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> Ninja Magician Tradition, Hermetic, Shinto, or designer?
IvanTank
post Nov 15 2006, 08:17 AM
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I am creating a japanese mage who was trained in a ninja clan, but i am having difficulty deciding on what type of magical tradition he should use. I was thinking Shinto, but I am not sure how well that matches with ninjitsu, so I was also thinking of just making him a regular old hermetic.

If you were to design a ninjitsu magical tradition, what would its characteristics be, or is ninjitsu not have a sufficient spiritual base for a tradition, dealing more in the use of magic and less with the origin and nature of magic?

FYI, since he is mostly a physical character, he is probably one of the weakest mages you have seen, magic attribute of 3 and all..
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Jack Kain
post Nov 15 2006, 08:26 AM
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There called adepts, Ninja isn't about the flashy kinda magic availble to mages. The stuff adapts do is more there style.
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knasser
post Nov 15 2006, 08:31 AM
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I would think that a mystic adept is the best approach. Ninjas have primarily physical abilities with the odd bit mystic woo-woo - influence, control thoughts, whatever. As to tradition, shinto doesn't really fit in my opinion despite it being the "Japanese" tradition. I think wuxing falvour is far closer so I would go with that and just call it something else if you need to.

My thoughts, anyway.
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Steak and Spirit...
post Nov 15 2006, 09:03 AM
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You used to be able to do some cool stuff like that with Aspected Wujen.

Unfortunately, Aspected Magicians in SR4 aren't quite what they used to be.
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Wakshaani
post Nov 15 2006, 10:48 AM
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You could make a "Ninjitsu" Tradition and run with it, I suppose, likely a Willpower + Intuition sort. You'd be a Physical Mage (I forget the term for that these days, ackl!) with no Astral stuff, but Physical Adept abilities and a few minor spells.

Or, better, just go pure Adept, unless the spells are just *vital* to you.
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Fortune
post Nov 15 2006, 10:58 AM
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QUOTE (Wakshaani)
... a Physical Mage (I forget the term for that these days, ackl!)

Mystic Adept. ;)
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NightmareX
post Nov 15 2006, 11:04 AM
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According to Wikipedia, the spiritual end of ninjitsu evolved from Shinto and Zen Buddhism. However, I also recall a master saying on some History or Discovery channel show stating that itis descended from some form of Chinese mysticism. So for a full magician, Shinto, Buddhist magic, or Wuxing would probably be your best bet.

However, for a mystic adept this could be a bit more interesting:

The Bujinkan Tradition
Concept: Bujinkan magic results from the refinement of the human spirit through an understandin the of the elements and the ever present kami. As the mind approaches enlightenment, the ninja is set free from the constraints of the flesh and can thusly use his ki through kuji-in and kuji-kiri to effect change in the physical world.
Combat: Guardian spirits
Detection: Guidence spirits
Health: Earth spirits
Illusion: Air spirits
Manipulation: Water spirits
Drain: Willpower + Intuition
Note: Bujinkan is a possession tradition.

A blend of traditional Shinto and Zen Buddhist beliefs, Bujinkin (literally "warrior spirit") is a product of the dispersal of traditional martial arts that began at the end of the 20th century. When the Awakening occured, the spiritual refinement techniques gained a renewed potency, but the sheer preponderance of fakes and con men claiming knowledge of "ancient ninja secrets" put of a damper on the tradition's acceptance and growth - in the public eye at least. Behind the scenes, the real masters quietly revived the old tradition, some incorporating the name given it by the 20th century master Masaaki Hatsumi and others not - like those of the old clans.

While Bujinkan shares the Shinto emphasis on spiritual "cleanliness" and respect for nature and the kami, this harmony is not sought for its own sake but for the sake of pragmatic necessity. The spirit, like the steel of a sword, must be pure to be strong and thus accomplish what is desired in the world. This pragmatism is echoed in the spirits that a Bujinkan magician calls on - ancestral spirits and the ghosts of great warriors for guidence and protection, spirits of air and water to become as ghosts themselves, and the spirits of the earth itself for vitality. Bujinkan magicians are traditionally mystic adepts, combining physical prowess with direct magic, but occasionally full magicians are trained as well.


(Note - I personally have no real knowledge of ninjistu or the Japanese language, and this tradition is a product of Wikipedia, a few conversations with a Bujinkan Budo student I once knew IRL, and Shadowrun canon. So please don't flame too much if I royally screwed something up.)
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IvanTank
post Nov 16 2006, 06:48 AM
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I have a few reasons for not wanting him to be an adept.

First off, adepts tend to suck big time, especially since now you have to buy power points. Anything an adept can do can be done better and cheaper (in terms of BPs) with cyberware. If someone disagrees with this statement, please prove me wrong. I may not be creating adepts correctly.

Second of all, while he does have a lot of physical skills and attributes, he uses primarily illusion magic (improved invisibility on sustaining focus (force 3), silence, mass confusion), as well as an increase reflexes spell, also on another sustaining focus (force 3). He also has a force 2 weapon focus (and a healthy dose of focus addiction :) )

I thought of maybe a mystic adept, but, if you look at the character, he is already spread pretty thin stat wise. (No skill higher than 3, with lots at 1, just to avoid defaulting)

Arg... I might as well just post what I have so far for him

Race: Elf

Body: 2
Agility: 6
Reaction: 4
Strength: 3
Charisma: 3
Intuition: 4
Logic: 2
Willpower: 3
Edge: 2
Magic: 3

Blades (Swords) 3 (+2)
Counterspelling 1
Dodge 2
Athletics Group 2
Stealth Group 2
Spellcasting (Illusions) 3 (+2)
Throwing Weapons (Shuriken) 2 (+2)
Escape Artist 1
Perception 2
Unarmed Combat (Martial Arts) 2 (+2)
Astral Combat (Blade Foci) 1 (+2)
Assensing 1
Pilot Ground Craft (Bikes) 1 (+2)

Japanese N
English 4
Sperethiel 2

Knowledge Skills to be decided

Astral Chameleon (5)
Aspected Magician (Sorcerer) (-5)
Focus Addiction (-10)
Gremlins 1 (-5)
Simsense Vertigo (-10)
Incompetent (Computer) (-5)

Detect Enemies, Extended
Increase Reflexes
Improved Invisibilty
Heal
Stealth
Mass Confusion

Ninja-Ken - Weapon Focus 2 (uses katana stats)
Illusion Sustaining Focus 3
Health Sustaining Focus 3

Assorted Gear - 20 BP in money
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hyzmarca
post Nov 16 2006, 07:13 AM
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QUOTE (IvanTank)
Anything an adept can do can be done better and cheaper (in terms of BPs) with cyberware. If someone disagrees with this statement, please prove me wrong. I may not be creating adepts correctly.


There are certain adept powers that cannot possibly be duplicated with cyberware and others that do not have the same upper limits that their cyberware approximations do.
Killing hands give your fists the properties of a magical weapon. Sure, spurs do physical damage, but they don't cut it against a force 5 spirit. Gliding, traceless walk, rooting, wall walking, kinestics, animal empathy, cloak, commanding voice, cool resolve, enthralling performance, empathic healing, freefall, linguistics, living focus, missile mastery, multitasking, nerve strike, pain relief, and piercing senses can't be duplicated by cyberware. Distance strike can be duplicated with a gun, for the most part, unless you add killing hands on top of it. Unlike reaction enhancers, combat sense has no hard cap, allowing one to create a starting adept that can dodge bullets quite reliably.
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IvanTank
post Nov 16 2006, 07:24 AM
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Talking about japanese traditions, is it just me, or would street samurais be better described as street ronin, since a ronin essentially is a masterless samurai, and i don't know of any street sams with a "master"
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IvanTank
post Nov 16 2006, 07:28 AM
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QUOTE (hyzmarca)
QUOTE (IvanTank @ Nov 16 2006, 01:48 AM)
Anything an adept can do can be done better and cheaper (in terms of BPs) with cyberware.  If someone disagrees with this statement, please prove me wrong.  I may not be creating adepts correctly.


There are certain adept powers that cannot possibly be duplicated with cyberware and others that do not have the same upper limits that their cyberware approximations do.
Killing hands give your fists the properties of a magical weapon. Sure, spurs do physical damage, but they don't cut it against a force 5 spirit. Gliding, traceless walk, rooting, wall walking, kinestics, animal empathy, cloak, commanding voice, cool resolve, enthralling performance, empathic healing, freefall, linguistics, living focus, missile mastery, multitasking, nerve strike, pain relief, and piercing senses can't be duplicated by cyberware. Distance strike can be duplicated with a gun, for the most part, unless you add killing hands on top of it. Unlike reaction enhancers, combat sense has no hard cap, allowing one to create a starting adept that can dodge bullets quite reliably.

While it is true that cyberware cannot exactly duplicate those effects, a lot of those effects are useful under only very specific circumstances, and I would argue that they are mostly for show even under those circumstances. The most important thing that I feel that you mentioned was the fact that cyberware is essentially useless against spirits, but that is what your mage is there for :). Essentially, the two real advantages that a adept has over a street 'ronin' is that they can fight spirits (as long as they are manifesting or you have astral perception), and the fact that they are easier to heal magically, because they tend not to have an essence of, say, 0.
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Glyph
post Nov 16 2006, 07:35 AM
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Well, combat sense has no hard cap other than the usual limitation of the Magic rating as the maximum rating of any power. But that's still quite a bit, especially when you add the reaction bonus from improved reflexes.

Adepts are actually fairly effective in SR4. In addition to the powers mentioned by hyzmarca, they can also start out as fast as a sammie (unlike SR3, where sammies had combinations of initiative boosters that could give them double digit reaction scores and leave other characters in the dust, initiative-wise). Actually, they can start out faster, since they can begin play with level: 3 improved reflexes, and sammies can only get level: 2 at char-gen.

Improved ability may seem gimped, but not when you consider the hard caps, which mean a maxed-out sammie will NEVER be able to catch up to that adept's skill. Improved ability also stacks with weapon foci, and adepts in SR4 can begin play with bound weapon foci.

Even the lower essense costs for some cyberware and bioware helps that adept as well as the sammie. It is much easier now to get one Essense point's worth of the best 'ware to have the best of both worlds.


Good luck with your ninja, but unfortunately SR4 does not favor generalists - it is all too easy to spread yourself too thin with such a character, and have someone much less effective than a more focused character.
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Fortune
post Nov 16 2006, 10:41 AM
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QUOTE (IvanTank @ Nov 16 2006, 06:24 PM)
Talking about japanese traditions, is it just me, or would street samurais be better described as street ronin, since a ronin essentially is a masterless samurai, and i don't know of any street sams with a "master"

It's an ideal, and one which started outside of Japan based on the common (sometimes miss) perceptions about the Samurai culture. The addition of the word Street tends to imply ronin-like status, but the original Street Samurai incorporated a (sometimes historically incorrect) code of honor. Some later Street Samurai took the label, but do not necessarily follow the ideals, but others are more commonly called gillettes, razorboys, blades, or chromers, or any one of a myriad of other labels.
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Triggerz
post Nov 16 2006, 03:48 PM
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QUOTE (Glyph @ Nov 16 2006, 02:35 AM)
Well, combat sense has no hard cap other than the usual limitation of the Magic rating as the maximum rating of any power.

The language in the decription of the Combat Sense power had led me to think otherwise: "The character gains one die per level for Reaction on Surprise Tests and when defending against ranged and melee attacks." The "for reaction" part of it seems to suggest that the power boosts the Reaction attribute in the appropriate circumstances and as such would be subject to the attribute cap. However, the problem I have with this interpretation is that it would make Combat Sense pretty much useless as an adept is likely to have a high natural Reaction and Improved Reflexes will provide you with those last point you needed to reach the cap. (If Combat Sense is subject to the Reaction cap, you don't want to take too many levels as they'll be wasted when your natural Reaction and your Improved Reflexes go up.) If the power is not subject to the cap, it would be much more useful, but the power's description does not obviously point in that direction, if you ask me. (Yeah, I know, no one asked. :P ) Did anyone ask for an official answer on this one? Were we told for sure?
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lorechaser
post Nov 16 2006, 04:30 PM
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Razorboys is very popular in the fiction.

And yeah, in general, the perception is that the power scale goes Mages -> Adept -> Samurai. A lot of folks will debate that (me included), but Adepts are definitely on par with Sams, once you understand the restrictions in the system, and how Adepts avoid them.
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PlatonicPimp
post Nov 16 2006, 05:01 PM
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Boosts to an attribute only count against the cap if they can be used on every application of that attribute. If they are only for a limited purpose, then they aren't attribute dice, they are bonus dice, and so do not count against the cap.

So if the text reads "you gain 1 to reaction", then it counts against the cap, while if it reads "you gain 1 to reaction for the purpose of dodgeing", then it only applies when dodging, making them bonus dice and not subject to the cap.
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Fortune
post Nov 16 2006, 05:04 PM
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QUOTE (PlatonicPimp)
Boosts to an attribute only count against the cap if they can be used on every application of that attribute. If they are only for a limited purpose, then they aren't attribute dice, they are bonus dice, and so do not count against the cap.

So if the text reads "you gain 1 to reaction", then it counts against the cap, while if it reads "you gain 1 to reaction for the purpose of dodgeing", then it only applies when dodging, making them bonus dice and not subject to the cap.

So, by that logic, something like Bone Lacing for example, is not restricted by the Body Cap.
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Moon-Hawk
post Nov 16 2006, 05:58 PM
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Correct, by my understanding.
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Triggerz
post Nov 16 2006, 06:04 PM
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So a Body 6 human with Titanium Bone Lacing and Bone Density Augmentation 4 has an effective Body of 13 for damage resistance tests, i.e. 3 points higher than if you had the most hardened cyberarms, legs and everything?

EDIT: I think the "hard caps" on attributes were intended to be harder than that, but that's just my take on it. I'm hoping the official FAQ, when and if it ever comes out, will clarify these issues.
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Moon-Hawk
post Nov 16 2006, 06:08 PM
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Um, yes, well, that is a bit strange, isn't it? :-)
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Triggerz
post Nov 16 2006, 06:15 PM
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Well, I would think that, in general, the hardest metals are tougher than flesh. ;-)
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Moon-Hawk
post Nov 16 2006, 06:27 PM
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Well, I would think so, too, but according to SR4 we'd be wrong. :-)

Of course you could apply the hard caps to those situations, but then you get other weirdness. Such as the Body 2 character getting bone density and lacing and resisting damage with their maximum 9 dice, compared to the very healthy body 6 person with some bone density who says "Bone Lacing? What good would that do me?" To me, that's just as weird.

Then again, you could apply the same caps to attributes that you apply to skills, so that they can only be increased to 1.5 times their base rating, rather than 1.5 times their racial max regardless of natural rating. That way the body 2 weakling can't boost himself past 3, but the body 6 guy can still go up to 9. In fact, when I first read SR4 that's exactly how I thought it worked until someone here corrected me.

Or maybe a good solution would just be to let the full 'borg have a higher body than 10. :-)
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hyzmarca
post Nov 16 2006, 06:29 PM
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A unified notation system for stats and skills would be nice. The skill notation works out quite well [Skill (spec) value (augmented value) (+bonus)] In general, a bonus isn't an augmentation and an augmentation isn't a bonus.
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Moon-Hawk
post Nov 16 2006, 06:33 PM
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Hmmm, so someone with Pistols 2, a specialization, a reflex recorder, and a smartlink would say [Pistols (SA) 2 (3) (+4)]. Which would be read as 3+4=7 dice rolled?
Am I understanding you correctly?
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Fortune
post Nov 16 2006, 06:49 PM
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Reflex Recorder adds directly to the Skill rating, which should mean the '2 (3)' might actually need to be written as just plain '3' (I'm not sure about how you write this and the Adept's Improved Ability Power in the stat line), but otherwise that looks right.
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