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> House Rule Thoughts, SR4 hacking issues
Koekepan
post Jan 7 2016, 01:53 AM
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I'm pulling together a game of SR4.

The system isn't too bad, and I can kind of forgive (or work around) a lot of issues, but one in particular gripes me, and I'm thinking of houseruling it, but I thought I'd ask the hivemind's opinions:

First off, technomancers suck the tailpipe of a garbage truck, so I'm nixing them. They just don't exist, and never did.

VR hacker combat is waiting its turn to suck on that tailpipe right after the technomancers. It is a lousy metaphor for actual electronic conflict, and still a game process beast (although less of an excuse for everyone else to take off for a pizza than in previous editions).

So here's what I'm thinking: you can operate in cold or hot sim, or AR (or on a freaking terminal, if you want to), but gibsonian VR combat just doesn't apply any more. No black hammers, no tarbabies. I'm stopping electronic conflict at duelling exploits, and I'm looking at making hacking more of an add-on skill that any other template (probably riggers and faces, mostly) could pick up and use. The expense of being a hacker will drop, because you will spend less on software and hardware, and your skill emphasis will change.

Simultaneously, to make it less magicrunny, I'm looking at a fairly gentle nerf for magicians: The default time to cast a spell is really a minute. If they want to cast it at combat speed, they cast it at a penalty (I'm thinking -2 or so).

Any thoughts? Any other suggestions?

The campaign will be black trenchcoat, mirrorshades, with extra grit in the trenchcoat's pockets. Tactical intelligence and strategic thinking are to be rewarded, and neither magic nor electronics are to be easy substitutes for anything.
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tete
post Jan 11 2016, 01:41 AM
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Well what I have been most happy with so far is using the alternate attribute + skill rules but adding in exploits rating 2 as expendible fetishes rather than limiters. I've toyed with ideas for some other programs being added in simlar fashion but to date haven't done it. I'd say feel free to throw out the hacking rules and make up something that works for you and your group. Please post them to as I love reading others take on how to fix hacking

For magic users the most interesting thing I've seen is non mages can use counter spelling for their own defense. Most cops and Corp wages slaves would have a rating 2 since they expect to run into magical things. At first I thought it was weird but after watch Inception and playing with it a few times it works ok. I still think there must be a better solution but don't have one yet.
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Koekepan
post Jan 11 2016, 05:16 PM
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QUOTE (tete @ Jan 11 2016, 03:41 AM) *
Well what I have been most happy with so far is using the alternate attribute + skill rules but adding in exploits rating 2 as expendible fetishes rather than limiters. I've toyed with ideas for some other programs being added in simlar fashion but to date haven't done it. I'd say feel free to throw out the hacking rules and make up something that works for you and your group. Please post them to as I love reading others take on how to fix hacking


I haven't implemented this yet, but my thinking is that a crack is a tool with limited applicability (it works on a class of systems, constrained by version, and provides a particular result, such as bricking, gaining access, escalating privileges, forcing a shutdown/restart, masking activity and so forth). If you have the right cracks lined up, you can fire them off as quickly as your interface permits, but since honeypots, intrusion detection and hacking back are real things, the same applies to your own gear.

It makes the whole thing rather more cerebral, but also shortcuts a lot of "I hit it with my black hammer!" while everyone else plays jenga with dice. It also rewards prior investigation and planning on the electronic and infiltration front, rather than just muscling up to whatever's in place and hoping that your cybermagic can stand up to its cybermagic.

QUOTE
For magic users the most interesting thing I've seen is non mages can use counter spelling for their own defense. Most cops and Corp wages slaves would have a rating 2 since they expect to run into magical things. At first I thought it was weird but after watch Inception and playing with it a few times it works ok. I still think there must be a better solution but don't have one yet.


The direction I'm working in here is to make magic less of an InstaFix™ ProblemSolver®.

Are you familiar with the Arrogant Worms song, Malcolm Solves his Problems with a Chainsaw? I don't really want magic to be that chainsaw. Adding a penalty for combat-speed casting is intended to reward care and forethought, rather than exploding in a host of eldritch powers (even bearing the drain rules in mind).

I do intend to be nicer about letting magicians learn spells without being a massive karma sink (that doesn't exist for other characters) but instead taking more money, facilities and time (because that introduces a payoff calculation in terms of magicians taking part in legwork, healing teammates with magic and so on). I think the karma sink approach is rather wrongheaded, partly because it's largely asymmetrical with the burdens placed on other archetypes.
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tete
post Jan 13 2016, 05:36 AM
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QUOTE (Koekepan @ Jan 11 2016, 06:16 PM) *
I hit it with my black hammer!" while everyone else plays jenga with dice.


Sort of a sidebar...
I blame poor adventure writing for that one. Astral Projection is equally a problem though it comes up less if ever in pre-written adventures. I always used Return of the Jedi as my guide to make it work in all editions of shadowrun. Luke/Vader fight being the decker/Mage solo bit Han/Chewy/etc being the party with the armada coming into play of the party is split or I'm doing some cutscenes to something else happening where I'm doing some "birds eye view" or some such thing.

Anyways I look forward to details of what you decide to do as you have the .
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JanessaVR
post Jan 13 2016, 06:13 AM
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Technomancers have always been something of a troublesome addition to reconcile with the rest of how the Sixth World works, so no big loss there. And yes, RL hacking is far more dependent on skill than owning ultra-expensive computers, so that's a good direction to pursue as well.

But as someone who always plays mages, I'd be sitting out your game. Whenever the team went on runs, I'd be of more use fetching coffee for when they get back, as a one minute casting time (or a serious gimp if I try for faster speed) means that I'm basically useless on any mission. If you have that big of an objection to magic, then you might as well just ditch it along with the technomancers. If their only available roles are taking part in legwork and healing teammates, then they're strictly non-combat support personnel - and that's really more of a job for whatever faceless NPCs the team wants to hire.
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Koekepan
post Jan 13 2016, 07:46 PM
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If I may take the liberty of opposing your position...

... in a deep mirrorshades campaigns, the least useful archetype is probably the mercenary, not the magician.

But beyond that, you mistake my position. I do not
QUOTE
have that big of an objection to magic
, especially not in the abstract. If I did, I'd be running CP2020 instead. My objections are to the way that magic is implemented right now in Shadowrun, and specifically the difference between the way the rules implement it and the way it is presented.

Right now, a magician in Shadowrun is a swiss army knife. Maybe half a dozen useful spells, and .... uh, that's kind of it. Sure, some offline spirit wrangling, but really you've covered what they do. Oh, you want to do something else? Karma. Lots and lots and lots of karma - and better hope you like your choice, because you're stuck with it. On the other hand, short of ritual magic or big summonings, magicians can pull their favourite five or six bunnies out of a hat at a moment's notice.

This doesn't make magicians cerebral, it doesn't make them flexible, it doesn't make them particularly intellectually consistent with the idea of magic being this deep topic worthy of postgraduate study or massive corporate investments in magical laboratories. It makes them underbarrel grenade launchers with a few weird buttons marked FIREBALL, HEALING, INVISIBILITY and HOTCOFFEE.

What I'm trying to do is to make them more interesting, more flexible, more generally useful without turning them into godlike beings of unstoppable power.

In combat:

Let the weapons specialists and physical adepts go nuts. The deckers, mages and other crunchies should probably keep their heads down. If they want to return fire, great, but there's no inherent reason that they should expect to be as effective as a samurai throwing a grenade or a physical adept doing a flying lotus death kick.

Legwork:

Deckers do legwork, mages do magical legwork, faces do the greasy dives, and weapons specialists help with interrogations.

Downtime:

Deckers work on cracks, gunbunnies polish and upgrade their guns, riggers get greasy, faces get laid, and magicians work on more spells and magical connections.

If you think that a run is 20% legwork and 80% cosmic destruction, then yes, nerfing magicians would be inappropriate. I'm looking more to 3 weeks of legwork and preparation, 3 minutes of being ghosts. Combat speed casting is not a big nerf in that context. Magical flexibility (changing up karma costs, making spell research more feasible) is much more important in the kind of campaign I'm looking at. So what I'm trying to do is shift the rules in the direction of the kind of campaign, not arbitrarily nerf-the-mage because of some kind of weird hatred for magic.

On a different but related note, I forgot one other aspect of hackers/deckers that I was going to mention above:

I was going to allow on-the-fly hacking as a test by the dice, based on available software to perform the cracks, but to greatly raise the chances of being observed. In other words, it's flexible, and requires little or no legwork, but is ugly, unreliable and loud.

Outline for on-the-fly hacking that I currently have in mind:

Extended test of logic + hacking + software rating + other mods.
Every iteration of the extended test, the target's firewall + intrusion detection software (if any) gets a chance at detecting the interference.
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JanessaVR
post Jan 14 2016, 12:52 AM
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Hmmm...have to think about this, but thanks for clarifying your position.

That said, I really need to get an underbarrel grenade launcher with buttons for FIREBALL, HEALING, INVISIBILITY and HOTCOFFEE. The look on their faces when I press button #4 ought to be priceless. (IMG:style_emoticons/default/biggrin.gif)
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Koekepan
post Jan 14 2016, 01:29 AM
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QUOTE (JanessaVR @ Jan 14 2016, 02:52 AM) *
Hmmm...have to think about this, but thanks for clarifying your position.

That said, I really need to get an underbarrel grenade launcher with buttons for FIREBALL, HEALING, INVISIBILITY and HOTCOFFEE. The look on their faces when I press button #4 ought to be priceless. (IMG:style_emoticons/default/biggrin.gif)


It burns! It burns like soykaf!

Another possibility I'm sort of mulling over is making the shamans the more immediate magicians, who can draw on the powers the spirits gave them right fragging now, but less flexibility in terms of spell design and the will of the spirits. By contrast, the academically oriented traditions will have greater spell design flexibility, but more need for prep time to pull off their weirder effects. This will help create some space between the traditions in practical terms, as well as being quite consistent with their respective flavours.

"Must be an Eagle shaman. Tastes like chicken."
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KCKitsune
post Jan 14 2016, 04:05 AM
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A way to nerf mages without making them worthless in combat might be this:

1st: NO overcasting... Period.

2nd: Spirits ALWAYS use their Edge to resist summoning, unless a Shaman is using a ritual to summon the spirit and you as GM are keeping track of what the Shaman is doing with those spirits. If the Shaman abuses his spirits (he may not think he is, but you, as GM, thinks that he is.), then give him a warning (-2 penalty on summoning "The spirits seem to be unhappy with you") and then they too get the Hermetic treatment.

3rd: Increase the drain for mana spells. Nothing stupid like they did in 5th edition, but enough to make the mage REALLY consider throwing that fireball rather than just launching a grenade.


Now with the above said, my combat medic mage would be right at home in your campaign because I took 2 points of Essence loss for cyber/bio. He has cybereyes (with smartlink)/ears, a cyber hand and a cyber lower leg. He also has a synaptic booster (rating 1). He's just as happy shooting as he is with slinging spells. His spell roster is Stun Bolt, Fashion, Makeover, Heal, Healthy Glow, Levitate, and Fix.
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JanessaVR
post Jan 14 2016, 04:17 AM
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QUOTE (KCKitsune @ Jan 13 2016, 08:05 PM) *
Now with the above said, my combat medic mage would be right at home in your campaign because I took 2 points of Essence loss for cyber/bio. He has cybereyes (with smartlink)/ears, a cyber hand and a cyber lower leg. He also has a synaptic booster (rating 1). He's just as happy shooting as he is with slinging spells. His spell roster is Stun Bolt, Fashion, Makeover, Heal, Healthy Glow, Levitate, and Fix.

I have a friend who swears by the "sacrifice just 1 point of Essence for cyberware" strategy for mages. He gets cyber eyes, ears, and typically a datajack and/or implant commmlink. I personally prefer the "avoid cyberware like the plague" approach myself, however.

That said, I've argued that Essence itself could be replaced by some sort of "Physical Body Holistic Integrity" stat. If it gets down to 0, you don't die, but you lose your magic. This essentially brings Ghost in the Shell to Shadowrun, as "full cyborg" bodies are completely viable for mundanes, but prevents mages from cybering up.
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KCKitsune
post Jan 14 2016, 04:30 AM
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QUOTE (JanessaVR @ Jan 13 2016, 11:17 PM) *
I have a friend who swears by the "sacrifice just 1 point of Essence for cyberware" strategy for mages. He gets cyber eyes, ears, and typically a datajack and/or implant commmlink. I personally prefer the "avoid cyberware like the plague" approach myself, however.


I may be in the minority about this, but I believe that almost EVERY Shadowrunner (with the possible exception of Phy Ads) should have some augmentation. If you have Sensitive System then it's almost all Bioware with maybe a datajack or cyber commlink. Playing a 'Runner without augmentation should be

QUOTE (JanessaVR @ Jan 13 2016, 11:17 PM) *
That said, I've argued that Essence itself could be replaced by some sort of "Physical Body Holistic Integrity" stat. If it gets down to 0, you don't die, but you lose your magic. This essentially brings Ghost in the Shell to Shadowrun, as "full cyborg" bodies are completely viable for mundanes, but prevents mages from cybering up.


I agree wholeheartedly! In fact, if I were running a Shadowrun campaign I would limit the amount of Initiations that a mage could take to double their Essence rating and that's it. So my Medic Mage would only be able to initiate 4 times. If I lost another point of Essence then I would be limited to three initiations.

Also I would get rid of Mystic Adepts. I hate the frakers. They get Magic + Phy Ad abilities and they're cheaper than regular mages? Sure they can't Astral Project, but big frigging deal. No my idea is that Mages can take an initiation to allow them access to some Phy Ad abilities (anything 0.5 essence and cheaper), but let's be honest, a Mage is THREE times as expensive as Phy Ad when it comes to Character Creation! They should get something for it.
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JanessaVR
post Jan 14 2016, 04:46 AM
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QUOTE (KCKitsune @ Jan 13 2016, 08:30 PM) *
Also I would get rid of Mystic Adepts. I hate the frakers. They get Magic + Phy Ad abilities and they're cheaper than regular mages? Sure they can't Astral Project, but big frigging deal. No my idea is that Mages can take an initiation to allow them access to some Phy Ad abilities (anything 0.5 essence and cheaper), but let's be honest, a Mage is THREE times as expensive as Phy Ad when it comes to Character Creation! They should get something for it.

Oh, we came up with an easy fix for that ages ago. If you want to be a Mystic Adept, you just purchase Magician and Adept, both at full price. There, now you're a Mystic Adept, and it's not a free lunch.
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Koekepan
post Jan 14 2016, 05:56 AM
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Oooh, quite a few responses. Let's see if I can make sense of them all.

KCKitsune: I'm inclined to keep a leash on shamans for adherence to the will of the spirits - especially their totems. If the spirits don't like you, they might make your life hard, so make sure those shamanic duties are kept up. That's already a big nerf for many people who just want the stats, not the roleplay. I don't really feel the need to block overcasting or up their drain - slowing things down is penalty enough, in my view. And if a mage is willing to risk hurting themselves plentifully, hey, who'm I to stand in their way?

JanessaVR: I'm fine with cyberzombies, actually. Of course, I tend to mess with them in nasty ways, so it's not usually worth zombifying oneself, but there's always a chromehead who thinks it's the ultimate.

KCKitsune: I don't really think every shadowrunner should have augmentation. Since augmentations are generally trackable, and perceptible by various means, I don't see that every shadowrunner would even want them.

I don't see much point to limiting initiations - but instead fully applying all the various penalties, requirements, and downtime issues. If you're honest about the bookkeeping, it's a hell of a burden, especially when someone else on the team is running low on cash for their lifestyle and wants to do runs while the wizard is busy trying to live inside their navel.

I'm OK with mystic adepts existing, but I agree with Janessa's fix for them. You want to ride? You pay for the ticket, chummer. Full price.

How do you guys feel about the shamanic/hermetic divide I propose in terms of immediacy as opposed to flexibility?
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JanessaVR
post Jan 14 2016, 07:21 AM
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QUOTE (Koekepan @ Jan 13 2016, 09:56 PM) *
JanessaVR: I'm fine with cyberzombies, actually. Of course, I tend to mess with them in nasty ways, so it's not usually worth zombifying oneself, but there's always a chromehead who thinks it's the ultimate.

Actually, my proposal would do away with cyberzombies as a concept as well. Just because someone was at "0 Essence" doesn't mean that they'd be in any danger of dying, it just means they've replaced enough of themselves with metal parts that they have no future in magic. Go watch Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex and you'll see what I mean, or flip through Cyberpunk 2020 and look at the full borg bodies.
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Koekepan
post Jan 16 2016, 03:25 AM
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My take on it is that someone who has borged out to the point of 0 essence has done a number on themselves:

They need the life support in the machinery, at least as much as normal humans need their skeletons. No ribcage? You suffocate quickly. Shut down the machinery? You will similarly die.

Their emotions are damped because of the removal of so much of the peripheral neural system as well as glandular tissues, to the point that they lose a point of charisma.

As far as spells are concerned they have negligible humanity, so they're treated as objects for resistance.

But if they're happy dealing with those consequences, I don't get in the way of players.
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JanessaVR
post Jan 16 2016, 03:38 AM
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QUOTE (Koekepan @ Jan 15 2016, 07:25 PM) *
My take on it is that someone who has borged out to the point of 0 essence has done a number on themselves:

They need the life support in the machinery, at least as much as normal humans need their skeletons. No ribcage? You suffocate quickly. Shut down the machinery? You will similarly die.

Their emotions are damped because of the removal of so much of the peripheral neural system as well as glandular tissues, to the point that they lose a point of charisma.

As far as spells are concerned they have negligible humanity, so they're treated as objects for resistance.

But if they're happy dealing with those consequences, I don't get in the way of players.

I might not be communicating this clearly. I'm really proposing doing away with "Essence" as both a stat and a concept entirely. As long as the brain is intact, presumably in a GitS:SAC style interchangeable brain case, they should be able to swap cyborg bodies with ease. But yes, they should count as objects for spell resistance, that does make perfect sense.

In this world, the first thing any sensible non-Awakened soldier would do would be to replace their meat body with an artificial one, as it's better suited to surviving the battlefield. This wouldn't mean that they were "zombies," just posthuman.
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KCKitsune
post Jan 16 2016, 05:22 AM
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QUOTE (Koekepan @ Jan 14 2016, 12:56 AM) *
KCKitsune: I don't really think every shadowrunner should have augmentation. Since augmentations are generally trackable, and perceptible by various means, I don't see that every shadowrunner would even want them.


Like I said, I'm in the minority about how every Shadowrunner should have augmentation.

About being tracked: If you're being tracked by your augs then you're doing it wrong. As for being perceptible, there are a LOT of people with cybereyes or datajack. Those are the two top pieces of cyberware.


QUOTE (Koekepan @ Jan 14 2016, 12:56 AM) *
I don't see much point to limiting initiations - but instead fully applying all the various penalties, requirements, and downtime issues. If you're honest about the bookkeeping, it's a hell of a burden, especially when someone else on the team is running low on cash for their lifestyle and wants to do runs while the wizard is busy trying to live inside their navel.


I would limit Initiation because as it is now, it's unlimited power. You can have a Mage with 2 Points of Essence and initiated 8 times. It's, IMO, too much of a good thing. The bookkeeping thing is "handled" by the Player saying, "Hey while my mage is going X, Y, and Z, I'm going to play this Street Sammy so we can still play." Not much of a big burden.

It also makes the mage more well rounded.

QUOTE (Koekepan @ Jan 14 2016, 12:56 AM) *
How do you guys feel about the shamanic/hermetic divide I propose in terms of immediacy as opposed to flexibility?


If anything it should be the other way around. Hermetics should have the immediate power, but no spirits, and the Shamans should have the spirits, but no immediate power.

As for the nerf, it's too much. Why play a mage when your best ability is almost destroyed. It's like making a Street Sammy take a minute to turn on his wired reflexes.
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DeathStrobe
post Jan 16 2016, 07:08 AM
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Why not instead of nerfing mages...which I kind of agree should be done... But instead buff slower casting. Maybe something like a complex action to channel mana and reduce drain or increase the force of the spell. This way you get that kind of Dragon Ball powering up effect and can give magic a bit more of a kick but at the cost of time. Of course the downside is that making it a complex action just makes initiative boosters more important, which I feel they're too damn good as is. Maybe make it a whole combat turn, this way it encourages mages to be slow and steady cannons. Of course that also means the buff to the spellcasting test will need to be very powerful to offset the time it takes. If the choice is to take a combat turn to conjure up mana for a big spell or get init boosters and cast 3 spells, the slow option needs to be equivalent to casting 4 or 5 spells.
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Koekepan
post Jan 16 2016, 07:22 AM
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QUOTE (JanessaVR @ Jan 16 2016, 05:38 AM) *
I might not be communicating this clearly. I'm really proposing doing away with "Essence" as both a stat and a concept entirely. As long as the brain is intact, presumably in a GitS:SAC style interchangeable brain case, they should be able to swap cyborg bodies with ease. But yes, they should count as objects for spell resistance, that does make perfect sense.


I think that entirely ditching Essence might be a bit much for a general houserule. Quite a bit tends to hang on it, in balance terms. I just think that the essence 0 = death thing is too much, and that as long as there is tissue life support, it should be able to survive as the main executive unit in a mechanical body. I just think that some reflection of the changes to the nervous system and personality elements locked into the glandular system makes sense as well.

QUOTE
In this world, the first thing any sensible non-Awakened soldier would do would be to replace their meat body with an artificial one, as it's better suited to surviving the battlefield. This wouldn't mean that they were "zombies," just posthuman.


Sure, but even as posthumans, they would be changed, and that should be reflected.
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Koekepan
post Jan 16 2016, 07:40 AM
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QUOTE (KCKitsune @ Jan 16 2016, 07:22 AM) *
Like I said, I'm in the minority about how every Shadowrunner should have augmentation.

About being tracked: If you're being tracked by your augs then you're doing it wrong. As for being perceptible, there are a LOT of people with cybereyes or datajack. Those are the two top pieces of cyberware.


Granted, but I was thinking not in terms of personal observation so much as sensors around a corporate office, kind of thing.

"Unknown individual 45239259 has passed through door 56897 with detected left arm enhancement correlating with unknown individual observed at timestamp 90823579492052."

QUOTE
I would limit Initiation because as it is now, it's unlimited power. You can have a Mage with 2 Points of Essence and initiated 8 times. It's, IMO, too much of a good thing. The bookkeeping thing is "handled" by the Player saying, "Hey while my mage is going X, Y, and Z, I'm going to play this Street Sammy so we can still play." Not much of a big burden.

It also makes the mage more well rounded.


If you've initiated 8 times, your character has spent some serious time, effort and money on this. That's a monumental hill to climb. If the GM didn't reflect that, well, that's the GM's problem. I track these things, so it's not an issue for me.

QUOTE
If anything it should be the other way around. Hermetics should have the immediate power, but no spirits, and the Shamans should have the spirits, but no immediate power.


I don't get it.

Here's my thinking: Shamans have a transactional relationship with spirits for training, but are magicians in their own right (shamanic mask notwithstanding) who are driven by emotion, instinct and charisma. These are the hair trigger phenomena, but lend themselves less to complex academic studies. It makes perfect sense to me that a shaman could pull a porcupine-in-your-pants spell at a moment's notice, but have real trouble trying to figure out a new spell formula.

On the other hand, the hermetic spending fifteen days poring over books could probably figure out a cure-crotch-rot spell for Frankie the Face after his latest ill-considered conquest. That said, asking mister academic bookweasel to cook off a fireball at a moment's notice is just not his bag. Can he do it? Sure. Will he be as good at it as a piss-and-vinegar shamaness of wolverine? No.

On the third hand (it's a cyberhand, it's cool), I don't see why all full magicians (not adepts) shouldn't get access to spirits. Different spirits, sure (elements versus local spirits, for instance) but spirits nonetheless. Shamans have more of a relationship with them (but also have to kiss more spirit ass and run by more spirit rules), while hermetics deal with weird academic processes to even talk to spirits, so it's different in effect as well as in fluff - but if you're a full mage, you get the access on some level.

QUOTE
As for the nerf, it's too much. Why play a mage when your best ability is almost destroyed. It's like making a Street Sammy take a minute to turn on his wired reflexes.


-2 dice is almost destroyed? That's not destruction, that's substantial inconvenience. And most magicians who deal with healing, masking, countermagic and so on would hardly ever have to deal with that.
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Koekepan
post Jan 16 2016, 07:51 AM
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QUOTE (DeathStrobe @ Jan 16 2016, 09:08 AM) *
Why not instead of nerfing mages...which I kind of agree should be done... But instead buff slower casting. Maybe something like a complex action to channel mana and reduce drain or increase the force of the spell. This way you get that kind of Dragon Ball powering up effect and can give magic a bit more of a kick but at the cost of time. Of course the downside is that making it a complex action just makes initiative boosters more important, which I feel they're too damn good as is. Maybe make it a whole combat turn, this way it encourages mages to be slow and steady cannons. Of course that also means the buff to the spellcasting test will need to be very powerful to offset the time it takes. If the choice is to take a combat turn to conjure up mana for a big spell or get init boosters and cast 3 spells, the slow option needs to be equivalent to casting 4 or 5 spells.



Maybe I'm not understanding you, but isn't that roughly what centering does for you? Lets you survive a bigger punch of drain and so on, so you can pack a bigger magical punch?

Also, I definitely don't want to do anything to turn it into magicrun any more than it already is. I want the magicians to engage their brains before their wands.

What I'm aiming for is not making it impossible for mages to function under pressure of time (such as combat) but just make it that much less attractive, while making them less bound to a short list of activities by letting them invent and use more spells outside of combat.

Conversely, if I let shamans cast spells at the drop of a hat the way the currently do while nerfing hermetics in combat, I'll leave shamans with the current total pain in the hoop for designing and obtaining new spells, while hermetics get more of a break on formulae, designing them, and getting to all around be more flexible.

Because if they didn't have that opportunity, the MIT would never have added the &M, as opposed to Billy Joe-Bob's Tackle, Bait and Fish Fetish Store.
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KCKitsune
post Jan 16 2016, 02:15 PM
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QUOTE (Koekepan @ Jan 16 2016, 02:40 AM) *
-2 dice is almost destroyed? That's not destruction, that's substantial inconvenience. And most magicians who deal with healing, masking, countermagic and so on would hardly ever have to deal with that.

Would a Street Sammy, Hacker, or Face complain when the ability that makes them what they are has a "Your ability is too good, here's a arbitrary -2 penalty for it", while a another character archetype using the Same Exact Ability would not have that penalty?

Also yeah the Shaman is more instinctive, but why couldn't the Hermetic have studied and trained himself to throw a fireball at a moment's notice? He's smart enough to recognize that knowledge of the universe is great, but sometimes you have to set some mother frakker on fire just to get your point across.
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DeathStrobe
post Jan 16 2016, 04:59 PM
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QUOTE (Koekepan @ Jan 16 2016, 12:51 AM) *
Maybe I'm not understanding you, but isn't that roughly what centering does for you? Lets you survive a bigger punch of drain and so on, so you can pack a bigger magical punch?

Also, I definitely don't want to do anything to turn it into magicrun any more than it already is. I want the magicians to engage their brains before their wands.

What I'm aiming for is not making it impossible for mages to function under pressure of time (such as combat) but just make it that much less attractive, while making them less bound to a short list of activities by letting them invent and use more spells outside of combat.

Conversely, if I let shamans cast spells at the drop of a hat the way the currently do while nerfing hermetics in combat, I'll leave shamans with the current total pain in the hoop for designing and obtaining new spells, while hermetics get more of a break on formulae, designing them, and getting to all around be more flexible.

Because if they didn't have that opportunity, the MIT would never have added the &M, as opposed to Billy Joe-Bob's Tackle, Bait and Fish Fetish Store.


I really like centering thematically, as chanting/warcry/dancing/hand gesture/etc helping with drain is pretty thematic. But it's only a free action to activate, meaning you can center and cast at the same time. I just want a way to stop spells while their being cast by mundanes.
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Koekepan
post Jan 16 2016, 06:27 PM
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QUOTE (KCKitsune @ Jan 16 2016, 04:15 PM) *
Would a Street Sammy, Hacker, or Face complain when the ability that makes them what they are has a "Your ability is too good, here's a arbitrary -2 penalty for it", while a another character archetype using the Same Exact Ability would not have that penalty?


Slow down a bit there. I'm not just introducing a penalty and walking away laughing and twirling my moustache. I'm trading it off with a different, arguably very valuable benefit. In fact, in doing so I'm increasing the differentiation between hermetics and shamans - something that has been generally called for by a pretty wide audience.

So, to summarise:

Shamans run almost the way they do now. Quick, dirty, very good at flinging their mojo. The only real change is an emphasis on keeping their spirits happy as a roleplaying requirement, not merely a checkbox prohibition.

Hermetics run almost the way they do now, except they're less skilled (-2 penalty) at flinging out spells at a moment's notice, and they have no karma cost to developing new spells.

Result:

If you need a hardcore magician who will hurl lightning like Zeus, you want a shaman. Just accept that they have limited flexibility in the future, and their lion issues might mean they don't want to get rid of those fleas that make them keep scratching.

On the other hand, if you need someone who can work out a decontamination spell for your bed after someone dumped a dead hooker in it, and you can put up with her mojo being a little less combat-ready, then a hermetic is your friend.

As for why it might take hermetics a bit longer, it's because their method relies more upon control. Can they do it quickly? Yes. Is it easy? No.

My main concern after all this, given the context of a deep mirrorshades campaign, is that someone fascinated by the HOTCOFFEE underbarrel launcher theory of magic will go and ruin it for everyone else...
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pbangarth
post Jan 22 2016, 07:07 AM
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I've long argued that SR4 has enough restrictions built into it to prevent 'magicrun', but they are rarely used by GMs. Let's not get into that discussion, and allow me to offer an alternative 'fix'.

Expand the effect healing spells suffer, negative modifiers for lower Essence of the target, to all spells. Things are no longer a sure bet for the magician. Heavily augmented characters now become as difficult to affect as high tech objects. Maybe even more so because they can resist whereas objects can't. Not only does this level the playing field among characters, but it encourages other kinds of spells besides the typical array. And everybody can have their time to shine. When some freak of an extra-planar thing shows up, the team can throw the magician out front: "There! You deal with it!"

It's simple, easy to remember and implement, and has precedent in the rules themselves.
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