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WeaverMount
What do you think?
Stahlseele
Yes and Yes i think.
Caadium
I voted that I do not think that Magic is broken but I also admit that I've seen magic break a game. This only seems like a contradiction (as the popular votes match) until you think about it this way:

I've seen magic break a game. I've seen different tech builds break a game. There are MANY options that can break a game, therefore I don't feel that magic is any more broken than them and therefore I don't consider it to be 'broken' by itself.
Socinus
I think a game is only as broken as its GM allows it to be. If the GM finds that a particular character is overly powerful then they should be flexible enough to adjust things a little to account for that.
ludomastro
No and No.

I don't think that magic as originally written is broken, and I definitely don't think that SR4A magic is broken. I have never had a mage break a game - oddball specialist, yes, mage, no.
suppenhuhn
Yes and Yes.

I think what brakes magic is the unlimited amount of initiation that is possible whereas a mundane character starts almost at the height of his abilities.
Many of the drawbacks magic has simply are not relevant for somewhat high level initiates anymore, that aims especially towards possession and cyberware/bioware implants.
IMHO magic should be capped at essence, maybe allow 1 or 2 levels of initiation and raise skill caps to 12 or so.

/edit
that'S not aimed at magicians btw, but at all awakened chars.
There's simply no crunchy reason to play a mundane.
Malicant
Or maybe you're just wrong? Yes, sounds about right. rotfl.gif
knasser
At the time of posting, the votes are: 6 to 16 and 10 to 12 for the respective questions and options.

Therefore this poll says that even amongst those have seen a mage break their game, they're not attributing the cause to being the magic system itself. I've not had a magician break a game, but I've come very close to a pure Samurai breaking my game. I think the issue may be that Shadowrun allows a wide range of abilities to be produced by players with a 400BP build. And I want to be clear that it's a good thing, imo, that this is so. But it does mean that if you have a group that's mostly on one level but someone introduces a character that's at a noticably higher level, they can appear game-breaking.
Maelstrome
i dont think its broken. i really dont think any of sr is broken. there are a few things i dont think belong but thats it.

anything can only be as broken as a game master lets it be. every group ive been in had super specialists in it. a few guys were combat monsters. i was a magic monster, and we had a guy that was a matrix monster. and i never consider any of it broken.
suppenhuhn
QUOTE (Malicant @ Mar 23 2009, 02:04 AM) *
Or maybe you're just wrong? Yes, sounds about right. rotfl.gif

So, where is a mundane performing better then an awakened?
Malicant
QUOTE (suppenhuhn @ Mar 23 2009, 02:10 AM) *
So, where is a mundane performing better then an awakened?
Since you are being so delightfully vague: yes, right over there.
suppenhuhn
QUOTE (Malicant @ Mar 23 2009, 02:15 AM) *
Since you are being so delightfully vague: yes, right over there.

+1
Maelstrome
ive seen cybered mundanes take out magic users. ive seen non cybered mundanes take out people just as fast.

guns dont cause drain and bullets are cheap. caseless ammo is harder to trace if at all.
Degausser
I think BBB magic is not broken. It is fine as it is. As the book notes, you cannot go all day casting spells with no ill effects. At some point, no matter how good you are, you are going to suffer drain (by rolling poorly) and then you become crappier and crappier. Yes magic is very effective, yes it has it's place, but it is not super powerful compared to other things, like a fully tricked out street sam, or a hacker. (I don't care how awesome of a mage you are, you can't be a great mage and still hack. I have yet to see a 400BP mage hacker beat a 400 BP mundane hacker. And you NEED hackers to take care of security on runs.)

Now, I think shadowrun has problems in the SOURCEBOOKS. Augmentation provides rules for a couple additional pieces of cyber/bioware. Nothing that breaks the bank, but they are all pretty cool. Street magic and other books though, give Magic a huge boost, that I think gives them far better powers than someone else. When you roll up with your posessed blood mage bogady-boo, it gets pretty out of hand pretty fast. just my two cents.
Sir_Psycho
I think that magic can be broken, but it is so dependant on the player's attitude. Sure, spells and spirits are pretty powerful, but the cost of creating a decent magician, such as the cost for the Magic Attribute, the Conjuring and Sorcery skill groups, Drain stats, etc. basically preclude an average 400bp/750karma magician being anything but a magician. It's hard to make a well rounded magician, I find. They are in some ways specialists, but spells and spirits allow them to have a wider range of abilities, although not all their weaknesses can really be accounted for, I find.

With that said, I've never played with a magician who broke the game. Of course it's possible, I just don't see it as a huge problem. I also don't think the SR4A changes were really necessary. Spells that are affected by the new Object Resistance rulings were already pretty monstrous in terms of drain, and now they're unlikely to succeed as well. As has been discussed to death, there is little change to direct combat spells when you take into account overcasting being unchanged, which seems to encourage it.
Cain
I've seen it recently. A mage in my game successfully bound a Force 16 spirit, with over 9 services. A Force 16 spirit is impossible to hurt with mundane means, and is highly resistant to magical ones as well. With careful use of its services, the team became impossible to affect: for example, F16 Concealment means they're effectively invisible.

That doesn't mean the system overall is broken, but it does mean it has parts that break easily. Two totally different things.
fistandantilus4.0
The most broken characters I've seen are always mundanes that make substantial use of tech and cyber, with the occassional nasty little adept w/ cyber. It takes a lot longer for a mage to get to game breaking levels than it does for a mundane with money.
Socinus
QUOTE (suppenhuhn @ Mar 23 2009, 01:01 AM) *
There's simply no crunchy reason to play a mundane.

How about fun?

Shadowrun isnt about performing well nor is it a quest for Ubermensch.

Give me a clever player with a mundane over an ordinary one with the best spellcaster any day of the week. Cleverness and skill can beat out high stats consistently. Perfectly example, I was watching a game online and the arch-nemesis of this game was a crazy good spellcaster NPC. I personally thought he was almost un-beatable but one of the players proved me wrong. They were battling in a warehouse that housed industrial supplies, including tanks of oxygen and other industrial gasses. The player took a shot at a tank near the spellcaster, broke it open, and the tank blew up. It took out half the warehouse and dinged up the protagonists rather much, but the spellcaster was done for.

Its being clever that makes a strong character, not stats.
WeaverMount
QUOTE (suppenhuhn @ Mar 22 2009, 08:01 PM) *
There's simply no crunchy reason to play a mundane.


QUOTE (Socinus @ Mar 22 2009, 08:52 PM) *
How about fun?



Seriously if the devs wanted to make SR more fun they should have lowered the cost of fun to (new rating) x 2
Malicant
QUOTE (Cain @ Mar 23 2009, 02:45 AM) *
I've seen it recently. A mage in my game successfully bound a Force 16 spirit, with over 9 services. A Force 16 spirit is impossible to hurt with mundane means, and is highly resistant to magical ones as well. With careful use of its services, the team became impossible to affect: for example, F16 Concealment means they're effectively invisible.
This is plain scary. But nothing Gauss weaponry can't take care off. I hope.

That spirit must have had some sucker rolls, really...
Degausser
QUOTE (suppenhuhn @ Mar 22 2009, 09:01 PM) *
There's simply no crunchy reason to play a mundane.

I am going to go with at least one.

BP

Making an awakened character means an automatic deduction of 5, 10, or 15 BP, plus an additional 40 or 65 (for rating 5 or 6 magic)BPs for buying your magic attribute up. If you want to make an adept hacker, that is basically 45 points off of your character. Sure you can boost your hacking skills, and that is good, but you still need to spend a ton of BPs on cash for your commlink and programs, plus all those skills you need (Hacking skill group, computers skill group, plus whatever other skills you will need as a hacker to survive.) Meanwhile, a mundane hacker can be spending his BP on more skills, more attributes, or good qualities like "Natural Hardening" or "Codeslinger," and many of these qualities cannot be bought later with karma. In short, the crunchy reason to play a mundane is to save on BP.
Draco18s
The only magic I've seen that broke a game was when the toxic shaman used Acid Aura at the table (we needed a new table).

wink.gif
Maelstrome
QUOTE (Socinus @ Mar 23 2009, 02:52 AM) *
Its being clever that makes a strong character, not stats.


thank you very much. could not have said it better myself.
JonathanC
QUOTE (Socinus @ Mar 22 2009, 05:38 PM) *
I think a game is only as broken as its GM allows it to be. If the GM finds that a particular character is overly powerful then they should be flexible enough to adjust things a little to account for that.

While this is always true, it is also a cop-out to defend poorly balanced rulesets. Magic is too versatile in Shadowrun, as it allows mages to replace nearly any other role in the game, often with the same basic build. Sure, you can't hack a node with it, but unless you're doing data collection, you probably will never need to hack anything if you have a mage. Need to get somewhere? Movement spirit power. Need something dead? A mage has several damage options, including several that ignore or halve armor. Need to soak damage? A mage wearing decent body armor with the spell stacked on top of it will likely be the match of your average Sam, PLUS they can throw up a physical barrier for extra protection. If they only had a spell to let them walk through walls, they could go on runs by themselves.
Agent 333
By my reading of the rules, I think Magic can do some pretty broken things... however, as I've only actually run three sessions and the only mages in the campaign are all GM controlled, I've not see one break a game yet. But I imagine a dedicated summoner could obviate the need for some other characters....
Socinus
QUOTE (JonathanC @ Mar 23 2009, 03:19 AM) *
While this is always true, it is also a cop-out to defend poorly balanced rulesets. Magic is too versatile in Shadowrun, as it allows mages to replace nearly any other role in the game, often with the same basic build. Sure, you can't hack a node with it, but unless you're doing data collection, you probably will never need to hack anything if you have a mage. Need to get somewhere? Movement spirit power. Need something dead? A mage has several damage options, including several that ignore or halve armor. Need to soak damage? A mage wearing decent body armor with the spell stacked on top of it will likely be the match of your average Sam, PLUS they can throw up a physical barrier for extra protection. If they only had a spell to let them walk through walls, they could go on runs by themselves.

Mages are versatile, true, but they are hardly over-powered. In my experience, you cant build an un-killable character even if you seriously fracture the character creation rules. A great challenge simply means you have to be slick about how you handle it. I'd happily match a mage with a mundane.
JonathanC
QUOTE (Socinus @ Mar 22 2009, 07:29 PM) *
Mages are versatile, true, but they are hardly over-powered. In my experience, you cant build an un-killable character even if you seriously fracture the character creation rules. A great challenge simply means you have to be slick about how you handle it. I'd happily match a mage with a mundane.

You can indeed make an un-killable character, or at least someone close enough that it breaks the game. And there's nothing illegal about it, so unless you want to quibble with your players about making themselves "too competent",you're screwed. At least if they make some kind of Troll tank he'll be a certified moron with no social skills. You can make a reasonably indestructible mage (I've seen my players do it) and still be fairly competent in other ways as well.

No other "specialty" is as generally useful as magic. As a result, nobody I know who understands the rules of SR4 willingly plays anything that isn't a mage unless they're out on a lark.
Cain
QUOTE (Malicant @ Mar 22 2009, 06:55 PM) *
This is plain scary. But nothing Gauss weaponry can't take care off. I hope.

That spirit must have had some sucker rolls, really...

Gauss Weaponry tends to bounce off. As for sucker rolls, whenever I GM, I will critically botch at least one roll per session.

QUOTE
No other "specialty" is as generally useful as magic. As a result, nobody I know who understands the rules of SR4 willingly plays anything that isn't a mage unless they're out on a lark.

I do. And I have the game-breaking mundane to prove it. The mods have banned me from discussing the exact methods and stories involved, so you're going to have to search them out on your own; however, the facts are clear. Mundanes can break the game just as easily as anyone else.
Draco18s
QUOTE (JonathanC @ Mar 23 2009, 12:19 AM) *
You can indeed make an un-killable character, or at least someone close enough that it breaks the game.


See Bobson's 800BP character. Troll with 25 armor and 17 Body? 14 Body? Something along those lines. The only thing that scares him are the (naval mounted) Ares Gaus Cannons. 18P damage with AP -10 (all armor except Smart Armor is halved first). It still takes 3 shots to bring him down.
Muspellsheimr
QUOTE (Cain @ Mar 22 2009, 09:54 PM) *
Gauss Weaponry tends to bounce off. As for sucker rolls, whenever I GM, I will critically botch at least one roll per session.

9P Base vs. 12 Hardened Armor. With a 4-called-shot, all you need to do is hit to reduce the spirit to at least half health, on average. Yes, if you are dumbass & try to take on the spirit face-to-face, this is going to be difficult, but not impossible. Otherwise, that spirit is dead very fast.
Muspellsheimr
QUOTE (Draco18s @ Mar 22 2009, 09:55 PM) *
See Bobson's 800BP character. Troll with 25 armor and 17 Body? 14 Body? Something along those lines. The only thing that scares him are the (naval mounted) Ares Gaus Cannons. 18P damage with AP -10 (all armor except Smart Armor is halved first). It still takes 3 shots to bring him down.

That is nothing. I can create a 400-BP character with minimum 15 Body & armor in the 30-40 range. This character is mundane.
Socinus
I still maintain that if you have an character that's hard to kill, your only real problem is a lack of creativity.

That's part of why I enjoy games like Shadowrun, even if you're some sort of combat behemoth you can still get laid flat by someone who out-foxed you.

I wish there was a way for us to meet and play a game, I'm more than happy to back up my claims.
JonathanC
QUOTE (Socinus @ Mar 22 2009, 10:52 PM) *
I still maintain that if you have an character that's hard to kill, your only real problem is a lack of creativity.

That's part of why I enjoy games like Shadowrun, even if you're some sort of combat behemoth you can still get laid flat by someone who out-foxed you.

I wish there was a way for us to meet and play a game, I'm more than happy to back up my claims.

You're welcome to come out to the Bay Area. I can accept that it is possible to have game breaking mundanes, but to say that it is equally easy to make them as it is to make and play a game-breaking magician is just ridiculous, and obviously untrue. I'm far from the first person to point out how ridiculously skewed the system is towards magic. They've continually expanded what magic can do with each edition, but have done little to nothing in the way of changing mundane abilities. Furthermore, since magicians can take cyber/nano/bio/whatever, but mundantes can never use any sort of magical object, things never WILL be balanced.
Zurai
QUOTE (JonathanC @ Mar 23 2009, 02:35 AM) *
but have done little to nothing in the way of changing mundane abilities.


Wireless.

Next silly absolute statement?
Draco18s
QUOTE (Muspellsheimr @ Mar 23 2009, 01:51 AM) *
That is nothing. I can create a 400-BP character with minimum 15 Body & armor in the 30-40 range. This character is mundane.


I doubt that armor level, I really do.
Socinus
QUOTE (JonathanC @ Mar 23 2009, 06:35 AM) *
You're welcome to come out to the Bay Area. I can accept that it is possible to have game breaking mundanes, but to say that it is equally easy to make them as it is to make and play a game-breaking magician is just ridiculous, and obviously untrue. I'm far from the first person to point out how ridiculously skewed the system is towards magic. They've continually expanded what magic can do with each edition, but have done little to nothing in the way of changing mundane abilities. Furthermore, since magicians can take cyber/nano/bio/whatever, but mundantes can never use any sort of magical object, things never WILL be balanced.

Im not saying you can easily make game breaking mundanes, I'm saying I don't think magic is as powerful as all that and I don't think its that unbalanced. Magic is certainly far less subtle and requires much less creativity (generally) to produce results but I don't think it has such overbalanced advantages.

I still maintain that if you've got a character that's breaking the game, the problem is with your GM, not your character. If your GM cant adapt and change gameplay to make things a little tougher on that character but still keep the game fun, then maybe you should find a new GM.

I believe you CAN make a character that will break the game if you play strictly by the book and that its easier to do that with magic. However I think even the least experienced person here knows that NO ONE plays 100% by the book.
Muspellsheimr
20 Armor from cyber-limbs. 6 Armor from FFBA. 6 Armor from Urban Explorer Jumpsuit. 1 Natural Armor from Dermal Deposites. We are already at 33, and if I remember correctly, we still have one, maybe two Restricted Gear qualities available, if you want to go with SWAT instead of Jumsuit.

Body would be a minimum of 10; I would need to double check, but I am fairly certain the Availability/Slots on the limbs can still bring it up to 15+.


Edit: Apparently Armor Availability for limbs is higher than I thought, so reduce it to 10 from limbs. That still puts you in mid to high 20's during character generation - and you can still tack on PPP & Shield.
Draco18s
QUOTE (Muspellsheimr @ Mar 23 2009, 02:50 AM) *
20 Armor from cyber-limbs.


Ah ha, there's the silly twinkyness I was missing. I still think it's bizarre that cyberlimb armor works the way it does.
Muspellsheimr
Yes. It should average, like every other cyberlimb stat, but it does not - it stacks. It also stacks, for some reason, with natural armor, even if you have all limbs, torso, & skull replaced.
Medicineman
I Think a genetically optimized,surged,extraordinary Troll with a maxed CON of 13 with a suprathyroid gland ,Cyber Torso & Skull(F.E. or Dermal Plating) & Titanbonelacing can Put on the heaviest Military Armor ,Pick Up a Shield (or if Munchkin 2 Shields)
for a CON of 14(+3) and Armor of 10/10+18/15+6/4(or 12/8) for a Total of 34/29(40/33)
But this has allready been discussed here some Times (IIRC)

JahtaHey
Medicineman
pbangarth
I don't believe magic is broken, but I saw, in fact participated in a game in which magic broke it because it was poorly written with the expectation that no one would perceive a particular threat.

It was a Virtual Seattle game (missions before Missions) at Gencon called Culture Shock. It took characters out of the city into the wild, where their urban skills were not ├╝ber skills. The first encounter was in a deserted town, occupied by a mother piasma and her cubs, during a mana storm. The piasma was supposed to surprise the party and do nasty things to their vehicle, if not the characters too. The rest of the adventure was predicated upon the team being on foot, and more vulnerable. And there were repercussions for damaging the bears.

Our party had a rigger with an off-road-capable vehicle, and four Awakened characters able to project astrally. We stopped before the abandoned town and all four scouted it astrally. Come on... an abandoned town, in a storm? The background count made things difficult, but one of them noticed the cubs. Where there are cubs there is a mother, so we skirted their location widely, thanks to the keen driving skills of the rigger. The rest of the adventure was a cakewalk. Blood-sucking flying thingies, that couldn't get through the armour. Hellhounds that couldn't catch us. And bear-loving rangers who were helpful to people who didn't hurt the piasma or her cubs. The secret facility in the woods at the end of it all was a bit of a challenge.

The only reason it was easy for us is that we had enough magical surveillance to overcome what was though to be impenetrable interference. Every other team that went through this had real troubles with the bear, and then other stuff later.

I ran a couple of rounds of this mission as GM, and had fun with the piasma flipping vehicles to get at the 'soft underbelly'. Oh yeah, and one PC met the rangers with a bear paw hung around his neck. lick.gif
Cain
QUOTE
I believe you CAN make a character that will break the game if you play strictly by the book and that its easier to do that with magic.

Not really. Edge 8 + any competent mundane build = game-breaker. No need to go mucking about with magical skills, spells, or spirits. And you can't have a viable mage build with an Edge of 8; I've tried.

Like I said, I've been banned from discussing the specifics; but let's just say that if you want to see some incredible things, you just need a high Edge to pull it off.
darthmord
Simple solution to that high force spirit... Mana Static. Any decent mage will be able to cast it with a good Force. It's a 1 for 1 reduction in the spirit, especially if said spirit has reason to stay in the area of the effect (tasked with defeating a target and the target stays in the AOE).

True, it's not a mundane solution but still. It's quite effective, can be cast by a low end mage, and makes a powerful spirit much easier for mundanes to deal with.

Come to think of it... make a Sustained version of that spell and it gets downright obnoxious, especially if you make a sustaining focus that can hold it from within the AOE. High enough force all around and the spell pretty much ensures magical security from all but the most dangerous of threats. But it would neuter you / your group's magical abilities within the field.
knasser
QUOTE (Cain @ Mar 23 2009, 12:22 PM) *
Not really. Edge 8 + any competent mundane build = game-breaker. No need to go mucking about with magical skills, spells, or spirits. And you can't have a viable mage build with an Edge of 8; I've tried.

Like I said, I've been banned from discussing the specifics; but let's just say that if you want to see some incredible things, you just need a high Edge to pull it off.


The reason you were banned from discussing it was because you would turn every single thread you posted in into an eight page nuclear-scale flamewar in which the entire membership of Dumpshock told you your bizarre intepretation of the Edge rules was wrong and you would never, ever, answer the points put to you. And this is you "not discussing it", is it?

@Malicant: The reason Cain's character allegedly had a Force 16 spirit (if this is true) is because he doesn't use the same rules that everybody else uses. It would not happen in any other game.
pbangarth
QUOTE (knasser @ Mar 23 2009, 08:44 AM) *
The reason you were banned from discussing it ...


You had to bite, didn't you?
knasser
QUOTE (pbangarth @ Mar 23 2009, 03:17 PM) *
You had to bite, didn't you?


It's either that or endless little "I'm not allowed to say this but..." comments that present personal rules warping as facts. I'm not much in favour of banning topics, but I think anyone interested should go back and read any of the locked threads on this before they decide they actually have something new to add. (I count two locked threads at 21 and 14 pages each, along with two that simply expired in exhaustion and disbelief at 6 and 10 pages). I don't know how many other threads were damaged in the Cain vs. Reality wars, but I have no wish to see it all sneak back up again. If Cain is going to go around posting little comments about how Edge can be used to achieve X when that's factually incorrect, then that's exactly where we'll end up again.
pbangarth
While writing my dissertation, I have taken part-time work substitute teaching in a middle school. I have had occasion to work with children who suffer from Oppositional Defiant Disorder ( see Link for description and management).

One of the key strategies suggested for managing this disorder is to refuse to be engaged in the arguments and posturing. If a Dumpshock member is exhibiting behaviour you perceive as oppositional and obstinately illogical, you may wish to try some of the suggested strategies. They work even for those not diagnosed as ODD.
Malachi
QUOTE (knasser @ Mar 23 2009, 11:38 AM) *
... the Cain vs. Reality wars...

rotfl.gif

As an aside, I should point out that the Edge sections have been changed in SR4A. The Hand of God rule now states that the character should not escape without consequences and should be "out of action" for the rest of the adventure. The Long Shot Test now suggests that Edge be reduced by 1 for every 3 points the modifiers are below the character's DP.

EDIT: Oh, and there is now a line in the Data Search Threshold table that listed "Protected or Secret" information have a Data Search Threshold of "N/A." (As that was one of Cain's other "beefs")
darthmord
QUOTE (Malachi @ Mar 23 2009, 12:20 PM) *
rotfl.gif

As an aside, I should point out that the Edge sections have been changed in SR4A. The Hand of God rule now states that the character should not escape without consequences and should be "out of action" for the rest of the adventure. The Long Shot Test now suggests that Edge be reduced by 1 for every 3 points the modifiers are below the character's DP.

EDIT: Oh, and there is now a line in the Data Search Threshold table that listed "Protected or Secret" information have a Data Search Threshold of "N/A." (As that was one of Cain's other "beefs")


So in other words, some of what he was voicing concern over had merit? Isn't that why we give feedback and ask questions?
DireRadiant
It's actually disappointing the rules got extended to make explicit the conclusion that there are simply somethings that can't be discovered with a Data Search. I would much rather have more new material and other fun items in the book then something countering the argument "the data search table doesn't say I can't find it if I look long enough so I can!"

The same applies to the Edge Long Shot scenario. If you allow Edge for everything then don't be surprised if everything being Edge and all Edge. Which isn't as rich with choices. If you take that path and end up somewhere you don't like, then don't take that path.

I'd much rather have gotten more new material.
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