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Death_Jester
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Old August 31st, 2012, 02:55 AM
There is some disagreement about Synthacardium adding its bonus to Full Defense tests when using Gymnastics instead of Dodge in the bugs thread. I figured I'd start a different thread so the bug thread doesn't get cluttered. The initial posts were as follows:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mad Hamish View Post
I've got a character with 5 gymnastics and 7 reaction, if I add a synthacardium 3 it still only has 12 for ranged full defense

Quote:
Originally Posted by _Pax_ View Post
That's not a bug; it's how the game actually works.

Synthacardium adds it's rating as bonus dice to Athletics Tests. Ranged Defense, full or otherwise, is not an Athletics Test. Not even when the skill used to calculate your die pool is an Athletics-group skill.
There doesn't seem to be any clarification in the Errata or FAQ, so it comes down to what is written in the core book. I'm going to put down some things I believe to be true.

- Synthacardium adds its bonus on any Athletic Test.
- The book does not say what an Athletic Test is.
- Gymnastics is in the Athletics skill group.
- Full Defense is an Opposed Test.
- You may use Gymnastics as a part of the Full Defense Opposed Test.


Since there are only three types of tests listed in the core book, namely Success Tests, Opposed Tests, and Extended Tests, the wording of the Synthacardium can be pretty misleading. Shadowrun often uses terms interchangeably and occasionally in ways that seem to specifically direct the reader away from what is actually intended. There are no direct rules for a Skill Test mechanic specifically, yet the book talks about a need to make an Infiltration Test on pg. 118 under Skill Ratings. There are of course many other examples of this, but the book doesn't clarify that all of these are just simple forms of writing out something that will make sense with a player. The closest thing the SR4A book comes to defining a "skill test" is on pg. 68 top right paragraph under Skills. All it says there though is that the skill+linked attribute is what makes up the dice pool for skill tests. The sentence is clearly a general description, since that is not always the case. The skill section specifically states that linked attributes are 'usually' used, but aren't always.

This gets further complicated with examples of (Skill Group) Tests. Such as an Athletics or Electronics test. You can't actually test anything off of Athletics and the rules don't tell us how to use that reference. For abilities using those terms to work at all, someone reading it must extrapolate that any skill in that group being used in the test should benefit (in my opinion). Having it spelled out somewhere would be great, but the game developers aren't perfect. I've seen it said elsewhere that Tests using a skill but not the linked attribute may not be a Skill Test, but this seems untrue based on the entire Matrix system not using linked attributes for tests.

With the Synthacardium, I see three possible interpretations:

1) It does nothing, ever, because there is no way to make an Athletics Test.

2) It does nothing for Full Defense, because Defense Tests are not Skill Tests. More specifically, Full Defense Opposed Tests are not considered Athletic Group Skill Tests. This is the opinion of the second poster, as I read it.

3) It adds its bonus, because Full Defense includes Gymnastics as part of the dice pool for the Test. Since the dice added by Gymnastics are not used as a modifier (though I'm not sure it being a modifier or not makes a difference), it would be fair to say that the skill is being used. As the skill is being used as a part of the test and Gymnastics is part of the Athletics group, it would be fair to say it is an Athletics Test.


Based on the reading and the FAQ, I'd feel comfortable saying that a particular test might fall under multiple headings for modifiers affecting Skill, Skill Group, or other types of tests. For example, an astrally perceiving mage with Gymnastics who is utilizing Full Defense (Gymnastics) against an astral attack rolls: Reaction + Astral Combat + Dodge + Gymnastics according to the FAQ. This would mean that it counts as an Opposed Test, a Defense Test, a Dodge Test, an Astral Combat test, a Gymnastics test, and an Athletics test all at the same time. The mage wouldn't receive the -2 for perceiving because it is an Astral Combat test (and hence a magical test), despite using Gymnastics which is normally a physical test, but would receive the bonus from Synthacardium because Gymnastics is in the Athletics group and is being used for the test.

In any event, I plan on allowing or using the bonus from Synthacardium on Full Defense (Gymnastics) Opposed Tests in my games. I hope the Herolab community agrees and decides to add it to a patch down the line, but I understand if they decide not to due to a bit of ambiguity on the use and meaning of Skill Tests.

- Death Jester

Last edited by Death_Jester; August 31st, 2012 at 02:58 AM. Reason: spelling, corrections
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Canis
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Old August 31st, 2012, 04:37 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Death_Jester View Post
2) It does nothing for Full Defense, because Defense Tests are not Skill Tests. More specifically, Full Defense Opposed Tests are not considered Athletic Group Skill Tests. This is the opinion of the second poster, as I read it.
Pax is right, this is how it works. CGL are over two years behind on errata and FAQ's, and have been forgetting to fold proofing info into final products.

This came up when we proofed SR4A and this was CGL's response. Defense Tests are not Skill Tests (SR4A notation means skill name or skill group name is used to denote Skill Tests - Athletics Test is a Skill Test).
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Death_Jester
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Old August 31st, 2012, 04:52 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Canis View Post
Pax is right, this is how it works. CGL are over two years behind on errata and FAQ's, and have been forgetting to fold proofing info into final products.

This came up when we proofed SR4A and this was CGL's response. Defense Tests are not Skill Tests (SR4A notation means skill name or skill group name is used to denote Skill Tests - Athletics Test is a Skill Test).
Is there a document or list somewhere either in HL or on this forum of things that Catalyst has given a ruling on and have been incorporated into HL? Using rules clarifications that aren't in a book, FAQ, or Errata with no explanation is extremely confusing if there is no documentation to explain why. Especially when the wording of existing rules imply something different than what Catalyst intended to mean. It would be great to have that info available in general, really. I'd love to see what else was clarified.
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_Pax_
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Old August 31st, 2012, 05:26 AM
Catalyst in general, and JMH in particular, are pathologically averse to producing and publishing a proper Errata.

One of my biggest disappointments with SR4, in fact.
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Death_Jester
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Old August 31st, 2012, 05:45 AM
I understand the sentiment. My question was more about what information Herolab has received that isn't "officially" in print anywhere else. Using rules corrections and/or clarifications that aren't known to the general gaming community causes unnecessary confusion for people trying to use Herolab. The program should probably be kept current with the published books, FAQ, and Errata unless the Herolab team wants to keep a running thread or help document in the program with all the changes that have been implemented. Especially with changes that are "invisible" like not applying certain bonuses, as people will probably assume it is a bug. The more divergent the program is with the in-print rules, the harder it is to use in the wider gaming community without issue. Not a criticism really, more like a request for added functionality. Keeping Herolab users current with what rules the Herolab team is going off of only makes sense.

If this exists somewhere, that's awesome. I'd just need a point in the right direction.
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Mathias
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Old August 31st, 2012, 06:57 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Death_Jester View Post
If this exists somewhere, that's awesome. I'd just need a point in the right direction.
Inside the program: Help Menu...Shadowrun FAQ.
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Death_Jester
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Old August 31st, 2012, 08:04 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mathias View Post
Inside the program: Help Menu...Shadowrun FAQ.
This page lists changes that have been implemented as bug fixes, but would it be possible to add a distinct section detailing what rules Herolab is using that aren't referenced in the sourcebooks, Errata, or FAQ? The other stuff on there is plenty helpful. to be sure. Thanks for the responses and humoring my search for clarity!
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Mathias
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Old August 31st, 2012, 08:15 AM
Please look at the entry titled "I'm using the karma system, and the total karma and the attributes differ from what Runner's Companion says."

Any other rulings we use that aren't widely accessible will be added like that one.
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Death_Jester
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Old August 31st, 2012, 09:32 AM
Ah, so the Synthacardium/Gymnastics/Defense thing was similar to that listing then. I will start checking that FAQ regularly from now on. Are there other rules like this defense one that aren't on that FAQ page yet or is it pretty up to date and this particular rule issue is an anomaly?
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Mathias
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Old August 31st, 2012, 09:43 AM
Talk to the others about that defense ruling - they're the ones who are arguing that it exists, not me. I haven't had enough time recently to study this issue, so I can't weigh in knowledgably. I posted to this thread because you claimed we didn't list any special rulings we've received, and I needed to correct that and show you where we do print the special rulings we use.
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