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> Astral Space, Essence, and the Awakened, the SR3R way
Kagetenshi
post Aug 25 2005, 05:21 AM
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Navigation:

SR3R Master Thread

Decking

Ranged Combat

New Gear

Cyberware

Time, Pool, and the Flow of Combat
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Decided:
(All of these are subject to reopening for discussion should there be any strong argument for a different path)


_________________________________________________
In progress:

_________________________________________________

Proposed changes:

1) The Astral Form

When a projecting mage leaves his or her body, they lose contact with it entirely. Damage suffered by the body is not felt by the projecting mage, nor does damage to the astral form appear on the body. When an injured astral form returns to the body, the damage incurred by the astral form expresses on the body in a dramatic fashion—likewise, damage incurred by the body is immediately transferred to the astral form upon recombination. A body may die, leaving the projecting mage stranded in astral space, or the astral form may die leaving a functioning shell with no higher brain function.

The astral form does not feel pain, though astral injuries do affect operation.

2) The nature of Essence

Essence is an attribute of the astral form, not the body. As such, a mage whose body has died will run out of Essence and die in a few hours.

Cyberware and drug use can cause damage to Essence, which is expressed on the astral form. For example, a mage with a cyberarm may appear either wholly armless or with a shriveled and horribly damaged arm on the astral. Full-borg mages are truly a horrific sight on the astral.

This damage to the astral form does not, curiously enough, impede functioning.

3) The permeability of living beings In light of the strength of arguments against it, Proposal 3 has been withdrawn.

Complex organisms act as barriers to astral forms, and cannot be passed through. As a rough guideline, most macroscopic organisms are impenetrable—some exceptions (like Proteans) exist.

Ladies and gentlemen, start your flamewars. Opinions? Other areas that need to be addressed here?

~J
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Sabosect
post Aug 25 2005, 05:26 AM
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How about how Essence and Mana interact?
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Kagetenshi
post Aug 25 2005, 05:34 AM
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Expand on what you mean?

(For those keeping score, the fact that we're separating the "self" (astral form) from the body necessarily means that we're rejecting modern psychology and the biological model for personality. I'm sad about this too, but I think it's the option that leads to better gameplay.)

~J
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SirBedevere
post Aug 25 2005, 09:13 AM
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I think that these are changes that needed making. I particularly agree with number 3) The permiability of living beings. I house-ruled that astral forms could not pass through living beings when SR3 came out.

I like the appearance changes of cybered astral forms. I hope to gross out some of my players with cybered mages.

So what if you're rejecting modern psychology :) Modern psychology doesn't deal with the astral. I think this could be interpreted as the meat body being just a shell for the astral personality. Essence is what ties a personality to, for want of a better phrase, the Prime Material Plane. When the Essence of an astral form runs out they go to wherever it is dead creatures go to, the Plane of Man? That's how I played it in my campaigns.

Edited for spelling errors. That'll teach me to use the spell checker :oops:
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Ryu
post Aug 25 2005, 11:22 AM
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I propose reducing the problem of cybered magicians/adepts by making initiation cheaper and not increasing magic (20 or something Karma per point of magic would stay in effect).

On that note, make all geasa taken against magic loss from bio- or cyberware count against all the adepts powers, not just one point.

I will try to get 2&3 houseruled. Thank you.
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Dawnshadow
post Aug 25 2005, 11:47 AM
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I don't like the astral damage expressing suddenly on the physical form.

What I'd prefer:

When a mage projects, all stun damage remains as physical damage on the astral self. Spells cannot be cast at force higher than magic on the astral -- and all drain is "physical".

When the mage returns to the body, all the physical damage on the astral form replaces the stun damage on the body-- and stun damage on the astral form is added to it.

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Sharaloth
post Aug 25 2005, 03:55 PM
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I don't like 3, and I don't like 1. 2 is okay, but I'd use a wholly different explanation for Essence myself.

Bodies not on the astral themselves should be completely permeable. That is, any aura can be passed through like air, but any dual-natured or wholly astral being would remain impenetrable. Mother Earth, on the other hand, is a big dual-natured planet, and thus impenetrable. A mage being unable to pass easily through a crowded room or zip through a forest is idiotic when they're on the astral. Auras on the astral are not themselves astrally present beyond a kind of 'experession effect' that tints the mana around them into certain patterns based on their emotions and the state of their bodies. Instead of being solid barriers, they're more like a fine mist with an image projected onto it, quite visible and possibly very vivid and bright, but intangible.

A Projecting magician is not wholly disconnected from their body. They are simply seperating their mental self from their physical self for limited periods of time. For either to function properly both must be in alignment with each other, but magicians can use their command of mana and the astral to maintain a long-distance link with their body that allows them to maintain a living, functioning self while these halves are seperated. As such the Astral form knows when the Physical form is wounded, and expresses those wounds itself (though it does not necessarily impede performance) and the physical form expresses wounds that the astral form has suffered (usually in the form of internal ruptures, snapped tendons and other nasty, nasty injuries that don't require an actual knife to be taken to the body). If the body dies while the Astral form is missing, the Astral form can sustain itself for only a short period of time before it collapses itself. If the Astral form dies, the physical form is quick to follow, unless kept on serious life support (just in case some errant Shedim really needs a body or something).

Also, Though I have no real problems with 2, it does present an interesting point about cyberware. If Essence is an attribute purely of the Astral Form, why do mundanes die when they get more cyber implanted than their essence limit? Why Cybermancy? Obviously, Essence is tied to the body in some way as well.
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SFEley
post Aug 25 2005, 06:57 PM
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QUOTE
1) The Astral Form
When a projecting mage leaves his or her body, they lose contact with it entirely. Damage suffered by the body is not felt by the projecting mage, nor does damage to the astral form appear on the body.

I disagree with this for purely dramatic reasons. Allowing the mage to feel damage to the body is cooler because it gives him something more to worry about.

("So, after four hours of ritual tracking, you've found the don. He's at a table with both Yakuza oyabuns, and he's taking something out of his briefcase... Wait, what's that tingling in your leg? Must be your physical body! You remember something about Jimmy the Snitch promising to saw your leg off next chance he got. What do you do?")


QUOTE
The astral form does not feel pain, though astral injuries do affect operation.

Why shouldn't that "affected operation" be expressed as pain?


QUOTE

3) The permeability of living beings
Complex organisms act as barriers to astral forms, and cannot be passed through. As a rough guideline, most macroscopic organisms are impenetrable—some exceptions (like Proteans) exist.

Er, isn't this the way it works now? I could have sworn that was the current rule.
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SFEley
post Aug 25 2005, 07:04 PM
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QUOTE (Sharaloth)
A mage being unable to pass easily through a crowded room or zip through a forest is idiotic when they're on the astral.

I don't think so. Again, it's more dramatic this way. You can always fly over the crowd, or over the forest if you don't need to be in it to find something. If you change this rule then a lot of things stop working, like FAB barriers and dense ivy as building security.

Besides, it makes for some cool limitations. Since you can't move anything in the physical world, a lot of things become more dangerous... Imagine an astral fight in that forest, taking Knockback, and then having to resist damage because you were impaled by a leaf on a low-hanging branch. >8->


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Kagetenshi
post Aug 25 2005, 07:11 PM
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I just wanted to say that there's a lot here I'm going to respond to, but having just had oral surgery today is probably not the time to say it. In the meantime, carry on your discussion.

~J
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Sabosect
post Aug 25 2005, 07:38 PM
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QUOTE (Kagetenshi)
Expand on what you mean?

(For those keeping score, the fact that we're separating the "self" (astral form) from the body necessarily means that we're rejecting modern psychology and the biological model for personality. I'm sad about this too, but I think it's the option that leads to better gameplay.)

~J

Well, I figured that Essence affects how the body can channel Mana, which would explain why a magician loses magical power as they lose essence. The one item I was wondering is how you plan to have mana and essence interacting. This also has an affect on background counts, space, etc.
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hyzmarca
post Aug 25 2005, 08:05 PM
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QUOTE (SFEley)
QUOTE (Sharaloth)
A mage being unable to pass easily through a crowded room or zip through a forest is idiotic when they're on the astral.

I don't think so. Again, it's more dramatic this way. You can always fly over the crowd, or over the forest if you don't need to be in it to find something. If you change this rule then a lot of things stop working, like FAB barriers and dense ivy as building security.

Besides, it makes for some cool limitations. Since you can't move anything in the physical world, a lot of things become more dangerous... Imagine an astral fight in that forest, taking Knockback, and then having to resist damage because you were impaled by a leaf on a low-hanging branch. >8->

You wouldn't have to resist damage unless the leaf engages you in astral combat. There is no inertia on the astral plane.
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SFEley
post Aug 25 2005, 08:14 PM
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QUOTE (hyzmarca)
You wouldn't have to resist damage unless the leaf engages you in astral combat. There is no inertia on the astral plane.

Good point. Thanks.
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Nyxll
post Aug 25 2005, 08:24 PM
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QUOTE (Sabosect)
QUOTE (Kagetenshi @ Aug 25 2005, 12:34 AM)
Expand on what you mean?

(For those keeping score, the fact that we're separating the "self" (astral form) from the body necessarily means that we're rejecting modern psychology and the biological model for personality. I'm sad about this too, but I think it's the option that leads to better gameplay.)

~J

Well, I figured that Essence affects how the body can channel Mana, which would explain why a magician loses magical power as they lose essence. The one item I was wondering is how you plan to have mana and essence interacting. This also has an affect on background counts, space, etc.

This is reflected in the loss of magic rating. If you geas the loss, then you learn to channel it differently by making a sacrifice in some other area. I think magic rating is more important than essence in the astral.
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Sharaloth
post Aug 25 2005, 09:12 PM
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QUOTE (SFEley)
I don't think so. Again, it's more dramatic this way. You can always fly over the crowd, or over the forest if you don't need to be in it to find something. If you change this rule then a lot of things stop working, like FAB barriers and dense ivy as building security.

Besides, it makes for some cool limitations. Since you can't move anything in the physical world, a lot of things become more dangerous... Imagine an astral fight in that forest, taking Knockback, and then having to resist damage because you were impaled by a leaf on a low-hanging branch. >8->

But it's not more dramatic that way, it's just dumb. The earth is one big crowded biomass in any area that a Shadowrunner is likely to be in, and the rest has a background count making Astral Projection a difficult task at best, and outright damaging at worst. Moving at astral speeds, a magician would only be able to travel at 1km+ heights, to be sure of not ramming into something and thus coming to a complete stop, to say nothing of trying to move anywhere in a city. No, non-astral entities are completely permeable on the astral.

As to FAB and dense ivy. Ivy doesn't block astral travellers unless it's awakened, FAB does. FAB does, not because it's alive, but because it's dual natured. It exists on the Astral Plane, and is therefore solid there.

And instead of getting impaled on a leaf of all things, or having the mundanes able to knock about an astral form they can neither see nor perceive in any way, just by swinging their arms in the right area . . . just dumb. Instead of that, you can have astral fights where the combatants use people as cover against LOS. Auras are visible on the Astral, and though not solid, a game of cat-and-mouse between two astral magicians in a forest that they can move through at will is way cooler and more dramatic than taking damage from falling on a leaf.

Also, if non-astrally active Auras were solid, an Astral magician could touch and manipulate them like they could Active Foci in normal SR3 rules now. When your Astral mage starts picking the (mundane) bad guy up and dropping him from thirty stories, you've unbalanced your game.

To reiterate: Auras are better left intangible.
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Nyxll
post Aug 25 2005, 09:19 PM
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QUOTE (Sharaloth)
Astral Projection a difficult task at best, and outright damaging at worst. Moving at astral speeds, a magician would only be able to travel at 1km+ heights, to be sure of not ramming into something and thus coming to a complete stop, to say nothing of trying to move anywhere in a city. No, non-astral entities are completely permeable on the astral.

As to FAB and dense ivy. Ivy doesn't block astral travellers unless it's awakened, FAB does. FAB does, not because it's alive, but because it's dual natured. It exists on the Astral Plane, and is therefore solid there.

And instead of getting impaled on a leaf of all things, or having the mundanes able to knock about an astral form they can neither see nor perceive in any way, just by swinging their arms in the right area . . . just dumb.

You do not have to worry about hitting an object at high speeds on the astral. Physics do not work the same there. You would not get impaled on the leaf. It is not the actual act of hitting someone on the astral that does damage ... it is the "will" behind it that does the damage. Fab bullets do not hurt. I think non-intersecting auras makes a mage pay attention to where they are going, and makes some areas off limits from the mage. You are describing the incorpreal nature, not astral travel.
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Sharaloth
post Aug 25 2005, 10:00 PM
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Not doing damage is irrelevant, as I never said it would. It would, however, bring you to a complete stop. And we know that it's not just the 'will' behind it that does damage (Though that is a major component of astral combat). Being forced through an astral barrier can cause damage, without an attack being initiated or an effort of 'will' on either side. As towards incorporeality vs astral travel, I AM actually describing astral travel. Incorporeal entitites cannot interact with other incorporeal entities (being incorporeal and all), Astral entities, on the other hand, can interact with other astral entities, but not physical entities. The Astral is a reflection of the physical, but it is NOT the physical, physical things do not affect astral things (Beyond the normal astral-physical interaction of mana expressing, either as emotional background count or magical effect) and the astral does not affect the physical. When you're dual natured, you're both at once.

That's Astral Travel, not incorporeality.

This is one section of SR3 that most emphatically does NOT need to be fixed.
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Catsnightmare
post Aug 25 2005, 10:49 PM
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Personally I think none of the above rulings need to be instituted whatsoever, those parts of SR3 are just fine the way they are in the books.

Don't be like FanPro and try to fix what isn't broken with the astral part of the magic system.
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Kagetenshi
post Aug 25 2005, 11:34 PM
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It is already broken. Just try to find a logic behind the current system.

~J
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John Campbell
post Aug 25 2005, 11:39 PM
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QUOTE (SFEley)
QUOTE (Sharaloth)
A mage being unable to pass easily through a crowded room or zip through a forest is idiotic when they're on the astral.

I don't think so. Again, it's more dramatic this way. You can always fly over the crowd, or over the forest if you don't need to be in it to find something. If you change this rule then a lot of things stop working, like FAB barriers and dense ivy as building security.

The "change" you're objecting to is actually a non-change. This is the way things currently work in SR3. Normal life is visible but insubstantial on the astral. In order to affect anything on the astral, you have to be on the astral yourself. FAB barriers work because FAB (at least the kinds that can form an actual barrier) is dual-natured, present on both the physical and the astral. Ivy barriers do not work, and have not since SR2. (Unless it's Awakened dual-natured ivy, of course.)

I don't like life blocking astral travel for two reasons. Firstly, in order to be consistent, if non-astral life can affect the astral plane, the astral plane should be able to affect non-astral life. With, say, manabolt. Big game balance problem, bad idea. Better and more consistent to say that they're separate and never the twain shall meet.

Secondly, the manasphere is full of life. If you don't limit these effects to macroscopic life, anyone trying to go astral will instantly die from being perforated by microbes. If you do limit the effects to macroscopic life, you're, again, being inconsistent, and also making the FAB concept a bit iffy.

Oh, and, thirdly, I don't see that the current handling of the situation is broken, so I don't think it should be fixed.
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Herald of Verjig...
post Aug 25 2005, 11:56 PM
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1) A full disconnect would make it nearly impossible to discover the adjusted location of your meat body if it moved while you were out. The "dramatic" expression of injuries is arbitrary and lacks any real reason except to make it easier for a medic to try to diagnose and repair injuries. A "logical" consequence of the recombined health bars would result in the damage mostly expressing itself in the body suddenly and harshly reacting to the stimulus of the injuries, sharp muscle contractions and blood pressure jumps resulting in torn muscles, internal bleeding, and similar consequences.

2) Completely arbitrary, but no more so than the description in any of the books.

3) No, I do not like the SR2 tactic of mundane vines making a building astrally impermeable. Life is far too common at ground levels to function as an astral barrier without limiting astral projection to thinner altitudes.
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Kagetenshi
post Aug 27 2005, 07:11 PM
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QUOTE
Also, Though I have no real problems with 2, it does present an interesting point about cyberware. If Essence is an attribute purely of the Astral Form, why do mundanes die when they get more cyber implanted than their essence limit? Why Cybermancy? Obviously, Essence is tied to the body in some way as well.

The idea would be that everyone has an astral form (aura), but that only mages can detach it from their bodies. Thus, the question of which "half" holds Essence is only important for projecting mages.

Note that having an astral form and being astrally active would be two different things. The phrasing would be cleared up to be less confusing for the release.

Ok, now that I'm generally back in my right mind, let's try this again.

Each of these changes is a response to a specific problem that has occurred during gameplay, or with a problem that has arisen while attempting to address a different problem. I'll run through what the problem faced was and how each of the proposed solutions fixes that problem.

QUOTE
1) The Astral Form

Problem encountered: the rules never quite remember whether the projecting mage is in touch with his/her body or not. Damage incurred to one dramatically expresses on the other (in SR3 canon, mind you), and if a mage goes unconscious they somehow instantly return to their bodies—but they can get lost on the Astral and are unable to instantly return to their bodies by choice. There's no rational explanation of this. There are two possible directions to go: either the mage is always in contact with their body, things can affect both of them, the mage can always return, etc. or
QUOTE
When a projecting mage leaves his or her body, they lose contact with it entirely. Damage suffered by the body is not felt by the projecting mage, nor does damage to the astral form appear on the body.

It is my personal belief that astral projection should be both powerful and dangerous, and so my inclination is to separate the two. The Herald brings up a point I had not considered, however, regarding the difficulty of locating one's body. If anyone has suggestions I'd appreciate them, otherwise I'll try to think of a solution.
QUOTE
When an injured astral form returns to the body, the damage incurred by the astral form expresses on the body in a dramatic fashion—likewise, damage incurred by the body is immediately transferred to the astral form upon recombination. A body may die, leaving the projecting mage stranded in astral space, or the astral form may die leaving a functioning shell with no higher brain function.

The astral form does not feel pain, though astral injuries do affect operation.

These items are both flavour based in SR3 canon. The first maintains the dramatic expression of the current treatment, merely timeshifting it, while the second…

Well, scrap that. The second was originally intended to reflect the lack of stun damage on the Astral, but the evidence supporting it was misremembered—specifically, the vignette on page 177, which I had thought only had Tweezil suffering pain once he returned to his body. This turns out not to have been the case, so pain on the astral is still in.

I'll address the others momentarily.

~J
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Kagetenshi
post Aug 27 2005, 07:25 PM
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QUOTE (Kagetenshi @ Aug 25 2005, 12:21 AM)
2) The nature of Essence

Essence is an attribute of the astral form, not the body. As such, a mage whose body has died will run out of Essence and die in a few hours.

Cyberware and drug use can cause damage to Essence, which is expressed on the astral form. For example, a mage with a cyberarm may appear either wholly armless or with a shriveled and horribly damaged arm on the astral. Full-borg mages are truly a horrific sight on the astral.

This damage to the astral form does not, curiously enough, impede functioning.

After arriving at change #1, we were left with the dilemma: if the body and spirit are separate, and the body holds Essence, a mage that projects too long will have their body die. What, however, keeps them from continuing to exist as disembodied astral forms? We've already tentatively decided that the astral form is the "self", so it makes sense for that half to be the one that dies.

The secondary issue is that we needed to define Essence. A fixed definition of Essence doesn't need to be present in the rules that the players read, but it must exist in the minds of the design team in order to make appropriate rules relating to it (for example, see the "nervous system connection vs. bone lacing costing Essence" issue). As you can tell, we went with a modified astral template approach.

The third issue is that flavour contradicts mechanics. In flavour, cyberware is frowned on by many Awakened, but there's no real reason why—for many the magic loss is unimportant, especially for those who adhere to legal limits on spells and spirits. This answers it by causing dramatic and unpleasant changes in appearance of the astral form for mages who have given too much of their flesh for metal. Nonetheless, we didn't want to increase the "tax" for cyberware, so no mechanical penalty for this.

~J
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Kagetenshi
post Aug 27 2005, 07:36 PM
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QUOTE (Kagetenshi @ Aug 25 2005, 12:21 AM)
3) The permeability of living beings

Complex organisms act as barriers to astral forms, and cannot be passed through. As a rough guideline, most macroscopic organisms are impenetrable—some exceptions (like Proteans) exist.

The fundamental issue being addressed here is simple: mundane countermeasures to magical intrusion. As it stands, you can't counteract astral projection without magic, which leaves one of three choices:

1: Wards/FAB/glowmoss absolutely everywhere.

2: Extremely little information of importance about the mundane non-living world is available from the astral.

3: Mundanes are just helpless against astral scouting. This is, to me, a complete non-starter.

4: Offer a countermeasure.

This method, already used in SR2, seems to be the best. My first objection was "why don't bacteria count?", but the complexity requirement sidesteps that and allows us to mostly just say "macroscopic stuff is solid". As for running into things, it would be assumed that astral forms are inertialess and as such would just slip right through a forest unless they hit something perfectly dead on (tiny chance), in which case they'd just stop dead. It might take some work to move in a perfectly straight line, but that's acceptable to me.

Thoughts?

~J
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Conskill
post Aug 27 2005, 08:31 PM
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QUOTE
The fundamental issue being addressed here is simple: mundane countermeasures to magical intrusion. As it stands, you can't counteract astral projection without magic, which leaves one of three choices:


You're correct, though I guess I've never seen where that's a problem given how cheap wards and watcher spirits are, how prolific Awakened are (1% of the population? Yikes.), and how generally meaningless distance is in astral travel.

In my games, I always figured wards were common ("Happy Injun's Home Ward Service, 100 nuyen an hour! Isn't your privacy worth that much?"), and pointy-end security usually handled by spirits with a magical response team available for real incursion. Remember, a comapny needs just one team for any given region, more only if they feel they'd need to field more magicians simultaneously. If sieges go on for too long, you could be seeing reinforcements from across the state or country.

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As for running into things, it would be assumed that astral forms are inertialess and as such would just slip right through a forest unless they hit something perfectly dead on (tiny chance), in which case they'd just stop dead. It might take some work to move in a perfectly straight line, but that's acceptable to me.


You might be underestimating how thick even complex life gets at times. Even with full 3D movement, It'd be incredible to get more than a dozen feet through the trees outside my house without brushing something aside. Astral projection in even denser biomes, such as the Amazonian jungle, would be entirely impossible. I wouldn't place much of a bet about underwater projection, either, especially in tropical water.

One other consideration: what happens when life runs into the projected mage. Could a magician get trampled under heavy urban traffic? Trapped under a fallen tree? Pushed around like a balloon by a swarm of angry bees?
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