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Thoughts on Changelings?

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Warden Drake

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« on: <10-30-21/2336:41> »
So, something I wanted to ask you guys; what are your thoughts on Changeling PCs?  Like, do you feel that they are underutilized, or too "snowflake-y" to make good PCs, or that they should be taken out of the game somehow, etc.?  Do you feel like there should be some kind of rework for them, or are they good the way they are?  Do you like playing with them, or do you hate them with a passion?  No wrong answers here; everyone's got their own opinion, so feel free to speak your mind. 

Xenon

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« Reply #1 on: <10-31-21/0319:11> »
i think they (together with Pixies, AI etc) are too "snowflake-y".
I think it was a mistake to include them as playable characters to begin with....

At the same time I think it is OK to have advanced / optional rules for them (in case others do like them).
But only at long as we still have the option to not use them at our table ;-)

Tecumseh

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« Reply #2 on: <11-01-21/1735:34> »
I'm usually the GM, so I'm posting from that perspective.

Class I doesn't bother me as much because on the surface it's not that different from someone who got their abilities from 'ware or magic.

Class II and III are more of a headache and I'd rather not deal with them. If I'm responsible for determining how the world reacts to someone or their actions, I constantly have to add in the additional layer of "this person looks like a lizard, or has goat legs, or is a human-plant hybrid", etc. That's a chore and takes away from my processing power that I would prefer to devote to other areas of the game.

Plus, in a game that often revolves around the plot of "commit crimes and don't get caught," being so exceptionally unique can often be detrimental to the team's long-term success. If the chummer committing the crime looks like an elephant, it's not going to take a lot of legwork for someone to track them down. So then you layer on this separate minigame of how the person conceals their appearance and true nature from the world, which turns into that much more bookkeeping and mental resources about whether or not those efforts succeed. Again, as a GM, I'd rather spend my limited time and attention elsewhere.

Hobbes

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« Reply #3 on: <11-02-21/1008:04> »


Class II and III are more of a headache and I'd rather not deal with them. If I'm responsible for determining how the world reacts to someone or their actions, I constantly have to add in the additional layer of "this person looks like a lizard, or has goat legs, or is a human-plant hybrid", etc. That's a chore and takes away from my processing power that I would prefer to devote to other areas of the game.

Plus, in a game that often revolves around the plot of "commit crimes and don't get caught," being so exceptionally unique can often be detrimental to the team's long-term success. If the chummer committing the crime looks like an elephant, it's not going to take a lot of legwork for someone to track them down. So then you layer on this separate minigame of how the person conceals their appearance and true nature from the world, which turns into that much more bookkeeping and mental resources about whether or not those efforts succeed. Again, as a GM, I'd rather spend my limited time and attention elsewhere.

Not sure about where you all live, but I live in Denver CO, USA.  If Cat Ears or a tail were $1,000, they'd be commonplace.  Full on Furry for "only" $5,000 or so?  Would only be a 5 out of 10 on the "Weird Things I Saw Today List".  Goat Legs would get the occasional "Those are cool, where'd you get them?".  YMMV.

Cops would likely refer to a collection of said weirdness as "A Bunch of Freaks" without any real specifics.  And keep in mind, as bizarre as any one PC's appearance gets, Orks and Trolls are still more likely to draw attention from security/Law Enforcement/whatever. 

It's obviously up to the table as to how hard you want to lean into the Transhuman elements of Shadowrun.  But in a world with omnipresent biosculpt, cybernetics, AR enhanced and electro chromatic clothes, stuff would be really weird by today's standards.  Places like Freemont Street in Las Vegas would be straight up nutty. 

Stainless Steel Devil Rat

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« Reply #4 on: <11-02-21/1033:17> »
It's obviously up to the table as to how hard you want to lean into the Transhuman elements of Shadowrun.  But in a world with omnipresent biosculpt, cybernetics, AR enhanced and electro chromatic clothes, stuff would be really weird by today's standards.  Places like Freemont Street in Las Vegas would be straight up nutty.

Harajuku looks like this *now*, in real life.  Try to imagine it with Shadowrun's tech.
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.

Finstersang

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« Reply #5 on: <11-03-21/0645:42> »
From what Iīve seen in Forums etc., I only have the feeling that Changeling rules are often used you for either Furry shenanigans or excessive min-maxing. Not everyoneīs cup of tea.

To reiterate my thoughts from reddit: Furries can be much better executed as Shapeshifters ("but then they donīt look cute?" Yeah, neither does you creepy-ass blue-yellow wolf fursona, Greg.) or with crazy Augmentations. SURGE works much better to create "urban mutant" characters, with more subtle alterations that you can actually hide to some degree. It doesnīt exactly help that most Changeling characters in the metaplot are these high-profile type-3 Changelings like Simon Andrews. You donīt have to play a fully-blown lizard man when building a changeling.

Itīs also worth noting that 5th Edition didnīt do a good job on Changelings either. The problem is that the rules confounded the extense and visibiliy of Metagenetic Qualities with their Randomness. SURGE I got 10 points of positive and negative Qualities, but both would be random.  SURGE  II got you 20 points and would let you chose the positive Qualities, and only SURGE  III gave players 30 Karma of positives and negatives and full control. And some of the negative Qualities can really mess up your whole concept - in extreme cases you might end up with some lame benefit like a single vision enhancement and a huge, visible drawback. Even in the Case of SURGE  III characters, the mechanics would be unfavourable - which in turn leads to more min-maxing, because if I need to pay 30 Karma for SURGE  III and pick 30 Karma points of negative freakshow qualities, I might et least get some OP specialist build out of it. Still, your best chance to actually get the type of freak you want was to go with SURGE III; and that in turn meant that you couldnīt really go for a Changeling thatīs just slightly altered. I like the idea of adding a bit of randomness, but it shouldnīt be linked to the SURGE Class. Every Class should have full control, with the option to add certain degrees of randomness for an appropriate Karma discount.

Besides that, I donīt see whatīs the fuzz about. Too snowflaky? Too high-profile? Yes, Shadowrunners are professionals, but they are also outcasts and misfits. When did Shadowrun turn into a hyperrealistic spy simulator where everyone has to fully commit to the grey trenchcoat playstyle (which is like black trenchcoat, but more bland) unless they want the whole team swatted? Also, there are many locations like Berlin where the "squares" stick out even more than the freaks.
« Last Edit: <11-03-21/0853:28> by Finstersang »
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Reaver

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« Reply #6 on: <11-04-21/1416:04> »
For a lot of people, yes changelings are "snowflake" characters, mainly because of what people are trying to build with them (Sorry, but its true).

When you go back to 'Year of the Comet' (the 3e book that introduces SURGE, and Changelings) some things become very clear, that many people want to gloss over.
The first is, the total number of people who were affected, and just who was affected. Basically the break down works out to be less than 1% of the total population (for a measure, Awakened make up 5% of the population). With Human Sapien Sapiens (plain-jane humans) being the vast majority. Followed by the common meta races (orks, elves, trolls), followed by the awakened, followed by meta-variants. And this was compounded, meaning a awakened Troll would almost never Surge, much less a Oni (ork meta variant) adept.

The next bit of info that people gloss over was that for every Rebecca Constantine (the literal first "Cat Girl" in SR), where were 1000 people that died in agony as bone spurs erupted from their bodies, or their lungs stopped processing Air, or were stoned to death because they developed faceted eyes or a proboscis.... Because fear of Insect Spirits is a very real Thing.

In short, SURGE made freaks.  But people don't want to play freaks as in "Wally, the Street Sam with a Tentacle hand" they want to play freaks as in  "Miss Meow, the sexay cat girl with a million P2 fans!"


Or at least that is how the vast majority of characters are portrayed by their players when they come to the forums...

Now it doesn't help that 4e basically tried to make it SURGE into a cookie cutter "build your own race" maker and really pushed the transhumanist aspects instead of the dystopian features that SURGE originally entailed (as many of the positive qualities people pick now, didn't even exist before 4e).
5e tried to correct this in some ways, but its hidden behind a word salad of copy pasta and poorly phrased new sentences sprinkled in.



A lot of people see SURGE as a way to try to bring in races or concepts from other games into Shadowrun... without really thinking if that "race" would even fit into Shadowrun, and its society...(Hint. May do not...) and this is before the problems we already have with some of the meta variants in SR and players not reading or understanding what they are reading to begin with...

For examples:

Pixies with Guns.... (don't get me started... I done more the a few write ups, SOME WITH PICTURES! about why this idea needs to die in a fire...)
Naga Machine Gunners (Naga don't have arms... hard to hold and point a gun, much less pull a trigger...)
Sasquatch Faces. (Sasquatch don't have a voice box that can produce human words in any language, although they are incredibly proficient at sound <NOT WORD> imitation)
And that's before we even get into the concept of "Is it people, or is it animal" for many countries. (take the Pixie and Naga, in many countries they are considered animals, and thus fall under animal control laws.... and not meta-human rights!)

yet we will see people try to build these exact combinations of characters, then wonder why a large part of the community looks that then and says "No,"
Where am I going? And why am I in a hand basket ???

Remember: You can't fix Stupid. But you can beat on it with a 2x4 until it smartens up! Or dies.

Hobbes

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« Reply #7 on: <11-04-21/1746:39> »

In short, SURGE made freaks.  But people don't want to play freaks as in "Wally, the Street Sam with a Tentacle hand" they want to play freaks as in  "Miss Meow, the sexay cat girl with a million P2 fans!"



Biosculpt really needs to be in the CRB.  Should be cheap to free for starting characters with a few standard "Packages" to give examples of what the technology can do.  For the tables that want the whole transhumanist treatment, just put it out there for them.

Hopefully a source book is in the pipeline that touches on some of these options, both magical and technological.