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> Street Magic, So much for one book's enough :(
Garland
post Mar 15 2005, 10:01 PM
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QUOTE (DocMortand)
Eh...I kinda like having the insane number of totems myself. But that's my opinion, so it really doesn't matter all that much.

Actually, I'm with you on that one. As it is now, there's just about something for everyone. As opposed to "ho-hum, another wolf (or whatever SR3 core-rules) shaman."
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post Mar 16 2005, 12:13 AM
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The problem is the utter lack of basis for most of the newer totems (I'd say at least half of the totems listed in MitS) in NA beliefs.

Of course, there is still also the GIANT assumption that NA beliefs are in any way the same, or even work the same way, or how they interact with other rules for, say, Insect shamans. It's a good think Spider was never made an Insect totem, because that would be contradictory to the basis of totem magic in NA beliefs.

Of course, this whole "most NA magic is totem magic" idea is ridiculous, as well. So, what can I say except, "Anything else is better."
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Wireknight
post Mar 16 2005, 12:23 AM
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I think that basic initiation rules and a handful of metamagics should be available in the main sourcebook, but that all advanced rules (magical edges and flaws, the lion's share of metamagics, enchanting rules, free spirits, magical threats) should be delegated to a seperate core expansion rulebook. I don't know that I quite agree with the idea of point-based magic purchase as mfb has outlined it. I think the idea itself is promising, but the implementation is flawed.

I think that, if we're going to go with his enumerations, then full magicians should get something like 11 points, universally, while aspected magicians and adepts get 6 points. Otherwise, most people who want to keep their existing characters will have to pick up the "hermetic package" or "shamanic package" and, as mfb stated, lose out on some of the new flexibility and shininess available to characters who avoid buying package deals entirely.
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moosegod
post Mar 16 2005, 12:41 AM
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"Package" sounds a whole like like "class" to me.

SR magic, with it's mostly clear delinations, is enough for me.
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CanvasBack
post Mar 16 2005, 12:39 AM
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QUOTE (Crimsondude 2.0 @ Mar 15 2005, 07:13 PM)
The problem is the utter lack of basis for most of the newer totems (I'd say at least half of the totems listed in MitS) in NA beliefs.

Of course, there is still also the GIANT assumption that NA beliefs are in any way the same, or even work the same way, or how they interact with other rules for, say, Insect shamans. It's a good think Spider was never made an Insect totem, because that would be contradictory to the basis of totem magic in NA beliefs.

Of course, this whole "most NA magic is totem magic" idea is ridiculous, as well. So, what can I say except, "Anything else is better."

I would take a step back from that. I can't remember if it was a book I was reading or a documentary I saw but the subject was Native Americans now and how they adjust to the Anglo culture that they are engulfed in. There was a Sioux woman who described a vision she had of a Kangaroo on alien landscape that she would follow around but was never able to catch up to. Did she go on a vision quest with a kangaroo totem or was she simply dreaming because National Geographic World did back to back stories on Australia and the Mars Rover? I don't know, but I would think in the 6th world it would certainly be possible to make a personal connection with a totem spirit, despite anything traditionally bounded by geography or environment.

But concerning totems in general you're right, Crow is going to mean something different to Great Plains Hunter-Gatherers than to sedentary maize horticulturalists for example.

EDIT: For my own edification

Can I just say that I hope they make the penalties for the Awakened using cyberware/bioware more stringent? Using Geas to do away with the consequences of Essence/Magic Loss seemed kinda weak.
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Guest_Crimsondude 2.0_*
post Mar 16 2005, 01:31 AM
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QUOTE (moosegod @ Mar 15 2005, 05:41 PM)
"Package" sounds a whole like like "class" to me.

As opposed to "Traditions?"

And our way actually attacks classes by making all powers available to everyone, which is , I think, yes, yes it is, it is the opposite of a class system.
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Paul
post Mar 16 2005, 01:49 AM
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QUOTE (Demonseed Elite)
There's also a lot more to consider than just opinions of which you like better. I mean, right now, shamans have a ruleset for their use of magic, hermetics have another one (their spirit conjuring works differently, they don't get totem bonuses, etc.), houngans have another one (yes, yet another system for spirit conjuring), etc., etc.


Huh? Since when? Conjuring modifiers maybe, sorcery modifiers maybe-but actual seperate rules? I don't buy that.
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Kanada Ten
post Mar 16 2005, 01:51 AM
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Well, there is the Hermetic Library and so on in the sense of tiny differences (even between toxic and twisted). Personally, I always like the seperation and felt there should be even more of it.
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Paul
post Mar 16 2005, 01:44 AM
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But the actual rules are exactly the same. Sure they way they are used (Modifiers) are different, but the rules are the same basic stuff-D6, opposed tests, etc...
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Wireknight
post Mar 16 2005, 01:44 AM
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Conjuring doesn't really work differently, though, for different types. Durations and trappings change, but in the end, it's all a matter of rolling Conjuring plus bonuses against TN# plus modifiers, then resisting drain with Charisma. Changing it to, say, make elementals able to be conjured as a complex action, or making spirits last until their services run out, to make it "uniform", would damage the good parts of the difference from one summoning tradition to the next. Variety is the spice of life.
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Kanada Ten
post Mar 16 2005, 02:13 AM
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The rules are totally different, just the mechanics are the same. Not so much for Sorcery, sure.
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Crimson Jack
post Mar 16 2005, 02:35 AM
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QUOTE (CanvasBack)
Can I just say that I hope they make the penalties for the Awakened using cyberware/bioware more stringent? Using Geas to do away with the consequences of Essence/Magic Loss seemed kinda weak.

Agreed. The rules should be stricter for magicians if they're going to soup up with cyber/bio. It might be nice to see an advanced state of bio though... something that costs a drekload, but is made of awakened biomass maybe.

On totems: I always thought that the totem sought out the awakened individual. I never knew that all of the totems had to be Native American to exist in the first place.
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Wireknight
post Mar 16 2005, 05:17 AM
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I never used geasa, anyhow. I feel that if you get cyberware and bioware, you should pay the price with a reduced magic rating. If you want to raise it, do it through initiation, not through keeping the magic but doing the chicken dance every time you cast a lethal combat spell. Oftentimes, the limitations of geasa (maybe I've just run under conservative GMs who will use any weakness I display for my character against them at one point or another) are worse than just taking the hit and losing Magic.
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Critias
post Mar 16 2005, 10:06 AM
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QUOTE (UpSyndrome)
Exactly what I was worried about. I understand they need to make money, but I gotta eat, and by the time I can buy another 20 shadowrun books (cause that's about how many 3rd edition books I have), they'll probably be working on 5th edition (which has more to do with my financial situation than the speed at which they produce more editions).

-Joe

What do you want them to do instead? Do you really think one gigantic book (with every rule someone will need, ever) is somehow cheaper than one big book and a lot of little books?

Compartmentalization is the way to go. Buy the big basic book, and be happy. When it comes time you need advanced magic, you drop $15 and grab that, too -- the people that don't need/want advanced magic don't have to waste $15 on it, only the people that want it. Ditto rigging. Ditto extra chrome. Ditto guns. Would you rather pay $30-$40 for a big book, and then $15 for each little book you need...or $250 for "THE SHADORWUN RULES SET?"

At least this way you -- and all the other poor starving kids -- can just buy the bits you need, instead of having to pay a hojillion dollars for decking rules (or whatever) you'll never use.
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Fortune
post Mar 16 2005, 10:17 AM
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QUOTE (Wireknight)
I never used geasa, anyhow. I feel that if you get cyberware and bioware, you should pay the price with a reduced magic rating. If you want to raise it, do it through initiation, not through keeping the magic but doing the chicken dance every time you cast a lethal combat spell. Oftentimes, the limitations of geasa (maybe I've just run under conservative GMs who will use any weakness I display for my character against them at one point or another) are worse than just taking the hit and losing Magic.

That's my opinion as well. It just isn't worth it. I have never taken a Geas to offset magic loss with any of my characters, and I play awakened characters almost exclusively.
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Jrayjoker
post Mar 16 2005, 03:19 PM
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QUOTE (mfb)
here's how it ought to work.

magic can be bought on a point-by-point basis. only want two points? buy two points. want to be a full mage? buy six. this should be possible both during chargen and during play.

each point of magic comes with a single metamagic. in this case, the ability to cast a single type of spell (combat, manipulation, etc.) would count as one metamagic, as would be the ability to conjure a single spirit type (fire elemental, spirit of man, etcetera).

package deals would be available: you could buy the Hermetic Mage package, and get a whopping eleven metamagics for your 6 magic (five types of spells, four spirits, astral perception, astral projection). your selection of future metamagics would, however, be limited, as are your means of advancement--you'd have to use the trappings of your chosen school for all rituals, libraries, etcetera.

alternatively, you could be Eclectic. buy magic on a point-for-point basis, selecting whatever metamagic you desire. you get less bang for your buck, but your options for advancement are wide open. you would be able to use any trappings from any school, or make up your own.

What you are suggesting makes me wonder if you want the whole world of shadow runners to be adepts, just like in Earthdawn. I am not opposed to that concept because I haven't thought about it too much, but everyone having access to magic abilities really reminds me of the different adepts in ED. An I think the different paths that physical adepts can take in SR now are beginning to echo that of ED, especially since the physical mage came into being.
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Tai-Pan
post Mar 16 2005, 03:24 PM
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QUOTE (mfb @ Mar 15 2005, 02:28 PM)
so, they should... what? not release new products? or package everything into one insanely expensive tome, so that nobody can afford it? release schedules are how gaming works.

Speaking of release schedules who else has had the thought cross their mind that SR4 may not acctually be released until say, 4th Quarter 2005 or GenCon 2006? Seems to be the way of things with our collective hobby things are annonced then delayed.
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Jrayjoker
post Mar 16 2005, 05:22 PM
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QUOTE (Tai-Pan)
QUOTE (mfb @ Mar 15 2005, 02:28 PM)
so, they should... what? not release new products? or package everything into one insanely expensive tome, so that nobody can afford it? release schedules are how gaming works.

Speaking of release schedules who else has had the thought cross their mind that SR4 may not acctually be released until say, 4th Quarter 2005 or GenCon 2006? Seems to be the way of things with our collective hobby things are annonced then delayed.

Now stop throwing reality in our faces! It is just not fair.
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mfb
post Mar 16 2005, 05:29 PM
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QUOTE (Jrayjoker)
What you are suggesting makes me wonder if you want the whole world of shadow runners to be adepts, just like in Earthdawn.

not really. my thinking is, magic should simply be as modular as cyberware is. if you want to have a classless system, then people shouldn't be locked into what are, effectively, classes. SR3 is basically classless unless you decide you want to be a mage or adept after chargen, at which point it's suddenly more rigid than D&D2e.
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Smed
post Mar 16 2005, 05:33 PM
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Yep, I agree. I'd like to be able to do more mixing and matching with the magic abilities. There are times when I'd like to play a character that has just a hint of power, not a full Mage or Adept.
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Jrayjoker
post Mar 16 2005, 06:22 PM
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Thanks for the clarification.
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audun
post Mar 16 2005, 10:52 PM
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Some opinions and ideas on which way I think magic should develop for SR4:

Skills, spells and metamagic
I do believe that the magic system of SR is more complicated than it have to be. A full revision may be needed. The thing is that it is built upon the D&Dish notion of spellslinging. (This is indeed a semiotic misunderstanding as you don't throw or sling spells when you cast them. You give them form.)
They added conjuring in addition to the spellslinging. Then they added enchanting. Then they added various metamagic which are attempts to make the magic more "realistic": Divination, Quickening, Anchoring, etc. Then there's the astral, A. Perception and A. Projection and metamagics such as Sensing, Cleansing, Psychometry, etc.
All in all lots of interesting ideas are added, but they are added on top of the spellslinger system. Hence it is very complicated.
What could be done is a complete revison where Sorcery no longer is the basic magic skill. Instead let's do away with some of the metamagic and spells and replaced them with magical skills. Exactly how I can't fathom right now, but to start with I imagine something along the following:
- Divination covers most detection magic (think pendulums) in addition to actual prophecies
- Enchanting covers what it does + anchoring
- Astral sensing for Aura Reading, Sensing, Psychometry, mind reading
- Astral manipulation (requires projection to be used) for Cleansing, Severing, Filtering, Masking and other manipulations of things astral
- Conjuring, as is (but see below on spirits)
- Sorcery for spellcasting as is, though spell categories should be rethought. As is there's a bloat in the Manipulation category.
- More power to the metaplanes, such as introducing the metaplane of Dreaming (something several fan- and author-sites has proposed, but then there's the Dream spell).

[More magical traditions
It doesn't make sense that Voudoun is a Tradition with different mechanics and spirits, while Druidic magic follows the same rules as NA shamans. As pointed out, NA shamans should also be different. Not everyone has Totems. Idols was/is a BAD idea. The rules laid down in MitS (I believe Idols first appeared in the Germany SB) was a serious hindrance when we worked with the European magical traditions.
The rules should be fairly similar regardless of tradition, but the approach should be clearly different for each Tradition. Possible traditions:
- Hermetics (with the paradigms)
- Alchemy (not a paradigm of Hermeticism anymore)
- Psionics (now a full-fledged tradition rather than an oddity)
- various strands of Neo-Paganism
- Traditional Witchcraft
- Quabbala (should definetly not be Hermetics)
- etc.. separate traditions based on different cultures (various Native American, Voudoun, various African, Aborigine)

More diversified spirits
Going with the traditions, spirits should be more diversified. As is they are very general. If you are a Theurgist mage you summon angels, but per SR3 rules these are actually Elementals that appear like angels. Doesn't make much sense to me. Elementals are clearly connected to the Hermetic idea of the four basic elements and has nothing to do with angels. Christian Hermeticism may tie these elementals to a four-tiered heaven or various arch-angels, but won't confuse them with angels.
Why limit conjuring to a few certain types of generic spirits? There could be many more kinds of spirits which the magician may interact and gain services from. In European folklore and New Age myth there's the idea of the follower/guardian angel, there are faeries, ghosts and demons. These are more independent kinds, but not necessarily more than in the relationship between shamans and nature spirits. Then there are all the mythological spirits or gods. Totems can be actual spirits in addition to spiritual guidelines. Why can't you summon them?
Some approaches to this may be:
- all spirits summoned are individual beeings, close to how free spirits are now. Or probably closer to how faeries are now. There's no generic spirits as such. You don't conjure a river spirit, you can the nymph of this specific river. In another river there's no nymph, but a water horse.
- You may indeed conjure any kind of spirits, but your tradition deceides how you treat them and limits what kind of spirits you may services from. (EX: Hermetics would have a very hard time getting any kind of nature spirit to even listen to them and won't get any services from them. Shamans would be overwhelmed by the primalness of Elementals and won't be able to command them.) The main difference from SR3 would be that there are more spirit types available. For instance: Hermetics may learn Demonology in addition to Elemental summoning allowing conjuring and binding of weird spirits from unknown metaplanes. A witch may learn to how to get guidance and help from her "follower" ie conjure it. Though, I think that there still shoud be barriers between the traditions, but it should be clearer that they have to do with different approaches and beliefs rather than laws of magic.

Making spellcasting less "slinging" and more magic
- Reintroduce expendable/reusable fetishes from SR2 (which let's you cast spells at a higher Force for less cost). Add a system where you may learn a spell with ritual (obvious complex action, making casting the spell two complex actions) built-in for much the same effect as fetishes.
IMO spells with rituals or fetishes should be the standard and spellcasting without such constraints should be something awesome and powerful. Beeing able to cast a "Ray of Death" with the mere wave of the hand rather than with a lot chanting and dancing should be the domain of really powerful mages, not the standard for a wiz-boy who've just discovered his talent.
- Dump Sympatethic linking as a metamagic and use it as it was in SR2 (standard for ritual magic).

Hmmm... Been writing on and off on this post for some hours. Hope it is somewhat coherent still. There are many good ideas floating around here which I would have liked to comment on, but can't right now.
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Kanada Ten
post Mar 17 2005, 12:39 AM
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QUOTE (mfb)
QUOTE (Jrayjoker)
What you are suggesting makes me wonder if you want the whole world of shadow runners to be adepts, just like in Earthdawn.

not really. my thinking is, magic should simply be as modular as cyberware is. if you want to have a classless system, then people shouldn't be locked into what are, effectively, classes. SR3 is basically classless unless you decide you want to be a mage or adept after chargen, at which point it's suddenly more rigid than D&D2e.

You know, I never like the idea that one could gain magic later, but you've slowly eaten away at that distaste. Now, I like the idea and think the only people not able to gain magic in 4th should be frankensteins and androids.
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mfb
post Mar 17 2005, 12:38 AM
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heh, same here. i didn't like the idea when i first heard it, but it's grown on me.
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Guest_Crimsondude 2.0_*
post Mar 17 2005, 01:46 AM
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QUOTE (audun)
Some opinions and ideas on which way I think magic should develop for SR4:

Skills, spells and metamagic
I do believe that the magic system of SR is more complicated than it have to be. A full revision may be needed. The thing is that it is built upon the D&Dish notion of spellslinging. (This is indeed a semiotic misunderstanding as you don't throw or sling spells when you cast them. You give them form.)
They added conjuring in addition to the spellslinging. Then they added enchanting. Then they added various metamagic which are attempts to make the magic more "realistic": Divination, Quickening, Anchoring, etc. Then there's the astral, A. Perception and A. Projection and metamagics such as Sensing, Cleansing, Psychometry, etc.
All in all lots of interesting ideas are added, but they are added on top of the spellslinger system. Hence it is very complicated.
What could be done is a complete revison where Sorcery no longer is the basic magic skill. Instead let's do away with some of the metamagic and spells and replaced them with magical skills. Exactly how I can't fathom right now, but to start with I imagine something along the following:
- Divination covers most detection magic (think pendulums) in addition to actual prophecies
- Enchanting covers what it does + anchoring
- Astral sensing for Aura Reading, Sensing, Psychometry, mind reading
- Astral manipulation (requires projection to be used) for Cleansing, Severing, Filtering, Masking and other manipulations of things astral
- Conjuring, as is (but see below on spirits)
- Sorcery for spellcasting as is, though spell categories should be rethought. As is there's a bloat in the Manipulation category.
- More power to the metaplanes, such as introducing the metaplane of Dreaming (something several fan- and author-sites has proposed, but then there's the Dream spell).

[More magical traditions
It doesn't make sense that Voudoun is a Tradition with different mechanics and spirits, while Druidic magic follows the same rules as NA shamans. As pointed out, NA shamans should also be different. Not everyone has Totems. Idols was/is a BAD idea. The rules laid down in MitS (I believe Idols first appeared in the Germany SB) was a serious hindrance when we worked with the European magical traditions.
The rules should be fairly similar regardless of tradition, but the approach should be clearly different for each Tradition. Possible traditions:
- Hermetics (with the paradigms)
- Alchemy (not a paradigm of Hermeticism anymore)
- Psionics (now a full-fledged tradition rather than an oddity)
- various strands of Neo-Paganism
- Traditional Witchcraft
- Quabbala (should definetly not be Hermetics)
- etc.. separate traditions based on different cultures (various Native American, Voudoun, various African, Aborigine)

More diversified spirits
Going with the traditions, spirits should be more diversified. As is they are very general. If you are a Theurgist mage you summon angels, but per SR3 rules these are actually Elementals that appear like angels. Doesn't make much sense to me. Elementals are clearly connected to the Hermetic idea of the four basic elements and has nothing to do with angels. Christian Hermeticism may tie these elementals to a four-tiered heaven or various arch-angels, but won't confuse them with angels.
Why limit conjuring to a few certain types of generic spirits? There could be many more kinds of spirits which the magician may interact and gain services from. In European folklore and New Age myth there's the idea of the follower/guardian angel, there are faeries, ghosts and demons. These are more independent kinds, but not necessarily more than in the relationship between shamans and nature spirits. Then there are all the mythological spirits or gods. Totems can be actual spirits in addition to spiritual guidelines. Why can't you summon them?
Some approaches to this may be:
- all spirits summoned are individual beeings, close to how free spirits are now. Or probably closer to how faeries are now. There's no generic spirits as such. You don't conjure a river spirit, you can the nymph of this specific river. In another river there's no nymph, but a water horse.
- You may indeed conjure any kind of spirits, but your tradition deceides how you treat them and limits what kind of spirits you may services from. (EX: Hermetics would have a very hard time getting any kind of nature spirit to even listen to them and won't get any services from them. Shamans would be overwhelmed by the primalness of Elementals and won't be able to command them.) The main difference from SR3 would be that there are more spirit types available. For instance: Hermetics may learn Demonology in addition to Elemental summoning allowing conjuring and binding of weird spirits from unknown metaplanes. A witch may learn to how to get guidance and help from her "follower" ie conjure it. Though, I think that there still shoud be barriers between the traditions, but it should be clearer that they have to do with different approaches and beliefs rather than laws of magic.

Making spellcasting less "slinging" and more magic
- Reintroduce expendable/reusable fetishes from SR2 (which let's you cast spells at a higher Force for less cost). Add a system where you may learn a spell with ritual (obvious complex action, making casting the spell two complex actions) built-in for much the same effect as fetishes.
IMO spells with rituals or fetishes should be the standard and spellcasting without such constraints should be something awesome and powerful. Beeing able to cast a "Ray of Death" with the mere wave of the hand rather than with a lot chanting and dancing should be the domain of really powerful mages, not the standard for a wiz-boy who've just discovered his talent.
- Dump Sympatethic linking as a metamagic and use it as it was in SR2 (standard for ritual magic).

Hmmm... Been writing on and off on this post for some hours. Hope it is somewhat coherent still. There are many good ideas floating around here which I would have liked to comment on, but can't right now.

I am impressed. There are some really good ideas in there. But I think that the system mfb and I are advocating is preferable, but your ideas and our friend's (her idea) are not incompatible.
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