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> Replace the Samurai Challenge, Hermit backs up his claims...
knasser
post Mar 22 2009, 07:02 PM
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In this thread and elsewhere, Hermit has been proclaiming the brokeness of pre-errata magicians. That they are overpowered, that magic has little cost or downside or counter, that for every limit on a magician a mundane has twice as many and that a magician replaces a TEAM of shadowrunners in being able to fill their roles (by implication whilst still being a capable mage themselves) .

I do not think this is the case so I asked Hermit if he was willing to pit a standard 400BP straight out of chargen magician against an identically costed samurai build and see if he could produce something that would match its capabilities, thus fulfilling the same role in a team. Hermit said sure, so here's the thread and here's my build.

I do not expect this challenge to prove that samurai can beat up magicians or vice versa. Shadowrun is a game of eggshells armed with hammers - typically he who betrays the other first gets the loot. What I expect it to prove is that magicians and samurai are neither better nor worse than the other, but different. That they each have their own, and complimentary roles. Hermit expects to prove that magicians are greatly superior to samurai, able to beat the samurai at its own game.

It's been queried why I proposed matching it against a samurai when I could have picked a rigger or a hacker or a TM to more easily demonstrate that magicians can't replicate what a mundane can do. I chose Samurai because when I say "challenge" I mean it. I've given Hermit the best opportunity to prove his point.

So here is my build. Hermit can post his next and then we'll start comparing their capabilities. I already have some idea that Hermit is going for the notorious voudoun magician (often thought to be broken) with the infamous Task spirit, but we'll see what he comes up with.

I want to be clear that given the nature of the challenge, I'm totally fine with us tweaking our builds following suggestions from others or after discussion in the thread.

Game on, (IMG:style_emoticons/default/wink.gif)

Khadim Nasser.
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knasser
post Mar 22 2009, 07:02 PM
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Betty Bang, petite Ork Samurai.

Attributes 190BP
B 6 (9)
A 4 (7)
R 4 (7)
S 4 (5)
C 3
I 3
L 2
W 3

E 4
Ess. 0.55

Init. 7 (10)
IP 1(3)

Skills 170BP

Running 1
Climbing 2
Blades 2
Unarmed 2
Etiquette 3
Negotiation 2
Leadership 1

Infiltration (spec. Urban) 3
Disguise 1
Shadowing 2

Automatics (spec. Assault Rifles) 5
Heavy Weapons (spec. Grenades) 5
Pistols 2

Perception 4

Dodge 3
Pilot (Groundcraft) 1
First Aid 2

Resources 49BP

Cyberware / Bioware:

Datajack
Cybereyes IV (w. Flare Comp., Low-Light, Thermographic, Smartlink, Vision Mag, Vision Enhancement 3)
Cyberears (w. Audio Enhancement 3)
Wired Reflexes II
Aluminium Bone Lacing

Muscle Toner II
Orthoskin II
Suprathyroid Gland
Reflex Recorder (Automatics)

Gear:
Ares Alpha incl. Grenade Launcher + Smart Link, (w. Airburst Link, Shock Pads, Personalised Grip)
Ares Predator IV incl. Smartlink, (w. Silencer)

200x Regular Ammo
50x Ex Ammo
50x Ex-Ex Ammo
50x Stick n' Shock Ammo

10x Flash Bang Grenades
20x Frag Grenades
20x HE Grenades
5x Thermal Smoke

Flash-Pak

Form-Fitting Body Amour Half-Suit (4/1)
Camouflage Suit (8/6)
Helmet (+2/+2)

Monofilament Sword

Erika Elite w. Iris Orb O/S (w. SIM module, sub-vocal mike)

Mapsoft rating V (Seattle)
Fake SIN rating IV (Mrs. Margaret Worthington-Smythe)
Fake Licence rating IV (firearm permit)

Virtual Pet (Blue Chinchilla)

5x Cram Dose.

Gecko Gloves
Grapple Gun

Basic Docwagon Contract ("Don't Leave Home Without It!")

4x Stim Patch rating VI

Honda Spirit (compact car) w. Rigger Adaptation
1 x Month Low Life Style Cost (incl. Suprathyroid adjustment)

Positive Qualities: 5BP
Restricted Gear (Suprathyroid Gland)
Negative Qualities: 15BP
Spirit Bane (Guidance Spirits)
Addiction (Mild) Stimulants

++++++++++++

Notes:

Total Armour: 16/11
Dice w. Assault Rifle SA: 16 dice, no range mods.
6P, -1AP regular ammo; 7P, -1AP Ex- ammo; 7P, -2AP Ex-Ex ammo; 6(e), -1AP SnS ammo;

Dice w. Grenade Launcher: 16 dice, no range mods.
HE grenades: 10P, -2AP, -2P per 2m.
Frag grenades: 12P(f) +5AP (conditional) -1P per 1m

Dice on visual perception tests: 10
Dice on auditory perception tests: 10

+++++++++++++

I have tried to avoid utter cheese in the build. No stat is completely dumped, etc. This is a playable character. I even went so far as to not make the character a troll as many of the disadvantages of trolls are in-game ones due to size and social factors.

So my little ork girl samurai can handle the basics of talking to people and infiltrating places, though she's expert at neither she at least doesn't have any obvious weaknesses. She can lay waste to her opponents with some decent firepower. The first few games' worth of karma is going to padding out her breaking and entering skills after which she'll become a passable infiltrator. All she needs now is a back story about how her parents were murdered by a megacorp and she's ready to rock.

If I played around with her equipment list a little more I could squeeze in a Reaction Enhancer at rating 1 also, so I might go back and edit this when I have time. Thoughts, people? I know she's not very min-maxed and I might be making this too easy on hermit but I like her for a first draft. (IMG:style_emoticons/default/wink.gif)

+++++++++++++

EDIT 1: Have taken Octopiii's Form Fitting Body idea and added to Betty.

EDIT 2: Fuchs mentioned "Personalised Grip" for his own build. Why not nab it for mine? Have added.
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WeaverMount
post Mar 22 2009, 08:12 PM
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Question: What is the premise of the engagement? If a mage and a samurai were both walking down an empty street and realized at the sam moment that God had ordained that they fight to the death, my money says they the sam can ready a weapon and waist the mage before the mage can buff or summon. On the flip side if two people on the opposite sides of the earth are given a picture of a target the sam get's waisted by CHA number of high force spirits.
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knasser
post Mar 22 2009, 08:19 PM
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QUOTE (WeaverMount @ Mar 22 2009, 08:12 PM) *
Question: What is the premise of the engagement? If a mage and a samurai were both walking down an empty street and realized at the sam moment that God had ordained that they fight to the death, my money says they the sam can ready a weapon and waist the mage before the mage can buff or summon. On the flip side if two people on the opposite sides of the earth are given a picture of a target the sam get's waisted by CHA number of high force spirits.


This is entirely irrelevant to the challenge. (IMG:style_emoticons/default/biggrin.gif) A Mage vs. Samurai fight is meaningless because it always comes down to the circumstances of the fight - even in your initial example - and I think this says something healthy about Shadowrun. The one who wins is the one who out-thinks his opponent and gets the drop on him, arranging circumstances to suit his own abilities.

The challenge is because Hermit has been saying that magicians are overpowered, that they can replace the rest of the team, that they can fill the role of others and make them redundant. Basically that magicians are the be all and end all. Therefore I asked him if I posted a basic samurai build could he produce a similarly legal 400BP magician that could do the same, handle the same circumstances as the samurai, etc.? It's not about whether the magician or the samurai can beat the other (they both can). It's about whether the magician makes the samurai obsolete through its superiority as Hermit thinks and I do not.

Is that clearly put?

K.
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Zurai
post Mar 22 2009, 08:24 PM
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QUOTE (knasser @ Mar 22 2009, 03:02 PM) *
Betty Bang, petite Ork Samurai.

Suprathyroid Gland

Positive Qualities: None


You need the Restricted Gear positive quality to take a Suprathyroid at character creation, unless it got better availability in SR4A.
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pbangarth
post Mar 22 2009, 08:24 PM
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By my count, Betty has 172 BP spent on skills, not 170.
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Draco18s
post Mar 22 2009, 08:25 PM
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Didn't even mod your guns so you could load two kinds of ammo at once: free action to switch with a smartlink!
IP1: Short Burst Ex-Ex, swap, Short Bust SnS. (IMG:style_emoticons/default/biggrin.gif)
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Degausser
post Mar 22 2009, 08:27 PM
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QUOTE (WeaverMount @ Mar 22 2009, 04:12 PM) *
Question: What is the premise of the engagement? If a mage and a samurai were both walking down an empty street and realized at the sam moment that God had ordained that they fight to the death, my money says they the sam can ready a weapon and waist the mage before the mage can buff or summon. On the flip side if two people on the opposite sides of the earth are given a picture of a target the sam get's waisted by CHA number of high force spirits.


I haven't seen their arguements, but I am betting that the guy saying mages are better is going to use a Force 3 Sustaining focus for improved Reflexes 2, which basically nets him the same (or similar) speed as a street sam. Unfortuneatly for him, I still think the street sam would win in a 'fair' fight. I just don't see a standard build 400BP mage having the damage resistance to go against a Street sam for too long. Whereas a street sam could PROBABLY hold his own for a few IPs against the mage. Of course, the guy could build a "Street Sam Killer," to win, but that would defeat the purpose of this contest. This guy didn't make a 'Mage Killer' or he would have dumped loads of points into Magic resistance.

As a side note to the OP, I don't know the details of the contest, but if you are doing a standard BBB 400BP sam, then you can't have a superthyroid gland, its availability is 20F, too high for a starting character.
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knasser
post Mar 22 2009, 08:35 PM
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Right - I've removed a rogue specialisation and paid for Restricted Gear. Thanks to all.
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knasser
post Mar 22 2009, 08:38 PM
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QUOTE (Degausser @ Mar 22 2009, 08:27 PM) *
I haven't seen their arguements, but I am betting that the guy saying mages are better is going to use a Force 3 Sustaining focus for improved Reflexes 2, which basically nets him the same (or similar) speed as a street sam. Unfortuneatly for him, I still think the street sam would win in a 'fair' fight. I just don't see a standard build 400BP mage having the damage resistance to go against a Street sam for too long. Whereas a street sam could PROBABLY hold his own for a few IPs against the mage. Of course, the guy could build a "Street Sam Killer," to win, but that would defeat the purpose of this contest. This guy didn't make a 'Mage Killer' or he would have dumped loads of points into Magic resistance.


It's not about who can win a fight. That comes down to who betrays the other first - this is Shadowrun, after all. (IMG:style_emoticons/default/wink.gif)

It's about whether magicians are so overpowered as has been claimed that they are a team unto themself and make non-magician characters redundant.

K.

@Draco18: Now that would just be mean. (IMG:style_emoticons/default/biggrin.gif)
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ElFenrir
post Mar 22 2009, 08:42 PM
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Well, I mean, someone else is making this mage...I would put my own 400 BP bio-combat-mage up, but that might be going against the 'spirit' of the competition, since he had about 2 essence worth of bioware and almost better physical stats than this samurai(body was a bit less, Agility and Strength were more, Reaction the same-and yes, 400 BP.) There was no flat ''cheese'' involved, per se, but a lot of numbers playing. I'd post it for fun but I do feel it breaks the whole spirit of the thing.

As for being able to resist, my bio-mage had a body of 4(5, +2 damage), so that actually is quite competent to resist the physical damage without too much trouble.

Not trying to play too much devil's advocate here, as I like both sams and mages and did NOT have a problem with mages in vanilla 4e, but given some time and even 400 BP I CAN build one beast of a combat mage. (IMG:style_emoticons/default/biggrin.gif)
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Octopiii
post Mar 22 2009, 08:47 PM
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If Hermit's "One Man Shadowrunning Team" utilizes the broken Possession tradition Task/Guardian summoning trick, I would argue it that doesn't really speak to the effectiveness of the SR4A rules change. As far as I can tell, Possession based summoning hasn't been nerfed. So I'm not sure what his proposed 'Vodoun Swiss Army Knife" will show, other than Street Magic, like all the other supplements, feature power creep.

Improved Reflexes + Various "Improve Attribute Spells" + sustaining foci is the best way, using Spellcasting, that I can think of for a Mage to usurp the roles of other team members. In conjunction with spirit possession, that could lead to some terribly broken dice pools; but again, since possession based summoning has not been effected by the new changes, I'm not sure what point Hermit is making.
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Medicineman
post Mar 22 2009, 08:52 PM
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@Knasser
I Like Betty. If you don't mind i'll make a copy for Conventions


HeyaHeyaheya
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Draco18s
post Mar 22 2009, 09:00 PM
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QUOTE (knasser @ Mar 22 2009, 04:38 PM) *
@Draco18: Now that would just be mean. (IMG:style_emoticons/default/biggrin.gif)


That's the whole point. (IMG:style_emoticons/default/nyahnyah.gif)
My character does it, well, not really but could. If he had SnS and ExEx rounds. Right now all he has is standard and gel. I plan on getting armor piercing instead of standard. Someone bought anti-vehicular rounds, which have a better AP vs. people than armor piercing rounds, but it's expensive ammo I don't want to be using up three shots at a time of.
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Mx
post Mar 22 2009, 09:26 PM
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QUOTE (Draco18s @ Mar 22 2009, 11:00 PM) *
Someone bought anti-vehicular rounds, which have a better AP vs. people than armor piercing rounds, but it's expensive ammo I don't want to be using up three shots at a time of.

Those are definedly not RAW AV-rounds.
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Draco18s
post Mar 22 2009, 09:32 PM
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QUOTE (Mäx @ Mar 22 2009, 05:26 PM) *
Those are definedly not RAW AV-rounds.


Arsenal, IIRC. AP -4 on people, vs. APDS's AP -2.

Edit, almost right. APDS is also -4, but cheaper. (IMG:style_emoticons/default/nuyen.gif) 70 per 10 versus (IMG:style_emoticons/default/nuyen.gif) 120
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knasser
post Mar 22 2009, 09:40 PM
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QUOTE (ElFenrir @ Mar 22 2009, 08:42 PM) *
Well, I mean, someone else is making this mage...I would put my own 400 BP bio-combat-mage up, but that might be going against the 'spirit' of the competition, since he had about 2 essence worth of bioware and almost better physical stats than this samurai(body was a bit less, Agility and Strength were more, Reaction the same-and yes, 400 BP.) There was no flat ''cheese'' involved, per se, but a lot of numbers playing. I'd post it for fun but I do feel it breaks the whole spirit of the thing.

As for being able to resist, my bio-mage had a body of 4(5, +2 damage), so that actually is quite competent to resist the physical damage without too much trouble.

Not trying to play too much devil's advocate here, as I like both sams and mages and did NOT have a problem with mages in vanilla 4e, but given some time and even 400 BP I CAN build one beast of a combat mage. (IMG:style_emoticons/default/biggrin.gif)


Sounds good. I would be interested to see it actually. Maybe wait until Hermit has posted his and we've had at least some discussion over it as I'd like to see him answer the challenge, being the one that brought it about. But I'm up for all comers. Your build sounds pretty samurai-ish itself - should be a fun comparison.

QUOTE (Octopiii)
If Hermit's "One Man Shadowrunning Team" utilizes the broken Possession tradition Task/Guardian summoning trick, I would argue it that doesn't really speak to the effectiveness of the SR4A rules change. As far as I can tell, Possession based summoning hasn't been nerfed. So I'm not sure what his proposed 'Vodoun Swiss Army Knife" will show, other than Street Magic, like all the other supplements, feature power creep.

Improved Reflexes + Various "Improve Attribute Spells" + sustaining foci is the best way, using Spellcasting, that I can think of for a Mage to usurp the roles of other team members. In conjunction with spirit possession, that could lead to some terribly broken dice pools; but again, since possession based summoning has not been effected by the new changes, I'm not sure what point Hermit is making.



Yes - he said earlier he'd probably go with a Voodoo mage so I'm guessing he's trying for a possessed by a task or guardian spirit build. I tried this approach myself when trying to create a magical samurai "replacement". It didn't quite work though for a number of reasons. I actually don't consider Possession to be over-powered though it does seem so when you first look at what a possessed magician is capable of. You lose a lot in giving up Materialisation spirits and there are some severe limits on Possession in practice. We should be quiet on that though, while Hermit is preparing his build. (Just kidding).

But still, you are absolutely right that Possession rules haven't been changed by the errata so it doesn't fit in with Hermit's argument that the errata has improved things. Sustaining Focus approach is probably what I would have gone with after giving up with the Possession attempt. Doesn't work though until you are considerably advanced from chargen. You just can't match what mundanes can do with cyber-/bio- and even if you do, it's cost you so much that your skills are lagging. Still, it's probably the best path (though I'm interested to see ElFenrir's Essence 2 mage later).

QUOTE (Medicineman)
@Knasser
I Like Betty. If you don't mind i'll make a copy for Conventions


Please do. It's a while since I've actually created my own character (I'm the eternal GM, it seems), and I quite like her. I'm half tempted to go back and add some fluff as well.

K.
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knasser
post Mar 22 2009, 09:41 PM
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QUOTE (Draco18s @ Mar 22 2009, 09:32 PM) *
Arsenal, IIRC. AP -4 on people, vs. APDS's AP -2.

Edit, almost right. APDS is also -4, but cheaper. (IMG:style_emoticons/default/nuyen.gif) 70 per 10 versus (IMG:style_emoticons/default/nuyen.gif) 120


I could be wrong, but I think there was a short-lived version that was how you initially described, but it was errata'd, possibly before Arsenal went to print. I only have the updated PDF now so I can't check.
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Draco18s
post Mar 22 2009, 10:03 PM
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QUOTE (knasser @ Mar 22 2009, 05:41 PM) *
I could be wrong, but I think there was a short-lived version that was how you initially described, but it was errata'd, possibly before Arsenal went to print. I only have the updated PDF now so I can't check.


It's possible our physical copy is the one lacking said errata, as my pdf is just fine. (IMG:style_emoticons/default/nyahnyah.gif)
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Octopiii
post Mar 22 2009, 10:05 PM
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QUOTE (knasser @ Mar 22 2009, 01:40 PM) *
Yes - he said earlier he'd probably go with a Voodoo mage so I'm guessing he's trying for a possessed by a task or guardian spirit build. I tried this approach myself when trying to create a magical samurai "replacement". It didn't quite work though for a number of reasons. I actually don't consider Possession to be over-powered though it does seem so when you first look at what a possessed magician is capable of. You lose a lot in giving up Materialisation spirits and there are some severe limits on Possession in practice. We should be quiet on that though, while Hermit is preparing his build. (Just kidding).

But still, you are absolutely right that Possession rules haven't been changed by the errata so it doesn't fit in with Hermit's argument that the errata has improved things. Sustaining Focus approach is probably what I would have gone with after giving up with the Possession attempt. Doesn't work though until you are considerably advanced from chargen. You just can't match what mundanes can do with cyber-/bio- and even if you do, it's cost you so much that your skills are lagging. Still, it's probably the best path (though I'm interested to see ElFenrir's Essence 2 mage later).

K.


Possession, straight out of CharGen isn't so uber-elite. It's when you get ~9 Karma for your first initiation (to pick up channeling, naturally) that the Possession based mage can really go to town. 9 Karma is two/three runs (or one, if you're Synner (IMG:style_emoticons/default/grinbig.gif) ) so it's not a distant goal.

I'm now trying to think of a way for a Mage to Uber his way through a team's role now while relying on spells - Summoning has always been pretty powerful, and the new rules don't change that. Hacking and Face work would be easy for a Mage to cover. I wonder if picking up a Move-By-Wire system would be worth the horrendous magic loss?
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suppenhuhn
post Mar 22 2009, 10:25 PM
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QUOTE (Degausser @ Mar 22 2009, 09:27 PM) *
I just don't see a standard build 400BP mage having the damage resistance to go against a Street sam for too long. Whereas a street sam could PROBABLY hold his own for a few IPs against the mage. Of course, the guy could build a "Street Sam Killer," to win, but that would defeat the purpose of this contest. This guy didn't make a 'Mage Killer' or he would have dumped loads of points into Magic resistance.


1 stunbolt and that sammie is down, no need to survive many IP.
In fact I just made a 94 BP build to reliably win that duel. (IMG:style_emoticons/default/grinbig.gif)
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Chrysalis
post Mar 22 2009, 10:36 PM
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If this is a straight-up Spy vs. Spy or in this case Mage vs. Street Samurai it does not prove anything, since each character can be built to counteract the other character. Instead it should involve a series of challenges in which a character competes against the other. The character which succeeds the best is the winner. The details of each challenge would remain secret. The series of challenges would fit with the inflitration of R&D center. Each challenge is irrespective of class considerations, strengths or weaknesses of one character over another. Does that make sense?
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WeaverMount
post Mar 22 2009, 10:39 PM
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QUOTE (Octopiii @ Mar 22 2009, 05:05 PM) *
Possession, straight out of CharGen isn't so uber-elite. It's when you get ~9 Karma for your first initiation (to pick up channeling, naturally) that the Possession based mage can really go to town. 9 Karma is two/three runs (or one, if you're Synner (IMG:style_emoticons/default/grinbig.gif) ) so it's not a distant goal.

I'm now trying to think of a way for a Mage to Uber his way through a team's role now while relying on spells - Summoning has always been pretty powerful, and the new rules don't change that. Hacking and Face work would be easy for a Mage to cover. I wonder if picking up a Move-By-Wire system would be worth the horrendous magic loss?

Possession is actually pretty broken straight out of gate, because of two tactics in particular. First it's the only (or at least only easy) attack you can launch from the astral onto the physical. You can use it to completely broad side mundane opposition. You can stop one vehicle. A spirit of man with mind probe and alter memory is crazy broken. Wait until someone is alone (goes to the bath room). Possess them. have them keep on doing whatever they were supposed to. Milk them for all they're worth. Wipe there memory. All from an astral attack vector, no meta magic. With the harshest interpenetration of tasks that's only getting 3 tasks on a force 6 spirit.

Hacking is program + skill, facing(?) is CHA + skill. get skill wires, and charisma drain stat. The rest is a matter of money, which mages aren't hurting for that badly.

And I can here people saying now: "yeah, well show me. You wont actually have to points for all that". And I suspect they are right. What you can do with build a 400bp mage that is a great mage, and a great something else right out of the gate. At the same time you can lay the ground work take over everything else.
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BlueMax
post Mar 22 2009, 10:41 PM
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QUOTE (Chrysalis @ Mar 22 2009, 02:36 PM) *
If this is a straight-up Spy vs. Spy or in this case Mage vs. Street Samurai it does not prove anything. Instead it should involve a series of challenges in which each character competes. The character which succeeds the best is the winner. The details of the challenge would remain secret. The challenge nonetheless, should be comprehensive with situations which can come up irrespective of class considerations. Does that make sense?

I think so.

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WeaverMount
post Mar 22 2009, 10:43 PM
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QUOTE (Chrysalis @ Mar 22 2009, 05:36 PM) *
If this is a straight-up Spy vs. Spy or in this case Mage vs. Street Samurai it does not prove anything. Instead it should involve a series of challenges in which each character competes. The character which succeeds the best is the winner. The details of the challenge would remain secret. The challenge nonetheless, should be comprehensive with situations which can come up irrespective of class considerations. Does that make sense?

Nice, Spy vs. Spy is a great name for that kind of wackery!
I think Knasser was thinking Hermit needs to establish that the mage can out sam the sam. To that ends I think that the situation should be situations where the sam should shine. Thoughts?
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