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emo samurai
It seems as if under the current rules, no one will increase magic except to raise the initiation cap, since it is so fragging expensive under current rules. I would force the player to have a separate ordeal and group initiation, though.
James McMurray
There are many reasons to raise magic, not the least of which is you can now cast higher force spells, and midrange force spells safer. You also get +1 die to a whole lot of tests that are incredibly important to a caster.
booklord
I have use a houserule that says yes. ( although I also upped the cost of raising attributes so it evens out ) I don't have "Street Magic" yet so I made up the karma savings that group membership and ordeals give a character.

I set them to ( rounding up)

5/6 normal cost -> ordeal only
2/3 normal cost -> Group Initiation
1/2 normal cost -> Ordeal & Group Initiation
( 3 karma cost for joining a group )

Very close to how it was handled in SR3. How does it compare to the current rules in street magic? ( I'm holding out for the hardcover edition )

I also houseruled that Technomancers have their own variant of magical groups and ordeals. Resulting in karma savings on submersion and resonance increase very similar to those of the magician.
mfb
there's an initiation cap?
Serbitar
Your initiation grade cant be higher than magic
mfb
ah.
Lordmalachdrim
So as long as you keep uping your magic there is no accual limit since max magic is 6+initiation level.
Jaid
pretty much. i suppose you could have a ton of magic loss and that would screw over your dreams of initiation too, but if that's a problem, you should probably worry less about initiating and worry more about whatever it is that's screwing you over so bad...
Synner
The reasoning behind the design decision to not have ordeals apply to raising Magic is the same as the change behind Initiation and Magic being raised seperately in SR4 and it boils down to magic being powerful enough as is. As stands initiates must make a very real choice between going on and getting more metamagics (and enhancing their existing metamagic with another grade) or upping their magic.

There was no intention of making Magic increase cheaper because of the bonus a single point in any Att applies to all relevant Skill use, and while Initiation still provides a (relative) cap to Magic increase, a 40% discount on the karma cost on raising Magic is far too cheap to be balanced. Allowing the discount simply means people will be raising their (low) initial Magic faster, playing with much higher dice pools, and makes a magician (and the spirits he conjures) even more powerful and effective than they currently are. I strongly urge against it.

While I can see why someone like emo samurai would appreciate that in his games, it definitely unbalances magic use taking it beyond the scope of the canon setting and rules set very quickly.

The one big drawback in playing a magician in Shadowrun is the karma sink it represents and that is something the official material will continue to play up. The vast majority of the options presented in Street Magic this, leading the player to make tougher choices when it comes to character development.
Serbitar
Good points. I also think that a certain baseline should be established that is not changed. Attribute costs are such a baseline. If you introduce dicounts on magic you have to include discounts on other attributes also.
rangda
QUOTE (Synner)
it boils down to magic being powerful enough as is. As stands initiates must make a very real choice between going on and getting more metamagics (and enhancing their existing metamagic with another grade) or upping their magic.

There was no intention of making Magic increase cheaper because of the bonus a single point in any Att applies to all relevant Skill use, and while Initiation still provides a (relative) cap to Magic increase, a 40% discount on the karma cost on raising Magic is far too cheap to be balanced. Allowing the discount simply means people will be raising their (low) initial Magic faster, playing with much higher dice pools, and makes a magician (and the spirits he conjures) even more powerful and effective than they currently are. I strongly urge against it.

I agree with your concept to a point, but I think you have missed one critical issue. (Now maybe I am missing something, admittedly I haven't played SR4 much and haven't played SR3 for quite a while.) Starting mages seem to be much more drain limited than magic limited.

A starting mage with magic 5 can toss around force 10 spells, which is pretty big juju. And can easily throw 15+ dice at the casting problem (giving you plenty of hits on the casting test). The problem is how do you deal with the DR of 7-10 you get on the other end. Raising magic isn't going to help with this at all, it's just going to let you cast even bigger spells (really how much bigger than F10 do you need in a starting SR game) digging that DR hole even deeper.

Thus given the choice between initiation and raising magic I'd go for several grades of initiation first (and I plan on putting my money where my mouth is with my mage). The only thing that makes me want to get off the initiation gravy train is A) more spells or B) more drain dice (which you can get from foci admittedly but that is going to be big karma to bond) Initiation is a faster way to solve the drain problem than raising the mental stats (which are probably both 5+ to start), and can give me other cool toys to boot.

Have I missed something?

This brings up another interesting phenomon in in the rules. If you buy into my argument that mages are initially drain limited, then this is the first edition of the rules where starting mages are better off with cyber (specifically bio) than not. Assuming I want to maximize my drain dice, the highest realistic maximum is going to be 12 (5 to each mental stat then 2 extra dice). The question is do I take the extra dice from 2 qualities (at 10 BP each) or do I instead take the sixth point of magic (for 25BP, net +3) then take 2 points of LOG from bio (giving me those 2 drain dice and adding 2 points to all my logic skills, including knowledge skills which I probably have a fair amount of. (Obviously this only works for LOG based traditions) And once I'm in for .4 essence I may as well burn the other .6 opening up the door for things like eyes/ears, platelet factories, physical stat adds, etc. It seems like the bio route is always more efficient from a minimax perspective. As an added fringe benefit, this gives the mage something to burn money one (every other SR mage I've ever played has been a karma whore but has had all this cash laying around with nothing to spend it on). The cybered mage can use that cash to get lower essence cyber and buff out his cyber/bio.
Synner
QUOTE (rangda)
A starting mage with magic 5 can toss around force 10 spells, which is pretty big juju. And can easily throw 15+ dice at the casting problem (giving you plenty of hits on the casting test). The problem is how do you deal with the DR of 7-10 you get on the other end. Raising magic isn't going to help with this at all, it's just going to let you cast even bigger spells (really how much bigger than F10 do you need in a starting SR game) digging that DR hole even deeper.

In practice there's rarely the need to go to a force 10 spell unless you want a guaranteed take down, are targeting something massively armored, or you're trying to outspell another magician.

With a force 4-5 spell it's relatively easy to get in 8-9 boxes of damage (the way spells are resisted ensures that) without significant Drain if you've got a Spellcasting dicepool of 15 to throw around (which is pretty high for a starting magician, a maxed-out munched starting combat mage can get something about 16 dice with the certain choices). On average a typical magician (Drain dice pool of 8-10) will be getting 1-2 boxes of Drain. Going for overcasting has the detrimental effect of making the Drain physical but that's all the more reason for raising Magic a notch.

Will you get hit with Drain more often than previous editions, probably, that's the way the system was designed.

As to the Essence-Magic balance I'm pretty happy with the way it is currently. If you want to splurge all of 25 BPs on the sixth point in Magic only to permanently reduce your max (at least until initiation) . Magic, go for it. Keep in mind you are exchanging +1 die to all your Magical Skill tests, reducing your average number of hits, and lowering the point overcasting kicks ins, in exchange for the cyber.
rangda
I do not think the essence-magic balance is a bad thing, on the contrary I think it's a very good thing. For the first time, the game system supports the tech-geek lightly cybered mage character. (and there are even valid reasons for doing so)

The reason to toss F10 (or numbers around that range) around are for instant take downs; with everyone wanting to "geek the mage" don't give them the chance, take them out in 1 combat turn and you don't have to worry about it. cool.gif (This is far less fun for the group involved so I don't recommend it, but from a real world perspective it makes perfect sense, and if I had a GM that had every security guard point their guns at me the instant I cast a spell I'd sure do it.)

As for 15+ dice here is some sample math:

Magic 5
Spellcasting 6
Companion Spirit /w +2 to combat spells
Spellcasting focus 3

That gives you 16 dice casting combat spells (or the spell type of your choice) and is all available to a starting character. You can even push it to 18 with a specialiazation (I cannot find anything in the rules preventing a specialization on top of a skill of 6). And the BP math for that is very doable in a starting character.

I do have a question though, this statement makes me think I am doing casting wrong:

QUOTE
With a force 4-5 spell it's relatively easy to get in 8-9 boxes of damage (the way spells are resisted ensures that) without significant Drain if you've got a Spellcasting dicepool of 15 to


If I cast a force 4 spell, get 6 hits (only 4 of which can count), the target gets 3 hits on the resist test, do I have 1 net hit or 3? I always assumed 1 your statement makes me think I have 3.

Slithery D
QUOTE (rangda)
The reason to toss F10 (or numbers around that range) around are for instant take downs; with everyone wanting to "geek the mage" don't give them the chance, take them out in 1 combat turn and you don't have to worry about it.

Perfect for those all too common situations where the entire sec force comes in one wave and all stands in one closely huddled group. I think that's the first tactic they teach in basic training.
Slithery D
QUOTE (rangda)
QUOTE
With a force 4-5 spell it's relatively easy to get in 8-9 boxes of damage (the way spells are resisted ensures that) without significant Drain if you've got a Spellcasting dicepool of 15 to


If I cast a force 4 spell, get 6 hits (only 4 of which can count), the target gets 3 hits on the resist test, do I have 1 net hit or 3? I always assumed 1 your statement makes me think I have 3.

SR4 pg. 174: "The hits scored on the Spellcasting Test may not exceed the spell's Force."

You are correct; hits are capped before the resistance test, so the most damage a force 4/5 can do is 8/10 respectively. But given the average person only has three dice to resist, it is "relatively" easy to get 8-9 boxes of damage at that force assuming perfect conditions and unexceptional targets.
rangda
QUOTE (Slithery D)
QUOTE (rangda @ Aug 18 2006, 08:58 AM)
The reason to toss F10 (or numbers around that range) around are for instant take downs; with everyone wanting to "geek the mage" don't give them the chance, take them out in 1 combat turn and you don't have to worry about it.

Perfect for those all too common situations where the entire sec force comes in one wave and all stands in one closely huddled group. I think that's the first tactic they teach in basic training.

Point well taken, although getting everyone in range is not as big a problem as would seem. With that high a force you don't need many hits, you can hold back some dice to get a bigger radius. And for indoor fights things get a lot tighter.

Far bigger problems would be keeping your own team (and yourself) out, and actually getting LOS to all the targets in 1 combat phase. Aside from gangers most of the time the latter is pretty much impossible.
Shrike30
Some of the stunts my players have pulled to prevent LOS on each other remind me of ultrafiddly WH40k tactics. It can be pretty annoying.
Wanderer
QUOTE (Synner @ Aug 17 2006, 08:31 AM)
The reasoning behind the design decision to not have ordeals apply to raising Magic is the same as the change behind Initiation and Magic being raised seperately in SR4 and it boils down to magic being powerful enough as is. As stands initiates must make a very real choice between going on and getting more metamagics (and enhancing their existing metamagic with another grade) or upping their magic.

There was no intention of making Magic increase cheaper because of the bonus a single point in any Att applies to all relevant Skill use, and while Initiation still provides a (relative) cap to Magic increase, a 40% discount on the karma cost on raising Magic is far too cheap to be balanced. Allowing the discount simply means people will be raising their (low) initial Magic faster, playing with much higher dice pools, and makes a magician (and the spirits he conjures) even more powerful and effective than they currently are. I strongly urge against it.

While I can see why someone like emo samurai would appreciate that in his games, it definitely unbalances magic use taking it beyond the scope of the canon setting and rules set very quickly.

The one big drawback in playing a magician in Shadowrun is the karma sink it represents and that is something the official material will continue to play up. The vast majority of the options presented in Street Magic this, leading the player to make tougher choices when it comes to character development.

You know, the main complaint I have with the philosophy of the current edition is that it seems really too dead-set in enforcing the new "just a little above gang members" unexperienced, not especially talented, underdog default power level for shadowrunners. There are some fans out there, definitively including this one, that relish playing runners as experienced elite professionals, special guys, not street, hand-to-mouth rabble. While they do not necessarily have to cross horns with Talon, Fastjack, and Ryan in their first run, it does not mean they have to be just a tiny step above the rabble, either.

I recognize BBB and SM made some effort in making room for alternative playing styles with those nice option boxes, but maybe some more effort in that direction should have been made... e.g. by making the option to use ordeals and group for magic raise part of those boxes.

Personally I do enjoy runners being really professional elite, the equivalent of special forces military or security agents or magical investigators/enforcers, not the cream of the local petty crime population.
Slithery D
A better solution than allowing ordeal/group magic purchases is to give higher starting skills and attributes at the beginning, so you can focus all of your karma on magic and not care that your spellcasting/counterspeling are stuck at 4 for ever.
Wanderer
QUOTE (Slithery D)
A better solution than allowing ordeal/group magic purchases is to give higher starting skills and attributes at the beginning, so you can focus all of your karma on magic and not care that your spellcasting/counterspeling are stuck at 4 for ever.

Indeed. IMO at the very least 500 BP should be the absolute minimum default, with at least 45 positive and negative Quality Points allowed, and Magician/Adept/Mystic Adept/Technomancer not being counted against that total (never understood why Awakened characters should have less talents and foibles than other people), and all Attribute/Skill thresholds should be upped one notch.

And this if you want to play runners with a decent level of experience/talent/professionalism. If you wanted to play guys that begin to be really elite, the level should be higher still: probably 600, and most thresholds should be disregarded entirely.

Personally, I regard all those annoying character creation restrictions as an heavy-handed attempt from developers to enforce a play style that they apparently fancy: since I deem developers and writers of a game twisting a rule system to mandate a play style as a typical vice of game creators abusing their position, I choose to entirely desregard such rules. *I* choose what to play and how to play it. IMNHSO the "shadowrunner" concept include the idea of "elite criminal professional" that go after pretty big stakes, running to change the reciprocal power levels of the megas, not the local street gangs. If I wanted to play a loser, untalented inner city petty criminal underdog, I would play a mortal in the WoD. The setting being as it is, even PCs on the level of the big-gun uberbadass signature characters of past game fiction would have an uphill battle to affect the world in a really significant way. So what need there is to nerf average PCs ? IEs and GDs are the only one individuals that can see the megas eye-toeye, and it took them thousands of years to get there. No chance a PC team will single-handedly destroy the Azzies tomorrow, if they get a decent SR3-style beef-up.
Slithery D
Well, the problem is that the streamlined, simple mechanics break down at the high end. Except for magicicians and TMs, you have to broaden your horizons at the high end rather than shoot for the sky. I question whether they wanted a just above street start level at the beginning or realized that anything else would have starting characters bumping up against skill/attribute limits in key competencies right away.
Wanderer
QUOTE (Slithery D)
Well, the problem is that the streamlined, simple mechanics break down at the high end. Except for magicicians and TMs, you have to broaden your horizons at the high end rather than shoot for the sky. I question whether they wanted a just above street start level at the beginning or realized that anything else would have starting characters bumping up against skill/attribute limits in key competencies right away.

*Shrug* IMO the system has potential room to let both Attributes and Skills grow up to 10 (Storyteller does it), so, the karma cost to raise both being as they are, there would be plenty of space to make the competence scale less grainy and pigeonholed, and let PCs start at decent levels of talent and competence for the supposed choice deniable assets agents and enforcers of the megas, some thing that was plausible in SR3 and got laughable in SR4. Starting characters being in the high end of key competencies is just the frigging Point.

Plain and acknowledged that while Awakened have near-unbound room to develop up, other character types have to grow horizontally, but the point is, it takes too much to do both. Developing a charcter into a mid-to-high level initiate elite magician or multi-specialization elite operative should be a foreseeable goal of a campaign.
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