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Regiment
Not asking for a build or anything...

Just was hoping to get a list of a few things not to forget when making this character, or a few tips and tricks to make it fly better, since it's a bit spread out.

Here's the thought:

Chaos mage type.
Reading in Street Magic, I kinda dug on the whole technophile mage concept. Has a thing for gadgets, loves AR, even some basic hacking-as-a-hobby and matrix skills. But, overall, is a well rounded mage for the group focusing on combat, and even subscribing to The Outpost or MET2000 SubContractor Node for training and virtual combat to get tips from the pros and keep an edge.
So what would be some of the better options for this character starting out?
What would some of the better tricks known by you pro's be?
More importantly, what would be essential and not able to be left-out or forgotten?

Thanks in advance, I look forward to it all.
knasser
Hmmmm. So much depends on what you personally want to achieve. It also depends a little on the nature of the game. In my games (and I think most people's), you certainly need to be able to manage at least some social graces (read: etqiuette). And Perception is vital for all characters.

Mage specific though: decide early on if you're going to go cyber or not. It costs you that point of Essence and thus Magic, but you can get a lot for it and a Chaos mage may have less issue with the idea than a Shaman. For example: cybereyes. As a human you don't have natural low-light or thermographic. Goggles wont substitute because they can't be used for spellcasting. Paid for with Essence cybereyes, however, can. You could squeeze some Orthoskin in there too, but that's a lot of cred. Some people liked Skillwires but the cost has gone through the roof post-errata.

In terms of Conjuring, Binding and Spellcasting, these can eat up the points. Don't feel obliged to max things out, but do pick up specialisations for each of them. For Chaos Magicians, all of the spirits are similar(ish) i.e. you don't have Guardian or Task spirits, so pick whichever suits your fancy. But Fire spirits can be pretty offensive and Spirits of Man have a lot of utility. If you think you'll be relying on spirits a lot, grab a spirit focus. Be warned in advance that Binding spirits all the time can eat into your profits a lot. It is probably also worth picking up a specialisation in Counterspelling (Combat Spells) as well. Magicians bleed BP, so look for every good bargain you can get. wink.gif

On the subject of foci, (a) check if your GM cares about Focus addiction (b) decide how important stealth is to you because until you get to your second initiation and (assuming you decided to), you have spent TWO of your precious metamagics on Masking and Extended Masking, then you'll shine like a Christmas tree on the Astral with multiple Foci.

Spell selection. Manaball is the first thing anyone turns to when they want to show Magic rules are broken, so that probably means you should get it. Get an Indirect Combat spell for emergencies. As that most often means drones, get an Electricity based one. Drain is a killer but it's effective. Also the secondary effects are useful against Counterspelling enemy magicians that you can't get through to with Direct Combat spells.

Really, your spell selection is going to be something that depends massively on what you want to achieve. I prefer Deflection to Armour though. And you're going to want some way of getting more IP. With lots of money you could get Synaptic Boosters (ouch!) Or you could get a sustaining focus for half the price and have the possibility of more IP. I'd prefer the latter myself, though there are disadvantages. Improved Invisibility and Levitate are very useful and fun. Mask and Trid Mask are also great for inventive players.

If you have gone the cyber route and you're wondering what else you can spend the rest of that 1 point essence hole on after you got the cybereyes, other options are: Platelet factories (good for overcasting) and the rather good Damage Compensator for when the dice don't love you on your drain test.

It's such a big area, but I hope the above is useful.

K.
Neraph
My greatest suggestions for cybering a mage is starting with a R4 (5 with restricted gear) Alpha-Grade Skillwire set. Costs 0.64 Essence. And now you can get Personalized, R3 Pluscode skillsofts, running in a cluster (which will help reduce the cost).

Another idea I had kicking around was a cyber-forearm that was a Power Focus, with spurs inside it that were a Weapon Focus.

EDIT:
QUOTE
Magicians bleed BP, so look for every good bargain you can get.

That was exactly my thinking when I did the skillwires build. And what's interesting is that (technically) if you Skill-Cluster two skills that run at rating 1 (two level 1 skills, or two skills of a higher rating that, due to Pluscoding, run as level 1), they effectively run at 0 capacity.

It's kind of expensive, but you can get 330,000 nY on a chargen character (50 BP cash, 10 BP Born Rich, 10 BP cash, -30 BP In Debt), which will help you start with 8-ish r4 Skillsofts (r3 Pluscoded, Personalized).
Larme
Just be aware that under the current errata, activesofts cost rating x 10k, not 3k. Neraph prolly knows that, what with suggesting 330k resources, but a lot of people are still using the old book and haven't downloaded (or thoroughly perused) the errata. But yeah, if you really throw your yen into it, you can still make a pretty diverse character using skillwires. And mages might be a good candidate for that, because almost all of their power is from spending BP. They can get foci that help a lot, but a mage can get by without foci.
Shinobi Killfist
If I wanted to throw the big dice(and it was allowed) out of the gate for magic I'd probably take restricted gear power focus 4. Total cost is 29 BPs and you get 4 dice for all your magic attribute related tests.

5 magic, 5 spellcasting, 5 summoning =14 dice at the two main things you do, toss spells and summon spirits.

But for things I don't want to forget spellcasting, counterspelling, summoning all 4+. The heal spell, an attack spell, levitate. Perception, assensing, and etiquette.

Things I'm willing to forget.
Ritual magic, I like the flavor but I never use it and rarely useful.
Banishing: just stunbolt the spirit its easier.
Binding: This one is a bit more useful, but it costs a lot of nuyen to bind a spirit and any spirit at a useful force can be brutal on the drain resistance. I'd rather summon a force 6 spirit on the fly than bind a force 4 spirit in advance. And a force 4 spirit is almost painfully easy to summon on the fly, so why bind and waste 2,000 nuyen and ave 6 drain. I still usually take it, but I'm not that bothered about getting it to a good skill level. If I can fit it in sure, but otherwise nope.
Astral Combat: I totally dig the flavor, but again just stun bolt the thing.
Larme
QUOTE (Shinobi Killfist @ Jun 21 2009, 02:44 PM) *
If I wanted to throw the big dice(and it was allowed) out of the gate for magic I'd probably take restricted gear power focus 4. Total cost is 29 BPs and you get 4 dice for all your magic attribute related tests.

5 magic, 5 spellcasting, 5 summoning =14 dice at the two main things you do, toss spells and summon spirits.

But for things I don't want to forget spellcasting, counterspelling, summoning all 4+. The heal spell, an attack spell, levitate. Perception, assensing, and etiquette.

Things I'm willing to forget.
Ritual magic, I like the flavor but I never use it and rarely useful.
Banishing: just stunbolt the spirit its easier.
Binding: This one is a bit more useful, but it costs a lot of nuyen to bind a spirit and any spirit at a useful force can be brutal on the drain resistance. I'd rather summon a force 6 spirit on the fly than bind a force 4 spirit in advance. And a force 4 spirit is almost painfully easy to summon on the fly, so why bind and waste 2,000 nuyen and ave 6 drain. I still usually take it, but I'm not that bothered about getting it to a good skill level. If I can fit it in sure, but otherwise nope.
Astral Combat: I totally dig the flavor, but again just stun bolt the thing.


Don't leave out specializations and mentor bonuses in your dice pool calculations, those are some of the most important and cheapest ones. So figure out which school and which spirits you like the most, and then choose specializations and mentors accordingly. Spellcasting (combat) and a mentor with +2 to combat spells could net you 18 dice with the setup you just proposed...

But it's equally important not to forget about drain attributes. It is drain, not the casting/summoning pool, that is the primary limit on a mage's power. After all, when pulling up a spirit, they only roll Force against your Attribute + Skill. You pretty much never fail to summon a spirit, even when overcasting. The concern is, does it knock you out or kill you with a lucky roll? Since you're a Logic tradition, it's almost obligatory to grab Cerebral Booster II. And while you're at it, some cybereyes and a trauma damper. Having 4 Magic instead of 5 barely matters compared to the additional drain soaking, and the ability to cut through vision penalties.

Banishing shouldn't be left behind IMO. The thing is, once you're talking about a force 8 spirit or greater, they start to outclass you in magic. A force 10 would be practically impossible to cast on, but not terribly difficult to banish, since if it's unbound it only resists banishing with 10 dice.

Binding, I think, is overrated. Mages need a lot of money for such things as foci. Once you start to initiate, foci become all the more critical -- a centering focus is the holy grail of drain resistance, and a shielding focus is sweetness incarnate. If you spend all your money on bound spirits, you're basically buying bombs that cost thousands of nuyen. Yeah you can drop them and devastate the enemies, but they're not that efficient because they cost so much. It's better to let the streetsam go nuts on them and spend some nice cheap bullets, or throw spells, or an unbound spirit. Even if your unbound spirit dies, you can just toss in another one. Don't get me wrong, binding is nice to have, but more I think because of the special bound spirit services than for use as a general combat tool.
Shinobi Killfist
QUOTE (Larme @ Jun 21 2009, 02:06 PM) *
Don't leave out specializations and mentor bonuses in your dice pool calculations, those are some of the most important and cheapest ones. So figure out which school and which spirits you like the most, and then choose specializations and mentors accordingly. Spellcasting (combat) and a mentor with +2 to combat spells could net you 18 dice with the setup you just proposed...

But it's equally important not to forget about drain attributes. It is drain, not the casting/summoning pool, that is the primary limit on a mage's power. After all, when pulling up a spirit, they only roll Force against your Attribute + Skill. You pretty much never fail to summon a spirit, even when overcasting. The concern is, does it knock you out or kill you with a lucky roll? Since you're a Logic tradition, it's almost obligatory to grab Cerebral Booster II. And while you're at it, some cybereyes and a trauma damper. Having 4 Magic instead of 5 barely matters compared to the additional drain soaking, and the ability to cut through vision penalties.

Banishing shouldn't be left behind IMO. The thing is, once you're talking about a force 8 spirit or greater, they start to outclass you in magic. A force 10 would be practically impossible to cast on, but not terribly difficult to banish, since if it's unbound it only resists banishing with 10 dice.


Mentor spirits are good and if they fit your character concept take one. I like to specialize in game not a char gen, its a personal preference, but it feels right to me.

And yes, drain attributes are very important. I'd say the minimum is 10 dice for a starting mage.

At the high level of spirit yeah banishing may pan out a bit more effective, but that much potential drain on the fly isn't something I like to gamble with unless my other options are out the window. That and I'm cursed when rolling against spirits. My GM routinely rolls 4 successes on a force 5 spirit when I'm summoning. I'd hate to see what he'd roll if I tried to banish a force 10 spirit. He frequently critically fails when rolling for sprites though, so I should become a TM.
knasser
If you come up against a Force 10 spirit, you'll probably find that Social skills are a better chance than Banishing. wink.gif The joke amongst my players is that "Begging for Mercy" is a valid specialisation of Negotiation and that "Away" is a valid specialisation of the Running skill. biggrin.gif

There's a Force 9 in one of the published adventures and It. Is. Scary.

K.
Shinobi Killfist
QUOTE (knasser @ Jun 21 2009, 02:38 PM) *
If you come up against a Force 10 spirit, you'll probably find that Social skills are a better chance than Banishing. wink.gif The joke amongst my players is that "Begging for Mercy" is a valid specialisation of Negotiation and that "Away" is a valid specialisation of the Running skill. biggrin.gif

There's a Force 9 in one of the published adventures and It. Is. Scary.

K.


Depends on what you are packing. If your shooter is really good stick and shock can handle force 9. You are probably rolling against 11 dice on the dodge. That isn't easy to overcome with stick and shock but 4 net successes would do it. A long burst to increase damage and the spirit wont be reducing it down to a 2 or 3 damage. I actually like the single shot taser sometimes since its base electric DV is 8. If the spirit is not backed up by a mage and counterspelling stun bolt is still a viable option. Force 10 stunbolt and 3 net successes and it goes poof. 3 net is a bit hard to come by when rolling against 9 dice and even harder when rolling against 9 dice +counterspelling, so yeah its not a instant win so banishing comes into play since chances are it only has 1 or two services to get rid of. I wish weapon focuses were an answer but when you are going against 11 reaction + 9 for its skill means you have to be absurdly good to just hit.

I'm not really cheesing it to hard and my Sam in my sunday game rolls 15-16 dice for firearms/heavy weapons. So far I have been able to handle force 8 spirits with relative ease, and force 9 when I'm packing heavy weapons. If I had been tweaking my character instead of broadening his scope, I'd probably be rolling 20 dice Now if I get jumped by the spirit I'm SOL since I'm running in fear for the rest of the fight.

So to sum up for this thread as a mage how I look at it is.
For spirit combat
No to astral combat
no to a weapon focus
Yes to stun bolt
A potential yes to banishing on the high end of spirits.
knasser
I've ruled that Stick N' Shock doesn't have any effect on spirits normally. It makes no sense to have something without a nervous system affected by electrical stun weapons.
Shinobi Killfist
QUOTE (knasser @ Jun 21 2009, 03:23 PM) *
I've ruled that Stick N' Shock doesn't have any effect on spirits normally. It makes no sense to have something without a nervous system affected by electrical stun weapons.


I just look at it as elemental damage, and spirits aren't immune to that. I can see the logic, but spirits are already absurdly powerful IMO, so I see no need to help them out further. But in that case, I'd just have to go into my truck and pull out the really heavy weapons. love.gif
knasser
QUOTE (Shinobi Killfist @ Jun 21 2009, 09:30 PM) *
I just look at it as elemental damage, and spirits aren't immune to that. I can see the logic, but spirits are already absurdly powerful IMO, so I see no need to help them out further. But in that case, I'd just have to go into my truck and pull out the really heavy weapons. love.gif


Well then that's a good thing. Because players love few things more than something they can really unload full auto fire from an MMG, or use rockets on and really do some damage as opposed to just killing someone and wasting five boxes of overkill. wink.gif

The thing with Stick N' Shock is that it isn't "Elemental Damage" as you get from Indirect Combat spells, etc. It's a separate effect based on the human nervous system. The same lack of considering this would also lead to Fire Elementals burning to death, sea spirits drowning and inhabited Stone Golems being choked. I just see Stick N' Shock as a bit of an unintended loop-hole and don't want a world where everyone just goes: "oh it's a spirit - let's tazer it." Anyway, I think there was a big thread on this recently which I missed, so no sense in re-opening it here if so.

Good catch on the Cerebral Boosters.

K.
Ryu
QUOTE (Larme @ Jun 21 2009, 09:06 PM) *
Binding, I think, is overrated. Mages need a lot of money for such things as foci. Once you start to initiate, foci become all the more critical -- a centering focus is the holy grail of drain resistance, and a shielding focus is sweetness incarnate. If you spend all your money on bound spirits, you're basically buying bombs that cost thousands of nuyen. Yeah you can drop them and devastate the enemies, but they're not that efficient because they cost so much. It's better to let the streetsam go nuts on them and spend some nice cheap bullets, or throw spells, or an unbound spirit. Even if your unbound spirit dies, you can just toss in another one. Don't get me wrong, binding is nice to have, but more I think because of the special bound spirit services than for use as a general combat tool.

Binding is there to put a bunch of different good cards up your sleves. Summoning is much more important - one spirit at a time is usually enough, and if your character is build to take a bit of drain, force 3-5 services are almost free. Even if you discard several unneeded services summoning a different spirit.
Shinobi Killfist
QUOTE (Ryu @ Jun 21 2009, 04:55 PM) *
Binding is there to put a bunch of different good cards up your sleves. Summoning is much more important - one spirit at a time is usually enough, and if your character is build to take a bit of drain, force 3-5 services are almost free. Even if you discard several unneeded services summoning a different spirit.


Its just a stuipdly expensive card up your sleeve.
Regiment
Thanks for all the good info...

What about the techie side? what skills should be taken there, and what's the minimums to not be worthless?

Also, is there any other enhancements that reduce drain or give a magical boost?

Eventually, I'd like to go ahead and make the character more broad spectrum, and include initiation, astral stuff, etc.

As well, the outlook of doing something like modifying his AR view to draw mystical patterns in his vision or something for casting/summoning/ritual... if this were enhanced to actually draw in AR around him (ie. his own personal nodespace or his home). Would this have any weird impacts? or any strange skills have to be taken to make it happen?

Bah, this may be a neat idea, but don't know if it'll pan out lol... just too much weird crap involved.

heh, thoughts?
Shinobi Killfist
I am not to up to date on the matrix side of things. But as a hacking hobbyist, I'd just take the Cracking and electronics groups at 1 and rely upon gear. Being a mage is expensive so I would not want to put too much into a side project. Heck I'd be tempted to go hacking, computer, and data search at 1 and default the rest. You aren't a hacker, you are a mage who dips into hacking as a hobby.
Neraph
QUOTE (Regiment @ Jun 21 2009, 06:19 PM) *
Thanks for all the good info...

What about the techie side? what skills should be taken there, and what's the minimums to not be worthless?

Off of Skillwires, I would suggest only taking Magic active skills (Conjuring, Sorcery, Assensing...), and relying on the 'wire for everything else. And I would suggest r4 Skillsofts (r3 Pluscoded, Personalized) (46,000 nuyen.gif /per, 36,800 after mail-in rebate [Skill-Clustered]) in Perception, Automatics (covers Machine Pistols [close range], SMGs [medium], and Assault Rifles [long range]), Dodge, Close-Combat skill of your choice (unarmed is good; it can't be stolen from you), and maybe one other skill.

Since you've already reduced your Essence 0.64 (r4 [IIRC] Alpha-wires), you can fit some more things in there as well. I'd suggest Trauma Damper + Platelet Factories (helps with drain, and getting shot), and they'd only add another 0.20 Essence drain (only counting 1/2 the cost as bio will be less). And a datajack.

Effectively, you'll be looking at all your magic-active skills at 4, Spellcasting at either 5 or 6, and another skill (summoning?) at 5 (if spellcasting not at 6). And then you'll have Perception, Automatics, Dodge, CQC Skill, and maybe something else (negotiation, infiltration, shadowing...) running at 5 (4 skill +1 Personalized). A really strong character, out of the box, with only one way to go: up.

You'll also be able to use all that karma for only raising Magic-related things and stats, and you can use all that pesky cash you'll be getting on 'softs, instead of just growing a nest-egg like all other mages.

Another idea is to buy a TacNet and have some MCT FlySpies running it over an encrypted signal so you get those neat bonuses.
knasser
QUOTE (Regiment @ Jun 22 2009, 12:19 AM) *
As well, the outlook of doing something like modifying his AR view to draw mystical patterns in his vision or something for casting/summoning/ritual... if this were enhanced to actually draw in AR around him (ie. his own personal nodespace or his home). Would this have any weird impacts? or any strange skills have to be taken to make it happen?


That's great flavour text. I really like it and am getting a feel for how you see your character now. Possibly look into Geasa in Street Magic. They're usually quite awful for PCs, but maybe you could work out one based around your technology or AR. That would be interesting and flavourful.

K.
Ryu
QUOTE (Shinobi Killfist @ Jun 21 2009, 11:01 PM) *
Its just a stuipdly expensive card up your sleeve.

That entirely depends on your campaigns payout - I wouldn´t agree for our table. Occasionally investing 3k¥ into high-quality backup that is available everywhere and anytime is worth it. There is also stuff that you NEED a bound spirit for. The services you gain last quite a bit longer if you use summoned spirits whenever summoning is not an issue, and one spirit is enough.
Regiment
Heh, you guys are badass...

Makes me wish the Type O quality was cheaper smile.gif

So here's the augmentation list I should be choosing from, right?
(granting that GM will prolly let me avoid starting restrictions because the others have been playing a while)

Cyber Forearm (obvious) w/Cyberspurs, Large Smuggling Compartment(Geared to hold commlinks mostly so that it's implanted, but they are removable/changeable, -and because I didn't know what else to put in it- Radio Signal Scanner 6 and a Tag Eraser (figured both would be a [1] capacity)
Essence: 0.45; cost: 17,100; (more if I turn them into focuses)

*Eyes rating 4 with all the goodies
Essence .5; Cost: 10,850; cap left: 3 (can tone this down I'm sure, but just looking at the extreme options)

Ears rating 3 with goodies
Essence: 0.4; cost: 7300

*Skillwires (rating and costs depending on what essence is available and still end up losing only 2 points)

*Skillwire expert system
Ess: 0.1; cost: 3000

And maybe a Datajack w/skinlink if it needs rounding off
Ess: 0.1; cost: 550


For Bioware:

*Trauma Damper Ess: 0.2 Cost:40,000
*Cerebral Booster (1-3) Ess: Rat x 0.2 Cost:10,000 x Rat
Synaptic Booster (1-3) Ess: Rat x 0.5 Cost:80,000 x Rat
*Platelet Factories Ess: 0.2 Cost:25,000
Sleep Regulator Ess: 0.15 Cost:10,000
*Orthoskin Ess: Rat x 0.25 Cost:30,000 x Rat
Pain Editor Ess: 0.3 Cost:40,000


Ok... so that's way too much stuff... and previous post list the * as priorities.

That about sum it up?

What level on the booster and skillwires minimum and target to shoot for?
KCKitsune
If you have a cyberlimb get an auto-injector. It cost NO capacity and if your GM allows it you can put wonderful things like a Trauma patch and Saviour Nanites (suspended in liquid) in the limb.

As for what level Synaptic Booster; level 1 for starters and if you can upgrade to level 2 later on... if you can get access to Delta grade 'ware.
Mx
QUOTE (Regiment @ Jun 22 2009, 02:19 PM) *
Heh, you guys are badass...

Makes me wish the Type O quality was cheaper smile.gif

So here's the augmentation list I should be choosing from, right?
(granting that GM will prolly let me avoid starting restrictions because the others have been playing a while)

From that list i would propably co with these
QUOTE (Regiment @ Jun 22 2009, 02:19 PM) *
Eyes rating 4 with all the goodies
Ears rating 3 with goodies
Cerebral Booster 3
Synaptic Booster 1
Platelet Factories

KCKitsune
IMO, some of these are nice, but too overblown...

Eyes rating 4 with all the goodies... you can get away with level 2

Ears rating 3 with goodies... Level 1 is all you really need. Everything else can be done with micro-sensors

Cerebral Booster 3... not bad, but expensive Essence-wise.

Synaptic Booster 1... perfect

Platelet Factories... go with the Trauma Dampener. It removes one box of physical damage and eliminates 1 box of stun damage.

-----------------------------------

Now if you want to go 2 points into your Essence then the above are fine, but you only want to blow one point I would recommend the following (all alpha grade):

Cyber-hand w/ Commlink, Datajack, biomonitor, auto-injector with 6 extra does. Now if you can convince your GM to allow bulk modification to be that your cyberhand includes your wrist and maybe a tiny part of the lower arm then you can squeeze in a nano-hive.

Cybereyes with Thermo, lowlight (or vision mag), flare comp, & Vision Enhancement 3

Cyberears with Audio enhancement 3 & Dampener

Trauma Dampener

Synaptic Booster 1

All this costs only 1 point of essence. It will be expensive, but very worth it... IMO.
Larme
If you've got a whole team of people who have already been playing, you really don't need skillwires. You only need skillwires if your team is short handed and they need a jack of all trades. And with the cost of activesofts, it really is going to suck up your entire nuyen pool to get a reasonable number of skills. Probably not worth it. KCKitsune has some better suggestions.

QUOTE (KCKitsune @ Jun 22 2009, 10:23 AM) *
-----------------------------------

Now if you want to go 2 points into your Essence then the above are fine, but you only want to blow one point I would recommend the following (all alpha grade):

Cyber-hand w/ Commlink, Datajack, biomonitor, auto-injector with 6 extra does. Now if you can convince your GM to allow bulk modification to be that your cyberhand includes your wrist and maybe a tiny part of the lower arm then you can squeeze in a nano-hive.


I'm not quite sure what good any of these pieces do you. You're spending money, you're not getting much back. Cyberhands with gizmos in them are neat, but not efficient.

QUOTE
Cybereyes with Thermo, lowlight (or vision mag), flare comp, & Vision Enhancement 3


The most efficient setup is lowlight + eye lights, that turns full darkness into partial light, and eliminates all penalties for parital light. Thermo doesn't really help, it's slightly better under one condition, like glare or something, but not by much. Flare comp and vision enhancement are nice. Vision mag is ok, you can take it or leave it, but it's not essential because you're not shooting guns.

QUOTE
Cyberears with Audio enhancement 3 & Dampener

Trauma Dampener

Synaptic Booster 1

All this costs only 1 point of essence. It will be expensive, but very worth it... IMO.


Cyberears are optional, you may wish to skip the hand and the ears and save the essence for something better, like a pain editor some day.

Trauma dampener is of course amazing for a mage.

Synaptic booster is a bad idea though. Expensive and not that worthwhile -- it makes a lot more sense to cast Improved Reflexes at 3, and sustain it with a sustaining focus. That gives you +2 passes instead of +1, and lets you keep that extra essence. You don't have to fill up the whole point of essence just because you can. Making an efficient build is about cutting away everything you don't absolutely need, because every point counts, especially on a mage.

Also, what about Cerebral Booster? You're a Logic tradition, so it's the single best piece of ware you can have.
Neraph
Honestly, all you need to start with (and get the most mileage out of) are r4 'wires, Platelet Factories, and Trauma Damper. You can putt around in-game to afford Delta for the rest of it, keeping all your Essence loss within 1 point. The 'wires have the absolute most flexibility, and you can duplicate the rest (minus like Cerebral Booster or a couple other pieces) with other tech (like glasses/contacts and whatnot [drugs as well]).
Mx
QUOTE (Neraph @ Jun 22 2009, 09:36 PM) *
like glasses/contacts and whatnot

Don't work for magic, so cyber-eyes are a must.
Larme
QUOTE (Neraph @ Jun 22 2009, 01:36 PM) *
Honestly, all you need to start with (and get the most mileage out of) are r4 'wires, Platelet Factories, and Trauma Damper. You can putt around in-game to afford Delta for the rest of it, keeping all your Essence loss within 1 point. The 'wires have the absolute most flexibility, and you can duplicate the rest (minus like Cerebral Booster or a couple other pieces) with other tech (like glasses/contacts and whatnot [drugs as well]).


Yeah, like Max said, glasses are no good for spellcasting. What you can do, if you wanna be ghetto, is buy a flashlight. You could even wear it on your head or shoulder so you have a free hand. But then your pupils can't be aces of spades or Hermetic circles or nothin'. And also a flashlight isn't much good against things like glare, mist, or smoke.

Again, I really dispute the claim that wires are a good tool for mages. Mages need every spare BP, and every spare nuyen, to devote to being mages. Activesofts are so expensive in SR4A that it's just not worth it. You're spending a pile of money and a pile of nuyen on being pretty lame at various skills. Now, I'm not being absolutist about this. If you make a badass chaos mage with Logic 7, it might very well behoove you to grab skillwires. You'll have good dice pools for technical skills even with a rating 2 or 3 activesoft. Mages with high logic are especially helpful for First Aid, and they can even First Aid to heal their own drain damage. And nobody minds a bit of Hardware skill, which is typically absent because nobody has points left over for Logic. But I'm not going to agree that you need, or "get the most mileage out of" skillwires. They can be useful, but they are entirely incidental (and detrimental) to your real job, which is magic. And they are DEFINITELY not more valuable than a Cerebral Booster, which is the best tool you have to fight drain. Your real bugaboo as a mage is not lack of mundane skills, it is being killed by drain... Versatility is only helpful when it doesn't harm your specialty. I see lots and lots of characters who have no specialty, and their character sheets are not fit for wiping your ass. SR4 highly rewards specialization and highly punishes jacks of all trades. You should only diversify if you're already reasonably satisfied that you can take on all comers when it comes to your main specialty. And with mages, getting to that point sucks up something on the order of 95% of your BP.
Regiment
So.... after talking to the GM over coffee and finding out that the group was already relatively experienced... he gave me some more parameters.

500 BP, and pick one of the following:
a single quality for free, regardless of point cost, or
doubling the point cost limits on qualities.

starting restrictions on gear do not apply for purposes of availability, etc. But do apply for how much nuyen.gif I can start with, but debt can be used as long as a story is created for it.

As well, he liked the character concept so now I have to play with that. Ugh... lol I did NOT want to end up making a supercharacter.
So with those features in mind, I'm thinking of grabbing O-positive for deltaware, cyberforearm(power focus), and spurs(weapon focus). and could still probably put it all under 2 essence points spent, if I make sure the bioware is 1.35 total (which would halve the cyberware total essence lost, even after delta, right? so could grab 1.33 (2.66) points of delta grade?

Or is this logic off?

Oh, and he said don't go stupid on specialization. Maxing for drain is ok, as long as the character doesn't end up being like a Street sam that can shoot, but nothing else... He's emphasizing RP so have to have more than wakeup-checkguns-cleanguns-workout-waitforcallfromteamorMr.J-gotomeet-waittoshootthings-gotorun-shootthings-sleep-repeat with no 'life'.

He'll probably approve anything well thought out and put together with logic that fits the background, but he reserves the right to tweak things up or down as he sees fit if I go overboard or forget essentials.

On a side note... KCKitsune, you mentioned a Nano-Hive... I read about it vaguely, but didn't get the idea of what it actually did... any know where I can find the synopsis?

EDIT: Oh.. and no drakes, infected, or bad-guy toxic, possession mage type power builds.
Larme
The cyber forearm is still pretty dodgy to me. It's like, sure you could chop off your arm and put gizmos in it. Or you could put the gizmos in your pocket for almost the exact same effect. Heavy cost (essence and nuyen both), incredibly paltry benefit. All it gets you is coolness, but not even that, really. Cyberarms are pretty much staple in cyberpunk games, and adding one to your character doesn't suddenly make him Dr. Cool.

Now, having the O-Positive system for free is a Good Thing™. That will let you load up on trauma damper, pain editor, and cerebral booster, all at a vastly reduced essence cost. I still wouldn't get a synaptic booster though, it's just too much money when you could start with a force 4 sustaining health focus and the Increase Reflexes spell. For relatively little cost, that will give you the equivalent of Wires III...

Now, if you want to have RP utility in addition to combat, I'd just take only 1-2 combat spells, and the rest manipulation, and detection, along with the obligatory Increase Reflexes and Heal. Influence, Mind Probe or Detect Lie, Detect Enemies, Magic Fingers... there are all kinds of fun spells to mess with the opposition besides just killing them.
Neraph
QUOTE (Mäx @ Jun 22 2009, 02:16 PM) *
Don't work for magic, so cyber-eyes are a must.

Ahem.

QUOTE
It is available as both an optical (ideal for spellcasting at distant targets)...


(emphasis added) Obviously you don't need to pay Essence to make use of vision enhancements. I don't know where you people got that idea. You just need Optical vision enhancements, as opposed to electronic ones.

QUOTE
Mages need a lot of money for such things as foci.

And
QUOTE
... and every spare nuyen, to devote to being mages.


I both strongly disagree with.

The way I see it, you're burning 130+ BP on skills, whereas I'll burn 90-ish (not even, I think), and get skillsofts for the rest.

Mages only cost money if they foci up or bind, and where both of those are useful, they are not needed. Otherwise, all that cash can go to interesting things, like pluscoded, personalized skillsofts, cars, drones, and guns.

EDIT: I recently crunched the numbers, and spending the money to get a r4 Skillsoft that's personalized and pluscoded (and skillsoft clustered) costs you 7.36 BP. To get a r5 skill normally costs 20. Not to mention you can start with as many r4 +coded, personalized skills as you can afford (roughly 6), plus gear, as opposed to being limited to two r5 skills at chargen.
Neraph
QUOTE (Larme @ Jun 22 2009, 08:11 PM) *
The cyber forearm is still pretty dodgy to me. It's like, sure you could chop off your arm and put gizmos in it. Or you could put the gizmos in your pocket for almost the exact same effect. Heavy cost (essence and nuyen both), incredibly paltry benefit. All it gets you is coolness, but not even that, really. Cyberarms are pretty much staple in cyberpunk games, and adding one to your character doesn't suddenly make him Dr. Cool.

The concept I posted earlier was having the cyber-forearm be a Power Focus, and spurs (using capacity instead of more essence) be a Weapon Focus. It makes it much harder to lose your foci when they are attached to your body. I mean, sure, they can be removed, but that takes more work than just stealing a pocketwatch, doesn't it?
Neraph
QUOTE ( @ Jun 22 2009, 06:59 PM) *
On a side note... KCKitsune, you mentioned a Nano-Hive... I read about it vaguely, but didn't get the idea of what it actually did... any know where I can find the synopsis?

Nanites normally are flushed from your body naturally (or break), reducing the rating of the nanite system by 1 per week (adjustable - see your GM). Nanohives allow you to have a number of nanite systems equal to their rating in your body at a time without degrading. This would be good for things like Nanosymbiotes or Universal Hunters.
KCKitsune
QUOTE (Larme @ Jun 22 2009, 11:09 AM) *
I'm not quite sure what good any of these pieces do you. You're spending money, you're not getting much back. Cyberhands with gizmos in them are neat, but not efficient.

Larme, the best thing about a cyberhand is all that you can squeeze into it. The nanohive can take things like Oxyrush, nanosymbiotes, nantidotes, and if your GM allows it nano-biomonitor nanites and Trauma Control System.

QUOTE (Larme @ Jun 22 2009, 11:09 AM) *
The most efficient setup is lowlight + eye lights, that turns full darkness into partial light, and eliminates all penalties for parital light. Thermo doesn't really help, it's slightly better under one condition, like glare or something, but not by much. Flare comp and vision enhancement are nice. Vision mag is ok, you can take it or leave it, but it's not essential because you're not shooting guns.


The Vision Mag can be compensated for by optical binoculars... but I just threw that out because I wanted to give options.


QUOTE (Larme @ Jun 22 2009, 11:09 AM) *
Cyberears are optional, you may wish to skip the hand and the ears and save the essence for something better, like a pain editor some day.


WRT the ears... you can't get a dampener otherwise. Unless of course it's in SR4A as an hearing enhancement.

QUOTE (Larme @ Jun 22 2009, 11:09 AM) *
Synaptic booster is a bad idea though. Expensive and not that worthwhile -- it makes a lot more sense to cast Improved Reflexes at 3, and sustain it with a sustaining focus. That gives you +2 passes instead of +1, and lets you keep that extra essence. You don't have to fill up the whole point of essence just because you can. Making an efficient build is about cutting away everything you don't absolutely need, because every point counts, especially on a mage.


And the sustaining focus lights you up in the astral and if there are Astral Barriers, then you'll have to deactivate and reactivate the foci. Also the spell doesn't boost your reaction attribute like an Booster does.

QUOTE (Larme @ Jun 22 2009, 11:09 AM) *
Also, what about Cerebral Booster? You're a Logic tradition, so it's the single best piece of ware you can have.


You are right, but Essence wise it's expensive. You can reduce drain in other ways.

QUOTE (Neraph @ Jun 22 2009, 08:29 PM) *
(emphasis added) Obviously you don't need to pay Essence to make use of vision enhancements. I don't know where you people got that idea. You just need Optical vision enhancements, as opposed to electronic ones.


You can't get thermographic or lowlight as optical vision enhancements. Those only come as electronic... hence their uselessness for spell casters. What you quoted was for vision magnification... which is why I said about binoculars.

Larme
QUOTE (Neraph @ Jun 22 2009, 09:29 PM) *
(emphasis added) Obviously you don't need to pay Essence to make use of vision enhancements. I don't know where you people got that idea. You just need Optical vision enhancements, as opposed to electronic ones.


What you just quoted is from vision magnification ONLY. Not some kind of rule that applies to all vision mods. Vision mag is the only one that's available in optical. And I'm not even clear what it does, unless range penalties apply to spellcasting? Pretty sure they don't because spellcasting doesn't have a "range," it just requires LoS... In SR3, everything was available optically. In SR4, nothing is optical unless it says so. That means vision mag, mage sight goggles, periscope. No low light, no thermo, no flare comp, none of that. If you want to see in the dark as a mage, it's cybereyes or a flashlight, because electronic mods like lowlight cannot be used for casting unless paid for with essence.

QUOTE
The way I see it, you're burning 130+ BP on skills, whereas I'll burn 90-ish (not even, I think), and get skillsofts for the rest.

Mages only cost money if they foci up or bind, and where both of those are useful, they are not needed. Otherwise, all that cash can go to interesting things, like pluscoded, personalized skillsofts, cars, drones, and guns.

EDIT: I recently crunched the numbers, and spending the money to get a r4 Skillsoft that's personalized and pluscoded (and skillsoft clustered) costs you 7.36 BP. To get a r5 skill normally costs 20. Not to mention you can start with as many r4 +coded, personalized skills as you can afford (roughly 6), plus gear, as opposed to being limited to two r5 skills at chargen.


Ok... so you flat out refuse to use the most current errata? A rating 4 activesoft costs 40,000 yen. That's 8 BP right there, that's without any options. But more importantly, it's 16% of your nuyen limit, which is pretty harsh. 3 of those, and you've eaten up almost half the nuyen limit. I dunno how many times I've referenced the errata change on here, but you ignore it every time.

You're right that it's still cheaper BP wise than buying actual skills. The problem is, the skills you grab with activesofts are completely ancillary. They don't make you a better mage. If your team relies on the mage for a versatile skillset, you're doing it wrong. A good mage build has all of the basic skills they need, and then they let the rest of the team have some spotlight time when it comes to non-magical skills. It's not that the skillwires and activesofts cost a ridiculous amount of BP, it's that you get relatively little bang for your buck when you buy those as a mage. You could enhance your magical potency, which can save your team's ass. Or you could acquire a number of extra minor skills at 4-8 dice, not enough to do anything under negative mods, just enough to make you an incompetent hacker or crappy B&E specialist. To that, I say, meh. Magicking is expensive. Anything you spend points on that's not directly related to either magicking or surviving makes you considerably weaker. Your skillsoft build might have some minor skills that my twinked out combat mage lacks, but put them toe to toe and your skillsoft build dies. And in the end, it's life or death that matters, not whether you have some extra skills.

QUOTE (KCKitsune @ Jun 22 2009, 11:24 PM) *
And the sustaining focus lights you up in the astral and if there are Astral Barriers, then you'll have to deactivate and reactivate the foci. Also the spell doesn't boost your reaction attribute like an Booster does.


To that, I say meh. Equivalent Wires 3, costing only what, 60k for the focus? Oh boo hoo, gotta turn it off to go through a ward nyahnyah.gif Whatever. As cost/benefit goes, Increase Reflexes is a slam dunk. Yes it has drawbacks, but it doesn't suck up over half your nuyen limit, it doesn't take a whole point of essence, and it's flat out better if you're ignoring avail limits and can drop it in a sustaining focus at force 4. And as far as being lit up on the astral, not really. There are no positive modifiers to spot someone using a focus on the astral. If they're using Infiltration, you still have to beat their agility + Infiltration roll with your Intuition + Assensing, whether they have a focus or not.

QUOTE
You are right, but Essence wise it's expensive. You can reduce drain in other ways.


Er, not really. Under the most current errata, no foci except Centering foci can be used for drain. You've got fetishes, which are nice, but especially when you talk Conjuring you want every die you can lay your paws on (and there are no conjuring fetishes either!). Cerebral booster is not all that expensive, and look who's talking anyway, Mr. synaptic booster nyahnyah.gif I guess you can cast Increase Attribute on your drain stats, if you can cast it at ultra high force and get uber hits, and then you've got a sustaining penalty cuz you're not going to have a force 7 or 8 sustaining focus ohplease.gif. Or you can summon a bound spirit to aid sorcery, but that sucks up nuyen faster than all getout. And doesn't help you conjur, either. Really, what you want is the highest possible drain stats, and cerebral booster, BP wise, is a highly efficient way to pump up Logic.

QUOTE
You can't get thermographic or lowlight as optical vision enhancements. Those only come as electronic... hence their uselessness for spell casters. What you quoted was for vision magnification... which is why I said about binoculars.


Beat me to it wink.gif
Regiment
What if the skillwires were bought with the idea of supplimenting lack of big karma in the future, and trying to fill holes for what the team might need?

ie. changeable Face skills in a pinch, or that DocWagon skillsoft package if the team medic falls and it's not in-battle (where a heal spell would be best)
Would the skillwires essence and cost be that prohibitave?

Honestly, I can't see that skillsofts would be that hard to come by, especially if can find a hacker that can copy the programming, or does that work? Doesn't need to work all the time, just needs to work when ya need it to.

Granted, this still goes back to whether the essence/nuyen cost makes it worth it or not.

Can't forget that the lower of the two (cyber and bio) gets halved, right? so gotta crunch numbers and think wobble.gif
Mx
QUOTE (Neraph @ Jun 23 2009, 04:29 AM) *
I recently crunched the numbers, and spending the money to get a r4 Skillsoft that's personalized and pluscoded (and skillsoft clustered) costs you 7.36 BP.

The clustering has the same requiremend as ware suites. i.e you have to explain to what purpose that cluster is ment for and why it contains exactly those skills and not some other skills too and/or know/lingua softs. You can't just get a bunch of skillsofts at chargen and claim their a cluster, just like you can't just claim that all of your cyber are a suite.
Regiment
Did not mean at creation...

The debate seems to be that skillwires are a bad choice because the software for them costs too much in creation.

I was thinking... what about skillwires with not a lot of software for them, then acquiring what's needed as the game goes on.

Would they still be a bad choice?

If not, then the skillwires are good, and maybe a starting Unwired package or so and a couple of basic softs with a bend toward adding to the collection.
Mx
QUOTE (Regiment @ Jun 23 2009, 11:21 AM) *
The debate seems to be that skillwires are a bad choice because the software for them costs too much in creation.

For a mage, it's more that they cost too much period.
KCKitsune
QUOTE (Larme @ Jun 23 2009, 02:58 AM) *
To that, I say meh. Equivalent Wires 3, costing only what, 60k for the focus? Oh boo hoo, gotta turn it off to go through a ward nyahnyah.gif Whatever. As cost/benefit goes, Increase Reflexes is a slam dunk. Yes it has drawbacks, but it doesn't suck up over half your nuyen limit, it doesn't take a whole point of essence, and it's flat out better if you're ignoring avail limits and can drop it in a sustaining focus at force 4. And as far as being lit up on the astral, not really. There are no positive modifiers to spot someone using a focus on the astral. If they're using Infiltration, you still have to beat their agility + Infiltration roll with your Intuition + Assensing, whether they have a focus or not.


I know that with the Booster that I will always have it available. What happens if you hit a variable mana field? What if your GM plays with background counts? What if you lose the foci somehow? The only way my Booster is going down is when I'm down... and at that point it doesn't matter at all.

QUOTE (Larme @ Jun 23 2009, 02:58 AM) *
Er, not really. Under the most current errata, no foci except Centering foci can be used for drain. You've got fetishes, which are nice, but especially when you talk Conjuring you want every die you can lay your paws on (and there are no conjuring fetishes either!). Cerebral booster is not all that expensive, and look who's talking anyway, Mr. synaptic booster nyahnyah.gif I guess you can cast Increase Attribute on your drain stats, if you can cast it at ultra high force and get uber hits, and then you've got a sustaining penalty cuz you're not going to have a force 7 or 8 sustaining focus ohplease.gif. Or you can summon a bound spirit to aid sorcery, but that sucks up nuyen faster than all getout. And doesn't help you conjur, either. Really, what you want is the highest possible drain stats, and cerebral booster, BP wise, is a highly efficient way to pump up Logic.


Actually you can use a Summoning Foci to reduce drain... and before you ask I did check the errata and the Binding Foci is the one that had the "resist drain" feature removed.

Larme, I don't disagree with you about the Cerebral booster... I just think that the Essence could be spent in a "better" fasion.
Mx
QUOTE (KCKitsune @ Jun 23 2009, 11:47 AM) *
Actually you can use a Summoning Foci to reduce drain... and before you ask I did check the errata and the Binding Foci is the one that had the "resist drain" feature removed.

What errata are you using. 1,8 at least changes the description to not have that part about resisting drain.
It's also not there in SR4A.
KCKitsune
QUOTE (Mäx @ Jun 23 2009, 04:55 AM) *
What errata are you using. 1,8 at least changes the description to not have that part about resisting drain.
It's also not there in SR4A.


I go by the fact that they said to remove the line about Binding Foci being able to help resist Drain.

QUOTE
p. 191 Binding Foci [5]
Remove the following from the end of the first sentence
“or the extra dice may be withheld to help resist Drain.?
Mx
QUOTE (KCKitsune @ Jun 23 2009, 12:16 PM) *
I go by the fact that they said to remove the line about Binding Foci being able to help resist Drain.

Yes and they said to chance this sentence
QUOTE
These dice may be used for the Summoning Test, or they may be withheld to help resist Drain.

to this
QUOTE
These dice may be used for the Summoning Test, as long as the type of spirit is appropriate to the focus.

Larme
QUOTE (KCKitsune @ Jun 23 2009, 03:47 AM) *
I know that with the Booster that I will always have it available. What happens if you hit a variable mana field? What if your GM plays with background counts? What if you lose the foci somehow? The only way my Booster is going down is when I'm down... and at that point it doesn't matter at all.


Your booster also nerfs your essence and money like crazy. I'm talking crazy. And when's the last time you had a fight where you had no time to cast a spell before you died? Note that if you spend one round casting Increase Reflexes 4, that very same turn your initiative will jump, AND you'll get another 3 passes. So when unprepared, you spend one complex action, and now you're faster than everyone. Booster doesn't make you faster than other combat people, it gives you the standard 3 passes, and the cost is just extreme. Background counts shouldn't matter, if it's just 1 it will bust you down to 3 passes, if it's 2 you'll still have 2, and if it's more than 2 the GM has already decided he doesn't want the mage to do anything. Honestly, if you're a spellcaster inside a heavy background count, going 3 times will not be helpful because you'll just be able to do 3x nothing instead of 1x nothing. And judging by the fact that I've never even heard of a variable mana field, I'd say that they're rare enough not to be a major factor. Honestly, if you're tossing out more than half your money and a whole point of essence just cuz you're afraid of variable mana fields... that's tilting at windmills if I've ever seen it.

QUOTE (Regiment @ Jun 23 2009, 03:21 AM) *
Did not mean at creation...

The debate seems to be that skillwires are a bad choice because the software for them costs too much in creation.

I was thinking... what about skillwires with not a lot of software for them, then acquiring what's needed as the game goes on.

Would they still be a bad choice?

If not, then the skillwires are good, and maybe a starting Unwired package or so and a couple of basic softs with a bend toward adding to the collection.


You can't afford the software during play, not if you want to keep advancing as a mage. A good mage's focus list is long. You want to amp up your power focus, and pick up a Centering focus and a Shielding focus at minimum. That costs beacoup dough, especially because you want them at high Force. Pick those up at force 6 and you'll be an epic badass. Buy activesofts instead, and you'll be a pathetic jack of all trades who gets smacked down into the dirt by a mage who didn't spend all his money picking up side-skills. Let the mundanes buy the side skills -- they only cost new level x 4 karma under SR4A, and for streetsams and such who have almost nothing else to buy with karma, it's no problem. Or hell, even let them handle the skillsofts. It might be nice to have a skillsofts character in the team, it would just be nice to make sure that the person who takes them isn't gimping himself, which is what a mage would be doing. The only reason for a mage to take skillsofts is because you're stuck in some kind of solo mentality, where you think one character needs to be able to do it all. That's not how Shadowrun works, and when you're talking mages, it's just flat out impractical.
Zurai
QUOTE (Larme @ Jun 23 2009, 09:37 AM) *
Your booster also nerfs your essence and money like crazy. I'm talking crazy. And when's the last time you had a fight where you had no time to cast a spell before you died? Note that if you spend one round casting Increase Reflexes 4, that very same turn your initiative will jump, AND you'll get another 3 passes.


Wrong. The SR4A errata changes things so that increases in IPs wait a turn to come into effect. If you cast Increase Reflexes on the first IP of combat, you're wasting 4 IPs (the one you cast on and the 3 passes you don't get in the first turn).
Larme
QUOTE (Zurai @ Jun 23 2009, 12:05 PM) *
Wrong. The SR4A errata changes things so that increases in IPs wait a turn to come into effect. If you cast Increase Reflexes on the first IP of combat, you're wasting 4 IPs (the one you cast on and the 3 passes you don't get in the first turn).


orly? Well assuming you're correct (no time to look up right now wink.gif), that doesn't change the main thrust of my argument, which is that the booster nerfs your essence and nuyen like crazy. And all you get is a very minor boost, you're able to act more times when caught unawares or in a background count. Contingency planning is fine, but don't gimp yourself "just in case." That's effectively the same as what Neraph wants to do, gimp a mage with skillwires just in case a situation comes up where he might need them, with no guarantee or even substantial likelihood that it will. You don't want to destroy your sheet's optimization just to deal with that rare circumstance where you go into battle without any notice at all. Either you're walking into a dangerous situation and you put up your spell, or you aren't and you're unlikely to need it. The benefit of booster is too high for its cost, which is extreme. The benefit of the spell is higher, and the cost is significantly lower, even when you factor in wards and background counts. Not to mention that background counts can eventually be overcome with Cleansing, which you would want to learn whether you had the booster or not.
Regiment
I'm sure it's already been hashed but I am having a hard time finding the answer through search...

Pure bang for the buck, Which seems to win out, Mystical Adept or Mage?

I figure, in the long run, it'd be the MysAd, except for the whole astral problem.

Any basic synopsis from anyone that's been through all the hashing?
Larme
Hashing be damned, I have my own (absolutely correct) opinions! wink.gif

When you're talking about a toe to toe fight, the Mystad may win. But we're talking about a pretty specific (and normally inefficient) mystad -- the spellbreaker. Take a mystad who knows counterspelling, has Spell Resistance, Spell Cloak, Iron Will, and Piercing Senses. Give her Arcane Arrester while you're at it. Then grab Counterspelling, Shielding, and a bigass Shielding focus. Assuming 6's all around, you're talking 6 Willpower + 6 Spell Resistance + 6 Counterspelling + 6 Shielding = 24 dispelling dice. 30 if you're talking about manipulation or illusion spells. That's going to beat any magician's pool, assuming that he also has all 6's, because there's no way to prop up the casting pool comparable to how you can inflate the resistance pool with adept powers. To be sure, some day the mage could have a 20 magic, though if he's that good and he's less than 100 years old his GM gives out too much karma wink.gif

When you're talking about straight up usefulness on a run though, I've got to give it to the mage. Adept powers are almost entirely good for combat. They specialize in pumping up mundane skill dice pools, which of course can only make them better at mundane skills, not at magical tasks. When it comes to casting and conjuring, the magician will always do a better job, because the MystAd's adept powers don't help him in that regard. And believe me, your team wants you for your casting and summoning. They couldn't give a rat's ass that you have adept powers -- in fact, since those adept powers seriously weaken your magic, you do your team a disservice by playing a mystad instead of a full mage.
Regiment
Makes sense...

I was looking at it from a different approach. With initiation and growth I was weighing Adept powers vs. Astral projection and all that entails.

Your view is based off experience rather than face front reading though smile.gif I'll go with that over my lacking knowledge any day.
Ravor
Actually, you might as well just eat your own gun if you'd rather relay on magic for your extra IPs than bio IF your DM follows the spirit of the rules and doesn't treat corp security designers as utter morons. Background Count and other magical modifers are easy for the corps to control, and that is before we talk about the other nasty side effects of mojo such as focus addiction, drain, and most importantly of all, sticking out like a sore thumb on the astral.


Also I may be transposing from another Edition, but I seem to remember that active foci can still be popped and deactivated from the Astral as well.
Tymeaus Jalynsfein
QUOTE (Larme @ Jun 23 2009, 07:37 AM) *
*snip*

Buy activesofts instead, and you'll be a pathetic jack of all trades who gets smacked down into the dirt by a mage who didn't spend all his money picking up side-skills. Let the mundanes buy the side skills -- they only cost new level x 4 karma under SR4A, and for streetsams and such who have almost nothing else to buy with karma, it's no problem. Or hell, even let them handle the skillsofts. It might be nice to have a skillsofts character in the team, it would just be nice to make sure that the person who takes them isn't gimping himself, which is what a mage would be doing. The only reason for a mage to take skillsofts is because you're stuck in some kind of solo mentality, where you think one character needs to be able to do it all. That's not how Shadowrun works, and when you're talking mages, it's just flat out impractical.



Actually... NEW (Active) Skills cost 4 Karma to initially pick up... Improving them is only New Level x2 per the SR4A Anniversary Edition (page 270 under Character Improvement Table)
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