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PostPosted: Mon Sep 22, 2008 8:41 pm 
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So there are a lot of big changes that could be made, most of which I'm hesitant to enact and almost none of which I have real time to think about at the moment; however, the issue of Elves costing too much for what they bring to the table stands out (I'll let you do the math on this one; suffice to say that while Elves save you some Edges if you play with the limits on those, unless you max your Charisma or Quickness you lose more points than you gain making an Elf).

Now, the obvious solution is to give them another point in an attribute, but +3 Charisma or +2 Quickness seems too strong,+1 Intelligence is altogether too strong, +1 Willpower infringes on Dwarf territory and +1 to Strength or Body is thematically inappropriate.

Therefore, I propose that the "perk" the Elves should get to counter their cost should be both kinds of special vision (Low-Light and Thermographic). This provides a useful distinguishing factor (no other metatype has both naturally), while it naturally plays to B&E it's useful to everyone but the heavy Rigger or Decker, and it doesn't seem excessively powerful. Any thoughts?

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 23, 2008 2:42 pm 
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I disagree. Elves are still the single most popular race, even though they should represent about 14% of the population. If anything, I'd say increase the cost for being an elf.


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 23, 2008 3:44 pm 
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For what it's worth, I can count on one hand the number of Elves I've seen in play, and it's never seemed to me that the role of race cost-vs-benefit calculations was to make played character counts resemble the in-game population statistics. More compelling than table demographics, though, is the numbers: it's 10 points to be an Elf, for which you get the rough equivalent of three two-point edges, one one-point edge, an attribute point, and the equivalent of a five-point flaw. Even adding in a fudge factor for "positive portrayal" and the fact that they're the only race with stat bonuses but without penalties to any stats, I don't see parity there.

This is magnified by the fact that two out of three of their points are in Charisma, which has marginal effect at high levels; unless you're planning on getting karma savings for extremely high social skills, are a Summoner, or are an astral combat specialist, you don't get much out of it. Consequently, most of the Elves I've seen have been speedsams, who can squeeze every drop out of that +1 Quickness.

If you still disagree, do you mind discussing why in a bit more detail?

~J

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 24, 2008 8:41 am 
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Oh, I do agree, elves are the worst deal when it comes to race (with the possible exception of humans, depending on what you're trying to do). Dwarves are the best.

However, when I play, discounting the characters I've played, elves seem to be the first or second race. Dwarves are, hands down, the least popular. This is certainly counter-intuitive, since dwarves are the best and elves the worst, which seems to imply there's another factor we aren't accounting for (otherwise, why aren't all characters dwarves?) That factor is the 'coolness' factor. People think elves are cool, and that has a value beyond 9 points up, 10 points down. Any value calculations need to account for that. Remember 1st edition where it took priority A plus you took a random flaw? How many elves did you still have in your group?

And I do think the rules should account for character demographics. If we made elves free, the only people who wouldn't take elves would be those wacky people who don't mind suffering for the sake of role-playing. If we have a game where everyone plays one race, why even bother having the other races? Same with equipment, why include rules for something no one will use? Would we want to play a game where there is only one race? I don't think that would be beneficial.

So I think in this case, we need to focus on the average game. In your games, perhaps everyone does their math and everyone runs dwarves, in which case you may need to consider making house rulels. In my games, everyone likes elves and orks, and I'm ready to make dwarves free and give humans a bonus attribute point, just to get some in the party. If I gave elves another two attribute points, I don't think I'd see another human as long as I game.


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 24, 2008 5:56 pm 
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Given how elves are always described as being thin or gaunt, perhaps we should consider a -1 to body.

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 24, 2008 6:25 pm 
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As much as I'd love to run contrary to Kage's suggestion and make elves weaker, I'm happy to go with the middle road and not change it at all.


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 26, 2008 7:39 am 
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nezumi wrote:
If we made elves free, the only people who wouldn't take elves would be those wacky people who don't mind suffering for the sake of role-playing.

You've pretty much just made my argument for me: elves are not only not free, but they cost something (more than they give back), so the only people taking them and making anything other than a few specific builds are "those wacky people who don't mind suffering for the sake of role-playing". I'd like to make elves available to those with a lower tolerance for that kind of suffering.

The other point you're ignoring is that the reason Elves aren't free isn't so that people will play things other than Elves, it's because they give stat bonuses. If they didn't have stat bonuses (ok, and their other bonuses and penalties), they could be free, but there would no longer be a point—much like the fact that despite the books saying that a lot of gear is "archetypical", almost everyone has an Ares Predator and a Lone Star Strato-9, while almost no one has a Saeder-Krupp Alien, a Fuchi Marine, or a Knight Errant Peep-a-lot.

There's also the fact that you should probably leave Dwarves where they are if you really want to reflect demographics, 'cause in Seattle, they're 2% of the population, suggesting you should see about one in every fifty characters that cross your desk. Of course, that's assuming we can establish a connection between city demographics and Shadowrunner demographics, which I contend is an extremely unlikely assumption.

Anyway, the short version is that I disagree. chance359, you seem to agree with nezumi, since you propose an additional penalty to Elves; could you expand on why?

(Also, I should point out that I don't propose giving Elves two more attribute points, just another vision mode which isn't available as an edge but approximates the one-point Night Vision edge).

~J

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PostPosted: Fri Sep 26, 2008 8:34 am 
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Kagetenshi wrote:
so the only people taking them and making anything other than a few specific builds are "those wacky people who don't mind suffering for the sake of role-playing".


But this is where experience at least seems to disagree. Most of the worst role-players I see gravitate towards elves. Most of the 'wear a trench coat and wield a katana' characters I see are elves. If you can explain to me why these people chose elf over anything else, perhaps then we can think of how better to normalize them.

As it stands, I suspect a survey of games based on experience would show that those games with the least experienced players have more elves than those with the most experience, and that their number of elves is obscenely high. So if we found a way to make elves more useful for high-experience groups without making them breed like rabbits with the low-experience groups, I could be convinced. Right now the best answer would seem to me to be handle it on a game-by-game basis using house rules.


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 26, 2008 9:42 am 
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I assert that that is simply a degenerate form of role-playing. They are (perhaps unknowingly) sacrificing power for roleplaying "a cool badass" (a valid, if shallow, role). You're simply never going to discourage these people from doing that until the penalties have become so high that they can no longer be both an elf and a cool badass because all elves are automatically crippled.

Consequently, I assert that any attempt to correct this distinguishable from removing Elves as a playable race entirely will fail.

Basically, my argument is that, while my true position is that house rules are evil (and I'd argue the real fix is to just wait until the players gain enough experience to optimize properly for the character type), it seems to me that we're better off leaving the attempt to make the mountain come to Mohammed to house rules and making default Elves that are useful for a reasonably wide variety of characters by default.

(If you're going to point out that Trolls are also only useful for a narrow range of characters, I'm going to agree with you. The reason I haven't proposed a fix is because they don't seem nearly as easy to fix as Elves do.)

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PostPosted: Fri Sep 26, 2008 11:43 am 
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Quote:
chance359, you seem to agree with nezumi, since you propose an additional penalty to Elves; could you expand on why?


Because I see them described as lanky and girly. Giving them a smaller bodymass less able to absorb damage.

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PostPosted: Fri Sep 26, 2008 12:00 pm 
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So there's no consideration of balance given, or were you thinking to concurrently make them cost less?

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PostPosted: Fri Sep 26, 2008 12:43 pm 
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I think it balances out that they're the only race that doesnt have a minus. that and I just dont like elves.

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 30, 2008 8:29 am 
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Kagetenshi wrote:
I assert that that is simply a degenerate form of role-playing. They are (perhaps unknowingly) sacrificing power for roleplaying "a cool badass" (a valid, if shallow, role). You're simply never going to discourage these people from doing that until the penalties have become so high that they can no longer be both an elf and a cool badass because all elves are automatically crippled.


There are degrees to it, just like there are degrees to the 'real roleplayer'. I won't play a completely mundane human because, even while it would be real roleplaying, it would be too expensive to do. I will play a character who is not optimized, however. The less optimized he is, the less likely I am to play him.

There are probably more hard-core 'badass' players than hard-core roleplayers, so that curve will favor elves even when faced with clear penalties (currently many players won't realize they're getting cheated). But the current setup provides a slight disuasive force against elves just because they're elves, which counts for something. I'm sure many 'badass' players have dumped that race because they saw the math doesn't add up.

On the flip side, as perhaps you meant to point out, people who play for optimization first are almost always extreme in that regard, and thusly will almost never select an elf except for the select roles you mentioned. Therefore, the balance (or lack thereof) has the most profound effect on this group.

Where I play, the 'badass' players are numbered high enough that that curve is weighted over the optimizing player curve, so that's the problem I feel is more critical. In your situation, clearly the two are reversed. I don't think we can come up with a rule which will be appropriate for all or even most cases, since most people will fall into one situation or another, there's rarely a middling case. Perhaps the question should be which groups do we think will be more common in our player base? If SR3R is primarily for optimizers, we should alter the rules in favor of that. If it's primarily for badass players (and/or new players) we should favor that.

So... What precisely is our audience?

Quote:
(If you're going to point out that Trolls are also only useful for a narrow range of characters, I'm going to agree with you. The reason I haven't proposed a fix is because they don't seem nearly as easy to fix as Elves do.)


I have no problem with trolls being as limited as they are. It fits into the character description and demographics (2% or less of the population I believe).

However, I think most of the characters are only useful for select roles. Elves are good for gunslingers and mages of most sorts. Orks and trolls are best for combat characters (ranged and melee respectively). Dwarves, when compared to humans, are better for combat characters and worse for most everything else (since humans can use those same points better). An optimizer will probably recognize this, and so race is already decided when they know what role they wish to play in the party.


Another thing worth pointing out, with the current ruleset, Quickness and Intelligence are probably the two most important stats, since they feed into reaction, combat pool, and feed most skills. Elves are the only one who get a bonus to one of those attributes and one of the few who don't get a penalty to one or both. Should we be weighting which attributes are most important in order to determine the 'real' value of these metatypes?


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 30, 2008 9:12 am 
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You make a good point at the end about a hierarchy of attributes—I've already been taking the relative values of attributes into account, but we should probably put that information out there so everyone's on the same page, and so we can make sure our hierarchies align.

I'll make a new topic for that.

Regarding audience, that's a bit of a tricky question. In the purest sense, my audience is my gaming group—SR3R's first rules (well, except the decking utilities rework) were drawn from the slowly growing list of house rules that we'd grudgingly introduced. However, because improving the entire rule system is hard work, I'm trying to foist some of it off on all of you ( ;) ), which means I need to keep you all happy as well, otherwise you've got no incentive to work on this. Plus, having a set of rules that other people like gives me the warm fuzzies.

So that makes the "target audience" sorta vague. I'll see if I can come to any more concrete classifications.

~J

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 30, 2008 9:26 am 
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I will concede, I think the intent, and primary point of interest for the project, is those people who already play SR3, are hooked, and want to fix the flaws they've already found. I don't think it holds a lot of interest (and would be very hard to sell to) new gamers who are as yet unfamiliar with SR3. And we've already established we're approaching this with a 'no fear of math' approach (which is part of why we're looking at SR3R, not SR4). Should we decide our core audience are experienced SR-playing math geeks, however, I can't offer any serious recommendation one way or another, since I have never played, muchless GMed with such a group.


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 30, 2008 9:44 am 
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More to the point, IMO, is the fact that new players are new for a limited amount of time. I want it to be reasonable for a new player to join in, but it's not my intention to optimize for that case.

I've put up a hierarchy; my assertion is that while Quickness is very valuable, Charisma just isn't that valuable; Charisma 7 or Higher is the highest level that gives you bonus social modifiers, which can be reached with just Bonus Attribute Point and any race that doesn't get Charisma penalties. Thus, the two points Elves get are mostly useful for being able to spend less on Charisma, which makes them even less worth it since then they've got an effective value of two points each (since they're ordinary attributes) instead of four points each (for a point and an edge-equivalent to allow bypassing of the normal cap). This brings me back to the assertion that Elves only have good stat bonuses if you squeeze every drop out of the Quickness bonus (by boosting it up to 8 or 9 with edges and playing a speed+Reaction-focused character) or if you play the very small number of character types that can take full advantage of the Charisma bonus (being, I think, Summoners and Astral Combat specialists—and the latter is incredibly specialized for most games).

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 20, 2009 9:16 pm 
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Any other opinions on this? I'm still inclined towards it, but since every comment I've gotten in this thread has been negative, I'm not really comfortable pushing it more at the moment without further feedback.

~J

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 23, 2009 3:19 pm 
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I still don't think it's worth addressing (or can be really effectively addressed if we accept SR3R may have as wide an audience as SR3 does). Maybe bring back the SR2 or SR1 costs for metatypes :P


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 15, 2009 4:07 am 
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If I was to address any imbalance with the races I'd do via the build point cost rather than alter the races whose details are well established.
As I don't employ the BP system for PC generation I probably miss the nuances of Kage's analysis and agree that the elf is a popular choice (we seem to prefer humans first and then elves with a few trogs and no dwarves).
One change I've vaguely considered is to mandate an allergy flaw for metas (they do get the points towards edges though) in the tradition of SR1 & 2.


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 22, 2009 4:23 pm 
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Eh. On this front I'm not sure about changing things too much. Maybe just switch the BP costs of dwarves and elves... but then again, I'm not all that convinced that either needs the change. Dwarves have a few big hindrances already* to make up for their excellent stats, and even then many of those points are in Str, which is mostly useless for the dwarf. An elf, on the other hand... Quickness is the most important and widely-used stat in the game, and I don't think there's a single runner with any experience who thinks that a Cha of less than 3 is ever a good idea.

*Btw, you guys really don't see dwarves as having a big disadvantage, with that x2 running multiplier thing? I'm kind of surprised; maybe you guys aren't making 'em run away from things often enough. :D


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 22, 2009 7:14 pm 
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Eh. Running isn't precisely small—there's running away, and it makes melee a lot harder if the GM uses large areas much, but it doesn't make any skills more expensive and seems most crippling in circumstances that don't make good gameplay anyway (the building is collapsing, run 500 meters in individual combat phases before it all comes down or die).

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 22, 2009 7:33 pm 
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Or more like: the fire elemental is attacking your group. You don't have to run the fastest, you just have to be faster than the slowest guy. Here's a mop, Dwarfy McTwinkerson; you're gonna need it.

My opinion is to leave things as they are, but I'm not sure if that's my balance sense talking, or my I-hate-Tolkein sense. :)

If you really want to fix things I'd say switching the cost for Dwarves and Elves (10BP/"C" Race for dwarf and 5BP/"B" Race for Elf)


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 22, 2009 7:44 pm 
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The problem is that that only works against at least moderately backstabby groups; while it's totally in keeping with the setting, I don't think enough groups play it that way for it to be a serious factor in balancing.

(Additionally, the Fire Elemental can just go Astral, move at Fast Astral speed to the front of the group, materialize and then start chowing down on whoever had the misfortune to be fastest. Or, you know, could eat the dwarf and then do the above. Even at normal speed it'd be at INT*4, so F*4.)

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 23, 2009 9:00 am 
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The only problem I've had with slow dwarfs is they aren't fast enough to keep up with the charge (which comes off as an inconvenience) or too slow to provide medical attention (our dwarf is a medic/tank - and he really does move like a tank). More of an inconvenience than a serious flaw.


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 11, 2009 9:40 am 
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So I've had some brainstorming regarding this, and I'm going to propose the following changes:

General: either everyone gains karma pool like humans do, or humans gain karma pool like everyone else does. The effects of karma pool on power are just too weird; it starts off giving very little benefit to humans and the benefit just increases over time. Maybe we throw humans some kind of bone in exchange, like getting an extra point of karma (that doesn't count towards karma pool) every time they get a point of karma pool; +10% or +5% karma isn't /small/, but it doesn't seem to be the same huge-and-growing effect that double-karma-pool is.

Elves: I still think they desperately need a boost, and that both vision types naturally might provide enough of one without making them overpowering in any role.

Dwarves: probably need to be taken down a notch no matter what, maybe by changing them from +2 Strength, +1 Body to +1 Strength, +1 Body, and the Toughness edge by default.

Orks: with the above change to Dwarves they at least have some kind of benefit over them other than movement speed, but given that their bonuses are mostly in weak attributes I think we might just want to drop the penalty to Intelligence.

Trolls: reduce Intelligence penalty to -1, maybe Charisma penalty to same. They still lose an effective point of Reaction and Combat Pool, but one point is better than a point and a half.

Thoughts?

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PostPosted: Fri Dec 11, 2009 9:11 pm 
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My comments stand. I see far too many orks and elves to think it's worth boosting them any more. Another point or two to elves and you may as well call it Elfrun.

Dwarves I don't mind reducing. They're like Shadowrun's dirty short err... little secret.


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 14, 2009 7:50 am 
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You see Orks? Dear god, why?

(I know, I know, new players and all, but Dwarves get the same Strength bonus without even a penalty to Int!)

~J

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 14, 2009 8:54 am 
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Style over substance, I guess. My current party is:
Elf fire mage
Troll rigger/decker/adept/street sam
Ork street sam
Ork street sam/decker
Human mage

In my experience, a dwarf means an experienced player. A troll means a crazy player. A human means an unimaginative player.


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 14, 2009 9:32 am 
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nezumi wrote:
Troll rigger/decker/adept/street sam
[…] A troll means a crazy player.

Apparently!

Quote:
A human means an unimaginative player.

Or a long-term planner. Anyone have any comments about my issue with the gigantic Human Karma Pool Bonus?

~J

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 16, 2009 8:32 pm 
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nezumi wrote:
My comments stand. I see far too many orks and elves to think it's worth boosting them any more. Another point or two to elves and you may as well call it Elfrun.


In contrast, I have never seen a PC ork and I've only seen elves that max quickness, charisma, or both. (Disclaimer: All of the SR3 games I've been involved with have also involved Kagetenshi, and I'm of the optimizing bent. I'm weeks late finishing a character sheet because I haven't finished redesigning drones. That, and I get distracted with things like this discussion. :roll: )

Kagetenshi wrote:
[E]ither everyone gains karma pool like humans do, or humans gain karma pool like everyone else does. The effects of karma pool on power are just too weird; it starts off giving very little benefit to humans and the benefit just increases over time. Maybe we throw humans some kind of bone in exchange, like getting an extra point of karma (that doesn't count towards karma pool) every time they get a point of karma pool; +10% or +5% karma isn't /small/, but it doesn't seem to be the same huge-and-growing effect that double-karma-pool is.


Support.

Kagetenshi wrote:
Elves: I still think they desperately need a boost, and that both vision types naturally might provide enough of one without making them overpowering in any role.


Is this in addition to reducing cost? Under the supposition that this would keep them at 10 BP, this seems fine, especially if visibility mods were applied as frequently as parts of canon suggest.

Kagetenshi wrote:
Dwarves: probably need to be taken down a notch no matter what, maybe by changing them from +2 Strength, +1 Body to +1 Strength, +1 Body, and the Toughness edge by default.

Orks: with the above change to Dwarves they at least have some kind of benefit over them other than movement speed, but given that their bonuses are mostly in weak attributes I think we might just want to drop the penalty to Intelligence.

Trolls: reduce Intelligence penalty to -1, maybe Charisma penalty to same. They still lose an effective point of Reaction and Combat Pool, but one point is better than a point and a half.


Support. For trolls, I endorse reducing the Intelligence and Charisma penalties.


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 16, 2009 8:41 pm 
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I can support reducing penalties for trolls and orks, and changing over the 'bonus' for humans (and for the record, I give players the option of using their karma pool as normal karma if they'd like).


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 16, 2009 9:10 pm 
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nezumi wrote:
I give players the option of using their karma pool as normal karma if they'd like.


How often do players take advantage of this? (For reference, I'd also like to know how much karma you typically award and what usages of karma pool you allow.)


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 17, 2009 10:47 am 
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I think I've seen it once so far, when a character was 1 point short of boosting a critical skill. The party is around 60-80 karma, but I don't give karma often (since it's online). Characters currently have between 3-9 karma pool, which they don't use especially often, so forcing them to invest in it reduces their options and may ultimately be a disservice.


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 21, 2009 8:23 am 
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Kagetenshi wrote:
So there are a lot of big changes that could be made, most of which I'm hesitant to enact and almost none of which I have real time to think about at the moment; however, the issue of Elves costing too much for what they bring to the table stands out (I'll let you do the math on this one; suffice to say that while Elves save you some Edges if you play with the limits on those, unless you max your Charisma or Quickness you lose more points than you gain making an Elf).

Now, the obvious solution is to give them another point in an attribute, but +3 Charisma or +2 Quickness seems too strong,+1 Intelligence is altogether too strong, +1 Willpower infringes on Dwarf territory and +1 to Strength or Body is thematically inappropriate.

Therefore, I propose that the "perk" the Elves should get to counter their cost should be both kinds of special vision (Low-Light and Thermographic). This provides a useful distinguishing factor (no other metatype has both naturally), while it naturally plays to B&E it's useful to everyone but the heavy Rigger or Decker, and it doesn't seem excessively powerful. Any thoughts?

~J

Got one on ya.
They live for ever right?

Half price for being mage, OR half price on purchasing attributes.


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 21, 2009 12:25 pm 
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Stumps wrote:
Kagetenshi wrote:
<snip> proposals & such </snip>

Got one on ya.
They live for ever right?


Some of them have lived an awfully long time, but determining whether or not they live forever seems a bit like the halting problem.

On topic, while this may be an advantage, it does not seem like an advantage that comes up in actual game play and so should not be considered for the purpose of balance.


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 21, 2009 1:00 pm 
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I think the point was that that would be the justification for one of the two perks he mentioned afterwards. That said, they both seem too powerful, and the magic one additionally makes taking a non-Awakened Elf a silly idea.

(There's also the fact that, Immortal Elves aside, no Elf alive has actually lived longer than a hundred years (accounting for Spike Babies here) and the overwhelming majority are less than 54 as of 2064.)

~J

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 21, 2009 2:17 pm 
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Well, I'm not sure how thematically appropriate thermovision is either. Elves are supposed to have excellent senses, yes, but I don't think heat vision ever applied.

How about a flat -1TN to all Perception tests? We may even be able to reopen this issue if we ever get around to fixing weapon/sight/spellcasting ranges.


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 21, 2009 7:13 pm 
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Dual natured?

Nah...that blows; too many annoying rules.

hmmm....

Brb...gotta go smoke and think about this...


hmm....when I look at thing; it seems that there's more off here than just the Elf.

dwarf
1
2
1
---
4(6 [+2 body for disease/toxin])
(running penalty: count as -1)
Final:
3(5)
Cost: 10 Karma
Average: 3.33(2) Karma per Bonus

Elf
1
2
---
3
Cost: 20 Karma
Average: 6.66 Karma per Bonus

Ork
3
2
-1
-1
---
3
Cost: 20 Karma
Average: 6.66 Karma per Bonus

Troll
5
-1
4
-2
-2
---
4(6 [+1 body Dermal/+1 reach])
Cost: 40 Karma
(Troll size penalty: count as -1)
Final:
3(5)
Average: 13.33(8) Karma per Bonus


It seems to me that the wrong costs are applied to the wrong metahumans.
It seems like it should be something like this:

dwarf
1
2
1
---
4(6 [+2 body for disease/toxin])
(running penalty: count as -1)
Final:
3(5)
Cost: 10 Karma
Average: 3.33(2) Karma per Bonus
Average of two Karma costs ([3.33+2]/2): 4.33

Elf
1
2
---
3
Cost: 10 Karma
Average: 3.33 Karma per Bonus

Ork
3
2
-1
-1
---
3
Cost: 10 Karma
Average: 3.33 Karma per Bonus

Troll
5
-1
4
-2
-2
---
4(6 [+1 body Dermal/+1 reach])
(Troll size penalty: count as -1)
Final:
3(5)
Cost: 10 Karma
Average: 3.33(2) Karma per Bonus
Average of two Karma costs ([3.33+2]/2): 4.33


This way, the Troll and the Dwarf, which have the same amount of point bonus/negative distribution carry a net 1 point extra cost than the Elf and Dwarf, which both carry a net point lower than the Troll or Dwarf, but lack the modulating conditional +2 bonuses.


Vision is left out since each metahuman has one, so they equalize to 0 on that bonus.


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 22, 2009 8:37 am 
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1) Not all attributes are of equal value. For most characters, a +2 to Quickness is better than a +6 to Strength.
2) This fails to account for style (and racism) values, which are difficult to quantify. Most people I've seen take elves took them because elves are cool. Most people I've seen choose dwarves dislike the fact that now they're stumpy, short, unattractive characters. Not especially cool. Style has value.
3) Please don't make extraneous rules. That increases complexity for uncertain gain. People already say Shadowrun is confusing enough, and I don't think additional special cases would be considered a 'revision' by most.


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 22, 2009 4:06 pm 
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As currently written, natural thermographic nearly dominates natural low-light vision; Natural Low-Light is slightly better in low-light conditions, and doesn't take additional penalties for thermal smoke, but other than that thermovision never suffers worse TN mods and is usually better. This is balanced a little by a bunch of special rules in various places, like the rules from Target: Wastelands or the armor mod that gives thermovision TN mods, but those don't get applied a lot. Consequently, I'm not sure I agree that they should be considered equal.

As for style, I think we should fail to take that into account, as it's a poor guide to making a balanced set of races.

~J

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 22, 2009 4:40 pm 
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Ignore style and you'll have at least some games populated wholly by elves. If that's where you want to take things...


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 22, 2009 7:32 pm 
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I don't care which attributes are more valued to one person over another.
One point of attribute is worth one point of attribute; period.
Otherwise, we better start making Quickness cost more to raise that Strength by this argument alone.

I think that's pretty far out there from happening.

So attributes are balanced out just by point, as they all cost the same amount of Karma per point.

And that's what I used as my measure.
To make sure the right amount of Karma was being charged for the right amount of bonuses per point to Karma ratio.

It is.

As far as I'm concerned, that's balanced.

Whether people prefer fast character's or strong character's or whatever, just comes in as a matter of choice and has nothing to do with balancing out the numbers themselves.

It doesn't because I'm not going to make a system that favors one type of archetype over the other.

I'm not going to make it cost more to get speed bonuses than strength bonuses just because some folks really see more speed players than strength players.
(for instance, I am running 6 players right now and half of them are power over speed players, and only one player is using a speed player.)


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 22, 2009 8:14 pm 
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nezumi wrote:
Ignore style and you'll have at least some games populated wholly by elves. If that's where you want to take things...


land wrote:
nezumi wrote:
My comments stand. I see far too many orks and elves to think it's worth boosting them any more. Another point or two to elves and you may as well call it Elfrun.


In contrast, I have never seen a PC ork and I've only seen elves that max quickness, charisma, or both.<snip>


And, since I didn't make it explicit before, that's been all of, um... *carry the one, divide by pi*

two.

(there might have been Human-Looking elves that I'm not counting). The experience I have (which I believe Kagetenshi shares) is that without (re)considering balance, one doesn't see elves.

I'm unearthing this horse not just for the sake of beating it, but to demonstrate that a consensus between you and us seems unlikely and continued barking on this subject seems nonproductive.

erk... I'll finish when I get back. o.o

Also, if we're accounting for style as part of racial balance, trolls need a cost we'll write with the Ackerman function because writing out the corresponding integer would kill players out of sheer boredom. =)


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 22, 2009 9:47 pm 
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Bron had an Elf, and Heath does in our current game. Gem was almost an Elf, but became a human because her Elfness (for a Conjurer!) wasn't pulling its weight. I've occasionally made Night Ones for crazy-silly-combat-monster characters, but those have all been for demonstration purposes.

That's pretty much it.

~J

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 22, 2009 11:08 pm 
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Kagetenshi wrote:
Bron had an Elf, and Heath does in our current game. Gem was almost an Elf, but became a human because her Elfness (for a Conjurer!) wasn't pulling its weight. I've occasionally made Night Ones for crazy-silly-combat-monster characters, but those have all been for demonstration purposes.

That's pretty much it.

~J


Must be three then, since we had a Night One in the original game. Man, stupid Night Ones.

Still... not many.


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 23, 2009 1:45 am 
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Stumps: I take it your group isn't a bunch of powergamers then? Strength in vanilla SR3 is essentially useless for everyone but the (non-Whips/Stun Baton using) melee character; it's a big problem we need to fix, one we're taking steps to in the initiative thread (making physical initiative dependent on Str+Qui, and mental initiative dependent on Int+Cha) and the armor thread (limiting worn armor by Str rather than Bod). Until one or both of those proposals pass, though, we have to realize that Str bonuses are at best worth half of what other bonuses are worth, and at worst are worth nothing.

Others: Thermovision seems like a bad way to go to make elves better, in particular because many of the other metatypes already have it so it's a bit cheap and useless. I think -1 to Perception TNs, or maybe some sort of unique vision mod that works like natural Vision Magnification would be better; it'd be more in keeping with the mythos surrounding elves than thermo, and be something relatively unique that would maybe make their point value worth it.


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 23, 2009 4:52 am 
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Eyeless Blond wrote:
Stumps: I take it your group isn't a bunch of powergamers then? Strength in vanilla SR3 is essentially useless for everyone but the (non-Whips/Stun Baton using) melee character; it's a big problem we need to fix, one we're taking steps to in the initiative thread (making physical initiative dependent on Str+Qui, and mental initiative dependent on Int+Cha) and the armor thread (limiting worn armor by Str rather than Bod). Until one or both of those proposals pass, though, we have to realize that Str bonuses are at best worth half of what other bonuses are worth, and at worst are worth nothing.

I don't design games for powergaming.
Designing games for powergaming is like designing for the extreme to be classified as the average.

I design for the setting, and if someone wants to powergame that setting, then by all means go for it; but don't confuse that as the setting.

I design, therefore, for what is the universe that is in the game.
That's what a mechanic is to me; an expression of the universe tangibly.
Making that core level powergaming level is making the entire universe tangibly aggressive and over the top.

Are there powerful characters?
Yes.

One of them is a Troll that if he lays his hands on you...chances are you will die in roughly two to three hits and if you shoot him with a 9mm pistol, you are going to need to shoot him 5 times in the chest to even give him a reason to consider that 9mm shot more than a punch...that's without armor on.

I have a mage player that can blind everyone in the room and heal anyone in the group, and is a Las Vegas slave mage for a casino.
He has a crap load of creds because of that.
He can also identify nearly any kind of magic, especially common forms, really well and instantly knows the relative effects and can figure out a counter from his choices quickly.
He can't heal one guy on the team.

That's this guy; the super assassin from Renraku that just unknowingly escaped from his last procedure which implanted 3 dimensional probability controlled synesthesia which resulted in his brain going without air for two seconds, by accident, and when he came too he had absolutely no idea who the hell he was or where he was except that he was extremely afraid in emotion and seemed to be in a lab somewhere.
His motor reflexes kicked in and countless years of training and experimental medical alterations flicked into gear and he escaped...brain still slightly exposed. He got that fixed later, another story.
He now searches for who the hell he is, like Borne.
And runs from Renraku; he can use two pistols like non-other, and has 0 penalties for multiple targets or multiple guns because he used an embedded probability simulated overlay of reality caused from his numerical synesthesia and therefore pulls an Equilibrium.
And in so doing, kicks a lot of ass really, really fast.

Then there's the Gypsi Dwarf mage...he has a seat in the other Mage's motorcycle's side-car...the side-car has an ejector seat.
Dwarven Magical Gypsi Catapult.
The DMG-C, or "Damage-Catalyst".
I'm not kidding...it's more lethal than a missile.


So are there powerful characters?
Absolutely.

Are we, "powergaming" the game?
No.


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 23, 2009 8:20 pm 
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Stumps, I try not to design for powergaming either. But I do keep in mind that balanced demographics are as important to the setting as balanced stats. So when my group is 50% of a single non-human race, I start to wonder. If your stats are such that people will only chose a given race to make a particular type of fringe character, I wonder if that's a good change.


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 23, 2009 9:02 pm 
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Stumps wrote:
I don't design games for powergaming.
Designing games for powergaming is like designing for the extreme to be classified as the average.

I design for the setting, and if someone wants to powergame that setting, then by all means go for it; but don't confuse that as the setting.

Yes, I thought so. That's the school of thought I like to label "anti-munchkinism", or maybe "storyteller-elitism": game mechanics, game systems, even what's written on a character's sheet are secondary compared to the roleplaying at the table. In this school of thought the GM's word is law, not to be held in check by mere rules or numbers, and the players' charisma and speaking ability, rather than the character's charisma and speaking ability, nearly always determine the outcome of social situations, and frequently trump the character's other, non-combat skills as well. It's a school of thought that takes a dim view of character optimization, which it views as "munchkin" or "cheesy", and will often eschew valid techniques or combinations as "cheesy," even when the character herself would have come up with the technique or combination, simply to avoid even the appearance of munchkinism.

For such a school of thought it doesn't matter that attributes are balanced against one another. In fact it really doesn't matter what's on the character sheet in the first place, because success and failure are determined by the players' attributes (their charisma and creativity and speaking ability), rather than the characters' skills and abilities.

This is in contrast to the "powergamer" school, who believe that roleplaying should take a backseat to mechanics, that roleplaying should fill in the gaps after the dice have decided the success or failure of a task. In this view, roleplaying's purpose is describing, rather than determining, the outcome. This school spends a lot of time with "character optimization": working to craft character sheets to perfectly describe a given character concept, because if it's not on the sheet then it frankly doesn't exist, no matter how much the player tries to insist it does. Such people deride "roleplayers" as snobby actor wannabes, and will frequently fall prey to munchkinism, choosing combinations/techniques that no character ever would, because the combo is just too powerful or useful to ignore from a numbers perspective.

I try to take a more nuanced view. It's my opinion that a game system is only well designed when the extreme powergamer/munchkin and the extreme roleplayer/acting snob will make essentially the same choices for their characters. In other words, I like to design games such that the options that best define what the character would take, also happen to be the optimum choices for the character to take. It's the hardest school on us, who are tasking ourselves with the game design, because it places the most strenuous demand on the designers to force roleplayer and powergamer to meet in the middle.


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 23, 2009 10:57 pm 
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On that scale I should note that I'm near the extreme end of the powergamer school, as is most of my group (to varying degrees); the important thing to realize is that many of the contortions I propose here for balance is because I don't like it when I come up with an interesting idea and I have to discard it because the resulting character is simply too crippled to be, in my opinion, a worthwhile and interesting character to play.

While some abstract sense of game balance also partly motivates my attempts in this area, the fundamental reason why I want to fix the metatype balance is because I want to be able to play one, preferably without having that choice decide essentially everything about the rest of the character I'm going to make (under current rules, Elf/Face or Speedsam or Speedsam/Face, Troll/Melee Monster, Ork/Nothing whatsoever); currently only Humans and Dwarves can viably be a large range of character types without massive sacrifices.

~J

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 24, 2009 2:04 am 
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This is an odd turn to me...I'm a mechanics-aholic.

I don't let anything that's not on their sheet fly, but I don't waste time flipping through books looking for where a modifier was either.

I don't consider the GM, "The law".
I consider the group, the law.

The GM, in my view, is the provider; the waiter.
I'm just there to organize the event of things happening when I GM.
I much rather play than GM, but currently, I can't because the guys aren't there yet; they want to play and I can GM SR.

I don't hate GMing, but out of the two, I'll always raise my hand to play instead.

When I said I design for the setting...I meant that literally.
When I work for people and they say, "We want this to feel this way", then I design the mechanics to feel that way.

I don't mean that I design with the idea of the story first and the mechanics second.
I design with the idea that they are one and the same.
If your mechanics feel wrong for the setting, then it's all over.
If your setting doesn't match your mechanics, then it's all over.

Your mechanics have to feel like you are doing what you are doing...it's all you have as a designer to convey the atmosphere.
That's why SR has this reputation of being dark and bloody.
Because the mechanics are stacked against you and bloody.

It takes little to kill you by the damage meter, all rounding's are "against the player" with few exceptions, the target numbers can simply be insane, etc...

On the other hand, you are supposed to feel the power of what you are doing when you have high competency in what it is that you are doing.
So, you physically hold a small pile of dice in your hand that represents your over-the-top capacity to accomplish the task.
You physically hold and feel the power in your hands and feel the physical difference between being a master at something and not being absolutely suck wind at something.
2d6 feels frightening or laughable in your hands next to holding 6d6 to 8d6.

This is what I mean by matching the mechanics to the setting.


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 24, 2009 10:38 am 
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Kagetenshi wrote:
While some abstract sense of game balance also partly motivates my attempts in this area, the fundamental reason why I want to fix the metatype balance is because I want to be able to play one, preferably without having that choice decide essentially everything about the rest of the character I'm going to make (under current rules, Elf/Face or Speedsam or Speedsam/Face, Troll/Melee Monster, Ork/Nothing whatsoever); currently only Humans and Dwarves can viably be a large range of character types without massive sacrifices.

~J


But here's the clincher, most attributes are only useful for a handful of character types. As long as you are just shifting bonuses you will always have one or two races which are provably best for any given character concept, and a few which are worst. Rebalancing won't fix this. Reducing racial benefits so they're only in attributes which apply to most or all character types, or which are easily replicable with magic or cyber could fix it, but I don't think we're going that way. Fixing the system so all attributes are represented equally for most or all character classes will naturally fix racial imbalances, but we haven't done that yet, so what we're doing here is putting the horse before the carriage. How can we possibly balance races when we don't know if Strength is going to be a dump stat or a real, balanced attribute?


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 24, 2009 11:11 am 
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It's true that, say, Trolls are never going to be the go-to character for making a Rigger, but the point is to bring the sacrifice down to the point where the idea isn't absurd.

As for cart-before-the-horse issues, it seems to me that this is something we can fix now, and then revisit in the event that, for example, Strength becomes useful to people who aren't involved in melee combat.

~J

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 24, 2009 12:27 pm 
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Fair enough. Regardless, this refutes Stumps's assumption that all attributes are weighted equal. Strength STILL is useful only or melee characters under standard rules. For everyone else, set Strength to 1 and buy a stun baton. -1 Int and +1 Strength is a terrible change, because intelligence is good for everyone and strength for almost no one.

So the attributes, in order of value, are:
Intelligence - (initiative and combat pool for all types of fighters. Counts double for astral characters and limits # of active spells. Contributes to all rigger and decker skills, etc. Should almost always be maxed out.)
Quickness - (initiative and combat pool for all fighters, reaction, all rigger and firearm skills, currently determines armor layering. Should be maxed out, with few exceptions))
Body - (Resist damage for all character types, Athletics, critical for fighters, and at least 3 required for all other character types)
tied(?) with
Willpower - (Resist magic, resist drain, combat pool)
Charisma - (Summoning spirits, social skills, astral combat)
Strength - (Melee combat, heavy weapons skills)

For 80% of all characters the MINIMUM attributes are:
Intelligence - 6 (since everyone benefits from this)
Quickness - 4 (to keep a reasonable reaction)
Body - 3 (so as to be able to stage damage down at least once)
Willpower - 3 (as above, for resisting magic)
Charisma - 2-3 (it's cheaper to buy one or two skills up at the 1.5 cost than to boost the attribute)
Strength - 1 (why bother?)

Anything which penalizes the high-score attributes here makes for a specialty character. Same with the low-score bonuses.


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 24, 2009 12:39 pm 
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We've had this discussion before; I'd put Willpower ahead of Body and Charisma equal to it, and 3 is definitely not required for Body (since typical damage sources permit use of Combat Pool to soak, and characters that go lower tend to be focused on avoiding taking damage in the first place; my Rigger was Body 2 at chargen and I regret not having made her Body 1), but the primacy of Intelligence, secundacy (?) of Quickness, and nearworthlessnacy of Strength is something that can be agreed on.

I should dig through to find what adjustments to attributes are proposed and collect them in one place.

Edit: also, bonuses to low-value attributes only force specialization if that's the only way to get a worthwhile character; like I note above, just because a Rigger with Strength 5 isn't getting a lot of value out of that doesn't mean it's worthless, even a Rigger can end up in melee or something. It's only when the sacrifices made elsewhere get too high that any role that doesn't use the bonuses becomes untenable.

Edit^2: regarding Charisma and skill improvement costs, the cost for improving a skill above an attribute is the same as for improving the attribute itself; a simple evaluation gives 4 skills as the break-even point, but it's also worth considering that Charisma sets Power for attacking Spirits with force of will, and also provides TN mods for certain social skill tests at 6.

~J

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 24, 2009 1:02 pm 
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I know you, EB and myself had discussed it, but we have new people here, and it seems to have become a point of contention again.

It seems like overall we're agreed. Some bonuses are going to make some races universally more popular. Penalties against the high-ranking attributes must be avoided when possible, or diluted with additional bonuses, to avoid pigeon-holing a race. However, the total number of points doesn't have to be balanced against other races.


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 24, 2009 1:36 pm 
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Either that or we change the value of the attributes. I hesitate to make Int less meaningful (though I can understand why SR4 split it into two attributes), but making Str more valuable I can get behind.


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 24, 2009 1:41 pm 
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Which comes back to balancing he attributes prior to balancing the races.


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 24, 2009 1:52 pm 
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Right, so for now I'm with you on temporarily tabling the issue.

The only thing I'd like to do at the moment is give elves some sort pf Perception bonus, over and above normal low-light vision, as a way to help justify the high cost that tradition demands of them.


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 24, 2009 2:25 pm 
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I still think we should go ahead with the proposed changes until the attribute changes come in, but I'll admit that the difference is academic unless someone using SR3R is about to go into chargen in the immediate future.

As for the Elf-Perceptive-by-default proposal, would that preempt the Edge, or could a character potentially get -2 to Perception TNs? I don't think it's necessarily massively powerful if they can, but it's at least worthy of consideration.

~J

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 24, 2009 2:57 pm 
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I wouldn't be averse to them stacking, but maybe instead we can give them a Vision Magnification-like eyemod instead? Unfortunately we're still working on vision mag, so we should probably hold of on that as well until we know how those rules will function


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 24, 2009 10:15 pm 
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All I can say is if attributes are held in a hierarchy, then their Karma cost had better reflect that hierarchy.
There's no reason for the number one attribute to cost the same as the lowest valued attribute.

Value and Cost doesn't work that way.


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 24, 2009 10:41 pm 
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I disagree for a lot of reasons:

1) We're working on rebalancing the attributes
2) You're adding significant complexity for questionable value
3) The value added is going to vary from character to character, so you'll never be able to set proper costs (and this may lead to possible abuses)
4) There's a difference between balance and realism. Attribute values are based on averages, and presumably the investment necessary for a normal human to boost one standard deviation on any given attribute is about equal, so we should represent this in game mechanics.

In short, IMO, if we find an attribute that really no one has any reason to invest in, I'm more inclined to say we should drop the attribute than fool with alternating costs.


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 27, 2009 10:15 pm 
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If it's questionable value, then there's no reason for them to be seen as not equal.
If it's not questionable value, then they are viewed as varying in value.
If they vary in value, then the cost should reflect the value.

Gold is not as cheap as Silver.

I don't believe there is an attribute people don't use.
I've never ran into one, and I've never seen these issues about value fluctuating attributes that everyone is talking about.

Each attribute has it's niche, and for each niche, a reward.

Lastly...I really wish people would stop trying to classify me as a realist or simulationist.
I'm simply not.
And just because I disagree shouldn't mean that I get thrown over as one like a scarecrow.

I was saying that for game balance reasons, if it is held that a given attribute is more valuable, then naturally, it should cost more as it bears more value.

I simply disagree that attributes are any more valuable than each other.


----

However, at the end of the day, this is your guy's project far more than it is mine.
If you would rather I just cease and desist on this point because everyone sees this one direction except for me, then rightio...I'll just bite my tongue and let everyone have their fun. ;)


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 28, 2009 12:46 am 
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Let me reapproach this slightly differently and see if anyone starts to see what I'm saying at all:

The reason this thread was started was for a rebalance of a seen imbalance in the difference between Character Creation and post-Character Creation cost.

Now, Racial bonuses are something of a "bulk" discount bonuses in that it costs you a considerable Karma to get the bonuses, but less than it would per attribute at the ratings of the bonuses that you receive.

So, the attributes in the racial packages are less costly per attribute point than it would be to purchase each either at Character Creation or after Character creation.

Now...if we want to change this, I don't really care about that.
What I think is wrong, however, and what I've been trying to point out...

Is that if the point of redoing the Character Creation is for a balance between Character Creation and Post Character Creation cost balancing, then it makes very, very little sense to make Attributes A, and B cost more for their attribute bonuses from Racial modifiers than Attributes E, and F Racial Package, which in turn are less than Attributes D, and C...and then have none of these affects post Character Creation.

This means, let's say we make Intelligence the highest costing Racial Bonus (I'm not saying that's what people are saying, I'm saying...let's just use this as an example to show my point).

Then I would skip that Racial bonus, take the cheaper Troll cost for the (designer's) less valued Body bonuses and just amp up my Intelligence Post Character Creation at a fractional Cost by ratio to my bonuses from choosing Troll.

The ratio would be unequal between Character Creation and Post Character Creation, and that was one of the cardinal reasons that was described as wanting to rebalanced Character Creation in the first place...or so I understood it that way.


-----
Further though...one thing I think everyone is overlooking is that part of the cost for the Races isn't just the bonuses, but also because the SR designers were making it cost more for lower populated Races, and less for more populated Races.


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 28, 2009 7:02 am 
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On your first post, I kinda sorta agree (I think), except it isn't so much the cost of increasing the attributes as it is the maximum allowable bonus. If Intelligence is the most important attribute, taking a Troll, which has a penalty to -2 Int, means that Troll may never be as effective all around as say an Elf (no penalty), because eventually, that Troll will max out at 4 Int, and the Elf at 6.

What I think you might be saying (and correct me if I'm wrong), is taking two characters with 3s across the board. The Troll's int goes down to 1, the elf stays at 3. Boosting the troll to int 4 (his racial max) costs less than boosting the elf to int 6 (his racial max)? Am I more or less on the right track? Because we already established that won't be the case, because we won't count racial modifiers in the karma cost for buying attributes. The troll's 4 in intelligence costs the same as the elf's 6 in intelligence.

Or maybe you're saying that, suppose we make intelligence cost 3*new score karma, and body costs 2*new score karma, that the troll would make body his dump stat, because he has enough of a bonus to body to make it through the early runs, and put all his points in intelligence, then just buy up body later at the lesser cost? If so, yes, I agree, that's a problem with making attributes cost different amounts post-chargen, which is part of why I think it's a bad idea.



I agree completely on your second point, which is why I'd want elves to cost more. However, Kage pointed out that different groups have different demographics. My group has almost 50% elves, his has 0%. With his group, the only way you'll get elf demographics up is by reducing costs. With mine, to put them where they should be, you have to increase costs. He feels we'll never come up with an ideal cost-adjustment for all groups, so leave it be. But if you want to pick up the fight, I'm happy to carry it on :P


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 28, 2009 8:55 am 
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Consider: people with end-stage terminal diseases are comparatively rare. The vast majority of Earth's population, and especially Earth's non-infant population, has a life expectancy of greater than 18 months. Clearly, this is a fairly rare position to be in.

However, Borrowed Time gives you points. If we take rarity into account, by all logic it should be very expensive—more than 25 Build Points, I'd hazard, since one percent of the population is Awakened but significantly less than one percent of the population will certainly die from a currently-existing condition in eighteen months or less.

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 29, 2009 10:13 pm 
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nezumi wrote:
On your first post, I kinda sorta agree (I think), except it isn't so much the cost of increasing the attributes as it is the maximum allowable bonus. If Intelligence is the most important attribute, taking a Troll, which has a penalty to -2 Int, means that Troll may never be as effective all around as say an Elf (no penalty), because eventually, that Troll will max out at 4 Int, and the Elf at 6.

What I think you might be saying (and correct me if I'm wrong), is taking two characters with 3s across the board. The Troll's int goes down to 1, the elf stays at 3. Boosting the troll to int 4 (his racial max) costs less than boosting the elf to int 6 (his racial max)? Am I more or less on the right track? Because we already established that won't be the case, because we won't count racial modifiers in the karma cost for buying attributes. The troll's 4 in intelligence costs the same as the elf's 6 in intelligence.

Or maybe you're saying that, suppose we make intelligence cost 3*new score karma, and body costs 2*new score karma, that the troll would make body his dump stat, because he has enough of a bonus to body to make it through the early runs, and put all his points in intelligence, then just buy up body later at the lesser cost? If so, yes, I agree, that's a problem with making attributes cost different amounts post-chargen, which is part of why I think it's a bad idea.



I agree completely on your second point, which is why I'd want elves to cost more. However, Kage pointed out that different groups have different demographics. My group has almost 50% elves, his has 0%. With his group, the only way you'll get elf demographics up is by reducing costs. With mine, to put them where they should be, you have to increase costs. He feels we'll never come up with an ideal cost-adjustment for all groups, so leave it be. But if you want to pick up the fight, I'm happy to carry it on :P


It's the problem that if you make Elves cost more because they get bonuses to Intelligence, then you just made Intelligence stated as a higher value than Body, but after Chargen there is no difference in the cost price of either attribute.

That's an imbalance of cost ratio.
And it's not a solution to successfully pull together a chargen to post chargen symmetry.


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 30, 2009 2:33 am 
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In other words, metatypes are imbalanced right now because attribute costs are imbalanced, which in turn is because attributes themselves are imbalanced. I submit the solution here isn't to change metatype cost, or attribute cost, but to get to the root of the problem: namely that Attributes are Imbalanced. I suggest we table this particular discussion until we address the simple fact that Intelligence is far too powerful and Strength is far too weak; once we get attributes close enough that we don't feel that one is significantly more powerful than the others we can return to metatype valuations.


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 30, 2009 7:32 pm 
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Stumps wrote:
It's the problem that if you make Elves cost more because they get bonuses to Intelligence, then you just made Intelligence stated as a higher value than Body, but after Chargen there is no difference in the cost price of either attribute.


False, because buying an elf up to Int 7 costs significantly less than buying a human up to Int 7.


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 31, 2009 7:04 am 
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Not if you have them costing more because the attributes they gain bonuses for are worth more value in game worth return.

I mean, let's face it.
This would be a penalty for the way the designer chose to design the game; considering it is only by the designers will that the system ignores certain attributes and highlights others.

So the player is taking the fall for the designer's poor designing.

That's...fun.


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 31, 2009 8:49 am 
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I honestly do not understand what you are trying to say.

Elf gets a +1 to Int. It costs x2 karma to boost an attribute to its racial max. So boosting Int to 7 costs 12 points.

Human gets +0 to Int. It costs x3 karma to boost an attribute past its racial max. So boosting Int to 7 costs 21 points.

If you want Int above 6, choose an elf. If an elf gives a total of +3 attribute bonuses, but costs more points than say orks, who also give +3 in attribute bonuses (but to less useful attributes), that's okay. It's still balanced.

You're still going to have everyone maxing out Int. The difference is, buying a 7 in Int is more expensive than buying a 7 in Str.


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 31, 2009 8:54 am 
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The proposal is to make the races, that have attribute bonuses for attributes that are move valued, cost more karma/build points due to the fact of the attribute bonuses.

That's an imbalance in attribute cost.
Suddenly attribute points are costing different amounts of karma per attribute point during character creation when choosing a race, but for the rest of the game the attributes are all the same cost regardless of anything.


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 31, 2009 8:56 am 
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Not to interrupt or anything, but Elves don't get a bonus to Int; if they did, I probably wouldn't be talking about giving them a boost. Their bonus is to Quickness.

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 31, 2009 11:25 am 
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Stumps wrote:
That's an imbalance in attribute cost.
Suddenly attribute points are costing different amounts of karma per attribute point during character creation when choosing a race, but for the rest of the game the attributes are all the same cost regardless of anything.


And why is this a problem? People are going to ignore the attributes without value, but max out the ones with value. The result is that the extra you're paying for race translates directly into that 7 or 8 in an attribute you otherwise can't reasonably afford. Assuming people try to maximize character effectiveness, it's self-balancing.


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 31, 2009 6:02 pm 
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Alright....

I'm going to toss aside Shadowrun for a moment to show you what I'm talking about because it doesn't seem to be sinking in.

There are apples, oranges, and pears.
There are red, green, and blue people.

Everybody gets apples, oranges, and pears at a rate of $2 per fruit regardless of which fruit you buy at the market.
Outside of the market, or, on the street, you pay $3 per fruit regardless of which fruit you buy.

Now, when you choose which kind of person you are, you are also given a bonus of fruit in the following:
Red: 2 Apples
Green: 2 Oranges
Blue: 1 Pear

The value of worth for Apples is more than Oranges, and the value of Oranges is more than a Pear.

For choosing Red people, you pay $4
For choosing Green people, you pay $3
For choosing Pear people, you pay $2.50

This is reasoned because of the above value of the fruits over each other as described above.

Now.

I will choose a Red person, pay $4, and then move on to buy 2 Oranges and a Pear.
My cost here will have been $4 for my Red person, which comes with 2 Apples, $4 for two Oranges, and $2 for the Pear because I'm still at the Market.

My overall cost is $10 for a total of 2 Apples, 2 Oranges, and 1 Pear.

Now, if I choose Green people, then I pay $3 for my Green person, which comes with 2 Oranges, $4 for 2 Apples, and $2 for a Pear because I'm still at the Market.

My overall cost is $9 for a total of 2 Apples, 2 Oranges, and 1 Pear.

----------------------------

Furthermore, I originally said that you are paying more back when you select Red, Green, and Blue people because their bonus fruits are worth more in the order of Apples, Oranges, and Pears.

However, you will never see this value in the game we are playing any where else again.

Only when selecting your color are costs inflated dependent on what fruits are being awarded, but you will never again pay a penalty to fruit cost based on fruit value to the Market or Street.


Over all...this is horribly broken.


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 31, 2009 6:55 pm 
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You are still ignoring what the real benefit is here.

For the most part, when using points system, a bonus to any attribute is just bonus attribute points (+2 to Qui may as well be +2 to Str., because you can shift the points around for free). What you are ultimately paying for is not a bonus to a given attribute, it's the increased cap.

So to take your example, the rule is everyone can only buy 6 of any sort of fruit.

If you accept this, Red people aren't paying $4 for 2 additional fruit. They're paying $4 to be able to possess 8 apples, when no one else can. If you want to have 8 apples, you must pay $4 to be Red. If you are okay having only 6 apples, don't bother being red, be any color you wish.

So, in brief, the cost for races is paying for a certain number of bonus free attribute points, but ALSO for an increase in the maximum value of a given attribute. You aren't paying extra for the extra attribute points, but for the potential of an optimized character having a superhuman ability.


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 31, 2009 9:08 pm 
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On the maximum, I could see that needing to be factored in yes.

But I do not see any validity in making the point cost distribution of the formula that determines what the Race will cost dependent on WHICH attributes they are getting bonuses and maximums for, but how MANY points and how MUCH more in the maximum.

You simply cannot introduce a delimited value system ONLY at racial selection for attributes and have it exist no where else in the system.


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 09, 2010 11:00 pm 
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Crazy idea. Maybe too crazy.

Give Trolls half recoil (treat them like vehicles).

Thoughts?

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 11, 2010 9:52 am 
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Ok, I've pondered the idea and I think I might like it; it may need to get rethought based on what we do with recoil and autofire, but Trolls already have something of comparable power in a less useful overall niche (extra Reach), and they still have big enough weaknesses that I think people will still play non-Troll combat characters.

With that, I have the following proposal (part of which is going to be the same controversial proposal I made earlier, but what can I say, I'm still not happy with Elves). I'll try to get some feedback on the 'Shock about it, too.

All: everyone gains karma pool at the same rate (whichever rate that is).

Human: every time they gain a karma pool point, they gain an additional point of regular karma that doesn't count towards total karma (for purposes of earning more KP). Alternately, an extra point of karma pool at chargen (though that seems to diminish too quickly)

Elf: gain thermographic vision.

Dwarf: as-is. Maybe gain automatic nickname "Stumpy".

Troll: use vehicle recoil rules. Maybe still kick down to -1 Int instead of -2.

Ork: no INT penalty, maybe +3 STR instead of +2 (though that starts to horn in on Troll territory, but then due to the low value of STR giving them another +1 isn't out of the question).

Thoughts?

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 16, 2010 3:26 pm 
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Discussion on the 'Shock sparked some thoughts that I need to playtest.

Human:
  • +1 or +2 initial Karma Pool, no karma pool earning advantage
    • Pro: avoids the massive long-game advantage humans get from gigantic karma pool. Helps alleviate the weird situation where the value of taking a human can vary heavily based on the expected length of the campaign.
    • Con: might simply reverse the situation; could be very powerful early in a campaign, but decline in power rapidly over time.

  • +1 Karma per point of Karma Pool earned (that does not count towards further KP), possibly +1 starting KP
    • Pro: ongoing benefit, thematically appropriate to the "humans are versatile!" theme, but significantly less powerful than double Karma Pool growth.
    • Con: complicates bookkeeping a bit, defies concise description.

Elf:
  • Give Elves both kinds of vision mods.
    • Pro: makes Elves a little bit better, but not dramatically so, avoiding overpowering the things they already do well.
    • Con: might not make them better enough, especially in light of the fact that they can't even put out a speedsam superior to the Dwarf version.

  • Give Elves the Perceptive edge or equivalent.
    • Pro: makes Elves a decent amount better, at least by a build-point accounting.
    • Con: actual utility unclear, could be troublesome for players (all NPC Elves now spot things that they're concealing more easily)

Dwarf:
  • Gain nickname "Stumpy".
    • Pro: they're pretty stumpy.
    • Con: Dwarves with Human Looking are less stumpy.

Troll:
  • Troll INT modifier reduced to -1, Trolls halve Recoil.
    • Pro: Trolls now the combat monsters they're depicted to be, the Troll-with-heavy-weapons trope is now playable.
    • Con: powerful implications not fully explored (could be balance issues), might expose more of the flaws of the current autofire system (huge Power, huge Dodge TN with a reasonable chance to hit more or less means instant death).

  • Troll INT modifier reduced to -1, Trolls get +1 Willpower
    • Pro: could make Troll mages viable, reduces overall impact to Combat Pool.
    • Con: need to playtest to make sure it actually does make them viable, Charisma penalties make using spirits iffy (maybe a "+1 Charisma for spirit-related purposes"?), might horn in on Dwarf territory (though I think the Dwarf's lack of penalties might be good enough).

Ork:
  • No INT penalty.
    • Pro: less bad.
    • Con: less bad enough?

  • No INT penalty, an additional +1 Strength.
    • Pro: less bad. Now stronger than Dwarves.
    • Con: horning in on Troll turf, Strength-wise.

JaronK reminded me that Trolls can wield big guns with one hand (and have a reduced penalty to wield two-handed melee weapons with one hand), meaning that a Troll can have a riot shield in one hand and an assault rifle or something in the other; with a bayonet on it, this can create a credible threat at all ranges. This does create the potential risk that stacking halved recoil with this could lead to Trolls with riot shields and bayonetted HMGs. We actually currently have the risk of Trolls with riot shields and bayonetted Assault Cannons (you'd need to soak 9L Stun, but a Trauma Damper could take care of that), but because gyro-mounts and bayonets both use the Underbarrel Mount they can't stack.

I'll have to investigate the Willpower line; it'd be nice if we got some Troll mages in here, and the cost to Combat Pool would be lowered to half a point (though they'd still be down a full point of Reaction).

~J

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 24, 2010 11:18 am 
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Thinking about it, this also opens the way for a "Traumatic Goblinization" flaw that restores the original penalties, giving a little mechanical reflection of the flavourtext saying that Trolls and Orks who were born that way tend to be better off brain-wise than those who Goblinized.

~J

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PostPosted: Fri Dec 17, 2010 9:28 am 
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Or consider also giving trolls (and maybe elves) a bonus straight to Reflexes. Reflexes is a hard attribute to bump up, and one of the most critical, plus it reduces the combat penalties for int without reducing the role-playing penalties.


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 17, 2010 10:36 am 
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Mm. Yeah, I'd shied away from that previously but I guess there are a number of Reaction bonuses already; that might serve to make Troll Riggers serviceable.

Do you have any thoughts on the Human issue?

~J

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 19, 2011 10:08 pm 
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Maybe we need to rethink unbounded Karma Pool entirely? That's one thing I'm hearing a lot about high-level games (never gotten there myself): with KP of 10+ people are endlessly rerolling dice, and humans just get too powerful. Maybe there should just be a set amount of KP, based on your current karma:

Code:
Karma     KP
0-5       1
6-23      2
24-47     3
48-95     4
96-191    5
192+      6


Humans then just get a flat +1 to Karma Pool. Or something like that?


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 20, 2011 1:25 pm 
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Eyeless Blond wrote:
Maybe we need to rethink unbounded Karma Pool entirely? That's one thing I'm hearing a lot about high-level games (never gotten there myself): with KP of 10+ people are endlessly rerolling dice, and humans just get too powerful.

Actually, I should start a thread over on Dumpshock asking for accounts of people who've seen this; I'm running a high-powered game right now (gave everyone 200 karma after chargen with a cash-for-karma/karma-for-cash system based on how much people spent on resources at chargen), and though I didn't tell anyone about the size of the award (I told people there would be one, but its size was concealed and I think at least four times what anyone expected, probably more), I ended up with everyone but one person playing a human. Thus far, I've mostly seen the large karma pools as a big advantage in the game—the players can take risks and do complex things that are simply unavailable to lower-KP teams due to the unacceptable risk of failure, but the nature of the TN system means that KP doesn't become an unstoppable "win button", and the cost of rerolls being triangular with the number of rerolls on a single task means that even with a 21-die karma pool you only get six rerolls—and that only if you're willing to totally exhaust your supply of KP and leave yourself without an out.

In practice, it really just means that things are more dependable—the team can afford to spend a point of KP to counter a spot of bad luck on something that would be damaging but not disastrous. This seems to me to be essential to the idea of high-powered running. I'll gather anecdotes from DS, but there are only two problems I see with large KP, and only one is inherent:

1) GMs don't adapt for it. At the beginning of the game, a Rating 10 Keypad with a Rating 2 Anti-Tamper System is more or less an unacceptable risk for a B&E character (I'm assuming they have Microscopic Vision)—they can try to get in, but they're very likely to fail and set off an alarm, so that becomes an approach of last resort. If the GM is still expecting that same system to make the team look for an alternate approach when the B&E expert is packing 10 points of Karma Pool, well, I can see why they might get the idea that that karma pool is a big problem.

2) Humans get it twice as fast as everyone else. As I mentioned, we have one metahuman in the group, and thankfully he's a tiny Otaku god, because if anyone else overlapped on his specialty even moderately the fact that he drains his karma pool so much faster would be a really, really big problem for balance. This is what I aim to fix when I talk about making progression the same and maybe giving humans a constant-term bonus to KP size.

But yeah, I think capping KP would really cripple the high-powered game.

Edit: there's a third case I thought of, heavily mixed-karma-level teams. I think guidelines for mid-game-character-introduction would help with that—my thought was that new characters would get half the mean karma of the group they join, avoiding inexorable power creep (the group can get less powerful) but also not crippling the joiner.

~J

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 21, 2011 9:24 am 
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Yeah, capping karma pool similar to attributes would make sense. Perhaps from 1-6 it increases normally, 6-12 it costs twice as much, 12-18 costs three times as much and over 18 is impossible. It encourages characters to burn karma pool on things, but it doesn't cripple the high-powered games.


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