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Starting BP and Max Available

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Michael Chandra

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« Reply #15 on: <06-07-13/0502:01> »
Ignore A4BG, his big gun love tends to cloud his judgement. Until your players have actually experienced the game, they won't know for certain that 400/12 isn't enough for them. Right now all those higher-availability items are for them to grow into. Letting them go 600/20 and 100~200 BP in Gear means they lose things to look forward to. Until they want a 10-million plane and pressure you into it.

Ask your players this: Do you want a high-power, high-profile, high-risk campaign where we're dealing with the nastiest things I can toss at you and likely die horribly, or a sneaky conspiracy normal-power, low-profile, normal-risk campaign where you do runs, become better and slowly get sucked into a big secret plot? Also ask yourself which of those you're comfortable with. Same goes for things like AI, Free Spirits, Drakes, etc, ask yourself first whether you're interested in GMing a campaign with those or want to keep it simple.

As for the attitude "if the players want it, it doesn't matter what the GM wants", if your players actually behave like that and you don't feel comfortable giving in to their demands, follow the Tiger Bunny motto: If you don't like it, quit. That kind of attitude is poisonous and it's better to just give up and throw in the towel if they actually are like that.
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emsquared

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« Reply #16 on: <06-07-13/1051:18> »
Whether the default is enough in most cases (it generally is) or not is beside the point. His players don't feel they'll enjoy the game without having more, so he should give more. Period. Full stop.
LOL! This is such a FUBAR philosophy, I doubt you would even espouse it in practice, A4BG. It's the GMs job to craft a story and indeed an experience for the players, if you're good. We can agree on that, right? The goal is for everyone to have fun, we can agree on that? If the players don't trust the GM to do these things, why is he the GM? amiller's group has made him their guide. That means they've willingly handed over judgements exactly like this to him.

If you start and find you don't like the feel, amiller, you can just dish out 20 Karma a Run, and 20K Y and in no time you'll have your 500 BP, 18 availability runners. But at least you'll know what is right for you instead of assuming.

That got me a laugh; I've played D&D so often at lower levels that I won't even consider playing at less than 5th, and my preference would be 10th+. The 'good parts' of D&D for me aren't the 'gritty fantasy' of low levels but the 'heroic fantasy' and 'super heroism' of mid to high levels. My character builds rarely even come together before 7th to 9th level!

And I probably have mentioned before I DMed a group from 1st to 17th and enjoyed every part of the whole campaign, but really liked the higher levels.

Not saying its wrong to love low levels - many people play D&D expressly for the 'gritty fantasy' that low levels embraces. Its just not for everyone.
Shiiii-, with our current PF campaign at 3rd level we were fighting demons, at 5th we were traveling to the World Wound, at 6th we'd started traveling to other planes, 7th we'd been to the moon and back, at 8th killed our first dragon (in one round, I believe), at 9th we'd had an entire campaign beneath the sea, if that's "gritty, low-level fantasy" I don't even wanna know what ridiculousness goes on at your table. And I agree, my PF/D&D builds don't even really blossom until later levels either (not much does), when they do, it's game over - there's no more real threats or mystery. It's either "how fast did the baddies die", or "okay, who's dead"? And while admittedly, "all the fun" is hyperbole, things just gets ridiculous. And you're right that is a matter of play-style, but from amiller's post history, I'm pretty sure they don't have an idea of their play-style.

So, start with the start.
« Last Edit: <06-07-13/1054:01> by emsquared »

Carz

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« Reply #17 on: <06-07-13/1239:11> »
The campaign for SR that I'm running now is my first SR4 game, and I went with 450 BP, but I must admit to being both a number cruncher and a reasonably experienced GM (and having played in SR 1 thru 3), so I did know what I wanted in a campaign.

Its good advice from those who have provided it, to start at the start if you are new to GMing in general, unfamiliar with the system or world, or are not sure yet what kind of campaign you want.


Shiiii-, with our current PF campaign at 3rd level we were fighting demons, at 5th we were traveling to the World Wound, at 6th we'd started traveling to other planes, 7th we'd been to the moon and back, at 8th killed our first dragon (in one round, I believe), at 9th we'd had an entire campaign beneath the sea, if that's "gritty, low-level fantasy" I don't even wanna know what ridiculousness goes on at your table.

Well I have to admit to not playing any Pathfinder - my last sojourn into D&D 3.5 was my own campaign and that stopped a while back; I've read *a bit* about PF - enough to know the scale is somewhat different and flavor as well. So I can well believe that you have done as you say, at the levels you say, but I can equally claim that (outside my own campaign) I have *not* played in a game that went that far into higher fantasy as early as you describe.

In my own campaign I tried to capture higher fantasy earlier in levels as well; honestly I would not say it has been any more 'ridiculous' than what you described, nor do I really think what you describe is in any way ridiculous: It seems like I might like PF played the way you describe at earlier levels, rather more than what I have experienced in basic 3.5 D&D.


Bonus info:
I'm sure people have seen this before, but this is what I was talking about with 'gritty' vs 'heroic':
[spoiler]
"Earlier this year Ryan Dancey suggested that D&D has four distinct quartiles of play:
Levels 1-5: Gritty fantasy
Levels 6-10: Heroic fantasy
Levels 11-15: Wuxia
Levels 16-20: Superheroes"

http://www.myth-weavers.com/wiki/index.php/Epic_6
[/spoiler]
The Aztechnology ziggurat is imposing in only the way corporate architecture mixed with a an ancient culture renown for its human sacrifice could be. Its hard to really determine which is more chilling, though... the ancient bloody past or modern soulless technology.

All4BigGuns

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« Reply #18 on: <06-07-13/1250:51> »
Ignore A4BG, his big gun love tends to cloud his judgement. Until your players have actually experienced the game, they won't know for certain that 400/12 isn't enough for them. Right now all those higher-availability items are for them to grow into. Letting them go 600/20 and 100~200 BP in Gear means they lose things to look forward to. Until they want a 10-million plane and pressure you into it.

Ask your players this: Do you want a high-power, high-profile, high-risk campaign where we're dealing with the nastiest things I can toss at you and likely die horribly, or a sneaky conspiracy normal-power, low-profile, normal-risk campaign where you do runs, become better and slowly get sucked into a big secret plot? Also ask yourself which of those you're comfortable with. Same goes for things like AI, Free Spirits, Drakes, etc, ask yourself first whether you're interested in GMing a campaign with those or want to keep it simple.

As for the attitude "if the players want it, it doesn't matter what the GM wants", if your players actually behave like that and you don't feel comfortable giving in to their demands, follow the Tiger Bunny motto: If you don't like it, quit. That kind of attitude is poisonous and it's better to just give up and throw in the towel if they actually are like that.

They will know what sort of game they want in general terms, and could gauge if that is possible within those points by the costs. And in case you didn't notice--more likely ignored, I think--I did say that generally it is enough before offering a good higher point (that was suggested because that seems to me to be where the actual 'former spec forces' would be available, and it sounded to me that that is more what they want).
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Michael Chandra

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« Reply #19 on: <06-07-13/1301:13> »
I noticed just fine. I did not ignore it. I simply don't care. Please stop accusing me of ignoring parts of what you say, just because we have different points of view.
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RHat

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« Reply #20 on: <06-07-13/1352:05> »
They will know what sort of game they want in general terms, and could gauge if that is possible within those points by the costs.

Again, there are many reasons why they may not be able to do that, especially if they are new to the system.
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ZeConster

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« Reply #21 on: <06-07-13/1413:14> »
My personal viewpoint is that of "people are idiots until proven otherwise". If your players say they need more points for the game to be fun, my initial assumption will be that it's because they're being petty, greedy children, not because they firmly grasp the game mechanics and have made the well-weighted decision that the game would be more fun for them at a higher level.
That said, I agree with what Carz said:
I'd say find out not only what power level your players want to play at, but also what types of characters they are thinking of playing. Maybe they want to play somethings with high entry costs, like those I mentioned, or a Drake or whatever, and the larger BP will let them do just that.
Before you accept or refuse, find out why they think 400 BP / 12 Availability is too low a default. If it's based on stupiditymisconceptions on their side, feel free to politely correct them. If it's based on them wanting to be big fish in a small pond, feel free to correct them in whatever way you wish to. And of course, like the rulebook says:
Quote from: Core
if the group likes high-powered, elite-operative campaigns, they may need 500BP for starting characters

emsquared

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« Reply #22 on: <06-07-13/1441:48> »
I apologize in advance for the brief derail, but it seems like there's about enough input for the OP to make a decision, if he hasn't already.
Well I have to admit to not playing any Pathfinder - my last sojourn into D&D 3.5 was my own campaign and that stopped a while back; I've read *a bit* about PF - enough to know the scale is somewhat different and flavor as well. So I can well believe that you have done as you say, at the levels you say, but I can equally claim that (outside my own campaign) I have *not* played in a game that went that far into higher fantasy as early as you describe.

In my own campaign I tried to capture higher fantasy earlier in levels as well; honestly I would not say it has been any more 'ridiculous' than what you described, nor do I really think what you describe is in any way ridiculous: It seems like I might like PF played the way you describe at earlier levels, rather more than what I have experienced in basic 3.5 D&D.
Aside from having it's own unique history and story of course, I wouldn't say it's any more (or less) high-magic or high-fantasy than Forgotten Realms. Not like, say, Eberron is markedly higher, or Ravenloft or Dark Sun are markedly lower. The overall "feel" of the worlds is quite similar to me (and I think the developers did this on purpose), and the PF mechanics are just 3.5 but, in a word, better (IMO). They did a fantastic job of tweaking the "old" classes, making interesting new ones, and adding virtually endless options and possible nuances to all of them. But the premise is our group are all members of the PF Society, which is why we've tended to run into more outlandish things earlier I think...

That said, I don't think our campaign is ridiculous either, it has flowed very well, even with it being higher-fantasy than I've experienced in the past but indeed it's been and continues to be really fun, I just wanted to provide counter point to those scoffing at low-levels. Low-levels only suck if your D/GM sucks. Sorry but; full stop, as seems to be the catch phrase of the moment.

(As warned) I've digressed, the point being that low-level D&D doesn't have to be gritty low-level fantasy just as 400 BP Runners don't have to be street-level operatives. You can get plenty of wiz toys under 400 BP and do high-level corporate, jet-jumping Runs if that's what everyone expects. You just (maybe, not even all the time) have to make choices about which wiz toy you want the most. Every level of the game should be (and should be able to be) fun; but for a new group and new GM, starting at higher power levels is just making it harder on yourself as GM, and therefore potentially a worse experience for all.

All4BigGuns

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« Reply #23 on: <06-07-13/1518:57> »
My personal viewpoint is that of "people are idiots until proven otherwise". If your players say they need more points for the game to be fun, my initial assumption will be that it's because they're being petty, greedy children, not because they firmly grasp the game mechanics and have made the well-weighted decision that the game would be more fun for them at a higher level.
That said, I agree with what Carz said:
I'd say find out not only what power level your players want to play at, but also what types of characters they are thinking of playing. Maybe they want to play somethings with high entry costs, like those I mentioned, or a Drake or whatever, and the larger BP will let them do just that.
Before you accept or refuse, find out why they think 400 BP / 12 Availability is too low a default. If it's based on stupiditymisconceptions on their side, feel free to politely correct them. If it's based on them wanting to be big fish in a small pond, feel free to correct them in whatever way you wish to. And of course, like the rulebook says:
Quote from: Core
if the group likes high-powered, elite-operative campaigns, they may need 500BP for starting characters

Instead of assuming that they're "petty, greedy and idiot children", why don't you stop and think. Maybe then you're realize that some people, after they've been in gaming for a while don't want to start off at the baseline whether it's a game they've done before or one they've just picked up because they see the baseline as being for those who are completely new to all gaming.
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RHat

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« Reply #24 on: <06-07-13/1524:22> »
Instead of assuming that they're "petty, greedy and idiot children", why don't you stop and think. Maybe then you're realize that some people, after they've been in gaming for a while don't want to start off at the baseline whether it's a game they've done before or one they've just picked up because they see the baseline as being for those who are completely new to all gaming.

Which gets back to "probably wrong because of inexperience with the system", I'd say.  They may be expecting 400BP characters to be like low-level characters in other games, which really isn't accurate.
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ZeConster

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« Reply #25 on: <06-07-13/1531:33> »
Instead of assuming that they're "petty, greedy and idiot children", why don't you stop and think. Maybe then you're realize that some people, after they've been in gaming for a while don't want to start off at the baseline whether it's a game they've done before or one they've just picked up because they see the baseline as being for those who are completely new to all gaming.
Judging the posts by you that I've seen, your viewpoint is that of "the GM is always wrong if they disagree with the players and should always give the players whatever they ask for". You assume one thing if not given further information, I assume something else (in this case: "since the GM seems new to Shadowrun, maybe the players are really new too, and don't really have the experience to make a proper judgment call").
People are allowed to have different opinions, which is why I agreed with Carz that the GM should discuss things with the players, instead of recommending he spit in their faces (which will sour the mood, to say the least), or give them what they want no-questions-asked (which may very well backfire and make the game less fun than it would be at 400BP, because at the 600BP level you suggested, they're beyond the "high-powered, elite-operative" 500BP level, so things could get either too boring, or way too tense quickly).

Nal0n

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« Reply #26 on: <06-07-13/1549:23> »
Just go from standard ans evolve ... does not take that long anyways...

Nobody

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« Reply #27 on: <06-07-13/2043:24> »
I personally don't play level 1 characters in a d20 system any more. I am, however, fine with the standard build in Shadowrun.

Ultimately it comes down to what kind of game your characters want to play.

350: Just hit the shadows. Think the beginning of San Andreas. You've got a crew with a few skills, a little cash, a dash of gear, and the past on their heels. Your scope is a few neighborhoods, your enemies are gangs, beat cops, and urban paracritters, your scores are usually some wiz toys or a bag of drugs.

400: On the verge. If you play it right, you could make it big. You're solidly augmented, have the core of what you need to progress. Your scope is citywide, and you might be called for some out of town jobs. You're facing trained CorpSec, other teams of runners, and fairly sophisticated security systems. You can start to make serious money at this stage, and your street cred starts to mean something.

450: It's getting real. You've probably made your first million in the shadows, and have the augments/foci/spiffy toys to prove it. You've made contacts and enemies in high places. You're running against hardened veterans and state of the art tech. You'll be dealing with big players, and your name means something in the shadows.

500: "I'm kind of a big deal."  You've pulled off some truly righteous jobs. You've got all the gear you need for a nice long career. You're running up against SF teams and CorpSec elite, and there's probably at least one or two task forces in AAA security divisions with your name on all the paperwork. You never want for cash, and you have all the contacts to hook up whatever you need.

550+: Why haven't you retired? Hasn't anybody told you this job'll get you killed? You're clearly working against your own personal nemesis, and blowing through a small nation's worth of nuyen to make it happen. You hobnob with AAA players, catch the occassional rerun of yourself on the trids, and are catching the attention of the biggest fish in the pond. Good luck, chummer.
« Last Edit: <06-07-13/2046:46> by Nobody »

Glyph

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« Reply #28 on: <06-08-13/0404:55> »
It doesn't really progress that significantly, even with the flat costs of BP, unless you also adjust things like Availability, starting skill limits, etc.  A 550 BP character is a basically a 400 BP specialist who has shored up the weak areas and gained some tertiary skills.

Shadowrun is also a game where the power level within a given number of BP can vary greatly.

Reaver

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« Reply #29 on: <06-08-13/0412:01> »
It doesn't really progress that significantly, even with the flat costs of BP, unless you also adjust things like Availability, starting skill limits, etc.  A 550 BP character is a basically a 400 BP specialist who has shored up the weak areas and gained some tertiary skills.

Shadowrun is also a game where the power level within a given number of BP can vary greatly.

Spirit knows I've splattered more then my fair share of 300-600 karma characters with nothing more then the NPCs out of 'adventures and contacts' book.

All it takes is poor planning, a sense of invulnerablity, and poor rolls to go from "Superhero" to "blood stain" in just a few rolls.
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