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Tomothy
post Mar 17 2007, 03:46 AM
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I'm kind of confused about Possession traditions. If I just say how I think it works could somebody please clear up any mistakes I make?

Mages from a possession based tradition can summon and bind spirits as normal but those spirits cannot materialise. Instead of materialising the spirits can inhabit or possess a host?
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Kyoto Kid
post Mar 17 2007, 04:18 AM
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...you don't want to get me on Possession traditions. After a recent experience, as a GM I am strongly considering relegating them to Magical threats (NPC) only as they were in previous editions. There are some things that just feel seriously "broken" to me.
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Aaron
post Mar 17 2007, 04:32 AM
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QUOTE (Kyoto Kid)
...you don't want to get me on Possession traditions. After a recent experience, as a GM I am strongly considering relegating them to Magical threats (NPC) only as they were in previous editions. There are some things that just feel seriously "broken" to me.

In the interest of discourse, could you be more specific?
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hyzmarca
post Mar 17 2007, 04:41 AM
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Voudou was a perfectly valid choice for PCs in SR3.

However, the SR3 version of possession was far less powerful than the SR4 version is.
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nathanross
post Mar 17 2007, 04:43 AM
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Yeah, there have been some voodoo problems in Seattle of recent and I think them Hougans and Mambos getting a bit to comfortable with the new rules. Anyone got any ideas on how to make them not so absurdly f***ed up. And dont worry about what RAW says, even the pros dont always get it right.

It has been brought up before and should be said again, Loa are proud and dont like to be ordered. A voodoun practicioner doesn't just demand tasks of him loa, he begs. This gives GMs at least one tool over them upity possesors, what else though?
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nathanross
post Mar 17 2007, 04:49 AM
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QUOTE (Aaron @ Mar 16 2007, 11:32 PM)
In the interest of discourse, could you be more specific?

I dont know the exact stats of the character, but think:
  • Elf
  • Charisma 7
  • Use spirit to raise Charisma to 12
  • Conjure, bind, and cast spells with 1.5x more drain dice than any other character
Those are the main problems. KK can probably explain the details much better, since I dont actually understand most Magic rules, but I do know what it is like to spend all your BP trying to be a face the normal way, and being totally overshadowed by someone who isn't even willing to roleplay.
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Tomothy
post Mar 17 2007, 04:58 AM
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I thought inhabiting spirits only added force to physical stats? How does hosting a spirit increase your charisma?
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fistandantilus4....
post Mar 17 2007, 05:36 AM
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QUOTE (Strret Magic pg 102 - Possession and Vessels Sidebar)

If the vessel is a living creature, the spirit's Force is added to the vessels physical attributes. While possessed, the spirit's Mental and Special attributes are used(which means that a possessed technomancer cannot access Resonance).


Part of the problem is when the attributes get way up there. This was the same problem with the Channeling Metamagic in 3rd edition, along with Immunity to Normal Weapons that was recieved as well. That was checked by the massive drain that you incurred from channeling, which doesn't happen anymore.

There is a difference between normal possession traditions and the channeling metamagic. Possession doesn't allow the summoner direct control (although it is suggested to give the summoner lots of lee way so they don't lose control of their character while possessed). While with channeling, the possessed summoner can use their own skills nad be in control. It does also state that while channeling, the lowest of mental attributes are used.

QUOTE (Street Magic pg 55 Channeling)

Additionally, the vessel resists any mana spells or powers with the lowest mental attributes of the two minds. Otherwise, resolve the effects andduration of possession normaly.
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Kyoto Kid
post Mar 17 2007, 05:39 AM
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QUOTE (Aaron)
QUOTE (Kyoto Kid @ Mar 16 2007, 11:18 PM)
...you don't want to get me on Possession traditions.  After a recent experience, as a GM I am strongly considering relegating them to Magical threats (NPC) only as they were in previous editions.  There are some things that just feel seriously "broken" to me.

In the interest of discourse, could you be more specific?

...well for one the mage becoming a willing vessel for possession. Suddenly he or she gains the properties and powers (including spell casting if applicable) of said spirit including the spirit's attributes (added ti the mage's own), immunity to normal weapons and the spirit's initiative. In my book that makes the PC way too ubermensch.

Against Mundanes, Possession is way to powerful to resist. First, the spirit gets twice its force while the mundane gets his or her WP + intuition. For say, an average beat cop or security guard a force 5 spirit would have the advantage especially if it is instructed to throw in it's edge (equal to its force). True the spirit cannot use the possessed character's skills but it is still under control of the casting mage. Furthermore, any implants that are passive (such as bone lacing) or active at the time (such as eye & ear replacement) still function for the spirit. The same would hold true for a mage who has any sustaining foci active at the time he has himself possessed.

@Tomothy: I think Nathanross is referring to having the spirit cast and sustain an Increase Attribute - Charisma spell before possession.
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fistandantilus4....
post Mar 17 2007, 05:42 AM
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The only potnetially good side against possession is that the possessed becomes dual natured, which leaves them more susceptible to astral attacks/mobbing.
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Kyoto Kid
post Mar 17 2007, 05:54 AM
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...interesting, didn't know that. "James" (a free spirit I had in the last scenario) would've had a field day in that case.
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fistandantilus4....
post Mar 17 2007, 05:57 AM
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Also pg 102 = possession
QUOTE
When a spirit possesses a vessel, the combined being that results is dual natured, hass Immunity to Normal Weapons, and boasts all of the spirit's powers and skills. Occassionally a possessing spirits' nautre manifests through the vessel in an effect similar to a shamanic mask.

Which must be all sorts of fun with the Loa.
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The Entropic Wiz...
post Mar 17 2007, 06:06 AM
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Another point: If you think the possession trad is too broken, just be a GM and tweak it. If the mage/voudoun/shaman/whatever gets HIMSELF possessed of his own volition... well, YOU control him. That'll make him think twice about the power boost he's getting.
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fistandantilus4....
post Mar 17 2007, 06:08 AM
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Unless he gets smart and learns the Channeling metamagic right quick.
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The Entropic Wiz...
post Mar 17 2007, 06:17 AM
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From Street Magic
QUOTE
Control is still shared, however. The magician cannot use the spirit's power without expending a service, and resists with the LOWEST mental attribute (the spirits/magician's)

So that's not too bad... helps balance out this chap's Charisma boost deal. And I like to run my games with a fairly fluid interpretations of the rules. You can always slap on a couple more penalties.

This post has been edited by The Entropic Wizard: Mar 17 2007, 06:27 AM
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fistandantilus4....
post Mar 17 2007, 06:21 AM
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That was the other improvement game balance wise over 3rd edition channeling. In that one you had pretty much free reign, because it lasted for 10 minutes per channeling success. 'Course once it was finished the mage usually was too because the drain was so damn nasty. At least now not everyone can do it.
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The Entropic Wiz...
post Mar 17 2007, 06:29 AM
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Oh, come now. Wouldn't it be utterly delightful if one of your straight-up hermetics in your group suddenly developed the ability to get possessed by insanely powerful spirits AND have most of his control, too? :S :D
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fistandantilus4....
post Mar 17 2007, 06:37 AM
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Yeah, that happened with an hermetic in one of my games in 3rd edition. The mage was a real big fan of fire spells and spirits. Partly how their team got the name "Plan B". God those guys were terrifying at times. It only got worst when the elven Path mage started using it as well. SR4 channeling is more to my liking. As rough as some of it's parts are, it's much easier to control than SR3's.
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FrankTrollman
post Mar 18 2007, 05:17 PM
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QUOTE (nathanross)
QUOTE (Aaron @ Mar 16 2007, 11:32 PM)
In the interest of discourse, could you be more specific?

I dont know the exact stats of the character, but think:
  • Elf
  • Charisma 7
  • Use spirit to raise Charisma to 12
  • Conjure, bind, and cast spells with 1.5x more drain dice than any other character
Those are the main problems. KK can probably explain the details much better, since I dont actually understand most Magic rules, but I do know what it is like to spend all your BP trying to be a face the normal way, and being totally overshadowed by someone who isn't even willing to roleplay.

That's... really dangerous. Seriously, you're pulling a Force 12 spirit out, you'd better get something awesome for it, because you're resisting an average of 8 Physical Drain - that's almost certain to give you a pile of physical damage that won't go away with Magic. But the really exciting part is that within normal statistical variiance you're going to be resisting up to 16 Physical (and as little as 2) - and at that point you're going to just fucking die.

But be that as it may. A Force 12 Spirit really is "the win" against virtually any situation (assuming that you even survive conjuring it, which even Lofwyr has a very real chance of not doing). It doesn't really matter if the spirit is a materialized or possession spirit at that point. Remember, a Force 12 Spirit of Man really can just throw down a Force 24 Stunball. That'll clear a good portion of a sports stadium.

Dedicated conjurers are really really scary in SR4. High end spirits give out crazy drain, but they also go a whupping and a whomping on people really hard.

---

Possession has the following advantages over materialization:
  • You can get access to higher physical stats than normal.
  • You can use the spirit's immunity to normal weapons to protect yourself.
  • You can use it as a control actions type effect.
But it has the following disadvantages:
  • It's really hard to play astral submarine games, because the spirit needs a body every time it goes dual.
  • In most cases you would have had better overall offense had you conjured up a separate spirit that materialized and left you doing something else while it went on a rampage.
  • The combined you, while highly resilient, causes serious problems for ou if the spirit is disrupted anyway.

So yeah, you can be a guy with an Agility and Reaction of 5 and possess yourself with a big spirit (Force 6 perhaps) and become a crazy badass with an Agility of 11 and a Reaction of 11. And that's crazy bad ass. But you could have just had a materialized Air Spirit that had an Agility of 10 and you'd be right next to it with your Agility of 5 and you'd both be attacking. In SR4 the fact that the base damage on a heavy pistol is equivalent to having scored an additional five hits means that extra attacks are usually better than extra dice on individual attacks.

Possession does big, impressive things. But there's little it can do that compares well to "This is my Fire Elemental. Also, I have a hand grenade."

-Frank
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dionysus
post Mar 18 2007, 05:32 PM
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QUOTE (FrankTrollman)
Possession does big, impressive things. But there's little it can do that compares well to "This is my Fire Elemental. Also, I have a hand grenade."

-Frank

This is my fire elemental. There are many like it, but this one is mine. My fire elemental is my best friend...(etc)

(sorry ;) )
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Kyoto Kid
post Mar 18 2007, 06:49 PM
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..@Frank Trolllman

I was actually the GM running the scenario. The spirit the player had possess his character was force 6 (I think also invoked). He had another spirit (in an inanimate vessel) cast and maintain an Increase Attribute - Charisma spell on him that boosted his Charisma from 7 to 12 (max for an elf) by having that spirit throw all it's edge into the casting. All of this was "by the book", but I feel something is terribly broken here.

Also, this player basically has read Street Magic from cover to cover several times. Being admittedly more into the a socio-political and techno angle, I am not as up on all the little tricks and nuances in the magic system that can be exploited.

This and several other incidents have changed things for the future. as I mentioned earlier in this thread, I am houseruling a number of things to keep this from occurring again.`

[quote]"This is my Fire Elemental. Also, I have a hand grenade."['quote]
I actually pulled something similar on a team once (back in SR3), with pretty good success. I miss the "original" Hermetic Mage concept.

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fool
post Mar 18 2007, 08:05 PM
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any mage with spirit of man can have that bound spirit cast an increase attribute spell on himself aand have it sustain the spell indefinitely. That's not particular to possession tradition. In fact, the spirit doesn't even have to stay on the same plane as you and can go back to it's home meta plane. Also, I have known mages to take multiple inc. att. spells so they can be buff bots and get lots of att. at ungodly levels.
One of the draw backs to being possessed is that you do not get the use of any of your own skills. which means no spell casting unless you are being possessed by a spirit of man in which case you get 1 spell. Whhile you do get to use the spirits skills instead, they are at the rating of the spirits force so unless it's force 5 or 6 it's often not going to be particularly powerful in terms of the skills it uses.
Also, if I understand the rules comletely, your physical stats while boosted are still limited to the racial max. So no reaction 10. SO while you may be near impervious to most mundane attacks if you're well armored and possessed by a force six spirit, you aren't going to be able to do most of what you need to do as a a mage- counterspelling, spell casting, siccing spirits on others etc while possessed. Furthermore, you can't sic spirits on others to do physical attacks or actions until they successfully possess something,
As to having the character beg for a boon from a loa, I think many loa would see such actions as being unworthy of the ones who worship them while bargaining would be more appropriate. However, when you're talking about an elf with seven charaisma, ad skill of four, even the force six spirit starts having trouble resisting.
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knasser
post Mar 18 2007, 08:13 PM
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For me, one of the big issues with possession is reliability. Okay, a force 5 spirit is likely to possess the average security guard, but with an hermetic PC, I get an elemental every time™.

So to expand Frank's list, low-force materialising spirits are still useful. They can fetch, carry and even Force 2 fire elementals can zip around the place setting fire to things, wreaking havoc and taking on basic Lonestar cops. The force 2 possession spirit? Well you could take a dog with you on your runs as a prepared vessel, but possessing random security guards isn't going to go very well and it wont be sufficient to turn you into a combat monster that is happy to charge the enemy.

And aside from these problems, you have less flexibility in facing your opponents. Up against the Red Samurai? Again that much less likely to successfully possess one in a hurry and especially not if they spend some of their edge (and possession attempts certainly merit it). Storming an Insect spirit hive? Tough luck - all your opposition are already inhabited and the best your spirit can do is engage them in Astral Combat. Being pursued by drones? Again, the possession spirit has to be quite a bit higher force to stop them than a materialising spirit would need to be.
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Synner
post Mar 18 2007, 10:17 PM
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QUOTE (Kyoto Kid @ Mar 18 2007, 06:49 PM)
I was actually the GM running the scenario.  The spirit the player had possess his character was force 6 (I think also invoked).  He had another spirit (in an inanimate vessel) cast and maintain an Increase Attribute - Charisma spell on him that boosted his Charisma from 7 to 12 (max for an elf) by having that spirit throw all it's edge into the casting.  All of this was "by the book", but I feel something is terribly broken here.

As Frank has mentioned Possession has its drawbacks and part of the problem here is you haven't enforced some of them. I'll just address a couple more that jump out from your post above.

To begin with a spirit (possession or otherwise) is an NPC. While GMs like to give their players some leeway in controlling the spirit, the spirit should still act of its own accord and have its own best interests at heart. A player should never have direct control of the spirit's actions let alone its use of Edge (regardless of how nicely he treats it, and with the exception of Channeling). There's even a sidebar to that effect in Street Magic. Furthermore this limitation even applies to self-possession (which should be run as captain's chair rigging, you give directions and the spirit interprets them at its discretion).

Related to this is the built-in limitation of services. The bigger the Force of the spirit you call, the less services you're going to get out of it (as well as greater the risk) and the faster you're going to be using them up by giving them commands (again Street Magic contains some guidelines on where you might want to draw the line in terms of what constitutes a service and what doesn't).

Possession leaves the subject dual natured and astrally active. I shouldn't need to point out the problems this can entail. Also if you're self-possessing you need to worry about that astral mage or spirit sniping at you from the other sice and the fact that you can't use your spell defence.

Finally if your self-possessing and you use up your spirit's services or it get's disrupted half-way through a run, you're probably left in a far worse state than a hermetic or shaman.
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Kyoto Kid
post Mar 18 2007, 10:43 PM
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Unfortunately this is what I had to deal with...

Roleplaying Possession
A magician possessed by a spirit he summoned
is fully aware of what the spirit is doing,
and is still able to give it commands and directions.
In the interest of fairness, it is suggested
gamemasters allow a player of a possessed magician
to roleplay the spirit that they command
and which is controlling their body. Gamemasters
may want to consider extending this option
to players whose characters are possessed by
“friendly” spirits so that they are not relegated to
the sidelines.

Street Magic Sidebar p 103

Again, The player in question was much more "up" on the magic rules than I was at the time. I learned after the fact that the possessed character was dual natured. Even with this information however, in the scene that took place, things wouldn't have changed much since there as no astral projecting mage present.
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