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Starting characters and IC (among other things)

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TelperionST

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« on: <01-03-13/0524:02> »
Hi!

I'm new around here, but eager to get into running missions. Got some players who have little or no experience with Shadowrun, so I want to design a small storyarch around half a dozen (5-7) missions. The plan is to use A and AA rated companies for this, because I don't want to throw the players against AAA material just yet. My initial concerns come from talking with a fellow gamer who is very mechanics savvy - one could call him a rules-lawyer, but in a nice way.

Anyway, my friend is of the opinion that playing a hacker isn't going to be a lot of fun, because you have to put all of your BPs into hacking skills, if you are going to be of any use. This obviously creates a problem where the hacker doesn't know which way to hold a gun, open his mouth politely or do a number of other secondary tasks, which could help his fellow 'runners.

I would like to make a game where the opposition isn't tricked out with the latest IC, magic wards, augmentations and whatnot. Hence the use of A rated companies. However, having never run a game I'm concerned that might be making things too easy for some players, so the rest get bored. For example, if I use low-grade rent-a-cops as physical security I'm concerned the more combat oriented characters will simply cut through them without a second thought.

Any suggestions? Helpful hints?
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Bull

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« Reply #1 on: <01-03-13/1310:37> »
Just a note, there's a difference between Missions and adventures. [/i] Shadowrun Missions[/i] are the officially produced Living Campaign adventures for Shadowrun.  So I'm going to move this over to the general gamemaster discussion board. :)

Good luck!

UmaroVI

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« Reply #2 on: <01-03-13/1354:22> »
Mundane hackers really don't have to put all their bp into hacking. It's possible to be a perfectly competent mundane hacker and also do 1-2 other things. See the first link in my sig and look at any of the hackers other than the technomancers.

emsquared

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« Reply #3 on: <01-03-13/1406:38> »
It's not like a corporation has to have elite Matrix security just because they have elite Security Personnel. Which is to say, you are more than free (better off, even) to present each character with the appropriate challenge based on their skill-level - not on your or a books perception of what an A or AA corp should have.

TelperionST

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« Reply #4 on: <01-03-13/1617:01> »
Just a note, there's a difference between Missions and adventures. Shadowrun Missions are the officially produced Living Campaign adventures for Shadowrun.  So I'm going to move this over to the general gamemaster discussion board. :)

Thanks, like I said, I'm new around here and don't know all the lingo yet.
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Black Sheep

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« Reply #5 on: <01-03-13/1636:41> »
My experience with this has been that it's quite a bit easier to multitask as a mundane hacker than it is as a Technomancer, where you are going to dedicate a significant number of points to Resonance and Resonance-linked skills as well as Complex Forms.

One common way to "multitask" with a hacker is via Rigging. I say multitask in quotes because it really isn't that much of a leap... one extra piece of cyberware and some vehicle skills will get you all you need to be able to do both. If he doesn't want to play the wheel man, then investing in some cyberware that increases physical stats and abilities can be used to make a sort of diet Street Sam (a fighter) who will be able to hold their own in a fight but usually can't quite fill the role of dedicated muscle. Or, buy up Charisma and invest in some social skills.

Black Sheep

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« Reply #6 on: <01-03-13/1640:14> »
To expand on that, though, being a dedicated hacker will rarely leave you without anything to do. In my opinion, they and the mage are the two most engaging character archetypes to fill; almost certainly, you will be heavily involved in both legwork and the actual run itself, as your ability to gather information and also to mitigate technological threats makes you a very versatile and valuable asset to any team.

Having played a hacker before, I can say I never really felt like I wasn't necessary or didn't have anything to contribute.

OFTHEHILLPEOPLE

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« Reply #7 on: <01-03-13/1846:05> »
Well, if he is worried about not filling some part of the group dynamic but is interested in using guns and other things there are ways of doing it both in-game and during character creation.  But he could always focus on working on Drones too (a good staple of Shadowrun) that shoot to their little mechanical hearts content.  It's a tough balancing game when making a character but that's where Karma and training later on pick things up. 

Ideally if they're a new group I would stress the fact that they should probably focus on what role the character is supposed to fill so they get a good understanding of how the rules work, then branch out.
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RHat

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« Reply #8 on: <01-03-13/2341:38> »
Or, buy up Charisma and invest in some social skills.

Basically making a proper hacker - one who makes use of social engineering because he's aware that people are typically the most vulnerable point in any system.

On the technomancer side of things, multi-tasking gets hard.  They're not really going to gt outside of the Matrix specialist area of things, but you can make them reasonably effective riggers pretty easily - for that matter, you could make that work through Sprites alone easily enough.
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Xzylvador

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« Reply #9 on: <01-04-13/0601:57> »
Or make the TM a face with little effort, since they already need Charisma.

Beyond that, I'll just second what was said before: Hackers can most certainly be useful in combat. Easiest would be making a hacker/rigger, but you could just as well give your hacker a cyberarm with maxed agi and invest some points in single-handed weapon skills to make him a good shooter too.
You really don't have to spend ALL your points on hacking skills to be a good hacker, in fact, I'd recommend against it; Cybercombat's pretty darned useless if you want a stealty break-in. In any serious node, once you get seen, getting out as quick as possible is the only sensible course of action.

But even if you don't directly take down enemies by shooting them with drones or guns, a hacker can still be useful. Spoof a grenade to detonate, spoof a smartgun to eject clip or activate its anti-theft zapper, remotely open/shut security doors to block security and make a quick entry or exit, intercept and/or manipulate enemy communication to inform your team or misdirect enemy forces, turn drones/turrets against them, etc etc.
If none of those options are available (very rare case), just making sure calls for reinforcements don't get through and those security camera's aren't recording footage of your team gunning down a bunch of people and so they won't be the highlight of the evening news can be a very important thing.

RHat

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« Reply #10 on: <01-04-13/0701:47> »
Or make the TM a face with little effort, since they already need Charisma.

Technoshaman face IS pretty easy.
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