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[SR4a] Archetypes: replacements for the Sample Characters

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UmaroVI

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« Reply #45 on: <08-29-11/2007:48> »
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As a very magically oriented person, I will totally make the call that debuffs as a MAIN function is a less efficient method than say Stun Bolting people. This is from someone that had a character that used Agony as their signature spell for their entire career.

Well sure, truth be told, every spell in the game is significantly less efficient than stunbolt, which I'm not especially happy about.

I think that most decent debuff spells occupy a tier between the hyper-efficiency of Stunbolt and the very very not of indirect combat spells.

That said, I think that having a spirit use its Confusion power on someone is a very strong option, and might be even more efficient in terms of time than telling the spirit to kill/incapacitate that person. It would certainly take less time. (Unless of course the spirit was a Spirit of Man, with Innate Spell (Stunbolt).

Every combat-oriented (by that I mean, "that you cast on your enemies to win fights") spell in the game is less efficient than Stunbolt/Stunball for taking down living targets that you can see. Indirect spells have a niche - nonliving targets, and AEing people you can't see. Debuff spells don't.

The reason Confusion sees little use is because Fear is so drastically much better. Make an opposed test, winning makes your target take a dice pool penalty? Or make the same opposed test, winning makes your target run away for longer than most fights last?

UmaroVI

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« Reply #46 on: <08-29-11/2032:42> »
Largely in response to Neurosis, but also some of the other comments:

One of the things I really, really hate about the SR4A samole characters is the wide range of power level. If all the characters were like the weapons specialist, it wouldn't be that bad - at least you'd be fine if everyone played archetypes. But if the Weapons Specialist is in a group with the Street Samurai (or many of the other better ones), it's probably going to become clear very quickly who picked the good sample character and who picked the bad one.

For this reason I tried to keep the power level of the Archetypes as uniform as I can possibly manage. One of the things this means is that some character types HAVE to be excluded, because they cannot coexist with others. Putting in, for example, an unaugmented mundane character would me to sandbag everyone else down quite a lot, in order to avoid them being overshadowed - which is why there isn't one. Yes, I could make one, yes, they wouldn't "not work," they would just "be less good than everyone else," but simply put - it isn't very fun to play the blatantly less effective shadowrunner because you thought Covert Ops Specialist sounded cool.

UmaroVI

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« Reply #47 on: <08-29-11/2110:31> »
As promised, more archetypes. In particular, they round out the numbers of each metatype, leaving 4 of each (except dwarves, of which there are still only 2). Also, more adepts. There were some requests for a more rigging-focused character, which the Info Savant is (for mundane rigging, see the Mercenary Rigger).

Martial Artist, a troll augmented adept focused on melee combat and social skills.
Former Neoprimitive, a troll augmented adept who uses archaic throwing weapons to great effect.
Gunslinger, a human augmented adept focused on mastery of pistols.
Magical Rocker, a human magician focused on flashy combat magic and rocking out.
Info Savant, an ork technomancer focused on rigging, with hacking secondary.

Neurosis

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« Reply #48 on: <08-29-11/2151:59> »
Largely in response to Neurosis, but also some of the other comments:

One of the things I really, really hate about the SR4A samole characters is the wide range of power level. If all the characters were like the weapons specialist, it wouldn't be that bad - at least you'd be fine if everyone played archetypes. But if the Weapons Specialist is in a group with the Street Samurai (or many of the other better ones), it's probably going to become clear very quickly who picked the good sample character and who picked the bad one.

For this reason I tried to keep the power level of the Archetypes as uniform as I can possibly manage. One of the things this means is that some character types HAVE to be excluded, because they cannot coexist with others. Putting in, for example, an unaugmented mundane character would me to sandbag everyone else down quite a lot, in order to avoid them being overshadowed - which is why there isn't one. Yes, I could make one, yes, they wouldn't "not work," they would just "be less good than everyone else," but simply put - it isn't very fun to play the blatantly less effective shadowrunner because you thought Covert Ops Specialist sounded cool.

I see your point.

As promised, more archetypes. In particular, they round out the numbers of each metatype, leaving 4 of each (except dwarves, of which there are still only 2). Also, more adepts. There were some requests for a more rigging-focused character, which the Info Savant is (for mundane rigging, see the Mercenary Rigger).

Martial Artist, a troll augmented adept focused on melee combat and social skills.
Former Neoprimitive, a troll augmented adept who uses archaic throwing weapons to great effect.
Gunslinger, a human augmented adept focused on mastery of pistols.
Magical Rocker, a human magician focused on flashy combat magic and rocking out.
Info Savant, an ork technomancer focused on rigging, with hacking secondary.

Like everything in SR, needs more dwarves, but good work.
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_-Target-_

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« Reply #49 on: <08-29-11/2306:15> »
While an elf rather than a human, that's the Technoshaman.

Ok I will check him out.. I assumed he was a technomancer that I don't understand how to play atm lol

rasmusnicolaj

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« Reply #50 on: <08-30-11/0135:27> »
I would like to see a pure (no cyber or bioware) adepts.

Regards
Rasmus

You are actually pretty much correct - adepts are not very good, and pure adepts (meaning not mystic adepts and not cybered) are quite bad, second only to the "mundane with no ware" concept in "sounds cool but not supported." What adepts are good at is "enhancing" something else - albeit, expensively. The idea is that adepts get bonuses that stack with everything else, so you can use them to be better at that thing than any other person. Adepts also have a few powers that give you non-replicable abilities that are really useful. This being Shadowrun, though, they also have piles and piles and PILES of terrible, useless powers, powers that are ridiculously overpriced, powers that are over-balanced so they don't do anything helpful, etc.



I tried and failed, repeatedly, to make an adept who would never want 'ware for reasons other than RP, having Sensitive System, or being a sapient critter or some other type of character who cannot take ware. If you want to be a pure adept who doesn't have and never gets 'ware because you think it's cool, go for it, but it is from an optimization standpoint bad.

Taken from http://forums.shadowrun4.com/index.php?topic=4610.msg68751#msg68751

EDIT: I'm not trying to put Umaro's mouth, I agree with his position that unaugmented adepts are unsupported in SR4A, and I think this is why none of the sample characters are an unaugmented adept.

Yes, I have figured that out, but it would still be fun to see an adept build along those lines (I just like the concept of a pure adept).
Maybe a Troll archer or a ork melee specialist. I wouldn't mind if the adept was a mystical adept build along those lines.

Regards
Rasmus
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UmaroVI

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« Reply #51 on: <08-30-11/0902:56> »
There's some discussion of that on the Dumpshock thread, if you are interested in pure adepts. http://forums.dumpshock.com/index.php?showtopic=35587&st=100

In particular, Pugilist is an example of a pure adept - however, this character relies on using the Martial Arts rules from Arsenal to function (which are not missions-legal), and of course would be better off as a pure adept (also, as an orc or troll).

Glyph

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« Reply #52 on: <08-31-11/0025:09> »
My own try at a close combat adept built without bioware or the martial arts rules is in that thread UmaroVI just linked to.  He's fairly functional.  It's not that adepts are that bad, per se, it's just that most adept builds can be improved with some augmentations. 

The best close combat adept, if you are doing it without 'ware, is to be a weapons adept with one of those "Ways".  Less stuff you absolutely have to buy with power points than the unarmed version, a discount on the priciest powers, and you can add weapon foci to the mix.  Plus, two-weapon style is brutal, and with a level of counterstrike, you can take your extra hits to pump up your attacks, too.
« Last Edit: <08-31-11/0043:43> by Glyph »

UmaroVI

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« Reply #53 on: <08-31-11/0641:18> »
The other thing to keep in mind is that close-combat characters in general are helped a huge amount by Martial Arts, and adepts are helped a not-insignificant amount by Ways - neither of which are Missions-legal, which contributes to their problems in this context.

Cantor

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« Reply #54 on: <08-31-11/1539:33> »
I've had a good look at a few of these archetypes, and I have a few points to make.

1. Negative Qualities. I hate Negative Qualities. A lot of people seem to take them thinking that they're free points. Sure, an optimized character at creation can probably use the points to make sure they have that one important skill at 6, or they can make sure they've got  at least one contact. I really don't see the need for every character to max out their negative qualities. Especially on things that a lot of GMs don't know how to incorporate into the game appropriately. This isn't really a critique of your builds, but of the ethereal nature of some of these qualities (SINner and the ones that require Composure tests) really seem to be taken as a means to exploit weak GMs.

2. Securetech PPP System and Form Fitting body armour. I know that any runner worth his salt takes these every time. They're amazing. Why don't we just add these into the basic stats of all runners and let them be on a level playing field. Autoincludes suck.

JoeNapalm

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« Reply #55 on: <08-31-11/1632:41> »
I've had a good look at a few of these archetypes, and I have a few points to make.

1. Negative Qualities. I hate Negative Qualities. A lot of people seem to take them thinking that they're free points. Sure, an optimized character at creation can probably use the points to make sure they have that one important skill at 6, or they can make sure they've got  at least one contact. I really don't see the need for every character to max out their negative qualities. Especially on things that a lot of GMs don't know how to incorporate into the game appropriately. This isn't really a critique of your builds, but of the ethereal nature of some of these qualities (SINner and the ones that require Composure tests) really seem to be taken as a means to exploit weak GMs.

2. Securetech PPP System and Form Fitting body armour. I know that any runner worth his salt takes these every time. They're amazing. Why don't we just add these into the basic stats of all runners and let them be on a level playing field. Autoincludes suck.

Negative Qualities give a character plenty of hooks. As both a player and a GM, I love Negative Qualities.

Saying that they're taken as a means to exploit weak GMs is a pretty broad statement. Perhaps people in your group use them like that, but critiquing a build based on such a generalization? That's too far. Many people take Negative Qualities because they want their character to have those Qualities - not for the points, per se, and certainly not because they hope to put one over on the GM.

Specifically citing the Composure Test Negative Qualities - they give an actual mechanic. Those are less vague than many of the Qualities. "Under X circumstance, you're required to make a Composure Check to do Y." That's quite specific, and it would really require a truly pushover GM to avoid them.

As for "auto-includes" - this comes up a lot around here. I don't know if it is a symptom of the prevalence of MMOGs, or what, but nothing says you have to use something just because it's the most effective or efficient way to do something. There is a lot of wiggle room between a "gimp" character and an utterly maximized character - if you are making build decisions on substance alone, then you are treading into munchkin territory. 

There's nothing wrong with trying to make your character as effective as possible, but taking gear/skills/stats/whatever when you don't want it, simply because it's "the best"... that is powergaming. If it's what you want to do, go for it - but it's not a flaw in the design. Some gear is better than others, yes, but that doesn't make it bad. This isn't an environment that requires everything to be equal.

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« Last Edit: <08-31-11/1637:20> by JoeNapalm »

Cantor

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« Reply #56 on: <08-31-11/1641:36> »
I'm not critiquing the builds. I said that. I'm critiquing the negative quality systems. I just don't like them.

As for the Composure qualities, I understand that they have a mechanic. I never said they didn't. I just don't like the mechanic. It's still a GM call to ask for the test, and I see this as an area of argument from min/maxers. Also, the character can quite easily build so that they can always pass those tests. Positive qualities don't have these kinds of tests. They just give you a benefit. I don't mind the flat negatives quite as much (incompetent for example).

My comment on autoincludes there is pretty sarcastic, except for claiming they suck. Maybe that didn't come across. I really hate it when NOT taking some piece of gear in an RPG is considered a handycap. It's particularly irksome when it comes from a splatbook.

UmaroVI

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« Reply #57 on: <08-31-11/1649:31> »
On 1, I've already stated my opinion about negative qualities in general in the intro, but I would argue that the negative qualities like Poor Self Control are good (and I actually wish there were more like that, and less "get a point refund for not being a different type of character" negative qualities), because they help define a character's personality. Also, they have a nice clearly defined effect - if you don't want to do X, you have to make a roll, or do X anyways.

On 2, I completely agree that this is poor game design, but my goal is to make sample characters, not fix every poor design choice in SR4. If I were making SR5, then yes, I would fix "gotta-haves" like that.

UmaroVI

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« Reply #58 on: <08-31-11/1654:18> »
Also, Cantor, there are much easier ways to powergame your Negative Qualities, if you really care to. If I was trying to take 35 points of negative qualities that I was sure the GM couldn't shaft me with, I would stay away from open-ended things like Sinner or Poor Self Control, and go for stuff that has defined but largely irrelevant mechanical effects. For example, the infamous Incompetence: Stuff I Sucked At Anyways, every non-hacker taking Scorched and Sensitive Neural Structure (both of which are explicitly defined as giving 5 points to non-hackers/technomancers in the book), etc, everyone and their dog having Addiction to Betel, etc.

Cantor

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« Reply #59 on: <08-31-11/1701:42> »
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All of the characters have 35 points of Negative Qualities, with an emphasis on “personality flaws.” This is to give players immediate hooks they can use to get in character, and to make the Archetypes more distinctive. If you don’t have time to make a whole character from scratch and want to instead personalize an Archetype before play, swapping negative qualities for other ones is a good idea.

I think this is the crux of it for me. IRL my negative qualities are not the things I use to go about my daily business. I'm not athletic, so I don't do athletics. I don't think of Negative Qualities shouldn't be the thing you use to make a character come alive. There are contacts, skills and positive qualities that can all accomplish the same things.

I would applaud you for avoiding addictions. They are boring. Any decent GM would criticize a samurai with Scorched, so you're not exactly a hero for doing that.

I disagree about Incompetence though. I've seen it used intelligently to mitigate potential brokenness. I've seen a character with max Strength take Incompetence: Blades just to make it that much harder for himself to deal lethal damage with that Strength.

I really want to stress that I love what you're doing and I applaud your efforts so far. I just felt I needed to throw in my two cents here and there when it comes to making characters.