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[Shadowrun] Combat Monsters

Started by Precious Villain, April 28, 2006, 02:17:00 AM

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Callan S.

Hi Robert,

It looks like you saw that risk involved and took it on. Good stuff!

Was that hacking moment one of the more exiting moments of play?

In terms of the stakes Sam suggested there, ie the launchers going off and blowing you all to kingdom come, did you take that on? Right now it seems esteem is the thing at stake, ie "I can rewire these babies, just you see. If I can't, damn, in front of everyone I couldn't beat it!". Rather than "I can rewire these babies...I'll get blown to chunks in front of everyone if I can't, eek!", which is esteem plus big resource hit risk. Let me stress here that both stakes are equally valid. I want your honest answer on whether you took the salsa risk on (try not to let pride alter your words, as either stake is pretty damn cool with me), so as to help with negotiations about what's at risk.

I really don't think that chunky salsa risk is existed at all, despite what you think Sam. Not functionally. Not unless the player has accepted it as part of the risk involved. Well, not just accepted...embraced! If the player hasn't accepted it, it's like a guy at a roulette wheel who's just standing there guessing the numbers and you forcably taking money off him when he gets it wrong. Until he's embraced the idea of losing his money, by laying it down, taking his money will just be dysfunctional.

But, if the idea of chunky salsa risks excites both of you, you can negotiate it in. This requires a pretty damn meta game negotiation though, because the player has to be empowered to say no. So if he goes to hack and as GM you say "You know that'd set them off on a failure", the player MUST be empowered to just say "I'm not willing to take that risk on" and that's the way it is in the game world. This goes against most gamist wisdom you'll currently find. Most of them try to stress that the risk HAS to be there. No, you just need the social feedback "Aww, come on, I know you can take on more than a hack...come on, take on the salsa challenge, I dare ya!!" and such like. The player must still have the ability to decline. But the social feedback is the real pressure a gamist needs to be under, rather than being forced into risks.

It's a pretty radical twist from the traditional sim-o gamist hybrid, where if someone jumps off a cliff then the risk somehow must be death/massive injury. Here the player can decline, wanting just a skinned knee as the risk. Then that's how it is. But, instead of game world causality, what tends to make the stakes death/massive injury is social pressure "Oh man, a skinned knee? Not even a broken bone? No, no esteem from me, that's for sure!"
Philosopher Gamer

Precious Villain

Hi Callan,

I'll say that I was unaware of the risk of chunky salsa!  Mechanics wise, I suppose that could have happened on a bad enough Computer+Command roll to rewire the launchers.  The risk that I, the player, was aware of was being caught.  Of course, that would turn out much the same way:  we had light, concealable weapons and armor, while there were more of them with heavy weapons and armor (and drone backup and 20 other guys).  So I was expecting both esteem and resource hits.

That kind of meta-game stakes negotiation would never have occurred to me.  On the other hand, I can see it preventing a lot of hurt feelings and calvinballing in game, too.

Can you give me an example from any game you've played in that illustrates the principle?

Thanks in advance,

My real name is Robert.


Maybe I wasn't clear enough on the whole grenades going off.  Only one roll would that have happened, and that was when Robert was re programing the grenade launchers, and only if he got a critical glitch.  Now if he wasn't anywhere near the grenade launchers, then something else equally as bad would have happened, or they still might have gone off, causing the exacts to escort the team out for there own safety.  Just a glitch (makes the test, but something bad happens) then someone would have noticed, and the baddies would have been alerted, or the IC come after him.  The thing about a critical glitch is it is supposed to be bad.  When firing your gun and critical glitches, the most common thing that happens is the gun goes off and you take damage from it and you need to repair it, while on just a glitch your gun jams and you need take a simple action to clear it.  The way i see it, when hacking any weapon, there is always going to be a chance that it will go off, it all depends on what roll you are making.  If you are just trying gain access, and you critically glitch, no the weapon will not go off.  Trying to re progame the weapon to go off on your signal, then yes there is a chance it goes off early.

Now meta gaming, I dislike a lot.  But I think we might be on a diffrent wave length here.  The meta gaming I have been exposed to is when a character acts on information he/she doesn't know, but the player does.  Outside the game discussion is not always meta gaming.

The biggest thing you have to remember about shadowrun is that any roll can get you into trouble and then possibly killed.


Hi Callan and all,

You appear to have hit the nail on the head with your discussion of gamist meta-game (although your roulette analogy was initially very muddy when you first used it on the thread). But how easy is this to do in the current incarnation of Shadowrun? I remember the first ed. as a very traditional high concept sim with crunchy gamist bits bits for action.

Quote from: Callan S. on May 14, 2006, 03:17:25 AM
So if he goes to hack and as GM you say "You know that'd set them off on a failure", the player MUST be empowered to just say "I'm not willing to take that risk on" and that's the way it is in the game world.

I am willing to bet that Sam didn't do this based on his post.

Quote from: BearKing on May 14, 2006, 12:05:20 PM
Now meta gaming, I dislike a lot.

The biggest thing you have to remember about shadowrun is that any roll can get you into trouble and then possibly killed.

So to keep this focused on actual play, I will direct my question to Sam.

Do you take time in each conflict to discus the stakes or do you, as you imply, rely on the genre assumption that life is short in cyberpunk. Both are actually valid, as long as everyone knows, genre assumptions are a key part of this kind of simulation game.

My other question goes back to the first part of the thread but was unspecified. When everyone in the group (before the new players) rolled up their characters, was this done with GM involvement, or was it based on GM approval after the process. I ask because I remember the 1st ed. rules being very biased towards extreme stereotyping. If you wanted a mixed character you had to make sacrifices. The new guys probably fell into this Mini-max trap inherent in the rules (at least it used to be).

When you approved the sheets, you may have assumed the choices were conscious, but in my memory the character creation process can produce narrow characters by default. Even if the ruleset has changed to make balance easier, a long running SR player may still be entrenched in this style.

Callan S.

Quote from: Precious Villain on May 14, 2006, 10:16:36 AM
Can you give me an example from any game you've played in that illustrates the principle?
I can't put my money where my mouth is, to be honest. I've tried it out in two games so far, neither ended up clear cut examples. One is a PBP and I it started to show up what the players were more focused on . A couple of short examples play are where they would simply make a move, like treating a gun as full auto (when the rules are ambiguous) or treating a 'fire a rifle with one hand' as the ability to fire a rifle in one hand and a pistol in the other. Instead of returning to ten years of gaming history and trying to argue it at 'realism' level, I simply said that's fine and we'll go with it. But I think it makes conflicts easier for you. Both of them did return to that 'argue realism' level, even though I wasn't saying no. They wanted the sense of playing tough guy Rifts, but when it came to social feedback that didn't agree, they seemed to try and argue esteem out of me. Currently the PBP site is down, so no further updates on that.

In another short example, I played D&D with my partner and son. In this game I structured each room much like scene framing and every one was optional in terms of taking it on. They didn't have to go into any of them. This made my role as GM more like a game show host, where I tried to dare the players to enter. This one didn't end up a clear cut example, because my partner suggested a time limit on the game, otherwise they failed. This sounded good at first, until in play I realised they were skipping rooms because they couldn't see anything in them that would help with the main quest (something I just threw in for looks). They weren't judging if they could take on each room, they were judging if each was needed to complete the quest. If you go that way, then I'm the one deciding which rooms they go in, because I design the rooms and the quests needs.

Once we sorted it out, it was what I was aiming for but not an example of whole reward cycles. One room saw them dare to fire on a troglodite who was already fighting some human NPC. They tried their surprise shot...they even dared to shoot again when it noticed them. But they kept missing and decided that no, this was too much. Which is interesting tactical gamist stuff! Though I'm afraid I put a bit of a moral spin on it at first, because at first they were going to pass on it. In my game show voice I said 'Your just going to let that other human die in the dark?'. Though they didn't let that get in the way...they used a probing fire tactic and evaluated as too hot. Good stuff.

Working on getting in more play at the moment... :)
Philosopher Gamer

Precious Villain

Hi Callan,

Great thoughts, but I think they may be better served as part of a new thread - because I'd like to go into an analysis of Shadowrun as a game (through the lens of years of actual play of the thing) and that goes way beyond the scope of "This game, right now." 

My real name is Robert.

Precious Villain

Okay, we just ran another game session after a two week hiatus (enforced by real world events).  Things went quite well!

The players of the combat monsters (Tom and Misty) brought back completely retooled characters.  Stats were right in the range we're generally comfortable starting with.  Misty's gunslinger, Alira, had picked up a host of social skills and a much higher charisma - and was recast as a cybered up gunslinger/face rather than an adept.  The number of dice rolled dropped significantly, there:  down from 18 to 14. 

Marv, the Ork, acquired much higher Logic and Willpower scores (kept his Charisma 1, it fit the character, really).  He also picked up a new focus with skills in Demolitions and Heavy Weapons.  Still a gunbunny, but much more flexible than before. 

Both had Reaction, Agility and Initiative at the high end (they're combat oriented, after all) but nothing obscene for our campaign level.

Overall, the game session was a blast.  Not to say that it was perfect, but the glaring issues of the last couple sessions are completely resolved.  I'll be continuing my quest to Step On Up - and I may have some more interesting actual play to report at another time.  So let me close for now with a big "Thanks everybody!" to all who posted to this thread. 
My real name is Robert.