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Me and a buddy are starting up a new SR game. We have put together some house rules and I wanted to get some feedback from other folks about them.

*dons his flame retardant suit*


1) Essence & Resonance/Magic Interaction: In the book, essence loss affects both your current Magic attribute and your maximum Resonance/Magic attribute. (If you have a magic of 4 and an essence of 6. You get a datajack that reduces your essence to 5.9, your Magic is dropped to a 3). This is changed for the purposes of Mike & Rich’s game. Essence loss only affects the maximum Resonance/Magic attribute, not the current Resonance/Magic attribute. Unless your total essence is reduced to below your current Resonance/Magic, then your Resonance/Magic is lowered to match.

2) Item Availability: In the rules, the maximum availability for anything purchased at character creation is a 12. In Mike & Rich’s game a character may purchase an item with availability higher then 12 at character creation by spending Build Points equal to the amount availability goes over 12. Build Points spent in this fashion count against the 50 Build Point maximum allowed to be spent on Resources. For instance. If a street samurai wanted to have Wired Reflexes 3 installed at character creation, he would have to spend 100,000 plus 8 Build Points (20 availability minus 12).

3) Karma expenditures at Character creation: Build Points can be used as Karma at character creation to pay for things that ordinarily aren’t covered at character creation. Like Initiations, Submersion, increasing attributes and skills above normal starting levels. Build Points used in this fashion count against the maximum of 50 Build Points allowed to be spent on Resources.

4) Spirit Affinity: As well as the listed effects of said quality, there is an addition rule system for the ability. If a magically active person summons a spirit that corresponds to their Spirit Affinity, if is of atleast Force 4, it will Buy Hits instead of rolling in the Opposed Test for the Summoning. This ONLY applies to Summoning and not Binding, Invoking or Banishing. It is possible to lose this Quality if the player abuses the spirits they have an affinity for.

5) Spirit Bane: As well as the listed effects of said quality, there is an addition rule system for the ability. If a magically active person summons a spirit that corresponds to their Spirit Bane, the spirit will use Edge to resist summonings and bindings by said character.
Sounds like these are rules to benefit magicians. The only item that is really worth spending the BP for a higher rating is the Power Focus.

Would you spend 11 BP for an aditional +1 to yor Magic-based dicepools? Hellz yes you would! If everyone is playing an awakened character, I guess these will work fine. I predict that non-mages will feel small in the pants.

Ol' Scratch
1) I'd go the opposite route myself. The implantation would have a direct impact on your ability to weild magic, not necessarily your potential. You have to learn how to deal with the "interference" caused by the invasion of your natural body. It'll be harder and more costly to get to a certain level of magic use compared to someone without any augmentation, but such is the consequence of getting an implant.

Your current rule really doesn't have a consequence except for giving the player what essentially amounts to free BP during character creation. And that's not exactly the kind of consequence that needs to be there.

2) Just ignore the Availability limit at character creation. It's a silly, silly rule that makes virtually no sense (especially since it's not actually based on the character's abilities; that Charisma 1 no Negotiation/Etiquette character had just an easy time getting stuff as the Charisma 7, Influence 6 Face did). Tell players to limit their gear selection to items that fit their concept and then, as a GM, actually sit down and look at the character sheet before you accept it. If you see something absurd or that you don't like, talk (a horrid concept, I know) to the player about it and see why they took it. If their argument makes sense for their concept, no problem. If it doesn't, say "No." It's a rather simple word in one's vocabulary, but it's apparently one a lot of GMs have trouble uttering when it comes to actually important stuff.

3) Just scribble out any mention of the word "Build Points" in the main book and replace it with the word "Karma." If they want to blow a large wad of their initial potential on something they can pick up just as easily once the game starts, who cares? See #2 above for the whole "no" thing as well.

4) Eh. If anything I'd change it to work more like Bad Luck. Every time a player requests a service from the appropriate type of spirit, roll 1D6. On a roll of 5 or 6, the spirit performs the request as a favor rather than a service.

5) Same as #4 but reversed (two services are used up per demand unless they roll a 5 or 6).
I also vote for just tossing Availability. In our 12 years of playing SR together, my main group has *never* used it, and don't see the point. Well, ok, i see the point of not letting entire parties have Wired Reflexes 3, a Monowhip and a MMG at chargen, but if you have cool players that don't buy pointless stuff for their characters just because they can, you won't have a problem. The very first game I played was with a seasoned, old-school SR GM and he didn't even follow the availability rule. We got gear we thought fit our guys, and if the GM barred some seperate piece or two from chargen he told us.

Like any rule, take it or leave it. It's one of those rules that's easily houseruled out with no problems. Just refuse gear on a piece-by-piece basis, not an availability basis. theres pieces of gear that have a high availability due to rarity or whatnot(Taste Booster rating 4+ is not legal by book availability rules at chargen), but power-wise, aren't nearly as bad as some perfectly 'starting-legal' pieces-like Wired Reflexes 2.

Not to mention i find it interesting that Titanium Bone Lacing is forbidden by the rules(16 Avail), and all other levels have lower availability. But Bone Density has a BASE 12 availability...for all four levels of it. Eh?

Ahh well, those are questions for another day.
1) Nice one. If one of your players has the brains to start with magic 3, nothing will stop him. I went that route without houserules, and not needing to pay karma to maintain magic rating and POWER-INITIATING instead would have made that one quite scary. He has his second level of initiation anyway.

2) Ditch availability. That one never did what it is supposed to do. Availability should depend on the social circle your char is in. Many street sams I´ve seen should be primary customers for higher-end body shops. Usually unavailable ware offered via spam mail... and the mechanics just make you wait a few days longer anyway, so why bother.

3) Fine

4) Not in my players dreams. Frag, not even in my own dreams. See guardian spirits, think "any weapon skill", "heavy weapons", "max. force spirit".

5) Any high-force spirit should usually spend edge against attempts to bind him. Intelligent beings don´t usually want to be slaves if they can help it. NOT doing so I could see as a upgraded form of spirit affinity.
Ryu, you realize that with that kind of attitude on #5 that binding at the 6+ level becomes near impossible without burning edge right? I mean if that is what you are going for in your game, go for it. If I wanted to limit summoning/binding myself I would instead have you only be able to summon up to your magic rating instead of Magic x 2.

Anyway, just chiming in.

So, instead of getting a sustaining focus limitted to a school of magic and at best being force 3 and costing 30k (total of 9 build 6 for gear to buy and 3 to bind), he can instead initiate, for 8bp, take ally spirit, 8 more bp for that karma, and instead for 16 bp have an infinite sustaining focus, and if he pumps more into it, something that can do more than that.
Ol' Scratch
That's a fault with ally spirits, the sustain spell service, and the restrictions on sustaining foci, not with allowing initiation at character creation. And a Force 1 ally spirit is an easy target to boot.
Ok, let me put it another way, mages can spend their bp on initiation because they don't really have too much use for gear, sammies who want to get that fancy deltaware because they can, have to spend the bp on the gear to afford it, then extra because of the availiblity. Its a huge tilt to mage power, when mages already have more power in general.
Ol' Scratch
Mages have to spend their points on things mundanes don't. Magic attributes, spells, foci, etc. Initiation is just another option, and in SR4 it's not this uber-powerful ability that renders all other options in the game null and void. Especially since you have to choose between a metamagic technique (which are generally limited by your grade and greatly reduced in power compared to older editions) OR raising your maximum -- and only your maximum -- Magic rating.

Examples: Grade 1 mage with Shielding gives a whole +1 die for one use of Counterspelling. Whooptido. Heck, even Masking was butchered horribly and split into three separate techniques.

And for the 11 (7 to initiate with group, and a group costing 3 points plus dues) points they spent on that one grade, a mundane has 50,000 extra nuyen to blow.

Now what can you get for 50,000 nuyen? You can get +3 Agility and +3 Strength (Muscle Toner 3+Muscle Augmentation 3). You can get +3 Logic and +1 to two Combat/Physical Skills of choice (Cerebral Booster 3 + Reflex Recorders). You can get +2 Reaction and +2 IP (Wired Reflexes 3). The options just go on and and on. And in most of those examples, you still have a hefty bit of change leftover for other stuff.

So yeah. Initiation isn't any more uber at character creation than it is at any other point in the game. And if aspects of it are in your mind, then the fault lies more in those aspects than the actual initiation.
QUOTE (Doctor Funkenstein)
Especially since you have to choose between a metamagic technique (which are generally limited by your grade and greatly reduced in power compared to older editions) OR raising your maximum -- and only your maximum -- Magic rating.

Doc, initiating raises your magic rating AND gives you a metamagic of your choice.

QUOTE (SR4 pg. 189)
Becoming an initiate gives an Awakened character access
to a number of benefi ts and abilities:
Increased Magic
An initiate’s natural maximum for the Magic attribute is 6
+ her grade of initiation. She will still have to pay normally to
increase her Magic attribute.
Metaplanar Access
Upon a character’s fi rst initiation, a character who can astrally
project receives access to the metaplanes of astral space
(see Th e Metaplanes, p. 185).
An initiate can choose one of the following metamagic initiate
powers at each grade of initiation (including the fi rst). Unless
otherwise noted, no power may be chosen more than once.

(Emphasis mine)
You are definately mistaken. Initiation not only raises your magic maximum, but ALSO allows you to pick up a metamagic. Shielding at grade 1 is fairly ineffective. As the mage continues to grow and initiate, shielding becomes considerably more useful. So does masking. Whats to stop the initiate from getting grade 10?
His GM + a large blunt object?

Ol' Scratch
Sorry, I was misremembering (got confused about the +1 magic vs. +metamagic option). Point still remains, however.

And what stops a mage in those cases (beyond a limit on build points and crippling himself everywhere else)? The amazing, supernatural, wondiferous power of a GM to say "no." It's the same awesome power that stops mundanes from buying tactical nukes and tanks. More importantly, if a player does try to create a broken character (which you can do under the standard rules anyway), the problem is more with the player than the rules.
By that logic, why have costs or availibility for anything? Just have the GM decide whats appropriate.
Ol' Scratch
So in other words, "If I can't munchkinate and take advantage of the rules to the detriment of both the game and other players, fuck you! Why do you even HAVE rules?!? WHAAA!"

Yes. Great argument there. Bravo.
No, more the point was that the rules are there to help prevent muchkinism. If your house rules encourage it, then why make the pretense at all?
Ol' Scratch
Who says they encourage it?

You're of the mind that initiation is somehow broken and ruined, but only in the context of character creation. If you, say, initiate after your first run it somehow becomes balanced in your head? Why is that?
Because typically runners don't get hundreds of karma after their first run. At chargen, they effectively are getting those hundreds of karma up front. Meanwhile, the sammies are still limited by the chargen rules, since characters aren't typically allowed to do things like initiate at chargen, there are no limits to it. This is what makes the imbalance.

Now, if it was, you can initiate with bp as karma, but only a max of grade 2, no groups/ordeals with it, and only the basic metamagic from SR4 for chargen initiation, then I might buy it.
QUOTE (DTFarstar)
Ryu, you realize that with that kind of attitude on #5 that binding at the 6+ level becomes near impossible without burning edge right? I mean if that is what you are going for in your game, go for it. If I wanted to limit summoning/binding myself I would instead have you only be able to summon up to your magic rating instead of Magic x 2.

Anyway, just chiming in.


It is now hard to bind high-force spirits, but you can still use edge "left over" from your current run to reliably do that. If the stars are right, maybe the spirit does not fight back that hard and does not spend edge. It just encourages to treat that high force spirits services like a real treasure.

And btw, I said this to the other GMs when I build my mage PC. They followed my logic. It feels better for me.
Ol' Scratch
To be honest, if you make a flaw that is that overbearing compared to the benefits (read: a couple build points), the only people who'd take it are the ones with no interest in summoning those types of spirits anyway.
What flaw are we talking about Doc? If you mean what me and Ryu were talking about he isn't talking about a flaw. Apparently in his game and the games that he has played mages under, all high force spirits(he never specified I assumed he meant about 6 and up and he didn't correct me) use edge to resist binding except on very special occasions. There is just something about that that I do not like. I guess I myself and most of the people I play with fail at binding those spirits so much anyway that I see it as basically barring off their use. Anyway, just trying to clarify or to understand depending on which one of us is confused.

Ol' Scratch
Spirit Bane, which is a negative quality (ie, flaw). And I agree, his original take on it for a house rule is kind of pointless. Then again, it's one of those flaws that very few if any magicians take in regards to either a spirit they can summon, or one they ever plan on summoning. So having rules based on what happens if you do try to summon with the flaw are kind of moot.

Now if you take my suggestion in the third post and require the quality to only be taken with spirits you can summon, or have it grant fewer build points if its not... it might quality as a fairly balanced flaw. Right now it's just free build points, really. At least from a conjuring point of view.
The way I work Spirit Bane is you either take it for a spirit type you can summon, in which case you have abused that spirit type in the past or something of that nature, or you take it for a spirit type and it functions similar to the Hunted flaw. You have directly offended a spirit of that type in the past and it wants you dead. You may occasionally be attacked by it alone, and it has used it's influence in the spirit world to convince all other spirits of it's type to target you given the chance. Some kind of spiritual reward for your death or something of that nature. Nothing TOO threatenening, but it increases paranoia and makes it worth the 10 BPs. Also gives me the chance to help out the players occasionally. If they find out an NPC has a Spirit Bane they can indebt a spirit to them by taking care of the problem or get it's help much easier than normal in doing something that will cause that guy misery.

We agreed on high force = 7+. The effect is indeed that most binding happens to spirits of force 3-6, with loads of force 3 and 4 services being spend on minor services (cheaper per service moneywise), and high force spirits saving the day in case of emergency. The example of "guardian spirit + heavy weapon" above is not hypothetical in our group, it´s just rare.
Ah, well, that basically works the same in my groups except that we never really bind above 6 because we don't really have the dice pools to do so.

Thanks alot for the input and interesting points of view wink.gif
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