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> High Force (8+) Ally Spirit, Is it worth it?
The Jake
post Jan 30 2012, 01:19 AM
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Pretty self explanatory. I'm looking at my next Metamagic feat. I'm seriously considering getting a high powered ally. The fluff backstory would be an ally spirit who is an ancestor spirit (of some kind) with a smattering of modern languages/lore to be a bit more 'street savvy' (matching my character's persona). This also fits quite well with a LOT of my character's persona and resent, in game events.

Downside? It is going to cost a LOT of karma. I mean a LOT. Knowledge skills cost the same as Active Skills and I want to give this thing a few skills/powers. Am also seriously thinking of Invoking the sucker (and yes, that is legal by RAW).

So... has anyone done this? Built a huge, honking ally spirit? Is it worth it? I've seen Frank Trollman's thoughts on this and he suggests that it is, but you're going without spending any karma for quite some time and that can be a tough ride (I'm paraphrasing a bit but you get the idea). But I'd like a bit more info, differing perspectives, etc.

- J.
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Udoshi
post Jan 30 2012, 02:10 AM
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Ally spirits are awesome. The biggest - and this is a big one - thing they offer is unlimited services, including registered ones. No summoning, no drain, no binding materials - they are just on-call and really kick ass. You will also note they get one optional power per force instead of 1 per three.

Fun story. I had a shortlived (the game fell apart for OOC reasons and real life rearing its ugly head) psychic summoner/divination specialist who's spirits were patterned after elements and emotions of her own psyche.

Due to karmagen, and not wanting to make a ridiculously powerful monstrosity of a character - just a neat one - I ended up having gobs of karma left over, and ended up getting an ally spirit during creation. I had barely enough for two spirits, actually, at force 6. (It turns out if you're making a starving artist mysadept, you don't really need to spend a lot of points on money). One was a distillation of inspiration and creative essence, the other was more reason and logic, who halves of a whole.

I ended up running the trio as being nearly the same person - each with their own quirks and habits divergent of each other, despite being in constant contact with each other. (there's even a nifty metamagic that lets summoners see through the eyes of their spirits in one of the new books!)
They were going to use the runner name Graeae, for the greek crones who had to share an eye. The rest of the team was kind of baffled, and the free spirit(A samurai, who became a rollerskating ballerina package courier inspired by movies once free) on the team was kind of impressed and amused, and eventually figured out how she was doing it.


To answer your question, ally spirits are pretty awesome. If your gm is into it, they can really bring some life into a game. To help on the knowledge skills aspect, ask your GM if the spirit can benefit from Free Knowledge Skills. Due to force being used for both Int and Log, that should be enough for 6 knowledge skills at Force, which is enough to bring some life and character to the spirit.
I would suggest two guidelines while doing so: 1) No splitting those points - spirits get skills at Force, even knowledge skills. While that formula could let you get 12 skills at half force, keep with the fluff. 2) Your GM picks half of the knowledge skills to represent the NPC's growing interests - it IS a living entity, even if it must be loyal to you, and two players can often come up with something more interesting together.

I do not believe invoked ally spirits get great form powers, sadly. I recall reading about it in the faq or something. Might be worth looking into.
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The Jake
post Jan 30 2012, 02:24 AM
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QUOTE (Udoshi @ Jan 30 2012, 03:10 AM) *
Ally spirits are awesome. The biggest - and this is a big one - thing they offer is unlimited services, including registered ones. No summoning, no drain, no binding materials - they are just on-call and really kick ass. You will also note they get one optional power per force instead of 1 per three.

Fun story. I had a shortlived (the game fell apart for OOC reasons and real life rearing its ugly head) psychic summoner/divination specialist who's spirits were patterned after elements and emotions of her own psyche.

Due to karmagen, and not wanting to make a ridiculously powerful monstrosity of a character - just a neat one - I ended up having gobs of karma left over, and ended up getting an ally spirit during creation. I had barely enough for two spirits, actually, at force 6. (It turns out if you're making a starving artist mysadept, you don't really need to spend a lot of points on money). One was a distillation of inspiration and creative essence, the other was more reason and logic, who halves of a whole.

I ended up running the trio as being nearly the same person - each with their own quirks and habits divergent of each other, despite being in constant contact with each other. (there's even a nifty metamagic that lets summoners see through the eyes of their spirits in one of the new books!)
They were going to use the runner name Graeae, for the greek crones who had to share an eye. The rest of the team was kind of baffled, and the free spirit(A samurai, who became a rollerskating ballerina package courier inspired by movies once free) on the team was kind of impressed and amused, and eventually figured out how she was doing it.


To answer your question, ally spirits are pretty awesome. If your gm is into it, they can really bring some life into a game. To help on the knowledge skills aspect, ask your GM if the spirit can benefit from Free Knowledge Skills. Due to force being used for both Int and Log, that should be enough for 6 knowledge skills at Force, which is enough to bring some life and character to the spirit.
I would suggest two guidelines while doing so: 1) No splitting those points - spirits get skills at Force, even knowledge skills. While that formula could let you get 12 skills at half force, keep with the fluff. 2) Your GM picks half of the knowledge skills to represent the NPC's growing interests - it IS a living entity, even if it must be loyal to you, and two players can often come up with something more interesting together.

I do not believe invoked ally spirits get great form powers, sadly. I recall reading about it in the faq or something. Might be worth looking into.


Interesting backstory you had there. Shame it didn't pan out (IMG:style_emoticons/default/frown.gif)

My character is a young Pueblo Coyote shaman dryad who roams the PCC on a bike, never really settling in one place. He's part face, part trickster, part street gangster/smuggler wannabe. He's got close ties to the Koshari and his home tribe and torn between the two worlds - embracing modern living and all that it encompasses, or clinging to the "old ways". I wanted to create an ally who represents aspects of his "street smart" persona and wanted an ally spirit to help "remind him of the old ways" from time to time and act as his guardian and protector (hence a sufficiently high force rating).

The metamagic you are referring to is Synesthesia and funny you should say that, I was thinking of getting that one for this exact purpose too... I already have Invoking and being a high charisma Dryad, he's the spirit specialist of the group. (so the idea was Invoking, Synesthesia and Ally Spirit, in whatever order).

I will push to ask the GM on getting Knowledges as per standard chargen but I touched on this previously and asked for a discount and he said no. So I don't think he's going to give me a free ride on this one. (IMG:style_emoticons/default/frown.gif) But he may go for the idea of picking some skills himself.

BTW, I am very cognisant that this could break game balance but the GM needs to be more worried about his brother playing a Voodoun combat houngan who has learned Centering and Invoking. I'm not looking to break the game in anyway.

- J.
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UmaroVI
post Jan 30 2012, 02:28 AM
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One big thing that makes them good - unlimited Aid Sorcery.
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The Jake
post Jan 30 2012, 02:33 AM
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QUOTE (UmaroVI @ Jan 30 2012, 03:28 AM) *
One big thing that makes them good - unlimited Aid Sorcery.


Aye. My Summoning and Binding is decent but Sorcery skill group is only 3 (IMG:style_emoticons/default/frown.gif) I do not have Centering either.

- J.
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Tanegar
post Jan 30 2012, 02:39 AM
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I coulda sworn that there was an explicit prohibition on having multiple ally spirits at one time, but after going through the section on ally spirits on Street Magic, I can't find it.
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The Jake
post Jan 30 2012, 02:41 AM
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QUOTE (Tanegar @ Jan 30 2012, 03:39 AM) *
I coulda sworn that there was an explicit prohibition on having multiple ally spirits at one time, but after going through the section on ally spirits on Street Magic, I can't find it.


Yes, I noticed that too and pointed that out to the GM. I think he may have fainted at the suggestion. (IMG:style_emoticons/default/smile.gif)

No, the real inhibitor is cost. Two Force 8 ally spirits without the extras is still 128 karma.... (IMG:style_emoticons/default/rotate.gif)

EDIT: Oh, I see what you mean. Get two Force 4s for cheaper, easier, same amount of dice on Aid rolls... interesting. But I'm pretty sure you can only add dice from the one source type. Would that even be legal?

- J.
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Tanegar
post Jan 30 2012, 02:49 AM
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Force 8 is a little excessive, IMO. Force 5 is much more reasonable, and still constitutes a heavy hitter. Arthur Garrett has a Force 5 ally (scroll all the way to the right) with plenty of powers for versatility, for a cost only 20% over the base cost of your Force 8.
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The Jake
post Jan 30 2012, 03:00 AM
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Appreciate where you are coming from, but my question is not whether I should summon a Force 5 or Force 8, but rather "has anyone done it, and if so, what was your take away on it"? (E.g. was it too powerful and ruin the game, did you hate having to save up all that damn karma, did slowing your advancement relative to your fellow PCs put a damper on things, etc).

I see your point, I can do a Force 6 easily enough (GM has even said so) - but I have several ingame reasons for aiming high and my character doesn't believe in doing it by halves. He wants a guardian spirit, so that means something pretty beefy. Also, I have an Aspected Domain (recently acquired) which I can use to summon the critter at a minimum Force of 8 (+2 effective Magic rating). I also like the idea on making it a big "quest" (so to speak).

That said, IF others have tried this and can honestly say that it did limit their fun, I will happily downgrade the Force to something more sane.

cheers,

- J.
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Udoshi
post Jan 30 2012, 03:20 AM
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QUOTE (The Jake @ Jan 29 2012, 08:00 PM) *
=. Also, I have an Aspected Domain (recently acquired) which I can use to summon the critter at a minimum Force of 8 (+2 effective Magic rating). I also like the idea on making it a big "quest" (so to speak).


Aspected Domains do not work like this.
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The Jake
post Jan 30 2012, 03:28 AM
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QUOTE (Udoshi @ Jan 30 2012, 04:20 AM) *
Aspected Domains do not work like this.


I thought I was going to get all smart and tell you off but arghhh you are correct. (IMG:style_emoticons/default/nyahnyah.gif)

For some reason I thought it worked both ways but upon closer inspection you're right. It downgrades your Magic if it is not aspected to you, but if it is aspected to you it only adds a dice pool modifer - it doesn't raise your Magic rating.

Well that blows. (IMG:style_emoticons/default/frown.gif) Although it also makes Filtering far more useful.

- J.
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Udoshi
post Jan 30 2012, 04:17 AM
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Sorry (IMG:style_emoticons/default/frown.gif)

Aspected domains are still PLENTY good, and also help with drain resistance.


That being said, Ally Spirits are amazing.
Just think of them as a spirit with three times the amount of optional powers, customizable skills and powers from all your types, and, oh yeah, they are Magicians too - This means they can Manifest as well as Materialize/Possess. And they come with Banishing resistance.

Basically they're voltron spirits.
they are -expensive-, but.....

A better question is, what about your mage? What kind of tradition are you, and what's your edge?
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The Jake
post Jan 30 2012, 04:37 AM
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QUOTE (Udoshi @ Jan 30 2012, 05:17 AM) *
Sorry (IMG:style_emoticons/default/frown.gif)

Aspected domains are still PLENTY good, and also help with drain resistance.


That being said, Ally Spirits are amazing.
Just think of them as a spirit with three times the amount of optional powers, customizable skills and powers from all your types, and, oh yeah, they are Magicians too - This means they can Manifest as well as Materialize/Possess. And they come with Banishing resistance.

Basically they're voltron spirits.
they are -expensive-, but.....

A better question is, what about your mage? What kind of tradition are you, and what's your edge?


Regular shaman as defined in SR4A. I originally was looking at Voodoo or a Custom tradition but it felt too cheesy and I couldn't bring myself to do it (was going to go Posession route). We're playing in Denver so I felt a regular shaman out of the PCC was appropriate.

Edge currently 3 but probably have the karma to bump to a 4. I love my Edge. It isn't my dump stat.

- J.
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Udoshi
post Jan 30 2012, 04:51 AM
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The reason I ask about edge is because ally spirits get edge equal to their summoners, instead of Force.

This matters because they have banishing resistance.

What is ALSO worth noting is that Invoking is a Binding test. I'm not saying that you can use Banishing to strip away invoking, but rather, tecnically hits on Binding tests give a spirit more services.
Its something to bring up with your GM an figure out how you want to work it before someone tries to poof away your ally.

Obviously its in your best interests to make your ally as resistant to banishing as possible, and more edge is never a bad thing.
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The Jake
post Jan 30 2012, 05:46 AM
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QUOTE (Udoshi @ Jan 30 2012, 05:51 AM) *
The reason I ask about edge is because ally spirits get edge equal to their summoners, instead of Force.

This matters because they have banishing resistance.

What is ALSO worth noting is that Invoking is a Binding test. I'm not saying that you can use Banishing to strip away invoking, but rather, tecnically hits on Binding tests give a spirit more services.
Its something to bring up with your GM an figure out how you want to work it before someone tries to poof away your ally.

Obviously its in your best interests to make your ally as resistant to banishing as possible, and more edge is never a bad thing.


Mechanically, if he's going to try Banishing, he's going to realise what a useless skill it is. And he tries it without rolling dice, the players (collectively) will probably gun him down.

- J.
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Neraph
post Jan 30 2012, 06:03 AM
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QUOTE (The Jake @ Jan 29 2012, 08:41 PM) *
Yes, I noticed that too and pointed that out to the GM. I think he may have fainted at the suggestion. (IMG:style_emoticons/default/smile.gif)

No, the real inhibitor is cost. Two Force 8 ally spirits without the extras is still 128 karma.... (IMG:style_emoticons/default/rotate.gif)

EDIT: Oh, I see what you mean. Get two Force 4s for cheaper, easier, same amount of dice on Aid rolls... interesting. But I'm pretty sure you can only add dice from the one source type. Would that even be legal?

- J.

I would say no, based solely on that you cannot use extra dice from multiple foci on the same Test then you shouldn't be able to do so with Spirits. Whatever you decide, though, please bear in mind:
QUOTE (SR4A, page 187, Magical Services, 1st paragraph, last sentence.)
To perform a magical service that involves the use of a Sorcery skill, the spirit's Force must be equal or greater than the Force of the spell to be affected by the service.


Also, have you seen my works?

EDIT: I got to use my Inhabitation technique in the link above with a F8 Ally Spirit on a Nosferatu mage. The results were very interesting. It should also be noted that the campaign (over a year) was completed basically after that was accomplished.
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The Jake
post Jan 30 2012, 06:58 AM
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That is a delicious idea Neraph (and nasty) but remember, I'm not trying to break the game. Also I can't select Inhabitation for an Ally as I follow a tradition which uses Materialisation.

- J.
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Modular Man
post Jan 30 2012, 10:33 AM
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You actually could, those normal limits are off concerning ally spirits. It's not so easy, though, having a Inhabitation ally spirit merge into a flesh form. It has got a high Force attribute, after all.
I'm saving up for an Inhabitation ally spirit with Force 7 right now. This will likely take me a while... And I honestly think that it might impact the game in a way halfway as if a new character/NPC joined the group. Aside from that, it'll be fun (IMG:style_emoticons/default/biggrin.gif)
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The Jake
post Jan 30 2012, 11:48 AM
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Ok... soooo....what happens if I get the Ally to Inhabit my body? I read Neraph's thread. My understanding is the summoner's soul is destroyed in the process, the spirit binds to the vessel and may/may not absorb the host's memories. So given that the summoner's soul is destroyed in the process, doesn't that mean that the Ally by default, becomes a Free Spirit? *scratches head*.

Hypothetically that is. I'd never try this in game. My GM is too evil.

Although, getting an Inhabitation ally of sufficient Force and getting it to possess the biggest, baddest mofo I can find is extremely tempting... (but I like the idea of it being able to appear out of nowhere via Materialisation way too cool...).

- J.
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UmaroVI
post Jan 30 2012, 11:56 AM
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The key shenanigan, if I remember right, is getting an ally spirit with Endowment and Inhabitation to give YOU inhabitation, then you inhabit something. Don't do this, it is super gamebreaking.
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The Jake
post Jan 30 2012, 12:31 PM
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We have access to the Koshari leader for Denver as an NPC. Or the Russian Vory head for the CAS sector. He's an utter prick in our campaign.

Hypothetically, we could just capture him, prepare him as a vessel and voilla...

- J.
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Udoshi
post Jan 30 2012, 01:13 PM
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QUOTE (The Jake @ Jan 29 2012, 11:58 PM) *
That is a delicious idea Neraph (and nasty) but remember, I'm not trying to break the game. Also I can't select Inhabitation for an Ally as I follow a tradition which uses Materialisation.


Actually, This is one area in which you DO have the freedom to break the mold. Ally spirits aren't based on your tradition. You just get to pick the type it is when you make it.



QUOTE
Ally spirit powers can be chosen from any powers available to spirits the initiate’s tradition may conjure. If the initiate knows Invoking metamagic, are the powers available to great form spirits available as ally spirit powers?

No. The powers must come from those available to the initiate’s tradition; Invoking is not inherent to a tradition.
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The Jake
post Jan 30 2012, 01:22 PM
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QUOTE (Udoshi @ Jan 30 2012, 01:13 PM) *
Actually, This is one area in which you DO have the freedom to break the mold. Ally spirits aren't based on your tradition. You just get to pick the type it is when you make it.


Thanks for that. Also, I found the FAQ just before you posted it. Curse my luck...

On the subject of Invoking, the drain is only calculated at 50% more than the Force. That doesn't mean I need Force +50% higher rating binding materials, does it?

- J.
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Tymeaus Jalynsfe...
post Jan 30 2012, 03:33 PM
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QUOTE (The Jake @ Jan 30 2012, 06:22 AM) *
Thanks for that. Also, I found the FAQ just before you posted it. Curse my luck...

On the subject of Invoking, the drain is only calculated at 50% more than the Force. That doesn't mean I need Force +50% higher rating binding materials, does it?

- J.


Nope... It is still a Force equal to what you bound. Invoking just supercharges it a bit.
We have a Character in game with a Force 5 Invoked Ally Spirit. It is interesting. (IMG:style_emoticons/default/smile.gif)
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Udoshi
post Jan 30 2012, 10:45 PM
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QUOTE (The Jake @ Jan 30 2012, 06:22 AM) *
Thanks for that. Also, I found the FAQ just before you posted it. Curse my luck...


You're welcome. Man, I'm glad to see my research on this subject is paying off. I wanted to respond to this in more detail, though:

QUOTE (The Jake @ Jan 30 2012, 04:48 AM) *
Ok... soooo....what happens if I get the Ally to Inhabit my body? I read Neraph's thread. My understanding is the summoner's soul is destroyed in the process, the spirit binds to the vessel and may/may not absorb the host's memories. So given that the summoner's soul is destroyed in the process, doesn't that mean that the Ally by default, becomes a Free Spirit? *scratches head*.


It actually reads as follows: During merging, the vessel's original spirit (if present) is consumed and for all intents and purposes that chracter is essentially lost (though, as always, gamemasters may decide otherwise if appropriate to their stories).

The last part is important. There's another paragaph SOMEWHERE in that book that suggests that a host spirit *may* merge with the inhabitation spirit, and not be entirely destroyed(gm's discretion), but fuck if I can find it in there.

My psychic summoner's endgame plan was actually to do exactly what you suggested as a form of escapism(some ugly life circumstances she did not want) and twisted psionic apotheosis. Her goal was to, somehow, save up enough karma/reagents/knowledge/magical lodge/time to summon up a max-force ally spirit(her idealized self), bind it, invoke it, and have it Inhabit herself.
If successfully pulled off, the character would basically become an NPC.
But given the nature of the spirit, where it came from, we thought it appropriate for the magician's spirit to live on, so to speak.
If its something you're considering, especially if your character is designing your spirit formula from scratch to do what they want, its an option you should really talk with your gm over. It kind of deals with vague soul things and metaplanes and behind-the-scenes setting mechanics that differs from game to game. That being said, there IS a small opening to have an Inhabitation spirit that ISNT a horrifying/steriotypical/malicious soul eating BUG inhabitation spirit. (also please note that free spirits can gain a unique power that really lets them break the molds: sm 107, its possible for a free spirit to learn to manifest, while retaining the possession it was born with.)

One thing I had toyed around with, for example, was a free spirit of Progress or Evolution: an inhabitation(maybe possession) spirit with the Greater Power of Hidden LIfe. Kind of like the Borg, they seek out exceptional individuals, and offer to join with them. They gain access to the spirit's resources and powers, and the spirit gets to add their distinctive awesomeness to their own.
The difference is that when the host dies, the spirit lives on because it has Hidden Life. It just isn't killed when it normally would be.
One other thing to consider is: Inhabitation spirits can learn to Project - it kind of makes sense that, say, if this spirit wasn't of a type that ate their hosts soul(Bug!), that they could voluntarily leave, and maybe return control every once in a while, if sufficiently motivated.

I suppose what I'm suggesting is the possibility that some inhabitations spirits are more like ghostly Goa-uld(from stargate). If they are of a type that doesn't necessarily consume their hosts soul to further the propogation of their own species, that it opens up a lot of freaky and intriguing possibilities when you are dealing with spirits that are not Bugs.

You're right, though - the spirit would probably go free. Rather, they would make the edge test for going free described in street magic. No matter who the character's personality ends up being, it is going to be an entirely new character.
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