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6e Play/Stress Test

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Finstersang

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« Reply #30 on: (03:02:01/08-30-19) »
Regarding Impaired Attribute: What about removing the multiple Ranks and just cutting the corresponding Attribute Maximum in half for 8 Karma? Another (or complementary) idea would be forbidding the use of Attribute Points to raise the Impaired Attribute at chargen while also increasing the Cost of raising the Attribute with Karma.

Restricting Edge Gains and Spends would be a fitting idea if it weren‘t for already existing Qualities like Uncouth or Uneducated. I would not restrict players from taking these as well, as they can also add nuance to the degree of incompetence:

  • Impaired Charisma, but without Uncouth: You‘re not good with people, but you try your best.
  • Uncouth, but without Impaired Charisma (and a sizeable amount of it): You‘re not without appeal, you just really don‘t care about other people
  • Impaired Charisma and Uncouth: You are bad with people and you don‘t care that you are.
« Last Edit: (08:33:47/08-30-19) by Finstersang »

Shinobi Killfist

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« Reply #31 on: (15:41:52/08-30-19) »
I was playing might and magic 7 and for races they had a good and bad stat mechanic. Relevant to impaired attribute it cost 2 points to increase a bad attribute by 1. Something like that might work. It costs 2 points for 1 at char gen and 50% more karma to increase after char gen. If you are truly dumping it, it has limited effect but even getting it to 2 is a bit more costly.

Tecumseh

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« Reply #32 on: (02:15:58/08-31-19) »
For me, the issue isn't the effect of the quality but the scale of it.

If we take the builds from Lormyr's group, all five (admittedly extreme) PCs take Impaired Attributed twice, for a total of 7 to 10 ranks (56 to 80 karma). Revenant, a troll, has Impaired Strength 7, which essentially farms the metatype's maximum Attribute for 56 extra karma. This appears to be kosher, by the rules as written.

Increasing the impact of the quality (so that it halves the maximum Attribute) or adding extra effects (like increasing advancement costs) are fine, but what I really want to nix is taking the quality multiple times. For me, shutting off the chargen karma spigot is more important than post-chargen effects. Given any number of near-suicidal negative qualities that range from 8 bonus karma (Combat Paralysis) to 20 karma (Allergy, Common Extreme), I don't want to let Impaired Attribute slide by with 24, 32, or 56 bonus karma.

Xenon

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« Reply #33 on: (06:01:03/08-31-19) »
I suspect the 2 impaired attribute thing will become the gold standard for min maxing qualities. Virtually any character can find 2 stats to dump. And 64+ karma is 64+ karma. And a lot of 1 strength trolls to get the most out of that.
You are still limited to a net bonus of 20 karma gain from your selection of positive and negative qualities and you are also limited to a total number of only 6 positive and negative qualities.

A lower max in a stat I wasn't going to max anyways has 0 story benefits and has no interesting oops moments for your character and doesn't really impair them.
...but in that case it would also not award you with any bonus karma.

If we are now allowed to get bonus karma from negative qualities that have no impact then you should probably take qualities such as Astral Beacon and multiple applications of both Spirit Bane and Sprite Bane.
« Last Edit: (06:19:49/08-31-19) by Xenon »

Michael Chandra

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« Reply #34 on: (06:37:03/08-31-19) »
GM Fiat is a forbidden phrase apparently.
How am I not part of the forum?? O_O I am both active and angry!

penllawen

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« Reply #35 on: (12:29:08/08-31-19) »
I'm surprise that no-one in your group choose to go "Anticipation of Doom" build.
When I read that option, I convince myself that this is THE option for non-mage combat build.
You inspired me, so I took a pass at it:
https://forums.shadowruntabletop.com/index.php?topic=30005.msg524266#msg524266

Shinobi Killfist

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« Reply #36 on: (13:42:41/08-31-19) »
I suspect the 2 impaired attribute thing will become the gold standard for min maxing qualities. Virtually any character can find 2 stats to dump. And 64+ karma is 64+ karma. And a lot of 1 strength trolls to get the most out of that.
You are still limited to a net bonus of 20 karma gain from your selection of positive and negative qualities and you are also limited to a total number of only 6 positive and negative qualities.

A lower max in a stat I wasn't going to max anyways has 0 story benefits and has no interesting oops moments for your character and doesn't really impair them.
...but in that case it would also not award you with any bonus karma.

If we are now allowed to get bonus karma from negative qualities that have no impact then you should probably take qualities such as Astral Beacon and multiple applications of both Spirit Bane and Sprite Bane.

It’s not that hard to get a crap ton of positive qualities with the 4 you have left after milking impaired attribute twice so you only net 20. And yeah GMs can house rule things. But having the rules work from the get go is easier on both the players and GM.

Lormyr

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« Reply #37 on: (10:15:02/09-01-19) »
Our session yesterday ran for about 9 hours, so I have a lot to write. Going to try to have it out by tomorrow evening.

penllawen

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« Reply #38 on: (10:31:07/09-01-19) »
Looking forward to it!

(Consider this encouragement if it starts getting tedious ;) )

Tecumseh

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« Reply #39 on: (20:43:54/09-02-19) »
9 hours! Those were the days.

I'll be interested in a debrief as well.

Lormyr

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« Reply #40 on: (11:37:31/09-03-19) »
Half way through! I can give you guys what I have now if you want, or you can wait another day or 2 for the rest. As it is massive, I am trying to keep the rp portions as brief and matter of fact as possible to focus on the mechanics stuff, with some final thoughts at the end.

penllawen

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« Reply #41 on: (11:45:15/09-03-19) »
I wouldn’t mind reading it in two parts, it might even help if it’s as long as you say!

Lormyr

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« Reply #42 on: (12:06:54/09-03-19) »
Sure! Part 1 then:

Our session ran about 9 hours long. I will be keeping the RP elements as brief as possible, focusing on game mechanics, because this recap will be extremely long. As a general note, in our group, there are no "hidden" rolls - everyone rolls everything out right in the middle of the table, GM included.

Scene 1: The Job

The team is hired by a human named Jonathan Trost to investigate the death of his wife, Nora Trost, in her workplace at Columbus Springs East Psychiatric Ward in Columbus Ohio. According to the director of the ward, Dr. Lorenzo Ruiz, she was bludgeoned to death in a terrible accident when a patient experiencing a violent episode escaped his restraints and assaulted her. Dr. Ruiz's story was supported by Nora's death certificate from a coroner by the name of Martin Teller.

Jonathan is suspicious of the situation due to the following information his wife shared with him about strange things happening at work over the last 3 months:

- Patients becoming increasingly disturbed and difficult to calm at the ward.
- Patients disappearing over night with records of release appearing in their files.
- Dr. Ruiz and his medical staff becoming increasingly secretive and irritable.
- Dr. Ruiz receiving multiple visits from a wealthy hispanic executive accompanied by armed guard.
- Military grade vehicles being parked in the lot over night and gone in the morning.
- Orderly's presence augmented by the addition of armed security personnel.
- A strange feeling of dread or despair she couldn't quite put her finger on or explain.

Scene 2: Gathering Intel

The team spends the next two days doing legwork to learn everything they can about what they are getting into.

Sovereign and Collateral decide to hit the barrens around the Ward together to see what word on the street is about the place. Sovereign uses the Con skill to disguise himself as a poor barrens human [6 hits on his 18 dice]. Collateral likewise uses his Stealth skill to do the same [6 hits on his 16 dice pool]. They turn to the remainder of the team for an appraisal of their work, and with only Revenant pointing out flaws in their efforts [6 hits on 16 dice], they determine they are good. The pair haggles 200Y worth of food from Cage, much to his chagrin, and heads out.

Sovereign doing the majority of the talking, the pair adopts the story that their brother was taken into the ward a little over a week ago and that they haven't heard from him or been allowed to see him since, and they are just looking to see if anyone can shed some light what's been going on there. Sovereign makes a total of four Negotiation tests with informed dispossessed in the barrens. Each of his social tests receives 2 Edge: 1 for sharing his food with the hungry denizens of the barrens, and 1 for "Talker's appearance perfectly suited to their role" from their disguise. He aced all four of his tests [7, 4, 5, and 8 hits respectively on 20 dice vs. 2, 1, 2, and 3 hits respectively on 6 dice (3 WIL + 3 INT)]. They learn the following rumors:

- Less than three weeks ago a military truck of some kind brought in roughly a dozen heavily armed soldiers. They were all wearing what appeared to be the spotted pelt of some kind of animal.

- A few nights after this, the entire place went crazy. Electricity became unstable, lights flickered on and off, and howling from the patients and gunfire could be heard from the streets. Some hours later the animal pelted military personnel were witnessed driving away in vehicles that belonged to civilians who work at the ward but never came back out.

- As far as the locals are aware the authorities were never contacted, and no law enforcement ever showed up following that night.

- Less than a week ago a hispanic executive in a very expensive suit arrived in mitsubishi nightsky, exited with a 6 man entourage, and was in the ward for over an hour before leaving.

Meanwhile, Lockdown uses the Matrix Search extended action to do legwork on the following topics: Dr. Ruiz, the coroner Martin Teller, the ward itself, the death that occurred there, and military units that wear animal pelts. He performs the extended test on each until he gains a minimum of 8 hits, and spends a total of 110 minutes to learn the following:

- Lorenzo Ruiz is both a licensed medical doctor and mental health practitioner, having graduated from a prestigious Aztlan university. He has been working in the UCAS for the last 8 years, and has been the lead of Columbus Springs East for 4 of those years.

- The floor plans for the ward itself. The fact that the facility was purchased by a subsidiary company of Aztechnology 4 years ago.

- The fact that the incident of elecricity outage and gunfire the locals spoke of was never reported to authorities or made the news.

- Though there are a few military organizations that wear animal pelts, given the other links to Aztechnology, the Leopard Guard is the most likely answer to whom the military units are.

- The name of the office where Teller works, his education credentials, and his home address.

Scene 3: Answers from the coroner, Martin Teller

The team decides they want to start with the coroner, Martin Teller, at the Franklin County Coroner's Office. Scheduling an appointment isn't hard. They approach their questions openly but cautiously, and some successful judge intentions alerts the team Teller is nervous. The situation comes to an impasse when the team cannot provide a warrant or other legal requirement for him to answer their questions, and Sovereign tries to Negotiate his assistance, but miraculously fails [only 2 hits on 20 dice vs. Teller's 4 on 8 dice (4 WIL + 4 INT)].

So as to not make a scene the team departs peacefully, and waits for Teller to leave that evening. Revenant sends one of his spirits to trail Teller home, which turns out to be a decent security level C neighborhood. The team waits until midnight and makes a house call.

Walking in on foot, but leaving all of their difficult to conceal weapons in the van, they run into a pair of beat cops (I used the Lonestar Patrolman template, pg. 206). The officers ask them what they doing out so late. Sovereign attempts to Con them that he and his friends are celebrating his new promotion at work with dinner, and decided to head back to his place for a few drinks before calling it quits for the night. I award the beat cops 1 Edge for "Talker does not look like their claimed role at all", but Sovereign is still successful [7 hits on 20 dice vs. 2 and 3 hits on 6 dice]. Convinced they aren't up to no good, the cop does a quick check to see that they are all broadcasting SINS (they are), but doesn't bother to verify any of them before waving them on.

At Teller's home, Lockdown does a quick Matrix Perception for active icons or security inside the home, and finds none (because there isn't any). Noting the door is secured with a transponder-embedded lock, Collateral attempts to use his Engineering skill to open the lock quietly, and succeeds [5 hits on 15 dice vs. threshold 4 for the locks rating].

Martin Teller is awoken in his unmentionables, in his bed, in his home, to the cupped hand of Sovereign over his mouth with a finger to his lips. Sovereign calmly explains that they don't want to hurt the guy, but they need to try their conversation again, this time with answers, because his very large, very angry troll friend doesn't like it when skinny humans refuse to cooperate with his paycheck. I give Sovereign 2 Edge for his Influence check, 1 for "Talker being clearly more physically powerful (Cage)", and "Listener has no easy ways to leave". Sovereign succeeds [7 hits on 20 dice after turning a 4 into a 5 with Edge vs. 3 hits on 8 dice [4 WIL + 4 INT)].

Teller spills his guts. Nora's actual cause of death was exsanguination, the blunt trauma delivered to her head only after she was already dead. Teller's been on the ward's payroll for nearly 3 years, and he writes the certificates the way Dr. Ruiz instructs him. They are always careful to make sure that the falsified causes of death are practical, and he's written at least 18 such certificates for him.

The team thanks Teller for reconsidering conversing with them, and get his assurance he isn't going to do anything foolish that will make them consider him an enemy and have to come back. Teller readily agrees. Just in case, the team uses a service from one of Revenant's water spirits to conceal them on the way out.

Scene 4: Assessing what we know

At this point it is clear to the team that there is definitely something to Jonathan's intuition about his wife. They take some time to discuss what they know, speculate some logical extensions to that knowledge, and make a plan. It looks like this:

They know: The ward is owned by Aztechnology. Elite Aztechnology coporate security is or at least was on site. There was definitely a disturbance on site that was loud enough to alert the barren's denizens around the building that a full-fledged gunfire fight took place inside the facility. That disturbance was never reported to authorities or made the news. Nora was not killed by a patient, died in a very unusual and precise manner, and is only one of more than a dozen deaths or disappearances.

From that knowledge, they think: Something important to the company, and unethical, is taking place. Even if a large scale fight takes place inside the team's presence is unlikely to draw attention from the authorities because the company is clearly trying to keep things quiet. The security measures inside are likely top of the line.

They then debate about the pros and cons of going in naturally vs. trying to get some inside info from spirits and Lockdown playing in the ward's host, but one or both failing and alerting security. Ultimately, they decide to just do both: attempt the inside info, but be ready to move the instant it fails so they don't have a lot of time to prepare.

Scene 5: Preparation

The team begins their preparation at 9pm that night.

Revenant games the system like a boss. He casts Increase Attribute: Logic [4 hits on 14 dice for spellcasting, 5 hits on 15 dice for drain vs. 6 drain], taking 1 stun damage and sustaining with focused concentration. He casts Increase Attribute: Willpower [5 hits on 14 dice for spellcasting, 7 hits on 19 dice for drain vs. 6 drain], taking no damage and sustaining with focused concentration. He casts Increase Attribute: Body [4 hits on 14 dice for spellcasting, 6 hits on 19 dice for drain vs. 6 drain], taking no damage and sustaining with focused concentration.

He then summons 3 Force 6 water spirits. The first attempt is a terrible roll, failing but suffering no damage [2 hits on 13 dice vs. 4 hits on 12 dice, buying the 4 drain]. Trying again, the second is successful with 3 services and no damage taken [6 hits on 13 dice vs. 3 hits on 12 dice, buying the 3 drain]. The third attempt is another failure with 1 stun damage taken [1 hit on 13 dice vs. 7 hits on 12 dice for summoning, 6 hits on 19 dice for drain vs. 7 drain]. The fourth attempt is successful with 3 services and no damage taken [5 hits on 13 dice vs. 2 hits on 12 dice, buying the 2 drain]. The fifth attempt is successful with 2 services and no damage taken [4 hits on 13 dice vs. 2 hits on 12 dice, buying the 2 drain]. His final tally is 3 Force 6 water spirits with 3, 3, and 2 services, and 1 stun damage taken.

Finally, he casts Increase Attribute: Reaction [4 hits on 14 dice for spellcasting, 6 hits on 19 dice for drain vs. 6 drain], taking no damage, dropping the sustained Increase Logic, and sustaining Increase Reaction with focused concentration. He then casts Increase Attribute: Intuition [11 hits on 14 dice lol for spellcasting, 4 hits on 15 dice for drain vs. 6 drain], taking 2 stun damage and dropping the sustained Increase Willpower, and sustaining Increase Intuition with focused concentration. He then takes it easy until they begin their mission at midnight, easily buying off the 4 stun damage with one recovery test.

Sovereign casts Increase Attribute: Charisma [4 hits on 14 dice for spellcasting, 6 hits on 18 dice for drain vs. 6 drain], taking no damage and sustaining with focused concentration. He follows up with Increase Attribute: Willpower [5 hits on 14 dice for spellcasting, 8 hits on 22 dice for drain vs. 6 drain], taking no damage and sustaining with focused concentration. He finishes with Increase Reflexes [buys 2 hits, 7 hits on 22 dice for drain vs. 6 drain], taking no damage and sustaining with focused concentration.

He then summons 3 Force 6 air spirits, spending 6 reagents on each for 1 Edge per summoning. The first is successful with 4 services and no damage taken [6 hits on 13 dice w/+1 to single die roll Edge boost vs. 2 hits on 12 dice, buying the 2 drain]. The second is successful with 2 services and no damage taken [6 hits on 13 dice w/+1 to single die roll Edge boost vs. 4 hits on 12 dice, buying the 4 drain]. The third is successful with 3 services and no damage taken [8 hits on 13 dice w/+1 to single die roll Edge boost vs. 5 hits on 12 dice, buying the 5 drain]. His final tally is 3 Force 6 air spirits with 4, 3, and 2 services, and no damage taken.

Scene 6: Midnight - Go time

Sovereign sends in his 2 service spirit, saying "Being as subtle as you can, scout out this building and report back to me how many floors it has, anything magically active you see or encounter, and the number of armed metahumans you see.". The spirit departs to do this.

Lockdown takes a shot of jazz and gets to work on the host. Though he is unaware of this of course, for your knowledge the Host is rating 7 (A 7/S 8/D 9/F 10) and monitored by a Professional Rating 6 security spider (I used the DocWagon HTR Support Engineer template, pg. 208).

Lockdown is in hot sim VR and running silent, and has 1 point of noise to contend with from his 1,000 meter distance from the target, which is negated by his signal scrub program. He also has no need to worry about spotting the host's icon, as it is not hiding, so he sets to work.

He starts with the Probe action, succeeding with 2 net hits and OS rising to 7 [7 hits on 20 dice vs. 5 hits on 15 dice]. He then uses Backdoor Entry, succeeding once again and OS rising to 14 [8 hits on 22 dice vs. 5 hits on 15 dice]. He then enters the host.

As part of the security spider's vigilance, he takes the Matrix Perception action, failing to detect Lockdown running silent [4 hits on 11 dice vs. 5 hits on 14 dice]. The active patrol IC, however, detects Lockdown's presence in the host immediately [11 hits! on 14 dice vs. 3 hits on 14 dice]. The patrol IC alerts the security spider, and the host launches Blaster IC, which is Lockdown's cue that his presence has been found out.

We roll Initiative and land on the following order: Lockdown (31 on 5d6+16), Blaster IC (30 on 3d6+16), Security Spider (22 on 3d6+16). Knowing what's coming now that he's been caught in a Big 10 host, Lockdown uses a minor action to exit the host, a second minor action to switch from hot sim VR to AR, and a major action to jack out of the matrix.

Turning to the team he tells them he's busted. They head in.

Scene 7: Little pig, little pig, let me in!

The team slaves all of their necessary wireless connections through Lockdown, who continues to run silent. Collateral takes a dose of psyche. Revenant takes a dose of jazz. Revenant and Sovereign instruct their highest service spirits (4 and 3, respectively) to assist them in their upcoming combats until expended, and both manifest in preparation for their service.

Collateral takes to the shadows using Stealth [6 hits on 18 dice], and skulks up to the front door. All of the two security guards (Lone Star SWAT Officer template minus the bonus lieutenant CM, pg. 207) at the front door [3 and 2 hits on 8 dice] and the security spider monitoring the cameras [4 hits on 10 dice] fail to notice Collateral tampering with the door from the shadows. The door is protected with a rating 5 Maglock, and Collateral uses Engineering to the remove the case, taking 3 combat rounds to do so [5 hits, 2 hits, and 3 hits on 16/15/14 dice]. He then begins to rewire the circuits with Engineering, taking 2 combat rounds to succeed [6 hits and 4 hits on 16/15 dice]. The red light of the keycard Maglock flashes green with an audible beep as the heavy glass slides open automatically, and Collateral springs into action on the two guards by the door.

Rolling Initiative, we have the following order: Collateral (32 on 5d6+14) and the two guards (15 on 2d6+9). Failing to perceive Collateral while he was sneaking, both guards make a surprise test, and both fail [2 hits and no hits!? on 9 dice]. Being there is no longer an Edge option that explicitly allows you to avoid surprise, and there is no other option for avoiding it past your REA+INT test I am aware of, the guards are about to have a very bad day. Collateral uses a minor action to move back 10 meters, a major action to ready a frag grenade, and a second major action to attack with it. Neither guard can take actions due to being surprised, and as a result Collateral scores a direct hit [7 hits on 20 dice for throwing, rolling a 6 on his 2d6 scatter minus 9 for his net hits and near range]. The guard suffering the direct hit pre-edges his soak roll with the team's edge but to no avail, taking 11P [5 hits on 9 dice for soak vs. 16P], and his colleague 2.5 meters away takes 10P [2 hits on 4 dice for soak vs. 12P], resulting in both dying in a storm of shrapnel.

Yelling wildly, Collateral holds his arms up in a V as the rest of the team except Cage (who gave a thumbs up) scolds him for feeling the need to open the night with an explosion. Now the entire building is aware it is under attack. Awesome, Collateral. Thanks for that. He pulls out two more grenades, sticking his thumbs through the pins [taking the ready weapon action for both], and looks forward to make things even louder.

penllawen

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« Reply #43 on: (12:16:14/09-03-19) »
...a prestigious Aztlan university...
The exact moment where I went "uh oh."

penllawen

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« Reply #44 on: (12:44:55/09-03-19) »

Revenant games the system like a boss. ...

So to summarise across the mage's pre-run prep, we have (across two characters):
  • Revenant: 5x buff spells, all resulting in +4 to the stat, total of 3 boxes of Stun, no sustain penalties
  • Revenant: 4x spirit summon attempts (all Force 6), 1 box of Stun damage in total
  • Sovereign: 3x buff spells, all resulting in +4 to the stat, no Stun damage
  • Sovereign: 3x spirit summons (all Force 6), no Stun damage

...and Revenant heals all his Stun damage easily before the actual run starts.

I know these are well optimised characters. But does this seem to anyone else like an awful lot of power being channelled around for very little cost?

The PCs didn't particularly roll hot, either. Most of those rolls are around the 33% statistical average, so it wasn't merely good luck. They burned some reagents to get there, but they don't cost much.

Quote
Yelling wildly, Collateral holds his arms up in a V as the rest of the team except Cage (who gave a thumbs up) scolds him for feeling the need to open the night with an explosion. Now the entire building is aware it is under attack. Awesome, Collateral. Thanks for that. He pulls out two more grenades, sticking his thumbs through the pins [taking the ready weapon action for both], and looks forward to make things even louder.
Collateral is extremely awesome/unprofessional (delete as appropriate for the pink mohawkness of your table.) I can neither confirm nor deny his possible appearance as a future NPC in my campaign.