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> Conjurers, Bouncing ideas around
Dawnshadow
post Jul 26 2005, 08:56 PM
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Playing in an exceedingly high powered/high magic game (just as some background)..

What's the general opinion on conjurers (shamanic, not hermetic)?

The one I'm playing with is high charisma (7), trauma dampener, currently one ally spirit at force 5. Four different spirit affinities (wind, lake, hearth, forest).

Two possibilities for advancing have leapt to mind.

The first is to conjure more ally spirits, give them all pistols skills. Multiple ally spirits, all with guns, would dramatically increase the number of shots in the air, and at reasonably high force (4-5) they are effectively immune to most weapons.

The second involves training charisma up to 11, and then taking ruthless advantages of the trauma dampener and conjuring force 5 great forms. At charisma 11, it would be 5/10-initiate grade Light Stun drain, which the trauma dampener negates entirely. Can be done under concealment when in hostile territory, and bypasses the problem of drain neatly.

Is either workable? Has anyone played a shamanic conjurer and run into some pitfall that I should be aware of?
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Shockwave_IIc
post Jul 26 2005, 09:07 PM
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Well first off im guessing you're an Elf or have the Exceptional Attribute (Cha).

Second, for Light drain Vs Force 5, you need only Cha 10.

Third, getting Charisma 10 with Trauma Dampner, is Very Hard.

My opinion? Get yourself Charisma 10, as well as Invoking (if you haven't already)
My Npc Bad guy has that, VERY Hard.
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Dawnshadow
post Jul 26 2005, 09:18 PM
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Human, with elf looking, exceptional charisma.

Has invoking, masking, centering, and cleansing. Also on the bio/cyber list is a smartlink 2 and mnemonic enhancers 3.

More in the roleplay area is amnesia (everything before 2 years ago), flashbacks to an incident involving ghouls that she can't quite remember, and a minor hunted flaw. Presumably because of something she saw, or that is otherwise programmed into her mnemonic enhancer, although you'd really have to ask my GM about it ;) I expect there are lots of secrets she can't access..

Lastly, why does the trauma dampener affect getting higher charisma? It's hard because it's over the RML, but bioware does not to the best of my recollection affect that. Her magic rating took a hit, down to 8 instead of 10, but that just affects the drain type (and by house rule, ally spirits 'aid' power counts as a power focus for conjuring)
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Shockwave_IIc
post Jul 26 2005, 09:24 PM
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Sorry dawn shadow it should of looked like this.
QUOTE (Shockwave_IIc)
Third, gettingCharisma 10 with Trauma Dampner, is Very Hard COMBO.


And i meant getting Channelling and Invoking as well as Charisma 10.

didn't realise i was THAT tired......
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Ancient History
post Jul 26 2005, 09:36 PM
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QUOTE
Third, getting Charisma 10 with Trauma Dampner, is Very Hard.

Probably means "Magic 10."

If your GM allows, you might take the Summoning Talent edge to summon ancestor spirits, loa spirits, spirits of the elements or even zombies without losing the ability to summon other spirits; or the Spellcasting Talent for the Spirit Bolt, Spiritblast or Spirit Barrier spells.

The Obeyifa is, despite claims of being part of the Path of Voodoo, essentially a specialist shamanic conjurer.

Centering, Channelling and Invoking are probably your best friends as far as metamagic go.

Always put a few skill points into Free Spirit and/or Spirit Lore Knowledge skills...you're dealing with spirits and spirit-like paracritters almost as a matter of course, and need to be able to tell a wraith from a shedim from a nomad from a brocken bow from an insect spirit. Besides which, you can gain a fair bit of power dealing with free spirits, even if you don't bind them.

Shamanic conjurers need to pay special attention to their totem, in order to gain the proper bonuses (and avoid penalties!). Boar, Crab, Hyena, Leopard, Sun, Phoenix, Great Mother

Other totems to consider are those that give unique benefits, such as Horse, Scorpion and Wise Warrior.

Invest in a watcher spirit focus; they represent an often overlooked resource.
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Dawnshadow
post Jul 26 2005, 10:53 PM
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I hadn't thought of the watcher spirit focus. I'd figured I likely would end up with a pack of watchers a lot of the time, but hadn't thought of taking a focus for it. In fact, the character doesn't have any foci at all -- lots of starting resources, but those were devoted to the initiations and force 5 ally.

Haven't got any book with channelling -- it's one that I definately want though.

Where are the Summoning Talent and Spellcasting Talent edges? I don't remember seeing them.

Totem that I've got right now is Moon Maiden actually.. character is based on Wicca. No advantages, no disadvantages, but fits very well with the character.

The Spirit Lore is something I hadn't thought of. Definately something I need. Right now knowledge skills are:
centering (wiccan ritual/energy working),
magic background,
magical organizations,
wiccan beliefs.
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Ancient History
post Jul 26 2005, 11:15 PM
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The 2nd edition SRComp. Like I said, subject to GM approval only.
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Catsnightmare
post Jul 26 2005, 11:56 PM
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Might try asking your GM if you can take the Summoning or Spellcasting Talents as Metamagics instead.
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Sharaloth
post Jul 27 2005, 12:06 AM
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QUOTE
Might try asking your GM if you can take the Summoning or Spellcasting Talents as Metamagics instead.

As Dawnshadow's GM...possibly, I'd have to see a description first, and might change them slightly to fit the tone of the campaign. As a kneejerk reaction, though, I'd say no to the spellcasting, that's the province of others, and yes to the summoning. But, in any case, this has given me ideas.
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Ancient History
post Jul 27 2005, 12:12 AM
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I wouldn't allow 'em as metamagics. The Spellcasting Talent lets you cast one spell (you don't get to learn sorcery), the Summoning Talent lets you summon one spirit. In moderation, I think they work out well without being unbalancing.
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Catsnightmare
post Jul 27 2005, 12:30 AM
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The Spellcasting Talent lets you know one spell, cast as per the critter power of Innate Spell, however I wouldn't let them use it without drain.

Now that I got a copy of the SR2 Companion. I've thought about allowing those two talents (and Limited Astral Projection) as metamagics for aspected magicians who want to branch out a little. Conjurers could then initiate and learn one spell and Sorcerers can learn to summon watchers only no more. And if Adepts can initiate and learn to Astrally Project, why the hell couldn't an aspected magician whose powers aren't focused, grounded and bound by their physical body do the same.
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Ancient History
post Jul 27 2005, 12:50 AM
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Being an aspected conjuror is /not/ like being an adept, is one reason. You can certainly build an adept like that, but I still wouldn't allow you to take Spellcasting Talent or Summoning Talent as metamagic techniques.

Why? 'cause I'm a crotchity bastard that likes to be old fashioned about some things.
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fistandantilus4....
post Jul 27 2005, 03:41 AM
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If you're planning on initiating again, or getting channeling (which is a great power if you have the charisma for it), then I'd suggest initiating again, to make those test easier. Invoking t# is 2*force os the spirit, - initiate grade after all. That would make summoning higher force great forms more viable, and more effective, as you can stack on more armor, body, and reach. Same goes for channeling . The T# to channel the spirit is F*2- grade.

Also, conjuring foci are your friend. And probably less expensive than raising your charisma, although a higher charisma will get you more spirits available.

Centering is good for drain too of course. Depends on what you're looking for.
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Cain
post Jul 27 2005, 04:06 AM
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Multiple allies is scertainly permissible under the rules; but you can only make one of them a Familiar. Since most ordeals can only be repeated with GM permission, that puts up a strong barrier against getting the Familiar discount multiple times.
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fistandantilus4....
post Jul 27 2005, 04:22 AM
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I switch that up a bit by saying that you cannot reppeat an ordeal until you do all of the others (not counting Geas). That makes it possible, but difficult. No repeating oath of course. But you can do another thesis , since by then the character has grown a lot, and it provides another link ot them. ;)
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Modesitt
post Jul 27 2005, 04:39 AM
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QUOTE
The first is to conjure more ally spirits, give them all pistols skills. Multiple ally spirits, all with guns, would dramatically increase the number of shots in the air, and at reasonably high force (4-5) they are effectively immune to most weapons.


Why would they need pistol skills? They roll reaction for all attacks. If your GM says no to that, just take out the lights. Pitch black + dual-natured spirit = Spirit with no TN penalties vs target with +8 TN in melee.

If you want fun with ally spirits, try summoning a Force 2 ally spirit or two. 5 karma+1 magic point+2000 nuyen = Force 2 Power Foci. Possibly have a little astrally-warded box you carry them around in, or they can just stick to the metaplanes except when needed. Call all from metaplanes, summon, send home.
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Apathy
post Jul 27 2005, 02:46 PM
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QUOTE
...just take out the lights. Pitch black + dual-natured spirit = Spirit with no TN penalties vs target with +8 TN in melee.

Just a technicality, but I think I read somewhere that visibility modifiers are halved for melee combat. So the opponents would only have +4 to melee TNs, assuming they were unmodified human, and +8 to ranged TNs.

Did I remember this right?
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Dawnshadow
post Jul 27 2005, 02:59 PM
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We've never made a serious issue of repeating ordeals -- typically, they're almost all meditation, or astral quest. But, everyone magically active is a bit of an initation bunny.

We justified it by pointing out that a lot of the ordeals were, to put it bluntly, idiotic to take. Deed? Wasted Karma, no extra benefit. Asceticism? Obvious, especially when considering that it's an adept and a magician's way adept. Geas? Well.. it's been taken once. Will not be taken again. And actually slightly hoping for more magic loss to get rid of the thing. Not much, but slightly.

Thesis would actually work, except for the strong possibility of the group killing said character. Really nightmarish experiences with someone's thesis in the first story arc. It's almost phobia level.

I'd completely forgotten about spirits rolling reaction. Probably because the ally to the magician's way doesn't (her reaction is 4, she's got edged weapons 5, so rolls that).

Fistandantilus, if by conjuring foci, you mean spirit foci, then I've looked at them, and actually cringed a bit. Great for hermetics (with only 5 spirit types, counting watchers), but harder for shamanic, with 15 possible. Once I figure out which ones I'm conjuring most often, then they'll be selectable.

As for the initiations, it looks like I'll have a few coming still. With Sharaloth considering making summoning talent a metamagic I can take, and channelling still to get, there's still metamagics that are helpful.. and getting the great form test and channelling tests down would be good.
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tisoz
post Aug 6 2005, 09:55 AM
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QUOTE (Dawnshadow)
Fistandantilus, if by conjuring foci, you mean spirit foci, then I've looked at them, and actually cringed a bit. Great for hermetics (with only 5 spirit types, counting watchers), but harder for shamanic, with 15 possible. Once I figure out which ones I'm conjuring most often, then they'll be selectable.

Doesn't a Power Focus do everything and more that each spirit focus does?
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fistandantilus4....
post Aug 6 2005, 10:44 AM
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pretty much, they just cost more (karma and :nuyen: wise). Cool thing is they can also be used for spell defense dice.
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Dawnshadow
post Aug 6 2005, 02:38 PM
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Thing is, if you conjure multiple things frequently, a power focus is cheaper. Just more likely to get stolen.

I think it's cheaper to have 1 power focus then 2 spirit foci, but I could be wrong. My book's way over on the other side of the room, and I'm feeling very lazy.

Although that being said.. It's kindof disgusting doing the rolling for starting a run with 7 spirits, when you're throwing 10+ dice, and not particularly worried about the drain (2 successes is easy to get on 7 dice).

Didn't help enough though, I goofed a few times with the orders. And made a rookie mistake.

[ Spoiler ]
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Ol' Scratch
post Aug 6 2005, 04:48 PM
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One of the most powerful starting characters I ever created was an aspected Conjurer, albeit a Wujen variant rather than Shamanic. I used 34 out of his 35 starting Spell Points to initiate three times, gaining Masking (replace with Centering for extra crunchy goodness), Invoking, and Channeling. His Charisma was tweaked as high as I could get it (either 8 or 9, I can't remember), and I had a Trauma Damper as well. It was also a "starting character + money and karma" campaign, so I was able to secure a pretty nice Ally Spirit and Power Focus with that bonus Karma, but even without those two he would have been pretty potent.

Channeling is rather yummy if you can handle the drain... which isn't too bad at all if you channel a Force 3 Great Form spirit. Spirits of the Elements are particularly nice since the Great Form version gains the Storm and Clensing powers, which means you gain those when you channel them, too. And on top of that, you always have Spirits of Man available to do your bidding as well, which are probably the single most usefull type of Nature Spirit in the game for a runner (especially since the Great Forms, and thus you, gain Divination). Best of all, since he had Masking, he could walk down main street with that channeled Force 3 great form spirit without anyone being the wiser.

In essence, I had access to 6 different metamagic techniques, could summon some pretty powerful spirits with virtually no real risk of Drain, and had all the standard skills of a traditional runner (good Pistols, Stealth, and Athletics... excellent in social situations... excellent in astral security and recon... etc.). I think I also had the Dual-Natured SURGE trait, allowing him to astrally project, but I can't remember since it's been a while.

So basically, yes, they're very viable characters and, most definitely yes, a Conjuring with Charisma 11, a Trauma Damper, and Invoking alone would be a force to be reckoned with.
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Glyph
post Aug 7 2005, 01:57 AM
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QUOTE (tisoz)
QUOTE (Dawnshadow @ Jul 27 2005, 08:59 AM)
Fistandantilus, if by conjuring foci, you mean spirit foci, then I've looked at them, and actually cringed a bit. Great for hermetics (with only 5 spirit types, counting watchers), but harder for shamanic, with 15 possible. Once I figure out which ones I'm conjuring most often, then they'll be selectable.

Doesn't a Power Focus do everything and more that each spirit focus does?

Oh yeah. It's like having a generic spirit focus that works on every type of spirit. Plus, it raises your effective Magic rating for determining whether you take Physical or Stun damage from Drain, and for determining the maximum Force of spirit that you can summon.



A good conjuror should also have a maxed-out Charisma. It not only is used to resist Drain, but to determine the Drain code. Elves are great at conjuring - compare an elf with 8 Charisma and a human with 6 Charisma soaking Drain from summoning a Force: 4 spirit. The elf is rolling 8 dice versus 4L, while the human is rolling 6 dice versus 4M.

If your GM allows you to initiate at char-gen, definitely go for it. Conjurors have a smaller group of metamagics to choose from, but the ones they can get are extremely useful. Especially invoking, for shamans, who can finally have more than one spirit (discounting watchers - although an astral watcher attack pack can be very effective with Friends in Melee modifiers).


The conjuror's two biggest limitations are that he can't have an ally with spellcasting (although opinions are very divided on this, so check with your GM), and that he lacks Spell Defense - not just for him, but for his spirits, who can mow down physical opposition, but can be taken out with one lucky mana spell that the wage mage has pumped a lot of dice into. Although a few spirits do have the Magical Guard power.
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Dawnshadow
post Aug 7 2005, 02:14 AM
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Force 4 watchers are fun. I wonder if the force of watcher you conjure goes up with power foci and so on?

The thing about spirits with Magical Guard is that they aren't common.. Loa and Spirits of the Elements. Although, that being said, Sharaloth is letting me take Conjuring Talent as a metamagic, so I could conjure them...

I wonder if having a Loa conjured is going to stop me from conjuring a non-Loa?

Actually, what I found the biggest weakness for my conjurer was, is reaction and initiative. Getting shot three times (surprise + first action) before you do anything really leaves a mark. In the deadly wound category when you factor in "Burst fire shotgun". Definately need to initiate fast and take channelling. And keep a force 5 greatform with boosted armour handy.
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fistandantilus4....
post Aug 7 2005, 04:06 AM
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Nothin' says lovin life a BF shotgun rendered useless by a GF channeles force 7 spirit.
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