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So, what do you think?
Love it. 0%  0%  [ 0 ]
Like it, but think it needs work. 100%  100%  [ 2 ]
Neutral; still need to ponder the idea. 0%  0%  [ 0 ]
Don't like it, but still open to discussion. 0%  0%  [ 0 ]
Stop bringing this up. 0%  0%  [ 0 ]
Total votes : 2
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 15, 2008 1:30 am 
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((EDIT: include summary, 12/6/09))
To summarize the idea:

-There are only two types of initiative: Physical and Mental. Everything, from rigging to decking to astral to plain vanilla combat, uses one or the other.
-Physical Initiative: Reaction + d6 - For anything involving physical movement / astral perception
-Mental Initiative: Intelligence + 2d6 - For anything involving pure DNI / astral projection
-Roll the one you're going to use that round.

-Maybe: use the average (maximum?) of the other type of initiative for penalties:
--For instance if you are acting physically and your rolled physical initiative is greater than your average mental initiative, maybe your last few actions that Turn have some kind of penalty, like not being able to take actions that haven't been programmed into your Wired Reflexes.
--Or if your rolled Mental initiative is greater than your average Physical initiative you suffer distraction penalties until you can take some time for your body to "catch up" with your brain.

-Three types of cyber init boosts:
--High-rating Datajacks: Mental Initiative boost only
--Wired Reflexes: Physical Initiative boost only
--Move-by-Wire: Mental and Physical Initiative boost
--Adept Increase Reflexes boost both Mental and Physical (making them suck less)

-Should spellcasting be a Mental Action?
--Makes mages more likely to take high-level datajacks <-Good Thing
--Can get rid of cheap Increase Reflexes spell without worrying about making mages ineffectual <- Good Thing
--Could have unintended balance problems <-Bad Thing

-Astrally Projected beings slow down to (uncybered) Mental Initiative
--Good Thing?



((ORIGINAL POST))
I mentioned this back on DS and it seemed favorable, so I think it's time to bring it up here.

Instead of having all these different kinds of initiatives (regular, Matrix, Rigger, Astral, etc), I propose there to be two:

Physical Initiative: Initiative for physical tasks.

Mental Initiative: Initiative for mental-only tasks. Decking, flying around in astral space, rigging, etc.

The different initiative boosters would affect one (Wired Reflexes, Move-by-wire, Boosted Reflexes), the other (Response Increase), or both (Increased Reflexes spell, Increased Reflexes adept power).

Now, what do we gain? We gain uniform semantics, and we gain this:

Thought Without Movement: When your mental initiative gives you extra initiative passes, those passes can only be used on purely mental actions.

Movement Without Thought: When your physical initiative gives you extra initiative passes, those passes can only be spent on purely reflexive actions (cannot spend pool dice on any skill rolls; may react inappropriately).

This gives us the ability to lower costs (essence and nuyen) on physical initiative boosters, give an upgrade path to sams (bump up their mental as well as physical initiative, so they can think *and* move at the same time), and give us one less reason for the million-nuyen sam.

Thoughts (preferably with movement)?


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 15, 2008 7:54 am 
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Ok, I just woke up after about 17 hours of sleep (following 56 hours of consciousness), so my thinking is still on the hazy side. That said, my initial thoughts:

I like this idea more than when you proposed it last. However, I think astral space is the thing that mucks everything up—it seems to me like this should be Physical, not Mental, in terms of concept, but no matter where you put it it seems like it most logically will remain its own separate category (with things affecting or not affecting it that do not or do affect other things in whichever category you stick it in).

More when I'm more awake.

~J

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 15, 2008 12:00 pm 
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Astral Perception would definitely be Physical, while Projection would be Mental. Projection goes to great lengths to detail how combat pool, Reaction and other attributes change to all-mental, as you are quite literally dropping your meat. So, definitely Mental.

Oh, right, I forgot the most important part:

Base values:
Physical Initiative: Reaction + d6
Mental Initiative: Intelligence + 2d6

The mental initiative takes pure DNI into account right from the beginning, and the mental/physical divide makes sure people know from the very beginning that quickness only plays a factor in physical movement, not in mental action.


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 15, 2008 12:24 pm 
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This is a cool idea, but I think it's one of those complexity vs. granularity questions.

Why do you think we need it?


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 15, 2008 1:30 pm 
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1) Puts all the initiative rules in a single place. For example, we no longer have to mention in half a dozen different places that Intelligence is substituted for Reaction; you just emphasize Mental Initiative as a central mechanic and everyone should be familiar with it.
2) Generalizes initiative for weird corner-cases. Want to figure out the initiative of a disembodied brain? Mental Initiative. A rigger driving physically? Physical Initiative. A rigger driving by remote? Mental Initiative. A spirit? Mental Initiative. A zombie? Physical Initiative.
3) Integrates the pure DNI initiative boost into Mental Initiative, which incidentally gives you the same +2d6 that spirits get. Symmetry, eh? I like that.
4) That whole dealie in M&M where you have weird reactions to surprise when your physical initiative is too high gets further integrated into the system, though I'm not yet sure how to work that part out.


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 15, 2008 1:56 pm 
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IIRC Spirits get +20, not +2d6.

~J

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 15, 2008 2:29 pm 
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Oh, right. The +2d6 is for weird stuff like vampires and ghouls and shapeshifters, right? I keep getting all the random bonuses and junk mixed up. Well, that's kind of a kick in the teeth to my unified initiative stuff.

Which is kinda my point. Why does everything have to add its own weird amount to initiative? Make it unified, make it consistent, eliminate the confusion.


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 15, 2008 2:40 pm 
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I'm a little confused. You just posted how unifying and codifying all initiative types into two categories would allow people to quickly determine initiative. However your opening post would seem to indicate that the average fellow in an average gun fight would be rolling initiative twice (once for mental, once for physical) and the difference gives some special actions under special rules. This doesn't jive with saying a rigger driving physically just using his physical initiative.


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 15, 2008 3:11 pm 
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nezumi wrote:
I'm a little confused. You just posted how unifying and codifying all initiative types into two categories would allow people to quickly determine initiative. However your opening post would seem to indicate that the average fellow in an average gun fight would be rolling initiative twice (once for mental, once for physical) and the difference gives some special actions under special rules. This doesn't jive with saying a rigger driving physically just using his physical initiative.

Yes, that part I'm still kicking around in my head. The whole physical-exceeding-mental or mental-exceeding-physical thing, at first blush, makes it look like everyone would have to roll both initiatives, and use the two different numbers to figure out what happens and what kinds of actions and penalties are available when. This is, naturally, entirely unacceptable, and if that turns out to be the only way to do it I'll just drop that part of the idea altogether.

I'm still holding the question in mind at the moment, but if anyone else has an idea please share. :)


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 15, 2008 7:39 pm 
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Suppose we have someone with a physical initiative of 4+1d6 and a mental initiative of 5+2d6...

You could have them rolling the 4+1d6 by itself, then only if the extra 1+1d6 would make the difference of getting an action or not would you roll the second. In the case of a one die discrepancy between mental and physical that would only require an additional roll a little more than half the time.

Alternatively, reduce the discrepancy to a non-variable number. He rolls 4+1d6 and instead of adding 1+1d6 he just adds 4. If 4+1d6+4 grants an additional action, he now has a mental action.

Or we could follow SR4's example and have initiative be a static number :) (oh, where is comic sans when you need it??)

One problem I notice with this as I consider things is that while this will just make things more interesting for the street sam, it has VERY serious impacts for the mage (since casting is a mental, not a physical action). If mental initiative boosts can be bought without too much essence, the mage becomes significantly more powerful.

Overall though, while this is a very cool idea which would be a lot of fun in a game, I just can't think of a way to implement that split gracefully.


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 17, 2008 7:25 am 
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Hm. Okay, how about this: physical and mental initiative are both statistics that are written on the character sheet, just like how Initiative is now. BUT, instead of just the regular initiative stat, we also write in the average initiative value (assuming each d6 iis a 3).

A normal guy with Q: 7 and I: 5 would, for example, have:

Physical: 6 + d6 (10)
Mental: 5 + 2d6 (11)

A sam with Q: 5 and I: 3 and Wired Reflexes 2 would have:

Physical: 4+d6 (7) [8+3d6 (17)] -- Note noncybered initiative is included here for ease of reference, when the guy might have the reflex trigger off.
Mental: 3+2d6 (9)

Now, you only roll for the initiative you are going to use; that is, someone who's in the Matrix rolls his Mental initiative, someone who's samming it up rolls Physical, etc. Roll the plane you're in, in other words. This initiative is compared to the average from your other initiative:

If rolled Physical Initiative > average Mental Initiative: You can act normally during each initiative pass, until your average Mental Initiative goes to zero. If you still have an initiative pass left from Physical Initiative, you can either repeat the last physical action you performed that round, and keep repeating it until the next Combat Turn, essentially "gong on autopilot," or you can make a Willpower test (TN 6, threshold = number of physical initiative passes left) to stop moving*.

If rolled Mental Initiative > average Physical Initiative: You act normally during each initiative pass, until your average Physical Initiative goes to zero. If you still have an initiative pass left over from your rolled Mental Initiative, you can take purely mental actions, but not physical actions, with your remaining passes.

*-Maybe there'd be a way for someone with WR or MBW to "program" other reflexive reactions into their own bodies? Simple if-then statements like "If (gun empty) then Reload"?


Thoughts? I'm really, really nervous about this idea, and I'm not sure it works, or if it can even be made to work, or if it's even necessary. I do like the idea, though, of making people with monster physical initiative real sort of weird, like they're literally moving faster than their minds can react or follow, and that's the best idea I've had so far.


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 17, 2008 7:51 am 
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I'm not huge on how having physical initiative higher than your mental initiative is almost a penalty. I understand they'd be twitchy, but say someone is trying to taser a target. Saying he would continue to taser the guy two, four more times is a serious penalty.

I would say, if we're going with this (and it is an idea with merit!) you can drop additional actions without problems. Additionally, you still have free actions (since you had free actions available before anyway). But otherwise things like shooting at the target (with no penalties) and even changing physical position to keep LOS would seem acceptable. And yeah, if we do this, there should be a piece of ware, some sort of a subprocessor, that lets you define your last actions at some point beforehand.

Mental initiative actions for those without things like magic or matrix access could include aiming, Small Unit Tactics tests, observe in detail, etc.


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 17, 2008 5:07 pm 
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nezumi wrote:
I'm not huge on how having physical initiative higher than your mental initiative is almost a penalty. I understand they'd be twitchy, but say someone is trying to taser a target. Saying he would continue to taser the guy two, four more times is a serious penalty.

I would say, if we're going with this (and it is an idea with merit!) you can drop additional actions without problems. Additionally, you still have free actions (since you had free actions available before anyway). But otherwise things like shooting at the target (with no penalties) and even changing physical position to keep LOS would seem acceptable. And yeah, if we do this, there should be a piece of ware, some sort of a subprocessor, that lets you define your last actions at some point beforehand.
Well, one aspect of this is that we can lower the Essence and nuyen costs of physical init boosts, thus encouraging more people to take them. But yeah, I see what you mean. Maybe limit the Willpower test to reacting to unexpected changes in the situation?

Alternatively, we could go back to SR2's initiative order, which would up the power of physical initiative in a different way.

IMO you should be able to program at least a few "trained reflexes" into the WR 'ware itself, maybe 2 per rating point? Maybe skillwires could give you more "trained reflexes"?

Quote:
Mental initiative actions for those without things like magic or matrix access could include aiming, Small Unit Tactics tests, observe in detail, etc.
Not sure about aiming, but it doesn't seem like it'd be too bad, especially since the weapon has to be "readied" before any aiming actions take place. The others sound good to me.


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 18, 2008 8:28 am 
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There's waaay too much math in any of the thoughts here for this to be viable. I concur, I would like some kind of easy way for the crossover to matter as well, but it has to be slick ... even if that means compromising some of the reality.

Honestly though, what's the major use case here you're trying to solve?

RAS-less decking is simple ... physical reaction.
RAS-less rigging is also simple ... physical reaction.
Perceived Astral is also simple ... physical reaction.

Why can't it be as simple as:

Astral initiative for pure astral
Rigging/decking initiative for pure DNI
physical for everything else

I guess I'm missing the salient points as to why this needs to be made MORE complex than that.


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 18, 2008 2:17 pm 
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Because under the revised system we're making mental-only initiative boosts more expensive, in the vein of high-rating datajacks. We're also going in the direction that having more mental initiative passes than physical is going to happen more often, with the decker and maybe the rigger being forced to tag along in the meat to handle things. Are we really comfortable with telling the guy whose brain moves four times faster than everyone around him that he can't do anything more to act than the unenhanced mundane down the hall, despite his brain working at the speed of light?

Now look at the wirehead sam. His brain is still working on that outmoded system of ions slowly diffusing across a membrane, or neurotransmitters slowly working their way across a synapse. Meanwhile, wired reflexes or move-by-wire means his muscles and reflexes are literally moving at the speed of light, with advanced optics replacing outmoded and outdated neurons. Shouldn't that feel a little different than the adept with Increased Reflexes, whose mind and body are moving at the same speed, just a little faster than your average Joe?

I think it should. I think the guy with the optically-optimized brain should feel his body moving like molasses, with his brain procesing a thousand details as his arm slowly, painfully slowly, reaches down to grab the gun from its holster. I think the wired soldier-boy with the optically-enhanced muscles should be constantly worried about mentally blinking and suddenly finding himself fifteen feet away, dived behind a dumpster with guns blazing as his mind struggles to keep up with his much faster, pre-programmed body. That disconect between brain and body, meat and machine, and the stresses of either side, that's cyberpunk right there.


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 18, 2008 3:22 pm 
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It may be cyberpunk, but it's also needlessly complex and will hurt gameplay. Anyone who's ever played rolemaster understands you can go too far. If anything SR4 only hurt the issue by making things MORE complex with their vehicle time thing.

You have 3 seconds to do as much as you can. If your mind is fully connected to your body, you use meat-space speeds. If your mind is disconnected from your body by some kind of magical or cybernetic means, you use your mental speeds (whether they are dictated by your magic rating or your Datajack rating or your VCR rating, or whatever it ends up being ... it's all the same). Everyone will get it and it will be easy to arbitrate.


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 18, 2008 6:49 pm 
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feralminded wrote:
It may be cyberpunk, but it's also needlessly complex and will hurt gameplay. Anyone who's ever played rolemaster understands you can go too far. If anything SR4 only hurt the issue by making things MORE complex with their vehicle time thing.

You have 3 seconds to do as much as you can. If your mind is fully connected to your body, you use meat-space speeds. If your mind is disconnected from your body by some kind of magical or cybernetic means, you use your mental speeds (whether they are dictated by your magic rating or your Datajack rating or your VCR rating, or whatever it ends up being ... it's all the same). Everyone will get it and it will be easy to arbitrate.
Again, I don't think that fun and interesting and complex options should be sacrificed on the altars of simplicity and dumbing down. It would be admitting that SR4 was right for their fixed-TN system, and watering down the flavor, and basically saying that all they got wrong was the details, in which case why start from SR3 as a base in the first place? The core difference between SR3 and SR4 is that SR3 believes that complex interactions and deep customization are a good thing, and not something to be avoided. SR4 goes the opposite way, saying that the game needs to be as mass-marketed as possible to attract the biggest crowds.

So, in a sense, we have a fundamental disagreement here. I think, though, that we can split the difference, since the vast majority of the time our cases will be degenerate. By this I mean that most of the time people acting physically will still have more average mental initiative than total physical initiative, and most people acting mentally won't ever have to worry about their physical body at all. The only people we have to worry about are the people who choose to deal with these oddball rules I'm coming up with, which means all I have to do is ensure that only the people who want to bother with them will.

Therefore, cyberware!

Code:
Datajacks
Rating   Essence   price     Init boost
                             (mental)
  0        0.1       ?        +0
  1        0.6       ?        +2+d6
  2        1.5       ?        +4+2d6
  3        2.4       ?        +6+3d6
  4        3.3       ?        +8+4d6

Wired Reflexes
Rating   Essence   price     Init boost
                             (physical)
  1        1.0       ?        +2+d6
  2        1.8       ?        +4+2d6
  3        2.8       ?        +6+3d6
  4        4.0       ?        +8+4d6

Move-by-wire
Rating   Essence   price         Init boost
                             (mental + physical)
  1        1.5       ?            +2+d6
  2        3.0       ?            +4+2d6
  3        5.0       ?            +6+3d6
  4        7.0       ?            +8+4d6

Note: Adept powers provide physical + mental initiative boost.

See where I'm going with this? You want to be a wirehead who's faster than your brain? Choose Wired Reflexes. You want to think faster than your body can react? Choose a high-rated Datajack. You don't want to deal with any of that physical>mental or mental>physical stuff? Choose Move-by-Wire, which wires up your brain and body at the same time.


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 18, 2008 8:01 pm 
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Oh man, cyberpunk or sacrificing stuff? Tough call, I like both...

Simplicity IS a concern, but it has its limitations. I'm not interested in a single die system, even though it would be much simpler. So simplicity is not the be-all and end-all. It is a question of cost benefits.

The RAS/Cold/Hot ASIST thing I don't think is so complex that it MUST be simplified. It doesn't add any more dice rolls. It just means instead of learning some hard rules for different settings you learn a paradigm, which is naturally more adaptable to unusual situations. My concern with that is strictly one of how much power should we REALLY give the decker (or even moreso, the rigger).

The two initiatives thing is more complex in that it requires at minimum a second stat, possibly a second roll, and really changes the dynamics of the game. It is a tough trade-off. I'm very curious what Kage's take on this would be, since he has a better understanding of where we're going with this project in the first place.

Another thought that occurs to me - mental initiative boost + cyberlimb for the win?


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 18, 2008 8:47 pm 
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nezumi wrote:
The two initiatives thing is more complex in that it requires at minimum a second stat, possibly a second roll, and really changes the dynamics of the game. It is a tough trade-off. I'm very curious what Kage's take on this would be, since he has a better understanding of where we're going with this project in the first place.
Well, it's more complex in some ways, but also more simple. Currently the GM has to consider rigger initiative, decker initiative, astral initiative, plain old physical initiative, and (in some cases, like my mage/decker character) sometimes two or three at once. Here there is a maximum of two, and everyone has them written down already.

We absolutely must keep from having to roll initiative twice in all but the most pathological circumstances though. I'd rather ditch the idea altogether than have to roll for init twice per CT.

Quote:
Another thought that occurs to me - mental initiative boost + cyberlimb for the win?
Ooh, good question! I'd rule that, since you don't have the physical initiative boost, your motor nerves are still going too slow to get you the extra actions. If you had a datajack wired directly to the arm you could get extra actions from it; you'd essentially be rigging your arm, which is a funny image. It may be a bit awkward because your body can't handle the recoil (as it's not moving), but it shouldn't be impossible.


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 18, 2008 9:24 pm 
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Would the datajack initiative boost help with magical initiative (since it's mental)? That seems odd. Seems odder that the rules you suggest would seem to say that high magical initiative REQUIRES the datajack.


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 18, 2008 11:25 pm 
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nezumi wrote:
Would the datajack initiative boost help with magical initiative (since it's mental)? That seems odd. Seems odder that the rules you suggest would seem to say that high magical initiative REQUIRES the datajack.

Well the answer to that actually depends on where we go with a few other questions, namely the strong thread/weak thread debate we have over in the Astral Space forum. At first blush though my opinion is that we follow all the other rules about magic, that dictate only natural attributes apply in magic. This, primarily, is why I had a natural and cybered initiative on the list, like you do with all other attributes from Body to Charisma.

As for the other potential issue with this idea, that is severely lowers the normal initiative for astral projectors, well I'm having a hard time seeing that as a problem. In canon, when you're fully astral you get a huge boost to initiative. All this basically does is put "astral time" on a different level from "normal time", with the mage and the spirits spending pass after pass beating on each other while everyone else waits for them to be done. Already the mundanes have a hard time caring, as none of the astral stuff directly affects them until it's over anyway, but now they're doing stuff that you don't care about and monopolizing the GM's time. Sounds a lot like most people think about decking to me, except this one is even more entrenched into canon.

And it doesn't necessarily make any sense, either. I mean, the main justification for the +20 init is that you're leaving your body behind, right? Well, so do the deckers; where's their free +20 to initiative? No, I think that mages should be content with their INT+2d6, and if they want more then they can look for some bioware initiative boosters (Boosted Reflexes IMO should be physical, and Synaptic Boosters should be maybe physical+Mental, IMO)


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 25, 2009 9:59 pm 
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I still do so like this idea, though I get the distinct impression that no one else does. :)

I think part of my enthusiasm comes from the type of character I like to play. I'm a fan of "multiclass" characters: rigger/decker, decker/sam, face/mage, sorcerer adept/decker, mystic adept. My typical charsheet has, by necessity, three or even four different initiatives written down, so having two on every charsheet doesn't seem like such a big deal to me. It's never really a problem knowing what plane I'm in, and therefore which initiative to roll, but by the same token it's not hard to know if I'm making physical or mental actions in one turn, so it doesn't strike me as harsh to do it all the time.

That and I do so love the flavor of the sam's body acting faster than his brain can keep up, or the decker's mind working a mile a minute while her hand slowly, slowly works its way to the gun holster. I do think that maybe the Physical>Mental "penalty" should be less harsh; maybe just a +2 distraction penalty while your brain tries to catch up to your limbs, which can be negated for (Rating*2) Active skills for those with Wired Reflexes or MBW?


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 26, 2009 1:39 pm 
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I don't dislike the idea. I do think it has the potential to add a lot of complexity, and a lot of unforeseen complications. Like I said, I'd be curious to see what someone who knows the system better than I do thinks. I'll also say, in my game (BBB only) it would add a lot of complexity for minimal gain. We don't have enough cyber to be worth differentiating.


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 26, 2009 2:02 pm 
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Well see that's the great thing; for uncybered mundanes the rules are exactly the same as existing rules, your physical initiative won't ever be higher than your mental initiative except in the unlikely case that your Quickness is 6+ and your Int is less than 4... and in that case it actually makes sense for your hands to occasionally be faster than your brain can keep up with. The only times when this matters at all is when you have wires of some kind.

And you know, the more I think about it the less I'm worried about casters using mental initiative to cast spells. Looking back at games I've seen/played, I have yet to see a caster without an initiative booster, namely the twinked Increase Reflexes III in a F1 focus. This rule lets us get rid of that ridiculous spell without worrying about casters only getting one pass in a turn. Also anything that convinces a mage to get cyberware is a plus, in my book.


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 27, 2009 12:49 pm 
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Eyeless Blond wrote:
Well see that's the great thing; for uncybered mundanes the rules are exactly the same as existing rules, your physical initiative won't ever be higher than your mental initiative except in the unlikely case that your Quickness is 6+ and your Int is less than 4... .


I have difficulty reading this line with a straight face :) It kind of proves my point though, the PCs with no options at all (i.e. - the sort of PC no one plays) has only one exception, and it gets more complex from there!

Again though, I suppose it's worth considerations, but I'd be curious to see what other people who actually play with all of the books think.


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 27, 2009 4:56 pm 
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nezumi wrote:
Eyeless Blond wrote:
Well see that's the great thing; for uncybered mundanes the rules are exactly the same as existing rules, your physical initiative won't ever be higher than your mental initiative except in the unlikely case that your Quickness is 6+ and your Int is less than 4... .
I have difficulty reading this line with a straight face :) It kind of proves my point though, the PCs with no options at all (i.e. - the sort of PC no one plays) has only one exception, and it gets more complex from there!
Heh, well one could say the same thing about the current system: the PCs with no options at all has only one exception (what you do with initiative ties), and it gets more complex from there (astral, Matrix, driving, etc).

More seriously, though, my point was that the base case (uncybered mundane, Int/Qui near equal) behaves exactly the same as he does under the current rules: since his Mental Initiative average is always at least 3 points higher than his Physical Initiative, there'll never be a time when his body will be out of step with his mind, and there are no purely mental actions he can take that would be worth rolling Mental Initiative over. As the player adds new capabilities, specifically new initiative boosters (magic, rigging, decking, astral, cyber, etc), he'll begin to see this rule affecting him, but it won't be unexpected because he's deliberately choosing to be affected by the rule in order to increase his power.

The point is, this rule doesn't saddle the player with anything that he doesn't pick for himself. The player chooses how much this rule affects him, if at all, by what he puts into his character. It's like choosing a race: you can look for a way to maximize a particular attribute (Dwarf for Willpower, Troll for Strength), or minimize penalties (Human, or Elf.)

Quote:
Again though, I suppose it's worth considerations, but I'd be curious to see what other people who actually play with all of the books think.
Same here.


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 03, 2009 1:01 am 
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Nezumi and I went back and forth on this for awhile (I do suggest reading the entire thread; the proposal goes through much development here), but nobody else commented yet.

To summarize:

-There are only two types of initiative: Physical and Mental. Everything, from rigging to decking to astral to plain vanilla combat, uses one or the other.
-Physical Initiative: Reaction + d6 - For anything involving physical movement / astral perception
-Mental Initiative: Intelligence + 2d6 - For anything involving pure DNI / astral projection
-Roll the one you're going to use that round.

-Maybe: use the average (maximum?) of the other type of initiative for penalties:
--For instance if you are acting physically and your rolled physical initiative is greater than your average mental initiative, maybe your last few actions that Turn have some kind of penalty, like not being able to take actions that haven't been programmed into your Wired Reflexes.
--Or if your rolled Mental initiative is greater than your average Physical initiative you suffer distraction penalties until you can take some time for your body to "catch up" with your brain.

-Three types of cyber init boosts:
--High-rating Datajacks: Mental Initiative boost only
--Wired Reflexes: Physical Initiative boost only
--Move-by-Wire: Mental and Physical Initiative boost
--Adept Increase Reflexes boost both Mental and Physical (making them suck less)

-Should spellcasting be a Mental Action?
--Makes mages more likely to take high-level datajacks <-Good Thing
--Can get rid of cheap Increase Reflexes spell without worrying about making mages ineffectual <- Good Thing
--Could have unintended balance problems <-Bad Thing

-Astrally Projected beings slow down to (uncybered) Mental Initiative
--Good Thing?

Poll at the top, too


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 07, 2009 1:15 am 
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Quote:
-Physical Initiative: Reaction + d6 - For anything involving physical movement / astral perception
-Mental Initiative: Intelligence + 2d6 - For anything involving pure DNI / astral projection

I have a problem with this.

It makes Intelligence far too valuable (which it's already over focused as it is).

You get two for one with this idea.
Physical: [(Intelligence + Quickness)/2 ] + xd6
Mental: Intelligence + 2d6


That's screwy as all get out.
The concept of mental initiative is already in the system by being included into Reaction.

If you want to separate it, then you would have to do something like:

Physical: Quickness + ad6
Mental: Intelligence + bd6
Reaction: [(Quick + Int)/2] + [(ad6 + bd6)/2]

This would mean:

I want to know my ability to move lots in combat: Physical Initiative formula rolled.
I want to know my ability to do lots of mental work in combat: Mental Initiative formula rolled.
I want to know my ability to react to something quickly in combat: Reaction formula rolled.


That being said...WAY too complicated.
Even the originally proposed concept is WAY too complicated for what it's worth.


If you wanted to reflect something CLOSE to the ambitions of such a concept, then it would be far better (as far as simplicity is concerned, and speed of use) to do something like:

Initiative: Physical | Mental
Initiative: Quickness | Intelligence

Quickness 6, Intelligence 5

Initiative: 6 | 5

What does this mean?
It means that you have 6 to add to your d6 for physical and 5 to add to your initiative on mental initiative.


HOWEVER
that being said.

Still think this is FAR too complex.

What you would have to do is figure out which one is principle, and which one is the augmented method of play.


For instance, I would say it's safe to assume that Physical (as we are calling it) is the more common and typical form of combat experiences, and therefore the "principle" combat initiative.
The Mental initiative is an augmentation to the "principle" initiative.

So, your Physical is Quickness + xd6

You would just run this constantly for initiative.

Then when it's needed that a character wants to do only mental activities, the system takes a switch on the fly, just for them.

The difference between Quickness and Intelligence augments your current Initiative on the fly to gain your new MENTAL ONLY initiative.

So...

You roll 2d6, let's say, and you end up 11, your Quickness is 4, so that's 15.
Your Intelligence is 6.

You start off on 15 (we'll ignore everyone else in the combat for now).
You would go in normal physical initiative as 15, 5.

Well, you decide that you are going to go rigger crazy on this Turn and so you opt for a turn of Mental Only initiative.
So you take the difference between your Quick and Int (in this case, your Int is 2 over your Quick) and apply it to your current Initiative (in this case +2).

So suddenly your Initiative becomes 17, 7.

If you wanted to add extra dice for mental, then you could do that as well I suppose, but you would have to declare such things at the start of the Initiative for use, and it would lock you into it for the entire Turn (considering it's only 3 to 5 bleeding seconds).

So it would be something like separating what pieces of hardware are INT dice bonuses for initiative, and those would only come into play when someone declares an interest in a Mental Only Turn.

So, let's say you have +2d6 in hardware for mental only initiative and the same INT and QUICK from before, with the same physical initiative dice as above.

Suddenly, this initiative, you would have an Initiative of 4d6 + 4 (quick) + 2 (intelligence difference bonus).


In other peoples cases, that intelligence would be a draw back (like trolls mostly).

They would end up with something like Quick 5 Int 3 and end up with something like:
Initiative: 2d6 + 5

Then go Mental only and find: 4d6 + 5 (quick) -2 (intelligence difference penalty).

That's way easier than many of the above concepts where you are rolling two completely different initiatives.




Oh...and if you are wondering why the Mental Initiative dice were just added to the physical initiative dice rather than replacing them, it's because thought is WAY faster (even for the dumb) than the physical manifestations of it.
So to reflect that, you would have to at least just add the mental initiative dice to the physical to pull off higher than the physical initiatives.


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 07, 2009 2:43 am 
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Stumps wrote:
Quote:
-Physical Initiative: Reaction + d6 - For anything involving physical movement / astral perception
-Mental Initiative: Intelligence + 2d6 - For anything involving pure DNI / astral projection

I have a problem with this.

It makes Intelligence far too valuable (which it's already over focused as it is).

You get two for one with this idea.
Physical: [(Intelligence + Quickness)/2 ] + xd6
Mental: Intelligence + 2d6

That's screwy as all get out.

Want me to blow your mind?

This is how SR3 already works

Most people don't really realize this because we hide it, behind "rigger (Pure DNI) initiative" and "decker (pure DNI) initiative" and "mage (astrally-projecting) initiative" and so on, and pretend that there is only one base initiative, but there's really two, and one of them uses [Qui+Int]/2 as the constant, and the other uses just Int.

The only real difference mechanically at this point between what I'm saying and what the book's saying is that astrally projecting mages get +20 to their initiative (in addition to Rea->Int) instead of +1d6 like deckers and riggers get. My change simplifies this, so rather than getting different initiatives for normal people, deckers, riggers, mages, spirits, etc, there's only two kinds: Physical, for normal people, and Mental, for people who do weird things on their turn with only their brain, instead of with both brain and body.

What I'm trying to do with these rules, in addition to combining identical SR concepts into a single one, is figure out how the corner cases should be. What happens when a person's Physical initiative is greater than his Mental, and his body has more init passes than his brain does? What happens when a person't Mental Initiative is greater than his body's, and he wants to use those extra Mental-only init passes to do more things, stuff his body can't physically keep up with?

The stock SR answer to these questions is "I don't know," which most GMs translate into "No," but I want to go beyond that, and define what happens in those situations. And, once these situations are defined and rules established, I want them to happen slightly more often (by properly creating Physical-only or Mental-only init boosters, again streamlining and combining similar SR concepts) because I like the idea of a wired sam twitching his way across a busy street, pulling a gun, and barely stopping himself before he pops a cap in a bystander's face, or a decker who feels his body moving half as fast as his brain as he reaches down slowly--oh so slowly--to his gun.


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 07, 2009 6:40 am 
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Riggers actually use normal Reaction universally, it's only Deckers that can go Pure DNI.

Weird, I know.

~J

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 07, 2009 10:56 pm 
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Huh; I swear I read somewhere they don't. Maybe that was just a houserule, or something off the errata? *shrug*


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 07, 2009 11:53 pm 
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I don't know if it's happened on the boards, but it was floated as a possible rule for SR3R; it makes sense, but it never went anywhere because of the concern over further reducing the number of attributes Riggers need in order to own everything.

~J

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 08, 2009 6:43 am 
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Seriously, however, we've established the wonkiness in the way it is.



I think I just have a core problem with the entire idea of two initiative's just because there simply aren't enough attributes to support splitting like this in Shadowrun easily.

You would need to figure out ways to combing attributes differently.

Now, you would have to identify the categories.
Out of the two categories, we would have to see which is the odd-man out for speed in combat.

These two would be Body, and Charisma.
Body can just get in your way, but more strength could actually help in staying in motion under stress with power to keep moving quickly, so Quickness and Strength seems rather physical.
On the Mental side it would have to be Intelligence and Willpower, as Charisma has zero to do with speed, but Willpower and desire to make it through can have a large impact on being able to keep up the pace and keep moving...it can easily be part of the rush.

So that would be:
Physical Initiative: (Quickness+Strength)/2
Mental Initiative: (Intelligence+Willpower)/2

We could leave Reaction the same (representing the cross over between physical and mental), but it's roll would have to change.

It would have to be the roll against surprise, and not for combat initiative.
It would possibly see a new roll for jumping to defend; *shrug*, perhaps you have to pass a Reaction test to be able to defend a melee attack?
Reaction contests could solve simultaneous actions much more logically than Quickness contests.

At any rate, then you would augment back and forth between the Physical and Mental Initiative's, being forced to declare Mental Initiative at the beginning of a Combat Turn, otherwise assumed as Physical Initiative.


Thoughts?


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 09, 2009 12:23 pm 
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I would disagree with your choice of Strength on the stance of definitions, but I would agree because of game balance (strength is otherwise largely ignored).

However, I think my older comments still stand.


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 09, 2009 6:24 pm 
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You mean where Physical can by higher than Mental?


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 09, 2009 9:46 pm 
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I think the main problem nezumi is concerned about is the potential complexity. And in some ways I can see the problem: most simple characters only have one or two initiatives to deal with, with only a very few types having three or more, while this rule will ensure that everyone has two. Even more potentially complicated is keeping track of your two average initiatives, and applying penalties when your Physical actions outstrip your Mental Initiative average, and vice versa.

Playtesting would best reveal if these are truly problems, but on a superficial level I don't really see how it could be a problem, so long as everyone knows the rules. All you're really doing is comparing the number you rolled (whichever Initiative you are using that round) to a number on your character sheet; how is that hard?

Re: Stumps' changed initiative mods: VERY interesting. I do like how that would make Str much less of a "dump" stat; most of the non-melee characters I've seen only take points in Str because it would probably look cheesy to put a 1 there. Physical Init = (Str+Qui)/2+d6 would certainly help that for characters who plan on frequently making physical actions.

I'm going to disagree on the Mental Initiative one though. Willpower is already high on nearly all SR characters, usually higher than Body actually. Will is your TN to be affected by many magic spells, the resistance attribute for dumpshock, Drain and other rigger/decker/magic damage, and the attribute used for healing Stun. No, Will is already high enough, and really it doesn't represent mental quickness anyway.

I have a better idea. Will is the Mental equivalent of Body; the Mental equivalent of Str is Charisma. Remember that Cha doesn't represent looks--I'm sure everyone here can think of at least a few beautiful, low-Cha people--but rather represents force of personality and innate persuasive ability. The ability to quickly adapt to your surroundings could be tied into this attribute, at least as well as Str can be tied to Physical Initiative.


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 09, 2009 11:15 pm 
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Perhaps Charisma should be changed to Grace, to help alleviate the prejudice of what Charisma is by most folks?

If it's Grace, then saying Intelligence + Grace would make perfect sense.

And the Grace we're talking about is the Charismatic concept of Grace, related to Mental and Personality type concepts, not physical Grace that comes from Quickness.

So, you would have the mirror affect of:
Code:
Intelligence | Strength
Willpower    | Body
Grace        | Quickness


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 10, 2009 6:15 pm 
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I like the idea of these initiatives, mostly since they codify already existing fringe cases into "universal" rules. Hope it can be made to work in a simple(ish) and game-balanced way.

As for the "corner cases". More mental initiative than physical? Have to wait for the body to catch up, get distraction modifiers, but as a bonus get "free" Awareness/Perception, as you "have time" to register what your senses are telling your brain instead of just having to gogogogoGO! to keep up. (In my games I usually keep to the rule that in combat unless you take action(s) to keep track of your surroundings and people, you only know what happens at whatever you're focused on.)

More physical initiative than mental? Some chance of "going by reflex", some chance of "standing there, mouth agape"... the Wired Reflexes "autopilot" sounds pretty cool, too, and there should be the option of continuing with current action. Plenty of potential for unwanted actions, as it would basically mean that unless one has the "autopilot", your character would be "GM-controlled" to some degree. Basically inline with EB's proposal, but with the Awareness/Perception twist

The downside would be that mental initiative would be (hugely) more valuable than physical. The upside would be that even the Sam would benefit from high mental initiative. How bad would that get?

I think I also generally like the idea of Physical Reactions being based on Str and Qui and Mental Reactions being based on Cha and Int, especially if it puts more emphasis to less-used Attributes.

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 24, 2009 5:18 pm 
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Stumps wrote:
So, you would have the mirror affect of:
Code:
Intelligence | Strength
Willpower    | Body
Grace        | Quickness

Well, if you look at the Astral section in SR, canon defines things as
Code:
Charisma     | Strength
Willpower    | Body
Intelligence | Quickness

Charisma is thus the force of your personality, just as Strength is the force of your body. I'm inclined to keep is solely because it is canon already, and doesn't involve having to relearn things we already know (with the upshot that it doesn't really matter because it gives us the same Mental Initiative if (INT+CHA)/2+d6). Is there is some extra benefit to this change that I'm not seeing?

HcK wrote:
The downside would be that mental initiative would be (hugely) more valuable than physical. The upside would be that even the Sam would benefit from high mental initiative. How bad would that get?
I think the "corner cases" everyone is worried about are all related to people switching from mental to physical actions, and vice-versa, and how to handle it. Currently canon handles this basically by not handling it: the second you switch to another kind of initiative, or if you even attempt to interact with another initiative "zone" you face immediate and crushing penalties to your actions:
  • Jacking in/out of the Matrix forces you to give up all your actions for that Turn, IIRC
  • (famously) Picking up a steering wheel somehow magically disables a sam's Wired Reflexes.
  • People in a vehicle are simply disallowed from acting before the driver does.
  • Even talking to someone outside of the Matrix while you're inside, whether it's through a speaker, a text message, whatever, loses you d6 initiative.
I'll hunt down the rest of the list sometime later, but suffice to say the canon SR3 designers clearly did not want to deal with even the possibility of someone wanting to act physically and mentally in the span of a single Combat Turn.

I don't really like that, and I'd like to change it. Blurring this "initiative zone" idea that is in canon would go a long way IMO to linking up the disparate character types: an astrally-projecting mage won't be off in his own little world; the decker will be part of the team again; etc.


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 24, 2009 10:22 pm 
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Quote:
Charisma is thus the force of your personality, just as Strength is the force of your body. I'm inclined to keep is solely because it is canon already, and doesn't involve having to relearn things we already know (with the upshot that it doesn't really matter because it gives us the same Mental Initiative if (INT+CHA)/2+d6). Is there is some extra benefit to this change that I'm not seeing?

*shrug*
I don't see anything wrong with the canon.
I think that's a matter of what the attributes are seen as.

If Charisma is seen as a mental force and Intelligence is seen as the mental grace, then I suppose we just run that way.

Personally...I tend to think of this flipped.
This way, it's a combination of your mental force and physical grace that accomplishes your initiative, and not a combination of mental grace and physical grace.

And the cha+int is looked at as the grace of your force mentally, instead of the force of your grace.

*shrug*
This is all semantics though really.
I agree with you for consistency.
Since it's canon flipped from how I put it, then it should remain that to avoid problems or confusion.


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 03, 2011 6:18 pm 
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So, I guess at this time there are two possibilities here:

I) The mostly-canon method. There are only two types of initiative: Physical and Mental. Everything, from rigging to decking to astral to plain vanilla combat, uses one or the other:
Physical Initiative: (Qui + Int)/2 + d6
Mental Initiative: (Int) + 2d6

Characters will record both their initiative formula (as normal), as well as average score for each (assume all d6s come up as 3)

Initiative is rolled and ordered like normal; players roll the initiative they are going to use that round.
--For instance if you are acting physically and your rolled physical initiative is greater than your average mental initiative, maybe your last few actions that Turn have some kind of penalty, like not being able to take actions that haven't been programmed into your Wired Reflexes.
--Or if your rolled Mental initiative is greater than your average Physical initiative you suffer distraction penalties until you can take some time for your body to "catch up" with your brain.

-Three types of cyber init boosts:
--High-rating Datajacks: Mental Initiative boost only
--Wired Reflexes: Physical Initiative boost only
--Move-by-Wire: Mental and Physical Initiative boost
--Adept Increase Reflexes boost both Mental and Physical (making them suck less)

-Should spellcasting be a Mental Action?
--Makes mages more likely to take high-level datajacks <-Good Thing
--Can get rid of cheap Increase Reflexes spell without worrying about making mages ineffectual <- Good Thing
--Could have unintended balance problems <-Bad Thing

-Astrally Projected beings slow down to (uncybered) Mental Initiative
--Good Thing?

II) The modified method. Same as above, but with the base formulas changed:
Physical Initiative: (Qui + Str)/2 + d6
Mental Initiative: (Int + Cha)/2 + 2d6

I) has the advantage of being mostly canon; II) has the advantage of pulling more attributes, in particular less used ines like Cha and Str, into initiative and making them more important.


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 05, 2011 4:36 pm 
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If those are the only differences, I'd say #2. We're pretty desperate for more uses for charisma, although this may lead us to a lot of awfully charming deckers.


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 05, 2011 8:34 pm 
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I'm almost tempted to say it should. More and more it's looking like social engineering is going to be the decking of the future anyway; it seems appropriate to have that reflected in the way deckers are most commonly constructed.

Do you have any better ideas? The aim here is to make everything more cohesive, in particular so we can move seamlessly to blend different initiative contexts without problems (Matrix with real world, Astral with vehicles, etc); do you have any suggestions to make this work better?


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