This weeks what I learned is pretty short, but pretty intersting. I learned how much insane fun knowledge skills can be. Many people use them to round out their characters personality, taking knowledge skills like "Television of the late 20th century" or "Comic Book Lore". Others use knowledge skills to flesh out what their character knows well, like "painting" or "meditation". Today I want to talk about the later.
So the players were tasked with retrieving a magic book, which was shockingly stolen by another Shadowrunning group called the Psycho 7. These rivals had the audacity to then break into the Deckers home and wait for the PC's to come bargain with them. So there the players are... they figured out ahead of time that there is a trap through the door, and have decided to break the door down and go in guns blazing.
I thought I had made it preety clear that they were outmatched, but it has now come to my attention that Shadowrunners never really understand when they are going to lose. Players see themsleves like the A-Team, no matter how bad things look, they will play a theme song, do a little montage and presto... some bright idea even's the odds for them. This is pretty absurd in my book, except that it has worked for them every single time in the past... so I guess I'm just to conservative.
The walls are fairly thin, so thermographcs gives them a good head count of who is in there. This is where one of the players gets a bright idea. He uses his balistics knowledge skills, and draws circles on the god damn walls with a day-glo marker (that was actually on his character sheet!). He tells the non-thermographic characters to just shoot through those cirlces. He got himself a nice 3 successes on his Ballistics Test of 6, so he is fairly confident that the targets will help. I had to wing it a bit, and decided this gave the blind firing characters a -3 to their target number, making it a total of TN 9 to actually hit anything through the thin pastcreet dry-wall.
The subsequent fight was action packed and a great deal of fun. Grenades were tossed through the doorway back and forth like some crazy game of baseball, while Ares Predators with APDS ammo fired rounds directly through the wall at targets two players couldn't even see. The addition of a helicopter and a broken magnetic system in a shot up cyberlimb added some hilarity to things. The other running team escaped, minus 2 members.
So now the players are being hunted down by the Pscho 5, all because of one balistics skill that changed a very dangerous "bargaining" situation into a fast paced intense combat situation. So remember, when your players are picking their knowledge skills, don't let them go overboard on "hobbies" at the expense of real book knowledge, because a little Ballistics, Chemistry or Pscyhology can go a long way.
Till later, this has been Luis the Dog