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Threshold explanation and examples request

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Major Doom

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« on: (12:53:13/09-15-10) »
Just a note, I'm planning on running Shadowrun 4th edition in a few months, so I'm looking some info.

This isn't a rules question, but more about seeking advice on how Threshold is adjusted by the GM.  The 20th Anniversary Core Rulebook is paltry on further explaining and providing examples of its use aside from the little table on the bottom of page 62, and a brief explanation on top of page 63.  I understand that Threshold relates to how difficult a test is, but what I don't understand is how is it utilized properly.  I know dice pool modifiers come into play more often then Threshold adjustments, but how would a GM gauge when something is Average in difficulty, for example, rather than Easy?

I would gladly appreciate any input.  Thanks in advance.
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FastJack

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« Reply #1 on: (13:18:33/09-15-10) »
It's pretty much a judgement call. Spotting a 9' troll in the middle of the Renraku Arcology would be pretty easy. Seeing the same troll in the middle of the Ork Underground would be difficult.

Doc Chaos

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« Reply #2 on: (14:43:21/09-15-10) »
Basically its a question of "Is it easy/average/hard for the character". If you read through the descriptions of the skill levels you might get a good idea of hoe difficult its for characters with certain skill levels :)
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Major Doom

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« Reply #3 on: (15:41:36/09-15-10) »
Yeah I read through the whole book.  Using GM judgment is daunting for a beginner to the system.  A few examples would of helped, since Thresholds fall into a gray area, in my opinion, as opposed to dice pool modifiers which are defined very well.
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FastJack

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« Reply #4 on: (16:40:49/09-15-10) »
Easy is:
  • Shooting the broad side of a barn. (Pistols)
  • Finding the phone number of your local Stuffer Shack. (Data Search)
  • Convincing the waiter you need a new spoon because yours is dirty. (Con)
  • Dodging a water balloon - thrown underhand. (Dodge)
  • Taking two aspirin for a headache. (First Aid)
  • Noticing the Troll Bouncer looks mean. (Perception)

Average is:
  • Hitting a troll-sized target at 5m. (Pistols)
  • Finding the ShadowSEA. (Data Search)
  • Getting a free dessert because your potato was cold. (Con)
  • Dodging a water balloon - thrown overhand. (Dodge)
  • Treating a paper cut with Neosporin and a Band-aid. (First Aid)
  • Noticing the Troll Bouncer has obvious cybereyes. (Perception)

Hard is:
  • Shooting a man sized target at 20m. (Pistols)
  • Finding the corp wageslave at Renraku who has been reprimanded for 'abusing' his access rights. (Data Search)
  • Convincing the maitre'd to seat you at his best table. (Con)
  • Dodging a fastball. (Dodge)
  • Setting a broken bone. (First Aid)
  • Noticing the Troll Bouncer has synthetic cyberarms. (Perception)

Extreme is:
  • Shooting a bullseye at 40m. (Pistols)
  • Finding an access code to Jackpoint. (Data Search)
  • Convincing the restaurant that you're a food critic and getting the meal comped. (Con)
  • Dodging a bullet completely. (Dodge)
  • Stabilizing a person that has lost a limb from dying of shock. (First Aid)
  • Noticing the Troll Bouncer just activated his Wired Reflexes. (Perception)

These are very generic and may not hold true 100% of the time, but it should give you rough ideas on the difficulties of various tests.

voydangel

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« Reply #5 on: (17:11:52/09-15-10) »
As usual, an amazing description Fast. Wonderful examples, couldn't have said it better.

Guess my work here is done. lol =)
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Unless it is coming from an official source, RAI = "Rules As Imagined."
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Major Doom

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« Reply #6 on: (18:44:45/09-15-10) »
Thanks FastJack for some clarity, but isn't combat ranges covered under dice pool modifiers?
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FastJack

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« Reply #7 on: (19:50:16/09-15-10) »
Thanks FastJack for some clarity, but isn't combat ranges covered under dice pool modifiers?
That's true, which is why I was using the size of the target as well. The range modifiers are more for the combat rules, which are opposed tests. I was trying to present a test that would be unopposed to give an idea of difficulty (trick shots & the like).

Major Doom

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« Reply #8 on: (08:56:03/09-16-10) »
That's true, which is why I was using the size of the target as well. The range modifiers are more for the combat rules, which are opposed tests. I was trying to present a test that would be unopposed to give an idea of difficulty (trick shots & the like).

Would Threshold come into play during combat situations?  Or is it just pure dice pool modifiers in combat?
"Ok, you people! Sit tight, hold the fort, and keep the home fires burning. And if we're not back by dawn... call the president."
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FastJack

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« Reply #9 on: (09:21:40/09-16-10) »
Threshold would not ordinarily come into play during combat. Most combats tests will be Opposed tests between the Attacker and Defender.

Major Doom

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« Reply #10 on: (11:38:27/09-16-10) »
Okay so what is the typical Threshold during combat?  1 or 2 for ranged? What about melee?

Also, would Threshold be adjusted for non-combat related tests when under stress, such as performing First Aid while receiving fire?  Or would there be just dice pool modifiers only?
"Ok, you people! Sit tight, hold the fort, and keep the home fires burning. And if we're not back by dawn... call the president."
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FastJack

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« Reply #11 on: (12:08:34/09-16-10) »
There is no threshold on opposed tests. You and the defender both roll and you compare total hits of each. The 'winner' is the one with more hits than the other and the Net Hits (number you won by) affects the level of success of the test.

Most of the time, you won't alter the Threshold itself due to conditions regarding the test. So, if a person has a broken bone, it's the same threshold to set the bone whether your in the middle of a well-stocked ER or under fire in the middle of the Amazonia rainforest. The difference is that you would get dice modifiers based on the conditions.

Major Doom

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« Reply #12 on: (14:00:30/09-16-10) »
Well then Thresholds sound like they are superfluous the system.  I understand there are Thresholds for the individual activity, such as repairing a vehicle in a shop or any other non-stressful circumstance, but it adds unneeded complexity and another thing to track, when just dice pool modifiers are sufficient.
"Ok, you people! Sit tight, hold the fort, and keep the home fires burning. And if we're not back by dawn... call the president."
-- Jack Burton

FastJack

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« Reply #13 on: (14:36:09/09-16-10) »
Well, the threshold are there for when you need to accomplish something and it mostly just takes time to complete. Besides if we had Thresholds in combat instead of opposed skill tests, you'd be playing D&D. ;)

The Cat

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« Reply #14 on: (14:50:43/09-16-10) »
The only way I was finally able to wrap my head around 4th Ed thresholds was to think of them like SR1-3 Target Numbers and even that wasn't perfect.

For me as a GM and a player, the change from TNs to thresholds (and to a lesser extent dice pools/dice pool modifiers) was a hard transition to make.  However, after a few sessions I started to get a better feel for it, and by the 4th or 5th session I wasn't sure why it had been such a problem to wrap my head around while reading the books.  It was very much a case of diving in, having a few game slowing discussions with the players (most of whom were having similar troubles with the change) on the fly about it and then it finally clicking into place.

After that, we've always burned a session on a throwaway low combat "Food Fight" style run when new players (ones who have player SR before but not 4th Edition) join the group just to get the altered mechanics straight, particularly the threshold system.