there have been discussions some time ago about perma-death and the relative danger a Shadowrun mission should pose. A lot of this has to do with the mission structure: things like how often can you rest, heal-up and stock up on equipment. Today we want to give you a bit of background on that.
In Shadowrun fights are dangerous. Not “Level-1-D&D-get-killed-by-a-rat-bite”-dangerous, but as health does not massively increase over time, character death remains a constant threat. On the other hand, if you are wearing some standard equipment and have invested into Body, you can usually withstand a couple of shots from an Uzi without being mowed down. For SRO, we want combat to be even more dangerous, making fights more tactically challenging.
Unless it makes a difference what you do each step of the way, tactics would otherwise quickly degenerate into a mix of ‘stock up on equipment’ and “geek the mage first” and you’d be pretty much safe in all but the most dangerous circumstances. But we want to keep you on your edge and thinking in any combat situation. So, combat will be deadly. Walking into a fight with a bunch of Halloweeners without looking for cover and using your skills and tactics should get you killed for being stupid. And it will.
Although turn-based combat has a tendency to feel less nerve-wrecking than real time stuff, we want to keep the pressure up. So you have a turn-timer (which also makes sure you don’t leave other players waiting in co-op) and you’ll have to take actual life- or-death-decision when making moves. Our rule of thumb will be that any serious combat situation should get the better part of your average three-person team killed unless you behave cleverly.
What is a combat situation? Well, the way we design maps (remember we are cross platform), a map should take something around 15 minutes to play. A map thus holds 1-2 ‘situations’, which are challenges. This could be just a warehouse filled with nasties or a string of connected offices, forcing you to plan your advance door by door. It could be stealth or combat, though both require tactics. For us stealth does not simply mean ‘use an invisibility spell to walk by any guards’, although that could be part of it. Infrared cameras, motion sensors, drones and magic sentries are not easily fooled and knowing when to hack the camera without raising alarms or how to mute the magic sentry require tactical decisions and the clever use of skills as well.
A Mission may consist of a string of maps called a Mission-Chain and you cannot get back to the hub during the time you are in it unless you abort the whole chain. So, no healing up, no re-stocking or spending Karma within a mission chain. Think of it as for example the different levels of a building you have to go through to reach the top floor or a chain of underground caverns. Your alarm level, your damage and the things you did carry over to the next link in the mission chain. So if one map is usually dangerous, a mission chain should be fragging hard to accomplish. Especially because, if your team dies, you are going right back to square one. Not to ‘the last convenient safe point’, but to the start of the chain.
On top of that, your equipment will be limited. This is not a dungeon crawl with tons of equipment in your trusty backpack right next to the 1 million gold coins you collected. Shadowrunners travel light and thus the amount of stuff you can carry is limited. This goes for healing as well … Which is where DocWagon comes in – DocWagon taxiing into combat will be one thing that will allow you to carry on even if you are shot to pieces. They can stitch you right up … for a price. In SRO, your friends will actually be able to extend their contract to you, so generous friends will be in much demand.
Well, initially, when everyone is learning their way around town, things will be a bit nicer, a limited time DocWagon contract will sit in your pocket as you get used to life in the Shadows. But after a while, you will have to earn your Nuyen the hard way, just like Shadowrunners do.
There will always be easier missions around, some paydata grab or a little breaking and entering to get you back on your feet, though. And of course if you are really careful, plan well and know your opponent’s weaknesses, you will always have an edge. But if you want to play with the big cats of the megacorps and become a name on the streets (whispered in awe and respect) - well, you will have to bring your best game. Because this is what it means to be a Shadowrunner!
See you in the Shadows,