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emo samurai
There are, like, 50 different ways to spend your karma if you're a mage. What do your mages spend most of their karma on? And could you please explain your power-leveling strategies?
Increasing magic and initiating should be the same item, just because they go hand in hand.
QUOTE (Konsaki)
Increasing magic and initiating should be the same item, just because they go hand in hand.

Not so much now in 4th ed. You can initiate and not raise your magic, as it is separate costs now. You have to pay for initiation and pay for magic increase. My Social Adept has initiated once now but did not raise his magic. All I did was raise my Max Magical Attrib from 6 to 7.

In 3rd ed. You got a Magic Point (and on PP if an adept) as well as a MetaMagic technique.
you forgot one of the most important: increasing magical skills.
emo samurai
Oh god, it should have been "Augmenting skills." Dammit.
QUOTE (mfb)

emo, the sam that ruined Christmas.
emo samurai
Bah, Christmas is a backwards, insular, pro-religious holiday that was derived from an even more backwards, insular, pro-religious holiday! biggrin.gif
If I ever play an SR4 mage I will spend my karma on bonding spirits followed by warding places, followed by bonding spirit and power foci, followed by learning spells, followed by initiation for masking, followed by raising my magic atribute, then I'll raise my conjuring skill to 7. Because that's the order things will happen in the game. If I have any karma left over after that I'll augment my spells... somehow (is augmenting spells in SM?) biggrin.gif
All of the above. wink.gif

Initially, raising Magic seems like a good plan (considering, that it is used for mostly everything), then getting better Skills/Attributes (not just for magic; to cover one's bases) and some more Spells (more spells = more fun). Initiating will be done, when Metamagic is needed for some reason mostly, not so much to raise Magic even further, because it's so expensive.

All of the above, for me too. grinbig.gif

Depends what type of character im playing, too.

My mad-scientist alchemist pretty much only needs to alternate upping some magical skills with initation and alchemy/enchanting, foci bonding, etc.

My Wolf shaman is much more adept magically and physically, so his karma is spread evenly, making him a giant sink.

Combat Mages can be giant sinks, as well.
emo samurai
Could a mod please change "Augmenting spells" to "Augmenting skills?"
heh you forgot "staying alive"and "looking pretty" wink.gif the mage in my group has spent quite a bit to either live or keep from taking any damage to avoid modifiers
I've found that spending karma on the more fun things like initiating w/o magic increase for more metamagics, buy up all magical skills, buying new spells and increasing non-magical aspects of the character (being able to pilot a vehicle, use a weapon and having a high body attribute are all good for a mage) isn't anywhere near as effective as simply trying to increase your die pools. There really does seem to be an imperative in this version to power-game, and pump magic attribute, spellcasting skill and bonding power foci as the only effective things to do with for mages.

If opponents can counterspell or use spirits (who have all attributes and skills equal to force) then you're fighting opponents with high die pools, and you need to do better than them.

In the high-karma game I'm running, the players have all maxed out die pools for their primary skill(s) and summon spirits with as high a force as they can withstand the drain from. With a little planning, the group can get a couple force 8 spirits, who can do anything better than any of the players (attribute and skill rating of 8 for combat skills makes force 8 spirits the best possible combatants).

So a plan for power leveling needs to focus on magic attribute, willpower and a high-force power foci, then work on sorcery and conjuring skills, then initiation to make a higher magic attribute available for purchase. Unfortunately, there isn't as much variation for similar concepts anymore, a spellcaster needs the highest possible die pol to compete with magical opponents who will generally have similar or better die pools (hopefully the GM doesn't left opponents use edge too much).
De Badd Ass
QUOTE (Sren)
In the high-karma game I'm running ...

I play a mage in that game. Sren is right - high power spirits are the mages most effective weapon.

I kinda hit a summoning wall at Force 8; actually, a binding wall. The odds of surviving Physical Drain when Binding decrease rapidly above Force 8. That means increasing Magic to keep drain non-lethal, and increasing centering to resist drain become the top priorities. Increasing magic JUST makes the drain non-lethal; it doesn't increase the odds for success. With Logic and Willpower maxed out, that leaves Initiate grade and a Centering (or Binding) Focus as the only means to improve.

The big drawback is that there is no way to improve a Focus. IF, say, the mage has a Force 4 Centering Focus, and wants to increase it to Force 6; then he has to kiss goodbye to the 24 Karma he used to bond the original Focus, and spend 36 karma on the new one. All I can say is "OUCH"!!! The best my mage's talismonger contact (Sren) can come up with is a Force 4 Centering Focus. So, the mage can either settle for Force 4, or learn Artificing....

My next trick will be to learn the Increase (Willpower) spell, and have a Spirit of Man cast it on me during binding rituals. The Increase (Willpower) spell is the only way that I can think of to increase Willpower above 6.

Another trick is to maximize Edge, and use Edge during binding. Too bad there is no Increase (Edge) Spell. /sigh

Add it up: Logic 9, Willpower 9, Edge 6, Centering whatever for a total of 30 dice - give or take. A Force 9 spirit rolls 18 dice to resist binding, for an average of 6 hits and a drain target of 12. (Worst case = 18 hits and a drain target of 36. This could be lethal even if it is stun damage). Wanna try for a Force 10, 11, or 12 Ally?

Conclusion, after a certain point a Mage can become more powerful than the spirits he can bind. Magic 14, Skill 6, Ally 9, Power Foci 6 yields 35 dice for summoning unbound spirits, and spellcasting. Drain is much lower during these activities.

Anyhow, that's why I voted for I love all my karma sinks equally. Not because they are all equal; because one sink can only increase the die pools so much. As Sren said, the goal is to maximize the die pool.

One more trick, increase Charisma for more bound spirits.

Edit: I wonder what Sren would say if I taught my Force 9 Ally spirit Artificing?

Edit: Incorporated Emo's suggestion
emo samurai
I thought ally spirits only help with spellcasting. And you could always use a spirit of man with Innate Spell instead of an ally.
De Badd Ass
QUOTE (emo samurai)
I thought ally spirits only help with spellcasting. And you could always use a spirit of man with Innate Spell instead of an ally.

A spirit of man would work, bound or unbound. Good idea! Better than the force 1 Ally. Saves karma.

Ally spirits can perforn any service that a bound spirit can do.

QUOTE (BBB p179)
                  SPIRIT SERVICES
Unbound Spirit Services      Bound Spirit Services
-----------------------      ---------------------
Combat                       Any Unbound Spirit Service
Continual Use of a Power     Aid Sorcery
Perform Physical Task        Aid Study
Remote Service               Loaned Service
                             Spell Binding
                             Spell Sustaining
emo samurai
I thought spirits only helped with sorcery. I take that to mean only spellcasting and counterspelling. Then again, sorcery is a huge term.
QUOTE (De Badd Ass)
Edit: I wonder what Sren would say if I taught my Force 9 Ally spirit Artificing?

well, i really doubt much matters at the point where you have a Force 9 Ally spirit eek.gif

.. and yes. you should do that lick.gif

any chance of joining that game btw? wink.gif
De Badd Ass
any chance of joining that game btw? wink.gif

Yes! This is the Dumpshock Thread: looking for gm in maryland pg/mont county

Last game, we fought bug shamans and spirits in their hive. The background count was -4 for us; not for them. We ended up chasing them through a portal and onto the bug metaplane.

My Force 8 Spirit of Man did nothing but cast Heal every phase on the Dragon NPC that led us through the portal. The enemy seemed to be following the rule, "Geek the Dragon first!" My Spirit of Man kept the dragon up so that it could keep absorbing attacks, while the rest of us gang raped the enemy shamans and spirits.

Depending on how many sessions a player missed, our PCs had earned between 400 and 500 karma. We were not overpowering our advesaries. Every little bit helps.
I have yet to play 4th edition, so keep this in mind. smile.gif

I spent most of my karma on initiating and spells. I devided it up more equally with longer term characters. (Mortax was a high grade initiate with some level stupid spells, though that happen's with vampire mages.)

Pyre Dancer and Angelise were my 2 longest running mages after Mortax. (Phonix shamen and Cat shamen respectively) They were evenly split between initiating and spells. they both got up to about grade 3 I think. They had a lot of differnt spells, mostly illusion and manipulation spells. I like to be versitile. smile.gif
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