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Dark Archive

I plan (hopefully) to start running a game Shadowrun (4e) soon. I'm new to the game in general, and the game gives very little advice on how to run a game. For example, I can't find anywhere where it gives you the foggiest idea on how much nuyen a shadowrunner should make off of any given run. I understand that the value will run off of several different factors such as the number of runners, the difficulty of the run, the type of run, and etc, but they don't even give you a idea of how much a team should be making for an "average" run. Furthermore, While they give you alot of material to get ideas from, they don't have alot of advice on building the adventure/run itself. So I want as much advice as possible.

To give an idea on my plans and my experience with Shadowrun:

Experience: I played 2 "test" games to get a feel on how the rules work. I have an idea on how the mechanics are, but not much of an idea on how to string them together, nor how the interact with eachother in a full fledged game. I have some GMing experience, and plenty of RPG experience, but none with Shadowrun.

Plan: Take/Steal the concept of Black Lagoon(anime), or pirates in SE Asia, running around in a PT boat doing Shadowrunner stuff. This gives me some flexibility with certain elements (like stealing another page from Black Lagoon, and stating that the Team's homebase/town is some hellhole den of illegal activity, allowing me to avoid legal issues and let me have some fun with the criminal aspects) while raising some issues with others (such as planning runs around a boat and making sure all PCs are useful). No Storyline planned yet, probably do 2 small runs for the first 2 sessions or until we get a grasp of the rules.

Players/PCs: Have no idea quite yet. I have at least three players and depending on developments, may have up to 6 people. However, as it looks now, I will have only the three players, and they haven't figured out their characters. If I have only those three players, I'm worried that the PCs might be stretched too thin with their skills. Note: None of the players have had any experience playing Shadowrun. It came up because they want to take a break away from d20 and fantasy for a while. Warnings for players new to Shadowrun?

Any and all advice is welcomed.

Dark Archive

After some playtesting HERE, I noticed several problems with CMB. Not the concept but rather the numbers involved.

The problems with CMB are:

1)The base DC is set too high and causes a multitude of problems. Simply put, at 15+CMB, all one needs to do to become nearly undefeatible in Combat Maneuvers is get a +5 advantage in CMB. With a +5 Advantage, anyone attempting a Combat Maneuver against you needs 20 to succeed where you have a 50/50 chance to succeed with any combat maneuver against them. It makes having small bonuses to CMB matter too much and its to easy to get a +5 bonus and be near invincible when it comes to CMB. Particularly in Defense, due to 2).

2)There is a imbalance in the Improved Combat Maneuver feats (Improved Grapple, Improved Sunder, etc) vs Defensive Combat Training feat. Defensive Combat Training gives you a +4 to ALL Combat Maneuvers against you, where the the Improved Combat Maneuver Feats only give you a +2 on a SINGLE type of combat combat Maneuver when YOU attempt said combat maneuver. The feat that has a broader use, or at least more chances to be used has a greater bonus then a group of feats that have a far more narrow use. And with Defensive Combat Training, you can take it to get a +4 bonus, 80% of that +5 advantage needed to be invincible against Combat Maneuvers performed against you.


Fix for 1) I highly advise changing the DC to 10+CMB. It makes becoming invincible much harder as you need a 10+ advantage before become invincible. Further, Small numbers matter less, as the d20 roll counts more, and lastly, it puts the Combat Maneuvers on the same familiar 10+Mods like those for AC and Spell DCs. It also makes Defensive Combat Training less powerful.

Fix for 2) Make the Improved Combat Maneuver feats give a +4 bonus instead of the +2 they do now. They at least need to have a bonus equal to Defensive Combat Training so that there is a way to cancel out Defensive Combat Training's Bonus and put you on equal grounds. I would even argue that there is a case that could be made that Defensive Combat Training should be a +2 and the Improved Combat Maneuver Feats should be a +4 based on the grounds of specialization and focus of the feats, but I'll be content with the bonuses be equal.

Providing that the above is unacceptable for whatever reason, the at least you then need to move Defensive Combat Training's bonus down to a +2. Its too good when the DC starts at 15.


Several small things came to mind after reading the grapple rules and using them. They're

1)The grapple rules are too limiting on what you can do in a grapple.
2)The rules as written now seem to assume that the grapplers are both humanoid in shape with two arms.
3)The rules as written means that grappling is only useful in one on one combat, and which makes alot of grapple monster useless as monsters tend to be outnumbered. Furthermore, in the event that one on one combat does happen, by the time that grapple becomes a useful tactic that can be relied on(50/50 chance of be able to initiate a grapple), grapple is somewhat broken, as the +5 advantage that granted you a 50/50 chance of being able to initiate the grapple means that your opponent has a 5% chance of breaking free from the grapple. Provided that you have some means of doing decent damage(Like constrict) you can slowly beat your opponent to a pulp with little worry over him breaking the grapple. OTOH, if you don't all that grapple means is that your opponent just can ignore breaking free and just beat you death with a one-handed weapon, and you can do nothing but break the grapple or die as maintaining the grapple is a standard action, meaning the person grappling can't attack, but the one grappled can.

My proposed fixes: (Note: They assume the above fixes for combat maneuvers are adopted.)

1)Make maintaining a grapple a move-action, and possibly making maintaining a grapple a free action for those with Improved Grapple and/or Improved Grab.
2)Change the "cannot use any action that takes two hands to use" to "cannot use any action that takes all your hands(two for most creatures) to use". Also grant a +2 bonus on all CMB checks involving grappling for creatures with more than 2 arms.


Dark Archive

I know why the the rules where changed for SoD. However, I don't like that Save or Dies aren't... well Save or DIE. So after thinking about it and playing with some numbers I came to this.

Leave SoDs as presented in Pathfinder. And change the Massive Damage rule. As it stands all SoDs will invoke a Massive Damage save, but the pathetic DC 15 save won't make anyone blink by the time you can use them. So I played with the scaling massive damage rules, but they're to lethal for this purpose so I modify it to this:

Change massive damage DC to DC= 15+(Damage dealt/20 rounding up)

For example, if a level 20 wizard uses a finger of death against a monster, and the monster fails. It will deal 200 points of damage. Then the monster will have to make a DC 25 fort save or die on the spot.

Save or Die really is Save or Die.
Since the Massive Damage DC is based on Damage, and Damage from a SoD under Pathfinder is based on Caster Level, its harder to Boost the DC for Massive Damage.
You can't die just because of one bad roll.


Dark Archive

Note: Sorry if this thread shows up twice, the boards ate the first time around. Edit: And of course, the first one shows up after I post this one. Gah!

After a long Hiatus, I was able to have my group restart. Since we hadn't played in so long, I was able to get them to agree to switch over to pathfinder, as converting the characters would refresh them on their characters. The party should be a interesting test to see how the new PFRPG classes balance against WotC splatbook classes, as the party is half PFRPG classes, and the other half from various WotC splatbooks.

The party includes:


Elf Fighter Lvl 8
Half-Elf Sorcerer(Sliver Dragon Bloodline)/Cleric Gestalt Lvl 6*
Human Binder Lvl 8
Human Beguiler Lvl 8

Elf Druid Lvl 3
Kobold Swordsage Lvl 3

*He was a orginally a multiclass Sorcerer 4/Cleric 3 planning to take the mystic theurge PrC but for the sake of him testing the Domain powers and the Sorcerer bloodline powers, I'm allowing him to Gestalt the two classes. To balance it, I'm making him follow the Medium advancement experience total chart instead of the fast one like everyone else. Just eyeballing it, he should lag behind by about a level or 2 which hopefully will keep him from unbalancing the game. If I find it to be unbalancing, I have reserved the right to have him switch him back to multiclassing.


Character Conversion/Gen: All the classes converted easily, if slightly time consuming. It took about a minute or two to convert the Splatbook classes' class skill list, and about 5 mins to completely redo skills, with the exception of the Beguiler, who took 15 mins to redo skills. The only other time consumer was the players looking up the extra feat they got from converting. In all in all, it took about 30 mins to convert a character (which includes transcribing them to a new character sheet), and if you got rid of the various distactions, like the chattering that was going on and like, I would say that it takes about 15 mins to convert a character, 5-10 if re-use the old/same character sheet. Indeed, the two NPCs took about 10 mins each to convert, and that includes transcribing them to new sheets.

Two things I noticed when I converted the Beguiler was that A) after converting its class skill list was that it had all skills BUT Craft, Fly, Handle Animal, Heal, Intimidate, 8 of the Knowledge skills, Perform, Ride, and Survival or in other words it had 54% of all skills as class skills (if you count Craft, Perform, and Profession as 1 skill each). Which lead me to realize B) under the new skill system, its more important to have alot of class skills than it is to have more skill points per level at least in the early levels. The Beguiler, by simply puting at least 1 point in all 19 class skills, managed to get 57 extra skill points. This by itself isn't a bad thing, but that future classes must take into account the number of class skills as part of balance.

In-game: Most of the game was RP, with little combat. However, since there was a day that the party would have to wait while an NPC prepared something they needed the next part of the adventure, they decided to hit up the arena in the city for some extra cash by fighting monsters. Since the group is slightly large, they spilted up into two groups to maximize their earnings. After some a few rolls of the dice, and a semi-random selection, I got a 9-headed and a Behir as the two challenges they would face. They looked like a good chance to test CMB and I went with it. The party was given a description of the two monsters, which is where things went wrong for the party as I mentioned fire as something they would be wise to bring for the fight with the hydra, they took it as meaning the monster was fire vulnerable, and put all 3 casters in the team that would fight the hydra, and put the binder, swordsage, and fighter in the other to face the Behir. Sensing that the caster only party was screwed, I give them a slight warning in the odds that they were given (10 to 1 for the hydra fight) as the fighter argued that they should at least have the switch out the druid for himself, or the swordsage. The Beguiler and Sorcerer/Cleric disagree and keep their group all casters.

So what should have been a interesting fight with CMB tested as the attempted to sunder the Hydra devolved into a 2 round fight in which the Hydra rolls a natural 20 for init and the Beguiler and Sorcerer/Cleric both roll natural 1s for init(By now the players know they are screwed), and the hydra walks up and drops(but doesn't kill) both the Beguiler and Sorcerer/Cleric by round 2. The Druid promptly surrenders.

The Behir goes better, and manages to test CMB. My verdict is CMB works VERY well. Fighter gave a good showing of himself, using Power Attack and Backswing together (making all three attacks) to do +60 damage (6d6+3 from using a +1 greatsword+30 from power attack+17 total from Str mod+3 weapon training) in a single round. The Behir then managed to hit him with its bite attack then managed to make its CMB/Grapple check. Mathwise, the Behir had +19 (+9 BAB+8 STR mod+2 Size mod) on is roll vs the fighter's +13 (8 BAB+5 STR Mod) meaning it needed a 9 or higher to make the 28 DC check.(Which feels just about right, particularly if you take into a count feats/abilities that grant bonuses to CMB.) The Binder and Swordsage move in to attack, hoping to end the fight quickly but fail to hit the Behir. The fighter attempts to get free from the grapple, which (unknown to him) he needs 20 to get free. Predictably he fails. The Behir then makes the grapple check, does its constrict damage and makes rake attacks taking off just under half of fighter's HP. The Binder and Swordsage attack again, but this time manage to hit for about 15 damage, knocking the Behir's HP to 14. The Behir eats the fighter (Swallow Whole), and then makes its bite attack against the Swordsage which crits, killing him outright. The Binder then finishes the fight, attacks the Behir one more time and does 12 damage knocking the Behir's HP down to 2 HP which causes the Beastmaster of the Arena to step in, and call the fight. The PCs win, and the Breastmaster uses a spell to make the Behir vomit the Fighter out.

The remainder of the game was spent trying to revive the Swordsage, which they succeeded after talking to a NPC druid they are on friendly terms with. (Not the one in the party of course.) After they managed to get the druid to cast reincarnate (the Swordsage managed to stay a Kobold), We considered that a good to place to call it quits. A will hopefully have a game again sometime this weekend, so I hope to have the second session up by next week.

So far the changes have been well received, and the fighter feels more power, and in the one fight we had so far has shown that he can do massive amounts of damage. I have to see if he remains as effective as we go on.

Dark Archive

After a brief scan, I found two errata:

On Page 31, Under the infernal bloodline, the power Hellfire doesn't state how many times it can be used. I believe that I is supposed to be 1/day correct?

On Page 69, Under the universal school, I thought that limited wish and wish were going to be removed.

Clarification on these?

I post more if I find any.

Dark Archive

There has been alot of talk on combat feats, and (from what I have seen) most people aren't against the idea but rather how its done now. Myself included. As I thought about it I came back to an old idea that I had tossed around similar to combat feats and thought that I may as well toss it out here.

Take Combat feats and split them into 2 groups. Style feats and another group called Combat feats.

Style feats are various fighting styles, stances, and strategies that the character can take to gain ongoing benefits and penalties. Rules: You declare what style feat(if any) that you are using at the beginning of you turn. You gain all benefits and penalties as long as the feat is active. Once activated, it remains active until you declare that you are deactivating it, switch to a new one, you fall incapacitated, or combat ends. Declaring a style feat is a free action.

Examples: Wind stance, Lighting Stance, Careful targeting from the Alpha release.

Combat feats (My version) are templates that can be added to any attack. They represent various strikes, maneuvers, and specific attacks like one would find in a real-life sword fight. You can use as many combat feat as you want in a given round. However you can use only 1 combat feat on any one attack.


Piercing Strike: You use your knowledge of piercing weapons and the qualities of armor to render armor less effective.
Requirements: BAB +3 or higher, Must be using a piercing weapon.
Effect: On this attack, your target adds only half their Armor Bonus and Natural Armor Bonus to their AC.

Lethal Blow: Using skill, you set-up a far more devastating blow.
Requirements: BAB of +10 or higher
Effect: You take a -10 penalty on this attack. If you hit, it is considered an automatic critical. Special abilities that active on a critical such as vorpal, don't active.

I know I don't have many examples but any thoughts? Ideas? Love? Hate?