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> Karma and the Magician, Figure out how to lower karma costs for magicians
Wacky
post Jul 8 2009, 03:48 AM
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With the advent of the new edition (and the 20th anniversary on the way) I'm coming across the same problem that I had back in the days of 2e which I played near constantly; mages always are dedicating karma into anything they create well beyond that of other groups.

To be more specific, I want to enchant something from scratch it costs a ton of karma. Back in 2e I could use alchemy to brew up a ton of oricalcum, but that rule no longer exists in SR4. I was toying with the idea of having a mage with an ally spirit in a vessel (a sword) stacked with a weapon focus. But even at low levels this would have an impossibly high karma cost.

So my problem is while everyone else would be getting better at skills, attributes, or upgrades I'd be twittling my thumbs saying, "One day I'll be awesome in the shadows--you'll see!" In the past characters like that die the next day of achieving their goals! Don't want to go down that route.

Now, to show I'm not just whining, I have brought a few ideas to the table to aid in this problem. First, a meta-planar quest to gain insight and reduced karma cost of the formula. This would be reduced by 1 point per initiate grade as they have gained an insight to the work. Also makes following a formula built with such insight more valuable (good shadowrun adventure seed there).

Bring back lower karma cost with oricalcum rule! This one made sense to me; if I pour more effort and nuyen into the focus it'd be easier on the karma bank account. The mage who spent his month off recovering from that last bad run in the basement cooking up metallurgy should have a bonus instead of bar hopping with his fellow chummers, showing off their scars to the local floozies and having some sort of actual life outside the shadows (jerks!).

Have a geasa applied to your formula. This would be a built in problem for those who don't have a geasa normally and another problem for those who do. If a spell or focus needed to have a proper incantation used, it'd be more difficult to come into game play. What would happen if it could only be used at night (or worse, during the day)? Doesn't work inside the city would be another great restriction all of which seem appropriate to lower karma.

Steal karma already invested in someone else's foci! Hey, they weren't using it...anymore...after I shot him with a narcojet to the back of the neck...and he died with horrible nightmarish diareia... The cosmic energies held within a focus could be used to power someone else's focus. I wouldn't allow this for ally spirits or spells, but focus seems fine to me. More shadowrun adventure seeds with this as players go around stealing rivals' foci--or getting their own back after theirs is stolen!

And lastly, sacrifice innocients to harness their energies to gain more karma! What? Aztlan mages need to enchant stuff too! They'd get 1 karma for each point of essense, and 1 for each point of magic. Makes sense that they'd want to slaughter a school house fool of orphans and nuns to make foci dirt cheap. Can anyone else smell the shadowruning ideas here?

These are just a few suggestions I'm throwing around. What does everyone else think?

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Ravor
post Jul 8 2009, 04:24 AM
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Or even better yet you can always remember this simple rule.

>>> A good mage can kill you with a single thought, but a GREAT mage has the wisdom to use his trusty predator instead. <<<
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Critias
post Jul 8 2009, 04:40 AM
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Ask your GM to look into the old cash-for-karma rules. Ta-da.
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Ravor
post Jul 8 2009, 04:53 AM
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I've never liked those rules, they never quite seemed balanced to me.
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BookWyrm
post Jul 8 2009, 05:18 AM
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The cash-for-Karma rule seems like your best bet, but if you don't like them, try your other ideas past your GM.

The Karma-for-orichacum rule/trade also is a good theory on paper (for what paper's worth in 2070), but you also run the risk of flooding the local market for orichacum. Not to mention the off-chance you actually create a version of 'fool's-gold' orichalcum.
Which will definately tick-off your local talismonger.....

Stealing-Karma-from-another's-foci? Tricky. Even if you succeed, you risk tainting your own foci with the astral residue of the previous owner's Karma.....and if that person did in fact come to an untimely, particularly nasty end....

Sacrificing innocents? Not a good idea, unless you're a Toxic. Too many kids (even the SINless ones) can draw unwanted attention.....

I feel your best bet (aside for the above Cash-For-Karma) would be the Metaplanar Quest one.

What ever happend to doing Karma-generating good deeds? Yes, you'd have to perform a rather large number of them, but still....
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Machiavelli
post Jul 8 2009, 06:18 AM
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QUOTE (BookWyrm @ Jul 8 2009, 05:18 AM) *
Stealing-Karma-from-another's-foci? Tricky. Even if you succeed, you risk tainting your own foci with the astral residue of the previous owner's Karma.....and if that person did in fact come to an untimely, particularly nasty end....
God, i love the idea. Think of all the mages, hunting and killing each other just for power. A completely new way of playing and running comes to mind. Focus-hunting...great. You could say that you need a special initiation-ability for it. "Karma-steal" like the power drain (karma) of some ghosts. Oh lord...i´m cummin´....powergaming rules....arghhhhhllll.. (IMG:style_emoticons/default/wink.gif)
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Mr. Mage
post Jul 8 2009, 12:36 PM
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One of the ways my GM and I have been lowering Karma costs is by
(A) Certain enchantments do not kost Karma, usually the minor unique ones, like a magical flashlight
and
(B) in the case of Ally Spirits, if some base abilities, such as locomotion, are removed, reduce the cost.
An exmaple of this is that my most recent Ally Spirit inhabits a skull and cannot move, so I got a Karma reduction for it.
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DireRadiant
post Jul 8 2009, 03:14 PM
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Or the GM can hand out more karma.
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Mr. Mage
post Jul 8 2009, 03:36 PM
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Oh yea...More Karma works too. I think the Core Book states that average Karma for a run is around 5 or 6. But my GM tends to award upwards of 10 or 11, a lot of which is from roleplaying or from general comic relief/humor. Essentially, if we make the GM laugh really hard, we get lots of Karma...It's great, cuz we're all pretty clever and we're all a bunch of jokesters...
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paws2sky
post Jul 8 2009, 03:39 PM
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QUOTE (DireRadiant @ Jul 8 2009, 11:14 AM) *
Or the GM can hand out more karma.


I was talking with Kingboy, my group's Mystic Adept, and he said he has his next 75 or so Karma spoken for just with magical stuff. Assuming nothing comes up between now and then to make him change his plans, that is.

Which really isn't that bad considering the group has been earning about 8 karma per adventure since when started used the SR4A karma rewards.

-paws
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the_real_elwood
post Jul 8 2009, 04:20 PM
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If you're going to do cash-for-karma, then you ought to do equivalent karma-for-cash so the mundane characters can drum up some extra funds for any enhancements they might be interested in.

But really, I don't think the magic rules are unbalanced. It shouldn't be cheap in karma for a magician to get super-powered stuff. Maybe if it doesn't work for your group you could tweak the karma cost, but making more karma available to magicians doesn't seem like the right answer.
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Leehouse
post Jul 8 2009, 05:17 PM
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I've been considering doing cash for karma and karma for cash, what are the general exchange rates?
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paws2sky
post Jul 8 2009, 05:26 PM
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QUOTE (Leehouse @ Jul 8 2009, 01:17 PM) *
I've been considering doing cash for karma and karma for cash, what are the general exchange rates?


Not trying to be sarcastic, but it really depends on how poor you want the characters to be.

Also...

Another option is the "amoral" campaign, where karma doesn't exist. You award cash and the players choose where or not to put it toward training or more material things.
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Leehouse
post Jul 8 2009, 05:39 PM
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QUOTE (paws2sky @ Jul 8 2009, 01:26 PM) *
Not trying to be sarcastic, but it really depends on how poor you want the characters to be.

Also...

Another option is the "amoral" campaign, where karma doesn't exist. You award cash and the players choose where or not to put it toward training or more material things.



No worries, I did a few more searches and managed to find a discussion on it and it varies from 2500 up to 15000 per karma point and depending on GM the frequency players can do it varies.

I'm actually considering something like an amoral version after reading that.

Thanks.
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Mr. Mage
post Jul 8 2009, 05:44 PM
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I may actually ask my GM about the Karma for Money idea...I have thousands of nuYen that are going nowhere fast because there isn't much I really need or want to buy. Karma, however, I use up almost immediately, or I need to save it for later on.
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Wiseman
post Jul 8 2009, 05:56 PM
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We allow a 20% discount for metaplanar quests and for guild resources. This extends to metamagics bought outside initiation and enchanting. Does not apply to spirits or bonding foci.
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Maelstrome
post Jul 8 2009, 09:04 PM
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here is another,very different, way to handle it.somewhere, i think the old ds archive, there was a page that had the rules for the avatar focus. someone in the group had to complete an astral quest at a rating equal to the number of members. if more than six members then multiple quests were needed.the reward of the quest was the formula for the focus and it cost 4 times the number of members to bond in karma. after the group as a whole or the leader bonds with it it gathers karma at a rate of 1/member of the group a week. the karma could only be used for learning spells,binding spirits, foci,and enchanting. when used in this manner every member of the group learned the spell or had access to the spirit or focus. whoever originally bonded with the avatar focus had control over how the points where spent. we used this twice in a magic heavy game. the only guy that had complaints was the unawakened decker. but we figured out something for him later.
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Kingboy
post Jul 8 2009, 09:45 PM
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QUOTE (paws2sky @ Jul 8 2009, 10:39 AM) *
I was talking with Kingboy, my group's Mystic Adept, and he said he has his next 75 or so Karma spoken for just with magical stuff. Assuming nothing comes up between now and then to make him change his plans, that is.


That was a quick estimate based on what I remembered from bashing out a plan the day before. The actual total is more along the lines of 113 Karma, and that's not including the 35 Karma it'd take me after the first successful initiation to raise my sorcery related Magic to a more useful rating of 3 (or 7 magic total), or any new spells. Nor does it include any sort of non-Magic related skills whatsoever. Thank goodness I chose a Posession tradition with Task spirits is all I can say...


The thing about this is, I feel like we get a decent amount of Karma at our table. And my character is an elf, so while I as a player may have the desire for new toys on a more regular basis (thank goodness for the parity that can be bought through gear in SR4 in many areas), the character has a very long term view of things. As long as he doesn't run afoul of the stupid Vory, he'll eventually get where he's going, magically and otherwise.

It's not the rate at which Karma comes in that is my problem, it's the rate at which it pours out for the Awakened that sometimes rubs me the wrong way.
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the_real_elwood
post Jul 8 2009, 11:45 PM
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For magical characters, karma buys power. For mundane characters, nuyen buys power. It all balances out.
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Wacky
post Jul 9 2009, 02:43 AM
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WOW! First post ever on the forums and I get 18 replies in one day. Well, let's start!

QUOTE (BookWyrm)
The cash-for-Karma rule seems like your best bet, but if you don't like them, try your other ideas past your GM.

The Karma-for-orichacum rule/trade also is a good theory on paper (for what paper's worth in 2070), but you also run the risk of flooding the local market for orichacum. Not to mention the off-chance you actually create a version of 'fool's-gold' orichalcum.
Which will definately tick-off your local talismonger.....


While I would never do this, it would make for a good double cross on players--they buy oricalcum thinking that it was genuine when in reality it was fake (teach 'em for not using enchanting when purchasing products).

Furthermore, it takes 28 days just to make a batch of oricalcum. Assuming you have all the other regents ready, you're still working forever at it with the hopes of getting a few units out of the deal. If you think about it, this isn't as hard hitting as it looks on your AR display.

QUOTE
Stealing-Karma-from-another's-foci? Tricky. Even if you succeed, you risk tainting your own foci with the astral residue of the previous owner's Karma.....and if that person did in fact come to an untimely, particularly nasty end....


Again, another great idea for this line of thinking--your focus now has a mentality or even a personal background count from using the wrong focus to make something new. For my example my Ally/weapon stacked focus was made from a dead mage's masking focus and won't power up in crowds since now it doesn't want to be noticed. "Just feels wrong sir..."

QUOTE
Sacrificing innocents? Not a good idea, unless you're a Toxic. Too many kids (even the SINless ones) can draw unwanted attention.....


Of course this is a bad idea! But I throw in the easy but evil stuff to give the game more powerful villians. Aztlan loves me for this sort of stuff!

QUOTE
I feel your best bet (aside for the above Cash-For-Karma) would be the Metaplanar Quest one.

What ever happend to doing Karma-generating good deeds? Yes, you'd have to perform a rather large number of them, but still....


Again it takes a long time and I am loosing my edge in the power curve versus other archetypes.

QUOTE (Mr. Mage)
One of the ways my GM and I have been lowering Karma costs is by
(A) Certain enchantments do not kost Karma, usually the minor unique ones, like a magical flashlight
and
(B) in the case of Ally Spirits, if some base abilities, such as locomotion, are removed, reduce the cost.
An exmaple of this is that my most recent Ally Spirit inhabits a skull and cannot move, so I got a Karma reduction for it.


I was think something alongs those lines, but I'm glad you said it first. It'd make sense to have an inanimate sword cost less karma if it can't move about.

QUOTE (the_real_elwood)
If you're going to do cash-for-karma, then you ought to do equivalent karma-for-cash so the mundane characters can drum up some extra funds for any enhancements they might be interested in.


Assuming you mean that I pay other (meta)humans to offer up karma ala spirit donation to power my magical swag seems a fair trade. I could use that.

QUOTE
But really, I don't think the magic rules are unbalanced. It shouldn't be cheap in karma for a magician to get super-powered stuff. Maybe if it doesn't work for your group you could tweak the karma cost, but making more karma available to magicians doesn't seem like the right answer.

For magical characters, karma buys power. For mundane characters, nuyen buys power. It all balances out.


I disagree with the rules not being unbalanced, or more to the point the game concept. Karma helps everyone! You can increase stats, skills, and maybe even positive qualities (or get rid of those negative ones). My problem stems from the fact while I'm saving up to power up my enchantment, my fellows are doing this with Karma and powering up with cyberware all the same. So if we go into a more deadly adventure, I don't have the same chances of survival.

Furthermore, I'm not asking for it to be easy--just give me more options to obtain it. Each one that I listed had nasty consequences--and that's not even counting the ones you guys made up! I don't want to come across as obsessive over my point, its just hard to put your standing into practice when you're asking me to be the patient one.


QUOTE (Leehouse)
I've been considering doing cash for karma and karma for cash, what are the general exchange rates?

No worries, I did a few more searches and managed to find a discussion on it and it varies from 2500 up to 15000 per karma point and depending on GM the frequency players can do it varies.


Back in SR2, you could have someone enchant something for you and it'd be pre-bonded to your aura not theirs. This cost 5,000 nuyen per karma point. I'd use that as a starting point depending on how you spend the karma (ie you use it to feed an orphanage or save a poor SINless's life by buying them the surgery they needed). For negotiations if you're buying someone else's karma I'd start at the same and go -/+ 500 per hit scored.

Sign--
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Machiavelli
post Jul 9 2009, 05:22 AM
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QUOTE (the_real_elwood @ Jul 8 2009, 11:45 PM) *
For magical characters, karma buys power. For mundane characters, nuyen buys power. It all balances out.

Sorry, but thats bulls***t. Your average karma-donation is about 6 karma for an equally average run, and is maxed out at probably 12 for an absolutely killer-run. But the salary you get for it, ranges drastically from 1.000 Nuyen jobs at the beginning, to several-ten or even hundreds of thousands of nuyen when you have established your team. I don´t even see something that looks vaguely like "balance" when one type of char has to depend on just one single source to get enhancements (mage only needs karma), while the other one gets two of them (karma and nuyen) and the second one is ways easier to get. If you see the balance, please show me.
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the_real_elwood
post Jul 9 2009, 05:45 AM
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Magic does stuff you can't do with cyberware or weapons, and is arguably more powerful. I just don't think the character advancement rules are all that unbalanced that awakened characters need extra karma to compete.
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Ravor
post Jul 9 2009, 05:48 AM
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Well for starters you are dead wrong with several of your base assumptions. Firstly mages CAN and SHOULD benefit from nuyen just as much as any other character provided your DM is at all completent at his/her job. Secondly it can be easily be argued that mages gain more when spending their karma then mundanes do, and lets never forget, that although I personally hate the agrument, it is true that awakened characters are the only ones that in theory have unlimited advancement.


All-in-all if there is imbalance in the rewards, it is in favor of Mages/Adepts.

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Generico
post Jul 9 2009, 05:59 AM
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So Ravor,
What exactly would a Mage spend nuyen on that doesn't require karma to use?
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Ravor
post Jul 9 2009, 06:11 AM
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Why the exact same things that their mundane counterparts are; GUNS, GEAR, CONTACTS and WARE.
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