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More questions from a new DM don't you love us?

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Zilfer

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« on: <08-05-11/1246:06> »
Hi, been lurking around this place for the last week and a half reading on topics learning ideas reading topics. New, only been DMing a year and not shadowrun mostly DnD 3.x (homebrewed rules). Started shadowrun after playing it once. Figured i'd try to DM it and DMed my campaign if you can call scribbles a campaign. Went pretty well. We played two nights in a row, first night went good second they all almost died. 2 of them used dead man's trigger to kill the last enemy standing and there was only one squad mate still up afterwards who had just critical glitched when trying to fire out the window of a U-haul driving itself. xD I made him fall out of the window. Anyways enough on that and to my questions!

1st! I have a guy playing a troll, and I wanted knowledge form the experts. Aka anyone with more experience than I which should be a lot on this form. Anyways this troll is the Tank in DnD terms. Had trouble getting through his armor because what he wore on the mission was Armor that is like 12 or something like that, has a helmet, and on top of that had a sort of Riot shield. Not home at the moment so can't give you specific armor's he's wearing. All i know is the total armor comes out to close to 21 dice. I just reread some of the book looking for a rule i knew was there but couldn't find while I was DMing. That was if it doesn't do more base damage then you have armor than it turns to Stun. (his Impact rating is 17 so it gives more of a chance to bring him down. Also his will as you can probably guess is a little low).

Now! He has edrenaline pump or something like that which allows him to ignore stun damage. Also found out it gives him 1 stun damage per turn which i didn't know. (i think it's turn not initive pass if i remember correctly so even that is minimum). So even if i do start doing stun damage from bullets he can ignore it for quite awhile. I also read that Stun spills into physical which might help but that just means i have to inflict almost double health to him. XD So how do you guys handle that type of armored guy? I haven't really thrown anything big at them at least to me I haven't. The hardest thing they fought was a large black and white tiger they had to try and capture. (they tried to shoot it with a tranquilizer dart it was halerious when they noticed it didn't go down. Shot it three times before they fingured out it was a robotic cat. I enjoyed it, though it took out a party member flat down. It was the groups hacker.... funny they figure that out right when the person thta might be able to effect it dies. XD Priceless) Then there was the boss of the gang they were fighting who had the tiger. They had the highest shal i call it "To Hit" dice. Which totalled like 18 for the tiger, and 16 for the gang guy's rifle. (I figured the grunts would hardly have anything and they were mowed down since they only had one initive pass.) Even the tiger and the "boss" had trouble with the troll so, wondered if it would continue to be a problem. I had him using ASPD rounds as well and was hardly doing nothing but i did managed to take the troll down so it just took time but would like advice in the future.

The further question is the roll using the shield. He is using it and firing a weapon. Should there be like a duel weilding negative for that? He said he'd be using his shield to stablize the gun and also mentioned his str which is over 10 with his bio/cyber. So what say you. Should I let him be able to do this without penalty?

Ok, enough about the troll, onto other matters.

Wireless/hacking.  I haven't seen a good topic to describe it very well and im' mostly making this part up as I go. I use it to progress the storyline with the hacker but i'm unclear the rules. If someone could describe this to me in a way i could understand it would be greatful. Particularly Hacking a system, how you do that. I understand networking a bit having taken a quite a bit of IT in college. So I know Wireless broadcasts can be accessed by anyone, connecting to them within range. Wireless can be shut off on some systems, ect. When they find a node how do they hack through it. Is it just an extended test. I remember reading something along the lines of they have extended test have to be a DC(sorry used to playing DnD so i use that lingo) while something might try to search for them and if it finds them it shoots an alarm off? Can it actually hurt the hacker? he's doing this i believe "cold sim" is what they call it? Meaning physically typing comands in, and not being a virtual entity.  Once he's in he's made an account for himself, was it that if he wanted admin access it's like +6 threshold to get in? Also what if a spider is watching the network?

If a spider is on a network is there like "cyber combat" where you do damage to eachother's operating systems? first one to lose health crashes? Can the hacker trace? When I read all the "options" and free actions, standard actions, and complex actions it goes in one ear and out the other. xD So would anyone mind simplifying these in lame terms because it's an area i'm really interested in getting down so i don't have to look something up five seconds. I can run with it on the fly however should I need to. Which I will most likely be doing later today should the group pick Shadowrun over Dnd today.

Again I appologize for all the questions thrown into one post/topic.

Last but not least, what's a good number range for how much money they should be getting after each mission? I've been trying to keep it anywhere from 2,000 to 5,000. <.< this too low or high? To me they won't be able to buy to much with that from remembering when I was making my own charrie.(lame man for character)


And as the last part, any tips for a new DM to Shadowrun? :P (everybody asks that so i figured i'd follow suit)
Having access to Ares Technology isn't so bad, being in a room that's connected to the 'trix with holographic display throughout the whole room isn't bad either. Food, drinks whenever you want it. Over all not bad, but being unable to leave and with a Female Dragon? No Thanks! ~The Captive Man

UmaroVI

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« Reply #1 on: <08-05-11/1304:52> »
Adrenaline Pump: remember that after your Stun boxes fill up, you take Physical instead. So if you have 10 stun boxes, and 8S already, then take 6S, you have 10S and 4P. Adrenaline Pump users pass out when they run out of Physical...and then quite likely die as they take 1S per turn it was active at the END. It lasts 1d6 x rating turns, so if you roll a 6, and get KO'd, you are unconscious then take 6S = 6P. I don't like them for this reason.

Shields give a flat -1 to ALL physical tests - including firing guns.

Hacking is a convoluted, nonsensical mess. Hida Tsuzua is currently working on a matrix guide and he might be able to give you a better idea. The SR matrix rules are sort of like the Mirror of Galadriel - everyone who looks at them sees something different, and you can never be sure whether what you see is the way things are supposed to work, the result of design by committee, poor phrasing, poor editing, or what.

Nuyen: it's more important that you keep Nuyen and Karma in relative balance; if you give 5 karma and 1000Y a run, the mages will eclipse everyone else fast. If you give 1 karma and 20000Y a run, the augmented people will eclipse everyone else. A typical good balance is around 2500Y per karma, but you can vary that somewhat and be fine (and you don't have to keep it 1-1; you might have a 5 karma run that gets you very little money then a 3 karma run that gets you a lot of money or whatever).

Zilfer

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« Reply #2 on: <08-05-11/1414:31> »
Ah, well I guess i'm not the only one confused by the system then. Guess i'll keep makin up what I think should be mostly right for now. XD

Shields give -1 to all physical tests. Gotcha, well that's not much of a penalty, but it will have to do.

So i guess you'd want to deactivate that BEFORE you go down. Fun to know, otherwise they might die. XD Guess he might have to rely on the hacker to turn it off if he goes down. xD He's got 10 body or some such though so he should be fine for awhile. XD

Oh another thing, grenades. That confused me a little bit does it always damage in all directions or that blast radius dice roll determs which way it goes and who gets damaged? o.O
Having access to Ares Technology isn't so bad, being in a room that's connected to the 'trix with holographic display throughout the whole room isn't bad either. Food, drinks whenever you want it. Over all not bad, but being unable to leave and with a Female Dragon? No Thanks! ~The Captive Man

UmaroVI

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« Reply #3 on: <08-05-11/1529:43> »
The scatter dice roll determines where it lands. Then it does damage in all directions. Some grenades (flashbangs) do fixed damage, others do less as you get further away. So, like, DV 10 at -2/m means direct hits do 10, 1-2m away you take 8, 2-3 you take 6, etc.

kirk

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« Reply #4 on: <08-05-11/1829:02> »
While agreeing with UmaroVI's statement of the mirror, here are my two cents on the matrix. (Note also the "newby" label next to my username, and apply appropriately sized salt shaker. If what I say conflicts with an expert, consider me to be wrong.)

First, my touchstone for Galadriel is to remember the matrix is a lie. What most users perceive as a seamless web from which some nodes disconnect is actually a myriad of webs, each with varying degrees of interconnectivity to other webs.  The handshake and distributed packet transfer is so well developed it can be considered seamless for most users.  However, hackers and other (un)wired players see and play with the seams, for in the details lie the good stuff.

Now for SR, each of these matrices is called a node. it's holographic in nature, meaning what one part 'knows' all parts know. If you've persuaded a node-controlling server that you're legit, all servers consider you legit.

So when you hack, you're not hacking a particular server. You're hacking the holistic control of that particular matrix, or node. The sum of hacking is that you are persuading the node that you, or at least the info/commands you're giving it, are legitimate.  You've got basically three ways to do this: two wired and one meatspace.

The meatspace is to use a valid id. Not your own, chummer. The one the secretary gave you when you said you were fixing the system and needed the guest login and password, maybe. Or the one you picked up by phishing. But I digress. The ID is valid for the node, it just isn't yours. Congrats, you're hacking the node.

The two wired methods are hacking on the fly, and probing. All else being equal, which you use depends on how long you've got to get in.

When you hack on the fly, you try to be Athena springing full-grown into the system. You make an extended test every complex action. Unfortunately for you, in response the node's security gets an extended test to see if it notices you banging on the door. If it notices before you're in, it makes it harder to get in and it prepares its countermeasures in case you still succeed. If it notices as you spring full-formed into the system, you "just" get to deal with countermeasures.

The slow but safer method is probing. It's still an extended test. The test interval is every hour instead of complex action. The security still gets to see if it notices you but it's only one test done when you successfully log on.

One more bit of longwinded explanation, if I may, and I'll take on your questions.

Nobody connects with keyboards and mice any more. (Well, that's not true if you read some of the fluff, but again I digress.) You basically have two ways to connect, and one of those has two variations.

The way most people make use of the matrix is with Augmented Reality aka AR. Yes, you can sorta think of it as keyboard, mouse, and monitor. Gestures, some buttons and toggles, while getting sound in your earbuds (or over your smartphone commlink) and projections on your glasses or smartlinks or, well, you get the idea I hope. A key thing to keep in mind is that AR is an overlay for the Real World, highlighting and supplementing what you see and hear.

The other way to connect is Virtual Reality (VR). It comes in two flavors, called cold sim and hot sim.  When you slip into VR, it replaces the Real World instead of overlaying it. It is, in this case, much like astral space is for mages. As far as your consciousness is concerned, you are THERE and your meat body is somewhere else. The difference between cold and hot is whether your governors and filters are left in place. With them in place you've got some protection from your stupidity or others' malice, at the cost of not quite getting everything you can from the system.

Can it actually hurt the hacker? he's doing this i believe "cold sim" is what they call it?
If he's AR, he can't be hurt.
If he's VR-cold, Black Ice can stun him. Just as in meat-space, if the stun is big enough it can go physical.
If he's VR-hot (just for completeness) some Black Ice can do physical damage and kill him, skipping stun.

Once he's in he's made an account for himself, was it that if he wanted admin access it's like +6 threshold to get in?
He decides what level of access the account will have when he's hacking. It increases the threshhold. So, if he was hacking a node with a firewall of 6 he'd need to accumulate 6 hits to get in as a user. To get into the same system as an admin he'd need to get 12.

Also what if a spider is watching the network?
IF the system alerts, a spider is one of the things he could face. In addition, the spider could be doing something that puts him in a position to also notice the user's entry. Perhaps she's analyzing the login system looking for holes to patch. It depends on what you think the spider is doing in regard to the security, at which point you modify the thresholds or pools appropriately.

If a spider is on a network is there like "cyber combat" where you do damage to eachother's operating systems? Yes. And consequences, well, they depend on which actions get taken. See my response to "can it actually hurt the hacker?" As to how, the short version is it's combat with damage tracks both in the matrix and outside. For more: Cybercombat is mostly SR4A 236-237, with additional info at SR4A 227 and UN39.

Can the hacker trace?  I suspect I'm not understanding what you mean to ask. I mean, the hackers can do something that is called trace. Tracing is locating the originating node of the icon being traced. It can be used to locate what is at the other end of the connection - a file, a drone, etc. Note that a spider can do this as well. It's an option to stay hidden, trace the hacker's home, and send a friendly greeting party with a message to stop doing that sort of thing. At which point, yes, the hacker can get hurt.

For the confusing terms, here's my whack at it.
Unlike D&D, players can get different numbers of rounds in a combat turn. These are called Initiative Passes (aka IPs). Everybody gets to play in the first IP (barring some situational caveats). They only get to do something in the rest of the turn's IPs if they have them.

In an IP, each player's chance to do something is an Action Phase. A player can do one complex action or two simple actions per action phase. (A player may choose to delay her action phase till later in the combat turn (not IP), but cannot delay it into the next combat turn.) A player also earns one "free action" in an action phase. It must be used by the player's next action phase (in the next IP); they cannot be accumulated.

Experienced players feel free to take whacks at this, of course.

JoeNapalm

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« Reply #5 on: <08-05-11/1933:24> »

Troll stuff.

First off, a caveat from an old GM to a new GM. It's okay to consider what your options are to deal with powerful characters, but be sure to keep in mind that your players are the heroes. Let them be heroic.

Yes, they shouldn't have it too easy, but at the end of the day (in most games) the PCs should come off as the heroes, and it's okay for heroes to kick a little mook behind. Heck, it's okay for them to kick a LOT of mook behind.

If they have done their homework and have a genuinely tough character...allow that character to be tough. He's a bloody Troll in 21/17 armor - he has the right to be a little cocky. Heck, he's paid a price for that right...Troll doesn't come cheap, and neither did that armor. Your average thug should be quaking in their booties.

With that out of the way - on to your question. How do you actually put some threat toward something that durable?

20ish armor is doable in a couple of ways. If your Troll was clever, he may have done this in a way that he basically normal looking to most observers and can move around in polite society. If he was a little less clever, he might be wearing Full Body Armor, or something of the sort - this is NOT acceptable in polite company.

If he's walking around SWAT/Military armor, that stuff is not legal. If he's starting with it, he needs the Restricted Gear Quality, and a license. If it's Forbidden availability, like Military armor, he can't get a license. Even if he has the Restricted Gear Quality, if Knight Errant sees him walking down the street with that stuff on, they'll react accordingly.

(Accordingly, in this case, means falling back and calling in a special team with Stun weapons (Electrical damage is good vs armor and low Willpower individuals) and Anti-Vehicle weapons. Explosives. Big nasty sniper rifles with armor defeating ammo. Oh, and definitely a Mage with Stun Bolt.)

I'm not saying kill him (though the Player doesn't need to know that) but you can make it clear that he can't goto the Stuffer Shack in that gear.

Now, if you Troll is clever and is wearing socially acceptable armor - well, he deserves a cookie. A cookie in the form of his stuff is legal, so he doesn't get hassled. As a big tough well-armored Troll, he can basically ignore most small arms.

Does this mean that he's going to walk through most low level threats unscathed. Yes. Yes, it does.

But the heavy hitters, the Bad Guys, the named villians (rather than faceless henchmen)...chances are they have taken the time, themselves, to get good armor. And maybe their OWN Troll. And they've definitely taken some time to to think about what they would do when a Big Bad Troll comes knockin' - which is probably hire themselves/learn to be a Mage with the right spells to go up against his dump stats, AP weapons, or enough expendables with high enough rate of fire to wear even a big bad Troll out.

In SR4 it is definitely possible to make a very very durable PC. The system is designed, in my opinion, to make PCs highly survivable - but they are not invulnerable. As a GM, your goal isn't really to KILL your PCs...it's to SCARE your PCs.

Really, at the end of the day, you want your PCs striding out of the smoke and flames, bloodied...but triumphant.

(Well, unless they do something really stupid - then, kick 'em where it hurts!  :o )

*Grin*

-Jn-
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Zilfer

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« Reply #6 on: <08-05-11/2156:43> »
^I absolutely agree with you, I would say i'm an actual nice DM. The closest i've ever come to a party wipe was yesterday. In the history of about a year Dming i've never permanently killed off a character. I plan to have a possible character die off in dnd, but it's going to be based story wise and, the character is going to come back.... to futher suspense and plot. :D

Anyways thank you for answering my questions i'm going to have to read them a few times to get the most out of it. Also i had an additional question for my own character.

Fletch, or rather the Ares Viper Slivergun is a fletch gun with added damage for fletch and sound supression. I was wondering can it only use fletch ammo? or could i use other ammo in it? Further more is there any rules as to what gun can use some ammo. I know like the darts are restricted because it says so, but ASPD armor piercing rounds they seem like. Can that be used for say a pistol? or they only for rifles? Assault rifles? Sub machine guns?

Again thanks for the advice. Love that you guys are active on this forum and willing to help those asking help. Glad to know there aren't some people who roll there eyes at a new newby joining the mess. :D

Also to the hacking accounts. Oh yes, taking internet security class taught me all about phishing. :D I knew that would definitely be a good tactic to use when i was playing as a PC unforunately i decided my character wouldn't have my out of character knowledge like the good player I am. I mean who doesn't want to enter into a contest for a free paid vacation to (enter in awesome vacation spot) paid in full by the company. All you need to do is enter in your user name and password to be entered into the drawing and why you should be considered for the company paid vacation. ;D
Having access to Ares Technology isn't so bad, being in a room that's connected to the 'trix with holographic display throughout the whole room isn't bad either. Food, drinks whenever you want it. Over all not bad, but being unable to leave and with a Female Dragon? No Thanks! ~The Captive Man

JoeNapalm

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« Reply #7 on: <08-06-11/0740:38> »
Party Wipes - I have read a few references to party wipes, lately. As a very new GM (maybe two sessions in to what eventually became a 10 year+ AD&D campaign) I nearly wiped out the whole thing. Made me realize that sometimes PCs just die, and that I really DO have total control of the game world.

As this is the GM board, I will tell you a secret  :-X.  Early on in a campaign, I will let a PC die. Sometimes I will gauge the balance in such a way that it is even likely...preferably in a heroic manner, but still...dead.

This establishes with my players that I have the intestinal fortitude to go through with it.

Once we are firmly established in the game, I try to only kill a PC if it makes for a better story. Heroic last stand while the rest of the party gets away, slain in an epic battle with the party's nemesis, etc. I say " Try" because PCs sometimes do stuff that will obviously result in their own death - either through cockiness, foolishness, or as a test to see what they can get away with. So I let them die.

Understand that, in most games - SR4 included - it is actually fairly hard to die permanently as a PC. "Oops. Dead. Burn a point of Edge."

But as for a party wipe - if it isn't entirely the fault of the party , ie, charging headlong into a suicidal situation (seriously...sometimes they are like lemmings!), then there is always a Deus Ex available. A miraculous roll, the Calvary arriving at the very last moment (if done right, they'll love this #%^*), or even a simple offer to surrender. Hollywood does all of these, all the time.

Oh, and flechettes.  :P the Ares Slivergun is a flechette pistol, and only fires flechettes - conventional ammo is different. Some conventional weapons, like shotguns, can fire both, but it doesn't work the other way around.

Be aware that flechettes ADD 5 points of armor...they are less effective vs armor, but tear up unarmored people. Like...I dunno...waiters? Armor is fairly common in SR.

Most ammo types can be used in most weapons...though assault cannon rounds, flechettes, darts, and tracer rounds are special cases.

Oh, and silencers don't add damage.  :P

-Jn-
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CanRay

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« Reply #8 on: <08-06-11/1122:35> »
I see Flechette rounds as useful in hunting in 2070 more than in Shadowrunning, much the same way Buckshot would be in Shadowrun.  It used to be useful before armour became so common (2050s and early 2060s), but technology marched on, and anything except for Flats has at least a light armour weave in it now.

But, when you're out hunting, they still have their uses.  A Slivergun would make short work of a snake about the strike or a pissed off bear (Get out of it's way, however, as the momentum of it's charge is going to keep it going despite it being dead.), and holds a lot more shots than a Mountain Revolver.  Even some awakened creatures don't have armour, so they'd be useful for that.  (Hellhounds don't have armour, BTW, and are used in security.  Sliverguns/Suppressed Flechette Loads are very useful against them!)

Just watch out for the Awakened Canada Goose.  Those things tear Snowmoose apart for fun.
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JoeNapalm

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« Reply #9 on: <08-06-11/1127:24> »

I've had the misfortune of walking into the perimeter of a sleeping flock of Canada Geese, in the middle of the night.

Thankfully, I knew what that horrendous hissing noise meant - as it was much too cold a climate for it to be a thousand vipers -  and backed away slowly.

Would have been an embarrassing way to go.

"What happened to you?"

"I got beaten to death by goose sentries."

"I'm sorry...it sounded like you said...?"

"I don't wan to talk about it!"

-Jn-
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CanRay

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« Reply #10 on: <08-06-11/1128:36> »
And that is why you do *NOT* make fun of the Nene Shaman!
Si vis pacem, para bellum

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Zilfer

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« Reply #11 on: <08-06-11/2343:08> »
If you aimed for an unarmored part however like say the face if they didn't have a full helmet would it still add to their armor? (you take a negative to aiming for specific body part of course)

Eh there's always a way to have a character come back even in Dungeons and Dragons. I mean i "kill them" as in making them go down, however killing them off is much harder. XD meaning no body to resurrect. (they have to pay their level X 1,000 in order to resurrect a dead companion and then -1 con!) So most of them keep coming back even if they go down too far.
Having access to Ares Technology isn't so bad, being in a room that's connected to the 'trix with holographic display throughout the whole room isn't bad either. Food, drinks whenever you want it. Over all not bad, but being unable to leave and with a Female Dragon? No Thanks! ~The Captive Man

Onion Man

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« Reply #12 on: <08-06-11/2346:01> »

I've had the misfortune of walking into the perimeter of a sleeping flock of Canada Geese, in the middle of the night.

Thankfully, I knew what that horrendous hissing noise meant - as it was much too cold a climate for it to be a thousand vipers -  and backed away slowly.

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StarManta

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« Reply #13 on: <08-07-11/0026:15> »
If you aimed for an unarmored part however like say the face if they didn't have a full helmet would it still add to their armor? (you take a negative to aiming for specific body part of course)

Eh there's always a way to have a character come back even in Dungeons and Dragons. I mean i "kill them" as in making them go down, however killing them off is much harder. XD meaning no body to resurrect. (they have to pay their level X 1,000 in order to resurrect a dead companion and then -1 con!) So most of them keep coming back even if they go down too far.

If you take a Called Shot (SR4A, p. 161) and succeed, you can ignore all armor, and as I understand it that means flachette will no longer add 5. So flachette and called shots go together like bread and butter.

Medicineman

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« Reply #14 on: <08-07-11/0130:22> »
Quote
Fletch, or rather the Ares Viper Slivergun is a fletch gun with added damage for fletch and sound supression. I was wondering can it only use fletch ammo? or could i use other ammo in it?
Its called Flechette (Fletch was a Chevy Chase Char back in the 90's right ?)
and the Ares Viper Slivergun can use only Flechette Ammo

Hough!
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