Author Topic: Pathfinder to Shadowrun  (Read 1788 times)

Fruitsations

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Pathfinder to Shadowrun
« on: July 08, 2013, 03:51:54 PM »
Hi all,

Im new to this forum so I hope this post is in the right place.

In short as the title says, Me and a few buddies are transitioning from Pathfinder to Shadowrun.  Now none of us have played anything but DnD and Pathfinder so ending up with the shortstick (and to give our usual GM a break) its fallen to me to GM and try to make the most sense of Shadowrun rules.  Since we are all mostly in the dark, we've collectively decided to just use core rules as much as possible and avoid Matrix encounters until we have a better grasp of the things. 

Other than that i have a few questions and if anyone has any other tips to offer that would be wonderful!

Some questions:

1) Battlegrids.  We've used the square grid usually in terms of feet.  What do you find is the best way to handle combat movement and distance? I've read on the forums that some people have suggested using a whiteboard but I dont think that'll fly with the group.  Any suggestions? 1m= 1square?

2) I'm so used to a MM so i'm a little confused on designing enemies and encounters for them to face.  Is there some sort of guideline like CR in DND? Or is it more freeform and you hope the players make the right decision to flee or fight?  I have read about professional rating but if there's anyone out there that can give me a more solid answer that'd be great!

3) Regarding Contacts, I don't want the players to have insane contacts right from the start.  Has anyone found limiting the amount of points to be spent on contacts successful? If so what limit? We are going by the standard 400 points.

That's it so far, but i expect there will be many more questions as i plan more and more and as sessions go on.

As above if you have any misc. suggestions, please don't hesitate to say.  Any help is appreciated!

Thanks all

Archaos

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Re: Pathfinder to Shadowrun
« Reply #1 on: July 08, 2013, 04:22:41 PM »
1) I use 2 m = 1 square
3) The max. I use is : Loyalty 4 and Connection 4

Nal0n

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Re: Pathfinder to Shadowrun
« Reply #2 on: July 08, 2013, 04:31:09 PM »
1. 15 feet Hex or 20 feet Square worked well for our table. (Hex being much more comfortable and much more appreciated by the players, including me ;))

2. PR is a ROUGH guideline. Some times it works, some time it does not. As SR is way more flexible than any D&D-like thingie, I'd suggest: Start with weak enemies, but make the fights cineastic, so that players feel appreciated. You'll get the hang of it within a few sessions.

3. SR has the tendency to be very limiting on CharGen, esp. SR4. If the players choose to spend too many resources on contacts: Let them! They will be weak in other areas if they do. Only thing to avoid is connection rating >4, so I agree with limiting that.

emsquared

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Re: Pathfinder to Shadowrun
« Reply #3 on: July 08, 2013, 04:33:43 PM »
1) Battlegrids.  We've used the square grid usually in terms of feet.  What do you find is the best way to handle combat movement and distance? I've read on the forums that some people have suggested using a whiteboard but I dont think that'll fly with the group.  Any suggestions? 1m= 1square?

2) I'm so used to a MM so i'm a little confused on designing enemies and encounters for them to face.  Is there some sort of guideline like CR in DND? Or is it more freeform and you hope the players make the right decision to flee or fight?  I have read about professional rating but if there's anyone out there that can give me a more solid answer that'd be great!

3) Regarding Contacts, I don't want the players to have insane contacts right from the start.  Has anyone found limiting the amount of points to be spent on contacts successful? If so what limit? We are going by the standard 400 points.

As above if you have any misc. suggestions, please don't hesitate to say.  Any help is appreciated!
1.) Shadowrun is much less nickel and dime tactical than PF is, IMO. No 5-foot steps being crucial, no worrying about threatened spaces and 10 and 15' reaches, etc. etc. We're a highly tactics oriented group, and when we play shadowrun we use a white-board. The GM should have his master map with a grid (in meters) for reference - to tell PCs ranges and distances to move and such, but seriously, you don't need a grid for the battles in shadowrun, you'll only slow yourself down if you do. I'd highly encourage you and your group to loosen up in this regard, let it be slightly more free form.

2.) Just remember the rule of threes. Three dice up or down from where your group's pools are is a standard step in difficulty. Six dice is a BIG step. 9 and you're in completely different leagues. I hardly even stat out enemies any more, I just know that if I want to give them a decent challenge but not endanger them, I'll have the enemies pools be throwing 3 fewer dice than an analogous pool in the group. If I want 1 BAMF in the opposition, he'll have 3 dice more than the average PC would in that pool, etc. If they should walk over these guys, about 6 dice less. Does that make sense? That said, I would absolutely recommend dlding and printing out  these pdfs and utilizing them (specifically the NPC Record sheets for this case) and statting out some of your own Prof 1, 2, 3 etc. NPCs based off of those in the book (but slightly better :P).

Also, remember that Initiative is the most important thing in SR combat, if you want to have any chance of challenging your PCs (without killing them), the NPCs must have a comparable initiative. After that is BOD and Armor for damage soak. NPCs with equal Initiative and Armor to your PCs should be able to make 'em sweat, even if they have worse Attack Pools.

All that said, SR combat is particularly volatile, it's really easy to accidentally kill your PCs, a crit-glitch at the wrong time and it's over for that guy, and there is no Raise Dead, Resurrection or Reincarnation in SR :)

3.) Limiting any starting Contacts Loyalty and Connection to 4 is pretty standard.

I'll tell you the same thing I told another new GM in another thread recently: Single most important thing as a new GM; don't be overly concerned with trying to provide your group with "adequate" mechanical challenges. i.e. don't worry if you get going and things seem "too easy", make it cinematic, make it fun, and let the runs be epic and awesome. You can worry about dialing in the dice later. Focus on learning the systems (Combat, Magic, Hacking, etc.) and having fun.

Netzgeist

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Re: Pathfinder to Shadowrun
« Reply #4 on: July 08, 2013, 04:37:44 PM »
About your second question, I'm sure there will come better answers from people who are better suited than me to say it, but here's my 0.02 nuyen:
Combat in Shadowrun play a very different part than it plays in D&D or Pathfinder. In these games, you play heroes who are supposed to do heroic deeds; in Shadowrun, the world is bleaker and crueler. Fights won't be balanced just by the stats and gear of the different characters involved, but by tactics and previous preparation, and even then, combat has a strong tendency to be lethal. Most often than not, the one who shoots first is the one who walks out alive.

So, don't fry your braincells too much designing the "balanced encounter" to your party, but think in challenging situations, and let they handle them: if their targets have the numeric advantage, they should try to get them one by one, and manage a way for none of them be any wiser until it's too late, and so on.

Yet, I would recommend you and your friends to first try some exercises in combat situations before going to the actual play... So that everyone can get a taste on how lethal (and essentially different from D&D) this game can be. It can be quite frustrating to lose a character in your first mission (and if that happens... well, then that's a very instructive experience, at least!)...

Crunch

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Re: Pathfinder to Shadowrun
« Reply #5 on: July 08, 2013, 05:02:11 PM »
Combat in shadowrun is a good deal more lethal than in pathfinder, and tends to run a bit faster.

A few specific notes-

Because ranged weapons predominate the field is often a bit more expansive, so you may want to try a 2m or even a 5m square depending on the scenario. I've even gone so far as to prepare "blow up" maps with a 5m grid for the whole are and a 1 or 2 meter grid for a significant location within the area (the inside of a barracks building for instance).

Initiative and ambush are much more important. Because the combat system is more lethal and faster getting the first shot can be important.

SR is a setting that can be played in a lot of different ways. SR4, and these boards in particular, tends towards a darker amoral "black hat" approach (think Haywire, Red Dawn, Killer Elite, Black Hawk Down, Password:Swordfish), but other approaches are equally valid. You'll see references to "Pink Mohawk" style as a throwback to the aesthetic of SR1 (Bubblegum Crisis, A-Team, Dominion Tank Police, Total Recall (either)), but "Big Action" works well (Expendables, Commando, Wanted, Shoot em Up) and my favorite style is a classic "Mirror Shades" style game (Bladerunner, Appleseed, Strange Days) that emphasizes the settings cyberpunk elements. All of the styles offer opportunities for heroism, although Black Hat is the least heroic.

There's no real challenge rating equivalent, as such things are difficult to put together for non leveled systems. Eventually you'll get a feel for the factors that go into making a challenging encounter. Don't be afraid early in your game to provide some easy encounters for players to learn the combat system with.

I've never had a problem with contacts, but a setting appropriate limit is certainly acceptable.

firebug

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Re: Pathfinder to Shadowrun
« Reply #6 on: July 08, 2013, 05:02:39 PM »
As someone who played D&D and the like before going to Shadowrun, I can understand your concern about the map thing.  While emsquared is completely right about Shadowrun not needing a battlemap at all, it can be very interesting to use one, especially when your PCs use a Tacnet.  I use MapTool to play online, and the tactical approach you can use when determining line of sight and who can see who, and even doing things like Tacnet's ability to do things like leave AROs for other members and mark an enemy's PAN to say, set it as "high threat level" can be really interesting.

But this depends entirely on what kind of style you want.  Shadowrun is often a cinematic, freeform, action-movie type game, and in those scenario being too specific can really take away from the enjoyment.  But if you're playing a game where your players are hardcore infiltrators, working together to coordinate a strike on a building to assassinate one man and be out, then the strategic, tactical, and slower-paced style that using a grid will give you could fit your players.

I use a hex map where one hex is one meter.  However, I normally only actually employ the maps when a small-scale combat is happening, or if I've done something like design a building beforehand for the players to infiltrate.  More impromptu combats or anything especially long range (like car chases) are more easily done without a grid, for me.

Finally, to repeat what Netzgeist said, SR combat is extremely lethal compared to D&D.  Your average non-tank in SR can take maybe two hits without dieing (though they will be in serious danger at that point).  One thing to point out is that numbers matter a lot.  If you're outnumbered, someone on your side is getting shot at unless you can seriously overwhelm them opponents and get behind cover.  And heaven forbid you get ambushed...  The worst thing you can do is be stuck in the open when people are shooting at you.  Remember and remind your players that Karma isn't rewarded for combat kills--  They won't "lose out" if they back away from a fight, and so have no reason to risk their lives just for the sake of "winning" the fight.

emsquared

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Re: Pathfinder to Shadowrun
« Reply #7 on: July 08, 2013, 05:09:40 PM »
While emsquared is completely right about Shadowrun not needing a battlemap at all...
I guess it depends on your definition, but I didn't say don't use a battlemap at all, just use a white board as the battlemap, to delineate walls and obstacles and other important features. It's quick and easy. Especially at the beginning, combat can go really slow in SR, counting hits, figuring out what makes up your pool you need to roll, etc., using a grid map and counting squares really slows things down even more. Heck, once everybody gets comfortable in the system you could start using a grid then, but I bet you won't want too.

Though I could see how it'd be really useful necessary to have the grid with an online game.
« Last Edit: July 08, 2013, 05:19:23 PM by emsquared »

Crunch

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Re: Pathfinder to Shadowrun
« Reply #8 on: July 08, 2013, 05:24:34 PM »
While emsquared is completely right about Shadowrun not needing a battlemap at all...
I guess it depends on your definition, but I didn't say don't use a battlemap at all, just use a white board as the battlemap, to delineate walls and obstacles and other important features. It's quick and easy. Especially at the beginning, combat can go really slow in SR, counting hits, figuring out what makes up your pool you need to roll, etc., using a grid map and counting squares really slows things down even more. Heck, once everybody gets comfortable in the system you could start using a grid then, but I bet you won't want too.

Though I could see how it'd be really useful necessary to have the grid with an online game.

emsquared  is worth listening to here.

Fruitsations

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Re: Pathfinder to Shadowrun
« Reply #9 on: July 08, 2013, 07:36:39 PM »
First off, Thank you all for the amazing replies! And ones so quick at that!

I think ill go with emsquared's advice on the whiteboard, seems like a really cool idea and i think the group would be open and much more willing to think tactically given the freedom a whiteboard gives!

In terms of combat and encounters i'll go with the general consensus to start off with some baby encounters and work my way up from there and for the contacts thanks! Limit will definitely be 4 Loyalty and Connection.

And now for some more questions:

1) Regarding the Matrix, AR, Hacking, networks etc from what i've read it seems to be the, if not one of the, most complex ideas for the game.  So i'm still trying to wrap my head around most of it.  But my question is, when purchasing commlinks, software must be purchased with it correct? and you are able to mix and match between any? 

2) In regards again to the Matrix, AR, VR etc. What would be some "easy" beginner tasks to help ease the group into the wireless world? hacking a lock? Disabling drones? Also in your experience, has Matrix combat been more complex than real world combat or vice versa?

Thanks again for all the help!

Raiden

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Re: Pathfinder to Shadowrun
« Reply #10 on: July 08, 2013, 08:07:19 PM »
 1. yes, software AND the OS (operating system) usually must be bought separately from the commlink and you can have them all, (if you are a hacker, I suggest getting most) or some.

2. hacking cameras, lights, secuity systems. have them find hidden commlinks and tap them. matrix combat is about the same as real world combat. except in meat world if you attack and tie net hits, (like 2 to 2) you hit with base gun damage, in matrix thats a miss.
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Netzgeist

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Re: Pathfinder to Shadowrun
« Reply #11 on: July 08, 2013, 08:16:33 PM »
Hm... in fact, Raiden, that's not how a tie is solved in "meat plane" combat.

Quote from: SR4A, pg. 149
If the result of the Opposed Test is a tie, the gamemaster may choose to rule it as a grazing hit. A grazing hit does not do any damage, but the character nevertheless makes contact. This allows certain contact-only attacks (poisons, shock gloves, touch-only combat spells, etc.) to still do damage.


Raiden

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Re: Pathfinder to Shadowrun
« Reply #12 on: July 08, 2013, 08:18:49 PM »
my bad, my first GM did it that way and ever since I've had the grazing hit = damage thing in my head lol. although it DOES hit. it just does not do damage ( unless its a touch attack, like shock gloves or touch spells)
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emsquared

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Re: Pathfinder to Shadowrun
« Reply #13 on: July 08, 2013, 11:09:42 PM »
What I did to help myself learn the Matrix, although I don't know how recommendable it is because I still do it, is I eliminated Response, Firewall and Signal and bundled them all into System. It made it much easier to pick up everything and quickly determine opposed checks, etc. but like I said I've never weened myself off of it. And given 5 is here im not too inclined to ever incorporate them. Truely though, it works fine, but you probably lose some granularity to Hacking. Personally I doubt weve lost any more than we would have with a poor understanding of the cull rules but, YMMV. Also, I use LOG+Skill with program ratings (or a device's System rating) limiting max number of successes for continuities sake with other skill check structures.

Absolutely ignore the above if it doesn't instantly help you.
« Last Edit: July 08, 2013, 11:12:10 PM by emsquared »

Crunch

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Re: Pathfinder to Shadowrun
« Reply #14 on: July 08, 2013, 11:31:45 PM »
While adjusting to the SR system as a whole a lot of GMs choose to move matrix "off screen" to an NPC hacker. The hardest thing for a new SR GM is managing the competing time demands of Matrix vs Physical when both are supposed to be happening separately and simultaneously.