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Magician: 15 BP. Magic 5: 40 BP. Conjuring 6: 24 BP. Your drain-related attributes (Willpower and one other mental) don't even have to be particularly good, since you can summon during downtime and then get healed up.

That's a Force 10 spirit straight out of chargen. You only need the one service.


To me, there are three major broken elements to conjuring:

1) Overcasting a spirit at double the magician's Magic rating will cause Physical drain, which can be negated fairly quickly with the double whammy of First Aid + Heal. So, if you have a few minutes before a fight (or it's right after sunrise or sunset), go ahead and whistle up a big bruiser to put on standby. It might hurt, but you'll get over it almost immediately. You just need one net hit, and if you don't get it you can just try again in a little bit or you can spend 1 point of Edge for a significant long-term increase in power.

2) Immunity to Normal Weapons is equal to double the spirit's Force. A magician can summon a spirit at up to double their Magic. This means that any conjurer can whip up a buddy with (effectively) hardened armor equal to Magic x 4. So even a "mid-range" conjurer with a Magic of 3 can put together an expendable servant that's mostly immune to typical stuff found on the street.

3) Binding might be expensive and time-consuming, but a platoon of spirits? Just one is frightening enough; even having the option of multiples certainly outweighs the expense.


These things are fairly well known. I'm just concerned of the power escalation that will occur (again). What are the current sets of ideas on how to mitigate it?
Lord Ben
What I do is just have the spirit spend a point of edge in order to resist being summoned. So instead of rolling 10 dice for a force 10 spirit you roll 20 dice and reroll 6's. 20 dice and you take double the successes as Physical damage? That'll beat most mages in an opposed roll, if not kill them outright.
The German errata for spirit Reaction stats are a good place to start. Also there is an optional rule given in the sidebar on page 178 that an active spirit imposes the same -2 die penalty as sustaining a spell.

EDIT: Oh, and the Search power area formula is wacked for those higher Force spirits. It's like they become Santa Claus and can keep track of all the naughty and nice for the entire Pacific Northwest.

But first let's look at this Force 10 summoning:

1) You take 2 x the hits from 10 dice. You better worry about drain because that's 1 in 7 it generates enough damage to drop a fully healed Body 4 conjurer, and 1 in 20 it straight off kills a Body 2 or brings a Body 3 conjurer within 1 overflow box of death. Although it's only about 1 in 100 that it'll generate 14 DV or more.
2) Even if you do survive and only take 6 or 8 boxes, you'll need serious First Aid plus a Heal. If you aren't using a second mage this could be bad. You also have a real chance of not shedding all the damage.
3) You manage (little less than 1/2 the attempts) to summon it with one, maybe 2 services. Now what? Unless you Bind it, which is much more risky since it can go uncontrolled if you are knocked down, you need to act within hours and you can only have one such spirit. Plus if you didn't manage to clear up all the damage from the Summoning that's going to still be there when you Bind since there is no time for natural healing.

Now what happens if the spirit decides to use Edge when opposing the Summoning? 20 exploding die x 2 DV translates to a 16 DV average drain. Even countering with Edge on their drain check, because the drain test hits only get rid of 1 box per hit that's still damn dangerous to even beefy Trolls. I wouldn't just drop that on a PC/player out of the blue though, blindsiding a player with a killer ruling like that is plain mean. Just remind them of that possibility and that anyone that keeps messing with the bull will eventually get the horn.
That Force 10 spirit is doing physical drain, and if it does enough to knock you out, will almost certainly kill you. It only lasts until sunset, so your perfect conjurer is looking at healing physical damage during the "downtime" that surrounds a 12 hour period in the middle of your run. I'm not sure how you plan to get that to last for days, considering that the run itself might last more than 12 hours and your spirit is often going to be doing only one thing for you (if that).

Of course, conjuring drain is very random. How much drain can you take before you just plain die? 14P? 16P? You'll spend an Edge and live if you see 12P, but how about larger drain codes... If you can live through 14P drain, you'll only die .3404% of the time - which means that if you did this every day for a year, you'd have died one and a quarter times.

No, I'm not worried about PCs like the ones you described conjuring Force 10 spirits. It's like characters who take "borrowed time". They might do OK for a while, but then they frickin die, causing the entire thing to be an exercise in meaninglessness.

I am concerned with Magicians conjuring Force 8 spirits, you can do that 365 times and still only run a 5% chance of catastrophic mishap. In fact, the first major NPC villain I ever wrote up for SR4 was basically just a guy who happened to be able to throw Force 8 Spirits at things. He was intended to challenge an entire Shadowrunning team all by himself.


On spirit mitigation:

1. It is a barely available interpretation under the basic rules that physical damage from Drain is not magically healable because it is "Drain" that is filling up boxes rather than "Damage". That's not a strong argument, because they use the word "is" when describing that Drain is Physical Damage while overcasting, but you can do it. That fits with the old magical paradigm pretty well, and makes overcasting the thing that people avoid that it is supposed to be.

2. I don't like the way Immunity to Normal Weapons (and Hardened Armor in general) work. Its too big when it's big, and too small when it's not. I prefer a midrange solution in which Hardened Armor values are lower and simply subtract from DVs. If spirits, for example, have Hardened Armor equal to Force, and then subtract that Hardened Armor from the DV of non-magical attacks, then Force 6 spirits become damageable by pistols and rifles, yet remain noticeably tough against heavier ordnance. Stopping 6 DV against large and small attacks is a lot more fair than stopping 4 DV against big attacks and 12 DV against small ones.

3. I thought I was going to live in fear of Binding, but so far it hasn't been a big deal.

Lord Ben
No, it's always rough to just drop a character without warning. That's why you warn them ahead of time not to mess with hugely powerful spirits. Something with 10 edge is pretty dang potent and should never be messed with except in the most dire situations.

The gravity of summoning such a powerful spirit should be looked at by the PC's the same way summoning a Balron would be in a D&D game. It just isn't done unless you have serious mojo on your side and the situation is perilous. Not just because you wanted your spirit of man to sustain 3 spells on you instead of 2 for a force 6 spirit.

Ya, Force 6 to 8 spirits are more of the problem ones. They sit in the sweet spot where they wield serious power but normally aren't stupid dangerous to summon, and perhaps even to bind if you have a focus to help with drain and a readied team to pull the binder out of the fire. That said the possibility of 12 to 16 exploding die x 2 DV is still something that should give the PC/player pause for thought before summoning or binding.

When binding a spirit of that power you should keep in mind of the very real possibility that they look down on you as an annoying bug. So unless you are able to bully, barter, or persuade them to submit peacefully to binding that's likely not something you'll want to do.
Lord Ben
One thing you could do is add a bit of RP to the summoning process. IE, the force 10 spirit appears and you RP it out with him a little bit using the "RP monologue during combat is a free action" Rule 0 and based off of that you decide whether or not to spend edge to resist summoning.
QUOTE (Lord Ben)
One thing you could do is add a bit of RP to the summoning process. IE, the force 10 spirit appears and you RP it out with him a little bit using the "RP monologue during combat is a free action" Rule 0 and based off of that you decide whether or not to spend edge to resist summoning.

That's probably not a bad tact at all. I like the idea of handling it a bit more like D&D deamon/devil summoning, where you aren't quite sure who is working for whom.
Thanks for the reminder, Iīd forgotten spirits have Edge. I think that more or less solves the problem.

Iīm planning to add the possibility to repel spirits using willpower or charisma. I didnīt like how you could eradicate most spirits with ease if you had good willpower in previous editions, but I think you should be able to do SOMETHING to escape them witout magic.

This is what I wrote previously on the subject. And I still havenīt tried it nyahnyah.gif
I think an opposed test using willpower+charisma against forcex2 could come in handy. To make the test you need to spend a complex action. The action itself can represent anything from staring the spirit down to waving a stick at it SR3 style. It can even mean shooting at it, though you are concidered to fail harming it no matter what flavour discription you use. The net hits from the test represents a number of actions in which the spirit may not attack you. I havenīt tried it yet, but I think I might go with this solution. Remember that it can still attack anyone else, itīs not a stun. The idea is that you are truely effecting the spirit with your personality and courage, only you do not kill it, you do it unaware and it doesnīt matter what your actual physical action against it is. All that matters is that you take a stand.
If drain is supposed to be "unhealable" (no First Aid, no Heal) and only "recoverable" (extended care), then magic as a whole is a lot riskier than explicitly described.

Also, Bear and Dark King (and Platelet Factory) would need some re-evaluation if Drain is regarded as another name for Damage.

Myself, I regard Drain as its own animal until just after it has been applied to a character's status track. Then it starts acting like Damage.
The spirir's edge is a one edged sword, as well. Sure, it has a Damn high edge, But I'll be shocked as hell if they use it to help the PCs. Think of it this way. Someone has forced you into slavery. You have to obey their commands, but you don't have to like them, and if you are killed here, you just go back to the metaplane from which you were summoned. Would YOU spend any edge to help your summoner?

Nope. Spirit edge is used only for resisting the summons in the first place, unless the mage does some SERIOUS making freinds with his spirits.

In my house games, I have ruled that anyone attacking a spirit in melee may make a Charisma+Willpower Opposed roll with the spirit. If they get more sucesses that the spirit, they may ignore the hardened armor of the spirit.
Shinobi Killfist
as I understand it getting disrupted is a fairly painful process, so I'd have spirits use edge to avoid being taken out. They might not use edge in order to make themselves fantastic servants, but to avoid a crap load of pain, yeah I'd see that.

And its not inconceivable that someone would start with that friendly spirit edge which I can't remember the name of. And spirits of that type shouldn't be nearly as pissy about not using edge for there summoner.

I think I'm sticking with the earlier editions method of drain damage being unhealable through magic. Rules, schmules I always liked the flavor of it working that way.
You would have to mark drain damage differently.

I personally don't really see a problem as having drain be it's own beast, entirely different. I would probably let first aid and medicine treat it, but not magic. I might even allow an adept power upgrading killing hands to not be treatable by magic.

You wouldn't have to rework Bear and Dark King. Extra damage resistance dice is always good, and less is always bad. No need to have it apply to magic.
I would think there are a few easy controls on major spirits - the public. How often to people summon big ass (figuratively speaking) spirits in the middle of a quiet space? Not very often. That's a big spillover of magical energies you're working. Other mages or spirits might find it appropriate to be pests and try to deal with the spirit too.

that, and....

1) a long lasting spirit means a long lasting chance at assensing it (if you're hidden) and picking out where exactly the summoner is. If you knock/kill them, you at least limit some of the spirits options - some may simply leave when they get the chance if that frees them (I tried looking this up, but it's late and I couldn't find it, lol).

2) what's good for goose is good for trolls and elves - summon your own super spirit and clash it out! It's Yu-Gi-Oh! (yes, horrible, I know, lol).

3) technology has that edge over most magic (barring the whole spirit hardened armor issue), it's only sensible with magic being new that it has a tendency to be a little stronger at intense moments. Mind you, mages are SUPPOSE to be somewhat rare - you can't just pick to be a mage, you have to have the ability. ANyone can learn to rig or hack with patience and enough brain power. If you abuse yourself, you tend to die.

4) the GM can start dishing out some well placed roleplay consequences for major summons - big time spirits are suppose to take it very personally after all, deadly personal when binding; what's to stop a character from suddenly developing a spirit bane when he sends out a mini god one too many times?

I'm tired now. Have fun. *snores*
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