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Fuchs
QUOTE (Angier @ Mar 23 2009, 12:32 PM) *
Part of the Challenge actually is the predication that awakened can do all a mundane can do and more. Using cyberware is fine I think as long as the actual build itself doesn't use more ressources than the 400BP allow.


Of course it is fine - it's in the rules, and pretty much standard, especially for builds on DS.
Malicant
Specific beats general. Meaning: you're wrong. wink.gif
ornot
Magic is no better than tech for stuff like hacking, since tech is what hacking is all about. However, depending on what you consider hacking to be capable of, magic could achieve the same outcome without a character needing to touch a 'link. Think outside the box people! Who really cares about running a data search for blueprints, when the mage can do some astral scouting? Not going to work in all cases, for example where the facility has wards up, but even then, the mage can determine where the most sensitive stuff is; it's the stuff behind the ward! Looking for a little lost cub? The Search power is incredibly powerful.

I won't say that mages are overpowerd or capable of replacing a whole team, but IME they can tread on more specialised toes than any other archetype, simply due to the versatility of magic, which can make them the character of choice for prima donnas.

@Knasser: Kudos on the Street Sam. I like her, and am tempted to use her either as an NPC or as a sample character for new players, with your credit, of course.
knasser
@Malicant: I'm fine with Octopiii's entry. I believe that it does, as you all have agreed, actually help contradict Hermit's argument given that its success relies on extensive cyberware.

But that's not to say it isn't a mage and it's certainly not to say that it isn't an impressive attempt. I think that Octopiii would agree that it doesn't match a Samurai's capabilities, however.

For a start, there's the simple issue of staying power. He's well-armoued with 12 points of Ballistic, but that's still 17 dice to soak vs. Betty's 21 and that's mainly due the form-fitting body armour which puts Octopiii's entry on the absolute limit of what can be worn without penalties. Betty can handle a bit more so given that I had about 3,100 nuyen.gif left (plus a spare BP if I want it), I'm going to get Betty some Form Fitting Body Armour too at 900 nuyen.gif for the half-suit. Betty's now up to 25 dice to soak against the replacement's 17. I hope Octopiii does not feel I am being unfair. Certainly the replacement build could be modified to soak damage slightly better but it would be at the cost of something else. One of the advantages that Samurai have over magicians is that they can spare a few BP for rounding themselves out better. Anyway, this is a difference of 8 dice or 2-3 boxes of damage on each attack. I think we can say that Betty has sufficiently more staying power than the replacement that it can be counted as a point to Betty.

As an aside, this has just driven home the effect of the new Attribute scores. It makes me queasy just thinking about the cost of raising Betty's Body attribute now. Which is one of the first things I'd have gone for after boosting her skill list slighty if only so I could get more armour on her.

So that's staying power in terms of damage taking. What about staying power in terms of damage output? I'm going to contrast the two builds in single target and area effect attacks. Betty will obviously use her assault rifle and grenade launcher while OMA can use Stunbolt and Stunball.

I'll note at the start an advantage that each has over the other. Betty does Physical damage so she'll have greater trouble with subduing opponents without harming them. OMA does Stun damage so has trouble when in a "kill and retreat" scenario, e.g. assasinating a target that is being ambushed, being driven away, etc. Both these scenarios come up in my games so the different characters would fare better in different situations. We're talking about the magician replacing the Samurai however - not them having advantages and disadvantages - so it's worth mentioning anything OMA has trouble with that Betty doesn't. Obviously the spells could be replaced with Physical versions, though that's a slight increase in drain and more pressure on Octopiii's carefully calculated averages. wink.gif smile.gif

But anyway, moving on. We're looking at pre-Errata rules but for interest I might make notes about how things would be different post-Errata.

A decent sec-guard, with Body 3, Reaction 4 Will 3, Dodge 3 and an armour vest (6/4) (SR4A example grunt).. Obviously not a threat, Betty will roll 16 dice, averaging 5.3 hits. Guard will average 1.3 hits, so net hits are 4 meaning that's 10P damage to soak. The guard will probably reduce that to 7P. (I'm using regular -1AP ammo here, so the guard only got 2.6 hits on soak and I rounded up in his favour). OMA uses the Stunbolt of course and gets 3 hits on average. Now OMA has a Magic of 3 so presumably we're going to overcast. If we don't, then OMA does on average 5S damage. We'll ignore that and assume overcasting to Force 6 which is what Octopiii suggests. Much better now, with OMA still averaging 3 hits against the guard's 1, but getting 8S damage in return. Ignoring the Stun vs. Physical discussion, that's actually better than the Samurai. Drain will be 2P but with 10 dice to soak, he'll normally cover it. Neither party has dropped their opponent in the first attack however so they'll have to go round again. No problem for Betty - her recoil is easily compensated and her first attack was a Simple Action. So in her second Simple Action she'll just fire off another shot and very likely drop the guard doing even more damage now he has a reduced defense pool. It's no no problem for OMA either, but unfortunately her spells are Complex Actions so she has to wait for the next IP giving the guard a chance to shoot back (he only has a bad headache at this point) or raise the alarm. But there's another risk also. If you have 10 dice to soak 2P each time you cast your spell, how often, on average, will you fail? The chance of not getting your 2 hits with 10 dice is 10.4%. So the chance of that occuring in two attempts is 19.72%. Basically there's a 1 in 5 chance of having taken 1 to 2P damage from drain in the two casts of Stunbolt. I'm going to discount that for now but we'll come back to it.

I'll mention that the magician was overcasting. Probably the equivalent to that wouldn't be Betty firing off a single shot, but doing a narrow burst. Her recoil comp will easily cover it so we could bump her actual damage up to 9P with a decent chance of 10P. It's quite possible for Betty to drop the guard in one pass which it is actually pretty difficult for OMA to do without spending Edge.

I'll also mention why OMA isn't using Manipulation magic to Mind Control the guard into shooting himself. Firstly it takes at least as long as OMA first has to get control and then secondly make the guard act. Worse, by a strict reading (and many GM's would enforce this), it will actually take a whole new combat round because in the first IP OMA takes control and it's not until the second IP, when the guard's own IPs are all used up, that OMA gets to issue an order. What? You thought Control Thoughts let you grant ordinary security guards extra IPs? wink.gif Also, the drain is worse even though partially compensated for by increased drain dice. Finally a minor point - although sustaining the spell doesn't matter in our abstract situation where both the Samurai and the Mage hopelessly outclass their single measly opponent, it is vaguely detrimental in more balanced situations.

So lets quickly scale this up to something more significant. Each of our builds has three IP so lets give them three guards each to face off against. OMA could keep using Stunbolt but at two IP per opponent, this is going to get her shot or the alarm raised or whatever. So she has two options - Mob Mind or Stunball. Mind Control is more appealing in this situation than it was before so we'll consider it, but lets look at Stunball first. We'll ignore casting at Magic rating - it's not going to work, and go straight to overcast. It's 4P drain with 10 dice to soak. OMA's is going to take damage for this even on average. What's he going to get in return? It will be the same on average as the Stunbolt was on the single opponent. That's 8S damage to each of them in the first IP. No-one's down but everyone is hurt. In the second IP, they can all be finished off (the chance of failing to affect one of these guards twice is low enough that I'll discount it for now, but it's not out of bounds). Two IPs, three guards unconcious, two lots of 4P drain to soak. Likely result of drain? 2P damage taken. Chance of actually soaking it all is less than 34%. Switch this to Mob Mind and you at least don't allow them their own actions even if you have to wait till next round to actually get rid of them, but your likely drain is actually worse than casting two successive overcast Stunballs.

Now we contrast with Betty. Betty also has two options - grenade or autofire. We'll do grenade first. We assumed that the three guards were within the six metre radius of the Stunball. We'll do similar for Betty. She's likely to get 5.33 net hits with the grenade launcher which at -2m scatter per hit, compensates for the average scatter (or it would completely eliminate it at -1m per hit if the grenade were merely thrown) So that's 10P at AP-2 for a HE grenade. That's a likely 8P damage for the guards on average. Probably we'll see some scatter around that average. Maybe one takes 6P, maybe another is dead. Anyway, we're seeing something comparable to the Stunball in a single IP but without a cost in drain. With the second Simple Action, Betty can probably bring down a second target with a Short Burst (at -2 dice for switching targets). We're quite probably seeing two targets dropped in the first IP. Second IP, Betty will probably drop any remaining targets.

I wont run the numbers as they're similar to earlier, but if Betty sticks to basic automatic fire without grenades, she can probably drop all three targets but it will use up all her IPs, to OMA's two.

Analysis? Stunball is better. Firstly it scales past three targets which Betty's grenade followed by burst fire does not. Also it's silent. But it will push the magician very close to or onto that first significant Wound modifier. Betty can keep firing all day long (and with her superior damage soaking, can take punishment for longer too).

Is OMA out-samuraing the samurai, yet? The build certainly isn't outclassing Betty yet as Hermit was insistent Magic did. Is it duplicating the role? Quite well all things considered. It's better at flattening a large number of opponents, but it takes some punishment for doing so whilst the Samurai has a lot more sustainability. So far, this is just confirming my "same but different" thoughts.

Aside: Under the new Errata, OMA will take more drain than before. Noticeably, actually. Likely an extra couple of points in our Stunball example, meaning it put her on -1 dice wound modifiers for taking out those three guards.

But the above is a narrow set of circumstances. How do different things affect it? Well as noted already, if we move past three opponents, it starts taking the true samurai longer to deal with them all if using gunfire or launched grenades, though hand-thrown grenades are fine. But in juxtaposition, the more fights the magician has to engage in the worse things get. There's simply no way that the magician can keep up the same level of damage output turn after turn. Do other GM's class subsequent drain damage in a single mission as the same set of wounds so can't be repeatedly healed? Or is that just me?

What about better armoured opponents? Boost the guards' ballistic armour values up to 12 and the samurai has a harder time taking them down, though still not too awful. Remember that in all the above I was letting the magician overcast but not the samurai use anything other than regular ammunition. But better armour obviously doesn't hinder the magician at all. Against mentally tougher opponents, the magician suffers a little but again not too bad.

What about counterspelling? Suppose those three guards have a wage mage or a guardian spirit protecting them. Lets say they get a counterspelling of three dice? It only knocks the magician down by a box or two of damage when overcasting (though it makes non-overcasting pretty useless), but there's an annoying chance now that the magician will fail to do any damage at all. If the counterspelling rose to 5 dice however, this magician is in trouble. He's rolling 9 dice against 8 dice and needing net hits. That's close to a fifty-fifty chance of damaging and even damaging is going to be doing 7S damage now.

Visibility can be a factor, but this magician has low-light vision so except when battling in complete darkness, it's less of an issue (though again, the Samurai will be less affected).

What about drones? I can't even run the numbers on this one as OMA literally can't affect them. Other than to try and pick one up with Levitate, there's nothing he can do. He has Physical Mask but his chance of affecting the drone even under the pre-Errata ORs is very small. The samurai, needless to say, isn't affected.

As to the supplementary roles, OMA has a very limited skill set. He has no social skills at all. No athletics skills. He has hacking programs but no computer skills so would make a very poor hacker. I presume the Mental Manipulation spells are meant to substitute for the lack of social skills, but that's not going to fly in most games. It might get you past the guard but it's going to get you nothing but dangerous enemies with your contacts and Johnsons. To boot, the cost of attempting to fill these secondary roles and compete with the samurai in terms of IPs with cyberware, is that OMA is actually not a very good mage. OMA has no Binding skills and frankly crap Charisma making her a very poor Spirit summoner. She also can't deal very well with magical opposition, e.g. spirits and counterspelling enemy magicians. She is better than the Samurai in some of the ways a magician should be better than a Samurai, but not nearly as better as a proper magician should be. A decent comabt mage should be able to drop a room full of security guards and this one actually struggles to do that. Now that's fine because the challenge was to duplicate the samurai. But the point of the challenge was to show that this couldn't really be done very well without giving up a lot. OMA can more or less duplicate the Samurai but is more vulnerable, less able to sustain damage output, has certain circumstances that render him unable to perform his duty (e.g. counterspelling, background count, drones, vehicles) which the true samurai isn't subject to and has no roundedness to the character - e.g. supplementary skills such as Etiquette and Pilot Vehicle.

EDIT:Also, note that OMA has an Edge of 1 against Betty's Edge of 4. Definitely helps with the general theme we're seeing of Magicians being powerful but limited by odd circumstances and durability to a Samurai's steady and robust consistency and adaptability.

I'm open to criticism on all the above. I also have to compliment Octopiii on getting closer to meeting the challenge than I expected people to get. But I consider this a partial success at considerable cost, imo.

K.
Fuchs
Way I see it, combat spells are not really that important for the Shadowrun "power challenge". It doesn't take that much to be close to equal to the samurai in firepower - automatics usually covers it. Both a mundane and a mage can use agents and matrix stuff, and drones. But the mage also can use spirits, astral scouting, and utility spells. And astral assensing is very useful for face-tasks, not that the mage can't use emo-softs as well. Given the cap on skills, any advantage a mundane has on an awakened gets smaller the longer a campaign lasts.
knasser
QUOTE (ornot @ Mar 23 2009, 01:05 PM) *
@Knasser: Kudos on the Street Sam. I like her, and am tempted to use her either as an NPC or as a sample character for new players, with your credit, of course.


Please do. smile.gif She actually turned out a not bad character and I'm tempted to go back and add some description to her. In fact, I think I'm about to. wink.gif

QUOTE ('ornot' date='Mar 23 2009 @ 01:05 PM' post='786722')
Magic is no better than tech for stuff like hacking, since tech is what hacking is all about. However, depending on what you consider hacking to be capable of, magic could achieve the same outcome without a character needing to touch a 'link. Think outside the box people! Who really cares about running a data search for blueprints, when the mage can do some astral scouting? Not going to work in all cases, for example where the facility has wards up, but even then, the mage can determine where the most sensitive stuff is; it's the stuff behind the ward! Looking for a little lost cub? The Search power is incredibly powerful.

I won't say that mages are overpowerd or capable of replacing a whole team, but IME they can tread on more specialised toes than any other archetype, simply due to the versatility of magic, which can make them the character of choice for prima donnas.


I fully agree about thinking outside the box. But this is all part of a fun game. I, as GM, will certainly make sure that there are different options for solving different problems. But I'll also make sure that they have different consequences and difficulties. They might be able to use Mind Probe to get some information rather than cracking the target's commlink, but it's going to tip them off that you're onto them too. And maybe you can arrange a VTOL to get you out of the compound instead of using Levitate, but it's going to eat into your profits. Options, options, options. I love them and I love my players reasoning things through and weighing them up. The more options a team has, the more interesting things get. biggrin.gif

K.
Fuchs
I also think that anything a creative player can come up with with a mundane he can come up with with a mage - and then some.
knasser
QUOTE (Fuchs @ Mar 23 2009, 01:26 PM) *
Way I see it, combat spells are not really that important for the Shadowrun "power challenge". It doesn't take that much to be close to equal to the samurai in firepower - automatics usually covers it. Both a mundane and a mage can use agents and matrix stuff, and drones. But the mage also can use spirits, astral scouting, and utility spells. And astral assensing is very useful for face-tasks, not that the mage can't use emo-softs as well. Given the cap on skills, any advantage a mundane has on an awakened gets smaller the longer a campaign lasts.


I kind of agree on the open-endedness of magical characters compared to mundanes. It was a concern of mine when SR4 first came out. In practice however, I have found the development curve of both magical and mundane characters so long that it's been a non-issue. Samurai might start broadening out their repertoire whilst magicians start improving their speciality, but we've never reached the stage yet where the Samurai is forced to start putting his points into Knowledge Skill (Cajun Cooking) because there's nothing left he really wants. And magicians tend to maintain the weaknesses that make them need the rest of their team.

As regards combat spells, I'm sort of with you. My attempt to make a magician-samurai went with using guns rather than spells, but it ended up with someone who wasn't quite as good as the samurai but still had additonal weaknesses. So I think Octopiii actually took the right approach. I'd be interested to see that build of yours. I think [b]Hermit[/]b might be a no-show.
knasser
QUOTE (Fuchs @ Mar 23 2009, 01:36 PM) *
I also think that anything a creative player can come up with with a mundane he can come up with with a mage - and then some.


I disagree, actually. A lot of creative ideas that players come up with still depend on having the right skills to pull it off. A magician almost invariably requires a tighter focus if they're to be any good at their primary role. That leaves them with less skills to play around with. Less social skills, less matrix skills, less hardware skills, less infiltration skills, less pilot skills. Magicians put most of their flexibility into their magic and keep very little back for their mundane skills.
Sir_Psycho
I was wondering where Hermit was. Either he's not showing or he's probably invoking a channelling mage possessed by Cthulhu.
ornot
QUOTE (Sir_Psycho @ Mar 23 2009, 01:43 PM) *
I was wondering where Hermit was. Either he's not showing or he's probably invoking a channelling mage possessed by Cthulhu.


Well if you can inflict 1d100 San loss when the guards perceive you, I think that is probably a w1n!

As for my previous point, I was trying to suggest a direction for wouldbe mage builders, which seems to me the best route to making the One Mage Army. Personally I'd go with a summoning specialist. I'm pretty sure you get the best bang for your buck from spirits, but even then, magical skills are a hefty BP drain, allowing mundanes a lot more flexibility.

I think Knasser's comparison is especially fair and well balanced, although little reference was made about their capacity to deal with a locked door, or a wireless camera, which I feel is pertinent.
Fuchs
QUOTE (knasser @ Mar 23 2009, 02:40 PM) *
I kind of agree on the open-endedness of magical characters compared to mundanes. It was a concern of mine when SR4 first came out. In practice however, I have found the development curve of both magical and mundane characters so long that it's been a non-issue. Samurai might start broadening out their repertoire whilst magicians start improving their speciality, but we've never reached the stage yet where the Samurai is forced to start putting his points into Knowledge Skill (Cajun Cooking) because there's nothing left he really wants. And magicians tend to maintain the weaknesses that make them need the rest of their team.

As regards combat spells, I'm sort of with you. My attempt to make a magician-samurai went with using guns rather than spells, but it ended up with someone who wasn't quite as good as the samurai but still had additonal weaknesses. So I think Octopiii actually took the right approach. I'd be interested to see that build of yours. I think [b]Hermit[/]b might be a no-show.


Well, my opinion is that 1-3 more dice in a few pools do not make that much of a difference in actual play. The "not quite as good" is more than outweighed by the options awakened characters have.

Not a finished build, but I'd start out with such:
[ Spoiler ]


Free to tweak and such - just a quick breakdown.
knasser
Fuchs. That's 20BP over the Attribute limit including buying back your lost Magic point due to Essence loss. I assume that the Sustaining Focus is going toward Increased Reflexes. Is this the non-Combat spell using build you talked about? I'm afraid it seems rather vulnerable and underpowered if it's going to be using mundane armaments.
InfinityzeN
Actually Edge and Magic are not limited to the "Half starting BP" limit, so he is not off the Attribute cap.
pbangarth
QUOTE (knasser @ Mar 23 2009, 08:57 AM) *
Fuchs. That's 20BP over the Attribute limit including buying back your lost Magic point due to Essence loss. I assume that the Sustaining Focus is going toward Increased Reflexes. Is this the non-Combat spell using build you talked about? I'm afraid it seems rather vulnerable and underpowered if it's going to be using mundane armaments.


Actually, shouldn't the Attribute cost be 180 + 80BP? (Taking into account the lost MAG point)
Fuchs
QUOTE (knasser @ Mar 23 2009, 03:57 PM) *
Fuchs. That's 20BP over the Attribute limit including buying back your lost Magic point due to Essence loss. I assume that the Sustaining Focus is going toward Increased Reflexes. Is this the non-Combat spell using build you talked about? I'm afraid it seems rather vulnerable and underpowered if it's going to be using mundane armaments.


As was pointed out, the attribut limit doesn't extend to magic. As far as underpowered goes - we're looking at about 14 dice for assault rifles (including smartlink, and level 2 muscle toner), that's decent in my book, and enough to kill most guards. Give him an Alpha with personalized grip and gas vent 3, and that's serious firepower, and coupled with the ability to summon up a flanker/distraction at will.
Fuchs
QUOTE (pbangarth @ Mar 23 2009, 04:14 PM) *
Actually, shouldn't the Attribute cost be 180 + 80BP? (Taking into account the lost MAG point)


Magic 5, reduced to 4 - 40 BP.
pbangarth
Silly me, I looked at 'Essence' and read 'Edge'. Sorry.
knasser
QUOTE (Fuchs @ Mar 23 2009, 03:21 PM) *
As was pointed out, the attribut limit doesn't extend to magic. As far as underpowered goes - we're looking at about 14 dice for assault rifles (including smartlink, and level 2 muscle toner), that's decent in my book, and enough to kill most guards. Give him an Alpha with personalized grip and gas vent 3, and that's serious firepower, and coupled with the ability to summon up a flanker/distraction at will.


My mistake.

Have nabbed a "Peronalised Grip" for Betty, by the way. Do you want to finish up this build and we'll compare?
Fuchs
QUOTE (knasser @ Mar 23 2009, 04:54 PM) *
My mistake.

Have nabbed a "Peronalised Grip" for Betty, by the way. Do you want to finish up this build and we'll compare?


Actually, I don't really have the time to finish the build. But just from what is there, it's enough for me to validate the "mages are better" opinion. IMHO, the few dice the samurai has on the mage in mundane things do not balance out with all the magical options the mage has.

Astral Scouting
Assensing
Summoning
Spells

For me, the added flexibility those options allow is worth a lot more than a few more dice in shooting and stabbing stuff. More "spotlight time", more options, and less vulnerable against magic. Others may disagree, but I can't really think of any situation where I'd rather have 20 dice in firearms instead of 14 dice and magic at my disposal.
knasser
QUOTE (Fuchs @ Mar 23 2009, 04:03 PM) *
Actually, I don't really have the time to finish the build. But ust from what is there, it's enough for me to validate the "mages are better" opinion.


But not for me, I'm afraid. People miss a lot of things in the details. If you finish the build, we'll do a comparison, but for now no one has shown to my satisfaction that magicians make non-magicians (Samurai in this case) redundant.

And where is Hermit?
pbangarth
QUOTE (knasser @ Mar 23 2009, 10:06 AM) *
And where is Hermit?


Living up to his name?
Fuchs
QUOTE (knasser @ Mar 23 2009, 05:06 PM) *
But not for me, I'm afraid. People miss a lot of things in the details. If you finish the build, we'll do a comparison, but for now no one has shown to my satisfaction that magicians make non-magicians (Samurai in this case) redundant.


Yeah, but your priorities and criteria are not mine. With the differences seen - like an average of two more hits with firearms for the samurai - I'll take more options any day of the week if I am going for sheer power.
Jaid
then finish the build your way and he can compare that.

in any case, if you want to talk about non-lethal takedowns, samurai have plenty of options there, also. for AOE, something like a pepper punch grenade is an interesting choice, and you can use various drugs, poisons, and ammo types as well. and a sammy can also throw 2 grenades a turn, should they feel so inclined, so i wouldn't say the sam is necessarily worse at AOE.
ElFenrir
Okay, here is my little contribution.

[ Spoiler ]




--

So, Jack is basic. His point was to not be a jack of all trades(har), but he is a combat machine. I didn't finish him(he's only being used as an example), but I might come back to pick at some things.

He has a 6 Body, with +2 damage resistance, and a total, after adding it together, of 13 Ballistic and 11 dice Impact thanks to the bones. So he doesn't do too badly on his defense rolls. His Reaction is only 5, but he does have a Gymnastics of 2, so his full block roll is still not too terrible. Combat Sense bound to a focus helps this quite a bit.

He's got enough nuyen left to pimp out a nice SMG, and get a set of smartlinked goggles and the like, so he'll be throwing 13 dice with it after that's added on.

Blades, his No-Dachi can hit for 8P, -2 AP, and gets +2 Reach dice if he uses them on the attack, for a grand total of 15. Custom Grip brings this to 16.

He even throws 8 to sneak around. He's not much of a social butterfly, but he can squeak by his magical etiquette with 5.

His spells? Not many, but all combat oriented to help. Combat Sense will probably be taken after a bit of karma is earned and bonded to a focus.

Force 4 spells aren't the end all be all, but he gets 9 dice to throw them with, and most mundanes with a willpower of 3-4 will be feeling the sting rather efficiently(and ive been at the recieving end of force 3 spells as a mundane, and they can still hurt.) Having 8 counterspelling dice to help his team is nice.

I feel that this guy could, if no one else was playing one in the group, take the place of the sam. He has disadvantages to be sure-he's got less other, little skills, and having to have an active focus for reflexes and combat sense can be problematic at times, so he surely isn't perfect...but he's basically a ''sam lite'' with the ability to counterspell and toss around some things that the bullets might not get to. He also can deal in the Astral, though he does lack some astral skills at the moment like Astral Combat. He can toss some spells there at some risk, at least. His Lightning Bolt can help out with drones and electronics that need to be taken out.

8 Drain dice isn't optimal, but it's not terrible. He has enough combat skills to keep him going in any case. While he's not great at it to be sure, he could whip up some lower Force spirits to help with a few things.

Ahh well, just wanted to throw him in the ring. Again, not totally perfect but I do feel he could be a very solid ''fill-in'' Sam. Some Karma later and he can have spells to allow sneaking and infiltration as well(though his natural skill is actually not terrible with his high Agility), as well as climbing/running and the like(though with a 7 Strength, defaulting isn't super-painful.)
Shinobi Killfist
QUOTE (Malicant @ Mar 23 2009, 07:41 AM) *
If you want to prove Magic to be uberpowerful, and you use Cyberware in your build, you only prove that magic paired with 'ware is uberpowerful. Although there is a lot of cheese going on in the Augmented Awakened department, this is not the purpose of this challange.

Really, how do you prove magic can do everything (and better), if you use tech to cover things magic cannot do?


This is something that has bothered me about the recent editions. Mages seem more able to deal with cyber than before. I'd like it so magically active characters picked up that flaw that doubled essence loss but apply it to bioware as well as a side effect of picking up a magic talent.(getting no BP for it) Also back in the day mages made poor hackers, bring back the penalty to interacting with the matrix. Make it -2 dice with AR and -4 dice in VR.

Also I'd like to bring back a limited version of grounding. You can channel spells through the link to the target or whaever the target is karma bound to. No exploding fireballs of doom, but manabolts hit the focus and the focus user. Sorry for going totally OT.
suppenhuhn
QUOTE (knasser @ Mar 23 2009, 03:57 PM) *
Fuchs. That's 20BP over the Attribute limit including buying back your lost Magic point due to Essence loss. I assume that the Sustaining Focus is going toward Increased Reflexes. Is this the non-Combat spell using build you talked about? I'm afraid it seems rather vulnerable and underpowered if it's going to be using mundane armaments.

Special attributes aren't limited by those 200 BP

/oops that's what you get for clicking submit after eating.
Malicant
QUOTE (knasser @ Mar 23 2009, 02:11 PM) *
@Malicant: I'm fine with Octopiii's entry. I believe that it does, as you all have agreed, actually help contradict Hermit's argument given that its success relies on extensive cyberware.
Yeah, I'm pretty sure I forgot to mention that I don't mind him used against the Ubermage theory. I simply cannot accept him in favor of this, is all.

Nothing to see here, move along!
Mx
QUOTE (ElFenrir @ Mar 23 2009, 06:40 PM) *
8 Drain dice isn't optimal, but it's not terrible.

It might be good idea to limit those spells with fetishes, for cheap +2 drain dice.
ornot
QUOTE (Mäx @ Mar 23 2009, 05:34 PM) *
It might be good idea to limit those spells with fetishes, for cheap +2 drain dice.

That is one thing I hate. Fetishes. Where exactly is the downside? They are exactly a cheap +2 drain dice.

Anywhere the mage is going to be without them, everyone else will be without their gear too.
Zurai
QUOTE (ornot @ Mar 23 2009, 02:01 PM) *
That is one thing I hate. Fetishes. Where exactly is the downside? They are exactly a cheap +2 drain dice.

Anywhere the mage is going to be without them, everyone else will be without their gear too.


The downside is they're destroyable, and the spell cannot be cast without them.
ornot
But if they're in a position to have their fetishes destroyed, they're already pretty well fragged.

Hell, a Sammies guns are destroyable, but that's not considered a downside.
knasser
QUOTE (ornot @ Mar 23 2009, 06:15 PM) *
But if they're in a position to have their fetishes destroyed, they're already pretty well fragged.

Hell, a Sammies guns are destroyable, but that's not considered a downside.


It depends just how in-depth your game gets. A magician with fetishes is a magician that can be disarmed. I play a superstitious world and when characters are searched going into restaurant for a meet, ritual knives, feathers,amulets and anything that looks suspiciously like a charm, fetish or gew-gaw is likely to get put in the box with any other dangerous looking things. I don't think that's being particularly vindictive. The first thing Lone Star or anyone else are going to do when they lock someone up is take away any obvious magical implements. They're also a dead give away that a character is a magician and that can be important when the opposition doesn't know your capabilities.

I'm just saying that it can come up and be relevant.
Mx
QUOTE (knasser @ Mar 23 2009, 08:22 PM) *
They're also a dead give away that a character is a magician and that can be important when the opposition doesn't know your capabilities.

Not really, as many wannabes also carry those same items.
ElFenrir
It's why I chose to do the non-fetish way. He already has two foci, which isn't super-optimal, but Foci DO have their advantages as well. As do fetishes, but I didn't want to overload him down. 8 drain dice means he won't want to overcast all willy-nilly, but at least later on a power focus could come into play to help with that(yet another foci). Foci, like ware, have their good-and their bad-points.

However, a disadvantage a cyber-mage AND a sam both have is their ware. Being able to get in somewhere, the pure mage does have a little bit of a boost there over the sams/cybermages in this thread in the case of a MAD. While Big Jack only has a set of bone lacing, it IS metal and makes him a bit vulnerable there(at least bioware is very hard to detect without a proper checkup.)

Now, if I wanted to juggle some resources and points around, I could have pulled off some bone density or ceramic lacing instead, but I'd have to push around other Essence points as well(since Aluminum BL puts him at the exact limit. Alpha Ceramic would have dropped his magic too far than i would have liked, and density 1 wasn't as much as a boost, although if I wanted to ditch the metal it could have been an option.)

Fuchs
Another test could be: Can you build a mage that equals the samurai character from the BBB in combat?
ElFenrir
I could get it pretty damn close. With my build, things I'd do:

I'd knock out his summoning skills, further cementing him into combat caster-land. That would free up 16 BP to increase other skills, which would go to Automatics(8 BP, for 4+2), Unarmed(for 5+2), and start a Pistols skill at 1. I would then just ditch out Infiltration and either get a spell later or buy the skill later, popping another into Pistols, for 2.

I'd take out Lightning Bolt, freeing up 3 more BP, since he'd just use guns to take care of drones at that point, and even snatch a point from a contact, bringing Pistols to 3.

So my mage would then have:
-Lightning Bolt
-Infiltration
-Summoning
-Binding
-1 point from a Contact

+Unarmed Combat(Boxing): 5(+2)
+Automatics(SMGs): 4(+2)
+ Pistols 3

Die Pools for Melee: 12/14
Automatics: 11/13(15 with Smartlinked SMG)
Pistols: 10(12 smartlinked)

He'd still throw 6 dice for Infiltration. I'd get him a nice pistol with a silencer and some Ex-Ex. Alternately, I'd switch his Unarmed Combat skill around to Blades(Swords), eventually getting him a Weapon Focus. With Blades(Swords) 5(+2) and a No-Dachi, he'd be smacking for 8P, +2 Reach, and -2 AP, and roll 14 dice(16 if he uses reach) to do so. Once he got a Force 6 weapon focus he'd school about anyone in melee.

Hmm, actually, I think I might take out his Unarmed skill even in the original build and switch it to Blades/Swords anyway, getting him the No-Dachi. I like the +2 reach dice and the damage on that thing.

I even edited the old version to have the Blades now and picked up a No-Dachi. Doesn't have much nuyen left, but ahh well. (I forget the availability, but i can always get a combat axe instead.)

Honestly, even Heirophant-my current elven sam, who was built with 750 Karma, no Availability limit, and has a 9 Strength, 9 Agility, and a lot of martial arts, hits harder than a panther cannon and has maneuvers with titanium bone lacing, would think about tangling with Big Jack head to head. He would beat him in the end toe to toe, I think if only melee was used, but if Big Jack used his spells, he could give my elf guy a run for his money, since even a Force 4 spell is pretty nasty versus a mundane. If Heirophant had to fight Big Jack one on one, he'd probably try to use his pretty good stealth skills to close in and get a surprise on Jack. He has a lot of armor and a dangerous defense pool, but even with that, 16 dice at 8P damage is something he'd think about tangling with head to head(he wouldn't know die pool, per se, but he'd see how Big Jack was pretty damn skilled with that thing.) With a Weapon Focus, Jack could likely get the advantage on him, though he'd have to contend with Heirophant's Riposte/Finishing Blow maneuvers as well.

In other words, yeah, I think Big Jack could be just as dangerous as the sam in the BBB at combat.
Octopiii
QUOTE
He has hacking programs but no computer skills so would make a very poor hacker.


Just a quick point: he has his computer skills in the form of activesofts, though looking back, I see I forgot to give him Electronic Warfare. Oops!

QUOTE
What about drones? I can't even run the numbers on this one as OMA literally can't affect them. Other than to try and pick one up with Levitate, there's nothing he can do. He has Physical Mask but his chance of affecting the drone even under the pre-Errata ORs is very small. The samurai, needless to say, isn't affected.


Well, my answer to that would be that OMA would attempt to hack the drones. That is, if he had electronic warfare to find their nodes in the first place [/facepalm]. Still, to be honest, magic was never very good at effecting technology as far as I'm concerned. An OR of 4 is equal to getting 4 successes on a resistance test, or 12 dice (that's a lot of counterspelling!). I could have given him an indirect combat spell such as lightening bolt, but the drain on those are so punishing I'm not sure it would be worth it.

But yes, OMA isn't going to be better than a specialist at anything, but he can fulfill almost every role; though as a face, he's only useful against people you don't need a working relationship with.

Also, one tactic you missed in your model fight was his ability to summon spiritual backup. Force 3 spirits aren't uber, but a Force 3 spirit throwing out confusion can still turn the tide.

Again, though, OMA doesn't prove Hermit's point. It does prove that the nerf to skillwires was necessary, however.


QUOTE
Another test could be: Can you build a mage that equals the samurai character from the BBB in combat?


That's actually not too difficult. My troll mage from a previous game could bring the pain, and soak damage with 17 dice. This was before I had Arsenal, so the number would easily get up into the 20's now. That guy had a 9 body (and no cyber).

I could easily build a mage to be just as good as mundane in ONE area, but that wasn't Hermit's point. OMA tried to replace an entire team, and I gave it my best shot, but now I'm stymied to think of a better way to do it. Multiple Increase Attribute spells, perhaps?
Apathy
Why is it that none of the mages are using a possession tradition? It grants both the survivability and high attributes that mages have such a hard time with. Granted, it gives up the versatility of manifesting spirits, but we're not trying to optimize the mage anyway. We're just trying to make him more samuri-like, right?
Octopiii
QUOTE (Apathy @ Mar 23 2009, 11:59 AM) *
Why is it that none of the mages are using a possession tradition? It grants both the survivability and high attributes that mages have such a hard time with. Granted, it gives up the versatility of manifesting spirits, but we're not trying to optimize the mage anyway. We're just trying to make him more samuri-like, right?


Well, the original point that was being made was that the SR4A changes were necessary to keep a mage from replacing an entire team. Since the summoning and possession rules weren't changed, that doesn't really prove the point. We all know Possession is powerful, after all. smile.gif
The Mack
QUOTE (Shinobi Killfist @ Mar 24 2009, 02:00 AM) *
This is something that has bothered me about the recent editions. Mages seem more able to deal with cyber than before. I'd like it so magically active characters picked up that flaw that doubled essence loss but apply it to bioware as well as a side effect of picking up a magic talent.(getting no BP for it) Also back in the day mages made poor hackers, bring back the penalty to interacting with the matrix. Make it -2 dice with AR and -4 dice in VR.



I agree on these points. I don't think it should be much of an option for mages to get cyberware and then go ahead and re increase their magic score.

I also dislike the wording of initiation and raising magic scores. It should definitely have a limit (the mag score, not initiating).


QUOTE
Why is it that none of the mages are using a possession tradition? It grants both the survivability and high attributes that mages have such a hard time with. Granted, it gives up the versatility of manifesting spirits, but we're not trying to optimize the mage anyway. We're just trying to make him more samuri-like, right?


When it comes to possession, it's one of the few places I highly approve of OR 6. While it's a cool idea to be able to possess vehicles & drones, this is the riggers territory and possession is already powerful enough. It doesn't need to be able to possess drones with a good success rate IMO.


QUOTE
Well, the original point that was being made was that the SR4A changes were necessary to keep a mage from replacing an entire team. Since the summoning and possession rules weren't changed, that doesn't really prove the point.


And I think this is why so many of us have been totally baffled by some of the changes that were made to effectively nerf certain things so hard. While other things, like the points all mentioned above, as well as Overcasting, remain unchanged. These are things I think do need fixing and instead we got the inexplicable drain mechanic and the OR table of Doom. indifferent.gif


Sorry for the OT posts.

Apathy
QUOTE (Octopiii @ Mar 23 2009, 04:02 PM) *
Well, the original point that was being made was that the SR4A changes were necessary to keep a mage from replacing an entire team. Since the summoning and possession rules weren't changed, that doesn't really prove the point. We all know Possession is powerful, after all. smile.gif

My impression had been that the original point stated that mages could replace anyone on the team, not that a single mage could replace the whole team. That a possession mage could get the stats and damage-soaking potential of a samurai. That a manifesting spirit summoner could replace the remote firepower of a drone rigger. That anything that could be shot with an assault rifle could be stun bolted or power bolted for easily-negated drain with damage that ignored armor and range penalties, and went against a stat (willpower) that was difficult to increase or protect through mundane/cyber means. No single, 400-point mage could perform all the tasks of 4 or 5 other people equally well, but that they could tailor a mage to perfom at least as well as any of the other 'classes' in their specialty. From a strictly meta-gaming perspective, there is little reason not to take the 15-point 'magician' quality, even if I want to have MBW2 and shoot a pistol.

Because mages and adepts use stats that don't cap, they have potentially unlimited growth potential. The only thing that keeps them from being gods is that they have limited BPs (or karma) to spread around. In SR4, it's not that difficult to build a mage who can both summon and cast spells at a reasonably high level. SR4(le) nerfs spellcasting some, which means that in order to be a vicious caster you'll have to specialize, and sacrifice more somewhere else, like not being able to both cast high force spells AND summon high force spirits. In my mind this is not insignificant.
Mx
QUOTE (Apathy @ Mar 23 2009, 10:58 PM) *
My impression had been that the original point stated that mages could replace anyone on the team, not that a single mage could replace the whole team.

No, Hermit really did claim that one mage can replace a whole team of runners.
knasser
QUOTE (Apathy @ Mar 23 2009, 07:59 PM) *
Why is it that none of the mages are using a possession tradition? It grants both the survivability and high attributes that mages have such a hard time with. Granted, it gives up the versatility of manifesting spirits, but we're not trying to optimize the mage anyway. We're just trying to make him more samuri-like, right?


Actually, I think I have a pretty good handle on Possession as a GM and though I'm at odds with a lot of the opinions here, I don't think it's broken. Hermit hinted that his build was going to be a Voodoo magician and that's what I was waiting for. It's true that it doesn't much help the argument that the errata changes have made magicians more balanced, but I welcome a Possession-based attempt at a Samurai from anyone who wants to have a go.

(ElFenrir, I need a little time to go over your build - I'll get to it. wink.gif )

K.
knasser

QUOTE (Octopiii)
Well, the original point that was being made was that the SR4A changes were necessary to keep a mage from replacing an entire team.


QUOTE (Apathy @ Mar 23 2009, 08:58 PM) *
My impression had been that the original point stated that mages could replace anyone on the team, not that a single mage could replace the whole team.


It's a bit of a mix. Hermit stated that a magician was a one-man team. That was too absurd to deserve a challenge, but he also stated that a magician could do anything anyone else could do so I challenged him on that. I picked a Samurai as the most apparently easy class for Hermit to duplicate.
elseif
QUOTE (Apathy @ Mar 23 2009, 09:58 PM) *
My impression had been that the original point stated that mages could replace anyone on the team, not that a single mage could replace the whole team. That a possession mage could get the stats and damage-soaking potential of a samurai.


No, this isn't the original point at all. A single mage can fill most roles in a group. That's not "replacing" anyone, that's simply filling a role in a different way. Not every group absolutely has to have a hacker; pretty much every group does need someone who can deal with certain computer related problems. Whether the person does that with magic or with computer skills is a secondary question.

The claim that mages were overpowered centered on the claim that they could do all these things, or at least several, at once. (A slightly more reasonable claim has been hinted at, namely that a single mage can do any role better than a mundane. But, while a few people have asserted this, I haven't seen any convincing evidence that mages are better, rather than different.)

QUOTE (Apathy @ Mar 23 2009, 09:58 PM) *
From a strictly meta-gaming perspective, there is little reason not to take the 15-point 'magician' quality, even if I want to have MBW2 and shoot a pistol.

I don't see why. 15 points is not a trivial expenditure, and could, in many cases, be better spent either including core abilities, or, if you plan to eventually have additional abilities, start to work on those.

QUOTE (Apathy @ Mar 23 2009, 09:58 PM) *
Because mages and adepts use stats that don't cap, they have potentially unlimited growth potential. The only thing that keeps them from being gods is that they have limited BPs (or karma) to spread around.

The only thing that keeps anyone from being a god is that they have limited BP/karma/nuyen to spend. With unlimited resources, I could max every attribute, skill, and buy top notch equipment, easily enough to replace, say, the street sam, hacker, rigger, and face from a group, all without magic.

But I can't do it with a starting character, or even a late-game character in almost any game.

If mages really did break that---if a starting mage could replace multiple roles---that would suggest that mages were OP. But I have yet to see any evidence of that.
Mx
QUOTE (elseif @ Mar 23 2009, 11:15 PM) *
I don't see why. 15 points is not a trivial expenditure, and could, in many cases, be better spent either including core abilities, or, if you plan to eventually have additional abilities, start to work on those.

Especially becouse with Move-by-Wire 2 it's not 15 but 45 points for magic 1.
knasser
QUOTE (Octopiii @ Mar 23 2009, 07:57 PM) *
Just a quick point: he has his computer skills in the form of activesofts, though looking back, I see I forgot to give him Electronic Warfare. Oops!


Ohhhh. Really sorry for missing that. The stupid thing is that I noticed them earlier but I've been working so hard today that my brain is starting to drop things. I think I'm going to have a system crash shortly. frown.gif

Yes, that does change things slightly and it's not too late to swap out that First Aid Activesoft for Electronic Warfare. It's not ideal. It means you can only have two of those skills at once and it's a Simple Action to swap one in. Could be bad at the wrong moment and I'd rather have the skills. Can't use Edge, either. But he fulfils the secondary role a lot better than I said he did. So not bad.

I think I'll revise this character up to being around 70% Samurai. He's still going to be exposed as a magician now and then. wink.gif

QUOTE (Octopiii @ Mar 23 2009, 07:57 PM) *
Well, my answer to that would be that OMA would attempt to hack the drones. That is, if he had electronic warfare to find their nodes in the first place [/facepalm]. Still, to be honest, magic was never very good at effecting technology as far as I'm concerned. An OR of 4 is equal to getting 4 successes on a resistance test, or 12 dice (that's a lot of counterspelling!). I could have given him an indirect combat spell such as lightening bolt, but the drain on those are so punishing I'm not sure it would be worth it.


Indirect wouldn't be worth it with this character. He's not that good a magician. It depends a bit on what sort of standards GM's use but he'd have trouble protecting himself from attacking drones with those abilities in my game. Not saying couldn't, but would be pretty chancy. I think we're in agreement that the build is in trouble when faced with mechanical enemies?

QUOTE (Octopiii @ Mar 23 2009, 07:57 PM) *
But yes, OMA isn't going to be better than a specialist at anything, but he can fulfill almost every role; though as a face, he's only useful against people you don't need a working relationship with.


I'm not sure he fills the role of "magician" very well. wink.gif But yes - he covers different roles better than I expected. But he's no Samurai. He just lacks the staying power.

QUOTE (Octopiii @ Mar 23 2009, 07:57 PM) *
Also, one tactic you missed in your model fight was his ability to summon spiritual backup. Force 3 spirits aren't uber, but a Force 3 spirit throwing out confusion can still turn the tide.


Yep. Spirits are good and even Force 3's are useful. I missed it out of my analysis not because it isn't a good thing for this build, but because it's not supplanting any of the Samurai's role. You could say a spirit helps soak some of the fire directed at him, but if he's got to summon a spirit in combat then that's a precious Complex action that the samurai would have used blasting people and it's bound in advance then that's 1,500 nuyen.gif spent to soak some damage or do a few extra boxes of damage that the samurai would do for free (or at least the cost of a few bullets).
Apathy
QUOTE (Mäx @ Mar 23 2009, 05:22 PM) *
Especially becouse with Move-by-Wire 2 it's not 15 but 45 points for magic 1.

Good point. I've always thought that the most [potentially] munchkiny quality in the game is latent awakening on a 1.0 essence character. Sooner or later, you're going to awaken as either an adept or mage with magic one, which would have cost you six points of magic and the 15-point quality if taken at chargen. All for just 5 BPs.

Truth is, for me it's all just theory. I've never had a group stick together long enough to get more than about 100 karma, which is nowhere near the point of diminishing returns for sammies. And unless I powergame, it doesn't really matter anyway.
suppenhuhn

Ok, here'S my go with a possession mage grinbig.gif

Gaylord van Horn, Elven Savant

Metatype : Ork
Magician (Voodoo)

Attributes
Body: 5
Agility: 5
Reaction: 5
Strength: 3
Charisma: 4
Intuition: 3
Logic: 2
Willpower: 5

Edge: 1
Magic: 5
Initiative: 8
Essence: 6


Active Skills
Summoning (Guardian spirits) : 5+2
Binding (Guardian spirits) : 5+2
Assensing : 1
First Aid (Magical drain damage) : 3+2
Spellcasting : 3
Counterspelling : 3
Con : 2
Inflitration : 2
Perception : 2

Knowledge Skills
English : N
Sperethiel : 2
Magic Background (Path of Voodoo) : 3+2
Elven Society : 2
Club Circuit (Elf Clubs) : 2+2
Club Music (Elven Rap) : 2+2
Spirits : 2

Positive Qualities
Adrenaline Surge

Negative Qualities
In Debt
Elf poser

Weapons
FN HAR
300x Normal Ammo
50x SnS
50x Ex-Ex
Hammerli 620S
10x Narcojet Gas Grenade

Armors
Chick clothing
Mortimers Ulysses Line (6/4)
FFBA Half-Body Suit (4/1)

Vehicles
Eurocar Westwind 3K (third hand)

Equipments
Summoning Focus (Guardian) (Rating 3)
Power Focus (Rating 2)
Medkit (Rating 6)
6x Stimulant Patch (Rating 6)
Fake Sin (Rating 4)

Spells
Shapechange
Detect Enemies

Spirits
Guardian Spirit (5 tasks)

Contacts
4 points

Combat Form
16 dice with assault rifle
15 dice to dodge
Body 10
Armor 20/15(10/10 Hardened)
Reaction 10
Initiative 15
IP 2

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