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> Initiation, The Evergreen Addiction
Roughly how many times do your players initiate and what for?
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Tiralee
post Jun 3 2006, 12:13 AM
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My character had sufficient downtime and nuyen to seriously upgrade her capabilities. And owing to a weak set of physical stats, was quite happy to use meditation as a reduction step for the Karma cost. (Which was foul.)

So, what do your multiple-initiated players do with their magical mojo?

Apart from the ever-favourite Masking (Basically, the first metamagic skill anyone chooses) and Invoke (For the summoners out there) - what's the second or third cab off of the rank?

-Tir

(First poll, hope it works)
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Ancient History
post Jun 3 2006, 12:15 AM
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I've had three players get into the low double-digits during particularly high-end campaigns.

The first one was the Pokemetamagican - gotta collect 'em all!

The second was an adept, before you could just buy power points.

The third was just a bad-ass that had to put down some serious magicians in her time and got really good at it, and focused on an offensive/defensive posture - her first five grades were: masking, shielding, reflecting, absorbing, centering.
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Smiley
post Jun 3 2006, 12:36 AM
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There was no option for this, soooo...

3-5 times. They had the karma, they spent it, they did the ordeals, and everyone won. The players got stronger characters and the GM got to be more creative when creating opposition. It wasn't a bad or shocking thing for any party involved.
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Sharaloth
post Jun 3 2006, 12:49 AM
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The highest initiate in my game is a grade 17. Very high-powered game. they still nearly lost against Alamais.
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Dawnshadow
post Jun 3 2006, 12:56 AM
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Adepts go up through the roof.. as much initiation as possible. Currently sitting at 15+ grades.

Slightly less so for spellcasters and conjurers (about 2/3). Less direct power boost from initiation. And not as much karma to throw around so far. Although the conjurer does more initiation, for invoking and channelling.. the spellcaster it's just for metamagics.

And most every big threat we've got has nearly wiped us out.
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toturi
post Jun 3 2006, 01:11 AM
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Full mages/shamans went for the defensive/utility stuff. Masking, Shielding, Centering etc.

Adepts went for the Centering line of stuff. But always by Grade 4 initiation, Virtuso.

Anything the full magic guys can't handle, tell the adept to nuke it.
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Ophis
post Jun 3 2006, 09:04 AM
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8 is the highest I've seen.
Metamagicas and more spell pool. Plus being able to boast to your mage friends about how leet you are...
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Platinum
post Jun 3 2006, 07:58 PM
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QUOTE (Ancient History)
I've had three players get into the low double-digits during particularly high-end campaigns.

The first one was the Pokemetamagican - gotta collect 'em all!

The second was an adept, before you could just buy power points.

The third was just a bad-ass that had to put down some serious magicians in her time and got really good at it, and focused on an offensive/defensive posture - her first five grades were: masking, shielding, reflecting, absorbing, centering.

I thought that you could always buy power points. They cost 20 per level, or was that left out of first edition? I know that it was in second.
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Vaevictis
post Jun 3 2006, 08:38 PM
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Shielding. Shielding. Shielding.

Dude, it *multiplies* your spell defense dice by the number of protected targets, and the pool size doesn't reduce after being used. It increases the caster's target number by the number of dice you allocate (up to your initiate grade). That's rediculous powerful.

As a rule, I always try to go for those metamagics that don't require extra karma sink in the future and incidentally become more powerful as you add more initiate grades. Masking and shielding are must have no-brainers. Invoking is probably next. After that, I'd consider toying with anchoring or cleansing in order to get filtering (as our GM just LOVES tossing background counts at us).

(If you have a relatively high karma campaign, centering would be good, but our GM is unbelievably stingy with karma. Average run is 3 karma, and the only way to buy karma is by getting an enchanter to bind a focus for you :/ )
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mfb
post Jun 3 2006, 08:51 PM
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my adept is at grade 5. i'm gonna spend the next 100+ karma on non-magic stuff, except for attuning some gear here and there (as a frame of reference, i've been playing Italy for about five years, now, and he's got just over 200 karma). so far, Italy has Centering: Physical and Ranged, Masking, Attunement, and Cognition.

not sure what else to get him, once he starts initiating again. more Centering, obviously--Melee, and then Technical. then maybe Limited Projection. after that, i might start delving into custom metamagics.
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emo samurai
post Jun 3 2006, 08:55 PM
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And people think MY games are high-powered.
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mfb
post Jun 3 2006, 09:08 PM
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no, not high-powered. batshit loco, yeah. but not high-powered.
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Ancient History
post Jun 3 2006, 09:09 PM
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QUOTE (Platinum)
QUOTE (Ancient History @ Jun 2 2006, 08:15 PM)
I've had three players get into the low double-digits during particularly high-end campaigns.

The first one was the Pokemetamagican - gotta collect 'em all!

The second was an adept, before you could just buy power points.

The third was just a bad-ass that had to put down some serious magicians in her time and got really good at it, and focused on an offensive/defensive posture - her first five grades were: masking, shielding, reflecting, absorbing, centering.

I thought that you could always buy power points. They cost 20 per level, or was that left out of first edition? I know that it was in second.

Before 3rd edition, you could not purchase power points; adepts had to increase their Magic rating to gain additional abilities.
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Eyeless Blond
post Jun 3 2006, 09:50 PM
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And it's the same way in sr3. The rules in MitS about initiation adding to power points are supposed to override the ones in the BBB about buying them for 20 karma. You aren't supposed to be able to do both.

Or at least that's what I remember. Anyone care to look it up?
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Kanada Ten
post Jun 3 2006, 09:51 PM
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Well, that's what the FAQ suggests, no rule actually forbids it.
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Eyeless Blond
post Jun 4 2006, 12:00 AM
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Bah. They really needed to put a disclaimer on that FAQ, reminding people that nothing in it should be construed as to have anything to do with what's printed in their books.
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NightmareX
post Jun 4 2006, 10:39 AM
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QUOTE (Sharaloth)
The highest initiate in my game is a grade 17. Very high-powered game. they still nearly lost against Alamais.

:eek: My namesake character, Nightmare (a combat mage/hit man) has been played on and off since 1st edition and is "only" Grade 5 (530 karma when last played -briefly- in 3rd edition).

When 3rd edition came out, I put my players at the time on a fast track karma-wise for the express purpose of bringing their characters (a magician adept and a shaman) up to par with Nightmare so one of them could take over GMing and I could play him again. The magician adept made Grade 4 and the shaman made Grade 2 before the campaign ended - and I still only got to play Nightmare again as an NPC :(
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SL James
post Jun 4 2006, 02:28 PM
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QUOTE (mfb)
maybe Limited Projection.

*ahem*

That's only for Magician Adepts.
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Bodak
post Jun 4 2006, 07:42 PM
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QUOTE (Vaevictis)
Shielding. Shielding. Shielding.

As a rule, I always try to go for those metamagics that don't require extra karma sink in the future and incidentally become more powerful as you add more initiate grades. Masking and shielding are must have no-brainers. Invoking is probably next. After that, I'd consider toying with anchoring or cleansing in order to get filtering (as our GM just LOVES tossing background counts at us).

(If you have a relatively high karma campaign, centering would be good, but our GM is unbelievably stingy with karma. Average run is 3 karma, and the only way to buy karma is by getting an enchanter to bind a focus for you :/ )

Shielding is good. Absorbtion does pretty much the same thing except that it is more offensive. You can drop the absorbed dice if you want to (treating it just like Shielding) or use them like an expendable power focus. If Shielding is rediculous, Absorbtion is totally ridiculous.

As for Invoking, it is pretty much a buy-one-get-one-free deal. If you have Invoking, you don't need to bother getting Divination/Cleansing. Just summon the Great form spirit, and ask it to do the Divination for you or Cleanse the crimescene while you scram.

I've always wondered where is the appeal in Centring? You get to invest karma into a performance skill of your choice which can serve no useful gaming purpose (unless it is something like playing music for a living (like you actually need a wage when you can Shadowrun)). Then you get to invest karma into your Centring skill. Then when you Centre you get to add half your successes... is it really worth it? Why not invest that karma into improving your primary skills, or get a Power focus, or something like that?
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Da9iel
post Jun 4 2006, 07:48 PM
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Because lowering your TN is big medicine.
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Ancient History
post Jun 4 2006, 07:53 PM
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There are three general reasons Centering was chosen so often:
1) Diminishing returns. Prior to 4th edition, there was no skillcap - therefore, you were paying more Karma per die as you improved your skill. It was actually cheaper to buy a Centering skill than to increase your other magical skills. That was partially negated in 3rd edition by requiring the purchase of the centering skill /and/ a performance skill.

2) No other metamagic directly eases drain or effectiveness. If purchased early, Centering is a better deal than a power focus because it generally improves with yoru character and can't be destroyed.

3) Centering, along with Masking, was one of the few metamagics open to both adepts and full magicians.
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Vaevictis
post Jun 4 2006, 08:08 PM
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QUOTE (Bodak)
Shielding is good. Absorbtion does pretty much the same thing except that it is more offensive. You can drop the absorbed dice if you want to (treating it just like Shielding) or use them like an expendable power focus. If Shielding is rediculous, Absorbtion is totally ridiculous.


I agree that absorption is good, but it is nothing at *all* like shielding in terms of defensive capability. Let's say you're a grade six initiate:

Absorption works like spell defense in terms of the number of dice. Say you allocate 6 dice to it, and pick 6 people who you want to cover. A mage casts a spell at one of the targets, you use 4 of the dice defending. Then another mage casts a spell at another target, you use 2 of the dice defending. A mage casts a third spell, and you have no dice left.

Shielding doesn't work like spell defense. It adds a modifier to the spell resistance tests of the protected individuals until you reallocate. Say you allocate 6 dice to it, and pick six people who you want to cover. Anybody casting spells on them is now at +6 to their target numbers. Further, each of them has a spell resistance *bonus* of 6 until you reallocate your dice. A mage casts a spell at one of the targets, they get six dice defending (plus whatever the base resist stat happens to be). Then a mage casts a spell at *the same* target, and that target *still* gets six dice defending (plus...). Then a mage casts a third spell at the same target, and that target *still* gets six dice defending (plus...).

Totally, totally different beasts.

Shielding is clearly superior if you need to defend against multiple spell castings per combat turn, against area effect spells, and/or if the opposition is casting higher force spells (as increasing their target number is going to reduce successes more effectively than trying to roll the force of the spell).

Absorption is superior if you only expect a fairly small number of incoming spells per turn (1-2), with few successes, and that those spells are of reasonable force to actually hit the TN to absorb.

The only other case I can think of where it's superior is if you are in the middle of a bunch of enemies, you drop an AOE spell on your head, and use the absorption pool to absorb your own spell. Because absorption causes AOE spells to ignore *only* the protected individual, you don't get hit, everyone surrounding you does, AND you get an absorption pool for your next casting. And that there is a pretty nasty case. :)

(of course, with shielding, you do get a similar effect, because your TNs to hit yourself are higher, and you also get the bonus resistance dice... you just don't get the happy absorption pool bonus)

Ultimately, with absorption you get higher return, but you assume higher risk. With shielding, it's quite possible to just flat out stop any magical activity from negatively affecting your team.
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hyzmarca
post Jun 4 2006, 08:35 PM
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If you can get your GM drunk or high or sexually satisfied shortly before a session then pick up Sacrificing and take "cutting people" as a performance skill for Centering.
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Vaevictis
post Jun 4 2006, 08:39 PM
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QUOTE (hyzmarca @ Jun 4 2006, 03:35 PM)
If you can get your GM drunk or high or sexually satisfied shortly before a session then pick up Sacrificing and take "cutting people" as a performance skill for Centering.

Don't forget that you ideally want to be a shape shifter while you're at it. Or at least have a shape shifter in your party.

(we have one in ours, and on more than one occasion when he's recklessly endangered the team's lives, I've threatened to set up layered wards in our domicile and suddenly revoke his permission while he's sandwiched in them... for the sole purpose of holding him there while I sell him to Azzie ;p)
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Bodak
post Jun 4 2006, 10:40 PM
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QUOTE (Vaevictis)
The only other case I can think of where it's superior is if you are in the middle of a bunch of enemies, you drop an AOE spell on your head, and use the absorption pool to absorb your own spell. Because absorption causes AOE spells to ignore *only* the protected individual, you don't get hit, everyone surrounding you does, AND you get an absorption pool for your next casting. And that there is a pretty nasty case. :)

Yes - that is what I like doing. I wanted a spell like Flash from Diablo (a short-range high-damage ring of energy comes out from the character). I can use Powerball at ground-zero and use my Absorbing dice to boost the Powerball next turn, etc. Nice when goons think the mage is easy in melee. The only problem with Powerballing is I can't affect enemies behind me since I can't see them. (If I cut off my nose I wouldn't be able to see myself either, unless I blinked at the wrong moment.) The only other alternative is to use an elemental area spell (and then you get to add knockback and things) since that will affect targets I can't see. Only problem then is if I succeed in absorbing all the damage I would otherwise be subjected to, the spell gets womped and doesn't affect any of my enemies.

And yes you're right about the differences between Shielding being more defensive and Absorbing being more aggressive; Shielding does pay off if you come across enemies who have two mages in their ranks. Especially if, as you said, they both target the same character.

QUOTE (Ancient History)
1) It was actually cheaper to buy a Centering skill than to increase your other magical skills.

2) No other metamagic directly eases drain or effectiveness. If purchased early, Centering is a better deal than a power focus because it generally improves with yoru character and can't be destroyed.


I guess this would be the case if you are applying your Centring to a large number of active skills like a Magicians Way Driving-Adept who has Sorcery and Conjuring and Enchanting, etc. Especially as Power foci can't help with Enchanting and Driving etc. On the other hand, I would be surprised if the Centring route was more karmically economic for, say, an aspected conjuror who only uses it for one skill. At what point does Centring gain the advantage?

Additionally, the skills listed in MitS p72 all seem to be Active skills (well Meditation is hardly active... but it's not really Knowledge either. And what is Arcane Languages? Centring can only use Active/Knowledge skills). If you could take a Language as your creative skill, that would reduce the karma cost considerably... Active skills are rather expensive.

Good point about the Power focus being destroyed or stolen whereas Centring cannot (though gagging, tying up etc might prevent centring while you can still use a focus touching you). In which case, replace Power foci with ally spirits; using 5000Y for 1kp cash-for-karma you should be able to get a decent force ally for cheaper than buying and bonding a Power focus of the same force. They can't get stolen very easily. As a bonus they'd be able to supply their own Spell defence... but that is getting a bit off-topic. Also, while projecting you Cannot centre, but you still keep all the benefits of having a power focus.
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