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> Chaman in SR4, More information
chevalier_neon
post Aug 20 2005, 11:05 AM
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So, I was thinking to what we have been told yesterday, and there are a few things I don't really understand, that is why I would like to have precisions.
Does a chaman need to take a totem (or spirit mentor, or whatever the new name) ? My question is : is it possible now to have a chaman without a totem ? Or does it just mean that as totem gives some modifiers to the chaman compared to the hermetics, they are paying just to be fair in game terms....
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mintcar
post Aug 20 2005, 11:30 AM
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I thought you were talking about some australian crocodile all the time. ;) Got me a bit confused. You mean "shaman" off course, I see that now.
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chevalier_neon
post Aug 20 2005, 11:34 AM
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Oups sorry... Yes I mean those bloody-magicians-that-use-spirits-but-that-seem-to-have-been-so-changed-that-I-am-wondering-what-to-think-about-that... :D

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hobgoblin
post Aug 20 2005, 11:42 AM
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hmm, so far i have seen that you take the magican quality to become a spellcaster. then you take some sort of shaman quality on top of that. if that require a totem or maybe you can go some sort of holistic (or whatever the term was) shaman that changes totem based on some factor or other i dont know as all the info i have is from the threads here.

one thing i have spotted tho is that a shaman can have any number of bound spirits active at the same time without getting negative dice. this im guessing based on a comment in a thread that magicans get a -2 for each active spirit or something. hmm, -2, nasty!
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chevalier_neon
post Aug 20 2005, 11:48 AM
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This the way you understood the threads ?
I am not an english native speaker, but I thought that the -2 for bound spirits were for both tradition...
I thought that the modifiers for your totem might be more advantageous than in previous edition, and that you had to pay for your totem as it would give an edge to shaman on hermetics...
On the other hand, your explanation could make sense : this would mean that shamans have still a link stronger with spirits than hermetics...
Really I am wonderng about all this....
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mintcar
post Aug 20 2005, 11:55 AM
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As I see it both traditions will be stronger bacause now both can summon all spirits. Has you´re shaman never wished to have an elemental handy to help with ritual sorcery or magical study, for example? Was your mage never wishing he could spontaniously summon a spirit to conceal his escape vehicle when he´s about to hide in a stripjoint?
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chevalier_neon
post Aug 20 2005, 11:58 AM
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@ mintcar : sure, but my first question was why the shamans have to pay an extra cost for the totem... this should give them an edge as they will be more expensive... but which one in the end.
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mintcar
post Aug 20 2005, 12:02 PM
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It should, and propably does. But I don´t know.
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Bull
post Aug 20 2005, 12:56 PM
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Couple notes/corrections.

1) All spellcasters suffer the -2 penalty per active bound spirit.

2) Hermetics can take Mentor Spirits now. there's definately some roleplay aspects that come into play based on how exactly you view the tradtions, but I can easily see a Hermetic that follows or heeds the words of a mentor spirit that represents an embodiment of an ideal, rather than a notaure totem. Things like the convertyed passions concepts that showed up a while back in one of the Tir books, of The Dark King or Seductress.

3) Mentor Spirits do not necessarily represnt the exact same thing as the Totems did. They can be the big astral spooky that a totem was, or they can just represent a powerful spirit that the character has contacted (or that contacted the character) and has bartered teaching and aiding the character in exchange for service, worship, or whatever.

It does water down mages a little bit, but this also allows for easier additions to the tradition creation rules later on and keeps it a little more flexible.

Bull
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chevalier_neon
post Aug 20 2005, 01:20 PM
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Many thanks Bull...
I understand better the new system now... So it will be more about roleplay than just system for magicians... I think I like that...
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blakkie
post Aug 20 2005, 01:56 PM
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So mentor spirits are a development of the [apparently real] research underlying The Aleph Society?
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blakkie
post Aug 20 2005, 01:58 PM
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QUOTE (chevalier_neon)
Many thanks Bull...
I understand better the new system now... So it will be more about roleplay than just system for magicians... I think I like that...

Or to put it another way roleplay is a requirement to give them their flavour.
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chevalier_neon
post Aug 20 2005, 02:05 PM
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Of course Blakkie. But I am quiet happy to know that players won't just choose a totem because of the dice modifiers that it would give, but because they want to stick to a "philosophy"...
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Nimbex
post Aug 23 2005, 04:42 PM
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Making it a Quality you have to pay for is a good game balance idea, I'm inclined to think. Any time you can add a bonus to one thing and a penalty to another, you're probably getting an advantage, since you can build things around it. It's like how metahuman subtypes were more costly than the basics. They're no more powerful than the basiv five, but they let you customize something further.

If a character wants to make a shaman without a Mentor Spirit, then it's not unreasonable for him to select to follow Coyote as a totem (no modifiers). Heck, claiming he follows a particular totem and just not having the benefits apply seems fine. There's your roleplay, and no need for mechanics to stack with it.
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hahnsoo
post Aug 23 2005, 05:21 PM
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QUOTE (Nimbex)
If a character wants to make a shaman without a Mentor Spirit, then it's not unreasonable for him to select to follow Coyote as a totem (no modifiers). Heck, claiming he follows a particular totem and just not having the benefits apply seems fine. There's your roleplay, and no need for mechanics to stack with it.

Or, and I like this better, they follow a variety of totems. While some may follow the path of a single animal, I'm sure there were historic medicine men that venerated multiple animal spirits.
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Demonseed Elite
post Aug 23 2005, 05:29 PM
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QUOTE
Or, and I like this better, they follow a variety of totems. While some may follow the path of a single animal, I'm sure there were historic medicine men that venerated multiple animal spirits.


Absolutely. And there were some that followed an overarching cosmology as opposed to a totemic spirit. Like Wakan Tanka, from the Lakota Sioux, which is literally "The Great Mystery." Wakan Tanka is sort of the entire universe: heaven, earth, people, and animals. It never really fit well into SR3's Totem idea, because Wakan Tanka is not represented by a single animal or even a single ideal. But it would fit well with the idea of a shaman without a particular Mentor Spirit.
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Bandwidthoracle
post Aug 23 2005, 05:32 PM
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QUOTE (Nimbex)
Making it a Quality you have to pay for is a good game balance idea, I'm inclined to think. Any time you can add a bonus to one thing and a penalty to another, you're probably getting an advantage, since you can build things around it. It's like how metahuman subtypes were more costly than the basics. They're no more powerful than the basiv five, but they let you customize something further.

If a character wants to make a shaman without a Mentor Spirit, then it's not unreasonable for him to select to follow Coyote as a totem (no modifiers). Heck, claiming he follows a particular totem and just not having the benefits apply seems fine. There's your roleplay, and no need for mechanics to stack with it.

What bonuses do mentor spirits give, and are they necessairly totems? (As in a hermetic couldn't have an imp sitting, whispering secrets to him?)
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hahnsoo
post Aug 23 2005, 05:39 PM
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QUOTE (Bandwidthoracle)
What bonuses do mentor spirits give, and are they necessairly totems? (As in a hermetic couldn't have an imp sitting, whispering secrets to him?)

+2 to one thing, +2 to another thing, and either a -1 penalty to one thing or some sort of Willpower + X test (Threshold 3) to prevent from doing something (like Berserking or rigidly following a plan or something). The ones listed in SR4 are animal totems and idol templates, but both Hermetics and Shamans (or any other tradition) can get a mentor spirit.

Examples:
The Seductress - +2 dice for Illusion Spells, +2 dice for Con Tests, Must succeed at Willpower + Charisma (3) Test to avoid pursuing a vice or indulgence when made available. (a bit of a hedonist)
Snake - +2 dice for Detection Spells, +2 Dice to Binding Tests, -1 die for Combat Tests
Wise Warrior - +2 dice for Combat Spells, +2 dice for Detection Spells, -1 die to all tests if acting dishonorably until the character atones for the action
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Demonseed Elite
post Aug 23 2005, 05:39 PM
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QUOTE
What bonuses do mentor spirits give,


It varies with each mentor spirit, but typical bonuses are +2 dice for two different situations (for instance, one mentor spirit could grant +2 dice on Illusion spells and also +2 dice on Negotiation Tests). Then a limitation which is usually a required roll to be able to do some sort of action (because it breaks the tenets of the mentor spirit) or a penalty of one die to certain types of actions.

QUOTE
and are they necessairly totems? (As in a hermetic couldn't have an imp sitting, whispering secrets to him?)


That would definitely work. Hermetics that make pacts with various astral entities are definitely one of the possibilities of mentor spirits.
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