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Edward
What advantage do heretics get?

I am looking at playing a hermetic “at some future date” ie I don’t have a game yet but hay I can dream.

I have played a shaman in the past. Totem modifiers tend to even out and once you initiate learning spells from formula is not worth the effort, just take astral quest for the formula and you get a couple of points of the karma cost.

The only functional difference is spirits and elementals. Elementals are expensive and last longer but you don’t get any more services (as a shaman I was burring threw the services mighty fast) and there list of powers is very restrictive (no accident)

Is there a benefit I am missing?

Edward
Da9iel
Well, heretics aren't bound by conventional beliefs nor by cannon. On the other hand, heretics have that whole ex-communication thing going. Wait...you meant hermetics.

If I'm not mistaken, you can sort of re-summon elementals. That may be interpreted by some GMs to mean that you don't need new materials. I'll look it up and be right back.
Da9iel
QUOTE (MITS p. 98 @ EXTENDING ELEMENTAL SERVICE)
A mage who wants to increase the number of services owed by a bound elemental can perform a new summoning ritual. . . .


I would probably rule that that means new materials just like the initial summoning. YMMV

Bane
I think what Da9iel was talking about (edit: ah. well, still sort of applicable) comes into effect after an elemental goes away after using it for something like sustaining a spell or as a spell focus. If their force is reduced to 0 in this manner, you can call them back at full force with a complex action.

It's really a toss-up between elementals and nature spirits, IMO. On the one hand, you have hefty cost of summoning with the benefit of actually being able to affect the physical plane (i.e. punch stuff or engulf) as well as the nice features like using them as a spell focus, sustaining focus, and meat shield. On the other hand, instant-summonability, and nice utility powers like search, accident, and conceal.

So it's really a matter of what kind of mage you are playing. I find utility mages are generally better off as shamans, whereas powerhouse combat mages are better able to be powerhouses as hermetics.
Da9iel
Nature spirits get the Materialization power as well as Elementals. BBB p. 267
This means that they may punch things. BBB p. 265
Bane
Good call. I don't know what I was thinking. Perhaps that elementals are generally much better at it (read: engulf).


...at least, that's how it usually goes in my games.
Capt. Dave
In my opinion, elementals are better. Sure, you don't get confusion, guard, etc, but they can sustain spells, help you cast spells, cross domain lines (as they have none), and even be sent to Scandanavia to do a service for you.

As Da9iel said, you can summon elementals to "new obedience", meaning you basically sumon them again, but any services accrued add to the elemental's existing services.

As for hermetics themselves, you can get "totem modifiers" by aligning yourself to an element or creating a new "school" of magic.

There's more of course, but that's all from me for now.

Sorry for all the ""'s
Glyph
Hermetics may not be able to summon spirits on the fly, but since elementals can be kept on "stand-by", they tend to summon elementals during "down time". After that, they are able to call on their elementals without having to worry about soaking Drain, and they don't need to wait until initiation/getting invoking to have more than one of them. A city spirit can change the odds, but 6 fire elementals suddenly popping up really change the odds. Spirits may be more versatile, but elementals are better at brute-force combat, and they can be used almost like living foci, to add dice to your spells or to sustain them.

As far as spellcasting, you can play an elemental mage to get the equivalent of Totem bonuses. Since you don't have a shamanic mask, it is much easier to be inconspicuous in your spellcasting. Libraries may be more expensive, but you can take a bundle of optical disks with you, compared to a shaman, who has to pack up his Lodge, and then re-bond it somewhere else. And it has to be in his Totem's domain, which can be restrictive for certain Totems - what if you're a wolf shaman stuck in a paved-over sprawl, or a rat shaman stuck in the wilderness?

And you never have to worry about losing your magic because you have offended your Totem. Sure, players may pick Totems that suit them, but they still come with behavioral restrictions. A dog shaman who turns in a wanted teammate for a million nuyen reward, a wolf shaman who runs away and lets the teammate who did something dumb to set off the alarms get captured, the eagle shaman who figures it's worth a point of Magic to get a smartlink II - all of them are in deep doo-doo with their Totem. A mage who does any of those things may have a guilty conscience, but is not risking having his magic stripped from him.
Da9iel
On the other hand, consider that a shaman only needs to make one astral quest to his totem's metaplane for initiation, whereas a mage must go to all four. It's a rather small benifit, but one I've found useful.
Cain
*shudder* Hermetics are the only ones who can get full mileage out of the Watcher Attack Packô strategy. Picture an elf hermetic with 8 watchers, 8 Elementals, and an ally spirit, versus any astral target. With the single command of "Get 'em, boys", that nasty toxic spirit you had set to challenge the team now dies a whimpering death.
Eyeless Blond
QUOTE (Da9iel)
On the other hand, consider that a shaman only needs to make one astral quest to his totem's metaplane for initiation, whereas a mage must go to all four. It's a rather small benifit, but one I've found useful.

I always did think that was kinda dumb, especially with elemental mages. Anyone ever house-rule that away? It doesn't seem like it changes any balance issues to me.
Kagetenshi
Indeed. Hermetics are capable of having legions of elementals on call (or their Charisma, whichever is lower), while Shamans have got to work to get more than one and will rarely be able to hit three (one spirit per domain per shaman) and they lose any remaining services upon switching domains.

Edit: response to attack-pack comment.

~J
Sphynx
Unless hey learn a specific MetaTech, of course. Once that's learned, all advantages go to the Shaman IMHO.

Sphynx
Kagetenshi
Don't Great Forms have their own limitations, primarily drain-related? *Is insufficiently familiar with those rules*

~J
mfb
it's almost a finesse-versus-power thing. a shaman's spirits are incredibly handy for a number of things, and most shaman can whistle up one with decent force with very little problem. spirits can do a lot of very, very handy things. elementals, on the other hand, have more limited applications--they can help you cast, they can attack stuff. on the other hand, you can have lots of them, all doing different
things--or (shudder), all doing the same thing.
lacemaker
Do Shamans still get their initiate grade added to their totem bonus?

In any case, unless you're playng a very high cash campaign I think Shamans have a clear advantage. The totem bonus tends to be very handy, because of course you build you character around the kind of specialisations it offers, and I'll take the versatility of being able to whistle up a spirit whenever you need one (and the increased range of stuff they can do) over the ability to bring in a little extra firepower if you've had the time and money to prepare it.
Edward
Summoning an elemental during down time is l very well and good but if you don’t need it for this job it is wasted money. Heaven forbid you don’t get job for 30 days. Trying to keep elementals on retainer will make you more of a cash hog than a combat riger/decker.

If I was being payed a retainer I would do it.

The no drain is a big advantage however. Especially if your planing something BIG in 2 weeks. Summon elementals at a hire force than you would ever dear during a run and leave them on standby.

Edward
Da9iel
QUOTE (lacemaker @ Sep 27 2004, 02:21 AM)
Do Shamans still get their initiate grade added to their totem bonus?

No, it mentions nothing of the sort in MITS. Just the increased Magic (which may increase spell pool) and the very flexible astral pool.
Eyeless Blond
QUOTE (Edward)
Summoning an elemental during down time is l very well and good but if you donít need it for this job it is wasted money. Heaven forbid you donít get job for 30 days. Trying to keep elementals on retainer will make you more of a cash hog than a combat riger/decker.

Er, why? You don't use up services leaving the elemental on retainer, so a guy with Cha 6 can easily keep 6 Force 6 elementals just a quick Exclusive Complex Action away for nothing at all.

Of course that would cost quite a bit of money (36k nuyen.gif ) unless the hermatic has Talismongering. If he does, he can buy 72 units of refined lead for 4320 nuyen.gif and make those 36 units of conjuring materials in about three weeks. That is a long time, but remember it takes a few days to summon six Force 6 elementals as well, and it's not like you're ever going to need all of that for a single run. Heck, I wouldn't bother with more than four Force 4 and one or two Force 6 elementals anyway, which cuts a week and a thousand nuyen off the costs.

Even so, this is a lot more than the nothing the shaman invests in his conjuring, but then he has to do his conjuring in a background count, possibly while injured, and maybe while in the wrong domain for what he needs.
toturi
QUOTE (Eyeless Blond)
Even so, this is a lot more than the nothing the shaman invests in his conjuring, but then he has to do his conjuring in a background count, possibly while injured, and maybe while in the wrong domain for what he needs.

Actually a smart shaman would have conjured with his Totem bonus and unless the opposition is keeping a very close eye on him, wouldn't know what spirit he summoned. Unlike a hermetic whose elementals are more or less fixed, and god forbid the mage gets knocked out.
Sphynx
QUOTE (Kagetenshi)
Don't Great Forms have their own limitations, primarily drain-related? *Is insufficiently familiar with those rules*

~J

Once you can summon a Great Form, you can also take non-great forms over multiple domains. Grade 1 Initiate can take a Forest Spirit into the City. wink.gif

Sphynx
Nemo
@Cain
with Charisma 8 you can have 8 Elementals or 7 Elementals and 1 Ally (Expection : you bound an Elemental to Guard a place)
Edward
I understood that 28 days after summoning an elemental left regardless of services owed.

Edward
Da9iel
I don't see that anywhere in BBB or MITS. If an elemental is present physically or astrally for 24 hrs, it counts as a service. The only place I see 28 days mentioned in regard to spirits is disrupting. A disrupted spirit may come back after 28 - force days.
Synner
Disregard. Wrong thread.
Zenmaxer
Major advantage for hermetics...

generally, two hermetics get along better than two shamans... (rat and eagle? ::shiver ::)
lspahn72
QUOTE (Cain)
*shudder* Hermetics are the only ones who can get full mileage out of the Watcher Attack Packô strategy. Picture an elf hermetic with 8 watchers, 8 Elementals, and an ally spirit, versus any astral target. With the single command of "Get 'em, boys", that nasty toxic spirit you had set to challenge the team now dies a whimpering death.

My group is going to hate you......
Edward
Ok now I cant find eth 28 day limit.

I don’t know where I got that idea.
This dose mean keeping elementals on retainer is a workable option.

Edward
Cain
QUOTE (Nemo)
@Cain
with Charisma 8 you can have 8 Elementals or 7 Elementals and 1 Ally (Expection : you bound an Elemental to Guard a place)

Not true. Allies do not count against the number of elementals or watchers a mage can have on tap.

QUOTE ("lspahn72")
My group is going to hate you......


It's a time-honored way of dealing with focus-abusing mages. One spirit attacks the focus astrally, forcing the mage to go astral to defend it. Once that happens, he gets gang-banged. vegm.gif
Necro Tech
Elementals also help with one of the hardest things a mage has to do, learn spells. Adding 6 extra dice to your sorcery is a HUGE help trying to hit 12-18 targets numbers.

When you are a shaman or a hermetic with a horde, learn spirit blast. Wipe out your opponents horde, then swamp him with yours.
spotlite
A shaman with invoking kicks mighty, mighty ass.

QUOTE
MITS p107

Great form nature spirits do not count toward the shaman's limit of one spirit per domain. Because these spirits can cross domain lines, shaman must remember that they can only bind at one time less than or equal to their Charisma


Which makes them as effective as mages, if not more so, as they can have a bunch of different great form nature spirits, just like a mage with a bunch of great form elementals. The real difference then becomes that they will only last till dawn or dusk. But a shaman can call them faster and doesn't require uber-cashflow to do it, as long as they can drain the suckers.

Mages have their advantages but they can't metaplane quest for health spells because there's no appropriate place, which a shaman can just go to their totem's home plane as usual for any spell they feel like (shamanists not withstanding). Not mentioning Wujen of course, which are my personal favorite munchkin class, if you swap one of the spirit types they can call for Spirits of Man, anyway...

I think there's little to choose between mages and shaman mechanics-wise, but I find nature spirits to be much more versatile than elementals, except when it comes to the mass astral attack idea in which case KARL KOMBAT MAGE! GO GO GO! GO KA-ARL, GO KA-ARL... uh. Right.

Ahem. However imagine a pack of great form nature spirits. Each can use a different power, on multiple targets. So Mass Accident, Confusion, maybe Fear thrown in and another one Guarding you and the team. Yummy.

There's the roleplay consideration, and while I know this isn't canon anymore (if it ever was), in our game a shaman can lose favour with their totem if they don't roleplay according to its ideals - or at least can't justify why a particular they did was compatible, anyway, repeat offenders only. That makes it a much more distinct choice at our table. If you want to play a shaman you have to consider what it means. Your character has chosen to follow a certain path. its an inbuilt roleplay choice and so you are only free to come up with personality and background within the parameters of that initial choice.

And I would humbly suggest that taking the roleplay route rather than the game mechanic route is a preferable approach to chargen anyway. But you may disagree.
Bane
QUOTE (Sphynx)
Once you can summon a Great Form, you can also take non-great forms over multiple domains.  Grade 1 Initiate can take a Forest Spirit into the City.  wink.gif

Magic is definitely not my strong point... is this true?
mfb
yes. great form nature spirits ignore domain boundaries. of course, you basically have to summon them twice, and take twice the drain.
Kagetenshi
He's talking non-Great Forms, though.

~J
Zenmaxer
Don't forget about the Voodoun... their great form loas are pretty bloody scary.

On the other hand, a hermetic with a great form force 8 fire elemental and channeling is not fun. Not fun at all.
Jason Farlander
QUOTE (Sphynx)
Once you can summon a Great Form, you can also take non-great forms over multiple domains. Grade 1 Initiate can take a Forest Spirit into the City. wink.gif

Sphynx

Huh? What? Where?

Please provide a page number and text to back up this claim.
Cain
QUOTE (Bane)
QUOTE (Sphynx)
Once you can summon a Great Form, you can also take non-great forms over multiple domains.† Grade 1 Initiate can take a Forest Spirit into the City.† wink.gif

Magic is definitely not my strong point... is this true?

Not that I can recall. According to my read of MITS, only Great Forms can cross domain lines.
Krieger
QUOTE (Zenmaxer)
On the other hand, a hermetic with a great form force 8 fire elemental and channeling is not fun. Not fun at all.

What's channeling? It's not mentioned in MITS or BBB, as far as I can tell.
toturi
QUOTE (Zenmaxer)
On the other hand, a hermetic with a great form force 8 fire elemental and channeling is not fun. Not fun at all.

Well, a shaman with Invoking and Channelling is no fun with a Storm Spirit or a Spirit of the Flames.
Kanada Ten
Channeling is in Target: Awakened Lands and is a metamagic that allows a summoner to absorb or 'channel' the spirit to gain its powers for a time. The summoner can cross domain lines and keep the powers, but the powers disappear after a limited time.
mfb
oh, right. no, a shaman with Invoking cannot take a non-great form over domain boundaries. i just read the Invoking section, and it says nothing about anything like that.
Zenmaxer
:: nods :: thankfully, most shamans can't get ahold of spirits of the flame. Storm spirit great-forms are a lil hard to snag because their domain is somewhat rarer... but... yes, they are nightmarish and I know this from personal experience.
Edward
If you take channelling as a hermetic keep a force 7 are elemental as an ace in the hole. You will dam near kill yourself summoning it (so have appropriate protections up) but when you are in the drek it will pull your ass out of the fire. +7 to all physicals and a movement power. If you make it a great form (you so want foci to summon this one) you also get 14 hardened armour. That will bounce all the likely weapons. 7000 and a fiew days recovery for an ace in the hole that big. I think its worth it.

Edward
Cynic project
Hermetic mages do not really need to worry about drain from summoning. You shamans have to take drain when you want a big demon..I hermetic go to my house with my charisma of 8,and summon at force 8 elemental., take some stun mage,and go to bed.Wake up,and everything is fine.I can call that bad boy when I need him.

So as hermetic mage I can know how much spirit back i have before I go into battle.Also any good hermetic mage will not be spending all the much money on the gear for getting his pets.You one can look for them,buy them from contact, and have your ally look for the stuff as well, further more when you get high up in your magic you can get force 7-10 great forms,and if you need more than one of those on a run, you(or GM) did something wrong.

As A shaman, of any level try summoning a force 10 great form. See how you do in combat....
Lilt
@Cynic project:
True, unless aforementioned drain is physical.

There is a relatively easy way to make a shaman who does not worry about drain from conjuring. You get a trauma damper, and up your strength to 12 or so. Voila: Force 6 spirits only do light drain, which you can never fail to remove with the TD. This trick even works with force 6 great-forms.

[edit]I'm assuming the drain isn't physical here too[/edit]
Kagetenshi
But if you've got a mage with a trauma damper the drain can go into physical and you only have to worry about getting it down to Moderate as long as you've got 24 hours before the run starts.

~J
Eyeless Blond
Yeah, well consider that it takes an elf with 126 Karma and a Trauma Dampener (which usually isn't available until after chargen, and means a geas at the least), to do what hermatic mages do without any special effort other than the extra cash cost of summoning. With the same amount of Karma the hermatic has initiated four or five times, raised his Cha once or twice, and has two Force 9 great form elementals and seven Force 6 great form elementals on tap.
mfb
yes, but no amount of karma will give a hermetic a spirit with the confusion power, or concealment or search, or accident, or fear, or...
Shockwave_IIc
Well if you go Eld Bonus Attribute (Cha), then im sure that would not fined a sinlge person on here that would pay 30 Karma to be able Summon Force 5 with no Drain.

Then like what 19 Karma to get Invoking and Channeling. so 49 Karma and you become the Force 5 Spirit Wielding Bad boy from your chosen meta plane
Lilt
@Kagetenshi: Fair point, although getting the 4 you need on that body test is not garuanteed. See my point below too.

@Eyeless Blond: Increase charisma in a focus... Only costs 4-8 spell points and 30-60k nuyen.gif depending on what your starting cha is. Cultured Bioware is not strictly banned either.

The disadvantage with the 'i'll sleep it off' route compared to the 'I'll summon it now' route is that you can replenish your ranks as they go down.

The undisputed advantage of going hermetic is that you can summon higher force spirits, which as you get up to force 8 or 9 become truly awesome.

The best way for the shaman to defend against large packs of high-force spirits is to use a few (3) force 6 great-form spirits to simply give their force in TN penalties to all of your spirits using their confusion power. The enemy are now on +6 to TNs which can cancel-out the benefits of superior numbers and more.
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