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Banaticus
I was looking at getting 4 IP's. It costs a Phys Adept 4 whole magic points. Samurai have to spend 25 build points (and 5 BP of that is a quality, so their positive qualities are capped at 30). If they don't take these penalties, they get to sit out of combat for a round every three rounds, or every other round or maybe if they try to go with no penalty, they only get to act once every few rounds.

Mages only have to spend 2 less build points than normal (to buy the spell) because every mage has 6 spellcasting and 6 Magic and so on average will likely be able to get four successes on the spell (cast at force 4 to cap yourself at 4 successes, which is all you need to hit a threshold of 4) with a drain of 4.

That hardly seems fair. Not to mention, mages get to cast "everything" with the full benefit of their spellcasting and magic. So here's my fix:

Mages must buy their spells just like adepts buy powers.

The Wired Reflexes 3 spell would perhaps cost 3 magic points (because it's not always on), each force level of the Heal spell would cost an additional .25 magic points (so a Force 6 Heal would cost 1.5 magic points), etc. Sure, all the spell prices would have to be reworked, but wouldn't it then at least be fair to both adepts and samurai?
Ol' Scratch
Considering that the spell is less effective than other alternatives (no Reaction boost), that it requires an expensive and high-Force sustaining focus or Karma-expensive options, can be dispelled, fluxuates depending on the background count, must either be extinguished and recast or time and effort must be wasted to get it past a ward, and that the drain is intense... yeah, no. I don't think it's much of a problem as you think it is.

A single force 1 Ward is enough to be a pain in the ass, unless the mage happens to have not only Masking but Extended Masking.
Glyph
Mages would hardly have any spells that way. Spells are far different than powers or internal 'ware. They have to be re-cast every time a mage needs to deactivate his focus to go through a ward, they are astrally conspicuous, they can be dispelled (or affected by background count, although the adept suffers that, too), and they cause Drain every time you cast them. Plus, the spell doesn't give a bonus to Reaction, only initiative. To get it, the mage needs the restricted gear quality and a rating: 4 sustaining focus, so you are looking at 20 BP (3 for the spell, 5 for the quality, 8 in resources, and 4 to bind the focus). Personally, I find the RAW more fair than your proposed solution.
Banaticus
Who cares about the reaction boost when you have physical invisibility and masking? wink.gif The NPC can go first all they want, but they have to be able to see you to hit you and if you get a surprise attack off on them then they can't even dodge. A sustaining penalty is only two dice, so when you're used to rolling 12-20 dice to attack, that sustaining penalty just doesn't really matter.

Last time I made a big invisibility-type smashing character, I didn't bother buying reaction up at all, it's still at 1. It's just not important (I bought Agility up instead to attack better and do the occasional gymnastic dodge -- mainly, if I'm "dodging", I use parry). And since I'm not the driver, I only need a small drive skill to be able to drive out of there in case the driver dies (or I go invisible and duck into the mall or something).

Then there's the "getting better". It's relatively cheap for a samurai to buy up a skill and new spells are also cheap for a mage. Adepts have to initiate and raise an attribute, unless you use some optional rule to make it cheaper. Make the magician feel the same pain that the adept does in trying to get new skills, then cut back on nuyen a bit and suddenly everyone's skills and abilities and ware all gets better at the same rate.
Glyph
Mages usually have way more skills that they need to improve than an adept does. They are already Karma sinks. And lowering the nuyen rewards screws over the sammie, not the mage.

For better adept ability progression, I would suggest the house rule that they can choose an extra power point instead of a metamagic when they initiate.
Tymeaus Jalynsfein
QUOTE (Banaticus @ May 18 2010, 07:13 PM) *
Mages only have to spend 2 less build points than normal (to buy the spell) because every mage has 6 spellcasting and 6 Magic and so on average will likely be able to get four successes on the spell (cast at force 4 to cap yourself at 4 successes, which is all you need to hit a threshold of 4) with a drain of 4.

That hardly seems fair. Not to mention, mages get to cast "everything" with the full benefit of their spellcasting and magic. So here's my fix:

Mages must buy their spells just like adepts buy powers.

The Wired Reflexes 3 spell would perhaps cost 3 magic points (because it's not always on), each force level of the Heal spell would cost an additional .25 magic points (so a Force 6 Heal would cost 1.5 magic points), etc. Sure, all the spell prices would have to be reworked, but wouldn't it then at least be fair to both adepts and samurai?


I do not know where exactly you are getting your numbers from, but not all Mages start at MAgic 6 and Spellcasting 6... In Fact, none of my mages have ever started with the stats that you ascribe to all mages... Just Sayin'

I do not see the problem with Mages that you apparently do...
No worries though...

Keep the Faith
KCKitsune
My Chaos Mage has a Magic 3 and Spell Casting 4, and a Power focus 2. So the idea of every mage starting out with Magic 6 is not correct.
Karoline
I'd think the going back to the older editions 'buying spells at a given force' would work better than arbitrarily assigning 'magic point' costs to every spell in the books. I kind of prefer the idea of force not being fixed like that though. Given the nature of magic, it seems weird that you would need to learn specifically how to cast a spell at a higher force, as opposed to just knowing the spell and being able to dump more magic into it. *shrug*

I do agree that mages tend to be powerful, but I think the solution lies in providing defenses against a mage that aren't 'geek the mage first' and 'have a mage on your side' as opposed to breaking out the nerf bat and beating the mage senseless.

Edit: Oh, and I agree with the others. While my mages do tend to have 6 spellcasting, they rarely have 6 magic, usually only 4 or 5 depending on the character.
Tymeaus Jalynsfein
QUOTE (KCKitsune @ May 18 2010, 08:52 PM) *
My Chaos Mage has a Magic 3 and Spell Casting 4, and a Power focus 2. So the idea of every mage starting out with Magic 6 is not correct.


Indeed, My Black Mage is somewhat similar...

Spellcasting 3
Magic 2
Specialization in Manipulation +2
Mentor for Manipulation +2
No Power Focus yet... even after 100 karma...

Total Dice Pool: Non-Manipulation Spells - 5
Total Dice Pool: Manipulation Spells - 9

Far cry from Spellcasting 6, Magic 6...

Just Sayin'

Keep the Faith
Banaticus
Increasing the Magic attribute is the most expensive thing that you could possibly spend karma on (well, except bonding a Power focus) -- why wouldn't anyone who was planning on basing their character around magic buy it at 6 during character creation when it's so incredibly (comparatively speaking) cheap? Especially if you're planning on playing the character long enough to put a whole bunch of karma into it. I can see not buying the spellcasting skill at 6 if your skill focus is in another area, but spending that bp on something other than attributes means you're going to end up spending x2 or maybe even x3 the amount of karma that you would otherwise have had to spend.
Glyph
That last point of Magic costs 25 points, rather than 10, making it more of a hit to your precious build points, which tend to be spread very thin for a mage. It is one of the few areas where I will even consider hard-maxing an Attribute, but it is by no means a given. Build points tend to be worth more than Karma for a lot of things (especially binding foci), so 25 build points is actually worth slightly more than the 30 Karma to raise it to a 6 later.
Whipstitch
QUOTE (Banaticus @ May 18 2010, 09:34 PM) *
Who cares about the reaction boost when you have physical invisibility and masking?


Me. Sometimes it's living long enough to cast to begin with that's the bugger.


QUOTE (Banaticus @ May 18 2010, 09:13 PM) *
because every mage has 6 spellcasting and 6 Magic



Yeah, I would play mages almost exclusively if GMs gave me the opportunity, and I've never actually done that, except one time when we were given a whole mess of extra BP and toss the 1 skill at 6 cap out the window. Even then I promptly got myself 2 essence worth of cyberware so I could be more well-rounded. I would likely give up Spellcasting and spells before I would give up Summoning, to be perfectly honest. Spellcasting is extremely powerful, but once you factor in the BP per spell and the dice needed to consistently get the hits it actually becomes a much more expensive path to having a variety of magical tricks up your sleeves than the shrewd use of spirits is. After all, a force 3 Plant Spirit comes with glitch insurance, modest counterspelling, Concealment and Fear right out of the box. Not too shabby when you consider how little skill it actually takes to wring a service or two out of one. In fact, I'd go so far as to say that some minor dabbling in conjuration and counter magic is likely the only remotely cost effective way to utilize the Mystic Adept quality.


Besides, grabbing 6 Magic via BP may be relatively cost effective compared to buying it up with Karma, but if you spend too much BP with a mind for saving points in the long term you may very well find yourself burning Edge in the short term if you skip too many bread and butter skills.
Whipstitch
Oops.
toturi
Magic 1 (base cost of magician)
Magic 2-5 (10 per point)
Magic 6 (25 per point)

From Magic 2-5, there are increasing efficiencies using BP. But at Magic 6, there is a sharp fall in BP efficiency again. to about Magic 2 levels. Thus it is often mechanically better not to push Magic (or any other Attribute) to the chargen maximums.

There are other considerations that, by RAW, argue against not having max Magic as well but what I mentioned above usually suffice.
Ol' Scratch
Personally, I'd rather blow the 25 BP (actually 23; 15 for the Focus, 5 for Restricted Gear, and 3 to Bind) on a Force 3 Power Focus for an effective +3 to Magic, or maybe raise several of my skills (or even buy a ton of specializations), or raise two of my other attributes by +1, or pretty much anything other than improving my Magic by a paltry +1.

But hey, what do we know? We've only been playing the game for years and years across multiple editions. Clearly the guy who couldn't even find the price list for foci has it all figured out.
Synner667
QUOTE (Banaticus @ May 19 2010, 03:34 AM) *
Who cares about the reaction boost when you have physical invisibility and masking? wink.gif The NPC can go first all they want, but they have to be able to see you to hit you and if you get a surprise attack off on them then they can't even dodge. A sustaining penalty is only two dice, so when you're used to rolling 12-20 dice to attack, that sustaining penalty just doesn't really matter.

Last time I made a big invisibility-type smashing character, I didn't bother buying reaction up at all, it's still at 1. It's just not important (I bought Agility up instead to attack better and do the occasional gymnastic dodge -- mainly, if I'm "dodging", I use parry). And since I'm not the driver, I only need a small drive skill to be able to drive out of there in case the driver dies (or I go invisible and duck into the mall or something).

And this is why superspeedy combat monster characters are sooo unnecessary, and the whole "everyone must have 4 IPs else they can't get involved in combat" thing is misleading...
Whipstitch
Except that invisibility isn't foolproof.
Cardul
QUOTE (Synner667 @ May 19 2010, 03:08 AM) *
And this is why superspeedy combat monster characters are sooo unnecessary, and the whole "everyone must have 4 IPs else they can't get involved in combat" thing is misleading...


Heck, honestly, I rarely see ANYONE running around with 4 IP out of Chargen. Even an Adept is unlikely to sink
all that magic into the boost when there are other powers they will likely want. Besides: Most of the time, you
are taking on NORMAL guards, who, at most, will have Wired 1. If you have 3 IP from any method, you are still
out speeding the guards(who do not have Edge to spend for an extra Pass).
Mx
QUOTE (Banaticus @ May 19 2010, 04:34 AM) *
Who cares about the reaction boost when you have physical invisibility and masking? wink.gif The NPC can go first all they want, but they have to be able to see you to hit you and if you get a surprise attack off on them then they can't even dodge. A sustaining penalty is only two dice, so when you're used to rolling 12-20 dice to attack, that sustaining penalty just doesn't really matter.

Could you please tell me what attacking dicepool does your mage character has in the 12-20 point range, especially the upper end.
QUOTE (Banaticus @ May 19 2010, 08:12 AM) *
Increasing the Magic attribute is the most expensive thing that you could possibly spend karma on (well, except bonding a Power focus) -- why wouldn't anyone who was planning on basing their character around magic buy it at 6 during character creation when it's so incredibly (comparatively speaking) cheap? Especially if you're planning on playing the character long enough to put a whole bunch of karma into it. I can see not buying the spellcasting skill at 6 if your skill focus is in another area, but spending that bp on something other than attributes means you're going to end up spending x2 or maybe even x3 the amount of karma that you would otherwise have had to spend.

This post sums up nicely why karma-gen is 1000times better then BP-gen, gets nicely rid of idiotic sheanigans like that.
Nixda
QUOTE (Dr. Funkenstein @ May 19 2010, 08:51 AM) *
Personally, I'd rather blow the 25 BP (actually 23; 15 for the Focus, 5 for Restricted Gear, and 3 to Bind) on a Force 3 Power Focus for an effective +3 to Magic, or maybe raise several of my skills (or even buy a ton of specializations), or raise two of my other attributes by +1, or pretty much anything other than improving my Magic by a paltry +1.

But hey, what do we know? We've only been playing the game for years and years across multiple editions. Clearly the guy who couldn't even find the price list for foci has it all figured out.


I agree with your math, but I think it really depends on what plan the player has for his character in terms of past-creation development.
I usually go more for long-term development and a Force 3 Power Focus would never be attractive to me. I would want a higher force Power Focus (6 or more) eventually because since only a single focus may add dice to any pool and it overlaps with many other categories of Foci.

And starting with magic 6 and starting to save up karma to bind a Force 6 Power Focus instead of having to raise magic first doesnt seem that inefficient to me, karma-wise.
Rasumichin
QUOTE (Banaticus @ May 19 2010, 03:34 AM) *
Who cares about the reaction boost when you have physical invisibility and masking?


Anybody who goes up against opponents that do not rely on sight.
Like most guard critters, ghouls, spirits, anybody with a radar sensor, a lot of drones and so on.
I know why i prefer Concealment over Invisibility.

BTW, what does Masking have to do with that?
It doesn't make you invisible on the astral, it just alters your aura's appearance.
Banaticus
QUOTE (Mäx @ May 19 2010, 04:23 AM) *
This post sums up nicely why karma-gen is 1000times better then BP-gen, gets nicely rid of idiotic sheanigans like that.

In the case of karma gen, if you're planning on increasing the stat ever, then it's going to be the same price to increase it then as now. You might as well bump it up now to get the benefit now.
TommyTwoToes
QUOTE (Banaticus @ May 19 2010, 02:14 PM) *
In the case of karma gen, if you're planning on increasing the stat ever, then it's going to be the same price to increase it then as now. You might as well bump it up now to get the benefit now.


Unless there is a skill you need on your first Run or two that you didn't buy because you spent all your points on that 6 Magic.

As for the Dicepool, I was munching away on his numbers and

6 Magic + 6 Spellcasting + 2 Mentor + 2 Specialization + 4 Spell focus could get him up to 20 DP, but he would be very much a 1 trick pony.

If he takes manipulation for his area of specialization he would be more useful than as a combat caster but that is a whole nother ball of wax.
jimbo
So are power foci really that much better to get at chargen? I realize that after attribute, skill, and mentor spirit options are limited for out of the gate power/survivability. It just seems for a R2 power foci I'd rather pay money and 16 karma later than 12 BPs at generation. There's not a big hit to efficiency there.

Just curious for thoughts from the more experienced...
Tanegar
If you're going to get a power focus at chargen, IMO you might as well pop the 29BP for a Force 4 focus. (5 for Restricted Gear, 20 for the 100,000 nuyen monetary cost, 4 to bond it.)
Whipstitch
As long as you're avoiding the most expensive bp-to-karma ratio pitfalls (such as buying many skills at levels that are too low to be ratio efficient or even helpful,) I wouldn't worry about it too much, especially as a Magician. Unlike mundos, there's a number of things Magicians can do with Karma that they cannot really do with build points, which makes it a bit trickier to really assess the value of BPs vs. karma. Unlike with Samurai, I often find myself saving my Mage's karma up for initiation grades and new spells rather than just purchasing the low level skills and specializations I passed up on at character creation-- often times that BP->karma discount coupon goes unused, so to speak. Obviously your mileage may vary depending on how tightfisted your GM is with the karma and how long your group sticks with the same characters, etc.
Glyph
QUOTE (Mäx @ May 19 2010, 03:23 AM) *
This post sums up nicely why karma-gen is 1000times better then BP-gen, gets nicely rid of idiotic sheanigans like that.

Except that the example was bogus - a Magic of 6 is not something everyone picks up, and for those who do, the 25 BP is not cheap compared to Karma. Karmagen's biggest problem is that the "special" Attributes such as Magic fall under the 375-Karma cap. Mages aren't usually that hosed by that, though, because with all of the other things they need to get, they will rarely have a high Edge, and they will usually have a few core Attributes that can be dump stats. If you want an adept with good physical stats, or a mage with a high Edge, though, then you get boned.

Karmagen doesn't really get rid of any "shenanigans". Soft-maxing your core abilities while remaining functional in other areas is still the optimal tactic, in either char-gen system. It only makes more "well-rounded" characters because after you've bought the essentials that you would have with 400 BP, you usually have a few extra points left to spend.
toturi
QUOTE (Glyph @ May 20 2010, 10:06 AM) *
Karmagen doesn't really get rid of any "shenanigans". Soft-maxing your core abilities while remaining functional in other areas is still the optimal tactic, in either char-gen system. It only makes more "well-rounded" characters because after you've bought the essentials that you would have with 400 BP, you usually have a few extra points left to spend.

I agree that karmagen doesn't really get rid of any shenanigans. It simply changes them. Karmagen encourages lower numbers, it makes characters appear to be well rounded. Karmagen does not give out Knowledge skill points; a min-maxed karmagen character would have much less Knowledge skills than its BP counterpart, if at all. Karmagen simply replaces one set of problems with another.
darthmord
QUOTE (Banaticus @ May 18 2010, 10:34 PM) *
Who cares about the reaction boost when you have physical invisibility and masking? wink.gif The NPC can go first all they want, but they have to be able to see you to hit you and if you get a surprise attack off on them then they can't even dodge. A sustaining penalty is only two dice, so when you're used to rolling 12-20 dice to attack, that sustaining penalty just doesn't really matter.

Last time I made a big invisibility-type smashing character, I didn't bother buying reaction up at all, it's still at 1. It's just not important (I bought Agility up instead to attack better and do the occasional gymnastic dodge -- mainly, if I'm "dodging", I use parry). And since I'm not the driver, I only need a small drive skill to be able to drive out of there in case the driver dies (or I go invisible and duck into the mall or something).

Then there's the "getting better". It's relatively cheap for a samurai to buy up a skill and new spells are also cheap for a mage. Adepts have to initiate and raise an attribute, unless you use some optional rule to make it cheaper. Make the magician feel the same pain that the adept does in trying to get new skills, then cut back on nuyen a bit and suddenly everyone's skills and abilities and ware all gets better at the same rate.


That 'going invisible' only works as long as the opposition doesn't try to track you via the Astral. If they do, your spell only shows them where you are all the better.
Mx
QUOTE (toturi @ May 20 2010, 04:16 AM) *
I agree that karmagen doesn't really get rid of any shenanigans.

Concidering that the sheanigan i was preferring to is selectinc waht to get at chargen based on the fact it will be more expencive or cheaper after chargen, i would say that karmagen gets rid of that really well.
Shinobi Killfist
QUOTE (jimbo @ May 19 2010, 04:17 PM) *
So are power foci really that much better to get at chargen? I realize that after attribute, skill, and mentor spirit options are limited for out of the gate power/survivability. It just seems for a R2 power foci I'd rather pay money and 16 karma later than 12 BPs at generation. There's not a big hit to efficiency there.

Just curious for thoughts from the more experienced...


I'd say it is campaign dependent. A r4 power focus is 100,000 nuyen, will your character see that kind of money in a reasonable time. The other factor is karma yes I expect you will see 40 karma after X number of runs, but are you the type of player that can do nothing with his karma until he saves up 40? And even if you are, from the 1 karma to 40 karma point your GM might be upping the opposition a bit as you get more experienced. Can you survive when you do nothing with your karma while everyone else is bumping up there skills etc.?

I like getting it on a powergaming level due to our runs frequently paying crap. So much so that after a year I doubt I had saved up 50,000 much less 100,000 nuyen. But hey invest in the enchanting skill and the gathering knowledge skills mentioned in street magic and you can get it for much cheaper if you have tons of down time where you can go into a wilderness and gather crap.
crizh
Funny, when I read the thread title I thought 'Hmm, I was thinking the exact same thing' but after reading the OP I was actually thinking the exact opposite thing.

The whole SR magic system has been annoying me more and more lately. It started with SR2 and has been gradually building over time but I've only recently been able to truly articulate what pisses me off about the whole thing.

I think magic is to cheap or easy. Thing is that the base system is modelled on 'real world' magical traditions which is what makes it so flavourful and uniquely appealing. Trouble is that such a system has game balance issues that have from the very outset introduced rules designed to make it manageable.

And that is the problem. The system gives with one hand and takes away with the other. Someone with an eye for the flavour of the underlying fluff has designed all sorts of wonderful things a mage could do and someone else with an eye for game mechanics has come along behind and nerfed the crap out of everything.

The result is a system that has lots of wonderful toys that a mage is going to want to play with and a bunch of kill-joy rules that make it impossible to do so. The instant a player finds some way to overcome these restrictions the whole game system starts to unravel.

What the system needs is some way of permitting a player to actually use his toys while keeping his power in check. I've been speculating about buying spells in a similar way to Adept Powers which is a system that seems to work very well. I would perhaps just make all spells adept powers and give people power points equal to 1, 2 or 3 times Magic depending on the degree of Magician quality they purchase and making spells and projection limited to mage or magical adept in the same manner.

Or we could go back to buying spells the same way as complex forms perhaps at a higher cost per point of Force.

It just seems to me ridiculous to have all these cool abilities that players never actually get to use.
Tanegar
What potential abilities do you think mages are being denied under the current system?
crizh
Any spell with a duration of S?

Look at Analyse Device for example. Sounds great but it is nearly impossible to use between OR and sustaining penalties.
Tanegar
Or you could use a sustaining focus, or hand the spell off to a spirit to sustain it for you. The sustaining penalty is absolutely necessary to prevent mages from casting every conceivable buff on themselves and basically being gods.
crizh
QUOTE (Tanegar @ May 20 2010, 10:26 PM) *
Or you could use a sustaining focus, or hand the spell off to a spirit to sustain it for you. The sustaining penalty is absolutely necessary to prevent mages from casting every conceivable buff on themselves and basically being gods.


That's what I just said.

A mechanic has to exist to stop mages from using their spells and breaking the game.

Which is stupid.
Tanegar
So... to replace the mechanic which stops mages from using their spells and breaking the game... you propose an entirely different mechanic which stops mages from using their spells and breaking the game?
crizh
Restricting the number a spells by greatly increasing their cost. If that's stopping them casting spells then yes, I am.

I also considered introducing a Concentration skill that limited the number of spells you could sustain.
Whipstitch
I just don't agree with that method at all. Limiting the repertoire but not actually addressing the power levels of any given problem spell has in my experience merely led to power game type players putting all the powerful/problematic spells on their sheet and leaving the merely fun and handy stuff on the cutting room floor. I've had a mage hit play only knowing 4 spells before, but those 4 spells were the pre-errata Mana Static, Control Thoughts, Detect Life and Mana Bolt. He got along fine and while it would have been nice to have Heal I doubt he really missed Fashion any-- at any rate it didn't stop him from steamrolling a couple of situations I had hoped to make a tiny bit more difficult than they turned out to be (what can I say; I was a young GM). Hell, if anything I suspect he used a grossly powerful solution to many of his problems because that was literally all he knew how to do. You know what they say about a man with a hammer.
crizh
Many of those spells are a different sort of broken though.

Mana Static for example is a moronic spell that just shouldn't exist. You can't Teleport, you can't stop time and you can't create BC with a spell.

BC used to be something interesting.
Whipstitch
I guess I just don't know what sort of broken you guys are talking about then; I've never had a situation where I really begrudged my players knowing a wide variety of unbroken spells. Frankly, most spells are already pretty narrow and expensive for what they do, particularly when compared to technological substitutes or what a low end Spirit could do for you; if anything my players don't branch out enough for my tastes. Not that I can really blame them, Mind Link* loses a lot of its shine when you realize that practically everyone has a commlink that can do everything but take out the garbage as a matter of course. Actually, scratch that. Your commlink can totally arrange for a Renraku manservant to go take out the garbage.


*Plus, if they're a full magician they an just jolly well project halfway across the planet and manifest a message if they have to.
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