Thursday, October 31, 2013

Gear Review: Hold-Outs

One of the thing I love about role playing games, of all stripes, is the gear. Players develop a love affair with their equipment. I've seen players go to great lengths for a piece of equipment. With D&D and Pathfinder, artifacts and magic items make some sense. We all love our +2 long sword of troll slaying. However, in Shadowrun I have found no less love for the inanimate objects of our world. I'm going to take the time to go over the gear section, in no particular order, to point out the things I love, the good, the bad, the ugly. Today, it's the drop gun. You don't buy extra clips for them, and you most likely will never fire them, but every runner worth his salt has one, or two, or ten. They are cheap, disposable, concealable, and cheap, did I say cheap? They are, the hold-outs.

In Shadowrun 5th Edition you're presented with three hold-outs in the core rules. Three, it's a shame I tell you, but it's a shame that I hope they will rectify when the gun source book comes out. You hear me Catalyst! I want hold-outs by the dozen! Why do I love hold-outs? Let's look at the bargain basement one, the Streetline Special.

Acc: 4
Damage: 6P
AP: -
Mode: SA
RC: -
Ammo: 6(c)
Avail: 4R
Cost: 120¥

Want to spot this little beauty? That's a Perception + Intuition [Mental] test. Drop 4 dice, because it's a hold-out, might as well put it in a concealable holster, though it'll cost you more then the gun, that's another -1. If you read my "Let's Build" for the Decker a few weeks back you'd know that every runner worth his salt has a lined coat. That's another -2. So, you're walking down the street, it's a lovely day in Seattle (yes they happen) and you pass by a beat cop. He gives you the eye. Let's assume he's the canned grunt from the core rules, Perception 3, Intuition 3. He gets 6 - 6 dice, that's a big fat 0. You can walk through town with a gun and know for sure, that you're safe. That, friends, is a comforting thought. Add to that the fact that MAD Scanners take a -2 dice hit to detect it, and I won't leave home without one.

Now, let's look at the gun itself. I love the Streetline. At 120¥ it's disposable, and I mean really disposable. This is the snubby .38 of the Shadowrun world. You don't reload it, you drop it and quick draw another. Why? Because you have multiple, and what's the harm? The biggest drawback of all the hold-outs is the low accuracy, 4 for the Walther, and Streetline, 5 for the Fichetti. However, this isn't a service pistol. You're not going to stand at 50 yards and empty a clip John Woo style. You're going to be in the bathroom, with your opponent at arms length, and you're going to pull the trigger till the gun runs dry, jams, or both, and then you drop it, and you run. This is the ankle gun, the small of the back gun, the taped behind the toilet gun and for that, it is incredible.

If you plan to go to war, you don't bring a hold-out alone. However, if you're going to go to war, what's the harm in having a little friend as backup?

Let's take a look at the other two hold-outs that you can chose in the core rules. First, we have the Walther Palm Pistol, think derringer. Two shots, break action, can fire both barrels. Not a bad little piece, but given that it's 60¥ more than the Streetline, I worry about what, if anything, you're going to get for your money. Long story short, you get one higher damage, and the ability to fire in SS or BF mode, however the burst is one bullet short, and requires that you reload the gun. If you're going to be burst firing with a pistol, you might as well go with the Streetline, and go for a Semi-Auto burst. Our advice, pass on the Walther.

Thirdly, you have the Fichetti Tiffani Needler, one higher accuracy, two higher damage, 8P(f), with a whopping +5 AP modifier, and a smaller clip, with only 4 rounds. Add to that a 1,000¥ price tag, and even the fact that it changes color doesn't really impress me. This is a gun for dealing quietly with soft targets. Want to off a man in his night shirt, go for the Needler. Want to carry a backup piece that might just save your hide against that angry ganger? Carry the Streetline.

Our final thoughts: Buy a Streetline, or if you're an up and coming fashionista, buy a Streetline, and a Needler. Keep them close, pay the extra for a concealable holster, and go forth into the shadows knowing that, at the very least, you have your hold-out.

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