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> Spells that are useful at low Force, For mystic adepts who dabble in spellcasting
Tyro
post Sep 28 2009, 06:29 PM
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What spells would you recommend for a mystic adept with only 2-3 points in adept spellcasting?
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pbangarth
post Sep 28 2009, 06:53 PM
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I've actually been addressing this problem just now, as I am creating a mystic adept for use in a PbP campaign. The low Force available to such a spellcaster is a problem, so it is a good idea to find spells that are not as dependent on Force to be effective. Combat Spells and others that require net hits don't figure highly in this scheme, because hits are limited by Force. The mystic adept is still an adept, and many spells can perform the function of beefing up his characteristics or personal powers, as do adept powers.

Here is a sample of some spells I think might work (to varying degrees):

SR4:
Increase [Attribute]
Increase Reflexes
Levitate
Combat Sense
Heal
Resist Pain
Stealth
Armor (and variants)
Magic Fingers

SM:
Catfall
Fashion/Makeover/Healthy Glow
Mana Static
Preserve
Reinforce
Stim
Translate
Catalog
Enhance Aim

DG:
Decontamination
Radiation Shield
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Tyro
post Sep 28 2009, 07:20 PM
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A problem I typically have with mystic adepts is their lack of distinct niche. What can they do better than anyone else? The only thing I can really think of is the knockout/death-touch/shatter touch adept.
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3278
post Sep 28 2009, 07:36 PM
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Levitation is an excellent on, although it is problematic, because of the limitation on speed [force * net successes, so a maximum of 9 meters per turn with a force 3 spell, 4 meters per turn for force 2]. If you're just moving yourself, weight is less troublesome, and frankly the spell is useful even at Force 1.

Probably my favorite is Shapechange. Really the only thing successes here count for is resistance to counterspelling. Shapechange is one of the most useful spells in the mage's arsenal - seriously, I can just be a seagull? - and is perfectly useful at low force, where sustaining isn't so difficult against its kind-of-punishing drain.

Can mystic adepts use sustaining foci? I don't see any reason they can't. With a sustaining focus, both Levitation and Shapechange are much more useful. Great roleplaying opportunities, too.
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Tyro
post Sep 28 2009, 08:18 PM
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QUOTE (3278 @ Sep 28 2009, 12:36 PM) *
Levitation is an excellent on, although it is problematic, because of the limitation on speed [force * net successes, so a maximum of 9 meters per turn with a force 3 spell, 4 meters per turn for force 2]. If you're just moving yourself, weight is less troublesome, and frankly the spell is useful even at Force 1.

Probably my favorite is Shapechange. Really the only thing successes here count for is resistance to counterspelling. Shapechange is one of the most useful spells in the mage's arsenal - seriously, I can just be a seagull? - and is perfectly useful at low force, where sustaining isn't so difficult against its kind-of-punishing drain.

Can mystic adepts use sustaining foci? I don't see any reason they can't. With a sustaining focus, both Levitation and Shapechange are much more useful. Great roleplaying opportunities, too.

What would be some good forms for Shapechange? And yes, overcast focus-sustained Levitation is awesome, even at force 4 or so ^_^

Also, could someone post a formula for deriving KPH from net hits? I tried, but my math skills suck. Assume 3 seconds to a combat turn, as SR4A defines a combat turn as "about" 3 seconds. Threshold = (kilograms lifted / 200), so if you wanted to get fancy you could make the formula work for total hits instead of net. I haven't done algebra in years, and I feel stupid for not being able to figure it out (IMG:style_emoticons/default/frown.gif)
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Marwynn
post Sep 28 2009, 08:30 PM
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How much Magic will be left for you to cast with?

Don't neglect summoning. A Force 3 Spirit is still quite useful, that is if you have Magic 3.

Decrease Attributes (say Willpower or Reaction) are still good at lower Forces, Touch Attack is all you need. Detect Life, Extended, is still good. Assuming F3 and M3 you have a 90m range.

Influence, Control Thoughts, in fact all the mental manipulations are still good at Force 3. You oppose roll against his Will and Counterspelling.

If the MysAd is more of a Recon/Ninja type, Astral Window (SM) is also of benefit. Plenty of good spells at lower Forces.
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dirkformica
post Sep 28 2009, 08:31 PM
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Edge shenanigans can be especially useful to low magic casters since spending a point of edge unlocks the force limiter on spells. This can also theoretically be used with low force Sustaining Foci. Pixie Mystic Adepts for the adorable win!
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3278
post Sep 28 2009, 09:30 PM
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QUOTE (Tyro @ Sep 28 2009, 09:18 PM) *
What would be some good forms for Shapechange?

Shadowrun 4 [finally!] places a limit on this ultra-powerful spell by only allowing transformation into [non-paranormal] critters with a body within 2 of the mage's. If the mage's Body is 3, that means animals from Body 1 to 5. [A Troll mage with a Body of 10 could transform into an animal with a Body of 12! That includes Great White Sharks. But he's barred from, say, seagulls.] For the average Shadowrunner, the best animals aren't going to be enormous apex predators, but common sprawl animals like rats, crows, seagulls, feral cats, dogs, and so on. Any flying animal gives you enormous range and mobility, and without the public distraction of having a human floating around up there. Bats have ecolocation, as do dolphins [Body 8, unfortunately for our humans].

Shapechange is great for fitting in, for getting somewhere a human couldn't be, but an animal can. It's not carte blanche, though: assensing will still reveal your true nature, although Masking should cover that eventuality.

QUOTE (Tyro @ Sep 28 2009, 09:18 PM) *
Also, could someone post a formula for deriving KPH from net hits?

In Shadowrun, all Speed - car, people, birds, whatever - is in "meters per combat turn," which is 1/3 meter per second. The simple formula is to multiply Speed by 1.2 to get KPH, or 0.75 to get MPH. Levitate with a Force of 3, even with maximum successes, can only propel the user 10.8kph [6.7mph]. On the other hand, at Force 5, maximum successes gets you a Speed of 25, or almost 20 miles per hour. Not bad.

Anyway, the formula is Force * net hits * 1.2.
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Tyro
post Sep 28 2009, 09:40 PM
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QUOTE (3278 @ Sep 28 2009, 02:30 PM) *
Shadowrun 4 [finally!] places a limit on this ultra-powerful spell by only allowing transformation into [non-paranormal] critters with a body within 2 of the mage's. If the mage's Body is 3, that means animals from Body 1 to 5. [A Troll mage with a Body of 10 could transform into an animal with a Body of 12! That includes Great White Sharks. But he's barred from, say, seagulls.] For the average Shadowrunner, the best animals aren't going to be enormous apex predators, but common sprawl animals like rats, crows, seagulls, feral cats, dogs, and so on. Any flying animal gives you enormous range and mobility, and without the public distraction of having a human floating around up there. Bats have ecolocation, as do dolphins [Body 8, unfortunately for our humans].

Shapechange is great for fitting in, for getting somewhere a human couldn't be, but an animal can. It's not carte blanche, though: assensing will still reveal your true nature, although Masking should cover that eventuality.


In Shadowrun, all Speed - car, people, birds, whatever - is in "meters per combat turn," which is 1/3 meter per second. The simple formula is to multiply Speed by 1.2 to get KPH, or 0.75 to get MPH. Levitate with a Force of 3, even with maximum successes, can only propel the user 10.8kph [6.7mph]. On the other hand, at Force 5, maximum successes gets you a Speed of 25, or almost 20 miles per hour. Not bad.

Anyway, the formula is Force * net hits * 1.2.

Thank you SO much. I was thinking of donning a robe which completely concealed my body and sustaining (with focus) a force 3 (to start) Levitation spell. Make him a vampire or nosferatu for extra cool points. Remember that an average human male only walks about 5 kph, and runs about 10. An athlete might average a running speed of 20 kph. 10.8 is nothing to sneeze at, esp. in 3 dimensions!

On a more practical note, speed is much less important for things like getting a group over a fence or a vehicle out of a ditch.
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pbangarth
post Sep 28 2009, 09:47 PM
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And Levitate gets you (and others) to that balcony without having to climb.
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dirkformica
post Sep 28 2009, 10:07 PM
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A few more from Street Magic (which I wish I could use) that are a bit situational and may require interpretation: Night Vision and Thermographic Vision seem to require nothing at all to work and saves you from having to spend money/essence/qualities/race for the vision mods. And Element Aura could be seen to change your melee attacks to be resisted with half impact armor even with only a single hit on the spellcasting test.

A really low level bound spirit of man could probably cast one of those vision spells on you if you don't want to sustain it yourself. Course, that goes for most all of these options.
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WyldKnight
post Sep 28 2009, 10:37 PM
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Wait I am a bit confused about something. I was going to make a Mystic Adept at some point in the future and I was under the assumption that the max force a MA could cast wasn't limited by his dice in magic but by his whole magic stat. In other words a MA with magic 6 with lets say an even 3/3 split could cast force 6 spells but could only use 3 dice for them. So why would you need low force spells?
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Marwynn
post Sep 28 2009, 10:41 PM
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QUOTE (WyldKnight @ Sep 28 2009, 05:37 PM) *
Wait I am a bit confused about something. I was going to make a Mystic Adept at some point in the future and I was under the assumption that the max force a MA could cast wasn't limited by his dice in magic but by his whole magic stat. In other words a MA with magic 6 with lets say an even 3/3 split could cast force 6 spells but could only use 3 dice for them. So why would you need low force spells?


Afraid 'not, else they'd be too good. 5-6 "Power points" and also a Magic of 5-6 for less cost than the Magician quality?

QUOTE (SR4A p195)
For every point of Magic invested in physical abilities, the character
gets one Power Point that she can use to purchase adept powers.
Every point of Magic invested in mana-based abilities grants the character
one point to use with Magic-based skills. For all other purposes,
including the determination of the maximum level for adept powers,
the character’s full Magic attribute is used. Such a character will not
have as many adept powers as most other adepts, nor will they be able
to cast spells with the same skill as true magicians. Mystic adepts may
use their adept powers normally.


And the example below that illustrates it. A mage has Magic 4, devoting 1 point to Powers, the 3 to "Magic".
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WyldKnight
post Sep 28 2009, 10:47 PM
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Whoops, we have been playing it the wrong way then lol. Actually from someone who has been in a group playing it against RAW they aren't too good. They rarely have the dice pool big enough to make large use of their spellcasting. We have a straight up mage as well and while the MA is pretty good at what it does the mage still beats it in anything magic related because of a larger dice pool and not having to spread it's initiations as much.

And I wasn't saying 5-6 power points AND 5-6 points in magic. I was saying that if he split the points he would have 3 dice for magic, 3 points for powers, but the force of the spell was limited by his combined magic not the 3 dice. So it was 3 points, 3 magic, 6 as the ceiling. Though since it could be broken its more of a glass ceiling, you just cut up on the way through.
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Marwynn
post Sep 28 2009, 10:52 PM
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Oh an MA can still have high dicepools. Just gotta focus it more though. My Social Chameleon MA can throw roughly 10-12 dice for his most common spells. Granted at Force 3. He can still summon too. And the Adept Powers are useful, like Digital Grimoire's Memory Displacement.

It'll cost a lot of karma but unless you want some sorta combat monster the MA is exceptional. Hence why I stay away from it most of the time... too easy to munchkinize.
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Tyro
post Sep 28 2009, 10:59 PM
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QUOTE (Marwynn @ Sep 28 2009, 03:52 PM) *
Oh an MA can still have high dicepools. Just gotta focus it more though. My Social Chameleon MA can throw roughly 10-12 dice for his most common spells. Granted at Force 3. He can still summon too. And the Adept Powers are useful, like Digital Grimoire's Memory Displacement.

It'll cost a lot of karma but unless you want some sorta combat monster the MA is exceptional. Hence why I stay away from it most of the time... too easy to munchkinize.

Increase Reflexes + Silence + Improved Invisibility + thermal dampening on your armor + knockout (melee stunbolt), death touch (melee manabolt) or shatter (melee powerbolt). +2 to hit people (since you only need to touch them), and drain isn't much of an issue considering the drain values for touch spells. Silence fools ultrasound, t. damp. fools thermal imaging, invisibility fools normal vision.

Of course, you could do that with a magician. But magicians can't take traceless walk, improved ability [infiltration], adept centering, or any of the other adept-only goodies.
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Marwynn
post Sep 28 2009, 11:03 PM
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But that's true for normal Mages, there are plenty of Kung-Fu Mages out there. And I'm assuming those are all through sustained foci.

To get all that you'll need serious funds and Karma to bind. Then the other part of the "combat monster" is of course the shooting and/or the thwacking. Still more points. I'm not saying MAs can't be deadly combatants, they're Magician and Adepts, but since they have so much to spend on it becomes harder to progress.
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wizwyrm
post Sep 28 2009, 11:13 PM
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the face in my group is a MA with 3 points in adept and 2 in magic. she runs shapechange, influence, and petrify, and runs these very well.
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Tyro
post Sep 28 2009, 11:17 PM
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QUOTE (wizwyrm @ Sep 28 2009, 04:13 PM) *
the face in my group is a MA with 3 points in adept and 2 in magic. she runs shapechange, influence, and petrify, and runs these very well.

Petrify? That seems like an odd choice. Potentially fun and/or funny, but odd.
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wizwyrm
post Sep 29 2009, 12:10 AM
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insta-restraints/gag
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Tyro
post Sep 29 2009, 12:38 AM
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QUOTE (wizwyrm @ Sep 28 2009, 05:10 PM) *
insta-restraints/gag

Ahh.
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Dakka Dakka
post Nov 5 2009, 10:08 AM
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QUOTE (pbangarth @ Sep 28 2009, 07:53 PM) *
Here is a sample of some spells I think might work (to varying degrees):
let me comment on the varying degrees

Increase [Attribute]: No attribute higher than Force may be increased.
Increase Reflexes: Contrary to the adept power and 'ware this only improves Initiative score and passes. The others Increase REA! Also at force 3 the fourth IP is impossible to get, barring the Edge "exploit".
Levitate: works, but isn't as fast as a pure mage.
Combat Sense: You get the sustaining penalty, and its effectiveness is a lot more variable than the adept power's
Heal: No more than 3 Boxes may be healed at F3, unless you use Edge.
Resist Pain: No more than a -1 can be negated.
Stealth: Should work against humans, but technology would be a problem. No more than OR 3 could be fooled.
Armor (and variants): Woohoo now you got the big "shoot me first, I'm a mage"-Sign without being a real mage.
Magic Fingers: Effective AGI and STR of 1 isn't that great.

Catfall
Fashion/Makeover/Healthy Glow
Mana Static
Preserve
Reinforce
Stim
Translate
Catalog
Enhance Aim

I don't see any problems with those.
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Mr. Unpronouncea...
post Nov 5 2009, 06:31 PM
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QUOTE (Dakka Dakka @ Nov 5 2009, 10:08 AM) *
let me comment on the varying degrees

Increase [Attribute]: No attribute higher than Force may be increased.

Actually, it's: "The Force of the spell must equal or exceed the (augmented) value of the attribute being affected. The attribute is increased by an amount equal to the hits scored."

Which tends to start a lot of arguments...did they mean a force 3 spell can raise anyone's strength by up to 3 points, or did they mean that a character with STR 5(7) needs a force 8-or-more spell to affect them?

Last I heard, the consensus leaned toward the former - which, at least has the benefit of keeping the spell cast at a low cap - the second case would frequently see huge swings in the result.
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Dakka Dakka
post Nov 5 2009, 06:58 PM
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To me it is obviously the latter meaning. The augmented attribute is the 7 in parentheses of 5(7). a) this would make even a force 1 spell very powerful if it can affect an attribute of 5(7) b)this diverges from the rules of earlier editions.

Which huge swings are you referring to? The spell's effect is still subject to the attribute caps and even if it is cast at great force only the hits augment the attribute.
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Mr. Unpronouncea...
post Nov 5 2009, 07:56 PM
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Yes, only the hits augment the attribute - a force 3 spell is capped at a total of 3 hits, but a force 8 spell is capped at 8...which can turn a troll weakling into a troll god.

Somebody getting one or two extra dice doesn't bother me - somebody tripling their attribute does. The 2nd interpretation almost demands going that route.
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