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Message no. 1
From: Arcady arcady@***.net
Subject: Results of GM call on Bioware, Betaware, and a 3rd edition game of mostly newbies
Date: Fri, 2 Jul 1999 01:05:42 -0700

I thought you might all like to know what I ended up doing in my game.

My game took place about 50 minutes after I sent out the question. As a
result I had to make a call before getting any of your feedback and at the
time I backed down and them in.

Which puts me in today's mess as after reading the commentary I sent them a
note saying I was making a atypical move and reversing the call. Meaning I
need them to revise two of the group's PCs. One of them quite heavily.

Here's the note I sent them:
(I have been told I write in a way that makes me sound harsh and cold. I
don't come across that way in person but this note may very well read that
way. It was not intended and I regularly remind my players to remember I'm
not trying to sound harsh in my emails. :) )

> Hello;
> When you all got home you likely got an email saying I was saying
> all PCs had to be 100% 3rd edition compliant and all Bioware and Betaware
> and any cyber ware not in the basic book had to go.
> I sent that email an hour before the game.
> At the game I ruled that the PCs with those items could keep them.
> Now I am reversing that ruling...
> I don't usually reverse rulings like this. But after a discussion of this
> topic on the Shadowrun mailing list I am compelled to believe that my
> original gut feeling was the correct one and not following it could have
> serious consequences later on.
> While this will make some annoying waves at present; I feel not making
> this call will make worse waves later on.
> In addition to this when Man and Machine comes out there WILL NOT
> be a revision to add in those removed items. The general consensus I'm
> getting is that those items are not intended for starting characters.
> They are things you get in game.
> Letting the Sam's start with them would be like letting the mages
> start with a level or two of Initiation.
> I also feel the concern that this makes mages better is not
> founded. The 3rd edition rules went very far to cut down the power level
> of mages to be in line with other character types.
> Also. EVERYONE should go through their character and make sure

One of the players was most unhappy so I added this to them just a bit ago:

> Hello;
> Well I didn't expect this to be a popular call. But I wanted to
> make sure it was made now before things went too far. The memo below is
> not intended to be harsh or hostile. It's actually the process of me
> sitting down and taking about 1 hour to put all my thoughts down in
> random order and then add to them. But there is a reason I no longer
> work in sales. :) I like the two characters that will be affected by
> this ruling most, I just see that they need a downgrade for a variety of
> reasons. However even with that I think they have sound enough concepts
> that the details can change to match the needs of the game.
> Onto my disjointed comments:
> Actually, even surgery as simple, and in fact especially
> something like cyber eyes would have a drastic effect on a persons
> psych. Arguably artificial eyes would have a more direct effect on a
> person's mindset than any other cyber ware one could come up with short
> of an artificial brain.
> Every last piece of cyber ware a person has should have it's own
> individual story. You'll never just go down to K-Mart and buy new cyber
> ware. It will always involve a dramatic amount of role-play. The same
> with new magic. They are both profound changes to a person's mind, body,
> and soul. See page 45 of the basic book, second column, first paragraph.
> It briefly talks about giving a story to your cyber ware. Other sources
> may say more.
> Initiation is in essence a higher power, more benefits stage of
> magic. Just like the more potent types of cyber ware.
> Both aren't meant for the newbies and people on the street.
> They're something you fear or don't understand when you first
> encounter them. Then in time become masters of them yourselves. There's
> a reason why the edge of advanced technology (Betaware and Deltaware)
> was dropped in the third edition. Alphaware is now generally available.
> But Beta and Delta are special items you won't be seeing just yet or
> that often.
> If the bone lacing was exactly as it was in the 3rd edition book,
> then use what's in the third edition book. It's on the chart on page
> 302. Also, you should NEVER as a player be choosing something because of
> how effective it is. The choice should be based on the story potential.
> And Bioware is not a readily available item from what I am
> hearing. Pages 128 and 304 cover the related field of biotech. From
> their commentary it is clear that the advanced tech is still rare. New
> Seattle mentions only one biotech facility in the city. On page 18. Owned
> by Cross Bio-Medical corporation and in Renton. It also mentions that
> cutting edge cyber ware is in the hands of people like Shiawase and
> other upper end corps. This in the same "section" but other pages and
> parts of that page.
> Now I don't have Shadowtech. But my inquires all respond that it
> advises AGAINST letting Bioware and above Alphaware into the hands of
> PCs made for a new group.
> It was very clear in the extremely short battle we had that the
> cybered character got a lot of benefits and was still able to be very
> effective in another, completely different area. (sniping vs. direct
> combat) Consider that the character is ultra fast, armored, and highly
> accurate as well as a good detective. At most a character should be
> three of those, more likely four. But being near tops in all four says
> something.
> The character with Bioware is even more extreme in this regard.
> They are both equiv to a mage of initiation level somewhere in the range
> of 3 to 6 or so, depending on which character and what the mage did with
> each level of initiation.
> I doubt the group's mages could each be so cross useful. Together
> they are very potent. But alone each is limited in scope.
> > Well I can't really say I like that,
> > The whole thing of getting Priority A Resources and a Level 2
> > CyberDeveloper Contact was so I could get some quality cyber ware,
> > and Level 2 Armorer for the same availability in Weapons and
> > Armor. I liked the Move-by-Wire system and went with the Samurai
> > for that feature. I can't say I know what the Initiation does
> > for Mages(I've only had time to learn the basics, which doesn't
> > include Magic)but it's probably something you need to get through
> > role-playing or something. While Cyber is something completely
> > different. After all the only thing my character has had
> > replaced, as in actually cut out, are his eyes and ears, and
> > that's because he was a handicapped child. I can't see him
> > having a limb removed for something better voluntarily so
> > everything else on him is simple augmentation. So settling for
> > having wires strung through his body while he waits for the
> > availability of a Move by Wire system, so he can have them all
> > ripped back out again and replaced later, doesn't fit!
> > with me. If I was going for an augmentation I would hold out
> > for the best, and since starting cash is divided by ten once play
> > begins, it'd be quite awhile before I could do anysuch thing.
> > Hinn's character has Bioware. From what little I read in
> > Shadowtech during the lulls in our gaming that stuff is fairly
> > readily available and even advertised in Seattle. I don't think
> > he should really wait till August for his stuff either on the off
> > chance it is revised. I looked through ShadowTech and found my
> > Bone Lacing, exactly the same way it was presented in the 3rd
> > edition book, so I don't think they'll change much in any event,
> > and I'd prefer to risk it if they do.
> > Course you're running the game so it's you're call. I won't
> > argue the point further. But if thats the way we're going to run
> > this I think I'll have a revised character for you next week.
> > This time a Phys Adept freom the 3rd edition rules. I had both
> > characters drawn up but finaly just went with Samurai because I
> > liked his cyber ware. But without the cyber ware I'll revise a bit.

So that's it. :)

We'll see if I still have players in a few days. :)

Further Reading

If you enjoyed reading about Results of GM call on Bioware, Betaware, and a 3rd edition game of mostly newbies, you may also be interested in:


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.