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> Variable Magic Rating at Chargen, How will cyberware interact?
RunnerPaul
post Apr 12 2005, 08:41 PM
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Alright, let me just start by saying that the word essence hasn't been mentioned in any of the offically released SR4 information that I've seen. Even so, the fact that you can't mix cyber and magic is so core to the overall Shadowrun experience, for the purposes of the following discussion, I'm going to assume that Cyber will still cost essence, and essence still subtracts from the magic attribute.

We know that Magic won't automatically be a 6 at chargen, that it can be purchased up to various levels like all the other attributes now. This is something I've thought has been needed for a while now, if only to further support the fact that the Awakening touches different people differently; some people awaken to a greater degre than others. Aspected Magicians were one way that this was represented previously, but those rules weren't out of the main book.

This also isn't the first time in SR that a variable starting magic rating has been attempted, and I was wondering how the Game Designers are going to address the question that comes up everytime this concept has been tried: How will cyberware interact with this variable starting magic attribute?

Will a character who buys a rating of 4 in Magic have a 2 point "window" where as long as they keep their essence above 4, they don't suffer magic loss? Or will a character who buys Magic 4 and gets one point of cyber installed suddenly be at Magic 3?

Past discussions on this brought out the merits and flaws of both approaches, and to be honest, I'm not sure that I was convinced that either way was better than the other. That's why I'm just not sure which way FanPro is going to go on this. Anyone else have any thoughts/speculation/rehashing of the past debates that they'd like to share?
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Patrick Goodman
post Apr 12 2005, 08:55 PM
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QUOTE (RunnerPaul @ Apr 12 2005, 03:41 PM)
Alright, let me just start by saying that the word essence hasn't been mentioned in any of the offically released SR4 information that I've seen. Even so, the fact that you can't mix cyber and magic is so core to the overall Shadowrun experience, for the purposes of the following discussion, I'm going to assume that Cyber will still cost essence, and essence still subtracts from the magic attribute.

Correct on all counts. I don't think I'm violating a thing in putting that out.
QUOTE
This also isn't the first time in SR that a variable starting magic rating has been attempted, and I was wondering how the Game Designers are going to address the question that comes up everytime this concept has been tried: How will cyberware interact with this variable starting magic attribute?

Will a character who buys a rating of 4 in Magic have a 2 point "window" where as long as they keep their essence above 4, they don't suffer magic loss? Or will a character who buys Magic 4 and gets one point of cyber installed suddenly be at Magic 3?

The latter is my understanding, but it hasn't really come up yet in any of my group's testing. I'll bring this up next time we meet so we can go over it again. It's possible that my brain, not being completely active at the moment, has glossed over something important. Wouldn't be the first time.
QUOTE
Past discussions on this brought out the merits and flaws of both approaches, and to be honest, I'm not sure that I was convinced that either way was better than the other. That's why I'm just not sure which way FanPro is going to go on this. Anyone else have any thoughts/speculation/rehashing of the past debates that they'd like to share?

I, too, would like to see some of the ideas out there.

Personally, I'm against the concept of a free-cyber window. If you chop on Essence at all, I think it should chop on Magic, too. You just have a shorter way to fall if your Magic is less than your Essence to start with.
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RunnerPaul
post Apr 12 2005, 09:09 PM
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QUOTE (Patrick Goodman)
Personally, I'm against the concept of a free-cyber window. If you chop on Essence at all, I think it should chop on Magic, too. You just have a shorter way to fall if your Magic is less than your Essence to start with.

If I remember how the previous discusions on this subject went, the major benefit of the "essence window" is that under that system, a player can create a character who awakened late, and happened to get a little cyber before realizing she was destined to be magically active, without penalizing the character by having them allocate chargen resources on magic points that they will never see any in-game benefit from. However, that very same thing is its disadvantage, as it opens the playing field for those who want to Min-Max a "Way of the Burnout" character into something that exceeds playbalance in ways that the designers could never foresee.

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StranD
post Apr 12 2005, 09:13 PM
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QUOTE
If I remember how the previous discusions on this subject went, the major benefit of the "essence window" is that under that system, a player can create a character who awakened late, and happened to get a little cyber before realizing she was destined to be magically active, without penalizing the character by having them allocate chargen resources on magic points that they will never see any in-game benefit from.


...or that cyberware actually hampered their gene's ability to waken and they never realized their magic because of it. I'm with Patrick on this one... no cyberware window, every piece should hamper magic no matter how weak you were to begin with.
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Vuron
post Apr 12 2005, 09:23 PM
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I can see both sides of the free essence argument but I tend towards thinking it's probably a decent thing depending in geas rules.

Under the current system when I purchase physical adept status I get alotted 6 points in theory. However if I want to be heavily cybered (say 4 essence worth of cyberware) I'm fundamentally sacrificing a 2/3rd percentage of the points i'm spending on becoming an adept that could've been spent on attributes or skills. So that's just a design decision some people might say but should a player be penalized for going with an unusual design?

Yes under the current rules geasa can do wonders in allowing adepts to take lots of powers and be cybered up but that just shifts the imbalance back the other way.

Now if you allow people to purchase marginal levels of magic and not take an immediate essence hit they are fundamentally balanced against all other characters awakened or not. Of course this fundamentally assumes that taking geasa to offset power point losses won't neccesarily be brought into SR4 which would be IMHO a very good thing.
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Fortune
post Apr 12 2005, 09:43 PM
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QUOTE (Vuron)
... geasa to offset power point losses won't neccesarily be brought into SR4 which would be IMHO a very good thing.

This would solve a lot of previous balance problems, in my opinion.
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Vuron
post Apr 12 2005, 09:51 PM
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QUOTE (Fortune)
QUOTE (Vuron @ Apr 13 2005, 07:23 AM)
... geasa to offset power point losses won't neccesarily be brought into SR4 which would be IMHO a very good thing.

This would solve a lot of previous balance problems, in my opinion.

I agree right now Physad Bioware Monsters with a handful of cool cyberware augments are pretty damned potent at creation and scale like nobodies business later on. Balance at creation and later phases is upset.

Personally I'm hoping that the various power up phases of awakened characters get major evaluations ofr SR4. I'm not saying initiation should be done away (although that might solve some problems - instead of initiation you purchase x ability with x karma) but that the high end should be better balanced.
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Fortune
post Apr 12 2005, 10:21 PM
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I use augmentations with most of my awakened characters, but I never take Geasa. This seems to work just fine for me.
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Vuron
post Apr 12 2005, 10:28 PM
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QUOTE (Fortune)
I use augmentations with most of my awakened characters, but I never take Geasa. This seems to work just fine for me.

TBH I would love to hear geasa being taken out of the game and that buying additional magic for power points greater spell power etc was exclusively about spending karma to increase that attribute. Yeah people would bitch and moan but it would definitely slow down awakened power inflation.
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NightHaunter
post Apr 13 2005, 12:00 PM
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I like the concept of buying up magic so you can start with less and that regardless of the reting cyber(and bio?) hits it.
Only got magic 1 sir, here have a datajack. BOOM no more magic.
I also never let people take geasa for cyber or ally spirit magic loss as the way I read it thats how it worked.
But yeah just a little magic, that makes for some cool char concepts.
Power up the wazoo also do-able but gets out of breath if you run for more thaan 5 seconds.
It's good.
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Critias
post Apr 13 2005, 12:16 PM
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Why not keep it so that Essence is the max of your Magic Rating (not counting Initiation or whatever replaces it), and leave it at that?

If you've got four Essence points worth of cyberware, you can't purchase (as an attribute) a Magic rating higher than a two. If all you've got is a smartlink, you can sink karma in there 'till it's up to a five. I don't think you should pay as if your Magic was up to a six in the first case, or up to a six in the second; either. You can't, so you shouldn't have to.

Essence should, I think, continue to set the maximum for Magic. That's it.
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mintcar
post Apr 13 2005, 12:39 PM
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Essence loss should subtract from Magic Rating. But having lost 2 points of Essence should not make it so you have to buy 3 points of Magic in order to gain 1. Instead, a low Essence Rating should make it more expencive to buy more Magic. It should be ballanced so that you will have payed for the extra 2 points by the time you reach 3 or 4 points in Magic, instead of having to pay for them in advance.
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brightlight
post Apr 13 2005, 12:53 PM
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I totally agree with Critias here, sticking cyber in a body should have long term consequences for awakened characters.

Essence as a max for magic? Makes total sense to me, especially if essence is the degree to which your spirit matches the body. That means not allowing you to pay extra to exceed it, your spirit simply cannot channel more power that its essence.

On the other subject touched on here, I've never allowed the buying of 'power points', as it robs from the whole higher mysteries aspect of initiating.
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RunnerPaul
post Apr 13 2005, 01:07 PM
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QUOTE (brightlight @ Apr 13 2005, 07:53 AM)
On the other subject touched on here, I've never allowed the buying of 'power points', as it robs from the whole higher mysteries aspect of initiating.

the "Power Point Buy" mechanic was a simple way to allow for Adept advancement in just the core rule book. Using just the core rule book, a mage could advance and grow by learning new spells, and your chromed gun bunnies could always go under the knife for a new piece of 'ware, Power Point Buy was supposed to be the equivilent for PhysAds. In my personal experience I never found it to so much "rob from the whole higher mysteries aspect of initiating"; instead it was "the gimped cousin that initiating didn't like to admit being related to."

If I remember the math right, Initiating usually worked out to be a lot cheaper Karma-wise until you got fairly high into the progression. Throw in the metamagic benefits you get in addition to the new powers, and the fact that Power Point Buy can only take you so far once you hit the brick wall of your own Magic attribute, I never had to disallow Power Point Buy as it self-selected itself out of the gene pool of character advancement options as skillfully and thoroughly as any of the published Darwin Award winners out there.
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Vuron
post Apr 13 2005, 02:12 PM
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I was thinking last night about some ideas of how to make variable magic chargen and the essence window problem work. Here are some tentative idea for you guys to bitch about.

Make it where you need a certain magic rating to buy certain spells and adept powers.

For example say that you only need to have an overall magic attribute of 1 to cast relatively low "oomph" spells like healthy body or maybe low levels of a spell like stunbolt for the same 1 you might be limited to adept powers like the various sense enhancers. You need much higher magic to be able to buy attribute enhancers or you common power spells. You need really heavy magic (like magic 6) to buy the bigtime reaction boosters or really nasty area effect spells like chaotic world or fireball.

If you really want to generate a ruleset with unique adepts and mages you could go so far as to do stuff like this.

Killing Hands (D) or the equivalent thereof.
Minimum Magic: 6
Minimum Unarmed Combat: 6

Fireball
Minimum Magic: 5
Minimum Sorcery: 6

etc. That way not only do you need to work on harnessing your Chi or inner strength (yadda yadda) but you need to direct it through a tangible skill.
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Dawnshadow
post Apr 13 2005, 02:22 PM
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Or.. you could just keep the 'power points' 'spell drain related to magic attribute'... and so on. Why shouldn't some mage with magic one know a lot of killer high-force spells? He can't cast them without physical drain at any force greater than 1. Or he could just have stunbolt, manabolt, powerbolt.. and sorcery skill so high that it doesn't matter that it's resisted at target 1, because he's got 8 successes at will 6.

Or the adept, with nothing but level 1 improved reflexes. Power levels are already very determined for adepts -- at least in SR3, where it's Magic in power points. So.. at magic 1, you get 1 power point. Take anything.

That being said, I do like the idea of essence setting your max magic attribute (before initiation or the equivalent takes over). I've seen some good arguments for why even someone with magic 1 loses it at any cyber getting added, but I like the idea of it cutting into the potential more than it destroying the present.
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Fortune
post Apr 13 2005, 02:23 PM
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QUOTE (Critias)
Why not keep it so that Essence is the max of your Magic Rating (not counting Initiation or whatever replaces it), and leave it at that?

If you've got four Essence points worth of cyberware, you can't purchase (as an attribute) a Magic rating higher than a two. If all you've got is a smartlink, you can sink karma in there 'till it's up to a five. I don't think you should pay as if your Magic was up to a six in the first case, or up to a six in the second; either. You can't, so you shouldn't have to.

Essence should, I think, continue to set the maximum for Magic. That's it.

I agree with this method.

QUOTE (Vuron)
Make it where you need a certain magic rating to buy certain spells and adept powers.


I feel that this is too close to a 'level-based' system for my liking.
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Eyeless Blond
post Apr 13 2005, 02:31 PM
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Heh, funny how the issue flip-flopped there. :) I'd like to see what Patrick and the others who came to the thread early have to say about what the later people are saying. :)
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Patrick Goodman
post Apr 13 2005, 03:16 PM
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QUOTE (Eyeless Blond)
Heh, funny how the issue flip-flopped there. :) I'd like to see what Patrick and the others who came to the thread early have to say about what the later people are saying. :)

Gimme time; I'm still digesting things.
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Patrick Goodman
post Apr 16 2005, 04:14 AM
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QUOTE (RunnerPaul)
QUOTE (Patrick Goodman @ Apr 12 2005, 03:55 PM)
Personally, I'm against the concept of a free-cyber window. If you chop on Essence at all, I think it should chop on Magic, too. You just have a shorter way to fall if your Magic is less than your Essence to start with.

If I remember how the previous discusions on this subject went, the major benefit of the "essence window" is that under that system, a player can create a character who awakened late, and happened to get a little cyber before realizing she was destined to be magically active, without penalizing the character by having them allocate chargen resources on magic points that they will never see any in-game benefit from. However, that very same thing is its disadvantage, as it opens the playing field for those who want to Min-Max a "Way of the Burnout" character into something that exceeds playbalance in ways that the designers could never foresee.

You know, to be honest with you, this had never really occurred to me.

Looking back on the idea now that I've had time to do other things, like sleep, I can see a definite benefit to allowing that Essence window at chargen, but at chargen only, to allow for those kinds of concepts.

Besides, I think Guardians of Order said it best: "Min/Maxing and munchkinism aren't problems with the game; they're problems with the player." It's only in my crankiest moments when I blame it on the game system. As writers, the best we can do is make it as tight as we can and realize that someone's gonna be able to twist it out of shape.
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Patrick Goodman
post Apr 16 2005, 04:15 AM
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QUOTE (StranD)
...or that cyberware actually hampered their gene's ability to waken and they never realized their magic because of it. I'm with Patrick on this one... no cyberware window, every piece should hamper magic no matter how weak you were to begin with.

See above; I believe that I've actually changed my position on this issue. I think I was just being cranky the other day.
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Patrick Goodman
post Apr 16 2005, 04:21 AM
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QUOTE (RunnerPaul)
the "Power Point Buy" mechanic was a simple way to allow for Adept advancement in just the core rule book. Using just the core rule book, a mage could advance and grow by learning new spells, and your chromed gun bunnies could always go under the knife for a new piece of 'ware, Power Point Buy was supposed to be the equivilent for PhysAds. In my personal experience I never found it to so much "rob from the whole higher mysteries aspect of initiating"; instead it was "the gimped cousin that initiating didn't like to admit being related to."

This is always how I saw it, too, and I always ignored the FAQ entry about not using with MitS rules. If you ignored it, you took one of the limits away from PhysMages (or Magician's Way adepts, if we're going to be all proper ;)).

I thought it was a good rule, and it worked out okay in our group for years. I'm pushing for it to remain in SR4.
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Ghost_dk
post Apr 16 2005, 06:59 AM
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Personally I have never had a problem with cybered mages increasing im magic through initation, because I implemented a house rule saying that if a mage with X level of Cyber/Bio tries to initiate the level of lost essence/bioindex not only leads to loss in Magic but also adds X levels to the base cost for calculating Karma cost of the initation. This makes quite a difference. fx:

without my house rule a mage with 2 points of cyper would pay the standard cost of 24 karma points to selfinitate from level 2 to level 3 initiate:

Base cost 8(5+3(for desired grade))*3 karma(for selfinitaition)= 24 Karma

using my house rule it would be 30 karma

Base cost 10(5+3(for desired grade)+2(for current essence/bio loss))*3 Karma(for selfinitation = 30 Karma

I find this a good way of keeping the cyber down for awakened characters and also wont totally cripple one that fx. got a jack by force(fx from the brainscan campaign.)
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mintcar
post Apr 20 2005, 10:16 PM
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So nobody took my solution under concideration, huh? (although you seem to have been thinking in the same routes, Ghost_dk)

I think itīs a good idea to link the cost of the magic attribute to the essence attribute, in order to eliminate some of the problems you are discussing. It could actually be the only effect of cyberware to magic. The immediate effect of cyberware that we see in the current rules could be done with the risk of magic loss in surgery. That effect should have impact on in char gen aswell, but maybe not involving a dice roll in that case.
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akarenti
post Apr 21 2005, 02:51 AM
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mintcar: it might be easier to link Sorcery and Conjuring to Essense rather than Willpower. It would still make it much more costly to build a low-Essense magician at charactergen, and wouldn't require a new rule or formula. (assuming the Build Point system is similar).

Of course that wouldn't solve the problem with Adepts. Maybe base starting Power Points on Essense (keeping Magic as the Power level cap)?

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