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Ol' Scratch
I haven't played Shadowrun in a very long time, so I'm pretty out of date when it comes to the latest scoops on interesting combos and general build advice. I've tried searching for a few related threads, but they're scattered all over the place and the types of information they contain is pretty crazy. As such, I figured I'd start this thread and see if we could get some consolidated information on the latest suggestions and advice for building a magician character.

A few of the things I'd like to see here include:
  • Suggestions on which attributes and skills to focus on, and what kind of a balance needs to be found in other stats.
  • Opinions on stronger and weaker traditions and magic specializations.
  • Interesting combinations of or possibilities for gear, implants and/or spells.
  • Cool ideas for contacts and background seeds.
  • Interesting spells to consider outside the normal list of mainstay spells (Stunball, Treat, etc.).
  • Things to avoid at all costs unless a specific concept demands it.
  • Links to old threads with good, up-to-date information on any of these topics.
You know, things like that. Any and all advice is welcome here. smile.gif
WyldKnight
I'm not the best at magic but I have a few tips

Soft max magic at 5, for the 25 bp you could spend on one die you could get 3 die by getting the restricted gear quality and a force 3 power focus.

I've always been a fan of the Zoroastrian tradition. Its logic based and you get a good choice of spirits (Guardian, Fire, Earth, Water, and Man).

A mentor spirit tends to be a good choice to pick up, especially ones that give bonuses to 2 types of spells. Take a spec and now 3 different spell types get a +2. On the other hand if you use spirits more you would probably do best to choose a different type of spirit.

A talislegger is a pretty useful contact. The black market equivalent of your usual magical salesman, they can get you stuff both legal and illegal. Good choice for getting your hands on that new combat spell you need. A free spirit of some type may be a fun contact though their ability to help largely relies on your gm.

If your using a logic tradition cerebral booster is a must have. by sacrificing one die of magic you can get anywhere from a +1 to +3 for drain and if your like me and picked up a few other skills when your magic started being good enough just a one in the skill will get you 10 die with a cerebral booster 3.

The demolish spell is never used enough. My mage spams demolish gun constantly. Be aware though, your GM will probably have enemy mages using the same spell so if you start using the demolish family a lot it may be a good idea to have a spirit on hand for constant counterspelling. Another useful spell is demolish RFID. Great for when you want to steal something and make sure no one can track it.

Arcana is a skill I am pretty fond of. Making custom spells means not having to buy them or risk being found out through other channels while searching. Spirits helping you on said research speeds up the process.

When you start getting more dice for your drain tests (at initiate 2 with a 9 in logic I had 16) casting two spells at once starts becoming less of a hazard. I have a 10/10 split when I double cast combat, manipulation, and health spells. I tend not to double cast health spells but the other 2 I do. If you really want someone brought down blasting them with two stunballs or lightning bolts tends to do the job.

While some people say knowledge skills are just to flesh our your character that doesnt mean they cant be useful. As a magical character you should probably take a few points to get knowledge on spirits and paracritters. Blackmarket(magical) is also choice because magical covers a lot of things and with running wild maybe you want a watch dog who could warn you of spirits.

With a lack of awakened sometimes magical things are better then money. My mage got the favor of a local gang by warding their headquarters against a local gang of mages. When the shit hit the fan they got us to a safe house and we have a good working relationship.

I had a few others but I can't remember them at the moment.
Kerenshara
OK, I am going to take my stab, based on my preferences and experiences. Your actual mileage will ... well you know the drill.

QUOTE (Dr. Funkenstein @ Aug 12 2009, 03:11 PM) *
I haven't played Shadowrun in a very long time, so I'm pretty out of date when it comes to the latest scoops on interesting combos and general build advice. I've tried searching for a few related threads, but they're scattered all over the place and the types of information they contain is pretty crazy. As such, I figured I'd start this thread and see if we could get some consolidated information on the latest suggestions and advice for building a magician character.

A few of the things I'd like to see here include:
  • Suggestions on which attributes and skills to focus on, and what kind of a balance needs to be found in other stats.

  • I like taking a INTuition based tradition (or making one up on my own). Look at things that use INTuition: How about INItiative? Perception? Masking? Even if you're not an INTuition tradition, front load heavily here.
  • AGIlity - Not a bad stat, but don't over concentrate. Important for indirect combat spells.
  • BODy - Always bad to dump here, but a 3 is plenty. Remember that odd numbers beat even here.
  • STRength - Are you a mage, or a sammy? Remember that odd numbers beat even.
  • REAction - Important for INItiative and getting out of the way of Bad Things. Try not to dump here.
  • CHArisma is of moderate importance, especially if you plan to conjure. If you took a CHArisma tradition, then that's self explanitory.
  • If you're not a LOGic magician, I wouldn't SHORT this stat, but unless you're into lots of technical things, it's less important.
  • WILlpower, get at least a 4 to start: magicians that survive on the streats should have "above average" WILlpower. Can we say Drain and Spell Defense?

QUOTE
  • Opinions on stronger and weaker traditions and magic specializations.

Depends too much on focus for the tradition. I like INTuition, but summoners should double-dip with a CHArisma tradition. Do lots of Enchanting or other technical things? Can't beat a LOGic tradition.

In terms of specializations, for Spellcasting I like Manipulation: too many useful spells in the group. for Counterspelling, Combat. Every hit negated is one less you have to deal with.


QUOTE
  • Interesting combinations of or possibilities for gear, implants and/or spells.

OK, Mystic Adept + Synaptic Accelerators + (If LOGic, Cerebral Boosters) + (If INTuition, Geneware)

*NOTE* Synaptic Accelerators = 1.5 Essence or 2 MAGic points < cost of Improved Reflexes 2

If infiltration spec'd - Facial Sculpt, Voice Manipulation, Melanin Control, then add spells Fashion + Makeover. Initiation: take Masking and Extended Masking. Then mask your F5(w/ new thresholds, used to be F4) sustaining foci w/ Detect Enemies, Extended and Spacial Sense, Extended.

QUOTE
  • Cool ideas for contacts and background seeds.

Contacts? Look to your background. Sorry, I always do my contacts after my background.

Backgrounds:
  • Late Awakening (Talk to your GM, or drop me a PM for speciffic ideas).
  • Disgraced magical researcher from a nice university (I was thinking Cambridge Forori Chaos Mage).
  • Aspected Magician, any. As far as I'm concerned, that is all about RP and reasons.
You want more? I'm not writing the thing for you! *grin*

QUOTE
  • Interesting spells to consider outside the normal list of mainstay spells (Stunball, Treat, etc.).

My thoughts as to some under-utilized spells.

  • Spacial Sense, Extended (Psychic penetrating radar. What's not to love? Blank spaces=wards=area of interest)
  • Detect Enemies, Extended (Never let them ambush you, especially combined with above)
  • Fashion ("We're looking for a guy in a blue sweatshirt and red ball cap!")
  • Makeover ("We're looking for a woman with long blonde hair and her friend the orc with a gray Fu Manchu!")
  • Healthy Glow ("I need to meet Johnson in 2 minutes? Drek!" - especially with above)
  • Detox ("I need to meet Johnson in 2 minutes? Drek!" - especially with above)
  • Magic Fingers (Use the Force, Luke... no, seriously)
  • Clean[Blood] (Removing those annoying bloodstains, unless you say "Clean: Earth" covers the physical element)
  • Clean[Air] (Um... tear gas, thermal smoke, dead skunk...)
  • Improved Invisibility (What's not to like?)
  • Sound Barrier (Better than a white noise generator)
  • Flak (No time to hack the sensors? Nul sweat)
  • Orgasm (Ok, if you can't come up with at LEAST 3 uses for this in 15 seconds, you Fail)
  • Awaken (Get up dammit!)
  • Thought Recognition, Area ("Has any of you seen this man?" "Yeah, the guy in the back corner.")
  • Analyze Truth (Is Johnson lying?)
  • Diagnose (Seriously, I have to explain this?)
  • Pulse (F1, kill all RFID tags in 1 meter)
  • Catalog ("We're looking for a physical ledger, right? Is it here?")
  • Sterilize (You're 'runners, right?)
  • Physical Barrier (Water's filling the coridor from down that way!)
  • Light (Do I seriously have to explain this?)
  • Levitate (Climb, Jump, Balance, pressure plates, trip wires... sorry, what was that?)
  • Deflection (Way I see it, it's one of the few things that would help you run through suppressive fire)
QUOTE
  • Things to avoid at all costs unless a specific concept demands it.

NOT taking 'ware? Mystic Adepts can dodge this one, but it doesn't make sense to. Going back to 1st and 2nd Ed, mages in the published literature COMMONLY took about a point of 'ware. If you're smart, it's slotting amazing what you can fit in there. Might I point out Cyber Comlink w/ SimModule as a built-in accessory as well as SkinLinkTM? I have mentioned other things, elsewhere in this post. Combine a Inertial Navigation System with a MapSoft and those neat detection spells, and you've got awesome recon capabilities.

QUOTE
  • Links to old threads with good, up-to-date information on any of these topics.

Threads you're on your own.

*EDIT* - it posed this before I was done, so if you're seeing spaces, I'm not done yet.
HappyDaze
Wow. Nobody has suggested on the 'must-have' Power Focus 4 yet.
WyldKnight
I said at chargen get a Power Focus 3. That tends to leave enough resources for a sustaining focus which every mage needs if they want more IPs without the - modifiers.
Falconer
QUOTE (Kerenshara @ Aug 12 2009, 05:33 PM) *
OK, I am going to take my stab, based on my preferences and experiences. Your actual mileage will ... well you know the drill.

AGIlity - Not a bad stat, but don't over concentrate. Important for indirect combat spells.


Only if your indirect combat spell is called a white phosphorous grenade lovingly chucked at the target for far less drain than a fireball! No spells roll agility... EXCEPT touch attacks (which add an extra unarmed combat roll after the spellcasting roll to make the touch attack -- and in this case ties go to the attacking mage).




Funk: more or less there's not a lot to go wrong with. Just cover your bases and play to your strengths, cover your weaknesses.

For a mage dump stats are generally, agility and strength. Secondary dump stats would be Bod, Rea, Cha, and Log (if not a logic tradition).
Willpower--- get as much of it as you can! (stun track, drain resist, and resisting other mages)

Intuition is a strong second if you're doing a lot of astral. Meat & astral initiative, Assensing/perception, astral defense (intuition + astral combat, intution replaces reaction while astral). street knowledges & interests
Logic is tradition dependant, lots of support skills (like first aid), makes for very usefull secondary rounding out skills, however in astral about the only linked astral skill of note would be infiltration (logic + infiltration to sneak on astral). Unlike normal combat willpower + astral combat is used to attack replacing the normal agility.


Cha Traditions: work well as faces, or spirit hounds (though it's expensive to bind all those spirits), also can work as astral combat type combatants (astral damage based on your cha)
Logic Traditions: work well as researchers, or for picking up secondary skills like first aid (look at the list of logic skills plus the profession and academic knowledges). Due to their ability to augment their logic, can make exceptional summoners able to handle the 10-12 drain high force spirits can pump out, though still elf cha handles that a bit more easily w/o the essence hit.
Intuition traditions: Combat mage twinks will make custom intuition traditions and load it w/ all the best spirit types.

(IMO: custom traditions unless designed by THE GM with the player are a bad thing. Nothing at all like prior eds where each tradition has it's own special rules and limitations. Also a big problem of how does this tradition fit into the world at large... who taught you... where else is it practiced... spell formulas are tradition dependant... so who you buying your spells off of?).


Schoolwise: Manipulation is probably the closest to broken as a one stop shop. It probably should have been split into mental manipulations and physical manipulations. Also they stuffed the barrier spells in here as well. That much said... manipulation can't stand in for combat... as spells like ignite require multiple combat turns of sustaining to take effect unlike combat spells which take effect when cast. So generally in thise case, manipulation will simply resort to mind-raping (yo street sam... obey my will and do my bidding...)


Fun Spell: Health - Decrease Wilpower. Great for interrogations, and for turning targets into gibbering unconcious masses. Not only that, it reduces the attribute with which they resist it fursther, so consecutive castings get easier and easier.


Restricted gear (5BP) + (20+4)BP Power Focus 4 is another common move. Generally if you're going mystic adept this isn't a bad idea as you're pretty gimped otherwise.

Generally works best if you have adept powers which roll Magic + power, as well as spells. Mystic adepts really need a sharp focus as they quickly run into the MAD problem (multi-attribute-distribution) and it's far too easy to try and get them to do far too much at once.



Bioware/Cyberware:
There's nothing wrong w/ going pure mage, and not cybering/bio'ing at all. +3 drain dice is nice but not all that huge for the essence cost. You've just traded 1 dice that the spell will actually work for 1-3 more to resist the drain. Though there are an AWFUL lot of logic linked technical skills like first aid, which are quite usefull and nice to flesh out a character.

Quite a few things like low-light vision & perception enhancements which can be had w/ positive qualities as well.

It's not must have, but it's nice to have... and should fit the players concept.

Make sure you have at least one vision enhancement available to you. Visibility mods are a bane of your existance.


WyldKnight:
Re: only getting force3 power focus so as to also get a sustaining focus... lousy idea and suggestion.

You take a -2 penalty for sustaining... that's effectively only a -1 sustaining penalty on spellcasting/summoning until you can buy/craft/steal one in play including the extra die from a bigger power focus. Given how cheap it is for sustaining focus, I can't recommend that if you're out for pure effectiveness.

It costs 2x rating in karma to bind a sustaining focus (or 1BP per force point), it costs 8x rating in karma (or 1BP per force point). You can only use one power focus at a time, so you might as well get a good one to start as well.
toturi
1) Figure out what type of magician you want to be - Mystic Adept or full Magician, there are advantages and drawbacks to either. Know what you want to do, you can't do everything well at 400 BPs or 750 karma, at least not yet.

2) Figure out which tradition does your magician belongs to. Take note of the drain attribute, this ties in to what type of magician you want to be and what you want to do. Whether the tradition is a possession tradition or not is another factor to consider. Possenssion traditions tend to be have more raw power at the cost that you'd need something(even yourself) for the spirit to possess as well as the right combination of metamagics. Remember to read what each spirit and its powers can do, do not neglect the additional powers, eventually you are going to be able to summon a higher Force spirit, right? Right?

3) Whatever you decide to do, you will need good Magic. For BP, Magic 5 is the most efficient, you could go with less for "roleplay" reasons, but I'd advise against it unless you are specifically building for it and know precisely what you are doing (at which point, you shouldn't be just reading this thread, you should be posting advice here). For BP, Magic 6 is hard maxing and you pay for it. For karma, it is mainly a matter of when you want to pay for that level of Magic. You could buy up Magic now, which enables you to be a better mage out of the gate or later, which means you get more karma to spend on other stuff like gear or contacts or skills.

4) Mentor Spirits. Do you want one? This is a choice you have to make. Again, this ties in with what you want to do and you can't do everything. My advise is to take one that suits what you want to do while having a way to counteract its drawback. Example: If you get a malus to Illusions, maybe you could consider getting Shapeshift and a tradition with a spirit with Concealment.
Ancient History
Don't neglect your "mundane" gear! The manatech section in Arsenal has some great goodies to give you a boost in areas often overlooked at character creation because the focus is on more important skills; and there are some great magical compounds in Arsenal and Street Magic that can expand your character's abilities, at least temporarily.

For those willing to pay the price, a blood fetish or two (p.14, Digital Grimoire) is available at character creation and can be bonded by any magician.
Kerenshara
QUOTE (Falconer @ Aug 12 2009, 09:36 PM) *
(IMO: custom traditions unless designed by THE GM with the player are a bad thing. Nothing at all like prior eds where each tradition has it's own special rules and limitations. Also a big problem of how does this tradition fit into the world at large... who taught you... where else is it practiced... spell formulas are tradition dependant... so who you buying your spells off of?).

Leaving aside the following quotation:

SR4A, P.180: Traditions

Magic is a very personal and often-debated subject. There are a multitude of belief systems and methods of working magic practiced across the world. These differing magic worldview paradigms are called traditions. While there are some predominant schools of magical thought, each magician finds her own means of practicing magic, typically following whatever path she was taught when she first Awakened. This path can come from a metahuman teacher, a mentor spirit, a collection of writings such as those found in universities, or it can be created out of whole cloth by a self-taught individual (though most of these who survive are lucky rather than great).
While discovering and exploring a tradition can take an entire lifetime for a character, in game terms the creation of a tradition is far simpler. Two examples of the most commonly followed traditions - hermetic and shamanic - are provided here for use by players who do not wish to create their own.


I will address each of your concerns below:

How does this tradition fit into the world at large? Why does that matter? How does any single individual "fit into the [6th] world at large?

Who taught you? Nothing says you can't teach yourself. The various MAGic skills are like any other skill: it is easiest to learn from a skilled teacher, but they can largely be self-taught by experimentation and experience. After all, who taught the first magicians at the Awakening?

Where else is it practiced? Why does anybody else need to practice it? Magic, even within a tradition, is unique to the individual, which is also why there are dice rolls to teach somebody in your own tradition something; If it was cookie-cutter, it would be automatic.

Spell formulas are tradition dependant, so who you buying your spells off of? It's called Arcana. Given the time and energy (Karma) you can learn a new spell. You could even default and try over time. I don't HAVE to buy my spells, or fetishes, or any other magical gear off of anybody in theory.

Do you object to Hermetic magicians who adopt a "Mentor Spirit", once the domain of the naturalist Shaman? What if they choose a symbol, or an archetype?

In other threads you addressed concerns about balance and apropriateness. Kerenshara's an elf. I chose INTuition as her "tradition" Drain stat. Wouldn't CHArisma have been more Munchy? Absolutely. But would it have fit a self-taught intuitive spellcaster? No. Howabut spirits? They are supposed to represent various aspects of magic:

Combat: Guardian, spirits to help protect her.
Detection: Guidance, knowers of the unseen and the unknown.
Health: Beast, for the primal power of the animal kingdom.
Illusion: Man, for of all creatures, mankind is most able to create and accept illusion about her.
Manipulation: Task, to make and do things, manipulating the mundane.

She's Aspected: Sorcery with a MAGic attribute for MAGic skills of only 2, so she's not summoning any time soon. I'm not even really sure what those spirit types do, but I can tell you that the elemental spirit types don't fit her view of magic, spirits or the world beyond her senses. Plant might have worked for Health, but her personality is much more to the active and mobile Beast than the passive and immobile Plant.

If I was picking for Crunch & Munch, I would have picked Adversary for the Mentor Spirit, but I went with Dark Goddess. At start, and for some time yet, she doesn't have a SINGLE Health or Combat spell. Not one. But she's loaded with Manipulation spells, and spell defense is high on her list. So why the Drk Goddess? Because it was apropriate to her mentality and I feel a Mentor Spirit, like all magic, is a manifestation of the person's personality and beliefs. She just doesn't have enough of a problem with LEGITIMATE authority to take Adversary.

It's really up to the player and the GM to pick what's most apropriate and balanced for their world. If the GM feels the player picked things just based on stats and can't even give a Fig Leaf explanation other than "I want that", they SHOULD reject the choice. But just because it's not what we're accustomed to or it will be a genuine challenge (including a lack of Magicl Groups for Initiation) is insufficient reason to cast the entire idea away as a "bad thing".
Machiavelli
Ah, i like it if i read an interesting topic and all the needed informations are already posted by my beloved SR-comrades. If you really want to get a well-done mage, stick to the tips they gave you above. I, personally speaking, always tend to elven chars and charisma-based traditions, simply because it is the race with the highest mental attribute and it would be a loss if you refuse to take this advantage. Spirits are powerful weapons/gadgets and accidentally summonig is linked to charisma.^^ Regarding the other attributes, i think you have seen by yourself that you can do what you want: you never have enough BP´s to get them as high as you want them without disregarding other important ones. Of course you need high willpower, charisma (or logic, depends on your choice of the tradition) but i have to say that there is no other attribute that isn´t needed too. With a low body you die quick and you can´t carry a lot of armor, without reaciton you can´t dodge and you are slow, without intuition you suck at perception, and so on....

Some thing nobody pointed out up to now (correct me if i am wrong) is the great advantages that possession-traditions provide. We recently had 2 or 3 topics regarding this theme, that can be really usefull for you. (Voodoo, Bard-build, new magic tradition....this were the headlines) With possession you can save a lot of BP´s that usually go in skills and spells and this way you can spend them on attributes. OF COURSE you will suck as a standard mage at the beginning, but you shouldn´t forget that skills are ways cheaper than attributes (and can´t get so high - if you play an meta) and possession keeps you long enough alive to overtake you comrades in a short time.
Falconer
Doc Funk:
Possession can be incredibly powerfull, but I don't recommend it unless you're intimately familiar w/ the magic rules. As possession changes a lot of the rules from the much more straightforward materialization. It also requires more metamagics to make full use out of it. Also there's a lot of people who refuse to accept that the ItNW & Hardened armors DO NOT HAVE the stacking clause that every other source of stacking armor has. (so only the higher armor value of ItNW or worn armor applies... though the hardened armor property of ignoring damage less than it still applies). (every other source of stacking armor has a phrase including cumulative with worn armor or similar).

Generally I don't have many real issues w/ possession traditions provided the RAW is strictly applied to them. But they're a real problem for people who don't read/understand the rules pertaining to spirits, spirit powers, spirit services, and magic.


Karenshara:
*sigh*... that comment wasn't aimed squarely at you Karenshara

I've seen 3 near clones of that... and all of them follow the exact same pattern. Hence why I call it the twink pattern.

Every single one of them went with intution... because it works best w/ street knowledges, interests, initiative, perception/assense, astral defense , and reagant gathering. So even though it's the hardest drain stat to pump (cha can go elf for high cha base stat, and logic can get cerebral boosters) the secondary uses of intution are that much more usefull and quite relevant for keeping you alive. (a logic/cha can't really get away w/ treating intuition as a dump stat... while an intuition tradition can get away with treating the other two as a dump stat so long as wil is good).

One of the characters even said... logic doesn't matter because I can just summon a task spirit to do it (most technical skills are logic based and fair game for a task spirit).


Do I have an issue w/ hermetics & mentor spirits:
No, I don't. They have to BUY IT... and there's a lot of other positive qualities competing for the 20BP left over after 'Magician'. Also all the mentor qualities come with off-balancing drawbacks.
I have no clue which mentor you took or why... and really never asked nor cared.


Now, every single one of them have claimed the text in the BBB (which frankly I had zero issues with UNTIL STREET MAGIC). Then they load up with all the best of breed spirits with the shakiest of reasons.

"Guardian - spirits to help protect her"...
please I could use the same to decleare beast or fire or air... there's not philosophical reason, it's simply a really weak reason to pick the best combat spirit. There's no organizing philosophical basis for your tradition that I've seen. No central theme, except these are the best and I want them.

Munchkins Guide to Powergaming - Fluff is great... you can use it to justify ANYTHING. None of your reasons reflect anything more than I like this spirit type.


In your case, I don't believe you either... you added Task spirits to your banner character after I posted about one of their abuses (any technical skill, or magical skillwires on the fly). You didn't even have a tradition per se at the time, just a mystic adept who tossed spells.



As far as the spell issue... have you read the arcana rules for crafting/adapting your own spells. Even if you have the formula for a reasonably close school to use as a template it takes a LOT of time (and is only a -1 pool penalty as opposed to a -2 for crafting from scratch). Manipulation spells have an extended test threshhold of 16 and an interval of 3 months... you have 8 hours a day to spend for 3 months researching your pet spell? So with a custom tradition, you better be prepared to spend a LOT of time researching your own spells or coming out of chargen w/ your spell list mostly intact. So that is FAR from a minor issue.


As far as my general guidelines... I don't really care if it's 'your character concept' because your concept has to fit in my game. If it fits in your GM's game... great. More power to both of you.

When it was BBB only... top spirit no holds barred was considered spirits of man... with spirit of air a good second. So it generally went pick spirit of man... put it in school... pick 4 others to taste.

The spirits in Street magic are clearly superior to those in the main book though, on par w/ man. And none of the book traditions have more than 2 of them, except VooDoo (which is generally considered the most broken tradition... possession). And all the book traditions are clearly organized around a concept (such as the chinese idea of the 4 fundamental elements which make up the universe).


Quite frankly:
IMO: if you don't want to raise your GM's munchkin flag follow this simple rule. Pick a drain attribute as best befitrs your character concept. Include the GM in the creation process. And have a clear philosophical outlook which explains your worldly/ethereal outlook. Pick no more than 2 of the spirits from the following list (Guardian, Task, Guidance, Plant, Man). And then be ready to explain how they fit that concept.

Be prepared to explain, HOW you learn spells and what your resources are. Arcana rules for researching spells are brutal. In order of difficulty.
Manipulation Spells (16, 3month), Combat & Illusion Spells: (12, 3month), Detection & Health Spells (8, 1month). The time involved to do so, makes expanding your grimoire a major activity. This is about the only reason for an intuition tradition to worry about raising logic. (errataed from first street magic, reprinted correctly in 2nd printing- arcana + logic... not arcana + magic to design stuff).

Another option: make your tradition a 'minor offshoot' of a book school. EG: stick w/ the template but discuss with your GM only changing one spirit type. If it's substantially similar enough (and doesn't change the drain attribute), GM is likely to allow you to buy spell formula as if you were in the school. (paying a few thousand for the formula beats spending months of lifestyle researching in time and effort).

If you follow the above 3 paragraphs, most GM's won't bat an eye at your custom traditions.
Cthulhudreams
You know what people want intitution traditions?

It's not because it is 'more powerful' though it is - they want flexibility. CHA and LOG traditions lock you into certain secondary things (if character effectiveness is even remotely a concern), that are not appealing to most character concepts
Regiment
Lemme see if I can think of anything to add. I'm in no way an expert, but I've played with the character creators almost obsessively for a couple months now due to not being happy with ending up in a gunbunny/low-level sam type role in my current game, when I wanted to play a mage. (and compromised into playing a lightly enhanced shooter with latent awakening... )

Anyway...

Important things that I can think of:

Automatics... from what I've been able to discover it is THE choice when picking only one firearm skill. Short range with moderate concealability? Machine pistols will do, not great, but not horrible either. Long range? ok, they're no sniper rifle, but assault rifles have good range. And as a cherry on top, you get to do all the fun stuff in combat like Suppressive fire, Burst, short, long, narrow, wide, in all their gory glory.

Ritual Spellcasting, Banishing, and Astral Combat are all optional, especially at creation. Mana bolt is more efficient at getting rid of spirits, and the same goes for astral combat. (I could definately be wrong about these. Since I started playing 4th Ed., I haven't had the option to experience the differences, but that's what I read on here... and from a LOT of the local experts and adept level dumpshockers.)

Qualities: The really valuable/expensive qualities might technically be available through karma expenditure in-game, but saving up 40-60 karma while you're playing a seriously karma-greedy role/archetype/build, will take ages. Skimp on a few skill points in character generation if you want those qualities. Focused Concentration (2) and Type-O System are the two that come to mind immediately. Grabbing a new skill rating or a few low level skills will be much easier than saving up those big points for the big qualities.

Now on the note of Focused Concentration, I know that most people around here will advocate for a comperable (and more beneficial) route of 5 point quality restricted gear and a rating 4 Power Focus and BP binding for it. They're also right in most all of the time, including this time. My problem was that In Creation, I needed those same funds for Bioware and Cyberware to fit the style and concept I was shooting for. And since that costs 100k nuyen.gif
This makes it difficult to do both.

Oh well, if I think of more, I'll make sure to post them.

I may be wrong, but if I am, I'm sure the crowd around here will beat me into submission quite effectively, and perhaps you'll get the right answer in the process.
wobble.gif
Falconer
CthulthuDreams:
I don't have an issue w/ intuition traditions per se. I just don't like it when people are dishonest about their motives or the advantages which come with it.

My initial comment was they make the best combat and street mages since intuition ties into so many vital skills.

Another side benefit w/ intuition traditions is they work best for orks as intution isn't penalized only logic & cha are. And orks start w/ high bod/str to begin with so that's one dump stat covered, and bod starts pretty high which allows for some fairly tough armored mages.

And quite frankly... I agree. It's a shame that the ONLY intuition tradition in the book which isn't possession is Buddhist tradition.
There really should be more.

I sincerely hope the authors in the future address, with more book traditions in the future.

It would also be nice to see some book traditions with task spirits. (all the task spirit traditions in the book are possession).


It'd be interesting to hear how you think Cha & Log lock you into anything. I'm not arguing that they have certain aspects which are easier to play into as strengths. But I never found them that much of a straightjacket. Please expand on this.


Regiment:
Astral combat isn't quite as useless as you think. If attacked by spirits in the astral it takes the place of unarmed combat, and it can't be used unarmed. If you lack a manabolt spell or similar which does physical damage you lack a means to attack astral barriers to force a way in. You don't need it straight out of chargen but I recommend getting 1 rank in it quickly with a specialization (in defense/parrying/attacking wards... works best for charisma traditions).

Those extra dice help a lot against spirits who can only attack you in astral combat while projecting. With the movement rates on the astral you can find yourself getting surrounded and gangraped quite quickly.

Something like Type-O is not available to a magician. (qualties are topped at 35 in normal chargen... 15 of those which go to magician only leaving 20). And those qualities are generally used by street sams who have a lot more cyber/bio. Also type-o doesn't work with cultured bioware, only basic bioware. Most mages aren't interested in any of the basic bioware like muscle toners but in cultured stuff like cerebral boosters, so it's no help.

Biocompatibility generally also isn't worth it... you'll get a whole extra .1 essence worth of cyber for 10BP.

Even the genecrafting mods aren't all that usefull. For 9BP out of 50 devoted to resources you can get the genetic optomization. For 10BP out of your 35 you can get the same and a 20% nuyen cost reduction on further enhancements. Mages generally are rolling in cash, and not getting more than 1 maybe 2 essence at the outside worth of mods to begin with.
Regiment
You may be right on the intuition choice as a tradition drain stat, but, I have a question. (And no, I'm not saying you or I am right or wrong, it's sincerely just a question)

Is picking Intuition any worse than picking an elf for charisma and pumping it to a soft-max of 7? Especially when, after this, you can take 1 point in the Influence group and 1 point in Intimidation and be pretty damn comfortable in your Social pools, as well as being able to bind a ton of spirits more than anyone else... all just as a side-effect of pumping your drain pool?

As well, is it any more munchy than picking a Logic tradition just for what cerebral booster can do? Or one further, a dwarf with a cerebral booster and a logic tradition?

Heh, now that you mention the ork thing, at least that would give them a comparable-to-human drain options.

In the way you described spell formulae creations, it would almost seem to me that is enough of a balance point right there to compensate for the skill bonus you get that's attached to Intuition.

Again, I'm not attacking or disagreeing... I'm seriously curious about how the balance question is answered when compared to the above.

On the Spirit thing, I still haven't figured out what exactly the uber-power of the new spirits is. Care to give a synopsis for the thread since that's what the OP was talking about anyway?
Falconer
That's exactly why I don't think intuition traditions are really a big problem per se.

Logic traditions have ways to boost logic way up. (and secondary skills which drive off logic which can be usefull, arcana & first aid immediately come to mind)
Charisma (as elf) also has ways to boost it way up. (and again secondary skills which derive which benefit from a high cha)
So the derived stats which come from intuition aren't anything new, just that they're MUCH more relevant to fighting than the other two.

The biggest problem I've seen with them, is that there are is a serious lack of book traditions available for them. And when people make up their own, they invariably go overboard and just pick the best spirits. (granted... now that I think... took an awful lot of words to get around and say that... but writing all that really helped to distill my thoughts down).
toturi
QUOTE (Falconer @ Aug 14 2009, 02:39 PM) *
The biggest problem I've seen with them, is that there are is a serious lack of book traditions available for them. And when people make up their own, they invariably go overboard and just pick the best spirits. (granted... now that I think... took an awful lot of words to get around and say that... but writing all that really helped to distill my thoughts down).

Why is there a serious lack of book traditions for any particular Drain stat? While I agree that sometimes you'd need to jump through flaming backstory hoops in order for a particular tradition to be available to certain characters, mechanically I do not feel that there is any lack in the number of canon traditions, especially with Digital Grimoire out (I do not have DG and I feel that the traditions in SM is enough).

QUOTE
And quite frankly... I agree. It's a shame that the ONLY intuition tradition in the book which isn't possession is Buddhist tradition.
There really should be more.
What about Druid? Druids spirit selection is pretty good and IIRC, they aren't possession.
Machiavelli
And again i don´t get the point of Intuition-tradtitions and why they are cool. Intuition is used for initiative and perception. Is there another purpose i missed?
Ol' Scratch
That's the main reason. It boosts your Perception and Initiative -- both in the meat world and the spirit world. For a magician, that's full of win. Charisma comes in a not-quite-close second and Logic a distant third as far as secondary benefits for a magician goes.
Machiavelli
But due to the fact that there is no metatype that gets a boost on intuition, playing an elf with a high CHA is still the best choice, isn´t it? Just because you choose a intuition based tradition, you can´t neglect your CHA (still important for spirits and astral-combat) or you WIL (Drain and resistance).
Regiment
QUOTE (Machiavelli @ Aug 14 2009, 12:47 AM) *
And again i don´t get the point of Intuition-tradtitions and why they are cool. Intuition is used for initiative and perception. Is there another purpose i missed?


These were stated in a previous post by Falconer (me doing the elaborating):

Initiative and Perception: You already see these.

"Street" Knowledge skills and "Interest" Knowledge skills both use Intuition as their attribute.

Assensing uses Intuition, and since a character from this forum would be a mage, this is advantageous.

Astral Initiative = Intuition x 2

Astral Reaction = Intuition

Counterspelling usage = GM rolls the character's Magic + Intuition (threshold 3) to determine if the character notices a spell needing to be Counterspelled or Defended against.

Intuition + Spellcasting (rolled in secret by GM) determines how much a character can know about how effective his or her spell was that the just hit someone else with.

It's used in the test for finding/replacing Foci

It's used in the test for Astral Tracking

Seeing through Masking uses this stat.



I think the biggest factor here is for the more mundane uses though... As said previously, If you are balancing between Charisma and Logic, and pick one of the two, you can use the other for a dumpstat (albeit an issue for most characters if either of these were dumped down to 1 in a lot of well-rounded games). Most players don't want their Intuition to be completely dumped though, so they end up having it at least a 3 there, because of general frequency of use. So, even though you can't boost it to 8 or 9 easily, it balances well to use this to have their Initiative compete for being closer to first in the pass/round, and being generally observant/perceptive (especially if most of the others at the table have a basic 3 here).

On top of all this, the comments about Orks using it as their stat are important, since their Charisma and Logic are both base-capped at 5, and their Intuition is base-capped at 6.



It may not be as crossover-style important as Charisma for Social and Bound Spirit limits; or Logic for Tons of stuff, but it sure ain't bad to have it high, especially as a spell slinger.
siel
In our table, we rarely see a mage with intuition tradition. People have thought about the benefit from intuition and initiative, but I guess we like a secondary role that's usually associated with high charisma (face) or high logic (medic, demo, hacker, whatever).

I suppose that would be one benefit of intuition based tradition. You can just focus on combat and nothing else (well, and perception). While it's possible to get better drain with cha, you can focus your points on mage and combat related aspects instead of branching out and spending your karma on other roles.




But we like the other roles.. ohplease.gif

Regiment
QUOTE (Machiavelli @ Aug 14 2009, 01:07 AM) *
But due to the fact that there is no metatype that gets a boost on intuition, playing an elf with a high CHA is still the best choice, isn´t it? Just because you choose a intuition based tradition, you can´t neglect your CHA (still important for spirits and astral-combat) or you WIL (Drain and resistance).



Elves have a high BP cost for the return, for a lot of combat characters. Orks tend to end up more cost efficient at the risk of being one or two dice less in base pools before augmentation. They get a LOT more bang-per-buildpoint.

Charisma at a 2 to 4 at chargen isn't bad for a combat mage who doesn't use spirits as their primary tool, and it's not all THAT expensive to raise it up a bit if, like many tables, you're still using the New Rating x 3 advancement costs.

Wil will be desired at as high a level as possible regardless of the tradition, so that's a neutral point.
Machiavelli
I thought the attribute-costs have already been lowered back to new rating x 3?

For the beginning, elves have the worst cost-use-relation of all metas, because you don´t have to subtract the negative modifiers. But basically they have a cost that is equal to the rising of the attributes so i can live with it and the maxed attributes are always something for future thoughts. If you softmax your CHA at the beginning and choose a CHA-based tradition, dumping LOG and rising INT and WIL will leave you with a powerhouse of a mage. A weak and stupid one but he has to cast spells, not write books.^^

If you go for a specific type of mage, of course, this doesn´t work. But from a munchy kind of view, it is still the best choice.

Regiment

It might have been changed back to 3x, I dunno. I don't keep perfectly up with everything and tend to read to my interests.

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

Agreed, it can still give you some of the best numbers... but at chargen the bang-for-the-buck principle still is important to lots of folks.

The statement earlier about focusing on magic and combat is a good one too. If I play something with a high charisma or logic, I definitely want to plug some points into the skills that take advantage of the high stat.

Intuition helps by the way it's designed, rather than tons of secondary skills.

So if you want to focus, have a good all around tough, combat mage, with respectable pools to start: Ork with Intuition lets you have more BP to play with in your focus areas.

If you want to plan for the expensive karma long-term and generally fall into a more classical mage role: Elf with soft-capped charisma is the way to go, but something is going to have to give you all the BP to compensate.

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

I tried crunching the numbers to make an elven combat mage with the same basic design as the ork.

The ork ended up with no stats lower than 3, and able to take 30 points of positive qualities as well as a point of bio and cyber, a decent car, and no horrible skills, and I had no desires to get a bunch of secondary skills. (Our table doesn't count the magical positive qualities toward the 35 point max, and has a 30 point max instead also.)

The elf ended up with much prettier base mage stats, but was pretty wimpy, and very stat-dumpy to compensate, and didn't have the BP for good augmentation, unless he had almost no-edge, and took a severe hit in active skills, etc.

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

Also, here's a note: Lots of players feel that elf or dwarf is the ONLY way to go as a mage, and ork or troll is the best way to go for the cybered out combat pimp. As a result, many of the games I've sat in on, or talked to folks about, they wanted to play an ork or troll like character, grungy, downtrodden, etc. but changed what they wanted for the elf and dwarf numbers. So instead of playing the less-than-optimal design, they revamped their ideas and did silly things like playing a pretty elf-girl that had a thing for Orxploitation and Goblin Rock (granted, I've seen this done both in good, and in bad ways).
At least with the Intuition argument for them, there is an argument that is not completely overblown when crunching numbers.

To me, that enhances RP potential, which is always a good thing.
Machiavelli
Agreed too. Even i am starting to look for other options than my basic combat-mage. But it is really hard to change your habits.

Of course elven/dwarf or orc/troll combinations for mages or sams aren´t the ONLY ways, but munch-like they are logically the best solutions. But i also experienced that these sorts of chars. are extraordinary boring to play, bacause everybody does it. I would really like to play in a group that has a hacker and some other non-common char-types.
toturi
QUOTE (Regiment @ Aug 14 2009, 04:38 PM) *
So if you want to focus, have a good all around tough, combat mage, with respectable pools to start: Ork with Intuition lets you have more BP to play with in your focus areas.

If you want to plan for the expensive karma long-term and generally fall into a more classical mage role: Elf with soft-capped charisma is the way to go, but something is going to have to give you all the BP to compensate.

I tried crunching the numbers to make an elven combat mage with the same basic design as the ork.

The ork ended up with no stats lower than 3, and able to take 30 points of positive qualities as well as a point of bio and cyber, a decent car, and no horrible skills, and I had no desires to get a bunch of secondary skills. (Our table doesn't count the magical positive qualities toward the 35 point max, and has a 30 point max instead also.)

The elf ended up with much prettier base mage stats, but was pretty wimpy, and very stat-dumpy to compensate, and didn't have the BP for good augmentation, unless he had almost no-edge, and took a severe hit in active skills, etc.

A concept that works with one race does not necessarily translate well to another. In fact, I find that a build that works well with one race can be terrible with another. So I am not at all surprised with your result of trying to make an elven combat mage using the same design as the ork.

A good build ties in all aspects of chargen, everything from chargen type (BP/karma/priority) to the smallest details. If you want to use elf, create a build for the elf. I foresee that substituting the ork creates all sorts of havoc for the build (possibly because you can't get it to work the way you want it to).

In particular, the chargen system deserves careful examination. For BP, you need to pay for your metatype. For karma, it is free. For karmagen if I was going to create a mystic adept, I'd take a close look at pixie. Similarly if I was going to create a magician, fox or eagle shifters make great mages.
KCKitsune
You know, I was wondering why everybody said Body was a secondary stat.

I mean it's only as important as Willpower! It reflects how much armor you can wear without having problems.

Kerenshara
QUOTE (siel @ Aug 14 2009, 03:13 AM) *
In our table, we rarely see a mage with intuition tradition. People have thought about the benefit from intuition and initiative, but I guess we like a secondary role that's usually associated with high charisma (face) or high logic (medic, demo, hacker, whatever).

I suppose that would be one benefit of intuition based tradition. You can just focus on combat and nothing else (well, and perception). While it's possible to get better drain with cha, you can focus your points on mage and combat related aspects instead of branching out and spending your karma on other roles.




But we like the other roles.. ohplease.gif

Skills that use INTuition:

Artisan
Assensing
Disguise
Interests Knowledge
Language
Navigation
Perception
Shadowing
Street Knowledge
Tracking

It's 1/2 of INItitative, but when astrally projecting, it's 100% of INItiative, it substitutes for REAction in dodge and other tests,

It goes into Masking and Extend Masking: [Assensing + INTuition] vs. [INTuition + Magic + Initiation Grade]

Going direct from VR to Astral Projection = [WILlpower + INTuition] 3 test

Learning and improving Skills uses [INTuition + Skill] to determine how long it takes.

Learning a new spell is [Spellcasting + INTuition] (5, 1 day)

Learning an extra Metamagic power is [something variable + INTuition]

It factors into Alchemical gathering.

Combined with WILlpower, it helps resist a spirit's Desire Reflection power.

It goes into Divining.

Resisting unwanted spirit Inhabitation or Possession is [WILlpower + INTuition]

Did you know you can spoof a magical ward with Masking the same way you can spoof a node into letting you through in the Matrix?

Look at all the things that call for SOME kind of Perception test or a derivative? Like, oh, "was my spell successful?" or "Did the mage use spell defense?" or "Did I notice the ward before crossing it?"

Adept Powers that call for Intuition in some form:

Enhanced Perception (limit on ranks)
Linguistics (speed of learning)
Voice Control (use of the power)

Animal Atunement requires [INTuition + CHarisma]

Psychometry requires [INTuition + Assensing]

Sensing requires [INTuition + MAGic]

Physical Illusion spells are resisted with [INTuition + Counterspelling (if any)]

I guess my point was that INTuition goes into an awful lot. If you're willing to take a single point hit to MAGic, you can get a lot of 'ware into that 1.00 ESSence. That might include Cerebral Boosters, which are cheap and effective. If you're just worried about the drain stat and secondary skills, look elsewhere, because even if it's "secondary" for you, LOGic is just too easy to raise if that's what you're doing. It's not ALL about INItitative. To me, it's at LEAST as much about Perception. You can't hit/dodge/analyze/compensate for what you can't see, and what you don't see may just kill you.
Mx
QUOTE (Falconer @ Aug 14 2009, 09:03 AM) *
And quite frankly... I agree. It's a shame that the ONLY intuition tradition in the book which isn't possession is Buddhist tradition.
There really should be more.

Druidic Tradition,Traditional Witchcraft and Goddess Wicca are non-possession intuition traditions too.
Insidently Traditional Witchcraft is also the only non-possession tradition with task spirits.
McAllister
But I thought it WAS a possession tradition. "Most witches believe their very souls are placed at risk when dealing with spirits since these manifest in the material world through possession" and all that. Honestly, having spirits with Choose Your Physical/Technical Skill and Materialize might prove troublesome. At least with Possession they have to be provided a body.
toturi
QUOTE (Kerenshara @ Aug 15 2009, 12:53 AM) *
(Shitload of magic stuff uses Intuition)

Agreed, there are many things that use Intuition or are linked to it.

That is what makes Intuition so damned versatile and broadbased. Hiding somewhere while projected? Intuition - Disguise. Tailing someone while Astrally Projected? Intuition - Shadowing. Seeing someone (Assensing/Perception) and not having him see you in return (Disguise/Shadowing) is a great advantage. [toturi's guide for mages: see Fox Shifters]

Almost everyone makes the connection between Charisma and Social Skills and/or Spirits. It is the Attribute that is commonly thought to be the easiest of all the Drain attributes that can be pumped via choosing an elf or elven metavariant. But astrally it is no great shakes - it is the Astral equivalent of Strength, unless you are building an Astral Combat PC, when most mages simply go for the Stun/Manabolt.

Logic is good astrally. It is the equivalent of Agility. Right, Agility. And one of the most important things in SR (as mentioned above) is to stay undetected and can you say Logic(Agility) + Infiltration?
Falconer
Good catch... for some reason I thought druids and wiccan's were possession (and thought wiccans and traditional witchcraft were the same inthe book... teach me to post late w/o the book on hand). Oh well I had that wrong.

Though still kinda sad that druids and wiccans are basically carbon copy clones of each other. (replace beast w/ fire for combat... otherwise they're almost exactly the same as nature worshiping eco freaks).

Excepting the bit about english druids... who are basically intuition based hermetics which makes me wonder why given the distinct treatment traditional witchcraft got... why didn't they get a similar branch tradition.


Totori: the biggest problem w/ logic in astral is that it's principal uses disappear. Most of the skills linked to it disappear. The other big use of agility (attacking things) is instead replaced by willpower. The other 3 non-combat skills escape artist, palming, or lockpicking' are hardly relevant to the astral.

The only one which survives is infiltration. And it's surely an important one. But it pales to having a spirit hit you with concealment. And the 3-4 extra dice you'll have in it over an intution or cha tradition.

The other big benefit of logic is it dictates the number of active foci you can have at once.

Kerenshara
QUOTE (Falconer @ Aug 14 2009, 09:42 PM) *
The other big benefit of logic is it dictates the number of active foci you can have at once.

Yep, but I was pointing out how useful it could be to double-down on INTuition. LOGic can be bough for very little essence if it's of that much use to you. That was the whole point I was hoping to make (aparently unsuccessfully).

As to foci, if you need that many foci, like I said, the 'ware is easy. And didn't we (don't remember any more if it was you or no, so the "we" is generic) talk about how a stacked focus was actually just one item against that limit?
Falconer
No. Stacked Foci's interaction towards those limits aren't defined in the rules. It's up to the GM. And there's advantages and drawbacks to doing it either way, the thing is just to be consistent once an approach is decided upon. IIRC: i shied toward it's one item, but don't feel strongly either way.

Logically:
The force of a focus is the sum of all it's constituent parts. If it's one item... then that counts wholly against your force limitation for focus addiction if you're using part or the whole focus.
If it's piecemeal, then logic gains a feather as activating each aspect would count as one focus, and you can partially activate a focus only getting billed for those aspects of it you're actually using.


However, once again you miss a major problem. Focus addiction. You can't treat a focus as half an item for some things and a whole item for other just because it's convenient. The force of a stacked focus is always equal to the sum of it's parts. (EG: you're activating a force 8 focus, even if you're only using half of it's 4/4 stats). Really do you really think the Magic 3 char can use a force 6 power focus w/o any risk of addiction?

Addiction tests for focus are rolled with Willpower + Logic btw.

Digital Grimoire gives some rough guidelines for focus addiction, but it's never really spelled out. IIRC: it's 2x your magic in total active foci. Though I'd think a single focus of higher rating than your magic also would be good grounds.

Anyhow... Magic limits the number of foci you can have bound. And logic limits the number which can be active at any one time. So it does do double duty... increases the maximum number you can have active and increases your ability to avoid the addiction.



As far as intuition, you're preaching to the choir. I've stated it's easily one of the absolute best drain stats for combat & street mages. It's ONLY drawback is there's no good ways to augment it easily (and I generally feel this is a fairly substantial drawback). I listed practically all the things you listed in a neater form already as well as the ability to effectively treat log & cha as dump stats once you have it. (while cha/log have a very hard time treating int as a dump stat).

That's why I said it's generally the stat to try and pick for power gaming your typical SR mage.
Kerenshara
I saw mention in one place that an adept could use the "improved attribute" power to up the mentals, but every other place I've seen it as strictly physical only. I wonder if we might be seeing that as a possibility in a forthcoming product?
Falconer
The adept powers only enhance the physicals. Not the mentals.

The correct name for it is "Improved Physical Attribute"
"Attribute Boost" similarly must be purchased for a physical attribute.

Adepts have been more properly known as PhysAd's for a long time for cause.



There is the spell increase intuition. Though you'll have to sustain that, (or have a high force sustaining focus to keep it going).
Since the force of the spell must be equal or greater to your base attribute... you'd need a force 6 sustaining focus to have hits increase the attribute. (and the spell would deactivate if background count were to reduce it even 1 point). So realistically you'd want force 7 or 8. But for a cha/log tradition they're looking at needing a force 8+ (preferably 9-10) sustaining focus to pull that off. Not likely. More likely, eventually quickening metamagic is obtained and used. (however you can only extended mask a number of auras <= init grade, and <= your magic attribute in force).
Rasumichin
QUOTE (Falconer @ Aug 15 2009, 03:42 AM) *
The only one which survives is infiltration. And it's surely an important one. But it pales to having a spirit hit you with concealment.


We're talking astral Infiltration here, right?
Because otherwise, it won't be linked to Logic...so Concealment won't do jack for you.
It's a physical power.



But as far as my two cents for the best Drain stat go...i don't really think any one is superior to the others per se.
All have their advantages, but in every case, those advantages are specific to a certain build.
You can easily take any Drain stat and build a sound mechanical concept around it.

In general, i think CHA has the greatest use for magical purposes, as it determines the number of bound Spirits.
Would you rather have two more Spirits or two more dice for Perception?
Yeah, i know, Initiative, too.
So what?
At this point, you're probably running around with Initiative-enhancing spells and strike first because of magical concealment anyway.

Be it the orkish combat Druid with high Initiative and Perception (and, well...that's about it, but hey, he's an ork, great for combat builds), the elven Houngan with an army of spirits and a slightly higher Drain pool, the dwarven Hermetic with tons of Foci, Cerebral Boosters, good Arkana and Enchanting (another Logic-linked skill everyone forgets...until they end up paying through the nose for Binding materials, of course!)...these are all viable, efficient builds.

Is one of them slightly superior in mechanical terms?
I don't know, there might be minor differences.
But none of them are big enough to call anyone munchkin based solely on the Drain stat one chooses for a homemade tradition.
Falconer
Rasum:

Very good catch on concealment... I'm going to have to point that out to GM now... he's constantly penalizing entire group w/ tons of concealment flesh forms... and my assensing isn't helping. Power says right there, physical and only lists perception, not assensing.


Though this means now, that the actual illusion spells are more important. Not the physical ones, but the direct ones which don't affect technology. As those are mana spells and do work on the astral... jedi mind trick, this is not the spell form that you are looking for. (phantasm, hide yourself and your attack pack on the astral behind a hunting blind). So still, you can quickly cover for not having the infiltration skill and effectively make yourself invisible.


On your final munchkin point, I agree. Drain stat alone isn't it.
IMO: I only draw that line when the traditions spirits are selected and the traditions magical philosophy is done (or more commonly isn't). IMO, the only reason this has come out moreso w/ intuition has been the relative lack of traditions, and generally once someone starts making up their own, they don't keep some sense of checks and balances in place.



QUOTE (toturi @ Aug 14 2009, 06:00 AM) *
In particular, the chargen system deserves careful examination. For BP, you need to pay for your metatype. For karma, it is free. For karmagen if I was going to create a mystic adept, I'd take a close look at pixie. Similarly if I was going to create a magician, fox or eagle shifters make great mages.


Actually this really really bad chargen bit is going away. AH posted that when the SR4a changes for runners companion hit, thankfully finally there will be no meta for free broken nonsense. (only thing which broke a perfectly good system I would have gladly jumped at the chance to use for every game).

In fact, the ork intuition mage was a banner example of what was wrong with karmagen. (taking the free stats, as free, then taking all that karma that was supposed to be for increasing high stats, and instead spend it on special attributes and magic at the SAME cost as a basic human, who still needs to buy his body up to 4 from scratch... etc. etc. etc.)

Kerenshara
QUOTE (Falconer @ Aug 15 2009, 10:35 AM) *
Actually this really really bad chargen bit is going away. AH posted that when the SR4a changes for runners companion hit, thankfully finally there will be no meta for free broken nonsense. (only thing which broke a perfectly good system I would have gladly jumped at the chance to use for every game).

In fact, the ork intuition mage was a banner example of what was wrong with karmagen. (taking the free stats, as free, then taking all that karma that was supposed to be for increasing high stats, and instead spend it on special attributes and magic at the SAME cost as a basic human, who still needs to buy his body up to 4 from scratch... etc. etc. etc.)

See, I guess this is another place where I prefer to build by "description" and not by Crunch & Munch. An ork may get some stats for free, but if they don't put any more points into it, they are going to be the equivalent of a "weakling" amongst their kind, and I would imagine people would react accordingly. So what if you're well above the human baseline? People in the 6th World KNOW what an orc's supposed to look like, and if you don't put any points into BODy or STRength, you're going to look like the orcish interpretation of the fat lazy decker couch potato. As a GM, if I saw that kind of blatant Munchkinism (please note I didn't say "min-maxing", which isn't the same thing at all), I'd allow it, then make sure the player realized good and well how everybody else saw and reacted to them. They'd get to play the benefits of those stats with dice, but everybody would react to them like they were fairly pitiful.

Unless I have a REASON for my character (of any type) to be above OR below average in any statistic (Kerenshara's only got a 2 in EDGe, because she burned points surviving her parent's murder and hasn't bought it back up) I make a point of buying it at two points over start: average for that race. THEN I make changes. That's the same way I buy my skills. Do I min-max every last point? You bet. Do I buy things the way they ought to be by how I would describe the character? Absolutely.

I just really have a problem with "Well, I COULD build this drekky excuse for a character so the system is broken" (and that's not directed exclusively at YOU Falconer) line of thinking. If you actually build a character that fits in the universe, then it shouldn't be a problem. If the system doesn't let you do that, THEN it's broken.
Ol' Scratch
I'm also not sure how a revision to the Companion will "fix" orcs or dwarves. The basic rules, even in the anniversary edition, give both races far more than they cost. A race full of flavor and win with a default Body of 4, Strength of 3, and natural Low-Light Vision for 20 Build Points, with the only cost being a max cap of Charisma 5? Why not play one unless you have a specific concept in mind? And what if that concept actually is an ork to begin with? (They're my second favorite race in the game based on pure flavor and style, with Humans coming in first and Dwarves second.)

SR4 made the huge mistake of not penalizing characters based on their race. If they actually had to pay extra for their Charisma, or at least treated races as "quality packages" for appropriate costs, things would have been a lot better. Orks would still likely have been a good deal, but not nearly as good of one as they are in SR4.
Shinobi Killfist
QUOTE (Dr. Funkenstein @ Aug 15 2009, 11:38 AM) *
I'm also not sure how a revision to the Companion will "fix" orcs or dwarves. The basic rules, even in the anniversary edition, give both races far more than they cost. A race full of flavor and win with a default Body of 4, Strength of 3, and natural Low-Light Vision for 20 Build Points, with the only cost being a max cap of Charisma 5? Why not play one unless you have a specific concept in mind? And what if that concept actually is an ork to begin with? (They're my second favorite race in the game based on pure flavor and style, with Humans coming in first and Dwarves second.)

SR4 made the huge mistake of not penalizing characters based on their race. If they actually had to pay extra for their Charisma, or at least treated races as "quality packages" for appropriate costs, things would have been a lot better. Orks would still likely have been a good deal, but not nearly as good of one as they are in SR4.



Because while Body is somewhat useful, strength is a throwaway stat for most builds. I'd rather pay 30 points for the elf than 20 points for the orc because agility and charisma are overall the God stats. +1 agility is better than +4 strength for everyone but a melee combatant. +2 charisma covers such a useful array of skills that it beats the crap out of body IMO. The orc is overrated it has bonuses to stats that don't help you much. The orcs body is nice but 4-5 is all you need usually so it seems like a bit of a waste. The real benefit of the racial stat mods isn't the BP you initially save but the rasing of the max attribute. And raising my max body and strength is worthless in comparison to raising my max agility and charisma.

If you are playing a one shot or don't expect the campaign to last long the orc is a good choice otherwise its not so great.
Ol' Scratch
Ignoring Strength, an Ork still gets 30 Build Points for free in the way of Body, in addition to Low Light Vision (valued at 5 BPs based upon the metagenic quality). The only "cost" is a max of Charisma 5. If you're going to have a Body of 4 or higher anyway, it's still a better deal unless you're planning on playing a Charismatic type. 20 BPs for 35 BPs. Again, ignoring Strength. Which, unless you only run around with a Strength of 1, is hardly a loss of points with a default of 3 (that would be 55 BPs for 20 BPs).

What's more, the Ork is likely going to be more well-rounded in his or her stats, as opposed to the God-awful Elves who'll waste all their build points trying to max out that Agility (for a whole extra +1 dice pool bonus) or Charisma in order to show the real "advantages" of being one. Nevermind that it costs you 30 BPs to gain 35 BPs worth of bonuses; hardly a sound investment from a pure point-for-point basis. Especially for the privilege of playing a race that, to many, is the very opposite of cool.

No matter how you end up, the Ork comes ahead and can use all those bonus points for Skills, Resources, Qualities or anything else. All so an Elf can get that +1 dice pool bonus in Agility. What's worse, Social Skill dice are so easy to come by that even a character with Charisma 1 can be a social dynamo; it really only matters to magicians and maybe technomancers (I don't keep up with them much), and only magicians with a Charisma-based traidtion and/or focus on conjuring. Which is very small niche, all things considered. And if you don't have any intention to raise any of your attributes beyond 5 anyway (which is true of practically any character I create), there's absolutely nothing an Elf brings to the table that an Ork doesn't do infinitely better.

So, basically, even if you ignore Strength the Ork still wins out by a landslide with a free 15 BPs versus the 5 BPs an Elf nets you. No real point trying to argue it, especially with painfully weak arguments like "Body is somewhat useful."
Falconer
Fair enough Karenshara... just, it's that line of thinking which produced the whole metatypes for free.

The problem is if you do that, why even bother with BP. Anyone can make any character they wish w/ any stats they wish. Why even take a nod at even trying to balance things with something like points?! Why do we have BP/karma at all?

One must accept that there is no such thing as perfect balance. However some things are pretty blatant.

To use your example, showing why it doesn't work, the ork isn't scrawny for an ork as he's a human looking ork who people will only take for an above average human barring close medical scrutiny. And the human has night vision quality (or cybereyes) also giving him low-light. (low-light on the ork is almost a waste if he then gets cybereyes as it's an unused quality).

Ork: with 5BP human looking positive quality vs. human w/ 5BP night vision positive quality (runners companion gives low-light vision). Both with 4's in all stats.

Human: 30*8 == 240, +50 more (edge + magic). +5BPqual (<-- note human is OVER the 200BP on attributes)
Total: 295BP
Ork: 0+10+(6*30)==190BP, +60 more special, +5BPqual, +20race (<-- note orc STILL isn't iup to the 200BP max on attributes)
Total: 250BP.

Gee 45BP is a haif over 10% advantage! I can pay for equipment alone w/ that, or a pretty badass skill package. That's NOT a small discrepancy. Even if the human completely ignores strength (and so does the orc).. he can't close that gap by all that much.

Only difference: lower cha and logic cap, which are a wash w/ the extra bod alone (and extra str cap if you're a physical type). Accelerated Decripitude (loved that term from Bladerunner, though that almost never comes into play and there's ways around it if it is). If we add in geneware (and qualities)... going from 5(7)->6(9) cap is a much bigger change advantage than going from a 6(9) -> 7(10) cap. (augmented goes up by 2, w/ a 20% improvement in base, vs augmented cap up by 1 w/ a 17% enhancement for the same cost).


If I now move to karmagen, it gets worse. (sticking with 5x rank and ignoring 3x rank attributes).
Rank 4 == 10+15+20 == 45 karma

Human: 8*45==360, +80 (special), +10 qual, == 450 karma <-- said human is over the 375 cap on attributes (which includes special attributes)
Ork: 0+20+(6*45)==290, +90(special), +10qual +0orkdom == 390 <-- (380 karma is STILL under the cap of 415 that an ork can spend on attributes!!!).

Difference 60 karma: Not quite as bad, but still huge (especially since I don't feel the urge to buy skills to max allowed to save karma later). Still an 8% advantage ork (and a ork that's not playing to type at that!!!).


See why I state this is a banner example of how to break the system.


Doc Funk:
I agree, I've pointed that out for ages. That if the racial packages were applied AFTER stats were bought there'd be far less problems. (or simply hide the cost of buying up penalized stats from negative/zero values in the cost of the metatype (which does the same thing but in a slightly different manner). The other problem is that the points you get for free, in those attributes aren't just points in the attribute, they're ALSO enhanced attribute caps, so they're MORE valuable than a mere 10 points. (technically enhanced attribute cap is +15 quality, +10 more for the actual rank!!!). Or even if it cost 12 or 14BP ti raise a penalized stat, (or if penalizing the stat caused it's cost to increase it to be 6x new rank instead of 5x new rank... and go the other way as well for bonused stats...). Lots of ways to tweak things with lots of advantages/disadvantages in there.

EG: if I did a karmagen buy system by having everyone buy their stats from 1->6... THEN applied racial mods, then the question is does the cost of the metatype properly reflect the attribute package deal it represents. Also it means someone buying an 'average troll' would pay exactly the same karma as someone paying for an 'average' human, plus the cost of being a troll.

I always feel bad for humans as well. Why not say, humans get worse stats, but have better racial skillcaps rather than attribute caps. (EG: humans cap out at rank 7 skill... with the enhanced skill quality.. that would allow for an 8(12 w/ skill mods) skill pool in some things (skills are more costly than attributes since attribute costs more but applies to a lot of skills).
Totentanz
I've noticed the discrepancy in my fumblings with the system as well. Obviously, you can have people pay for races in Kgen. What if you changed the races? What would you need to add/subtract to make the choices more balanced?

I'm not expecting mathematical perfection, just wondering what route improvement would take. I'm also aware that balance is an often-worshipped shibboleth in RP in general, though many people argue it goes against the grain of SR. Putting those issues aside, what would need to happen? Kgen and BPgen can be tweaked plenty, but if you were going to address the core problem of this mathematical racial imbalance you have pointed out, what would you change?

The first step in handling a problem is discovering you have one. We have that covered. Step two is taking a stab at fixing it.

To throw my two nuyen.gif into the issue at hand, I can follow the "story" route. However, I run into problems there too. The GM can attempt to redress the issue with RP. How does the GM redress the fact that orks, due to having more effective karma, end up being consistently better than humans at almost every build type? How does the GM handle the fact that a Troll Shaman will on average have more magic skills and higher magic than a human? The couch potato argument runs both ways. A couch potato troll mage can still put on armor and survive. A couch potato human is, well, dead. Saying "I'm making my character by story, not by numbers," is all well and good until your third out-of-shape human hacker gets killed by some low-level security guard and your fellow players tell you pay some attention to the system.

I'm not saying the system is completely screwed. I'm not even saying it is terribly important in the grand scheme of playing the game. But, we do have the system to help simulate the story, so these kinds of questions are worth considering. Finally, focusing on the story aspect runs us into other problems. Do people in this world eventually come to believe that Trolls make superior spellcasting mages? Does common runner rumor indicate that Orks tend to be more skilled than humans at non-intellectual tasks, by dint of having more points?

The system and the story are inter-related. If you use the story to gloss over the system, at some point you should just leave the system behind and free-form it.
Falconer
Totentanz:
I'd rather not go there... that was never intended as a thread hijack. And it's been done back and forth numerous times before in numerous threads. Pretty much every karmagen thread going back to the release of runner's companion has had a lot of back and forth on this point. I've given my schilling on a good dozen of them. (and spent way too much time, disproving all the assertions that karma fixed things when we could illustrate time and again it actually made them worse).

My only intent was as you said... to establish, that yes there is a problem here, agree w/ Funk on his last post. And just saying it's weak for an orc/troll... is great if the game consists only of orks/trolls. Problem is that other types also exist, and should get some parity (especially when the dice hit the table).

Right now, we're all patiently waiting to see what comes of the errata for a LOT of the books, now that SR4a changes are in place. Especially now that the books out and on shelves (got mine, hope you got yours).
Totentanz
Fair enough. My experience on previous boards has been everyone has their own little fixes. Just curious if anybody tried altering the races.
Cthulhudreams
QUOTE (Regiment @ Aug 14 2009, 04:21 PM) *
Is picking Intuition any worse than picking an elf for charisma and pumping it to a soft-max of 7? Especially when, after this, you can take 1 point in the Influence group and 1 point in Intimidation and be pretty damn comfortable in your Social pools, as well as being able to bind a ton of spirits more than anyone else... all just as a side-effect of pumping your drain pool?



This is why it's 'locking' you into concepts. If you play a charisma tradition you're playing a gregarious human or elf - and certainly not a loner troll. You're going to be socially adroit, but not a thinker - or a surgeon.

Seriously if you go logic you need to take first aid and/or the biotech group, and if you have charisma 7 you're going to buy ranks in influence. You can not do that, but it is so gregariously inefficient that you are nerfing your character for purely roleplaying reasons - and that is like making a character where you nly spent 350 BP and then playing in a 400 BP game. Even if you have the greatest concept in the world, the other players in the team are just going to leave you in the dust.

Initution is awesome because it gives you perception and asessing, which is a seriously awesome skill.
Totentanz
That does tend to be the standard with these types of games. Inevitably, some stat is important for magic, or for supernatural juju, or uber martial arts, etc. As a result, characters that do those things end up being focused in a given area. It extends even to GM characters in most cases, so at least it is consistent.

SR is slightly more forgiving in that you can choose up to three different stats. The hemming in of concept comes with the drain stat being set by mostly a RP choice (Tradition), and the limits imposed on the mental stats by various metatype choices.

On the plus side, you can play a gregarious mage, an educated mage, or a quick-drawing mage. On the down side, you are limited on the Tradition choice based on your concept, or vice versa. Of course, you can always play against type.
Rasumichin
QUOTE (Kerenshara @ Aug 15 2009, 04:30 PM) *
See, I guess this is another place where I prefer to build by "description" and not by Crunch & Munch. An ork may get some stats for free, but if they don't put any more points into it, they are going to be the equivalent of a "weakling" amongst their kind, and I would imagine people would react accordingly. So what if you're well above the human baseline? People in the 6th World KNOW what an orc's supposed to look like, and if you don't put any points into BODy or STRength, you're going to look like the orcish interpretation of the fat lazy decker couch potato. As a GM, if I saw that kind of blatant Munchkinism (please note I didn't say "min-maxing", which isn't the same thing at all), I'd allow it, then make sure the player realized good and well how everybody else saw and reacted to them. They'd get to play the benefits of those stats with dice, but everybody would react to them like they were fairly pitiful.


Yeah, i can see that happening (as long as the player doesn't also spend a couple K nuyen.gif on biosculpting, which can make a couch potato look like a Greek god with ease).
All the tough orkish machos (which seem to be quite common according to orxploitation fluff) will call him elfboy or smoothskin or whatever, Humanis goons will be glad to find an ork who's easy to beat up (untill they discover he's a freakin' druid) and in general, it will raise some eyelids if you look out of shape in a world where everybody tries to give at least the impression of physical perfection.
But that's the same for a human with STR1.
And i don't think orks with STR3 would be that much more uncommon.

QUOTE
Unless I have a REASON for my character (of any type) to be above OR below average in any statistic (Kerenshara's only got a 2 in EDGe, because she burned points surviving her parent's murder and hasn't bought it back up) I make a point of buying it at two points over start: average for that race. THEN I make changes. That's the same way I buy my skills. Do I min-max every last point? You bet. Do I buy things the way they ought to be by how I would describe the character? Absolutely.


Yeah, same here, but that works both ways.
If i want something for mechanical reasons, i will explain it in the background of the character.
This often leads to fluff elements i wouldn't have thought about before i started to minmax this specific character.
It's a constant feedback loop between fluff and crunch and hopefully, it results in a character who is both minmaxed and believable.
I wouldn't make generalizations about "blatant munchkinism" based solely on attribute choice.

There's plenty of reasons why an ork should have STR3, for example.
Perfecting your magic skills takes so much time, it's a task that can easily overshadow any other activities.
What if he spends all day meditating in his stone circle and doesn't have the time to work out?
If you're as proficient as the average PC mage, it's not in the least surprising if your studies have made you neglect mundane tasks.
Or probably he's getting old (ork, right? "getting old" could mean "in his mid-twenties").
Once again, not that unlikely given the level of magical proficiency that's considered average for SR4 PCs.
It takes time to bring up all those stats, which might be an issue if you can expect to die of old age in your early 40s.
O probably he's just a couch potato.
Or he's deliberately neglecting things like exercising, bio sculpting and so on because he's fed up with the demand for physical perfection 70's society is constantly shoving down his throat.
Probably he doesn't want to be a muscle-bound macho because he's realized what a bunch of crap orxploitation really is.
Or he's also bought the Human Looking Quality and wants to pass as a human because deep down inside, he hates being an ork.

If you don't generate ork Druids with STR as a dump stat once a week, you shouldn't run out of possible expanations.

To be honest, my ogre Druid has STR4, which seemed like a good compromise between him being a lazy sod and having spend a lot of time outdoors, hiking through woods, running from the cops and such stuff.
From a pure minmax perspective, i would have rather dropped STR to 3, but it didn't fit the concept.
Fortunately, i statted him out out for a 500BP game, so i wasn't that tight on BP.


QUOTE (Totentanz @ Aug 16 2009, 09:54 PM) *
Fair enough. My experience on previous boards has been everyone has their own little fixes. Just curious if anybody tried altering the races.


Haven't done that yet, but if i'd do it, i'd most likely give some additional benefits to humans and elfs instead of gimping the other races.
Orks and dwarves seem well-done to me if you view them on their own, representing quite well what an ork or dwarf in SR should be like.

Fixing elves seems a bit easier to me.
I'd probably drop the cost for elves to 20BP or make them cost 25BP and give them another minor bonus.
Make them faster, for example.
A minor perception enhancement such as Keen-eared or Hawkeyes would also seem appropriate, but that's probably D&D elves coming through.

Sometime ago, i came across the suggestion that humans could be given 10 or 15 BP worth of positive Qualities for free.
If you want to give humans a bigger boost, these free Qualities could not be counting against the 35BP hardcap.
This would reflect humans' versatility (if people have to balance humans against fantasy races, it somehow always comes down to "i'm sure we'd be more adaptable than orks!").
Please note that breaking the 35BP Quality hardcap makes some previously impossible combinations doable.
Such as Type O System and Magician or Exceptional Attribute, Aptitude and Metagenetic Improvement.
It's debatable wether you want to include that in your game, but it would be a significant advantage for human characters to have access to these options.
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