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Crimsondude 2.0
QUOTE
SR4 FAQ, Part Five

Now to get back on track with SR4 FAQ updates. Here are a few answers regarding magic:

Q. Will Magic skills be broken up like firearms in SR3?
A. Magic is roughly divided into two categories for the core book, Sorcery and Conjuring. Rather than being skills of their own, however, those are general categories. The Sorcery skills are Spellcasting, Ritual Spellcasting, and Counterspelling. The Conjuring skills are Summoning, Banishing, and Binding. Those are the skills that do most of the heavy lifting for magic in SR4.

OMG...
BTW, Counterspelling? Really? They're going with Counterspelling as a term? Wow.

QUOTE
Q. Will there still be Metamagic?
A. Yes, though itís not exactly the same. Rather than relying on a host of new additional skills, weíve redesigned metamagic techniques to grant new abilities to skills the magician should already have access to. Metamagic does not make a huge appearance in the core book, however. There just isnít enough room to include it all.

Heh, "Rather than relying on a host of new additional skills..." Nah, they already took care of that in Q#1. However, of the six Magical Skills named in Q#1, none of them is called, "Centering" or "Aura Reading" or "Divining" or... Hmm. They do give themselves an out with, "[The six enumerated skills] are the skills that do most of the heavy lifting for magic in SR4" (emphasis mine), but that begs the question of whether one should now be expected to have a Centering skill at chargen if metamagics, "grant new abilities to skills the magician should already have access to."

QUOTE
Q. Do we still have Mages and Shamans?
A. Yes. In addition, however, a flexible tradition design system has been included, allowing players to model existing traditions easily, or even to create their own along with their GM. Both Hermetic and Shamanic traditions have been created for the main book and are included as the default choices.

Well, the Psionics people will like the tradition creation system, I guess. I guess all the other existing major traditions are relegated to Street Magic.

QUOTE
Q. What are you trying to do with Magic?
A. In setting out to design this, we had a few things in mind that we wanted to do as improvements over the old system. First, we wanted to make sure we were laying the groundwork for something we could expand upon later. One of the big problems with the Magic system up until now is that it simply didnít accomodate additions. It was built to be what it was, and if anything got added, it had to be an entirely new method of doing things. Nothing was ever built upon the existing mechanics, in large part because the original existing mechanics werenít built to accomodate other uses. The result was a system that accumulated rules detritus like a ship gathers barnacles. Thatís not good design.

A second problem was that, despite three editions of the game, Magic was largely still a legacy system (to borrow a bit of computer terminology). Instead of using things that worked and discarding things that didnít, we largely had just kept it all and tried using tweaks and bailing wire to hold it all together. With SR4, we had the luxury of taking it apart, seeing what worked and what didnít, and reassembling it into a working whole, with new parts to replace the missing ones or damaged ones. We also didnít want the mechanics of the core game to work in a substantially different manner than Magic did, so we tried to find new ways to handle rules issues that before had given rise to special cases, created just for Magic. This is true of design all throughout the game, though, not just for the Magic system.

The third goal we had for design with this part of the game was to eliminate unnecessary complexity. We didnít want to do away with the aspects of magic that gave the game its feel, like traditions, spirit summoning, drain, and so forth, but we did want to make sure we didnít have a dozen different systems trying to accomplish what one could do. I think we went a long way toward accomplishing that.

Wow, and I thought I was good at making long-winded vague statements. But, really, I don't know what to say about this.
chevalier_neon
QUOTE
Rather than relying on a host of new additional skills, weíve redesigned metamagic techniques to grant new abilities to skills the magician should already have access to


Sorry, my english is not good enough to fully undeerstand the meaning of this sentence... Does it mean that metamagic techniques will be available to anyone at creation ?
If this is the case, this is a big change, and I guess it's not a stupid one...
If I aml mistaken, well... biggrin.gif
apple
That should be clear. Rob is preparing our nerves for some serious changes. wink.gif

BTW: now, no macroskills, but much more microskills?

SYL
Crimsondude 2.0
QUOTE (chevalier_neon @ May 13 2005, 02:53 AM)
QUOTE
Rather than relying on a host of new additional skills, weíve redesigned metamagic techniques to grant new abilities to skills the magician should already have access to


Sorry, my english is not good enough to fully undeerstand the meaning of this sentence... Does it mean that metamagic techniques will be available to anyone at creation ?

No, I think it refers to the fact that some metamagics require you to have skills other than Sorcery or Conjuring to actually use them (i.e., Centering, Divining, Geomancy, or Anchoring).
apple
QUOTE (chevalier_neon)
If I aml mistaken, well... biggrin.gif

I would rather say, that, for example, if you have counterspelling, you can now add shilding possibilities to the skill.

SYL
Crimsondude 2.0
QUOTE (apple)
QUOTE (chevalier_neon @ May 13 2005, 03:53 AM)
If I aml mistaken, well...  biggrin.gif

I would rather say, that, for example, if you have counterspelling, you can now add shilding possibilities to the skill.

But my question remains, where does Centering fit into all of this?

Is it a tertiary magical skill you should buy at chargen, or does it become an aspect of your magical skills? If so, and this would suck, do you have to purchase it for each skill? Does it even require a test anymore to use, or what?
fistandantilus4.0
if Metamagics get a thorough working over, should be interesting to see how they convert all of those hard earned grades.
Eldritch
QUOTE
Q. What are you trying to do with Magic?
A. In setting out to design this, we had a few things in mind that we wanted to do as improvements over the old system. First, we wanted to make sure we were laying the groundwork for something we could expand upon later. One of the big problems with the Magic system up until now is that it simply didnít accomodate additions. It was built to be what it was, and if anything got added, it had to be an entirely new method of doing things. Nothing was ever built upon the existing mechanics, in large part because the original existing mechanics werenít built to accomodate other uses. The result was a system that accumulated rules detritus like a ship gathers barnacles. Thatís not good design.
.



I really don't see this at all...Just what is he talking about??

In The Beginning..They Had Spell Casting and Conjuring. They added on, meta magic, great form summoning, allies, and watchers. All using the existing sytem. I thought it all worked out well together.

Then they added Aura Reading as a skill, no big deal - same system as the rest of the skills. More magic items, same system, everything worked well.

*shrug* But thats just my view of it.. Can anyone enlighten me as to what he's saying about the current/legacy system?


The magic system has accomodated additions since the beginning, and without 'entirely new Methods'.


QUOTE
A second problem was that, despite three editions of the game, Magic was largely still a legacy system (to borrow a bit of computer terminology). Instead of using things that worked and discarding things that didnít, we largely had just kept it all and tried using tweaks and bailing wire to hold it all together. With SR4, we had the luxury of taking it apart, seeing what worked and what didnít, and reassembling it into a working whole, with new parts to replace the missing ones or damaged ones. We also didnít want the mechanics of the core game to work in a substantially different manner than Magic did, so we tried to find new ways to handle rules issues that before had given rise to special cases, created just for Magic. This is true of design all throughout the game, though, not just for the Magic system.


Translation: They changed magic to fit the new ruleset.

QUOTE
The third goal we had for design with this part of the game was to eliminate unnecessary complexity. We didnít want to do away with the aspects of magic that gave the game its feel, like traditions, spirit summoning, drain, and so forth, but we did want to make sure we didnít have a dozen different systems trying to accomplish what one could do. I think we went a long way toward accomplishing that.


By adding new skills, making the magic attribute a purhasable attribute, having a system to create traditions...


Hopefully if they are adding all of these new skills, and making magic something you have to 'buy up' with char gen points, there will be enough char gen points to make a decent char. But it sounds more and more like they may be lowering the power of initial characters.

I am intersted in seeing the tradition design system.
chevalier_neon
Ok, thank you for your help on this one...
I think it is a good think that they worked on the magic system to delete some of his elements and rearrange some other...
August is so far away !!!!!!
Crimsondude 2.0
QUOTE (fistandantilus3.0)
if Metamagics get a thorough working over, should be interesting to see how they convert all of those hard earned grades.

No kidding. I know some people who have spent a great deal of karma in those now-unimportant or nonexistent skills who are going to get jerked around because of it.
fistandantilus4.0
like me


sad little street mage now
fistandantilus4.0
seriosuly though, it should be interesting to see how they equate all that karma, especially at the higher grades (7+) if their not doing it in grades anymore. I can only assume that there would still be initiation is SOME form, since magic doesn't automatically start at 6 anymore, unless you just build it like any other attribute.

If that's the case, I doubt initiation will be such a big deal. [B]IF[B] metamagics and initiation don't go together the same, I see it being a lot less important in the future. Guess we'll see.

I do like the break down of the magical skills though (at least so far). I jsut helped a player make his first shaman the other day, and he asked me what skills he needed.

"Well, sorcery and conjuring. Assensing and enchanting are good later on. Other than that, just the normal stuff." Then I thought about it and realized that kind of sucks. It's like the 'firearms' skill. Way to simplified, way to easy to focus on just that. It's almost as bad as 'computers'. Get one skill and a datajack, throw down nuyen.gif 100,000, and BAM, you're a decker.

Of course, on the down side, with 6(ish) magical skills, now mages take eat up even MORE karma.
Grinder
QUOTE (Crimsondude 2.0)
No kidding. I know some people who have spent a great deal of karma in those now-unimportant or nonexistent skills who are going to get jerked around because of it.

Best thing will be to take the karma that char earned and bulid him again from the scratch.
Crimsondude 2.0
QUOTE (Eldritch)
I really don't see this at all...Just what is he talking about??

In The Beginning..They Had Spell Casting and Conjuring.  They added on, meta magic, great form summoning, allies, and watchers.  All using the existing sytem.  I thought it all worked out well together.

Then they added Aura Reading as a skill, no big deal - same system as the rest of the skills.  More magic items, same system, everything worked well.

*shrug*  But thats just my view of it.. Can anyone enlighten me as to what he's saying about the current/legacy system?

The magic system has accomodated additions since the beginning, and without 'entirely new Methods'.

I'm not really sure. The closest I can see is that some metamagics added in SR3 require their own skills to use (specifically Geomancy and Divining) and Anchoring requires two skills (Sorcery and Enchanting (?)). But that's a flaw of SR3. SR2 didn't seem to have a problem adding new metamagics.

I wish I could say, but... I can't. I don't see where he's coming from with this discussion of legacy systems.

QUOTE (SR4 FAQ #5)
A second problem was that, despite three editions of the game, Magic was largely still a legacy system (to borrow a bit of computer terminology). Instead of using things that worked and discarding things that didnít, we largely had just kept it all and tried using tweaks and bailing wire to hold it all together.

By "tweaks" I think he means conducting a wholesale change in the very essence of some metamagics and game mechanics that preceded SR3 like grounding and the astral solidity of all biomass.

QUOTE
With SR4, we had the luxury of taking it apart, seeing what worked and what didnít, and reassembling it into a working whole, with new parts to replace the missing ones or damaged ones.

Well, they also had that luxury in SR3, and they did make certain tweaks that redefined magic in SR as a mechanic and as a story element.

In this case, the luxury of stripping it and reassembling it is code for pigeonholing it within this Fixed TN mechanic and "streamlining" the mechanics for, say, high-grade Initiates using Centering to perform impossible feats of magic into a nice simple ruleset that will probably end up being or being indistinguishable from auto successes.

QUOTE
QUOTE
We also didnít want the mechanics of the core game to work in a substantially different manner than Magic did, so we tried to find new ways to handle rules issues that before had given rise to special cases, created just for Magic. This is true of design all throughout the game, though, not just for the Magic system.


Translation: They changed magic to fit the new ruleset.

Yeah, although I'm not exactly sure where he's coming from with this "special cases" stuff. However, given its nature, Magic should have unique elements distinct from firing a gun or cracking a datastore.

QUOTE
QUOTE
The third goal we had for design with this part of the game was to eliminate unnecessary complexity. We didnít want to do away with the aspects of magic that gave the game its feel, like traditions, spirit summoning, drain, and so forth, but we did want to make sure we didnít have a dozen different systems trying to accomplish what one could do. I think we went a long way toward accomplishing that.


By adding new skills, making the magic attribute a purhasable attribute, having a system to create traditions...

Hopefully if they are adding all of these new skills, and making magic something you have to 'buy up' with char gen points, there will be enough char gen points to make a decent char. But it sounds more and more like they may be lowering the power of initial characters.

I'm getting the same impression about the power level. If you need to buy six skills to equate to two under SR3 and the BP default amounts and costs are equivalent to those of SR3 (i.e., suggested BP at chargen of 125, 1:1 BP:skill pt. (up to linked Attr).) then I can easily see PCs starting with lower skills, being more focused on one skill group or type (offensive/defensive magic) or not getting some skills until later which is the same thing since it then becomes a question of whether they want to buy and increase a magical skill, a "mundane" skill, Initiate, or bond foci, etc.

OTOH, I'm not seeing where he's coming from on some of these comments. What does he mean by, "unnecessary complexity?" What are the, "dozen different systems trying to accomplish what one could do?" What, are they going to now eliminate all of the different tests for summoning different spirits, thereby creating one single Summoning Test modified by spirit type (Ally, Tradition spirit, watcher, Great Forms)? Does this mean we get to conjure whatever we want now? Can Elementals be summoned on the fly, or do nature spirits take the hit?

You know, a FAQ is, or usually anyway, answers questions. It shouldn't create a million more.

QUOTE
I am intersted in seeing the tradition design system.

Meh. I'm indifferent. Most of the interesting things I can do with magic fall within the Hermeticism sphere of influence. OTOH, I was always curious about what kind of Hermeticism or separate Tradition it is that they practice in TT. Somehow, I don't see a lot of Renewed Hermetics in TT, but it obviously wasn't important enough to fill a good chunk of TT or merit a comment in MitS (as opposed to TNO Path Magic).
Crimsondude 2.0
QUOTE (Grinder @ May 13 2005, 03:39 AM)
QUOTE (Crimsondude 2.0 @ May 13 2005, 10:14 AM)
No kidding. I know some people who have spent a great deal of karma in those now-unimportant or nonexistent skills who are going to get jerked around because of it.

Best thing will be to take the karma that char earned and bulid him again from the scratch.

These are PCs with 1000+ karma that have existed since SR1.

Eff that.

QUOTE (fistandantilus3.0)
seriosuly though, it should be interesting to see how they equate all that karma, especially at the higher grades (7+) if their not doing it in grades anymore. I can only assume that there would still be initiation is SOME form, since magic doesn't automatically start at 6 anymore, unless you just build it like any other attribute.

If that's the case, I doubt initiation will be such a big deal. IF metamagics and initiation don't go together the same, I see it being a lot less important in the future. Guess we'll see.

Well, I'm going to have to remain a positivist on this and say that since he didn't say that Initiation is changing, it won't. Or rather, it will out of necessity (Oh, boy. I can't wait to see what they do to Ordeals). Initiation will be around until we're told otherwise, as it is the current means of acquiring metamagics, which do still exist in SR4.

QUOTE (SR4 FAQ 5 @ Q&A 2)
weíve redesigned metamagic techniques to grant new abilities to skills the magician should already have access to.

Okay, I can see that (except for Centering).

Anchoring, Quickening -- Spellcasting

Sympathetic Linking -- Ritual Spellcasting

Absorption, Cleansing, Filtering, Focus Blocking, Reflecting, Severing, Shielding, -- Counterspelling

Divining, Geomancy, Masking, Psychometry, Sensing -- Astral Perception

Possession -- Astral Projection

Channeling -- Binding

Invoking -- Summoning

chevalier_neon
I don't think it will lower the magus power... It's only depending on how things will be done. If, by example, the magical skills value is based on your magic attribute, it could still allow quiet powerfull character (ie : 6 x magic attribute to allow in your magical skills...)...
Crimsondude 2.0
Nah, that's not streamlined. At least not compared to just allowing people to take up to 6 skill points in a skill at chargen.
Grinder
QUOTE (Crimsondude 2.0)
These are PCs with 1000+ karma that have existed since SR1.

Never said it will be easy or quick, didn't i? wink.gif

But i think converting chars will be much more difficult then it was from SR2 to SR3. So mabye start some new chars or at least try to build the existing one again. That's what i will do with my magic chars. The mundanes won't face so much problem i hope.
Grinder
QUOTE (Crimsondude 2.0)
Nah, that's not streamlined. At least not compared to just allowing people to take up to 6 skill points in a skill at chargen.

Firearms was split up in SR3 - so now that happens to the next general skill. Don't think it's that bad.

The White Dwarf
Seems to me this points to one of the possible ways to solve the new dice rolling method. If all the skills are broken down into specilizations (save firearms, been there done that) it would make players have to buy several skills at a lesser rating to encompass what they used to have. It also makes attributes more stringant.

Example.
-You want to be super stealthy. Like ninja stealthy. You pump your quickness as high as you can, and buy all the stealth specializations at max rating. You get 12 dice at tn5 for any stealth task. You are the night.
-You dont want to be steathy. You dont care. But hell if youre going to let someone sneak up on you and stab you in the back, f that. You buy an average quickness. You also buy enough alertness to qualify for a new color on the readyness scale. You get 12 dice at tn 5 to spot sneaky bastards, but only your quickenss at the rest, and spent a lot less character generation resources.

Just hazarding a guess, obviously, but it does make some kinda sense. It also allows for metamagic to integrate hella easy by simply just using existing specializations in new ways (ie, you can use counterspelling as spell defense, and if you get cleansing you can use it to remove auras), or it just allows them to show up as new skills at a lesser cost (ie, instead of paying the same for centering as you do for sorcery, centering costs would be more akin to a specialization because of its narrower application, as would all skills).

*In Theory* ™ these changes will surmount to something actually useful. I am beginning to see where theyre going with this. Im not sure Ill like the end product, but it is seeming less and less like the insane ramblings of a cthulian nightmare beast and more and more like a game.
apple
QUOTE (Grinder)
Firearms was split up in SR3 - so now that happens to the next general skill. Don't think it's that bad.

Splitting skills up for a rule system which is supposed to be streamlined and much more easier? What about Stealth? Athletics? Computer? Etiquette? Demolitions? Car? Airplane?

SYL
PenAgain
Ok, while we are going around hacking the six-skill issue to pieces at chargen, what if it isn't as bad as all that?

Think about it- if the game is relying upon an Att + Skill combo for dice pools, won't your Magic rating add directly into each of those skills? So to have a roughly equivalent power level to SR3 or your-favorite-previous-edition, you only have to have the Skill at 2 (provided you were able to acquire Magic 6, which we still don't know all that much about.)

That brings up the issue of Spell Pool being gone (right?) but that's not really being addressed by anyone here, so I'll leave that for another day. I LIKE the variable Skills because I like the idea that I may be better at Banishing than Summoning. I can't describe it any more succinctly than that, though.

--PenAgain
Grinder
QUOTE (apple)
QUOTE (Grinder @ May 13 2005, 05:05 AM)
Firearms was split up in SR3 - so now that happens to the next general skill. Don't think it's that bad.

Splitting skills up for a rule system which is supposed to be streamlined and much more easier? What about Stealth? Athletics? Computer? Etiquette? Demolitions? Car? Airplane?

SYL

I never said it's good when it comes to streamlining. wink.gif
I think it's just fair when the magic boys have to buy some more skills to do their tasks, just like the mundane guys have to do the same.
Critias
QUOTE (Grinder)
QUOTE (Crimsondude 2.0 @ May 13 2005, 10:59 AM)
Nah, that's not streamlined. At least not compared to just allowing people to take up to 6 skill points in a skill at chargen.

Firearms was split up in SR3 - so now that happens to the next general skill. Don't think it's that bad.

It might not be "bad," but it's not exactly "streamlined," either. So far their "streamlining" of character creation has had mutliple attributes get split into new attributes, a new attribute entirely has been created, and several skills have been split up into several more new skills.

It looks more and more like the only "streamlining" that's going on is the dumbing down of the actual die mechanic, and the removal of most round-by-round tactical thinking. Super. This is the opposite of good.
Grinder
Don't forget the gone-away combat pool.
Patrick Goodman
The bastard would put that up on my wedding day, when I don't have the time or energy to participate. Monster! smile.gif I'll be interested in seeing where this goes while I'm away. Try not to eat each other.

Oh, and Crimsondude? It's not that bad. I know you don't tend to take my word for it, nor should you, but I like the magic chapter (mostly; I do have a couple of issues to take up with the author in my copious unstructured free time...).

Have fun, guys. See you in a week.
chevalier_neon
I don't see what's bad if the new system is more simple (ie : dices) and more accurate...
But, this is not the thread to discuss of such a thing...
Moon-Hawk
At least this FAQ told us something. Not, y'know, a lot; and nothing short of the finished product will be enough to satisfy this community (possibly not even then). I don't want to say that this FAQ was detailed, but at least it was less vague than some of the previous ones.
As for the streamlining issue, we tend to compare it to SR3 and say, "That's not streamlined, it's different here, and has more bits over here," but I'm not sure that's a fair comparison. I think to evaluate the "streamlining" we have to compare it to the rest of SR4, which we know nothing about. Now don't get me wrong, I'm as negative about the changes we've heard about SR4 as anyone. I don't like what I'm hearing about the direction, but if we're not going to like it, I just want to make sure we're not liking it for the right reasons.

PenAgain: Bad comparison, IMO. With a switch to an att+skill system, rolling 8 dice in SR3 will be in no way comparable to rolling 8 dice in SR4. Saying that magic 6 plus skill 2 in SR4 is like having a skill of 8 in SR3 isn't valid. We know attributes aren't changing much (they're still on a 1-6 scale for humans), so I would expect skills to be on the same scale, which means we can expect roughly double-sized dice pools. 6 dice (total) for average ability, 12 dice for someone very skilled, and up around 20 dice for someone really amazing at something. Of course, we can't add any dice to this from our combat pool or spell pool anymore.

Dang it, Grinder. Why'd you have to bring up combat pool and get me all pissed this morning. nyahnyah.gif
Nikoli
How many folks have lamented that it's an entirely different game when you play a mage or a decker or a rigger in SR1~3? By re-designing the subsystem from the ground up you bring it in line with the new system. Less intensive cross-over training. The new folks coming into this down the road won't have to be told "learn the combat system first, then add X then Y then Z to your games as you have time to learn the other subsystems" I've seen advice like that on this board. It's sad and I think that's what the developers want to be rid of. With a more unified set of subsystems, you get much easier translation between them, and it becomes easier to balance them against one another. The Awakened at high end level of play are monstrous, partly due to the fact that 90% of all they do is covered in 2 skills, where the street sam or other mundane types have what, like 5 different ranged combat skills to make use of depending on the situation, plus the close combat stuff and other skills like stealth, etc. By splitting out the magic skills to be more in line with other work-horswe categories like driving and combat, yuo balanc ethe karmic sink-hole effect. I have a feeling that new techniques will become available as you increase yur magic attribute, that the magic attribute will no longer require 3 times the karma to increase, and that reduced expenditure is balanced by additional skills. If your Wiz-kid doesn't concern himself with conjuring anything, don't put much into that skill. This could also be the key to aspected and adepts in the new mechanics, but that may be reaching.
I can only hope that the decking subsystem is receiving a similair overhaul. With different skills coming to bear (along with a redesign of the Electronics and Electronics B/R skill useage).

There should be more to your specialty than buying 1 or 2 skills and bamn you're the best there is until a new book comes out and you're rendered obsolete.
Kagetenshi
QUOTE
Q. Do we still have Mages and Shamans?
A. Yes. In addition, however, a flexible tradition design system has been included, allowing players to model existing traditions easily, or even to create their own along with their GM. Both Hermetic and Shamanic traditions have been created for the main book and are included as the default choices.

Speaking of the opposite of good. Honestly, after having thought about this I think the answer to the psionics question should have been to just leave it out, mention in passing that there are some crackpots who think they've got powers but they're wrong. This is not GURPS, and magical traditions are slightly more world-defining than firearm creation.

~J
RangerJoe
QUOTE
Speaking of the opposite of good. Honestly, after having thought about this I think the answer to the psionics question should have been to just leave it out, mention in passing that there are some crackpots who think they've got powers but they're wrong. This is not GURPS, and magical traditions are slightly more world-defining than firearm creation.


Actually, I've got to disagree with you there, Kage. The nature of magic is world-defining, but the traditions that invoke it are not. At the risk of sounding slightly meta, the fact that all traditions will have to follow the same rules for magic means that there is one unified magical system at work in the SR universe (I feel dirty for saying that there is a relationship between a game mechanic and a game reality, but so it goes). What we've seen so far in the SR world is that there are all kinds of interpretations of the magical energy that pervades the 6th world. What every good hermetic in the game knows is that it doesn't matter what window-dressing (tradition) you throw onto your magic-- it's still the same basic magic. Having multiple traditions will make the SR world more vivid, more detailed, and more realistic. Guess what-- controlling the primal astral forces of the universe does make people crackpots who believe all kinds of things about how they weild their powers. Vive la difference. That's what I say. So long as magic cannot alter time, teleport matter, or ressurect the fallen, it's still SR magic to me.
mfb
yeah. SR tried to embrace all real-world magical traditions and several they'd made up, but then cubbyhole them all into 'shaman' or 'hermetic'. it just didn't work--witness the arguments over christian hermeticism/shamanism.
Geko
I like the idea of splitting up the skills, because that might be a good way to counter-balance the streamlining of the dice mechanics.

As in, we'll still have a very high degree of control when it comes to making our characters unique, even though the rules/mechanics are all more uniform. Hell, they may even find a way to incorporate some strategy into the gameplay, using such changes. The old rules pretty much needed the wildcard of extra pools, but maybe this system won't? (I don't pretend to forsee how.)

I also like the idea of allowing for more control when it comes to traditions. To me, magical/spiritual traditions are more personal than gun design. Also, as mfb pointed out, the old system lead to some serious questions. That's a specific example of trying to add rules onto a system that didn't accomodate new rules, the way I look at it.

In sum, this FAQ was encouraging, to me. They said more than I expected, and they did reveal their perspective/motives. Whether I agree or not, it's good to know that they think the magic rules were kind of slapped together with duct tape and chewing gum, and think they can de-Balkanize them.
Demonseed Elite
Yeah, I don't think it's ever been the case that the magical traditions themselves have been world-defining. And where it has been tried, it has mostly failed. Instead, it's become increasingly visible in Shadowrun that the traditions themselves aren't defining (the guy who worships the prairie dog slings spells as well as the guy immersed in centuries of hermetic tradition), but that the magical organizations that back up one tradition or another are (which themselves are usually propped up by the lasting strength of a belief system). The guy worshipping the prairie dog can cast a spell as well as anyone, but prairie dog doesn't have the social weight of the Roman Catholic Church, the Illuminates of the New Dawn, the False Face Society, etc., etc.
blakkie
QUOTE (Eldritch @ May 13 2005, 03:06 AM)
*shrug*  But thats just my view of it.. Can anyone enlighten me as to what he's saying about the current/legacy system?

The magic system has accomodated additions since the beginning, and without 'entirely new Methods'.

What he is likely talking about there is, for example, how as spells were added over editions and time that they started doing entirely different things with TNs, resistance, Force, etc. on a case by case basis. In a lot of ways out of nessasity, there was no extendable framework in place. The result is a grimore that is very patchwork and uneven.
Ranneko
QUOTE (RangerJoe)
Having multiple traditions will make the SR world more vivid, more detailed, and more realistic. Guess what-- controlling the primal astral forces of the universe does make people crackpots who believe all kinds of things about how they weild their powers. Vive la difference. That's what I say.

And you can finally make that Toaster shaman one of the books mentioned in a shadowcomment. nyahnyah.gif
blakkie
Hmmm, looks like I'll need to ask for a refund from the Amazing Kreskin. He got the general topic right (magic). He even got a few of the questions pretty close (are there still mages and shamans), but the answers look a -bit- different. wink.gif

QUOTE
Q. Will there still be Metamagic?
A. Yes, though itís not exactly the same. Rather than relying on a host of new additional skills, weíve redesigned metamagic techniques to grant new abilities to skills the magician should already have access to. Metamagic does not make a huge appearance in the core book, however. There just isnít enough room to include it all.


Hmm, if that means by taking skills i can do a bit in each the metamagic fields but not have the full power of them without gaining metamagic that is what i have most dearly wanted since i first read MitS. That idea seems to be supported by the list of skills.

As Crimsondude pointed out the text certainly leaves the door open for more skills, if not outright implying there are more, perhaps Centering is no more? At least in any form resembling the current. I can't say I'll miss much it's clunkiness, but i liked the concept of special concentrating to give you an edge. frown.gif

I'm not sure how they'd get rid of Aura Reading, unless it is a specialization of a Perception skill?

QUOTE
Q. What are you trying to do with Magic?
A. Burn it's vermin infested corpse to the ground and build anew in the spirit of the old.


Fire goooooood. biggrin.gif

EDIT: One thing he didn't mention keeping there was the choice of simultaneos casting. I hope that doesn't get lost.
akarenti
Did we get any mention of Specializations in the SR4? They seem to be breaking a lot of skills down, but that could be because the're removing Specializations and making base skills cheaper.

I mean, 6 skills for sorcery and conjuring would be pretty expensive now, but maybe less so in 4th edition (Binding and Ritual Sorcery wouldn't be particularly missed during character creation, anyway).

Removing specializations in favor a slightly longer skill list wouldn't necessarily be a bad idea, but I don't think they've mentioned removing them officially anywhere.
Umbrage
QUOTE (Crimsondude 2.0)
QUOTE (Crimsondude 2.0 @ May 13 2005, 10:14 AM)

These are PCs with 1000+ karma that have existed since SR1.

Eff that.

indifferent.gif What kinda runs do you throw at a character with a Karma Pool in the 50-100 dice range?
GunnerJ
I guess I stand alone here, but IMO this FAQ qualifies as Really Good News to me. In fact, it's the best news I've heard in any of the FAQs so far. I won't say that bashing every new release of information has become a knee-jerk response for some, but it sure seems that way, and I was honestly quite surprised by all the negativity.

QUOTE
Q. Will Magic skills be broken up like firearms in SR3?
A. Magic is roughly divided into two categories for the core book, Sorcery and Conjuring. Rather than being skills of their own, however, those are general categories. The Sorcery skills are Spellcasting, Ritual Spellcasting, and Counterspelling. The Conjuring skills are Summoning, Banishing, and Binding. Those are the skills that do most of the heavy lifting for magic in SR4.


Not a big deal, so long as you get more "points" for skills at chargen (so to speak) than in SR3. Or maybe, as someone suggested, this will just encourage a bit more specialization, which could be good, I think.

QUOTE
Q. Will there still be Metamagic?
A. Yes, though itís not exactly the same. Rather than relying on a host of new additional skills, weíve redesigned metamagic techniques to grant new abilities to skills the magician should already have access to. Metamagic does not make a huge appearance in the core book, however. There just isnít enough room to include it all.


Excellent. Well, maybe not that there won't be many in the core rules, but the fact that they're just upgrades for skills makes so much more sense to me. I don't see why some are so upset about Centering: I've long felt it cost far too much to get far too little. The obvious solution under this setup is that there is no Centering skill, you simply add an artistic skill to your pool when performing magical tasks (or something similar). Much more elegant, much more cost effective.

QUOTE
Q. Do we still have Mages and Shamans?
A. Yes. In addition, however, a flexible tradition design system has been included, allowing players to model existing traditions easily, or even to create their own along with their GM. Both Hermetic and Shamanic traditions have been created for the main book and are included as the default choices.


A slight bit woried about tradition creation rules, but so long as it's the GM's tool only, it should not be so bad (i.e., the GM can just opt to not use it at all, or only when it fits his/her purposes). I always hated the kludgey way traditions like voodoo, wujen, and path of the wheel got shoe-horned into the existing paradigm. At least such a system, if it's the basis for all tradition design, will allow such oddities to be integrated into the whole system instead of feeling like jellyfish thumb-tacked onto a bicycle.

Which leads to the next point:

QUOTE
Q. What are you trying to do with Magic?
A. In setting out to design this, we had a few things in mind that we wanted to do as improvements over the old system. First, we wanted to make sure we were laying the groundwork for something we could expand upon later. One of the big problems with the Magic system up until now is that it simply didnít accomodate additions. It was built to be what it was, and if anything got added, it had to be an entirely new method of doing things. Nothing was ever built upon the existing mechanics, in large part because the original existing mechanics werenít built to accomodate other uses. The result was a system that accumulated rules detritus like a ship gathers barnacles. Thatís not good design.


I honestly don't understand the confusion here. Look at things like voodoo and wujen and path of the wheel. Look at psionics. Look at the Idol system (a good, but flawed, idea IMO). Look at Anchoring, for chrissakes. It's hard to articulate in words the psychological cringe that overcame me when I read the rules for these systems. They were so haphazzard, they just felt thrown in. Why does voodoo get its own totems and spirits when every Native American tradition from the North Pole to Cape Horn gets lumped under the generic Shamanism? Why can't I, with Anchoring, make a bloody staff that shoots lighting bolts and can be used more than once and doesn't make the crafter of the staff feel drain whether he's actually the one using it or not?

Am I really the only who sees what's being talked about here? Who has felt, or just intuitively known, how much the SR magic system, designed for a few specific roles, strained with every new addition trying to interpret one common theme of magic after another in terms of rules that were just never designed for that kind of expansion?

The fact that the designers of SR4 have seen this and are actually taking steps (like their tradition designer and metamagic implementation, for example) to make a system that can grow and accomodate the new ideas is very encouraging. Now if only they'd mentioned something about adepts...
Kagetenshi
QUOTE (GunnerJ)
Am I really the only who sees what's being talked about here? Who has felt, or just intuitively known, how much the SR magic system, designed for a few specific roles, strained with every new addition trying to interpret one common theme of magic after another in terms of rules that were just never designed for that kind of expansion?

I see it. I'm all for stripping out most of the traditions, but not for adding new ones, and especially not for making it easy to add new ones. Though I must admit a certain fondness for vodoun, I think most of the rest of non-Hermetic, non-Shamanic traditions simply should not have gotten their own rules. As for the rest of it, it ranges from more of the same bad news to nothing terribly interesting, in my opinion.

~J
Eldritch
QUOTE ()
[QUOTE=Eldritch,May 13 2005, 03:06 AM] *shrug* But thats just my view of it.. Can anyone enlighten me as to what he's saying about the current/legacy system?

The magic system has accomodated additions s

Yeah, spells were added over editions. And subtracted. But you shouldn't have been using spells form the first edition rule book in a 3rd game. Not without tweaking them to the new rule set. The spells they wanted in the game were reprinted with each new rule set - 2nd, 3rd, etc.

I still don't see it.

And I agree, I think that when we see some mechanics on the decker, we'll see that the computer, electronic, and electronic b/r skill all broken up into sub skills.

Sounds like we may see a skill list that is quite long. And streamlined of course wink.gif

Sure, breaking skills up like the did makes sense from a realism stand point, but it will certainly complicate things a bit.

I know! Lets help Fanpro think of a new name for this new game they are designing!



****************************
And have a good day Patrick smile.gif
Eldritch
QUOTE ()
[QUOTE=Eldritch,May 13 2005, 03:06 AM] *shrug* But thats just my view of it.. Can anyone enlighten me as to what he's saying about the current/legacy system?

The magic system has accomodated additions since the beginning, and without 'entirely new Methods'. [/QUOTE

Yeah, spells were added over editions. And subtracted. But you shouldn't have been using spells form the first edition rule book in a 3rd game. Not without tweaking them to the new rule set. The spells they wanted in the game were reprinted with each new rule set - 2nd, 3rd, etc.

I still don't see it.

And I agree, I think that when we see some mechanics on the decker, we'll see that the computer, electronic, and electronic b/r skill all broken up into sub skills.

Sounds like we may see a skill list that is quite long. And streamlined of course wink.gif

Sure, breaking skills up like the did makes sense from a realism stand point, but it will certainly complicate things a bit.

I know! Lets help Fanpro think of a new name for this new game they are designing!



****************************
And have a good day Patrick smile.gif
Lucyfersam
Overall, this FAQ was pretty good by me, and I agree with most of the ideas behind it. Later I'll go through the books and pull all the different things that use different or crappy systems in an attempt to work with the core magic mechanic, don't have time right now.

My thoughts on centering is that it would be purchased once as a Metamagic, and then you would use whichever magical skill you are applying it to at any given time as your roll for it, or possibly even just you magic attribute (though that seems less likely).
Eldritch
QUOTE ()
QUOTE (Eldritch @ May 13 2005, 03:06 AM)
*shrug*  But thats just my view of it.. Can anyone enlighten me as to what he's saying about the current/legacy system?

The magic system has accomodated additions since the beginning, and without 'entirely new Methods'.

What he is likely talking about there is, for example, how as spells were added over editions and time that they started doing entirely different things with TNs, resistance, Force, etc. on a case by case basis. In a lot of ways out of nessasity, there was no extendable framework in place. The result is a grimore tha

Yeah, spells were added over editions. And subtracted. But you shouldn't have been using spells form the first edition rule book in a 3rd game. Not without tweaking them to the new rule set. The spells they wanted in the game were reprinted with each new rule set - 2nd, 3rd, etc.

I still don't see it.

And I agree, I think that when we see some mechanics on the decker, we'll see that the computer, electronic, and electronic b/r skill all broken up into sub skills.

Sounds like we may see a skill list that is quite long. And streamlined of course wink.gif

Sure, breaking skills up like the did makes sense from a realism stand point, but it will certainly complicate things a bit.

I know! Lets help Fanpro think of a new name for this new game they are designing!



****************************
And have a good day Patrick smile.gif
Charon
Well, I'm good with the multiple magical skill. Very good, in fact. It will allow more distinction between various mages. I like what they are saying about metamagic too, and the hint that we'll get some in the corebook.

Nice.

The rest is just a verbose justification for the changes we'll see in the overall mechanics when SR4 finally ship. wink.gif

I think the magic system was one of the best integrated subsystem but I'm not gonna complain about a thrust to standardize all mechanics.


Nikoli
I agree. The core of the magic subsystem was built into the game from the beginning, but is very different at times from just about anything else. With a new system designed to be expandable (and hopefully retractable) we can make the system work for our games.
This makes me hopeful about the changes to rigger/decker subsystems moreso than any other faq.
Eldritch
QUOTE (blakkie)
QUOTE (Eldritch @ May 13 2005, 03:06 AM)
*shrug*  But thats just my view of it.. Can anyone enlighten me as to what he's saying about the current/legacy system?

The magic system has accomodated additions since the beginning, and without 'entirely new Methods'.

What he is likely talking about there is, for example, how as spells were added over editions and time that they started doing entirely different things with TNs, resistance, Force, etc. on a case by case basis. In a lot of ways out of nessasity, there was no extendable framework in place. The result is a grimore that is very patchwork and uneven.

Yeah, spells were added over editions. And subtracted. But you shouldn't have been using spells form the first edition rule book in a 3rd game. Not without tweaking them to the new rule set. The spells they wanted in the game were reprinted with each new rule set - 2nd, 3rd, etc.

I still don't see it.

And I agree, I think that when we see some mechanics on the decker, we'll see that the computer, electronic, and electronic b/r skill all broken up into sub skills.

Sounds like we may see a skill list that is quite long. And streamlined of course wink.gif

Sure, breaking skills up like the did makes sense from a realism stand point, but it will certainly complicate things a bit.

I know! Lets help Fanpro think of a new name for this new game they are designing!



****************************
And have a good day Patrick smile.gif
Nikoli
Are you reposting that same message over and over or is the board going mad?
frostPDP
Alright, I'm officially sad.

I'm gonna keep it as brief as I can while I digest other material and wake up. I'm also going to use the usual point-buy system.

Previous cost to make a fully-skilled, full magician: 30 for awakened, 6 for sorcery and 6 for conjuring.

New cost-equivalents: Presumably also 30 to be awakened, considering it would be pointless to cheap it, and 6 in each of these skills:

The Sorcery skills are Spellcasting, Ritual Spellcasting, and Counterspelling. The Conjuring skills are Summoning, Banishing, and Binding.

18 for sorcery and 18 for summoning.

So unless they find some way to cheap this down, Mages have been completely gimped.

1: While other people can spend skills on useless stuff like stealth, I need a specific skill for my spellcasting.

2: Breaking up firearms made some sense, though not along the lines they did it. For game balance, it works because this way every 30 BP into nuyen street samurai has some limits on what they can pick up and kill you with.

So right now I'm completely confused as to how game balance will be kept. I'm sure they'll find something, but consider this: if they are going to do what has been done with most out-of-the-book characters, who have in the area of 7-9 active skills (With some exceptions, granted), Mages will ONLY be able to do magic, PERIOD. This might be great for people who think wizards are overpowered, but consider this:

Can riggers ONLY drive, needing seperate skills to drive a Sedan rather than an SUV? Can Deckers ONLY use computers, using seperate skills for reading and writing then for sleazing? And for you street-sam lovers, the firearms groupings are wrong alright, don't mistake me on this - but breaking it into long-arms, short arms and heavy arms (with maybe gunnery as another skill, maybe) is still one half the divisions that mages face (3 skills versus the new 6 to fully be what you do; shooting versus spellcasting.)

So while I'm curious to see how this plays out, more and more I think for the mages in my group: We just started and we're in 2060, so we ain't converting for a long time anyway. Too bad, no SR4 for us.
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