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> Magically Active People Wouldn't Be Shadowrunners, Or it'd be much more rare than it is portrayed.
Rayzorblades
post Feb 18 2009, 02:34 PM
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I was just thinking about that whole "1 in 1000 people are magically active" thing. It's FREAKING MAGIC PEOPLE! The ability to conjure the forces of bullshit from nothing! And only 1 in 1000 people get to do it. It's not like how 1 in 1000 people are smart enough to get their PhD or 1 in 1000 people are good enough to make money playing sports, it's MAGIC. Nature slapping, spell-slinging, I can do the shit from the Matrix, MAGIC.

Magically active people would be set for life, I'd not be surprised if it became law that if you awaken, you HAVE to go to Hogwarts and serve in the military. Also for some reason "Hogwarts" didn't set off my spellchecker O_o...

Anyway, the point is they'd never ever have to resort to crime of any kind, they'd be movie stars. The fact that the government would get'em (oh sure, "get'em" sets it off) while they're young and would indoctrinate them in all things fanatically patriotic would further help prevent magical crime. Then bribes and "campaign funding" would make sure that the government granted the corps commercial access to their magical army. So there you have it, wage mages and government agents would be the only people with magic.

I also imagine the punishments for magical crime would be attempted rehabilitation (read: re-brainwashing into corp/gov service) and failing that, execution. Remember kids, there's always someone bigger and meaner than you who's fanatically loyal to the current regime, whether it's a corp or the man.
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raggedhalo
post Feb 18 2009, 02:38 PM
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Isn't it one in a hundred, as it's about 1%?

And the whole point about the SINless is that they don't get got by the government/corps. Or you could be a former wage mage who decided he hated his job warding the CEO's bathroom
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Ryu
post Feb 18 2009, 02:44 PM
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"Stupid laws are for normal people. Raven says: We take what we can get." Cedric, Fomori Druid
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Degausser
post Feb 18 2009, 03:02 PM
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Okay, three things.

1) Shadowrun is a game. Some things are bound not to make sense

2) Mages are MORE likely to be shadowrunners than the average Joe. Think about it, you fall on hard times, or you are in a position where you won't be hired (for whatever reason, stigma, racism, past actions) or you just can't bring yourself to run a 'legal' life. A normal dude would turn destitute if he didn't have the connections to be a runner. But any mage in that position could walk into any shadowrunner, and they would hire him, without question. Street shaman with no money and rats in the hair? No prob! Come right in!

3) Some Shaman are just not cut out to be corp guys. Weather eco-conscious, or they just have personality quirks (like flying into a rage while fighting), they might just be more cut out for running than conforming to corp laws and regulations.

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Uli
post Feb 18 2009, 03:09 PM
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Well 1% of the world population are latents or already awakened. I'd say the 1% it splits equally between these two groups. Then counting out the groggies (who simply enjoy spell or spirit knack or plain astral sight or are aspected magicians) I's say that 1%o of the world population are full magicians. Still a lot of people. But being awakened does not need to mean that you have any kind of talent for it. Average or below average key abilities and willpower, people who hide their gift from their peers and superiors, elderly awakened who cannot cope with the change, and any other imaginable quirks and drawbacks that hinder a person to become a famous primerunner or even a mediocre one.
Awakened who fulfill the requirements to become elite theorists, experimenters, conjurors, enchanters, casters, and conflict oriented jacks-of-all-trades (i.e. high class runners and corp mages) are rare. Maybe 1%oo or even less.
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Synner667
post Feb 18 2009, 03:24 PM
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Psi Corp from B5 is good for this.

Or Psi World, if you fund a copy.
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Blade
post Feb 18 2009, 03:39 PM
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I'm not 100% sure, but there is maybe about 1 doctor in 1000 people. Freaking Doctors! The ability to save people's life!

First of all, the ratio isn't the same everywhere:
Patients per doctors in the world.
You can expect it to be the same for magically active characters in Shadowrun: most magically active people will go (or be sent) to places where they can get the most out of their magic abilities so you can expect to have more magically active people in rich areas.

Second, I know a few doctors, I can easily find one and there are still some who do illegal work for one reason (lost/didn't get license) or another (more money). So even if they're probably a minority, it's not impossible to see shadowrunning mages.

Third, how many people in 1000 have 0.01 essence? How many of them have a rating 5 commlink with rating 5 hacking programs and all the necessary skills? How many are Shadowrunners? Shadowrunners (at least PC shadowrunners) are the elite of the Shadows. They aren't your typical criminals so it's not surprising if they're out of a small minority.

Fourth: if you consider that there is 1 magically active in 1000 people and that only 1 in 1000 magically active people is a Shadowrunner you'll get one chance in a million that someone is a mage runner. Which means that it happens 9 times out of ten.
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Degausser
post Feb 18 2009, 03:45 PM
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Least we forget that Shadowrunning isn't a major business. Sure there are a lot of runners out there, but it is hardly something you can fill out on your 'career aptitude test.' I mean, it isn't likely that your average Joe will become a face or a Street Sam. According to Runner Haven, Seattle has 4 MILLION people. out of that, let's say about 500 are active runners, that's one in every 800 people. And Seattle is supposedly the shadowrunning capitol of the world.

Just sayin', that shadowrunning is rare, not just the mages, but also the facemen, the street sams, the infiltrators, they are all rare.
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Roy Fokker
post Feb 18 2009, 03:52 PM
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personally, i think the ability to alter the laws of spacetime and physics with just your mind would generate a fair amount of people who would abuse that power and break the law. and, frankly, shadowrunning is just that: breaking the law. i have no problem with 1/100 people in the world being awakened but 1/6 (the average SR pc group) runners being awakened.
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Kagetenshi
post Feb 18 2009, 03:57 PM
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There are what, ~250 Shadowrunners active in Seattle at a time? It's a highly skilled profession; the argument you state works just as well for Riggers, Deckers (or their later-edition equivalents), Faces, Gunbunnies of the various sorts, the only common role I can think of that isn't highly valuable outside of criminal enterprises is variations on a theme of Melee Master. The number of Shadowrunners is sufficiently small that a small number of individuals with exceptional circumstances is sufficient to supply it.

Edit: ok, the details do work out differently (no one is a Rigger from the day they're born, etc.), but that just increases the possibility of criminal mages; no actual hard work is required to be one, you just are. Add that early detection is, last time I checked, still an open problem.

~J
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Kanada Ten
post Feb 18 2009, 04:07 PM
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Old Man Wilkes doesn't bother anybody who doesn't bother him or his moonshine. Sure, he might harass the old ladies when they hog the garbage piles, flashing his black tooth smile and making obscene jokes, but that ain't no thing. He's nice to have around when a swarm of devils shows up, even if he is dead drunk. He just takes a swig and spits fire at the little fucks. Gets 'em scatterin so the boys can come in with their bats and have some charred rat for dinner. I asked him once why he never got a job, says he inherited that bottle from his father, and he likes it better than a paycheck. I know what he means, Coyote calls and I gotta run: the wind on my face, the heat in my blood. Worth more than any paycheck with a collar attached.
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Synner667
post Feb 18 2009, 04:10 PM
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QUOTE (Roy Fokker @ Feb 18 2009, 03:52 PM) *
personally, i think the ability to alter the laws of spacetime and physics with just your mind would generate a fair amount of people who would abuse that power and break the law. and, frankly, shadowrunning is just that: breaking the law. i have no problem with 1/100 people in the world being awakened but 1/6 (the average SR pc group) runners being awakened.

Many people, who are very respectable, commit crimes...
...So just because people have such gifts doesn't mean they would be good people.

In fact, having such gifts could end in automatic discrimination - who would trust a Mage diplomat ?? Who would allow a running adept to compete against non-adepts ?? Etc

Shadowrunners are not all criminals - a shadowrun is also a semi-legal op.
Covert ops sanctioned by military or national forces are also considered shadowruns (as per 15+ years of SR)
it also covers private detectives, etc (also as per 15+ years of SR)
It also covers people doing something away from their normal role (policeman doing something outside his normal job)

So take that into account, and it's easy to have many people treated as shadowrunners...
... but only a small % of them would be competent.
...and only a small % of them would be premier grade.

Really, are adepts and mages meant to be mor common than professional soldiers ??
Because there are many of them in society, yet society does not re-arrange itself to cope with them.
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paws2sky
post Feb 18 2009, 04:11 PM
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Back in the SR1/SR2 days I was part of a gaming club of about 20 regular players. The 3 or 4 GMs had a shared world, mega-plotlines, etc. It was quite cool. [/nostalgia]

Anyway...

They estimated the runner population of Seattle at about 100 at any given time. That was just the "real" runners, mind you, the people that the serious, in-the-know Johnsons and fixers tapped for the big deal jobs.

Add in the wannabes (expendable fodder) to that and you could get up to 250, maybe even 300, depending on how many of these jokers had been killed in the past month or so.

The number of magicians in both groups was about 1 in 10, many of them shamans, as it turned out (there were hermetics, but they tended to gravitate toward corporate life). Not only could heavy magic teams pull in more cash, but magicians always had a shadow job if they wanted to work.

-paws
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InfinityzeN
post Feb 18 2009, 04:33 PM
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Even though one out of a hundred (1%) are latents or awakened, a very large chunk. Here's a lil breakdown that I use in my game. As always, its your game so use what works for you.

................Active....Magic....World....1 Per
Mundane.....N/A.......N/A.......99%.....1.01
Latent.........N/A.......60%.....0.6%.....166.6~
Minor..........60%......24%....0.24%....416.6~
Adept.........30%......12%.....0.12%....833.3~
Mage..........10%.......4%.....0.04%....2500

Minor = Spell Knack, Spirit knack, Astral Sight, etc
Adept = Adept (~75%) and Mystic Adept (~25%)
Mage = Aspected Magician (~60%) and Mage (~40%)

And now we come to the fun part. The Active types that actually have a variable Magic. Figuring 1 is the base, so who has over that? I use a square sliding scale.
1 in 4 have a Magic: 2
1 in 9 have a Magic: 3
1 in 16 have a Magic: 4
1 in 25 have a Magic: 5
1 in 36 have a Magic: 6

To get higher than Magic: 6, you gotta initiate. From there, the numbers get really wonky.
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counterveil
post Feb 18 2009, 10:27 PM
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Yeah, I always found a slight disjoint between the numbers reported as "official" and the numbers of PCs and NPCs that appear to be magically active (I'm not talking about prime runner / named NPCs, but just your average squad of ne'er do wells that seem to always have a combat mage in their ranks).

Since I'm running mostly canon sourcebooks and adventures right now, I just typically remove the magic types from the throngs of unnamed NPCs that get thrown the PC's way.

I had originally intended to have a very magic-rare PC group, but I'm always wont to restrict players from making what they want to, so somehow I ended up with 2 mundanes and 4 magically-active (2 mages, 2 phys ads). Oh well I can always kill people off and make them reroll (IMG:style_emoticons/default/nyahnyah.gif)
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Hagga
post Feb 18 2009, 10:34 PM
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QUOTE (Synner667 @ Feb 18 2009, 03:24 PM) *
Psi Corp from B5 is good for this.

Or Psi World, if you fund a copy.

..eh?

QUOTE (InfinityzeN @ Feb 18 2009, 04:33 PM) *
Even though one out of a hundred (1%) are latents or awakened, a very large chunk. Here's a lil breakdown that I use in my game. As always, its your game so use what works for you.

................Active....Magic....World....1 Per
Mundane.....N/A.......N/A.......99%.....1.01
Latent.........N/A.......60%.....0.6%.....166.6~
Minor..........60%......24%....0.24%....416.6~
Adept.........30%......12%.....0.12%....833.3~
Mage..........10%.......4%.....0.04%....2500

Minor = Spell Knack, Spirit knack, Astral Sight, etc
Adept = Adept (~75%) and Mystic Adept (~25%)
Mage = Aspected Magician (~60%) and Mage (~40%)

And now we come to the fun part. The Active types that actually have a variable Magic. Figuring 1 is the base, so who has over that? I use a square sliding scale.
1 in 4 have a Magic: 2
1 in 9 have a Magic: 3
1 in 16 have a Magic: 4
1 in 25 have a Magic: 5
1 in 36 have a Magic: 6

To get higher than Magic: 6, you gotta initiate. From there, the numbers get really wonky.


Personally, I've always been curious about the *high* grade initiates. Not the Immortals (aina 4 lyfe, yo, yes, you may shoot me.), but people who make the Lord Protector look like a sickly little girl with grades of 20 and 25. How the world would react to them, in particular. Thoughts? I know there might be one, two particularly talent shaman/mages running around out there with that sort of ability, but regardless.
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Method
post Feb 18 2009, 10:58 PM
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I think some of you are forgetting selection bias. If you wanted to look at the demographics of the US by sampling NBA players you'd think everyone was a ridiculously-wealthy athletic black male. But that isn't accurate. Saying that the number of magically active runners should reflect 1% of the greater population fails to take into account that shadowrunning attracts a higher percentage of people with certain skill sets and abilities. By the same token, just because you are unlikely to find 1 wageslave out of 100 with a firearms skill of 4 doesn't mean that a firearms skill of 4 is rare in the shadows.

Also, the vast majority of magicians in the great wide world will have spells like catalogue, fix, heal, healthy glow, detect water and fashion. But if you went through military training and are discharged with spells like combat sense, detect enemies, crank, agony, armor and hellblast its not like you are going to go get a job at the Stuffer Shack...
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Falconer
post Feb 19 2009, 12:09 AM
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I think the bigger problem in SR is quite simply, any mage has lucrative carreer options. I disagree strongly that they're the 'stars'. Wage mage isn't all that glamorous but it does pay well. Even if you're not corporate, there's independant routes... talislegging, independant contract warding, bodyguard, medical practice (for the healers)....


Anyone playing such a char really needs a good backstory or rationale for why they are in the shadows. Were they forced? Maybe you have a high rating contact who just needs help w/ something shady. (a 6/6 contact swings both ways... you can ask him, but he can also ask you IMO).
Does he have a cause he advances above all others? (EG: a humanis sympathizing human mage... take that karmagen! *sigh*)
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Xirces
post Feb 19 2009, 12:14 AM
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'tis a very good point made by Method. Every 'runner is going to be "out of the ordinary" in some way so looking at any aspect and finding them not match the norms is no surprise. Check the proportions of race then compare that to your group (heck there are enough threads asking what the point of being human is, yet that's supposed to be "normal"), never mind attributes, cyber, gear and all the rest. Most runners could comfortably do better elsewhere in life - most likely as professional athletes, yet they don't.
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Kagetenshi
post Feb 19 2009, 01:42 AM
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QUOTE (Falconer @ Feb 18 2009, 07:09 PM) *
I think the bigger problem in SR is quite simply, any mage has lucrative carreer options.

Like I said above, and a highly-skilled Rigger doesn't?

~J
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Method
post Feb 19 2009, 01:49 AM
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QUOTE (Falconer @ Feb 18 2009, 04:09 PM) *
I think the bigger problem in SR is quite simply, any mage has lucrative carreer options.


This just goes back to the whole argument that the most basic run needs to pay more than fencing a stolen Americar or no one would be a runner. I agree that no mage should be living as a squatter without the requisite pitiful life story. But I would argue that making enough yen to finance a month of high lifestyle in one night's work is pretty "lucrative". Plus it might be the only option for some mages (like those I mentioned above without skills one might consider marketable in civilian society, or any number of SINless or criminal mages). Remember that corporations function on a day-to-day basis by using people up and discarding them. Just because the guy once had a cush job with a corp doesn't mean they wouldn't screw him over to maintain their bottom line. Then you have any number of corporations or governments that are collapsing or being gobbled up by competition or whatever.

The point is you can take just about any runner designed to function above "street-thug" level and argue that they should be a corporate lapdog because their 'ware is too hot, or their weapons are too trick or their skills are too honed or whatever. But that makes the game pretty damn boring IMHO and kinda misses the whole point.
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lordnth
post Feb 19 2009, 02:08 AM
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A very intresting article I found. I'll skip the Real World and Deckers, Riggers and copy the section that only applies to Mages/Shamans

..............................
Wage Mages
Another aspect of magic that FASA neglects is the effect it should have on the economy. Magically active people are 1% of the population. Full mages are 10% of that group; I estimate another 40% are Adepts of some sort. (I'm assuming that somehow 50% are unaware of their talent or just don't use it— perhaps ludicrous, given how much money mages can make, but I'm trying to see what would be in FASA's universe.)
From inspecting the AMA web site, it looks like there are 650,000 practicing physicians in the US right now. If magic were working right now, we'd have about 250,000 full magicians and a million Adepts. So it looks like magicians are a little less than half as common as doctors, just for comparison purposes.

Full magicians can get nearly any sort of magical work below.
*Sorcery Adepts will be very popular for spellcasting jobs, which can include work in engineering, healing, entertainment, fashion, you name it.
*Conjuring Adepts will be a bit more limited. A Hermetic Conjuring Adept could end up summoning elementals for security work and then going off to twiddle his thumbs; a shamanic Conjuring Adept could do similar work. (Nature spirits might be very popular to hire for their Guard work for sensitive tasks.) In their capacity as banishers, they could end up in security work.
*Enchanting Adepts can make huge amounts of money refining orichalcum. The job is horrible drudgery, of course, but I expect a good deal of research has gone into figuring out a way to have three enchanters spell each other while refining the stuff. The orichalcum gets used to reduce the first bonding cost of items they enchant to 1 karma, supplied by the person who commissions the item. (Karma is very expensive, so the secondhand magical item trade should be impressive.)
*Fire Adepts and Shamanic Adepts who have access to combat spells could be popular in mining, demolitions, and firefighting work. (Water-aspected combat spells can put out fires, and fire spells can create firebreaks.)
*Air Adepts and Shamanic Adepts who have access to detection spells could be popular in investigatory work. There are almost certainly going to be accredited truthsayers who will go to business meetings and cast Detect Lie for pay. (Their professional reputation depends on never lying about what they discover, and people can bring multiple ones to the same meeting.) Inspection boards will have inspectors with spells to detect termites inside houses, strain on bridges, and similar such things that are difficult to ascertain without extensive analysis.
*Water Adepts and Shamanic Adepts who have access to illusion spells would be most popular in the entertainment industry, but could also find work as anaesthesiologists. (Rather than risking the effects of chemical anaesthesia, why not just cause someone to feel no pain or even no sensation? All you have to do is have a magical Adept sitting there sustaining the spell for the whole operation.)
*Earth Adepts and Shamanic Adepts who have access to manipulation spells could end up in demolitions, firefighting, and mining like Fire Adepts, but they'd also be very popular in the engineering disciplines, where they could churn out a prototype far faster than it could be manufactured.
*Astral Adepts could find work as investigators as well, but due to the fact that they're just an elemental adept who can't cast spells or summon spirits, they're not as valuable. Still, having someone who can just assense is worth money.
*Physical Adepts often wind up as artists and athletes.
There'll be a strong pull of magical types toward the cities where they can find work, but you wouldn't be at all surprised to see a small town where the sheriff is a Fire Adept who can sling stun bolts into criminals and pitch in with water-effect Combat spells when there's a fire, or where the fire department is mostly one Earth Adept who has spells for putting out fires, holding up buildings that are about to collapse, and similar rescue work.
I would expect most healing mages to have a lot of spells with the exclusive and expendable fetish modifiers boosting their Force. (Healing fetishes are expensive, but healing mages are rare.) To a degree, this would go for most professional mages, since Drain reduces their effectiveness per unit time. I also think that there's a large trade in the appropriate sort of spell foci to equip these mages. Since karma is so rare, I would also expect that it's very common to have foci enchanted especially for a particular mage, with enough orichalcum that it reduces the bonding cost to something extremely minimal. (After all, orichalcum is expensive, but karma is even more expensive.) The high cost of karma means that as mages give up foci, there's a brisk trade in the secondhand stuff where you can't get the cheap first bonding cost.

A notion that came up recently (when helping a friend move, of course) was Mystic Movers. A mage specializing in telekinesis can do things that would require heavy lifting equipment or would be flat-out impossible in getting objects from one place to another. It should be possible to create TK spells that lift an object by applying force to the whole object, rather than to it surfaces; similarly, it should be possible to create one that anchors an object to a surface so that when the surface moves, the object accelerates uniformly. This means you could move thoroughly laden bookshelves and dressers without ever needing to actually pack things, and then transport them on a flatbed truck without worrying about anything falling out. This would definitely be a luxury service, but certainly effective. (Imagine spending, say, 500¥ to have your entire apartment's contents of stuff moved without having to go through the trouble of packing it up and unpacking it later; one mage should be able to take care of a whole apartment in a single day, unless it needs to be shipped a long way, in which case there may be some investment in a flatbed truck with a quickened spell for uniform acceleration on its contents. Doing that five days a week pays for a High lifestyle in a month.)

Another interesting health spell would be one that convinces your body that it's time to start burning fat for energy now. I suspect this would not require sustaining for very long (though the biochemical effect it would create wouldn't last for more than a few hours), but it could drastically increase the efficacy of exercise for losing weight in a very healthy way. Would all the hordes of folks ready to pay to go to a gym to work out pay, perhaps, 20¥ extra per visit to have each visit count for triple? Casting this spell (on average) on one customer every ten minutes at a gym could still pull in 960¥ a day.
.............................
Read the whole thing at http://www.gods-inc.de/macavity/IsleOfShad...king-world.html
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Kanada Ten
post Feb 19 2009, 02:12 AM
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"Mundanes are a puzzle. What is money or luxury compared to the Great Mystery? Perhaps if you looked upon the world with Awakened eyes, you would see what a waste these trappings are, shackles on the path to real Power. I seek the secrets these corporations would hide, I heal those the government discards."

"I have no use for money, for whose face is upon these coins? Do none know the covanent: take no payment for your Gift, for it is a sin? Do none of you fight against this corruption? If I granted my powers upon you, would you spin wheat into gold for your masters? And I am the fool for keeping my freedom..."
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Method
post Feb 19 2009, 02:26 AM
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QUOTE (lordnth @ Feb 18 2009, 07:08 PM) *
From inspecting the AMA web site, it looks like there are 650,000 practicing physicians in the US right now. If magic were working right now, we'd have about 250,000 full magicians and a million Adepts. So it looks like magicians are a little less than half as common as doctors, just for comparison purposes.


Their math is either a little dated (FASA?) or just plain wrong. If 1% of the population were Awakened then based on the current census we would have about 3 million magicians in the U.S. With 800,000 doctors (a conservative estimate) that would make magicians 3-4 times more common than doctors. As Blade has already eluded to, few would argue that doctors are rare or even knowing one was all that unusual. I happen to know many, but I'm in medical school (see my comments on selection bias above).


Otherwise some very interesting ideas there.
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toturi
post Feb 19 2009, 02:34 AM
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While I agree that magically talented people would not need worry about finding a job, regardless of having a SIN or not or the job is legal or otherwise, you might want to take a look at the Maslow's hierarchy of needs. What the corps can offer in a legal job often takes care of the safety and physiological needs. But as a shadowrunner, the magically talented person may find that his higher level needs are being fulfilled and his lower level needs are being satisfied anyway(since any runner team would leap to recruit any magically active PC).

To me, there are many reasons why the magically talented would run the shadows, but needing a job and putting food on the table is not a concern top most on their minds. In fact, for the higher end runners(0.1 Essense cyber sam, uber hacker, etc), I think this would apply as well. Sure, they may grumble and bitch about paying their bills, they may even be late in their payments, but being destitute isn't something top flight runners or even the middling levels of magicians worry about.
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