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SR6e's caseless/cased ammo & RFID tracking thing

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penllawen

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« on: (08:23:35/08-05-19) »
(Cribbed from Reddit and a friend, I don't have the book.)

In SR6e, it seems that:

  • Caseless ammo is now "rare" (it sells for double cost, not sure about if it changes availability too)
  • Most of the world has somehow gone back to cased ammo overnight, it seems?
  • The casing of cased ammo now contains RFID tags that activate on firing and broadcast your location and an alert (not sure who to -- police? Nearby corp forces? Only the corp that made the ammo?
  • These tags can be erased with a tag eraser and an Electronics+Logic(2, 1 minute) test per ten rounds
  • There is no change to magazine ammo capacity from cased/caseless guns (isn't smaller rounds the entire point of caseless ammo? I'm only an RPG gun nerd.)

I'm trying not to knee-jerk here but I can't understand this at all from either a game mechanics standpoint nor a world building one. How can the majority of the world's guns-and-ammo manufacturing change so quickly? Wouldn't the tags make ammo significantly more expensive? Won't PCs just wipe all their tags anyway, making this a no-op change? Why are we making PCs spend time rolling dice to sanitise their ammo? Or why wouldn't every backroom arms dealer in the world have a few 10-nuyen-per-day squatters just zapping ammo with tag erasers?

Can anyone explain this to me?
« Last Edit: (08:59:05/08-05-19) by penllawen »

Michael Chandra

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« Reply #1 on: (08:41:17/08-05-19) »
The book describes the corps want cased ammo because they want to know who's firing at them. So they do actually cover why and how from Ingame perspective. As a result of the crackdown, caseless ammo is harder to get, while half the cased ammo has tags in it. Guns are either cased or caseless, not both.

As for tags: I think they were 10 for a nuyen in SR5 and that is for players. For corps they're far cheaper.
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Stainless Steel Devil Rat

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« Reply #2 on: (08:53:54/08-05-19) »
As for the logistics of switching between caseless and cased ammo... I view it as a minor retcon as of the new edition rather than suddenly arms manufacturers are all of the sudden only building guns that only fire cased ammo.

Guns just NEVER had a caseless "phase", just like aspected mages didn't suddenly gain the ability to project... as of 6we they "always have been able to". So as of 6we, caseless ammo has always been the rare exception.
« Last Edit: (08:58:12/08-05-19) by Stainless Steel Devil Rat »
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penllawen

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« Reply #3 on: (09:25:00/08-05-19) »
As for tags: I think they were 10 for a nuyen in SR5 and that is for players. For corps they're far cheaper.
In SR5: standard tags are 10 for a nuyen, but stealth tags are 1 nuyen each. Wouldn't these ammo tracker tags have to be stealthed? Otherwise they're trivial to spot via a Matrix glance. Meanwhile, still in SR5, base ammo is 20 nuyen for 10 rounds. So even basic tags represent a 5% rise in cost to make the ammo, and a stealth tag is +50%. That's quite a lot to handwave away, surely?

But the fluff I could deal with, if I understood why this was a good thing for the game mechanics. It seems to me to do nothing but add busywork for PCs to do every time they go shopping.

The only way I can see to use this for anything is to invoke GM fiat and say "aha, turns out your tag erased missed one, so now that casing you left behind is being tracked to you!" which feels like a violation of player agency.

KatoHearts

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« Reply #4 on: (09:54:55/08-05-19) »
It's idiotic busy work, ignore it. It's not like you'll be buying ammo from legitimate retailers. Instead you'll be buying from criminals and smugglers who have a vested interest in killing tags that report directly to law enforcement.

Michael Chandra

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« Reply #5 on: (10:00:32/08-05-19) »
Your runners will just use caseless normally anyway. If you're worried about a gm pulling that move the system isn't your problem. The gm is.
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KatoHearts

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« Reply #6 on: (10:25:37/08-05-19) »
Further, it's not clear if Caseless is a type or a modifier. Specifically, It's not clear if you can have caseless apds or caseless sns rounds.

dezmont

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« Reply #7 on: (10:29:41/08-05-19) »
Your runners will just use caseless normally anyway. If you're worried about a gm pulling that move the system isn't your problem. The gm is.

This is a pretty clear example the Oberoni Fallacy, or at least a variant of it I can't remember the name of. From what I hear the actual rules for RFID ammo are so vague and weird that it pretty clearly is the system failing and forcing the GM to intervene to fix it, which is a clear indication of bad design.

I don't even mind the implication that RFID ammo is now the norm among normal people, even though the idea of corps forcing that through between editions is literally bonkers, because edition changes are a good place to just change the lore and mechanics backing the lore without justification, it kinda is the point after all that it is a good spot to change how things work. But from what I have heard it definitely doesn't read like 'runners don't need to bother with this' so if its intended that runners can just get caseless ammo whenever they want that probably should be errata'd in, because it seems like the implication is that you can't easily get caseless and there is no information on how you go about it, and that isn't a remotely insignificant detail.

Like... the ability of gun using PCs to realistically participate in anonymous violent crime, AKA shadowruns, without having to pass tests to tag erase bullets is kinda a big deal... Like maybe this is people getting up in arms over nothing but it sounds like there is a serious conveyance issue combined with an attempt to ICly justify a change that probably should have just been a retacon.

That said, the idea is cool. It sorta adds to the 'superpower' of being SINless, the concept that the cops are dependent on bullets telling them who shot them and helps cement the idea that runners using black market high end gear are crazy hard to trace. Reminds me of how much Android Netrunner helped build the lore just by putting "Unregistered" in front of the only firearm card in the game to impress upon you that the power of that card didn't come from the fact it was a (rather weak) pistol but from the fact it absolutely couldn't be traced to you so you could kill sys-ops and execs with it after finding their adress from corp HQ with literally no heat on yourself. It kinda pushes the idea that SINlessness and being outside the system is kinda a mystical protection runners have in a sense.
« Last Edit: (10:38:58/08-05-19) by dezmont »

KatoHearts

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« Reply #8 on: (10:33:21/08-05-19) »
Specifically half of all cased ammo has the tags in. Honestly it makes less sense that way.

dezmont

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« Reply #9 on: (10:42:29/08-05-19) »
Specifically half of all cased ammo has the tags in. Honestly it makes less sense that way.

That doesn't make sense. Also doesn't make sense the fine folks at Crime Mall, the thing that 100% canonically exists to showcase how vast and powerful the black market is in setting to the point it has the economies of scale to directly compete on price and convenience with the regular market, would sell ammo made in illegal barrens factory complexes off of corporate blueprints they stole with legit tracking RFIDs or wouldn't clean ammo they stole or that was pushed to the black market through official corporate channels.

This feels like it shouldn't have been presented as a mechanic at all, because runners by all rights should never actually need to care. It feels more like having a legally licensed gun in 5e where there are no rules for worrying about that because you never would need to do that unless you actively sought it out. It would probably have been better just to say "most ammo is tracked, but runner ammo isn't, which makes runners extra spoopy and mysterious' rather than presenting some weird test to clean 50% of your ammo.

Its neat LORE, again ignoring the fact that any attempt to make cased ammo standard would fail just as hard as any attempt by corps to force people back to using cap and ball ammo due to the fact that caseless ammo has so many technical and logistical advantages over cased ammo outside of tractability that you would pretty much fail to actually get anyone to comply, ignoring the timescales and the fact that firearms tend to be supported for decades and decades after the are no longer made. I super like the idea that most chumps are using dumb tracable ammo cuz they are chumps and my elite criminal totally outside THE SYSTEM and invisible to THE MAN has this neat edge that probably would make two hardboiled detectives examining the crimescene I left banter about how I was a freakin ghost and even my bullets didn't have ID markers on them. It just seems to have been implemented really poorly as a pseudo-mechanic that only added more admin to an edition nominally about removing it.
« Last Edit: (10:46:06/08-05-19) by dezmont »

KatoHearts

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« Reply #10 on: (10:46:00/08-05-19) »
On the other hand I suppose it doesn't matter what you do if the opfor is using tagged ammo.

dezmont

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« Reply #11 on: (10:47:10/08-05-19) »
On the other hand I suppose it doesn't matter what you do if the opfor is using tagged ammo.

Wait, are all bullets tracer rounds now? RFID tags don't generally work that way, you can't trade an RFID you don't own and if you owned the tags on your ammo you could just turn em off and wipe them.

KatoHearts

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« Reply #12 on: (10:55:43/08-05-19) »
Wait, are all bullets tracer rounds now? RFID tags don't generally work that way, you can't trade an RFID you don't own and if you owned the tags on your ammo you could just turn em off and wipe them.

Pretty clear these bullets are playing by their own rules, but I'd laugh if you could just turn them off.

duckman

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« Reply #13 on: (11:24:47/08-05-19) »
Pretty clear these bullets are playing by their own rules, but I'd laugh if you could just turn them off.
By the first rule (i.e. that Shadowrunners exist) you can throw this rule out.  There is no mechanic where RFID tags exist and work where they don't end the existence of Runners.  Just as a hint from 60 seconds thinking about it... RFID tags have been used in shoplifting prevention, all it takes is a sensor on the door that reads ammo coming into a building or area followed by armed response and Runners no longer exist.  By logical extension, that means that anyone who manufactures ammo must also share the RFID tag so that the other guys can look up the tag and track it but since runners take inter-corp jobs all the time that means that corps have a vested interest in not sharing RFIDs with their targets.  There is no world in which RFID works and runners exist.

Marcus

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« Reply #14 on: (11:59:23/08-05-19) »
This is just dumb. So now characters have to cook all ammo ahead of time. This is just the sort typical bad for player nonsense I have come to expect from 6e. Apparently they don't want you using ammo you take from Oppfor? Other then this just being another silly gotcha ya mechanic this is a waste of the space it took to print this text to the CRB. If 6e is about simplification this is yet another step in the wrong direction.

 
« Last Edit: (12:01:54/08-05-19) by Marcus »
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