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Tyro
What are the practical implications of each? I don't mean the two sets of rules side by side, I mean actual pros and cons in various situations with the rules backing them up.

I'm trying to figure out if my magician should use Hermetic Qaballah or be a Chaos Mage
Cain
If you're not certain, go with materialization. The rules for it are better supported, since it's the default.

Possession has some very specific advantages, but they're specific enough that some of the differences are esoteric and niche; they're only more useful in a handful of specific situations. Possession + Channeling + Invoking is a hugely powerful combination, but it involves a dedicated build to get the most mileage out of it. It's great if you want to have a combat mage, not so great if you want a more utility mage type of build.

I take it that you want to go hermetic Qaballa for the golems? You can do that with an Ally spirit with the Inhabitation power.
Tyro
QUOTE (Cain @ Dec 18 2008, 12:53 AM) *
I take it that you want to go hermetic Qaballa for the golems? You can do that with an Ally spirit with the Inhabitation power.

Sweet! That clinches it.

I'm still curious about the specifics of how Possession can be exploited, though. For example, I love the idea of having a spirit possess a corp guard and having him drop a grenade.

Also, how useful is Ritual Spellcasting at low levels? Do you really have to invest in it for it to be worthwhile>
Ryu
You can "maximise the potential utility of possession" by a) getting high-force spirits into your body (works for any build, but needs Channeling metamagic), or b) getting high-force spirits to possess small drones (20k¥ per ton of vehicle weight for vessel preparation IIRC). Idea in both cases: Exploit the adding of stats, be invulnerable. If you get Invoking on top, look at Plant spirits (Regeneration).

Possession of unprepared vessels is hard to do. Yes, you could pull of the grenade-dropping trick, but a spirit capabable of doing so will provide IntW to one of your targets.

Ritual spellcasting depends on your list of spells. Think about potential uses before you opt-in.



Chaos magic / golem magic? Which concept do you prefer? I´d build an augmented, technophile chaos mage, or a traditional, almost unaugmented quaballah mage. Both can be fun. Cains suggestion of an Ally spirit of (the other) type is good for both cases.
CoyoteNZ
QUOTE (Tyro @ Dec 18 2008, 09:56 PM) *
For example, I love the idea of having a spirit possess a corp guard and having him drop a grenade.



Not sure how much said spirit would like that, because spirit will be at ground zero (ie is the guard) when it goes off.

But if spirit possesses guard, the guard is yours!

Fires on friends, can walk around base not setting off alarms, 'escort' party in, so many possibilities when you have complete control over the guard('s body)


Max,
Dunedin, NZ
BlackHat
Except that a security mage might notice he's dual-natured all of a sudden (with no registered magical talent before) - also, any MAD scanner would pick up the grenade on the way into the building, and he would probably be arrested. smile.gif But its still pretty useful.
pbangarth
QUOTE (BlackHat @ Dec 18 2008, 08:33 AM) *
Except that a security mage might notice he's dual-natured all of a sudden (with no registered magical talent before) - also, any MAD scanner would pick up the grenade on the way into the building, and he would probably be arrested. smile.gif But its still pretty useful.


Being noticed for dual nature is a potential problem, but in my opinion the sneakiness of having an 'inside man' is an underused aspect of possession. For example, it is amazing what one guard with a set of keys can turn off in a few minutes. Or how profitable it is to deliver the target to your employers, and then have the target break out undamaged later so you can deliver him into hiding for a second fee.

Peter
Drogos
Good idea PBA. Just remember that what the guard knows and what the spirit knows are two different things and the spirit can't access the guards knowledge to know, for instance, this key goes to this door or the passcode for my commlink is 123456789. Still, a little trial and error can go a long way and the official looking presence can get you past checkpoints with ease.
Cain
If getting past a security checkpoint with a familiar face is all you're worried about, use Physical mask. That's much more versatile than Possession for this sort of thing. You won't be burning through services left and right.

Possession has its uses, but this isn't one of its better uses.
Ryu
You are putting it lightly there. Possession is obvious. You instantly and subconsciously know that something isn´t right, even as a mundane (A perception test with a threshold of (6-spirit force), that´s close to zero for spirits that can possess non-vessels).
pbangarth
I concur that sleazing past buddies is a problem for a possessed NPC. Smoking eyes, and all. I guess I am falling back on the experience of a possession mage of mine who can rip into a mind and find what he needs to know.. and THEN sending in the mook with a spirit inside and the knowledge he gives it. Alternatively, one can have the spirit seek the target out after he is traded in for the payoff.

As far as the double pay thing, the last time I did it, the target was 'unconscious' because we 'had to make him controllable'. The spirit inside waited till the mage signalled from far away, and then dealt with the guards who were waiting for the boss to show up for questioning.

So, yeah there are caveats. Then let those caveats counter the argument that possession is too powerful.

Peter
The Jake
I didn't think Plant spirits existed for Voodoo? I'm going from memory though...

QUOTE
Possession has some very specific advantages, but they're specific enough that some of the differences are esoteric and niche; they're only more useful in a handful of specific situations. Possession + Channeling + Invoking is a hugely powerful combination, but it involves a dedicated build to get the most mileage out of it. It's great if you want to have a combat mage, not so great if you want a more utility mage type of build.


Cain - do you have an example? I presume you mean Immunity to Normal Weapons for Possession + Regeneration or similar for a combat mage? How would you exploit this as a combat mage?

- J.
TheOOB
The general rule is, without the realistic form power you can always tell if something is a spirit. That said, I allow plant, beast, and man spirits to take realistic form as an optional power.
Cain
QUOTE (The Jake @ Dec 18 2008, 05:46 PM) *
Cain - do you have an example? I presume you mean Immunity to Normal Weapons for Possession + Regeneration or similar for a combat mage? How would you exploit this as a combat mage?

You said it yourself. That combination is insanely powerful, but it stops just shy of being broken, by virtue of the steps you need to reach it. Still, if we're talking a dedicated summoner, they can bind force 12 spirits and expect to survive, either by throwing a lot of dice and/or using the Edge cheat. But anyway, once you use the combination you mentioned above, you'll destroy any mundane opposition, and will give magical enemies a huge fight.
TheOOB
QUOTE (Cain @ Dec 18 2008, 09:22 PM) *
You said it yourself. That combination is insanely powerful, but it stops just shy of being broken, by virtue of the steps you need to reach it. Still, if we're talking a dedicated summoner, they can bind force 12 spirits and expect to survive, either by throwing a lot of dice and/or using the Edge cheat. But anyway, once you use the combination you mentioned above, you'll destroy any mundane opposition, and will give magical enemies a huge fight.


Of course, anyone with that kind of power is just painting a giant bullseye on themselves.
Cain
QUOTE (TheOOB @ Dec 18 2008, 06:56 PM) *
Of course, anyone with that kind of power is just painting a giant bullseye on themselves.

It's actually not that difficult. Assuming a dedicated summoner, you could throw 20+ dice for the Binding test, more if you spend Edge. The spirit will be throwing 24 dice, so they'll be about equal, except that the mage will have exploding dice, giving him the advantage.

The tricky part is surviving the Drain. With 24 dice, we can expect 6 successes, doubled to 12 (and increased 50% to 18 if you Invoke it). So, you need to soak 3 boxes of Physical damage to survive, 9 if you Invoke it. Which is difficult, but not impossible with a high drain stat, high Magic, a reasonable focus, and lots of Edge. Even so, if that doesn't work, you can always resort to the Edge cheat to critically succeed on the drain test.

So, binding a Force 12 spirit is within the reach of a starting character; if karmagen is used, then the Invoking part becomes a possibility as well. It's not that uncommon to be able to summon and bind humongous spirits, it's just dangerous and requires a dedicated built to pull off properly.
The Jake
QUOTE (Cain @ Dec 19 2008, 03:13 AM) *
It's actually not that difficult. Assuming a dedicated summoner, you could throw 20+ dice for the Binding test, more if you spend Edge. The spirit will be throwing 24 dice, so they'll be about equal, except that the mage will have exploding dice, giving him the advantage.

The tricky part is surviving the Drain. With 24 dice, we can expect 6 successes, doubled to 12 (and increased 50% to 18 if you Invoke it). So, you need to soak 3 boxes of Physical damage to survive, 9 if you Invoke it. Which is difficult, but not impossible with a high drain stat, high Magic, a reasonable focus, and lots of Edge. Even so, if that doesn't work, you can always resort to the Edge cheat to critically succeed on the drain test.

So, binding a Force 12 spirit is within the reach of a starting character; if karmagen is used, then the Invoking part becomes a possibility as well. It's not that uncommon to be able to summon and bind humongous spirits, it's just dangerous and requires a dedicated built to pull off properly.


I'd love to see a build that does that and combines it with some meaty combat skillz...

- J.
JoelHalpern
QUOTE (Cain @ Dec 18 2008, 10:13 PM) *
It's actually not that difficult. Assuming a dedicated summoner, you could throw 20+ dice for the Binding test, more if you spend Edge. The spirit will be throwing 24 dice, so they'll be about equal, except that the mage will have exploding dice, giving him the advantage.

The tricky part is surviving the Drain. With 24 dice, we can expect 6 successes, doubled to 12 (and increased 50% to 18 if you Invoke it). So, you need to soak 3 boxes of Physical damage to survive, 9 if you Invoke it. Which is difficult, but not impossible with a high drain stat, high Magic, a reasonable focus, and lots of Edge. Even so, if that doesn't work, you can always resort to the Edge cheat to critically succeed on the drain test.

So, binding a Force 12 spirit is within the reach of a starting character; if karmagen is used, then the Invoking part becomes a possibility as well. It's not that uncommon to be able to summon and bind humongous spirits, it's just dangerous and requires a dedicated built to pull off properly.


First, with the spirit throwing 24 dice, we can expect it to get 8 successes (not 6), and therefore the invoked version is 12 successes, not 9.

And your exploding dice give you a very small edge, which means you might have a 60% chance of actually binding it.

The big thing you have to keep in mind is the difference between averages and common events. With the way shadowrun dice work, the variation is huge. Presumably, when binding, you better have less than a 5% chance of falling over dead.
But a spirit rolling 36 dice has a good shot of getting 15 successes (the odds are less than 1 in 3, but still quite high, of the spirit doing that well.) Yes, I can imagine mages who can soak enough off of 30P damage to survive. But not very many of them. Even with edge.

Yours,
Joel M. Halpern

Cain
QUOTE (The Jake @ Dec 18 2008, 07:41 PM) *
I'd love to see a build that does that and combines it with some meaty combat skillz...

I don't know what you mean by "meaty", but tossing in 10 dice for firearms isn't difficult. If you really want to get ugly, summon a Guardian spirit with the Heavy Weapon skill as a power; have it possess you, and go to town. You'll be throwing 24 dice per attack, more if you've built your character right and have Channeling.
pbangarth
QUOTE (JoelHalpern @ Dec 18 2008, 08:57 PM) *
First, with the spirit throwing 24 dice, we can expect it to get 8 successes (not 6), and therefore the invoked version is 12 successes, not 9.

And your exploding dice give you a very small edge, which means you might have a 60% chance of actually binding it.


If you are shooting to Invoke a higher Force spirit, high enough to make your chances of success sketchy, a very important step is to bind the spirit first, and try the Invoke on a re-bind. On a rebind, if the conjuration goes wrong, the spirit won't have you for lunch. Also, with the right spirit you could have it performing Guard on you while you do the Binding/Re-binding Test, to protect you from glitches.

As far as comparing dice pools, I agree that binding a Force 12 spirit for a newly minted magician, while possible, is really too dangerous. The Drain Test is likely to compare the spirit's 2 X 4 (average) = 8 hits against the summoner's, what... WIL 6 + CHA 8 + Binding Focus 3 = approx. 6 hits. Basically you need EDG to have a chance of success. That's a bad habit to get into.

As far as exploding dice for EDG, remember the cutoff value: if the dice pool is 2.5 times the Edge pool or more, save the dice to re-roll failures. If it is less, use the Edge right away to get the exploding dice.

QUOTE
The big thing you have to keep in mind is the difference between averages and common events. With the way shadowrun dice work, the variation is huge. Presumably, when binding, you better have less than a 5% chance of falling over dead.


Also remember that the larger the dice pool, the more likely (not guaranteed of course) that you will roll something close to the average.

QUOTE
But a spirit rolling 36 dice has a good shot of getting 15 successes (the odds are less than 1 in 3, but still quite high, of the spirit doing that well.) Yes, I can imagine mages who can soak enough off of 30P damage to survive. But not very many of them. Even with edge.
Yours,
Joel M. Halpern


36 dice? That would be a Force 18 spirit. How could a starting character summon such a Force 18 spirit? And it would average 12 successes, not 15. And that would be after the doubling already, so I don't see where the 30P comes from.

Peter
JoelHalpern
QUOTE (pbangarth @ Dec 19 2008, 01:06 AM) *
36 dice? That would be a Force 18 spirit. How could a starting character summon such a Force 18 spirit? And it would average 12 successes, not 15. And that would be after the doubling already, so I don't see where the 30P comes from.

Peter


He specified a force 12 invoked (i.e. effectively force 18) spirit.
So the spirit rolls 36 dice.
And therefore has quite a good chance of getting 15 hits. (1 standard deviation, or about 32% chance, is about 44.4 dice, or a hair less than 15, so it will get 15 dice better than 25% of the time.) Even a very advanced mage, with good edge to reroll failures, still has a pretty low chance of getting enough successes to soak 30 damage without dying. And remember this is physical damage, unless the mage has magic 12.

Your suggestion that a rebinding test is not subject to the attack penalty for unconsciouness does mean that at least if the mage has mundane assistance he only dies if it drops him too far past 0.
But remember, that 15 was a 1/3 shot. about 1/20, the spirit will get 18 hits, giving 36 drain!

Joel
toturi
QUOTE (JoelHalpern @ Dec 19 2008, 02:27 PM) *
He specified a force 12 invoked (i.e. effectively force 18) spirit.
So the spirit rolls 36 dice.
And therefore has quite a good chance of getting 15 hits. (1 standard deviation, or about 32% chance, is about 44.4 dice, or a hair less than 15, so it will get 15 dice better than 25% of the time.) Even a very advanced mage, with good edge to reroll failures, still has a pretty low chance of getting enough successes to soak 30 damage without dying. And remember this is physical damage, unless the mage has magic 12.

Your suggestion that a rebinding test is not subject to the attack penalty for unconsciouness does mean that at least if the mage has mundane assistance he only dies if it drops him too far past 0.
But remember, that 15 was a 1/3 shot. about 1/20, the spirit will get 18 hits, giving 36 drain!

Joel

That is if the GM chooses to actually roll the 36 dice for the spirit.
MaxMahem
Don't forget that such a powerful spirit also has tons of edge as well. A spirits edge is (always? I can't recall any exceptions) equal to its force, so a force 12 spirit also has 12 dice of edge. And might very well spend that edge to resist summoning or binding. Which makes an already very bad statistical situation much worse.

Using edge before hand to invoke the roll of 6 (almost always a good idea with these size dice pools I think), results in like 20% more hits on average correct?
Dragnar
A small sidenote regarding the power level of binding ridiculously high spirits into oneself: Yes, a possession mage binding a force 12 spirit is almost impossible to hurt normally, but a materialization mage summoning a force 12 spirit and telling him to kick ass and chew bubblegum while hiding behind a corner is usually impossible to hurt, as long as he stays out of the line of fire, a trick a possession mage can't do, so the supposed high survivability isn't a problem.
A small perk to the generally weaker possession mage, at most.
Cain
QUOTE
He specified a force 12 invoked (i.e. effectively force 18) spirit.
So the spirit rolls 36 dice.

That is incorrect. The Drain Value is increased by 50%, not the spirit's resistance dice. Invoking a spirit does not increase the number of dice it rolls.

And even if the spirit gets a good resistance roll, the drain can be completely and perfectly resisted, cheaply, if you have a low Edge score. You just burn a point for a critical success on the drain roll, reducing it to nothing. You then spend 6 karma to buy back your lost point of Edge. It's cheese, but it's also by-the-book and totally legal.

Edit:
QUOTE
A small sidenote regarding the power level of binding ridiculously high spirits into oneself: Yes, a possession mage binding a force 12 spirit is almost impossible to hurt normally, but a materialization mage summoning a force 12 spirit and telling him to kick ass and chew bubblegum while hiding behind a corner is usually impossible to hurt, as long as he stays out of the line of fire, a trick a possession mage can't do, so the supposed high survivability isn't a problem.
A small perk to the generally weaker possession mage, at most.

This is where Channeling comes into play, because otherwise you cannot control the spirit very precisely. With the fine control that Channeling gets you, you won't go through services as quickly. Additionally, you have higher stats when the spirit is posessing you: you get your physical stats, plus it's physical stats. So, if you had a Quickness of 4, and was possessed by a Force 12 Guardian spirit, you would have an effective Quickness of 18. Add to this 12 dice for a combat skill, and you're throwing 30+ dice.

If you really want to get ugly, you can have the spirit possess the Troll Samurai/Tank instead of yourself. Then you can sit on the sidelines and watch, just like a Materalization mage, with the upshot that your spirit has higher physical stats.
toturi
QUOTE (Cain @ Dec 19 2008, 03:13 PM) *
That is incorrect. The Drain Value is increased by 50%, not the spirit's resistance dice. Invoking a spirit does not increase the number of dice it rolls.

And even if the spirit gets a good resistance roll, the drain can be completely and perfectly resisted, cheaply, if you have a low Edge score. You just burn a point for a critical success on the drain roll, reducing it to nothing. You then spend 6 karma to buy back your lost point of Edge. It's cheese, but it's also by-the-book and totally legal.

Provided that your Edge was 2 in the first place. But yes, it is good cheese.
Tyro
QUOTE (toturi @ Dec 19 2008, 12:03 AM) *
Provided that your Edge was 2 in the first place. But yes, it is good cheese.

Good... cheese. I would say "effective cheese", lest I be branded a munchkin nyahnyah.gif
Dragnar
There's nothing wrong with being a munchkin. There's just something wrong with playing that way without restraint when the rest of your group wished you rather didn't.
No powerlevel is better or worse than any other, it just depends on what your group thinks is fun.
toturi
QUOTE (Tyro @ Dec 19 2008, 04:06 PM) *
Good... cheese. I would say "effective cheese", lest I be branded a munchkin nyahnyah.gif

Ah, but branding someone as munchkin is good whine. Good cheese goes with good whine, afterall.
Tyro
QUOTE (toturi @ Dec 19 2008, 12:54 AM) *
Ah, but branding someone as munchkin is good whine. Good cheese goes with good whine, afterall.

Do you, by chance, read Spider Robinson? I'm pretty sure you read Piers Anthony and/or Robert Aspirin, based on that wonderful/horrible pun.
MaxMahem
QUOTE (toturi @ Dec 19 2008, 04:03 AM) *
Provided that your Edge was 2 in the first place. But yes, it is good cheese.


Note that the critical success rule can only be used to achieve success you were capable of archieving. For the vast majority of magicians it is simply impossible to archive success on drain tests above 20 or so. They dice pools are generally smaller than the the necessary number of hits. Thus burning a point of edge for a critical success on these actions is impossible, instead you should be looking at the 'escape certain death' burnage. Which probably entails you not getting to keep the summoned spirit.

The rule for your perusal:
QUOTE
Automatically achieve a critical success on one action. The character must be capable of carrying out the action — you can’t buy a critical success for something you have no hope of achieving.
Dragnar
Since exploding dice make an infinite amount of hits possible, there's quite some leeway as to what exactly that sentence alludes to.
I'd disallow a hold-out shot to kill a battleship, although it could theoretically be possible to negate its armor and then burn edge on a longshot test to get enough hits to destroy it (that is "no hope of achieving").
I can see a mage summoning a powerful spirit without dying. To me, that's highly unlikely, but not impossible (as you could theoretically do that by "just" using a point of edge for exploding dice and rolling 50 hits).
Fortune
From what I've read, the rebuttal will be that by spending Edge on the test to get exploding 6s, almost anyone is technically capable of achieving the number of successes needed. Double cheese in my opinion.

Edit: Damn! See what I mean? biggrin.gif
Whipstitch
The kind of Astral signature involved in this kind of crap has to be mindblowing.


Anywho, yeah, for most general uses, I agree with Cain about Materialization vs. Possession. Possession can be freakishly good, but unless you're talking about true Uber-Spirits, it can actually make you more vulnerable in some ways due to becoming dual natured. A nasty Mana Bolt could result in bad times all around.
Dragnar
QUOTE (Fortune @ Dec 20 2008, 07:56 AM) *
Edit: Damn! See what I mean? biggrin.gif

Ninja Cheese ninja.gif

But yes, it basically comes down to your groups opinion regarding where "theoretically possible" ends and "no hope of achieving" begins, so be sure to discuss that beforehand.
Cain
The demarcation in this case is pretty clear. Given a Magic of 6, you cannot possibly summon a force 13 spirit. Therefore, you cannot burn Edge to do so. You *can*, however, summon a Force 12 spirit, so you can burn Edge to do so.

Hm, interesting question. If you pokemon a spirit too large for you to possibly summon, can you bind it anyway? In other words, if you overkill-banish a force 14 spirit, and gain control of it that way, can you then bind it for long-term services?
Fortune
We're not talking about the actual Summoning though, but burning Edge to totally off-set the Drain from subsequently Invoking that Force 12 Spirit.
TheOOB
Binding a force 12 spirit results in an average of 8 hits on their opposes forcex2 roll, which is 16 damage, most likely of the physical sort, when combined with the 4 hits they got on average with the summoning test (for another 8P damage), you end up, on average, having to resist 24P damage with two drain resistance tests and not die. And there is a very good chance that they could roll a lot more successes then that. So then you have to start burning even more edge to resist drain, and when all is said and done, you have burned 4 edge for a spirit that a creative person can screw you out of(I'm thinking mana static + banishing). Then you wonder why you didn't just spend all that karma on an ally spirit. Sure they aren't as massively broken powerful, but you have much less to worry about for losing them.
wanderer_king
Don't forget that spirits can add their edge to resist summonings too (as I recall the rules for when they did that was very vague.)

That might change your math (and probability of success) quit a bit... esp as far I recall they have edge equal to force.
Cain
QUOTE (wanderer_king @ Dec 19 2008, 11:38 PM) *
Don't forget that spirits can add their edge to resist summonings too (as I recall the rules for when they did that was very vague.)

That might change your math (and probability of success) quit a bit... esp as far I recall they have edge equal to force.

They can, if the summoner has been naughty to spirits. But we're assuming that the guy is on the nice list. If he's got a track record of abusing spirits, then the spirit spending Edge is the least of his worries.

At any event, if it is going to spend Edge, it'll be on the Binding test. Spirits generally don't mind being summoned. However, the player can both spend and burn Edge, so he can be guaranteed at least 4 extra services out of the deal.
MaxMahem
QUOTE (Dragnar @ Dec 20 2008, 02:54 AM) *
Since exploding dice make an infinite amount of hits possible, there's quite some leeway as to what exactly that sentence alludes to.
I'd disallow a hold-out shot to kill a battleship, although it could theoretically be possible to negate its armor and then burn edge on a longshot test to get enough hits to destroy it (that is "no hope of achieving").
I can see a mage summoning a powerful spirit without dying. To me, that's highly unlikely, but not impossible (as you could theoretically do that by "just" using a point of edge for exploding dice and rolling 50 hits).

Under such an interpretation any action that might possibly be decided by a die roll (no matter how utterly improbable) would be a candidate for the critical success rule. Which is not the intent of the rule, which clearly seeks to restrict characters from invoking this rule in wildly improbable or impossible situations. It does not say that you can do anything that is theoretical possible, it says you can only things that you have 'hope' of achieving.

Now granted the definition of what 'hope of achieving' entails could be variable from group to group. But I think most would agree that achieving enough hits to resist 30P drain with a dice pool of only 15 or so falls outside the range of what a character could 'hope to achieve.'

Furthermore, such an interpretation makes the rule right below it, burning edge to avoid certain death, pointless. Which makes the intention of this rule pretty clear. In cases where a character wants to survive despite the improbable odds against him, he needs to burn edge to escape certain death, not for a critical success on his resistance test. That rule is only for things you have "hope" of achieving, which resisting 30P drain is not (sounds like certain death to me nyahnyah.gif).
Dragnar
In the years of gaming, I've personally seen:
- 14 hits on 7 exploding dice
- 13 hits with 14 regular dice
- 2 hits against TN 22 with 4 dice (SR 3)
- 2 hits against TN 13 with 2 dice (SR 3)
- 4 hits on 4 regular dice in 5 tests in a row
- four rolls of 20 on a d20 in a row
- 6 doubles on 2d6 in a row
and lots of others I don't even remember at the time

So no, I wouldn't disallow that roll purely because it's "not possible". That bar hangs a lot higher in the games I play in. Now no way is more correct than any other, it's purely personal preference, which is precisely why i advised bringing that up in your group. Those are the only people that need to agree on that.
pbangarth
QUOTE (Cain @ Dec 20 2008, 12:52 AM) *
They can, if the summoner has been naughty to spirits. But we're assuming that the guy is on the nice list. If he's got a track record of abusing spirits, then the spirit spending Edge is the least of his worries.

At any event, if it is going to spend Edge, it'll be on the Binding test. Spirits generally don't mind being summoned. However, the player can both spend and burn Edge, so he can be guaranteed at least 4 extra services out of the deal.


Actually the spirit can burn edge too. In other threads, this had been discussed and the upshot was that if a magician is summoning an uber-spirit way beyond what he should be trying, the spirit will squash the EDG burn with one of its own, and watch the upstart vaporise from the drain.

From an email discussion with the Shadowrun Help Line dated 25 Oct 2006:
QUOTE
Question 2)

In SR4, on p.68 it says that burning a point of Edge can be used to “[a]utomatically achieve a critical success on one action. The character must be capable of carrying out the action – you can’t buy a critical success for something you have no hope of achieving.?

What happens if, in an opposed test, both participants choose to burn a point of Edge? Do the two burned points nullify and require an actual roll of dice?

Yeah, in that case, they just cancel each other out.

These questions come up for me as both a player and a game master, because if Edge can be used for both parts of a magical skill test that involves a success test and a drain test, it would be possible for a player to generate a character who, in her first action ever in a Shadowrun game could –guarantee- success in the summoning and binding of a Force 12 spirit! All she would need is enough skill and attribute values to have a chance to succeed, small though that may be, and 4 Edge points she is willing to burn (for each action, one point to buy success in the action, and one point to survive the terrible drain).

4 Edge points may seem like a lot to spend for one spirit, but Force 12 is a very powerful spirit, with a huge range of powers and optional powers available to it. The assumption of “4 or more net hits? for a critical success (SR4 p.59) means that after summoning and binding using burnt Edge points the spirit has at least 8 services owing to the PC (SR4 p. 179-180). And then there is the fact that rebinding the spirit holds much less danger for the PC than the original binding (SR4 p. 180-181). So, once summoned and bound, the Force 12 spirit could be kept up forever for the PC as long as she manages to resist enough drain to bring the physical damage low enough not to kill her (ie. down to 9 boxes or less, assuming she has no buddies around to stabilize her). She could keep trying and failing and healing until she got some more services.

Sure ... but what GM would allow this? There are many ways in which you can play with the numbers and come up with ways to break the game ... but you're breaking the game. It's the GM's job to not allow flagrant violations of the spirit of the rules in these cases. Sure, maybe summoning a Force 12 spirit could be the pivotal act in some plot climax, but just doing it cuz you can tweak the rules that way doesn't really count much for actual roleplaying.

> Of course, the spirit has Edge as well. In SM p. 95, the issue of spirits using edge is addressed. It is not likely, according to the guidelines there, that the Force 12 spirit would bother to use Edge to resist the original summoning, and would wait to watch the pipsqueak magician toast in her own drain, but it probably would wise up and use Edge to resist the binding. That’s where the question of opposed uses of burning Edge comes up. Seeing that the rookie magician is willing to burn Edge, the spirit (with INT and LOG of 12!) would have no problem understanding that it was in for permanent servitude unless it burned Edge too.

Yep.

:: Rob Boyle ::
Shadowrun Developer for FanPro LLC
info@shadowrunrpg.com ~ www.shadowrunrpg.com


Peter


Cain
I've personally scored over 30 successes using exploding dice, on an original dice pool of 15.

QUOTE
Under such an interpretation any action that might possibly be decided by a die roll (no matter how utterly improbable) would be a candidate for the critical success rule. Which is not the intent of the rule, which clearly seeks to restrict characters from invoking this rule in wildly improbable or impossible situations. It does not say that you can do anything that is theoretical possible, it says you can only things that you have 'hope' of achieving.

As I said before, the demarcation between possible and impossible is quite clear in this case. You *can* summon a spirit with a Force of 12. You *cannot*, under these circumstances, summon one that's Force 13. You cannot burn Edge to get that Force 13+ spirit, because it is flatly impossible.

QUOTE
Furthermore, such an interpretation makes the rule right below it, burning edge to avoid certain death, pointless.

Escape Certain Death is useful for other situations. If you're hit multiple times, you'd need to burn multiple points of Edge to survive. If you use the ECD clause instead, you only lose one. But at any event, just because certain rules make others obsolete doesn't mean they're not RAW.

QUOTE
Actually the spirit can burn edge too. In other threads, this had been discussed and the upshot was that if a magician is summoning an uber-spirit way beyond what he should be trying, the spirit will squash the EDG burn with one of its own, and watch the upstart vaporise from the drain.

My problem with this is that it's the worst sort of GM cheese to have NPC's burn Edge like that. Just recently, I was in a game where we were facing a Lucky Nataki, with an Edge of 8. It kept burning Edge for critical successes on it's damage resistance test, allowing it to withstand Force 14 spells, direct hits from troll bows, and so on and so forth. Eventually, it was some special NPC's that ended up killing the thing, after we would have mortally wounded it 4 times.

pbangarth
QUOTE (Cain @ Dec 20 2008, 02:17 AM) *
My problem with this is that it's the worst sort of GM cheese to have NPC's burn Edge like that. Just recently, I was in a game where we were facing a Lucky Nataki, with an Edge of 8. It kept burning Edge for critical successes on it's damage resistance test, allowing it to withstand Force 14 spells, direct hits from troll bows, and so on and so forth. Eventually, it was some special NPC's that ended up killing the thing, after we would have mortally wounded it 4 times.


I can understand your frustration in such a situation. I am also concerned that so many people seem to be arguing that it is unfair for the GM to play an entity that is really intelligent as being so. Yes, it requires some interpretation for a GM of 'LOG 4' to act the role of a spirit with LOG 12. It's his job to act the part for many characters and beings that have skills and talents he doesn't.

Maybe it is the fault of the game... that there is not as much text written to guide the player or GM in using intelligence and personality as there is in using physical characteristics. We can find numbers to tell us how fast a character can run, but not to tell us how fast she can think.

In Street Magic, page 75, we are told that, "a spirit has its own fate and its own free will." It thinks for itself. We are told that, "Spirits will likely use Edge to save themselves from disruption or banishment, or to assist with the completion of a goal important to the spirit or if completion of a service demands it." If something matters to a spirit, it will use Edge.

We are also told, "Spirits can also use Edge to assist their resistance roll to the original summoning, but will not do so unless the discrepancy in power between them and an impudent conjurer is large or the conjurer has a history of mistreating spirits." So relative power is a determinant. Physical power is not the main issue with spirits, it is willpower and personal character and other characteristics that appear on the astral plane that matter. The characteristics that define how a mage appears on the astral plane are measured by the Mental Attributes.

Two issues arise. When does the spirit use Edge, and when might it burn Edge?

How does a GM compare spirit and mage in a way that isn't perceived as "cheese"? Certainly it is easier when the differences are marked. A mage with Mental Attributes of 4 will clearly be seen as inferior by a spirit with Attributes of 12. Surely there is no argument here, is there? The trouble comes when the differences are not so much. Yes, here is where the GM's judgement comes in. My general rule is that if the spirit has Mental Attributes double that of the mage, it will balk at being put into service. This can be modified either way by the attitude of the mage at the time of summoning/binding. It is not "cheese" for a GM to play the role of an entity that thinks for itself. Would your PC submit willingly to being controlled by an NPC? What would he do to free himself?

What about burning Edge? The classic example is of the newly generated character who burns 4 Edge to bind a Force 12 spirit right out of charactergen. After the first burn, it would be perfectly clear to a LOG 12 being what was going to happen next. "That little shit is going to hose me by twisting fate." Why is it so hard to believe that something so smart, charismatic and willful would stick it to the upstart by burning one Edge in response and derailing the whole process? He can foresee a life of servitude in which this astrally weak character could continually build karma and control his power. Who would want that? Who would not rebel in any way possible?

Again, the picture grows muddy when the differences are not so obvious. One GM may set the cutoff differently from another. So what? Isn't that his job?

Peter
Cain
Spending Edge is not so much of an issue. I'm of the opinion that it should be reserved as a surprise, though, and not as a natural consequence.

QUOTE
What about burning Edge? The classic example is of the newly generated character who burns 4 Edge to bind a Force 12 spirit right out of charactergen. After the first burn, it would be perfectly clear to a LOG 12 being what was going to happen next. "That little shit is going to hose me by twisting fate." Why is it so hard to believe that something so smart, charismatic and willful would stick it to the upstart by burning one Edge in response and derailing the whole process? He can foresee a life of servitude in which this astrally weak character could continually build karma and control his power. Who would want that? Who would not rebel in any way possible

There are several problems with this. First of all, this forces a spirit to forcibly burn one of its essential attributes, crippling it if it decides to go free. If it waits, it can come up with a more subtle line of attack, killing the summoner and letting it go free with attributes intact. High logic characters can afford to play the waiting game.

Second, you're assuming that the player had to burn Edge to summon it in the first place. In my most recent game group, I've seen a character summon and bind two Force 12 spirits without spending Edge. Granted, he was a dedicated summoner build with Spirit Affinity, but it was all basically within the reach of a starting character.

Third, what happens if the player burns a second point of Edge? There's no restriction on how much Edge you can burn per test. Unlike spending Edge, you can burn as much as you like. Should the spirit keep burning itself out, fighting it? Sure, it'll win eventually; but if the player is willing to drop to Edge 0, how far will the spirit go before it gives up?

Fourth, it's still GM cheese. While I can see it if the character is abusing Edge, the fact remains that he's paying for it and the GM isn't. The GM can always throw someone else at the PC's, or in the case of Prime Runners, just give them enough karma to buy back lost Edge. It's still unfair, cheap, and cheesy.
Sceptic
QUOTE (Cain @ Dec 21 2008, 07:30 AM) *
Fourth, it's still GM cheese. While I can see it if the character is abusing Edge, the fact remains that he's paying for it and the GM isn't. The GM can always throw someone else at the PC's, or in the case of Prime Runners, just give them enough karma to buy back lost Edge. It's still unfair, cheap, and cheesy.

I'd be very leery of having a spirit burn edge without good cause, but if a character decided to regularly burn edge to avoid drain from extremely powerful spirits then I'd definitely consider it perfectly reasonable. And anyone trying to bind a spirit of force higher than their magic should be at risk of the spirit spending edge, especially if they're trying to grab one of force 10 or higher.
pbangarth
QUOTE (Cain @ Dec 20 2008, 11:30 AM) *
There are several problems with this. First of all, this forces a spirit to forcibly burn one of its essential attributes, crippling it if it decides to go free. If it waits, it can come up with a more subtle line of attack, killing the summoner and letting it go free with attributes intact. High logic characters can afford to play the waiting game.


The waiting game is a logical alternative, I grant you. But remember that a bound spirit is forced to obey and prevented from overt attack or refusal of directions. If the GM plays an ornery, troublesome spirit looking for a chance to stick it to the Man, there is lots of opportunity for fun role-play and interaction on the part of player and GM. There is also lots of opportunity for the kind of cheese you decry.

Some dropout-from-kindergarten punk who can't spell his own name is pissing in your face, laughing at you as he does it, calling to his buddies to look see. You have to choose between beating the shit out of him and going to jail for a few months, or taking it in hopes you can get him back later. Some choice. I know the one I would make.

QUOTE
Second, you're assuming that the player had to burn Edge to summon it in the first place. In my most recent game group, I've seen a character summon and bind two Force 12 spirits without spending Edge. Granted, he was a dedicated summoner build with Spirit Affinity, but it was all basically within the reach of a starting character.


Summoning has a distinct time limit, and is not so much the problem for the spirit. It can wait 12 hours, (though the above scenario still applies) and is subject to fewer optional demands. Binding is much more bothersome, both for the time expansion and potential tasks, including killing itself painfully to serve the conjurer. This is far more likely to elicit an immediate response from the spirit.

QUOTE
Third, what happens if the player burns a second point of Edge? There's no restriction on how much Edge you can burn per test. Unlike spending Edge, you can burn as much as you like. Should the spirit keep burning itself out, fighting it? Sure, it'll win eventually; but if the player is willing to drop to Edge 0, how far will the spirit go before it gives up?


Well, I'd really like to see some official word on the legality of interpreting, "... choose to burn a point of Edge..." to mean 'can do it as often as he has Edge points'. (underlining mine)

Furthermore, this particular use of Edge grants a critical success, ie. 4 hits above the Threshold. Doing that 5 times still gives only 4 hits above the Threshold. One counter burn gives that much to the opponent. A parallel situation: even if one were allowed to spend more than one point of Edge to go first in a round, it still makes you only go first. A counter-expenditure makes that character go first too.

One point is not spent to directly nullify the other point, it is spent to give a capability. If that capability is equivalent to the other character's, it -in effect- nullifies the other point. Multiple expenditures still only make the first character 'go first', just like the second who only spent one Edge point.

QUOTE
Fourth, it's still GM cheese. While I can see it if the character is abusing Edge, the fact remains that he's paying for it and the GM isn't. The GM can always throw someone else at the PC's, or in the case of Prime Runners, just give them enough karma to buy back lost Edge. It's still unfair, cheap, and cheesy.


The corollary of this, then, is that one PC can take on the universe, because the GM is warned off ever responding with commensurate force. Doesn't that seem a bit ... nega-cheesy?

Peter
Muspellsheimr
QUOTE (Fortune @ Dec 20 2008, 12:56 AM) *
From what I've read, the rebuttal will be that by spending Edge on the test to get exploding 6s, almost anyone is technically capable of achieving the number of successes needed. Double cheese in my opinion.

Edit: Damn! See what I mean? biggrin.gif

Actually, the rebutal I use (& better, IMO) is that the book clearly defines a dice pool of 0 having no chance of success. Thus, any dice pool >0 has a chance of success by RAW, & is then viable for burning Edge. No spending required (unless you need to Longshot).
Fortune
That's certainly one definition. Definitely not one that I would use though.
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