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> Mages (nerfing the nerf bat), Possible tweek
bluedao
post May 20 2010, 02:30 AM
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So first off I like and often play mages. They can be a bit overly effective at times but some of the nerfs I've seen proposed are a bit extream. So as possible house rule for folks to contemplate I offer the following. Replace sorcery with <spell type> sorcerys, aka combat sorcery, manipulation sorcery, etc. Allow 1 spells per sorcery type at character creation. Adjust the per sorcery type as you see fit. In addition to weakening mages without crippling them it also adds some flavor, since now being an illusionist or a combat mage means alot more then just what spells you bought. The same concept could be applied to conjuring. It wont stop people from still creating combat casting monsters but it will strongly discourage it.
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Tymeaus Jalynsfe...
post May 20 2010, 02:49 AM
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QUOTE (bluedao @ May 19 2010, 08:30 PM) *
So first off I like and often play mages. They can be a bit overly effective at times but some of the nerfs I've seen proposed are a bit extream. So as possible house rule for folks to contemplate I offer the following. Replace sorcery with <spell type> sorcerys, aka combat sorcery, manipulation sorcery, etc. Allow 1 spells per sorcery type at character creation. Adjust the per sorcery type as you see fit. In addition to weakening mages without crippling them it also adds some flavor, since now being an illusionist or a combat mage means alot more then just what spells you bought. The same concept could be applied to conjuring. It wont stop people from still creating combat casting monsters but it will strongly discourage it.


That sounds.... Pretty Brutal... (IMG:style_emoticons/default/wobble.gif)

Keep the Faith
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Karoline
post May 20 2010, 03:05 AM
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QUOTE (Tymeaus Jalynsfein @ May 19 2010, 09:49 PM) *
That sounds.... Pretty Brutal... (IMG:style_emoticons/default/wobble.gif)

Keep the Faith


Agreed, that is 4 extra skills that need to be obtained to be a 'normal' caster, which is alot of BP that mages are already tight on.

The problem really isn't the mage itself, but the lack of defenses against a mage. Only a mage can do anything at all about another mage in astral. Only with the help of a mage can you hope to defend against anything higher than F1 spells. Only with a mage (or SnS ammo) can you take down a spirit. Only with a mage can you drop buff spells. It's like Rock (Rigger) beats Scissors (Sammy) beats Paper (Hacker), but they all lose to dynamite (Mage), so why would you ever pick one of the other three?

Things like 'anti-magic' armor would go a long way towards making mages less powerful.
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Llewelyn
post May 20 2010, 03:06 AM
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QUOTE (bluedao @ May 19 2010, 10:30 PM) *
So first off I like and often play mages. They can be a bit overly effective at times but some of the nerfs I've seen proposed are a bit extream. So as possible house rule for folks to contemplate I offer the following. Replace sorcery with <spell type> sorcerys, aka combat sorcery, manipulation sorcery, etc. Allow 1 spells per sorcery type at character creation. Adjust the per sorcery type as you see fit. In addition to weakening mages without crippling them it also adds some flavor, since now being an illusionist or a combat mage means alot more then just what spells you bought. The same concept could be applied to conjuring. It wont stop people from still creating combat casting monsters but it will strongly discourage it.


I really like it.
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Ol' Scratch
post May 20 2010, 03:11 AM
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If you really want to try to balance magicians out a little more, start by making Spell Defense less passive and more active, and then granting all characters a two-stat defense against magic. For instance, Willpower or Body + Edge. Adding Essence into the mix (Willpower + Edge + Essence vs. Magic + Spellcasting + Focus/Mentor) would not only balance things out a bit more, but it would simultaneously give players another reason to maintain a high Essence score as well as making magicians more inherently resistant to spells (which makes sense), while making those borderline cyberzombies (with Essences less than 1) more reliant upon them for protection. Suddenly, making a normal mundane isn't such a bad idea anymore, too.
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Nifft
post May 20 2010, 03:13 AM
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Nah, a combat monster only needs Health & Combat, and he doesn't even need much Health if he can summon a Spirit of Man or three to cast & maintain his self-buff spells for him.

Your system might be okay if you priced spell categories & spirit categories as though they were Knowledge skills (so 1/2 the price of normal Active skills). Also, of course, keep Counterspelling, Binding, Banishing & Ritual Spellcasting as they are.
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Saint Sithney
post May 20 2010, 03:21 AM
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I've thought recently about reworking the whole skill system from actives to knowledge.

Active skills would be a general line of training which is sort of like group skills. Knowledge skills being individual skills representing a certain focus within the greater framework and providing specialization synergies with the truncated active skills list.

So, in the case of Sorcery, the mage would buy up the Spellcasting Active skill, and then take Knowledge Skill Combat Magic to help determine his Spellcasting DP. Without the KS for Combat Magic, he could default to just the general Spellcasting Active skill. Also, a Knowledge Skill level can't surpass the Active skill level.

For a firearms example, you could take a Face character who relies on Pistols. Rather than the current model, where he would likely buy Pistols up to 4 and take a specialization in SA pistols, he would buy the Firearms Active skill up to 2, then buy the Pistols KS up to 2 and potentially take a specialization in SA Pistols. The total DP is the same, but the character still gets 2 dice for other guns, which represents his familiarity with the basic properties of ballistics.

I'm just toying with the idea for now, so it's not really fleshed out in full. But I do like the potential for skills to once again take prominence over Attributes when it comes to characters being badasses.
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TheMidnightHobo
post May 20 2010, 03:31 AM
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QUOTE (Saint Sithney @ May 19 2010, 11:21 PM) *
I've thought recently about reworking the whole skill system from actives to knowledge.

Active skills would be a general line of training which is sort of like group skills. Knowledge skills being individual skills representing a certain focus within the greater framework and providing specialization synergies with the truncated active skills list.

So, in the case of Sorcery, the mage would buy up the Spellcasting skill group, and then take Knowledge Skill Combat Magic to help determine his Spellcasting DP. Without the KS for Combat Magic, he could default to just the general Spellcasting Active skill. Also, a Knowledge Skill level can't surpass the Active skill level.

For a firearms example, you could take a Face character who relies on Pistols. Rather than the current model, where he would likely buy Pistols up to 4 and take a specialization in SA pistols, he would buy the Firearms group up to 2, then buy the Pistols KS up to 2 and potentially take a specialization in SA Pistols. The total DP is the same, but the character still gets 2 dice for other guns, which represents his familiarity with the basic properties of ballistics.

I'm just toying with the idea for now, so it's not really fleshed out in full. But I do like the potential for skills to once again take prominence over Attributes when it comes to characters being badasses.


This idea is rather elegant, and does what specializations were supposed to do so much better. I would like to see this perhaps fleshed out more...

Also, I agree that the OP's idea limits mages an incredible amount... You'll see a lot of characters even less fleshed out than normal, having to stretch their BP so thin. I think rather than nerfing mages until they can barely function, perhaps boost everything else a bit. While magic armor would likely step too much over the "magic and tech don't mix" line, making spell resistance double attribute, or even Will x2, could work wonders.
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Heath Robinson
post May 20 2010, 03:42 AM
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QUOTE (Dr. Funkenstein @ May 20 2010, 04:11 AM) *
If you really want to try to balance magicians out a little more, start by making Spell Defense less passive and more active, and then granting all characters a two-stat defense against magic. For instance, Willpower or Body + Edge. Adding Essence into the mix (Willpower + Edge + Essence vs. Magic + Spellcasting + Focus/Mentor) would not only balance things out a bit more, but it would simultaneously give players another reason to maintain a high Essence score as well as making magicians more inherently resistant to spells (which makes sense), while making those borderline cyberzombies (with Essences less than 1) more reliant upon them for protection. Suddenly, making a normal mundane isn't such a bad idea anymore, too.

I have to disagree entirely. Mages get Counterspelling already. Giving them an extra 5-6 dice on top of what they already have just makes the existing problem worse. We want something that does not stack with Counterspelling (so that the Sam does not see reason to have a Gnome Magician surgically grafted to their back), and is granted to the people who don't get to take Counterspelling.
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Ol' Scratch
post May 20 2010, 03:42 AM
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Apparently you missed the first part.

By more active, I'm talking about genuine counterspelling. Similar to the rules for martial arts, where the magician would have to be aware of the spell being cast, and then using an Interrupt action (forfeiting their next action) to counteract the spell with their own test.
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Whipstitch
post May 20 2010, 03:42 AM
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What Doc Funk said. Further, what you're suggesting mostly makes them narrower as opposed to less powerful, so while it may make a given mage less able of leveraging every trick in the book that gives you headaches, it doesn't go towards ameliorating any of them directly.
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Saint Sithney
post May 20 2010, 03:46 AM
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I've always liked the idea of mundanes being able to purchase Counterspelling Foci and having a mage bind it to them for an additional cost..
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Heath Robinson
post May 20 2010, 03:48 AM
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QUOTE (Dr. Funkenstein @ May 20 2010, 04:42 AM) *
Apparently you missed the first part.

I should have narrowed my quote to the bit about adding Essence to the resistance test. Mea culpa.

For clarification: I disagree with adding Essence to the Spell Resistance roll, and I have no comments on the other suggestions.
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Saint Sithney
post May 20 2010, 03:54 AM
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QUOTE (Heath Robinson @ May 19 2010, 07:48 PM) *
I should have narrowed my quote to the bit about adding Essence to the resistance test. Mea culpa.

For clarification: I disagree with adding Essence to the Spell Resistance roll, and I have no comments on the other suggestions.



Combine ideas.

Mundanes can have the Counterspelling Foci bound to them, but they can not have Foci whose rating is greater than their highest integer Essence score.

So, the .01 Essence cyber-monster gets no foci, but the 3.2 Essence Face with the Bioware can still buy and bind a Counterspelling Foci up to rating 3 in power.
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Ol' Scratch
post May 20 2010, 04:05 AM
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QUOTE (Heath Robinson @ May 19 2010, 09:48 PM) *
I should have narrowed my quote to the bit about adding Essence to the resistance test. Mea culpa.

It wouldn't matter. They weren't separate suggestions. They were meant to be used together; getting rid of Counterspelling as a passive bonus to resistance tests, giving everyone multiple stats to help resist spells, and allowing magicians to sacrifice their actions to try and counter particularly aggressive spells (ie, fireballs and manabolts, but not passive invisibility or most detection spells).
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Falconer
post May 20 2010, 04:07 AM
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Quite frankly... I've had the same idea as the OP... only a different implementation to avoid adding even more skills to an already strained list.

Bust manipulation up into two schools (mental & physical) as otherwise it's a bit too much in a single school. So you end up with 6 schools.
For each point bought in sorcery, you can raise 4 individual schools by 1 each. (someone w/ rating 6 sorcery could have 4 in everything, or adjust accordingly, also by using that method... no school could be higher than the sorcery rating similar to how adept powers can't go higher than magic). This avoids the even more skills on an already point-pressed character (also avoids problems w/ multiple specializations in multiple spell schools).


Karoline:
Actually rigger beats mage, mage beats street sam (or anti-tank armored troll), and streetsam beats rigger. Unless your power level is really high, mages have a lot of trouble w/ drones (and even then it's no sure thing to get past that OR5).



I find funk's suggestion rather bad. Essence increases resistance is completely counter to the entire paradigm of SR magic. (where object resistance is based on how 'unnatural' it is). Even worse, resistance pools end up larger than casting pools (without even adding counterspelling yet). And always adding edge is just as bad. It's just a quick path to making mages almost completely useless except as party buffers and spirit wranglers.

It also ignores that gunplay has the exact same problem... (skill + attribute vs attribute) and even worse can fire twice per pass and do things to eliminate the opposing dice pools (wide burst). The bigger problem is people don't apply negative dicepool penalties to the mage (or provide for such things as lightweight background counts which aren't all that uncommon). Quite frankly, generally it's not spells which are the problem, it's spirits and their powers.

The only decent idea I've seen is allowing someone to go on 'full defense' in a similar manner... and roll double willpower. Even that's questionable as the mage is still taking drain which is their big limiter on what they can do.
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Ol' Scratch
post May 20 2010, 04:11 AM
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QUOTE
Essence increases resistance is completely counter to the entire paradigm of SR magic.

Not really. Targets that are more "alive" and unwilling to be affected by magic should be more resistant than those that lack the same amount of "spirit." Objects don't make resistance tests, and characters with particularly low Essence scores are closer to being an object. By your logic, characters with a high Willpower should be easier to cast spells on, since the lower your Willpower, the more object like you are (considering they have a Willpower of 0).

Anyway, it doesn't really matter. The use of Edge and/or Essence was just an example. The point is to grant more than just one feeble attribute to the resistance test. That's the reason magic is so overpowered. Attacking tertiary rules to try and fix the primary is just stupid.
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Falconer
post May 20 2010, 05:02 AM
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And once again you demonstrate a completely flawed analogy and failure to understand.

Highly processed objects (such as cyberware) have higher object resistances... Refining a natural material makes it harder to affect. So suddenly refining and enhancing a creature makes it more vulnerable to magic and not less. You've turned the relationship on it's head. Put another way, you're effectively saying putting the HIGHEST object resistance (highly processed and complex cyberware parts) inside a living frame makes them more vulnerable. Conversely, you're saying the vegan freak who eats nothing but the easiest to target and affect organic foods and materials is more resistant.


And by your exact wording... "Targets that are more "alive" and unwilling..." are already in the rules.. it's called their "body" and willpower stat!
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KCKitsune
post May 20 2010, 05:27 AM
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If you want to make mages less of a threat without having to come up with a whole bunch of house rules, make Arcane Arrester a trait that anyone (rather than just SURGElings) can take.

Cost it at 20 pts to make it "easy" to take, but if you take it, you're not getting many other positive qualities. If you want it more common make it cheaper.
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Ol' Scratch
post May 20 2010, 05:31 AM
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QUOTE (Falconer @ May 19 2010, 11:02 PM) *
And once again you demonstrate a completely flawed analogy and failure to understand.

No, I understand perfectly well.

QUOTE
And by your exact wording... "Targets that are more "alive" and unwilling..." are already in the rules.. it's called their "body" and willpower stat!

But YOUR logic says that shouldn't be the case. YOUR logic is that the closer a person is to being an inanimate object, the harder it should be to affect them with spells. Objects have a Willpower of 0. The exact OPPOSITE of a high Willpower. But, apparently, in some twisted mental state that you live in, the exact opposite occurs if you look at Essence. Good. Fine. What the Hell ever.

I'm not going to get into another piss match. I've stated my case, and included the "it doesn't matter because Essence was just a damn example of the base concept." Feel free to continue rattling your bonebox about how dumb you think it is to use Essence. I don't give a flying fuck.
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Yerameyahu
post May 20 2010, 05:46 AM
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As much as I hate to support whining on either side, there's no reason that living and nonliving 'objects' should not be treated differently. In Shadowrun's magic system, being alive is a profound categorical distinction.
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KCKitsune
post May 20 2010, 07:07 AM
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What about my idea of Arcane Arrester?

I mean come on, it's RAW and you don't have to come up with a zillion house rules to make magic weaker.
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Heath Robinson
post May 20 2010, 02:35 PM
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QUOTE (Dr. Funkenstein @ May 20 2010, 05:05 AM) *
getting rid of Counterspelling as a passive bonus to resistance tests

I can't find mention of this in your post. You may have intended to state it, but you did not.
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Makki
post May 20 2010, 02:38 PM
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mages are not overpowered, but direct combat spells, just ban them...
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darthmord
post May 20 2010, 02:58 PM
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I'm partial to the idea of using Willpower + Attribute for spells that don't allow a Damage Resistance Test.

Essence for Mana Spells & Body for Physical Spells.

I say Essence for Mana spells because as you get implants, your overall integrity is increasingly damaged making it easier to introduce further damage (due to your natural ability to resist such damage being lessened).

Body for Physical Spells should be self-explanatory.
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