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> Attunement (Animal), And other often-skipped character options...
Whipstitch
post Nov 25 2009, 01:09 AM
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QUOTE (3278 @ Nov 24 2009, 07:30 PM) *
Put the pride away, Doc. Some other people found some use for something in their game that you didn't in yours; that doesn't make your penis smaller or take away your Nobel prize. Come on, now.


Please consider that there is no gracious way to ask someone to swallow their pride.

I mean, Doc started out the thread like this:
QUOTE (Dr. Funkenstein @ Nov 20 2009, 09:53 AM) *
What other character options do you see as being pretty useless the vast majority of time? Are there any that you thought might be interesting but you've always had to skip because it just doesn't work in a typical shadowrun game? Have you been able to make any of those work despite that while also keeping it believable?

And now you're basically quibbling because he finds an ability virtually useless in light of more cost effective options while you claim that he implied that the ability is literally useless. Can't we just act in good faith here and skip the hair splitting so we can be back on topic? This is the kind of thing that keeps me away from dumpshock for months at a time.
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3278
post Nov 25 2009, 01:17 AM
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QUOTE (Whipstitch @ Nov 25 2009, 01:09 AM) *
And now you're basically quibbling because he finds an ability virtually useless as opposed to literally useless.

Except that the ability is neither virtually useless nor literally useless. It's quite useful, though perhaps not in all games or at all tables. My question is whether, at those tables at which is has worth, the cost/benefit ratio justifies it. I'm quibbling because Doc now says that's his question, as well, despite the fact that he never said any such thing.

[edit: Hmm. You accidentally ninja-edited your post on me, there! (IMG:style_emoticons/default/smile.gif) Much of what I originally said was directed at those portions that were removed. Suffice to say, this is the kind of thing that keeps me away from Dumpshock, too, so I certainly agree with you.]
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Whipstitch
post Nov 25 2009, 01:27 AM
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Yeah, I was just about to post on the ninja edit thing, but I'm also talking with people on the phone, so things are taking longer than I anticipated.


Anyway, I think the big impasse here is value vs. use. Attuned Animals are useful and can in theory be used for a wide variety of things, but they're rather expensive and aren't the clear cut best answer for any one particular problem, so you often end up with less overall value than if you spent the resources on other tricks. A swarm of rats might be able to find someone and they may be able to chew through some wires, but then again, there's not much stopping an Awakened character from getting a pair of bolt cutters and Detect Life for a considerably lower cost instead.
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3278
post Nov 25 2009, 02:04 AM
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QUOTE (Whipstitch @ Nov 25 2009, 01:27 AM) *
Anyway, I think the big impasse here is value vs. use.

I agree, and I think that'll vary depending on the group, the campaign, and other factors. For certain games, the economy just wouldn't be there; for others, it could be quite indispensable. Most games will lie between the extremes.

Certainly, there are other ways to replicate some of the same abilities, and some of them are less costly, but I'm not really sure that should be the point. There are a very wide variety of ways in which to kill someone, but if we restricted ourselves to making characters who killed people in the most efficient possible way, I think we'd have a pretty boring spread of characters! And nothing reproduces all the abilities of Attunement (Animal); the things that come close aren't particularly inexpensive, either.

Attunement (Animal) does something interesting, cool, useful, and does it for less than a fortune. If individuals don't think the utility is worth the expense, I would think a simple solution would be a house rule that reduces that expense.
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Omenowl
post Nov 25 2009, 02:50 AM
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I do think there need to be some modifications for the karma cost. In its current form it encourage adepts to have a low essence animal before attuning.

1) The attunement power should not have to be bought for each species of animal. It should be bought once and then the karma to attune is based on the animal in part 2.

2) The cost to attune to an animal should not be based on essense. Instead it should be based on (1 Karma +magic rating + (mischief/swarm rating -1))*(7-essence). Warforms cost double +30% per genetic modification, chimeras cost triple plus 30 per genetic and 50% per chimeric ability. Animals 1500 kilos to 3000 kilos are double, 3000-6000 kilos are triple, 6000-12000 kilos are quadruple, 12000-25000 kilos are 5x, 25000-50000 kilos are 6x and all animals larger are 7x the cost in karma. This way it does not encourage an adept to attune to mutants, warforms, whales, biodrones or chimeras. Adepts can not attune to technocritters.
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Mikado
post Nov 25 2009, 02:55 AM
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QUOTE (3278 @ Nov 24 2009, 09:04 PM) *
I agree, and I think that'll vary depending on the group, the campaign, and other factors. For certain games, the economy just wouldn't be there; for others, it could be quite indispensable. Most games will lie between the extremes.

Certainly, there are other ways to replicate some of the same abilities, and some of them are less costly, but I'm not really sure that should be the point. There are a very wide variety of ways in which to kill someone, but if we restricted ourselves to making characters who killed people in the most efficient possible way, I think we'd have a pretty boring spread of characters! And nothing reproduces all the abilities of Attunement (Animal); the things that come close aren't particularly inexpensive, either.

Attunement (Animal) does something interesting, cool, useful, and does it for less than a fortune. If individuals don't think the utility is worth the expense, I would think a simple solution would be a house rule that reduces that expense.

The cost reduction is easy from a karma perspective, which is really the only one that matters. Nuyen costs are negligible for most adept/mages since they are usually karma poor but money rich. Use your money to cyber/bio up the animal in question which in turn makes it more useful. Cyber Eyes/Ears, dermal plating/orthoskin, muscle augmentation, wired reflexes, cyberspur claws, ect... This lowers the animalís essence thus lowering the bonding cost.

Now to be honest I don't think I would allow someone to do that in my game, I would keep it at starting essence. But that would be a house rule. It says that it costs karma equal to the animalís essence not starting essence. For me however, it breaks the tech/magic separation that the writers have in mind.
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Karoline
post Nov 25 2009, 02:57 AM
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Jehad or whatever that quality is that makes the character an undercover agent for the bad...er guys. I'd imagine it doesn't see much use by PCs just because in party fighting is generally discouraged.

The 25BP amnesia quality, because no GM wants to have to make an extra character and no player wants to have no real say in their character, especially not in a bit of the min/max department. I think it would be amazingly fun to play and try and figure out what you can/can't do, but at some point the fun of the amnesia starts to butt up against the dissatisfaction of not getting to tweak out your character properly.

Cursed because it depowers magic way more than the 20 BP are really worth.

Unlucky with a decent edge, because people don't want that reverse affect to come up, so minimize it by only having a 1-2 edge.

I'll look around my books a bit for some other stuff that likely isn't used too often.
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Mikado
post Nov 25 2009, 03:09 AM
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QUOTE (Omenowl @ Nov 24 2009, 09:50 PM) *
I do think there need to be some modifications for the karma cost. In its current form it encourages adepts to have a low essence animal before attuning.

1) The attunement power should not have to be bought for each species of animal. It should be bought once and then the karma to attune is based on the animal in part 2.

2) The cost to attune to an animal should not be based on essence. Instead it should be based on (1 Karma +magic rating + (mischief/swarm rating -1))*(7-essence). Warforms cost double +30% per genetic modification, chimeras cost triple plus 30 per genetic and 50% per chimeric ability. Animals 1500 kilos to 3000 kilos are double, 3000-6000 kilos are triple, 6000-12000 kilos are quadruple, 12000-25000 kilos are 5x, 25000-50000 kilos are 6x and all animals larger are 7x the cost in karma. This way it does not encourage an adept to attune to mutants, warforms, whales, biodrones or chimeras. Adepts can not attune to technocritters.

Wow, that gets convoluted.
Just keep it (starting) Essence plus (augmented) Body. If that is still low add augmented strength in there as well. I do not have Running Wild so I can't comment on swarms but it would just be easy to add Swarm Rating to the cost to bond.
I don't really have a problem if someone wanted to bond to a whale, unless youíre playing a pirate game how useful could it be. It also hinders Whale Riders.
Same goes for other large critters like rhino's or elephants; unless youíre playing in Africa I think Lone Star would have a problem with you walking one in Downtown Seattle.
Warforms and biodrones do not usually look like regular baseline animals so they would probably stick out and draw allot of attention so that is enough of a detractor for bonding.
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Omenowl
post Nov 25 2009, 03:37 AM
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QUOTE (Mikado @ Nov 24 2009, 09:09 PM) *
Wow, that gets convoluted.
Just keep it (starting) Essence plus (augmented) Body. If that is still low add augmented strength in there as well. I do not have Running Wild so I can't comment on swarms but it would just be easy to add Swarm Rating to the cost to bond.
I don't really have a problem if someone wanted to bond to a whale, unless you’re playing a pirate game how useful could it be. It also hinders Whale Riders.
Same goes for other large critters like rhino's or elephants; unless you’re playing in Africa I think Lone Star would have a problem with you walking one in Downtown Seattle.
Warforms and biodrones do not usually look like regular baseline animals so they would probably stick out and draw allot of attention so that is enough of a detractor for bonding.


Hey they recommendations are no more convoluted than the rules for demolitions in Arsenal...

Whales would lie in the range of 7 karma so they are still about as cheap as the original rules. It just makes smaller animals very easy to attune to by costing 1 karma. Even warforms and chimeras with full essence won't cost more than 5 karma. A large swarm of bats (6 mischief or 96 bats) would cost 6 karma, but 3 sparrows would be 1 karma.

Example for stormcrows
Assume they are a mischief for size
Essence 6, every 10 birds gives a magic rating of 1 rounded down.

So a player decides he wants to attune to a flock of storm crows. He spends time with the storm crows and finally befriends the flock
The flock has 100 birds. The player decides he wants to only attune enough for a mischief rating of 5 (48 birds).
(1 base karma + 4 points for mischief size+4 magic) (7-6) for essense. It costs the player 9 karma.

Now lets assume a player wants a hunter seeker (warform) to attune to
1 base karma*(7-3.9)*(3.2) is 10 karma.

A juggernaut would cost (1+6 for magic)*1*4 for size=28 karma assuming you can befriend a juggernaut.

I would still keep the rule that the critter has to be non sapient.
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Ol' Scratch
post Nov 25 2009, 03:39 AM
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QUOTE (3278 @ Nov 24 2009, 05:30 PM) *
Put the pride away, Doc.

Think whatever you want. My original post was pretty clear with what I was going with, and even asked if people had found a good use for it or other character design (<-- key words) options. Your inability to grasp that and assume otherwise is your failing, not mine.

QUOTE
Some other people found some use for something in their game that you didn't in yours; that doesn't make your penis smaller or take away your Nobel prize. Come on, now.

You're the one ranting away irrationally here.
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3278
post Nov 25 2009, 03:53 AM
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Sure thing, Doc. Shall we move on?
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Ol' Scratch
post Nov 25 2009, 03:53 AM
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QUOTE (Karoline @ Nov 24 2009, 08:57 PM) *
Jehad or whatever that quality is that makes the character an undercover agent for the bad...er guys. I'd imagine it doesn't see much use by PCs just because in party fighting is generally discouraged.

That's definitely one of those "sounds cooler than it would actually be" options. I've considered it a few times and even tried it out once, but the game didn't last long enough for it to really come to the forefront. Which I guess is another problem with it. The GM has to be willing to play up to it, and that sort of quality would be a major impact on the story arc for the campaign.

QUOTE
The 25BP amnesia quality, because no GM wants to have to make an extra character and no player wants to have no real say in their character, especially not in a bit of the min/max department. I think it would be amazingly fun to play and try and figure out what you can/can't do, but at some point the fun of the amnesia starts to butt up against the dissatisfaction of not getting to tweak out your character properly.

Now this one is interesting. It's more of a "cool but useless" option, but more for the GM than the player. Sure, everyone and their best friend will come in and brag about how much of an EvilGM™ they are and how they love seeing characters with this quality, but if that were true few if any players would ever take it. In a good many cases it's a free 25 BP that not only gives you all those build points, but lets you skimp on giving a background. Far more popular than it should be.

QUOTE
Cursed because it depowers magic way more than the 20 BP are really worth.

Yeah, that one is a little too crazy. Which is odd because I adore Gremlins. I guess it could be a bit more appealing to people who are only partially awakened, like those who take Astral Sight or Spirit Knack or something. I'd certainly be crazy enough to take it on a full magician, though, especially if I were playing a Chaos Mage or some kind of magician who's an idiot savant type of character. Really powerful magic that he can't quite control. Hmm... Dammit, my head's latched on to this idea now...

Anyway, another option I always thought sounded cool but just can't rationalize as a player is playing as a Free Spirit. That 250 BP cost really hits you in the balls, especially since you still have to pay for all of your attributes, skills, and magical abilities. Then you have to consider that foci are a huge liability for such a character, at least for materialization spirits, so even simple things like a sustaining focus for Increased Reflexes is right out. Possession spirits have their own issues to deal with, like how do you determine what your vessels stats are if its a metahuman? And if its not a metahuman, you have all the issues that come from being an obvious oddball who's going to draw even more attention than you normally will. You also can't take advantage of such basic things as DNI even with trodes, so you have to rely on subvocal mikes, feedback clothing, glasses with image links and AR gloves to do things everyone else takes for granted. Even when I find solutions to a few of those things, I'm then reminded of that 250 BP cost. The only time it becomes viable is if the game is using the Karma Generation method, and even then all the other things get in the way. Kinda sucks for such a great niche concept. AIs are the same way.
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Mikado
post Nov 25 2009, 04:00 AM
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QUOTE (Omenowl @ Nov 24 2009, 11:37 PM) *
Hey they recommendations are no more convoluted than the rules for demolitions in Arsenal...

Whales would lie in the range of 7 karma so they are still about as cheap as the original rules. It just makes smaller animals very easy to attune to by costing 1 karma. Even warforms and chimeras with full essence won't cost more than 5 karma. A large swarm of bats (6 mischief or 96 bats) would cost 6 karma, but 3 sparrows would be 1 karma.

Example for stormcrows
Assume they are a mischief for size
Essence 6, every 10 birds gives a magic rating of 1 rounded down.

So a player decides he wants to attune to a flock of storm crows. He spends time with the storm crows and finally befriends the flock
The flock has 100 birds. The player decides he wants to only attune enough for a mischief rating of 5 (48 birds).
(1 base karma + 4 points for mischief size+4 magic) (7-6) for essence. It costs the player 9 karma.

Now letís assume a player wants a hunter seeker (warform) to attune to
1 base karma*(7-3.9)*(3.2) is 10 karma.

A juggernaut would cost (1+6 for magic)*1*4 for size=28 karma assuming you can befriend a juggernaut.

I would still keep the rule that the critter has to be non-sapient.

Not to throw a wrench in the works...
How many of those are paranormal?
Attune (Animal) in Street Magic says it needs to be a mundane animal. I do not know if there are optional rules for Attuning in Running Wild. I should look into picking it up.

At any note - Your costs are reasonable. I am one who thinks the costs should be more if there is cyber/bio involved due to the separation of magic and tech. Not that it changes anything right now but if we are discussing a house rule for a balanced approach I think it should factor in.
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Ol' Scratch
post Nov 25 2009, 04:02 AM
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Oh man, if you could do it with paranormal animals I'd be all over it. I always wanted a Black Magician (mystic adept) who had a Blackberry Cat familiar. (IMG:style_emoticons/default/biggrin.gif) I've done it with an ally spirit before, giving them Accident, but it just wasn't the same.
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Omenowl
post Nov 25 2009, 11:28 AM
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These are purely house rules. The RAW rules are a major karma drain with the adept having to pay for each type of animal (I guess each genus or species) with a metamagic technique, then having to pay for each animal, and then the rules actively encourage using biodrones or low essense mundane animals (severe addiction burnout for an animal). I would have to assume that you could not attune to warforms or chimeras as the rules are currently written. I think that is asking for a bit much from the player and going against the spirit of the game.

The juggernaut is paranormal

The stormcrow was paranormal



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Karoline
post Nov 25 2009, 01:31 PM
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QUOTE (Dr. Funkenstein @ Nov 24 2009, 10:53 PM) *
Anyway, another option I always thought sounded cool but just can't rationalize as a player is playing as a Free Spirit. That 250 BP cost really hits you in the balls, especially since you still have to pay for all of your attributes, skills, and magical abilities. Then you have to consider that foci are a huge liability for such a character, at least for materialization spirits, so even simple things like a sustaining focus for Increased Reflexes is right out. Possession spirits have their own issues to deal with, like how do you determine what your vessels stats are if its a metahuman? And if its not a metahuman, you have all the issues that come from being an obvious oddball who's going to draw even more attention than you normally will. You also can't take advantage of such basic things as DNI even with trodes, so you have to rely on subvocal mikes, feedback clothing, glasses with image links and AR gloves to do things everyone else takes for granted. Even when I find solutions to a few of those things, I'm then reminded of that 250 BP cost. The only time it becomes viable is if the game is using the Karma Generation method, and even then all the other things get in the way. Kinda sucks for such a great niche concept. AIs are the same way.


Actually, a free spirit under karmagen (especially if you are going with the 3x attributes instead of the new 5x) is ridiculously powerful. I think I stated out a possession based one once before, and came up with a double digit magic and a dozen amazing abilities, regeneration included. It was very sweet. The biggest obstacle is the fact that spirits can't see computer screens (for some unknown reason) and so can't make use of glasses with image link or anything else on it. Basically this just means your spirit can completely ignore commlinks except for getting the group hacker to set up a vocal mic.

The other really big obstacle is the friendship pact. You have to have a number of members equal to your force, which is often larger then your team (provided you could even convince them to enter it, though they don't give anything up, so shouldn't be too hard), but I fixed that with my spirit in question by setting up a cult/magic group around her that she could draw pact members from.

She also had the health pact, which let people heal themselves of 2 boxes of damage in exchange for a karma, once again, very sweet as my team members could keep themselves alive through almost anything if they were willing to give up a good chunk of the mission's karma reward, and I would get that spent karma.
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Ol' Scratch
post Nov 25 2009, 01:34 PM
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How did you set up a viable vessel though? That's been the main stopping block for me. Asking another player to be one is right, and creating a second character for yourself seems kind of unfair to everyone else.
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Karoline
post Nov 25 2009, 01:49 PM
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QUOTE (Dr. Funkenstein @ Nov 25 2009, 08:34 AM) *
How did you set up a viable vessel though? That's been the main stopping block for me. Asking another player to be one is right, and creating a second character for yourself seems kind of unfair to everyone else.


I had a plasteel homunculus (prepared of course) and a few corpses (Also prepared as vessels). Regeneration + realistic form made the corpses look alive, so it wasn't an issue for me. Otherwise you could just go possess a joe wageslave and assume he has strait 3 stats and the skills don't matter because you're taking over.

And for stats, it is real easy. You just use your own mental stats, and for physical it is your stats + host stats. So possessing joe average gives you +3 to all stats. Possessing Joe Troll gets you better stats, and you might be able to convince the GM to let you find bodybuilders and other NPCs that would have above average physical stats.
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Ol' Scratch
post Nov 25 2009, 01:59 PM
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Those people all have to be prepared as vessels before you can jump into them, or at the very least they have to be (and stay) astrally active long enough for you to crush them and take over.

I dunno. I know where you're going, it just doesn't feel right to me. I have a hard time rationalizing things like that in my characters. A homunculus is just going to stand out like a sore thumb no matter how well sculpted it is (at best you'll look like a freaky changeling), thus you'll be loaded down with negatives to your social dice pools and easily tracked via the distinct appearance. As for the zombies, it only takes a single assensing test to see that you're one and if it's done by someone or someones who know anything about shedim or the like you can be pretty screwed. I also have doubts about Regeneration working on a corpse; you're just controlling it, but the body is still dead... and dead things don't get to make Regeneration Tests. Realistic Form will just make you look like a really convincing walking corpse instead of a glowy one.

I realize you can get around a lot of that, especially the first point, by just taking a group contact or something. But, again, it falls into the whole "getting two characters for the price of one" cheese. And that's the main thing that bugs me about it. It's not really fair to any of the other players in that regard.

Plus Materialization spirits are just cooler in my opinion. (IMG:style_emoticons/default/smile.gif)
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Karoline
post Nov 25 2009, 02:08 PM
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First off, regeneration spirit power specifically states that if a possession spirit with the power possesses a corpse it will look like it is alive again. As for the homunculus, just wear a big overcoat and a hat and perhaps a mask if you want. With synthetic limbs out there, I'm sure you could make it look quite realistic, and at worse it would look like you have a ton of cyberlimbs.

Sure, one assensing test reveals that you're a spirit, but it does in any case at all, so that isn't such a big deal. There might be some confusion with the Shedim I suppose, but I figure that isn't overly likely. I'd made the character before I'd heard of them at all, so that problem never crossed my mind. Homunculus was the most common form for being out and about though. The corpses were for more private social type situations.. Like I said, just grab joe average and use him. And no, he doesn't need to be prepared as a vessel, being prepared just makes it easier for the spirit. They also don't have to be astrally active. A spirit can possess anything it wants, including mundane metahumans, dogs, cats, mailboxes, and drones. None of them have to be astrally active to possess.

I don't see how this is 'getting two characters for the price of one' you play a spirit, you always play a spirit. I don't see where a second character is coming into play.

Edit: Materialization spirits are easier to play because they can pop into the astral plane and back whenever they want, a possession spirit has to leave behind their body to do so, which I think puts them far more in line with other SR characters, as a materialization spirit can for all intents and purposes, teleport.
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Ol' Scratch
post Nov 25 2009, 02:20 PM
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The "two for one" is coming from the Joe Wageslave suggestions and, to a slightly lesser degree, corpses. You're essentially getting a ton of free stat bonuses for practically no cost. Heck, that even applies to a homunculus. Doesn't the plasteel one get something ridiculous like +8 Strength, Body and armor for only a few Karma points worth of nuyen?

The assensing test was in reference to being a walking corpse. Regardless of one's own knowledge of them, the rest of the world is pretty damn scared by them. Especially individuals you're likely to run into in the shadows who can identify you as one.

And no, they don't have to be astrally active if they're prepared as a vessel. You can't just walk up to Joe Wageslave and possess him. He has to either be astrally active so you can defeat him and take over his body, or he has to be prepared. And for that they have to be either willing or helpless so you can prepare them properly. Or, in your case, have someone else prepare them for you. I'm 100% sure of this. Corpses are in the same boat as far as needing to be possessed, and I'm still doubtful (on a personal opinion basis) about Regeneration working on them in order to make them look alive and healthy.

Like I said, it just doesn't feel right to me at all. Not very viable for the types of characters I prefer to play. Maybe in a more "pink mohawk" game where such concerns aren't an issue, but I rarely find myself in such games. And when I do, they end up not really being pink mohawk games anyway. (IMG:style_emoticons/default/smile.gif)
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Karoline
post Nov 25 2009, 02:37 PM
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QUOTE
Additionally, if the free spirit with this power possesses or inhabits a vessel that used to be alive, the
vessel will gradually regenerate back to its original living form. A
wooden homunculus grows leaves and roots, for example, while a
corpse regains the semblance of life.


QUOTE
Possession may (and Inhabitation must) be facilitated by
prior preparation of the vessel (see Vessel Preparation, p. 86).


So, corpses look like they are alive, and joe average can be possessed without any added requirements other than him existing.

And sure, you get a +3 to physical stats, but you have the added limitation of having to stick to your body. A materialization spirit can jump in and out of the astral plane without worry, but a possession spirit has to stick around their body if they want to accomplish much, so there is certainly a trade off.

The homunculus is actually fairly expensive (as I recall), so it is far from free, much more along the lines of getting a high rating muscle enhancement. I don't see anything particularly "pink mohawk" about the character. Shows up to the meet possessing joe average, shows up to the run possessing its homunculus which wears a lined coat, a hat, and a face mask, or is sculpted to look like it has cyberlimbs or perhaps that it is a drone. All very black shades and not particularly pink mohawk. Like I keep saying, the corpses aren't really for 'out and about' usage generally unless going somewhere that it wouldn't really matter, but looking human would be nice.
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Mercer
post Nov 25 2009, 02:47 PM
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QUOTE
As for the homunculus, just wear a big overcoat and a hat and perhaps a mask if you want.


"Motherfucker looked just like The Thing!"
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Prime Mover
post Nov 25 2009, 02:47 PM
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I had a big concern with the cost of free spirit pc's until in one of our alt games a player drove me nuts with movement and astral travel. I think he got more then what he paid for that day.

Hate to muck up in what is an already muddy subject but I second the thoughts on being able to attune at least some paranormals.
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Karoline
post Nov 25 2009, 02:49 PM
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QUOTE (Mercer @ Nov 25 2009, 09:47 AM) *
"Motherfucker looked just like The Thing!"


(IMG:style_emoticons/default/nyahnyah.gif) Basically.

Then again, I'm sure about 90% of shadowrunners often wear lined coats (to hide guns) and masks (So they can't be IDed) so I doubt they'd look all that out of place.
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