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Nifft
Hello Dumpshock! I'm just getting into Shadowrun, and trying to make a Mage character, but I think I'm missing some rules.

For example, from reading through threads here, it looks like one cannot start out with a Force 5 Power Focus... so what kind of Foci should I take?

Here are the spells I picked, and my reasoning for them:

Stunbolt -- anti-spirit, anti-mage, "soft kill" for when we want someone to interrogate, and it's low Drain.
Heal -- we don't have a dedicated medic.
Ignite (physical) -- utility spell, last-ditch combat spell.
Influence (mental) -- "social combat" spell.
Levitate -- utility, replaces Athletics skill group.
Physical Barrier -- defensive combat spell, can protect the whole party.

For my Spirit Mentor, I picked the Fire-Bringer, but Dog looks really good too -- I'm not playing the kind of guy who would lightly leave his companions behind.

Is there a guide to making a mage? I'm looking to be useful and to survive, rather than make my GM cry, so any broken stuff to avoid would be nice too.

Thanks, -- N
Starmage21
QUOTE (Nifft @ Mar 2 2010, 10:12 AM) *
Hello Dumpshock! I'm just getting into Shadowrun, and trying to make a Mage character, but I think I'm missing some rules.

For example, from reading through threads here, it looks like one cannot start out with a Force 5 Power Focus... so what kind of Foci should I take?

Here are the spells I picked, and my reasoning for them:

Stunbolt -- anti-spirit, anti-mage, "soft kill" for when we want someone to interrogate, and it's low Drain.
Heal -- we don't have a dedicated medic.
Ignite (physical) -- utility spell, last-ditch combat spell.
Influence (mental) -- "social combat" spell.
Levitate -- utility, replaces Athletics skill group.
Physical Barrier -- defensive combat spell, can protect the whole party.

For my Spirit Mentor, I picked the Fire-Bringer, but Dog looks really good too -- I'm not playing the kind of guy who would lightly leave his companions behind.

Is there a guide to making a mage? I'm looking to be useful and to survive, rather than make my GM cry, so any broken stuff to avoid would be nice too.

Thanks, -- N


If youre going to use Heal to fulfill the role of medic, learn first aid too, and get a rating 6 medkit. Use them in conjunction. First aid first, Heal spell second.

Drop Physical Barrier, it sux unless you wanna roll edge or have a fuckton of casting dice.

drop ignite, get a lighter or a portable cutting torch.

improved reaction + Armor spell + that deflection spell = never get hurt by bullets again! Dont forget sustaining focuses biggrin.gif
Karoline
If you grab the restricted gear quality from RC you can grab an F4 power focus for 100k, then bind it for 4 BP.

You need to be more specific on what you're looking for advice on. 'Mage' is an exceedingly broad character, and likely the most versatile archetype.

Other than max out spellcasting, pump up magic, and get a good counterspell skill, there isn't alot of 'common' mage advice.
Stingray
..no need for specialized medic..
if person do not have skill, rating of eq. replace it,(no default), and max boxes of damage is rating of eq (6)..(RAW)
person w/first aid Skill: Skill rating + Logic + medical eq. rating. maximum boxes to heal: skill rating
person wo/first aid Skill: Logic + eq. rating. maximum boxes to heal is equal to rating of medical eq.
Hacker/rigger w/high logic+cyberware/bioware (cerebral booster) and high rating medical eq. makes best Medics (RAW)
(pg. 252. SR4A)
PatB
First question: hermetic, shamanic, or customized tradition ?? This will flesh out your character a lot, role-playing-wise.

The rest depends of the team and how you see yourself in that team:

- Support type: focus on summoning, counterspelling, astral projection related skills/habilities. Heal, Increase <attribute>.

- First line of attack: Increased Reflexes and buy a Sustaining Focus force 3-4 (usually, 3 is enough and the spell's drain is acceptable), a good indirect combat spell for drones, a good direct spell to resist with Will for the meat people, Armor might be good (note: there's no harm in putting the opposition down through stun).

- Infiltration: Improved Invisibility, Physical Mask, Stealth, Infiltration skill (very useful to bring a mage with the others. We play that Infiltration can help you avoid astral attention, the same way is does with the physical).

- A little bit of all: if you go Jack-of-all-trade-master-of-none, you might lose yourself and never find your niche. Depending on the size of the team, fill the gaps where you will have fun. Good spells are Levitate, Physical Barrier, Hush (mix this one with Physical Barrier and Demolition, and you have one nasty silent bang)

Skill-wise, just get Pistols and specialize it is SA, get one melee combat skill (either dodge, unarmed, or club for a Stun Baton - the best for a mage). Forget about Enchanting, Arcana, and probably Banishing (this is your first mage, so give yourself a break). Get a skill or two to be able to follow the team (like Infiltration, shadowing, some social especially if you're shamanic). Don't forget Assensing.

Focus ?? I find that 1-2 sustaining foci are better than a Power focus. Keep in mind that you don't have to cast at maximum force, and that spells like Physical Mask and Improved Invisibility need 3 hits to fool the tech. Increase Reflexes at F3 with 3 hits give you the same as Wired Reflexes II.
Nifft
My dude is of the Hermetic tradition. He's a Dwarf (Philip "Stones" Flint). High Logic works with our high-rated medkit, so that plus the Heal spell should cover the party, right?

The "support" option looks good, since the party has some good front-line fighter types already. So, summoning, eh? As a Hermetic mage, my summoning options are Air, Earth, Fire, Water and Man. Should he focus on Summoning, and ignore Binding & Dispelling?

With his Spirit Mentor (Fire-Bringer) he gets +2 to Manipulation spells, but -1 to Illusion spells: is that too limiting? If Ignite isn't any good, then he won't have a whole lot of combat uses for Manipulation.



Here are his attributes:

PHYSICAL & MENTAL ATTRIBUTES (180 BP)
Body: 3
Agility: 3
Reaction: 3
Strength: 3
Charisma: 3
Intuition: 4
Logic: 5
Willpower: 6

SPECIAL ATTRIBUTES (40 BP)
Edge: 1
Magic: 5

Thanks, -- N
Karoline
Banishing is only good for one thing, and that is playing Pokemon with spirits. It is much easier to nail them with a stunbolt, and will give you way less drain if you just want them gone. Binding is good to have at least a little bit in, because it allows you to save a spirit for later, or put multiple spirits into play.

From what I've heard on the boards, I think Man is the most powerful spirit. One of its greatest abilities is that you can give it an innate spell, and it can sustain it on you (And others) and thus acts like a sustaining focus of sorts.

-1 to illusions isn't all that painful, but ignite is fairly limited in usefulness compared to alot of other spells. As I recall it takes several combat turns to light something on fire, and by that point most combat is over.

Be sure to grab increased reflexes so that you can have multiple IPs and keep up with the sammies.
Stingray
yeah, that will cover the team's medical needs..
active Armor spell
for GEEK THE MAGE FIRST! situations.. biggrin.gif
X-Kalibur
Physical Barrier is a very ubiquitous spell provided you're creative with it. Don't think of it simply as defensive, it can even be used offensively. Car chase? Force a crash check by placing a barrier in front of them. Stuck on a roof? Use it to make a walkway over to another building. In fact, using it defensively as anything more than a time stall seems unreasonable to me. But that's my 2 nuyen worth. I recommend keeping it.

Improved reaction is great unless you want to spend some serious money or serious essence (and magic) on IP boosters. I personally believe rating 1 synaptic boosters are totally worth the 0.5 essence and you can fit some other useful stuff in... cerebral boosters for instance.
PatB
Dwarf and Hermetic make a good mix.

I would increase your Edge by 2 points (total 3) - this is your key when things go bad ... and for summoning/binding spirits rotate.gif That'll save ya a LOT of trouble (the mage in my game learned that fast, especially at 2500 nuyen.gif per binding test).

If you're going the spirit way, Binding is definitely a skill to invest in. First, the spirits stay until you waste all owned services. Next, they can perform other types of services (nothing better than to ask your Man spirit to sustain that Heal spell). And lastly, this skill will make you save money because you'll end up with more services.

Like it was said in a previous reply, give a combat spell to the spirit of Man and he'll replace you without the need to cast Increased Reflexes, and he'll get the aggro instead of you rotate.gif

If you're going with Physical Mask and Improved Invisibility, that -1 die from your Mentor Spirit will not affect you that much, so don't worry. If you score badly, use Edge.

For Manipulation Spells, always think outside the box with these spells. Physical Barrier may be heavy on drain, but my mage used it to block an escape route, which led the victims totally surprised (the barrier was not visible from their side). The idea is not always to drop the targets the first time, but make them lose precious combat time. Even a rating 1 barrier needs to be made aware, then forced, and in all cases, it comes back at full structural rating at the start of the next combat turn.

Use Levitate to prevent someone from fleeing ... or to drop him off the edge of a building. Those Mentor Spirit bonuses will definitely be needed in those cases.

Don't forget Counterspelling as you'll become the mage-savior - the rating of that skill is added to your friend's spell resistance check.
Nifft
Another thing I've been doing wrong: putting 35 BP in positive qualities after the Magician quality. Damn.

So I originally had, in addition to Magician:
Focused Concentration (2) - 20 BP
Quick Healer - 10 BP
Mentor Spirit - 5 BP

Which should I keep? Focused Concentration (2) would be my instinct, since I don't like taking Drain.
X-Kalibur
Hermetic? What tradition? If you use a logic based tradition you can drop MAG a little for rtg 2 cerebral boosters and pick up a rtg 2 power focus for much less cost than the quality offers.
Nifft
QUOTE (X-Kalibur @ Mar 2 2010, 02:18 PM) *
Hermetic? What tradition? If you use a logic based tradition you can drop MAG a little for rtg 2 cerebral boosters and pick up a rtg 2 power focus for much less cost than the quality offers.
Isn't "Hermetic" my whole tradition?

I totally dig the cerebral boosters... is it significantly cheaper to buy those at character creation, or can I snag them later?

For the Power Focus, that is significantly cheaper to buy now.

Bah, I'm going to blow 12 BP on a 6/6 Talismonger just to cover my butt.
X-Kalibur
Street Magic further defines traditions from Shamanic/Hermetic.

Very very quickly I wrote up a barebones (no spells, skills, or much gear)

Human (0)
Attributes 190
Bod 3
Agi 3
Rea 3 (4)
Str 2
Cha 3
Int 4
Log 5(7)
Wil 4

Special Attributes (40)
Edge 2
Magic 5(4)
Essence 5.1
IP 2
Initiative 8

Quality (15)
Magician

Bio (20)
Cerebral Booster 2
Synaptic Booster 1

Gear (10)
Power Focus rating 2 (bound) (2)

Total cost - 277 BP - Karma cost - 330
Nifft
QUOTE (Karoline @ Mar 2 2010, 12:21 PM) *
Banishing is only good for one thing, and that is playing Pokemon with spirits. It is much easier to nail them with a stunbolt, and will give you way less drain if you just want them gone. Binding is good to have at least a little bit in, because it allows you to save a spirit for later, or put multiple spirits into play.

From what I've heard on the boards, I think Man is the most powerful spirit. One of its greatest abilities is that you can give it an innate spell, and it can sustain it on you (And others) and thus acts like a sustaining focus of sorts.

-1 to illusions isn't all that painful, but ignite is fairly limited in usefulness compared to alot of other spells. As I recall it takes several combat turns to light something on fire, and by that point most combat is over.

Be sure to grab increased reflexes so that you can have multiple IPs and keep up with the sammies.
Increased Reflexes is a Healing spell, so it's cheap to just buy later, right? Combat and Manipulation spells are Restricted, so buying those at character creation is better?

I'm thinking of taking Summoning 6, Spellcasting (group) 4, no Binding or Banishing -- I'll pick those up later with Karma, if I end up using Spirits for more than sun-to-sun.

For implants, I really like Platelet Factories (bioware, 0.2 essence).
Hmm, looks like after ditching my (illegal) Mentor Spirit and Quick Healer qualities, I have enough for Cerebral Boosters (2).

After revision, my spell list is:
- Heal
- Stunbolt (Direct)
- Levitate (Physical)
- Influence (Mental)
- Physical Barrier (Environ.)
- Glue (Physical) (sm) -- the possibilities are hilarious.

Thanks, -- N
Caadium
QUOTE (Nifft @ Mar 2 2010, 11:54 AM) *
Increased Reflexes is a Healing spell, so it's cheap to just buy later, right? Combat and Manipulation spells are Restricted, so buying those at character creation is better?

I'm thinking of taking Summoning 6, Spellcasting (group) 4, no Binding or Banishing -- I'll pick those up later with Karma, if I end up using Spirits for more than sun-to-sun.

For implants, I really like Platelet Factories (bioware, 0.2 essence).
Hmm, looks like after ditching my (illegal) Mentor Spirit and Quick Healer qualities, I have enough for Cerebral Boosters (2).

After revision, my spell list is:
- Heal
- Stunbolt (Direct)
- Levitate (Physical)
- Influence (Mental)
- Physical Barrier (Environ.)
- Glue (Physical) (sm) -- the possibilities are hilarious.

Thanks, -- N


Beond the sun-to-sun aspect, you are missing that Binding is how you can use more than 1 spirit at a time. With a Summoning that high, you will likely be relying on them a lot so I'd ponder that.

Another thing to ponder, depending on the character concept, ritual casting might not be that usefull or appropriate. If this is the case, I'd drop the Casting group and instead do:
Summoning 5
Casting 5
Counterspelling 4

and this frees up 8 BP which could be a start towards binding.
Nifft
QUOTE (Caadium @ Mar 2 2010, 03:07 PM) *
Beond the sun-to-sun aspect, you are missing that Binding is how you can use more than 1 spirit at a time. With a Summoning that high, you will likely be relying on them a lot so I'd ponder that.

Another thing to ponder, depending on the character concept, ritual casting might not be that usefull or appropriate. If this is the case, I'd drop the Casting group and instead do:
Summoning 5
Casting 5
Counterspelling 4

and this frees up 8 BP which could be a start towards binding.
That might be much better.
I'll look over the Binding rules and post an update later.

Thanks, -- N
PatB
QUOTE (Nifft @ Mar 2 2010, 02:54 PM) *
Increased Reflexes is a Healing spell, so it's cheap to just buy later, right? Combat and Manipulation spells are Restricted, so buying those at character creation is better?

Spells are spells. They all cost the same, no matter which school they come from. The formula cost differs, but as a mage, your first worry should be Karma, not cash.


QUOTE (Nifft @ Mar 2 2010, 02:54 PM) *
I'm thinking of taking Summoning 6, Spellcasting (group) 4, no Binding or Banishing -- I'll pick those up later with Karma, if I end up using Spirits for more than sun-to-sun.

Think twice about this one. Summoning 6 will give you lots of drain (DV = twice hits) and you'll be limited to a single spirit, and you'll probably start a run with drain from summoning since you won't have time to recuperate.

Binding allows you to get as many spirits as your CHA, plus the single one you can summon. Binding is usually executed between runs because it takes hours to complete, so you don't have to worry about the drain (unless it fills your Stun bar, but that's another topic). Plus, the spirit resists with twice its force, so a good Binding skill is required.

The mage in my game is usually spending 1-2 Edge points when binding; maybe 1 on summoning to reroll fails and depending on the number of hits, and definitely 1 Edge on Binding to maximize the number of services.

If you're planning to support your group with spirits, you need Binding.

Implants, think of cyber-eyes if you have Essence space; if you're going bioware, these will be half Essence cost. Priority on Low-Light and Thermal. Fill the rest of the capacity as you need. Remember - you need to see the target to be able to target it with a spell, so Visibility modifiers applies when casting.
Karoline
QUOTE (PatB @ Mar 2 2010, 03:24 PM) *
Spells are spells. They all cost the same, no matter which school they come from. The formula cost differs, but as a mage, your first worry should be Karma, not cash.



Think twice about this one. Summoning 6 will give you lots of drain (DV = twice hits) and you'll be limited to a single spirit, and you'll probably start a run with drain from summoning since you won't have time to recuperate.

Binding allows you to get as many spirits as your CHA, plus the single one you can summon. Binding is usually executed between runs because it takes hours to complete, so you don't have to worry about the drain (unless it fills your Stun bar, but that's another topic). Plus, the spirit resists with twice its force, so a good Binding skill is required.

The mage in my game is usually spending 1-2 Edge points when binding; maybe 1 on summoning to reroll fails and depending on the number of hits, and definitely 1 Edge on Binding to maximize the number of services.

If you're planning to support your group with spirits, you need Binding.

Implants, think of cyber-eyes if you have Essence space; if you're going bioware, these will be half Essence cost. Priority on Low-Light and Thermal. Fill the rest of the capacity as you need. Remember - you need to see the target to be able to target it with a spell, so Visibility modifiers applies when casting.


Yeah, the karma cost is the same, and the nuyen cost is fairly minimal. As a mage money will generally not be a big concern.

Summoning is only drain = hits, it is binding where drain is 2x hits. I have to agree that binding is going to be a big deal if you want to go for a summoner type character. Keep in mind you don't need a huge binding though. You'll get most of your services in the summoning stage, you just need that one net hit to make the bind stick, anything beyond that is just gravy.

Also, look into trauma dampeners. They reduce the effectiveness of platelet factory slightly, but are more useful as long as you keep in stun drain.

And I second on the cyber-eyes. Only takes a rating 1 or 2 to get low-light vision and thermographic vision, which makes it much easier to target spells in the dark.
Longshot1650
QUOTE (PatB @ Mar 2 2010, 02:24 PM) *
Think twice about this one. Summoning 6 will give you lots of drain (DV = twice hits) and you'll be limited to a single spirit, and you'll probably start a run with drain from summoning since you won't have time to recuperate.


Actually summoning drain is determined by twice the number of hits the spirit generates in the opposed magic+summoning+others vs spirits force test with a minimum of 2 drain and using the spirit's force for stun/physical differentiation so having a high summoning skill doesn't hurt.

As for the binding skill it does allow for the versatility of having multiple spirits on call and is also used in the invoking metamagic to increase the power of bound spirits.
PatB
QUOTE (Longshot1650 @ Mar 2 2010, 03:39 PM) *
Actually summoning drain is determined by twice the number of hits the spirit generates in the opposed magic+summoning+others vs spirits force test with a minimum of 2 drain and using the spirit's force for stun/physical differentiation so having a high summoning skill doesn't hurt.

I stand corrected. Thanks a lot.
Karoline
QUOTE (Longshot1650 @ Mar 2 2010, 03:39 PM) *
Actually summoning drain is determined by twice the number of hits the spirit generates in the opposed magic+summoning+others vs spirits force test with a minimum of 2 drain and using the spirit's force for stun/physical differentiation so having a high summoning skill doesn't hurt.

As for the binding skill it does allow for the versatility of having multiple spirits on call and is also used in the invoking metamagic to increase the power of bound spirits.


Oh, right, it is 2x hits, but spirit only gets F dice. Binding is also 2x hits, but spirit gets 2*F dice.
Nifft
QUOTE (PatB @ Mar 2 2010, 03:24 PM) *
Spells are spells. They all cost the same, no matter which school they come from. The formula cost differs, but as a mage, your first worry should be Karma, not cash.
Cool.

QUOTE (PatB @ Mar 2 2010, 03:24 PM) *
Think twice about this one. (...) If you're planning to support your group with spirits, you need Binding.
Sold.

It seems like the biggest bang-for-buck spirit summoning comes at 3, 6, 9 and 12 Force. For Spirits of Man -- the Innate Spell guys -- even a Force 3 spirit looks great. Is there a common point where Immunity to Normal Weapons makes them effectively unkillable?

So: Spellcasting 4, Counter-spelling 4, Summoning 4, Binding 4?
Is it more important to have a Binding focus than a Summoning focus?

QUOTE (Karoline @ Mar 2 2010, 03:37 PM) *
Yeah, the karma cost is the same, and the nuyen cost is fairly minimal. As a mage money will generally not be a big concern.

Also, look into trauma dampeners. They reduce the effectiveness of platelet factory slightly, but are more useful as long as you keep in stun drain.
Cool. When I have the nyuen for alphaware bio upgrades, those will be high on my shopping list.

QUOTE (Karoline @ Mar 2 2010, 03:37 PM) *
And I second on the cyber-eyes. Only takes a rating 1 or 2 to get low-light vision and thermographic vision, which makes it much easier to target spells in the dark.
I'm a Dwarf. I've already paid for thermographic vision once. Also, I'm not convinced that paying for low-light & thermographic vision with Capacity would be compatible with magic.

Sure, I would have paid for the base eyes with essence, so the base vision is fine, but add-ons paid for with capacity sure don't sound like "Physical cyber- or bio- enhancements paid for with Essence" (SR, p.183). They sound like enhancements paid for with Capacity.

It would be great if I'm wrong about this, because I like delicious cheese, but I can't find anything to justify capacity enhancements being useful for a mage.

Thanks, -- N
Caadium
They might go into the capacity of the eyes, but you do pay for the eyes with essence. Thats why the eyes work and not just contacts with low-light.
Nifft
QUOTE (Caadium @ Mar 3 2010, 12:02 AM) *
They might go into the capacity of the eyes, but you do pay for the eyes with essence. Thats why the eyes work and not just contacts with low-light.
Right, the base eyes would work fine. We totally agree about that.

What I'm saying is that the enhancements to the eyes don't work at all, since they're not "enhancements paid for with Essence" (SR4A, p.183). The rules I see only allow "enhancements paid for with Essence", and low-light & thermo vision enhancements do come with an Essence cost, so you could pay for them that way.

If you don't pay for them in Essence -- for example, if you pay for them in Capacity -- then nothing in the rules allows you to use them for spellcasting. Nothing I can see, anyway. I'm certainly open to correction if you can cite a rule allowing it.

Thanks, -- N
X-Kalibur
Rules cites if you pay with essence, it's all gold. You paid for the eyes, which have capacity. Ergo, all parts contained within that eye are gold. You can buy the parts individually for essence cost and they still work, why not part of one big package?
Karoline
QUOTE (Nifft @ Mar 2 2010, 11:57 PM) *
It seems like the biggest bang-for-buck spirit summoning comes at 3, 6, 9 and 12 Force. For Spirits of Man -- the Innate Spell guys -- even a Force 3 spirit looks great. Is there a common point where Immunity to Normal Weapons makes them effectively unkillable?

So: Spellcasting 4, Counter-spelling 4, Summoning 4, Binding 4?
Is it more important to have a Binding focus than a Summoning focus?

Sure, I would have paid for the base eyes with essence, so the base vision is fine, but add-ons paid for with capacity sure don't sound like "Physical cyber- or bio- enhancements paid for with Essence" (SR, p.183). They sound like enhancements paid for with Capacity.

It would be great if I'm wrong about this, because I like delicious cheese, but I can't find anything to justify capacity enhancements being useful for a mage.

Thanks, -- N


Depends on what you want them effectively unkillable against. A high end sniper rifle will be able to hurt any spirit F7 or less without trouble. A high end sniper rifle with proper ammo can do a F9 without trouble. A rail gun can do a F11 or so without difficulty.

But in the more normal range, expecting assault rifles with regular ammo, a F6 or 7 should be fairly difficult to injure. The real trouble is spirit slayer ammo (Also known as SnS) which doesn't even flinch at spirits below F7, regardless of if it comes from an assault rifle or a holdout.

As for the cyberware thing, yeah, since the eyes were paid for with essence, anything within the eyes are also considered paid for with essence due to the transitive property.
PatB
QUOTE (Nifft @ Mar 2 2010, 11:57 PM) *
It seems like the biggest bang-for-buck spirit summoning comes at 3, 6, 9 and 12 Force. For Spirits of Man -- the Innate Spell guys -- even a Force 3 spirit looks great. Is there a common point where Immunity to Normal Weapons makes them effectively unkillable?

So: Spellcasting 4, Counter-spelling 4, Summoning 4, Binding 4?
Is it more important to have a Binding focus than a Summoning focus?

Don't underestimate Force 4 and 5 spirits. Look at it this way: every point of Force gives your spirit an extra 2 dice to everything it does. Plus it gains 1 Edge. Plus Immunity to Normal Weapon (Force 5 is 10 points of hardened armor - way more difficult to pierce than that Force 3 spirit with its rating 6 armor).

Stats are good. They will allow you to experiment, make mistakes and learn from them, and you'll be able to later use Karma to increase what you really like.

QUOTE (Nifft @ Mar 2 2010, 11:57 PM) *
I'm a Dwarf. I've already paid for thermographic vision once. Also, I'm not convinced that paying for low-light & thermographic vision with Capacity would be compatible with magic.

Sure, I would have paid for the base eyes with essence, so the base vision is fine, but add-ons paid for with capacity sure don't sound like "Physical cyber- or bio- enhancements paid for with Essence" (SR, p.183). They sound like enhancements paid for with Capacity.

It would be great if I'm wrong about this, because I like delicious cheese, but I can't find anything to justify capacity enhancements being useful for a mage.

Like said in previous replies, everything paid by essence, including what is paid by Capacity, doesn't prevent Magic from working.

When I proposed the cyber-eyes, I forgot you were a dwarf. Another option you can take is to buy only Low-Light Vision, which would enhance your normal dwarven vision. Vision enhancements are usually bought with the cyber-eyes, but nothing prevents you from buying only the enhancements (that's why each cyberware coming with a Capacity cost also comes with an Essence cost).
Nifft
QUOTE (Karoline @ Mar 3 2010, 08:12 AM) *
Depends on what you want them effectively unkillable against. A high end sniper rifle will be able to hurt any spirit F7 or less without trouble. A high end sniper rifle with proper ammo can do a F9 without trouble. A rail gun can do a F11 or so without difficulty.

But in the more normal range, expecting assault rifles with regular ammo, a F6 or 7 should be fairly difficult to injure. The real trouble is spirit slayer ammo (Also known as SnS) which doesn't even flinch at spirits below F7, regardless of if it comes from an assault rifle or a holdout.
Awesome, thank you so much. This is exactly the kind of stuff I don't know about the game: expected antagonist dice pools & expected damage ratings.

So F4-F6 is a good range for a butt-kicking combat Spirit, F3 is fine for a buff-buddy, and when I get to F12 they'll be high grade monsters.

QUOTE (Karoline @ Mar 3 2010, 08:12 AM) *
As for the cyberware thing, yeah, since the eyes were paid for with essence, anything within the eyes are also considered paid for with essence due to the transitive property.
Sorry for being dumb, but I can't find the "transitive" thing in the rules. Could you tell me where you got that from?

Thanks, -- N
Karoline
QUOTE (Nifft @ Mar 3 2010, 10:17 AM) *
Sorry for being dumb, but I can't find the "transitive" thing in the rules. Could you tell me where you got that from?

Thanks, -- N


It isn't in the rules, it is a property of logic. Goes something like:
1. x -> y
2. y -> z
therefore
x -> z

So for this argument it goes something like
Capacity is a part of cybereyes, and cybereyes are paid for with essence, therefore capacity is paid for with essence.
Cardul
Anyone else miss the old "Crazy Mage with optical binoculars in one hand, and a hand make obs--er...arcane gestures with the other(glowing) hand"
school of increasing how far you could see? wink.gif
Nifft
QUOTE (Karoline @ Mar 3 2010, 10:25 AM) *
It isn't in the rules, it is a property of logic. Goes something like:

So for this argument it goes something like
Capacity is a part of cybereyes, and cybereyes are paid for with essence, therefore capacity is paid for with essence.
Ah, so it's not actually stated anywhere in the rules, it's just a broad assumption.

I'll start another thread for that argument, as it's fairly irrelevant to my mage, who already has fine thermographic vision and would rather spend his essence on bioware.

Thanks, -- N
Karoline
QUOTE (Nifft @ Mar 3 2010, 10:56 AM) *
Ah, so it's not actually stated anywhere in the rules, it's just a broad assumption.

I'll start another thread for that argument, as it's fairly irrelevant to my mage, who already has fine thermographic vision and would rather spend his essence on bioware.

Thanks, -- N


Fairly sure this is something that most DSers will actually agree on (Which is reasonably rare), but it'll be interesting to see. And I wouldn't really call it so much a broad assumption so much as reading the rules. I mean you have to apply logic and interpretation to even the most basic of rules.

But agreed about not needing it, forgot that dwarves have thermographic and/or that you were playing a dwarf. The low-light really isn't that required if you have thermo, just nice in a few situations.
Nifft
QUOTE (Karoline @ Mar 3 2010, 11:16 AM) *
Fairly sure this is something that most DSers will actually agree on (Which is reasonably rare), but it'll be interesting to see.
Cool, eye-fight thread here.

- - -

I'll post my dude so far.

Body 3
Agility 3
Reaction 3
Strength 3
Charisma 3
Intuition 4
Logic 5 (7)
Willpower 6
Edge 1 <-- this worries me somewhat...
Magic 5 (4)


Active Skills:
Stealth (Group) 1
Influence (Group) 1
Spellcasting 5
Summoning 5
Counterspelling 2
Binding 4


Knowledge skills:
Politics (Corporate) - 4
Astral Research - 4
NYC Nightlife - 4
Procedures (Saeder-Krupp) - 4
History - 4
Philosophy - 4


Qualities:
+ Magician (Hermetic)
+ Focused Concentration (2)
- Sensitive System
- Allergy (Common, Mild) - seawater, it's a campaign based in NYC
- Addiction (Mild) - Scotch, he is a Dwarf

Gear:
Summoning Focus (Man, 3)
Sustaining Focus (3) <-- should I get a Binding focus instead?

Platelet Factories
Cerebral Booster (2)

Glasses with imagelink, skinlink, and flare compensation.
Commlink with skinlink.
Earbuds with audiolink and skinlink.

Spells:
Heal
Stunbolt (Direct)
Levitate (Physical)
Influence (Mental)
Physical Barrier (Environ.)
Glue (Physical) (sm)


Contacts:
Talismonger 6/6 - for everything that I don't yet know I desperately need


Thanks, -- N
Karoline
Edge 1 can be a bit scary, but that just means you use it as a reroll instead of to boost the initial roll, though of course you can only do this a very limited number of times.

Also, you can't take an addiction to alcohol. Amazing how many people miss this in the quality description.

Remember that a sustaining focus has to be towards a particular type of spell (Health, manipulation, combat, etc), so you need to specify that. I wouldn't switch it to a binding focus, because like I said, you only need one net hit for the binding to hold. Just make sure the spirit you're trying to bind is lower force than half your binding pool and you should be okay. The main thing a binding focus would do is increase the F of the spirit you can bind by about 1, but then you start getting into painful amounts of drain.

Consider dropping a point of strength if you're worried about your low edge. I imagine you'll use edge more often than strength.
X-Kalibur
I'm still a big fan of the power focus, applies those 2 dices to everything but counterspelling... plus its a single low rating focus so you won't have to worry about addicition.

You're going to want another spell... Probably a physical combat spell like powerbolt, for drones. Mask and invisibilty are great too, but if you're strapped, don't worry about them too much. (I'm also a huge fan of using Shapeshift for infiltrations... Bod 3 means you can go from 1 - 5 BOD animals in terms of size...

Also, you ~really~ aren't going to need Focused Concentration 2... not even really 1... but that's just my opinion.
Nifft
QUOTE (Karoline @ Mar 3 2010, 01:30 PM) *
Edge 1 can be a bit scary, but that just means you use it as a reroll instead of to boost the initial roll, though of course you can only do this a very limited number of times.
I'm thinking of playing him as having a Spock-like faith in "logic", and disdaining "luck" as being for inferior magi.

Of course, that attitude may change when he has enough Karma to raise his Edge. (Damn, I want more BP.)

QUOTE (Karoline @ Mar 3 2010, 01:30 PM) *
Also, you can't take an addiction to alcohol. Amazing how many people miss this in the quality description.
No, you totally can: it's the first in the list of things you can be addicted to (p.93). The Occult Investigator sample character (p.106) has a mild alcohol addiction, too..

Caffeine, nicotine and sugar are what's verboten.

QUOTE (Karoline @ Mar 3 2010, 01:30 PM) *
Remember that a sustaining focus has to be towards a particular type of spell (Health, manipulation, combat, etc), so you need to specify that. I wouldn't switch it to a binding focus, because like I said, you only need one net hit for the binding to hold. Just make sure the spirit you're trying to bind is lower force than half your binding pool and you should be okay. The main thing a binding focus would do is increase the F of the spirit you can bind by about 1, but then you start getting into painful amounts of drain.

Consider dropping a point of strength if you're worried about your low edge. I imagine you'll use edge more often than strength.
Thanks, that seems like a very good place for me to start.

I might just do that. It makes me a little sad to be the weakest, least tough Dwarf possible, but them's the breaks for a magician.

Thanks, -- N
Nifft
QUOTE (X-Kalibur @ Mar 3 2010, 01:32 PM) *
I'm still a big fan of the power focus, applies those 2 dices to everything but counterspelling... plus its a single low rating focus so you won't have to worry about addicition.
Does it count for summoning and binding, too? If so, SOLD.

QUOTE (X-Kalibur @ Mar 3 2010, 01:32 PM) *
You're going to want another spell... Probably a physical combat spell like powerbolt, for drones. Mask and invisibilty are great too, but if you're strapped, don't worry about them too much. (I'm also a huge fan of using Shapeshift for infiltrations... Bod 3 means you can go from 1 - 5 BOD animals in terms of size...

Also, you ~really~ aren't going to need Focused Concentration 2... not even really 1... but that's just my opinion.
If I dumped FC2, I'd totally have enough points for 4 more spells.

Aaaargh, choices!, -- N
Karoline
QUOTE (Nifft @ Mar 3 2010, 01:41 PM) *
Does it count for summoning and binding, too? If so, SOLD.

If I dumped FC2, I'd totally have enough points for 4 more spells.

Aaaargh, choices!, -- N


Yeah, it counts for summoning, binding, spellcasting, ritual spellcasting, banishing, and anything else I'm forgetting. Basically it is all the other foci except counterspelling and weapon rolled up into one. It is painfully expensive, but generally worth it.

Also, I'm going to guess that you're right. It is the cigs that people always want to have an addiction to (And alcohol, but that is allowed)
X-Kalibur
QUOTE (Karoline @ Mar 3 2010, 10:49 AM) *
Yeah, it counts for summoning, binding, spellcasting, ritual spellcasting, banishing, and anything else I'm forgetting. Basically it is all the other foci except counterspelling and weapon rolled up into one. It is painfully expensive, but generally worth it.

Also, I'm going to guess that you're right. It is the cigs that people always want to have an addiction to (And alcohol, but that is allowed)


Yup, 1 die per rating to all magic related tests save counterspelling (doesn't relate to MAG at all), this includes drain...
Critias
QUOTE (Nifft @ Mar 3 2010, 01:39 PM) *
I'm thinking of playing him as having a Spock-like faith in "logic", and disdaining "luck" as being for inferior magi.

Remember, if your primary concern over a high Edge is for role-playing purposes, it doesn't have to be "luck." It can also represent drive to succeed, refusing to give in, and that sort of thing...and that's without even opening the IC/OOC can of worms about people somehow knowing they have an Edge attribute, or how their Edge attribute might stack up with someone else's.
Nifft
Okay, it turns out I cannot lower my Strength (because Dwarf Str starts at 3), but I could dump Focused Concentration (2) in trade for Edge 3.

What do you guys think about that trade? My Drain resist would go from 15 -> 13 dice, but that's still quite a few dice.

I'm definitely trading the Summoning (3) focus for a Power (2) focus. The cost is within budget, and I get a BP back from binding.

Thanks, -- N
Patrick the Gnome
I agree that you should get another combat spell, however if you're getting it for drones I'd suggest lightning bolt over powerbolt. Lightning bolt the spell does physical damage to drones, so it can damage them, and in addition has the kick-ass secondary electric damage effects on drones, body+armor vs net hits on the attack or they're disabled for several seconds and will probably have to be rebooted, and ignores their armor (which is usually going to be metal). The disadvantage to lightning bolt is that you actually have to hit with it and they get a damage resistance test, as opposed to direct combat spells, where the drone doesn't even get a resistance roll, you just have to beat its object resistance (probably of about 4 or 5) and then you deal full damage and the drone doesn't get a damage resistance test, however direct damage spells only get to add their net hits to damage by increasing drain, whereas indirect spells like lightning bolt get to add whatever net hits they get to damage without any sort of penalty, although they have more drain to begin with.

Also, your agility doesn't really need to be that high, your only skills that use it are infiltration and palming, and considering that you just have them as part of the Stealth group, dropping from 4 dice to 3 in those areas in exchange for 10 more BP to spend seems like a good deal to me, although you may have other opinions.

If you can afford the 5BP restricted gear quality at chargen, I'd suggest getting a pain editor over platelet factories. It costs .1 more essence and 15000 more nuyen, but it allows you to completely ignore stun damage modifiers when active and you won't pass out from stun damage either, so you can basically cast as many spells as you want at your magic level in force without having to worry about drain. You won't be able to take as many hits, but then again you should have some magical means of avoiding damage entirely, like the Armor or Invisibility spells. Or, if you don't want to take restricted gear, get pain editor after chargen, but platelet factories is a pretty useless waste of essence space for a character who, if hit at all, is going to be taking massive damage due to a low body and as far as I can see no armor, somewhat minimizing platelet factories effectiveness. Which reminds me that you should probably buy an armored jacket too.
Stingray
QUOTE (Patrick the Gnome @ Mar 3 2010, 10:15 PM) *
I agree that you should get another combat spell, however if you're getting it for drones I'd suggest lightning bolt over powerbolt. Lightning bolt the spell does physical damage to drones, so it can damage them, and in addition has the kick-ass secondary electric damage effects on drones, body+armor vs net hits on the attack or they're disabled for several seconds and will probably have to be rebooted, and ignores their armor (which is usually going to be metal). The disadvantage to lightning bolt is that you actually have to hit with it and they get a damage resistance test, as opposed to direct combat spells, where the drone doesn't even get a resistance roll, you just have to beat its object resistance (probably of about 4 or 5) and then you deal full damage and the drone doesn't get a damage resistance test, however direct damage spells only get to add their net hits to damage by increasing drain, whereas indirect spells like lightning bolt get to add whatever net hits they get to damage without any sort of penalty, although they have more drain to begin with.

Also, your agility doesn't really need to be that high, your only skills that use it are infiltration and palming, and considering that you just have them as part of the Stealth group, dropping from 4 dice to 3 in those areas in exchange for 10 more BP to spend seems like a good deal to me, although you may have other opinions.

If you can afford the 5BP restricted gear quality at chargen, I'd suggest getting a pain editor over platelet factories. It costs .1 more essence and 15000 more nuyen, but it allows you to completely ignore stun damage modifiers when active and you won't pass out from stun damage either, so you can basically cast as many spells as you want at your magic level in force without having to worry about drain. You won't be able to take as many hits, but then again you should have some magical means of avoiding damage entirely, like the Armor or Invisibility spells. Or, if you don't want to take restricted gear, get pain editor after chargen, but platelet factories is a pretty useless waste of essence space for a character who, if hit at all, is going to be taking massive damage due to a low body and as far as I can see no armor, somewhat minimizing platelet factories effectiveness. Which reminds me that you should probably buy an armored jacket too.

buying Lined Coat (6/4) for body 3 gives you no penalties,Armored Jacket (8/6) does..
Nifft
QUOTE (Patrick the Gnome @ Mar 3 2010, 03:15 PM) *
I agree that you should get another combat spell, however if you're getting it for drones I'd suggest lightning bolt over powerbolt. Lightning bolt the spell does physical damage to drones, so it can damage them, and in addition has the kick-ass secondary electric damage effects on drones, body+armor vs net hits on the attack or they're disabled for several seconds and will probably have to be rebooted, and ignores their armor (which is usually going to be metal). The disadvantage to lightning bolt is that you actually have to hit with it and they get a damage resistance test, as opposed to direct combat spells, where the drone doesn't even get a resistance roll, you just have to beat its object resistance (probably of about 4 or 5) and then you deal full damage and the drone doesn't get a damage resistance test, however direct damage spells only get to add their net hits to damage by increasing drain, whereas indirect spells like lightning bolt get to add whatever net hits they get to damage without any sort of penalty, although they have more drain to begin with.

Also, your agility doesn't really need to be that high, your only skills that use it are infiltration and palming, and considering that you just have them as part of the Stealth group, dropping from 4 dice to 3 in those areas in exchange for 10 more BP to spend seems like a good deal to me, although you may have other opinions.

If you can afford the 5BP restricted gear quality at chargen, I'd suggest getting a pain editor over platelet factories. It costs .1 more essence and 15000 more nuyen, but it allows you to completely ignore stun damage modifiers when active and you won't pass out from stun damage either, so you can basically cast as many spells as you want at your magic level in force without having to worry about drain. You won't be able to take as many hits, but then again you should have some magical means of avoiding damage entirely, like the Armor or Invisibility spells. Or, if you don't want to take restricted gear, get pain editor after chargen, but platelet factories is a pretty useless waste of essence space for a character who, if hit at all, is going to be taking massive damage due to a low body and as far as I can see no armor, somewhat minimizing platelet factories effectiveness. Which reminds me that you should probably buy an armored jacket too.
Uuuuuuugh... I didn't know about the Body x2 encumbrance rule. I wanted to wear an Armor Jacket + Helmet. Darn it, I feel like I need Body 4 or 5, or I'm going to die very quickly. Is this accurate?

Also, I was reading the spreadsheet wrong, and thought that having -0.4 essence left me with 5/5 Magic, instead of 4/5. Losing one point of Magic feels painful, even with a Power Focus (2).

Maybe I should throw out the platelet factories & other bio-implants and just make a mundane, un-augmented mage with full Magic rating. Hmm, dumping the bio-ware saves me 9 BP worth of nyuen, which is three more spells. Plus one extra die on magic rolls (in trade for 2 dice on drain resist rolls), which includes Summoning and Binding tests.

If I also drop the Focused Concentration (2) quality, I'll have enough BP for a Mentor Spirit (+2 dice on some spells, +2 dice for Summoning & Binding tests for one kind of spirit), and maybe even Quick Healer (+2 dice when healing others or being healed). Those sound more useful.

Argh.
X-Kalibur
To quote someone not so famous, it's your character, we have only attempted to provide insight into how you can save points here and there, ultimately, your style and wants are what is important. I do think you've over estimated how much drain you'll normally take unless firing off high end spells. 2 more points or armor may or may not save your hoop, better to not take the hit in the first place. You can still wear the helmet without worrying about encumberance. Another optional rule has it as encumberance only applies if you have more than 1 piece of armor on. Talk with your GM.
Whipstitch
Good Lord.

See guys, this is why I get so smug about my own abilities when it comes to advising how to play a Magician. He posted his preliminary skill list yesterday and still nobody has mentioned that he lacks ranks in Perception!

Okay, sorry, had to get that off my chest. I'll quit being a wanker now.

Anyway, yes, dump Focused Concentration but do not get Quick Healer. Your Magician is weak in three areas in which it would help if he were strong, so you could use the points here:

1. Perception is more important than you think, especially for a mage. For one thing, let's set aside the fact that Perception is a great skill for any runner (it helps you notice pesky things like that guy with the handgun creeping up to your window) and check out Step 3 of the spellcasting rules.
QUOTE (SR4 @ Page 173, Step 3: Choose Target(s))
In some cases, the caster may need to make a Perception Test to determine if a given target can be seen well enough to target with a spell. This Perception Test is part of the Complex Action required to cast the spell and takes no time of its own.


That's pretty bad, and it is yet another reason why defaulting to 4 Intuition is dangerous. Even if you can roll well enough on Perception tests to avoid ambush situations you'll still find yourself in very real danger of losing track of your target when fighting in adverse conditions, thermographic vision or no. At the very least, grab a rank and specialize in Visual tests.

2. Counterspelling. Unless there's another Magician or Mystic Adept in the group, you'll likely find that your most important role on the team is to do things that mundane methods simply cannot emulate. This includes interfering with other Awakened threats. Having less than 4 counterspelling when you're the lone Magician is practically negligent. It's also worth noting that if you're ever stuck in an area with a background count, counterspelling may very well end up being the only thing you can really do to help the team out, since counterspelling doesn't require a high magic attribute to be effective as simple defense.

3. Damage mitigation/avoidance. X-Kalibur's advice on how it is better to avoid a hit than to take one is right, but in your case you're not going to be Dodging anything any time soon, so you may as well take the one die hit to your Reaction tests if you can get enough armor out of the deal (look into form fitting body armor if you have Arsenal). Better yet, get yourself the Physical Camouflage spell. Anything to be less of a sitting duck.

Now, I don't know how your GM operates, so take the following advice with a grain of salt: I'd consider dumping Influence* or Stealth. Basically, they're nice skill sets, but as it currently stands trying to con people or sneak onto private property isn't something your character is going to be very good at and so you'll depend on other teammates to clear the way for you whether you have the skill groups or not. I'd rather see you put points into grabbing a couple things you can do well rather than try to write a couple checks that your 4 dice cannot cash. It hurts, since they're great, great skills to have, but no character gets to do everything.

*This one really, really depends on your GM. At my table, you'll probably be OK without social skills with that three charisma of yours as long as you don't push your luck. By the raw, low to average charisma and no skills means you can still go to the stuffer shack and grab a soykaf without causing a fuss. You're a perfectly normal guy. Just don't try and order around cops while not wearing any pants. YMMV, however, since some GMs see a guy with less than 4 dice and figure he's a social reject, whether that's really accurate by the rules or not. Use caution.
toturi
Should try to get some Assensing.
Whipstitch
Agreed. Without assensing or astral combat you're just kind of an expensive mystad. Although, I guess you could pick up some astral skills later, but I wouldn't count on it. Plenty of other things to spend karma on as a mage. Still, I think the stuff I mentioned is ever so slightly more important just because it can be kinda fatal not to have them.
toturi
QUOTE (Whipstitch @ Mar 5 2010, 01:19 PM) *
Agreed. Without assensing or astral combat you're just kind of an expensive mystad. Although, I guess you could pick up some astral skills later, but I wouldn't count on it. Plenty of other things to spend karma on as a mage. Still, I think the stuff I mentioned is ever so slightly more important just because it can be kinda fatal not to have them.

With Stealth Group, by RAW, the GM has explicit grounds to allow you to substitute for Perception in certain cases. In addition, there are other things that gives you additional dice to Perception, even if you do default. Furthermore although casting a spell may require a Perception test to see a target, most spells do not accomplish what cannot be done mundanely.

Perception is important, yes but functionally a mage has to bring something that the others can't. Astral Perception may be available to other characters and Astral Projection is even rarer; it is difficult to find dice pool adders for Assensing. I think that Assensing stands above any other skill for a mage because natural access to the Astral Plane is the one unique ability that mages possess and without Assensing, it is a far greater waste than not having Perception or Counterspelling.
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