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Will these house rules encourage balance and versatility?

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Lorebane24

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« on: (02:45:31/03-22-18) »
So I'm about to start up a new game with a group of players that are more or less totally new to Shadowrun.  It is absolutely my favorite RPG - I love the setting - but it seems that the necessity of the black trenchcoat vs pink mohawk mechanic is essential for a game to run smoothly from a character-building perspective, but enforcing requires something of a gentleman's agreement that is very easy to violate, even accidentally.

So what I want, basically, is more versatile characters - I don't necessarily want everyone to be able to do everything, but I want everyone to have at least something to do in every encounter.  I hope this will encourage characters that will be more functional in a black trenchcoast style game.  On top of that, there are a couple of balance issues I've long felt existed in the game, and I'm trying to correct them here.  I'm hoping to get the eyes of a more experienced GMs on these to try and assess whether they would move the system towards those goals.  I've in the midst of a course on game design right now, so I've been trying to apply some of the principles from there to these tweaks.

I've laid out my reasoning behind a lot of these in the documents.
« Last Edit: (02:50:27/03-22-18) by Lorebane24 »
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Marcus

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« Reply #1 on: (05:30:53/03-22-18) »
Your magic changes are really strong. You just made it a LOT easier to be a mage. Making Arcana a knowledge skill. Your mages are set to be really strong in your rules set.

I like what you did with adept. Adding martial art into their given skills.

The Combat skills changes are a little funkier, you in effect decreased diversity by breaking automatics. But i don't think it's a huge deal.

I'm not sure what to say about, Technos I need longer to consider what that will look like.

If your goal is breadth over depth I think you may want to take steps to ether boost tech or slow down magic.
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Lorebane24

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« Reply #2 on: (10:22:09/03-22-18) »
Good to know.  My logic behind condesning the combat skills that if it requires fewer resources to achieve basic combat proficiency, then other resources are freed up for other things.  It does give players more options, hut since the weapon skills have a large degree of overlap in their mechanical function I dont think it would increase overall power by that much.

I appreciate the warning about magic, though.  The changes to aspected magicians will be reflected in NPCs (and the relative commonality of different mage typed.  Could you clarify how this makes them significantly more powerful?  I thought that arcana was mostly just used for initiation.
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DigitalZombie

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« Reply #3 on: (16:13:24/03-22-18) »
I agree on the skill changes,  free fall, instruction etc have also been rolled into other skills at our table.
Also makes sense with Arcana being a knowledge skill.
I also like your weapon skills.
Personally I don't have a beef with skillgroups at rank 6, most skill groups have 1 inferior skill anyway.  Limiting skill groups to 5 would most likely just mean that players would take the 2 strong skills at 6 with normal skill points.  Skill groups can't take specializations anyway,  so it's not like having them at 6 would break anything. - but that's a minor point.

Agree on qualities as well,  like the SINs especially.

Sum2ten is great- but also the one open for the most abuse,  when getting 2 A's for the cost of having an extra E instead of a D- that's point wise a very good deal,  as most D's are pretty crappy compared to upgrading a B to an A.

A note on attributes: we house rule that characters may only have 1 stat at racial minimum,  and one at maximum. This is to prevent the agi1 and S1 builds.  We do give and extra attribute point at each priority level,  so technically only players wanting to play a character with 3 stats at minimum would be screwed.

Onto magic rules:
Wow those guys got buffed alot in the priority system.  Do you feel that awakened in general lacked behind mundanes?  Because I would imagine a lot of your players would feel less excited about mundanes now with those rules.
I like the General buffs of the aspected,  and it's nice to see the mediums back.

Not sure about the traveler and the aware.  Unless it's some specific build I see this as mostly for NPCs. Most other runners would have ' wares if they aren't slinging spells or doing adept stuff,  these guys are caught in the middle not really slinging any spells and can't really take that much 'ware. I guess some strong infected or shapeshifters could make good use of astrally projecting.

I think either your document is incomplete or my DL was.  As it stops midsentence in the aracana skill description.

To sum up magic rules: cool if everyone is playing awakened- if not it will tilt the game even more towards magic characters >mundane characters.

Technomancers.  I'm not completely satisfied with your houserules here....  But I can't really suggest anything better :/
As you buffed the awakened on the priority table I think it's would be fitting if ' mancers also got buffed.  You can be a full mage at priority D,  but not a technomancer? 

Again it seems like the document stops abrubtly,  maybe it's my download? 


Other than the General high buff of awakened I think it looks very good in general.

« Last Edit: (17:03:43/03-22-18) by DigitalZombie »

Marcus

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« Reply #4 on: (16:31:54/03-22-18) »
Your magic changes are really strong. You just made it a LOT easier to be a mage. Making Arcana a knowledge skill. Your mages are set to be really strong in your rules set.

I like what you did with adept. Adding martial art into their given skills.

The Combat skills changes are a little funkier, you in effect decreased diversity by breaking automatics. But i don't think it's a huge deal.

I'm not sure what to say about, Technos I need longer to consider what that will look like.

If your goal is breadth over depth I think you may want to take steps to ether boost tech or slow down magic.

Arcana is the skill check on initiation, and a relates to initiation topics, making it knowledge just means they don't spend active points, which in already very efficient system just became still more efficient. In effect you condescend both magic skill groups into two skills, you made it very easy for one mage to master all things of magic very inexpensively. This means experienced players can select much lower skill priority and gives them access to what over all will be stronger characters. IE A(Magic) A (Attributes), is basically the obvious way to go. Dump skills, moderate cash, then grab high point meta option ether elf for max possible drain pool and strong edge, or get orc or troll for even more stat advantage.

Make sure you grab aptitude to put one of those skills at 7, and suddenly your mage starts looking pretty serious business.

Now if that what you want, then perfect. But my gut says it's not what you intended.
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Lorebane24

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« Reply #5 on: (17:11:40/03-22-18) »
Yeah, not my goal at all.  My goals for the maguc overhaul were...

Make aspected magicians more viable, presenting then as specialized mages rather than weakened ones, and affording players who wish to play one similar returns on a priority investment they would have as a full mage.  Sounds like I mighta gone overboard here?

Making conjuring's benefits more realistic relative to the small amoubt of resources that need to be invested in it.  By RAW, having a magic stat and investing in a single skill gives you five spirit types that you can summon amd ask to do tons of shit.  To me, spirits have always felt more versatile than spells, and I thoughy it was nuts you got them all for free.  My reasoning with restricted services and spirit evocatuons is that most typical mages would learn 1-3 evocations and then use the rest of their spell slots to cover tadks those spirit types arent suited to.

And finally, and I'm kind asurprised no one has said anything for or against them yet, I wanted to bring mystic adepts in line.  I feel these rules turn them from "do absolutely everything" to "you are either a spellcadter that augments their abilities with adept powers or an adept who augments their abilities with spells."

As far as initiation goes, I want it to happen relarively early.  Maybe I am tuinking of it as being more common than it is RAW, but I imagine that your first initiation is your first step into the the big leagues.  I figure most university mages and R&D wage mages have initiated at leadt once "rarely more than thrice, though," and imma use Armando Salazar (Book of the Lost), as the BBEG, and he has a magic stat of 13.

If it helps, so far the partt consists of a wiccan sorcerer, a vampire adept (with a house rule nerf to regeneration, going for a social/combat blend), and a conceptualized decker who doesnt have much on paper yet.

So it sounds like the magic thing is the biggest sticking point so far.  Keeping the above goals in mimd, any suggestions for further tweaks?

As far as the technomancer thing, I actually forgot I needed to go back and give them another once-over.  I did some updates to mages after I worked on them and hadnt revisited them yet.
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Lorebane24

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« Reply #6 on: (17:24:31/03-22-18) »
Also, I was thinking of further tweakin the addiction rules to make for lighter book keeping.  The existing changes are there because I've had plenty of players who want to play some kind of funtional addict, but the RAW for addiction sees you burn out pretty quick (I think someone did the math and the avaerage person would be dead from soycaf addiction within a year of syarting one cup a day).

So I was tuinking that to make the progression of am addiction easier to track, it would turn into a "how often do you use it per session" thing for the "cant help yourself" variety of addiction, with using a particular drug once every other session requiring no checks, and having to check for mild addiction if you start using it every session, with moderate checks at the 3rd time, etc...

Addictiin severity under these rules wouldnt increase more than once every other play sessiom, and (except for the dangerous spiral variety)  you dont lose essence from addiction to stuff like blisd or zen - you end up dying because at that point you're always high and eventually you make a deadly mistake, which woukd come in the form of them being under the influence pretty much any tine its not appropriate.  Using these rules, characters are assumed to be getting regular fixes, the check only comes in when they either fail a self control check to take a dose at moderate+ (and have already used 2+ times), or when they take a dose to actually try to achieve something (not going to make your addiction worse if you take a tab of zen when everyone is just roleplaying amd you are an established stoner)
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Marcus

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« Reply #7 on: (06:27:48/03-23-18) »
Just to be up front on it, I can't stand Mystic Adept, and so didn't bother reading it. As much possible I simply ignore it's existence.
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DigitalZombie

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« Reply #8 on: (17:16:47/03-23-18) »
I'm actually not a fan of the mystic either.  But since none of your players are playing one,  it's not a huge issue ATM. I do like the idea of splitting his magic stat up,  but maybe there just is too much bookkeeping in having a spellsinger stat,  an adept stat and a general magic stat.  I do think though that if his pool should be split up in 2 that the sum of those 2 should be higher than a normal mates.  Simply because one magic stat at 6 beats 2 stats at 3 each.

Regarding the "advanced" alchemy thing.  We actually made a houserule to make it alot simpler.
Instead of rolling magic+enchanting Vs force with force limit...  Then rolling drain....  Then rolling force+potence... And then you might actually get to blow something up.
We went for : choose force,  roll drain. If chosen force >magic drain is physical.
When lynchpin is triggered roll magic enchanting for effect.
Now you have just as many rolls as a spellslinger, there is just a longer period between drain and effect.

As one of your awakened player is a sorcerer and not a full blown mage I wouldn't change anything in your houserules there,  they needed a buff.
The adept though has been buffed thanks to the improved awakened priority table. 
I guess it's the aztlaner "accidently blood sacrificer" character from another thread.   Maybe that character would outshine the decker?

I've never really understood the addiction rules completely,  we always end up reading it several times over until we just wing it instead.

Lorebane24

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« Reply #9 on: (18:32:46/03-23-18) »
Glad to hear some feedback on the mystic adept.  I actually was very careful not to gimp them as bad as they were in 4th ed.  You'll notice that even though they have to split their attribute, both of then automatically start at 1, much like attributes, so with a maguc score of six, they could do a spread of 4/4, 5/3, or 6/2.  One auto increases when their magic stat does, and unlike in 4th ed, they can then still spend karma to raise the other (as if they were raising their magic from that level).  That gives then a baseline that encourages them to focus on spells or adept powers supplemented witg other, and allows for an occassial bump into their off-talent in the mid/late game.   They have the option of maxing them both out, but the karma cost would bevome very high very quickly.

For the sum to ten issue, how about adding a cavaet that you can still only have a single priority A.  This would allow, for example, a character to go B/B/B/D/E if their character vision calls for more versatility (one of may players once used that spread to make an investigative journalist - essentially a decker/face hybrid - and it worked pretty well, and I once used it to theorycraft a drug-based samurai that looke pretty good on paper)
« Last Edit: (18:38:37/03-23-18) by Lorebane24 »
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Marcus

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« Reply #10 on: (08:31:15/03-24-18) »
So the techno thing, there is not really something that designates a reasonable maximum, if was gaming the system, I'd just max sleaze and put one each others. So i would advise setting a maximum each attribute could be.
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Lorebane24

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« Reply #11 on: (09:43:17/03-24-18) »
Ah!  Mistve forgotten that.  Yeah, I meant to indicate that a techno's LP stats are capped by their resonance.
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Marcus

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« Reply #12 on: (12:44:43/03-26-18) »
Honestly Lorebane, I'd recommend an alternative strategy, skip sum2ten, and go with an adjusted priority.  ABCDD or ABCCD, adjusting the priority can push broader concepts, while keeping the built in safe guards of the system as designed. It can of course create character more powerful then intended by the base system but if you encourage breadth over depth these methods can give you much more diverse set of runners. It's particularly helpful, if your looking to have characters cover multiple roles.

Other things you could do would be to just currency and legality limits.
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