Help - Search - Members - Calendar
Full Version: Building a mage. Suggestions on how?
Dumpshock Forums > Discussion > Shadowrun
Pages: 1, 2, 3
tundrawalker1
Hello again dumpshockers. In our group, we have players create more than one character. The reason being the violent and deadly nature of Shadowrun and to have a wide range of skills available to us should a particular run require skills our primary characters do not possess. Currently there is no mage in our group. The closest to a mage are my Dryad Face (Pornomancer) and a physical adept haruman(sp?). So I am going to create a mage to use as a second character but it could become my primary if I like it.

I have been referred to a time or two as being a power gamer. I really have no defence for that. My first kick at the can in Shadowrun was building a Nosferatu which failed miserably and never saw the light of day (pardon the pun). I have created a Formorian Giant Drake that also has not been played as there is a shifter in the group whose schtick is to be a bruiser so I didn't feel the need to step on his toes. So now on to creating a mage.

Humans, elves, etc are all fine. I am liking the idea of either a Pixie whom I have read tend to be excellent mages or a drake. Yes the BP of 65 for being a drake is steep but it does pay out ok and who doesn't love playing a dragon?

So I am looking for some suggestions on what to build. Any suggestions will be appreciated. The possibilites are pretty well wide open too. Cheers!
Irion
Allow me one question: What is good about a drake?
Cain
If I were you, I'd start simple. Going for an exotic race sounds like fun at first, but a mage focused on the essentials will be extremely powerful. My last Sr4.0 mage was a human with Edge 6, and she had absolutely no trouble dropping people with spells, controlling their minds, unleashing chaos and confusion where needed, and healing people. Also, don't neglect spirits, they're a major ace in the hole.

If you want a list of suggestions, here's a few to consider:
  • Don't take Ritual Sorcery, it's useless. Similarly, don't take Banishing. Don't waste BP/Karma on the skill group.
  • Buy Stunball and one other attack spell of your choice. Stunball can wipe out a roomful of enemies in one shot.
  • Buy sustaining foci and Increase Reflexes if you plan on ever getting into combat. Long run, it's cheaper than 'ware and more Magic-friendly.
  • If you build your own tradition, choose your spirits carefully. They give you significant power, but try not to double up on anything. Also, I'd recommend avoiding Possession traditions for now, at l east until you're more experienced with mages.
tundrawalker1
QUOTE (Irion @ Apr 21 2011, 04:03 PM) *
Allow me one question: What is good about a drake?


Flight, +2 to STR, BOD, AGI, Armor of 4, can still use weapons, and uber cool being a dragon. It may not be as cost effective at others but still neat.
Ramorta
QUOTE (tundrawalker1 @ Apr 21 2011, 03:13 PM) *
Flight, +2 to STR, BOD, AGI, Armor of 4, can still use weapons, and uber cool being a dragon. It may not be as cost effective at others but still neat.


^ Not a power gamer.

I'll agree with the others, start with one of the base races (Elves make a good choice for charisma based traditions) until you get a better grasp of whats necessary and what isnt.
Yerameyahu
Yeah, doesn't anyone play normal races any more? If I see another SURGEd Infected metavariant-*variant*, I dunno what I'll do. biggrin.gif

That said, if you're actually *playing* a pornomancer, it's obvious that it's a 'freaks campaign' and anything goes. Try the Pixie.
Fortinbras
QUOTE (Cain @ Apr 21 2011, 02:06 PM) *
Don't take Ritual Sorcery, it's useless.

Make sure your GM knows this. I use Ritual Sorcery all the time, at least once every other game. When you have to do investigation and have a few hair samples to go buy, Clainvoiance through a Ritual can be your best friend. It gets a bad rap because in straight up number crunching doesn't calculate it, but in actual game play it can be very useful.

A proper mage should be so busy casting spells that the physical bonuses provided by the Drake template rarely come into play. The only physical attributes you should be concerned about are Reaction and Body, in which case I recommend a Buddhist ork.

Mana Static! Use it often.

Cain
QUOTE (Fortinbras @ Apr 21 2011, 12:38 PM) *
Make sure your GM knows this. I use Ritual Sorcery all the time, at least once every other game. When you have to do investigation and have a few hair samples to go buy, Clainvoiance through a Ritual can be your best friend. It gets a bad rap because in straight up number crunching doesn't calculate it, but in actual game play it can be very useful.

Not at low levels, it isn't. There's too many limitations on it. When you get it up a ways, it can be more useful; but for a starting character it's pretty much dead weight.
Fortinbras
I started using it right out of the gate and found it cheaper to buy with the Skill Group, especially over time. Then again, I also make use of my magical group. Like I said, ask your GM about his opinions on Ritual before dismissing it.

Banishing is, however, worthless. Mana Static, baby!
Cain
QUOTE (Fortinbras @ Apr 21 2011, 11:50 AM) *
I started using it right out of the gate and found it cheaper to buy with the Skill Group, especially over time. Then again, I also make use of my magical group. Like I said, ask your GM about his opinions on Ritual before dismissing it.

From an optimization point of view, skill groups are only worthwhile in rare circumstances. IIRC, having Ritual Sorcery at level 1 is worthless, because you cannot participate in a group. If you buy the entire group up to 4, you've got a bit more flexibility, but you've cut yourself off from having Spellcasting at 5 or 6, and you can't specialize without special GM permission. Dabbling in Ritual Sorcery is hopeless, because of the group size restrictions.
Rasumichin
QUOTE (Fortinbras @ Apr 21 2011, 08:50 PM) *
Banishing is, however, worthless.


Unless you want to take over other mages' spirits.
Likewise, Enchanting is useless if you don't bind a lot of spirits.
Binding is useless until you are powerful enough to bind high force spirits, which is prohibitively expensive unless you have Enchanting.
Arcana is useless up until the point where you initiate or create custom spells for each run.
Astral Combat is useless until you start scouting astrally a lot and get attacked by astral opponents.

Mages are among the few concepts where aiming for versatility can pay off as much as being a specialist.
There's no useless magic-linked skill.
You could build a whole group of mages with entirely different abilities and everyone would be useful somehow if you do it right.
Tymeaus Jalynsfein
QUOTE (Yerameyahu @ Apr 21 2011, 12:30 PM) *
Yeah, doesn't anyone play normal races any more? If I see another SURGEd Infected metavariant-*variant*, I dunno what I'll do. biggrin.gif

That said, if you're actually *playing* a pornomancer, it's obvious that it's a 'freaks campaign' and anything goes. Try the Pixie.


Well, the MAJORITY of my characters are Human. I don't think that I have ever played a Dwarf, don't know exactly why, and I can not ever remember creating an Elf. If I play other than Human, it is either an Ork (or variant, I like the Oni) or a Troll (or Variant, I prefer the Minotaur), but this is a rarity.
Yerameyahu
'Vastly less useful than the other places to spend your BP', then. smile.gif
Tymeaus Jalynsfein
QUOTE (Yerameyahu @ Apr 21 2011, 01:58 PM) *
'Vastly less useful than the other places to spend your BP', then. smile.gif


If I understand you correctly, yes, I prefer to spend my BP elsewhere. Most of my concepts take a bit of finagling to fit into the starting 400 BP, and unless i have a solid concept that benefits from being a Metatype (Variant) I just stick to Human. wobble.gif
Yerameyahu
I was actually talking about Ritual Sorcery and Banishing, in response to Rasumichin.
Fortinbras
QUOTE (Cain @ Apr 21 2011, 03:31 PM) *
From an optimization point of view, skill groups are only worthwhile in rare circumstances. IIRC, having Ritual Sorcery at level 1 is worthless, because you cannot participate in a group. If you buy the entire group up to 4, you've got a bit more flexibility, but you've cut yourself off from having Spellcasting at 5 or 6, and you can't specialize without special GM permission. Dabbling in Ritual Sorcery is hopeless, because of the group size restrictions.

I started out with a Summoning of 6, so it wasn't an issue, and Specialization are better bought with Karma, if you want to talk optimization. Size restriction becomes less of an issue if you use your magical group. Like I said, I use Ritual Sorcery all the time, so it's hopelessness seems a little out of synch to me. It's especially useful when all you have is a link to the subject. I think this is where optimizing for crunch and optimizing for gameplay split.
Like I said, you'll want to consult your GM, or your knowledge of the GM's style, as to how he intends for the game to go.

QUOTE (Rasumichin @ Apr 21 2011, 03:49 PM) *
Unless you want to take over other mages' spirits.

I've never seen the benefit of this over summoning your own spirit, as once the spirit being banished is no longer within the opposing mage's control, he knows it's not within his control and is now yet another opposing spirit.
Tymeaus Jalynsfein
QUOTE (Yerameyahu @ Apr 21 2011, 02:07 PM) *
I was actually talking about Ritual Sorcery and Banishing, in response to Rasumichin.


Gotcha... Oddly, I like Ritual Sorcery myself, though I generally agree on banishing. Spirit Bolt is so much better (Stun Bolt). smile.gif
Cain
Whoa whoa whoa. If you started with a Summoning of 6, that means you could, at best, have a Ritual Sorcery of 4 or less. Probably lower. Since the max size of a group is restricted to the skill of the least-skilled person in the group, Ritual sorcery of 1 is useless, even with a magical group as a contact. Are you using the group size restrictions? Being able to utilize large groups of magicians does change things, but it's a house rule.
Yerameyahu
I feel like you must have one hell of a magical group contact, if they're providing that much support ("all the time").
Rasumichin
QUOTE (Yerameyahu @ Apr 21 2011, 10:07 PM) *
I was actually talking about Ritual Sorcery and Banishing, in response to Rasumichin.



And you're probably right. Just saying that once you've got the basics covered, there's good reasons to invest in other magical skills if you can afford it.

QUOTE (Fortinbras @ Apr 21 2011, 10:11 PM) *
I've never seen the benefit of this over summoning your own spirit, as once the spirit being banished is no longer within the opposing mage's control, he knows it's not within his control and is now yet another opposing spirit.


You can take control of the spirit with a normal summoning test the moment the spirit is banished.
When you expect magical opposition, you can send their own spirits against them instead of just stunbolting them.
You can also bind them later if you have use for some spirits from outside of your tradition.

It is more involved than simply using combat spells, but it has to be. It's just plain better as far as results go, everybody would do it if it wouldn't take an additional skill to pull it off.


QUOTE (Cain @ Apr 21 2011, 10:16 PM) *
Whoa whoa whoa. If you started with a Summoning of 6, that means you could, at best, have a Ritual Sorcery of 4 or less. Probably lower. Since the max size of a group is restricted to the skill of the least-skilled person in the group, Ritual sorcery of 1 is useless, even with a magical group as a contact. Are you using the group size restrictions? Being able to utilize large groups of magicians does change things, but it's a house rule.


When a group specializes in rituals, it's likely that at least one of them has the Great Ritual metamagic, which adds that character's Magic to the maximum group size (and the maximum possible Force of the spell being cast, too).
So if a character had a Ritual Spellcasting skill of 3, he (and other characters with Ritual Spellcasting 3 or higher) could still easily be part of a group with 8-10 members.
Now, all you need is a group contact with maxed-out Loyalty and Magic Ressources. That's 10-20 BP for your own small army of cultists.
Yerameyahu
Yeah, the contact/group contact rules are so broken. smile.gif Still, doesn't that actually mean that *you're* part of the army of cultists? Especially if you're Joe Lowbie, working on rituals with Mr. Great Ritual.
Rasumichin
QUOTE (Yerameyahu @ Apr 21 2011, 10:25 PM) *
Still, doesn't that actually mean that *you're* part of the army of cultists? Especially if you're Joe Lowbie, working on rituals with Mr. Great Ritual.


That would depend on the group in question.
Besides, just having a halfway obscure metamagic at hand doesn't make you a cult leader in itself (the technique is actually better suited for auxilliaries, as the character doesn't add his own dice to the spellcasting test).
It just means that you're a Grade 1 initiate with an interest in ritual sorcery. 6th world universities produce plenty of these guys, a 400 BP mage could still be more impressive than them.
Maybe Mr. Great Ritual is a friendly bookworm with Arcana 6 and 36 BP in academic knowledge skills who is worse than the PC in every area of practical magic.
Yerameyahu
Or not. You're right, it depends. It does seem pretty tricky, either way, but that's hardly abnormal for characters around here! smile.gif It *does* increase the 'cost' of Ritual Sorcery, though, if you add 15BP and upkeep of a group contact (a mere RP cost, of course).
Cain
QUOTE
When a group specializes in rituals, it's likely that at least one of them has the Great Ritual metamagic, which adds that character's Magic to the maximum group size (and the maximum possible Force of the spell being cast, too).
So if a character had a Ritual Spellcasting skill of 3, he (and other characters with Ritual Spellcasting 3 or higher) could still easily be part of a group with 8-10 members.
Now, all you need is a group contact with maxed-out Loyalty and Magic Ressources. That's 10-20 BP for your own small army of cultists.

In other words, you can specialize heavily to get ritual sorcery up to something decent? OK, but that still doesn't mean that low levels aren't useless. It also means that you've invested so heavily in ritual sorcery, you're going to be limited elsewhere (like traditional casting, since you have Summoning at 6, you can only have a 4 in Spellcasting) It also means that you didn't have the skill group discount, unless your Gm let you break the skill group at chargen?
Muspellsheimr
Skipped most of the thread, largely repeating what I expect others to have said.

My advise:
Race
All the 'base' races have strong advantages for a magician character, however I would generally stick with Human, or Elf if a charisma tradition. If using advanced races, either play a Pixie dedicated magician (ignore most/all physical skills), or a Formori augmented magician (abuse skillwires horribly).

Skills
Spellcasting is (probably) your primary skill. Invest heavily, specialize as soon as you can in your focus (with Karma).
Counterspelling is your primary defense against magic. Invest heavily, specialize as soon as you can in Combat or Manipulation (with Karma).
Summoning allows you to operate remotely (astral overwatch/spirit bomb), also functioning as 'on demand' reinforcements & greatly expanding your versatility. Invest heavily.
Binding is generally less powerful overall than Summoning, but allows you to have more than one spirit at a time, greatly improving the reinforcement aspect of conjuring. Highly important for spirit based magicians, can be mostly ignored otherwise.
Ritual Spellcasting is a (potentially) very powerful ability, but is generally difficult to use effectively. Avoid until you have more experience playing a magician unless it is part of a concept.
Banishing is essentially useless. Stun/Manabolt are almost always more effective with significantly less cost & Drain.
Astral Combat is essentially useless. Stun/Manabolt are almost always more effective with significantly less cost. Only invest in it if for some reason you feel a need to defend against it.
Assensing should have at least 1 point in it. Although not particularly important, it is a useful ability to have. Typically functions as an alternate for Perception (although usually less useful). It can provide additional information through aura reading.

Spells
Stunbolt is used for nonlethal combat & astral combat. Low Drain, high damage potential. Multicast for less powerful but more precise 'AoE'.
Powerbolt is used for lethal combat & nonliving targets. Low Drain, high damage potential. Multicast for less powerful but more precise 'AoE'.
Mind Probe is ideal for interrogation, but is not subtle.
Heal can easily save members from dying mid-combat, stacks with First Aid (apply FA first) for post-combat healing.
Increased Reflexes is critical for any magician expecting to be in combat. Maintain with a sustaining focus.
Increase Willpower/DrainStat is useful if you expect to be overcasting, & are willing to trade a -2 penalty for more Drain resistance.
Modified Invisibility (realistic, multisense, physical) is an exceptional stealth spell with low drain. Pay attention to Object Resistance.
Trid Phantasm is the best all-around illusion. Pay attention to Object Resistance.
Fashion is superb for ettiquite & disguise.
Levitate functions as both telekinesis & fly. Versatile and useful.
Mind Control/Mob Mind effectively 'removes' opponents from combat, & can easily turn numbers in your favor.
Mana Static is the best general spell for magic control. Easily shuts down opposing magic users & spirits in confined spaces, forces repositioning in open spaces. Be careful about placing yourself in the area.
Physical Barrier can provide a bridge, area 'shield', & force Crash tests for vehicles. Generally weak but very versatile.
Mana Barrier provides an area defense against spells and hindrance to spirits & dual-natured creatures.

Foci
Shielding Focus provides additional spell defense. Requires Shielding metamagic.
Power Focus increases your dice pool for all tests involving the Magic attribute, most notably Spellcasting & Summoning. As a dice pool modifier, you apply its full value to each dice pool separately if multicasting.
Centering Focus provides additional drain resistance. Requires Centering metamagic.
Sustaining Focus sustains a spell indefinitely (unless disrupted or dismissed). Specific to a single spell category.
Spellcasting Focus is a vastly more limited version of Power Focus. Not worth the cost.
Counterspelling Focus is a more limited version of Shielding Focus. (Usually) not worth the cost.
Summoning/Binding Focus are more limited versions of Power Focus. Not worth the cost.
Avoid other metamagic foci - generally useless.

Metamagics
Quickening conflicts with wards, which if the setting is being portrayed correctly, are common. Depending on GM, karma sink with no lasting benefit. Counters any attempt at stealth in secure areas. Avoid.
Nearly all other metamagics are useful & fair game. Exact order should be determined by campaign needs & player preference.
Fortinbras
QUOTE (Yerameyahu @ Apr 21 2011, 04:17 PM) *
I feel like you must have one hell of a magical group contact, if they're providing that much support ("all the time").

I paid for the group in karma after char gen. And whose to say they don't use our group for help? My GM is of the opinion that if I paid for it, I should get the benefits offered, plus it gives him a useful plot device.

QUOTE (Rasumichin @ Apr 21 2011, 05:18 PM) *
You can take control of the spirit with a normal summoning test the moment the spirit is banished.
When you expect magical opposition, you can send their own spirits against them instead of just stunbolting them.
You can also bind them later if you have use for some spirits from outside of your tradition.

But Banishing takes an action while re-summoning it before it dissipates takes another action, right? Even if it doesn't, I see the benefit of a getting a spirit you can't normally summon. Thanks!

QUOTE (Cain @ Apr 21 2011, 08:54 PM) *
In other words, you can specialize heavily to get ritual sorcery up to something decent? OK, but that still doesn't mean that low levels aren't useless. It also means that you've invested so heavily in ritual sorcery, you're going to be limited elsewhere (like traditional casting, since you have Summoning at 6, you can only have a 4 in Spellcasting) It also means that you didn't have the skill group discount, unless your Gm let you break the skill group at chargen?

I didn't need the skill group discount in Summoning because I didn't take Banishing. I did get the skill group discount on Sorcery, which I took because I use Ritual Spellcasting, which was at 4 at chargen. I think you are confusing specializing with Specializing. You don't need to spend a crazy amount of points on a group contact or Ritual Sorcery maximization or have an army of cultist to make Ritual Spellcasting useful, it just helps to spend a few points on it to have that tool in your arsenal. You are going to want a magical group for Initiating eventually, and getting the skill group is a cheaper option at chragen for something I get a good deal of mileagle out of
You seemed to obsessed with the notion of starting with Spellcasting of 6. That's a crunch optimization and comes in handy during combat. For the investigation part of the game, something that takes up about 75% of table time, being able to cast Clairvoyance on a hair sample is particularly useful.
Yerameyahu
The book's very clear that an initiatory group isn't a group contact, so that's not an issue. smile.gif

It just sounds like you're exaggerating the utility of Ritual Spellcasting, by understating the significant investments required to use it. You *would* need a group contact of roughy 15BP (assuming they have any 'territory') if they're going to have a bunch of ritualists at your beck and call. So, your point that Ritual Magic isn't totally worthless in some situations is clear, but the corollary still seems to be that it's not good for much *out* of those special situations.
Medicineman
QUOTE (Irion @ Apr 21 2011, 03:03 PM) *
Allow me one question: What is good about a drake?

Explosive Fireballs with LOS ?
Well for me its the ....Roleplaying Challenge
(My Char is a vietnames Fomori Drake , a Rednecks Ricefarmers Daughter from Vietnam with no knowledge of Civilisation and barely enough Skills to stay Alive , but she has incredible potencial once I get ca 100 Karma)

JahtaHey
Medicineman
Muspellsheimr
What most of you seem to be missing in regards to Ritual Spellcasting (Cain in particular) is that it allows you to cast as part of a group, using the teamwork rules. It does not require it.

Ritual Spellcasting of 1 means you have a maximum of 1 casters (you). You do not get any benefit from teamwork, as there is noone assisting you. But you are still casting a spell with all the normal benefits & restrictions of ritual magic.
Medicineman
QUOTE (Yerameyahu @ Apr 21 2011, 03:30 PM) *
Yeah, doesn't anyone play normal races any more? If I see another SURGEd Infected metavariant-*variant*, I dunno what I'll do. biggrin.gif

.....


Oh, my Fomori Drake is also Surged with Jade Skin
(giving her a 7/7 hardened Armor)

with an extraordinary Dance
Medicineman
Cain
QUOTE
I didn't need the skill group discount in Summoning because I didn't take Banishing. I did get the skill group discount on Sorcery, which I took because I use Ritual Spellcasting, which was at 4 at chargen. I think you are confusing specializing with Specializing. You don't need to spend a crazy amount of points on a group contact or Ritual Sorcery maximization or have an army of cultist to make Ritual Spellcasting useful, it just helps to spend a few points on it to have that tool in your arsenal. You are going to want a magical group for Initiating eventually, and getting the skill group is a cheaper option at chragen for something I get a good deal of mileagle out of
You seemed to obsessed with the notion of starting with Spellcasting of 6. That's a crunch optimization and comes in handy during combat. For the investigation part of the game, something that takes up about 75% of table time, being able to cast Clairvoyance on a hair sample is particularly useful.

Spellcasting is useful on its own, even at low levels, especially with a specialization. If your Sorcery and Ritual Sorcery skills are bought via skill group, you've cut off that option, and can't have either at high levels without GM permission. Additionally, you need to invest 15-20 BP to make Ritual Sorcery useful, which also depends on the GM's interpetation of the contact/loyalty rules. You can get by with just spellcasting.

Ritual sorcery, on its own, is utterly useless- especially at low levels. Sure, you can optimize a character for it, but it offers much less return on your investment.

QUOTE
What most of you seem to be missing in regards to Ritual Spellcasting (Cain in particular) is that it allows you to cast as part of a group, using the teamwork rules. It does not require it.

Ritual Spellcasting of 1 means you have a maximum of 1 casters (you). You do not get any benefit from teamwork, as there is noone assisting you. But you are still casting a spell with all the normal benefits & restrictions of ritual magic.

Except that you need a spotter, who by definition is a member of the group. You can learn the symbolic linking metamagic, but that requires initiation. It becomes useful if you push things to high levels, but even then, the biggest benefit is the increased dice pool from having team members.
Muspellsheimr
Reading Comprehension

Learn It

Use It


QUOTE (SR4A p184-185)
The
individual acting as the spotter must be a member of the group casting
the ritual—or a spirit bound to a member of that group—and must
be able to astrally perceive the target.



Ritual Spellcasting requires a greater expenditure of resources to be useful than Spellcasting (Summoning & Binding), but each of those options are strong on their own, making it a negligible cost. Also completely ignoring that while ritual casting takes a significant amount of time, 'unlimited' range makes it an exceptionally powerful tool.

Spellcasting is not useful on it's own - it requires spells to be cast.
Fortinbras
QUOTE (Cain @ Apr 22 2011, 02:52 AM) *
Except that you need a spotter, who by definition is a member of the group. You can learn the symbolic linking metamagic, but that requires initiation. It becomes useful if you push things to high levels, but even then, the biggest benefit is the increased dice pool from having team members.

Unless you are using a material link, like a piece of evidence at the scene of a crime, or a piece of Mr. Johnson's hair. The sort of thing that comes up often in actual gameplay, unless you are just doing a Shadowrun dungeon crawl.
Whether or not you have a group to help you or how big that group is, is up to GM fiat. That's why I recommend consulting with you GM about what type of game he's running.
If all he plans to do is have you break into places casting Force 12 Fireballs, then you probably won't get to use Ritual Spellcasting. If that's the case, you want to optimize for crunch.
If, however, the game is going to be more nuanced, the sort of thing where you may have to gather evidence from a bloodstained dress or hit Mr. Johnson with a Turn to Goo spell from halfway across the world, then the low cost of a skill group might be the way to go.
To give up such a useful tool because it doesn't give you more dice to shoot a Fireball seems wasteful if you consider how versatile a mage can be.

Your game may be all pink mohawk with optimizing Ally Spirits and what not, and that's fine, but other play a different style. Don't dismiss it as useless simply because you don't use it.
Cain
That still doesn't negate the fact that Ritual Sorcery 1-2 is effectively useless. Spellcasting on its own is much more versatile, more powerful, even at low levels.

And Ritual Sorcery requires you to know the spells, just like sorcery, so that's a similar drain on resources. Ritual Sorcery takes a high Ritual Sorcery skill, Summoning + Binding, and spells. Spellcasting just requires spells. You get more bang for your buck that way.

Additionally, my reading comprehension is just fine, thank you. Your attitude isn't. If you've got Ritual Sorcery at 1, you're simply not going to be very good at it. It's useless, unlike Spellcasting, which does work.
Cain
QUOTE (Fortinbras @ Apr 22 2011, 12:42 AM) *
Unless you are using a material link, like a piece of evidence at the scene of a crime, or a piece of Mr. Johnson's hair. The sort of thing that comes up often in actual gameplay, unless you are just doing a Shadowrun dungeon crawl.
Whether or not you have a group to help you or how big that group is, is up to GM fiat. That's why I recommend consulting with you GM about what type of game he's running.
If all he plans to do is have you break into places casting Force 12 Fireballs, then you probably won't get to use Ritual Spellcasting. If that's the case, you want to optimize for crunch.
If, however, the game is going to be more nuanced, the sort of thing where you may have to gather evidence from a bloodstained dress or hit Mr. Johnson with a Turn to Goo spell from halfway across the world, then the low cost of a skill group might be the way to go.
To give up such a useful tool because it doesn't give you more dice to shoot a Fireball seems wasteful if you consider how versatile a mage can be.

Your game may be all pink mohawk with optimizing Ally Spirits and what not, and that's fine, but other play a different style. Don't dismiss it as useless simply because you don't use it.

I've played Shadowrun for twenty-two years now. I've seen it all.

Even if you have a material link, IIRC they degrade quickly. That's left to the GM to decide, but historically, it degrades in a matter of hours or less. If your GM is playing fast and loose with material usage times, no wonder why you think it's so powerful! According to SR1-2 rules, you had [Essence] hours to use a tissue sample from the time it was separated from its host. Since our hypothetical mage has Ritual Sorcery 1, the sample would degrade to uselessness before he could get the spell off (using the times in SR4.5). He can bypass this by using the Preserve spell, but that's another expenditure to shore up a useless skill.

So, what you're essentially saying is that of you invest heavily in the Ritual Sorcery skill, a powerful magical lodge, ritual materials, lots of spells, and a huge magical group for a pool of team members designed to assist, you come up with something *useful*? I can do that for much cheaper using just the Spellcasting skill and a few spells.
Thanee
QUOTE (tundrawalker1 @ Apr 21 2011, 08:45 PM) *
... and who doesn't love playing a dragon?


Me. smile.gif

QUOTE (Yerameyahu @ Apr 21 2011, 09:30 PM) *
Yeah, doesn't anyone play normal races any more?


I do, pretty much exclusively. smile.gif


As for a mage... there are four skills you really need: Spellcasting, Summoning, Counterspelling, and Assensing.

And then the usual suspects: Perception, etc.

Bye
Thanee
Fortinbras
No, I'm saying spending an extra 8 BP to get the skill group rather than buying Counterspelling and Spellcasting separately isn't worthless.
I'm not saying Spellcasting isn't more useful than Ritual Sorcery, odds are you will use it far more often, but Ritual Sorcery is by no means useless. It has a variety of uses that have been pointed out, that you seem to be going out of your way to dismiss.
Yeah, material links degrade, but that means you have to work fast. There are plenty of situations in which a material link can provide a key clue or an edge over the oposition before time runs out. It adds jeopardy to the run. It also makes the mage more than just a glass cannon.

I don't know where you got this idea that the Ritual Spellcasting would be at 1? I was suggesting that ignoring Ritual Sorcery and not buying it as part of a skill group might be a mistake, as a measly 8 BP can get you access to a myriad of different options for you mage, not all of which necessitate a group, but if it's a group you need, that is something you can get though roleplaying.
I'm sure you would rather spend that BP on Spellcasting, but that's something that is going to be raised by every mage. Buying Spellcasting up to 6 costs 22 Karma while buying Ritual sorcery up to 4 from nothing costs 30, and as mages are such a Karma sink, I think buying the skill group is worth it.

I understand you don't use Ritual Sorcery, and if you have some spells about which I don't know that can duplicate it, I'd love to hear about them. But don't call a skill worthless just because you can spend all day trying to find things wrong with it. Players use it all the time and find benefits for it. It has uses that can't be duplicated.
Don't call something worthless just because you don't like it.
Irion
QUOTE
Even if you have a material link, IIRC they degrade quickly.

Yeah, blood turn unusable quite fast. But still we are using blood banks.
As a matter of fact the same methodes work on material links.(RAW)

Than there is the hole stuff wit symbolic links. For that you do not even need to have met the target..

QUOTE
So, what you're essentially saying is that of you invest heavily in the Ritual Sorcery skill, a powerful magical lodge, ritual materials, lots of spells, and a huge magical group for a pool of team members designed to assist, you come up with something *useful*? I can do that for much cheaper using just the Spellcasting skill and a few spells.

Yeah, but getting it to 4 along with everything else cost about 11 Karma. Well, thats not that bad.

QUOTE
According to SR1-2 rules, you had [Essence] hours to use a tissue sample from the time it was separated from its host.

Well, those rules are gone. A bit of blood is good for a few hours. And you are able to preserve it. The only thing turning these matirial unusable is decomposition. So hairs should be quite resistant. (Yes it won't be very usefull from the start but it gets better the better the mage gets. Every Point of Magic reduces the duration by one hour. So yes beeing a force 4 mage and having to cast for 8 hours sucks.
But even with a force 8 mage you are down to 4.
Grinder
QUOTE (Cain @ Apr 22 2011, 11:03 AM) *
I've played Shadowrun for twenty-two years now. I've seen it all.


So you are old grinbig.gif . And what else too?
You're are not the only one who has such a long experience with the game, yet it doesn't make everything you say and post true (not based on this example alone, but on a general level).
Cain
QUOTE (Fortinbras @ Apr 22 2011, 01:26 AM) *
No, I'm saying spending an extra 8 BP to get the skill group rather than buying Counterspelling and Spellcasting separately isn't worthless.
I'm not saying Spellcasting isn't more useful than Ritual Sorcery, odds are you will use it far more often, but Ritual Sorcery is by no means useless. It has a variety of uses that have been pointed out, that you seem to be going out of your way to dismiss.
Yeah, material links degrade, but that means you have to work fast. There are plenty of situations in which a material link can provide a key clue or an edge over the oposition before time runs out. It adds jeopardy to the run. It also makes the mage more than just a glass cannon.

I don't know where you got this idea that the Ritual Spellcasting would be at 1? I was suggesting that ignoring Ritual Sorcery and not buying it as part of a skill group might be a mistake, as a measly 8 BP can get you access to a myriad of different options for you mage, not all of which necessitate a group, but if it's a group you need, that is something you can get though roleplaying.
I'm sure you would rather spend that BP on Spellcasting, but that's something that is going to be raised by every mage. Buying Spellcasting up to 6 costs 22 Karma while buying Ritual sorcery up to 4 from nothing costs 30, and as mages are such a Karma sink, I think buying the skill group is worth it.

I understand you don't use Ritual Sorcery, and if you have some spells about which I don't know that can duplicate it, I'd love to hear about them. But don't call a skill worthless just because you can spend all day trying to find things wrong with it. Players use it all the time and find benefits for it. It has uses that can't be duplicated.
Don't call something worthless just because you don't like it.

I'm not calling it worthless because I don't like it, I'm calling it worthless because it requires such a heavy expenditure to equal something else you can gain for much cheaper. It requires heavy outlays before you can get it to useful levels. That's not to say a specialist in Ritual Sorcery can't pull off some neat tricks, but by and large, they're nothing that cannot be accomplished through other means. Sure, you can track someone down in 12 hours via ritual sorcery, after expending a ton of money and resources and favors from contacts, and assuming he's not behind a ward; but you might be able to do the same thing with a good Data Search roll, or old-fashioned legwork. Much cheaper, easier, and very likely faster.

QUOTE (Grinder @ Apr 22 2011, 02:26 AM) *
So you are old grinbig.gif . And what else too?
You're are not the only one who has such a long experience with the game, yet it doesn't make everything you say and post true (not based on this example alone, but on a general level).

I don't pretend to be the absolute truth on the game. However, Fortinbras directly challenged my experience with the game. He said:
QUOTE
Your game may be all pink mohawk with optimizing Ally Spirits and what not, and that's fine, but other play a different style. Don't dismiss it as useless simply because you don't use it.

I don't dismiss Ritual Sorcery under 4.5 as useless because I don't use it, I dismiss it because the rules for it are not as favorable as other methods. For example, I have a house rule that allows you to ritually cast Heal on wounds that have already received Heal spells, representing a hospital ICU using more advanced abilities than the field healer would have. The spell in the street stabilizes the patient, the Ritual Heal spell does the advanced care. I assume that anyone paying for high-grade hospital access would have access to specialized magical healers, who should not be so limited. This means that Ritual Heal spells are significantly more powerful than in a RAW game.

To top that off, he really has no idea of what games I've run, or played in. To put it simply, I've basically played them all. I've played with all the styles of players and preferences imaginable. I've played all the variants offered, including in space and in Antarctica. Don't make any assumptions about what I have or haven't done with this game.
Irion
QUOTE
For the investigation part of the game, something that takes up about 75% of table time, being able to cast Clairvoyance on a hair sample is particularly useful.

That does not work. If you cast Clairvoyance on a hair sample, the guy whos hair it is gets the benefits of the spell. You can't spy on him.
Snow_Fox
I don't go for power gaming and min/maxing. I get an idea what I want a spell slinger to be film noir detective, crazy street ganger, disaffected corper etc and then think what will they do? What will they favor? You can't start with everything but you can grow as a character and add spells as the character developes. Forexample the crazy ex ganger will probably favor spells that bring flashy mayhem.

I'll repeat the earlier suggests, regardless of what you do, take at least one light combat spell like a variation on "stun" I would also take at least one health spell- do you want to risk you hoop to the medic kit?
Grinder
QUOTE (Cain @ Apr 22 2011, 01:12 PM) *
I don't pretend to be the absolute truth on the game. However, Fortinbras directly challenged my experience with the game.

[...]

To top that off, he really has no idea of what games I've run, or played in. To put it simply, I've basically played them all. I've played with all the styles of players and preferences imaginable. I've played all the variants offered, including in space and in Antarctica. Don't make any assumptions about what I have or haven't done with this game.


I see a contradiction between this two parts of your answer. Don't want to attack you, just give you feedback on how your postings and attitude come across.
Tymeaus Jalynsfein
QUOTE (Cain @ Apr 22 2011, 01:52 AM) *
Ritual sorcery, on its own, is utterly useless- especially at low levels. Sure, you can optimize a character for it, but it offers much less return on your investment.


Except that you need a spotter, who by definition is a member of the group. You can learn the symbolic linking metamagic, but that requires initiation. It becomes useful if you push things to high levels, but even then, the biggest benefit is the increased dice pool from having team members.


Actually, no it is not. It is quite useful, if yuou are willing to take the effort.
You can use a Spirit as a Spotter.
You can use Real Links (Hair, Blood, Skin, bdoily fluids, etc) to cast without a Spotter, and WITHOUT the Symbolic Linking Metamagic, so no Initiation is actually required.

The character I have currently has 3 Levels of Ritual Spellcasting. He is Quite useful when he wants to be. smile.gif
Tymeaus Jalynsfein
QUOTE (Cain @ Apr 22 2011, 03:03 AM) *
I've played Shadowrun for twenty-two years now. I've seen it all.

Even if you have a material link, IIRC they degrade quickly. That's left to the GM to decide, but historically, it degrades in a matter of hours or less. If your GM is playing fast and loose with material usage times, no wonder why you think it's so powerful! According to SR1-2 rules, you had [Essence] hours to use a tissue sample from the time it was separated from its host. Since our hypothetical mage has Ritual Sorcery 1, the sample would degrade to uselessness before he could get the spell off (using the times in SR4.5). He can bypass this by using the Preserve spell, but that's another expenditure to shore up a useless skill.


That is what the Preserve Spell is for. Learn it, Use it. It is The Ritualists greatest Spell Asset.

QUOTE
So, what you're essentially saying is that of you invest heavily in the Ritual Sorcery skill, a powerful magical lodge, ritual materials, lots of spells, and a huge magical group for a pool of team members designed to assist, you come up with something *useful*? I can do that for much cheaper using just the Spellcasting skill and a few spells.


Skill 3 (Professional), Adequate Lodge, Ritual Materials (relatively cheap for the return), a handful of spells, and No Magical Group Required. My Ritualist makes the world go round. Detection and Manipulation magic makes it even better. Why do keep insisting that the ability requires insane amounts of resources, when it obviously does not? wobble.gif
Yerameyahu
… With no group, who's doing the Ritual? It must not be a very good one all alone. smile.gif Anyway, to repeat: it's clear you think it's useful in some situations, but it also seems like it's much *less* useful than the other options, unless you're focusing on it.
Tymeaus Jalynsfein
QUOTE (Cain @ Apr 22 2011, 05:12 AM) *
I don't dismiss Ritual Sorcery under 4.5 as useless because I don't use it, I dismiss it because the rules for it are not as favorable as other methods. For example, I have a house rule that allows you to ritually cast Heal on wounds that have already received Heal spells, representing a hospital ICU using more advanced abilities than the field healer would have. The spell in the street stabilizes the patient, the Ritual Heal spell does the advanced care. I assume that anyone paying for high-grade hospital access would have access to specialized magical healers, who should not be so limited. This means that Ritual Heal spells are significantly more powerful than in a RAW game.

To top that off, he really has no idea of what games I've run, or played in. To put it simply, I've basically played them all. I've played with all the styles of players and preferences imaginable. I've played all the variants offered, including in space and in Antarctica. Don't make any assumptions about what I have or haven't done with this game.


Comparing a House Rule to a Canon Skill is not good policy Cain. Your House Rule Does not Exist outside of your Table, so it is a Moot point for comparison. As well, Medical Healing is already so insanely fast in Shadowrun, that you do not need to go to the limits that you have done to make it even MORE powerful, at least in my opinion.

By the same token, you should not dismiss the experience that others have with the game, which you often do (in this very thread even). Dumpshcok is home to a lot of veteran players and GM's. I am sure that between all of us, we have played or GM'd just about anything you can get your hands on. Lets not hose down the decks with testosterone here, it is not a contest of how big a phallus we have.

Just Sayin' biggrin.gif
Summerstorm
Also: sometimes LOW force is your friend. For example to sneak in a "Borrow Sense" spell into the dimwitted bodyguard of an important dude. Bodyguard doesn't "feel" it and you can listen in on important meetings perhaps.

Tymeaus Jalynsfein
QUOTE (Yerameyahu @ Apr 22 2011, 07:19 AM) *
With no group, who's doing the Ritual? It must not be a very good one all alone. smile.gif Anyway, to repeat: it's clear you think it's useful in some situations, but it also seems like it's much *less* useful than the other options, unless you're focusing on it.


The character with Ritual Spellcasting... It does not take much to be good.
It is extremely useful when you can target something with absolutely NO range limits. You do not have to see them (with a material link handy), and you can use any spell you have access to in the Ritual. Some spells will be better than others, of course.

If the target is immediately accessible, and you are present, then yes, Ritual Sorcery is pretty useless. Otherwise it has some very good uses. And as I have stated previously, you do not need to devote a lot of resources to the task. Let's see what we have here...

1. Your Spells do double duty, since you are purchasing them for actual Spellcasting purposes, so no additional cost there.
2. Ritual Materials are not required, unless you are going to Bind a Spirit, so no actual cost there.
3. A Lodge is something that you are already going to purchase, so you can improve your Spellcasting abilities/learn spells, so no additional cost.
4. You might argue that you need to purchase the Metamagics of Great Ritual and Sympathetic Link, but I would disagree. So no cost there.

I'm actually a bit confused. What additional (excessive) costs are there to have Ritual Spellcasting abilities? If you bought the Sorcery group at Rank 4 (Rather than just Spellcasting and Counterspelling at 4), you spent a whopping additional 8 BP to have access to this ability. Not seeing a huge cost to utilize Ritual Castin here.
Tymeaus Jalynsfein
QUOTE (Summerstorm @ Apr 22 2011, 07:28 AM) *
Also: sometimes LOW force is your friend. For example to sneak in a "Borrow Sense" spell into the dimwitted bodyguard of an important dude. Bodyguard doesn't "feel" it and you can listen in on important meetings perhaps.


Indeed... Most of the Ritual stuff I would do would be force 3, so 9 Hours to run the ritual, but not likely to be noticed.
This is a "lo-fi" version of our main content. To view the full version with more information, formatting and images, please click here.
Dumpshock Forums © 2001-2012