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I was considering introducing a new metamagic technique in my SR game. The concept is super basic and pretty easy to adjust for.

Advanced Masking

As the name implies it would be an advanced form of the Masking Tech. Masking would be a prereq. to it. By taking it as a MM Tech it would increase your effective intiation grade by 2 levels for the purposes of Masking only. This would change the number of succ. needed in the opposed magic test to break the veil of masking and would allow you to mask up to 2 more force points worth of spell/foci. I don't think it is overpowering, and would allow people to improve their masking ability faster. I see a lot of players that just start picking up new MM techs. as they intiate, even though they don't fit their character, only because their is nothiing else for them to get that does fit them. Masking is handy and fits just about any type of runner. I was considering allowing this, and maybe even allowing it to be taken multiple times. So what does everyone think?
looks good.. actually you could make decent houserules that allow you to take most initiate powers multiple times and get greater results with them. masking is one of those things that are not that useful as everyone in published modules seems to be initiated, so having some option to ´specialize´in this would be useful.
I would include some sort of `find a teacher` into this as it gives good opportunity for new runs but that is just me smile.gif

No. Masking gets better as you innitiate more, period. No shortcuts.

Though I do agree sometimes there's just no technique for you, although I would hope by the time you innitiate multiple times the option to change astral signature, or drop a geas, becomes more meaningful to you.
Ol' Scratch
Here's something a little more balanced, or more correctly one that's more appropriate because it's not a flat across-the-board boost to Masking.

Improved Masking
Requirement: Masking.

When using deliberate masking, your target number is equal to your Magic attribute minus your initiate grade and you may use Centering to increase the number of successes achieved with this test.
Interesting idea, but I don't like the idea of using one MM tech to enhance another. For some reason it just seems like it could snowball really quickly.
Ol' Scratch
Did I miss something then?
Herald of Verjigorm
Well,if you can use centering to enhance masking, then you toss in something that improves centering without accounting for it, you can get an unexpectedly large bonus.

If you really want a way to give masking a boost, have active masking as a skill that can grow with normal training. Passive masking still only works by initiate grade, but active masking goes as high as you want to spend the karma. Link it to your magic attribute for terms of karma, or intelligence if you don't like that idea (as this is a type of astral stealth, astral quickness as the linked attribute, thus intelligence).
Ol' Scratch
It's just one metamagic that improves a partial aspect of another metamagic technique if you use another partial aspect from another technique. I fail to see the snowballancing/unexpectedly large bonus problem. Centering isn't the god-like power people around here seem to think it is, and this one basically requires you to have three metamagic techniques to get a single decent benefit out of it. You can do it with two, too, but the benefit will miss out on the +1 or +2 bonus Centering would provide.

Of course, saying that about Centering is saying that no new magical skills should be introduced into the game ever. Add a new metamagic technique that uses a skill (like, oh, Psychometry)? D'oh! You just improved Centering. The game's just gone to hell...
Crimsondude 2.0
I saw a really cool Masking-based metamagic that would allow a mage to disguise their aura as anyone/thing else. Particularly useful in conjunction with a shapechange spell, so when you look like an elf, your aura does too.
QUOTE (Backgammon)
No. Masking gets better as you innitiate more, period. No shortcuts.

That explains why this would exist as a seperate metamagic, not why this doesn't work. That's like saying that there shouldn't have been Reaction Enhancers, or Move-By-Wire(no comments here about the validity of such a belief based on other premises), because "Wired Reflexes improve initiative, period. No shortcuts." This is the reason enhancements and additions exist, to permit extension of powers beyond what's explicitly stated in the rules.

That aside, I like to think that metamagics should, rather than the static benefit this provides, base their improvement upon the power of the user, becoming more effective as the user improves. With that in mind, here are a couple of Masking-related advanced metamagics I've come up with. They use a notation that people probably aren't familiar with, vis-a-vis a friend of mine's advanced metamagic system that I subscribe to. Still, the rules are the same whether you understand the nomenclature or not. Here they are:

Concealing (uncommon metamagic); requires: masking, initiate grade 4+; taught by: initiates, astral quest, free spirits, research
Concealing is an advancement upon the masking metamagic, specifically tailored towards enhancing the character's ability to conceal foci, quickened spells, and other astrally active objects on the character's person. An initiate who knows Concealing may conceal an additional number of fetishes and foci equal to half of his or her initiate grade, rounded down.

A character with Concealing and Disguising* may partially mask foci and other similar constructs, only counting the number of force rating points of the focus that they have chosen to mask, rather than the focus's total force rating, against their limit. For those who fail to break the initiate's masking, treat such a partially masked astral construct as having an effective rating equal to its true rating minus the number of points of that rating that have been masked.

A character with Concealing and Cloaking* gains a bonus to the results of their diceroll to avoid astral detection. The bonus follows a triangular progression, based upon the initiate's grade(1 at Grade 1, 2 at Grade 3, 3 at Grade 6, 4 at Grade 10, 5 at Grade 15, etc....).

Discerning (rare metamagic); requires: astral perception, masking, initiate grade 5+; taught by: initiates, astral quest, free spirits, research

Discerning is an enhancement upon standard astral perception based upon a fundamental understanding of the techniques that may be undertaken in order to alter or conceal their natures from astral observers. It allows those capable of breaking masking to do so.

When an initiate with Discerning attempts to penetrate the masking of another initiate, or free spirit, or other being with the masking power, reduce the masking target's effective magic rating and initiate grade in a triangular progression based upon the initiate grade of the character with Discerning(-1 at Grade 1, -2 at Grade 3, -3 at Grade 6, -4 at Grade 10, -5 at Grade 15, etc...)

Discerning is completely compatible with Disguising* In addition, a character with Discerning is treated as having Disguising*, even if they do not, for purposes of breaking the masking of those with Disguising*.

* - Advanced metamagics covered elsewhere.
Kanada Ten
QUOTE (Crimsondude 2.0)
I saw a really cool Masking-based metamagic that would allow a mage to disguise their aura as anyone/thing else. Particularly useful in conjunction with a shapechange spell, so when you look like an elf, your aura does too.

Yeah, I like that idea as a Masking upgrade, and the one where you can mask your aura's presence from the astral completely (so that you match under invisibility).

It seems to me that what Brazila wants works more like how a focus should work and considering they have Centering Foci, I don't think it's that much of a step to Masking Foci.
I would prefer to see a form of masking that is more effective, but I think your Initiate grade should factor into it more. Right now, it really isn't that hard for a grade 1 initiate to see through a grade 4's masking, even though the grade 4 is supposed to be looked at as (in a role playing aspect) a much higher level magi.

I think a type of focus would spring wings here if we turned masking into a skill, so that would become pretty pimp. Especially for conjurers. (I'll leave that to your imaginations)

Since the introduction of imps, there seems to be a hint of multiple types of masking powers available. I wouldn't have a problem with a technique allowing a conjurer to summon a special form of greater form spirit with masking. Of course requiring invoking as a prereq.
One metamagic I think interesting would be an upgrade on evoking

Spirit molding
Required: Evoking

When a Character summons a spirit other than a watcher, S/he may chose to alter the appearance of the spirit on the physical plane. This must be declared before the summoning. After both (Or all four, for great forms) conjuring and drain tests, make another pair of test.

The Molding Conjuring test has a modifier based on the degree of the change

Specify a form a spirit of this type might normally take
(Wind spirit as a bird, water elemental as a liquid humanoid)+0
Modification of a normal form (Black/white fire elemental) +2
Form a spirit of this type probably wouldn't take +4 to +6
Metahuman +6 to +8
Specific metahuman +10
Form opposed to the spirit's nature
(Toxic form, insect, opposing element, etc) +8 or more

the number of sucesses (Or the spirit's force if lower) is the TN for perception tests to tell that the spirit is not what it appears as. If no sucesses are rolled, the summoning fails. The astral form and signature of the spirit are unchanged, as are technological perceptions of the spirit.

After the Molding Conjuring test, make another drain test. The TN of the test is the same at the previous test, but at -1 DL, (IE, 4M to 4L) to a minimum of light.

I iknow I once said that I don't want to see more metamagic, but this comes from something I want in targrt: Astral Space: what do spirits look like normally, and abnormally.

(Sorry about the partial post - it appears my connection at home kicks me offline if I try to post to dumpshock)
Moonstone Spider
What about instead making Masking also have a skill, as centering and a few other MMs do. Roll your masking skill against 4, each success acts like an extra initiate grade for masking purposes.
in my opinion there are several things in the magic system that need revamping (some spell efefcts not being properly linked to force, printing money via orichaclum or gold, ...)- specifically including automatic advancement of most metamagic techniques as you initiate - masking should only go up each time you choose it - same with sheilding, etc. That way you can have specialization happening without magic getting even more out of control powerfull

Ol' Scratch
That's way too limiting as initiation isn't supposed to be something you can get into the double digits with. That's why they make a big deal out of that for dragons and immortal elves.

I know that the few times I've played a character who's hit Grade 5 or higher, there were still quite a few metamagic techniques I was interested in getting.
We're getting into more radical territory here, but since they already reworked initiation in a pretty radical fashion in 3rd Ed, I think the current system is too granular - a lot of mechanics, particularly metamagic advancement work a lot better if initiation is cheaper and there are less differences between levels - obviously you'd have to rework the power scale accordingly, so that a level 10 initiate represented "just" a really powerful mage rather than a world-beater, but I think it would solve a lot of other problems.

One option would be to remove the progressive increase in costs for initiation (so the early ones would stay expensive but the later ones would become more accessible) but make magic attribute increases decline in a triangular fashion - increases only at grade 1,3,6,10 etc etc...
automatic advancement of most metamagic techniques as you initiate

That's why I don't play D&D, D20, or the like.
I never have liked anything that's automatically delt with an advancement...seems too cheesy
Ol' Scratch
So you're opposed to Combat Pool and Reaction? Those are automatically dealt with whenever you advance Quickness, Intelligence, and/or Willpower.
no, no...
That's part of an doesn't directly relate really, but somewhat does.

It's the entire concept of, My skill raised to this rating/level so I get these new feats/abilities/techniques.

I don't like bulk handouts of stuff like that. I like the player to have to choose to up it, and I like to see some sort of likeness to working towards a gain instead of an appearance of sudden bestowment.
Ol' Scratch
Most metamagic works the same way. Masking follows an equation; your ability to mask once you learn the technique is derived from your Initiate Grade and your Magic Attribute. Likewise, you do indeed have to choose to take Masking when you initiate, as opposed to some other metamagic technique, shedding a geas, or altering your astral signature.

I'm failing to see the difference between that and Quickness. If you choose to improve Quickness over Strength, you gain a "sudden bestowment" to your Combat Pool, Control Pool, Reaction, Rigger Reaction, armor limitation, and movement speed. That's a pretty big "freebie" compared to what you get with a boost to Strength.
I think the difference is that quickness is a measure of specific set of characteristics which you make a specific decision to increase - the fact that any such increase has flow-on effects is perfectly realistic given what quickness, and any improvement in it, is supposed to stand for.

Stumps' problem with initiate grade (which I'm not certain I agree with) is that it's more of an abstract measure of "power" which hauls up a whole load of not-necessarily-related skills (obvious they are related in terms of the rules, but there's no conceptual reason why they should be, which is the relevant test when arguing about the rules) as an automatic consequence of a decesion to increase the magic attribute - that reduces the need to focus on improving something before it improves and looks a lot more like "levels" which bothers a lot of people I suspect.
Ol' Scratch
I still see no difference between the two.

In one case you spend karma to improve one characteristic (Quickness) and it impacts other abilities you possess (Reacton, Combat Pool, Armor, etc.). In the other case you spend karma to improve one characteristic (Initiate Grade) and it impacts other abilities you possess (Magic, Metamagic, Astral Pool, etc.).
Stumps doesn't really bug me because they do it fairly well unlike other systems...but if it were to actually get on my nerves it would be because it produces a direct raise in techniques.

Raising Quickness, for example (not trying to start an argument because this is really all about player preference rather than rationality...always has been, always will be, but just so you see my view), raises your Reaction.
That makes some sense to me because when you raise your muscle mass, you raise your punches power; when you raise your agility, you improve your reaction; when you better your cardio-vascular(sp), you lower your run-time.
Combat Pool is supposed to reflect your weight above another player because of your disposition and so it makes sense that it would raise if your physical abilities raise because indeed you have increased your battle readiness. never made sense to me. Click Here to find out why.
The Initiate Grade always bothered me.
1) It takes so bleeding long that a percentage of players not in the majority are the ones who see it's high ends...which may be it's point...but it sure means you better play alot and if you don't have the time then kiss it good bye for a good while.

2) As far as what it impacts.
Just off of what you mentioned.

Magic...This, I don't really mind too much because it's one (if not the only...not sure) of the few ways you can increase your Magic ability and sense the Magic ability represents your atunement(sp) with the Mana/Magic then it makes sense to raise it when you raise in your Initiate grades.

You know what? I'm not going to evaluate further because this is simpler.
What would make more sense to me is if beyond the Magic Ability raising, you were given 'X' amount of Initiate points to add to Pools, or turn into Skill Points exclusively for magic relating skills.
Any points not used would be saved until your next Initiate Grade gain where you would be allowed to use them again. (not sure...but you could justify them being worth only half as much if you save them like this to represent having learned something but not using it and thus forgetting some of it over time.)

That's more my style of thinking...
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