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> Essence Loss, Magic/Ressonance, and Karam, Just a Clarification
BlackJaw
post Mar 15 2014, 01:54 PM
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Let's say I'm building a mage (in Shadowrun 5, in case it maters.)

In the attributes step, I give him Magic 5 out of max 6.
I then buy him gear, including some cyber/bioware, say .7 essence worth. His magic drops from 5 to 4, and his max magic drops from 6 to 5.
Now I'm spending starting karma. The price to increase his magic from 4 to 5 is 25 karma (5 x new value) or 30 karma (5 x new value before essence alterations?)
Does this change after play starts? IE: After a few missions, the character initiates, increasing his effective max magic to 6, does he pay 30 or 35 karma to get that point?

My reading is that essence loss lowers the score and lowers the maximum score, and based on the order of operations in character creation, this has a big effect on Priority points, but the score is the score, and that's what Karma price is based on. I didn't see anything in the book about determining price based on score before essence loss, but I might have missed it.

Do I have that right?
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Medicineman
post Mar 15 2014, 01:59 PM
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QUOTE
My reading is that essence loss lowers the score and lowers the maximum score, and based on the order of operations in character creation, this has a big effect on Priority points, but the score is the score, and that's what Karma price is based on.

thats right.
To raise his MAG 4-->5 costs 25 karma
this is also his max MAG.
(but to be honest : I wouldn't raise his MAG with staring Karma, I'd use specialty points and use the starting Karma for Pos Quals ! )

QUOTE
Does this change after play starts? IE: After a few missions, the character initiates, increasing his effective max magic to 6, does he pay 30 or 35 karma to get that point?

30 Karma

with a karmic Dance
Medicineman
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BlackJaw
post Mar 15 2014, 02:04 PM
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QUOTE (Medicineman @ Mar 15 2014, 08:59 AM) *
thats right.
To raise his MAG 4-->5 costs 25 karma
this is also his max MAG.
(but to be honest : I wouldn't raise his MAG with staring Karma, I'd use specialty points and use the starting Karma for Pos Quals ! )

Thank you.

I agree specialty points would work better, but I just wanted to make sure the character creation spreadsheet I'm working on is doing the calculations correctly.
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Jaid
post Mar 15 2014, 04:12 PM
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the only area that's a little bit unclear is karma during chargen. there's room to argue it either way, since no chronological order is assigned to events in chargen.

regardless, one thing i would definitely not allow is (for example) having a character with 3 points of magic get 2 essence worth of 'ware, buy magic up to 2, get another essence worth of 'ware, buy magic to 2 again, etc.
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Smash
post Mar 15 2014, 09:33 PM
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QUOTE (Jaid @ Mar 16 2014, 03:12 AM) *
the only area that's a little bit unclear is karma during chargen. there's room to argue it either way, since no chronological order is assigned to events in chargen.

regardless, one thing i would definitely not allow is (for example) having a character with 3 points of magic get 2 essence worth of 'ware, buy magic up to 2, get another essence worth of 'ware, buy magic to 2 again, etc.


Personally I think that augmented values should count down as well as up, so in Blackjaw's example the cost should be 30 to raise it to 5.

This would ensure the exclusionary principle of magic vs technology. However, RaW does not support this.
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tjn
post Mar 15 2014, 11:38 PM
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QUOTE (Jaid @ Mar 15 2014, 12:12 PM) *
the only area that's a little bit unclear is karma during chargen. there's room to argue it either way, since no chronological order is assigned to events in chargen.

I am unsure how you came to this conclusion, as there are nine steps in character creation. The normal use of language implies that step one occurs before step two, and so on, and so forth. Spending karma is step seven. The book is permissive about spending karma prior to this step, but step seven is where the character is forced to spend all his/her remaining karma that they did not spend prior to step seven or forfeit enough to get them to the maximum of 7 carryover karma after character creation. Functionally, this means karma should be spend after the resources from the priority system are spent, including resources spent to acquire cyberware (which is step six).

Personally, I like mixing magic and technology. To me, it's chocolate and peanut butter, and it's one of the reasons I particularly like SR over other cyberpunk(ish) games. I also resonate with the pathos of the burnout, so SR5's changes to make playing such a character viable in the base rules for basic gameplay makes me appreciative.

And it's not like they're getting to mix the magic and the machine for free. With the priority table, mundanes get to dump the Magic priority, and magic users (usually) dump the Resource priority, however if you're trying to mix those, you still have to assign both a priority level to magic above E and a resources at a high enough level to acquire enough Nuyen to afford cyber, and thus your other stats will suffer. They also still have to lose whatever magic attribute they received with that priority level if they install cyberware, and then they still have to pay the extra karma to increase that magic attribute all over again, and that magic attribute is still going to be capped at an overall lower level.
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Smash
post Mar 16 2014, 12:35 AM
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QUOTE (tjn @ Mar 16 2014, 10:38 AM) *
I am unsure how you came to this conclusion, as there are nine steps in character creation. The normal use of language implies that step one occurs before step two, and so on, and so forth. Spending karma is step seven. The book is permissive about spending karma prior to this step, but step seven is where the character is forced to spend all his/her remaining karma that they did not spend prior to step seven or forfeit enough to get them to the maximum of 7 carryover karma after character creation. Functionally, this means karma should be spend after the resources from the priority system are spent, including resources spent to acquire cyberware (which is step six).


In the examples it talks about how one of the players is going to take exceptional attribute and so raises the statistic to the new maximum before actually buying the quality, which you couldn't strictly do if you enforce a strict order to the process.

QUOTE (tjn @ Mar 16 2014, 10:38 AM) *
Personally, I like mixing magic and technology. To me, it's chocolate and peanut butter, and it's one of the reasons I particularly like SR over other cyberpunk(ish) games. I also resonate with the pathos of the burnout, so SR5's changes to make playing such a character viable in the base rules for basic gameplay makes me appreciative.

And it's not like they're getting to mix the magic and the machine for free. With the priority table, mundanes get to dump the Magic priority, and magic users (usually) dump the Resource priority, however if you're trying to mix those, you still have to assign both a priority level to magic above E and a resources at a high enough level to acquire enough Nuyen to afford cyber, and thus your other stats will suffer. They also still have to lose whatever magic attribute they received with that priority level if they install cyberware, and then they still have to pay the extra karma to increase that magic attribute all over again, and that magic attribute is still going to be capped at an overall lower level.


You still could do that, it's just that I think the price paid would be one where a true trade-off is made.
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tjn
post Mar 16 2014, 01:29 AM
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QUOTE (Smash @ Mar 15 2014, 08:35 PM) *
In the examples it talks about how one of the players is going to take exceptional attribute and so raises the statistic to the new maximum before actually buying the quality, which you couldn't strictly do if you enforce a strict order to the process.
The book specifically mentioned in that example, that the player got the GM's approval to make that expenditure in that manner, implying that waiting to spend an attribute point after that step is specifically not the correct order of operations for character creation, but that GM didn't have a problem with it.
QUOTE
You still could do that, it's just that I think the price paid would be one where a true trade-off is made.
Have you actually had any experience with it, or is it more just your impression thereof?

I have specifically attempted to exploit mixed magic and cyber characters in order to compare them to similar characters made focusing solely on magic or cyber. I found that their dice pools remain consistent, and the major difference is that cyber focuses on being able to take a beating, and magic focuses on not being hit in the first place; mixing just splits the difference. Further, the mixed magic and cyber characters tended to have much lower Edge scores than I am traditionally comfortable with, as the metatype priority had to be dumped.

The priority system is remarkably well balanced against itself (karma considerations are a separate thread), due to the nature of having to put one priority at E. I get the feeling that most negative reactions to the idea of magic/cyber characters are influenced by SR4, which had a BP system which is easier to abuse, and where adept hackers, adept riggers, or adept faces, were just plain better than their mundane counterparts. However those characters didn't require much, if any, cyber at all, and it took a couple of other splat books outside of the main book to get really broken.

Maybe after the rest of SR5 is published it will be different, but for now, I really don't see a big problem. /shrug
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Jaid
post Mar 16 2014, 06:24 AM
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errr... no. mixed magic/augmented characters generally put up superior numbers to either pure magic or pure augmentation for adepts. full and aspected magicians will generally have superior dice pools in areas other than spellcasting or summoning vs their pure magic counterparts, but do suffer worse spellcasting and/or summoning. likewise, mystic adepts will suffer the loss of some spellcasting or summoning dice pool, but can quite easily gain dramatically in the adept portion of their capabilities.

so yeah, there is certainly some trade-off for full magicians, aspected magicians, and mystic adepts, it's hard to find an adept or augmented concept that is not going to get better by mixing the two sources of power.

also, it's fairly clear that karma is not exclusively spent in the last step of chargen. for example, you purchase qualities with karma. that comes officially before you buy attributes or skills. mystic adepts must spend karma to buy power points even earlier than that. you likewise can spend karma to gain extra resources if you feel so inclined.

there is nothing to indicate that you should presume this character creation process is reflecting the chronological order of when things happened to you. in fact, there is evidence to suggest otherwise.

for example, you buy your skills before you buy a vehicle to drive, weapons to shoot, equipment to operate, decks to hack with, cyberweapons to fight with, etc.

as another example, you determine where your attributes go in step 2, including special attributes. you don't even decide whether you will have magic or resonance attributes until step 3, but you're expected to know in step 2 how many of your special attribute points are going towards those areas. if we take character generation as following chronological order, then at the time you choose what to spend your special attribute points on (edge, magic, resonance), you only have the option of edge since you have neither magic nor resonance yet. you likewise have to choose how many points to put into each attribute (physical, mental, and special) *before* you even know what their maximum will be, since you haven't yet bought your qualities.

so, yeah... character generation: not a chronological representation of how your character developed.
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tjn
post Mar 17 2014, 11:12 PM
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QUOTE (Jaid @ Mar 16 2014, 02:24 AM) *
errr... no. mixed magic/augmented characters generally put up superior numbers to either pure magic or pure augmentation for adepts.
Do you have any actual experience with cyberadepts under SR5, or are you just stating this assumption because you believe it to be true? You give no reasons to support the conclusion that they put up superior numbers to the pure archetypes in general. Just because they have more options, does not necessarily mean that they are any better, especially when they have the same exact resources as the pure archetypes. For instance, Sams have 6 points of Essence to play with, Adepts have 6 (or 7) points of Magic to play with. While cyberadepts have two pools to play with, both are smaller and combined will at most equal the pure archetypes.

Which, for example, is significant when you have to take into account your initiative mod. So, do you go with Imp Reflexes? That blows out your magic, good luck with those "superior" dice pools. Wired? There goes your essence, now you're spending a lot of resources for no advantage at all compared to a normal adept. Synaptic means you have to go with Resources A, and then you have 260k left over, to spend on only 1.5 Essence. Maybe you dip in for an extra essence because you now have enough nuyen to blow on it, but by doing that, you lower the cap on Imp Ability rating in the process, thereby reducing those "superior" dice pools. And that's just one of the inherit balancing acts you have to make a decision on, when making a cyberadept, and every decision has consequences that effect further decisions down the line.

Cyberadepts require a significant amount of systems mastery in order to make them viable, otherwise they quickly become a "trap" build. Yeah, you can potentially make that one trick pony who has 20 dice to shoot, but they're going to have none of the durability of a samurai, nor the speed, avoidance, stealth, or melee capabilities that are the common advantages to the adept archetype. And to top it off, the cyberadept with a 20 dice pool will fall over dead as soon as someone has a clear shot because the player has spent almost every possible resource to getting that 20 dice pool, because if you hyperfocus on getting that 20 dice pool, you're going to leave a lot of areas that the pure archtypes will generally put up superior numbers, over all, than that one trick pony, especially when a pure archetype can get an 18 dice pool, while maintaining their classic advantages. Further, if you attempt to split the difference of the advantages... you are, by definition, not pushing any of the inherit advantages of either Sams or Adepts, and the pure archetypes will be better at that role because they don't dilute their roles by trying to do too much at the same time.

Again, just because something has options, doesn't necessarily make it more powerful. It's like the MagicRun debates all over again. If you don't have any limitations, then yes, the character with the most options will be able to exploit the most amount of options, but there are a lot of inherit limitations within the system that you seem to be glossing over as somehow unimportant. But those limitations are why cyberadepts cannot exploit every opportunity available to them and why they don't generally put up superior numbers over all.

QUOTE
this character creation process is reflecting the chronological order of when things happened to you.
Ahh, I see the disconnect. I do not see character creation as any sort of representation of character development prior to play. It instead is a system for creating (relatively) balanced characters for use to begin play. What that system is, is of less import, so long as those rules and limitations which construct that system are consistent across all characters. And while there is a lot of permissive intermingling of steps, that does not automatically dismiss all limits on the character creation process. A character receives 25 karma in step one, and until step four, it would be a violation of those limits to spend in excess of that 25 karma, even if you were going to go with negative qualities to provide the additional necessary karma. However, a player is not required to spend any karma at all, prior to step seven.

QUOTE
as another example, you determine where your attributes go in step 2, including special attributes. you don't even decide whether you will have magic or resonance attributes until step 3, but you're expected to know in step 2 how many of your special attribute points are going towards those areas. if we take character generation as following chronological order, then at the time you choose what to spend your special attribute points on (edge, magic, resonance), you only have the option of edge since you have neither magic nor resonance yet. you likewise have to choose how many points to put into each attribute (physical, mental, and special) *before* you even know what their maximum will be, since you haven't yet bought your qualities.
In specific to this example itself: You are not required to spend your attribute points, special or otherwise, until the end of character creation. Step two and three are when the character receives those resources, not when they are required to spend those resources. The rule specifically allows the player to wait until further steps to spend those resources in a way they want. If a player wants, there's no rule stopping the player to buy an attribute to 2, even in step seven, and then applying any remaining attribute points. Because this tactic of resource efficiency is open to every character, I have no problem with it, even though there is an obvious difference if the player bought the attribute after applying the attribute points. EDIT: I realize this goes against a previous argument above, but again, this is why system mastery matters. There is nothing wrong, according to the rules stated, of waiting to spend an attribute point after purchasing Exceptional Attribute in step four

Perhaps to you, you do not see a functional difference in the steps of character creation process because the system is so permissive. However I believe that because of that permissiveness, the few limitations that do exist are all the more important, but I believe that System Mastery™ matters, especially in a game as highly widget friendly as Shadowrun.
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Jaid
post Mar 18 2014, 12:44 AM
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do you have any sort of reference that says those steps are only when you gain those resources, as opposed to being when you spend them?

because i don't see anything that suggests that. i do see where it says, for example, "The next step is to raise the character’s attributes." or "This next step in the character creation process is finalizing the list of qualities the character will have" and "You now have the basic attributes of your character; the next step is to figure out your skills,"

so the step is to raise the attributes, not just to get the points.
the step is to *finalize* the list of qualities the character will have.
the next step is assuming you already have the basic attributes of your character, and now you figure out your skills.

not "some time over the next X steps, do Y", but rather "in this step, do Y".

and the fact that a person could make bad decisions does not mean mixing magic and augmentation is going to lead to bad decisions.

you may argue that an unskilled player will make bad choices if they have both augmentations and power points. i would argue that an unskilled player will make bad choices with or without those options anyways, and that the option still allows superior performance.

a pure adept build will spend 3.5 power points on improved reflexes and 1 power point per attribute raised. a mixed build can buy strength and agility at 0.2 essence per point (equivalent to 1/5 the cost), reaction enhancers for 0.3 essence each, and improved reflexes at 0.5 essence per rating, as well as improving body (for damage resistance only, admittedly) at a cost of 0.3 essence each. reflex recorders cost 0.1 essence, as compared to buying the same effect with power points which costs 0.5 power points each. additional senses are another example of something drastically less expensive to obtain through augmentation. and you cannot obtain certain benefits (like skillwires or having an implanted datajack or implanted image link) with magic

on the flip side of things, a cybered individual is capped in places an adept can go beyond. the cybered individual can get that first point of improved skill rating cheap, but can only get it for skills linked to physical attributes, and cannot go beyond 1 point, while magic has those options, and many others, including combat reflexes for increased dodging ability, extra bonuses to your limits, the ability to run on walls, etc, as well as not being limited to rating 3 in attribute increases (note: initiative enhancement doesn't stack, but there is no such limitation on stacking attribute increases, skill increases, limit increases, etc).

although i do like how you act as if having a couple hundred thousand nuyen to spend is some sort of drawback.

seriously though, spending 2-3 points of essence is well worth the magic lost. in general, you likely don't need more than 3-4 ranks of any adept power at chargen anyways, and in any event you can always raise your magic later if it really becomes an issue (now that your magic is lower, it's no longer as expensive to increase).

yes, a person who is bad at optimizing can make bad decisions. but that can happen whether they combine augmentation and adept powers or not. having access to both does not suddenly decrease the optimization ability of the person creating the character.
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Rubic
post Mar 20 2014, 05:36 AM
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As for the PB&C (Peanut Butter & Chocolate, aka Cyber/Magic) build, in SR5, iirc, RAW you're best off starting with 1 Magic, buying the cyber you want (decreasing your magic to 0), and then buying it up after. The reason for this was that, as written, you don't lose Max magic for each point of essence (round up always) lost, you lose magic each time you lose essence, equal to essence lost (round up). Either buying and installing all of your cyber at once (so it's one big block of essence lost), or losing exact integers of essence at a time is the only way to preserve your max magic rating.

To wit:
Lost 0.1 essence? Max magic dropped by one. Now losing another .5? That's another max magic down, even though you're not down a single whole point of essence yet. Hope you're happy with that max magic of 4 with an essence of 5.4.
Correction, it's just poorly worded in the rulebook, and self-contradictory.

Edit: Reference, SR5 Core Rulebook, page 95, Paragraph 3:
"Cyberware and bioware augmentations are not for
everyone. The physiologies for magic users and tech-
nomancers respond poorly to the loss of Essence that
accompanies these augmentations. In game terms, this
means that any fraction of Essence loss reduces a Magic
or Resonance attribute rating by 1.
This means that if a
magician with Magic 5 decides to buy and install some
cybereyes (Rating 4), their Essence will go from 6 to 5.5
due to the Essence cost of the cybereyes, and the ma-
gician will also lose a full point of Magic, leaving them
with a Magic attribute rating of 4. The character can then
lose another half a point of Essence, taking him down to
5.0, without a penalty to Magic, but if he drops below
5.0, his Magic rating is going to lose another point.
"

Seriously, bad writing comprehension.
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