Author Topic: Adept Background Count mitigation  (Read 430 times)

Cynewulf

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Adept Background Count mitigation
« on: (17:50:26/10-27-17) »
What ways do Adepts have to mitigate background counts?
Adept Centering is obvious, but it only works on Physical tests (Haha! Screw you, technical and social Adepts!).
Cleansing is great, but you need counterspelling. Adepts can't get counterspelling.
Reception Enhancer only works for sensory penalties.
I can't find any Foci or metamagics that would work.
Way of the Warrior only works against counts caused by violence, but if my character can take that Way he's probably mainly physical anyway so Adept Centering would do the job.

So... what else is there? I feel like the game is demanding that I play a Mystic Adept, but I'd rather not. If I'm the only magic user on the team then all my non Physical abilities start turning off the moment I enter a background count of 1+, and by RAW nearly everywhere has a background count of 1-3.

Edit: It would be great if the bonus die from Harmonious Deflection could be substituted instead, but my reading of the rules would not allow this.
« Last Edit: (18:19:05/10-27-17) by Cynewulf »

Reaver

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Re: Adept Background Count mitigation
« Reply #1 on: (19:01:12/10-27-17) »
In short, there isn't any extra way to avoid Background counts.

The only thing you can do as an awakened is avoid the BC count, become acclimated to it so it no longer effects you.

Its important to note what a BC does to an awakened.

Quote
Street Grimoire Page 32
A background count impose a negative dice pool penalty
equal to its rating for all tests linked in any way to magic (such
as spellcasting, summoning, and skill tests that use active adept
powers such as Killing Hands or Improved Sense)....

...Dual-natured creatures
or purely astral creatures take a negative dice pool penalty to all
actions equal to the background count....

...Pre-existing active foci, sustained spells, quickened/anchored
spells and rituals are reduced by the background count. If they are
reduced to 0 or less, spells fizzle, wards and rituals collapse, foci
deactivate. A foci cannot activate while under the influence of the
background count.

Which basically means that centering for an adept is the only way to avoid the dice pool hit, at the cost of your free action AND the fact you have to be initiated to take centering in the first place.
(Warriors Way does nothing to help with BC, its only advantage is less foci binding costs. )

Quote
Street Grimoire page 178
THE WARRIOR’S WAY
COST: 20 KARMA
The Warrior is the type that most mundanes associate
with the word adept. These elite combatants dedicate
their lives to forging their bodies into lethal weapons or
engines of war. Combat is their calling, and they excel
at it, accomplishing through skill and magic what others
use augmentations to accomplish.

Bonding a weapon focus costs two less Karma than
normal for those following the Warrior’s Way.

Warriors can choose from the following list of powers
for their discount: Blind Fighting, Combat Sense,
Counterstrike, Critical Strike, Improved Ability, Improved
Potential (Physical), Killing Hands, Missile Mastery, Motion
Sense, Rapid Draw.

Acclimating to a background count takes weeks to month of exposure to the BC in question, but happens naturally. Which is one of the reasons mages don't like leaving their cities of operation. They are acclimated to the BC of their area/city and are not affected by it. However, working in a entirely different city/area exposes them to that City/area background count, making their magic that much harder to use.

For example:

John-boy is a mage from Chicago where the Back ground count is 5. To John-boy, because he has grown up there, the BC of the area has no effect on his magic at all, and doesn't even notice it. One day, John-boy takes a job in Seattle where the BC is 2. Suddenly everything John-boy tries to do magically while in Seattle for the run takes a dice pool modifier of -2, and any foci or sustained spells that he had active are reduced by 2.
While in Seattle, he meets Sally Spellslinger and hits it off. Sally decides to follow John-boy back to Chicago. While in Chicago, Sally Spellslinger takes a -5 dice pool to all magic related tests, and any active foci or sustained spells are reduced by 5! Sally toughs it out and stays in Chicago for 2 months, after which she has grown acclimated to the Chicago Background count, and she no longer takes -5 DP hit to her tests. (However, if she was to move back to Seattle, she would suffer the same -2 DP that John-boy suffered when he came to Seattle. Until she was acclimated back to the Seattle background count)




Sadly, BC counts and the dice pool hit is the cost of being awakened... and while it can suck, it is not as bad as many people think it is, but it can throw a spanner in the works if you are not prepared for it.
Where am I going? And why am I in a hand basket ???

Remember: You can't fix Stupid. But you can beat on it with a 2x4 until it smartens up! Or dies.

Cynewulf

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Re: Adept Background Count mitigation
« Reply #2 on: (19:19:20/10-27-17) »
I'm aware how background counts function, however from what I can see pretty much every Awakened character has a way of reducing or outright negating background count effects on their character EXCEPT technical and social adepts.

Mages/Mystics get Cleansing, and even if they don't have it yet background doesn't hurt them as much as adepts.
Even adepts get their Centering, but only for physical and combat tests.

But if you are primarily a non-combat adept? Nothing. You leave the safety of your acclimatised zone and BAM, you might as well be mundane. A mundane built in sum-to-6.

Kiirnodel

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Re: Adept Background Count mitigation
« Reply #3 on: (19:39:34/10-27-17) »
I think you might be over-dramatizing the difference between adepts and magicians in terms of background counts. I'm not sure why you think that "background doesn't hurt them as much as adepts," as background affects everyone in the same way, a penalty on magical actions. A magician that can't mitigate background count choosing to perform non-magic actions is in the same boat as an adept that does the same. Remember, adepts can turn off their powers to avoid the penalties from background counts if they want to.

I can go more into the discussion on how magicians and adepts compare when they are taking the effects of background, but that wasn't really your question.

Adepts actually have the most powerful method of mitigating background count penalties: Heightened Concern. It is an Adept Power added in the Shadow Spells pdf, and is somewhat similar to Adept Centering. The adept power allows the adept to ignore one penalty of a value up to half their magic attribute. For most, this means they can ignore a penalty up to a -3 at character creation. Ignoring the penalty costs a Complex Action, but the ignoring lasts as long as the penalty persists. An adept with this power can ignore a background count of up to 3 as long as they stay in that area. No drain, and only needing to spend one action to ignore it.

Cynewulf

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Re: Adept Background Count mitigation
« Reply #4 on: (04:32:57/10-28-17) »
Adepts actually have the most powerful method of mitigating background count penalties: Heightened Concern. It is an Adept Power added in the Shadow Spells pdf, and is somewhat similar to Adept Centering. The adept power allows the adept to ignore one penalty of a value up to half their magic attribute. For most, this means they can ignore a penalty up to a -3 at character creation. Ignoring the penalty costs a Complex Action, but the ignoring lasts as long as the penalty persists. An adept with this power can ignore a background count of up to 3 as long as they stay in that area. No drain, and only needing to spend one action to ignore it.

This is absolutely brilliant. I can't believe I overlooked it, by RAW this would definitely work against Background Count. Cheers!

ShadowcatX

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Re: Adept Background Count mitigation
« Reply #5 on: (08:44:20/10-28-17) »
I think you might be over-dramatizing the difference between adepts and magicians in terms of background counts. I'm not sure why you think that "background doesn't hurt them as much as adepts," as background affects everyone in the same way, a penalty on magical actions. A magician that can't mitigate background count choosing to perform non-magic actions is in the same boat as an adept that does the same. Remember, adepts can turn off their powers to avoid the penalties from background counts if they want to.

Where does it say that adepts can turn off their powers to stop background count?

Quote
Adepts actually have the most powerful method of mitigating background count penalties: Heightened Concern. It is an Adept Power added in the Shadow Spells pdf, and is somewhat similar to Adept Centering. The adept power allows the adept to ignore one penalty of a value up to half their magic attribute. For most, this means they can ignore a penalty up to a -3 at character creation. Ignoring the penalty costs a Complex Action, but the ignoring lasts as long as the penalty persists. An adept with this power can ignore a background count of up to 3 as long as they stay in that area. No drain, and only needing to spend one action to ignore it.

Actually, they can ignore it while performing another task, not as long as the penalty lasts. You trying to shoot someone, enjoy half your actions getting eaten up. It also only removes dice pool penalties, it does nothing for foci.

Reaver

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Re: Adept Background Count mitigation
« Reply #6 on: (09:28:12/10-28-17) »
Its on page 32 (street grimoire) that adepts can 'turn off' their abilities to avoid the BC.

Where am I going? And why am I in a hand basket ???

Remember: You can't fix Stupid. But you can beat on it with a 2x4 until it smartens up! Or dies.

ShadowcatX

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Re: Adept Background Count mitigation
« Reply #7 on: (10:23:59/10-28-17) »
Its on page 32 (street grimoire) that adepts can 'turn off' their abilities to avoid the BC.

Thank you.

Aria

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Re: Adept Background Count mitigation
« Reply #8 on: (10:32:34/10-28-17) »
For 0.5 power points there’s also Heightened Concern (suspect a typo for concentration) which allows you to ignore a penalty up to half your magic
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Kiirnodel

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Re: Adept Background Count mitigation
« Reply #9 on: (12:40:19/10-28-17) »
Actually, they can ignore it while performing another task, not as long as the penalty lasts. You trying to shoot someone, enjoy half your actions getting eaten up. It also only removes dice pool penalties, it does nothing for foci.

Debatable, and you'll probably see some table variation. There isn't any indication of time or restrictive pairing for that power. Like most rules items the first sentence is usually a brief description of what the power generally does, followed by an actual in-depth run-down of what it does.

Adept Centering specifically states that it negates the penalties only for the actions performed "at the same time" you are centering. In order for Adept Centering to work you have to have perform the Free Action during the same Action Phase. It is clear there that the bonus from Adept Centering lasts only for the action phases that you are able to peform that free action.

On the other hand, Heightened Concern requires a Complex Action, which means you explicitly cannot do it at the same time as something else, yet it is explicitly able to be used in conjunction with Adept Centering. This means that you have to use it before hand. Past that, you might have GMs rule that it only lasts for the aforementioned "task," but what that means isn't specified. A task could be "shooting a gun" or it could be "fighting off these gangers." We know that the Heightened Concern can last for more than just a single action phase, because you could (presumably) use it perform a "task" that takes longer to accomplish (like first aid or build/repair). But "while performing another task" is not a well-defined duration or restriction.

Since the power is limited to a single situational modifier, and it can't negate several stacked modifiers (like Adept Centering can), I ruled that the modifier itself was the more restrictive element. At my tables, this means the power lasts as long as the adept can maintain focus and that situational modifier remains constant. If they are using it to ignore wound modifiers (for example) and they get injured more, then it breaks the power. If it is being used to negate a background of 2, and the background changes, gone. If a situation applies a bigger modifier that they would rather negate,it takes a whole new action to apply their focus.

ShadowcatX

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Re: Adept Background Count mitigation
« Reply #10 on: (13:48:11/10-28-17) »
Actually, they can ignore it while performing another task, not as long as the penalty lasts. You trying to shoot someone, enjoy half your actions getting eaten up. It also only removes dice pool penalties, it does nothing for foci.

Debatable, and you'll probably see some table variation. There isn't any indication of time or restrictive pairing for that power. Like most rules items the first sentence is usually a brief description of what the power generally does, followed by an actual in-depth run-down of what it does.

Adept Centering specifically states that it negates the penalties only for the actions performed "at the same time" you are centering. In order for Adept Centering to work you have to have perform the Free Action during the same Action Phase. It is clear there that the bonus from Adept Centering lasts only for the action phases that you are able to peform that free action.

On the other hand, Heightened Concern requires a Complex Action, which means you explicitly cannot do it at the same time as something else, yet it is explicitly able to be used in conjunction with Adept Centering. This means that you have to use it before hand. Past that, you might have GMs rule that it only lasts for the aforementioned "task," but what that means isn't specified. A task could be "shooting a gun" or it could be "fighting off these gangers." We know that the Heightened Concern can last for more than just a single action phase, because you could (presumably) use it perform a "task" that takes longer to accomplish (like first aid or build/repair). But "while performing another task" is not a well-defined duration or restriction.

Since the power is limited to a single situational modifier, and it can't negate several stacked modifiers (like Adept Centering can), I ruled that the modifier itself was the more restrictive element. At my tables, this means the power lasts as long as the adept can maintain focus and that situational modifier remains constant. If they are using it to ignore wound modifiers (for example) and they get injured more, then it breaks the power. If it is being used to negate a background of 2, and the background changes, gone. If a situation applies a bigger modifier that they would rather negate,it takes a whole new action to apply their focus.

Adept centering also has  higher cost, a lower reduction of penalties until you are initiated multiple times, and isn't available at character creation. It should be better than heightened concern.

Cynewulf

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Re: Adept Background Count mitigation
« Reply #11 on: (11:11:05/10-30-17) »
So... non-combat adepts are still screwed?

HP15BS

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Re: Adept Background Count mitigation
« Reply #12 on: (13:22:38/10-30-17) »
"It should be better than ___" is a house rules argument, not a RAW (or even RAI) argument.

So... non-combat adepts are still screwed?

Relative to combat adepts, I guess.  But Heightened Concern still sounds like a pretty good way to do what you wanted - reduce the background count penalty.
« Last Edit: (13:27:32/10-30-17) by HP15BS »

ShadowcatX

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Re: Adept Background Count mitigation
« Reply #13 on: (14:52:08/10-30-17) »
"It should be better than ___" is a house rules argument, not a RAW (or even RAI) argument.

So... non-combat adepts are still screwed?

Relative to combat adepts, I guess.  But Heightened Concern still sounds like a pretty good way to do what you wanted - reduce the background count penalty.

Saying "the first sentence is just description" is likewise house rules. But if you note the post I quoted, the person talked about how he himself ruled the power as DM. Funny, that.

HP15BS

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Re: Adept Background Count mitigation
« Reply #14 on: (16:37:47/10-30-17) »
"The first sentence is usually a brief description" is not a house rule; it's a general observation.  (After all, SR clearly mixes fluff and crunch all over the place, and it seems to generally fit that stated pattern.)

He did indeed rule on something that wasn't clearly stated in raw, and seems to have endeavored to make his ruling fit RAI....

The reasoning behind it was based off of definitions and how things logically work.  What you'd last said was just "this costs more, so it should be better.

The latter is not enough for a solid RAW or RAI interpretation.
« Last Edit: (16:44:34/10-30-17) by HP15BS »