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Players keep dying, don't even know where to start

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Rosa

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« Reply #15 on: (12:16:51/03-13-18) »
With high charisma your teams mage should always bring at least two bound spirits to any encounter plus whipping up a new decent force spirit is only a complex action and should also be done as part of the preparations if you're expecting trouble and also even when you're not, so that's potentially 3 spirits on your teams side right then and there. Also 5 spells are a little low, which spells do the mage have? Heal, armor,improved invisibility, levitate combat Sense. .....thats 5 fairly essential spells right there and that doesn't even include any combat spells, which is a viable way to play for sure but with only 3 characters your team needs all the combat capabilities they can muster, so that makes it even more important with the extra spirits. 
« Last Edit: (12:22:48/03-13-18) by Rosa »

Mollari

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« Reply #16 on: (23:30:42/03-13-18) »
Hey there mate.

My tips are these:

1) Gear
The thing I've found new players struggle with is the staggering amount if items in the game. They don't have the tricks and so don't compete. Outside of gear that they may specially own (ie. hazmat suits, full body armor etc.) I believe all characters should, at all times, be wearing:
   a) Contact lenses: (image link, flare compensation, smartlink (everyone should have a gun))
   b) Glasses: (visual enhancement, thermographics)
   c) Earbuds: (dampening, soundlink)
   d) RFID tags: some simple tags can help your team set up ambushes, or if they scout out a staging area they want to use, detect an ambush waiting for them
   e) Fashion gas mask/respirator: Don't want to be a freak but still want a gas mask? Fashion :D

2) Reaching augmented limits
So excluding exceptions, all Stats can be raised by a max of 4 above what they currently are at (not magic, resonance or edge). Drugs are dangerous, but this is a dangerous game where runners will likely kill themselves trying to get an edge. No runner should be 'happy' running their primary attributes unaugmented. Drugs, bio, cyber or magic.

3) Dice + Edge
I happen to run for and play in a particularly high powered group. 12 is definitely a bare minimum. Edge can be amazing though. To address them comment of the Combat Axe having a low accuracy. If hits occur 1/3 of the time, using edge lets you roll 2/3 of your total again whilst breaking the limit. Edge is the runner's amazing moment of breaking what should be possible. It's those moments when a street sam drops an orc with a holdout lol.

Seeing as 6 is an average max attribute, 6 + spec is the starting skill cap you're already at 14. Getting a +2 on that is easy (mentor spirit, smartlink), getting 16. Augmented max takes you to 20.

4) Using Etiquette and knowledge skills
Don't want to be stabbed in the back, betrayed or made a scapegoat? Knowing exactly how much to bribe, politely blackmail and threaten is essential in this world. You shouldn't be interacting with anyone without these rolls. This, plus knowledge skills in corporate tactics, security design etc. are what will stop you walking into traps to begin with.

Hope this helps.
« Last Edit: (00:44:26/03-14-18) by Mollari »

Marcus

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« Reply #17 on: (23:36:31/03-13-18) »
Packing along some extra spirits is fine, but remaking the characters is the only safe way.  If players pools are 12 or below forget the rest, they won't make it.  A mage with 5 spells, a burned  aspected mage and a sam that's melee weapon that has an accuracy of 4. Not meaning to be rude but that's all dead man walking. You're done son. Start over, Take look in the character review section on this forums, if you go back far enough there are examples of pretty anything and everything, if you can't find it just, ask folks will help. You don't have to reach my spec, though it will get the job done.  But they better at minimum break 14 dice and a limit of 6, and have everything they really need to fully cover their roles. You can cover all primary rolls with 3, it just means building smart. Or leave a roll open and slap an NPC in there, it nice easy way to help guide a newbie group.

Mirikon

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« Reply #18 on: (09:53:03/03-14-18) »
Marcus is correct. You really need dice pools in the 14+ range and at least a 6 limit for your primary skills. Spellcasting for mages, the primary combat skill for the sammy, and so on. With three, you're going to have to build smart if you want to live. You need the three Ms: Meat, Matrix, Magic. Let me go into my recommendations for the three.


Meat: A melee Street Samurai can be a badass thing. But the Combat Axe is not. That's a ganger weapon, for someone who wants big and intimidating. You want big and intimidating, but you also want to actually be effective? You want a Claymore from Run and Gun, with a Personalized Grip mod, so you have a weapon that is Acc 6, Reach 2, (STR+5)P DV, -5 AP. The 14R availability is a stumbling block, unless you want to drop restricted gear on it. But 4600 nuyen (4500 for the sword, 100 for the mod) isn't too much for a runner to pull together if you want that to be your first 'in game' purchase. Until then, you want to be using a Polearm for your two-handed melee intimidation needs. Now, if you're going for the light, quick melee sammy, then the katana and a plethora of small blades is always a damn good option. Sure, it is cliche, but that's because it works. Now, even a sammy that majors in melee should at least minor in a ranged weapon of some sort. Why? Because melee only works in melee, and sometimes you can't get from where you are to where the other guy is without either setting off alarms or getting full of lead.The two ranged weapon skills I'd take a long, hard look at if I was making a STR-focused melee sammy would be Archery and Throwing. Both do damage off your STR, which is a big bonus for you. They fire slower than an automatic, sure, but they're quiet, which makes for a good way to do takedowns from a distance without letting the whole world know where you are.

Matrix: You need to have someone who can handle your Matrix needs. Dice pools of 12-14 across the Cracking and Electronics groups are a must, as a bare minimum. Always be looking for ways to exploit your skills, but watch your OS. Don't play a technomancer unless you're doing it as a pet class with the sprites, because they got royally shafted this edition, and just can't compete. Decide whether you want to be the brute force hacker or the sneaky hacker, and gear for it, but don't specialize so far you can't switch modes if you have to. Make sure you have some kind of weapon skill (I'd go with either pistols or longarms, myself) for those times when you can't just hack your way out of trouble.

Magic: A mage lives or dies by their spells. Now, you can get by with only 5 spells, but they'd better be the RIGHT spells. Two combat spells (one direct and one indirect), Heal (if I have to explain why, you need to turn in your dice), Increase Reflexes (because this makes you able to do more), and some kind of battlefield control. Illusions like Opium Den are always a winner as they provide a flat area debuff to everyone who is in the area, or manipulations like Shadow or Ice Sheet can make getting around difficult for the enemy. Or you could do some badass things with Trid Phantasm if you're clever. Physical Barrier is always good for throwing up a temporary roadblock to keep people from following you. Or you can go the other way and get some of the mindbender spells like Mind Probe or Control Thoughts.
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frederick.johansen

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« Reply #19 on: (16:53:25/03-14-18) »
So for minimum dice pools (gathered from this thread and some others), is this about right for absolute minimums?

Primary skill: 14
Secondary skills (that you rely on at all): 9
Limits applied to use of primary skill: 6
Dodge dice: 12
Soak dice: 18
Initiative: reliably 11

Also, any good suggestions for Matrix Perception house rules, or links to recommended forum postings covering same?






Spooky

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« Reply #20 on: (17:18:50/03-14-18) »
Yes, those pools/limits are what you should aim for, unless you are specifically running a low power campaign, then the opposition won't/shouldn't have any dice pools above about 7-8.
As for using the Matrix, I personally make it much simplified from the RAW, because RAW means that deckers/TMs have almost no impact on combat, which I find greatly boring for those who choose to play such characters.
When I run Matrix characters at my table, I have the player(s) involved roll only once to affect something, with harder to affect items meaning more successes needed on the test (ie higher threshold). Makes Matrix usage viable in group play.
Spooky, what do you do this pass? Shoot him with my thunderstruck gauss rifle. (Rolls)  8 hits. Does that blow his head off?

Marcus

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« Reply #21 on: (21:01:43/03-14-18) »
So for minimum dice pools (gathered from this thread and some others), is this about right for absolute minimums?

Primary skill: 14
Secondary skills (that you rely on at all): 9
Limits applied to use of primary skill: 6
Dodge dice: 12
Soak dice: 18
Initiative: reliably 11

Also, any good suggestions for Matrix Perception house rules, or links to recommended forum postings covering same?

Initiative+Reaction =12 then hopefully +2d6 that gives you 19 on average, it won't be to bad push that little further for 3 passes.
Dodge as an active defense should be higher if your losing init to use it.

For matrix perception i recommend only allow things with a sleaze rating to use run silent.  It greatly limits the stupidity that can be involved in it.
But that does very much work in the deckers favor.

Overbyte

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« Reply #22 on: (04:15:58/03-15-18) »
I'm going to be the contrarian (to a slight extent).
I don't think that huge dice pools (or any specific numbers) are a must for any game, BUT..
As the GM you have to make sure that the opposition is appropriate.
If the players have dice pools of 10, then so should the bad guys.
The mage doesn't have to have spirits, but if he doesn't then the bad guys probably shouldn't.  If he does then so should they.
After I set up a combat encounter I run through what is likely to happen in the first round and do a "sanity check" for what the outcome of attacks are likely to be and what "reasonable" dice pools are for the enemies..
When I had my team ambushed and the ambushers had a sniper, I made sure that there was an NPC to take the first shot,
otherwise a PC would have died instantly. Obviously that's just not good for the game.
If I didn't do that I would have run the numbers and made the sniper shoot the Troll and made sure it didn't take him out instantly.
This is NOT cheating. RPG's are about cooperative story telling and the story isn't very good (as you have noticed) if the PCs get wiped out instantly.
Given that, it is also OK to fudge things either way to make the story better.

All that being said. You may (as others have suggested) want to take a look at a little min-max'ing / optimization on the players parts so they can be more capable.
Nothing is foolproof. Fools are so ingenious.

Frost

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« Reply #23 on: (13:54:26/03-15-18) »
I'll beat the dead horse one more time: Shadowrun has a combat system designed to kill quickly. The old "charge" mentality in D&D will get you shredded quick.

From a GM's standpoint I can tell you what I did when faced with this exact situation. My current group had never played Shadowrun but had a lot of experience with other platforms (i.e. D&D). I had played before and understood the vast differences in the system so I stripped their first encounter down to the barest of basics. I gave them a background story and had them wind up in the Rats Nest in the Redmond Barrens. No cyberware, no magic, no nothing other than a 3 skill points in unarmed combat, clubs, blades, and long guns. Their first encounter was fighting (you probably guessed it) giant rats. They only had various clubs and spears and one rifle, salvaged from a Rat's Nester who was killed by the rats. It was an extremely basic fight but it worked well to help them understand the combat system (and wound up for one hilarious situation where the troll glitched several tests so badly that I had the rats grab him by the ankles and drag him through the trash for the rest of the fight). After that I slowly added in pieces of the game, such as vehicles and magic. After about four or five sessions they were given their resources and allowed to purchase cyberware and other stuff. You don't have to play the game the traditional way; I'd actually suggest against it if you've never GM'd a game because you're learning as much as they are. Start off very simple and build up to it. Just my two cents.

frederick.johansen

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« Reply #24 on: (16:01:05/03-15-18) »
I have them pull in a decker NPC when they really need it, so that's how they cover that angle.  I'd like to be able to have them able to go through the published adventures and missions without a lot of futzing with adjusting the enemies, so I'm hoping that some "right sizing" of their dice pools will help with that.  Oh, to clarify, the players do take cover and make every effort to not get shot at.  Also, only one of the three players have ever played D&D or any other tabletop RPG before.  One element that has been emphasized in this thread that I don't think my players or myself really have understood is that there isn't really much slack to take wounds.  Even if you are not going to die, the wounds modifier quickly makes just about all actions impossible.

So we'll be doing some character adjustments, they'll be reading up on Edge and magic use for the Awakened characters, and we'll go from there.  I appreciate all the help!