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I got bored and took a look at the karma benefits of each priority level. In doing so, I think I've backed out the karma costs of metatypes and magic/technomancer qualities. This could be useful for people who are developing a KarmaGen system. This can also be used for a hybrid priority karmagen system, for those who like the priority system but not the min-max it encourages, or for those who like karmagen but want a bit more restrictions/guidelines on how the karma is spent.

TLDR: Characters seem to be built with roughly ~745 or 750 (748 or 753?) karma. Priority A adds 225 karma, Priority B adds 140 or 135 karma (only really affects the derived cost of Trolls), Priority C adds 70 karma, Priority D adds 25 karma, and Priority E adds 0 karma. Additionally, players start with ~165 karma in Attributes, ~90 karma in Skills, 10 karma in Metatype/Special Attributes, and maybe 3 karma in Resources. Together with the 25 extra karma all characters get, that adds up to 745-753 depending on your assumptions.

Along with the first rank in the appropriate special attribute:
  • Adept and Aspected Magician costs 15 karma
  • Magician and Mystic Adept costs 20 karma
  • Technomancer costs 40 karma.

Assuming racial bonuses to skills are added at the end and thus don't affect karma costs of attributes (either only at chargen or all throughout the campaign):
  • Human costs 0 karma
  • Elf costs 35 karma
  • Dwarf costs 70 karma
  • Ork costs 80 karma
  • Troll costs 150 or 145 karma (depending on whether Priority B provides 140 or 135 karma)

You can use this to create a chargen system that's a hybrid between the priority system and the karma system. Basically, take the priority system as in the book. When you assign a priority level to a category, instead of gaining the defined benefits, you get the appropriate amount of karma to spend on stuff in that category (e.g. only on attributes for the Attributes category; only on the special qualities, appropriate types of active skills, and spells/complex forms in the Magic/Resonance category, etc.). To avoid ending up with odd amounts of karma, allow for some limited amount (10 per category?) of carryover and borrowing of karma between categories. Due to the way the karma works out, you might want to consider moving the Magic/Resonance category first in the process, or let players choose whether they want Magic/Resonance or Metatype/Special Attribute first. While this suffers from a lot of the downsides of both systems along with more bookkeeping, it does have some benefits. This is a good system for people who like the priority system but don't like how it encourages players to min-max character generation to reduce future karma costs. This is also a good system for people who like the karmagen system but want some guidelines on where players must spend their karma (so, probably very few people who like karmagen smile.gif ).

Thoughts on the Karma costs and/or the hybrid chargen system?

Derivations are below.

The basic assumption I'm using is that each priority level provides roughly the same karma boost no matter what category it's assigned to. In other words, going from a C priority to a B priority provides the same boost in karma no matter if it's in Resources, Attributes, or Metatype. However, the starting karma in each category might be different. I can't prove this is how the designers built the priority system, but it makes a lot of sense. I used the Resources category to pin down the benefits of each Priority level. I used the Attributes and Skills categories to confirm that those karma levels are reasonable. This will allow me to back out the costs of the Metatypes and Magician/Technomancer qualities.

The easiest category to convert is Resources. Using 1 karma = 2000 nuyen, we get the following levels of karma:
  • E: 6k nuyen = 3 karma
  • D: 50k nuyen = 25 karma -> +22 gain from previous level
  • C: 140k nuyen = 70 karma -> +45 gain
  • B: 275k nuyen = 137.5 karma -> +70 gain
  • A: 450k nuyen = 225 karma -> +85 gain

This is mostly good, but there are some oddities. Priority B stands out for fractional karma. Priority E is also at an odd amount, probably to avoid players starting with nothing. I decided to round Priority B to 140 karma, but it might be rounded to 135 instead (how you round this really should only affect the cost of Trolls). I also treated Priority E as 0 karma; if you want to use priority karmagen, you might want to just give every player 3 base karma in this category.

I used the Attributes and Skills categories to check if these karma levels were reasonable approximations across the different categories. First, I wanted to see if I could make a reasonable attribute spread with X base karma + the karma from each priority level which matches the number of points granted by the priority chargen method. The target I was aiming for is a player who wants to take advantage of the flat costs of the build point system to get a high attribute, but also keep some balance in the other attributes and avoid dumping too many.
  • E: 5/3/3/2/2/2/2/1 = 12 points and 165 karma; w/o the base karma, 0 karma from Priority level
  • D: 5/3/3/3/2/2/2/2 = 14 points and 190 karma; w/o the base karma, 25 karma from Priority level
  • C: 6/4/3/3/2/2/2/2 = 16 points and 235 karma; w/o the base karma, 70 karma from Priority level
  • B: 6/4/4/4/3/3/2/2 = 20 points and 305 karma; w/o the base karma, 140 karma from Priority level
  • A: 6/5/4/4/4/4/3/2 = 24 points and 390 karma; w/o the base karma, 225 karma from Priority level

Since I could build reasonable attribute distributions using the derived karma benefits from each priority level, I think this shows that they're roughly accurate. Of course, you might have a different idea of what the attribute spreads should look like -- that would most likely affect the base karma all players start with in Attributes.

For Skills, I did something more approximate since there are more permutations. I just split the build points into level 6 skills and level 3 skills and odd points I plugged in somewhere (skill groups I handled separately). Again, the idea was to confirm I'm in the right ball-park.
  • E: 1x Skill at 6, 4x Skills at 3 = 18/0 points and 90 karma; w/o the base karma, 0 karma from Priority level
  • D: 1x Skill at 6, 6x Skills at 3 = 22/0 points and 114 karma; w/o the base karma, 24 karma from Priority level
  • C: 2x Skills at 6, 6x Skills at 3, 2 point Skill Group = 28/2 points and 114 karma; w/o the base karma, 81 karma from Priority level
  • B: 2x Skills at 6, 8x Skills at 3, 3/2 point Skill Groups = 36/5 points and 225 karma; w/o the base karma, 135 karma from Priority level
  • A: 2x Skills at 6, 1x Skill at 4, 10x Skills at 3, 4/3/3 point Skill Groups = 46/10 points and 334 karma; w/o the base karma, 244 karma from Priority level

Definitely a lot fuzzier, especially with Priority A. Still, it's pretty close to the karma from Priority level derived from Resources, so I'm comfortable moving ahead with those numbers.

Now I can derive the costs of metatypes and magic/resonance types. Let's start with Magic/Resonance first since it's a bit more clear-cut. To derive the cost of each special type, I took the lowest Priority level which offered that type and added up the costs of the other benefits. The residual karma from that priority level is the amount that type costs. For simplicity, I bundled in the first point of the appropriate attribute (Magic or Resonance) with the quality; if you don't want this, subtract 5 from these costs.
  • Adept: Magic 2 = 10 karma; 25 from Priority D - 10 = 15 karma.
  • Aspected Magician: Magic 2 = 10 karma; 25 from Priority D - 10 = 15 karma.
  • Magician/Mystic Adept: Magic 3 = 25 karma, 5 spells = 25 karma; 70 from Priority C - 25 - 25 = 20 karma.
  • Technomancer: Resonance 3 = 25 karma, 1x CF = 4 karma; 70 from Priority C - 25 - 4 = 41 karma (round to 40 karma).

These costs work out pretty well at higher levels too. For example, Priority B:
  • Adept: Adept = 15 karma, Magic 6 = 100 karma, Rating 4 Skill = 20 karma-> Total = 135 karma
  • Aspected Magician: Aspected Magician = 15 karma, Magic 5 = 70 karma, Rating 5 Skill Group = 50 karma -> Total = 135 karma
  • Magician/Mystic Adept: Magician = 20 karma, Magic 4 = 45 karma, Rating 4 Skill x2 = 40 karma, 7 Spells = 35 karma -> Total = 140 karma
  • Technomancer: Technomancer = 40 karma, Resonance 4 = 45 karma, Rating 4 Skill x2 = 40 karma, 2x CF = 8 points -> Total = 133 karma

Finally, Metatypes/Special Attributes. First, we must assume that attribute bonuses from metatypes are applied last in CharGen. Otherwise, there's no way a priority karmagen system can match what comes out of the priority system. Second, I'm going to derive the metatypes from the lowest priority level where it shows up, similar to the previous section. However, things don't quite match up when more special attribute points come into play. Finally, since humans get a Special Attribute point at Priority E, there's a base of 10 karma in this category.
  • Human: Costs 0 karma. Priority E = 0 karma + 10 base karma, minus 1 point of Edge = 10 karma.
  • Elf: Costs 35 karma. Priority D = 25 karma + 10 base karma.
  • Dwarf: Costs 70 karma. Priority C = 70 karma + 10 base karma, minus 1 point of Edge = 10 karma.
  • Ork: Costs 80 karma. Priority C = 70 karma + 10 base karma.
  • Troll: Costs 150 or 145 karma. Priority B = 140 or 135 karma + 10 base karma.

Let's check whether things line up for humans:
  • Priority D: 1->4 Edge = 45 karma; 1->3 Edge and 1->2 Magic = 25+10 = 35 karma.
  • Priority C: 1->5 Edge and 1->2 Magic = 70+10 = 80 karma.
  • Priority B: 1->6 Edge and 1->3 Magic = 100+25 = 125 karma.
  • Priority A: 1->6 Edge and 1->5 Magic = 100+70 = 170 karma.

Things definitely break down at the higher priority levels, but it's pretty accurate at lower priority levels.
the fact that technomancer would be valued at 40 karma, *double* what magician and mystic adept are valued at, boggles the mind.

i mean, i can understand that technomancers were powerful in 4th edition (and in fact, were powerful even with only the core book - no, you don't need unwired to make a powerful technomancer, unwired just lets you make an even better technomancer).

i can understand that making them as much better at hacking than deckers as they were in 4th edition is problematic.

but to boost their cost *and* nerf them was a massive overreaction. right now, they're generally slightly worse at hacking, with a strong focus in the area of oversight control... in a game where hacking is designed to be fast and oversight can be erased in 3 seconds. which would be fine, if they were to cost as much as, say, adepts. which they desperately need, because in addition to not being particularly awesome at hacking (at least, not until they get enough karma under their belt to initiate and raise their resonance to the point where they can reliably soak ~7 points of fading), they can't use magic to boost themselves, and they can't use cyber/bio to boost themselves without harming their ability to hack.

in short, they got slightly more powerful in the meat world, but are still pretty damned awful. and they got a heck of a lot worse in the matrix. but they still cost a painfully large amount to build.

whoever was responsible for co-ordinating the power level of the various archetypes (presumably that's the line developer) seriously bombed hard in terms of making technomancers work (they also bombed hard in making magic of equal value to the rest of the setting, but that isn't terribly surprising. and to be fair, magic is certainly *less* ridiculous in 5th than it was in 4th).
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