Bar fight: Sample combat (01/X: Rude’s stats)

Quick intro: Since rules can be confusing to people, especially the finer details, I am designing a sample encounter. I was going to write the entire thing first, but that way I’ll never finish it. Instead, I’ll write it out over several posts and eventually compile it into a Google Doc with sidenotes to make it easy to go through and understand all the small rules.

GLOSSARY

  • CRB = Core Rulebook aka Sixth World
  • FS = Firing Squad
  • p# = page number (so CRB p249 means page 249 of the Sixth World book)
  • AR = Attack Rating
  • DR = Defense Rating
  • DV = Damage Value

So let’s explain what the fight will contain: Some go-gangers walk into a bar. That’s the joke. If they were proper go-gangers, they’d ride in on their bikes and act as if the bar is a drive-thru. 🥁

Anyway. They see some runners they got beef with, and attack them. The runners fight back, the bartender gets pissed, bullets and gas grenades fly around. It’s a nasty event. This will let us touch on quite a bit of small details, such as Surprise rounds, using combat drugs, how toxins work, etc. As well as default Attack Rating vs Defense Rating, Edge actions, Cover, and so on and so forth!

But first. The characters. Let’s start with Rude, the Troll Street Samurai, a slightly-tweaked version of the Street Samurai archetype from the book.


Rude (Troll Street Samurai)

Stats
B 7, A 3(7), R 3, S 7(11), W 1, L 2, I 4, C 3, Edge 5, Essence 1.34

Important augmentations

  • Muscle Toner + Muscle Augmentation: +4 Agility and +4 Strength (CRB p292)
  • Titanium Bone Lacing: +2 DR, +2 soak dice, +3 Unarmed AR, 4P base Unarmed DV (CRB p286)
  • Dermal Plating: +3 DR (CRB p286)
  • Platelet Factories: Taking 2 or more Physical damage? Reduced by 1 (CRB p292)
  • Reflex Recorders for Close Combat and Firearms: +1 skill rating (CRB p293)

A 3(7) means that someone’s base Agility is 3, and their augmented Agility is 7, so for all rolls and checks you’d use the 7. Note that the maximum adjusted attribute value is +4, see CRB p37, so Rude’s Agility cannot ever be boosted past that 7. UNLESS the rules EXPLICITLY state something bypasses the adjusted/augmented maximum limit!

Important note: Bone Lacing and Bone Density Augmentation do not augment your overall Body, they only provide a bonus to Body when you’re facing physical damage. Note that that is lowercase physical. This means you could argue it applies to all damage you face in the flesh, even if it’s Stun and not Physical. Is that actually the case? I got no idea what’s official, but I’d say yes: These apply to damage resistance tests against attacks that attack your actual body, in contrast to for example Direct Spells that attack your mind and Matrix Biofeedback Damage.

Platelet Factories, however, state they work against Physical damage. Which means that a Direct spell that does 2+ Physical Damage would trigger Platelet Factories their effect.

Important skills

  • Close Combat 7(8), with a Specialization in Blades
  • Firearms 4(5), with a Specialization in Heavy Pistols
  • Perception 3
  • Seattle Street Gangs (Knowledge Skill) (CRB p97-p99)

So to translate those stats to dicepools: If Rude swings a first, he has 7 Agility + 8 Close Combat = 15 dice. If he swings a katana (which is a blade), he also adds a +2 from his Specialization = 17 dice. Knowledge skills are special, we’ll get to those in the actual gameplay example

Rude’s special stats

  • Defense Rating: 17 (7 Body, +4 Armor Jacket, +1 Dermal Deposits. +3 Dermal Plating, +2 Bone Lacing)
  • Base Initiative: Reaction 3 + Intuition 4, no augmentations on the dice = 7+1D6 (CRB p39)
  • Base Actions: 1 Major/2 Minor (CRB p40: 1 default Minor + 1 per Initiative dice, aka 2 total when unbuffed)
  • Default defense pool: Reaction 3 + Intuition 4 = 7 dice (CRB p105)
  • Condition Monitors: 12 Physical, 9 Stun (CRB p38: 8 + Body/2 rounded up, note that the +2 from Bone Lacing doesn’t apply here, and 8 + Willpower/2 rounded up, so 8+7/2=12 PCM, 8+1/2=9 SCM)

Rude’s Armor Jacket (CRB p265, +table on p266) provides +4 Defense Rating and has 8 Capacity. He spent that all on the following:

  • Electricity Resistance Rating 3 (CRB p266: 3 Capacity, can protect against Zapped status 3x, both those numbers are equal to the rating)
  • MEMS Equipment Pouch (FS p48: 2 Capacity, gives Gear Access (FS p53: makes picking up items from the pouch a Minor Action))
  • MEMS Quick-Draw Holster (FS p48, 3 Capacity, allows the Quick-Draw action, boosts 1 AR when quick-drawing, can at most hold a Heavy Pistol)

Weapons (ignoring weapons Rude didn’t bring with him to the bar)

  • Ares Predator VI (CRB p253 + table p255)
    • 15 Explosive rounds and 15 Stick-n-Shock rounds loaded (an Ares Predator VI can have multiple ammo-types loaded and uses the type you want)
    • Personalized Grip (FS p62, +1/+1/-/-/- on available Attack Ratings)
    • Active Smartgun (CRB p260-261, since Rude uses Wireless Smartlinked Contacts, the combination of Smartlink+Smartgun gives 2 on all available Attack Ratings, and other benefits)
    • Explosive Rounds (CRB p261-262): 13/13/11/-/-, 4P damage (The – Attack Ratings do not become 2 with the smartgun bonus, they count as non-existent instead)
    • Stick-n-Shock Rounds (CRB p262): 14/14/12/-/-, 2S(e) damage
  • Unarmed Strike: 14/-/-/-/-, 4P (p39: Strength 11 + Reaction 3 as Attack Rating, and see Bone Lacing for why this is the unarmed damage)
  • Katana (CRB p247, +p249 table)
    • Personalized Grip: (FS p62, +2/-/-/-/- Attack Rating)
    • Attack Rating: 23/-/-/-/- (base 10, +11 from Strength (CRB p109 Combat Example, due to an errata mistake it’s not in the base rules), +2 from the Personalized Grip)
    • Damage: 4P (Note that Strength gives no bonus on melee damage, only on melee Attack Rating)

Houserules: Edge (3/4: AR vs DR)

So, on this third post about Edge houserules, let’s start with Attack Rating vs Defense Rating. If AR-DR is 4+, or DR-AR is 4+, the bigger side gets a point of Edge. 11 AR vs 8 DR? Nobody gets anything. 12 vs 8? Edge to attacker. 2 vs 12? Edge to defender.

When people argue Armor does nothing in SR6, this is what they talk about: In more extreme cases, the extra armor won’t matter for this equation (if I already beat you by 4, extra DR won’t help me, if you have extremely high AR usually more armor won’t help me). But at the same time, it also has extremely little impact in the middle: If the enemy’s AR is 3 above my DR, they can drop 6 AR on their firing mode without giving me any advantage. Oh, and if the enemy Takes Aim with a Scope, suddenly your high DR solely blocks enemy Edge but you get zero benefits.

At the same time, if we look at a crazy Tank in SR5, it was quite easy for a character to take on average 7 damage less than others. Which means that an attack that does 3 damage against said Tank, will do 10 damage against a Face. To threaten the tough players, you had to risk one-shotting the others. If too big a benefit is given to high DR/AR ratings, we reintroduce this problem. So this is definitely something to avoid. And, as many who altered this mechanic noticed, it plays a big part in the new Edge system, so just cutting out the Edge is a bad idea.

Mathwise, by the way, it’s possible to basically have anywhere from 2 to 20 AR thanks to weapon mods and grunt groups, while default DRs of 5~8 can become closer towards 20 if you really try. (Let’s not touch on Cyberarmor-tanks for a second.) Don’t forget Cover can add anywhere from +1 to +4 to DR, as well.


So, all this means a houserule should fit 4 criteria.

  1. AR/DR differences should still grant Edge
  2. We want some form of gradual benefits, within limits to not encourage DR/AR-hoarding
  3. Benefits shouldn’t be at the level of reintroducing oneshotting with big differences
  4. Imaging Scope needs a form of nerf

My own proposal is as follows:

  • Steps of 3 difference, not 4
  • First step grants Edge
  • Second and third step grant +1/-1 soak die
  • Imaging Scope’s benefit reduces the Defender’s benefits with 1 step, and only does so at Medium+ Ranges

Steps of 3 are meant to make AR/DR-difference matter quicker, so you don’t get the extra benefits only in really big cases. The second and third benefit are smaller-scaled, so that it’s not an absolute must to get as high as possible. AR 8 vs DR 17+ means 9/3 = 3 steps, defender gets +1 Edge and +2 soak dice.

With more than 1 level, suddenly we can nerf Imaging Scope. Plus a Scope won’t help you in close quarters, it’s really meant for long-distance situations.

Now, the reason we’re impacting the soak dice, rather than the attack/evade dice: This way the AR-DR comparison doesn’t impact the hitchance directly, instead it impacts the damage taken. Means it feels more like the Armor is helping you avoid damage, which makes more sense than that it helps you evade.


Of course plenty of alternatives are possible, such as:

  • Imaging Scope reduces DR with 3 if DR>AR, aka you don’t lose 1 step of benefits if your DR is high enough
  • Steps of 2 difference, so AR-DR game gets to its benefits much faster.
  • Bonus on attack/dodge, reflecting that poor/excellent armor makes it easier/harder to land a dangerous hit on you
  • Full soak point instead of just a soak die, making the AR-DR benefits far more lethal
  • Extra points of Edge instead, which bypass the ‘2 Edge gained per Action’ limit, but not the ‘2 Edge kept per turn’ limit
  • Introducing special AR/DR-modifying circumstances for special situations (a sandstorm may add 2 Cover-levels, while still capping at 4 levels, for example)
  • No step-limit, meaning AR/DR armsraces are encouraged and Tank builds become much harder to injure again

Now I disagree with some of these of course, as you can tell from the justifications I posted above for the rules I wrote down as my version. However, let’s face it: My preference is not everyone’s preference. You should go with what feels right at your table. Just make sure everyone understands that if the mechanics feel too much or too little, it’s okay for the rules to alter after a few sessions to try them out. (Don’t spring ‘I am altering the deal, pray I don’t alter it any further’ on your players. Darth Vader was the bad guy, GMs are not.)


Oh, and you will want to write down your grunts and players their default step-ranges, if the math proves frustrating. If you have a simple chart, you can just go ’16 AR is orange, so you get 1 Edge and they lose a soak die, go roll’. Might help with the bookkeeping.

Now I still want to discuss a few Edge-related qualities and such, and a few alternatives to houserules from my previous post, but let’s touch on those another time.

Houserules: Edge (2/4: Cinematic Play)

As I started writing this, I realised there’s no way to fit the Edge-houserules into a single properly readable post. So this one will focus on Cinematic Play. Qualities/Gear-balancing and AR/DR will have to wait. This one is focused on the restrictions to gaining Edge: Max 2 per test, max 2 per turn, no more than 7 total.

So on one hand, it makes sense that Edge gains are limited. If you can only gain 2 Edge in an action, it prevents crazy gains that make the Edge flow waaaaaay too fast. It also means players won’t be pushing for yet another way to get Edge, since you cap at 2. And the limit of 2 Edge per turn, also means you won’t be tossing out big Edge moves one after another.

On the other hand, when granting an enemy Edge is supposed to be a downside and a big impact on the balance, that not happening due to the restriction is not balancing. For 1-on-‘1’ fights, it’s doable, but it just feels weird once dogpiling is concerned.

With that in mind, here’s a combination of rules that are meant to unify these concerns. Since under these rules Edge will still flow much faster and you can almost feel like you’re in an action movie (don’t forget, rerolling 2 enemy hits basically equals costing them 4 dice on average), I tend to label the set ‘Cinematic Gameplay’. Glossary involved: Temporary Edge is ‘spend or lose it’ Edge, kept/permanent is Edge that you’re allowed to keep past the Action and do so.

  • 2 Edge max gained per ACTION, including temporary Edge.
      • So a Jumped-In Rigger with Thermographic vision at night and a massive Attack Rating still only gets 2 Edge.  This way, players won’t be trying to farm method after method to gain Edge.
  • 2 Edge KEPT max per combat round. If you spend it on the Action (such as Spellcasting&Drain, or defense&Soak, or Attack), it doesn’t count against the limit.
      • This way we still maintain the max gain of 2, meaning that the really big Edge moves are still something you have to save up for.
  • Edge Pools max at 9.
      • Meaning high-Edge peeps don’t have to spend it at once but actually can save up a bit, and PR9 Grunts aren’t defying the limit.
  • Edge transfers ignore the limit, BUT you can’t transfer non-kept Edge.
      • Edge transfers are what you do for ‘hey this roll really matters big time’, such as big negotiations or crucial attacks on big foes. It’s also a way for people that got more Edge than they need to help the ones that have a harder time. But the cinematic style is focused on additional gains being ‘spend it or lose it’, not ‘hoard like crazy’. Being able to farm Edge and pass it around to bypass that restriction, violates the spirit, and now the letter as well.
  • If you and an ally are attacked together, and you transfer gained Edge immediately to the ally, it counts as kept Edge (and is restricted by the 2 kept max limit).
      • A partial exception to the rule above for a specific edge-case: If I didn’t keep my max 2 Edge yet, I can use what I gained to help pay for transfering, but it counts as part of the kept limit.

And for the grunt perspective, where I am introducing the term ‘unit’ for all grunts combined, which may be multiple grunt groups (e.g. 8-grunt unit => 2x grunt groups of size 4 each).

  • (Unit-size/5, rounded up) Edge Boosts allowed per turn, instead of 1 Edge Boost per turn for the entire unit.
      • Larger units should be a bigger threat, not be the perfect example of more foes meaning less competence. At the same time splitting a unit into more groups shouldn’t matter Edge-wise.
  • Downed grunts still count for the unit size (see rule above), but routed grunts do not. Routed grunts also cannot gain or spend Edge.
      • When your comrades are down, there’s more on the line than just your own hide. But those that ran away, won’t make you think more tactically. And when you’re running away, there’s no way you can be contributing tactically.
  • 2 Edge KEPT max per combat round, for the entire unit combined.
      • They have 1 shared Edge pool, so we’re restricting their gains as well, with similar reasons.
  • If Edge cannot be kept or spent, due to the Edge Boost and Edge Kept limits, convert the remaining point(s) into bonus dice
      • Limiting how often grunts can spend Edge is a nice limit, but we still want to prevent them from getting no benefit. Since we restrict both their Edge gains and expenses, we should add an auto-conversion for the excess Edge. Bonus dice is less powerful than forcing the PCs to reroll hits, but still makes it tougher to hit/dodge.
  • When multiple grunts are attacked at the same time, they gain Edge together (so just once), but also spend Edge together (e.g. they gain 1 Edge but spend 2 to reroll two of their failures? Then each grunt gets the benefit of the reroll).
      • The rules don’t describe how this goes, so here’s how I propose we handle it. A buff to AoE and Multiple Attacks, since you’re not giving away multiple points of Edge just because you target multiple enemies (just like you only gain once yourself). On the other hand, we shouldn’t penalize the grunts on their defensive use of Edge, when we already restrict their gain to once for all combined.

All these houserules combined mean that both players and grunts can benefit from Edge far more often, meaning no more ‘no worries, they’re already Edge-capped’, while still facing their natural restrictions and keeping the big-Edge actions as rare dramatic occasions. This hopefully will result in far more dramatic fights with fancy cinematic flow, impact lethality, and reward tactical choices more. And now, even if two dozen enemies all fire at you, you can still be badass.

Status Update

So, as I mentioned in September, more errata were needed before I’d post my houserules. Since then a lot happened: January had an updated PDF, but the errata-only PDF took a while to appear and then even longer for people to find it. I got involved in some writing and playtesting (details under NDA, unfortunately), COVID-19 turned the entire world upside-down, etc.

Still, no time like the present, so I am finally getting back into the houserule-game. First up, 2 posts on Edge. The first tonight, which goes into criticism. The second later, which will go into houserules to handle a lot of said criticism.

Sixth World status

So it’s been a while, and all is quiet on the Western Front, which means I decided it was time for a bit of a status update. Shadowrun Sixth World (sixth edition, called 6w by some) has been available in PDF for a while now, and unlike 5e there’s a solid errata process underway. RPG Nights at the local FLGS (Friendly Local Gaming Story) are going well, with plenty of various open events taking place as well as hosting multiple campaigns. We now have a Discord channel and while I only host each first saturday, there’s 2 Open Events nights per month with the other saturdays being used solely for campaigns.

For Shadowrun events, we currently run Open Events with the core ruleset but using the Beginner Box characters. There’s a few reasons for that, namely awaiting errata so sample characters can be validated and fixed, and eagerly waiting for HeroLab Online to come out with their Shadowrun 6w package. Once that is out, I can run with the sample chars from Core instead. We ran thrice so far, with spectacularly wicked results. The new Edge game is easy to get into and combat goes much faster when you’re walloping gangers.

As for this blog: Like I mentioned, there’s currently a solid errata process underway. So I am aware that for some rule parts I struggle with, there’s clarifications imbound. But I don’t know what those clarifications will be. So, until I know which way those errata turn out, I don’t know what houserules to offer to override them. Thus I am watchin’, and I’m waitin’, on the edge of my seat, anticipatin’… Once the errata come out, this blog will become more active again.

See you in the shadows, chummer.

Non-storylined Open Events are a go!

Hoi chummers,

Starting monday 9 october I will once again host open events at Moenen & Mariken. These events will take place every second monday of the month from October to May. After that I will be busy with marriage-stuff so won’t be hosting for a few months.

Pages have been made and added to the sidebar menu, Open Sessies (NL) / Open Events (EN). You can look for more info and the exact dates there. If you want more info and e-mail warnings, feel free to comment here or give me a poke at Moenen & Mariken.

See you in the shadows, chummers

RECAP CORRECTION

Two paragraphs were missing from the previous recap, they have been added with a bold indicator. Said indicator and this newspost will be removed in two weeks time.

I hope to have the second part of the recap up tomorrow and the other three parts soon after. The parts of the other run were already written by the other GM so I’ll only have to edit them a bit, which should require less time (not to mention my evenings are relatively free this week, unlike last week).

My poor Valkyries

I’ve employed a few Valkyries (Guardian Spirits of a few traditions) in my games as police NPCs and unfortunately the upcoming Movement-nerf, described in next week’s houserule, will restrict them as well. ^_^ Alas.

Of course normally they fly without worries since they can just fly within the non-essential airspace and get a free clearance through Knight Errant so no slowing down for other aircrafts, but if they go towards unfriendly skies they’ll have to fly lower and will get their movement reduced. Ahwell, guess they’ll have to live with going ~175 km/h if they decide to do a sweep into Redmond. (Yes that’s Force 9. Did you think a PR6 SWAT team would send mere Force 6 Spirits into combat?)

And yes when a bunch of Valkyries, wearing Full Body Armor and wielding Ares Alphas, go into a combat zone someone WILL be playing Wagner out loud.