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Character creation and critique / Re: Enchanter Build Help
« Last post by ShadowcatX on Today at 13:34:02 »
How far down the rabbit hole do you want to go, it seems to me that alchemy has seriously diminishing returns?

If you are a mage, with magic 6, a force 3 power foci, you can take a single point of alchemy and firebringer as your mentor spirit. That's 7 karma, and gives you 12 dice to your basic alchemy preps and 14 dice to manipulation alchemy preps. You can pretty easily do a force 4 / 5 prep and get a potency of 2 to 3. That's 6 - 8 dice, probably 2 hits, on whatever spells you want. If you spend 2 spells for armor and analyze device, you can pass out potions to give your fellow pcs +2 dice to pretty much anything they want to do on demand. Not bad for 17 karma and 20k nuyen on a Vault of Ages. (Admittedly, you are using your mentor spirit slot, so that is kind of an uncounted opportunity cost, but +2 to manipulation spells is about what you would normally get out of a mentor spirit anyways, so that kind of breaks even, especially given that we are including the karma cost of said mentor spirit.)

One thing to keep in mind though, is that astral barriers don't like alchemical preparations, and people who are wanting to play mundanes may not want to have to deal with astral barriers and magical potions and other difficulties like background counts.

If you want that to be your primary focus instead of being an all around good mage, you get a force 4 alchemy foci instead of a power foci it saves you both nuyen and karma, 6 points into the skill (and a specialization of contact triggers) and practiced alchemist and you're looking at dice pools of 20 and 22, strong enough to throw around force 6 and get a potency of 4. That will get you 10 dice (+1+ initiate grade) on your preps so you can pass around 3-4 dice, and they last twice as long. You could try for force 7 and hope for 5 potency, but then drain becomes a more serious concern as it has the potential to go physical.
I did some lore research a few month back on the Everglades, and I've sum up everything as a "in character" data files on Reddit:

Hope it helps someone else !
Character creation and critique / Re: Enchanter Build Help
« Last post by firebug on Today at 12:58:22 »
For an Alchemist, as others have said, support spells are where it's at.  The greatest benefit Alchemy has is allowing you to have several sustain spells without needing to devote foci or take a penalty.

With arrows/bolts or Alter Ballistics, it's possible to have some solid damage, but there's a few issues with that.  The first that comes to mind is your limited number of preparations.  An alchemist can only have so many preparations ready to go before a run.  And every one that's a bullet is one that isn't a buff or healing spell.  Weapons should be the backup; reliable because you can use them as many times as you have ammo.  You want firing your gun to be a backup action, that you can do when a prep just isn't the answer.  If you focus on using bullet/bolt/arrow preps, that makes that less of an option.  Having to switch between your magic ammo and your normal ammo eats up time, and even worse, you will miss at some point, and that preparation will go to waste.

So.  Take the new quality Practiced Alchemist; Durable Preparations is completely superfluous, so ignore it.  The extra Potency duration is nice, but that bonus to activation dice pools is actually kind of huge.  It's the only way to get that kind of bonus.  Get an Alchemy Focus.  If your starting dice pool for Contact Preparations isn't higher than 16 you're not trying hard enough.  The Potion Maker quality can go a long way as well, allowing you to make stronger preps without having to waste time sleeping off the stun before the mission.  Unfortunately, if you also get a Mentor Spirit, that's 25 Karma of PQs right there.

Stat-wise, Drain Resist is very very important.  You need to avoid taking Stun so you can have as many preps as possible.  And preps are comparably weaker than normal spells (lower dice pools) so you can't really afford to low-ball them all if you want them to have any real effect.

You'll also want a biofiber pocket and Enchanting Gloves (both from Hard Targets).  These let you carry and conceal preparations easily, even non-potion contact preparations.  If you make contact-prep ammo, you'll definitely need these so you can handle the ammo without setting it off.

Go heavy on the Health and Manipulation spells.  Deflection is great to hand out, because it's not visually obvious and will help keep everyone alive.  If you have a well-rounded party, I would eventually try to pick up Increase Attribute for BOD, CHA, INT, and WIL.  These attributes are very difficult to boost without this spell, and can be a lot of help.  Boosting INT is seriously a big deal.  A few Illusion spells like Mask and/or Invisibility can be good too.

Recon on the missions you'll be doing as invaluable, so work with your decker and/or rigger to know what preparations will be needed.  No point in going for Invisibility if the only real option is a quick smash-and-grab, after all.

If you have enough buffs that you're comfortable you'll have enough for the whole run, then you start making magic bullets.  Indirect touch-spells are perfect for this, because you can ramp their Force pretty damn high.  Alter Ballistic to get Punch on a gel round can probably easily knock almost anyone out.  Or you can go the route of Quickening mages and just buff yourself until you're nuclear on the Astral, roll in with increased everything and just unload.  This takes a lot more resources though.

...That's all I can think of for now.
Shadowrun Crossfire / Re: GenCon 2017
« Last post by DarkSpade on Today at 12:52:56 »
So if we already have it, we'll just need the new character pack?    I can live with that.
Character creation and critique / Re: Enchanter Build Help
« Last post by Marcus on Today at 12:08:42 »
The Magic system has a lot of moving parts in 5th. Alchemy has/had some issues, it was confusing from the word go, you can this type of trigger, but you can't use that type of trigger. You can't make magic bullets, but you can magic grenades. No one could touch your preparation etc. Over the course of 4 books (the Core, Street Grim, Hard targets, and FA), Alchemy has become a very different animal then it was at the beginning. At the opening it was strictly a contact thing imo. But now I do think the tools are there to make it a playable archetype. I think to us it to the full potential your group needs to cooperate, and put the money into the pieces of gear needed to use it.
Packing buff works fine, and I'm not try to dismiss it. But having a archer with instant special spell arrows does open many options. The new spell also does give guns bunny parties some new options.
If nothing else it opens yet more places for magic character to spend all that Karma.
Rules and such / Re: Drakes
« Last post by SpellBinder on Today at 11:56:35 »
1: Dracoform
2: Dracoform, unless you have Transcend Form then you take 4P resisted with Body + Willpower for each shot
3: Both
4: What Senko said
Shadowrun Crossfire / Re: GenCon 2017
« Last post by odd on Today at 10:57:12 »
I talked to them about it. They said it's basically an updated crossfire. They'll have the updated rules online and sell little packs (mostly seems to be character sheet changes in pack?) For folks who currently have it. Also said they'll be coming out with a new expansion that builds the adventure as you go.
Rules and such / Re: How does Sheldon work?
« Last post by firebug on Today at 10:52:39 »
For channeling, I just mean an argument could be made.  Though I'll admit it's not a strong one...  Realistically there's nothing stopping it from happening.

Forbidden Arcana is more than "some major problems" though.  The only thing that makes it acceptable is the tiny number of things in it that help Aspected magicians and a couple good Alchemist qualities.  Okay, there's a few more things.  But even that's handled poorly.  For instance, Durable Preparations is inferior to Practiced Alchemist in every way.  Same requirements, same Karma cost, and Islamic magicians can get Practiced Alchemist even easier.  But they didn't fix Aspected Enchanters (even the new Enchanter aspect) getting no preparations for free during character generation.  The good is at the bottom of an ocean of bad.

Not to mention, that while having the options is important, loading the Alchemist archetype up with qualities to fix their deficiencies instead of actually changing what's broken results in Alchemists having no space for other qualities.  If you want to start with a Mentor Spirit, Practiced Alchemist, and Potion Master...  That's all your starting qualities.  Just to make up for the fact that Alchemy is weaker than it should be.  I'm not satisfied with that.  It's not a "fix", it's a band-aid on a broken bone.  Dressing to make it look like it's fixed despite the problems still being there underneath the skin.

A lot of things in the book should be NPC villain only.  I don't mean "Players shouldn't ever use Blood Magic!" but they go overboard with presenting toxic magic to the players to just use like it's not supposed to be a huge freaking deal.

Ugh...  I've stressed myself out so much from this thread and writing errata that I've given myself a stomach ache.  Jeeze...
Rules and such / Re: How does Sheldon work?
« Last post by Jack_Spade on Today at 10:35:47 »
Channeling doesn't care about the previous materialization/possession abilities of the spirit - it allows you to call any kind of spirit into your own body and turns it into a channeled spirit.

As a player I'd never bother to try it - the GM is just one glitch away from doing some really horrible things to your character (and entirely justified) - but for NPC villains this is grade A story material.

As for the worth of FA:
Each to their own tastes, but personally I like the book as it gives some much needed fixes (especially for Alchemists) as well as some interesting options.
It having some major problems is... really nothing new if you compare it to the other SR5 books
Rules and such / Re: How does Sheldon work?
« Last post by firebug on Today at 10:23:07 »
Forbidden Arcana does have some nice things in it so I'm curious why you view its rules as especially bad compared to other magic sourcebooks.

Forbidden Arcana has some great things, but they make up a puny amount of the material.  You're not on the errata team, so you can't see the ten threads I've made on it's various chapters and how big of a shitshow it is.

To summarize...
The Mastery qualities are wildly unbalanced, and several don't actually work.  A couple are superfluous.  And it goes from laughably weak to incredibly broken.  Some break lore.
The Blood Magic section has a lot of useless spells that are just normal spells but worse, a metamagic that doesn't make sense, and the whole Blood Crystal thing is really out of place and unneeded.
The Traditions are a fucking travesty.  Some of them should just be Magical Groups, but the writers didn't know that was a thing.  Others just give bonuses for no reason.  There's the "Traditional" version of traditions that has no explanation as to how you qualify or if you have to purchase it.  Several of the traditions are laughably bad, and only give penalties.  One just gives a player toxic magic.  Three are based on a separate, unrelated IP (the Swamp Thing mythos for the record).  Drakes have their own insultingly overpowered tradition.
Tarot Summoning.  Fucking Tarot Summoning.  It's not only overly complex, it's utter shit, and costs 107 Karma to unlock fully, minimum.
The book includes a spell that doesn't make any sense, but makes food, which brings up a lot of questions and messes with the setting.
The entire "Focused Awakened" section is unusable because it doesn't give any rules for how you can actually BE one of those kind of Awakened.
The Harmonious Defense metamagic is totally overpowered.
The inclusion of a metamagic to just become an Insect or Toxic magician is awful and makes it seem like they are options available to normal characters.
The Spirit Leash mechanic is so punishing as to be totally unusable.
The book is full of options that makes your tradition mean less and less, both mechanically and in-story, which is a bad thing.  I don't like that this book would let someone play a Olympian-Voodoo Magician summoning possession spirits of Greek monsters and also this other Christian spirit they just figured out how to do, plus these other two Hermetic elementals they got from taking Chain Breaker.

So much of this goddamn book is poorly written, rushed, not thought out, and the errata team has to rewrite most of the rules, and try and think of ways to "fix" what should just be removed, but can't be because word count and layout.

There's more, a lot more.  If you'd like I can give you a Pastebin of everything I've analyzed about the book (as what I've written isn't using any kind of insider knowledge, so the NDA isn't an issue).  It's a fair amount though.

Because they don't get to open the book and see "Oh, I am using Shedim summoning"? All they get to know is what they have been taught and not every mage in the world spent 4 years at MIT&T. If your mentor tells you "here, this ritual will help you summon grandma" you think you summon grandma. You are using a lot of meta knowledge to determine that it isn't worth it.

No, but you see a shadowy, horrifying spirit appear with an aura of fear that you are not immune to that doesn't seem like your grandmother in any way, shape, or form.  You've seen spirits before, after all, you have the skill to summon them and are at least Initiation Grade 1.  Then when it enters her corpse, her body is wreathed in darkness or some other sign of possession, and she does nothing but follow your orders, and after a task or two, the shadowy stuff goes away and she collapses on the ground again.  You try to talk to her, but she knows nothing about her past and basically acts nothing like your grandmother did.  Can't even make her signature pie anymore when you command her too...

Though to be fair, they have learned it at this point.  I just think this random country bumpkin would probably be horrified, feel sick at the mockery he made of his beloved family member, and swear off ever summoning one of those "things" ever again...  Thus being a waste of the Master Shedim's time, since no summons = no Shedim escaping into the world.

Yes, if someone who is as ignorant as possible and has never learned about the massive historical event that involved Shedim trying to take over the world, but somehow has initiated and is found by a Master Shedim, they could be tricked as long as they ask no questions and believe everything they hear.  A Shedim could certainly teach someone who is basically tabula-rasa when it comes to their understanding of magic and world history, grooming them from early in their Awakened life into a Shedim summoner.

You can't think of a use for animating corpses? Especially well armed and armored corpses? Or corpses of important people?

What?  No.  But you can do that with non-Shedim spirits.  This is not something exclusive to Shedim.  Any spirit capable of possession can do it, and it's not something so useful as to be worth the backlash that would follow anyone seeing you summon a Shedim.  Also, Shedim do not have the Realistic Form power.  So that "possess the corpse of someone important" doesn't work, when they are obviously possessed (which is how it works, and avoiding being obvious is one of the features of Realistic Form).

So you are saying it is both too weak to bother with and too over powered to be allowed and is in need of a nerf.

Read what I write before making strawmans.  I'm really not in the mood.  I'm saying they are too weak to use as simple Summons, but using Channeling specifically changes it dramatically into something quite powerful with an ability that needs to be errata'd.  Two different uses that affect their power level.  On their own, I think they are kind of crap.  With Channeling, they break the game because they allow the player to access something that should never be accessible to players.  Nothing I said is contradictory.
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