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Quality Control

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Typhus

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« on: <06-03-22/1148:58> »
I'm still crawling through Sixth World Companion and some supplements to see what I can make of SR6.  One area that has emerged for me as a problematic area are Qualities.  While I can use SWC to redo the costs from the core book, and other simple things, I'm finding that in general, Qualities are all over the map in terms of balance and viability.  The core ones are mostly okay, but in supplements they are just wild.

For those who are playing SR6, I'm wondering which ones you find problematic and/or how you may have houseruled them.  Obviously Analytical Mind is a problem one, but SWC has a couple fixes for that.  What else has anyone run into and what did you do about it? 

MercilessMing

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« Reply #1 on: <06-03-22/1231:22> »
My group and I are really against Analytical Mind, Attribute Mastery, and other extremely broad Edge granting qualities.  We deal with those by banning instead of revaluing, because we feel that their problem isn't a cost issue but a design issue.  Qualities like Toughness on the other had that are situational, we embrace. 

Honestly, aside from those we haven't found any to be problematic.  However, I'm totally willing to grant that it may just be because we haven't noticed the issue or played with them. Almost every 6e Shadowrun product has added qualities.  We're at the point in the edition cycle that I can't keep track of them all anymore. 

One area however is the Chase qualities in Double Clutch.  We found that when you take a couple of them together, the rigger is drowning in Edge.  And since the Chase is primarily fueled by edge, the encounter becomes trivial.  We didn't deal with this, we just came to an agreement that taking these things actually took away from the fun of the game.

Can you give examples of things you think are wild or really in need of adjustment?

Typhus

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« Reply #2 on: <06-03-22/1343:57> »
Itís more often in the supplements than the core for sure.  Hardly an exhaustive list, but hereís a few that stood out recently.

In core (aside from Analytical Mind), itís mostly little things like that Gearhead costs 10 while other ďgain an EdgeĒ qualities like Catlike, Guts, etc. are 12. 

In SWC, things like Cyberjack Maximization and Software Optimization feel like they would be better as gear mods.  Many Talents, Many Skills seem unnecessary and overpriced (higher costs for maxing stats is better dealt with another way, IMO), and Muscles should just be a standard rule option.  Relentless Tracker is basically a Guts type ability, but costs half what ones like it do.  Limited Attributes and Limited Skills never come into play after character creation, so itís a little weird to gain a Karma benefit from something that could just be a point spend choice.  Feels a little cheesy.

Double Clutch has several that donít really justify the investment, like Motor Pool 1&2.  As you say, the Edge boosts for Riggers and Attribute Mastery, and so on.  Fuzz Magnet is a game night derailer, things like that (I speak from experience there -- random police encounters often mean you can throw your plot out for the night).

Not having played yet, I'm more wondering about what is actually happening at the tables than on paper though.  Curious about what others have dealt with.

Hobbes

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« Reply #3 on: <06-03-22/1402:06> »
What happens at the table is that nobody takes any of the Edge Qualities except Analytical Mind or Attribute mastery because the rest are significantly over priced.

If you nerf Analytical Mind/Attribute Mastery, then nobody takes any Qualities for Edge gain.  They may grab a Mentor Spirit that gives them some sort of Edge benefit, but Mentor Spirit is a 10 Karma Quality that provides multiple advantages.

I think the only other Edge quality I've seen someone take is First Impression.  And IIRC they wound up taking a Mulligan on their character and dropping it.

If you want to houserule the Karma costs of qualities I wouldn't change AM, I'd lower the costs of everything else to 1 or 2.  YMMV.

Typhus

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« Reply #4 on: <06-03-22/1414:59> »
Interesting.  Thanks! 

Would you say that is because Edge gain is solid enough as written?  Or just a Karma budgeting situation?

MercilessMing

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« Reply #5 on: <06-03-22/1608:23> »
Oh, there are plenty that are underwhelming.  Emerald City and Power Plays are full of those.  Stuff like "Gain edge when interacting with NPC faction" or "Gain Edge when making a specific test in a specific geographic area".  I don't mind seeing these, because they're harmless chaff.  They can't all be winners :)

Regarding Catlike, Guts, Toughness, and Gearhead: I don't have the 5e CRB in front of me, but the cost difference there might be copypasta.  Copypasta is SURELY to blame for the Analytical Mind garbage, it was 3pts in 5e and only applied to puzzle solving, hence why it's 3pts in 6e.  And the authors seem to have come to an agreement that 12 pts is too expensive for situational, temporary edge qualities.  They just wouldn't revise the cost of old qualities for some reason, instead they rebalanced similar new ones and spent a bunch more ink coming up with optional rules and home made quality examples.

The cheese of Limited Attributes/skills doesn't begin to compare with the cheese of Impaired Attribute : Strength, or Incompetent: Cracking.  I think Limited attr/skill are actually well made qualities, because maxing out your primary attr/skill is a formula for success in SR's linear cost chargen.  You really are hampering your character (imo) if you don't choose to do that, so why shouldn't you get a free specialization (5 karma) or other perk for doing so?  Well I say free, but you do have to spend 1 of your 6 possible qualities on it.  Ever since Street Wyrd packaged a lot of Tradition-specific differences into Qualities, I've started weighing opportunity cost when picking them.  Like, if you want to play a possession animist with a totem, you're probably taking 3 qualities right there. 

All these Companion qualities haven't been around long enough for people to kick the tires on them yet.. lessee here.  Tracker doesn't bother me much since Tracking is such a niche skill, but you're right that by their own guide in the Quality creation section, it should be a 10 pt quality.  Tracking's use probably varies a lot between GMs, but I can see a Tracking test being done as an extended test, in which case Tracker would only trigger one time for the whole encounter.

I actually love] Motor Pool at all levels - just not with a Rigger.  The Influence + Charisma (4) test makes it too risky for anyone but a Face.  For a Face though, this ability is a great way to roleplay someone well connected, like a Fixer.  Motor Pool 1 is pretty meh, granted, this type of transportation is typically handwaved and the cost is assumed to be covered by lifestyle if you're not nickel and diming your players.  But if you allow it to be used for other people and NPCs, it can improve the utility.

My personal favorite quality combination right now is Bad Luck and Silver Lining.  I like seeing glitches during a session, and silver lining takes a little bit of the sting away if it happens often.

Hobbes

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« Reply #6 on: <06-03-22/1701:28> »
Quality costs are all over the place.  But, some of them offer benefits you can't get elsewhere, or combine with other things, so will occasionally be bought.  Built Tough, Focused Concentration, Mentor Spirit, and such.

Edge is different though because of the cap of 2 per turn.  Once you've got a reliable source of Edge (Sunguard Jewellery, custom appearance on a weapon, Chameleon suit, high AR/DR or Social Rating, ect) you don't need the Qualities.  Since the Qualities are generally high cost, niche use, they'll get skipped.  Deckers may take Software Optimization because they have limited options at the moment for Edge gain.  Against higher rating Hosts Deckers are lucky if they're not granting Edge, they're not likely gaining any.

Negative Qualities that are essentially "Free Karma" are mostly harmless IMO.  You can only take six Qualities, and you're capped at 20 Bonus karma.  Spending one of your six Quality slots matters, and 20 Karma isn't much on a Shadowrun character.  It's raising an Attribute from 3 to 4.  Not nothing, but nothing to get worked up about.

Would it be nice if all Qualities landed nicely on some perfect cost / benefit curve?  Yes.  But the only Quality I can see being disruptive is Stolen Goods.  The rest are at most an eye-roll, IMO.   

Darksithmstr

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« Reply #7 on: <06-06-22/1646:04> »
I can't see getting rid of Analytical Mind, as Deckers have few ways of gaining Edge.  But raising it's cost to 10 or so is fair, and a bit more balanced.  I hope we get some good new qualities in Decker book this year.
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Stainless Steel Devil Rat

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« Reply #8 on: <06-06-22/1727:59> »
I can't see getting rid of Analytical Mind, as Deckers have few ways of gaining Edge.  But raising it's cost to 10 or so is fair, and a bit more balanced.  I hope we get some good new qualities in Decker book this year.

I would say Analytical Mind is "mandatory" more in the vein of its cost is so low, rather than the +1 Edge is so good.  There's actually plenty of ways to gain Edge as a hacker... doing homework on your target, having an appropriate knowledge skill, using VR to hack an NPC using AR, etc.   Granted, Analytical Mind is more reliable, and I agree hackers really need to be swimming in Edge, but AM isn't the only way to get your Edge... not by a long shot.
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Michael Chandra

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« Reply #9 on: <06-07-22/0840:57> »
That does depend on a GM remembering that the rules note they can grant Edge for circumstances, so that you can gain Edge through other means than just what is stated explicitly. Support-mages have the same weakness: they depend on a non-jerk GM that recognises the spice Edge must flow.
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MercilessMing

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« Reply #10 on: <06-07-22/1048:22> »
There's actually plenty of ways to gain Edge as a hacker... doing homework on your target, having an appropriate knowledge skill, using VR to hack an NPC using AR, etc.   Granted, Analytical Mind is more reliable, and I agree hackers really need to be swimming in Edge, but AM isn't the only way to get your Edge... not by a long shot.

I hope this topic gets some space in Hack & Slash.  There should be some official expectation for what qualifies as situational edge.  Was glad to see the VR hierarchy mentioned as a source of it in the FAQ.  In a make-believe internet of the future that runs on not-magic, new people especially need help conceptualizing how things should work.