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While I was creating my covert-ops adept, one of the iterations I went thru was a straight mage version- just with a spell list focused on breaking and entering. That character concept got nixed for this game but I'd like to tweak the spell list for running the character later. Since a starting mage can know probably 10 -12 spells, what would be your top ten must-haves for being a thief?

And if you don't mind helping a newbie out, any explanation you care to include for your particular choices would be much appreciated.
Consider a free spirit. Materialization is crazy powerful stuff. Of course the free-spirit rules are totally trash, so you'll have to negotiate this with the GM.
#0: Concealment.
(-X dice to all perception tests? Hells yeah)
#1: Levitate
(movin' stuff)
#2: Mindlink/Mindnet
(great for working with others: no radio chatter)
Here's the spell list I came up with for my mage-thief and my thinking behind the choice...

- Clairvoyance - to scout the area

- Detect Life - to keep track of guards and such

- Improved Invisibility - obvious

- Stealth - equally obvious

- Trid Phantasm - my character was a mystic adept with the 3d memory power. I figured I could scout an area with clairvoyance, memorize the area, then create a perfect 3d illusion of the static scene. That way I and anything I did in the area would be hidden inside the illusion- even if the area was being watched. Once I was safely away I could drop the illusion and suddenly the guards would see the open safe, the hole cut thru the window, etc.. Essentially a magical version of putting the surveillance video on a loop- except it would work in reality! A guard physically watching would see nothing out of the ordinary. Unless I'm completely wrong on how this spell works that is. smile.gif

- Levitate - to rob high-rise apartments which, theoretically, might not be expecting someone to come thru the window.

- Influence - Everything from "These are not the droids you're looking for" to "The alarms on the 3rd floor are acting up- better just shut them down"

- Magic Fingers - Also obvious

- Animate - If I can't unlock the door, I could at least make the bottom curl out of the way. Again- unless I'm misunderstanding how this spell works.

- Sterilize - Because while CSI sucks for thieves- magic CSI is just straight up deadly.

QUOTE (Draco18s @ Jan 3 2011, 02:18 PM) *
#0: Concealment.
(-X dice to all perception tests? Hells yeah)

Is there a spell that does this (that I missed) or is this from spirits? Haven't look too much into spirit powers- part of the reason why I nixed being a mage- didn't want to get ganked just because I didn't understand how something worked.
It's a spirit power, although the Camouflage line of spells can do a respectable job against visual tests. Still, I would familiarize myself with the Spirit rules if you have any real interest in magicians-- they're simply too good for too many roles to keep overlooking for long. In fact, if I'm making a character with the idea of being a "fill-in-the-blank" first and a Magician second, then I usually tend towards emphasizing spirits rather than spells. That's because Spirits feature utility AND muscle without costing extra BP beyond the Summoning and Magic prerequisites. Meanwhile, being good with spells requires points spent on Magic, Spell Casting, the spells themselves and ideally a sustaining focus or two. For example, Animate is a neat li'l trick and might be useful with some creativity, but for the same 5 Karma you can pick up a new active skill or grab a couple of specializations in existing skills.

Anyway, please don't misunderstand me: both spellcasting and summoning can work fine as primary magician skills. The former tends to be narrower in application for the BP/Karma cost unless you're really careful in your spell selection, but sometimes the pros outweigh the cons given that some spell casting effects cannot be easily duplicated.
I heard there was a great thread on here a while ago about construction techniques in the far future of shadowrun - but for the life of me, i can't find it, likely due to dumpshocks search function. Apparently ferrocrete is actually a metallic compound in shadowrun, and its rather commonly used, so its a nice buy for an urban mage.

Shape Material(metal) and Shape Material(plastic) are rather high up on the list for people interested in B&E.

i mean, sure, the Object Resistance on a bank vault door is going to be rather high, but thats what Edge is for.
You can also throw in Analyze Device - cast on the lock you want to pick.
QUOTE (Dahrken @ Jan 3 2011, 11:44 PM) *
You can also throw in Analyze Device - cast on the lock you want to pick.

Analyze Device doesn't actually work like that. Its misleading and confusing, i know, but as a detection spell, you touch a target who then gains a sense.
You don't actually need to cast it on a device, just a person, who can then use it on whichever device.
The funny thing is that you need to beat the OR of the analyzed object like if you cast it on the object, that's probably why I always end up making the confusion.

For a Magic Burglar, I'd suggest things like Astral Chamelon and possibly Flexible Signature so that you don't need to carefully erase the magical traces of your magic-assisted effraction.
Lets see... in no particular order:
Chaff/Flack - reduces a sensor's rating, great for getting past motion sensors and similar annoyances
Stunbolt - for when you can't sneak past someone
Animate - get a door to open itself, make something shift to give you better cover, all kinds of fun to be had with this.
Control Animal/Pack - Gets you past guard dogs
Fashion - changes your clothes, good for a quick disguise
Makeover - instant disguise
Shape [concrete] - That or some other common building material, lets you build your own door, very handy
Sterilize - ensure that you didn't leave evidence behind.
Clairvoyance - instant scout
Detect Life - keep track of guards, dogs, employees, whatever
Increase [agility] - since infiltration is based on agility, makes for a good boost
Increase [logic] - Helps for getting past maglocks and if you happen to be a logic tradition, so much the better.
Analyze Device - Helps on locks and maglocks and can even let you bypass getting the skill if you really want
Improved Ability - Make sure nothing can see you
Physical Mask - could take this instead of makeover and fashion for quick disguises
Trid Phantasm - Decoys, cover, distractions, the uses are limited only by your ingenuity
Silence - Lets you avoid some forms of detection and lets you not have to worry about making a sound.
Stealth - alternative to silence
Influence - Make the guard take a bathroom break, make the guard not really want to look closely at the next SIN he checks, plenty of uses
Control Emotion - Similar to Influence, make them real happy when you're trying to talk your way past them, or really sad when sneaking past them.
Levitate - Climbing is for mundanes
Magic Fingers - long range pickpocketing and lockpicking

So, quite a few more than 12, but some duplicates and some less useful than others, and some dependent on what kind of other skills you're going with.
QUOTE (Foxwander @ Jan 3 2011, 09:39 PM) *
- Animate - If I can't unlock the door, I could at least make the bottom curl out of the way. Again- unless I'm misunderstanding how this spell works.

This spell is one of the most ill-defined and self-contradictory (there's another thread examining it right now) so one should discuss it with their GM before taking it on, but that's certainly not how I would play it. Unless the door is made to be curled without magic (by hand or by motor) what you propose would require a Shape spell. The animate spell, I would say, only permits movement where movement were already possible*.

So you could animate the lock and command it to unlock itself (unless magnetic, IMO) and a generous GM might even rule that the lock and the door are the same entity allowing you to unlock and open with the same casting. Of course, a ****-blocker GM could conceivably rule that the door, lock, handle and individual hinges were all separate entities...

* Yes, I know the spell description specifically allows statues to move their rigid joints. That would be the self-contradiction part.
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