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greylotus
Ok so this is a argument that came up in my normal shadowrun game that my group has just started. (Not the one i plan to DM. But another one) and we all really ended up nowhere with the argument so i wanted to get some more ideas from you gamer freaks here wink.gif


How does Magic affect low essence characters?

For healing spells this is stated very clearly.

SR4A pg 199 - "Healing Characters with Implants: Low-Essence characters
are more diffi cult to heal, as implants (or other damage) disrupt
the body’s holistic integrity. In game terms, this means a dice pool
modifi er applies to the Spellcasting Test equal to the subject’s lost
Essence (rounded down). So trying to heal a character with Essence
4 (2 Essence points of implants) incurs a –2 dice pool modifier."


So...when magic is beneficial in a healing sense the game takes low essence into consideration. But when casting something like...a lvl 10 stun/force ball essence means absolutely nothing? Or when using something like enhance ability on the cyber freaked troll to make his 15 str go even higher again essence means nothing? We really have no idea how to take this one because on both sides of the field it can fuck you over.

On side A if we rule that the "heal" rule applies to all magic on low essence people then the mage can get a -6 JUST for being a mage and hence fucked over potentially (as most baddies we fight have some sort of cyberware). On side B though it's fucked up that almost BEING a zombie DOESNT mess with your link to the magical world.

So what do you guys think?
ornot
One of the reasons why a CZ is harder to affect with magic is the complex sequence of rituals and spells that bind the CZs spirit to its body.

For the sake of balance it's better to leave the spell rules as they are, although one could overlook the heal exception for the sake of continuity.
Degausser
A Cyber Zombie takes some super-duper high-end magic to pull off. You have to be a high grade initiate and it probably will take more than one guy chanting, and some of them may die from the drain.

In general, (as I see it) Magic has a tough time with non-mana sources. Powerbolt needs a threshold of 4 to affect machinery like a motorcycle or a car, mages loose dice trying to heal Street Sams. On the other hand, some Magic Doesn't directly effect people and works fine against non-mana sources. Lightning bolt merely creates a bolt of lightning (which may then go out and strike a non-mana source, but by that point, the bolt is regular, 'mundane' Lightning.) The Levitate spell changes how the laws of physics work with regards to an object, but doesn't directly effect the object, so you can levitate our street sam just fine.

In other words, Magic has 2 ways it can go about doing something, changing an object (heal, powerbolt, etc.) or Changing the laws of physics locally (Levitate, Physical Mask, etc.)
TBRMInsanity
If you really wanted to you could houserule that a character with less then 3 essence would gain the Murky Link quality (in character creation I would suggest that the player takes this quality to represent the loss of their soul). Once a character becomes CZ though I would give them the Astral Beacon quality to represent the complex magical enchantments on them (plus the fact a mage has a constant ritual link on them to monitor their soul from leaving their body).

You could also encourage your players to take the appropriate Magic Resistance quality based on their essence level (the closer to zero the higher the rating).
PBI
I explain it by telling my players that it's easier to destroy, than create. smile.gif
greylotus
Ok i think i am missing something here. You guys keep saying CZ for cyber zombie. A character who has a 0 rating is still playable isnt he? So whats all this about crazy rituals?
Mr. Unpronounceable
Uh...no - a character with 0 essence is dead, unless they're a cyberzombie. (0.001 is okay though.)
Doc Byte
The problem's that a cybered mage - like mine biggrin.gif - can break the Magic-Essence link by Initiation and do fine with more Magic than Essence. There's no consistent link between Magic and Essence. It's pure gamebalancing.
TBRMInsanity
QUOTE (greylotus @ Mar 17 2009, 01:40 PM) *
Ok i think i am missing something here. You guys keep saying CZ for cyber zombie. A character who has a 0 rating is still playable isnt he? So whats all this about crazy rituals?


In pre SR4 you can have a character goto or bellow 0 essence if they go through the Cybermancine process (I'm assuming that Augmentation covers these rules for SR4 but I don't have that book). Powerful magic is used to force the soul to remain in the body, thus keeping the character alive (if you call it being alive). The downsides are that you become a huge astral becon (even though your actual soul becomes essentially invisible the magic around you isn't invisible), you become dual natured (even though you can't precieve the astral plane without the astral sight quality or a magic quality), you lose most (if not all) of your damage overflow, it is harder for you to heal (both magically and mundane), and you have to do daily checks to see if you die anyway (you lose the will to live).

The SR2 Cyberware book (Man and Machine I think) had a great story about someone that became a CZ. If you can get your hands on it I recomend the read.

Edit: Man and Machine should read Cybertechnology
Draco18s
The reason characters with low essence are hard to heal is that you're accellerating the healing process which has no effect on the implanted machine parts that got shot up. Harming them though, feel free to blow circuits.
Mx
QUOTE (TBRMInsanity @ Mar 17 2009, 10:03 PM) *
(I'm assuming that Augmentation covers these rules for SR4 but I don't have that book).

Yeas it does
QUOTE (TBRMInsanity @ Mar 17 2009, 10:03 PM) *
The SR2 Cyberware book (Man and Machine I think) had a great story about someone that became a CZ. If you can get your hands on it I recomend the read.

That would be Cybertechnology, Man and Machine is 3rd edition ware book.
Caadium
QUOTE (Doc Byte @ Mar 17 2009, 12:58 PM) *
The problem's that a cybered mage - like mine biggrin.gif - can break the Magic-Essence link by Initiation and do fine with more Magic than Essence. There's no consistent link between Magic and Essence. It's pure gamebalancing.


Even non-cybered mages 'break this link' as they can raise their magic above essence. This is not an inconsistency though. It takes a lot of work, practice, will, and effort (read that as the initiation process and related karma, not to mention the karma to later raise the magic attribute itself) to raise your magic attribute above your natural limit, as set by the strength of your astral self (read essence). Also, if I recall correctly, the maximum amount of times you can initiate in SR4 is equal to your uninitiated maximum. This further goes on to reinforce the link between magic and essence.

That means that if you put 2 essence points of cyber into your mage your maximum uninitiated magic is a 4 but your maximum initiation rank is also a 4, thereby capping your max augmented magic (to keep terms inline with other stats) at 8. Conversely, the mage without cyber would not only initiate to having a magic of 8 sooner, but would have a hard cap of 12, a considerable difference in a long-term, higher power game.
Mx
QUOTE (Caadium @ Mar 18 2009, 04:50 PM) *
Also, if I recall correctly, the maximum amount of times you can initiate in SR4 is equal to your uninitiated maximum. This further goes on to reinforce the link between magic and essence.

That means that if you put 2 essence points of cyber into your mage your maximum uninitiated magic is a 4 but your maximum initiation rank is also a 4, thereby capping your max augmented magic (to keep terms inline with other stats) at 8. Conversely, the mage without cyber would not only initiate to having a magic of 8 sooner, but would have a hard cap of 12, a considerable difference in a long-term, higher power game.

Unless there's somethink new in SR4A this isn't true, i don't have time to sheck right now.
ornot
There is a reference to initiation being limited by magic, but since the magic cap can be increased through initiation, it is not clear whether the 'twice magic initiation limit" is worked out based on the original essence cap or not. There is some argument to be found on DS, if you can find the right search terms, but I would consider it fairly moot, since it requires an absurd level of karma to reach those dizzying heights.

If you are determined to find the debates on the matter you won't go far wrong if you look for threads about unlimited magical potential.
TBRMInsanity
Even if you set the max level that your magic can go to being equal to twice your esscence, this still only become serious if your mage has enough cyberware to reduce their essence bellow 4. At which point your becoming burnt out anyway so its a mute point.

It is kinda scary to think of a PC with a magic of 10+ and the amount of karma they would have had to pump into their character.
Draco18s
QUOTE (Caadium @ Mar 18 2009, 09:50 AM) *
That means that if you put 2 essence points of cyber into your mage your maximum uninitiated magic is a 4 but your maximum initiation rank is also a 4, thereby capping your max augmented magic (to keep terms inline with other stats) at 8. Conversely, the mage without cyber would not only initiate to having a magic of 8 sooner, but would have a hard cap of 12, a considerable difference in a long-term, higher power game.


Actually, no. If you have 4 magic and then initiate 4 times (effectively capping your magic at 8 ) when you then buy a point of magic, guess what? You can initiate again as you have 5 magic and only 4 initiations.

Which is how you can get a mage with 1 essence up to 12 magic (with 12 initiations, max magic 13, which is important) and then give him 1 more point of cyber (dropping him, in order, to 0 essence, 11 magic, 11 initiations, (6 - 6 + 11) or 11 max magic) and having a super-powerful mage cyberzombie. He can't get any more cyber, as that would drop his essence to -1 for magic, which drops his actual magic to 10, initiations to 10, and max magic to 9 (6 - 7 + 10), which drops his actual magic to 9...and so on.
Neraph
QUOTE (Draco18s @ Mar 18 2009, 11:28 AM) *
Actually, no. If you have 4 magic and then initiate 4 times (effectively capping your magic at 8 ) when you then buy a point of magic, guess what? You can initiate again as you have 5 magic and only 4 initiations.

Which is how you can get a mage with 1 essence up to 12 magic (with 12 initiations, max magic 13, which is important) and then give him 1 more point of cyber (dropping him, in order, to 0 essence, 11 magic, 11 initiations, (6 - 6 + 11) or 11 max magic) and having a super-powerful mage cyberzombie. He can't get any more cyber, as that would drop his essence to -1 for magic, which drops his actual magic to 10, initiations to 10, and max magic to 9 (6 - 7 + 10), which drops his actual magic to 9...and so on.

Your Initiation Grade cannot be higher than your Magic rating, and your cap for magic rating is equal to 6 + initiation grade (-lost Essence).

For example: Mage with 5 Essence has a natural maximum Magic score of 5 (6 - 1), but as soon as he initiates (which he can do up to 5 times-his current Magic Rating), his maximum Magic Score will increase a like amount. If he Initiates once, his new Magic maximum is 6. If he Initiates all five times before raising his magic rating, his new Magic Rating maximum is 10. As soon as he were to put another point into magic (taking it from 5 to 6), his initiation cap raises from 5 to 6 as well.

Ad infinitum.
ornot
It is worth pointing out that becoming a CZ precludes having the magician quality.

Of course, were one to encounter that kind of thing in your game, I don't think I'd like to be a part of it anyway.
Draco18s
QUOTE (Neraph @ Mar 18 2009, 11:43 AM) *
Your Initiation Grade cannot be higher than your Magic rating, and your cap for magic rating is equal to 6 + initiation grade (-lost Essence).

Ad infinitum.


You just reiterated my point. The post I was replying to said that if you had Essence 5, 5 Initiations, and Magic 10 you could not Initiate again and get an 11th point of magic.

My example just happened to point out how you could have non-zero magic while at essence 0.
greylotus
Ok guys lets get back to the original topic and cut the thread jacking. I was not posting about cyber zombies. I was merely curious as to what one was.

So please refer to my original posts and ideas/suggestions on that.
Neraph
QUOTE (Draco18s @ Mar 18 2009, 11:06 AM) *
You just reiterated my point. The post I was replying to said that if you had Essence 5, 5 Initiations, and Magic 10 you could not Initiate again and get an 11th point of magic.

My example just happened to point out how you could have non-zero magic while at essence 0.

I know, I was trying to word it another way.

Back to OP: low Essence only affects Health spells, because Health spells are magic that trys to affect the body itself. All other magic affects objects or the mind. A lightningbolt doesn't care if you're a puppy dog or a house drone; it'll destroy both equally. You can invis a box or a kitty cat - the magic tampers with how the mind percieves them (and how light affects it in the event of Improved Invis).

And @ the Cyberzomzom discussion: I thought CZs had their magic set to 1, and they were barred from initiating...
the_real_elwood
QUOTE (Neraph @ Mar 18 2009, 09:54 PM) *
I know, I was trying to word it another way.

Back to OP: low Essence only affects Health spells, because Health spells are magic that trys to affect the body itself. All other magic affects objects or the mind. A lightningbolt doesn't care if you're a puppy dog or a house drone; it'll destroy both equally. You can invis a box or a kitty cat - the magic tampers with how the mind percieves them (and how light affects it in the event of Improved Invis).

And @ the Cyberzomzom discussion: I thought CZs had their magic set to 1, and they were barred from initiating...


So going on that logic, any spell that has to interact with the subject's aura should be hampered by low essence. So healing, ritual magic, maybe even things like manabolt (can manabolt target a non-living thing?). Though I imagine if you really played by those rules, the cybered-out characters could get enough of an extra boost to be overpowered, at least at low-levels.
suppenhuhn
What i always found a bit puzzling is that cyberware doesn't effect spells like shapechange. Imagine turning into a mouse and having a human sized cyberleg grinbig.gif
Neraph
QUOTE (the_real_elwood @ Mar 18 2009, 11:05 PM) *
So going on that logic, any spell that has to interact with the subject's aura should be hampered by low essence. So healing, ritual magic, maybe even things like manabolt (can manabolt target a non-living thing?). Though I imagine if you really played by those rules, the cybered-out characters could get enough of an extra boost to be overpowered, at least at low-levels.

False. My logic stated that only Health Spells that focused on the body itself have to deal with special rules for characters with low Essence.
greylotus
i see i see....hmm
Neraph
QUOTE (suppenhuhn @ Mar 18 2009, 11:06 PM) *
What i always found a bit puzzling is that cyberware doesn't effect spells like shapechange. Imagine turning into a mouse and having a human sized cyberleg grinbig.gif

I would imagine the cyberware/bioware would be affected like drakes: only available in metahuman form, subsumed by the other form.
Mikado
QUOTE (greylotus @ Mar 17 2009, 02:13 PM) *
So...when magic is beneficial in a healing sense the game takes low essence into consideration. But when casting something like...a lvl 10 stun/force ball essence means absolutely nothing? Or when using something like enhance ability on the cyber freaked troll to make his 15 str go even higher again essence means nothing? We really have no idea how to take this one because on both sides of the field it can fuck you over.

Which is why I suggested that it affect the casting of DC spells. That and a few other changes to the casting mechanic of DC spells fix them the right way. Or at least closer than the way it is now.
Neraph
QUOTE (greylotus @ Mar 17 2009, 12:13 PM) *
So...when magic is beneficial in a healing sense the game takes low essence into consideration. But when casting something like...a lvl 10 stun/force ball essence means absolutely nothing? Or when using something like enhance ability on the cyber freaked troll to make his 15 str go even higher again essence means nothing? We really have no idea how to take this one because on both sides of the field it can fuck you over.

This doesn't work because Direct Combat spells affect objects and people equally (except mana spells, which would selectively target the person and leave the cyber out of the mix).
Coldan
Health spells wants to restore the body, so cyberware will hinder them as they are present in the body and disturbs the flow of mana. Direct combat spells will act contrary to the helth spells as they destroy the body. If there is allready damage (implants) it will only be easier for them, because it is one part less of the body to be destroyed.
Mikado
QUOTE (Coldan @ Mar 19 2009, 11:50 PM) *
Health spells wants to restore the body, so cyberware will hinder them as they are present in the body and disturbs the flow of mana. Direct combat spells will act contrary to the helth spells as they destroy the body. If there is allready damage (implants) it will only be easier for them, because it is one part less of the body to be destroyed.

But technology is resistant to mana (Object resistance) and cyberware dirupts the flow of mana through the body (essence loss) so it is not that far fetched.
Caadium
I know that this thread has been somewhat dead, but the original post of this thread got me thinking. Page 207 of SR4A does state that low-essence characters are harder to heal. It also says that:

QUOTE
Negative Health Spells: Spells that negatively affect a character require an Opposed Test, pitting Spellcasting + Magic vx. the target's appropriate attribute (+ Counterspelling, if available).


What strikes me about that is that there is no reference to how essence affects Negative Health Spells. In previous editions of SR all health spells were affected by essence. The following quote is from the SR4 FAQ:

QUOTE
Does the penalty for low Essence (noted in Healing Characters with Implants, p. 199, SR4) apply to all Health spells or simply those that heal damage?

It applies to all Health spells, including Negative Health spells.


This brings me to my question. Did something change, and essence no longer affects negative health spells? Or, did they simply overlook a chance to clarify this in a Core book; leaving it to be clarified via the FAQ?

Until I hear otherwise, my table will still be using the FAQ answer.
Neraph
Use the FAQ answer. That's how it was intended.
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