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SRM Combined FAQ Discussion

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Bull

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« Reply #75 on: <06-11-18/1417:54> »
The above is an example of something a GM can and should do to counter an overwhelming threat from a Shadowrunner team that threatens to trivialize what should be a difficult fight.

Add more spirits.  Counterspelling.  Banishing.  Adding more mages to the fight.  Make sure the enemy units have access to high powered weapons with plenty of Armor Piercing.  Background Counts.

GMs have a million tools in their arsenal.  Munchkin Min-Maxxing Players are annoying top deal with, especially if they're trying to trivialize the game to the point where other players may not be having any fun. But GMs have ways to lock them down and handle their crap, and most importantly, maintain the appropriate challenge for the scenario.

Stainless Steel Devil Rat

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« Reply #76 on: <06-11-18/1424:21> »
I take your point Bull, but where I might say adding Glomoss security traps or APDS rounds where the module doesn't specify they're there is just "tailoring to the table" someone else might say "you're cheating/making drek up".

Granted I've only got about 7 months of experience in SRM in what's a fairly small pond, but that's the sort of thing that I think maybe needs more guidance for new/would be SRM GMs.  E.G. examples of what's being a dick to the players and what's instead fairly tailoring.

A spirit related example: I recently ran a SRM mission (that'll go untitled so as to not spoil) that features a fight with honest-to-god Red Samurai.  Milspec power armor and everything.  Stats didn't say whether milspec power armor is hermetically sealed or whether gas masks are built into the helmets.  Players insisted that if it doesn't say it is, it isn't.  And rather than argue with them I let them trivially win a fight they were supposed to run in fear from due solely to a high Force Air spirit's engulf power.   Turns out I should have said "of course they have unlisted gas masks or are otherwise protected from your spirit's power!"?
RPG mechanics exist to give structure and consistency to the game world, true, but at the end of the day, you’re fighting dragons with algebra and random number generators.

Marcus

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« Reply #77 on: <06-11-18/1429:15> »
That's a lovely example Bull.
But was that a Yay or a Nay on Spirit Index?
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Lormyr

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« Reply #78 on: <06-11-18/1429:40> »
Our locals in Columbus contain a good portion of min-maxers, but I have never seen anything like that happen personally. Most of them are more interested in character building, so play pretty responsibly in terms of not trying to trivialize the Missions.

Out of curiosity Bull, how would you handle that sort of thing if it was just one min-maxed and disruptive (which I feel is a more key element than just min-maxing) player at a table with more cooperative and average PCs/players? For the sake of argument, lets establish than a simple request to ask the player to share the lime light was meeting with obstruction.
"TL:DR 6e's reduction of meaningful choices is akin to forcing everyone to wear training wheels. Now it's just becomes a bunch of toddlers riding around on tricycles they can't fall off of." - Adzling

Lormyr

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« Reply #79 on: <06-11-18/1434:11> »
@Marcus: I am indifferent on the spirit index issue.

@SSD: For me, the issue of cheating/making drek up is pretty straight forward - are you doing it to make the Mission/fight/game experience better, or to punish a player for making an efficient character? The first is ok, the second is not.

Mil-Spec does not innately come with chemical seals, but can certainly be upgraded with them.
"TL:DR 6e's reduction of meaningful choices is akin to forcing everyone to wear training wheels. Now it's just becomes a bunch of toddlers riding around on tricycles they can't fall off of." - Adzling

Stainless Steel Devil Rat

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« Reply #80 on: <06-11-18/1442:33> »
@SSD: For me, the issue of cheating/making drek up is pretty straight forward - are you doing it to make the Mission/fight/game experience better, or to punish a player for making an efficient character? The first is ok, the second is not.

Where I've only got 7 months or so experience in SRM, I've played in Paizo's organized play league for Pathfinder for some 7 years now.  Pathfinder is fairly different in its approach to the rules where everything has to be explicitly codified, and organized play is MUCH more strict about what sorts of changes a GM is allowed to make to the scenario as-written.  Essentially: none.  From the PFS mindset coming in to SRM, if the mission doesn't say the mooks have APDS ammo it's a High Crime for the GM to give it to them.  So I probably have a skewed perception on what's allowed in SRM compared to someone who's coming in to SRM just from playing SR home games.
RPG mechanics exist to give structure and consistency to the game world, true, but at the end of the day, you’re fighting dragons with algebra and random number generators.

Bull

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« Reply #81 on: <06-11-18/1445:10> »
I take your point Bull, but where I might say adding Glomoss security traps or APDS rounds where the module doesn't specify they're there is just "tailoring to the table" someone else might say "you're cheating/making drek up".

Granted I've only got about 7 months of experience in SRM in what's a fairly small pond, but that's the sort of thing that I think maybe needs more guidance for new/would be SRM GMs.  E.G. examples of what's being a dick to the players and what's instead fairly tailoring.

A spirit related example: I recently ran a SRM mission (that'll go untitled so as to not spoil) that features a fight with honest-to-god Red Samurai.  Milspec power armor and everything.  Stats didn't say whether milspec power armor is hermetically sealed or whether gas masks are built into the helmets.  Players insisted that if it doesn't say it is, it isn't.  And rather than argue with them I let them trivially win a fight they were supposed to run in fear from due solely to a high Force Air spirit's engulf power.   Turns out I should have said "of course they have unlisted gas masks or are otherwise protected from your spirit's power!"?

It's been a couple years since I've run a Missions adventure, so not sure if this has changed, but as of Season 5 the Missions had this as part of the Boiler Plate:

Quote
GMs  are  encouraged  to  use  their  own  judgment,  and  to  adjust  the  difficulty  of  the  encounter  to  take  into  account  the  abilities  of  the  players.  If  the  players  have  no  magical  support,  replace  magical  defenses  with  mundane  ones.  If  the  players  are  weak  on  combat,  reduce  the  number  of  enemies  by  one  or  two.  Conversely,  if  they’re  steam-rolling  the  opposition,  add  one  or  two  enemies  to  the  fight.  Missions  should  be  a  challenge  to  the  party,  but  should  never  be  insurmountable  for  a  team  playing  it  smart.

The adventures are not really intended to be run 100% as written. SHadowrun simply has too many moving parts to take every possible scenario and remember every option and piece of gear and list it on every NPC. 

Plus, it's worth knowing that the poor Missions writers get paid a pittance for a massive amount of word count.  I believe they're still paid a pretty small flat fee regardless of word count, and it comes out to far, far less than what the freelancers get on the main SR line.  Which in itself is pretty paltry, honestly.

This is not to say that the writers half-ass it.  The writers I worked with, and I'm sure the writers on the adventures now, work their asses off to create fun, well written adventures.  But it does mean that it's not worth investing hours into researching and looking up and writing giant stat and gear blocks for mook NPCs.

Plus, I always used the guideline when writing adventures to keep it simple and basic and a baseline of "fairly easy" unless it was supposed to be a hard as nails fight.  My reasoning was that it's far easier for GMs to scale a fight up, to add bigger guns or extra mooks or whatever, than it is to scale it back.  And better overall for the fight to be easy than to TPK the group by accident because you had a team with a technomancer, decker, two faces, and an non-combat focused adept.

Bull

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« Reply #82 on: <06-11-18/1453:48> »
Our locals in Columbus contain a good portion of min-maxers, but I have never seen anything like that happen personally. Most of them are more interested in character building, so play pretty responsibly in terms of not trying to trivialize the Missions.

Out of curiosity Bull, how would you handle that sort of thing if it was just one min-maxed and disruptive (which I feel is a more key element than just min-maxing) player at a table with more cooperative and average PCs/players? For the sake of argument, lets establish than a simple request to ask the player to share the lime light was meeting with obstruction.

1)  Don't give them the option.  I'm a big fan of focusing one on a time on players.  So I will go around the table and individually ask each player what they're doing, how they want to act, etc.  This helps keep one player from dominating the actions.

2)  If it's simply a massive power discrepancy...  Honestly, I fudge things a bit.  My goal is for everyone at the table to have fun, and I know from experience that sitting there with effectively a Level 1 character while everyone's running around with Level 20's and awesome gear sucks balls.  So I roll a few less soak dice to resist damage for the less powerful characters, or roll a few less dice to hit, or whatever.  More enemies target the high powered foe, because he's the bigger threat.  Etc.  YOu finesse your way around it as much as possible.

3)  This assumes that simply talking with the player and explaining things doesn't help.  If you've tried that, tried the above, and nothing really helps or the player throws a fit?  Either help him find a new game where his power level fits in better, or you may have to ask him to not play.  It sucks, you never want to do that if you can help it, but at the end of the day, you have to weigh the fun of everyone at the table.  And if one person is making the game not fun for several others, then sacrifices must be made for the good of all :(

Bull

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« Reply #83 on: <06-11-18/1501:27> »

Where I've only got 7 months or so experience in SRM, I've played in Paizo's organized play league for Pathfinder for some 7 years now.  Pathfinder is fairly different in its approach to the rules where everything has to be explicitly codified, and organized play is MUCH more strict about what sorts of changes a GM is allowed to make to the scenario as-written.  Essentially: none.  From the PFS mindset coming in to SRM, if the mission doesn't say the mooks have APDS ammo it's a High Crime for the GM to give it to them.  So I probably have a skewed perception on what's allowed in SRM compared to someone who's coming in to SRM just from playing SR home games.

Pathfinder is a very different system.  Being a D&D clone, it's level based.  That makes power levels much, much easier to work with.  When you write a D&D/PF adventure for Levels 5-7, you generally know what you're going to get, and you know what to set your enemies and challenges at.

Shadowrun doesn't have that.  You can have a fresh off the boat newbie character that's min-maxed enough to be holy hell in a gun fight or who can negotiate the socks off most Mr Johnsons.  Or you could have 1000 karma and just be a dead fish in a game because most of your points went into maxing out knowledge skills and various Performance skills, and you blew all your nuyen on hookers, novacoke, and a permanent luxury lifestyle.

Total Earned Karma gives you a ballpark idea of a characters potential, but doesn't give you any real solid idea of how good that character will actually be.

Plus outside of Prime Missions, SRMs and CMPs don't have a suggested Karma Value to them.  So you can easily have 0 karma characters riding with 1000 karma characters by the end of a campaign.  So when writing adventures, we have to write with everyone in mind. 

But that's easier said than done, and thus the onus of difficulty and adjustments is left up to the Gamemaster.  We trust our Gamemasters to do what is best for the group and the game.

Stainless Steel Devil Rat

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« Reply #84 on: <06-11-18/1503:29> »
Out of curiosity Bull, how would you handle that sort of thing if it was just one min-maxed and disruptive (which I feel is a more key element than just min-maxing) player at a table with more cooperative and average PCs/players? For the sake of argument, lets establish than a simple request to ask the player to share the lime light was meeting with obstruction.

To add to what Bull said, speaking from many decades of GMing all sorts of RPGs:

Like participating in a Tango, it actually requires the GM to allow a player to hog the spotlight.  I've learned "I'll come back to you" is a great thing to say to a would-be spotlight hogger.  In my experience RPGs tend to attract a disproportionate share of introverts/soft spoken personalities.  There are a lot of players who are more comfortable responding to stimuli rather than proactively offering their ideas or input.  Particularly so with strangers, and playing with strangers is the nature of the beast for organized play such as SRM.  It helps me to remind myself that *I* as the GM am the one shining the spotlight, and I have full control over who I'm giving my attention to.  It takes almost no time to identify who's the extroverts and who's the introverts as players are milling at the table before the game begins, so you usually have a good idea of who you're going to have to tell to "wait for a bit, you've had plenty of opportunity" and who you're going to have to elicit participation from.

And yes, I AM saying leave the drama-seeker hanging right in the middle of shit he wants to do.  Particularly if you can leave him on a cliffhanger.  "Well we'll see if the guard noticed you sneaking past when I come back to you.  So other player, what are YOU doing while spotlight-man is doing his thing?"
RPG mechanics exist to give structure and consistency to the game world, true, but at the end of the day, you’re fighting dragons with algebra and random number generators.

Hobbes

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« Reply #85 on: <06-11-18/1512:12> »
and you blew all your nuyen on ...hookers, novacoke, and a permanent luxury lifestyle...


Hold on, Hookers and Blow isn't min/maxing? 

Redwulfe

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« Reply #86 on: <06-11-18/1513:22> »
So lots discussion, but I don't feel like we are any closer to consensus on a Spirit Index.
Most what was said, seemed like we would do better to have it then not.
So specifically what's everyone thinking on that?

With Spirit Index I think it is an all-right mechanic that will not be used at every table simply because most GMs will forget about it. This would mean changing the boiler plate for missions to add spirit index and I am not sure it would be something the higher ups would be willing to do. That being said, if they are willing to put it in I support it.

I think it is much easier to just limit total force of spirits both individually and together.

The above is an example of something a GM can and should do to counter an overwhelming threat from a Shadowrunner team that threatens to trivialize what should be a difficult fight.

Add more spirits.  Counterspelling.  Banishing.  Adding more mages to the fight.  Make sure the enemy units have access to high powered weapons with plenty of Armor Piercing.  Background Counts.

GMs have a million tools in their arsenal.  Munchkin Min-Maxxing Players are annoying top deal with, especially if they're trying to trivialize the game to the point where other players may not be having any fun. But GMs have ways to lock them down and handle their crap, and most importantly, maintain the appropriate challenge for the scenario.

Ass always I think that your example is great and your idea is sound but at a 4 hour table slot adding all of this in means more to track and more time spent on a single encounter. I personally would prefer to limit the total force and try to get the whole module done so the players get the full story.

Obviously you could add these elements and an experienced SRM GM could as well, but it may be daunting for the rest of the GMs. I always find that the "masterful" are smaller in number than that of the "passionate but still trying to wrap our heads around all of these variations."
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Lormyr

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« Reply #87 on: <06-11-18/1546:59> »
@SSD: Oh yes, I've played more than my share of PFS as well. It was my primary game before I began to grow frustrated with the way the campaign managed melee resources vs. magical resources in the allowed Additional Resources, which led me the move to SRM.

My personal experience with random PFS GMs at Cons is that enough of them are petty, confrontational, and/or possessing of a punitive mentality (how dare the player have fun with his/her style of play, I have to teach them a lesson!) that allowing them to alter the scenarios would have been disastrous. Fortunately, I have not had that experience with SRM. On the whole, the community seems a lot more relaxed.

@Bull: Those are reasonable steps. I personally never fudge my dice rolls, because I rarely make them when running Missions. I usually just have the other players at the table roll for my NPCs when necessary. My experiences have shown that to help keep the players engaged when it is not their turn, and also makes it clear that I believe in letting the dice fall how they will.

@Redwulfe: Do combats often run long for people? Other than two combats in all of the Missions line (the finale of Dragon's Song 4 and A Holy Piece of Wetwork), we've never had a single combat make it past 2 initiative passes.
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« Reply #88 on: <06-11-18/1548:08> »
while bull's example is awesome fun to read it doesn't actually fix anything.

your order example to the spirits (kill/ attack all renrauku guards) is laughably simplistic and counters all of my 20+ years of srun experience with real players.

is this really something your players would do?

in reality a player who knows the game well enough to build a high force spirit army would know exactly how to use them effectively. issuing specific orders to each one to maximized their Concealment, spirit of man spells (to bypass security) et. al.

you may not have considered this but i (and our table) has in detail.

with a spirit army as i outlined a competent summoner really doesn't need a party, at all. he can solo any mission run by himself (his high charisma makes him a natural face).

this is a srun design problem (along with many other things).

missions has attempted to plug the most egregious holes / exploits and this one should be fixed imho.

moreover as it's been said elsewhere missions GMs are of varying caliber and may not have the knowledge to understand how to effectively counter a spirit army or huge spirit.

finally, the extensive mission editing required to forestall a one man spirit army goes well beyond the scope of missions sessions.

i strongly suggest the missions team fixes this.

if the errata team's purview included fixing poorly balanced rules (it does not, alas) we would fix this as well.

gluck!


Kincaid

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« Reply #89 on: <06-11-18/1601:53> »
Spirit armies are probably the most extreme example of a problematic player-type.  My Missions character ended up with hundreds (and hundreds) of karma and would occasionally end up at a table with people playing pregens.  Keep them alive, nudge them towards situations in which they'll succeed, mop up as needed.  At the end of the day, I'm not sure there are viable mechanical fixes to patch all these possible holes (and God knows the FAQ is unwieldy enough for people new the game).  Open play is always a mixed bag when it comes to spotlight hogging vs self-restraint, but it's likely the most realistic option.
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