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Message no. 1
From: R Andrew Hayden <rahayden@*****.WEEG.UIOWA.EDU>
Subject: Engines and Chassis
Date: Mon, 8 Feb 93 07:55:06 CET
A man walks into an office.

Man: Good morning, I'd like to have an argument, please.
Receptionist: What would you like to argue about?
Man: How about engines?
Receptionist: We have a 2 for 1 one automotive arguments today.
Man: How about engines and chassis then?
Receptionist: Certainly, sir. Have you been here before?
Man: No, this is my first time.
Receptionist: I see, well we'll see who's free at the moment.
Mr. Bakely's free, but he's a little bit concilliatory. No.
Try Mr. Barnhart, room 12.
Man: Thank you.

He enters room 12.

Man: Well, Well, I was told outside that...
Man: What?
M: Yes, but I came here for an argument!!
A: OH! Oh! I'm sorry! This is abuse!
M: Oh! Oh I see!
A: Aha! No, you want room 12A, next door.
M: Oh...Sorry...
A: Not at all!
A: (under his breath) stupid git.


:-) A virtual cookie if you recognize the reference :-)

Engines, engines, engines. Oh boy.

The lines in the sand have been draw in this, the first of many
battles to come. The skies crash with ominous thunder as a light
drizzle begins to fall. The warriors look out upon the mesa,
tense with anticipation of what is to come. A horse of silicon
stamps his hoof and snorts in irritation.

From one of the lines rises a voice. It is Fearless Leader. All
is hushed as he speaks.

(high melodrama is worth an extra karma point :-)


ok, ok, I'll get to the point now.

Engines first:

One of the points that needs to be settled, and quickly, is the
idea of engines. I advocate using five classes of somewhat
arbitrary numbers while others (Arkangel is one I remember)
advocate basing engine statistics such as size and weight on the
power of the engine.

There are two basic reasons why I feel this is not appropriate.

1) It violates the basic premise of our system

Remember back to when we were still calling ourselves VCC
on the SHADOWRN list? The fundamental concepts we embraced at that
time were a logical rules system AND relatively moron-proof
simplicity. The problem is, the concept of simplicity is more and
more violated every time you have to make a calculation. To have
to calculate and recalculate engine statistics at every turn is
just plain wrong,
By using our five-engine system, we are designing a modular
vehicle, which is inherently simpler yet still somewhat
realistic. There is no need to spend five minutes of design time
calculating out exact engine statistics, they are provided and

2) It is difficult to design simple math

The next argument is that with a simple equation, all the
problems of determining the statistics would be eased. The
difficulty is that a semi-realistic equation relating power to
NPUs/Weight would be quite complicated. A simple linear equation
is simply not in any way realistic.
By arbitrarily assigning numbers in the five engine system,
not only do you avoid the problem of having to have an immense
equation that Steven Hawkins would have to ponder for a few
moments, but you also keep things really simple.


Onwards to Chassis

The arguement is again not to utilize a modular chassis (ie, five
distinct sized), but instead to apply mini, small, large, etc as a
nebular concept including a range of sizes.

The problems with this are identical to above. They violate our
premise of simplicity and making it relatively moron proof, and
the math cannot rationally be simple. Accessories cannot draw a
linear relationship between all vehicles, it is not realistic.

Furthermore, the concept is munchkin-bait. If you determine
performance statistics based on the nebular classification of size,
than the munchkins of the world will produce vehicles as close as
possible to the limits in order to gain optimum performance. This is
just plain wrong and utterly destroys the spirit of the game to even
allow the chance for that kind of min-maxing.

By using a five-size modular system, most of these problems are
silved in that the information is not only provided, but
munchkinism is severly limited (you can never really ELIMINATE it,
but you can try).


In any case, I'm going to sign off soon. This argument is a point
that needs to be eliminated quickly in order to move onwards. To
summarize I think we should utilize the modular system instead of
the relational system. It is clean. It is simple. It is fast.
It's not perfect, but I think the benefits outweigh the

Thanks for your time

Fearless Leader

[> Robert Hayden <] [> ____ Come out, Come out <]
[> <] [> \ /__ Wherever you are! <]
[> rahayden@***** <] [> \/ /
[> aq650@****.INS.CWRU.Edu <] [> \/
Message no. 2
From: R Andrew Hayden <rahayden@*****.WEEG.UIOWA.EDU>
Subject: Re: Engines and Chassis (fwd)
Date: Mon, 8 Feb 93 19:31:24 CET
I received this reply to me personally, so I'm forwarding to the list.

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Mon, 8 Feb 93 4:10:36 PST
From: "Glenn F. Gorsuch" <ggorsuch@****>
To: rahayden@*****
Subject: Re: Engines and Chassis

Hey-ho, all!

With regard to the chassis/engine debate and the modular/figured decision,
what about sort of merging the two? For example, look at the charater arch-
etypes and the archetype generation system. You can open the book for the first
time and have standard characters availible to you instantly. Later on, given
a little work (IF YOU DECIDE TO!) you can create something a little different
than your run-of-the-mill street sam or decker. It's just a step up in
complexity (and then you start GM-ing...and the headaches begin :).

Take our Fearless Leader's five-step engine/chassis design and do something
like this with it (as usual, all numbers are completely arbitrary). Key

Vehicle Body Type (one ea. for cars, 'cycles, etc...
I'm thinking of cars for this one)

1 2 3 4 5

E 1 X - - - -

N 2 - X - - -

G 3 - - X - -

I 4 - - - X -

N 5 - - - - X


OK, now the afore-mentioned explanation. The X's on the chart above are the
type engines required to move a stock chassis at a top speed of (well, whatever
we choose--call it 100 kmph). Fill in all the other blanks with whatever
numbers seem athetically, aerodynamically, and anatomically pleasing. But this
is too boring, I hear all you type II gamers saying. So...

Say a type one chassis holds 100 NPU, type two has 200, etc. The engines don't
necessarily have to follow such a simple pattern. EX: The engine in a station
wagon is not too different in size than the one running a VW Bug. Sure there
IS a difference but not nearly as big as the difference in interior space.
Put in some limiting rules...I don't expect you could mount an engine for a
van in a bug, even if they both have loads of Fharvhegnugen (excuse spelling's late). To vary performance further, have add-ons, like stream-
lined form (only when veh. is built) or an Elec. engine (speed reduction, but
less need to spend large amts. of NPUs for fuel...GridLink and SunCell present
themselves). For more complexity (and less generic vehicles), slightly modify
vehicular size--with corresponding changes in performance. EX:I've got a #2
chassis and engine, but the vehicle is a bit smaller and hence lighter than
corresponding vehicles. It's streamlined (you know, like a racecar), and I've
stuck with a petrochem engine (for performance, natch). Top speed would be
100 kmph, but with a 10% reduction in chassis size, it goes to 110. Say stream-
lining adds another 10% (all these are to the BASE/original top speed, BTW--
saves on muchkinism that way)...and she tops out at 120. This just isn't
enough for me, so I shell out the nY to put a type 3 engine. New base speed
might be 135 kmph...with the mods...162kmph. And there you go. Natch, all
these mods take chunks out of my 200NPU...I'm down to 180 before I even put
the engine in...looks like anyone who wants to ride with me had better be
a REAL good friend :).

None of these calcs was too hard to do without a calculator or math SPU, and
they might actually bear SOME small resemblance to reality. And bear in mind
that Shadowrun itself bears very little resemblace to reality...we just want
a simulation that players won't whine over TOO much.

BTW...sorry if someone came up with all this first. If so, you can delete it
now. And hey! let's be cheerful...look at the MegaTraveller vehicle
construction rules...we could be stuck with the responsibility for THAT!

As usual...comments/criticisms/cash to me....dumb flames to Washington D.C.

Sable the Mechanic

Glenn F. Gorsuch
I disavaow any knowlege of any disclaimer here!
Message no. 3
From: R Andrew Hayden <rahayden@*****.WEEG.UIOWA.EDU>
Subject: Re: Engines and Chassis (fwd)
Date: Mon, 8 Feb 93 19:32:07 CET
I received this reply personally, so I'm forwarding it to the list for
further debate

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Mon, 8 Feb 1993 09:37 EST
From: ArkAngel <DUNN@******.JCU.EDU>
To: rahayden@*****
Subject: Re: Engines and Chassis

Great post with the argument sketch, but rather than me going into a
long 'Yes it IS!" and you an equally long, "NO, it 'tisn't!" I thought I'd
you at this point if you ever had actually played Battletech? This could be
the reason for our opposite perspectives. While it's not my favorite game in
the world or anything like that, a Mech is designed in under 20 minutes easily
after the user is familiar with the system. (About the same amount of time as
most people take to design a PC I'd guesstimate)
All Engine Weights and powers are outlined on a basic chart to start
out with, and go in increments of 5 from 15 to 400... While this might be
bigger than we need, it might not... The reason I suggested a formula, was
because I thought these were originally designed using a basic formula which
would be much easier than trying to type out the whole chart here...
Secondly, all equipment is assigned a base weight and then just stuck
in the vehicle up to its max....
Now, as to the min/maxing you referred to, and regarding the size
range, let's face it--what you and I call a subcompact car has a lot of
variation, there's a significant difference between a Ford Festiva and a Ford
Escort--both Subcompacts... if that's the way it is now, why wouldn't it be
that way in 2050, and why can't we deliberately allow for that?
As to accessories, I still fail to see why you suggest we're going to
need all of these different sized ones... a 'Fer instance' might be nice...

First law of RPG adventure writing:"In any given scenario, there are 4
possible player actions, the three reasonable ones the GM expects, and the one
the players ultimately divise and use."


These messages were posted a long time ago on a mailing list far, far away. The copyright to their contents probably lies with the original authors of the individual messages, but since they were published in an electronic forum that anyone could subscribe to, and the logs were available to subscribers and most likely non-subscribers as well, it's felt that re-publishing them here is a kind of public service.