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Syionide
Hi everybody,

This is my first Shadowrun Character and I wanted to get some feedback from everybody if I'm creating my character correctly and what you think about my character.

QUOTE
Name: Lazarus Sane
Race: Elf (30 BP)
Character Concept: Mind Melter Mage
Magician Tradition: Chaos Magic


Attributes: (200 BP)
Body (4)
Agility (4)
Reaction (4)
Strength (3)
Charisma (4)
Intuition (3)
Logic (4)
Willpower (5)

Speical Attributes (50 BP)
Magic (5)
Edge (2)
Essence (6)

Initiative / Passes 7 / 1 (12 / 4)
Astral Initiative (7)

Positive Qualities (15 BP)
Magician

Negative Qualities (-20 BP)
Addiction: Mild (5 BP)
Addiction: Mild (5 BP)
Allergy (Common, Mild) (10 BP)
Sensitive System (15 BP)


Active Skills: (76 BP)
Assensing (3)
Counterspelling (5)
Pistols (2)
Ritual Spellcasting (2)
Spellcasting (5)
Perception (2)

Languages:
English N
Sperethiel (4)

Knowledge Skills: (0 BP)
SW:Corporate Security (3)
SW:Corporate Procedures (3)
SW:Drugs (3)
SW:Magical Talismans (3)
SW:Black Markets (3)
SW:Street Rumors (2)

Spells: (33 BP)
Lightning Bolt (Indirect, Elem.)
Stunbolt (Direct)
Combat Sense (Active, Psychic)
Mindlink (Active, Psychic)
Mind Probe (Active, Directional)
Heal
Chaotic World (Realistic, Multi)
Armor (Physical) (sm)
Control Thoughts (Mental)
Increase Reflexes
Levitate (Physical)


Contacts: (8 BP)
Fixer (2/2)
Talismonger (2/2)

Weapons
Ares Predator IV

Armor
Lined Coat [6/4]

Commlink
Novatech Airware [Base Response 3 / Base Signal 3]

Operating System
Novatech Navi [Firewall 3 / System 4]

Gear: (Lifestyle: Low (3 months) (23 BP)
Cost Category QTY Gear Rating
6000 Ammunition per 10 60 EX-Explosive Rounds
8000 ID/Credsticks 2 Fake SIN (1-6) 4
250 Commlink Accessory 5 Skinlink
6000 Magical Supplies 2 Magical Lodge Materials (1-6) 6
2000 Manatech 1 Mage Sight Goggles
1500 Slap Patches 10 Stimulant Patch (1-6) 6
6000 Magical Goods 2 Ritual Sorcery Materials (1-6) 6
1000 Explosives per Kilo 10 Foam
750 Explosives Accessories 10 Detonator Cap
2000 Underwater Gear 1 Diving Gear
250 Slap Patches 5 Antidote Patch
2000 Disguise 4 Nanopaste DisguiseSmall
75 Firearm Accessories 1 Concealable Holster

Nuyen Spent Gear: 110625


We are starting our campaign in Seattle.

Thanks
Samoth
Maybe you should learn some spells?
brennanhawkwood
Spells? If the sheet tallies to 400, you've probably picked them and they aren't on the sheet you copied.
Syionide
Wow you guys are fast. I noticed that and started editing the sheet smile.gif I now have the spells in. smile.gif
Martin Silenus
I don't know off-hand what the drain stat is for chaos magic, but I'd recommend maxing it out.

Consider trying to get to 3 or 4 edge (possibly at the expense of strength or agility); be sure you know the various things you can use to re-roll, et cetera. It's nice to have a lot, especially when you're starting out --before you have a sense for which rolls you can afford to fail and which you can't.

For an elf-mage, manabolt is 25 BP cheaper than pistols 2 and agility 4.

A mentor spirit can offer 5 BP for 2 dice on your manipulation or divination spells, which is a bargain.

You're probably not going to use or need ritual spellcasting.

Foci: You'll want a force 3 sustaining focus for combat reflexes --that's something you want up all the time. Also, a force 2 power focus is a bargain in terms of BP/benefit.

You're not getting much benefit out of being an elf if you don't max out and use charisma or agility. You could save a lot of BP by being an elf-poser human.

You didn't specialize in any skills. From a BP/karma perspective, it's optimal to buy them with karma instead of BP. But specializations are a bargain, and I'd recommend getting them eventually.

Mob mind is awesome for mind-mages. My guy threw a force 10 at a ganger party a while back as a quick way of raising an army of disposable heroes to cover our penetration of a very secure facility. Good, wholesome fun for the whole family with few if any surviving witnesses. Drain was uncomfy, though.

From a more character-development perspective: I've found that playing a mind-mage lends itself naturally to being a dispicably evil and ruthlessly self-serving manipulator. Or maybe that's just me. Either way, it's been great fun; but playing a character that specializes in depriving others of free will in various ways might not be for everyone.
Ol' Scratch
The biggest thing I noticed is that you lacked any kind of stealth capability. No Infiltration skill, no access to spirits (and thus Concealment), and no spells that cater to that, either. You're a big ol' "please shoot me first" neon sign.
Propaganda
QUOTE (Martin Silenus @ May 19 2010, 11:43 PM) *
I don't know off-hand what the drain stat is for chaos magic, but I'd recommend maxing it out.


Chaos Mages use Willpower + Logic for Drain.

Other than that, I agree with Martin...there's not much bonus in being an elf from a mechanical point of view if you're not planning to max out at least one of the two stats.

Edit:

I was just scrolling back up through Street Magic and I noticed that Black Magic uses Charisma for Drain...given the fact that you're playing someone that is at least a little evil, it might make more sense to switch to that. Then you could use the fact that you're an elf to get a higher Charisma, and thus a better chance at resisting Drain.
Nifft
1/ Decide what you're going to do in combat. You have three buff spells: you will not want to cast and maintain more than one of them without a Sustaining Focus, and you have no Sustaining Focus. I'd drop Armor and Combat Sense unless your plan is to cast all three on someone else and then hide for the duration of combat. Some people do exactly that and it can be very effective, or so I hear.

2/ You can't summon any Spirits. This is huge. Spirits are awesome. For example, a spirit can replace a Sustaining Focus.

3/ You're playing an Elf who picked a Logic-based tradition. Nothing wrong with that, if it fits your concept, but since you didn't mention a concept then I'm obligated to tell you it's far more optimal for an Elf to pick a Charisma based tradition -- and to pump your Charisma to levels no Human can match.

4/ You don't need Agility 4 or Strength 3. Take some points from those and put them into Edge and/or Charisma.

4.1/ If you switch to a Charisma tradition, you can take points out of Logic too.

4.2/ You have Body 4, you can do better than a mere Lined Coat. Get yourself an Armored Jacket, or consider dropping your Body to 3.

5/ You have a lot of disguise gear for a mage. Instead, take the spell Fashion (Street Magic) and / or Physical Mask (core book) and / or Shapechange (core book).

6/ Skills. You know a lot of spells, so I wonder if it's really worth keeping the gun.

6.1/ You have a gun with a Smartlink installed, but no eyewear or eyeware with a Smartlink display.

7/ Your Commlink's Response is only 3, which means your OS System limit is 3.

7.1/ You actually have to pay for the programs which run on your commlink if you want to make any kind of Matrix tests. If your group has a hacker you might want to just get one of the suites on p.232

8/ Decide on your secondary role. Are you a mage who is sneaky? Are you a mage who is influential? Put at least one rank in the appropriate skill group. If you do go for a Charisma-based tradition, you can start with 7 Charisma, and that plus one rank in the Influence group is enough dice to solve a lot of minor Face situations. Throw in the Influence (mental) spell and you're a supernaturally excellent con artist.
Ol' Scratch
QUOTE (Propaganda @ May 19 2010, 06:07 PM) *
Other than that, I agree with Martin...there's not much bonus in being an elf from a mechanical point of view if you're not planning to max out at least one of the two stats.

Style and flavor is always more important than raw stats. I don't care what anyone says; stay as an Elf and a Chaos Mage if that's what you want to play.
Nifft
QUOTE (Dr. Funkenstein @ May 19 2010, 06:11 PM) *
Style and flavor is always more important than raw stats. I don't care what anyone says; stay as an Elf and a Chaos Mage if that's what you want to play.

While you're absolutely correct in the larger sense -- and while Elf Shaman (+Face) may be old hat to people who have been playing for 20 years -- for a new guy's first character, he might want advice about making his race work for him.

Once he knows the system, he can make an informed choice about how much power he's willing to sacrifice for his concept.

Right now, he won't know if nobody tells him.
Udoshi
I'm looking at your stats, and seeing lowish values - 3's and 4's. See if you can't use Karmagen. Even with the 4a costs, and german edition balance fix, the system is much more conducive to low-average stat characters. Figured I'd mention it.

Syionide
Guy's that's awesome information. I am reworking my character and will post again with my updates. smile.gif I love this forum and the users!.
Propaganda
QUOTE (Dr. Funkenstein @ May 20 2010, 12:11 AM) *
Style and flavor is always more important than raw stats. I don't care what anyone says; stay as an Elf and a Chaos Mage if that's what you want to play.


Oh, I'm not arguing that, I whole heartedly agree. But he seems to want opinions from a pure number crunching point of view, which is what I offered.
Mesh
Yes, you don't want to take the advice of people telling you to drop your "lame race", pump your stats, and change it all around if you like the idea of playing an elf. That's what RPGs are supposed to be about: Getting to do things you can only fantasize about.

Stats, skills, spells, and gewgaws aside, I'm more interested in what your backstory is. Especially for a mage, why are you running??? Mages can live the high life with just antidote, detox, and heal spells cast for the "haves". Why risk your neck running?

Next most importantly is your theme. What is it? If it's a "mind melter", why are only three of your eleven spells mind related? You don't look like a mind melter. You look like any generic mage: armor, reflexes, flying, all the basic blasting and combat spells.

What about this... it's a Raven Mage Manipulator with no self-control who gets off on thrills and adrenaline (mostly the thrill of the illegal like taking over people's minds to feel a sense of power over others). He misses no opportunity to take advantage of people and stroke his ego. He runs the shadows not just because he's addicted to the adrenaline highs of abusing his powers, but it's the perfect avenue for his life... and actually the only avenue. He was on track to (pick one: work for the FBI, become an arcane professor, museum security provider), but he couldn't control himself and used his power to (steal from the impound and manipulate leaders, convince a group of female students to service him all at once, took off with some art and jewelry of all the guests at a reception). It cost him several years of his life in jail. Now he's out. He just can't help himself, but maybe he'll get better in the future:

QUOTE
Body 3 (average shape)
Agility 2 (underdeveloped from over-reliance on manipulation)
Reaction 4 (quick, always looking for a split second's moment to take advantage of someone)
Strength 2 (same as agility)
Charisma 3 (he's not bad socially, maybe his power gives him noticeable social confidence)
Intuition 4 (perceptive, doesn't miss a trick)
Logic 6 (maybe his life was made too easy by the fact he's a natural genius)
Willpower 2 (Total Lack of Self-Control)
Edge 2 (Not lucky [jail])
Magic 5 (gifted with a strong natural knack)

Spellcasting 5 (manipulation 7)
Ritual Spellcasting 1
Counterspelling 3 (combat 5)
Conjuring (Group) 2
Assensing 2 (auras 4)
Astral Combat 2
Perception 3 (visual 5)
Infiltration 2 (urban 4)
Pistols 1 (semi-auto 3)
Influence (Group) 1

Positive
Focused Concentration (1)
Mentor Spirit, the Raven - +2 manipulation and +2 air spirits (about all he'll conjure)

Negative
SINner (criminal)
Addition, Moderate - thrills, adrenaline (see above desc.)

Spells - almost all with +4 to specializing and raven spirit
Control Actions (Mental)
Mob Mind (Mental)
Influence (Mental)
Magic Fingers (Physical)
Raven Critter Form (Physical) [there's your flying smile.gif]
Improved Invisibility (Realistic, Single) [the better to take advantage of people]
Heal

Total so far: 384 build points
He sticks to his theme, does manipulation well, but doesn't try to be a powerful, generic master of everything arcane.


Mesh
Syionide
I have reworked the character based on the feedback. It has been really really helpful. I'm still just beginning the game, so the tips that explain the why have been very informative.

I have chosen the increase attribute spell to handle my low attributes if necessary. I changed the Tradition to Black Magic to change my drain to Willpower + Charisma and added in the Mentor Spirit and a Guardian Spirit. I removed the pistol and gear associated with it. I increased my contacts loyalty and connections a little bit and removed some of the active skills like ritual spell casting and added the conjuring group. I also bumped my charisma up to 7 to handle the drain.

QUOTE
Name: Lazarus Sane
Race: Elf (30 BP)
Character Concept: Mind Melter Mage
Magician Tradition: Black Magic


Attributes: (170 BP)
Body (3)
Agility (2)
Reaction (4)
Strength (1)
Charisma (7)
Intuition (3)
Logic (3)
Willpower (5)

Speical Attributes (60 BP)
Edge (3)
Magic (5)
Initiative (7)
Initiative Pass (1)
Essence (6)
Magic Resource Cost (45)


Positive Qualities (20 BP)
Magician
Mentor Spirit

Negative Qualities (-35 BP)
Astral Beacon (-5 BP)
Elf Poser (-5 BP)
SINner (Criminal) (-10 BP)
Sensitive System (-15 BP)


Active Skills: (76 BP)
Assensing (2)
Counterspelling (5)
Spellcasting (5)
Conjuring (Group) (2)
Perception (3)

Languages:
English N
Sperethiel (1)

Knowledge Skills: (0 BP)
SW:Corporate Security (3)
SW:Corporate Procedures (3)
SW:Drugs (3)
SW:Magical Talismans (3)
SW:Black Markets (3)
SW:Street Rumors (2)

Spells: (33 BP)
Lightning Bolt (Indirect, Elem.)
Stunbolt (Direct)
Mind Probe (Active, Directional)
Mindlink (Active, Psychic)
Mob Mind (Mental)
Control Thoughts (Mental)
Alter Memory (Mental) (sm)
Heal
Combat Sense (Active, Psychic)
Chaotic World (Realistic, Multi)
Increase Reflexes
Increase [Attribute]

Bound Spirit:
Guardian Spirit (4 Services)

Mentor Spirit:
Raven (+2 manipulation spells, +2 water spirit)

Foci:
Power (2)
Sustaining (3)


Contacts: (11 BP)
Fixer (2/3)
Talismonger (3/3)

Armor
Armored Jacket [8/6]

Commlink
Novatech Airware [Base Response 3 / Base Signal 3]

Operating System
Novatech Navi [Firewall 3 / System 4]

Gear: (Lifestyle: Low (2 months) (23 BP)
Cost Category QTY Gear Rating
3000 ID/Credsticks (1) Fake SIN (1-6) 3
100 Commlink Accessory (2) Skinlink
2500 Magical Supplies (1) Magical Lodge Materials (1-6) 5
2000 Manatech (1) Mage Sight Goggles
1000 Slap Patches (10) Stimulant Patch (1-6) 4
75 Firearm Accessories (1) Concealable Holster

Build Points
Attributes 170
Race 30
Special Att 60
Qualities -15
Gear 19
Contacts 11
Knowledge Skills 0
Active Skills 80
Total 400

Gear Cost 95000
Nuyen Gained
Nuyen Spent: 94325
Nuyen Total: 675


I'm hoping this seems like a better made character.
Martin Silenus
Much stronger, IMO. Point of order: you can't take elf poser as an elf. Also, the increase [attribute] spell must refer to a specific attribute, chosen at the time the spell is learned.

The twink in me demands that I caution you against starting with a bound spirit. For 4 BP, you could start with 20,000 NuY in binding materials instead. While on the topic of conjuring: you could shave 4 BP by dropping banishing and taking summoning and binding separately. (Read up on how banishing works and ask yourself if you wouldn't be happier just blasting away at an unruly spirit with focused fire from your team-mates.) Just some thoughts. Nits, really. Your build is getting tight enough that there's no need to worry overmuch about those things.

I'm mostly posting again because I meant to mention this in my previous post when I was talking about guns, but accidentally left it out: you don't have any spells that do physical damage. (Lightning is stun, it turns out.) I did the same thing with my guy and wound up picking up manabolt later when I found my team-mates and I were plugging away at different damage tracks a lot of the time, which was ineffective. An indirect spell is still clutch, though, and lightning is particularly good against tech. Maybe swap out stunbolt, since you've got lightning carrying you for stun damage?
Nal0n
Wasn't there a max nunber of spells one can learn at chargen?
Something along the lines of Magic*2 iirc. (Sorry AFB at the moment)
So you have too many spells there I fear wink.gif
CeeJay
Yupp, number of spells is limited to spellcating skill rank x2 (see SR4A p. 87).

So you either have to drop 2 spells or increase spellcasting to rank 6 and lower counterspelling to 4.
Also, the number of services that a spirit owes you at character generarion is limited to summoning skill rank. So instead of one spirit owing 4 services you would need to get 2 spirits each owing 2 services.

-CJ
Makki
QUOTE (Mesh @ May 20 2010, 03:16 AM) *
Yes, you don't want to take the advice of people telling you to drop your "lame race", pump your stats, and change it all around if you like the idea of playing an elf. That's what RPGs are supposed to be about: Getting to do things you can only fantasize about.

Next most importantly is your theme. What is it? If it's a "mind melter", why are only three of your eleven spells mind related? You don't look like a mind melter. You look like any generic mage: armor, reflexes, flying, all the basic blasting and combat spells.


what he says!

you did a good job with the stats and still being an elf just for RP reasons, but your spell build is crap. if you want combat spells, get a touch version like Knockout so you fuse the others brainadn do your Vulcan Mind Melt style magic.
Syionide
That is some good information guys. I ended up adding 1 point to Body. Dropping Conjurer group and going with Summoning (3) and Binding (2). Dropped elf poser (I was playing with becoming a human, which might have been fun to try to be a elf) and increased Sperethiel by 2 points. Changed my contacts to be 2/2 again to get more BP.

In the Spells list I dropped Increase Reflex and Increase Attribute and swapped out Stunbold with Manabolt for the direct damage. This allowed me to keep my Counterspelling at 5, increase my bound spirit to 3 services.

I am very happy with how my Mind Melter has ended up.

Thank you for all the valuable feedback smile.gif
Martin Silenus
You're very welcome. However, I'd strongly caution against dropping increase reflexes unless you have another way of getting multiple initiative passes. It'd be a drag in combat being the guy who goes once while all your friends (and worse: enemies) are going three times. Combat sense is your other buff spell, and it's far more easily dispensed with than increase reflexes. The latter is a true staple you'll use every game; the prior a nice-to-have you might never miss.

Alternatively, you could also drop a mind spell, IMO. You've gotten some rather harsh feedback on being not mind-meltery enough, which I think is kind of bunk, honestly. How your character uses the spells he has will be more a test how true to the theme he is than any statistical test one could run on the distribution or count or (within reason) the nature of his spells. Spells that deviate from the theme probably either piqued some curiosity in some other dimension of the character, or else were just things your character forced himself to learn so he could earn more NuY and survive while doing it. We've all gots to get by.
Draco18s
QUOTE (Nifft @ May 19 2010, 07:10 PM) *
2/ You can't summon any Spirits. This is huge. Spirits are awesome. For example, a spirit can replace a Sustaining Focus.


...if you want to get spirits pissed off at you for permanently draining their force away, then yes they can!
Nifft
Here's my thoughts on your spell list, as cast at Force 5:

Lightning Bolt (Indirect, Elem.) = Drain 4 -- you won't use this spell often, but the damage type is very nice for anti-drone stuff.
Stunbolt (Direct) = Drain 1 -- you will use this spell 3 time every combat round. It's your bread & butter. You could swap this for Manabolt with almost identical utility, but I personally prefer Stunbolt, since it gives your team the option of NOT killing specific dudes.
Mind Probe (Active, Directional) -- Cool, but rarely useful since it's obvious to the target when it's used. You may get more use out of the cheaper Analyze Truth spell if your party has a Face. Really depends on whether you are going to be interrogating or negotiating -- Mind Probe is awesome for interrogation, but lousy for negotiation.
Mindlink (Active, Psychic) -- Cool, but easily replaced by cheap tech in most situations. Can be a huge tactical advantage if you're in a heavily jammed area, but that's very rare. You could buy this later.
Mob Mind (Mental) = Drain 6 -- This is your big guns. You won't cast this more than once per run.
Control Thoughts (Mental) = Drain 4 -- IMHO too much overlap with Mob Mind, and too much drain to be a "casual" version of it. Pick one or the other. It's nice to have one area spell.
Alter Memory (Mental) (sm) = Drain 4 -- How often is this going to be more efficient than a bullet?
Heal -- A fine spell. Very useful to clean up the last few levels of damage after the Medic has his go.
Combat Sense (Active, Psychic) -- A buff spell, and one you don't need.
Chaotic World (Realistic, Multi) = Drain 5 -- This is another "big guns" spell. You can only realistically cast one "big guns" spell per run, so pick this one or Mob Mind. Both are good.
Increase Reflexes <-- "You must be at least this fast to ride Shadowrun."
Increase [Attribute] -- A buff spell. If your plan is to cast this on yourself, don't bother. If your plan is to cast this on someone else, maybe it's a good idea... but you know you only get to pick one attribute when you learn the spell. If you could boost any attribute it would be a brilliant utility buff, but for what it does it's not that great.

Missing from your list: Influence. This spell is an awesome social situation solver.

So, here's what I'd do with your spells:

Mental Stuff:
+ Stunbolt
+ Influence or Alter Memory
+ Mind Probe or Analyze Truth
+ Mob Mind

General Utility:
+ Increase Reflexes
+ Heal
+ Lightning Bolt

- - -

As a cheeseweasel, I must advise you against buying spirit services with build points. IMHO it would be wiser to spend those BP pumping up your Summoning skill (which ideally should be 5 or 6). You don't need 5 Counterspelling (4 is quite good), but when you summon every hit really counts, and you'll be summoning far more than you'll be counterspelling. You can summon up a fresh, temporary spirit as a Complex action. Most mages do this every morning while brushing their teeth. You'll go through hundreds of spirit summonings over your career: to a mage, summoning a new spirit is like a Street Samurai reloading his assault rifle with a specific kind of ammo.
Nifft
QUOTE (Draco18s @ May 20 2010, 02:17 PM) *
...if you want to get spirits pissed off at you for permanently draining their force away, then yes they can!

Nah. If he can summon Spirits of Man, they can cast & sustain for him.

If he can't, then he can still use the Sustain Spell option for 3-5 rounds per spirit service. That's longer than many combats last anyway.

Spell Binding seems poorly thought out, I can't see either of the Core traditions using it much.
DamienKnight
QUOTE (Martin Silenus @ May 20 2010, 04:24 AM) *
I did the same thing with my guy and wound up picking up manabolt later when I found my team-mates and I were plugging away at different damage tracks a lot of the time, which was ineffective.

See SR4a p. 280 (Friends and Foes) This section discusses how to handle enemies of runners.

According to that, both Grunts and Grunt Lieutenants should have only one track, which accumulates both stun and physical, and has a number of boxes based on 8 + 1/2 the highest of body or will.

This means dealing stun while your teammates are doing physical is still going to be dropping peeps just as fast in most situations.

The only exception is when you are fighting Prime Runners. These characters are meant to be as good or better than your characters, and use both tracks.

In my experience, stun is better than physical as it leaves you with the option of leaving them alive or finishing them off.

Also, dont piss off Corps by killing all of their security guards! Keep the $ damage bill low, or else spending a little money on a hitman starts making too much fiscal sense smile.gif
Martin Silenus
Nifft, fine analysis, and I agree with most of it. In defense of Alter Memory, though: when your go-to method of solving problems involves turning people into your meat puppets, you need an end-game strategy for after you inevitably have to cut the strings. On second reading of your post, you seem to get that, but hiding bodies is sometimes problematic: you risk leaving forensic evidence, and people tend to come looking for missing persons, perhaps putting the site you're casing on alert. Just my personal experience playing my character. We went through a lot of laes wine (expensive and awkward) before I picked up alter memory.

Amusing freak bonus: one time our team collected a hefty dead-or-alive bounty (we opted for dead) on the security guards we had drive us into the facility we were hired to raid. (We covered our tracks; not theirs.) That doesn't work as well when murdering the meat puppet is "plan A." Sometimes karma has a way of paying you back for your good deeds.

Notes on drain for the OP: if you lie down for an hour, you get can throw 10 dice (2x willpower) and try to heal some stun. As long as you're not over-casting, out-of-run drain is not usually a problem worth worrying about in my experience. Might be GM/game-style -dependent: our runs typically involve lots of prep and intel gathering. Also, taking restricted versions of the big-gun spells can help a lot: since every hit counts, +2 drain dice can really take the edge off. So can mentally budgeting a point of edge for controlling variance on drain rolls. For reference: with restricted high-drain spells and fetishes, the character has an expected value of 4.6666 hits on a drain resistance test (expect variance, though!) and you can take two points of stun before you start feeling it.

Damien: you're right, of course. Again, my experience there might be game-dependent, but the fights I worry about aren't the ones with the dudes with the unified damage-track. Those are usually over quickly, and without too much cost in blood or treasure.
DamienKnight
QUOTE (Martin Silenus @ May 20 2010, 03:25 PM) *
Damien: you're right, of course. Again, my experience there might be game-dependent, but the fights I worry about aren't the ones with the dudes with the unified damage-track. Those are usually over quickly, and without too much cost in blood or treasure.


Ever fought a team of Tir Ghosts? They use Grunt rules, but will give most a run for the money. Really any Professional Rating 5+ team is going to be serious stuff. Honestly many of them are as good at combat as most runners, and their Lieutenants maybe better... without the Grunt rules they might make quick work of your runner teams.

When you fight Prime runners... your usually not dealing with a team of them, and more often than not want to NOT kill them. Bad mojo murdering your professional counterparts when you dont have to.
Nifft
QUOTE (Martin Silenus @ May 20 2010, 03:25 PM) *
Nifft, fine analysis, and I agree with most of it. In defense of Alter Memory, though: when your go-to method of solving problems involves turning people into your meat puppets, you need an end-game strategy for after you inevitably have to cut the strings. On second reading of your post, you seem to get that, but hiding bodies is sometimes problematic: you risk leaving forensic evidence, and people tend to come looking for missing persons, perhaps putting the site you're casing on alert. Just my personal experience playing my character. We went through a lot of laes wine (expensive and awkward) before I picked up alter memory.

That's quite true, and I did mean the bullet vs. spell comparison as a genuine metric (rather than a rhetorical stunt).

If your team does the kind of work that you can "clean up" after with bullets, bleach, and judicious use of strong acid, then you might not get much use from Alter Memory. If you are the kind who need to leave such a faint trail that nobody even thinks to look for you, then Alter Memory is brilliant.
Ol' Scratch
I'm still not seeing any way for you to sneak into places with the rest of your team. Sure, you have the Concealment power from some of your spirits, but conjuring doesn't seem to be a strong suit for you, nor is Concealment fullproof in and of itself. At least consider Improved Invisibility or similar spell if not the Infiltration skill itself.
Whipstitch
It's especially a problem since this character has neither the raw Intuition, Summoning or Astral Combat pool to really run shoeless-- he's a glass cannon in a spook fight and he can't whip up a big ol' honking Spirit to act as a meatside stand-in if drek hits the fan (or even just to babysit his body). On the bright side, he has (relatively speaking, for an elf mage) a pretty beefy set of physical attributes, so shoehorning Invisibility or Infiltration into the build somehow could go a long way towards making him pretty decent at sneaking around thanks to the respectable agility score. Anyway, it'd be something to keep in mind when looking at how to spend future karma, at least. I've seen much worse first sheets.
Ol' Scratch
There's four basic areas that every decent runner needs to have some training.

1) Stealth. You need to be able to sneak past security. The Infiltration skill, Invisibility spells, access to powerful spirits... whatever. But you need some way to do it.
2) Defense. A decent Body, Intuition and Willpower score as well as either the Dodge or Gymnastics (Dodge) skills. If you can't survive a gunfight or a magical attack, you're not gonna last long.
3) Perception. This skill is all but a must-have for anyone who makes a living in the shadows.
4) Reliable Firepower. You need to be able to defend yourself, plain and simple. It can be through guns, spells, melee, or whatever, but you need something on the offensive front.

It doesn't really matter what kind of a character you have: Those are the four basic ingredients for creating a professional shadowrunner. They don't have to be sky-high or a dominant part of your overall arsenal, but you need at least a little of each if you want to survive and thrive.
Whipstitch
Crap. Yeah, it somehow slipped my notice that he doesn't have Dodge or a Gymnastics/Unarmed combo. Get Improved Invisibility. The -6 blind fire modifier is better than what you'll get out of combat sense provided that Invisibility isn't resisted, and it can do double duty as a stealth aid. Non-visual sensors and good hearing can always hurt you too, but no character is perfect. I would still look at getting Dodge if you can.
Mesh
Come on now. This thread should be more than min/maxing. Drop this, get that... for no other reason than dice and combat.

Stick to your theme, your background, and your RP. Invest heavily in those and no GM is going to whack you off the bat so you don't have to worry about dice and combat. Just make the game enjoyable and get/keep what makes your character who he is.
Ol' Scratch
Uh, being a shadowrunner is part of the concept. What I mentioned above are things any shadowrunner needs to be successful. If you lack them, why exactly is anyone paying you to do clandestine/criminal activities?
Mesh
There's more than one way to play the game, but that's another thread.

How about this? Why sneak in anywhere when you can manipulate someone to go in for you, take the risk, and accomplish the objective? Sounds nuyen.gif worthy to me.

Mesh
Whipstitch
QUOTE (Mesh @ May 20 2010, 08:56 PM) *
How about this? Why sneak in anywhere when you can manipulate someone to go in for you, take the risk, and accomplish the objective? Sounds nuyen.gif worthy to me.

Mesh


Mind manipulations are generally horribly, grossly illegal. Granted, so is being a shadowrunner, but seeing that spells are effectively visible on the astral they're not actually all that subtle in a lot of cases or easy to talk your way out of. Which, you can try fixing with a mind manipulation, but such things obviously have a way of snowballing. Anyway, nobody's saying "Redo the character from the ground up with moar min maxing." People are saying that mages who get shot to death don't cast so good, and so stealth and dodge are biggies.
Syionide
Okay my final character I am planning to submit to the GM:

I increased my body up to 4 again
Added the skills Dodge (3) and Pilot GroundCraft(1)
Lowered Counterspell to 4 and Summoning to 3
Removed my bound spirits
Lowered my Sustaining Foci from 3 to 2
Redid my spell list with feedback. Now I should be a balanced defense, offence, crowd controlling, healing mind mage with a touch of the magical investigation using Mind Probe, Mob Mind and Alter Memory.
Added a Harley w00t!

I wish I could have maxed out my 200 BP but I wanted to much other stuff. smile.gif


QUOTE
Name: Lazarus Sane
Race: Elf (30 BP)
Character Concept: Mind Melter Mage
Magician Tradition: Black Magic


Attributes: (180 BP)
Body (4)
Agility (2)
Reaction (4)
Strength (1)
Charisma (7)
Intuition (3)
Logic (3)
Willpower (5)

Speical Attributes (60 BP)
Edge (3)
Magic (5)
Initiative (7)
Initiative Pass (1)
Essence (6)
Magic Resource Cost (34)


Positive Qualities (20 BP)
Magician
Mentor Spirit

Negative Qualities (-35 BP)
Astral Beacon (-5 BP)
Addition(Mild) (-5 BP)
SINner (Criminal) (-10 BP)
Sensitive System (-15 BP)


Active Skills: (76 BP)
Assensing (2)
Counterspelling (4)
Spellcasting (5)
Perception (3)
Summoning (3)
Dodge (3)
Pilot Ground Craft (1)


Languages:
English N
Sperethiel (1)

Knowledge Skills: (0 BP)
SW:Corporate Security (3)
SW:Corporate Procedures (3)
SW:Drugs (3)
SW:Magical Talismans (3)
SW:Black Markets (3)
SW:Street Rumors (2)

Spells: (30 BP)
Lightning Bolt (Indirect, Elem.)
Stunbolt (Direct)
Combat Sense (Active, Psychic)
Mind Probe (Active, Directional)
Heal
Increase Reflexes
Improved Invisibility (Realistic, Single)
Mob Mind (Mental)
Alter Memory (Mental) (sm)
Deflection (Physical) (sm)

Mentor Spirit:
Raven (+2 manipulation spells, +2 water spirit)

Foci:
Power (2)
Sustaining (2)


Contacts: (9 BP)
Fixer (2/2)
Talismonger (2/3)

Armor
Armored Jacket [8/6]

Commlink
Novatech Airware [Base Response 3 / Base Signal 3]

Operating System
Iris Orb [Firewall 3 / System 3]

Gear: (Lifestyle: Low (2 months) (23 BP)
Cost Category QTY Gear Rating
3000 ID/Credsticks (1) Fake SIN (1-6) (3)
2000 Magical Supplies (1) Magical Lodge Materials (1-6) (4)
2000 Manatech (1) Mage Sight Goggles
75 Firearm Accessories (1) Concealable Holster
6000 Magical Supplies (1) Conjuring Materials (1-6) (4)
50 Commlink Accessory (1) Subvocal Microphone
25 Vision Wear Enhancements Image Link
150 Commlink Accessory Biometric Lock
800 Communications Micro-Transcevier (1-6) (4)
100 Survival Gear Survival Kit

Vehicle:
Harley-Davidson Scorpion Chopper (Pilot 1)
Body 8
Handling 2
Accel 15/30
Speed 120

Build Points
Attributes 180
Race 30
Special Att 60
Qualities -15
Gear 18
Contacts 9
Knowledge Skills 0
Active Skills 84
Total 400

Gear Cost 90000
Nuyen Gained
Nuyen Spent: 88350
Nuyen Total: 1650


What do you think of him now?
Nifft
Looks playable to me. You could totally stop reading here and be happy. smile.gif

What are you going to use the Sustaining Focus 2 to sustain? IMHO Increase Reflexes becomes sexy at Force 3 & 4... at Force 2 it's inferior to just popping some Cram. (Which, it should be noted, is a very valid option for a beginning Shadowrunner, particularly since you took the Addiction quality. Cram costs 10 per dose, and lasts (12 - Body) hours.)

I'm paranoid, so my PCs always start play with two fake SINs (rating 4), so I have a spare if I get caught & my primary gets tainted. With your Criminal SIN, you might want a spare as well.

What kind of Lifestyle did you buy?
Mesh
QUOTE (Whipstitch @ May 20 2010, 10:18 PM) *
Mind manipulations are generally horribly, grossly illegal. Granted, so is being a shadowrunner, but seeing that spells are effectively visible on the astral they're not actually all that subtle in a lot of cases or easy to talk your way out of. Which, you can try fixing with a mind manipulation, but such things obviously have a way of snowballing. Anyway, nobody's saying "Redo the character from the ground up with moar min maxing." People are saying that mages who get shot to death don't cast so good, and so stealth and dodge are biggies.


The problem with your approach is you're not helping this guy achieve his goal of playing a "mind melter" mage. You're offering generic suggestions on how to be uber as a mage. That's fine, and there's definitely a place for that in the game! On the other hand it doesn't do anything for this character's theme or RP.

What good is it going to do the mage to idealize himself as a mind manipulator and have mind spells if all he does on a run is ramp up his reflexes, go invis, and lightning bolt people? The open-ended nature of characters in Shadowrun offers an endless range of ways to play the game. Manabolts, invis, and fireballs while gymnastically flipping and sneaking are not the only way to go. Picking out stats, skills, and powers to offer the best dice rolls in a "standard run" of infiltrating a research facility and shooting the guards in the face is not required. There's no such thing as a standard run. You don't have to be the master of everything. You can be good at a few things you like and rely on your team for the other skills needed. It can be fun to play characters who stick to their theme, RP well, and have glaring weaknesses. Calls for help and reviews on character building turn into min/max sessions far too often.

There is another way. It's fun, too.

Mesh
Syionide
I think the pen and paper should be more about the story then about the technical details of the combat. Also I agree that RP is what makes it fun. I think if you get too caught up in the technical details and you end up arguing with the GM about how this or that works, where's the fun in that. I don't want to say "Geez, Friday nights is when I really want to spend five hours arguing with somebody."

I know that many gamers are very caught up in number crunching. I am no different, however given my "lack" of knowledge to truly create a "uber mage" I opted to set a focus on what my Mage is about and then given that constraint, try to make him into the best character I can. Since I come from the Rifts world, I felt the Mind Melter was something I could use to transition into the world of Shadowrun. smile.gif

As to my lifestyle I chose Low with 1 months rent. I would love to get two fake SINS but then I would end up losing a BP somewhere I believe to get the necessary startup funds.

I didn't know about the sustain needing to be 3+. I hope I can fit that in somewhere, but not certain how I can do that.

But the bottom line is that I've learned ALOT about creating a Mage character from this thread and I <3 the time and effort from this community. To all those who contributed to helping me with my first character. I really appreciate the time and effort you took to read and respond to my posts.

Respectfully,
Syionide

Whipstitch
QUOTE (Mesh @ May 21 2010, 07:46 AM) *
You can be good at a few things you like and rely on your team for the other skills needed.



Your teammates cannot dodge for you nor can they make a stealth roll for you. Maybe your face can talk your way in there, maybe not, but at no point are you really allowed to decide if someone targets you with a gun short of having some sort of stealth tricks. This is a problem since it's hard to do any "mind melting" when you're stuck in the van because you're a delicate, noisy flower and a liability in some situations.

Here's how I approached this thread, since you're apparently so caught up in the idea of letting me know how you approached it. A poster came in with a character concept and seemed to know what he wanted to do with his mage but wanted a review anyway. If he came in and asked "Hey guys, I want to make a mage but I'm just at a loss for a good theme," then I would have given him different advice, maybe telling him about the time I ran a Magician who summoned spirits based on Jungian Archetypes (the idea was that spirits seem to reflect cultural ideas and so he figured that spirits are mana constructs shaped in part by the collective unconscious of metahumanity, which would explain the myriad forms and traditions). But instead, the poster came in with an easy to identify concept (a mind manipulator) and asked for a review. I saw that he already had a good spread of mind tricks and so I gave him advice on how to make the character into a shadowrunner as well. This is appropriate because well, in shadowrun you're kind of expected to be a runner, a person who may reasonably be expected into break into a place and get shot at for money. So Dodge and a way of sneaking around is definitely recommended simply so you can live long enough to do whatever it is that makes your character unique. Also note that unless you go the Improved route, Invisibility actually does work by affecting the minds of observers.

Anyway, Syionide, I'm glad you got what you came for.
Ol' Scratch
QUOTE (Mesh @ May 21 2010, 07:46 AM) *
The problem with your approach is you're not helping this guy achieve his goal of playing a "mind melter" mage. You're offering generic suggestions on how to be uber as a mage. That's fine, and there's definitely a place for that in the game! On the other hand it doesn't do anything for this character's theme or RP.

First of all, you need a solid foundation before you build a house. There are basic principles any shadowrunner -- mage, samurai, face, whatever -- needs in order to succeed. They need to be able to survive being attacked. They need to be able to defend themselves. And they need to be able to sneak into places. Those are basic requirements for any runner, regardless of specialty or flavor. They don't all have to be fantastically skilled in those areas, but they need some competence. Since, you know, that's what they're being hired for to begin with.

Syionide's original draft completely lacked in some of those areas. He knew what he wanted as a character. He got help on how to make his character even better in that area (though I'm personally disappointed that he switched to Black Magic). But as he stood in the beginning, he'd have been dead after his first run. Because he didn't have the basic survival skills all runners need. Especially as a brand new player to the game.

Rant on all you like with your damn elitism. But before you do, maybe you should scroll back up the thread and look at all of the advice the people you're bitching about offered up. Myself particularly. Here's a hint. Unfortunately for your mindless rant, roleplaying and including basic abilities and optimization are not exclusive concepts.
Mesh
QUOTE (Dr. Funkenstein @ May 21 2010, 07:57 PM) *
First of all, you need a solid foundation before you build a house. There are basic principles any shadowrunner -- mage, samurai, face, whatever -- needs in order to succeed. They need to be able to survive being attacked. They need to be able to defend themselves. And they need to be able to sneak into places. Those are basic requirements for any runner, regardless of specialty or flavor. They don't all have to be fantastically skilled in those areas, but they need some competence. Since, you know, that's what they're being hired for to begin with.


Wrong. You have power gamer tunnel vision so somewhere in your head that probably makes sense. You've become overly defensive about the line you've taken on this which you manifest by attacking my opinion to promote your own. It's likely that another part of your mind recognizes that there are holes in your "basic principles any shadowrunner... needs" Law of the Shadows.

Runners are hired for a lot of things... maybe not in your games... Maybe you're the shoot in the face first type. I'm not coming down on your style to promote my own. I am pointing out once again: You don't have to be conventionally good in a fight to have fun in this game. If you feel that's flat out wrong and that you won't "survive being attacked", then maybe you should discuss the type of game you're playing with your GM. I don't know any who would throw their runners into a situation they had no chance of surviving based on their skills. If everyone in your group has extreme combat dice, it's no surprise your fixer is passing jobs along that require those skills.

But that's not the only way to play this game, and if your only defense in this discussion is to hurl insults, then pm me and do it. Spare the new guy your hijacking.

Mesh
Whipstitch
QUOTE (Mesh @ May 21 2010, 09:57 PM) *
But that's not the only way to play this game, and if your only defense in this discussion is to hurl insults, then pm me and do it. Spare the new guy your hijacking.

Mesh



Stand back, take a deep breath and look at your own posts before you go hurling accusations about. Nobody hijacked anything until you started scolding us for giving advice that makes sense given our own experiences. I mean, honestly, having a decent Dodge score will set a character back about 16 bp, aka, less than the price of two attribute points. If you want to give advice that's purely about thematics, go right ahead. That's your own prerogative. Just don't call people hijackers for saying that having a good Dodge pool is useful to any runner.
Draco18s
QUOTE (Mesh @ May 21 2010, 10:57 PM) *
Runners are hired for a lot of things... maybe not in your games... Maybe you're the shoot in the face first type. I'm not coming down on your style to promote my own. I am pointing out once again: You don't have to be conventionally good in a fight to have fun in this game. If you feel that's flat out wrong and that you won't "survive being attacked", then maybe you should discuss the type of game you're playing with your GM. I don't know any who would throw their runners into a situation they had no chance of surviving based on their skills. If everyone in your group has extreme combat dice, it's no surprise your fixer is passing jobs along that require those skills.


My drake mystic adept would almost certainly not "survive a fight." Hell, he doesn't even have real armor and has gotten beaten up twice (same session) to the point at which he didn't participate in the combat (being a clueless college kid he walked into a dangerous situation without realizing it and then got attacked by an awakened kangaroo 10 minutes later).

He has, however, been extremely valuable to the team, knowing many many side corridors and back passages in Renraku.
Ol' Scratch
QUOTE (Mesh @ May 21 2010, 08:57 PM) *
Wrong.

Nope. (Look ma, I can do it, too.)

QUOTE
You have power gamer tunnel vision so somewhere in your head that probably makes sense.

No. What you have is EAS -- the Elitist Asshat Syndrome. You go play your little Body/Willpower/Intuition 1, no Dodge/Gymnastics, no stealth capabilities, and no perceptive ability and see how far you get in the shadows. "I'm a roleplayer! <shazam!>"

The sad part is you refuse to actually read what's being written, instead assuming some asinine-level stupidity to prove what a "fantastic roleplayer! <shazam!>" you are. No one's saying every runner has to be a total badass in those areas. What they're saying is they need something in those areas. With no Infiltration, no Invisibility, no Concealment, and hell, not even a relatively cheap Chameleon Suit, the guy would have a whole 3 dice (Agility - 1) whenever he had to sneak past security or any other stealth-related activity which is most definitely the norm in the shadows. No matter how much of a "fantastic roleplayer! <shazam!>" you think you are.

And considering Syionide is brand new to the game, and creating his first character, actual useful advice for how to make his character survive in a traditional, basic game is more than appropriate. Regardless of you suffering from EAS.

The really sad thing is that this is a perfect example of the Stormwind Fallacy. You're whining and stomping about people creating well-rounded characters, and your sole defense is "I'm a fantastic roleplayer! <shazam!>" when you're not even actually roleplaying. Because if you were roleplaying, you'd account for the fact that you're a fucking shadowrunner, too.

QUOTE
But that's not the only way to play this game, and if your only defense in this discussion is to hurl insults, then pm me and do it. Spare the new guy your hijacking.

When people throw 'em at me, I throw right back, chump.

Besides, shouldn't you be busy badmouthing Dumpshock on Gamer's Den and wherever else? Still love your signature. Do you really think anyone believes the mods forced you to change it? Pathetic. (Oh, and as a side note, it still doesn't make any damn sense.)
Mesh
QUOTE (Whipstitch @ May 21 2010, 11:18 PM) *
Honestly, what do you expect when you talk down to people and call them power gamers? Telling someone that it's good to have more than just Reaction in their defense pool isn't really power gaming. Telling them that they need a dozen dice or gtfo would be power gaming.


I tagged him a power gamer after his power gaming comments not before. Defensive much? Ever ask yourself why?

Mesh
Draco18s
QUOTE (Dr. Funkenstein @ May 21 2010, 11:23 PM) *
What they're saying is they need something in those areas. With no Infiltration, no Invisibility, no Concealment, and hell, not even a relatively cheap Chameleon Suit, the guy would have a whole 3 dice (Agility - 1) whenever he had to sneak past security or any other stealth-related activity which is most definitely the norm in the shadows. No matter how much of a "fantastic roleplayer! <shazam!>" you think you are.


Or you could *gasp* pink mohawk it. Gawd, what a concept.

Sneaking is not necessary in all games.

Likewise, blowing the shit out of everything is also not necessary in all games.

Likewise, a given game need not apply only one of these methods.

QUOTE
stealth-related activity which is most definitely the norm in the shadows..


Pink mohawk, pink mohawk, pink mohawk.
Whipstitch
QUOTE (Mesh @ May 21 2010, 10:24 PM) *
I tagged him a power gamer after his power gaming comments not before. Defensive much? Ever ask yourself why?

Mesh


Where I come from power gaming is considered pejorative, similar to munchkiny, and here you're applying it to people just because they favor a few skills that even the majority of the sample sheets commonly feature. Of course I feel defensive. I don't think every character needs to be a dodge monkey and I don't think stun bolts are the answer to every problem. But I do think a new player will probably get to play his character longer if he has even odds at not getting shot by Joe Six Dice the security guard/gang banger. I'd rather not see people come in and characterize people who make such suggestions as power gamers, particularly when it seems that player being advised already seemed to have a handle on the RP end.
Mesh
QUOTE (Dr. Funkenstein @ May 21 2010, 11:23 PM) *
No. What you have is EAS -- the Elitist Asshat Syndrome. You go play your little Body/Willpower/Intuition 1, no Dodge/Gymnastics, no stealth capabilities, and no perceptive ability and see how far you get in the shadows. "I'm a roleplayer! <shazam!>"

I recommend reading some Shadowrun books. There's a lot of cool stuff in this world besides face shooting. I also recommend finding something that relaxes you and helps you squelch your own defensive outbursts. Not everyone who disagrees with you is an asshole spitting in your face that you have to buck up against.

QUOTE (Dr. Funkenstein @ May 21 2010, 11:23 PM) *
Besides, shouldn't you be busy badmouthing Dumpshock on Gamer's Den and wherever else? Still love your signature. Do you really think anyone believes the mods forced you to change it? Pathetic.


Actually, it's a blatant joke. You're probably the only one who doesn't get it, because you'd rather use it as an excuse to be aggressive and rude. "indecent and nasty" lol, get over yourself.

Mesh
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