NEWS

Critique / Discuss my proposed house rules list.

  • 17 Replies
  • 5705 Views

voydangel

  • *
  • Omae
  • ***
  • Posts: 537
  • SR GM since 1990. Damn I'm old.
« on: (02:03:19/11-04-10) »
I have been working on this for a while, using other peoples house rules, suggestions etc. to compile a list of house rules that I think have a good feel to them.
Obviously I'm aware this set of rules won't be liked by everyone, but I was curious what my fellow GMs think about this setup from a more or less objective standpoint (rather than a "would you use it in your game standpoint).
Most specifically I am interested in hearing your thoughts on the "synergy" between #'s 1, 2 & 3. Too harsh? too limiting? too powerful?
Secondarily, I'm curious about any game breaking uses/exploits for #13 that anyone can think of.
If the wording for #13 is too unclear - what I'm going for there is making that version of geneware only available to 100% natural characters who start with, and maintain, their full 6 essence.

So here we go:

1. Adjust the following Adept Powers as noted:
• Reduce the power point cost of the following powers by half: analytics, animal empathy, blind
fighting, cloak, counterstrike, distance strike, elemental resistance, facial sculpt, freefall, gliding,
great leap, heightened concentration, improved sense, indomitable will, iron gut, iron lungs, iron
will, living focus, magic sense, melanin control, metabolic control, motion sense, multi tasking,
natural immunity, nimble fingers, piercing senses, power swimming, rapid healing, rooting, spell
resistance, supernatural toughness, temperature tolerance, traceless walk and wall running.
• Attribute Boost: new cost = 0.5 (no more ranks/rating). Boost & drain equal to (Magic) hits.
• Berserk: also reduces dice pool modifiers from all damage by half (round up) for duration.
• Improved Physical Attribute: new cost = 0.5 per level.
• Improved Reflexes: cost = 1.5 per level.

2. When initiating, adepts may choose to gain a power point instead of a new meta-magic technique. The
cost for doing so is (new initiate grade*3) karma in addition to the normal cost for initiating.

3. Maximum number of times a character can initiate (or submerse) is equal to their essence. If a characters
essence drops below their initiate grade/submersion level, then they lose that initiate grade/submersion
level and all of the benefits that accompanied it, including increased Magic/Resonance attribute
maximums, power points, meta-magic techniques, echoes, etc.

4. Starting characters receive (Charisma + Etiquette)*4 extra BP to buy contacts with.

5. Starting contacts maximum Connection is = the characters Etiquette, and max Loyalty = Charisma.

6. Assensing and Astral Combat are default-able for magicians (and adepts capable of astral perception).

7. Characters are allowed a total of ±35BP from qualities at character creation. (So you can have 50 BP of
positive qualities, as long as you also have at least 15 BP of negative qualities [50-15=35]).

8. Change availability of all hacker programs to Rating*3, making maximum starting rating 4.

9. Change DV of Stick 'n' Shock ammo from 6S(e) to xS(e), where ‘x’ is equal to the weapon's normal
base damage.

10. Electrical damage: The net hits gained from the roll to resist instant incapacitation are used to cancel out
the -2 modifier that is imposed from electrical damage. (So 5 hits on your B+W(3) test = no penalties).

11. Change movement rates to 4m walking/12m running (human, elf, ork), 3m walking/10m running
(dwarf) and 5m walking/15m running (troll). Critter walking speeds are reduced to 40% of their current
level and running speeds to half their current level. Vehicle Speed and Acceleration ratings are
unaffected.

12. When using the Karma creation system from the runners companion, increasing attributes costs [New
Rating*5]; you must pay the BP cost for your meta-type in Karma; the bonus Karma you get for contacts
is [(Charisma + Etiquette)*4]; the amount of Karma available to be spent on starting attributes is
[(starting karma/2) + (meta-type cost*2)] and includes mental, physical and special attributes.

13. New grade of geneware available: “Chimera Strain”. Cost = *2, Availability = +2, Essence cost = zero.
This grade is only available to characters with the full 6 essence, and is not available to starting
characters unless they start play with the full 6 essence. If a character with chimera strain geneware ever
has his essence reduced below 6 from cyber, bio or nano-ware, or non-chimera strain geneware, he
instantly loses an amount of essence equal to the normal essence costs for all the chimera strain
geneware he currently ‘possesses’.

14. The availability test to acquire any item in-game is automatically successful if the item is not forbidden
or restricted, and the availability is less than or equal to the characters ([Negotiation*2] + Charisma).

Here's a PDF of the house rules doc if anyone wants to d/l it.

Thoughts?
My tips for new GM's
Unless it is coming from an official source, RAI = "Rules As Imagined."
SR1+SR2+SR3++SR4++SR5+++h+b+++B+D382UBIE-RN---DSF-W+m+(o++)gm+MP

Nomad Zophiel

  • *
  • Omae
  • ***
  • Posts: 414
  • Zophiel by name. Nomad by profession.
« Reply #1 on: (04:30:57/11-04-10) »

4. Starting characters receive (Charisma + Etiquette)*4 extra BP to buy contacts with.

5. Starting contacts maximum Connection is = the characters Etiquette, and max Loyalty = Charisma.

7. Characters are allowed a total of ±35BP from qualities at character creation. (So you can have 50 BP of
positive qualities, as long as you also have at least 15 BP of negative qualities [50-15=35]).



4. I like this because everyone needs Contacts and I usuallt spend too many points there.

5. This means that characters MUST have high etiquette to work with well placed Fixers. I dislike that idea.

7. I'm interested to see how that plays out. I suspect you'll see some evil, evil stacks of Positive Qualities (I can think of a 70ish point list) balanced down to +35

FastJack

  • *
  • Administrator
  • Prime Runner
  • *****
  • Posts: 5501
  • Kids these days...
    • Coming soon!
« Reply #2 on: (09:34:02/11-04-10) »
Hmmm... #4 and #7 sound familiar... ;)

Most sound good, some I wouldn't use for personal preferences. I dislike #14 since it basically removes Availability as a concept from the game (See here for more on that discussion).

@Nomad: It sounds like #5 is only for Contacts at character creation. They can increase those ratings through gameplay.

Critias

  • *
  • Freelancer
  • Prime Runner
  • *****
  • Posts: 2522
  • Company Elf
« Reply #3 on: (13:15:35/11-04-10) »
I don't see anything in that list that would keep me from wanting to play in a game you were running.  There are a few I agree with strongly (I'm a big fan of free contacts, I'm a big fan of Qualities, I'm a big fan of the "utility" Adept powers).  There are some I'm neutral on (geneware's never really been my thing, I'm not up on programs as much as I could be, movements rates never bothered me)...and there are none that I vehemently disagree with, or immediately dislike, or anything.

FastJack

  • *
  • Administrator
  • Prime Runner
  • *****
  • Posts: 5501
  • Kids these days...
    • Coming soon!
« Reply #4 on: (13:28:34/11-04-10) »
I'd like to add that I don't vehemently dislike the House Rule on Availability, just that if it was up to discussion, I'd cross it off. If not, it wouldn't be that big of a deal.

voydangel

  • *
  • Omae
  • ***
  • Posts: 537
  • SR GM since 1990. Damn I'm old.
« Reply #5 on: (16:28:30/11-04-10) »
Yea, #14 is one i have been fence sitting about. It does disrupt the inherent idea of availability as presented in the rules, but I was considering tossing it in there just to speed up some transactions in game...

The reason I'm doing this is that I'm planning on starting up a new game/group, and possibly "revamping" my current group as it were, and some of these house rules directly "fix" some issues I've seen in the past. And some I stole from other sources cause I thought they were cool. Specifically from a thread started by FJ about house rules. ;)

And yes, #5 is only during character creation.
My tips for new GM's
Unless it is coming from an official source, RAI = "Rules As Imagined."
SR1+SR2+SR3++SR4++SR5+++h+b+++B+D382UBIE-RN---DSF-W+m+(o++)gm+MP

Critias

  • *
  • Freelancer
  • Prime Runner
  • *****
  • Posts: 2522
  • Company Elf
« Reply #6 on: (16:42:33/11-04-10) »
I like a few of them encourage characters to invest in social skills they might not invest in, otherwise.  I'm all for specialization and filling a role on a team, but I like the idea of most characters having at least some social skills.  A little Etiquette here, a little Negotiation here, go a long way towards just plain day-to-day survival (plus not getting raped by Fixers).

FastJack

  • *
  • Administrator
  • Prime Runner
  • *****
  • Posts: 5501
  • Kids these days...
    • Coming soon!
« Reply #7 on: (16:43:59/11-04-10) »
For new players, I could see #14, just to speed up some stuff. Although, it's not often that you'd have to worry about it early in the game. Only after a run or two would Availability come into question, and could be handled outside of the game session even.

Bradd

  • *
  • Omae
  • ***
  • Posts: 734
« Reply #8 on: (17:51:15/11-04-10) »
1. Adjust the following Adept Powers as noted: ...
• Improved Physical Attribute: new cost = 0.5 per level.
• Improved Reflexes: cost = 1.5 per level.

Good: Removing the weird tiered cost of Improved Physical Attribute. It bugs me that the BP & karma cost of an IPA varies greatly depending on the order you do things.

Bad: Making Improved Reflexes cost even more, relative to 'ware. This just encourages players to burn magic for Synaptic Boosters, which is already tempting enough.

Quote
2. When initiating, adepts may choose to gain a power point instead of a new meta-magic technique. The
cost for doing so is (new initiate grade*3) karma in addition to the normal cost for initiating.

It seems odd to me that the cost is based on initiate grade, and not number of power points. Also, it seems to me that power points are expensive enough already, compared to the augmentations you can get in the same period. If you go by the estimate of 2,500¥ per 1 karma, even bioware is pretty cheap compared to initiation grades.

Quote
3. Maximum number of times a character can initiate (or submerse) is equal to their essence.

This is incompatible with a lot of published stuff. For example, Samriel Lockwood is a grade 4 initiate with 3.2 Essence, and Harlequin & Frosty both have more than 6 grades.

Quote
4. Starting characters receive (Charisma + Etiquette)*4 extra BP to buy contacts with.

I like free contacts. My own house rule is more generous than this. Characters get contacts BP based on their reputation, which is the sum of several dice pools. Choose whichever is greater: the sum of your Social dice pools, OR the sum one Social pool, one other Active pool, and one Knowledge pool.

Quote
5. Starting contacts maximum Connection is = the characters Etiquette, and max Loyalty = Charisma.

I don't like emphasizing one skill so much, and I agree with nomadzophiel's objection. Some folks don't want to be the face, they just want to be the guy who knows the face.

Quote
6. Assensing and Astral Combat are default-able for magicians (and adepts capable of astral perception).

I like. Vaguely related to this, I also like the optional rule that you can use your Drain stat instead of Logic for Magic-linked skills. (Adepts use Magic.)

Quote
7. Characters are allowed a total of ±35BP from qualities at character creation. (So you can have 50 BP of
positive qualities, as long as you also have at least 15 BP of negative qualities [50-15=35]).

While there are times that I wish I could stretch a few more PQs, I don't think extra NQs is a good way to balance that. That tends toward increasingly freak-specialized characters. I think it would be more reasonable to simply say that PQs beyond 35 BPs cost double.

Quote
8. Change availability of all hacker programs to Rating*3, making maximum starting rating 4.

Interesting, but doesn't this shift the balance of power more toward technomancers? What's the point of this rule?

Quote
11. Change movement rates to 4m walking/12m running (human, elf, ork), 3m walking/10m running
(dwarf) and 5m walking/15m running (troll). Critter walking speeds are reduced to 40% of their current
level and running speeds to half their current level. Vehicle Speed and Acceleration ratings are
unaffected.

What's the point of this one? If you use pro-rated movement, it's going to make it very difficult for high-IP characters to charge. Bad for melee.

Quote
13. New grade of geneware available: “Chimera Strain”. Cost = *2, Availability = +2, Essence cost = zero.
This grade is only available to characters with the full 6 essence, and is not available to starting
characters unless they start play with the full 6 essence. If a character with chimera strain geneware ever
has his essence reduced below 6 from cyber, bio or nano-ware, or non-chimera strain geneware, he
instantly loses an amount of essence equal to the normal essence costs for all the chimera strain
geneware he currently ‘possesses’.

Eh, not fond of this. It seems like a pretty cheap way to make a bioware adept. Much better than buying alphaware.

voydangel

  • *
  • Omae
  • ***
  • Posts: 537
  • SR GM since 1990. Damn I'm old.
« Reply #9 on: (18:29:02/11-04-10) »
@ Bradd: Thanks for the input, it has given me some stuff to think about, and I appreciate that. :)
In an effort to make this post not be nested quote 4 levels deep and take up 6 miles of scrolling, I will just respond in order of commentary.

@ #1 & #2: cost of improved reflexes and charging extra karma for getting PPs when initiating. These were both things i did to try to balance out the ability of awakened to get my new free genetech, and the reduced costs of all the other adept powers. Not saying I'm right, just that that is why I am considering these items. And now that I'm looking at it, you may be right about these, I'm just not sure what else to do to balance the scales.

@ #3 maybe essence*1.5 ? Again, I was trying to limit the "unlimited power" that is unique to the awakened, which is a 'systemic anomaly' in the RAW.

@ #7 That's a really good idea, I just might use that.

@ #8 I'm ok with technomancers being a little more powerful by comparision, they're extremely rare and unique, whereas anyone can pick up a comm, drop some cash, and become a hacker. As an aside to this particular item, I was also considering upping the BP costs for being a Technomancer, Adept, Mystic Adept and Magician...

@ #11 was specifically thrown in there for scalar consistency when using miniatures.

@ #13 Maybe cost*3 would balance it a wee bit more?
My tips for new GM's
Unless it is coming from an official source, RAI = "Rules As Imagined."
SR1+SR2+SR3++SR4++SR5+++h+b+++B+D382UBIE-RN---DSF-W+m+(o++)gm+MP

Bradd

  • *
  • Omae
  • ***
  • Posts: 734
« Reply #10 on: (20:59:54/11-04-10) »
@ #3: Depends on what you mean by "unlimited" power.

Allowing adepts to keep earning power points isn't much different from allowing sammies to keep earning cash. They have the same augmented maximums, roughly the same limits to dice pools. "Unlimited" advancement hits a plateau and turns into diversification. The adept doesn't really use Magic dice pools, so it doesn't really matter that the pool is uncapped.

Magicians are different, they do use Magic pools, and a lot of them. However, it still might not be a problem in practice. Compare it to Agility for a fighter or Charisma for a face. Even humans can push those to 10 without too much trouble, and focused metahuman builds can hit 15+. To match the human would cost at least 40 karma for initiation and about 200 karma for Magic. Getting to 15 Magic costs over 600 karma! There aren't many shortcuts either, mainly just foci (which cost lots of karma themselves). It would take about 5 years of game time and/or real time to get there, and I suspect that lots of things would break down balance-wise along the way.

@ #13: Even at triple cost, it's still a huge bargain compared to deltaware. Not being able to spend Essence is not much of a drawback. The practical effect is that you can only ever use this stuff, and if you ever get Energy Drained you're probably screwed to the point of retirement.
« Last Edit: (21:20:38/11-04-10) by Bradd »

Nomad Zophiel

  • *
  • Omae
  • ***
  • Posts: 414
  • Zophiel by name. Nomad by profession.
« Reply #11 on: (22:25:55/11-04-10) »
@Nomad: It sounds like #5 is only for Contacts at character creation. They can increase those ratings through gameplay.

Increasing your Contacts' Loyalty in play is one thing. Increasing your Contacts' Connection rating through roleplay seems much, much harder. Basically you need a connected contact to help another contact get connected. If the only people you know only know people in the neighborhood, who introduces them to people with Sprawl or National connections?

Fixers are the main reason this rule bugs me. They make their living on people who are less connected and less savvy than they are. Fixers love uncouth ruffians because those same ruffians NEED that Fixer way more than he needs them. They pay more for gear, get paid less for the same gear, make less on their runs and come around paying for info. In other words, low CHA, low Etiquette characters pay a Fixer's rent. High CHA, High Etiquette characters can function fairly well as their own fixer.

Your archetypal Cyberpunk character tends to know one or two guys who are totally out of his league. He's playing at Street level and they're playing a more strategic game and using him as an errand boy. The big guys don't necessarily care about the character but they help him out when its in their interest.

voydangel

  • *
  • Omae
  • ***
  • Posts: 537
  • SR GM since 1990. Damn I'm old.
« Reply #12 on: (01:47:48/11-05-10) »
Increasing your Contacts' Loyalty in play is one thing. Increasing your Contacts' Connection rating through roleplay seems much, much harder. Basically you need a connected contact to help another contact get connected. If the only people you know only know people in the neighborhood, who introduces them to people with Sprawl or National connections?

Fixers are the main reason this rule bugs me. They make their living on people who are less connected and less savvy than they are. Fixers love uncouth ruffians because those same ruffians NEED that Fixer way more than he needs them. They pay more for gear, get paid less for the same gear, make less on their runs and come around paying for info. In other words, low CHA, low Etiquette characters pay a Fixer's rent. High CHA, High Etiquette characters can function fairly well as their own fixer.

Your archetypal Cyberpunk character tends to know one or two guys who are totally out of his league. He's playing at Street level and they're playing a more strategic game and using him as an errand boy. The big guys don't necessarily care about the character but they help him out when its in their interest.

@Nomad: I agree with you that having a really good fixer can make a runners life easier, however, I don't see where it says a GM has to make the runners lives easy. ;)
I feel it is up to the GM to determine exactly how a characters contacts grow with the game, fixers included. Now, you are correct in your portrayal of the archtypical overview of the runners being used as pawns by larger forces, but who's to say the characters need to know those power players directly? I find games much more interesting when the players don't know who's pulling the strings. By using the fixer as a go between, the power players add another "firewall" to their security. Adding that extra layer of protection and keeping themselves one more step removed from the runners just seems like the exact sort of thing said power players would do. In those cases you mentioned about fixers and runners, I have my own opinions. :)

low CHA, low Etiquette characters pay a Fixer's rent.
Only if said fixer is much higher up the "food chain" than the runners. If the fixer is closer to them on the food chain, then all interactions become mutually beneficial, thereby raising the fixers street cred, nuyen, resources and possibly connection rating with every job that the runners pull off.

High CHA, High Etiquette characters can function fairly well as their own fixer.
Only if the runners have stagnated. There's always someone more connected than you, so you can always use a good fixer. If the runners can honestly get by just as well without said fixer, then they have outgrown him and need to find a new (better connected) fixer.

Now, of course this is all academic because we all play/run our own games, and this is all about house rules, so of course this is all just my opinion, which is no more or less valid than yours. But hey, that's why we're here right?  :D
My tips for new GM's
Unless it is coming from an official source, RAI = "Rules As Imagined."
SR1+SR2+SR3++SR4++SR5+++h+b+++B+D382UBIE-RN---DSF-W+m+(o++)gm+MP

Bradd

  • *
  • Omae
  • ***
  • Posts: 734
« Reply #13 on: (04:14:19/11-05-10) »
I'm still not fond of strictly using Etiquette as the basis for contact/build point limits. There's more than one way to make friends and influence people, and being smooth is not necessarily the best way. Why couldn't a great teacher or con artist have great connections? For that matter, why wouldn't a great swordsman have great connections? There's a reason my "reputation" system for free contacts considers a lot more than just Charisma and Etiquette.

Nomad Zophiel

  • *
  • Omae
  • ***
  • Posts: 414
  • Zophiel by name. Nomad by profession.
« Reply #14 on: (05:42:50/11-05-10) »

@Nomad: I agree with you that having a really good fixer can make a runners life easier, however, I don't see where it says a GM has to make the runners lives easy. ;)
I feel it is up to the GM to determine exactly how a characters contacts grow with the game, fixers included. Now, you are correct in your portrayal of the archtypical overview of the runners being used as pawns by larger forces, but who's to say the characters need to know those power players directly? I find games much more interesting when the players don't know who's pulling the strings. By using the fixer as a go between, the power players add another "firewall" to their security. Adding that extra layer of protection and keeping themselves one more step removed from the runners just seems like the exact sort of thing said power players would do. In those cases you mentioned about fixers and runners, I have my own opinions. :)


Exactly my point, actually. But if you have Etiquette 2, your Fixer has Connection 2 max. Not only do you not know who's pulling the strings, the people pulling the strings can't find you to pull them. Connection goes both ways, from the player through the contact to the NPC but also backwards.  You need someone connected for someone connected to be able to find you. A Connection 2 Fixer simply doesn't know many people or have much influence so he can't bring the PC much work or find him unusual gear etc. Fixers ARE their connection rating.