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phydaux
Hey guys! phy here.

I'm an old Shadowrun 2nd Ed player. Never played 3rd Ed. I'll be GM'ing a 3rd Ed game soon, though. The owner of my local FLAGS is letting me run a one-off demo game with pre-generated characters. Trying to see if we can drum up interest in Shadowrun in time for 4th ed to come out.

I'll brush up on the differances between 2nd and 3rd as time goes by. My question is regarding Spell Locks.

If someone wants a spell they don't know cast on them and have it made permanent, then need a spell lock. The problem is there is now an astral link from the user back to the caster. So, the question becomes "What fool in his right mind would ever cast and lock a spell on a stranger, regardless of how much they payed him?" The answer, of course, is no one.

So does that mean spell locks are worthless?

In past games I have played it that players can bind a spell lock with one point of good Karma, similar to how a Mage bonds a Power Focus. This allows PCs to get spells cast on them and be made permanent without astral trails back to NPCs. However, this ALSO provides a "ground" between the user and asteral space. Another mage in astral form can float by, spot the spell lock and cast a Powerball through the spell lock.

This provides a risk to go along with the utility of locked spells. The problem here is that the player isn't in any more danger with ten spell locks than he is with just one spell lock. Five or so carefully chosen spells all locked on one player can turn a starting character into a game-breaking Ubermench.

So one final solution becomes to make players only lock spells they know and cast themselves. This option recieves a LOT of pushback from players. Most of them don't want to spend any of their valuable Force Points on spells that plan to only case once. And yet it seems the only way to avoid a possible game breaking conundrum.

What do you guys say?
Sharaloth
In SR3 spell locks are replaced by Sustaining Foci, and I'm fairly certain that while the spirit remains the same, the essence is totally different. I'm assuming your questions refer to 3rd edition. If not, then disregard everything I say.

A spell in a sustaining focus is not 'permanent', only sustained indefinitely until it's dispelled, loses contact with the subject of the spell, or is shut off by the magician it's bonded to. The spell retains the caster's astral signiture, as does the focus, which can be used as a material link to the caster for ritual sorcery.

Only magicians capable of sorcery can bond sustaining foci, and a magician can only use a sustaining foci he's bonded to for the specific spell he bonded the focus for. In SR3 you can no longer ground spells through active foci from the Astral, though you can attack and disable the spell.

A magician can only have as many active foci as his intelligence rating, and he risks focus addiction (and magic loss) if the total combined ratings of all active foci are greater than twice his magic attribute. So multiple uber-powerful sustained spells on a character is not likely to happen except in special occasions.

does this information help at all?
Fortune
Even in SR2, there was an Astral Trail from the Spell Lock back to the Caster. This could be hidden via an Astral Quest, but could also be followed by doing a similar Quest.

Spells cast into Spell Locks were not 'permanent'. They held a sustained spell, but could be dispelled or fought in Astral Combat, or would become inactive if removed from their target/subject. A more permanent form of spells would use Quickening (or Tattooing) to 'lock' the spell to the target/subject.

None of this really changes with SR3, except that in pace of Spell Locks there are Sustaining Foci, which have a Force rating which dictates the maximum Force of spell that it can sustain.

Grounding through active Foci does not exist as an option in SR3.
phydaux
QUOTE (Sharaloth @ Mar 25 2005, 01:02 AM)
does this information help at all?

Yes, very much.

So should I allow my PCs to walk into a Spell Shack and have a Wage Mage cast and bond an Increased Reflexes +3 Sustaining Foci for a few thousand Nuyen and one good Karma, or should I requior my Mages to learn Increased Reflexes +3 at at least Force 1 and bond the foci themselves?

And if he learned Increased Reflexes +3 at Force 1 and sustained it with a Sustaining Focus, would that count as 1 or 3 toward focus addiction?

Even if it cost three, then that's still Increased Reflexes +3, Increased Attribute (Willpower) +3 and a level 4 Power Focus for well under the limit that a Magic Rating 6 starting mage would have.

And with enough resources, the player could buy and bond them all without having to use up starting force points (except to buy the spells at level 1 each).
phydaux
How does Tattooing work? Is it a metamagic like Quickening, or more like ritual sorcery?

You know, in all my years of playing Shadowrun I've never seen a PC get past Level 0 initiation. Not even Cash for Karma allowed a mage to rack up enough good Karma fast enough to advance past that.

Same old story - Deckers need money, Mages need Karma and Street Sams need BIGGER GUNS.
Herald of Verjigorm
Buying someone else to use a sustaining focus on you (a rarely available option considering ritual tracking and possible implications as an accessory to a crime) at force 1 should cost about 15000 for the focus and ... and I forget the price suggested for one point of karma spent on you.

It is much more realistic to make the PCs pay 15000 each force of sustaining focus and the karma needs (only 1 for each force 1 sustaining focus) of the trick. And the resultant increased reflexes +3 sustaining focus counts as 1 for your focus total and only as 1 for your focus addiction count. Note that these must be bound to a mage, but can be used on others. They count toward the mage's focus limits regardless of who is getting the benefit.

Also, only reflexes is force independant of the increased ____ spells. The others add points based on sorcery successes up to a maximum of the spell's force.

Tattooing is a variant of quickening, a few additional drawbacks, but harder to break.
Sharaloth
Yes, the force 1 Increase Reflexes +3 is the cheeziest of the cheese. It's a rediculously overpowered spell that you could throw in a force 1 sustaining focus (counting as 1 towards focus addiction). It's munchkin, but it's rediculously easy to dispell, so have enemy mages just take the damn spell out the first chance they get.

And, yeah, a starting Magic 6 mage could have a force 3 Inc. Reflexes +3, a force 3 Inc. Will and a force 4 power focus active all at the same time, with 2 force points to spare. They can't have all that at creation, though. It costs karma to bond these things. Sustaining foci cost their force in Karma to bond, and are bought by force, not spell, so you can change the spell the focus is set to sustain by re-bonding the sustaining focus. Yes, the mage has to learn the spell himself if he wants to cast it (the only way to use a sustaining focus). If the focus loses contact with the subject of the spell the focus deactivates (As in, if the mage using the munchkiny Force 1 Inc. Reflexes +3 in a sustaining focus drops the focus, it turns off the spell).

Remember, these things cost Karma to bond, and you have to bond it to use it. At character creation you can use spell points instead of karma points to bond a focus. This still means that a force 6 sustaining focus costs 6 spell points to bond, and a force 4 Power Focus costs 20 spell points at creation. If a mage wants to waste that much money and spell points, let 'im. He starts the game with a bonus to the dice he can use, but a spell selection that sucks terribly.

Now, buying a bunch of force 1 Sustaining foci to go along with your plethora of force 1 spells and bonding them all with your starting spell points. Sure, that's allowed by the rules. You're going to get ruled by the first astral mage that comes along, but whatever.
Edward
Every issue you brought up was changed in SR3

The equivalent of a spell lock is a sustaining focus. It must be at a force equal to the force of the spell. Only a magician with sorcery can bond a sustain focus and at bonding he must choose 1 spell he knows to have the focus bond. Changing the spell requires rebonding the focus and spending more karma. The spell will still stop being sustained when the magician looses conchesnus or falls asleep so you will need to cast the spell at least every day.

If you want a spell always on then you need quickening or the very similar tattooing. These metamagics can be used on somebody that dose not know the spell or indeed may not even be magically active. They can be destroyed by dispelling or passing threw wards and mean it is imposable to pas threw a ward without alerting the creator unless you have masking. (making quickening a small spell on somebody a nasty revenge). These metamagics leave as much evidence of the casting magician as a sustained spell I donít think that is enough for ritual magic. If you want it done you will need to find somebody that knows the metamagic and is wiling to perform it on you, this will be GM discretion there is no guideline for cost or availability I suggest without a contact that knows the metamagic it is almost imposable or possibly the reward for a job. I would not allow a character to start with this.

As for grounding, it just doesnít exist any more. I would be tempted to make a metamagic out of it,

Edward
phydaux
QUOTE (Herald of Verjigorm)
only reflexes is force independant of the increased ____ spells. The others add points based on sorcery successes up to a maximum of the spell's force.

Ah. I think I'm getting it.

So if the character bought Increased Attribute (Willpower) at level 2, used two pool dice to cast it, then cast it over and over until all four dice were successes and then sustained it with a focus, it would give +4 to Willpower and count as 2 toward Focus Addiction?

Still seems like a power gaming mage could have 3-4 spells sustained along with a level 4 Power Focus. He would glow like a becon in astral, probable attract a lot of unwanted Watcher Spirits (I love Watcher Spirits).

So the down side of all those low level sustaining foci would be that one decent Manaball in astral space would pop them all, right? Or a conjurer could summon three Watchers and have each Watcher attack a differant foci and pop them without actually hurting the mage? (GOD! I love Watcher Spirits!).

Bond enough of them and low level asteral entities would do it themselves, attracted to the foci like mosquitos to a florecent light.

What kind of limits do you set with your players? Seems like I could allow a player a Force 1 Increased Reflexes +3 sustaining focus and a level 4 Power Focus, with the understanding that any more foci and I get to "play" with them in astral space, and that the Increased Reflexes foci could pop at any time.
Da9iel
No, in SR3 you throw dice equal to your sorcery plus any magic pool dice you want to use (up to your sorcery). The raise attribute spells grant +1 per success up to +Force. A force 2 spell could only raise your attribute +2 regardless of how many successes you get.

Edit: typo
Fortune
QUOTE (Edward)
The spell will still stop being sustained when the magician looses conchesnus or falls asleep so you will need to cast the spell at least every day.


Where do you get this? Can you give me a quote to back that up?

phydaux: No offence, but I really think you might need to review the core rules (at the very least) for SR3 before attempting to GM a demonstration game.
Cain
QUOTE
So should I allow my PCs to walk into a Spell Shack and have a Wage Mage cast and bond an Increased Reflexes +3 Sustaining Foci for a few thousand Nuyen and one good Karma, or should I requior my Mages to learn Increased Reflexes +3 at at least Force 1 and bond the foci themselves?

You should require them to nond it themselves. As previously stated, the sustaining focus carries the caster's astral signature, and can be used against the caster in ritual sorcery. Very few mages would be willing to take that risk. Also, it counts against the *mage's* focus addiction, so a mage who randomly hands out these spells will risk addiction very quickly.
QUOTE
And if he learned Increased Reflexes +3 at Force 1 and sustained it with a Sustaining Focus, would that count as 1 or 3 toward focus addiction?

Even if it cost three, then that's still Increased Reflexes +3, Increased Attribute (Willpower) +3 and a level 4 Power Focus for well under the limit that a Magic Rating 6 starting mage would have.

It'd count as one, but the Increased Willpower focus would count as at least 3. Since the force now caps the Increase bonus, you could end up only getting a +3 out of a force 4 or higher spell.

QUOTE
And with enough resources, the player could buy and bond them all without having to use up starting force points (except to buy the spells at level 1 each).

Hardly. To buy the spells and bond those foci, he'd need to spend 28 force points. That's less than the maximum of 50, but above the starting 25 that mages get. Also, in case it's not clear, you can't buy an Increase Attribute spell at force 1 and get a +3 bonus out of it. It maxes out with a bonus equal to the force.

QUOTE
How does Tattooing work? Is it a metamagic like Quickening, or more like ritual sorcery?

It is a metamagic precicely like Quickening. In fact, it uses much the same rules-- it's considered a variant. However, it has to be learned separately-- if you initate, you can learn one or the other, or any other metamagic, but not more than one.
QUOTE ("Edward")
The spell will still stop being sustained when the magician looses conchesnus or falls asleep so you will need to cast the spell at least every day.

Um... where are you getting this from? The focus keeps it going, even if consciousness is lost.
Edward
QUOTE (Fortune)
QUOTE (Edward)
The spell will still stop being sustained when the magician looses conchesnus or falls asleep so you will need to cast the spell at least every day.


Where do you get this? Can you give me a quote to back that up?


OK I cant quote a reference. It was just something I was told and accepted, in the morning you need to recast your sustained spells.

Dose somebody have evidence to the contrary.

Edward
Tarantula
I submit that since the sustaining focus says it sustains until the bonded mage drops the spell, the target loses contact with it, its dispelled, or its destroyed by attack in astral space, those are the only circumstances that will turn it off. Sleeping/lack of conciousness won't since it isn't in that list.
toturi
QUOTE (SR3 p178)
A caster cannot sustain a spell if unconscious or asleep.


However, a sustaining focus can sustain the spell even if the caster was asleep.
hyzmarca
QUOTE (Cain)
QUOTE
So should I allow my PCs to walk into a Spell Shack and have a Wage Mage cast and bond an Increased Reflexes +3 Sustaining Foci for a few thousand Nuyen and one good Karma, or should I requior my Mages to learn Increased Reflexes +3 at at least Force 1 and bond the foci themselves?

You should require them to nond it themselves. As previously stated, the sustaining focus carries the caster's astral signature, and can be used against the caster in ritual sorcery. Very few mages would be willing to take that risk. Also, it counts against the *mage's* focus addiction, so a mage who randomly hands out these spells will risk addiction very quickly.

The Spell Shack wouldn't be selling pre-bonded sustaining foci because it isn't donst effective. Foci addiction severly limits the number of customerssuch a service could have at once. However, you could make an appointment with the Spell Shack to get a spell quickened. If force 3 or greater you would need to present a permit, as a repetuable establishment would sell spells illegaly. Quickening presents its own problems but it makes much more sense for a bussiness. The only real threat to quickened spells is wards, and the Spell Shack people will certainly tell you that their warrenty doesn't cover damage caused by illegaly crossing wards.
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