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Derek
So, I was thinking of the variety of house rules I enjoy, and also picturing scenes from various cliched fantasy novels where the hero grads the ROD OF POWER from the evil bad guy and uses it on him to win the bigt battle.

But you can't do that in SR. You have to bond the focus and that takes time and karma. So, I thought, how could I arrange a scene like the above, without destroying the karma bonding system, which I also happen to like.

Here's what I came up with:

Using Foci without Bonding:

A magical type character (one with a magic rating above zero) can use a focus without bonding it. Everytime he does so (uses the extra dice from a focus, whatever the type), he must make a resistance roll, using his magic attribute to resist, against the rating of the focus. The first three times he does this with a particular focus, the drain is deadly. The second 3 times (4-6), the drain is serious, the third three times (7-9), the drain is medium, everything after that the drain is light.

Not sure if this drain should be stun or physical. I kind of like the idea of a character possibly dying if he attempts to use a focus too powerful for him, but it seems like it might be too harsh for this to be physical.

The catch is that if he does not achieve any successes on this resistance test, the character must check for magic loss. This small but real chance of magic loss keps a character from continuing to use a focus without bonding without some risk, even if the drain is light.

Thoughts, suggestions?

Derek
mfb
i'd go the other way. L the first few times, then M, then S, then D.
Derek
Any reason for that? Possibly to discourage continued use? I was thinking the magic loss check would do that....

The reason I went with D, S, M, L is because after continued use, you would become somewhat attuned to it. Heck, I could even see slightly reducing the bonding costs if you used it often enough. Of course, if you used it often enough, you risked a number of magic loss checks. Probably not worth it. Food for thought, anyways.

Derek
mfb
yeah, mainly to discourage continued use. if you survive using the focus enough times that you're down to taking L drain every time you use it, then it's highly unlikely that you're ever going to get 0 successes on the resistance test.
RedmondLarry
How about if you use an unbonded focus you risk destroying it AND you can never bond that focus yourself or use it again.
Jason Farlander
Interesting. I like the basic idea. I dont think I like this implementation, though. Karma rerolls can virtually guarantee that magic loss will never be suffered. I also dont like the changing damage level.

Perhaps:

To gain temporary control over an focus that he has not bonded, the character must engage in a spiritual battle with the current owner's imprint on the focus. This takes a complex action. The character rolls a number of dice equal to his magic rating, while the focus rolls a number of dice equal to its owner's magic rating. Both tests use the force of the focus as the TN. For every net success achieved by the winning side, the loser's effective magic rating for the purpose of additional tests is reduced by 1. Ties result in no change. The character then has the opportunity to continue by making another opposed test. This process is repeated until either the character or the focus reaches a magic rating of 0, the character chooses to terminate the battle, or the character fails to generate any successes on a given test. Regardless of the number of tests made, this process only takes a single complex action.

If the focus's magic rating is reduced to 0, the character has suppressed the owner's imprint enough to use the focus once. If the character's magic rating is reduced to 0, he takes Deadly Stun damage and must check for magic loss. If the character fails to generate any successes on a test, he must resist stun damage (using willpower) based on the force of the focus he is assempting to control, and that attempt fails. The character may try again, but doing so requires another complex action. Wound modifiers apply to this test.

If no one is bound to a focus (ie, if the previous owner dies), it can not be activated at all - any such attempts simply fail.

damage power = force
damage level =

Light if force is less than or equal to 1/4 magic rating
Moderate if force is less than or equal to 1/2 magic rating
Serious if force is greater than 1/2 magic rating
Deadly if force is greater than magic rating

Magical theorists assert that the similarities between this process and that used to banish spirits are more than superficial - they believe that the character is, in effect, using his raw magic ability to temporarily disrupt the astral imprint on the focus just long enough to activate it.


(edited some things)

(edited some more things - removed the word unbonded, as it was misleading)
RedmondLarry
QUOTE (Jason Farlander @ Oct 4 2004, 01:40 PM)
Karma rerolls can virtually guarantee that magic loss will never be suffered.

Our team doesn't allow Karma rerolls for Magic Loss (2D6) or for Starting Money (3D6) or for grenade landing distance (1D6, 2D6, or 3D6) or for Initiative (1D6, 2D6, etc.)

In Shadowrun, when the notation "4D6" is used it means to roll 4 dice and add them together. This is not a Test in the traditional usage, and it is only Tests in the traditional usage where you can use Karma for a reroll. With these there is no notion of a "success" on a die, and therefore no notion of rerolling failures.

If you could use Karma Pool to assist in rolling for Magic Loss, I'd start out by buying two or three additional dice using Karma Pool, before my first roll.

(While the dice rolls for Body Loss, after taking a Deadly Wound, are Tests in the traditional usage, our team still doesn't allow Karma Pool for extra dice or rerolls. But this is just our house rule, as we like a gritty game.)
Jason Farlander
OurTeam:

I wasnt talking about the Magic loss test itself, I was referring to the idea that the character could pretty easily avoid ever having to make a magic loss test by rerolling failures on the resistance test. With one or two karma rerolls he or she would be virtually guaranteed to get at least one success - as long as we aren't talking about a force 10 focus or something.

I otherwise agree with you on all points, except Body Loss (I dont see any particular reason to exclude it).
BitBasher
Also, can you do this to a focus bonded by someone else? If you can't then the whole "steal the wand and use it against the owner" schtick is pretty moot here.
Bossemanden
Another possibility is to make every use of the unbound focus cost 1 good karma, and cause drain like first force times deadly, then force times serious, then force times moderate and finally force times light. This karma should count towards binding the focus.
If a character during these unbound uses ends up paying the full amount of karma, the focus is bonded as per usual rules.
This should probably not work on foci bound to other mages, but only to unbound foci.
Fortune
QUOTE (Bossemanden)
This should probably not work on foci bound to other mages, but only to unbound foci.

Or alternately, would require an Astral Quest (TN = Foci Force (/2?) + Initiate Grade of Person currently Bonded?) to allow initial activation.

Additionally, any use (activation) of the Foci by the currently-Bonded mage would render any and all accumulated Karma Points null and void in regards to the eventual Bonding.
Bossemanden
Sounds reasonable.
Jason Farlander
Umm... requiring an astral quest to use a bonded focus or disallowing the use of a bonded focus altogether completely defeats the purpose of the house rule, as originally envisioned.

I think, if anything, that you should only be able to exert temporary control over bound foci. If the owner is killed, the focus goes dormant until it is bound by someone else. That serves the original goal of turning someones magical toys against them, while also eliminating the temptation to try to keep using the focus without bonding it.
Derek
QUOTE (Jason Farlander)
Umm... requiring an astral quest to use a bonded focus or disallowing the use of a bonded focus altogether completely defeats the purpose of the house rule, as originally envisioned.

I think, if anything, that you should only be able to exert temporary control over bound foci. If the owner is killed, the focus goes dormant until it is bound by someone else. That serves the original goal of turning someones magical toys against them, while also eliminating the temptation to try to keep using the focus without bonding it.

Meh, but the cheesy fantasy cliche I envisioned also allowed the mage to grab a wand from the treasure hoard of a dragon and blast him with it.

So, I kind of like using any focus whether bound to someone else or not.

Jason F., I like the idea of making it like banishing; the only problem I have with it is it seems like a long process for one use (not long in game time, but long dice rolling time) Might grind the game to a halt. On the other hand, this is not something that should happen very often.

I'll have to think about this.

Derek
Fortune
Astral Quests can be pretty much instantaneous, as evidenced by the one used in Invoking.

This whole thing could be a form of Metamagic. Call it Karmic Infusion(yuck!).

QUOTE
Karmic Infusion: The Initiate can make use of (ie activate and use) any Focus he could normally use that is not presently Bonded to themselves. Each such use requires the expenditure of one Good Karma point, to a maximum of the normal Bonding cost of that particular Focus. Once this limit is reached the Focus is considered to be Bonded to the Initiate. The Initiate must also resist Drain with a TN of the Force of the Focus[M] each time this Metamagic is used.

If the Focus is currently Bonded to another Initiate, The TN to resist Drain is raised by the Bondholder's Initiate level. Any use (activation) of the Focus by its Bondholder cancels all previously spent Karma by the user of this Metamagic for the purposes of Bonding. Additionally, to complete the final Bonding, an Astral Quest (Complex Action) must be undertaken with a TN equal to Initiate level of the Focus' Bondholder plus the Force of Focus (?).
Jason Farlander
QUOTE (Derek)
Meh, but the cheesy fantasy cliche I envisioned also allowed the mage to grab a wand from the treasure hoard of a dragon and blast him with it.


Methinks that, were you to find yourself in a SR Dragon's hoard, you would have more important things to worry about than trying to get +3 dice to combat spells.

As for grinding the game to a halt... eh, not really. The process sounds more complicated than it is. I dont really feel like doing the math (im kinda sick) but, just using a diceroller program, after 10 separate attempts to steal control over a force 4 focus assuming a magic rating of 6 for both the character and the focus owner, it never took more than 4 tests to come to a resolution, and each test takes an insignificant amount of time. It would take a little longer with actual dice, true, but its not really something that should ever take more than a minute or two to resolve.

And as you said, unless your NPC mages are completely inept, this isnt something that should happen very often.
Jason Farlander
QUOTE (Fortune)
Astral Quests can be pretty much instantaneous, as evidenced by the one used in Invoking.

Huh? I'm looking at the section on invoking in MiTS, and I see nothing about any sort of astral quest. Perhaps this is a holdover from SR2?

Now... let me flip a few pages... ahh yes... Astral Quests

QUOTE (MITS pg 95)
All Astral Quests (except for Initiation and True Aura) take time in the physical world equal to (Rating) d6 hours.


Hmm... The initiation ritual actually takes *days* to complete, but it does seem that the True Aura astral quest takes place instantaneously...odd. So there is some precedent, if youre willing to downplay the "all except" wording. However, the astral quest would end up requiring even more dicerolling than a banishing-type test, and I kinda like the flavor of disrupting the focus owner's aura.
Fortune
In regards to the Invoking thing, I am pretty sure it is a holdover from SR2. Sorry about that. I was sure there were other such examples of Astral Quests taking place pretty with pretty much no time passing on the physical, but I must just be remembering the one you listed and the old rules. Even so, precedent is precedent. wink.gif

QUOTE (Jason Farlander @ Oct 5 2004, 11:26 AM)
However, the astral quest would end up requiring even more dicerolling than a banishing-type test

True, which is why I eliminated it from the actual taking-over phase of the thing in the Metamagic I cobbled together.

I also like a contest between the Bondholder and the character trying to use it. Perhaps it could only come up if both are trying to activate it at the same time.
Edward
If you where going to do this (and I wouldnít recommend it) the drain should be physical or light depending on the force of the focus and magic attribute (same as summoning and sorcery drain).

The magic loss would discourage repeated use but I still would keep the drain at a flat level. L for sustainers, M for specific spell, S for spell category or spirit, D for power. Correct those levels as you see fit. I donít have my books here, it is supposed to be based loosely on the karma cost for bonding.

Also you should still need to take the action to active the focus.

And you might find mages on the line of focus addiction deciding the have a better chance of keeping their magic if they use a focus as unbounded instead of activating it.

I do like Jason Farlanderís system much more

Edward
Cain
QUOTE
Meh, but the cheesy fantasy cliche I envisioned also allowed the mage to grab a wand from the treasure hoard of a dragon and blast him with it.

You don't need any rules for that. Just make it a Unique focus that can be used by anybody. A wand from a great dragon, or some uber-relic from the big bad guy, should be something more than the run-of-the-mill foci used by everyone else.

Look up "Unique enchantments" in MITS. You'll see what I mean. And you don't even have to worry about abuse, since Unique Enchantments only operate under the conditions you define.
Moon-Hawk
The damage definitely shouldn't decrease. If you're arguing that you're getting used to the focus, then you're bonding the focus. Decreasing damage might work as a mechanic for bonding a particularly expensive focus over time, though.
Cochise
I have trouble with that "unbound foci" thing here:

The majority of foci is bound to a magician, since foci have to be bonded upon creation. In order to have an actually unbound focus, the person who bonded it at last, has to die, sicne there's no canon way for unbinding a focus other than binding it to a new magician ...
RedmondLarry
After a magician spend 1 Karma Point to start a bonding process, the old bonding is broken but the new bonding is not yet completed. The focus is no longer bound at that point.
Kagetenshi
QUOTE (Bossemanden)
Another possibility is to make every use of the unbound focus cost 1 good karma, and cause drain like first force times deadly, then force times serious, then force times moderate and finally force times light. This karma should count towards binding the focus.

Replace with "Should not count towards bonding the focus", and I'll agree completely. Actually, if you make the cost 1/2 Force in karma, rounded up, you end up with a reason to bond right quick, no extra drain needed past the first attempt.

~J
Cochise
QUOTE (OurTeam)
After a magician spend 1 Karma Point to start a bonding process, the old bonding is broken but the new bonding is not yet completed. The focus is no longer bound at that point.

Do you have a canon reference that allows partial expendure of karma for purposes of binding (and subsequently unbinding) foci?
Fortune
As far as I know it's all or nothing as far as bonding is concerned.

I allow partial Bonding in my games, but only allow the bondee access to an equivalent percentage of the Focus' power until it is fully paid for.
RedmondLarry
QUOTE (Cochise)
QUOTE (OurTeam)
After a magician spend 1 Karma Point to start a bonding process, the old bonding is broken but the new bonding is not yet completed. The focus is no longer bound at that point.
Do you have a canon reference that allows partial expendure of karma for purposes of binding (and subsequently unbinding) foci?
Sorry, Cochise, I don't. I don't recall whether I learned this from a published adventure, from an earlier edition of Shadowrun, or whether it was a house rule for the GM who taught me in 1992. It is how I handle it if the bonding process is interrupted.
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