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Falling Icicle
Hi, I just recently got the 4th edition book for Shadowrun. I played 2nd and 3rd edition years ago. It seems that in the new edition, not only do Shamans have to pay 5 extra points just to have a totem spirit (apparently they don't even need to have one anymore), but hermetics can get a "mentor spirit" as well? Am I understanding this correctly?
Correct. There are also no more domains for spirits.
Yes. You have read that correctly.

Totems are optional for Shamans. Personally, I consider this similar to shamans from past editions who took Coyote as a mentor or who cycled through totems (can't recall which book that was from).

As for Hermetics and others who couldn't have them before... well... I just decided to go with it. It made enough sense to me that they could have formed a bond with a Jungian Archetype, free spirit, or something similar.

Also make note of differences in summoning between editions. No more Domains. Also, Hermetics and Shamans summon spirits in a (game mechanically) similar fashion now.

Falling Icicle
Cool, thanks.

So how do spirits work without domains? Can they be summoned anywhere and go anywhere?
Yes, pretty much.
There is still some left over aspect to powers and domains though. Some powers, for example the movement power I think, talk about affecting targets in the spirit's "domain". So while an earth elemental could use movement on a car on the ground (it's domain?), an air elemental could not (but it could use the power on a flying drone in the air, while the earth elemental couldn't). I think. I don't have the books with me right now.
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