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Graht
post Jul 10 2007, 05:13 PM
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I started playing Shadowrun in 1990 (yeah, I'm old, get over it ;)).

In the beginning it was a shit hot game. 2nd Edition came out and it was still a shit hot game. And then it started losing it's appeal to me. 3rd Edition came out and Shadowrun kept losing it's appeal, and I couldn't figure out why. I thought it was just because I had been playing/GMing it for so long that I needed a change of pace and something different.

It's been over 5 years since I played or GMed Shadowrun and it just isn't luring me back, despite the fact that I really like the new rules and mechanics in 4th Edition.

I think I finally figured out why.

In the beginning the magic to tech ratio was pretty equal. Over the years a *lot* of tech has been added to the game: more guns, more cyberware, bioware, matrix technology, vehicles, drones, etc. But I don't think the same can't be said for magic. Sure a couple of magic sourcebooks came out but there weren't that many new spells or fetishes or anything to compare with the increase in available technology.

Am I right or am I completely off my rocker (figuratively speaking, I'm not that old ;))?
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eidolon
post Jul 10 2007, 05:17 PM
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I think you're right in terms of magic not increasing in saturation at the same level of tech. I don't mind it so much, personally, but I can see the issue.

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Demerzel
post Jul 10 2007, 05:18 PM
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I thought it was funny when I saw two threads from you one entitled too much tech and one entitled too much magic... I was wondering if you were making two threads for both sides of the argument.

Here's why I think that's funny: Every few months a new version of an argument develops here on DS alternating between one of two topics. One month it will be, "Why is Magic so overpowered, Cyber should rule." The next it is, "Why is Cyber so overpowered, Magic should rule." Seems like this month the question is why is tech too powerful...

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Whipstitch
post Jul 10 2007, 05:31 PM
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Your observation is partially true, but that doesn't mean you're still not off your rocker ;). It's there for balance purposes. Awakened can already perform magic AND (in theory, if not always in practice) do everything a mundane can do, provided they're willing to pay for it, just like everyone else. Putting in new tech gives everyone options (even if it's not always the "best" option for the karma-strapped starting Mage) while putting in new powers and spells only enhances the Awakened. It's also worth noting that most tech (firearms in particular) are really just variations upon similar themes. Mages can can accomplish much the same thing by creating their own tailored spells and ally spirits, options which are simply unavailable to mundanes. One could certainly argue that tailoring your Alter Memory spell to affect entire groups has far more serious implications than, say, the ability to bump up the clip capacity of a Hammerli 620S (and oddly enough, rules for altering the pistol for anything but "stock" parts isn't in the RAW, but the rules for making AOE Alter Memory is).
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sunnyside
post Jul 10 2007, 05:34 PM
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I don't think he's saying that tech is too powerful.

What he's saying is that in every edition there are piles of new tech toys, SR4 for example brought in all the comlink/RFID business. So tech, at least some aspects of it, are new and fresh edition to edition.


But maybe initiation and all that has been around since 1st. Personally though I feel that SR4 really did reinvent the adept. In previous editions they were a sammy replacement with a bit of focus on old skool weaponry.

Now they are certainly not. Boosting IPs and attributes is pretty brutal. Instead adepts are now more about all sorts of other things. The superperception adept, the social adept(which was, I think, just showing up in SR3 but not to half the degree it is in SR4), the hacker adept. And so on. They just have a very different feel. (Though the stealth adept is still around, nothing wrong with that). Even the combat adepts have a different feel than their earlier version counterparts.

Not so sure if I can really put my finger on something for the mage that really makes the shamantic experience in SR4 greatly different than SR2.

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Kyoto Kid
post Jul 10 2007, 05:40 PM
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...there can never be too much tech IMO

There may have been less proliferation in magic, but I have no issue with that. The Mundane side still has a long way to go to be on par with what magic can already do.

...Searching for better ways counter the threat posed by spells, spirits, and astral beings through Advanced Technology...

Aeon Labs
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Backgammon
post Jul 10 2007, 05:42 PM
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How exactly would you add more magic? Apart for spells, powers, and traditions, you can't really add more. And besides, now that I think about it, it's not at all true tech supplements outweight magic supplements. Target:Awakened Lands had tons of magic stuff, Target:Wastelands had tech and magic, SOTA:64 had tons of magic...

I think you're just completly wrong. There has been an effort from the developers to put out as much (or nearly) as tech. SR4 has of course very few supplements out (it could be pointed out the very first additionnal rule supplement out was Street Magic...), but take Runner Havens - Hong Kong is a very magic oriented city.

Considering Magic is supposed to be rare, I don't know what more you expect. Every supplement touches magic in some way or another.
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Talia Invierno
post Jul 10 2007, 05:42 PM
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QUOTE (sunnyside)
But maybe initiation and all that has been around since 1st.

Since edition 1 of the Grimoire, where it was first introduced. SR2 updated the Grimoire, and then SR3 replaced it with Magic in the Shadows -- but the essential description of initiation hasn't changed. That's also how far back magical traditions were loosely described.

It's not until Awakenings (2nd, but just before the release of 3rd) that we found new magical possibilities (voudoun); and MitS immediately de-mystified it into just another way to do the same old, same old. Much the same thing happened with what Street Magic ended up doing with MitS's introduction of the wu jen.

Finally, in SotA, we really see the reinventing of the physad.

Street Magic pulled all of this together and blurred all the lines. All that's really new, here, is that there's no longer a rules-essential difference between hermetics and shaman (eg.). The overlap is far greater than the points of differences.
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Whipstitch
post Jul 10 2007, 05:55 PM
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Yeah, I suppose if you look at it from an overarching survey of all editions, I can see how it would add up that way.

As far as adepts and their options go, if the adept really wants to, there's still nothing to stop him from netting IPs if he's willing to pay the price. And there's always tailored combat drugs. One of the nastiest characters I've seen yet was a friend's classic stealthy athletic Physad, tricked out with traceless walk, wallrunning, gliding, Synthacardium 3, Enhanced Articulation and Reflex Recorders for the Athletics and Stealth groups. He'd get hopped up on Jazz and ambush people with full bursts from a Steyr TMP loaded with stick and shock.... while sticking from the ceiling with his gecko tape kneepads. A hefty negative dice pool modifier applied, to be sure, but that doesn't amount to much when you're rolling unopposed at short range.
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eidolon
post Jul 10 2007, 06:27 PM
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Outside the BBB:

First & Second Edition:
Tech
- Street Samurai Catalog
- Rigger Black Book
- Rigger 2
- Shadowtech
- Cybertechnology
- Fields of Fire
- Corporate Security Handbook

Magic
- The Grimoire
- Awakenings
- The Grimoire 2

Third Edition:
Tech
- Man & Machine
- Cannon Companion
- Matrix (IIRC, had new matrix related tech; if not, discount)
- Rigger 3
- State of the Art: 2063
- State of the Art: 2064
- Sprawl Survival Guide (although not typical "whoop more ass" tech)

Magic
- Magic in the Shadows
- Shadowrun Companion (has some new spells and powers; actually, the previous one may have as well, can't remember; if it did, add it to the above lists)
- State of the Art: 2063
- State of the Art: 2064

edited:
- Duplicated the SotA books for magic and tech
- Added Critters under Magic

edited:
- Took Critters back off the Magic list for SR3
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Talia Invierno
post Jul 10 2007, 06:43 PM
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Fairly certain SRC1 does not -- I'd been focusing on magic at the time, and I remember it mostly for edges/flaws, new metatypes and shapeshifters, alternate builds, and contact elaboration -- but I'd been going entirely from memory, here.
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Synner667
post Jul 10 2007, 06:55 PM
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Hi,

The feeling of something about SR unsettling me, has been around for years..
..For me, SR has lost it's way.

By which I mean that it was very much about magic being rare, a world being rebuilt, AmerIndian culture, global powergames, people.

Now, SR is not much to do with Cyberpunk as a genre - it's no longer leading the crowd, it's trailing behind and hoping to get lucky.


There's a bunch of Cyberpunk RPGs out there, and SR is not very different anymore.

Yes, I know SR has magic, but it's now degenerating to being another set of numbers - in effect, the magic has gone out of magic.

For me, it's not the gazillion different gadgets or programs or vehicles or even the spells that gave SR its spark - it was the background.


SR is descending into AD&D-ism, where the there are pages of gadgets, spells, vehicles, etc and those become more important than the characters in SR..
..Though, obviously, the only thing that matters in a Cyberpunk future IS the gear'n'style ;)


I mentioned somewhere else that there are NO new SR scenarios [except the ones available from the SR website, from conventions, etc] and there is little background material being produced - in fact most of the material available [or was produced] is from SR1/SR2 !!

Yes, there are sourcebooks but so far we mainly have updated versions of old sourcebooks.

I can't foresee anything like BugCity, Denver, Tir Na Nog, Lone Star, etc being produced.


It's like the SR producers want to limit SR to a couple of cities and almost forget about all the stuff that's happened [Harlequin who ?? Astral Horrors ?? Immortal elves ?? etc].


Well, I've said my piece..
..And I'll be off to my 'classic' SR :)


Just my thruppence..
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Backgammon
post Jul 10 2007, 06:56 PM
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QUOTE (eidolon)
Third Edition:
Tech
- Man & Machine
- Cannon Companion
- Matrix (IIRC, had new matrix related tech; if not, discount)
- Rigger 3
- State of the Art: 2063
- State of the Art: 2064 (these two might have had a miniscule amount of magic, can't remember; I know they have a bit of tech)
- Sprawl Survival Guide (although not typical "whoop more ass" tech)

Magic
- Magic in the Shadows
- Shadowrun Companion (has some new spells and powers; actually, the previous one may have as well, can't remember; if it did, add it to the above lists)

Your 3rd Ed list is really bad. I'll revise it if I get the time.
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Graht
post Jul 10 2007, 06:57 PM
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QUOTE (Demerzel)
I thought it was funny when I saw two threads from you one entitled too much tech and one entitled too much magic... I was wondering if you were making two threads for both sides of the argument.

Here's why I think that's funny: Every few months a new version of an argument develops here on DS alternating between one of two topics. One month it will be, "Why is Magic so overpowered, Cyber should rule." The next it is, "Why is Cyber so overpowered, Magic should rule." Seems like this month the question is why is tech too powerful...

Yeah, well, when I was posting it the first time I realized I had the subject wrong and cancelled the post, changed the subject, reposted, and *then* realized I had posted twice with conflicting subjects. I had hoped I was able to delete the "Magic" post before anyone saw it (sheepish grin).
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tisoz
post Jul 10 2007, 06:59 PM
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My observation is magic keeps getting toned down, while tech prices keep coming down.

Another observation is the better new magic items were introduced in obscure books. If something magical was in a more mainstream book, it was about worthless. I'm basing this from Channeling only appearing in T:AL, some halfway usable spells in T:WL, imps, charms, divination geomancy, etc. in the SotA books.
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eidolon
post Jul 10 2007, 07:04 PM
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QUOTE (Backgammon)
Your 3rd Ed list is really bad. I'll revise it if I get the time.

Go for it. I'm looking at the Wikipedia "List of Shadowrun Books" and going off of memory.

Curious though: Bad in what way? If you can explain what you mean a bit better you might spark enough of my memory for me to fix it. (Don't know that explaining it would be any faster than you just fixing it, but it might.)
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Talia Invierno
post Jul 10 2007, 07:06 PM
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I think you're right about the deliberate toning down of magic, tisoz. I'd set it down to an increased level of fan freelancing -- and (month in, month out notwithstanding) I'm able to find far more threads ranting about magic being too powerful than about magic not being powerful enough.

*laugh* Anyone else notice just how much free spirits have been undermined, in the current edition? Yes, they can have more powers: but they can't gain them without gaining karma -- and they can't gain karma without either giving up their true name or draining it from someone (if they have that power).
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Ophis
post Jul 10 2007, 07:07 PM
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Synner667 I wonder at your lack of BG material, Runner Havens had plenty, as does Emergence by the looks of it. I'd love to see another Bug City, but it would require a lot of secrecy in development, and it would be nice to let the world settle a little, to get seemingly 'safe' and comfortable again.

As for scenarios try the SR Missions stuff (they're pretty cool) but actual ones in books never actually sell so they aren't worth producing.
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FrankTrollman
post Jul 10 2007, 07:09 PM
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Actually I would have to say that every Critter book is a "magic" book as well. And all the SotA books had Magic tricks as well as tech tricks. Indeed, the magic updates were probably a bigger deal than the tech (since they included Unified Magic Theory and the like).

-Frank
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tisoz
post Jul 10 2007, 07:14 PM
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QUOTE (Backgammon)
How exactly would you add more magic? Apart for spells, powers, and traditions, you can't really add more. And besides, now that I think about it, it's not at all true tech supplements outweight magic supplements. Target:Awakened Lands had tons of magic stuff, Target:Wastelands had tech and magic, SOTA:64 had tons of magic...

With the way spirits are now treated, ritual summoning should have been included in SM.

There is no problem with introducing new spells. I recall a couple semi-official ones from Shadowland that I liked. Disregard comes to mind.
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tisoz
post Jul 10 2007, 07:17 PM
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QUOTE (Talia Invierno)
*laugh* Anyone else notice just how much free spirits have been undermined, in the current edition? Yes, they can have more powers: but they can't gain them without gaining karma -- and they can't gain karma without either giving up their true name or draining it from someone (if they have that power).

At least the binding only lasts for a few services, not until the binder dies or emancipates the spirit.
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sunnyside
post Jul 10 2007, 07:21 PM
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I don't think it's so much that they don't include magic in the sourcebooks.

What it comes down to for me, is that if you took someone who was skilled as a mage and familiar with the sourcebooks back in maybe even 1st ed, and sat them down with a 50 karma modern mage they would probably just be able to play it. You'd just have to explain that they can ward, and can't attack foci and spells from the astral. Details are different but they probably recognize most of the spells, recognize the initiation, can guess what a power focus does etc. You'd just have to make sure they rolled the right die.


Doing the same with a typical phys ad player may well result in "I have social skills?" (or whatever the 4th ed adept is designed to do). Yes physads can still be played as sammie replacements but they don't do as well at it as they used to. The sammy can get IPs and stat boosts much easier. Adepts can do more with other stuff.

The rigger, after being calmed down and told that they can get more than an SMG on vehicles once arsenal comes out, will soon notice that they are also a passable hacker and (gasp!) don't have most of their essense tied up in a VCR. They can actually leave the car now!

A decker will have his world shattered and rebuilt into something better.

The sammy archetype is most impacted by the fact that that their initial offerings are increased and their essence functionally goes a lot further. Also they may be shocked that a top-of-the-line sammy doesn't have to have their essence near zero at chargen. Instead they may be full of high grade bio and cyber so money went faster than essence. They can actually get MORE CYBER as they get more nuyen and progress through the game.

Also especially in SR4 there is a lot more tech that impacts everyone. Even the mages will be toting around comlinks and a range of other gadgets. However you don't really have "common use" magical items or whatever.

But again I'm in no way saying that magic isn't powerful. It has no shortage of potency. Just not novelty. But I don't know what I would propose to change that. It could be a case of "if it isn't broke don't fix it". (I wish I could come up with a quote that didn't have the word "broke").

Actually wait I should amend that. While not precisley novel the fact that shamen can bind like mages and mages can summon on the fly like shamen is a notable difference in gameplay for both types. And mentor spirits have really be developed, they deserve props for that.








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eidolon
post Jul 10 2007, 07:23 PM
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I edited my above post (and am about to do it again), but Frank: Why would you say Critter books?

Sure, critters have all kinds of magicky powers, but I was under the assumption that we're talking about tech and magic as they apply to enhancing the characters (or by extension, enhancing them by enhancing their other tech; such as in the case of Rigger 3 adding tech that enhances a runner's ride, etc)

If we're just talking about "overall addition of either tech or magic to the game world" it'd be a much different list.
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tisoz
post Jul 10 2007, 07:23 PM
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QUOTE (FrankTrollman)
Actually I would have to say that every Critter book is a "magic" book as well. And all the SotA books had Magic tricks as well as tech tricks. Indeed, the magic updates were probably a bigger deal than the tech (since they included Unified Magic Theory and the like).

-Frank

I can see why you would say that about Critter books, but to me they are more like threat books.

I still think the majority of the magic updates in the SotA books were crap. Maybe for a high end campaign where you could afford to take advantage of the stuff, because there were better things to pour karma into to keep alive than most of what got introduced. I will admit Word Recognition was useful.
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Talia Invierno
post Jul 10 2007, 07:31 PM
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QUOTE (sunnyside)
You'd just have to explain that they can ward

Fairly certain warding was in the Grimoire as well.
QUOTE
And mentor spirits have really be developed, they deserve props for that.

How do you see this? From what I've read, it's essentially the same list of totems that kept being added to throughout (I think Awakenings has the closest to comprehensive list); and their general tone remains the same as well. The only distinction is that any Awakened PC can take them.

I did leave off one new thing that I've been playing ever since it was a blurb of shadowtalk in Awakenings: the physical magician, now known as the mystic adept. (Back then, it was suggested they be used only as NPCs.) Still goes back to 2nd edition, but at least it came out close to the third.
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