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> Character Improvement for an..., ...surged Black Mage....HELP^^
Machiavelli
post Sep 13 2011, 10:59 AM
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Hi Buddies,

After a very weak character creation and the choice for the most karma-intense character class possible, i am now at a point where i really have to decide where my next karma points are going to. My char. is looking like this at the moment (190 karma heavy):

Race: Elf
Class: Mystic-Adept

Body: 3 (6) [sustained increase body spell - rating 3 spell-lock]
Strenght: 1
Agility: 2
Reaction: 2 ( 8 ) quickened increase reaction spell

Charisma: 7
Logic: 4
Intuition: 5
Willpower: 5

Initiative: 13 (16)+ 4 actions [quickened increase initiative spell]
Magic: 7 (6 on magic, 1 for adept powers)
Edge: 5
Initiate grade: 3

Metatechniques:
Masking
extended masking
quickening

Mentor spirit: Dark Mother (+2 on combat and heal-spells) / (Charisma-Willpower (3) test to avoid a minor quarrel become a major clash)

Adept powers:
Linguistics
Astral perception (gesture-geas)

Qualities:
Linguistics
Mystic-Adept
Mentor spirit
College education

Negative qualities:
Critter spook (or how it is called) (Shadow-spirits)
SINer (criminal)
Sensitive system
Allergy (Mycoprotein) moderate


Skills:
Influence group: 1 (spec. negotiation-bargaining)
Spellcasting: 5 (spec. combat)
Counterspelling: 5 (spec. combat)
Summoning: 5 (spec. fire)
Binding: 4 (spec. fire)
Infiltration: 1
Shadowing: 1
Bladed Weapons: 1 (for the claws)
Perception: 4
Assensing: 1
Athletics skill group: 1
- gymastics: 2 (spec. jumping)
Arcana: 1
Astral combat: 1
Enchanting: 2 (spec. alchemy)

Knowledge Skills:
Magical Theory: 6
Archeology: 4
Anthropology: 4
Geology: 3
Linguistics: 2
History: 4
Art: 2

Spells:

Manabolt/Manaball
Stundbolt/Stunball
Fireball
Imp. Invis.
Physical Mask
Detect Life
Influence
Mob-Mind
Levitation
Heal
Prophylaxe
Increase Reaction / Initiative / Body

…and some more i canīt remember right now.

Surge Powers:
- fangs
- claws
- natural poison (cyanide)
- dermal alteration

Surge (negative):
- extravagant eyes, skin, hair.


I have a talismonger-shop, a rating 6 "library", an unbound rating 6 spell lock (illusion), an unbound power-focus rating 3 and spell formulas for ALL known spells. I also have access to a rating 3 domain where the shop is located at the moment.

So I really have a very good basis to go on, but I really cannot decide. There are so many building-sites and so little karma. I am interested in an ally but I donīt know if the immense karma-costs equal the benefit. I could think of binding the power-focus (to finally have more than 13 dice for my primary skill) but as soon as I step into the next rating 3 background count it is useless again. So I thought about raising magic, but I should also learn some spells I still lack and quicken them (e.g. combat sense, deflect or else). During the last run cleansing and filtering metatechniques would have been handy….and so on and on and on. I also have a lot of skills at a near-useless rating, but raising attributes is more efficient. So I really donīt know what to do.

Please give me some advice what step would make most sense, gives most benefit etc.


Edit: missings spells are clairvoyance and nutrition. Nothing important.^^
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Makki
post Sep 13 2011, 11:12 AM
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Influence, Assensing, Infiltration, Strength, Agi

Bump all Languages learned via the adept power to 4, so the Linguist quality can bump them to 4(6)
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Machiavelli
post Sep 13 2011, 12:38 PM
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So the next logical step is to raise all these skills and attributes and then all my language skills (which are a lot)?
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UmaroVI
post Sep 13 2011, 12:57 PM
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I don't think I agree with Makki. You should focus on getting things that are cost-efficient and boost a LOT of your abilities, not on buying up bits and pieces of individual things.

Languages at 1 is fine. You only have Influence 1 at the moment, so it's not a drawback. As you eventually get more influence it may be worth raising some of the languages, but really I think it's inefficient to do either; you have 8 dice with social skills at the moment and that's fine as a secondary schtick. If you want better social skills, getting more PP and picking up Kinesics would be cheaper and better.

Here's where I would go:
0) That infiltration check is sad. Specialize in Urban (since I assume that like most runners, that is where most of your Infiltrating takes place). The most efficient way for you to boost it is going to be to learn Increase Agility and pick up a Sustaining Focus; it may be worth buying 1 more rank in it as well. Don't buy up your agility; you just don't get enough use out of it. However, you may want to skip this and just rely on magic, since you have a force 6 Illusion sustaining focus sitting around. It kind of depends on your game - but you may well get MORE mileage out of Physical Mask + good social skills than ninjutsu.
1) Bind that force 6 Illusion focus, and use it frequently to sustain Improved Invisibility on yourself. You may well also get good use out of Physical Masking yourself as someone who doesn't look like a magician. You might delay this until after 2 and 3 below; it depends, I guess.
2) Find yourself a magical group to join. You have good social skills to find one and a decent Arcana check to join. This will make all future initiations cheaper and it will pay off. It's also probably useful in general to belong to a society rather than go it alone.
3) Initiate three more times for Cleansing, Invoking, and Centering. Maybe not in this order, but these are all really good metamagics that synergize strongly with your current abilities. You're a quite good binder, you have access to a Domain, and with Invoking and Centering you can reliably bind some very powerful spirits...and with Charisma 7, you can have a bunch of them on standby for when things go bad. Centering is more drain and it scales with initiate grade. Cleansing is obvious and if you have Background Count problems a lot it will help.
4) At this point, I would start trying to get some good foci.

With power foci, go big or go home. You can only have one, and you pay full price to replace it. So don't bond that force 3 power focus unless you are VERY sure that you will never regret it and want a force 5 one later.

As far as sustaining foci go, it really does depend on what you want to focus on. I could see a Force 5 Health focus, and learn Increase Intuition - that will help a lot of your abilities.
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Makki
post Sep 13 2011, 01:30 PM
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QUOTE (UmaroVI @ Sep 13 2011, 02:57 PM) *
I don't think I agree with Makki. You should focus on getting things that are cost-efficient and boost a LOT of your abilities, not on buying up bits and pieces of individual things.


I'm more a flavor/down-to-earth guy. My chars are beyond average metahumans aka shadowrunners first (recognizable by having stats that get the job done) and field-specialists second. So, if you're not throwing decent dice in Infiltration, Perception, fighting, talking, you're not a shadowrunner imho. Sure you can get most things done by circumventing the obvious. Cost-efficiency is for starting characters and power gamers. Languages for example. He will obviously have a lot at lvl 1. There HAS to be one, the character likes and will try to improve (which costs no karma cost with the help of Nanites btw).
Agi. This guy has the fine motor skills of a troll. He's the least agile and least strong Elf in the world. He should be sitting behind a desk worrying when his nurse will show up, not running the streets against megacorps. He can do magic, but he will fail in everyday life like dropping books, playing catch with kids, opening a glass of pickles.
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Mardrax
post Sep 13 2011, 04:14 PM
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QUOTE (Makki @ Sep 13 2011, 03:30 PM) *
This guy has the fine motor skills of a troll. He's the least agile and least strong Elf in the world. He should be sitting behind a desk worrying when his nurse will show up, not running the streets against megacorps. He can do magic, but he will fail in everyday life like dropping books, playing catch with kids, opening a glass of pickles.

Sounds like the stereotypical wizard you'll encounter in some other games. I don't see the problem. As long as he can use magic to cope with the problems that causes in his professional endeavours, any team should embrace him like the high-powered magician he is, and take those limitations for granted. He's rather pink mohawkish with all that SURGEing anyway.
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Irion
post Sep 13 2011, 04:40 PM
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Could you please give us a short work around about the houserules you are using?

It is hard to suggest something, if you do not know what is out there.
How do quickend spells interact with wards, for example.
As it stands your char is unable to get through any ward without sounding the alarm. (Depending on the Force of the Ward and the Force of your spells, the spells might even get crushed.

Since you have allready taken this hit, one of the best things would be a quickend combat sense spell.
Even only 7 hits (force 7) would help a lot.

QUOTE
So I really have a very good basis to go on, but I really cannot decide. There are so many building-sites and so little karma. I am interested in an ally but I donīt know if the immense karma-costs equal the benefit.

The higher you go, the better the price to bang ratio.
Force 1-3: Waste of Karma. (8-24)
Force 4-5: Nice to have but quite expensive for what they offer. (32-40)
Force 6-8: A good deal of power per Karma (48-64)
Force 9: The highest a sane GM would ever allow, I guess. (64)
If your group is ok with invoking ally spirits....
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Neraph
post Sep 13 2011, 05:59 PM
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QUOTE (Machiavelli @ Sep 13 2011, 05:59 AM) *
[ Spoiler ]

Spirits. Ally or simply bound. With some bound F6 or higher spirits you can get Aid Sorcery and get another 6 dice for Spellcasting Tests. You have a 7 Charisma - you should have one spirit for each of your spell types and another 2 for whatever you want.

Maybe a Spirit Pact, like a Power Pact or a Magic Pact.
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Traul
post Sep 13 2011, 07:49 PM
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QUOTE (Makki @ Sep 13 2011, 02:30 PM) *
He can do magic, but he will fail in everyday life like dropping books, playing catch with kids, opening a glass of pickles.
Isn't that what spirits are for? (IMG:style_emoticons/default/grinbig.gif)
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Machiavelli
post Sep 13 2011, 08:33 PM
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QUOTE (Irion @ Sep 13 2011, 05:40 PM) *
Could you please give us a short work around about the houserules you are using?

It is hard to suggest something, if you do not know what is out there.
How do quickend spells interact with wards, for example.
As it stands your char is unable to get through any ward without sounding the alarm. (Depending on the Force of the Ward and the Force of your spells, the spells might even get crushed.

Since you have allready taken this hit, one of the best things would be a quickend combat sense spell.
Even only 7 hits (force 7) would help a lot.


The higher you go, the better the price to bang ratio.
Force 1-3: Waste of Karma. (8-24)
Force 4-5: Nice to have but quite expensive for what they offer. (32-40)
Force 6-8: A good deal of power per Karma (48-64)
Force 9: The highest a sane GM would ever allow, I guess. (64)
If your group is ok with invoking ally spirits....

Basically we donīt have much houserules. Our GM strictly sticks to the books and the rules in them. All the optional rules are only used if they sound fair and are an advantage over the basic ones. We declined the use of possession spirits and traditions, because it seems to be overpowered from a "cost and result" point of view. We tried it with a starting character and ItnW and nearly maxed physical attributes from the beginning was too much "uber" for the GM.

Regarding sustained, quicked or spell-locked spells wards donīt interfere as long as you mask them with sustained masking. We interpret the rules more like they was in SR3 where the wording was a bit more clear than in SR4. This was the only reason i picked this metatechnique so early. Sustained spells are all force 6 because i still have some use left even if i step into BC. Also 6 was the max. i could mask. Now that i am proceeding in magic as an attribute, i would start to cast higher level magic for the next quickening-ritual.

Ally spirits are fine (also for the GM) and i am playing with the thought of summoning one at moderate level (probably 4) and give him some useful forms like a motorcycle for transport, a raven for surveilance and a male human for support when i have to go "in". If i know the rules right, he can grant "aid sorcery" for every category, so he would be a power focus and a teammate at the same time, right?

The power focus is a very powerful tool i am really thinking about too, but force 3 also seemed a little bit low for me. Besides that i donīt like to be dependend on item that could get lost or stolen. Force 6 would be powerful enough to ignore that feeling but if there is a better solution, i would go for it.

Right at them moment i think casting and quickening "combat sense" looks like the best ration to keep the char. alive until he earned more karma for the next improvement. But before that i would have to initiate to keep it masked. After that i would raise magic again and quicken "improved intuition" or "charisma". The first would increase initiative and perception (also astral perception) while the other one would raise the drain-stats and social skills. See the problem?^^ All is soooo expensive.
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Irion
post Sep 13 2011, 08:56 PM
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QUOTE
Regarding sustained, quicked or spell-locked spells wards donīt interfere as long as you mask them with sustained masking. We interpret the rules more like they was in SR3 where the wording was a bit more clear than in SR4.

So, yes. Combat sence would be the way to go. Or increase attribute (one of your drain attributes). (This is what I meant with possible houserules. I guess most groups handle it different)

QUOTE
The power focus is a very powerful tool i am really thinking about too, but force 3 also seemed a little bit low for me. Besides that i donīt like to be dependend on item that could get lost or stolen. Force 6 would be powerful enough to ignore that feeling but if there is a better solution, i would go for it.

I would prefere an ally spirit to an power focus. (ally spirits get stronger and more vertile the higher the force. Thats two for on, so to speak.
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Neraph
post Sep 14 2011, 06:24 AM
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QUOTE (Machiavelli @ Sep 13 2011, 03:33 PM) *
Right at them moment i think casting and quickening "combat sense" looks like the best ration to keep the char. alive until he earned more karma for the next improvement. But before that i would have to initiate to keep it masked. After that i would raise magic again and quicken "improved intuition" or "charisma". The first would increase initiative and perception (also astral perception) while the other one would raise the drain-stats and social skills. See the problem?^^ All is soooo expensive.

Every mage build I have has the starting Drain Stats at 4 and the Increase (Attribute) for both drain stats. They hit augmented max and I eat a -4(-2) Sustaining Penalty with the aid of Psyche. It's not that bad.
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Machiavelli
post Sep 14 2011, 06:36 AM
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Thanks for all the replies. My short-term-goals are right now:

Finding a magical group, then...

1) Initiation - Filtering
2) Learing "Combat Sense"
3) Quickening "Combat Sense"
4) Initiation - Ally conjuration
5) Ally spirit

This alone should be around 100 karma, further planning would be too optimistic.^^
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Machiavelli
post Sep 14 2011, 06:38 AM
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QUOTE (Neraph @ Sep 14 2011, 07:24 AM) *
Every mage build I have has the starting Drain Stats at 4 and the Increase (Attribute) for both drain stats. They hit augmented max and I eat a -4(-2) Sustaining Penalty with the aid of Psyche. It's not that bad.

How high is your dicepool for spellcasting and all the other important things like dodge etc.?
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Makki
post Sep 14 2011, 06:40 AM
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QUOTE (Machiavelli @ Sep 14 2011, 08:36 AM) *
Thanks for all the replies. My short-term-goals are right now:

Finding a magical group, then...

1) Initiation - Filtering
2) Learing "Combat Sense"
3) Quickening "Combat Sense"
4) Initiation - Ally conjuration
5) Ally spirit

This alone should be around 100 karma, further planning would be too optimistic.^^


hm, I think I won't fit into your group *g*
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Machiavelli
post Sep 14 2011, 07:03 AM
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Relax, i am the only freak.^^ If you are a normal SR-player with no ambitions for an "vampire-rating 14 initiate-overlord" with an army of ghouls, level 20 spirits and spirit pacts from here to seattle, you are GMīs-darling. (IMG:style_emoticons/default/wink.gif)
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Neraph
post Sep 15 2011, 05:09 AM
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QUOTE (Machiavelli @ Sep 14 2011, 01:38 AM) *
How high is your dicepool for spellcasting and all the other important things like dodge etc.?

Base dicepool of 20 for Spellcasting, which I can raise by a variable amount by getting a Bound Spirit. That lets me assume 5 successes for spells I cast. You walk your attributes up: 8 dice to resist drain, so you increase Wil a bit, then you increase drainstat a bit more, then increase Wil a bit more, so on until both are at Max (this guy would be at 24 dice for drain). Now you can comfortably cast higher force spells, and cast them more often without taking drain.

On Psyche:
Assensing 4 (I may want to relook this...)
Counterspelling (Combat) 16(18)
Spellcasting 18
Blades (Spears) 12(14[Personalized Grip 15])

He has no dodge as he won't actually Full Dodge (he makes himself hard to see instead - spirits with Concealment, Combat Sense, decent Rea to start with, ect) and in melee he uses his Spear skill.

For ranged he has LoS spells, for melee he has a spear. He has 8/8 armor (street legal).

The scary part though is that he can use Compulsion, Fear, and Influence with 24 dice while sustaining those spells. For an additional -1 dicepool penalty to all the above he works at 4 IP also. For another -1 he can get ~5 hits on Combat Sense.

When he needs to, he can additionally get +1 Bod, +2 Agi, +4 Rea, +4 Str, +2 Int, +1 Log, +4 Wil, and +3 Perception all with no sustaining modifiers, at least 10 times "out of the box."

Oh, and he can realistically fly at Mach 4.993 or so.

EDIT:
QUOTE (Machiavelli @ Sep 14 2011, 02:03 AM) *
Relax, i am the only freak.^^ If you are a normal SR-player with no ambitions for an "vampire-rating 14 initiate-overlord" with an army of ghouls, level 20 spirits and spirit pacts from here to seattle, you are GMīs-darling. (IMG:style_emoticons/default/wink.gif)

Actually that sounds weaker than my 400 BP starting character...
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Machiavelli
post Sep 15 2011, 10:51 AM
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QUOTE (Neraph @ Sep 15 2011, 06:09 AM) *
Base dicepool of 20 for Spellcasting, which I can raise by a variable amount by getting a Bound Spirit. That lets me assume 5 successes for spells I cast. You walk your attributes up: 8 dice to resist drain, so you increase Wil a bit, then you increase drainstat a bit more, then increase Wil a bit more, so on until both are at Max (this guy would be at 24 dice for drain). Now you can comfortably cast higher force spells, and cast them more often without taking drain.

On Psyche:
Assensing 4 (I may want to relook this...)
Counterspelling (Combat) 16(18)
Spellcasting 18
Blades (Spears) 12(14[Personalized Grip 15])

He has no dodge as he won't actually Full Dodge (he makes himself hard to see instead - spirits with Concealment, Combat Sense, decent Rea to start with, ect) and in melee he uses his Spear skill.

For ranged he has LoS spells, for melee he has a spear. He has 8/8 armor (street legal).

The scary part though is that he can use Compulsion, Fear, and Influence with 24 dice while sustaining those spells. For an additional -1 dicepool penalty to all the above he works at 4 IP also. For another -1 he can get ~5 hits on Combat Sense.

When he needs to, he can additionally get +1 Bod, +2 Agi, +4 Rea, +4 Str, +2 Int, +1 Log, +4 Wil, and +3 Perception all with no sustaining modifiers, at least 10 times "out of the box."

Oh, and he can realistically fly at Mach 4.993 or so.

EDIT:

Actually that sounds weaker than my 400 BP starting character...

We have to discuss. ^^

First: give me please a more detailed list how you manage this dicepools. How high is the force of the bound spirits, does it pay off the costs for binding? One time aid sorcery is one wish.....

I have magic 6, skill 5 plus spec. means right at the moment 13 dices. If i manage to get a bound spirit force 5 i reach your 18 dices. Am i on the right way?

Why can your char. use fear, compulsion and Influence? Sounds like a nosferatur for me. Correct?

I also donīt understand the modifiers for attritutes you mention. Maybe a little background information would be helpful to understand you calculations.
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Mardrax
post Sep 15 2011, 11:42 AM
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QUOTE (Machiavelli @ Sep 15 2011, 12:51 PM) *
Why can your char. use fear, compulsion and Influence? Sounds like a nosferatur for me. Correct?

I also donīt understand the modifiers for attritutes you mention. Maybe a little background information would be helpful to understand you calculations.

This smells of possession spirits. Considering it's Neraph you're talking, I feel right about 90% sure in that assumption.
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Machiavelli
post Sep 15 2011, 12:04 PM
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Possession is banned for PCīs in our game, in this case i wouldnīt have to think about it anymore.
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Neraph
post Sep 15 2011, 03:29 PM
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QUOTE (Mardrax @ Sep 15 2011, 06:42 AM) *
This smells of possession spirits. Considering it's Neraph you're talking, I feel right about 90% sure in that assumption.

Incorrect, but thank you for the compliment.

It's a trade secret (IMG:style_emoticons/default/biggrin.gif)

EDIT: Oh, his Spellcasting and Counterspelling are 4 lower temporarily.
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Tymeaus Jalynsfe...
post Sep 15 2011, 03:46 PM
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QUOTE (Neraph @ Sep 15 2011, 09:29 AM) *
Incorrect, but thank you for the compliment.

It's a trade secret (IMG:style_emoticons/default/biggrin.gif)

EDIT: Oh, his Spellcasting and Counterspelling are 4 lower temporarily.


Nosferatu should also be banned... (IMG:style_emoticons/default/smile.gif)
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Machiavelli
post Sep 15 2011, 05:57 PM
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Ok i checked your character sheet, but i still donīt get it. A mystic adept with magic 5 and astral hazing as a nosferatu. Means effectively magic 1 for spellcasting purposes, means additionally no spells above level 2 (already physical drain), real low stats and also your nosferatu abilities are nearly useless because they also rely on magic. Then pumped up with every street drug available...what about addiction? Besides that he might be acc. RAW; but no GM i know would allow him.
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Mardrax
post Sep 15 2011, 06:07 PM
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QUOTE (Machiavelli @ Sep 15 2011, 07:57 PM) *
Ok i checked your character sheet, but i still donīt get it. A mystic adept with magic 5 and astral hazing as a nosferatu. Means effectively magic 1 for spellcasting purposes, means additionally no spells above level 2 (already physical drain), real low stats and also your nosferatu abilities are nearly useless because they also rely on magic.

Wrong. Besdie the pool for spellcasting and Adept Power Points, Magic is used as a whole. Said character can cast spells up to Force 10, while suffering physical drain from Force 5 upwards. Ditto for Nosferatu Powers.
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Machiavelli
post Sep 15 2011, 06:17 PM
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In which game?

Runners Companion:
Whatever the ambient mana conditions
are, the character always stands at the heart of a Rating 4
background count (see p. 117, Street Magic) that extends a number
of meters from her body equal to her Essence; this background
count also impairs her own actions if the character is Awakened.

Street Magic:
Whether positive or negative, in game terms background
count reduces a character’s Magic attribute by its absolute value.

If background count reduces
a character’s Magic to attribute to
0 or less, he is rendered unable to
use any magical abilities within the
area. A background count-modified
Magic attribute counts for all uses
of magic, including dice pools and
limitations imposed on the Force
of spells or spirits.

At the gamemaster’s
discretion, paranormal critters
may also lose access to some of
their critter powers as a result of a
reduced Magic attribute.

Game...set...win. Thank you.
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