Want to answer my other questions?
Patience! It takes time! Actually, my last post was from my phone. It turns out, this forum has a mobile-friendly version, but it is very, very, very light on features. I can't quote, and all code must be typed by hand, so while I can read, and might post a little bit, most questions need to wait until I get to a computer. I've been working overnights lately, so this means first thing in the morning. Now, on to this morning's round of answers.
Question: I want to be ambidextrous but more for the idea. Not really looking at going into fighting with two weapons at the same time (thought I can see using a gun in one hand and stabbing someone with a hand blade with the other). Which ambidexterity edge would you suggest?
The system doesn't allow for fighting that way anyway - while shooting most Semi-Automatic Weapons is a Simple Action, melee combat is a Complex Action. Further, using two weapons at once requires you to split your dice pool between each weapon, making it even harder to accomplish anything. And even if you have both in hand at once, the system doesn't consider it two weapon fighting unless you're literally attacking with both at the same time. Having shot a gun on your action, and then using your melee weapon to defend yourself on someone else's, doesn't actually count. (Nor does the system make any allowance for 'handedness'.)
So, in the long run, Ambidexterity isn't really going to help you at all anyway.
Is it assumed that bonuses from seperate cyberware to the same stat stack unless called out different? EX: Dermal Sheath and Bone Lacings both give Body bonuses.
Bonuses always stack unless stated otherwise. Common sense does need to rule a bit here, but overall, the writers were pretty good about including the exclusions. Make sure to check the entries of both, however, especially if they're in separate books. (NSRCG may not know.)
Edit: Another question. I assume that the "Upgrading Cyberwear" rule on p.147 of Man and Machine is only talking about upgrading the ranking of the cyberwear and doesn't apply to upgrading from Alpha to Delta grade for example?
Actually, it refers to both - any upgrade follows the same formula, you just end up with that Essence 'hole' if the new implant costs less Essence than the old. Additionally, you could upgrade both at the same time (for example, going from a Standard grade Wired Reflexes 2 to a Delta grade Wired Reflexes 3, which would actually give you a net total of a .5 Essence hole to fill up as you wished. Of course, the nearly 4 million nuyen cost might be a bit of a hurdle...)
So, DM, what's your ruling on cultured bioware at chargen?
I'm afraid not. Standard Bioware only, sorry.
Turns out NSCRG doesn't have a monofilament whip in the creator. The availability of 12 means I was unlikely to get it anyway, but I can dream... Because of my horrible strength, an actual whip will be laughable, so I'm thinking of spec-ing in the monofilament whip anyway. Again, assuming I can get one. I don't exactly have a great body, so I really want to avoid melee combat right now anyway
The point of a defensive whip (or chain) isn't to damage your opponent, it's to have out in case someone engages you in melee. Imagine for the moment you have no melee abilities and a strength of two, and some guy with a sword (reach 1, damage code 8M) attacks you in melee with a skill of 4. His target number is 3 (because he has reach advantage) and yours is 8 (you're defaulting to strength). He rolls 8 dice (4+Combat pool) and on average gets 5 successes to your 0 (4 dice with combat pool), so it stages up twice and you take deadly damage. You're screwed. Now imagine you have a whip with a skill of 4, and your whip's damage code is 4L (I forget what it really is). The main thing here is you now have reach. Okay, so now you can set his TN to 5 (since you have reach advantage) and now he averages 3 successes, while you average 2 (TN 4). He hits you with a medium hit. You're hurt, but a medic can patch you up. It's a huge difference. Now imagine you're holding a small riot shield (Ballistic 1, Impact 2, +2 all melee TNs for anyone with a reach less than 2). Suddenly you can use your reach advantage to lower your TN to 3, since his is now 6. On average he gets just one success and you get 2 or 3, and now you're hitting him. The damage is pathetically low and he stages it away, but you're unhurt and can now hit him with a stunbolt or something on your turn.
Thank you for answering this, and I'd like to state that this is a very, very good explanation. Most mages can, and should, carry a melee weapon for this very reason, and have some training with it. To further note, if it's possible to make a weapon focus out of it (I think whips can't, but I'll need to check), weapon foci are often very, -VERY- useful to mages, since the Force of the weapon foci is added to your dice for the combat test, just as if you had additional points in the skill.
I have about 120 thousand gold to spend on a lifestyle and banking the rest. Question: from experience, is there a good amount of armour to avoid being hit say... Half the time, consistently?
Note that if you bank your money, it gets cut by IIRC 90% before the game starts, so don't bank it! Buy fun stuff instead.
Also, armor doesn't prevent being hit, it just lowers the damage code. This isn't D&D, there is no AC. Dodging (using Combat Pool) is how you avoid getting hit at all, though the bigger thing that keeps you from getting hit is cover and visual concealment (SR is realistic that way). How effective armor is depends on your body score (the higher your body score, the more chances you have to beat the power of the attack and lower the damage) and your quickness score (if your armor exceeds your quickness, you take nasty penalties). Remember that Form Fitting Full Body Armor doesn't make quickness penalties so it's quite useful. I also like throwing the Thermal Dampening Mod (Cannon Compendium) which makes you very hard to detect with sensors and thermographic vision.
For a mage with a relatively low body score, armor really won't help that much (avoid getting shot!). The mods are more important... Thermal Dampening, for example. Also, Mortimer's Greatcoat increases the concealability of everything on you by 50%, and that's handy. With that said, "geek the mage" is a canon rule in Shadowrun, so it's wise to look like a street sam even if you're not. Thus, having some armor and a gun that you point at enemies while casting spells can provide just a little more security. Also, a flash pack works wonders, and remember that you can ignore visual by going astral and firing off spells while percieving (though that makes you vulnerable to astral attack).
Remaining nuyen is reduced to 10% of what's left (yep, chop off that last digit), and then you receive 3d6*100 nuyen starting money. Never spend more Karma on nuyen than you have to - buy the stuff you want, need, or whatever, then reroute the remaining karma into additional skills, spells, attributes, whatever.
Form Fitting Full Body Armor is perhaps the single most useful piece of armor any character can have, and I highly recommend everyone pick up a suit. It also stacks well with other armors, such as greatcoats, longcoats, clothing, whatever.
Also, just to expand a little bit - Dodging is done with your Combat Pool dice, and only those dice. Mages in particular often like to keep their Combat Pool reserved for Dodging or Damage Resistance (since you use Spell Pool to improve Sorcery tests and Drain tests.) It's also the only dodge you have. Attacking is done against set Target Numbers, only modified by conditions at the time of the attack, such as cover, visibility, movement, possibly recoil (for guns) or reach (for melee), and possible augmentations (Smartlink, for example, reduces the TN for firing a gun). And just to reiterate, tactics, tactics, tactics. Just like an RL firefight, the first thing to do is get cover, get out of the way, make it harder for them to shoot you. And yes - mages are very high damage potential, so they really do tend to attract fire first. Shadowrun combat tends to weed out the unwary fast. Expect to see enemies using intelligent tactics. No stupid goblins here to charge in and die in an instant!