of improving the Limit is highly variable based on the the cost of improving the underlying values.

I have seen Skills A + Attributes D and it was a mess of low Limits where nothing past the first 5 hits counted. The reverse build produced comparable dice pools with vastly improved Limits and was more effective, if less versatile.

To paraphrase Moneyball, most players think in terms of buying skills or attributes. Your goal shouldn't be to buy skills or attributes, your goal should be to buy hits. And in order to buy hits, you need to buy both dice pool AND Limits. Now certainly skills and attributes are highly important contributors to dice pool, and attributes are key to limits, but there are other factors that affect both like spells and adept powers and cyber/bioware and equipment and even Edge that upend the whole equation and make it the product of so many moving parts that you're often better finding a happy balance between the variables than trying to calculate a mathematical purity.

To voice a less popular opinion, this is why Limits and Accuracy are one of my favorite additions to SR5. With only dice pools to consider and with build points offering an easy conversion rate between priorities, the math to chargen in SR4 was too straight-forward and easy to optimize. ("Easy" is a relative term. I will note that UmaroVI had a Ph.D in mathematics.) Limits were specifically introduced to curb the dice pool arms race and to give equipment other ways to improve a character than simply adding more dice.

I specifically like the difficulty of optimizing in SR5, if only because the difficulty creates plenty of grey area where if you follow some basic guidelines you can play what you really want to without worrying too much about every potential point of karma left behind in chargen.

Edit: grammar
Title: Re: [SR5] Priority Generation: The Math You Really Ought to Know
Post by: Slipperychicken on (21:33:25/02-16-17)
Another one to correct :
"Adepts are a solid choice, because when they initiate they gain both a Metamagic feat and a Power Point"

Pretty sure it's either one or the other per initiation, not both. Raising magic does give them an auto-Power Point, but as far as Initiation goes, I believe you have to chose.

You're right. Core book 278-279 and core book 326.

Adepts get free PP whenever their magic rating increases, and when they initiate may choose PP instead of metamagic. If an adept always takes PP instead of metamagic, he could theoretically have up to 2x his magic rating in power points.

And of course, if an adept wants to load up on qi foci (what else is he going to spend his money on?) he can have a little more than that.
Title: Re: [SR5] Priority Generation: The Math You Really Ought to Know
Post by: Dwagonzhan on (03:22:58/02-17-17)
And of course, if an adept wants to load up on qi foci (what else is he going to spend his money on?) he can have a little more than that.

A Workshop to make better toys for you and/or your team of course!
Take a Qi Focus with Improved Ability keyed to your favorite downtime vocation: (Armorer, Mechanic, Biotech are good picks)
Title: Re: [SR5] Priority Generation: The Math You Really Ought to Know
Post by: gargaM0NK on (10:08:26/02-26-17)
Thanks guys! I've updated the skills section to better point out the downsides of Skills: A priority.

I've also further fleshed out the Magic, Attributes, and Limits section, and added a legend for Book Codes.
Title: Re: [SR5] Priority Generation: The Math You Really Ought to Know
Post by: FST_Gemstar on (18:29:08/02-26-17)
For example, the conversion of 1 karma to 2K NuYen tells us that Resources: A is worth ~255 karma points, whereas optimal skill allocation makes Skills: A worth 477 karma, so generally Skills: A is more karma efficient than Resources: A.


So, why not always just go Skills:A > Magic:B > Metatype: C > Attributes: D > Resources: E?

That would be a hot mess of a character.  Elf Face Shaman, maybe...?   : )   

The other advise really worth repeating is start with "E".  (Hint, it's resources, magic, or metatype)

Dwarven technomancer with a lot of logic linked skills to partner with diagnostics might work too. :) 

I would caveat that dwarves, and sometimes elves/trolls depending on what else they have going on can take Attributes E. And the skillpoints for magic/resonance A/B can allow those characters to go skills E sometimes. 
Title: Re: [SR5] Priority Generation: The Math You Really Ought to Know
Post by: Beta on (11:37:16/02-28-17)
Just wondering if it would make sense to break the magic column up by type (adept / full-mage or mysad / aspected), as surely the net karma and step values values vary depending on what you are building?  (granted that there are a lot of columns to cram into the page already, not sure if adding two is actually feasible --- if not, could maybe break that down in the magic section?)
Title: Re: [SR5] Priority Generation: The Math You Really Ought to Know
Post by: Overbyte on (16:34:32/03-01-17)
I'm with Hobbes and Tecumseh.
Although I'm a math guy and like what you've tried to do here and agree with some of your main points (particularly about tall stacks), there are a number of important issues not quantified.
As others have pointed out, Skills have a certain "diminishing returns" unless you are trying to make a character that is good at everything, and if you are, stats go further boosting all skills in a category. Often later in character development the math is simple as to whether to raise a bunch of skills or just raise one stat. Limits are another place, I just made a new char that was a Mystic Adept Face Infiltrator and when I got done with everything I realized my Limits were terrible (5 social and 3 physical) and had to rearrange my stats so i could actually be good at Social and Physical tasks that I had plenty of skill points in (Sneaking for example).

You mention "optimal skill allocation" what is that?

Also, some of the math I don't understand, like how do you come by the various numbers you have for Attr E-->D? If one were to build a character with Attr E "optimally" you'd have tall stack in a couple of stats and the rest 1's, so when you increase to Attr D you'd be increasing 2 stats from 1 to 2 which would be only 20 points each (10 each), or one stat from 1 to 3 which would be 25 points. So the most you would lose going from D to E would be 25 yet the chart has all sorts of numbers in it? I must have missed something. Also, If you think about going from Human E to Human D how to you get the value for that? Consider that those Special Attr points could (and often are) used to raise Magic. So you might be moving you Magic from 4 to 6. That's 55 Karma cost. Whereas going from Edge 2 to 4 is 35. You have 45 listed. Did you average these values? Again you say "if allocated optimally" but don't define what that is.

Long winded thing about your Ork Sam here.. maybe too much ...
Spoiler (hover to show)

I understand it's pretty much impossible to take all these things into account, but I guess I'm wondering how you came to these numbers in many cases. Perhaps much of that was explained in the original SR4 post?

Title: Re: [SR5] Priority Generation: The Math You Really Ought to Know
Post by: Beta on (16:44:30/03-01-17)
I don't think that the OP ever advocated building a character totally according to those numbers -- and I think the subject line captures it nicely with "The Math You Really Ought to Know".  I'd say that understanding this stuff is useful when generating a character, but by no means sufficient.  It is a bit like understanding compound interest when taking out a loan, you really should understand that and what those numbers mean for you, but that isn't enough information to tell you if a particular loan is a good idea or not.
Title: Re: [SR5] Priority Generation: The Math You Really Ought to Know
Post by: Dwagonzhan on (19:22:13/03-01-17)
You mention "optimal skill allocation" what is that?

Skill Points under Priority accumulate in value the deeper into a skill you invest.
That's because the Karma cost equivalent per skill rank (post chargen or in Karma Build) increases with each rank. While the cost to YOU in chargen is 1:1.

I'll demonstrate this in practice via two hypothetical cases.

SCENARIO: We have 12 skill points (granted via priority system) to spend.

-Case I
I pick two skills to specialize in. Sinking 4 points into one, 6 into another, and using 1 point apiece to buy a Specialization.
(this is a very common spread on my characters in practice; used for Perception 4 [Visual] + Combat Skill 6 [Specialization])

Breaking it down into Karma equivalent.
Skill A: 6 , Skill B: 6 = ((1+2+3+4+5+6)*2)*2
Result: 42 + 42 = 84 Karma

VS

-Case II
Buying 3 ranks in four different skills, with no specializations.
Skill A,B,C, & D all @ Rating 3 = [(1+2+3)*2)] * 4
Result: 12 karma x 4 Skills = 48 Karma

By spending those 12 points "deeper" in Case I vs "Wider" in Case 2, I greatly improve my raw Karma equivalent gains.
That is NUMERICALLY optimal. Not necessarily optimal for any given situation in play. In this way, specialization or "deep" builds force you to pay in opportunity costs elsewhere (in theory).

In practice, this isn't much of an issue because Shadowrun is a team game.
Everyone on the team is (in theory) a specialist in something. So most characters only really need a handful of core skills at high rank, with a smattering of niche or support skills.
(Mages take this to an extreme, requiring only Spellcasting, Summoning+Binding to be highly useful/powerful)

EDIT: Corrections because I can't math (DURR HURR). But my main point remains.
Title: Re: [SR5] Priority Generation: The Math You Really Ought to Know
Post by: Overbyte on (20:19:32/03-01-17)
@Dwagonzhan

I understand what you are saying.
But that doesn't explain what "optimal" means in the  general sense.
If I have 20 skill points is "optimal" 3 skills at 5(7) and 1 at 1(3)?

Or.. in other words is "optimal"  = maximum number of skills at 5 with a specialization in each (for 6 points each) and the remaining points in a single skill as high as possible with specialization?

Likewise what is "optimal" stat placement?

Is it = maximum one stat, max - 1 in as many as possible, then everything left over in one stat?
Title: Re: [SR5] Priority Generation: The Math You Really Ought to Know
Post by: Pap Renvela on (02:46:35/03-02-17)
@Dwagonzhan

I understand what you are saying.
But that doesn't explain what "optimal" means in the  general sense.
If I have 20 skill points is "optimal" 3 skills at 5(7) and 1 at 1(3)?

Or.. in other words is "optimal"  = maximum number of skills at 5 with a specialization in each (for 6 points each) and the remaining points in a single skill as high as possible with specialization?

Likewise what is "optimal" stat placement?

Is it = maximum one stat, max - 1 in as many as possible, then everything left over in one stat?

20 skill points... 6(+2), 6(+2), 6 would yield the most Karma... which is what I believe the OP would call optimal

Title: Re: [SR5] Priority Generation: The Math You Really Ought to Know
Post by: Dwagonzhan on (18:10:16/03-02-17)
20 skill points... 6(+2), 6(+2), 6 would yield the most Karma... which is what I believe the OP would call optimal

^Basically this.
I had a more detailed reply, but it failed to send after 4 attempts. I shutdown for the evening afterward.
Title: Re: [SR5] Priority Generation: The Math You Really Ought to Know
Post by: Glyph on (22:41:21/03-02-17)
Four rating: 3 skills actually cost 48 Karma, not 24 Karma.  But that is still less than 76.  Actually, the most optimal way to spend 12 skill points is to get two rating: 6 skills, worth 84 Karma.

But this thread is not really about optimizing purely by Karma efficiency - it is about being aware of Karma efficiency, so that you can better balance it against other factors.  For example, suppose you have 18 skill points.  Getting three skills of 6 might be most optimal, Karma-wise, but suppose that two of them are your primary skills and the third is a supporting/tertiary skill.  Dropping that third skill down to 4 lets you get specializations for the other two skills.  So you balance that combination being worth 8 less Karma, versus a +2 to two important dice pools.
Title: Re: [SR5] Priority Generation: The Math You Really Ought to Know
Post by: Pap Renvela on (08:35:53/03-03-17)
Four rating: 3 skills actually cost 48 Karma, not 24 Karma.  But that is still less than 76.  Actually, the most optimal way to spend 12 skill points is to get two rating: 6 skills, worth 84 Karma.

But this thread is not really about optimizing purely by Karma efficiency - it is about being aware of Karma efficiency, so that you can better balance it against other factors.  For example, suppose you have 18 skill points.  Getting three skills of 6 might be most optimal, Karma-wise, but suppose that two of them are your primary skills and the third is a supporting/tertiary skill.  Dropping that third skill down to 4 lets you get specializations for the other two skills.  So you balance that combination being worth 8 less Karma, versus a +2 to two important dice pools.

You are right that optimal karma expenditure isn't the end all of chargen.
For example there is also time efficiency.
Buying a specialization in chargen cost no time... after chargen, its one month downtime while you doing nothing else.
Which is why I sometimes go less than optimal in karma expenditure.
Time is money after all.
Title: Re: [SR5] Priority Generation: The Math You Really Ought to Know
Post by: Hobbes on (11:28:22/03-03-17)

You are right that optimal karma expenditure isn't the end all of chargen.
For example there is also time efficiency.
Buying a specialization in chargen cost no time... after chargen, its one month downtime while you doing nothing else.
Which is why I sometimes go less than optimal in karma expenditure.
Time is money after all.

For Deckers I'll do Software (DataBombs) 1 (3).  For B&E characters Hardware (Alarms) 1 (3); for just about any character Con (Fast talk) 1 (3).  Basically for that exact reason.  Depending on the rest of the build I may put a few karma into raising the base a few more points.  It's not Karma efficient but for low priority skills that really only have one purpose I don't want to sink piles of Karma and time into developing them.
Title: Re: [SR5] Priority Generation: The Math You Really Ought to Know
Post by: gargaM0NK on (09:37:35/03-06-17)
Thanks again for the interest in this topic! Sorry I've been afk - was at GDC for a bit. Thanks Dwagonzhan and Pap Renvela for stepping in with some math while I was out. Let's see if I can clarify a few things.

this thread is not really about optimizing purely by Karma efficiency - it is about being aware of Karma efficiency, so that you can better balance it against other factors.

Well said!

There's a general idea that computers (in this case represented by the spreadsheets I used to derive a lot of this data) are better at performing tasks like computation than people, but worse at performing tasks like making decisions.

What that means here is that I can use the sheet to derive the standard deviation for the weighted binomial distribution of dice pools that hit on a 5 or a 6, but I can't use it to tell you how to build "the perfect decker" because it's not going to know solely from the math stuff like Hobbes's convenient one-point wonders or Glyphs 6+2 / 6+2 / 4 allocation, at least not without the math getting WAY more complicated than a person's experience / instinctive familiarity.

the OP [n]ever advocated building a character totally according to those numbers...understanding this stuff is useful when generating a character, but by no means sufficient.

Correct - the goal here isn't to build the perfect runner, but rather to highlight some of the numbers that go into making good decisions during creation.

With that said, let's address some of your more specific points. 
Limits are another place, I just made a new char that was a Mystic Adept Face Infiltrator and when I got done with everything I realized my Limits were terrible (5 social and 3 physical) and had to rearrange my stats so i could actually be good at Social and Physical tasks that I had plenty of skill points in (Sneaking for example).

I've addressed Limits in their own section, showing which attributes they're derived from, how to boost each one, and what your optimal limit is based on the size of your pool (tldr: generally [dice in pool]/3 + 2).

You mention "optimal skill allocation" what is that?

I break down optimal skill allocation in the Skills section (tldr: Deal with groups first, then individuals, as many as you can at 6, then specializations), but I never show you the math I used to generate the table, so let me break that down here.

Skill groups first, 10 points means 1 at 6 (105 karma) 1 at 4 (50 karma) for 155 karma equivalence in groups.
Then 7 skills at rank 6 (42 each) for 294 karma in skills.
Finally, we have 4 points left over, so 4 specializations (7 karma each) gives us 28 points in specializations.
So 155 (groups) + 294 (skills) + 28 (specializations = 477 karma for optimal allocation. You'll note that this math doesn't take into account the aptitude quality, although the approach I describe is still valid.

I didn't describe that math specifically in the skill section because you can derive it from the advice I gave, but I can include it if people think the clarity outweighs the clutter.

Really, though, there are three strikes against skills prioritization.
Since people are still having a hard time pulling that from the skill section I've written, I may need to re-revise.

Also, some of the math I don't understand, like how do you come by the various numbers you have for Attr E-->D? If one were to build a character with Attr E "optimally" you'd have tall stack in a couple of stats and the rest 1's, so when you increase to Attr D you'd be increasing 2 stats from 1 to 2 which would be only 20 points each (10 each), or one stat from 1 to 3 which would be 25 points. So the most you would lose going from D to E would be 25 yet the chart has all sorts of numbers in it? I must have missed something. Also, If you think about going from Human E to Human D how to you get the value for that? Consider that those Special Attr points could (and often are) used to raise Magic. So you might be moving you Magic from 4 to 6. That's 55 Karma cost. Whereas going from Edge 2 to 4 is 35. You have 45 listed. Did you average these values? Again you say "if allocated optimally" but don't define what that is.

Regarding the math, you actually have several questions packed into that paragraph, so I'm going to break it up a bit.

For prioritizing Attributes E vs D, it depends on the racial maximums for the attributes you're allocating into. If I'm a human at E, I would spend 5 points to raise, for instance Intuition, to 6. Then I could spend 4 to raise, say Reaction, to 5 because I can only cap 1 at creation. Now I have one 6, one 5, and 6 1s, so I'll use my last three points to raise Agility to 4. So if I do D instead, I'd be raising Agility from 4 to 5, and taking 1 elsewhere, not raising Str from 1 to 3. And those numbers change if I'm an elf, where my Cha and Agi caps are higher. That's why I made the table.  Again, the process (but not the math) is described in the attribute section.

In the metatype section, I break down the karma equivalence for the base stat bonuses as (for instance with Dwarves 60+) values greater than or equal to X. That's because if I pump the attributes that exceed human maximums, they're worth more. The same applies for the special attributes in the metatype column - I assume a starting Magic and Edge of 1.  In practice, it's karmically-optimal to apply special attributes to Magic first as you may have greater than 1 base, whereas Edge will start at 1. As with all Attributes, though, tall-stacks are the name of the game, so as long as you max either Magic or Edge then put the remainder in the other, you should be good.

Long winded thing about your Ork Sam here.. maybe too much ...
Spoiler (hover to show)
With your breakdown of the Sam, I think you're making several assumptions. The purpose of that breakdown was to demonstrate how you combine your own personal knowledge and preferences (Magic, Resources, Metatype) with the math from the table (Skills and Attributes). If you always prioritize Attributes, cool! --Set that priority first. I agree with you about the dangers of over-skilling, and I've tried to outline them both in the skills section and this post. I wouldn't do Close Combat / Firearms for the skill group, though. You don't need three fighting skills at 5, just one at 6.

Just wondering if it would make sense to break the magic column up by type (adept / full-mage or mysad / aspected)... if not, could maybe break that down in the magic section?)
Column space is at a terrible premium there, but I can try to add a breakdown for Aspected and Technomancer karma equivalences in their sections of Magic soon.
Title: Re: [SR5] Priority Generation: The Math You Really Ought to Know
Post by: Myriad on (14:47:18/03-06-17)
I don't have anything to add, except thanks so much for doing all the work on this thread, its quite nice to read.
Title: Re: [SR5] Priority Generation: The Math You Really Ought to Know
Post by: gargaM0NK on (01:46:39/03-08-17)
@Myriad Thanks friend! The thing about info like this is that it takes a lot longer to figure out on your own than it saves once you know it, so I'm happy to share in the hopes that others can benefit from it as well.

@Beta I've rendered the table you asked for, but the process left me unsure as to how to take advantage of it. Let me sleep on it.
MagicMagicianAdeptAspectedTechno
A210 (90)160 (67)
B120 (70)140 (83)145 (105)93 (64)
C 50 57 (47)40 (30) 29
D 10 10
E----

There's not really much point in comparing karma equivalence between archetypes (except maybe to note that Technomancers kinda get boned), as changing magical path has a drastic effect on play-style for what would amount to around 20 post-gen karma.

We could look at the loss between ranks for each path, which is useful, but the conclusion is somewhat intuitive - high ranks in Magic and Skills / Groups make priorities A (for Magician, Mystic Adept, and Technomancer) and B (for Adept and Aspected) the sharpest drops.

We can observe that at first glance Aspected Magicians look pretty efficient at Priority B, but when you take Banishing or Ritual Sorcery out of the equation, they drop to a more reasonable 130 karma.

It's a good question, though, as the exercise was productive - I found that my karma sum for Magic (B) was incorrect (and fixed it) and added a new note about the karma synergy between Magic priority and special attributes from Metatype.
Title: Re: [SR5] Priority Generation: The Math You Really Ought to Know
Post by: Pap Renvela on (10:38:19/03-08-17)
There's a big difference between a one-off or a short series of runs vs building for a full campaign.

My GM literally limits the party to 2 awakened (out of a party of 5) because we would all never take magic/resonance E otherwise.
The amount of flexibility you gain by being awakened is worth way more than whatever you lose by taking it.
The only time it isn't worth it in the long run is when there isn't really a long run.
Title: Re: [SR5] Priority Generation: The Math You Really Ought to Know
Post by: Valyn81 on (15:50:33/03-08-17)
Trolls only get lifestyle cost doubled, check the Errata.

Was your book one of the first releases? My book made it clear in the Size costs section of the Core book:

Trolls have incredibly large bodies and hands, while dwarfs have rather small bodies and hands—consequently, both have trouble using gear built for human dimensions. Corporate initiatives like Evo’s MetaErgonomics division have helped a lot; most products are available in dwarf- and troll-friendly sizes. This is reflected in the Lifestyle costs for dwarfs and trolls. Dwarfs have to pay twenty percent more on Lifestyle to make sure they are getting things that fit them, while trolls need to pay the troll tax—their Lifestyle costs are doubled.

Granted it does have the section in 'Spending your resources' the made it a little conflicting if you read that part; But i just looked at the fact they broke each thing (Gear and Lifestyle in to costing half each and the total reflected the same 20% and 100% increase listed on the Char Gen section)
When a character factors in racial modifiers for gear costs (trolls have a 50 percent gear and Lifestyle cost increase, dwarfs have a 10 percent increase in gear costs), the player may choose to increase the cost for each item picked up at that time to help them track how much they’ve spent and how much nuyen they have left. Alternately, they may choose to purchase all the gear at the base cost, arrive at a subtotal, and then add in the appropriate cost modifier (10 or 50 percent) to get the final total.

=========================
The errata said almost the same thing:

TROLL LIFESTYLE COSTS (P. 65, METATYPE & SPECIAL ATTRIBUTES)
The second sentence of this section needs to be clarified. Change: “Trolls receive Thermographic Vision, +1 Reach, and Dermal Armor, but they also receive the disadvantage of having to pay an additional fifty percent for gear because everything—including cyberware and bioware—must be specially modified to meet their massive physical requirements.” To “Trolls receive Thermographic Vision, +1 Reach, and Dermal Armor, but they also have the disadvantage of having their Lifestyle costs doubled to reflect the costs of adapting everything they use—especially their gear, including cyberware or bioware—to meet their massive physical requirements.”

TROLL AND DWARF GEAR COSTS (P. 94, SPEND YOUR RESOURCES, PARAGRAPH 3)
The paragraph that begins “When a character factors in racial modifiers” has information about gear costs for dwarves and trolls that does not apply in SR5. That paragraph should be removed and replaced with the following: “If the player finds that he or she has more than the 5,000 nuyen that can be saved (or even if he or she hasn’t), there are a few essential pieces of gear to consider when building a shadowrunner. You’ll want a commlink (p. 438) to stay in touch and to keep your gear relatively safe from hackers. A fake SIN (p. 442), along with some fake licenses, will help smooth dealing with law enforcement or even simple purchases like buying a bus ticket or covering
=========================================================

I almost forgot to say: THANK YOU, gargaM0NK! For breaking down the Karma/Char Gen so much. It has helped me with things in the campaign that my GM wants to start.... Unfortunately our campaign is more complicated than this will ever be covered it this topic
Title: Re: [SR5] Priority Generation: The Math You Really Ought to Know
Post by: gargaM0NK on (09:44:31/03-09-17)
Added notes on Positive Qualities, Martial Arts, Mentor Spirits, and Adept Ways.

I almost forgot to say: THANK YOU, gargaM0NK! For breaking down the Karma/Char Gen so much. It has helped me with things in the campaign that my GM wants to start.

Glad to hear it!
Title: Re: [SR5] Priority Generation: The Math You Really Ought to Know
Post by: Myriad on (05:19:44/03-14-17)
Great stuff yet again.

The only thing I might add is Raven mentor spirit for the fact it has 1.5 pp worth of powers for adepts, +2 con.  Traceless walk is great for ultrasound sensors too, so there's that along with the voice control for the security.
Title: Re: [SR5] Priority Generation: The Math You Really Ought to Know
Post by: Pap Renvela on (03:35:18/03-15-17)
Great stuff yet again.

The only thing I might add is Raven mentor spirit for the fact it has 1.5 pp worth of powers for adepts, +2 con.  Traceless walk is great for ultrasound sensors too, so there's that along with the voice control for the security.

Traceless walk doesn't  magically make you immune to echolocation.
Title: Re: [SR5] Priority Generation: The Math You Really Ought to Know
Post by: Kiirnodel on (06:21:56/03-15-17)
It applies a -4 penalty to hearing-based perception. That might be what Myriad is referring to.

At the very least, sensors that use vibrations to pick up nearby motion would be at a severe disadvantage against someone with Traceless Walk
Title: Re: [SR5] Priority Generation: The Math You Really Ought to Know
Post by: Pap Renvela on (08:24:58/03-15-17)
It applies a -4 penalty to hearing-based perception. That might be what Myriad is referring to.

At the very least, sensors that use vibrations to pick up nearby motion would be at a severe disadvantage against someone with Traceless Walk
Except that ultrasound in active mode isn't  hearing based perception per se.
It's bouncing ultrasonic waves off of solid objects to make an image.
Which is why it compensates visibility environmental effects and ignores lighting.

Yeah, you're not making noise by putting pressure on the floor-that doesn't mitigate vibrations bouncing off of you.
Title: Re: [SR5] Priority Generation: Math You Really Ought to Know
Post by: emsquared on (13:42:54/03-22-17)
I don't come here much anymore - my table STILL plays 4E cuz we dropped so much $$$ on it over the years (and had already homeruled it to be quite like what 5E turned out to be) - but it warms my heart to see this thread pop up!

You did a lot more thorough job than I ever did, gargaM.

Thanks for your contribution to the community, and I look forward to referencing your work heavily if I ever find myself playing 5E.

Cheers!
Title: Re: [SR5] Priority Generation: Math You Really Ought to Know
Post by: gargaM0NK on (21:08:59/03-22-17)
Damn @emsquared. hearing that from someone who's contributed as much as yourself made my entire evening.

I feel like I have some understanding, now, of the effort you put in to your own thread, and I feel like you're selling yourself a bit short ;)

Thanks for taking the time for those kind words.  If you do switch to 5E at some point, I hope you find it helpful.

I know the guide has gotten long, but hopefully you saw this little gem nestled in the shout-outs section:
Shout-outs!
  • Shout-outs to emsquared and UmaroVI for their work on the pivotal SR4A math topic that inspired this one!
« Last Edit: 2017-03-18, 20:19:51 by gargaM0NK »

Also, wanted to let everyone know I've added a first pass on weapons and weapon accessories.

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Title: Re: [SR5] Priority Generation: Math You Really Ought to Know
Post by: emsquared on (11:19:03/03-23-17)
I feel like you're selling yourself a bit short
Well if that's true it's probably cuz I blocked a lot of that time period out of my mind... lot of heated discussions about dirty "optimizers" in those days. Hopefully things have improved.

And I did see the shout out, thanks for that.

Again, thanks for your work w/ 5E.
Title: Re: [SR5] Priority Generation: The Math You Really Ought to Know
Post by: Rooks on (14:05:21/03-23-17)
It applies a -4 penalty to hearing-based perception. That might be what Myriad is referring to.

At the very least, sensors that use vibrations to pick up nearby motion would be at a severe disadvantage against someone with Traceless Walk
Except that ultrasound in active mode isn't  hearing based perception per se.
It's bouncing ultrasonic waves off of solid objects to make an image.
Which is why it compensates visibility environmental effects and ignores lighting.

Yeah, you're not making noise by putting pressure on the floor-that doesn't mitigate vibrations bouncing off of you.
course theres always the Ultrasonic noise generator that gives rating dice bonus to sneaking tests for 40xRating
Title: Re: [SR5] Priority Generation: The Math You Really Ought to Know
Post by: Pap Renvela on (18:27:39/03-23-17)
It applies a -4 penalty to hearing-based perception. That might be what Myriad is referring to.

At the very least, sensors that use vibrations to pick up nearby motion would be at a severe disadvantage against someone with Traceless Walk
Except that ultrasound in active mode isn't  hearing based perception per se.
It's bouncing ultrasonic waves off of solid objects to make an image.
Which is why it compensates visibility environmental effects and ignores lighting.

Yeah, you're not making noise by putting pressure on the floor-that doesn't mitigate vibrations bouncing off of you.
course theres always the Ultrasonic noise generator that gives rating dice bonus to sneaking tests for 40xRating

Of all the characters I've played from SR2, SR3 & SR5, I can honestly say- no one, but no one, carried an Ultrasonic Noise Generator.
I guess my next character is going to have to get one- because, why not?
Title: Re: [SR5] Priority Generation: Math You Really Ought to Know
Post by: Rooks on (01:22:01/03-24-17)
Wow, really? Ultrasound vision is like standard in most of the games I was in we pop thermal smoke Narcojet gas flash pak Forboding NoizQuito hacks
Title: Re: [SR5] Priority Generation: Math You Really Ought to Know
Post by: Pap Renvela on (02:04:47/03-25-17)
I didn't say, my group never employed one- just that my characters didn't.
Title: Re: [SR5] Priority Generation: Math You Really Ought to Know
Post by: Thanael on (14:50:04/04-04-17)
Sticky?
Title: Re: [SR5] Priority Generation: The Math You Really Ought to Know
Post by: Soahl on (13:24:51/04-09-17)
This is a fantastic break-down of the system that I'm definitely going to be referencing for some time. Thanks for putting so much work into this! That said, I do have one question so far:

8. Resources:
Since the cost of items in NuYen doesn't increase post-gen, many purchases can safely be postponed until after creation. That said though, the rules for buying hits on Availability are pretty harsh (a contact with Connection:6, Loyalty: 6 AND Black Market Pipeline can only find Avail: 5 or lower items for you without markup, and a face would need 48d6 [12] to acquire Avail:12 gear), so it may behoove you to acquire difficult-to-come-by items now (This is what makes Restricted Gear so good).

I think you missed a step in your Availability calculations. My understanding, and how it's been ruled at my shop and the conventions I've attended, is that Availability (at least per Missions) is calculated through bought hits (for both purchaser and item as it's an opposed test), which makes it easy to eyeball what can be afforded. The Contact you listed would have 5 bought hits, as you listed, so they could purchase anything that gets 5 bought hits or less (baseline 20, arguably up to 23 depending on how you rule with rounding up vs. down). So, this being the case, a starting Contact of Connection 5, Loyalty 2 would be able to access Availability 12 gear (5 x 2 + 2).
Title: Re: [SR5] Priority Generation: The Math You Really Ought to Know
Post by: Kiirnodel on (15:58:42/04-09-17)
This is a fantastic break-down of the system that I'm definitely going to be referencing for some time. Thanks for putting so much work into this! That said, I do have one question so far:

8. Resources:
Since the cost of items in NuYen doesn't increase post-gen, many purchases can safely be postponed until after creation. That said though, the rules for buying hits on Availability are pretty harsh (a contact with Connection:6, Loyalty: 6 AND Black Market Pipeline can only find Avail: 5 or lower items for you without markup, and a face would need 48d6 [12] to acquire Avail:12 gear), so it may behoove you to acquire difficult-to-come-by items now (This is what makes Restricted Gear so good).

I think you missed a step in your Availability calculations. My understanding, and how it's been ruled at my shop and the conventions I've attended, is that Availability (at least per Missions) is calculated through bought hits (for both purchaser and item as it's an opposed test), which makes it easy to eyeball what can be afforded. The Contact you listed would have 5 bought hits, as you listed, so they could purchase anything that gets 5 bought hits or less (baseline 20, arguably up to 23 depending on how you rule with rounding up vs. down). So, this being the case, a starting Contact of Connection 5, Loyalty 2 would be able to access Availability 12 gear (5 x 2 + 2).

Whether or not you use bought hits for Availability Tests, the test to acquire gear is an opposed test. You roll your Negotiation against the Availability of the item as the opposed pool.

To get an Availability 12 item you do not need to be able to get 12 hits, just beat the other dice pool of 12 (huge difference). Generally speaking, if you can get a dice pool somewhere close to the Availability, you have a decent chance of getting it.
Title: Re: [SR5] Priority Generation: Math You Really Ought to Know
Post by: gargaM0NK on (16:03:46/04-09-17)
Thanks guys. I think I confused it with 20A. That's a lot more sensible.
Title: Re: [SR5] Priority Generation: Math You Really Ought to Know
Post by: TonalArchitect on (12:00:12/04-11-17)
You have peacemaker listed as providing cool resovle, but it gives 2 ranks of improved perception.
Title: Re: [SR5] Priority Generation: Math You Really Ought to Know
Post by: gargaM0NK on (22:24:23/04-20-17)
You have peacemaker listed as providing cool resolve, but it gives 2 ranks of improved perception.
Fixed.

In other news: I've also done a pass for internal links and page numbers for non-BBB items, added a sub-section on cyberware, and a whole section on Character Advancement / Progression.

That's basically everything I was hoping to cover in the guide.

Let me know if there are:
and I'll try to fix them.

Also, thanks so much for the Sticky! It may sound silly, but it made my day to see that =)