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AI Quality "Errata"

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Luciferos

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« on: (11:26:13/03-07-19) »
One major issue we're seeing with AIs on various communities is that as the release of further books has continued since Data Trails, AI have never received any updates on the Qualities they have access to. There were already some puzzling decisions from DT with AI Qualities (such as not being able to take the Quick Config quality) but this is exacerbated as time goes on, and AIs within the roles they're capable of fulfilling slide further and further behind metahuman characters who can use the full array of qualities and the various combinations that they create. This has become a more glaring issue with Kill Code, which is a book loaded to the brim with poorly-balanced, high-powered stuff that AIs don't have access to, along with stuff like Instinctive Hack out of BtB.

A useful post-DT "errata" for AIs would be to review the various books besides the five that include AI-enabled qualities (Core, Run Faster, R&G, Data Trails, Assassin's Primer) and determine qualities that make sense for AIs to take and aren't game breaking. There's probably at least one in most books, and at least a few in more technology-focused books. Having a comprehensive list would help get Chummer5/Herolab support for it (I don't know if Lab blocks AIs from taking non-AI qualities, never used it, assume it does), as well as making life easier on GMs instead of having to ad-hoc decide every time a player is interested in a quality from dozens of other sourcebooks whether it's AI applicable.

Another really useful QOL improvement would be for new sourcebooks to possibly have a little icon by quality names denoting if they're AI-enabled, or even just a (AI) supertext.

What say?

Luciferos

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« Reply #1 on: (11:55:26/03-07-19) »
AI Qualities From Chrome Flesh

As an example, figured I'd look through a book's quality list and suggest some qualities that should be AI-applicable. Feel free to tell me I'm wrong.

Positive:

Better to Be Feared Than Loved - AIs can certainly have exploitative relationships and many people are frightened of them (but would happily turn on them, given a chance to do so without reprisal)

Negative:

Dry Addict - AIs can become Addicted (though I've no clue what to...BTLs?) via Fragmentation, so they should be able to dry out.

Lack of Focus - AIs have a lot on their mind and stuff they probably want to devote their processing cycles to. Should be mutually exclusive with Multiprocessing.

Poor Self Control (Sadistic) - The trope of the amoral AI who loves to experiment on and cause harm to other creatures.

Superhuman Psychosis - Sigh. I hate this quality but it's another kind of obvious one for amoral AIs who see others as lesser lifeforms.

Tough and Targeted - For an AI who becomes known, particularly around the Matrix (but also possibly as a rigger or jumped-in drone samurai), it makes sense that opposing hackers would love to take the Superbrain down a peg. Or maybe they're just seen as this untouchable hacker without even knowing what they really are.

adzling

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« Reply #2 on: (11:56:52/03-07-19) »
A.I.s need a complete rewrite.

They were not functional at the time of publishing and as you have noted have only gotten worse since.

Unfortunately that sort of complete rewrite is out of scope for the errata team.

Which means A.I.s are going to continue to suck hard until they (maybe?) get rewritten by someone competent in the next edition of shadowrun.

TL:DR don't expect help from the Catalyst on this one, nor the errata process. Fix it yourself with your own home rules.

Ajax

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« Reply #3 on: (12:09:20/03-07-19) »
Honestly, you’re almost better off building a standard Metahuman Decker or Technomancer and just never having them come to the meet or on the ‘run in person. You’d end up with a character that “feels” like an AI, but has significant mechanical advantages... which is a damn shame.

I love the idea of playing an AI, but the rules for them just don’t quite work. I know it’s probably not economical from a publishing standpoint, but I really feel AI’s need their own dedicated splatbook that’s just about how to build one, how to role play one, and how to “roll play” one.
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fseperent

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« Reply #4 on: (12:49:54/03-07-19) »

Luciferos

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« Reply #5 on: (15:20:07/03-08-19) »
A.I.s need a complete rewrite.

They were not functional at the time of publishing and as you have noted have only gotten worse since.

I mean you can make a working AI decker, they're just not as good as a metahuman decker or techno, which sucks and is counter-intuitive. They're buildable in karmagen even with the silly 180 point tax, but AI hackers just stay lagging on meat hackers. They have some neat unique features, though.

Ironically, the best AI use is for the rigging/sam role.

Either way, they're definitely nerfed, but the main issue is that they just don't have access to Qualities to build the character they want, because this was never kept up on after Data Trails. I can definitely see, like, a modest bump to a couple of Priorities (ATTS PLZ) or reduction in Karmagen metatype cost, but I think the idea that they're "not functional" is a bit extreme based on playing with a variety of AI characters.

Ajax

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« Reply #6 on: (16:42:04/03-08-19) »
It doesn’t help that they’re barred from Shadowrun Missions. I know that’s only a small minority of players, but it’s a very active and very loyal minority of players, who are in a unique position to be able to provide (pseudo)empirical feedback.
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Marcus

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« Reply #7 on: (17:13:49/03-08-19) »
Like a list several other character types, AIs would be too disruptive in the missions play format. Most GMs are not going to be up enough on decking to be able to really handle an AI PC. Odds are they end up sitting on their hands most or all of the run. Something can happen with TM PCs. Decking just isn't universally applicable within most missions

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Ajax

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« Reply #8 on: (17:52:37/03-08-19) »
Like a list several other character types, AIs would be too disruptive in the missions play format.

I think this has more to do with their lousy mechanical design, rather than AI's being an inherently disruptive concept. But, I can accept this as a point... Unlike when you said:

Decking just isn't universally applicable within most missions.

That's just piss-poor module writing and/or piss-poor GMing that is. Given that decking and the Matrix is a core component of the Shadowrun game and has been since it's debut, it strikes me as just plain silly to leave it out.

In the current SR5 Core Rulebook, "The Matrix" chapter alone takes up a bit more than 10% of the page count and the Matrix and/or Matrix-related stuff crops up in every other section of the rulebook. Having a worldwide Shadowrun shared campaign without the Matrix a being universal part of the mission design would be like trying to run a worldwide Dungeons & Dragons shared campaign without Wizards.
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Marcus

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« Reply #9 on: (18:25:49/03-08-19) »
I'm reporting facts not debating them, or assigning a value judgement. I have personally made suggestions on how to increase matrix use and relevance in missions modules, when the question was asked. But the reality is what it is. I haven't played the NT modes, so I can't speak to them, but what I said is largely true for Chicago, New York, and Denver.  I still very much enjoyed playing and running them however.

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Stainless Steel Devil Rat

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« Reply #10 on: (18:47:37/03-08-19) »
I haven't played pre-Chicago SRM, but I played a decker thru seasons 7 and 8 and while I sometimes had to be creative to be relevant inside the CZ, I never felt like the Matrix was underrepresented.

I've been more involved with Neo-Tokyo, and with no Mad-Max wasteland dominating the campaign the Matrix has been universally relevant.

I can't speak to why AIs aren't SRM legal, but I don't imagine it has anything to do with being Matrix-specialized characters.  My assumption is it's more a state of the A.I. rules issue.  The SRM FAQ would gain a couple pages (at least) just ironing out A.I.s with questions like the one that predicated this thread.
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Luciferos

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« Reply #11 on: (19:03:55/03-08-19) »
I haven't played pre-Chicago SRM, but I played a decker thru seasons 7 and 8 and while I sometimes had to be creative to be relevant inside the CZ, I never felt like the Matrix was underrepresented.

I've been more involved with Neo-Tokyo, and with no Mad-Max wasteland dominating the campaign the Matrix has been universally relevant.

I can't speak to why AIs aren't SRM legal, but I don't imagine it has anything to do with being Matrix-specialized characters.  My assumption is it's more a state of the A.I. rules issue.  The SRM FAQ would gain a couple pages (at least) just ironing out A.I.s with questions like the one that predicated this thread.

Agree with this wholeheartedly. AIs - while I don't really get behind them being 'non-functional' are definitely a bit unwieldy, there's a lot of AI-specific stuff to learn, there's differences in the fundamental way they interact with the meat world, etc. Doesn't seem very copacetic with SRM. These things are way easier to deal with on private tables or within a Living Community context.

Hobbes

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« Reply #12 on: (19:26:38/03-08-19) »
I haven't played pre-Chicago SRM, but I played a decker thru seasons 7 and 8 and while I sometimes had to be creative to be relevant inside the CZ, I never felt like the Matrix was underrepresented.

I've been more involved with Neo-Tokyo, and with no Mad-Max wasteland dominating the campaign the Matrix has been universally relevant.

I can't speak to why AIs aren't SRM legal, but I don't imagine it has anything to do with being Matrix-specialized characters.  My assumption is it's more a state of the A.I. rules issue.  The SRM FAQ would gain a couple pages (at least) just ironing out A.I.s with questions like the one that predicated this thread.

There is a Season ...6? maybe 7?  Mission where the PCs go underwater for the entire mission.  No Wireless signals at all.  No Matrix, no Rigging.  There were a couple token B/R checks, but otherwise... yeah.  And there are absolutely specific scenes scattered through all the Missions where a Decker isn't going to do much, if any, hacking.  Almost every big fight with a Magical thing for example.

However, with Kill code all Hackers now have some meat space Matrix Action options.  Tag, Calibrate, I am the Firewall, pure gold.  Much less of an issue now.  Even when there isn't anything useful to Hack, a Decker/TM can play buff bot.

Ajax

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« Reply #13 on: (20:06:55/03-08-19) »
There should always been the occasional adventure module where [Insert Specialist Type Here] is disadvantaged or even unnecessary on a temporary basis, just as there should be the occasional adventure where [Insert Specialist Type Here] is at a great advantage or virtually indispensable. But, on the balance, things should even out and the "default" should be that every given Specialist Type should have roughly equal "screen time" in any module.

If you were looking at a Star Trek module, based on what you know of the films and tv series, you'd expect a roughly equal split between challenges for the Science Officer or Doctor, Engineer, Security Chief, and Commanding Officer. So you'd try to have a mix of technology challenges, fight scenes, negotiation, and some sort of scientific anomaly. You might have a special "Mystery at Med-Base 7" module that is skewed to focus on the Doctor(s) role, but that should be a special thing.

]Shadowrun pretty much rests on four pillars: Magic, Matrix, Facetime, and Fighting. A balanced `run should have all four, in roughly equal amounts, and ideally it should have ways to use more than one of these means to accomplish the same ends.
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