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Experiences and thoughts on Neo-Tokyo gameplay

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Lormyr

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« on: (13:20:56/03-20-19) »
After our last Missions night at our FLGS those present had a lengthy discussion of our thoughts and experiences with the new season. The primary focus of the conversation was the likes and dislikes of the season thus far. I'd love to hear what other people's impressions are as well.

From much of the Columbus OH community:

Likes
- Police Presence and Response: Overall, we've enjoyed the season having stronger law enforcement vs. shenanigans. It is especially good having most of their procedures, potential outs, and penalties plainly listed so that GMs have a streamlined foundation for how to handle things that might come up., and players will know what to expect if caught.

- Magic Surveillance: Again, having a generally tighter surveillance over the public has been nice for keeping things lighter of shenanigans.

Dislikes
- Punitive GMs: Everyone that sat at the table had bad experiences at Origins last year. This largely came from GMs looking for ways to penalize players through the surveillance penalty system's "at GM discretion clause" towards what might also garner attention. In one incident, a mage casting fashion at Force 4 on himself before meeting the Johnson triggered a GM into sending in astral patrols, doing SIN checks, a license check on the mage for spellcasting, and even after all of that passed the officer warned the mage that "deceptive" spellcasting wasn't tolerated.

- Surveillance seems omnipresent: Tightening surveillance was great overall, but especially as relates to spellcasting, it feels overboard.

- Riggers getting the short straw when travelling: More than a few Missions in both Chicago and the new season start by limiting what and the size of gear players can bring with them. While this might be logical, when Riggers get whittled down to a single medium size drone, it really sucks the life right out of the archetype. While it is not uncommon for other archetypes to be inconvenienced (background, noise, no rocket launcher, ect.), it is typically only the Rigger who has their lifeblood (vehicles especially) significantly stripped down or taken away entirely. We'd love to see that altered or eliminated in future writing.

Michael Chandra

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« Reply #1 on: (13:55:39/03-20-19) »
How on earth would Fashion trigger that kind of response?? Deceptive spellcasting?! It's a permanent effect! What's next, scissors are deceptive?! Heal?!
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Jayde Moon

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« Reply #2 on: (14:19:42/03-20-19) »
Lormyr, thanks for the feedback!

Regarding your dislikes:

Punitive GMs:  I agree that some GMs push things too far, whether through inexperience or even having a chip on their shoulder.  A product I have in mind is the CDT Agents GM Handbook (working title) that should outline how best to use the tools to keep the game fun, engaging, and challenging, without being oppressive.  No promise on when I can get to that, but rest assured your concern is not only noted, but validated.

Magic Surveillance:  Would being reminded of the limitations of Magic Surveillance be helpful?  When weighing the pros and cons, one of the big ideas was that any sort of casting within buildings would be immune from astral surveillance... so casting spells out in the streets would almost certainly garner attention, but placing physical barriers between you and potential astral recon would protect you from it.

Placing such a reminder in the aforementioned handbook was also part of the plan.

Riggers:  I presume you are talking about when playing through CMPs?  I agree that the intent should not be to remove the efficacy of a character by creating obstacles that no one else shares.  Havig a rigger and then being told you can't use half your kit is 'No Fun'tm.  When I GM, I go with "sponsor/fixer/Johnson" provides equivalent gear, that you are on the hook to fix if damaged... pretty much a hand wavey "You have your stuff, even though you don't have YOUR stuff."  Adding that to the beginning of the CMPs could help with that.

Really, thanks for your feedback.  Ultimately, Shadowrun Missions is for the community, by the community and we will not improve without your help.
That's just like... your opinion, man.

Hobbes

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« Reply #3 on: (15:41:59/03-20-19) »
..why are Riggers limited to a single medium drone?  Is that a Season 10 thing or a new batch of CMPs?

Shinobi Killfist

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« Reply #4 on: (17:22:49/03-20-19) »
Lormyr, thanks for the feedback!

Magic Surveillance:  Would being reminded of the limitations of Magic Surveillance be helpful?  When weighing the pros and cons, one of the big ideas was that any sort of casting within buildings would be immune from astral surveillance... so casting spells out in the streets would almost certainly garner attention, but placing physical barriers between you and potential astral recon would protect you from it.


For me when I read it, I kind of liked it in a balance sense so magic wasn't just a solve all the problems archetype. But even when you just consider the streets its more than a bit of a stretch to think that not only is their a astral mage or watcher watching the area but that it was a law enforcement one.  Unlike physical surveillance you can't just say the place is blanketed in cameras and a program is analyzing it. There is a limit too how many mages are in the setting and how many joined the police will likely be significantly less than that. Maybe if it started at a high security level instead of it being everywhere with it being even more common in security zones above rating C.  Cities are farking huge, too blanket the skies so all of that is surveiled by such a limited resource seems crazy.

Also I'm just not a fan of edge tests as it makes an already broken stat even more useful(hey look another high edge mage), like maybe it should be assenssing mages can use stealth checks or something with the default being a watcher makes a perception check with a threshold based on a spells force. I mean sure magic is obvious on the astral but watching a large area isn't easy.

Ghost Rigger

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« Reply #5 on: (17:40:06/03-20-19) »
While this might be logical, when Riggers get whittled down to a single medium size drone, it really sucks the life right out of the archetype.
Why even play?
After all you don't send an electrician to fix your leaking toilet.

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Shinobi Killfist

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« Reply #6 on: (18:09:48/03-20-19) »
While this might be logical, when Riggers get whittled down to a single medium size drone, it really sucks the life right out of the archetype.
Why even play?

I kind of agree, there is a different feel between losing a few dice(noise/background count) and just removing most of your bag of tricks. In a home campaign I think it can work, and it might even be seen as a rigger focused story if done right because the story could be shaped around what the rigger can pull off even without their drones.  In a mission that isn't tailored to your group its just playing 1/2 a character. 

Lormyr

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« Reply #7 on: (18:21:30/03-20-19) »
@Michael Chandra: I agree. I was floored when some of locals told me that happened at their table (I was not there). That was the most extreme example I was told about though. Most of their other issues from Origins that related to Missions were relatively minor.

@Jayde Moon: My pleasure! I am glad that you guys always take the time to hear feedback out and engage with us about it, so thank you as well.

Regarding Punitive GMs, I am not really sure how I would like to see that addressed. It's one of those things that is a non-issue until someone decides to make it one, if that makes sense? Perhaps setting up some sort of email for players to leave feedback for problematic GMs might work? That way if whoever monitors it sees someone mentioned numerous times they can bring it to the team's attention.

Regarding Magic Surveillance, I personally believe it is ok as is. For note, that statement is made under the assumption that folks will remember it does not apply inside of private residences, and a GM doesn't decide to be unfair about their discretion.

Regarding Riggers, correct. It's only come up in CMPs for the most part, minus a few outliers like a certain underwater Chicago Mission. I think your personal approach on it is good. Mine has largely been allowing Riggers with smuggler contacts to use them to get their goods where needed, as well as allowing any vehicle that could physically make the journey on it's own merit. The later became much more doable with Rigger 5.

@Hobbes: It has only been restrictions listed in applicable CMPs for the most part. It is not a general Neo-Tokyo issue. Just something that both myself and the locals believed was worth mentioning for future writing.

@Shinobi Killfist: I largely agree with your statements. Neo-Tokyo is a significantly higher than average magically awakened area though, so it makes sense that both more corp/law enforcement mages would be available, as well as that non-hostile magic happening in the streets should be less alarming or uncommon.

@Ghost Rigger: Kind of the point of our bringing attention to the matter.

Michael Chandra

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« Reply #8 on: (02:19:45/03-21-19) »
This just in: NT busted all tailors for 'deceptive clothing-adjustments'.
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Ghost Rigger

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« Reply #9 on: (08:58:59/03-21-19) »
This just in: NT busted all tailors for 'deceptive clothing-adjustments'.
No one tell them about make-up. Or push-up bras. Or breast enlargement. Or synthetic cyberlimbs. Or drones with Realistic Features. Or....
After all you don't send an electrician to fix your leaking toilet.

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Hobbes

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« Reply #10 on: (10:53:35/03-21-19) »
@Hobbes: It has only been restrictions listed in applicable CMPs for the most part. It is not a general Neo-Tokyo issue. Just something that both myself and the locals believed was worth mentioning for future writing.


For a vehicle based Archetype they sure don't travel well....

Anyway, Mini, Micro, Small and Anthro drones should be able to travel in bulk.  Anything that flies should be able to get there one way or the other.  I mean... they fly...without a pilot even.  Depending on the mode of transport Medium to Large drones should only be a logistical issue.  And a minor one at that.  Ultimately Medium Drones are roughly people sized.  Smaller than most trolls anyway.  And if "that guy" with a six pack of Large drones complains about not being able to bring his tank squad with him everywhere, hit him with a book and carry on.

Trans-oceanic vehicle transport has always been an issue with Riggers.  If the run is on the same continent, just drive man.  Always going to be problematic for Neo-Tokyo based Riggers though.  Coyote contact and services could be handwaived by the Johnson though.  They often are for the players and their motley assortment of illegal weaponry, heavy armor, and drugs.  The team bus could get the same treatment.

Edit: tl;dr local Mission GMs have the ability to work out the logistical issues.  Not sure if that needs to be expressly stated or not.  Maybe it does?

« Last Edit: (11:09:13/03-21-19) by Hobbes »

Lormyr

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« Reply #11 on: (12:26:07/03-21-19) »
@Hobbes: I agree with most of your points. Some GMs are happy to allow their players to take whatever they can explain a legitimate way to bring along regardless of what the Mission says. Others stick tightly to what's written. My general position on the matter is that if a vehicle based archetype doesn't travel well, what in the world should? Getting from A to B is what such players have decided they want their character's specialty to be, and we work to accommodate that.

Stainless Steel Devil Rat

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« Reply #12 on: (20:09:26/03-21-19) »
Certain CMPs I've played seemed to have limited what the Rigger can bring with for the Rigger's own good.

The last session I played in was a Chicago Campaign CMP (name and number will go unsaid to avoid spoilering) that indeed limited my Rigger to no vehicles.

Had the GM allowed me to take his vehicles, they would have been destroyed in the plane crash we had to begin the mission escaping from.

I can think of a couple 2018 CMPs (Neo-Tokyo campaign, but not set within Neo-Tokyo) that limit what vehicles you have access to because you'll be out at sea with nothing for your vehicles to do but risk being lost to Davey Jones' Locker.


As for Neo-Tokyo itself: I find the less Pink-mohawk-y setting refreshing.  Yes, my Chicago campaign Rigger was often quick to suggest the "Kool Aid Man entrance" when our planning sessions bogged down... but still it's nice to play games where you actually do some cloak n daggers.

Fedifensor

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« Reply #13 on: (08:58:10/03-22-19) »
There is always going to be a balance between having a phone book of rules covering every possible interpretation, and GMs misinterpreting what guidance is available.  A "mission statement" (which seems to be what Jayde is looking to do with the GM Handbook idea) would be a good thing for Missions. 


* Characters are supposed to have their gear, including vehicles and drones, available in every mission (barring any adventure-specific challenges intended by the author).  Whenever possible, GMs should attempt to allow characters access to such gear, though the character will need to figure out how to keep restricted and forbidden gear from drawing attention (see below).
* Checks for restricted and forbidden gear should encourage creativity and being inconspicuous instead of being a hard ban, especially when there is no way for the character to otherwise participate.  For example, a character with a light pistol cybergun (purchased through the standard FAQ rules for Neo-Tokyo) shouldn't be excluded from an adventure simply because there is a mechanical issue with how security checks are handled in high-security neighborhoods.  However, police and security forces will be on a heightened state of alert when encountering characters with gear that would make them a major threat, even if the license check passes.  A character wearing Full Body Armor in public *will* draw attention...not a good thing for someone working in the shadows.
* Magic Surveillance is meant to encourage using magic like a scalpel, not a hammer.   There are ways of avoiding notice (casting inside buildings without their own astral security, etc), but openly using combat spells or maintaining illegal spells/foci in public view should be discouraged.


One final note on riggers.  The campaign shouldn't unduly restrict vehicle access, but building an entire character around having access to a vehicle is a bad idea when normal adventures can take place in rural areas, on the sea, in maintenance tunnels, etc.  Make sure your rigger has another option in those situations.

kyoto kid

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« Reply #14 on: (15:56:46/03-23-19) »
Certain CMPs I've played seemed to have limited what the Rigger can bring with for the Rigger's own good.

The last session I played in was a Chicago Campaign CMP (name and number will go unsaid to avoid spoilering) that indeed limited my Rigger to no vehicles.

Had the GM allowed me to take his vehicles, they would have been destroyed in the plane crash we had to begin the mission escaping from.

I can think of a couple 2018 CMPs (Neo-Tokyo campaign, but not set within Neo-Tokyo) that limit what vehicles you have access to because you'll be out at sea with nothing for your vehicles to do but risk being lost to Davey Jones' Locker.


As for Neo-Tokyo itself: I find the less Pink-mohawk-y setting refreshing.  Yes, my Chicago campaign Rigger was often quick to suggest the "Kool Aid Man entrance" when our planning sessions bogged down... but still it's nice to play games where you actually do some cloak n daggers.
...been on that particular Chicago one.  You always get the one character too who thinks maybe they can "bail out".  Don't be "that character".

Yeah, I like that term, "Kool Aid Man entrance".  Lord knows we did that on many an occasion.  The best was when someone told Leela (who just popped her Kamikaze) to kick down the door.  Never, ever, tell someone with the personality of a thirteen year old who just juiced up on combat drugs, to do something like that.
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