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Author Topic: [SR4] Stainless Steel Hearts [full on up, yo]  (Read 4375 times)

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Offline Cold HeritageTopic starter

[SR4] Stainless Steel Hearts [full on up, yo]
« on: August 26, 2010, 01:13:32 AM »
Okay, so the last time I put up one of these, the game never happened because of a confluence of factors. The main one was that Exalted, once I got to really looking at it, made me want to stab myself in the brain.

Shadowrun 4th has some things that make me want to reach for the knife, but they are not as bad. This is, by the by, a system game for which you need access to books to play. Shadowrun 4th edition, to re-iterate. The 20th Anniversary version of the corebook would probably be best, since that's the one I have.

Anyway, my kvetching aside . . .

I am looking for 3-4 players to go running the shadows, out for fat еее and . . . well, fat еее. I will, of course, try to weave a coherent narrative, but that really depends on how well players take bait/hooks and how much you are all like, "no, my precious freedom from negative circumstances!!!!"

Disclaimer: this will be my first time running the game. I am familiar with the basic rules in the corebook, did my best to slog through Street Magic (well, most of it - I didn't read through one chapter and most of the grimoire chapter), and I have Unwired open but my eyes glaze over once I try to convince myself to read it. So, I'm not gonna be super-whiz with the rules. I hope you aren't, or if you do, you can control yourself and not make a 30+ dice monstrosity. It would make me sad, and it would make me flake out and give you a story about how my dog ate my internets. Or how it ate my books (which are all electronic). But basically, yeah. I'm pretty good at softballing for PCs, because I want to see you guys do pretty good and face level-appropriate challenges (giant rat fights for all! I kid).

Perhaps even more importantly, my exposure to the game's flavour is through the SNES Shadowrun video game and half-remembered Shadowrun novels. The 4th edition book, I understand, did away some of the flavour from old editions (the general infrequency of in-game slang is something I love, as well as the wireless Matrix), so I cannot provide a grognard Shadowrun experience.

The game will probably go in NC-Exotic, just because. If you don't want to be NC'd or Exotic'd, that's cool - I won't force those things on you. And if most people who sign up don't want either, we can go Light. That's fine with me. Sex isn't something I see as being terribly big or important to the game - but I won't puritanically purse my lips in disapproval if you ogle some trollboobs.

In terms of tone and such, I cleave more towards an action-adventure style game, so something like the film The Expendables would be a better model than any of the Bourne Trilogy films. That is to say, more of a kick in the door experience than having to spend hours wracking your brain about potential detection methods and poring over the books to squeeze every bit of non-detection you can out of everything. I mean, sure, it's good to try and go in by night, under cover of darkness, and do your best to get to whatever it is you're trying to get without being seen, but eventually something's gonna go wrong and your carefully laid plans will fold like a house of cards and then it is time to rock and/or roll. Spending three weeks in real time of characters going back and forth trying to plan the perfect run will probably have one of two results: 1) I will, in a petty and spiteful manner, make your plans fail deliberately because you put so much effort into them and dilly-dallied making them, or 2) just lose interest and tell you my dog ate my internets.

Consider: you get spotted in some AAA corp's turf. They send guards after you (but they don't scramble the super-hot corp kill team yet), and you take a few offline, get your paydata, and run. On the way out maybe you make a drone crash into something and cause some damage. The corp is now in triage mode, and part of that is doing something to show it isn't going to take your sheenanigans lying down. Yeah, you're gonna get people after you, but that's interesting, isn't it? And you're gonna get people who, at the same time, have agendas that are (at least for now) served by helping you to evade the people who want to put a bullet in your head. Doesn't that sound more interesting than sneaking in, getting what you want, and then getting your еее?

I'm really after characters that are rounded mechanically. 4s in core competencies and 2s and 3s (or even 1s in skills so you don't default) are gonna serve you good.

Chargen'll go something like this (but, uh, don't go off making a sheet right away, or anything):

Character Generation:
Build Points:      500
No more than:   90 from negative qualities.
No more than:   80 on positive qualities.
No more than:   250 on Atributes.
No more than:   75 on Resources. 
Charisma x 2 in bonus contact points. 


Are you a bad enough dude to get a call from your fixer to meet Mr. Johnson?



"Saw a twenty-cent trid the other day." A man says. His voice is coarse, no doubt from heavy smoking. You can see the orange, ember glow of a cig in the shadows that cover the upper half of his body. "Restored stuff. Set in 2099, and, if you can believe it, it had the world as some kind of feel-good commune where everyone holds hands and gets along." The man makes a sound. You know it is laughter, because of your association with him - anyone else would think he was doing his level best to cough out his rotted, poisoned lungs.

"Wouldn't that be something, chummer? A world where everyone got along?" The smug smirk on his lips seeps into his tone, and there is a hint of bitterness. As an ork, the man has not been well-treated or well-served by the world at large. "But you don't give a frag about all that, do you? You're just here because you need to get the digits in your bank account up." There comes a sniff, and the man reaches into his jacket. This is always a tense moment, because there are any number of incredibly lethal things he could withdraw. Even with the best planning, the best recon, and everything you know applied to figuring out what cards the opposition's holding, there will always be an ace in their hole. If your luck's bad, chummer, they will have a whole hand deck of aces waiting for you.

But instead of pulling a piece of miniaturized murder designed to cause a very gory and gruesome end, the ork pulls out a manilla folder. This is extremely, extremely old school. Inside are papers. They are ultimately meaningless, however. Within there is a small datachip covered in AR resistant coating to prevent its incredibly weak signal from escaping. This must be something pretty top shelf if this degree of caution is employed. "Here's the intel. Give it a go - after I'm gone - and then ring me up once you've made the run . . ." The ork says, inhaling on his cheap cigarette and making his way down the alley.

It is just another night in Seattle, and just another conversation that did not happen in the shadows.
« Last Edit: August 27, 2010, 09:10:22 PM by Cold Heritage »

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Re: [SR4] Stainless Steel Hearts
« Reply #1 on: August 26, 2010, 01:25:30 AM »
*Smiles*  Please collor me intrested. 

Offline Kunoichi

Re: [SR4] Stainless Steel Hearts
« Reply #2 on: August 26, 2010, 01:47:28 AM »
Sign me up. ^^ I've even got a street sam already written up and waiting to be used, though she uses items from Arsenal and some character options from Runner's Companion...

Edit: Although, she was built with the standard 400 BP allocation, so I suppose I'd have to spend the extra 100...

Edit2: Not that I'm doing so yet, or anything. ^^;
« Last Edit: August 26, 2010, 02:04:35 AM by Kunoichi »

Offline meikle

Re: [SR4] Stainless Steel Hearts
« Reply #3 on: August 26, 2010, 03:03:03 AM »
I would love to play some Shadowrun -- even better if I could put together a mage of some sort.

On the other hand, I'm not really looking for any kind of smut -- although I can just AFK, so to speak, while that sort of thing is happening, I guess.

Would that be ok?

Offline Cold HeritageTopic starter

Re: [SR4] Stainless Steel Hearts
« Reply #4 on: August 26, 2010, 09:10:39 PM »
Sign me up. ^^ I've even got a street sam already written up and waiting to be used, though she uses items from Arsenal and some character options from Runner's Companion...

Edit: Although, she was built with the standard 400 BP allocation, so I suppose I'd have to spend the extra 100...

Edit2: Not that I'm doing so yet, or anything. ^^;

Probably would not be hard to spend 100 extra points.

I guess it depends on what you took from Arsenal and Runner's Companion. Nothing in the former struck me as particularly egregious, although some of the options in the latter seemed rather beyond the pale. Adding modifications and accessories to firearms seemed quite alright, for example, while the various HMHVV stuff seemed like too much headache, trouble, and borkery.

My illiteracy is also hardcore. I dunno if it's something you can handle.

I would love to play some Shadowrun -- even better if I could put together a mage of some sort.

On the other hand, I'm not really looking for any kind of smut -- although I can just AFK, so to speak, while that sort of thing is happening, I guess.

Would that be ok?

That would be fine.

Offline Kunoichi

Re: [SR4] Stainless Steel Hearts
« Reply #5 on: August 26, 2010, 09:19:49 PM »
Probably would not be hard to spend 100 extra points.

I guess it depends on what you took from Arsenal and Runner's Companion. Nothing in the former struck me as particularly egregious, although some of the options in the latter seemed rather beyond the pale. Adding modifications and accessories to firearms seemed quite alright, for example, while the various HMHVV stuff seemed like too much headache, trouble, and borkery.

>>; Well, that might be a bit of a problem, then.  She's a ghoul...

You won't have to deal with the mechanics of the HMHVV virus, though.  I took the 5 point non-contagious negative flaw.

My illiteracy is also hardcore. I dunno if it's something you can handle.

Eh, I'm a surprisingly patient person.  I think I'll be able to handle it just fine.

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Re: [SR4] Stainless Steel Hearts
« Reply #6 on: August 26, 2010, 11:51:24 PM »
*raises hand*  I have a pair of characters that I've been dying to get in on a game...I even got to playtest one at a convention a little over a month ago, and he worked out great!

Offline Cold HeritageTopic starter

Re: [SR4] Stainless Steel Hearts
« Reply #7 on: August 26, 2010, 11:55:26 PM »
Yeah, gonna pass on a ghoul.

Would you care to elaborate in general terms what they are, Reiji?

Offline Kunoichi

Re: [SR4] Stainless Steel Hearts
« Reply #8 on: August 26, 2010, 11:57:40 PM »
Aww.  Oh well.  I guess I'd have to make some other character, then.

Can I ask why no Ghouls allowed, though?  Is it all the stat increases, or the cannibalism, or...?

Offline meikle

Re: [SR4] Stainless Steel Hearts
« Reply #9 on: August 27, 2010, 12:03:57 AM »
Aww.  Oh well.  I guess I'd have to make some other character, then.

Can I ask why no Ghouls allowed, though?  Is it all the stat increases, or the cannibalism, or...?

ghouls are treated more like wild animals than like meta-human beings pretty much everywhere

the percentage of them that are even self-aware anymore is tiny and pretty much ignored ... it's the kind of thing that is just really difficult to accommodate, i think.
« Last Edit: August 27, 2010, 12:09:54 AM by meikle »

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Re: [SR4] Stainless Steel Hearts
« Reply #10 on: August 27, 2010, 12:09:46 AM »
The first one - my playtested one - is William 'Ghost' Hotchner, ex-UCAS Special Forces Weapons Specialist.  He's something of, in terms of the pregenned characters in 20th anniversary ed, a cross between the Weapons Specialist and the Gunslinger Adept, mixing both high weapons skills and Adept magic.  His role within the group would be threefold. 

One: he'd be the group's heavy close range hitter - he's got two levels of the Krav Maga Martial Arts Quality, a few Maneuvers, and enough skill levels to automatically buy 2 hits on any sort of close range combat. 

Two: he'd be the group's weapons modification specialist - he has Armorer 4, with a Firearms Specialty, plus a Shop set aside for the Armorer Skill.

Three: the group's version of the A-Team's Mad Dog Murdock - able to pilot almost anything.


The second one is a Technomancer that I drew up a while back when I was first getting interested in T-mancers and what they could do.  The character concept name is Techno-Infiltrator.  Think Sam Fisher meets Anna Grimsdottir, both from Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell.

Getting him to work at 400 BP was a bit tricky, but with your special guidelines, I can easily turn him into a hacking badass.  Y'know, if I don't have to abide by the whole 'limit of Logic*2 Complex Forms at the start' thing.

Offline Kunoichi

Re: [SR4] Stainless Steel Hearts
« Reply #11 on: August 27, 2010, 12:15:09 AM »
ghouls are treated more like wild animals than like meta-human beings pretty much everywhere

the percentage of them that are even self-aware anymore is tiny and pretty much ignored ... it's the kind of thing that is just really difficult to accommodate, i think.

It's actually not that difficult, from what I can tell.  There's an optional rule to have your dietary needs covered by an increase in lifestyle costs, there's a quality that will keep you from becoming a walking biohazard, there are a number of pieces of fluff suggesting that the local ghoul population in Seattle has made some headway in integrating into society in a few places, (one of the little pieces of chapter-intro fiction in Runner's Companion has ghoul runner Hannibelle meeting a ghoul Johnson at an upscale restaurant that also caters to ghouls on the side, for example, and there's a piece of fiction in Seattle 2072 about a cop disposing of a body by taking it to some ghouls hiding out right in Downtown Seattle,) and the guy responsible for writting the stats for HMHVV Strain III has admitted that he didn't have a clear grasp of the disease rules at the time, and didn't intend for it to be some sort of unstoppable, touch-transmitted super-virus...

...

*wonders if the case she's making looks as good onscreen as it originally sounded in her head*

...Anyway, I guess the point I'm trying to make is that ghoul runners tend to be a lot like other runners.  They just try to avoid having people come into contact with their various bodily fluids, sweat, saliva, blood, and so on, and are a little tougher and stronger, at the cost of being a little less sharp.  Sort of like trolls, except that they can also be any metatype they choose.  And roughly once a week, they have it arranged so that they get a package from a special refrigerated delivery truck that they tell any nosy neighbors is a special shipment of real meat from their uncle's cattle ranch down in Cal-Free, or whatever other cover story they use.

And then, perhaps, depending on their sense of humor and whether or not they have the right implants, they might invite said neighbors over to their house every once in a while for hamburgers... >:)
« Last Edit: August 27, 2010, 02:18:16 AM by Kunoichi »

Offline meikle

Re: [SR4] Stainless Steel Hearts
« Reply #12 on: August 27, 2010, 01:58:54 AM »
Apologies again for coming off so snarky, Kunoichi!  It wasn't my intention. -_-  I edited the post, but I wasn't quick enough on the draw!


Anyway, I was thinking about a mage.  Probably an elven mage, because why not; I have to bone up a little bit more on my Shadowrun lore (it's been awhile), but I'm picturing someone born and raised in one of the Elven nations (Tir na nOg?) and pretty stuck up.  I'm picturing her as having been raised by a rich, well-off elven family.  Very posh, really stuck up, pretty racist and so on -- until it's discovered that her parents were embezzling money, ripping off their company/selling trade secrets, etc, and more or less sued into bankruptcy.  She would have been working as a corporate mage when this happened, and discover that working as a wage mage just wasn't enough income to support her lifestyle without the backing of her parents affluence.

And now, she is a criminal.

Offline Kunoichi

Re: [SR4] Stainless Steel Hearts
« Reply #13 on: August 27, 2010, 02:10:15 AM »
Apologies again for coming off so snarky, Kunoichi!  It wasn't my intention. -_-  I edited the post, but I wasn't quick enough on the draw!

Eh, that's alright.  I don't think you came off as snarky at all. ^^ I was just about to edit my own post to better reflect your edit, and to talk less about the character I want to play and more about ghoul characters in general, though.

Anyway, I was thinking about a mage.  Probably an elven mage, because why not; I have to bone up a little bit more on my Shadowrun lore (it's been awhile), but I'm picturing someone born and raised in one of the Elven nations (Tir na nOg?) and pretty stuck up.  I'm picturing her as having been raised by a rich, well-off elven family.  Very posh, really stuck up, pretty racist and so on -- until it's discovered that her parents were embezzling money, ripping off their company/selling trade secrets, etc, and more or less sued into bankruptcy.  She would have been working as a corporate mage when this happened, and discover that working as a wage mage just wasn't enough income to support her lifestyle without the backing of her parents affluence.

And now, she is a criminal.

Tir na nOg is (or used to be; I'm not that up on my own lore, to be honest,) somewhere up in the UK.  You'd probably do better with Tir Tairngire, located much, much closer to good old Seattle.  Of course, that country was much bigger on nobility than corporations, so you'd probably be better off as some noble, fancy-schmancy elven duchess type who fell straight into the shadows when the nobility were kicked out of power in the Tir by Hestaby...

Offline meikle

Re: [SR4] Stainless Steel Hearts
« Reply #14 on: August 27, 2010, 02:17:05 AM »
Tir Tairngire was probably what I was thinking of, yeah, although she could have left Tir na nOg for Seattle after her family's falling out and have a horrible, horrible Elven-British accent.

It's something to think on when it's not 2 AM, I suppose.

Offline Kunoichi

Re: [SR4] Stainless Steel Hearts
« Reply #15 on: August 27, 2010, 02:19:12 AM »
Probably. ^^;

Either way, I finished editing my own post.  Hopefully I was able to get across some of the fun sides of playing a ghoul. :P

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Re: [SR4] Stainless Steel Hearts
« Reply #16 on: August 27, 2010, 02:22:08 AM »
Well, from the discussion here...it's starting to sound more like I'll be going with Character B instead of Character A...not that I mind.  I've been dying to try out a Technomancer!

Offline meikle

Re: [SR4] Stainless Steel Hearts
« Reply #17 on: August 27, 2010, 02:25:52 AM »
Well I got no intention of stepping into shooting things territory beyond having my character carry around a gun.

I'm imagining her as a mage with a strong focus on 'killing things' magic though and a bit of Conjuration for good mileage.

...

Furthermore, I definitely don't think ghouls make bad characters -- I've barked up that tree so many times -- but I can understand why GMs wouldn't want to handle them.  There's always going to be a social stigma around cannibals that some GMs might not want to handle, and dual-natured can create some weird situations as well.

I'm more familiar with the 3E rules, also, but as I recall they suck at magic (as a result of being infected) and lose double Essence on Cybernetics, which means they tend to end up with the often undesirable "social reject not-magician without cybernetics" role.  D:

On the other hand, they're just neat.

Offline Kunoichi

Re: [SR4] Stainless Steel Hearts
« Reply #18 on: August 27, 2010, 03:39:02 AM »
Well, in 4th, that bit about cyberware costing double essence is gone.  Presumably, technology advanced far enough that it's just not a problem any longer.  As for sucking at magic, starting out with 5 essence is a bit more difficult, true, but that just means that your average magical ghoul character will want to start out with a Magic stat of 4, which is still completely workable. (Note that in 4th, being a magical character starts your Magic at 1, and you then have to raise it by spending points on it.  That last bump up costs extra, so most awakened characters start out with a Magic stat 1 under their Essence, then buy it up with karma later.)

The stat increases for being a ghoul are really good for their cost, though, which I think would be the main reason why Cold Heritage would want to disallow them as an option. ^^; Which I'm perfectly fine with, really.  I just tend to feel better when I know the logic behind why a given option is being disallowed.  It helps me know what sorts of things I might want to avoid when creating my character.

Offline Cold HeritageTopic starter

Re: [SR4] Stainless Steel Hearts
« Reply #19 on: August 27, 2010, 06:27:13 PM »
The ghoul being, as I understand it, exceptionally good in terms of cost/reward terms is one of the reasons I do not want them in my game. The part about them being cannibalistic monsters that are acceptable targets for violent elimination is another. In the SNES video game, ghouls were just monsters you could grind for karma, and there's biasing me, along with their role in every other rpg I've been exposed to where they are cannon fodder barely above the common zombie. I've seen some pretty sick builds that rely on ghoul being an option to make them work - though you could of course make the argument that there are a lot of sick builds out there that require other stuff, but it's my game and ghouls don't interest me and I don't wany any part of what they bring to the game with a PC at the helm of one.

AFAIK, Tir na nOg has nobility and corporations. They just did not have as much nobility going on as Tir Tairngire (which, AFAIK, had a plebian revolution that ousted the nobility because their rule made no sense in the hyper-capitalist world of 2072), but you could probably swing everything you wanted out of being from there.

Sounds good, Reiji. You mentioned wanting more complex forms to start - can you run down for me why you want that, what it does for you, etc? My command of technomancy isn't terribly firm.

Offline Kunoichi

Re: [SR4] Stainless Steel Hearts
« Reply #20 on: August 27, 2010, 06:50:45 PM »
I can definitely understand, then.  Though, I have to admit, I am a little curious about these 'sick builds' you've seen... ^^;

Either way, once we're free to start working on character sheets, I'll just go with a different character concept.  I've been thinking about a troll smuggler/rigger already.

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Re: [SR4] Stainless Steel Hearts
« Reply #21 on: August 27, 2010, 08:44:07 PM »
Sounds good, Reiji. You mentioned wanting more complex forms to start - can you run down for me why you want that, what it does for you, etc? My command of technomancy isn't terribly firm.

Okay.  In order to do what they do, hackers need programs.  Want to find a piece of information?  Browse.  Find someone online?  Trace.  Keep from being found?  Stealth, or Spoof depending on the situation.

However, Technomancers are capable of manipulating the Matrix using nothing but their own minds.  In order to do this, however, they need a series of complex mental algorithms that function in a way similar-yet-not to a hacker's programs.  These are Complex Forms.

If you want to know more, read pages 239-240 in the 20th ed book.

Now, reason I want it is because the fact that I was limited to my Logic*2 Complex Forms kept me from being able to do as a Technomancer what I could do as a Hacker.  As a Hacker, all I needed was enough nuyen to buy the program, and I could have any program I wanted.  And, as a matter of fact, a Hacker character I'm running right now has almost all of the programs listed in both the core and in Unwired.  But as a Technomancer, the limit cap on Complex Forms meant that if I wanted to do as much as my Hacker, I had to work both as a Technomancer and as a Hacker, causing penalties to both of my actions.

I guess what I'm saying is this.  The appeal of a Technomancer is to be able to do things that a Hacker can't normally do, since they work the Matrix in a different way.  And that's cool and everything, but if it comes down to being able to do cool stuff as a Technomancer, but have to wait to be able to do everything a Hacker can do from the get-go...I'd personally rather be able to do everything from the get-go.

Also, random question regarding Mages & Technomancers.  Are you allowing people to buy Initiation or Submersion (the Techno version of Initiation) from the very beginning?

Offline Kunoichi

Re: [SR4] Stainless Steel Hearts
« Reply #22 on: August 27, 2010, 08:49:12 PM »
Actually, Threading and Sprites both let a Technomancer be even more versatile in the matrix than a hacker...

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Re: [SR4] Stainless Steel Hearts
« Reply #23 on: August 27, 2010, 08:53:06 PM »
Yeah, but threading is only really worth it if you've got A: a low program that needs to temporarily work better, or B: an insanely high pool to resist Fading (the Techno version of Drain), because Threading a program to be higher than your resonance causes Physical damage, if you can't succeed.

And yes, Sprites are useful, too, but the lengths you have to go through in order to get them ensure that you're not going to use a Sprite Service just for them to say, find a single piece of data with Browse, or something.

Offline Kunoichi

Re: [SR4] Stainless Steel Hearts
« Reply #24 on: August 27, 2010, 09:00:25 PM »
But since Registering a Sprite (Technomancer version of Binding a Spirit) is free, it actually is possible to do just that...  And having a Data Sprite do Browsing for you during legwork actually frees you up to do other things during that time, so in a way it's really more of a time-saver than anything.