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> Earthdawn Airships in the Sixth World, And other “always on” magical items – how to create them?
JanessaVR
post Jun 8 2016, 07:56 PM
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Foci are useful tools, but they’re also limited to being usable by just a single Awakened character. As of SR4 Artifacts Unbound, p. 7, we actually get a bit of discussion about both the discovery of such Fourth World items, and also how they compare against the more common foci of the Sixth World. Their appearance in this book officially establishes both the functionality and presence of “always on” magical items in the Sixth World.

So how do we make more of them?

“Always On” magical items can (at least some of them) be used by anyone, even mundanes. This could really change the world, but hasn’t been explored very much in canon. Nonetheless, I think the potential of such items should be explored further. Now, in some cases, technology might be the easier and cheaper route to go. For instance, if you wanted a hovering airship, then a helium-filled blimp or zeppelin would probably be much simpler, but if you decided you really wanted some sort of hovering skyship or sky platform, how would you create it? We know it can be done – the Fourth World artifacts prove it.

Consulting the Earthdawn book Magic: A Manual of Mystic Secrets, the primary ingredient for such items seems to be “kernels” of True Elements. Well, as of SR4 Parageology, those have been discovered in the Sixth World as well; we might surmise that a “kernel” is perhaps equivalent to a “Unit” (10 grams) that quantities of Orichalcum are measured by.

Does anyone have any thoughts on the spells and number of Units of True Elements that would be required to construct new “always on” magical items? I’m still trying to decide on what seems like a reasonable approach for this.
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ShadowDragon8685
post Jun 8 2016, 08:15 PM
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It seems like a pointless waste of time in most cases; a display of ostentatious wealth perhaps.

The only practical use for "always on" magic items would be those which make the classical laws of thermodynamics their bitch; for instance, an object which always spins and never, ever stops. Attach copper wiring and you have an input-cost-free no-fuel power generator. That might or might not be particularly cost-effective on Earth depending on how much power one of them can generate, but on a spaceship it would be incalculably useful. You'd no longer be limited by solar panels.
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JanessaVR
post Jun 8 2016, 08:23 PM
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QUOTE (ShadowDragon8685 @ Jun 8 2016, 01:15 PM) *
It seems like a pointless waste of time in most cases; a display of ostentatious wealth perhaps.

The only practical use for "always on" magic items would be those which make the classical laws of thermodynamics their bitch; for instance, an object which always spins and never, ever stops. Attach copper wiring and you have an input-cost-free no-fuel power generator. That might or might not be particularly cost-effective on Earth depending on how much power one of them can generate, but on a spaceship it would be incalculably useful. You'd no longer be limited by solar panels.

That's exactly an excellent case in point. In many cases, yes, technology of the 2070's is the way to go, but unlimited free electricity via mana-to-electricity conversion? Huge game-changer. I addressed this earlier in another thread, when I argued that the Recharge spell was a huge game-changer just by itself.
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Stahlseele
post Jun 8 2016, 09:32 PM
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Yes. It is from BOGOTA. Which makes it stupid and wrong.
Most of the stuff in that book should never have had time wasted on thinking them up in the first place.

And just to further drive home the point that stuff from earthdawn has no place in shadowrun:
The shadowrun Mana-Level is, at best, at about 5 to 10% of what it was in Earthdawn times.
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JanessaVR
post Jun 8 2016, 09:45 PM
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QUOTE (Stahlseele @ Jun 8 2016, 01:32 PM) *
Yes. It is from BOGOTA. Which makes it stupid and wrong.
Most of the stuff in that book should never have had time wasted on thinking them up in the first place.

[shrugs] Suit yourself. I grabbed the Recharge spell, at least, and I'm not giving it back. (IMG:style_emoticons/default/smile.gif)


QUOTE (Stahlseele @ Jun 8 2016, 01:32 PM) *
And just to further drive home the point that stuff from earthdawn has no place in shadowrun:
The shadowrun Mana-Level is, at best, at about 5 to 10% of what it was in Earthdawn times.

I take it you have a specific book and page(s) reference for measuring the mana levels throughout the mana cycle? I seriously doubt it. But I've supplied a reference for existence of "always on" artifacts not only being present but working in the Sixth World. Proof of Concept has been demonstrated.
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Stahlseele
post Jun 8 2016, 10:13 PM
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Earthdawn is set just after the scourge.
Which appears at the high point in the mana cycle.
A Mana-Cycle is about 4000 or so years long if i remember correctly.
Now remind me again for how long shadowrun had magic?
Around 40 years? Yeah . . And even if it came back with a stronger start than it had in the 4th age?
You are STILL only about 1% into the 4000 year cycle. Or 2% into the 2000 year UPGOING part.
After about 2000 years you hit peak mana.
And then it the scourge comes and basically devastates the world enough to make the mana levels start dropping again.
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JanessaVR
post Jun 8 2016, 10:33 PM
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QUOTE (Stahlseele @ Jun 8 2016, 02:13 PM) *
Earthdawn is set just after the scourge.
Which appears at the high point in the mana cycle.
A Mana-Cycle is about 4000 or so years long if i remember correctly.
Now remind me again for how long shadowrun had magic?
Around 40 years? Yeah . . And even if it came back with a stronger start than it had in the 4th age?
You are STILL only about 1% into the 4000 year cycle. Or 2% into the 2000 year UPGOING part.
After about 2000 years you hit peak mana.
And then it the scourge comes and basically devastates the world enough to make the mana levels start dropping again.

And yet I still see no hard numbers for quantifying the mana levels at any given point in the cycle (probably because I don't think they've ever been published). In any case, it's irrelevant, as Fourth World magical items demonstrably work in the Sixth World.
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Mantis
post Jun 9 2016, 02:44 AM
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Yeah they work but you want to make one in the 6th world. Chances are the mana levels required for these things to work are less than the levels required to make them, which is where you run into issues. Otherwise the IEs would have been making some to help them in their mad power grabs, rather than just stealing ones that already exist from what ever dragon currently holds the thing.

Additionally, the 4th world items that work in the 6th world had to be used by the magically active, at least in the Artifact Rush adventures. I don't recall any that worked for mundanes. The Peri Reis Map, the Sextant of Worlds, the Phaistos Disc all needed a magically active character to activate their powers.

I played Earthdawn years ago and from what I remember, all the characters are some form of adept (magically active) or full on magician and so could use magic items that they wove threads to. Don't remember if there were items mundanes could use. In fact I don't actually recall if being mundane was even a thing. Everyone seemed to have some spark of magic they could use.

So I'm not sure the mana levels are high enough to manufacture the sort of items you want. I'm pretty sure the process has been lost or at least very closely guarded by characters who are effectively plot devices. The example of such a unique enchantment from Digital Grimoire suggests such things should also be plot devices and provides some numbers on how hard it would be as well as what the side effects are.

If you want to introduce such things to your game, just make them plot devices and don't let the players make them. Keep it as part of the mystery of the 6th world. If you've got random PCs churning out Troll Skyships from the 4th world I think magic in the game loses something. If such a thing is found by the PCs though, and they have to figure out how to make it work, well that's a whole adventure or 5 right there.
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Medicineman
post Jun 9 2016, 06:46 AM
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QUOTE
A Mana-Cycle is about 4000 or so years long if i remember correctly.


more like 5300-5500 Years

By Cyanon , the Magic Level is a Sinus Wave that reaches its Peak at the middle of the Time Period
at ca 2650-2750 Years.It has some Spikes (thats whey there's Spike Babies) but generally Magic is a Sinus Wave
Earthdawn plays definitely AFTER that Peak (but closer to the Top, already descending in the Magic) , Shadowrun is at the Beginning of the next Wave.
That IS Canon (IMG:style_emoticons/default/wink.gif)
That is why only 1 % are Awakened in SR and > 90 % Awakened in Earthdawn as Canon
So, to Topic
There were permanent Magic Items in SR4A ( Lifestyle 2073 Book, what it's called in English , Attitude ? ) like Fey Cloaks
but they're just started producing them, and they need Free Spirits for that.
Otoh I Like the Idea of mixing Technology with Magic (if done right (IMG:style_emoticons/default/wink.gif) ) so You got me hooked on levitating Ships like the ones in John Carter of Mars....(IMG:style_emoticons/default/biggrin.gif)

He who dances dressed only in a Fey Cloak (and nothing else)
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Sendaz
post Jun 9 2016, 08:16 AM
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One point in Janessa's favour is that the items are not being powered by the mage alone, but rather hooking into the inherent power of the True elements like ED did,

I mean who wouldn't want a Jaguar powered by an E(lemental)-8 engine under the hood tearing down the highway? (IMG:style_emoticons/default/wink.gif)

Do we really have the skill to make floating castles yet? Maybe, maybe not. Probably don't have enough True Air for it at the moment anyway.

It would be a pretty radical shift in the game setting though, so that it really would be MagicRun rather than classic SR at that point.

Not saying either is better or worse, but it would be a whole new world.

That said, tricky part will be to find the 'standard' unit of energy to do work. We have unit of orichaleum so we can measure the 'fuel' for the magic, now you just need to figure out how much oomph each unit can provide.

Like the Stay warm (can't recall the exact name) cloak in ED mentioned how there were kernels (note the plural) woven into the cloak to provide a constant heat to protect you from normal cold conditions, so the kernels seem to act as batteries, provding the constant trickle of mojo, but a single kernel does not seem to be able to do the job.
So it might be 2 or it might be 20, will have to go digging through the ED books to see if anyone wrote up item creation rules...
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lokii
post Jun 9 2016, 08:50 AM
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I can offer this graph as an illustration: http://shadowhelix.pegasus.de/images/e/e2/..._Mananiveau.png It was made for the Shadowhelix article on the crossover: http://shadowhelix.pegasus.de/Meta:Shadowr...hdawn-Crossover While its true that we don't actually have a measure of world mana content to compare the SR era to ED (therefore no y-axis), I have to point out unless the mana curve is very flat there should be a marked difference between these eras. As the graph shows SR is set almost as early as possible in the mana-positive regime of the cycle. Overpowered Shadowrun magic in the contex of the cycle has always been a criticism of the crossover and I think a good case can be made for it.

Update: By the way, if the mana cycle is described by a sine the percentage is fixed. The formula for the percentage of maximum mana level in a given year (up to reaching the maximum) should be:

sin[(current_year-2011)*(PI/5200)]*100

So for 2078 that's 4 percent.
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ShadowDragon8685
post Jun 9 2016, 10:53 AM
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Honestly, I would say it's not even worth it. Magical always-on/use activated items are the kind of things that players can use to break a setting over their knee, and rightfully so.

If such a thing exists, it should:
1: Be a relic from a previous age of mana, which may be useful but cannot be replicated or
2: Have been made by a Great Dragon or Immortal Elf who lived during the previous age of mana and knows ancient secrets, and
2a: have required an extraordinary effort on that GD or IE's part for trivial effect; input resources required to launch a manned mission to Uranus, to develop a perpetually-spinning toy top, for instance.

So, it should be a plot device, a McGuffin, something worth sending Shadowrunners to steal by all means, for research purposes, but either not intrinsically remotely worth the hassle of owning (the toy top, for which every Mega would cheerfully invest almost-limitless money in killing you to get,) or so powerful that it's the capstone of a story arc that the players can't keep (recovering the Sword Excalibur and using it to win some conflict with a foe that would otherwise have been far beyond the players, like fighting their way into the heart of a Renraku Red Zone and exfiltrating successfully, slaughtering some kind of Horror that came early, etc; but then Harlequin shows up to claim his rightful property with a 'thank you' for retrieving it and a nice cash bounty for the group in exchange.)
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Sengir
post Jun 9 2016, 03:29 PM
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QUOTE (lokii @ Jun 9 2016, 10:50 AM) *
I can offer this graph as an illustration: http://shadowhelix.pegasus.de/images/e/e2/..._Mananiveau.png

Since mana spikes are a thing, I'd say that graph would be far better with a bit of noise added: https://imgur.com/vClklBS

(Of course, simply using AWGN means you have a lot of "disawakenings" following the Awakening, where the mana cycle drops below the threashold once more, so maybe the deviations should only point upwards)
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hermit
post Jun 9 2016, 03:44 PM
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QUOTE
So how do we make more of them?

First step: Wait a few thousand years (in-game).
Second step: Play Equinox and make them there.
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Tymeaus Jalynsfe...
post Jun 9 2016, 03:57 PM
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QUOTE (hermit @ Jun 9 2016, 08:44 AM) *
Play Equinox and make them there.


Interesting... Wondered what happened to that idea. Thanks for the Link... (IMG:style_emoticons/default/cool.gif)
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lokii
post Jun 9 2016, 08:53 PM
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QUOTE (Sengir @ Jun 9 2016, 05:29 PM) *
Since mana spikes are a thing, I'd say that graph would be far better with a bit of noise added: https://imgur.com/vClklBS
Well, mana spikes are local right? The sine curve represents the global mana level. So I assume they literally wouldn't make a dent. (IMG:style_emoticons/default/wink.gif)
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JanessaVR
post Jun 10 2016, 05:49 PM
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QUOTE (Mantis @ Jun 8 2016, 07:44 PM) *
Yeah they work but you want to make one in the 6th world. Chances are the mana levels required for these things to work are less than the levels required to make them, which is where you run into issues. Otherwise the IEs would have been making some to help them in their mad power grabs, rather than just stealing ones that already exist from what ever dragon currently holds the thing.

That’s a good point, but since I’d like to explore this concept, I may simply compensate by ruling the lower mana level at present means more Units of True Elements are required to manufacture them.


QUOTE (Mantis @ Jun 8 2016, 07:44 PM) *
Additionally, the 4th world items that work in the 6th world had to be used by the magically active, at least in the Artifact Rush adventures. I don't recall any that worked for mundanes. The Peri Reis Map, the Sextant of Worlds, the Phaistos Disc all needed a magically active character to activate their powers.

I may need to re-read the whole set of these adventures; it’s been a couple of years.


QUOTE (Mantis @ Jun 8 2016, 07:44 PM) *
I played Earthdawn years ago and from what I remember, all the characters are some form of adept (magically active) or full on magician and so could use magic items that they wove threads to. Don't remember if there were items mundanes could use. In fact I don't actually recall if being mundane was even a thing. Everyone seemed to have some spark of magic they could use.

Actually, yes, there are such items. This is from Magic: A Manual of Mystic Secrets, p. 49:

“Magical items in Earthdawn fall into two broad categories: common items and thread items. Common items are those magical objects that can be used by anyone who knows how they work. Readily available throughout Barsaive, these items include day-to-day tools like magical cook pots, firestarters, light quartz and warm cloaks, as well as less common items such as crystal armor, fire cannons and airships.”

Thread items seem to be roughly analogous to Karma-bound items (I’m not an Earthdawn expert yet, and I’m more interested in the setting lore than mastering its RPG mechanics). At any rate, it appears that magical items usable by the non-magically inclined folks did exist – and were commonly used, even.


QUOTE (Mantis @ Jun 8 2016, 07:44 PM) *
So I'm not sure the mana levels are high enough to manufacture the sort of items you want. I'm pretty sure the process has been lost or at least very closely guarded by characters who are effectively plot devices. The example of such a unique enchantment from Digital Grimoire suggests such things should also be plot devices and provides some numbers on how hard it would be as well as what the side effects are.

As I said above, I think I can compensate by just ruling that their manufacture is more expensive now. That said, they could still be incredibly useful, even if they were very pricey to make. Imagine a small town wanting to have an endless supply of electricity. The cost for the True Elements and the mage(s) to make it will be 1,000,000 ¥. That could take them a while to pay off if they took out a loan for that, but then they’d have guaranteed free power until the end of the Sixth World. Well, they’d still need to maintain the power lines.


QUOTE (Mantis @ Jun 8 2016, 07:44 PM) *
If you want to introduce such things to your game, just make them plot devices and don't let the players make them. Keep it as part of the mystery of the 6th world. If you've got random PCs churning out Troll Skyships from the 4th world I think magic in the game loses something. If such a thing is found by the PCs though, and they have to figure out how to make it work, well that's a whole adventure or 5 right there.

I’m not wedded to maintaining the canon setting as is. I think slowly introducing these and seeing them start transforming the world would be an awesome idea. But I still need to work out needed magical supplies and costs.
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JanessaVR
post Jun 10 2016, 05:51 PM
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QUOTE (lokii @ Jun 9 2016, 01:50 AM) *
I can offer this graph as an illustration: http://shadowhelix.pegasus.de/images/e/e2/..._Mananiveau.png It was made for the Shadowhelix article on the crossover: http://shadowhelix.pegasus.de/Meta:Shadowr...hdawn-Crossover While its true that we don't actually have a measure of world mana content to compare the SR era to ED (therefore no y-axis), I have to point out unless the mana curve is very flat there should be a marked difference between these eras. As the graph shows SR is set almost as early as possible in the mana-positive regime of the cycle. Overpowered Shadowrun magic in the contex of the cycle has always been a criticism of the crossover and I think a good case can be made for it.

Update: By the way, if the mana cycle is described by a sine the percentage is fixed. The formula for the percentage of maximum mana level in a given year (up to reaching the maximum) should be:

sin[(current_year-2011)*(PI/5200)]*100

So for 2078 that's 4 percent.

Well, I'll be darned. I asked for hard #'s and someone actually gave some to me. Thanks much! This is going into my collection, along with some pages from that website; Google Translate seems to be doing a good enough job with them.
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JanessaVR
post Jun 10 2016, 05:55 PM
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QUOTE (hermit @ Jun 9 2016, 08:44 AM) *
First step: Wait a few thousand years (in-game).
Second step: Play Equinox and make them there.

I took a look at this (without actually buying it), but it seems a bit more lots-of-action-all-the-time oriented than I'm fond of. Our group can actually go whole sessions without getting into a firefight, depending on what's going on. We tend to enforce rules like the cops actually responding to running gun battles and their forensic departments not being idiots when investigating crime scenes. Combat is deadly, so we don't go picking fights we don't need to. This game seems to be stressing more "high-octane action every minute" type of play. Which is fine, if you're into that.
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Mantis
post Jun 10 2016, 07:46 PM
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QUOTE (JanessaVR @ Jun 10 2016, 09:49 AM) *
That’s a good point, but since I’d like to explore this concept, I may simply compensate by ruling the lower mana level at present means more Units of True Elements are required to manufacture them.

That could work I suppose but I'd set the number to be based on the percentage of magic missing. Of course I'd also have to establish just how high the mana level needs to be to make these things to get that number.

QUOTE (JanessaVR @ Jun 10 2016, 09:49 AM) *
Actually, yes, there are such items. This is from Magic: A Manual of Mystic Secrets, p. 49:

“Magical items in Earthdawn fall into two broad categories: common items and thread items. Common items are those magical objects that can be used by anyone who knows how they work. Readily available throughout Barsaive, these items include day-to-day tools like magical cook pots, firestarters, light quartz and warm cloaks, as well as less common items such as crystal armor, fire cannons and airships.”

Thread items seem to be roughly analogous to Karma-bound items (I’m not an Earthdawn expert yet, and I’m more interested in the setting lore than mastering its RPG mechanics). At any rate, it appears that magical items usable by the non-magically inclined folks did exist – and were commonly used, even.

Totally forgot about those. Probably because no one ever used them in game. Sure they exist, but if the majority of your game consists of exploring horror infested kaers, well you aren't likely to run into too many working magic cooking pots. Or at least never GM never had that happen.

QUOTE
As I said above, I think I can compensate by just ruling that their manufacture is more expensive now. That said, they could still be incredibly useful, even if they were very pricey to make. Imagine a small town wanting to have an endless supply of electricity. The cost for the True Elements and the mage(s) to make it will be 1,000,000 ¥. That could take them a while to pay off if they took out a loan for that, but then they’d have guaranteed free power until the end of the Sixth World. Well, they’d still need to maintain the power lines.

Make it 100,000,000¥ or higher and you might be in the right price range. If it were only 1 million then every city, town, village and hamlet would do this. Free power after the initial start up fee? Yes please.
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JanessaVR
post Jun 10 2016, 11:07 PM
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QUOTE (Mantis @ Jun 10 2016, 11:46 AM) *
That could work I suppose but I'd set the number to be based on the percentage of magic missing. Of course I'd also have to establish just how high the mana level needs to be to make these things to get that number.

Indeed, which is why my work will be at least half pulling numbers out of thin air.


QUOTE (Mantis @ Jun 10 2016, 11:46 AM) *
Totally forgot about those. Probably because no one ever used them in game. Sure they exist, but if the majority of your game consists of exploring horror infested kaers, well you aren't likely to run into too many working magic cooking pots. Or at least never GM never had that happen.

I’d rather do any other number of things in an ED campaign than just raid dungeons (we’re got D&D for that). Dealing with the various political situations sounds more interesting to me.


QUOTE (Mantis @ Jun 10 2016, 11:46 AM) *
Make it 100,000,000¥ or higher and you might be in the right price range. If it were only 1 million then every city, town, village and hamlet would do this. Free power after the initial start up fee? Yes please.

At that price, no one but a AAA could afford them, and I might as well not bother. If a small town could afford it, but it’s too pricey for most normal people to walk around with one, then that sounds about right to me. And yes, every town would want one – but that’s the point. I want this to spread, not just be confined to less than a dozen super-expensive items on the planet.
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Tymeaus Jalynsfe...
post Jun 10 2016, 11:41 PM
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QUOTE (Mantis @ Jun 10 2016, 12:46 PM) *
Totally forgot about those. Probably because no one ever used them in game. Sure they exist, but if the majority of your game consists of exploring horror infested kaers, well you aren't likely to run into too many working magic cooking pots. Or at least never GM never had that happen.


Hey - I love my Cooking pot... My Arcano-Archeologist actually found one in Shadowrun at the tail end of the Artifacts series. It was pretty awesome. (IMG:style_emoticons/default/smile.gif)
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post Jun 11 2016, 05:57 AM
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QUOTE (ShadowDragon8685 @ Jun 8 2016, 03:15 PM) *
The only practical use for "always on" magic items would be those which make the classical laws of thermodynamics their bitch; for instance, an object which always spins and never, ever stops. Attach copper wiring and you have an input-cost-free no-fuel power generator.

You might find Larry Niven's short story, "The Magic Goes Away" interesting. (IMG:style_emoticons/default/wink.gif)
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Sengir
post Jun 11 2016, 10:10 PM
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QUOTE (lokii @ Jun 9 2016, 10:53 PM) *
Well, mana spikes are local right? The sine curve represents the global mana level. So I assume they literally wouldn't make a dent. (IMG:style_emoticons/default/wink.gif)

Probably sorta debatably (IMG:style_emoticons/default/wink.gif)

We know that there was an unlikely number of spike babies born in Ireland before the Awakening, so there mostly likely was either one countrywide spike or multiple small spikes over the place. Then we have the GGD spike, which only affected the area where it was performed. And finally, Halley's Comet had global effects. Which of those, if any, is the typical case? No idea.

Similarly, how strong is the "normal" spike, does it bump the magic level by 50 years, 100 or 1000? And after the level has been bumped, does it go back to normal (without Harlequin intervening) after some time or does it stay on that level until the natural cycle catches up?

TL;DR: It's hard to write anything about mana spikes which violates established canon, because there is very little of it. I would however point out one thing, each World is really, really long. If people in the 4th World had been using magical cooking utensils since 500 years before the Scourge, that still means they only started making those ~1900 years after the 4th World began (one World = 5216 years, the Scourge lasted ~400 years, so the Horrors show up around 2,400 years after each Awakening). Let's say the mana level to use an item is sufficient 1000 years before it becomes sufficient to manufacture such an item, then you'd still have to wait till 900 years after the Awakening for your cooking pot. The 6th World hasn't even clocked in 90.
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KCKitsune
post Jun 12 2016, 04:25 PM
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QUOTE (ShadowDragon8685 @ Jun 8 2016, 03:15 PM) *
It seems like a pointless waste of time in most cases; a display of ostentatious wealth perhaps.

The only practical use for "always on" magic items would be those which make the classical laws of thermodynamics their bitch; for instance, an object which always spins and never, ever stops. Attach copper wiring and you have an input-cost-free no-fuel power generator. That might or might not be particularly cost-effective on Earth depending on how much power one of them can generate, but on a spaceship it would be incalculably useful. You'd no longer be limited by solar panels.

Except in Shadowrun they have room temperature superconductors and fusion reactors. As we all know hydrogen is the most abundant element in the universe and therefore you have an almost endless supply of fuel.

Oh, and you also have to counter the level 12 mana void to make your generator work. Kind of a bummer about that. (IMG:style_emoticons/default/smile.gif)

Though I do agree with you about the Recharge spell. If you can fix a broken complex machine, and create lightning bolts then a recharge spell is simple.
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