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Hell Hound
My understand of the situation is the same as Sunshine's. The level of mana in the world is supposed to be gradually increasing each year, hence all the fun and games with the passing of Halley's comet. The ambient mana level had climbed high enough for stuff like SURGE and presumably the appearance of the Shedim. It's certainly a fun thing to do in moderation, to shake up the status quo in the SR world and throw in some new toys for us GMs to play with, but it could get old fast if it was done too often. As much as I liked the Halley's comet shakeup, to do something else of that magnitude in anything less than another fifty years of game time would probably be too soon.

Eyeless Blonde, I agree that 1 in 100 isn't exceedingly rare, but SR covers itself there by pointing out that a mix of social and religious pressure and sometimes just a lack of events to bring out the latent talent can keep a person from ever expressing their magical ability. The end result being that "only a fraction" of those with the talent ever discover it and use it. There is no real indication of just how many active magic users there are in the SR world, there is the potential for around 1% of the population to be magic users but far less than that apparently are magic users. Add in the fact that most people identified with magical talent get snapped up for government or corporate training programs and are lucky if they see the light of day again and presto, almost noone who is mundane knows anything about magic and the vast majority of mundane individuals will never ever meet someone who is magic. That's how the 1 in 100 ratio becomes 'rare as hens teeth' magic users. Then again because the exact percentage is kept vague GMs can have as many magic users in their campaign as they want.

Just as an aside, I am colourblind and I seem to be one of a very small number at my university. Colourblindness is not immediately obvious to observers, kind of like magical talent, but once some sort of event does reveal that I am colourblind I always end up with people coming up to me and asking what it's like. I have lost track of the number of times a person has pointed to every coloured object within visual range to ask me what colour I see and then looked at me with amazement when I answer, as if he/she can't wrap their head around the fact that I actually don't see the same colour as them.

I'm in a game for the roleplaying. Since the definition of "sixth world" is magic on an upswing (becoming more available) and since Magic clearly worked even in the downswing (Tunguska, according to Harlequin) its very hard to say "Magic returned." Magic never left - It was just sleeping.

As such, magic being dependant on essence (spiritual energy) makes the case for allowing late-stage awakenings and at the same time deterring a character.

You have a betawared-up sammie. You get about 50 Karma together and journey off to the Monks of Whatever, and after a long quest discover they can indeed awaken you. Sure, the change will cripple you for a few days, but then they see your Ware.

"You realize, of course, that first you'll have to remove this junk. And that your spiritual power doesn't come back immediately" (I would say about an in-game month allows a 1 point essence recovery after the removal of cyberware, unless I missed other rules) "Furthermore, that to go through this process will leave you out of it for at least a month, and if you choose not to remove this ware then you will risk an awakening occuring all for nothing and, if you are really hooped up on the cyber and bioware, death; your soul cannot handle it."

I bet -plenty- of PCs will say "Min-Maxing? That's called stupid!" (not to mention I equate 50 karma to be worth less than 30 build points off-hand, and would do the math to ensure a self-done awakening costs more than its build-point equivalent.)

So in summary - Storyline purposes MIGHT make this plausible, if your character's brother Awakened and despite your cyber-edge you choose to give it up to be his wanna-be.

(Also, as to the Karma-For-Essence argument, as far as I see for cyber charries there already is - Karma-For-Money allows you to get better ware, which cuts essence costs, which can be recovered slowly in my eyes if you get organic replacements and let your physical body align with your spiritual.)
Hell Hound
Hmmmm. "If you want that magical ability you're going to have to give up all or most of your cyber and bioware." Yeah, I could live with that. It was the ability to combine both Street Sam advantages and Magic User advantages in one character that bothered me. If players have to give up one to gain the other then my main argument with mid-game awakening vanishes.

I've never come across any offical rules for recovering essence, to the best of my knowledge essence lost was almost never recovered except in the case of the short term essence loss caused by Nosferatu. However it was always something I thought should be part of the game, but not because of cyberware, because of vampires. In my games I made vampires lose one point of essence a week, and allowed victims of essence drain to recover one point a month, I found it made interactions with essence drainers more interesting, and a little more common.

But going back to the topic of prevalence of magic in shadowrun and should SR4 change anything. What are people's opinions on the presence of magical critters? Things like vampires, wendigos, behemoths, mermaids, storm dolphins etc. Are there enough, should there be more, fewer? Do they play enough of a role in shadowrun, should they be more common, less common? Should SR4 present the magical critters in a different way?

Personally I would like to see a return to something like the old Paranormal Animals sourcebooks.
Cynic project
Anyone remember Twist?
QUOTE (Cynic project)
Anyone remember Twist?

What about him?
Well to answer the main request of the thread...I think magic should be at least slightly more common as the upswing is still supposed to be in effect.

As for awakening after creation. I'd maybe go the route of it being possible but only if you haven't contaminated yourself with cyber. Basically, once you have awakened you can take cyber but it dims your abilities eventually burning you out. But if you have never awakened taking cyber because of the essence loss destroys your ability to make that jump.

So if you made a completely mundane character (not common but they happen on occasion), you could find that you were actually genetically predisposed for magic...but it didn't manifest until much later than normal. I'd also say that it should cost something serious (unless it somehow fit within the GM's plans in another way).

As a side not and probably destined to not be Earthdawn all the characters were adepts of some sort. So it's not that out of the ordinary to think that eventually mages (and specifically adepts) should eventually be fairly common...though I would say that should be years down the road.
i think that magic and technology should start being integrated. for instance, you could have gamma-grade cyberware, which uses magical treatments and quickened spells to further reduce essence costs. or using spirits for everything--bind flocks of low-force great form air elementals to run a windmill farm with their Storm power, have an air elemental use its Movement power on a high-class airplane to achieve New York-Tokyo times that exceed that of a suborbital. bind city spirits to high-traffic intersections, have them use their Guard power to lower accident rates.
Uhm. Drain.
drain for what? it's not like whipping up a force 3 spirit is going to kill anyone. and if you want it great form, you just have to summon it twice.
How would magical treatment reduce the essence cost for having bunches of circuitry implanted in you? Do you really think it'd be cheaper to have a bunch of air elementals run a wind farm than the wind, given the expense of summoning them (and the possibility of all the magical activity attracting astral attention)? I think the movement power is broken for airplanes anyway--the airplane shouldn't be able to withstand the stress. And while the guard power idea would work, how many intersections have such a high accident rate--especially with the Grid--as to need magical oversight?

Maybe in 3070, when the mana level is through the roof, all this stuff will be easy. But for right now, I'd expect the applications of magic to be rather limited. For example, I can easily see a spirit using its movement power to launch planes faster during military combat, or to make a helicopter landing for wealthy execs feel more gentle--there's lots of money to throw around there, so the extra expense of magic would be worth it. But for everyday cost-competitive activities, the overhead of magic would usually be prohibitively expensive.
as essence isn't a well-explained concept to begin with, tossing in "it's magic" is, i think, a viable way to explain reductions in essence cost. the others... eh, i'm no so sure. it depends on how SR4 magic works. for instance, in SR3, it's impossible to bind a city spirit for longer than 48 hours, so that one's pretty much out the window. in SR4, who knows?

regardless, however, if magic is on the upswing, mages will become more common. therefore, more of them will be available for mundane-type jobs. those examples are just what popped into my head first--it's the overall trend i'm looking at, not necessarily those specific instances.
I hope this upswing is not as steep as you seem to want mfb. I'd rather not have Shadowrun go from cyberpunk/fantasy to high-magic fantasy in a few sourcebooks.
eh, my examples may have gone a bit too far. i just want to see magic used intelligently, rather than being almost wholly seperate from technology.
QUOTE (Ellery)
I think the movement power is broken for airplanes anyway--the airplane shouldn't be able to withstand the stress.

Airplanes can't, actually. Neither can all vehicles. Movement power is different for vehicles, SR3, 265:
When the Movement power is used on vehicles, the critter makes an Essence Test with a target number equal to half the vehicle’s Body. Multiply the successes by the vehicle’s Acceleration Rating and add the result to or subtract it from the vehicle’s Speed in the next Combat turn (similar to the vehicle making an Acceleration or Deceleration Test). The critter may continue making Essence Tests to increase or decrease the vehicle’s speed each Combat Turn it sustains the Movement power. Depending on the situation, this change in speed may call for a Crash or Stress Test.

On Rigger 3, p65:
Breaking the Speed Limit
A vehicle's Speed Rating indicates the maximum sustained speed the vehicle can handle without incurring damage.  An aggressive driver can coax a vehicle up to 1.5 its Speed Rating, but any time a vehicle exceeds its Speed Rating, it incurs 1 Stress Point
QUOTE (hahnsoo @ Apr 29 2005, 12:41 PM)
On Rigger 3, p65:
Breaking the Speed Limit
A vehicle's Speed Rating indicates the maximum sustained speed the vehicle can handle without incurring damage.  An aggressive driver can coax a vehicle up to 1.5 its Speed Rating, but any time a vehicle exceeds its Speed Rating, it incurs 1 Stress Point

This is more of a SR3 board discussion, and likely is a past topic there (several times), but it isn't a solid given that the spirit Movement power would always cause a stress point.

The first quote seems sort of a nebulious comment that urges a GM to insert sanity as needed. But to me it does beg the GM to put serious risk and/or calamity into juicing up a 4-seater Cessna to Mach 3. vegm.gif
When the Movement power is used on vehicles, the critter makes an Essence Test with a target number equal to half the vehicle’s Body. Multiply the successes by the vehicle’s Acceleration Rating and add the result to or subtract it from the vehicle’s Speed in the next Combat turn

Well, goodness, I don't remember reading that in my SR3. Huh. I'll have to go check next time I'm around it. That makes more sense.

as essence isn't a well-explained concept to begin with, tossing in "it's magic" is, i think, a viable way to explain reductions in essence cost.
There's two problems with that. The first is that I'm not willing to cede that essence should be explained in some sort of coherent way that lets one predict, at least a little, what is going to cost essence and what isn't. So the "it's magic" would have to come along with a description of how essence works and why magic can get around the reduction caused by cyberware but not increase essence just for the heck of it. The second is that this violates the tech vs. magic theme in SR. Intrinsically--at least in the eighties--tech was harmful, non-biological, invasive; magic was warm, fuzzy, life-giving, and natural. Well, sort of. Anyway, something as blatantly invasive as metal and silicon jammed into the body seems like a tall order for magical intervention. Magic doesn't really know what to do with a bunch of tiny wires; it's understanding of biology seems to be mostly at the level of wholeness and health, not synapses and signaling pathways, much less silicon-biology interfaces. I could see this spreading into bioware (by pushing the magic into developmental and molecular areas instead of wholeness, or simply by smoothing over what is a somewhat natural process to begin with), but cyberware? That seems like a stretch.

Then again, there's the "otaku are matrix magicians!" point of view, where magic can integrate with tech just fine. Why not have Cyberimplantationalist Adepts who use their magic to integrate their cyber with their body and reduce essence costs, then? If SR4 goes that route, all I ask is that I be able to cast spells on a printed circuit board with a TN of 4 (or a threshold of 1, in SR4 terms) and enchant my pocket secretary as my power focus.
well, like i said, i'm more interested in the overall theme than i am the specific examples. the examples actually don't communicate at all what i was trying get across, now that i look at them. let me try to explain better.

most magical applications in SR seem to be pretty brute-force, concentrating more on end results than processes. you want a given effect, you create a spell that achieves that effect. to kill people, you use damaging spells; to move things, you use levitation.

what i'd like to see is integration of magic and existing technology. instead of using lots of mana at one time to kill people, use the mana to make a better gun. instead of using lots of mana at one time to move things, use the mana to make a more efficient object-mover.

part of the problem here is, it costs karma to do stuff like that. quickening, bound spirits, etcetera cost goodly amounts of karma. i'm not sure how to get around that obstacle.
Aha, that's rather different. There's still a problem with integrating magic and technology too closely, if we accept the tech vs. magic divide, but one can certainly have magic that focuses more on process than the current system does.

One way to overcome this problem is simply to have more process-based spells. I've created lots of these (e.g. to create a miniature kiln or furnace). Another way is to allow temporary magic that isn't sustained (e.g. spend good karma to set up the effect, but get the karma refunded when its duration runs out).

It's also interesting to consider where these spells are best applied. For example, especially in SR2, plants provided an effective, natural astral barrier. Rather than painstakingly trying to manually cover your building with plants, why not do this with spells? Likewise, when you're assembling your wind turbines (and skyscrapers), why not use spirits of the winds to carry parts around rather than cranes?

I would like to see more of this application of magic, and more support in the rules for casting this kind of magic. (E.g. ice sheet is a lot more effective if you don't have to be in line-of-sight of your pursuers' feet to cast it, but instead you set it up as a booby-trap.) But I don't want to see it overdone, or SR is going to feel like FR; there's a wizard at every corner, and every corner store has stocks a dozen different kinds of potions.
I hate those type of settings when I'm playing a fantasy game, so I would rather devs err on the side away.
I agree. But if magic is useful for some selected tasks, it's hard to imagine that it wouldn't be used. Plus, sustaining foci work just fine, so it's not like you can't apply magic to build things right now. (Consider shape earth, for instance.)

The real issue is that automation probably removes most of the use of magic for manufacturing and the like--why get an expensive, unreliable magician when you can unleash an army of cheap, reliable drones and do a better job?
true. you're not going to have magically-enhanced steam shovels. probably, utilitarian magic will be introduced at the very high end of technology, first--when tech has reached limits that it can't readily bypass or overcome.

i was going to include an example, but it sucked.
"Anyone remember Twist?"-Cynic Project

Yeah I remember Sir Twist. As a couple of flash backs in that trilogy pointed out he actually did magic as a young boy, during the Night of Fire if I remember correctly. Didn't actually start learning anything about casting or summoning until much later in life.
Eyeless Blond
One interesting implication of that is that you should probably be able to default on Sorcery, possibly to cast spells that you don't actually know. Do you think it may be possible to make something like that fair/balanced?
I'm not sure how to make such a thing fair, balanced, and useful to starting-level mages without making it shockingly outrageous for initiates, assuming that initiates still get to increase their magic (or whatever stat/skill you default to).

But that's more of a problem with balancing initiates than with having spontaneous magic. Ars Magica handled spontaneous quite well; you could cast spells at about 1/5th power pretty much all day long, of any type you could imagine, and at 1/2 power if you were willing to take automatic drain. But then what would you expect from a game titled "The Art of Magic"?
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