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 MetaHumanity In the Shadows

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Gala
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PostSubject: MetaHumanity In the Shadows   Mon Feb 01, 2010 10:22 am

Hey all, I have been a gamer for longer than I want to admit, and have been a GM more than a number of times. I thought it may be fun to discourse a bit on why there are so many MetaHumans in the Shadows (as represented by the population of MetaHumanity in my experiences).

So, here goes:

In my experience (and you all can feel free to agree and/or disagree; this is just a general chat), The Shadows contains about 25% Humanity, and the remaining 75% is filled with various Metahumanity, as well as other things including Shapeshifters, Changelings, Surged, Dracoforms. The majority, of course, of The Shadows, belongs to MetaHumanity.
While I am sure that there are a variety of reasons for this (some of which I will post on in follow-ups, and some of which you all will bring to our attention), the one that I have focused on the most in my past is this: This is a fantasy game. I don't know about you, but in my fantasies, I am generally NOT a human. For the most part, I live my entire life in my human body. When I want to escape to some other universe, the body that I bring with me is usually not the body that I spend the rest of my life in. I fantasize about all sorts of different worlds, some of which are well represented in popular gaming, like D&D, and Shadowrun. Some of my fantasy worlds are completely unrepresented, or even unrepresentable!
Trying to draw me back to the point at hand... In my mostly basic understanding of human psychology it is both prefectly logical, and perfectly understandable that The Shadows have a much higher percentage MetaHumanity than their representative populations in the world.

All should feel free to weigh in on this with their own opinions!
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PostSubject: Re: MetaHumanity In the Shadows   Mon Feb 01, 2010 11:17 am

The Build Point Cost of a MetaHuman

First off, there are some things that simple cannot be quantified in Build Point Costs. Things like: "But, Orcs are ugly!" In the Shadowrun universe, there is a qualitative "Racism" which has been clearly defined and described. Orcs and Trolls are less appreciated by Mainstream Society, and to a much lesser extent, Dwarfs. That being said, I will attempt to quantify that in my below analysis.

Starting at the Cheapest, and moving on to the More Expensive:
At 0 Build Points: Human
I propose, for the purposes of this analysis, that because Human is defined as 0 Build Points, then Edge Maximum is actually 7, not 6.
Bonuses: No relative Racism

At 20 Build Points: Orcs (And yes, I prefer Orc with a "c")
Body +3 , Strength +2, Charisma -1 Maximum, Logic -1 Maximum, -1 Edge Maximum, Low-Light Vision, Extreme Racism

Body +3 = 60 BP Cost
Strength +2 = 40 BP Cost
Low-Light Vision = 5 BP Cost
BP Total Costs: 105 BP
Charisma Maximum -1 = 5 BP Bonus
Logic Maximum -1 = 5 BP Bonus
Edge Maximum -1 = 5 BP Bonus
Extreme Racism = Unknown? This is difficult to quantify, but I propose 40 BP as a relative Negative Quality. The worst Negative Quality costs 20 Build Points, and the relative Game Effect of the Anti Orc racism, in my (entirely subjective) experience, would be roughly double that.
BP Total Bonuses: 55 BP
So, the total cost of the benefits is 105 BP, and the total BP benefit of the negatives is 55 BP. Final Relative Value: 50 BP

At 25 Build Points: Dwarves
Body +1, Reaction Maximum -1, Strength +2, Willpower +1, Edge -1, Thermographic Vision, Resistance to Disease and Pathogens +2, Short, Moderate Racism

Body +1 = 20 BP Cost
Strength +2 = 40 BP Cost
Willpower +1 = 20 BP Cost
Thermographic Vision = 5 BP Cost
Resistance to Disease and Pathogens +2 = 20 BP Cost (Resistance to Pathogens +1 = 5, Resistance to Disease +1 = 5)
BP Total Costs: 105
Reaction Maximum -1 = 5 BP Bonus
Edge -1 = 5 BP Bonus
Short = 5 BP Bonus (Opposite of Elongated Limbs)
Mild Racism = 20 BP Bonus (I would say the relative racism of a Dwarf to an Orc is about 50%)
Total BP Bonuses: 35 BP Bonus
So, the total cost of the benefits is 105 BP, and the total BP benfit of the negatives is 25 BP. Final Relative Value: 70 BP

At 30 Build Points: Elves
Agility +1, Charisma +2, Edge Maximum -1, Low-Light Vision, Mild Racism

Agility +1 = 20 BP Cost
Charisma +2 = 40 BP Cost
Low-Light Vision = 5 BP Cost
BP Total Costs: 65
Edge Maximum -1 = 5 BP Bonus
Mild Racism = 5 BP Bonus (Just a guess, but Elves feel VERY little Racism)
BP Total Bonus: 10
So, the total cost of the benefits is 65, and the total BP benefit of the negatives is 10. Final Relative Value: 55 BP

At 40 Build Points: Trolls
Body +4, Agility Maximum -1, Strength +4, Charisma Maximum -2, Intuition Maximum -1, Logic Maximum -1, Edge Maximum -1, Thermographic Vision, Reach +1, Natural Armor +1, Extreme Racism

Body +4 = 80 BP Cost
Strength +4 = 80 BP Cost
Thermographic Vision = 5 BP Cost
Reach +1 = 5 BP Cost
Natural Armor +1 = 10 BP Cost
BP Total Cost: 180
Agility Maximum -1 = 5 BP Bonus
Charisma Maximum -2 = 10 BP Bonus
Intuition Maximum -1 = 5 BP Bonus
Logic Maximum -1 = 5 BP Bonus
Edge Maximum -1 = 5 BP Bonus
Extreme Racism = 40 BP Bonus
BP Total Bonus = 70
So, the total cost of the benefits is 180, and the total BP benefit of the negatives is 70. Final Relative Value: 110 BP


So, the final numbers are in. In relative Benefits (Final Relative Value - Actual Build Point Cost = Sort of a quantification of the relative benefit):
70 = Trolls (110-40)
45 = Dwarves (70-25)
30 = Orcs (50-20)
25 = Elves (55-30)
0 = Humans

Well, that is certainly interesting to look over. I am sure that my relative valuation for Racism there could be tweaked a bit to be a better representation of how GMs are currently enforcing that in the games, but that is a reasonable representation of my experience. One thing that I am noticing as I look this over is that there should be some value for the allowance of going over the allotted "1 Benefit Only" for "Exceptional Attribute", and it's companion "Metagenetic Enhanced Attribute" from Runners Companion.
Anyway, without the subjective measurement of "I want to be HOT in my fantasy world," it would seem like Elves are the least valuable of the Non-Human varieties of MetaHumanity available. With this in mind, it looks like the SR Players out there are choosing their race far more often on the basis of Subjective values than on the basis of Objective values.
For the GM's in the world, this is probably excellent news. People are making their choices to fit their fantasy, rather than to fit the quantitative "Numbers Cruncher" in them. The question "What Fits My Character The Best?" is more important to the average runner than the question of "What Benefits My Final Dice Pool The Most?".

Again, all should feel free to weigh in on this with your own opinions!
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PostSubject: Re: MetaHumanity In the Shadows   Tue Feb 02, 2010 9:12 am

You forgot something about the trolls. Clothing in their size is somewhat hard to come by, and is usually 20 percent more expensive, unless you're in the Underground. Just thought I'd throw that in there.

As far as racial choice, I enjoy playing non-human characters, but sometimes I'll play a human just to be the reality anchor. My favorite character, by far, is still Virgil Blair, Elf Gunslinger Adept, but sometimes a human can be fun, especially in a group of all non humans.
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PostSubject: Re: MetaHumanity In the Shadows   Tue Feb 02, 2010 9:25 am

Yeah, good call on that. And, I factored it in for the Dwarves, so I REALLY forgot it for Trolls.

Yeah, the whole point of the exersize, for me, was really just to show that it's fantasy. Human may end up being the cheapest choice, and relative to cost, Elf is worth a whole lot less than any of the other MetaHuman choices, but people are making their choices based on their fantasy character, which is a really good thing. Play what is the most fun. And what is the most fun is what satisfies the fantasy you have created around the character you are drawing up.
Yeah, I agree that playing a human is a lot of fun when everyone else is not.
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PostSubject: That's a really good post   Fri Feb 05, 2010 11:51 am

I knew that the shadows were mostly metahumans, just never thought of it that way. I like how you broke it down between races.

I played mostly a human decker, "Digital Doom", but also a few other races and a few house races. Looking back at it, in my old group i was the only human.

Now in my group over here, trolls seem to be the most used race. Then elves.

You made some good points.

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PostSubject: Re: MetaHumanity In the Shadows   Fri Feb 05, 2010 12:12 pm

Thank you! I have been messing with this in my head for a while. Ever since I saw an article that claimed that the developers for the 4E rule system had assigned arbitrary costs to the races so that people would be more likely to choose their race in such a way as to support their relative real-world composition. When I read that, the logic seemed all wrong to me. In that respect, DND is set up much better, since people shouldn't be choosing their races bast on cost, but based on their fantasy.
Then, once I started thinking about it, and about the way that the game breaks down the incredible racism within the social mainstreat culture, it stopped even making sense that the shadows would be represented by similar population samples as the world on the whole. It makes more sense that the shadows would have a disparately small population of humans, and that the MetaHuman population should be considered a vast majority, based solely on the socio-psychology of the mainstream back-story.
That was the logical step that led to the above analysis. I wanted to consider the fantasy factor, which unbalances the costs chosen with apparent subjectivity.

So, most people on here are Trolls? Huh... I could try and puzzle that one out, but I am not sure I know enough about social psychology to make any sense of it. I guess I will just have to enjoy a new data point, and leave it at that!
Yeah, strangely, whenever I play a decker/technomancer, I always end up playing a human. I wonder what it is about that?
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PostSubject: Re: MetaHumanity In the Shadows   Mon Feb 08, 2010 12:36 pm

Numbers aside, there are some factors that you may not be accounting for in your calculations.

Granted, these factors don't often factor into games, but they should have an impact on your calculations.

Lifespans. Birth rates. Orks, while having shorter lifespans usually give birth to litters. This in a setting that the majority of births are 1:1, with the rare multiple-birth, and even factually, has a tendency to cause Orks by sheer dint of monetary cost to slip that much closer to poverty and the shadows than any other race.

Humanis and the "not like us" mentality, or Racism. Humans were the dominant species type, and how many thousands of years of living only reinforced that.. It has only been.. half a century since the change occurred? Compare that to the time it took other racial groups to be recognized even within human society. Of course, it helps that UGE simply [b]changed[/i] the appearance of (some) members of groups across the globe, with all still being genetically compatible as they were before has likely mitigated the worst of the demonstrations of racism, but the surface is what people see first, and despite the second coming of the Matrix, it is entirely likely that education hasn't reached a much larger percentage than it has before.

Living costs, especially for those maintaining more mass, and that includes insurance-- after all, look at some of the practices of the insurance companies nowadays, and then think of them accounting for trolls..

I'm not sure I hit everything, but those are some of the things that crossed my mind as I read the posts.
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PostSubject: Re: MetaHumanity In the Shadows   Mon Feb 08, 2010 1:10 pm

Yeah! Those are definitely good points! Why would an elf go and thrust the length of it's lifespan into the turmoil of the shadows when, with some careful effort, it can have a comfortable existence for a very long time in terms of Man years. An elf, therefore, would only be willing to enter the shadows if it's life were marginalized for an external reason, or if it were on a particular crusade. That goes for the Dwarves as well.
Conversely, why would an Orc attempt to distinguish itself in a culture which requires 25-30 years of living before true adulthood is recognized in the professional world? And let's be honest... you may be considered a social adult at 21, but you can't really hold a meaningful position in your job at 21, can you? It takes a good 10 years of experience before something substantial can be made of your career. An Orc, who can expect to live less than twice that time, is wasting his life away trying to "earn a place" in the normal corporate environment.

Also, good point about the birth rates. The orks have litters, not single children. I hadn't even really considered that.
Accounting for more mass, however, seems to have been handled in racial make-up. Further, the idea of "universal healthcare" seems to have evaporated somewhere along the way between 2010 and 2070... I doubt an appreciable percentage of Orks or Trolls have health insurance anymore. Further, healthcare costs will have plummeted with the re-introduction of the cash system. I don't believe I have EVER heard a GM tell me that the street-doc that I went to see called me up a few days later to tell me that my insurance claim was denied. Insurance? Other than DocWagon, I don't think I have ever played a character with insurance. Why would I want to use insurance? It would force me to a) register my damages taken, and b) pay someone else to manage a portion of my health care costs. How could that possibly be more effective than me managing them myself?
No, I think those sorts of costs are irrelevant. Health insurance in the 2070 system has gone back to what it was in 1920. It is nothing more than an investment that a corporation makes in it's highly valuable employees. Everyone else uses the cash system, because that is the cheapest and most effective way of doing things.
However, the cost of managing a family of 13? Now that is a cost that matters!

These are all in-game factors to consider regarding life in the shadows.
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PostSubject: Re: MetaHumanity In the Shadows   Mon Feb 08, 2010 2:01 pm

Cash? Who uses cash?

With the advent of worldwide connectivity, WAN, PANs, isn't most "currency" simply electronic numbers being shifted about (with all its attendant data attached)? The ones that use cash are the ones that don't want to be tracked (rather difficult sometimes), thank goodness there still isn't enough people to watch everyone. Big Brother may be watching, but by sheer volume of information, some things are likely to slip through the cracks.

In regards to insurance, I was thinking of the spillover costs that stem from accounting for the potentialities of damage from a troll, magic, or even the unexplainable (Act of God?). If insurance is higher, then costs of x will be higher, making y go higher, etc..
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PostSubject: Re: MetaHumanity In the Shadows   Mon Feb 08, 2010 2:09 pm

Of course, by "Cash" I was referring to the opposite of credit. The cash system exists, even in the computerized world. It involves the deduction of a positive balance within your monetary capacity. Who cares what the method is. No, I meant that the average runner uses the cash system, even though, as you point out, they don't carry actual paper money. They work with the money they have, right now, in hand (so to speak, on their credstick). They don't work with money they might have, at some time in the future. Credit, or a non-cash system, is reserved for people with regular paychecks, and money that they can count on coming in. Making stupid, non-cash, decisions, is something that is reserved for people who have a life that they can sell to their future. Runners, by and large, do not have that.
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PostSubject: Re: MetaHumanity In the Shadows   Fri Feb 19, 2010 12:55 pm

Okay, I've done this sort of numerical analysis of the costs and gains of the different types of metahumanity... and I'm wondering why you did something the way you did. The way I did it was to count the benefits of a certain race to be equal to how much BP you would have to spend to get your character to be that good (like spending BP to level up attributes to their starting level, or for special abilities like low-light vision, or for Exceptional Attribute for higher attribute maximums). Conversely, for penalties I counted their cost according to how much you would have to spend to get your character back up to 'standard' or human levels. This means 20 BP for each point of lowered attribute maximums. One thing I hadn't considered was the cost of racism, but Runner's Companion has a good perk for a racist called Prejudiced, so perhaps the same scale could be applied for the negative quality... but that's not the point.

Another thing is that you said that since humans cost 0 BP, that Edge max is actually 7. But you forget that humans don't just get an Edge max +1, they actually get Edge +1. That means that other races aren't just at Edge maximum -1, but Edge -1 too. So here's a version of the ork metatype using my system of cost/benefit analysis:

Body +3 = 90 BP Cost (30 for 3 levels, 60 for 3 ranks Exceptional Attribute)
Strength +2 = 60 BP Cost
Low-Light Vision = 5 BP Cost
Total Bonus: 155 BP
Charisma Maximum -1 = 20 BP Cost
Logic Maximum -1 = 20 BP Cost
Edge -1 = 30 BP Cost
Extreme Racism = Somewhere around 20-30, maybe more if you factor in Enemy for groups like Humanis...
Total Penalty: 90-100? BP


Umm... so... yeah. It doesn't actually change any of your results. It's still clearly better to choose a metatype, so long as the bonus to the stats is in an area you planned on increasing anyway... and you're willing to put up with the racism 'n' stuff! Speaking of racism (lol), Elves do have to face racism from trolls and orks who generally don't like them for how attractive they are. But that's just a side note.

Over all though, very true! The metatypes are a quick boost if you want a better character... although not so much if you're interested in playing a hacker or especially a technomancer, hehe. Elves are good for gunmen or faces, trolls and orks for heavy hitters, and Dwarves are good for... I dunno, drinking? Razz

One more thing I wanted to comment on was what you said in the very first post, that in fantasy you don't want to play a human. I've actually heard that exact statement in a DnD group, and it was used to explain both why one of the players never played a human (like here), and why one of the players always played female characters, because he was a guy in real life. But that sentiment annoys me, and here's why: It's basically a way of saying that a human character can't be interesting. That the character's personality and history and mindset can't possibly be interesting or worthwhile (to be played, I mean) unless that character is not a human. And to me that seems like oversimplifying things to the point of being offensive. How is the character's race, which is just one aspect of their being, an overwhelming factor that somehow justifies their categorization as an appropriate fantasy vessel? I'm sure someone could (and from personal experience, has) made a really, really boring elf. It's not the race or metatype that makes the character interesting, it's who the character is!

Erm... sorry if I got a little... passionate. I had a conversation with the previously mentioned RP group that basically devolved into 'hoomanz R boring' and I guess it still bugs me... No
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PostSubject: Re: MetaHumanity In the Shadows   Fri Feb 19, 2010 1:07 pm

Quote :
It's not the race or metatype that makes the character interesting, it's who the character is!
I have to agree with Durandana on this point. I have a player who no matter what character he plays, everyone in the group always wants to kill him because his characters suck. It's not his race or anything, it's the way he RP's.

His first character was an orc hacker with a 70yo human brain implanted inside, (I let him bend a few rules for the fun of the character.) He played it so bad he was killed by the team and made to look like the bad guy on a lot of things, from embezzeling from the military to corperate espionage.

His second character is an AI that was partially started being programmed by his first character. Again a great concept, but he has already pissed off every player on the team again. He keeps coming up with great character ideas, but can't RP worth a damn.

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PostSubject: Re: MetaHumanity In the Shadows   Fri Feb 19, 2010 1:11 pm

Digital Doom wrote:
His first character was an orc hacker with a 70yo human brain implanted inside, (I let him bend a few rules for the fun of the character.) He played it so bad he was killed by the team and made to look like the bad guy on a lot of things, from embezzeling from the military to corperate espionage.

I laughed so hard when I read that. Bad RPer or not, that sounds hilarious! I'm sure he must have been frustrating to play with (he better have been to have earned that sort of a reaction!), but from an outsider point of view that's really funny to hear about. Very Happy
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PostSubject: Re: MetaHumanity In the Shadows   Fri Feb 19, 2010 1:19 pm

Well, that is a long list of points to discuss... And potentially a way for me to update my math.

First, I didn't mention it, but I did consider doing the math in both ways, and decided on my way since I figured that it would match the way most people think. I also assumed that they would come out approximately equivalent in the long run (which your math above proves) .

Second: Edge. Good catch on that edge for a human is +1, not just +1 max. I totally forgot that... But, in my defense, I was keeping track of a TON of other variables when doing the analysis... I forgive myself Smile.

Third: My statement on race and fantasy was intended to be a psychological rationalization of my observations of the way that most people end up choosing their race in the real world. Nothing more, nothing less.

Fourth: Sex... That is an interesting point you bring up, and I hadn't considered it. I will have to think about this one for a while.

Fifth: Digi - Yeah, I have played with super-annoying players before too, and there is NOTHING an awesome character concept can do to save someone like that from ultimate suckage!!!
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PostSubject: Re: MetaHumanity In the Shadows   Fri Feb 19, 2010 1:29 pm

Yeah... like I said, no real difference! Smile

Major kudos though on taking the time to analyze the benefits of the various metatypes mathematically though!

I know what you were saying but I still don't even get the thought behind it. Yes, you are a human in real life, but you aren't (in DnD) a greatsword swinging knight or (in SR) a cybernetically enhanced sniper or (in both) a spell slinging mage, so how in the world is that too similar just because the race is the same? If you're worried about similarities, why not play someone who's a quadruple amputee (assuming you have all four limbs in real life)? I just don't get it. I guess I'm dense that way. Razz

What do you mean about sex? Oh, about the guy who only played women? Well... to be honest, his characters came across as creepy. As stereotypes or generalizations of women or something. Nothing I could really place, his characters just kinda creeped me out...
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PostSubject: Re: MetaHumanity In the Shadows   Fri Feb 19, 2010 1:51 pm

YES! I am going to play a mage paraplegic on my next character!!! That's *BLEEP*ing awesome!!

As for the character thing... actually, yes... They ARE a Greatsword Swinging Knight... At least, some of them are.

As for the Sex issue: That is kinda creepy... I think I would have avoided playing with him... Was it table-top?
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PostSubject: Re: MetaHumanity In the Shadows   Fri Feb 19, 2010 2:04 pm

Some of the players are knights? Shocked Oh man, somebody tell them feudalism is probably illegal now. At least, I think it's illegal...

It was for a game on Fantasy Ground, with forum roleplaying between sessions. And we had a Vent server. But he didn't ever talk because he didn't want to 'spoil the illusion,' as he put it... which just made it weirder, heh.

And you mock, but there are qualities and rules in place to play a crippled character in Shadowrun... And I bet someone could make a compelling and interesting character with the paraplegic negative quality. Just because their character doesn't have pointy ears and go into missions with dual miniguns blazing doesn't make it any less awesome. I mean, this isn't Warhammer 40K. Rolling Eyes
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PostSubject: Re: MetaHumanity In the Shadows   Fri Feb 19, 2010 2:11 pm

I'm not mocking. I was being completely serious. I AM going to play a paraplegic as my next character... and I will use a sustaining focus, with focus addiction, for a perm-levitate spell as my wheelchair. Watch me! I am definitely doing it! AND I am going to have a napoleon complex!
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PostSubject: Re: MetaHumanity In the Shadows   Fri Feb 19, 2010 2:14 pm

Oh my. I shall be waiting with baited breath...

This I gotta see! XD
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PostSubject: Re: MetaHumanity In the Shadows   Fri Feb 19, 2010 2:34 pm

Well, I create and do most of my posting during week days, so you'll have to wait at least the weekend... but I don't see a problem with writing it up BEFORE my next required engagement...
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Number of posts : 7
Age : 34
Location : everett
Registration date : 2010-04-11

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Character Name: Dreggon
Race: Troll
Sex: male

PostSubject: Re: MetaHumanity In the Shadows   Sun Apr 11, 2010 11:51 pm

hello everyone

Im new to the forum and to shadowrun, not trying to resurrect a dead(but interesting read)thread, just curious if Gala got that mage created and played... sounds really interesting
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Dura
Mr. Johnson
Mr. Johnson
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PostSubject: Re: MetaHumanity In the Shadows   Sun Apr 11, 2010 11:57 pm

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Dreggon

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Number of posts : 7
Age : 34
Location : everett
Registration date : 2010-04-11

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Character Name: Dreggon
Race: Troll
Sex: male

PostSubject: Re: MetaHumanity In the Shadows   Mon Apr 12, 2010 1:15 am

Dreggon removes a small metal washer from above each eye-socket.

why does sha-pow always have to try and send me down the river styxx, these arent even the right type of coins according to the old legengds. SHEESH!


Thank you very much Durandana for the link
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Gala
Corprate CEO
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Registration date : 2010-01-27

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Character Name: Gala
Race: Human
Sex: Female

PostSubject: Re: MetaHumanity In the Shadows   Mon Apr 12, 2010 4:44 am

Yeah, I have the basics mapped out in my head, but I thought it might be fun to get some input from the creative-types out there about what they might do with the character.
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