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Technomancers....what do you think?

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Chalkarts

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« on: <04-18-16/1847:19> »
I'm not sure how to interpret technomancers.  Cant decide if I like them or not.

What do you think about them?
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Herr Brackhaus

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« Reply #1 on: <04-18-16/1854:02> »
I can sum my answer up quite simply: love the concept, hate the execution.

Go read Emergence. Then the SR4 technomancer rules, especially Unwired.

Then read SR5s implementation. Ugh...

Bewilderbeast

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« Reply #2 on: <04-18-16/1906:57> »
Some bed time reading for you:

http://forums.shadowruntabletop.com/index.php?topic=23672.0

My opinion? Technos were designed to be: "Like deckers, but different." Instead they came out as: "Like deckers, but worse."

There is basically one effective build for technomancers that leans heavily on sprites (I believe Hobbes is the resident expert on that). While a techno could probably hack it (lolpun) in Missions games, 99% of the time the decker is going to do the same thing but better.

Of course, the counter opinion on these boards are that technos are fine, it's just that the SR5 community perceives them as sucking. Sort of a confirmation bias / self-fulfilling prophecy thing? Personally I stand with the current zeitgeist that technos are borked due to their high Fading codes, but YMMV.

Basically, I'm not saying it's impossible to build an effective technomancer. I'm just saying you've got your work cut out for you.

And plus, even if effective... deckers can generally do your thing just as good, if not better, and don't have to use 100% of their chargen resources to get there.
« Last Edit: <04-18-16/1910:55> by Bewilderbeast »
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DragginSPADE

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« Reply #3 on: <04-18-16/2102:21> »
My impression just based on reading the books and not having seen them in actual play is that they're just magicians who's talent has been turned towards influencing the matrix instead of the "normal" world.  I'm baffled why the books try so hard to deny this, especially when most of their rules seem copy/pasted from the magic section. 

Or in the case of resonance Deep Runs from Data Trails, seem to be straight up Cut/Pasted from astral quests.  ;D

ScytheKnight

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« Reply #4 on: <04-18-16/2142:09> »
My impression just based on reading the books and not having seen them in actual play is that they're just magicians who's talent has been turned towards influencing the matrix instead of the "normal" world.  I'm baffled why the books try so hard to deny this, especially when most of their rules seem copy/pasted from the magic section. 

Or in the case of resonance Deep Runs from Data Trails, seem to be straight up Cut/Pasted from astral quests.  ;D

And that's pretty much the issue... they're a copy past of mages, with HIGHER 'Drain' (read Fading) and none of the support structure (reagents, foci, mentor spirits, etc.).

By far the biggest problem with Technomancers however is there's no real chance to be a Technomancer/*Insert other archetype here* due to the steep attribute and skill requirements. Decker/Street Sam, Decker/Face, Decker/Mage are all easily viable, with a bit of work even Decker/Rigger is a thing (Resources become the big limiting factor here)... The problem is the requirements of a Technomancer don't synergise with anything which means you have to throw even more skill points, attributes and resources at the problem and that's flat out not something Technomancers have to spare.

At chargen a focused build can make a Technomancer a reasonable (barely) hacker.

At chargen a focused build can make a Decker an amazing hacker, or lose the focus and be quite competent in two archetypes.

Don't misconstrue this as me hating on Technomancers, I LOVE the idea! At the moment however they're just horridly implemented and been largely ignored in other books except for a come-along promise of a dedicated Technomancer book some time in the future... a book that's already lost it's entire team and had to start again from scratch once.
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Fabe

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« Reply #5 on: <04-19-16/0141:02> »
 Sounds like they should re-do Technomancers  and explain things fluff wise as it took technos awhile to adjust to the new matrix.

Rosa

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« Reply #6 on: <04-19-16/0347:17> »
Technomancers had their equivalent of mentor spirits back in 4th edition, the so-called Paragons, no idea why they were dropped though.

Dinendae

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« Reply #7 on: <04-19-16/0356:19> »
Technomancers had their equivalent of mentor spirits back in 4th edition, the so-called Paragons, no idea why they were dropped though.


They also had the equivalent of magical traditions, called Streams.

ScytheKnight

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« Reply #8 on: <04-19-16/0446:33> »
Technomancers had their equivalent of mentor spirits back in 4th edition, the so-called Paragons, no idea why they were dropped though.

Probably for the same reason pet rules have been dropped... they simply haven't bothered to include them in a book yet.
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Dinendae

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« Reply #9 on: <04-19-16/0451:40> »
Technomancers had their equivalent of mentor spirits back in 4th edition, the so-called Paragons, no idea why they were dropped though.

Probably for the same reason pet rules have been dropped... they simply haven't bothered to include them in a book yet.


They should have been in the Matrix book, but I'm guessing if we see them it'll be in the eventual Technomancer supplement.

dragrubis

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« Reply #10 on: <04-19-16/0534:55> »
And in the 4th technomancers were better at rigging even at chargen...

I think we need a lot of stuff o the previous release back un the 5th and adapted to
- Physical echoes (biowire is a must have to buy skill with nuyens !)
- Threading of cyber program
- Echoes with Resonnance/Submersion power dependence (and not a buy multiple time to augment efficience)
- Paragon (AKA mentor spitits)
- Widget (AKA foci)
- Other sprite (bring back boss sprite and paragon sprite!)
- Streams
- And more skill point for technomancer  at chargen

Magician or Mystic Adept: Magic 6, two Rating 5
Magical skills, 10 spells
Technomancer: Resonance 6, two Rating 5 Resonance
skills, 5 complex forms

New complex form 4 (5*4 = 20 karma bonus)
New spell 5 (5*10 = 50 karma bonus)

complex form have a limited use (only matrix,  resonance spike can shoot only one of decker, drone or a street sam cyber arm... with luck)
a lot of spell have multipurpose uses (lighning ball can stop, the decker the drone and the street sam at same time) (and light fading values)


Technomancers needs more point to spend on technical skill (eletronic and hacking groups) to buy more points or other things its just a patch

firebug

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« Reply #11 on: <04-19-16/0847:13> »
It's been a while since I've posted or played Shadowrun, prettymuch BECAUSE I'm waiting for the technomancer supplement to make my favorite archetype playable beyond "have sprites do everything for you".  So I may have trouble remembering every point I've made in the past about them.

But, let's see...  At base, TMs are to Deckers what Combat Adepts are to Street Samurai.  They are intended to fulfill the same role, but do so in a different way, with their own strengths and weaknesses.  TMs and Deckers are the "Matrix Specialist" of the group.  This is an important role that fulfills a few key duties.  Namely, they have to be able to protect the group from matrix threats, they have to be able to halt security (usually by hacking a host), and they need to be capable of stealing data.

A decker is capable of doing all of those things, because the game system was built -for- the decker archetype.  All the rules and mechanics were made with how a decker could do them in mind.  The TM, however, was clearly addressed afterwards (as evidenced by it literally coming after in the rulebook and getting a tiny number of pages).

The problems start at creation.

Priority selection.  A TM uses the same skills as a decker, but also has their own skills.  So they need higher Skills priority.  A TM uses all four Mental Attributes, whereas a decker can get away with just LOG and INT (and at least 3 WIL).   The TM is also unable to augment their physicals via cybernetics.  So they need higher Attributes priority.  Decker's don't need MAG/RES, and can dump their E into it.  You'd think though, that TMs don't need Resources, so it balances out...  But a E in Resources is difficult for any character period, and most need D in order to afford a fake SIN, armor, a gun, a commlink, a lifestyle, and other miscellaneous gear.  This also means that deckers, since their E is already used, they essentially can be a 5 Edge Human or an Elf with no cost.

Then we get to Qualities.  There's a LOT of good qualities for a decker.  Many of them don't work for a TM (such as Overclocking), and a TM will likely need at least a couple levels of Focused Concentration if they want to make use of their Complex Forms without hampering their ability to hack even farther.

Then we get to the actual gameplay.  Well, a decker is very flexible.  Just about every time I play, a decker can enter matrix combat with 8+ Attack rating, Hammer, Mugger, and so on.  They can output so much damage that everything gets one-shot, while having an impeccable dice pool due to them having 8+ LOG and 5 Edge.  With them easily affording every single program (costing only a couple thousand nuyen) they can be fully prepared for any matrix situation.

Meanwhile, a TM will have usually 5 in every matrix attribute, inflexibly, unless they have specifically an Elf who went out of their way to have 8 Attack.  If their LOG is their one-maxed-attribute allowed at creation, then they can have a 12 dice pool.  Less than a decker, with less qualities to boost it, less Edge...  They might both have a specialization though.  They have no access to programs--

Programs are worth 250¥.  TMs can get ONE for an initiation.  At it's cheapest, it's 13 Karma.  Is that a fair trade?  FUCK NO.  Programs may have been originally just a thing to make deckers special, which would be fine, but they have some VERY key abilities that now, TMs cannot do.  Like...

Biofeedback/Blackout: The only way to deal biofeedback damage.  TMs now cannot do that at all unless they submerge just for it.
Lockdown: Another staple of matrix combat, link-locking people, is again something TMs are incapable of.

And the biggest one...  Hitchiker:  They wrote a whole new way to get the entire group to be able to do matrix stuff!  It has its own chapter, it's super cool, and it's a big deal.  Deckers can do it for 250¥.  TMs?  Well, you have to use one of your precious submersions just to be able to access part of the game.  Fuck you.

There's a huge number of other programs that offer enormous bonuses, like Fork or Sneak.  What do technomancers get?  Complex Forms!  Which are extremely limited, and liable to knock you out if you even try.

Like, let's look at one of the best, most accessible ones.  "Diffusion of [Attribute]".

Quote
Diffusion of [Matrix Attribute]
Target: Device • Duration: S • FV: L + 1
This complex form entry is shorthand for four different
complex forms, one for each Matrix attribute. Make
an Opposed Software + Resonance [Level] v. Willpower +
Firewall test. If you win, the target’s attribute is reduced by
your net hits. You can’t reduce an attribute to less than 1.

It doesn't look bad at all.  Due to TM's struggling offensive dice (they tend to have 2-5 less than deckers) most people suggest Diffusion of Firewall, which is probably the best choice.  So let's look at how it'd play out.

A basic host, such as that of a private business, is about Rating 4.  That's kind of low for what a player would be running against, but still.  Let's use the book's example of what an R4 Host's attributes would be.  "For example, a Rating 4 host might have Attack 5, Sleaze 4, Data Processing 7, Firewall 6."  Firewall is second highest because, while security is important, this private business really just needs to squeeze every ounce of processing power that they can out of the host, hence having the DP rating be 7.

So, you target the host, and roll.  You've got 6 Software and 6 Resonance.  They have Rating 4 (used in place of Willpower) + 6 Firewall.  You go for a L5 threading, and on average get 4 hits while they get 3.

Well...  You do reduce their Firewall by 1, but you are taking a -2 Sustaining Penalty.  So the overall effect is negative.  As Edge is a limited resource, and you certainly cannot afford to begin with much of it, I don't accept arguements of "Well I'll use Edge", as they're always given in a vacuum, assuming you have no other use for Edge and will only use it for this specific thing.

Sprites offer another tool in your matrix arsenal, but they gain OS rapidly and can cause you problems.  Not to mention, unless you Compile them at a very high Level, they aren't better than just a decker.  They have limited Tasks, which a decker could replicate many of with an Agent (who can do these things indefinitely).  Never underestimate the usefulness of having an Agent who's entire job is to continually make Matrix Perception tests on your own deck to check for foreign Marks.

TL;DR: Technomancers should be the Masters of the Matrix, in exchange for suffering in meatspace.  Instead, they suck all-around.
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dragrubis

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« Reply #12 on: <04-19-16/0938:21> »
...
TL;DR: Technomancers should be the Masters of the Matrix, in exchange for suffering in meatspace.  Instead, they suck all-around.

Everything is there.

ScytheKnight

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« Reply #13 on: <04-19-16/0938:21> »
Summed the situation up fairly nicely Firebug.

Things actually got WORSE for Technomancers after data Trails. Deckers got even more programs, further expanding things they can do that Technomancers can not. Then there's modifying Cyberdecks, including spending a couple of thousand nuyen to hit Intuition + Data Processing +5D6 Hot Sim matrix Initiative, something that again a Technomancer needs to spend an entire submersion on.

And what did Technomancers get? A handful of submersion echoes, one of them is a rewrite of a core book Echo WHICH SHOULD HAVE BEEN A FRAGGING ERRATA FOR CRYING OUT LOUD! And another echo to improve Encryption/Decryption WHICH IS FRAGGING FOURTH EDITION MECHANICS FFS!
« Last Edit: <04-19-16/0940:05> by ScytheKnight »
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firebug

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« Reply #14 on: <04-19-16/1009:14> »
Things actually got WORSE for Technomancers after data Trails. Deckers got even more programs, further expanding things they can do that Technomancers can not. Then there's modifying Cyberdecks, including spending a couple of thousand nuyen to hit Intuition + Data Processing +5D6 Hot Sim matrix Initiative, something that again a Technomancer needs to spend an entire submersion on.

That always upset me.  Back when TMs were the only ones who could get 5d6 Initiative Dice in VR, it felt like a little niche.  An extra 1d6 isn't a huge amount, but it felt like a good way to have them stand out.  But...  I guess not.

There's ways to play a TM and contribute to your group, but they require rather strict builds and heavy reliance on Sprites or iffy game mechanics (like using Diagnostics on absolutely everything).  TMs shouldn't be required to work so hard to have a place in a group when any given Decker will manage fine.
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Jeeze.  It would almost sound stupid until you realize we're talking about an immortal elf clown sword fighting a dragon ghost in a mall.