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Alright, here's one of the big villains for my campaign; critique please.

(And I'm glad I put off finishing this guy until after Augmentation came out):

[ Spoiler ]

[ Spoiler ]

Personal Magical Paradigm:
[ Spoiler ]

[ Spoiler ]

Ally Spirit:
[ Spoiler ]

Cool. Although recall that Petrify is a sustained spell rather than a permanent one - so I'm not super clear on how he's managing to make a chess set out of people. It's awesome thematiclaly, but that's a very difficult action to perform with Shadowrun magic.

Aye, really cool, although my question is how is he shrinking them to chess size? (I imagine that he is probably using Quickening to keep them Petified.)
According to the Grimoire section in street magic, you can modify an existing formula; I assume that one can change a sustained spell into a permanent one with relatively little trouble.

(I suppose that I should make a note of that on the character sheet, though; kinda forgot to)


@Ravor: With the Shrink spell that I have linked in the list, second from the bottom.
Aye, turning a Sustained spell into a Permament one is easily doable with +2 Drain Code.

Ok, for some reason I didn't catch the link to the Shrink spell against the spoiler background, sorry about that.

QUOTE (Ravor)
Aye, turning a Sustained spell into a Permament one is easily doable with +2 Drain Code.

Eep. You mean I don't need Quickening or sustaining foci, I can just make a permanent version of Increase Attribute?
Making certain spells permanent destroys game balance and, honestly, goes against flavor.

There are certain spells that I would never allow a permanent version of. Petrify is one of those spells. Direct combat spells, illusions, transformation manipulation that effects living targets, and health spells other than healing spells tend to be extremely broken if made permanent.
Well personally I don't have a problem with Petify or Turn to Goo being made "Permament", but would never allow the various "Increase X" spells to be made so under the theory that enhancing a metahuman's Pattern beyond its natural state is harder then simpy changing it wholesale.

As for the RAW junkies, I'd point at the following quote.

QUOTE (Street Magic; page 161)
Permanent spells must be maintained for a time, then they become permanent. Only spells that restore the target to its original, natural, unaltered state should be permanent in duration. Spells that heal or repair damage, disease, the effects of drugs, poisons, and so on, for example, are all good candidates. If the spell provides some sort of game bonus (other than restorative), the effect should not be permanent. The gamemaster has the final say on whether it is possible to create a permanent version of a spell.

Wow! Good character, lots of character. Terribly powerful. I know mages are supposed to be karma sinks, but this guy is a karma Titanic!

Thematically, I could just see that Ally spirit being his weakness. It's getting very powerful now. Force 7 is a mighty spirit in its own right. The possibility that he is betrayed by the one thing he trusts just drips with rich irony.
@ knasser

He's a workaholic that's been going like the Energizer Bunny since he could walk. I figure, 48 years old, with these stats, sounded about right (if anything, they seemed a little on the conservative side, personally).

and as for the Ally spirit... he treats that thing so well, there's no way that that thing would betray him voluntarily. Now, being banished and summoned by another mage... that would be interesting. Hmmm... can you even do that with an Ally spirit? And how would it act towards its former master?


I have to agree, and for the reason that you stated (and you phrased it better than I have been) which is why, if you notice, he has Increase Willpower Quickened, not permanent.


However, Petrify is one of those spells that I was astounded that there *wasn't* a permanent version of, primarily because of the fact that sustaining a victim when the mana source is unavailable becomes impossible, and as it is an example that is given often in the fluff (like that village in the Outback or the story behind the creation of the Alabaster Maiden), it creates problems.

EDIT: However, if we could avoid turning this into the "Sustained vs. Permanent Spells" thread, I'd be grateful, because I did ask for critique on my villain, which is something that I've gotten precious little of so far. My main issue at the moment is his personal magical paradigm and the mentor spirit; I'm still not satisfied with them.
QUOTE (bibliophile20)
and as for the Ally spirit... he treats that thing so well, there's no way that that thing would betray him voluntarily.

You can't put a price on freedom. That thing has an intelligence and a willpower and a personality (charisma) that is beyond what a normal human is capable of. With that sort of psychological development, comes a desire for independence. It might not be betrayal, it might just turn around one day and say "It's not you, it's me..." But then again, this mage doesn't look like the sort that would accept the "lets just be friends" thing.

But it's clearly not where you want to go with this. I just saw great dramatic potential. The mentor spirit is balanced, imo.
For the loyalty of the Ally Spirit, I'm going off of this quote:
QUOTE (SM pg. 105)
Ally spirits are substantially more loyal than ordinary bound
spirits (in fact, such loyalty is hardwired in due to the spirit formula).
An ally effectively serves a character until they are freed
by their master’s death (or potentially near-death). Unlike other
spirits, bound or otherwise, an ally spirit might go out of its way to
help the character and volunteer information it believes may be of
assistance—though if the character is particularly cruel to the ally,
it may eventually turn on him to the best of its ability. If necessary,
consider ally spirits to have a Loyalty Rating of 6 (see p. 279, SR4).
For many magicians, the ally is more than a servant and is seen as
an equal—or even a superior.

So an Ally Spirit going against its master would literally being going against its very nature.

And, as far as the mage is concerned, Cosmo is his friend, his only friend, the only one that understands him (literally), understands his drives and obsessions.

And thanks on the mentor spirit; does the fluff description fit the bonuses? My logic was "Manipulation spells are means of enforcing the Law, and an ideal Citizen is a hard worker that obeys orders without question."
Well personally I really like the concept, and although I've been running at lower power levels lately I'm fully intending on stealing a toned down version of him the first chance I get to work him into one of my campaigns. cyber.gif

Although I think knasser brings up a really good point as well, even if the Ally Spirit would never dream of actually betraying Dr Haruki since he treats the spirit so well it should be something that both of them think about from time to time, how does the cold Docter deal with the conflict between his desire for predictability and control with the strange urge to grant his "friend" greater freedom, prehaps even releasing it someday...
Well, first off, he would actually be Dr. Shimizu (surname first in Japanese) biggrin.gif

Secondly, on a more serious note, feel free to steal him for you campaigns; a suggestion? Make him younger; bump him down to 36 years old and decrease the stats accordingly.

Third, while you guys bring up a good point (and one worth exploring), my own personal visualization of the bond that these two share (magical and, dare I say it, emotional) is not one that either would be willing to sever. Again, that's my own personal perspective. If you end up stealing him for your own campaigns and go with that angle, I have no issues with it (I do request, though, that you tell me how it turns out).
Any more opinions on this guy? Anyone?
Stat the toxic spirits.

Could you show his progression from hermetic to toxic? Nobody goes from zero to hero in 1 day. Somewhere along the way he must have been Twisted before he made his "revolutionary" breakthrough.
QUOTE (bibliophile20)
Any more opinions on this guy? Anyone?

You want more comments, create NPCs with more problems, rules errors, etc. People like to criticise. This one's good to go, barring the fact that he'll kill any players who don't get him completely and utterly unawares (hence my weakpoint suggestion of the Ally).
Talia Invierno
I think I can safely insert a comment now without some of my players catching my having posted here.

I am another who will borrow the concept, with slight amendments. I'll probably bring in his influence first, possibly for many, many sessions before the players clue into the specific person behind what's happening. They may even meet him in those early stages without knowing just who he is, probably before the PCs come on his personal radar.

While he is nicely complete and self-contained as is, even to the point of having vulnerabilities that a cautious team could make an intelligent guess at, a change I would suggest is perhaps to reduce the amount of 'ware and make it beta instead of delta. Surgery and the tending of 'ware involves a degree of unpredictability that seems anathema to his personality, and characters don't usually begin at deltaware in any case. (I find it useful to determine when a PC or major NPC received what pieces of 'ware, and under what circumstances.)

I can't see him outright overwhelming anyone who did arrive on his radar with immediate brute force. He might gain far greater satisfaction from manoeuvring them into the appropriate pattern ... which will involve their encountering him when the time is right and being turned into chess pieces in their turn (and quite likely after his other forces have first appropriately weakened them).

He might even gain satisfaction from using Control spells to make them believe that this is their proper role, and so step onto the appropriate space on a larger chessboard of their "own" volition. Hmm, you didn't describe his home: but this might suggest that his preferred final meeting place would be in some variant of an 8 x 8 room, with a checkered floor.
Quickening suck... I mean you can't even cross a barrier with that on, plus 18 karma for something that, in practice, never get dispelled (or will be regardless of the power) is a waste and reek of "I'm an NPC, I have all the karma i want". Better give him a sustaining focus. Of course he might never leave his lab, but then it makes harder for the PCs to interact with him (he ll be the least of their worry if they must invade a MCT lab). You could also expand his equipement, giving him a car, some fashionable armor, or even a bodyguard (a drone would do fine for him).

Also, give him extended detect ennemies. It's much more useful than the regular one, and it will avoid that your slow villain get dropped at 50 metres by a semi competent samurai with a Predator. Beside, it's one of the very best spell ever, so there is no reason someone so concerned with efficiency didn't learn it.

You might want to raise his Arcana or Logic a bit, since creating/upgrading a power 7 Ally spirit with a dice pool of 9 is tricky.

Finally, I think it's critical that you give him an agenda. No good villain goes without one, and if all he does is working in a lab, it won't get very exciting.
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