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The Riggers Plight

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Iron Serpent Prince

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« Reply #15 on: (09:23:11/07-11-19) »
seems to me that you actually think the issue is the vehicle rules and not riggers themselves. every scenario and example you have provided has shown that riggers are the hands down the masters of their domain (which is jumped in control) ... so the problem is the limits of what the vehicle rules put on things

A Rigger is only as good as the vehicle rules allow them to be.


on that note my personal experience from 30 years of GM'ing SR is that I have had less than probably a dozen scenes where vehicles were the primary limiting factor, it chase scene is more often limited by the environment where piloting check to avoid crashing and positioning is WAY more important than simple acceleration checks ... and nobody can do that better than a jumped in rigger

Then you may very well be a Good GM.  Too bad that can't be guaranteed for every other player in the world...

Wakshaani

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« Reply #16 on: (11:30:28/07-11-19) »
Interesting stuff thusfar.

SO, questions …

1) Other than weakening other roles (such as a mage), where do you think a Rigger needs improvement the most?

2) Roughly how often do you use vehicle chases? Would them being more common help or be a hassle?

3) Where are drones strong? Where are drones weak?

4) Would you prefer a rigger focus be on vehicles or drones?

5) Would you rather a rigger be better in meatspace or in the Matrix?

6) What do you like about being a Rigger?

7) What are the worst aspects of being a Rigger?

8) Would you prefer drones to be cheap and disposable or expensive and durable?

9) Are vehicle prices appropriate for the times when the Rigger gets to show off their toys or do they cost too much vs how often they are used?

10) FIll in the blank - Tell me what your ideal Rigger looks like, where they do for the team, and what else you'd like to see them do.

(I might be the biggest Rigger fan on the team, currently, but I know there are tons more out there. Talk to me! I'm more than happy to listen in. Keep in mind, I'm more interested in direction than pure mechanics as the switch from 5E to 6E is going to turn things sideways here or there and some older examples might not hold up.)

Iron Serpent Prince

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« Reply #17 on: (12:44:05/07-11-19) »
SO, questions …

I can give you some answers.  In case it isn't clear, I do not pretend these answers apply to everyone.  Just myself.

1) Other than weakening other roles (such as a mage), where do you think a Rigger needs improvement the most?

The single most needed improvement is to give the Rigger a clearly defined role.  This is mostly to allow rules authors to know how to apply rules to advance that role.
I admit, I am an "old school" Rigger.  I prefer the wheelman role because that is all there was.  I also do not like the Rigger being shoe horned into drone bunny.
All of that is irrelevant if the Rigger has a clear role for the game, even if it is to be drone bunny.  Let me, as well as the authors, know that the Rigger should be focused on "X" and in the end it doesn't really matter what "X" is.

I haven't read the rest of your questions in depth yet, but each of the ones I skimmed will revolve around this.

2) Roughly how often do you use vehicle chases? Would them being more common help or be a hassle?

Tough question to answer, as this is really a per-table basis.  From my experience vehicle chases are practically non-existent.  This was true even in the earlier editions before drone bunnies.
I am pretty sure that is because of two things:  1)  Vehicle chases don't fit into the "typical" idea of a shadowrun.  The only time they might matter is when the team screws up.  And then... 2)  All of the GMs I have run under assume the Rigger is king of the road and pretty much handwave everything.

Pretty much turning the Rigger into a piece of gear.  Have one?  Great!  We move on.  Don't have one?  Better tune up your combat monsters, your getting even more play time!

I honestly can't see how to increase the occurence of vehicle chases without torquing off GMs everywhere.  "What do you mean I am supposed to have the team make a Piloting check to get to the meet?!?"

My best answer is to not rely on vehicle chases at all.  And I am well aware that takes the Rigger out of my preferred role and pretty much shoe horns them into drone bunnies...

3) Where are drones strong? Where are drones weak?

As of 5e, drones are not strong at all.  Using sensors is just a Perception test where the rolling character has the choice of using the Sensor Rating as a Limit, and can use Electronic Warfare instead of Perception.
Most of my Riggers end up with a Mental Limit of 9, so "using sensors" doesn't benefit them at all.

Drones are weak in nearly every area.  They are too expensive to be disposable, and yet too difficult to make tough enough to really survive combat.  (I am in a current game where the GM insists on using the vehicle modding rules instead of the drone rules.  That means tiny armor values...)
Other than maneuverability, which isn't accounted for in the rules anywhere, drones do not bring anything to the table really that any other prepared character can.  I know that people will bring up size, and ability to traverse ducts and such.  Between that requiring that the technologically advanced future can not have appropriate sensors to detect that, and that they still can't access anything a well prepared infiltrator can't, they do not have any real strengths.

I take that back.  They do provide one strength:  The ability to provide eyes "on the fly."  Even though the rules do not really reflect that, drones are capable of moving a camera-analog to where they can be used the most.
This can be done by a Hacker as well, depending on the security setup and how dedicated the Hacker player is to massaging the Matrix rules and / or how much the GM handwaves said rules.
It does bring up how lacking info-sharing rules work.  I mean, as presented, 5e almost reads as if PiTac is required to share info...

4) Would you prefer a rigger focus be on vehicles or drones?

I answered this earlier, but I'll reiterate.  I prefer a focus on vehicles, due almost entirely on nostalgia.  I acknowledge that they should probably focus on drones instead.  There is more chance of being useful in most games that way.

5) Would you rather a rigger be better in meatspace or in the Matrix?

Another nostalgia laced answer from me.  For me, it would be meatspace.  Hands down.

I also acknowledge that particular toothpaste isn't getting back in the tube.  With Riggers being Matrix "born" now, they need better Matrix rules.
From what some have said, that could be addressed in 6e.  I am hopeful that they are no longer the blind, crippled sheep in a world of wolves (hackers).

6) What do you like about being a Rigger?

A very good, and personal question.  I don't mean that as in "off limits," but as in "I doubt any two people could ever have the same answer."

For me, it resonates with my personality.  I am a tinkerer, a hacker (not as in Black Hat / White Hat, but as in I will mod my devices to do what I want them to), a technophile.  I am also talented at driving.  I can't claim racing qualifications, but I am a machine operator (forktrucks, back hoes, cranes and such).

There is no other Archetype that even comes close to matching that in Shadowrun...  Well, maybe the Deckmeister.  However they have usually been relegated to NPCs.

7) What are the worst aspects of being a Rigger?

For me, is never really getting a chance to shine.  I'm not egotistical.  I have had, on more than one occasion, in-character questions of "what do you do again?" posed to my Riggers.  I have to go out of my way to build my Riggers to be able to be passable in every area - just to get "table time" - and as a result there is always a character that out performs the Rigger in every situation.

Most of that is douchebag players, I admit.  I don't take it personally myself.  It does have me wondering how do other Rigger players handle it though?  How long does it take someone else to say "why am I playing a character that I have to fight hard to make mediocre in every aspect, when I can much more easily make a character that shines in one?"

8) Would you prefer drones to be cheap and disposable or expensive and durable?

Short answer?  Either, not the worst of both that it is now.

Longer answer:  For my ideal "tinkerer" Rigger, it would be expensive and durable.  If we need cheap and disposable, we have things like tags for that.

9) Are vehicle prices appropriate for the times when the Rigger gets to show off their toys or do they cost too much vs how often they are used?

For the most part, they cost too much for how often they play a role.  Technically, they are used all the time - just "off camera."  Investing 50K+ nuyen for words on a page stings more than a little.

Repair costs also make players less inclined to use them.  I have to reiterate that it has been claimed that 6e addresses this.

And in spite of Hobbes saying "steal a car," that is insanely very far outside of a Riggers Archetype in 5e.

10) FIll in the blank - Tell me what your ideal Rigger looks like, where they do for the team, and what else you'd like to see them do.

If they can't outshine other characters in a regular part of game play, then they require something unique about what they do.  It doesn't have to OMGPowerfull, just something that isn't a different word to describe what other characters do.

As an example, even though you stipulated that mechanics are not what you are looking for:

If the Control Rig (in 5e, for clarification) had an added benefit of giving the Rigger "phantom" ranks in Piloting equal to its rating.  This would save the Rigger some points being spread out and give the cybered pilot the "That?  Yeah, I can pilot that" vibe that no one else really has.
If it also counted as Reception Enhancers to reflect the fact that the Rigger is adept and instinctively processing multiple streams of data all at the same time from their experience being the machine.

It wouldn't hurt if the Control Rig did something when not Jumped In so that the Rigger wasn't Joe Public, Wageslave when not attached to a machine.  I'm not expecting Street Sam level, of course.  Just...  Anything so that Rigger players do not feel like bystanders when their shtick isn't deliberately incorporated into the game so they can feel "useful" to the table.


Stainless Steel Devil Rat

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« Reply #18 on: (13:16:29/07-11-19) »
I'm not the OP, but I've got certain philosophically compatible viewpoints.

Interesting stuff thusfar.

SO, questions …

1) Other than weakening other roles (such as a mage), where do you think a Rigger needs improvement the most?

Being able to effectively use the matrix in ways beyond Jumping In. They don't have to poach on Deckers' turf (they've already got TMs for that) but they're the natural candidate for who should be breaking into cars, hacking traffic lights, etc.


But still... I don't agree that "other than nerfing mages" is ever going to fix the problem.  Nerfing spirits is absolutely necessary if riggers are EVER going to be relevant.  Not unless drones are ever going to be as powerful as spirits.  And that's also probably no good for the game.

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2) Roughly how often do you use vehicle chases? Would them being more common help or be a hassle?

Over the past 2 years, the entirety of my exposure to SR play has been CMPs and SRMs. It's a small pond of regulars, and I'm one of 2 gms for that circle.  Which means I always have the same GM.  Who's not at all comfortable with the vehicle rules.  So... basically there never are vehicle chases.  Not unless it's SRM 9-04 where one is literally written in as the climax of the run and you'd have to go way off the rails to NOT have the chase.

But TBH I don't think it's a GM issue.  The issue with chase scenes is winning one with a rigger is essentially doing it the hard way.  Chases are always resolved by someone putting a spirit in the other car and killing everyone inside.  Or the hacker bricking the other car.  Or the sammie blowing the other car up.

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3) Where are drones strong? Where are drones weak?

Strong: Recon.  But completely outclassed by spirits just floating around in astral.
Weak: Combat. And that's terrible because fire support is supposed to be a big plus.  Why are they weak? They have all the glass and none of the cannon of "Glass Cannon".  Unless the rigger is jumped in, a drone's dice pool is bunk compared to a min/max'd sammie/gun bunny.  Using rockets/grenades is all drones can compete in, and that's because you're shooting against a static threshhold of 3 and it doesn't matter anymore if your dice pool is only 12-14.

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4) Would you prefer a rigger focus be on vehicles or drones?
I like that there's two available fields of specialization, which also gives a third "hybrid focus" option as well.

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5) Would you rather a rigger be better in meatspace or in the Matrix?
Ever since 1e's Shadowbeat, I've always wanted Rigging to work while you're swinging around a melee weapon from the back of a motorcycle, but that ship has long since sailed.  I'm comfortable with Riggers being matrix specialists.  Physical driving can be what non-riggers do to try to compete.  Hopefully, only TRY to compete.

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6) What do you like about being a Rigger?
The gear porn. The customization.
Plus, a transporter simply SHOULD be a niche that's as useful (read: necessary) as a hacker to have around in a cyberpunk kind of game.

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7) What are the worst aspects of being a Rigger?
Everything a Rigger does is either moot, or done better by a non-rigger.

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8) Would you prefer drones to be cheap and disposable or expensive and durable?
Why not have both options available?  In 5e, my Riggers (I have two.. one for Chicago and one for Neo-Tokyo) both use swarms of cheap drones rather than investing in mega-expensive juggernauts.  A) Mega-expensive juggernauts are still pure junk statwise (Unless they're vehicles) and B) why put all eggs in one basket

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9) Are vehicle prices appropriate for the times when the Rigger gets to show off their toys or do they cost too much vs how often they are used?
It's completely inappropriate that Riggers pay for parts when fixing their toys when sammies and deckers do not.

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10) FIll in the blank - Tell me what your ideal Rigger looks like, where they do for the team, and what else you'd like to see them do.

(I might be the biggest Rigger fan on the team, currently, but I know there are tons more out there. Talk to me! I'm more than happy to listen in. Keep in mind, I'm more interested in direction than pure mechanics as the switch from 5E to 6E is going to turn things sideways here or there and some older examples might not hold up.)

I think a mature archetype doesn't have an ideal form.  What's the ideal mage look like?  The ideal sammie?

What I tend to do is have multiple vehicles, only one of which is expensive.  (My Chicago pirate has a wrecking ball of a Roadmaster yrzed out as a Pirate Ship, my NT street racer has his sports car decked out as a WWII fighter plane colors in homage to his other favorite pastimes: playing matrix MMOs). Then there's very lightly modded Americars or Gophers for when you want to move runners around in subtle manner. 

I use lots of drones rather than big expensive drones because it's cheaper to replace cheap than pay to repair expensive, and duplicate models of the same drone can share relevant autosofts anyway via the RCC.  AND ignore the pilot value cap on autosoft ratings... since not upgrading pilot is a key feature of staying cheap.  Pirate uses a swarm of rotodrones with grenade launchers (only ever need 3 hits to hit!) and drone arms (a bunch of rotodrones working together has a good bit of lifting power, plus a working arm lets the rigger jump in and use miscellaneous skills).  Street racer has a pack of Duellist drones equipped with gecko tips.  Slap armored jackets on them and they're reasonably durable AND still dirt cheap.  Not super effective offensively, but they're great for distractions and scouting.  And in a pinch, a whole bunch of melee attacks will erode big dodge pools so the true close combat characters can get easier targets.
« Last Edit: (13:30:43/07-11-19) by Stainless Steel Devil Rat »
RPG mechanics exist to give structure and consistency to the game world, true, but at the end of the day, you’re fighting dragons with algebra and random number generators.

Hephaestus

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« Reply #19 on: (21:49:30/07-11-19) »
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1) Other than weakening other roles (such as a mage), where do you think a Rigger needs improvement the most?

As stated by others, they need a defined role that can't easily be outdone by the other archetypes. And that role should be driving/piloting... everything.

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2) Roughly how often do you use vehicle chases? Would them being more common help or be a hassle?

I have done a total of two chases in the campaign I am currently in. They were okay, but not the crux of my SR experience. I will say that our GM has made many opportunities where I get to test against the world, which is waaaaay more fun (jumping a truck over a car hauler to get past an accident a la Gone in 60 Seconds, two-wheeling a Gladius through traffic to get to a location before the mark, faking "possession" of car to scare information out of wage slave who thought he was just driving home, etc.).

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3) Where are drones strong? Where are drones weak?

Strong: Recon. Tiny/Small drones are great at getting into places and scouting intel.
Weak: Combat. Unless your dropping serious nuyen, they have pretty mediocre dice pools compared to starting characters.
Weak: Resilience. Drones have pathetic wound pools, even compared to vehicles. While this might make sense for a Fly-Spy, but not for a Steel Lynx.
Weak: Customization. The cost of upgrades, weapons (and mounts), pilot programs, and repairs makes being a Drone Bunny a pain in the fraggin hoop. And I'm not going to dive into the hole of how you can just throw body armor on anthrodrones...

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4) Would you prefer a rigger focus be on vehicles or drones?

It should be both. The Rigger should be a master of anything with a motor.

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5) Would you rather a rigger be better in meatspace or in the Matrix?

Since the rigger interface operates through the matrix, they should have more of a matrix focus. But they should still have options that help with meatspace piloting as well (or passively help piloting in general).

Also, since being jumped in is supposed to be the end-all-be-all of piloting, it should give bonuses to matrix defense against people trying to hack your ride.

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6) What do you like about being a Rigger?

I like being the wheelman when it matters (which admittedly is not that often), and I also like being able to jump from drone to drone in combat to boost support where it's needed most.

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7) What are the worst aspects of being a Rigger?

Having players with almost every other archetype being able to do things better than me. Anyone can slave drones to an RCC, and that just leaves jumping in (which is a situational bonus vs. the penalty of not only being in hot-sim, but having psychosomatic responses to the bad things happening to you).

Also, as anyone who's played a Rigger can attest to, its fragging EXPENSIVE! If our team gets into combat, I can guarantee I'm losing a few thousand nuyen in repairs or replacement drones after the run.

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8) Would you prefer drones to be cheap and disposable or expensive and durable?

Yes to both. There should be options for both, and the stats should reflect what you're paying for. A Fly-Spy should be cheap as drek, because it has one job (recon), and dies to a stiff breeze. An Ares KN-Y series should be able to take a real beating and keep going, because its a fragging tank (at current it gets 24 soak dice and 9, count 'em, 9 HP).

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9) Are vehicle prices appropriate for the times when the Rigger gets to show off their toys or do they cost too much vs how often they are used?

Its a mixed bag. Some vehicles are good for their money, while others seem ludicrously expensive/restrictive for what they offer (and how quickly they will be picked out by security forces).

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10) Fill in the blank - Tell me what your ideal Rigger looks like, where (what?) they do for the team, and what else you'd like to see them do.

My perfect Sunday... I mean, my ideal Rigger is...

...a monster behind the wheel. Whether its commanding a car, a plane, or a swarm of drones, they should be the ones that people look at in awe when they pull off impossible stunts.

...a true support class. The Rigger doesn't need to outshine other archetypes in combat or matrix ability, but should be a force multiplier for those party members that are combat- or matrix- focused. And in the matrix, they should be able to hack vehicles and drones with some proficiency.

...a tinkerer. One of the things that makes a type-punk setting is that everybody makes things their own, and Riggers should be able to mod up vehicles and drones to make them unique while still being functional (And without breaking the bank (unless that's what they're built to do)). And over time, that latent ability to create and repair may extend into other fields (weapons, armor, electronics, etc.).

...a multi-tasker. A Rigger is supposed to be able to split their attention across multiple drone/vehicle feeds all the time, so they should be more proficient at remote piloting than other archetypes.

RiggerBob

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« Reply #20 on: (02:20:34/07-12-19) »
I don't think that a clear and defined role in which to shine is strictly necessary. It can be completely fine to be the supporting techguy in many fields at the same time. Let's be honest... How many times have you played in a group with 2 mages or 2 streetsams? Or with a cybered streetsam besides a physical adept with about 90%+ overlap in "their" field of competence. That's completely ok, when they play side by side. When is fighting for the spotlight ever a character-problem, instead of a player-problem? It only gets problematic when the balancing is so bad that one guy can outdo multiple specialists (certain magician builds say hello) or is constantly low-impact in anything he does...

I played a rigger in 4th edition for a long time (or more accurately the vehicle/drone guy as real rigging -as in jumping into vehicles- wasn't handled that well in 4th) in a group of 5 with a stealthy adept, hacker, cybered ranged/heavy weapons specialist and a hermetic mage. No, we didn't do much vehicle fights and chases...so i was never the one guy dominating a scene. Which was completely ok, because i was the most versatile instead, always involved and useful.

The adept infiltrated some corporate compound and i provided the eye in the sky with a flying drone with tricked out sensors catching patrols early while simultaneously having a couple of very small and stealthy drones to scout ahead and map out the area. I could have never replaced a specialised infiltrator because those drones sucked at everything physical (like stealing stuff, planting explosives or even silently neutralizing some security guy) and drones who could do that would be anything but stealthy... but still i provided some unique skills that made the task easier.

I dabbled in hacking too (something that was much too easy in 4th, more about that later...) with low-ish skills but specialising in drones and spoofing, so i would not interfere with any primary hacker job but could compete where our fields overlapped (hacking drones) and if needed i could handle some cameras while the hacker was occupied with a difficult node/host.

And my heavy combat drone was on a par with any specialised combat character. But it was big, loud and obvious (and a bit slow) which restricted it's use. So it never competed with an actual combat-heavy character (although -as said above- having more then one combat specialist side by side is rarely a problem anyway), but was an emergency backup. And i remember my gm once talking about how much he liked that setup: It can be quite a balance between not challenging the specialised combat characters at all and accidently killing everyone else. And i have seen more than one pregen mission/adventure which could be completely aced by a smart and stealthy team... up to the open end fight. So having some "heavy artillery" backup (that's of no real use most of the time) for when the shit has already hit the fan can be a huge boon without overshadowing other combat characters.

All in all that support tech guy (and yes, often working as the soccer mom too^^) worked very well then. There was never someone who had any reason to question his/her own character's use and never the question what the rigger was actually bringing to the team.



And then 5th edition happened and they completely dropped the ball... escalating existing problems while adding new ones:

1) Resources and the priority system:
I understand including priorities as the default character-generating system made sense with that "everything has it's price" motto. I can even understand (to a certain degree) how they increased the possible money you start with (and adjusted equipment costs accordingly) to separate the high attribute or skills guy from the fully-cybered guy and the magic user. But for riggers that's just bad: The magician with magic A gets access to magic and a high magic rating, which he will never lose (short of small magic decreases through essence loss). The high attribute or skills guy gets permanent points. The cyber-sam gets ware for all the ¥ and keeps it, because there are basically no rules for physical damage to cyberware. The decker can buy it's expensive deck, which could actually just be shot to pieces... but there are no rules regarding a physical condition monitor or armor of such a device, implying that it's meant to be hand-waved or more accurately not to happen at all except for story purposes. Which makes sense because he spend a high char-gen priority on getting that deck instead of attributes, skills or whatever...

And then there's the rigger, who buys vehicles and drones. Drones that are supposed to be used in combat and get a complete set of rules for damaging and destroying them. Is there any other kind of character that can possibly lose most of what get got from a priority A selection in the first occuring combat?

This problem theoretically existed in earlier editions. But it was never remotely that bad when you could either modify "combat drones/verhicles" to a point where they were expensive but sturdy enough to survive actual combat or use disposable ones... cheap drones without any mods (that either aren't cheap anymore because of prizes raised to fit the new priority A max. ¥ or are still cheap but come with stats so low they are useless without modding) or stolen ones (yes, there was a time when stealing cars and other equipment was possible...^^).
And to put gasoline into the fire the rules not only tell us our drones are supposed to be fragile by reducing condition monitors and armor (and limiting adding armor), they add vehicle repair costs too. Costs so high it doesn't even matter if your damaged vehicle survives. Better torch it by the roadside and get a cheaper new one, because you might be allowed to buy a tricked out van at character generation but don't think you will ever get enough money to repair moderate damage to it.

2) Welcome to the matrix:
For 3 editons riggers were the grease and oil, cogs and screws and metal parts guys that tinkered with their vehicles and customized them. They got remote-controlled drones later (was it in late 2nd or in 3rd ediiton?), which they could customize too. But it was always about the hardware. Then the wireless matrix happened and suddenly: Congratulations, you are now a matrix character! Doesn't matter that all your vehicle, mechanics, gunnery or hardware skills (which you still need for your job too) actually don't do anything in the matrix. Just broaden your horizon and get an additional set of skills...

Yes, that problem existed in 4th edition. But it was mitigated by the other big flaw of 4th edition: hacking was too easy. You didn't need many additional skills to hack, just a solid commlink with programs (cheap compared to 5th edition), and nearly no attributes at all, because everything could be handled by rolling program+skill...
It was okay for riggers, because they already had a good commlink and programs for controlling their drones anyway. And they could save points for additional software, hackings skills and more programs by lowering attributes that weren't needed that much anymore, because you now used your mental stats in VR, especially logic (the attribute already linked to all their mechanic/hardware stuff) for agility.

But it was bad for hackers (as an archetype) when every script kiddie could grab a commlink with some pirated hacking software (yes, 4th edition had rules for hacked software which degraded over time because it lacked frequent updates but was really cheap (i think to remember 10% of the regular ones)) and be a hacker. So most hacker characters were actually hacker+X, with X ranging from combat chars and riggers to even logic-based magicians...

So i totally get the changes in 5th edition, the return of specialised and expensive hacking hardware (decks), multiple skills needed to cover most matrix actions and the spread of these skills over different mental attributes. Sadly they again forgot about riggers and the problems that were already there just covered up by the lacking matrix design.

So now we got riggers, who still need physical attributes and different vehicles skills, mechanics, hardware and gunnery for their vehicle actions but mental attributes too, because now they are matrix characters. And even if they don't do anything else but controlling vehicles through the matrix they still can't avoid defense tests using logic, intuition and willpower. Oh, and of course they need matrix skills too, wireless warfare and computer at least.

But while it may be necessary to have a high wireless warfare skill to use and counter jamming and a high computer skill for spotting marks put on them/their drones via matrix perception that of course doesn't mean they are allowed to do anything else with these skills as nearly all other matrix actions require marks first (which they can't get without hacking) or are considered hacking (which they can't do without a deck).

And besides (hopefully) high mental attributes that "matrix character" has the same defense against matrix attacks as joe wageslave: rebooting if he gets lucky and spots marks in time. At least he can keep control of one single drone being hacked by jumping into it (at least for a few seconds... see point 3)

And while different later books added more software and hardware to gain access to the full range of matrix actions or defend better against getting your stuff hacked, most of these are either worded badly so you have to endure endless discussions if they are even allowed to be used by riggers (beginning with the not-so-clear corebook statement about which programs can be used (on a rrc or drone^^)) or are explicitly restricted to commlink only.

3) Jumping in...or not:
At the beginning there was this piece of cyberware called a control-rig. It basically gave the rigger his name and allowed him the unique ability to become their verhicle, to feel it and to control it intuitively and gracefully as if it was his own body. Mechanically it gave the rigger a unique vehicle control dice pool to help with every driving related test. It went downhill from there...

With the release of the wireless matrix in 4th edition, everyone using the matrix all the time and nearly anybody being able to go full VR that character-defining "being the machine" got lost. Everybody using VR could jump into a drone (or vehicle with a rigging adaption) to see how it feels to be the vehicle. And the control-rig got downgraded to a piece of cheap, low essence headware that gives a bonus when jumped in. (And it was mechanically a completely useless piece of trash for characters because jumping-in changed the mechanics for controlling vehicles from (cheap) program + skill to attribute + skill... but not your attributes, you used the matrix attributes of the vehicle. So you had to upgrade every single drone to near-milspec hardware-standards to get the same dicepools you had when just controlling it remotely.)

So when they reverted that change in 5th and the expensive high essence control-rig returned and was again required for jumping into vehicles it looked like a good day for riggers. Until you read all the other rules...

Jumped in all vehicle actions count as matrix actions, so you get a +2 hot-sim bonus. But someone using the control device matrix action to remotely control said vehicle gets the same +2 in hot-sim...
Jumping in gives you another +1 dice for all vehicle, gunnery and sersor perception tests. But then there's the codeslinger quality for +2 on a single type of matrix action...say control device for example. So it's either +1 to all tests for jumping in or +2 on all tests excluding sensor perception...
Jumping into a vehicle reduces vehicle test tresholds by the control-rigs rating. At least a real unique bonus... but -as mentioned before in this thread- tresholds are rarely high (and the one control vehicle action you need to do in combat once per turn doesn't even need a test...)

And all these tremendous advantages only come at the cost of taking physical damage (in hot-sim VR) from bio-feedback when your ride gets damaged. Which plays very well with the reduced vehicle armor and increased weapon's damage of 5th edition...

But wait... i forgot something... jumping into a vehicle makes it immune to being remote-controlled by a hacker. After my talk about lacking matrix defense this has to be a huge advantage. Until you realize it's the same edition that introduced us to data spikes and now you only have to decide between rebooting a drone that is about to get hacked or jumping into it to keep control for another 5 to 10 seconds before you get data-spiked, bricked and dumpshocked into unconsciousness (or death considering bio-feedback damage you might have taken before).


5th edition did one thing right in bringing the actual "rigger" back... and then they screwed up the rules so hard the only riggers left playing do so out of nostalgia.

PS: But to answer the first question that started this thread... my group(s) would probably answer: "tech/gear support in all situations"  :D
« Last Edit: (02:25:43/07-12-19) by RiggerBob »

Iron Serpent Prince

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« Reply #21 on: (08:04:09/07-12-19) »
I want to take a moment to post a difference of opinion to some of the other question takers.
These are not meant to challenge their perspective, simply express the difference.

Street racer has a pack of Duellist drones equipped with gecko tips.  Slap armored jackets on them and they're reasonably durable AND still dirt cheap.

You consider 4050 nuyen base, and before any add-ons such as the fore mentioned armored jacket with a 10% reduction, as dirt cheap?
The core rulebook has runs maxing out at around 36000 nuyen per run.  That is with every single bonus possible and having a 24 dice pool as the largest opposition.  I will grant you that technically the die pool bonus is open ended, so it could go higher.
That makes each Duelist about 12% of your Riggers paycheck.  Even if we go conservative to give you the benefit of the doubt, I wouldn't call 10% of a paycheck as dirt cheap.
Would you consider a Starbucks Latte dirt cheap if it cost 10% of your paycheck?

I don't think that a clear and defined role in which to shine is strictly necessary. It can be completely fine to be the supporting techguy in many fields at the same time.

Here is the thing.

Every archetype can be built as supporting.  Some need it more than others.
Making that the Riggers "only thing," is a waste.

At that point just remove them from the game.  Cut that anchor loose from the Shadowrun ship and use the freed up page count to improve the rest of  the game.

Ghost Rigger

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« Reply #22 on: (12:36:09/07-12-19) »
1) Other than weakening other roles (such as a mage), where do you think a Rigger needs improvement the most?
Bring down repair costs for one. As an archetype that relies on both karma and nuyen, I live in constant fear of drones or vehicles taking damage. Other than that, drones could be made to be a lot more sturdy.

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2) Roughly how often do you use vehicle chases? Would them being more common help or be a hassle?
Twice so far in 10 runs, and one of those times was just messing with some local gangers, not an actual part of the run. It would be nice if they could be a staple of certain run types, but I can appreciate that they're difficult if not impossible to work into every run.

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3) Where are drones strong? Where are drones weak?
Customization is pretty good. It's difficult to get armor and a large soak pool on drones, not that it's going to matter in 6e.

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4) Would you prefer a rigger focus be on vehicles or drones?
I think it should be an individual choice. Realistically, any rigger on a shadowrun team is going to have to do drones to some degree, but how much they want to go into drones versus vehicles should be up to them.

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5) Would you rather a rigger be better in meatspace or in the Matrix?
Meatspace for sure, but Electronic Warfare should still be relevant.

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6) What do you like about being a Rigger?
I have gotten some very good recon done with my Flyspy, not just because of its size but also because every drone comes with an array of sensors. I've also enjoyed using the wide variety of mods installed in my Roadmaster, from the winches to the valkyrie module to the good old ramming plate.

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7) What are the worst aspects of being a Rigger?
I've found myself with nothing to do in combat, but I think that's my fault for waiting so long to purchase a combat drone.

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8) Would you prefer drones to be cheap and disposable or expensive and durable?
Having both available would be best. Currently the fragile drones are overcosted and the expensive drones need to be tougher.

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9) Are vehicle prices appropriate for the times when the Rigger gets to show off their toys or do they cost too much vs how often they are used?
Vehicle costs are appropriate, if you run with one vehicle.

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10) FIll in the blank - Tell me what your ideal Rigger looks like, where they do for the team, and what else you'd like to see them do.
As a previous said, a mature archetype doesn't really have an ideal form. That said, the people writing the books seem to have this ridiculous idea that the average rigger is going to have several vehicles, and they should disabuse themselves of that notion. The smuggler in CRB gets a bit of a pass because one of his vehicles is a helicopter, but the street racer from RF is ludicrous. A car, a van and two different bikes? Is she treating them like drones? I have two vehicles myself, but I only picked up the janky Jackrabbit because I needed a vehicles that gangers would actually dare shoot at and chase after. I have also used it when we needed to look inconspicuous in a relatively nice neighborhood, but now that I have chameleon coating on my Roadmaster I don't need to use it for that anymore.

Speaking of archetypes, there should be a distinction made between van riggers who use Bulldogs and van riggers who use Roadmasters. One chooses to be inconspicuous while the other chooses to be suspicious but excusable in exchange for near-indestructibility.
After all you don't send an electrician to fix your leaking toilet.

A Guide to Gridguide

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« Reply #23 on: (12:44:38/07-12-19) »
Street racer has a pack of Duellist drones equipped with gecko tips.  Slap armored jackets on them and they're reasonably durable AND still dirt cheap.

You consider 4050 nuyen base, and before any add-ons such as the fore mentioned armored jacket with a 10% reduction, as dirt cheap?
The core rulebook has runs maxing out at around 36000 nuyen per run.  That is with every single bonus possible and having a 24 dice pool as the largest opposition.  I will grant you that technically the die pool bonus is open ended, so it could go higher.
That makes each Duelist about 12% of your Riggers paycheck.  Even if we go conservative to give you the benefit of the doubt, I wouldn't call 10% of a paycheck as dirt cheap.
Would you consider a Starbucks Latte dirt cheap if it cost 10% of your paycheck?


Surely you understand that when the idiom "dirt cheap", or a variant thereof, is used it's inherent exaggeration?  No, something that's "cheap as dirt" isn't literally as expensive as some mass of dirt.

No, Duellist drones are not literally as cheap as dirt. But they are significantly cheaper than say a Steel Lynx drone, which begins at 25,000 nuyen.  And it's price only goes up when you trick it out for combat, because that's what you're going to do if you're going to the bother of acquiring a Steel Lynx in the first place.  Push its Pilot and Armor ratings as far as you can, slap on some expensive weapons because let's face it, you're not going to go to all this expense just to build an Assault Rifle firing platform, and you'll easilly end up in the 50,000 to 60,000 neighborhood.  For a drone.  Yes, a 5,0000 nuyen option is in comparison so much cheaper that in an exaggeration you might say that they're closer to the cost of dirt than a tricked out combat drone.
RPG mechanics exist to give structure and consistency to the game world, true, but at the end of the day, you’re fighting dragons with algebra and random number generators.

Iron Serpent Prince

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« Reply #24 on: (16:41:09/07-12-19) »
Surely you understand that when the idiom "dirt cheap", or a variant thereof, is used it's inherent exaggeration?  No, something that's "cheap as dirt" isn't literally as expensive as some mass of dirt.

I am well aware of the idiom.

What I was referring to was how much a Duelist costs to replace since the paradigm that Wakshaani posed was cheap and disposable versus expensive and durable.

If the Duelist only costs 10% of a runs pay to replace, that isn't very cheap.  The fact that it will more likely cost 33% of the runs pay that is was lost in takes it well out of the realm of cheap*.  In your particular Duelist(s) case, it is at least more durable than most drones.  It still doesn't make it cheap.

*If we apply the real world budgeting advice of no more that 75% of your pay going to Lifestyle (rent, bills, food, etc.), then losing a single Duelist is likely cutting into food money.  "Cheap as dirt" should be used only on things that end up being 1% of the pay, as that approaches the impulse buy realm.

Stainless Steel Devil Rat

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« Reply #25 on: (16:57:30/07-12-19) »
Then we're getting hung up over the word "disposable" then, I suppose.

Even the little bug drones that cost 1000 nuyen are hardly disposable in the sense that you can afford to replace them every run.

But when it comes to comparing cheap, lightly modded drones to expensive, massively invested drones, the cheap ones are indeed comparatively disposable.  My riggers don't want to see a rotodrone or a duellist get destroyed, but if it happens it's far less of a big deal than being out a 50,000 nuyen Steel Lynx.
RPG mechanics exist to give structure and consistency to the game world, true, but at the end of the day, you’re fighting dragons with algebra and random number generators.

Wakshaani

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« Reply #26 on: (17:00:47/07-12-19) »
For the record, I'm taking notes on all this, so, by all means, keep tossing thoughts out.

Hobbes

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« Reply #27 on: (17:20:42/07-12-19) »
Your disposable recon drones should run 50 to 100 Nuyen at most.  Spirits are free and do it better in many cases. 

Combat drones should be expensive, effective, and have overflow boxes so they stop functioning, but are still repairable.  Same with Vehicles.  And even if they fill the overflow boxes some salvage value should be retained.  Combat loss is not a total loss.

Repair rules should be you need a toolkit, parts (aka Nuyen), and time.  And they should be automatic or low threshold tests.  IRL there are very few car repairs you can't do in your driveway with hand tools.  Shops should be a bonus.  Fabrication should be NPCs, but if you have one, you no longer need to buy parts.

Beta

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« Reply #28 on: (17:23:06/07-12-19) »
I make no claim that my answers would please any existing Rigger players.  This is purely what I'd like to see:

1) Other than weakening other roles (such as a mage), where do you think a Rigger needs improvement the most?
That they are dependent on fairly fixed props for most of what they do.  Props can't be brought into all situation, and the fairly inflexible nature of Rigger props means they have a high risk of not having the right tool (vehicle, drone) for the job until/unless they become so wealthy that you have to wonder why they are still running the shadows. 

2) Roughly how often do you use vehicle chases? Would them being more common help or be a hassle?
Over several years of running a one player game I've run a a few races and a couple of prolonged chases and had the occasional stunt driving or control type situation.  I try to slide something in every few adventures.  And this is without a Rigger PC.   

3) Where are drones strong? Where are drones weak?
Others have answered this is a fair bit of detail, but I'll add rigidity.  Yes you can modify them to an extent, but it tends to be time consuming and expensive.

4) Would you prefer a rigger focus be on vehicles or drones?
This is where I probably really diverge from Rigger players.  I think the role should be something more like 'mechanic' or 'McGyver' which is frequently expressed in tricked out vehicles and drones and mastery in using them.  But could equally well be expressed in quick adjustments of gear to the situation, messing with systems in target facilities, and so on.

5) Would you rather a rigger be better in meatspace or in the Matrix?
Meatspace.  It is where most of the action is.  I'd go farther and say that Riggers should be the archetype who is most at home in AR.  It is that boundary of real space and technology where they thrive.  Deckers=VR, Riggers=AR

6) What do you like about being a Rigger?
I've never played a rigger as a player.  One of the usual supporting NPC in my one player games is a rigger, and frankly I hand wave a lot of what he does because of all the issues with Riggers that others have identified.

That said, with every character type what I love is doing 'impossible' things (or at least surprising things), that is things that other PC couldn't do (probably), but most importantly that NPC didn't expect.  Like how most people are not ready for the sheer speed, toughness,  and offensive power of a street samurai, or how a well timed illusion can completely change how a run is going, or when a hacker does something simple like spoof a message that messes up the opposition.  With riggers I want to lose pursuers by morphing my car when I break line of site.  I want to penetrate their security using a pizza delivery drone.  I want to identify the weak spot in their defenses and whip up a drone modification to do just the right thing at the right place at the right time to exploit that.


7) What are the worst aspects of being a Rigger?
First of all, to me the mechanical build of the Rigger just goes about it the wrong way.  It was like it was decided that the defining feature of a Rigger should be their control implant, so it was made costly enough to avoid dabblers, then bonuses were piled on to it to justify the cost, and then things were built out from there.

To me Riggers should be closer to Street Samurai where lots of people may dabble (drive and use drones on the one hand, fight and reflexes in the other), but it is the culmination of various qualities and ware and gear that really makes the role. 

On top of that they are so tied into expensive and inflexible gear (vehicles and drones) that it doesn't give them a lot of slack for creative builds.


8) Would you prefer drones to be cheap and disposable or expensive and durable?
As others have said: both!  A 300nY basic quad copter on station waiting to see if the mark returns to the motel.  A Steel Lynx that is designed to take punishment and to be easily and quickly repaired.

9) Are vehicle prices appropriate for the times when the Rigger gets to show off their toys or do they cost too much vs how often they are used?
As I said before, I'd make vehicles less central to the role, and then this becomes a more niche question.  All of that said, the cost of higher performance vehicles is possibly realistic, but it takes them out of reach for too long.  It will be the rare rigger PC who actually gets to play with the fun toys regularly. 

10) FIll in the blank - Tell me what your ideal Rigger looks like, where they do for the team, and what else you'd like to see them do.

I don't have this very well thought out, so this is sort of from the seat of my pants:
-Upon finding out that the mark doesn't know which storage tank has the new FAB slurry, the hacks up fly-spy with ultrasound to determine the density of the tank contents. 
-Motorizes an armored briefcase and adds pop-out wheels as a McGuffin delivery device
-When they get close to the processing area they realize that there is a guard they didn't know about, rigger attaches a jammer to a skimmer and gives it a route to sneak up towards that guard, so that neither guard nor biomonitor can call for help instantly, giving the team time to take him out and hack his biomonitor. 
-Figures out the production line and how to re-program it to build faulty products
-Gets hired as a fork-lift operator as part of the infiltration plan
-Of course the gate has been shut, but that was expected so for this mission he's equipped the van with a ram plate in order to bash through it safely enough. 
-Sends the marks car to a black-market wrecker which can quickly fry all the tracking and then break it down for parts, so that nobody will ever know where it went.
-When the team breaks out of the fire exit their path is clear, because the rigger had sent his steel lynx back there to clear out the guards.  It rolls along as their escort until they reach the van.
-Teaches his 'mechanics third hand' drone how to shoot a pistol
 
Jawsey  --
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Stainless Steel Devil Rat

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« Reply #29 on: (17:26:44/07-12-19) »
+1 @ Hobbes.

Like it or not, spirits are the standard by which drones are measured. Be it recon, combat, or utility.  And drones come up short in economy, survivability, AND effectiveness.
RPG mechanics exist to give structure and consistency to the game world, true, but at the end of the day, you’re fighting dragons with algebra and random number generators.