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WhiskeyJohnny
So, I finally found a game, and I've decided to roll a mage this time round. Trouble is, I don't know the first thing about playing a mage. So, while Im reading up on magic in the sixth world, I was hoping you all could give me some help and advice.

As far as the character himself, I see him as being, personality-wise, a sort of cross between Gary Oldmans Jean-Baptiste Emanuel Zorg (The Fifth Element) and Val Kilmers snarky, drunk, tuberculitic Doc Holiday (Tombstone). But thats fluff, not entirely the important bit. Hes from New Orleans, hes a bit crazy, but hes definitely the type you want on your side when the fecal matter hits the rotary air circulation device. Oh, yeah, and Id like him to follow the Voodoo tradition.

Mechanically, my role is supposed to be to take care of astral threats and business (investigation and such), bring the pain to those who need it brought, and, if I can fit it in there, to drive us from place to place. A point to note would be that were using Karmagen as presented in the Runners Companion.

Now, as far as what Id like, Id rather not be throwing manaballs and stunbolts at everything. Id rather be buffing myself and then using swords/knives/fists/guns/lances/whatever. Im not sure if theres a way to make that compatible with dealing with astral threats, though, so if one of those has to go, I suppose itd be the buffing, since Im on ghost busting duty. As far as the driving goes, Id like him to be able to drive cars and motorcycles, but if it has to be one or the other, itd be cars (since weve not got a driver or a rigger on the team).

So, am I making any obvious mistakes? What does a first timer need to manage an awakened character? Are my build goals unreasonable, incompatible, or otherwise problematic?

Thanks, as always, chummers.
Udoshi
QUOTE (WhiskeyJohnny @ Jan 12 2012, 05:48 PM) *
Oh, yeah, and Id like him to follow the Voodoo tradition.

Mechanically, my role is supposed to be to take care of astral threats and business (investigation and such), bring the pain to those who need it brought, and, if I can fit it in there, to drive us from place to place. A point to note would be that were using Karmagen as presented in the Runners Companion


This sticks out to me.

Why voodoo specifically? Powergaming, or flavor?

Its a serious question. RAW karmagen can make brokenly powerful characters, and voodoo is already really good. Does your GM know what he is getting into, and are you trying to break his game?

The character is going to be heavily dependent on your answer to that question.

If you're trying to go with a really powerful buffmaster, ask your gm if you can take an initiation or 2 in character creation.
WhiskeyJohnny
QUOTE (Udoshi @ Jan 12 2012, 06:01 PM) *
This sticks out to me.

Why voodoo specifically? Powergaming, or flavor?

Its a serious question. RAW karmagen can make brokenly powerful characters, and voodoo is already really good. Does your GM know what he is getting into, and are you trying to break his game?

The character is going to be heavily dependent on your answer to that question.

If you're trying to go with a really powerful buffmaster, ask your gm if you can take an initiation or 2 in character creation.


He's supposed to be a slightly-crazy gentleman runner from New Orleans, so Voodoo seemed to fit, thematically.

I can't say if my GM knows what she's getting into, as this is her first game, but I do know that I'm not trying to break her game.

I'll ask about taking an initiation or two.
Cain
You probably want to focus on summoning as heavily as possible. Summoning guardian spirits and having them Possess you is a good ticket to combat power, and works on both astral and physical targets. It does effectively make you into an NPC for the duration, but if you Initiate and take Channeling, you rectify this to a large degree.
Udoshi
QUOTE (WhiskeyJohnny @ Jan 12 2012, 06:27 PM) *
I can't say if my GM knows what she's getting into, as this is her first game, but I do know that I'm not trying to break her game.


Okay. that is fantastic to know.

Ask if she has a first or second printing of Runner's Companion - its an important question, because the RC got an update to the karmagen. It was snuck into the second printing, but not released as errata. One of the authors leaked it here, and I STRONGLY suggest using it.

Karmagen as written can produce ridiculously overpowered characters. Its basically like giving everyone free race choice(and the stats that come with it, half of skills, and half off attributes. (this is bad and potentailly overpowered btw)

That being said, karmagen is fantastic for making diverse runners that feel like real people, because you're not forced to minmax to get what you want to bring a character to life. Its a fantastic system and you should use it if you get the chance. (it also makes technomancers palatable, because they can afford to have decent mental stats and not be useless)

If your group of players can self-limit, and actually make your characters reasonably powered, then using karmagen as written may work out just fine. Its what my group uses - we started in 4th edition, and kind of ignored a lot of updates and stupid changes in anniversary edition, so we kind of have a wierd half-and-half system. It works out well, because nobody is a huge douchebag that tries to play force 12 spirits at character creation.

If this is your GM's first game, just..... be careful, make sure she knows what she's getting into.
Udoshi
QUOTE (Cain @ Jan 12 2012, 06:39 PM) *
You probably want to focus on summoning as heavily as possible. Summoning guardian spirits and having them Possess you is a good ticket to combat power, and works on both astral and physical targets. It does effectively make you into an NPC for the duration, but if you Initiate and take Channeling, you rectify this to a large degree.


This is what I was going to suggest, basically. Channeling can be awesome. The biggest abuse/trick it offers to voodoo traditions is Spiritwires, because they get all the skillmokney spirit types. Its like skillwires, but more awesome, and can make you very versatile.

If you are allowed Initiations, you may want to consider an Ally spirit as well. You should have enough free karma to make them awesome, and it would get rid of a lot of the hastle involved with self-possession. Keeping track of services, paying for binding materials, etc.
Then again, having a force 6 spirit with unlimited services on call at a moments notice can potentially steal the show from your team if you use it too often.
WhiskeyJohnny
QUOTE (Cain @ Jan 12 2012, 06:39 PM) *
You probably want to focus on summoning as heavily as possible. Summoning guardian spirits and having them Possess you is a good ticket to combat power, and works on both astral and physical targets. It does effectively make you into an NPC for the duration, but if you Initiate and take Channeling, you rectify this to a large degree.


Ok, I can do that. How does it work?

QUOTE (Udoshi @ Jan 12 2012, 06:40 PM) *
Okay. that is fantastic to know.

Ask if she has a first or second printing of Runner's Companion - its an important question, because the RC got an update to the karmagen. It was snuck into the second printing, but not released as errata. One of the authors leaked it here, and I STRONGLY suggest using it.

Karmagen as written can produce ridiculously overpowered characters. Its basically like giving everyone free race choice(and the stats that come with it, half of skills, and half off attributes. (this is bad and potentailly overpowered btw)

That being said, karmagen is fantastic for making diverse runners that feel like real people, because you're not forced to minmax to get what you want to bring a character to life. Its a fantastic system and you should use it if you get the chance. (it also makes technomancers palatable, because they can afford to have decent mental stats and not be useless)

If your group of players can self-limit, and actually make your characters reasonably powered, then using karmagen as written may work out just fine. Its what my group uses - we started in 4th edition, and kind of ignored a lot of updates and stupid changes in anniversary edition, so we kind of have a wierd half-and-half system. It works out well, because nobody is a huge douchebag that tries to play force 12 spirits at character creation.

If this is your GM's first game, just..... be careful, make sure she knows what she's getting into.


I'm pretty sure we're using the first printing of the Runner's Companion, but I can check. I'll make sure she knows what she's getting into, as much as I can. We're fortunate because it's not a situation where anybody's going to try and dominate anyone else.

QUOTE (Udoshi @ Jan 12 2012, 06:43 PM) *
This is what I was going to suggest, basically. Channeling can be awesome. The biggest abuse/trick it offers to voodoo traditions is Spiritwires, because they get all the skillmokney spirit types. Its like skillwires, but more awesome, and can make you very versatile.

If you are allowed Initiations, you may want to consider an Ally spirit as well. You should have enough free karma to make them awesome, and it would get rid of a lot of the hastle involved with self-possession. Keeping track of services, paying for binding materials, etc.
Then again, having a force 6 spirit with unlimited services on call at a moments notice can potentially steal the show from your team if you use it too often.


What are Spiritwires? And versatile sounds good - that's kinda what I'm after, so long as I've got the main jobs covered. Also, Ally spirits - how do they work? I've got no real experience with mage type characters (I've played a cybered out orc decker/gunbunny, but that's it) so I'm kinda in the dark here with all of this.

Speaking of cyber, I know dropping my essence drops my Magic, but would taking a hit of one point free up some essence that would be of benefit to me, or would that be contrary to my goals?
Rystefn
Taking one point worth of 'ware is pretty standard at a lot of tables. Having a few mods can go a long way to making a mage better. It all depends on what you're trying to do, really.
Udoshi
QUOTE (WhiskeyJohnny @ Jan 12 2012, 08:00 PM) *
What are Spiritwires? And versatile sounds good - that's kinda what I'm after, so long as I've got the main jobs covered. Also, Ally spirits - how do they work? I've got no real experience with mage type characters (I've played a cybered out orc decker/gunbunny, but that's it) so I'm kinda in the dark here with all of this.


possession Task spirit + channeling = lol free skills

(seriously just go read it)

Its a trick/abuse that voodoo is known for. Having access to three of the best spirit types means they can basically whip skills out of their astral ass on demand.
WhiskeyJohnny
QUOTE (Rystefn @ Jan 12 2012, 08:20 PM) *
Taking one point worth of 'ware is pretty standard at a lot of tables. Having a few mods can go a long way to making a mage better. It all depends on what you're trying to do, really.


Well, given that I'm trying to have a handle on combat (preferably both mle and gun combat, maybe with a big revolver, at least for show (since I'm quite fond of a nice silenced automatic, when push comes to shove)), Astral stuff (investigative stuff, illusions, flight, divination, ghostbusting, whatever is necessary (I don't actually know precisely what shadowrun mages do)), and driving. Social skills are always fun, but not really necessary for this build. He's less a smooth talker and more the sort of guy about whom you hear stories, some true, some false, some exaggerated, to the point where you can't believe any of it, and have to do just that.

QUOTE (Udoshi @ Jan 12 2012, 08:35 PM) *
possession Task spirit + channeling = lol free skills

(seriously just go read it)

Its a trick/abuse that voodoo is known for. Having access to three of the best spirit types means they can basically whip skills out of their astral ass on demand.


I am reading it, there's just quite a bit to read.
Rystefn
Yeah, if you want to do mundane stuff, too, then you probably want some 'ware. Look into cybereyes for smartlink, image link, vivion magnification, vision enhancement, flare comp... actually, most of the stuff you can put into cybereyes are worth getting (check with your GM is a spirit possessing you will be able to see out of your cybereyes, though, since you're going voodoo... I've seen it ruled both ways). If you have the cash to spare, Synaptic Boosters can save you a sustained spell, and you can get rating 2 alphaware for below 1 Essence. Alternately, you can get some survivability stuff, orthoskin can add 3/3 to your armor for less than 1 essence even at basic grade.

Yeah, you pay points for Magic just to have it go away, but a lot of people consider it worth doing. If nothing else, keep it in mind as you play, especially if you're an initiate and can get your Magic back up to 6 (of more) anyway.
WhiskeyJohnny
QUOTE (Rystefn @ Jan 12 2012, 09:08 PM) *
...check with your GM is a spirit possessing you will be able to see out of your cybereyes, though, since you're going voodoo... I've seen it ruled both ways...


Is there any particular rules text which is used to elucidate the issue? Or threads discussing it?
Rystefn
Street Magic explicitly says that a possessing spirit can use eye replacements, but cannot activate vision enhancements in the sidebar on page 102. By RAW, you're fine, but some GMs try to nerf Possession traditions, and that's one of the ways I've seen a couple of times. I don't know if it's been discussed here, so I can't tell you that. Normally, I'd say don't bring it up until the GM does, but you seem to have a positive and non-antagonistic relationship, so I figured it's probably best to bring it up early so it doesn't look shady if it comes up later.
Volscian_Camilla
QUOTE (Rystefn @ Jan 12 2012, 09:43 PM) *
Street Magic explicitly says that a possessing spirit can use eye replacements, but cannot activate vision enhancements in the sidebar on page 102. By RAW, you're fine, but some GMs try to nerf Possession traditions, and that's one of the ways I've seen a couple of times. I don't know if it's been discussed here, so I can't tell you that. Normally, I'd say don't bring it up until the GM does, but you seem to have a positive and non-antagonistic relationship, so I figured it's probably best to bring it up early so it doesn't look shady if it comes up later.



Hi, I'm WhiskeyJohnny's GM, and, after having read the sidebar on 102, I'm going to rule that the possessing spirit can use the host's cyberware, but cannot change the settings while in possession. For example, if the cybereye is on thermal vision, it stays that way until the end of the possession.

How's that sound?
WhiskeyJohnny
QUOTE (Rystefn @ Jan 12 2012, 09:43 PM) *
Street Magic explicitly says that a possessing spirit can use eye replacements, but cannot activate vision enhancements in the sidebar on page 102. By RAW, you're fine, but some GMs try to nerf Possession traditions, and that's one of the ways I've seen a couple of times. I don't know if it's been discussed here, so I can't tell you that. Normally, I'd say don't bring it up until the GM does, but you seem to have a positive and non-antagonistic relationship, so I figured it's probably best to bring it up early so it doesn't look shady if it comes up later.


Yeah, well, she's reading the thread and will likely post in the next little while, so I figured I'd ask so that she (and I) could read up on it.

I've got a quick question on Metatype - Voodoo uses Charisma for its drain stat, yeah? So I figure that'd mean elf, yeah? Also, how do some of the more exotic things hold up in karmagen? Like, Drakes and such? 'Cause I figure it'd be cool, to be a little dragon type. But they're a little expensive, or so I thought, in BP gen. I don't want to break the game or anything, and I'm not sure I'd necessarily want to be a drake (at least not with this character) but I'd like to explore options.

QUOTE (Volscian_Camilla @ Jan 12 2012, 09:54 PM) *
Hi, I'm WhiskeyJohnny's GM, and, after having read the sidebar on 102, I'm going to rule that the possessing spirit can use the host's cyberware, but cannot change the settings while in possession. For example, if the cybereye is on thermal vision, it stays that way until the end of the possession.

How's that sound?


And there she is.
Udoshi
QUOTE (WhiskeyJohnny @ Jan 12 2012, 09:58 PM) *
I've got a quick question on Metatype - Voodoo uses Charisma for its drain stat, yeah? So I figure that'd mean elf, yeah? Also, how do some of the more exotic things hold up in karmagen? Like, Drakes and such? 'Cause I figure it'd be cool, to be a little dragon type. But they're a little expensive, or so I thought, in BP gen. I don't want to break the game or anything, and I'm not sure I'd necessarily want to be a drake (at least not with this character) but I'd like to explore options.


If you're using the as-written karmagen, then basically all the most advanced options and metatypes are dirt cheap or free.
(the errata'd/balanced version i linked makes you pay SOME for race, but its still half off)
Anything that changes your metatype/race around that is a Quality, like the infected or drake qualities, costs the usual amount a quality does in karmagen (bpx2), unless someone reduces it.


This means Free Spirit PCs are quite a bargain in read-as-written karmagen. 250 bps for race turned to 0. ( and also why you should use the balanced karmagen rules)
Rystefn
QUOTE (Volscian_Camilla @ Jan 13 2012, 05:54 AM) *
Hi, I'm WhiskeyJohnny's GM, and, after having read the sidebar on 102, I'm going to rule that the possessing spirit can use the host's cyberware, but cannot change the settings while in possession. For example, if the cybereye is on thermal vision, it stays that way until the end of the possession.

How's that sound?


I'd say that's an excellent interpretation of the rule, personally. Obviously, you can't really know how it will play at your table until you actually see it in action, but yeah, that's how I run it, and I've been happiest to see it run.
Cain
QUOTE
Ok, I can do that. How does it work?

Well, the short answer is this: when you are Possessed by a spirit, the spirit is in control, not you. That means while your character becomes a powerhouse, you yourself mostly sit on the sidelines and make suggestions, the GM decides what happens. Channeling reverses this, so you make more of the decisions, take a more active role. Really, it's essential for any Possession-based character.

As for making a good summoner, focus on Charisma and Magic. One point of 'ware is always useful, but it's also a personal choice-- some people like to take Sensitive System and zero cyber, making is basically free points. Going either way can be effective. You can even do both-- very light cyber and Sensitive System, it's much less cheesy that way, although arguably less effective.

Cybereyes are more useful to spellcasters, who need the vision mods to target. Drain-offsetting 'ware, such as the Trauma Dampener, are always good. Most of the social boosters won't be as useful to you, unless you want to double as a face. You won't need reflex boosters if you rely on possession for your combat ability, since you use the spirit's stats. You also won't need a lot of self-buffs, since the spirit will give you a ton of physical boosts.

Finally, learn to love downtime. Summon and bind the highest-force spirits you can possibly call, then sleep off or heal the drain in the lag time. Since you're going karmagen, consider specializing right off the bat: get Summoning and Binding at 5, and specialize each of them. A single bound force-10 spirit can be an insane ace-in-the-hole when you need it. Oh, and do *not* buy the group-- Banishing is pretty damn near useless as written. I've seen a few house rules to fix that, but for the most part, it's a waste. As it stands, I've played mages with Incompetence in Banishing with no appreciable loss.
Udoshi
QUOTE (Cain @ Jan 14 2012, 01:44 AM) *
Oh, and do *not* buy the group-- Banishing is pretty damn near useless as written. I've seen a few house rules to fix that, but for the most part, it's a waste. As it stands, I've played mages with Incompetence in Banishing with no appreciable loss.


Agreement - in fact, ask if you can break groups up in character creation. If you're using karmagen, its basically close enough to learning it from scratch to justify.

Some ware CAN be good for a mage, and if you're allowed an initiation during karmagen(even if it is just once), there is basically no downside to taking a point ware, because you can also start with magic 6.
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