Help - Search - Members - Calendar
Full Version: Mystic Adepts: Suck?
Dumpshock Forums > Discussion > Shadowrun
Rad
While talking to my GM (Matsci) about the backup character I'm working on, he mentioned the consensus on Dumpshock that Mystic Adepts suck. I seem to remember reading posts to that effect, although I can't find any with the search now.

The thing is, I disagree. I'm still fairly new to the game, but alot of my builds have been mystic adepts--mainly because it's one of the cheapest ways for an awakened character to get extra IP's.

Drugs technically are the cheapest, but there's limitations, side effects, and relatively short durations on anything that gives you more than 1 extra pass. Not the best option, IMO.

Then there's spells. Unlike every other IP booster in the game, the Increase Reflexes spell doesn't increase Reaction--just initiative and initiative passes. So although you get more actions, you don't get any better at avoiding attacks. You'd need two spells, (requiring two complex actions) to get the same effect, and sustaining them puts you at -4 to everything you do. Sustaining foci can take care of this but they light up the astral, can be taken away from you, still don't solve the problem of requiring two complex actions to cast the spells, ect.

That leaves 'ware and adept powers. Cyber- and Bioware cut into your magic due to essence loss, and also cut into your funds. By comparison, going mystic adept and picking up Improved Reflexes takes the same sized chunk out of your magic as standard-grade Cyberware, costs nothing, and gives you 5 extra BP in exchange for the astral perception and projection abilities a full magician has.

Here's a comparison of all three types of permanent IP augmentations:

---------

Improved Reflexes 1 [Adept Power]
Magic cost: 2
Nuyen cost: 0¥
Total cost: 20 BP at chargen

Improved Reflexes 2 [Adept Power]
Magic cost: 3
Nuyen cost: 0¥
Total cost: 30 BP at chargen

Improved Reflexes 3 [Adept Power]
Magic cost: 5
Nuyen cost: 0¥
Total cost: 50 BP at chargen

Wired Reflexes 1 [Cyberware]
Magic cost: 2 (2 Essence)
Nuyen cost: 11,000¥
Total cost: 22.2 BP at chargen

Wired Reflexes 2 [Cyberware]
Magic cost: 3 (3 Essence)
Nuyen cost: 32,000¥
Total cost: 36.4 BP at chargen

Wired Reflexes 3 [Cyberware]
Magic cost: 5 (5 Essence)
Nuyen cost: 100,000¥
Total cost: 70 BP at chargen (Requires the 5BP Restricted Gear Quality)

Synaptic Booster 1 [Bioware]
Magic cost: 1 (0.5 Essence)
Nuyen cost: 80,000¥
Total cost: 26 BP at chargen

Synaptic Booster 2 [Bioware]
Magic cost: 1 (1 Essence)
Nuyen cost: 160,000¥
Total cost: 42 BP at chargen

Synaptic Booster 3 [Bioware]
Magic cost: 2 (1.5 Essence)
Nuyen cost: 240,000¥
Total cost: 68 BP at chargen (Requires the 5BP Restricted Gear Quality)

---------

Getting better grade ware can shift some of the Essence/Magic cost to nuyen, but only Deltaware can make a big enough difference to actually change how many magic points you lose, and it's not available at chargen. Even going full magician and using spells and sustaining foci is going to cost you more than the Adept Power route, unless you have a really low Reaction stat--and that's not counting the 5 BP mark-up for taking Magician instead of Mystic Adept.

I'm not saying it's for everybody, but a Mystic Adept with Improved Reflexes and a few choice combat spells can outperform a cyber or bio-enhanced street sam for less BP--and with initiation, has the potential to become an excellent caster as well. Long term, you're looking at a fragging monster.

Sure, only having 2-3 points of magic to throw into spells isn't much, but with the right combination of spells and skillpoints (and maybe a foci or mentor spirit if you really wanna' get twinky) you've got a magic pistol that never runs out of ammo and ignores armor and full defense.

In summation, when done right, mystic adepts kick ass. cool.gif

[edit] Fixed Synaptic Booster 3 essence cost [/edit]
Platinum Dragon
To be honest, I wouldn't even consider Wired for an awakened character, and Imp. Reflexes is horrendously expensive in Power Points. If anything with the mystic adept, I'd go with a sustaining focus and Increase Reflexes, and spend my Adept PPs on something fun / useful.

Or I'd fork out the 160K for Synaptic: 2 (the Boogie Years).

Or I'd play an Adpet (non-mystic) with Synaptic.

Or a mage with a sustaining focus.
Glyph
There are good reasons to play a mystic adept, but initiative boosters are not one of them. You are essentially spending half of a hard-maxed Magic Attribute to get something that is more or less the equivalent of one (or two) sustained spells. You are better off with a Magic of 5, with the increase reflexes and combat sense spells. A mystic adept should pick adept powers that can't be duplicated with spells.
Muspellsheimr
There are reasons to play as a Mystic Adept, but Increased Reflexes is most certainly not a good reason; a valid reason, but only if you have other, more effective reasons to begin with (& even then, not usually recommended). This is primarily because the RAW cost for Increased Reflexes is obscene - it should be priced at 1:2:3 Power Points.

Regardless, the primary reasons to play as a Mystic Adept are as follows:

1) You play as an Adept. All your Magic goes into Adept Powers. What you are doing is spending an extra 5BP for access to Counterspelling.

2) You play as an Adept. You put one or two of your Magic into Spellcasting, and pick up a few choice spells that cannot be duplicated with Adept Powers.

3) You play as a Magician. You put one or two of your Magic into Adept Powers, for abilities that cannot be duplicated with Spellcasting. This is probably the harshest version, because unless you 'waste' a point, you loose access to Astral Perception, something often quite important for Magician characters.

Note: 1 & 2 can, and often will be, combined.
toturi
If you want to do the cost analysis of the various Initiative and Reaction boosts, you might want to throw in the analysis for the karma build too.
Mx
QUOTE (Rad @ Sep 16 2008, 07:02 AM) *
Synaptic Booster 3 [Bioware]
Magic cost: 5 (5 Essence)
Nuyen cost: 240,000¥
Total cost: 63 BP at chargen (Requires the 5BP Restricted Gear Quality)

Should be
Synaptic Booster 3 [Bioware]
Magic cost: 2 (1,5 Essence)
Nuyen cost: 240,000¥
Total cost: 68 BP at chargen (Requires the 5BP Restricted Gear Quality)
HappyDaze
Your costs for nuyen seem off since 1 BP = 5,000 nuyen.

Also, son't forget the Move-by-Wire System. With Restricted Gear, you can get a MbWS 2 for 22 BP.
Angier
Cast improved Reflexes and sustain it without a focus. Be sure to have learned Adept Centring as a Mystic Adept. Cheapest way to get extra IP.

Oh and I play Muspellsheimr's Mystic Adept - Version C.
Kairo
I've got a 400 BP Mystic Adept and he's possibly my favorite character that I've created. That's saying something considering the numerous Shadowrun characters I've played in the last 18 years. He's versatile enough to be useful in tons of situations, and while he may not be a combat monster, he's easily good enough to hold his own.

Something to consider when using Mystic Adepts: Restricted Gear Quality and a high level Power Focus. It somewhat offsets the Magic loss for your Adept Abilities and can really insta-charge your magic. Just don't get addicted to it. wink.gif
Platinum Dragon
QUOTE (toturi @ Sep 16 2008, 05:11 PM) *
If you want to do the cost analysis of the various Initiative and Reaction boosts, you might want to throw in the analysis for the karma build too.


I don't know the costs off by heart, so I'll leave that up to someone else, but Karmagen just makes the Adept power even worse, because of the scaling magic costs.
Ol' Scratch
My problem with Mystic Adepts is that the main concept they were introduced to represent -- the magic-using ninja archetype -- is the one that they don't represent very well at all. In fact, you're downright crippled if you try to do it justice via the Mystic Adept method. (A Conjurer of a Possession tradition can get the end-result of something far closer, though the flavor gets ruined in the process.) Unfortunately back when it did work, the rules were completely abusable and allowed for relatively broken characters in the other direction (overpowered instead of underpowered). Which is exactly why they "suck" now.

There really isn't any way around it either, not unless you simply get rid of the distinction between adepts and magicians altogether and treat all Awakened as a mystic adept and go back to an update of thethe older ruleset for them. I've honestly considered doing that but I'm far too lazy these days to bother. That and it would put people into a hissy fit the likes of which you've never seen before.
darthmord
They don't seem to be bad if the rules are used from the book and not the errata. Apparently, the way it was written in the book, it could be interpreted as saying:

max force and the like was limited by Magic, not by the amount devoted toward spellcasting.
Likewise, the limits on adept powers were limited by Magic, not the amount devoted toward powers.

So if you had Magic 6 (3/3) and an adept power that was 0.25/level, you could get 6 levels for 1.5 Magic, leaving you 1.5 Magic for other adept powers. Your max force (w/o overcasting) would be 6, but you'd only contribute 3 points toward the dicepool due to only spending 3 Magic on spellcasting.

Same example but under errata, you could only get 3 levels of that 0.25/level power. For casting, your max force would be 3 and 6 if you overcast.

In a nutshell, your cap was determined by the stat, not by the divided stat. Ignoring the errata on it does give them back a bit of their glitz & oomph without making them tremendously overpowered (in comparison to the rest of the character types).
Stahlseele
mystic adepts would not suck quite that hard, if you were to allow improved ability for things like spellcasting and summoning . .
Cain
QUOTE (Dr. Funkenstein @ Sep 16 2008, 09:21 PM) *
My problem with Mystic Adepts is that the main concept they were introduced to represent -- the magic-using ninja archetype -- is the one that they don't represent very well at all. In fact, you're downright crippled if you try to do it justice via the Mystic Adept method. (A Conjurer of a Possession tradition can get the end-result of something far closer, though the flavor gets ruined in the process.) Unfortunately back when it did work, the rules were completely abusable and allowed for relatively broken characters in the other direction (overpowered instead of underpowered). Which is exactly why they "suck" now.

I have to agree with this. Like someone said, there's basically two workable types:
  • The adept with a few mage tricks

    And

  • The mage with a few adept tricks


There is a third type, but he's kind-of rare. The hyperspecialist can combine spells, spirits, and adept powers to do one thing extremely well. 40-50 dice or so. Mind you, it's tricky to build this kind of character, and keep him viable, instead of a one-trick pony.
Rad
Hmm, a lot of replies, but also alot of flawed arguments. Seems many people that say Improved Reflexes isn't a good reason to go Mystic Adept either provide no reasoning to back it up or are mistaken in the reasons they do give.

The Improved Reflexes power is not "horrendously expensive." As I pointed out, it cost less BP total than any other augmentation with the same effects.

Spells don't do the same thing and have drawbacks that always-on augmentations like Improved Reflexes don't have. To replicate the bonuses of Improved Reflexes, you need two spells and two sustaining foci at a cost of 12, 15, or 18 BP, +3 BP per point of your Reaction stat. If you have a Reaction of 4, you need the 5 BP restricted gear quality, and if you have a Reaction of 5 or more, you can't get the necessary foci at chargen. Sustaining the spell without it means taking a -2 to all of your actions, roughly equivalent to losing 20 BP off all 10 stats--40 if you sustain both spells. Do the math. Using spells and foci isn't always cheaper, and when it is, it's only cheaper in the "you get what you pay for" sense.

As for saying you should save adept PPs for something useful, I agree. An always-on initiative boost that doesn't depend on gear or make you easier to track astrally is incredibly useful.

HappyDaze may have missed that the total BP cost I listed combines the nuyen cost (converted to BP at the 5,000 = 1 ratio) with the cost of the Magic points you lose. For example, Move-By-Wire 2 costs 47 BP, (17 for the 85,000 nuyen + 30 for the 3 points of essence/magic loss) plus 5 BP for Restricted Gear. Technically, the Cyber and Bioware costs should be higher, since losing essence has other effects besides just bringing your magic down.

As for MBW itself, I statted it into the table originally but left it out because it has other effects beyond what you get with the other three. If you want the skillwires and the extra +1 to dodge and reaction, it probably is the better deal, but it's one of the most costly options overall.

Adept Centering is a metamagic and requires Initiation, something you can't do at chargen. Additionally, you'd have to initiate 4 times to cover the full penalties from sustaining both spells. Effectively, you're spending 70 karma on initiation, (equivalent to 35 BP) plus 6 for the spells (41 BP total) and a significant amount of game time to do what you could do for 27 karma at chargen with two foci. (assuming a Reaction of 3, at Reaction 4 the cost is 35 BP, including Restricted Gear.)

In short, not the cheapest.

In my experience, the way to go with the Improved Reflexes Mystic Adept builds is to make them adepts who use spells instead of weapons.

One thing to remember about force is that a lot of spells aren't very force dependent, besides limiting your hits--and a softmaxed magician with a Magic and a Skill of 5 is only rolling 3-4 hits on average anyway. Even a twinked caster is only going to get 7. (Magic 6 + Spellcasting 6, +2 for Specialization, +2 Mentor Spirit, +2 Spellcasting Foci, +2 Power Foci = 21 divided by 3 = 7 hits on average)

With that in mind, a Magic Stat of 2 isn't bad. If you stick to low-drain spells, you can overcast to 4 without problem and get pretty much the same effect as a full magician. Combat spells take a hit, since they use force as the base damage--but that still outperforms a normal adept with a light pistol, and touch spells make you a melee god. With the +2 bonus for touch spells, it's like having a reach 2 weapon with a DV of 4 that halves or ignores armor.
Ol' Scratch
QUOTE
The Improved Reflexes power is not "horrendously expensive." As I pointed out, it cost less BP total than any other augmentation with the same effects.

o.O

Warning: Extreme examples incoming.

Only if you ignore the fact that you're eating up precious Power Points by taking it, which isn't easily quantified as BP or Karma. Improved Reflexes 3, for instance, requires a Magic of 5 (42 Karma/40 BP) and the Adept quality (10 Karma/5 BP) and... that's pretty much all you get for it. At best you can raise Magic to 6 (+18 Karma/+25 BP) and have access to a whopping one Power Point which won't get you very much at all. So, assuming the former, it just cost you 52 Karma/45 BP to get +3 Initiative/Passes. And that's all you got for it, aside from being a Karma sink if you ever want to advance your adept-ness.

On the other extreme, you can get the Restriced Gear quality (10 Karma/5 BP), blow 100,000 nuyen (40 Karma/20 BP) to get the same thing, with the exception that for nothing but nuyen, you can later have them removed, upgraded, and have an Essence hole to fill up with a wide assortment of other cyberware/nanoware of your choosing. No more Essence required, no more Karma required. For only 50 Karma/25 BP.

So for 50 Karma/25 BP you get the same thing with just as much (more in my opinion) options in the futures. Every bit of that Essence can be reused for whatever you want in the future (including having it exchanged for Move-By-Wire for even more crunchy goodness). The Magic? It's stuck with Improved Reflexes, which can't be upgraded or improved in any way.

What's more, if you just wait until after character creation where, in most games at least, the nuyen will likely be flowing more readily than the karma will. Then for only 240,000 nuyen and 1.50 Essence (0.75 if you have more cyberware than bioware) you get the same benefits, too. Hell, since this is an extreme example let's assume you do it at character creation. You're out 1.50 Essence, 106 Karma/53 BP (for nuyen and the Restricted Gear quality) That's only slightly more expensive than the adept option but you've only "wasted" 1.50 of your important resource -- Essence -- on the deal. Which is 4.50 more Essence worth of implants you can get. As opposed to 0 more Adept Powers without blowing more Karma/BP.

A similiar result occurs when you go with the "cheapest" method; a full magician/mystic adept with Increased Reflexes in a sustaining focus. It costs more nuyen and a few more starting resources, but you have full access to all that Magic you purchased, tons of spells to choose from, conjuring, and the same potential to grow with adept powers as you did after getting the Improved Reflexes power.

All things considered, it most certainly is "horendously expensive" when you consider everything about it.
WeaverMount
First off there is the spirit of man sustaining twink. Summon a spirit of man. Give it the option power Innate Spell (Improved reflexes). Spend one service on "Constant use of a power".That is the cheapest IPs in the game. Every point you spend summoning is worth it for itself. It's a much better buy than sorcery, so you are really only spending a 3 measly BP for your 4 IPs. Yes you don't get the reaction, but that doesn't actually mean much. Plus if it is viable to have that same spirit possess you you can easily get a lot more than +4 reaction. That said, BP aren't even really the issue. A mystic adept has 400 bp, but they really only have 6 points of awesome sauce to divide between magic and ware. Sinking 4 or 5 out of 6 of that into going faster and dodging means you get to do 1 point of awesome 4 times around. They wont have that many ticks or 12+ dice pools. A highly optimized "first strike" is usually better than IPs. Especially considering that adepts really shine in there skills that aren't pegged to IPs like infiltration, social manipulation, and technical skills. Point, BP isn't the only economy at work, and you have sunk most of you magic/essence into something is very hard to synergize.

Now, I hear you about the low force utility spells. IMO those are the best. I'd take a gun over power bolt in most situations, but there are almost no manipulation spells you can duplicate by any other means. I could see a {Magician 2, Adept 3, Cyber 1} mystic adept focused on utility effects, rounded out with some very select ware doing pretty well. Which is basically what your prepossessing. The reason Dump Shock still thinks the power blows is this is the only build really works at all. One viable build does not a good buy make. Pretty much everything written besides Improved Attribute is worth it to someone.
Rad
Extreme examples aren't the best, that's why I tried to list every level of IP boost instead of just comparing the costs at maximum. The way I usually use this is to go magic 5 (2 Mage / 3 Adept) with Improved Reflexes 2 for 3 points, then pick up a couple spells to use as weapons.

As for waiting until after chargen, that's a whole different argument. My point was that if you want an awakened character with extra IP's right out of the box, this is one of the cheapest ways to go. When you're building a combat focused character, you're going to need those extra IP's and boosts to your Dodge pool in order to live long enough to get the snazzy gear.

Reflex boosts are always good, because the boost to reaction helps you dodge, the boost to initiative makes you quicker on the draw, and the extra IP's...

...well, anything worth doing once is worth doing 2-4 times a turn.

Build Points do matter, because they limit what else you can fit into the build, be it skills, qualities, contacts, gear, stats, whatever. Paying less BP for the same effect is always better, and you can't rely on "oh, I'll get it later", because you never know what'll happen once the game starts rolling.

If we're talking unlimited resources, then let me point out that with initiation you can keep raising your magic stat without ever hard-maxing it. Raise magic on both sides of the fence enough times, and you've got a character with a full complement of spells and adept powers. Sure, a pure Magician or Adept with the same magic stat with still be better in that area, but that's an issue of generalist vs specialist, not overall superiority. It does take longer than grabbing enough nuyen to hit the bodyshop, but the rewards are bigger too. Magic is the only stat that can be increased without limit, and no matter how much you shrink the essence cost of 'ware, there's always going to be a limit to how much you can cram into 6 essence.

Another thing to keep in mind about Improved Reflexes is that it can't be detected by scanners. Assessing can pick it out if you're good, but that kind of security is much less common, and a general "he has magic!" alert can be pawned off with a fake SIN and license that says you're an entertainer with harmless illusion spells, or a medic-mage. Gear also has drawbacks that Adept powers don't. Foci? Can be stolen. Cyberware? Vulnerable to hacking/EMPs/Nanites. Bioware? Um, Type-O tissue makes you a delicacy for the infected? nyahnyah.gif If nothing else, gear leaves datatrails when you buy it. Adept Powers? Not even your fixer need know you have it.

Also there's the fact that reducing essence screws with health spells, which can really bite you in the ass. By contrast, Adept powers only have background count and FAB to worry about, and they use less resources to boot.

Going with spirits has alot of the same problems as spells--even more because if the spirit every breaks free you're in serious trouble. On one hand you get the effects cheaper, don't have to spend actions, and can keep the effect up 24-7. (I'm pretty sure you can't sustain spells in your sleep, tho a foci might let you do it). On the other hand, spirits are easier to pry off a person than spells, require a separate skill to summon, and who really wants a spirit watching them sleep?

Frankly, a lot of the counter arguments I'm seeing seem to be based on personal bias rather than logic. A gun over a Powerbolt spell? Why? Smartlinks and semiauto/burst/autofire can give some advantages that spells can't, but overall spells seem the more effective choice.

As for Mystic Adept being a one-build pony: You've got to be kidding. Every build can benefit from extra IP's. Hack from VR, break into places faster, do surreptitious matrix work while you face, the possibilities are pretty endless.

Actually, one of my favorite uses for extra IP's is to do some virtual legwork while meeting with the Johnson. You check up on what they're telling you, or get info on the target and/or principals that they might be leaving out, or just prowl the datahavens for rumors and look up stuff on Aetherpedia to seem more knowlegable than you really are. With DNI and some image-linked glasses or contacts, they won't even know you're doing it. Also comes in handy in other social situations, like conning guards or negotiating prices. (Helps to be able to bring up the file on your fake identity or the latest street values for the gear you're selling faster than the other guy can.)
Glyph
QUOTE (Rad @ Sep 20 2008, 12:20 AM) *
One thing to remember about force is that a lot of spells aren't very force dependent, besides limiting your net hits--and a softmaxed magician with a Magic and a Skill of 5 is only rolling 3-4 hits on average anyway. Even a twinked caster is only going to get 7. (Magic 6 + Spellcasting 6, +2 for Specialization, +2 Mentor Spirit, +2 Spellcasting Foci, +2 Power Foci = 21 divided by 3 = 7 hits on average)

Force limits hits, period, not net hits. So a Force: 3 spell is limited to 3 hits unless you spend Edge. Also, you can only add dice from one focus to any roll, so the twinked mage in your example couldn't combine the spellcasting and the power foci. Most spells are very Force-dependent. Could you provide some examples of spells that your hypothetical mystic adept would use, that wouldn't be affected that much by being low-Force?

QUOTE
With that in mind, a Magic Stat of 2 isn't bad. If you stick to low-drain spells, you can overcast to 4 without problem and get pretty much the same effect as a full magician. Combat spells take a hit, since they use force as the base damage--but that still outperforms a normal adept with a light pistol, and touch spells make you a melee god. With the +2 bonus for touch spells, it's like having a reach 2 weapon with a DV of 4 that halves or ignores armor.

You also get to take advantage of the "grazing hits" rule. However, a full mage can overcast touch spells even higher without affecting the Drain - Knockout at Force: 11 (assuming a Magic: 6 mage) is still only 1 point of Drain. And there are many spells that would be dangerous to overcast, limiting the mystic adept's arsenal significantly. It's not an optimal build - mystic adepts become fearsome after a few initiations, but are pretty weak right out of the gate, unless they concentrate on one role or the other to begin with.
WeaverMount
QUOTE (Rad @ Sep 20 2008, 05:46 AM) *
(2 Mage / 3 Adept) with Improved Reflexes 2 for 3 points,

Possession mage nearly strictly dominates this build. If you are really dead set on having a high dodge pool, hard max your mage magic and get a spirit of man with both increased reflexes, and combat sense. Combat Sense will give the dodge and surprise bonus. If you go that route I'm paying 26 BP more than you, and for those 26 BP I get +1 IP, +4 to surprise, Astral Projection, and +4 mage magic. That's a pretty sweet buy.

QUOTE (Rad @ Sep 20 2008, 05:46 AM) *
then pick up a couple spells to use as weapons.

Have fun never one-shotting with out edge. Max force is 4. Max hits is 4. Max damage is 8. Min damage track is 9. I'd take an alpha over powerbolt/ball any day. More damage no (physical!) drain.

QUOTE (Rad @ Sep 20 2008, 05:46 AM) *
As for waiting until after chargen, that's a whole different argument. My point was that if you want an awakened character with extra IP's right out of the box, this is one of the cheapest ways to go. When you're building a combat focused character, you're going to need those extra IP's and boosts to your Dodge pool in order to live long enough to get the snazzy gear.

Relevance?

QUOTE (Rad @ Sep 20 2008, 05:46 AM) *
Reflex boosts are always good, because the boost to reaction helps you dodge, the boost to initiative makes you quicker on the draw, and the extra IP's...

...well, anything worth doing once is worth doing 2-4 times a turn.

I remembered a way to get your dodge, to side step this point. I still maintain though, that a starting mage should be focused on stealth. That's how they survive. Getting shot is for chumps.


QUOTE (Rad @ Sep 20 2008, 05:46 AM) *
Build Points do matter, because they limit what else you can fit into the build, be it skills, qualities, contacts, gear, stats, whatever. Paying less BP for the same effect is always better, and you can't rely on "oh, I'll get it later", because you never know what'll happen once the game starts rolling.

... no it isn't. There are other economies at work.


QUOTE (Rad @ Sep 20 2008, 05:46 AM) *
If we're talking unlimited resources, then let me point out that with initiation you can keep raising your magic stat without ever hard-maxing it. Raise magic on both sides of the fence enough times, and you've got a character with a full complement of spells and adept powers. Sure, a pure Magician or Adept with the same magic stat with still be better in that area, but that's an issue of generalist vs specialist, not overall superiority. It does take longer than grabbing enough nuyen to hit the bodyshop, but the rewards are bigger too. Magic is the only stat that can be increased without limit, and no matter how much you shrink the essence cost of 'ware, there's always going to be a limit to how much you can cram into 6 essence.

Again relevance

QUOTE (Rad @ Sep 20 2008, 05:46 AM) *
Another thing to keep in mind about Improved Reflexes is that it can't be detected by scanners. Assessing can pick it out if you're good, but that kind of security is much less common, and a general "he has magic!" alert can be pawned off with a fake SIN and license that says you're an entertainer with harmless illusion spells, or a medic-mage.

... I never mentioned gear. Yes you have to rebuff on the fare side of a ward, but if you going in with stealth 3-4 IP is nothing, and if you are going in under fire you should be able to smash it with magic 6

>Foci? Can be stolen.
True, but very rare, plus you can track it.

>Cyberware?Vulnerable to hacking/EMPs/Nanites.
In no way extra vulnerable, unless you dumb enough to make it hackable.

Bioware? Um, Type-O tissue makes you a delicacy for the infected?
>Made me laught ... in a good way

Going with spirits has alot of the same problems as spells--even more because if the spirit every breaks free you're in serious trouble.
> spirits on go uncontrolled around binding. Summoning is perfectly safe.
> On one hand you get the effects cheaper, don't have to spend actions, and can keep the effect up 24-7.
Yup
>On the other hand, spirits are easier to pry off a person than spells
Only nominally the spirit can cast the spells and then run to Madagascar on the astral.
> require a separate skill to summon
Yes, one of if not the single most powerful skill in the game. Only spell casting comes close after it, but is beaten out hard because spell cost.
>and who really wants a spirit watching them sleep?
... people who like astral security, and know that there spirit isn't going to hurt them.

QUOTE
Frankly, a lot of the counter arguments I'm seeing seem to be based on personal bias rather than logic.
A gun over a Powerbolt spell? Why? Smartlinks and semiauto/burst/autofire can give some advantages that spells can't, but overall spells seem the more effective choice.

Care to crunch me some numbers. I have no idea where you are coming from here.

QUOTE
As for Mystic Adept being a one-build pony: You've got to be kidding. Every build can benefit from extra IP's. Hack from VR, break into places faster, do surreptitious matrix work while you face, the possibilities are pretty endless.

I never said Mystic adepts were one-build ponies, I said blowing all your magic/essence makes you a one trick pony. Your build couldn't do all that appreciably better than an unaugmented mundane ... except for the magician part, which a full magician beats out.

QUOTE
Actually, one of my favorite uses for extra IP's is to do some virtual legwork while meeting with the Johnson. You check up on what they're telling you, or get info on the target and/or principals that they might be leaving out, or just prowl the datahavens for rumors and look up stuff on Aetherpedia to seem more knowlegable than you really are. With DNI and some image-linked glasses or contacts, they won't even know you're doing it. Also comes in handy in other social situations, like conning guards or negotiating prices. (Helps to be able to bring up the file on your fake identity or the latest street values for the gear you're selling faster than the other guy can.)

drugs would let you do that.
Rad
QUOTE (Glyph @ Sep 20 2008, 03:18 AM) *
Force limits hits, period, not net hits. So a Force: 3 spell is limited to 3 hits unless you spend Edge. Also, you can only add dice from one focus to any roll, so the twinked mage in your example couldn't combine the spellcasting and the power foci. Most spells are very Force-dependent. Could you provide some examples of spells that your hypothetical mystic adept would use, that wouldn't be affected that much by being low-Force?


Sorry about that--typo. Yes it's hits, not net hits--as shown by the math I included. First off, I wouldn't say "hypothetical", as I've built several characters along these lines. As for spells with no force-dependency other than limiting hits, here's a list from the BBB:

Antidote
Cure Disease
Decrease Attribute
Heal
Hibernate
Increase Reflexes
Oxygenate
Prophylaxis
Resist Pain

Confusion
Chaos
Invisibility
Improved Invisibility
Mask
Physical Mask
Stealth

Armor
Fling
Ice Sheet
Magic Fingers
Shapechange
[Critter] Form

Also, mental manipulation spells aren't that bad at low force if you don't need them to last more than a few turns, though area and combat spells get fairly hosed. Personally, I usually go with combat spells for my builds anyway, since even a low-force spell can outperform a pistol or melee weapon.

QUOTE (Glyph @ Sep 20 2008, 03:18 AM) *
You also get to take advantage of the "grazing hits" rule. However, a full mage can overcast touch spells even higher without affecting the Drain - Knockout at Force: 11 (assuming a Magic: 6 mage) is still only 1 point of Drain. And there are many spells that would be dangerous to overcast, limiting the mystic adept's arsenal significantly. It's not an optimal build - mystic adepts become fearsome after a few initiations, but are pretty weak right out of the gate, unless they concentrate on one role or the other to begin with.


Optimal is a relative term. The best use of this build is probably a high IP spelldoc or illusionist/manipulator, but combat spells are still viable if you're looking at them as replacements for mundane weapons. The trick is not to try and make a better caster, but a better street samurai. Sure, a mage can cast Knockout at Force 11, but getting an base 11 damage code in mundane unarmed combat is going to take a strength of 19 and hardliner gloves. A force 4 Knockout spell gives you the same damage code as an average troll and bypasses armor. With ranged spells, you won't have the same damage or rate of fire as the better guns, but you make up for that by bypassing armor, ignoring full defense, never running out of ammo, being undetectible by mundane scanners--even while firing, and still being able to use it when stripped of all your gear/clothes/dignity.

This way you can make a skinny, low strength guy who fights as well (if not better) than a mundane augmented sammy--and has the added advantage of not looking like a combat monster. In that respect, a Mystic Adept could pull off the whole "magic-using ninja" thing pretty well--though their attacks would be more Hadouken and Shoryuken than Rasengan and Chidori. biggrin.gif

[edit] Added response to WeaverMount

QUOTE (WeaverMount @ Sep 20 2008, 04:55 AM) *
Possession mage nearly strictly dominates this build. If you are really dead set on having a high dodge pool, hard max your mage magic and get a spirit of man with both increased reflexes, and combat sense. Combat Sense will give the dodge and surprise bonus. If you go that route I'm paying 26 BP more than you, and for those 26 BP I get +1 IP, +4 to surprise, Astral Projection, and +4 mage magic. That's a pretty sweet buy.


I'll have to look at the rules for possession mages again. Getting all that for 26 BP is pretty sweet--but there's also the issue of summoning the spirit vs just having the powers with my build. Possession summoning is a bit more involved and risky. Besides, I didn't say this made your character super-twinky-awesome. I just said it didn't suck, and kicked ass when done right.

Actually, going summoner instead of caster with this build might be a better idea, because you can get more mileage from a spirit than a spell of the same force.

QUOTE (Rad)
Frankly, a lot of the counter arguments I'm seeing seem to be based on personal bias rather than logic.
A gun over a Powerbolt spell? Why? Smartlinks and semiauto/burst/autofire can give some advantages that spells can't, but overall spells seem the more effective choice.


QUOTE (WeaverMount @ Sep 20 2008, 04:55 AM) *
Care to crunch me some numbers. I have no idea where you are coming from here.


Average light pistol has a DV of 4, AP of 0, and is Semi-Auto.
Force 4 Powerbolt has a DV of 4, AP of ALL, and is Single Shot, effectively.

+2 for a smartlink is cheaper than the +2 from foci or mentor spirits, and agility can be augmented while magic can't so you can get a higher dicepool for attacks with a pistol than you can for spellcasting at chargen.

Barring insane twinkery, you're probably going to have a 5 agility and 5 pistols with specialization, that's 4 hits on average, the same as the maximum you can get with a force 4 spell. The pistol-user would probably have have a smartlink and/or other modifiers for maybe 1-2 more hits on average, but the spell ignores armor and full defense, easily making this up.

@ 3 BP a piece, spells cost a bit more than most light pistols, but unlimited ammo and no range penalties, not to mention low noticeability and the inability to be taken away, give spells an advantage.

Overall, spells are equal or better to the comparable firearm in damage and attack dicepools, worse in BP cost, but better in stealth (firing without being noticed), concealability, and reliability. (Can't be disarmed.)

Your other arguments were either rehashing something that was already addressed, or so blatantly mistaken they refute themselves, so I'm not responding to them here. [/edit]
Mx
QUOTE (Rad @ Sep 20 2008, 04:46 PM) *
Average light pistol has a DV of 4, AP of 0, and is Semi-Auto.
Force 4 Powerbolt has a DV of 4, AP of ALL, and is Single Shot, effectively.

ohplease.gif
Who uses light pistols with standart rounds, no really who except for a total idiot.
Cain
QUOTE
@ 3 BP a piece, spells cost a bit more than most light pistols, but unlimited ammo and no range penalties, not to mention low noticeability and the inability to be taken away, give spells an advantage.

Overall, spells are equal or better to the comparable firearm in damage and attack dicepools, worse in BP cost, but better in stealth (firing without being noticed), concealability, and reliability. (Can't be disarmed.)

You're forgetting to add in a cost for drain (not a major problem at low force, but it's physical in our example, so one bad Drain roll can really hurt you). Also, who says there are no range penalties? Spells also can be nticed quite readily, see the rules on "Noticing magic". They're also not quite as reliable as you like to think: one bad roll, and they do nothing at all. But the biggest thing you're missing is that you also have to buy a magical edge and buy up a magic stat to fully use those spells. That costs BP, and lots of it.

As far as initiating at character creation goes: You *can* do it with karmagen, if the GM allows for it. The conversion rules also allow you to do it with BP. However, the costs to both initiate and raist your magic become prohibitively expensive, very quickly. "Unlimited advancement" is a myth.
HappyDaze
QUOTE
Who uses light pistols with standart rounds, no really who except for a total idiot.

The guy that wants the hit to look like it was done by a bunch of gangers and not super-elite equipped runners. Also the kind of guy that scraps his equipment after each run just to be certain it doesn't link back to him. Very rare cases, but they can conceivably come up.
Mx
QUOTE (HappyDaze @ Sep 20 2008, 06:35 PM) *
The guy that wants the hit to look like it was done by a bunch of gangers and not super-elite equipped runners. Also the kind of guy that scraps his equipment after each run just to be certain it doesn't link back to him. Very rare cases, but they can conceivably come up.

Why are even those guys using light pistols, it's not like those are noticaply cheaper or easier to get.
HappyDaze
QUOTE
Why are even those guys using light pistols, it's not like those are noticaply cheaper or easier to get.

If it makes you wonder 'why?' then it might be that the weapon was selected for that very purpose.
WeaverMount
QUOTE
Barring insane twinkery, you're probably going to have a 5 agility and 5 pistols with specialization, that's 4 hits on average, the same as the maximum you can get with a force 4 spell. The pistol-user would probably have have a smartlink and/or other modifiers for maybe 1-2 more hits on average, but the spell ignores armor and full defense, easily making this up.


You are forgetting that shooting can burst, take ammo types, use better guns than a light pistol, the can't be counter spelled, and is SIMPLE ACTION. Also you seem to be really big on the always available bit. While that is a solid advantage anywhere I don't want to be seen with a gun is also some where I don't want to drop a signature for a combat spell or spend sever rounds cleaning it up. Yes nothing says OMFGRUNNERS!!1!!!one like rocking out on some mall cops with neurostun and automatics with SnS, ... except maybe the traces of high force combat spells. And it's WAY easier to track you down with one of them.

Also your 5 AGL + 5 pistol (light) = 12 DP, thinking belies what I really feel you are missing about Improved Reaction. Real adept powers, stronger mage magics and augmentation can all blow past that DP with 3 or 4 IPs. While they don't all have optimum BP pay outs you have enough to do that without leaving any holes on your sheet. Even if you go with a sustaining focus you are basically swapping +3 reaction for +3 mage magic, and paying out 8 BP for astral projection, astral perception, and way more growth potential. One huge thing to remember about that +3 magic is that directly turns around into an extra -3 when you are concealed.

About the possession mage, I should have made that more clear. All my math has been agnostic about possession vs materialization. I avoided it because it's pretty cheesy and doesn't really shine until you pick up channeling, but completely trumps the numbers we are throwing around here.
Mx
QUOTE (HappyDaze @ Sep 20 2008, 07:03 PM) *
If it makes you wonder 'why?' then it might be that the weapon was selected for that very purpose.

Yes but you were talking about making it look as if it was done by gangers and i just can't see any self respecting gangers carrying light pistols, they would be the laughingstock of the whole neighborhood.
Ol' Scratch
QUOTE (WeaverMount @ Sep 20 2008, 01:58 PM) *
About the possession mage, I should have made that more clear. All my math has been agnostic about possession vs materialization. I avoided it because it's pretty cheesy and doesn't really shine until you pick up channeling, but completely trumps the numbers we are throwing around here.

Why Channeling? In SR3 it was all but a requirement to make possession viable. In SR4 you have full control over the spirit possessing you, can still command it, direct it, and otherwise gain exactly the same benefits as Channeling for the most part. The only difference is your mental stats may go down for the duration of the possession if the spirit is of a particularly low Force.
hyzmarca
QUOTE (Dr. Funkenstein @ Sep 20 2008, 04:47 PM) *
Why Channeling? In SR3 it was all but a requirement to make possession viable. In SR4 you have full control over the spirit possessing you, can still command it, direct it, and otherwise gain exactly the same benefits as Channeling for the most part. The only difference is your mental stats may go down for the duration of the possession if the spirit is of a particularly low Force.


Because you burn Services like a sumbeach if you go that route, chummer. Any management beyond "kill those motherfraggers" and/or "run away very fast" is going to cost a great deal. Channeling has the advantage of letting you micromanage without spending a finite resource every time you issue a command.
Glyph
QUOTE (Rad @ Sep 20 2008, 06:46 AM) *
Sorry about that--typo. Yes it's hits, not net hits--as shown by the math I included. First off, I wouldn't say "hypothetical", as I've built several characters along these lines. As for spells with no force-dependency other than limiting hits, here's a list from the BBB:

Antidote
Cure Disease
Decrease Attribute
Heal
Hibernate
Increase Reflexes
Oxygenate
Prophylaxis
Resist Pain

Confusion
Chaos
Invisibility
Improved Invisibility
Mask
Physical Mask
Stealth

Armor
Fling
Ice Sheet
Magic Fingers
Shapechange
[Critter] Form

Also, mental manipulation spells aren't that bad at low force if you don't need them to last more than a few turns, though area and combat spells get fairly hosed. Personally, I usually go with combat spells for my builds anyway, since even a low-force spell can outperform a pistol or melee weapon.

I boggle at "no force-dependency other than limiting hits". That's the biggest limitation of all! The number of hits basically defines how effective the spells are.

I thought your list would be things like Oxygenate with 1 hit to breathe underwater, Prophylaxis with 1 hit to ignore alcohol, etc. Going down your list:

Antidote: the hits determine the number of bonus resistance dice the recipient gets
Cure Disease: the hits determine the number of bonus resistance dice the recipient gets
Decrease Attribute: the attribute is reduced by the spell's net hits
Heal: the hits determine how many points of damage are healed
Hibernate: the hits determine the factor of how much the recipient's metabolism is slowed
Increase Reflexes: (I thought the whole point of your build was to get them with adept powers?) Cast on other people, you could only reach threshold 2, or a +1 bonus, with Force: 2, and I would not recommend overcasting it, due to its high Drain code.
Oxygenate: the hits determine the number of bonus resistance dice the recipient gets. Good at low Force as a cheap way to breathe underwater, though.
Prophylaxis: the hits determine the number of bonus resistance dice the recipient gets. Good at Force: 2 to negate alcohol consumption, though.
Resist Pain: the hits determine how many points of damage are ignored. Good for negating the effects of minor wounds or Drain at low Force.

Confusion, Chaos, Invisibility, Improved Invisibility, Mask, Physical Mask, and Stealth are all resisted spells, where 2 hits is dangerously low, but also juuust high enough Drain that overcasting some of them at Force: 4 risks taking physical Drain.

Armor: net hits determine the degree of armor protection
Fling: Force determines the weight that you can throw. Surprisingly, Magic determines the effective Strength of the attack (so mystic adepts, with their split Magic, still get screwed)
Ice Sheet: net hits determine the threshold for characters slipping. Good for forcing vehicles to make crash tests, though, as that is not dependent on the Force.
Magic Fingers: hits determine the spell's effective Strength and Agility.
Shapechange and [Critter] Form: net hits add to the critter's base physical Attribute ratings. Good if your primary concern is other than combat (turning into a fish to get into an aquatic complex, turning into a mouse to sneak through a small opening, turning into a bird to fly away, etc.).
Missing from the list: Levitate: At low Force, you won't get the same insane flying speeds, but still good for getting into otherwise inaccessible areas, escaping, and snagging small objects such as keys.

Mental manipulations run into the same problems as illusion spells.
Ryu
1) Drain Resistance is independant of the Magic attribute. Under the karma system, with magic as your maxxed attribute, you can distribute 3 points for magic, 2 points for adept powers, and forfeit 1 point for some implants. Resulting in Logic 5(cool.gif, Willpower 5 if you want.

2) With usual hits around 5, overcasting is very much an option. Combat magic suffers, but you are not unable to use mundane weapons for killing people, like many fantasy games have it. The attribute-enhancing/decreasing spells are mostly out - their force has to match the attribute of the target IIRC.
Rad
QUOTE (Glyph @ Sep 20 2008, 01:14 PM) *
I boggle at "no force-dependency other than limiting hits". That's the biggest limitation of all! The number of hits basically defines how effective the spells are.


No. As I pointed out earlier, you're going to be hard pressed to get more than 4 hits on average anyway. I even included the math, which I won't repeat here. Was that TL:DR for you, or did you just want to argue?

I listed all the spells in the BBB whose only effect from force was to limit the number of hits. I didn't take the time to cherry-pick particularly useful/low drain ones, because the argument was about how many spells were like that, not their quality or usefulness.

QUOTE (Glyph @ Sep 20 2008, 01:14 PM) *
Confusion, Chaos, Invisibility, Improved Invisibility, Mask, Physical Mask, and Stealth are all resisted spells, where 2 hits is dangerously low, but also juuust high enough Drain that overcasting some of them at Force: 4 risks taking physical Drain.


Again, 4 hits on average means a dicepool of 12. Not supertwink, but not poor by any means. 4 hits is very good for opposed tests, and unless your target has counterspelling 2 hits puts you even with a hardmaxed human.

QUOTE (Glyph @ Sep 20 2008, 01:14 PM) *
Missing from the list: Levitate: At low Force, you won't get the same insane flying speeds, but still good for getting into otherwise inaccessible areas, escaping, and snagging small objects such as keys.


You never get insane flying speeds with levitate at chargen. Even with magic 6 you'll be lucky to match a human's running speed without overcasting, and at those levels the drain is indeed dangerous. Force 6 x 4 hits = 24 meters. You're soaking 4 drain to move an average of 1 meter slower than you could just running with a simple action, and you still take -2 for sustaining instead of the -2 penalty for running. Overcast to 10 and you're facing down 6 physical drain for an average of 40 meters.

QUOTE (Glyph @ Sep 20 2008, 01:14 PM) *
Mental manipulations run into the same problems as illusion spells.


Which is to say, none. Or at least nothing a softmaxed caster isn't already facing, except that the mental manipulations will wear off faster--which I mentioned in my post.
WeaverMount
One of the other big reasons to go with channeling is that it is a lot easier to get bonus dice on a meta human than a spirit. Especially with skill wires. An aug max level stat + 4 skill and cheep bonuses (drugs, hot sim, smart-link) can easily get you into the 15 DP range for any skill you care to get a chip for. You would need F8 Guardian/Task spirits to beat that.
Falconer
I'm not a huge fan of possession traditions myself... generally I see them as setting the game to easy mode cheese.

But my real question here is.
Why did they errata mystic adepts changing them from using their full magic rating as the force limiter? (or for adept powers like Attribute Boost).

It seemed like the only thing which made them playable IMO. You could at least cast at reasonable force even if you weren't rolling a lot of dice, while relying on powers like attribute boost instead of improved physical attribute. While adding things like a power focus to the dice pool to make up the difference.

Jaid
QUOTE (Rad @ Sep 20 2008, 08:12 PM) *
Again, 4 hits on average means a dicepool of 12. Not supertwink, but not poor by any means. 4 hits is very good for opposed tests, and unless your target has counterspelling 2 hits puts you even with a hardmaxed human.


you really seem to be focused on this "DP 12 = 4 hits" thing. it really isn't as hard or uncommon as you seem to think to get 5 hits on 12 dice. based on that logic, you will never score a glitch, because only 1-in-6 dice will come up 1, but you need 1/2 dice to come up 1 to get a glitch, [edit] yet as anyone who's played the game for a significant length of time can probably tell you, glitches happen.[/edit]

you see, statistically, if you roll 12 billion dice, close to 4 billion of them will probably be hits. when you reduce the numbers to as small a sample as 12 dice though, you don't get anywhere near the same probability that you will come out with 4 hits as there is in the 12 billion dice situation. you will still be wasting hits at force 4 with a DP of 12, just like you will also roll 1, 2, or 3 hits from time to time. DP 12 != 4 hits. it means that over the long run, if you roll often enough, there will be a tendency towards getting an *average* of 4 hits, not that any given roll will have 4 hits.
Cain
QUOTE (Jaid @ Sep 20 2008, 07:39 PM) *
you really seem to be focused on this "DP 12 = 4 hits" thing. it really isn't as hard or uncommon as you seem to think to get 5 hits on 12 dice. based on that logic, you will never score a glitch, because only 1-in-6 dice will come up 1, but you need 1/2 dice to come up 1 to get a glitch, [edit] yet as anyone who's played the game for a significant length of time can probably tell you, glitches happen.[/edit]

you see, statistically, if you roll 12 billion dice, close to 4 billion of them will probably be hits. when you reduce the numbers to as small a sample as 12 dice though, you don't get anywhere near the same probability that you will come out with 4 hits as there is in the 12 billion dice situation. you will still be wasting hits at force 4 with a DP of 12, just like you will also roll 1, 2, or 3 hits from time to time. DP 12 != 4 hits. it means that over the long run, if you roll often enough, there will be a tendency towards getting an *average* of 4 hits, not that any given roll will have 4 hits.

Give they guy a break, will ya?

Yes, he's talking averages. Yes, what's average doesn't always happen. But heck, if we broke things down by every possible combination the dice can offer, we wouldn't get anywhere. And as far as botches go, I have an unbroken string of botches, at least one per game, every time I'm GM'ed Shadowrun since, oh, about the late 90's. During most of that time, a botch was defined as "all 1's", so you'd think it'd come up less often. My record is 12 or 13 dice. If you want to hear weird, I've yet to score a major critical botch in SR4; I've only had minor ones, when I didn't have many dice to begin with. So, if I were to offer myself as an example of what's typical, I'd be flamed in notime flat. But I can guarantee you, the next time I GM, I will have at least one critical botch-- my luck just runs that way.

Besides which, the guy is pretty much wrong everywhere else. Don't harp on him for numbers that are close to the expected values.
Glyph
The numbers are close to the expected values - for a DP of 12. But most mages, while not "supertwink", will still have a DP of more than 12 (judging mainly by the PBP submissions I have seen, not only mine, but those of others). Soft-maxed Magic, spellcasting of 6 with a specialization, a Power Focus: 2, and a mentor spirit will get a mage up to 17 dice, where the average is closer to 6 hits. And even the DP 12 guy will roll 5 or more hits on occasion.

The math was pretty simple, but the underlying examples rang false to me. I haven't seen too many mages with a DP of 12, or too many sammies with light pistols. His assertion is that "a Mystic Adept with Improved Reflexes and a few choice combat spells can outperform a cyber or bio-enhanced street sam for less BP". Maybe in a game where a 12 DP and light pistols are common, but not in most games I have seen.
This is a "lo-fi" version of our main content. To view the full version with more information, formatting and images, please click here.
Dumpshock Forums © 2001-2012