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Vampire PCs

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monkeyfeet228

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« on: <03-15-11/1910:01> »
To the GMs out there: do you think a vampire PC is too overpowered to be allowed? And if you were trying to accommodate for someone playing a vampire how would you reign them in? The book itself even mentions the potential danger in having a vampire player so for a new GM, is this a bad idea? The quality that describes them is on 81RC and their base attributes are on 79RC

Charybdis

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« Reply #1 on: <03-15-11/2252:25> »
I have a Nosferatu Gun-fu phys-ad, and it's not hard to reign in the balance for a HMVV PC..

Important points for a harmonious gaming group include:
-Ensure they have the 'Infertile Infected' negative quality, or else you'll have them infecting HMVV all over the place (even accidentally)
- Ensure they have a street doc contact handy with a steady supply of metahuman blood. Don't let the PC try to hide behind any 'I have to drink from every guard to survive' crap. This is Shadowrun, not Bram Stoker... and messy things like that will make the entire group hunted by association
- You need to find some reason why the PC fits into the group, WITHOUT being turned in to the local authorities for a 75k Vampire bounty at the first opportunity
- Make sure you enforce the requirement for Delta-grade Bio/Cyberware. This in itself really limits the augmentation options for a Vampire PC
- When using Mist Form, the PC changes, but their carried/worn equipment DOES NOT. So, if they want to sneak naked into a facility, all well and good. But their guns and armour (and clothes!) are on the outside...
- Regeneration is useless against Magical attacks (Spells, Killing Hands, Weapon Foci) and anything the PC is allergic to (Sun, Wood).
- Allergy Wood (Severe) is more of an issue than people think. While 99% of the word is now concrete and plastic, off things that get handled regularly are made of wood. Door handles, gun hilts etc etc. That's a box of damage per touch, unresisted, and can't be regenerated....
- Allergy Sun (moderate) is not something that can be averted with Sunscreen :P They need a full head-to-toe lightproof suit (or Security armour), neither of which are subtle enough to walk around day-to-day.
- The expensive BP cost of a Vampire (100) means a lot less spent on Attributes, skills and Cash resources. Combined with the Delta-ware bio/cyber requirement, this means that you can't sneak any big attribute/skill augmentations in either so the PC is going to be very much underpowered in terms of Dice pools compared to less expensive races... (I had some difficulty getting multiple attributes above 7, while the Ork Street Sam in the group currently enjoys several 10's and higher)...
- As an alternate character concept, the PC gets the Distinctive Style negative quality for free, at whatever rating you see fit for your campaign.... this is not a good thing when combined with a nice high bounty on your race.
- The nastiest Vampire requirement is the Essence Drain/Essence Loss issue (SR4A p.294). To clarify, this is not just some 1 bite = 1 essence transfer. It takes at least a minute per Essence point, and requires high-emotion on both sides (which is not going to be quiet).
Note: If the PC is a Magical archtype (Physical Adept, Mystical Adept, Magician etc), every month they lose a point of essence, which WILL reduce their magic rating by 1 (unless they've stocked up on Essence, which is possible). As such, Magically-active Vampires need to drain essence around every couple of months.....

So, there's a BRIEF list of the ways that Vampire PC's are both:
- Reigned in on dice-pools and power levels
- Day-to-Day limited in their interaction with the rest of the world
- Hunted forever, with that sweet GM clause saying 'I have very good reasons to have an Armed SWAT team bust down your door at any time. Don't mes with me:o
'Too much is never enough'

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Sid

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« Reply #2 on: <03-15-11/2316:09> »
Quote
things that get handled regularly are made of wood. Door handles, gun hilts
I'm thinking back on the first dozen or so places that come to mind, and most door handles are cheap metal, most furniture is metal / plastic (more so in public areas, less so in more stylish / private locations) and gun handles only use wood when you pay for it or it's an antique. And while the floor, chairs, table, bookshelves and door I'm looking at right now are all wood, half of them are painted over. And one bookshelf is fake - laminate covering.
I can't imagine that would go backwards as you raise the amount of highly processed and non-organic products cheaply available. Sunlight is still a regular problem, but not something your average motorcycle protective gear couldn't handle. (with cameras / imagelink to prevent light filtering through a faceplate) Bullet holes are a problem, though.

Exodus

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« Reply #3 on: <03-16-11/0249:17> »
Charybdis mentioned some outstanding reasons the Vampire metavariant (or would it be called something else?) isn't grievously overpowered. However I'd like to add that ignoring this bit...
Don't let the PC try to hide behind any 'I have to drink from every guard to survive' crap. This is Shadowrun, not Bram Stoker... and messy things like that will make the entire group hunted by association.
and allowing the PC to feed and get all Blade-y during a run opens up a wonderful plot avenue. If you treat HMHVV like modern HIV/AIDS then the genetic markers of the virus are unique to the carrier. Meaning every corporate employee that your PC drains gives the Corp an easy roadmap to the vampire PCs' movements and activities.
They could sell that paydata to vampire hunters. Literally getting paid by the Mercenaries instead of the other way around. Not a bad deal for a corporation concerned with the bottom line.
I prefer to GM for Role Players not Roll Players

Kontact

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« Reply #4 on: <03-16-11/0613:24> »
Regeneration also won't heal any damage done to the head or spinal cord.  Explosions, as AoE hit the head and spine by default.

It will regen most drug-related drain though, so vampire killers on speed FTW.

The_Gun_Nut

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« Reply #5 on: <03-16-11/0716:31> »
Explosions hit the whole body by default, the central nervous system is just there for the ride.  Ruling that all explosions target the CNS is a bit gimmicky, and can bite you in the ass as a GM later.  Better to just say that when the Chunky Salsa rule boosts damage past their BOD + damage capacity that it can't be regenerated (damage before soak, that is).  This makes the hit nasty, and will keep them on their toes when the explosives do come out.
There is no overkill.

Only "Open fire" and "I need to reload."

Mäx

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« Reply #6 on: <03-16-11/0841:23> »
- Allergy Sun (moderate) is not something that can be averted with Sunscreen :P They need a full head-to-toe lightproof suit (or Security armour), neither of which are subtle enough to walk around day-to-day.
Mage character can just get alleviate allergy spell and a sustaining focus to get around this problem.
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Fortinbras

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« Reply #7 on: <03-16-11/1014:56> »
Mage character can just get alleviate allergy spell and a sustaining focus to get around this problem.
This is what people talk about when they say vampires are overpowered. I maintain that if your vampire doesn't fear the sun* then he isn't a vampire in any thematic way. He's just a powerful Awakened character, in which case you should probably just play a non-vampire mage. I know there are many others who would really like the Allergy: Sunlight to be something that isn't negated by such a minor thing as a sustaining focus. I prefer to claim that vampires have the Dietary Requirement: Lack of Sunlight Quality. A lack of sunlight must be absorbed through the skin via osmosis 24 hours a day.

My main issue with vamp PCs is the same one I have with dragon PCs. He becomes Poochie. You can say that your character's powers are negated by the fact that, if he is outed, he will be hunted down by powerful 6th World sources. In my experience, the player playing the vampire has no problem with this, as he is now the center of the story. It sucks for the rest of the players, who now have to be hijacked onto vamp PC's personal storylet, while any other runs or stories must be put on the back burner. It also means that any runs the GM might have planned ahead of time are negated, because the next several sessions, if not the whole game, are going to be vampire vs. the world.
What most GMs do is find some way to ignore the fact that the vampire is drinking blood from everyone and that he's walking around with a sustaining focus that every Tom, Dick and Watcher Spirit can identify as probably belonging to an Infected, so that the story he has planned will get played and that every player gets equal time. If this is the case, the weakness that comes from having to hide being a vampire is quickly ignored, as the player knows the GM won't enforce it. If that is the case, he is a little overpowered

If someone wanted to play a vampire in my game, it would have to be a player I trusted to both play well and play the character. He would also need a reason to want to play a vampire in the Sixth World, rather than wanting a character with better numbers than the base book gives. He would need to know something about the concept of the vampire as both a cultural theme and as it relates to Shadowrun. Most importantly, he must be willing to tell that story with me and with the other players, and not let Shadowrun turn into Vampire PC and his Scrawny Friends: A GM's Girlfriend/Mary Sue Tale.



*Yes, I know Dracula could walk into the sunlight, but he was very much weakened at night and therefore feared the sun, hence why Van Helsing and the suitor trio had to kill him before the sun went up. He was also a creature of the night, a theme that should be played out with characteristics.
« Last Edit: <03-16-11/1016:54> by Fortinbras »
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Ten-Hex

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« Reply #8 on: <03-16-11/1609:46> »
Mage character can just get alleviate allergy spell and a sustaining focus to get around this problem.

Considering the prevalence of background counts, mana barriers and wards, and the ease of disabling someone's sustaining focus, this leads to a lot of overconfident PC vampires doing a street performance interpretation of a Nuke-it Burger.

I don't think infected PCs are particularly overpowered if the rules that limit their abilities are enforced, but have to doubly agree with Fortinbras. Infected, shapeshifters, drakes, etc, are magnets for players who have a tendency to hijack games with their character's attention need. They are best allowed for players with whom the GM has already developed a gaming rapport.

Charybdis

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« Reply #9 on: <03-16-11/2118:32> »
Regeneration also won't heal any damage done to the head or spinal cord.  Explosions, as AoE hit the head and spine by default.
Is this a 4e ruling or a 3e holdover?

According to 4e Regeneration, any non-magical damage can be healed (including AoE explosions, greandes, C4 etc).

Also, even if a PC's damage track goes beyond body overflow (ie, normally complete death), a regenerating PC still gets to make a Regen test (Body plus Magic) to heal boxes first.
- If still overflow, they're dead
- If no longer overflow, they're alive and will keep regenerating back to full health

It will regen most drug-related drain though, so vampire killers on speed FTW.
Vampires have Immunity to toxins/pathogens (Rating = 2xMagic), so unless you have a very generous GM that defines combat drugs as something other than a toxin, in my experience combat drugs fail to affect vampires
'Too much is never enough'

Current PC: Free Spirit (Norse Shamanic)
'Names are irrelevant. Which fake ID do you want me to quote from?'

Phreak Commandment V:
If Thou Be In School, Strive To Get Thine Self Good Grades, For The Authorities Well Know That Scholars Never Break The Law

James McMurray

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« Reply #10 on: <03-16-11/2231:40> »
According to 4e Regeneration, any non-magical damage can be healed (including AoE explosions, greandes, C4 etc).

Not according to Running Wild.

Quote
Certain types of damage cannot be regenerated from this
power. Damage to the brain or spinal cord (for example, from a
called shot to the head) cannot be healed this way.
Likewise, magical
damage from weapon foci, combat spells, critter/adept powers,
or other magic may not be healed through Regeneration. If the
critter has an Allergy, the critter cannot regenerate damage until
the allergen’s presence is removed.
Need a random generator?  Click here.

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Charybdis

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« Reply #11 on: <03-16-11/2330:49> »
According to 4e Regeneration, any non-magical damage can be healed (including AoE explosions, greandes, C4 etc).
Not according to Running Wild.
Quote
Certain types of damage cannot be regenerated from this power. Damage to the brain or spinal cord (for example, from a called shot to the head) cannot be healed this way. ....
Fair enough. I stand corrected.

But does any stock standard explosion count as Brain/Spinal Cord damage? Hardly seems like an everyday grenade is as damaging as a called shot to the head....

I've seen read and studied many accounts of explosive/mine real world damage (family of paramedics and army doctors, with a lot of research lying around), and the most common injuries are to limbs and torso (with most fatalities due to organ failure, blood loss and/or shock). Specific damage to the brain/spinal cord in such instances is actually quite rare...
« Last Edit: <03-16-11/2342:50> by Charybdis »
'Too much is never enough'

Current PC: Free Spirit (Norse Shamanic)
'Names are irrelevant. Which fake ID do you want me to quote from?'

Phreak Commandment V:
If Thou Be In School, Strive To Get Thine Self Good Grades, For The Authorities Well Know That Scholars Never Break The Law

The_Gun_Nut

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« Reply #12 on: <03-17-11/0926:23> »
And best represented by an overwhelming amount of damage boxes that the character can't regenerate enough from.
There is no overkill.

Only "Open fire" and "I need to reload."

Charybdis

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« Reply #13 on: <03-17-11/1849:04> »
And best represented by an overwhelming amount of damage boxes that the character can't regenerate enough from.
Completely concur....
'Too much is never enough'

Current PC: Free Spirit (Norse Shamanic)
'Names are irrelevant. Which fake ID do you want me to quote from?'

Phreak Commandment V:
If Thou Be In School, Strive To Get Thine Self Good Grades, For The Authorities Well Know That Scholars Never Break The Law

Mäx

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« Reply #14 on: <03-18-11/1437:52> »
Vampires have Immunity to toxins/pathogens (Rating = 2xMagic), so unless you have a very generous GM that defines combat drugs as something other than a toxin, in my experience combat drugs fail to affect vampires
Drugs aren't in anyway toxins, nor are they pathogens.
"An it harm none, do what you will"