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Full Version: How do you play astral space?
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Just wondering what cannon intel and personal style info there is out there for astral space.

There is little to bar travel across national boundires. Someone in Hong Kong can make it to seatle and back I do believe and little way to enforce things(thank goodness for being able to assense stuff about attacking casters)

Plus there are ranges of free spirits, salamanders, nomads, wraiths, anything having to do with toxics or insect spirits, astral projecting dragons, and a range of dual paracritters if you start getting close to the surface.

And if your GM has one too many maybe a wormskull.

Anyway typically astral space seems to be treated as an astral characters playground until they start trying to punch through some corps wards.

Any info to the contrary? Anybody play it a bit more like a glowing Jurasic Park?

Most of the stuff there is duel natured or copies of mundane, so I play it as just a magical layer on top of the material. Spirits without a summoner or other astral critters are only found if I have a story reason for it.
I usually played the astral as open to travel with occasional hazards. As long as you stayed away from corp buildings or any other building or place with spirits on patrol, you wouldn't have much trouble. Prowling in warehouses, abandonned buildings and the like could also be trouble. You could stumble on ghouls, toxics, insect spirits or just place secured by corps or major gangs that wouldn't appreciate your presence.

Astral "scenery" depending on the real world. For the most part, it looks just the same as the real world, only enhanced. A park or forest might be really beautiful because of all the living trees and such, though sick ones would stand out. On the other hand, the offices of a strict corp would be unleasant due to the constant effects of the tension and stress of the workers. A slum building full of chipheads and other at the end of their ropes would be a terrible place due to the astral impression of all that misery and despondancy.

Also, a concert would be amazing. Not only would your astral self hear the music, but you would see and feel the emotion of the audience, a natural light show. That is if you can get in as the concert may well have astral security up to keep out non-paying mages.

Terrain hazards also exist. Mana sites can give you a boost while fovae and dead magic areas would hurt or even kill. Background counts and their emotional context could also pose problems. A place like St. Peter's Square in Rome would probably be pleasant, overpowering, but pleasant. Auschwitz, on the other hand, might see the mage in therapy.

As for encountering others in your travels, I pretty much played it that most of them were busy with their own affairs and wouldn't bother another travelling unless they were bothered first. Mages have a limited amount of time out of body, so they are the least likely to bother anyone else, unless they are looking for you. Dragons probably wouldn't care about you, unless you were near their lair or otherwise getting in their business, but just passing each other in transit shouldn't cause a problem though keeping your distance would be wise. Most spirits probably wouldn't care about you either, as long as you stayed out of their business.

Free spirits though are another matter, as are toxics and bugs. Free spirits would probably be more likely to talk than attack, but that doesn't mean their intentions are honorable. Toxics and bugs would probably attack, unless the mage looked too powerful to mess with. A Force 2 insect spirit probably wouldn't bother a Grade 3 Initiate with a Magic of 9. A nest of them might, but not one by itself, unless ordered to.

Initiates are also a bit safer on the astral. If they get into trouble, they can jump to the Metaplanes to escape. From there they can return to the astral in another location, but they will still have to undergo a quest for entering the Metaplanes.
One set of video games that got an 'astral space' concept really well was the Soul Reaver series.

In that game set, the main character can shift back and forth between the real world and the astral, which resembled the real world but was distorted. A building might be tall and straight in the real world, but a twisted oddity in the astral.

The one things that seems to change the dynamic of play very much is the fact that drain in the astral no longer converts from stun to physical damage. Casting in the astral used to be a very threatening thing for mages now... it's like child's play, there's no reason not to do it.
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