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First of all hello to you all,

I am all new here on Dumpshock and I would like to ask you guys for some advice.

It has been bugging me for quite some time now, but I have this idea in my head for an antagonist in my campaign, and I just can't let it go. Essentially the idea is that to defeat this character, you would have to do so in all three realms: astral, physical and matrix at the same time. However intriguing I find the idea of a mage with living persona (technomancer ability) combination, the rules explicitly forbid it. However I thought you guys might come up with some interesting solution to the quality / skill / spell selection that would allow to at least partially fulfill this.

Imagine this character as someone, who was born in the badlands and as soon as his young eyes barely developed to see, the first thing he witnessed was a nuclear meltodown that struck him hard with radiation. This crippling his life for a number of years, he had to be treated, have his eyes replaced and pass genetic therapy. (Saeder-Krupp would pay for it, for non-obivous Draconic reasons yet to be revealed). During the treatment he was connected to the Matrix when Crash 2.0 came about, making him develop AIPS syndromes. How unlucky is that. But with great challenges comes great strenght ...

As for tradition, I am thinking that after his initial struggle and intertwining with technology, he would develop sympathetic attitude towards Chaos Magic and later Toxic Magic (Sterilist - Nuclear Radiation). I have this image of a dark green astral figure, who holds a sword focus that creates thick green engulfing toxic fog full of black tentacles covered with gazing eyes. In matrix he has a living persona, which he developed during the crash. He is able to use complex forms and sprites and maybe even take control over drones. No image of his matrix icon visual or his specific abilities came to me yet.

As for realization within the rules, I know I am asking too much and that system will have to be bent over backwards to handle this abomination. Would you suggest to use Magic as Resonance substitute. Or any other ideas? Maybe inhabiting a technomancer with Shedim? If you can't find any solution, please do throw at me some Cyber Mage builds (with hacking capabilities), I might do with that. I have been looking around for them, but frankly with Contact Lenses and Earbuds being a satisfactory replacement for cybereyes/ears, there seems to be little reason to screw up your Magic attribute. I understand it might not be possible to make this character even remotely "twinked", but if you can do so, please do. I want him to be able to defeat a moderate hacker in cybercombat while being very dangerous in astral and physical world. I want this one to be remembered by the runners forever.

Frankly, I do expect to get a laugh at this concept from you, but if somebody can come up with an inventive solution, I would be grateful. You might want to use him for your own purposes. Otherwise I might have to just drop it ...

Thanks in advance.
The rules explicitly forbid it... for PCs.

As a GM, you can, occasionally, waive such rules. It's best only to do so for major plot things/people; you don't want to give the impressions that rules randomly get broken.

As a side note, don't you think that this just opens your NPC up to attack from many directions? Damage he takes to his living persona goes onto his meat-body damage tracks, just as the astral damage.
QUOTE (Ascalaphus @ Mar 11 2010, 07:57 PM) *
The rules explicitly forbid it... for PCs.

The rules explicitly forbid it... with no differentiation between player characters and non-player characters.

As the GM, you can houserule whatever you wish.

I have a concept like that but it is not 1 character but 3.

The basic concept is that of a street sam, a free spirit and an AI. Trinity - the Feral (AI), the Sam and the (un)holy Spirit. I wrote the free spirit to be a possession spirit and the sam to count as a prepared vessel.
@Ascalaphus: Actually, you are right about opening the vulnerabilities. Makes more sense to turn it into three separate characters, as suggested by toturi.

@toturi: Interesting. Would be so kind to supply your holy trinity here? Thank you.

Anyway I am still interested in making his physical persona as toxic cyber mage build. Anyone can suggest qualities / skill selection / spells / ware? Make it "twinky" if you can, I can always change certain skills for more RP feel
QUOTE (N4M3Z @ Mar 12 2010, 09:47 AM) *
@toturi: Interesting. Would be so kind to supply your holy trinity here? Thank you.

You've got to wait a while. I am in the process of moving and the portable hard drive that has the builds is already packed away in the mountain of boxes.
Because the campaign that I am a player ran for years before I finally convinced the GM that Shadowrun was a better fit than D20 Urban Arcana or Cyberpunk 2020, we needed to houserule a mage/techno concept early on. Tweaks still occur, but we've more or less found a balance of ability/disability that has worked for us.

Closer to the OP's remarks, we are currently involved in a fight against an entity that exists in all three realms simultaneously and is only vulnerable to damage in one realm at a time (alterable with a complex action on its part). For the core, our GM used the basic rules regarding free spirits/sprites and gave it the ability to either manifest (in which case its physical stats are based on its force) or posses a living host only (in which case the vessel's physical stats are altered using standard rules for possession). The spirit/sprite base is force/rating 8 and it has a separate damage bar for each realm.

Now, while the GM has assured us that there is a way to determine whether it is vulnerable or not in a given realm is possible, it's not a trick that we the players have figured out yet so the fight hasn't been quick or calm. A lot of nickle and dime hits with our forces sometimes dangerously divided and those fighting on the matrix needing to stay out of VR as much as possible since we're all in the fight physically. It's been a great ride so far. The battle is the culmination of our current campaign's first season finale 'episode' so the entity we're fighting isn't alone... fortunately, neither are we but we still can't afford to let our attention be too focused on the main bad.
I suggest that you just build him as a Mage + Hacker: Lots of nuyen and karma and you get yourself a top notch mage, who can hack, like noone else.

QUOTE (N4M3Z @ Mar 12 2010, 02:47 AM) *
@Ascalaphus: Actually, you are right about opening the vulnerabilities. Makes more sense to turn it into three separate characters, as suggested by toturi.

You've probably read some of the comments about all characters, including NPCs, being "glass cannons"; everyone can do a lot of damage, surviving it is a lot harder. This can be problematic with main plot villains, who shouldn't die too suddenly.

I tend to defend them with onionlike layers of secrecy, minions and architecture (walls, barriers, cover etc.)

When the PCs get access, they have to be fast and deadly, before the boss can withdraw to a safer position again (and let his minions finish off the PCs).
I must admit the idea of a heavily cybered sam being possesed by a spirit whilst his internal commlink is inhabited by a AI is both interesting and very scary.

The Teams Sam attacks it and the Sam part dodges and returns fire
The Teams Mage tries to fry it and the Spirt part gets upset
The Teams Hacker tries to shut off the Sams guns (smartlinked weapon) and the AI tries to fry his brain in retaliation

Whole new level of multi phase combat with a twist
Saint Sithney
The problem comes in when the one enemy gets geeked by one player. Three enemies all covering each other is far harder than one enemy covering himself on multiple fronts.
If you want, you can also look at the same thread I posted to New Seattle forums:,1731.0.html. It is essentially going the same way.

I like the ideas that have been posted. I am interested in making the physical incarnation of this character as a toxic cyber mage build within 400 BP, since that's how he'd start his career out. Just to keep honesty to my players. Anyone here capable of building mage characters with some essential ware? Post a build, if you have an idea.

Here is just a concept how this could eventually work campaign-wise. Tell me what you think:
The triggering point would involve killing the physical incarnation of this cybermage, who will then survive the encounter by possesing the body of a technomancer (use spirit game stats here?). That would make him capable of direct matrix interaction. Since we are now generally playing Emergence campaign (AIs all around) while having some side-jobs here and there, this possessed technomancer would seek unification with some AI (dunno which one yet), tricking it to believe it would be able to virtuakineticaly (no commlink!) access physical world through the technomancer's body. However good the AI is in predicting all possible outcomes, it would not have predicted the fact, that the body is already possesed astrally, thus falling into a trap and being forced to keep connected to this technomancer's body while the former cybermage has control.

1. In the physical, I would imagine him using a large variety of physical spells, that destroy equipment (acid wave if there is such a thing or something similiar) as well as calling toxic spirits to manifest and do his bidding.
2. Through matrix he would be commanding the AI, thus controlling a large number of sprites, that would hack anything in range. Also he would assume control over drones and vehicles ... unpleasant to say in the least ...
3. In astral, he would just have his astral combat skill boosted, using his weapon focus katana and toxic vapor aura to turn anyone into chop suey. Also I believe that mana spells can be used to affect living beings (* evil grin *)?

Now the question is whether he would have to be defeated in the physical world first, then when his astral and matrix connections are severed, the players can deal with his spirit and AI icon OR whether he should act in all places at the same time in full immersion (meaning 3+ initiative passes in Physical, 3+ in Astral and 3+ in matrix = 9+ per round). It might be more interesting for players to make him fight on all lines at the same time, since otherwise, they would have to wait how the team hacker and mage manage to finish him off in their respective realms after he's been dealt with physically.

Any suggested changes? Perhaps not a technomancer but a heavy cybered street samurai? Or perhaps a cyborg walker? Let your minds run, if you want.

@Valashar: I am interested in your mage/techno Shadowrun house rules. Can you provide them here? I think others might benefit from it as well. Overall, I think that for example Chaos Magic is very comfortable with technology and it is hard for me to grasp the idea of mutual exclusivity of man and machine. After all, I am studying under Kevin Warwick ...
Btw, how is the entity of which you speak involved in Matrix? As an AI?

I must admit the idea of a heavily cybered sam being possesed by a spirit whilst his internal commlink is inhabited by a AI is both interesting and very scary.

A brilliant solution, I will consider it. Thank you.

@Ascalaphus: As for the defending layers, of course this ubervillain gonna have a team. I just need some time to get some visuals of people, who would like to cooperate with this guy. Was thinking a Tir Ghost sniper, chick Face Social Adept, one or two other mages for rituals (might just be astral entities that later enable him to cross over the realms), technomancer rigger, a dual pistol gillette and some uberagile dodgesam. If you have any suggestions, I am listening. Got 8 players, so the fights are vast. Any other ideas for the dream team?
QUOTE (N4M3Z @ Mar 12 2010, 06:33 PM) *
@Valashar: I am interested in your mage/techno Shadowrun house rules. Can you provide them here? I think others might benefit from it as well. Overall, I think that for example Chaos Magic is very comfortable with technology and it is hard for me to grasp the idea of mutual exclusivity of man and machine. After all, I am studying under Kevin Warwick ...
Btw, how is the entity of which you speak involved in Matrix? As an AI?

The bad guy acts in the Matrix as a free sprite. So it has all the normal Living Persona stats, complex forms, and powers according to its force. Something I didn't note before but which makes this guy a bit more of a pain in our collective asses is that each time it acts it gets either 4 simple or 2 complex actions (if it uses 2 complex, they can't both occur in the same realm). What we've learned this to mean is that he's got a spare action that he can use for reactive full defense. Like I said in the other post... we're hitting this guy for nickles and dimes while he can hit us for full bank rolls.

For our Magic/Matrix rules, we've approached it in two ways. First run, which has subsequently been phased out because of story related inconsistencies, was to simply allow a character to be both Emergent and Awakened at the same time, but not both could be active at creation (my character, the crash test dummy for these rules tweaks, started as a TM with the Latent Awakening quality which was triggered about halfway into our first 'season'). This has the benefit of being very straightforward, requiring very few adjustments. Some of the things we ran into during play was dealing with astral perception and a TM's fairly constant awareness of AR. We decided to expand on the existing rule that an character perceiving astrally takes a penalty to actions in the physical. So an Awakened TM that is perceiving astrally and perceiving AR takes a -2 penalty to actions taken in the physical realm and a -4 to any Matrix perception tests that might be called for (this already takes into account the TM's +2 to Matrix perception). If the TM wants to take any Matrix actions in AR, they are at a -6 total penalty. Matrix actions in VR aren't possible while perceiving astrally. Going VR automatically removes you from the Astral and astral projection naturally cuts off any contact with or input from the Matrix.

When such a character decides on their Tradition/Stream, it is strongly recommended the off-stat for drain/fading be the same (in the case of my character, both used charisma as the off-stat). This is primarily to keep the need to remember multiple different dice pools to a minimum. When dealing with the character's total allowed bound spirits/registered sprites, we have them in the same pool instead of having two separate pools. This is both to keep mechanical headaches and bookkeeping to the minimum and to act as a check against those who would, for example, think that their charisma 7 elf could have 7 bound spirits and 7 registered sprites. Nope, it's 7 total.

The above method is most probably the easiest to implement in a campaign, but ended up not having the correct flavor for our particular Shadowrun brew (because we brought the campaign to Shadowrun rather than starting with Shadowrun and making our campaign). Because of the various peculiarities of the Shadow Kingdom setting, we decided to drop the 'can have both an Emergent and Awakened quality' to starting with a third state that combines both as well as bringing in its own drawbacks as well.

In Shadow Kingdom, people who are both Emergent and Awakened are referred to as Elysians. It is believed that there are no more than 35 Elysians in the world. They are NOT the same as the three-realm bad guys we're currently fighting one of (who are refered to as Nephylum and are a whole different kettle of past-toxic nasty). The Elysian positive quality costs 20 points. It includes the Magician and Technomancer positive qualities as well as the Astral Beacon and Resonance Beacon negative qualities (Resonance Beacon is mechanically identical to Astral Beacon). As an additional effect beyond the long-lasting signature effects of the two beacon drawbacks, Elysians aren't as able to conceal themselves with spells or complex forms (all tests to Assense, E-sense, Astral track, Matrix track, or Analyze the character are at a +2 bonus). An Elysian starts play with a Magic of 1 and a Resonance of 1. If at any time their Magic and Resonance are not equal, they take a dice pool penalty equal to the difference to ALL Magic and Resonance linked tests (so having a Magic of 3 and a Resonance of 1 would be a -2 to all such tests). When an Elysian initiates/submerges, they must do both at the same time. Because of this, it is currently thought to be impossible for an Elysian to gain any cost reduction from group initiation/submersion and certain tasks related to same would be problematic if not impossible (hard to do both a Resonance Realm and an Astral quest at the same time, neh?). [[NOTE: It is known to us as players/GM that it will be possible for Elysians to get together for group initiation/submersion, but at present the knowledge of this state is too new and none of them have gotten coordinated for such.]] When an Elysian initiates/submerges, they get the standard benefits. However, they can choose to NOT gain a free metamagic and echo in order to gain a modified form of an adept power (at present we are working on a list of adept powers that can translate over, and there will be required minimum initiation/submersion grades based roughly on their power point cost... the Elysian version will often be not as efficient or provide a lower equivalent bonus than the normal adept power, and we're looking at what already has a metamagic/echo equivalent... we figure that about a third of the adept power from the core book, street magic, and digital grimoire will be available in equivalent or lesser forms). [[NOTE: While our campaign uses the optional rule that allows metamagic/echoes to be purchased outside of initiation/submersion, these adept analogs would either not be available in this manner or would have a cost of 30 karma. Needless to say, it wouldn't be something the low grade initiate would want to burn karma to attain]]

All of the above mentioned rules about perception/actions across realms for a so-called 'standard' Awakened TM/Emergent Mage also apply to Elysians.

Because Elysians are considered to be a single form of ability and not a person being both Awakened and Emergent, the standard traditions/streams are unavailable to them in Shadow Kingdom. They are also unable to work with those of other traditions in relation to ritual spellcasting, and suffer double normal penalties when teaching/being taught by someone of a different tradition. At present there is only one joint tradition/stream (I'll just use tradition from here on for simplicity) for Elysians. It is named, creatively enough, the Elysian Stream. It uses Magic + Resonance as its drain pool (which it is important to note also suffers from the above mentioned pool penalty if the two stats aren't equal). Spirits/Sprites available to them are as follows... Combat: Guardian/Tank... Detection: Guidance/Sleuth... Health: Fire/Paladin... Illusion: Man/Crack... Manipulation: Task/Tutor (while sprites aren't usually categorized in this way, it helps me to list them side-by-side for thematic purposes). The perceived relationship between the Elysian and their spirits/sprites is that of bound parallel consciousness. Spirits and sprites are viewed as a kind of 'path not traveled' reflection of the Elysian themselves. As such, they invariably appear to be stylized 'perfect forms' of the Elysian character. The Elysian Stream is a possession tradition, however it is important to note that at present there is no existing possession equivalent for sprites (we ARE working on it, but what we've come up with thus far has either been unworkable or pure munchkinism... any help from the Dumpshock folks on this matter would be appreciated). When an Elysian is possessed by any spirit, they lose all access to the Matrix. If the Elysian has the Channeling metamagic, then they are capable of perceiving AR as noted above but are unable to take any actions in the Matrix.

There is one Paragon Spirit (combo Mentor Spirit/Paragon, natch) currently known to be available to Elysians. It is currently unknown what it calls itself. My character calls it her 'Avatar' because it appeared to her as a being she had seen in visions as an otaku (via info sortiledge): "And my resolve/A higher being/With wings of ash/And eyes of fire" (part of her background... and also lyrics from a band whose music helped shape most of the brainstorming sessions for this stuff). The current working Paragon Spirit bonus is a +1 bonus to working with any spirit/sprite and with any spell/complex form. The current working Paragon Spirit drawback is that it takes 3 Edge points to buy off a glitch or downgrade a critical glitch (these are modified from the existing mechanics for the Zero-One (01) Paragon and the Sun Mentor Spirit and the GM has made it known that they may be subject to change).

That's all I can think to put up at the moment. It's less coherent than I'd like due to a lack of caffeine and the need to copy over from notes in three people's handwriting. If anyone would like me to provide a better run-through later, I can.

EDIT: Added in the forgotten bit about adept power analogs in regards to Elysian initiation/submersion.
Xahn Borealis
This Trinity thing reminds me of an NPC I was toying with the idea of a few weeks ago... only instead of a sam, it was a cyberzombie. And maybe also a drake/Infected/Dragon. I shuddered.
@Valashar: Thank you, I like it and might implement in for the players, when they get tired of ordinary characters.

It would be nice to hear the opion of regular Dumpshock folks on it.
No worries, N4M3Z. If you'd like a more game-ready write up (as opposed to the sleep deprived mess above), fire a PM my way with an email addy to send to.
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