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Ask the Shadowrun line developer stuff

JM Hardy

First Post
Hi! I'm Shadowrun line developer Jason Hardy. I've been around EN World on and off for a long time (as user Jasnkat), but I created a new account to link to my Shadowrun e-mail for this excellent Shadowrun focus. I'll try to be involved in other threads, but if you have specific questions for me, put them here!

Note: I will treat the question "Why do you suck so much?" as rhetorical. The question "What makes you so awesome?" by contrast, will get a detailed response.

Jason H.
 

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Abstruse

Hero
Can we get used cyberware at character generation? p91 and p451 disagree on the issue.

Any estimate on when "core sourcebooks" will start to be released (Unwired, Magic in the Shadows, Augmentation, Canon Companion, Shadowrun Companion, etc.)? And which one are we getting first?

You mentioned in the RPGnet Q&A that you'd have plot-based sourcebooks coming out quickly after the SR5 launch. How quickly and will this be a full sourcebook or one of the PDF mini-releases?

Any idea when Missions information for SR5 will be up (character generation guidelines, SR5-specific adventures, etc.)?

I've got a LOT more, but I figure those will do for a start.
 

JM Hardy

First Post
Replies beneath the questions.

Can we get used cyberware at character generation? p91 and p451 disagree on the issue.

No, you should not be able to get used cyberware at character generation.

Any estimate on when "core sourcebooks" will start to be released (Unwired, Magic in the Shadows, Augmentation, Canon Companion, Shadowrun Companion, etc.)? And which one are we getting first?

The combat sourcebook will be first. We're looking at late 2013 for it.

You mentioned in the RPGnet Q&A that you'd have plot-based sourcebooks coming out quickly after the SR5 launch. How quickly and will this be a full sourcebook or one of the PDF mini-releases?

The sourcebook I mentioned is a full 200-page beast. Look for it in fall 2013.

Any idea when Missions information for SR5 will be up (character generation guidelines, SR5-specific adventures, etc.)?

We should have a FAQ for Seasons 5 Missions by the end of the week. Then information will be flowing. The first of the new season of Missions should come out in August.

I've got a LOT more, but I figure those will do for a start.

I have no doubt you have plenty more, and I look forward to seeing them!

Jason H.
 

Abstruse

Hero
The combat sourcebook will be first. We're looking at late 2013 for it.

"Combat sourcebook" as in something like Canon Companion? More guns, advanced combat options? Are you still splitting the same way SR3/4 did? Matrix book, Cyber/bio/nanoware book, Magic book, Guns/combat book, Companion book, and just before the edition cycle's over a Rigging book?

Any hint what the 200 page sourcebook will be about?
 

JM Hardy

First Post
"Combat sourcebook" as in something like Canon Companion? More guns, advanced combat options? Are you still splitting the same way SR3/4 did? Matrix book, Cyber/bio/nanoware book, Magic book, Guns/combat book, Companion book, and just before the edition cycle's over a Rigging book?

Those are the basic categories, but we will be sorting the information within them somewhat differently. I'd be more detailed, but I'm still working on the exact divisions. So for combat, you're looking at more weapons, explosives, more combat options, martial arts, etc.

Any hint what the 200 page sourcebook will be about?

Sure! Read the last section of Storm Front.

Bonus answer: While the next season of Missions will premier in August as I mentioned, a SR4/SR5 hybrid of Missions run at previous conventions is out now. You can read a new blog post about it over at shadowruntabletop.com. I'd make that a link, but I can't yet with this new account.

Jason H.
 


I'm A Banana

Potassium-Rich
What's one thing that's always bothered you a bit about Shadowrun that was changed in this edition? What might be an example of something you maybe you always WANTED to change, but maybe couldn't (because it's too big, because it's not the right feel, because it turned out to be a horrible idea....)?
 


JM Hardy

First Post
What's one thing that's always bothered you a bit about Shadowrun that was changed in this edition? What might be an example of something you maybe you always WANTED to change, but maybe couldn't (because it's too big, because it's not the right feel, because it turned out to be a horrible idea....)?

Ooo, good questions. For the first part, there were a few things. The Matrix not being in line with the mechanics of the rest of the game and not using your attributes bothered me. Plus it was not the easiest thing to use. So we changed that. I also was not fond of the long wait slower characters had while faster characters raced around, so we worked on the initiative system. Those were some larger changes. Then there were smaller things, like adding seating stats to vehicles and changing the way Essence loss was calculated for bioware and cyberware (taking the smaller total Essence loss from the two categories and dividing it in half) that addressed some things that bugged me.

The second part is a tougher question. Probably the largest change I attempted but couldn't pull off was moving initiative to an action points-based system. There were a lot of cool possibilities for spells and gear in that system, it had interesting possibilities for tactical combat, and the idea for interrupt actions came out of that. But in the end it involved too much record keeping and slowed up combat too much, and the playtesters were, um, exceedingly clear in their displeasure with the system. So we threw action points out and went back to the drawing board. I'm happy with the initiative system we ended up with, but I still wonder if I could have made some variant of the action points work.

Jason H.
 

JM Hardy

First Post
So the entire book is about the...spoilery thing? (Seriously guys, read Storm Front. Best Shadowrun sourcebook since 3rd Ed). Or will it cover other stuff too?

Entire book about that thing, what it's doing to the Sixth World, and how people are responding. Lots of bad craziness going on out there!

Jason H.
 

JM Hardy

First Post
Are the adventures in Sprawl wild season 5 missions legal? Or how can I convert a character from season 4/3?

Yes, they are Missions legal. We have a SR4 to SR5 character converter up; check the blog at shadowruntabletop.com for links. There also should be an older SR3 to SR4 converter. Taking a character through both of them might be rough, but you should end up with something usable.

Jason H.
 

Abstruse

Hero
Entire book about that thing, what it's doing to the Sixth World, and how people are responding. Lots of bad craziness going on out there!

Jason H.
Tease me a little...exactly how long has that thing been going on and we're just now noticing it?

Also, are you going to keep to the "Shadowrun's present day is 61 years (give or take six months) in our future" guideline that 1st-3rd kept (and that ended up being what 4th got after all the publishing delays from FanPro)?
 

JM Hardy

First Post
Tease me a little...exactly how long has that thing been going on and we're just now noticing it?

FastJack had been making strange mistakes, odd remarks, and doing other weird things due to his … issues for the better part of a year. Perhaps the earliest hint of the plot thread that came out in Storm Front appeared in Street Legends. Corporate Intrigue, Jet Set, and especially The Clutch of Dragons had material related to it.

Also, are you going to keep to the "Shadowrun's present day is 61 years (give or take six months) in our future" guideline that 1st-3rd kept (and that ended up being what 4th got after all the publishing delays from FanPro)?

Yes, that's essentially the plan, though we're at 62 years or so at the moment.

Jason H.
 

Abstruse

Hero
Part of the Year of Shadowrun was a release of both some of the classic Shadowrun novels (I specifically want an ebook copy of 2XS because my paperback is falling apart from re-re-re-re-re-re-re-reading) and new novels as well. Any idea on when those will come out? Also, will you be soliciting for new authors for that or are you going solely in-house?
 

GiraffeShaman

First Post
1. I'd love to hear your thoughts on the Grids, GOD, and the G-Men. I love these concepts, but feel a bit starved for information on some of them as the main book focused heavily on shadowruns and not as much outside of hosts. How do you envison the grids? Is there some way around the problem of Street sams having their PAN on the public grid in order to cause deckers a -2 penalty from lag? What kind of things can the G-Men do in the Matrix to track down criminals, especially ones who do things like attack someone then log out immediately to evade GOD? Are the G-Men especially skilled and intense on the Megacorp Grids? Do the corps have any other defenses on the Megacorp grids?

2. What's are the best defenses in SR5 from grenades? Just running really fast with the new streamlined movement system?

3. What kinds of things can Technomancers do better than Deckers in this edition? Any future plans for the TMs, especially as it pertains to outside of hosts out on the grids?

4. Since Jackpoint exists still in new Matrix, can we assume there are all sorts of darknets for software pirates and the like?

5. What are the best defenses for a street sam who wants to remain online? Are there any upcoming technologies to help out online street sams? (i.e. skinlinks, some kind of alternative network, use of a PAN in areas the Matrix can't be reached, and so on) Are online SAMS able to be anonymis through an online service like the Onion Router or the like? Can they be tracked? (That's probaly going to be my players big worry when we play our first SR5 game)

thank you,

Skyscraper the Giraffe Shaman
 

Abstruse

Hero
1. I'd love to hear your thoughts on the Grids, GOD, and the G-Men. I love these concepts, but feel a bit starved for information on some of them as the main book focused heavily on shadowruns and not as much outside of hosts. How do you envison the grids? Is there some way around the problem of Street sams having their PAN on the public grid in order to cause deckers a -2 penalty from lag? What kind of things can the G-Men do in the Matrix to track down criminals, especially ones who do things like attack someone then log out immediately to evade GOD? Are the G-Men especially skilled and intense on the Megacorp Grids? Do the corps have any other defenses on the Megacorp grids?

I'm obviously not Jason, but I can help with this one. Grids, GOD, and G-men have been around forever. Grids were used as far back as SR3 (possibly from the VR2.0 rules). Grid Overwatch has been around since the Corporate Courts, so this isn't anything new either. They're basically the portion of the Corporate Court that enforces international Matrix law on the grids. They've been pretty hands-off until this edition though, mostly because it wasn't until now that the corporations decided they wanted to completely lock down the Matrix.

Also, the -2 penalty doesn't work the way a lot of people seem to think it does as an extra decker shield. The decker's probably going to be within 100m which is within handshake range meaning that the connection is now peer-to-peer. That means no -2 penalty from using the public grid to protect your smartlink or wired reflexes.

If your commlink doesn't have a Stealth chip (which would technically make it a cyberdeck), it can be tracked. But you can reboot it easily to end any marks you may have collected. It's no more dangerous in SR5 to walk around with a commlink than it was in SR4A and is actually a bit better for you since you can slave all your wireless gear to your PAN and let the commlink's Firewall protect everything instead of the drekky default one.
 

JM Hardy

First Post
Part of the Year of Shadowrun was a release of both some of the classic Shadowrun novels (I specifically want an ebook copy of 2XS because my paperback is falling apart from re-re-re-re-re-re-re-reading) and new novels as well. Any idea on when those will come out? Also, will you be soliciting for new authors for that or are you going solely in-house?

Novels should start coming out in fall/winter 2013. We have some writers lined up for the initial batch, but if it goes well, I'd like to branch out, either in novels or in the novella line (which should also be continuing in the fall).

Jason H.
 

Abstruse

Hero
Need help countering a tactic someone came up with on Dumpshock. "I'm a street samurai. I want to protect my cyberware and guns from hackers. I'm making all my gear run silent and I'm stashing 50 RFID tags also all running silent. That means a hacker has a 1/6 chance of finding any of my 10 pieces of gear to hack when wasting a Complex Action to find icons running silent!" This seems as cheesy to me as a Velveeta factory, but I can't seem to find any rules that counter the tactic. Got anything?
 

darjr

I crit!
Huh. That's cool. Like launching flares to defeat heat seeking missiles. It does seem like rules matching the plausible fiction. Though I do see the cheese factor. It does seem like a real kind of hacker counter measure.
 

JM Hardy

First Post
I've put answers below the various questions!

1. I'd love to hear your thoughts on the Grids, GOD, and the G-Men. I love these concepts, but feel a bit starved for information on some of them as the main book focused heavily on shadowruns and not as much outside of hosts. How do you envison the grids? Is there some way around the problem of Street sams having their PAN on the public grid in order to cause deckers a -2 penalty from lag? What kind of things can the G-Men do in the Matrix to track down criminals, especially ones who do things like attack someone then log out immediately to evade GOD? Are the G-Men especially skilled and intense on the Megacorp Grids? Do the corps have any other defenses on the Megacorp grids?

Abstruse was essentially correct in his answer about the –2 public grid penalty--if you're close enough to the street sammie, don't bother worrying about a grid, just go after them directly.

The biggest thing the G-Men do is the Overwatch Score. If someone logs out, they are somewhat handcuffed--that's the nature of the Matrix. Quick hits are the name of the game. They can try the Trace Icon action to find the location of someone as long as they're online, but once someone logs off, it's awfully tough to track them through the Matrix.

G-Men are definitely intense on megacorp grids, even more so on megacorp hosts. More details about hosts and deep runs will be in the eventually forthcoming Matrix sourcebook. There aren't too many other defenses to speak of other than G-Men, but there really doesn't need to be …

2. What's are the best defenses in SR5 from grenades? Just running really fast with the new streamlined movement system?

In general, yeah, I'd saying getting out of the blast area quickly is the best strategy. If the grenade is wireless enabled, you can try to mess with the trigger, but that's risky. Throwing a troll on top of it may help absorb some of the damage, but it makes them cranky.

3. What kinds of things can Technomancers do better than Deckers in this edition? Any future plans for the TMs, especially as it pertains to outside of hosts out on the grids?

With TMs we tried to go for "different" without necessarily being "better." Complex forms have different functions than programs, making TMs operate in different ways. They also have some advantage when it comes to Overwatch Score, but that's only in relation to their particular actions, not when they try Matrix Actions that normally accumulate OS. Since hosts will be more detailed in the Matrix sourcebook, you can expect to see more discussion of TMs in relation to them as well.

4. Since Jackpoint exists still in new Matrix, can we assume there are all sorts of darknets for software pirates and the like?

Absolutely! In fact, the freelancers have had plenty of fun coming up with names of these various secret spots and hacker hideaways. The upcoming season of Missions will talk some about the underground Matrix in Chicago.

5. What are the best defenses for a street sam who wants to remain online? Are there any upcoming technologies to help out online street sams? (i.e. skinlinks, some kind of alternative network, use of a PAN in areas the Matrix can't be reached, and so on) Are online SAMS able to be anonymis through an online service like the Onion Router or the like? Can they be tracked? (That's probaly going to be my players big worry when we play our first SR5 game)

First, don't do anything that accumulates an OS, though that shouldn't be a problem. Second, if you've got a hacker handy, have them slave your devices to them to provide a defensive boost (and get faster alerts about incoming attacks). Third, yeah, you can be tracked, but remember that there are a crapload of PANs out there, so people have to know what they're looking for to find you. And the occasional quick reboot can make life difficult for anyone looking to track you down through the Matrix.

thank you,

Skyscraper the Giraffe Shaman

My pleasure. Have fun!

Jason H.
 

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