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darune
What is background count ?

How does it work in game terms ?

I suspect it is detailed in street magic (which i do not have - yet)
Thanee
Aaaand you are right. smile.gif

Background count is, basically, some influence, that (usually) makes it harder to work the magic. Places with large emotional impact, for example, war sites where countless people died, often have a background count. Extreme pollution can also create it.

Ruleswise, it acts as a negative (usually) dice pool modifier for magic tasks in the area.

Bye
Thanee
Apathy
Fluff-wise, background count (BC) can represent areas of where carnage or extreme violence occured. Major battlefields where thousands died will have a significant permanent BC, and murder scenes would potentially have a minor, temporary BC. More extreme pain and suffering is more likely to cause BC, so a serial killer's kill site where he tortured his victims to death would likely have a stronger BC than somewhere Dr Kevorkian euthanized willing patients peacefully. Pollution can cause BC, as can sterility or extreme repression. The book doesn't give any specific instructions as to which events cause what BC, but they do give a few examples (murder site might be a 1 temporarily; Auschwitz is like a 5 or 6, from what I remember.) BC can represent a lack of mana in the area (in the case of sterility. for example, space is something like BC8), or an overabundance of mana, or an twisting/aspecting of mana to a particular orientation. When Aztechnology sacrifices people in their temples they create BC, which is aspected toward Azzie magic and against everyone else.

BC can be really debilitating for mages. Everything they have that has a magic rating is temporarily reduced by the amount of the BC. So a mage with magic 5 steps into a teocalli sacrificial temple (BC2) and he now has magic 3. If he overcasts a stunbolt at force 6, the spell is reduced to force 4. If he had a force 2 spirit with him it would not willingly enter the BC, but if forced to it would be reduced to force 0 and disrupted.

Semerkhet
QUOTE (Apathy @ Oct 21 2009, 08:56 AM) *
BC can be really debilitating for mages. Everything they have that has a magic rating is temporarily reduced by the amount of the BC. So a mage with magic 5 steps into a teocalli sacrificial temple (BC2) and he now has magic 3. If he overcasts a stunbolt at force 6, the spell is reduced to force 4. If he had a force 2 spirit with him it would not willingly enter the BC, but if forced to it would be reduced to force 0 and disrupted.


Both of the above posters are wrong in one of their details. I just re-read the relevant section in Street Magic. Here's a summary of the effects of a background count, cut and pasted from the relevant section:

1) Whether positive or negative, in game terms background count reduces a characterís Magic attribute by its absolute value.
2) If background count reduces a characterís Magic to attribute to 0 or less, he is rendered unable to use any magical abilities within the area.
3) A background count-modified Magic attribute counts for all uses of magic, including dice pools and limitations imposed on the Force of spells or spirits.
4) Additionally, the process of gathering and shaping mana is more difficult in areas with background count, so the absolute value of the background count is also added to the Force whenever a character resists magical Drain.
5) Adepts that suffer a reduced Magic attribute temporarily lose powers as a result; the player must choose 1 Power Point worth of powers to be nullified for each point of Magic reduction.
6) In the case of mystic adepts, the gamemaster determines whether the reduced Magic attribute deducts from his magician abilities or adept powers first, but the player gets to decide on which adept powers are temporarily lost.
7) A spiritís Force is reduced in the same manner as a characterís Magic, thus affecting the spiritís attribute and spirit powers as well. A spirit is disrupted if itís Force is reduced to 0 or less.
8) Pre-existing wards, mana barriers, active foci, sustained spells, and quickened/anchored spells are similarly affected. Reduce their Force by the absolute value of the background count. If the Force is reduced to zero or less, wards and mana barriers will collapse, foci will deactivate, and spells will fizzle. The enchantment on a quickened/anchored spell or ward/mana barrier will repair itself once removed from the background count, returning to its regular Force.
9) Background count also affects astral visibility, which affects both assensing and astral combat.


In relation to the previous posts, the important distinction is that spells cast by magicians or spirits while in the area of Background Count are affected through the reduced Magic Attribute of the caster. The force of a spell is not itself reduced. This is in contrast to Number 8 above, which specifically talks about pre-existing or sustained spell effects.
Ravor
Also something to note is that it doesn't take something as drastic as murder to create a Background Count, a meeting spot between two lovers will create one as well, and the drab overly sterile feel of corp buildings should as well.

Basically anything that can stir or stiffile emotion can spawn Background Count, and sometimes Background Counts just spawn themselves from the natural flows and ebbs of Mana.
Semerkhet
QUOTE (Ravor @ Oct 21 2009, 10:14 AM) *
Also something to note is that it doesn't take something as drastic as murder to create a Background Count, a meeting spot between two lovers will create one as well, and the drab overly sterile feel of corp buildings should as well.

Basically anything that can stir or stiffile emotion can spawn Background Count, and sometimes Background Counts just spawn themselves from the natural flows and ebbs of Mana.

And let's not forget the Mana Static spell. Good way for a relatively low-power corpsec mage to protect his mundane teammates from high-powered shadowrunner magical assets.
Ravor
True, but I don't consider that to be a "true" backgound count, brutally effective though.
TBRMInsanity
In simple terms (or at least as it was described to me), a Background count is an increase or decrease in the ambient mana level in an area. This either increases or decreases your ability to do magic in this area. All Background counts have a value (positive for mana surges and negative for mana ebbs). This value is applied directly to your spell after casting (so you may cast a force 4 spell and it fizzes out, or becomes a force 12 monster) (correct me if I'm wrong here). Background counts can also be affiliated with a specific tradition (this is common with magical lodges which have a background count equal to their force (always positive) but only for one tradition). Different traditions aren't effected by the background count (again correct me if I'm wrong here).
Ravor
Not how it works in Fourth Edition, no.
Thanee
QUOTE (Semerkhet @ Oct 21 2009, 06:07 PM) *
1) Whether positive or negative, in game terms background count reduces a character’s Magic attribute by its absolute value.


Oh, guess I have to reread those rules, too. spin.gif

Effectively, it was about right, though; good enough to get an idea (for full rules, buy the book). wink.gif

Bye
Thanee
Semerkhet
QUOTE (Thanee @ Oct 21 2009, 10:57 AM) *
Oh, guess I have to reread those rules, too. spin.gif

Effectively, it was about right, though; good enough to get an idea (for full rules, buy the book). wink.gif

Bye
Thanee

I wasn't at all trying to thumb my nose at you. I happened to have the pdf handy and it seemed like a big enough distinction that I should post the clarification.
Apathy
Thanks for the clarification, Semerkhet. Didn't have the books handy and was trying to go off memory, but my memory isn't what it used to be.
Thanee
QUOTE (Semerkhet @ Oct 21 2009, 07:00 PM) *
I wasn't at all trying to thumb my nose at you. I happened to have the pdf handy and it seemed like a big enough distinction that I should post the clarification.


Absolutely. No offense or anything taken. smile.gif

Bye
Thanee
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