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> Keeping projection and spirits LOS to mage's body, How do you think this would work?
Smokeskin
post Aug 5 2010, 07:48 AM
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I'm soon going to start with a new group, and I'm thinking about a major change: keep more or less everything LOS. UWB radar and Clairvoyance spells will be gone, but more importantly:

When mages project, anything out of LOS of his physical body that is not dual natured or magical is so dark and indistinct it can't be identified. As far as the mundane world goes, he can find his way around, but no more than that.
I don't like stopping to have a player do astral recon while everyone else sits by. I don't like having to ward, spirit patrol or have mages on hand to prevent otherwise undetectable astral snooping. I see little in the way of interesting stories that are told through astral projection.

Spirits won't be able to move out of LOS or use powers on anything not in LOS of the mage (at the time of the order).
While spirits are very powerful in themselves, they are largely ok - but their ability to ambush just seems too much, and the ability keep summoning them on someone that can't fight back. The team can hunker down, and the mage can serially summon spirits at the opposition. By keeping them in LOS, they can still apply their versatile abilities, but the mage needs to put himself out there.
I'm on the fence about allowing Search, but I'm probably letting it stay in.

These are major changes. I haven't thought them through completely, but they seem to adress the worst issues I've had with magic.

Anyone want to brainstorm this or play devil's advocate?
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Traul
post Aug 5 2010, 08:27 AM
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QUOTE (Smokeskin @ Aug 5 2010, 09:48 AM) *
Spirits won't be able to move out of LOS or use powers on anything not in LOS of the mage (at the time of the order).
While spirits are very powerful in themselves, they are largely ok - but their ability to ambush just seems too much, and the ability keep summoning them on someone that can't fight back. The team can hunker down, and the mage can serially summon spirits at the opposition. By keeping them in LOS, they can still apply their versatile abilities, but the mage needs to put himself out there.
I'm on the fence about allowing Search, but I'm probably letting it stay in.

Are you removing the remote services altogether or does this only apply to normal services?
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Smokeskin
post Aug 5 2010, 08:31 AM
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QUOTE (Traul @ Aug 5 2010, 10:27 AM) *
Are you removing the remote services altogether or does this only apply to normal services?


It stays, but with the LOS limitation for orders. If the mage can see the sammie, he can order the spirit to stick with him and conceal him.
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Redcrow
post Aug 5 2010, 10:56 AM
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I remember while running 2e I enforced a houserule that Mages had to be inside a Hermetic Circle and Shamans had to be inside a Medicine Lodge in order to Astrally Project. This eliminated all jumping into Astral at the spur of the moment during a run. Either the Mage/Shaman spent the entire run in Astral or they spent the entire run in the physical world with the rest of the team. It was almost always the latter.

If you wanted to limit things further you could have the distance a Mage/Shaman could travel on the Astral related to the Force of the Circle/Lodge. Sort of like a Magical "Signal" rating.
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Ascalaphus
post Aug 5 2010, 11:34 AM
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Hmm. I personally do like stuff like astral projection. I also think mages should be able to summon spirits on the astral, and take them with him. But I don't like mages projecting and them spamming an area with materializingspirits.

So what about if spirits can only materialize near a mage's physical body?

The idea about "signal ranges" is interesting too, especially for how far mages can go.

Another way to put a brake on spur-of-the-moment astral projection is simply to increase the time it takes to leave/enter your body, to say 1 minute. Being effectively paralyzed for a minute in hostile environment is pretty scary.
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Dakka Dakka
post Aug 5 2010, 11:45 AM
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QUOTE (Smokeskin @ Aug 5 2010, 09:48 AM) *
I don't like stopping to have a player do astral recon while everyone else sits by. I don't like having to ward, spirit patrol or have mages on hand to prevent otherwise undetectable astral snooping. I see little in the way of interesting stories that are told through astral projection.
Why do you feel the need to stop mages from doing astral recon? Do you feel this need for riggers sending in their drones, or for hackers who take over the sites surveillance equipment? Unless you oppose them as well they can run just as unchecked as the projecting mage.

QUOTE (Smokeskin @ Aug 5 2010, 09:48 AM) *
While spirits are very powerful in themselves, they are largely ok - but their ability to ambush just seems too much, and the ability keep summoning them on someone that can't fight back. The team can hunker down, and the mage can serially summon spirits at the opposition. By keeping them in LOS, they can still apply their versatile abilities, but the mage needs to put himself out there.
The spirit has the ability to use to types of ambush. He can materialize out of sight and lie in ambush mundanely, as such he is no worse than another character lying in ambush. Or he can materialize right next to the target(s) to attack them. If the spirit does the latter, it will probably get a couple of rounds into the face before it can attack. It takes a complex action to materialize.
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Ascalaphus
post Aug 5 2010, 01:01 PM
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QUOTE (Dakka Dakka @ Aug 5 2010, 01:45 PM) *
The spirit has the ability to use to types of ambush. He can materialize out of sight and lie in ambush mundanely, as such he is no worse than another character lying in ambush. Or he can materialize right next to the target(s) to attack them. If the spirit does the latter, it will probably get a couple of rounds into the face before it can attack. It takes a complex action to materialize.


I think what Smokeskin meant wasn't precisely ambush.. the trick of a mage astrally projecting to a distant enemy's location, then summoning spirits to materialize there. While the mage continues watching from the astral plane, enemies get attacked by spirit after spirit. The contrast with a rigger is that you can keep out drones with walls and a perimeter, while anti-magic barriers are way harder to get by.
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Smokeskin
post Aug 5 2010, 01:34 PM
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QUOTE (Dakka Dakka @ Aug 5 2010, 01:45 PM) *
Why do you feel the need to stop mages from doing astral recon? Do you feel this need for riggers sending in their drones, or for hackers who take over the sites surveillance equipment? Unless you oppose them as well they can run just as unchecked as the projecting mage.


Riggers and hackers are naturally countered - standard physical and matrix security counter them. To counter astral, I need patrolling spirits and wards. That strikes me as unrealistic for a lot of places. Patrolling spirits also plays hell on attempts at physical infiltration.
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Smokeskin
post Aug 5 2010, 01:36 PM
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QUOTE (Ascalaphus @ Aug 5 2010, 03:01 PM) *
I think what Smokeskin meant wasn't precisely ambush.. the trick of a mage astrally projecting to a distant enemy's location, then summoning spirits to materialize there. While the mage continues watching from the astral plane, enemies get attacked by spirit after spirit. The contrast with a rigger is that you can keep out drones with walls and a perimeter, while anti-magic barriers are way harder to get by.


And, riggers have a limited supply of drones and they are costly - he can't be reckless with them. The mage can pretty much just keep on summoning, only limited by the few boxes of drain that slip by now and then.
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Ascalaphus
post Aug 5 2010, 01:39 PM
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QUOTE (Smokeskin @ Aug 5 2010, 03:36 PM) *
And, riggers have a limited supply of drones and they are costly - he can't be reckless with them. The mage can pretty much just keep on summoning, only limited by the few boxes of drain that slip by now and then.


And vague risks of getting a Spirit Bane NQ.
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Dakka Dakka
post Aug 5 2010, 02:14 PM
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Astral intrusion is a lot less dangerous for the corp than physical intrusion. The intruder can't steal anything, he can't even copy any data. Even without Awakened in the security team the corp can do a lot against astral intrusion. There are several awakened plants which work as permanent wards, even enough of normal plants can work as visibility modifier for astral entities. They can outfit their guards with SnS ammunition, which can even be used by the PR department to show what a friendly corporation they are. Perimeter defense can be done by awakened critters, depending on the budget even chromed ones.

@Spirit Spam: It takes a complex action to summon the spirit, a simple one to command it, and the spirit needs another complex action to materialize. At best the spirit can act on the third IP. This should be enough to get magical backup.

As in real life corps will calculate if paying for magical support is worth the added security. If they judge it's not, then they will be vulnerable to magical attack. as simple as that. Chalk it up to cost of doing business or cringe in fear of the evil mages. That's just the way the world works in SR.
There are a lot of real life examples where paying a bit more in security would have saved a lot in the long run.

I'm guessing that you, Smokeskin, are planning to run a low-level campaign. I such a context the awakened tend to get a greater power boost in comparison to the mundane runners. If this is the case just ask your players not to make MAG 6 Power Focus 4 summoners. Robbing a liquor store or similar will be pretty easy that way, but mundane professionals shouldn't have much of a problem either.
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Ascalaphus
post Aug 5 2010, 02:23 PM
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I'm not so sure about those plant-wards and bacterial wards. One materializing spirit with Sterilize or Ignite could dispose of them. Sure, if you have magical backup, "astral siege" won't work, but that still leaves anyone without a magician on retainer in big trouble.

As for dangers.. yes, physical intrusion enables theft, but a materializing spirit can achieve effective sabotage and assassination.
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Smokeskin
post Aug 5 2010, 02:24 PM
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QUOTE (Redcrow @ Aug 5 2010, 12:56 PM) *
I remember while running 2e I enforced a houserule that Mages had to be inside a Hermetic Circle and Shamans had to be inside a Medicine Lodge in order to Astrally Project. This eliminated all jumping into Astral at the spur of the moment during a run. Either the Mage/Shaman spent the entire run in Astral or they spent the entire run in the physical world with the rest of the team. It was almost always the latter.


This sounds very interesting. How did you think it worked? When they did use projection, did you feel it added to the story? Or could you just as well have left it out? My main concern with leaving it out completely is to hit some snag that could and should be resolved with projection.
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Dakka Dakka
post Aug 5 2010, 02:39 PM
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QUOTE (Ascalaphus @ Aug 5 2010, 04:23 PM) *
but that still leaves anyone without a magician on retainer in big trouble.
That's part of the game IMHO. In real life, anyone who doesn't have a lock on his door practically invites thieves in.

QUOTE (Ascalaphus @ Aug 5 2010, 04:23 PM) *
As for dangers.. yes, physical intrusion enables theft, but a materializing spirit can achieve effective sabotage and assassination.
And materialized spirits can be dealt with physically.
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Smokeskin
post Aug 5 2010, 03:06 PM
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QUOTE (Dakka Dakka @ Aug 5 2010, 04:14 PM) *
As in real life corps will calculate if paying for magical support is worth the added security. If they judge it's not, then they will be vulnerable to magical attack. as simple as that. Chalk it up to cost of doing business or cringe in fear of the evil mages. That's just the way the world works in SR.
There are a lot of real life examples where paying a bit more in security would have saved a lot in the long run.


I see what you mean, but I guess my point is I feel that sufficient magic protection is mostly unrealistic, there's nothing gained storywise by having facilities open to magical intrusion, in fact it often leaves the GM without surprise options, projection leaves the other players behind. I don't see the point, I see


QUOTE (Dakka Dakka @ Aug 5 2010, 04:14 PM) *
I'm guessing that you, Smokeskin, are planning to run a low-level campaign. I such a context the awakened tend to get a greater power boost in comparison to the mundane runners. If this is the case just ask your players not to make MAG 6 Power Focus 4 summoners. Robbing a liquor store or similar will be pretty easy that way, but mundane professionals shouldn't have much of a problem either.


No, this is standard level. I just don't have mages running around everywhere.
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Ascalaphus
post Aug 5 2010, 03:23 PM
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QUOTE (Dakka Dakka @ Aug 5 2010, 04:39 PM) *
That's part of the game IMHO. In real life, anyone who doesn't have a lock on his door practically invites thieves in.


This is more like people walking through your walls unless you have an expensive engineer on retainer.

QUOTE (Dakka Dakka @ Aug 5 2010, 04:39 PM) *
And materialized spirits can be dealt with physically.


That depends. Hit and run tactics are easy for spirits; materialize, take out a lone guard, disappear. Materialize, burn down some machinery, disappear. In any large-scale facility, you can't really defend against that without ludicrous numbers of guards and at the risk of damaging your facility with stray bullets.
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Irion
post Aug 5 2010, 03:49 PM
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The first thing which comes to mind are Wards. They are quite usefull.
But still they are not easy to get.

Casting time: One Hour per Point of Force
Duration: Week per hit of willpower+magic (teamwork possible)
Drain: Force.

This means: Duration about 3-4 weeks
Force: About 4-5 or the duration is just too long and the drain is becoming critical. (There is always the possibility to glitch. And 7 physical means severe damage)

Spirits higher then force 3 or 4 are close to impossible to bind without risk.
If you get a force 5 spirit using Edge against binding you are facing 15 dices. Getting about 5-7 hits avarage. But 10 are fairly possible.
10 hits means a drain of 20! Even if you use Edge to resist the drain the spirit will break free becaue you are getting knocked out.

Spirit patroles are also not such a no-brainer. Maybe Force 3. But this just gives an Astral perception pool of 6. If the mage has some infiltration is just walking by.
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Dakka Dakka
post Aug 5 2010, 04:36 PM
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QUOTE (Smokeskin @ Aug 5 2010, 05:06 PM) *
I see what you mean, but I guess my point is I feel that sufficient magic protection is mostly unrealistic, there's nothing gained storywise by having facilities open to magical intrusion, in fact it often leaves the GM without surprise options, projection leaves the other players behind.

No surprise? Ever thought about all the differences between astral and physical perception? All glass for instance is opaque and you can't read anything. Manifesting does not help with that as it only makes you visible, it does not grant the mage physical senses.
Astral scouting does not leave the others anymore behind than the hacker, who uses VR.
Is this a preemptive ruling, or did you have problems with projecting mages in the past? If the latter is the case just talk to your players.

QUOTE (Smokeskin @ Aug 5 2010, 05:06 PM) *
No, this is standard level. I just don't have mages running around everywhere.
Not my kind of game then.

QUOTE (Ascalaphus @ Aug 5 2010, 05:23 PM) *
This is more like people walking through your walls unless you have an expensive engineer on retainer.
Most burglars have a screwdriver and get into non-reinforced locks/doors quite easily. Now imagine someone who specifically targets a certain building and brings more suitable equipment. Either you improve security or you will be robbed pretty easily.


QUOTE (Ascalaphus @ Aug 5 2010, 05:23 PM) *
That depends. Hit and run tactics are easy for spirits; materialize, take out a lone guard, disappear. Materialize, burn down some machinery, disappear. In any large-scale facility, you can't really defend against that without ludicrous numbers of guards and at the risk of damaging your facility with stray bullets.
Single guards are just as easy to dispatch by mundane assailants. Teams of two, where one always is delaying his action will do wonders against spirits dropping on them.
Sabotage is a problem, I agree, but a hacker or, god forbid, a technomancer could probably probably do the same thing from his home. At least to me sabotage is not the objective of choice in the corporate wars. Why destroy something, when you can buy or steal it. While Spirits are intelligent, they probably don't have the expertise to temporarily disable machinery. Even if the mage does, he will have problems describing it successfully from the astral plane.
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Ascalaphus
post Aug 5 2010, 05:24 PM
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QUOTE (Irion @ Aug 5 2010, 05:49 PM) *
...


All those measures require a magician, and a skilled one at that. To really bring a marauding summoner-projector to a halt, you need an actual magician; the rest just delays and warns you that an attack is happening, but it can't really stop it.

The problem is that magicians are supposed to be rare, and not all of them are security mages. Which means that a lot of valuable locations won't be guarded by magicians; only wealthy corps can afford impressive magical security. A lot of the other enemies a PC runner team (which has a magician in most cases) comes up against, doesn't have magicians. Nor do they all have the opportunity to entrench themselves in a manatech fortress; go-gangs need to travel around, which makes most ordinary solutions very hard.



Dakka: the thing is, you can buy good locks without too much trouble, but a magician isn't like a burlar. Burglars can't infiltrate invisibly and through the walls. If you spot them, you can shoot them. Magicians, even if you find them, can escape so fast you can't really catch them.
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Smokeskin
post Aug 5 2010, 05:43 PM
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QUOTE (Ascalaphus @ Aug 5 2010, 07:24 PM) *
The problem is that magicians are supposed to be rare, and not all of them are security mages. Which means that a lot of valuable locations won't be guarded by magicians; only wealthy corps can afford impressive magical security.


This is the heart of the problem. Mage frequency. Another solution would be to just up the number of mages.

You can get people to do wards for 100Y per hour. At 160 hours per month, that's 16,000Y per month, and with transport time, meetings, etc., these guys are probably only clocking 75% of their time as billable, so that's 12,000Y of income. Say half of that goes to the company, the rest as salary. That's 6,000Y for the mage in salary per month, after taxes he's less than middle lifestyle. If that's all it takes to hire a mage, then they're maybe not so rare.

And what sorts of jobs can mages get anyway? Outside of security and health care, they don't seem to have that much application (the passage in Street Magic about it being cheaper to have mages do special effects than produce them virtually, I'm just ignoring that).
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post Aug 5 2010, 07:22 PM
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QUOTE (Smokeskin @ Aug 5 2010, 03:48 AM) *
I'm soon going to start with a new group, and I'm thinking about a major change: keep more or less everything LOS. UWB radar and Clairvoyance spells will be gone, but more importantly:

When mages project, anything out of LOS of his physical body that is not dual natured or magical is so dark and indistinct it can't be identified. As far as the mundane world goes, he can find his way around, but no more than that.
I don't like stopping to have a player do astral recon while everyone else sits by. I don't like having to ward, spirit patrol or have mages on hand to prevent otherwise undetectable astral snooping. I see little in the way of interesting stories that are told through astral projection.

Spirits won't be able to move out of LOS or use powers on anything not in LOS of the mage (at the time of the order).
While spirits are very powerful in themselves, they are largely ok - but their ability to ambush just seems too much, and the ability keep summoning them on someone that can't fight back. The team can hunker down, and the mage can serially summon spirits at the opposition. By keeping them in LOS, they can still apply their versatile abilities, but the mage needs to put himself out there.
I'm on the fence about allowing Search, but I'm probably letting it stay in.

These are major changes. I haven't thought them through completely, but they seem to adress the worst issues I've had with magic.

Anyone want to brainstorm this or play devil's advocate?


You may find that it's convenient for the opposition to have access to astral projection at times. To avoid hamstringing yourself, perhaps you could just make astral projection a metapower
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Redcrow
post Aug 6 2010, 09:49 AM
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QUOTE (Smokeskin @ Aug 5 2010, 03:24 PM) *
This sounds very interesting. How did you think it worked? When they did use projection, did you feel it added to the story? Or could you just as well have left it out? My main concern with leaving it out completely is to hit some snag that could and should be resolved with projection.



I thought it worked very well. Requiring Magician characters to be inside a Hermetic Circle or Medicine Lodge made Astral Projection seem a little more ritualistic in flavor which I really liked. Also, because this limitation usually meant they would handle any Astral recon during the legwork/planning portion of a run I never felt pressured to hurry things along and get them back to where the rest of the group was standing around geared up and ready to go but patiently waiting for the Mage to return to their body and report. So I felt like my descriptions of what they discovered during their Astral excursions tended to be more thorough and descriptive because I didn't feel the need to rush through it. A Magician could still Astrally Perceive during a run if need be, but I don't recall a single situation in which Astral Projection was required to resolve it. Afterall, what would happen if the group didn't have a Magician capable of Astral Projection.

I didn't use the Rating of the Circle/Lodge as a "Signal Rating" to determine how far they could project, so I can't comment on how well that would work or not. That was just sort of an afterthought.

Honestly, I would have no problems whatsoever dumping anything and everything Astral for a game. I think excluding all aspects of the Astral could actually open up some possibilities for the GM and eliminate the need to arbitrarily resort to cheap tricks like Astral Barriers, FAB, etc. in situations where it doesn't make good sense for them to be there just to preserve the story.

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Mordinvan
post Aug 6 2010, 11:42 PM
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QUOTE (Smokeskin @ Aug 5 2010, 11:43 AM) *
You can get people to do wards for 100Y per hour. At 160 hours per month, that's 16,000Y per month, and with transport time, meetings, etc., these guys are probably only clocking 75% of their time as billable, so that's 12,000Y of income. Say half of that goes to the company, the rest as salary. That's 6,000Y for the mage in salary per month, after taxes he's less than middle lifestyle. If that's all it takes to hire a mage, then they're maybe not so rare.

Most awakened can make wards last I checked, which means that's a full 1% of the population unless I'm missread the section.
edit: sorry just checked, its any awakened with astral perception. Its likely the only people doing this is awakened who can't cast, as awakened who can would be too valuable elsewhere.

QUOTE
And what sorts of jobs can mages get anyway? Outside of security and health care, they don't seem to have that much application (the passage in Street Magic about it being cheaper to have mages do special effects than produce them virtually, I'm just ignoring that).

Depending on the mage's tallent, they can actually do just about anything a mundane can do, with spells like repair, fashion, ect. they can engage in all kinds of jobs, and generally do them better then mundanes. Imagine a few mages with some illusion spells, and a few orgy spells to liven up a crowd. Have a mage help out with the special effects of live action plays, or add a fear spell or 2 to liven up the audience during key moments.
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Shinobi Killfist
post Aug 7 2010, 12:04 AM
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I have nothing against your house rules per se, but I suspect with them in play no one will play full mages in stead they will play mystic adepts. You took out 90% of astral recon, so you just have glorified astral perception. I'll go with getting access to physical adept powers since astral worries are much smaller now as well.
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Mongoose
post Aug 7 2010, 01:11 AM
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Can ghouls (who are not otherwise magical) and other sentient dual natures do warding? Seems like that would be a good way for a group of non-feral ghouls to make a living, especially as it means working during off hours out of site of any other workers). Ghouls would work cheap, no?
(Even better if non sentient duals can do warding- they'd probably ward their lairs to prevent astral ambushes while they slept!)

I'm also pretty sure spirits can do warding, which means anybody who can conjure can throw up a LOT of wards.
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