Thursday, March 28, 2013

Running Shadowrun with Fate - Part 2

As I mentioned in yesterday's post, I'm guessing that my strategy for handling cybernetics using the Fate system is to assume that every character automatically has a base level of cybernetics that would be appropriate for that character. Furthermore, I'm assuming that a character's listed skills factor in the use of those cybernetics. If you're a street samurai, I assume that you have a smartgun link, and I assume that your Firearms skill level includes any benefits provided by that link.

This is the point where the voice of my inner powergamer pipes up. "So," it says, "how about if my character has deliberately trained with non-smartlinked weapons. That means my base skill level applies to non-smartlinked guns, and if I get my hands on a smartgun, I should get a bonus."

I have to reject this as an invalid approach. Let's say that your character has developed a proficiency with flintlock weapons. Your character should not automatically be an even better shot with modern, 21st century pistols. Modern pistols work differently than flintlocks do, even if they are more inherently accurate and reliable. Someone who was a crack shot with a flintlock would need to do quite a bit of retraining to get used to a .45 semi-automatic.

It would also be inappropriate to try to represent this ability as a stunt. A stunt can provide a +2 bonus to a skill under a narrow set of circumstances. In Shadowrun, having access to a smartgun is not a rare circumstance, any more than having access to a smartphone is a rare circumstance in year 2013 America.

I can see where a character could receive some benefits from an "I know how to do things old-school style" approach. This would make for a good aspect, at least, which could be invoked in conditions where the character's technology becomes unreliable. Also, magician characters would benefit from a "pure body, pure spirit" aspect, since one of the assumptions of Shadowrun is that cybernetics interferes with natural energy flow, and thus interferes with spellcasting.

This strategy is something that I'd have to try out in practice to see where the pitfalls are, but I think it's much more Fate-like than providing giant shopping lists of cybernetics.