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From: "Abadia, Teos" <Teos.Abadia@****.COM>
Subject: Re: [FASA] Second Run comments
Date: Wed, 22 Apr 1998 13:01:35 -0400
> ----------
> I've read through so much card text in the last week (finishing Second
> Run) that my head is a mess.
> Jim N.
> ~!~!~!~!~!
>
Then you probably don't want to hear this, but I have some concerns
about the changes being made to some spell cards in second run. I would
love to talk to you about the perception you have about the role of
mages in the game. I realize you are busy, but if you get the time, I
would love a reply, however short it might be. I am cc-ing this to the
list as well, to see how everyone else feels.

I keep hearing that spell cards that don't rely on a die roll will be
changed to use a die roll. I really am against this, as I strongly
believe that more consistancy is needed to make magical decks
attractive. Right now, odds are against mage decks winning. Below I
rant on some of the reasons I think mage/shamen decks don't consistantly
measure up to "big thug" decks. i would love to hear your feelings on
the perceptions I have, even if you strongly disagree.

I have been trying to build a mage deck for quite some time. I have one
that favors shamans, one that favors hermetics, and one that mixes both
types of magicians. In all cases, I have real trouble building a deck
that can be a clear winner. The decks are good, but I just can't count
on them to win, even after considerable time spent on the deck strategy.

I see four main reasons for this:

1. Awakened runners are cheap, but require gear to become powerful and
form a capable runner team. When you factor in the gear, their cost can
match some other non-magical runners, but the final stats (mage plus
gear) aren't much better. This shouldn't be the case, since it is
harder to match up cards than to just deploy a non-magical runner.

2. Sleazing can't be relied upon, since there are too many skills that
mages are lacking. If mages/shamen had a wider selection of skills, and
had more skilss per runner, sleazing alone could bring magical decks up
to a competitive level with big thug decks. As it stands, sleazing can
help, but it is rare that you can get past more than one challenge if
your runner plays the typical "hard to beat challenges" that rely on
piloting, demolitions, technical, and gunnery (highway showdown, big
chase, fusion gate, mine field, maglocks, etc.). Sleazing
opportuinities come mostly from the spell cards.

3. Spells often are fate-controlled. Spells often work only on a
certain die roll, like Sleep. The problem is, a mage/shaman deck can't
absorb that much damage, and often faces formidable challenges. These
challenges are the same ones that might take out a Torgo,
Skwraaaaaaark!, and two other support runners! When a mage/shaman team
runs, the player has often spent many turns collecting the right spell
gear. When that gear fails, the team often perishes, and recovery time
is to great, allowing a muscle deck to quickly win the game.

4. Healing spirits takes too long. Riggers share the same problem, but
riggers often have better defensive stats. Shamen often have a low
threat rating. They need spirits for offense, and also for defense.
Even so, it is quite common that both the runner and spirit will take
damage. As I understand it, when the next legwork phase begins, the
runner may turn to heal, or may turn to heal the spirit, but may not do
both. This means that the runner must spend one round to heal, plus an
additional round for each spirit. Even with biotech, this becomes a
real problem. When you pay 4 for a shaman and 4 for a spirit, your
stats match those of other equally expensive runners. However, you
usually don't have armor, have to turn to heal your gear, and have to
match the cards in the first place. These disadvantages again favor
muscle decks. Add in the way any cards that target a runner affect the
runner but not the spirit, and the usefulness of spirits in comparison
to "big thug" runners becomes even more reduced.

In the RPG, mages usually add a crucial set of powers to a muscle team.
In the CCG, a deck can't afford to throw in a couple of mages/shamen and
a couple of magical gear cards, since the odds are that the right
combination won't be drawn. Because of this, decks that use mages,
shamen, and magical gear must use those cards in significant portions.
Even then, these decks don't measure up against "big thug" attack decks.
They can and do win, but if you were playing to win, the odds are
against magical decks.

Thanks for reading. I look forward to your take on this, and the ideas
of the list as well. I really like the awakened cards, and really do use
my awakened decks often. I just would like to see them win more often!

Teos Abadia
http://www.duke.edu/~tsa1/Shadowrun/index.html
http://www.duke.edu/~tsa1/pers/roleplay.html

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